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Medical Marijuana

Arizona medical marijuana law no shield for users, growers, prosecutor says

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, May, 2nd 2011 by THCFinder
Arizona's top federal prosecutor joined a growing chorus of law officers across the country Monday in saying that the state's medical marijuana law doesn't protect users, growers or sellers from federal prosecution.
 
U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke, in a letter to Arizona's health director, said his office will abide by a 2009 Justice Department memo that discourages prosecution of medical marijuana users. But he said anyone who possesses or distributes marijuana is still violating federal law.
 
"This compliance with Arizona laws and regulations does not provide a safe harbor, nor immunity from federal prosecution," Burke wrote to Will Humble, director of the state Department of Health Services.
 
Burke's letter follows similar correspondence in recent weeks between federal prosecutors, attorneys general and governors in several other states, and dispensary and greenhouse raids in Washington, Montana and California.
 
Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire on Friday vetoed a bill in her state to regulate the medical-marijuana industry, which has been operating underground since voters approved it in 1998. Federal prosecutors there also made good on a promise to crack down on landlords who leased their property to dispensaries.
 
Gregoire and other governors have said they don't want to put state employees at risk of prosecution.
 
In his two-page letter, Burke said "individuals and organizations - including property owners, landlords and financiers" could be prosecuted under federal drug-trafficking laws. But he made no mention of state employees, who have been processing ID cards for hundreds of medical-marijuana users and are preparing to license dispensaries and cultivation sites this summer.
 
"The public should understand, however, that even clear and unambiguous compliance with (Arizona Medical Marijuana Act) does not render possession or distribution of marijuana lawful under federal statute," Burke wrote.
 
Burke said the state's medical pot law, approved by voters in November, does not apply on Arizona Indian reservations.
 

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Dad Gives Toddler Battling Brain Cancer Medical Marijuana

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, May, 2nd 2011 by THCFinder


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Bill Would Regulate "Wild West" of Medical Marijuana

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, April, 29th 2011 by THCFinder
The "wild west" of medical marijuana dispensaries could be coming to an end in California.
 
State lawmakers are working on a bill that would ban medical marijuana dispensaries  from operating within 600 feet of residential areas.
 
Anaheim City Councilwoman Kris Murray, who is pushing the measure, told the Los Angeles Times that some California residents don't feel safe on their own streets anymore.
 
Sen. Doug La Malfa said the 1996 ballot measure permitting medical marijuana sales has created a "wild west" in the industry and legislators have been trying to catch up.
 
In San Jose, the city had conversations of using eBay to auction of MCD permits when it talked of reducing the number of medical marijuana dispensaries from over 100 to 10.
 
If passed, the legislation would create buffer zones in residential neighborhoods where medical marijuana clubs would not be allowed to operate. Cities would also be given the power to adopt stricter regulations if they so choose.
 

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Pass it to the Right: Medical Marijuana Gaining Steam in Illinois

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Thu, April, 28th 2011 by THCFinder
Back in November, Senate Bill 1381, which would have legalized medical marijuana, failed to receive enough votes.
 
The man behind the bill, Rep. Lou Lang (D-16thDistrict) told Skokie Patch in the past that many lawmakers were for the legislation – enough to pass it and then some – but that they wouldn't vote for it because of possible political fallout.
 
Back then, Lang fell short by seven votes during a lame-duck season in Congress. Some lawmakers feared Illinois would become another California.
 
Fast forward to today and a similar bill is gaining steam, as Lang and new allies – some Republican – are laying out a stricter set of rules for the bill. 
 
The bill has new life, mainly because Republican Representative and House Minority Leader Tom Cross said he will support legalizing medical marijuana. His support came after talking to cancer patients and a disabled veteran.
 
The controversial plant would treat people with HIV/AIDS, cancer and severe glaucoma, among other illness. Yet Illinois lawmakers want to make sure that to make their state doesn’t become another California.
 
In California, for example, a person could receive a prescription for stating that they are simply having frequent headaches, something Illinois lawmakers don't want for the state.
 
Marijuana distribution sites in Illinois would also be not-for-profit, unlike those in California. There would also be severe penalties for those that sell the plant after obtaining it through prescription.
 
"How do you turn down the people who are sick? Who are in pain? People who haven't been able to have a quality life," Lang asked elected officials in Illinois. "This is not a bill about drugs. This is a bill about health care."
 

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ACLU bids to reinstate suit over Walmart worker's medical marijuana firing

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, April, 27th 2011 by THCFinder
The American Civil Liberties Union today asked a federal appeals court to revive its lawsuit that claims Walmart wrongfully fired a Battle Creek employee who used medical marijuana to treat a brain tumor and cancer.
 
U.S. District Judge Robert Jonker dismissed the ACLU’s lawsuit in February, holding that Michigan’s medical marijuana law does not require companies to accommodate employees who are medical marijuana patients, nor does it prohibit them from firing employees for drug use.
 
But in a filing today with the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, the ACLU argued that Jonker got it wrong. Specifically, the ACLU argued that Jonker ignored the text of the state’s medical marijuana law that prohibits businesses from firing patients who use marijuana in accordance with state law. The ACLU also argued that the case belongs in state court where the ACLU originally filed it.
 
The employee in this case is Joseph Casias, a 2008 Associate of the Year at a Walmart in Battle Creek who used marijuana to treat pain associated with an inoperable brain tumor and cancer. Casias was fired from his job after testing positive for marijuana in 2009, which led to the ACLU’s lawsuit.
 
The ACLU argued that the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, passed by voters in 2008, protects medical marijuana patients from “disciplinary action by a business.” Moreover, Casias never ingested marijuana while at work, and never worked while under the influence of marijuana, the group argued.
 
“The lower court’s ruling failed to uphold the will of Michigan voters, who clearly wanted to protect medical marijuana and facilitate its use by very sick people like Joseph Casias,” Scott Michelman, staff attorney with the ACLU Criminal Law Reform Project, said in a statement. “No one should ever have to choose between adequate pain relief and gainful employment, but Walmart forced Joseph to pay a stiff and unfair price for using a medicine that has had a life-changing positive effect for him.”
 
WalMart defended its decision to fire Casias.
 
“This is just an unfortunate situation all around, and we’re sympathetic to Mr. Casias’s condition,” said WalMart spokesman Greg Rossiter, noting that the decision to fire Casias was a safety issue. “Walmart has to consider the overall safety of our customers and our associates, including Mr. Casias. When we have to make a difficult decision like the one we did, ultimately the issue for us is the ability of our associates to do their jobs safely.”
 

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Colo. Medical Marijuana Bill Catches Attention Of Feds

Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, April, 27th 2011 by THCFinder
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Under provisions of Colorado House Bill 1043, medical marijuana could be licensed, grown and distributed legally in the state of Colorado, but the federal law disagrees.
 
Federal law prohibits the manufacture, distribution or possession with intent to distribute any controlled substance, including marijuana.
 
"They do not consider state employees who conduct activities under state medical marijuana laws to be immune to liability under federal law," said Mike Saccone, communications director for the Office of the Attorney General of Colorado.
 
The enforcement of the federal law would be focused not on the patients, but the growers and distributors.
 
"Although they made a decision not to prosecute individuals who are seriously ill who are using medical marijuana in line with state law, they still could prosecute individuals who are involved in the distribution or the trafficking of marijuana," said Saccone.
 
Local owners of dispensaries said, that in the beginning, the state law sounded good, but now the federal law is worrisome.
 
"Does it worry us? It's in the back of everybody's mind. If I could press rewind in time, I don't know if I'd be here anymore," said a local medical marijuana dispensary owner.
 
Colorado House Bill 1043 is pending in the General Assembly and the provisions of the bill could have major effects on dispensaries.
 
The Office of the Attorney General of Colorado said that these issues will be brought to the General Assembly in the next few days.
 

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