Tag Archives: Marijuana Prohibition

Sessions Death Penalty Memo Could Apply to State-Legal Cannabis Growers

Washington, D.C. – When Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a memo to U.S. attorneys regarding seeking the death penalty for some drug traffickers, which was part of President Trump’s plan to combat the opioid epidemic released weeks ago, many pundits failed to miss the potential implications for legal marijuana growers.

The memo utilizes a little-known federal law that already allows for the death penalty to be used for certain criminal offenses, including specific racketeering activities, the use of a gun that resulted in a death during a drug trafficking crime, murder in advancing a criminal enterprise and dealing in “extremely large” quantities of drugs, according to The Hill.

“I strongly encourage federal prosecutors to use these statutes, when appropriate, to aid in our continuing fight against drug trafficking and the destruction it causes in our nation,” Sessions wrote.

Although Sessions’ memo seems focused largely on opioids, the federal law being referenced contains no such drug-specific limitation on prosecutors’ power. The Denver Post reported that upon following the law’s “meandering route through federal statutes,” the following conclusion will be reached: “that anyone convicted of cultivating more than 60,000 marijuana plants or possessing more than 60,000 kilograms of a substance that contains marijuana could face death as a punishment.”

Despite the law being on the books, the death penalty has never been sought before for those dealing large quantities of drugs, according to a Justice Department official cited by The Hill. The Post reported that in June, there were nearly 1 million marijuana plants under cultivation by Colorado’s state-licensed cannabis businesses.

“Under long established United States Supreme Court precedent it’s unconstitutional to use the death penalty for any offense that does not result in death,” said Robert Dunham, the executive director of the non-profit Death Penalty Information Center, which makes information on death penalty issues available but doesn’t take a position on the death penalty.

Washington Post data reporter Christopher Ingraham noted the potential implications for state-legal marijuana growers in a tweet:

Legal experts noted that while technically possible for the federal government to seek a death penalty against a state-licensed cannabis business, it is unlikely that a legal grower would face a federal death penalty case.

“I think it’s still very theoretical,” said Sam Kamin, a University of Denver law professor who, as harmonic luck would have it, is a specialist in both marijuana law and in the death penalty. “I don’t think anyone thinks the federal government is going to seek the death penalty against a state-licensed business. But what it highlights is this enormous disconnect with federal and state law.”

When asked by the Denver Post about the possibility of executions for marijuana business moguls, Aaron Smith, the executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said, “I really think that’s just bluster.”

And while it may be “bluster,” Kamin cautioned that “what Sessions is reminding us is that losing your life is at least statutorily possible”; AG Sessions is a renowned cannabis prohibitionist.


Ex-AG Eric Holder: Pot ‘Ought to Be Rescheduled’

Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder recently said that he believes that the federal government should end marijuana’s classification alongside heroin as a hardcore Schedule 1 narcotic with no medical use.

When asked during a comprehensive Tuesday PBS interview on criminal justice reform if marijuana should be decriminalized, Holder replied, “I certainly think it ought to be rescheduled. You know, we treat marijuana in the same way that we treat heroin now, and that clearly is not appropriate. So at a minimum, I think Congress needs to do that. Then I think we need to look at what happens in Colorado and what happens in Washington.

He also said of decriminalization, “That conversation I think ought to be had with regard to marijuana.

[RELATED: EXCLUSIVE: Cannabis Oil Activist Shona Banda, Now Facing Felony Charges, Speaks Out]

Holder credited Tea Party Republicans with helping to create the right timing for his push for criminal justice reforms while in office and said, “That was a surprising thing. As much as the country was, or at least the federal government were drifting to the right, you were hearing things from people on the right that was supportive of this notion of the need for criminal justice reform. Now, coming at it from perhaps from a different angle, in some ways, people on the right were talking about bankrupting the government, making sure that we didn’t spend as much money as we were on prisons — you know, $80 billion a year or so. … So although on the federal side, there was a drift to the right, a rise of the Tea Party caucus, even among them there was this notion that yeah, we need to do something about our criminal justice system. So the timing was right.

The drug war I think is over. Certainly calling it the drug war should be over. But the battle against the narcotics problem in this country has to go on. But we need to take some different approaches, and it should not all be seen as just a criminal justice problem. It ought to be seen as a public health issue,” Holder said.

[RELATED: Shona Banda’s Attorney Plans to Fight Cannabis’ Classification As Schedule 1 Narcotic]

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition executive director and retired Baltimore Police Department and Maryland State Police Maj. Neill Franklin said in a press release on Holder’s comments, “I believe Holder’s statements will inspire more high-ranking officials to speak publicly about the injustices they see in our failed marijuana policies. Ultimately, his support will move us closer to ending marijuana prohibition for good.

Marijuana Majority chairman Tom Angell raised questions about Holder’s sincerity in comments with The Chicago Sun-Times and said, “It would have been a lot better if he’d exercised the power to get marijuana rescheduling done while he was still in office. … There’s absolutely no reason marijuana should be in Schedule I, and it would be absurd to keep passing the buck to Congress when federal law clearly gives the administration the power to act.

In September of 2014, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode tackling the federal government’s mixed messages on medical cannabis. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


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Judge Who Sentenced Man to 55 Years for Pot Asks Obama to Set Him Free

In 2002, then-24-year-old Weldon Angelos, a rap record label founder whose career was taking off after a collaboration with Snoop Dogg, sold $350 worth of pot to a police informant who happened to be a lifelong acquaintance on three separate occasions while in possession of a firearm for self defense.

Due to mandatory minimum sentencing laws, Angelos was arrested and sentenced to 55 years without the possibility of parole. Since then, Angelos has become a symbol of the injustice of mandatory minimum sentences. Those supporting his early release include U.S. Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), the billionaire Koch brothers, and even former federal judge Paul G. Cassell, who sentenced him in the case.

[RELATED: Koch Brothers Launch Fight for Justice for Man Sentenced to 55 Years for Pot]

According to The Washington Post, ex-judge Cassell wrote a letter to President Obama on Tuesday asking him to commute Angelos’ sentence.

In 2004 when I was forced to impose that sentence, I wrote a lengthy opinion explaining why that sentence was ‘unjust,’” wrote Cassell. “Indeed, at the time, I wrote that ‘to correct what appears to be an unjust sentence, the court also calls on the President—in whom our Constitution reposes the power to correct unduly harsh sentences—to commute Mr. Angelos’ sentence to something that is more in accord with just and rational punishment.’ Now that Mr. Angelos has served more than twelve years in prison, I once again want to call on you to commute his sentence. I thus write in strong support of a clemency petition that he has filed.

The underlying problem in the Angelos case can be traced back to the [charge] ‘stacking’
feature of the crimes for which Angelos was convicted. As illustrated by his case, he
was able to rack up decades of prison time by possessing a gun in several separate
criminal offenses, even where those offenses are all essentially part of the same episode,” Cassell added.

Koch Industries attorney Mark Holden piled on in support of Angelos and said, “Judge Cassell’s letter articulates well the grave injustice involved in Weldon’s prison sentence.

Cassell’s letter to President Obama concluded, “In 2004, when I sentenced Mr. Angelos, I thought his sentence was ‘cruel, unjust, and irrational.’ I am even more firmly convinced of that conclusion today, when the Angelos case has been widely discussed as a clear example of an unduly harsh sentence. Because his appeals have been exhausted, the only solution for Angelos is a Presidential commutation. I urge you to swiftly commute his sentence.

[RELATED: DONEGAN: 46 Non-Violent Drug Inmates Freed, Thousands Upon Thousands Still Incarcerated]

Weldon’s sister Lisa Angelos wrote in a Change.org petition urging his release, “Senators Mike Lee and Orrin Hatch of Utah, and dozens of prominent celebrities, activists, book authors, legal scholars, business leaders (including Koch Industries), and former elected and appointed government officials have joined Judge Cassell in calling on President Obama to release Weldon from prison. But that hasn’t happened yet. After 12 years, Weldon is still in prison. It breaks my heart. My father feared he would die without ever seeing Weldon free from prison. And on January 4, 2015, that’s exactly what happen. Our father died without seeing his son free from behind bars.

Obama administration spokesperson Brandi Hoffine told The Washington Post that the President does not comment on cases that are still pending and said, “The President expects to continue to issue commutations throughout the remainder of his time in office. But, clemency is just one of the tools the administration is using to address the vast inequities in the criminal justice system. We will also continue to work toward comprehensive reform of the criminal justice system in Congress.

VIDEO: Charles Koch Rips Hypocrisy of Pot Criminalization

Billionaire philanthropist and Koch Industries CEO Charles Koch blasted the hypocrisy of pot criminalization’s disproportionate enforcement in an October interview on CBS This Morning.

In the interview, which can be seen in the above-embedded video, Koch said, “Some poor kid in the inner city smokes a joint, goes to prison, ruins his life, where we have a president who is more privileged, who smoked a joint, becomes president. We have a candidate who admits smoking a joint — he’s running for president. Now, where is the justice in that?

The controversial Koch brothers have long pushed for criminal justice reforms that would reduce or eliminate harsh criminal penalties for non-violent offenders.

[RELATED: Obama Praises Rand Paul, Koch Brothers in NAACP Criminal Justice Reform Speech]

Speaking in terms of principles, Koch said, “I think government is a social agency of coercion. Now that sounds horrible and bad, but we need coercion. Beyond that, government should only be doing those things where coercion works better than voluntary cooperation and competition… But the burden of proof needs to be on the government.

Koch told CBS correspondent Anthony Mason that he dislikes the tone that many Republican candidates have struck on immigration in 2016 presidential primary debates. “We need to reform our immigration policy, letting everyone in this country who’s going to make the country better and let in no one who is going to make it worse,” he said.

Describing his business philosophy, Koch explained, “The way to succeed long term is not to think how do I maximize profits, but how do… we maximize the value we create for others.

[RELATED: Charles Koch Blasts Crony Capitalism, Calls Subsidies ‘Welfare for the Wealthy’]

The Koch brothers are oft-vilified by political progressives who characterize their high levels of spending to promote political causes and candidates as efforts to buy elections.

I get a lot of death threats. I’m now on al-Qaeda’s hit list too. It gets pretty scary… I decided long ago I’d rather die for something than live for nothing,” said the billionaire.

He added, laughing off the challenges of pushing for his political views in the face of so much opposition, “My goal was to get more and more people to understand what makes their lives better, what’s fair, what’s a just society… You know, it’s hard to save the world when the world doesn’t want to be saved.

Tenn. GOP State Rep. to Draft Bill Decriminalizing Pot Possession Among Vets with PTSD

Tennessee State Representative Jeremy Faison (R-Cosby) said last week that he is drafting a bill that would decriminalize marijuana possession by military veterans in the state who have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Rep. Faison told the Knoxville News-Sentinel, “Pills have side effects. … The No. 1 side effect is suicide. Twenty-eight veterans a day in America are committing suicide.

Aside from a bill legalizing low-THC cannabis oil that Gov. Haslam signed in May of this year, marijuana legalization and decriminalization advocates in the state have struggled to gain support for their initiatives.

[RELATED: Tennessee Governor Bill Haslam Signs Cannabis Oil Legalization Bill into Law]

Faison, who claims to have never tried an intoxicant and whose sister was killed by an inebriated driver, says it takes “a special kind of stupid” to fail to recognize the medical benefits of marijuana in the case of war veterans who suffer from PTSD.

He said that his wife, who holds a master’s degree in nutrition, often says, “For most ailments man has, God has a remedy,” and added that he believes that marijuana can sometimes be used as a natural alternative to pharmaceutical drugs for certain ailments.

Faison’s bill will only decriminalize pot possession by veterans dealing with PTSD. Critics, such as Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville), who relayed an anecdote about a police officer who is wheelchair-bound by seizures, say that the effort is unfair because it does not allow non-veterans with PTSD and other ailments to seek treatment. However, Rep. Jones said that she would be willing to support Faison’s bill as an incremental step to allow a “little piece of the population” to obtain medical marijuana.

In September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode exposing the federal government’s mixed messages on medical marijuana. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


Colo. Prosecutors Complain Juries Are Refusing to Convict Pot-Influenced Drivers

Prosecutors in pot-legal Colorado are expressing frustrations that they are having a tough time finding juries willing to convict some suspects who have been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana.

According to CBS Denver, Colorado District Attorneys’ Council head Tom Raynes said that juries are in some cases refusing to convict individuals who have been found driving with levels of pot in their system exceeding the 5 ng/ml THC legal limit.

You are putting lives in danger. I want the message to be understood. It’s about driving while under the influence of drugs — it’s not about recreational or medical, it’s about being impaired when you drive,” he said. “I don’t believe anyone can drive better under the influence of any substance.

[RELATED: Ron Paul Calls for Jury to Nullify Cannabis Oil Mom Shona Banda’s Criminal Charges]

CBS Denver pointed to the case of medical marijuana patient Melanie Brinegar as an example. Brinegar was charged with driving under the influence of pot during a June traffic stop over an expired license plate. Though she admitted to having used marijuana and was found over the legal limit, officers did not witness her driving erratically.

Brinegar claimed that marijuana use improves her ability to drive and that she was neither high nor impaired. She was acquitted by a jury of her peers.

[RELATED: Indiana County Introduces Marijuana Goggles to Curb Teen Use]

The Free Thought Project characterized the jury’s refusal to convict as “jury nullification.” However, it appears that a component of the law allows juries to find defendants not guilty even if they are above the legal limit.

Brad Wood, a foreman on the jury that acquitted Brinegar, said, “The law allows you to infer that the person was impaired if they have over 5 ng/ml. But you may also feel free not to infer that and in any case use all the evidence to make your judgement… If the law says we strongly encourage you to weigh this as the biggest factor, I think it would have been a whole different story… If the officer said, ‘We saw her weave,’ it probably would have been a different story.

Wood referred to the law as poorly written and said that the jury believed Brinegar’s claim that marijuana does not impair her driving.

[Activist Charged with Jury Tampering for Promoting Jury Nullification Outside Courthouse]

During the trial, Brinegar’s attorney Colin McCallin argued that the pot driving impairment law differs from driving under the influence of alcohol laws that require juries to convict simply on the basis of the suspect’s blood alcohol content. McCallin said that this argument might not work in other incidences in which an individual has been charged with driving under the influence of marijuana.

Are we sending a message it’s okay to smoke and drive? I don’t like that message. In [Brinegar’s] case maybe its fine,” Wood said.

Bernie Sanders Introduces Bill to End Federal Marijuana Prohibition

A bill was introduced in the Senate on Wednesday by Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) that would end federal prohibition on marijuana and allow legalization to be determined by the states.

The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2015 states that it would limit the application of federal laws to the distribution and consumption of marijuana, ultimately removing all references to cannabis in the Controlled Substances Act.

[RELATED: Colorado Becomes First State to Generate More Tax Revenue From Marijuana than from Alcohol Sales]

The Huffington Post noted that Sanders’s bill is modeled after one that was proposed by Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) in 2013 and reintroduced in 2015 as the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act.

“Just as alcohol prohibition failed in the 1920s, it’s clear marijuana prohibition is failing today,” Polis said. “For decades, the federal ban on marijuana has wasted tax dollars, impeded our criminal justice system, lined the pockets of drug cartels, and trampled on states’ ability to set their own public health laws.”

Polis described the introduction of the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act in the Senate as “a huge step forward in the movement to enact the commonsense drug laws needed to grow our economy and restore fairness to our justice system.”

Although recreational marijuana is legal in Washington, Alaska, ColoradoOregon and the District of Columbia, it remains illegal under federal law.

[RELATED: Reality Check: U.S. Non-Violent Drug Offenders Incarceration Rate is Shameful]

Leslie Bocskor, a managing partner of Electrum Partners, a medical marijuana consulting firm, told Yahoo News that he believes removing marijuana from the federal government’s list of banned substances would “alleviate several unwanted byproducts of the U.S. war on drugs.”

[pull_quote_center]This includes reducing our rate of incarceration for nonviolent offenders, addressing racial injustice enabled by the criminalization of marijuana not to mention increased tax revenue, a regulated marketplace keeping marijuana out of the hands of children, job creation, the destruction of criminal cartels by removing their revenue streams and keeping wealth in the communities that have established regulated frameworks.[/pull_quote_center]

The Marijuana Policy Project, a marijuana reform organization, noted that while Sanders’ bill is the fourth one seeking marijuana policy reform, it is the first bill that actually proposes the end of federal marijuana prohibition.

While cannabis has been known to help with diseases such as cancer, epilepsy and Crohn’s disease, the Drug Enforcement Administration defines marijuana as a Schedule I drug, or one of “the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules with potentially severe psychological or physical dependence.”

On the DEA’s list of drugs, marijuana is alongside substances including heroin, LSD and ecstasy, while cocaine, methamphetamine and oxycodone are listed as less hazardous Schedule II drugs.

Last year, Ben Swann examined the federal government’s classification of marijuana, seen in the video below. While marijuana remains a Schedule I drug, the government also holds patents on the substance to treat various diseases and conditions.


New DEA Head Says Pot “Is Dangerous,” Lacks Medical Use, Belongs on Schedule I

Newly-appointed acting Drug Enforcement Administration chief Chuck Rosenberg, who took over the position following previous DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart’s resignation over a scandal in which subordinate DEA agents were caught participating in sex parties with prostitutes funded by Colombian drug cartels, recently clarified that he supports marijuana’s controversial classification alongside hardcore drugs like heroin as a Schedule I narcotic with no medical use.

In an interview with Rosenberg, Fox News’ James Rosen asked, “Two of the last three presidents of the United States have acknowledged having used marijuana… Isn’t that itself – the fact that here we have two men who used marijuana, in varying degrees, and who then went on to become president of the United States – a kind of a prima facie argument that it is time to remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act?

Rosenberg replied, “Yeah, I don’t think so.” He added, “Marijuana is dangerous. It certainly is not as dangerous as other Schedule I controlled substances; it’s not as dangerous as heroin, clearly, but it’s still dangerous. It’s not good for you. I wouldn’t want my children smoking it. I wouldn’t recommend that anyone do it. So I don’t frankly see a reason to remove it. We, by the way, support, and have supported, a lot of legitimate research on marijuana, fully behind that; I think it’s great. If we come up with a medical use for it, that would be wonderful. But we haven’t.

Rosen pushed back, “I’ve never seen two guys get thrown out of a bar because they started fist-fighting after smoking a joint. All right? But we’ve seen [that] every Friday and every Saturday night brings just such occasions as a result of the legal distribution of alcohol. Isn’t there some common-sense disparity, or irony, or disconnect in that?

Probably, yeah. Right?” said Rosenberg. “So I don’t know that you’re arguing that they’re both good; you may be arguing that they’re both bad. As I said earlier, marijuana is less dangerous – clearly less dangerous – than heroin. It’s easy to draw that line. But I’m not willing to say that it’s good for you, or that it ought to be legalized. I think it’s bad for you and that it ought to remain illegal.

When Rosen suggested that Rosenberg’s argument could be used to justify banning alcohol, Rosenberg replied, “No, I’m not going to say that. We – we tangled with that as a society in the 1930s. And we know how that went. That’s the law of the land; I get it. I choose not to drink alcohol but I’m not going to impose that on anyone else.

The new DEA chief said that he has never tried marijuana and that his biggest vice is drinking excessive quantities of diet soda.

Rosenberg pinpointed fighting a rising heroin epidemic as his top priority and admitted that legal pharmaceutical drugs are acting as a gateway drug to heroin abuse.

There’s an enormous supply of heroin; it’s cheap. In fact, it’s a lot cheaper than prescription pills. If you take oxycodone and hydrocodone for a football injury and you get hooked, you’re going to pay a dollar a milligram on the street for a pill – thirty milligrams, thirty dollars, give or take. Heroin is probably one-fifth the price, and because it has a similar chemical effect, a similar pharmacological reaction, folks make that transition,” he said.

[RELATED: Shona Banda’s Attorney Plans to Fight Cannabis’ Classification As Schedule I Narcotic]

He also pointed out the fact that the black market’s ability to reap profits off of the demand for contraband — which many anti-prohibition advocates argue is a predictable consequence of drug prohibition itself — funds terrorist groups and threatens U.S. national security.

This is a multi-billion dollar industry. What are the bad guys doing with the money that Americans are paying for drugs? What’s it funding overseas? I’m sure some of it’s going to terrorist organizations; we’ve seen that. And so that worries me quite a bit,” said Rosenberg.

Back in September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode noting that the federal government holds a patent on medical cannabis despite the fact that it classifies the substance as having no medical use. Watch the episode in the below-embedded video player.


Ohio Recreational Pot Legalization Initiative Qualifies for Nov. 2015 Ballot

Ohio voters will decide on this November’s ballot whether the state will legalize marijuana for recreational and medical uses.

According to The Cincinnati Enquirer, Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted confirmed on Wednesday that the pro-pot group ResponsibleOhio has successfully obtained 320,267 valid signatures of voters in a petition drive qualifying a marijuana legalization ballot initiative for the state’s November 3, 2015 general election.

It’s time for marijuana legalization in Ohio, and voters will have the opportunity to make it happen this November — we couldn’t be more excited. Drug dealers don’t care about doing what’s best for our state and its citizens. By reforming marijuana laws in November, we’ll provide compassionate care to sick Ohioans, bring money back to our local communities and establish a new industry with limitless economic development opportunities,” read a statement by ResponsibleOhio executive director Ian James. The group reportedly spent over $2 million since March of this year promoting its signature gathering campaign and still has over $20 million in its war chest to spend on promoting November’s initiative.

If the amendment were to pass, it would legalize the recreational use and possession of up to one ounce of pot for individuals of 21 years of age or older. Medical marijuana would become available to patients with a doctor’s prescription. Additionally, those who obtain a cultivation license would be able to grow up to four marijuana plants at home for their own personal use. Marijuana production would be taxed at 15 percent and sales to consumers at 5 percent. 15 percent of tax revenues would go to fund a new regulatory authority called the Marijuana Control Commission. Remaining revenues would be split by Ohio towns, cities, and counties.

The amendment would create criminal laws cracking down on marijuana sales to minors, the employment of minors at marijuana businesses, pot-intoxicated drivers, and public cannabis consumption.

Though the amendment would not impact existing marijuana convictions, if it passes, ResponsibleOhio plans to push for a 2016 ballot initiative called the Fresh Start Act that would create a process for expunging thus-outdated pot convictions.

The Plain Dealer notes that the amendment would constitutionally restrict commercial cultivation to 10 specific farms owned by ResponsibleOhio investors, which critics have said creates a “monopoly.” Those who stand to profit on those farms include former 98 Degrees performer Nick Lachey, fashion designer Nanette Lapore, Arizona Cardinals defensive end Frostee Rucker, and Woody and Dudley Taft Jr., both of whom are descendants of former President William Howard Taft.

In June, the Ohio Legislature placed an initiative on the November 2015 ballot that would ban the creation of a “monopoly, oligopoly, or cartel” from the Ohio Constitution. Sec. Husted said that he believes that the anti-monopoly amendment would override the marijuana legalization amendment if both were to pass, a legal theory which ResponsibleOhio representatives contest. If that were to be the outcome of the election, a court battle would likely ensue.

Former Cincinnati Police Chief Tom Streicher, a ResponsibleOhio supporter, said, “When I served as the Chief of Police for Ohio’s third-largest city, I saw first-hand the destructive impact of Ohio’s marijuana laws. Our state spends over $120 million per year to enforce marijuana prohibition, even though we all know these laws do not work. Law enforcement should instead be able to spend their time and their resources cracking down on the real criminals. ResponsibleOhio’s amendment will do just that, paving the way for a better, safer future for our children and grandchildren.

Republican State Representative Niraj Antani, an opponent of the pot legalization amendment, told WDTN-TV, “Even if you do favor it, this is a bad deal. This is ten or fifteen individuals all investing into a scheme to make a lot of money. This isn’t how we should create industries in Ohio. It’s going to be put into the constitution which should be done very carefully. I think it’s a bad deal for all Ohioans.

Ohio Governor and 2016 presidential candidate John Kasich opposes the measure.

A July Quinnipiac University poll found that 52 percent of Ohioans supported marijuana legalization and 44 percent expressed their opposition.

In September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode exposing the federal government’s mixed messages about medical marijuana. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


Missouri To Set Free Grandfather Sentenced to Life Without Parole for Pot

Since September of last year, Truth in Media has reported on the the plight of Jeff Mizanskey, a 62-year-old grandfather who was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for three non-violent marijuana convictions under Missouri’s since-repealed, three-strikes style Prior and Persistent Drug Offender statute. After a rising chorus of supporters begged for his release, Missouri Governor Jay Nixon unexpectedly commuted Mizanskey’s sentence to life in prison with the possibility of parole last May, qualifying him for an August 6 hearing before Missouri’s Board of Probation and Parole.

[RELATED: MO Governor Jay Nixon Commutes Grandfather’s Life Sentence for Pot]

At the hearing, Mizanskey, who has already spent over 21 years in a maximum security prison, was granted parole and, according to ABC 17 News, he is set to be released within 10 to 25 days of the parole board’s decision.

A message posted on August 10 on the Free Jeff Mizanskey Facebook page read, “Great news everyone… Jeff is coming home this month! We want everyone to know how greatful[sic] we are for all the support received throughout this whole ordeal. There is a lot of people to thank but I don’t wanna forget anyone so I need to make a list but we are so thankful to everyone that had a part in helping us bring him home.” The post contains a link to a GoFundMe page dedicated to raising funds to help Mizanskey get back on his feet after decades of incarceration.

Jeff Mizanskey’s son Chris summed up his experience in lobbying for his father’s release for all these years in comments to KCRG-13, “It really does go to show you that people being together on one voice can change a lot of issues.” Chris Mizanskey said that supporters who had pressured officials on his father’s behalf deserve credit for his release.

Watch the Truth in Media Project’s Consider This video, embedded below, which exposes some lesser-known and important facts about non-violent inmates serving hard time under the War on Drugs.


Marijuana Policy Project, Whole Foods Donate to Rand Paul’s 2016 Presidential Bid

Mid-year Federal Election Commission filings are in, and Rand Paul’s 2016 presidential campaign has reportedly received a boost from atypical Republican primary donors like Marijuana Policy Project and Whole Foods.

National Journal notes that Marijuana Policy Project PAC donated $5,000 to Rand Paul for America, another $5,000 to Paul’s Senate re-election campaign, and $4,500 to Rand Paul Victory Fund, a PAC which supports Paul’s Senate re-election bid. MPP recently rated Rand Paul’s positions on cannabis freedom issues with an “A-” grade, placing him ahead of all announced presidential candidates in both parties.

Rand Paul has actually put his money where his mouth is,” said Marijuana Policy Project federal policies director Dan Riffle. “He’s been very firm in his belief that states ought to set their own marijuana policy.” Riffle said that he is not surprised that his organization chose to “max out” donations for Paul after MPP executives attended Paul’s political fundraiser for marijuana-related business leaders last June at the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Cannabis Business Summit in Denver, Colo.

Paul sponsored a bill last month that would allow cannabis businesses to access legal banking services. He has also joined with Democratic Senator Corey Booker to promote reform to federal drug sentencing guidelines and in sponsoring the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act, which would end the federal government’s prohibition on medical marijuana and scientific cannabis research.

Mother Jones’ Russ Choma analyzed the FEC filings of America’s Liberty PAC, a super PAC supporting Paul’s campaign, and found more unusual filings for a Republican primary bid. “George Macricostas, the CEO of data storage company RagingWire, donated $1.1 million to the super PAC. Jeff Yass, the CEO of Philadelphia private investment firm Susquehenna International donated $1 million. Both represent relatively untapped sources of money for a conservative candidate. Yass has previously written large checks, but none larger than the $50,000 donation he made in 2004 to Club for Growth, while Macricostas appears to have donated a total of just over $12,000 prior to his $1.1 million donation to America’s Liberty,” he wrote.

Choma added, “The super PAC roped in other big donations, including $50,000 from John Mackey, the CEO of Whole Foods, and $50,000 from Patrick Byrne, the CEO of Overstock.com. The group also also received $15,000 from ICC Holdings, an Illinois company hoping to be one of the first companies to legally operate a commercial cannabis farm.

Paul has called for a more inclusive Republican Party and said earlier this year, “If we want our message to resonate across the land, if we want our message to be inclusive, I tell people, look the Republican party needs to look like America… White, black, brown, rich poor, with tattoos and without tattoos, with earrings and without earrings. We need to take our message where it’s not been taken before.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Last September, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode exposing the federal government’s mixed messages on medical marijuana. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


Christie Tells Colo. Pot Smokers to ‘Enjoy It’ Now As He Will Bust Them As President

New Jersey Republican Governor and former federal prosecutor Chris Christie issued a dire warning to pot users in states that have legalized marijuana while promoting his 2016 presidential campaign at a town hall meeting at Salt Hill Pub in Newport, New Hampshire on Tuesday. “If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it. As of January 2017, I will enforce the federal laws,” said Christie.

Christie claimed that he believes that marijuana is a gateway drug that alters the brain and criticized the Obama administration for choosing not to enforce federal marijuana laws in states where it has been legalized. “That’s lawlessness,” he said, according to Bloomberg. “If you want to change the marijuana laws, go ahead and change the national marijuana laws.

Reason notes that 2016 GOP presidential candidates Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Jeb Bush, George Pataki, and Carly Fiorina have all stated that they support the right of states to craft their own policy on marijuana, citing the 10th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

Truth in Media’s Annabelle Bamforth reported back in April of this year that Christie had pledged, prior to launching his 2016 campaign, that, if he were to become president, he would enforce federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized it.

Reason’s Jacob Sullum, who called Christie’s pot re-criminalization plan “utterly fantastical,” pointed out some of the difficulties facing the New Jersey Governor if he were to become president and attempt to stamp out growing marijuana industries in pot-legal states. “Three of the four states that have legalized marijuana for recreational use, plus the District of Columbia, allow home cultivation as well as commercial production. A determined prohibitionist in the White House, aided by DEA agents and federal prosecutors, could make life difficult for state-licensed growers and retailers, albeit at the cost of antagonizing political leaders in the states with legal pot (a list that probably will have expanded by the time the next president takes office). Going after thousands of scattered home growers, each of whom is free to share his produce with friends and neighbors, would be considerably harder. The federal government simply does not have the resources for such an eradication campaign,” argued Sullum.

Christie, who currently sits at ninth in the polls among 2016 GOP presidential candidates according to a RealClearPolitics polling average cited by Bloomberg, is fighting to stay in the top 10 ahead of Fox News’ August 6 televised Republican presidential debate in which the top 10 out of 16 candidates according to national polls will be featured in a prime-time showdown at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio. Those candidates who fail to make the top 10 will be featured in a second-tier debate taking place earlier that day.

For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Watch the Truth in Media Project’s Consider This video, embedded below, which examines some facts about non-violent inmates serving hard time under the federal War on Drugs.


Rand Paul Makes History As First Major-Party POTUS Candidate to Seek Pot Industry Donors

On June 30, US Senator and Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul attended the National Cannabis Industry Association’s Cannabis Business Summit at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, CO and held his own private, $2,700-per-ticket fundraiser. An invitation to the fundraiser, which was originally obtained by Yahoo News, can be seen below.


As The Associated Press points out, Rand Paul’s pot industry fundraiser marks the first time in US history that a major-party presidential candidate has attempted to openly seek campaign cash from America’s new legal marijuana industry. Around 40 marijuana business leaders met with Paul at the event.

This is a historical moment, that our industry is now working together with a presidential candidate,” said attendee Tripp Keber, owner of Dixie Elixirs.

Marijuana Policy Project spokesperson Mason Tvert told The Associated Press, “It really speaks to how important this issue is and how far it’s come… We’re seeing officials at the local, state and now federal level recognize this is now a legitimate industry, just like any other legal industry in many facets.

The Denver Post notes that the National Cannabis Industry Association donated $5,000 to Paul, marking the organization’s first-ever donation to a presidential campaign. “We are simply showing support for Senator Paul because he has shown support for us,” said NCIA deputy director Taylor West.

In March, Senator Paul teamed up with Democratic Senators Corey Booker and Kirsten Gillibrand in introducing a bipartisan bill, the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion and Respect States Act, to end the federal government’s prohibition on medical marijuana and scientific cannabis research. Senators Booker and Paul have also recently joined forces in a push to reform the federal criminal justice system’s treatment of non-violent drug offenders. Paul has also indicated that he supports changing federal laws to allow legal marijuana businesses to use banking services.

According to The Associated Press, former New Mexico Governor and presidential candidate Gary Johnson held a fundraiser for the Drug Policy Alliance while he was still vying for the 2012 Republican nomination for president. However, marijuana legalization was still in its infancy at that time, meaning there was no significant marijuana industry from which to seek donations.

In September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode exposing the federal government’s mixed messages on medical marijuana. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


For more 2016 election coverage, click here.

Recreational Marijuana to Become Legal in Oregon on Wednesday

On July 1, recreational marijuana becomes legal in Oregon as the personal cultivation and possession provisions of Measure 91, a state-wide voter-approved referendum that prevailed in November of 2014, take effect. The Oregonian notes that, starting on Wednesday, adults 21 and up will be allowed to possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana at home and up to 1 ounce while traveling. Home growers will be allowed to grow up to 4 cannabis plants per residence.

According to The Oregonian’s Noelle Crombie, “Anyone 21 and older can possess up to 1 pound of solid edibles, or about 10 chocolate bars; 72 ounces of marijuana-infused liquid, or a six-pack of 12-ounce sodas; and 1 ounce of marijuana extract.

Smoking pot in public remains illegal in Oregon and is punished with a fine of up to $1000. Under the law, plants grown in a resident’s yard must not be visible to the naked eye from the street.

However, Measure 91 tasked the Oregon Liquor Control Commission and the Oregon Legislature with crafting rules for a legal recreational marijuana marketplace, which has not yet taken place, meaning the sale of recreational pot will not yet be legal when the personal cultivation and possession provisions take effect on Wednesday. In the above-embedded video, Noelle Crombie and fellow marijuana policy expert at The Oregonian Jeff Mapes discuss the particulars of legalization and the legislative hurdles facing growers and sellers in the state.

Portland NORML is raising awareness to the lack of a legal market for recreational pot in Oregon by giving away free marijuana as the clock strikes midnight on July 1. KFOR-TV cited a statement by Portland NORML which read, “While it becomes legal to possess and cultivate cannabis, there is no legal place in Oregon to buy marijuana itself or cannabis seeds and starts. Portland NORML will educate the public and our partners will give away thousands of seeds and hundreds of pounds of marijuana this year so Washington State and the black market do not benefit from our new marijuana legality.

As it stands, the state will begin taking applications for large-scale cultivation and sales operations in January of 2016. However, the recreational pot industry is unlikely to start in the state until fall of next year.

According to The Associated Press, the Oregon Legislature’s joint marijuana committee approved a proposal last week to allow the state’s over 300 approved medical marijuana dispensaries to begin selling to recreational customers in October of 2015 as a temporary solution to buy time while lawmakers craft rules for a legal pot marketplace.

In September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode highlighting the federal government’s mixed messages on marijuana. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


EXCLUSIVE: War Veteran with PTSD Faces Life in Prison for Pot, His Wife Calls for Help

US Marine Corps combat veteran Kristoffer Lewandowski, who served in three tours of duty overseas including tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, reportedly faces up to life in prison for pot charges connected to a June 2014 raid on his Geronimo, OK home that occurred after his wife and neighbors called police to get him help for a post-traumatic stress disorder flare-up. However, rather than providing mental health resources, police responding on the scene searched Lewandowski’s home for contraband and found six marijuana plants, weighing in at less than an ounce of plant matter in total, and charged him with, among other offenses, felony marijuana cultivation, which, under Oklahoma’s unusually-harsh marijuana laws, carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. Truth in Media obtained an exclusive interview with Kristoffer Lewandowski’s wife Whitney Lewandowski in an effort to get their family’s story on the record.

Whitney Lewandowski said that her husband, a loving father to three children who was honorably medically discharged from the Marines and is 100% disabled due to severe post-traumatic stress disorder, was growing the marijuana for personal use, “He was just using it… He couldn’t get any, and, of course, we’re a military family, we’re very poor, we couldn’t afford to buy it anyway. So he was just growing it for himself. He was on his way out of the military and just wanted to see if it would help with [his mental health issues]. He was taking 13 pills a day, and it was just killing his liver. He was having all these issues with his body and he just wanted to try something more natural to just see if he could do without that many pills a day.” She called his medical marijuana treatments “absolutely effective.

On that day in June of 2014, Kristoffer Lewandowski had a PTSD episode and Whitney Lewandowski left and took their three children to their neighbors’ house to “diffuse the situation.” When their neighbors called police in an effort to get mental health help for the struggling war veteran, officers responded, searched the Lewandowski’s home, and began a drug investigation instead. Whitney Lewandowski said that she was initially handcuffed under investigation for the same charges, placed in a police car, and told that her children were going to be taken by Child Protective Services. However, authorities offered her the opportunity to remain free and keep their kids if she pressed charges against her husband for domestic violence. In an effort to keep the children, she agreed to do so and later discovered that she could not rescind those charges without re-activating the felony marijuana cultivation charges against herself. Police arrested Kristoffer Lewandowski and charged him with felony marijuana cultivation, possession of drug paraphernalia, and a domestic violence offense. Whitney Lewandowski noted that, though police were originally called to help Kristoffer, “the kind of help he got was being tossed in jail.”

Whitney Lewandowski said that the domestic violence charge does not reflect the reality of her husband’s behavior, “They’re trying to use me as a victim and to make it look worse on his case. My husband has absolutely never laid his hands on me ever. He is not an abusive man, ever… quite the opposite. He is extremely doting.

She noted that, at the time of the raid, police included tomato plants that were also growing in Kristoffer Lewandowski’s home while weighing his personal-use cannabis which she said “made it look like he had this huge grow [operation] going” in media reports on his arrest.

After the arrest, Whitney Lewandowski pulled together funds to pay a bail bondsman to cover his $20,000 bail and their family moved and continued their life in California, where Whitney has family ties. While in California, Kristoffer Lewandowski was prescribed medical marijuana to deal with his crippling post-traumatic stress disorder and began treatment legally.

Meanwhile, the Lewandowskis’ attorney quit the case over a dispute over money, and, as a part of the bail agreement, Kristoffer no longer qualifies for a public defender, leaving him without legal representation.

Whitney Lewandowski said, “We tried to work with the DA’s office to see if he could do, like, a drug court or a mental health court, but he was denied both of those.” She said that Kristoffer does qualify for an alternative sentence through a drug court, but that the district attorney chose not to allow it.

Earlier this month in Laguna Beach, CA, despite the fact that the Lewandowski family remained in contact with authorities connected to his Oklahoma criminal case, undercover police apprehended Kristoffer by surprise in a dramatic, guns-drawn raid while the Lewandowskis were picking up their children from pre-school, as he had unknowingly missed a prior court date while in the care of a Veterans Administration psychiatric hospital. Whitney Lewandowski, who noted that the undercover officers who picked him up had been following them since earlier that day and could have chosen a different time to make the arrest, said, “To be picked up like that, we’re all blown away. Especially in a pre-school parking lot where all my kids’ friends are, their parents are. Everyone’s witnessing this, and it was horrifying.

Kristoffer Lewandowski currently remains in police custody in California awaiting extradition to Oklahoma where he will face his charges. The medical marijuana groups Weed 4 Warriors Project and Patients Out of Time have stepped in and are attempting to generate publicity for him. Also, his supporters have launched a Facebook page and a Change.org petition to raise awareness to his plight and a crowdfunding page to raise funds to help support the Lewandowski family throughout this ordeal.

Though his felony cultivation charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison, Whitney Lewandowski said that her husband told her that other inmates familiar with Oklahoma sentencing policies said that “most people were doing at least 2 to 4 years per plant in their house. So Kris having six plants doesn’t look good for him.” She urged his supporters to spread the word about the serious charges that he faces.

Did you miss Ben Swann’s episode on medical cannabis? Watch below:


Ron Paul Calls for Jury to Nullify Cannabis Oil Mom Shona Banda’s Criminal Charges

Since March of last year, Truth in Media has covered the work of cannabis oil activist Shona Banda, a mother and Crohn’s disease patient who successfully used cannabis oil to treat her illness and developed her own inexpensive method for extracting it. However, Banda’s ordeal took a serious turn in April of this year when her son was seized by the Kansas Department for Children and Families and her home raided by police after her 11-year-old son spoke out about Banda’s successful cannabis oil treatment during an anti-drug presentation at his Garden City, KS public school.

Truth in Media’s exclusive interviews with Banda about her fight to regain custody of her son and the five criminal charges, three of them felonies, that she faces pursuant to the April raid on her home garnered nationwide attention, with outlets like The Washington Post and ABC’s The View picking up the story.

Now, Shona Banda’s case has caught the attention of libertarian icon and former Republican US Congressman Ron Paul, who weighed in on her case during Tuesday’s episode of the Ron Paul Liberty Report.

In the episode, seen in the above-embedded video player, Ron Paul spoke optimistically of the fact that laws prohibiting treatment with cannabis oil have been overturned in many states, but noted that these changes are happening too slowly to help in Shona Banda’s case. As an alternative, he pointed to jury nullification, a legal tool that jurors can use to defend fellow citizens from unjust laws.

[Shona Banda] could end up in prison for 34 years,” said Paul, who called the charges against her “so egregious.

Jury nullification describes a discretionary act in which a juror uses his or her right to acquit a defendant, but does so, not on the basis that the accused is innocent of the charges, but instead based on the belief that the law itself is unjust. Former Congressman Paul cautioned that efforts to stand outside a specific courthouse and educate jurors on the principle of jury nullification could result in activists being charged with jury tampering.

Paul also pointed out the fact that parents who home-school their kids do not face a risk that public school employees will interrogate their children in an effort to spy on parents’ behavior. He concluded by articulating his broader view that the War on Drugs exceeds the federal government’s constitutional limits. “[The federal government] shouldn’t even be involved. Where is it in the Constitution that they’re going to tell us about what our kids can do or what a person can do for their own body, taking something that grows naturally and finds out that its the best medication they could take? I mean that is not a federal function.

Shona Banda’s supporters have already raised nearly $50,000 to support her legal defense via a GoFundMe page. Banda has predicted that her legal fees may exceed $150,000.

In September of last year, Ben Swann released a Truth in Media episode confronting the federal government’s mixed messages about the efficacy of medical marijuana. Watch it in the below-embedded video player.


Colorado Supreme Court Employers Can Fire Workers For Off-Duty Medical Marijuana Use

In the case of a quadriplegic who was fired from Dish Network in 2010 after he failed a company drug test because he was using marijuana for medicinal purposes, Colorado’s Supreme Court ruled, 6-0, on Monday that employers can fire workers for off-duty marijuana use, even though the substance is legal in the state.

Brandon Coats, the plaintiff in the case, became quadriplegic in a car accident and used marijuana to control leg spasms. He told the Denver Post that he was hired as a customer service representative for Dish Network in 2007, but was fired in 2010 after a random drug test, even though he had a medical marijuana card.

Coats said he was called in for a random drug test in 2010, and that he warned Human Resources that he would not pass the test. When the results came back negative, Coats said that he told his manager he had a medical marijuana card, and his manager said this was a circumstance the company had never seen.

Coats said that he continued to work with Dish Network for two more weeks, before the company notified him that he was being terminated for using marijuana, even though he was in possession of a license.

While Colorado became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana use following the passage of Amendment 64 in Nov. 2012, medical marijuana use was passed in Nov. 2000, and required that users obtain a Medical Marijuana Registry Identification Card.

In the ruling from Colorado’s Supreme Court, Justice Allison H. Eid wrote that businesses can terminate employees for using marijuana, because even though it is legal under state law, it is still illegal under federal law:

[quote_center]Therefore, employees who engage in an activity, such as medical marijuana use, that is permitted by state law but unlawful under federal law are not protected by the statute[/quote_center].

The ruling also stated that the Court was declining Coats’ invitation to “engraft a state law limitation onto the statutory language.”

“Nothing in the language of the statute limits the term ‘lawful’ to state law,” wrote Eid. “Instead, the term is used in its general, unrestricted sense, indicating that a ‘lawful’ activity is that which complies with applicable ‘law,’ including state and federal law.”

Michael Evans, Coats’ attorney, told the Denver Post that he thought the decision was “devastating.”

[quote_center]“You need the Colorado Supreme Court to stand up for its own laws,” Evans said. “The U.S. Supreme Court is not going to do that.”[/quote_center]

In Sept. 2014, investigative journalist Ben Swann released an episode of the Truth in Media Project that documented the federal government’s involvement with marijuana. He revealed that although the government claimed cannabis cannot be used as medicine, it holds the patent on cannabis as medicine.

Watch the full video:


Cannabis Oil Legalization Bill Advances Through TN House Committee

Tennessee, a hard red and deeply conservative state, is currently taking a long look at marijuana prohibition, as the state’s legislature is considering an array of bills that could weaken bans on marijuana. According to The Tennessean, one such bill just advanced past its first legislative obstacle. HB 0197, a bill introduced by Republican House Rep. Jeremy Faison, would legalize the medical use of cannabis oil in the treatment of patients suffering from serious seizure disorders. The House Criminal Justice Subcommittee approved the bill last Tuesday, meaning it now moves on to the House Criminal Committee. The above-embedded footage by WSMV, published approximately two weeks before the committee would ultimately approve the bill, shows some of the individuals who testified at the hearings leading up to the bill’s advancement.

The committee tweaked the proposal’s language, adding a requirement that cannabis oil patients obtain a doctor’s note. Medical cannabis oil extracts lack the THC content that provides the euphoric feeling associated with marijuana.

Committee Chairman William Lamberth (R-Cottontown) offered his support for the bill during the hearing. Tennessee Republicans, who are promoting the legislation, control the legislature, giving it a fair chance of passing in a state that legalized hemp last year.

Cannabis oil legalization became a political issue in the state after Tennessee families with children suffering from seizure disorders, some of which resulting in thousands of seizures per day, began to plan moves out of state in an effort to seek treatment for their children. FOX-13 notes that Memphis three-year-old Chloe Grauer tragically passed away from a severe seizure late last year while waiting for a cannabis oil legalization bill to pass in Tennessee. According to The Leaf Chronice, Chloe Grauer’s grandmother Gail Grauer was present at the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee hearing in honor of her granddaughter.

In addition to the cannabis oil bill, the Tennessee House Criminal Justice Subcommittee will consider a bill, sponsored by Rep. Harold Love (D-Nashville), that would decriminalize the possession and casual exchange of less than a half ounce of marijuana and adjust penalties for possession and casual exchange of up to one ounce to a $100 fine without jail time. Another bill sponsored by Rep. Sherry Jones (D-Nashville) would redefine the state’s definition of drug paraphernalia to exclude products used to consume marijuana.

The Leaf Chronicle notes that recent Vanderbilt University and Middle Tennessee State University polls demonstrated that 3 in 4 Tennesseans support some degree of marijuana legalization.

Tennessee NORML president Doak Patton said, “I was there yesterday when the [cannabis oil] bill passed the subcommittee… The whole room was filled with mothers, fathers, grandparents and sick kids. It was fairly amazing to see… Last year, I knew almost all of these people by name. Now there are so many, I can’t keep count.”

In September of last year, Ben Swann released an expose, seen below, on the federal government’s mixed messages on cannabis oil.

“F..k it, I Quit” Reporter Explains Passion For Cannabis Advocacy

Anchorage, AK- Former KTVA reporter Charlo Greene, whose real name is Charline Egbe, expounded her reasoning for leaving her career to fight for the legalization of cannabis. While she did not discuss the controversial manner in which she quit, she explained why she feels so strongly about the cause.

“There comes a time in each and every one of our lives when we must choose to continue to spectate or stand up for what’s right,” said Greene. “To question what they say is wrong, why they were given authority, and where their claims of danger and peril come from.”

“Why are Americans arrested every 37 seconds? Alaskans every 4.3 hours? Why should an aspiring someone lose their ability to earn a higher education, to become someone they were not meant to be? And why should you lose the ability to get public assistance in times of struggle and need?” Greene asked.

“Marijuana? They say it’s a myth that anyone is jailed for simple possession; regulating will force it on our children; if you’re allowed to smoke it in the privacy of your own home, society as we know it is all but ruined!” Greene continued, criticizing the arguments made against cannabis legalization. She went on to mock the idea that oils and concentrates are comparable to harder drugs.

Ben Swann recently traveled to Colorado to study reported medicinal benefits of cannabis-derived CBD oil and the recent public attention it is receiving. Despite promising research and success stories from children and adults suffering from debilitating conditions, the federal government continues its prohibition (even though the Department of Health and Human Services has a patent for cannabinoid usage for medicinal purposes).

“Nearly a century of marijuana prohibition and stigma have stained America, the land of the free and home of the brave,” Greene said. Shifting to promoting activism beyond marijuana, she said “But we have a chance to start taking back the right. Today, it’s marijuana prohibition, and once we get that done nationally we the people will realize that we are stronger than ever and you will feel empowered to take up what you choose to fight.”

Below is the video of Greene’s full segment reporting on the Alaskan Cannabis Club and Alaska’s Ballot 2 measure to legalize marijuana, followed by Greene’s now famous departure.