lawsuit

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Arizona: Medical Marijuana Patients File Lawsuit Against State

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By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Two registered medical marijuana patients have filed a lawsuit against the state of Arizona with the goal of reducing the annual registration fee for patients. Yolanda Daniels and Lisa Becker both claim the state is hoarding the funds and failing to reduce fees as the 2010 law that legalized medical marijuana required.

The lawsuit claims that the state's Department of Health's account balance was $11.5 million at the end of 2015. The Department collected $2.6 million more than is necessary to run the program from caregivers, patients, and dispensaries, according to attorney Sean Berberian.

“In a time when medication is more expensive than ever, the state should be helping to make it cheaper for Arizonans,” says Berberian. “The state is deliberately squatting on the excess fund instead of refunding it to patients or using it in furtherance of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act, such as to help patients.”

Berbarian says that former-Governor Jan Brewer “influenced the setting of the initial patient and caregiver card prices to keep many qualifying patients from accessing legal medication.” He notes that current Governor Doug Ducey remains opposed to medical cannabis.

U.S.: Supreme Court Rejects Other States' Lawsuit Over Colorado Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The United States Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear the case brought by Nebraska and Oklahoma against Colorado over its marijuana legalization law. Oklahoma and Nebraska had claimed the Colorado law had created an increased law enforcement burden in neighboring states.

The suit, filed by Nebraska Attorney General John Bruning and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, claimed that federal marijuana prohibition preempts the law that Colorado voters decisively adopted in 2012. The Federal Government filed a brief urging the high court to reject the case.

"There is no question about it: This is good news for legalization supporters," said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. "This case, if it went forward and the Court ruled the wrong way, had the potential to roll back many of the gains our movement has achieved to date. And the notion of the Supreme Court standing in the way could have cast a dark shadow on the marijuana ballot measures voters will consider this November.

Maine: Marijuana Initiative Supporters File Lawsuit Challenging Ballot Disqualification

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Backers of an initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Maine filed a lawsuit in Kennebec County Superior Court on Thursday challenging the Secretary of State’s decision to disqualify the measure from the November ballot.

According to the suit, which is now available online at http://bit.ly/1pzNhVO, state officials improperly invalidated thousands of signatures of registered Maine voters and unlawfully denied citizens their constitutional right to vote on the measure.

Campaign leader David Boyer and attorney Scott Anderson announced the details of the suit at a news conference in the office of Portland law firm Verrill Dana. Anderson is representing a group of Maine voters who signed the petition in support of the initiative, including Boyer, State Sen. Eric Brakey, and State Rep. Diane Russell, among others.

Last week, the Secretary of State’s Office announced that the proposed initiative did not qualify for the November ballot. With 61,123 signatures of registered Maine voters required, state officials determined that initiative backers submitted 51,543 valid signatures.

In a document explaining their determination, state officials said they invalidated more than 5,000 petitions, which included more than 26,000 total petition signatures, solely due to their finding that the signature of a notary did not “match” the signature the state has on file. It appears more than 17,000 signatures were otherwise valid signatures of registered Maine voters.

Maine: Marijuana Legalization Initiative Backers File Lawsuit Challenging Disqualification

MaineCampaignToRegulateMarijuanaLikeAlcohol2016

Backers of an initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in Maine will file a lawsuit in Kennebec County Superior Court on Thursday that challenges the Secretary of State’s decision to disqualify the measure from the November ballot.

Campaign leader David Boyer and attorney Scott Anderson will announce the details of the suit at a news conference at 1 p.m. ET Thursday in the office of Portland law firm Verrill Dana (One Portland Square, 9th Floor). Anderson is representing a group of Maine voters who signed the petition in support of the initiative, including Boyer, State Sen. Eric Brakey, and State Rep. Diane Russell.

Last week, the Maine Secretary of State’s Office announced that a proposed initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Maine did not qualify for the November ballot. While 61,123 signatures of registered Maine voters were required, state officials determined that initiative backers submitted 51,543 valid signatures.

It appears that more than 17,000 valid signatures of registered Maine voters were not included in the count because the signature of an individual notary did not match the signature the state has on file for that notary.

WHAT: News conference to discuss lawsuit challenging the Maine Secretary of State’s decision to disqualify the initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol

WHEN: Thursday, March 10, 1 p.m. ET

WHERE: Office of law firm Verrill Dana, 9th Floor, One Portland Square, Portland

WHO: Scott Anderson, partner, Verrill Dana
David Boyer, CRMLA campaign manager

Kansas: Couple Whose Tea Was Mistaken For Marijuana Loses Federal Suit Over SWAT Raid

RobertAndAdlynnHarte[KCTV]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A federal judge in Kansas last Friday ruled against a couple who'd brought a lawsuit in response to a botched SWAT-style pot raid, in which their home was ransacked by drug agents after a a field test incorrectly identified tea in their garbage as marijuana.

U.S. District Judge John Lungstrum entered the annals of infamy with the ruling that police acted legally and reasonably in planning and conducting the botched raid on the home of Robert and Adlynn Harte, former CIA agents whose children were 7 and 13 ast the time, reports Jacob Sullum at Reason, working on a tip from Marc Sandhaus, a good friend of Hemp News.

The Hartes and their children "were intimidated, accused, traumatized and held under armed guard" for two and a half hours while Johnson County sheriffs' deputies ransacked their home, after which they presented the family with a receipt reading "no items taken," rather than an apology.

According to the lawsuit, when a team of Rambo'd out SWAT team deputies arrived at the suburban Kansas City home, Robert Harte was forced to lie shirtless in the foyer while a deputy with an assault rifle stood over him. The children reportedly came out of their bedrooms terrified, the boy with his hands in the air, reports The Kansas City Star.

South Carolina: Marijuana Charges Dropped After Cop Kills Teen In Parking Lot

ZacharyHammond[Reason.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

In a horrific abuse of police power, 19-year-old Zachary Hammond was shot and killed in July in a Hardee's parking lot by an officer after an undercover narc lured 23-year-old Toni Morton, Hammond's date, there to sell marijuana. After Hammond was shot and killed, Morton was charged with possession of 10 grams of marijuana.

On Tuesday, three months later, local Circuit Solicitor Chrissy Adams announced she won't be pressing charges after "careful consideration of the facts of the case, a thorough review of the State investigation, and an extensive review of all applicable law," reports Ed Krayewski at Reason.com.

Police claim the officer, Mark Tiller, acted in "self defense," but attorneys for Hammond's family point out that an autopsy they commissioned found Hammond was shot in the back. The dash cam video of the incident, released by authorities, shows that Tiller fired at Hammond after the car was already driving away.

Attorneys also petitioned the South Carolina attorney general to remove Adams from the case, since it involved a cop within her circuit and because of other conflicts of interests. Adams refused to recuse herself, while the attorney general hasn't responded to the petition.

The U.S. Department of Justice is also investigating the incident to determine whether to bring federal charges. The U.S. attorney investigating asked her not to release any more information about the shooting, Adams claimed.

Colorado: Marijuana Pesticide Concerns Prompt Liability Lawsuit

BrandanFlores[420intel.com]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Two cannabis users in Colorado -- one of them a medical marijuana patient with a brain tumor -- have sued the largest pot grower in the state for allegedly using a potentially dangerous pesticide on the weed they later purchased.

Brandan Flores and Brandie Larrabee have brought a lawsuit against LivWell Inc., seeking class-action status and alleging the company has for years inappropriately used Eagle 20, a harsh fungicide containing myclobutanil, report David Migoya and Ricardo Baca at The Denver Post.

Neither Flores, who lives in Denver, nor Larrabee, who lives in Grand Junction, claim they were sickened from using the marijuana they got at LivWell, but both say they wouldn't have used it if they had known it was treated with Eagle 20.

"In a larger sense they're saying the marijuana industry can't go on unchecked and someone has to do something to stop these people from using Eagle 20 and other harmful pesticides," said attorney Steven Woodrow, representing Flores and Larrabee.

The two are asking for unspecified financial damages for money they overspent to buy cananbis they said should have been discounted because of the pesticide. The 40-page lawsuit, filed on Monday in Denver District Court, says the fungicide myclobutanil, when heated, produces "poisonous hydrogen cyanide" and alleges that consumers who smoke marijuana treated with Eagle 20 ingest the gas.

Canada: Corporate Medical Marijuana Battle Imperils Access For Veterans With PTSD

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Safe access to medicinal cannabis is being put in peril for hundreds of Canadian military veterans due to a battle between two companies, one comprised of veterans, in the Great White North.

Marijuana for Trauma Inc. and its principals/shareholders on Tuesday announced they have commenced a lawsuit against OrganiGram Holdings Inc., whose wholly-owned subsidiary, OrganiGram Inc. (OrganiGram) is a licensed producer of medical marijuana in Canada.

The lawsuit was filed with the Court of Queen's Bench of New Brunswick, Judicial District of Fredericton for breach of confidence, conversion, breach of contract, conspiracy and breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligent misrepresentation, according to MFT.

The lawsuit alleges OrganiGram denied MFT its interest in Trauma Healing Centers Inc. (THC). THC, developed through a partnership between MFT, OrganiGram and Denis Arsenault, CEO of OrganiGram and also a Defendant in the lawsuit, opened centers in several cities in eastern Canada to provide services to those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other chronic conditions caused by trauma.

MFT alleges that OrganiGram unlawfully terminated the relationship, unlawfully used MFT's proprietary information, business practices, and expansion plans for MFT. Following the termination of the relationship in February 2015, THC moved to restrict MFT from helping veterans and first responders outside of New Brunswick.

California: Federal Civil Rights Lawsuit Filed In Medical Marijuana Dispensary Raid Case

TheHumanSolutionInternational(logo)

A federal lawsuit is being filed in the case of Santa Ana police officers who engaged in inappropriate behavior during raids of medical marijuana collectives. The officers were seen on hidden camera footage eating cannabis-infused edibles and threatening to kick a wheelchair-bound, legally blind dispensary volunteer.

The Law Office of Matthew Pappas, The Human Solution International, the Law Office of Anthony Curiale and The Swain Law Office will hold a press conference on Friday, July 3, 1:30 p.m. at the Marriott Live, located at 900 W. Olympic Blvd. in Los Angeles.

Attorney Pappas and retired L.A.P.D. Deputy Chief Steve Downing will discuss additional video of Santa Ana officers engaged in inappropriate behavior during raids of medical marijuana collectives and will provide an update on evidence of political corruption related to Santa Ana's medical marijuana ordinance and lottery.

Patient Marla James will show a new electric wheelchair paid for and provided to her by a cannabis oil company in Colorado after people working for the company watched video of the May 26 Sky High collective raid in Santa Ana. Thereafter, attorneys Anthony Curiale, James Kajtoch and Stefan Borst-Censullo will discuss a multi-million dollar state claim for damages filed on behalf of patients attacked during April and May raids in Santa Ana.

In addition, the Swain Law Office will announce the filing of a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Kansas Department for Children and Families and State of Kansas.

Colorado: Medical Marijuana Company Fires Back At Hershey

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TinctureBelle disputes claim its candies resemble giant chocolate maker’s products

A small, family-owned medical marijuana company in Colorado, TinctureBell, on Wednesday responded to allegations made by the Hershey Company in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, that TinctureBelle is selling marijuana-infused candies that resemble Hershey products.

“The lawsuit from Hershey came as a huge surprise to us,” said TinctureBelle President Char Mayes, “because we changed our entire label line approximately six months ago, long before these allegations surfaced last week. Our new packaging looks nothing like Hershey’s or anyone else’s.”

Hershey did not contact TinctureBelle before filing suit, according to Mayes. “The first we heard of it was from a reporter, who called last Thursday for a comment on Hershey’s lawsuit,” said Mayes.

“We were unable to comment because that was the first we had heard of the suit," Mayes said. "We have yet to be served.”

Colorado Springs-based TinctureBelle is licensed by the State of Colorado to manufacture and distribute cannabis-infused products.

“Our mission is simple,” said Mayes: “We wish to contribute to the health and well being of all MMJ patients, as well as assist our beloved MMJ community in building a positive reputation for the community and the many dispensaries in the state of Colorado that carry our quality line of products.”

Washington: Lawsuit Filed Against City of Wenatchee For Banning Legal Marijuana Stores

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

With the first stores selling recreational marijuana expected to open in July, a dark cloud looms over implementation of cannabis legalization measure I-502 in Washington state: Attorney General Bob Ferguson's legal opinion that municipalities can ban the supposedly legal pot shops. Now, a lawsuit has been brought by a man who was denied a license to sell marijuana in central Washington.

At least 10 counties and cities in the state have already banned marijuana businesses, reports Kirk Johnson at The New York Times. Sixty-nine more municipalities, and 12 counties, have instituted moratoriums on pot businesses, according to the Municipal Research and Services Center.

A man who was denied a license to sell marijuana in the central Washington town of Wenatchee, right in the middle of apple-growing country, is challenging the right of local governments to ban cannabis businesses, and also raising the possibility that the law legalizing marijuana could come under "sharp legal scrutiny," as the Times puts it.

Plaintiff Shaun Preder has been told by Wenatchee that he won't be getting a license to sell marijuana, because pot is still illegal under federal law. Wenatchee apparently believes it needs the federal government's permission before issuing any business licenses.

California: Parents Sue After Autistic Teen Entrapped By Cops For Marijuana

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Lawsuit Highlights Cruel Practices and Ineffectiveness of Undercover Narcotics Operations in Schools

The parents of a 17-year-old special needs student arrested in an undercover police operation on Thursday announced they are suing the school district that authorized the operation. The student, who suffers from a range of disabilities, was falsely befriended by a police officer who repeatedly asked the boy to provide him drugs.

After more than three weeks, 60 text messages and repeated hounding by the officer, the student was able to buy half a joint from a homeless man he then gave to his new -– and only -– “friend,” who had given him $20 weeks before. He did it once again before refusing to accommodate the officer, at which point the officer broke off all ties with the child.

Shortly thereafter, the student was arrested in school in front of his classmates as part of a sting that nabbed 22 students in all, many of them children with special needs.

"Our son is permanently scarred from the abuse he suffered," said Catherine and Doug Snodgrass, the boy’s parents, who are suing the Temecula Valley Unified School District, Director of Child Welfare and Attendance Michael Hubbard and Director of Special Education Kimberly Velez for negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress and other charges. "Right now, our focus is on him, and our entire family."

They hope that this suit will send a message to schools around the country that these raids will not be tolerated.

California: DEA Agrees To Pay $4.1 Million To Student They Forgot In Cell For 5 Days

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A student at the University of California San Diego, who was forgotten and left handcuffed in a holding cell with no food or water for five days by the Drug Enforcement Administration, has settled a lawsuit for $4.1 million, according to his attorney.

No criminal charges will be brought against the officers involved in the incident, which began with a "4-20" raid at a party Chong was attending, report Dave Summers, R. Stickney and Greg Bledsoe at NBC San Diego.

"They never came back, ignored all my cries and I still don't know what happened," Chong said in May. "I'm not sure how they could forget me." Chong filed a $20 million lawsuit against the agency for leaving him with nothing to eat or drink while in handcuffs for five days.

"This was a mistake of unbelievable and unimaginable proportions," attorney Julia Yoo said on Tuesday, reports Stan Wilson at CNN.

Daniel Chong, 25, drank his own urine to survive, even trying to carve a farewell note to his mother into his arm before authorities found him severely dehydrated after locking him up in a 2012 drug raid in San Diego.

Colorado: Attorney Threatens 1st Amendment Lawsuit Over Marijuana Magazine Rule

(Graphic: The Huffington Post)By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Denver attorney is threatening a lawsuit if Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signs House Bill 1317, the marijuana regulation bill that includes a requirement for marijuana magazines to be kept behind store counters.

HB 1317, recently passed by the Legislature, also contains other regulations on the sale of marijuana and the licensing of cannabis businesses, report Lindsey Sablan and Phil Tenser of The Denver Channel. Gov. Hickenlooper has said he intends to sign the plan into law.

David Lane, a veteran criminal and defense attorney based in Denver, threatened a lawsuit over the marijuana magazine rule. He is representing two cannabis publications, the Daily Doobie and the Hemp Connoisseur.

"My own personal belief is that this is a blatant First Amendment violation," Lane wrote in a letter to Colorado Attorney General John Suthers. "It has apparently passed muster with the House and Senate and the governor will be signing it shortly. Please inform Governor Hickenlooper that if this is signed into law, he can expect a First Amendment law suit filed promptly."

California: Lawsuit Alleges Long Beach Police Brutalized Marijuana Dispensary Employee

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

A lawsuit filed on Tuesday alleges that Long Beach police who were raiding a medical marijuana dispensary brutalized one of the employees.

Security camera footage of the incident, which happened June 19 of last year, show employee Dorian Brooks, a young African-American with no prior arrests on his record, lying on the ground when an LBPD officer steps on his neck, reports Nick Schou at OC Weekly.

The footage also shows police officers trying to destroy a security camera after the attack.

When Brooks -- who posed no visible threat to the officers -- cried out in pain from the weight of the cop standing on his neck, officers roughly handcuffed him, according to the complaint, and said, "You're a black drug dealer; you should be used to this."

When officers battered down the security camera -- allegedly trying to destroy evidence of their misbehavior -- debris from the camera fell on Brooks, and he again cried out in pain. At that point, one of the officers told him, "Shut up, you dumb nigger," according to the complaint.

Officers refused to loosen Brooks' handcuffs, according to the lawsuit, and they made racially insulting and otherwise insensitive remarks to two overweight Latino dispensary employees. They allegedly loosened the handcuffs on two white workers.

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