by David Downs
1) New counsel to steward city of Oakland through pot farm permitting. Last week, Oakland's City Attorney John Russo — a longtime medical cannabis ally — publicly told the City Council he wasn't going to help them with their embattled plan. The firm Meyers Nave Riback Silver & Wilson will now be representing the city of Oakland on all of its pot farm-related legal proceedings.
2) Let's stop printing money to keep 9,000 non-violent drug offenders in California jails, the Drug Policy Alliance's Margaret Dooley-Sammuli argues. The Cato Institute estimates California will spend $1 billion per year on its pot laws alone. More news after the jump.
3) Nationally, reform group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition notes the federal government is even worse:
At around $26 billion for 2012 (which is actually a drop in our debt bucket), "Obama's federal drug control budget maintains a Bush-era disparity devoting nearly twice as many resources to punishment as it does for treatment and prevention, despite his saying less than three weeks ago that, 'We have to think more about drugs as a public health problem,' which requires 'shifting resources.' [The president's comments came during a January 27 YouTube interview, in response to a question from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition member MacKenzie Allen, a retired deputy sheriff. Video of that exchange is available here.]"
4) Read the drug war budget yourself, and let your representative know what you think about it, if you would prefer something different. Note: this budget does not include the cost of federal drug prisoners, which is $6 billion per year.
5) And Melissa Etheridge picks Americans for Safe Access as her charity partner in promoting a groundbreaking new documentary about women and breast cancer. "Over 200,000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer in the United States in 2010, and more than 40,000 died. A growing number of those living with breast cancer are turning to medical cannabis to treat the symptoms of the disease and the harsh side effects of therapy," the patient lobbying group wrote.
6) Early lab studies have shown compounds in pot kill some brain and breast cancers. But a huge number of researchers complain the drug war is causing a decades-long halt in anti-cancer and anti-pain research of cannabinoids. The National Institute on Drug Abuse is tasked with denying approval for any research that would seek to show the efficacy and safety of pot, said Dr. Arno Hazekamp, chief of R&D for Dutch cannabis manufacturer Bedrocan.