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  • Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Win Battle Against Federal Crackdown

    Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Win Battle Against Federal Crackdown
    "This is a big win for medical marijuana patients and their providers."

    Mollie Reilly
    Deputy Politics Editor, The Huffington Post
    Posted: 10/20/2015 02:13 PM EDT | Edited: 2 hours ago

    Medical marijuana dispensaries scored a major win on Monday when a federal judge ruled that the Department of Justice cannot prosecute legal providers of medical cannabis.

    In his ruling, Senior District Judge Charles R. Breyer lifted an injunction against a California dispensary, the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana, and its founder, Lynette Shaw, ruling that a budget amendment Congress approved last year requires the federal government to respect state marijuana laws. The DOJ is thus precluded from criminally prosecuting organizations like MAMM that comply with state regulations.

    The amendment, sponsored by Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) and Sam Farr (D-Calif.), was added to last year's federal spending bill. Under the provision, the Justice Department is prohibited from using federal funds to undermine state medical marijuana programs. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment came in response to a renewed federal crackdown on the medical marijuana industry in California, where medical pot has been legal since 1996. MAMM, located in Fairfax, California, was one of the targeted dispensaries, and shuttered in 2011 under federal pressure.

    However, the Justice Department has narrowly interpreted the amendment, telling the Los Angeles Times in April that the new restrictions don't apply to dispensaries or individuals, but instead prevents the feds from "impeding the ability of states to carry out their medical marijuana laws."

    The amendment's authors vehemently disagreed, accusing the DOJ of violating the law and calling for an investigation into the department's crackdown on legal businesses.

    Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) is one of the lawmakers leading the fight against the DOJ crackdown on legal medical marijuana providers.

    Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) is one of the lawmakers leading the fight against the DOJ crackdown on legal medical marijuana providers.
    Monday's ruling struck a blow to the DOJ's interpretation of the law, which Breyer said "tortures the plain meaning of the statute."

    "It defies language and logic for the Government to argue that it does not 'prevent' California from 'implementing' its medical marijuana laws by shutting down these same heavily-regulated medical marijuana dispensaries," Breyer wrote. "And contrary to the Government's representation, the record here does support a finding that Californians' access to legal medical marijuana has been substantitively impeded by the closing of dispensaries, and the closing of MAMM in particular."

    The decision could have wide-ranging implications, as 23 states plus the District of Columbia have legalized pot for medical use. Another 17 states have allowed the use of non-psychoactive cannabis extract to treat conditions like severe epilepsy in children.

    Marijuana advocates applauded Breyer's ruling Tuesday.

    "This is a big win for medical marijuana patients and their providers, and a significant victory in our efforts to end the federal government’s war on marijuana. Federal raids of legitimate medical marijuana businesses aren’t just stupid and wasteful, but also illegal," said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies for Marijuana Policy Project, in a statement.

    "It's great to see the judicial branch finally starting to hold the Justice Department accountable for its willful violation of Congress's intent to end federal interference with state medical marijuana laws,"said Tom Angell, chairman of the pro-legalization group Marijuana Majority. "I hope the Obama administration takes this ruling to heart and makes sure DEA and federal prosecutors finally stop trying to stand between patients and their medicine."

    Shaw, MAMM's founder, also praised the ruling.

    "I'm very happy and I’m very relieved that I will get to return to my life’s work,” she told the San Francisco Chronicle.

    Read Breyer's ruling below:

    US vs. Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana

  • 10-16-15 Playlist

    Check out the mixtape "Black Dollar" from Rick Ross! Enjoy the weekend!!


  • BREAKING NEWS: CA Sets New Rules for Medical Pot Industry

    California sets new rules for medical pot industry
    medical marijuana

    Patrick McGreevy


    A warden with the California Department of Fish and Game hacks down marijuanan plants found growing in a deep ravine in the Sierra Nevada foothills near Kernville. (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

    Nearly two decades after Californians legalized marijuana for medical use and a year before they may also approve it for recreational purposes, Gov. Jerry Brown on Friday approved statewide rules on the growth, transport and sale of the drug.

    Signing a trio of bills, the governor created a regulatory system that could be adapted to widespread cannabis use if voters make it legal by passing a ballot initiative next year.

    Marijuana advocates have proposed multiple measures for the ballot, and several groups are working to find one they believe will most appeal to voters.

    Interested in the stories shaping California? Sign up for the free Essential California newsletter >>

    The governor worked out the new regulations with lawmakers after several years of failed attempts by the Legislature to adopt rules that address conflicting concerns of law enforcement and the billion-dollar marijuana industry.

    "This new structure will make sure patients have access to medical marijuana, while ensuring a robust tracking system," Brown wrote in a signing message. "This sends a clear and certain signal to our federal counterparts that California is implementing robust controls not only on paper, but in practice."

    He noted that some of the new standards, including the licensing system, don't go into effect until Jan. 1, 2018, but said "state agencies will begin working immediately with experts and stakeholders on crafting clear guidelines, so local government, law enforcement, businesses, patients and health providers can prepare and adapt to the new regulated system."

    Proposed initiative would allow recreational use of marijuana
    Proposed initiative would allow recreational use of marijuana
    There are an estimated 1,250 medical marijuana dispensaries operating in the state, according to the group Safe Access Now. Annual sales are about $1.3 billion, according to the California Cannabis Industry Assn.

    “Gov. Brown and his colleagues in the Legislature have just given the green light to let California’s cannabis industry become the thriving, taxpaying, job-creating industry it was always destined to become,” said Nate Bradley, executive director of the association, which welcomed regulation.

    The laws create a state Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation (BMMR) to issue and revoke licenses for the cultivation, storage and sale of cannabis and collect fees to pay for the system.

    Cities and counties will also have the power to issue and revoke local permits, adopt tougher restrictions on dispensary operations and ask voters to approve taxes on marijuana growers and dispensaries to pay for local public safety expenses.

    “The Governor’s signature on this trio of bills represents a major victory for California cities,” said League Executive Director Chris McKenzie. “The Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act establishes a different regulatory model for medical marijuana through the dual licensing requirement that is paramount to ensure that local jurisdictions have local control over the cultivation and distribution of medical marijuana within their communities.”

    The new laws includes a provision that preserves the ability of the city of Los Angeles to prosecute businesses that violate rules set in Proposition D, which was approved by city voters in 2013.

    Brown said the bills "establish a long-overdue comprehensive regulatory framework for the production, transportation and sale of medical marijuana."

    The laws set aside $10 million for their implementation in the first year, though it will take more than a year to staff the new bureau, develop new regulations and begin issuing licenses, according to Russ Heimerich, a spokesman for the Department of Consumer Affairs.

    One of the laws designates marijuana like any other agricultural product, subject to the same restrictions on pesticides and water use.

    Brown said that bill "sets California on a new path for responsible marijuana cultivation, but the damage to our ecosystem is occurring today.' As a result, he is directing the Natural Resources Agency to identify projects to begin restoring land used for illegal grows.

    The new laws also address the problem of people driving under the influence of marijuana by commissioning research by the University of California, San Diego which will lay the groundwork for new marijuana-specific field sobriety tests.

    “California has not had a statewide strategy for curbing drugged driving," said Assemblyman Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale). "Today that begins to change as the University of California will begin critical research on marijuana-impaired driving which will lead to better roadside tools for law enforcement."

    Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Alameda), one of the authors of the bills, said they will bring order to a chaotic system, "protecting the environment, ensuring public safety," and making sure patients have access to medical marijuana.

    Sean Luse, who runs a dispensary in Berkeley, said of the new laws, “This is a great first step and we look forward to being regulated.” Luse, who is president of the California Cannabis Industry Assn. said existing pot shops that are permitted by cities should not have a problem getting licensed by the state under the new system.

  • 10-09-15 Playlist

    Check out this mix of some classic Bay Area hits!! Enjoy the weekend!!

    D9 4 Life!!

  • Less Violent Crime, More Marijuana: Study Finds Pot-Related Offenses on Rise

    Less violent crime, more marijuana: Study finds pot-related offenses on the rise
    10 hours ago

    Activist Ray Turmel holds a bag of medical marijuana as he smokes a marijuana cigarette, outside the building where the federal election Munk Debate on Canada’s Foreign Policy is being held in Toronto

    Less violent crime, more marijuana: Study finds pot-related offenses on the rise

    Despite an increasing number of Americans who do not view marijuana use as a crime, pot arrests across the United States increased last year for the first time since 2009, Marijuana Policy Project said on Monday. More than 88 percent of the marijuana arrests were for possession, and not for trafficking or other offenses. While marijuana use remains illegal for any reason under federal law, 23 states allow the use of cannabis products for medical purposes. Voters in District of Columbia, Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon have legalized recreational marijuana, and Ohio votes on the issue in November.

    It’s time for state officials to step up and end the outdated policy of marijuana prohibition.
    Marijuana Policy Project spokesman Mason Tvert
    The FBI annual report said violent crime nationwide fell slightly in 2014, continuing a trend seen for at least two decades. More Americans did use marijuana in 2014, according to data released earlier this month from the Department of Health and Human Services’ National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

    There’s just no good reason that so much police time and taxpayer money is spent punishing people for marijuana when so many murders, rapes and robberies go unsolved.
    Marijuana Majority Chairman Tom Angell

  • Playlist 09-25-15

    Check out the new album from Iration "Hotting Up" released August 2015. Great album from one of my favorite groups!! Enjoy the music and the weekend!!

    D9 4 Life!!

  • Did He Really Think He'd Get Past Customs With This Suitcase Stuffed Full of Cannabis?

    Did He Really Think He’d Get Past Customs With This Suitcase Stuffed Full Of Cannabis?

    September 22, 2015 7:41 AM

    Anything to declare? Well… yes.

    A brazen smuggler was busted trying to bring a suitcase stuffed full of cannabis worth £110,000 into the UK.

    But 20-year-old Henry Alden was stopped at Edinburgh Airport, and has now been jailed for three years and eight months.

    Customs officers pulled over Alden, from Portsmouth, after he stepped off a flight from Barcelona, Spain, on May 19.

    They searched his carry-on baggage, and only found a change of clothes and a mobile phone charger.


    But when they opened up his checked-in luggage, they were stunned to see he’d stuffed it full with 12kg of marijuana, reports the BBC.

    Alden was questioned by National Crime Agency officers, but replied “no comment” to everything he was asked, according to the Standard.

    Further investigation revealed he’d flown from Luton to Spain just days before, said the Portsmouth News.

    And he’d also made several over trips to the Iberian peninsula over the preceding months, from other British airports.

    Alden pleaded guilty at Edinburgh High Court on Thursday to drug importation charges.

    “This was a brazen attempt to smuggle thousands of pounds of illegal drugs into Scotland,” said the NCA’s John McGowan.

    “While Alden’s method may not have been very sophisticated, he was a professional courier.”

    Murdo MacMillan, Head of Border Force Scotland, added: “Seizures like this demonstrate how Border Force officers are at the forefront of the fight to keep illegal drugs and other banned substances out of the UK.

    "Drug smuggling is a serious offence and those convicted of it face prison.”

    (Images credited to REX and NCA)

  • Playlist 09-18-15

    Back to the weekly music post!! Here are 10 Electronic/Dubstep songs to enjoy!  Here comes the drop!!!

    D9 4 Life!

  • The Next 11 States That Will Legalize Marijuana

    The next 11 states that will legalize marijuana

    By Sam Stebbins
    Published: Sept 16, 2015 6:00 a.m. ET

    AFP/Getty Images

    Compared to 1969, when only 12% supported legalizing pot, the majority of Americans today support legalizing recreational use of the drug. It is legal to purchase marijuana in four states — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington — as well as in the District of Columbia. Before the legalization, all of these states had already reduced the penalties for possession and use of small amounts of the drug or introduced policies permitting medical marijuana use. To identify the states most likely to legalize marijuana next, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 11 states where by law residents in possession of small amounts of the drug are not punishable by jail time, and medical marijuana use is permitted. Various moral and practical arguments have helped to catalyze the growing trend of legalization and decriminalization of marijuana. The potential tax revenue, job creation, and reduction of the burden of offenders on state prison systems, for example, have likely been a motivating factor behind the bills to regulate and legalize the drug in many of the states on this list. To identify the next states to legalize marijuana, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed states where possession of small amounts of marijuana is not punishable by jail and where medical marijuana is currently legal based on data from The Marijuana Policy Project. Also considered were marijuana-related arrests per 100,000 residents through 2012 provided by the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report. In addition, we considered the estimated proportion of residents 12 and older who had used marijuana some time in the past year, based on annualized data from 2012 and 2013, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Public opinion polls were provided by the Marijuana Policy Project based on the most recent available survey. All data on current enforcement policies and penalties were provided by NORML.

    These are the states where marijuana is most likely to be legalized.

    1. Massachusetts


    Max. fine for small amount: $100
    Marijuana related arrests in 2012: 2,596
    Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 39
    Minimum penalty classification: Civil offense
    Under Massachusetts’ state law, an individual can only be fined a maximum of $100 for possession an ounce or less of marijuana — the result of a 2008 ballot to decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug. The impact of decriminalization has been dramatic. While there were more than 10,000 marijuana-related arrests in 2008, there was just about a third as many such arrests in 2009, the first year the law took effect. Though the state’s marijuana policy is relatively progressive, it appears that decriminalization has not gone far enough for the majority of voters. In a poll released last year by the Boston Herald, 53% of state residents were in favor of legalizing marijuana, while only 37% were against. Proponents of legalization may have a chance to change the state law again in November 2016. Democratic State Representative Dave Rogers and Democratic State Senator Patricia Jehlen introduced a bill to legalize recreational marijuana use for adults.

    2. Nevada


    Max. fine for small amount: $600|
    Marijuana related arrests in 2012: 8,524
    Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 309
    Minimum penalty classification: Misdemeanor
    According to the Marijuana Policy Project, Nevada is one of 20 states to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Though no one found in possession of under an ounce of the drug can face incarceration or felony charges, Nevada’s penalties for possession are among the harshest of all the states that have decriminalized. Unlike some states that have decriminalized the small amounts of the drug, like Massachusetts and California, first time offenders in Nevada can still be charged with a misdemeanor and be compelled to undergo mandatory drug treatment. Despite the harsher penalties, next year Nevada could become the fifth state to legalize recreational use of drug. Voters will have a chance to pass the Initiative to Tax and Regulate Marijuana in November 2016. If passed, legalization will have a dramatic effect on arrest rates and police resources. As of 2012, there were about 8,500 marijuana-related arrests in Nevada, the 14th highest arrest rate in the country. Above, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong emerge from a prop bag of marijuana as they arrive at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, in 2008.

    3. California


    Max. fine for small amount: $100
    Marijuana related arrests in 2012: 21,256
    Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 56
    Minimum penalty classification: Infraction
    California was in the vanguard of state marijuana reforms in the 1970s and an early adopter of decriminalization. In 1996, the state passed the Compassionate Use Act, which permitted physician-recommended marijuana use for medical treatment. In 2010, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed legislation that reclassified the crime of marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction. Despite the state’s historically progressive stance, marijuana has yet to be legalized. In 2010, a motion to legalize failed by a slim margin. Two bills proposing marijuana regulation are now on the table, although the success of each remains to be seen. A great deal may be at stake in the success or failure of marijuana law reform in California. According to St. Pierre, because of the state’s sheer size and influence, the viability of federal legislation largely relies on the precedent California might set. Above, copies of the new SF Evergreen, the San Francisco Bay Area's first marijuana-themed monthly newspaper.

    4. New York


    Max. fine for small amount: $100
    Marijuana related arrests in 2012: 112,974
    Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 577
    Minimum penalty classification: Not classified
    New York was one of the first states to decriminalize marijuana, passing a bill in 1977. However, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, law enforcement agencies have been abusing the “public view” loophole, which differentiates between where offenders are caught — possessing a small amount of the drug in the privacy of one’s home results in a fine, while possession in a public place can result in a misdemeanor. Supporting this claim is New York’s extremely high marijuana-related arrest rate, which was the highest in the country in 2013 at 577.24 per 100,000 people — more than double the national rate. However, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced in 2014 that the city would no longer be enforcing the loophole. In early July, 2014, Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a medical marijuana bill into law. There are currently two bills to legalize and tax marijuana in the legislature, which is currently on break. Above, the Cannabis World Congress Expo in New York City.

    5. Vermont


    Max. fine for small amount: $200
    Marijuana related arrests in 2012: 926
    Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 148
    Minimum penalty classification: Civil violation
    According to a Rand research study on marijuana legalization, Vermonters consumed between 15 to 25 metric tons of marijuana, worth between $125 million and $225 million, in 2014. More than 19% of state residents 12 years and over reported using marijuana in the past year, the third highest share nationwide. Also, according to the Vermont Department of Health, marijuana consumption is more common among 12- to 17-year-olds in Vermont than in any other state in the nation. As in every other state likely to legalize pot, possessing less than an ounce or less of the drug is not punishable by incarceration. Possessing more than an ounce, the selling of any amount, or cultivating the plant, however, is considered a misdemeanor. Selling a half ounce or more, or cultivating three or more plants, is a felony.

    6. Minnesota


    Max. fine for small amount: $200
    Marijuana related arrests in 2012: 12,051
    Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 224
    Minimum penalty classification: Misdemeanor
    The first medical marijuana dispensary in Minnesota opened on July 1, 2015. For those who do not qualify for medicinal use of the drug, possession of 42.5 grams, roughly 1.5 ounces, or less can be classified as a misdemeanor and is punishable by a fine of up to $200. According to a study conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, from 2010 through 2013, Minnesota teenagers’ attitudes toward occasional marijuana use have relaxed. In 2010, 70.9% of 12-17-year old state residents did not consider smoking pot once a month to be risky behavior. By 2013, 75.4% of teenagers held the same perception. There were 12,051 marijuana-related arrests in Minnesota in 2012. The state’s per capita marijuana-related arrest rate was typical for the country.

    7. Connecticut


    Max. fine for small amount: $150
    Marijuana related arrests in 2012: 3,747
    Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 104
    Minimum penalty classification: Civil penalty
    In a March 2015 Quinnipiac University poll, 63% of Connecticut residents surveyed said they would be in favor of legalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana for adults. The state decriminalized marijuana use in 2011, decreeing that any possession of the substance up to a half of an ounce would have a maximum penalty of a $150 fine and could not be punishable by jail time. Before the law passed, the state’s marijuana arrest rate in 2010 was 259 per 100,000 people. By 2012 the rate had dropped to just 104 such arrests per 100,000, the sixth lowest rate in the country. Currently, the state also has several bills in the legislature that would legalize marijuana use for adult residents and regulate the industry.

    8. Maryland


    Max. fine for small amount: $100
    Marijuana related arrests in 2012: 22,043
    Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 375
    Minimum penalty classification: Civil offense
    The recently adopted Maryland Medical Marijuana State Program permits certified physicians to prescribe marijuana to patients diagnosed with certain conditions. As a result, the state’s first marijuana dispensary, Greenway Consultations, opened this past June. Still, the possession of more than 10 grams of pot is a misdemeanor in Maryland, and possession of less than 50 pounds with the intent to distribute carries a penalty of up to five years incarceration and fines up to $15,000. Even so, there is a good chance Maryland is on track to legalize the substance. Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill supported by marijuana legalization advocates during the current legislative session. The Second Chance Act, under certain circumstances, permits individuals convicted of possessing marijuana, to have their arrest shielded from some records requests. As in most states on this list, a majority of Maryland residents support the legalization of marijuana.

    9. Rhode Island


    Max. fine for small amount: $150
    Marijuana related arrests in 2012: 2,320
    Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 221
    Minimum penalty classification: Civil violation
    Marijuana use in the small New England state is pervasive. An estimated 20% of Rhode Islanders aged 12 and up used the drug at least once in 2012. No other state in the country had wider use. Of the states that have not legalized recreational marijuana use, Rhode Island’s laws are among the most lenient. Possession of up to an ounce is a civil violation punishable by a maximum fine of $150. First time offenders do not face jail time or risk a criminal record. However, possession of amounts in excess of an ounce carry criminal penalties and potential jail time. There is currently a bill awaiting review in the state legislature that would effectively legalize and regulate recreational use of marijuana. Though the Rhode Island legislature went on summer recess before the Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act received final approval, lawmakers may have a chance to review the bill again before year’s end. According to an April 2015 poll conducted by Public Policy Polling, 57% of respondents in the state support changing the law to regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol.

    10. Maine


    Max. fine for small amount: $600
    Marijuana related arrests in 2012: 3,202
    Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 241
    Minimum penalty classification: Civil violation
    Maine has a relatively high rate of marijuana use, with an estimated 16.24% of residents 12 and older having smoked pot at least once in 2012, the seventh highest rate in the county. In 2013, Portland, the state’s most populous city, voted to legalize possession of small amounts of the drug for adults. While this still goes against state policy, and law enforcement has continued to enforce Maine’s prohibition of the drug, it is a sign of the public’s willingness to make a change. Possession of up to 2.5 ounces of the drug in the state is not punishable by jail time, although there are maximum fines of $600 or $1,000, depending on the amount. The state legalized medical marijuana in 1999 during a state ballot initiative — the measure passed with 61% of the vote. Possession of a “usable amount” of the drug with a doctor’s notice is legal. In 2009, another initiative passed to allow for medical dispensaries.

    11. Delaware


    Max. fine for small amount: $575
    Marijuana related arrests in 2012: 2,912
    Marijuana arrests per 100,000: 318
    Minimum penalty classification: Misdemeanor
    According to a 2014 survey conducted by the University of Delaware, 56% of respondents in the state agreed that “the use of marijuana should be made legal.” Gov. Jack Markell signed in June 2015 a law officially making Delaware the 20th state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana. Though the law will not take effect until January, when it does, Delaware residents will face a maximum penalty of a $100 fine for possession of up to an ounce of the drug. Before the governor signed the law, marijuana users in Delaware faced up to three months of jail time, a $575 fine, and a misdemeanor on their record for the same offense. There were 2,912 marijuana-related arrests in 2012 in Delaware, the 12th highest rate of all states per capita. In 2012, about eight out of 10 adolescents in the state did not perceive light marijuana use as dangerous, a fairly lax view.

    Read more about “The next 11 states to legalize marijuana” at 24/7 Wall St.
    All Images are from Getty Images & Shutterstock

  • Playlist 09-11-15

    Check out these 14 songs to chill and blaze with!!

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