Tagged: activism

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Michigan Medical Marijuana Activists Succeed In Tanking …

A news report just confirmed that Senator Jones got his ass kicked in Tuesday s Judiciary Committee meeting. I am proud to say, I did some of the footwork. At the end of the December 8 Judiciary Committee meeting, where new amendments to Michigan s medical marijuana dispensary bills were introduced, Sen.

Jones promised the people in attendance, I am very sorry we could not have a vote today; that was my full intent but I will have (a vote) as soon as possible. Two days after testimony by myself and others against the new version of the dispensary/warehousing/transport/seed-to-sale bill, Jones appeared in news media to say that he was abandoning all hope of passing the bills in Committee. Per the MIRS news service: New regulations on the state s medical marijuana industry won t be coming out of the Legislature in 2015 and may have problems moving in the Senate next year with a House-passed package having stalled in a Senate committee (Jones) doesn t have the votes in his committee to move the bill package.

MIRS, Medical Marijuana Regulation Shelved Until 2016, December 10 (no Internet link) It s a bizarre admission for the Senator to make, and a rarely-used political strategy, but the action to bypass Committee is allowable under state law. What changed, and what was said? Oh, that s a juicy story, to be sure.

THE HEARING In the MIRS article it states, Jones (says) political in-fighting within the medical marijuana community has created a situation where he doesn t have the votes in his committee to move HB 4209, HB4210 and HB 4827. Hey, Senator Jones: there s no political infighting. We all agree.

HB 4209 and HB 4827 suck, and they should die. (See the end of the article) What made Jones go from voting it out today to not voting it out at all? Testimony against the newest version of the bills, and the removal of support from pro-marijuana groups who had, after the end of the 2014 legislative session, negotiated compromises with lawmakers to make the bills passable. Jones was so sure of himself and his control of the bills before the Committee hearing began he didn t mind bragging about how much he had this situation under control.

I am very sorry we could not have a vote today; that was my full intent but I will have (a vote) as soon as possible. If Jones said that, he must have though the had the votes to do so. Testimony from the smart side of the argument came first from Jim Powers, representing Michigan Parents for Compassion.

Powers outlined the need to pass HB 4210, a bill designed to re-legalize concentrates, edibles and other non-smoked forms of marijuana for patient use. Powers and others expressed support for the Senate version of HB 4210 as well, called SB 140 and its companion, SB 141. Powers later told TCC that he is strongly opposed to HB 4209 in its amended form.

Ms. Mitchell of the Michigan Responsibility Council (MRC) took the podium shortly thereafter. She was joined in the chamber that day by fellow MRC members Tim Beck and Paul Wellday.

Mitchell revealed the group s interest in the bills when she told the Committee that there were too many potential growing operations available for entrepreneurs under the current proposal. The proposed language would require hundreds of grow facilities, she said, and cited Illinois policy to allow 22 growers statewide with a critical tone. Mitchell s words label the MRC as seeking a Responsible Ohio-style, ten-players-only monopoly on cultivation for the marijuana market.

Jones wisely distanced himself from that concept. I think the bills are an attempt to make sure we don t have an Ohio-like monopoly, Jones told the Committee chamber at the end of session. Ouch.

In an MLive article by Jonathan Oosting 1 , Jones added, I had been told by all the groups prior to this that we don t want monopolies, we don t want some wealthy person to come in and buy up everything and control everything. The MRC testimony was followed by a mish-mash of government officials and activists speaking on various facets of the bills themselves. The Michigan Municipal League and the Michigan Townships Authority spoke, as did advocate Roger Maufort of the JC3.

Eric Gunnels of Thetford Township spoke. An addiction industry representative spoke, and used outdated science he gained from Project SAM and other government sources. Advocates spoke about the repressive language contained in the bills, and the need for protections.

Last to testify was myself, representing Michigan NORML and other organizations. Mitchell s concept of too many grow operations was quickly addressed: There are 83 counties in the state. If there are 200 licensed growers, that s only 2.5 licensed growers per county.

I don t think that reaches a level of saturation When someone expresses that 22 facilities, as is expressed in Illinois law, is too many, it seems they are out of alignment with the common man and logical thinking. That approach is an embrace of monopoly, and is in opposition to Governor Snyder s plan for small business as the backbone of success for Michigan s future. Jones hiding the substitute bill from the citizens prior to the Committee hearing was addressed during my testimony, as were aspects of the bill that eliminate caregivers from commercial enterprise and the enormous criminality created for medical marijuana patients by the proposed law.

Oosting s MLive article 2 offered this: The bill package creates far more categories of criminal behavior for medical marijuana patients than it creates protections and rights, said Rick Thompson of Michigan NORML. Remember that medical marijuana patients pay the state for the privilege to participate in the program, and yet you re creating vast degrees of criminality for people who pay for the opportunity to participate. But perhaps the biggest bombshell came when Iraq War veteran Dakota Serna took the podium and testified as to his service and need for medical marijuana.

He began to take issue with the county Sheriff departments, the police entities that seem to do the most raids and damage to patients, but when the veteran referred to law enforcement as jack boots and thugs , Sen Jones stopped him in mid-sentence. Jones is a former Sheriff of Eaton County (pop.

108,000) and he is law enforcement s biggest ally in the legislature. A tense exchange began between the former Sheriff and the war veteran, which resulted in Jones ordering guards to eject Dakota Serna from the Committee chambers.

After a few tense moments Serna left peacefully, to applause from advocates present. For details of that exchange see my article 3 or view the video. THE FALLOUT Jones ejecting Serna from the chamber 4 generated a good deal of media, most of it in support of the veteran.

A video showing the conflict between Jones and Serna went viral through social media and Internet news portals. Most of the reaction to the Senator was, predictably, not in his favor. Also not in his favor: the National Patients Rights Association, whose capable spokesperson Robin Schneider told media from all across the state that they had no support for the three-tiered model outlined in the new version of the dispensary bill, HB 4209, but maintained support for the smoking alternatives bill, HB 4210.

I haven t heard anything good about that model, so I don t know why we would want to do it again with a new substance, especially when this is medicine and we re supposed to be concerned about patient care and patients needs, she told Oosting and MLive. NPRA Chair Adam Macdonald had announced their concern in a statement he made to The Compassion Chronicles 5 on December 7, a day before the hearing. Leaders from the state s marijuana advocacy organizations had already made statements of opposition to the bills over the summer after manipulation in the House Judiciary added rules requiring armored cars, seed-to-sale tracking and more criminality to HB 4209.

NPRA has now joined those leaders in retracting support. Also withdrawing support for HB 4209: Evergreen Management, whose leader George Brikho was a Republican candidate for Congress. After taking a media beating of epic proportions on December 9, the MIRS report from December 10 revealed Jones no longer has the support of his Committee members.

Of the five Committee members, Jones was a Yes vote, Schuitmacker and Rocca were resistant because of the conflict with federal laws, Colbeck was a decided NO and Bieda had too many questions remaining to guarantee a yes vote, per the MIRS article. We have considerable work to do on this issue, Bieda said during the hearing. If you don t have the votes, don t call a vote.

That is Senator Jones plan, anyway. MIRS reports: (Jones) said he asked Senate Majority Leader Arlan Meekhof (R-West Olive) to discharge the bills from his committee. Instead of letting the bills die in Committee, or trying to amend language until it is acceptable, Jones is going to sidestep his fellow Senators and take it to the full Senate, where he has more supporters.

If Jones is successful and gets Meekhof to allow the bill package to be considered on the Senate floor, he will turn it into a Christmas tree. That is a term describing legislation where lawmakers throw a bunch of other stuff onto a bill in hopes of getting the Senate to vote for the entire package. Jones also intends to link the packages to bills that would let landlords ban medical marijuana in rental units and create a police pilot program for roadside saliva testing in suspected drugged driving cases, per the MLive article.

Neither of those proposals would be passed if offered by itself, but Jones will throw them onto the bill package like ugly ornaments on a beautiful blue spruce.

Source: The Compassion Chronicles 6 References ^ an MLive article by Jonathan Oosting (www.mlive.com) ^ Oosting s MLive article (www.mlive.com) ^ see my article (thecompassionchronicles.com) ^ Jones ejecting Serna from the chamber (thecompassionchronicles.com) ^ in a statement he made to The Compassion Chronicles (thecompassionchronicles.com) ^ The Compassion Chronicles (thecompassionchronicles.com)

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Palestinian Red Crescent Society declares state of emergency in the …

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society ( PRCS 1 ) has declared a level 3 state of emergency 2 in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, following the serious escalation of attacks by Israeli forces and violent settlers against Palestinians, which has included assaults and serious violations against PCRS staff and ambulances. Over the weekend PRCS crews found themselves under attack from Israeli forces and violent settlers. PRCS 3 : On Sunday the 4th of October, Israeli occupation soldiers attacked a PRCS ambulance in the line of duty in front of Al Quds University in Abou Diss, firing rubber bullets and tear gas grenades at it.

On the 2nd of October, occupation soldiers attacked an ambulance in Al Eissawiyeh to the North of Jerusalem. They then proceeded to arrest an injured Palestinian from inside the ambulance. In Boureen (Nablus Governorate), settlers prevented a PRCS ambulance from discharging its humanitarian duty and smashed its windshield.

The next day, five PRCS paramedics were beaten up by soldiers in Jerusalem. That same day, another group of soldiers attacked with their batons another PRCS ambulance in the Old City of Jerusalem Also on the same day, occupation soldiers severely beat another ambulance crew in Jabal Al Taweel (Al-Bireh), wounding two paramedics. They then kidnapped an injured Palestinian from inside the ambulance, firing tear gas grenades and rubber bullets at it.

According to the New York Times 4 , PRCS has reported some 500 injuries in recent days . This was published before at least four Palestinians were shot by Israeli army live fire 5 last night, according to the International Middle East Media Center and countless more people will no doubt be injured in the coming days. PRCS was officially recognized 6 as part of the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement in 2006 making these assaults on their staff and crews a blatant violation of i 7 8 nternational humanitarian law 9 as specified in the Geneva Convention.

So where s the international community in all this? PRCS rightly points out: PRCS urges the International Community, represented by the UN General Assembly and Security Council, to shoulder their responsibilities by taking the necessary steps to make Israeli occupation authorities comply with IHL provisions, and to put an end to the targeting of civilians and their properties. It calls on these parties to compel Israel to respect IHL provisions regarding the respect of medical and PRCS emblems, and recalls that the occupying power is obliged to protect emergency, medical and relief personnel and to facilitate their safe access to the sick and wounded.

How long are they going sit there and do nothing year after year as Palestine burns? With Jerusalem at a breaking point 10 ; incitement and provocations from all quarters, fanatical civilians, extremist elected officials and an army run amok, who is going to stop them? Unfortunately is it probably not going to be the beseeching words of the Palestinian Red Crescent Society that will thrust this crisis front and center.

But it s worth asking over and over, what s it going to take for some outside party, like the international community, to put their collective foot down?

Or are we going wait until after some random fanatic or a fanatical government has destroyed Al Aqsa?

References ^ PRCS (www.palestinercs.org) ^ declared a level 3 state of emergency (www.palestinercs.org) ^ PRCS (www.palestinercs.org) ^ New York Times (www.nytimes.com) ^ at least four Palestinians were shot by Israeli army live fire (www.imemc.org) ^ officially recognized (en.wikipedia.org) ^ International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement (en.wikipedia.org) ^ blatant violation of i (en.wikisource.org) ^ nternational humanitarian law (en.wikisource.org) ^ Jerusalem at a breaking point (mondoweiss.net)

Artistic Security | The Norwich Radical

by Jess Howard 1 The work of the infamous graffiti artists Banksy has caused controversy and divided opinions since it began to appear around Britain in the early nineties. His identity has supposedly been revealed countless times, and many auctions have attempted to sell off his work, to leave the new owner responsible for its protection or removal. Throughout every piece of controversy, the artist has remained anonymous. ( Guardian) A fan of graffiti art in general, I have always been a member of the pro-Banksy camp.

Whilst I understand the issues and ramifications of vandalism, to me art seems like one of the best methods of political activism. However, the recent awarding of listed status to a Banksy piece in Cheltenham struck a chord with me. The mural depicts three spies inspecting a phone booth, and was painted onto the side of a Grade II listed building.

Since its appearance it has been repeatedly subjected to vandalism of its own, with other graffiti artists attempting to cover it in their own paint. Owing to the fact that the image was unauthorised, it could not be protected under the buildings pre-existing status. Cue reactions from Cheltenham Borough council, who bent the rules of the need for pre-confirmed planning permission to grant the images a listed status.

With a vote of 12 to 1 in its defence, the image can no longer be altered or removed without authorisation. In my opinion, if the piece had been produced by anyone else, Cheltenham Borough council would not have responded in the same way. It seems that the identity of the creator is, in this instance, more important than the work itself.

For an artist that is as famous for his anonymity as he is for his work, it seems strange that a painting of his would be protected purely because of his name. I am in no way disputing the value of Banksy s work. He has successfully altered the public s opinion of graffiti art, increasing its value and positive reception.

But he is not the be all and end all of the medium. You only have to look around Norwich to see some fantastic examples of graffiti art. Even examples that have taken a similar route to Banksy in terms of political activism.

Take local street artist :J for example. His work can be seen throughout the city, particularly around the Norwich lanes. One image, directly opposite Strangers Cafe, depicts what could be perceived to be a homeless person draped in the Union Jack.

The figure sits below a gold spray painted phrase that reads Britain Wins Gold , and in front of him sits a small open box with the words Homelessness Endurance Event . In a similar style to Banksy, delivering a political message is clearly the aim of this, also unknown, artist. ( oswaldrepent) It would seem that a desire to express a political stand point through art is a common goal for certain graffiti artists. Ones that see the medium as a platform rather than a method of artistic expression.

I don t however, believe that Banksy s piece deserves to be protected by the Grade II status of the building. Predominately because I do not believe that art should be protected in such as meticulous way. In spite of every best interest, every piece of art will one day decay.

Paint and pigment lighten in colour, and clay deteriorates with age. Given that Banksy chooses to produce his work outside, his goal is clearly not to extend the expiration date of his work. His message is clearly the content, not the pure artistic form.

In the long term, I do not see the point in trying to protect something that was designed to decay in the first place.

About these ads 2 References ^ Jess Howard (thenorwichradical.com) ^ About these ads (wordpress.com)