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ASA’s Media Summary for 6/1/07

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
ASA’s Media Summary for 6/1/07
FEDERAL: Rosenthal Retrial Ends With Split Verdict
COLORADO: DA Rethinks Caregiver Case
CALIFORNIA: Dispensary Regulations, More Patient Protection in LA
VERMONT: Expanded State Medical Marijuana Law Enacted
RHODE ISLAND: Overwhelming Support for Medical Marijuana Bill
CONNECTICUT: Support for New State Medical Marijuana Bill Urged
WISCONSIN: State Medical Marijuana Measure to be Considered Again
FEDERAL: Dispensary Operators Charged
CANADA: Patients Criticize Medical Marijuana Program
CALIFORNIA: Dispensary Case Goes to State Court
DOCTORS: Specialists Battle Prejudice on Behalf of Patients
FEDERAL: Rosenthal Retrial Ends With Split Verdict

Even though he did not put on a defense, author and medical marijuana advocate Ed Rosenthal was acquitted on one felony charge and the jury deadlocked on another. He was re-convicted of three other charges related to his work growing cannabis for patients under a city of Oakland program, but there were other victories for medical marijuana patients. With help from ASA, seven members of the community who the government tried to compel to testify against Rosenthal refused; the judge ultimately complimenting them on their “dignity” and “decorum” and refused to punish them. And ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford got the bulk of the government’s case dismissed by arguing that it was “vindictive prosecution.”

Medical marijuana advocate convicted
by Bob Egelko,
San Francisco Chronicle
Ed Rosenthal was a free man, but not a happy one, after a jury convicted him Wednesday for a second time of violating federal drug laws by growing marijuana for medical patients.

"Ganja guru" convicted in San Francisco retrial
Reuters
After fighting for years to clear his name, a prominent marijuana advocate known as the "ganja guru" was convicted again on Wednesday on charges of cultivating and distributing the weed.

Federal Jury Convicts 'Guru of Ganja'
by Paul Elias,
Associated Press
The self-proclaimed "guru of ganja" was convicted again Wednesday in federal court of illegally growing hundreds of marijuana plants that he said were meant to treat sick people, which state law allows.

'Ganja guru' guilty, but won't see jail
by Josh Richman ,
ANG Newspapers
A federal jury in San Francisco convicted Oakland "Guru of Ganja" Ed Rosenthal on Wednesday of three of the five marijuana-growing felonies of which he stood accused.

Jury Convicts Rosenthal on Three Marijuana Counts, Acquits on One
by Julie Cheever,
Bay City News Service
Oakland marijuana activist Ed Rosenthal was convicted in federal court in San Francisco today of three counts of conspiring to grow marijuana and growing marijuana at an Oakland warehouse.

Pot advocate convicted on three charges
by Bob Egelko,
San Francisco Chronicle
Marijuana advocate Ed Rosenthal was convicted for a second time today of violating federal drug laws by growing pot plants for medical patients, but he faces no punishment for the felony convictions, apart from the one day in jail that he has already served.

`Ganja Guru' case goes to jury
by Josh Richman,
ANG Newspapers
The fate of Oakland "Guru of Ganja" Ed Rosenthal once again rests in a federal jury's hands -- in a manner of speaking. after his first trial and conviction in 2003, later overturned by a federal appeals court. Whether with a clean slate or as a convict, Rosenthal will walk free no matter what this jury decides.
ASA ACTION: DA Rethinks Colorado Caregiver Case

What was touted as an important test case for medical marijuana caregivers in Colorado may send an even stronger message to the state’s law enforcement community. Like many states with medical marijuana laws, Colorado does not provide realistic guidelines for how qualified patients are to get their medicine, leaving its citizens to make ad hoc arrangements. Attorney Brian Vicente – who is director of the Colorado Campaign for Safe Access, a joint project of ASA and Sensible Colorado -- appears to have convinced authorities to recognize the legitimacy of this set of caregivers.

Charges in medical marijuana case expected to be dropped today
The Coloradoan
The Larimer County District Attorney is expected to drop charges in the medical marijuana case against Fort Collins residents James and Lisa Masters, the couple's defense attorney said today.
CALIFORNIA: Dispensary Regulations, More Patient Protection in LA

Thanks to the tireless efforts of ASA’s southern California office, LA has begun the process of issuing medical marijuana ID cards and regulating local dispensaries. ASA has worked closely with local officials to educate stakeholders on the importance of shielding patients from arrest and the community benefits of sound dispensary ordinances. See ASA’s study at http://AmericansForSafeAccess/DispensaryReport.

Regulating medical pot
by EDITORIAL, LA Daily News(CA)
It's the correct action, just 10 years late. Medical marijuana was approved for use by sick people in California after Proposition 215 was passed by voters in 1996. Since then, dispensaries opened all over Los Angeles and enjoyed virtually no regulation by state government.

LA County to Issue Medical Marijuana ID Cards
Fox News LA
Los Angeles County will begin issuing identification cards next month to patients with prescriptions for medical marijuana, health officials said today.

ID cards for medical pot users to be issued
Los Angeles Times
A year after adopting an ordinance to provide medical marijuana users with identification cards, the county will begin issuing the state-mandated cards June 1, the board decided Tuesday.
VERMONT: Expanded State Medical Marijuana Law Enacted

The Granite State has now expanded protections to more patients who are following their doctor’s advice on using cannabis as part of their medical treatment. Unlike California, which leaves decisions about who and what can be effectively treated in the hands of doctors, Vermont’s medical marijuana law enumerates the specific conditions that patients may legally use cannabis to treat. Now, at least, there are fewer patients who will have to fear arrest and incarceration.

Expansion of Vermont medical marijuana statute becomes law
Associated Press
Vermont's medical marijuana law -- which lets people with life-threatening conditions use the illegal drug without fear of prosecution -- now covers people with chronic, debilitating conditions.

Medical marijuana law expanded
by Nancy Remsen,
Burlington Free Press (VT)
Steve Perry of Randolph Center welcomed news Thursday that a bill expanding eligibility for the state's medical marijuana registry would become law -- even though the governor refused to sign it.
RHODE ISLAND: Overwhelming Support for Medical Marijuana Bill

The one-year medical marijuana program in Rhode Island is set to become permanent, regardless of what the governor chooses to do. A “sunset provision” in the law passed last year means that state lawmakers have to get a new bill on the books by the end of June for the program to continue. Testimony from patients who have been helped and an utter lack of problems convinced an astounding majority to vote for making the law permanent – more than 85% of the Senate and nearly 81% of the House.

Medical marijuana legislation heads to Rhode Island governor
Associated Press
A bill that would make Rhode Island's medical marijuana program permanent is expected to have enough support to sustain a veto from the governor. The Senate on Wednesday passed the legislation by a 29 to five vote. The House approved an identical bill last week by a 51 to 12 margin.
CONNECTICUT: Support for New State Medical Marijuana Bill Urged

Opinionmakers in Connecticut are weighing in on a pair of state bills, one in each house, that seek to protect medical marijuana patients there from arrest and prosecution. While it is too soon to know how the political winds will blow, the example of other eastern states is a good one. Voters in Maine and lawmakers in Vermont, Maryland and neighboring Rhode Island have all passed similar bills.

Allow Ill To Use Marijuana
EDITORIAL,
Hartford Courant (CT)
Rhode Island's yearlong experiment with legalizing medical marijuana has been a success. Connecticut should join its neighbor and 13 other states in letting seriously ill people have marijuana to ease their pain.

Compassion: Connecticut should allow medical marijuana
EDITORIAL,
Danbury News-Times (CT)
It is heartbreaking to hear patients and their loved ones begging for the legal right to the relief that marijuana provides to some patients. A carefully regulated program will allow them to get the help, the freedom, they request in a compassionate and legal manner.

Lives Won't Go Up In Smoke If Marijuana Used Medicinally
by Mark Braunstein, OpEd,
The Day (CT)
After its longest debate of this legislative session, the Connecticut House of Representatives last week passed for its second time in three years what today is known as House Bill 6715, An Act concerning the Palliative Use of Marijuana. Courtesy of public access through Web broadcast video, I was able to listen to five of the six hours of the discussion.
WISCONSIN: State Medical Marijuana Measure to be Considered Again

For the past two years a Republican lawmaker in Wisconsin has introduced medical marijuana legislation; this year, it’s a Democrat’s turn. The bill’s sponsor believes he has the support this year to gain passage, in part thanks to the education provided by former-Representative Underheim, who learned firsthand about the horrors of chemotherapy but retired at the end of last year before seeing his bill passed.

Medical marijuana bill in Wisconsin gets a shot in the arm
by Danielle Kaeding, KUWS (WI)
Following Minnesota’s lead, Wisconsin legislators are taking on the issue of legalizing marijuana for medicinal use. State Representative Frank Boyle says he’s optimistic medicinal marijuana will become legal because other states have paved the way on the matter.
FEDERAL: Dispensary Operators Charged

A San Francisco Bay Area medical marijuana dispensary that provided medicine for upwards of 1,000 patients was shut by a federal DEA raid last year. Now the dispensary’s operator and a manager are being charged with federal drug crimes that could send them to federal prison for decades. Mandatory minimum sentencing means harsh punishment (the highly unusual case of Ed Rosenthal notwithstanding) even for those whose mission was helping the sick and suffering.

Proprietors of Hayward medical pot club face federal drug charges
by Henry K. Lee,
San Francisco Chronicle
The owner and manager of a Hayward medical marijuana dispensary were charged in federal court today with using the business as a front to sell pot for profit.
CANADA: Patients Criticize Medical Marijuana Program

In addition to the quality concerns expressed by many patients who receive Health Canada’s medical marijuana, there is also the issue of paying for it. The only prescription drug for which Canadians are required to pay is medical marijuana, causing many to question why and some indigent patients to refuse to pay.

Unpaid pot bills chronic problem
by Brennan Clarke,
Saanich News (Canada)
Any other terminally ill patient in Canada would have all his prescriptions covered by the Canadian health care system. Jason Wilcox owes so much money for his medication, Health Canada has cut off his supply and threatened to send a collection agency after him.
CALIFORNIA: Dispensary Case Goes to State Court

While local prosecutors claim they are waiting on an opinion from the state Attorney general on the legality of dispensary operations in California, lawmakers and the courts have already spoken: they’re legal. The 2003 Medical Marijuana Program Act expressly makes allowances for dispensing collectives in which the cannabis is paid for, and an appellate court affirmed in a published opinion (People v Urziceanu) that the Act covers dispensing operations.

Canna case set for July 24
by K. Kaufmann,
The Desert Sun
The outcome of a criminal case against CannaHelp owner Stacy Hochanadel could hinge on a much-anticipated opinion from the California attorney general on the legality of medical marijuana dispensaries.
DOCTORS: Specialists Battle Prejudice on Behalf of Patients

The New York Times was among the papers remembering cannabis pioneer Dr. Tod Mikuriya this week. His obituaries make clear the battle he fought to have not only cannabis taken seriously as a medicine again but his own medical recommendations. Because so few outside of oncology and HIV/AIDS practices understand the therapeutic potential of cannabis, doctors who have made a study of cannabis frequently develop specialty practices that result in the writing of many recommendations, as in the case of Dr. Banister.

Tod H. Mikuriya, 73, Dies; Backed Medical Marijuana
by Margalit Fox,
New York Times
Dr. Tod H. Mikuriya, a California psychiatrist who was widely regarded as the grandfather of the medical marijuana movement in the United States, died on May 20 at his home in Berkeley. He was 73.

The pot doc is in
by Robyn Moormeister,
The Union
Grass Valley physician Dr. Stephen Banister is in the business of making people feel good - or at least a little more comfortable - with his approval of marijuana to treat their pain.

MORE ABOUT AMERICANS FOR SAFE ACCESS

Find out more about ASA at ASA : Advancing Legal Medical Marijuana Therapeutics and Research . More medical marijuana news summaries can be seen at ASA : Medical Marijuana News Summaries.
 
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