Pennsylvania Governor to AG Sessions: Back Off!

In a recent letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf wrote a pointed letter regarding the Department of Justice and it’s posturing to implement a crackdown of lawful state medical marijuana programs.

The full letter:

Dear Attorney General Sessions:

Last year, the Pennsylvania passed bipartisan legislation to legalize Medical Marijuana that I was proud to sign into law. The legislation was the result of conversations with Republicans and Democrats and fierce advocacy from families of children who were stricken with terrible illness that could be helped by Medical Marijuana.

We talked to kids who suffer dozens of seizures in a given day. We met veterans who have seen absolute terror and seek relief from the effects of their post-traumatic stress. We approached the responsibility of providing relief to the people of Pennsylvania very thoughtfully.

Since I signed the legislation, we have taken very careful and deliberate steps to implement the law so that those who are suffering can get relief while ensuring that the state is a responsible steward of the program.

Given the bipartisan and medical consensus for Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania and many other states, I am disturbed to know that you are actively pursuing a change in federal law to go after medical marijuana suppliers.

We do not need the federal government getting in the way of Pennsylvania’s right to deliver them relief through our new medical marijuana program.

Your action to undo the protections of the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which prevents the use federal funds to disrupt states’ efforts to implement “their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana” is misguided.

If you seek to further disrupt our ability to establish a legal way to deliver relief of medical marijuana to our citizens, I will ask the Attorney General of Pennsylvania to take legal action to protect our residents and state sovereignty.

Sincerely,

Governor Tom Wolf

Attorney General Jeff Sessions Photo by Gage Skidmore

Attorney General Jeff Sessions
Photo by Gage Skidmore

This comes in response to a recently revealed private letter that Jeff Sessions sent to Congressional leadership requesting that the DOJ be permitted to target and prosecute state-licensed medical cannabis facilities, currently prohibited by a spending rider known as the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment.

“I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of an historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime,” Sessions wrote, “The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”

Jeff Sessions actually seems to believe that lawful medical marijuana patients, i.e. sick people, are causing the violent crime and contributing to transnational drug trafficking.

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was questioned about federal marijuana policy during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing earlier this week and he brought up current DOJ policy and left the door wide open to a potential crackdown.

“Jim Cole tried to deal with it in that memorandum and at the moment that memorandum is still in effect. Maybe there will be changes to it in the future but we’re still operating under that policy which is an effort to balance the conflicting interests with regard to marijuana,” stated Rosenstein, “So I can assure you that is going to be a high priority for me as the U.S. Attorneys come on board to talk about how to deal with that challenge in the states that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana, whether it be for recreational or medical use…”

The Cole Memo, is a Justice Department memorandum, authored by US Deputy Attorney General James Cole in 2013 to US attorneys in all 50 states directs prosecutors not to interfere with state legalization efforts and those licensed to engage in the plant’s production and sale, provided that such persons do not engage in marijuana sales to minors or divert the product to states that have not legalized its use, among other guidelines.

But while the Justice Department contemplates its next move, Wolf and other state politicians are taking action. Recently, Washington Gov. Jay Inslee (D), Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), Oregon Gov. Kate Brown (D) and Alaska Gov. Bill Walker (I) issued a letter to the new U.S. Attorney General and to Secretary of Treasury Mnuchin calling on them to uphold the Obama Administration’s largely ‘hands off’ policies toward marijuana legalization, as outlined in the Cole Memo.

“Overhauling the Cole Memo is sure to produce unintended and harmful consequences,” the governors wrote. “Changes that hurt the regulated market would divert existing marijuana product into the black market and increase dangerous activity in both our states and our neighboring states.”

Click here to send a message to your member of Congress to urge them to force the Department of Justice to respect state marijuana laws and then visit http://norml.org/act to support other efforts in your state and federally.

PA resident? Click here to send a message to your state lawmakers to support the effort to decriminalize marijuana in the Keystone State.

Say NO To Taxpayer Funded Medical Marijuana Raids

doctor_marijuanaSince 2014, the Department of Justice has been prohibited from using taxpayers’ funds to enforce federal anti-marijuana laws in states that regulate its medical use.

But that could all change this week as Congress decides how to fund the federal government for the remainder of this fiscal year. 

At issue is a provision known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, which maintains that federal funds can not be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.” In December, Congress re-authorized the amendment as part of a short term spending package through April 28, 2017, at which time the budget — and the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment — will expire.

With anti-cannabis zealot Jeff Sessions now heading the Department of Justice, we can’t leave patients across the country and those who supply their medicine vulnerable to a federal crackdown on medical marijuana.

We NEED you to send a message to your member of Congress RIGHT NOW to support medical marijuana patients! 

Over 90% of all Americans support the legalization of medical marijuana, according to nationwide polling data published last week. Further, 73 percent of voters oppose federal interference in states that regulate its use. Let’s ensure that these programs and the millions of patients who rely upon them are protected. 

Tell your member of Congress to get this right. Demand that they protect patients from Jeff Sessions and his Department of Justice. 

Who Is This Anti-Marijuana Zealot Sheldon Adelson?

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I am writing today about a somewhat mysterious man who has spent tens of millions of dollars to try to prop up marijuana prohibition.

In fact, he has become the big fish in the anti-marijuana funding world. His name is Sheldon Adelson, and he is an 82-year-old Las Vegas casino owner (The Sands, The Venetian, and The Palazzo). He is reportedly worth $29 billion, making him the 12th-richest person in America.

Adelson once made the late website Gawker’s “Billionaire Shit List,” which called him “evil” for “spending hundreds of millions of dollars trying to get extreme right-wingers in office.” And he should be on our “sh*t list” as well for spending funds on prohibition, which as a policy has resulted in the needless arrest of more than 26 million Americans over the last 40 years.

Adelson was also the principal financial backer of Freedom Watch, a now-defunct political advocacy group founded to counter the influence of George Soros, the largest pro-legalization funder in the country, and liberal groups such as MoveOn.org. Freedom Watch spent $30 million of Adelson’s money in 2008 before fading into oblivion.

In 2014, Adelson gave $5.5 million to the Drug Free Florida campaign to help defeat the medical use initiative and has given another $1.5 million to fight the pending medical use initiative this year, with more likely to follow. He also just donated $1 million to the group opposing the legalization initiative on the ballot in Massachusetts.

In his home state of Nevada, where a full legalization initiative is on the ballot for this upcoming election, Adelson has donated $2 million to oppose the initiative. He recently purchased the Las Vegas Review-Journal for $140 million, since then the paper withdrew its prior endorsement of marijuana legalization for the state.

One cannot help but wonder what would motivate an individual to want to continue a failed public policy that results in the needless arrest of so many of our fellow citizens. In Adelson’s case, it was apparently a personal family tragedy. His 48-year-old son, Mitchell, died in 2005 of a drug overdose involving cocaine and heroin. Another son, Gary, has also struggled with drug addiction and is allegedly estranged from his father altogether. Adelson has said he sees marijuana as a “gateway drug” that led to his sons’ problems.

Of course, the so-called “gateway theory” has long since been refuted by serious scientists, including the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine (“There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other drugs.”) and the Rand Corporation (“While the gateway theory has enjoyed popular acceptance, scientists have always had their doubts. Our study shows that these doubts are justified.”)

And the Netherlands Institute of Mental Health and Addiction recently reached this same conclusion: “As for a possible switch from cannabis to hard drugs, it is clear that the pharmacological properties of cannabis are irrelevant in this respect. There is no physically determined tendency towards switching from marijuana to harder substances. Social factors, however, do appear to play a role. The more users become integrated in an environment (“subculture”) where, apart from cannabis, hard drugs can also be obtained, the greater the chance that they may switch to hard drugs. Separation of the drug markets is therefore essential.”

In addition, those drug users who do end up using heroin or other far more dangerous drugs seldom start with marijuana. Rather recent research shows it is alcohol that is the first drug used in string of drugs leading to eventual addition, not marijuana.

One can surely sympathize with the sense of loss for any parent who experiences the death of a child, regardless of the cause. But these and other scientific findings suggest that If more jurisdictions legalize and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol — thereby allowing its sale to be governed by licensed, state-authorized distributors rather than by criminal entrepreneurs and pushers of various other, hard drugs — even fewer marijuana users will progress to other illicit drugs.

In some ways it reminds one of former Democratic Rep. Patrick Kennedy, the youngest son of longtime Sen. Ted Kennedy ( D-Mass.). Patrick Kennedy became addicted to pharmaceutical opioids, alcohol, and other illegal drugs before finally embarrassing himself and the Congress when he was arrested in 2006 after crashing his car into a barricade on Capitol Hill. At the time, he was high on OxyContin and drunk from alcohol. In Patrick Kennedy’s own words, “OxyContin was what I used for years, but I’m an addict, so it doesn’t matter what it is. I used benzodiazepines, alcohol, stimulants, Adderall, cocaine, you name it.”

In 2009 Kennedy again checked himself into a drug rehabilitation program.

Kennedy then co-founded Project SAM, the principal anti-marijuana organization working in the country to maintain marijuana prohibition. While that strategy may be therapeutically useful for the (hopefully) recovering addict, it places the burden for his problems unfairly on the rest of us.

In fact, recent studies have shown that in states in which medical marijuana have been legalized, the use of opioids has significantly declined.

It is a sad reflection on these two individuals that they use their wealth and fame to punish the rest of us, by working to slow the inevitable end of marijuana prohibition.

About 60 percent of Americans now support marijuana legalization, despite the efforts of Adelson and Patrick Kennedy to try to defend prohibition. Nonetheless, there is naturally some concern that this influx of big money might sway a sufficient number of voters to defeat some of the pending legalization initiatives. The defeat of the medical use initiative in Florida in 2014 (it had the support of 58 percent of those voting, but fell short of the 60 percent required for a constitutional amendment) is attributed by many observers to the out-of-state funding from Adelson.

In the end, our nation’s marijuana policy must be based on science and common sense, not on the tragic examples of those who were unable to control their addictions. I’m confident the pro-legalization forces, with our positive message of the benefits to society from legalization, will carry the day and that we will both out-raise funds and outspend our opponents in these upcoming voter initiative campaigns, not just this year, but for as long as it takes to finally end marijuana prohibition.

________________________________________________________________

This column was originally published on ATTN.com.

http://www.attn.com/stories/12217/sheldon-adelson-opposes-legalization-marijuana

 

Federal Court of Appeals Upholds Ban on Prosecuting State-Compliant Medical Marijuana Businesses

Medical marijuanaA three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, covering nine western states, earlier this week ruled unanimously that the Department of Justice is barred by federal law from prosecuting medical marijuana businesses if those businesses are operating in compliance with state law.

This decision came in an appeal in which the court had consolidated ten different cases from California and Washington, in which the defendants — growers and dispensaries — had argued that their federal indictments should be dismissed because of a current ban, enacted by Congress in 2014, on the use of federal funds to prosecute state-compliant medical marijuana activities. Known as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, the language of the enactment said federal funds could not be used to prevent states from “implementing their own state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

The Department of Justice had argued the ban only precluded their interference with the state governments, and did not ban federal prosecutions against individual defendants. The Court of Appeals rejected this argument, and remanded the cases back to the US District Courts for an evidentiary hearing to determine if the individual defendants had in fact acted in compliance with their state medical marijuana laws.

Judge Diarmuid O’Scannlain, writing for the panel, did warn in his opinion that Congress could restore funding to prosecute these cases “tomorrow, a year from now, or four years from now, and the government could then prosecute individuals who committed offenses while the government lacked funding.”

Celebrate the Dawn of Legalization With a Limited Edition NORML Shirt!

420shirtOn Election Day 2012, Colorado and Washington residents voted overwhelmingly to legalize marijuana. In the months that followed nearly two dozen states have introduced countless bills to reform marijuana laws locally, including an unprecendent ten measures that would legalize marijuana outright. In Washington, DC, more measures than any previous year have been introduced to roll back the federal prohibition on marijuana.

On April 20th, 2013 celebrate our recent victories and support the ongoing fight to bring these reforms nationwide by buying one of these limited edition NORML t-shirts, available exclusively during this year’s high holiday. Proceeds go to help NORML in our mission to legalize marijuana in the other 48 states!

Together, we WILL legalize marijuana.

Click here to pre-order your shirt today!

Senior Citizens Are Starting Medical Marijuana Businesses to Replace Lost Retirement Funds.

San Francisco, CA (PRWEB) March 24, 2010

Many Baby Boomers are starting medical marijuana businesses as a way to overcome the extremely bleak employment outlook, and restore their lost retirement nest eggs.

Seniors have been hit particularly hard by the downturn in the economy. Their retirement funds have been decimated and social security is no longer keeping up with the cost of living. With few options available to them, more and more senior citizens are starting medical marijuana business as a viable way to make ends meet.

?In the last few years there has been an upward swing in people coming into the business, in both age and affluence,? said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the DC-based National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). ?They are either retirees or boomers seeing a chance for mid-life career change and grabbing it?

The internet is helping to make it easy for Baby Boomers and Retirees to learn how to start a Medical Marijuana business. Hempgard University is offering an affordable online e-course which teaches how to start and operate the following types of medical marijuana businesses:

-Medical Marijuana Dispensary

-Medical Marijuana Delivery Service

-Medical Marijuana Edibles Business

-Medical Marijuana Commercial Grow

The medical marijuana industry can be an especially good fit for Boomers and Seniors; just as a function of age, older people are more likely to know people afflicted with the conditions for which doctors can recommend marijuana. These conditions include arthritis, cancer, glaucoma, chronic pain, persistent muscle spasms, etc.. This gives many older people a really good potential patient (client) base, to build their medical marijuana businesses from.

?We have made medical marijuana business training easier to obtain,? said Liz Cortese, Student Services, Hempgard University. ?Through the comprehensive e-course, boomers and senior citizens can easily and affordably learn the medical marijuana business from the comfort of their home, with out having to travel to a class or seminar. The e-course saves them time and money, so they can get their businesses up and running.?

Who would have thought Grandma and Grandpa would be using their green thumbs to grow a Ganja garden?

About Hempgard University

Hempgard University provides the most advanced business training for the medical cannabis industry, to students nationwide, through the online e-course and live seminars. Hempgard University has an active alumni network, and provides students support. Since being founded, hundreds of students have taken their advanced, in-depth course and gone on to successfully enter the emerging medical cannabis industry.

Contact:

JB Wilson

415.933.3570

or go to http://www.HempgardUniversity.com

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Related Medical Marijuana Doctors Press Releases

EXECUTE THE CORPORATIONS

The permanent people, as I like to call corporations, are immortal, unlike the temporary citizens: that is, flesh and blood people. And as I facetiously discussed, they thus have more interest in America’s long-term than the temporaries. But in the past few months a number of corporations including Chase, Bank of America and Wells Fargo have paid large fines for law-breaking, that is, cheating their customers. Had these corporations been people they would have gone to jail or prison for their activities, How can we give them equal treatment, since we can’t put them behind bars?

 

One solution is to suspend their fiscal activities for periods of time that a temporary would be imprisoned.  The one rogue Goldman Sachs executive prosecuted by the government for insider trading just received a prison tem of two years. Let’s say GS had been found guilty and all of its trading and activities for its own and its clients’ accounts were suspended for two years. Clients of course could move their accounts, but the Goldman accounts could only be liquidated for two years. No new deals. Corporations could soon learn how disruptive even a short sentence can be and some of the big wrongdoers would be broken.

 

Every so often every corporate charter comes up for renewal. Up to now this has been a routine procedure. Wouldn’t it be better for the government to determine whether re-incorporation of some some of these big felon corporations should take place. “Wells Fargo, you’ve messed up so many families that we are not renewing your charter and not allowing you to transfer funds to an associated entity, You can disburse your assets to your shareholders but you are out of business. We are executing you by not renewing your charter and you will die a legal death. You are no longer immortal”.

 

Sounds good to me. Too big to fail? No the biggest corporations are just stopping cleaner, more innovative companies from getting started.

Got $4.20 to Pitch in For Marijuana Legalization? Help NORML Smoke the Vote This November


The 2012 election is, without a doubt, the most important one yet in the world of marijuana law refom. Three states, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon will be voting to legalize marijuana use by responsible adults and Montana, Arkansas, and Massachusetts, will be voting on medical marijuana issues. These reform efforts, coupled with local ballot measures to decriminalize possession and a presidential election, give us the opportunity to make history this November.

Help us deliver the knock out blow to cannabis prohibition this fall, support the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) in our fight to legalize responsible adult use of marijuana. Join us by donating to our fundraiser on Crowdtilt.com – donate $50, $25, $4.20, $1, whatever you can afford. Since its founding in 1970, NORML has provided a voice in the public policy debate for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition and favor an end to the practice of arresting marijuana smokers. Your donation ensures we can continue our mission to end cannabis prohibition once and for all.

Together we can do this. With a little help from our friends, we WILL legalize cannabis.

Click Here to Donate

NOTE: Your card will only be charged if we reach our goal of $4,200 dollars in ten days, if we don’t no one gets charged and we don’t get any donations, so please help with whatever amount you can and share with family and friends!

Read NORML’s 2012 Election Guide, Smoke the Vote, here to learn about all the ways marijuana policy is coming into play during the fall election.

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