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
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.
Louisiana Man Gets Life for Marijuana
Louisiana Man Gets Life for Marijuana
It was not the first time Cornell Hood II had gotten in trouble with the law.
He had previously just gotten off probation after three marijuana convictions in New Orleans.
However, he met a much harsher punishment after moving to St. Tammany Parish. A single conviction on the North shore sentenced the 35-year-old man to life in prison, according to the Times-Picayune.
On Thursday in his Covington courtroom, State Judge Raymond S. Childress was able to sentence Hood to life in prison under Louisiana’s repeat-offender law. Court records reveal that on a jury in February, Hood was found guilty of possessing and distributing marijuana from his home in Slidell.
Hood had just moved from eastern New Orleans, to the Slidell area, after admitting on December 18, 2009, in Orleans Parish Criminal District Court, to possession with intent to distribute marijuana. For that convicted charge, he received a prison sentence and five years of probation, which was exactly the same penalty he got in 2005 for his first charge.
When Hood made the move to Slidell and switched homes, he also requested for a new probation officer. Just as Hood requested, a new probation officer was assigned to him, and that’s when the officer, Dustin Munlin, drove to Hood’s new home for a regular visit on September 27, 2010.
Not surprisingly, Munlin found almost two pounds of pot scattered around the house, according to court records. Munlin instantly told Sheriff’s Office deputies. Hood was then arrested.
Later, prosecutors charged Hood with one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana, the exact charges Hood has previously faced.
Hood’s trial only lasted one day. The evidence presented against him consisted of a digital scale and about a dozen bags containing marijuana, along with $1,600 in cash and a student-loan application with Hood’s name on it.
The Times-Picayune revealed it only took jurors less than two hours to deliberate before convicting Hood of a reduced charge, which normally wouldn’t consist of more than fifteen years on imprisonment. However, Assistant District Attorney Nick Noriea, Jr. upped the ante when he used Hood’s past convictions to argue Hood was a career criminal, worthy of an even worse punishment.
Drug criminals in Louisiana are subject to life imprisonment after they have been convicted three or more times of a crime that exceed a sentence of ten years, as Hood had been.
Jail sentence for man who grew marijuana to help cancer-stricken wife
Another sad story of someone trying to help another human being. No good deed goes unpunished with our screwed up system.
Gary Burton must serve 60-days behind bars for growing two pot plants in Chippewa Lake. He will also serve 30 days house arrest and will undergo drug testing for two years.
Burton says he was growing the plants for medicinal purposes, to help ease his wife's pain due to her breast cancer treatments.
Grannies arrested in cannabis bust
Category: News | Posted on Wed, May, 4th 2011 by THCFinder
Two grandmothers have been arrested accused of running a huge cannabis growing operation in California.
Aleen Lam, 72, and Virginia Chan Pon, 65 - who deny all allegations - were held after neighbours called police to report a burglary in San Mateo County.
When officers arrived they found 800 cannabis plants, thousands in cash and a bypass that allowed the women to tap into a power line to steal electricity.
District Attorney Steve Wagstaffe said: "This has not happened in the 34 years that I've been here."
Lam and Pon have pleaded not guilty to cultivation of cannabis, maintaining a house for the sale of cannabis, possession of cannabis for sale and unlawful theft of electricity.
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.
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