Pot Groups See Obama 2012 Flip-Flop On MMJ

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   Pot Groups See Obama 2012 Flip-Flop On MMJ

Posted by CN Staff on April 12, 2012 at 14:02:47 PT
By Lauren Fox, U.S. News & World Report 
Source: Chicago Tribune  

Washington, D.C. -- President Barack Obama touted a progressive attitude on medical marijuana on the campaign trail, but since taking office, Obama's administration has hardened its stance and supporters of the drug are crying foul on the flip-flop.In a March 2008 interview, Obama told the Oregon Mail Tribune that medical marijuana ranked low on his list of priorities.
"I think the basic concept of using medical marijuana for the same purposes and with the same controls as other drugs prescribed by doctors, I think that's entirely appropriate," Obama said. "I'm not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue." But the numbers tell another story.Since October 2009, Americans for Safe Access, a group committed to legalizing medical marijuana, estimates the Justice Department has carried out 170 raids on dispensaries and cultivation facilities in nine states."Every time a dispensary is shut down, there are literally hundreds of people waking up that day wondering where they will get their medication," saysKris Hermes, the spokesperson for the Americans for Safe Access.Hermes says he's confident that the number of raids since the president took office is actually around 200."He's broadened his attack," Hermes says. "Until Obama was elected, George W. Bush had the most aggressive posture toward medical marijuana...he's been even more aggressive than his predecessor."Americans for Safe Access estimates that during the entire eight years of the Bush administration, roughly 200 raids were carried out, something Hermes says the Obama administration has accomplished in less than four years.Asked why the Obama administration had been so aggressive in pursuing federal drug law violations involving medical marijuana, the DOJ told Whispers, "Sorry, we do not have statistics to support [that accusation]."Pro-marijuana groups say Obama has expanded the attack on medical marijuana from DOJ to a wide array of other federal agencies, including the Internal Revenue Service, which has lead dozens of audits of medical marijuana businesses. The IRS has also aggressively penalized medical marijuana businesses for selling an illegal drug by requiring the businesses to pay federal taxes on gross income, not net income, eliminating the tax break most businesses receive from deducting payroll costs.The Department of Housing and Urban Development released a memo in 2011that allows public housing agencies to evict tenants who use medical marijuana. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also issued a memo in September banning the commercial sale of firearms to medical marijuana patients.There are 16 states and the District of Columbia that have their own medical marijuana laws.And experts say U.S. attorneys' threats against local and state officials who enact medical marijuana laws in their states have even slowed down the implementation of new laws in Arizona, Montana, Rhode Island, and Washington."It's a weaselly threat, but it has scared a few governors," says Bill Piper, the director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, a group committed to finding alternatives to current drug laws. "The intensity and multi-agency assault is far worse than the Bush administration and the Clinton administration."Allen St. Pierre, executive director for NORML, which seeks to reform marijuana laws, says the president might have political as well as legal motivations for reversing his initial position on medical marijuana. St. Pierre argues that current laws prohibit the Obama administration from turning a blind eye to state's medical marijuana legalization."In essence, the administration is sort of hamstrung," St. Pierre says.St. Pierre says letting states regulate marijuana as they please would burn up a lot of the president's political capital, adding that Obama has to take action or he risks earning a reputation in 2012 election as soft on drugs. Source: Chicago Tribune (IL)Author: Lauren Fox, U.S. News & World ReportPublished: April 12, 2012Copyright: 2012 Chicago Tribune CompanyWebsite: Medical Marijuana Archives 

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Comment #5 posted by ekim on April 13, 2012 at 10:04:48 PT
worldwide is on your side
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Comment #4 posted by greenmed on April 13, 2012 at 07:52:29 PT
We can hope, at least for our issues! :)>
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 12, 2012 at 19:29:42 PT
This is good news. Maryland and D.C. getting bombarded with new ways! As D.C. goes so goes the world! I know that's not right but I couldn't resist. LOL!
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Comment #2 posted by greenmed on April 12, 2012 at 18:51:48 PT
Reform in Maryland
"Marijuana Reform Bills Pass in Maryland"By Phillip Smithstopthedrugwar.orgThe Maryland General Assembly adjourned Monday night, but not before passing two bills that lighten up on marijuana possession. One bill, House Bill 350, reduces the penalty for possession of small amounts; the other, Senate Bill 422, makes marijuana possession a citeable offense.Sponsored by Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore) in the House and Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County) in the Senate, HB 350, lowers the penalty for possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana from up to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine to up to 90 days in jail and a $500 fine.The bill originally would have reduced the penalty for possession of up to 14 grams (a half ounce), but was amended in the House to only seven grams. The 10 gram limit was a compromise reached in conference committee. The final version of the bill passed the House 91-32 and the Senate 40-5.Introduced by Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery County), SB 422 was written in response to a state court of appeals ruling that arrestees had a statutory right to counsel and a Public Defender analysis that the ruling would cost the state $28 million. The bill repeals the requirement and makes marijuana possession an offense chargeable by citation, meaning an officer can arrest someone for pot possession, but cannot jail him. The final version of the bill passed the House 81-58 and the Senate 45-0.Both bills are now before Gov. Martin O'Malley and are awaiting his signature.
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on April 12, 2012 at 17:04:16 PT

From The Washington Post Blog
Four Medical Marijuana Shops Move Toward Approval***By Mike DeBonis April 12, 2012 The District’s health department announced Thursday that four applicants to run marijuana dispensaries have been advanced to the next stage of the approval process.
 They are ready to locate in various commercial corridors across the city. 
One, Herbal Alternatives, is proposing to locate downtown, in the 1100 block of 20th Street NW. Metropolitan Wellness Center is looking at the Barracks Row strip on Capitol Hill. Takoma Wellness Center is prepared to set up in its namesake neighborhood on the 6900 block of Blair Road NW. And Center City Care is proposing to occupy a North Capitol Street storefront just north of New York Avenue. 
Seventeen applications were accepted by last year’s filing deadline. The four named today scored enough points in the course of a panel review to seek approval from their respective advisory neighborhood commissions. 
Najma Roberts, a health department spokeswoman, said the other applicants will not have an opportunity during this round of licensing to improve their applications. “This list is pretty final,” she said.
 The move to advance the dispensary licensing comes two weeks after officials gave the green light to six medical marijuana cultivation centers. Those businesses now are pursuing business licenses and other permits in order to get final approval to open and operate. 
Only Center City Care appears to have won the right to both register as a cultivation center and also move ahead in the dispensary process. 
ANCs have about a month to weigh in, and health department officials expect to then complete the dispensary application process in late June. Depending on how quickly winning applicants will then be able to get permits, marijuana could be available to qualified patients within weeks after that.Copyright: 2012 The Washington PostURL:
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