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New Approach Washington

After Historic President Obama May Be Ready to Examine Marijuana Reform


Often a politician’s true feelings are not decipherable until after they no longer face the prospect of re-election.  While President Obama’s 2008 campaign included a progressive tone to the war on drugs and marijuana reform, his first term drifted away from those sentiments.  Federal raids on dispensaries have been at an all time high under President Obama, more so than the Clinton and Bush years combined.

While normally an elected official could risk paying a high price such misleading political statements, marijuana advocates were left with little choice as Republican challenger Mitt Romney stated that he would medical marijuana “tooth and nail”.  One year ago, sensible marijuana reform and all the hard work for 15 years seemed to seriously be at jeopardy.  Raids were underway in California and Newt Gingrich (who vowed to increase government efforts on the failed war on drugs) was the frontrunner for the GOP nomination.  While the atmosphere was starting to appear toxic, activists remained undeterred.  Groups such as Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (Colorado) and New Approach Washington were able expand awareness and help collect enough signatures to get legalization to the ballots.  The legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado seems to be a game changer

Elections clearly have winners, losers, and consequences.  The international community, especially our neighbors to the south have been calling on the United States to alter its approach to the War On Drugs.  The Obama administration seemed unmoved by the international pressure.  President Obama even sidestepped online forum questions on marijuana several times.  Through all of this many kept their fingers crossed that President Obama would take on a softer tone as he likely will never be running for public office again.  The second term is here and marijuana activists were thrown a bone recently.

Even as the media coverage is narrowly focused on the so called “fiscal cliff”, the president must have taken notice of what happened in the two now legal marijuana states as he felt compelled to comment on the issue last week.  He recently told Barbara Walters that “We’ve got bigger fish to fry,” Mr Obama said in a nationally televised interview. “It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal.”  He also went on to say that the Justice Department is researching how they can reconcile the differences between federal and state law.  The president does not even have to draft his own legislation as The Respect States’ and Citizens’ Rights Act of 2012 has already been introduced to congress.  The bill, which is sponsored by Colorado Rep. Diana DeGette, would amend the US Controlled Substances Act and prevent federal law from taking precedence over state law.

It remains to be seen what exactly President Obama will do in regards to marijuana reform.  Unlike previous politicians, President Obama has previously professed his love for marijuana in print.  In his 1995 memoir “Dreams from My Father,” the president stated that he smoked marijuana like Dr. Suess wrote about Green Eggs and Ham.  Here, there everywhere.  Other reports suggest he was part of a pot smoking group named “The Chrom Gang”.   This is not to say that he must be forever tied to his actions as a teen and college student.  However, for a president that had a personal love for marijuana, and now has first hand experience in the failings of the drug war, it should be expected that he try his very best to fix this mess.  While the future is unclear, it is encouraging that marijuana would even get any airtime as fiscal cliff coverage, the aftermath of the Newtown shooting, and a re-energized conversation on gun control is dominating the airwaves.

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Marijuana Gets Political As GOP Convention Gets Underway

Republican National Convention

This week the Republican National Convention has commenced.  The goal of the convention will be to officially nominate former Governor Mitt Romney as the Republican candidate for president of the United States.  The convention has been forced to do a balancing act because Hurricane Isaac has been looming.  The guest speakers, which included Ann Romney, Rick Santorum and Chris Christie, were tasked with the goal of painting Mitt Romney as the man who can turn our country around.  Absent from any of the speeches was marijuana reform, even as it is becoming a large concern for many Americans.  The convention will continue throughout the week, however, since mainstream coverage will ignore the issue, would like to take this time to discuss some political updates that will not make it to the airwaves this week.

The two party system in the United States has disenfranchised many and created a sentiment that we have very limited choices.  This could explain why the United States Medical Marijuana Chamber of Commerce has now officially endorsed a president that has overseen the largest attack on medical marijuana patients in 16 years.  Fear of Mitt Romney seems to have prompted the endorsement.  Thomas L. Leto III, President and Founder of the group said in a statement this week “The Economic Potential of the Cannabis Business in the U.S. is Limitless and President Obama understands this, It is our impression that Mr. Romney just doesn’t get it.  Mitt Romney is known for his business success and would probably be able to forecast how large the legalized marijuana is set to grow in the coming years.  However, his campaign has been forced to embrace far right wing ideals which would likely prevent him from enacting reform measures.  Many are confident that an Obama second term would see a less toxic atmosphere for marijuana, while many fear the unknown with a Romney presidency.

We would also like to touch on another political issue that will likely fly under the radar this week.  The NAACP has announced their endorsement of Washington States Initiative 502.  New Approach Washington has been instrumental in collecting enough signatures from residents in order to get the issue of marijuana legalization and regulation in front of voters this November.  As reported by last week, the group also backed Colorado’s Ammendment 64, a ballot initiative that will also face a vote by residents and is similar to Washington’s Initiative 502.  NAACP President of the Alaska, Washington State, and Oregon chapter, Oscar Eason, Jr. said “Treating marijuana use as a crime has not only failed, it has perpetuated racial inequities through unequal enforcement.”  He also went on to say “African Americans are no more likely than whites to use marijuana, but we are much more likely to be arrested for it.”  This sentiment also matches the rationale for the NAACP backing of the Colorado legalization efforts.

As the road to the White House unfolds we will continue to provide updates.  Next week is the Democratic National Convention to be held in North Carolina.  While we expect a dodging of the marijuana issue there, we would like to remind the president that he could truly galvanize a large voting base by demonstrating some concern for reform and medical patients.  We would also hope that Hurricane Isaac passes through with minimal damage.  Our hearts, once again, are with the Gulf region.

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Support and Cash Flowing into Washington for Marijuana Legalization

seattleUnfortunately common sense alone does not change policy.  Even as patients, activists, and scientists have made sound arguments as to why marijuana offers so many benefits and why it is futile to fight the wheels of progression.  Marijuana is here, and it will not be going anywhere anytime soon so it is time for leadership …continue reading

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Residents of Oregon May Vote to Legalize Marijuana


While the bad news tends to stay ingrained in our psyche, it is important to note all of the success the marijuana reform movement has accomplished.  Dispensary raids and the DEA’s recent refusal to admit that marijuana is less harmful than crack and heroine can give the false impression that patients and marijuana advocates have not been successful.  This sentiment could not be farther from the truth.  There are already 17 states and Washington D.C. (plus more states with proposed legislation)that have already enacted laws that permit medical marijuana.  Additionally 13 states have approved measures to decriminalize low level marijuana possession.

2012 may be the year where marijuana reform is taken to even further heights.  Earlier in the year we already learned that both Washington State and Colorado will see its residents vote on whether or not they want a legalized and regulated marijuana system.  The groups New Approach Washington and Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol were instrumental in collecting enough signatures to get the issues to the ballot this November.  If passed in either or both of those states, marijuana will be regulated and handled in a similar fashion to alcohol.

Late last week we at were encouraged to hear that it appears a third state may also be joining the legalization list.  Oregon activists collected and submitted over twice the required signatures to the state in  order to get the issue on the ballot and voted on by residents.  The proposed law is being called the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act.  Another interesting aspect of the bill is that it would also permit farmers to grow hemp, which can be used in a variety of ways including food, fuel, rope, building materials and paper.  If approved, Oregon stands to create many jobs including new employees that would be required to operate the hemp farms.

Though the government still is attempting to derail the will of the people, their battle appears futile.  Elected officials often forget who they work for and with over half the country supporting legalization and approximately 75% supporting medical marijuana, reform seems to be a matter of inevitability.  Their jobs require votes and it is becoming increasingly difficult to predict where they will come from if they ignore several generations of Americans who will no longer tolerate the failed war on drugs, unnecessary youth incarcerations and denying relief to needy patients.

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Medical Marijuana Industry News March 30, 2012


Rhode Island Lawmakers Consider Legalizing Marijuana For Recreational Use…


Rhode Island has been full of marijuana updates lately.  Earlier in the week it was reported that RI is considering three new medical marijuana facilities.  Currently, medical marijuana is permitted if patients meet certain criteria.  They are allowed to possess 2.5 ounces and 12 plants but there are no dispensaries.  In a newer development, it was revealed that legislators in Rhode Island are now even considering legalizing marijuana for recreational use.  The Senate Judiciary Committee will hear both sides of the debate on Tuesday.  Decriminalizing cannabis will also be discussed at Tuesday’s hearing.

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Initiatives to Make Marijuana Enforcement Lowest Priority are Underway in 6 Washington State Cities…

Washington State has already considered serious marijuana reform by the actions of New Approach Washington.  The group was able to collect enough signatures for marijuana legalization (Initiative 502) to make it to the ballot and face a vote by the people.  In the meantime however, it looks as if residents in Washington will attempt other ways in which to reform marijuana law.  Sensible Washington is making a huge effort to push the decriminalization initiatives in Spokane, Olympia, Kent, Bellingham, Everett, and Bremerton.  Seattle and Tacoma have already passed similar legislation making marijuana enforcement for personal adult use the lowest priority by authorities.


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New York State Bans the Sale of Synthetic Marijuana…

Lawmakers in New York State have been pushing for a ban on synthetic marijuana for the past several months.  They have finalized the ban preventing convenience store and tobacco shops from selling the popular products such as “K2” and “Spice”.  Many have been concerned with recent health reports on the products.  Teenagers seem especially vulnerable as there have been many emergency room visits reported that have been linked to use of synthetic marijuana.  Many of these instances involve teens not being able to speak or acknowledge their surroundings.  The National Poison Control Center has received 8,000 calls involving synthetic cannabis since 2011.  The rise in the numbers is staggering as New York had 4 such instances in 2009 and 2010.  New York State Senator Charles Schumer has led the charge for both a national ban and New York’s ban on synthetic cannabis.  He has met opposition on a federal by those who feel any ban should be left up to individual states.  Most states have already enacted similar bans.


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Calling All Activists!

tommy Chong

When the 2008 election was still up in the air, Barack Obama was campaigning as a medical marijuana-friendly candidate.  In that time, we have seen numerous states struggle towards legalizing medicinal marijuana, and still others that have already passed their legislation are finding constant resistance in the forms of unconstitutional bans and arbitrary paperwork that continually holds up the process of getting safe medicine to patients.

California has seen more dispensary raids from the IRS and DOJ during Obama’s reign than during all of GW Bush’s eight years.  Why is this happening?   We need to raise our voices, louder and more unified than ever.  America stands at a crossroads, but now more than ever patients and all citizens must stand behind what they believe in. In this modern era of instant communication, our country can have a stronger, more powerful voice, if only we are willing to use it.

For people who care about the laws of our land and the future it endows, there is so much that can be done.  Stand up and make your vote count!  Become active in your community.  Join a protest at city hall, help spread education and awareness about all the benefits of medical marijuana, or maybe even go as far as to head to D.C. and march on the state capital. Show them who we are by making our presence known through peaceful protests.  For those who are less inclined to leave the home, or who simply cannot, there is still much that can be done.  Concerned citizens should call their legislators, write a letter to your congressmen, sign petitions, send emails, start a blog and rile up some additional supporters and encourage them to get involved.

Dispensaries have flourished in recent times and have grown some of the finest medication in the world.  Colorado, California and other states have led by example, but make no mistake,we still have a long road ahead.  The medical marijuana system may not be perfect yet, but it is working in the right direction.  Other states, like New Jersey and Hawaii, have passed laws that allow for programs, yet their laws were poorly constructed and they remain unusable.  In Hawaii you can get a card to allow you to medicate legally, but there contain no provisions for legally procuring medicine.  It is legal to grow and own up to seven plants, but it is still illegal to purchase marijuana plants or seeds to begin a personal grow operation.  Also, many employers utilize zero tolerance drug policies that make no exceptions for people who are otherwise abiding by state laws.  How does a patient grow their own plants if they can’t hold down a job, therefore they have no income for a home to grow in, or even have money to feed themselves?

Americans need to stand up now and tell all the power-hungry naysayers that we will no longer tolerate the abuse of power and stifling of freedoms.  We the people have no more excuses for being lazy.  If you can’t figure out how to get involved, then look no further. will spell it out for you.

Are you in California?  Cypress Hill’s San Bernadino SmokeOut was Saturday March 3rd, and two days earlier was the March on LA’s City Hall to demonstrate unhappiness with how laws are being carried out.  Thank you to those who made it out. There is more for us to do.  Those near San Francisco will also have their opportunity to ensure Safe Access.  March will see several County Board Meetings that need people to help out.

Maryland is another state seeking to pass laws in favor of medical marijuana.  They need help to guarantee it passes. Furthermore, the right law needs to be passed so that Maryland does not become another New Jersey or Hawaii.  Want to help? Check this out.

Michigan is reviewing its current laws and is looking to alter them with several bills that will give its program a chance to grow into something as grand as California, and not stumble where the Golden state has.  Concerned citizens near Lansing are holding a forum on March 4th to coordinate a uniform front as they approach legislators and hope to pass a proper set of laws.

We can’t list what every state is doing right here, but we encourage you to find out and help wherever you are. has been covering developments for some time so please check our archives to find what is relevant.  Here are a few other resources for anyone who wants to help.

Americans for Safe Access

Marijuana Policy Project

Drug Policy Alliance

New Approach Washington

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

One more thing.  For those who find that political activism is the right thing to do, don’t stop with marijuana laws.  This country needs more people to help it be the best it can be.  As more people stand up for what they believe in, America will find itself less dominated by the interests of corporations and power-grabbing politicians.  It is our country, fight for it.

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“Giant” Victory for Patients


Like the New You are able to Titans last evening, marijuana advocates happen to be performing their strategy perfectly.  Both Nh and Washington Condition have suggested legislation to create major switch to the usa marijuana laws and regulations.

Nh has yet to pass through any laws and regulations enabling medicinal marijuana.  Several attempts within the condition government have unsuccessful to outlive the legislative process.  A brand new bill to decriminalize marijuana continues to be suggested by condition authorities.  House Bill 1526 would change marijuana possession from the Class A criminal offence to some breach offense supported with a $100 fine.The is through targeted at lowering the financial burden of busts and incarceration associated with cannabis.  Patient access could be made certain, a minimum of on the state-wide level.  Barring a fast change of mind in Washington D.C, the dispute between federal and condition law would remain.  It remains unclear if legislators in Nh will pass the balance.

As formerly included in marijuana.internet, Washington Condition can also be thinking about dramatic changes for their cannabis laws and regulations.  Several several weeks ago, Governor Chris Gregoire together with Governor Lincoln subsequently Chafee of Rhode Island, formally asked for reclassification of marijuana from the us government.  With momentum in the ballot initiative brought by New Approach Washington, marijuana legalisation appears much more likely than ever before.  Because enough signatures were collected, people from the condition government will election around the measure.  If they don’t pass the balance, the citizens of Washington Condition may have their chance to enact what the law states in November.  Building upon the ballot initiative, condition legislators have finally adopted the Governor’s lead and also have also formally sent the DEA a request to reclassify marijuana.

Clearly, both citizens and political figures have proven tremendous support to have an overhaul on cannabis law.  While Nh might not check this out bill pass, a minimum of you will find now consistent efforts within the condition to attain reform, and sooner or later patients and advocates could see a user friendly atmosphere toward medicinal marijuana.  Washington, however, appears poised to march onto victory and produce home probably the most sensible approach toward marijuana.

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Legal Marijuana for private use might be a real possibility Soon in Washington Condition


States are separated by much not only the imaginary lines we have seen on the map.  Political/social issues might be the greatest divider that differentiates the 50 people of the union.  When we take a look at marijuana reform, you will find some states that appear like they’ll remain unwilling to enact any progressive change while some for example Washington might be legalizing cannabis for non medical usage.

The Condition Elections office in Washington Condition has reported that initiative 502 has collected enough signatures to really make it towards the ballot.  The audience New Approach Washington has headed your time and effort and assisted within the assortment of over 278,000 signatures, considerably a lot more than the 241,153 needed.  I-502 requires a regulation system for marijuana that might be almost just like alcohol and would legalize marijuana, even for private use.  The possibility law will escape to legislators where they are able to enact what the law states, propose changes, or election it lower and allow the public decide via a election this November.

I-502 shows a substantial alternation in the marijuana landscape.  New Approach consists of many former and current U.S. lawyers and idol judges who no more need to fear career suicide by recommending sensible marijuana reform.  You will find also many presently working inside the Washington government who would like to see marijuana reform.  Among the initiatives sponsors, Dallas City Attorney Pete Holmes stated “Passing this measure will release police force assets, permitting police and prosecutors to pay attention to violent crooks rather than low-level marijuana customers.”  Other police force people have echoed the concern that police assets happen to be extended thin because of marijuana enforcement.  Inside a battling economy many cities have thought about reprioritizing their allocation of assets.  Furthermore, many citizens and authorities are wanting to visit a controlled and securely run system for marijuana that may generate a lot of tax revenue.

While potentially groundbreaking, what the law states doesn’t get rid of the political fight between condition and authorities.  However, weight loss states consider medicinal marijuana and Washington moves nearer to overall legalisation, the us government also must consider extended assets in economically turbulent period.  Sooner or later it will likely be difficult to challenge 16 states, its very own town of Washington D.C., and states enjoying the advantages of additional tax funds.  Washington Condition may have the ability to construct the blueprint for marijuana reform that other states could easily follow.

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New Developments in a number of States Bring Expect Marijuana Advocates

new developments

You will find already 16 states enabling legal utilization of medicinal marijuana (and Washington D.C).  Furthermore, there’s momentum in a number of states to setup a regulating system for legalized marijuana.  This type of system would treat marijuana like alcohol and would potentially result in a large tax revenue increase.

Voters in Michigan may get the opportunity to approve legal marijuana in November.  Condition election authorities have just approved the forms that advocates uses to collect the required 323,000 signatures needed to obtain the problem to some election.  Comprised of much talked about congress, the audience New Approach Washington needs an identical system to controlling marijuana.  Two other states could also decide to setup a method of regulation and taxation too.  Several several weeks ago Missouri approved the audience Show-Me Cannabis Regulation received approval to gather signatures for 2 marijuana initiatives.  In Virginia, lawmaker David Englin continues to be vocal in the support of House Joint Resolution 140 which may also produce a regulation system for marijuana.  It’s unclear when the law would pass but congress in Virginia are attempting to let the creativity flow in an effort to generate necessary funds.

Moving to the medical problem, Ohio condition Attorney General, Mike Dewine, grants permission for advocates to begin collecting signatures that can lead to a public election in November.  What the law states could be referred to as Ohio Medical Cannabis Amendment.  Once we have observed in other states, the brand new direction of medicinal marijuana appears to incorporate condition wide regulation.  The Ohio law would also follow and generate a condition oversight commission.  Ohio is really a condition where job deficits have hurt its economy considerably and lots of advocates believe that alternative treatment might be more essential now than ever before for that Buckeye condition.

With 6 states thinking about medicinal marijuana legislation presently, the amount of states legally enabling utilization of cannabis might be at 20 or over relatively soon.  You will find certain to be additional ballot initiatives which are actually the best way to achieve legislative alternation in the U . s . States.  Possibly earlier than later, marijuana advocates may have the ability to boast concerning the America getting 1 / 2 of its states enabling legalized marijuana.

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Liberal Party of Canada Helps Marijuana Support Surge


While 2012 is shaping as much as be a thrilling year for marijuana reform within the U . s . States, our neighbors up north could also experience significant change.  Lately there has been several news tales explaining momentum for decriminalization and legalisation efforts in Canada.  Citizens flying the red-colored and whitened walnut leaf also have grown fed up with investment property on incarcerations, insufficient medical access, as well as an erosion of civil protections.

A poll carried out by Forum Research Corporation, that is located in Toronto, implies that 66% of Canadians are in support of legalisation or decriminalization of marijuana.  The record introduction to the polls are surprising to a lot of, specially in the U . s . States.  Even though many People in america assume the more youthful voters could be probably to aid alterations in marijuana law, it’s really the infant seniors in Canada (age range 55-64) that many strongly support changing legislation.  Of individuals questioned for the reason that age group, 73% support a brand new method of cannabis law.

The current momentum for marijuana reform in Canada matches the increase in the Liberal Party of Canada’s recognition.  The party features Resolution 117, which requires the regulation and decriminalization of cannabis.  Also enhancing the momentum surge are police force authorities.  Officer David Bratzer is really a leader among individuals favoring the modification in law.  Bratzer is mind from the Canadian branch of Police Force Against Prohibition (LEAP) and mentioned “We don’t endorse political parties or candidates, however, we all do support actions that cause good drug policy. The Liberal convention associates did this by with an finish towards the destructive and inefficient policy of marijuana prohibition.” David Bratzer also pointed out he felt marijuana prohibition was costing Canada over 2 billion dollars each year and also the only tangible results was organized crime getting more potent.

Each of our nearest neighbors realize the requirement for marijuana reform.  Mexico is clearly going through a number of its worst violence ever and lots of in Canada have become fed up with wasting tax payer dollars without any leads to show for this.  As there has been within the U . s . States, major groups with government authorities, idol judges, and lawyers are increasing.  Canada’s LEAP is much like New Approach Washington both in direction and membership.  It appears pretty obvious that eventually Canada might be noted for another legendary leaf.

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