U.S. federal appeals court Judge Juan Torruella told an audience in Puerto Rico on Tuesday that “the only realistic alternative” to America’s failed war on drugs is to experiment with legalization, “beginning with marijuana.”
Torruella, 77, made his comments at the University of Puerto Rico’s law school, where he was a guest speaker for an audience of about 70 people, including the law school’s dean, Puerto Rico’s secretary of health, and many students. Here are some of his comments, courtesy of El Nuevo Dia (via Google Translate):
The judge said the U.S. goal was “a Drug-Free America by 1998?, or “drug free America for 1998, prompting many laughs from the audience. […]
“The only realistic alternative to the policy (drug) is currently experimenting with the legalization of at least some of these substances, beginning with marijuana,” Torruella said.
“I do not see how we can avoid the conclusion that the war on drugs does not only lost time but for some time that loss has had a high human and material costs,” said the veteran judge who gave the example of the increase of deaths associated with drug trafficking in Mexico when the U.S. authorities allegedly managed to reduce the traffic routes in the Caribbean. […]
He said New Zealanders and Americans are the most who smoke marijuana (42%) in the world, by far, and noted that in Holland, where consumption is legal, only 20% use it. [..]
The United States remains “the source of insatiable appetite that drives this industry,” said the judge.
Torruella sits on the Boston-based First Circuit Court of Appeals. He was first nominated to be a federal judge by President Ford, and was elevated to the appeals court by President Reagan in 1984, according to the Associated Press.
According to El Nuevo Dia, Torruella cited a recent study by the Cato Institute, as well as “British studies” showing marijuana is less harmful than alcohol “and therefore should be legalized.”
This is the second time in less than a week that commonsense marijuana policy has been endorsed outside of the 50 United States. On Thursday, a bill to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes was approved by the House of Representatives for the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory. Unfortunately, the bill isn’t expected to pass through the Commonwealth’s Senate, where five out of nine senators plan to vote against it.
“A Pennsylvania man celebrated his baby`s birth by lighting up a joint in the hospital smoking area, police said.
Uniontown police Sgt. Jonathan Grabiak told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review a nurse smelled marijuana when she took a cigarette break in Uniontown Hospital`s designated smoking area, an enclosed shed, Tuesday.
She saw two men in the shed, but she did not see either smoking marijuana.”
Nobody passes out cigars anymore to celebrate the birth of his child, this dude was merely trying to start a new tradition.
I commend Grabiak for obeying the rules of the hospital by going to the designated smoking area to enjoy his joint.
Grabiak will be a good dad who will teach his son to obey the rules, and how to properly roll a doobie.
No charges have been filed against the proud father.
Follow Robert Paul Reyes on Twitter: http://twitter.com/robertpaulreyes
By Ed Brayton
A lawsuit against Walmart for firing a Battle Creek man for using medical marijuana to help with an inoperable brain tumor despite such usage being legal in Michigan is set to begin on Friday in federal court in Grand Rapids.
Joseph Casias uses medical marijuana in full compliance with Michigan law, but Walmart still fired him for a positive test for the drug even though he was the employee of the year in his store just two years earlier. The ACLU is representing him in court.
by Michael Roberts
The differences between the federal government’s marijuana laws and MMJ rules in Colorado are vast. Ask Chris Bartkowicz, who faces years in prison for growing cannabis he said was for medical purposes. So why are the feds supplying Irvin Rosenfeld almost 300 marijuana cigarettes every 25 days? He’ll explain during an appearance in Denver this weekend.
As noted in the Cannabis Therapy Institute release, Rosenfeld won the right to use marijuana medically way back in 1982, and while rule changes have been made since then, his access has been grandfathered. He’s reportedly among just four people in the country to have this right, as he explains in his new book, My Medicine.
Rosenfeld will promote this tome during a free talk and book-signing on Saturday afternoon at the Oriental Theatre. Get details from the aforementioned release, on view below along with a video of Rosenfeld.
Cannabis Therapy Institute release:
Federal Marijuana Patient Promotes Book in DenverDenver — Irvin Rosenfeld is one of only 4 medical marijuana patients in the country that receive cannabis legally from the federal government. Irv will be in Denver for a speaking engagement and book signing on Sat., Nov. 13 at the Oriental Theatre in Denver at 3:00pm.
Irv is a 57 year-old successful stockbroker from south Florida. Irv smokes the marijuana to relieve chronic pain and muscle spasms caused by a rare bone disease. When he was 10, doctors discovered that his skeleton was riddled with more than 200 tumors, due to a condition known as multiple congenital cartilaginous exostosis. Despite six operations, he still lives with scores of tumors in his bones.
After a long struggle with the federal government, Irv Rosenfeld won the right to access medical marijuana in 1982. Thirteen people with debilitating conditions were allowed into the Compassionate Investigative New Drug (IND) program to receive government-grown marijuana. In 1992, President George Bush discontinued the program, but Irv still receives almost 300 marijuana cigarettes every 25 days from the federal government. The cannabis is grown by NIDA at the University of Mississippi.
Irv’s book is called My Medicine: How I Convinced the Federal Government to Provide My Marijuana and Helped Launch a National Movement. The book will be available for purchase and will be signed by the author.
Irvin Rosenfeld Talk and Book Signing
4335 W 44th Ave, Denver, CO
Saturday, Nov. 13, 2010
3:00 pm to 5:30 pm
Talk: 3:00pm to 4:00pm
Book Signing: 4:00pm to 5:30pm
The event is FREE and open to the public.
The book makes a great HOLIDAY GIFT for the patient or advocate on your list.
The talk is sponsored by the Cannabis Therapy Institute Patient Advocacy Project. Click here to support CTI’s mission of protecting patient’s safe access to medicine:
by Grant Banks
Researchers at University of Connecticut have found that industrial hemp has properties that make it attractive as a raw material for biofuel production
While the food versus fuel debate continues to put crop-based biofuel production on the back burners it might just be Cannabis sativa that blazes the competition. Researchers at University of Connecticut have found that industrial hemp has properties that make it viable and even attractive as a raw material, or feedstock, for producing biodiesel. Hemp biodiesel has shown a high efficiency of conversion (97 percent) and has passed laboratory’s tests, even showing properties that suggest it could be used at lower temperatures than any biodiesel currently on the market.
The plant’s ability to grow in infertile soils also reduces the need to grow it on primary croplands, which can then be reserved for growing food according to Richard Parnas, a professor of chemical, materials, and biomolecular engineering at UConn.
“For sustainable fuels, often it comes down to a question of food versus fuel,” said Parnas, noting that major current biodiesel plants include food crops such as soybeans, olives, peanuts, and rapeseed. “It’s equally important to make fuel from plants that are not food, but also won’t need the high-quality land.”
Cannabis sativa is known for it’s ability to grow like a “weed” in many parts of the world, needing little fertilizers, or high-grade inputs to flourish. But the seeds, which house the plant’s natural oils, are often discarded. Parnas points out that this apparent waste product could be put to good use by turning it into fuel.
“If someone is already growing hemp they might be able to produce enough fuel to power their whole farm with the oil from the seeds they produce. The fact that a hemp industry already exists means that a hemp biodiesel industry would need little additional investment,” he said.
Although growing hemp is not legal in the U.S., Parnas hopes that the team’s results will help to spur hemp biodiesel production in other parts of the world. And while the Proposition 19 ballot in California to legalize Marijuana was defeated last week, the pathways have been opened for more discussion on Cannabis sativa production in the U.S..
As for other industries that utilize Cannabis plants, Parnas makes a clear distinction between industrial hemp, which contains less than one percent psychoactive chemicals in its flowers, and some of its cousins, which contain up to 22 percent.
“This stuff,” he pointed out, “won’t get you high.”
Dutch officials in Rotterdam and The Hague are hoping upwards of 30,000 people will commit their olfactory glands to the pursuit of illegal marijuana grow operations in Holland. The crime-busting plan involves sending out scratch & sniff cards impregnated with marijuana scent to 30,000 homes, hoping to educate people on how pot plants smell, so they can call police when they sniff-out an illegal grow-op.
The 8 by 4 inch (20 by 10cm) card calls on citizens to “Assist in combating cannabis plantations!”, with helpful sleuth hints such as looking for places where the curtains are always drawn, where there are buzzing noises, or illegal electrical hook-ups and, of course, the sweet, hay or sage-like aroma of healthy cannabis plants.
The Dutch government decriminalized the use and possession 5grams (0.18 ounces) of cannabis back in 1976, and people can generally grow up to five plants for their personal use without facing prosecution. However, black-market and criminal activities are valued at around €2 billion euros (US$2.7 billion) annually and may number up to 40,000 grow-ops.
Each year around 6000 illegal grow-ops are found, with around 300 in Rotterdam, according to Richard Anderiesse, who is part of the city’s cannabis task force. Concern about the grow–ops, apart from being illegal, include the risk of fire and water loss due to illegal tapping into the supplies.
… if you’re a pharmaceutical company.
It was, of course, fascinating (although unsurprising) how fast Marinol was able to get moved from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3. Marinol is, after all, synthetic THC (or dronabinol) and marketed to function the same as marijuana (although its limitations can be quite severe compared to whole plant cannabis).
Marinol has, interestingly, even marketed itself as “legal marijuana.”
Well now the DEA is concerned that some companies who want to sell “legal marijuana” might have a hard time doing it, so they’ve published a notice of proposed rulemaking that would allow them to open up the definition of Marinol in Schedule 3 to include “Any drug product in hard or soft gelatin capsule form containing natural dronabinol (derived from the cannabis plant) or synthetic dronabinol (produced from synthetic materials).”
After all, they want companies to be able to market alternative versions and generic versions of Marinol…. just so long as it isn’t actually cannabis.
(ii) Any drug product in hard or soft gelatin capsule form containing natural dronabinol (derived from the cannabis
plant) or synthetic dronabinol (produced from synthetic materials) in
sesame oil, for which an abbreviated new drug application (ANDA) has been approved by the FDA.
Once again you have the DEA and the FDA working together to make sure that the pharmaceutical companies are taken care of without having to worry about trivialities like proving “accepted medical use.”
When drug products that reference Marinol® receive FDA approval, they will have a currently accepted medical use in the United States.
Actual cannabis, on the other hand, is claimed by the DEA to not have a currently accepted medical use in the United States, despite reams of evidence.
You can comment on the proposed rule making by January 3. Not sure what good it’ll do. Not even sure what comment I’d make… “Yes, please expand the definition because that might eventually lead to…” or “No, don’t let the other drug companies in until cannabis itself gets invited…” Not that the DEA is going to be interested in what I have to say.
Tmz : Soon-to-be-former governor of Kaleefornia Arnold Schwarzenegger couldn’t have been more blunt on the topic of weed last night — telling Jay Leno that in CA, “No one cares if you smoke a joint or not.”Ahnald hit “The Tonight Show” to talk about the recent elections, when Leno brought up a pro-pot bill the gov just signed, making cannabis possession “like a speeding ticket.”
Arnold went on to explain that Prop 19 — which would have sorta-legalized the recreational use of weed — wasn’t defeated in Kaleefornia because it was a bad idea … but because it was written poorly.
It ain’t the first time Arnold’s spoken out in support of weed — dude famously puffed on a joint in the 1977 documentary, “Pumping Iron.”