Info on Proposed Additional Beef Check Off for Missouri

If you’ve been raising cattle for any length of time, you know how the Check Off issue is loaded with corruption and seeming misappropriation of funds. Everyone gets to pay the Check Off and very few benefit from the additional collection of funds. Well Missouri wants to add an increased check off tax for just Missouri. Please read the following from Missouri Rural Crisis Center and then download this pdf form and register so your voice is counted in the discussion.
STOP the New Missouri Beef Checkoff Tax
In order to Vote NO on this corporate money grab—
Cattle Producers Must Register before March 4th
Thank you for signing the petition opposing a new state beef checkoff tax. Now is the time to register with the Missouri Department of Agriculture to be eligible to vote—see registration forms enclosed.
The Missouri Department of Agriculture is holding a referendum to add a new beef checkoff tax. If passed, all cattle sold in Missouri will be assessed an additional $1 a head checkoff with the proceeds going to the Missouri Beef Industry Council (MBIC). And, the only way to stop it is for Missouri cattle producers to register to vote before March 4th (registration forms are enclosed). If you have registered by March 4th, the Missouri Department of Agriculture will send you a ballot on April 4th.
We are in a cattle market crisis right now with feeder calves having lost up to 45% of their value between September and December (according to the Livestock Marketing Association) with no foreseeable end in sight. What is the response by the MBIC? They want us to give them $2 million more every year. They want a 200% raise? We should say no to this money grab.
Please fill out the enclosed registration form and reach out to other producers in your area that oppose the checkoff. Note: you will be asked to provide three years of cattle sales on this form—We must not let this rule deter us from registering and voting to stop this checkoff.
According to the Missouri Department of Agriculture, anyone who has a shared interest in your cattle sales—including your spouse, son, daughter or business partner—can register to vote in this referendum. Each person can fill out separate registration forms and list the number of cattle sales that represent each person’s share in the business. For example, a husband and wife who marketed 50 head of cattle could each register and report 25 head of cattle marketed.
Here are ways you can register:
 We’ve included registration forms—fill them out and send them to the Missouri Department of Agriculture c/o Missouri Beef Referendum, P.O. Box 630, Jefferson City, MO 65102; or
 Go to agriculture.mo.gov and register online or print a form; or
 Call the Missouri Department of Ag at (573) 751-5633 and ask to have a registration form mailed to you; or
 Pick up a registration form at your county FSA office.
If you need additional registration forms or have any questions:
 Call the Missouri Rural Crisis Center at (573) 449-1336.
 We can email, mail or fax you a registration form(s).
All Registration Forms Must Be Postmarked by March 4th.
Paid for by the Missouri Rural Crisis Center, Roger Allison, Executive Director, 1108 Rangeline Street, Columbia, MO 65201
Here are some key facts about why we oppose the state beef checkoff:
 There are no rules that this checkoff slush fund will be used to promote Missouri beef. The Missouri Cattlemen’s Association successfully lobbied to remove the “promote Missouri beef” language from the bill. And, our federal checkoff dollars are already being used to promote foreign beef in U.S. markets.
 There is no sunset clause on this beef checkoff. Once these programs are put into place, they are virtually impossible to get rid of. So, as cattle prices continue to decline, producers will still be paying the extra $2 million+ every year.
 The vast majority of current federal checkoff dollars end up in the coffers of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association (NCBA) that consistently supports policies favoring corporate meatpackers (even foreign-owned meatpackers) at the expense of Missouri’s independent cattle producers. The NCBA successfully lobbied to end Country of Origin Labeling (COOL) and supports corporate packer ownership of livestock which drives down producer farm-gate prices.
 The Missouri Beef Industry Council ignored its own hand-picked “Missouri Beef Checkoff Taskforce” that voted to request a $.50 per head state checkoff instead of $1 on August 26th. Instead, the MBIC requested $1/head anyway—another clear example of the no accountability attitude of the Missouri Beef Industry Council.
 Supporters claim that there will be some way to get a refund after the fact, so they try to call this a “voluntary” program. In reality, cattle producers are forced to pay into this program by having the money taken out of their cattle sales checks before they even get them. If the fee is not paid when due, a penalty shall apply and the attorney general can sue cattle producers for the collection of checkoff fees and penalties. It doesn’t get any more mandatory than that. A complicated, time-consuming refund process does not eliminate this mandate to pay.
 This new checkoff would mean the state government would be collecting another $2.2 million from Missouri beef producers every year and giving our money to the Missouri Beef Industry Council (MBIC), an unaccountable private entity that says it has “no obligation to disclose documents” about how our money is spent.
 The only way to stop this new checkoff tax is for independent cattle producers to say “NO”, otherwise starting in July, we will be paying over $4 million every year in beef checkoff fees.
Please register to vote today—
your vote could make the difference.

Ft Worth Fining Dairy Outside it’s Jurisdiction $3,000…Enough, Already

There is so much wrong with the story below. However, it is important that people are aware of it, and even more important that you begin to work on things to provide yourself and your family and neighbors with real food.

When any bureaucrat believes that he can insinuate himself between anyone’s mouth and stomach, you have overreach of incredible proportions. This is the FDA Food Code in effect. This is the result of people allowing the government to control areas of their lives that the government has zero business involving itself in. The Food Safety Modernization Act is going to kill those who worked on “exempting” themselves from the regulations by staying small and local. You still have to apply for an exemption, which gives the tyrants the authority to control you.

The answer is that we must not ask permission. We must deal directly with each other and not allow these tyrants entry into the very thing that sustains us. Heck, if the FDA had things their way, we’d all be eating Soylent Green and other dead food and paying the big pharma, big chemical companies for more medications to address our symptoms that then cause more problems requiring more medications to address the symptoms….and voila! Captive supply for death merchants.

I guess you can tell this makes me rather angry. If it doesn’t make you angry, I submit that you are part of the problem.

Currently, after more than a decade of fighting against this exact type of tyranny, I am dedicating myself to doing many of the projects that I have put off trying to defend against the wholesale onslaught against real food by the global govicorp. I must do all I can to feed my family and provide for my neighbors. I encourage everyone else to do the same. Here is the article:

City of Fort Worth Levies $3,000 Fine to Raw Milk Dairy, Located Outside of City Limits

FORT WORTH TX  –  Eldon Hoolely, who runs a small, family operated dairy farm is being summoned to court on Monday after some of their raw milk product was found inside the city limits of Fort Worth.  The City of Fort Worth is now claiming that Rosey Ridge Farms, which is located nearly 40 miles south of city limits has somehow committed $3,000 worth of city ordinance violations.

Elmer DePaula, a health superintendent for the city claims that Rosey Ridge Farms was operating an illegal food establishment within the city limits.  When in actuality, a food cooperative was purchasing the raw milk and transporting the product back to Fort Worth to distribute to it’s members.

Hoolely is licensed to sell his raw dairy products out of Rosey Ridge Farm, and says he’s being targeted as if he was running an establishment in Fort Worth itself.

“I never delivered anything to Fort Worth, when it leaves the farm, it’s bought and paid for, and in the hands of the consumer,” he said.  “We run a very clean, raw milk operation, and people are really wanting to get back to real food again.”

Once the raw milk leaves Hooley’s farm, he has no operational control as to where the product ends up.

From their website: “Rosey Ridge Farm is located 2 ½ miles off I-35W approximately 35 miles south of Fort Worth. We are a fully licensed and inspected Grade A Retail Raw Dairy with a Food Manufacturing Permit for other dairy products, including Raw Aged Cheese from our dairy. All Natural grazing is practiced for our cows and calves. We do not feed any GMO grain and unless we have a dry year with poor quality feed, do not feed any grain. The farm consists of a 35 cow dairy of Jersey and Jersey Brown Swiss cross cows that are well fed and cared for and milked twice a day. Pigs and chickens are fed whey from the cheese and leftover milk by-products. Our chickens are cage free and roam freely over fields after the cows and calves and lay very nutritious eggs. We do not use antibiotics, hormones, or steroids in our dairy. We farm around 250 acres for grazing and hay. Oats and wheat is planted in the fall for winter grazing while native and forage grasses are grazed in warm weather.

 Please come by and see us! Enjoy the country life and be a part of wholesome community building at the farm. Bring your children and let them pet the animals and enjoy a horse ride. If you come in the late afternoon, you can get in on the milking. For groups, please have us schedule an event for you.”

So now their family is in jeopardy of losing  $3,000 of their hard earned income to unjust fines placed upon them. The charges are that they distributed  some “unfit” food, and are operating an illegal food establishment.

Recently the ordinance was updated and passed by the Fort Worth City Council to ensure raw milk was specifically mentioned, “… it is the distribution of raw milk and raw milk products which is prohibited, regardless of retail status.”

Attorney Bryce King and Gary Cox from the Farmer to Consumer Legal Defense Fund  are representing the family against the city backed prosecutor Bill Durkin.

Real Milk Texas have expanded their popularity and are raising awareness about the health benefits and chemical free raw dairy products.

The growing movement of the people to make their own food choices is being stifled by the federal, local and state governments with their concerns about public health.  Mr. Hooley told brettsanders.me that

 “It’s not about acting against the government, it’s about the government overreaching and telling us what foods we can and cannot eat”. He shared this Thomas Jefferson quote with me “If the people let the government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls who live under tyranny”.

Hooley concluded with “Altering nature is not the answer, and that healthy unpasturized milk and farm fresh chemical free foods is the closest thing to nature for our health and well being, and the government needs to keep their hands off our food “.

He and his Family are asking for help by showing up at the courthouse on Monday morning in downtown Fort Worth to support his and other small farms around the country in bringing the ‘farm to table’ concept the forefront.   Here is the link to the event.

 

Ohio Rejects Issue 3- Monopoly Marijuana

Yesterday, “Responsible Ohio” had their hat handed to them by Ohio voters. The main stream media is pushing that Ohio is against legalizing cannabis, but what they actually rejected was a cartel ensconced in their constitution that would only allow the ten entities funding the bill to grow cannabis for retail. This proposal was extremely flawed, and as someone who cherishes liberty, I am extremely happy that Ohio rejected this!

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you might find it funny that a wonk for Issue 3 called me a communist for speaking against this proposal because of the oligopoly it would enshrine in the state’s constitution. They said I was “crazy hippy communist” for thinking that there should be a level playing field and allowing for economic freedom for those that wanted to put their own money up to jump into the ring and grow and sell cannabis for retail.

Here are a couple of article links about the big happy fail:

Ohioans Reject Legalizing Cannabis

Ohio voters vote no against legal and medicinal marijuana!

US Study Shows Round Up Concerns

It seems like every week there is another heavily weighted study showing how negative Round Up is for life. Here’s yet another article on a US study that, of course, Monsatan is baling about:

* Study says chemical residues linked to disease

* Roundup developer Monsanto says glyphosate is safe

* Researchers say more study is needed

By Carey Gillam

April 25 (Reuters) – Heavy use of the world’s most popular herbicide, Roundup, could be linked to a range of health problems and diseases, including Parkinson’s, infertility and cancers, according to a new study.

The peer-reviewed report, published last week in the scientific journal Entropy, said evidence indicates that residues of “glyphosate,” the chief ingredient in Roundup weed killer, which is sprayed over millions of acres of crops, has been found in food.

Those residues enhance the damaging effects of other food-borne chemical residues and toxins in the environment to disrupt normal body functions and induce disease, according to the report, authored by Stephanie Seneff, a research scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Anthony Samsel, a retired science consultant from Arthur D. Little, Inc. Samsel is a former private environmental government contractor as well as a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists.

“Negative impact on the body is insidious and manifests slowly over time as inflammation damages cellular systems throughout the body,” the study says.

We “have hit upon something very important that needs to be taken seriously and further investigated,” Seneff said.

Environmentalists, consumer groups and plant scientists from several countries have warned that heavy use of glyphosate is causing problems for plants, people and animals.

The EPA is conducting a standard registration review of glyphosate and has set a deadline of 2015 for determining if glyphosate use should be limited. The study is among many comments submitted to the agency.

Monsanto is the developer of both Roundup herbicide and a suite of crops that are genetically altered to withstand being sprayed with the Roundup weed killer.

These biotech crops, including corn, soybeans, canola and sugarbeets, are planted on millions of acres in the United States annually. Farmers like them because they can spray Roundup weed killer directly on the crops to kill weeds in the fields without harming the crops.

Roundup is also popularly used on lawns, gardens and golf courses.

Monsanto and other leading industry experts have said for years that glyphosate is proven safe, and has a less damaging impact on the environment than other commonly used chemicals.

Jerry Steiner, Monsanto’s executive vice president of sustainability, reiterated that in a recent interview when questioned about the study.

“We are very confident in the long track record that glyphosate has. It has been very, very extensively studied,” he said.

Of the more than two dozen top herbicides on the market, glyphosate is the most popular. In 2007, as much as 185 million pounds of glyphosate was used by U.S. farmers, double the amount used six years ago, according to Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data.

Read more at Reutershttp://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/25/roundup-health-study-idUSL2N0DC22F20130425#We3PpH2hcL7tFrpy.99

Ohio Issue 3- Cartel Cannabis- On Ballot Now

The attorney responsible for pushing the “Responsible Ohio” legalization effort for cannabis isn’t openly admitting that he is an oligopolist, or a fascist, but I’ll say that he is. If he takes umbrage with it, he is welcome to call me and we can argue semantics and right and wrong in person. The people paying for it because they will be the ten entities allowed to grow it there are the same. If it bothers them, oh well. In effect, they are entering into a realm of not being protected from public comments putting their character into question because they are attempting to ensconce a cartel into a state’s constitution. Nothing about it indicates any respect for the idea of a level playing field or free market economics.

Here is an article on this issue. If my spidey-sense is serving me right, this is likely to be similar to what Show Me Cannabis might offer up in 2020 if we fail to get the Missouri Cannabis Restoration Act (2016-013) through in 2016…Hopefully, we won’t have to go down that path:

On Ballot, Ohio Grapples With Specter of Marijuana Monopoly

Don Wirtshafter, an Ohio lawyer who has long fought to make marijuana legal, nonetheless said he opposed Issue 3, a legalization amendment, seeing it as “opportunists seeking monopolistic gains.” Credit Andrew Spear for The New York Times

COLUMBUS, Ohio — As a member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, a collector of antique marijuana apothecary jars, the founder of an industrial hemp business and “a pot smoker consistently for 47 years,” Don Wirtshafter, an Ohio lawyer, has fought for decades to make marijuana legal, calling it “my life’s work.”

But when Ohio voters go to the polls Tuesday to consider a constitutional amendment to allow marijuana for both medical and personal use, Mr. Wirtshafter will vote against it.

Issue 3, as the proposed amendment is known, is bankrolled by wealthy investors spending nearly $25 million to put it on the ballot and sell it to voters. If it passes, they will have exclusive rights to growing commercial marijuana in Ohio. The proposal has a strange bedfellows coalition of opponents: law enforcement officers worried about crime, doctors worried about children’s health, state lawmakers and others who warn that it would enshrine a monopoly in the Ohio Constitution.

A selection from Don Wirtshafter’s collection of antique marijuana apothecary jars. Credit Andrew Spear for The New York Times

The result has been one of the nation’s oddest legalization campaigns. It pits a new generation of corporate investors against grass-roots advocates like Mr. Wirtshafter, who deplores “opportunists seeking monopolistic gains” and laments that America would have been much better off “if they would have just let the hippies have their weed.”

A recent poll by the University of Akron shows voters evenly split, but if the proposal passes, Ohio will be the first state to approve marijuana for personal use without first legalizing medical marijuana. That would put Ohio, a swing state, at the forefront of the national movement to overhaul marijuana laws — just in time for the 2016 presidential campaign. Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio, a Republican candidate for president, opposes Issue 3.

“If Ohio wins, it will be a significant step forward for the broader movement — nothing will excite attention like that,” said Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which has helped lead the national drive for legalization. But his group is remaining neutral rather than endorsing Issue 3, he said, “because of the problematic oligopoly provision.”

To complicate matters, the Ohio General Assembly has put a competing initiative, Issue 2, on the ballot; known as the antimonopoly amendment, it would block Issue 3 by prohibiting the granting of special rights through the State Constitution. There is certain to be a protracted legal battle if both measures pass.

The story of how Issue 3 got onto the ballot begins here in Columbus, the capital, with Ian James, a political consultant whose company, the Strategy Network, specializes in gathering signatures for ballot initiatives. In 2009, his firm helped legalize casino gambling in Ohio through a measure that amended the State Constitution and specified where casinos could be located.

Jan Lefebre, a ResponsibleOhio staff member canvassing in Columbus, Ohio, met Shannon Lakanen, left, who supported Issue 3, a proposed constitutional amendment to allow marijuana for both medical and personal use. Credit Andrew Spear for The New York Times

Mr. James said he had “taken that premise and applied it to marijuana.” In early 2014, he said, he began meeting with lawyers and a potential investor, James Gould, a Cincinnati sports agent, to talk about a “tightly regulated system” to make marijuana available in Ohio. An organization called the Ohio Rights Group, then represented by Mr. Wirtshafter, was already gathering signatures for an initiative to make medical marijuana legal.

But Mr. James had a more ambitious plan.

With help from Mr. Gould, he found 10 investment groups willing to put up a minimum of $2 million each to finance a campaign to pass an amendment that would legalize marijuana for medical use and personal use in small amounts; set up a commission to regulate it; and designate 10 parcels of land — each owned or optioned by funders of the initiative — where marijuana could be legally grown and cultivated for commercial use.

Adults 21 and older would also be allowed to grow small amounts of marijuana — up to four flowering plants — for themselves. The state commission would license retailers, who would be required to win elections in local precincts.

The backers call themselves ResponsibleOhio. Among the investors: the former professional basketball player Oscar Robertson, the fashion designer Nanette Lepore, Mr. Gould and two great-great-grand-nephews of President William Howard Taft. Each investment group has committed as much as $40 million to build facilities if Issue 3 passes.
Photo
Ian James, a political strategist, has worked extensively with ResponsibleOhio, the pro-legalization group led by wealthy investors. If Issue 3 passes, they would have exclusive rights to growing commercial marijuana in Ohio. Credit Andrew Spear for The New York Times

Mr. James, whose detractors note that his firm is earning more than $5 million to run ResponsibleOhio, makes no bones about what critics call “the corporatization” of the marijuana business. He said the sale of marijuana would, beginning in 2020, generate $554 million a year in tax revenue for Ohio; 85 percent would go toward safety services and infrastructure repair.

“We have clearly taken this from the tie-dye to the suit-and-tie approach, there is no question about that,” Mr. James said. “Right, wrong or indifferent, this is the way legalization is moving in this country now.”

National advocates are split: The Marijuana Policy Project, like the Drug Policy Alliance, is neutral on Issue 3, while the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or Norml, gave it an uneasy endorsement. Some legalization proponents say Mr. James has created a new model.

“If he is successful with this, a bunch of very rich people will be interested in hiring him to try it in other places,” said Douglas A. Berman, a law professor at Ohio State University who has advised ResponsibleOhio.

Mr. James says he has no plans for other states, though at least five — including California and Nevada — are expected to have ballot initiatives in 2016.
Photo
Buddie is the mascot for ResponsibleOhio, a pro-legalization group led by wealthy investors. Credit Andrew Spear for The New York Times

Outraged lawmakers in Ohio’s Republican-controlled legislature, unwilling to cede control over drug policy, responded with Issue 2, which passed the House with bipartisan backing and the Senate along party lines. State Representative Michael F. Curtin, a Democrat and former editor of The Columbus Dispatch, helped draft the measure, and is a driving force behind Ohioans Against Marijuana Monopolies, the opponents’ coalition.

He calls Issue 3 “a prostitution of the initiative process.”

ResponsibleOhio is making its case to voters on the airwaves (Mr. James said his group would spend as much as $9 million on radio and television ads); with celebrity endorsements (Montel Williams, the talk show host who touts medicinal marijuana as treatment for his multiple sclerosis, was here last week); and with paid canvassers who, Mr. James said, will have knocked on one million doors by Election Day.

But perhaps the group’s most contentious marketing effort has been Buddie, an anthropomorphic marijuana bud who looks a bit like a spear of asparagus wearing green cowboy boots and a blue cape, and who has been turning up on college campuses around the state. Critics liken him to Joe Camel, the cartoon character accused of marketing Camel cigarettes to children.

On the campus of the University of Cincinnati on Thursday, Buddie posed for photos and found no shortage of fans among students; most eagerly accepted free T-shirts (with messages like “O-High-O”). Many who stopped were passionate about legalization. Others said it mattered little to them. One, Lee Idoine, told campaign workers who accompanied Buddie that he “worried about the big businesses getting an edge on the market right away.”

Mr. Wirtshafter, who practices law in Athens, Ohio, but resigned as the lawyer for the Ohio Rights Group after it endorsed Issue 3, said Buddie proved “how little the organizers of Issue 3 knew about cannabis, its politics and its users.” Mr. Wirtshafter is now active with a new group, Legalize Ohio 2016, which plans its own ballot initiative next year.

On Saturday, he planned to attend a Halloween celebration with a mascot of his own: Monopoly Man.

 

Medical Marijuana…Not such a great thing for those in need

If you’ve heard me speaking on the issue of cannabis and legalizing this plant the produces food, fiber, fuel, and medicine, you may have heard a little bit about why the “medical” initiatives are actually not a wonderful deal. Usually you have to exhaust all pharmaceutical attempts at addressing your issue. Then have a special doctor recommend medical cannabis for you or your loved one’s issue, then you have to get approved by the state for it, and then you have to get to an approved dispensary that sells it. In effect, it can be “legal” in name only and if you are found to have it without all the hoops being properly jumped through, you could be a felon.

Putting sick people through the meat grinder of the medical industrial complex with all the negative effects of pharmaceuticals doesn’t seem compassionate to me at all. Below is an article on this issue in New Jersey:

Medical marijuana patients still face hurdles in New Jersey

– Associated Press – Saturday, October 31, 2015

CHERRY HILL, N.J. (AP) – Michelle Teel sees a pain specialist to help her manage the devastation that five years of breast cancer treatment has wreaked on her body. The 35-year-old Deptford woman suffers from bone pain and a stubborn six-inch leaking wound on her chest that won’t heal.

Oxycodone does little to ease her discomfort.

“I’m in pain every day,” the former reporter said.

“If I come up with the money, I want to try the (medicinal) marijuana,” Teel said. “I want to be on something that works.”

Though five alternative treatment centers are now open across the state, including two in South Jersey, patients still face hurdles accessing legal cannabis. Widely praised by doctors for its strict regulations, the state’s marijuana program faces bitter criticism from patients and their advocates.

“The program is so artificially restrictive, the vast majority of people who can benefit from medical marijuana therapy can’t access it in New Jersey,” said Ken Wolski, who leads the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey.

Since New Jersey launched its patient registry three years ago, about 5,600 people have enrolled in the medicinal marijuana program. In the three weeks since Compassionate Sciences, Inc., opened its dispensary in Bellmawr, it has served more than 460 patients, most commonly for intractable skeletal muscular spasticity, inflammatory bowel disease and multiple sclerosis.

Doctors have been slower to sign on.

Currently, 354 physicians in New Jersey can write prescriptions for marijuana, 29 more than last year. Another 79 doctors are registered, but inactive. New Jersey is the only state that requires doctors to register in the program before they can write prescriptions for cannabis, Wolski said.

The state limits marijuana prescriptions to patients with certain qualifying conditions, including glaucoma; inflammatory bowel disease; intractable skeletal spasticity; lateral sclerosis; muscular dystrophy; multiple sclerosis; seizure disorder; severe or chronic pain due to cancer and HIV/AIDS; terminal cancer; and terminal illness.

Psychiatric conditions, such as post-traumatic stress syndrome, depression and anxiety, are not included. More debilitating conditions could be added to the state’s list, if they are approved by a review panel.

Though the state Department of Health must convene the review panel at least once a year, it hasn’t done so yet, according to Donna Leusner, a department spokeswoman.

“The Department is in the process of contacting individuals that were recommended to gather more information on their background and expertise,” Leusner said in an email.

Even if a review panel agrees more conditions should be approved, its decision can be overruled by the state health commissioner, Wolski said.

“It seems like an exercise in futility,” Wolksi said. “We’re not really hopeful there’s going to be meaningful expansion” of the medical marijuana program.

Parents of children with epilepsy have urged the state for years to permit the sale of edible marijuana products. For now, they brew marijuana-infused oil in their home kitchens, unable to test their homemade concoctions for potency.

The state hasn’t yet permitted dispensaries to manufacture other forms of the herb, such as topical ointments, lozenges or oils. Compassionate Sciences, Inc., in Bellmawr submitted an application earlier this year to produce two topical treatments and a lozenge. Leusner said it was still under review.

The program also requires a doctor’s approval before patients can get a marijuana card.

Physicians can only prescribe marijuana to patients they’ve seen at least four times. Typically, doctors only accept direct payment for such visits, Wolski explained.

Once approved by a doctor, patients are charged $200 to register in the state’s medicinal marijuana program for two years. Nearly half of those registered in the program last year qualified for a reduced $20 charge to register.

Patients must pay out of pocket for marijuana, which costs $480 an ounce at the Bellmawr dispensary. The marijuana is taxed at 7 percent.

New Jersey’s legal marijuana is “the most expensive” in the country,” Wolski said.

“Anybody whose been impoverished by their illness or marginally employed, they can’t afford this program,” Wolski said. “It’s a shell of what it could have been.”

Even so, patient demand is high, said Dr. Andrew Medvedovsky, a neurologist and pain specialist with RA Pain Services in Washington Township.

“Over the 2½ years I’ve been in practice, many, many patients have asked me about medical marijuana,” said Medvedovsky, who referred patients elsewhere before he joined the state’s program in July.

Since then, he has prescribed cannabis to about 50 patients, including children with severe epilepsy. He sees patients with complex conditions that can be difficult to treat with conventional pharmaceutical drugs.

Some of his patients take four pills at night to ease painful spasms, “and they still can’t fall asleep.” He’s also concerned about the side effects and addictive nature of powerful opioids and benzodiazepines.

“They don’t provide relief,” Medvedovsky said. “They don’t really help a large population of patients.”

Marijuana offers another option for patients who have hit the limits of conventional medicine, he explained. Still, some of his patients don’t qualify for the program, because they don’t have one of the approved conditions.

“Many patients told me if they could smoke marijuana legally,” Medvedovsky said, “they would be so happy to get off their other medications.”

But it’s not easy, even for those who clearly qualify. The program permits terminally ill people to receive medicinal marijuana, for example. Just over 300 of them were enrolled in the program last year, according to state records.

Wolski pins the blame on the state’s restrictions and its lack of outreach about marijuana’s therapeutic benefits. Besides controlling pain, the herb improves appetite, helps with bladder control, and raises the spirits of those facing a terminal prognosis, he said.

“It really helps people who are elderly and dying in so many ways,” Wolski said. “It’s a sin, really, to keep it from these people.”

__

They agree to Put Us Under Global Government- Your Consent is Not Required

The language for the TPP finally came out via Wikileaks the other day. It’s such a large document that I can’t even download it on my slow connection. Obviously, like all the other Trade agreements, it isn’t good for the average American despite what people say. Let’s revisit it a bit…Since the advent of the WTO and the various trade agreements under the WTO, we have lost our electronics and textile industries just about completely, and also clothing and shoes. Not to mention cuts in small ag, the auto industry and appliances. Heck, we can’t make enough shoes here to shod the population any longer. But don’t fret, we can look forward to being the call in centers for other countries.

At any rate, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has published an excellent overview on it, largely in relation to internet issues. There is a link in the first sentence to the entire Trans Pacific Partnership document. Have fun!

October 9, 2015 | By Jeremy Malcolm

Today’s release by Wikileaks of what is believed to be the current and essentially final version of the intellectual property (IP) chapter of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) confirms our worst fears about the agreement, and dashes the few hopes that we held out that its most onerous provisions wouldn’t survive to the end of the negotiations.

Since we now have the agreed text, we’ll be including some paragraph references that you can cross-reference for yourself—but be aware that some of them contain placeholders like “x” that may change in the cleaned-up text. Also, our analysis here is limited to the copyright and Internet-related provisions of the chapter, but analyses of the impacts of other parts of the chapter have been published by Wikileaks and others.

Binding Rules for Rightsholders, Soft Guidelines for Users

If you skim the chapter without knowing what you’re looking for, it may come across as being quite balanced, including references to the need for IP rules to further the “mutual advantage of producers and users” (QQ.A.X), to “facilitate the diffusion of information” (QQ.A.Z), and recognizing the “importance of a rich and accessible public domain” (QQ.B.x). But that’s how it’s meant to look, and taking this at face value would be a big mistake.

If you dig deeper, you’ll notice that all of the provisions that recognize the rights of the public are non-binding, whereas almost everything that benefits rightsholders is binding. That paragraph on the public domain, for example, used to be much stronger in the first leaked draft, with specific obligations to identify, preserve and promote access to public domain material. All of that has now been lost in favor of a feeble, feel-good platitude that imposes no concrete obligations on the TPP parties whatsoever.

Another, and perhaps the most egregious example of this bias against users is the important provision on limitations and exceptions to copyright (QQ.G.17). In a pitifully ineffectual nod towards users, it suggests that parties “endeavor to achieve an appropriate balance in its copyright and related rights system,” but imposes no hard obligations for them to do so, nor even offers U.S.-style fair use as a template that they might follow. The fact that even big tech was ultimately unable to move the USTR on this issue speaks volumes about how utterly captured by Hollywood the agency is.

Expansion of Copyright Terms

Perhaps the biggest overall defeat for users is the extension of the copyright term to life plus 70 years (QQ.G.6), despite a broad consensus that this makes no economic sense, and simply amounts to a transfer of wealth from users to large, rights-holding corporations. The extension will make life more difficult for libraries and archives, for journalists, and for ordinary users seeking to make use of works from long-dead authors that rightfully belong in the public domain.

Could it have been worse? In fact, yes it could have; we were spared a 120 year copyright term for corporate works, as earlier drafts foreshadowed. In the end corporate works are to be protected for 70 years after publication or performance, or if they are not published within 25 years after they were created, for 70 years after their creation. This could make a big difference in practice. It means that the film Casablanca, probably protected in the United States until 2038, would already be in the public domain in other TPP countries, even under a life plus 70 year copyright term.

New to the latest text are the transition periods in Section J, which allow some countries a longer period for complying with some of their obligations, including copyright term. For example, Malaysia has been allowed two years to extend its copyright term to life plus 70 years. For Vietnam, the transition period is five years. New Zealand is the country receiving the most “generous” allowance; its term will increase to life plus 60 years initially, rising to the full life plus 70 year term within eight years. Yet Canada, on the other hand, has not been given any transition period at all.

Ban on Circumventing Digital Rights Management (DRM)

The provisions in QQ.G.10 that prohibit the circumvention of DRM or the supply of devices for doing so are little changed from earlier drafts, other than that the opposition of some countries to the most onerous provisions of those drafts was evidently to no avail. For example, Chile earlier opposed the provision that the offense of DRM circumvention is to be “independent of any infringement that might occur under the Party’s law on copyright and related rights,” yet the final text includes just that requirement.

The odd effect of this is that someone tinkering with a file or device that contains a copyrighted work can be made liable (criminally so, if wilfullness and a commercial motive can be shown), for doing so even when no copyright infringement is committed. Although the TPP text does allow countries to pass exceptions that allow DRM circumvention for non-infringing uses, such exceptions are not mandatory, as they ought to be.

The parties’ flexibility to allow DRM circumvention also requires them to consider whether rightsholders have already taken measures to allow those non-infringing uses to be made. This might mean that rightsholders will rely on the walled-garden sharing capabilities built in to their DRM systems, such as Ultraviolet, to oppose users being granted broader rights to circumvent DRM.

Alongside the prohibition on circumvention of DRM is a similar prohibition (QQ.G.13) on the removal of rights management information, with equivalent civil and criminal penalties. Since this offense is, once again, independent of the infringement of copyright, it could implicate a user who crops out an identifying watermark from an image, even if they are using that image for fair use purposes and even if they otherwise provide attribution of the original author by some other means.

The distribution of devices for decrypting encrypted satellite and cable signals is also separately proscribed (QQ.H.9), posing a further hazard to hackers wishing to experiment with or to repurpose broadcast media.

Criminal Enforcement and Civil Damages

On damages, the text (QQ.H.4) remains as bad as ever: rightsholders can submit “any legitimate measure of value” to a judicial authority for determination of damages, including the suggested retail price of infringing goods. Additionally, judges must have the power to order pre-established damages (at the rightsholder’s election), or additional damages, each of which may go beyond compensating the rightsholder for its actual loss, and thereby create a disproportionate chilling effect for users and innovators.

No exception to these damages provisions is made in cases where the rightsholder cannot be found after a diligent search, which puts the kibosh on ideas for the introduction of an orphan works regime that would cap remedies available against those who reproduce these otherwise-unavailable works.

One of the scariest parts of the TPP is that not only can you be made liable to fines and criminal penalties, but that any materials and implements used in the creation of infringing copies can also be destroyed (QQ.H.4(12)). The same applies to devices and products used for circumventing DRM or removing rights management information (QQ.H.4(17)). Because multi-use devices such as computers are used for a diverse range of purposes, this is once again a disproportionate penalty. This could lead to a family’s home computer becoming seized simply because of its use in sharing files online, or for ripping Blu-Ray movies to a media center.

In some cases (QQ.H.7), the penalties for copyright infringement can even include jail time. Traditionally, this has because the infringer is operating a business of commercial piracy. But under the TPP, any act of willful copyright infringement on a commercial scale renders the infringer liable to criminal penalties, even if they were not carried out for financial gain, provided that they have a substantial prejudicial impact on the rightsholder. The copying of films that are still playing in movie theaters is also subject to separate criminal penalties, regardless of the scale of the infringement.

Trade Secrets

The severity of the earlier language on trade secrets protection has not been abated in the final text. It continues to criminalize those who gain “unauthorized, willful access to a trade secret held in a computer system,” without any mandatory exception for cases where the information is accessed or disclosed in the public interest, such as by investigative journalists or whistleblowers.

There is no evident explanation for the differential treatment given to trade secrets accessed or misappropriated by means of a computer system, as opposed to by other means; but it is no surprise to find the U.S. pushing such a technophobic provision, which mirrors equivalent provisions of U.S. law that have been used to persecute hackers for offenses that would otherwise have been considered much more minor.

Top-Down Control of the Internet

ICANN, the global domain name authority, provoked a furore earlier this year over proposals that could limit the ability for owners of domain names to shield their personal information from copyright and trademark trolls, identity thieves, scammers and harassers.

The TPP has just ridden roughshod over that entire debate (at least for country-code top-level domains such as .us, .au and .jp), by cementing in place rules (QQ.C.12) that countries must provide “online public access to a reliable and accurate database of contact information concerning domain-name registrants.”

The same provision also requires countries to adopt an equivalent to ICANN’s flawed Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), despite the fact that this controversial policy is overdue for a formal review by ICANN, which might result in the significant revision of this policy. Where would this leave the TPP countries, that are locked in to upholding a UDRP-like policy for their own domains for the indefinite future?

The TPP’s prescription of rules for domain names completely disregards the fact that most country code domain registries have their own, open, community-driven processes for determining rules for managing domain name disputes. More than that, this top-down rulemaking on domain names is in direct contravention of the U.S. administration’s own firmly-stated commitment to uphold the multi-stakeholder model of Internet governance. Obviously, Internet users cannot trust the administration that it means what it says when it gives lip-service to multi-stakeholder governance—and that has ramifications that go even even deeper than this terrible TPP deal.

ISP Liability

The provisions on ISP liability (Appendix Section I), as we previously found in the last leaked text, are not quite as permissive as we hoped. It will still require most countries to adopt a version of the flawed U.S. DMCA notice-and-takedown system, albeit with a few safeguards such as penalties for those who issue wrongful takedown notices, and allowing (but not requiring) a Japanese-style system of verification of takedown notices by an independent body of ISPs and rightsholders.

It is true that Canada’s notice-and-notice regime is also allowed, but effectively only for Canada—no other country that did not have an equivalent system as of the date of the agreement is allowed to benefit from that flexibility. Even in Canada’s case, this largesse is only afforded because of the other enforcement measures that rightsholders enjoy there—such as a tough regime of secondary liability for authorization of copyright infringement.

Similarly Chile’s system under which ISPs are not required to take down content without a judicial order is explicitly grandfathered in, but no other country joining the TPP in the future will be allowed to have a similar system.

In addition, although there is no explicit requirement for a graduated response regime of copyright penalties against users, ISPs are still roped in as copyright enforcers with the vague requirement (Appendix Section 1) that they be given “legal incentives…to cooperate with copyright owners to deter the unauthorized storage and transmission of copyrighted materials or, in the alternative, to take other action to deter the unauthorized storage and transmission of copyright materials”.

Good Points?

Quite honestly there are no parts of this agreement that are positively good for users. Of course, that doesn’t mean that it’s not improved over the earlier, horrendous demands of the U.S. negotiators. Some of the areas in which countries rightly pushed back against the U.S., and which are reflected in the final text are:

  • The exhaustion of rights provision (QQ.A.11) that upholds the first sale doctrine of U.S. law, preventing copyright owners from extending their control over the resale of copyright works once they have first been placed in the market. In particular, this makes parallel importation of cheaper versions of copyright works lawful—and complementing this is an explicit authorization of devices that bypass region-coding on physical copies of such works (QQ.G.10, though this does not extend to bypassing geoblocking of streaming services).
  • A thoroughly-misguided provision that would have extended copyright protection to temporary or “buffer” copies in a computer system was one of the earliest rightsholder demands dropped by the USTR, and rightfully so, given the damage this would have wreaked to tech companies and users alike.

But we have struggled to come up with more than two positive points about the TPP, and even then the absence of these tragic mistakes is a pretty poor example of a positive point. If you look for provisions in the TPP that actually afford new benefits to users, rather than to large, rights-holding corporations, you will look in vain. The TPP is the archetype of an agreement that exists only for the benefit of the entitled, politically powerfully lobbyists who have pushed it through to completion over the last eight years.

There is nothing in here for users and innovators to support, and much for us to fear—the ratcheting up of the copyright term across the Pacific rim, the punitive sanctions for DRM circumvention, and the full frontal attack on hackers and journalists in the trade secrets provision, just to mention three. This latest leak has confirmed our greatest fears—and strengthened our resolve to kill this agreement for good once it reaches Congress.

Monsanto Slashing 11% of Employees!

News for Monsatan just keeps getting better all the time. If we can stop the Dark Act from going through the Senate….We may have a chance!

Monsanto Co, one of the world’s largest seed and agrichemical companies, said on Wednesday that it was slashing 2,600 jobs and restructuring operations to cut costs in a slumping commodity market.

The company, which said it expected low prices for agricultural products to squeeze results well into 2016, also reported a much wider quarterly loss and gave an outlook below many analysts’ expectations.

The layoffs would affect 11.6 percent of Monsanto’s regular workforce, according to the company.

The global restructuring will also include an exit from the sugar cane business and “streamlining and reprioritizing” some commercial and research and development work.

To try to shore up investor confidence, the company announced a $3 billion accelerated share repurchase program that Chairman Hugh Grant said would be completed in the next six months. Its shares, which fell as much as 4.3 percent early on Wednesday, were nearly unchanged in afternoon trading.

Monsanto said it expected to incur restructuring costs of $850 million to $900 million. When completed, the moves should help save as much as $400 million a year.

The restructuring, which caps a year when Monsanto’s sales fell more than 5 percent, comes during an agricultural slump and a currency collapse in the important Brazilian market.

Swiss rival Syngenta AG, which Monsanto had tried to acquire over the summer, has said it is trying to bolster its bottom line by selling a vegetable seed business and undertaking a $2 billion share repurchase. And DuPont, which operates agricultural seed seller DuPont Pioneer, has lowered its profit outlook.

Monsanto forecast earnings per share of $5.10 to $5.60 for its new fiscal year, which began on Sept. 1. That is well below many analysts’ expectations for more than $6.00.

The company said its losses widened to $1.06 a share in the fourth quarter ended on Aug. 31 from 31 cents a year earlier.

Sales of corn seeds and traits, Monsanto’s key products, fell 5 percent to $598 million in the quarter. And sales at the company’s agricultural productivity unit, which includes Roundup herbicide, dropped 12 percent to $1.1 billion.

Despite the bleak results, Grant said the company’s fundamentals were strong.

Monsanto will remain focused on achieving growth targets for its core seeds and traits business and be “disciplined” with its herbicide business, he said.

The company said it would still meet its target of more than doubling fiscal 2014 earnings per share, excluding special items, by 2019.

Strong demand for corn and soybeans remains a key fundamental for Monsanto, Grant said.

The company has particularly high hopes for new soybeans, corn and cotton that can be sprayed with a new combination of Monsanto’s glyphosate-based Roundup and dicamba herbicides. The combination is aimed at combating widespread weed resistance to glyphosate.

Monsanto still needs final regulatory approvals but said advance orders for “Roundup Ready Xtend Crop System” soybeans were on track to sell out by early December, company officials said. It expects pricing at a $5-to-$10-an-acre premium.

Monsanto also wants to expand sales of agricultural digital data products designed to help farmers boost crop yields. It will soon start field trials in Brazil, officials said.

While farmers have shown interest in the new software and hardware data products offered by Monsanto and several competitors, they have been reluctant to pay for them.

At Tuesday’s close, the stock had dropped roughly 30 percent from a high set last February, and the company’s growth strategy has under intense investor scrutiny after the failed Syngenta takeover attempt.

(Reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City, Mo.; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

Monsanto Getting Knocked Around….Yeah!

It looks like the most hated company I know of is finally getting a bit of a smack down. In the past couple of days, several inconveniences for the Monsanto Corp have been brought forward. They are being sued for their cancer causing chemicals, their stock is dropping, the EU is largely opting out of growing any of their garbage. It’s enough to make a real food advocate veritably giddy!

Here’s an article on the EU….Maybe, just maybe, we can get the US Senate to not pass the Dark Act! Not holding my breath, mind you, but recent news is providing a faint glimmer of hope:

Majority of EU nations seek opt-out from growing GM crops

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Nineteen EU member states have requested opt-outs for all or part of their territory from cultivation of a Monsanto genetically-modified crop, which is authorized to be grown in the European Union, the European Commission said on Sunday.

Under a law signed in March, individual countries can seek exclusion from any approval request for genetically modified cultivation across the 28-nation EU.

The law was introduced to end years of stalemate as genetically modified crops divide opinion in Europe.

Although widely grown in the Americas and Asia, public opposition is strong in Europe and environmentalists have raised concerns about the impact on biodiversity.

Commission spokesman Enrico Brivio on Sunday confirmed in an emailed statement the Commission had received 19 opt-out requests following the expiry of a deadline on Saturday.

The requests are for opt-outs from the approval of Monsanto’s GM maize MON 810, the only crop commercially cultivated in the European Union, or for pending applications, of which there are eight so far, the Commission said.

The requests have been or are being communicated to the companies, which have a month to react.

Under the new law, the European Commission is responsible for approvals, but requests to be excluded also have to be submitted to the company making the application.

In response to the first exclusion requests in August from Latvia and Greece, Monsanto said it was abiding by them, even though it regarded them as unscientific.

The new EU law has critics from both sides.

The industry has said it breaks rules on free movement, while environment campaigners say it is a weak compromise open to court challenges from biotech companies.

The Commission spokesman said the number of requests proved that the new law provides “a necessary legal framework to a complex issue”.

The 19 requests are from Austria, Belgium for the Wallonia region, Britain for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, France, Germany (except for research), Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland and Slovenia.

(Reporting by Barbara Lewis; editing by Susan Thomas)

Great Monsanto Infographic!

Today I received this excellent Monsanto History infographic. It is jam packed with the history of one of the most evil corporations on the face of the planet. I was asked to share it with my readers, and I am quite happy to do so! Here is the link for the full view. Thanks, Elly!

Monsanto Infographic

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