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Montana police seek marijuana impairment test for drivers

Category: News | Posted on Thu, January, 17th 2013 by THCFinder
HELENA - Lawmakers on Thursday were considering a renewed effort to test drivers suspected of driving under the influence of marijuana - a measure law enforcement agents said is necessary to deal with an increase in such cases.
 
Republican Rep. Doc Moore of Missoula said his House Bill 168 provides a legal limit for the amount of THC - an ingredient of marijuana - that can be in a person's blood while operating a motor vehicle.
 
He argued the measure is just aimed at enduring streets are safe, not at the debate over medical marijuana.
 
"No one of us has the right to take a chemical, alcohol or anything and drive impaired," he told the House Judiciary Committee. "We need to set some standards and level to protect the citizens of Montana."
 
There was no immediate action on the proposal, which died the last time the Legislature met in 2011. House Judiciary Committee chairman Kreyton Kerns said he needs to see scientific proof this time around that there is a connection between THC levels and impairment.
 
"This bill died last time because we were getting the Legislature ahead of the science," Kerns told backers of the bill. "I am going to need to see that science."
 
Sarah Braseth, a forensic toxicologist at the state crime lab, acknowledged there is still controversy about marijuana impairment.
 
The state crime lab already tests blood samples in drunk driving and other cases for levels of THC. County attorneys and others argued it is time to use the information and set a threshold of impairment for pot just as there is with alcohol.
 

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G3 medical marijuana co-defendants all facing prison time

Category: News | Posted on Tue, January, 15th 2013 by THCFinder

Another sad story of the failed war on drugs and the horrible outcome that comes from this ridiculous fight.

Aaron Sandusky, the former owner of the G3 Holistic medical marijuana dispensary, was sentenced Jan. 7 to 10 years in prison for operating facilities in Upland, Colton and Moreno Valley.

Sandusky was convicted in October on federal charges of conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute marijuana.
 
Five other defendants in the case pleaded guilty before the trial began.
 
Here's an update on their cases:
 
 
Name: Paul Neumann Brownbridge, 30, of Upland
 
Plea: Guilty to conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute marijuana. Admitted that the scheme involved more than 1,000 plants.
 
Faces: 10 years to life
 
Sentencing date: April 15
 
Bio: Worked at G3's Ontario warehouse.
 
 
 
Name: Brandon Anton Gustafson, 31, of Yucaipa
 
Plea: Guilty to maintaining a drug-involved premises
 
Faces: Maximum sentence of 20 years
 
Sentencing: Jan. 28
 
Bio: Worked at G3's Ontario warehouse
 
 
 
Name: Richard Irwin Kirchnavy, 45, of Rancho Cucamonga
 
Plea: Guilty to conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute marijuana. Admitted the scheme involved more than 1,000 plants.
 
Faces: 10 years to life
 
Sentencing date: Feb. 25
 
Bio: Worked at G3's Ontario warehouse.
 
 
 
Name: John Leslie Nuckolls II, 32, of Rialto
 
Plea: Guilty to conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute marijuana. Admitted that the scheme involved more than 1,000 plants.
 
Faces: 10 years to life
 
Sentencing date: Jan. 28
 
Bio: Founder and owner of G3 Holistic and called himself its chief financial officer.
 
 
 
Name: Keith Alan Sandusky, 45, of Rancho Cucamonga
 
Plea: Guilty to conspiracy to manufacture and possess with intent to distribute marijuana. Admitted that the scheme involved more than 1,000 plants.
 
Faces: 10 years to life
 
Sentencing date: March 18
 
Bio: Aaron Sandusky's brother was in charge of the day-to-day marijuana distribution of G3 Holistic.
 

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Marijuana link to lower IQ is disputed

Category: News | Posted on Tue, January, 15th 2013 by THCFinder
NEW YORK -- A new analysis is challenging a report that suggests regular marijuana smoking during the teen years can lead to a long-term drop in IQ.
 
The author of the new paper says pot might not have anything to do with the mental decline seen in the original study, and that other factors may be to blame.
 
The original study included more than 1,000 people who'd been born in the town of Dunedin, New Zealand. Their IQ was tested at ages 13 and 38, and they were asked about marijuana use periodically between those ages.
 
Participants who said they were dependent on pot by age 18 showed a drop in IQ score between ages 13 and 38, according to researchers at Duke University and elsewhere. Their report, which got wide attention last August, suggested pot is harmful to the adolescent brain.
Not so fast, says the new analysis, published online Monday by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
 
Ole Rogeberg of the Ragnar Frisch Center for Economic Research in Oslo, says the IQ trend might have emerged from differences among the study participants in socioeconomic factors like income, education and occupation.
 
He based his paper on a computer simulation. Drawing on results of earlier research, It traced the potential effects of those socioeconomic factors on IQ. He found patterns that looked just like what the Duke study found for smoking marijuana.
In an interview, Rogeberg said he's not claiming that his alternative explanation is definitely right, just that the methods and evidence in the original study aren't enough to rule it out. He suggested further analyses the researchers could do with their data.
 
The Duke scientists, who learned of Rogeberg's paper late last week, say they conducted new statistical tests that ruled out his explanation.
 
Rogeberg says they need to do still more work to truly rule it out.
 

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The High Cost of Shutting Down One Medical Marijuana Operation

Category: News | Posted on Mon, January, 14th 2013 by THCFinder
A single prosecution can easily run more than $1 million -- all to send an empty message about federal drug laws and hand the market share over to a less savory purveyor.
 
When Matthew R. Davies was growing and selling medical marijuana in California, the 34-year-old father of two "hired accountants, compliance lawyers, managers, a staff of 75 and a payroll firm. He paid California sales tax and filed for state and local business permits," the New York Times reports. Unfortunately for him, federal agents raided his business, and "the United States attorney for the Eastern District of California, Benjamin B. Wagner, a 2009 Obama appointee, wants Mr. Davies to agree to a plea that includes a mandatory minimum of five years in prison."
 
Let's set the legal questions aside and think through the costs of this course:
 
The opportunity cost of focusing on other crimes
$235,000 in incarceration costs
Two young girls with an absent father
Substantial lost tax revenue from his operation
Other marijuana sellers going underground
Less savory drug dealers, including violent cartels, getting more business
More of a hassle for sick medical marijuana patients to get their prescription filled
 
Doesn't that seem awfully "expensive" when the only real benefit is sending the message that you can't get away with openly flouting federal drug laws? If that's the biggest benefit you can plausibly claim, isn't that a sign that the law should change? After all, it isn't as if anyone believes that sending Davies to jail is going to make victory in the drug war any more plausible. Or appreciably decrease the number of people smoking marijuana. Or even significantly diminish the supply, since there's always another person growing on the black market.
 
All casualties are purposeless when you're fighting an unwinnable war.
 

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Marijuana Arrests That 'Stigmatize and Criminalize... Must End Now'

Category: News | Posted on Thu, January, 10th 2013 by THCFinder
In his State of the State address on Wednesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a passionate call to reform New York's marijuana possession laws in order to reduce the enormous number of unlawful, biased, and costly arrests. The governor noted the discrepancy in the law between public and private possession of marijuana, and proposed standardizing the penalties for possession of small amounts. After citing the harmful outcomes of these arrests -- like racial disparities, stigma from criminalization, and fiscal waste -- the governor made a forceful call for immediate reform: "It's not fair, it's not right. It must end, and it must end now."
 
Possession of marijuana is the leading arrest in New York City today -- but it's not supposed to be this way. In 1977, New York State removed criminal penalties for private possession of marijuana, and made possession in public view a misdemeanor. The 1977 Legislature made its intent clear:
 
The legislature finds that arrests, criminal prosecutions, and criminal penalties are inappropriate for people who possess small quantities of marihuana (sic) for personal use. Every year, this process needlessly scars thousands of lives and wastes millions of dollars in law enforcement resources, while detracting from the prosecution of serious crime.
 
Despite -- or in spite of -- the legislative intent, more than 600,000 people have been arrested for marijuana possession during the last 15 years in New York. Most of these arrest occur in the Big Apple: more than 50,000 people were arrested for marijuana possession in 2011 alone. Most of these arrests are unconstitutional -- people possessing marijuana in their pocket or bag are instead charged and arrested for possession in public view. Nearly 85 percent of those arrested are black and Latino, mostly young men, even though government data shows that young whites use marijuana at higher rates. This creates, essentially, a two-tier legal system where the law is applied differently to different groups of people depending on their race. As if the human costs weren't already bad enough, this practice costs taxpayers at least $75 million a year. It's a classic case of drug war insanity.
 
In calling for reform, the governor enjoys broad support from community groups, faith and civil rights organizations, parents, young people, drug policy reformers -- and law enforcement, including NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly, all five New York City district attorneys, Rochester Police Chief James Sheppard, and others.
 

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Marijuana Legalization Petition Draws White House Response

Category: News | Posted on Wed, January, 9th 2013 by THCFinder
The White House weighed in once more Tuesday on the issue of marijuana legalization, responding to a trio of highly popular petitions submitted to its "We the People" website.
 
President Barack Obama's administration dispatched Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and a well-known marijuana foe, to handle the query. He began by acknowledging that the nation was "in the midst of a serious national conversation about marijuana," and then referred petitioners to the administration's previous response to recent legalization measures passed in Colorado and Washington. Kerlikowske declined to say what, if any, progress had been made on the Justice Department's review of those states' initiatives, and went on to quote from Obama's most recent comments on marijuana legalization, given to Barbara Walter of ABC News.
 
Kerlikowske selected a particularly innocuous segment of Obama's response, in which the president describes the necessity for his administration to "reconcile a federal law that still says marijuana is a federal offense and state laws that say that it's legal."
 
The administration has responded to petitions on marijuana legalization in the past. Before "We the People" was utilized predominantly as a forum to air strange grievances, push for the deportation of a British media personality or express Star Wars fanaticism, it was used primarily to press the administration on drug policy.
 
Marijuana legalization advocates eventually got a response, also from Kerlikowske, that then broke no new ground on the longheld White House position that marijuana is a dangerous drug with no medical value.
 
In its latest response, it appears that the administration has at least been forced to shift the framing of their approach to the issue of marijuana legalization. That said, they are apparently not yet ready to answer questions about a federal response to the recent progress in Colorado and Washington.
 

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