PHILADELPHIA, PA — As podcaster and civil rights activist Adam Kokesh, who was arrested Saturday during a weekend marijuana demonstration, awaits arraignment in a Philadelphia Federal Court, analysis of videos of Kokesh’s arrest posted online are raising a disturbing question:
Did police plant evidence on Adam Kokesh during his arrest?
WASHINGTON, DC — Tennessee Representative Steve Cohen took an opportunity Wednesday to grill Attorney General Eric Holder about the ongoing prosecutions of marijuana offenses in the United States, even in states that have liberalized marijuana laws.
During the Wednesday House oversight committee hearing focusing on the recent AP phone log scandal, Rep. Cohen (D-Tennessee) tore into AG Holder, calling marijuana prohibition an “injustice for 40 years” and demanding to know why the Department of Justice is continuing to put people in jail for marijuana:
One of the greatest threats to liberty has been the government taking people’s liberty for things that people are in favor of. The Pew Research Group shows that 52 percent of people do not think marijuana should be illegal. And yet there are people in jail, and your Justice Department is continuing to put people in jail, for sale, and use, on occasion, of marijuana. That’s something the American public has finally caught up with. It was a cultural lag. And it’s been an injustice for 40 years in this country to take people’s liberty for something that was similar to alcohol. You have continued what is allowing the Mexican cartels power, and the power to make money, ruin Mexico, hurt our country by having a Prohibition in the late 20th and 21st century. We saw it didn’t work in this country . . . . . READ MORE
Dispensaries providing marijuana to doctor-approved patients operate in a number of states, but they are under assault by the federal government. SWAT-style raids by the DEA and finger-wagging press conferences by grim-faced federal prosecutors may garner greater attention, but the assault on medical marijuana providers extends to other branches of the government as well, and moves by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) to eliminate dispensaries’ ability to take standard business deduction are another very painful arrow in the federal quiver.
The IRS employs Section 280E, a 1982 addition to the tax code that was a response to a drug dealer’s successful effort to claim his yacht, weapons purchases, and even illicit bribes as business expenses. Under 280E, individuals involved in the illicit sale of controlled substances — including marijuana, even medical marijuana in states where it is legal — cannot claim standard business expenses on their federal taxes.
“The 280E provision which requires certain businesses to pay taxes on their gross income, as opposed to their net income, is aimed at shutting down illicit drug operations, not sta. . . . . READ MORE
NEW YORK, NY — Thanks to aggressive policing strategies, including controversial stop-and-frisk tactics, New York City has for more than a decade been the world’s leader in marijuana possession arrests, but now those numbers are starting to go down.
According to the State Division of Criminal Justice Services, some 10,078 people had been arrested on pot possession charges through April 23, about a 20% decrease over the same period last year. And last year saw a 22% overall decline in pot possession arrests over 2011.
That means that if the current trend continues, New York City will still see more than 30,000 small-time pot busts this year, but that’s better than the 50,000 arrested in 2011 or the 40,000 last year.
And this in a state that decriminalized marijuana possession in 1977. The arrests occur because possession in public view is not decriminalized, and for years, the NYPD followed a practice of police directing people t. . . . . READ MORE
BERKELEY, CA — As U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder delivered a commencement speech Friday for UC Berkeley law school graduates, a plane flew overhead with a banner that read “Holder: End Rx Cannabis War. #Peace4Patients,” in protest against recent actions by the Justice Department (DOJ) in the Bay Area.
Outside the Hearst Greek Theater, where Holder gave his speech, medical marijuana advocates also handed out fake DOJ recruitment flyers, detailing how the Obama Administration is engaging in harmful tactics that are adversely affecting the lives of hundreds of thousands of patients in California.
“Patients will not stand idly by while Attorney General Holder’s Justice Department continues to attack our community and endanger the lives of Berkeley residents” said Caren Woodson, one of the le. . . . . READ MORE
BERKELEY, CA — One of California’s oldest medical marijuana dispensaries, Berkeley Patients Group, was served with a lawsuit last week in an attempt to seize the property in which it operates and to ultimately shut the facility down.