Judge Says Medical Marijuana Loans Cannot Be Enforced
Two businesspeople in Arizona are out $500,000 in loans they gave to a medical marijuana dispensary in Colorado because a judge says medical marijuana loan contracts cannot be enforced.
In August 2010 Mark Haile and Michele Hammer loaned $250,000 a piece to Today’s Health Care II, expecting to be repaid like anyone who loans money. But in March of 2011 THC defaulted on the loan. When no money was forthcoming, Haile and Hammer sued.
Seemed like an open and shut case except for one thing. Marijuana is illegal under the Federal Controlled Substances Act, so on April 17th of this year Superior Court Judge Michael McVey ruled that the plaintiffs were entitled to no money.
So marijuana prohibition screws two more people in an ever-growing list. This will also have the effect of drying up medical marijuana loans – not that there were many places for that to start with. And the economics of the medical marijuana industry grow even smaller.
Haile and Hammer’s lawyer was surprised by the verdict, but THC’s lawyer was not. "It's a classic supremacy issue--federal versus state," William Kozub said. "Take the marijuana out of it. Just make it a regular commercial dispute for something that's illegal under federal law. It's that simple. Drug lords from Colombia cannot come to court and say 'They sold me bad cocaine.’”
Quite a smug comment, but he did win so I guess some of that is to be expected. And I would expect THC to be shunned in the marijuana and business community as the bad investment they are. But it’s a shame that marijuana prohibition not only ruins lives and enriches criminals, but its economic impact is immense. Resources wasted, tax money lost, job-growth suppressed and investment opportunities drying up.
Truly a shame.
State of Arizona Now Taking Medical Marijuana Dispensary Applications
Between now and May 25th at 5 p.m. local time, The Arizona Department of Health Services will be taking applications for medical marijuana dispensaries.
Under the state’s medical marijuana law there are supposed to be 126 dispensaries, but lawsuits and other delays have stalled progress. Hopefully now things can get moving at a better pace. It’s important for patients to be able to grow their own, but there can’t be full access without dispensaries.
Those applying for permits to operate dispensaries must pay a $5,000 fee, only $1,000 of which will be returned if they are not approved. Applicants must not be able to write medical marijuana recommendations and not have certain felonies on their record, among other stipulations.
If approved, an operator can have up to 5 dispensaries. State officials estimate they will end up approving about 70 to 80 applications which will be spread evenly throughout the state. There are now more than 22,000 legal MMJ patients in Arizona, with about 85% having requested permission to grow their own.
After applicants are approved sometime this summer and are in operation, they will be able to grow their own cannabis and/or buy it from approved dispensaries, caregivers and patients.
Things have moved slowly in AZ, especially with Governor Jan Brewer doing everything she could to stall forward momentum. But it now seems patients will have full medical marijuana access by the fall. This makes patients in Arizona more fortunate than those in most other states.
Of course, we will see how long their fortune lasts since 126 dispensaries means 126 new targets for the federal government to threaten and/or raid. And as long as things stay the way they are at the federal level, you can bet Arizona will find itself in the crosshairs eventually.
Full Steam Ahead with Medical Marijuana Raids
Wednesday night a measure in the U.S. House of Representatives that would have cut off federal funding for the ongoing medical marijuana crackdown failed. It lost by a vote of 262 to 163 with only 29 Republicans voting yes.
Since 2009 the Obama Administration has conducted over 170 SWAT-style raids on medical marijuana operators in states where medical cannabis is legal. With the recent addition of Connecticut there are now 17 states with some form of medical marijuana patient protection.
Which of course means every operator and caregiver in the country must brace for a raid at any moment. Not the most pleasant way to live and run a business, especially for those who are operating legally under state law.
"If states' rights aren't a good enough reason to pass this amendment, do it because of compassion. Compassion demands it," said Sam Farr (D-CA), one of the co-sponsors of the bill, on the House floor Wednesday night. "We offer this amendment for terminal cancer patients, for AIDS victims, for persons who suffer chronic pain. We offer this amendment not only to protect those people, but we offer this amendment to protect the states that are progressive enough to provide alternative medical options to those who need it."
But that’s just it. To politicians who get campaign money from Big Pharma, “alternative medical options” are a bad thing.
You can even expect the Justice Department to be emboldened by the recent House vote and step up the threats and raids. And after all, who is going to stop them?
This is why it’s so important to vote for freedom-supporting politicians. Without a supporting White House there are few options for getting the federal government to back off of the states. One of those ways is to cut off funding, which Congress can do.
Rhode Island Lawmakers Working on New Rules for Medical Marijuana
Rhode Island lawmakers are trying desperately to come up with new rules governing the 3 medical marijuana compassion centers that are already supposed to be up and running. Federal threats derailed the first attempt earlier this year, and the feds don’t seem impressed with the attempts at new rules either.
In this case the threats are coming from U.S. Attorney Peter F. Neronha. His office issued a statement Wednesday again warning the state against “large-scale” cultivation and distribution. "As has been stated previously, and as I reiterated to the governor and legislative leaders during a recent meeting, the department has given guidance to U.S. attorneys that prosecuting genuinely ill persons who use marijuana for medical purposes in compliance with state laws would not be an effective use of limited federal resources," Neronha said.
"At the same time, the department’s guidance has also made clear that combating large-scale commercial cultivation and distribution of marijuana remains a priority. Anyone engaging in such activities is subject to a variety of potential federal criminal and civil remedies, including forfeiture of the real estate where such centers or associated activities are located."
In other words they won’t go after sick people, just the places where they get their medicine. How does this make any sense? It’s like telling people they are allowed to eat pizza all they want, but no businesses are allowed to make pizza and sell it. If you want pizza make your own.
So lawmakers in RI are in a useless struggle to put regulations and limits on medical marijuana, regulations and limits that will do nothing to keep the feds out of their state business.
It’s time to admit that the Obama Administration cares nothing about sick people. Unless of course those sick people are addicted to prescription drugs made by Obama campaign donors. Shame on you Mr. President. Never have there been more disappointed people in a President that started with such potential and turned out to be just another corporate lackey.
Selective Enforcement is a Dangerous Power to Have
Supporters of medical marijuana – especially in Colorado – know who CO Representative Jared Polis (D) is. He is a stalwart champion of medical marijuana rights and advocate of an end to marijuana prohibition.
In the video below he makes about as many good points as a person can in under 5 minutes. He eviscerates the “logic” behind prohibition and rightly highlights the way its enforcement distracts from real crime. The speech comes from the U.S. House floor last night in support of the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment which would de-fund federal attacks on legal medical marijuana providers.
We simply need more politicians like Jared Polis. But it’s up to you to vote. Don’t just go push a button or pull a lever for whoevers name you recognize. Actually know what they stand for. Do they support individual freedom? Do they support sick people being able to choose a non-toxic alternative to dangerous and addictive prescription drugs?
Hopefully Mr. Polis and those like him have nothing but success in their political careers, because without them there will be no one in government fighting for our rights. You can call us the 99% or whatever other term is popular, but we are human beings and we deserve dignity and respect and we deserve to be free to determine our own lives.
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