Harborside targeted by feds while Leader Pelosi stresses importance of federal action on medical marijuana

The Associated Press is reporting that Harborside Health Center, which has been called California’s largest non-profit medical marijuana dispensary, is being targeted by federal prosecutors in California. According to Harborside spokesperson Gaynell Rogers, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag’s office has threatened to seize the property on which Harborside’s two locations operate: one in Oakland and the other in San Jose.

Meanwhile, the ranking Democrat in the House of Representatives and congresswoman for nearby San Francisco, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, reaffirmed her support for the medical use of marijuana, telling a round table of bloggers that taking up and discussing federal legislation regarding medical marijuana would be “really important.” While she gave no firm promise to introduce specific legislation, her support for medical marijuana patients puts her at odds with the actions of President Barack Obama’s Justice Department.

President Obama would be wise to listen to his party’s ranking member in… Continue reading

Pelosi: It would be ‘really important’ to take on medical marijuana in Congress

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). Photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler / Shutterstock.com.House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi reiterated her support for medical marijuana on Wednesday and indicated Democrats might be interested in taking changes to federal law after the election.

“I’ve been very clear on the subject of medical marijuana over time, in committee and on the floor as leader,” Pelosi said told Raw Story at a round table of bloggers.

“I think that it would be really important to do that,” Pelosi said. “It would be hard for anyone to agree with the fact that someone who has HIV/AIDS or has cancer and they find relief from pain in medicinal marijuana that should be something that should be a priority to raid on the part of the Justice Department. Going along with that, we need to address some of the penalties for any non-violent crime that are out there.”

Pelosi previously attacked the administration on medical marijuana raids in May, when… Continue reading

Pot Prohibition Benefits No One

You can’t visit a winery established in the 19th century without hearing about the heroic efforts made to preserve the ancient vines that provide the grapes, which with time and care, produce wine. From 1920 until 1933, the manufacture, sale and transportation of alcohol within the USA was prohibited. So called Prohibition was an effort to control the u se of alcohol, especially among the working classes. Its roots stretch even earlier in our history. Before Prohibition began, the brewing, wine-making and distillery businesses in the nation represented about 14 percent of the economy, and employed thousands. It took the Great Depression to convince voters that maybe Prohibition was not such a good idea.

Prohibition began with the ratification of the 18th Amendment to the Constitution. Interestingly, drinking itself was never made illegal. Those who had the money could continue to consume alcohol as they pleased, from private stocks. Every… Continue reading

US News & World Report: ‘Is It Time To Scale Back The War On Drugs?’

by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director

The editors at US News & World Report are asking the question, ‘Is it time to scale back the war on drugs?’ They’ve assembled a round-table of participants to respond.

Arguing in favor politics as usual are Kevin Sabet, former Senior Policy Adviser to President Obama’s Drug Czar and David Evans, Special Adviser to the Drug Free America Foundation. Predictably, neither author’s platitudes are resonating with US News readers. (Both Evans and Sabet have only 15 ‘up’ votes combined, versus some 650 ‘down’ votes.)

Myself, Aaron Houston (Executive Director: Students for Sensible Drug Policy), and Neill Franklin (Executive Director: Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) take the opposite approach — and are much better received.

You can read an excerpt from my commentary below:

“It’s time for politicians to call for a truce in the so-called war on drugs. According to a… Continue reading

Don LaRouche, Medical Marijuana Patient, Could Lose Federal Housing Assistance Because Of Plants

Don Larouche

Don LaRouche of Portland, Maine, suffers from glaucoma and Crohn’s disease. For the past five years, the 50-year-old has turned to medical marijuana to help treat the effects of his ailments, growing the plants in his residence as permitted by state law. But LaRouche has also relied on federal housing assistance to help pay rent on his trailer home, and the organization that issues his vouchers now says he must stop cultivating the plants or lose his aid.

As Maine’s WCSH6 reports, LaRouche’s dilemma is the product of a discrepancy between state law — which has legalized the use and cultivation of medical marijuana — and federal law, which still lists the plant as an illegal Schedule I drug.

Officials in charge of overseeing the assistance program say that violation of federal law within a residence paid for by its vouchers is grounds for termination of aid, regardless of… Continue reading

‘Savages’ Boss Oliver Stone Knows Good Weed

Oliver Stone has smoked great marijuana all over the world, from Vietnam and Thailand to Jamaica and South Sudan. But the filmmaker says the best weed is made in the USA and that pot could be a huge growth industry for taxpayers if it were legalized.

Stone, whose drug-war thriller “Savages” opens Friday, has been a regular toker since his days as an infantryman in Vietnam in the late 1960s and knows a good herb when he inhales one. He insisted in a recent interview that no one is producing better stuff now than U.S. growers.

“There’s good weed everywhere in the world, but my God, these Americans are brilliant,” said Stone, 65, who sees only benefits from legalizing marijuana. “It can be done.

It can be done legally, safely, healthy, and it can be taxed and the government can pay for education and stuff like that. Also, you can… Continue reading

Credit card transactions canceled at California medical pot dispensaries

By Chris Roberts, NBCBayArea.com

SAN FRANCISCO — Credit cards are no longer being accepted at California medical  marijuana dispensaries — thanks to pressure from the federal government.

Someone — likely the Treasury Department — has informed  credit card companies that they must no longer process credit card transactions  involving medical marijuana, according  to SF Weekly.

The credit card companies informed merchant services providers,  who were warned that if they processed medical marijuana sales, they’d lose  their relationships with Visa/Mastercard “forever” or face heavy fines,  according to Stephen DeAngelo of Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, the Bay  Area’s biggest dispensary.

See the story at NBCBayArea.com

It’s merchant services providers who process credit card  transactions between retailers and the banks and credit card companies, DeAngelo  said. Merchant services providers informed dispensary clients that their  accounts would be closed as of July 1,… Continue reading