Archive for October, 2011

Medical marijuana complicating arrests

October 29th, 2011

Posted: 12:00 AM

Medical marijuana complicating arrests

Jail administrators say treating marijuana like other personal property creates legal quandary

By David Hench
Staff Writer

Maine legalized the medical use of marijuana but it’s still contraband when crossing the secure perimeter of the state’s jails and prisons, and illegal in the eyes of the federal government.

Now, dealing with a person’s medical marijuana when they are arrested for another offense is posing a sticky legal issue for Maine law enforcement. Several sheriffs and jail administrators say they want no part of the problem and have left it in the hands of arresting officers.

“I’ve tried to insulate us. I’m not going to be the only one collecting medical marijuana,” said Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce, who oversees the state’s busiest jail.

Storing the marijuana in jail is problematic because jails lack secure evidence lockers. But jail officials are more worried about how they would return the marijuana to a released inmate without technically running afoul of federal laws that prohibit dispensing marijuana even if the state allows it.

Joyce recently informed the police chiefs in Cumberland County that the jail would not be accepting medical marijuana along with inmates’ other property, including medication that is transferred to the infirmary. “We’re going to give it back to the officer

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Medical Marijuana Group Wants Raids to Stop

October 28th, 2011

     SAN FRANCISCO (CN) – A medical marijuana advocacy group sued the federal government for threatening property owners with forfeiture and criminal prosecution if they rent to medical marijuana providers. They say the federal government has no right to “coerce and commandeer the police power and legislative and executive functions of the state of California.”
     Americans for Safe Access accuses Attorney General Eric Holder and local U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of usurping California’s right to make and enforce state laws.
     Haag and the three other U.S. attorneys for California held a press conference on Oct. 7 at which they said they would send mass mailings to property owners threatening civil forfeiture and severe criminal punishment if the owners rent to medical marijuana dispensaries, even those that operate legally under state law.
     The U.S. attorneys also promised to raid and prosecute medical marijuana providers, again not making exceptions for those operating legally under state law.
     Americans for Safe Access says one of the U.S. attorney even threatened newspapers that carry ads for state-allowed dispensaries with criminal punishment for such ads, which are protected by the First Amendment.
     Americans for Safe Access says the government is entitled to enforce criminal laws against marijuana in states that have decriminalized it for medical use in an “even-handed manner,” but that “the Tenth Amendment forbids it from selectively employing such coercive tactics to commandeer the law-making functions of the state.”
     The group says it does not challenge Congress’ authority to enact laws criminalizing the possession

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Medical pot dispensary opening nears

October 23rd, 2011


Posted: 12:00 AM

Medical pot dispensary opening nears

By Susan McMillan
Staff Writer

HALLOWELL — The operator of central Maine’s medical marijuana dispensary says it is on track to open by the end of the month.

A marijuana dispensary above the Liberal Cup in Hallowell is set to open at the end of this month.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

At first, however, the dispensary will serve patients only by appointment. Patients with prescriptions will not be able to walk in and buy medication until sometime later, Northeast Patients Group Executive Director Becky DeKeuster said.

“As all of the dispensary operators are finding out, this is inventory-driven,” she said. “It’s not something that we can churn out in a day, so we’re all building up our inventory.”

Northeast Patients Group began growing marijuana in May in Thomaston, where it also operates a dispensary that opened in September.

Northeast also has licenses to operate dispensaries in Portland and Bangor; those have not opened.

Contractors in Halllowell are preparing the second-floor space above the Liberal Cup in Hallowell for the dispensary. Most of the money for renovations has gone into security, though the parking lot behind the building was also resurfaced, and there will be interior design work to do,

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Obama’s war on marijuana

October 21st, 2011

The new federal crackdown on medical marijuana announced on October 7 by the four California U.S. Attorneys sent chills throughout the industry. It was a stunning reversal by the Obama administration.

Only two years ago, Deputy U.S. Attorney General David Ogden wrote his infamous “Ogden Memo,” announcing the feds wouldn’t bother businesses in compliance with their own state laws. It proved a dose of Miracle-Gro to California, where pot-selling stores multiplied since voters approved the state’s 1996 medical marijuana law. By late last year, California reportedly had more dispensaries than Starbucks outlets.

Colorado also made it legal in 2000, seeing a similar explosion of new storefronts. The same thing was happening to varying degrees in 16 states, from Arizona to Washington, New Jersey to Delaware.

But the feds’ tolerance wasn’t quite what it seemed. While legal weed grew to an estimated $10 to $100 billion industry — no one’s quite sure of the exact figure — activists noticed an alarming undercurrent to the rhetoric: Raids on growers and dispensaries actually increased under Obama.

As hundreds of thousands of state-approved, doctor-recommended patients happily bought their medicine in well-lit stores from knowledgeable “budtenders,” the ire of cops and prohibitionists rose.

The first sign of Obama’s subterfuge came in late 2010, as California prepared to vote on a ballot proposition that would have legalized growing and possessing small amounts of marijuana for anyone over the age of 21. Under pressure from teetotalers — nine former Drug Enforcement Agency chiefs begged Obama to

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Medical marijuana not allowed at Occupy Portland

October 20th, 2011


Even if they have a prescription for pot, medical marijuana is not allowed at the Occupy Portland protest.

Portland’s law says anyone authorized to have medical marijuana can use it, as long as they are out of the public’s view.

Some protesters say smoking in their tent should be allowed, but Mayor Sam Adams says that is not the case.

The mayor tweeted his position on the issue today, saying smoking in a tent at a public park is illegal.

Some protesters say it’s their medicine and they are making sure not to disturb anyone with it.

“I go into my tent, I hide away from public’s eye, I light incense so it smells different so they can’t smell it, and I stay in my tent and do my thing,” said Justin James-Bridges, an Occupy Portland protester.

Others, however, say the whole issue is a distraction.

“It definitely detracts from the movement and what we’re trying to do here,” said Chase Wilson, with Occupy Portland.

Portland Police say they will continue to do their routine patrols and officers will address each case individually.

Copyright 2011 KPTV. All rights reserved.

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Obama Worst President for Medical Marijuana in U.S. History

October 20th, 2011

By Ron Kampia

During his run for the presidency, Barack Obama instilled hope in medical marijuana supporters by pledging to respect state laws on the matter. And for the first two years of his term, he was generally faithful to his promise. Yet suddenly, and with no logical explanation, over the past eight months he has become arguably the worst president in U.S. history regarding medical marijuana.

1. In 1970, Nixon signed into law the Controlled Substances Act, which placed marijuana in Schedule I — the most restrictive of the five schedules, which declared that marijuana has no medical value whatsoever. Since then, all seven presidents have been content to keep marijuana in Schedule I, even going so far as to have (1) DEA bureaucrats overrule the DEA’s own administrative law judge on the matter, and (2) Health Human Services reject scientific petitions for rescheduling.

2. In 1978, the Carter administration created the “compassionate IND” program, which allowed patients to apply to (what is now known as) HHS to legally receive monthly shipments of the federal government’s marijuana. Reagan left this program untouched for all eight years of his administration, but the first Bush closed the program to new applicants halfway through his term.

3. From 1969 to 1992, it was relatively easy for state governments and private institutions to investigate marijuana’s therapeutic uses: The mechanism was to get FDA approval for a research protocol, then obtain DEA permission to store and handle the

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Survey: Record Number Of Americans Think Pot Should Be Legal

October 19th, 2011

POSTED: 4:01 am EDT October 19, 2011
UPDATED: 4:47 am EDT October 19, 2011

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Legalized Pot Backed by Record Number in US

October 18th, 2011

marijuana leaves

About half of Americans believe that marijuana should be legalized, when questioned during an October Gallup poll. This is the highest percentage since Gallup started asking the question in 1969.

Marijuana comes from the cannabis plant and is used as a psychoactive drug and for medical purposes. However, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s informational website, “Marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States.”

The poll relied on telephone interviews with 1,005 adults ages 18 and over from Oct. 6 through  Oct. 9. Fifty percent of those polled indicated that they support legalizing marijuana, while 46 percent do not, and 3 percent have no opinion on the subject.

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Medical marijuana group raised more than $50K for ballot effort

October 12th, 2011

HELENA — Committees advocating or opposing efforts to put
controversial medical marijuana and eminent domain laws on the 2012
ballot as referendums have filed financial reports.

Patients for Reform-Not Repeal, based in Helena, obtained the
needed signatures to let voters next year decide whether to reject
or keep the stricter medical marijuana laws enacted by the
Legislature this year.

Real Montanans for Fair Land Use, based in Belgrade, failed to
gather enough signatures in its bid to let voters decide the fate
of a new law that gives power companies the authority to condemn
property along the route of a new line.

That group was far outspent by Montanans for Common Sense
Property Rights Laws, a Helena-based group that received the lion’s
share of its money from NorthWestern Energy’s parent company.

Here’s a closer look at the spending reports filed last week
with the state commissioner of political practices office:


Patients for Reform-Not Repeal led the successful drive to refer
to voters the new law that makes it harder for people to get
medical marijuana cards and squeezing the profits out of the
industry. The referendum will be on the November 2012 ballot.

A Helena district judge temporarily blocked parts of the law
from taking effect July 1, and both the attorney general’s office
and the Montana Cannabis Industry Association have appealed parts
of the decision to the Montana Supreme Court.

Patients for Reform-Not Repeal reported it had raised $53,119
and spent $46,736, starting June 29. It had $6,383 left in the bank
on Sept. 30.


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Our View: California pot businesses set bad example for Maine

October 12th, 2011

Posted: October 12
Updated: Today at 9:11 PM

Our View: California pot businesses set bad example for Maine

Maine can avoid a federal crackdown if it does a good job of regulating marijuana dispensaries.

We should be thankful to California for showing the rest of the states how not to handle medical marijuana.

Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana dispensaries are facing crackdowns in California but Maine can avoid the same pitfalls by making sure the system runs as designed.

The Associated Press

Federal prosecutors announced last week an aggressive crackdown against California “clinics,” which reportedly have been operating as storefront drug dealers and using the humanitarian law as a screen for criminal operations.

California’s lax law and lazy enforcement have allowed the dispensaries to become a source of marijuana that is sold elsewhere, said U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner.

“California’s marijuana industry supplies the nation,” Wagner said. “Huge amounts of marijuana grown here in the state are flowing east to other states, and huge amounts of money are flowing back in the opposite direction.”

Maine, which is just establishing its medical marijuana dispensary system, should take a lesson from California about how things can go wrong.

Maine is not facing a federal crackdown

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