Man with MS given 5 year prison sentence for growing Marijuana
Category: News | Posted on Tue, July, 26th 2011 by THCFinder
An appellate court has upheld the conviction and prison sentence of a Franklin man who was arrested for growing marijuana that he used to treat symptoms of his multiple sclerosis.
The ruling issued Tuesday morning rejects John Ray Wilson’s appeal that he was entitled to a “personal use defense” at trial and that his five-year state prison sentence was excessive.
Wilson, 38, was arrested in August 2008 after a National Guard helicopter pilot spotted his marijuana patch behind his rented home on Skillmans Lane in Franklin. His attorney has said he began growing his own marijuana to treat the symptoms of MS because he did not have insurance and could not afford prescriptions.
But a trial judge in 2009 barred Wilson from asserting the personal use defense and from referencing his medical condition at trial. He was convicted in December of that year of second-degree manufacturing marijuana plants and third-degree possession of psilocybin mushrooms, then sentenced the following March.
Wilson was released from prison on $15,000 bail pending an appeal of his conviction.
On Tuesday, the three-judge appellate panel wrote that it found no abuse of discretion or error of judgment by the trial court.
“Although we sympathize with defendant's medical condition, the record is devoid of any evidence that he will not obtain satisfactory medical treatment while incarcerated,” the judges wrote in the 15-page opinion. “As a result, we agree with the trial court's determination that there are no extraordinary mitigating factors in this case.”
His conviction and subsequent sentence drew outcry from medical marijuana advocates and state senators, who called for him to be pardoned by then-Gov. Jon S. Corzine and then Gov. Chris Christie.
The court’s decision comes about a week after Christie announced he would allow the state to begin dispensing marijuana to patients who demonstrate a medical need. He had held off on implementing the law since it was signed in January 2010 by Corzine, citing concerns about potential abuses of the program and prosecution by federal authorities.
Bakersfield medical pot store workers sentenced
Category: News | Posted on Tue, July, 26th 2011 by THCFinder
A federal judge has sentenced a Bakersfield medical marijuana dispensary worker to 37 months in prison after he pleaded guilty to conspiring to distribute marijuana.
Federal prosecutors said Monday that Jonathan Michael Chapman worked at Nature's Medicinal Co-Op between 2005 and 2007. Federal agents arrested the 32-year-old and seven other employees in a 2007 raid that also netted nearly 190 pounds of pot.
A U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman says dispensaries are often targeted when they are not run as nonprofits as required under California law. Prosecutors say Nature's Medicinal Co-Op logged $9.6 million in sales from January 2006 to September 2006.
Case dismissed; men want their pot back
Category: News | Posted on Mon, July, 25th 2011 by THCFinder
The operators of a Tacoma medical marijuana dispensary beat drug charges earlier this year.
Now they want their pot back.
Guy Casey and Michael Schaef contend they are legally authorized to possess the marijuana seized during a criminal investigation and that the government no longer has any interest in the pot.
They’ve asked a Pierce County Superior Court judge to return to each of them 48 ounces of harvested marijuana and 30 plants – or their cash equivalents. Their attorneys contend each plant, likely dead now, was worth $3,000 to $3,500.
“Here, it is clear that Mr. Casey is entitled to a return of the property at issue,” his attorney, Aaron Pelley of Seattle, wrote in a pleading filed in Superior Court. “The case has been resolved, and the property is no longer needed as evidence.”
Deputy Prosecutor John Sheeran just says no. Schaef and Casey are in violation of the state’s Medical Use of Marijuana Act, Sheeran wrote in a counter pleading.
They have not proved they’re legitimate medical marijuana patients or providers, and they possessed five times more marijuana than allowed by law when they were arrested, Sheeran wrote.
“A person who takes one step outside the rules set up by the Legislature loses the protections offered by the act,” the deputy prosecutor said.
The two sides are scheduled to argue their case in court Aug. 9.
The outcome might establish precedent in Washington state, where courts have yet to rule on whether forfeiture laws apply to medical marijuana, Casey’s and Schaef’s attorneys wrote in their pleadings.
The two men – who are good friends as well as business partners – were arrested in May 2010 after agents with the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team raided the Club 420 cooperative on Oregon Avenue and Casey’s Ollala-area home.
68,500 Marijuana Plants, Worth $205 Million, Found In California
Category: News | Posted on Mon, July, 18th 2011 by THCFinder
The news first broke late last week and now the Ventura County (Calif.) Sheriff's Department has made more information about the bust public.
On the north slope of Pine Mountain in the Los Padres National Forest, investigators discovered nearly 68,500 marijuana plants — the "single largest cultivation" ever found in the county. Estimated street value of the pot: $205,464,000, according to the sheriff's department.
It was a big operation, authorities say:
"After being airlifted to various sites on the mountain, investigators discovered several campsites used by the growers. These consisted of several hundred pounds of equipment including tents, propane stoves, sleeping bags, fertilizers, pesticides, along with and an enormous amount of trash. Detectives located a 9mm handgun, a .22 caliber rifle and ammunition for a variety of other handguns and rifles. There was evidence of poaching as the remains of deer and other small animals were located near the camps.
"Several water reservoirs, lined with plastic tarps, were found dug into the terrain. These reservoirs were supplied by water diverted from their natural course. Gravity fed irrigation lines led to the cultivation locations. Several thousand feet of irrigation hose was spread throughout the hillside to provide water to the plants.
"Huge sections of land had been terraced and the underbrush removed, leaving only a thin canopy to hide the growing marijuana. Bags of fertilizer, pesticides and poisons were found within each of the cultivation areas."
What they didn't find, were the growers. "No suspects have been arrested at this time, however, the investigation is continuing," the sheriff's department adds.
Mexican soldiers find biggest ever marijuana plantation
Category: News | Posted on Fri, July, 15th 2011 by THCFinder
Mexican soldiers have found a 300-acre marijuana plantation, the largest ever discovered in the country
The plantation was hidden in the Baja California desert 150 miles south of Tijuana, across the US border from San Diego.
It was twice as large as the previous record discovery in Mexico, and was hidden under black screen cloth which made it difficult to detect from the air. Soldiers stumbled across the plantation while on foot patrol.
Army General Alfonso Duarte said: "It is the largest marijuana plantation in Mexican history. We estimate that in this area approximately 60 people were working. When they saw the military personnel, they fled." He said drug traffickers could have harvested about 120 tons of marijuana from the site, which would have been worth about $160 million (£99 million.)
It will now be burned.
It was not known which drug cartel was operating the plantation, the Mexican army said.
Video footage from the site, in an area best known for growing tomatoes, showed a sophisticated system of piped-in irrigation to support the plants.
Last October, Mexican authorities made their largest-ever seizure of marijuana packaged for sale when they found 148 tons of the drug in Tijuana.
The following month they found two long, sophisticated tunnels under the border between Mexico and San Diego.
The tunnels ran for 2,000ft and were equipped with lighting, ventilation and a rail system for drugs to be carried on a small cart.
Dutch to ban 'no toking' signs
Category: News | Posted on Wed, July, 13th 2011 by THCFinder
AFTER an only-in-the-Netherlands legal reverse, the city of Amsterdam says it will likely have to stub out the "no toking" signs it introduced in a crackdown on marijuana-smoking youth.
The Dutch government's top legal adviser has ruled that the city had no right to establish official zones where smoking weed is banned, since it's already theoretically illegal in the Netherlands.
In practice possession of small amounts is allowed and the drug is sold openly in designated shops.
When the signs first went up in 2007 they were stolen so often the city started selling them itself as collectors' items.
City spokeswoman Iris Reshef conceded the overnight ruling likely means the signs must go, but the city can still fine young smokers who cause problems.
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