Posts Tagged ‘california’

Advocate Goes To Prison Rather Than Quit Marijuana

Deputy District Attorney Jeff Greeson holds up a jar of marijuana obtained from defendant Joel Castle’s hotel room ore than a year ago. Castle, left, was ultimately found guilty of possession and sale of marijuana. He chose nine months in prison rather than three years’ probation.​

A California medical marijuana patient said he prefers being behind bars to being told he can’t use cannabis. Joel Castle is going to prison for nine months rather than spending the next three years on probation, because a condition of the probation a judge offered him was that he quit smoking pot.Castle, the former Chico Cannabis Club operator who was found guilty last month of two felonies associated with a guitar-for-pot trade in January 2010, was sentenced earlier this month, reports Meredith J. Graham at the Chico News Review.Judge Robert Glusman at first offered Castle three years’ probation. But the medical marijuana patient refused, and was sentenced instead to two years, eight months in state prison.”It was the first time I really spoke my mind to that judge,” Castle said.

Castle ended up being ejected from the courtroom during his sentencing, never a good sign.

Source (Toke of the Town)

Marijuana Possession in California Equal to Parking Ticket

Starting this Saturday, January 1, the penalty for possession with as much as an ounce of marijuana in California will be same as if you had received a parking ticket.

Proponents of legalized marijuana say the relaxed state law is simply a sign that attitudes are changing. With possession being put on the same level as a parking ticket, it is going to be more difficult to make major crimes out of selling, distributing or growing marijuana, said Richard Lee, founder of Oaksterdam University, an Oakland school that specializes in marijuana issues.

Possession of an ounce of marijuana has been a misdemeanor crime punishable with a $100 fine. Under the new state law, the fine is the same but the charge is downgraded to an infraction.

State Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco, introduced the bill making the change. He said the state could no longer afford to go after people who had committed a crime that carries the same punishment as parking tickets.

Carla Lowe, founder of Citizens against Legalized Marijuana, said the change was the worst new law passed by lawmakers in 2010.

“I believe this has knocked out one of the key pillars of prevention to help kids say we’re not doing drugs,” she said.

Law enforcement groups have also come out against the law, but it has gotten support from some law enforcement officials.

“I think it’s a good thing because it is calling the offense what it has always been, which is an infraction,” said San Mateo District Attorney Jim Fox.

According to the California attorney general, there were an estimated 78,500 arrests in 2008 and 74,000 in 2007 for felony and misdemeanor related charges associated to marijuana.

In November, California pushed a vote for legalizing the use of marijuana under Proposition 19 that would have legalized the plant. There were 53% voting against to 46% voting “yes” in defeat of the “Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act”.

Proposition 19 loss gives CO chance to be first state to legalize marijuana

The state of CO is planning a launch of Legalize2012.com, a drive to legalize marijuana for adult use in Colorado — and noted that organizers planned to move forward even if Proposition 19, a similar measure in California, failed at the ballot box — which it did. But advocates Mason Tvert and Brian Vicente, while downcast about the Prop. 19 results, see the opportunity to now cast Colorado in the history-making role.

Shortly after the die was cast last night, Tvert, of Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation, aka SAFER, and Vicente, who heads Sensible Colorado, jointly released statements expressing confidence that the Prop. 19 vote won’t doom legalization efforts in Colorado. To the contrary, they suggest that the “no” vote in Cali will energize their push over the next two years.

Here’s their release:

Prop. 19 Loss in California Means Colorado Could Be First State to Legalize Marijuana
State’s largest marijuana reform organizations — SAFER and Sensible Colorado — planning 2012 statewide initiative to make marijuana legal and regulate it like alcohol

Colorado groups not deterred by California results — point to polls that show Coloradans are ready for legalization

DENVER — The state’s two largest marijuana policy reform organizations are not deterred by the results of Proposition 19 in California and will move forward with a similar 2012 statewide ballot initiative in Colorado. Prop. 19 was trailing 56-44 at the time of this release.

Safer Alternative For Enjoyable Recreation (SAFER) and Sensible Colorado are working to place a measure on the 2012 ballot that would remove penalties for adult marijuana use and establish a system of regulation for marijuana similar to that of alcohol.

According to a 9 News/Denver Post poll released last week, 46 percent of likely 2010 voters would support such a measure, while just 43 percent would oppose it. The poll echoes previous and recent internal polls showing support for regulating marijuana around 50 percent among 2010 likely voters.The 2012 electorate should be even more favorably inclined toward supporting such a measure.

“California started the race toward legalization but Colorado is going to finish it,” said Mason Tvert, executive director of SAFER, which coordinated the successful citywide marijuana initiatives in Denver in 2005 and 2007, and the statewide marijuana initiative in 2006. “Coloradans are ready to move forward and bring about a safer, more sensible approach to marijuana.

“For too long our government and the Arrest and Prosecution Industry have been playing a game to keep marijuana illegal for adults,” Tvert said. “That game will soon be over — we’re playing to win in 2012.”

SAFER and its close ally, Sensible Colorado, have been working on plans for a 2012 initiative while closely following the fight over Prop. 19 in California this year.

“Over the past five years we have built a large coalition of organizations, elected officials, and citizens across the state,” said Sensible Colorado Executive Director Brian Vicente. “Now that the 2010 election is over we are moving full-steam ahead with a plan to organize, mobilize, and energize our coalition and potential voters throughout Colorado.

“The campaign for legalization in Colorado begins today and will not end until we become the first — or one of the first — in the nation to establish a legal marijuana market for all adults.”

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Prop 19 Goes Up In Smoke

LOS ANGELES — California voters declined to make their trendsetting state the nation’s first to legalize marijuana use and sales, heeding warnings of legal chaos and that pot smokers would get behind the wheel and show up to work while high.

The legalization effort was losing by nine percentage points with more than two-thirds of precincts reporting. Backers showed support for the measure by gathering outside the campaign’s headquarters to watch returns come in – some of them lighting up joints to mark the occasion.

Supporters of Proposition 19 blamed Tuesday’s outcome on the conservative leanings of older voters who participate in midterm elections. They also acknowledged that young voters had not turned out in sufficient numbers to secure victory, but said they were ready to try again in two years.

“It’s still a historic moment in this very long struggle to end decades of failed marijuana prohibition,” said Stephen Gutwillig, California director for the Drug Policy Project. “Unquestionably, because of Proposition 19, marijuana legalization initiatives will be on the ballot in a number of states in 2012, and California is in the mix.”

Tim Rosales, who managed the No on 19 campaign, scoffed at that attitude from the losing side.

“If they think they are going to be back in two years, they must be smoking something,” he said. “This is a state that just bucked the national trend and went pretty hard on the Democratic side, but yet in the same vote opposed Prop 19. I think that says volumes as far as where California voters are on this issue.”

The campaign pitted the state’s political and law enforcement establishment against determined activists. Images of marijuana leaves and smashed-up cars and school buses appeared in dueling ads during the campaign.

In a sign of what a tough sell it was, an exit poll conducted for The Associated Press showed opposition cutting across gender and racial lines, as well as income and education levels.

The ballot measure lost in the state’s vaunted marijuana-growing region known as the “Emerald Triangle” of Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties. Many in the region feared the system they have created would be taken over by corporations or lose its purpose. Continue reading

Oaksterdam’s Richard Lee: Make weed legal like Budweiser, not orange juice

Oaksterdam UniversityOakland, California (CNN) — Richard Lee sits before a classroom in Oakland explaining how the term marijuana has racist origins because it was first popularized to make Mexicans appear criminal and sinister.

Lee, credited with almost single-handedly getting a vote to legalize marijuana on California’s November ballot, is the founder of Oaksterdam University. Here, students from as far away as Florida and New Jersey learn to grow and market marijuana.

But that’s only after completing their core requirements, such as Lee’s politics and history class.

“We start off with politics and legal issues. That’s a prerequisite,” he said. “And then from there, we move on to horticulture, cooking with cannabis, hash-making, bud-tending, management, starting your own business, or incorporating, organizing.”

An array of students attend Oaksterdam. Some are interested in the legalization movement. Others want to work in a dispensary or production facility. A few have more entrepreneurial aspirations. The school took in about $1.5 million in tuition last year and is on track to collect $2 million this year.

An activist, entrepreneur and professor, Lee pumped more than $1 million of his own money into collecting the signatures to get adult marijuana use on the ballot.

It will take considerably more time and money to see the ballot passed, experts say. Not only do Californian opinions on legalization run the gamut, but experts also expect millions of dollars in special interest money to have an effect on public opinion.

“Like any issue you’re going to have, everybody has their own opinion. You try to come to a consensus and compromise. That’s politics,” Lee said.

What follows is a question-and-answer session with Lee. It has been edited for flow and length. Read more for the Q&A. Continue reading

Billionaire Soros gives $1 million to Proposition 19

Billionaire businessman and philanthropist George Soros has contributed $1 million to the California ballot measure that would legalize marijuana for recreational use.

The hedge fund manager announced his support for Proposition 19 in a piece published today in the Wall Street Journal. He wrote that Proposition 19, which would also allow the regulation and taxation of the substance, isn’t perfect but “would represent a major step forward and its deficiencies can be corrected on the basis of experience.”

“Regulating and taxing marijuana would simultaneously save taxpayers billions of dollars in enforcement and incarceration costs, while providing many billions of dollars in revenue annually,” he wrote. “It also would reduce the crime, violence and corruption associated with drug markets, and the violations of civil liberties and human rights that occur when large numbers of otherwise law-abiding citizens are subject to arrest. Police could focus on serious crime instead”

Soros, a major donor to Democratic candidates and causes, has in the past supported efforts to decriminalize marijuana and reform sentencing requirements for drug-related offenses, including measures in California.

The contribution, reported today to the secretary of state, comes as several recent polls show support for the measure dropping. The Yes on 19 campaign, funded by a separate account, released its first television ad of the campaign yesterday — a small buy that will run on cable stations in Los Angeles.

PHOTO CREDIT: In this Jan. 23, 2008 file photo, Chairman of the Soros Fund Management, USA, George Soros, pauses before speaking during a seminar at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. Virginia Mayo, Associated Press.

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