Mon 7 May 2012
At least eight of the 11 candidates for Congress from 2nd District in the June 5 election are on record as favoring an end to the federal Drug Enforcement Agency crackdown on medical-marijuana dispensaries and on people using medical marijuana.
Their stance is in accord with that of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-San Francisco), who on May 2 condemned the Obama administration’s crackdown on medical-marijuana dispensaries and stressed pot’s medicinal value:
“Sixteen states, including our home state of California, and the District of Columbia have adopted medicinal-marijuana laws — most by a vote of the people,” said Pelosi (left).
“I have strong concerns about the recent actions by the federal government that threaten the safe access of medicinal marijuana to alleviate the suffering of patients in California, and undermine a policy that has been in place under which the federal government did not pursue individuals whose actions complied with state laws providing for medicinal marijuana.
“Proven medicinal uses of marijuana include improving the quality of life for patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis, and other severe medical conditions.”
Many other elected officials ranging from Congressman Barney Frank of Massachusetts, to Rhode Island Gov. Lincoln Chafee, to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee are also upset by the DEA’s raids on dispensaries.
Congressional candidate Larry Fritzlan (Democrat) would like to legalize all drugs for adults 18 and older. This, he says, would allow presently illicit drugs to be regulated, and their cost would drop drastically, driving underground drug dealers out of business.
Fritzlan (below) describes himself as “a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in drug and alcohol intervention and treatment.” He formerly worked at San Quentin prison.
“Some people think that legalization of drugs would lead to more drug use,” Fritzlan wrote on his website. They should remember, he added, “Capitalism works. Drug dealers sell drugs to make money. Any drug-seeking person can land on any part of the earth and within hours, if not minutes, find and acquire all the drugs they want.
“Only those who have never visited ‘the street’ could possibly believe that the legalization of drugs would make drugs more available.” He would like to see “all drugs become legal for adults aged 18 and over, and taxed like we currently tax alcohol and tobacco.”
“I support legalization/taxation/regulation of marijuana and have voted to do so as an Assembly member,” the Democratic legislator (right) wrote me.
“I also support stronger regulations to bring greater integrity to the medical cannabis framework so that we can hopefully get the federal government to show deference to California and stop the raids.
“I do not favor legalization of all drugs.”
Democrat Norman Solomon says, “I support legalization of marijuana use for adults. The federal government should remove marijuana from Schedule I, a classification intended for only the most dangerous drugs.
“I will fight to stop federal threats against jurisdictions that implement innovative and reasonable permitting policies,” Solomon (left) says.
“I will defend the right of patients to safely access cannabis for medical needs.
“Limited federal funds should not be used to raid legitimate collectives and cooperatives. Just as with alcohol in the 1920s, the prohibition of marijuana has created a black market rife with organized crime and other harmful consequences.
“The cultivation of marijuana on state and federal lands and in dangerous, poorly-wired ‘grow houses’ is unacceptable. In addition to legalization, I support targeted enforcement for public safety and environmental protection.
Democrat Tiffany Renée (right), the vice-mayor of Petaluma, says without embellishment she wants to “legalize, regulate and tax marijuana.”
John Lewallen of Mendocino County (below), an Independent whose website describes him and his wife as “wild-seaweed harvesters,” says, “Working with the president, Congress should end the prohibition of marijuana, a prohibition which is causing violence, economic and human waste, and harmful ignorance on many levels.
“By bringing cannabis into the light of legalization, we can openly discuss and deal with the problems caused by marijuana abuse, and make available the many exciting therapeutic uses of cannabis now being discovered.”
Democrat William Courtney, a surgeon, says his “area of specialty is non-psychoactive, dietary cannabis,” on which he has presented scientific papers across the US, as well as in Germany, Israel, Austria, Luxembourg, Jamaica, France, and Morocco.
“Cannabinoid acids are, at least, a conditionally essential dietary element required as an antioxidant/ anti-inflammatory for individuals in the 4th decade and beyond.”
He adds that medical studies “argue for the designation of cannabinoid acids as essential across the entire life span. I have thousands of patients who are beginning the largest informal clinical trials in the world.”
On his campaign’s website, the physician includes a video showing him preparing of raw cannabis, which doesn’t get you high. In the video, one of Dr. Courtney’s patients attests to the benefit she has received from his therapy.
“First, the federal policy on marijuana is a failed and costly policy. Prohibition on alcohol did not work in the 1920’s and it’s not working for marijuana now.
“The people of California voted in a majority vote to allow for the use of medical marijuana, and unfortunately the state has provided no leadership in this area including pushing back on the Feds with a State’s Rights assertion.
“More than 400 cities and towns and 58 counties in California are grappling with how to institute the state law without violating federal law and losing federal funding from a variety of programs. Supervisor Lovelace from Humboldt and I serve on the California State Association of Counties working group on this issue and have posted several papers and reports on the topic on the CSAC website.
“The solution seems obvious. Remove the prohibition. Allow the growth and sales of industrial hemp as well as marijuana. Tax it, regulate it, zone it, ensure the consumer safety of it. We don’t see people shooting each other on our public lands over illegal vineyards.
“In my clinical practice, I was far more concerned about a woman’s alcohol consumption where alcohol is associated with the devastating teratogenic effects of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome — the number one cause of preventable mental retardation in the United States.
“Last December, I coauthored a letter with Supervisor Kinsey from our Board of Supervisors to the President and the US Attorney General requesting they cease the heavy handed enforcement of legitimate dispensaries. I would rather they focus their energies on going after the illegal grows on our public lands, which are degrading the environment and polluting our waterways and causing a public health and safety crisis.”
Democrat Andy Caffrey wants “a big transition” that includes the federal government’s expanding the “social safety net.”
This would mean Medicare for all, making our public schools the best in the world, free college and trade schools, apprenticeship support, homeowner mortgage support, free public transportation and Social Security for all.
Caffrey suggests several ways to finance all this: ending “corporate personhood,” taxation of the “super rich,” reducing military spending, “ending the War on Drugs, and legalizing marijuana.”
As for the three other candidates in the District 2 race, Democrat Stacey Lawson could not be reached for a comment. I left a message with Democrat Banafsheh Akhlaghi and Republican Daniel Roberts, but neither of them responded.