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West Coast leaf, Winter, 2011

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West Coast leaf, Winter, 2011
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West Coast leaf
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West Coast leaf
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El Cerrito, CA
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Creative Xpressions
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English

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serial ( sobekcm )

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Auraria Library
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... Turning over a new leaf.
FREE
ww.WestCoastLeaf.com
ISSN 1945-221X • VOLUME 3 NO. 4'
Winter 2011
Prop 19 initiative comes within 4% of legalizing adult use in California
Campaign elevated legalization discussion around the world
California
marijuana
Possession now an infraction
By Dale Gieringer, Cal norml
A bill to downgrade the possession of one ounce or less of cannabis from a criminal misdemeanor to an infraction was signed into law Sept. 30 by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. Another new law sets a 600 foot buffer around dispensaries.
The decrim bill, SB 1449 by Sen. Mark Leno, takes effect Jan. 1, 2011. Its major effect will be to spare minor pot offenders the necessity of court appearances and criminal arrest records.
Instead, it treats possession like a traffic ticket, punishable by the same $100 fine (plus up to $273 in fees) as presently.
A major benefit of the bill is to save the state's taxpayers millions of dollars in court and prosecution expenses. One disadvantage to offenders is that they will no longer have the right to demand a jury
Arizona becomes 15th medi-marijuana state
By Mike Meno, mpp
In an election that saw the defeat of three other statewide marijuana initiatives, voters in Arizona narrowly approved Proposition 203, a ballot measure making theirs the 15th state in the nation to have an effective medical use law.
The AZ Medical Marijuana Act passed by just 4,341 votes out of more than 1.67 million cast. It will allow patients suffering from cancer, HIV / AIDS, multiple sclerosis and other debilitating conditions to use cannabis with a recommendation from their doctors. It permits the establishment of not more than 124 licensed cannabis clinics throughout the state. Patients who live more than 25 miles from one will be allowed to grow their own medicine.
Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which drafted the initiative, heralded the victory as "another blow to our nation's cruel and irrational prohibition on marijuana." MPP played a key role in overseeing the signature drive, and steered more than $500,000 in contributions toward its passage.
On election day, Prop 203 was trailing by some 7,000 votes, but as the state tallied more than 200,000 late provisional ballots, the gap gradually narrowed until it was clear the measure would pass — nearly two weeks after the vote.
This is the third time Arizona voters have approved a medical use law but neither of the previous two, passed in 1996 and 1998, ever took effect because of problems with the initiatives' wording.
Under the new law, patients are required to register with the Dept, of Health and will be allowed to possess or purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, but public use remains prohibited. Legal patients from other states will be protected from arrest if they have their patient ID card, less than 2.5 ounces, and don't violate any other restrictions of the law. Out-of-state patients will not be allowed to Please turn to page 5
reduces penalty
trial, a threat that often led prosecutors to drop charges entirely. Now they can only ask for a hearing before a judge if they don't want to pay the ticket by mail.
In his signing statement, the Governor said he opposed decriminalizing recreational cannabis and opposed the Prop 19 legalization effort, but "in this time of drastic budget cuts, prosecutors defense attorneys, law enforcement and the courts cannot afford to expend limited resources" prosecuting petty pot offenses.
The bill received influential support from the state's courts and district attorneys. In addition, supporters sent over 2,500 e-mail messages to the governor to sign SB1449 via the NORML website.
Another factor in the decision may have been the impending state vote on Prop 19. By signing SB 1449, Gov. Schwarzenegger undercut the argument that the state was wasting law enforcement resources by criminalizing users.
The cost savings of SB 1449 will likely amount to a few million dollars in court expenses, a small fraction of the estimated $200 - $400 million that the state spends on felony marijuana offenses such as cultivation, distribution and sales.
Nonetheless SB 1449 was spuriously Please turn to page 12
Nobody gets busted for bud? Better think again, says FBI
By Paul Armentano, norml
Police prosecuted 858,408 persons for marijuana violations nationally in 2009, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual Uniform Crime Report, released in September 2010.
This arrest total is the second highest ever reported by the FBI, and marks a 1.3% increase over the number of 2008 arrests (847,864). The FBI reported 872,721 marijuana prosecutions in the US in 2007, the highest total on record.
According to the report, marijuana arrests now comprise more than one-half (approximately 52%) of all drug arrests reported in the US. A decade ago, marijuana arrests comprised just 44% of all drug arrests. Some 46% of all drug prosecutions nationwide are for cannabis possession.
"The numbers tell the story; the enforcement of criminal marijuana laws
By Chris Conrad
"The fact that millions of Californians voted to legalize marijuana is a tremendous victory," said Proposition 19's chief proponent, Richard Lee, Nov. 3, 2010. "We have broken the glass ceiling. Prop 19 has changed the terms of the debate. And that was a major strategic goal."
With that, the campaign conceded that California's legalization initiative had not won the election. Nonetheless, the effort made impressive gains. With more than 4.5
and the prosecution of marijuana offenders, in particular minor possession defendants, is driving the present drug war," NORML Director Allen St. Pierre said. "Those who claim otherwise would be better off advocating for a long-overdue reprioritization of law enforcement resources and concerns.
"It makes no sense to continue to prosecute Americans for their use of a substance that poses far fewer health risks than alcohol or tobacco. A better and more sensible solution would be to legalize and regulate cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol, as was proposed by Prop 19."
Of Americans charged with cannabis violations, some 88% (758,593 individuals) were charged with possession only. The remaining 99,815 were charged with "sale/manufacture," a category that includes virtually all cultivation offenses.
Regionally, the percentage of marijuana arrests was highest in the Midwest (62% of drug arrests) and southern regions (56% of drug arrests) of the US, and lowest in the West, where pot prosecutions comprised only 40% of total drug arrests.
In California in 2009, there were 17,008 felony and 61,164 misdemeanor marijuana arrests, for a total of 78,172. In 2008, there were 17,126 felonies and 61,388 misdemeanors, for a total of 78,514. This was the highest number of arrests in a single year since cannabis was decriminalized in 1976.
million 'Yes' votes, Prop 19 outpolled every Republican running for statewide office. Its 46.4% support was the highest-ever rate of US voter approval for any non-medical legalization ballot measure.
Despite all odds, polls showed Prop 19 having a good chance of passage until the last weeks of the campaign, when the governor signed a law dropping possession to a citation offense similar to a parking ticket, which apparently took the urgency out of the issue for many voters.
Cal NAACP, SEIU of CA, United Food and Commercial Workers Western States Council, Latino Voters League, members of the US Congress, local Democratic committees, state legislators and many individual law enforcers, faith leaders, civil rights activists, students, law professors and business leaders endorsed Prop 19.
The initiative had overall support in the medical marijuana community. Prop 19 co-proponent Jeff Jones opened Oakland's first cannabis dispensary even before the Please turn to page 16
New studies document disparities in arrests
Blacks, Latinos hit hardest
By Stephen Gutwillig, Drug Policy Alliance Two new studies were released in October that document extensive race-based disparities in misdemeanor marijuana arrests across California from 2006-2008.
The first report, Arresting Blacks for Marijuana in California: Possession arrests in 25 cities, 2006-08, was co-released by the Drug Policy Alliance and the California Conference of the NAACP. It found that, over two years, police in 25 of the state's major cities have arrested blacks for low-level marijuana possession at four, five, six, seven and even 12 times the rate of whites.
The second report, Arresting Latinos for Marijuana in California: Possession arrests in 33 cities, 2006-08, was co-released by the W. C. Velasquez Institute.
It found that, over two years, major cities in California arrested and prosecuted Latinos for marijuana possession at double Please turn to page 8
FREE MARC EMERY — Supporters of Canada's ‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery gathered in front of the Alabama State House as part of a worldwide day of support Sept. 18. The rallies called on the US government to release the entrepreneur who founded Cannabis Culture magazine and directed a cannabis seed empire under the tagline, “overgrow the government.” He is serving five years in federal prison. Photo by Chris Butts
Near-record marijuana arrests in 2009
Groups like the National Black Police
Assn., Na t. Latino Officers Assn.,
California Council of Churches IMPACT,


Full Text

PAGE 1

... Turning over a 11ew leaf WWW.WESTCOASTl,EAF.COM FREE California reduces mariiuana penaltv Possessio n now an infraction By Dale Gieringer , Cal ORML A bill t o down g rade the possession of one o unce o r le ss of cannabis from a criminal mis d e m e anor to an infraction wa s s igned in t o law S e pt. 30 b y California Gov . Arnold Schwarze n egger. Another new law sets a 600 foot buffer around di s pen s arie s . The decrim bill , SB 1449 b y S en. Mark L e no , t a k es effect Jan. 1 , 2011. Its major e ffect will be to spare minor pot offender s th e n e c ess ity of cour t appearances and criminal arrest records . Inst e ad, it treats possession like a traffic ticket, punishable by the same $100 fine (plus up to $273 in fees) as pre s ently. A major benefit of the bill i s to save the s tate' s taxpayers millions of dollar s in court and pro s ecution expenses. One di s advan t age to offenders i s that they will no longer have the right to demand a jury Arizona becomes 15th medi-marijuana state By Mike Meno, MPP In an election that saw the defeat of three o th e r s t a tewide marijuana initiative s , vot ers in Arizona narrowly approved Prop os iti o n 203, a ballot m e a s ure makin g th e ir s the 15th s tat e in the nation to have an effective medical use law. The AZ Medical Marijuana Act passed b y jus t 4,341 vote s out of more than 1.67 million cast. It will allow patients suffering from cancer, HN I AIDS, multiple sclerosis and othe r debilitating conditions to use cannabis wi th a recomm e ndation from their doctors. It p e rmit s the establishment of not more than 124licensed cannabis clinics throughout the s tate. Patients who live more than 25 mil es from one will be allowed to grow their own medicine . Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which drafted the initiative, h eral ded the victory as "another blow to our nation's cruel and irrational prohibition on marijuana." MPP played a key role in overseeing the signa ture drive , and s teered more than $500,000 in contributions toward its passage. On e l ectio n day, Prop 203 was trailing by some 7,000 vo tes, but as the s tate tallied more than 200,000 late provisional ballots, the gap grad u ally narrowed until it was clear the measure wo uld pas s nearly two weeks after the vote. This is the third time Arizona voters h ave approved a medical use law but nei ther of the previous two, passed in 1996 and 1998, ever took effect because of prob lems with the initiatives' wording . Under the new law, patients are required to register with the Dept. of Health and will be allowed to possess or purchase up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana, but public use remains prohibited . Legal patients from other states will be protected from arre s t if they have their patient ID card , le s s than 2.5 ounces, and don't violate any other restrictions of the law. Out-ofs tate patients will not be allowe d to Ple ase turn to page 5 trial, a threat that often led prosecutor s to drop char g e s entir ely. Now they can onl y ask for a hearing before a judge if they don't want to pay the ticket by mail. In his signing statement , the Governor s aid he opposed decriminalizing recre ational cannabis and opposed the Prop 19 legalization effort, but " in this time of dra s tic budget cuts, prosecutor s defense attor ney s , law enforcement and the courts can not afford to expend limited res ource s" prosecuting petty pot offenses. The bill received influential s upport from the state's courts and district attor neys. In addition, s upporter s sent o v er 2,500 e-mail messages to the governor to sign SB1449 via the NORML website. Prop 19 initiative comes within 4% of legalizing adult use in California Another factor in the deci sio n may ha ve been the impending s tate vote on Prop 19. By signing SB 1449, Gov . Schwarzenegger undercut the argument that the state wa s wasting law enforcement res ource s by criminalizing users . Campaign elevated legalization discussion around the world The cost savings of SB 1449 will likely amount to a few million dollars in court expenses, a small fraction of the estimated $200-$400 million that the state spends on felon y marijuana offenses such as cultiva tion, distribution and sales. Nonetheless SB 1449 was s puri o u sly Please turn to page 12 By Chris Conrad "T he fact that millions of Californians voted to legalize marijuana is a tremen dous victory," said Proposition 19's chief proponent , Richard Lee, Nov . 3 , 2010. "We have broken the glass ceiling. Prop 19 has changed the terms of the debate. And that was a major strategic goal." With that , the campaign conceded that California's le ga lization initiative had not won the election. Nonetheless, the eff ort made impressive gains. With more than 4.5 Near-record marijuana arrests in 2009 Nobody gets busted for bud? Better think again, says FBI By Paul Armentano, NORML Police prosecuted 858,408 persons for mar ijuana vio lation s nationall y in 2009, accord ing to the Federal Bureau of Investigation's annual Uniform Crime Repo rt, released in September 2010. This arrest total is the second highest ever reported by the FBI, and marks a 1.3% increase over the number of 2008 arrests (847,864). The FBI reported 872,721 mari juana prosecutions in the US in 2007, the highest total on record. According to the report, marijuana arrests no w comprise more than one-half (approximately 52% ) of all drug arrests reported in the US. A decade ago, marijua na arrest s comprised just 44% of all drug arrests . Some 46% of all drug prosecutions nationwide are for cannabis possession. "The numbers tell the story; the enforcement of criminal marijuana laws and the prosecution of marijuana offend ers, in particular minor pos s e ss ion defen dan ts, is driving the pre sent drug war," NORML Director Allen St. Pierre sai d . "Those w ho claim otherwise would be b et ter off advocating for a lon g over due repri oritization of law enforcement resources and concerns. "It make s no sense to continue to pro s ecute Americans for their use of a s ub stance that poses far fewer health risks than alcohol or tobacco. A b etter and more sensible solution would be to legalize and regulate cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol, as was proposed by Prop 19." Of Americans charged with cannabis violations, some 88% (758,593 individuals) were charged with pos session only. The remaining 99,815 were charged with "sale/manufacture," a category that includes virtually all cultivation offenses. Regionally, the percentage of marijuana arrests was highest in the Midwest (62% of drug arrests) and southern regions (56% of drug arrests) of the US, and lowest in the West, where pot prosecutions comprised only 40% of total drug arrests. FREE MARC EMERY Supporters of Canada ' s 'Pri nce of Pot' Marc Emery gathered in front of the Alabama State House as part of a worldwide day of support Sept. 18. The rallies called on the US government to release the entrepreneur who founded Cannabis Culture magazine and directed a cannabis seed empire under the tagllne , " overgrow the government." He is serving five years in federal prison. Photo by Chris Butt s In California in 2009, there were 17,008 felony and 61,164 misdemeanor marijuana arres ts, for a total of 78,172. In 2008, th ere were 17,126 felonies and 61,388 misdemeanors, for a total of 78,514. This was the highest number of arrests in a single year since c a nnabi s was de crim inalized in 1976. million 'Yes' v otes , Prop 19 outpolled every Republican running for statewide office . It s 46.4% support was the highe st-eve r rate of US voter approval for any non-medical legalization ballot measure. Despite all odds , polls showed Prop 19 having a good chance of pa ss age until the last weeks of the campaign , w hen the gov ernor signed a law dropping possession to a dtatio n offense similar to a parking ticket, which apparently took the urgency out of the is s ue for many voters . Groups like the National Po\ice Assn., Nat. L a t:.in o Officer s A.ssn., California Council of C hurche s IMPACT, Cal NAACP, SEIU of CA , United Food and Commercial Wor kers Western State s Coundl, Latino Voter s League, m embers of the US Congress, local Democratic commit tees , state legislators and man y individual law enforcers, faith leaders, dvil rights activists, s tudents, law profe ssors and busi ness leader s endorsed Prop 19. The initiative had overall s upport in the m e dical marijuan a community. Prop 19 co-proponent Jeff Jones opened Oakland' s first cannabis dispensary even before the Please turn to page 16 New studies document disparities in arrests Blacks, Latinos hit hardest By Stephen Gutwillig, Drug Policy Alliance Two new studies were released in October that document extensive race-based di s parities in misdemeanor marijuana arre s t s across California from 2006-2008. The first report, Arresting Blacks for Marijuana in California: Possession arrests in 25 cities, 2006-08, was co-released b y the Drug Policy Alliance and the California Conference of the NAACP . It found that , over two years, police in 25 of the state's major dtie s have arrested blacks for low level marijuana po ssessio n at four , five, six, seven and even 12 time s the rate of whites. T h e secon d report, Arresting Latinos f o r Marijuana in California: Posses s ion arres t s in 3 3 cities, 2006-08, was co-released by theW. C. Velasquez Institute. It found that, over two years, major cities in California arrested and prosecuted Latinos for marijuana pos s ession at double Please turn to page 8