Kansas Supreme Court Justice Compares Drug Charges to Sex Crimes

Category: News | Posted on Mon, September, 21st 2015 by THCFinder

The Kansas Supreme Court heard arguments this week between state and local officials as to whether or not the city of Wichita should be allowed to implement an ordinance passed in 2014 that decriminalizes marijuana possession.

In April of last year, 54 percent of the voting population in the state’s largest municipality approved a ballot measure that took the heat off first time pot offenders by making minor possession a civil infraction rather than a criminal offense. Essentially, the majority of Wichita agreed that a $50 fine was a sufficient enough punishment for anyone caught holding a small bag of weed and that it was no longer necessary to put these people in jail.

However, the passing of this ordinance did not set well with Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt, who argued that Wichita could not move forward with the ordinance because it directly conflicts with state and federal law.

It is this battle between the city’s right to approve rules conducive to maintaining civil society and a state hammer swinging in disapproval that has brought the state’s highest court in to mediate this issue to a decision. 

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Department of Justice Threatens to Take Away Funds From States That Reform Asset Forfeiture Laws

Category: News | Posted on Sun, September, 20th 2015 by THCFinder

While former Attorney General Eric Holder said at the beginning of 2015 that the Department of Justice (DOJ) had taken measures to prevent state and local police departments from seizing money, cars and other personal property without first charging a drug suspect with criminal activity, newly released documents show this move was nothing more than lip service to temporarily appease the opposing forces of unchecked police authority.

Indeed, drug reform activists rejoiced earlier this year when Holder released a statement suggesting that, “effective immediately, the Justice Department is taking an important step to prohibit federal agency adoptions of state and local seizures, except for public safety reasons.” Unfortunately, the then-leader of the DOJ failed to admit that the U.S. government would soon twist the arms of local lawmakers and police agencies to become opposing forces for the reform of state asset forfeiture laws or run the risk of losing their federal funding. 

A series of documents obtained by the Institute for Justice reveals that the DOJ has teamed up with the Treasury Department to bribe state law enforcement groups to oppose any effort to change the way the civil asset forfeiture laws operate in their state. If they fail to comply, and the state does pass reforms to this system, the federal government indicates that it will strip away the federal funding the state has been receiving through the Equitable Sharing Program.

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Ohio Supreme Court: Change the Wording on ResponsibleOhio’s Ballot Description

Category: News | Posted on Sat, September, 19th 2015 by THCFinder

The Ohio Supreme Court handed down a verdict earlier this week that suggested the state intentionally penned a misleading description of ResponsibleOhio’s initiative to legalize marijuana and ordered election officials to edit the content with a less subjective voice. 

In the ruling, the state’s highest court determined that the Ohio Ballot Board and its fearless leader, Secretary of State Jon Husted, made a number of errors in the authoring of an overview for Issue 3. Among the fowl ups was the fact that the state provided inaccurate details about the proposal and “omits essential information” that could bamboozle voters into making a swayed decision.

“The cumulative effect of these defects in the ballot language is fatal because the ballot language fails to properly identify the substance of the amendment, a failure that misleads voters,” the verdict stated.

However, while the court ordered the Ballot Board to rewrite four specific paragraphs dealing with the how retail pot shops would be allowed to open as well as the areas of cultivation and personal possession, they did not budge on the ballot’s title, which uses the word “monopoly” – a term that has been at the pulse of this controversial measure from the beginning.

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Another Florida Municipality Decriminalizes Pot

Category: News | Posted on Fri, September, 18th 2015 by THCFinder

The Sunshine State’s pot penalties are among toughest in the nation—but some local lawmakers are saying enough.

On Tuesday, West Palm Beach officials joined local lawmakers in other cities throughout the state in enacting a municipal ordinance decriminalizing minor marijuana possession offenses that occur within city limits. Under the new law, local police may cite, rather than arrest, those found in the possession of 20 grams or less of cannabis. Those persons over the age of 18 issued civil citations are subject to a $100 fine but are not subject to criminal prosecution or a criminal record.

Under state law, the possession of any amount of pot under 20 grams is classified as a criminal misdemeanor, punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine. According to an analysis by the ACLU, an estimated 60,000 Floridians are arrested for cannabis possession violations annually—the third highest statewide total in the nation.

West Palm’s municipal ordinance is similar to a countywide measure approved by Miami-Dade county commissioners this past July. That ordinance also provides $100 civil citations for minor marijuana offenders. Dade County is the largest county in Florida, and misdemeanor marijuana arrests accounted for 10 percent of all cases filed in the Miami-Dade criminal court system between the years 2010 and 2014.

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Toledo, Ohio Votes Yes To Decriminalize Marijuana By Wide Margin

Category: News | Posted on Thu, September, 17th 2015 by THCFinder
toledo ohio marijuana

(image via wikipedia)

During a city-wide vote on Tuesday September 15, 70% of Toledoans said YES to removing all criminal penalties for possession of under 200 grams of marijuana and reducing penalties for larger possession offenses.

The ordinance “eliminate fines and jail time for marijuana violations and lowers all marijuana crimes in the Toledo Municipal Code to lowest level allowed under state law… The measure would also prohibit asset forfeitures and driver’s license suspensions for marijuana violations and forbid reporting of convictions to professional licensing agencies when the the offense is prosecuted under the Toledo Municipal Code and not the Ohio Revised Code,” per a report in the Toledo Blade newspaper.

The proposal, called the Sensible Marihuana Orinance, is the result of a successful petition signature drive. Once the signature total was verified the Toledo City Council had an opportunity to adopt the proposed Ordinance. On August 26, 2014, with an 11-1 vote they refused to do so. The city’s residents have corrected that mistake.

The proposal was supported by local ACLU and National Organization of Women representatives.

It was the marijuana issue that brought people to the polls, in shockingly large numbers, said Kevin Spitler, owner of the Toledo Hemp Center. “The turnout was almost double,” Spitler said, “and 99.12% voted on the issue.”

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Congressmen Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Eliminate DEA Marijuana Eradication Program

Category: News | Posted on Thu, September, 17th 2015 by THCFinder

dea emails marijuanaCongressmen Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Justin Amash (R-MI) introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday that would eliminate the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program.

The DEA program distributes funds to state and local law enforcement agencies for the purpose of locating and destroying marijuana cultivation sites. The proposed bill would prohibit federal funds from being distributed to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies for any purpose pertaining to the program or any substantially similar program.

Statement from Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA):

“As multiple states legalize marijuana across our nation, it is a huge waste of federal resources for the DEA to eradicate marijuana. The federal government should focus its precious resources on other issues and let the states innovate in the cannabis field. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill along with Congressman Amash.”

Statement from Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI):

“Civil asset forfeiture allows innocent people to have their property taken without sufficient due process, and this program encourages civil asset forfeiture by allowing the DEA to use the proceeds of seized property to fund marijuana prohibition enforcement. This is especially troubling given that the federal government should not be expending resources on marijuana prohibition—enforcement is a state-level issue, and an increasing number of states are deciding to back off from prohibition. I’m pleased to introduce this bipartisan bill with Congressman Lieu to stop the use of civil forfeiture proceeds for this element of the federal government’s marijuana enforcement efforts.”
Statement from Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project:

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