Attorneys in MI Say Their Clients are Being Selectively Prosecuted
Michigan attorneys Lawrence Phelan and Frank Stanley say their clients – who are facing federal prosecution – were targeted because they are state-registered medical marijuana patients. If there are over 130,000 registered patients in Michigan and all are breaking federal law, why are their clients being singled out for it?
“Said differently, there is nothing egregious about the facts of the case that makes it stand out from a routine marijuana grow operation. The defendants are not zealots, and are not advocates against the enforcement of federal law because of the MMMA (Michigan Medical Marijuana Act).
"Rather, they are ordinary people who happened to have MMMA cards,” Stanley and Phelan wrote in a joint filing.
The attorneys also say the fact that the federal government has filed motions attempting to preclude state medical marijuana laws from being used in federal cases shows that someone being a medical marijuana patient is a factor in their prosecution.
“It is clear that the MMMA is a factor in the government’s decision because the Motions in Limine are all focused at that legislation,” they wrote.
“It is also true that Michigan has not been bashful about prosecuting individuals who are involved with marijuana and who are not protected by the MMMA. If the defendants are in violation, and if they are not protected by the MMMA, they are certainly subject to state prosecution.”
But even Stanley and Phelan admit they have an uphill battle proving “selective prosecution” as the courts have placed a heavy burden of proof on them. They must prove that the feds singled out their clients and acted in “bad faith.”
There is no doubt that the federal government is fond of sending messages, whether it be to state governments or individuals who dare to assert their state rights. In any event, the battle between the states and feds continues.
Detroit Voters to Decide on Marijuana Decriminalization in August
On Friday the Michigan Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a February case that said Detroit election officials were wrong in keeping a marijuana decriminalization measure off the city ballot, meaning voters will have a chance to decide for themselves. The measure is due to be on the August 7th primary ballot.
The measure itself would decriminalize marijuana possession of an ounce or less by an adult, similar to measures in Seattle, WA and Denver, CO. But because Michigan state law really doesn’t allow for this in their cities, offenders could still be charged by local police under state law.
So what is the point? According to Coalition for a Safer Detroit’s website (http://www.saferdetroit.net/): “In that sense this proposal is ‘symbolic.’ However, the more important symbolism is the clear expression of the will and priorities of the voters -- sending a message to the Mayor, Council, Prosecutor, and the Detroit Police that we want our scarce law enforcement resources used to get tougher on real crime.”
Anyone who knows how utterly crime-ridden Detroit is also knows that the problem isn’t people with baggies of weed. The problem is violence, violence fueled by rival gangs fighting over drug turf. And the only reason they fight is for the massive profits that come from the drug trade, profits heavily inflated by prohibition.
Advocates see the upcoming vote as a long-fought victory. "A long trail of voter abuse by the City of Detroit has come to an end," said the Coalition's Tim Beck, in an e-mail to supporters. "We got everything right. Our petitions were flawless."
A police spokesman reacted to the news by saying the department could adapt to the measure’s passage and decriminalization "if it's handled in an appropriate way, and this is what the citizens of Detroit choose."
You have to imagine many cops in Detroit are tired of busting people for cannabis while their city crumbles around them.
Police: Mom Forgets Baby On Top Of Car
It's the few idiots like this who give Cannabis a bad name. Please be responsible people!
Police in Arizona say a mother was under the influence of marijuana when she put her five-week-old infant on the roof of her car and drove away.
A New Marijuana Law Reform Champion?
It’s no secret that more people are needed in Congress that support marijuana law reform. A recent vote to defund the Department of Justice’s medical marijuana crackdown fell short by about 100 votes despite the fact that 74% of Americans support ending it.
So the math tells us we need more votes. And one of those votes could come from Beto O’Rourke (D), who just beat an eight-time incumbent in their south Texas congressional primary (http://www.thcfinder.com/marijuana-blog/politics/2012/05/marijuana-legalization-supporter-beat-8time-incumbent-in-congressional-primary) and is looking good to take the general election in a heavily Democratic district.
Below is a speech O’Rourke made a few years ago on drug policy reform. Hopefully he will be in Congress soon, and even if he isn’t outspoken on these issues at first, he will be one more vote toward freedom for cannabis users, and one more vote against the federal medical marijuana crackdown.
Every vote counts, especially in Congress where there are so few. And many are tired of failed drug policies that do nothing to limit use and everything to foster violence. Especially voters along the Mexican border. They look south and see a cloud of death and destruction coming their way.
Maybe Beto O’Rourke will be a new voice of reason in a sea of ignorance.
Rhode Island May Do Away with Jail Time for Marijuana Possession
Two bills have passed the Judiciary Committee in the Rhode Island House and Senate, bills that would make possession of up to an ounce of marijuana punishable by only a fine, whereas right now offenders could get up to one year in jail.
Under H 7092 and the Senate version, S 2253, possession of up to an ounce would only get the offender a $150 fine in most cases. A poll taken in the state in January showed 65% of likely voters favored a reduction of penalties for simple possession of marijuana.
“My forty years as a public health advocate have convinced me that decriminalizing marijuana possession is a sensible move for both public health and public safety,” said Dr. David Lewis, professor of community health and medicine and founder of the Brown University Center for Alcohol and Addiction Studies. “From a public health perspective, marijuana presents far fewer health risks than cigarettes or alcohol. Public safety will benefit after a shift from criminal to civil penalties for marijuana possession because law enforcement officials will be able to attend to more serious crimes. Contrary to common fears, the evidence from many states shows that decriminalizing possession does not result in a significant rise in marijuana use. I’m grateful that Rhode Island is moving toward a less punitive policy.”
Dr. Glenn Loury, professor of social science and economics at Brown University said of the bills, “H 7092 and S 2253 represent the beginning of a new way forward for marijuana policy in the Ocean State – an approach that moves away from punitive law enforcement tactics by placing a greater emphasis on public health.”
Small steps, but steps in a positive direction. The less marijuana users go to jail, the better. Both bills now have to be voted on in their respective chambers.
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