Assessment of NYPD Report On Public Burning of Marijuana

Assessment of NYPD Report On Public Burning of Marijuana

The Report by the New York City Police Department’s “Working Group” is more window dressing than an actual policy change. Rather, it appears to be an elaborate 20 page rationalization to continue the present enforcement protocol without any real progress on the policing front.  As of today, the policy continues to leave it to the relatively unfettered discretion in the hands of each officer to decide whether to issue a summons or, subject to a variety of exceptions, affect a full blown arrest for the public consumption of marijuana. The continuation of this policy certainly is better than the old days in that those issued a summons are not fingerprinted and face only a maximum $100 fine for a first offense. But, that is not the policy that the citizens of New York want or need.

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NEW YORKERS TAKE TO THE STREETS ON MAY 4 DEMANDING RATIONAL, COMPASSIONATE LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL POLICIES ON CANNABIS (MARIJUANA)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

NEW YORKERS TAKE TO THE STREETS ON MAY 4 DEMANDING RATIONAL, COMPASSIONATE LOCAL, STATE AND FEDERAL POLICIES ON CANNABIS (MARIJUANA)

New York, NY, April 29, 2013- THE NYC CANNABIS PARADE, one of the longest-running public demonstrations against cannabis (marijuana) prohibition, will take place this Saturday, May 4, 2013, beginning with assembly at 12 PM on 24th Street between Park and Madison, followed by a parade led by the “Ganja Granny,” Arlene Williams, down Broadway to Union Square for a mass celebration of cannabis culture, live musical performers and speakers addressing the state of legal reform around the US and in New York, the injustice of arresting and imprisoning cannabis users, the medical uses of cannabis and the critical need to legalize cannabis under local, state and federal law.

The event in Union Square features acts including East Village icon David Peel, African diaspora acoustic percussion ensemble Heritage OP, The Black Market Merchants, and others. Speakers will include NYC mayoral candidate Sal Albanese, Tony Newman from international advocacy group the Drug Policy Alliance, Joanne Naughton (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition), Harlem activist Joseph “Jazz” Hayden, Dr. Sunil Kumar Aggarwal MD, PhD, Arlene Williams “the Ganja Granny” (Green Ribbon World), addiction treatment and wellness activist Dimitri Mugianis (NYHRE), Alec Foster  (New York University Students for Sensible Drug Policy), Laura Notini (NORML Women’s Alliance), and radio host and journalist Paul DeRienzo (teacher, independent radio and TV producer and contributor to The VIllager).

“New York has a long tradition as a leader in progressive social policies but now lags far behind the rest of the country in terms of rational marijuana laws. As marijuana law reform spreads around the US and overseas, it is high time that New York City and New York State join the movement away from the futile and destructive policy of marijuana prohibition,” said Parade Coalition member and NORML Long Island Executive Director Troy Smit.

About the NYC Cannabis Parade and the Global Marijuana March

The NYC Cannabis Parade is an inclusive and peaceful celebration of the ”cannabis culture” that spans national, cultural and racial divisions. It is also a political event demanding an end to Prohibition, a proven disaster.

In 1999, after thirty years, this event turned into the Global Marijuana March and spread to approximately 300 cities around the world. The event occurs annually on the first Saturday in May to unify the community of cannabis reformers and promote a larger conversation about cannabis policy reform and the destruction that accompanies prohibition.

 

CONTACT: Troy Smit Info@CannabisParade.org. Event URL: www.CannabisParade.org

NY Senator Savino and Assemblymen Gottfried Introduce Medical Marijuana Legislation

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Medical Marijuana same-as bills introduced in both the NY Senate (S.4406) and NY Assembly (A.6357) today. For the past 16 years Medical Marijuana , or MMJ, bills have came and gone in NY, but this year we have a stronger bill than any other in recent history. Bills of previous years were always vague when defining who and what is covered to use medical marijuana, usually saying "severe debilitating or life-threatening condition" this year however we have a much clearer look at what is covered

"...including, but not limited to, Cancer, Glaucoma, positive status for Human Immunodeficiency Virus or Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, Parkinson's Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of  intractable spasiticity, Epilepsy, Cachexia, Wasting Syndrome, Chron's Disease, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Neuropathy, Fribromyalgia, Arthritis, Lupus, and Diabetes, or a condition associated with or a complication of such a condition or its treatment (including but not limited to inability to tolerate food, nausea, vomiting, dysphoria or pian) subject to limitation in regulation of the commissioner."

The biggest change might be that NY will be the second state to allow for-profit business entities in the medical marijuana industry. In the most of the medical states you must be a non-profit corporation or cooperative to own and operate a dispensary, Colorado and soon to be New York are the exceptions.

When passed, New york would be of of the first states to mandate testing on cannabis quality and potency. This is a huge step forward in helping prove the legitimacy of the plant as a medicine and will help secure the health and safety of patients with compromised immune systems especially.

Not entirely new, but these bills also have added protections for patients, caregivers and heath care professionals that few other state's have. A MMJ patient is not to be denied of any medical service or organ transplant due to the fact that they use MMJ. Patients and their caregivers are protected from discrimination by landlords, employers, schools, or in court i.e. custody proceedings.

Coming off the heels of success in Colorado and Washington, NY would add a lot of momentum to the movement if we pass a MMJ bill this session. We don't have much time though, the legislators go home for the session in June giving us just over 2 months to get this passed.  It's up to you, the people, to tell your senator to support the Medical Marijuana bill S. 4406.  You can Click Here to use NORML's Action Center and take 1 minute to email your senator to support MMJ in NY (Note: you don't need to use you 9 digit zip code).

I have the utmost confidence that we will legalize the medicinal use of cannabis this year, but we need your help. Check out how to get involved here.

Assemblyman Katz; Against medical pot, then caught with pot.

Assemblyman katzAssemblyman Katz as shown here during his early days as a field scientist and researcher with the World Wildlife fund Early Thursday Morning, on the New York State Thruway, Republican Assemblyman Stephen M. Katz was arrested and Given a DAT(Desk Appearance Ticket). Issuance of a DAT involves a full custodial arrest, handcuffs and a trip to the police station in a squad car, van or wagon. He was brought up on charges for doing 80MPH in a 65MPH zone and...wait for it...Unlawful Possession of Marijuana(§221.05). Interesting...A Legislator being charged with Marijuana possession must've voted for pro-marijuana legislation in the past, right? Nope, Assemblyman Katz has actually voted against medical marijuana in the past.

This is the sort of hypocritical politics that has to be done with before we can pass meaningful Medical and Tax&Regulate legislation in NY. You would be hard pressed to find a individual that smokes Marijuana who doesn't think it should be, at the very least, removed as a schedule I or II drug or has that it has medicinal benefits, and Assemblyman Katz is no different sense he obviously partakes for his own reasons.

I'm not going to speculate his reasons for voting against Medicinal Marijuana  previously, but I hope they will change this time around. And who knows, maybe Assemblyman Katz will be a surprise crusader for strengthening NY's Decriminalization statutes. But until then this is just another story of a misguided politician thinking he was better then the sick patients that seek relief through marijuana because he smokes pot and didn't get caught, until now.

Don't forget,  call Assembly Katz's office, 845-628-3781, and leave a message reminding him the importance of supporting Gov Cuomo's Marijuana Decrim efforts in light of his (most)recent run in with the police.

Image Credit:

(Left)http://assembly.state.ny.us/mem/Steve-Katz

(Right)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Katz_%28politician%29