New Yorker Magazine writer David Remnick wrote an extensive piece called "Going the Distance, On and Off the Road with Barack Obama".
In his 34 page report, he gets around to talking to him about marijuana. Here's what he wrote:
When I asked Obama about another area of shifting public opinion—the legalization of marijuana—he seemed even less eager to evolve with any dispatch and get in front of the issue. “As has been well documented, I smoked pot as a kid, and I view it as a bad habit and a vice, not very different from the cigarettes that I smoked as a young person up through a big chunk of my adult life. I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.”
Is it less dangerous? I asked.
Obama leaned back and let a moment go by. That’s one of his moves. When he is interviewed, particularly for print, he has the habit of slowing himself down, and the result is a spool of cautious lucidity. He speaks in paragraphs and with moments of revision. Sometimes he will stop in the middle of a sentence and say, “Scratch that,” or, “I think the grammar was all screwed up in that sentence, so let me start again.”
Less dangerous, he said, “in terms of its impact on the individual consumer. It’s not something I encourage, and I’ve told my daughters I think it’s a bad idea, a waste of time, not very healthy.” What clearly does trouble him is the radically disproportionate arrests and incarcerations for marijuana among minorities. “Middle-class kids don’t get locked up for smoking pot, and poor kids do,” he said. “And African-American kids and Latino kids are more likely to be poor and less likely to have the resources and the support to avoid unduly harsh penalties.” But, he said, “we should not be locking up kids or individual users for long stretches of jail time when some of the folks who are writing those laws have probably done the same thing.” Accordingly, he said of the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington that “it’s important for it to go forward because it’s important for society not to have a situation in which a large portion of people have at one time or another broken the law and only a select few get punished.”
As is his habit, he nimbly argued the other side. “Having said all that, those who argue that legalizing marijuana is a panacea and it solves all these social problems I think are probably overstating the case. There is a lot of hair on that policy. And the experiment that’s going to be taking place in Colorado and Washington is going to be, I think, a challenge.” He noted the slippery-slope arguments that might arise. “I also think that, when it comes to harder drugs, the harm done to the user is profound and the social costs are profound. And you do start getting into some difficult line-drawing issues. If marijuana is fully legalized and at some point folks say, Well, we can come up with a negotiated dose of cocaine that we can show is not any more harmful than vodka, are we open to that? If somebody says, We’ve got a finely calibrated dose of meth, it isn’t going to kill you or rot your teeth, are we O.K. with that?”
Airport officials at the Colorado Springs Airport installed “amnesty boxes” for their customers that decide at the last minute not to fly so high. The boxes are designed to allow residents and tourists that brought marijuana with them to the airport and then decide that they don't want to take the chance of taking it with them. “What we don’t want is them throwing it in the trash can,” said Phillips. “Then you have other people digging through the garbage.”.
Possession of marijuana is now legal in Colorado but passengers caught carrying it in the airport are subject to arrest, jail time and fines up to 2 500 dollars.
Here are the rules for marijuana at the COS airport.
NOTICE: MARIJUANA IS PROHIBITED IN THIS FACILITY
It is unlawful to possess, consume, use, display, transfer, distribute, sell, transport, or grow (?) marijuana (including both recreational and medical) in or upon the passenger terminal facility, any overhang area to the passenger terminal facility, or the Air Operations Area (AOA) of the Colorado
Springs Municipal Airport. This includes all passenger carry-on and checked baggage. You must dispose of any and all marijuana before entering prohibited areas and/or checking baggage. Violators may be assessed a fine of not more than $2,500, imprisonment up to 189 days, probation, or a combination of fine, imprisonment, or probation, in addition to any other applicable penalties
under state or federal law.
In a joint study done by Mount Sinai in New York and the School of Public Health in China, it was found that Cannabidiol protects liver from binge alcohol-induced steatosis by mechanisms including inhibition of oxidative stress and increase in autophagy. This is very good news for cannabis consumers and the alcohol industry. For years cannabis connoisseurs have been experimenting with blending the two substances. One example is Potka. More research is needed. Here is a statement from the *researchers: “We evaluated whether cannabidiol, which has been reported to function as an antioxidant, can protect the liver from alcohol-generated oxidative stress-induced steatosis. Cannabidiol can prevent acute alcohol-induced liver steatosis in mice, possibly by preventing the increase in oxidative stress and the activation of the JNK MAPK pathway. Cannabidiol per se can increase autophagy both in CYP2E1-expressing HepG2 cells and in mouse liver. Importantly, cannabidiol can prevent the decrease in autophagy induced by alcohol.”
(A) H&E staining and (B) oil red O staining showing increased lipid accumulation in mouse liver after binge alcohol treatment. CBD decreases this lipid accumulation (image 4 compared to image 3 in (A) and (B)).
The New Hampshire House of Representatives became the first U.S. legislative body to vote in favor of legalizing marijuana for recreational use. The measure passed a preliminary vote by 170-162 on Wednesday; it now heads to committee and then goes back to the House floor for a final vote before heading to the state Senate. Read more here.
After hearing patient testimony and legal counsel by activists, Fresno county BOS made a bold move and banned indoor cultivation of medical marijuana yesterday January 7, 2014. What makes this so bold is that they have already banned outdoor cultivation and dispensaries leaving sick people with no safe and affordable access to their medicine of choice.
In 1996 California voters overwhelmingly approved Prop 215 which was further reinforced by SB420. SB420 or the MMP provides that individual patients may maintain six mature or twelve immature plants for their personal medical needs. In addition, the MMP expressly authorizes localities to enact guidelines that are higher – but not lower – than the state’s six plant limit.
One argument the BOS heard was by Sherrif Mims (who was not personally there) who estimates that enforcement costs the county $300K+ a year. So the solution they are offering is that anyone growing more than two plants will face fines of $1000 per plant and then $100 per plant per day that aren't immediately destroyed. Allowing two plants is off the record. On the record is zero tolerance. What's not being factored in is the cost of litigation which could potentially be much higher.
Joe Elford, the Chief Council for Americans for Safe Access, has filed a petition to Review with the California State Supreme Court regarding another citiy's ban. The petition argues that local governments are pre-empted by state law from banning cultivation by qualified medical marijuana patients, insofar as California’s Compassionate Use Act (Prop 215) and the Medical Marijuana Program Act (MMP, aka SB 420) explicitly authorize such cultivation.
The ban that the Fresno County BOS voted on yesterday is unconstitutional. And it's not timely or popular. There is a more rational approach to the problems Fresno county is facing with medical marijuana.
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The Fresno Board of Supervisors are about to ban all cultivation of cannabis. That includes cannabis that is grown indoors by a sick patient for their own use. Is this the intent of the voters in California when they passed Prop. 215 in 1996?
A local talk news radio station is doing an online poll to find out if listeners want marijuana to be legalized. Here were the results earlier today when C.A.R.E. took the poll.
Contact Fresno Board of Supervisors
Susan Soares has written for Cannabis Now Magazine, Alternet, and Sensi Magazine.