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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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NJ Weedman's Marijuana Dispensary Liberty Bell Temple II Raided by DEA, He Says

Category: News | Posted on Wed, December, 28th 2011 by THCFinder
‚ÄčThe U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration played The Grinch when it raided a Hollywood dispensary popular with celebs in the days before Christmas, its owner, NJ Weedman, tells LA Weekly.
The DEA cleared the place out, seized marijuana, drained his bank accounts and shuttered his South L.A. grow operation, says the man also known as Ed Forchion.
 
We tried to get a comment from the DEA but were unsuccessful. Weedman says it all went down ... 
... Dec. 13 at 11 a.m., when he was pulled over by the LAPD and the DEA was there to help.
 
He says he was taken to his Liberty Bell Temple II pot shop in Hollywood in cuffs as agents raided the place and seized everything in sight:
 
It was a total smashing. They smashed all my cameras, they took all my computers. They smashed up my house. They took paperwork. They thought I still had an apartment in the Valley; they went there too and found out I didn't live there anymore. They went to my bank. They seized everything.
His South L.A. grow warehouse was hit too. He says an agent told him he would be in deep shit if they found 1,000 plants or more. As it was, they took 600, he said.
 
While Weedman says he was shown a search warrant, he says he's still not exactly clear why he was raided and that he has been informed of zero charges or indictments.
 
His theory is that having his face in the news in New Jersey set off the feds at the behest of former federal prosecutor Chris Christie, now governor of the Garden State.
 
Weedman is currently fighting a charge of one count of felony possession with intent to distribute after he was busted with a pound of weed in his trunk in his native New Jersey.
 
He commutes between the east and west coasts.
 
Weedman has been making a mockery of prosecutors there and said he plans a controversial defense called "jury nullification", in which a New Jersey jury can actually disagree with a law, not just rule according to it.
 
Weedman:
 
In New Jersey we have Governor Christie, who has been blocking implementation of the medical marijuana law. He used to be a U.S. Attorney. I've been using myself as an example to New Jersey, and I'm more than like just a little hero to people.
He says it's the fourth time his L.A. dispensaries have been raided by either the DEA or the LAPD (or both). Normally, Weedman says, he would just reopen. But this time they got him good.
 

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Laundry operator gets death for selling Marijuana

Category: News | Posted on Wed, December, 28th 2011 by THCFinder

This is just beyond f*cked up.

 

ALOR STAR: A 39-year-old laundry operator was sentenced to death by the High Court here yesterday for trafficking more than 1kg of cannabis last year.

 

Judicial Commissioner Datuk Zakiah Kassim ruled that the prosecution had proven its case against Md Nazli Sahid@Said beyond reasonable doubt.  Nazli, from Penang, was convicted of trafficking 1.06kg of cannabis at No. 33, Taman Sri Hartamas, Mergong here at 10pm on Dec 24 last year.  Counsel J. Martin appeared for Nazli, while deputy public prosecutor Datuk Razali Che Ani prosecuted.
 

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Mom of 4 reflects on first year in prison for $31 marijuana sale

Category: News | Posted on Mon, December, 26th 2011 by THCFinder
TAFT - Wearing prison-issue yellow clothes, Patricia Spottedcrow reflects on her first year in prison through the lens of tears and determination. 
 
One year ago, on the week of Christmas, the first-time offender was checked into the Eddie Warrior women's prison - the first holiday away from her four young children. 
 
"I cried and cried just thinking of my kids opening presents on Christmas and I wasn't there," she said. "This year, it's going to be any other day. I try not to keep up with days in here." 
 
At her mother's home in Kingfisher, there is a somber tone among her children - ages 2, 4, 5 and 10. 
 
"We're crying here too," said her mother, Delita Starr. "We'll try to make sure there is money in her account for a phone call. What else can we do?" 
 
Spottedcrow, 26, was arrested and charged for selling $31 in marijuana to a police informant in December 2009 and January 2010. Starr, 51, was also charged. 
 
Because children were in the home, a charge of possession of a dangerous substance in the presence of a minor was added. 
 
In blind pleas before a judge, Spottedcrow received a 12-year sentence and her mother received a 30-year suspended sentence. Neither had prior criminal convictions. 
 
The judge sentencing the two said she allowed Starr to avoid prison so she could care for Spottedcrow's children. 
 
When Spottedcrow was booked, after her sentence was handed down, marijuana was found in the jacket she was wearing. She pleaded guilty to that additional charge and was sentenced to two years running concurrent with the previous sentence. 
 
After her story was published in the Tulsa World, a groundswell of support grew. Supporters expressed concern with possible racial bias, unequal punishment among crimes, women in prison, effects on children of incarcerated parents and extreme sentences for drug offenses. 
 
Oklahoma City attorney Josh Welch has been donating his services to fight what he calls an inequitable punishment. 
 
In October, a Kingfisher County judge took four years off her sentence. The judge issued an order rather than allow her an appearance in court. Her attorney and supporters believe it was to avoid the crowd expected to be at the courthouse that day. 
 
Welch said he plans to file for post-conviction relief, alleging the original attorney was ineffective and had a conflict in representing Spottedcrow and her mother. He plans to make the filing in early January and submit an early parole packet at the same time. 
 
"We are grateful to get four years taken off her sentence but still believe the sentence is unjust and excessive," Welch said.
 

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