Archive for ‘Uncategorized’

March 23, 2011

Hate Crimes bill S.1105 or H.R. 1592

Dear Mr. Shaw:

Thank you for contacting me regarding hate crimes legislation. I appreciate hearing from you and would like to respond to your concerns.

On April 12, 2007, Senator Edward Kennedy (D-MA) introduced the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act (S. 1105). This legislation would broaden federal jurisdiction of hate crimes by adding gender, disability, and sexual orientation to the categories protected by civil rights laws and would create a separate federal criminal charge for committing a hate crime. S. 1105 has been referred to the Senate Committee on the Judiciary, where it awaits further consideration.

A similar measure (H.R. 1592) was introduced in the House of Representatives by Representative John Conyers (D-MI) on March 20, 2007. H.R. 1592 was passed by the House on May 3, 2007, by a vote of 237 to 180. This measure now awaits consideration by the Senate Committee on the Judiciary.

While there is an urgent need to reduce the incidence of these crimes in our nation, it is important that federal legislation not invade an area constitutionally reserved to State and local law enforcement officials. Should S. 1105 or H.R. 1592 come before the full Senate, rest assured that I will keep your thoughts in mind.

Again, thank you for sharing your views with me. If you have any additional questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact me. In addition, for more information about issues and activities important to Florida, please sign up for my weekly newsletter at http://martinez.senate.gov.

Sincerely,

Mel Martinez
United States Senator

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March 22, 2011

Gonzales v. Raich in regards to Medical Marijuana

Dear Mr. Shaw:

Thank you for contacting me regarding medical marijuana.

On June 6, 2005, the Supreme Court ruled in Gonzales v. Raich that Federal laws supersede state medical marijuana laws since Congress has the power to regulate interstate commerce. In the majority opinion, Justice Stevens wrote, “limiting the activity to marijuana possession and cultivation ‘in accordance with state law’ cannot serve to place respondents’ activities beyond congressional reach.”

As you may know, marijuana is defined as a schedule I narcotic, meaning medical professionals cannot prescribe cannabis. However, tetraydracannabinol (THC), the ingredient that has been found to help medical patients, is available in Marinol. Marinol is a schedule II narcotic that can be prescribed by doctors.

Please know that I will keep your views in mind should this issue come before the Senate. Your communication helps me better serve you in the Senate.

March 22, 2011

Office of National Drug Control Policy response in regard to medical marijuana

Thank you for contacting ONDCP.

On April 20th, 2006, the FDA issued an advisory concluding that no
sound scientific studies have supported medical use of smoked
marijuana for treatment in the United States, and no animal or human
data support the safety or efficacy of smoked marijuana for general
medical use.

There are alternative FDA-approved medications in existence for
treatment of many of the proposed uses of smoked marijuana. For
example, a prescription drug, Marinol, is currently available to
anyone with a doctor’s prescription. Marinol contains THC, the active
ingredient in marijuana, and has been approved for some of the same
uses as medicinal marijuana.

To learn more about “medical marijuana,” please visit the following
Web sites:

Medical Marijuana Reality Check
http://www.ncjrs.gov/ondcppubs/publications/pdf/marijuana_fs.pdf

Inter-Agency Advisory Regarding Claims That Smoked Marijuana Is a
Medicine
http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2006/NEW01362.html

Medical Marijuana – Marinol
http://www.dea.gov/ongoing/marinol.html

Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base
http://books.nap.edu/html/marimed/

Marijuana Studies/Articles from the National Institute on Drug Abuse
http://www.drugabuse.gov/drugpages/marijuana.html

Marijuana Research Report
http://www.drugabuse.gov/ResearchReports/Marijuana/default.html

The DEA Position on Marijuana
http://www.dea.gov/marijuana_position.html

Please let us know if you have any questions.

Thank you,

ONDCP Clearinghouse
http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov

March 15, 2011

Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act

Friday, February 2, 2007

With New Mexico’s legislative session in full gear, the Drug Policy Alliance Network is working on five different drug policy bills that are rooted in compassion and science. The Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act, a medical marijuana bill, passed its first committee hearing yesterday.

The hearing took place before the Senate Public Affairs Committee, which unanimously passed the bill. If the bill maintains its current momentum, this could be the third year in a row for Senate approval of medical marijuana legislation.

The sticking point for medical marijuana in New Mexico in past years has been the House, where the legislative session ended in both 2005 and 2006 without a floor vote. Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico director Reena Szczepanski is optimistic about the bill’s prospects this year. “I am confident that our elected officials see that this is an important issue for New Mexicans,” she said. “I sincerely hope that they realize that the sick and dying should not have to wait any longer for relief.”

Other reform legislation is also off to a promising start in the legislature. A treatment bill and an overdose prevention bill both unanimously passed their committee hearings yesterday.
Another bill, to improve Medicaid coverage of substance abuse treatment, is being heard today before the Senate Public Affairs Committee. This legislation is sorely needed because New Mexico has one of the highest rates of unmet treatment needs for adults and teens in the country.

March 15, 2011

Florida’s Energy Policy

These are exciting times for Florida’s future in the Alternative Energy field.

Both the Governor and the Legislature are taking strides to implement policies that make Florida’s Energy Policy an example to the rest of the country. As a member of the Energy Committee in the House of Representatives I would like to share with you where I think we should be headed with regards to Alternative Energy and Fuel. Currently, more than half of our State’s Energy needs are met through Natural Gas. While this is a clean energy source, it is also creates a volatile market and an inefficient use of Natural Gas. I feel that one of the best ways to meet emission reduction standards while stabilizing our energy market is to make Nuclear power a key component in our State’s energy portfolio. Currently, Progress Energy and other Florida utilities are developing plans for Nuclear reactors in our state. However, due to a long permitting process, these facilities will not be operational for at least another decade.

There needs to be a stop-gap to fill our State’s energy needs as we progress

to towards these long term solutions. When used in conjunction with

agricultural based fuels, energy efficiency measures can help us meet our energy needs by reducing waste. Polk County has led the way in both areas and continues to do so. In the section marked “Did you know…”, you can see several examples of this leadership. While all of these resources are proving more viable everyday, I believe our state should have an open conversation about the costs related to meeting our energy needs. I will continue to promote that conversation while serving on the House Energy Committee and welcome your input and comments on this critical issue for Florida.

March 15, 2011

Shifting Demands: Trends in Land and Living‏

Shifting Demands: Trends in Land and Living
Featuring Anthony Flint, author of the book This Land: The Battle over Sprawl and the Future of America, the first forum focused on land use and America’s insatiable appetite for eating up land.

Flint suggested that the fundamental question is how we desire to arrange ourselves on the land and in general, over the last 25 years the desire has been to create un-tethered communities that have no connection to urban centers. Flint calls this phenomenon “Ex-urban Sprawl.” He added that one reason for this trend is that people move further away from the urban core because the housing tends to be more affordable, leading people to “drive to qualify.”

He also pointed to the pattern of separated use as a major reason for increased land consumption. Over the last three decades, most development has separated living, working and shopping in different locations. Since 1982, 25 million acres of rural land has been converted to development in the United States with the nation adding 43,000 new shopping centers.

Flint did provide some hope for the future as he said there is a “perfect storm for change” revolving around three factors: Environment, Economics and Equitability. He said that factors including global warming, shifts in consumer demographics and the high cost for infrastructure will help reduce the appetite for developing land.

In the future, he expects significant recycling of land through redevelopment. He pointed to Baldwin Park as an example of land reuse and said that redeveloping old airfields, military facilities, industrial sites and shopping centers will continue to be a popular trend.

March 15, 2011

Nonviolent Offenders. Sentencing, Parole and Rehabilitation. Statute.

Requires State to expand and increase funding and oversight for individualized treatment and rehabilitation programs for nonviolent drug offenders and parolees. Reduces criminal consequences of nonviolent drug offenses by mandating three-tiered probation with treatment and by providing for case dismissal and/or sealing of records after probation. Limits court’s authority to incarcerate offenders who violate probation or parole. Shortens parole for most drug offenses, including sales, and for nonviolent property crimes. Creates numerous divisions, boards, commissions, and reporting requirements regarding drug treatment and rehabilitation. Changes certain marijuana misdemeanors to infractions. Summary of estimate by Legislative Analyst and Director of Finance of fiscal impact on state and local government: Increased state costs that could exceed $1 billion annually primarily for expanding drug treatment and rehabilitation programs for offenders in state prisons, on parole, and in the community. Savings to the state that could exceed $1 billion annually due primarily to reduced prison and parole operating costs. Net savings on a one-time basis on capital outlay costs for prison facilities that could exceed $2.5 billion. Unknown net fiscal effect on expenditures for county operations and capital outlay.

At a time when one in 100 adult Americans is in prison, California faces a prison overcrowding crisis that may be the worst in the nation. The system is at 175% of capacity. This is due in large part to excessive incarceration of nonviolent offenders, many of whom are drug law violators. Overcrowding has been exacerbated by the state’s failure to provide meaningful recidivism-reduction programs, including addiction treatment and other rehabilitation services.

The measure would also make low-level marijuana possession an infraction–equivalent to a traffic ticket–rather than a misdemeanor, a sentencing change that could affect 40,000 people a year and conserve millions of dollars in court resources for other, more serious cases. To further help young people struggling with substance abuse, NORA provides dedicated funding of about $65 million per year to build a system of care that would offer treatment to at-risk youth.

Besides helping youth and people who have been arrested for nonviolent drug offenses, NORA would dramatically expand rehabilitation services for people in prison and on parole, and prohibit the return to prison of nonviolent offenders who commit minor violations of parole. Spending on these programs, which are proven to reduce crime and recidivism, will be more than paid for by reductions in prison and parole costs. NORA is projected to save at least $2.5 billion on future prison construction costs, too, by rendering new prisons unnecessary.

March 15, 2011

This nations marijuana policy‏

For what has been Two-hundred plus years, this nation has sustained a very reliable system of checks and balances that from time to time has been subjected to regulation, reform, as well as policy chance as far as regulations are concerned. All which allow this nation to address the attentions of one of the largest social groups that will ever be sustained in one place.

As we have entered into a new age of time and management as a society ideas are often taken into more of an appealing role than before as the capabilities of an individual are not so limited as technology as some what exceeded the limitations of control. Technological advances that allow people the option to becoming more adaptive to certain situations that might not be expected of them under considerations of survival, work, and leisure.

As far as the current system of checks and balances the same rules have applied since the initial spawning of the idea of bringing forth a federal system of government that takes on the role of a paternal instinct of protection of the smaller cities, regulation of income, as well as the simple introduction of new ideas that may become a justifiable law to being issued into the current theory of ethical capabilities and actions of the people of this nation.

With this has come the change of numerous laws and policies that have brought this nation to the stead fasting conglomerate known as of now. So no longer are women not allowed to the attentioning and addressing of matters that men were only allowed such as voting and holding major roles in a political society as held primarily by men, no longer is it illegal to smoke in public in small town Yorkshire Mass., no longer are we subjected to outstanding import taxes on the finer leisure items of the past such as tobacco, tea, and coffee. We have adapted to the change that has come with the introduction of social groups and ethnic backgrounds that a free nation would and could offer.

March 15, 2011

Educating Florida

As related to an expression that National Education Secretary mentioned in a recent press release Florida will be keep in mind at this time. A time in which education in this state seems to be at its worse, a worse state even since the introduction of segregation and the laws accustomed to promoting fair and equal education as deemed a right of all citizens of this nation.

As witnessed Monday May 1, 2008 Margaret Spelling was a guess speaker on the Washington Journal television program in which all the acclaims were geared towards the promotion towards the “ No Child Left Behind” incentive as a guideline for educational standards. As expressed, the intentions of this system are to aid the progressions of classroom accomplishments as well as teachers relations straight down to a retro-specting of curriculum’s as presented to the state education boards approval as educational innovations are now becoming noticed practices of the progressive needs of learning as well as adapting taken on rather students or administration faculty.

As a state we are witnessing the progressions of negating educational programs such as “Schools to prison” networking as well as individual attempts to modify the educational standards rather teaching administration or those seeking to be taught, (issues ranging from gang and drug activity in Florida schools down to the current issues of teachers seemingly thinking that its right to have sex with students), are very delicate educational system is being ripped and torn in a way that makes it hard to generate a positive response as national standards of education are now being addressed and identified to generate a compassionate approach geared towards education.

For some time now it seems that as a state, we when it comes to a national standards are seemingly failing and no aid may be administered equipped to generate the sought after competitive educational system as expressed by other states in this nation.

A competitive spirit that as mentioned and expressed we as a state have a hard time gearing up for through-out the state as an expression of progression for the purpose of identifying progression as a consensus of sorts.

As expressed it seems that we are not worthy of advancements in our lacking educational system as a state, an educational system that is mentioned to promote jobs as well as setting other expressions of a state that is living and living well as fundamental programs such as job market and educational accomplishments are addressed on a national level. No wonder Florida seems hungry all the time, it’s because “we are”! As reflected on a national level of progression we are amongst the worse of the failing with no help in sight what so ever, even as progression seems to be a very reasonable approach to aiding those states with addressable problems, even Alaska has a chance at proper educational considerations as remote as they are compared to the progressions of quality education when mentioning Florida as a competitive program based with standards.

March 15, 2011

Is Marijuana a votable subject?

Not only is Florida still one of the 38 states that has yet to pass legislation protecting medical marijuana patients, it also has the nation’s harshest penalties for those found to be in possession of even a nominal amount of marijuana. In Florida, a person can be sentenced to one year in jail and fined $1,000 for possessing less than 20 grams of marijuana.

For those who have been convicted of violating Florida’s outdated marijuana laws, life can be a nightmare for years to come. Public housing eligibility, the ability to adopt or foster a child, the right to vote, and the ability to receive student aid — to name a few — can be affected by a marijuana conviction. These punishments can linger for years after a person has been convicted of a minor marijuana offense.

“As you may know, marijuana is defined as a schedule I narcotic, meaning medical professionals cannot prescribe cannabis. However, tetraydracannabinol (THC), the ingredient that has been found to help medical patients, is available in Marinol. Marinol is a schedule II narcotic that can be prescribed by doctors.”Bill Nelson

In which the response is a rather scientific response the results seem to be over whelming as marijuana and the medical version have different responses as well as results bringing a rather inconclusive term of action as to why marijuana and/or marinol are considered both in contrast as limits are being pushed to draw an over whelming consideration to law policies.

“Public housing eligibility, the ability to adopt or foster a child, the right to vote, and the ability to receive student aid — to name a few — can be affected by a marijuana conviction.”

“I oppose legalizing this dangerous drug. At this time, no legislation is pending in the Senate to decriminalize the possession or use of marijuana. If such a proposal is introduced I will keep your thoughts in mind.”Bill Nelson

What brought you to say this after receiving an objection, that I’m bringing into consideration when expressing the amount of effort and potential that marijuana brings as a subject.

Why mixed views?