Tag Archives: cannabis

A medical marijuana primer Writer searches high and low for best weed.

New Jersey will open its first medical marijuana dispensary in the fall—nearly three years after a medical marijuana bill was signed into law—but according to writer Mark Haskell Smith, whose new book is a personal tour of the cannabis industry, the East Coast has a lot of catching up to do.

“The University of California put out an agricultural guide to California, and far and away, marijuana is the state’s biggest cash crop,” said the author of Heart of Dankness, which Broadway Books will publish next week. (The official pub date is April 20, also known as Weed Day.) “It’s [worth] $2 billion to $3 billion in L.A. County alone.”

Mr. Smith’s search for the perfect weed—which is described as “dank”—took him to Amsterdam and to dispensaries in the U.S. and Canada. Though liberal drug laws gave the Dutch a head start on cultivation, he believes American growers are now on the cutting edge.

“Colorado is going to be the [No. 1] place,” he said. “They’re more progressive with their medical laws. People who used to have shops in Amsterdam have moved there.”

He argues that medical marijuana is not a cover for overall legalization, which he supports. “There are hundreds of things it can treat,” he said.
—matthew flamm

Read more: http://www.crainsnewyork.com/article/20120325/SUB/120329922#ixzz1qBYmplQF

ACLU drops appeal over ordinance banning marijuana growing

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed papers Wednesday to end its battle against a Livonia ordinance that bans marijuana growing and other operations that violate federal law.

The ACLU filed suit in Wayne County Circuit Court in December 2010 on behalf of two plaintiffs, asking that Livonia’s zoning ordinance amendment be thrown out. They claimed the ordinance violated the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA).

Wayne County Circuit Judge Wendy Baxter ruled in Livonia’s favor July 22, 2011, upholding Livonia’s zoning ordinance and ruling the MMMA unconstitutional, as a violation of federal law. Baxter’s opinion also led to an injunction barring the two plaintiffs from violating Livonia’s ordinance.

The ACLU appealed the case to the Michigan Court of Appeals in August 2011. Now, that case has been dropped.

First to adopt ordinance

The City of Livonia was the first municipality in the state to adopt an ordinance that bans businesses, like medical marijuana dispensaries, that violate federal law. Since then, at least 20 other communities have enacted similar ordinances.

“Other states have found that medical marijuana growing operations and dispensaries attract crime,” said Livonia Mayor Jack Kirksey. “We are pleased that our effort to protect Livonia’s residents and businesses has been vindicated. It is apparent that other communities in Michigan have similar concerns about crime and believe this type of zoning ordinance is the right way to go.”

Kirksey added: “Despite claims by the ACLU, our approach was never aimed at preventing people with debilitating conditions from easing their pain. The City Council enacted this ordinance to prevent marijuana production or sales shops and other illegal operations, and the crime associated with them, from locating in our neighborhoods, across from schools, or next to the local pizza shop, gymnastics studio or hair salon.”

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette supported Livonia’ in the case, filing a brief in June 2011 to Livonia City Attorney Don Knapp said the ACLU recognizes it cannot risk losing again at the Court of Appeals because it would mean the end of the MMMA. “It is difficult to imagine anyone, especially the ACLU, dismissing an appeal that they believe they will win,” he said.

When the case was originally filed, the ACLU also named two Oakland County cities – Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills – as defendants in the Wayne County case because the plaintiffs, Robert and Linda Lott, lived in Birmingham and Linda Lott belonged to a private social club in Bloomfield Hills. Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills objected to their inclusion in the Wayne County case, accusing the ACLU of “forum shopping.” The Court of Appeals compelled the ACLU to pursue those defendants in Oakland County’s courts.

Birmingham case continuing

In November, the Oakland County Circuit Court also ruled against the ACLU, saying there was no need to strike down the Birmingham and Bloomfield Hills ordinances because the harm the Lotts claimed to fear was strictly hypothetical. The ACLU decided to take Birmingham’s portion of the case to the Court of Appeals, but did not file an appeal against Bloomfield Hills.

Linda Lott died Dec. 14. Nevertheless, Robert Lott and the ACLU continued the fight against Livonia and Birmingham, and filed motions to extend deadlines in the Livonia case in February and earlier this month. While the ACLU has dropped the case against Livonia, the case against Birmingham is apparently continuing.

The portion of Livonia’s zoning ordinance in question states that “Uses for enterprises or purposes that are contrary to federal, state or local laws or ordinances are prohibited.” The ACLU claimed this contradicted the MMMA because federal law prohibits activities which the MMMA permits.

Both Baxter’s decision and Livonia’s zoning ordinance are available at www.ci.livonia.mi.us .

The link for Baxter’s decision is https://www.ci.livonia.mi.us/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=aUNAA%2bVj6vU%3d&tabid=389 .
For Livonia’s zoning ordinance amendment, go to https://www.ci.livonia.mi.us/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=874AEShTGt0%3d&tabid=389 .

U.S. attorney breaks silence on medical-marijuana battle

U.S. attorney breaks silence on medical-marijuana battle

Details from last week’s Benjamin Wagner chat with press and pot advocates

By David Downs
Read 10 reader submitted comments

This article was published on 03.08.12.

Medical-cannabis patients and providers should expect ongoing persecution in California. However, media backlash due to the nearly half-year-old federal crackdown is affecting at least one prominent drug warrior: United States Attorney for the Eastern District of California Benjamin Wagner.

Wagner broke the Department of Justice’s near silence with regard to the crackdown during a candid, hour-long talk and question-and-answer session last Tuesday at a Sacramento Press Club luncheon. The $30-a-plate affair took place on the 15th floor of 1201 K Street, and inside, Wagner admitted that the cannabis cleanup was the idea of the four U.S. Attorneys in California, not Washington, D.C.

The four were upset because of what Wagner called “flagrant” marijuana sales in the state. So they declared war on medical marijuana last October, sending out hundreds of forfeiture-warning letters to dispensaries across California. His office is in the process of seizing at least one dispensary in Sacramento, while officials have closed more or less every dispensary in Sacramento County.

He reiterated that they’re not going after patients and caregivers, rather interstate transporters, huge pot farmers and illicit dispensaries grossing tens of thousands of dollars per day in cash.

But the media critique of the war is wearing on Wagner, it seems. He said he counts on good press to create a “deterrent effect” in regard to cases of mortgage fraud, child exploitation, human trafficking and major gang violence. But he’s not getting any of that.

“I think that the members of the press would be forgiven for thinking that marijuana enforcement is all that we do,” he said. “It is far from the most important thing that we do. I have many other higher priorities that have a much bigger impact on public safety. I did not seek the position of U.S. attorney in order to launch a campaign against medical marijuana.”

Wagner was appointed by President Barack Obama in 2009 and has been with the DOJ since 1992, primarily in the Eastern District. When he and the other three U.S. attorneys took office at the end of 2009, “We found that we were in the middle of an explosion of marijuana cultivation and sales,” he said.

Federal policy didn’t change, rather “what we saw … was an unregulated free-for-all in California in which huge amounts of money was being made selling marijuana … to virtually anybody who wanted to get stoned.”

Wagner said that’s not what California voters approved. Stores marking up pot 200 percent is “not about sick people. That’s about money.”

His reaction has been “quite measured,” he said. Most dispensaries just got warning letters.

“In a few instances, after ample warnings, we’ve brought civil-enforcement actions while reserving criminal prosecution for the most flagrant violators of not only federal law but state law,” he said.

He referred to cases such as one where seven Roseville and Fresno suspects were indicted in February for growing pot with doctor’s recommendations and running a dispensary as a front to traffic it to seven states in the Midwest and South.

Wagner also warned that a season of raids in the Central Valley is coming in 2012, and that mega pot farmers are on notice that if they plant again this year, their land could be seized.

He tried to make the case that pot is just a fraction of what his office does, referring to 61 indictments on mortgage fraud last fiscal year.

During audience questions, activists asked why the federal government says marijuana has “no medical use,” yet the United States has patented its ingredient, cannabidiol, for treating strokes.

“What I know about marijuana as medicine you can probably put in a thimble,” he said.

But health policy is not his job, he said. “My advice to you is to write your congressman.”

Sacramento lawyer Alan Donato asked for guidelines for local dispensaries to avoid federal attention.

“I’m not in a position to be of much comfort,” Wagner said. “You don’t ask the CHP, ‘How many miles over the speed limit can I go before you pull me over?’”

Stephen Downing, a retired Los Angeles Police Department deputy chief and member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, asked if the failed drug war would ever make Wagner say “Enough is enough” to his boss, Attorney General Eric Holder.

“That’s hard to say,” Wagner said. “I totally understand the debate over legalization as opposed to criminalizing narcotics.

“It really depends on what the cost-benefits are. Marijuana is obviously not nearly as destructive as [methamphetamine]. The risks in legalizing marijuana may be significantly less that meth.”

But prescription drugs “are the biggest, worst drug problem in terms of trends … [and] that’s a legal drug.”

SN&R news intern Matthew W. Urner got the biggest attention of the lunch, asking Wagner if he ever tried the second-most-commonly used mind-altering substance in America, and if so, what he thought.

“Uh,” said Wagner, “I’ll say that I went to college.”

CONTINUE READING…

“Jury Nullification”

If a juror feels that the statute involved in any criminal offense is unfair, or that it infringes upon the defendant’s natural God-given unalienable or Constitutional rights, then it is his duty to affirm that the offending statute is really no law at all and that the violation of it is no crime at all, for no one is bound to obey an unjust law.

“That juror must vote Not Guilty regardless of the pressures or abuses that may be heaped on him by any or all members of the jury with whom he may in good conscience disagree. He is voting on the justice of the law according to his own conscience and convictions and not someone else’s. The law itself is on trial quite as much as the case which is to be decided.”


U.S. Chief Justice Harlan F. Stone, 1941-1946.

FROM DEMOCRACY DEFINED – FOLLOW THIS LINK…

AND

The Jury’s Secret Power
JUDGES MAY NOT TELL YOU THIS, but when you sit on a jury, you have the right to vote according to your
conscience and to judge the law being applied to the case. As a juror, you are the final safeguard for justice.
It’s the judge’s obligation to give the jury the wording of the law being applied to the case. If the judge fails to
provide the wording of the law or you think the law he gives you is a bad or unconstitutional law or a good law
being improperly applied, or there are other factors that would make you regret a vote to convict someone, then
it is your right and duty as a juror to vote “Not Guilty” even if you are the only juror who does and you therefore
“hang” the jury. You cannot be punished for the way you vote.
Our lawmakers sometimes pass bad laws, and, at times, good laws have been misused. Throughout history
reasoning jurors have refused to convict fellow citizens who were accused of breaking the law: They freed tax
protesters during the Whiskey Rebellion of 1794, refused to convict those who aided runaway slaves in violation
of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, freed bootleggers charged during Prohibition 1920-30, and released Vietnam
War objectors 1960-70.
When our country was young, all jurors were told of their right to judge the law, as well as the facts of the case.
Then judges decided that juries should no longer be told of their power to act as a safeguard against bad laws or
unethical lawmakers. Now, all jurors are instructed to accept the law as it is given to them by the judge, even in
cases where the law is clearly unjust.
But now you know the secret: If you are selected as a juror, you have the right and duty to do the right thing:
to follow your conscience and to judge the law as well as the facts of the case. It is the only way to keep
government in the hands of the people.
“I consider [trial by jury] as the only anchor ever yet imagined by man, by which a government
can be held to the principles of its constitution.” –Thomas Jefferson to Thomas Paine, 1789.
For more information, please contact the Fully Informed Jury Association:
www.fija.org
Call 1-800-835-5879 for a free jury packet.

The United States Marijuana Party

The United States Marijuana Party – is a motivated group of Americans who are tired of living in fear of their government because of marijuana prohibition. We are fed up with the intrusion into our personal lives, with urine testing at work and at school, with armed home invasions, and with the possibility of prison because of a plant. WE are Americans and WE do not piss in a cup for anyone!

WE feel it is time for the 20 million Americans who smoke marijuana on a regular basis to stop hiding their love for this plant and unite as one large body of voters to demand an end to the unconstitutional prohibition of marijuana and the drug war. The U.S. cannot lock up 20 million people.

The War on Drugs causes more harm than the drugs themselves ever will.

United WE are a potential 20 million vote political machine. WE want to live free and WE must be determined to stand up, be counted, demonstrate, rally, and write.

Waiting for the government to silence us all in the American prison system is not an option! Too many of our brethren are there, in prison right now.

More Americans are in jail today for marijuana offenses than at any previous time in American history. The war against marijuana is a genocidal war waged against us by a government determined to eradicate our plant, our culture, our freedom and our political rights.

Time Magazine Reports: U.S. Marijuana Party

U.S. Marijuana Party

By Christina Crapanzano Monday, Mar. 29, 2010
Top 10 Time Alternative Political Movements
Andrew Holbrooke / Corbis

Long before Loretta Nall campaigned on her cleavage, the activist’s cause was cannabis. The Alabama resident gained national attention during her 2006 gubernatorial campaign when she produced T-shirts with the caption “More of these boobs …” (with a photo of Nall in a low-cut shirt) “… And less of these boobs” (next to photos of her opponents). But the write-in candidate’s political roots date back to 2002, when a misdemeanor arrest for possession was the spark behind her forming the U.S. Marijuana Party (USMJP). The group — which demands “an end to the unconstitutional prohibition of marijuana” — has official party chapters in seven states, including Colorado, Illinois and Kentucky. While Nall left the USMJP to be a Libertarian Party governor nominee, the group continues to back candidates in local, state and national elections under the leadership of Richard Rawlings, who is currently running for Congress in Illinois.

Read more:

Some facts about marijuana…

Some facts about marijuana:

– From 1681 until the early 1800’s it was legal to pay your taxes in hemp in the United States.

– Most all of America’s founding fathers grew marijuana including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin.

– Thomas Jefferson was the Marc Emery of the 18th and early 19th century. Most of the strains grown in America were imported by Jefferson from China.

– Benjamin Franklin owned one of the first paper mills in America and it was a hemp paper mill producing the paper that most everything in America was written on including the US Constitution and Bill of Rights.

– George Washington was the biggest marijuana farmer in the United States and this was the source of his fortune that allowed him to carry on the revolution.

– Marijuana was the largest cash crop in the world (going back over 5000 years in China) until the 20th century… likely still is. Kentucky alone produced 40,000 tons of it in 1850.

– In 1916 a US government report predicted that by 1940 all paper in the world would be made from hemp and that no more trees would need to be cut down for paper production.

– Quality paints and varnishes were made from natural hemp seed oil until 1937 when the Marijuana Act came into effect… they went from 58,000 tons of hemp seed oil for paints and varnishes to none. Instead a healthy product was replaced with lead based petrochemical paints to satisfy the monopolists in the paint industry (Dupont).

– Henry Ford’s Model-T was first built to run on hemp gasoline and the car itself was constructed out of hemp based plastics that had 10 times the strength of steel and never rusted.

– The Randolf Hearst Paper Manufacturing Company (owner of vast timber lands)… as well as natural hemp products would have ruined over 80% of Dupont’s petrochemical business products… and it was the corporate monopolists like them that spread the fear to secure their industry monopolies in the late 1930’s.

– The deindustrialization of hemp coincided with the Great Depression as the worlds first ‘Billion dollar crop’ was made illegal.