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Posts Tagged ‘decriminalization’

For those of you living around the world you may not quite understand our traditional 420 smoke in here in Vancouver. Each year thousands of people gather infront of the art gallery here in downtown Van city to in one impressive toke fill an entire city block with the sweet smoke of the cannabis plant. Every year it is so impressive to see so many people of every different kind coming together to show their love and support for what should be our legal right. There are booths and street vendors all over selling bud and edibles, bongs and pipes, and generally promoting the use of the herb to the public.

The highlights of the event being of course the on-the-dot cloud rising above Vancouver’s biggest session in history, the speakers of course, David Malmo Levine, Jody Emery and many others, Marc Emery who was there through the whole of the event politicin’ shaking hands and kissing babies (not that there were any babies there, that would be entirely inappropriate). The music was good and the atmosphere was amazing.

However this year’s traditionally peaceful celebration was a bit tainted and if I may say no exactly “putting our best foot forward” for the cannabis community. The state of the affair was complete chaos from when I arrived to when I left. There was immense amounts of trash all over the grounds, there were people tagging on the art gallery, a girl passed out and had to be taken off by paramedics, and if thats not bad enough for the first time in over 20 years of 420 celebrations a fight even broke out dead center of the crowd.

Now this sort of thing makes me very sad because the entire statement that everyone there had come together to support was lost. Now this was little to no surprise  considering there was over 10,000 people crammed together on one downtown city block. This to me is simply poor planning. They desperately need to move the celebration to a new venue and judging by the number of people they bring out its gonna need to be a big one.

So here is what I propose!

The Vancouver International Cannabis Festival!

Now much like the operation of the Jazz festival in Gastown every year, we could host something similar with stages and booths up and down water st. and extending up to queen elizabeth square right in front of the Cannabis Culture headquarters. I think this would be fantastic, more space would mean less chance of fights and we could bring in bands from all over the world to perform infront of thousands of people. Political leaders and activists could speak from different stages and get their messages out to a wider group of people who instead of trying to fight though crowds without burning themselves on a blunt could comfortably smoke and listen to what they have to say.

However the concern is due to the poor execution of this years event it may be possible that BC Marijuana Party may not have much bargaining power with the city to continue this event let alone host it in a bigger space next year.

On another note, I’ve got some great shots of this year’s event and will have them up for you guys to check out on here very soon!

As always, Peace and blow that smoke proud.

~The Hempen Journeyman

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Spread the Word! Get out and Vote!

Yesterday in California the initiative to legalize marijuana passed and is set to be voted on for the november ballot!

With Californians already showing 65% support for the legalization in recent polls things seem to be looking up for our hero for the first time in a long long while. Check out the full story from the the LA Times here:

Measure to legalize Marijuana will be on California’s November Ballot

An initiative to legalize marijuana and allow it to be sold and taxed will appear on the November ballot, state election officials announced Wednesday, triggering what will probably be a much-watched campaign that once again puts California on the forefront of the nation’s debate over whether to soften drug laws.

The number of valid signatures reported by Los Angeles County, submitted minutes before Wednesday’s 5 p.m. deadline, put the measure well beyond the 433,971 it needed to be certified. Supporters turned in 694,248 signatures, collecting them in every county except Alpine. County election officials estimated that 523,531 were valid.

Next step is to get out there and vote Californians!! I’m up in Vancouver at the moment but I will be sending in my absentee ballot via mail! If we all get out there and vote this time its for real!

Peace and keep blowing your smoke proud people, soon we’ll be able to do it free!

~ The Hempen Journeyman

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Marc's Final Farewell with his wife Jodie by his side.

Marc's Final Farewell with his wife Jodie by his side.

It has been just over two months since my last post and I’m really sorry that this has to be my first post back.

Today was a sad day for so many people as we watched Marc Emery, the leader of the BC Marijuana party and the self proclaimed “Prince of Pot”  head in to the Supreme Court of BC to be sentenced for marijuana trafficking to the United States. He will be taken today after his hearing and held in a BC prison until the extradition order is signed and Marc is shipped to some US federal prison.

The throng of people crowded outside the courts today here in Vancouver to hear Marc and Jodie give their final press conference together before Marc’s five year sentence was inspiring. We all gathered at 9:00 this morning, some of us missing work, some skipping school and other travelling in from all over the the greater Vancouver area to show their love an support for not only Marc, but for his wife Jodie as well who will continue his work in his absence.

At the end of the press conference everyone said their final farewells with hugs and tears as we saw Marc off into the courthouse. I hope everyone out there will look at this situation and realize that this ridiculous war on drugs has just destroyed another family by tearing a husband from his wife for the sale of a plant.

Today for the first time in my life I am not proud to be a Canadian because of the lack of respect and support our government has shown for this honest, hard working and inspiring man who by our laws has committed no crime. The fact that our own Vancouver Police Department conspired and worked along side the DEA allowing them not only into our country, but into our city to destroy a man we all love.

All I can hope is that this ordeal will bring some coverage to the issue of prohibition and show that Marc who has done no damage to anyone has been wrongfully persecuted by the United States government and that cannabis has no victims. The only victims are those of the prohibition.

To Marc and Jodie, I hope only the best for your both. Stay strong and you both can get through this knowing that your sacrifice has not been in vain, the legalization movement will continue to grow and that someday your lost liberties and happiness will be returned to you both.

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So guys its been a little while due to me being real busy finishing up school and living the life up here in Vancouver. The sun’s been shining and I’ve been out enjoying the gorgeous pacific northwest so I haven’t been inside with the computer much.

But for this news I am sitting and hacking away at the keys to spread the news that Oakland has passed a new ordinance that raises the tax paid on the sale of medical marijuana. This is great news for the simple fact that it brings a solid legitimacy to the sale of marijuana. Oakland is now the nation’s first city to directly tax the herb and support the sale of medical marijuana.

The city set at 1.8% tax on medical marijuana sold in the city. This tax is expected to raise at least $400,000 and perhaps more that $1 million annually according to the wall street journal. The city of Oakland is currently suffering from a 83 million dollar shortcoming on a $455 million budget.

About 80% of voters backed the marijuana tax and with the backing of the oakland city council, this legislation shows just how widespread the acceptance of the normalization of cannabis really is.

With the polls showing  56%  of californians in support of legalization and taxation, this experimental tax of cannabis is exactly what other politicians need to show them that legalization and taxation can really help with the state deficit.

Legalize 2010

Legalization 2010!!! For AB390 to pass californians are going to have to band together and gather enough signatures to get it on the ballot.

Lets go fellow Californians!!! I wish I could be down there doing my part alas I am living up here in the north and can’t.

Check out news on CNN Politics HERE

Peace, and keep blowing that smoke proud.

~ The Hempen Journeyman

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Great News from Rhode Island!  – Sourced from CannabisNews.org

Providence, R.I. — Weeks after legalizing the sale of marijuana to sick people, lawmakers have voted to explore how much Rhode Island might collect in revenue if it were to make all sales of marijuana legal and impose a “sin tax” of $35 per ounce.

During the General Assembly’s aborted rush to adjournment Friday, the Senate approved a resolution — introduced earlier the same day — to create a nine-member special commission to study a swath of issues surrounding marijuana.

Among them: “The experience of individuals and families sentenced for violating marijuana laws … The experience of states and European countries, such as California, Massachusetts and the Netherlands, which have decriminalized the sale and use of marijuana.”

The sponsors of the eleventh-hour measure — which requires no further action — include Senators Joshua Miller, D-Cranston; Leo Blais, R-Coventry; Rhoda Perry, D-Providence; Charles Levesque, D-Portsmouth, and Susan Sosnowski, D-South Kingstown.

In a brief interview Wednesday, Miller said the resolution was sparked by the referendum-driven move to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana in Massachusetts, and by what he perceives as “a national trend towards decriminalization.” In November 2008, Massachusetts voters overwhelmingly approved a ballot initiative to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, making getting caught with less than an ounce of pot punishable by a civil fine of $100.

Asked why he waited until what was to be the last day of the session to introduce the measure, Miller said he and his fellow sponsors felt it was “very important” for this study to be “defined as an issue” completely separate and apart from the passage — over Governor Carcieri’s veto — of legislation allowing the creation of state-regulated dispensaries to sell marijuana for medicinal use.

Miller said it also “took that long for it to be taken seriously.”

The resolution creates a “Special Senate Commission to Study the Prohibition of Marijuana” made up of “elected members of the Rhode Island Senate, local law enforcement officials, physicians, nurses, social workers, academic leaders in the field of addiction studies, advocates or patients in the state’s medical marijuana program, advocates working in the field of prisoner reentry, economists, and members of the general public.”

The measure poses a number of specific questions for study, among them: “Whether and to what extent Rhode Island youth have access to marijuana despite current laws prohibiting its use. … Whether adults’ use of marijuana has decreased since marijuana became illegal in Rhode Island in 1918. … Whether the current system of marijuana prohibition has created violence in the state of Rhode Island against users or among those who sell marijuana. … Whether the proceeds from the sales of marijuana are funding organized crime, including drug cartels. … Whether those who sell marijuana on the criminal market may also sell other drugs, thus increasing the chances that youth will use other illegal substances.”

The resolution also cites questions about the “dangers associated with marijuana resulting from it being sold on the criminal market, including if it is ever contaminated or laced with other drugs.”

The panel has until Jan. 31, 2010, to report its findings and recommendations to the Senate, though it would stay alive through Jan. 31, 2014.

Miller, a bar owner who says he does not use illegal drugs — or even drink liquor more than a few times a year — said he is not hoping or expecting any specific outcome. “I am more open-minded that that,” he said. “I am hoping to react to the best research and data we can get out of looking at it.”

A year ago, Carcieri vetoed a joint House and Senate call for a study of the wisdom of creating state-regulated marijuana dispensaries.

But “since this was only a Senate resolution, it does not come to the governor for his approval,” Carcieri spokeswoman Amy Kempe said.

In February, one of the cosponsors, pharmacist Leo Blais, proposed a bill — The Sensible State Marijuana Policy Act — that would have decriminalized the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana, reducing it to a civil offense for which anyone age 18 or older would face a $100 fine and forfeiture of the marijuana. The bill never made it out of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

As of Wednesday, no person or group had formally applied for the license to run the first of the three marijuana dispensaries allowed by the so-called “compassion centers” bill.

Both the House and Senate have each passed, for the second year in a row, their own versions (S39 and H5007) of a bill to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug crimes.

But no one version of the measure has yet cleared both chambers, in this year when the House and Senate went on hiatus, with no certain return date, and no final action on a bevy of high-profile bills.

Source: Providence Journal, The (RI)
Author: Katherine Gregg, Journal State House Bureau
Contact: letters@projo.com
Website: http://www.projo.com/

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I am excited to see this for the first time. An athlete and positive role model who shows his full support and is even sponsored by MediCann!!

Inspirational stuff, check it out.

Peace and keep blowing that smoke proud,
Kid Kulture

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"That is not a drug. It's a leaf" ~ Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

"That is not a drug. It's a leaf" ~ Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

Hey everybody HUGE news! Yesterday up in Davis, CA governor Arnold Schwarzenneger stated that it is time for a debate on the legalization and taxation of marijuana for recreational use in California.

Now this may not seem like a big step but this is a major stepping stone. For a decision making politician to open up the floor for debate is all the momentum we need. There are no longer any legitimate arguments in support of the prohibition so as soon as we take the floor we can push the issue to the people that matter. With the recent poll stating that 56% of California voters support the legalization, more and more politicians are starting to lean towards support. If we can win the debate in this most important of settings it may be all that is needed to get other politicians to co-sign Tom Ammiano’s Bill for legalization to be reintroduced next year.

The bill is gaining support and its looking good for 2010!! Could the governor possibly be the champion we need to get this movement moving towards the mainstream support of the states government officials? I sure hope so!!

If you live out in California be sure to write letters and send emails to your representatives requesting that they cast their support in alongside Tom Amianno’s bill for the legalization and taxation of marijuana!

Peace and keep blowing that smoke proud,
Kid Kulture

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