Santa Cruz Good Times

Friday
Nov 28th
Text size
  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Congressman Sam Farr

SamFarrNewHow will the Truth in Trials Act, which you introduced on Oct. 27, reinforce that medical marijuana laws be enforced at the state rather than federal level?

We have a major disconnect in this country between state and federal marijuana laws, and it’s resulting in innocent people being sent to prison.

An individual arrested for marijuana use and tried in federal court is currently barred from telling the jury that the marijuana grown, distributed or used was for legal, state-sanctioned purposes. It’s unconscionable that we limit a very legitimate defense inside federal courthouses.

The trial of Oakland marijuana advocate Ed Rosenthal brought this issue to light in 2003 when he was forbidden from using state law as a defense during his trial. Ed was legally growing marijuana, but was found guilty under federal statute. The jury later said it would have ruled differently if it knew his activities adhered to state law.

Ed said it best following his trial: “We weren't allowed to give the jury valuable information it needed to make a fair and unbiased decision.”

It’s important to understand what this legislation won’t do. It won’t prevent the arrest of someone who has violated federal marijuana laws; it will only allow state law as a defense during trial. The bill does not apply to any other substance than marijuana, and it does not legalize marijuana.

What this bill does do is allow individuals accused of violating federal marijuana laws to tell the court that they were operating under state medical marijuana laws. It’s then up to the jury to decide if the defendant has proved beyond a reasonable doubt that state law was followed.

The effect of this legislation is to protect patients, doctors and growers who follow state law from interference in medical decisions by federal drug enforcers. The bill would apply only to the 13 states that have legislated by law or ballot a medical marijuana statute. California is one of those states.

While this law doesn’t directly apply to recent guidelines issued to federal prosecutors, it does ensure that state law will no longer be ignored if the Justice Department decides in the future to again pursue medical marijuana convictions.

You are a member of the newly created Livable Communities Task Force. What are the goals of that group and how would it affect Santa Cruz?

The Livable Communities Task Force got its start last month through the work of my friend, Congressman Earl Blumenauer from Oregon. Its mission is simple: come together to help improve overall community livability and quality of life for all Americans.

The concept of a livable community is a place where families are safe; where housing and transportation work logically and sustainably; where our children excel in school and their parents have secure jobs; and where personal and environmental health is a priority. It takes effort by everyone to reach this ideal, and our job is to make sure the opportunities to reach that ideal are available.

It’s a far-reaching mandate, of course, but this task force brings together 20 members of Congress—experts on everything from renewable energy and responsible transportation to building efficiency and community gardening.

As we move ahead, we’ll be holding briefings and strategy meetings with members of the Obama administration and a range of experts on issues that affect community livability. The White House is already taking some big steps on this issue, creating the Partnership for Sustainable Communities with six “livability principles” for coordinating policy across federal agencies.

How does Santa Cruz fit in? First, I like to think Santa Cruz is already a great example of a livable community. We value the environment, we feed our children healthy foods, we consider how our actions affect the world around us. But there is always room for improvement.

I believe the work of the Livable Communities Task Force will have some concrete effects on how federal agencies approach local governments. Remember, there are hundreds and hundreds of grant programs that communities benefit from. The federal government has a hand in every community in the country.

It’s the task force’s job to make sure the federal government is an effective partner in making our communities the best homes possible.

Comments (0)Add Comment

Write comment
smaller | bigger

busy
 

Share this on your social networks

Bookmark and Share

Share this

Bookmark and Share

 

Good Times Holiday Giving

Giving Where It Helps

 

Giving Thanks: The Thought-Form of Solution

We are in the time and under the influence of Sagittarius, sign of the wanderer, good food, good music, and the joy (Jupiter as ruler) that occurs from giving to others while simultaneously giving thanks from our hearts. Having the Thanksgiving holiday during the month of Sag is not a mistake. No other sign understands joy (an aspect of the Soul) as Sag (except Pisces when not in despair). “Sag is a beam of directed and focused light. The beam reveals a greater light ahead, illuminating the Way to the center of the Light,” emitting the Ray of Joyfulness. Thanksgiving is a time for gratitude; in the form of prayers, thoughts, feelings, wishes, hopes and greetings. Gratitude is something we still need to learn. Gratitude creates goodwill. Together, gratitude and goodwill create the “thought-form of solution” for humanity and our world’s problems. Gratitude and goodwill are the prerequisites for the reappearance of the Christ, the Aquarian World Teacher. In Ancient Wisdom texts it is written, “being grateful is the hallmark of one who is enlightened.” Gratitude comes from the Soul—the characteristics of which are love and wisdom (Ray 2). Gratitude is scientifically and occultly (mental, not emotional) a releasing agent. Gratitude liberates us and everything around us. Also a service to others, gratitude is deeply scientific in nature, releasing us from the past and laying open our future path leading to the new culture and civilization, the new laws and principles, the rising light of Aquarian, the Age of Friendship and Equality. The Hierarchy lays much emphasis upon gratitude. Let us be grateful this year and this season together. And so now the days of light illuminating the darkness begin (December’s festivals and feast days). Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I am grateful for all of you, my readers.

 

The New Tech Nexus

Community leaders in science and technology unite to form web-based networking program

 

Film, Times & Events: Week of November 28

Santa Cruz area movie theaters >
Sign up for Good Times weekly newsletter
Get the latest news, events

RSS Feed Burner

 Subscribe in a reader

Latest Comments

 

Round About Now

The glory of persimmons, plus Ivéta scone mix and lunch at Assembly

 

What charities would you like to see people support this season?

Judy Allen, Scotts Valley, Consulting

 

Big Basin Vineyards

I was just in the process of purchasing a bottle of Big Basin’s 2012 Homestead in Vinocruz when Matt Ryan walked into the store. Ryan manages the tasting room, sales and the mailing list at Big Basin, and, considering the popularity of their wines, he’s a very busy man.

 

Ashby Confections

Local chocolate maker talks chocolate and self control