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DEA Conceals Reliance on Surveillance Conducted by Intelligence Agencies

August 6th

NEW YORK – The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration is using secret surveillance tactics – including wiretaps and examining telephone records – to make arrests while concealing the source of the evidence from judges, prosecutors, and defense attorneys, according to a story published today by Reuters. In cases where this intelligence is used to make an […]

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SOURCE: DEA Conceals Reliance on Surveillance Conducted by Intelligence Agencies by

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Marijuana Legalization Advocates Return to Independence Mall This Friday for Smoke Down Prohibition VII

July 25th

By | The Daily Chronic - The Voice of the Reform Generation

This Friday, Philly NORML and The Panic Hour return to Independence Mall in Philadelphia for the seventh installment in their monthly protests against marijuana prohibition.

From the organizers:

“After six successful rallies, The Panic Hour and Philly Norml return with the seventh edition of Smoke Down Prohibition.

We ask you to join us and peacefully sit-in at The Liberty Bell to stand up against cannabis prohibition.

This time the rally will be on Friday, July 26th and we will be gathering for the event at 4:20pm. Meeting location is Independence Mall at 5th St and Market St.

Click here for more info and to RSVP”

Smoke Down Prohibition VII newSpeaking on the evolution of the Smoke Down events, one of the prima. . . . . READ MORE

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Philadelphia Activists Brace for Smoke Down Prohibition VII

July 18th

PHILADELPHIA, PA — Final preparations by marijuana reform activists in Philadelphia are underway for Smoke Down Prohibition VII, the seventh in a series of monthly protests held at Independence National Historic Park.

Smoke Down Prohibition VIIAfter six successful rallies, The Panic Hour and Philly NORML, joint organizers of the event, will return to Independence National Historic Park, home of the Liberty Bell, to peacefully protest cannabis prohibition starting on July 26.

Unlike previous editions of Smoke Down Prohibition, which were one-day demonstrations, this event begins at 4:20 pm on a Friday, and taking a page from last year’s Occupy movement, will continue for as long as necessary — even if it stretches for days, weeks, or months.

“We ask you to join us and peacefully sit in at the Liberty Bell to stand up against cannabis prohibition,” organizers said in a press release about the event.

There will be speakers, activities, arts and crafts and workshops thro. . . . . READ MORE

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Study: 8 out of 10 Arrested for Drug Possession in DC are Black

July 13th

WASHINGTON, DC – A study by a group of civil rights lawyers found black people in Washington are arrested for minor drug offenses at a higher rate than other races.

The Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs presented its study, which analyzed arrest statistics from 2009 through 2011, Friday, The Washington Post reported.

The authors of the report found that eight of 10 adults arrested in Washington are black, and nine of 10 people arrested on the charge of simple drug possession are black. However, only 47 percent of the city’s population is black, the study found.

“Police are spending an enormous amount of time resolving behavior that is not life-threatening,” said Roderic V.O. Boggs, executive director of the lawyers’ group.

The report a month after the American Civil Liberties Union found Washington police were arresting people for marijuana possession 60 percent more in 2010 than 2001.

Meanwhile, Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said her department has “not prioritized marijuana arrests. Since day one, my priority has been combating violent crime, and the District is safer as a result.”

Study: 8 out of 10 Arrested for Drug Possession in D. . . . . READ MORE

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BUSTED: Over 70% of All Major US Drug Seizures Are Marijuana Related

July 13th

A new study has found that over 70% of recent seizures of illicit drugs in the United States are marijuana related, painting a picture of the American drug landscape and a mis-prioritized, failed, war on drugs.

The study, “Busted: Analyzing America’s Most Recent Drug Hauls,” looked at major drug seizures as reported by over 1,500 media outlets in the United States during a 13 month period from March 2012 – April 2013.

The study found that of the 5,000 most recent drug busts reported in the news, 70.5% involved marijuana — 140% more than all cocaine (13%), heroin (10%) and methamphetamine (6%) busts combined.  The study did not look at prescription medication abuse or other designer drugs, only the “big four.”

The study found high concentrations of methamphetamine and meth labs in the Midwest, an abundance of heroin in the Northeast, especially in the tri-state area, and a lot of cannabis in California and North Dakota.  Cocaine busts were virtually non-existent in Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Montana and North Dakota, and in a reality check for Breaking Bad fans, New Mexico wasn’t anywhere near the top ten in meth busts.

The study’s author, John Millward, admits that the study represents only a fraction of the total number of seizures made by the DEA, FBI, U.S. Customs Service and U.S. Border Patrol on a yearly basis, but because each of the busts were large eno. . . . . READ MORE

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Judge Rules Harborside Can Stay Open While City of Oakland Fights Feds

July 4th

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — A medical marijuana dispensary billed as the world’s largest cannabis store may stay open while the city of Oakland fights a U.S. government effort to shut it down or seize the property, a federal judge ruled on Wednesday in an ongoing tug-of-war in Caifornia between federal authorities and the medical marijuana industry.

In February, Magistrate Maria-Elena James, the same judge who issued the ruling on Wednesday, said the city had no right to intervene in a federal prosecutor’s civil-forfeiture action against the Harborside Health Center, which was previously featured on the Discovery Channel reality TV show “Weed Wars.”

The city appealed the ruling, and James’s latest order allows the dispensary to continue to sell medical marijuana to individuals carrying a doctor’s recommendation while the appeal is under review.

James called the question of Oakland’s legal standing in the case “a matter of significant public interest.”

Attorney Cedric Chao, who is representing . . . . . READ MORE

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City of Berkeley Fights Federal Action to Seize Medical Marijuana Dispensary

July 3rd

BERKELEY, CA – The City of Berkeley filed a claim Wednesday in the action brought by the federal government in May to seize the property used by Berkeley Patients Group at 2366 San Pablo Avenue in Berkeley, California.  Berkeley Patients Group has been providing medical marijuana to patients within the City since 1999.  It is in full compliance with the City of Berkeley’s medical marijuana ordinance, regulations, and zoning laws.

U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag of the Northern District of California has used federal asset forfeiture laws to target and close numerous medical marijuana dispensaries, even when those dispensaries have long track records of working with the cities in which they are located, responsibly providing medical marijuana to patients, and complying with state and local law.

The city’s claim was filed in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. In its claim, the City asserts that the closure of Berkeley Patients Group will harm the City through the loss of substantial revenue.  Berkeley Patients Group has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to the City in taxes over the years.  The federal government’s action also undermines the City’s comprehensive plan to regulate and control medical marijuana, which was designed and implemented to positively impact the health and well-being of all Berkeley residents and to which the City has devoted a significant amount of time and resources.

The claim, filed on Ju. . . . . READ MORE

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Florida Bong Ban Takes Effect, But Is It Enforceable?

July 1st

TALLAHASSEE, FL —  As of today, the sale of most pipes, water pipes and bongs will be banned in Florida as a bill passed by lawmakers in April and signed by the Governor earlier this month takes effect.  But are they really banned?

Under the new law, it is now a first-degree misdemeanor for any retailer “to knowingly and willfully sell drug paraphernalia.”  Second and subsequent violations jump to a third-degree felony.

As initially drafted, House Bill 49 was intended to ban the sale of the following smoking devices:  metal, wooden, acrylic, glass, stone, plastic, or ceramic smoking pipes, with or without screens, permanent screens, hashish heads, or punctured metal bowls; water pipes; carburetion tubes and devices; chamber pipes; carburetor pipes; electric pipes; air-driven pipes; chillums; bongs; ice pipes or chillers.

The only pipes that the bill specifies will still be allowed for sale in Florida must be made of briar, meerschaum, clay or corn cob.

The bill establishes five new crimes: use or possession of drug paraphernalia, manufacture or delivery of drug paraphernalia, delivery of drug paraphernalia to a minor, transportation of drug paraphernalia, and advertisement of drug paraphernalia.

“Rather than just regulating them, let’s just ban them,” Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg), a recovering crack addict turned lawmaker who authored the bill. “If we can make people drive to Georgia and Alabama and South Ca. . . . . READ MORE

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Los Angeles Deputies Shoot, Kill 80 Year Old Man in Marijuana Raid

June 28th

LITTLEROCK, CA – Los Angeles County Sheriff’s deputies shot and killed an unidentified armed 80-year-old man as they served a search warrant on a marijuana grow operation in a remote part of the county early Thursday morning.

According to NBC Los Angeles, deputies were serving a “narcotics” search warrant at the multi-unit rural property in the desert community of Littlerock at 7:30 a.m. Lt. Dave Dolson told the TV station deputies entered the home through an unlocked front door, and one deputy fired when they encountered a man armed with a handgun.

The man, who may have been the property owner, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Later Thursday afternoon, the Sheriff’s Department released a statement on the killing.

“When deputies approached a rear bedroom at the location, they encountered an 80-year-old male who was armed with a semi-automatic handgun. The suspect pointed the handgun at the deputies and a deputy-involved shooting occurred,” the statement read.

Deputies recovered the gun, marijuana, and growing equipment at the home where the man was shot. Residents who lived in other units on the property were detained, but later released.

The shooting will be investigated separately by several agencies, including the offices of the Los Angeles County District Attorney and Coroner, and th. . . . . READ MORE

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NAACP Endorses Pennsylvania Marijuana Legalization Bill

June 27th

HARRISBURG, PA — A bill introduced in Harrisburg to legalize and regulate marijuana similar to alcohol received an endorsement by the Pennsylvania Chapter of the NAACP Tuesday.

Senate Bill 528, the Regulate Marijuana Act, was  was introduced earlier this year by State Senator Daylin Leach.

The bill would allow adults 21 and over to grow up to six plants and possess the resulting harvest. It would also allow adults to transfer up to an ounce to other adults.

The proposed bill would also direct the state to come up with a system to regulate and tax marijuana commerce.  The bill includes safeguards to protect against driving under the influence of cannabis, and youth awareness and prevention measures.

aclu report - minoritiesLeach and other sponsors of his bill hope to see a committee hearing on the measure in the fall.

Sen. Leach, who is currentlyREAD MORE

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