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Legal Appeal in the Rich Paul Marijuana Case

June 3rd

KEENE, NH — As Rich Paul sits in jail, supporters this week announced plans for an appeal of his marijuana conviction. New Hampshire’s most prominent advocate for cannabis legalization could be released during the appeals process.

During his trial, jury nullification was the basis of Paul’s defense strategy. New Hampshire is unique among the states, in that defense attorneys have the right to argue nullification before a jury.

However, in his instructions to the jury, the judge told the jurors that they “must follow my instructions, and ignore the statements of the lawyer,”  thus the foundation of the appeal.

Mr. Paul faces sentencing on June 7th, after which he will be moved from the county jail to the state prison system, though with his honor intact.

While the appeals process may release him temporarily, everyone hopes for an appeals victory which would completely free him. More than that, an appeal done well and successfully will set precedent in drug cases based on jury nullification.

The precedent would be binding only in NH, but the case law could have some degree of effect nationwide. It would also be a motivation for legal theorists and legislators across the. . . . . READ MORE

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Patent a Plant?

June 3rd

As Sativex, and other cannabis-based medicines become available, it is imperative that home gardens are still allowed.

As Sativex, and other cannabis-based medicines become available, it is imperative that home gardens are still allowed.

I missed out on an $8,000 one-day profit several weeks ago when I declined an opportunity to invest in British-based GW Pharmaceuticals, which subsequently went public as GWPH on NASDAQ. I could’ve got in at $1. The stock ended its first day of trading around $9, which is about where it’s trading today. (Pause while I absorb a feeling in my gut that I hope is pride but might be fiscal pain.) The purpose of this column is not to speak for or against GW Pharmaceuticals or its cannabis-based products, but rather to elucidate the issues that caused me to err, for now, on the side of whole plant versus concentrated cannabis prescription.

In Too High to Failmy recent exploration of the post-Drug War economy, I had only nice things to say about . . . . . READ MORE

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Legal Appeal in the Rich Paul Marijuana Case

June 3rd

KEENE, NH — As Rich Paul sits in jail, supporters this week announced plans for an appeal of his marijuana conviction. New Hampshire’s most prominent advocate for cannabis legalization could be released during the appeals process.

During his trial, jury nullification was the basis of Paul’s defense strategy. New Hampshire is unique among the states, in that defense attorneys have the right to argue nullification before a jury.

However, in his instructions to the jury, the judge told the jurors that they “must follow my instructions, and ignore the statements of the lawyer,”  thus the foundation of the appeal.

Mr. Paul faces sentencing on June 7th, after which he will be moved from the county jail to the state prison system, though with his honor intact.

While the appeals process may release him temporarily, everyone hopes for an appeals victory which would completely free him. More than that, an appeal done well and successfully will set precedent in drug cases based on jury nullification.

The precedent would be binding only in NH, but the case law could have some degree of effect nationwide. It would also be a motivation for legal theorists and legislators across the. . . . . READ MORE

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Drug Czar Tries to Link Marijuana and Crime, Fails

June 3rd

Gil Kerlikowske

The nation’s so-called ‘drug czar’, Gil Kerlikowske, convened a press conference last week to release new government data on drug use in America.

The major talking points for the presentation were two fold:

  • Insist that cannabis is linked to crime
  • The public sentiment in favor of legalization is an unfortunate attraction to ‘bumper sticker solutions’

One could write a doctoral thesis on Mr.Kerlikowske’s supposition and claims, but suffice for space and time, let’s let the now much more watchdog media on the issue of ending cannabis prohibition better describe what they’ve figured out about ONDCP propaganda, data and the intellectual crime of omission. (Boy, do I have a book recommendation for them…)

Slate reported on the ONDCP’s well established proclivity to throw out data and insinuate. . . . . READ MORE

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Patent a Plant?

June 3rd

As Sativex, and other cannabis-based medicines become available, it is imperative that home gardens are still allowed.

As Sativex, and other cannabis-based medicines become available, it is imperative that home gardens are still allowed.

I missed out on an $8,000 one-day profit several weeks ago when I declined an opportunity to invest in British-based GW Pharmaceuticals, which subsequently went public as GWPH on NASDAQ. I could’ve got in at $1. The stock ended its first day of trading around $9, which is about where it’s trading today. (Pause while I absorb a feeling in my gut that I hope is pride but might be fiscal pain.) The purpose of this column is not to speak for or against GW Pharmaceuticals or its cannabis-based products, but rather to elucidate the issues that caused me to err, for now, on the side of whole plant versus concentrated cannabis prescription.

In Too High to Failmy recent exploration of the post-Drug War economy, I had only nice things to say about . . . . . READ MORE

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Drug Czar Tries to Link Marijuana and Crime, Fails

May 31st

Gil Kerlikowske

The nation’s so-called ‘drug czar’, Gil Kerlikowske, convened a press conference last week to release new government data on drug use in America.

The major talking points for the presentation were two fold:

  • Insist that cannabis is linked to crime
  • The public sentiment in favor of legalization is an unfortunate attraction to ‘bumper sticker solutions’

One could write a doctoral thesis on Mr.Kerlikowske’s supposition and claims, but suffice for space and time, let’s let the now much more watchdog media on the issue of ending cannabis prohibition better describe what they’ve figured out about ONDCP propaganda, data and the intellectual crime of omission. (Boy, do I have a book recommendation for them…)

Slate reported on the ONDCP’s well established proclivity to throw out data and insinuate. . . . . READ MORE

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Colorado Law Enforcement Applauds Historic Marijuana Regulations

May 29th

DENVER – A group of law enforcement officials is celebrating today after Colorado’s governor John Hickenlooper signed six bills establishing a regulatory framework for the state’s newly legalized marijuana market into law Tuesday.

LEAPThe bills are the result of months of work of a specially appointed task force that looked into the issue and made recommendations for how to implement the proposition legalizing marijuana voters overwhelmingly approved last November.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, a group of law enforcement officials opposed to the war on drugs, while not endorsing all measures called for in the bills, was optimistic about the future of legalized regulation in Colorado.

“Yesterday Colorado became the first place in history to implement full taxation and regulation of marijuana,” said former judge Leonard Frieling, a LEAP speaker. “Taxpayers win under this system. Courts win und. . . . . READ MORE

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Oregon Medical Marijuana Raids: A Higher Police Priority than Stopping Rapes?

May 25th

While many of us are gearing up for our Memorial Holiday weekend filled with fun, friends and family, I can’t help but think about my friend Lori Duckworth and an Oregon woman whose cries for help on a 911 call might as well have fallen on deaf ears.

More than 70 law enforcement officers participated in raids against Lori Duckworth and other medical marijuana providers, but no officer could assist a woman who called 911 begging for help.

More than 70 law enforcement officers participated in raids against Lori Duckworth and other medical marijuana providers, but no officer could assist a woman who called 911 begging for help.

Lori won’t be enjoying her holiday weekend as she sits in a jail cell because she has provided medicine to Oregon medical marijuana patients that can legally possess up to 24 ounces of medical cannabis.  I only hope that the woman that suffered a horrible attack because no law enforcement officer could come to her aid is doing well and has recuperated as much as possible from such a harrowing ordeal.

While these two matters may seem unrelated, I think that they are completely intertwined and they help demonstrate the society we currently live in and provide us with a pi. . . . . READ MORE

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Subverting Democracy in Springfield, Missouri

May 24th

What a long, strange trip it has been for cannabis law reform activists in Springfield, Missouri.

About a year ago, Springfield activists requested financial help gathering enough signatures to place a  local marijuana decriminalization measure on the November 2012 ballot.  Under the proposed measure, citizens possessing under 35 grams of marijuana would be subjected to a civil infraction, instead of a misdemeanor offense, thus preserving the educational and employment opportunities of those caught with personal amounts of marijuana.

Local Springfield attorney, Robert Sweere, urged the City Council to respect the will of the voters. Unfortunately, the council voted 7-2 to repeal the ordinance and demonstrate their lack of respect for their constituents and the democratic process.

Local Springfield attorney, Robert Sweere, urged the City Council to respect the will of the voters. Unfortunately, the council voted 7-2 to repeal the ordinance and demonstrate their lack of respect for their constituents and the democratic process.

Springfield, the t. . . . . READ MORE

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No Crystal Ball Needed: Ending the Drug War Is Field Tested

May 23rd

The key law of physics that keeps all pundits employed is “no one can time travel.” In a classic Bloom County cartoon from the ‘80s, one economist exclaims, “The key, of course, is the deficit,” to which the other forcefully retorts, “The deficit, my fanny.” It’s one or the other, but both fellows get paid.

The drug policy arena, into which I’ve been drawn as a pundit whenever a television producer Googles “Ending the Drug War,” would seem to be no exception. The last few taxpayer-funded Drug Warriors – people with so little concern about the facts, let alone America’s public health and economy, that they’re still willing to make a career of pushing a 40-year failed Just Say No argument – might go to sleep every night thanking physics for this “no one can be 100% sure about the future” loophole. Their whole mortgage payment depends on it.

But there’s a problem with the usual punditry gravy train model when it comes to drug policy. We do know what happens when the Drug War ends in America. I just wrote a book about it. What happens is the economy improves, cartels are hurt, and public safety takes an immediate turn for the better. The Drug Peace Era is quantifiably good for America and her families.

<. . . . . READ MORE

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