As reported by the Salt Lake City Tribune, Roman Juarez-Sanchez of Compton, California, is facing life in prison for over 4,200 cannabis plants found on U.S. Forest land in Iron County, Utah. His sentencing is set for April 1st.
Two other individuals have pleaded guilty to manufacturing/cultivating a controlled substance, and Juarez-Sanchez faces a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.
The DEA, who are clearly proud of themselves that a man faces life in prison for growing a non-lethal part of nature, called the bust a “victory”.
By Steve Elliott, Seattle Weekly columnist, and author of the Little Black Book of Marijuana
“You cannot oppress the people who are not afraid anymore.” ~ César Chavez
If we, as cannabis activists, finish the job we’ve started, we could be the last generation that has to live under the onerous sway of old-style “Reefer Madness.”
Make no mistake about it; we have our work cut out for us. Lots of people, even in the 21st Century, harbor some enormous moral judgments about marijuana and even those who legally use it as medicine. We are given to understand by these anti-pot reactionaries that we should somehow feel guilty about the relief and enjoyment we get from using this beneficent herb.
As a legal medical marijuana patient and activist myself, I’m offended by the moralistic, judgmental, and willfully ignorant tone of the anti-marijuana propaganda to which we’re subjected on a regular basis. Cannabis users have become one of the few groups upon which it is still considered “OK” to project damaging clichés and stereotypes which have little to do with reality and a lot to do with outmoded anti-marijuana hysteria.
While most of us wouldn’t think twice about calling someone out for making an overtly racist or sexist statement, few of us are as willing to confront anti-cannabis prejudice when we encounter it. Just remember: Failing to confront and correct ignorance isn’t very different from supporting it.
The legislation, sponsored by a handful of bipartisan legislators, would legalize the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis, as well as a limited number of home-grown plants – as long as you’re 21 or older.
In addition, HB 492 would allow for licensed facilities to manufacture cannabis, which would be sold through licensed and regulated retail stores. You can read the entirety of the text here.
In an 8-4 vote, the Los Angeles City Council has put a measure further regulating medical marijuana dispensaries to a vote of the people – the vote will take place May 21st, 2013.
The measure, which is an accumulation of much-discussion amongst the council, comes after a back-and-forth from the council that’s left people confused, and unsure of how to move forward.
If passed, the bill would drop the number of dispensaries, which is currently around 1,000, to roughly 130. In addition, it would ban locations from operating within 1,000 feet of a school, or 600 feet from certain public places like libraries (huh?). In addition, it slightly increases the cost to obtain a medical cannabis business license.
The news comes with two other initiatives already headed for the ballot, and as activists are attempting to get a statewide initiative on the 2014 ballot to expand upon California’s current medical cannabis policy.
By Jared Allaway, Washington State cannabis activist
Waking up and thinking, “why do I have a catheter?”
Man this is irritating. Aren’t humans silly? Here I am waking up after a night of flat lining and being brought back to life and I’m complaining about discomfort. I should be thankful that I can still experience discomfort. I was just dead a couple hours ago.
That was the morning I woke up at the Hospital in Kennewick Washington. I actually started racking my brain for ways to just slink back in to the shadows, like I could just brush it under the rug and act like it didn’t happen. Get to school and take that test for which I have been studying. No one will ever know.
But everyone did know. There was no way out. I was stuck there in the hospital bed on my back, dried charcoal on the corner of my mouth because I had recently overdosed on alcohol and aspirated my own vomit.
In a recently released report, Canada’s Liberal Party has put forth their reasoning for why the country should legalize cannabis, while also laying out important pointers in assuring that the system works:
The legal status quo for the criminal regulation of marijuana continues to endanger Canadians by generating significant resources for gang-related violent criminal activity and weapons smuggling – a reality which could be very easily confronted by the regulation and legitimization of Canada’s marijuana industry.
Hammering the nail on the head, the report lays out two vital things to consider when it comes to legally regulated cannabis; the quality must be top-notch, and the price must be cheap. Otherwise the black-market, which has grown increasingly dangerous and leads to the direct enrichment of criminal organizations, will win.
During the current legislative session Washington State legislators will be considering House Bill 1084, being referred to as the Ric Smith Memorial Act. The name is in honor of the recently deceased activist, who many saw as a hero within the cannabis reform movement.
The core function of this legislation is bringing defined arrest protection for medical cannabis patients in the state.
With the passage of Initiative 502 in November, some may see this as unnecessary, but in reality it’s big, long-overdo step forward for patient protection. Under I-502, portions of which took effect on December 6th, 2012, patients (as well as anyone 21 or older) now have arrest protection for possession of up to an ounce of cannabis. The quandary lies in the fact that under Washington State law, an individual can possess up to 16 ounces, as well as grow up to 15 plants, with a valid authorization.
In a move more typically aligned with a state like Georgia, legislators in Washington State will be considering House Bill 1190, which would require recipients of TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) to pass drug testing in certain cases to continue receiving their benefits. The bill, unsurprisingly, is sponsored entirely by Republicans (Reps. Angel, Haler, Walsh, Fagan, Orcut, and Hargrove).
Disguised as a way to stop drug addicts from spending taxpayer money, it’s far more a ploy to grow this particular branch of prohibition, and, just like the drug war itself, disproportionately effect the poor.
Dr. Lester Grinspoon has been one of the most vocal and respected voices within the cannabis reform movement for years. A retired Harvard Psychiatry Professor and author, Dr. Grinspoon tends to turn heads when speaking about how adamantly he opposes our failed prohibition on cannabis. We had the honor of speaking with him recently to ask him a few questions.
What would you say is the number one reason for our country to end cannabis prohibition?
Freedom. We have a right to be able to put in our bodies what we want.
What caused you to start actively participating in ending cannabis prohibition?
It goes like this: In the early 1960’s, Carl Sagan and I were very close friends. We were for three decades. When I met him in the 60’s he was smoking marijuana and I, a young physician who of course knew “everything”, I told him that it was a dangerous, harmful thing to be doing.
Cannabis law reform has gained a tremendous amount of momentum in the past several years, specifically in 2012, when historical statement votes were made in both Colorado and Washington. The political atmosphere has shifted in drastic fashion, and we’re winning.
As the battle wages on, here’s a state-by-state look at efforts across the country to fight against this failed prohibition.