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NJ medical marijuana rules take effect Dec. 19, no changes from proposed rules

Category: News | Posted on Thu, November, 24th 2011 by THCFinder
TRENTON, N.J. — New Jersey officials say the state's medical marijuana regulations will take effect Dec. 19, clearing the way for legal growing and dispensing operations to begin sometime in 2012.
 
The state Health and Senior Services Department posted a notice on its website Wednesday night stating that the regulations will be finalized.
 
The state says it won't change any of the rules from the version made public earlier this year. Medical marijuana advocates panned many of the details, including one that restricts the potency of pot in a way no other state that allows medical marijuana has done so far.
 
Six nonprofit groups have licenses to grow and sell cannabis to patients with certain conditions. But none has its final permit yet.
 

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High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam RAIDED

Category: News | Posted on Wed, November, 23rd 2011 by THCFinder
Shortly before 4:20 p.m. today, Dutch police raided the High Times Cannabis Cup Expo in Amsterdam. Dozens of uniformed officers quickly occupied the building and separated the hundreds of attendees from exhibitors, who were instructed to remain at their tables.
 
Officers were polite and efficient, all armed but no guns were drawn. I asked one why this was happening and he told me that undercover police had investigated the Expo yesterday and seen violations of the Opium Act. He cited things such as some people giving away free samples of bud and hash, offering bong hits to promote their business, and so on.
 
Dutch rules only allow the sale of marijuana and hash from licensed coffee shops. They are prohibited from selling customers more than 5g each per day, and cannot have more than 100g on the premises at any time. Individual possession is supposed to be kept under the 5g limit as well.
 
It took about two hours for police to clear the hall. Everyone was searched before being allowed to leave, and all marijuana and hash was confiscated.
 
There was probably over 100 police officers there, and about two dozen tax agents wearing reflective green jackets. The tax agents questioned exhibitors about their products, sales and receipts. I saw some exhibitors being questioned as their cannabis was put into plastic evidence bags by uniformed officers.
 
The status of cannabis law in Holland is often debated, but change happens slowly. The licensing and control of coffee shops is done largely at the municipal level. Some cities do not have any, others have only a few, while Amsterdam has over 300, which seems like a lot but is down from over 800 a few years ago.
 
Holland's current federal government is less friendly to the coffee shop scene, and has been pressuring cities to restrict marijuana sales to Dutch citizens. They want coffee shops to become private clubs, with a record kept of all sales made to every member. Some border towns have already gone this route, largely in response to concerns about German tourists returning home with pockets full of Dutch weed and hash.
 
 
Dana Larsen is the Director of the Vancouver Medicinal Cannabis Dispensary Society, founder of "End Prohibition, New Democrats Against the Drug War" and a former candidate for the leadership of the BC NDP.
 
 

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Man Sues Over Rejection Of NE420 License Plate

Category: News | Posted on Mon, November, 21st 2011 by THCFinder
LINCOLN, Neb. -- A southwestern Nebraska attorney and advocate for legalizing marijuana is suing the state Department of Motor Vehicles after he was denied a personalized license plate that state officials say would promote illegal drug use.
 
The Nebraska chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union filed the federal lawsuit Thursday on behalf of Frank Shoemaker, of Holbrook, saying the state violated Shoemaker's constitutionally protected right to free speech.
 
The lawsuit says Shoemaker had applied earlier this year for a state license plate that read "NE420." The term "420" is insider shorthand for cannabis consumption.
 
The motor vehicle agency rejected Shoemaker's application, saying the number 420 is "associated with a date and time for people to gather and smoke marijuana/cannabis."
 
The lawsuit seeks to have the department's rejection declared unconstitutional.
 

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Officer Claims Arizona Fired Him Illegally

Category: News | Posted on Mon, November, 21st 2011 by THCFinder
PHOENIX (CN) - A probation officer claims Arizona and Mohave County fired him illegally, to retaliate for his signing a letter in support of a California ballot measure to decriminalize marijuana. Joe Miller, who lives in Needles, Calif., was one of 32 law enforcement officers and retired officers who signed the letter.
 
Miller signed the letter, "Law Enforcers Say Control and Tax Cannabis to Protect Public Safety," in June 2010.
 
The letter, from the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, or LEAP, endorsed California's Proposition 19, a November ballot measure that would have allowed adults to grow and possess small amounts of marijuana. (It lost, 46.5% to 53.5%.)
LEAP released the letter in September, and Miller's boss, defendant Friend Walker, Mohave County's chief probation officer, found out in November that Miller had signed it.
 
Miller was fired in December. "The Notice of Dismissal states, among other things, that Mr. Miller 'fail[ed]to maintain neutrality in action and appearance when [he] gave permission to the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) organization to include [his] job title and department "Deputy Probation Officer, Mohave County Probation Department" with [his] endorsement of a California ballot proposition posted on-line [sic] on September 13, 2010," according to the complaint. (Brackets in complaint.)
 
Miller, 54, who is represented by the ACLU, said in a statement: "I was terminated not because my service was inadequate, but because my views on drug policy didn't align with those of Mohave County or my superiors in the Probation Department. As law enforcement agents and public servants, we swear to uphold the Constitution and it's only fair for our government to respect our First Amendment rights as well."
 
Mohave County, the fifth-largest county in the United State (13,470 square miles) is in northwest Arizona, on the California border. Its seat is Kingman.
 
Miller seeks compensatory and punitive damages for constitutional violations, wrongful firing, tortious interference with contract, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.
He is represented by Daniel Bonnett with Martin & Bonnett and Daniel Pochoda with the ACLU of Arizona. 
 

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Raids emphasize need for coherent marijuana regulation

Category: News | Posted on Fri, November, 18th 2011 by THCFinder
RECENT federal raids of medical-marijuana dispensaries in the Puget Sound region highlight in bold relief our disjointed and out-of-touch federal and state rules on marijuana.
 
Few will argue that the U.S. government, which bans marijuana entirely, is off base for intervening in drug sales to a gang in Chicago, as one affidavit contends.
 
Obviously, law-enforcement officers have a duty to try to intervene in marijuana interstate importation and distribution. Medical-marijuana dispensaries have a purpose and, done right, should be legal. Federal law-enforcement authorities raided dispensaries they believe are acting as fronts for a variety pack of other illegal activities.
 
The raids underscore the mess of regulations and rules. It is time to legalize marijuana, tax it, clarify the rules and provide a reasonable regulatory scheme.
 
If sensible regulations were in place, medical-marijuana dispensaries would not be importing and exporting marijuana across state lines or allowing felons to sell marijuana or illegal narcotics.
 
There are many lines to draw and numerous safety issues to consider. Marijuana should not be legal for those under age 21. It should be legal for people who are not well and need marijuana to control their pain and suffering and for adults.
 
U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, who must enforce draconian federal law on marijuana, said: "The truly sick people, doctors, caregivers, we're not going to prosecute. They don't have to worry about our enforcement action. But people exploiting (medical marijuana) laws just to make a lot of money selling drugs, they do have a reason to worry."
 
Fine, go after alleged criminals abusing the privilege of a convoluted state law that allows certain kinds of medical-marijuana dispensaries.
 
Washington voters favor medical-marijuana use. They will likely have a chance to decide if they want to go further and legalize marijuana for adults, either if a new initiative gathers sufficient signatures and is passed by the Legislature, or by voters if the measure comes to them.
 
What is indisputable is the current system does not work. Millions of dollars and untold hours of law-enforcement time are wasted prosecuting bit players. Washington needs a more coherent and modern system.
 

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Cedars-Sinai Denying Transplant To Medical Marijuana Patient

Category: News | Posted on Thu, November, 17th 2011 by THCFinder
Los Angeles, CA --(ENEWSPF)--November 17, 2011.  Sixty-three year-old medical marijuana patient Norman B. Smith was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer in 2009 and sought treatment from the internationally lauded Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. Smith's oncologist at Cedars-Sinai, Dr. Steven Miles, approved of his medical marijuana use as a means to deal with the effects of chemotherapy and pain from an unrelated back surgery. In September 2010, Smith became eligible for a liver transplant, but after testing positive for marijuana in February he was removed from the transplant list. Smith's cancer was in remission until just recently, but now he is scheduled to undergo radiation treatments in the next few days.
 
Medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) issued a letter today urging the Cedars-Sinai Transplant Department to promptly re-list Smith for a liver transplant. The letter also urges Cedars-Sinai to change its transplant eligibility policy. "Denying necessary transplants to medical marijuana patients is the worst kind of discrimination," said ASA Chief Counsel Joe Elford, who also authored the letter to Cedars-Sinai. "Cedars-Sinai would not be breaking any laws, federal or otherwise, by granting Norman Smith a liver transplant, and it's certainly the ethical thing to do."
 
Smith is not the only medical marijuana patient in the U.S. being denied a transplant. At least one other Cedars-Sinai patient reported to ASA in 2008 that they had been kicked off the transplant list because of their legal medical marijuana use. Over the past four years, ASA has received numerous reports of patients being purged from transplant lists across California, as well as in other medical marijuana states like Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington. In 2008, Seattle resident and medical marijuana patient Timothy Garon died after being denied a liver transplant by the University of Washington Medical Center. A year later, in 2009, Big Island resident and medical marijuana patient Kimberly Reyes died at Hilo Hospital after being denied a liver transplant.
 
Cedars-Sinai is demanding that Smith not only abstain from marijuana use for at least six months, forcing him to undergo random toxicology tests, but he is also required to participate in weekly substance abuse counseling over the same period. Although Smith was within two months of receiving a transplant before he was de-listed, he will be put at the bottom of the list even after satisfying the policy requirements. "ASA seeks to change this harmful and uncompassionate policy not only for Smith's benefit, but also for the benefit of numerous other medical marijuana patients who are being made to suffer unnecessarily as a result of political ideology," said Elford.
 

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