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Dutch court upholds ban on foreign tourists buying pot

Category: News | Posted on Fri, April, 27th 2012 by THCFinder
AMSTERDAM — A Dutch court on Friday upheld a new law that will prevent foreign visitors from buying marijuana in coffee shops across the Netherlands, potentially ending the decades of “pot tourism” for which this city and others became universally known.
 
A group of coffee shops had challenged the government plan, launched after southern cities in the Netherlands complained of increased levels of drug-related crime. The decision means that coffee shops in the south must stop selling cannabis to foreign tourists by May 1, while Dutch and foreign residents will be eligible for a “weed pass” that allows them to purchase it legally. The plan is to be rolled out to other Dutch cities, including the popular tourist center of Amsterdam, by next year. The ban does not extend to carrying or consuming marijuana.
 
The Netherlands is moving toward tightening its renowned liberal policy on the sale of marijuana even as other countries, including the United States, are engaging in increasingly heated debates over the legalization of “soft drugs.”
 
Attorneys for the Netherlands’ cannabis cafes — which number more than 600 nationwide — had argued in the Hague district court that prohibiting visitors from buying marijuana while allowing Dutch citizens and residents to do so is illegal under national anti-discrimination laws. They vowed on Friday to appeal the case.
 
“This is a bad decision, not only for the foreigners who can be discriminated against now, but also for the image of the Netherlands in other countries,” said Maurice Veldman, attorney for a group of cafes that challenged the new law. “We are not a free country anymore because our government asks us to discriminate.”
 

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Medbox, Inc. Files Suit Against The Makers of "Autospense"

Category: News | Posted on Thu, April, 26th 2012 by THCFinder
Medbox, Inc. through its affiliate companies, filed suit today in Orange County Superior Court against Dispense Labs, LLC, and its purported parent company, The Dispensary Group, Inc., for creating the Autospense Machine. The lawsuit alleges that the makers of Autospense ignored a cease and desist notice by Medbox and continued to market a machine that Medbox believes infringes on its federal patent (7,844,363 B1).
 
Medbox believes the lawsuit is imperative as Dispense Labs, LLC and its affiliates are tarnishing the image of the technology Medbox had created.
 
"By releasing press on a known recreational (non-medical) marijuana holiday (4-20) just to gain maximum media exposure for an idea that was our company's creation was ill-advised and reckless of Dispense Labs," stated Vincent Mehdizadeh, CEO and Founder of Prescription Vending Machines, Inc., a Subsidiary of Medbox, Inc. "The federal government already thinks of the medical marijuana industry as purely recreational, with very little medical value and companies like Dispense Labs reinforce that myth through their brazen actions."
 
Dispense Labs also touts its ability to grant "24 hour access" to marijuana through its system. While Medbox has had offers to provide the same service to marijuana clinics nationwide over the last few years, Medbox has declined such placements of its machines.
 
"The reality is that the federal government does not condone medical marijuana, they simply tolerate it as long as operators of medical marijuana outlets are not willful profiteers and can demonstrate some semblance of reasonable behavior," Mehdizadeh added. "The medical marijuana industry cannot legally justify 24-hour access to marijuana at this point in time and I will make it my mission to stop Dispense Labs before they make a mockery of our company's vital technology. It's about transparency, legal compliance, and ultimately longevity for an industry that needs to be on its best behavior to legitimately flourish."
 

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Officer Pleads Guilty To Selling Seized Marijuana

Category: News | Posted on Mon, April, 23rd 2012 by THCFinder
ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) -  St. Louis, MO – A former St. Louis City police Sergeant has pleaded guilty to selling marijuana seized for evidence.  Larry J. Davis, 46, resigned after pleading guilty to selling around 154 lbs of marijuana that was taken into evidence.
 
Officer Davis was investigating gang activity at package delivery branch facilities in St. Louis.  According to police Officer Davis seized several packages suspected of containing marijuana.  But, instead of taking them to evidence he took them to his home or his brother’s home.
 
Linus Davis, is the officer’s brother who lives in St. Louis county.  Police say that Linus opened the packages  and sold the marijuana.
 
Their cars and cash has been seized as part of a search warrant issues for Larry Davis’ residence.
 
Larry pled guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute marijuana and one felony count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana.  Sentencing has been set for July 26, 2012. Linus R. Davis pled guilty to the same charges.  He is scheduled for sentencing on June 7, 2012.
 
Each count carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.
 

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Amsterdams pot shops fighting for right to party

Category: News | Posted on Mon, April, 23rd 2012 by THCFinder
AMSTERDAM — Dutch coffee shop owners went to court last week in a last ditch bid to block a government plan to stop foreigners from buying marijuana in the Netherlands.
 
Lawyers representing the coffee shops oppose what would be the most significant change in decades to the country’s famed soft drug tolerance: turning marijuana cafes into “members only” clubs open solely to Dutch residents.
 
Members would only be able to get into the coffee shops by registering for a “weed pass,” and the shops would only be allowed a maximum of 2,000 members.
 
The move comes into force in the south of the country May 1 and is scheduled to roll out nationwide on Jan. 1, 2013.
 
Whether it will be enforced in Amsterdam, whose coffee shops are a major tourist draw card, remains to be seen.
 
The city has strongly opposed the pass idea and Mayor Eberhard van der Laan says he wants to negotiate a workable compromise with the country’s Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten.
 
Lawyers for the cafe owners told a judge at The Hague District Court that the move — aimed at reining in problems caused by foreign “drug tourists” who buy marijuana in the Netherlands and resell it in neighboring countries — is “clearly discriminatory.”
 
Lawyer Ilonka Kamans argued that Dutch drug policy gives citizens “the fundamental right to the stimulant of their choosing” and should not deprive visiting foreigners of the same right.
 
Government lawyer Eric Daalder defended the measures.
 
“Fighting criminality and drug tourism is a reasonable justification” for the crackdown, Daalder told the court.
 
He said the government wants to bring coffee shops back to what they were originally intended to be: “small local stores selling to local people.”
 

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Marijuana Activists Suing CU-Boulder Over 4/20 Campus Closur

Category: News | Posted on Thu, April, 19th 2012 by THCFinder
Marijuana activists are filing suit against University of Colorado Boulder for the planned campus shut down on Friday, The Denver Post reports. CU-Boulder has made it clear that it does not want the annual marijuana smoke out held on campus any longer, which has drawn nearly 10,000 people to Norlin Quad to light up on 4/20 in recent years.
 
Denver attorney Rob Corry, no stranger to marijuana-related lawsuits, is representing the activists and is seeking a hearing this afternoon. Corry recently participated in The Huffington Post's Great Marijuana Debate and has defended more medical marijuana criminal cases than any other attorney in Colorado and is the only attorney to win multiple acquittals for defendants facing medical marijuana charges.
 
"To my knowledge, there has never been a case where a public university has blockaded and shut down its entire campus to squelch free speech activity there," Corry told The Huffington Post regarding the campus shut down. "This is a radical overreaching on CU's part. When did marijuana become so offensive at CU-Boulder of all places?"
 
CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano made this statement about the reasons for employing such extreme measures to end the gathering via the school's website:
 
The gathering disrupts teaching and research right in the heart of the campus. The size of the crowd has become unmanageable, and limits our faculty, staff and students from getting to class, entering buildings and doing their basic work. It needs to end.
Then later, in a letter written to The Denver Post, DiStefano goes further stating that the marijuana celebration is far from a protest or demonstration and should not be treated as such. "If it is a protest, then every party on every college campus in America is a protest," DiStefano writes.
 

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Pot growers Warned: Feds, local officials planning to hunt down big marijuana farms in Merced County

Category: News | Posted on Tue, April, 17th 2012 by THCFinder
Local law enforcement announced Monday that it will be working with federal agencies to crack down on large-scale medical marijuana grows, primarily on agricultural land.
 
"We're going to start (pushing for) federal charges against people because of the state's reluctance to file cases," said Tom MacKenzie, spokesman for the Merced County Sheriff's Department. "We're notifying people that there's going to be law enforcement action."
The Sheriff's Department is sending out letters and emails telling medical marijuana growers they could be subject to criminal charges and seizure of property.
 
Merced Sun-Star - Paul Johnson of the Merced Multiagency Task Force carts off marijuana plants pulled from a corn field south of Merced in 2007. The Merced County Sheriff's Department and other local law enforcement agencies will join federal agents in targeting large-scale marijuana grows. on Healy Road and Vassar Avenue on Wednesday August 22, 2007.
 
The move follows several public announcements by U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner that federal and local law enforcement officers in the Central Valley will collaborate in shutting down large marijuana operations.
 
"We are working with sheriffs in at least six counties (including Merced) to target marijuana grows on agricultural lands," said Wagner, the region's top federal prosecutor. "Large grows, regardless of whether they're called medical or not, are in violation of federal law."
While large outdoor marijuana grows -- often associated with guns, violence and environmental destruction -- tend to garner little public support, cannabis advocates have voiced concern about this most recent campaign.
 
"If we actually see local law enforcement working hand in hand sending out teams of deputies with federal agencies, that's new," said Nate Bradley, a former California police officer and spokesman for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. "If they actually start going after legitimate co-ops, you'll see protest like you've never seen before. They're going to get one of the biggest states' rights battles."
 

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