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The 2012 National Drug Control Strategy

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Marijuana has been called many things.  Pot, weed, 420, smoke, trees- it’s all the same stuff, and medicine nonetheless.

While recently perusing some political blogs and information regarding the upcoming election, I came across The 2012 National Drug Control Strategy, which is our yearly newsletter from the White House detailing (albeit briefly) the state of affairs with regards to the “War on Drugs.”  In addition, we also get a glance at how much is being spent and where it’s going, check it out:

So all said and done, $25.2 Billion has been spent on these various facets of the Drug Control Strategy this year alone.  With $9.4B of that being funnelled into U.S. Law Enforcement and Incarceration, you have to begin to wonder if that is a bit excessive, and where exactly are those funds being spent?  How many less people could be homeless and fed right here in the US if a few billion of that federal budget was spared for humanity?

What’s even a bit scarier than the non-transparency of this budget that we, the American taxpayers, are paying for, is this little bit:

The Obama Administration’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy, published in 2010, charted a new course in our efforts to reduce illicit drug use and its consequences in the United States—an approach that rejects the false choice between an enforcement-centric “war on drugs” and the extreme notion of drug legalization. Science has shown that drug addiction is not a moral failing but rather a disease of the brain that can be prevented and treated. Informed by this basic understanding, the 2010 and 2011 Strategies established and promoted a balance of evidence-based public health and safety initiatives focusing on key areas such as substance abuse prevention, treatment, and recovery.

So, all of the patients then, who are also taxpayers, are the ones who will (and sometimes already are) paying for these programs that are aimed at treating their “disease of the brain.”

Appalling, eh?  I’ll remember these things when I vote this November, and I encourage you to do the same.

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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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