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Supreme Court Curbs Drug-Sniffing Dogs During Traffic Stops

Category: News | Posted on Thu, April, 23rd 2015 by THCFinder

WASHINGTON—The Supreme Court ruled 6-3 on Tuesday police can’t prolong a routine traffic stop to allow a drug-sniffing dog to search the vehicle unless they have a reasonable suspicion of uncovering contraband.

The case is the latest to see the justices reinvigorate constitutional protections against “unreasonable searches and seizures,” following recent decisions that rejected warrantless cellphone searches and installation of GPS trackers.

Tuesday’s ruling tightens the parameters police should follow when using drug-sniffing dogs during a traffic stop, building on a 2005 precedent allowing the drug searches while stressing such procedures become unlawful if a motorist is detained solely to conduct the search.

“We hold that a police stop exceeding the time needed to handle the matter for which the stop was made violates the Constitution’s shield against unreasonable seizures,” JusticeRuth Bader Ginsburg wrote for the majority. She was joined by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan.

The case came from Valley, Neb., where in March 2012 a K-9 officer, Morgan Struble,stopped a Mercury Mountaineer carrying two people after it briefly veered onto a highway shoulder.

It took Mr. Struble about 22 minutes to make his routine checks of the driver’s license, auto registration and proof of insurance, pulling up no outstanding warrants or other reason to delay the vehicle. After giving the driver, Dennys Rodriguez, a warning ticket, Mr. Struble asked permission to walk his drug-sniffing dog, Floyd, around the vehicle.

When Mr. Rodriquez declined, Mr. Struble ordered him out of the car and had him wait until a backup officer arrived. On a walk around the Mountaineer, the dog led the officers to a bag of methamphetamine.

A federal magistrate judge found that Mr. Struble had nothing more than a “large hunch” to justify the search, but admitted the evidence anyway because the procedure imposed only a minimal delay on Mr. Rodriguez.

Federal district and appellate courts upheld that decision. The Supreme Court faulted lower courts.

Read More:http://www.wsj.com/articles/supreme-court-limits-use-of-drug-sniffing-dogs-during-traffic-stops-1429645869


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Bill Maher: “Make 4/20 a National Holiday”

Category: News | Posted on Thu, April, 23rd 2015 by THCFinder

Bill Maher is as outspoken as marijuana celebrities turned activists come. The HBO pundit once again took to his pedestal to preach pot–and that he did.

On Friday night’s episode of Real Time With Bill Maher, Maher read viewer “‘Twas the Night Before 4/20″, his way of urging congress to get with the high times and make 4/20 a National Weed Day:

Moreover, Maher took to Change.org and started a petition to turn 4/20 into an official, national holiday. And its a mission we can all take to heart and stand behind:

Hi, America.  It’s me, Bill Maher, from Real Time with Bill Maher – here for my very first time on Change.org.  Well, the first time since I signed the petition to bring back “The Gilmore Girls.”

Now that marijuana is legal in one form or another in 24 states and counting, I’m here to urge you to sign my petition to make 4/20 a national holiday.

We celebrate everything from Arbor Day to Groundhog Day to a National Day of Prayer.  It’s high time we had a weed day.

Because if we can set days aside to pay tribute to trees, a rodent or a space ghost, we can certainly designate one day to officially recognize a true American institution.

Sign my petition and make 4/20 a national holiday.

Cause it’s not like any consumer or stoner goes to work or gets anything done besides celebrating our freedom on this great, great day.

Source:http://news.marijuana.com/news/2015/04/bill-maher-make-420-a-national-holiday/


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Medical Marijuana Activist in Kansas Could Face Charges

Category: News | Posted on Wed, April, 22nd 2015 by THCFinder

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- A medical marijuana advocate has lost custody of her 11-year-old son at least temporarily and could face possible charges following comments the boy made during a drug education program at school.
 
The case of Shona Banda, 37, was forwarded Monday to the Finney County district attorney's office for a decision about charges, Garden City Police Capt. Randy Ralston said. Possible charges include possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of drug paraphernalia and child endangerment, the department said in a news release.
 
No arrests have been made.
 
The divorced Garden City mother said she did not get custody of her son back following a hearing Monday in Finney County District Court, after Kansas authorities had placed the boy into protective custody.
 
"That's OK - I am not giving up," Banda said. "I will, I will get him and I am not going to stop until I do."
 
Banda, a motivational speaker and author on the medical marijuana issue, has been at the center of a social media storm after she went public with her story. Several supporters rallied Monday at a park near the courthouse.
 
"It is a hot topic all across the United States," Ralston said of the social media attention. "It doesn't surprise me."
 
Banda is the author of a book "Live Free or Die: Reclaim your Life . . . Reclaim your Country!" that recounts her use of a concentrated cannabis oil to treat Crohn's Disease.  
 
 

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Groundbreaking Report Finds Civil Asset Forfeiture Abuses In California

Category: News | Posted on Wed, April, 22nd 2015 by THCFinder

asset forfeiture marijuana arrestToday, the Drug Policy Alliance launches a multi-year, comprehensive look at asset forfeiture abuses in California that reveals the troubling extent to which law enforcement agencies have violated state and federal law.

Civil asset forfeiture law allows the government to seize and keep cash, cars, real estate, and any other property – even from citizens never charged with or convicted of a crime.  Because these assets often go straight into the coffers of the enforcement agency, these laws have led to a perversion of police priorities, such as increasing personnel on the forfeiture unit while reducing the number of officers on patrol and in investigation units. While civil asset forfeiture was originally conceived as an effective way to target and drain resources away from powerful criminal organizations, Above the Law discloses how these strategies and programs have now become a relied-upon source of funding for law enforcement agencies all across the state.

What emerges in the new report is a picture of a handful of relatively small cities clustered in Los Angeles County that lead the state in per capita seizures (Baldwin Park, Beverly Hills, Gardena, Irwindale, La Verne, Pomona, South Gate, Vernon and West Covina). The report’s analysis of fiscal records finds that many of these cities were providing false or inconsistent reports to the Justice Department, while some other cities appeared to be engaged in budgeting future forfeiture revenue, despite this being explicitly illegal under federal law.

“Civil asset seizure was never intended to be a primary funding source for law enforcement,” said Meghan Ralston, harm reduction manager for the Drug Policy Alliance. “Law enforcement professionals who put themselves in harm’s way to protect the public need appropriate levels of funding, but seizing the cash and property of potentially innocent citizens who are never charged with a crime is no way to fund public safety. This report is a wake-up call to all Californians.”

The revelations exposed in Above the Law add to major national momentum for reform.  Earlier this month, New Mexico’s Republican Governor, Susana Martinez,signed a new law that ends the practice of civil asset forfeiture in the state, which now has the strongest protections against wrongful asset seizures in the country. In January, Attorney General Eric Holder announced changes that could make it harder for state and local law enforcement to use federal law to seize property without evidence of a crime. And bipartisan legislation known as the FAIR Act has been introduced in both houses of Congress that would dramatically reform federal civil asset forfeiture laws.

Read More:http://www.theweedblog.com/groundbreaking-report-finds-civil-asset-forfeiture-abuses-in-california/


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Vancouver’s 4/20 Marijuana Smoke Fest Sees 64 Taken to Hospital

Category: News | Posted on Wed, April, 22nd 2015 by THCFinder

Vancouver’s 4/20 marijuana-smoking rally led to hospitalization for 64 revelers Monday, turning a celebratory occasion into a headache for ER workers.
 
“Sixty-four people in the emergency department is a large number, in an already busy emergency department,” Providence Health Care spokesperson Dave Lefebvre told CBC.
 
Patients were complaining of nausea, vomiting, palpitations and “a decreased level of consciousness,” Lefebvre said.
 
Authorities speculate that many revelers were consuming marijuana in edible form and thus unaware of the strengths of the dosages ingested.
 
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson criticized the event as “very disruptive,” adding that “I know there will be lessons learned from what happened yesterday. There were certainly more challenges this year than ever before.”
 
Vancouver police reported a higher turnout this year, with as many as 25,000 people crowding into Vancouver Art Gallery’s plaza and making it difficult for police and officials to manage the event.
 

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5 companies with the biggest buzz in the marijuana industry

Category: News | Posted on Tue, April, 21st 2015 by THCFinder

These are some of the companies with reason to celebrate on 4/20, the annual holiday for marijuana-lovers. 

Today is April 20, aka 4/20, the semi-official annual holiday for the marijuana industry and pot-enthusiasts around the world.

 
People flock to public celebrations across the country that, in some cases, attract crowds of thousands. Pot-related businesses also show off their products.
 
Over the weekend in Colorado, hordes of people got a head-start in what is a regulated market for both medical and recreational marijuana. In Denver, roughly 125,000 fans of Colorado’s progressive marijuana laws gathered on public property for an annual 4/20 rally — the number has a murky history, but it’s a nod to the time of day when stoners often light up — while thousands more in that city attended High Times‘ annual Cannabis Cup.
 
(For more on the Cannabis Cup and the 4/20 holiday, read this excerpt from author Bruce Barcott’s new book, Weed the People: The Future of Legal Marijuana in America.)
 
At both events, vendors pitching products — from cannabis strains and marijuana edibles to vaporizers — as they look to cash in on the so-called “green rush” in a regulated pot industry that could generate more than $10 billion in annual legal sales by 2018, according to The ArcView Group, a cannabis-focused investment firm. Twenty-three states have legalized medical marijuana, while four states and Washington, D.C. have legal recreational pot.

Read More:http://fortune.com/2015/04/20/marijuana-industry-five-companies/


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