Full program title:
MarijuanaNews World Report June 9, 2005 Vancouver Calls for Legalization. Sativex Delayed In UK. California AG Says “Nothing is different today” After Supreme Court Ruling; San Diego Grand Jury Calls for Implementation of Medical Cannabis Program.; A Conversation with Allen St. Pierre About Media Reaction to Case.

The Front Page Headline article in Wednesday’s Vancouver Sun announced that the city would be pushing for the legalization of cannabis.

The city’s report, backed by popular Mayor Larry Campbell recommends htat Canada legalize and regulate marijuana “as part of a comprehensive drug-abuse prevention strategy for everything from methamphetamine production to alcoholism among seniors.

The marijuana recommendation, one of two dozen in the report, would allow people trying to prevent drug abuse to talk to teenagers about it realistically, the way they do with alcohol and cigarettes, and also limit dangerous use.

Others say that putting marijuana on the same level as alcohol and tobacco legally would allow teachers and prevention counsellors to talk about it strategically, rather than just avoiding the topic…

It also argues that prohibition leaves governments unable to regulate the drug, ensures that it stays in the hands of organized crime, and makes it impossible to use the kinds of public-education strategies that have been so successful in reducing tobacco use and dangerous drinking.

It’s a strategy that Vancouver Mayor Larry Campbell endorses wholeheartedly, saying it’s preferable to decriminalization, which imposes a fine instead of a criminal charge for use, but doesn’t address the issue of supply.

“I think the decriminalization doesn’t do anybody any good. It sends the message that it’s okay, but that it’s a crime to obtain it.” He says if marijuana were legalized, the community could benefit by being able to tax production.

The report goes to council June 14 and then out for public discussion, before final approval likely next January.

Today the Sun follows up with another front page story: “Rival councillors agree on legalizing pot”. (This time the headline was about 160,000 people in BC having used meth in the last year.)
See
Meth and Marijuana. Now: How the Narks Created Crank in Canada. The Iron Law of Drug Prohibition. The Inescapable Economics Of Contraband.

The only two councillors from the city’s centre-right party expressed their support for legalization.

However, the Non-Partisan Association councillors do have some caveats. Both are opposed to seeing a commercialized marijuana industry, like the alcohol or tobacco industries.

“I have concerns about the proliferation,” says Ladner. “Look at what happened with gambling in B.C. when it went from being illegal to legal. Now that the government is relying on it for revenue, they’re pushing it.”

And Sullivan doesn’t think marijuana should be as publicly available or used as tobacco.

“I would like to see the city have bylaws that prohibit smoking in public places,” Sullivan said.
(MarijuanaNews note: I think that their views illustrate the importance of having input from the cannabis community in writing the laws. We should not have to hide in the closet.)

But there is some progress with the Vancouver police department. It has traditionally opposed legalization, but took a neutral line Wednesday when asked about the city’s report.

Acting Inspector Scott Thompson, the VPD’s drug policy coordinator, said the VPD likes a lot of the recommendations in the report but is neutral on the question of drug legalization.

“The VPD is taking a neutral stand with respect to that issue,” he said. “In this province and this country it’s still illegal.”

Mayor Campbell, a one-time RCMP drug officer, said he doesn’t think the Liberal government is going to legalize marijuana any time soon. “This is a talking point . . . I’m not fooling myself that if I pick up the phone and phone the prime minister, he’s going to say: ‘Great idea, Larry. We’ll get right on board.’ ”

The proposed marijuana decriminalization law, Bill C-10, would have removed possession of less than 15 grams of marijuana from the criminal law, but would have made it a ticketable offence, with fines ranging from $100 for a youth and $150 for an adult.

The bill has passed second reading but is stalled at the committee stage and is not expected to go to a vote before the next election.
(MarijuanaNews note: I think that that is good, because C-10 is a bad bill that would increase penalties for growers and the fines simply create incentives for the police to arrest users, which they often decline to do today.)
See
Decrim Okay With Drug Czar Walters? A Gaffe or a Miracle? Lessons for Canada.They Should Also Notice Alaska.
and links

Meanwhile in the UK wire reports say GW Pharmaceuticals has lost an appeal to be allowed to market its whole cannabis derivative spray Sativex without having to do additional clinical trials.
See
Scottish MS Patient Says She Will Kill Herself When Trial Is Over. But GW Pharmaceutical’s Research Proves That Her Death Will Really Be Murder. The Need for A Patients’ Rights Organization.

An unidentified government source, said Britain’s Medicines Commission had heard an appeal by the firm two weeks ago and rejected its case.

Although Sativex is approved in Canada for the relief of neuropathic pain in multiple sclerosis, UK officials said in December they wanted more evidence about its efficacy when used to relieve spasticity. This triggered the appeal by GW Pharma to the commission.
See
Program Notes for the MarijuanaNews World Report April 19, 2005 Sativex, Approved for Use In Canada. Proves Medical Value of Plant. Hires Prohibitionist Quack. Dangerous Pain Killers. Czar’s Idiocy.

Despite the prohibitionist fantasy, The Supreme Court ruling has not stopped the medical cannabis movement:
Associated Press is quoting California Attorney General Bill Lockyer as saying “People shouldn’t panic. There aren’t going to be many changes. Nothing is different today than it was two days ago, in terms of real-world impact.”

The ruling does not strike down medical marijuana laws in California, Alaska, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Vermont or Washington state.

It was “business as usual” at the San Francisco health department, spokeswoman Eileen Shields said. The county issues medical marijuana identification cards, valid for two years, to residents with a doctor’s prescription.

As if to prove Lockyer’s point:
Excerpted and adapted from the San Diego Union Tribune:
(MarijuanaNews note: I think that a major reason that SD has lagged the other large California cities in implementing Prop 215 is the wretched prohibitionist propaganda from the city’s newspaper.)
See
The San Diego Union-Tribune Poisons Its Readers. The Albany Times Union Offers An Antidote.
Republicans Plan Major Campaign for “Drug-Free America;”
Prohibitionist Propaganda Drive Starts With This Article (in the San Diego Union Tribune)

“Grand Jury Urges Supervisors To Implement Marijuana Provisions”

The San Diego county grand jury Wednesday urged the Board of Supervisors to implement provisions of a state law passed by voters nine years ago that allows the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

The report comes just days after the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the right of federal authorities to enforce a national law banning marijuana, even in states that have so-called “compassionate use” statutes on the books.

Since California voters overwhelmingly passed Proposition 215, the “Compassionate Use Act of 1996,” the San Diego County Board of Supervisors has “done absolutely nothing” to implement the measure, the grand jurors wrote in their report.

The board has also ignored a state Senate bill passed two years ago that proposed guidelines for medical marijuana users and cultivators, the jurors wrote.

There are an estimated 5,000 patients in San Diego County who would benefit from the use of marijuana, the report stated.

The jury did commend the city of San Diego for creating the Medical Marijuana/Cannabis Task Force, which issued clear guidelines for enforcement by police.

Among the report’s recommendations for the county supervisors: Take all possible action to facilitate access to medical marijuana for qualifying patients. Meet with all local law enforcement agencies to develop uniform procedures for users. Issue a clear statement of uniform procedures on medical marijuana to law enforcement, physicians and patients. Discourage local law enforcement from arresting, or confiscating marijuana from, anyone who claims protection from the Compassionate Use Act of 1996 until an investigation is completed.

Discourage local law enforcement from cooperating with federal agencies in enforcing marijuana violations, unless state law is being broken.
See
California Constitution Specifically Prohibits State Officials From Using Federal Laws As An Excuse For Not Enforcing State Laws Like Prop 215 Without A Court Ruling. Great Orange County Register Editorial.
and
Walters Puts The Media to the Test By Taking Hyper-Lying to A New Level. Blood Libels To Justify Police State. San Diego Medical Activist Faces Federal Charges for 20 Plants.

(MarijuanaNews note: In my conversation with Allen St. Pierre of NORML we talked about the US Attorney (the Federal prosecutor) in Hawaii who threatened to prosecute doctors in the state under Federal drug conspiracy charges if they recommended cannabis, as a result of the Supreme Court’s ruling.
See
And Now, How The Narks Created “Ice” In Hawaii. Government Study Says The Suppression of Pakalolo Increases Use of Meth. Why Didn’t Someone Warn Them This Would Happen? — He Asked Sarcastically.

This is one of the dumbest of the stupid nark tricks. Even if Hawaii were not in the 9th Circuit, he should have known that this ruling did not change the fact that the Supreme Court had refused to hear a Federal challenge to the 9th Circuit ruling (thereby upholding it) that protects doctors from precisely such threats.
See
Federal Judge Stops Drug Czar’s Threat To Pull Licenses of Doctors Who Recommend Medical Marijuana.

I also noted that it was ironic that he would be threatening Hawaiian doctors because the state medical associate had been singularly dishonest in its support of state violence against their patients.)
See
Organized Quacks In Hawaii Continue To Support Arresting The Sick and Dying

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