A Michigan medical marijuana patient cannot be prosecuted for illegal drug possession, despite not having proof of his or her registration at the time of arrest, the state Court of Appeals said Wednesday.
But the court said police were within their rights to arrest the patient, identified in court records as James RG Nicholson of Ottawa County, because he couldn't establish proof of registration on the spot.
Prosecutors had argued that Nicholson was not protected by the medical marijuana law because he did not "possess" a registry identification card at the time of arrest in May 2011. He told police his registration card was in a car at his residence.
The New Hampshire Senate has failed to override Gov. John Lynch’s veto of a bill that would legalize the home cultivation of marijuana for medical purposes.
The bill would have allowed patients with debilitating medical conditions or the patient’s designated caretaker to cultivate and possess up to six ounces of marijuana, four mature plants and 12 seedlings at a registered location. Lynch says that would lead to a virtually unlimited number of potential cultivation sites, making it impossible to control the distribution and prevent illegal use.
The Senate needed a two-thirds majority to override the veto and failed to do so.
Lynch also vetoed a similar bill in 2009
A relatively new webpage called Republic Reports (a project of United Republic with the sub moniker ‘Investigating How Money Corrupts Democracy‘) has turned much needed public attention to one of the five pillars of Pot Prohibition: The Law enforcement community’s role in perpetuating another possible 74 years of Cannabis Prohibition laws in America.
Local/state police, sheriffs, prosecutors and federal agents from the DEA claim, as they often do, that ‘they don’t make the laws, they only enforce them‘.
Is this really true? Not according to Republic Report.John Lovell is a lobbyist who makes a lot of money from making sure you can’t smoke a joint. That’s his job. He’s a lobbyist for the police unions in Sacramento, and he is a driving force behind grabbing Federal dollars to shut down the California marijuana industry. I’ll get to the evidence on this important story in a bit, but first, some context.
At some point in the distant past, the war on drugs might have been popular. But not anymore — the polling is clear, but beyond that, the last three Presidents have used illegal drugs. So why do we still put hundreds of thousands of people in steel cages for pot-related offenses? Well, there are many reasons, but one of them is, of course, money in politics. Corruption. Whatever you want to call it, it’s why you can’t smoke a joint without committing a crime, though of course you can ingest any number of pills or drinks completely within the law.
Some of the groups who want to keep the drug illegal are police unions that want more members to pay more dues. One of the primary sources for cash for more policing activities are Federal grants for penalizing illegal drug use, which help pay for overtime, additional police officers, and equipment for the force. That’s what Lovell does, he gets those grants. He also fights against democratic mechanisms to legalize drugs.
In 2010, California considered Prop 19, a measure to legalize marijuana and tax it as alcohol. The proposition gained more votes than Meg Whitman, the former eBay executive and Republican gubernatorial nominee that year, but failed to pass. Opponents of the initiative ran ads, organized rallies, and spread conspiracy theories about billionaire George Soros to confuse voters.
A new Georgia law could requite state officals to take a drug test before taking office. This law coming after a few states began legislation to requite drug tests from families on government assisted programs and funding.
Democratic Georgia state Rep. Scott Holcomb has introduced legislation to the General Assembly that would require lawmakers to pass a drug test before taking office.
The usual bill was filed last week in response to a proposal to drug test welfare applicants, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
“This bill is really very simple,” Holcomb said in a statement. “If the General Assembly is going to pass laws requiring struggling, jobless Georgians to pay for drug tests as a precondition to receiving state benefits, then members of the General Assembly should lead by example and take the tests first.”
Random tests would also be mandated by the bill, which lawmakers would be required to pay for with their personal funds.
Following the example set by Florida and Missouri, Georgia state Sen. John Albers (R) introduced a bill that would require all applicants of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) welfare program to pass a drug test.
“Whether you work to receive compensation or collect government assistance, the same standards should apply,” Albers explained to Patch.com in November. “If individuals are receiving aid at the taxpayer’s expense, citizens have the right to know how their funds are being appropriated.”
Under the proposed legislation, applicants who failed the mandatory drug test would be ineligible for TANF benefits for one month. If they failed a second time, they would be ineligible for three months. Applicants who failed three times would be ineligible for three years unless they successfully completed a drug treatment program.
“I would prefer the General Assembly focus on the issues that are most important to Georgians,” Holcomb said. “But, if the General Assembly is going to make drug testing for state benefits a major issue when we return in January, then legislators need to be the first in line.”
The American Civil Liberties Union has decried the laws as discriminatory and other critics of drug testing TANF applicants have said it places vulnerable children at risk. The program is meant to help families so that children can be cared for in their own homes, and requires parents to participate in work-related activities.
In a brave attempt to make life easier on their respective states Gov. Lincoln Chafee of R.I and Gov. Christine Gregoire of Washington have asked the Federal Government to ease up on their medical marijuana policy. The governors are asking that the feds reclassify marijuana from a Schedule I drug to a Schedule II which, ironiclly enough, would knock it down to be in the same category as cocaine, opium, and morphine. Recogition from the Federal Government on this matter could potentially open the flood gates for the use of marijuana, both medical and otherwise.
The governors of Washington and Rhode Island petitioned the federal government on Wednesday to reclassify marijuana as a drug with accepted medical uses, saying the change is needed so states like theirs, which have decriminalized marijuana for medical purposes, can regulate the safe distribution of the drug without risking federal prosecution.
The move by the governors — Christine Gregoire of Washington, a Democrat, and Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island, an independent who used to be a Republican — injected new political muscle into the long-running debate on the status of marijuana. Their states are among the 16 that now allow medical marijuana, but which have seen efforts to grow and distribute the drug targeted by federal prosecutors.
“The divergence in state and federal law creates a situation where there is no regulated and safe system to supply legitimate patients who may need medical cannabis,” the governors wrote Wednesday to Michele M. Leonhart, the administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Marijuana is currently classified by the federal government as a Schedule I controlled substance, the same category as heroin and L.S.D. Drugs with that classification, the government says, have a high potential for abuse and “no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.”
The governors want marijuana reclassified as a Schedule II controlled substance, which would put it in the same category as drugs like cocaine, opium and morphine. The federal government says that those drugs have a strong potential for abuse and addiction, but that they also have “some accepted medical use and may be prescribed, administered or dispensed for medical use.”
Such a classification could pave the way for pharmacies to dispense marijuana, in addition to the marijuana dispensaries that operate in a murky legal zone in many states.
“What we have out here on the ground is chaos,” Governor Gregoire said in an interview. “And in the midst of all the chaos we have patients who really either feel like they’re criminals or may be engaged in some criminal activity, and really are legitimate patients who want medicinal marijuana.
“If our people really want medicinal marijuana, then we need to do it right, we need to do it with safety, we need to do it with health in mind, and that’s best done in a process that we know works in this country — and that’s through a pharmacist.”
The State of Washington approved medical marijuana in 1998, with a ballot question that won 60 percent of the vote. But like many states, Washington soon found itself in a legal gray area. The Legislature tried to clarify things last spring, when it passed a bill to legalize and regulate marijuana dispensaries and growers.
But the Justice Department warned that growing and distributing marijuana was still against federal law, and said that “state employees who conducted activities mandated by the Washington legislative proposals would not be immune from liability.” Ms. Gregoire, while sympathetic to the goals of the bill, wound up vetoing much of it.
It was similar on the other side of the country, where Rhode Island passed a law authorizing state-regulated marijuana dispensaries. This fall Governor Chafee said he could not go ahead with the plan because federal prosecutors had warned him that dispensaries could be targets of prosecution.
Advocates for medical marijuana praised the move on Wednesday, but said the governors should not wait for the federal government before going forward with state initiatives. Opponents said that even if marijuana was reclassified, it was unlikely that pharmacies would be able to dispense it, because the drug is usually smoked and comes in varied strengths.
As recently as June the D.E.A. denied a petition to reclassify marijuana, based on a review conducted several years earlier. But Ms. Gregoire and Mr. Chafee said the attitude of the medical community had changed since the government last reviewed the issue.
In 2009 the American Medical Association changed its position and called for reviewing the classification of marijuana, saying that the current classification was limiting clinical research.
Ms. Gregoire noted that many doctors believe it makes no sense to place marijuana in a more restricted category than opium and morphine. “People die from overdose of opiates,” she said. “Has anybody died from marijuana?”
Newt Gingrich has become another wishy-washy political figure; in favor of legalizing medical marrijuana when its 'cool' and disapproving when its not. Gingrich now going back on his word and knocking medical marijuana, citing concerned parents as his reason for his sudden change of opinion. Newt, get it together!
It’s rare to hear Republican politicians espouse medical marijuana. If they support it at all, they stick to the “states rights” rhetoric their voters know so well. See, for example, Ron Paul.
But Newt Gingrich thinks marijuana, medical or otherwise, is so dastardly that federalism should be tossed out the window and Mary Jane should be banished from coast to coast.
Yes, then-Congressman Gingrich in 1991 introduced pro-medical marijuana legislation, but now he’s thinking of the children, he tells Yahoo! News’ Chris Moody.
“What has changed was the number of parents I met with who said they did not want their children to get the signal from the government that it was acceptable behavior,” said Gingrich, before saying that Americans who need medical marijuana will simply have to cope with the inconvenience of debilitating pain and nausea.
“[My supporters] were prepared to say as a matter of value that it was better to send a clear signal on no drug use at the risk of inconveniencing some people, than it was to be compassionate toward a small group at the risk of telling a much larger group that it was okay to use the drug,” Gingrich explained. “Within a year of my original support of that bill I withdrew it.”
As for the drug war as a whole, Gingrich believes the government should thrust itself into people’s private lives and start requiring testing for anyone who gets federal benefits like food stamps.
I think that we need to consider taking more explicit steps to make it expensive to be a drug user. It could be through testing before you get any kind of federal aid. Unemployment compensation, food stamps, you name it.
Hmmm, will these tests apply to people receiving social security? Oh, wait, that’s unsustainable, so it won’t be around for much longer. Drug problem solved!