Political

CA: Attorney general's medical marijuana guidelines change little

By LORA HINES, The Press-Enterprise

Guidelines recently issued by the state attorney general have had little effect on the Inland's regulation of medical marijuana.

Last month, Attorney General Jerry Brown said licensed state cooperatives or less formal collectives are legal under California law. Operators of for-profit storefront dispensaries may be arrested and prosecuted, he said. Brown's opinion is nonbinding.

He issued the guidelines as the San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors decided it would continue efforts to overturn the state's 2003 Medical Marijuana Program Act, also known as Prop. 215. The state has issued a little more than 23,500 medical marijuana cards since 2004, according to the California Department of Public Health.

Attorney General Jerry Brown's office says the guidelines clarify legal selling of marijuana.

Earlier this summer, the state's 4th District Court of Appeal in San Diego rejected claims by San Diego and San Bernardino counties that federal statutes outlawing marijuana pre-empt state law. The court also rejected San Bernardino County's argument that issuing medical marijuana identification cards violated the state's constitution.

San Bernardino County spokesman David Wert said Brown's opinion probably would not affect the county's decision to appeal.

"We're asking for clarification on the law," he said. "We're doing this on behalf of the sheriff's department. The county is prepared to abide by any law on the books. The Board of Supervisors has never taken a stance on medical marijuana or even on the cards."

United States: 872,721 marijuana arrests in 2007, up 5.2% from 2006

By Russ Belville, NORML Stash

Record Number Of Americans Arrested For Marijuana

The FBI has released its annual report on Crime in the United States 2007. Once again, the number of people in the United States arrested for marijuana has gone up. 872,721 Americans were arrested for marijuana in 2007, and of those arrests, 89% or 775,138 were arrests for simple possession - not buying, selling, trafficking, or manufacture (growing).

This represents an increase in marijuana arrests of 5.2% from the previous year and the fifth straight year marijuana arrests have increased from the previous year. Now a marijuana smoker is arrested at the rate of 1 every 37 seconds and almost 100 marijuana arrests per hour.

Marijuana possession is increasingly the bulk of the “War on Drugs”

More arrests for marijuana are for simple possession than for any other drug. While only 11% of marijuana arrests involve buying, selling, trafficking, or manufacture, that rate for heroin and cocaine is 27% and that rate for synthetic drugs is 31%.

While arrests for marijuana sales/manufacturing increased by 7.6% over 2006, heroin and cocaine sale/manufacturing arrests dropped by 3.8% and synthetic drugs sales/manufacturing arrests dropped 2.6%.

While arrests for marijuana possession rose by 4.9%, heroin and cocaine possession arrests fell by 8.1% and synthetic drugs possession arrests fell by 5.4%.

Washington: US Court Rebukes DEA’s Attempt to Crack Medical Marijuana Records

by Dominic Holden

Ads appearing each week on the back of the Stranger and Seattle Weekly – and similar papers on the West Coast and in Hawaii – are pretty much picking a fight with the feds: “Medical marijuana. Our doctors can help.” The ads then provide a phone number for The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation clinic, which connects patients with doctors who specialize in writing medical marijuana authorizations for the sick and dying. To the the Drug Enforcement Administration, however, THCF is flagrantly running a multi-state business that permits people to violate federal law.

On May 24th, the feds had had enough—federal prosecutor James Hagerty, at the behest of the DEA, filed a subpoena for the records of 17 individuals, 14 of whom were patients with marijuana permits from doctors at the clinic. But the subpoena had broader implications, too. 11 of those named were registered patients with Oregon’s Department of Human Services medical-marijuana program, and the subpoena also demanded that the State of Oregon turn over those patients’ private medical records to the feds.

But in a formal rebuke yesterday afternoon, a federal Judge sided with the state and the clinic, granting a motion to quash both subpoenas. “Absent a further showing of necessity and relevance, compliance with the subpoena would impact significant State and medical privacy interests and is unreasonable,” wrote Judge Robert H. Whaley of the U.S. Court Eastern District of Washington. The ruling represents a major defeat for the DEA and a victory for states with dissenting drug policies.

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