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AG Holder Pressed on DEA Use of NSA Intelligence

August 28th

WASHINGTON, DC — A group of Democratic senators and congressmen want Attorney General Eric Holder to answer questions about a Reuters report earlier this month revealing that the National Security Agency (NSA) supplied the DEA with intelligence information aimed not at fighting foreign terrorism, but at making drug cases in the US. Five Democratic senators and three […]

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Federal Bill Would Up Penalties for Marijuana ‘Trespass Grows’

July 20th

WASHINGTON, DC — A bill introduced Thursday by Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA) and bipartisan cosponsors from California and Colorado would create new penalties for marijuana growers who grow on federal lands or who trespass on other people’s property to grow and who cause environmental damages.

“Trespass grows” are a tempting alternative for growers who seek to avoid having their own properties seized under federal drug asset forfeiture laws.

Growing marijuana on federal lands — or anywhere else, for that matter — is already against federal law, but the cutely-acronymed Protecting Lands Against Narcotics Trafficking (PLANT) Act would instruct the US Sentencing Commission to establish new penalties for “trespass grows.”

The bill identified three environmental concerns: the illegal use of pesticides, rodenticides, or high-grade fertilizers; the “substantial” pilfering of water from local aquifers, and “significant” removal of timber or other vegetation.

Pressed by law enforcement, marijuana growers have increasingly moved onto federal parks and forests, as well as private properties. Last year, in the national forests alone, eradicators cut down nearly a million plants.

Officials and landowners accuse growers of leveling hilltops, starting landslides on erosion-prone hillsides, diverting and damming creeks and streams, and using large amounts of pesticides to protect their crops.

“Throughout my district an. . . . . READ MORE

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Congress Looks to Reduce “Over-Criminalization” with Task Force

May 8th

Prison overcrowding in the California (US Supreme Court)

Prison overcrowding in the California (US Supreme Court)

WASHINGTON, DC — Ten members of the House Judiciary Committee have agreed to form an Over-Criminalization Task Force to review the expansion of the federal criminal code and make recommendations for paring it down. There are roughly 4,500 federal crimes on the law books, with new ones being added at a rate of about 50 a year.

This proposed review of federal criminal laws is the first since the 1980s, when the number of federal crimes on the books was about half what it is now. The task force will conduct hearings and investigate issues around over-criminalization and will have the opportunity to issue reports to the Justice Committee on its findings and policy recommendations.

Task force members include Reps. Spencer Bachus (R-AL), Karen Bass (D-CA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Louie Gohmert (R-TX), George Holding (R-NC), Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), Raul Labrador (R-ID), Jerold Nadler (D-NY), Bobby Scott (D-VA), and James Sensenbrenner (R-WI). The group contains both prominent drug law reformers, such as Cohen and Scott, and prominent drug warriors, such as Gohmert and Sensenb. . . . . READ MORE

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