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U.S.: Spineless Federal Judge Declines To Remove Marijuana From Schedule I List


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

If you've ever doubted that the deck is stacked, you can safely lay those doubts to rest. A federal judge in California on Wednesday unexplainably declined to remove marijuana from a list of the most dangerous drugs, ignoring all evidence to the contrary.

U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller issued the nonsensical ruling in response to a motion by defense lawyers to dismiss charges in a case the authorities claim involves a marijuana growing operation, reports Don Thompson at the Associated Press.

Marijuana's classification as a Schedule I drug under the Uniform Controlled Substances Act means the U.S. federal government officially considers cannabis to be roughly on par with heroin (also on Schedule I) in terms of danger. Schedule I drugs are considered to have no accepted medical uses and a high potential for abuse.

It was the first time in decades that a federal judge seriously considered marijuana's classification. To rule that cannabis is a Schedule I controlled substance means ignoring the vast body of medical evidence that has accumulated in recent decades, including hundreds of clinical studies and thousands of patient testimonials.

Mueller's move to hold a hearing last year to look at the issue is considered a significant step reflecting growing skepticism about federal marijuana laws, according to Sam Kamin, an expert on cannabis regulation at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

Montana: Judge Blocks Enforcement of Key Parts of Medical Marijuana Law


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Montana judge on Friday permanently banned enforcement of key provisions of the state's restrictive medical marijuana law.

District Judge James Reynolds blocked several provisions, including a ban on advertising medical marijuana and the prohibition of commercial sales for profit to authorized patients, reports Charles S. Johnson at the Billings Gazette.

The prohibition on for-profit marijuana sales, passed by a Republican-controlled Legislature after Montana voters legalized medicinal cannabis, essentially meant that medical marijuana patients in Montana had to grow their own supply.

Judge Reynolds also struck down provisions that restrict medical marijuana providers from helping more than three authorized patients obtain marijuana -- again, remember, without them being able to be paid, under the old rules struck down by the judge on Friday.

The judge also struck down a part of the law that required the state to provide the Board of Medical Examiners with the names of any doctors who, within a one-year period, authorized more than 25 patients for medical marijuana. The law would have required the physician in question to pay for an automatic review of his practices by the Board of Medical Examiners.

Washington: Five Medical Marijuana Patients Headed To Federal Trial; Prosecutors Seek 10 Years


Prosecutions Contradict Obama Administration Statements, Policy Against Targeting Sick Patients

Family members from a rural area of eastern Washington are expected to go to trial next month on federal marijuana charges, despite the Obama Administration's repeated claims that it does not target seriously ill patients. The federal trial of the "Kettle Falls 5" is scheduled for May 12, pending several pretrial motions which will be heard on April 22 before U.S. District Judge Fred Van Sickle in Spokane.

Because of marijuana's illegal status under federal law, patients like the "Kettle Falls 5" are typically prohibited from raising a medical necessity or state law defense in federal court.

Federal agents raided the property of Larry Harvey, 70, and his wife, Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 55, at their rural family home near Kettle Falls, Washington in August 2012. In addition to seizing 44 premature marijuana plants, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) confiscated the family's 2007 Saturn Vue, $700 in cash, medicated cookies and marijuana stored in the family freezer, along with legally owned firearms.

The five federal defendants, including Mrs. Firestack-Harvey’s son, Rolland Gregg, and daughter-in-law, were all qualified patients in compliance with Washington state law. Defense attorneys say the cannabis being cultivated on a remote corner of the family's 33-acre property was strictly for personal use.

Alabama: Former Police Officer Admits He Sold Marijuana

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A former police officer in Alabama on Thursday pleaded guilty to a federal drug charge, admitting he conspired with an Irvington dealer to sell marijuana.

Lynvanh Rasavong, 43, said nothing except to answer "Yes" and "No" to questions from U.S. District Judge Kristi DuBose, reports Brendan Kirby at al.com.

Judge DuBose accepted the guilty plea and scheduled sentencing for July. Rasavong faces up to five years in prison, but defense attorney Richard Holmes said he expects his client to be eligible for probation under advisory sentencing guidelines.

"We're hoping for straight probation, but he understands that's at the discretion of the judge," Holmes said.

Rasavong resigned from the Montgomery Department of Public Safety in December during the marijuana investigation. He had worked for the Montgomery Police Department since 1998, and was working at a desk at police headquarters when he resigned.

Law enforcement had learned that codefendant Somphith "Mike" Khemmanivanh was selling marijuana from his home in Irvington, according to Assistant U.S. Attorney Gina Vann. The Mobile County Sheriff's Office got a warrant to search Khemmanivanh's home, according to Vann, and when deputies arrived, they found Khemmanivanh and Rasavong inside with four pounds of weed.

"Both of them confessed, and here we are," Vann said.

Michigan: Marijuana Defendant Gets 11 Years For 6 Tons

There is a truth that must be heard!By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

One of nine defendants in a six-ton marijuana bust in Michigan was sentenced on Wednesday to 11 years and three months in federal prison.

Patrick O'Meara was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Paul Maloney in Kalamazoo, reports John Agar at Mlive.com.

O'Mera had pleaded guilty to conspiracy to deliver marijuana in the 12,000-pound marijuana bust from October 2011.

Earlier, Judge Maloney had sentenced Tony Frank Disla-Santiago to 11 years, three months. Angel Luis De Leon-De Jesus got six years, six months; Flavio Ramos got five years, three months; and Anthony Castro-Gonzales was sentenced to two years in federal prison.

The federal Drug Enforcement Administration had tracked the shipment, which they claimed had a street value of $12 million.

A DEA special agent in Indianapolis told authorities that a semi loaded with marijuana was headed to a specific location in the city of Wyoming, Michigan. Law enforcement were watching the warehouse as the cannabis was unloaded.

According to the federal indictment, the defendants conspired to possess and distribute 1,000 kilograms or more of marijuana from 2009 through October 21, 2011.

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