Tag: The War on Drugs

DEA Removes Marijuana Misinformation from Website After Months of Public, Legal Pressure

WASHINGTON, DC — After months of public pressure, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has removed factually inaccurate information from its website.

The change comes after Americans for Safe Access, a national nonprofit dedicated to ensuring safe and legal access to medical cannabis for therapeutic use and research, filed a legal request with the Department of Justice last year demanding that the DEA immediately update and remove factually inaccurate information about cannabis from their website and materials.

Americans for Safe Access argued that the more than 25 false statements on the DEA’s website about cannabis constituted a violation of the Information Quality Act (IQA, aka Data Quality Act) which requires that administrative agencies not provide false information to the public and that they respond to requests for correction of information within 60 days.

One publication, “Dangers and Consequences of Marijuana”, contained 23 of the 25 factual inaccuracies in violation of the Information Quality Act. Such inaccuracies included claims that cannabis was a gateway drug, caused irreversible cognitive decline in adults, and contributed to psychosis and lung cancer.

“The DEA’s removal of these popular myths about cannabis from their website could mean the end of the Washington gridlock” said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access. “This is a victory for medical cannabis patients across the nation, who rely on cannabis to treat serious illnesses. The federal government now admits that cannabis is not a gateway drug, and doesn’t cause long-term brain damage, or psychosis. While the fight to end stigma around cannabis is far from over, this is a big first step.”

But the fight is not over. As of February 13th, the government is one week beyond the required deadline to respond to the Americans for Safe Access’ legal petition and the group claims that the DEA is still spreading false information about cannabis.

“We are pleased that in the face of our request the DEA withdrew some of the damaging misinformation from its website” said Vickie Feeman, of Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. “However, the DEA continues to disseminate many damaging facts about the health risks of medical cannabis and patients across the country face ongoing harm as a result of these alternative facts. We are hopeful the DEA will also remove the remaining statements rather than continue to mislead the public in the face of the scientifically proven benefits of medical cannabis.”

“If the DEA does not take the necessary action to comply with the binding time lines in the IQA, petitioners can always seek an intervention by OMB as the Department of Justice so informed the court in W. Harkonen v. USDOJ or in the courts as demonstrated in Prime Time v. USDA” stated Jim Tozzi, the father of the Information Quality Act and member of ASA’s Patient Focused Certification Reviewboard.

Americans for Safe Access argues that correcting false information about cannabis is especially important now that the Department of Justice is led by newly-confirmed Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions has been a staunch supporter of the DEA and cites their publications and opinions about marijuana to justify his opposition to medical cannabis policy reform.

Today, Americans for Safe Access delivered a letter to the DEA explaining:

“It is crucial that the DEA correct it’s inaccurate statements, especially in light of Senator Jeff Sessions’  confirmation as Attorney General of the United States.  Attorney General Sessions has made several statements demonstrating his beliefs that cannabis is a gateway drug and that its psychological effects are permanent.  These beliefs are verifiably false, as confirmed by the DEA in its “Denial of Petition to Initiate Proceedings to Reschedule Marijuana.”[1]  As the top law enforcement official in the nation, Mr. Sessions must have access to accurate information based on current scientific data in order to make informed decisions regarding the enforcement (or non-enforcement) of federal drug laws.  Allowing Mr. Sessions to make law enforcement decisions based on biased, out-of-date information does a tremendous disservice to ASA’s members and the American people at large. Therefore, ASA respectfully requests that the DEA respond to its Request, and/or remove the remaining inaccurate statements from its website.”

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

In the Time of Trump, Can Congress Take the Lead on Marijuana Policy?

While the marijuana community — consumers, industry, and advocates alike — eyes with trepidation the reign of avowed anti-pot Republican Jeff Sessions at the Justice Department, the Trump executive branch isn’t the only game in town when it comes to making marijuana policy. Congress is back in session, and after last November’s legalization and medical marijuana victories at the polls, the pot state delegation is larger than ever.

And at least some of those senators and congressmen and women representing the 28 states (and the District of Columbia) that have embraced medical marijuana and the eight states plus DC that have so far gone for adult legalization, are gearing up to fight for reform at the Capitol.

A nascent congressional Cannabis Caucus formed in December is preparing a plethora of bills for the current session, and its members say they are optimistic about their chances, even in the time of Trump — and Republicans holding every committee chair in both houses. It’s because Congress is riding the marijuana wave, too, said caucus founder and co-chair Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR).

“This Congress is going to be a little better than last Congress, and last Congress was better than the one before that,” he said in an interview this week with The Cannabist. “It’s very interesting watching the momentum build.”

That momentum derives from public opinion polls consistently showing nationwide majorities favoring legalization and, more importantly, the actual victories at the polls in November, where legalization went four for five and medical marijuana went four for four.

“It’s easier for people to embrace much of what we’re doing legislatively,” he said. Fixing industry-critical concerns such as the lack of operating expense deductions or access to financial services for state-legal businesses or barriers to medical marijuana research are now mere “housekeeping” issues, he added.

Nonetheless, fixes still have to get through the Congress. They haven’t so far, and it’s a long way between filing a bill and seeing it signed into law. Still, Blumenauer and colleagues will be pushing harder than ever.

He is joined in the Cannabis Caucus by co-chairs Reps. Jared Polis (D-CO), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), and Don Young (R-AK). The bipartisan grouping is notably made up of representatives from vanguard legalization states, but by no means all of them — California alone has 53 House members — and there is certainly room for more to come on board.

“I’m more hopeful than ever before that we can move legislation like the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act,” Polis told The Cannabist, referring to last session’s H.R. 1013, which picked up 19 cosponsors and was referred to a slew of subcommittees, but never even got a hearing.

That bill was one of about two dozen pot-related proposals filed in the last session, and they’re already starting to pile up again this session. While Blumenauer told The Cannabist more were to come, here’s what’s on the table so far:

H.R. 331 — Filed by Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), the States’ Medical Marijuana Rights Protection Act would block federal civil asset forfeiture aimed at the owners of state-legal medical marijuana operations.

H.R. 714 — Filed by Rep. H. Morgan Griffith (R-VA), the Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marihuana Act would move marijuana to the Controlled Substance Act’s Schedule II, opening the door to more research and, potentially, doctors’ ability to prescribe (as opposed to recommend) marijuana for patients. It would also bar the use of that act or the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to interfere with medical marijuana in states where it is legal.

H.R. 715 — Also filed by Rep. Griffith, the Compassionate Access Act would reschedule marijuana, provide for its medical use under state laws, and remove CBD (cannabidiol) from the definition of marijuana.

H.R. 975 — Filed by Cannabis Caucus co-chair Rep. Rohrabacher, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act would exempt people and entities from certain provisions of the Controlled Substances Act if they are acting in compliance with state laws. Rohrabacher authored similar legislation in the last Congress, garnering 20 cosponsors, including seven Republicans.

There is no outright federal marijuana legalization bill out there yet this session, but expect to see Rep. Polis come back with his bill or perhaps Bernie Sanders reviving his bill to end federal marijuana prohibition, or both. Given political realities on the Hill, though, the Cannabis Caucus will likely save its political capital for fights it might be able to win, such as fixing the tax and banking problems facing the industry.

Another key battleground — and one where marijuana advocates have actually won before — is the appropriations process. The Justice Department and the DEA can’t go after marijuana in legal states if Congress bars them from spending any federal funds to do so, and that’s exactly what Congress did when it approved the Rohrabacher-Farr Medical Marijuana Amendment last session.

If a similar amendment were to succeed again, even if Attorney General Sessions wanted to call out the cavalry, he couldn’t buy the horse feed, and it wouldn’t matter how many nasty memos his deputies wrote.

And while his past pronouncements are indeed worrisome, he was quite coy at his nomination hearings, saying that he “won’t commit to never enforcing federal law,” but adding that enforcement priorities are “a problem of resources for the federal government.”

Sessions did add later in the hearings that it’s not “the attorney general’s job to decide what laws to enforce,” but suggested that his former colleagues could settle things once and for all.

“I think one obvious concern is that the United States Congress has made the possession of marijuana in every state and distribution of it an illegal act,” he said. “If that something is not desired any longer, Congress should pass the law to change the rule.”

And then there’s Sessions’ boss, President Trump. While he projects a law and order image and has campaigned against “drugs,” the drugs he seems most concerned about are heroin and the prescription opioids — not pot. He’s also suggested in the past a willingness to let states experiment on marijuana policy, and he has a lot of other things on his plate. It’s not at all clear he would let Sessions unleash a war on weed even if he wanted to.

Earl Blumenauer doesn’t think Trump wants to charge into this particular melee.

“This is a struggle and will continue to be, but this is something where I honestly don’t think the new administration, which has probably enough controversy on its hands, is going to knowingly pick a fight with what, almost without exception, was approved by local voters,” Blumenauer said.

To ensure that Sessions doesn’t strike out, “we need to make the case directly to Trump” about the economic potential of the marijuana industry, said Polis. But until federal marijuana prohibition is ended, “the industry really exists at the discretion of the president and the attorney general, and that’s a dangerous place to be,” he added.

Well, and Congress, too. It holds the purse strings, after all.

Marijuana policy is going to be at play in the 115th Congress. Ending federal prohibition remains the Holy Grail, but in the meantime, there are concrete actions Congress can take to protect medical and legal marijuana and the industry it’s creating. Now, let’s see if the Cannabis Caucus can lead the way to some victories.


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license from StopTheDrugWar.org and was first published here.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Donald Trump Vows ‘Ruthless’ War on Drugs and Crime

(Flickr/Oregon Department of Transportation)

In a sharp break with the Obama administration, which distanced itself from harsh anti-drug rhetoric and emphasized treatment for drug users over punishment, President Donald Trump last week reverted to tough drug war oratory and backed it up with a series of executive orders he said were “designed to restore safety in America.”

“We’re going to stop the drugs from pouring in,” Trump told law enforcement professionals of the Major Cities Chiefs Association last Wednesday. “We’re going to stop those drugs from poisoning our youth, from poisoning our people. We’re going to be ruthless in that fight. We have no choice. And we’re going to take that fight to the drug cartels and work to liberate our communities from their terrible grip of violence.”

Trump also lambasted the Obama administration for one of its signature achievements in criminal justice reform, opening the prison doors for more than 1,700 drug war prisoners who had already served sentences longer than they would have under current, revised sentencing guidelines. Obama freed “record numbers of drug traffickers, many of them kingpins,” Trump complained.

And in a sign of a return to the dark days of drug war over-sentencing, he called for harsher mandatory minimum prison sentences for “the most serious” drug offenders, as well as aggressive prosecutions of drug traffickers and cracking down on “shipping loopholes” he claimed allowed drugs to be sent to the US from other countries.

In a New Hampshire campaign speech during the campaign, Trump called for more treatment for drug users and more access to overdose reversal drugs, but there was no sign of that side of the drug policy equation in Wednesday’s speech.

Last Thursday, Trump backed up his tough talk with action as, at the Oval Office swearing in of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, he rolled out three executive orders he said were “designed to restore safety in America,” but which appear to signal an increasingly authoritarian response to crime, drugs, and discontent with policing practices.

The first, which Trump said would “reduce crime and restore public safety,” orders Sessions to create a new Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Policy, which will come up with “strategies to reduce crime, including, in particular, illegal immigration, drug trafficking and violent crime,” propose legislation to implement them, and submit a report to the president within a year.

The second, regarding “transnational criminal organizations and preventing drug trafficking,” directs various federal law enforcement agencies to “increase intelligence sharing” and orders an already existing interagency working group to submit a report to Trump within four months describing progress made in combating the cartels, “along with any recommended actions for dismantling them.”

“I’m directing Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security to undertake all necessary and lawful action to break the back of the criminal cartels that have spread across our nation and are destroying the blood of our youth and other people,” Trump said Thursday.

The third directs the Justice Department to use federal law to prosecute people who commit crimes against police officers, even though they already face universally severe penalties under existing state laws.

“It’s a shame what’s been happening to our great, truly great law enforcement officers,” Trump said at the signing ceremony. “That’s going to stop as of today.”

The tough talk and the executive orders provoked immediate alarm and pushback from human and civil rights advocates, drug reformers, the Mexican government, and even the law enforcement community. The apparent turn back toward a more law-and-order approach to drugs also runs against the tide of public health and public policy opinion that the war on drugs has been a failure.

In a report released last Friday, dozens of senior law enforcement officials warned Trump against a tough crackdown on crime and urged him to instead continue the Obama administration’s efforts to reform the criminal justice system.

The report was coauthored for Law Enforcement Leaders to Reduce Crime and Incarceration by former Dallas Police Chief David Brown, who won wide praise for his response after a gun man killed five of his officers last year.

“Decades of experience have convinced us of a sobering reality: Today’s crime policies, which too often rely only on jail and prison, are simply ineffective in preserving public safety,” the report said.

The president’s crime plan would encourage police to focus on general lawbreaking rather than violent crime, the report said. The Justice Department already spends more than $5 billion a year to support local police, much of it spent on “antiquated law enforcement tools, such as dragnet enforcement of lower-level offenses” and Trump’s plan would “repeat this mistake,” the officials wrote. “We cannot fund all crime fighting tactics.”

Drug reformers also sounded the alarm.

“This rhetoric is dangerous, disturbing, and dishonest,” said Bill Piper, senior director for national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “We have had a war on drugs. It has failed. Tough talk may look good before the cameras, but history has taught us that cracking down on drugs and building walls will not stop the supply or use of drugs. It mostly causes the death and destruction of innocent lives. Trump must tone down his outrageous rhetoric and threats, and instead reach out to leadership from both parties to enact a humane and sensible health-based approach to drug policies that both reduce overdose and our country’s mass incarceration crisis.”

Indeed, most public health experts argue that the prohibitionist approach to drugs has been a failure. They point to research such as a 2013 study in the British Medical Journal that found that despite billions spent on drug prohibition since 1990, drug prices have only decreased and purity increased, making getting high easier and more affordable than ever before.

“These findings suggest that expanding efforts at controlling the global illegal drug market through law enforcement are failing,” the authors conclude.

Public health analysts also point to research showing that between 1991 and 2001, even when the drug war was in full effect, the rate of illicit drug use among teens rose sharply, while their cigarette smoking rate fell off a bit and their alcohol use dropped sharply. The substances that are legal for adult use were less likely to see increases than ones that are prohibited, the analysts point out.

Mexican Foreign Affairs Secretary Luis Videgaray also chimed in to note that there wouldn’t be any Mexican drug cartels without American demand for drugs and to remind Washington that it’s not just what’s being exported from Mexico that is a problem, but what’s being imported, too.

“For years, from the Mexican perspective, people say, ‘OK, the problem with drugs — that it’s creating so much violence, so many deaths of young people in Mexico — is because there’s demand for drugs in the US,”” Videgaray said. “We happen to be neighbors to the largest market for drugs. From the American perspective, it’s just the other way around,” he said, adding that both countries need to get past “the blame game.”

And if the US is serious about helping Mexico disrupt the cartels “business model,” it needs to stop the southbound traffic in cash and guns.

“We need to stop illegal weapons flowing from the U.S. into Mexico,” Videgaray said. “We always think about illegal stuff moving through the border south to north, but people forget that most guns — and we’re not talking small guns, we’re talking heavy weapons — they get to the cartels and create literally small armies out of the cartels.”

Human Rights Watch reacted to a comment from Attorney General Sessions at his swearing in ceremony that crime is a “dangerous permanent trend that places the lives of American people at risk,” by noting that crime is down dramatically by all measures over the past 20 years despite a slight increase in violent crimes between 2014 and 2015. “There is no ‘dangerous permanent trend’ in violent or non-violent crime,” it pointed out.

And Amnesty International swiftly reacted to the executive order calling for new federal penalties for crimes against police.

“Law enforcement officers face unique hardships and challenges due to the nature of their work,” said Amnesty’s Noor Mir. “Authorities are already able to vigorously prosecute crimes against law enforcement officers, and there is no history to suggest that officers are not fully protected by current laws. This order will not protect anyone, and instead it creates additional penalties that could cause people to be significantly over-prosecuted for offenses including resisting arrest.

There is a better way, said Mir, but that would require going in a radically different direction than where the Trump administration is headed.

“This order does nothing to address real and serious problems in the US criminal justice system,” he said. “Relationships between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve could instead be improved by investing in reform of the criminal justice system and better training for officers. Police already have laws protecting them, but there is no federal standard for the prosecution of officers who unlawfully kill civilians. Implementing a standard for lethal force in line with international standards will protect both police and civilians.”

The Trump administration has outlined an approach to drugs and criminal justice policy with dark Nixonian and Reaganite underpinnings, promising more, more, more heavy-handed policing, more swelling prison populations, and more — not less — distrust and suspicion between police and the communities they are supposed to serve and protect.

And, in typical Trump fashion, his brash, draconian approach to the complex social problems around crime and drugs is creating a rapid backlash. Whether the rising opposition to Trump can rein in his authoritarian impulses and regressive policy approaches to the issue remains to be seen, but a battle to stop the slide backward is brewing.


This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license from StopTheDrugWar.org and was first published here.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

New York City Marijuana Possession Arrests Spike in 2016

NEW YORK, NY — Criminal arrests for marijuana possession increased ten percent in 2016 despite former promises from Mayor Bill de Blasio to reduce the city’s total number of cannabis-related prosecutions.

New York City police made over 17,600 arrests last year for which the top charge was marijuana possession in the 5th degree – a class B misdemeanor. Of those charged, 85 percent were either Black or Hispanic. Ninety-six percent were arrested specifically for possessing marijuana in a manner that was open to public view.

Under state law, the possession of up to an ounce of cannabis is a non-arrestable offense, except instances where the police contend that the substance was either being burned or was in public view.

In 2010 and 2011, New York City police made approximately 50,000 annual marijuana arrests, often following result of stop-and-frisk encounters. Annual arrests fell between the years 2012 and 2015 before rising again last year.

Legislation is pending in the New York state Senate and Assembly to eliminate the ‘public view’ loophole – a legislative fix that is endorsed by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Senate Votes to Confirm Jeff Sessions as US Attorney General

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) listens to a question during confirmation hearings on Tuesday, January 10, 2017.

WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. Senate voted 52 to 47 Wednesday to confirm Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) as Attorney General. Most Republicans voted for him; most Democrats voted against him.

The vote comes after two months of organized opposition as hundreds of organizations expressed concerns about Sessions’s record and racially-charged statements he has made in the past.

“Jeff Sessions and President Trump are stuck in the 1980s when it comes to drug policy, while most of the country knows by now that we need alternatives to the failed drug war,” said Bill Piper, senior director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. “If the Administration tries to roll back marijuana reform or to undermine criminal justice reform they will find themselves even less popular than they are now.”

Sessions has over a very long career consistently taken hardline positions in favor of mass incarceration instead of emphasizing treatment and recovery. As Attorney General of Alabama Sessions supported legislation that would have given mandatory death sentences to repeat drug sellers, including people who sold marijuana. He has criticized former Attorney General Eric Holder’s attempts to reduce the prison population, like when Holder encouraged U.S. Attorneys to use mandatory minimums only for high-level drug traffickers.

During his confirmation hearing, Senator Sessions was somewhat coy in responding to questions from senators on whether he will respect federalism when it comes to states that have legalized marijuana for medical use, saying things like, “I won’t commit to never enforcing federal law.” He also would not commit to maintaining the “Cole memo”, DOJ guidance that essentially allows states to set their own marijuana policies as long as they adhere to certain federal standards.

The confirmation of Jeff Sessions as Attorney General is especially troubling given comments President Trump has made. Earlier Today President Trump told law enforcement officials that he is going to be “ruthless” in the war on drugs. In December Trump reportedly told Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte that he is waging the war on drugs “the right way.” Duterte’s government has engaged in extra-judicial killings in name of the drug war, more than 2,000 of their citizens have been killed.

News reports have said that the Trump Administration is working on an executive order to “fight crime”, especially in urban areas. It is not clear what the Trump plan will be, but during his presidential campaign he pledged to enact a national “stop-and-frisk” program. In January he threatened to “send in the Feds” to Chicago. He often talks about how the wall he wants to build on the Mexico border will stop the flow of drugs, but decades of evidence shows supply-side control fail.

Sessions and President Trump may personally want to escalate the failed war on drugs but they face a major obstacle – bipartisan support for drug policy reform. More than three-quarters of Americans recognize that the war on drugs has failed. Most support treatment instead of incarceration. A majority support legalizing marijuana like alcohol.

Dozens of states have reformed their marijuana laws, including many red states. In many cases marijuana reform received more votes than President Trump.  In Congress there is bipartisan support not only for letting states set their own medical marijuana policies but also for sentencing reform and asset forfeiture reform. Both major parties have embraced criminal justice reform in recent years, and there is little appetite for reversing course.

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Obama Grants Clemency to 330 People in Final Round of Commutations

(photo/whitehouse.gov)

WASHINGTON, DC — In his final day in office Thursday, President Barack Obama commuted the sentences of 330 more people incarcerated in federal prison for drug offenses.

This brings the number of prisoners who have been granted clemency under President Obama to 1,715.

The commutations and pardons represent the Obama Administration’s push to overhaul the criminal justice system, making it fairer while saving the government money.  President Obama has been pushed to do more to release those serving time in prison under harsh drug laws that have imprisoned an enormous amount of individuals. Just last week, President Obama wrote an article in the Harvard Law Review outlining his Administration’s work on criminal justice reform.

“The President has done a great job on clemencies, but now Congress should pick up where he left off,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of national affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance. “There is a bipartisan movement for criminal justice reform, so both chambers should take action quickly to pass important sentencing reform legislation.”

Advocates fear that Donald Trump will take a tougher approach to criminal justice, but many were heartened when House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Judiciary Chair Chuck Grassley (R-IA) recently committed to moving sentencing reform in this Congress.

“There are thousands of people in prison who should also be granted their freedom,” said Tony Papa, media relations manager for the Drug Policy Alliance, who was granted clemency in New York State in 1997 after serving 12 years under the Rockefeller Drug Laws for a first-time nonviolent drug offense. Papa, who recently received a pardon from the state of New York, just released his new book, This Side of Freedom: Life after Clemency, which highlights the roadblocks he faced after he was released. “I am praying that the new president builds on Obama’s work and grants every single one of them clemency so they can have second chances in their lives.”

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

President Obama Grants Clemency to 273 More Individuals

President Obama Grants Clemency to 273 More Individuals | Drug Policy Alliance

WASHINGTON, DC — President Barack Obama on Tuesday commuted the sentences of 209 people incarcerated in federal prison, and handed out 64 pardons. This brings the number of prisoners who have been granted clemency under President Obama to 1,597. The commutations and pardons represent the Obama Administration’s push to overhaul the criminal justice system, making it fairer […]

President Obama Grants Clemency to 273 More Individuals | The Daily Chronic


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Hearing Set for Jeff Sessions Attorney General Nomination

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama speaking to supporters at an immigration policy speech hosted by Donald Trump at the Phoenix Convention Center in Phoenix, Arizona. (WikiMedia Commons/Gage Skidmore)

It’s official, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley has set January 10-11, 2017 for the confirmation hearing of noted marijuana law reform opponent Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to become the next Attorney General.

Already it appears that Sen. Grassley will try to keep the hearings as short as possible and restrict the number of witnesses who testify. From the Judiciary Committee press release:

“The hearings for the four most recent Attorneys General lasted one to two days each. At each of those hearings, three to nine outside witnesses testified.”

It’s clear the hope is to rush the process as much as possible in order to obtain a successful confirmation given Sessions’ failed history of earning the approval of the Judiciary Committee for a previous judicial appointment in the 1980’s.

In 1986, Sessions was appointed by the Reagan Administration to serve as a federal judge, yet his confirmation was voted down 8-10 in the Republican controlled committee, with two Republicans joining the Democrats in opposition over claims of racial prejudice, including off handed remarks about supporting the Ku Klux Klan until he discovered that they smoke marijuana. At the time, Sessions was just the second judicial federal appointee denied confirmation in 50 years.

The implications for marijuana policies at the state level could be dire. As recently as April of this year, during a Senate hearing, Sessions proclaimed that “good people do not use marijuana.” How a potential Attorney General Sessions would treat the 29 states that have legalized medicinal or recreational marijuana is still unclear and could prove devastating to the decades of hard-fought progress that we have made on behalf of responsible marijuana users.

TAKE ACTION: Email your Senators and tell them to not approve Jeff Sessions as the Attorney General

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Trump Nominates Another Drug War Zealot, General John Kelly, to Head Department of Homeland Security

Marine Corps Gen. John F. Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, discusses the latest developments in his command’s efforts to stem the flow of drugs from South and Central America while briefing reporters at the Pentagon, March 13, 2014. (Department of Defense/Glenn Fawcett)

WASHINGTON, DC — According to multiple media reports Wednesday, President-elect Donald Trump will nominate General John Kelly to head the Department of Homeland Security. Kelly served as head of Southcom, overseeing drug war efforts in Latin America under the Obama Administration.

“This is looking really bad,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.  “First Sessions for Attorney General, then Price at HHS, and now yet another old-style drug war character for Homeland Security. It looks like Donald Trump is revving up to re-launch the failed drug war.”

In 2014, Kelly told a Congressional hearing that marijuana legalization in the U.S. was undermining U.S relations with countries in Latin America. Kelly commented that governments were “confused by the signals that our legalization sends, and when they’re investing so much in resources and blood they have to question that.” Kelly claimed that Latin American leaders were in “disbelief” that states were legalizing marijuana – despite the fact that many Latin America countries have legalized marijuana for medical or recreational use, or explored doing so.

Despite the Defense Department’s billion-dollar counter-narcotics annual budget, Kelly also claimed in a separate hearing in 2014 that he needed more funding to fight the drug war, saying that a lack of resources means he has to “simply sit and watch” drug traffickers as they move their supplies, and are unable to interdict 74% of smuggling. Two weeks later, this time at a press conference in Latin America, Kelly was talking about how successful interdiction efforts were in the region, with his Guatemalan counterpart extolling a 62% reduction in drug flow, seemingly contradicting Kelly’s earlier comments to Congress.

In April 2016, he testified before a Senate Committee that in the mid-1960s, ”the use of drugs became literally cool as projected by Hollywood, social progressives, and even Harvard professors.” When discussing people who use drugs, he also said that “most of these abusers started with the gateway drug that marijuana most certainly is.”

While Trump pledged to respect state-level marijuana reforms during the presidential campaign, he named a dedicated opponent of marijuana reform and longtime drug war extremist, Senator Jeff Sessions, as attorney general. Meanwhile, Rep. Tom Price, who Trump selected as director of health and human services, has voted against key medical marijuana measures in Congress.  And today, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, who sued the state of Colorado to block marijuana legalization, was selected to head the Environmental Protection Agency.

“Kelly is a big-time drug war zealot,” said Michael Collins, deputy director of Drug Policy Alliance’s office of national affairs. “As head of Southern Command he demonstrated that he is a true believer in the drug war, and it’s incredibly worrying that he could now head up Homeland Security.”

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Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

As Clock Ticks Down, Pressure Mounts on Obama to Free More Drug War Prisoners

As Clock Ticks Down, Pressure Mounts on Obama to Free More Drug War Prisoners | Phillip Smith

President Obama has commuted the sentences of more than a thousand federal drug war prisoners, but thousands more have applications in the pipeline. With an incoming Trump administration exceedingly unlikely to act on those petitions, scholars, activists, and at least one US congressman are calling on Obama to expedite clemency efforts while he still can. […]

As Clock Ticks Down, Pressure Mounts on Obama to Free More Drug War Prisoners | The Daily Chronic


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.