Posts Tagged ‘marijuana laws’
I am Dana, I am going to refuse to pay a fine for an old pot charge Friday, July 29th.
The public is invited. Here is the Facebook ‘event’ page with the details: https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=225517427489148
Here is a draft of the statement I plan to make:
I would like to point out that I do not drink alcohol or imbibe any dangerous drugs, I do not pillage or plunder, I believe that living your life honourably is one of the most important things a person can do and I practice what I preach. I am an active and contributing member of my community and I have earned the respect and admiration of large numbers of the people in my community — and I hate to admit it as it goes against my ‘outlaw’ image, but I even obey the traffic laws. In spite of all this I now have 4 felony convictions and 3 misdemeanor convictions, all for marijuana; I have spent over 6 years of my life incarcerated in a federal prison and four years on federal probation over marijuana, and Thurston County now wants me to pay a fine of $2,010 for marijuana plus $1,754 in interest on that fine that was accrued as I sat in a federal prison all those years. Since I have been smoking marijuana on a regular basis for over 40 years now and no suffered no any ill-effects of any kind whatsoever that I am aware of, since I consider this state’s marijuana laws to be an unacceptable, unconstitutional, and outrageous infringement upon my personal liberty, since I love smoking marijuana and intend to continue smoking marijuana at any time that I darned well please, and since making someone like me into a criminal over marijuana is insane and stupid; then I am today placing the State of Washington on notice that from this point forward I will not only never again pay the state to prosecute me for marijuana but that I intend to make it as expensive to prosecute me for marijuana as I possibly can — and since I have been in the system for a long time I know how to do that.
I would also like to point out to that the feds had me under their thumb for over 10 years and they did not break me — and as of a few days ago I am no longer under that thumb. And so today I am celebrating and reclaiming my freedom by informing the state that since I will no longer pay your fines and since I no longer fear your jails then – as far as marijuana goes – you no longer have any power over me and that in fact the stick is now in my hand.
As to the matter now before us I have no intention of making any more payments and I am requesting as long a jail sentence as the law allows for my refusal.
|Photo: 303 Magazine|
The Justice Department memo, sent to U.S. attorneys around the nation, addresses a central problem with the growing number of states that have legalized medical marijuana: The drug remains illegal under federal law, whether used for medical purposes or not. The new guidance memo reiterates the illegality of medical marijuana and appears to encourage prosecutors to go after some marijuana dispensaries, particularly the large operations.
President Obama suggested during the campaign in 2007-08 that his Justice Department would not prioritize going after medical marijuana. To find out more about the new medical marijuana memo, and for an update on the broader drug war, I spoke to Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance, which lobbies for alternatives to the drug war.
Can you give an overview of the legal status of medical marijuana around the country?
Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana either through the ballot initiative process or a state legislative process. The federal law remains that it is all illegal. Strictly speaking, marijuana remains a Schedule 1 substance. The DEA just issued an announcement Friday confirming that it still regards marijuana as a Schedule 1 substance with no legitimate medical uses and no margin of safety in its use — which is sort of an absurdity on its face. Marijuana remains entirely illegal under federal law.
And “Schedule 1″ means what?
Well, back in 1970, when Congress unified all the drug laws in the Controlled Substances Act, they divided drugs into a variety of schedules. Schedule 1 refers to drugs that supposedly have no legitimate medical use and have no margin of safety in their use. So heroin, LSD, and marijuana are in that category. Schedule 2 are drugs that have some substantial risk but also have some legitimate medical uses. So for example cocaine, opiates and stimulant drugs are in that category.
So medical marijuana is illegal in the eyes of the federal government. But what has the actual enforcement policy of the Obama administration been up till this week?
During the presidential campaign in 2008, Obama made a number of commitments, one of which was that federal law enforcement would not prioritize prosecution of medical marijuana facilities operating legally under state law. Then in summer 2009, the Justice Department issued a memo called the Ogden memo, which basically affirmed much of Obama’s promise. It affirmed the idea that marijuana is illegal under federal law, but then said that federal prosecutors should not prioritize the prosecution of medical marijuana facilities operating legally under state law. Drug policy reform advovates felt quite optimistic about that 2009 memo, even though it was a qualified statement. What followed was a proliferation of dispensaries in places like Colorado, and California, and Montana. There were growing concerns that this was going too far. I think the Justice Department was hearing from local federal prosecutors and others who did not like these developments.
So what does the new memo sent out to U.S. attorneys say?
It’s called the Cole memo. It reiterates that all marijuana is illegal under federal law. They say that clearly federal resources should not be used to go after patients and their caregivers. They also say that any very large-scale operations — multimillion-dollar operations — will be prosecuted even if they are operating legally under state law. So that represents a modest change in policy. What they are not clear on is what will happen with the midlevel dispensaries. They’re not multimillion-dollar operations, they’re operating legally under state law, and they seem to be serving a population that has medical marijuana recommendations from their physicians. With those operations we’re in a kind of wait-and-see mode as to what prosecutors will do state by state.
The language of the Cole memo is quite aggressive in saying to everybody, “You better watch out, because any one of you could be prosecuted.” On the other hand there are some other messages being sent saying, “Watch what we do, not what we say.” So the real test cases will be whether or not the feds decide to go after medical marijuana dispensaries that are operating legally under state law and are being responsibly regulated by state authorities. If they do that, then we’ll know they really seriously backtracked on the president’s commitment.
So from the beginning of the administration to the present, have they actually gone after dispensaries?
There was a proliferation of dispensaries in states like Colorado and California. So there have in fact been more raids under the Obama administration than there were under the Bush administration. It’s hard to say whether that’s a reflection of the proliferation of dispensaries or whether that’s a real change in policy. What’s also not clear is whether the feds are only targeting those facilities that are not clearly operating legally under state law. So the feds have really created a growing sense of confusion in the medical marijuana community about where the line is between what will be permitted and what won’t.
Stepping back from medical marijuana, has there been much of a shift from the Bush to Obama administrations with “drug war” policy more broadly?
I was pleasantly surprised by the first 18 months of the administration. Obama made three explicit promises during the campaign. He said the feds would not go after medical marijuana facilities operating legally under state law, and he appeared to make good on that. He said the crack-powder laws needed to be rolled back, and they got a major reform of that law last year. Third, he said he would support federal funding for needle exchange, and they did support the efforts in Congress on that. Since that time, it looks more and more like the drug czar’s office has been captured by the drug warriors and the anti-drug fanatics who dominated policy-making in the Clinton and Bush administrations. The rhetoric coming out of the drug czar’s office is almost indistinguishable from the rhetoric of past administrations. The personnel they’ve been hiring, and the people they talk to, are overwhelmingly those who have been associated with the failed drug war policies of the past. And meanwhile the Justice Department seems to be getting more and more engaged in enforcement of marijuana laws in ways that really make no sense as a matter of [the] responsible [use] of resources.
CANNABIS CULTURE – Watch Cannabis Culture News LIVE for the latest news and views on pot politics and the marijuana community. On today’s show: The cannabis model vs. the wine model. Activist David Malmo-Levine joins the show LIVE today at 4PM Pacific to discuss his new study comparing and contrasting the two in preparation for The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012 in California.
CCN host, Cannabis Culture editor Jeremiah Vandermeer will be joined in-studio by Vancouver cannabis activist David Malmo-Levine to discuss his work with organizers of the The Regulate Marijuana Like Wine Act of 2012 in California.
Read Malmo-Levine’s new white paper – Crystal Clear Glasses and Unbleached Rollies – A comprehensive comparison and contrasting of the California wine and California cannabis industries.
Also on the show: Princess of Pot Jodie Emery will join us in-studio to discuss the latest on her imprisoned husband Marc Emery, and announce the countdown to his 3-year prison release date.
Pot-TV Network editor Marijuana Man will also join the show to talk about the Vancouver Cannabis Day celebration on July 1, where 6,000 of our closest friends gathered for music, speeches, an open-to-all Cannabis Farmers Market and a massive smoke session.
|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.
I received an e-mail asking if bong water is considered marijuana for the sake of law enforcement possession purposes. Unfortunately, it can be. Below is a couple of articles that I dug up dealing with a case in Minnesota, which of course, is not necessarily binding on other states. However, states often refer to cases in other states when dealing with undefined, grey area issues. Bong water clearly falls into that category. If a cop would just do their job to protect and serve, and not go on a vigilante crusade, they should just consider bong water to be any other dirty liquid. But, as we are all aware, law enforcement will use anything and everything to stick it to you:
Minnesota Court Rules Bong Water Illegal
Bong water can count as a controlled substance, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled Thursday in a decision that raises the threat of longer sentences for drug smokers who fail to dump the water out of their pipes.
In a 4-3 decision Thursday, the state’s highest court said a person can be prosecuted for a first-degree drug crime for 25 grams or more of bong water that tests positive for a controlled substance.
The decision, which reverses two lower court rulings, came in the case of Sara Peck. Items seized during a search of her Rice County home in 2007 included a glass bong — a type of water pipe often used to smoke drugs — that contained 37 grams — about 2 1/2 tablespoons — of a liquid that tested positive for the presence of methamphetamine.
The Supreme Court said that unambiguously counts as a drug “mixture” under the wording of state law and sent the case back to Rice County District Court for further proceedings. The decision, authored by Justice G. Barry Anderson, noted that the liquid wasn’t plain clear water, but had a pink color and fruity odor, and that a narcotics officer had testified that drug users sometimes keep bong water to drink or inject later.
The statute defines a drug “mixture” as “a preparation, compound, mixture, or substance containing a controlled substance, regardless of purity.” When the language of a statute is unambiguous, the high court said, precedents prohibit courts from disregarding the letter of the law under the pretext of pursuing the letter of the law.
In a sharply worded dissent, Justice Paul Anderson said the majority’s decision “does not make sense, and borders on the absurd.” He said it isn’t consistent with what the Legislature intended when it wrote the state’s drug laws. And he blasted Rice County authorities for charging Peck with such a serious crime.
If bong water is considered a drug mixture, and it weighs enough to raise the crime to a first-degree drug offense, the presumed sentence for a first-time offender is seven years and two months in prison, and a felony drug offense goes on his or her record, Paul Anderson wrote.
But if the bong water is treated as part of the drug paraphernalia, as the lower courts held, he wrote, the same defendant would face no more than a $300 fine and the petty misdemeanor conviction would not go on his or her record.
Justices Alan Page and Helen Meyer joined in Paul Anderson’s dissent.
Attorney Bradford Delapena, who represents Peck, said he had not yet had a chance to discuss the ruling with her, but he said the dissent correctly pointed out the problems the ruling raises.
“They’re treating Ms. Peck, who had two tablespoons of bong water, as if she were a major drug wholesaler,” he said.
Delapena said Peck’s case now goes back to the trial court, where he said prosecutors could use the ruling to try to extract a guilty plea to a more serious offense with a stiffer sentence than a $300 fine on a petty misdemeanor. He laughed at the suggestion that it means dope smokers should empty their bongs promptly.
“I wouldn’t presume to draw that lesson,” he said. “I would just stick with the legal lessons.”
- Article from FOX News.
Minn. court: Bong water can count as illegal drug
MINNEAPOLIS — In Minnesota, bong water can count as an illegal drug.
That decision from Minnesota’s Supreme Court on Thursday raises the threat of longer sentences for drug smokers in that state who fail to dump the water out of bong — a type of water pipe often used to smoke drugs
The court said a person can be prosecuted for a first-degree drug crime for 25 grams or more of bong water that tests positive for a controlled substance.
Lower courts had held that bong water is drug paraphernalia. Possession of that is a misdemeanor crime.
The case involved a woman whose bong had about 2 1/2 tablespoons of liquid that tested positive for methamphetamine. A narcotics officer had testified that drug users sometimes keep bong water to drink or inject later.
- Article from the Associated Press.