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U.S. Conference of Mayors Tells Feds to Respect Local Marijuana Laws

June 24th

LAS VEGAS, NV — The United States Conference of Mayors unanimously passed a resolution on Monday criticizing the failure of marijuana prohibition and urging the federal government to respect the ability of states and cities to implement policies like marijuana legalization and medical marijuana without interference.

“In November, voters in my city and state strongly approved a ballot measure to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana,” said Mayor Steve Hogan of Aurora, Colorado. “The bipartisan resolution we passed today simply asks the federal government to give us time to implement these new policies properly and without interference. Cities and states across the country are enacting forward-thinking reforms to failed marijuana prohibition policies, and for the federal government to stand in the way is wasteful and contrary to the wishes of the American people.”

The feds have conducted more than 200 SWAT-style raids on state-compliant medical marijuana businesses since 2011. Here, law enforcement commandos descend on a Santa Rosa neighborhood in search of medical marijuana growers in September, 2012.

The feds have . . . . . READ MORE

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U.S. Mayors Demand Change to Federal Policy, End to Crackdown on Medical Marijuana in Their Cities

June 21st

LAS VEGAS, NV — As mayors from across the country gather today in Las Vegas for the 81st annual U.S. Conference of Mayors, the federal government’s crackdown on medical marijuana is expected to be discussed and debated over the weekend.

resolution ”in support of states setting their own marijuana policies without federal interference” was introduced in advance of the conference by San Diego Mayor Bob Filner and co-sponsored by eight other mayors from across the country. Deliberation on the resolution comes days after medical marijuana advocates issued an alarming report detailing how the Obama Justice Department has spent nearly $300 million to undermine medical marijuana laws in the U.S.

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner

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City of Oakland Back in Court to Fight Closure of Harborside Medical Marijuana Dispensary

June 21st

SAN FRANCISCO — The City of Oakland’s fight against the federal government’s attempt to close the largest medical marijuana dispensary in the United States — and one of Oakland’s top tax paying retailers– was renewed Thursday when attorneys for the city asked a federal judge to postpone court proceedings in the case.

The request for postponement comes after a federal judge ruled in February that the city does not have legal rights in a forfeiture case against the owners of the building that contains Oakland’s Harborside Health Center.

In February, Judge Maria-Elena James wrote in a 10-page ruling that a local U.S. attorney had successfully argued the federal government was immune from Oakland’s lawsuit under the Administrative Procedures Act, which sets out how U.S. agencies develop and issue regulations.

On Thursday, attorneys from the city asked James to postpone all actions in the case until an appeals court can review her ruling, which could take up to a year before the case is heard.

The city of Oakland has been attempting to kill an attempt by U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag to close Harborside Health Care, which is one of the largest and most respected medical marijuana dispensaries in the country, and has been called a model business by city officials.

Harborside employs ov. . . . . READ MORE

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US Court Records Show Nearly 500 Years in Prison Time for Medical Marijuana Offenses

June 15th

SAN FRANCISCO, CA — In spite of growing public support for medical marijuana, concern about overreach by the U.S. Department of Justice and other federal agencies, and cutbacks in federal spending, the U.S. government’s war on medical marijuana is raging unabated according to a survey of court records by Cal NORML.

On Tuesday, Michigan medical marijuana grower Jerry Duval, a kidney and pancreas transplant patient with severe medical problems, began serving a ten-year sentence in the same prison as the Boston bomber. Duval joins a growing list of defendants in states that allow medical marijuana who have been charged by the Department of Justice for violating federal laws prohibiting medical marijuana.

According to a survey of US court records, news stories, and case reports compiled by Cal NORML (with help from Americans for Safe Access):

CA: Riverside Bans Medical Marijuana Delivery

June 14th

RIVERSIDE, CA — Shuttered medical marijuana dispensaries in Riverside. CA who have been attempting to continue to provide medicine to patients via delivery service must cease under a new city-wide ban on mobile marijuana dispensaries and medical marijuana delivery services.

The city of Riverside recently won a court case in which the California Supreme Court ruled that local municipalities can ban medical marijuana dispensaries, and has since shuttered nearly every dispensary in the city.

Now, Riverside officials are taking the dispensary ban one step further by banning all medical marijuana delivery services, including mobile medical marijuana dispensaries.

Attorney James DeAguilera, who represents about 15 marijuana collectives that operate in Riverside, doesn’t believe the City Council can ban delivery services, let alone enforce the ordinance.

“Would Riverside set up checkpoints all around the city and have police confiscate marijuana?” DeAguilera asked. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense.”

About 200 municipalities in California have banned retail medical marijuana sales, according to estimates from the national medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access, while more than 40 have laws allowing dispensaries.

Kris Hermes, a spokesman for the organization, said. . . . . READ MORE

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Report: Obama Justice Department Has Spent Nearly $300 Million on Aggressive Medical Marijuana Enforcement

June 13th

WASHINGTON, DC — Medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) issued a report today, detailing the costs associated with the federal government’s years-long enforcement effort in states that have adopted medical marijuana laws.

Notably, the report, which is entitled “What’s the Cost?” states that since 1996 nearly half a billion dollars ($500 million) has been spent by the Justice Department — over three presidential administrations — to investigate, raid, arrest, prosecute, and imprison hundreds of medical marijuana patients and their providers. The report is intended for Congressional legislators in an effort to lobby for federal policy reforms, and is part of the Peace for Patients campaign recently launched by ASA.

The feds have conducted more than 200 SWAT-style raids on state-compliant medical marijuana businesses since 2011. Here, law enforcement commandos descend on a Santa Rosa neighborhood in search of medical marijuana growers in September, 2012.READ MORE

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Feds Launch New Crackdown on California Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

June 12th

LOS ANGELES, CA — Federal prosecutors have sent dozens of letters warning medical marijuana shops in Los Angeles and Long Beach to shut down or risk potential criminal or civil action in the latest attack in the War on Marijuana.

Authorities say more than 100 medical marijuana dispensaries across Los Angeles County received the letters Tuesday.

Lawsuits also were filed against two property owners in Long Beach, telling them it’s illegal to allow pot sales in buildings they own.

California’s federal prosecutors launched a coordinated crackdown on the state’s medical marijuana industry in 2011 by threatening landlords with property forfeiture. Since then, many of the 625 dispensaries targeted in the seven-county Central District of California have closed.

California was the first state to legalize marijuana for medical use when voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996, but marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Feds Launch New Crackdown on California Medical Marijuana Dispensaries was written by and appears in full on The Daily Chronic.

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Obama Admits He Could Have Been in Prison But Keeps Sending People There

June 9th

In little-noticed remarks during the commencement address he delivered at Morehouse College on May 19, President Barack Obama admitted that he might well have ended up behind bars for some of his well-known youthful indiscretions:

“[W]hatever success I have achieved, whatever positions of leadership I have held have depended less on Ivy League degrees or SAT scores or GPAs, and have instead been due to that sense of connection and empathy — the special obligation I felt, as a black man like you, to help those who need it most, people who didn’t have the opportunities that I had — because there but for the grace of God, go I — I might have been in their shoes. I might have been in prison. I might have been unemployed.  I might not have been able to support a family. And that motivates me.”

As a reminder, young Barry Obama was quite the marijuana enthusiast back in the day. As a member of Hawaii’s “Choom Gang,” he was partial to “intercepting” joints. In his memoir, he even fessed up to using cocaine on occasion.

The president is quite correct that if he as a young black man had been caught by the cops while partaki. . . . . READ MORE

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Black Arrest Rate for Marijuana Offenses Four Times That of Whites

June 9th

NEW YORK, NY — African Americans are far more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession offenses than are whites, according to an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) report released this week that analyzes arrest data from 945 counties nationwide.

The report found that blacks were approximately four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession in 2010, even though both ethnicities consumed the substance at similar rates. Authors reported that the racial disparity in arrest rates had grown significantly over the past decade and that in some states – including Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin – African Americans were nearly eight times as likely as Caucasians to be arrested for cannabis possession.

Overall, blacks were more likely than whites to be arrested for cannabis violations in 908 of the 945 counties reviewed by the ACLU.

“We found that in virtually every county in the country, police have wasted taxpayer money enforcing marijuana laws in a racially biased manner,” said Ezekiel Edwards, the director of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project and the lead author of the report.

Authors also estimated that states in 2010 spent an estimated $3.6 billion enforcing marijuana possession laws, a 30 percent increase from ten years earlier. This total included $1,747,157,206 . . . . . READ MORE

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Black Arrest Rate for Marijuana Offenses Four Times That of Whites

June 9th

NEW YORK, NY — African Americans are far more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession offenses than are whites, according to an American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) report released this week that analyzes arrest data from 945 counties nationwide.

The report found that blacks were approximately four times as likely as whites to be arrested for marijuana possession in 2010, even though both ethnicities consumed the substance at similar rates. Authors reported that the racial disparity in arrest rates had grown significantly over the past decade and that in some states – including Iowa, Illinois, Minnesota, and Wisconsin – African Americans were nearly eight times as likely as Caucasians to be arrested for cannabis possession.

Overall, blacks were more likely than whites to be arrested for cannabis violations in 908 of the 945 counties reviewed by the ACLU.

“We found that in virtually every county in the country, police have wasted taxpayer money enforcing marijuana laws in a racially biased manner,” said Ezekiel Edwards, the director of the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project and the lead author of the report.

Authors also estimated that states in 2010 spent an estimated $3.6 billion enforcing marijuana possession laws, a 30 percent increase from ten years earlier. This total included $1,747,157,206 . . . . . READ MORE

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