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Last year, in a post for bloggerChristopher Wark, a woman named Lindsey from Capetown, South Africa explained how she used cannabis oil to overcome her battle with colon cancer. In an updated post just yesterday, Lindsey said that she will spend the rest of her life telling patients about the benefits of cannabis oil and how it can help them to stay alive.

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“This story is written for those who are suffering with cancer, or those who have friends with cancer," wrote Lindsey. “It’s about not believing blindly what people tell you about your body.”

Lindsey’s statements are not what they may seem, though. She is not saying that the cannabis oil cured her cancer. In fact, she’s making no assertions about the drug’s actual healing effects. Instead, she’s saying that cannabis oil helped her alleviate the pain associated with having and, in most cases, treating cancer.

According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer- and chemotherapy-related side effects include pain, fatigue, nausea, nerve changes, hair loss, depression, and gastrointestinal issues to name a few. The combination of these could prove to be too much to handle for some patients. A 2008 study found that cancer patients in the U.S. were almost two times more likely to commit suicide than individuals in the general population.

Lindsey is no stranger to pain so grave that it causes desperation. She detailed her experience in the post. “By March/April – I was well on my way to being a morphine addict – I was in pain, I felt like I was dying,” she wrote.

Though she previously thought that her cancer was successfully reversed through cannabis use in September 2012, a surgery revealed that Lindsey had what doctors thought was an aggressive adenocarcinoma in her pelvis. They told her that the cancer was in stage four and that she only had a 40 percent chance of surviving.

It’s hard to believe (extremely hard to believe), but Lindsey says that what doctors thought was stage four cancer was actually a fistula — for which she had surgery a couple of weeks ago. She is using cannabis oil to help her recover.

“The operation was risky, it might have not worked, but it did, and I’m 20 days post op. I’m back on the cannabis oil and feeling fabulous!” wrote Lindsey. “My aggressive cancer is gone…the same cancer that was supposed kill me in months. I am alive today because of the oil, and I will spend the rest of my life helping other people to stay alive too.”


 
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As a few of our readers may be aware, "420" is a quasi-mystical number for pot smokers. According to stoner lore, it was the time of day, in the 1970s, that a small group of smokers at San Rafael High School in California would meet to get high. Somehow, the number has come down to us as "the universal time to get high" and/or a convenient shorthand for marijuana. For our purposes, it's a flimsy but welcome pretext to spend this week -- hinged as it is by Wednesday, 4/20 -- digging into the politics of pot in America. We start, below, with an overview of developments from the past year.

Under federal law, it's illegal to possess or use, cultivate or sell marijuana. Period. True, in 15 states (plus the District of Columbia) using pot on the recommendation of a doctor for medical purposes -- say, to manage symptoms of HIV or glaucoma or cancer -- is perfectly legal under state law; as is growing and dispensing it, for those same purposes. But the feds reserve the right to prosecute, right along the supply chain -- state laws be damned.

America's prisons are crammed full of low-level drug offenders; most were collared for having on them a drug, marijuana, that's arguably less harmful -- to themselves and anyone else -- than tobacco and alcohol. (Of course, for people dealing with, say, chronic pain, it has health benefits.)

There are advocates of more liberal marijuana laws who want legalization outright--that is, not just for medical uses but for... stoner uses; others want to soften the unduly harsh penalties for marijuana possession, which tend to fall heaviest on minorities; others want more states to pass medical marijuana laws. Some want all of these things -- one as a means to another. All agree that the status quo cannot stand.

Liberalizers have had a busy 12 months -- since the last 4/20 -- and so have their opponents. Here's a quick overview of the year, covering both "progress" (from the liberal reform standpoint) and "setbacks."

Progress

2010

May: The District of Columbia Council voted unanimously to allow people with certain chronic illnesses -- including HIV, glaucoma, and cancer -- to obtain medical marijuana, on a doctor's recommendation, from city-approved dispensaries. (More)

July: The Department of Veterans Affairs announced it would formally allow patients treated at VA hospitals and clinics to use medical marijuana in states where it is legal, a policy clarification veterans had long sought. (More)

October: A Gallup poll found a record 46 percent of Americans approving of legalization, compared with 50 percent opposing. (More)

October: California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill changing the crime of marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction, the lowest level of offense under state law. (More)

Ari Berman: Why California's Proposition 19 Had a Real Shot at Passing

November: With the narrow passage of Proposition 203, Arizona became the 15th state to approve medical Marijuana for people with chronic or debilitating diseases. (More)

2011

March: The San Francisco-based ArcView Group formed the medical marijuana industry's first investment network to link cannabis entrepreneurs to qualified investors with "seed" money. (More)

March: Medical marijuana industry leaders launched a Washington-based trade association, the National Cannabis Industry Association, focused primarily on lobbying Congress. (More)

March: A high-profile report predicted the U.S. medical marijuana market would reach $1.7 billion in sales in 2011 and double in size in the next five years as the number of patients grows and more states allow medical marijuana. "We're witnessing the beginning of a legal business ecosystem forming around medical marijuana," said the editor of the report. (More)

MarijuanAmerica: From California to downtown Detroit, there's a green revolution sweeping across the nation

March: According to a Harris poll, three quarters of Americans say they support legalization of marijuana for medical treatment (74%) with almost half saying they strongly support it (48%).  Opposing: 18% (More)

April: A bill legalizing medical marijuana in Delaware sailed through the state senate, 18-3, moving on to the House. (More)

April: Montana Gov. Brian Schweitzer vetoed a Republican-backed bill that would have repealed the state’s voter-approved medical marijuana law, calling it “frivolous, unconstitutional or in direct contradiction to the expressed will of the people of Montana." (More)

April: Arizona's medical-marijuana law came into effect, allowing  people to apply with the state health agency  for permission to use marijuana to treat debilitating medical conditions. (More)

Setbacks

2010

June: Hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles were forced to close up shop for failure to comply with a new anti-pot city ordinance. (More)

November: Attorney General Eric Holder said his Justice Department would prosecute federal marijuana laws in California aggressively even if state voters went ahead and approved a legalization initiative on the November ballot. (More)

A Drug War Truce? Obama's new drug czar says the administration won't legalize pot — but pressure for real reform is growing

November: Californians defeated Proposition 19, a ballot measure that would have legalized possession and growing of marijuana outright, and taxed and regulated its use. (More)

November: Medical marijuana ballot measures went down to defeat in Oregon and South Dakota.

2011

February: The Montana House of Representatives voted to repeal the state’s six-year-old medical marijuana law. (More)

February: An analysis by the Drug Policy Alliance found that arrests for marijuana possession in New York City had risen for six years in a row, with 2010's numbers 69 percent higher than 2005's. Last year, 50,383 people were arrested, or 140 a day, at a cost to the city of $75 million. (More)

March: Los Angeles city told 60 marijuana dispensaries they must shut down immediately, two weeks after the city attorney's office ordered another 141 pot shops to shutter. (More)

April: Washington State Gov. Chris Gregoire said she wouldn't sign legislation to create licensed medical marijuana dispensaries after the Justice Department warned it could result in a federal crackdown. (More)




Read more: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/national-affairs/the-state-of-marijuana-reform-in-america-20110418#ixzz2bX2bClAr 
Follow us: @rollingstone on Twitter | RollingStone on Facebook

 
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Public marijuana use is illegal but seldom punished in Denver
 
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by SOURCE on JULY 1, 2013 · 2 COMMENTS

in CALIFORNIACIVIL RIGHTSCULTUREHEALTHSAN DIEGO


By Terrie Best / San Diego Americans for Safe Access

On Thursday, June 27, 2013, legal cannabis patient and defendant Tim O’Shea’s jury came out of deliberations hopelessly deadlocked and Judge Charles Rogers declared a mistrial.

The jurors deliberated for approximately 16 hours over the course of the last few days and the waiting game was one of the most brutal I have ever endured.  After polling the jurors to confirm the deadlock, Judge Rogers asked for information on the split. It was nine not guilty and three guilty.

The judge had some very poignant words about their service in this difficult case of emerging law and the jury answered back with their own thanks for the obvious respect he showed to them during the trial.

Judge Rogers spoke at length about the importance of the nine not guilty juror votes, recalling that in his lifetime bi-racial marriage was illegal but change emerged and jurors began to use their verdicts to fight the tyranny of government until the racially motivated law was nullified. Throughout the trial I thought many times what a wonderful man Judge Rogers is and I loved hearing him say that juries reflect the beliefs of citizens and he believes the not guilty votes will send a message to the DA’s office about what the people really want.

After the Judge spoke and declared the mistrial, defense counsel Mark Bluemel made an oral motion called a PC1385 requesting that the judge dismiss the case in the interest of justice. His Honor declined to hear the motion until 9:00AM Monday, July 1st to give the prosecution time to decide if they would dismiss on their own. It is my opinion and that of several supporters that if the DA’s office indicates they will retry the case, the judge will grant Mr. Bluemel’s motion.

Should that happen, it will be the second time a judge has stepped in and dismissed a medical cannabis case in which La Touche was the prosecutor. Last year, in the Dexter Padilla case, Judge Laura Parsky, in a very rare move dismissed two cannabis related counts against Dexter in the interest of justice. Her Honor asserted La Touche was bordering on ‘disingenuous’ in the way she presented her arguments in this case, a humiliating moment for the Deputy DA that clearly she has not learned from. One hopes she will avoid a second shameful lesson from this judge and decline to re-file against Tim O’Shea.

A word about the abhorrent tactics of Deborah La Touche: I was invited by Mark Bluemel to sit at the defense counsel table during voir dire to help with jury selection but La Touche fought hard to have me barred from the table; lying to the judge that I am a convicted felon. I am NOT a convicted felon, I have no felony record. Now that the trial is over, I called La Touche, told her I knew of her lie and asked her to never do that again. I intend to write a letter to the Judge too. No disrespect to felons but it irks me that I sat in court with this lie to the judge hanging over me.

After the jurors filed out of Department 57 of the San Diego Superior Courthouse, I asked them if they would like to speak about the case. Most declined but one kind thoughtful woman sat down with me as well as two alternates who had not been in the deliberating room but who had strong opinions they wanted to share.

What I leaned was of the nine, most walked into deliberations already of the opinion that Tim was not guilty. The 16 hours were spent trying to get to a full acquittal. While the juror I spoke with would not name the three hold outs, she said the sticking point for the three was the amount of cannabis on-hand. She felt more education about dosages and medical need would have helped change the three guilty votes to not guilty.

Other key points were that none of the 12 believed the dice game score card La Touche tried to pass off as indication of profit were pay and owe sheets, and none believed Detective Paxton’s testimony that the cannabis on-hand had a street value of $175,000, but they did not think the film canisters Tim had in his tent helped his case either.

In speaking with the two available alternates, they said they would have voted not guilty had they been called in. Which means, of an impartial panel of 15 people, Mark Bluemel was able to convince 11 citizens of Tim’s innocence.

All who watched can agree that Mr. Bluemel’s defense of Tim was stellar and Judge Roger’s congratulated him on his work. I am very grateful that both he and co-counsel, Lisa Wong fought so hard for Tim and I hope they are basking in their victories right now.

This was an emotional trial for me. I’ve know Tim and his brother, Ted since I was a teenager and he did not deserve to face this ordeal. I’m drained but happy!  I want to thank all of the supporters and you, readers who tolerated my daily updates, especially the folks who contacted me with their appreciation. Thanks for the interest!

For more information about this case please contact me at ilegalsmile@hotmail.com.




 
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SAN FRANCISCO — The California Supreme Court on Monday unanimously upheld the right of cities to ban medical marijuana dispensaries.

Photo: Los Angeles Times


“While some counties and cities might consider themselves well suited to accommodating medical marijuana dispensaries, conditions in other communities might lead to the reasonable decision that such facilities within their borders, even if carefully sited, well managed, and closely monitored, would present unacceptable local risks and burdens,” Justice Marvin R. Baxter wrote for the court.

Although voters or the Legislature may decide to adopt “a different approach” in the future, nothing in the current laws restricts the right of local governments to declare dispensaries a nuisance that must be prohibited, the court said.

“Facilities that dispense medical marijuana may pose a danger of increased crime, congestion, blight, and drug abuse, and the extent of this danger may vary widely from community to community,” the court said.

The court’s ruling upheld a ban on dispensaries by the city of Riverside. About 200 local governments in California prohibit such storefront operations, and Monday’s decision is expected to lead to more bans.



Read more: http://fox5sandiego.com/2013/05/06/california-supreme-court-upholds-medical-pot-bans/#ixzz2bWx58m2f

 
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SAN DIEGO – The California Supreme Court ruled Monday that 
cities have the authority to ban medical marijuana dispensaries.  San Diego Mayor Bob Filner said he hopes San Diego won’t travel that road.

In a 7-0 ruling in a case that involved the City of Riverside, the high court found that the Compassionate Use Act passed by voters in 1995 gave users
a limited protection against arrest, but did not bar cities from regulating
dispensaries.



“I don’t like it, but that’s the ruling,” Filner said. “I would hope that our city would move to regulated access.”

For the first time in a long time, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith agreed.

“If someone who is seriously ill and in pain and wants to use it, I’m not going to say no or put you in jail for doing that,” said Goldsmith.

But Goldsmith added the court’s decision to uphold a city’s right to ban or allow pot collectives and dispensaries vindicates his tough stance on prosecuting illegal operations.

“Now, we know we were right. What we were doing was enforcing the laws on zoning,” Goldsmith said.

The city has been in legal limbo on the issue for years. The City Council wants to go back to a 2011 ordinance which allows dispensaries in some industrial zones, but the mayor proposed a less restrictive ordinance that would allow for the dispensaries in commercial and retail zones.

Monday’s ruling however will clear the slate against lawsuits and give the city a fresh start on crafting an ordinance everyone agrees is needed.

“It’s almost like a treadmill,” said Goldsmith. “We’ve made some progress because we know the rights of cities but the next step is what about the federal law.”

“We need an ordinance,” said medicinal marijuana attorney Jessica McElfresh. “We need it now so that we stop debating these question and instead focus on getting places licensed and regulated.”

McElfresh said the lack of city laws hurt everyone, but especially those who need it the most.

“There are statistics show having a well regulated dispensary – a store front where people can get their medicine – leads to far better quality life for people who are suffering and better and safer access,” McElfresh said.

In January, Filner tried to force the city attorney to stop the prosecution of dispensaries while the city works on an agreeable ordinance but the council over-ruled him.

“We did that based on zoning laws,” said Goldsmith. “It’s an important decision because it clears the way for a clean city council decision for where they want to exist.”



Read more: http://fox5sandiego.com/2013/05/06/ca-supreme-court-ruling-on-medicinal-marijuana/#ixzz2bWvhXpbM

 
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SAN DIEGO – Several marijuana dispensaries have popped up in San Diego and the city isn’t doing anything about it.

Around 25 dispensaries have opened in the past few months, including 10 in Pacific Beach.

Mayor Bob Filner and City Council have been working on an ordinance to zone these types of shops, but nothing has been made official yet.

Scott Chipman of San Diegans for Safe Neighborhoods has filed complaints with the city, but the neighborhood code compliance department has stayed silent.

“It’s a very disturbing thing to see the city allow more and more of these stores to open without any enforcement,” said Chipman.

“Selling marijuana is not a legal grey area. Selling marijuana is illegal by state and federal law and that’s what these stores are doing,” Chipman said. “They are basically drug dealers operating in our business districts.”

City Attorney Jan Goldsmith told Fox5 his hands are tied.

Goldsmith’s office shutdown more than 100 dispensaries in the past two years, but hasn’t prosecuted a dispensary case since January after Filner stopped enforcing the zoning laws.

“It’s sort of like having a speed limit, but no police officers to enforce it,” Goldsmith said.

“This mayor has decided not to refer them. The City Council has directed him three times to refer cases to us and he has refused. In many cases it is between city council and the mayor,” Goldsmith added. “We’ll do our job.”



Read more: http://fox5sandiego.com/2013/06/10/marijuana-dispensaries-reopen-in-san-diego/#ixzz2bWuF8yuz

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