Calif pot doctor heads to prison; advocates rally
Category: News | Posted on Tue, May, 3rd 2011 by THCFinder
Medical marijuana advocates are hailing a California physician and her attorney husband as heroes as the couple begin serving five-year prison sentences for pot trafficking.
Marion "Mollie" Fry and Dale Schafer surrendered to authorities at the federal courthouse in Sacramento on Monday as dozens of supporters gathered to decry their imprisonment.
The Sacramento Bee reports that protesters demanded President Barack Obama pardon the couple, who were convicted in 2008 for conspiring to produce and distribute marijuana.
Fry ran a medical practice in the rural town of Cool where she issued marijuana recommendations. Schafer counseled pot patients.
Prosecutors say the couple exploited Fry's status as a breast cancer survivor to garner sympathy as they built a $1 million pot business. Advocates say the two were acting within California's medical marijuana laws.
F1 vehicles will face closer custom checks
Category: News | Posted on Mon, May, 2nd 2011 by THCFinder
Lorries belonging to motorsport teams will suffer more vigorous checks at customs in the UK as they enter the country at Dover.
The clampdown follows the discovery of 8kg of cocaine, 71kg of amphetamine tablets and more than 100kg of cannabis, plus a handgun - all of which was left lying on a table in a lorry belonging to the Kawasaki team competing in the Superbike World Championship.
Four technicians from the team, ran by Paul Bird Motorsport based in Lancashire, were arrested for the offences, but later bailed.
A UK Border Agency source told the Telegraph that motorsport vehicles, including Formula One, will face closer checks.
"Our intelligence analysts will be looking much more closely at motorsport vehicles from now on, including Superbikes and even Formula One.
"They have been pulled over very rarely and that will now change."
This will have an impact on all the teams, as those based in the UK, Red Bull, McLaren, Renault, Mercedes, Force India, Team Lotus, Williams and Virgin, drive to all European races, whilst those outside of the UK will only be affected during the British GP weekend.
Obama DOJ Conducts Aggressive Medical Marijuana Raids in Spokane as Bill Hits WA Governor's Desk
Category: News | Posted on Fri, April, 29th 2011 by THCFinder
Olympia, WA -- The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) conducted aggressive SWAT-style raids yesterday on at least three distribution facilities in Spokane, Washington, that provided medical marijuana to qualified patients.
Earlier this month, numerous facilities shut down after U.S. District Attorney Michael Ormsby threatened numerous landlords in Spokane with seizure of their property if they keep letting their tenants provide medical marijuana to state-compliant patients.
These actions come as the state is trying to pass Senate Bill 5073, which modifies its current medical marijuana law to set up a licensed distribution system.
"The governor should not buckle to federal pressure," said Steph Sherer, Executive Director of the medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA), which is currently holding raid preparedness trainings across Washington, and will host a stakeholders meeting in Seattle Saturday to discuss next steps for safe access in the state.
"Hundreds if not thousands of patients in Washington are now terrified and don't know where to get their medication," Sherer continued. "It's incumbent upon Governor Gregoire to stand up for the patients in her state and provide them with a means to safely obtain medical marijuana."
Federal government appeals medical pot ruling
Category: News | Posted on Thu, April, 28th 2011 by THCFinder
ST. CATHARINES, ONT. - The federal government is appealing a landmark ruling that could legalize marijuana possession, at least in Ontario.
That April 11 judgment by Superior Court Judge Donald Taliano in a St. Catharines courtroom threw out pot production charges against Matthew Mernagh.
It also deemed the federal medical marijuana program unconstitutional.
Last week, the Public Prosecution Service of Canada filed a notice of appeal to the Ontario Court of Appeal against Taliano's ruling.
It says Taliano erred in law by declaring the medical marijuana law was unconstitutional.
"I am confident of a win," said Mernagh's lawyer Paul Lewin.
"There was a lot of evidence for (us). And it wasn't just Matt.
"I think we had a total of 23 witnesses, who clearly should qualify (for medical marijuana), and all had very serious conditions and couldn't get their doctor to sign."
Mernagh, 37, now lives in Toronto, but was formerly from St. Catharines and suffers from fibromyalgia, scoliosis and a seizure disorder.
He has been unable to obtain a license for medical marijuana to help ease his symptoms.
Taliano had also permanently stayed charges against Mernagh, stemming from his 2008 arrest when Niagara police seized 70 pot plants from his St. Catharines apartment.
Taliano found Canada's medical marijuana program fails to give legal access to sick people who need the drug, largely because many family doctors refuse to endorse the needed paperwork for patients.
The trial judge struck down laws against both possessing and growing marijuana as part of the ruling.
As well, he gave Ottawa three months to overhaul the medical marijuana program or effectively legalize its possession and production.
A date for the appeal hearing has not yet been set.
The prosecution office was offered a chance to respond to Lewin's comments on Wednesday, but did not respond.
Federal pot warning sent to Colorado lawmakers
Category: News | Posted on Thu, April, 28th 2011 by THCFinder
Colorado is the latest state to receive marijuana warnings from the federal government as state lawmakers mull regulating the drug.
The top federal prosecutor in Colorado sent a letter Tuesday to Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and some lawmakers. The letter says states shouldn't pass bills that appear to authorize the medical marijuana business because the drug is still illegal under federal law.
Other states considering marijuana legislation have faced federal questions. Earlier this month, Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire said she may veto a bill to license marijuana dispensaries after the Justice Department warned it could result in a federal crackdown.
Montana lawmakers passed an outright repeal of medical marijuana in that state after federal raids. The repeal was vetoed, but a bill limiting marijuana dispensaries awaits Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer.
Raid training planned in wake of federal threats
Category: News | Posted on Wed, April, 27th 2011 by THCFinder
SEATTLE, WA. APRIL 26, 2011 — In the wake of threats this month from two federal prosecutors in Washington State, medical cannabis activists are staging raid preparedness trainings in cities across the state. The move comes as Governor Chris Gregoire contemplates the fate of a bill to license medical cannabis providers and create a state registry of medical cannabis patients.
“The medical cannabis bill is a ghost of its former self, and could get dramatically worse if the governor exercises her sectional veto power,” said Rachel Kurtz with the Cannabis Defense Coalition. “Our community would do well to prepare itself, to brace for impact.”
Events are planned this week for Seattle, Spokane and Ellensburg. Traveling from Washington D.C. to lead the trainings will be Steph Sherer, Executive Director of Americans for Safe Access, the nation's largest medical cannabis advocacy group. That organization was founded ten years ago in response to federal raids on cannabis providers in California.
"Patients are sick and tired of being marginalized and living in fear of the federal government,” said Sherer. “It's time to push politics aside, recognize the plight of patients across the country, and properly address medical marijuana as the public health issue that it is.”
Event organizers warn that, whether or not the medical cannabis bill becomes law, medical cannabis patients and providers will likely see an increase in raids by federal and local law enforcement throughout Washington State.
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