Thursday, October 22, 2009

Federal Govt to Leave Medical Marijuana to Locals

This really is a remarkable development. From CNN:
Patients in the 13 states where medical marijuana is legal can now light up without fear of federal reprisal, but they may still have to answer to local authorities.

The Justice Department this week announced that it will no longer seek to prosecute people using, prescribing, or distributing pot for medical purposes, as long as they're in compliance with local law. However, regulations in some medical marijuana states remain murky.

For example, Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley recently announced a plan to crack down on all illegal medical marijuana dispensaries in his jurisdiction, arguing that they are illegal. In California, as well as several other medical marijuana states, laws governing distribution vary from city to city and county to county. Matters are simpler in Rhode Island and New Mexico, which formally license medical marijuana providers.

Nevertheless, advocates hail the news as a step in the right direction. They say the move will likely encourage more doctors to consider prescribing medical marijuana in states where it's legal. And more patients may try using the drug, which can be prescribed for chronic pain, nausea, and other conditions.

The federal move could also embolden other states to make their own laws allowing medical marijuana use, they say.

"This is a very significant development," says Bruce Mirken, the director of communications for the Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates the full-scale legalization of marijuana. "This is the most significant and most positive development on federal medical-marijuana policy since the Carter administration." Medical marijuana policy move sparks cautious optimism

Anybody who thinks about it realizes that marijuana is much safer in every way than alcohol, which is legal. Why are our prisons full of marijuana users and dealers? Maybe it has something to do with race relations in the 1930s, maybe it has to do with the desire of cotton farmers to wipe out the hemp industry, nobody knows why marijuana use is considered such a terrible crime, but for some reason possession, use, or sale of that common weed is enough to send somebody to prison for a long time.

I had a friend in California once who was busted smoking a joint sitting in his car and ended up in the cell next to Charlie Manson.

Turns out pot has a lot of beneficial effects, and some states and municipalities have legalized marijuana for medical use, but the Bush administration cracked down on providers, enforcing antiquated federal law. When Obama came in he said he was not going to enforce those laws, but the DEA still busted people selling medical marijuana, it was one of those campaign promises that were not kept. But now it looks like the policy is changing for real. No law needs to be changed, all they have to do is kill the budget for enforcement.

This is a change at the federal level, and conservatives should be dancing in the streets celebrating this reduction of federal control and empowerment of states. Just a minute, let me look out my window. Hmm, I don't seem them dancing out there.

I wonder, is anybody opposed to this? Is there anybody who really does believe that possession of marijuana needs to be a federal crime?

Wow, this is interesting. The blog of the Office of National Drug Control Policy had said that in San Francisco there were more medical marijuana outlets than Starbucks. That's pretty impressive -- there must be a Starbucks on every streetcorner, especially in a city like San Francisco. But ... turns out the feds were exaggerating. The S F Chronicle's City Insider looked closely at the data and found that the government's map contained a lot of fiction. It appears now that the government's statement has been removed from the Internet.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

"This is a change at the federal level, and conservatives should be dancing in the streets celebrating this reduction of federal control and empowerment of states. Just a minute, let me look out my window. Hmm, I don't seem them dancing out there."

Jim, you're looking in all the wrong places.

If you'd been walking the dog in front of my house this morning, you'd have seen me dancing naked inthe kitchen while making coffee.

Seriously, this is a milestone in the libertarain advance in America.

Next stop, seat belt laws.

October 22, 2009 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

btw, a Gallup poll released today shows less than a fourth of Americans believe the health care bill will makes their health care situation better in terms of cost, quality, coverage or insurance requirements

if Democrats do this, they will find themselves in quick sand

fortunately, the final vote is unlikely before election day so the loss of Virginia and New Jersey may sober them up

sign of things to come, my friends

October 22, 2009 2:28 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

The Matthew Shepard Act passes!

October 22, 2009 6:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The hate crime bill was only passed by sneaking it into a defense appropriations bill.

Rep. Barney Frank, the openly gay Massachusetts lawmaker who dismissed the gay rights march as "a waste of time at best," said in an interview that activists have ignored reality.

There are enough votes in the House to pass laws barring anti-gay workplace discrimination, adding domestic partner benefits for gay federal workers and perhaps even overturning the military ban, he said.

But there still aren't the needed 60 votes in the Senate.

Richard Socarides, an adviser on gay issues in the Clinton White House, said the hate crimes bill is a small victory. But on the big issues -- the military and marriage -- neither Obama nor congressional leaders have pushed at all, he said.

"It's clear to me" Socarides said, "this is not a priority for Obama at this time."

Judy Shepard expects passage of the landmark hate crimes bill to energize opponents of the gay rights movement.

"They will feel more urgency to get their message across," said Shepard, who has looked forward to a White House signing ceremony for more than a decade. "This is not going to be a cakewalk."

October 22, 2009 8:20 PM  
Blogger BlackTsunami said...

The important thing is that the bill passes. And I am going to undertake an endeavour:

Since religious right groups like to make interesting claims, I say let's test them on it:

as soon as President Obama signs the Matthew Shepard Act, I will be creating an online clock that will count up how long it should take from Obama signing this bill to the arrest of a pastor for simply saying that homosexuality is a sin.

Of course no pastor will be arrested for simply calling homosexuality a sin. And that is the point of the online clock.

More here -

October 22, 2009 8:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

can everyone else say homosexuality is a sin without being a suspect in every crime against all the gays in the neighborhood?

October 22, 2009 9:16 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...


That's all you and your Republican buds can do now is keep spreading lies and use fear to promote your theocratic agenda--which is obviously failing miserably.

October 22, 2009 9:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"That's all you and your Republican buds can do now is keep spreading lies and use fear to promote your theocratic agenda--which is obviously failing miserably."


Have you noticed that the next election after Obama deceived the American people into voting for him, that a long-time pro-family, anti-gay agenda candidate is about to become governor of Virginia?

Oh, and he was "exposed" as being a social conservative which his opponent thought would cost him the election so it featured it in non-stop ads.

Those ads are propelling McDonnell to victory.

Liberals think America has joined their cause.

They're in for a surprise.

Many Democratic members of Congress will lose their seat in the next election because they supported this bill.

"spreading lies and fear"

Sounds like an Obamaic tactic.

October 22, 2009 10:20 PM  
Anonymous Aunt Bea said...

You're not crowing about expected GOP wins in Virginia **and New Jersey** anymore like you did on:

June 20, 2009 12:35 PM

July 02, 2009 8:11 AM

September 17, 2009 11:14 AM

What happened?

October 23, 2009 9:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm more anti-liberal than pro-GOP

the Dem in Jersey hasn't gained a bit of support

a third party candidate has sucked off voters from the GOP candidate, mainly because he wasn't saying anything

the GOP's still ahead but the margin is smaller

New Jersey voters despise the Dem governor who is former chairman of Wall Street bandits, Goldman Sachs

the epitome of the rich liberal Democrat that America will reject in November 2010

look for a GOP pick-up

Dems in Congress will be in a sober mood after the election

they're already skittish about the gay agenda

wait til then

you ain't see nothing yet

October 23, 2009 9:54 AM  

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