TX NORML open meeting notes, January 5th, 2011
During last month’s meeting we covered these stories:
-Arizona’s Prop 203 wins once all votes are counted
-LA voters will be deciding on medical marijuana tax
-Oakland began accepting applications for Industrial Medical grows, but they have since cancelled that program due to pressure from the US justice Dept
-New Jersey’s lawmakers are still debating how to oversee medical marijuana, prodded by their Gov.
-Illinois’ House of Reps votes down medical marijuana
-Texas NORML’s Fox News coverage
-K2 AKA Spice, gets emergency ban by DEA
-Obama’s nominee for Drug Czar, Michele Leonhart, pledges to ignore the Justice Dept’s MMJ policy, and Dem. Sen. Herb Kohl, puts a temporary block on her.
However she did end up being confirmed by lawmakers, unanimously
-Willie Nelson gets arrested in West Texas, and then calls for the TeaPot Party.
Now for the news from the past month:
CaféPress Makes NORML’s Holiday Hempful
Longtime NORML partner, CafePress, donated $5,000 through its Chari-Tees program to NORML before the holiday. In addition, from December 17, 2010 through December 23, 2010, CaféPress donated $10 for every order sold through theNORML store.
Please keep their support of NORML in mind when you’re shopping online!
Obama Administration Opposes Oakland Medical Marijuana Grow Plan — Justice Department Also Threatens Potential Statewide Crack Down
Sources at the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and the United States attorney’s office in San Francisco said that federal officials would likely pursue criminal or civil litigation against local marijuana growers as well as Oakland city officials if they decide to move forward with plans to license medical cannabis farming. “Oakland would be on the hook for violating state and federal law,” an unnamed administration official told the website.
Oakland has since scrapped it’s plans for industrial sized growing operations due to this pressure.
Oral THC Reduces Aggressive Behavior In Patients With Refractory Psychosis
The administration of oral synthetic THC is associated with improved symptoms of psychosis in patients with refractory schizophrenia, according to the findings of four case reports published in the November issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry.
Cannabinoid, Cannabidiol or CBD, Mitigates Diabetic Cardiomyopathy
Diabetic cardiomyopathy is a weakening of the heart muscle.
According to preclinical data published online by the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, an international team of researchers from the United States, Switzerland, and Israel, found that CBD could mitigate myocardial dysfunction as well as cardiac fibrosis, oxidative/nitrative stress, inflammation, and cell death in the heart.
Judge Rules Against Los Angeles Dispensary Ban
A Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge has granted a preliminary injunction barring local officials from taking legal action against hundreds of medical cannabis facilities presently operating within the city.
The decision finds that the city’s six-month-old ordinance seeking to curtail the number of dispensaries operating in L.A. is unconstitutional. It states that the ordinance “violated the due-process rights of the dispensaries because it shut them down without a hearing, and the privacy rights of patients because it required dispensaries to make records on members available to the police,” according to the Los Angeles Times.
Members of the Los Angeles City Council will most likely attempt to rewrite the ordinance in a manner that complies with the ruling, the L.A. Times reported.
Since the enactment of the L.A. ordinance in June, over 40 lawsuits had been filed challenging the constitutionality of the measure.
Bad News for High Times Cannabis Cup; EU Court Says Tourists Can Be Barred From Dutch ‘Coffee Shops’
Dutch lawmakers have the legal authority to prohibit non-residents from patronizing ‘coffee shops’ that openly sell small quantities of marijuana, Europe’s highest court ruled last week. ‘Coffee shops’ have operated in various Dutch cities since the early 1980s.
The European Court of Justice decided last week that Maastricht city officials were within their rights to prohibit so-called ‘drug tourists’ from visiting local ‘coffee shops.’ Maastricht is located in the southern part of the country, in close proximity to the borders of Belgium and Germany.
Government officials in recent months have threatened to impose regulations mandating that Dutch ‘coffee shops’ become ‘members-only’ clubs for legal residents only.
The E.U. court determined that banning foreigners from the Netherlands’ ‘coffee shops’ “constitutes a measure capable of substantially limiting drug tourism and, consequently, of reducing the problems it causes.”
The court reasoned that Dutch officials could legally impose the ban because marijuana is illegal throughout most of Europe.
Amsterdam has NOT banned foreigners from coffee shops, yet, but are free to do so according to this ruling. We’ll see what happens.
New Orleans: City Council Unanimously Votes In Favor Of Depenalizing Pot Possession Offenses
Members of the New Orleans City Council voted unanimously to designate minor marijuana possession crimes as municipal offenses, similar to traffic tickets.
Councilwoman Susan Guidry, co-chairwoman of the council’s Criminal Justice Committee, called the change “an important step in increasing the effectiveness, efficiency and equity of our criminal justice system.”
Under Louisiana state law, first-time marijuana possession offenses are classified as a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail. Subsequent offenses are categorized as felonies punishable by between five and twenty years in prison.
New California Law Makes Possession Of 1oz And Less A Fine Only Offense
As of January 1, 2011, Senate Bill 1449 is law. Signed by outgoing California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in Oct+ NORML supporters who contacted Schwarzenegger’s office in the final days of the 2010 legislative session and urged his support for the law change.
California’s new law is similar to existing laws in Colorado, Maine,Massachusetts, Nebraska, and New York where private, non-medical possession of marijuana is treated as a civil, non-criminal offense.
Pat Robertson, From the Televangelist Show, 700 Club, Says on Air That He supports Ending Marijuana Prohibition!
You can watch the clip on NORML’s website, NORML.org
New Jersey Health Officials attempt revision of medical marijuana regulations; it’s not pretty, but the state’s patients, activists, AND lawmakers in the Senate are fighting back
The proposed guidelines would allow for six licensed facilities to produce and dispense marijuana to authorized patients.
The regulations also prohibit facilities from engaging in the home delivery of medical cannabis, restrict the percentage of THC that may be present in the plant to no more than 10%, limit the varieties of legally available cannabis to 6 strains, and prohibit the sale of any edible medical marijuana products.
Patients suffering from seizures, glaucoma, and intractable muscle spasms will be required to exhaust all other treatment options before their doctor may recommend marijuana.
At this point, New Jersey’s medical marijuana law is one of the worst in the country, but the New Jersey Senate has voted to force the Dept of Health to make the implementation more patient friendly.
It still remains to be seen how exactly the New Jersey law will work.
Arizona Issues Draft Regulations For New MMJ Program
Under the rules, state officials may license only one nonprofit medical marijuana dispensary for every ten existing pharmacies.
Neither state-authorized patients nor their caregivers may legally cultivate marijuana under the law if they reside within 25 miles of an operating dispensary.
The public has three weeks to comment on the proposed regulations, which must be finalized by April 13, 2011
New Mexico: Revised Regulations Allow For Licensed Production Of Up To 150 Medical Marijuana Plants, up from 95
Under state law, regulators may license nonprofit facilities to manufacture and dispense medical cannabis to authorized patients. There are now 25 state-licensed cultivators of medical marijuana in New Mexico, the Associated Press reports.
Regulators said that they increased the plant limits to address reports of medical marijuana shortages at state dispensaries.
The revised regulations also allow for licensed manufacturers to obtain plants, seeds, and/or usable cannabis from other non-profit producers.
State approved cultivators must pay an annual licensing fee to state ranging from $5,000 to $30,000.
There are more than 3,000 medical marijuana patients in New Mexico, including about 1,400 who are licensed to produce their own supply, the AP reports.
Texas has 2 medical marijuana bills being circulated in the State Legislature, and I’ll begin the news by talking about those,
Because the legislative session officially begins on Tuesday, January 11th, 6 days from now.
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.
Also, we will more than likely have a bill that if passed would somewhat decriminalize minor possession of marijuana so that 1 ounce and less would be a Class C Misdemeanor (fine only), and 1-2 ounces would be a Class B Misdemeanor (max 180 days jail & $2000/fine), any possession above 2 ounces would not be affected, meaning 2-4 ounces would remain a Class A Misdemeanor (max 1 yr jail & $4000/fine), 4oz-5lbs is a State Jail Felony (180days-2yrs jail & $10000), 5-50lbs 3rd Degree Felony (2-10 yrs & $10000), 50-2000 lbs 2nd Degree Felony (2-20 yrs & $10000), above 2000 lbs 1st Degree Felony (5-99 yrs & $50000). An aside, if you sell more than ¼ oz, it is a state jail felony up to 5lbs, with more than 5lbs/sale is a 3rd Degree Felony & up.
Of course Texas NORML will be supporting this bill also, which in the past has been introduced by State Rep. Harold Dutton, who represents Dist. 142 in the Houston area.
We need all of you to go online ASAP to find out how to contact your elected representatives directly in their Capitol office. If you have an internet capable mobile device it’s possible to send them a message before you leave tonight.
But, tomorrow or Friday morning, we need you to take 5 minutes of your time to make a call to your elected Representatives office at the Capitol to talk to their staff directly.
We need you to ask your elected Representatives to support the medical marijuana bill AND the bill that would reduce the penalty for possession of an ounce or less.
You should tell their staff that you are a constituent and you would like for their support on these bills, and preferably their sponsorship.
If they tell you there isn’t a bill to sponsor yet (which is technically correct) then politely tell them you know that, but once the bill has been introduced you would like the support.
If they tell you outright that they will not support the bills, then as a constituent you are well within your rights to tell them you will not vote to re-elect them in the next election cycle.
We will not achieve a change in the laws in Texas unless we get our legislators to pass these bills. And if our legislators will not pass the bills, then we need to elect new people!
Upcoming Events & Alerts
-Saturday, January 22nd, Texas NORML’s Activist Training, at Brave New Book Store, 1904 Guadalupe, 1:30-4:00.
We’ll have speakers and materials on subjects ranging from online activism and know your rights to getting involved politically and getting involved with NORML. And also great information on the current Legislative session.
That same night, join us at Ruta Maya, 9pm, for Austin Dub Culture: Chapter 1, presented by E5 and McPullish, who by the way just came back from a European tour bringing Austin DUB across the Atlantic.
-Saturday, February 5th, Texas NORML’s Bob Marley B’day celebration at Momo’s club, 7pm, featuring Indofin, Eleven Fingered Charlie, DJ Ivor, The Contrabandits, and Ashes of Babylon! Cover is $10 unless you’re a Texas NORML member it’s $5.
-ATX Wildfire, Thursday –Saturday, March 17-19, during SXSW, at Ruta Maya, is an all ages, totally FREE 3 day Reggae & arts showcase brought to you by E5, and Texas NORML will be the sound sponsor for one of the days. There will be so many Reggae & Dub artists during those three days you will not believe it, including Los Skarnales, Subrosa Union, Supervillans, Fortunate Youth, Ashes of Babylon, Seedless, The Contrabandits, General Smiley, McPullish, and many many more
The High Times Doobie Awards will also be that week, info not available yet.
-April will bring a list of more happenings, including:
Austin Reggae Festival @ Auditorium Shores, April 15-17th
Friday, April 22nd is the next Texas NORML Member’s Mixer, which will be at the US Art Authority/Spiderhouse, and this mixer will be much more open to the public, and cheaper to attend, plus we’ll have an indoor AND outdoor stage, and will incorporate comedy, speakers, art, video, and poets into the event!
Saturday, May 7th, Texas NORML will be holding the Texas Marijuana March and rally at the Texas State Capitol, from 2-4pm, and we have a big announcement to make regarding that; we have confirmed that one of the leaders at National NORML will be coming to Austin to speak at the Capitol, plus former professional snowboarder, TV personality, current singer-songwriter, and NORML Women’s Alliance member Greta Gaines will be in Austin for the Marijuana March.
And the biggest news we have for the Texas Marijuana March, is that Texas NORML will be bringing former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson to Austin to be the keynote speaker at the Capitol Rally on Saturday, May 7th!
Gov. Johnson served as a Republican and outspoken advocate for marijuana law reform. He was also the keynote speaker at the National NORML Convention in Portland this past year, as well as the Portland Hempstalk.
Obviously, we are VERY excited to be able to bring these high profile speakers to the Texas Capitol for the Marijuana March, and I hope you will all spread the word that Saturday, May 7th, 2-4pm, THE place to be in Texas is at the State Capitol in Austin!
Questions or Comments/anything left out?