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."
Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act aims 160,000 signatures at 2012 ballot
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Wed, January, 4th 2012 by THCFinder
Colorado continues to push for legalization showing they are the front runners of the big show!
In July, the folks behind the Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act of 2012 launched a petition drive to land the measure on the November 2012 ballot -- and at 11:30 p.m. today, they'll celebrate the effort at a press event before formally submitting nearly 160,000 signatures. Proponent Mason Tvert notes that backers overshot their original goal.
"We need 86,105 valid signatures to qualify for next year's ballot, and initially, we were aiming for 145,000," he says. "But we came to find there was so much support for Colorado putting it on the ballot that we kept going."
Tvert adds that signatures are continuing to trickle in from volunteers -- and that's probably a good thing, since the Colorado Secretary of State's office, which approves measures for the ballot, typically disallows a hefty chunk of them. "One of the general rules of thumb you often hear when it comes to initiatives is that you should get 150 percent of what's required," he points out. "And we surpassed that, collecting nearly twice as many as we need. So we're confident we're going to have more than enough valid signatures."
Secretary of State personnel are expected to start verifying signatures shortly, and given Tvert's belief that "they don't have any other significant election issues going on right now," he expects to get confirmation of the act's place on the ballot within the next few weeks. Not that supporters plan to wait around for the high sign.
"This campaign has already grown to include more than 500 volunteers and 150-plus businesses throughout the state, and we're ready to hit the ground running," he says. "We're going to begin reaching out to Coloradans to talk about the fact that marijuana is safer than alcohol and the need for a more sensible approach. The current situation with medical marijuana demonstrates that this is something that can be done, and if it passes, there will no longer be penalties for adult possession of small amounts of marijuana."
Marijuana: Pot will be rescheduled if Barack Obama or Ron Paul win, advocate says
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Tue, January, 3rd 2012 by THCFinder
Last week, the Department of Revenue sent a letter formally petitioning the federal government to reschedule marijuana; read it below. Sensible Colorado's Brian Vicente sees the move as a sign of the times, and predicts such rescheduling will happen within five years -- if Barack Obama or Ron Paul win the 2012 election.
"I think it was actually fairly meaningful," says Vicente about the letter, penned by DOR head Barbara Brohl. "Colorado was the fourth state just last year to send a request to the federal government to reconsider marijuana's schedule in the Controlled Substances Act" -- Schedule 1, meaning it has no officially recognized medical value on the federal level. "That shows the groundswell of support is growing."
Perhaps, but Brohl's letter is not exactly enthusiastic, perhaps because she was compelled to pen it rather than doing so on her own initiative, as Vicente explains.
"The way this worked was that the legislature passed a law, HB 1284, in which the legislators told the Department of Revenue to send a letter to the federal government about rescheduling. And the fact that our state legislature supported doing this is meaningful in and of itself."
Even so, Vicente acknowledges that similar letters sent a few weeks back by the governors of Rhode Island and Washington exuded more passion for such a policy shift than did Brohl's missive.
"I wish ours had been stronger," he notes. "The letter from the other governors made a very strong case for taking the common sense step of rescheduling marijuana. I think our letter was a little more perfunctory and could have been more persuasively written. But I really think the act itself is the most important piece."
Vicente doesn't expect the feds to move forward with rescheduling in the immediate future. "I think it's a ways off -- and when I say that, I'm thinking five years, not ten, twenty, thirty or forty." As for what will finally push the national government to take the leap, he believes "a larger critical mass of states" must follow Colorado's path. "Whether that's a half-dozen or a dozen, I don't know. But I think that's reasonable, and the momentum is clearly on our side. There are sixteen medical marijuana states right now, and the federal government can read the writing on the wall."
The 2012 election will play a role in determining the delay's length, he believes. While many marijuana activists have decried what they see as the current administration's war on weed, Vicente feels that "a second-term Obama presidency would give us a pretty strong chance of seeing marijuana rescheduled."
Not so if there's a Republican elected president, "with the exception of Ron Paul," he continues, noting that in today's Iowa caucuses, "he's a frontrunner."
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