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Supreme Court Could Decide if Drug-Sniffing Dogs Constitutional

Category: News | Posted on Wed, January, 4th 2012 by THCFinder
A case from Florida asks the question if a police dog’s behavior outside a house gives the officers the right to get a search warrant for illegal drugs inside the home, or is a dogs sniff warrant a constitutional search?
 
The Florida Supreme court said that the dog’s ability to detect marijuana inside a home from the outside of a closed front door crosses a constitutional line. The Florida state attorney, Pam Bondi, is hoping that the Supreme Court of the United States will overturn that ruling.  Law experts all agree that the Highest Court in the land will, in fact, hear this very important case and make a ruling.
 
The case is being monitored by law enforcement agencies across the country that use dogs in the search for illegal substances. The dog in question, Franky, is now retired but is responsible for the seizure of more than 2.5 tons of marijuana – and $4.9 million dollars of drug-contaminated money. The chocolate lab spent most of his career in airports.
 
The US Supreme Court has heard four dog sniffing cases before – two of the previous cases involved the use of drug dogs after a traffic stop, one involved airport luggage, and the other one involved a package in transit. If they argue this case, it will be the first one that includes a dog and a private residence. Again and again, the US Supreme court has ruled that the home is entitled to greater privacy than roads or public places. The Justices ruled in 2001 that police could not use thermal imaging technology to detect marijuana grows from outside the home since the equipment could also detect lawful activity, such as intimate details about when the occupants were bathing. And it is already well established, that officers can knock on your front door, but if you refuse to open up and talk, the officers need a warrant, and to get a warrant they need evidence of a crime.
 

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Surfers to be tested for drugs

Category: News | Posted on Tue, January, 3rd 2012 by THCFinder

Getting a little out of hand with the drug testing aren't we? What's next?

In the 1960s and 1970s, it was the counter culture's sport of choice. With the long hair and beach bum lifestyle came marijuana and LSD. But surfing is set for a radical image change as its international governing body prepares to introduce comprehensive drug testing for professionals for the first time.
 
Amid growing evidence that the sport's drug culture has gripped even some of its elite athletes, the Association of Surfing Professionals will in 2012 roll out a policy for screening competitors and officials for performance-enhancing and recreational drugs.
 
The move comes after the death of the triple world champion Andy Irons in November 2010. A postmortem found he died from a heart attack and "acute mixed drug ingestion". Traces of methadone, methamphetamine, also known as crystal meth, and a metabolite of cocaine were found in his bloodstream.
 
Another professional surfer, Anthony Ruffo, a 47-year-old pioneer of the Santa Cruz scene in the 1980s, is facing a possible jail sentence for selling methamphetamine after he was caught with an ounce of the drug.
 
"We believe this is a natural evolution in enhancing the professionalism of our sport," said Dave Prodan, a spokesman for the ASP. "This motion has the full support of the surfers on tour as they want to be taken more professionally, and believe this is a step in the right direction. We have been discussing and drafting a policy with the guidance of the World Anti Doping Agency for over two years and the budget, approved at the November board of directors meeting, has just allowed us the possibility of implementing it as soon as next year."
 
Professional surfers compete for prizes of up to $100,000 (£65,000) and testing is already carried out at some European events and in the UK and Ireland.
 

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Cops Total BMW Looking for Marijuana That Never Was

Category: News | Posted on Mon, January, 2nd 2012 by THCFinder
I’ve heard of someone’s drug-related past causing problems later in life, but seriously?
 
On September 23rd, Darren Richardson was pulled over by the Pompton Lakes, New Jersey police department, reportedly after almost causing a traffic accident. When Lt. Moises Agosto's police dog did a cursory check of Richardson’s 6-year-old BMW 325i, it was determined that the vehicle had a “strong odor of raw marijuana” eminating from its trunk. Lt. Agosto called to have the vehicle impounded for further inspection.
 
I can understand the initial concern, given that Richardson, 28, had previously served two years in prison over an earlier drug charge. Richardson himself admits that he “doesn’t trust cops” and had argued a bit with Lt. Agosto. “The way they were acting, their whole demeanor, and the way I was antagonizing them,” said Richardson, “I knew they were going to mess with me.”
 
Richardson and his passenger were initially handcuffed and jailed for evidence tampering and resisting arrest - likely based on their forceful arguing with Lt. Agosto. Richardson’s passenger further received charges of terrorist threats. These serious charges were later downgraded to disorderly conduct.
 
I’m sure Richardson never expected what he saw, three weeks later, when he was called to pick up his BMW. The car’s instrument panel and dashboard were missing, and the gearshift had been literally torn from its housing. Car seats had been cut into. In fact, so much damage had been done to the BMW by three separate police agencies (and a federal drug task force agent) that Richardson’s insurance company, GEICO, has declared the vehicle totalled.
 
So, given the estimated $12,636.42 in damage done tearing apart Richardson’s car for pot, what did law enforcement find?
 
Nothing. Not one wrapped bundle of Maui Wowie, or a single seedy brick of Skunk Weed. Not one dime baggie or even a half-smoked joint of backyard bud. Nada.
 
Understandably, last week Richardson filed a claim against the police department, and GEICO is within its rights to follow suit with their own case. Pomptom Lakes officials have stated that they initially tried to compensate Richardson directly; however, once GEICO got involved, things got complicated.
 
“This is a great illustration of the costs of this kind of law enforcement,” said New Jersey ACLU Executive Director Deborah Jacobs. Other law enforcement and legal experts agree that the Pompton Lakes Police Department search was overzealous, to say the least. An internal affairs investigation of the Department’s practices has been launched.
 
 

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States that legalized medical pot see decrease in traffic fatalities

Category: News | Posted on Fri, December, 30th 2011 by THCFinder
MISSOULA — States like Montana that have passed laws legalizing medical marijuana have seen a decrease in traffic fatalities and a reduction in beer sales, a new study has found.
 
A report authored by D. Mark Anderson, a Montana State University economics professor, and Daniel Rees, a professor at the University of Colorado Denver, discovered a 9 percent decrease in traffic fatalities in states that passed laws legalizing medical marijuana. The study points to marijuana as a substitute drug for alcohol.
 
So far, 16 states have passed laws legalizing medical marijuana. Surveys show that residents in these states are reporting consuming less alcohol and retailers are reporting a 5 percent reduction in alcohol sales.
“That was really compelling,” Anderson said. “It’s data that either wasn’t analyzed or isn’t analyzed as frequently as it should be.”
 
Most of the data collected between 1990 and 2009 came from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and the Fatality Analysis Reporting System. The study includes the 13 states that had passed medical marijuana laws before 2009.
 
The study was posted on the Institute for the Study of Labor at the end of November.
 
The research idea came to Anderson a year ago as he watched medical marijuana dispensaries spring up along Grand Avenue in Billings and saw the issue in the news.
 
“It seems like there would be spillover effects that would affect more than just the card-carrying users,” he said. “With all the publicity that medical marijuana had been receiving, especially in states like Montana, it was hard to miss.”
 
A portion of the study examines alcohol consumption and marijuana consumption in three states: Montana, Rhode Island and Vermont. In Montana and Rhode Island, the authors found that the passage of laws legalizing medical marijuana led to increased marijuana use among adults in these states.
 
In Montana, marijuana use rose 19 percent among people ages 18-25 after medical marijuana was legalized.
 
While not all traffic fatalities are alcohol related, the study found that these kinds of traffic deaths decreased significantly. Traffic fatalities on the weekends and at night, when many alcohol-related traffic deaths occur, decreased after laws legalizing medical marijuana were passed, the study found.
 
In addition, the researchers found that beer sales in these states dipped 5 percent after medical marijuana was legalized.
 
Anderson recognizes that it’s possible that residents in these states are driving less. And the study doesn’t say that medical marijuana laws cause a drop in traffic fatalities.
 
Researchers also aren’t saying that smoking marijuana impairs drivers less than alcohol, but “it could be that,” Anderson said. “We’re saying our results would be consistent with that.”
 
The study has been receiving mixed reviews since it was first presented to the public. Not everyone agrees with its findings. The study is under review by the Journal of Law and Economics.
 
“We are hoping it will stimulate some kind of policy discussion beyond what’s discussed in the press,” Anderson said. “That’s the goal of doing this research. Hopefully when states decide whether to legalize medical marijuana or decide to go back on legalizing it, that this will be some research that will be included in the discussion.”
 

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Wash. man arrested with marijuana wrapped as gifts

Category: News | Posted on Thu, December, 29th 2011 by THCFinder
Maybe if he had been driving around with those gift wrapped presents before Christmas, he may have not looked so suspicious...
 
December 29, 2011 (COEUR d'ALENE, Idaho) -- A Washington state man faces felony marijuana trafficking charges after an officer found 3.3 pounds of marijuana wrapped up as Christmas gifts during a traffic stop in northern Idaho.
 
The Coeur d'Alene Press (http://bit.ly/uj4XeZ ) reports 36-year-old Jason Palmer of Springdale, Wash., was arrested Dec. 22 as he returned from a trip to Montana.
 
Kootenai County sheriff's officials say Palmer was stopped east of Coeur d'Alene because his vehicle was repeatedly changing lanes and following other drivers too closely. The officer said he smelled marijuana as he approached the vehicle.
 
The officer reported that Palmer said he was a medical marijuana cardholder and had a small amount of "medicine" in the vehicle -- and the packages contained sweaters.
 
Palmer works at a hydroponics supply store in north Spokane.
 

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Colorado asks DEA to reclassify marijuana

Category: News | Posted on Thu, December, 29th 2011 by THCFinder

Colorado is trying to make the right move by getting the DEA to finally start recognizing Marijuana's benefits instead of crying wolf for so long.

The head of the Colorado Department of Revenue has written a letter to the Drug Enforcement Administration asking that federal controls on marijuana be loosened slightly to account for its "potential medicinal value."

Colorado is the third state with a medical-marijuana program to ask the DEA to reschedule marijuana.
 
Revenue Department executive director Barbara Brohl's letter, written Dec. 22, does not come as a surprise. A law passed last year in the legislature required the state to ask for rescheduling by the end of this year.
 
In the letter, Brohl details briefly Colorado's regulations for medical-marijuana sellers and argues that current federal law, under which all marijuana possession and distribution is illegal, make it difficult for her to administer Colorado's laws.
 
"As long as there is divergence in state and federal law, there is a lack of certainty necessary to provide safe access for patients with serious medical conditions," Brohl wrote.
 
The letter asks that the DEA consider moving marijuana from schedule I — a category that includes such drugs as heroin and LSD that are not considered to have medicinal value — to schedule II. Drugs in that category, such as methadone and cocaine, are considered to have some medicinal value but also can be highly addictive.
 
Schedule II substances are able to be prescribed by doctors but are still subject to strict controls. It is unclear whether Colorado's medical-marijuana laws — which allow doctors to authorize marijuana use through recommendation and allow patients to grow their own cannabis plants — would clash with those controls.
 
Earlier this year, the governors of Rhode Island and Washington also asked the DEA to reschedule marijuana. The DEA has in the past rejected similar requests to reclassify the substance.
 

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