zero tolerance

Illinois: Governor's Amendatory Veto Sends Pot Decrim Bill Back To Assembly For Final Approval

IllinoisMarijuanaLeafCountyMap[TheJointBlog]

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday issued an amendatory veto of a bill that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amount of marijuana, sending it back to the General Assembly for final approval.

The General Assembly has 15 days from the next session date to approve the amended version of HB 218, which needs to receive a simple majority vote in the House and then the Senate to officially become law. The original version, introduced by Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), was approved in the Senate (37-19) on May 21 and in the House (62-53) on April 23.

Gov. Rauner’s amended version of HB 218 would make possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana a civil law violation punishable by a fine of up to $200 with no possibility of jail time, and the civil offense would be automatically expunged in order to prevent a permanent criminal record. The original version applied to possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana and set the amount of the fine at up to $125.

Under current Illinois law, possession of up to 2.5 grams of marijuana is a class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500, and possession of more than 2.5 grams and up to 10 grams is a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500. More than 100 localities in Illinois have adopted measures that reduce penalties for simple marijuana possession.

Colorado Supreme Court Affirms Employers Rights To Fire Medical Marijuana Patients

BrandonCoats[NPR]

Advocates Call for State and Federal Reform Protecting Medical Marijuana Patients and Legal Adult Users of Marijuana

The Colorado Supreme Court on Monday affirmed lower court decisions allowing employers to fire employees for marijuana use while off-duty. The decision hinged on the state’s lawful off-duty activities statute.

The Court held that in order for the off-duty conduct to be considered “lawful,” it must be legal under both state and federal law. The unanimous decision was not a surprise to advocates working to reform marijuana law and policy in Colorado.

The case involved Brandon Coats, a 34-year-old quadriplegic, who uses marijuana to help with spasms and seizures due to a debilitating car accident. Coats worked as a customer service representative for Dish Network for three years until he was randomly drug tested and subsequently fired for testing positive for THC.

The highest court in the state has now firmly sided with employers on this issue, giving advocates a clear message that state protections are needed, according to the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

The case and many others like it highlight the gray areas and legal fixes needed in Colorado and other states that have reformed their marijuana laws. Given that the substance remains illegal under federal law, any rights bestowed upon civilians by state law fall far short of fully protecting medical marijuana patients and legal adult users of marijuana.

The problem is most apparent in the areas of employment, housing and parental rights.

California: Assemblyman, MADD Founder To Demo New Roadside Drug Breathalyzer

AlcoholAndDrugTestingAhead[Unharm]

On Monday morning at the State Capitol, Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) and Candace Lightner from Mothers Against Drugged Driving (MADD) are sponsoring a demonstration of a new roadside drug test that uses oral samples instead of blood, and that could be adopted by CA law enforcement agents if pending Assembly Bill 1356 is passed.

Dr. Christine Moore, a toxicologist with the manufacturer of the roadside Alere™ DDS®2 Mobile test, will test a medical marijuana user on-site, and will be available for questions. The Alere DDS2 screens for marijuana and other drugs of abuse in only 5 minutes using oral fluids.

Since there is no "per se" limit in California for levels of THC in the blood -- and since the new bill doesn't specify one -- AB 1356 would effectively be a "zero tolerance" law, meaning lots of non-impaired folks who may have smoked marijuana hours or days before will be ensnared in the trap.

The problem is that there isn’t a reliable test -- like breath testing for alcohol -- that can measure impairment for cannabis. The saliva tests used for roadside drug testing in only detect the presence of particular substances – a driver who tests positive is quite likely not impaired. (It’s also the case that many drugs that are known to cause impairment to driving ability are not tested for – including pharmaceutical medications like benzodiazepines and opiates.)

WHO: Assemblyman Tom Lackey, R-Palmdale

Texas: Traffic Stop Could Get Two Men Life In Prison For Marijuana Brownies

TexasLifeInPrisonForPotBrownies[Amarillo.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two Texas men could be facing life in prison after a marijuana-infused brownies were discovered during a traffic stop Monday afternoon.

Potter County sheriff's deputies arrested Eli McCarthy Manna, 30, and Andrew Bruce George, 27, after pulling them over on a traffic violation on I-40 west of Amarillo, according to authorities, reports JC Cortez at Amarillo.com.

A deputy got suspicious during the stop and asked for permission to search the vehicle, which was denied, according to authorities. Deputies detained the men and asked for the help of a police dog from the Texas Department of Public Safety.

The dog alerted them to the presence of "drugs" in the vehicle, the deputies claimed, giving them probable cause to search it.

The search revealed more than 650 grams of marijuana brownies in plastic bags, along with a small amount of raw marijuana, according to authorities.

Deputies booked the men into Potter County Jail, charging them with possession of a controlled substance, more than 400 grams. Under the idiotic practice of charging defendants for the weight of a carrier as well as the marijuana itself, they are being charged for the full weight of the brownies.

If convicted, the charge carries a maximum sentence of life in prison and a fine of up to $50,000.

U.S.: Attorney General Eric Holder Ends Incentive For Law Enforcement To Seize Property

EricHolderUSAttyGen

Property Seizures by Local and State Police Often Conducted Under Pretext that Property Is Connected to Illegal Drugs

Advocates Applaud Holder for New Policy, Urge Congress to Make Reforms Permanent

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder on Friday issued an order establishing a new policy prohibiting federal agencies from accepting civil asset forfeiture assets seized by state and local law enforcement agencies unless the owner is convicted of a crime. The U.S. Treasury Department, which has its own forfeiture program, is issuing a similar policy.

The new policy will greatly restrict the ability of state and local police forces to use fedeal law to seize goods without charging an individual with a crime. Civil asset forfeiture is a process by which authorities seize property alleged to have been involved in a crime, charge the property directly, since goods do not have the same constitutional protections as their owners, and then keep most of the proceeds for departmental use.

The Department of Justice becomes involved after a state or local law enforcement agency seizes property pursuant to state law and requests that a federal agency take the seized asset and forfeit it under federal law.

U.S.: What Parents and Teachers Need to Know About Drug Education and Zero Tolerance

BeyondZeroTolerance

Back to School: New Editions of DPA Publications Beyond Zero Tolerance and Safety First Offer Pragmatic Drug Education Strategies and Policies

As the school year kicks off, two Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) publications are offering reality-based approaches to drug education and school discipline for parents, teachers and administrators that provide guidance on:

• How parents can foster open and honest dialogue with their children around the risks and consequences of drug use
• How an interactive, participatory high school drug education and student assistance program operates
• How restorative practices work effectively in high schools and what steps are required for their adoption and use

Beyond Zero Tolerance: A Reality-Based Approach to Drug Education and School Discipline is a comprehensive, humane and cost-effective approach to high school drug education. A new, updated edition was released this month.

Most high schools in the U.S. address student drug use with “zero tolerance” policies that may include expulsion, suspension, exclusion from extracurricular activities, and even arrest. Proponents of these policies argue that harsh punishment will deter most youth from engaging in alcohol and other drug use -– yet national surveys show us each year that rates of teen drug use have remained consistent over the years, while graduation rates are disturbingly low.

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