Colorado May Become The New Pot Legalization Battleground
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Mon, May, 16th 2011 by THCFinder
Medical Marijuana Clubs Getting Schooled?
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, May, 13th 2011 by THCFinder
To understand the insanity at the heart of California's love-hate relationship with medical marijuana, one need look no further than a low-end strip mall on Raymond Way just off El Toro Boulevard near Interstate 5 in Lake Forest. It's a somewhat decrepit-looking series of stores that stretches around the parking lot, one corner of which is occupied by a Montessori school. It's easy to miss that five of the storefronts belong to marijuana clubs.
Although marijuana is illegal under federal law, it's legal for medical purposes in California, and Lake Forest, which is one of only two Orange County cities (the other is Dana Point) that don't require business licenses, has no ban against cannabis clubs on the books. Such apparent laxity may explain the huge influx of them over the past few years, which has left city officials scrambling to sue them out of existence, alleging they violate Lake Forest's municipal code, leading to a legal standoff that is likely to last years.
In May 2010, Orange County Superior Court Judge David Chaffee ruled in favor of Lake Forest and ordered the clubs to shut down. Several of them voluntarily closed, but others appealed the decision and were allowed to reopen. Then, on Jan. 1, a new state law took effect banning pot clubs from operating within 600 feet of a school. On April 26, citing the fact that the five dispensaries that continued to operate at the Raymond Way location were next door to the Montessori school, Chaffee issued a temporary restraining order against them; the clubs shut down once again.
But on May 9, Chaffee lifted the temporary order against those clubs until he could sort out all the competing legal claims being made by lawyers for both the city and the clubs. The dispensaries immediately opened for business. The hearing is scheduled to resume on Friday.
The most basic question is whether the marijuana clubs pose a public "nuisance," as claimed by lawyers for Lake Forest, or if they are providing a vital service for residents in South County, where medicinal cannabis is becoming harder to obtain. "These businesses are a nuisance," Jeffrey Dunn, an attorney for Lake Forest, told Chaffee at the May 9 hearing. "There have been thefts and burglaries at these dispensaries, [plus] public urination and an assault on a police officer."
Lawyers for the five clubs make the opposite claim. "Because Lake Forest doesn't have a ban on medical marijuana, there is no way for them to effectively argue you can't do business in their city," said Christopher Glew, who represents two of the clubs, Cafe Vale Tudo and Florentina Organic, as well as collectives elsewhere in the city. "For the city to do that, it has to take the affirmative step of initiating a ban or some type of restriction on that activity, which they haven't done yet."
It's Official: Maryland Becomes 15 and a Half Medical Marijuana State
Category: Medical Marijuana | Posted on Fri, May, 13th 2011 by THCFinder
Governor O'Malley Signs Bill as Maryland Becomes "15th and a Half" Medical Marijuana State
Qualified patients still susceptible to arrest, prosecution and $100 fine despite medical defense
Annapolis, MD -- Governor O'Malley signed Senate Bill 308 into law yesterday, making Maryland the "15th and a half" medical marijuana state according to advocates. The Maryland legislature passed SB 308 in April attempting to improve upon the current Darrel Putnam Compassionate Use Act, which allows for a "medical necessity" defense but can still result in a misdemeanor conviction and a $100 fine. The new law is aimed at removing the misdemeanor conviction, but qualified patients can still be forced to pay a punitive fine.
"The patient community welcome improvements to Maryland's medical marijuana law," said Kristen Ford, Field Director with Americans for Safe Access, the country's largest medical marijuana advocacy group. "But, because patients are still forced to undergo arrest and criminal prosecution and may sustain punitive fines, the law falls short of the basic protections offered in all other medical marijuana states."
SB 308 had previously been a more robust bill, protecting qualified patients from arrest and prosecution and establishing a system of licensed cultivation and distribution, but was whittled down due to objections from the new administration's Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and House committee members. In order to get SB 308 passed out of the House Judiciary Committee, where several similar bills had died over the past 7 years, legislators adopted several restrictive amendments.
For example, SB 308 now caps possession amounts at one ounce, down from 6 ounces in previous versions of the bill, and excludes patients above the one ounce limit from using the affirmative defense. The amendments also deny an affirmative defense to patients consuming their medication in public. "It's shameful that the Maryland legislature wants to treat medical marijuana patients like criminals by condoning their arrest and excluding some patients from an affirmative defense, still leaving them vulnerable to conviction and a punitive fine," continued Ford. "Nevertheless, we will continue to work with the health department and the legislature to craft a more patient-friendly bill next year."
SB 308 requires DHMH to convene a Work Group to "develop a State-specific proposal, including draft legislation, for providing access to marijuana to patients in the State for medical purposes." A report to the legislature will be due by year's end, and the program must be up-and-running by January 2013. "This bare-bones law is just a stop-gap measure," continued Ford. "Now the difficult work begins in finding consensus on a more comprehensive and protective bill."
Marijuana groups want jury to decide if federal raids violated rights
Some of the businesses caught in a raid on medical marijuana shops want a federal jury to decide whether the arrests and seizures violated their constitutional rights.
That's just one of several requests listed in a lawsuit filed by the Montana Caregivers Association and MCM Caregivers in U.S. District Court in Missoula this week.
The suit follows a series of raids directed by the Department of Justice at medical marijuana shops and growing operations in Missoula, Kalispell, Bozeman and other Montana cities in late March.
Agents from the FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency and other federal agencies, along with support help from local law enforcement, seized cash, equipment and marijuana in the raids, which happened over the space of two days.
In the suit, the plaintiffs are accusing the federal government of making the raids at the same time the Montana Legislature was considering a repeal of the state's medical marijuana laws, which were approved by voters.
The plaintiffs say "the federal government has made clear its intent to threaten and eventually eliminate any business or enterprise related to the medical use of marijuana."
The court documents include a letter sent to Montana lawmakers from U.S. Attorney for Montana Michael Cotter explaining prosecution of illegal drug trafficking is a "core priority" of the U.S. Justice Department. In the letter Cotter says the "core priority includes the prosecution of business enterprises that unlawfully market and sell marijuana".
The federal government still considers any growing, distribution or possession of marijuana in "any capacity" to be a violation of federal law.
The caregivers groups claim in the suit that the raids violated several sections of Constitutional law and asking the court to issue an injunction to prevent the feds "from threatening, interfering with, retaliating against, prosecuting or penalizing Plaintiffs or other similarly situated persons for any acts or activities authorized and permitted under the laws of Montana." They're also asking for damages to be awarded by the court.
Delaware Senate approves medical marijuana
DOVER -- Delawareans with cancer, HIV/AIDS, multiple sclerosis and other debilitating diseases could be legally using marijuana a year from now to alleviate the effects of their ailments.
The Senate on Wednesday sent Gov. Jack Markell legislation that would decriminalize marijuana possession, use and distribution for limited medical purposes.
The Senate's final vote came after an extensive lobbying effort that began in January with a visit to Legislative Hall by celebrity talk show host Montel Williams, who uses marijuana to ease the debilitating effects of MS.
With Markell expected to sign the bill soon, Delaware would have one of the strictest medical marijuana laws in the country, regulating everything from the quality of the cannabis to how it is transported. Fifteen states, including New Jersey, already have medical marijuana laws on the books.
"There is no other bill like the bill we just passed here in Delaware," said Senate Majority Whip Margaret Rose Henry, a Wilmington Democrat who was the bill's sponsor.
Unlike residents in other states, ill Delawareans who get a doctor's recommendation to use marijuana would not be allowed to grow their own at home. They would be supplied only through state-licensed dispensaries.
YG Launches Branded Strain Of Marijuana Called 'YG OG'
Marijuana is early fully accepted by society these days. In most states, medical marijuana dispensaries are everywhere. And, of course, hip-hop stars have their patient cards so they may take part in its availability.
However, not many rappers can boast what Compton newcomer YG has recently done, which is launch his own strain of weed.
The rapper, best known for his hit single "Toot It and Boot It," has been promoting his own branded marijuana strain called "YG OG," which he created alongside an Orange Country, California dispensary called Green Aid.
"Having my own weed makes me feel like the motherf***in'," YG said in a statement. "It gets you higher than every other weed."
Apparently, the idea of "YG OG" came about following a chance meeting with Green Aid's general manager, Brooks Johnson, who mashed out a deal to carry the strain exclusively at their dispensary, located in Anaheim, California.
According to Johnson, since Green Aid became carrying YG OG, it's been in non-stop demand.
"As soon as we featured the new YG OG medicine it became an overnight demand amongst our patients," said Johnson, who revealed that the store has already sold out, although new product would be back on shelves in two weeks.
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