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Justice Department Issues Memo on Marijuana Enforcement 1/4/2018

Department of Justice

Office of Public Affairs


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Justice Department Issues Memo on Marijuana Enforcement

The Department of Justice today issued a memo on federal marijuana enforcement policy announcing a return to the rule of law and the rescission of previous guidance documents. Since the passage of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) in 1970, Congress has generally prohibited the cultivation, distribution, and possession of marijuana.

In the memorandum, Attorney General Jeff Sessions directs all U.S. Attorneys to enforce the laws enacted by Congress and to follow well-established principles when pursuing prosecutions related to marijuana activities. This return to the rule of law is also a return of trust and local control to federal prosecutors who know where and how to deploy Justice Department resources most effectively to reduce violent crime, stem the tide of the drug crisis, and dismantle criminal gangs.

“It is the mission of the Department of Justice to enforce the laws of the United States, and the previous issuance of guidance undermines the rule of law and the ability of our local, state, tribal, and federal law enforcement partners to carry out this mission,” said Attorney General Jeff Sessions. “Therefore, today’s memo on federal marijuana enforcement simply directs all U.S. Attorneys to use previously established prosecutorial principles that provide them all the necessary tools to disrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country.”

Attachment(s):

Download Marijuana Enforcement 1.4.18

Component(s):

Office of the Attorney General

Press Release Number:

18-8

Updated January 4, 2018

SOURCE LINK

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DOJ: Local man facing 40 years in prison for selling marijuana

Sun King Labs Marijuana Grow House Tour

 

By KOMO Staff Friday, January 15th 2016

TACOMA, Wash. — A South Sound man could potentially spend the next 40 years in prison after he was convicted Friday of illegally growing and selling marijuana.

Prosecutors say 37-year-old Lance Edward Gloor and his business partner opened four illegal marijuana dispensaries throughout Puget Sound. The men claimed the shops were non-profit medical dispensaries, but in reality Gloor was making millions of dollars and breaking state laws, according to prosecutors.

Prior to opening the shops, Gloor was arrested in 2010 when police searched his home and found more than 70 pot plants and a firearm.

In 2011, federal and state law enforcement teamed up to investigate Gloor and his dispensaries. He told police he was getting out of the marijuana business, but in reality he continued to operate two of the four businesses while attempting to hide his role in the operation, prosecutors say.

On Friday, a jury found Gloor guilty of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and manufacturing marijuana. The jury couldn’t reach a verdict on a money laundering charge, and they acquitted Gloor of possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime.

Gloor is facing a mandatory minimum sentence of five to 40 years in prison, according to the Department of Justice. He will officially be sentenced on April 15.

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Largest Ever One Time Early Release Of Federal Prisoners Coming This Month

By TNM News on October 8, 2015 Latest Headlines, Legal, News Feed

It appears that several federal prisons will be allowing thousands of prisoners, who have committed non-violet crimes, free due to efforts to reduce long prison sentences given to drug offenders Another issue the Obama Administration and U.S. Sentencing Commission are trying to solve is jail overcrowding. This will be one of the largest one-time early releases from federal prisons ever recorded in the U.S.

ABC 7 News reports:

The Department of Justice today confirmed that the doors of federal prisons all over the country will swing open for an estimated 6,000 drug offenders at the end of this month.

It is the largest-ever one-time early release of federal prisoners, and it comes as a result of U.S. Sentencing Commission and Obama Administration efforts to reduce long prison sentences given to drug offenders. It is also part of an effort to cut down jail overcrowding.

It is not just non-violent offenders who are getting their freedom, a Justice Department spokesman said — some of those being released have been convicted of violent crime, along with drug crimes.

But the vast majority are non-violent offenders, officials said. And the sentence reductions were not for the violent portion of offenders’ sentences.

However, all of the prisoners who petitioned for release had to have a public safety determination made by a judge.

The judge could elect to release the prisoner, or to keep him or her locked-up.

About one-third of the prisoners to be released between Oct. 30 and Nov. 2 are non-citizens, the Department of Justice said, and they will be turned over to Immigration and Customs officials for deportation.

Most of the former prisoners who are released into the community will still be supervised through a halfway house or home confinement, according to Justice Department officials.

“The Department of Justice strongly supports sentencing reform for low-level, non-violent drug offenders,” said Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates in a statement today. “The Sentencing Commission’s actions – which create modest reductions for drug offenders – is a step toward these necessary reforms.”

Yates also emphasized that even with these sentence reductions, the drug offenders in question have served substantial sentences. On average, according to DOJ, each inmate has already served 8.5 years of a 10 year sentence.

A similar program was undertaken in 2007 when inmates were released for sentences for crack were deemed too harsh.

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Five Washington State Medical Marijuana Patients Face Federal Trials

Prosecutions contradict Obama Administration statements, policy against targeting sick patients

SPOKANE, WA — Family members from a rural area of eastern Washington are expected to go to trial next month on federal marijuana charges, despite the Obama Administration’s repeated claims that it does not target seriously ill patients.

The federal trial of the “Kettle Falls 5″ is scheduled for May 12th, pending several pretrial motions which will be heard on April 22nd before U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle in Spokane, Washington. Because of marijuana’s illegal status under federal law, patients like the “Kettle Falls 5″ are typically prohibited from raising a medical necessity or state law defense in federal court.

Federal agents raided the property of Larry Harvey, 70, and his wife, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 55, at their rural family home near Kettle Falls, Washington in August 2012.

Federal agents raided the property of Washington State medical marijuana patients Larry Harvey, 70, and his wife, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 55, at their rural family home near Kettle Falls, Washington in August 2012.

Federal agents raided the property of Larry Harvey, 70, and his wife, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 55, at their rural family home near Kettle Falls, Washington in August 2012.

In addition to seizing 44 premature marijuana plants, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) confiscated the family’s 2007 Saturn Vue, $700 in cash, medicated cookies and marijuana stored in the family freezer, along with legally owned firearms.

The five federal defendants, including Mrs. Firestack-Harvey’s son, Rolland Gregg, and daughter-in-law, were all qualified patients in compliance with Washington state law. Defense attorneys say the cannabis being cultivated on a remote corner of the family’s 33-acre property was strictly for personal use.

Nevertheless, Mr. Harvey, who suffers from numerous ailments including heart disease and severe gout, was jailed for several days and denied medical attention, which resulted in irreversible bodily harm.

The imminent and rare federal trial comes after two Department of Justice (DOJ) directives were issued in June 2011 and August 2013, both of which underscore that individual patients are excluded from the agency’s enforcement strategy. In the latest memorandum, Deputy U.S. Attorney General James Cole claimed that it was “not an efficient use of federal resources to focus enforcement efforts on seriously ill individuals.”

However, shortly before the raid on the Harvey home, U.S. Attorney for the eastern district of Washington Michael Ormsby stated his intent to “vigorously” target individuals “even if such activities are permitted under state law.”

“This case is another glaring example of what’s wrong with the federal policy on cannabis,” said Kari Boiter, a supporter of the “Kettle Falls 5″ and the Washington State Coordinator with Americans for Safe Access, the country’s leading medical marijuana advocacy group. “If the Justice Department can continue to aggressively prosecute individual patients without any consequences from the White House, none of these DOJ memos are worth the paper they’re printed on.”

Notably, these federal prosecutions of individual patients continue even after Washington voters approved Initiative 502 in November 2012, legalizing recreational use of marijuana in the state.

Nevertheless, the “Kettle Falls 5″ were indicted in February 2013 and charged with six felonies each: conspiracy to manufacture and distribute marijuana, manufacture of marijuana, possession with intent to distribute marijuana, distribution of marijuana, possession of a firearm in furtherance of a drug trafficking crime and maintaining a drug-involved premises.

 

By Americans for Safe Access April 22, 2014

 

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Oakland goes to court for embattled pot dispensary

stephen deangelo

 

LISA LEFF | October 10, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO — An Oakland medical marijuana dispensary that bills itself as the world’s largest gained an unusual ally Wednesday in its fight to stop federal prosecutors from shutting it down: the city government.

The city of Oakland filed a federal lawsuit in San Francisco that seeks to prevent the U.S. Department of Justice from using its property seizure powers to get Harborside Health Center evicted. The suit, thought to be the first a local government has brought on behalf of a pot shop, alleges the Justice Department knew about Harborside for years and exceeded the legal deadline for taking action against it.

It also claims federal officials are overstepping their authority by interfering with the process Oakland has established for licensing and monitoring dispensaries to make sure they operate in accordance with state law, City Attorney Barbara Parker said.

“We find it to be a very important issue from the standpoint of public health and public safety,” Parker said. “We spent a lot of time, money, developing the regulatory scheme, issuing the permits, using our resources to do the inspections.”

The Oakland City Council approved the filing of the lawsuit, she said.

Harborside serves about 100,000 medical marijuana users a year, sells about $20 million worth of pot and marijuana products, and pays $3 million in federal, state and local taxes annually, of which about $1.2 million goes to Oakland, executive director Steve DeAngelo said. He called the city’s intervention “heartening and encouraging.”

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag initiated a forfeiture proceeding in July on the property Harborside has rented in downtown Oakland since 2006, as well as its sister shop in San Jose. Haag said at the time that the dispensaries violate federal law by selling marijuana, even though medical marijuana is legal in California.

The owners of both properties have gone to state court to force out the dispensaries, but DeAngelo has counter-sued and so far been able to stay in business, said his lawyer, Henry Wykowski. DeAngelo, who has four years remaining on his Oakland lease, also is fighting the U.S. attorney’s claims, and a hearing before a federal magistrate is scheduled for Nov. 1, Wykowski said.

Over the past year, Haag and California’s three other federal prosecutors have brought similar actions against landlords throughout the state that lease space to dispensaries, most of which have been evicted or closed on their own.

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