Trump Justice Dept. Could Shift Drug Prosecution Policies
WASHINGTON (AP) — An Obama administration Justice Department that emphasized the need to be “smart on crime” is being replaced with a Trump presidency that campaigned on being “tough on crime.”
The difference between those two philosophies remains to be seen, but one area where the divide is likely to be felt most acutely is in the thousands of drug cases the Justice Department prosecutes annually.
If confirmed as attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions, an Alabama Republican and former prosecutor, would inherit a Justice Department that’s pursued dramatic changes in the treatment of nonviolent drug criminals. Department leaders, most prominently former Attorney General Eric Holder, have directed prosecutors to limit their use of mandatory minimum punishments, sought to roll back a sentencing structure they see as overly harsh and encouraged the early release of hundreds of inmates.
Legal Pot Brings Temporary Tax Break for Some Medical Users
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Some California medical marijuana users are getting a tax break.
State officials announced Thursday that certain purchases of medical cannabis are now exempt from sales taxes, under the law approved by voters this month that legalized recreational pot in California.
Under the new law known as Proposition 64, a 15 percent excise tax will be imposed in January 2018 upon purchasers of all marijuana and marijuana products, including medical cannabis. A tax on cultivators will also be imposed.
Until then, the tax holiday goes to people who make purchases with a medical marijuana identification card from the California Department of Public Health.
As More States Legalize Marijuana, Investors And Marketers Line Up
Is Your Friendly Neighborhood Postman Stealing Your Weed?
Shipping marijuana via the mail is always a dicey proposition. There is nothing legal about it—the U.S. Postal Service is a federal entity, and federal law trumps state law, making even an in-state cannabis delivery illegal—and tales of dummies literally writing their own indictment on the envelope abound.
And even if the police don’t show up at your door when you were expecting that package of contraband, there’s a serious probability your shipment still disappears, without ever falling into the hands of police. It might have been stolen by the likeliest suspects of all: the government employees handling the mails.
Postal workers discover marijuana in the mail with reliable frequency. USPS found 34,000 pounds of mailed cannabis in 2015, according to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service—a figure that’s in fact significantly down from the 47,000 pounds found in 2013, the last year before recreational marijuana retail shops opened up in Washington and Colorado—and about 1,000 people are arresting for mailing drugs or drug money every year.
Florida Regulators Already Trying to Mess With New MMJ Law
After’s California adult-use legalization, the big story from Nov 8 was battleground state Florida, which voted overwhelmingly to legalize medical marijuana with more than 70 percent of the vote.
The bad news is that there’s already a lot wrong with how Florida is choosing to carry out the will of the voters.
Amendment 2, Florida’s new medical marijuana law, is effective on Jan. 3, 2017, but it will be will be many months after that before the first patients receive any cannabis. Exact regulations for the cultivation and selling of which are yet to be determined, but the details may not matter: It’s going to be very hard indeed for even very sick people to acquire any cannabis at all, under initial rules proposed by the state Health Department’s “Office of Compassionate Use.”
Tennessee AG Has Nashville and Memphis Decriminalization Ordinances in His Sights
Both Nashville and Memphis passed citywide ordinances earlier this year decriminalizing the possession of marijuana in small amounts. The goal of these measures is to prevent otherwise law-biding citizens from being entered into the criminal justice system simply for holding a little weed. In doing so, officials hoped that law enforcement will have more time to focus on more pressing issues, like rape, murder and all of the other monstrous indiscretions that typically frighten the majority of civil society.
However, Tennessee Attorney General Herbert Slatery claims the decriminalization ordinances are worthless in the eyes of the state. In a recent opinion, Slatery said the two cities could not give their respective police departments the freedom to issue small fines to those caught in possession of up to a half ounce of marijuana because that would go against the grain of state law.
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