Ammiano's Cannabis Bill a 'Rumor' -- For Now

Categories: Marijuana
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Buzz kill
You know the old saying: Where there's Tom Ammiano, there's cannabis.

California's most cannabis-friendly assemblyman is being connected with an "omnibus cannabis bill" meant to reform, regulate, and clarify the many gray areas in California's medical marijuana laws. Aside from that, some said, this bill would allow California's dispensaries -- all nonprofit collectives or cooperatives -- to finally end the "charade" and let businesses that sell medical cannabis turn a profit.

That would be a huge breakthrough... if it were true.

The problem is this: Ammiano has no plans to allow California medical marijuana providers to (openly) turn a profit. In fact, the bill is many months away from being written, and any version of it will likely not surface until the fall -- at the earliest, an Ammiano spokesman said Wednesday.

"The rumor was, we have a catch-all omnibus cannabis bill, but the fact is, we're just starting the process," said Quintin Mecke, Ammiano's spokesman. "Everyone acknowledges that something needs to be done, but the process might not be completed this year."

Before he makes the leap, Ammiano wants to see written a successor bill to last year's Proposition 19, Mecke said.

Exactly who is writing that bill or what will be in it is unclear. Representatives for Richard Lee of Oaksterdam University, the chief sponsor of Prop. 19, remained tight-lipped about who is on the organizing committee.

So until a bill is conceived, the content of any future Ammiano bill is mere wishful thinking.

The most pressing issue for California's cannabis cultivators and distributors is how they should interpret the word "sell." That was partly what Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley jumped on when he cracked down -- hard -- on LA's dispensaries until the LA City Council could cobble together regulations. Clarifying that, and the laws regarding transportation of medicine, will be "key," Mecke said.

It's also worth mentioning that the Bay Area doesn't even need such a bill. Medical cannabis dispensaries operate with little issue in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley, where city leaders established local rules governing the implementation of medical marijuana, just as Senate Bill 420 allowed them to do. The problem is that other cities, like LA and San Jose, avoided the issue entirely until dispensaries -- some of which are run by unsavory characters -- proliferated, creating problems that required the involvment of law enforcement.

"It's frustrating because [situations like San Jose's] are used politically as examples of the system running amok, when, frankly, it hasn't," Mecke said.

In any event, Ammiano will spend the spring and summer in wait-and-see mode, while meeting with "stakeholders" like dispensary owners, and cops, to assess everyone's needs.

Until then, don't expect anything more than rumors.

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Leonard Krivitsky, MD
Leonard Krivitsky, MD

Medical (and recreational) Canna-business will grow and flourish, regardless of all the obstacles thrown it way. From the Holistic point of view Cannabis is markedly pro-evolutionary, as it increases appetite, induces rest, suppresses violent urges and enhances sexual experience. Cannabis is not physically addictive, as it lacks the documented "physical withdrawal" syndrome, necessary for a physical dependence determination. The so-called "gateway drug" theory has already been determined to be invalid, and the recent scientific study declared it "half-baked". Drug Marinol is NOT medical marijuana (and it would seem that any reasonable person would understand this), as the whole plant has over 70 active compounds, therapeutically interacting with one another in many intricate and complex ways. It is very important to stress again and again that Cannabis use, as opposed to alcohol use, suppresses violent urges and behaviors, and that any increased anti-Cannabis repression in this country will be accompanied by increase in drinking, hard drug use, and violence, including among young people. Now, to say that Cannabis plant does not have medicinal properties is the same as to say that the earth is flat, and this would simply not be considered a "rational" statement. Would then the fact that Shafer Commission recommended an immediate decriminalization of marijuana back in 1972, or the fact that Judge Francis Young called marijuana "one of the safest therapeutically-active substances known to man" really surprise anyone? I don't think so. To win this struggle, just like with all Civil Rights struggles, we will need to overcome the "consciousness of fear", and repeat the TRUTH about Cannabis again and again, until the necessary "qualitative shift" occurs in our common consciousness, and we will be amazed that the ridiculous Cannabis prohibition really lasted for as long as it did!

malcolmkyle
malcolmkyle

Like it or not, there has never been, and nor will there ever be, a drug-free society; the use of addictive or recreational drugs is a natural part of human existence. Nobody here is claiming that any substance is beneficial for either the individual or society. It is true however that certain substances help the soul heal and relieve pain while others provide short-term relief from a monotonous existence at the risk of possible long-term health problems.

An important aspect of Individual freedom is the right to do with yourself as you please as long as your actions cause no unnecessary suffering or direct harm to others. Many among us may disagree with this, and they should be free to believe what they wish, but the moment they are willing to use force to impose their will on the rest of us, is the exact same moment that the petty criminals/dealers, the Mafia, drug barons, terrorists and corrupt government officials/agencies enter the equation. The problems created by self harm then rapidly pale into insignificance as society spirals downwards into a dark abyss, while the most shady characters and black-market corporate entities exponentially enrich themselves in a feeding frenzy likened to that of piranhas on bath-tub meth.

Prohibition is nothing less than a grotesque dystopian nightmare; if you support it you must be either ignorant, stupid, brainwashed, insane or corrupt.

malcolmkyle
malcolmkyle

While bullets fly into El Paso, bodies pile up in the streets of Juarez, and thugs with gold-plated AK-47s and albino tiger pens are beheading federal officials and dissolving their torsos in vats of acid, here are some facts concerning the peaceful situation in Holland. --Please save a copy and use it as a reference when debating prohibitionists who claim the exact opposite concerning reality as presented here below:

Cannabis-coffee-shops are not only restricted to the Capital of Holland, Amsterdam. They can be found in more than 50 cities and towns across the country. At present, only the retail sale of five grams is tolerated, so production remains criminalized. The mayors of a majority of the cities with coffeeshops have long urged the national government to also decriminalize the supply side.

A poll taken last year indicated that some 50% of the Dutch population thinks cannabis should be fully legalized while only 25% wanted a complete ban. Even though 62% of the voters said they had never taken cannabis. An earlier poll also indicated 80% opposing coffee shop closures. http://www.dutchnews.nl/news/a...

It is true that the number of coffee shops has fallen from its peak of around 2,500 throughout the country to around 700 now. The problems, if any, concern mostly marijuana-tourists and are largely confined to cities and small towns near the borders with Germany and Belgium. These problems, mostly involve traffic jams, and are the result of cannabis prohibition in neighboring countries. Public nuisance problems with the coffee shops are minimal when compared with bars, as is demonstrated by the rarity of calls for the police for problems at coffee shops.

While it is true that lifetime and past-month use rates did increase back in the seventies and eighties, the critics shamefully fail to report that there were comparable and larger increases in cannabis use in most, if not all, neighboring countries which continued complete prohibition.

According to the World Health Organization only 19.8 percent of the Dutch have used marijuana, less than half the U.S. figure. In Holland 9.7% of young adults (aged 15 to 24) consume soft drugs once a month, comparable to the level in Italy (10.9%) and Germany (9.9%) and less than in the UK (15.8%) and Spain (16.4%). Few transcend to becoming problem drug users (0.44%), well below the average (0.52%) of the compared countries.

The WHO survey of 17 countries finds that the United States has the highest usage rates for nearly all illegal substances.

In the U.S. 42.4 percent admitted having used marijuana. The only other nation that came close was New Zealand, another bastion of get-tough policies, at 41.9 percent. No one else was even close. The results for cocaine use were similar, with the U.S. again leading the world by a large margin.

Even more striking is what the researchers found when they asked young adults when they had started using marijuana. Again, the U.S. led the world, with 20.2 percent trying marijuana by age 15. No other country was even close, and in Holland, just 7 percent used marijuana by 15 -- roughly one-third of the U.S. figure.thttp://www.alternet.org/drugs...

In 1998, the US Drug Czar General Barry McCaffrey claimed that the U.S. had less than half the murder rate of the Netherlands. That’s drugs, he explained. The Dutch Central Bureau for Statistics immediately issued a special press release explaining that the actual Dutch murder rate is 1.8 per 100,000 people, or less than one-quarter the U.S. murder rate.

Here is a very recent article by a psychiatrist from Amsterdam, exposing Drug Czar misinformationhttp://tinyurl.com/247a8mp

Now let's look at a comparative analysis of the levels of cannabis use in two cities: Amsterdam and San Francisco, which was published in the American Journal of Public Health May 2004,

The San Francisco prevalence survey showed that 39.2% of the population had used cannabis. This is 3 times the prevalence found in the Amsterdam sample

Source: Craig Reinarman, Peter D.A. Cohen and Hendrien L. Kaal, The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy http://www.mapinc.org/lib/limi... Moreover, 51% of people who had smoked cannabis in San Francisco reported that they were offered heroin, cocaine or amphetamine the last time they purchased cannabis. In contrast, only 15% of Amsterdam residents who had ingested marijuana reported the same conditions. Prohibition is the ‘Gateway Policy’ that forces cannabis seekers to buy from criminals who gladly expose them to harder drugs.

The indicators of death, disease and corruption are even much better in the Netherlands than in Sweden for instance, a country praised by UNODC for its so called successful drug policy.

Here's Antonio Maria Costa doing his level best to avoid discussing the success of Dutch drug policy:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

The Netherlands also provides heroin on prescription under tight regulation to about 1500 long-term heroin addicts for whom methadone maintenance treatment has failed.http://www.rnw.nl/english/arti...

The Dutch justice ministry announced, in May 2009, the closure of eight prisons and cut 1,200 jobs in the prison system. A decline in crime has left many cells empty. There's simply not enough criminalshttp://www.nrc.nl/internationa...

For further information, kindly check out this very informative FAQ provided by Radio Netherlands: http://www.rnw.nl/english/arti...or go to this page: http://www.rnw.nl/english/doss...

upwinger
upwinger

The only tax I will voting YES on is a tax on the sale of marijuana.

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