INQUIRER: The Maple Shade zoning board Wednesday night voted against a proposal to open a medical-marijuana dispensary at an outlet on Route 73. The company seeking to operate the facility, Compassionate Sciences, said it would assess other options. At a meeting attended by about 50 people, the proposal drew tough questioning from the board. Representatives of Compassionate Sciences, one of six nonprofits approved by the state Health Department in March, were asked questions ranging what traffic the store would generate to whether patients would be driving through the town under the influence. “My wife has cancer, so I know what you’re talking about,” zoning board member Ed Loomis said. “But there’s a time and a place.” None of the approved facilities has opened yet, as they seek retail space and negotiate with zoning boards, according to the Health Department. […] For many residents, the prospect of a dispensary opened up in town was a non-starter. “I can’t believe this is going on,” resident Kelly Freels said. “I’m here to say not in Maple Shade, not in our backyard.” MORE
REALITY CHECK: Marijuana, which kills ZERO people per year is not allowed in Maple Shade, but tobacco, which kills 443,000 people annually, shall remain widely available and as such easily accessible to children. That totally makes sense…if you don’t think about it too much.
RELATED: Pop quiz! Who is the worst president in U.S. history when it comes to medical marijuana? According to the Marijuana Policy Project, the answer is Barack Obama. […] Among the administration’s recent moves:
• In September, the ATF sent a letter [PDF] to all federal firearms licensees instructing them that anyone who uses marijuana — even for medical purposes — cannot legally possess firearms or ammunition.
• Last week, the IRS ruled that medical marijuana dispensaries cannot deduct standard business expenses — such as rent, employee health insurance, security, licensing fees or payroll — from their tax returns, in what observers say could be a crushing blow to the industry.
• And on Friday, federal authorities in California — the country’s largest marijuana market — launched a coordinated, statewide offensive against medical marijuana dispensaries, announcing a series of civil forfeiture lawsuits and warning at least 16 to shut down or face criminal charges and confiscation of property. MORE
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LOS ANGELES TIMES: Marijuana has been approved by California, many other states and the nation’s capital to treat a range of illnesses, but in a decision announced Friday the federal government ruled that it has no accepted medical use and should remain classified as a highly dangerous drug like heroin. The decision comes almost nine years after medical marijuana supporters asked the government to reclassify cannabis to take into account a growing body of worldwide research that shows its effectiveness in treating certain diseases, such as glaucoma and multiple sclerosis. Advocates for the medical use of the drug criticized the ruling but were elated that the Obama administration has finally acted, which allows them to appeal to the federal courts. The decision to deny the request was made by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and comes less than two months after advocates asked the U.S. Court of Appeals to force the administration to respond to their petition. “We have foiled the government’s strategy of delay, and we can now go head-to-head on the merits,” said Joe Elford, the chief counsel for Americans for Safe Access and the lead attorney on the lawsuit. Elford said he was not surprised by the decision, which comes after the Obama administration announced it would not tolerate large-scale commercial marijuana cultivation. “It is clearly motivated by a political decision that is anti-marijuana,” he said. MORE
RELATED: Consider public statements by Obama and Holder that contradict the position the administration is now taking. In a March 2008 interview with Oregon’s Mail Tribune, Obama said, “I’m not going to be using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue.” Two months later, when another Oregon paper, Willamette Week, asked Obama whether he would “stop the DEA’s raids on Oregon medical marijuana growers,” he replied, “I would, because I think our federal agents have better things to do.” MORE
RELATED: Medical marijuana advocacy groups say that contradicts Obama’s pledges in October 2009 to let states set their own policies. They also accuse the administration of violating its stated policies with frequent raids on suppliers in the 16 states with such medical marijuana laws, and more recently with warnings to officials in at least 10 states that they could face prosecution if they authorized dispensaries to sell pot to patients. MORE
RELATED: Obama made three explicit promises during the campaign. He said the feds would not go after medical marijuana facilities operating legally under state law, and he appeared to make good on that. He said the crack-powder laws needed to be rolled back, and they got a major reform of that law last year. Third, he said he would support federal funding for needle exchange, and they did support the efforts in Congress on that. Since that time, it looks more and more like the drug czar’s office has been captured by the drug warriors and the anti-drug fanatics who dominated policy-making in the Clinton and Bush administrations. The rhetoric coming out of the drug czar’s office is almost indistinguishable from the rhetoric of past administrations. The personnel they’ve been hiring, and the people they talk to, are overwhelmingly those who have been associated with the failed drug war policies of the past. And meanwhile the Justice Department seems to be getting more and more engaged in enforcement of marijuana laws in ways that really make no sense as a matter of [the] responsible [use] of resources. MORE
ASSOCIATED PRESS: Federal prosecutors have launched a crackdown on pot dispensaries in California, warning the stores that they must shut down in 45 days or face criminal charges and confiscation of their property even if they are operating legally under the state’s 15-year-old medical marijuana law. In an escalation of the ongoing conflict between the U.S. government and the nation’s burgeoning medical marijuana industry, California’s s four U.S. attorneys sent letters Wednesday and Thursday notifying at least 16 pot shops or their landlords that they are violating federal drug laws, even though medical marijuana is legal in California. The attorneys are scheduled to announce their coordinated crackdown at a Friday news conference. Their offices refused to confirm the closure orders. The Associated Press obtained copies of the letters that a prosecutor sent to 12 San Diego dispensaries. They state that federal law “takes precedence over state law and applies regardless of the particular uses for which a dispensary is selling and distributing marijuana.” “Under United States law, a dispensary’s operations involving sales and distribution of marijuana are illegal and subject to criminal prosecution and civil enforcement actions,” letters signed by U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy in San Diego read. “Real and personal property involved in such operations are subject to seizure by and forfeiture to the United States … regardless of the purported purpose of the dispensary.” The move comes a little more than two months after the Obama administration toughened its stand on medical marijuana following a two-year period during which federal officials had indicated they would not move aggressively against dispensaries in compliance with laws in the 16 states where pot is legal for people with doctors’ recommendations. MORE
PHAWKER: This is the final straw. Nobody was a better friend or fiercer ally of candidate Obama than Phawker.com. Where that man — the man of hope and change – went after Election Day 2008, we cannot say. Frankly, we now have serious doubts he ever truly existed outside of our own hopes and dreams. Until now, we have held our tongues while everything he campaigned on — providing a public option and consumer protection, reforming the predatory financial system, closing the revolving door between government and K Street, ending warrantless spying on Americans, restoring habeas corpus, closing the dungeons of Gitmo, ending two pointless treasury-draining wars, ending the prosecution of whistleblowers in the name of transparency and accountability — was thrown under the bus of political expediency and capitulation masquerading as bi-partisanship. And now he’s taking away medicine from the terminally ill, despite the fact that legalization of said medicine was voted into law by democratic majorities in 15 states, for no better reason than the prison-industrial complex that funds his candidacy is hooked on massive infusions of Drug War budget money and private prisons need to fill beds to turn a profit. This is beyond the pale — a new low in political cowardice. But let the record show, going forward we will have nothing to do with Barack Obama’s re-election, and very little to do, for that matter, with the corporate sock puppet show that the utterly corrupt electoral process has become in this country. We are done. If the Obama presidency has proven anything, it’s this: VOTING DOES NOT MATTER IN THIS COUNTRY, and will continue to be meaningless as long as campaigns are privately-financed. The electoral process has become nothing more than a sideshow financed by the 1% to fool the 99% into believing that we still live in a functioning democracy. To the Obama fundraisers that keep calling, don’t waste your breath. We gave generously, even when we had little to spare, back in 2008. No more. That money would have been better spent on potato chips.