Washington changing up marijuana laws
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, January, 17th 2012 by THCFinder
This could be a step forward for medical marijuana patients and community over the long haul.
THE Legislature is about to get another medical-marijuana bill. It is a necessary bill.
The medical-cannabis regime in Washington — "cannabis" is the official name now — was left in chaos last year by the Obama administration's threat to prosecute state employees who licensed any cannabis business.
The Obama people didn't say they would arrest state employees, and they haven't done it elsewhere. But their threat was enough for Gov. Chris Gregoire to veto much of the bill.
What survived was "collective gardens" — small grows by patients and their providers. But dispensaries — the shops — were in limbo.
Spokane, which on this issue is located somewhere in cultural Idaho, shut its dispensaries down with raids by police. We are told dispensaries remain open in Mukilteo, Shoreline, Seattle, Issaquah, Kent, Tacoma, Gig Harbor, Lacey, Olympia and Castle Rock.
That is not enough. Cannabis has proven medical value, and some of the patients who want it live east of the mountains. They ought to be able to buy it. (We believe all people over 21 ought to be able to buy it, but that is another matter.)
The new bill, by Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles, D-Seattle, allows nonprofit (but taxable) cannabis dispensaries by local option. For counties of more than 200,000 — Whatcom, Snohomish, Kitsap, King, Pierce, Thurston, Clark, Yakima and Spokane — the bill would allow dispensaries unless a local jurisdiction opted out. In the other 30 counties, jurisdictions would be out unless they opted in.
The bill also sets up a voluntary statewide registry to give patients protection from arrest, which was vetoed in last year's bill. It also says a conviction for driving under the influence requires actual impairment, not only a blood test, because traces of cannabis may stay in the blood for days.
Gregoire's office has seen the draft bill and a representative says that in its present form the governor probably could sign it. That would be a step forward on a long road.
Protecting patients in the workplace
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, January, 17th 2012 by THCFinder
Help protect hard working Americans who have the right to medicate and live a normal life!
Do you use marijuana for medical reasons? Do you want to get a job when you graduate? Tough luck.
Many are unaware that the California Supreme Court has ruled that employers may fire anyone who fails a drug test, even legal medical marijuana patients. Sadly, many find this out only after they’ve lost their jobs. Only a legislative action will change the climate now.
SB129 (Leno) would grant needed employment rights to medical marijuana users and will be voted on as soon as Jan. 19 in Sacramento. Whether or not you use medical marijuana, you should support this bill along with the 65 percent of California voters who agree that medical marijuana users shouldn’t lose their right to work.
California NORML regularly receives calls from frantic workers in danger of job loss. Ironically, many tell us that it’s marijuana that enables them to be productive workers by managing their pain without opiates, or allowing them to sleep, or staving off migraine headaches. But unless they can stomach pharmaceutical medications for their ailments, they’re out of luck when it comes to the job market.
Medical Marijuana Patient Could Face 99 Years in Texas Prison
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, January, 11th 2012 by THCFinder
A 22-year-old medical marijuana patient is set to be extradited to Texas in the coming days to face pot possession charges that could land him in prison for up to 99 years.
Mendocino resident Christopher Diaz sits in a Ukiah jail awaiting extradition to Browns County, Texas. His case has caught the attention of medical marijuana advocates throughout the state, who are holding the case up as an example of the failings of national marijuana law.
Diaz was arrested on October 30th as he drove through Austin, Texas on his way to visit his great-grandmother who was very ill. He had less than a half-an-ounce of hash, and less than a quarter ounce of marijuana in the car when authorities pulled him over. He was arrested on possession with intent to distribute it.
After his arrest, Diaz left Texas and hightailed it to his home in California. He has now been indicted for bail jumping. He is currently being held on a $160,000 bail, but the judge in the case wants you to know that as a California official, she is required to comply with Texas authorities under the Uniform Extradition Act. Judge Ann Moorman said that she has no authority in the matter, and even the bail amount was set in Texas and outside of her jurisdiction. Advocates of Diaz and medical marijuana in general say that the waiting for extradition could have been done out of custody.
Diaz suffers from severe asthma and said his family moved to California five years ago so they could specifically pursue alternative treatments for his breathing ailment. The marijuana was found with his recommendation wrapped around it, along with religious documents from the THC Ministry that Diaz says his entire family belongs to and adheres to their belief about the religious rights of marijuana as a sacrament as well as a health treatment.
The Brown County District Attorney Michael Murray told media last week that while less than an ounce of pot isn’t a huge deal in California, it is in Texas. Murray said the case is a serious one and that he doesn’t believe Diaz needs marijuana for medical purposes.
If convicted, Diaz faces a sentence of between five and 99 years in a Texas prison. Murray told the Press Democrat. ”He needs to come back and face the music. There’s not much tolerance (here) for anybody distributing drugs for any reason.” Diaz could be extradited any day.
Tribal Police in Arizona Seize Cars of Medical Marijuana Patients
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, January, 9th 2012 by THCFinder
Talk about abusing your power...
While Gov. Jan Brewer has blocked the licensing of dispensaries under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, the law still protects patients with state-issued IDs from punishment for possession—except on tribal lands. The Phoenix New Times reports that tribal police are seizing the cars of patients who cross Native American land with their medicine, including motorists on "a strip of the Loop 101 freeway that runs from south of McKellips Road to the Pima Road/90th Street exit." The Salt River Maricopa-Pima Indian Community issued this statement in response to an inquiry from the New Times:
As the U.S. Attorney's office made clear in its May 2, 2011 letter to the Arizona Department of Health Services, Arizona law including the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, does not apply to Indian Country. The Community will therefore continue to enforce tribal and federal laws as they apply to drug offenses. While the Community has no desire to interfere with individuals' exercise of their rights under Arizona law, given that the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act has not been fully implemented, it does not appear that drivers within the Community, including those traveling on state or federal rights of way, have the legal authority to possess marijuana within the exterior boundaries of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
"In other words," the New Times advises, "if you're passing through Indian Country, leave the bud at home—whether or not you're legal under state law."
Medical Marijuana License Fees That Saved Cops' Jobs at Risk in Mendocino
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, January, 6th 2012 by THCFinder
The one-of-a-kind cooperation between medical marijuana growers and the Mendocino County Sheriff's Department -- which legitimized cannabis cultivation in the eyes of the law and saved the jobs of deputies facing layoffs -- is at risk, pending the outcome of a court case.
Since 2010, Mendocino County marijuana growers with a doctor's recommendation have been permitted to license plants with Sheriff Tom Allman's department, under chapter 9.31 of the Mendocino County Code. Growers wishing to cultivate up to 99 plants must pay the Sheriff's Department an inspection fee and a $50 per-plant permit fee. In return, growers receive zip-ties that mark each of their 99 plants as certified legal, and the promise that the inspected medical marijuana crop won't be raided by local law enforcement.
But a court case out of Southern California could invalidate the program -- the first and only of its kind in California, according to Mendocinco County Counsel Jeanine B. Nadel.
In its opinion on Pack v. Long Beach, the state Court of Appeals ruled that state and local governments cannot issue permits for medical marijuana dispensaries or grows because in doing so, the government would violate the federal Controlled Substances Act.
"If the Pack decision stands, I think we would have issue with our permitting procedure," Nadel told SF Weekly shortly before the new year. "Our permit for 99 plants might be in jeopardy."
The state Supreme Court is expected to decide if it will hear an appeal from the city of Long Beach on the Pack decision sometime in February. If an appeal is heard, the 9.31 program can continue as normal while the case is in the courts, Nadel said.
Cops Who Support Legalizing Marijuana to Question Presidential Candidates in NH
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, January, 5th 2012 by THCFinder
CONCORD, NH -- Several active duty and retired members of law enforcement will question presidential candidates on the campaign trail in New Hampshire today and tomorrow about the failed war on drugs they've been asked to waged.
"As an active duty jail superintendent, I've seen how the drug war doesn't do anything to reduce drug abuse but does cause a host of other problems, from prison overcrowding to a violent black market controlled by gangs and cartels," said Richard Van Wickler, the serving corrections superintendent in Cheshire County, NH and a board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). "For a long time this issue has been treated like a third rail by politicians, but polls now show that voters overwhelmingly agree that the drug war is a failure and that a new direction is sorely needed."
WHO: Cheshire County, NH Corrections Superintendent Richard Van Wickler; Plainfield, CT Chief of Police Robert Hoffman and other law enforcement officials
WHAT: Panel discussion and questioning of presidential candidates on ending the war on drugs
WHEN: All day Thursday and Friday, January 5-6; Panel discussion at 1:00 PM Thursday
WHERE: 2012 College Convention; Grappone Conference Center; 70 Constitution Ave.; Concord, NH (1:00 PM Thurs discussion panel in Merrimack Room).
Gallup has been asking Americans about marijuana legalization for more than 40 years. This October, for the first time ever, the firm found that more Americans support legalizing marijuana than oppose it (50%-46%). The support for legalization is up from 36% five years ago and just 25% in the late nineties. According to Zogby, three out of four Americans believe the overall war on drugs has been a failure.
Among the Republican candidates, only Ron Paul has forcefully called for an end to the drug war. Gov. Rick Perry and Gov. Jon Hunstman have said that states should be allowed to legalize medical marijuana without federal interference. Newt Gingrich, when asked by a woman in New Hampshire this week whether she should be arrested for her drug use, said, "No, you shouldn't be arrested for recreational drug use but you also shouldn't do it." President Obama, while opposing legalization, has said that it is "an entirely legitimate topic for debate."
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