Archives for the ‘Marijuana’ Category

Watch: Nancy Grace unleashes more reefer madness on Dr. Drew

“You take isolated instances of aberrant behavior and try to make them standardized for all marijuana users, and once and for all, Nancy, have you no conscience? When will this stop? When will you own up to the fact that millions and millions of Americans can light up a joint — and have been since the age of Woodstock — without impairing their families, driving recklessly or endangering people.” – Norm Kent

Despite being consistently wrong in the argument against marijuana legalization, talk show host Nancy Grace just can’t get enough.

Her latest quarry came in the form of celebrity doctor Drew Pinsky and NORML chair Norm Kent, who defended marijuana use after Grace blamed the plant for the shooting death of a Colorado woman last April.

“You take isolated instances of aberrant behavior and try to make them standardized for all marijuana users,” Kent told Grace. “And once and for all, Nancy, have you no conscience? When will this stop? When will you own up to the fact that millions and millions of Americans can light up a joint — and have been since the age of Woodstock — without impairing their families, driving recklessly or endangering people.”

The haughty Grace pompously dismissed Kent’s comment by replying, “Obviously you’re stoned.”

Read the full article at SF Gate »

SF Gate

Medical marijuana loses to entrepreneurial greed

Florida - Yes on 2

Well, this is Florida. The rules are different here.

Where else can you win a race with 58% of the vote and lose the election?

Only here, of course.

Here’s the thing. We have a process in Florida that allows citizens to amend the constitution of our state by popular referendum. It requires, however, that you must get 60% of the vote in order to change the law. A simple majority is not enough.

Consequently, even though the majority of Floridians voted last night to allow patients access to marijuana medicinally, by a vote of 58% to 42%, the numbers were not overwhelming enough to change our laws. Nevertheless, it was the third highest medical use vote ever recorded in America, surpassed only by Massachusetts with 64% and Washington, D.C. with 68%.

To continue reading this column, please go to: Sun Sentinel.

Pot Smokers Finally See the Rainbow

Medical Marijuana

When 64 % of the voters in Miami Beach in a straw ballot said they would support medical marijuana last month, it was no surprise.

Pot smokers may not wear rainbow flags, but they have finally come out of the closet. Their colors are a bright green.

For forty years, since early in the 1970’s, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has been fighting to change repressive and regressive laws against the responsible use of cannabis by consenting adults. Many new organizations are joining the fray. Welcome to the party. It’s not just time to light up though. We have a ways to go. In 30 states, pot is still illegal.

The truth is that the ‘war on drugs’ was never a war on drugs. It was a war on good and decent people, whose only crime was smoking a joint at the end of the day. It was a war on your friends, many of whom you know went to jail, lost their property, and were disgraced in the community. What bullshit that was, huh?

Most Americans have always known that the horror stories about pot consumption were delusional hallucinations thrown upon us by cowardly politicians who were afraid to be seen as ‘soft on dope.’ Today, though, cannabis consumers realize they can trust their own experiences more than the government’s forked tongues.

The government that is still raiding medical dispensaries is holding onto the vestiges of a policy as sure to unravel as prohibition against alcohol once did. Cannabis consumers are no longer want to be illegal bootleggers or rumrunners. We are first class entrepreneurs, building small family-owned businesses, starting collectives, marketing vaporizers, lecturing about medical uses, and making America realize how right we have always been about pot.

In 20 states where citizens have been asked if they want pot to be decriminalized, they have resoundingly said ‘yes.’ Current Gallop polls in fact have showed that a majority of nearly 60% of Americans wants pot legalized.

A stunning Florida poll released just a week ago, conducted by a Canadian firm, suggests that 82% of Floridians support medical marijuana. It may even be on the ballot next year, but not surprisingly, the conservative and Republican Attorney General and governor are opposing the initiative. They are stuck in the past that has passed them by.

Every state that gets to vote on decriminalization will overwhelmingly support it, in both red and blue counties. Pot has only one color- green- and only one party- everyone is now in it, from teenagers to baby boomers.

The world is catching up with what we always knew. Now if our political leaders spent less time buying cocaine on the side they could focus on making pot legal. It isn’t because we are all stoners, though many of us are. It is because we as Americans are fed up and disgusted with the lies and laws our legislators have passed and prosecuted.

Over four decades, we have empowered our government to enact draconian measures that have compromised our civil liberties and sacrificed common sense. We are fighting back, against spying, surveillance and stupidity. We are fighting forward, for responsible adult consumption, medical use, and research progress. We are fighting a common sense battle to eliminate an illegal underground and energize a national tax base.

For too long, while we were too complacent, our leaders have ratified statutes allowing for our sons and daughters to be jailed, our cars to be seized, and our scholarships to be forfeited. In certain places, moms and dads can still lose custody of their kids because they are caught smoking pot. It is an outrage and injustice Americans can no longer endure or countenance.

Last week in a Fort Lauderdale courtroom, I had to fight for custody for a single parent father who let his 17-year-old son smoke cannabis. He has two other kids, one already an emergency room doctor and the other at Harvard. We need an agency to protect us from Children and Family Services like that.

People just can’t take the absurdity anymore. Like Howard Beal in Network, we are shouting from the windows. Today, from Miami Beach to Maine, from Seattle to South Florida, we are saying ‘Free the Leaf.’  It’s not just to get high. There are valid medical and curative reasons to support normalizing marijuana.

Thousands of Americans who were living with HIV learned years ago that medical cannabis inhibited a ‘wasting away’ syndrome and enhanced their appetite. Others, like Elvy Mussika, a grandmother from Hollywood, Florida, found out smoking marijuana can alleviate her blinding glaucoma. She now actually gets pot monthly from the DEA, cultivated at a government-controlled grow house in Mississippi.

Scientists in Israel have discovered cannabis can control muscular spasticity and arthritic conditions amongst the elderly. One housewife in Manatee County, Cathy Jordan, has grown and used cannabis for a quarter of a century to combat Lou Gehrig’s disease. Acknowledging her use is a ‘life-saving condition,’ an enlightened prosecutor has declined to prosecute her. But now the sheriffs’ association is saying no, that pot is “dangerous.” No, what is dangerous is electing sheriffs who are stuck in the past enforcing Jim Crow laws that discriminate against minorities.

Those of us who smoked joints watching Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix in the 1960’s are now in our 60’s. We have seen pharmaceutical companies overdose us with a sea of prescription pills that have led to unanticipated consequences and multi-million dollar class action lawsuits.

None of us has ever died from weed, but we have all been victims of the war against it. If you want a cause to fight for, to get high on, this is it. It is a battle for freedom of individual choice. It is yours at stake.

Medical Marijuana Goes Mainstream

A whopping 63% of Fox News viewers have endorsed the Obama Administration’s decision to stop targeting medical dispensaries in California. The disclosure was made by Geraldo Rivera last week on his popular show, ‘Geraldo at Large.’ For once, Fox is catching up with the rest of the nation.

Geraldo presented more than just a fair and balanced report. The news item clearly distinguished the marked differences between the casual user of marijuana for recreational or personal medical use and traffickers operating illegal Mexican drug cartels, which everyone acknowledged should be targeted for enhanced enforcement. Rivera even applauded Attorney General Eric Holder for his new and rededicated efforts to stop that illegality, inserting into his news report the AG’s announcement of a raid last week, which netted 300 suspects nationwide.

Ann Coulter, of course, came on to criticize Obama, but she is a howler monkey who stands on the end of the branch and shrieks at anything Barack and Friends do or do not do. Even she had a hard time coming down too hard on smokers, preferring to just attack President Obama. Surprise. When Geraldo then turned to conservative Mike Huckabee for a countervailing viewpoint, he tempered his criticism of the new policy by recognizing that every governor has to set its priorities. The best objection he came up with was that if the Obama administration wanted to “change the law, go ahead and change it, but don’t keep a law you are not going to enforce.” That is a far cry from stating this was bad policy, a poor change, and counter -productive to our nation.

What viewers eventually saw on the piece Geraldo did was a presentation that medical marijuana is a wave sweeping over our land, and the 15 states which already provide for it are a precursor to a national future. You could almost sense that was the direction Geraldo was headed when he opened with a segue featuring Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin at a recent ‘Smoke Out’ rally in LA.

Afterwards, Rivera followed with a short piece about a white-collared businessman, explaining to the audience that he ran a lawful, state-compliant dispensary which was busted by the feds. That gentleman, Phil Smith, then explained how he had just spent ten months in jail with hardened criminals and murderers. That too is a far cry from the day and time when marijuana growers were presented to American audiences as hardened criminals. Geraldo even scoffed at the way we once thought of marijuana, with a scene from ‘Reefer Madness’ dropped onto the set in the background.

As he waded through the piece on medical and legal pot, Geraldo even postured this was an issue that crossed ideological lines; that Americans across the board do not want pot law enforced harshly against our citizens. Coming from the barrios of New York City, having grown up in the 1960’s, and spending decades with celebrities in the media, Geraldo uniquely understands how pervasive and personal marijuana is in the American psyche. In fact, as he recovers from knee replacement surgery, I would not be surprised if instead of using Percocet daily he tried out some Purple Haze. (I don’t know, I’m just saying…)

The bottom line is Geraldo is one of America’s grittiest and most seasoned journalists, who has covered stories from mistreatment in mental institutions to mass murders. He knows where ‘pot’ fits into the scheme of things- enough so that he could joke and poke at this story, recognizing as he does our nation has greater issues, more pressing problems.

When NORML (www.norml.com) recently held its annual convention in San Francisco, former Mayor Willie Brown opined that “we should legalize pot because as many people are using it recreationally as are using it medically.” Prop 215 author, activist Denis Peron, once stated: “all use is medical.” Last year, NORML’s founder, Keith Stroup, and Rick Cusick, the Publisher of High Times, along with 50 students from local colleges, were foolishly arrested for smoking joints at a ‘MassCann(abis)’ convention in the Boston Commons. The next thing you know Mr. Stroup was testifying before Massachusetts legislative committees to change the laws in the Bay State. Those statutes have now been amended to provide for the medicinal use of marijuana.

One of my clients, Elvy Mussika, is amongst the last of those getting marijuana from the United States government on a now abandoned program entitled the ‘Compassionate Use Protocol.’ Under the plan, the DEA grows experimental marijuana at the University of Mississippi and freeze-dries it for distribution in a prescription can to Ms. Mussika, a grandmother fighting the intraocular pressures associated with Glaucoma, which constantly cause pain in her eyes. ‘Smoke 3x daily, or as needed for pain’ the jar reads. There are thousands and thousands of other Americans similarly situated, who only want to use pot to relieve pain. For them, marijuana is medicine.

Then there are the Michael Phelps of the world, using bongs and water pipes and rolling papers to get high and give themselves a buzz, for fun’s sake. They too should not be criminalized or denied scholarships to school, should they? Some may not win gold medals in swimming pools, but they should not be posting bail in county jails, either. They may not find themselves as guests of the Jay Leno show, but they should not find themselves as guests of the local sheriff either, should they? It is becoming so normal to smoke, talk, and write about pot that NORML now represents the silent majority of Americans who just want to be left alone with their pot. It would seem that even Fox News agrees.

Google medical marijuana and you will find a cross section of articles in every mainstream newspaper and magazine. As a matter of fact, medical marijuana is becoming so ‘ordinary’ a story that it has found its way to cover stories in the past few months in magazines from Forbes to Harper’s Monthly, not to mention the New York Times. Last month, The Today Show, with Matt Lauer as the interviewer, ran a positive news feature featuring ‘Women and Pot in the Workplace.’ Think about it, one of America’s most popular shows presenting marijuana as medicine in a fair and unfrenzied light. Congressman Barney Frank has even postured that medical marijuana may soon become the law of the land.

In Colorado, a state which has opted for the opening of dispensaries, the Denver Westword, a popular newsweekly, has published a classified ad seeking to hire a random ‘marijuana critic,’ in order to ‘taste-test’ the product which its new dispensaries will be distributing. Lots of daily journalists are out of work. I am guessing there will be no shortage of applications for that job.

What is the outcome of all this to be?

Do not be surprised when a consumer affairs television reporter one day, in a neighborhood near you unveils a feature on the best marijuana dispensaries in your hometown. Medical marijuana is coming to Main Street. We are not just Zig-Zag anymore.

Pushing 60 with Pot

I am close to being a senior citizen. Though I will always think of myself as a student at Hofstra who was the 19 year old President of the Sophomore class, I am turning 58 this year. Damn, 60 is around the corner!

You know what that means? When I open a newspaper in the town I have lived in for the last thirty years, I know the people in the obituaries. I am older than some of them. When the city councilmen go to jail for the bribes they always seem to take in every city everywhere, I realize they are kids I grew up with. That means I smoked dope with them, got laid with them, partied with them, and got drunk with them.

If you are from the 1960′s, let’s be honest. Pot was the least of the things we did. There were mushrooms and Quaaludes, acid trips with LSD, body painting, psychedelic and psychotropic drugs up the yin yang tree. So a little weed was just a nominal high. By the time we were 20, we were reading about classmates who overdosed on Heroin.

Some of us really got into marijuana, though. It was a chance to individually transport ourselves to a higher consciousness, to strip away stress and let our bodies reach sensory highs.. It was a chance to feel and touch on a cosmic level, to tune in and turn on.

It worked then for us and it still works now for a younger generation, despite the institutional trash generated from the United States Office of Drug Control Policy. “This is not your father’s pot,” they warn. They are right. As users and caregivers everywhere know, it is better, cleaner, more refined, and probably a lot safer than ever.

If Americans are growing their own pure hydroponic pot in their homes, they do not have to worry about deceitful dealers throwing oregano, rat poison, and dirty weeds into the mix. They do not have to fear that their plants came over moldy and mildewy, after a boat trip from Colombia, where it was sprayed and stored and secreted in ways that reduced the product to rubbish.

Anyway, while we kids were dancing in the mud at Woodstock, our parents were living in the suburban valley of the dolls, downing valium by the bucket. They were pouring martinis, and finding pills by the pound to cure their own ills. Doctors called them tranquilizers and they dosed our parents in the millions.

Forty years later, whether its booze or coke, reckless citizens still generate self-inflicted destructiveness, and it has nothing at all to do with pot. In a free society, you have no conduct to condemn or congratulate but your own. The world is yours to create or ruin.

I never really used drugs until I busted up my knee playing baseball. Then the doctors shot my knee up with lidocaine, benzocaine, and any liquid that would relieve the pain. I can’t list all the arthritis and pain pills I have been given. From Celebrex to Vioxx to Bextra, the manufacturers are all now getting sued for poisoning Americans while distributing substances they knew were toxic.

I found out a lot more about pills when I contracted cancer. My life became a 24 hour cycle of constant protocols of treatment. You are dosed with oxycodone, oxycontin, percocet, darvocet, percodan, cortisone, prednisone, hydrocodone, and all or any combination or concoction of medicines doctors can prescribe to keep those good blood cells alive while beating down the bad ones. You take them because they tell you to.

Recently, we all have been anointed with human growth any purportedly natural or herbal pill with a fancy name you cannot pronounce, but all I ever wanted was a joint.

As a gay man, I have been friends with lots of men who have come down with HIV and AIDS. Many have died, but many more are living. Until the new protocols were available, they were taking as many as 30 pills a day. I can’t list them all, but the processes to match the medicine with the man would leave good people very sick and often emaciated beyond your belief. Meanwhile, joints were illegal.

So here I am now, having lived a pretty full life in a pretty pill-filled America. Over the years, we have seen lots of food scares. Just in the past few years, some E coli thing in the lettuce killed thousands, and a Mad Cow took down hundreds. Last year, we even lost Popeye from a bad can of Spinach. But I don’t ever remember reading about anyone dying from a bong hit, unless a jealous lover smashed the glass over some toker’s skull. I did cut my hand once when I dropped a ceramic bong and it shattered in my fingers.

When I was a kid, I remember there was a scare about cranberries, and then Bon Vivant Vichyssoises Soup, and then something crazy called Legionnaires’ disease. Occasionally, our city officials tell us not to drink the water because it is contaminated and we have to boil it. You know what occurred to me the other day, though? I have never had to boil pot. The only time pot ever became dangerous in America was when our government tried to spray paraquat on it.

I am proud of my efforts back then, as a young lawyer, in 1982, to stop the government dead in its tracks, asking for an injunction to end the toxic spraying. It was the first time I ever made the New York Times, and I was 32 then. Now it is 25 years later and instead of spraying pot in Florida, my government is raiding dispensaries in California. What lunacy.

Years later, I had a client smoking pot to reduce the intraocular pressure in her eyes from glaucoma. Pot saved her eyesight. Same thing with some HIV patients in Key West, who consumed cannabis to retaliate against the wasting syndrome the disease caused. Pot and the patients won. Smoke and you get better, or at least less sick.

You know, we are all day to day, and minute to minute. I may live another hour or another two decades, but in one truth I think I can trust. Pushing the age of 60, I do not need someone else to tell me what I can put in my body. I do not need laws telling me what I can eat, drink or smoke. If I don’t know by now that smoking cigarettes can give me cancer or becoming an alcoholic will destroy my liver, then ‘my bad.’

The bottom line is that if they can pass a law saying a condo can be for residents only 55 an older, maybe we can push for a law saying no drug laws can be applied against those 55 and older either. Maybe we can say we have put in our dues, earned our rights, and in the latter stages of our lives, we have an unfettered freedom and right to be free; to determine our own destinies.

Let’s see if I can’t conclude with a little story from the Mass Cann NORML conference last September in the Boston Commons. The founder and director of NORML, Keith Stroup, and the Associate Publisher of High Times Magazine, Rick Cusick, were both busted for smoking a joint at a pot rights rally in the park. They both have to go to court. Maybe more of us should.

Now you tell me what this court is going to say to two professionals who have spent their lives devoted to the advocacy and abolition of marijuana laws?

You tell me what the courts should say to two sixty plus year old men who made a conscious and deliberate choice to consume some weed on a weekend. Like they have nothing else to worry about in Boston but to bust 50 people every year in the Commons when they have a toke?

Have you seen the crime stats in Boston lately, for robbery, rape, ransacking, and plunder- and that is just in City Hall in their parking lot?

For thirty years, since those early days as a student activist, I have been fighting for change. But I guess I have not done all that well, not if our government is raiding dispensaries, arresting growers, taking scholarships away from students, seizing property from landlords and, astonishingly, arresting 800,000 citizens a year on simple pot possession charges. I guess I am not doing well if the government is still revoking your drivers’ licenses, forfeiting your cars, and locking you up for loose joints.

I think we all need to do a little bit better. You can help us help you by joining NORML today. We are still fighting the good fight. We need some freedom fighters to join us.

Yeah, NORML is still around. Yeah, I know some of you have not heard about us since your college days. Yeah, we are the old men on the block. But we are infused with new blood, still very dedicated to an honorable cause, and still in need of your help.

We were here for you yesterday, and unless we change the laws we will be around for your kids tomorrow. But you can help change that by joining us at www.norml.com today.

Pot smokers out of hiding as marijuana becomes accepted

Medical Marijuana

When 64 percent of voters in Miami Beach in a straw ballot said they would support medical marijuana in Miami Beach last week, it was no surprise.

Pot smokers may not wear rainbow flags, but they have finally come out of the closet.

For forty years, since early in the 1970′s, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has been fighting to change repressive and regressive laws against the responsible use of cannabis by consenting adults.

The truth is the ‘war on drugs’ was never a war on drugs. It was a war on good and decent people, whose only crime was smoking a joint at the end of the day.

Most Americans have always known the horror stories about pot consumption were delusional hallucinations by cowardly politicians afraid to be seen as ‘soft on dope.’

NORML is winning the battle today because a raised consciousness amongst Americans realizes they can trust themselves more than their government.

This new awakening is why in 21 states where citizens have been asked if they want pot to be decriminalized, they have resoundingly said ‘yes.’ It is why current Gallup polls have showed nearly 60 percent of Americans wants pot legalized.

It isn’t because we are all stoners, though many of us are. It is because we as Americans are fed up with the lies and laws our legislators have passed and prosecuted. Over four decades, we have empowered our government to create draconian drug laws that compromised our civil liberties and sacrificed common sense.

They have enacted statutes allowing our sons and daughters to be jailed, our cars to be seized, and our scholarships to be forfeited. In certain places, moms and dads can still lose custody of their kids because they are caught smoking pot. It is an outrage and injustice Americans can no longer endure or countenance.

The only reason Miami Beach even agreed to a straw ballot is we showed them 8,000 petitions we had signed by residents supporting a special vote to make pot arrests the lowest priority of law enforcement. The public is always one step ahead of the politician.

Today, though, from Miami Beach to Maine, from Seattle to South Florida, we are saying ‘Free the Leaf.’ It’s not just to get high. There are valid medical and curative reasons to support normalizing marijuana.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans who were living with HIV learned years ago medical cannabis enhanced their appetite and inhibited a ‘wasting away’ syndrome. Others, like Elvy Mussika, a grandmother from Hollywood, Florida, who gets monthly prescriptions of cannabis from the DEA, found out pot can retard glaucoma and cataracts.

Scientists in Israel have discovered cannabis can control muscular spasticity and arthritic conditions amongst the elderly. One housewife in Manatee County, Cathy Jordan, has used cannabis for a quarter of a century to combat Lou Gehrig’s Disease. She grows her own in her backyard, and an enlightened prosecutor has declined to prosecute her, acknowledging her use is a ‘life-saving condition.’

Baby boomers from the 1960′s are now in their 60′s. For those of us who smoked joints watching Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, we have seen an America supplicate itself to pharmaceutical companies who gave us a sea of prescription pills which have led to multi million dollar class action lawsuits and premature deaths from unanticipated consequences. None of us have ever died from weed. But we have all been victims of the war against it.

Still, it does no good to enter an era of recrimination. As we approach an age of decriminalization and even legalization, let me just say ‘welcome.’ If you support reform now, and you have not before, thanks for joining a good cause.

In Florida, an effort has been launched to place medical marijuana on next year’s ballot as a constitutional amendment. If the signature requirements are met, you will get to vote on it. Like every other state where people vote on cannabis, it will pass, with cross-sectional support in both red and blue counties. Pot has only one party.

Support those communities that want to legalize and medicalize cannabis, and you will be on the right side of history, part of a community wrongfully denied a voice and now, finally, after all these years, rightfully being recognized.