Tag Archives: Legalization

NM Ex-Gov. Gary Johnson Feigns Heart Attack to Mock Anti-Pot Crusader at CPAC

At the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference’s marijuana legalization debate, former Republican Governor of New Mexico and 2012 Libertarian Party nominee for president Gary Johnson, a supporter of legalization, faced off against ex-Congesswoman Ann Marie Buerkle, a former nurse who opposes legal pot. In the above-embedded video, Buerkle said, “Let’s talk about marijuana. You have a 1 in 5 higher chance of having a heart attack within the first hour after you smoke marijuana. There are legitimate side effects to this drug.”

Before she could continue, Gary Johnson began clutching his chest and dropped to the floor, pantomiming a heart attack in an obvious mockery of Buerkle’s Reefer Madness-esque claim. The largely college-aged conservative crowd burst into laughter in response to Johnson’s joke.

Said Buerkle in response, “You know, I think the Governor has had great fun with his humor, but it isn’t funny that we’re putting our kids and the future of this country at risk.”

However, Buerkle’s argument that marijuana is putting college students at CPAC at a 1 in 5 increased risk of having a heart attack one hour after marijuana use is a significant mischaracterization of the findings of a Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School survey, published by Circulation, of 3882 acute myocardial infarction patients who were asked about their marijuana use around four days after suffering a heart attack. The study’s findings did not suggest that perfectly healthy college students have a “1 in 5 higher chance” of suffering a heart attack within an hour of smoking marijuana. A more realistic characterization of the study would be that its findings suggest that there may be a possibility that someone already at risk of heart attack could face an increased risk, similar to that associated with sexual intercourse or strenuous exercise, of that heart attack occurring within one hour of smoking.

Another study by Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, published in the American Heart Journal after the one mentioned by Buerkle, tested this theory further and found no statistically significant increase in mortality for acute myocardial infarction patients who habitually used marijuana.

Florida sees an abundance of same-sex marriages after legalization

Tuesday marked the first day same-sex couples could get married in Florida, and the state saw hundreds of people come out to receive their marriage licenses.

Florida became the 36th state in the U.S. to legalize same-sex marriage at the stroke of midnight between Monday and Tuesday. Some courthouses wasted no time and began to marry couples immediately.

One judge in Miami saw no reason to wait till midnight and began marrying people on Monday, when it was still technically illegal to do so. Miami-Dade Circuit Judge Sarah Zabel holds the honor of performing the state’s first same-sex union on Monday afternoon, according to the AP. Still, other counties held off until Tuesday.

Howard Forman, the clerk of courts in Broward County, wed 20 gay and lesbian couples at the same time in a five-minute ceremony at 3 a.m. Tuesday morning, according to the New York Times. As Forman announced the new marriages, cheers erupted from the surrounding crowd of family and friends who were present.

“We had been together so long, we hadn’t put a lot of importance in it,” said Cory Morton, a same-sex marriage license recipient. “It seemed so far-fetched…I found myself getting a little nervous on the way here,” Morton said, according to the Miami Herald

However, not all Florida counties were celebrating with supporters of same-sex marriages.

Duval County Court Clerk Ronnie Fussell shutdown the courthouse chapel to all people who wished to receive marriages license, whether they be same-sex or opposite-sex marriages. A few other counties in northern Florida, where more conservative citizens live, also closed down their courthouses so as not to allow any marriages to take place.

Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi is pursuing an appeal of the decision to allow same-sex marriages to be legal in the state. In 2008, Florida had put a ban on same-sex marriages, and Bondi wants to uphold this previous ruling.

The political framework was ignored by many though as they gladly received their licenses.

“I’m elated,” said William Jones, describing his marriage to Aaron Huntsman. “Overjoyed that I am finally legally recognized with the man I have loved for 12 years now.”

Anchorage, AK Municipal Assembly Rejects City-Wide Ban on Pot Sales, Cultivation

During this year’s November 4 election, voters in Alaska approved a referendum, Ballot Measure 2, which legalized marijuana for recreational use in the state. However, the fine print in the measure allows municipalities to opt out of legalization, which pitted pro-pot activists against prohibitionists in a city-level showdown in Anchorage, the largest city in Alaska in terms of population. According to KTVA CBS-11 News, the Anchorage, AK Municipal Assembly considered an ordinance on December 16 that would have banned commercial marijuana transactions and grow operations within the city.

The proposed ordinance had been introduced by Assembly member Amy Demboski, who is running for mayor. She argued that a recreational pot industry could put Alaskan taxpayers into a complicated state of legal limbo with the feds. Said Demboski, “The fact of the matter is marijuana is still a [Schedule 1 drug] — it’s still federally illegal, so if we as a city decide to opt into a commercialized industry that’s based on an illegal federal substance, what impacts does that have to the taxpayers?” As U-T San Diego points out, the Department of Justice has signaled multiple times over the past few years that it does not intend to aggressively pursue pot convictions in states that have legalized marijuana, though it has asserted that it has the right to do so.

Kim Kole, an Anchorage-area teacher and pro-pot activist who has been called the “new face of marijuana legalization” by KTUU-TV 2, said of the initiative to ban pot sales, “There is no legitimate reason to squash new opportunities for small businesses and the economic stimulus that they can create — given our current financial state, one would think that the city would jump on the opportunity for small business economic growth.”

Around 50 people engaged in a heated debate over the issue before the ordinance to ban marijuana sales and production was called to a vote. In the end, the measure failed, with nine members voting against and two, mayoral hopeful Amy Demboski and Assembly member Paul Honeman, supporting the ban.

Now that commercial marijuana production and transactions have survived a ban attempt, the Assembly has switched gears and is working to create taxes and regulations for Anchorage’s newly-legalized recreational pot industry. KTUU-TV 2 is reporting that, on December 23, the Assembly’s committee on commercial pot regulations had its first meeting.

Back in September of this year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode that challenges the federal government’s mixed messages on medical marijuana. Watch it in the video player, found below.

From Marijuana to GMOs to Fracking – Results of the Midterm Elections

The 2014 Midterm Elections led to the approval of measures such as marijuana legalization in Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C., a ban on hydraulic fracturing in Denton, Texas, and a shift in the way California defines offenses, such as drug possession.

Oregon became the third state to legalize the “possession, use and sale of recreational marijuana for adults 21 and over,” according to the Huffington Post.

The Alaska Dispatch reported that voters in Alaska approved legalizing recreational use of marijuana “by about 52 percent in favor to 48 percent opposed, with 100 percent of the state’s precincts reporting.”

According to USA Today, the measure to legalize marijuana in Washington D.C. was “overwhelmingly approved” by voters, and will apply to sections of the district that are not considered “federal land.”

Although the measure to legalize medical marijuana in Florida received 57% approval, it did not receive the necessary 60%, in order to pass.

Florida Today reported that voters “narrowly rejected” the legalization of medical marijuana, “after a surge of ads saying the ballot initiative was riddled with holes,” which cost $6.2 million, and had the backing of a Las Vegas casino magnate, Sheldon Adelson.

Following the elections, Denton became the first city in the state of Texas to ban hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking.” The Fort Worth Star Telegram reported that 58.6 percent of voters approved an ordinance that “will drastically restrict drillers’ attempts to tap the rich natural gas reserves within the city limits.”

A measure to label foods containing genetically-modified organisms (GMOs), appeared on the ballots in Colorado and Oregon. It was rejected in Colorado, and is still “too close to call” in Oregon. The Oregonian reported that the measure to label GMOs  “trailed 49 percent to 51 percent,” with nearly 80 percent of votes counted.

According to Reuters, this outcome came after corporate food and agriculture interests, such as Monsanto and DuPont, “poured more than $36 million into anti-labeling campaigns in the two states.

Voters in California approved a measure that redefines certain offenses that were considered felonies, such as shoplifting, fraud, and possession of small amounts of drugs, including heroin and cocaine, as misdemeanor.

The Huffington Post reported that as a result of the measure, as many as 10,000 people “could be eligible for early release from state prisons,” and the expectation is that courts “will annually dispense around 40,000 fewer felony convictions.”

Ben Swann joins correspondents Erin Ade, Edward Harrison, Abby Martin, and Tyrel Ventura, from RT News, to discuss the ballot measures:

DEA continues obstructing marijuana research, report says

A new report released by the Drug Policy Alliance and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, says the DEA has spent the last four decades thwarting marijuana research which carries the potential of reclassification for the drug.

“The DEA has argued for decades that there is insufficient evidence to support rescheduling marijuana,” reads the executive summary of the report.  “At the same time, it has… acted in a manner intended to systematically impede scientific research.”

Currently, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning the federal government does not recognize any acceptable uses for the drug, including medicinal uses.  The status of Schedule I also means the drugs in this category cannot receive federal funding for research, medicinal or otherwise.  Marijuana is joined on the Schedule I tier by peyote, LSD, and heroine.

“This concerns me greatly as someone who has studied marijuana and given thousands of doses of the drug,” says Professor Carl Hart of the department of psychology and psychiatry from Columbia University.

Professor Hart continues saying, “The notion that the DEA has not thought about reconsidering scheduling of marijuana seems to be against scientific evidence and what we’re trying to do as a society that relies on imperial evidence to make decisions.”

The report also states the DEA has been forced by several court orders to release a decision on the reclassification of marijuana.  Two of these times, multiple lawsuits were brought forth against the DEA to act instead of simply sitting on their hands for years.

This report is released a few weeks after the House of Representatives approved of three amendments focused on restricting the DEA’s grasp on marijuana and hemp laws.  Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California was one sponsor of the amendments.

“Nobody should be afraid of the truth,” says Rohrabacher.  “Is the downside of marijuana a harmful side effect? Or is there a positive side that actually does help? That needs to be proven.”

A few studies have already shown marijuana has many potential medical uses, including slowing or stopping the spread and growth of cancerous cells, including leukemia.

Dr. Wai Liu from St. George’s University of London told the Huffington Post, “Cannabinoids have a complex action; it hits a number of important processes that cancers need to survive.”

The growing support for the legalization of marijuana has seen 22 states and the District of Columbia legalize medicinal use of marijuana, and Colorado and Washington have legalized the recreational use of the drug.

Federal Government Legalizes Hemp


WASHINGTON, February 5, 2014- After three years of negotiations, the Farm Bill passed both chambers of Congress on Tuesday. Hemp wasn’t necessarily one of the largely debated topics. However, hidden deep within the bill, a clause lurked that allows for colleges and universities to grow hemp for research purposes pending the respective states have legalized hemp.

So far, Oregon, Montana, Colorado, North Dakota, California, Kentucky, Vermont, West Virginia and Maine have legalized hemp. Also, more than a dozen states are moving pro-hemp bills through their state legislatures this season.

The bill still has to be signed by Obama before becoming law. He is not expected to oppose it.

Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin notes that it isn’t “completely legal”, but many states are already growing hemp regardless of the federal ban, and this move will certainly propel the movement to an unstoppable pace.

“Fields of hemp growing in Colorado already. Vermont legalized late last summer, and multiple other states are considering bills to do the same this year,” said Boldin. “Credit doesn’t go to the feds on this one. It belongs to the states, which had the courage to stand up to unconstitutional laws, and force the change on a national level.”

The Tenth Amendment Center is a national think tank pushing for the passage of pro-hemp bills within each state.

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Exclusive: Will New Hampshire Be Next On Marijuana Nullification?


The New Hampshire House took a vote on H.B. 492, which would effectively nullify the federal prohibition on marijuana if signed in to law. The bill passed the House with a vote of 170:162.

“I supported this bill. The billions of dollars used to fight marijuana is a failure and something else needs to be done. Expected tax revenue will be in the 10’s of millions, we can stop ruining individuals and families for something as little as a seed, save the 6 million of enforcement $’s, ends many less than 1 oz dealers, legalizes something that over 2/3rds of the people want, and if it is a really bad idea, it can always be repealed,” said Rep. John Hikel (R).

H.B. 492 would allow persons aged 21 or older to possess one ounce of marijuana and up to six plants. The bill was co-sponsored in a bipartisan fashion by Reps. Vaillancourt (R), Winters (D), Robertson (D), Warden (R) and Lambert (R).

“The rapidly growing and wildly successful state-level movement to legalize marijuana, either completely, or for medical use, proves that states can successfully nullify unconstitutional federal acts. The feds can claim the authority to prohibit pot all they want, but it clearly has done nothing to deter states from moving forward with plans to allow it, pushed by the will of the people,” Tenth Amendment Center executive director Michael Boldin said.

Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) has pledged to veto any legislation that reaches her desk, but activists in the state aren’t deterred.

Rep. George Lambert (R) tells us that the bill has strong bipartisan support. He also said that the Free State Project has been very active in progressing this legislation. “The Free State Project has worked tirelessly to make New Hampshire a truly free state.”

Lambert says that the legislation closely mirrors Colorado’s plan. He also adds that  he supports marijuana legalization without taxation.

Lambert  says that he is not happy with the democratic governor’s opposition against the bill, but feels that the bill may have a chance.

Follow Michael Lotfi on Facebook & on Twitter: @MichaelLotfi

Exclusive: Tennessee Family Moves to Colorado to Combat Daughter’s Epilepsy with Medicinal Marijuana

When Justin and Annie Koozer heard that an organization in Colorado was developing a type of medicinal marijuana with less THC, they hoped it might work on their daughter.  Two-year-old Piper has a rare form of epilepsy, Aicardi Syndrome, and recent cases have indicated that marijuana may help lessen the frequency and severity of seizures.  The only problem was that they lived in Tennessee, where medical marijuana is illegal.

potWith their daughter’s life on the line, they decided to leave.  They moved to Colorado where the highest profile success story for the treatment of epilepsy with marijuana had recently taken place.  Once skeptical of medical marijuana themselves, they left their home, friends and family behind to pursue a possible treatment for their daughter, who had been suffering nearly 300 spasms a day – with episodes lasting up to half an hour – since she was six months old.  They’d had no success with any other treatments.

The marijuana is administered in oil which Piper eats, and her seizures have now reduced in severity and frequency to a handful of single spasms per day.  The results so far have been life changing for Piper and multiple children in her same situation.  Organizations in Washington have had similar success using a tincture of marijuana with the THC removed.

Medical marijuana has also had unprecedented success in treating pain from cancer, fibromyalgia and other chronic diseases and conditions.  Unlike opiates – which are made from the same plants as heroin – it shows no real signs of being addictive, especially with the THC removed.  Unlike acetaminophen, it doesn’t pose a risk to the liver.  Though medical marijuana is a controversial for some, many people find relief from the substance they can find nowhere else.

People abuse prescription painkillers already.  Narcotics are already opium based, and retain much more of their psychoactive power than marijuana does with its THC reduced or removed, and opiates are much more dangerous drugs than marijuana.  Even cocaine is legal for some medicinal purposes.  The potential for abuse of marijuana is further reduced by the ability to eliminate THC, so even states skeptical of people’s motivations for seeking medicinal marijuana, or skeptical of the legalization of recreational marijuana, can simply regulate the amount of THC allowed in marijuana-based medications.

Benswann.com’s Joshua Cook asked Koozer how the treatment has helped his daughter so far.

“The frequency of spasms has been reduced, but the overall intensity has decreased,” Koozer said.

“Here is a medication that is plant derived. It doesn’t show any side effects. We are having extremely good success. We are looking at the original 35 kids who were on it. The research results show that 80 percent of those kids showed a 50 percent reduction without harmful side effects,” Koozer said.

Koozer said, “those who are skeptical wonder why I don’t resort to a pharmaceutical option. What people don’t think about is that every epileptic drug on the market has severe side effects: sleeplessness, increased seizures, liver and kidney failure, unexplained death, and vision loss is one of the major ones.”

Koozer believes that the natural properties derived from cannabis have a lot to offer compared to the harmful side effects of other pharmaceutical drugs.

Though people may be skeptical of legalizing marijuana for recreational use, there should be no question about legalizing it for medicinal purposes.  It doesn’t make sense that the least stigmatized drug for recreational use should be the most stigmatized for medical purposes.  This is a substance which has the power to save the lives of children, help cancer patients and fibromyalgia sufferers.  Furthermore, the psychoactive component can be removed using a variety of methods, not only reducing those effects in young children and other users, but also reducing the motivation for abuse of the system or the drug.

BREAKING: Did The Federal Government Just Legalize Marijuana?


As states continue to nullify federal laws against marijuana and hemp, the federal government has been faced with an important question. It’s been more than 75 years, and marijuana and hemp  still remain illegal. Never mind the total lack of reasoning  behind the federal government’s ban. Is it time to end the law?

Less than 24 hours ago, it all came crashing down. According to the Associated Press, the justice department said that states can allow citizens to use the drug, license people to grow it and allow them to purchase it in stores. As long as the drug is kept away from the black market, children and federal property– It’s a go!

According to Mike Maharrey, national communications director for the Tenth Amendment Center:

The genie is out of the bottle and she won’t ever go back in. The feds have lost and they know it. No matter how Holder and the DEA couch their words in an attempt to maintain an illusion of control, state actions continue to effectively nullify these unconstitutional marijuana laws.

When asked if the federal government just essentially legalized marijuana Maharrey responded:

The announcement makes it clear the feds have no will to fight the states on weed. They can call it an “illegal drug” all they want, but if they can’t, or won’t, stop people from using marijuana, their “law” means nothing.

The recent surge in nullification has sent states fighting against the federal government on pot use. It would seem that the federal government just gave up. A major victory for the states- no doubt.