Medical marijuana case settled before trial
Smith, 38, was initially charged with three felonies after he sold an ounce of marijuana to a member of the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office who was working undercover on Jan. 4, 2010.
According to Deputy District Attorney Seth Matthews, the initial charges were for sales, cultivation and possession of marijuana.
In his defense, Smith said the undercover deputy used a legitimate medical marijuana recommendation to join Smith’s K Care Collective and appear legitimate.
The recommendation belonged to Robert Shaffer of Ione, who was arrested in 2009 on drug charges. According to reports, Deputy Steve Avila had taken possession of Shaffer’s recommendation and used it to convince Smith that he was in fact Shaffer in the weeks leading up to the sting operation.
Smith adamantly denied that he had broken the law from the very start, claiming that he was legally operating a medical marijuana collective in compliance with state law when he sold the marijuana to the undercover deputy, who he thought was Shaffer.
Sheriff Dennis Downum said that Smith was executing a drug deal instead of operating a legitimate collective.
“Quite frankly, it doesn’t sound like he was any part of a collective,” Downum said in 2010. “With a collective there has to be a relationship of some sort. It can't be meeting somebody in a parking lot. In our opinion, you’re just selling drugs.”
Compassion Centers Could Soon Be Opened
Medical marijuana could soon be distributed in the state in retail form. Eighteen organizations have applied to open compassion centers, also known as marijuana retail outlets. The Rhode Island Department of Health has invited anyone interested in commenting on the topic to attend an open meeting on Monday morning at 10 a.m. on Capitol Hill.
There are currently over three thousand patients in the state who use pot for medicinal purposes. Sales of medical marijuana are expected top $25 million dollars over the course of the next three years.
Berkeley, CA Medical Marijuana Dispensary Owes $6 Million In Taxes
The largest medical cannabis dispensary in Berkeley, California – the Berkeley Patients Group owes about $6 million in back state taxes and interest from three years where it didn’t pay. The dispensary has been disputing the tax bill since 2007, saying medical cannabis shouldn’t be taxed just like other medicine is not. The original tax bill was $4.4 million with the rest coming from interest that has been racking up over the last three years.
Medical marijuana taxes were unclear in the middle of the last decade, so the Berkeley patients group didn’t pay them assuming medical cannabis would be untaxed like other medicine. Now the state wants the money it lost out on from 2004 to 2007.
While I agree that in an ideal world medical marijuana would remain untaxed, this is not practical. First off, states are very broke and are not going to let a cash cow like cannabis go untouched. Secondly, medical marijuana is not the end of the road. Cannabis won’t always be just medicine. Someday soon marijuana is going to be completely legal and won’t have the shield of medicine to protect it from taxation. It will be taxed, that is an undeniable fact. We will work hard to keep taxes as low as possible, but legalization is simply not possible without taxes coming with it.
NM medical marijuana law will continue for now
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — New Mexico's medical marijuana program will continue for now, although the state's new governor has made it clear she does not support the law that allows people with certain medical conditions to use the drug.
Republican Gov. Susana Martinez said during her campaign the state law puts state employees in the position of violating federal law and she'd like it repealed.
But she's also said New Mexico has pressing budget issues, so repeal is not a priority in the 2011 legislative session.
Martinez's nominee for health secretary, Dr. Catherine Torres, would say only that the program "continues to function according to current state law."
The law's sponsor, Democratic Sen. Gerry Ortiz y Pino of Albuquerque, said he hopes the new administration won't push for its repeal in the future, either.
Medical marijuana users protest over proposal
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. (KABC) -- A protest is set to get under way in San Bernardino on Thursday morning. Medical marijuana users are upset over a plan to restrict the growing and selling of pot.
The ban would only allow medical marijuana distribution through hospitals and certain approved facilities. It would also expand the current moratorium on new dispensaries.
Backers of the proposal say that the dispensaries and collectives must be banned in order to restrict crime and protect neighborhoods.
But opponents say it would be a violation of their rights to access marijuana according to California law, which voters approved many years ago.
Now the pressure is on the San Bernardino Planning Commission because most towns and municipalities already have a ban or severe restrictions. There's concern that many dispensaries could open shop in unincorporated county areas.
The commission looked at crime studies, and there are reports that there are a wide range of problems around dispensaries.
Another controversial element of the proposal is that if someone were to grow marijuana for personal use, it would have to be grown indoors. Outdoor cultivation would not be allowed.
Can Employers Fire a Medical Marijuana Patient for Lighting Up California
It looks like California has backed itself into a bit of a smoke-filled corner again. Medical marijuana has been legal in California since 1996, but one state senator says that legality is worthless to about half the residents there. That’s because it’s currently legal for any California company to fire any employee who tests positive for pot. California Democratic state Sen. Mark Leno says that his state’s legalization of marijuana was never meant to apply only to the state’s unemployed which at face value, seems to make a lot of sense. Do medical-marijuana patients have a right to work or not?
This is not the first time that Leno has introduced a bill that bans employers from firing medipot smokers. His 2007 bill was very similar, and it even passed the legislature. But then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger vetoed it, saying employment protection was not a goal of Prop. 215, which legalized marijuana in California. Schwarzenegger also said he was concerned about allowing marijuana to affect the decisions that employers make.
But can you really have it both ways? If medical marijuana is so therapeutic, then should only those who do not work be able to benefit from it? How do the rights of legitimate medipot smokers compare to disabled people who require certain accommodations? Yes, much of this boils down to what type of job a person is performing. And Leno’s bill addresses this. The bill states that jobs that are “safety sensitive,” such as those performed by doctors and heavy equipment operators, would not be covered.
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