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briefs from ten state and national medical organizations, the original co-authors of the Medical Marijuana Program Act, and disability rights groups in support of Ross and patients across California.


MONTANA MAY REPEAL MMJ LAW


On February 10, 2011, by a 63-37 margin, the Montana House voted to repeal the voter-passed 2004 law that legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes.


House Bill 161, by Speaker Mike Milburn, R-Cascade, was then sent to the House Appropriations Committee to look at the fiscal impact of repealing the law. The bill would then return to the House for a final vote before going to the Senate.


The vote was nearly by party lines, with 62 Republicans and one Democrat voting for HB161, while 31 Democrats and six Re- publicans opposed it.


Milburn said Montana has experienced “an uncontrolled epidemic” with medical mari- juana, one that is undermining the fabric of life in Montana, including in schools.


“It’s time to take back the state and its cul- ture,” he said.


But opponents including Rep. Diane Sands, D-Missoula, said there are bet- ter ways to address the medical marijuana surge than repealing the law. Her HB68, drafted by an interim legislative commit- tee, and SB154, by Sen. Dave Lewis, R- Helena, both impose licensing and regula- tory structures for the industry.


“We tried prohibition once and it didn’t work,” she said, referring to the ban on al- coholic beverages. “It is not going away,” she said of medical marijuana. “It does have a legitimate medical use.”


If Milburn’s bill passes, the repeal would take effect July 1.


Law enforcement officers who once waged the War On Drugs submitted testimony Tuesday supporting a bill to legalize and regulate marijuana in Washington state. The bill, HB 1550, sponsored by Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, was heard by the House Com- mittee on Public Safety & Emergency Pre- paredness.


Norm Stamper, a retired Seattle chief of


police, wrote that legalizing marijuana “would provide a great benefit for public safety by allowing the state’s police officers to focus on the worst crimes, protecting the people of Washington from burglaries, rapes, shootings, and drunk driving.”


“Not only would it free up police resources, it would bring in much-needed new rev- enue for the state,” Stamper wrote.


Stamper and the other criminal justice pro-


fessionals who testified Tuesday are mem- bers of the organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) LEAP rep- resents police, prosecutors, judges, prison wardens, federal agents and others who want to legalize and regulate drugs.


According to Rep. Dickerson, the bill could generate $400 million in new rev- enue for the state every two years. Of the revenues raised, 77 percent would be dedicated to health care and 20 percent to substance abuse and treatment.


The bill would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and over, and allow it to be sold through state liquor stores, with commer- cial growers applying for a license through the Liquor Control Board.


“Drug cases and marijuana cases in par- ticular occupy an inordinate amount of money and time,” testified David Nichols, a retired Whatcom County Superior Court judge. “In addition to the court resources they waste, I witnessed the damage they inflicted upon individuals and their fami- lies and communities. And for what? Mar- ijuana laws are not keeping anyone from using marijuana.”


Also submitting testimony were retired U.S. Customs inspector Arnold James Byron, former police officer James Peet and former Washington State Department of Correc- tions probation officer Matt McCally.


HEMPFEST SUES SEATTLE


Seattle Hempfest has filed a lawsuit in United States District Court against the City of Seattle, as well as its mayor, direc- tor of the Seattle Department of Trans- portation, director of Seattle Center, and chairperson of the Seattle Special Events Committee. The suit seeks relief under the U.S. Constitution and the Washington Constitution, and was filed in an effort to


26 WEST COAST CANNABIS More Than A Lifestyle


obtain a 2011 permit to produce the annual free speech rally to reform America’s laws prohibiting cannabis.


The suit asks the city to issue an appropri- ate permit for Seattle Hempfest in August 2011 and, if necessary, to enjoin Seattle from implementing the “West Thomas Overpass project” in such fashion as to interfere with the use of Myrtle Edwards Park in August 2011. Planned summer construction of the sky-bridge in Myrtle Edwards Park, the location of Hempfest since 1995, has displaced the mammoth event which routinely draws more than 100,000 attendees annually.


Well aware of the slow-moving nature of the Seattle Special Events permit process, Hempfest submitted its special event ap- plication earlier than ever, in early Novem- ber 2010, hoping for a decision within the 60-day period set forth by law. However, after months of negotiations Hempfest organizers find themselves with neither a date or a venue for the annual summer “protestival,” which is celebrating its 20th anniversary.


With a little over six months to plan and produce the national cannabis reform movement’s flagship event, organizers feel they are fighting for the existence of the grass roots, all volunteer effort.


“It is with heavy hearts that we take this action against the city that we love,” said Hempfest’s executive director, Vivian Mc- Peak. “We thoroughly wanted to spend the months leading up to Hempfest’s 20th an- niversary working on the best event ever. Without a date or a venue that is almost impossible.”


Upon the suggestion of the Special Events Committee, Hempfest contacted the Se- attle Center in October 2010 to see if that venue would be suitable for 2011. After a few months Seattle Center representatives decided the center could not adequately host Hempfest until 2013 because of pre- existing reservations on some facilities as well as planned Seattle Center construc- tion.


“We are very excited about the prospect of a new foot bridge into Myrtle Edwards Park, but after initially being told by the city that the project would not impact


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