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ASA's Media Summary for the Week of 6/22/07

Jim Finnel

Fallen Cannabis Warrior & Ex News Moderator
MEDICAL MARIJUANA IN THE NEWS
ASA's Media Summary for the Week of 6/22/07
RHODE ISLAND: Medical Marijuana Law Made Permanent
NEW YORK: Limited Medical Marijuana Bill Debated
MICHIGAN: Initiative Proponents Gather Signatures
CONNECTICUT: Governor Defies Public Support, Vetoes
FEDERAL: More Prison Time Possible for Patient
CALIFORNIA: Implementation Still a Struggle
DISPENSARIES: Regulation at Issue in California
CANADA: Health Officials Try to Sway Doctors
RHODE ISLAND: Medical Marijuana Law Made Permanent

State lawmakers overrode the Rhode Island governor’s veto this week by an overwhelming margin, making permanent the state law protecting patients there. The current law was set to expire at the end of the month due to a “sunset provision,” but the success of the program convinced nearly everyone but the governor that it should be extended.

R.I. adopts permanent medical marijuana program
Associated Press
Rhode Island lawmakers voted Thursday to permanently extend a program allowing the chronically ill to possess and smoke marijuana for pain relief.

Senate overrides medical marijuana veto
Associated Press
The state Senate overrides Governor Carcieri's veto of a medical marijuana program. A spokesman for Senate President Joseph Montalbano says the vote was 29 to four. House lawmakers are planning a similar vote later this week.
NEW YORK: Limited Medical Marijuana Bill Debated

The medical marijuana measure currently being considered by New York lawmakers would remove state criminal penalties for a few of their most seriously ill constituents. But the limitations on those covered mean that many patients using marijuana on their doctors’ advice would still be considered criminals. The public supports letting doctors decide what is appropriate treatment for their patients, but some politicians continue to think they know better than doctors, voters or patients.

Medical Marijuana: New York is Waiting to Inhale
by Tom Precious,
Buffalo News (NY)
Joel Peacock, a registered member of the Conservative Party, has little use for liberal politicians. Yet he is adding his voice to those of physicians, nurses, home care and hospice workers, and patient advocates who are pushing for New York to become the 13th state in the nation to permit the medical use of marijuana.

Pot war in Brooklyn!
by Matthew Lysiak,
The Brooklyn Paper
Two Brooklyn lawmakers — one a former Soviet engineer, the other a former police officer — are hashing it out over a bill to make marijuana legal for medicinal use.

MICHIGAN: Initiative Proponents Gather Signatures

Voters in Michigan have been doing all they can to be heard at the state Capitol. So far five cities – Ann Arbor, Detroit, Flint, Ferndale, and Traverse City – have passed local initiatives supporting medical marijuana. Now advocates are trying to place a statewide measure on the ballot. If passed, it would go to the legislature for consideration. Since local initiatives have all passed by margins between 60 and 74%, approval of the statewide measure looks likely.

Activists petition for medical marijuana in Michigan
by Eric Czarnik ,
Lansing City Pulse (MI)
Rochelle Lampkin of Detroit doesn’t drink alcohol, smoke tobacco or use drugs for recreation. But about once a month, she takes in a substance that she says benefits her quality of life — even though it’s against the law. She uses marijuana for medicinal purposes.
CONNECTICUT: Governor Defies Public Support, Vetoes

With 83% of voters supporting the medical marijuana bill passed by the state legislature, the decision of the governor to veto it seems odd. She cites concern over the implementation of the program – how patients would obtain their medicine – and says she doesn’t want people relying on illegal sources. A comprehensive program that makes cannabis legally available is preferable – something like the dispensary system that is being created in California -- but all the veto does is make sure sick and suffering patients remain criminals in the eyes of the state.

Rell Vetoes Bill To Legalize Medical Marijuana
by Mark Pazniokas,
Hartford Courant (CT)
Gov. M. Jodi Rell vetoed legislation today that would have legalized the medical use of marijuana, saying that the bill was a well-intended, but flawed attempt to alleviate suffering.

Rell Delivers Veto On Bill To Allow For Medical Marijuana
by Ted Mann,
The Day (CT)
Cancer survivor Gov. M. Jodi Rell has said she is sympathetic to those who want to give those suffering from the disease and the side effects of its invasive treatments the right to smoke marijuana to ease their pain, nausea and weakness. But Rell blocked that effort Tuesday when she vetoed a bill allowing the “palliative use” of marijuana, saying her compassion for victims of cancer and other chronic and terminal conditions did not trump her reservations over a bill that would have put those patients in violation of federal drug laws.
FEDERAL: More Prison Time Possible for Patient

A medical marijuana patient in California may be forced to return to federal prison. One of the first state-legal patients to face federal prosecution, Bryan Epis was sentenced to 10 years in jail for growing marijuana in his basement for himself and a few other patients. He was released pending the resolution of other legal challenges to federal law, but now faces return.

Caught in the middle
by Robert Speer,
Chico News and Review (CA)
After a decade of legal wrangling and more than two years in prison, med-pot pioneer Bryan Epis faces a return to prison
CALIFORNIA: Implementation Still a Struggle

A decade of legality has not resolved basic questions about how patients should obtain the cannabis their doctors recommend, nor how law enforcement should treat them and those who help them. Federal officials continue to interfere around the state, and there are wide disparities in how local law enforcement responds.

Government Shows No Compassion for Medical Pot Consumption
by Patrick McCartney and Martin A. Lee, AlterNet
More than ten years after California's Compassionate Use Act was passed by voters, state and local officials are still collaborating with federal law enforcement to undermine it.

Medical marijuana violation arrests soar in Siskiyou
by Paul Boerger,
Mt. Shasta News (CA)
Siskiyou County Public Defender Lael Kayfetz has been with the department for nearly two years and she says in the last year arrests and citations for violation of medical marijuana recommendation holders has “quadrupled.”
DISPENSARIES: Regulation at Issue in California

While court cases and legislative action have made clear that patients in California may legally operate as collectives to distribute medical marijuana, local officials continue to wrestle with what that means for their constituents and communities. The editorial from Ontario makes clear that experience with just one patient can go a long way toward convincing people of the important role dispensaries can play in the lives of the seriously ill. ASA’s report on dispensary regulations around the state show they are working. See it at ASA*:*Medical Cannabis Dispensing Collectives and Local Regulation .

For ill, medical marijuana ought to be obtainable
EDITORIAL,
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, CA)
We find Claremont City Council's attitude refreshing amid all the moratoriums and bans on medical marijuana dispensaries being passed. If Claremont's leaders have the guts and the smarts to adopt an ordinance that allows patients with true medical need to obtain legal marijuana - as the state's voters intended - while minimizing the possibility of abuse, more power to them.

Pot club permits stuck in limbo
by Adam Martin,
San Francisco Examiner
As the deadline nears for San Francisco medicinal marijuana dispensaries to come into compliance with strict new city codes, no club in The City has received an official permit.

Planners oppose marijuana dispensaries
Inland Valley Daily Bulletin (Ontario, CA)
The city Planning Commission voted unanimously on Tuesday to recommend that the city ban medical-marijuana dispensaries as a land use.
CANADA: Health Officials Try to Sway Doctors

Thanks to a supreme court ruling in Canada, patients there have been able to get better access through their government than Americans can. But Canadian officials continue to resist both the ruling of the court and the consensus of medical science. With other medications, health officials are content to defer questions of dosage to the opinion of doctors, who are after trained to make such decisions.

Health Canada moves to keep daily medical marijuana consumption low
by Dean Beeby,
Canadian Press
Health Canada has been contacting doctors who prescribe medical marijuana for their government-approved patients, advising them to keep the dosages low. Some users say that not only violates doctor-patient confidentiality, it's also wrong for bureaucrats to make judgments about the medical needs of people they've never seen.

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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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