“the Obama administration and DEA are tone-deaf to cannabis reform,” said organizer Nikolas Schiller.
Washington Times: DEA disappoints medical marijuana advocates with refusal to reclassify
|| 8/11/2016 || 10:28 pm || + Render A Comment || ||
Text of the Department of Justice’s “Cole Memo” – June 29, 2011
|| 7/31/2011 || 1:59 pm || + Render A Comment || ||
Following up on the Ogden Memo, I decided to post the “Cole Memo” below:
FROM: James M. Cole
Deputy Attorney General
SUBJECT: Guidance Regarding the Ogden Memo in Jurisdictions
Seeking to Authorize Marijuana for Medical Use
Over the last several months some of you have requested the Department’s assistance in responding to inquiries from State and local governments seeking guidance about the Department’s position on enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in jurisdictions that have under consideration, or have implemented, legislation that would sanction and regulate the commercial cultivation and distribution ofmarijuana purportedly for medical use. Some of these jurisdictions have considered approving the cultivation of large quantities of marijuana, or broadening the regulation and taxation of the substance. You may have seen letters responding to these inquiries by several United States Attorneys. Those letters are entirely consistent with the October 2009 memorandum issued by Deputy Attorney General David Ogden to federal prosecutors in States that have enacted laws authorizing the medical use of marijuana (the “Ogden Memo“).
The Department ofJustice is committed to the enforcement ofthe Controlled Substances Act in all States. Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime that provides a significant source of revenue to large scale criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels. The Ogden Memorandum provides guidance to you in deploying your resources to enforce the CSA as part of the exercise of the broad discretion you are given to address federal criminal matters within your districts.
Text of the Department of Justice’s “Ogden Memo” – October 19, 2009
|| 7/30/2011 || 1:56 pm || + Render A Comment || ||
In the yesterday’s newspaper article the DOJ’s 2009 Ogden Memo was mentioned, here is the full text of the document:
U.S. Department of Justice
Office of the Deputy Attorney General
The Deputy Attorney General
Washington, D.C. 20530
FROM: David W. Ogden
Deputy Attorney General
SUBJECT: Investigations and Prosecutions in States
Authorizing the Medical Use of Marijuana
This memorandum provides clarification and guidance to federal prosecutors in States that have enacted laws authorizing the medical use of marijuana. These laws vary in their substantive provisions and in the extent of state regulatory oversight, both among the enacting States and among local jurisdictions within those States. Rather than developing different guidelines for every possible variant of state and local law, this memorandum provides uniform guidance to focus federal investigations and prosecutions in these States on core federal enforcement priorities.
The Department of Justice is committed to the enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act in all States. Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug, and the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime and provides a significant source of revenue to large-scale criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels. One timely example underscores the importance of our efforts to prosecute significant marijuana traffickers: marijuana distribution in the United States remains the single largest source of revenue for the Mexican cartels.
“Official: Medical marijuana in D.C. by May 2012” by Victor Zapana, Washington Post, July 29, 2011
|| 7/29/2011 || 1:35 pm || + Render A Comment || ||
Today I was in the Washington Post article about the progress of the District’s medical cannabis program.
Still, some possible participants — such as Nikolas Schiller — consider the city’s pace “glacial.” Schiller’s group, D.C. Patients’ Cooperative, identified potential cultivation and dispensary sites in the city after the law passed.
Concerned about the program’s pace, the cooperative did not sign any leases, and many of those sites are no longer available. Schiller, the only paid staff member, was laid off by the group’s investors.
This paragraph in article is slightly incorrect. I wasn’t laid off by the group’s investors. As a board member of the non-profit, hired as an independent contractor by the non-profit, I voted to lay off myself with the majority of board members. It’s not that I was failing to do my job properly, rather, after waiting nearly 18 months and seeing no progress, DCPC decided to stop wasting resources on a program that was moving so slowly.
UPDATE – As of May 2012, there is still no legal medical cannabis in the District of Columbia.
By Victor Zapana, Washington Post, Published: July 29
A year after the District legalized medical marijuana, nobody is legally growing or selling it. Patients once thought that they could be getting the drug by early 2011, but bureaucratic delays and the city’s caution in implementing its drug law have caused some would-be patients and entrepreneurs to fume.
But things appear to be picking up. District regulators are forging ahead despite a recent Justice Department memo that has worried coordinators of medical-marijuana programs nationwide, and city officials said Tuesday that dozens of individuals and businesses will be allowed to apply for licenses to operate five dispensaries and 10 cultivation centers.
Safe Access DC’s Protest at the Department of Justice
|| 5/2/2011 || 10:12 pm || + Render A Comment || ||
Today I attended the Americans for Safe Access demonstration at the Department of Justice Building in downtown Washington, DC.
This was written by Steph Sherer:
Stand in solidarity with me for a National Day of Action this Monday, May 2, 2011. Our community is sick and tired. We are suffering from chronic or debilitating conditions, and we are weary of false promises that do nothing to protect our rights as patients.
After previously giving us a false sense of security, the Obama administration now continues to ignore state laws and raid medical cannabis patients and facilities, while creating new ways to marginalize our community, including issues related to patient privacy, access, banking, taxation, and threats of filing suit against state employees who participate in upholding state law. This community is still under attack.
Just yesterday, our community witnessed raid activity in Washington State and on Monday, our community will lose two more of our brothers and sisters to the failed war on drugs. Dale Shafer and Dr. Mollie fry will turn themselves over to federal agents to serve five-year mandatory minimum sentences for legally participating in state sanctioned medical cannabis programs. Enough is enough and Monday, May 2, 2011 is our time to take stand against federal interference!
Fellow community members and local activists are preparing to deliver ASA’s Cease and Desist to local DEA offices and federal buildings across the country. Commit to do the same. Join activists in several cities across the country. Locations include, but are not limited to, the following areas: Washington State, Oregon, Rhode Island, Colorado, Montana, Michigan, Maine, New Jersey, Washington, DC, California, Arizona, Nevada, and Maryland. To find out what is going on in your area, email email@example.com, or print out the Cease and Desist Order and take it to a local DEA Office or Federal Building near you on Monday!! Remember: if you don’t stand up for safe access, who will?
Special Patients’ Rights Rallies will be occurring in both Washington, DC outside of the Department of Justice at 12pEST (event flyer) and outside of the Federal Courthouse in Sacramento, CA at 12pPST for Dale Schafer and Dr. Mollie Fry (event flyer).
It’s thanks to the support from our members that ASA is able to hold Days of Action like this one. Please consider making a donation to ASA today, so we can continue to strengthen our fight for safe access.
I look forward to participating in our National Day of Action for patients’ rights with you on Monday, May 2, 2011.
Brief Media Recap of the Townhall Meeting on the District’s Medical Cannabis Program
|| 2/11/2011 || 10:06 pm || + Render A Comment || ||
Before the town hall forum, I was interviewed by Mike Conneen of TBD/WJLA in Adams Morgan.
When we arrived to setup the town hall, DC Fox 5 was already waiting for us. I was interviewed for the segment:
Overall, I would say the town hall meeting was a success. Hopefully the law gets implemented soon.
[UPCOMING] 02/10/11 – Town Hall Meeting on the Implementation of the District of Columbia’s Medical Cannabis Program
|| 1/19/2011 || 10:41 pm || + Render A Comment || ||
As you may remember, I helped organize a similar town hall meeting a little over one year ago. The week after the previous town hall meeting, the District Council introduced amendments to Initiative 59 that substantially altered what was originally approved by District voters over 10 years ago. In May of last year, the District Council approved these new amendments, in July Congress approved the amendments, and starting in August the previous Mayor’s office began drafting regulations to implement the medical cannabis program. Today we are waiting for the Mayor to sign off on the final proposed regulations and begin implementing this important program. In my work with the DC Patients’ Cooperative, I’ve been involved in every step of the process and I’m looking forward to helping host the upcoming town hall meeting. We filled the entire venue last year, so please RSVP.
Thursday, February 10th at 7:00 pm in Pierce Hall at All Souls Unitarian Church located at 16th and Harvard Streets, NW in Ward One of Washington, DC.
The District of Columbia Patients’ Cooperative (DCPC), a non-profit corporation that formed one year ago to provide high quality and affordable cannabis ‘marijuana’ to qualifying DC patients will host a town hall meeting on the implementation of the District of Columbia’s medical cannabis program.
The aim of the meeting is to provide residents with a better understanding of the laws and regulations that were drafted over the last year. The meeting will cover different topics ranging from how the patient registration process will work to the rules surrounding the cultivation and dispensing of the medicine.
The town hall meeting is open to the public and will take place on Thursday, February 10th at 7:00 pm in Pierce Hall at All Souls Unitarian Church located at 16th and Harvard Streets, NW in Washington, DC.
Confirmed Panelist: Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans For Safe Access
Invited Panelists: Councilmembers Jim Graham, David Catania, Phil Mendelson, & Michael A. Brown, a representative from the Mayor’s office, and a representative from the DC Department of Health.
WHO: DC Patients’ Cooperative, invited panelists, and members of the public
WHAT: Town Hall Meeting on DC’s Medical Cannabis Program
WHEN: Thursday, February 10, 2011 at 7:00 pm
WHERE: Pierce Hall in All Souls Unitarian Church, 16th and Harvard Streets, NW, Washington, DC
We hope you can attend!
THE EXPECTANT HAND – The Mahoning Dispatch, June 04, 1909
|| 8/28/2010 || 12:02 pm || + Render A Comment || ||
The article below is a condensed short story from a biography by Frank Allaben on the life of Gen. John Watts De Peyster. I chose this article because it describes a doctor recommending Indian hemp, which is the colloquial name for one of these five plants: Cannabis indica, Apocynum cannabinum, Sida rhombifolia, Asclepias incarnata, Hibiscus cannabinus. The doctor was most likely recommending Cannabis indica because it is the only variety of Indian hemp which has medicinal properties. Sadly, today in America a doctor would lose their license to prescribe drugs if they were to assist their patient in acquiring Cannabis indica as described below.
No Charge Made, But a Present of Money Not Refused.
Indian hemp was recommended as a remedy during my grandfathers illness, but where to get it was the question. Finally some one said it was grown in the garden of old Mr. Henry Brevoort, who owned a large plot on the east side of Broadway, extending through to the Bowery above Tenth street. Grace Church stands on part of this ground.
Doctor Bibby gave me some money, told me to jump into his gig, drive up to Brevoort’s old low-storied cottage house on Bowery, and tell the owner that I wanted some Indian hemp for my grandfather, John Watts. I was to use diplomacy if necessary, but not to return without it.
I trotted briskly, roused Mr. Brevoort from a nap, stated my case, found no demur, and got the Indian hemp, which he dug up with his own hands.
“How much am I to pay?” I questioned.
“I never sells it,” Mr. Brevoort replied, “because if I takes money for Indian hemp, it weakens the vartoo.”
I stated that I was ordered to pay, and we discussed the matter, walking across the garden toward the gig, which I had left on Broadway.
I had made up my mind that I had met with a disinterested Christian, had replaced the money in my pocket, when I felt a brawny, sunburnt, freckled hand restraining me, and heard these words whispered in my ear: “I never sells Indian hemp, for that weakens the vartoo, but if I gives it, I never refuses a present.”
I extricated the money confided to me, placed it in the expectant hand, hurried home and related my story, and I have heard it laughed over many times.
If you don’t get the joke, don’t worry, its not that funny. My reading on this story is that “vartoo” is Mr. Brevoort’s Dutch pronunciation of the word “virtue.” As in, virtue is a trait or quality deemed to be morally excellent and thus is valued as a foundation of principle and good moral being. By selling something medicinal, Mr. Brevoort is saying that he would weaken the plants effectiveness by profiting off the sale. A contemporary aspect of this moral concept is that some medical cannabis dispensaries in California only take donations instead of selling their medicine. Maybe they don’t want to weaken the vartoo either.
Mentioned Today On The Huffington Post Concerning Facebook’s Censorship of Advertisements Related To Cannabis
|| 8/24/2010 || 11:49 pm || + Render A Comment || ||
This morning after reading the article on the Huffington Post about how Facebook banned certain ads related to cannabis, I contacted my friend who knows the author about how Facebook also banned a bunch of ads I created earlier this year, and was subsequently included at the end of the article.
Enrolled Text of the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative Amendment Act of 2010
|| 7/24/2010 || 12:30 pm || + Render A Comment || ||
With Congress about to finish up their 30 legislative day review of the District’s medical cannabis law, I decided to post the updated text of the law. I had previously posted an earlier draft of the law and I feel its important to have the most up-to-date version for others to use a resource.
IN THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
To amend the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Initiative of 1999 to define key terms, to clarify who is permitted to cultivate, possess, dispense, or use medical marijuana, to require a written recommendation from one’s physician, to restrict the use of medical marijuana, to protect physicians from sanctions for recommending medical marijuana, to establish a medical marijuana program, to establish requirements for dispensaries and cultivation centers, to authorize the Board of Medicine to audit physician recommendations and to discipline physicians who act outside of the law, to set out penalties for violating this act, to prohibit the public use of medical marijuana, to establish a Medical Marijuana Advisory Committee, to require fees collected to be applied toward administering this act, to establish liability provisions, to clarify that this act does not require any public or private insurance to cover medical marijuana, and to authorize the Mayor to issue rules; and to amend the District of Columbia Health Occupations Revision Act of 1985, the Health Clarifications Act of 2001, the District of Columbia Uniform Controlled Substances Act of 1981, and the Drug Paraphernalia Act of 1982 to make conforming amendments.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE COUNCIL OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, That this act may be cited as the “Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Treatment Amendment Act of 2010”.