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Weeks-old traces of marijuana can land you a DUI in Arizona

Category: News | Posted on Sat, November, 9th 2013 by THCFinder
dui-az-for-cannabisIn Arizona, getting behind the wheel of a car weeks after smoking marijuana opens up the possibility of being charged with driving under the influence. Soon, however, the state Supreme Court may say that law has to go.
 
Current legislation on the books in Arizona allows automobile drivers to be charged with DUI if a blood sample indicates the presence of even a trace amount of Carboxy-THC, a secondary metabolite of marijuana. Carboxy-THC can stay in the body for weeks after someone smokes pot, but is non-psychoactive, meaning it can’t actually cause any sort of impairment. Despite scientific prove indicating such, however, a stringent state law in Arizona allows anyone whose smoked marijuana — even one month earlier — to end up behind bars.
 
Phoenix, Arizona attorney Michael Alarid is currently in the midst of having the state re-consider a 2010 DUI conviction against one of his clients, who he attests was not driving under the influence at the time of the incident but simply had trace amounts of THC in his system. A trial judge eventually threw out the charge, but an Alarid is concerned about a Court of Appeals decision mandating that laws on impaired driving “must be interpreted broadly.”
 
"The courts are supposed to interpret statutes as to avoid absurd results," Alarid told a local CBS affiliate. "It's possible in Arizona to be convicted of DUI when, in fact, a blood test proves a person is not impaired."
 
If all works out for Alarid, he’ll win by convincing the state’s top justices to overturn a Court of Appeals decision from the 1990s when “marijuana was a completely illicit substance,” Alarid told the network. Today, however, medical marijuana is legal in Arizona and more than a dozen other states, and recreational use is allowed by law in Washington, Colorado and — due to a decision just this week — shortly Portland, Maine.
 
When Alarid tried to make his case in court on Tuesday, Chief Justice Rebecca Berch asked a state prosecutor how the law would be utilized if future breakthroughs will allow investigators to discover even more miniscule traces of Carboxy-THC.
 
“Let’s assume that scientific testing develops and you can find Carboxy-THC remaining in the system for a year, does that have any effect on your position here today?” Chief Justice Berch asked Deputy Maricopa County Attorney Susan Luder. “Let’s now assume that it’s five years that you can test THC levels — Carboxy-THC remaining in the system, does there come a point where the statute lacks a rational basis?”
 
According to the Arizona Daily Star, Luder argued that Berch’s case wasn’t realistic and that it’s “up to the Legislature to decide” if DUI convictions can be handed down to defendants who may have smoked marijuana weeks earlier.
 
Read more: http://rt.com/

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Lansing votes to decriminalize marijuana

Category: News | Posted on Thu, November, 7th 2013 by THCFinder
lansing-decriminalizes-marijuanaLansing was one of three communities in Michigan that voted Tuesday to decriminalize marijuana.
 
Nearly 63 percent of Lansing residents voted to amend the city's charter to legalize the possession, use and transfer of an ounce of marijuana by any adult 21 years and older on private property.
 
"This is going to send a message to the Legislature that people really want change," Tim Beck -- who spearheaded Michigan's 2008 medical marijuana ballot proposal -- told MLive earlier this week. 
 
It's unclear exactly how the vote and new language will actually make a change in how marijuana is enforced, since the drug is still illegal under state and federal law.
 
Councilwoman Kathie Dunbar had said before the vote that the ballot initiative is a "feel good" spot on the ballot that "means nothing."
 
"We follow state law in the city of Lansing," she said. "Passage of this is not going to impact anything. It sends a message that maybe the public is more amenable to legalization but it creates a whole host of problems for our police officers."
 
But attorney Jeffery Hank, chairman for a Coalition for a Safer Lansing which got the marijuana amendment on the ballot, said local police will deal with any marijuana enforcement, not Michigan State Police.
 

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Family Sues After Man Dies In Jail After Marijuana Possession Arrest

Category: News | Posted on Thu, November, 7th 2013 by THCFinder
man-dies-in-jailI have always said that no one should have to go to jail for marijuana possession. There are real criminals out there that need to be locked up for violent offenses. So why are we reserving jail beds for marijuana possession? Future generations will look back on marijuana arrests one day, and they will wonder why we got it wrong for so many decades.
 
Everyone knows that Washington and Colorado legalized marijuana possession in 2012. What a lot of people don’t know about is that a man died in a Washington jail while serving time for a misdemeanor marijuana possession charge. Michael Saffioti, 22, had turned himself in to the jail for an outstanding misdemeanor warrant for marijuana possession in July of 2012. Michael Saffioti suffered from extreme food allergies, and died after jail staff assured him his food was OK to eat, even though it clearly wasn’t.
 
The jail staff are clearly to blame, but marijuana prohibition itself is also to blame. Michael Saffioti should have never been in that jail in the first place. Had Michael Saffioti been caught possessing a personal amount of marijuana today in Washington, he would have been let go. But because his arrest was before the 2012 Election, he was considered a criminal. How is that right?
 
Video footage has surfaced from the jail on the day that Mr. Saffioti died. You can view it here. Be advised that it’s footage of a man dying from a food allergy. It’s extremely sad and painful to watch. My prayers are with the family. I hope that they win their lawsuit for the full amount of $10 million dollars, although it will never be enough to get their family member back.
 

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Marijuana Market Poised To Grow Faster Than Smartphones

Category: News | Posted on Tue, November, 5th 2013 by THCFinder
mj-market-growing-fastLegal marijuana is among the fastest-growing markets in the United States, and it's growing at a rate poised to outpace the expansion of the global smartphone market, according to a new report obtained exclusively by The Huffington Post.
 
Researchers surveyed hundreds of medical cannabis retailers, processors, dispensary owners and industry leaders over the course of six months this year, and estimated that more than $1.43 billion worth of legal marijuana will be sold in 2013. The report also predicts that figure to grow by 64 percent, to $2.34 billion next year. By comparison, recent figures show the smartphone market expanded by 46 percent from 2012 to 2013.
 
"Cannabis is one of the fastest-growing industries," said Steve Berg, a former managing director of Wells Fargo Bank and editor of the report, the second edition of the State of Legal Marijuana Markets. "Domestically, we weren't able to find any market that is growing as quickly."
 
While it's important to note that smartphones surged in popularity long before medical marijuana became a viable industry, and global sales numbers for 2012-2013 don't offer a direct comparison to 2013-2014 domestic estimates, Berg said his goal was to illustrate just how rapidly the cannabis market is expanding by offering familiar data points. The U.S. smartphone market, according to research group IDC, is growing at an annual rate of 7.3 percent.
 
"Entrepreneurs and private investors are flocking to cannabis markets," Berg said. "Those who really understand market dynamics will reap large rewards."
 
Medical marijuana is currently legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia. Next year, Washington and Colorado will begin implementing laws that permit the sale of pot to all adults, and Berg noted that those states will obviously play a major role in the growth of the cannabis market. Colorado alone is predicted to add $359 million to its existing market in 2014.
 

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Denver Cops Seizing Legal Marijuana At Airport Lost And Found

Category: News | Posted on Tue, November, 5th 2013 by THCFinder

denver-cops-steal-marijuana

OK, legal beagles, explain this one for me – how do Denver Cops legally justify seizing my less than one ounce of marijuana at the Denver Airport TSA Lost & Found?
 
Here’s the story: I went to the DPA Reform Conference in Denver. I had a small wooden stash box. In it was less than three grams of marijuana and a glass one-hitter. As I flew out of TSA, I accidentally left my stash box, as well as a small card wallet with my Oregon medical marijuana caregiver card in it and two travel pillows, at the TSA security station.
 
A fan read my lamentations over the situation and offered to pick up the stuff from DIA Lost & Found. I called ahead to a nice woman named Francine, who assured me my stuff had been turned in, it was all there. I let her know a friend would pick it up for me, she recorded my consent for the pickup, and all was well.
 
After I received the package from my fan this Saturday, I noticed a business card from Officer Dan H. Dietz of the Denver International Airport’s police taped to my stash box, which was empty.
 
So… it seems TSA found my stuff and turned it into lost and found, but Denver police seized my marijuana and one-hitter. Which, as I understand it, were both perfectly legal items to possess under Colorado’s constitution.
 
Today I called Officer Dietz and left a message, which was just returned by Officer Rick Stevens. He explained to me that TSA’s lost and found does not accept drugs, so Denver police had my marijuana and pipe, which I had to go pick up personally.
 
I asked, “Why is Denver police confiscating something from me that is perfectly legal under the Constitution.” He declined to get into the constitutionality of the situation and expressed that what Denver police had done was perfectly legal, without actually citing how.
 
He then asked me if I had a medical marijuana card. I responded that I do have a caregiver card in the state of Oregon, but my possession of marijuana in the state of Colorado requires no such card. I then explained how the stash box was an opaque, sealed item and wondered under what legal authority did Denver police open my stash box in order to seize something that is not contraband? The box size is so small there is no way I could have had more than an ounce in it; besides, they could have just weighed the box and even with the box weight, it wouldn’t have been over an ounce.
 

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South Carolina Police Chief Threatens Facebook User After Pro-Marijuana Comment

Category: News | Posted on Sat, November, 2nd 2013 by THCFinder
It’s been a wild week for police officers and marijuana comments on Facebook. I recently wrote about a Missouri police officer that inferred marijuana activists are ‘stupid welfare-sucking potheads who probably can’t read.’ If that wasn’t ridiculous enough, it appears now that a police chief in South Carolina issued a threat to a Facebook user because he suggested the police focus on real crime.
 
According to Raw Story:
 
A South Carolina police chief threatened a resident with possible arrest Thursday for making pro-legalization comments about marijuana in a Facebook post about a drug suspect’s arrest. Interim Police Chief Ruben Santiago announced on the Facebook page for the Columbia Police Department that officers had seized about $40,000 in marijuana from an apartment during a drug investigation.
 
Below is the screen shot of the Facebook post by the police, as well as the screen shot of the comment that resulted in the threat:
 
cop-threatens-person-over-facebook-comment
 
 
What is sad to me is not only did the police feel that this comment was appropriate, but it looks like five of their friends agree based upon the number of ‘likes’ the comment received. Brandon Whitmer didn’t say, ‘hey cops, I’m participating in criminal behavior.’ He was making a public policy statement suggesting that public resources would be better spent going after violent criminals instead of harmless marijuana consumers. The response by the police station was very unprofessional, and is clearly trying to intimidate Mr. Whitmer into giving up his First Amendment right to speak freely.
 

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