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Kucinich Calls Hempfest Attendees to Action

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Representative Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), who may make a bid for an opening representative seat in Washington if his existing seat in Ohio is eliminated because of re-districting, spoke on Saturday at Seattle’s Hempfest.

His speech called for – among other things – the legalization and decriminalization of marijuana.

Because we believe it’s worth reading, the entire text of his speech is quoted below – warning: it’s pretty long.

“Hello Seattle. On this day, in this place of great beauty we celebrate the beauty of nature The wondrous nature of each other. Our presence here binds us as a community. It empowers us. It strengthens us. We become most visible, en mass. We extend our reach. We sense new possibilities. And the creative spark which births action can usher in a new world.

Open America! Show yourself! Mass action! This is why, and how, recent movements for freedom in Tunisia and Egypt gained momentum. This is how Gandhi’s march to the sea cast off the British Empire. This is how America’s suffragettes gained for women the right to vote. This is how Dr. Martin Luther King’s March on Washington became a pivotal moment in the history of the civil rights movement.

People became visible. They went to the streets. They linked arms. They marched. They sang: “ We Shall Overcome”. They walked the uplit path of social and economic justice. They marched to glory, not for themselves, but for generations to come.

We gather in a common determination for change. A sense of commonality of purpose awakens. An awareness grows. The moment arrives to exercise a new commitment to cast off an old order of things. This same awareness brought America’s founders to put in writing a Declaration of Independence to proclaim “A New Order Follows”. Today it is not a financial deficit that will bring America down, it is a deficit of public action. When people discover what happens when one person determines to make a difference and then merges with the many like-minded, new possibilities unfold.

Seattle, you understand this. Because in 1999, tens of thousands of citizen activists, including Teamsters and “Turtles”, coursed through nearby streets on behalf of social and economic justice. They marched. They chanted. They sang: We Shall Overcome, and Solidarity Forever!” They spoke of Union. Acting in unity their presence was felt.

The Seattle WTO protests shined light upon the World Trade Organization’s workings. Seattlites, union members and trade activists helped spark a world-wide awareness that trade agreements must have enforceable workers’ rights, human rights and environmental quality principles. You identified the child labor, slave labor and prison labor that was driving international corporate profits. While the cause of justice in our trade agreements has yet to be served, you, Seattle brought it forward. You nurtured it. You kept it alive.

Large, intentional gatherings can be a catalyst for dramatic change. But only if we are prepared, as George Bernard Shaw wrote, “to dream things that never were and ask: ‘Why not?’ Let us dream about the America we want. And let us give our dreams firmament.

Let our dreams, our thoughts, become words. Let our words become deeds. Let our deeds bring action. Let our actions build a new America and a new Seattle, you shook the world once, can you shake it again? Will you?

Are you prepared to declare and demand, here and now that it is time United States bring an end to the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya?

Are you prepared to demand our troops be brought home?

Are you prepared to demand America end our world-wide military presence?

Are you prepared to demand America must lead the world in the abolition of nuclear weapons?

Are you prepared to demand the Patriot Act must be repealed?

Are you prepared to demand that government spying, eavesdropping, and wiretapping of law abiding citizens must end?

That our sisters’ Right to Privacy be protected and decisions about women’s reproductive health be between a woman and her doctor?

Are you prepared to demand that our brothers and sisters who are gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered have equal rights, including the right to marry?

Are you prepared to demand we decriminalize and legalize marijuana, demand hospitalization not incarceration for those with drug problems?

Are you prepared to demand Not-for-profit Health Care for All?

Education for All?

Retirement Security for All?

Jobs for All?

Are you prepared to rescue our federal government from corporate interests by calling for a constitutional amendment which establishes only public financing of federal elections?
Are you prepared to rescue our planet, to protect our air, water, and land from further exploitation by demanding an end to drilling the earth, fracking the earth, cracking the earth, and end to poisoning the seas and the skies with carbon based energies, and a rapid transition to an environmentally friendly, socially responsible green economy?

This day, here and now, you have now voiced the Seattle Declaration. Let the sound of your voice be heard far and wide. Let your affirmations give birth to new actions, a new nation and a new world. Let your voice cause America to march. Let your voice cause America to sing. Let your voice cause America to seek new freedoms. Let your voice cause America to seek a newer world. Ours is a restless quest for freedom. We know wars make us less free. Fear makes us less free. Social and economic insecurity makes us less free. If it is for freedom’s sake we gather, so then let it be for freedom’s sake that we act!

Our individual desire for change carries extraordinary power to become more than we are. Better than we are. Forged in the human heart, ignited by love and passion for transformation, our common unity, our common purpose and our common action carry the power to change everything. This is the power of human unity. This is the power of our Oneness. Feel it. Own it. Act upon it.

Thank you Seattle.”

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Brief: Legal MMJ Moves Forward in Delaware

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Great news for the people of Delaware: the state Senate there has approved a bill allowing the medical use of cannabis in The First State, with 18 yea votes and only 3 nays. That vote was on Thursday, March 31st.

Senator Robert Venables (representing Laurel) told the press that using marijuana for medicinal reasons will help ease the unncessary suffering of cancer patients and others.

This bill would give authorized users of medical marijuana legal permission to possess up to six ounces of the drug, which would be obtainable from “compassion centers” which much be registered with the state.

The bill now moves to the Delaware House of Representatives for their review or approval, and then, if it’s approved, to the governor for signature or veto.

Here’s hoping the other half of the Delaware legislature does the right thing, and gives this bill resounding support.

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MMJ in Hawaii

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Chronic patients in Hawaii may have cause for new hope

While medical marijuana has been legal in Hawaii for eleven years now, the state lacks any kind of dispensary system, which leaves patients there to acquire their weed either by buying it on the black market, or by growing their own.

Last month, however, state Senator Kalani English, of Maui, introduced SB1458, a bill designed to create what was he described as a “… comprehensive five-year medical marijuana distribution pilot program in an unspecified county.”

English explained, at the time, that he proposed the program because he was seeing too many suffering patients asking where they could get their medicine. He added that he had to make the bill “drip with money” in order to appeal to money-conscious legislative colleagues.

Under the terms of the bill dispensaries (which English referred to as “compassion centers” would be taxed, but they’d also allow patients visiting from other MMJ-friendly states to buy temporary permits for the duration of their visit to Hawaii, at a cost of $100, which may make Hawaii the first American marijuana tourist destination.

The bill passed the Senate at the end of March, and passed two House committees (Health and Safety) as well, with a hearing scheduled for the House Judiciary Committee today.

Last week, a call went out asking people for pro-MMJ testimony. If the bill passes today’s hearing, it will then go before the full House of Representatives, and then on to a joint hearing with both the Hawaii Senate and the House.

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Vermont Considers Dispensaries

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Like Hawaii, the state of Vermont has had medical marijuana laws on the books for several years, but has left patients to either grow their own cannabis or buy it from illegal sources.

Also like Hawaii, Vermont is considering the creation of dispensary system this year. In fact a bill allowing the creation of such businesses has already been introduced into the state legislature and has passed the state Senate Government Operations Committee and is scheduled for a full Senate hearing sometime this week.

The bill, which was sponsored (in part) by Senator Richard Sears (D-Bennington) includes restrictions that make it fairly conservative, especially when compared to the systems in place in states like California. Among them is a requirement that patients have appointments in order to buy cannabis from dispensaries.

There would also be a limit on the number of dispensaries allowed in Vermont. While the current language in the bill calls for a maximum of two dispensaries, it will be raised to four on the recommendation of Vermont Public Safety Commissioner Keith Flynn.

The change would increase revenue to the state as well as make it easier for patients.

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