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.
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.
Read more: http://www.huffingtonpost.com
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.
NFL Players Should Be Allowed To Use Marijuana Instead Of Painkillers
Category: News | Posted on Tue, January, 8th 2013 by THCFinder
On Nov. 6 of last year, the state of Washington made the possession and use of marijuana legal for adults. Marijuana remains illegal in Washington, D.C., the home of the Redskins. Last week, the District of Columbia ranked ninth on a list of America’s ‘25 Drunkest Cities,’ while Seattle, home of the Seahawks, didn’t even make the list.
Is it a coincidence that the Seahawks handily beat the Redskins this past Sunday?
Perhaps. (Nevertheless, it is worth noting that both the Seahawks and the Denver Broncos have yet to lose a game at home since their respective states made marijuana legal.)
But we have to wonder why the NFL continues to prohibit marijuana use by players during the off-season, even in states that have made it legal, while simultaneously promoting alcohol use at every game. Moreover, the league continues to prohibit players in those states from using marijuana for medical purposes, despite its proven ability to ease chronic pain – a condition that affects many players.
Perhaps allowing professional athletes to make the choice to use marijuana instead of painkillers could make a difference in their performances. And so could allowing them to use marijuana instead of alcohol when they are relaxing or socializing with friends. Regardless, it is bad policy to continue punishing these athletes simply for making a safer choice.
AIDS patient: Alarm contract canceled because of marijuana
Category: News | Posted on Tue, January, 8th 2013 by THCFinder
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KCRA) —A medical marijuana grower said his home alarm company of three years dropped him after a repairman saw his grow inside his house.
"I still want to call the governor,” said the homeowner, who didn't want to reveal his identity. “If this company doesn’t want to recognize our state laws, then maybe we shouldn’t license them (in California)."
The homeowner is an AIDS patient who said he grows the marijuana legally for himself and more than a dozen other patients.
He said his alarm company, ADT, doesn’t service homes with medical marijuana grows because of federal laws.
“It’s like one more time state laws are just ignored, and that's not right,” said the man.
KCRA 3 contacted ADT about its company policy for California homes that have a legal medical marijuana grow inside.
The company emailed the following response through spokeswoman Sarah Cohn: “As a matter of policy, ADT does not provide services to medical marijuana dispensaries even in states where they are legal under state law because they are still illegal under federal law.”
KCRA 3 contacted many local alarm companies who said they have no problem protecting homes with medical marijuana grows, but they also understand why a national company may choose not to.
The medical marijuana patient whose contract was canceled fears he will now have to spend hundreds of dollars to have another alarm installed, when his current alarm only needed to be fixed.
Medical marijuana: Aaron Sandusky sentenced to 10 years in federal prison
Category: News | Posted on Mon, January, 7th 2013 by THCFinder
Aaron Sandusky has been sentenced to 10 years in federal prison.
The former G3 Holistic Inc. medical marijuana dispensary president was sentenced today in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles for operating medical marijuana dispensaries in Upland, Colton and Moreno Valley.
"In this case, as the defendant was warned, the court's hands are tied," U.S. District Judge Percy Anderson said.
"Whether you agree with the defendant's position or not."
Sandusky was found guilty in October of conspiracy to manufacture marijuana plants, to possess with intent to distribute marijuana plants, and to maintain a drug-involved premises; and one count of possession with intent to distribute marijuana plants, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.
Anderson recommended that Sandusky serve his time in Victorville federal prison.
Sandusky's hands and feet were shackled today in Roybal Federal Building and Courthouse. He was clad in a white prison suit and green jacket.
"I want to apologize to those with me and their families who have been victimized by the federal government who has not recognized the voters of this state," Sandusky said in court.
State voters approved Proposition 215 in 1996, allowing medical marijuana in the state, while state Senate Bill 420,which details the amount of marijuana a person can possess for medical purposes, prevents cities and counties from banning marijuana dispensaries. But federal law says marijuana - medical or otherwise is illegal.
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