Supreme Court Upholds Exigent-Circumstances Search of Apartment that Smelled of Pot
Category: News | Posted on Mon, May, 16th 2011 by THCFinder
Police who thought they heard sounds of evidence being destroyed after knocking on the door of an apartment that smelled of marijuana were entitled to knock down the door and search the place, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled.
The Supreme Court upheld the warrantless search of an apartment in Lexington, Ky., in an 8-1 decision (PDF), ruling the search was permissible because of the “exigent circumstances.” Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. wrote for the majority.
The Kentucky Supreme Court had ruled the search was not allowed under the exigent-circumstances rule because police should have foreseen that knocking on the door and announcing their presence would lead those in the apartment to try to destroy evidence. The Supreme Court disagreed, saying the rule can justify the search when police acted lawfully before entering the apartment.
Police had entered the apartment building while following a suspect who had sold drugs to an undercover informant. A door slammed, indicating the suspect had entered one of two apartments. Police assumed (wrongly, it turns out) that the suspect was in the apartment that smelled of marijuana. They knocked and announced themselves, and kicked in the door when they heard sounds of things being moved in the apartment. Once inside, they found marijuana, cocaine and drug paraphernalia.
“Where, as here, the police did not create the exigency by engaging or threatening to engage in conduct that violates the Fourth Amendment, warrantless entry to prevent the destruction of evidence is reasonable and thus allowed,” Alito wrote.
Alito said the occupants of the apartment could have refused to open the door or to speak with the officers. Or they could have talked to police, but refused to allow them inside. “Occupants who choose not to stand on their constitutional rights but instead elect to attempt to destroy evidence have only themselves to blame for the warrantless exigent-circumstances search that may ensue,” Alito said.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented. “The court today arms the police with a way routinely to dishonor the Fourth Amendment’s warrant requirement in drug cases,” she wrote. “In lieu of presenting their evidence to a neutral magistrate, police officers may now knock, listen, then break the door down, nevermind that they had ample time to obtain a warrant."
Marijuana cuts lung cancer tumor growth in half, Harvard study shows
Category: News | Posted on Fri, May, 13th 2011 by THCFinder
The active ingredient in marijuana cuts tumor growth in common lung cancer in half and significantly reduces the ability of the cancer to spread, say researchers at Harvard University who tested the chemical in both lab and mouse studies.
They say this is the first set of experiments to show that the compound, Delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), inhibits EGF-induced growth and migration in epidermal growth factor receptor (EGFR) expressing non-small cell lung cancer cell lines. Lung cancers that over-express EGFR are usually highly aggressive and resistant to chemotherapy.
THC that targets cannabinoid receptors CB1 and CB2 is similar in function to endocannabinoids, which are cannabinoids that are naturally produced in the body and activate these receptors. The researchers suggest that THC or other designer agents that activate these receptors might be used in a targeted fashion to treat lung cancer.
SWAT team makes Walla Walla medical marijuana bust
Category: News | Posted on Thu, May, 12th 2011 by THCFinder
WALLA WALLA -- A SWAT team arrested a Walla Walla man with a medical marijuana permit Wednesday night for having too much pot in his home.
Police spokesman Tim Bennett says 58-year-old Terry Knapp has a permit that allows him no more than a pound-and-a- half of harvested marijuana.
KONA reports officers found six pounds of marijuana plus 15 small marijuana plants. They also seized $1,500 in cash.
Bennett says an informant made several large purchases of marijuana over the past couple of weeks.
Knapp is jailed for investigation of delivery of a controlled substance and delivery of marijuana within 1,000 feet of a school zone.
Raided pot providers sue government
Category: News | Posted on Wed, May, 11th 2011 by THCFinder
HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Two medical marijuana providers are suing the government over what they are calling unconstitutional raids of their Montana businesses as federal prosecutors threaten to crack down on medical pot operations across the nation.
The owners of Montana Caregivers Association and MCM Caregivers claim the March 14 raids exceeded the federal government's authority, pre-empted Montana's medical marijuana law and violated the pot providers' civil rights.
In their lawsuit against the government, the Department of Justice, Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Attorney for Montana Michael Cotter filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Missoula, the plaintiffs claim the aim is to shut down the medical pot industry.
"The federal government has made clear its intent to threaten and eventually eliminate any business or enterprise related to the medical use of marijuana," Christopher Williams of the Montana Caregivers Association and Randy Leibenguth of MCM Caregivers say in the lawsuit.
The Department of Justice did not have an immediate comment when contacted Wednesday. Also, Cotter's office did not comment on the lawsuit.
Federal agents executed 26 search warrants against pot businesses in Montana on March 14, seizing drugs, cash, weapons and vehicles in what Cotter said part of a drug-trafficking investigation. No charges have been filed and Cotter's office has since refused to comment on the investigation.
Since then, agents have raided two Washington state dispensaries and federal prosecutors have sent letters of warning to leaders in California, Colorado, Montana and Rhode Island.
Marijuana DUI bill dies in senate!
Category: News | Posted on Tue, May, 10th 2011 by THCFinder
A proposal at the state Capitol to set a limit for how stoned is too stoned to drive died this evening in the Senate.
In a crucial vote, lawmakers rejected a hard cap on the amount of THC — the psychoactive chemical in marijuana — drivers could have in their systems above which they would be presumed too high to drive. Instead, a divided Senate sided with medical-marijuana advocates, who urged more study of the proposal.
"We are being asked to make policy by anecdote," Sen. Shawn Mitchell, R-Broomfield, said in arguing for extra research. "... Policy should be well-considered."
With the teeth of the proposal removed, the Senate later voted to kill the bill, a decision that withstood a subsequent procedural challenge 20-15.
Sen. Steve King, a Grand Junction Republican who was one of House Bill 1261's sponsors, said failing to set a THC limit would have real consequences. He cited instances of fatal accidents in which the at-fault drivers tested positive for THC.
"Lives are at risk here," he said.
But Mitchell noted that some of those drivers had THC levels below the proposed limit — 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood. Echoing the concerns of a number of lawmakers, Aurora Democratic Sen. Morgan Carroll said she believes the research is inconclusive about how much THC definitively causes impairment, meaning a 5-nanogram limit might snare sober drivers while allowing stoned ones to go free.
It will still be illegal to drive while impaired by marijuana in Colorado, Carroll noted. The bill would have made it easier for prosecutors to prove a driver's guilt.
"If you're going to have a shortcut to presuming somebody is impaired, let's make sure the science is established," Carroll said.
Other lawmakers attacked the bill from another direction, arguing that any amount of THC in drivers is too much.
King responded that the 5-nanogram limit is supported by a number of studies and was vetted by multiple groups. He also called out the medical-marijuana industry for lobbying against the bill while, he said, not working as hard to discourage stoned driving.
Marijuana DUI bill rises from the ashes, expected to pass
Category: News | Posted on Mon, May, 9th 2011 by THCFinder
On Friday, a bill to make it easier to charge stoned drivers with DUI rose from the dead and is now expected to pass by Wednesday.
The previously gutted bill to charge drivers with DUI per se if operating motor vehicles while under the influence of 5 nanograms/mill of THC 9 in their bloodstream had those provisions restored.
The Senate Appropriations Committee, which normally looks at the fiscal appropriations for bills, chose on Friday to strike an amendment made in the Senate Judiciary Committee which took out the DUI per se provisions based on what some on the committee saw as an arbitrary level of THC. While the Judiciary committee had replaced the DUI per se language with provisions to do a study to look into driving impairment and THC, the Appropriations Committee found that 5 nanograms/mill was high enough to assume impairment when driving a car.
The Judiciary Committee was previously convinced by expert testimony and a blood test conducted on Westword’s marijuana critic, William Breathes, that showed even after 18 hours and a medical test confirming his sobriety that Breathes still tested over three times the THC limit to drive.
The bill is set to be heard Tuesday for second reading where the issue is likely to be debated. However, Sen. Morgan Carroll, D-Aurora, who supported striking the THC limits in the DUI bill, said the bill, with THC limits, was likely to make it to the governor’s desk.
According to the Cannabis Therapy Institute, a medical marijuana advocacy group that has largely been fighting marijuana legislation this year, Carroll said she did not have the votes to kill the bill.
“It is true. The pulled out the amendment we put on in Judiciary. It is back to the original bill, and it appears we do not have the votes to kill it,” Carroll wrote the group in an email.
As amended the bill would allow police officers who determine from a battery of roadside tests that a person is driving while impaired after consuming marijuana to administer a blood test for THC. If it was confirmed that a driver had more than 5 nanograms per milliliter in their bloodstream they would then be charged with a DUI per se in much the same manner as a person charged with drunk driving.
While many testified at the Judiciary hearing that 25 nanograms might be an acceptable level for a DUI per se, the state’s law enforcement agencies disagreed and stated that 5 nanograms may even be too high.