Tag Archives: florida

(fl) Judge: Joe Redner can legally grow his own marijuana

Justine Griffin

Published: April 11, 2018

A court ruled Wednesday that Tampa strip club owner Joe Redner can grow his own marijuana for medical purposes, a decision that lawyers say could lead to a wave of similar cases.

The ruling by Leon County Circuit Judge Karen Gievers applies only to Redner, 77. The Florida Department of Health responded quickly, filing an appeal.

The department had said Floridians are barred under state rules from growing cannabis for their personal use, including those who are legally registered as medical marijuana patients.

But Redner and other critics across the state say the health department continues to create barriers for more than 95,000 registered patients in Florida that could benefit from marijuana. Redner is a stage 4 lung cancer survivor and a registered medical marijuana patient.

“Under Florida law, Plantiff Redner is entitled to possess, grow and use marijuana for juicing, soley for the purpose of his emulsifying the biomass he needs for the juicing protocol recommended by his physician,” Gievers said in her ruling. The word “solely” is bolded and underlined for emphasis in the document.

“The court also finds … that the Florida Department of Health has been, and continues to be non-compliant with the Florida constitutional requirements,” the judge added, referring to the constitutional amendment approved by voters in 2016 that made medical marijuana legal.

Redner’s attorney, Luke Lirot of Clearwater, said the judge was right to “castigate the health department for being a barrier to medicine.”

While the ruling affects only Redner, Lirot says his case “does provide a usable approach for other people whose doctors will certify that this is of value.”

In the meantime, the state’s appeal will block Redner from growing his own marijuana right away. Lirot said his first order of business will be to try to lift the stay that prevents Redner from growing and juicing marijuana during the appeals process, which likely won’t begin until late this year or early next year.

“The appellate process takes a long time, and in this case, it’s going to affect Redner’s life exclusively,” said Jay Wolfson, a professor at Stetson University College of Law and the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida. “Because this issue is big enough, no matter who loses in appeals, the case will go on the state supreme court after this. You can bet on that.”

In January, Gievers denied a motion by the Florida Department of Health to dismiss Redner’s case. The judge also denied Redner’s motion for an emergency temporary injunction, which would have allowed him to grow marijuana plants during the court process. But she described Redner’s plea in the case as “constitutional in nature,” which allowed it to move forward.

In her ruling, Gievers says the health department “has still not complied with the Constitution,” and until it stops “violating its constitutional duty and mandated presumptive regulation, the evidence clearly demonstrates that Redner is entitled to follow the recommendations of his certified physician under Florida law.”

“The Legislature failed to act and that has a lot of consequences. This case is one of them,” said Leslie Sammis, a Tampa-based defense attorney who is also a member of the The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws legal committee. “I think that the state and the health department should focus their energy on coming into compliance with this court order instead of stalling until it’s forced upon them by the courts.”

During a short, non-jury trial in March, attorneys representing the health department warned that Redner’s case could open the door to more lawsuits over the constitutional amendment’s language. Several lawsuits already have been filed against the department, but none other than Redner’s has specifically challenged the state agency’s interpretation of the amendment’s language.

“It is my understanding that the health department is facing many pending lawsuits,” Wolfson said. “It’s a legal quagmire.”

Redner says this means other patients should be able to challenge to possess their own plants, too.

“With this order, (patients) can go to their doctor now, and as long as they have a good enough reason to need to possess a plant, be it because they can’t afford the medicine at the dispensaries, as long as they have a recommendation anyone should be allowed to grow,” Redner said. “The cat is out of the bag. There’s no way to stop this now.”

CONTINUE READING…

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Health care refugees: Medical marijuana and new hope

By Elizabeth Cohen, CNN Senior Medical Correspondent
Video produced by John Bonifield, CNN

Updated 12:16 PM ET, Mon November 28, 2016

Paramedics transport Abby Muszynski to the air ambulance that will fly her from Florida to Colorado.

 

This is the second part of a series on health care refugees. Read the first part here.

(CNN)Rich and Kim Muszynski know when their 5-year-old daughter, Abby, is about to have a grand mal seizure because her pupils enlarge, and she’ll seem to fixate at something in the distance that only she can see.

Then it starts. Abby’s extremities shake. She gasps for air.

By the time she turned 3, Abby had tried about eight different anti-seizure medications. None of them worked very well. Panicked to see their daughter getting worse and worse, the Muszynskis drove three hours to Orlando to see Dr. Ngoc Minh Le, a board certified pediatric neurologist and epileptologist.

Le told them that chances of another anti-seizure drug working on Abby were tiny. He recommended medical marijuana. The timing was right: Just months before, Gov. Rick Scott had legalized the use of a type of non-euphoric cannabis called Charlotte’s Web.

The formulation had been a miracle for a little girl with epilepsy named Charlotte Figi. The Muszynskis had seen her story on Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s CNN documentary “Weed.”

Charlotte’s Web did help Abby, but not as much as it had helped Charlotte. She still was having about two grand mal seizures a week, each lasting about eight to 10 minutes.

Le explained to Kim and Rich that Charlotte’s Web has only tiny amounts of THC, one of the psychoactive ingredients in marijuana. Medical marijuana with higher levels of THC was Abby’s best hope, he told them.

But at this point, in 2015, high-THC marijuana wasn’t legal in Florida for Abby. To get it, the Muszynskis would have to move, leaving behind their friends and family, including two older children.

    Kim thought about Colorado, where Charlotte Figi lived. She’d checked with parents of disabled children there, and they told her the state had a fair and efficient Medicaid program.

    Getting to Colorado would be a challenge: Abby’s doctors said it wasn’t safe for her to fly on a commercial plane or to take a long car ride across the country.

    The Muszynskis began their final fight with Florida Medicaid — one that would leave Kim and Abby homeless for several days.

    Kim says that in mid-August, she started talking to Medicaid officials about getting an air ambulance to Colorado. On September 19, Rich drove the family car out to Colorado. They planned for Kim to attend the closing on their house in Boynton Beach on September 23 and leave on the air ambulance with Abby that afternoon.

    Kim had emailed and spoken with various Florida officials, and it seemed to her that everything was in order. “Please give a call today so we can finalize travel arrangements!” Mary Joyce, a senior registered nurse supervisor at Children’s Medical Services at the Florida Department of Health, wrote in an email to Kim on September 20.

    But then several days passed, and there was still no final approval for the transport.

    Their house sold, Kim and Abby were homeless. They moved in with Kim’s best friend and her husband. All of Abby’s equipment, like her bed with guardrails, was with Rich on their way to Colorado. Kim slept with Abby on the floor.

    Abby’s cries at night kept Kim’s friends awake. Kim wrote emails begging Florida officials for help. But for the first time, she added someone not previously included on the email: this CNN reporter.

    Three days later, she learned that the transport had been approved.

      A spokeswoman for Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration gave this statement:

      In this case relocation services are not covered by Medicaid, per federal Medicaid guidelines. However, thanks to Safety Net funds made available by Governor Scott and the Legislature, the state supported this family by covering the costs to provide relocation services via the air ambulance of the mother’s choice. Working with the family, the state arranged transport as quickly as possible,” wrote the spokeswoman, Mallory McManus.

      CONTINUE READING STORY HERE!

      Marijuana Missionaries: First Cannabis Church Rolls Into Michigan

      There’s no religious dogma in this church, but these marijuana missionaries are intent in on bringing ostracized stoners back into the fold.

      By Beth Dalbey (Patch Staff) – September 19, 2016 10:05 pm ET

      Marijuana Missionaries: First Cannabis Church Rolls Into Michigan

      Congregants in this church aren’t high on Jesus. In fact, the very name of the church sounds like lyrics from a rock and (ahem) roll song or the backdrop for a classic Cheech and Chong movie.

      It’s true that First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason’s sacrament might be a doobie or marijuana-infused brownie instead of the body and blood of Christ, and its dogma is steeped in giving thanks to the cannabis plant for its healing nature and the sense of well-being it gives users instead of Jesus’ sacrifices for sinners.

      The church, made up of a congregation of mostly atheists and agnostics, made its debut in Lansing, Michigan, earlier this summer.

      So, how can it be a church if its members eschew a higher power — beyond, that is, the feeling of euphoria they get from smoking pot or the satisfaction of using a sustainable crop for fuel and fiber?

      “Well, the reality is it sounded better than a cannabis cult,” organizer Jeremy Hall told the Lansing State Journal after the congregation’s inaugural service last June that included time for fellowship and a potluck with “both medicated and non-medicated food.”

      First Cannabis Church in Indiana

      The First Church of Cannabis traces its roots to Indiana as a political statement in response to the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, backed by Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, now Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s running mate.

      Self-anointed Grand Poobah Bill Levin has made all sorts of glib proclamations, including the Deity Dozen, which is sort of like the Ten Commandments— for example, “Do not be a ‘troll’ on the internet, respect others without name calling and being vulgarly aggressive,” and “Treat your body as a temple. Do not poison it with poor quality foods and sodas.” Also, don’t be a jerk, or words to that effect.

      There are also marijuana-based churches in Florida, Alabama, Oregon and Arizona. Many of them embrace organized religion to one extent or another, but Hall is more resolute in his iteration.

      At the First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason in Michigan, it’s all cannabis, all the time — whether in its leafy tobacco form, as fiber for clothing, as a biofuel or for shelter, paper and plastics.

      It’s a miracle,” Hall told The Detroit News. “It can save humanity. Cannabis is something to be put on a pedestal, to be revered.”

      What’s God Got To Do With It?

      An ordained minister with the online Universal Life Church and a marijuana caregiver who originally hails from Ypsilanti, Hall moved back to Michigan from Tennessee in part because legal medical marijuana is available for treatment of his wife’s lupus.

      He hopes congregants at the Lansing church can change attitudes about pot smokers with service projects around the city, like a recent cleanup at a Lansing park.

      From his early youth indoctrinated in the Young Earth Creationist congregation — a fundamentalist church that rejected evolution and forbade the use of radios because it supposedly played the devil’s music — to his new role as the founder of the First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason, Hall has experienced both ends of the religious spectrum.

      Though he rejected many of the tenets of his early teachings and other religions, he told The Detroit News he liked the fellowship aspect of church in general and the way a house of worship can gather in people who live on the margins. So he formed a church, taking God out of the equation.

      Still, Hall’s church embodies the WWJD — “What would Jesus do?” — spirit more than you might think, even though it is not rooted in Christianity.

      On a flyer seeking participants in a recent park cleanup, Hall acknowledged that pot smokers “have been demonized in the eyes of the public as miscreants and law breakers, ignorant and unmotivated.”

      So, just as Jesus reached out to the disenfranchised, the church is a chance for Hall and his wife to reach out to people who have been “using cannabis and feeling ostracized” by their regular places of worship, Michigan Radio reported.

      “We’re using our church to elevate the community and to show we aren’t a drain on society or a bunch of unmotivated criminals,” Hall told the Lansing State Journal.

      Pot City, Michigan?

      Not surprisingly, the church, located in the shadow of four medical marijuana dispensaries, has some detractors.

      The Rejuvenating South Lansing citizens’ group, which wants more restrictions on dispensaries, worries the church further mainstreams marijuana use and will draw more users to the city.

      “This is just another way they can do whatever they want,” Elaine Womboldt, the group’s founder, told The Detroit News. “We don’t want to be known as the pot city of Michigan.”

      Also, at the first service earlier this summer, a lonely protester, Quaker traditionalist Rhonda Fuller, of Lansing, held a sign that warned the only people who benefit from marijuana are profiting financially from it: “It’s about money, not you. It’s misery for everyone else.”

      Fuller told The Detroit News it’s unconscionable to call the First Church of Cannabis a church.

      “Anyone can call anything a church,” she said. “It has nothing to do with Christianity — but neither does most churches.”

      CONTINUE READING…

      Entire Florida police department busted for laundering millions for international drug cartels

      Justin Gardner, Free Thought Project
      02 Jan 2016 at 00:44 ET

      The village of Bal Harbour, population 2,513, may have a tiny footprint on the northern tip of Miami Beach, but its police department had grand aspirations of going after international drug traffickers, and making a few million dollars while they were at it.

      The Bal Harbour PD and the Glades County Sheriff’s Office set up a giant money laundering scheme with the purported goal of busting drug cartels and stemming the surge of drug dealing going on in the area. But it all fell apart when federal investigators and the Miami-Herald found strange things going on.

      The two-year operation, which took in more than $55 million from criminal groups, resulted in zero arrests but netted $2.4 million for the police posing as money launderers. Members of the 12-person task force traveled far and wide to carry out their deals, from Los Angeles to New York to Puerto Rico.

      Along the way, the small-town cops got a taste of luxury as they used the money for first-class flights, luxury hotels, Mac computers and submachine guns. Meanwhile, the Bal Harbour PD and Glades County Sheriffs were buying all sorts of fancy new equipment.

      Besides these “official” uses of the money, confidential records obtained by the Miami-Herald show that officers withdrew hundreds of thousands of dollars with no record of where the money went.

      “They were like bank robbers with badges,” said Dennis Fitzgerald, an attorney and former Drug Enforcement Administration agent who taught undercover tactics for the U.S. State Department. “It had no law enforcement objective. The objective was to make money.”

      The operation, which was not fully reported to federal authorities, funneled millions of dollars to overseas criminals and interfered with investigations being carried out on known money launderers.

      The latest revelations show that at least 20 people in Venezuela were sent drug money from the Florida cops, including William Amaro Sanchez, the foreign minister under Hugo Chavez and now special assistant to President Nicolas Maduro.

      They wired a total of $211,000 to Sanchez, even while the U.S. government was investigating Venezuelan government leaders involved in the drug trade. Instead of reporting their knowledge of Sanchez to federal agencies, the cops went on laundering money, taking their cut, and all the while aiding Sanchez in his machinations, which likely included political corruption.

      Four other Venezuelan criminals and smugglers were major recipients of the millions being wired from the Bal Harbour PD and Glades County Sheriff’s Office, including a figure tied to one of the largest drug cartels in the hemisphere.

      These actions violated strict federal bans on sending illegal money overseas, and the Florida cops never investigated the backgrounds of the people receiving their laundered drug money.

      “I can’t think of a more podunk town than Bal Harbour — not in a bad way. But in the sense that these cops would have otherwise been stopping traffic or shooting radar,” said Ruben Oliva, who has represented alleged narco-traffickers since the 1980s. “In reality they were being launderers. The minute they started doing busts, it would have been over.

      “This is like a movie. You’ve got these guys and they’re flying all over. They’re saying, ‘Hey, I’m in the big leagues.’ I’ve seen every kind of law enforcement money-laundering investigations. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s really one for the ages.”

      After the Department of Justice busted the Bal Harbour PD for misspending seized money to pay police salaries, the Miami-Herald began deeper investigations and found a much bigger pool of money that was never noticed by the feds. Soon after that, the ambitious sting operation—which was really just a money-making scheme—began to fall apart.

      “The Miami Herald gained unprecedented access to the confidential records of the undercover investigation, reviewing thousands of records including cash pickup reports, emails, DEA reports, bank statements and wire transfers for millions of dollars. The inquiry found:

      ▪ Police routinely withdrew cash — thousands at a time — totaling $1.3 million from undercover bank accounts, but to this day there are no records to show where the money was spent. “In all my years of law enforcement, I’ve never seen anything like it,” Chief Overton said.

      ▪ Bal Harbour officials say they cannot find receipts for hundreds of thousands in expenses, including five-star hotel bookings, dinners that ran up to $1,000 and scores of purchases like laptops, iPads, electronic money counters, flower deliveries, and even iTunes downloads.

      ▪ While posing as launderers, police delivered nearly $20 million to storefront businesses in Miami-Dade to launder the money for drug groups — gathering critical evidence against the business owners — yet took no action against them. Years later, the businesses are still open, some still suspected by federal agents of laundering for the cartels.”

      Cash deposits to SunTrust Bank totaling $28 million do not appear anywhere in police records. It’s no coincidence that the operation was launched “at a time law enforcement agencies across Florida were looking to boost their budgets during one of the state’s toughest economic periods.”

      “We had to find a revenue stream,” said Duane Pottorff, chief of law enforcement for Glades. “It allowed us to have resources we wouldn’t normally have.”

      Federal authorities and the Florida Department of Law Enforcement have launched probes into the Bal Harbour police, which will surely confirm the rampant abuses of power. However, the fact that these types of shady operations, carried out with the help of agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, can occur at all is even more troubling.

      Government creates a black market of drugs and blood money through prohibition, then under the War on Drugs it grants itself the power to break the law and get involved in money laundering operations. While the professed goal is to “sting” the bad guys, government rakes in millions upon millions of dollars to further bolster its prohibition and war on drugs.

      The War on Drugs is the real scheme that should be investigated.

      This story first appeared at The Free Thought Project.

      CONTINUE READING…

      HB161 Florida house of representatives attempt to set the stage for the governance of dui while using marijuana

      September 20, 2015

      Sheree Krider

      On Monday, September 14, FLORIDA State Representative David Kerner, a Democrat, Filed HB161 which attempts to set a standard for measuring (via blood test) Marijuana intoxication. 

      It sets the "limit" of 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood.

      Anyone with a blood test showing THC level that is above 5 nanograms "commits the offense of driving under the influence".

      This was done in response to the death of a 16 year old girl,  Naomi Pomerance, who was killed while riding on the back of a scooter and being hit by a car whose driver had been smoking marijuana in March of this year.  According to the reports, Tyler Cohen, was high on marijuana, and ran a red light. 

      While that may or may not be true,  it currently remains impossible to determine "intoxication" levels due to consumption of Marijuana.  With the blood tests that are available, it can only be determined that a person may have consumed at any time in the weeks prior to the incident – not that they were incapacitated from Marijuana at the time of  the accident.

      In a Todd County Kentucky case this year, a man was charged with Second Degree Manslaughter and 23 counts of First Degree Wanton Endangerment when his truck hit a school bus during a storm and hydroplaned off of the road causing the death of one man and hurting three others seriously, including himself. 

      The only drug of abuse which showed up in his blood test was Marijuana at the time of the accident.  Additionally there was no other evidence to confirm his use of Marijuana that day.  After acquiring an "expert witness" to review the blood test being offered as evidence in the case against him, the witness, a Professor of Clinical Pharmacology,  concluded that it did not indicate intoxication at the time of the accident.  Therefore, the Court was not able to use this "blood test"as evidence against him in this case.

      Picture

      Picture

      It would seem to me that any Representative or Senator who would file such a "BILL" should be intelligent enough to have the "science" of the issue verified before submitting another piece of legislation to be signed into law In order to allow prosecutions.

      It remains to be seen if this Bill will die in the House.  If by some chance it would be signed into law, I believe we will see many Court battles fighting the legality of the law. 

      You cannot make something "truthful" just by saying it is or even writing that it is.  The science behind the fact must be proven before it can set a valid and legal precedence.  In this case, I have not seen any "proof" that a blood test can accurately predict intoxication by Marijuana.  Therefore, if they use this law to prosecute people who have more than 5 nanograms of THC in their blood for DUI they are effectively prosecuting anyone who has smoked Marijuana at any time in the prior weeks leading up to the incident. 

      This could turn out to be the way that they will continue to fill the prison industrial complex, yet again, with people who do not deserve to be there. 

      The drug war will never end.  It will just change its’ angles of prosecution.

      (If we can’t get to them one way, we will get to them another)

       

      Assessing Marijuana Intoxication

      by Matthew C. Lee, MD, RPh, MS

      Marijuana is composed of a number of different cannabinoids, some are psychoactive, while some are not. When marijuana is absorbed through inhalation of smoke, or ingested when mixed with food, a psychoactive component, Δ-9 THC is taken up by the fat cells and stored. Where over time it is slowly released back into the bloodstream and subsequently excreted in the urine. This is why marijuana can be detected days to weeks after consumption. Additionally this is also the reason withdrawal from marijuana is so rare. The slow release of the Δ-9 THC stored in the fat cells leads to a prolonged taper of excretion from the body.

       

      FLORIDA HOUSE BILL 161,

      INTRODUCED BY DAVID KERN

      …providing that a person with a specified amount of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol per 5 milliliter of blood commits the offense of driving under the influence or boating under the influence,

      Subsection (1) of section 316.193, Florida Statutes, is amended to read:

      …The person has a blood level of 5 nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol per milliliter of blood, as shown by analysis of the person’s blood…

      …This act may be cited as the "Naomi Pomerance Victim Safety Act."

      This act shall take effect October 1, 2016

      http://www.wtsp.com/story/news/2015/09/20/florida-bill-would-set-marijuana-standard-fatal-crashes/72514946/

      http://www.constitutionalcannabis.com/toxicology–ui.html

      http://archive.wtsp.com/assetpool/documents/150920080505_hb161.pdf

      http://expertpages.com/news/Assessing_Marijuana_Intoxication.htm

      Lexology Report: Congress temporarily de-funds US-DOJ medical marijuana prosecution but does not legalize medical marijuana

    • Littler Mendelson
    • Dale L. Deitchler

       

      • USA
      • December 30 2014

       

      Dale L. Deitchler Author page »

      In a few short paragraphs within the 1,603-page congressional spending bill signed into law on December 16, 2014, Congress prohibited the U.S. Department of Justice from using federal funds to prosecute users, growers and distributors of medical marijuana in states that have enacted medical marijuana statutes.  The full text of the de-funding rider barring the DOJ from the use of funds to “prevent. . . implementation” of state and local laws legalizing medical marijuana states:

      Sec. 538. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

      Sec. 539. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (“Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.

      Several U.S. Supreme Court decisions have upheld prosecution of medical marijuana growers and users under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA).  Nevertheless, the Obama Administration, as a matter of policy, has directed the DOJ to take a relaxed approach to prosecution and the DOJ has done so, except for use that impacts the DOJ’s “enforcement priorities” (e.g., preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing the revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels).  This new de-funding measure now codifies that policy approach as law.  (Notably, the rider does not affect IRS or Treasury Department actions relating to payment of taxes by marijuana suppliers and online banking).

      The legislation, however, does not legalize medical marijuana.  Rather, the federal ban on marijuana continues – i.e., both medical and recreational marijuana continue to be illegal under CSA Schedule I.  And, though de-funding may affect enforcement of criminal laws in states with medical marijuana statutes, it has no effect in states that have not legalized marijuana, nor does it express any limitations on employer action on the basis of a positive marijuana test result administered under a workplace drug testing policy.  Finally, the rider expires on September 30, 2015, and may or may not be renewed heading into the heart of the presidential election campaign in the fall of 2015.  For all of these reasons, though significant in reflecting current legislators’ thinking at the national level regarding CSA enforcement, the mere enactment of the spending bill with this provision does not warrant adjustment to drug testing policies of employers choosing to continue to treat confirmed positive marijuana test results as positive even when the result was caused by medicinal use that is lawful under state or local law.

      CONTINUE READING…

    • Federal Spending Bill Blocks Funding For Medical Marijuana Raids, Legalization In D.C.

      The proposed congressional budget released Tuesday night prevents the Department of Justice from using funds to undermine state laws regarding medical marijuana.

      posted on Dec. 9, 2014, at 9:20 p.m.

      Michelle Broder Van Dyke BuzzFeed News Reporter

       

      The House budget passed Tuesday night prevents the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration from using funds to interfere with state laws that legalize medical marijuana.

      The amendment was introduced by California Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican, and Sam Farr, a Democrat, and was approved by the House of Representatives in May. It implies that DEA raids on medical marijuana patients in states where it is legal will stop.

      The budget Senate proposal — which must still go back to the House for a full vote before it lands on President Obama’s desk — would keep all but the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) operating normally through the end of the fiscal year in 2015.

      The compromise bill was approved with Republicans agreeing to put off a fight with Obama over his immigration policies until February, when funding for the DHS is slated to run out, the Associated Press reported.

      The bill’s Section 538, which addresses medical marijuana, reads:

      None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

      The bill also includes a section that protects industrial hemp cultivation.

      None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (”Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113–79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.

      AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

      Marijuana advocates were pleased with the bill.

      Tom Angell, founder of Marijuana Majority, said in statement to BuzzFeed News: “Congressional leaders seem to have finally gotten the message that a supermajority of Americans wants states to be able to implement sensible marijuana reforms without federal interference.”

      Angell also urged the Obama administration to use this opportunity to “reschedule marijuana immediately.” Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it’s a dangerous narcotic with no accepted medical use. Heroin and LSD are also classified Schedule I, while cocaine and methamphetamine are Schedule II, a lower ranking.

      Advocates say reclassifying the drug would allow for state and federal laws to be in sync, and conserve law enforcement resources. It would also ease access to research of the drug and tension between banks and marijuana retailers.

      Erik Altieri, communication director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, also released a statement that said: “By restricting these agencies in this manner, the nearly two dozen states that implemented medical marijuana programs can hopefully breathe easier knowing federal money won’t be spent to interfere with their progress. We hope this leads to further reforms at the federal level further enshrining this sentiment into law.”

      The bill also effectively blocks the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Washington, D.C., but preserves its decriminalization law.

      Voters in Washington, D.C., overwhelmingly passed a recreational marijuana referendum on the November ballot, which is now effectively blocked. The District passed a decriminalization bill in April that will remain intact.

      The proposed bill’s appropriations section, which allocates millions in funds to the district, states:

      “None of the Federal funds contained in this Act may be used to enact or carry out any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.) or any tetrahydrocannabinols derivative.”

      Unlike most states, Washington, D.C., doesn’t take in any local revenue that it can spend and receives all of its funding from the federal government, so the ban on using funds for legalization effectively blocks the referendum voters recently passed.

      Earlier on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said of the rider: “I’m opposed to what the House is trying to do.”

      “If they put it in there, it’s going to be hard to take it out over here,” he added.

      Marijuana advocates in Washington D.C. and those who advocate for the district’s autonomy were not pleased. D.C. Cannabis Campaign, which sponsored the ballot measure to legalize weed, tweeted the following:

      CONTINUE READING…

      Mummy Proves America Is 2,400 Years Behind On Medical Marijuana

      mummyemebed

      Photo: Via Wikimedia Commons.

      A 2,400-year-old “Siberian Ice Maiden” apparently knew something that not all US lawmakers do: Cannabis is a perfect palliative for cancer.
      Discovered in 1993 by archaeologist Natalia Polosmak, the mummified remains of this woman, also known as the “Princess of Ukok,” were recently examined by a team of Russian scientists. They found that the woman, who was heavily tattooed and died when she was between 20 and 30 years old, suffered from and ultimately succumbed to breast cancer.
      “‘I am quite sure of the diagnosis — she had cancer,” one of the scientists told the Siberian Times. “She was extremely emaciated. Given her rather high rank in society and the information scientists obtained studying mummies of elite Pazyryks, I do not have any other explanation of her state. Only cancer could have such an impact.”
      The researchers also believe that the woman used cannabis to treat herself. A container of the herb was found in her burial chamber, along with a “cosmetics bag.”
      “Probably for this sick woman, sniffing cannabis was a forced necessity,” another scientist said, noting that wine, hashish, opium, henbane, mandrake, aconite, and Indian hemp were all used at the time as painkillers. “And she was often in altered state of mind. We can suggest that through her could speak the ancestral spirits and gods. Her ecstatic visions in all likelihood allowed her to be considered as some chosen being, necessary and crucial for the benefit of society. She can be seen as the darling of spirits and cherished until her last breath.”
      Hey, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania: Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. (Siberian Times)

      "There is no correlation between Morgan & Morgan and the medical marijuana," Stumbo spokesman Brian Wilkerson said.

      House Speaker Greg Stumbo pitching personal-injury law firm in TV commercials

      By John Cheves — jcheves@herald-leader.com

       

       

       

      House Speaker Greg Stumbo has accepted a position as partner at Morgan & Morgan, a Florida-based personal-injury law firm whose founder, John Morgan, is a major financial backer of the movement to legalize medical marijuana.

      In September, Stumbo, D-Prestonsburg, announced that he wants a debate in Kentucky about legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

      "I am open and leaning toward supporting the use of medical marijuana as I read more and more research," Stumbo said on Sept. 24.

      Through a spokesman, Stumbo this week said he came to his stand on medical marijuana after speaking to Floyd County constituents who support it.

      "There is no correlation between Morgan & Morgan and the medical marijuana," Stumbo spokesman Brian Wilkerson said.

      John Morgan, a Lexington native who moved to Orlando, Fla., in 1971, gave $250,000 over the summer to People United For Medical Marijuana and produced several commercials to support the effort. He expects to give several million dollars more, he said this week.

      On his firm’s website, Morgan wrote that medical marijuana helped his father while he was dying from cancer and emphysema.

      "Medical marijuana has been proven to give our loved ones relief they need, helping with pain, appetite, seizures and spasms," Morgan says in a radio commercial he recently produced in Florida. "Unfortunately, Tallahassee politicians refused to vote on the issue last session. They wouldn’t even hear testimony from patients and their families."

      In an interview, Morgan said he’s glad to hear about Stumbo’s public comments on medical marijuana, but he’s not the impetus.

      "Greg and I have never talked about it, but I’m spending a boatload of money to get it on the ballot in Florida this fall," Morgan said. "Now that I know he feels this way, maybe we can do something in Kentucky, too."

      Steve Robertson, chairman of the Kentucky Republican Party, was ready to draw the opposite conclusion.

      "We at least now know that Stumbo bases his public positions on his private finances," Robertson said. "After standing in opposition to the hemp bill, it’s mind-boggling that he’d suddenly turn around and advocate for medical marijuana based on his new job."

      During the 2013 legislative session, Stumbo criticized and worked against — though he ultimately voted for — a bill that established a licensing system for Kentucky hemp farmers if the federal government decriminalizes that plant, a close relative to marijuana. Stumbo said he agreed with police officers who argued that hemp and marijuana crops could be confused, making their jobs more difficult.

      Later this year, Stumbo went to work for Morgan & Morgan. He recently began starring in television commercials for the firm, which employs 240 lawyers in a half-dozen states, including former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist.

      "I’m Greg Stumbo of Morgan & Morgan," Stumbo says in a 30-second spot currently airing on Lexington stations. "As attorney general of Kentucky, I was honored to be your personal attorney."

      Stumbo, who was attorney general from 2003 to 2007, goes on to tell viewers: "The insurance company doesn’t have your family’s best interest at heart. We do. Call us."

      Speaking Wednesday, Morgan explained the hire: "Stumbo is a consumer advocate. That’s what he’s done both professionally and politically. He knows his way around Kentucky and he’s obviously well-known among his peers."

      John Cheves: (859) 231-3266. Twitter: @BGPolitics. Blog: bluegrasspolitics.bloginky.com

      Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2013/10/17/2881362/house-speaker-greg-stumbo-pitching.html#storylink=cpy

      St. Petersburg marijuana grow house charges dropped; others may follow

      St. Petersburg marijuana grow house charges dropped; others may follow

      By Stephen Nohlgren, Times Staff Writer
      In Print: Wednesday, March 21, 2012

      LARGO — Amid allegations that narcotics deputies trespassed and lied to gather evidence, the Pinellas-Pasco State Attorney’s Office announced Tuesday that it is dismissing charges against an accused St. Petersburg marijuana grower and will reconsider dozens of similar cases.

      The dropped case was against David Cole, 60, who said he was growing pot in his shed to treat his multiple sclerosis symptoms.

      His attorneys were scheduled Tuesday to grill a key deputy under oath about possible misconduct within the narcotics unit. But that opportunity evaporated along with the case.

      "Information came to light Friday that calls into question the veracity of those involved in making that case to the point where I believe the right thing to do is to have that case dismissed,” Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri said on Tuesday.

      Gualtieri would not give more details because his internal affairs office is now investigating how the Cole case and others stemming from the two-year surveillance of a Largo hydroponics store were handled.

      Sworn search warrant applications by deputies Paul Giovannoni and Michael Sciarrino — the lead detectives in the grow house cases — said they could smell indoor pot farms from public sidewalks and neighbors’ yards. But defense attorneys think that the two deputies and at least one supervisor trespassed to get their information, which is illegal.

      Neither Gualtieri nor Beverly Andringa, executive assistant state attorney, could pinpoint Tuesday how many grow house cases are in jeopardy, saying only that they number in the dozens.

      "We need to look at them all,” Gualtieri said. "Because the information we have goes to general veracity. Once there is that allegation, then it touches anything that certain people may have touched.”

      Giovannoni and Sciarrino declined to comment.

      Cole said he was relieved to have the charges dropped. He was caught with 87 plants at varying stages of growth and acknowledges that medical marijuana is illegal in Florida. He had no criminal history in Florida and says his attorney advised that he probably could have plea bargained for nothing more than probation as punishment.

      But when he heard the deputies might have trespassed and lied about it, Cole said, he told his attorney to reject any plea bargain and use his case to pressure the Sheriff’s Office for answers. He was particularly angered by concrete blocks stacked in stair-step fashion on his neighbor’s property next to his fence. Cole thinks officers might have put them there to vault his fence.

      "We have to make sure that the people we employ for our protection acted appropriately,” Cole said Tuesday. "That’s more important to me than what happens to me.”

      Cole’s case is where Tuesday’s canceled deposition of former narcotics deputy Kyle Alston came in.

      Alston had already been deposed in February, in a Tarpon Springs grow house case. Defense lawyer Newt Hudson asked if Alston had ever seen Sciarrino and Giovannoni "climb over fences,” shorthand for trespassing.

      Alston refused to answer.

      Hudson is now trying to use this refusal, along with other information, to have his Tarpon Springs client’s search warrant thrown out, killing any prosecution.

      Hudson also alerted other grow house lawyers, some of whom are sharing information and call themselves the Scent of Justice Gang in mocking reference to the marijuana sniffing.

      Clearwater lawyer Douglas deVlaming scheduled Alston to give testimony in Cole’s case on Tuesday, this time with a judge standing by to rule on whether Alston had to answer questions.

      "We believe Kyle Alston was going to come in and testify to the truth . . . that these guys were jumping fences,” deVlaming said Tuesday. "And I also believe Kyle Alston has told that to internal affairs.”

      Alston declined to comment.

      DeVlaming applauded the sheriff and the state attorney for re-evaluating all the grow house prosecutions but said defense lawyers will continue to subpoena Alston for testimony in other cases as long as any charges are pending.

      DeVlaming also said State Attorney Bernie McCabe should convene a grand jury to examine the grow house cases, or federal prosecutors should weigh in.

      "We want to have confidence that we can trust police officers,” deVlaming said, "and quite frankly, dropping cases and throwing a few underlings under the bus isn’t going to cut it with us.”

      Gualtieri estimated it would take about three weeks to complete an internal affairs investigation.

      "I met with my captain this morning. We are trying get it done fairly, but also as quickly as possible,” Gualtieri said. "I don’t want a rush to judgment.”

      Besides re-evaluating pending grow house cases, both he and Andringa said they will also examine investigative techniques on cases recently resolved through plea bargains or convictions.

      "Many (cases) may be involved before it is all said and done.” Gaultieri said. "Many may go.”

      Information about alleged trespassing surfaced in the last few weeks, he said. Cole’s case was one of several under scrutiny when deVlaming subpoenaed Alston for deposition.

      The timing of Tuesday’s scheduled deposition accelerated the decision to drop Cole’s charges, Gualtieri said.

      "Depending on what questions are asked in deposition it could frustrate our investigation because (defense lawyers) don’t know what we know,” Gualtieri said. "They don’t know where we are going and what we need to do. That could cause information to get out and affect other witnesses in this investigation.”

      That argument is not swaying defense attorneys to back off.

      Clearwater lawyer Bjorn Brunvand said he will seek an expedited deposition in the next few days of Alston, Gualtieri and a Progress Energy Florida employee who helped officers find out how much power grow house suspects were using.

      "I would not be surprised if the same thing happened in my case,” Brunvand said, referring to charges against Cole being dropped.

      Largo lawyer John Trevena said complaints against the grow house deputies date back to 2008. One client was caught with 93 plants and sentenced to three years in prison after a detective secured a search warrant by stating that he could smell marijuana from a sidewalk.

      Trevena said he had a National Weather Service meteorologist ready to testify that the wind was blowing away from the detective that night, but nobody in the court system would listen.

      He will also seek depositions if his clients’ cases aren’t resolved, Trevena said. "I am not going to let my clients’ futures rely on (the sheriff’s) investigation. I am going to conduct my own investigation.”

      Stephen Nohlgren can be reached at (727) 893-8442 or nohlgren@tampabay.com.

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