Mar 04 2011

NORML cultivates division at 2011 California conference, part 2 of 2

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— Back to Part 1 of 2

Bill Panzer, one of the best-known marijuana attorneys in the state begins by stating maybe 1% of the electorate actually reads an initiative, 20% read the summaries in the voter pamphlet, and the rest decide based on the internet, newspapers and TV.

23:00 – Whatever we decide is going to be in this initiative, the drafting needs to be for the purpose of implementation, not for the purpose of passing it. Whatever’s in it, it’s gonna pass, I think…

How many people here think that Prop. 19 potentially created a threat to medical patients rights? [Well over half the audience raise their hands.]

How many people here think that the drafters of 19 wanted it to create a threat to medical rights? [some hands raised] A lot less.

24:00 – Personally, I did not like 19. I thought the drafting sucked.

I don’t think that Richard intended to impinge on medical rights [laughter] … I don’t think Richard wanted to give Los Angeles the right to cut off medical rights. However, the drafting of it left that argument open. Now, Chris [Conrad] disagrees with me, some people disgree with me, as to whether or not it would have done that, but the problem is the argument is there.

The language was not bullet-proof. It allowed the argument to be there.

SB 420: I predict that before the end of this year we’re going to get a Court of Appeals decision that’s gonna say that most dispensaries in the state are not legal under state law.

And the video ends in the middle of a sentence, and picks up in the following video with marijuana lawyers Zenia Gilg, Omar Figueroa, and Joe Rogoway.

NOTE: Click fullscreen mode (the rectangle) in order to use the slider to skip forward through these videos.

CaNORML ‘Next Steps’ conference, 2011 Berkeley
Tamara Tai, Zinia Gilg, Omar Figueroa, Joe Rogoway

Zinia Gilg speaks at 9:00 minutes, discussing image, regulation, and concerns of the patients.

14:00 – If you don’t want it regulated you don’t want it legal.

Omar Figueroa, defended Ed Rosenthal with the result that his sentence was 1 day in jail. Wrote California Cannabis Initiative.

He begins with a joke.

16:00 – I am honored to be in a room full of free-thinkers who love cannabis more than money.

I think we can all agree that cannabis prohibition is an incredible failure and that we should repeal any penalties of confinement and incarceration for any cannabis related activity…

18:00 – I think that California’s law regarding medical marijuana protections should make it clear that no person shall be subject to arrest or prosecution for possession, cultivation, transportation, distribution, or sales of marijuana for medical purposes – PERIOD. A simple sentence like that would revolutionize California law.

That’s what we need. Otherwise, we’re at the mercy of the federal Department of Justice… We need to change the federal law. Right now all we have is forebearance and restraint from the Big-Brother death machine…

20:00 – I don’t think we should be tinkering with the machinery of prohibition. I think we should repeal prohibition altogether.

20:14 – I think it’s critical to enhance medical protections and I’ve set forth a few ways in which medical protections can be enhanced.

21:00 – No amendment without voter approval. We can’t allow the legislature to rewrite our initiative.

Joe Rogoway, a public defender who has worked in Sonoma County and Medocino County and was co-author, with Figueroa, of the California Cannabis Initiative takes the podium at 22:43 minutes.

Rogoway begins with a diplomatic stab at the language of Prop. 19, echoing Panzer’s concerns, and stating that criminal defense attorneys should be involved in the drafting of the initiative because “we are in the trenches every day fighting the fights and we know how the judges act, how the prosecutors act. We know how seemingly innocuous verbiage gets twisted against us.”

24:20 – Where I would start and, conceivably, even end the dialogue is with the statement that I believe decriminalization in-and-of itself could actually be legalization…

If we have, essentially, all of the current prohibitions in California … repealed, and that’s all we’ve done, we have done a lot. And if we fail to do that, we have done nothing.

Panzer, in his 11th hour email to the Drug Policy Alliance Foundation list, noted that Prop. 19 does not remove a single marijuana law, and in fact adds a new crime.

The Activists


CaNORML ‘Next Steps’ conference, 2011 Berkeley
The Activists: Bruce Margolin, Randy Gibbons,
Lindsey Robinson, Chris Conrad, Ryan Landers

The activists panel begins at 2 minutes into the video with Bruce Margolin, director of Los Angeles NORML and a marijuana lawyer who claims to have defended more marijuana cases than any other lawyer in the country.

4:45 – We all know the pitfalls of the campaign were, in part, the way the statute was written and a lot of questions about the answers about how it’s going to be implemented. And maybe we can avoid that by getting the input of people who have been in the courts all day long and know what the words mean.

Beyond that what I’m hoping to see in this next campaign and what I’m hoping to see in the initiative itself is a portion of it about freeing the prisoners. I think that is a very important aspect of what we need to do. It is the only moral thing we can do.

This theme was echoed by Randy Gibbons who began his comments 8:40 minutes into the video by saying, “I want to mainly address the idea of how the next initiative should be written, and one theme has to go into this: No More Prison for Pot. Nobody goes to jail for marijuana after we pass this next initiative.”

15:30 – Lindsey Robinson, new-hire at the scandal ridden Marijuana Policy Project, used her time to pitch a public relations campaign to change the way marijuana consumers are perceived by the general public. Rather than compare marijuana to pharmaceuticals and focusing on the dangers of pharmaceuticals, she wants to associate marijuana with alcohol. She also thinks WE need to clean up OUR public image. She also thinks “we” should bring groups like NORML, MPP, and ASA “into the fold”, whatever the hell that means.

23:00 – Chris Conrad takes the podium. After calling for a hand for Richard Lee, he states Lee hired attorneys to draft Prop. 19 and claims it was well-written and that those opposed to Prop. 19 didn’t really understand it, and the same time saying it “was an easily misconstrued law”. He also accused the opponents of Prop. 19 of being “childish”.

26:50 – We lost by 3.5% in the last election. If all the pot-smokers voted ‘No’ , that maybe made a 1/2 percent or a percent. So if they had all voted ‘Yes’ that would have put Prop … we still would not have won.

He does state that he believes, “…something like The Jack Herer Initiative is the way to go.” Nevertheless, he thinks we should reinvent the wheel (though he doesn’t put it that way) and re-write (Reform) Herer’s California Cannabis Hemp & Health Initiative.

31:00 – Ryan Landers 1999 High Times Freedom Fighter of The Month, Director of Californians for Compassionate Use (the group that wrote and passed Proposition 215) and California Director for The American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC).

One of the things we don’t want to be doing is dividing this group. If we have to do two initiatives separate, then that’s what we have to do but calling each other liars isn’t where we need to go.

I know I had to sit across the table in a debate and in the news on Prop. 19 because of the rights that it would have taken away from medical marijuana patients.

What we need to do is separate these two issues. We can gather signatures at the same time for two propositions, one for decrim and one for “not”.

And I think one of the two main things we need to do is, 1st – get the damn felonies off the books, which Prop. 19 didn’t do. [Applause]

I think our best bet is to ask our friends in the capital to reschedule or deschedule marijuana because over-the-counter drugs kill people and marijuana doesn’t. And we need to file and remove all the Health & Safety Codes that were put into California’s laws to make marijuana illegal.

We’re gonna take ’em out. That’s what we need to do. Remove the felonies, remove the cultivation laws, and then let’s take some steps from there because we’re gonna end up being in a whole different position if we do that.

We’re not gonna be bringing the feds in and attacking us because it’s just going to be removing laws, not creating ones that they can attack because there are ones to follow. Of course, we’re gonna follow up with the regulation.

And the other big thing that I saw was … well, two things … don’t cut us out of the picture. What 19 was – it gave the legislature the right to change things without us.

You can’t cut us out of the picture because we may make a law with a certain intent and they may go behind closed doors and make it whatever they want, as we’ve seen with Prop. 215.

Just like when we got them to say 6 pounds in the ID card bill and they turned around and said, “Oh, wait, no, let’s not do that.”

33:31 – We have to be together.

You know I have to smoke in public when I go out.

I need it medically every single day. You can’t take that right from people who need it and when you put it blanketly in one law without making it so clear … we know how the legislature twists things. And that’s the big problem. I’ve worked in Sacramento too long, and have to fight on these words.

These words will kill you … So what we gotta do is do two laws.

What did they do to make it illegal? They put these Health & Safety Codes on the books, so let’s remove ’em. And let’s deschedule or reschedule. And let’s all benefit from this.

Let’s make sure that patients don’t suffer at someone else’s need to be free and smoke marijuana. It’s not right.

The End

— Back to Part 1 of 2



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