Thursday, December 01, 2011

Study: Auto Fatalities Decrease in Medical Marijuana States

Re-posted from High Times

Amidst all the recent doom and gloom in the medical marijuana scene, an encouraging new study indicates there is a marked decrease in auto fatalities in states that have legalized medi-pot. Though the research has yet to be peer reviewed, it has been posted on the website of the German Institute for the Study of Labor after being released jointly by University of Colorado Denver professor Daniel Rees and Montana State University professor D. Mark Anderson.

Professors Rees and Anderson reported the traffic-death rate drops almost nine percent in states following legalization of medical marijuana. The pair of profs arrived at that calculation after including other factors such as traffic laws changes, seat-belt usage and miles driven. While the study does not openly declare that medicinal cannabis legalization was directly responsible for the reduction in traffic fatalities, the implication is clear.

However, Rees and Anderson do not attribute this decrease to drivers being more cautious when driving while medicated on marijuana (as previous studies have indicated), but rather that medical marijuana use at home (or in other non-driving scenarios) may in fact alter those patients’ use of alcohol. In other words, medicinal cannabis consumers – including younger adult drivers in their late teens and 20s – are smoking more pot and drinking less booze.

Professor Rees told the Denver Post when medi-pot is legalized in a given state, there is an average corresponding 12 percent decline in alcohol-related auto fatalities and specifically a 19 percent drop in the auto wreck death rate of those in their 20s. One possibility the study did not address – if these people are driving with the same frequency now that they were before medical marijuana legalization and if they are smoking more pot instead of drinking, that suggests they are potentially driving while stoned and experiencing less fatalities, which would further substantiate the aforementioned studies (1983 and 1992 in the U.S., 1998 in Australia and 2000 from the UK) that do indicate people actually tend to drive more cautiously when stoned.

Regardless of that argument, this new study posits that with easier, safer and legal access to medi-pot, people in those states are drinking and driving less. We seem to find a new benefit of medical marijuana every day and here is yet another.

Two Governors Ask Feds to Reschedule Cannabis

Re-posted from High Times

Two governors have petitioned the federal government to reschedule cannabis this week. Governors Christine Gregoire of Washington state and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island requested that marijuana be reclassified as a Schedule II drug (like cocaine, opium, and morphine). Marijuana has been a Schedule I narcotic (a category reserved for drugs with no accepted medical use) since the creation of the Controlled Substances Act.

Both Washington state and Rhode Island have legalized the use of medical marijuana. However, with the federal government cracking down on medicinal cannabis and threatening to prosecute state employees who help facilitate dispensary systems, many governors of MMJ states have gotten cold feet.

Cynics might see the governors’ petition as a stall tactic similar to Arizona Governor Jan Brewer’s suit asking for a judgment on state official’s risk of prosecution, which also delayed the implementation of a state dispensary system. Of particular note is the fact that the feds just rejected a petition to reschedule cannabis this summer (a decision that came nine years after the petition was filed).

However, it is hard to fault the governors for wanting state law to comply with (or at least vaguely comport with) federal law. What’s more, Governor Gregoire’s message – “People die from overdose of opiates … has anybody died from marijuana?” – is an admirable (and accurate) assessment of the situation. Let’s just hope that the governors desire for federal enlightenment won’t hold up the will of the voters.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Congressional Letter Urges Obama to Change Policy

From Americans For Safe Access

Nine members of Congress have directly asked President Obama to end the ongoing attacks on state medical cannabis programs.

In a letter sent to the White House late last month, representatives from California, Colorado and Tennessee called the targeting of state-licensed medical cannabis dispensaries “unconscionable” and called on the President to reschedule cannabis to make it available as a medicine. The letter also urges support for the States' Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act, legislation introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.) that would prohibit federal interference in state medical cannabis programs.

"It is critically important for patients to have safe access to this treatment that continues to be recommended by doctors. California voters decided to adopt clear regulations to allow patients to do just that,” Rep. Sam Farr told the media after the letter was sent. “It is unfortunate that the federal government has decided to target these legal vendors instead of focusing limited resources on those who sell illicit drugs."

The other members of Congress who signed the letter are Democrats Barbara Lee, Pete Stark, Lynn Woolsey, and Republican Dana Rohrbacher – all of California – and Democrats Jared Polis of Colorado and Steve Cohen of Tennessee. Staff from Americans for Safe Access’s Washington D.C. office worked with the representatives in preparing the letter.

"We write to express our concern with the recent activity by the Department of Justice against legitimate medical cannabis dispensaries in California that are operating legally under state law," the letter said.

The four U.S. Attorneys in California announced Oct. 7 that they were stepping up enforcement actions against dispensaries in the state. The announcement follows a Department of Justice memo issued June 29 stating that anyone involved with medical cannabis programs, even those expressly legal and licensed under state law, is subject to federal prosecution and asset forfeiture.

"It is our strong position that local and state governments must be allowed to develop, implement and enforce their own public health laws with regard to medical cannabis," the letter stated.

The Representatives also noted that the recent escalation in California follows months of federal interference in other state medical cannabis programs, including federal raids in seven states. Americans for Safe Access has documented 125 medical cannabis raids under the Obama Administration.

More information:
The letter to President Obama from members of Congress

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Switzerland Legalizes Growing Cannabis At Home

Someone out there is finally getting it.

In order to combat the increasing illegal sales of cannabis in Switzerland, four of the seven French-speaking Swiss cantons (similar to states in the U.S.) will be allowing individuals to grow four cannabis plants at their home, starting in January 2012. The cannabis is only authorized for personal use and cannot be sold.

The cantons involved are Geneva, Neuchatel, Vaud (Lausanne) and Fribourg, according to this article (in French, see translation here). People can apply for permits to grow more than four plants.

We here at The 420 Times fully expect this new law to reduce crime and police expenses in Switzerland, and everywhere else this kind of progressive thinking comes to pass.

If four plants sounds a bit restrictive, remember two things: first, it’s still illegal to do this in most of the world (thanks to U.S. government intervention in everyone else’s business) and second, a properly done grow can yield some pretty spectacular results.

Read about it here.

Texas Drug Policy Conference, January 2012

January 11-13, 2012
Hall of State, Fair Park

For more information

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

ICE officer arrested in pot smuggling

PHOENIX (AP) — A deportation officer with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement led Arizona state police and federal agents on a high-speed desert chase in his government vehicle, throwing bundles of marijuana out of the window as he fled, the Department of Public Safety said Wednesday.

The deportation officer, identified as Jason Alistair Lowery, 34, had been under surveillance for more than month after a known smuggler who had been arrested gave authorities a tip about the officer in an effort to get lenient treatment, Department of Public Safety Officer Carrick Cook told The Associated Press.

Lowery, who lives in the Phoenix suburb of Chandler, does not yet have an attorney.

DPS and federal agents tried to pull Lowery over Tuesday after he picked up a load of marijuana in the desert with his unmarked ICE pickup truck, Cook said. The officer fled, leading agents on a 45-minute chase at speeds of up to 110 mph as he threw 10 of the 14 bundles of pot that he had in the truck out of the window, he said.

Read the rest of this story.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

California Medical Assn. calls for legalization of marijuana

The doctor group questions the medical value of pot and acknowledges some health risk from its use but urges it be regulated like alcohol. A law enforcement official harshly criticizes the new stance.

By Anthony York, Los Angeles Times

October 16, 2011, 6:01 p.m.

Reporting from Sacramento— The state's largest doctor group is calling for legalization of marijuana, even as it pronounces cannabis to be of questionable medical value.

Trustees of the California Medical Assn., which represents more than 35,000 physicians statewide, adopted the position at their annual meeting in Anaheim late Friday. It is the first major medical association in the nation to urge legalization of the drug, according to a group spokeswoman, who said the larger membership was notified Saturday.

Select this link to read the rest of the article.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

American marijuana growers could beat this war on drugs

Clandestine grow-ops sown by industrial Americans could damage drug cartels more effectively than the US military

If industrious Americans were to saturate their landscape with clandestine grow-operations, it would substantially damage the profitability of the cartels, which draw somewhere in between 25% to 60% of their profit from marijuana. This would eliminate much of the US government's motivation to interfere in the narcotics policies of foreign countries, while forcing the issue of legalisation at home.

For those who would prefer a future with less drones, take comfort in the fact that the market is trending towards this possibility: Americans are growing more pot than ever. If this continues, the decisive battle in the war on drugs will be waged in the backyards, basements, and national parks of America. It will see stealth agriculture pitted against stealth surveillance – the outcome of which will depend on whether or not American ingenuity can defeat its own government's military supremacy.


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Skunk Magazine's Top 132 Pot Activists

Well, I didn't make the cut, but I'm happy to see a lot of my "buds" on here.

For its 50th issue, Skunk has compiled a list of the 132 leading marijuana activists in the U.S. and Canada. There 85 men and 47 women, seven Top CelebStoners and five politicians on the list.


In alphabetic order:

Dr. Donald Abrams
Michael Aldrich
Michelle Aldrich
California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano
Tom Angell - LEAP
Paul Armentano - NORML

Steve Bloom -
Dave Borden -
Richard Branson
Sandee Burbank - MAMA
Cara Crabb-Burham - SSDP
Al Byrne - POT

Nora Callahan - November Coalition
Rielle Capler
Tommy Chong
Carina Cialini - Cannabis Times
Jack Cole - LEAP
Richard Colibri - ACT4CO
Chris Conrad - West Cost Leaf
Mike Corral - WAMM
Valerie Corral - WAMM
Richard Cortes - "It's Just a Plant"
Stacia Cosner - SSDP
Rick Cusick - High Times

Ervin Dargan - POT
Danny Danko - High Times
Tom Daubert - Patients & Families United
Anne Davis - NORML NJ
Steve DeAngelo - Harborside Health Center
Anna Diaz - Oregon NORML
Rick Doblin - MAPS
John Dvorak -

Dr. Mitch Earleywine - NORML Advisory Board
Georgia Edson - NWA
Warren Edson - Mile High NORML
Jon Elford - ASA
Matt Elrod - DrugSense
Jodie Emery -
Marc Emery -
Steve Epstein - Mass Cann
Melissa Etheridge

Debbie Fagin - Calgary 420
Keith Fagin - Calgary 420
Sabrina Fendrick - NWA
Jeanne Ferguson - Grandmas for Marijuana
Diane Forbacher - NWA
Cher Ford-McCullough - WONPR
Morgan Fox - MPP
Steve Fox - Cannabis Industry Assocation
Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank
Serra Frank - Moms for Marijuana
Neill Franklin - LEAP
Dr. Mollie Fry

Greta Gaines - NWA
Ira Glasser - ACLU
Debby Goldsberry - United Cannabis Collective
Chris Goldstein -
Judge James Gray
Dr. Lester Grinspoon - Harvard
Ol' Jay Green
David Guard - DRCNet
Crystal Guess - Women's Marijuana Movement

Steve Hager - High Times
Woody Harrelson
Mark Henrich - Mardi Grass
Alison Holcomb - ACLU
Aaron Houston - SSDP

Gideon Israel - Rainbow Family

Wanda James - Simply Pure Edibles
Anthony Johnson - Oregon Measure 74
Dale Sky Jones - Oaksterdam U
Jeff Jones - Oaksterdam U

Former Nebraska Gov. Bob Kerrey
Kris Krane - 4Front Advisors
Charles Kwiatkowski - CMMNJ

Richard Lake - DrugSense
Jennifer Lande - CMMNJ
Amber Langston - Show-Me Cannabis
Dana Larsen - Vancouver Dispensary Society
California State Sen. Mark Leno
Marie Myung-Ok Lee
Richard Lee - Oaksterdam U

Kelly Maddy - Joplin NORML
David Malmo-Levine
Jahan Marcu - ASA
Allison Margolin
Bruce Margolin
Jean Marlowe - NC Cannabis Patients Network
Mickey Martin - Tainted
Deanna Martinez
Madeline Martinez - NORML Board of Directors
Mary Lynn Mathre - POT
Todd McCormick - Hempire
Kirk McNeil - NH Coalition for Common Sense Marijuana Policy
Vivian McPeak - Seattle Hempfest
Doug McVay - Common Sense for Drug Policy
Dr. Bob Melemede
Matt Mernagh
Jim Miller - CMMNJ
Kyndra Miller - NWA
Scott Morgan -
Elvy Musikka - Federal MMJ Patient

Loretta Nall - Alabamans for Compassionate Care
Mikki Norris - West Coast Leaf

Garret Overstreet - Tulsa NORML

Mieko Hester Perez
Dennis Peron
Victor Pinho - CMMNJ
Colorado Rep. Jared Polis

Angel Raich - ARCH Collective
Jacki Rickert - IMMLY
Joe Rogan
Irv Rosenfeld - Federal MMJ Patient
Ed Rosenthal - Quick Trading

Keith Saunders - NORML Board of Dirtectors
Dale Schafer
Tony Serra
Lynette Shaw - Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana
Steph Sherer - ASA
F. Aaron Smith - Cannabis Industry Association
Phil Smith -
Niki Smokes - Mass Cann
Eric Sterling - Criminal Justice Policy Foundation
Allen St. Pierre - NORML
Keith Stroup - NORML

Cliff Thornton - Efficacy
Shaleen Aghi Title - LEAP

Dr. Cyril Wecht
Cheyenne Weldon - Texas NORML
Arlene Williams - "Ganja Granny"
Don Wirtshafter - Hemp Industries Association
Ken Wolski - CMMNJ