Category Archives: Marijuana

DISMISSAL for a Medical Marijuana Patient

All too often, prosecutors refused to dismiss charged once they have been filed, despite an assessment of the circumstances. In other words, even when there is good cause, prosecutors often refuse to dismiss cases once they have been initiated.

This is all the more true when the client is charged with an alleged violation of the Medical Marijuana Act. For some reason, when it comes to patients using marijuana pursuant to a valid medical marijuana card, prosecutor’s are extremely resistant to dismissals – even when we have shown that they have met all of the elements under Section 4 or Section 8 of the Medical Marijuana Act.

Nevertheless, sometimes we are simply too convincing. Such was the case in Livingston County last month. After a lengthy discussion with the local city attorney, all charges against our client were dismissed outright. No temporary pleas, no appeals. Outright dismissals don’t happen very often, but we fight for them and are fortunate enough to get well more than our fair share.

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Man, 26, charged with growing marijuana near Mt. Clemens school

A 26-year-old New Baltimore man has been charged with growing 87 marijuana plants near a Mount Clemens school.

Macomb County Sheriff’s Office Lt. John Michalke said in a release issued today that Shane Boden first told investigators that he was a licensed medical marijuana caregiver. He later admitted he did not have a medical marijuana license and was leasing the building.

Officers discovered the plants Nov. 12 during a raid at the commercial building on Cass Avenue after receiving an anonymous tip. The 5-foot-tall plants being grown in five-gallon buckets were rigged into a sophisticated growing set-up that included air-cooled lamps, power inverters and power amplifiers, according to the Sheriff’s Office. The building is 120 feet from Prevail Academy, Michalke said today. The school has students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

Boden was arraigned Wednesday in 41B District Court in Clinton Township on charges of delivering/manufacturing marijuana; maintaining a drug house, and possession of marijuana in a school zone. Bond was set at $7500 cash or surety, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

via Freep

Residents vote to relax marijuana laws in Ferndale

Now there is legal protection to users of small amounts of marijuana in Ferndale.

Ferndale residents voted Tuesday to ignore possession of an ounce or less of marijuana on private property. People must be at least 21 years old.

Despite its approval, it still doesn’t offer complete protection. State law still bars marijuana use and possession unless it’s medical marijuana.

In 2012, Grand Rapids voters chose to make possession of small amounts of marijuana a civil violation instead of a misdemeanor crime.

via WXYZ

Marijuana decriminalized in five Mich. cities, but police still plan to make arrests

(CBS/AP) DETROIT – Residents in a handful of Michigan cities voted to decriminalize the personal use and possession of small amounts of marijuana on Tuesday, but police in at least one of the locales say they plan to make arrests anyway, reports CBS Detroit.

READ: Election 2012: Pot, porn and punishment on the ballot

In Flint, about 60 percent of ballots counted were in favor of a change to decriminalize possession of less than an ounce of marijuana. CBS Detroit reports police say that since marijuana is illegal under state and federal law, their enforcement practices will not change.

“We’re still police officers and we’re still empowered to enforce the laws of the state of Michigan and the United States,” said Flint police Chief Alvern Lock. “We’re still going to enforce the laws as we’ve been enforcing them.”

Brian Morrissey of Coalition for a Safer Flint, the group that gathered signatures to get the initiative on the ballot, said he’s disappointed with the city’s decision.

“If the city police want to follow state law rather than city law, then maybe the state should be paying their salary,” Morrissey said.

In Grand Rapids and Detroit, voters approved measures that would allow adults over age 21 to possess less than an ounce of marijuana on personal property without criminal prosecution. The Detroit News reports that city police had no comment on the passage of Proposition M and “will be guided by the city of Detroit’s law department.”

In Ypsilanti, 74 percent of voters approved a proposal that stated that use or consumption of one ounce or less of usable marijuana by adults 21-years or older will be the lowest priority of law enforcement personnel.

The station reports that in 2008, Michigan voters approved the use of medical marijuana in the state, but part of the law is still being challenged in court.

That challenge extends to a newly approved charter amendment by voters in Kalamazoo. By a 2-to1 margin, they approved a measure to establish medical marijuana dispensaries, CBS Detroit reports. The initiative calls for a licensing system to regulate dispensaries, the owners of which would pay an annual $3,000 registration fee.

via CBS News

Marijuana Initiatives in 2 States Set Federal Officials Scrambling

This whole article is ridiculous, but I’ll let you be the judge…

WASHINGTON – Senior White House and Justice Department officials are considering plans for legal action against Colorado and Washington that could undermine voter-approved initiatives to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in those states, according to several people familiar with the deliberations.

Even as marijuana legalization supporters are celebrating their victories in the two states, the Obama administration has been holding high-level meetings since the election to debate the response of federal law enforcement agencies to the decriminalization efforts.

Marijuana use in both states continues to be illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act. One option is to sue the states on the grounds that any effort to regulate marijuana is pre-empted by federal law. Should the Justice Department prevail, it would raise the possibility of striking down the entire initiatives on the theory that voters would not have approved legalizing the drug without tight regulations and licensing similar to controls on hard alcohol.

Some law enforcement officials, alarmed at the prospect that marijuana users in both states could get used to flouting federal law openly, are said to be pushing for a stern response. But such a response would raise political complications for President Obama because marijuana legalization is popular among liberal Democrats who just turned out to re-elect him.

“It’s a sticky wicket for Obama,” said Bruce Buchanan, a political science professor at the University of Texas at Austin, saying any aggressive move on such a high-profile question would be seen as “a slap in the face to his base right after they’ve just handed him a chance to realize his presidential dreams.”

Federal officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter. Several cautioned that the issue had raised complex legal and policy considerations – including enforcement priorities, litigation strategy and the impact of international antidrug treaties – that remain unresolved, and that no decision was imminent.

The Obama administration declined to comment on the deliberations, but pointed to a statement the Justice Department issued on Wednesday – the day before the initiative took effect in Washington – in the name of the United States attorney in Seattle, Jenny A. Durkan. She warned Washington residents that the drug remained illegal.

“In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance,” she said. “Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on December 6 in Washington State, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law.”

Ms. Durkan’s statement also hinted at the deliberations behind closed doors, saying: “The Department of Justice is reviewing the legalization initiatives recently passed in Colorado and Washington State. The department’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged.”

Federal officials have relied on their more numerous state and local counterparts to handle smaller marijuana cases. In reviewing how to respond to the new gap, the interagency task force – which includes Justice Department headquarters, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the State Department and the offices of the White House Counsel and the director of National Drug Control Policy – is considering several strategies, officials said.

One option is for federal prosecutors to bring some cases against low-level marijuana users of the sort they until now have rarely bothered with, waiting for a defendant to make a motion to dismiss the case because the drug is now legal in that state. The department could then obtain a court ruling that federal law trumps the state one.

A more aggressive option is for the Justice Department to file lawsuits against the states to prevent them from setting up systems to regulate and tax marijuana, as the initiatives contemplated. If a court agrees that such regulations are pre-empted by federal ones, it will open the door to a broader ruling about whether the regulatory provisions can be “severed” from those eliminating state prohibitions – or whether the entire initiatives must be struck down.

Another potential avenue would be to cut off federal grants to the states unless their legislatures restored antimarijuana laws, said Gregory Katsas, who led the civil division of the Justice Department during the George W. Bush administration.

Mr. Katsas said he was skeptical that a pre-emption lawsuit would succeed. He said he was also skeptical that it was necessary, since the federal government could prosecute marijuana cases in those states regardless of whether the states regulated the drug.

Still, federal resources are limited. Under the Obama administration, the Justice Department issued a policy for handling states that have legalized medical marijuana. It says federal officials should generally not use their limited resources to go after small-time users, but should for large-scale trafficking organizations. The result has been more federal raids on dispensaries than many liberals had expected.

via The New York Times

Time to end the war on drugs

By Tuesday, November 20, 2012

With his final election behind him, and the final attack ads safely off the air, President Obama now returns to his regularly scheduled programming — governing. Yet, the chatter about his second term agenda, from deficit reduction to immigration reform, ignores one critical issue: ending our nation’s inhumane, irrational — and ineffective — war on drugs.

Since its launch in 1971, when President Nixon successfully branded drug addicts as criminals, the war on drugs has resulted in 45 million arrests and destroyed countless families. The result of this trillion dollar crusade? Americans aren’t drug free — we’re just the world’s most incarcerated population. We make China look like Woodstock. We’re also, according to the old definition, insane; despite overwhelming evidence of its failure, our elected officials steadfastly refuse to change course.

But on November 6, citizens in Colorado and Washington became the first to approve ballot initiatives legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Their success illustrates growing tolerance and, indeed, support for a smarter approach that could change, and even save, countless lives.

Now, the question is how the federal government will respond to these new state laws, since they directly conflict with existing federal restrictions on drugs. Recreational use might be legal in the eyes of Colorado and Washington, but Uncle Sam can still put the boot down.

President Obama has a choice. He could direct the Department of Justice (DOJ) to crack down and prevent the two states from moving forward. Or he could finally, fully embrace sensible drug laws.

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