Marijuana Activist's Eligibility For B.C. NDP Leadership Questioned By Party President
The B.C. NDP leadership race got off to a shaky start Wednesday, with a dust-up over whether the first person to declare his candidacy was a paid-up party member. Marijuana activist Dana Larsen held a news conference to announce his intention to campaign for the leadership. Three hours later, NDP party president Moe Sihota said Mr. Larsen was ineligible because he did not have a membership card. Mr. Larsen subsequently blamed a clerical error at NDP offices for the mix-up.
He renewed his membership, changed his address and made a donation in November, he said in a news release. "The donation was processed, however, my address change, and now it seems my membership, were not” said Mr. Larsen. “Moe Sihota chose to resolve this clerical error through the media rather than contacting me directly. That is highly irregular, “Mr. Larsen said. Earlier, Mr. Sihota said Mr Larsen may be ineligible even if he buys a membership. Mr. Larsen was a federal NDP candidate in the 2008 election campaign who stepped down following controversy over his marijuana use.
“Having been deemed ineligible to run federally, that raises the question if he could run provincial,” Mr. Sihota said in an interview. The rules committee for the leadership race is slated to meet next week to set the eligibility requirements. Mr. Larsen may not qualify under those rules, Mr. Sihota said. “He is currently ineligible, and may be ultimately ineligible,” he said. However, Mr. Larsen insisted he could run. “I’m a member in good standing in the NDP, as far as I know,” he said. “I make monthly donations on my credit card.” Mr. Larsen also said he voluntarily chose to resign as a federal NDP candidate; he was not disqualified. “As far as I know, I would qualify under any rules the party would set, or under any rules they have set in the past. I cannot imagine any rule they would set that would disqualify me,” he said.
Feds Want Michigan Records In Medical-Marijuana Probe
Federal agents want Michigan to turn over medical marijuana records as part of an investigation in the Lansing area, a sign that voter approval won't stop federal authorities from enforcing their drug laws. Michigan voters agreed in 2008 to legalize the use of marijuana in treating some health problems. But "the cultivation, possession and distribution of marijuana remains illegal under federal law," Assistant U.S. Attorney John Bruha said in a court filing last week.
The U.S. attorney's office has asked a judge to order the Department of Community Health to comply with a subpoena for records of seven people with medical marijuana or marijuana caregiver cards. The state has been resisting turning over the information because of a privacy provision in Michigan law, Bruha said. No names or identifying information about the seven are included in court documents, nor are details about the Drug Enforcement Administration's investigation.
DEA spokesman Rich Isaacson in Detroit wouldn't comment about the case Monday but said agents generally are "not targeting people that are unambiguously following the state medical marijuana law." "The DEA targets large scale drug trafficking organizations and does not expend its resources on individuals possessing 'user amount' quantities of illegal drugs," he said. The federal government apparently hasn't been in a rush to get the information: The subpoena was given to the Department of Community Health in June. More than 45,000 people in Michigan are registered to use marijuana to ease the symptoms of cancer and other health problems. They can have up to 2 1/2 ounces of ready-to-use pot and up to 12 plants kept in an enclosed, locked facility. They could also choose to have a registered caregiver grow the drug for them.
Cannabis Clubs Plug A Gap In Spanish Drugs Laws
The sign on the door says it all, but the acrid smell and smoke wafting across the Private Cannabis Club in the Madrid dormitory town of Paraceullos de Jarama are proof that it lives up to its name. "This is the one place we can smoke in peace," said a punter at the bar, mixing tobacco and dried, shredded cannabis leaf in a long rolling paper. The Private Cannabis Club, with its palmate green leaves stencilled on the walls and the club's name etched on to smoked windowpanes, is at the vanguard of a new movement of pro-cannabis campaigners in Spain. The members spotted a gap in Spain's drugs laws which, they say, makes the activities of private clubs like these entirely legal. The spacious Paracuellos de Jarama club, in a former restaurant in a town overlooking Madrid's Barajas airport, is equipped with a bar, kitchen, billiard tables and TV screens. It is the most sophisticated of up to 40 cannabis clubs that have sprung up in garages and back rooms around Spain since campaigners worked out that laws making it illegal to consume in public did not apply to private, member-only, clubs.
"We've been open for two months and we already have 125 members," said the association's president, Pedro Álvaro Zamora. Those members pay €120 a year to belong and Zamora and his companions follow rules that seem similar to those of exclusive Mayfair clubs. A sign by the doorbell warns that only members are admitted and a committee vets new applicants, blackballing some. Alicia Méndez, a club official, said: "Potential members are interviewed and we do not accept everyone. Our members have to be responsible people, have the right profile." Zamora said: "This is not Amsterdam, this is not a coffee shop. This is our association's club house and it is a private place. It is not open for everyone." Spain does not have a law banning consumption in private and members claim it is safer to use the club than go out to parks and smoke in public. Zamora said: "The club recognises that cannabis is not good for everyone. We propose a responsible form of consumption. Not everyone should smoke. We know there are risks." Club members can bring their own cannabis or share in the club's own stock. They can even take some away as long as they sign for it and the cannabis is for personal consumption.
Although the club house, which is registered with the local authorities, is left alone by police, members can get into trouble if caught carrying cannabis. "It is illegal to buy, sell or transport, so you can be fined if caught with it on you." The club offers legal help to fined members. Supplying the club is another problem, as dealing in cannabis is illegal. "We are fighting for the legal right to grow it," said Zamora. The club applied for a medical licence to cultivate cannabis but was turned down. Then police raided its secret plantation and destroyed the plants. Zamora said they would challenge in court the right to destroy a plantation devoted to supplying a private club: "We are people who work and pay taxes. We are not delinquents
San Jose: Cop shoots at 'possible suspect' in marijuana grow-house robbery
A San Jose police officer shot a "possible suspect" in a downtown home invasion robbery Tuesday night after the man got into a car whose driver tried to run over the officer, a department spokesman said today.
Police said the man may have been involved in a robbery of a marijuana grow house in the 500 block of Locust Street south of the Children's Discovery Museum. The 30-year-old San Jose man, who has not been identified, is expected to survive with a serious gunshot wound to his leg, according to police.
San Jose police are investigating a chaotic chain of events that began at 11:04 p.m. Tuesday when a dispatcher with the California Highway Patrol received a 911 call and overheard a robbery in progress. The dispatcher transferred the call to San Jose police, which sent patrol officers to the house on Locust Street near South Almaden Boulevard, according to San Jose police Sgt. Ronnie Lopez.
Officers arrived at 11:08 p.m. and about seven minutes later learned that at least one shot had been fired during a home-invasion robbery of the marijuana grow house, injuring one of the residents. Police said the victim was take to a local hospital with injuries that are not life-threatening.
"We were definitely responding to a violent situation with very complicated components and a lot of chaos," Lopez said.
Police are not saying how much marijuana was being grown or whether the house was an illegal operation.
As officers were interviewing residents of the house on Locust Street, two San Jose police officers working a DUI saturation effort spotted two men who matched the description of the robbery suspects near the House of Pizza on South Almaden Boulevard, Lopez said. As the officers approached the men, one of them tossed aside a handgun. Police arrested the men on the scene and are "fairly certain" the two are connected to the robbery, Lopez said.
The two men arrested have been identified as James Kaufusi, 20, of East Palo Alto and Lulnani Kailahi, 30, of San Francisco. Police say a third man wanted in the home invasion is Aminiasi Ofa, 22, of East Palo Alto.
About 11:22 p.m., two patrol officers spotted a man who matched suspect information in the robbery standing next to a 1991 Acura Legend four-door sedan on West Reed Street between Almaden Avenue and South First Street, Lopez said.
As officers "attempted to make contact" with the man, he jumped into the Acura, which was being driven by a woman identified as Zebry Mary Lou Martinez, 30, of San Jose. As Martinez started to drive away, she steered toward one of the officers, police said. The officer opened fire.
The officer who fired the shots injured his knee while diving out f the way of the car, Lopez said. He was taken to a hospital and released.
The Acura fled south on South First Street.
Moments later, police received a call about a suspicious man hiding between vehicles on State Street south of Highway 280. Officers found the man, who by then was in a gold GMC Yukon that had arrived to pick him up, police said. The man had been shot in the leg and officers identified him as the suspect who fled in the Acura.
"When you're dealing with violent suspects, guns being discarded and vehicles driving toward the police, you've got violent issues to deal with," Lopez said. "It's something that's very dynamic and it has to be controlled swiftly."
Police have not identified the victims in the home invasion or the man who was shot at by police.
Police are still trying to determine if the man and woman in the Acura who sped toward the officer are connected to the robbery or if they were "fleeing for some other reason." Police later found the woman, who is being interviewed by investigators, Lopez said.
Police say they are still looking for one other possible suspect in the robbery.
8th Graders in Indiana More Likely To Do Drugs
Eighth-graders in Marion County and throughout the state are more likely to smoke, drink and use marijuana than their counterparts in the rest of the nation, a new study finds. Drug-prevention experts here know the problem exists. But they don't know why.n The high rate of use may stem from scant dollars for prevention, more accessible drugs and the lack of a community network to address teen drug use, they say.
"I wish we had a better handle on some of the specific reasons," said Randy Miller, executive director of Drug Free Marion County. "It would make it easier for us to address and reduce it. That's part of the struggle." While marijuana use in this age group has increased across the country, the numbers are dramatically higher here. About 17 percent of Marion County eighth-graders used marijuana in the past month, compared with 8 percent nationally, according to a survey conducted by the National Institutes of Health.
The gap between local and national statistics narrows for high school seniors. That may reflect Indianapolis' high dropout rate rather than any real distinction in teens of that age because those who drop out are more likely to abuse substances, said Nancy Beals, prevention project coordinator for Drug Free Marion County. In an effort to turn the statistics around, Drug Free Marion County will apply for a federal grant to beef up prevention starting with sixth-graders, Miller said. If his group is awarded the $125,000 five-year grant, it would more than double what the group has to spend on prevention annually.
I'm part Cherokee and we don't consider marijuana a drug
CRESTVIEW -- A woman whose husband allowed officers to search their home was charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia after they found marijuana in a grinder on the kitchen table.
"I'm part Cherokee Indian and we don't consider marijuana a drug," the 30-year-old Crestview woman told officers.
She smelled of alcohol, according to her Crestview Police Department arrest report.
Three young children were in the house at the time. Her husband told officers his wife "ingests marijuana." Officers also found two smoking devices after the husband pointed out their location, the report said.
The woman was arrested Dec. 18.
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