Here is the latest update on #FREEDAREN !!!
Released with “conditions” today!
Here is a live video of his release, thanks to EAST-CanadaFriends !
Free Daren outside courthouse pt. 3
Updates to follow!
Here is the latest update on #FREEDAREN !!!
Released with “conditions” today!
Here is a live video of his release, thanks to EAST-CanadaFriends !
Updates to follow!
By Andrew Blake – The Washington Times – Wednesday, May 24, 2017
A Rhode Island fabrics company violated the state’s medical marijuana law when it refused to hire a card-carrying patient who couldn’t pass a drug test, a state Superior Court judge ruled Tuesday.
Christine Callaghan sued Darlington Fabrics Corp. for compensatory and punitive damages in 2014 after the company said her medical marijuana usage precluded it from offering her a paid internship position while she pursued a master’s degree at the University of Rhode Island. Ms. Callaghan promised not to bring weed into the workplace or arrive for work stoned, but Darlington said her failure to pass a pre-employment drug test prohibited her hiring, according to court filings.
In a 32-page ruling Tuesday, Associate Justice Richard A. Licht said Darlington broke the state’s Hawkins-Slater Medical Marijuana Act by rejecting Ms. Callaghan because she legally uses pot to treat migraine headaches in accodance with state law.
“Employment is neither a right nor a privilege in the legal sense,” Judge Licht ruled, but protection under the law is, he added.
While employers aren’t required to accommodate the medical use of cannabis in the workplace under Hawkins-Slater, the ruling noted, the law specifies that “no school, employer or landlord may refuse to reenroll, employ or lease to or otherwise penalize, a person solely for his or her status as a cardholder.”
Darlington had argued that it rejected Ms. Callaghan not because her status as a medical marijuana cardholder but her inability to pass a drug test. The judge called his claim “incredulous” in Tuesday’s ruling and took aim at its interpretation of the state’s medical marijuana law.
“This argument is not convincing,” he wrote, adding: “…it is absurd to think that the General Assembly wished to extend less protection to those suffering with debilitating conditions and who are the focus of the [act].”
“The recreational user could cease smoking long enough to pass the drug test and get hired… allowing him or her to smoke recreationally to his or her heart’s content,” he continued. “The medical user, however, would not be able to cease for long enough to pass the drug test, even though his or her use is necessary…”
More than 17,000 Rhode Islanders are currently members of the state’s medical marijuana program, the Providence Journal reported. While most of those individuals are patients who use marijuana to treat covered medical conditions, that number also includes people categorized as official “caregivers,” the newspaper reported.
“This decision sends a strong message that people with disabilities simply cannot be denied equal employment opportunities because of the medication they take,” Carly Beauvais Iafrate, a volunteer American Civil Liberties Union attorney and Ms. Callaghan’s legal counsel, said in a statement after Tuesday’s ruling.
Darlington plans to appeal the ruling before the state Supreme Court, defense attorney Meghan Siket told the Journal. Neither the company nor its lawyer was immediately available to comment Tuesday, the Associated Press reported.
Medical marijuana laws are currently on the books in 29 states and Washington, D.C., including Rhode Island, notwithstanding the federal government’s prohibition on pot.
Jenny Kane , firstname.lastname@example.org Published 4:09 p.m. PT March 20, 2017
Nevada lawmakers are trying to address everything from marijuana users’ gun rights to the danger that edible marijuana products pose to children.
On Monday, a wide array of marijuana-focused bills were introduced to both members of the Nevada Senate and the Assembly to help regulate the drug that’s now legal for recreational use in Nevada (and has been legal for medicinal use since 2000).
Sen. Kelvin Atkinson, D-Las Vegas, introduced a bill, SB 351, which would allow medical marijuana users to possess a firearm and a conceal and carry permit. Sheriffs currently are required to deny an application for a permit to carry a concealed firearm or revoke an existing permit if someone is a medical marijuana card holder.
Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, co-sponsored a separate bill, SB 344, with Sen. Patricia Farley, Nonpartisan-Las Vegas, that revises the standards for the labeling and packaging of marijuana for medical use.
Map: A quick guide to all of Nevada’s marijuana dispensaries
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The proposed legislation establishes limits on how much medicinal marijuana may be sold in a single package and prohibits candy-like marijuana products that appeal to children. The bill also would prevent edible marijuana products that look like cookies or brownies to be sealed in see-through packaging, or any kind of packaging that children might be attracted to.
Segerblom introduced a separate, 147-page bill, SB 329, that would allow for medical marijuana research and hemp research. The same bill would add post traumatic stress disorder to the list of conditions that could qualify a patient for medicinal marijuana consumption.
Under Segerblom’s bill, non-profit medical marijuana dispensaries could accept donations of marijuana, and all medical marijuana establishments would have to install video security which law enforcement could remotely access in real time.
He also is proposing a bill, SB 321, that would allow American Indian tribes in Nevada to make agreements with the Governor that would allow the tribes to follow state law as related to both medical and recreational marijuana.
Segerblom and Farley also introduced a bill, SB 236, that would allow money raised from medical marijuana establishment applications to be spent not only on government costs and schools. Segerblom and Farley believe that the money should also be spent on programs used to educate people about the safe usage of marijuana.
Segerblom and Farley’s bill also suggests prohibiting counties and incorporated cities from imposing requirements upon marijuana establishments that are not zoning related. The bill also would limit the license tax that a county or city could impose upon a marijuana establishment.
Assemblywoman Brittney Miller also introduced a bill to the Assembly on Monday that would vacate the sentences of offenders who were convicted of possessing 1 ounce or less of marijuana before legalization was effective Jan. 1. Assemblyman William McCurdy II introduced a similar bill last week to the Assembly’s Committee on Corrections, Parole and Probation.
The legalized marijuana industry is growing more than pot. Analysts say it could create over a quarter of a million jobs while other industries decline. (Photo: USA TODAY video still)
Ana Alvarez, a working mother of two in Lima, never imagined being on the frontlines of a fight for marijuana in conservative Peru.
But a police raid on a makeshift cannabis lab that she and other women started to soothe the symptoms of their sick children has roused support for medical marijuana, prompting President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski to propose legalizing it in the latest pivot away from decades-old restrictions on drug use in Latin America.
Alvarez said cannabis oil is the only drug that helped contain her epileptic and schizophrenic son’s seizures and psychotic episodes. She and other women in similar situations formed the group Searching for Hope to seek legal backing as they honed techniques for producing the drug.
“We wrote to Congress, to the health ministry,” Alvarez said from her apartment as her son played in his room. “We got two negative responses.”
But the police bust put the women’s plight on national television, triggering an outpouring of sympathy as they marched with their children in tow to demand police “give us our medicine back.”
“When we saw their reality, we realized there’s a void in our laws for this kind of use” of marijuana, said cabinet advisor Leonardo Caparros. “We couldn’t turn a blind eye.”
It is unclear if the right-wing opposition-controlled Congress will pass Kuczynski’s proposed legislation, which would allow marijuana to be imported and sold in Peru for medical reasons and could permit domestic production after two years.
Kuczynski, a 78-year-old socially liberal economist, once provoked an uproar for saying that smoking a joint “isn’t the end of the world.”
But an Ipsos poll conducted following the raid showed 65 percent of Peruvians favor legalizing medical marijuana, and another 13 percent back legalizing the drug for recreational use.
If the bill is passed, Peru would follow neighboring Chile and Colombia in legalizing the medical use of marijuana. Mexico’s Senate has approved a bill to permit the use of medical marijuana, while Uruguay has fully legalized cannabis from seed to smoke.
In the meantime, Searching for Hope has turned to the black market. Member Roxana Tasayco said cannabis oil had given her terminal cancer-stricken mother her appetite back and calmed her vomiting and nausea.
“It’s not going to cure her but it’ll give her a better quality of life in her last days,” said Tasayco. “If I have to break a few laws to do that for her I will.”
(Reporting By Mitra Taj; Editing by Andrea Ricci)
Federal status of marijuana is affecting both everyday cannabis consumers and people attempting to work in the industry.
Published: Feb. 4, 2017 Updated: Feb. 5, 2017 2:45 p.m.
Federal law still classifies cannabis as a Schedule I narcotic, a category reserved for drugs such as heroin that are said to be highly addictive and have no medical value. There’s been no movement to ease that stance even though polls show a record number of Americans now believe marijuana should be legal, 28 states now permit medical marijuana and eight more allow recreational use.
One thing that has changed is the optimism some cannabis enthusiasts expressed prior to the November election.
As the biggest state in the nation prepared to vote on legalizing recreational use with Prop. 64, the thinking was that California could become a tipping point that would ultimately lead to federal approval of cannabis.
Prop. 64 easily passed. But confidence in the impact of that vote has dimmed as the reality of a GOP-controlled federal government headed by President Donald Trump – and the prospect of marijuana-opponent Jeff Sessions as Attorney General – has settled in.
For individuals, the ongoing conflict with federal law can make it harder to get everything from housing to healthcare, even if they use cannabis for medical reasons says Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML.
And for Californians who want to make money in the cannabis industry, the differences between state and federal law can affect how they bank, pay taxes and more.
“It’s a serious hindrance,” said John Hudak, a senior fellow with the Brookings Institution who specializes in marijuana policy.
“It creates a scenario in which companies are able to get up and running, but not operate like a normal business.”
Here are nine ways the federal status of marijuana is affecting both everyday cannabis consumers and people attempting to work in the industry, no matter what their state law says.
There are millions of people across this great nation suffering from chronic pain and illness who are legally receiving relief via prescription medications. As a patient that suffers with chronic, debilitating pain from a brain malformation, I can attest to the damage long-term use of prescription medications can do to the human mind and body.
Just last year I lost my brother due to an accidental overdose of hydrocodone prior to back surgery. He didn’t just slip off into the night after falling asleep. He died clutching his chest and screaming in pain, and there was nothing anyone could do. Yet, there are still pharmacies conveniently located on nearly every corner across the country dispensing the poison every day.
For the record, I am not a drug addict, nor do not wish to be addicted to ANY substance, however due to the illnesses I have, I must medicate with SOMETHING regularly to achieve any reasonable measure of “quality of life.” And the one prescription medication that provides some relief is full of liver damaging acetaphetamin and isn’t covered by Medicare.
Plus, the doctor told me that though it relieves my headaches, with regular use it “increases” headaches. Ohhh, so I’ll need more addictive pain medication due to the increased headaches it causes, which will damage my liver all that much faster… are you seeing the RIDICULOUS, vicious circle? Not only are the prescription drugs inadequate and expensive, but I’ve suffered through withdrawal on numerous occasions from addictive pain medications, even spending three days in ICU on a respirator from a Fentanyl patch!
Cannabis is an effective, NON-ADDICTIVE medication that helps me. Yet, when I don’t have cannabis, I don’t get the sweats, have increased blood pressure, vomit, itch, cry, and wig out!!! I just hurt, try not to move any more than I have to, and keep to myself… survival mode. Not a healthy or pleasant way to live.
As a result of prescription medications I have the onset of liver disease. My digestive system is impaired to the point that I literally have no appetite. Without medication I am consumed with pain to the point that my activities of daily living are limited and socialization with others is not an option. Inhaled cannabis quickly sends the cannabinoids directly to the blood stream via your lungs.
Yet, cannabis doesn’t impair one’s ability to function for long periods of time, cause nausea, or shut down the bowels like prescription pain medications. And while smoking may not be the best option for me, it’s the only one available due to prohibition. For the record, I would prefer to ingest cannabis, but it takes a larger quantity of product to produce a sufficient amount.
For over a year the American Medical Association has urged the federal government to reconsider its stance on cannabis, to change the classification from a Class 1 drug. This means the AMA recognizes that cannabis has medicinal qualities that could be beneficial to a patient’s health. The AMA also states that cannabis deserves more research.
A randomized placebo-controlled trial was conducted at San Francisco General Hospital (with) nine doctors and 50 patients involved. Patients suffered from HIV-associated neuropathic pain. “The first cannabis cigarette reduced chronic pain by a median of 72 percent versus 15 percent with placebo. No adverse events reported.” Throughout length of trial “pain was reduced by 34 percent.”
Conclusion: “Smoked cannabis was well tolerated and effectively relieved chronic neuropathic pain from HIV-associated sensory neuropathy. The findings are comparable to oral drugs used for chronic neuropathic pain.”
Latest polling shows 65 percent of Americans support medicinal cannabis with doctor supervision. If comparable to pain pills, shouldn’t the doctor be deciding whether cannabis is the better choice for the patient? Patients should not have to fear imprisonment or the horrible side effects of prescription drugs, especially when there are scientific facts that favor the medicinal use of cannabis.
This matter is not about the legalization of “drugs.” We, as patients, do not condone the use of any drug without doctor supervision. This is about compassion and understanding of others suffering, knowing that cannabis helps them regain their lives and get on with living life to the fullest, not needlessly suffering from the pain of illness or the ugly side effects from pain medications.
Fifteen states have passed legislation in favor of medicinal marijuana. We are well on our way to helping people understand that cannabis is not the harmful drug previously demonized by well meaning, but ill informed political figures. SB 1381, the compassionate use of cannabis 3-year pilot program is coming up for a vote in Illinois. This is our chance to free our countrymen and women from the ill side effects of pain medications.
Patients and doctors alike deserve the right to pursue happiness as stated in our Constitution. We must allow patients to choose the best course of action in medical matters without fear of imprisonment. We must take our medicine out of the hands of greedy drug-lords, and allow safe access to good medicine for sick and suffering patients.
Cannabis has been proven to help people time and time again. New and fascinating facts about the benefits of medicinally using cannabis are being reported every day. And I am living proof that it works! This is not an issue of morals, but one of science and compassion for the sick and suffering. We aren’t encouraging anyone to use cannabis. We just want our God-given right to pain relief in the manner which helps us best.
As a responsible citizen of IL I am appalled that I am forced to pay outrageous prices for medicine, lining the pockets of black market drug dealers. When as a sick patient I should be receiving quality medicine, regulated by the government, provided by state governed agencies which would benefit patients, while strengthening our economy and providing legitimate jobs! You know, with the right medicine given on a regular basis, I just may be able to work again.. or at least take care of MYSELF without the assistance of others.
Cannabis relieves the pain, takes my mind off my poor health, gives me an appetite, and helps me to get out enjoy the life I have left without the hangovers and side effects of man-made medications. May the powers that be hear our voices and bring relief to the suffering citizens of Illinois! No patient should be denied safe access to their medication!!
The fact of the matter is, patients who NEED medicinal cannabis have been and will continue to do whatever they have to, to obtain the medicine they need. The prohibition of medicinal cannabis only punishes us further for being sick at a time when we need love and compassion the most. Don’t wait till you or someone you love is suffering to investigate this issue.
Carol Kerr ~ HAPPY PATIENT in Legal Medical Cannabis State!!
Neal Scott may die in prison. A 49-year-old Black man from New Orleans, Neal had cycled in and out of prison for drug possession over a number of years. He said he was never offered treatment for his drug dependence; instead, the criminal justice system gave him time behind bars and felony convictions—most recently, five years for possessing a small amount of cocaine and a crack pipe. When Neal was arrested in May 2015, he was homeless and could not walk without pain, struggling with a rare autoimmune disease that required routine hospitalizations. Because he could not afford his $7,500 bond, Neal remained in jail for months, where he did not receive proper medication and his health declined drastically—one day he even passed out in the courtroom. Neal eventually pled guilty because he would face a minimum of 20 years in prison if he took his drug possession case to trial and lost. He told us that he cried the day he pled, because he knew he might not survive his sentence.
Just short of her 30th birthday, Nicole Bishop spent three months in jail in Houston for heroin residue in an empty baggie and cocaine residue inside a plastic straw. Although the prosecutor could have charged misdemeanor paraphernalia, he sought felony drug possession charges instead. They would be her first felonies.
Nicole was separated from her three young children, including her breastfeeding newborn. When the baby visited Nicole in jail, she could not hear her mother’s voice or feel her touch because there was thick glass between them. Nicole finally accepted a deal from the prosecutor: she would do seven months in prison in exchange for a guilty plea for the 0.01 grams of heroin found in the baggie, and he would dismiss the straw charge. She would return to her children later that year, but as a “felon” and “drug offender.” As a result, Nicole said she would lose her student financial aid and have to give up pursuit of a degree in business administration. She would have trouble finding a job and would not be able to have her name on the lease for the home she shared with her husband. She would no longer qualify for the food stamps she had relied on to help feed her children. As she told us, she would end up punished for the rest of her life.
Every 25 seconds in the United States, someone is arrested for the simple act of possessing drugs for their personal use, just as Neal and Nicole were. Around the country, police make more arrests for drug possession than for any other crime. More than one of every nine arrests by state law enforcement is for drug possession, amounting to more than 1.25 million arrests each year. And despite officials’ claims that drug laws are meant to curb drug sales, four times as many people are arrested for possessing drugs as are arrested for selling them.
As a result of these arrests, on any given day at least 137,000 men and women are behind bars in the United States for drug possession, some 48,000 of them in state prisons and 89,000 in jails, most of the latter in pretrial detention. Each day, tens of thousands more are convicted, cycle through jails and prisons, and spend extended periods on probation and parole, often burdened with crippling debt from court-imposed fines and fees. Their criminal records lock them out of jobs, housing, education, welfare assistance, voting, and much more, and subject them to discrimination and stigma. The cost to them and to their families and communities, as well as to the taxpayer, is devastating. Those impacted are disproportionately communities of color and the poor.
This report lays bare the human costs of criminalizing personal drug use and possession in the US, focusing on four states: Texas, Louisiana, Florida, and New York. Drawing from over 365 interviews with people arrested and prosecuted for their drug use, attorneys, officials, activists, and family members, and extensive new analysis of national and state data, the report shows how criminalizing drug possession has caused dramatic and unnecessary harms in these states and around the country, both for individuals and for communities that are subject to discriminatory enforcement.
There are injustices and corresponding harms at every stage of the criminal process, harms that are all the more apparent when, as often happens, police, prosecutors, or judges respond to drug use as aggressively as the law allows. This report covers each stage of that process, beginning with searches, seizures, and the ways that drug possession arrests shape interactions with and perceptions of the police—including for the family members and friends of individuals who are arrested. We examine the aggressive tactics of many prosecutors, including charging people with felonies for tiny, sometimes even “trace” amounts of drugs, and detail how pretrial detention and long sentences combine to coerce the overwhelming majority of drug possession defendants to plead guilty, including, in some cases, individuals who later prove to be innocent.
The report also shows how probation and criminal justice debt often hang over people’s heads long after their conviction, sometimes making it impossible for them to move on or make ends meet. Finally, through many stories, we recount how harmful the long-term consequences of incarceration and a criminal record that follow a conviction for drug possession can be—separating parents from young children and excluding individuals and sometimes families from welfare assistance, public housing, voting, employment opportunities, and much more.
Families, friends, and neighbors understandably want government to take actions to prevent the potential harms of drug use and drug dependence. Yet the current model of criminalization does little to help people whose drug use has become problematic. Treatment for those who need and want it is often unavailable, and criminalization tends to drive people who use drugs underground, making it less likely that they will access care and more likely that they will engage in unsafe practices that make them vulnerable to disease and overdose.
While governments have a legitimate interest in preventing problematic drug use, the criminal law is not the solution. Criminalizing drug use simply has not worked as a matter of practice. Rates of drug use fluctuate, but they have not declined significantly since the “war on drugs” was declared more than four decades ago. The criminalization of drug use and possession is also inherently problematic because it represents a restriction on individual rights that is neither necessary nor proportionate to the goals it seeks to accomplish. It punishes an activity that does not directly harm others.
Instead, governments should expand public education programs that accurately describe the risks and potential harms of drug use, including the potential to cause drug dependence, and should increase access to voluntary, affordable, and evidence-based treatment for drug dependence and other medical and social services outside the court and prison system.
After decades of “tough on crime” policies, there is growing recognition in the US that governments need to undertake meaningful criminal justice reform and that the “war on drugs” has failed. This report shows that although taking on parts of the problem—such as police abuse, long sentences, and marijuana reclassification—is critical, it is not enough: Criminalization is simply the wrong response to drug use and needs to be rethought altogether.
Human Rights Watch and the American Civil Liberties Union call on all states and the federal government to decriminalize the use and possession for personal use of all drugs and to focus instead on prevention and harm reduction. Until decriminalization has been achieved, we urge officials to take strong measures to minimize and mitigate the harmful consequences of existing laws and policies. The costs of the status quo, as this report shows, are too great to bear.
Monday, 05 September 2016
Written by Bob Adelmann
Last Wednesday a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a lower court’s decision that holding a marijuana card precludes its owner from keeping and bearing arms. In the process, the panel threw out the First, Second, and Fifth Amendment rights.
Rowan Wilson, a Nevada resident who held a state-issued marijuana card but didn’t use the weed, tried to purchase a firearm from Custom Firearms and Gunsmithing in Moundhouse, Nevada. She applied for the card to show her support for the freedom of people to make their own decisions about what they might or might not imbibe or inhale. It was a political statement only. It became personal when she tried in October 2011 to purchase a firearm for personal protection.
She was confronted with Question 11e on the required federal disclosure Form 4473 issued by the ATF, which reads: “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance? Yes or No.” She showed the question to the gun shop owner, who knew that she had a card, and he denied her request to purchase the firearm. It was based not only on federal laws that still make marijuana users criminals, but on an “open letter” the ATF sent to all firearm dealers holding that mere possession of the marijuana registry card was enough to allow them to prevent a potential buyer from completing the sale. That letter stated, in part:
[Anyone] who uses or is addicted to marijuana, regardless of whether his or her state has passed legislation authorizing marijuana use for medicinal purposes — is prohibited by federal law from possessing firearms or ammunition.
Such persons should answer “yes” to question 11.e. on ATF Form 4473 … and you may not transfer firearms or ammunition to them.
Further, if you are aware that the potential transferee is in possession of a card authorizing the possession and use of marijuana under State law, then you have “reasonable cause to believe” that the person is an unlawful user of a controlled substance.
As such, you may not transfer firearms or ammunition to the person, even if the person answered “no” to question 11.e. on ATF Form 4473.
Wilson sued and her complaint was dismissed. The three-judge panel heard her appeal in July and issued its decision affirming the lower court’s ruling on August 31. The opinion, penned by Senior District Judge Jed Rakoff, included this bit of reasoning:
It may be argued that medical marijuana users are less likely to commit violent crimes, as they often suffer from debilitating illnesses, for which marijuana may be an effective palliative. But those hypotheses are not sufficient to overcome Congress’s reasonable conclusion that the use of such drugs raises the risk of irrational or unpredictable behavior with which gun use should not be associated.
The panel threw out all of Wilson’s complaints that the federal law and “open letter” violated three of the 10 rights contained in the Bill of Rights. First was her right to free expression under the First Amendment:
The panel held that any burden the Government’s anti-marijuana and anti-gun-violence efforts placed on [Wilson’s] expressive conduct was incidental…
Next to go was the Second Amendment:
Applying intermediate scrutiny, the panel … held that the fit between the challenged provisions and the Government’s substantial interest [in] violence prevention was reasonable, and therefore the [lower] court did not err by dismissing [her] Second Amendment claim.
Finally, the Fifth Amendment was overridden:
The panel held that the challenged laws and Open Letter neither violated [Wilson’s] procedural due process rights protected by the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment nor violated the Equal Protection Clause as incorporated into the Fifth Amendment.
[Wilson] did not have a constitutionally protected liberty interest in [both] holding a registry card and purchasing a firearm….
Reactions to the ruling were predictably swift. Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority, was outraged:
There’s absolutely no evidence to support the notion that marijuana use leads people to be more violent, as inferred in the Court’s opinion. Regardless of how you feel about guns, no one should be discriminated against … by the government just because they happen to enjoy marijuana. That should be especially true for people who consume cannabis for medical purposes in accordance with state law and their doctors’ recommendations.
Wilson’s attorney, Chaz Rainey, was equally upset with the panel’s ruling, declaring,
We live in a world where having a medical marijuana card is enough to say you don’t get a gun, but if you’re on the no-fly list your constitutional right is still protected.
Then Rainey touched on the core issue: states’ rights, adding:
Responsible adults who use cannabis in a manner that is compliant with the laws of their states ought to receive the same legal rights and protections as other citizens.
For the moment at least, the ruling applies to only the nine states covered by the Ninth Circuit: Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. Rainey has promised to appeal the ruling either to the full circuit court or to the Supreme Court. If the appeal goes that far, Wilson’s lawsuit might give the newest member (replacing deceased Justice Scalia) of the high court a chance to rule on the matter next year.
A graduate of an Ivy League school and a former investment advisor, Bob is a regular contributor to The New American magazine and blogs frequently at LightFromTheRight.com, primarily on economics and politics. He can be reached at email@example.com.
THE PDF DOCUMENT:
Katree Darriel Saunders is a 30 year old mother, cannabis activist, and an active member of her community. Katree was living in Las Vegas, NV when she was arrested during a DEA sting called Operation Chronic Problem on the charges of: Conspiracy to distribute marijuana and hashish. For 10 grams of hashish and 3.5 grams of marijuana Katree has had her life as she knew it ended. This dedicated mother lost her family and job for trying to help. Trying to help what turned out to be a lying, conniving, scheming, weasel of a DEA Agent posing as a medical cannabis patient desperate for relief. This is Katree Darriel Saunders story. Her loss, her pain, and what many consider a major injustice as well as a violation of her constitutional rights.
Katree has been addicted off and on to prescription pain pills since the age of 15. In 2007, seeking pain relief from multiple car accidents, Katree Saunders became a medical cannabis patient. Knowing the harmful side effects of pharmaceuticals, plus their lack of effectiveness, Saunders chose medical cannabis. Not only did cannabis end Saunders pain, she was able to stop using prescription drugs all together. As a hardworking mother, Saunders put herself through college and became a positive and active member of her community.
Nevada’s laws prohibited the sale of cannabis in 2007, which forced Saunders to seek it through the black market, known for unsavory individuals who traffic anything from people to weapons to stolen merchandise. Once when Saunders sought cannabis from the black market she was sexually assaulted. This devastating incident convinced Saunders she had to do something. There had to be a way for her to legally and safely obtain her medication.
She contacted the state of Nevada and spoke with Jennifer Barlett, who referred her to Michael McAuliffe of Nevada’s Compassionate Care (NCC). It was there Saunders found her place. She began working with NCC and was helping others away from the black market.
Things were going well for Saunders in February of 2010. She volunteered for a political event called Organizing America where President Barack Obama spoke about healthcare reform. Saunders was chosen to be on stage. She sat in the front row behind the president as he gave his speech. Upon the close, Katree was able to shake hands with the President. While doing so, Saunders said ‘We needed to talk about medical patient’s rights.’ Then, according to Saunders, Obama looked at her and said ‘I’m not prosecuting.’
Feeling confident and empowered after this Saunders then became active in helping patients obtain their medical cannabis cards from the Nevada state program. Unfortunately, while Saunders was working for NCC, she was set up by undercover DEA agents. They were conducting what was known as Operation Chronic Problem. A federal DEA agent posed as a sick patient asking for help obtaining medical cannabis.
Saunders, being a compassionate person, facilitated this lying individual’s request. Later she was indicted on distribution of a controlled substance. Saunders served four months in prison as well as a lengthy probation since she did not offer up the names of her medical patients.
While on pretrial Saunders was in another motor vehicle accident. This accident totaled her husband’s vehicle and left Saunders with a fractured foot as well as a back injury. She was placed on morphine, Xanax, and MARINOL®. The morphine began to make her heart hurt, so she opted to stop taking it in exchange for MARINOL®. MARINOL® is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring compound known as delta-9-THC. However, since Saunders was on probation, the state of Nevada told her that she could not take MARINOL® since they would not be able to determine if she was consuming cannabis or simply taking the medication.
The State of Nevada Probation Department obtained a court order preventing Saunder’s doctor from prescribing MARINOL® to her. Now, not only was Saunders in trouble for selling 3.5 grams of cannabis and 10 grams of hash, she also lost her job, family and right to medicate.
During her incarceration, her husband divorced her, took the kids and moved away. While in custody at the prison, Saunders says she was ‘sexually assaulted and harassed by US Marshals’.
During Saunders’ trial, her attorneys advised her not to mention anything about her encounter with President Obama. For the 4 months Katree Saunders was incarcerated, the state split her time between a private prison corporation (Corrections Corporation of America – CCA) and a state prison, and earned a minimum of $5,000 for hosting her. The state of Nevada spent an estimated $20,656 per inmate in 2012, and reported 267.9 million in costs. They also claimed to have 15 million dollars in prison related costs outside of the state budget. This is where states and private prison corporations make big dollars housing criminals. In the case of cannabis consumers, these corporations make out like bandits.
Imagine charging $21,000 a year to house someone who was busted selling or possessing cannabis. In Saunders case, that 13.5 grams of cannabis, with a street value of $150, cost taxpayers over $20,000 to put her through the system. That doesn’t include the cost of the actual arrest, which stands at $1,500 to $3,500 with booking, paperwork, police officers fees, donuts, etc.
Saunders fought hard to break away from prescription drugs, but in the end they were her only option. Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, has been making billions off victims. Purdue Pharma is involved in countless lawsuits and their officials have admitted to deceitful and immoral medical practices, yet they are still making money. These are the ones that presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks out about when he refers to the top one-tenth of 1%.
In 1993 the DEA allowed pharmaceutical companies to produce 3520 kilos of a drug known as oxycodone. Twenty-two years later they are manufacturing 137.5 thousand kilos of the same drug. That is an increase of 39 times in the manufacturing of this controlled substance. Since President Nixon founded the DEA in 1973, they have done nothing but prosecute those who attempt to possess, grow, or in any way affiliate themselves with cannabis.
Medical cannabis helps millions of people across the United States and world to find relief from pain and suffering. Cannabis helped Saunders break her addiction and take back control of her life. Cannabis is a safe treatment alternative for many illnesses, as well as the management of symptoms associated with a broad array of medical complications. Prescription drug addiction, of course, is a problem that is not only plaguing the United States, but the whole world.
Saunders’ battle with a prescription drug addiction from a young age illustrates the carelessness of the medical industry in allowing doctors to over-prescribe dangerous medications. It has also enabled them to receive substantial kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies in the process.
According to ABC News, America consumes over 90% of the world’s hydrocodone and 80 percent of the planet’s opioids. The United States of America makes up only 4.6 percent of the planet’s population. This opioid problem has destroyed mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters. Children and soldiers suffer horrendously because of our country’s support for the pharmaceutical industry. Children suffer by being denied medication that could in fact actually help them, and at times even cure them. Children also suffer by losing parents who are consumed by prescription drug addiction. Soldiers who protect our freedom, often with their own lives, suffer from illnesses such as PTSD. They are sometimes denied a natural treatment, such as cannabis, to help with their symptoms.
The Doctors Enforcement Agency
The DEA licenses more than 600,000 surgeons, doctors, and podiatrists to administer prescriptions for narcotic pain relievers. According to NORML (National Reform of Marijuana Laws), in 2011 there were an estimated 1.5 million registered medical cannabis patients living in the United States of America. The sad side of this is that the laws pertaining to medical cannabis forced so many to seek their medication on the black market.
The public seems to believe that we think cannabis is the new cure-all, and other medications should be eliminated. This is not true. Common sense will tell you that there are many medical advancements today which have led us to the most sophisticated and advanced techniques and cures. During this evolution we have managed to de-evolve at the same time, through the abuse of prescription drugs, as much the fault of patients as it is the doctors doing the prescribing. Some individuals get prescription pain pills in large quantities because the doctors will prescribe them. Some individuals do not even take their medication. Instead they sell them on the street. When doctors prescribe as much as 100 to 300 pills at a time, with an average price of $10 a pill, some people can make an extra $3,000 a month.
Prohibition Has Failed and it’s Hurting America
The prohibition of cannabis that began in the late 1930s has devastated countless numbers of American lives and destroyed families across the country. The FDA will approve OxyContin for 6-year-olds but will not support cannabis oil. This is an absurd violation of human rights. The United States of America has held the patent for medical cannabis since 2003. This means that they knowingly have information that solidifies and validates medical cannabis as an effective treatment. This also means that the DEA and FDA know, and have evidence, that cannabis is medicine.
For the past 12 years the DEA has left cannabis as a schedule 1 narcotic. This puts it in the same class as heroin and cocaine, that it has no medicinal value. They have lied to the American people kept the public sick, and now some laugh at us while the cannabis community is trying to change laws to better the world around us.
The Dogs of the Feds
The DEA regularly raids medicinal cannabis facilities and Indian tribal lands. They arrest, abuse, neglect and destroy the lives of countless cannabis consumers. Medical patients and recreational consumers alike suffer the wrath of the DEA everyday. There are no public benefits from cannabis prohibition! The medicinal aspects combined with potential taxes are unquestionably positive. The simple implementation of taxation on cannabis will help to eliminate the black market. This puts a lot of politicians, local sheriffs, and other individuals out of extra income they have enjoyed for years.
Katree Saunders felt the wrath of the DEA during Operation Chronic Pain and now you know her story. From being hooked on prescription drugs at 15, to meeting the President of the United States, to prison, to an avid cannabis activist, Saunders’ struggle is all too familiar to many Americans, except for meeting Mr. Barack Obama.
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Marijuana legalization campaigns vowed to protect medical marijuana rights, but public officials in legal states have been undermining those vows.
May 28, 2015
From Washington State to Washington, D.C., successful cannabis legalization campaigns have consistently promised voters that they would preserve the rights of medical marijuana patients even while opening up access to all responsible adult use. But while campaign leaders have kept their promises, government officials in Washington, Oregon and Colorado have embarked on dishonest — and sometimes secretive — plans to blatantly disregard the will of voters and restrict patient rights.
The cruelest and most egregious autocratic fiats have come from the Pacific Northwest, where state legislators have attempted to capitalize on the enactment of popular tax and regulate measures to practically eliminate patient access in Washington and Oregon. Last month, Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed into law a bill which aims to force the state’s patient-run collective gardens into its I-502 adult use program, complete with its famously strict regulations,mandatory 3-tier licensing, and the highest cannabis excise taxes in the country. Under the law, collective gardens unable to meet such stringent rules in a timely manner will be shut down, and indeed the city of Seattle already has plans in the works to shutter 54 of its 99 collective garden storefronts in the wake of the new law.
Oregon is on the verge of an even crueler prohibition, as the state senate voted yesterday to approve Senate Bill 964, a crushing bill which would limit the number of plants each patient can grow to only six and — even more outrageously — would count drying and curing plants toward that total. Less absurd but potentially more harmful is another provision in SB 964 which would empower local governments to ban medical marijuana cultivation and access outright, forcing the state’s sickest patients to travel long distances just to access their (unreasonably limited) medicine supply.
Worse, SB 964 was passed in flagrant defiance of principles of transparent government, first when the Senate president circumvented the objections of House members Ann Lininger, Peter Buckley and Ken Helm by taking the extraordinary step of moving the bill to a special “Measure 91 Implementation Committee” and then when the committee pushed the bill through without any public comment or debate. To call the body which did this the “Measure 91 Implementation Committee” is both disgusting and ironic, given that its actions directly violate the language of Measure 91 which specifically protects patient access. The Oregon Senate approved SB 964 by a vote of 29-1, with Sen. Floyd Prozanski casting the sole vote in opposition.
Even in Colorado, which has won praise from government watchdogs for its effective implementation of the voter-demanded Amendment 64 legalization initiative, the state has moved to curtail the rights of patient caregivers — although the restrictions recently signed into law by Governor John Hickenlooper are not as egregious as the new and pending laws in the Northwest. Under Colorado’s new law, patient caregivers who grow more than 99 plants will be forced to join the state’s Amendment 64 licensing program, complete with its fees, taxes and “seed-to-sale” tracking program run by the state.
Supporters of these new restrictions claim that they are necessary to level the playing field. “With I-502, you have a tightly regulated business that has to make a big investment and pay taxes and fees,” Rick Garza, head of Washington’s Liquor Control Board, which is charged with implementing legalization there, told Mashable.com. “You have this unregulated and untaxed dispensary that’s competing directly with the regulated market.” Big-government advocates have made similar arguments around the country, pointing out that the high-tax, high-regulation model of legalization won’t succeed if consumers can simply opt for the low-tax, lightly regulated medical program operating in parallel.
That may be true, but it doesn’t change the fact that this is not what voters wanted. By pushing these laws through, autocrats like Oregon’s Ginny Burdick have demonstrated to the world that they believe they know what’s best for voters — more so than the voters themselves.
Fortunately, trend lines are beginning to emerge which provide hints at how voters in the next 46 legalizing states can do better. In Alaska, Washington, D.C., and Colorado, provisions are in place which seemingly prevent (or, in the case of Colorado, at least limit) the worst outcomes of the government drive to eliminate medical access. In Alaska (which legalized adult use of cannabis last year, along with Oregon and Washington, D.C.), state judges have consistently ruled that the state constitution’s guaranteed right to privacy means that the government may not interfere with the rights of adult residents to grow and use cannabis in their own home — a provision which should protect at least some patients in the event that similarly restrictive laws travel that far north. Colorado’s Amendment 64 also contains a provision which authorizes adults to give away cannabis for free without being subject to state regulations — which may prove a grassroots check on big-government power before too long. Last but not least, Washington, D.C. residents now enjoy similar rights to give cannabis away, deriving from the noncommercial nature of their initiative and — ironically — a mean-spirited vote from Congress which prevents any regulations from going forward.
There is still time to turn the tide. While Colorado and Washington’s new policies have already been signed into law, there are still opportunities to defeat Oregon’s SB 964 — all concerned activists should follow this link to flood the inboxes of Oregon House representatives demanding that they preserve patient rights. To do otherwise, it would be good to remind the politicians, would be breaking the law.
Jeremy Daw is the editor of TheLeafOnline.com and Cannabis Now Magazine, and the author of Weed the People: From Founding Fiber to Forbidden Fruit (2012).