Millions of ordinary Americans are now able to walk into a marijuana dispensary and purchase bags of pot on the spot for a variety of medical ailments. But if you’re a researcher like Sue Sisley, a psychiatrist who studies post traumatic stress disorder, getting access to the drug isn’t nearly so easy.
That’s because the federal government has a virtual monopoly on growing and cultivating marijuana for scientific research, and getting access to the drug requires three separate levels of approval.
Marijuana offers hope for 6-year-old girl with rare condition: In marijuana, Lydia Schaeffer’s family members think they might have found a treatment that works. Now, they are trying to help legalize the drug.
Sisley’s fight to get samples for her study — now in its fourth month — illuminates the complex politics of marijuana in the United States.
While 20 states and the District have made medical marijuana legal — in Colorado and Washington state the drug is also legal for recreational use — it remains among the most tightly contr. . . . . READ MORE
DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart reportedly told a group of sheriffs at a closed-door conference in Washington that she was frustrated by the administration’s recent openness toward state legalization. Although Leonhart’s remarks were not made publicly, her pointed references to the president could put her job in jeopardy.
“She was honest,” Mike H. Leidholt, president of the National Sheriffs’ Association, told the Herald. “She may get fired. But she was honest.”
The administration so far has shown itself willing to let Colorado’s and Washington’s experiments with marijuana legalization move ahead. But those baby steps toward respecting state legislation appear to have sown dissension at the DEA.
Leonhart, a former Baltimore cop and long-time DEA agent before ascending to the agency’s top role, staunchly opposes mainstreaming marijuana use. In 2012 House Judiciary testimon. . . . . READ MORE
But, as SF Weekly noted, a closer look at the data reveals that the DEA has not become less aggressive. Rather, the agency appears to have been more effective by making fewer raids, but arresting more people and seizing more pot.
While the number of busts has decreased by about 22 percent, the amount of marijuana confiscated and the number of arrests made during raids have increased by about that much. In 2010, authorities pulled 7.4 million plants from 2,272 sites, resulting in 1,591 arrests and 59,928 pounds of pot, according to the DEA. In 2012, authorities confiscated 2.08 million plants from 1,784 sites. But the grand pull during those raids was a whopping 2,045 arrests and 64,920 pounds of pot.
As SF Weekly noted, the shift is likely due in part to the DEA’s disbandment of its nearly 30-year-old Campaign Against Marijuana Planting, or CAMP program. Allen St. Pierre, executive. . . . . READ MORE
To all appearances, Connecticut is well on the way to making medical marijuana available to people who are suffering from certain serious illnesses. Regulations have been drafted and will be voted on by a legislative committee next month. Physicians have thus far certified 660 patients as eligible for the palliative substance. Proposals for production facilities have surfaced in Watertown and Middletown, with others on the way.
But there remains one nagging, unresolved issue: It is still a federal crime to use, cultivate, dispense or possess marijuana. Indeed, since 2009 the Justice Department has conducted more than 170 aggressive raids in inie medical marijuana states, according to the advocacy group Americans for Safe Access.
Connecticut officials think they have crafted a strict, tightly regulated law that will not draw the attention of federal authorities. We hope they are right. The better option is to end the disconnect between state and federal laws, so people with cancer, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis. . . . . READ MORE
Peter Bensinger, a former Drug Enforcement Administration chief, was one of eight former DEA chiefs who recently spoke out in favor of the federal government needing to nullify Colorado and Washington’s laws legalizing recreational marijuana use. They said the Obama administration has reacted too slowly and should immediately sue to force the states to rescind the legislation.
For all the political flak that President Obama is receiving for digital surveillance of Americans, he deserves some praise for protecting Americans on another front. His administration has helped dampen moves by some Latin American leaders to legalize marijuana in the Western Hemisphere.
The Christian Science Monitor
A meeting of the Organization of the American States ended Thursday in Guatemala without the expected “serious” discussion among the 34 nations to legalize pot. Just last month, an OAS report recommended. . . . . READ MORE
If American society’s tolerance for marijuana is now growing, then what happened in Montana illustrates just what can happen when the government decides things have gone too far. Pot advocates were running caravans, helping hundreds of residents in a day get medical marijuana user cards. Some doctors who conducted cursory exams on scores of people were fined. As the number of users quickly grew, so did a retail industry that led some to dub the state “Big High Country.”
Today, thousands of medical pot providers have gone out of business, and a health department survey showed that the number of registered users have fallen to less than a quarter of their 2011 numbers.
The drop was driven in part by a tougher 2011 law on medical marijuana use and distribution. But more than anything, marijuana advocates say, the demise of the once-booming medical pot industry was the result of the largest federal drug-trafficking investigation in the state’s industry.
The three-year investigation by the U.S. attorney’s office, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal agencies wrapped up last week when the last of 33 convicted defendant. . . . . READ MORE
That is when the men say police officers confronted them, sometimes violently, searched their clothing and discovered small amounts of marijuana, according to a federal civil rights lawsuit that is expected to be filed on Thursday in United States District Court for the Southern District, in Manhattan.
The lawsuit, filed on behalf of five Bronx men, contends that New York City police officers routinely stop black and Latino men without cause and then charge them with low-level misdemeanors when their pockets are emptied and small amounts of marijuana are found.
In each of the cases, the amount of marijuana found on the men would have amounted to little more than noncriminal violations punishable by a fine of up to $100 for first-time offenders. But the lawsuit contends that the charging officers falsely claimed the marijuana was in public view, making it a low-level misdemeanor under Section 221.10 of the New York Penal Code, which allows for sentences of up to three m. . . . . READ MORE