Posts Tagged ‘florida marijuana’

Busted: Florida Woman Calls Deputy, Tries To Sell Him Weed

jennifer-knopp.jpeg
Photo: Monroe County Sheriff’s Office
Jennifer Knopp tried to expand her customer base on Thursday.

​A Florida Keys woman was arrested on Thursday for trying to sell marijuana to a sheriff’s deputy after she called him on the phone.

On Thursday evening at 9:15, Jennifer Knopp, 39, called the SWAT-issued cellphone of Deputy Chris Galls; she told the deputy she “had the stuff he was looking for,” reports Matthew Handley at the Broward Palm Beach New Times.
The woman then offered to sell Deputy Galls “crippie” marijuana, according to a Monroe County Sheriff’s Department press release, and the two agreed to meet behind a local movie theater.
She asked much he wanted, and Deputy Galls said a quarter-ounce.
Galls brought along narcotics officer Deputy Paul Bean for the meeting at Marathon Movie Theater, about a mile from the sheriff’s office, reports KeysNet.com.
When the officers approached, Galls and her male passenger drove off “over two plastic parking rails” in her 1999 Chrysler Concord.
The deputies got back in their patrol car, pulled Galls over, and asked her why, exactly, she would call a deputy and try to sell him weed.
Knopp claimed she called Deputy Galls so that he “would help her get away from the man who was in the car with her,” according to the press release. She said she had the deputy’s phone number stored from a previous case that she was helping Deputy Galls with. The arrest report doesn’t go into details.
Offering to sell the deputy weed certainly got his attention — Jennifer went to jail, and the man in the car, Christopher Flingos, 42, refused to be searched and was released with no charges.
After Knopp told Galls she had pot, the deputies discovered 24.5 grams of it in her purse and took the $309 cash she had for “possible forfeiture” in case it came from pot sales, according to Monroe County Sheriff’s Deputy Becky Herrin.
To confirm she had made the earlier call, Galls dialed her phone number and an iPhone in her purse rang. The cop’s name and number showed on the screen.
Knopp faces charges of possessing more than 20 grams of marijuana, possession of paraphernalia, and selling “narcotics.”

Federal Judge Scraps Florida’s Overzealous Drug Law

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evil cop

By Phillip Smith

A federal judge Wednesday ruled that Florida’s drug law was unconstitutional, leaving thousands of criminal cases up in the air. US District Court Judge Mary Scriven of Orlando threw out the Florida Drug Abuse Prevention and Control law on the grounds that it violates due process because it does not require prosecutors to prove a person knew he or she possessed illegal drugs.

In 2002, Florida legislators amended the state’s drug law, eliminating the requirement that prosecutors prove mens rea, or criminal intent, as part of obtaining a conviction. Florida was the only state in the nation to not require mens rea as part of a drug conviction.

“Not surprisingly, Florida stands alone in its express elimination of mens rea as an element of a drug offense,” Scriven wrote in her order. “Other states have rejected such a draconian and unreasonable construction of the law that would criminalize the ‘unknowing’ possession of a controlled substance.”

The ruling came in the case of Mackle Vincent Shelton, 33, who was convicted in 2005 of drug charges in Osceola County. Shelton, who is currently serving an 18-year prison sentence for cocaine delivery and other charges appealed his conviction on the grounds that the jury wasn’t required to prove intent in order to convict him.

Shelton, currently serving 18 years in prison for delivery of cocaine and other charges, filed a case in federal court on the grounds that a jury wasn’t required to consider intent when it decided his case.

In his instructions to the jury in Shelton’s case, the trial judge told jurors that “to prove the crime of delivery of cocaine, the state must prove the following two elements beyond a reasonable doubt: that Mackle Vincent Shelton delivered a certain substance; and, that the substance was cocaine.” The state did not have to prove that he knew he was carrying or distributing cocaine or any controlled substance at all.

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), which filed an amicus curiae brief in the case, pointed out that without the criminal intent requirement, “a Federal Express delivery person who unknowingly delivers a parcel containing a controlled substance, would be presumed a felon under Florida’s drug law.” Joining the NACDL in filing the brief, which was favorably cited by the court, were the Florida Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, the ACLU of Florida, the Drug Policy Alliance, the Calvert Institute for Policy Research, and 38 professors of law.

Florida defense attorneys applauded the ruling, saying the impact could be huge. Several told the St. Petersburg Times they intended to file motions seeking dismissal of pending drug cases, citing the judge’s order.

“It has one of the largest potential effects on criminal law in the past decade,” said St. Petersburg lawyer Jeff Brown. “We’re talking hundreds of thousands of drug cases.”

“In declaring the statute unconstitutional on its face, it appears that all drug prosecutions in the state are at risk,” said Tampa defense lawyer Eddie Suarez.

That’s tough, said Tampa attorney James Felman, who represented Shelton. Legislators should not have written an unconstitutional law removing mens rea, he said. “It takes the presumption of innocence and throws it in the garbage can,” Felman said. “I think the legislature must immediately fix the statute,” he said. “This is not a close call. No state has ever done this before. Legally, it’s beyond the pale.”

“This is a victory for the most fundamental notions of fairness and justice in our system – the idea that no one should suffer a conviction unless the state proves criminal intent beyond a reasonable doubt,” said NACDL executive director Norman Reimer. “As I previously said about this case, the country has been drifting away from the moral anchor of a clearly defined mens rea requirement in its criminal laws. Laws like these would run it aground.”

Artilcle From StoptheDrugWar.org – Creative Commons Licensing

Florida Leads the Nation in Indoor Marijuana Growing Busts

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Photo: NORML Blog
Florida has some of the nation’s harshest laws when it comes to growing marijuana
– and it leads the nation in busts of grow houses.

​You’d think a place called the Sunshine State should be growing outdoors, but last year, more indoor marijuana grow houses were busted in Florida than in any other state, according to the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Nationwide demand for high-potency marijuana has supposedly turned Florida into a top producer of hydroponic weed, reports Alexia Campbell at the Fort Lauderdale Sun Sentinel, and hundreds of Floridians are turning their homes into grow houses.
Florida law enforcement agencies raided 818 grow houses in 2010, followed by California’s 719, according to the DEA, but not all agencies report their findings to the DEA.

The heart of Florida’s marijuana industry is in the south of the state, where police conduct numerous undercover stings in the South Florida High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA).
Cops are complaining that growers are now learning “high-tech tricks” to hide their grow operations from investigators.
“The bad guys are getting smarter, and we’re not finding them all,” said Captain Joe Mendez, who oversees HIDTA’s marijuana task force in South Florida (can you imagine a more completely useless job?)
Tracking down individual growers has supposedly gotten harder, since many are now using closed circuit TV cameras to monitor their homes from afar. Police said they sometimes raid grow houses and find no one inside, according to Captain Mendez.
Large-scale growers have reportedly moved to rural Palm Beach County and Miami-Dade to evade nosy neighbors and police surveillance.
“They’ve gotten really sophisticated,” claimed Delray Beach Police Sergeant Phil Dorfman.
The supposed “huge profits” made from indoor marijuana grows create a never-ending battle for police, according to Captain Mendez, who claimed each pound has a street value of about $4,000 in South Florida.
Captain Mendez also made the ludicrous claim that “each plant produces about three pounds a year.” Remember, these are indoor plants we’re talking about, where the average is actually more like four to six ounces.
Law enforcement officials are pushing for — surprise, surprise! — “tougher penalties” for marijuana growers. Yeah, right! Those have just worked so well in the past, and with all that extra prison space and plenty of tax money available in Florida to pay for all this nonsense… Yeah.
But logic never stopped cops and politicians before, and in 2008 state legislators passed the Marijuana Grow House Eradication Act, a supremely stupid piece of legislation that lowered the previous level of 300 plants to qualify for a second-degree felony to just 24 plants.
Flori-DUH, indeed.

Jeffery Kennedy – A Florida Medical Marijuana Success Story

Jeffrey Kennedy marijuana florida

From medicalmarijuana411.com

A reader asked us to pass along this man’s amazing story.  Here is what I could dig up.  The first story is the start, the second is the result, and the third part is another explanation of the case:

A Plea From a Patient – The Jeffrey W. Kennedy Story

By Jeffrey W. Kennedy (found at medicalmarijuana411.com)

My name is Jeffrey w Kennedy. I am disabled.

I suffer from very Painful Neuropathy of the Feet & Legs, Failed Back Surgery & Depression.

I live in Palm Beach County, Florida, Which is where I was arrested for trying to grow Medical Marijuana, (26 plants) they claim.

It all started August 29th 2009 when our home was burglarized. I came home to find the front door open. I thought the burglar(s) may still be in our home. I am the owner of a (38) Caliber Hand Gun with a permit to carry, of which I had left at home that day.

In fear of being shot with my own gun, I called the Boynton Beach Police. They arrived and cleared our home.

Although the burglar(s) had fled with over $20,000.00 of cash, jewelry and electronics, the police told me to sit and not to move. They began to question me as if I had robbed my own home. They then began to question me about my Marijuana use.

Rather then telling them a lie, I told them that I did use Medical Marijuana as I am disabled and suffer from very Painful Neuropathy of the Feet & Legs, and Medical Marijuana is the only thing that seems to stop that Pain.

Soon after my explanation, they claim they discovered my medical garden and arrested me. The State of Florida is now charging me with Trafficking. I have hired Attorney Michael c Minardi to handle my defense.

medical marijuana saves lives

Trial has been delayed for the second time now. My Attorney on December 13th 2010 will appear for a Status Check, at that time a New Trial Date should be rescheduled for early next year in Palm Beach County, Florida court room.

The Honorable Judge Miller is allowing, The Medical Necessity Defense.

This Defense has never been tried in a Palm Beach County Court.

We have some Experts in place, but our looking to add more. And we our in need of Public Support & Donations.

If you feel you have the Compassion to assist or help tell my story or Donate to my Legal Fund, A Non-Profit Tax Deductable Account has been set up at any Bank Atlantic.

The Jeffrey Kennedy Medical Necessity Defense Fund.

Thank you for your time, concern & generosity.

Sincerely,

Jeffrey W Kennedy

From Jeffery Kennedy – Trial Dismissed!!

BREAKING NEWS – From our friend, Jeffery Kennedy:

HISTORICAL MEDICAL CANNABIS TRIAL HAS BEEN DISMISSED!!!!!!!!! The State Has Decided To Dismiss All Charges On Jeffrey Kennedy ! This Could Not Have Been Done With Out The Support Of All.

And For That My Wife And I Thank Everyone Involved !

…Please Be Safe,

Jeffrey & Sharon Kennedy

ORIGINAL STORY -CLICK HERE

I started with just a few supporters that believed in me. Those Few Supporters Have Turned Into Thousands. And From That Support, Our Voices Have Now Been Heard As One. And The State Of Florida, Now Knows That I am Not A Criminal. And For That I Am Grateful.

Thank you to everybody that believed in me and in this fight for Medical Cannabis and the right to choose over Opiates. All though no laws have been changed, I think they (government) are taking notice. That Cannabis Has Many Quality Medical Benefits And The Laws Will Change Soon Every Where.

 

Thank You & Be Safe,

 

Jeffrey & Sharon Kennedy

 

Pot charges dropped for Boynton Beach man

BOYNTON BEACH, Fla.  —  53-year-old Jeff Kennedy was prepared to spend five years in prison for growing marijuana for medical reasons. But on Friday, Kennedy showed up in court wearing a t-shirt stating, ‘I am a patient not a criminal,’ and it turns out the state agrees. The state dropped the charges at the last minute.

“I’m just going to go forward and advocate for medical cannabis,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy suffers from chronic pain caused by a botched back surgery. His legs burn and twitch constantly. Doctors have prescribed him a cocktail of highly addictive and dangerous pain killers.

“It is slowly killing me,” said Kennedy.

Kennedy says marijuana works better than his prescription meds and do not have the dangerous side affects. Kennedy’s attorney says today’s dismissal proves other patients who use medical marijuana have a proven legal defense to do so.

“Anybody else who may be in similar situations, they know now or can be educated that they do have a defense if they do want to use cannabis,” said Michael Minardi, Kennedy’s lawyer.

Jeff says he will continue to fight until it’s legal to use medical marijuana in the state. Just like it already is in 15 other states and the district of columbia.

“Take this all the way and standup not for my rights and disabled person in the state of florida that can benefit from cannabis.”

But the state’s attorney’s office says not so fast. Attorney Jill Richstone spoke with WPEC and said, “There is no policy that we are accepting a medical marijuana defense. We look at each case individually.”

Richstone went on to say it was decided not to continue on with a trial because Jeff kennedy did not have a grow house to sell marijuana to other people.

Police Searching For Owner Of 38 Bales Of Marijuana

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Photo: CBS 12
Broward County Sheriff’s detectives are looking for the owner of 38 bales of marijuana that were left inside a van in West Park, Florida.

​Broward County, Florida Sheriff’s Office detectives are looking for the rightful owner of 38 bales of marijuana that were left unattended inside a van in West Park.

Deputies responded to the parking lot of the Home Depot on Friday morning after someone complained about a van that was parked across several parking spaces, reports CBS 12. Deputies inspected the exterior of the van and smelled a strong odor of marijuana coming form inside.
Peeking through the van’s windows, all they could see was a blue tarp covering a “large bundle.”

Drug detection dogs were called to the scene and alerted to the scent. A search of the van revealed it contained 38 “large bags” (they look more like bricks to me) of marijuana.
The total load got a “cop estimate” of $2.2 million, but that doesn’t really mean a lot, especially since they didn’t bother to say exactly how much pot fits in “38 large bags.”
Investigators are trying to track down the origin of the van and the weed, as well as the owner of both.
Anyone with information about the drugs or the owner is asked to contact the Broward Sheriff’s Office at 954-765-4321 or Broward Crime Stoppers, anonymously, at 954-493-TIPS. You can also visit www.browardcrimestoppers.org online.
I can’t tell you to leave spurious, humorous and insulting tips, because that would clearly be illegal and oh-so-direspectful of the great state of Florida’s harsh marijuana laws.
No, really, stop it! Don’t do that! You darn rascals!

The Top 5 Worst States To Get Busted With Pot

The 5 Worst States to Get Busted With Pot

Even a minor pot bust can be life-altering for people unlucky enough to be arrested in one of these five states.

Police prosecute over 800,000 Americans annually for violating state marijuana laws. The penalties for those busted and convicted vary greatly, ranging from the imposition of small fines to license revocation to potential incarceration. But for the citizens arrested in these five states, the ramifications of even a minor pot bust are likely to be exceptionally severe.

1. Oklahoma. Lawmakers in the Sooner State made headlines this spring when legislators voted 119 to 20 in favor of House Bill 1798, which enhances the state sentencing guidelines for hash manufacturing to a minimum of two years in jail and a maximum penalty of life in prison. (Mary Fallin, the state’s first-ever female governor, signed the measure into law in April; it takes effect on November 1, 2011.) But longtime Oklahoma observers were hardly surprised at lawmakers’ latest “life for pot” plan. After all, state law already allows judges to hand out life sentences for those convicted of cannabis cultivation or for the sale of a single dime-bag.

Patricia Marilyn Spottedcow, 25, learned the truth about Oklahoma’s excessive pot penalties the hard way in February when a judge sentenced the mother of four to 12 years in prison for her role in the sale of $39 worth of herb to an undercover informant. Spottedcow’s sentence sparked national media attention – and public outrage – but neither result has led the judge in the case to reconsider the terms of her confinement.

Similarly harsh sentences for pot are par for the course in the Sooner State. Paraplegic Jimmy Montgomery was sentenced to life in prison – later reduced to 10 years – after being caught with two ounces of medical pot in his wheelchair. After considerable public outcry, Montgomery was eventually granted early release on medical parole – though he later lost a leg from an ulcerated bed sore he developed while in prison. Rheumatoid arthritis patient Will Foster – convicted of marijuana cultivation in 1997 – received a similarly draconian 93-year sentence, later reduced to 20 years on appeal. Foster was eventually paroled and moved to California, where he quickly registered as a legal medi-pot patient. However, in 2009 he was extradited back to Oklahoma to serve additional time behind bars.

Overall, some 13,000 Oklahomans are busted for pot annually. Only 12 other states arrest a greater percentage of their population for weed, and arguably no state sentences those convicted more harshly.

2. Texas. On an annual basis, no state arrests and criminally prosecutes more of its citizens for pot than does Texas. Marijuana arrests comprise over half of all annual arrests in the Lone Star State. It is easy to see why. In 2009, more than 97 percent of all Texas marijuana arrests — over 77,000 people — were for possession only. Those convicted face up to 180 days in jail and a $2,000 fine, even upon a first conviction.

Despite Texas’ dubious distinction as the #1 pot prosecuting state in America, police and lawmakers have little interest in exploring alternatives. In 2007, Gov. Rick Perry signed legislation (HB 2391) into law granting police the option of issuing a summons in lieu of an arrest in minor marijuana possession cases. Yet aside from police in Austin, long considered to be the state’s lone bastion of liberalism, law enforcement have continued to fervently make arrests in even the most trivial of pot cases.

In 2011, Houston Democrat Harold Dutton introduced House Bill 458, which sought to reduce penalties for the adult possession of one ounce or less of marijuana to a Class C misdemeanor, punishable by a fine not exceeding $500 and no criminal record. Within weeks, over 2,500 Texans contacted their House members in support of the measure. Nonetheless, House lawmakers refused to even consider bringing the measure to a vote.

3. Florida. According to a 2009 state-by-state analysis by researcher and former NORML Director Jon Gettman, no other state routinely punishes minor marijuana more severely than does the Sunshine State. Under Florida law, marijuana possession of 20 grams or less (about two-thirds of an ounce) is a criminal misdemeanor punishable by up to one-year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine. Marijuana possession over 20 grams, as well as the cultivation of even a single pot plant, are defined by law as felony offenses – punishable by up to five years in prison and a $5,000 fine. In recent years, state lawmakers have revisited the state’s marijuana penalties – in each case electing to enhanceFlorida’s already toughest-in-the-nation criminal punishments.

Ironically, despite the Sunshine State’s long history as one of the nation’s stiffest pot prosecutors, law enforcement have steadfastly refused to report their annual marijuana arrest data to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Illinois is the only other state that elects to withhold this information from federal statisticians.

4. Louisiana. On May 6 the Associated Press reported on the case of Cornell Hood II, who received a life sentence for possessing two pounds of pot. Hood received the maximum sentence under Louisiana’s habitual drug offender law because he had three prior marijuana convictions, although none of them were significant enough to result in even a single day of jail time.

Multi-decade sentences for repeat pot offenders are hardly a rare occurrence. Under Louisiana law, a second pot possession conviction is classified as a felony offense, punishable by up to five years in prison. Three-time offenders face up to 20 years in prison. According to a 2008 expose published in the New Orleans City Business online, district attorneys are not hesitant to “target small-time marijuana users, sometimes caught with less than a gram of pot, and threaten them with lengthy prison sentences.”

Each year, cops make nearly 19,000 pot busts in the Bayou State – some 91 percent for simple possession – and according to Gettman, only three other states routinely punish minor offenders so severely.

5. Arizona. Forty years ago virtually every state in the nation defined marijuana possession as a felony offense. Today, only one state, Arizona, treats first-time pot possession in such an archaic and punitive manner.

Under Arizona law, even minor marijuana possession offenses may be prosecuted as felony crimes, punishable by up to 18 months in jail and a $150,000 fine. According to Jon Gettman’s 2009 analysis only Florida consistently treats minor marijuana possession cases more severely.

Annually, some 22,000 Arizonans are busted for pot and 92 percent of those arrested are charged with possession only. Citing the rising costs of these prosecutions at a time of shrinking state budgets, first-term GOP House lawmaker John Fillmore (Apache Junction) recently introduced legislation, HB 2228, to reduce pot possession to a non-criminal petty offense, punishable by no more than a $100 fine. So how did his supposedly “small government, no nanny state” colleagues respond to his proposal? With “a lot of smiles and laughs,” Fillmore told the Phoenix New Times. Predictably, HB 2228 failed to even receive a legislative hearing from his fellow lawmakers.


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