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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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Local medical marijuana operations unaffected by DEA raids

Category: News | Posted on Wed, November, 16th 2011 by THCFinder

Drug Enforcement Administration agents and local law enforcement officers raided more than a dozen medical marijuana operations in Western Washington on Tuesday, but the sweep did not affect collectives in Issaquah and Preston.

The operation targeted at least 14 medical marijuana operations in King, Pierce and Thurston counties. Overall, authorities arrested more than a dozen people.

Officials said the operations targeted in the raids failed to meet state guidelines or used the state medical marijuana law as cover to make illegal sales.

“Our job is to enforce federal criminal laws. In doing so, we always prioritize and focus our resources,” U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan said in a statement. ”As we have previously stated, we will not prosecute truly ill people or their doctors who determine that marijuana is an appropriate medical treatment.”

Representatives at The Kind Alternative Medical Collective, a nonprofit collective in Preston, and GreenLink Collective, a nonprofit collective in downtown Issaquah, said the raids did not affect the local operations.

Initiative 692, passed in 1998, allows people suffering from certain medical conditions to possess a 60-day supply of marijuana. Marijuana, for medical purposes or otherwise, remains illegal under federal law.

State law allows up to 10 qualifying patients to join together and form a collective garden of up to 45 plants, so long as the marijuana is not visible from public spaces.

“However, state laws of compassion were never intended to protect brash criminal conduct that masquerades as medical treatment,” Durkan said.

Issaquah is in the midst of a moratorium on the marijuana collective gardens as officials attempt to clarify rules for such operations.

Under direction from the City Council, the municipal Planning Department is developing a measure to determine what or if restrictions should apply to the collective gardens. Council Services & Safety Members discussed the proposed ordinance Monday.

The council enacted the moratorium in June. The following month, council members agreed to uphold the ban, but after hearing from medical marijuana users and advocates, directed planners to formulate a solution.

(Sourcehttp://www.issaquahpress.com


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Smoked out? Holland moves closer to pot ban for tourists

Category: News | Posted on Tue, November, 15th 2011 by THCFinder
A controversial bid to keep foreign visitors out of Holland's nearly 700 marijuana "coffee shops" is gaining momentum, despite some politicians' protests that a ban would be "tourism suicide."
 
Under a policy announced by the country's justice ministry last week, pot-selling shops will become members-only clubs restricted to Dutch residents over age 18. The new policy is being rolled out regionally, taking effect Jan. 1, 2012 in the southern border provinces of Limburg, North-Brabant and Zeeland and scheduled to extend nationwide - including Amsterdam - in 2013.
 
In a pilot program launched October 1 and aimed at reducing drug tourism from nearby France, cannabis cafes in the border city of Maastricht have been allowed to serve only Dutch, Belgian, and German customers. The Daily Telegraph says the move will cost the city about $41 million a year in revenue, the equivalent loss of 345 full-time jobs.
 
The city of Amsterdam, meanwhile, is fighting the measure because it says it discriminates against foreigners and could lead to a sale of soft drugs on the streets.
 
"The Dutch government has decided upon this for the whole of the Netherlands. Amsterdam doesn't want it," Machteld Ligtvoet, a spokeswoman from the Amsterdam tourism board told CNN this summer.
 

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