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Medical marijuana could cost epileptic man custody of daughter

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, June, 28th 2011 by THCFinder
A  Michigan father is in jeopardy of losing custody of his 10-year-old daughter, all because he can legally smoke marijuana.
 
Livingston Thompson Jr. has epilepsy.
 
He's been dealing with it for 20 years, and according to him, nothing has really helped except for the marijuana.
 
"It relaxes me. I'm not as stressed. I discovered that my epileptic seizures -- some of them are stress activated," says Thompson.
 
Still, his medication of choice could cost him his daughter, Shylynn.
 
"If I lost custody of my daughter it would crush me. They'd probably see a lot more episodes," he says.
 
That's something Shylynn can't handle.
 
"If my daddy lost custody of me I'd be sad, just as sad as he would be if he lost custody of me. Because my dad has had me for ten years. And I don't want to lose my dad," says Shylynn.
 
Last year, Thompson spanked his daughter and Child Protective Services was called.
 
It was decided that Shylynn wasn't in any danger and could return home, but Thompson now has to get periodic drug testing.
 
"I explained to the judge that should be modified because my client has a medical marijuana card," says attorney Charles Ford.
 
The judge has decided that marijuana is not the best treatment for his epilepsy and that it's in the best interest of the child that the parents are drug free.
 
The bigger question here is, with a state law that's so unclear, could other parents fall into the same situation?
 
"If he tested positive there's a strong possibility that he could lose his child," says Ford.
 
Thompson says this is a fight he can't afford to lose.
 
"I don't want to lose my family," adds Shylynn.
 
Thompson can choose to appeal the judge's decision.
 
He can make the case that his medical marijuana does not impair his judgment as a father and that he needs it for his medical condition.
 
If he doesn't appeal, then he has to stop using, otherwise she could be taken from the household.
 
An appeal would be precedent-setting because this is really the first time a judge has interpreted the law like this.
 
If the decision stands, then similar cases could have the same outcome.

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Nebraska attorney submits paperwork for state ballot initiative to legalize marijuana

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, June, 27th 2011 by THCFinder
MCCOOK, Neb. — A Holbrook attorney is trying to launch a ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in Nebraska.
 
The McCook Daily Gazette reports that Frank Shoemaker submitted petition language to the Nebraska Secretary of State earlier this month.
 
The newspaper says Shoemaker is listed as the sole sponsor of the Nebraska Marijuana Legalization Initiative. The petition seeks to amend the state constitution to remove all laws that regulate the private, non-commercial use of cannabis, and to regulate all commercial uses. It seeks to place the place the question on the November 2012 ballot.
 
Shoemaker would need to collect valid signatures from 10 percent of the state's registered voters. In 2008, that number was more than 112,000 signatures.
 

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Man Wants To Use Medical Marijuana In Jail

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, June, 24th 2011 by THCFinder
LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- Thousands of New Mexicans smoke marijuana, legally, for medical purposes.
 
But are these same rights still upheld in jail?
 
A Las Cruces man said certified medical marijuana patients, like himself, should be allowed to smoke in jail, and without weed, he said, he is not going. He must report to jail to serve a four-day sentence for driving without a license.
 
"I'm not gonna come in here without this medication," Greg Fernandez said. "I need my medication."
 
He said he smokes one or two blunts a day, and never leaves home without a bag of weed.
 
"A lot of people judge me because of it, they think of me like a drug addict when all I'm trying to do is stop my seizures from happening," Fernandez said.
 
A scar along the inside of his left arm is a painful reminder of why he said he needs pot.
 
Fernandez said he has suffered from severe seizures since a rattlesnake bit him 15 years ago.
 
"I sometimes stop breathing; I turn blue and I fall on the floor," he said.
 
Fernandez says prescription medication has not suppressed his illness.
 
"I've been able to only find one thing, and that's marijuana," Fernandez said. "It has helped me out a lot and that's why I need the jail to allow me to bring it in here also."
 
Fernandez says the court is leaving the final decision up to the Dona Ana County Detention Center.
 
"My understanding is marijuana is not permitted within the facility; it's considered contraband," Jess Williams, spokesman for Dona Ana county, told ABC-7.
 
"The facility has a complete medical unit and we'll make sure anybody who is in there gets the medical care they need," said Williams.
 
ABC-7 even asked former prosecutor and now New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez her opinion on the issue.
 
"The defendant has broken the law and he has four mandatory days to be served in jail, and unless the court allows that to take place I am in complete agreement with that judge that says that marijuana is not allowed within that facility," she said.
 
Fernandez has a card issued by the state of New Mexico as proof that he can legally smoke the herbal supplement for medical reasons. He said he wishes he did not need to smoke weed but says it is the only thing that helps.
 
"My fear is having a seizure and dying," Fernandez said. "They don't consider it a medication and it angers me, it does bother me because I fought hard to try to get this."
 

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Protestors Picket Arraignment of Medical Marijuana Dispensary Owners

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, June, 24th 2011 by THCFinder
Protestors congregated outside the Livingston County 53rd District Courthouse in downtown Brighton Thursday morning to protest the arraignment of Alan and Christi Marshall.
 
The Marshalls, who own and operate Marshall Alternatives, a medical marijuana dispensary near Fowlerville, and Stephanie Lynn Baxter, an employee, are charged with delivery of marijuana. The felony offense carries up to four years in prison.
 
Baxter, charged with two counts of delivery of marijuana, and Alan Marshal, charged as a habitual offender, could each see up to eight years in prison.
 
The charges come after the Marshalls and Baxter allegedly sold medical marijuana to an undercover agent on several occasions over the last several months.
 
Court documents state that the undercover officer presented an invalid medical marijuana card when purchasing products at Marshall Alternatives.
 
The Marshalls’ attorneys call the agent’s tactics entrapment.
 
Released on bond, all three defendants will return to court on July 13.
 
Protestors, who held signs that read “I’m a Patient” and “Patients are not criminals,” also gathered at the corner of Main and 1st streets. The demonstration elicited the response of several passersby. Motorists honked their horns and pedestrians stopped to talk with the protestors.
 
One middle-aged woman slowed her minivan and shouted “You’re right! They’re wrong!” as she passed.
 

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Medical Marijuana Patient taken to jail

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, June, 21st 2011 by THCFinder
‚ÄčIn the latest sign that Gilbert police have gone rogue, a medical marijuana patient tells New Times that he was taken to jail two nights ago for possessing a half-ounce of weed.
This is the third case we've heard about in the past week in which Gilbert officers allegedly told patients that the voter-approved medical marijuana law provides no meaningful protection.
 
Not only did the officers write up the man for possible possession charge -- he says they're accusing him of DUI because he admitted he'd smoked pot that morning. If true, that seems like one DUI case that'll never stick.
 
On Sunday at about midnight, Steven P., who lives in Gilbert, tells us that he was pulled over near Val Vista and Baseline roads for failing to make a complete stop as he left a strip mall lot. 
 
The bloodhound cop smelled the high-quality weed in the car and asked him about it. Steven 'fessed up right away, he says, and showed the cop his state-issued medical marijuana registration card.
 
Steven says he had about half an ounce of weed in four separate, labeled baggies.
 
"For a second, I thought I was going to be able to drive away," Steven says.
 
Instead, the officer called his supervisor, who soon arrived at the scene. They interrogated him about where he purchased the marijuana, saying that if he couldn't provide the name and number of the person who sold it, he was going to be arrested.
 
He says the officers also told him that the pot wouldn't be legal unless he bought it in a dispensary, (there are none yet) or grew it himself. As to the latter option, however, Steven says the officers implied that even if he'd admitted to growing, he could still be in trouble because there's no legal way to obtain seeds.
 
In our non-expert, non-lawyerly opinion, Arizona law seems clear when it states that if a valid card-holder possesses less than 2 1/2 ounces, a presumption exists of medical use.
 
Police booked Steven into jail and impounded his truck, but didn't bother with his bong and pipe, which were still in the vehicle when he picked it up the next day.
 

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Feds Threaten to Extinguish California's Pot Boom

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, June, 21st 2011 by THCFinder
Local officials say that regulating the commercial pot industry could protect public safety, and would be a good source of tax revenue. But the Obama administration is pushing back.
 
With demand for medical marijuana surging around the country, some cities and states are looking to license commercial growing, including in California. Local officials say regulating the industry protects public safety and is a good source of tax revenue. But now the Obama administration is pushing back.
 
LaNier says the tripwire for the Feds' tough new posture came last year after Californians narrowly rejected Proposition 19, a measure to legalize recreational pot use. He says officials then zeroed in on local medical marijuana schemes like Oakland's, and decided to threaten prosecution.
 
"They're not going to go after someone who's standing on the corner or in their home using marijuana. This is going to be targeting those individuals who are facilitating production, trafficking, engaged in the distribution," La Nier said.
 
LaNier says the Justice Department letters state pointedly that even local officials could face criminal charges. But Jay Rorty, an ACLU attorney, says those warnings violate previous assurances from the Feds.
 
"It's important that the DOJ makes clear that people who are complying with valid state law do not fear federal prosecution," Rorty said.
 
Rorty and others insist that was the promise made in a 2009 Justice Department memo, which essentially stated: comply with state law and the feds won't prosecute you. But Justice Department officials are saying the exemption only applies to seriously-ill people, not commercial growers and not medical marijuana distribution outlets.
 
Benjamin Wagner, the US Attorney for California's Eastern District, says the Justice Department will enforce federal law.
 
"We've met with the DEA in this regard. People from Washington have been out to California to coordinate a statewide enforcement strategy," Wagner said.
 
It's unclear whether the Feds will target the state's most established medical marijuana operators, like Harborside Health Center in Oakland.
 
On a recent afternoon at Harborside, dozens of customers were eagerly inspecting gleaming glass cases displaying well-manicured marijuana buds. Despite a grueling audit battle with the IRS, owner Steve Deangelo says Harborside is turning over millions of dollars in sales each month. Still, he says, medical marijuana remains a risky business.
 
"Until federal law changes, this is not an industry, it's a movement. And anybody who gets involved in distributing medical cannabis has to be prepared to be arrested and have a monumental challenge on your hands," said Deangelo.
 

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