Move over, Big Pharma and Big Oil, Big Marijuana is here

Legalization ‘looking inevitable,’ spokesman says

If there’s one group of people who get their way in Washington, it’s lobbyists.

Now, advocates of marijuana legalization may have a reason to cheer that political reality: They’re getting their own marijuana lobby group.

And just Big Pharma and Big Oil lobby for greater leeway for their businesses, so too will Big Marijuana push for their industry to be given the freedom to succeed.

Aaron Smith, executive director of the newly formed National Cannabis Industry Association, says that marijuana legalization is “looking inevitable.”

Smith told McClatchy news service: “It’s pretty clear that the medical marijuana industry is becoming recognized more and more by the mainstream as a fully legitimate part of the economy.”

Legalization “didn’t happen in 2010, but it’s likely to happen in 2012,” he added. “It’s going to be relatively soon we’re going to see states move from medical marijuana into broader legal markets. And the federal government needs to catch up. Frequently the American people are ahead of the Congress.”

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Censorship in California: Marijuana Ad Campaign Rejected by TV Stations

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) kicked off a TV ad campaign aimed at gaining support for a California marijuana legalization bill in the legislature on Wednesday, but ran into problems with several TV stations around the state, which either rejected the ad outright or just ignored MPP efforts to place it. Still, the spots are up and running on other Golden State stations.

Playing on California’s budget crisis — the state is $26 billion in the hole and currently issuing IOUs to vendors and laying off state workers — the 30-second spots feature middle-aged suburban Sacramento housewife Nadene Herndon, who tells the camera:

“Sacramento says huge cuts to schools, health care, and police are inevitable due to the state’s budget crisis. Even the state’s parks could be closed. But the governor and the legislature are ignoring millions of Californians who want to pay taxes. We’re marijuana consumers. Instead of being treated like criminals for using a substance safer than alcohol, we want to pay our fair share. Taxes from California’s marijuana industry could pay the salaries of 20,000 teachers. Isn’t it time?”

As Herndon finishes speaking, the words “Tax and regulate marijuana” appear on the screen, as well as a link to Controlmarijuana.org. Clicking on that link actually takes you to MPP’s “MPP of California” web page.

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San Bernardino County accused of violating Brown Act

San Bernardino County is being accused of violating the Brown Act, California’s open-meeting law, as it challenges the state’s medical marijuana user program.

San Bernardino County joined San Diego County three years ago in challenging the program, which requires it to issue medical-marijuana identification cards to patients.

The counties petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to review the case last week. The courts have so far ruled against them, upholding the medical marijuana law approved by voters in 1996.

The Marijuana Policy Project, a national marijuana policy reform organization, said Wednesday that the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors has failed to keep the public informed of its decisions to appeal.

See also:

County Asks U.S. Supreme Court To Erase State’s Medical Marijuana Law

Lawsuit filed over refusal to issue medical marijuana card

County no friend to medical pot patients

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