Supreme Court ruling stokes Colorado pot debate KRISTEN WYATT,




DENVER (AP) — Marijuana opponents in Colorado are using a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling to gird their argument against making pot legal.

They’re not talking about the landmark health care ruling. They’re talking about last week’s Arizona immigration ruling, in which the court reiterated a foundation of American law — that states can’t buck the federal government.

"Arizona may have understandable frustrations" with federal inaction on immigration, the justices wrote, "but the state may not pursue policies that undermine federal law."

That line has marijuana-legalization opponents in Colorado warning that the same would apply to states that legalize pot. They argue that states would only set themselves for pricey legal battles with no chance for success against a federal drug law that considers marijuana illegal in all circumstances.

"If Colorado makes us the first state to legalize marijuana, that makes us a pretty big target given what the federal government just said," said Laura Chapin, spokeswoman for the campaign fighting a ballot measure in Colorado to allow adult marijuana possession in small amounts.

Voters in Washington state will also consider marijuana legalization this fall.

Marijuana legalization supporters dismiss the federalism argument as fear-mongering. Already, they point out, Colorado and 15 other states are in direct violation of federal drug law for allowing the use of pot for certain medical conditions.

In fact, the Supreme Court has already weighed in on state marijuana law and announced that federal law trumps it. In 2005, the court ruled against a California patient whose home-grown marijuana was seized by federal agents. His plants were allowed by California law, but the court ruled that the state law gave him no protection from federal drug law.

Despite that ruling, more states have since adopted medical marijuana laws, with spotty federal enforcement. Proponents of full legalization argue that the chances of the federal government cracking down now are slim.

"We don’t see this as a major threat," said Brian Vicente, a Denver attorney who helped write Colorado’s medical marijuana regulations and now is helping lead the legalization campaign. "There’s a possible pre-emption challenge and federal challenge there, but we think it’s unlikely."

"Coming after adults in possession of marijuana is in no way a priority" for federal authorities, he said.

Priority or not, the federal government’s attitude toward state marijuana laws could play a role in this fall’s marijuana debates.

Don Quick, a district attorney for Adams and Broomfield counties and legalization opponent, pointed out that U.S. attorneys in Denver and other states have closed dozens of state-compliant marijuana dispensaries this year. Even if the feds don’t go after recreational pot smokers, Quick said, they could decide to at any time.

"There’s selective enforcement of all laws," Quick said. "Look at speed laws."

When California voters considered marijuana legalization in 2010, U.S. attorney general Eric Holder warned that the federal government would stop looking the other way if the state embraced full legalization.

"I would certainly expect that same kind of federal saber-rattling here," said Sam Kamin, a University of Denver law professor who tracks marijuana laws.

Kamin said a federal-state marijuana showdown may be looming whether Colorado and Washington approve the pot ballot measure or not. Medical marijuana has flourished nationwide under President Barack Obama, he said, and the election of Republican Mitt Romney could prompt a federal crackdown even if recreational use isn’t approved.

"It might come to a head regardless," Kamin said.



Colorado marijuana initiative:

Colorado marijuana opponents:


Is the cup “half empty” or “half full”…



Why I Do What I Do…

I can never remember the details. The "detail" section of my brain just does not work very well. I’ve had Major Clinical Depression with Chronic symptoms, Dysthymia, Chronic Anxiety as well. I also, among other things, had a "Cerebellar Vascular Accident (CVA) which is about the same as a ruptured aneurysm in 1998.

It does not matter though, because I can remember where to find the information that I want or need, when I need it! At the same time, the "philosophical" portion of my brain tends to work overtime. I spend a lot of my waking day on the internet, scanning for more and more information for which I know I will not remember the "details" of. Scanning the internet for anything or everything from conspiracy to political, socio-economics, healthcare and the conspiracy thereof, cannabis related medical issues and the conspiracy thereof, then back to the daily news and beyond.

I never had the opportunity to go to college, and I received my education in "Little’s" such as our former President Abraham Lincoln, who, incidentally, was also from Kentucky. I read, and read and read some more and then ask "Why?" or "Why Not?", and then I search for more. I believe as George Carlin did when he said that "children should be taught to question". Question everything. Nothing should be taken for granted nor at face value.

In the 1990’s my Father and I were discussing "Hemp" one day and he advised me that I should seek out Gatewood Galbraith and go see him. That "He" knew all about it. At that time I was busy raising kids and working and taking care of Mom and Dad on the weekends. Did not even have a computer!

I began about 2002 searching out "marijuana" information on the internet. My Dad had died in 2001 and three months prior to that had called me one day and asked me if I could find him "a little pot". As I was then ignorant of any kind of medicinal use of Marijuana, and he had COPD and Heart Disease. My only answer to him would be, "I’d love to Dad, but I’m afraid if you tried to smoke it at this point it could kill you." His lung capacity was near zero. At that time we knew nothing of the "healing oil". So about 2004 I was browsing one day and it came to my mind to search for "Medical Marijuana", which I did.

The rest is history. Once I found how to access the information nothing was going to stop me from trying to spread the message – through as many sites as I could possibly access. It suffices to say that in the last seven years or more I have learned a lot. The whole world has learned a lot. I have been through many changes in my life and am thankful for most of them. My only hope is that the World have a chance to recover itself before it is too late. Much of that depends upon how we choose to "FREE" this God given gift of Cannabis, and what is done with it once it is.

And then comes the "Human Issue"… I have seen so many abuses against humanity in general that I cannot ignore it. So therefore, I not only am an activist for anti-prohibition, but I have very strong feelings concerning other issues as well. Mountain Top Removal, and strip mining, coal ash and the illness and death as a result of, death penalty issues, prisoners rights issues, "DRUG WAR" Prisoners as well. Human trafficking and Slavery, Civil Rights, Human Rights, Bill of Rights, Constitutional Rights, the list could go on forever.

I am in no way qualified to be a politician, nor a lawyer, nor would I ever want to be. I do not want to be put into a position where I can no longer say what I feel is right, but must succumb to the "for the greater good of the people" clause which they use in order to be able to lie to us with a straight face.

And since there are so many differing opinions within any given movement of Activists, I feel I should be to try to be a citizen reporter and/or journalist. I can bring the news of the important issues which effect our lives to your laptop, and I may have an occasional opinion on a given subject, but basically I want to give you the information that you need in order to make up your own minds about what you think is right. After all, It’s not about what I as a single being wish to have happen. It is about a Democracy which believes in the right of the people to decide for themselves who they want in office and how these laws are carried out. In the end, it is only YOU that can help save our Earth and bring it to peace by petition, voting rights, etc., After all, as Gatewood once said: There are only two ways to win a war. One is politically and the other to take it to the streets. I damn sure hope the streets isn’t where we end up…. Peace and Prayers to You All! Sheree Krider


IRS seizes California medical marijuana provider’s bank account

By Peter Hecht
The Sacramento Bee

Published: Friday, Jun. 15, 2012


SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The Internal Revenue Service has seized bank accounts it says took in more than $870,000 in cumulative deposits in recent months, part of a federal probe into alleged money laundering involving a Sacramento marijuana dispensary.

Agents of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration and the IRS presented search warrants earlier this week on the El Camino Wellness Center, considered the largest medical marijuana provider in Sacramento.

The seizure of bank accounts, detailed in a sealed affidavit obtained by The Bee, underscores an effort by federal authorities to crack down on California medical marijuana dispensaries by employing laws traditionally used to target money transfers by narcotics traffickers.

A June 8 IRS seizure warrant cited federal money-laundering statutes and laws against improper reporting of income to seize bank accounts of the El Camino Wellness Center and its officers, Nicholas Street and Suneet Agarwal. No charges have been filed in the case.

IRS Special Agent SoEun Park said in the affidavit that Street and Agarwal, who goes by the name Sunny Kumar, distributed "illegal drugs" from "their illegal marijuana store" and conspired with "co-schemers" to hide profits from a purportedly nonprofit dispensary.

Park alleges that the men registered their dispensary with the state as a nonprofit corporation – the Sacramento Nonprofit Collective – then "concealed the proceeds from their marijuana store."

"The concealment and deposit of drug proceeds was primarily facilitated by false statements to financial institutions to disguise the true nature of their marijuana business," Park wrote.

He alleged that the dispensary operators were "commingling drug proceeds with legitimate funds, utilizing different entity names and bank accounts and frequently transferring funds between accounts to obfuscate the paper trail."

Former Sacramento federal prosecutor Donald Heller said authorities are sending a message that they will use federal drug money-laundering laws to target dispensaries that handle hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical marijuana transactions.

"I don’t think it matters if they’re nonprofit or not" under California law, Heller said "What the government sees is big commercial enterprises and they’re going after them."

James Anthony, an Oakland attorney specializing in medical marijuana regulation, blasted the account seizures as an assault on a legal California business.

"Did that (IRS) affidavit say a darn thing about these being medical marijuana collectives in compliance with state law? No," Anthony said. "There is a total disconnect."

El Camino Wellness Center opened in 2008 and last year became the first Sacramento dispensary issued a permit under a city regulatory program for medical marijuana outlets. The city is still collecting voter-approved taxes on local dispensaries, amounting to $1.1 million between July 2011 and March of this year.

Mark Reichel, the attorney representing Street and Agarwal, said El Camino Wellness Center was "a flagship for compliance" as a city-regulated medical marijuana provider.

Reichel said federal authorities raided the dispensary and the homes of both men, taking computers, cellphones and business records. In addition to the money-laundering probe, a DEA search warrant affidavit said Street and Agarwal are being investigated for conspiracy to distribute marijuana and maintaining a place for distribution.

"We’re going to try to talk to the government and see if we can work things out and explain that these guys were in compliance with state law," Reichel said.

U.S. Magistrate Dale A. Drozd approved the request to seize up to $827,435 from a Wells Fargo business account for the dispensary. The figure was based on IRS accounting of cumulative deposits made between January 2006 and August 2011.

Max Del Real, a spokesman for the dispensary, said the actual account balance was "a minute fraction" of the deposits it had received over time. Park wrote that any deposits from "sale of controlled substances" are subject to seizure.

The IRS also said it would seize up to $44,271 from a Wells Fargo account for Agarwal and deposits from two Golden One Credit Union accounts in Street’s name.

The affidavit includes allegations that El Camino Wellness misleadingly listed its services as "health" – but not marijuana – when it set up merchant services accounts for credit and debit card transactions. It said one credit card company, JPMorgan Chase, stopped doing business with El Camino Wellness upon learning it was a medical marijuana provider.

Joe Elford, legal counsel for Americans for Safe Access, an advocacy group for medical marijuana patients, said the investigation stirs questions over banking rights for dispensaries. He said just because a dispensary has money in the bank doesn’t signal a crime.

"When you deposit money into a bank, you don’t have to explain to the bank where that money came from, typically," Elford said. "And every nonprofit I know of has a bank account."

Last year, a U.S. Treasury Department criminal task force seized more than $80,000 from accounts of another Sacramento dispensary, One Love Wellness Center. The establishment closed on New Year’s Eve with no charges filed.

The latest raid worries Lanette Davies, co-operator of Sacramento’s Canna Care, one of 20 dispensaries still operating in city limits, down from the original 38.

Davies said that in recent years three different financial institutions, all aware Canna Care was a dispensary, initially agreed to service accounts for Canna Care but closed the accounts after deciding not to service medical marijuana businesses. The dispensary has another banking partner, but Davies worries she could be targeted by the government.

"It’s almost like the federal government sets you up to fail," she said. "We are not Mexican drug cartels."

U.S. prosecutors have said they are targeting marijuana businesses "hijacked by profiteers" that they contend are operating in violation of both federal and state laws – though warrants in the El Camino Wellness case make no mention of California’s medical marijuana law.

So far, federal courts have rejected legal challenges by medical marijuana advocates to the crackdown on California dispensaries.

Last year, El Camino Wellness sued U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Sacramento U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner, charging that federal property forfeiture notices – including one sent to the dispensary’s landlord – violated rights of medical marijuana users and threatened to shut down the "supply chain of medical cannabis."

A federal judge threw out the complaint.

Read more here:

Baby soaps cause positive marijuana tests in infants…

A new study out of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill reveals some baby soaps may cause infants to test positive for marijuana, reports My Health News Daily.

While researchers aren’t sure why the tests came out positive, they asserted infants were not experiencing a "high" from the soap.

"It’s not marijuana in any way, shape or form," said study researcher Catherine Hammett-Stabler, a professor of pathology and laboratory medicine at the University of North Carolina.

Researchers first became aware of the issue when nurses at a North Carolina hospital noticed a high number of positive urine tests, according to WFMY News.

The study was conducted so families wouldn’t be falsely accused of exposing children to illegal drugs, a form of child abuse that would need to be reported to social services.

A second medical marijuana patient has been denied a transplant at Cedars-Sinai

Patient Toni Trujillo was put on a kidney transplant list earlier this year after her existing kidney transplant began to fail but she was booted off the list because of her "substance abuse," according to Americans for Safe Access.

The group that advocates on behalf of medical marijuana says that Trujillo has been on dialysis for the past five years and has suffered from kidney problems most of her life. She actually moved to California from Pennsylvania two years ago to take advantage of treatment at Cedars. She told her physicians at the time that she was using medical marijuana as an appetite stimulant to increase her protein levels, and they never raised any concerns about it. Then in April she was told over the phone that she was being booted off the list because of her marijuana use. They considered it "substance abuse."

"I don’t know why Cedars would deny me a transplant simply because I use a legal medication that works for me," Trujillo told the ASA. "I hope they listen to reason and change their misguided policy, if not for me then at least for the others who will certainly follow."

Another transplant candidate at Cedars-Sinai was booted off the list for his medical marijuana use last year. Norman Smith, a cancer patient, was diagnosed with inoperable liver cancer in 2009 but was removed from the transplant list because of his marijuana usage.

Using medical marijuana is frowned upon by the doctors who determine who gets on the competitive transplant list and who doesn’t. At the time, Dr. Jeffrey Crippin, former president of the American Society of Transplantation and medical director at Washington University in St. Louis, told the Los Angeles Times, "If you are drunk or high or stoned, you are not going to take your medicine."

Both Trujillo and Smith were told that they have to abstain from marijuana for six months to re-qualify for the wait list and take drug abuse counseling for the same period, according to ASA. Both have given up medical pot, even though they said it was helpful in treating their health problems.

Cancer Patient Denied Liver Transplant After Using Medical Marijuana


Late Night: Stephen Colbert says stoners will decide 2012 election

With five months to go until the election, President Obama and Republican opponent Mitt Romney are virtually tied in the latest polls.

As Stephen Colbert observed on Thursday night, it’s a situation very similar to the 2004 election. That year, anti-gay-marriage initiatives on the ballot in 11 states helped drive conservative turnout and clinch victory for George W. Bush.

This time around, Democrats are optimistic that marijuana-legalization initiatives in states such as Colorado, Michigan and Ohio will motivate young voters and tip the election in Obama’s favor.

"Marijuana support is at a record high, just like its supporters," Colbert joked. "This is the ultimate grassroots campaign."

So could the stoners of America decide the 2012 election? It’s an amusing idea, but Colbert was not entirely convinced. "We all know pot smokers are highly motivated, organized and punctual," he said facetiously. "There is nothing they would love more than getting off the couch, putting on pants, and going to gyms packed with judgmental old people."

Romney’s only hope come Nov. 6, according to Colbert: a "Planet Earth" marathon on the Discovery Channel.

Marijuana and the U.S. Attorney

[A] drug which takes away grief and passion and brings a forgetfulness of all ills. ~ Homer, The Iliad

Two events took place in June that suggested a primer on how medical marijuana laws are working in Colorado might be appropriate. The first was an appellate court decision that the state Supreme Court declined to review. The holding was that if an employer has a zero-tolerance drug policy and an employee who uses medical marijuana tests positive and is discharged, the employee is not entitled to unemployment benefits even though the use of medical marijuana is not proscribed by state law.

The second event of note was a newspaper announcement that the Sunday night CBS news program 60 Minutes had interviewed Stan Garnett, Boulder, Colorado’s District Attorney, with respect to medical marijuana dispensaries operating in Colorado. Since the interview will not be broadcast until fall, an update might help those who wonder what is happening in the world of medical marijuana in Colorado. Although only applicable to Colorado, readers elsewhere can see how the Obama administration has lived up to promises made during the 2008 campaign.

During the 2008 campaign Mr. Obama said, with respect to medical marijuana laws, that if elected: "What I’m not going to be doing is using Justice Department resources to try to circumvent state laws on this issue simply because I want folks to be investigating violent crimes and potential terrorism." In February 2009 Attorney General Eric Holder said what the president said during the campaign "is now American policy" and in a subsequent press conference said the policy is to "go after those people who violate both federal and state law…" The administration did not rely on those statements to let people know what official policy was. David Ogden, then the Deputy Attorney General of the United States, put it in writing so everyone would understand.

October 19, 2009, Mr. Ogden, sent a memorandum to the U.S. attorneys in states that authorized the sale and use of medical marijuana. Its stated purpose was to provide "clarification and guidance to federal prosecutors." Mr. Ogden began by saying: "Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug, and the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime…" However, he went on to say that "selected U.S. attorneys" to whom he sent his memorandum should "not focus federal resources in your states on individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana." Mr. Ogden and Colorado’s U.S. Attorney, John Walsh, would have been well served had Mr. Ogden stopped there since it was clear what he meant.

He didn’t. After explaining the meaning of "clear and unambiguous" as used in his memorandum he went on to say that "no State can authorize violations of federal law" which is, of course, exactly what medical marijuana legislation does. If a U.S. attorney decides to prosecute someone, Mr. Ogden continued, it is not necessary to prove that a state law was violated. The memorandum, he said, does not "’legalize’ marijuana or provide a legal defense to a violation of federal law… Nor does clear and unambiguous compliance with state law… provide a legal defense to a violation of the Controlled Substances Act." He repeats that in the penultimate paragraph of his memorandum saying the memorandum is not intended to preclude investigation, "in particular circumstances where investigation or prosecution otherwise serves important federal interests." The foregoing, as all but the dullest reader can immediately see, is a crystal clear roadmap for U.S. Attorneys who wonder whom to prosecute. And that brings the curious to Colorado and to the even curiouser John Walsh.

Colorado citizens amended their state constitution in 2000 to permit the medical use of marijuana effective June 1, 2001. In 2010 a law was enacted that regulates medical marijuana dispensaries. John Walsh, apparently confused by the Ogden memo, has concluded that he can prosecute those who are in "clear and unambiguous compliance" with Colorado law as stated in the Ogden memorandum. In January, March and May, he sent waves of letters to dispensaries within 1,000 feet of schools telling them they must close and describing in great detail the draconian penalties that may be imposed if they do not. Mr. Walsh was not concerned about whether local governments were content to have dispensaries closer than 1,000 feet to schools as Colorado law permits.

Mr. Garnett wrote Mr. Walsh in March expressing his opinion that the U.S. Attorney’s office could, instead of going after dispensaries, better use its efforts dealing with "terrorism, serious economic crime, organized crime and serious drug dealing…" In response, Mr. Walsh said, in effect, that his views about how far dispensaries should be from schools overrode local governments’ views. He did not say how his actions comported with Mr. Ogden’s memorandum.

What the Colorado court ruled does not run afoul of what Mr. Obama promised during the 2008 campaign. What Mr. Walsh has done, does. That is more than a pity. It is a travesty.

Christopher Brauchli can be emailed at For political commentary see his web page at


Government Forced NCI To Censor Medical Cannabis Facts


Government Forced NCI To Censor Medical Cannabis Facts


Thumbnail image for government_censorship_-1.jpeg



In March, the National Cancer Institute (NCI), a component agency of the National Institutes of Health, acknowledged the medicinal benefits of marijuana in its online treatment database. But the information only stayed up a few days, before it was scrubbed from the site.

Now, newly obtained documents reveal not only how NCI database contributors arrived at their March 17 summary of marijuana’s medical uses, but also the furious politicking that went into quickly scrubbing that summary of information regarding the potential tumor-fighting effects of cannabis, reports Kyle Daly at the Washington Independent.

Phil Mocek, a civil liberties activist with the Seattle-based Cannabis Defense Coalition, obtained the documents as a result of a Freedom Of Information Act (FOIA) request he filed in March after reading coverage of the NCI’s action. Mocek has made some of the hundreds of pages of at-times heated email exchanges and summary alterations available on MuckRock, a website devoted to FOIA requests and government documents.

The treatment database on NCI’s website is called the Physician Data Query (PDQ). The PDQ entry on cannabis and cannabinoids is maintained by the Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) Editorial Board. The lead reviewer on the marijuana summary statement is CAM board member Donald Abrams, director of integrative oncology at the University of California-San Francisco cancer center.

Abrams advocates the use of cannabis in cancer treatment, and his wish to accurately portray its medical applications becomes clear early in the documents.

On March 24, just a week after the finished summary had gone online, Susan Weiss — chief of the Office of Science Policy and Communications within the National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA) — sent NCI officials an email saying her agency had just become aware of the summary. Weiss told them the NIDA wanted the summary changed to acknowledge that the FDA hasn’t approved marijuana; to take away any implication that it was recommending prescribing marijuana; to highlight the supposed "addiction potential" of marijuana; and to link to the NIDA’s own page on the supposed "adverse effects of marijuana."

The NCI balked at the last two requests: "I am unaware of any convincing evidence indicating that marijuana is addictive," communications officer Rick Manrow of the the NCI reasonably said.

But the agency agreed the first two requests were fair. The CAM board grappled for days with how to cooperate with the NIDA without compromising its independence or editorial integrity. Meanwhile, yet more federal agencies offered their two cents’ worth.

"[A press officer with the FDA] contacted me this morning because he has been getting calls from FDA staff, as well as at least one high-profile reporter, asking about NCI’s ‘endorsement of medical marijuana.’ I provided him with the background I had," wrote Brooke Hardison, NCI media relations analyst. "He needs to provide information for staff at the FDA, and they are trying to figure out how to respond to this issue. I suggested that it might be good for him to have a conversation with those more closely involved in this issue."

Meanwhile, national attention to the story continued to grow, and NIDA, notoriously anti-pot, was worried about this whole "marijuana treats cancer" thing.

On learning that Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance had tweeted about the summary, the NIDA’s Weiss wrote to NCI, "We will be contacting our colleagues at ONDCP [Office of National Drug Control Policy] just to give them a heads up about it."

Weiss also wrote to her NIDA colleagues, saying "We think that ONDCP needs to be informed."

The ONDCP, of course, is the office of the Drug Czar. Current czar Gil Kerlikowske, as with all drug czars, is bound by law to oppose marijuana legalization for any purpose, even to save cancer patients.

In any event, the NCI caved to the NIDA’s demands by removing any implied support for prescribing marijuana — noting that the FDA hasn’t approved cannabis as as prescription drug — and, much to the consternation of lead reviewer Abrams, removing a reference to marijuana’s anti-tumor properties.

"You know, the epidemiological data from Kaiser and Tashkin do possibly support an anti-tumor effect in humans," Abrams wrote. "After reflecting for a few hours, I am not happy that NIDA has been able to impose their agenda on us. The text was vetted by the whole Board. I would ask that we [involve] the whole Editorial Board in the discussion before being bulldogged.

"I am considering resigning from the Board if we allow politics to trump science!" Abrams wrote.

All the relevant CAM board members eventually agreed to the version that went up on March 29 and 30. That last day was when Phil Mocek submitted his FOIA request and is thus the last day that appears in the records given to him.

It is interesting to note that, toward the end of the correspondence record, NCI and NIDA officials were discussing the latter agency providing further information on the supposed "adverse effects of marijuana" so that the CAM Board could "take it into consideration" during its May 6 meeting. Several NCI and CAM members said any "convincing evidence" could result in larger changes to the entry.

NIDA prepared a list of anti-marijuana talking points, including the claim that nine percent of cannabis users "become addicted to the drug" and a completely undocumented claim that marijuana use leads to permanent cognitive impairment, in the hopes of causing just such changes in the NCI’s entry.

But, the Independent reports, May 6 came and went without any additional changes being made to the database.

One can only imagine the kinds of behind-the-scenes wrangling that continues as we speak. sized.jpg

Graphic: NORML Stash Blog

"NCI apparently got a talking to from someone" ~ Radical Russ Belville, NORML.

Turns out Radical Russ was right, and NIDA was doing the talking.


Imprisoned Prince of Pot Marc Emery calls out anti-legalization marijuana activists on Washington’s I-502



I have written thousands of words on the controversy surrounding Washington State’s I-502 legalization initiative.  I even get people in my comments sections who hate me because of my opinions on the issue.  Now, Marc Emery, the British Columbian marijuana seed seller doing federal time in America, also known as “The Prince of Pot” and one of the leading funders of the legalization movements in North America, has some harsh words for people who proclaim themselves supporters of legalization, but are actively opposing this legalization.

Most of our people in the cannabis culture who smoke, grow, or sell the herb don’t vote. The vast majority will never give money to political reform of any kind, most won’t gather signatures (unless they are paid) and will never write their congressperson or even a letter to the newspaper to condemn prohibition.

For the most part, our people are politically useless, unwilling and unable to organize, distracted by petty acrimony, and won’t actively support candidates or initiatives that will further the legalization of cannabis. For all the 250,000 stoners/pot people who come to Seattle Hempfest each August, the organizers can’t even get this mass to contribute pennies per person in donations, so pathetic is the sense of political responsibility among our people. Even a tremendous event like Hempfest suffers deficits because our people can’t collectively volunteer to give even ten cents per attendee to pay for its costs. Sad, sad, sad.

Should I-502 fail to pass in November, we’ll know who to blame, and who can be held responsible. The so-called grassroots could not manage to get their own initiative on the ballot, and in their frustration, they may choose to sabotage the best opportunity Washington State has had in the long history of prohibition to do what is possible – under the political reality of the day – to legalize marijuana.

via The Importance of Washington’s Legalization Initiative I-502 | Cannabis Culture.

The primary objection to legalization comes from a tiny minority of the Evergreen State’s medical marijuana community.  More accurately, the growers, doctors, and lawyers who serve the community, and the patients they’ve managed to frighten.  The issue at hand is the legalization includes a per se DUID of 5ng/mL THC in blood*, which is “a ‘legal limit’ like alcohol for DUI” in layman’s terms.

What they’re righteously angry about is that having a number on a test about the pot in your blood is not a scientifically accurate determination of impairment, especially not as low as 5ng/mL and especially not for people who smoke (use) a lot of pot all the time.  Like medical marijuana patients.  And they are factually correct.

But that has been ratcheted up by the tiny minority to mean “No patients will ever be able to drive!  They’ll all be getting DUIDs!  There will be more DUIDs to replace all the 1 ounce pot arrests!” and so on.

The fact is that if someone who smokes (uses) a lot of pot all day every day gets behind the wheel today, they are most likely a DUID waiting to happen.  Any amount of THC in blood is evidence to convict you of a DUID today.  After I-502, there will actually be a “legal limit” of 5ng/mL you could be under!

Now, the difference, as opponents are quick to note, is the per se means “in and of itself” in legalese, which translates to “slam dunk” for the prosecutor who wants to try you for a >5ng blood test.  If it’s per se, you’re guaranteed guilty, just like a drunk who’s over 0.08 BAC on the breathalyzer, even if he’s the best driver on the road.  Today, it’s not per se, which means a prosecutor, while he can enter blood tests into evidence, must still prove the driver was impaired.

But if a >5ng/mL DUID case is a “slam dunk” after I-502, it is a “fast break lay-up” right now.  If you go to court having tested at >5ng/mL, you’re not very likely to be acquitted.  Especially since the cop had to have a) evidence of smoke in the car (in which case, you should get a DUID), b) evidence of your impaired driving (dash cam of you weaving out of lanes, failed field sobriety test, etc.), and/or c) you wrecked your car in order to get your blood in the first place.

And to extend the NBA Playoff metaphor, right now, DUID charges with <5ng/mL blood tests are “mid range jumpers”.  There are plenty of examples of convictions below 5ng where that blood evidence convinced a judge or jury to convict, because who the fark knows what a nanogram per milliliter is and how much of it makes you too high to drive?  ”She was at 1.6 ng/mL Your Honor…” OK, so is that a lot?  What’s ‘high’, 100? 10? .08?

But after I-502 passes, those types of prosecutions become “half court shots”.  Any competent defense attorney will just say, “Your Honor, my client is a medical marijuana patient who has developed a tolerance to her medication and, after all, she was only at 1.6ng/mL, which is less than a third of the legal limit for THC.”


Judge tosses 150 pounds of marijuana over GPS use in Kentucky


LOUISVILLE — When Kentucky State Troopers stopped 49-year-old Robert Dale Lee on Interstate 75 in September 2011, they knew he would be coming their way and what to look for in his car.

The Drug Enforcement Administration had been following Lee’s car from Chicago using a GPS — a tracking device placed on the vehicle as part of a multi-state drug probe — and troopers found 150 lbs of marijuana in his car.

Now, a federal judge has ruled the stash inadmissible in the case against Lee because the DEA and troopers didn’t have a warrant to place the device on the car.

“In this case, the DEA agents had their fishing poles out to catch Lee,” Judge Amul R. Thapar wrote. “Admittedly, the agents did not intend to break the law. But, they installed a GPS device on Lee’s car without a warrant in the hope that something might turn up.”

Lee is charged with conspiracy to distribute marijuana. No trial date has been set. His attorney, Michael Murphy of Lexington, did not immediately return a message seeking comment Wednesday.

Kyle Edelen, a spokesman for the U.S. Attorney’s office in Lexington, said prosecutors are reviewing the ruling and evaluating whether to appeal Thapar’s decision.

The U.S. Supreme Court in January struck down law enforcement’s use of GPS tracking in investigations without a warrant. Justice Antonin Scalia wrote for the 5-member majority that it was the attachment of the device that violated the Fourth Amendment’s protection against unreasonable searches and seizures. That case involved a GPS placed on the Jeep of suspected Washington, D.C. drug kingpin Antoine Jones. The ruling overturned Jones’ conviction and life sentence.

Lee’s case predated that ruling, so the admissibility of the marijuana remained in question until Thapar’s decision.

The case arose after a cooperating witness told investigators that Lee, who previously served 42 months in federal prison for gun and drug convictions, had been buying marijuana in Chicago and bringing it back to eastern Kentucky in his car.


"Overgrowing the Government"

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