FEDS allowed to disregard private property to GPS your car

CW: The DEA did this to me. Was it in my driveway? Most likely. The real question is why do they have the right to touch my car or anything else I own without evidence of guilt? Or a better question is why is the Federal Government wasting resources playing cloak and dagger for cannabis? Last time I checked we were trillions in debt and people were outraged over government spending. How do we continue to pay for this type of bullshit and let education go unfunded. Our country is morally challenged to say the least. We spend bazillions on the military, law enforcement, and prisons- and my kid has to bring his own toilet paper to school. WTF?

These ass-clowns continue to waste resources on cannabis enforcement and drug reconnoissance, but they have not slowed down drug use, trafficking, or crime one iota. That is sad. I believe that if after 40 years your mission is a complete failure, maybe it is time to reevaluate the mission….Just saying.

Court Allows Warrantless GPS Tracking In Marijuana Case

In a bizarre and unsettling decision, a federal court has ruled that government agents may sneak onto your property, put GPS devices on your vehicles, and follow you around 24/7 — without bothering to obtain a search warrant.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which covers California and eight other western states, issued the ruling — which basically means the government can monitor you anytime that it wants — in a case involving a suspected marijuana grower, reports Linda Young at All Headline News.

Among the biggest casualties of the court’s ruling is the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, part of the original Bill of Rights, which just took some major damage. The Fourth Amendment states:

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

According to the unprecedented — and scary — ruling, you do not have any reasonable expectation of privacy in your own driveway, and no reasonable expectation that the government isn’t tracking all your movements, reports Adam Cohen at Time.
Warrantless GPS tracking now joins warrantless wiretaps and police arrests of people who photograph them on the growing list of activities that once, not so long ago, would have been unthinkable and unlawful on the part of the United States government.
The ruling, which came before the court via the Drug Enforcement Administration’s 2007 arrest of Juan Pineda-Moreno, an Oregon resident they suspected was growing marijuana in California, has already been upheld at the Federal level.
“It is a dangerous decision,” Time magazine warns, “one that, as the dissenting judges warned, could turn America into the sort of totalitarian state imagined by George Orwell.
“It is particularly offensive because the judges added insult to injury with some shocking class bias: the little personal privacy that still exists, the court suggested, should belong mainly to the rich,” said Cohen in Time.
Federal agents had sneaked onto Pineda-Moreno’s property in the middle of the night and attached a GPS tracking device to his Jeep’s underside in the driveway, a few feet from his trailer home.
After Pineda-Moreno challenged the DEA’s actions, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled in January that it was all perfectly legal. Even more disturbingly, a larger group of judges on the circuit, who were subsequently asked to reconsider the ruling, decided this month to let it stand.
Pineda-Moreno eventually pleaded guilty to conspiracy to grow marijuana, and is now serving a 51-month sentence, according to his lawyer.
The court’s decision goes against the long tradition of courts holding that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their homes and in the “curtilage,” a legal term for the area around the home.
“The government’s intrusion on property just a few feet away was clearly in this zone of privacy,” Time points out.
The judges, in tortured and almost unbelievable “logic,” explained that Pineda-Moreno’s driveway was not “private.” It was open to strangers, they claimed, such as delivery people and neighborhood children, who could wander across it uninvited.
“I guess that means if the neighbor kids can get into your yard, it’s also fair game for federal agents with no warrant as well,” said Tina Trimble Belliston at The North Star National.
Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, who dissented from this month’s decision refusing to reconsider the case, pointed out the only homes not open to strangers are the residences of wealthy people. The court’s ruling, he said, means that people who protect their homes with electric gates, fences and security booths have a large protected zone of privacy around their homes.
People who can’t afford such barriers have to put up with government agents sneaking around at night, according to the ruling, Kozinski said.
“There’s been much talk about diversity on the bench, but there’s one kind of diversity that doesn’t exist,” the Reagan appointee said. “No truly poor people are appointed as federal judges, or as state judges for that matter.”
Kozinski said the judges in the majority were guilty of “cultural elitism” for favoring the rich in expectations of privacy. Everybody may be equal under the law in the United States, but some are apparently a lot more “equal” than others.
As pointed out by Time, the damage doesn’t stop at that point.
The court went on to make a second terrible decision about privacy: That once a GPS device has been planted, government agents are free to use it to track people without getting a warrant.
A high-stakes, major battle is playing out in the federal and state courts over this issue. If government agents are allowed to track anyone they want with secretly planted devices anytime they want — without having to even ask a court for a warrant — “we are one step closer to a classic police state,” Time magazine says.
“1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it’s here at last,” Judge Kozinski lamented in his dissent, which called the government’s tactics “creepy” and “underhanded.”
“I think it is Orwellian,” said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, which advocates for privacy rights, reports Dugald McConnell at CNN.
“If the courts allow the police to gather up this information without a warrant, the police could place a tracking device on any individual’s car — without having to ever justify the reason why they did that,” Rotenberg said.
The issue is likely to eventually end up in the U.S. Supreme Court, since some other courts have come to different conclusions from the Ninth Circuit’s. The influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Court, for instance, ruled this month that tracking for an extended period of time with GPS is an invasion of privacy that requires a warrant.
Source: http://www.tokeofthetown.com/2010/08/court_allows_warrantless_gps_tracking_in_marijuana.php#

BizWeek Reports on cannabis pain study

Glad to see a mainstream news outlet putting this out. One more question…CAN I GO FREE YET? How much more evidence does the government need to make things right and let the people you have persecuted for medical cannabis go?

Smoked Marijuana May Ease Chronic Nerve Pain

Trial showed modest benefit for patients with neuropathy, but side effects might be problem

By Jenifer Goodwin
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) — Smoking cannabis, also known as marijuana, reduced pain in patients with nerve pain stemming from injuries or surgical complications, new research shows.

Twenty-one adults with chronic nerve pain were taught to take a single inhalation of 25 milligrams of cannabis through a pipe, three times a day, for five days. The cannabis contained one of three levels of potency of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the active ingredient in marijuana, as well as a placebo dosage containing no THC.

All of the patients rotated through each of the four dosages, with nine days of no smoking in between.

Patients smoking the highest potency marijuana (9.4 percent) reported less pain than those smoking samples containing no THC. Patients also reported better sleep and less anxiety, according to the Canadian study.

On an 11-point scale, the average daily pain intensity was 6.1 for those smoking 9.4 percent THC concentration, compared to 5.4 for those smoking cannabis containing no THC.

“Patients have repeatedly made claims that smoked cannabis helps to treat pain, but the issue for me had always been the lack of clinical research to support that claim,” said Dr. Mark Ware, director of clinical research at the Alan Edwards Pain Management Unit of the McGill University Health Centre in Montreal. In this small but randomized, controlled trial, “the pain reductions were modest, but significant,” he said. “And it was in people for whom nothing else worked.”

The study is published in the Aug. 30 issue of the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

Persistent nerve pain, clinically known as neuropathy, can be very difficult to treat, Ware said. These patients had tried other treatments for neuropathy, such as opioids, anticonvulsants, antidepressants and local anesthetics, with little relief, Ware said.

In addition, the THC potency levels used in the study were kept at 2.5 percent, 6 percent and 9 percent — considerably less than the 12 percent to 15 percent often found in marijuana sold on the street, Ware said.

Researchers kept the levels low for two reasons, Ware explained. One was to minimize the psychoactive effects, such as feeling lightheaded, dizzy, detached, nauseous or euphoric. Secondly, because this was a randomized, controlled clinical trial, minimizing the obvious signs of being “high” helped keep participants in the dark about what potency they were smoking.

In an accompanying commentary, Dr. Henry McQuay, a professor in the chronic pain unit at Oxford University in England, called the study well-designed, adding that it provides more evidence cannabis can help relieve pain.

But the unwanted side effects of cannabis can be significant, McQuay said.

“If you regard each paper like a brick in a wall, we have a number of studies, including this one, that suggest some pain patients are helped by cannabis,” McQuay said. “The usual caveat is, ‘Do the side effects to the nervous system outweigh the benefits, if they have to push the dose?'”

In his experience working with pain patients, few have seen long-term benefits of smoked cannabis, he said. Most find morphine and other painkillers more effective.

Side effects are a real problem with using smoked cannabis, Ware said. While recreational users are seeking an altered state of mind, research shows that legitimate medical marijuana users are not looking to get high. Instead, they only want to smoke what they need to reduce their pain so they can work and function more normally.

Efforts to legalize marijuana for medical purposes has been controversial in the United States. While federal law prohibits marijuana use, in 1996, California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana usage with a prescription from a doctor. More than a dozen states have followed suit.

Yet under the Bush administration, dispensaries continued to be raided under federal law. After President Barack Obama took office, in March, 2009, the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would no longer conduct raids on medical marijuana dispensaries, as long as the dispensaries were abiding by their own state laws.

Medical marijuana is legal in Canada.

To minimize the risks of smoke to the lungs, THC could be delivered through a vaporizer, in which the plant resin containing THC is heated to the point that the oils are released in a mist, Ware said. Oral THC is another possibility, though getting dosages right has proved problematic.

Source: http://www.businessweek.com/lifestyle/content/healthday/642584.html


Court Support RIVERSIDE – Ronald Naulls

WHAT: Ronald Bradley Naulls – Healing Nations Collective of Corona
WHEN: 8/30/2010 – 8:30am
WHERE: U.S. District & Bankruptcy Court, Central District of California – Judge Phillips – 3470 Twelfth St -Riverside, CA  92501

Federal War on Medical Marijuana Becomes a War on Children: Three Little Girls, ages 1, 3, and 5, seized in DEA raid A church-going family man who used medical marijuana to ease chronic pain from injuries sustained in a 2001 car accident, Ronald Naulls already had two successful careers – one as an IT consultant and another in real estate – when (in early 2006) he established the Healing Nations Collective in Corona (Riverside County) to save fellow patients the hours-long drive to Los Angeles for medicine.

Healing Nations was a model collective in every way. It served its patient-members well and followed state and local law. It maintained strict dress codes and professional standards for all employees. It paid state taxes – amounting to several hundred thousand dollars a year – even when loose tax regulations allowed other dispensaries to slip through the cracks. Proceeds from the dispensary went to local and national cancer organizations.

Nevertheless, at 5:50 a.m., July 17, 2007, after a year of successful zoning litigation with the city, Naulls’s home and the collective were invaded by DEA agents armed with shotguns, automatic rifles – even helicopters. They seized everything: His property. All of his personal accounts. And all of the collective’s assets. Naulls was arrested and is now facing federal prosecution for distribution of medical cannabis.

But that wasn’t the worst of it. County child protective services came along on the raid and took Naulls’s three little girls, ages 1, 3, and 5, and charged him and his wife with child endangerment. They weren’t even accused of breaking any state laws.

When Naulls spoke to his children in their confidential foster home, the big sister said, “Daddy, we’re ready to come home now, we promise to be good.”

Of course, they were too young to understand that they were victims of the strong-arm tactics of drug warriors whose goal was to make Naulls regret helping fellow patients receive their medicine in a safe, compassionate environment. Who cares if that means ruining a family financially, imprisoning the parents, and traumatizing the children?
If you care, you can help Green-Aid help the Naulls to fight this alarming case. It’s time to stop the war on children and parents. DONATE NOW!

Lanny Swerdlow makes sense…..

CW: I love Lanny Swerdlow and enjoy reading his writings and following his ongoing battles to further cannabis freedom. This is a great op-ed that was published in the Desert Sun over the weekend. Thanks for all you do, Lanny….

Yes: Legalizing marijuana would add revenue and let cops fight real crime

With more than $300 million spent annually arresting more than 60,000 Californians, the majority of them young, black and brown, the California Medical Association accurately labels marijuana criminalization “a failed public health policy.”

Proposition 19 allows police to concentrate on real crimes, unclogs courts and reduces prison overcrowding. The California Board of Equalization estimates legalization will raise $1.4 billion for schools, health programs and essential government services.

Proposition 19 opponents point to the societal and health costs of alcohol as proof there will be increased costs if marijuana is legalized. Truth be told, health care costs will go down when responsible adults are allowed to make the rational, safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol.

Hospital beds are overflowing with patients with heart damage, destroyed livers, pancreatitis, diseased brains — costly and debilitating ailments caused solely by their use of alcohol. You are not likely to find a single patient in any hospital wing — cardiac, respiratory, cancer — with any ailment related only to their use of marijuana. Not one!

Contrary to allegations by narcotic law enforcement that admissions to emergency departments for marijuana are going through the roof, a 2010 study published in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found that “marijuana was by far the most commonly used (illicit) drug, but individuals who used marijuana had a low prevalence of drug-related ED visits.”

A 2009 study at Switzerland’s Luasanne University Hospital and a 2006 University of Missouri study independently found marijuana inversely associated with injuries requiring hospitalization. The Missouri study concluded marijuana use resulted in a “substantially decreased risk of injury.”

An August 2010 RAND study reported fewer than 200 patients were admitted to California hospitals in 2008 for “marijuana abuse or dependence,” but there were almost 73,000 hospitalizations related to alcohol.

Although opponents of Proposition 19 are quick to make misleading and inaccurate statements about a few studies they purport demonstrate the dangers of marijuana, even a casual reading finds the number of people negatively affected in the low single digits with the reports using scientific weasel words like “may,” “might” or “suggest.”

Fiscal conservatives should note a 2009 study in the British Columbia Mental Health and Addictions Journal, which found health-related costs eight times higher for drinkers than cannabis consumers with most of marijuana’s costs due to its illegal status.

Noting that “research on medical cannabis patients has alluded to the use of cannabis as a substitute for alcohol,” a June 2009 Harm Reduction Journal study found “40 percent of participants reported using cannabis as a substitute for alcohol.”

Although driving under the influence of any substance should be avoided, a 2007 study of U.S. drivers published in the Canadian Journal of Public Health and a 2005 review of French auto accidents concluded that drivers who test positive for alcohol, even under .08 percent blood-alcohol content, were three to four times more likely to be involved in a fatal collision than those who use marijuana.

Source: http://www.mydesert.com/article/20100829/COLUMNS26/8290342/Yes-Legalizing-marijuana-would-add-revenue-and-let-cops-fight-real-crime

Carl T. Raff breaks down myths put forth by Attorney Letitia Peppers

Ms. Pepper is correct when she says “Inititatives [sic] like Prop. 19 are reviewed by courts using specific rules, generally known as rules of statutory interpretation.”, but she omits a critical step in this interpretation process. These rules begin with the language of the statute as distinct from the purposes and intent sections of the proposition. Her entire argument focuses on the intent and purposes section of the proposition which, as Rick Horowitz ,another attorney with concerns about Prop 19 points out “while the intent of the law assists in helping to interpret the law, the intent of the law is not the law.” (http://www.rhdefense.com/blog/marijuana-law/toke-it-easy-man-more-on-proposition-19/ ) The operation of the rules of statutory interpretation is declared in numerous Appellate and Supreme Court opinions including such as those listed below:

“That analysis requires a review of the statutory language as the best indicator of legislative intent. [citation] If that language is unambiguous, we presume that the Legislature, or, in the case of an initiative measure, the voters, intended the meaning apparent on the face of the statute.” (People V Krus)

Only if “that statutory language  is susceptible to more than one reasonable interpretation, „we look to “extrinsic aids, including the ostensible objects to be achieved, the evils to be remedied, the legislative history, public policy, contemporaneous administrative construction, and the statutory scheme of which the statute is a part.” [ibid]

“If there is any claimed ambiguity in the statutory language, we may consider indicia of the voters’ intent …” (People v Peron)

“… in light of its language and purpose” (People v Mower)

The statues included in Prop 19 appear in section 3 of the proposition where sections 11300-11304 are added to the Health and Safety Code, and Section 4 which modifies section 11361 of the Health and Safety Code. What do these statutes say?

Section 11300: Personal Regulation and Controls This section defines a lawful activity “personal use”. It defines the specific limits of that activity so that the public and law enforcement can recognize what is and is not an activity protected under this statute. This section creates no new prohibitions, but allows existing prohibitions and protections to remain enforce for activities that are not within the scope of personal use.

Section 11301: Commercial Regulations and Controls This section does not crate any new prohibitions either. Although it allows local governments to create local ordinances that it might otherwise not be able to create, those ordinances are still subject to the constitutional requirements that they deal with municipal concerns and non conflict with general laws.

Prop 215, SB 420, and Section 11300, once enacted, are general laws which will preclude local governments from ignoring the protections of those laws. While Prop 19 may modify Prop 215 and SB 420 it may not delegate that ability to the legislature or local governments. Only the people may modify a law enacted by the people.

Section 11302: Imposition and Collection of Taxes and Fees This section provides for taxes and fees associated with regulations enacted under 11301. It has no effect on anything else.

Section 11303: Seizure This section provides protection against law enforcement actions related to activities allowed by this act or by local ordinances created under 11301. As above the California Constitution prohibits creation of local law that would allow seizure as this would conflict with this general law.

Section 11304: Effect of Act and Definitions This section provides statutory confirmation of the legality and illegality of certain intents and purposes as well as the definition of terms used to avoid any ambiguity that might otherwise challenge the validity of the act.

One important protection included in this section is the prohibition against discrimination that is not included in Prop 215 or SB 420.

Section 4: Prohibition on Furnishing Marijuana to Minors This section creates 1 new misdemeanor under 11361 for adults over 21 who provide marijuana to an adult under 21. The penalty is the same as that for adults over 21 who provide alcohol to adults under 21. While unfortunate this is a necessary provision to attract the vote of the unknowing public who do not yet understand that Marijuana is Safer.

How does the plain statutory language included in Prop 19 affect Ms Pepper’s arguments? It blows them away.

As she correctly says that section 2 A “Findings” does not reference medical marijuana. What she doesn’t say is that the findings talk extensively about the failure of laws criminalizing cannabis, lack of relationship between severity of punishment and use, illegal transactions, and costs of implementing the prohibition of marijuana. The absence of findings relating to medical marijuana laws and use is a strong indication that Prop 19 is not intended to affect Prop 215 or the MMPA.

Her assertion that paragraphs 1 and 3 in section 2 B “Purposes” are somehow intended to apply to medical marijuana laws is an incredible stretch considering the findings outlined in the previous section. The context makes it clear that the laws to be reformed are those that make cannabis illegal as identified later in the intent section. Contextually it is clear the control to be gained is control over the illegal market.

Her argument over Purpose 6 “Provide easier, safer access for patients who need cannabis for medical purposes” degenerates into anti-capitalism ranting and is unworthy of debate when considering eliminating criminal penalties. Clearly the option to purchase cannabis in a retail market is an advantage to some patients, particularly those traveling in an area away from their local collective. Nothing in prop 19 precludes the existence of collectives and dispensaries as we know them.

She claims absence of the word “cultivate” in paragraph 7 of the purposes somehow limits the right of patients to cultivate as much cannabis as required and allowed for under Prop 215. However, the plain statutory language of 11300 precludes this interpretation. Additionally, the “except” clause includes Prop 215 and the MMPA in their entirety thus preserving all protections contained therein. She also incorrectly says that this paragraph refers to cities that ban the sale of cannabis. It refers only to cities “decide not to tax and regulate the sale of cannabis” under section 11301. These cities are subject to the existing cannabis laws, and the new provisions of 11301, 11304, and 11361.

Ms Pepper doesn’t talks about paragraph 8 of the purposes section which describes the intended effect of Prop 19 on cities that do choose to enact regulations under 11301. This section provides for these cities “that a strictly controlled legal system is implemented to oversee and regulate cultivation, distribution, and sales … except as permitted under Health and Safety Sections 11362.5 and 11362.7 through 11362.9”. We see here that from the perspective of intent the medical marijuana laws are explicitly exempted from the regulations cities may enact. Could the reason that she chose not to discuss this section be that it contradicts her underlying premise?

Her arguments that Prop 19 somehow limits the amount of cannabis a patient may grow or possess have been addressed previously by examining the plain language of the statute. The limits in 11300 apply only to personal use which is distinct from medical use. This is analogous to the way the vehicle code restricts the speed cars and trucks using a highway.

22349. (a) …no person may drive a vehicle upon a highway at a speed greater than 65 miles per hour.

22406. No person may drive any of the following vehicles on a highway at a speed in excess of 55 miles per hour: …[ 3 axle trucks, vehicles with trailers, school bus …]

Two separate statues with different restrictions based on different uses of the highway. 22349 covers use by vehicles in general, while 22406 covers use by specific vehicles.

Ms. Pepper infers some evil hidden agenda from the absence of our medical marijuana laws in either the list of statutes intended to be affected or not intended to be affected. Evidence from the findings section provides a more benign explanation that the proposition is aimed at addressing issues with the laws criminalizing marijuana as described in finding 1. Reference to the medical marijuana laws was excluded simply because nobody thought about it – it wasn’t the issue they are focusing on.

Prop 19 is clearly aimed at reforming our prohibitionist laws, not at undermining out rights are qualified patients.

There are only 2 specific limited issues that might affect medical marijuana patients, and those will only arise if a large majority of medical marijuana providers choose instead to be licensed providers of marijuana for personal use. Both of these issues are easily addressed by the legislature and should be favorably accepted all but our staunchest opponents.

Yes on 19 now, then full speed ahead with CCHH!

The truth shall set you free.

Will the real Dragonflies please stand up….

This was posted from Marc Emery’s Facebook page:

Dragonfly is nothing but a prohibition profiteering trimmer with no formal education or training, so she has no proper legal or judicial insight into Proposition 19. She’s just a world-traveling party girl who only got attention for being published in Cannabis Culture for a few pot/drug festival reports, which needed extensive editing, as she’s not a professional journalist, just a blogger who writes about getting high and partying. Why anyone takes her seriously, we can’t comprehend; all she does is trim pot once a year to make big money to travel and get high (she wrote about that in CC), and she needs to protect that prohibition-based income, so has made herself one of the faces of the anti-Prop-19 movement — but she lied about new felonies being created, just like she lies about a lot of things about Prop 19. She’s simply a paranoid prohibition profiteer. That’s what we have to say about the author of that bunk “article”. Marc is appalled by those who have joined the prohibition army alongside cops, the DEA, religious nuts, and the prison industry.

And Richard, you cannot keep telling people that you “were doing business with Marc Emery” because that is simply not true. He liked and approved of your lotion, but did not go into any business contract with you.

And the Cannabis Culture crew should know, as they are the one who put her on the map….LOL. I love it when people follow losers of a cliff….

Could a Ponzi scheme derail Leonhart nomination? We can only hope.

An interesting piece from the Huffington Post on the Ponzi scheme that most think she is caught up in. Some have went as far a calling her a “dead woman walking.” Because of her inability to find better things to do with her resources than raid cannabis providers I hope their is a better candidate for the job. It seemed like a lazy nomination any way. Why look for anyone better and just have the Republicans waste more of your political capitol when you could just keep the same person in place and hopefully no one would notice…at least no one that is a Republican drug warrior. This is not CHANGE I can believe in. And while we are at it can we appoint a new  Pardon Attorney- preferably someone who will actually grant a pardon or two….

Ponzi Scheme Strikes Drug Enforcement Agents

Michele Leonhart’s nomination to head the Drug Enforcement Administration has been complicated by a ponzi scheme that has ensnared DEA agents and officials. Leonhart’s nomination is vigorously opposed by drug policy reform groups, which charge that she is stuck in a Drug War-era mindset, focusing too heavily on medical marijuana and small-time crack cocaine violations.

Despite Obama’s pledge during the campaign to cease raids on medical marijuana clubs in states where the drug was legal, Leonhart, as acting director, staged raids after his inauguration. The raids were seen as a signal from the DEA that it didn’t plan to change the way it operated, but a subsequent directive from Attorney General Eric Holder has reduced the frequency of such raids.

But it may not be Leonhart’s policies or leadership that doom her nomination, Amanda J. Crawford, a reporter in Arizona who covers border security issues and drug isses, reported Thursday. Her nomination is stalled in the Senate Judiciary Committee, where no hearing has yet been scheduled more than a year after her nomination. Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vt.) is a strong believer that states should be given the authority to craft their own medical marijuana laws free from federal interference. A Leahy spokeswoman said that the chairman has yet to take a public position on her nomination. Asked about Leonhart earlier this year by HuffPost, Leahy declined to support or oppose her, but reiterated his support for medical marijuana.

In June, the Securities and Exchange Commission filed a complaint against the estate of Kenneth Wayne McLeod, who had recently taken his own life as authorities closed in on what they say was a long-running ponzi scheme that ensnared 260 investors, many of them law enforcement officers, and stole at least $34 million.

“McLeod victimized law enforcement agents and other government employees who dedicated their lives to the service of this country,” said Eric I. Bustillo, head of the SEC Miami regional office.

A DEA spokesman confirmed that some agents had been caught in the scheme, but referred comment to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The Florida Times-Union has been investigating the scandal and uncovering DEA connections.

Leonhart is a career DEA official, meaning that it will be difficult for her to avoid becoming entangled in the affair, which the SEC began in the 1980s. Crawford reported Thursday at CrawfordOnDrugs.comthat a Justice Department official had deemed her a “dead woman walking.” She has been acting director since 2007. A DoJ spokeswoman didn’t immediately return a call.

Beyond the ponzi scheme, President Obama has a number of other reasons to want to avoid a confirmation fight over Leonhart:

  • She has been hit for chartering a private plane to Colombia at a cost of123,000, even though the DEA has more than a hundred of its own planes.
  • She was a champion of an infamous snitch named Andrew Chambers, who presented false testimony for years and who had Leonhart’s backing even after it surfaced that he was unreliable.
  • And she’s tied into the “House of Death” scandal, involving a string of murders that the DEA was aware of but did little to stop until it was too late.

“Given Leonhart’s raids against medical marijuana dispensaries and her alleged role in covering up the House of Death scandal, it would be funny if what sinks her nomination is some retirement Ponzi scheme,” said Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/08/27/ponzi-scheme-strikes-dea-_n_697264.html

Inspirational and Aspirational Words from Todd McCormick

I will be the first to admit that I am not in this movement to make friends with every clown I meet the along the path of re-legalization, while I have some great friendships that are a couple decades long from being an activist, it is definitely not on my agenda to please all of the people all the time.

-Todd McCormick

August 2011

Couldn’t have said it better myself…..Thanks Todd for the words to live by. Some folks should really take a look at it.

Mobile Collectives on the move and thriving…

I like the delivery model. I think it represents a more intimate method for patients to interact with their collectives and gives the patients a convenient and low key method of accessing their medicine. I remember my good friend and mentor Jane Weirick founded Compassion on Wheels in the early days of Prop. 215’s passage, and set forth a model for the modern delivery service. It is puzzling that some who provide these services now consider themselves to be unique and that others are copying their model. Rewind it for a minute and realize that YOU are following in the footsteps of legends, not the other way around. Cannabis delivery is a time honored tradition that far eclipses the models that the folks in this article out forth. In 1992, I was helping a person in NYC operate a delivery service in the city that was far more expansive and successful than anything we see here today….

Medical-marijuana delivery services complicate legal picture in California

From his apartment building in San Francisco’s bustling Fisherman’s Wharf neighborhood, Kevin Reed, owner of The Green Cross, goes about the daily business of running a medical-marijuana delivery service. Reed, an Alabama native with a warm Southern accent, oversees the baking of pot brownies and cookies, prepares bags for delivery, and, beginning at 8 a.m., takes phone orders from registered members of his collective. According to Reed, his enterprise isn’t so different from any other operation. “It really is just like running a pizza service.”

The emergence of door-to-door pot delivery services is at least one unintended consequence of the cat-and-mouse game between law enforcement and suppliers that’s been going on in California in recent years, in the wake of a boom in the industry — particularly since 2009,when the Obama administration announced a shift in federal policy, saying it would no longer target operators or customers of medicalmarijuana dispensaries who abide by state laws.

As officials have tried to get a handle on the proliferation with stricter regulations and forced closures, many dispensaries have found a way to remain in operation by replacing their traditional storefront with a courier service. Uniting under the slogan “We Deliver,” hundreds of mobile dispensaries now advertise their services on the Internet, offering a variety of strains of cannabis and cannabis-based products, such as brownies and cookies, to legally certified patients. These outfits may or may not be legal — since few current laws directly address their existence — but they are almost as common as dry cleaners in California now, with customer reviews available on popular Websites like Yelp.com. (“Best service ever,” says one Green Cross patron. “Seriously, so amazing. Great staff. Great people. Very knowledgeable. Gotta love the specials too!”)

The Wild Wild West
The rapid growth of California’s pot industry into uncharted legal territory has only heightened the stakes forProposition 19, a monumental initiative on the November ballot that could make California the first state in the nation to legalize marijuana for recreational purposes. Thirteen other states followed suit after Californians passed Proposition 215 in 1996, enabling patients with a valid doctor’s recommendation to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal medical use, so activists on both sides of the issue will be watching closely, looking to gauge the national mood.

While advocates have mounted a strong push for legalization (a June survey by Public Policy Polling showed 52 percent support for Prop. 19), elected officials have been just as committed in their attempts to crack down on the so-called Green Rush in the state. According to Americans for Safe Access, a total of 129 cities and nine counties across California have banned medical marijuana dispensaries. However, as more dispensaries are forced to shut down, a growing number of pot delivery services are avoiding such restrictions and thriving as a result.

Nowhere is this more evident than in Southern California, where estimates on the number of dispensaries in Los Angeles have ranged from 500 to 1,000. In an attempt to control the marijuana industry in the area, the L.A. City Council passed an ordinance in January of this yearrequiring all marijuana dispensaries that violated the city’s 2007 moratorium on new collectives to shut down their physical locations. As a result, the 439 dispensaries that ignored the initial moratorium were forced to close, and even tighter restrictions were placed on the remaining dispensaries. Under the ordinance, which went into effect June 7, only 41 are now technically eligible to stay open.

Kevin Reed’s Green Cross was the first medical marijuana dispensary to obtain a permit for delivery in San Francisco four years ago, after being forced by the city council there to shut down and move locations. Since then, he has run a successful medical-marijuana delivery service that is in compliance with all city regulations.

“There is a Wild West atmosphere right now in California and especially in L.A.,” Reed says. Reed relates the situation to his own experience with San Francisco’s city council. “I think the rise of delivery services in L.A. has a tremendous amount to do with the ordinance and forced closures. It was big news when San Francisco closed us down, and I think a lot of dispensaries in L.A. saw the success we had, and are now trying to emulate our delivery business model.”

CW: It does not serve anyone to continue to feed into the Wild West rhetoric. How egotistical does one have to believe that people are emulating them when HUNDREDS of delivery services were in business LONG BEFORE your organization ever blessed the world with your presence 4 short years ago.

City officials in Los Angeles are struggling to contain the growth of such delivery services, and maintain that their existence is in violation of the ordinance passed in January. According to Monica Valencia, press deputy for L.A. city councilman Ed Reyes, “[the medical-marijuana delivery services] are prohibited per our city ordinance. Unless the collectives are registered, they are in violation of the city’s ordinance.”

CW: Funny how private membership organization’s that operate with no zoning issues are somehow privy to an ill-written ordinance.
To regulate or not to regulate?
A real estate developer who uses the name Matt Lawrence for his business is the director of C420, an online medical-marijuana dispensary service that ships to more than 1,000 legal customers across the state. The nonprofit collective, which opened in April 2010, has hubs in both Northern and Southern California, and uses an unnamed third-party carrier to deliver the product. Lawrence emphasized the importance of following state and national guidelines, saying, “All of our customers are pre-verified with the appropriate documents and doctor’s notes. Additionally, all of our products are produced within the state. We also do not ship marijuana products out of the state, because that is against federal law.”

A longtime advocate of medical cannabis, Lawrence says, “I am actually in favor of the L.A. ordinance. The situation is out of control in California, and without proper regulation, there is a lot of opportunity for fraud and unhealthy, low-grade marijuana to be sold.”

CW: “I am actually in favor of shutting down my competitors….,” even though the city wants to shut me down too…..How ignorant.

On the other hand, Dann Halem, owner of Artists Collective, has a less favorable opinion of the crackdown in L.A. Prior to the city council vote in January, Halem moved his base of operations out of Los Angeles to West Hollywood, and set up a mobile dispensary that is now doing quite well.
“The L.A. City Council has consistently been behind on this issue. I think they are making a big mistake by forcing over 400 dispensaries to close down. Rather than regulating it and seeing the positive outcomes, they have taken the approach of containment and control. This really doesn’t benefit anyone. This industry has the potential to raise a huge amount of money for good initiatives through proper regulation.”

Councilman Reyes, who has overseen most of the consideration of the medical-marijuana-dispensaries issue, claims that the city council “has implemented a medical-marijuana ordinance that we believe is both prudent and fair. My goal has been and continues to be, implementing an ordinance that secures access for those who need access to dispensaries for medical purposes, while at the same time protecting the health and safety of our communities.”

Social benefit vs. legal nightmare
Among other attempts to control the growth of the industry overall, the state passed a law in 2003 authorizing marijuana collectives to operate strictly on a nonprofit basis. Halem, the owner of what he calls a “social business,” has capitalized on the booming medical-marijuana industry to do public good, by using medical marijuana profits to fund a social initiative. Halem accomplished this by donating his profits toward funding grants for emerging artists, writers, performers, and musicians. Halem said this is one of the most rewarding aspects of his job, as he has been able to inspire people in the art world, an industry that is consistently underfunded.

I would be interested in testimonials from the Artists, writers and performers who are reaping these benefits.

“I think marijuana should be legalized, but in a way that requires the company’s association with a federal nonprofit organization. I am against Proposition 19, because it appears to eliminate the nonprofit factor. It is hard enough to be a medical marijuana nonprofit dispensary, and Proposition 19 would make it even more difficult because we’d have to compete with big corporations. In short, we are in favor of legalization, but not corporatization.”

CW: Here we are with another operator fearing for their business model and trying to undermine legalization efforts by appealing to the non-profit aspect of the industry. NEWSFLASH: YOU CAN RUN A NON_PROFIT AND BENEFIT THE COMMUNITY IF YOU WANT TO REGARDLESS OF THE LEGAL STATUS OF CANNABIS. This is just another ill-conceived statement that chooses to play on the sympathies of people rather than the reality of the situation.

Reed feels differently about the proposition, fearing that full legalization of marijuana would benefit only recreational users, and not his patients. He adds that since becoming a delivery service, he has come to greatly appreciate the direct contact with his customers and the more welcoming response from the surrounding San Francisco neighborhood, claiming, “When we switched to delivery, suddenly people loved us because we were no longer a visible presence in the neighborhood.”

CW: “Would benefit only recreational users…” C’mon Kevin. Get real. You worry that your patients will not need you any longer and that you will have to compete in a much more vibrant market…Have you ever thought that maybe some of your “patients” wish they did not have to go to a Doctor to use cannabis? That legalizing cannabis will begin to separate the pretenders from the real patients and that REAL medical patients can be taken more seriously and the scrutiny that comes from people who feel that need to fudge their medical issues to use cannabis will cease to exist?

But a substantial number remain opposed to legalization under any scenario, delivery service or not. Roger Morgan, for instance, executive director of the spearheading anti-drug organization Coalition for a Drug-Free California, voices the group’s outrage in no uncertain terms: “We are against Proposition 19. It would be a legal nightmare. The proposition itself is so ridiculous; I think whoever wrote it must have been smoking pot at the time. Marijuana is a dangerous substance that causes irreversible harm to developing brains, and if it is legalized, there is no way to guarantee it wouldn’t get into the hands of kids who would be severely hurt by the drug.”

CW: Ahhhh… the save the kids argument. How refreshing. Yes. You are doing a great job of keeping booze, tobacco, and prescription meds out of the hands of kids. NOT. Why do all of us have to suffer because people are bad parents? This fallacy is so crazy. Kids have MUCH GREATER access to cannabis BECAUSE it is unregulated. Just ask them…Oh yeah. That would require actually communicating with them. Why not just have the government babysit for us????

Halem acknowledged that while many people can get a recommendation for medical marijuana today and his customers certainly “run the gamut,” many of his patients are clearly physically ill and need their medication delivered.

“The most rewarding part of the job is to have the ability to help someone who is really sick. When you help someone who is in a lot of pain, it is a great feeling. Frankly, it is these moments that keep us going, and I hope we will continue to be successful.

CW: I agree about this rewarding sensation, as it truly does keep you grounded, but in the same sentence you are acknowledging that you serve a number of people that are not “really sick,” thus watering down the ones who are and creating a mockery of the system. Why not just let those people, as grown ass people, use cannabis without the charades?

Source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ynews/20100827/ts_ynews/ynews_ts3502