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California county tries to ban pot farms as medical weed business thrives

Category: News | Posted on Thu, April, 24th 2014 by THCFinder
california-pot-farms-banned
(Reuters) - Citing marijuana fields springing up next to high schools and in abandoned barns, Sacramento County supervisors are set to declare pot gardens a public nuisance in the latest move by a local government to rein in California's cannabis industry.
 
U.S. states are increasingly moving to drop curbs on marijuana following landmark voter initiatives in Colorado and Washington state in 2012 that legalized the drug for recreational use.
 
But in California, where medical marijuana is legal but recreational use is not, state laws are hazy on who is allowed to grow and sell the drug, leading to a chaotic and largely unregulated marketplace of street-corner pot dispensaries, illegal cannabis farms and inappropriate prescribing by unethical doctors.
 
Cities and counties have struggled to impose order on an piecemeal basis as the state wrestles with developing a regulatory framework for the thriving if messy medical marijuana
 
industry.
 
"A huge number of complaints were received last year from residents with regard to outdoor marijuana cultivation," said Sacramento County Supervisor Roberta MacGlashan, who introduced the measure to ban marijuana gardens as a public nuisance. "Many were close to schools, group homes and other sensitive uses."
 
The fields can also be dangerous, as owners use weapons and dogs to guard their investments. Ten slayings currently under prosecution in the county have been linked to attempted marijuana theft, she said.
 
On Tuesday, the board unanimously signaled its intent to approve MacGlashan's ordinance, which will be up for a final vote on May 13.
 
The board postponed a decision on banning indoor cultivation of marijuana to study whether an all-out prohibition would infringe on the rights of medical cannabis patients to grow plants for their own use.
 

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Former California Deputies Charged With Planting Guns At Cannabis Dispensary

Category: News | Posted on Thu, April, 24th 2014 by THCFinder
planting-guns-on-dispTwo former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies have been charged with multiple felonies, including conspiracy and altering evidence, in connection with planting guns inside a medical cannabis dispensary in 2011 to justify two arrests.
 
Julio Cesar Martinez and Anthony Manuel Paez were both booked Friday and released on $50,000 bail; they’re scheduled to be arraigned on June 17th. They’re being charged with one felony count each of conspiracy to obstruct justice as well as altering evidence as a peace officer. Martinez was also charged with two felony counts of perjury and one of filing a false report.
 
According to prosecutors the former deputies wrote a report claiming they observed a drug sale which involved an individual in open possession of a gun. Martinez followed the suspect into a medical cannabis dispensary, where he claimed to have found a gun near a trash bin and another on a desk.
 
As part of the incident, two men were arrested, one for possession of an unregistered gun and one for possession of a controlled substance while armed with a gun. Charges against the men were later dropped after the sheriff’s Internal Criminal Investigation Bureau investigated the incident a year later and discovered video that was inconsistent with the report.
 
If the former officers are convicted, they face could face more than 7 years in prison.
 

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Marijuana use may lead to heart complications, death, study says

Category: News | Posted on Thu, April, 24th 2014 by THCFinder
mj-use-complicated
For young and middle-aged adults, marijuana use may lead to cardiovascular complications, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association.
 
Using 2006-2010 data from the French Addictovigilance Network, researchers identified 35 cases of cardiovascular and vascular conditions related to the heart, brain and limbs that occurred after marijuana use. They found that most patients were male, with an average age of 34.3 years.
 
The cases, representing 2 percent of marijuana-related complications,  included 20 heart attacks and nine patient deaths.
 
According to researchers, marijuana use and related health complications are likely underreported. France has 1.2 million regular marijuana users, and many of the complications may not be recorded by the French Addictovigilance System.
 
"The general public thinks marijuana is harmless, but information revealing the potential health dangers of marijuana use needs to be disseminated to the public, policymakers and healthcare providers," lead study author Émilie Jouanjus, a medical faculty member at the Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Toulouse in Toulouse, France, said in a press release.
 
Researchers noted that people with pre-existing cardiovascular weakness may be more likely to experience the harmful effects of marijuana.
 
"There is now compelling evidence on the growing risk of marijuana-associated adverse cardiovascular effects, especially in young people," Jouanjus said. "It is therefore important that doctors, including cardiologists, be aware of this, and consider marijuana use as one of the potential causes in patients with cardiovascular disorders."

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Sacramento County supervisors vote to ban outdoor marijuana gardens

Category: News | Posted on Wed, April, 23rd 2014 by THCFinder
sacremento-ban-outdoor-mjSacramento County supervisors on Tuesday unanimously voted to ban outdoor marijuana crops, joining a growing number of California cities and counties that have prohibited cultivation in response to safety and nuisance complaints.
 
Sheriff Scott Jones told supervisors that marijuana plants have increased throughout the county because of a lack of clarity in federal and state laws and inconsistent prosecution. County aides and law enforcement showed numerous aerial photos of reported grow sites, including open space near Rio Linda High School and the Cherry Island Soccer Complex.
 
“We’ve seen a profusion – an explosion – of marijuana grows,” Jones said.
 
The new restrictions would apply to unincorporated Sacramento County and likely take effect in mid-June. The city of Sacramento already bans outdoor cultivation in residential areas, while Elk Grove prohibits all outdoor marijuana growth.
 
Some advocates for medical marijuana said Tuesday that law enforcement overstated the risks associated with marijuana growth, though others were sympathetic with the county’s concerns about large grow sites. They asked supervisors to preserve the ability of patients to grow plants for personal use. Supervisors on Tuesday asked county staff to return May 28 with proposed restrictions for indoor marijuana grows specifically limited to medical use.
 

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Arizona Court Overturns Marijuana DUI Ruling

Category: News | Posted on Wed, April, 23rd 2014 by THCFinder
arizona-dui
PHOENIX (AP) — Authorities can't prosecute Arizona motorists for driving under the influence of marijuana unless the person is impaired at the time of the stop, the state Supreme Court ruled Tuesday in the latest opinion on an issue that several states have grappled with across the nation.
 
The ruling overturned a state Court of Appeals decision last year that upheld the right of authorities to prosecute pot smokers for DUI even when there is no evidence of impairment.
 
The opinion focuses on two chemical compounds in marijuana that show up in blood and urine tests — one that causes impairment and one that doesn't but stays in a pot user's system for weeks.
 
Some prosecutors had warned that anyone in Arizona who used medical marijuana simply shouldn't drive or they would risk facing DUI charges, a contention that drew the ire of pot advocates who claimed this interpretation of the law criminalized their legal use of the drug after voters approved it in 2010.
 
Tuesday's state Supreme Court opinion removed that threat in explaining that while state statute makes it illegal for a driver to be impaired by marijuana, the presence of a non-psychoactive compound does not constitute impairment under the law.
 
Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia allow medical marijuana use, while two states — Washington and Colorado — have legalized the drug for recreational use by adults over 21. Five other states this year adopted laws that allow the use of non-psychoactive marijuana compounds for at least some conditions, such as epilepsy.
 
Some states require signs of impairment before someone can be charged with driving under the influence of marijuana. Others have zero tolerance for the presence of any marijuana in the blood, whether in the form of active compounds that cause impairment or inactive compounds that don't, while a few states have limits for how much active marijuana can be in the system, designed to be comparable to the .08-limit for drunken driving.
 

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Lawmakers to debate roadside saliva tests for marijuana use

Category: News | Posted on Fri, April, 18th 2014 by THCFinder
testing-for-mmj(DETROIT FREE PRESS) - Some advocates of medical marijuana say they'll attend a hearing Thursday in Lansing to oppose bills that would let police use roadside saliva testing if a driver is suspected of being under the influence of marijuana.
 
But the legislator who sponsored the proposal said opponents missed the point of his bills, whose primary aim is to get repeat intoxicated drivers off the road through better communication among police.
 
Saliva testing is "not critical to this legislation" although Michigan's police officers deserve to have it available, said State Rep. Dan Lauwers, a Republican from Brockway Township near Port Huron.
 
"We need to look to the future. This kind of testing has been approved in California," Lauwers said.
 
The saliva tests have not been approved throughout California but are being used in field trials by Los Angeles police to see if results can qualify as court-admissible evidence, said Don Targowski, a Santa Monica defense attorney who is active in marijuana cases. Targowski has offices in both suburban Los Angeles and Grand Rapids.
 
Under the Michigan proposal, motorists would not be arrested simply for failing the saliva test but only after being pulled over for "erratic driving." Then the saliva test would add confirming evidence, just as portable breath testers do in cases of drunken drivers to justify an arrest, Lauwers said.
 
"What we're really after is repeat offenders," he said. The spur for the bill was a double-fatal crash last year in St. Clair County in which a repeat offender drove under the influence of pain killers — not marijuana, he said. The testing proposal, House Bill 5385, and a companion bill together would get repeat drugged-driving violators off the road more quickly by setting up the same notification system for police across the state of pending cases that's already in effect for alcohol-impaired drivers, he said.
 
The two bills are set for a Thursday hearing of the House Judiciary Committee. Those who represent the more than 100,000 state-registered users of medical marijuana said they plan to be there or will send others to speak against the bills.
 
"These tests are very flawed," said Adam Macdonald of Grosse Pointe Farms, chairman of the National Patients Rights Association, a nationwide advocacy group for medical-marijuana users.
 
"I've heard this will kick the ability to drive right out from under anyone who uses medical marijuana for up to 20 days" before the test, Macdonald said.
 
Saliva testing detects a subject's level of active THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, said Lapeer attorney Bernard Jocuns.
 
"Right now in Michigan, technically a medical marijuana patient is supposed to be immune from prosecution while driving, unless there's evidence of actual impairment of their driving," Jocuns said. But the test would ignore the evidence of actual impairment and merely show the result of a chemical reaction, he said.
 

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