sam kamin

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U.S.: Ruling Could Limit Federal Marijuana Prosecutions

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A federal appeals court is expected soon to rule on the scope of the law that could point the way to ending or overturning at least six federal marijuana prosecutions and convictions.

People who are fighting federal marijuana charges say that a recent act of Congress should have stopped the U.S. Department of Justice from prosecuting them, because their activities were legally allowed in their states. Cannabis is still illegal under federal law for any purpose.

"It's been the hardest thing I've ever hard to deal with in my life when you see the government coming down on you for simply trying to be healthy," said Rolland Gregg, who along with his family has fought federal marijuana charges, reports the Associated Press. Gregg said the cannabis plants found on his property in Kirkland, Washington were for medicinal use and in compliance with state law.

Washington, DC: Supreme Court May Rule On Colorado Marijuana Legalization

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

The US Supreme Court were scheduled to meet today to discuss the case brought against Colorado by Nebraska and Oklahoma over marijuana legalization.

The justices' first determination is whether or not to even consider the case. The lawsuit requests that the Supreme Court overturn Colorado's legal marijuana program.

Their decision is expected early next week. Sam Kamin, a University of Denver professor who specializes in marijuana law, said the justices may not have even gotten around to discussing the case Friday. The case has previously been pushed back twice at conferences.

"We just don't know what's going on behind the scenes," Kamin said.

In the lawsuit, two of Colorado's neighboring states ask the Supreme Court to overturn the state's legal marijuana industry, saying that state-authorized legalization conflicts with federal law, and that marijuana coming across Colorado borders has created a burden.

Colorado officials defended the legality of their marijuana industry, while the Obama administration urged the Supreme Court to not take the case.

Kamin implied that the death of Justice Antonin Scalia could impact the case. Scalia seemed to support the argument in a speech he made in Boulder a couple months before the suit was filed.

"[T]he Constitution contains something called the Supremacy Clause," he said about marijuana, referencing the provision that says federal law tops state law when the two are in direct conflict.

Oregon: Legal Marijuana Sales Begin Oct. 1; Past Convictions Can Be Cleared

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Oregon wasn't the first state, or the largest, to legalize marijuana. But when it begins retail cannabis sales next month, the state will blaze a new trail, because it will consider applications to clear the record of past marijuana convictions.

Paperwork which would forever seal old pot offenses is now available in Oregon, thanks to a new law, and those who complete the process can legally say to any employer, landlord or anyone else who asks that they've never been convicted or cited for any drug crime at all, reports Kirk Johnson at The New York Times.

Fifteen years ago, when Erika Walton, then in her 20s, handed a bong to someone who turned out to be a police officer, she was cited for marijuana possession. She paid the fine, but the violation continued to haunt her as part of her record.

"It's taken away a lot of my life," Walton said as she inked out her fingerprints, which Oregon requires for sealing the file. Walton said the minor citation cost her when she had to disclose it on job applications and for volunteer positions at her children's school.

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

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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.

Colorado: These Are The Good Old Days - Things About To Change In Marijuana Market

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

This may be the golden age of marijuana in Colorado, and things are about to change.

Supply-and-demand is ever-so-slowly leading to lower prices on the recreational front, and legislative changes are in the offing that could make it more difficult for doctors to authorize medicinal cannabis for severe pain, reports Jeremy P. Mayer at The Denver Post. Voters could be asked to add a special tax onto medical marijuana, and there's even been some reckless talk about discontinuing medicinal cannabis altogether, lumping all cannabis sales into the recreational market.

"It is fluid," said Samn Kamin, a law professor at the University of Denver. "Everyone knew this was going to happen.

"This is the first-of-its-kind regulation," Kamin said. "We knew we weren't going to get everything right the first time."

Medical marijuana caregivers in Colorado may grow up to six plants for up to five patients, for a total of 30 plants, but some get a waiver to grow more. As of May, the state had about 5,000 registered caregivers.

A bill will be introduced in the Colorado Legislature next session to reduce the number of plants that caregivers can grow for their patients, and require the caregivers to go through a much more stringent approval process with state health officials.

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