TX NORML open meeting notes, December 1, 2010
During last month’s meeting we covered these stories:
– Election results from around the country was the big news last month, which unfortunately was mostly bad news
– CATO Institute study says regulating cannabis sales would yield more than $17 Billion annually in revenue and savings
– RAND Study reported that marijuana legalization would effectively eliminate the Mexican drug cartels’ involvement in pot trade
Now for the news from the past month:
Arizona’s Prop 203 Wins by 4,341 votes!
Allows up to 2.5ozs possession, or up to 12 plants if patient or caregiver grows.
Must be indoor grow, “enclosed, locked facility.”
Caregiver can have up to 5 patients.
Both patients and caregivers are highly regulated and documented with law enforcement.
Non-profit dispensaries are allowed.
Patients and caregivers can give cannabis to dispensaries for no compensation.
Patients within 25 miles of dispensary cannot grow.
No possession in certain places; school, jail, etc.
Nursing home use is ok, but can be limited to non-smoking methods of intake. Prohibits medication based discrimination.
To find out all the regulations, go to blog.norml.org/tag/proposition203
Although California’s Prop 19 did not pass, it did get about 46% of the vote (a record for any legalization measure), and the backers of it are already gearing up for the 2012 election.
And there is some other news from California despite the failure of Prop 19
Oakland Now Accepting Applications For Industrial Medical Marijuana Grows
Oakland, CA: Oakland city officials are seeking to license up to four industrial-sized medical marijuana grow operations within the city limits. City officials began accepting applications from prospective growers this week.
Licensed growers would be required to pay a $211,000 annual fee to the city of Oakland to operate the cultivation sites.
The permits do not set limits regarding the quantity of cannabis that licensed producers may cultivate at each given site.
According to The Associated Press, “The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration did not return messages seeking comment on how the agency might respond if the city-approved operations actually started growing pot.”
Los Angeles Voters To Decide On Marijuana Tax
Los Angeles, CA: Members of the Los Angeles City Council have decided to place a proposal on the March 8, 2011 municipal ballot that, if approved by voters, would impose a five percent citywide tax on medical cannabis sold at local dispensaries.
The measure defines the proposed fee as a ‘gross reimbursement’ rather than a tax.
In November, voters in several California municipalities – including Sacramento, San Jose, Oakland, and Stockton – approved local tax measures regarding the imposition of business or sales taxes on medical marijuana.
If approved, revenue from the city’s medical cannabis tax would be used to fund public safety and fire and rescue efforts.
Harris beats Cooley in California Attorney General race
The California Attorney General’s race has significant implications for the distribution of medical cannabis in California, as Steve Cooley had pledged to prosecute dispensaries that engage in over-the-counter cash sales of marijuana to authorized patients. Cooley has long maintained that California dispensaries that engage in over-the-counter sales to customers do not meet a legal definition of ‘collectives’ or ‘not-for-profit’ entities.
By contrast, San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris has previously voiced strong support for protecting the legal rights of patients who use cannabis medicinally, stating, “We will not prosecute people who use or sell marijuana for medicinal purposes.”
New Jersey: Legislators Say Proposed Medical Marijuana Regulations Violate Intent Of The Law
Trenton, NJ: Members of the Senate Health, Human Services, and Senior Citizens Committee and the Assembly Regulatory Oversight and Gaming voted this week in favor of concurrent resolutions to repeal proposed regulations for the state’s yet-to-be implemented medical cannabis program.
In October, New Jersey Department of Health officials released draft regulations regarding the implementation of the state’sCompassionate Medical Marijuana Act, which was signed into law in January. The proposed rules limit the manufacture of medical cannabis to two licensed facilities, restrict the percentage to THC that may be present in the plant to no more than ten percent, and limit the varieties of legally available cannabis to no more than three strains.
Four additional state licensed facilities would be permitted to dispense cannabis.
Under the yet-to-be formalized law, patients would be authorized to possess no more than two ounces of cannabis per month, and would not be permitted to grow their own marijuana or share it with other registered patients. Patients who possess unauthorized amounts or strains of marijuana will still be subject to arrest and criminal prosecution under state law.
Several patient advocacy groups and lawmakers have criticized the proposed program as being unduly restrictive, and “not consistent with the intent of the legislature.”
The concurrent resolutions, if approved by the full legislature, would give state officials 30 days to revise the regulations.
“Failure to publish proposed rules that are consistent with the intent of the legislature may result in the legislature passing a concurrent resolution to prohibit those proposed rules from taking effect in whole or in part,” the resolutions state.
New Jersey: Health Officials To Hold Public Hearing On Proposed Medical Marijuana Rules
Trenton, NJ: The state Department of Health and Senior Services will hold a public hearing on Monday, December 6 to discuss proposed rules for New Jersey’s nascent medical marijuana program. The hearing will take place between 10:00 A.M. to 12:00 P.M. at the New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services, First Floor Auditorium, Health and Agriculture Building, 369 South Warren Street (at Market Street), Trenton, New Jersey 08608.
In October, health officials released draft regulations (pushed by the Gov. Chris Christie) regarding the implementation of the state’s Compassionate Medical Marijuana Act, which was signed into law in January. The proposed rules would: cap THC levels, ban dispensaries within 1000 feet of any school, prohibit amending the list of treatable diseases for 2 years, require doctors to try to get their patients off of med marijuana every 3 months (to prevent them from becoming addicts!!!!).
The New Jersey Senate will be voting December 13th on a proposed rejection of Gov. Christie’s proposed rules, The State Assembly has already passed this rejection proposal.
The Illinois House of Reps voted against a medical marijuana bill
The medical marijuana bill got 53 votes, but needed 60 to pass. Another 59 lawmakers voted against it, and one voted present.”
The bill would have set up a series of controls aimed at restricting access to marijuana, including requirements that a doctor would have to give the patient permission and that a patient would have get a license from the state public health officials. The proposal, if enacted, would have expired after three years to study whether it should have been made permanent.
Gov. Pat Quinn previously expressed support for the idea, saying those who are seriously ill should have access to any medical treatments that may help relieve their pain.
Here in Texas:
The Karen Heikkala Compassionate Care Act is the medical marijuana bill most likely to be introduced in Texas’ legislature this session (starting in January), and can be found at TexasCompassion.com
There is another bill still circulating that is different on many aspects and is being called The Tim Timmons Compassionate Care Act, and can be found at MedCanUniversity.com
The Karen Heikala bill is an affirmative defense bill, providing a definite legal defense, in court, to patients whose doctors have recommended marijuana, whereas the Tim Timmons bill would allow for patient/caregiver registration (protection from arrest in general) and grower licensing, with dispensaries allowed.
Texas NORML is supportive of both of these bills, and will continue to bring information as it becomes available on them.
Texas NORML gets prime-time news coverage on Fox News Austin, the day after the election (last months meeting).
I did the interview and it turned out much better than I had expected, with the exception of the final comment made by the anchor, “Well I’m sure there are a lot of people who disagree with you.” But, I got to directly rebut statements by Reps Patrick Rose and Michael McCaul. I was able to make several statements regarding arrests
A quick, and rare, off topic mention is that the DEA made an emergency ban of 5 chemicals that are used in “spice” and “K2”. The only reason I mention this is because I’ve answered many questions about this, and even done a TV interview (not the one last month).
Obama’s DEA Nominee Pledges To Ignore Administration’s Medical Marijuana Policy
Just over 1 year ago, the Justice Dept announced a slight change in medical marijuana policy, to consciously back away somewhat from pursuing medical marijuana cases in states where it is legal.
Michele Leonhart, Obama’s nomination to head the DEA, has called tens of thousands of deaths in Mexico a sign of success, and has pledged during Senate hearings to continue federal enforcement in states that have medical marijuana.
And not a single Senator asked her any critical questions about state-legal medical marijuana.
Democratic Senator Threatens To Block DEA Nominee Leonhart
Sen. Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin) said on Wednesday that he plans to block the nomination of Michelle Leonhart to head the DEA, due to a dispute over restrictions on how nursing homes dispense prescription drugs to patients.
This has nothing to do with her stance on medical marijuana, but it is good news to know that she may be blocked, if only temporarily.
Willie Nelson was arrested again, this time in west Texas near the border on I10, in Sierra Blanca, Hudspeth County.
Tour bus was stopped by Border Patrol. Initial reports said 6ozs, but Nelson was charged with Class A Misdemeanor possession (2-4ozs), which could theoretically have a 1 year jail sentence with $4,000 fine.
Willie promptly declared that he wants to start a “TeaPot Party”, to help spread the message of marijuana legalization.
Willie Nelson wants American marijuana smokers to join together and form the Teapot Party: “Our motto: We lean a little to the left.”
The mission is to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana.
The Texas TeaPot Party has sprung up in the DFW area, and we might have a Rep. here tonight . . . .
Upcoming Events & Alerts
– Hot Rod Car Show N Shine & Holiday Toy Drive Benefiting SafePlace, a battered women’s shelter, 4pm to 10pm Saturday, Dec. 11th @ Community Renaissance Market 6800 West Gate Blvd. Ste. 120. Classic Cars & Live Music from Second Chance, Marshall Dylan, Edgemore, and J3. Food, beer, Local Artists and more!!! Trophies and prizes for Hot Rods
– Night of Finesse Fashion Showcase, Wednesday, December 22 at 10:00pm, at Qua on 4th St. It is a catered event, sponsored by Forbidden Fruit and Dark Tan. Tickets are $7-10 presale and $10-15 at door.
– Activist Training Camp, Saturday, January 22nd, 2-4pm, at Brave New Books on the corner of Guadalupe & MLK, downstairs. We’ll have a Activist Packet and several speakers to talk about the legislative process and highlight talking points for your correspondence with legislators and detractors. The Activist Training Camp is free to attend.
– Bob Marley Birthday Celebration, Saturday, Feb. 5th, 7pm-2am, at Momo’s Club. Lineup is: Indofin, Eleven Fingered Charlie, DJ Ivor, The Contrabandits, and Ashes of Babylon! It is a great Reggae lineup! Tickets will be $10 general, or $5 for Texas NORML members.
– For March, we’ll be involved with the ATX Wildfire, 3 Day Reggae Festival at Ruta Maya, March 17th-19th. We’ll also be involved with the High Times SXSW Party and Cowboy Cup.
– In April, we’ll of course be at the Austin Reggae Fest, and will also be holding a huge post-4/20 Member’s Mixer in the center of Austin at United States Art Authority (right beside/behind Spiderhouse), on Friday, April 22nd.
Questions or comments/ anything left out?