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Today is the present… be the gift.

01022010 January 8, 2010

According to WikiPedia: “A palindrome is a word, phrase, number or other sequence of units that can be read the same way in either direction. ” A palindromic number or numeral palindrome is a ‘symmetrical’ number like 16461, that remains the same when its digits are reversed. Thus January 2, 2010 (01022010) could be thot of perhaps as some sort of inversion point initiating a season of turning things front-to-back or back-to-front while at the same time coming out even <grin>.

On that merry note I’m introducing a new Category to this weblog, titled simply MJ. Chronicled under this heading you will find my personal comments on the actions now being taken by a group of regular citizens to forward legislation which enables people who so choose to be free to imbibe/cultivate marijuana for personal and commercial purposes without fear of discrimination, persecution, arrest, forfeiture or incarceration.

We also believe there should be some distinction between medical and social use in terms of regulation which will likely permit taxation; that medical use should be tax exempt and that med-mj should be freely available to every person who has a health condition for which mj provides relief.

As things come to pass and actions are taken, I will post updates here, in the MJ Category. For starters, have a look at a legislative_initiative we are studying, looking to refine the language and make sure it says everything we want.

In this interest, take time to ponder the following article which I find is so totally ‘right on’… and I double-ditto the bottom line about mj-law being (illegally) used to persecute supposed ‘troublemakers’ (but have no other charges against them)… This is a huge elephant in the middle of the room that nobody really is talking about, yet as with racial discrimination it must permanently end:

Marijuana for medicine: Many are ready, including a prominent legislator.
Doug Smith, Updated: 12/17/2009, Print E-mail del.icio.us Digg this

LAVERTY:  Been at the bedside of cancer patients.

[Arkansas] State Sen. Randy Laverty of Jasper says that after the news mediareported last month on his proposal to legalize medical marijuana, he got more response than on any issue he’d been associated with in his 15 years as a legislator — telephone calls, e-mails and personal contact.

“And it was all positive. That never happens.”

Laverty says that at the next regular legislative session, in 2011,he’ll introduce a bill to permit the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The time may be ripe.

Thirteen states have legalized medical marijuana. Maine became the latest last month, when voters approved it by a 59 percent majority. At least a dozen more states seem headed toward legalization in the near future. It was a full eight years ago that a University of Arkansas poll found 63 percent of Arkansans in favor of medical marijuana and 32 percent opposed. (The finding astounded, and was disputed by, a number of people, and seemed to go unnoticed by the legislature.)

In 2004, drug-law reformers tried to put a medical-marijuana act on the general election ballot, but failed to obtain the required number of signatures. In the last couple of years, voters in Eureka Springs and Fayetteville have declared that enforcement of marijuana laws should be a low priority for law enforcement.

A few medical marijuana bills have been introduced in the legislature, but none ever got out of committee. Those bills weren’t sponsored by legislators as well-entrenched as Laverty.

Medical marijuana is part of a larger issue, Laverty says, but it’s the part that can be achieved most quickly. The larger issue is whether to decriminalize the use of marijuana generally as a way to curtail the explosive growth in the state prison population. Laverty also is pondering legislation that would entail the release from prison of large numbers of nonviolent offenders, through greater use of house arrest.

New technology has improved devices, such as ankle bracelets, that keep law enforcement officers informed of offenders’ whereabouts, Laverty says.

“When I first came to the legislature, we had about 6,300 prison inmates,” Laverty says. “Today, we’re pushing 16,000. They’re projecting 22,000 in 10 years.” The prison population is aging, too, which means it’s more expensive. A few years back, Laverty saw a National Conferenceof State Legislatures report that said $21,000 to $26,000 a year was thecost of keeping an inmate in his 20s confined, and $53,000 to $57,000 a year the cost for an inmate in his 50s or 60s. Older inmates are more prone to health problems.

Laverty, who has three years left to serve in the legislature, said he’s still studying what other states have done in this area. But in regard to medical marijuana, he’s ready to go. He said he’d been at the bedside of too many cancer patients in pain not to want to relieve their suffering.

Most local law enforcement officers already say that arresting marijuana users isn’t a high priority. It’s impossible to know how many marijuana offenders are in the state prisons, because most drug offenders are charged under a blanket “controlled substance” statute that doesn’t name a specific substance. Dina Tyler, a spokesman for the state Correction Department, said she doubts there are many people in prison for mere possession of marijuana.

Possession of a small amount of marijuana is amisdemeanor, she said, and misdemeanants don’t go to prison. But drug reformers note that a second offense of possessing marijuana, even a small amount, is a felony. They believe that sheriffs and police use this provision of the law to send up people who’re considered troublemakers but who have no other charges against them. ~~~