war on marijuana

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Canada: Toronto Police Raiding Marijuana Dispensaries For Non-Medical Sales

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Toronto police are currently raiding medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, charging people for trafficking non-medical cannabis.

The drug squad is reportedly working with several police divisions, along with the Toronto Licensing and Standards division in conducting the raids, reports 680 News.

The dispensaries which have been raided are:
• 600 Church St.
• Eden Medicinal Society (Queen Street location)
• Cannabis Connoisseur
• The Green Room (Spadina and Nassau)
• Weed, Glass and Gifts
• Cannawide in Kensington Market

Toronto police claim this is a criminal investigation. The drug squad officers claim they are enforcing Canada's Controlled Drugs and Substances Act. Police claim they handed out cautions on May 18, and if the dispensaries were still operating illegally, they will be fined.

Colorado: Denver Cops Combing Craiglist, Facebook For Illegal Marijuana Sales

CraigslistMarijuana[BigBudsMag].jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Denver Police are combing Craigslist and Facebook to find black market marijuana dealers who illegally promote their products online, law enforcement said on Thursday.

Recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado for adults 21 and older, but Denver Police Department spokesman Doug Schepman claimed pot dealers are circumventing state law by using online marketplaces like Craigslist and Facebook to stimulate sales, reports Andrew Blake at The Washington Times.

The Denver-area Craigslist page on Friday had more than 700 postings where marijuana is listed under the "for sale" category. Thousands of people are using the website to sell pot online, according to Kevin Torres at Fox 31 Denver.

"I think the black market in general is still very active and Craigslist is a perfect example of the active black market," said Lauren Harris, owner of Dynama Consultikng, a cannabis consulting firm that helps dispensaries navigate the rules of Colorado's legal marijuana industry.

California: Militarized Cops Seize Assets of Legal Medical Marijuana Company

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Police High Five Each Other as Cannabis Industry Leader’s Assets Frozen, $324,000 in Cash Taken, Family Bank Accounts Frozen

Med-West CEO Speaks Out for First Time Since Raid

“It was like a scene from a bad movie.”

That’s what James Slatic, the CEO of Med-West Distribution, LLC and a leader in the national effort to legalize medical cannabis products, remembers thinking when he first viewed the footage from his security cameras.

For the first time, Slatic is speaking out about the raid mounted by local law enforcement against his company, a legal medical cannabis company, on January 28, at 7:30 a.m.

His comments, contained in a video on the Indiegogo account he is using to raise money for his legal defense, raise serious issues about the role of local law enforcement in California, a state where a new law just went into effect regulating the medical cannabis industry and where a statewide ballot initiative will be held this November to legalize the adult use of recreational cannabis.

In the video, Slatic offers disturbing details from the raid: “Our two employees were put on the floor with guns to their heads. All of our assets were frozen, all of our bank accounts, all of my wife’s accounts, all of our daughters’ accounts have been frozen.”

Louisiana: Sentencing Reprieve Requested For Man Given 13 Years For 2 Joints

BeNobleFreeNoble[StopTheDrugWar.org]

The Drug Policy Alliance on Tuesday formally requested Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal to grant Bernard Noble a gubernatorial reprieve and release him from prison, where he has served more than four years behind bars having been sentenced to a term of 13.3 years of hard labor without the opportunity for parole for possessing the equivalent of two marijuana cigarettes.

Pursuant to Article IV, Section 5 of the Louisiana Constitution, the Governor has the absolute power to issue reprieves of persons convicted of crimes against the state. Drug Policy Alliance has written Governor Jindal asking him to exercise his power of office by staying Noble’s unjust sentence and setting him free.

Legislation signed into law by Governor Jindal earlier this year would make Noble a free man today had it been the law at the time of his offense. Because the new law is not retroactive in its application, a gubernatorial reprieve is required for Noble’s release. Noble has been a model prisoner during his incarceration.

Back in March, Gov. Jindal denied a clemency request from Noble; the reason given was that Noble hadn't yet served 10 years in prison.

Washington: All 3 Defendants In Kettle Falls Medical Marijuana Case Get Federal Prison

RhondaFirestack-HarveyRollandGreggMichelleGregg[HuffingtonPost]

Patient Advocates Call On President Obama to Pardon All Defendants and Fully End Federal Prosecution of Medical Cannabis Patients

Kettle Falls medical marijuana defendants Rhonda Firestack-Harvey and Michelle Gregg on Friday were sentenced to one year and a day in connection to federal cannabis cultivation charges. Fellow defendant Rolland Gregg received a sentence of 33 months. All three were released pending appeal.

In March the trio was acquitted of all crimes they were initially charged with, except for the “lesser included” charge of cannabis cultivation. The defendants were arrested in August of 2012 after the Drug Enforcement Agency seized cannabis plants on their property, which had been grown for medical purposes.

They were barred from raising a medical necessity defense, despite Washington State law allowing for the cultivation of medical cannabis.

“Jail time for the Kettle Falls defendants is an embarrassment to the judicial system,” said Americans for Safe Access (ASA) Executive Director Steph Sherer. “We’re calling on President Obama to pardon all three defendants immediately.”

Following the DEA raid charges were brought against Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, Rolland Gregg and Michelle Gregg as well as Larry Harvey and Jason Zucker. Charges were dropped against Larry Harvey who had been diagnosed with Stage IV terminal pancreatic cancer, but only a matter of days before the case went to trial, several months after his cancer diagnosis.

U.S.: Congressmen Introduce Bipartisan Bill To Eliminate DEA Marijuana Eradication Program

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Congressmen Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Justin Amash (R-MI) on Wednesday introduced a bill in the U.S. House of Representatives that would eliminate the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program.

The enormously wasteful and ineffective DEA program distributes funds to state and local law enforcement agencies for the purpose of locating and destroying marijuana cultivation sites. The proposed bill would prohibit federal funds from being distributed to federal, state, and local law enforcement agencies for any purpose pertaining to the program or any substantially similar program.

“As multiple states legalize marijuana across our nation, it is a huge waste of federal resources for the DEA to eradicate marijuana," said Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California). "The federal government should focus its precious resources on other issues and let the states innovate in the cannabis field. I am proud to introduce this bipartisan bill along with Congressman Amash.”

“Civil asset forfeiture allows innocent people to have their property taken without sufficient due process, and this program encourages civil asset forfeiture by allowing the DEA to use the proceeds of seized property to fund marijuana prohibition enforcement," said Rep. Justin Amash (R-Michigan). "This is especially troubling given that the federal government should not be expending resources on marijuana prohibition—enforcement is a state-level issue, and an increasing number of states are deciding to back off from prohibition.

Missouri: Jeff Mizanskey Walks Free After Serving Two Decades In Prison For Marijuana

JeffMizanskeyReleasedFromPrison[krgctv.com]

Jeff Mizanskey walked out of prison Tuesday morning a free man after spending 21 years behind bars because of a minor, nonviolent marijuana offense. Mizanskey walked into the arms of more than a dozen family, friends and supporters, including his son, who had fought for years for his dad's release from prison.

"I'm one of the lucky ones," Mizanskey said. "Now it's time to free the other victims of the war on drugs."

The 61-year-old became a symbol of the failed War On Drugs. His campaign for clemency attracted 391,254 Change.org petition signatures, a plea from the prosecutor who put him away, a bill proposed by Missouri Rep. Shamed Dogan, a letter for clemency from 126 Missouri lawmakers, billboards in prominent locations, including the state capitol of Jefferson City, a documentary about his plight, a commuted sentence from Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and a successful review from the parole board.

“He saw rapists, murderers and child molesters get out of prison while he was sentenced to die behind bars for something that should not be a crime to begin with,” said his lawyer, Dan Viets. "Jeff's case is an example of the extremely harsh drug laws which have failed to reduce marijuana use but have wasted vast amounts of public money in the effort to enforce marijuana prohibition, disrupting the lives of good people who do not deserve to be treated like criminals."

Texas: Police Search Woman's Vagina For Marijuana - In Parking Lot

CharnesiaCorleyAccustedDeputyOfIllegalSearch[ABC13]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Texas woman says sheriff's deputies violated constitutional protections by conducting a body cavity search in the parking lot of a gas station during a routine traffic stop last June.

Charnesia Corley, 21, was driving in Harris County about 10:30 p.m. on June 21 when a male deputy pulled her over, allegedly for running a stop sign, reports Dylan Baddour at the Houston Chronicle. He claimed he smelled marijuana, handcuffed Corley, put her in the back of his cruiser and searched her vehicle for almost an hour.

The officer found no marijuana, said Corley's attorney, Sam Cammack.

Returning to his cruiser, the deputy again claimed he smelled marijuana, and called in a female deputy to conduct a body cavity search. When the female deputy arrived, she ordered Corley, who is African American, to pull her pants down, but Corley protested, saying she was handcuffed and had no panties on.

The deputy ordered Corley to bend over, then pulled down her pants and began to insert her fingers into Corley's vagina. "She tells me to pull my pants down," Corley said. "I said, 'Ma'am, I don't have any underwear on. She says, 'Well, that doesn't matter. Pull your pants down," Corley said.

"I bend over and she proceeds to try to force her hand inside of me. I tell her, 'Ma'am, No. You cannot do this,'" Corley said.

Georgia: Man Arrested On Drug Charges Claims Marijuana Is Salad

ManTellsPoliceMarijuanaIsSalad[StMarysPoliceDepartment]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A 26-year-old Georgia man was arrested Friday after police found a pound of marijuana during a traffic stop. Richard Relliford was unable to convince the cops that he was just heading home planning to salad, according to a Facebook post from the St. Mary's Police Department.

The police Facebooked a photo of the marijuana in a sandwich bag with a message:

"Look, If we have said it once, we have said a zillion times! No matter how hard you try to convince us this green leafy stuff is salad and you're just coming back from the store going to make a chef salad, Well Sous Chef UP! A SALAD THIS IS NOT!!!"

"Officers encountered Richard Relliford during a traffic stop, a 26 year old St. Marys resident, who had recently obtained this 1 pound bag of marijuana. He went to jail, as this is still illegal in Georgia!!!"

"Stay Safe Out There---Criminals Are A-FOOT!!" the Facebook post read.

The post generated more than 140 Likes and sparked a conversation about drug reform in the comments section.

"And I was going to offer up some ranch dressing!" commented Facebook user Lisa Toal. "Too funny!"

"Normal bag of cabbage?" chimed in Richard Ghiloni. "No says I."

Louisiana: Governor Denies Clemency To Man Serving 13 Years For 2 Joints

BeNobleFreeNoble[StopTheDrugWar.org]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal recently denied a clemency request from Bernard Noble, a man serving 13 years for possessing two joints.

The reason behind the denial was the Noble had not yet served 10 years in prison, reports Phillip Smith at AlterNet.

Noble's sentence is a prime example of the harsh nature of the marijuana laws in many parts of the country, according to Tony Papa at AlterNet.

"As someone who was sentenced to life in prison for a first time non-violent drug crime I know how important second chances are," Papa said. "In 1997 after serving 12 years I was granted executive clemency by New York Governor George Pataki."

"But in the case of Bernard Noble it seems that Louisiana's Governor Jindal has chosen not to show the compassion that our President has shown and instead ignores the injustice of Noble's case while he rots away in prison for 13 years for the possession of two joints," Papa said.

Under Louisiana law, possession of up to 60 pounds of marijuana is punishable by six months in jail on a first offense, up to five years in prison for a second offense, and up to 20 years in prison for a third offense. Third-time offenders are not eligible for probation.

U.S.: Democratic Congressman Wants To Defund DEA's Marijuana Eradication Program

PotCops[DiscoveryChannel]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-California) is backing legislation to end funding for the Drug Enforcement Administration's wasteful marijuana eradication program.

“This is a ridiculous waste of precious federal resources, especially when multiple states and jurisdictions have already legalized marijuana,” Lieu said in a statement on Wednesday, reports Fox News. “It is time for the federal government to stop making marijuana use or possession a federal crime.”

Lieu's proposed amendment to a 2016 fiscal spending bill would cut in half the DEA's $18 million budget for eradicating cannabis grows, according to the report.

The $9 million in savings would fund domestic and sexual abuse support programs for children, reports Mark Hensch at The Hill.

Rep. Lieu on Wednesday said he intends to completely end the DEA's marijuana eradication program by fiscal 2017.

"Next year, I will bring another amendment to eliminate the program completely," he said.

Lieu called the program wasteful, given growing support for cannabis legalization nationwide.

Under the eradication program, DEA provides your tax dollars to state and local law enforcement agencies to confiscate and destroy growing marijuana plants. The program goes after both outdoor and indoor operations.

U.S.: Slammerbooks Creates Opportunity For Prisoners, Promotes Drug War Reform

SlammerBooks.comPublishingAndPrisonReformAwareness[FacebookPage]

What do you get when you mix a medical marijuana activist, now a federal prisoner of the War On Marijuana, together with a federal white collar prisoner who was once a narcotics officer and a medical marijuana activist outside of prison together into a creative stew and simmer for 18 months? How about slammerbooks.com, an enterprise that creates genuine opportunity for thousands of current and former prisoners, and promotes justice, drug war and prison reform!

"Slammerbooks.com was created to show that prisoners can be a force for positive change in the law, justice and in the way offenders are rehabilitated," reads a Thursday press release. "Slammerbooks.com achieves this goal through showcasing the literary talent of prisoners."

Slammerbooks.com is the brainchild of Dustin Costa, a former Marine, union organizer and president, and medical marijuana/cannabis reform activist and Jack Straw, a white collar prisoner and former head of a major drug task force in the Midwest. They took their vision to Joe Grumbine, creator of the The Human Solution, a medical marijuana court support non-profit. Grumbine has now turned their vision into a reality with the creation of slammerbooks.com

Slammerbooks.com launched on April 18 with a half-dozen books by prisoners now being developed for publishing. Since launching, Slammerbooks.com has already received nearly a hundred inquiries from prisoners seeking to have their books published. "As more prisoners learn about us, that number will grow into the thousands," the company's press release predicts.

Indonesia: Police Burn 3 Tons Of Marijuana, Accidentally Get Entire Town High

IndonesianPoliceBurn3TonsMarijuanaGetEntireTownHigh[Malesbanget.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Police in Palmerah, Indonesia, a sub-district of West Jakarta, accidentally got an entire town stoned when they burned a 3.3-ton pile of marijuana.

A number of residents and journalists in the Indonesian neighborhood reported feeling disoriented, dizzy and stoned when heavy plumes of smoke wafted through their streets, reports Dangerous Minds.

Some of the police wore masks as they first set the cannabis ablaze, but neglected to mention to onlookers and residents in the surrounding community that the smoke could affect them, too.

Photo: Malesbanget.com

Nevada: Cannabix Releases Renderings and Video of Marijuana Breathalyzer

Cannabis(ProductShot)

Cannabix says its hand-held THC marijuana breathalyzer is being developed to give law enforcement and employers the ability to test for recent consumption of the THC component of marijuana -- and interestingly, the company is featuring this product, presumably a tool in the War On Pot, at a generally pro-weed trade show in Las Vegas. Prototype renderings are being showcased at the National Marijuana Business Conference and Expo.

"Cannabix Technologies Inc. is pleased to report the release of its first publicly available device renderings and video presentation of its Cannabix Marijuana Breathalyzer," the company announced in a prepared release. "Cannabix is developing a feature rich, durable, hand-held THC breathalyzer device for law enforcement and the workplace.

Media files and video which show the design and features of the prototype are available for online viewing at cannabixtechnologies.com. The product renderings will also be showcased at the National Marijuana Business Conference and Expo from November 12-14, at the Rio in Las Vegas. Cannabix senior executives will be sharing the video demo and discussing prototype development progress at booth 219.

Oregon: First Lady Admits Planning Illegal Marijuana Grow

OregonFirstLadyCylviaHayesCrying

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Oregon First Lady Cylvia Hayes, fiancee of Governor John Kitzhaber, has confessed to planning an illegal marijuana grow operation with her then-boyfriend back in 1997. The revelation comes less than a week after Hayes admitted she illegally married an Ethiopian immigrant that same year.

Hayes said she was living on the property with her then-boyfriend in Okanogan, Washington, near the border of Canada, for the purpose of growing and selling marijuana, reports Sara Roth at KGW.

"Last Thursday, I admitted that 17 years ago I was in the middle of a very difficult and unstable period of my life," Hayes said. "I said then, and I'll say again ... I was associating with the wrong kind of people and making mistakes."

"I am not proud of that brief period of time," Hayes said. "I was involved in an abusive relationship with a dangerous man. We lived together for several months on the property in Okanogan that was intended to be the site of a marijuana grow operation that never materialized."

The man who sold the property, then repossessed it, indicated that a marijuana grow was already in progress. "There was a full-sized pool table upstairs in the house and that was the first clue," broker Patrick Siemion told KGW's Mike Benner. "There were marijuana trimmings on the table.

U.S.: Former Race Car Driver Randy Lanier To Be Released From Life In Prison For Marijuana

RandyLanier1986

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Federal marijuana prisoner Randy Lanier, 60, a former race car driver, will be released from prison after serving 26 years of a life sentence at the high-security Federal Correction Complex of Coleman in Florida for a 1988 conviction on leading a marijuana drug ring.

U.S. District Judge J. Phil Gilbert has granted a motion by the federal government to reduce Lanier's life sentence and has approved his pending release, reports Jon Saraceno at Autoweek.com. Earlier this year, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. endorsed a proposal to reduce sentencing for convicted drug dealers, while seeking to eliminate mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders.

"He has served his time with dignity and respect," said Stephen Ross Johnson, lead attorney for Lanier since 2002. "He has helped mentor young people in the prison system."

The brief order issued by Judge Gilbert gives no reason for the sentence reduction. In addition to his life sentence, Lanier was given an additional maximum of 40 years on a distribution charge and another five years on an IRS fraud charge.

Lanier's release comes with heavy restrictions, including drug-and-alcohol tests, no consumption of alcohol or patronizing of establishments that sell it, no firearms, and no lines of credit without approval from his probation officer.

Georgia: Cops Raid Man's Home After Mistaking Okra For Marijuana

DwaynePerry(Okra-Marijuana)

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

What have those Georgia cops been smoking? They don't know the difference between okra and cannabis.

A Georgia man woke up to find a police helicopter hovering over his home, and sheriff's deputies pounding at the door to search his property for drugs. "They were strapped to the gills," Dwayne Perry said. But all he was growing was okra.

Drug agents from the Governor's Task Force had spotted what they thought was marijuana growing in Perry's yard in Cartersville, reports WSB-TV. "I was scared actually, at first, because I didn't know what was happening," Perry said.

Bartow County deputies and a K-9 unit appeared at his doorstep expecting to make a marijuana bust. "Instead, it's okra and maybe a bush on the end of the house," Perry said.

When Channel 2's reporter called the Georgia State Patrol, which is in charge of the drug task force, for an explanation, all he got was weak excuses. The officers sent an evidence photo of the okra.

"We've not been able to identify it as of yet," said Georgia State Patrol Capt. Kermit Stokes, who evidently is mystified by the sight of okra. "But it did have quite a number of characteristics that were similar to a cannabis plant." Incredibly, this moron still has a job in law enforcement.

"Here I am, at home and retired and you know I do the right thing," Perry said. "Then they come to my house strapped with weapons for no reason. It ain't right."

California: Mysterious Men Dropping From Helicopters, Chopping Down Mendo Marijuana

MysteriousMenRaidMendoMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A mysterious group of men has been raiding medical marijuana plots in Mendocino County, California, and local residents are mystified about the identity of the camouflage-clad group, who aren't police officers.

The men dress in combat camouflage, reports Joe Vazquez at KPIX 5, and some of them hide their faces.

Some say the men, on missions to eradicate marijuana, work for a security company called Lear Asset Management, according to Vazquez.

Lear Asset Management "works with law enforcement," according to their promotional poster, but Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman said "The sheriff's department doesn't hire any private security to do our job."

Allman said all of his men -- unlike the mysterious marijuana raiders -- wear badges and clearly identify themselves. And Lear Asset Management President Paul Trouette said his company had nothing to do with the raid on Susan Schindler's garden.

Schindler said her medical marijuana garden was hit last month. "They took hand saws and just cut the trunks," she said.

The armed men in camouflage dropped into her garden from an unmarked helicopter and refused to identify themselves, according to Schindler. "There was no paperwork, no copies of any warrants, they didn't leave any inventory of what they took," she said.

Ohio: Man Kills Himself During Marijuana Farm Standoff

PotLeafPeaceSign

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Timothy Sturgis just wanted to be left alone to grow his marijuana. When the time came, Sturgis, 42, on Tuesday night shot himself after a two-hour standoff with law enforcement.

Sturgis kept a loaded gun in every room of his home in Ashille, reports Holly Zachariah at The Columbus Dispatch. Cops propped each of the 10 guns they seized from the Pickaway County property on Wednesday next to a mirror. A bow and arrows hung on the enclosed back porch.

A German shepherd guarded the 21 acres surrounding a well-hidden farmhouse, and a Doberman pinscher kept wath inside. An alarm at the end of the long driveway was triggered whenever anyone approached.

Sturgis shot himself after a standoff in the woods and thick, 14-foot-high weeds and brush behind his home at 15240 Lockbourne Eastern Road in Ashville. He was pronounced dead at 8:56 p.m. on Tuesday night.

"Just talked to him Sunday, always a friendly guy asking how things were going," commented "ThisNameWasntTaken" on Topix.com. "Total shock."

U.S.: Anti-Marijuana 'Experts' Are Paid By Big Pharma Painkiller Drug Companies

FDA-BigPharmavsMarijuana

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Opponents of the marijuana law reform, alarmed by the rising tide of cannabis-sane legislation sweeping the United States, have turned to a group of paid academic "experts" to bolster their regressive arguments against relaxing the pot laws.

These so-called experts who are paid to offer anti-marijuana opinions in the press may represent a conflict of interest in the cannabis debate, reports Lee Fang at Vice.

Many of the "researchers" who have publicly opposed marijuana legalization are also on the payrolls of Big Pharma companies with products that could be easily (and much more safely) replaced by marijuana. Even worse, when these sold-out "scientists" have been quoted in the popular media, their financial ties to the drug industry haven't been revealed.

Dr. Herbert Kleber of Columbia University is an example. He has impressive academic credentials, and has been extensively quoted in both the popular press and in scholarly publications warning against marijuana use. Dr. Kleber claims pot may cause huge addiction and public health issues.

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