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Medical Marijuana Industry News August 31, 2012

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Los Angeles Ban On Dispensaries Appears to be Put on Hold…

The controversial decision to ban medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles was met with resistance from activists.  Many patients have been anxious about how exactly they were going to safely access medication and if they would have to turn to traditional illegal methods of obtaining it.  The Los Angeles City Council, especially Councilman Huizar have seemed especially determined to end dispensaries even as the legalities mount against their actions.  It appears that court decisions have invalidated the right for municipalities to ban dispensaries.  While that did little to stop the city from threatening a closure which was set to take effect in days, apparently the ballot initiative from Americans for Safe Access did succeed.  Organizers submitted slightly over 49,000 votes with only 27,425 needed.  The signatures will be examined and validated which typically takes at least a few days.  If the signatures are approved then the Los Angeles City Council will have 30 days to either overturn the ban or put it a vote by residents.  Councilman Huizar still seemed determined to wipe any perceived egg off his face.  He said the city could still close shops that were in violation of state law and operating at a profit.  Of course searched extensively and could not find where ASA, or other organizers said any different.   However, eliminating all 700+ dispensaries, many of which are not making a profit is an altogether different story and may have been an overreach on the part of the City Council.

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Marijuana Decriminalization May Come to Springfield Missouri…

Many activists in Springfield Missouri have been seeking a new approach toward marijuana laws.  The goup Show Me Cannabis Regulation was successful in collecting enough signatures to get a ballot initiative to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana to the ballots.  The group was successful in collecting the required signatures.  As the case is in most areas, lawmakers can approve a ballot initiative or reject the issue and send it for residents to vote on.  While the City Council of Springfield voted 6-3 to approve the decriminalization effort, lawmakers now have 30 days to amend the bill.  The move appears to be a shrewd move aimed at keeping the issue away from a public vote.  As stated already, if the vote failed then voters would get a chance to approve the measure.  Now it seems several of the “yes” votes by the city council were simply to keep the issue in house.  Now they have 30 days to change and basically strip away the decriminalization law.  Councilman Jeff Seifried said of that he supported passing the legislation “then gutting, the entire ordinance.”  Unless our interpretation of this comment is incorrect, it sounds as if Councilman Tommy Bieker has similar plans.  He said “I will be voting in support with the intent of turning around and working out the amendment.”  Many residents may grow resentful that the City Council would take drastic measures to avoid having the people of Springfield ultimately decide the fate of the law.


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President Obama Participates in Reddit AMA Though Some were not Pleased…

As we close in on the 2012 presidential election, the candidates will try to utilize every way to connect with the people.  We are in the middle of the convention season as Mitt Romney concluded the Republican National Convention by making his speech and officially accepting the nomination.  On Tuesday the Democratic National Convention will get under way.  In the midst of high profile coverage it may be a surprise that the President decided to pursue a very new way of connecting with voters.  On Wednesday President Obama participated in a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) where he encouraged voters to submit questions.  The president has also taken part in other online forums aimed at connecting with voters.  While we cannot say they have not been effective, he has dodged the issue of marijuana reform and the war on drugs now several times.  Yesterday many were upset that the president seemingly ignored the growing calls for marijuana reform.  However, we at would like to applaud him for taking part, even if his answers were not ideal.  The president seems to be more in tune with the growing online culture than other current and previous candidates.  While he may be avoiding the conversation to some extent, it is a unique situation that a president would directly converse with voters.  However, in the future a free pass may not be granted if he partakes in another online forum encouraging  questions on everything but simply handpicking his answers.


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Attempts to Stop Online Piracy could Lead to more being Stolen from the People


For many of us, the internet is a tool we use daily and most of us may take it for granted.  Whether we are looking for deals on Craigslist or starting a Wikipedia search that may take us far down roads we never anticipated, the internet as currently constructed offers us so much.  Yesterday some users were shocked to be locked out of popular sites such as Reddit, Wordpress, Craigslist, and Wikipedia. While operational, even Google had noticeable changes to their homepage.  This was all in response to the potential Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).

According to these sites, the blackout was a sample of the negative effects the far reaching SOPA legislation could have.  Many feel the internet would become much more restrictive and unable to operate in the way it does currently.  The Stop Online Piracy Act, House Bill 3261, was introduced by Representative Lamar S. Smith (R-TX).  If SOPA is approved it would grant the U.S. government the right to seek court orders against websites who are accused of facilitating copyright infringement.  Search engines and ISPs would be required to block access to such sites.  There are also many other restrictions that alter the current landscape of our leading source of information.  The main proponents of the bill feel that online piracy needs to be punished, however, major lobbyists from the music and movie industries have donated hundreds of thousands to Lamar Smith’s campaign which has angered many critics.

Those who sponsored the bill do not seem to grasp the far reaching implications this legislation could have.  In a recent article, writer Ben Sherman explains ironically that on Rep. Smith’s website, he used pictures that he never asked permission for.  This would be a violation under SOPA rules.  As is the case with medical marijuana, politicians are in the dark about issues regarding the intricacies of the emerging global economy .  The country needs jobs with web businesses and medical marijuana representing growing fields.  Instead of a common sense approach, politicians have tried to pounce on a bullet point, displaying a total lack of perspective.  Another parallel to marijuana has to do with censorship.  Unfortunately, advocates for marijuana reform have experienced the frustrating battle over censorship for decades.  This is why any legislation limiting information can be dangerous and should be a concern to everyone.

While SOPA may not restrict information quite as much as other countries, the comparisons would not be flattering for most Americans.  China is well known for strict monitoring on what its citizens can access.  Similar actions are seen in political revolts.  Libya caught the attention of the world when it basically shut off its internet and did not allow residents to communicate with the outside world.  Fortunately, the bill has been met with huge public opposition.  Several of the bills co-sponsors have abandoned the legislation and the White House has come out against the bill as currently constructed.  A new bill will likely be created but those in public office are surely to have taken note of the strong reaction by the American people.  One day without Craigslist and Wikipedia was an inconvenience, imagine all of our favorite sites down forever?

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