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CannaBiz: Fighting for Truth in Trials

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'Yes, affirmative'

Last week, the Truth in Trials Act — a bill sponsored by Rep. Sam Farr, D-Calif., and endorsed by a host of other representatives, including Jared Polis, Barney Frank and Ron Paul — was introduced in the House of Representatives and sent to the Judiciary Committee. The bill would "amend title 18, United States Code, to provide an affirmative defense for the medical use of marijuana in accordance with the laws of the various States."

"Any person facing prosecution or a proceeding for any marijuana-related offense under any Federal law," it reads, "shall have the right to introduce evidence demonstrating that the marijuana-related activities for which the person stands accused were performed in compliance with State law regarding the medical use of marijuana."

It wouldn't change the legality of marijuana under federal law, but as local attorney Clifton Black puts it in an e-mail, "Right now a person being prosecuted in Federal court cannot mention 'medical marijuana' because it simply does not exist in the Federal system." The proposed legislation also provides for the protection of evidence.

"Any marijuana seized under any Federal law shall be retained and not destroyed pending resolution of any forfeiture claim, if ... a person with an ownership interest in the property is asserting an affirmative defense for the medical use of marijuana."

Keef crumbs

• Three states that previously allowed it — Maine, New Mexico and Oregon — were told by the federal government last week that indigent patients could no longer deduct medical-marijuana expenses from their income (for the purpose of determining benefits).

"States that currently allow for the deduction of medical marijuana must cease this practice immediately," the Bangor Daily News quotes Lisbeth Silbermann, with the USDA's Food and Nutrition Service, in her letter to the state.

• At 7 p.m., Wednesday, July 25, Coloradans 4 Cannabis Patient Rights will host its first patient meeting at Lofty's (287 E. Fountain Blvd., #100, c4cpr.org). Expect the event to repeat on the last Wednesday of each month. Also, at 10 a.m., Monday, July 30, the group will begin its pushback against the Fourth Judicial District Attorney. "We expect a large turnout as some are traveling down from Denver to support us in the Springs!" says a notice about the "Educate Dan May" rally, planned for 105 E. Vermijo St.

• The Colorado chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has turned over its board members in positioning itself to better advocate for Amendment 64, the proposed marijuana decriminalization measure. New members include attorneys Lenny Frieling, Ann Toney and Sean McAllister, Sensible Colorado executive director Brian Vicente and the ACLU's Judd Golden.

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