Archive for May, 2010
Posted by Don Duncan
Posted by Caren Woodson
Rep. Polis, one of the newest members of the House Judiciary Committee, asked AG Eric Holder to clarify more questions about the DOJ’s medical marijuana policy.
Building on Rep. Cohen’s questions to AG Holder, Rep. Polis first offered his applause and support for the DOJ memo disseminated last fall to US Attorneys discouraging prosecution of individuals in clear and unambiguous compliance with state law. Then, Rep. Polis asked the following:
Will you describe the objective processes DEA and US Attorneys are using in order to make a determination about whether individuals are in “clear and unambiguous” compliance with state law?
To which, AG Holder provided the following response:
I hate to keep saying this over and over, but it happens on a case by case basis.
We look at the state law, the restrictions, and how the law is constructed. A number of other factors in the memo provide additional guides; is marijuana being sold consistent with state law? Are firearms associated with the sales? These and other factors contained in the the memo are what US Attorney are supposed to consider when trying to determine whether federal resources are going to be used to go after somebody.
Posted by Caren Woodson
Moments ago, during a House Judiciary Committee hearing, AG Holder was asked about the Department’s approach to the rescheduling issue.
Rep. Cohen asked Mr. Holder the following:
On April 29, Federal District Court Judge George H. Wu issued a 41-page written sentencing order stating that medical marijuana provider Charles C. Lynch was “caught in the middle of the shifting positions” on the question of marijuana for medical use, and that “much of the problems could be ameliorated…by the reclassification of marijuana from Schedule I.” Will you share your thoughts with the Committee about how your Department will approach the rescheduling question?
AG Holder’s response was rather predictable (if you’ve been paying attention):
Our approach is to look at the marijuana issue in it’s totality. Mexican cartels get most of the revenue from trafficking marijuana. So far as state medical marijuana laws are concerned, we will not use federal resources to target medical marijuana patients or their providers. Instead, we will be focusing on major traffickers.
It’s not exactly the answer we had hoped for. However, we applaud Rep. Cohen for taking the issue up during this time. (Note: This was an especially timely question because the rescheduling petition is waiting for DOJ review).
Posted by Caren Woodson
After seven hours of debate, and in the wake of firebombings on two medical marijuana businesses in Billings, Montana, the City Council voted this morning to impose a six-month moratorium on new medical marijuana businesses in the city. As a result:
- New marijuana businesses will not be issued business licenses;
- Existing businesses are frozen in their current locations; and
- The 12 existing businesses within 1,000 feet of schools will not be required to move
The early morning vote followed debate on several interim options, including an all-out ban on all medical marijuana sales in the city. However, dozens of activists defended appropriate regulation of the medical marijuana businesses and warned that an all-out ban on marijuana businesses may force costly litigation to recover loss investments. Consequently, the Council adopted a less-controversial moratorium whereby the City government will have about six months to study and make recommendations about appropriate ordinances, zoning or otherwise, to appropriately control and regulate these necessary establishments.
According to City Planning Director, Candi Beaudry, the city has issued 89 licenses for medical marijuana businesses, but less than half were in operation and several licenses were still “under review.”
For more information about how to get involved, please check out ASA’s Montana affiliate, Patients and Families United.
BOE Finally Agrees with Advocates that Medical Marijuana Generates $100 Million Annually in Sales Tax Revenue for the StateThursday, May 6th, 2010
Posted by Kris Hermes
The East Bay Express reported yesterday that the state collects up to $100 million per year from taxing the sale of medical marijuana.
California Board of Equalization official Anita Gore told the Express this week that the board estimates it collects anywhere from $50 million to more than $100 million in sales taxes per year from medical cannabis dispensaries.
Although this amount of revenue seems startlingly high, Americans for Safe Access has said for the past two years that the Board of Equalization (BOE) was collecting at least $100 million annually from hundreds of dispensaries. This figure was corroborated by California NORML, which conducted a sales tax study separately from ASA.
Posted by Steph Sherer
The campaign for safe access passed a bittersweet milestone on Tuesday, when the District Council adopted regulations for medical cannabis in Washington, DC. The significance of having safe access to medical cannabis in the shadow of our federal institutions is not to be underestimated. How long can Congress hold on to the premise that cannabis is not medicine when it is legally available to qualified patients inside the District through regulated outlets?