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Victories and commentary on the absurdity of daily struggles in the courtroom during this war on drugs.

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Michael Komorn

When the legislature banned a patient and caregiver from extracting marijuana using butane inside of a residence, the reason given was for the safety of the public.

The changes to the MMMA proposed by Triston Cole do not rely on safety, or any logical reason at all. This kind of power grab is frightening. It is one thing to ban an activity, it is quite another to make extracting marijuana a 5 year felony.

Triston Cole wants extracting marijuana to carry a longer sentence of 5 years in prison when the manufacture of marijuana is only a 4 year sentence. What is next? Making a felony out of a medical marijuana patient baking their own brownies? Making it a felony for a medical marijuana patient to grow their own medicine?

This would ban iso extraction and ice/water extraction, not to mention CO2 and other forms of extractions. Talk with your representatives about these bills. Tell them to leave medical marijuana patients alone and give them the same respect as other patients.




This bill modifies the MMFLA to make it explicit that only a processor licensee or its agents can extract marijuana resin.





11 $5,000.00, OR BOTH.











4 $5,000.00, OR BOTH.


Adds a 5 year felony for extracting marijuana resin without a processor license.

Adds a 10 year felony for extracting marijuana resin if it causes severe injury.

Adds a 20 year felony for extracting marihuana resin if it causes death.

Modifies the MMMA Section 7 , 333.26427, removing all immunity if a patient or caregiver extracts plant resin by chemical extraction.



333.26427 Scope of act; limitations.

7. Scope of Act.

Sec. 7. (a) The medical use of marihuana is allowed under state law to the extent that it is carried out in accordance with the provisions of this act.

(b) This act does not permit any person to do any of the following:

(6) Separate plant resin from a marihuana plant by CHEMICAL EXTRACTION.


Michael Komorn

A great article on the history of marijuana in Florida, showing how prohibition has failed.



Miami New Times, LLC
The Insane History of Marijuana in Florida
Illustration by Scott Anderson

The Insane History of Marijuana in Florida

TRAVIS COHEN | APRIL 17, 2018 | 8:00AM

Today, legal marijuana flourishes in fields and greenhouses from Homestead to Tallahassee. Every day, new cannabis clinics hang green neon crosses in their windows, while millions of dollars pour in from global investors looking to get into the Mary Jane business. Weed has finally gone legit in Florida. So it's easy to forget the drug's long and checkered past in the Sunshine State.

Florida has always been a haven for the weird, the enterprising, and the drug-addled, so it's no shock the state has played a major role in America's tortured relationship with weed. The state's marijuana history has it all: big money, politics and propaganda, football flunkies and race car drivers, vampires and causeway cannibals, and even a near-death experience starring Jimmy Buffett and Bono.

The Insane History of Marijuana in Florida
Photo via Tim Chapman Photo Archives

'30s and '40s: Marijuana Madness

The cannabis plant isn't native to Florida, and even when the drug's popularity boomed during Prohibition, it took years for weed to find its way to the backwaters of the sparsely populated state. By 1931, though, the Key West Citizen reported the "use of marijuana, a drug made from a Mexican plant, is rapidly spreading in the United States. And, the pity of it is, there is little legislation to prevent this."

Aside from the less-than-subtle racism in calling a plant that originated somewhere in West Asia "Mexican," the paper was right about the laws. At the time, only a scattering of local legislation made smoking marijuana illegal. But plenty of prominent Americans wanted to see that change. One of them was Pennsylvania's Harry J. Anslinger, the first commissioner of the U.S. Bureau of Narcotics.

Anslinger whipped the nation into a fervor by portraying marijuana as a heinous threat. His weapon of choice was his "Gore Files," a series of 200 reports on violent offenses that had been carried out by supposed drug users. (Historians have since discredited 198 of the reports.)

Long before Florida Man became infamous on the web, Anslinger's best-known tale of gruesome marijuana crime came from the Sunshine State. In 1933, Victor Licata used an ax to kill his entire family in Tampa, where he slaughtered his parents, sister, and two brothers. Anslinger took his story national after authorities blamed the rampage on the fact that Licata smoked marijuana. Later, medical records revealed that Licata also had a history of severe mental illness and that cannabis likely had nothing to do with the bloody massacre. But Anslinger's rally cry against the "Devil weed" didn't regard facts as all that important.

Anslinger was also instrumental in drafting the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which used the tax code to essentially make the sale of Mary Jane illegal by instituting onerous sales rules that could lead to five years in prison and fines of up to $2,000 — the equivalent of nearly $35,000 today. Just as the prohibition of alcohol was ending, dope's criminalization had begun in earnest.

By the '40s, full-on pot panic swept the nation, including its southernmost state. In February 1942, the front page of the Key West Citizen advertised screenings for the film Marijuana Madness with the description: "PARENTS!! See This Picture Now... Your Daughter May Be it's Next Victim! Youthful Marijuana Victims... A Fate Worse Than Death! True! A Puff... A Party... A Tragedy..."

The People's Pot Party brought radical weed politics to Flamingo Park during the 1972 GOP convention.
The People's Pot Party brought radical weed politics to Flamingo Park during the 1972 GOP convention.
Photo via State Archives of Florida / FloridaMemory.com

'50s and '60s: Wah Gwan, Jamaica; Hola, Colombia

Despite the fever pitch of paranoia that movies such as Reefer Madness and Weed With Roots in Hell stirred in American parents, it was clear by the '50s that weed was here to stay. The beat poets and philosophers brought the drug into the mainstream, and in South Florida, that cultural shift was especially noticeable as the state's population began getting younger. Florida was no longer a scattershot of resort towns and retirement homes. In 1964, New College of Florida was founded, creating one of the most liberal universities in the nation and a haven of intelligent young people smoking weed in conservative Sarasota.

Florida was ahead of its time on marijuana culture. In 1968, a whole year before Woodstock, the Miami Pop Festival staged two huge concerts featuring the key hippie figures. During two days in May and three days in December, the festivals drew 120,000-plus people to see performers such as Jimi Hendrix, Joni Mitchell, Marvin Gaye, and Fleetwood Mac.

A year later, only a few months after Woodstock made hippie culture mainstream, came the inaugural Palm Beach International Music & Arts Festival. It would also be the last Palm Beach International Music & Arts Festival, because the show was a disaster. The weather took a turn for the worse, and when the rain started coming down and the temperature fell into the 40s, people began tearing down outhouses and using the timber for firewood. According to the Palm Beach Post, the 40,000-person event saw 130 drug overdoses and 130 drug arrests. Clearly, the counterculture had made it to the Sunshine State.

While the West Coast had plenty of marijuana supply coming in from Mexico, East Coasters began bringing back herbal souvenirs from the Caribbean — specifically from Jamaica and Colombia. One 1956 article from the Miami News described a 22-year-old from Jamaica who'd been caught trying to sell "563 grains of marijuana" (because pot was measured by the "grain" back then) and sentenced to two years in jail. When the man's lawyer pleaded for leniency, the judge rejected the request because "foreign crewmen aboard ships entering the Miami port constituted one of the chief sources of illicit drug imports into this country."

Soon the stories escalated to smugglers with hundreds of pounds of pot. The night of December 5, 1969, Inspector Francis Napier, a 31-year veteran of the Miami Police Department, was arrested while on duty for his part in a $100,000-a-week marijuana racket. That same night, one of his confederates was detained for having 400 pounds of weed in the car, and by morning, their other partner was arrested at the warehouse where they had stashed 1,000 pounds of Jamaican dope. According to the Fort Pierce News Tribune, an assistant U.S. district attorney said it was "the single greatest seizure of marijuana in Miami's history." By the end of the '60s, Florida was ready for its star turn as the nation's pot-smuggling capital.

The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church based its marijuana cult on swanky Star Island.
The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church based its marijuana cult on swanky Star Island.
Photo via State Archives of Florida / FloridaMemory.com

'70s: Smugglers' Paradise

By the '70s, smugglers began hauling in marijuana not by the pound, but by the ton. Sneaking pot across the border into Florida became big business — the kind that didn't go unnoticed by the feds, especially when the biggest weed mules weren't exactly subtle.

Take, for instance, the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church of Miami Beach. Founded by Thomas Reilly, who went by "Brother Louv," and his associates (a group of white guys who went to Jamaica and found God, ganja, and a snake-oil salesman/preacher named Edward Seaga), the so-called church set up shop at 43 Star Island, pissing off the wealthiest people in Miami Beach. Suddenly, their ritzy neighborhood was invaded by a bizarre commune participating in their holy sacrament of smoking weed night and day. In a 1979 CBS Evening News report, Dan Rather noted that many observers considered the Coptics to be "a fraud, a group of rich dope heads who have been allowed to laugh at the law and get away with it."

What they were getting away with was importing millions of dollars' worth of Mary Jane from Jamaica. They owned thousands of acres of fields on the island and even had their own shipping company and freighters to move the drugs, which they argued were a constitutionally protected part of their religion. In 1979, the same year Rather's program televised images of half-naked children in the group playing on the floors of smoke-filled rooms, the top-ranking members of the Zion Coptic Church were indicted for smuggling more than 100 tons of marijuana. Brother Louv eventually landed 15 years in federal prison and served a dozen before getting out in 1994.

The church was just the weirdest face of a booming gray market of pot smuggling in South Florida. In 1978, Robert Platshorn and Robert Meinster were indicted for running what prosecutors called "the biggest and slickest" smuggling operations in history. The press dubbed them "the Black Tuna Gang" after their radio code word for their illegal product.

According to the DEA, the group attempted to transport around 500 tons of Santa Marta Gold from Colombia to South Florida throughout the '70s, at times even operating out of the presidential suite of the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. They were nabbed in the first joint venture by the FBI and the DEA, which the agencies touted as one of the greatest victories in America's War on Drugs. Platshorn was hit with 64 years in prison. He was released in 2008 after serving 28 years, making him one of the longest-serving prisoners on marijuana charges.

By the end of the '70s, Florida was not only importing mass quantities of ganja, but also becoming notorious for its homegrown weed. "Gainesville Green" came to be considered one of the best cannabis strains in the nation. In 1979, the Pensacola News reported that "it has a reputation as a very potent marijuana and tends to bring the same price as good Colombian pot." During his 1979 performance at University of Florida's annual Gator Growl, Bob Hope even joked about the local delicacy: "Honestly, I just found out what Gainesville Green is. I didn't know you smoked it. I was going to putt on it. Now I know what they mean by higher education."

Throughout the '80s, Florida police scrambled to confiscate ever larger loads of weed across the state.
Throughout the '80s, Florida police scrambled to confiscate ever larger loads of weed across the state.
Photo via State Archives of Florida

'80s: Scorched Earth

After Ronald Reagan's election in 1981, the War on Drugs ramped up to new levels of insanity. And the Sunshine State went full-on Rambo in attacking Mary Jane.

In 1982, the Florida's First District Court of Appeals ruled that the smell of marijuana amounted to probable cause for police to search cars. By the next year, Florida became the first state to decide to spray marijuana fields with the chemical paraquat. The United States had persuaded Mexico to try the extremely toxic herbicide to kill the weed that growers provided for a huge part of the American market. The problem was that the growers didn't give a shit whether their cannabis was covered in poison and continued to harvest and ship tainted pot to the States. Once health officials warned that Americans were bound to get sick from smoking the now-toxic weed, the U.S. realized its plan might have been slightly flawed.

But that didn't stop Florida from giving it a shot in Red Bay, a little Panhandle town between Panama City and the Alabama border. Neither did the two lawsuits the state had to fend off from marijuana activists. In fact, Chevron Chemical Corporation, the company that produced paraquat, came out in support of one of the lawsuits because it didn't want to be held responsible for poisoning American pot smokers.

As a Miami Herald article in 1983 reported, by the time Florida quietly abandoned the use of the herbicide, "environmental concerns, the fear of more lawsuits, and — ironically — logistical inconvenience [had] rendered paraquat basically more trouble than it [was] worth."

Few places in America were hit as hard in Reagan's War on Drugs as Everglades City, a small town 85 miles west of Miami on the southern tip of the peninsula. The most important piece of Everglades City's economy dried up when the feds banned commercial fishing in Everglades National Park in 1985. So the town found another niche: With its little airstrip, isolation, and plenty of fishermen who knew how to navigate the labyrinth of swampy waterways, Everglades City became a major drop site for smugglers looking for a place to leave the loads they flew in from Colombia. Rather than pulling up crab traps or reeling in bowfins and catfish, the local fishermen began hauling bales of weed, which they called "square grouper."

At the operation's peak, they fished upward of 75 tons of marijuana a week out of the River of Grass, keeping many townsfolk gainfully — if not legally — employed. So when the FBI and DEA carried out "Operation Everglades," the climax of a two-year investigation into the town's shadow economy, the effects were devastating. In 1983, the feds arrested 28 people in a community of only 600. Over the next several years, the agencies would make more than 300 arrests in the rural area and confiscate hundreds of fishing boats that had long been the backbone of the community's economy.

What had once been a sleepy, out-of-the-way fishing village was suddenly notorious for being one of the most corrupt cities on Earth. But Everglades City was far from the only town in Florida living large in the drug game. In 1988, the Miami Herald revealed cannabis was the second-biggest crop in the state after citrus fruit and raked in upward of $400 million per year.

The Insane History of Marijuana in Florida
Photo courtesy of HistoryMiami

'90s: Vampires, Jimmy Buffett, and the End of Prohibition

In the '90s, Florida finally began to follow a national trend toward a more progressive, tolerant perspective on pot. But this is Florida, so there was also a very dark side of marijuana mayhem.

One of the oddest, most brutal tales came in 1996, when John Crutchley — who was known as the Vampire Rapist because he was suspected of not only raping and murdering 30 women, but also of draining their blood — was inexplicably released from prison in Brevard County. In 1986, he'd been convicted of kidnapping and raping a teenage hitchhiker but received only 25 years and was paroled after just ten.

The very next day after Crutchley's release, he tested positive for marijuana, violating not only his parole but also Florida's three-strikes law. The result was life in prison without the possibility of parole. Let that sink in for a moment: Crutchley served only a decade behind bars for imprisoning a teenager, raping her, murdering her, and draining her blood — and then got life for smoking some weed. Florida justice is fickle.

That year, Florida's homegrown bard of the bud nearly died over a case of mistaken drug-smuggling identity. On January 16, Jimmy Buffett flew his personal seaplane, the Hemisphere Dancer, to Negril, Jamaica, with Bono, as well as Bono's wife and their two young children. The plane was taxiing along the water just off the coast when Jamaican authorities mistook it for a drug-running crew and decided to shoot first and investigate later. The plane was hit, but somehow nobody was hurt. Buffett went on to write the song "Jamaica Mistaica" about the incident, explaining in the lyrics: "We had only come for chicken/We were not the ganja plane." Bono and his family were so terrified they fled Jamaica as quickly as possible. If Bono and Buffett hanging out hadn't been uncomfortable before nearly dying on a plane, it's probably safe to assume the friendship was uncomfortable afterward.

A landmark shift in the public perception of marijuana came in 1990, when Kenneth and Barbara Jenks in Panama City Beach were found guilty of growing and possessing weed, which they used to cope with the symptoms of AIDS. At that point, only five people in the whole country had been granted medical permission to use marijuana by the Food and Drug Administration. The Jenkses appealed their conviction and were eventually acquitted in June 1991.

The same year, a man in Tampa who was paralyzed by a gunshot became the first person the FDA allowed to use marijuana to treat paralysis. But the very next year, the Bush administration outlawed medical testing or application of marijuana. Only 15 people had been given permission by the FDA nationwide by then.

Two years later, when the Clinton administration announced it would reconsider the ban, only eight of those medical marijuana patients were still alive. And in 1999, the Florida Supreme Court ruled that defendants in certain pot cases could argue the drug is a "medical necessity" — an important precedent in a decade that saw numerous medical journals and health institutions call for serious studies into the medicinal benefits of marijuana.

The Coast Guard unloaded $36 million in confiscated cocaine and marijuana in 2012.
The Coast Guard unloaded $36 million in confiscated cocaine and marijuana in 2012.
Photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Michael De Nyse / U.S. Coast Guard

'00s: Zombies, Medical Marijuana, and Beyond

If there's one man who personally lived the shifting tides of marijuana policy in Florida this past decade, it's Ricky Williams.

The star running back signed with the Miami Dolphins in 2002 but only two years later abruptly retired after a second failed drug test. Williams wasn't doing steroids, though — he was smoking weed to help alleviate years of football-induced pain. In 2005, he returned to the Dolphins, only to get slapped with another one-year suspension for — wait for it — smoking weed. In 2007, the year he would eventually be reinstated with the Dolphins, Williams failed his fifth drug test. The media slammed him: The Miami Heraldpublished an article simply titled "Flunked Out." Greg Stoda of the Palm Beach Post was particularly blunt, writing, "The Dolphins don't need to comment officially now that Williams yet again has failed them and himself by failing another drug test."

Fast-forward ten years, though, and Williams was a respected keynote speaker at the 2017 Southeast Cannabis Conference & Expo in Fort Lauderdale before hosting his own "cannabis-friendly" Super Bowl party. And no one batted an eye this time.

Williams' story illustrates how dramatically things changed in a decade, when Florida finally legalized medical marijuana and many of its big cities decriminalized small amounts of recreational weed. But once again, Florida being Florida means there have also been some seriously dark pot-linked chapters.

Just when myths of cannabis-crazed maniacs seemed to have become distant memories, Rudy Eugene made headlines. On May 26, 2012, Eugene, who would come to be known as the "Causeway Cannibal" and the "Miami Zombie," abandoned his broken-down car and walked west across the MacArthur Causeway while stripping off his clothes. He was naked by the time he came across a 65-year-old homeless man, Ronald Poppo. Eugene began beating him, tearing his clothes off and literally eating his face. When the police arrived, Eugene growled at an officer and went back to chewing on Poppo. The attack ended only when cops shot Eugene five times. Poppo survived but lost much of his face, including his nose and eyes.

The savagery of the attack led to speculation that Eugene must have been under synthetic drugs such as bath salts or flakka, but when his toxicology report came back weeks later, the tests showed only marijuana in his system.

In the end, Eugene's story showed that times really had changed. Very few tried to turn the gruesome assault into a new war on marijuana.

In fact, just over a year after the attack, Miami Beach became the first city in Florida to call for decriminalization. In a straw poll, more than 60 percent of Beach voters came out in support of decriminalization and medical marijuana.

In 2014, the state Legislature passed the Charlotte's Web Medical Hemp Act, nicknamed for the strain of low-THC marijuana that the bill legalized for the treatment of terminal illnesses and severe seizures. That year, a constitutional amendment to legalize medical marijuana came up just short of the 60 percent it needed to pass, thanks to Las Vegas business magnate Sheldon Adelson pouring millions into a scare campaign. But in 2016, the amendment again made the ballot and this time passed with more than 70 percent of the vote. Medical pot was officially legalized in 2017.

But the law has been far from perfect. Florida was painfully underprepared for the demand: Although more than 30,000 patients had applied for medical pot cards by August 2017, the state's new Office of Medical Marijuana Use had only a dozen employees. To date, 93,000 patients have applied, but more than a third are still waiting for cards; statewide, only 1,269 physicians have qualified to treat those patients and register those who've yet to find a doctor nearby.

And for farmers and entrepreneurs looking to get into the new marijuana business, the situation is equally torturous. Florida has awarded only 13 licenses to grow medical weed; many are being held hostage by politically connected companies producing nothing and waiting to auction off the lucrative right to grow in the state.

Yet there's no doubt Florida's views on marijuana have evolved hugely in less than a century.

Victor Licata chopped up his family, and the nation descended into reefer madness, eagerly following the lie that Licata was a marijuana-fueled maniac into an age of prohibition. Eighty years later, when Eugene ate a man's face in broad daylight with nothing in his system but marijuana, Florida not only moved on but also pushed for medical marijuana legislation.

There is still room for weed to grow in the Sunshine State. This past February, Regulate Florida, an organization dedicated to making recreational pot legal, received only about 5 percent of the signatures it needed to add a constitutional amendment to the ballot for 2018. But considering national polls are showing the highest public support for recreational marijuana in 50 years, the group's activists say they'll try again in 2020.

Marijuana will likely become a multibillion-dollar industry in Florida by 2020. In a state where money talks, that change is not just progress — it's a pot paradigm shift.

©2018 Miami New Times, LLC. All rights reserved.









Michael Komorn

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Association has submitted a petition for treating opioid dependence with medical marijuana. The public hearing for public comments will be heard on April 27, 2018. Read more about it at http://komornlaw.com/petitions 








Pa. approves sale of marijuana 'flower,' and will allow cannabis to treat opioid addiction


The price of medical marijuana could fall dramatically for some patients by mid-summer. And the drug will soon be used to treat opioid withdrawal in Pennsylvania, which will become the second state after New Jersey to allow it for that purpose.


At a news conference in Harrisburg, Secretary of Health Rachel Levine said she had approved the sale of cannabis flower, the traditional smokable or vaporizable form of the plant.

“It’s another tool,” Levine said. “The whole idea of this program is to provide another tool in the toolbox of physicians to treat these conditions.”


Since the launch of the state medical marijuana program in February, dispensaries in Pennsylvania have sold only pricey marijuana oils and extracts. Flower, also known as leaf or bud, needs no processing and is less expensive to produce.


“For some patients, the cost of their medical marijuana could drop by 50 percent with the addition of flower,” said Chris Visco, owner of TerraVida Holistic Centers, a chain of dispensaries with shops in Sellersville and Abington. “It offers the lowest price per milligram of THC, the active ingredient.”

Marijuana producer Charlie Bachtell, CEO of Cresco Yeltrah, said being able to sell plant material will streamline a large part of his production. “We just have to weigh it and put it in a container,” he said. “There’s no manual labor turning it into something else, whether it’s filling a capsule or filling a vape pen. Every time someone touches it, it makes it more expensive.”

Though smoking cannabis is prohibited by Pennsylvania law, the difference between lighting up and vaporization is literally a matter of degrees. Vaporizing requires less intense heat and a specialized electronic device so that the marijuana doesn’t combust, but the method delivers the same psychoactive and physical effects as smoking. (To discourage smoking, dispensaries are forbidden from vending pipes, bongs and rolling papers.)

Nearly all of the 29 states that have legalized marijuana in some form allow for the distribution of plant material. Minnesota and West Virginia are among the last weed-legal states with laws banning its sale.

Levine accepted more than a dozen recommendations made last week by the state’s medical marijuana advisory board. With her decision, doctors will still need to register but will be able to opt out of the published registry. Terminal illness, neurodegenerative diseases, and dyskinetic and spastic movement disorders are now qualifying conditions.

Allowing the use of cannabis to help wean people off of opioids may have the greatest impact on the state. New Jersey was the first to approve “addiction substitute therapy for opioid reduction” last month. By adding treatment for opioid withdrawal to the list of approved uses, Levine opened up the possibility for clinical research on the two drugs at state health systems.

“This is major news,” said physician Sue Sisley, founder of the Scottsdale Research Institute,  where she researches medical marijuana’s effects on PTSD in veterans. “We have all these opioid task forces in so many states, and almost none of them even mention cannabis as a substitution for opioids as part of the treatment strategy.”

Sisley called Levine’s decision “courageous” but warned it could be politically “radioactive.”

“It’s a very conservative medical environment you have in Pennsylvania,” said Sisley, who serves on the steering committee of Jefferson’s Lambert Center for the Study of Medicinal Cannabis and Hemp in Philadelphia. “But Dr. Levine recognizes she needs to solve the problem and start preventing all these deaths that are all so preventable.”

Advocates applauded the evolution of the state marijuana program.

“I am ecstatic today,” said State Sen. Daylin Leach (D., Montgomery), who helped drive the legislation that became the state’s medical marijuana law. “Allowing the whole plant will dramatically expand the number of patients who benefit from medical cannabis and will go a long way toward guaranteeing that this huge new industry survives and prospers.”

Becky Dansky, legislative counsel of the Marijuana Policy Project, said that allowing the sale of flower represented more than a cheaper option for patients, many of whom are on disability.


“For many patients, it’s the best form to treat their symptoms,” Dansky said. “The key now is to get it on the shelves as soon as possible.”


Michael Komorn

Pat Miles, Dana Nessel and Unions.

Michigan Democratic Party members will be voting and nominating their pick for the Attorney General in the April nomination convention.

A few weeks before the convention, the Union Auto Workers endorsed Pat Miles. This is strange, because Pat Miles has a history of working at anti-union law firms.







It is clear that Pat Miles works for a law firm that brags and specializes in busting unions and stopping employees from unionizing. 
When challenged on this, Pat Miles denied everything.



"I don't support anti-union work and would never do it.



Pat Miles flip flops depending on who he is talking to. Not only has Miles changed his opinion on marijuana legalization, but he also states that his federal prosecution of Michigan Medical Marihuana Patients was correct. Miles’ comments about people hallucinating from Marijuana and his comments on adults eating gummy bear ears should tell everyone that he is the wrong choice.



As U.S. Attorney I believed in and followed the Obama Administration’s directive not to prosecute medical marijuana cases unless people were out of compliance with state law or there were other drugs involved. 



If this new proposal passes, I will ensure the law is faithfully implemented, while protecting consumers and children. Even if the ballot measure doesn’t pass, I will never do what Bill Schuette has done on medical marijuana, as he's sought to undermine the law at every turn. I will refocus precious resources and energy where they should be, on protecting the people of Michigan from real threats to public health.
It's time to change how our state deals with problems related to all drugs.  As U.S. Attorney, I focused our resources on large-scale drug trafficking organizations as well as those who used violence pushing the drugs, and I also encouraged employers to hire returning citizens.  A drug felony should not be a lifetime ban on employment, and the best way to prevent someone whose been convicted for drugs from re-offending is to make sure they receive necessary treatment and have job opportunities.


Try to read all of that together. On the one hand, pat said he prosecuted medical marijuana patients, but then paradoxically, says he focused resources on “large-scale drug trafficking organizations as well as those who used violence”. Which is it, Pat?

What will he do as Michigan’s Attorney General? Focus on large scale drug traffickers or go after more medical marijuana patients?
Michigan needs an attorney general that supports reform for Marihuana. Miles position before his flip flop sounded exactly like Bill Schuette, and his actions were the exact same as Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette when he prosecuted medical marijuana patients who were out of compliance. 

Miles flopped on the issue because, like our current AG Bill Schuette, Pat Miles will say anything to win. Bill Schuette destroyed the MMMA - arrest for marijuana are up 14 percent. Forfeiture proceeds were 15 million dollars last year in Michigan; not one dollar was spent on training Law Enforcement about Medical Marihuana.


http://www.usccr.gov/pubs/Michigan Civil Forfeiture Report_2016.pdf

The MSP-FSD Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division spends 40% of its budget and time testing Marihuana for criminal cases. There is nothing to wonder about why the rape test kits go untested. 
Pat Miles has never addressed this issue. This issue does not exist to him, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he is oblivious to these statistics.


Direct Sources : 

Dana Nessel however is fully aware of these tragedies and speaks about protecting these victims often. Dana Nessel has answers on how to change the priority of the Attorney Generals’ office to solve rape crimes before nonviolent drug crimes. If one asked Miles this question, he would lock up like he did when asked the simple question of if he voted for the MMMA in 2008.
While some think that the AG race is about ending Marihuana prohibition, a good argument can be made that it is about focusing resources and the budget on protecting rape victims and prosecuting rapists. These are the things that Dana Nessel addresses when she speaks, not the REEFER MADNESS of medical marijuana gummy bear ears.

The AG position is about leadership, and representation of and for the People of the State of Michigan. Most significantly it is about enforcing the law as written and with the true intent of the law to be enforced. Trusting a flip flopper to do this is a bad idea. Dana Nessel is the only candidate that has earned the nomination.


Michael Komorn


Our clients in Wayne and Garden City were charged with four counts of controlled substance felonies, as well as the police seizing retirement bank accounts, vehicles and other unrelated property.

Count 1: Controlled Substances – Delivery / Manufacture of marijuana 5-45 kilograms

Count 2: Controlled Substances – Delivery / Manufacture of marijuana 5-45 kilograms

At the time of the charged offense, the clients were valid registered patients and caregivers with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Program, and were in possession of their cards, and identification at all times during the incident. At the time of the execution of the search warrant, officers were aware the accused were medical marihuana patients and caregivers.


In the criminal case in Garden City we had to file many motions to maintain and preserve our client’s rights.

·        Motion for immunity from prosecution, Section 4 MMMA defense.

·        Motion for immunity from arrest, Section 4 MMMA Defense.

·        Motion in Limine to preclude the Search Warrant as defective.

·        Motion to dismiss charges, Section 4 paraphernalia MMMA defense.

·        Motion in Limine to preclude evidence from an unconstitutional warrantless cell phone search.

·        Motion to return untainted property based on lack of a probable cause.


Simultaneously, the county seizes assets via civil asset forfeiture laws at the same time as the criminal charges. If you do not challenge the civil asset forfeiture, the county or state will just take the property. The only the police and prosecutors are required to give you is the piece of paper that they hand you when the police take the property. For our clients to get their bank accounts back and other property, we had to file motions to compel the court to uphold our client’s constitutional rights to their property.

After putting in an appearance on the forfeiture case, the prosecutor failed to notice us of any actions. When we showed up to court, the forfeiture case was dismissed due to “Failure to Serve” in 2015. Wayne County Prosecutors then refiled the forfeiture case TWO years later. We fought again with a series of motions.

·        Motion to dismiss due to statute of limitations, failure to refile case “promptly”.

·        Motion to quash discovery.

·        Motion to dismiss, Section 4 MMMA defense to any penalty (forfeiture).

·        Motion / Memo to demand a show cause hearing for reason why property was not returned.


The clients were charged by the police who thought they were committing serious crimes. The police officers thought, based on their training and experience, our clients were manufacturing marijuana. In cross-examinations of the police officers involved in the raids, we asked a few standard questions.


Mr. Komorn : Have you read the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act?

Sgt. Police officer: The whole thing?


How are the enforcers of the law supposed to carry out the law, if they don’t know the law? How are the police officers supposed to decide who is in compliance with the law and who is not in compliance with the law? There are also 2,000 pages of case law on the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, detailing out various immunities and procedures that are not being followed by the police.

The police were overzealous and caused ridiculous violations of our client’s constitutional rights. Our clients were charged with the following crimes in Garden City, due to the police using false and incompetent search warrants.

Controlled substance--- Manufacture of Marijuana, contrary to MCL; 333.7401(2)(d)(ii), a 7 year felony

Controlled substance--- Possession with Intent to Deliver Marijuana, contrary to MCL; 333.7401(2)(d)(ii), a 7 year felony

The criminal case against our client was dismissed in Garden City after filing two motions.

·        Motion to suppress evidence due to lack of probable cause.

·        Motion to return untainted property.

 The judge in the case read the original search warrants and said it was ridiculously deficient!








LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) - You have seen the movies.  Police seize the stuff of crime bosses to stop a network of criminals, but could it happen to the average person? Could your stuff be seized even if you aren’t charged with a crime?  Defense attorneys say it is happening all the time here in Michigan, especially to medical marijuana users. 

When police seize stuff they believe was bought or is money made from a crime, they start what is called a civil asset forfeiture process.  

“It allows law enforcement and benefits everybody, to remove the profit motive from drug dealing,” said Robert Stevenson, the Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police. 

Police say they only seize stuff they truly believe is connected to crimes. Often people are never charged with a crime or their belongings are kept after charges are dropped.  

“I did not get bound over by the judge but they still have my stuff,” said Ginnifer Hency  as she testified before state lawmakers in 2015. 

She said she has multiple sclerosis and is a medical marijuana patient.  She said even after a judge cleared her of any crime, the prosecutor fought to  keep her valuables.

Lawmakers changed the law to raise the burden of proof, but people are still voicing complaints. 

“I felt robbed, like a highway robbery,” said John Hamann of what happened to him and his dad Ron Hamann. 

The Hamanns say they believe it is about making money for law enforcement.  When medical marijuana became legal, they applied for cards to be caregivers and patients.  

“I thought everything was legal,” said Ron. 

“Everything you are supposed to do. I followed all the weights, all the counts and everything like that, but it doesn’t matter. They take everything and say gotcha,” said John. 

They say almost three years ago police seized all their valuables.  They say about two years later, only when they came close to winning their belongings back, were they charged with manufacturing marijuana. To them, it felt like a shakedown. 

“WCPO’s longstanding office protocol is that any civil forfeiture case and the associated criminal cases are kept separate. In other words WCPO has a  fire wall in place..The civil and criminal cases are completely independent from one another,” said Maria Miller of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office in a statement. 

The prosecutor’s office says the Hamann's face the charges because it is alleged  that they had over 20 pounds of marijuana and 69 marijuana plants.

Komorn, their attorney says that doesn’t make sense as a legal allegation.  Ron had a patient card and proof he was a caregiver for two patients.  He was allowed to possess 36 plants.  John had a patient card and was a caregiver for 4 patients.  He was allowed to possess 60 plants.  As for the weight, Komorn says pictures submitted as evidence show the marijuana weighed was unusable in that it was wet and included stalks thrown in the garbage.  Komorn says only usable marijuana is supposed to count in weight limitations. 

The Hamanns say what was seized has nothing to do with marijuana.  They say police seized their 401Ks, which they contributed to through their jobs at a home remodeling company. Police told them they could because the money was from drugs. 

“I don’t understand it at all. It is on my paystub. It shows where my money comes from.  It is all legal,” said John Hamann. 

“All the money is traceable from his job into his 401k,” said Rep. Peter Lucido (R-36th District).  “There is no logic or reason for the police to do what they are doing. But they have the right to do it under state law.”

Representative Peter Lucido has introduced House Bill 4158. He says police all too often seize property from the innocent.Taking a look at the numbers.  The state’s asset forfeiture report says in 2016 police seized more than 15 million dollars in property.  In about ten percent of those cases no one was charged.  He wants the law changed, so that police would only be able to keep your stuff if there is a conviction, forcing police to at least charge people in order to keep their belongings.

“They have a right to seize it and put it into an evidence locker, but if they don’t charge the person, what did the person do wrong under the law?” asks Lucido. 

“It does put people in a tough spot.  It puts a person in a tough spot if those proceeds are from illegal activity,” said Stevenson. 

Law enforcement leaders, like Stevenson, say If someone wants to get their stuff back, all they have to do is answer the questions investigators have.  It has the potential to be a powerful tool in the fight against crime.

“One of the things you have to do in a civil case, which you do not have to do in a criminal case, is you have to answer questions,” said Stevenson.

Michael Komorn argues that it hurts justice.  He says he takes on clients who can’t afford his services,  because their assets are seized. 

“The idea that the government just takes it, and the idea that by possessing it it becomes theirs, and the burden shifts to the owner of it to prove that the property is not guilty or that they got it legally, goes against the grain of what people expect from our legal system,” said Komorn.

John and Ron Hamman says they believe they will be found not guilty - but in the meantime are being punished. 

Rep. Lucido will have the chance to make his case that this law needs to be changed during a hearing in Lansing on February 6. 



Michael Komorn

It takes a long time to learn every single new word when you enter the marijuana world. Below is a quick attempt by the Detroit Free Press to educate it's readers. 



If Michiganders are going to enter the marijuana industry, they're going to have to learn the lingo.

From THC and CBDs to shatter and dabs and wax, the lexicon has changed since the days of pot and weed and reefer.

With the state's medical marijuana market about to take off as Michigan starts handing out licenses for marijuana businesses and a ballot proposal to legalize marijuana for recreational use potentially on Michigan's November ballot, cannabis is about to explode in the state.

So here for a quick lesson is some of the terminology to describe everything from the plant to the products:

Cannabis: The plant species including industrial hemp and medical and recreational marijuana.

Indica: One of three families of cannabis, known for producing a relaxing high and aiding in sleep and chronic pain and stress relief.

Ruderalis:The least common family of cannabis, known for quick flowering. It is sometimes bred with indica or sativa to increase the speed of growing.

Sativa: One of three families of cannabis, known for its energizing effects and used to treat depression, stimulate appetite and reduce nausea.

Blunt: A marijuana cigarette made by dumping the tobacco out of a cigar and replacing it with marijuana.

Bong: A glass, ceramic or plastic device used to smoke marijuana that also has a chamber for water to cool the smoke before it’s inhaled.

Budtender: The person who consults with marijuana customers at dispensaries and sells the product.

Cannabinoids: The chemical compounds found in cannabis. Some of the compounds contain THC and others don’t, but they can be used in creams and oils for pain relief.

Dab: A marijuana concentrate, vaporized using a dabber or dab rig.

Edibles: Marijuana-infused products (also known as MIP) — cookies, candies, butters and drinks — that are meant to be consumed rather than smoked.

Flower: The hairy, often sticky bud of the marijuana plant that is used tosmoke or infuse in a variety of marijuana products.

Hash oil: A marijuana concentrate that is smoked or vaporized.

Hemp: The fiber of the hemp plant that can be used in ropes, fabrics and paper.

Joint: A rolled marijuana cigarette.

Keef: Trichomes of the plant, a concentrate of marijuana collected that falls off buds when processed.

Kush: A specific and well-known strain of the indica cannabis plant.

Ounces and grams: The measurements used to sell marijuana.

RSO: A marijuana concentrate that is eaten, smoked or vaporized.

Shatter: A marijuana concentrate used with a bong-type of device.

CBD: Cannabidiol , thought to counteract the psychoactive effects of marijuana.

THC: Tetrahydrocannabinol, which accounts for the psychoactive effects — or high —associated with marijuana.

Terpenes: Plant chemicals, responsible for the flavor and smells of the marijuana flower.

Tincture: Liquid form of marijuana dropped underneath the tongue.

Topical: A marijuana-infused lotion, balm or cream that is used to relieve pain. It produces no high since any THC in the product is absorbed through the skin.

Trim: Excess snipping of leaves from the buds of marijuana plants and used to make extracts, tinctures and edibles.

Vape pen: A battery-charged, portable vaporizer that uses prefilled cartridges of cannabis oils. Similar to an e-cigarette.

Wax: A marijuana concentrate that is used with a vaporizer or bong.

Contact Kathleen Gray: 313-223-4430, kgray99@freepress.com or on Twitter @michpoligal




Michael Komorn

Pregnancy and Medical Marijuana

Expectant mothers are searching for answers about the safety profile of Medical Marijuana. Unfortunately the scientific community has dropped the ball and kicked it off the cliff on this issue. The lack of scientific research is due to marijuana’s illegality. Further, there exist huge biases within the published research. Mostly the research confounds marijuana use with tobacco and/or alcohol, two known causes of fetus and child harm. Separating out marijuana effects from the self-reported research on mothers who also smoke tobacco and drink alcohol is impossible. Likewise no pregnant women are signing up for research studies due to the illegality of marijuana and CPS removing children from mothers for testing positive for marijuana use.

Many organizations quote from other organizations, who quote from other studies and reviews. The Minnesota Department of Health OFFICE OF MEDICAL CANNABIS quotes from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee report:


The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists Committee on Obstetric Practice discourages the use of medical cannabis during preconception, pregnancy and breastfeeding due to concern for potential harm including impaired neurodevelopment (Committee on Obstetric Practice 2015).

In the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists official committee opinion, interim update Oct 2017, the committee found:




Effects of Marijuana Use on Lactation

There are insufficient data to evaluate the effects of marijuana use on infants during lactation and breastfeeding, and in the absence of such data, marijuana use is discouraged.

Medical Marijuana

Because marijuana is neither regulated nor evaluated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, there are no approved indications, contraindications, safety precautions, or recommendations regarding its use during pregnancy and lactation. Likewise, there are no standardized formulations, dosages, or delivery systems. Smoking, the most common route of administration of THC, cannot be medically condoned during pregnancy and lactation. Therefore, obstetrician–gynecologists should be discouraged from prescribing or suggesting the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes during the period before pregnancy, and during pregnancy and lactation. Rather, pregnant women or women contemplating pregnancy should be encouraged to discontinue use of marijuana for medicinal purposes in favor of an alternative therapy for which there are better pregnancy-specific safety data. High-quality studies regarding the effects of marijuana and other cannabis products on pregnancy and lactation are needed.



Uninformed opinion, with zero evidence and lots of fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) are used to scare mothers away from a nontoxic plant. These uninformed unscientific opinions are being used by lawmakers to craft laws continuing the cycle of FUD and the illegality of marijuana. “Oh we don’t know what marijuana does, so let’s treat it like heroin” and “if anyone questions our opinion of marijuana, we’ll call them dirty lazy pothead stoner hippies” or “puppets of the marijuana industry”.


But we do know what marijuana does. One cannot live in a bubble and ignore reality and the world around us. Women smoke and eat marijuana while pregnant.

Cannabis use during pregnancy in France in 2010


According to studies based on women’s responses, 2–3% of women in the Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) in 1991–92 reported cannabis use in the UK,6 2.6% of women surveyed in Australia between 2000 and 2006 used cannabis, 3.2% used cannabis in the USA from 1997 to 2004, 9.5% reported cannabis use at Yale–New Haven Hospital in 1980–82, and 13% reported cannabis use in the first trimester of pregnancy, and 10% reported cannabis use in the third trimester, in Ontario. A study based on either interviews or urine assays concluded that 27% of pregnant women at Boston City Hospital were cannabis users between 1984 and 1987. Finally, in the USA during 1996–1998, 2.8% of pregnant women reported that they used illicit drugs, and marijuana accounted for three-quarters of that use.

Trends in Self-reported and Biochemically Tested Marijuana Use Among Pregnant Females in California From 2009-2016


From 2009 to 2016, marijuana use among KPNC pregnant females increased from 4% to 7%. Of concern, 22% of pregnant females younger than 18 years and 19% of pregnant females aged 18 to 24 years screened positive for marijuana use in 2016. Age-specific, self-reported prevalences were similar to US data,1 but toxicology prevalences were higher, suggesting use has been underestimated in self-reported surveys.




Much of the opinions on marijuana are tainted by a small number of poorly designed studies on marijuana. For example, the National Institute of Health gives grants to researchers through NIDA, the National Institute of Drug Abuse, to study marijuana. NIDA’s focus is on drug abuse, so 90% of its grants are for studies on marijuana abuse, not marijuana benefits. When you ignore half of your research, you ignore science. Many of these studies are completed in order to get future grants from NIDA; research is often conducted from the conclusion backwards in order to show some kind of harm from marijuana use. This, in of itself, does not bias research.



“As the National Institute on Drug Abuse, our focus is primarily on the negative consequences of marijuana use,” said Shirley Simson, a spokeswoman for the drug abuse institute, known as NIDA. “We generally do not fund research focused on the potential beneficial medical effects of marijuana.”



The bias is introduced when researchers are rushed and forced to publish results, even if the studies were deficient. For example, every website and newspaper ran with the story about marijuana using children lose IQ points. Not many reported on the follow-up study that could not replicate the first study. When eliminating co-founders, the new study found no drop in IQ points. Further, research on twin siblings showed that the drop in IQ was due to parenting, binge drinking or other societal influences, not marijuana.





Dr. Isen’s and Mr. Jackson’s team found that marijuana users experienced IQ declines in the teen years, but that the drug appeared not to cause them. What, then, did cause them?


The researchers propose that marijuana users fall behind in IQ because they have experienced adverse familial influences that decrease their motivation to learn and predispose them to engage in delinquency and deviant behaviors, including substance use. These negative attitudes and behaviors impede the normal accumulation of vocabulary and information.


These findings contrast but are not entirely inconsistent with those of an earlier study that linked teen-onset regular marijuana use to IQ deficits in the fourth decade of life (see Early-Onset, Regular Cannabis Use Is Linked to IQ Decline). The researchers say that although their evidence indicates that marijuana exposure does not cause persistent loss of intellectual function up to age 20, prolonged regular exposure for decades might do so.



Try reading that last sentence again. In a world of science, evidence, reasoning and logic, a doctor makes a statement that decades of use of marijuana might make you lose intellectual function, based on conjecture.

NIDA also continues to perpetuate the myth that Marijuana is a “gateway drug”.


These findings are consistent with the idea of marijuana as a "gateway drug." However, the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, "harder" substances.

NIDA, NIH, FDA, DEA, including other federal, state, and local government organizations and private companies continue to perpetuate these and other lies in order to keep marijuana illegal. ASA has filed complaints against the DEA multiple times to get it to remove incorrect statements about marijuana off of the DEA’s website.


A cyclical pattern emerges from the current and past situation surrounding marijuana.

1.      Stymied scientific research, due to illegality of marijuana and government funding biases

2.      Using stymied scientific research as a reason to ignore reality.

3.      Repeating the biased scientific research, long after it was shown to be deficient.

4.      Using the deficient biased research in “meta-reviews”. Thus taking bad science as a base to create more bad science just by doing an analysis of the bad science conclusions.

5.      Even after a research study has been fully proven to be deficient and conflicting with better research, continue to hold it up as if it is still valid in some way.

6.      Publish opinions as if they were facts, without any data to back up any claims.

Continue reading for more conflicting studies and more calls for research.

Marijuana: Prenatal and Postnatal Exposure in the Human


Recent studies of prenatal exposure to marijuana have produced presumptive evidence that marijuana has an adverse effect on growth and development of the fetus. Two investigators (Linn et al. 1983; Gibson et al. 1983) reported a decrease in birth weight and an increase in malformations in marijuana— exposed infants, but differences between marijuana users and nonusers were not statistically significant when confounding factors were taken into account. Hingson et al. (1982) reported that woman who used marijuana during pregnancy delivered infants with a mean birth weight 105 grams lighter than infants of nonusers, and the infants were five times mere likely than infants of nonusers to have features compatible with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. Although confounding factors were controlled statistically, the investigators cautioned that marijuana use might identify a group of women at higher pregnancy risk due to unexplored maternal factors, rather than identifying a specific agent causing abnormal fetal development. In a preliminary report from an ongoing prospective study in Canada, Fried (1980, 1982) found no difference in birth weight between marijuana users and nonusers, but infants of heavy users had shorter gestations and signs of neurobehavioral immaturity as compared with matched controls.

Marijuana use in pregnancy and lactation: a review of the evidence


Summary recommendations for the practicing clinician are listed in Table 5. These recommendations are made after a thorough review of the existing literature but are based on studies of varying methodological quality with mixed results and reflect the opinions of the authors after completing this extensive review. Until further data are available, we should continue to discourage women from using recreational drugs, including marijuana, during pregnancy and lactation, given the uncertain short and long-term outcomes.


Marijuana and Pregnancy


Presently, the effects of marijuana on the human fetus have been described as “at best subtle and likely confounded.”  One meta-analysis of child health outcomes found that birth weight among marijuana-exposed newborns showed a pooled mean difference of 109 g or .24 pounds.9 Additionally, a positive association was found between in utero exposure to marijuana and the need for placement in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU). Other fetal outcomes, however, such as gestational age, gestational length, head circumference, APGAR scores, neurobehavioral changes, days spent in the hospital and perinatal mortality were not found to be affected by maternal marijuana use during pregnancy. These subtle findings, however, may be confounded by several well-known factors influencing fetal outcomes such as psychiatric disorders, socioeconomic factors, educational factors and tobacco use. More research is clearly needed and it is incumbent on clinicians who treat women of reproductive age as well as pregnant women to ask about cannabis when asking about other substance use such as tobacco and alcohol. It is recommended that women who are or who want to become pregnant and who report marijuana use should be counseled in a non-judgmental manner about the potential negative effects on the fetus. Lastly, women need to know that these question about marijuana use are for screening purposes only, and not an attempt to punish or prosecute her.

The Association of Marijuana Use with Outcome of Pregnancy


Newborn infants of users of marijuana had a statistically significantly lower birthweight, but when other variables were controlled, marijuana usage was not statistically significantly associated with low birthweight. Several other variables were more strongly associated with and statistically significantly related to the occurrence of low birthweight including smoking cigarettes, history of previous stillbirth or miscarriage, primiparity, low ponderal index, having less than a college education, and being Black.


Prenatal Tobacco, Marijuana, Stimulant, and Opiate Exposure: Outcomes and Practice Implicationspregnancy-potential-effects-on-birth-out 

Many of these studies contradict themselves. Some report differences in birth weight, some show no differences. Read the studies yourself!



House bill 5422 will force MMFLA provisioning centers to give patients and caregivers an unscientific pamphlet, as described by the legislature.












HB 5222 looks like it will pass. All this fear and doubt of a non-toxic 5,000+ year old medication used by millions of humans in every country in the world.

Michael Komorn


The Path to Amnesty for Persons Investigated, Arrested, Prosecuted, Convicted or suffered penalty of any kind for Marihuana Charges, related to possessing Non-Plant Material medical marihuana including brownies or other edibles.




Clearing your name of criminal charges in Michigan has always been an uphill battle. With the new retroactive changes in the MMMA law, some medical marijuana charges may be able to be fixed. You may be able to have an adjudication or judgement or conviction made nonpublic under MCL 780.621.  

(5) An application to expunge a record can only be filed 5 or more years after the sentence, probation, discharge or completion of the prison term, whichever is later.

There are more requirements before a person can file to have these removed from your record.

(a) A person who is convicted of not more than 1 felony offense and not more than 2 misdemeanor offenses may petition the convicting court to set aside the felony offense.


Any felony or misdemeanor HYTA or 7411 adjudication or dismissal will be considered a misdemeanor conviction for purposes of expungement, and will count as one of the two possible misdemeanors an adult can have for expungement purposes. If you have more than 2 misdemeanors on your record, you cannot petition to remove any convictions. A conviction for an assaultive, sexual, or other specifically excluded crime cannot be expunged.


If you fail to get the conviction expunged by the court, you will not be able to try again for 3 years after the expungement denial, unless the court specifies an earlier time to refile.


Michigan Court Rule 6.500 spells out the rules and requirements and procedure for getting a relief from judgment of the court. This motion is for people who have run out of appeals and who want to raise additional issues. The 6.500 motion could also be used by defendants who have missed the appeal filing deadlines. Most 6.500 motions get dismissed by the judge, but with extreme diligence, some of these motions are successful.


#TrialLawyer @KomornLawMI

#Prosecutor and #Police #Confess they never understood the #MMMA but #arrested and #prosecuted anyway #PureMichigan




What Happened


On Tuesday September 22, 2016 Governor Rick Snyder signed into law several new bills allowing a state wide regulated licensing scheme for the Medical Marihuana Industry (4209- The Michigan Medical Marihuana Licensing Act). Unlike The Michigan Medical Marihuana Licensing Act, which created a new law, House Bill 4210 amended the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. The MMMA was specifically effected by amending the title and sections 3, 4, 6, and 7 (MCL 333.26423, 333.26424, 333.26426, and 333.26427), sections 3 and 4 as amended by 2012 PA 512 and section 6 as amended by 2012 PA 514, and by adding sections 4a and 4b.


When House Bill 4210 was signed into law, the most significant and important aspect of the new legislation was the amendatory language included within the amendments. Specifically the amendments included the following language:


“This amendatory act clarifies ambiguities in the law in accordance with the original intent of the people, as expressed in section 2(b) of the Michigan medical marihuana act, 2008 IL 1, MCL 333.26422: 


This amendatory act is curative and applies retroactively as to the following: clarifying the quantities and forms of marihuana for which a person is protected from arrest, precluding an interpretation of “weight” as aggregate weight, and excluding an added inactive substrate component of a preparation in determining the amount of marihuana, medical marihuana, or usable marihuana that constitutes an offense. Retroactive application of this amendatory act does not create a cause of action against a law enforcement officer or any other state or local governmental officer, employee, department, or agency that enforced this act under a good-faith interpretation of its provisions at the time of enforcement."




Enacting section 1. This amendatory act takes effect 90 days after the date it is enacted into law. 

Enacting section 2. This amendatory act clarifies ambiguities in the law in accordance with the original intent of the people, as expressed in section 2(b) of the Michigan medical marihuana act, 2008 IL 1, MCL 333.26422: 


“(b) Data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports and the Compendium of Federal Justice Statistics show that approximately 99 out of every 100 marihuana arrests in the United States are made under state law, rather than under federal law. Consequently, changing state law will have the practical effect of protecting from arrest the vast majority of seriously ill people who have a medical need to use marihuana.”. [Emphasis added.] 

This amendatory act is curative and applies retroactively as to the following: clarifying the quantities and forms of marihuana for which a person is protected from arrest, precluding an interpretation of “weight” as aggregate weight, and excluding an added inactive substrate component of a preparation in determining the amount of marihuana, medical marihuana, or usable marihuana that constitutes an offense. Retroactive application of this amendatory act does not create a cause of action against a law enforcement officer or any other state or local governmental officer, employee, department, or agency that enforced this act under a good-faith interpretation of its provisions at the time of enforcement.


In November of 2008, 63% of Michigan voters overwhelmingly passed the Voter Initiative Proposition 1, acknowledging that cannabis is medicine, and that physicians, patients, and their caregivers would be protected from arrest prosecution and penalty of any kind. In the history of Michigan elections, the 3.3 million votes cast approving Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Voter Initiative was the most votes in the history of Michigan elections. An often overlooked and never quoted or cited in any Michigan Court of Appeal or Michigan Supreme Court cases are the following passage from the MMMA


The people of the State of Michigan find and declare that:



1. Cannabis aka Marihuana is in fact a Medicine according to Michigan Law.


(a) Modern medical research, including as found by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine in a March 1999 report, has discovered beneficial uses for marihuana in treating or alleviating the pain, nausea, and other symptoms associated with a variety of debilitating medical conditions. 333.26422(a)


Similarly to Michigan, at least 29 other states[1] have passed Medical Marihuana Laws, however pursuant to federal law it remains illegal, and a schedule 1 drug making it challenging for research within the United States. Despite its federal classification there has been an enormous amount of medical research regarding medical cannabis, some of those studies can be read here



The frequency of migraine headache was decreased with medical marijuana use.




Using data on all prescriptions filled by Medicare Part D enrollees from 2010 to 2013, we found that the use of prescription drugs for which marijuana could serve as a clinical alternative fell significantly, once a medical marijuana law was implemented.




Conclusions. Suicides among men aged 20 through 39 years fell after medical marijuana legalization compared with those in states that did not legalize.





Conclusions and Relevance Medical cannabis laws are associated with significantly lower state-level opioid overdose mortality rates."




2. By Enacting the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, persons engaging in the Medical Use of Marihuana will be and should be protected against State prosecutions.


(b) Data from the Federal Bureau of Investigation Uniform Crime Reports and the Compendium of Federal Justice Statistics show that approximately 99 out of every 100 marihuana arrests in the United States are made under state law, rather than under federal law. Consequently, changing state law will have the practical effect of protecting from arrest the vast majority of seriously ill people who have a medical need to use marihuana. 333.26422(b)


3. The intent of the MMMA was explicitly for the benefit health and welfare of Michigan Patients, not intended to be a benefit for police, The Michigan Department of Treasury or private prisons.


(c) Although federal law currently prohibits any use of marihuana except under very limited circumstances, states are not required to enforce federal law or prosecute people for engaging in activities prohibited by federal law. The laws of Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont, Rhode Island, and Washington do not penalize the medical use and cultivation of marihuana. Michigan joins in this effort for the health and welfare of its citizens. 333.26422(c)


The above reference language in the MMMA is found in the Findings and Declarations section MCL 333.26242 (a-c).



In addition to the 2008 MMMA, Michigan voters have overwhelmingly supported and approved local ballot proposals for the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana in 21 cities since 2011. Initiatives to decriminalize marijuana have been approved in 15 communities: Detroit, Grand Rapids, Lansing,  Flint, Kalamazoo, Saginaw, Port Huron, East Lansing, Mount Pleasant, Ypsilanti, Berkeley, Hazel Park, Huntington Woods, Oak Park and Pleasant Ridge. Since 2009, on a handful of ballot proposals were voted down in six communities: Frankfort, Clare, Harrison, Lapeer, Onaway and Montrose.


These facts are important when trying to understand the most recent Michigan State Police data which indicates arrests for marijuana possession and marijuana use are increasing — even as arrests for other crimes are going down, according to data collected by the Michigan State Police.


Between 2008 and 2014, arrests for marijuana possession or use went up 17 percent statewide, that data shows, while arrests for all crimes dropped by 15 percent. Despite these facts arrests for marijuana possession or use went up 17% between 2008 and 2014, according to data from the Michigan State Police. The MMMA was supposed to help protect patients and yet no clear decrease in marijuana possession cases has happened.



Since 2008, marihuana arrests in Michigan have risen 17%. The Michigan State Police have reported consistently millions in forfeiture proceeds per year.










Former director of the Michigan State Police Forensic Science Division


Captain Gregoire Michaud has stated publicly that the forensic lab spends 40 percent of its resources testing marihuana, and that is the reason that they have been unable to catch up on the backlog of evidence rape kits. Additional disturbing trends from the Michigan State Police Data indicate:


1. The majority of marijuana arrests are for possession or use.

In 2014, there were 20,483 arrests for marijuana use or possession, which was 86 percent of all marijuana arrests. About 10 percent of the other arrests are for selling the drug. The remainder of the arrests are for "producing" the drug, smuggling or "other. “Arrests related to marijuana are about two-thirds of all drug arrests in Michigan and in 2014 were 9 percent of all criminal arrests.


2. Data from the Michigan State Police shows that there is a disproportionate number of arrests of persons between the age of 18-24 for marijuana-related crimes. Approximately 43 percent of those arrested in 2014 for marijuana were age 18 to 24. The breakdown for other age groups: 26 percent were age 25 to 34; 11 percent were age 35 to 44; 9 percent were under 18; 7 percent were age 45 to 54, and 3 percent were sage 55 or older. The data associated with the federal drug survey shows that marijuana use is highest among young adults and indicates 24 percent of male and 17 percent of female full-time college students age 18 to 22 use marijuana, the survey shows. 


3. The Michigan State Police Data indicates that males make up a majority of the arrest for marihuana cases.  Men comprised 83 percent of marijuana arrests in 2014, which is disproportionate compared to their rate of usage. The data goes on to indicate that about 9.7 percent of American males age 12 and older are users of marijuana compared to 5.6 percent of women, according to a 2013 federal survey on drug use.  That means men are 1.7 times more likely to use marijuana, but are five times more likely to be arrested on marijuana charges.


4. The Michigan State Police Data clearly indicates that the number of arrest for marihuana is disproportionate for African Americans. An African-American in Michigan was three times more likely to be arrested in 2014 for violating marijuana laws compared to a white person, although surveys and research indicate little difference between usage rates between the two groups.[2]

In all, African-Americans comprise about 14 percent of Michigan's population, but 35 percent of marijuana arrests.


5. On average, there were about 2.4 marijuana arrests per 1,000 Michigan residents statewide.


6. Since 2011, twenty-one Michigan cities have voted on legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana.


8. Data from the 2013 federal drug survey shows daily use of marijuana is increasing. In 2013, 8.1 million persons aged 12 or older used marijuana on 20 or more days in the past month, which was an increase from the 5.1 million daily or almost daily past month users in 2005 to 2007. The number of daily or almost daily users in 2013 represented 41.1 percent of past month marijuana users, the survey shows.




It is unequivocal that in 2008 Michigan Voters declared that Marihuana is Medicine, persons engaging in the Medical Use of Marihuana should be protected from criminal prosecutions and the intent of the MMMA was explicitly for the benefit of the health and welfare of Michigan Citizens and not for police and government profit.  It is often hard to understand how a law that received more than 50% vote in all 83 counties in Michigan, could have been so poorly misinterpreted and implemented.  To the extent that one believes that the intention of the MMMA was to provide a shield for patients and caregivers, it is hard to reconcile the overwhelming evidence (from the Michigan State Police data) very little of the voter’s intention was honored.


Instead the Law Enforcement Community has utilized the MMMA as a sword, resulting in a string of 8 years of success defined by the increase of marihuana arrests and consistent profits from forfeiture proceeds.



On Tuesday September 22, 2016 Governor Rick Snyder signed into law several new bills allowing a state wide regulated licensing scheme for the Medical Marihuana Industry. Listening to how the Law Enforcement Community reacted to this news gives some insight into how the Law Enforcement Community has been able to get away with this shit. As so articulated by Michigan State Police and the Cheboygan County prosecutor Daryl Vizina, (who claims to be speaking on behalf of all prosecutors and all law enforcement), ignorance of the law shall be their excuse.


Michigan State Police say they are working with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and prosecutors to make sure they understand the law and enforce them properly. "Hopefully, there are some clarifications there."  “Police and courts are determining how they go forward after years of confusion over the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.” "We had a lot of people assuming they knew what the law was," Vizina said. "They didn't, the prosecutors didn't, law enforcement didn't. It's been a mess in a way." Prosecutors like Daryl Vizina in Cheboygan County hope the laws will be clearer to people in the medical marijuana community. "It's just kind of been a learning process where charges get charged, maybe somebody gets prosecuted, maybe later down the line a higher court overturns the conviction," Vizina said. 



The above quotes from those within the law enforcement community should bring shame to them personally but most importantly their profession. For starters, never has the Michigan State Police previously made a public statement that they are trying to learn about the MMMA, the medical use of marihuana or even how they as law enforcement officer shall enforce issues surrounding “usable marihuana.” To see them quoted 8 years after the enactment of the MMMA, in which the MSP are going to make sure they understand the law and enforce them properly, sounds more like an apology for not previously understanding the law and previously properly enforcing it.



But the quotes by the Cheboygan County prosecutor Daryl Vizina, (who claims to be speaking on behalf of all prosecutors and all law enforcement), is truly amazing. As a lawyer, I interpret his quotes as a confession to crimes he and others in the law enforcement community have committed against the Medical Marihuana Community. As a lawyer, I would have advised him to take the fifth.


Let’s look at and think about what he is actually saying.


"We had a lot of people assuming they knew what the law was." "They didn't, the prosecutors didn't, law enforcement didn't. It's been a mess in a way."


Vizina’s statement can only conclude that the prosecutions against medical marihuana patients were done in bad faith, by persons who should never have been involved with policing or prosecuting medical patients. To state that he personally didn’t know the law but prosecuted others for violating the same law is the definition of a “due process violation”. His statement objectively interpreted means that he expected those he was prosecuting to have a greater grasp and knowledge of the MMMA than himself, the elected County Prosecutor. To publicly state that not knowing or understanding the law this has been the guiding force for prosecutions is an expression of failure and ignorance. The statement reflects a lack of integrity, honesty and the requisite duty of fairness in any prosecution.


The duty of a prosecutor is not to “win at any cost” or even “try to win if the law is unclear to them and the police”. Prosecutors, as judicial officers, have a duty to the accused as well, and that is to ensure the protection of the accused constitutional rights when accused of a crime. This is the obligation of the prosecutor in any case that it chooses to prosecute. Often overlooked and seemingly forgotten in the modern justice system is the States moral and ethical obligation to ensure a fair trial for the accused. Failing to do this is the definition of an unequal and uneven playing field. But this is how it has been.


 If you don't believe me, examine the recent amendments to the MMMA, wherein the Legislature has confirmed the States erred for the last 8 years. The legislatures recent amendments to the MMMA, acknowledge for the first time the declarations section of the MMMA. The Legislature acknowledges the intentions of the MMMA has always been to change state law to practically effect and protect from arrest the vast majority of seriously ill people who have a medical need to use marihuana. In doing so, the Legislature has provided relief for those persons who have been wrongly prosecuted by the State for its failure to acknowledge the protections intended for patients and caregivers. 



The curative and retroactive amendments to the MMMA, in House Bill 4210, unequivocally clarify and make legal the possession of non-plant material marihuana . The People v Carruthers holding is ultimately overruled and no longer applies to Michigan Patients and Caregivers.


Section 4 of the MMMA as amended 


c) For purposes of determining usable marihuana equivalency, the following shall be considered equivalent to 1 ounce of usable marihuana: 


(1) 16 ounces of marihuana-infused product if in a solid form.

(2) 7 grams of marihuana-infused product if in a gaseous form.

(3) 36 fluid ounces of marihuana-infused product if in a liquid form. 


The new amendments create an opportunity to bring relief to those who have been wrongly accused. An opportunity to revisit and correct the situations where the probable cause of a crime in any investigation of patients and caregivers was illegally continued or escalated because the subject matter of the investigation was the non-plant material marihuana. It is important to understand the exponential number of scenarios where an investigation was continued or escalated because the material or substance associated with the investigation was "contraband" or non-plant material marihuana.


If this happened to you, you were right to believe that it was wrong. The police, the prosecutor and the state were wrong. You may have a remedy to right this wrong. 


The new amendments are more than clear in what they fix and to which individuals may benefit from this correction. The state admits and acknowledges that the MMMA contained ambiguities that needed clarifying. The current state court interpretation of the law had failed to express the original intent of the MMMA. "Changing state law will have the practical effect of protecting from arrest the vast majority of seriously ill people who have a medical need to use marihuana.” The amendatory language of the MMMA provides an opportunity to set aside a prior conviction or revisit a prior case that is over, and reopen the case to litigate the states admitted errors.


Legislatively enacted laws usually never apply retroactively unless the amended language contains an explicit reference to a retroactive application. This is a very unique opportunity that does not happen often. Persons who have been afflicted by the State’s own admitted errors now have a potential path to right this wrong.


The ability to set aside a conviction has limitations, and Courts are in the business of closing cases, not reopening them. Expungement, albeit expanded by law in 2015, and Motions to Set Aside Convictions MCR 6.500, based upon constitutional or statutory ground are generally difficult. The amendments to the MMMA found in HB 4210 create an entirely new statutory method to seek relief from conviction, and penalty. 


If you or a loved one meets the criteria described above, and if you believe you have been a victim of the State and it’s admitted errors, or your case or conviction resulted from the irrational interpretation that non-plant material marihuana is not usable marihuana, call Komorn Law, 1-800-656-3557. We are currently offering Legal Services evaluating your case, and advising clients of potential remedies and or legal strategies to clearing your record from marihuana related conviction. 


It is the obligation of the prosecutor in all cases to verify that the accused’s constitutional rights are respected. A prosecutor is not supposed to bring unconstitutional charges against a person. How can a prosecutor then give an excuse that they did not understand the law? Questions remain on how prosecutors will handle medical marijuana



Law Enforcement React to New Medical Marijuana Laws

September 22, 2016 

New medical marijuana laws bring questions on how local law enforcement are reacting to the changes and how they’ll handle medical marijuana now.

9 & 10’s Blayke Roznowski and photojournalist Noah Jurik talked to a prosecutor and the state representative who authored part of the bill.

"Hopefully, there are some clarifications there," Cheboygan County prosecutor Daryl Vizina said. 

Police and courts are determining how they go forward after years of confusion over the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act.

"We had a lot of people assuming they knew what the law was," Vizina said. "They didn’t, the prosecutors didn’t, law enforcement didn’t. It’s been a mess in a way."

Michigan State Police say they are working with the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs and prosecutors to make sure they understand the law and enforce them properly. 

It’s something the sponsor of one of the bills, state representative Mike Callton, says will make enforcement easier.

"Let’s say policeman pulls a person over and they have a medicine container of medicine. Well, it’s got a bar code or scantron on it and police can determine from that scantron, where it’s been grown, who transported it, where it was tested, where it was refined, if it was refined and where they bought it and that this is, indeed, the medicine for this patient," Callton said.

Prosecutors like Daryl Vizina in Cheboygan County hope the laws will be more clear to people in the medical marijuana community.

"It’s just kind of been a learning process where charges get charged, maybe somebody gets prosecuted, maybe later down the line a higher court overturns the conviction," Vizina said.

In the long run, lawmakers think the new laws will eliminate doubt, and increase safety when it comes to medical marijuana.

"We needed a way for patients to get this kind of medicine without having to buy it from somebody named Rick in the back alley," Callton said. "There had to be a legitimate way for people to buy this."  






Michael Komorn 

Komorn Law Pllc



[1] Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin

Michael Komorn

Sen. Mitch McConnell Pushes Bill To Legalize Hemp

Tom Angell , CONTRIBUTORI cover the policy and politics of marijuana  Opinions expressed by Forbes Contributors are their own.

The head of the U.S. Senate announced on Monday that he will soon be filing a bill to legalize industrial hemp and allocate federal money for cultivation of the crop.

"We all are so optimistic that industrial hemp can become sometime in the future what tobacco was in Kentucky's past," U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said at a press conference alongside the state's agriculture commissioner.


Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

"I will be introducing when I go back to senate a week from today," he said, legislation to "finally legalize hemp as an agricultural commodity and remove it from the list of controlled substances."


McConnell has already successfully attached language to broader legislation, such as the 2014 Farm Bill and annual spending packages, that shields state industrial hemp research programs from federal interference.

But confusion over what counts as research as well as issues related to the interstate transportation of hemp seeds has caused confusion as the Drug Enforcement Administration has in some cases sought to enforce federal laws that do not distinguish between hemp and marijuana.


A press release from McConnell's office said the new bill will not only reclassify hemp under federal law, but "will also give hemp researchers the chance to apply for competitive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Agriculture – allowing them to continue their impressive work with the support of federal research dollars."

At the event, McConnell said that "some challenges remain today between the federal government and farmers and producers in Kentucky," arguing that his new bipartisan legislation would "remove the roadblocks altogether" by "recognizing in federal statute the difference between hemp and its illicit cousin."

He added that he would soon be discussing the issue with U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, an longtime vocal opponent of cannabis law reform who this year rescinded Obama-era guidance that has generally allowed state to implement their own marijuana legalization laws without federal interference.

In federal spending legislation enacted last week, Congress extended a policy rider that prevents the Justice Department from interfering with state medical cannabis laws. The bill also extends two provisions that protect state industrial hemp research programs.

Hemp can be used to make food, clothing and many other consumer goods.

McConnell, in the Monday speech, spoke about "interesting and innovative products" that are "made with Kentucky-grown hemp," such as home insulation.

"That's just one of many uses Kentuckians are finding for this versatile crop," he said.

While hemp products are legal to sell in the U.S., its cultivation is banned outside of the limited exemption for state research programs, so manufacturers must in many cases import the raw materials from other countries that do no prohibit hemp farming.

McConnell was an original cosponsor of a standalone industrial hemp bill during the 114th Congress, but it did not receive a hearing or a vote. Last year he signed onto a nonbinding resolution approved by the Senate in recognition of Hemp History week.


"Industrial hemp holds great potential to bolster the agricultural economy of the United States," the measure declared.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) will be an original cosponsor of the new bill to be introduced next month, along with a bipartisan group of other senators.

Michael Komorn

Senator Calls Out Big Pharma For Opposing Legal Marijuana

A prominent Democratic U.S. senator is slamming pharmaceutical companies for opposing marijuana legalization.

"To them it's competition for chronic pain, and that's outrageous because we don't have the crisis in people who take marijuana for chronic pain having overdose issues," Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York said. "It's not the same thing. It's not as highly addictive as opioids are."


Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

"On the federal level, we really need to say it is a legal drug you can access if you need it," she said.

Gillibrand, in an appearance on Good Day New York on Friday morning, was responding to a question about whether marijuana is a "gateway drug" that leads people to try more dangerous substances.




"I don't see it as a gateway to opioids," she said. "What I see is the opioid industry and the drug companies that manufacture it, some of them in particular, are just trying to sell more drugs that addict patients and addict people across this country."

Legalization advocates have long speculated that "Big Pharma" is working behind the scenes to maintain cannabis prohibition. And in 2016, Insys Therapeutics, which makes products containing fentanyl and other opioids, as well as a synthetic version of the cannabinoid THC, donated half a million dollars to help defeat a marijuana legalization measure that appeared on Arizona's ballot that year.

Numerous studies have shown that legal marijuana access is associated with reduced opioid overdose rates.

Research published this month, for example, concluded that "legally protected and operating medical marijuana dispensaries reduce opioid-related harms," suggesting that "some individuals may be substituting towards marijuana, reducing the quantity of opioids they consume or forgoing initiation of opiates altogether."

"Marijuana is a far less addictive substance than opioids and the potential for overdosing is nearly zero,” the researchers wrote in the Journal of Health Economics.

Last week, Gillibrand became the second cosponsor of far-reaching Senate legislation to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and withhold federal funding from states that have racially disproportionate enforcement of cannabis laws.




“Millions of Americans’ lives have been devastated because of our broken marijuana policies, especially in communities of color and low-income communities,” she said at the time. "Legalizing marijuana is a social justice issue and a moral issue that Congress needs to address."

Gillibrand is also a sponsor of far-reaching medical cannabis legislation and recently signed a letter calling for new protections for state marijuana laws to be inserted into federal spending legislation.


"I think medical marijuana could be treatment for a lot of folks," she said in the interview on Friday. "A lot of veterans have told us that this is the best treatment for them. I do not see it as a gateway drug."

Many political observers have speculated that Gillibrand will run for her party's presidential nomination in 2020. She and at least two other potential Democratic contenders have already endorsed marijuana legalization.

Tom Angell publishes Marijuana Moment news and founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority. Follow Tom on Twitter for breaking news and subscribe to his daily newsletter.




NIDA says there is no gateway theory of marijuana.



However, the majority of people who use marijuana do not go on to use other, "harder" substances.


Michael Komorn

The Michigan Medical Marijuana Association endorses Dana Nessel for Michigan Attorney General. View our Endorsement here. Civil asset forfeiture is a heavily abused police tool created in order to seize assets of drug kingpins. Unfortunately, the majority of civil asset forfeiture is property or cash seized under $1,000. Police aren't tackling drug kingpins and taking $1,000 at a time, they are taking $1,000 or less from regular people. A majority of the time, these people are never charged or convicted of any crime. Civil Asset Forfeiture needs to stop.

Dem candidates for AG on civil asset forfeiture

  • Dana Nessel (l) and Pat Miles (r) are vying for the Democratic party's nomination to be candidate for Michigan Attorney General.
    Dana Nessel (l) and Pat Miles (r) are vying for the Democratic party's nomination to be candidate for Michigan Attorney General.

The Democrats running for state Attorney General represent two wings of the party.

Dana Nessel is a self-described progressive. Pat Miles is more centrist, but he’s shifted some of his positions on issues as he’s talked to Democrats across the state.

We asked each of the candidates about asset forfeiture.

Civil asset forfeiture allows law enforcement to seize property when police think it was bought with illegally gotten money such as drug money.

But, even if those people are not convicted or even charged with a crime, they have to fight in court to get their assets back.

“There were more than 500 people last year that lost assets to the state without even being charged with anything. They weren’t even alleged to have done something wrong,” said Jarrett Skorup with Mackinac Center for Public Policy. (Hear the complete Stateside interview with Skorup here.)

Groups as politically disparate as the Mackinac Center and the American Civil Liberties Union-Michigan have argued for legislation to restrict civil asset forfeiture.

“I’m also one of the few attorneys running for this office that has actually handled dozens of civil asset forfeiture cases,” Dana Nessel said. 

There were more than 500 people last year that lost assets to the state without even being charged with anything. They weren't even alleged to have done something wrong. -Jarrett Skorup, Mackinac Center for Public Policy.

She’s running for the Democratic nomination for Michigan Attorney General. She is best known as being instrumental in the case that legalized gay marriage nationally. She’s also been a prosecutor and a criminal defense attorney. She has strong feelings about civil asset forfeiture.

“I truly, honestly believe this to be a violation of due process," says Nessel. "What I see all the time is this: people who have never been convicted of a crime, people who have never even been charged with a crime and, you know, the police get a search warrant, they bust down somebody’s door and they take everything. They take all of their cash. They take all of their automobiles. If they have any money in a bank account, they freeze and seize that. (People) have to hire an attorney to basically prove those assets did not come about, did not come into their possession as a result of criminal distribution of narcotics."

She says if elected Attorney General, her office will not use civil asset forfeiture. But, if someone is found guilty in court…

“I don’t mind criminal asset forfeiture. When you have proven someone is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt, I think it’s absolutely fair game to go after property that was the result of the narcotics distribution or manufacturing,” Nessel explained.

Her opponent, Pat Miles, most recently worked as U.S. Attorney in Michigan’s Western District. Prior to that, he was a partner in a Grand Rapids law firm. He specialized in business and cable/telecommunications laws.

He agrees there are issues with civil asset forfeiture.

“I believe that really, there’s been abuses of asset forfeiture by the law enforcement agencies and that there have, there are instances, where we should be waiting until there’s been more evidence brought and more of a conviction of when assets should be forfeited,” he stated.

But, then he added he thinks it’s an important tool for law enforcement.

Pat Miles: "There are instances where asset forfeiture is very appropriate, where people are using the proceeds from criminal conduct in terms of, and they should be, that’s what asset forfeiture is about. And so there are instances where it’s appropriate to use asset forfeiture."

Lester Graham: "Before or after conviction?"

PM: “Before conviction. There are instances where it’s appropriate.”

LG: "Can you give me an idea where that would be the case, where due process wouldn’t matter?"

PM: “Well, due process should always matter, and, so, but there is the instance where assets are forfeited from proceeds of large scale drug trafficking, from proceeds of embezzlement and other types of cases like that.”

We went on to talk about other issues and at the end of the interview, like I often do, I asked if he had anything to add.

PM: “Well, we can go back to the asset forfeiture question if you want. I might have a better soundbite for you.”

LG: (laughs) "Okay. That’s fine with me. What do you want us to know about asset forfeiture?"

PM: “Well, I would say that on asset forfeiture, that we should make sure that there’s due process before people’s assets are taken and that in all cases that law enforcement is not allowed to unilaterally seize assets rather than freeze assets.”

LG: "That’s a little different from what you were saying before."

PM: “It is.”

LG: "This is your position?"

PM: “That’s my position.”

Just this month Miles shifted his position on legalization of recreational marijuana, an issue his opponent, Nessel has championed from the start of her campaign.

It will be up to the members of the Michigan Democratic Party Endorsement Convention to make sense of those shifts. They will meet on April 15th to endorse candidates.

Michael Komorn

‘Testilying’ by Police:
A Stubborn Problem

Police lying persists, even amid an explosion of video
evidence that has allowed the public to test officers’ credibility.


Officer Nector Martinez took the witness stand in a Bronx courtroom on Oct. 10, 2017, and swore to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, so help him God.

There had been a shooting, Officer Martinez testified, and he wanted to search a nearby apartment for evidence. A woman stood in the doorway, carrying a laundry bag. Officer Martinez said she set the bag down “in the middle of the doorway” — directly in his path. “I picked it up to move it out of the way so we could get in.”

Blue Lies

A series of stories examining the entrenched culture of 'testilying' in the New York Police Department.


    The laundry bag felt heavy. When he put it down, he said, he heard a “clunk, a thud.”

    What might be inside?

    Officer Martinez tapped the bag with his foot and felt something hard, he testified. He opened the bag, leading to the discovery of a Ruger 9-millimeter handgun and the arrest of the woman.

    But a hallway surveillance camera captured the true story: There’s no laundry bag or gun in sight as Officer Martinez and other investigators question the woman in the doorway and then stride into the apartment. Inside, they did find a gun, but little to link it to the woman, Kimberly Thomas. Still, had the camera not captured the hallway scene, Officer Martinez’s testimony might well have sent her to prison.


    When Ms. Thomas’s lawyer sought to play the video in court, prosecutors in the Bronx dropped the case. Then the court sealed the case file, hiding from view a problem so old and persistent that the criminal justice system sometimes responds with little more than a shrug: false testimony by the police.


    “Behind closed doors, we call it testilying,” a New York City police officer, Pedro Serrano, said in a recent interview, echoing a word that officers coined at least 25 years ago. “You take the truth and stretch it out a little bit.”

    An investigation by The New York Times has found that on more than 25 occasions since January 2015, judges or prosecutors determined that a key aspect of a New York City police officer’s testimony was probably untrue. The Times identified these cases — many of which are sealed — through interviews with lawyers, police officers and current and former judges.

    [ALSO READ: He Excelled as a Detective, Until Prosecutors Stopped Believing Him]

    In these cases, officers have lied about the whereabouts of guns, putting them in suspects’ hands or waistbands when they were actually hidden out of sight. They have barged into apartments and conducted searches, only to testify otherwise later. Under oath, they have given firsthand accounts of crimes or arrests that they did not in fact witness. They have falsely claimed to have watched drug deals happen, only to later recant or be shown to have lied.

    No detail, seemingly, is too minor to embellish. “Clenched fists” is how one Brooklyn officer described the hands of a man he claimed had angrily approached him and started screaming and yelling — an encounter that prosecutors later determined never occurred. Another officer, during a Bronx trial, accused a driver of recklessly crossing the double-yellow line — on a stretch of road that had no double-yellow line.

    In many instances, the motive for lying was readily apparent: to skirt constitutional restrictions against unreasonable searches and stops. In other cases, the falsehoods appear aimed at convicting people — who may or may not have committed a crime — with trumped-up evidence.

    In still others, the motive is not easy to discern. In October 2016, for example, a plainclothes Brooklyn officer gave a grand jury a first-person account of a gun arrest. Putting herself in the center of the action, the officer, Dornezia Agard, testified that as she approached a man to confront him for littering, he suddenly crouched behind a van, pulled from his waistband a dark object — later identified as a gun — and threw it on the ground.

    “P.O. Agard testified that she heard a hard metal object hit the ground,” according to a letter the Brooklyn district attorney’s office wrote summarizing her testimony.

    But prosecutors lost faith in her account in July 2017, after learning from other officers that she was not among the first officers on the scene. Officer Agard had arrived later as backup, according to the letter, which noted that the gun charges against the man were later dismissed. The prosecutors did not address why Officer Agard claimed to be a witness, or why the other officers present seem to have allowed her to process the arrest.

    Police lying raises the likelihood that the innocent end up in jail — and that as juries and judges come to regard the police as less credible, or as cases are dismissed when the lies are discovered, the guilty will go free. Police falsehoods also impede judges’ efforts to enforce constitutional limits on police searches and seizures.

    “We have 36,000 officers with law enforcement power, and there are a small handful of these cases every year,” said J. Peter Donald, a spokesman for the Police Department, the nation’s largest municipal force. “That doesn’t make any of these cases any less troubling. Our goal is always, always zero. One is too many, but we have taken significant steps to combat this issue.”

    Shrouded, but Persistent

    The 25 cases identified by The Times are almost certainly only a fraction of those in which officers have come under suspicion for lying in the past three years. That’s because a vast majority of cases end in plea deals before an officer is ever required to take the witness stand in open court, meaning the possibility that an officer lied is seldom aired in public. And in the rare cases when an officer does testify in court — and a judge finds the testimony suspicious, leading to the dismissal of the case — the proceedings are often sealed afterward.

    Still, the cases identified by The Times reveal an entrenched perjury problem several decades in the making that shows little sign of fading.

    So far in 2018, a Queens detective has been convicted of lying in a drug case and a Brooklyn detective has been arrested amid accusations that he fabricated the results of a photo lineup. These cases returned the phenomenon of police lying to the public eye, leaving police officials to defend the integrity of honest officers.

    Kevin Richardson, the Police Department’s top internal prosecutor, said he believed so-called testilying was nearing its end. “I think it’s a problem that’s very much largely on its way out,” he said.

    Indeed, it’s tempting to think about police lying as a bygone of past eras: a form of misconduct that ran unchecked as soaring street violence left the police overwhelmed during the 1980s and early 1990s and that re-emerged as police embraced stop-and-frisk tactics and covered up constitutional violations with lies.

    But false testimony by the police persists even as crime has drastically receded across the city and as the Police Department has renounced the excesses of the stop-and-frisk years.

    Some policing experts anticipate that the ubiquity of cameras — whether on cellphones, affixed to buildings or worn by officers — will greatly reduce police lying. For the moment, however, video seems more capable of exposing lies than vanquishing them.

    Memory and Manipulation

    In two recent cases, The Times found, officers appear to have given false accounts about witness identifications. These cases are particularly troubling because erroneous identifications by witnesses have been a leading cause of wrongful convictions.

    After a 2016 mugging near a Brooklyn subway station, the police arrested a group of four people, one of whom was found to be in possession of the victim’s wallet. In preparing the case, prosecutors sought to pin down a few basic facts. Had the police brought the victim, who was punched and had his wallet taken, to positively identify the four suspects after they were taken into custody? If so, what had the victim said?

    Getting a straight answer from the arresting officer, Chedanan Naurang, proved nearly impossible. It had been Officer Naurang’s quick thinking that had made the arrest possible: Having lost the suspects at one subway station, he followed a hunch and drove one stop down the line, where he caught up with the four men after they got off the train.

    But certain details Officer Naurang gave prosecutors kept shifting over the next year, according to a February 2017 letter that prosecutors wrote in which they summarized his fluid story.

    Officer Naurang said at one point that the identification had occurred inside a police station when the victim passed by the holding cells, saw the men and confirmed their involvement in the crime.

    [ALSO READ: Two NYPD Officers Are Charged With Lying About Suspect]

    A few weeks later, he backtracked. No, the victim had actually never gotten to see the suspects at the police station, Officer Naurang explained. Instead, the victim had gotten a chance to view them on the street, shortly after their arrest. That’s when the victim got out of the police vehicle in which he had been waiting, Officer Naurang said, and pointed to one of the four men, identifying him as an attacker.

    This version of events, however, was at odds with the recollection of the police officer who had driven the victim to the scene of the arrest. That officer, Christopher McDonald, told prosecutors that the victim had remained in the back seat while viewing the four suspects. And Officer McDonald said that the victim couldn’t say whether they were his assailants. He thought he recognized their clothing, but wasn’t sure.

    Because of Officer Naurang’s changing story, prosecutors dropped the case against the men as part of a deal in which all four pleaded guilty to charges stemming from a second mugging they were accused of the same night.

    Continue reading the main story
    Detective Michael Foder, right, walked out of Federal District Court in Brooklyn accompanied by his lawyer, James Moschella, after his February arraignment on perjury charges. CreditVictor J. Blue for The New York Times

    Another case in which the police gave false information about a witness identification came after a carjacking in Brooklyn in 2015. In that case, the police began to focus on two suspects based on an anonymous tip and a fingerprint. A detective, Michael Foder, testified that he had then prepared two photo lineups — one for each suspect.

    Each consisted of the suspect’s photograph printed on a sheet of paper, alongside the photos of “fillers” — people of vaguely similar appearance with no connection to the crime. The hope was that the victim, a livery cabdriver, might recognize the suspect’s photo and pick him out — an outcome that prosecutors regard as a strong indicator of a suspect’s guilt.

    That’s what happened, Detective Foder testified, when the victim came to the precinct to view the photo lineup for one suspect in November 2015 and returned in February 2016 to view one for the second suspect.

    But the photo lineups that Detective Foder had prepared — and were submitted as evidence in federal court — were fabrications. It was a federal prosecutor who first realized that many of the photos used in the lineups were not yet available at the time Detective Foder claimed to have shown them to the victim. The reason? The photos of some of the fillers had yet to be taken.

    The lineup that was said to be from November 2015 included filler photographs that were not taken until December. And the one he claimed to have administered in February featured photos that were taken in March.

    Last month, Detective Foder was indicted on federal perjury charges. The indictment accuses him of lying to “conceal the fact that he had falsified documentation” related to the photo lineups. Detective Foder’s lawyer entered a plea of not guilty on the detective’s behalf.

    A prosecutor discovered that many of the photos in the array Detective Foder said he had shown the victim Feb. 14, 2016, were not even taken until after that date.

    Justifying a Search

    Detective Foder’s actions appear to be aimed at tilting the scales toward guilt.

    But more often, The Times found, false statements by the police seem intended to hide illegal searches and seizures, such as questionable car stops or entries into apartments that result in officers finding guns or drugs. If the truth were to emerge that the case began with an illegal police search, the evidence would quite likely be thrown out and the case dismissed.



    The story that Christopher Thomas, a plainclothes police officer, told a grand jury in December 2014 sounded plausible enough. As he approached a parked car with a flashlight in hand, he said, he saw a man in the driver’s seat pull a firearm out of his waistband and stick it between the car’s center console and the front seat. The driver was indicted on gun-possession charges.

    But by July 2015, as video of the encounter was about to emerge, Officer Thomas started backtracking. In conversations with the assistant district attorney on the case, Officer Thomas acknowledged that he had not seen the driver pull the gun from his waistband. In fact, he said, he had never seen the driver with his hand on the gun.

    “He stated to the A.D.A. that he did not know why he had testified to those facts before the grand jury,” according to an email prosecutors later sent to a defense lawyer. This email, as well as several similar letters that prosecutors sent in other cases, were provided to The Times by Cynthia Conti-Cook, a Legal Aid Society lawyer who has been compiling a database of police misconduct allegations.

    The video undermined Officer Thomas’s original claim of having seen the gun at the outset. It shows Officer Thomas and his partner approach the car and shine their flashlights inside. Their demeanor on the video suggests that they had seen nothing so far to cause alarm. One of the two officers — either Officer Thomas or his partner — is so unconcerned that he bends down for about seven seconds, and appears to tie his shoe.

    Video emerged that undermined Officer Christopher Thomas’s original claim of having immediately spotted a gun in the car.

    Brooklyn prosecutors dismissed the gun case and, according to the prosecutors’ email, informed the Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau about the problems with Officer Thomas’s account. An internal police disciplinary process led to Officer Thomas losing 30 vacation days and being placed on dismissal probation for a year, according to a person familiar with the case.

    He is now a sergeant in a narcotics unit.

    Officer Thomas is not the only officer to have tried to withdraw earlier testimony as soon as video of an encounter emerged, or was about to.

    “I misspoke when I was in grand jury,” Sean Kinane, an officer with the 52nd Precinct in the Bronx, testified in federal court in 2016. That was all the explanation he gave, or was asked to give, for why he was recanting his earlier testimony about witnessing what appeared to be narcotics transactions in the moments before he stopped a heroin dealer in the street.

    That claim, if true, would have given the police justification to stop the man, who was discovered to be carrying 153 glassine envelopes of heroin and eight bags of crack cocaine. But after the drug dealer managed to get a video recording of the encounter, Officer Kinane’s story changed. He had misspoken.

    Reached by telephone for comment, Detective Kinane — he was promoted in 2017 — hung up.

    ‘No Fear of Being Caught’

    Many police officials and experts express optimism that the prevalence of cameras will reduce police lying. As officers begin to accept that digital evidence of an encounter will emerge, lying will be perceived as too risky — or so the thinking goes.

    “Basically it’s harder for a cop to lie today,” the Police Department’s top legal official, Lawrence Byrne, said last year at a New York City Bar Association event, noting that there were millions of cellphones on the streets of New York, each with a camera. “There is virtually no enforcement encounter where there isn’t immediate video of what the officers are doing.”

    As more police encounters are recorded — whether on the cellphones of bystanders or the body-worn cameras of officers — false police testimony is being exposed in cases where the officer’s word might once have carried the day. That is true for run-of-the-mill drug cases as well as for police shootings so notorious that they are seared into the national consciousness.

    Yet interviews with officers suggest the prevalence of cameras alone won’t end police lying. That’s because even with cameras present, some officers still figure — with good reason — that a lie is unlikely to be exposed. Because plea deals are a typical outcome, it’s rare for a case to develop to the point where the defendant can question an officer’s version of events at a hearing.

    [ALSO READ: New York Detective Charged With Faking Lineup Results]

    “There’s no fear of being caught,” said one Brooklyn officer who has been on the force for roughly a decade. “You’re not going to go to trial and nobody is going to be cross-examined.”

    The percentage of cases that progress to the point where an officer is cross-examined is tiny. In 2016, for instance, there were slightly more than 185 guilty pleas, dismissals or other non-trial outcomes for each criminal case in New York City that went to trial and reached a verdict. There were 1,460 trial verdicts in criminal cases that year, while 270,304 criminal cases were resolved without a trial.

    To be sure, officers are sometimes called to testify before trial at so-called suppression hearings in which the legality of police conduct is evaluated. But those are rare. In Manhattan, about 2.4 percent of felony criminal cases have a suppression hearing, according to data from the Manhattan district attorney’s office. The rate for non-felony cases is slightly more than one-tenth of 1 percent.

    Continue reading the main story
    Officer Pedro Serrano said he doesn’t engage in “testilying,” but he said it remains a problem in the New York City Police Department. “You take the truth and stretch it out a little bit.” CreditKarsten Moran for The New York Times

    A Crucial Court Decision

    Several officers, all working in the Bronx and Brooklyn, candidly described in interviews how the practice of lying runs like a fault line through precincts. “You’re either a ‘lie guy’ or you’re not,” said the Brooklyn officer. Speaking on condition of anonymity, he described how he avoided certain officers and units in his precinct based on his discomfort with the arrests they made.

    Earlier in his career, he said, a supervisor and a detective had each encouraged him to lie about the circumstances of drug arrests. Another time, he said, he had worked with an officer who, after discovering drugs while searching a suspect without cause, turned to the other officers present with a question — “How did we find this?” — and sought their help devising a false story.

    Countless police officers have struggled with that question — “How did we find this?” — ever since 1961, when the Supreme Court ruled, in Mapp v. Ohio, that state judges must throw out evidence from illegal searches and seizures. Before this ruling, New York City officers could stop someone they thought might be dealing or using drugs, search their pockets and clothing, describe the encounter truthfully, and not worry that a court would throw out the drugs that they had discovered, even though the stop and search had been, strictly speaking, illegal. That changed with the Mapp decision, which greatly expanded the reach of the Fourth Amendment.

    Immediately after the Mapp case, police officers saw many narcotics cases be dismissed. Then they made what one judge called “the great discovery.” If they testified that the suspect had dropped a bag of drugs on the ground as the police approached, courts would generally deem those arrests legal.

    Within a year of the Mapp decision, courts in New York City were seeing a marked increase in what became known as “dropsy” testimony — in some units “dropsy” cases increased more than 70 percent, according to one 1968 study.

    There was little reason to think drug users had grown more skittish. Rather, the influx of these cases was understood to be a sign that police officers were lying in a substantial number of cases. Ever since, courts in New York have been plagued with officers lying about how they came to discover that a suspect was carrying drugs or guns.

    By 1994, a commission appointed to investigate police corruption noted that lying to make cases stick was common enough for “testilying” to become a well-known portmanteau.

    The report by the Mollen Commission noted a few established patterns of falsehoods. Officers who illegally searched a car might later say they discovered contraband in “plain view.” Or an officer who found a gun or drugs in someone’s clothing during an illegal search might falsely claim to have seen “a bulge in the person’s pocket.”

    Just like the dropsy testimony a few decades earlier, these stories of “plain view” and “suspicious bulges” became scripts that many police officers stuck to. They were rarely challenged, not even as officers in New York City began repeating them tens and then hundreds of thousands of times as police stops of mainly black and Latino men skyrocketed during the years Michael R. Bloomberg was mayor.

    Embellished Narratives

    In recent years, the number of times police stopped and frisked pedestrians has declined precipitously. But certain plainclothes units, such as the so-called anti-crime teams, still engage in an aggressive style of policing that relies heavily on stop-and-frisk tactics. These teams make a disproportionate number of gun arrests, but they are also responsible for a substantial number of dubious stops of pedestrians and drivers, police officers and legal experts said in interviews.

    Several uniformed patrol officers said they have long suspected that the track record of plainclothes anti-crime teams for making weapons and drug arrests was bolstered by illegal searches and a tolerance for lying about them.

    These officers described a familiar scene: a group of black men ordered out of a vehicle for little reason and made to sit on the curb or lean against the bumper, as officers search the vehicle for guns and drugs.

    “Certain car stops, certain cops will say there is odor of marijuana. And when I get to the scene, I immediately don’t smell anything,” said Officer Serrano, one of the few officers interviewed who was willing to speak on the record. “I can’t tell you what you smelled, but it’s obvious to me there is no smell of marijuana.”

    Mr. Serrano’s testimony about a secret station-house recording he made was crucial evidence in a landmark stop-and-frisk trial in 2013. He and nearly a dozen other current and former officers are suing the Police Department over what they describe as arrest quotas.

    Edwin Raymond, a New York City police sergeant, said plainclothes officers working with so-called anti-crime teams bend the truth “to fit the narrative.” CreditChristopher Anderson/Magnum Photos

    “It’s the anti-crime teams, the plainclothes officers, everyone knows they will violate the law, get what they want and then write it to fit the narrative,” said Edwin Raymond, a police sergeant who is also a plaintiff in the arrest-quota case. “The narratives will be embellished to fit the parameters of probable cause, if need be.”

    ‘A Surreal Journey’

    To be sure, there are other motives for lying, other than to cover up illegal searches.

    Some police officers have said they faced pressure from commanders to write more tickets or make more arrests. A decade ago, narcotics detectives were found to have falsely accused people of dealing drugs in order to meet arrest quotas.

    And there is pressure to solve — or at least close — cases. That may have motivated Officer Martinez’s gun-in-the-laundry-bag-in-the-doorway story.

    What appears to have actually happened is that Officer Martinez and other officers searched inside the apartment for evidence from a nearby shooting. They had good reason to focus on that apartment. The victim, after being shot, had rushed there, along with others. Crime-scene photos taken by the department’s Evidence Collection Team suggest that a gun was found inside the apartment, in or near a laundry bag on the floor.

    But whose gun was it? That was not clear. A number of people had been in the apartment in the preceding hours. And Ms. Thomas, who lived more than a mile away and arrived about an hour after the shooting, was one of the few people there when Officer Martinez showed up.

    There is little, if any, evidence tying Ms. Thomas to the gun other than Officer Martinez’s false testimony that placed her in the doorway with the laundry bag in her arms. Prosecutors acknowledged that DNA testing indicates that Ms. Thomas did not handle the gun. Moreover, court papers that prosecutors filed after the case fell apart noted that the police appear to have focused on Ms. Thomas while ignoring other potential suspects. Several other people had entered the apartment shortly before Ms. Thomas — “none of whom are questioned by the police,” the prosecutors’ papers noted.

    As for Officer Martinez’s false story of the laundry bag in the doorway, the prosecution’s legal papers noted only that “there are clear inconsistencies” between Officer Martinez’s “recollection of events and the video.”

    “At no time in this video is there a laundry bag in the defendant’s hands,” the prosecution’s legal papers noted. “Neither is there a bag in the doorway of the apartment, and at no time is the arresting officer observed moving a bag before entering the apartment.”

    By the time prosecutors officially dropped the case in November 2017, Ms. Thomas had already appeared in court 16 times, according to a tally of appearances kept by one of her lawyers, Alexandra Conlon, of the Bronx Defenders. On the last appearance, Ms. Thomas, 39, asked to address the court. “For 396 days I have been fighting for my life, my freedom and my sanity,” she said. “This has been such a surreal journey that I don’t wish on anyone.”

    Officer Martinez remains in good standing at the 41st Precinct. Shortly after the case was dismissed, he was promoted to detective and given his gold shield. When a reporter tried to interview him in January about his testimony in the case, he declined to comment, saying, “That’s not something I can speak about directly with you.”

    Continue reading the main story

    Ms. Thomas outside the Bronx apartment building where she was arrested on gun charges that were dismissed after a video contradicted the police officer’s account.



    There is a 2013 article on the same subject.


    Why Police Lie Under Oath


    THOUSANDS of people plead guilty to crimes every year in the United States because they know that the odds of a jury’s believing their word over a police officer’s are slim to none. As a juror, whom are you likely to believe: the alleged criminal in an orange jumpsuit or two well-groomed police officers in uniforms who just swore to God they’re telling the truth, the whole truth and nothing but? As one of my colleagues recently put it, “Everyone knows you have to be crazy to accuse the police of lying.”

    But are police officers necessarily more trustworthy than alleged criminals? I think not. Not just because the police have a special inclination toward confabulation, but because, disturbingly, they have an incentive to lie. In this era of mass incarceration, the police shouldn’t be trusted any more than any other witness, perhaps less so.

    That may sound harsh, but numerous law enforcement officials have put the matter more bluntly.  Peter Keane, a former San Francisco Police commissioner, wrote an article in The San Francisco Chronicle decrying a police culture that treats lying as the norm: “Police officer perjury in court to justify illegal dope searches is commonplace. One of the dirty little not-so-secret secrets of the criminal justice system is undercover narcotics officers intentionally lying under oath. It is a perversion of the American justice system that strikes directly at the rule of law. Yet it is the routine way of doing business in courtrooms everywhere in America.”

    The New York City Police Department is not exempt from this critique. In 2011, hundreds of drug cases were dismissed after several police officers were accused of mishandling evidence. That year, Justice Gustin L. Reichbach of the State Supreme Court in Brooklyn condemned a widespread culture of lying and corruption in the department’s drug enforcement units. “I thought I was not naïve,” he said when announcing a guilty verdict involving a police detective who had planted crack cocaine on a pair of suspects. “But even this court was shocked, not only by the seeming pervasive scope of misconduct but even more distressingly by the seeming casualness by which such conduct is employed.”

    Remarkably, New York City officers have been found to engage in patterns of deceit in cases involving charges as minor as trespass. In September it was reported that the Bronx district attorney’s office was so alarmed by police lying that it decided to stop prosecuting people who were stopped and arrested for trespassing at public housing projects, unless prosecutors first interviewed the arresting officer to ensure the arrest was actually warranted. Jeannette Rucker, the chief of arraignments for the Bronx district attorney, explained in a letter that it had become apparent that the police were arresting people even when there was convincing evidence that they were innocent. To justify the arrests, Ms. Rucker claimed, police officers provided false written statements, and in depositions, the arresting officers gave false testimony.

    Continue reading the main story

    Mr. Keane, in his Chronicle article, offered two major reasons the police lie so much. First, because they can. Police officers “know that in a swearing match between a drug defendant and a police officer, the judge always rules in favor of the officer.” At worst, the case will be dismissed, but the officer is free to continue business as usual. Second, criminal defendants are typically poor and uneducated, often belong to a racial minority, and often have a criminal record.  “Police know that no one cares about these people,” Mr. Keane explained.

    CreditWesley Allsbrook

    All true, but there is more to the story than that.

    Police departments have been rewarded in recent years for the sheer numbers of stops, searches and arrests. In the war on drugs, federal grant programs like the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Program have encouraged state and local law enforcement agencies to boost drug arrests in order to compete for millions of dollars in funding. Agencies receive cash rewards for arresting high numbers of people for drug offenses, no matter how minor the offenses or how weak the evidence. Law enforcement has increasingly become a numbers game. And as it has, police officers’ tendency to regard procedural rules as optional and to lie and distort the facts has grown as well. Numerous scandals involving police officers lying or planting drugs — in Tulia, Tex. and Oakland, Calif., for example — have been linked to federally funded drug task forces eager to keep the cash rolling in.

    THE pressure to boost arrest numbers is not limited to drug law enforcement. Even where no clear financial incentives exist, the “get tough” movement has warped police culture to such a degree that police chiefs and individual officers feel pressured to meet stop-and-frisk or arrest quotas in order to prove their “productivity.”

    For the record, the New York City police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, denies that his department has arrest quotas. Such denials are mandatory, given that quotas are illegal under state law. But as the Urban Justice Center’s Police Reform Organizing Project has documented, numerous officers have contradicted Mr. Kelly. In 2010, a New York City police officer named Adil Polanco told a local ABC News reporter that “our primary job is not to help anybody, our primary job is not to assist anybody, our primary job is to get those numbers and come back with them.” He continued: “At the end of the night you have to come back with something.  You have to write somebody, you have to arrest somebody, even if the crime is not committed, the number’s there. So our choice is to come up with the number.”

    Exposing police lying is difficult largely because it is rare for the police to admit their own lies or to acknowledge the lies of other officers. This reluctance derives partly from the code of silence that governs police practice and from the ways in which the system of mass incarceration is structured to reward dishonesty. But it’s also because police officers are human.

    Research shows that ordinary human beings lie a lot — multiple times a day — even when there’s no clear benefit to lying. Generally, humans lie about relatively minor things like “I lost your phone number; that’s why I didn’t call” or “No, really, you don’t look fat.” But humans can also be persuaded to lie about far more important matters, especially if the lie will enhance or protect their reputation or standing in a group.

    The natural tendency to lie makes quota systems and financial incentives that reward the police for the sheer numbers of people stopped, frisked or arrested especially dangerous. One lie can destroy a life, resulting in the loss of employment, a prison term and relegation to permanent second-class status. The fact that our legal system has become so tolerant of police lying indicates how corrupted our criminal justice system has become by declarations of war, “get tough” mantras, and a seemingly insatiable appetite for locking up and locking out the poorest and darkest among us.

    And, no, I’m not crazy for thinking so.



    Michael Komorn

    We've known for forty years that Cannabidiol (CBD) from the Cannabis Sativa aka Marijuana aka Hemp plant vastly reduces many different kinds of seizures and epilepsy in humans. It is a travesty that patients and parents of children with epilepsy are prohibited from using this non-toxic plant to prevent and stop seizures. Tens of thousands of epileptics have died because they were unable to access this life saving safe non-toxic medication.


    In phase 1 of the study, 3 mg/kg daily of cannabidiol (CBD) was given for 30 days to 8 health human volunteers. Another 8 volunteers received the same number of identical capsules containing glucose as placebo in a double-blind setting. Neurological and physical examinations, blood and urine analysis, ECG and EEG were performed at weekly intervals. In phase 2 of the study, 15 patients suffering from secondary generalized epilepsy with temporal focus were randomly divided into two groups. Each patient received, in a double-blind procedure, 200-300 mg daily of CBD or placebo. The drugs were administered for along as 4 1/2 months. Clinical and laboratory examinations, EEG and ECG were performed at 15- or 30-day intervals. Throughout the experiment the patients continued to take the antiepileptic drugs prescribed before the experiment, although these drugs no longer controlled the signs of the disease. All patients and volunteers tolerated CBD very well and no signs of toxicity or serious side effects were detected on examination. 4 of the 8 CBD subjects remained almost free of convulsive crises throughout the experiment and 3 other patients demonstrated partial improvement in their clinical condition. CBD was ineffective in 1 patient. The clinical condition of 7 placebo patients remained unchanged whereas the condition of 1 patient clearly improved. The potential use of CBD as an antiepileptic drug and its possible potentiating effect on other antiepileptic drugs are discussed.




    A high dose of Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol, the main Cannabis sativa (cannabis) component, induces anxiety and psychotic-like symptoms in healthy volunteers. These effects of Δ⁹-tetrahydrocannabinol are significantly reduced by cannabidiol (CBD), a cannabis constituent which is devoid of the typical effects of the plant. This observation led us to suspect that CBD could have anxiolytic and/or antipsychotic actions. Studies in animal models and in healthy volunteers clearly suggest an anxiolytic-like effect of CBD. The antipsychotic-like properties of CBD have been investigated in animal models using behavioral and neurochemical techniques which suggested that CBD has a pharmacological profile similar to that of atypical antipsychotic drugs. The results of two studies on healthy volunteers using perception of binocular depth inversion and ketamine-induced psychotic symptoms supported the proposal of the antipsychotic-like properties of CBD. In addition, open case reports of schizophrenic patients treated with CBD and a preliminary report of a controlled clinical trial comparing CBD with an atypical antipsychotic drug have confirmed that this cannabinoid can be a safe and well-tolerated alternative treatment for schizophrenia. Future studies of CBD in other psychotic conditions such as bipolar disorder and comparative studies of its antipsychotic effects with those produced by clozapine in schizophrenic patients are clearly indicated. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2016 APA, all rights reserved)





    The Dravet syndrome is a complex childhood epilepsy disorder that is associated with drug-resistant seizures and a high mortality rate. We studied cannabidiol for the treatment of drug-resistant seizures in the Dravet syndrome.


    In this double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, we randomly assigned 120 children and young adults with the Dravet syndrome and drug-resistant seizures to receive either cannabidiol oral solution at a dose of 20 mg per kilogram of body weight per day or placebo, in addition to standard antiepileptic treatment. The primary end point was the change in convulsive-seizure frequency over a 14-week treatment period, as compared with a 4-week baseline period.


    The median frequency of convulsive seizures per month decreased from 12.4 to 5.9 with cannabidiol, as compared with a decrease from 14.9 to 14.1 with placebo (adjusted median difference between the cannabidiol group and the placebo group in change in seizure frequency, −22.8 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], −41.1 to −5.4; P=0.01). The percentage of patients who had at least a 50% reduction in convulsive-seizure frequency was 43% with cannabidiol and 27% with placebo (odds ratio, 2.00; 95% CI, 0.93 to 4.30; P=0.08). The patient’s overall condition improved by at least one category on the seven-category Caregiver Global Impression of Change scale in 62% of the cannabidiol group as compared with 34% of the placebo group (P=0.02). The frequency of total seizures of all types was significantly reduced with cannabidiol (P=0.03), but there was no significant reduction in nonconvulsive seizures. The percentage of patients who became seizure-free was 5% with cannabidiol and 0% with placebo (P=0.08). Adverse events that occurred more frequently in the cannabidiol group than in the placebo group included diarrhea, vomiting, fatigue, pyrexia, somnolence, and abnormal results on liver-function tests. There were more withdrawals from the trial in the cannabidiol group.


    Among patients with the Dravet syndrome, cannabidiol resulted in a greater reduction in convulsive-seizure frequency than placebo and was associated with higher rates of adverse events. (Funded by GW Pharmaceuticals; ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT02091375.)





    Muskegon mom hopes medical pot will save daughter, 5

    Nina DeSarro, WZZMPublished 9:08 a.m. ET March 1, 2018

    Can medical marijuana save Michigan girl?

    Could something so taboo, something the federal government doesn't recognize as containing medicinal value, be the cure for a 5-year-old girl in Muskegon?

    LeAnne Parker is a supermom. Between caring for her two daughters, her dogs and keeping up with her career, she does it all.

    “For four years my life was normal. My kids were normal. I knew nothing was wrong,” Parker said.

    That is until January 7, 2017 when her five-year-old daughter, Lily became unresponsive.

    “Her eyes just slowly start going to the right, almost like poltergeist, to the point where she turned her whole body until she was facing the shower which was behind her,” Parker said.

    In a panic, Parker immediately called an ambulance.

    “I didn’t know what to do, I just sat there and cried, I thought I was losing her, I just had the door open and I was just screaming for somebody to please help,” Parker remembered.

    Lily was taken to the hospital where doctors couldn't figure out what had happened.

    “They just said, 'if it happens again call us' and sent me home with no answers so we came home with no answers,” Parker said.

    Two weeks later, it happened again. And then again.

    “She did testing and testing and everybody said ‘I don’t know, just the brain is…welcome to the brain,’” Parker said.

    Finally in February, Lily received a diagnosis of epilepsy.

    “With two seizures that are unprovoked, you get the diagnosis of epilepsy.”

    She was immediately put on prescription medication, but the seizures continued. Lily had reached the maximum dosage possibly.

    “Now she’s failed all pharmaceuticals,” Parker said.

    Not only were the medications ineffective, her physical and mental state began to deteriorate. Five-year-old Lily was high, every day, her mom said.


    “I sent her to school the other day, and they called me and they said that she was tired. She was passing out. She fell asleep during circle,” Parker said.

    She picked Lily up from school after her teachers told her she was walking into walls. The only other option for Lily was brain surgery, if she would even qualify.

    “I thought, there has to be something else,” Parker said.

    Brain surgery could mean a loss of Lily’s peripheral vision.

    “And there’s a chance that it wouldn't even work, so then my daughter is partially blind and still has seizures, how do you make that choice for your kid, I don’t know,” Parker said. She would never be able to drive, never be able to play sports, that’s a really, really hard decision to make as a parent.”

    Desperate for another solution, Leanne found out about CBD, Cannabidiol.

    “I started doing my research so instead of doing all of my research about epilepsy, now I was doing all of my research about CBD oil and learning everything I possibly could to learn about the benefits of it,” Parker said.


    She went to a meeting in Grand Haven about medical marijuana’s use in treating epilepsy and from that point forward, she was going to give CBD a try.

    “It’s my daughter, so you can judge me. I feel like we live in a culture where it’s okay to pop Oxycontin, Vicodin and pain killers but we look at CBD oil like it’s awful, I don’t understand that,” Parker said.

    Nervous, Leanne approached her daughter’s neurologist with the idea.

    “I brought it up to my doctor hoping and praying that he was on board with it and a lot of people aren’t

    I’m lucky that I found a doctor that is, because if he wasn’t, I’d have to do it behind his back,” Parker said.

    Weeks later, she received Lily’s medical marijuana license in the mail.

    “The sad part is, there’s no doctor to talk to and that is the most frustrating part with me, because I’m like ‘okay I’m on board I want to do this, how, where, what do I do, how do I go about it and how do I even know how to dose my daughter?’” Parker said.

    Through her research, she found Bloom. The Ann Arbor based medical marijuana facility that offers doctor/patient consulting.

    “I wish this was option one before the pharmaceuticals, I wish I would have tried this first,” Parker said.

    It’s still a little too early today, but it’s been 25 days seizure free for Lily.

    “I am not hopping on a bandwagon of medical marijuana, I’m jumping off of the pharmaceutical bandwagon,” Parker said.

    So far, this is the longest Lily has gone without having a seizure since July of 2017.


    Michael Komorn

    The public hearing for public comments will be heard on April 27, 2018. Read more about it at http://komornlaw.com/petitions 




    After the MMMA was enacted by a vote of 63% of Michigan voters in 2008, the legislature has declined to add any new qualifying conditions to protect patients from arrest.

    Senator Rick Jones even attempted to remove Glaucoma from the MMMP's list of qualifying conditions. Patients , caregivers and other interested parties wrote in opposition to the bill.

    A handful of petitions have been submitted over the years. LARA (and the previous MDCH department) have used various reasons and tricks to deny these petitions. Only Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has been added as a qualifying condition to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. Autism and Parkinson's disorder petitions were approved by the Michigan medical marihuana review board (the board consists mostly of physicians). These petitions were denied by the LARA director. The petitions were not deficient in any way and should have been accepted by LARA. We resubmitted the Autism petition again, with 20 additional research studies.

    Now, with the help of numerous patients, researchers, Dwight Z. and Dr. Christian Bogner along with the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association and Michael Komorn, we have assembled a massive amount of peer-reviewed medical research and government data to show that these conditions should be approved to protect patients, caregivers and physicians from arrest for the medical use of marijuana to treat their conditions.

    This project took months of work. Reading, organizing, searching and collecting thousands of pages of research from all over the world. Including the most up to date medical studies, peer-reviewed patient surveys and the national reviews of all medical marijuana studies by the National Academies of Science. The oldest peer-reviewed medical research paper cited within these petitions was from the first volume of The Lancet in 1889. Birch EA. The use of Indian hemp in the treatment of chronic chloral and chronic opium poisoning. The Lancet. 1889;133:625.

    Cannabis, Indian Hemp, Marijuana, whatever you call it, physicians were using this non-toxic plant in 1889 to treat chronic opium poisoning and opium addiction. As opioid based prescriptions are addicting and killing approximately 142 Americans each day in 2017, medical marijuana is a non-lethal non-toxic way to avoid "America enduring a death toll equal to September 11th every three weeks."

    The qualifying condition petitions were based primarily on the following:

    Included research not only supports each qualifying condition petition, but also answers questions that the LARA directors, physicians and medical marijuana review panel board members had asked of past petitioners. Reports on dosages, safety profiles of marijuana, statistics from the CDC and Poison Control, and information from NIH, FDA and the DEA are presented in the petitions. This information was included in order to compare the safety, effects and side-effects of medical marijuana with FDA approved prescription medications.

    All of the patients, caregivers, researchers, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association and it's president Michael Komorn fully agree that marijuana should be removed from the Controlled Substances Act. Marijuana should continue to be studied as a treatment for every human and animal disease. Marijuana also should be submitted to the FDA for approval as a medicine. We fully support all clinical trials related to using marijuana as a treatment for any condition, disease or injury. As all of the scientific peer-reviewed published clinical trials show, marijuana is an effective medicine.

    The http://www.nih.gov website was heavily utilized throughout this project for locating scientific peer-reviewed published research, reports and information.

    The petitions are grouped by similar conditions, symptoms or mechanisms of treatment. Included in this post are some choice quotes from a few studies in each group of petitions.


    Marijuana and Medicine Assessing the Science Base 1999 report from the Institute of Medicine


    Movement disorders are a group of neurological conditions caused by abnormalities in
    the basal ganglia and their subcortical connections through the thalamus with cortical
    motor areas. The brain dysfunctions ultimately result in abnormal skeletal muscle
    movements in the face, limbs, and trunk. The movement disorders most often considered
    for marijuana or cannabinoid therapy are dystonia, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's
    disease, and Tourette's syndrome. Movement disorders are often transiently exacerbated
    by stress and activity and improved by factors that reduce stress. This is of particular
    interest because for many people marijuana reduces anxiety. 



    Relief of anxiety and stress is one of the most common reasons that people give for using marijuana

    Medical Cannabis in Arizona: Patient Characteristics, Perceptions, and Impressions of Medical Cannabis Legalization.


    367 medical marijuana patients in Arizona were surveyed. 
    181 patients reported using medical marijuana to experience relief from Anxiety
    164 patients reported using medical marijuana to experience relief from Stress.
    General relief from Anxiety symptoms was 82.9% and 87.2% for Stress with medical marijuana, 
    Relief by medical marijuana compared to other medications was 79.3% for Anxiety and 91.6% for Stress.
    Less frequent use of other medications was 85.9% for Anxiety and 79.1% for Stress.

    32 patients reported using medical marijuana to experience relief from Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder.
    General relief from ADHD symptoms was 81.2% with medical marijuana.
    Relief by medical marijuana compared to other medications was 65% for ADHD.
    Less frequent use of other medications was 84% for ADHD

    23 patients reported using medical marijuana to experience relief from Bipolar disorder.
    General relief from Bipolar disorder symptoms was 60% with medical marijuana.
    Relief by medical marijuana compared to other medications was 90% for Bipolar disorder.
    Less frequent use of other medications was 56% for Bipolar Disorder.

    106 patients reported using medical marijuana to experience relief from Depression.
    General relief from Depression symptoms was 82% with medical marijuana.
    Relief by medical marijuana compared to other medications was 86.9% for Depression.
    Less frequent use of other medications was 65% for Depression.

    17 patients reported using medical marijuana to experience relief from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder..
    General relief from OCD symptoms was 64.7% with medical marijuana.
    Relief by medical marijuana compared to other medications was 62% for OCD.
    Less frequent use of other medications was 33.4% for OCD.

    2 patients reported using medical marijuana to experience relief from Schizophrenia.
    General relief from Schizophrenia symptoms was 100% with medical marijuana.
    Relief by medical marijuana compared to other medications was 100% for Schizophrenia.

    28 patients reported using medical marijuana to experience relief from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
    General relief from PTSD symptoms was 67.9% with medical marijuana.
    Relief by medical marijuana compared to other medications was 92% for PTSD.
    Less frequent use of other medications was 44.4% for PTSD.




    • Arkansas lists severe arthritis as a qualifying condition.
    • California lists arthritis as a qualifying condition.
    • Connecticut lists psoriatic arthritis as a qualifying condition.
    • Illinois lists rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus as qualifying conditions.
    • Hawaii lists rheumatoid arthritis and Lupus as qualifying conditions.
    • New Hampshire lists Lupus as a qualifying condition.
    • New Mexico lists inflammatory autoimmune-mediated arthritis as a qualifying condition.


    Preliminary assessment of the efficacy, tolerability and safety of a cannabis-based medicine (Sativex) inthe treatment of pain caused by rheumatoid arthritis


    Statistically significant improvements in pain on movement, pain at rest, quality of sleep, DAS28 and the SF-MPQ pain at present component were seen following CBM ( cannabis based medicine ) in comparison with placebo.

    Transdermal cannabidiol reduces inflammation and pain-related behaviours in a rat model of arthritis


    These data indicate that topical CBD application has therapeutic potential for relief of arthritis pain-related behaviours and inflammation without evident side-effects.



    Connecticut has “damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity” as a qualifying condition in its medical marijuana program.

    Illinois lists “Post-Concussion Syndrome”, “Spinal cord disease (including but not limited to arachnoiditis)”, “Spinal cord injury with damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity” and Traumatic Brain Injury as qualifying conditions in its medical marijuana program.

    New Hampshire lists “spinal cord injury or disease” and traumatic brain injury as qualifying conditions in its medical marijuana program.

    Ohio lists chronic traumatic encephalopathy, “spinal cord disease or injury” and traumatic brain injury as qualifying conditions in its medical marijuana program.

    Pennsylvania lists “damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity” as a qualifying condition for its medical marijuana program.

    Washington lists Traumatic brain injury as a qualifying condition for its medical marijuana program.

    West Virginia lists “Damage to the nervous tissue of the spinal cord with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity.” as a qualifying condition for its medical marijuana program.

    Oregon has added “a degenerative or pervasive neurological condition” to its medical marijuana program qualifying conditions. 


    Effects of smoked marijuana in experimentally induced asthma.


    After experimental induction of acute bronchospasm in 8 subjects with clinically stable bronchial asthma, effects of 500 mg of smoked marijuana (2.0 per cent delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol) on specific airway conductance and thoracic gas volume were compared with those of 500 mg of smoked placebo marijuana (0.0 per cent delta9-tetrahydrocannabinol), 0.25 ml of aerosolized saline, and 0.25 ml of aerosolized isoproterenol (1,250 mug). After exercise-induced bronchospasm, placebo marijuana and saline were followed by gradual recovery during 30 to 60 min, whereas 2.0 per cent marijuana and isoproterenol caused an immediate reversal of exercise-induced asthma and hyperinflation.

    Our present findings and those previously reported demonstrated acute airway dilatation after smoked marijuana.

    Effects of cannabis on lung function: a population-based cohort study


    Cumulative cannabis use was associated with higher forced vital capacity, total lung capacity, functional residual capacity and residual volume. Cannabis was also associated with higher airway resistance but not with forced expiratory volume in 1 s, forced expiratory ratio or transfer factor. These findings were similar among those who did not smoke tobacco

    Newspaper ad from 1876 selling marijuana cigarettes for treating asthma.


    You may laugh at a marijuana cigarette as a real medical treatment, but marijuana is a verified bronchodilator similar in strength to albuterol, the standard asthma medication. The medical efficacy of this specific brand of Asthma cigarettes were specifically exempted within the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs as created by the United Nations. This means these marijuana cigarettes were still able to be sold after each country banned marijuana.




    5. Indian Cigarettes of Grimault (Dr. Ph. Chapelle) C.L.302.1930.III. Annex I.
    Government: Siam
    Belladonna leaves - 0.962 gm
    Cannabis indica extract - 0.0005 gm.
    Nitrate of potash - 0.033 gm.



    Preparations made from the extract and tincture which are capable only of external use, and a medicinal cigarette called "Indian Cigarettes of Grimault" (Dr. P. H. Chapelle) are exempted from control.


    The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research (2017)


    Counterintuitively, the majority of the reviewed studies showed that cannabis was associated with a lower BMI or a lower prevalence of obesity, or both (Hayatbakhsh et al., 2010; Le Strat and Le Foll, 2011; Smit and Crespo, 2001; Warren et al., 2005), or to have no association with BMI or obesity (Rodondi et al., 2006).

    The Impact of Marijuana Use on Glucose, Insulin, and Insulin Resistance among US Adults


    In this large, cross-sectional study, we found that subjects who reported using marijuana in the past month had lower levels of fasting insulin and HOMA-IR, as well as smaller waist circumference and higher levels of HDL-C. These associations were attenuated among those who reported using marijuana at least once, but not in the past 30 days, suggesting that the impact of marijuana use on insulin and insulin resistance exists during periods of recent use.

    In the present study, we demonstrate a significant association between current marijuana use and lower levels of fasting insulin and insulin resistance in multivariable adjusted analyses even after excluding participants with prevalent diabetes mellitus.

    With the recent trends in legalization of marijuana in the United States, it is likely that physicians will increasingly encounter patients who use marijuana and should therefore be aware of the effects it can have on common disease processes, such as diabetes mellitus. We found that current marijuana use is associated with lower levels of fasting insulin, lower HOMA-IR, and smaller waist circumference.


    Marijuana Use Patterns Among Patients with Inflammatory Bowel Disease


    Our findings suggest that patients with UC may also benefit from the use of medicinal marijuana although the 11 states that have legalized medical marijuana have only approved its use for only patients with CD. Lawmakers should consider adding this condition to the list of acceptable diseases that may be treated with medicinal marijuana.

    Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program: Patient Experiences from the First Program Year by the MN Department of Health 2016.


    Number of liquid/soft stools per day decreased by ≥30% for 51.2% of patients with at least five liquid/soft stools per day at baseline. Among patients who achieved ≥30% reduction, 57% (29.3% of patients included in analysis at baseline) retained that level of improvement over the next four months.

    Severity of abdominal pain improved for 53.4% of patients with moderate or severe abdominal pain at baseline. Among patients who reported an improvement in abdominal pain, 36% (19.2% of patients included in analysis at baseline) retained that improvement over the next four months.

    General well-being improved for 46.7% of patients who described their baseline well-being as “Very Poor” or “Terrible” at baseline. Among patients who reported an improvement in general well-being, 29% (13.3% of patients included in analysis at baseline) retained that improvement over the next four months.

    On the combined Crohn’s activity measure (number of liquid/soft stools, abdominal pain, general well-being), 51.0% of Crohn’s Disease patients achieved ≥30% improvement. Among patients who achieved ≥30% reduction, 42% (21.6% of patients included in analysis at baseline) retained that level of improvement over the next four months. An increase of at least 3% in body weight was reported by 20.6% of patients. Among the patients who achieved ≥3% increase in body weight, 57% (11.8% of patients included in analysis at baseline) retained that increase over the next four months.

    Cannabinoids and the Urinary Bladder


    To date, a small number of open-label and placebo-controlled studies have demonstrated that oral administration of cannabinoids may alleviate OAB/DO symptoms as first line. Most of these studies have been carried out on patients with advanced multiple sclerosis using preparations containing Δ9 -THC and/or CBD. One such study using Sativex, showed a reduction in urgency, number of incontinence episodes, frequency and nocturia in patients with multiple sclerosis.

    Cannabinoids and gastrointestinal motility: Animal and human studies


    The plant Cannabis has been known for centuries to be beneficial in a variety of gastrointestinal diseases, including emesis, diarrhea, inflammatory bowel disease and intestinal pain.

    Medical cannabis – the Canadian perspective


    Case Report

    The patient was prescribed 1 g per day of a cannabis strain containing 9% THC and 13% CBD to be administered by a vaporizer. At 60 days of follow-up, the patient’s pain was lowered to a weekly average of 3/10 on a numerical rating scale. The patient also indicated he did not see a need for pregabalin, and had begun the process of lowering his daily dose. Surprisingly, the patient also reported far fewer symptoms of his irritable bowel syndrome, claiming near-remission.

    Impact of cannabis treatment on the quality of life, weight and clinical disease activity in inflammatory bowel disease patients: a pilot prospective study.


    Thirteen patients were included. After 3 months' treatment, patients reported improvement in general health perception, social functioning, ability to work , physical pain  and depression. A schematic scale of health perception showed an improved score. Patients had a weight gain of 4.3 ± 2 kg during treatment and an average rise in BMI of 1.4 . The average Harvey-Bradshaw index was reduced.


    Three months' treatment with inhaled cannabis improves quality of life measurements, disease activity index, and causes weight gain and rise in BMI in long-standing IBD patients.




    Together, the current study shows, for the first time to our knowledge, that the CB-ligand system may have a critical role in allograft rejection. THC treatment reduced the T cell response in the host by dampening the secretion of proinflammatory cytokines and expression of T cell activation markers. Additionally, THC treatment resulted in delayed graft destruction, even in a MHC disparity model of allogenic skin transplant. Induction of highly immunosuppressive MDSCs following THC treatment proved to be necessary, at least in part, for THC-mediated attenuation of allograft rejection. We also noted that this effect of THC was dependent on activation of CB1 rather than CB2. The current study sets the stage for additional studies on the cannabinoid system in regulating transplant rejection involving potential manipulation of endocannabinoids, receptors, and the use of CB-select agonists that are not psychoactive.

    Medical Marijuana and Organ Transplantation: Drug of Abuse, or Medical Necessity?


    The case was in the evening news a few days later and generated much press coverage. Despite this, the transplant team held firm even when other physicians advocated for the patient and noted that there was no scientific literature showing any increased risk of organ damage or rejection from someone using marijuana. Tragically, the patient died of liver failure 3 weeks later, leaving behind his wife and 2 children, ages 8 and 12. In the actual case, the ethics team was never consulted or even formally made aware of this case. This patient was following the state law, allowing him to use marijuana to treat his pain, nausea, and vomiting, which turned out to be the only thing that worked. Despite following state laws, this state funded university hospital turned him down for a liver transplant.




    In order to discover the benefits and adverse effects perceived by medical cannabis patients, especially with regards to chronic pain, we hand-delivered surveys to one hundred consecutive patients who were returning for yearly re-certification for medical cannabis use in Hawai‘i.

    The response rate was 94%. Mean and median ages were 49.3 and 51 years respectively. Ninety-seven per cent of respondents used cannabis primarily for chronic pain. Average pain improvement on a 0–10 pain scale was 5.0 (from 7.8 to 2.8), which translates to a 64% relative decrease in average pain. Half of all respondents also noted relief from stress/anxiety, and nearly half (45%) reported relief from insomnia. Most patients (71%) reported no adverse effects, while 6% reported a cough or throat irritation and 5% feared arrest even though medical cannabis is legal in Hawai‘i. No serious adverse effects were reported.

    These results suggest that Cannabis is an extremely safe and effective medication for many chronic pain patients. Cannabis appears to alleviate pain, insomnia, and may be helpful in relieving anxiety. Cannabis has shown extreme promise in the treatment of numerous medical problems and deserves to be released from the current Schedule I federal prohibition against research and prescription.

    LARA statistics show the majority of the 250,000+ patients in the MMMA are using cannabis to treat chronic pain. As we know that the medical use of marijuana can treat “severe and chronic pain” already, it can and should be used to treat regular generic pain that is not severe and chronic.


    Severe and Chronic pain 79.99%

    Severe and Chronic pain 92.77%

    The reports and information from the Minnesota Department of Health on its medical marijuana program are very detailed and informative about patients experiences with medical marijuana.

    Minnesota Medical Cannabis Program: Patient Experiences from the First Program Year by the MN Department of Health 2016.


    • it works quickly to relieve muscle spasms,,helps control pain during physical work, controls pain to a certain extent, helps give you opportunity to quality of life.
    •  [PATIENT]’s mobility has increased.
    •  some pain relief
    •  Less lower back pain, increased apatite.
    •  Less muscle aches and better sleep.
    •  Less muscle spasm's = body not being as fatigued allowing me to perform my physical therapy better.
    •  Less muscle spasms!!
    •  less mussel spasms and pain
    •  less nerve pain
    •  Less pain and inflammation in legs and ankles. Didn't feel so wore out at the end of the day. Was able to relax and sit for long periods with less stiffness and joint pain. Overall I had less pain
    •  Less Pain
    • Less sleep issues
    • More hunger'
    • Less mood swings
    • All around better feeling of life
    •  less petit mal seizures , better sleep at night and , reduced muscles pasms
    •  less seizures
    •  Less spasms helps me relax.
    •  Many fewer spasms. I went from several per hour every day to several per day. Much improvement! I also have less anxiety. My confidence has increased from feeling more relaxed.
    •  Much less pain, in my bowel and neurapathy pain. I can tell almost immediately if I forget to take the medication. Within one or two hours, the pain in the gut/bowel area is back. I never realized how terrible I have felt until after I started to feel better. I have had bowel pain as long as I can remember (pre-school) and I thought everyone felt like that. It is all I ever knew and it was getting worse eachyear.
    •  much less weakness/pain
    • easier sleeping
    • not as many spasms in the morning


    Other states already approve of medical marijuana for Parkinson's Disease.

    Including: Georgia, Vermont, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, New Mexico, New York, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and California



    Original Assignee

    The United States Of America As Represented By The Department Of Health And Human Services

    The cannabinoids are found to have particular application as neuroprotectants, for example in limiting neurological damage following ischemic insults, such as stroke and trauma, or in the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and HIV dementia.

    As used herein, a “cannabinoid” is a chemical compound (such as cannabinol, THC or cannabidiol) that is found in the plant species Cannabis sativa (marijuana)


    Tourette’s Syndrome is an approved medical marijuana qualifying condition in Arkansas, Illinois, Minnesota and Ohio. While the MMMA covers persistant and severe Muscle Spasms, Tourette's Syndrome sufferers may not have the severe symptoms that qualify.

    The 1999 Institute of Medicine report states that marijuana can be used to treat Tourettes


    Neurological disorders affect the brain, spinal cord, or peripheral nerves and muscles in
    the body. Marijuana has been proposed most often as a source of relief for three general
    types of neurological disorders: muscle spasticity, particularly in multiple sclerosis
    patients and spinal cord injury victims; movement disorders, such as Parkinson's
    disease, Huntington's disease, and Tourette's syndrome; and epilepsy. Marijuana is not
    proposed as a cure for such disorders, but it might relieve some associated symptoms.

    Clinical reports consist of four case histories indicating that marijuana use can reduce
    tics in Tourette's patients. In three of the four cases the investigators suggest that
    beneficial effects of marijuana might have been due to anxiety-reducing properties of
    marijuana rather than to a specific anti tic effect.


    Pennsylvania Medical Marijuana Program lists Autism as a qualifying condition.

    There are two clinical trials for Autism and cannabis in 2017:

    Cannabinoids for Behavioral Problems in Autism Spectrum Disorder: A Double Blind, Randomized, Placebo-controlled Trial With Crossover.


    Detailed Description:

    Disruptive behaviors are very common in children and youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Behavioral problems increase social impairment in children with ASD, make interventions more difficult and place considerable strain on families and caregivers. Current treatment is based on behavioral interventions combined with atypical antipsychotics which often have low tolerability and questionable efficacy.

    Cannabis exerts profound effects on human social behavior. Research using animal models of ASD indicate a possible dysregulation of the endocannabinoid system, and stress that it may be a novel target for pharmacological interventions. Anecdotal evidence suggest efficacy of various phytocannabinoids in resistant behavioral problems. However controlled human studies are lacking.

    Objective: To assess the safety, tolerability and efficacy of cannabinoids mix [cannabidiol (CBD), Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in a 20:1 ratio] for behavioral problems in children and youth with ASD.

    Setting: A double blind randomized placebo-controlled trial with crossover. Methods: One hundred and twenty participants ages 6-30 years, with established ASD diagnosis and moderate to severe refractory behavioral problems will be treated with placebo and cannabinoids mix in a randomized cross-over trial. Each intervention period will be 12 weeks with additional 4 weeks for gradual dose decrease and wash-out. Baseline evaluations will include: Autism diagnostic observation schedule (ADOS-2), Social Communication Questionnaire (SCQ), Vineland II (interview based), Childhood Autism Rating Scale (CARS-2, observation based). Primary outcome measures: Home Situations Questionnaire-Autism Spectrum Disorder (HSQ-ASD), Child Behavior Checklist (CBCL, parent-rated), and Autism Parenting Stress Index (APSI) will be assessed every 4 weeks. Secondary outcome measures: Clinical Global Impression (CGI, improvement and efficacy index items, clinician-rated) and Social Responsiveness Scale (SRS, parent and teacher rated) will be assessed at baseline and termination of each treatment period. Adverse events will be taped every 4 weeks.

    Cannabidivarin (CBDV) vs. Placebo in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)



    Montefiore Medical Center


    United States Department of Defense

    Study Description

    This trial aims to study the efficacy and safety of cannabidivarin (CBDV) in children with ASD. 

    Study Type  :    Interventional  (Clinical Trial)
    Estimated Enrollment  :    100 participants
    Allocation:    Randomized
    Intervention Model:    Parallel Assignment
    Intervention Model Description:    Phase 2, 12-week double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial
    Masking:    Quadruple (Participant, Care Provider, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
    Masking Description:    Double-Blind
    Primary Purpose:    Treatment



    Marijuana hasn’t been studied for ASD, though there’s interest in its use by some patient groups to help with behavioral symptoms associated with ASD. 



    Behavioral Conditions. Cannabinoids and CBD use in this patient population is a growing interest on social media sites. While the data for these indications are limited to case reports using dronabinol, some of the benefits of CBD on behavior and motor skills reported in the aforementioned retrospective studies in epilepsy may be transferable to this population as well. A 6-year-old patient with early infant autism received enteral dronabinol drops titrated up to 3.62 mg/day. He had improvements in hyperactivity, irritability, lethargy, stereotype, and speech.41 In a published abstract, Kruger et al42 report on the effect of dronabinol use in treating self-injurious behavior in 10 mentally retarded adolescents. The dronabinol dose ranged from 2.5 mg twice daily to 5 mg 4 times a day. Seven of the 10 patients had significant improvement in their self-injurious behavior that lasted through the follow-up at 6 months. Two of the 10 patients experienced agitation and the drug was discontinued. An Israeli single-center, double-blind, placebo-controlled cross-over trial of CBD and THC in a 20:1 mixture for behavioral problems in children with autistic spectrum disorder is scheduled to start in January 2017.43

    Safety and Efficacy of Medical Cannabis Oil for Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia: An-Open Label, Add-On, Pilot Study.



    Ten patients completed the trial. Significant reduction in CGI severity score (6.5 to 5.7; p <  0.01) and NPI score were recorded (44.4 to 12.8; p <  0.01). NPI domains of significant decrease were: Delusions, agitation/aggression, irritability, apathy, sleep and caregiver distress.


    Adding Medical Cannabis Oil to Alzheimer’s disease patients' pharmacotherapy is safe and a promising treatment option.

    An Open Label Study of the Use of Dronabinol (Marinol) in the Management of Treatment-Resistant Self-Injurious Behavior in 10 Retarded Adolescent Patients


    Conclusions: In a series of patients who presented with treatment-
    resistant self-injurious behavior, eight of the 10 showed an improvement
    in their behavior when treated with Marinol without serious enough side
    effects to merit discontinuing the medication. At 6 month follow-up,
    seven of the 10 continued to benefit from the Marinol, and the eighth
    patient had discontinued the medicine due to a change in her living
    situation. The tolerability of Marinol in this study is consistent with the
    experience of Lorenz (2004) whose patients presented with a variety of neurological disorders but not specifically SIB.





    Anecdotal reports continue to emerge of children with intractable epilepsy and severe autism who show symptomatic improvement after being administered cannabinoids. The call from the public for research on cannabinoids is growing louder and many families are already using marijuana for childhood conditions – this despite very little evidence on efficacy and in the face of known long-term harms. The medical community has an urgent duty to respond. As we face a tide of rapidly changing attitudes and policies on marijuana in the US and elsewhere, it is urgent that we prioritize carefully conducted RCTs to close the current knowledge gap.





    Michael Komorn

    Detroit has an interesting history of fighting voter ballot proposals. In 2012, The city of Detroit fought the ballot proposal in court , all the way up to the Michigan Supreme Court and lost. Finally these ballot questions would go to the voters! Why did Detroit fight so hard about decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana? Why exactly did they want to keep marijuana illegal and continue the war on drugs and prohibition? 80 years after prohibition of alcohol ended in a huge failure of organized crime, mafia bootlegging and bullet strewn alcohol turf wars on the streets.



    Detroit marijuana referendum goes to voters in November

    AP File Photo
    DETROIT, MI -- When Detroit residents head to the polls in November to vote for president, they'll also get a chance to weigh in on legalizing marijuana in the city. 
    The marijuana question goes to voters two years after organizers collected enough signatures to force the referendum.
    Legal wrangling kept the question off of ballots, but a Supreme Court ruling cleared the way for a vote. A city attorney signed a court order last month finalizing a November vote. 
    As he's said in the past, Tim Beck, chairman of the Coalition for a Safer Detroit, said he expects the referendum to easily pass. 
    "We don't feel we need to spend any money at all," he said. "The poll numbers are so far ahead, it'd be a waste. ... This thing is going to pass, period."
    After the Michigan Supreme Court ruled the referendum should go to voters, there was initial confusion on when city residents would vote on the question. Initial reports suggested the measure would go to voters during the August primary election, but the question will actually appear on November general election ballot. 
    Beck said his group wanted the question on November's presidential ballot because of the higher turnout.
    "We prefer to be on the November ballot," he said.  
    If the ballot measure passes, people 21 and older could use or possess less than an ounce of pot on private property and not face arrest and prosecution under the city code. However, marijuana use and possession are crimes under state law. 
    Organizers hope the ballot initiative signals to local law enforcement to focus on enforcing crimes other than marijuana use.


    In 2017, Detroit made an ordinance against the medical marijuana businesses, it's ultimate goal was to destroy the nearly 200 dispensaries that were licensed within the city. The citizens of Detroit then put the question on the ballot for the voters to decide.



    Michigan marijuana proposals head to the ballot 

    By Larry Gabriel

    The latest fight over marijuana in Detroit hits the polls on Nov. 7. On an otherwise pretty spare ballot there will be two questions put to voters that arrived via petition initiatives run by a group called Citizens for Sensible Cannabis Reform.

    Neither of the proposals, as they appear on the ballot, are particularly clear about what they enact. The first one is called "an initiative to enact a medical marihuana facilities ordinance." The second appears as "a proposal to amend the Detroit zoning ordinance, chapter 61 of the Detroit city code, consistent with the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act."


    The first proposal does several things, but most significantly it cuts the distance a provisioning center can be from parks, day care centers, liquor stores, churches, and other provisioning centers from 1,000 feet, as currently required, to 500 feet, and allows them to stay open an hour later to 9 p.m.

    CSCR had to take the city to court in order to put it on the ballot. The second proposal is for Detroit to opt in to the new state law, and it would allow growers and secure transporters (two of the categories allowed by state medical marihuana facilities law) to operate in Detroit's M1-5 industrial districts.

    The general impact of these proposals is to pull back some of the regulations the city put on marijuana facilities. That 1,000-feet thing pretty much makes facilities be located far from anywhere that people actually go. There are other tweaks in there but that's the basic intention.

    I've got literature from both sides of this issue delivered to my home. The supporters highlight the idea that this will help build the industry and bring money into the community. The opposition literature highlights the idea that marijuana stores would be allowed to be too close to schools, parks, and the like.

    My personal opinion is that I want to allow the industry to develop and create opportunities for jobs in the city. And I think that once the state rules come out Dec. 15, there will be a whole lot more competition popping up in the suburbs. One of the reasons there were so many dispensaries in Detroit is that there were not any in Oakland County. Once that changes it will be a very different scene. I think that folks will choose to buy their marijuana nearby at Ye Olde Cannabis Shoppe with its incense and mellow ambience rather than hitting the traffic on Eight Mile Road.

    The opposition, mostly focused through the Metropolitan Detroit Community Action Coalition, is fairly alarmist, though increasingly sophisticated. A recent communication from one of its members described the scenario of a growing facility with 2,000 plants in a nearby former school building and expressed concern for the effect that odors, chemicals, water, and drainage would have in the surrounding community.

    I wouldn't frame those issues in a way that creates an obstacle for businesses but those are valid community concerns to be addressed. I used to live near a slaughterhouse and I've got to admit there were days the smell of dead meat just hung over the neighborhood. While I find the scent of maturing marijuana flowers refreshing I know that others really, really hate it. However, that doesn't mean there should be onerous and undue regulations on marijuana facilities that other kinds of businesses don't have to comply with.

    Detroit voters will get to make the decision on this. You almost didn't get that chance. As happened with the initiative to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults on private property in Detroit, petitioners had to go to court to get city clerk Janice Winfrey to put it on the ballot. Winfrey claimed that "a proposal to amend the Detroit zoning ordinance, chapter 61 of the Detroit city code..." was against state law. The county court said she was wrong. The same thing happened in the case of Proposal M that passed in 2012. Winfrey claimed that the proposal to decriminalize marijuana in Detroit was against state law and refused to put it on the ballot. Petitioners took her to court and eventually prevailed.

    We'll soon see if Detroit voters make these proposals winners.

    While we're talking votes let's note that the Committee to Regulate Marihuana Like Alcohol has passed the 300,000-signature mark and is headed down the home stretch of this phase of the legalization campaign. CRMLA has until Nov. 22 to turn in a little over 252,000 valid signatures to get recreational legalization on next year's gubernatorial ballot. The group's goal is to turn in some 352,000 signatures to overcome any that are invalidated.

    Once the signatures are turned in the state legislature has three months to vote it into law. If not, it goes on next year's ballot — which led me to something of a pipe dream. What if the state legislature, petitions in hand, decides to go ahead and vote to legalize recreational marijuana? It happened in Vermont earlier this year.

    What if the state legislature thought, we're rolling out this distribution system for medical marijuana, why not save the taxpayers some money and a lot of fighting on this and create a system for recreational marijuana while we are at it?

    Well that would be nice, but I don't think so. Despite the example of Vermont, governments large and small are afraid of marijuana, influenced by drug war propaganda. As their arguments against marijuana have been countered with facts and citizen initiatives, their last tactic is to stall, to wait and see, to declare moratoriums until the evidence is in. That way if some terrible marijuana-related thing happens it won't be their fault.

    Of course, the terrible marijuana-related things that are happening — destruction of lives, tearing apart families, murder — are happening because of the drug war that they support.

    So, while things seem to be trending toward easing up on marijuana, this is still a movement fought at the ballot box. Vote.

    Another positive note is that the commercial side of marijuana continues to march along. It may be just sheer economics that forces marijuana through the barriers. An Alternet headline recently stated, "Marijuana is now a driving engine of the American economy." The report claimed that legal marijuana has created over 149,000 full-time jobs — so it should be no surprise that folks are looking for their chance to create a business in Michigan.





    Again, in 2018, the city of Detroit continues fighting, this time against the new ballot proposal which the voters approved of, makes the Detroit ordinance in sync with the Michigan Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act. Detroit is going to lose, as it did in 2012, as it did in 2017. Three strikes and you are out, Detroit.



    Detroit medical marijuana initiative overturning could be appealed

    Katrease Stafford, Detroit Free PressPublished 4:50 p.m. ET Feb. 19, 2018 | Updated 5:08 p.m. ET Feb. 19, 2018

    But Citizens for Sensible Cannabis Reform spokesman Jonathan Barlow said Monday that no official decision has been made yet.

    "Currently, we are examining all options before moving forward with any course of action," Barlow said. "However, we are disappointed in that the city refuses to have dialogue with us in order to help minorities in the industry."


    The overturned initiative, placed on the November ballot as Proposal B, specified in which zoning districts medical marijuana-related facilities could be located within Detroit. It would have allowed provisioning centers and processors in all business and industrial districts, including downtown and Midtown.


    Chief Judge Robert Colombo Jr. also partially overturned the zoning portion of a separate medical marijuana initiative, Proposal A, whicht had sought to allow dispensaries to open within 500 feet of another dispensary; near liquor, beer and wine stores; child care centers, arcades and parks. 

    Despite the ruling, Detroit will still be required to opt into the Michigan Medical Marijuana Facilities Act, the state licensing and regulatory framework for medical marijuana.

    The decisions came after Colombo, earlier that day, dismissed two cases that had sought similar action — one brought by VK Real Estate Holdings III LLC, a company seeking a medical marijuana license to operate in the city, and the other by Detroit residents Marcus Cummings and Deborah Omokehinde. Colombo ruled they had failed to establish standing or show “special injury." 


    Later in the day, the city filed its own motion seeking to overturn the two initiatives, which Colombo granted in part.

    Cummings, who is cochair of the community-based Metropolitan Detroit Community Action Coalition, said he was shocked, but pleased to hear the reversal.

    "We're glad the city picked it up after our standards were questioned," Cummings said. "... Legally, they (Citizens) can appeal, but if you ask me, 'do they have a case?,' I'd say no. Proposal B went against Michigan's Zoning Enabling Act. I don't see any of the appellate court judges ruling in their favor. The best thing for Citizens is to work with neighborhood groups in drafting something that was equitable for all."

    Cummings said the coalition plans to go before council to offer suggestions to tweak the city's current ordinance.

    "We're not anti-marijuana at all," Cummings said. "We just want fair regulations and we don't want to be flooded with this industry. ... You just want to make sure the communities and the business owners and the patients are set up where it's a safe environment."

    The initiatives were both approved by 60% of voters last November but have been in limbo since then after a crop of lawsuits surfaced, challenging the measures. 

    Colombo’s decision came days after Mayor Mike Duggan signed a 180-day moratorium on new medical marijuana permits and licenses.

    The Detroit City Council approved the moratorium last week, citing the ongoing legal challenges and concerns.  Councilman James Tate and the city's legal department argued a city's zoning ordinance can't be modified via a voter initiative.

    "This is a cautionary tale for those who want to seek ballot initiatives with illegal language in them or language that is afoul of proven case law," Tate, who drafted the resolution, said before the council. "This is what has created this situation. ... (Not) working with the city to try and find some common ground. This is a perfect example of things that can go wrong."

    Prior to the voter-approved initiatives, the city already had an ordinance regulating dispensaries in place. Tate originally introduced the ordinance in 2015 and it went into effect March 1, 2016. An effort to amend the ordinance began a year later.

    "I think they're putting the cart before the horse at this point," Jason Canvasser, attorney for Citizens for Sensible Cannabis Reform, said about the moratorium. "It's just another attempt to subvert the will of the people."



    Michael Komorn

    CBD raids

    Just as a landmark cannabidiol lawsuit headed to court this week, police in Tennessee carried out the largest known CBD raids in history: 23 businesses were closed and 21 individuals were cited for selling illegal marijuana products.

    The raids, largely at tobacco shops selling candies and vape pens containing CBD, happened outside Nashville.

    The raids didn’t sweep up any producers or processors, but they put the fledgling hemp industry in Tennessee on notice.

    Like other states, Tennessee allows hemp growing and CBD production and has a small but thriving extraction industry.

    But CBD possession in the Volunteer State is limited to those with certain medical conditions.

    “You bet this is going to spark a few bills” in the state legislature, said Harold Jarboe, a Tennessee hemp grower who wasn’t affected by the raids.

    “Tennessee has one of those ‘wink-wink, nudge-nudge’ CBD laws, so hopefully this will change that.”

    Until CBD’s legal status is clarified, Jarboe said, the hemp industry needs to avoid looking like it’s trying to appeal to children and maybe avoid even using the letters C-B-D.

    “We’re trying to make a health product, so we don’t do vapes, we don’t do candy,” Jarboe said. “We call it ‘hemp extract.’ It saves a lot of headaches.”




    January 24, 2018


    Stephen M. Howe, District Attorney
    Johnson County District Attorney's Office
    100 N. Kansas
    Olathe, KS 66061
    Michael F. Kagay, District Attorney
    Shawnee County District Attorney’s Office
    200 SE 7th Street, Room 214
    Topeka, KS 66603


    Re: Crimes and Punishments—Crimes Involving Controlled Substances—Unlawful
    Possession of Controlled Substances; Cannabidiol
    Public Health—Controlled Substances—Uniform Controlled Substances Act—
    Substances Included in Schedule I; Cannabidiol

    Synopsis: Under Kansas law, it is unlawful to possess or sell products or substances
    containing any amount of cannabidiol. It also is unlawful to possess or sell
    products or substances containing any amount of tetrahydrocannabinol. Cited
    herein: K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-5701; 21-5706; 65-4101; 65-4105, 65-4107, 65-
    4109, 65-4111, 65-4113.

    * * *

    Dear Mr. Howe and Mr. Kagay:

    As District Attorneys for Johnson County and Shawnee County, respectively, you request our
    opinion on whether cannabidiol (also known as CBD) oil that does not contain
    tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is legal to possess and/or sell in Kansas. While there is no  standardized definition for “CBD oil,” we construe the term to mean oil containing cannabidiol.

    You also ask if there is a threshold for THC content that would make a product legal to possess
    and/or sell in Kansas. For the reasons described below, we believe it is unlawful to possess or
    sell products or substances containing any amount of cannabidiol. It also is unlawful to possess
    or sell products or substances containing any amount of THC.



    We believe some general background will be helpful to the understanding of the issues.
    The cannabis plant has approximately 109 cannabinoids.1 Cannabinoids2 are most abundant
    in the flowering tops, resin, and leaves of the cannabis plant.3 Further, “cannabinoids are not
    found in parts of the cannabis plant that are excluded from the [federal Controlled Substances


    4 definition of marijuana, except for trace amounts (typically, only parts per million) that may
    be found where small quantities of resin adhere to the surface of seeds and mature stalk.”5
    Cannabinoids may come in different forms for administration. Marijuana leaves may be smoked
    as a cigarette or in a pipe. Hashish consists of the dried and compressed cannabinoid-rich
    resinous material of the cannabis plant. Hash oil is produced by solvent extraction of the
    cannabinoids from the cannabis plant material.6

    Finally, the Kansas Uniform Controlled Substances Act7 (KUCSA) classifies controlled
    substances into five Schedules.8 Schedule I drugs are substances that currently have no
    accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, have a high potential for abuse, and lack accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.


     1 Mariotti, K.C., et al., Seized Cannabis Seeds Cultivated in Greenhouse: A Chemical Study by Gas
    Chromatography–Mass Spectrometry and Chemometric Analysis, 56 Science & Justice, 35-41 (January 2016). 2 “Cannabinoid: any of various chemical constituents (such as THC or cannabinol) of cannabis or marijuana.”
    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cannabinoid; accessed on December 26, 2017.

    3 DEA Diversion Control Division, Clarification of the New Drug Code 7350 for Marijuana Extract,
    https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/marijuana/m_extract_7350.html; accessed December 10, 2017,
    citing H. Mölleken and H. Hussman, Cannabinoid in Seed Extracts of Cannabis Sativa Cultivars, J. Int. Hemp Assoc.
    4(2), pages 73-79 (1997).

    4 The federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA) definition of marihuana [sic] and the Kansas Uniform Controlled
    Substances Act definition are similar. The CSA states, “The term ‘marihuana’ means all parts of the plant Cannabis
    sativa L., whether growing or not; the seeds thereof; the resin extracted from any part of such plant; and every
    compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin. Such term does
    not include the mature stalks of such plant, fiber produced from such stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of
    such plant, any other compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such mature stalks (except
    the resin extracted therefrom), fiber, oil, or cake, or the sterilized seed of such plant which is incapable of
    germination.” 21 U.S.C. §802(16).

    5 DEA Diversion Control Division, Clarification of the New Drug Code 7350 for Marijuana Extract,
    https://www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/schedules/marijuana/m_extract_7350.html; accessed December 10, 2017,
    citing H. Mölleken and H. Hussman, Cannabinoid in Seed Extracts of Cannabis Sativa Cultivars, J. Int. Hemp Assoc.
    4(2), pages 73-79 (1997); See also, S. Ross et al., GC-MS Analysis of the Total Δ9-THC Content of Both Drug- and
    Fiber-Type Cannabis Seeds, 24 J. Anal. Toxic. 715-717 (2000). 6 81 Federal Register 53688, 52699 (August 12, 2016) (Denial of Petition To Initiate Proceedings To Reschedule
    Marijuana). 7 K.S.A. 65-4101 et seq. 8 See K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 65-4105, 65-4107, 65-4109, 65-4111, and 65-4113; See also, 21 USC § 812.

    9 Marijuana and its cannabinoid components are Schedule I drugs.10

    Under the KUCSA, “marijuana” is defined in K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 65-4101(aa) as:
    [A]ll parts of all varieties of the plant Cannabis whether growing or not, the seeds
    thereof, the resin extracted from any part of the plant and every compound,
    manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of the plant, its seeds or resin.
    It does not include: (1) The mature stalks of the plant, fiber produced from the
    stalks, oil or cake made from the seeds of the plant, any other compound,
    manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture or preparation of the mature stalks, except
    the resin extracted therefrom, fiber, oil or cake or the sterilized seed of the plant
    which is incapable of germination; or (2) any substance listed in schedules II
    through V of the uniform controlled substances act.11

    The definition of marijuana under the Kansas Criminal Code in K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-5701(j) is
    identical to the above definition under the KUCSA.

    By reading the plain words used by the Legislature, under the identical definitions in K.S.A. 2017
    Supp. 65-4101(aa) and K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-5701(j), marijuana is anything derived from any
    variety of the cannabis plant that is not excluded by definition, or excluded because it is a
    substance listed in schedule II through V. Thus, the first step is to determine if cannabidiol fits
    within the general definition of marijuana. If it does, then we will determine whether any of the
    exclusions apply.


    Cannabidiol is one of the identified cannabinoids unique to the cannabis plant.12 It is a chemical
    compound of marijuana with a very specific chemical structure.13 Cannabidiol expression is
    typically limited to the flowering tops of the cannabis plant,14 but it also may be found in the
    resin and leaves of the cannabis plant.15 All of these are parts of the cannabis plant that are not
    excluded from the Kansas definition of marijuana. Cannabidiol has been found in trace amounts
    on seed and mature stalks where small quantities of resin adhere to the surface of seeds and
    mature stalk.16 It appears to us that cannabidiol is not endogenous in the seeds and mature
    stalk of the cannabis plant.

     9 See 21 USC § 812.

    10 K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 65-4105(d)(17).

    11 Emphasis added. 12 Mariotti, K.C., supra, footnote 1. 13 Cannabidiol is defined by its chemical name in K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 65-4111(f)(3) as 2-[(1R,6R)-3-Methyl-6-(1-
    methylethenyl)-2-cyclohexen-1-yl]-5-pentyl-1,3-benzenediol. 14 Mead A., The Legal Status of Cannabis (Marijuana) and Cannabidiol (CBD) Under U.S. Law, Epilepsy & Behavior
    Journal, Volume 70, Part B, pages 288-291 (May, 2017).
    15 DEA, supra, footnote 5.


    Our review of literature on the subject leads us to conclude that cannabidiol is derived from the
    parts of the cannabis plant that are not excluded from the definition of marijuana, or is derived
    from resin found on any part of the plant, and therefore fits squarely within the general definition
    of marijuana. Cannabidiol is marijuana as defined by K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 65-4101(aa) and K.S.A.
    2017 Supp. 21-5701(j).


    We turn to the question of whether cannabidiol fits under either exclusion found in the definition
    of marijuana. We note that certain parts of the cannabis plant are excluded from the definition
    because cannabinoids are not found in the excluded parts (except in the resin in trace


    The first exclusion is found in K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 65-4101(aa)(1) and K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-
    5701(j)(1). The parts excluded from the definition of marijuana are, 1) the mature stalks, 2) fiber
    from the stalks, 3) oil or cake made from the seeds of the cannabis plant, 4) any other compound,
    manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of the mature stalks (except the resin
    extracted from the mature stalks), fiber, oil, or cake, made from the seeds of the cannabis plant
    and 5) a sterilized seed of the plant which is incapable of germination.


    The general definition of marijuana and the first exclusion are mutually exclusive. Cannabidiol
    is found in the non-excluded parts; therefore it falls squarely in the general definition of
    marijuana. If cannabidiol is found on the seeds or stalks, it is as a result of contact with the resin
    produced by the cannabis plant.18 Resin, extracted from any part of the plant, is specifically
    included in the general definition of marijuana. Additionally, the Legislature included a clarifying
    but arguably superfluous exception in the first exemption that resin extracted from the mature
    stalks, an irrefutable part of the cannabis plant, falls within the definition of marijuana.

    Because your question specifically asks about CBD oil, we will address the excluded parts
    enumerated in 3 and 4, specifically. Number 3 excludes from the definition oil made from the
    seeds of the cannabis plant, and number 4 excludes a compound, manufacture, salt, derivative,
    mixture or preparation of the oil made from the seeds. These excluded parts seem to contradict
    the general definition’s inclusion of cannabis seeds. The inclusion of cannabis seeds in the
    general definition is logical because the seed is capable of germination and therefore capable
    of producing a cannabis plant. Whereas, in processing the seed to extract the seed oil, the seed
    is crushed and is no longer capable of germination. The product created when the seed is
    crushed to extract oil could be called cannabis seed oil. Cannabis seed oil, however, does not
    contain cannabidiol, except possibly in trace amounts, because cannabidiol is not found in the
    cannabis seed. Cannabis seed oil is excluded from the definition of marijuana. However, if
    cannabidiol is found on the seeds, it is from the resin adhering to the seeds, and resin from
    excluded parts of the cannabis plant is still marijuana. Cannabis seed oil containing cannabidiol
    would fall within the definition of marijuana and is unlawful to possess or sell.

    Finally, if cannabidiol is found in oil produced by extraction from the cannabis plant material, the
    compound falls within the general definition of marijuana as defined by K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 65-
     17 DEA, supra, footnote 5 and 15. 18 Id.

    4101(aa) and K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-5701(j), and it is unlawful to possess or sell such products or substances.

    The other exclusion is found in K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 65-4101(aa)(2) and K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-
    5701(j)(2). This exclusion provides that any substance listed under Schedules II through V is
    not included in the definition of marijuana.

    In 2017, the Legislature enacted a very narrow and specific instance where cannabidiol that
    does not contain THC is a Schedule IV controlled substance rather than a Schedule I controlled

    19 K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 65-4111(f)(3) prospectively makes cannabidiol a Schedule IV
    drug “when comprising the sole active ingredient of a drug product approved by the United States
    food and drug administration.” As of this writing, the Food and Drug Administration has not
    approved such a drug product.20 Therefore, at this time, any substance containing cannabidiol
    is not excluded from the definition of marijuana by K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 65-4101(aa)(2) or K.S.A.
    2017 Supp. 21-5701(j)(2).

    Because neither of the exceptions apply to cannabidiol, and cannabidiol is derived from the nonexempt
    parts of the cannabis plant or from the resin found on any part of the plant, it falls squarely
    within the definition of marijuana. Thus, cannabidiol is a Schedule 1 drug, and the possession
    and sale of any amount is prohibited under Kansas law.

    21 Tetrahydrocannabinol THC is another cannabinoid unique to the cannabis plant.

    The Kansas criminal laws regarding unlawful possession of controlled substances are found in
    Chapter 21, Article 57 of the Kansas Statutes Annotated. K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-5706(b)(7)
    provides, “t shall be unlawful for any person to possess … any substance designated in K.S.A.
    65-4105(h) [Schedule I], and amendments thereto.” K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 65-4105(h)(1)
    specifically lists THC as a substance included in Schedule I. We note that the criminal law does
    not quantify an amount of the THC that must be possessed to make it unlawful. Indeed, case
    law has held that possession of residue was sufficient to uphold a conviction for possession of
    THC.23 Therefore, we conclude that it is unlawful to possess or sell products or substances
    containing any amount of THC.

     19 K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 65-4111(f)(3), L. 2017, Ch. 57, § 6, 2017 Senate Bill 51. The prescribing and dispensing of
    any such prescription medication is regulated by the Pharmacy Practice Act in Chapter 65, Article 16 of the Kansas
    Statutes. 20 See FDA News Release https://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm583295.htm;
    accessed on December 10, 2017.
    21 K.S.A. 2017 Supp. 21-5706(b)(3).
    22 Mariotti, K.C., supra, footnote 1 and 12.
    23 See State v. Delarosa, 48 Kan. App. 2d 253, 257 (2012). 


    Stephen M. Howe and Michael F. Kagay
    /s/Derek Schmidt
    Derek Schmidt
    Kansas Attorney General
    /s/Athena E. Andaya
    Athena E. Andaya
    Deputy Attorney General



    Federal appeals court hears hemp industry lawsuit challenging DEA’s position on CBD


    By Alicia Wallace, The Cannabist Staff

    The fate of a federal rule viewed by hemp advocates as an existential threat to their emerging industry is now in the hands of a three-judge panel.

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco heard oral arguments Thursday in the Hemp Industries Association’s petition challenging the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s January 2017 rule creating a Controlled Substances Code Number for “marihuana extracts.”

    DEA officials claim the rule is administrative in nature and helps the agency better track research and meet international drug treaty requirements.

    Attorneys for a hemp industry trade association and hemp businesses argue that the DEA conflated the terms “marijuana” and “cannabis,” ultimately creating a rule that can be interpreted as scheduling cannabis and cannabinoids as illegal substances. They blame the rule for a rash of seizures of cannabidiol products.

    The DEA’s rule epitomizes “government overreach” and stands in opposition to intervening legislation, Robert Hoban, a Denver-based attorney representing the hemp industry, told the 9th Circuit Court judges.

    “There was a seismic shift in United States cannabis policy in 2014 with the enactment of the Farm Bill, specifically Section 7606, involving industrial hemp,” said Hoban, a principal of Hoban Law Group. “And that seems to have created some confusion, perhaps, with the Drug Enforcement Administration.”

    Hoban claimed that confusion extended to other federal, state and local enforcement agencies, which have since seized products such as hemp-derived, CBD-rich extracts.

    “We’ve seen this drug code utilized week after week since it’s enactment to seize, to cause criminal enforcement against lawful operators who require no DEA registration,” Hoban said.

    Sarah Carroll, an attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice, countered that the language of the rule, follow-up guidance and court briefings expressly state that the code number applies only to the controlled parts of the cannabis plant that are within the Controlled Substances Act definition of marijuana.

    “It does not apply at all to the parts that Congress exempted,” she said.

    If other enforcement agencies acted out of step with DEA-issued rules and guidance, the “remedy would be to challenge that seizure,” she said.

    The judges will review the arguments and briefs filed in the case, which include an amicus brief filed last month by 28 members of Congress. It could be months before an opinion is released, Hoban Law Group attorneys have said.



    Hemp Industries Association et al v. Drug Enforcement Administration


    December 2016: New DEA rule on extracts, CBD causes commotion in cannabis industry

    January 2017: Legal challenge filed against DEA’s new marijuana extract rule

    April 2017: Hemp lawsuit in federal court alleges DEA overstepped on “extracts” rule

    June 2017: DEA seeks dismissal of hemp industry lawsuit fighting drug code for “marihuana extracts”

    July 2017: With DEA digging in its heels on “marihuana extracts,” legality of CBD oil on trial in federal courts

    July 2017: DEA statement on CBD, hemp products and the Farm Bill

    July 2017: CW Hemp’s Joel Stanley says DEA position statement on CBD, hemp and Farm Bill “reckless and illegal

    January 2018: Hemp industry lawsuit challenging DEA’s position on CBD picks up support of 28 U.S. legislators


    Michael Komorn

    LANSING, MI - It was chilly on the morning of Dec. 15., but Michigan State Police stood outside a state office building. They were there for safety, ready, as the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation opened its doors, for some applicants to show up with the $6,000 application fee in cash.  


    Michigan lawmakers authorized a new medical marijuana industry in 2016, and the state began accepting applications to be a part of it on Dec. 15, 2017. But businesses seeking inclusion are already running into a roadblock: banks won't take their money.  

    "It's not that banks don't want to. It becomes a very significant risk," said Patricia Herndon, senior vice president of government affairs for the Michigan Bankers Association.  

    Michigan created a $837M medical marijuana industry with nowhere to put its cash

    Updated Posted 

    Federally, marijuana is considered a Schedule I substance, a category that means the government considers it to have no medical use and a high potential for addiction. The revenue from a state-authorized medical or recreational marijuana business can potentially be viewed as drug money by the federal government.  

    In Michigan, medical marijuana is legal and its industry is projected to expand rapidly. A House Fiscal Agency analysis of the bill lawmakers approved projected it would grow to $837 million annually. As of Feb. 2 there were already 146 businesses who have submitted prequalifications with the Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation, and another 618 had started the online application process.  

    But without being able to rely on basic banking services, those medical marijuana business owners are struggling with how to remain above-board.  

    Paul Samways, an accountant with Cannabis Accounting, said he's currently going out to clients to count their cash. And when the businesses start operating under the new scheme, it only gets more complicated if they can't cut checks or store money.  

    "These guys aren't hiding stuff in their mattress, they want to be above-board, they want to make sure everybody knows what's going on, they want to pay their taxes... how do you do it without a bank account?" Samways asked.  

    Banks shy away from marijuana money 

    Acting as a bank for a medical marijuana business was a thorny issue to begin with, and one that's gotten more difficult in wake of a memo issued by U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month.  

    Banks that want to handle medical marijuana business money have to do a lot of due diligence at a high upfront cost to ensure compliance with the Bank Secrecy Act and anti-money laundering rules, Herndon said.  

    But on Jan. 4, Sessions repealed an Obama-era policy known as the Cole memo, which instructed federal prosecutors since 2013 not to prioritize the enforcement of federal anti-marijuana laws in some instances where states had their own marijuana laws on the books. Now, federal prosecutors are using their discretion on the enforcement of federal marijuana laws.  

    Sessions policy shift on marijuana could have implications for Michigan 

    "That rescission adds even greater uncertainty to this," Herndon said. "I will say that they continue to look at this, there's been no declaration from the U.S. district attorney that there's going to be an active force in that direction." 

    Before that move, there had been an uptick nationally in banks serving the medical marijuana industry. According to a report from the federal Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, 400 financial institutions were banking with marijuana businesses in September of 2017, which represented steady growth.  

    And some states have found ways around needing buy-in from financial institutions. In Hawaii, state officials collaborated with a cashless service called CanPay and Safe Harbor Private Banking, a marijuana-specific financial institution, to let medical marijuana businesses handle transactions.  

    In Maryland and Florida, banks have quietly popped up to fill the void.  

    But Florida's bank is backing out now. With Michigan's industry coming online at the same time banks are grappling with the Sessions memo, it's not clear any financial institutions will rush to fill the void. 

    Samways looked into the possibility of starting a state-chartered credit union that would accept medical marijuana money a few years ago. The problem he ran into, he said, was that he couldn't get a master account in the federal reserve without compromising the medical marijuana money.  

    "What happens is if you don't have a federal reserve master account, you can't cash checks or take debit cards or transfer money into the money super-highway," he said.  

    As of now, Herndon said, no Michigan bank has publicly come forward as accepting medical marijuana money.  

    Lawmakers look for solutions 

    Rep. Klint Kesto, R-Commerce Twp., is the sponsor of House Bill 5144, which was signed into law last month. It makes several refinements to the medical marijuana law the state passed in December of 2016. Among the changes, it specifies that an accountant or financial institution providing services to someone licensed under the Medical Marihuana Act wouldn't be subject to penalties. 

    Kesto said the intent was not to hold banks accountable for providing somebody with their banking records.  

    "Because in order to apply for a license you have to go and get your banking records. So if you went to the teller or the clerk or whoever was going to assist you, then we don't want to subject them to any criminal laws that then may be out there. We specifically codify that," Kesto said.  

    The same idea applies to certified public accountants, he said.  

    To apply for a license to be a medical marijuana grower, processer, tester, transporter or dispensary, applicants have to prove they meet a capital requirement, which is often dependent on financial records. It's CPAs who provide an attestation that applicants have met those requirements.  


    And that's just for the application process. But when marijuana businesses actually start pulling in money, they'll run into another problem, one Kesto acknowledges. Where are they supposed to store it? 

    "I think that it makes a lot of people nervous. I bet the people who have to hold that cash are nervous, because that makes them a target as well," Kesto said. "Law enforcement is probably nervous because they have to enforce the laws if there's theft, or robberies, or what have you. So I think that we have to be cognizant of that."  

    Rep. Pete Lucido, R-Shelby Twp., is looking to answer that with House Joint Resolution CC, which would create a state bank capable of handling money from marijuana businesses. Without some kind of solution, he said, Michigan would have a huge industry that basically lacked the ability to put its revenue back into the economy. Right now, he said, people could get stuck keeping it in mattresses and coffee cans.  

    "What other safe harbor do we have? If the banks can't touch the proceeds and the credit unions can't touch the proceeds from the sale of marijuana, then what do we leave those that are in the business that are regulated by the state as it relates to licensing? Even the labs that test it would be barred from putting the proceeds into the bank or credit union because it violates federal law," Lucido said.  

    So far, Lucido said, South Dakota is the only other state with a state bank. South Dakonta authorized it close to 100 years ago and don't have medical marijuana. But Michigan has a chance to open their own and be a leader, he said.  

    He doesn't necessarily think a state bank competing with private banking services is a good idea. But right now, it's what he's got.  

    "I would surely think that if the banking industry and credit union industry have an alternative, they can sure knock on my door and give it to me," Lucido said.  

    Magnitude of problem could grow with legalization 

    Try as state lawmakers might, it's not clear that they have the power to address the issue, at least through regular banks.  

    "Very little can be done at this point, at the state level, to impact the prohibitions and the obstacles that are put into place that are keeping us from jumping into this," Herndon said.  

    Right now the state's talking about a potentially $837 million medical marijuana industry with banking issues. But if a ballot initiative to legalize recreational marijuana for adult use passes, even more businesses and more dollars could have trouble accessing traditional banking systems.  

    Josh Hovey, a spokesperson for the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the group pushing for legalization, said based off what other states have experienced, "We're thinking that once the market is fully established that Michigan could be generating anywhere from $100 million to $200 million a year in tax revenue."  


    That's a lot of money to think about collecting from a cash-only business. But he's hopeful Congress will broker a federal solution.  

    "I think it's something that Congress is starting to look at and realizing that there's a whole lot of money out there that the IRS needs to be collecting, that state governments need to be collecting," Hovey said.  

    But absent that - or any potential state action - Michigan's marijuana industry will likely be a cash one.  




    Michael Komorn

    I can only imagine how difficult it is as a parent to have a child within the autism spectrum. I am friends with parents of autistic children and have met many others. These parents would move mountains for their children. They have taken every step possible to try to help alleviate their child's pain and suffering. They have tried every treatment that their doctors have suggested. Every single prescription the physicians can think of, even off-label uses of other prescriptions that have never been studied on children. Some of these prescriptions have serious side effects. All parents want to do is to be able to try medical marijuana for their kids. After all, marijuana is non toxic and there are no known deaths from it.

    Many parents whose autistic children have other qualifying conditions are able to get medical marijuana for their children, and report that medical marijuana works wonders for aggressive behavior, self-injurious behavior and chronic irritability. Also reported is that the child is able to communicate better after medical marijuana treatment because of not being constantly distracted by every triggering event that sends them into a tizzy.

    With the help of expert physician Dr Christian Bogner and researcher Joe Stone and The Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, a petition to add Autism to the Michigan Medical Marihuana Program was submitted in 2015. Although it was rejected twice, we are submitting it again. Other states have added Autism to their medical marijuana programs and we feel that this medicine is obviously less toxic than all other prescriptions that are currently prescribed to children. Simply as a choice that a parent and child can try medical marijuana to see if it helps them.




    Overdose effects:

    No death from overdose of marijuana has been reported.




    Medical marijuana used to treat autism-related disorders
    Michael Williams
    9:56 PM, Feb 5, 2018
    2:03 PM, Feb 6, 2018

    PALM BEACH COUNTY, Fla. — Abigail Dar’s son, Yuval, is 24-years-old, and she says he is severely autistic.

    Mollie Ryckman Barrett’s youngest daughter, Sumer, is 13-years-old and has Asperger Syndrome. This is the story of two moms looking for answers to help their children.

    "Medication helps, at times. Sumer, who is doing well in seventh grade, takes two of them," Barrett said. “One helps her focus with her brain and one relaxes her brain a little bit.”

    Always, though, there is the nagging worry. “How safe really is the medication we are giving our children today?” asked Barrett.

    Dar gave her autistic son higher and higher doses of pharmaceutical prescription medications for years in a bid to control his anxiety and aggressiveness.

    Dar complained, “They just give medication hoping it will give an answer, which it doesn’t, and I get my kid crazier and crazier.”    

    Amid that frustration, Dar had an alternative within reach. 

    “Israel is much more liberal regarding medical cannabis,” Dar said.  

    Dar spoke from her home outside Tel Aviv, Israel, where she is at the forefront of medical marijuana research. “I gave him (Yuval) his first dose and it was a miracle,” she remembered.   

    The dose she talked about was a strain of medical cannabis she and her son’s psychiatrist settled on after trial and error. Yuval became calmer, less anxious, more attentive.

    “It’s a game changer,” Abigail said, “it gave us quality of life.”

    Barrett said she wants the same opportunity for her daughter, but their home in West Palm Beach, Florida is far removed from the access, and attitudes, available in Israel.

    “We should have a right to decide in our home what is in the best interest of our children, what is the safest alternative option for them,” Barrett said. 

    She said she hopes to someday use cannabis derived oils for Sumer, but her child’s doctor does not agree with the idea. “He just says,” Barrett recalled, “that he doesn’t feel it’s a safe option and she seems OK on her medicine and there really are no side effects.”

    The American Academy of Pediatrics does not support medical marijuana use for autism-related disorders. One big issue, experts say, is the fact that there are many strains of cannabinoids in marijuana.

    Dr. Norina Ocampo is a South Florida pediatrician. “The other issue is they think probably all these compounds work synergistically with each other to help, so how do you pick which one will be the right compound,” she said. 

    Dar is working with Israeli doctors, pushing for much more extensive research on that prime question. “Today we have over 300 kids having access to medical cannabis,” she said. 

    Michael Komorn

    Michael Komorn is dedicated to defending his clients from both criminal charges and civil asset forfeiture. During a committee meeting on House Bill 4158, a bill to reform asset forfeiture, House Committee member Triston Cole tried to find any possible way to attack Komorn's client testimony. With Michael's 9 years of dedicated experience to medical marijuana , he was ready to get deep into analyzing each question. Finally turning the questions around on Mr. Cole and defending his clients, once again, but this time in the public eye of a committee meeting. Watch below as Michael knows every nook and cranny detail of the Michigan Medical Marijuana program, and uses that knowledge to support the bill.




    But Lucido's bill may be in trouble. Police and prosecutor unions including PAAM are fighting tooth and nail to keep those assets and any auctions they run to sell off peoples property. Police have been relying on asset forfeiture which has encouraged them to abuse the system. The majority of forfeitures were for $1000, who would hire a $3500 lawyer to fight to get $1000 back? Most people walk away from their own property forfeitures because the economics of it.


    Lucido Wants To Finish The Job On Reform of Civil Asset Forfeiture

    Rep. Peter LUCIDO (R-Shelby Twp.) says he wants to finish the job of reforming civil asset forfeiture in Michigan and has introduced Click to add MIRS Bill Hound HB 4158 to prohibit its use by police unless a person has been convicted of a crime.
    He told the House Judiciary Committee today that improvements made last year require police to report how much property they seize and end residents needing to post bond to get their property back. However, he wants more (See "No Bond Needed To Get Seized Property Back Under Passed Bill," 3/22/16).  
    "Last year, Michigan law enforcement agencies seized over $15 million and change, along with 2,037 vehicles. They seized 806 weapons, 276 financial securities, and 15,160 other pieces of personal property," Lucido told the committee. Before that, agencies weren't required to report seizures, so it is not known how much property police confiscated, he said. 
    Police use civil asset forfeiture as a way to battle drug trafficking. The process allows police to seize property believed to have been used in the course of committing a crime, like the vehicle that drugs are transported in or cash from drug deals. 
    Lucido said no one should profit from criminal activity, but he contends the process is being used in some cases excessively, and in some cases to supplement police department budgets. 
    "No one was charged with a crime in 523 cases of those 5,290 cases," Lucido said about last year's statistics. "Ten percent of the crimes, that they claim were crimes, but (people were) never charged, never convicted, and lost their property without even being charged as a criminal. Another 196 people were charged but never convicted." 
    Committee Chair Jim RUNESTAD (R-White Lake) held an extended session of the committee meeting, but didn't call a vote on the bills. He said he would take more testimony on the proposal in the coming week. Today's testimony was all from individuals in support of ending the practice. He expects law enforcement agencies will testify next week in defense of the use of civil asset forfeiture. He said the committee has to hear from both sides. 
    Attorney Michael KOMORN brought several of his clients before the committee to tell of their experiences with civil asset forfeiture. Amanda JOSLIN, a medical marijuana user, said police raided her home in 2015, seizing her home, car, a game system and her son's paychecks from his job. She said they even took a steam mop. 
    Eventually, charges were dismissed against her, but she got none of the property back. 
    Joslin contended that while civil asset forfeiture may have been intended to combat drug dealing, police have concluded "they can take money from the low-hanging fruit, which is the medical marijuana community." 
    Ted NELSON, who is retired from the Michigan State Police, spoke in favor of eliminating civil asset forfeiture. He said it was intended to battle drug smuggling and to confiscate the cash generated by drug sales. Now it is being used excessively. 
    "If they needed a couch for their office, they would take a couch. In my opinion, that is not was civil asset forfeiture was intended to do," Nelson told the committee.

    Former State Trooper: Cops, Prosecutors Misuse Problematic Asset Forfeiture Law

    ‘Civil asset forfeiture erodes the public trust in law enforcement’

    By EVAN CARTER | Feb. 8, 2018 | share-twitter-12.png Follow Evan Carter on Twitter
    Editor's Note: This article was updated to note that when civil asset forfeiture first began to be used in Michigan, narcotics enforcement would obtain the proceeds of criminal activity.

    The Michigan State Police detective who helped train the state police in how to conduct civil asset forfeiture says the police are misusing it.

    Former Michigan State Police Detective Sergeant Ted Nelson, who developed a curriculum on civil asset forfeiture for the department and taught it for more than a decade, made those comments to the state House Judiciary Committee on Feb. 6.

    The committee hearing was the first of many which are scheduled to be heard on House Bill 4158 over the next couple weeks. After that, the committee may vote on whether to send the bill to the full state House of Representatives.

    The bill would require police officers and other law enforcement officials to convict someone in a criminal court before they could take ownership of cash and other assets they seize, for property valued at $50,000 or less.

    “Law enforcement is an extremely important vocation in our society and it is as important today as yesterday,” Nelson told the committee. “I believe that the policy and procedures of civil asset forfeiture erodes the public trust in law enforcement.”

    Nelson told Michigan Capitol Confidential that during his 26 years with the department, he saw law enforcement officials receive by forfeit items, such as furniture, that they believed could be used in department offices or sold for a profit. Nelson, who supports HB 4158, said this type of behavior wasn’t the reason civil asset forfeiture was introduced.

    Nelson said he first received training on civil asset forfeiture in the late 1980s when the practice was considered part of the war on drugs. At the time, civil forfeiture was used mainly for major drug crimes, in which narcotics enforcement would obtain the proceeds of criminal activity.

    Nelson developed a curriculum to teach the state police’s drug teams. He was the expert state police troopers called when they seized money and they weren’t sure it could be tied to a drug crime.

    “We’re the foot soldiers of the Constitution and sometimes we forget that,” Nelson said.

    Nelson said he doesn’t believe enacting HB 4158 would change how police officers do their job, but he believes it would change how prosecutors do their job.

    Shelby Township Republican Rep. Peter Lucido is the primary sponsor of the legislation. At the hearing, he said law enforcement officials can use mechanisms other than civil asset forfeiture to ensure that those believed to have participated in criminal activity cannot make a profit from ill-gotten gains or get rid of illicit substances.

    “We lost the war on drugs, and civil asset forfeiture has penalized the poor,” Lucido said to the committee. “Officers were sworn to protect, and not take.”

    Attorney Michael Komorn, who is president of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, attorney John Shea and national civil asset forfeiture expert Lee McGrath also testified in support of the bill.

    Not everyone who appeared before the committee supported the bill, however.

    Waterford Police Chief Scott Underwood said that while he wouldn’t directly offer an opinion on the legislation being discussed, he believes civil asset forfeiture is a useful tool for law enforcement.

    “I would say that for the most part, that civil asset forfeiture comes from good police work,” Underwood said to the committee. “The numbers with asset forfeiture don’t lead, they follow.”

    Lucido said in an interview that while he doesn’t want to imply police officers are corrupt, he believes that civil asset forfeiture is too easily abused.

    “If even one cop abuses it, it’s too much,” Lucido said to Michigan Capitol Confidential. “I had cops who took kid’s piggy banks and dart boards and I’m done with it.”

    Currently, law enforcement officials do not need to convict, prosecute, or even charge a person of a crime before they can get ownership of seized property through civil asset forfeiture procedures.

    In 2016, one out of every 10 Michigan residents whose property was taken by law enforcement using civil asset forfeiture was never charged with a crime.  According to a Michigan State Police report, more than 700 people were either not charged with a crime, or charged with a crime but not convicted. Since 2000, the state has taken possession of forfeited property worth $20-$25 million annually.

    The legislation may be part of a larger package aimed at reforming the state’s civil asset forfeiture law. If the measure passes and is signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder, Michigan will join the 14 states (along with the District of Columbia) that already require a conviction for law enforcement to take possession of seized property.




    State lawmakers eye forfeiture reform

    Local officials support 'common sense' legislation


    TRAVERSE CITY — A bill aimed at protecting property rights of the accused is amassing support from local officials as it gains steam among state lawmakers.

    House Bill 4158 — introduced this month by Republican state Rep. Peter Lucido — would safeguard residents from court-ordered property seizures unless they’ve been convicted of a crime. Lucido contended its passage would affect hundreds annually.

    “We have people that get their property taken by police who are not detached, neutral magistrates or judges,” Lucido said. “That’s violation of property rights 101. … It’s called due process under the Fourth amendment and the 14th amendment.”


    Lucido noted law enforcement — specifically through task forces like the Traverse Narcotics Team — have been overly empowered by laws that allows police to confiscate property from those suspected to be involved with drugs.

    Michigan’s law enforcement agencies collected more than $244 million in gross forfeiture proceeds between 2001 and 2013, averaging about $19 million per year, according to a report from the Institute for Justice. And none required a conviction.

    Police agencies, in turn, are authorized by law to offload those assets and keep a portion of the proceeds to buy equipment and “enhance all law enforcement activities.” Records show TNT seized at least $400,000 during the past six years.

    The bill would prohibit forfeitures unless a suspect is found guilty of a crime in court, amending a section of an existing state law. It would take effect next year if passed into law, and would only apply to seizures under $50,000.

    “$50,000 is a little bit much to have in your pocket,” Lucido explained.

    Local and state officials — including those who soon could be stripped of their authority to confiscate property — have praised the spirit of the bill. Others, while recognizing need for further reform, were hesitant to endorse the changes.

    “It would be easier for us and more fair to those who are having their property forfeited to have a criminal conviction,” said Grand Traverse County Undersheriff Nate Alger. “Our system is based on being innocent until proven guilty.”

    Attorney General Bill Schuette this week said conviction before seizure is a “good principle” to maintain. County Prosecutor Bob Cooney noted most local forfeiture cases include a criminal conviction but said current laws force them to continue.

    “I wish the state would better fund narcotics teams and not incentivize them in anyway to go after forfeiture dollars,” Cooney said. “At the same time, those laws were set up to take away profits from those selling illegal drugs. That’s the idea.”

    Lucido’s bill eliminates the requirement people negotiate for the return of their possessions but some officials — like Kalkaska County Prosecutor Mike Perreault — are concerned it could unfairly entwine property seizures with plea bargains.

    His office tries to avoid forfeiture altogether. The bill could connect those cases with criminal matters and force him into the business regardless, he suggested.


    “I’m a little concerned that by tying them to a criminal conviction, it’s going to bring me people who try to barter their way out of things,” Perreault said. “I could also see the argument then that we’re only prosecuting people to take their stuff.”

    Advocacy groups for years have lobbied against statutes that allow civil forfeiture cases to proceed. Some contended they disproportionally impact lower income residents because of often costly legal battles attached to reclaiming property.

    Others have said seizures lead to “policing for profit” because police, in most cases, can keep the proceeds for their own department. Michigan State Police officials have contended the concept helps save taxpayer dollars and deprives criminals of cash.

    State Rep. Larry Inman said he supports Lucido’s bill and noted police shouldn’t be able to keep property without a conviction. Benzie County Sheriff Ted Schendel said “common sense” dictates police first need to prove someone guilty of a crime.

    “I know forfeiture is a huge asset, especially for drug enforcement teams. There’s never enough money to fund those things,” Schendel said. “But I like to err on the side of the people and the Constitution.”

    A legislative analysis contended the bill would have an indeterminate fiscal impact for law enforcement. It noted its passage likely would result in declined forfeiture-related revenues and impact federal revenue sharing for Michigan State Police.

    The bill — introduced last week in the House — was recently referred to the Committee on Judiciary. Lucido said lawmakers soon will hear testimony as it pushes forward in the legislature. Visit record-eagle.com for continued coverage.

    Michael Komorn

    Michael Komorn has worked tirelessly for his clients at Komorn Law PLLC to return property seized and forfeited to the police. The items and property seized often has absolutely no medical marijuana (or any crime at all) connection whatsoever. Just looking at the list of things seized, none of it makes sense. 4 wheeler? Gas generator? 401k retirement account? Cars purchased 20 years ago and restored. Ladders, children's birthday money taken out of their Hallmark birthday cards. iphones, ipads, computers, cash, gold rings, guns. The police will take anything of value that they can in any medical marijuana case.


    As an expert in civil asset forfeiture, Michael Komorn and Komorn Law PLLC attorney Jeff Frazier educate other lawyers on the steps and pitfalls of forfeiture cases on ICLE.



    Michael Komorn and Jeff Frazier discuss with Rachael Sedlacek about the procedural requirements in a civil asset forfeiture case.
    Criminal defense can often involve recovering property seized by the police. Civil asset forfeiture cases require navigation of unique procedural rules and complex negotiations.


    LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) - You have seen the movies.  Police seize the stuff of crime bosses to stop a network of criminals, but could it happen to the average person? Could your stuff be seized even if you aren’t charged with a crime?  Defense attorneys say it is happening all the time here in Michigan, especially to medical marijuana users.When police seize stuff they believe was bought or is money made from a crime, they start what is called a civil asset forfeiture process.

    Rep. Lucido says bill would prevent police from seizing innocent people's stuff

    Kim Russell
    11:28 PM, Jan 30, 2018

    LANSING, Mich. (WXYZ) - You have seen the movies.  Police seize the stuff of crime bosses to stop a network of criminals, but could it happen to the average person? Could your stuff be seized even if you aren’t charged with a crime?  Defense attorneys say it is happening all the time here in Michigan, especially to medical marijuana users. 

    When police seize stuff they believe was bought or is money made from a crime, they start what is called a civil asset forfeiture process.  

    “It allows law enforcement and benefits everybody, to remove the profit motive from drug dealing,” said Robert Stevenson, the Executive Director of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police. 

    Police say they only seize stuff they truly believe is connected to crimes. Often people are never charged with a crime or their belongings are kept after charges are dropped.  

    “I did not get bound over by the judge but they still have my stuff,” said Ginnifer Hency  as she testified before state lawmakers in 2015. 

    She said she has multiple sclerosis and is a medical marijuana patient.  She said even after a judge cleared her of any crime, the prosecutor fought to  keep her valuables.

    Lawmakers changed the law to raise the burden of proof, but people are still voicing complaints. 

    “I felt robbed, like a highway robbery,” said John Hamann of what happened to him and his dad Ron Hamann. 

    The Hamanns say they believe it is about making money for law enforcement.  When medical marijuana became legal, they applied for cards to be caregivers and patients.  

    “I thought everything was legal,” said Ron. 

    “Everything you are supposed to do. I followed all the weights, all the counts and everything like that, but it doesn’t matter. They take everything and say gotcha,” said John. 

    They say almost three years ago police seized all their valuables.  They say about two years later, only when they came close to winning their belongings back, were they charged with manufacturing marijuana. To them, it felt like a shakedown. 

    “WCPO’s longstanding office protocol is that any civil forfeiture case and the associated criminal cases are kept separate. In other words WCPO has a  fire wall in place..The civil and criminal cases are completely independent from one another,” said Maria Miller of the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office in a statement. 

    The prosecutor’s office says the Hamann's face the charges because it is alleged  that they had over 20 pounds of marijuana and 69 marijuana plants.

    Komorn, their attorney says that doesn’t make sense as a legal allegation.  Ron had a patient card and proof he was a caregiver for two patients.  He was allowed to possess 36 plants.  John had a patient card and was a caregiver for 4 patients.  He was allowed to possess 60 plants.  As for the weight, Komorn says pictures submitted as evidence show the marijuana weighed was unusable in that it was wet and included stalks thrown in the garbage.  Komorn says only usable marijuana is supposed to count in weight limitations. 

    The Hamanns say what was seized has nothing to do with marijuana.  They say police seized their 401Ks, which they contributed to through their jobs at a home remodeling company. Police told them they could because the money was from drugs. 

    “I don’t understand it at all. It is on my paystub. It shows where my money comes from.  It is all legal,” said John Hamann. 

    “All the money is traceable from his job into his 401k,” said Rep. Peter Lucido (R-36th District).  “There is no logic or reason for the police to do what they are doing. But they have the right to do it under state law.”

    Representative Peter Lucido has introduced House Bill 4158. He says police all too often seize property from the innocent.Taking a look at the numbers.  The state’s asset forfeiture report says in 2016 police seized more than 15 million dollars in property.  In about ten percent of those cases no one was charged.  He wants the law changed, so that police would only be able to keep your stuff if there is a conviction, forcing police to at least charge people in order to keep their belongings.

    “They have a right to seize it and put it into an evidence locker, but if they don’t charge the person, what did the person do wrong under the law?” asks Lucido. 

    “It does put people in a tough spot.  It puts a person in a tough spot if those proceeds are from illegal activity,” said Stevenson. 

    Law enforcement leaders, like Stevenson, say If someone wants to get their stuff back, all they have to do is answer the questions investigators have.  It has the potential to be a powerful tool in the fight against crime.

    “One of the things you have to do in a civil case, which you do not have to do in a criminal case, is you have to answer questions,” said Stevenson.

    Michael Komorn argues that it hurts justice.  He says he takes on clients who can’t afford his services,  because their assets are seized. 

    “The idea that the government just takes it, and the idea that by possessing it it becomes theirs, and the burden shifts to the owner of it to prove that the property is not guilty or that they got it legally, goes against the grain of what people expect from our legal system,” said Komorn.

    John and Ron Hamman says they believe they will be found not guilty - but in the meantime are being punished. 

    Rep. Lucido will have the chance to make his case that this law needs to be changed during a hearing in Lansing on February 6. 






    Read more about criminal asset forfeiture and civil asset forfeiture on my blog.














    Meet Some Law Enforcement Officers Who Support Forfeiture Reform

    Michigan Legislature should strengthen property rights


    While many interest groups representing law enforcement employees oppose reforming civil asset forfeiture to require a criminal conviction before the state can take ownership of a person’s property, some law enforcement officers support the changes.

    In the Traverse City Record-Eagle, reporter Kyle Kaminski gets comments from a variety of law enforcement officials about forfeiture generally and about a bill that would reform how it's used in Michigan. Here are the responses:


    “It would be easier for us and more fair to those who are having their property forfeited to have a criminal conviction,” said Grand Traverse County Undersheriff Nate Alger. “Our system is based on being innocent until proven guilty.”

    Attorney General Bill Schuette this week said conviction before [forfeiture] is a “good principle” to maintain.

    County Prosecutor Bob Cooney noted most local forfeiture cases include a criminal conviction but said current laws force them to continue. “I wish the state would better fund narcotics teams and not incentivize them in any way to go after forfeiture dollars,” Cooney said. “At the same time, those laws were set up to take away profits from those selling illegal drugs. That’s the idea.”

    “I’m a little concerned that by tying them to a criminal conviction, it’s going to bring me people who try to barter their way out of things,” Kalkaska County Prosecutor Mike Perreault said. “I could also see the argument then that we’re only prosecuting people to take their stuff.”

    Benzie County Sheriff Ted Schendel said “common sense” dictates police first need to prove someone guilty of a crime. “I know forfeiture is a huge asset, especially for drug enforcement teams. There’s never enough money to fund those things,” Schendel said. “But I like to err on the side of the people and the Constitution.”

    The law enforcement officials are joined by others in their field who support the conviction requirement.

    House Bill 4158 would do the following:

    • Require a criminal conviction, or plea agreement, prior to any forfeiture taking place for assets under $50,000.
    • Allow for exemptions for people who die, are deported or abandon their property.

    This properly balances protecting innocent people’s property rights with enabling law enforcement to forfeit property that was either obtained with proceeds from illegal activity or used for illegal purposes.



    Michael Komorn

    Warrantless wiretapping is a terrible idea and is unconstitutional. It was created at a time when America was thought to be at WAR with the terrorists. 17 years later, America was always at war with the terrorists. Illegal wiretaps of all communications continue, but are solely focused on Americans, and more specifically focused on the war on drugs, not terrorism.

    Not to be outdone, the NSA and DEA know that their secret illegal wiretaps are illegal and would not be used as evidence in the courts, so they have created "parallel construction". Parallel construction means to assemble the evidence while hiding the source of the information. This means automatically denying the right of the accused to see the evidence and witnesses presented against him. A long held tradition that any evidence used against you in court must be scrutinized for constitutional issues and be legitimate and truthful.



    Exclusive: U.S. directs agents to cover up program used to investigate Americans

    12 MIN READ


    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A secretive U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration unit is funneling information from intelligence intercepts, wiretaps, informants and a massive database of telephone records to authorities across the nation to help them launch criminal investigations of Americans.

    Although these cases rarely involve national security issues, documents reviewed by Reuters show that law enforcement agents have been directed to conceal how such investigations truly begin - not only from defense lawyers but also sometimes from prosecutors and judges.

    The undated documents show that federal agents are trained to “recreate” the investigative trail to effectively cover up where the information originated, a practice that some experts say violates a defendant’s Constitutional right to a fair trial. If defendants don’t know how an investigation began, they cannot know to ask to review potential sources of exculpatory evidence - information that could reveal entrapment, mistakes or biased witnesses.

    “I have never heard of anything like this at all,” said Nancy Gertner, a Harvard Law School professor who served as a federal judge from 1994 to 2011. Gertner and other legal experts said the program sounds more troubling than recent disclosures that the National Security Agency has been collecting domestic phone records. The NSA effort is geared toward stopping terrorists; the DEA program targets common criminals, primarily drug dealers.

    “It is one thing to create special rules for national security,” Gertner said. “Ordinary crime is entirely different. It sounds like they are phonying up investigations.”



    The unit of the DEA that distributes the information is called the Special Operations Division, or SOD. Two dozen partner agencies comprise the unit, including the FBI, CIA, NSA, Internal Revenue Service and the Department of Homeland Security. It was created in 1994 to combat Latin American drug cartels and has grown from several dozen employees to several hundred.

    Today, much of the SOD’s work is classified, and officials asked that its precise location in Virginia not be revealed. The documents reviewed by Reuters are marked “Law Enforcement Sensitive,” a government categorization that is meant to keep them confidential.

    “Remember that the utilization of SOD cannot be revealed or discussed in any investigative function,” a document presented to agents reads. The document specifically directs agents to omit the SOD’s involvement from investigative reports, affidavits, discussions with prosecutors and courtroom testimony. Agents are instructed to then use “normal investigative techniques to recreate the information provided by SOD.”

    A spokesman with the Department of Justice, which oversees the DEA, declined to comment.

    But two senior DEA officials defended the program, and said trying to “recreate” an investigative trail is not only legal but a technique that is used almost daily.

    A former federal agent in the northeastern United States who received such tips from SOD described the process. “You’d be told only, ‘Be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle.’ And so we’d alert the state police to find an excuse to stop that vehicle, and then have a drug dog search it,” the agent said.


    After an arrest was made, agents then pretended that their investigation began with the traffic stop, not with the SOD tip, the former agent said. The training document reviewed by Reuters refers to this process as “parallel construction.”

    The two senior DEA officials, who spoke on behalf of the agency but only on condition of anonymity, said the process is kept secret to protect sources and investigative methods. “Parallel construction is a law enforcement technique we use every day,” one official said. “It’s decades old, a bedrock concept.”


    A dozen current or former federal agents interviewed by Reuters confirmed they had used parallel construction during their careers. Most defended the practice; some said they understood why those outside law enforcement might be concerned.

    “It’s just like laundering money - you work it backwards to make it clean,” said Finn Selander, a DEA agent from 1991 to 2008 and now a member of a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which advocates legalizing and regulating narcotics.

    Some defense lawyers and former prosecutors said that using “parallel construction” may be legal to establish probable cause for an arrest. But they said employing the practice as a means of disguising how an investigation began may violate pretrial discovery rules by burying evidence that could prove useful to criminal defendants.


    “That’s outrageous,” said Tampa attorney James Felman, a vice chairman of the criminal justice section of the American Bar Association. “It strikes me as indefensible.”

    Lawrence Lustberg, a New Jersey defense lawyer, said any systematic government effort to conceal the circumstances under which cases begin “would not only be alarming but pretty blatantly unconstitutional.”

    Lustberg and others said the government’s use of the SOD program skirts established court procedures by which judges privately examine sensitive information, such as an informant’s identity or classified evidence, to determine whether the information is relevant to the defense.

    “You can’t game the system,” said former federal prosecutor Henry E. Hockeimer Jr. “You can’t create this subterfuge. These are drug crimes, not national security cases. If you don’t draw the line here, where do you draw it?”

    Some lawyers say there can be legitimate reasons for not revealing sources. Robert Spelke, a former prosecutor who spent seven years as a senior DEA lawyer, said some sources are classified. But he also said there are few reasons why unclassified evidence should be concealed at trial.

    “It’s a balancing act, and they’ve doing it this way for years,” Spelke said. “Do I think it’s a good way to do it? No, because now that I‘m a defense lawyer, I see how difficult it is to challenge.”


    One current federal prosecutor learned how agents were using SOD tips after a drug agent misled him, the prosecutor told Reuters. In a Florida drug case he was handling, the prosecutor said, a DEA agent told him the investigation of a U.S. citizen began with a tip from an informant. When the prosecutor pressed for more information, he said, a DEA supervisor intervened and revealed that the tip had actually come through the SOD and from an NSA intercept.

    “I was pissed,” the prosecutor said. “Lying about where the information came from is a bad start if you’re trying to comply with the law because it can lead to all kinds of problems with discovery and candor to the court.” The prosecutor never filed charges in the case because he lost confidence in the investigation, he said.

    A senior DEA official said he was not aware of the case but said the agent should not have misled the prosecutor. How often such misdirection occurs is unknown, even to the government; the DEA official said the agency does not track what happens with tips after the SOD sends them to agents in the field.

    The SOD’s role providing information to agents isn’t itself a secret. It is briefly mentioned by the DEA in budget documents, albeit without any reference to how that information is used or represented when cases go to court.

    The DEA has long publicly touted the SOD’s role in multi-jurisdictional and international investigations, connecting agents in separate cities who may be unwittingly investigating the same target and making sure undercover agents don’t accidentally try to arrest each other.


    The unit also played a major role in a 2008 DEA sting in Thailand against Russian arms dealer Viktor Bout; he was sentenced in 2011 to 25 years in prison on charges of conspiring to sell weapons to the Colombian rebel group FARC. The SOD also recently coordinated Project Synergy, a crackdown against manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers of synthetic designer drugs that spanned 35 states and resulted in 227 arrests.

    Since its inception, the SOD’s mandate has expanded to include narco-terrorism, organized crime and gangs. A DEA spokesman declined to comment on the unit’s annual budget. A recent LinkedIn posting on the personal page of a senior SOD official estimated it to be $125 million.

    Today, the SOD offers at least three services to federal, state and local law enforcement agents: coordinating international investigations such as the Bout case; distributing tips from overseas NSA intercepts, informants, foreign law enforcement partners and domestic wiretaps; and circulating tips from a massive database known as DICE.

    The DICE database contains about 1 billion records, the senior DEA officials said. The majority of the records consist of phone log and Internet data gathered legally by the DEA through subpoenas, arrests and search warrants nationwide. Records are kept for about a year and then purged, the DEA officials said.

    About 10,000 federal, state and local law enforcement agents have access to the DICE database, records show. They can query it to try to link otherwise disparate clues. Recently, one of the DEA officials said, DICE linked a man who tried to smuggle $100,000 over the U.S. southwest border to a major drug case on the East Coast.

    “We use it to connect the dots,” the official said.


    Wiretap tips forwarded by the SOD usually come from foreign governments, U.S. intelligence agencies or court-authorized domestic phone recordings. Because warrantless eavesdropping on Americans is illegal, tips from intelligence agencies are generally not forwarded to the SOD until a caller’s citizenship can be verified, according to one senior law enforcement official and one former U.S. military intelligence analyst.

    “They do a pretty good job of screening, but it can be a struggle to know for sure whether the person on a wiretap is American,” the senior law enforcement official said.

    Tips from domestic wiretaps typically occur when agents use information gleaned from a court-ordered wiretap in one case to start a second investigation.

    As a practical matter, law enforcement agents said they usually don’t worry that SOD’s involvement will be exposed in court. That’s because most drug-trafficking defendants plead guilty before trial and therefore never request to see the evidence against them. If cases did go to trial, current and former agents said, charges were sometimes dropped to avoid the risk of exposing SOD involvement.

    Current and former federal agents said SOD tips aren’t always helpful - one estimated their accuracy at 60 percent. But current and former agents said tips have enabled them to catch drug smugglers who might have gotten away.

    “It was an amazing tool,” said one recently retired federal agent. “Our big fear was that it wouldn’t stay secret.”

    DEA officials said that the SOD process has been reviewed internally. They declined to provide Reuters with a copy of their most recent review.

    Edited by Blake Morrison




    Parallel Construction Revealed: How The DEA Is Trained To Launder Classified Surveillance Info

    from the americans-don't-like-it dept

    Last summer, Reuters revealed how the NSA and other surveillance organizations would share infowith the DEA and other law enforcement agencies, but then tell them to reconstruct the evidence via a process called "parallel construction," so that the surveillance would not then be discussed in court. This is highly questionable, and probably illegal, as a defendant has the right to know all of the evidence being used against him or her, and should also be told how that evidence was gathered, to make sure the collection was legal. But what's being done with parallel construction, is that the intelligence community is able to give "hints" to law enforcement, allowing them to come up with various pretenses for an investigation, avoiding ever having to reveal that the NSA or others used potentially illegal surveillance efforts. One example given in that Reuters report was how DEA agents would suddenly be given a tip like this: "Be at a certain truck stop at a certain time and look for a certain vehicle." The DEA would then have the local police come up with some pretense to stop the truck... and then when evidence is found they can claim it was a random traffic stop, when the reality is anything but that. 

    After the Reuters report, C.J. Ciaramella used Muckrock to request all DEA training material and official policies concerning "parallel construction" and recently received nearly 300 pages of documents, much of it redacted, but still which reveals that this is common practice at the DEAand widely known. Much of it is in the form of PowerPoint presentations, complete with speaker notes, which say things like how careful DEA agents need to be around classified information because "it can screw up your investigation."
    Another slide notes "the devil's in the details" and explains:
    Our friends in the military and intelligence community never have to prove anything to the general public. They can act upon classified information without ever divulging their sources or methods to anyway [sic] outside their community. If they find Bin Laden's satellite phone and then pin point his location, they don't have to go to a court to get permission to put a missile up his nose. 

    We are bound, however, by different rules. 

    Our investigations must be transparent. We must be able to take our information to court and prove to a jury that our bad guy did the bad things we say he did. No hiding here. However, we are also bound to protect certain pieces of information so as to protect the sources and methods. 

    To use it....we must properly protect it.
    There are also training materials that discuss how parallel construction works, as well as the fact that in "the new post-9/11" era, a "national consensus" has been formed making it easier for the intelligence community and law enforcement to share information. It even refers to the federal courts as the intelligence community's "nemesis." 

    A lot of the documentation deals with how to deal with having classified information, and the focus seems to be on keeping that information away from anyone involved in the case. There is -- I kid you not -- a special group of prosecutors called "the Taint Review Team" -- to be called in when things get... well... tainted.
    In one part of the presentation, they talk about all sorts of ways to try to get a judge to avoid revealing classified information to defendants, and then have a plan "if all else fails" which includes redoing the indictment or dropping the case. That same presentation shows that there should be a "see no evil" plan -- which explains why DEA agents are often just told "go to this truck stop and look for this truck" without knowing any more. That way they "saw no evil" with evil being defined as questionably obtained intelligence.
    It appears that much of the DEA's arguments here rely on the Supreme Court's ruling in 1938 in Scher v. United States, in which a law enforcement agent was told some things by a source, and used that information to find and arrest the defendant handling whiskey (during Prohibition). The court said that how the agent found out about the information doesn't matter, so long as the agent saw illegal acts himself. And thus, the Supreme Court "enabled" the idea of parallel construction. That case pops up repeatedly throughout the documents, basically telling DEA agents: expect information to come from intelligence sources, but do your best to never find out why they know this stuff. 

    Another presentation asks "what is the problem with combining IC (Intelligence Community) collection efforts & LEA (Law Enforcement Agency) investigations in US courtrooms?" and then explains that it presents constitutional problems... and that "Americans don't like it!"
    The note on that one points out that "even though we seek to protect our citizens, generally, we can only use techniques to achieve that objective, which are acceptable to our citizens." But that's not what they're actually doing or teaching. Instead, they're teaching how to keep doing the constitutionally questionable things that Americans don't like... and then hiding it from the courts, the American public and even the law enforcement folks themselves, in order to create a sort of plausible deniability that launders the fact that potentially illegal and unconstitutional surveillance was used to create the basis of the legal case. 

    There's some more information in the documents, but it all basically points to the same basic thing: the less that law enforcement folks know, the better. If the law enforcement knows too much, call in the "Taint Review Team" to see what they can do to clean up, and see what you can use to get the judge to exclude classified evidence. All in all, it adds up to a nice little plan to allow the NSA to illegally spy on people, tell law enforcement just enough to target people, without ever revealing how they were caught via unconstitutional means.


    Why are the Democrats voting with the Republicans to give President Trump these powers to illegally spy on everyone ? It makes no sense. Where is the #Resistance ? Probably the secret blackmailing files have already been completed on all of the congress members and now the NSA controls our government and other countries' governments forever.




    01.11.1804:19 PM

    IN 2013, EDWARD Snowden revealed that the National Security Agency was legally collecting millions of Americans’ phone calls and electronic communications—including emails, Facebook messages, and browsing histories—without a warrant. Congress has now decided not only to reauthorize these programs, but also to expand some of their most invasive techniques.

    The spying initiatives Snowden brought to light are authorized under Section 702 of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act, which was set to expire later this month. On Thursday, Congress voted down an effort to reform Section 702, and instead passed a bill that expanded warrantless surveillance of US citizens and foreigners. The newly passed bill reauthorizes Section 702 for six years, long after President Trump’s first term in office will have expired.

    The amendment that the House of Representatives shot down would have added significant privacy safeguards to the law, including the requirement that intelligence agents get a warrant in many cases before searching through emails and other digital communications belonging to US citizens. The bill Congress did pass, meanwhile, codifies some of the most troubling aspects of Section 702, according to privacy advocates. The legislation still needs to pass in the Senate, where fewer representatives are interested in significantly reforming the law.

    Section 702 is intended to allow intelligence officials to electronically surveil non-US "persons reasonably believe to be located outside the United States” without a warrant. The NSA collects millions of video chats, instant messages, and emails under Section 702 by compelling companies like Facebook, AT&T, and Google to hand them over.

    The law also allows the FBI to search through the NSA’s database without a warrant, constituting what critics like Democratic Senator Ron Wyden call a backdoor to the Fourth Amendment. The law technically only authorizes the collection of communications belonging to foreign individuals, but citizens and permanent residents easily get swept into the dragnet. For example, Americans who communicate with foreigners may be included.

    That appears to be the case with Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser. Flynn’s communications with Sergey Kislyak were collected when intelligence officials conducted routine surveillance on the former Russian ambassador to the US.

    A flyer advocating against the failed pro-privacy amendment to FISA Section 702 circulated by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence.
    During the lead-up to the vote, the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, chaired by Republican Congressman Devin Nunes, circulated a fear-mongering flyer that said adding privacy protections to Section 702 would make it impossible for law enforcement to surface intelligence about a hypothetical suspicious vehicle parked outside the Washington Monument.

    The misleading rhetoric around Section 702 tripped up Trump Thursday, as he appeared to contradict his own party’s stance on the bill just hours before the vote. In a tweet, the president implied falsely that the law had given intelligence officials the legal authority to spy on his campaign. The message came merely a day after White House press secretary Hope Hicks released a statement in support of the law.



    “House votes on controversial FISA ACT today.” This is the act that may have been used, with the help of the discredited and phony Dossier, to so badly surveil and abuse the Trump Campaign by the previous administration and others?
    7:33 AM - Jan 11, 2018
    19,120 Replies   17,217 Retweets   72,465 likes

    The president was likely steered away from his official position by a Fox News broadcast, during which Libertarian Judge Andrew Napolitano told the president that Section 702 “is not the way to go.” Trump’s tweets appeared moments after the segment. An hour later, Trump reverted to the party line. In a follow up tweet, he said “we need” Section 702. Frankly, the president doesn’t seem to understand how Section 702 works. He’s not alone.

    FISA Advisor
    Remember when Trump said Obama had wiretapped Trump Tower? Those were the days
    Representative Devin Nunes has spent months fudging how the FISA purpose actually works to help take heat off of the Trump administration
    Here's what you need to know about "unmasking," the part of FISA that gets Trump (wrongly) so worked up

    It is a strange web that has been cast over the entire world. Other countries have teamed with AT&T and the NSA to spy on internet, phone and email communications of all citizens and data passing through their systems.



    Michael Komorn

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions January 4th memo regarding marijuana enforcement is historic... and it should promptly be consigned to the dustbin of history. Mr. Session’s very name is a history lesson. Like his father and grandfather, he was named after Jefferson Davis, the first and only president of the Confederacy and P.G.T. Beauregard, the first prominent general of the Confederate Army. These were the men who lead the people of Alabama in their desire and purpose to join the “slave-holding states” to secede from the U.S. and form a government where “in no case shall citizenship extend to any person who is not a free white person.” See Alabama Ordinance of Secession. Mr. Sessions memo overturning Obama era guidelines for federal marijuana prosecutions is entirely consistent his historic roots. Here’s why.





    When the South failed in its quest to preserve the “peculiar institution” of slavery, Jim Crow and segregation followed. “Separate but equal” became the rallying cry to keep whiteness supreme. With Brown v. Board of Education and the Civil Rights Act of 1964, this became impossible. American society convulsed. In 1968, Richard Nixon took the White House by appealing to the “silent (white) majority” and exploiting Southern fears of the recently empowered African-Americans. The South has been Republican ever since. Here’s how Nixon did it.


    He declared a War on Drugs. John Ehrlichman a Nixon staffer revealed the real roots of the criminal prohibition of marijuana and other substances: “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”


    By 1980 with the ascension of Ronald Reagan (and Nancy Reagan’s vacuous “Just Say No”), the drug war was hitting its stride. George H.W. Bush amended the Posse Comitatus Act to allow the military to be used as a domestic police force in the drug war, effectively para-militarizing police forces across the nation.  In 1994, Bill Clinton passed the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. In the 22 years since the bill was passed, the federal prison population more than doubled. War is a bi-partisan vice, and scare-mongering reliably delivers votes. It is to this era that Mr. Sessions seeks to return us with his memo. That is because the war on drugs has been extraordinarily successful in its primary purpose: to vilify Blacks and the Anti-war left, arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and put them in jail.

    By 2000, incarceration numbers began to become available in parts of the South demonstrating that the drug war increasingly was a war on African Americans, particularly Black males of prime breeding age. One in three black men in the United States between the ages of 20 and 29 years old was under correctional supervision or control. Among the nearly 1.9 million offenders incarcerated on June 30, 1999, more than 560,000 were black males between the ages of 20 and 39. At those levels of incarceration, newborn Black males in this country had a greater than 1 in 4 chance of going to prison during their lifetimes, while Latin-American males have a 1 in 6 chance, and white males have a 1 in 23 chance of serving time. The United States was incarcerating African-American men at a rate that was approximately four times the rate of incarceration of Black men in South Africa. The rate of imprisonment for black women was more than eight times the rate of imprisonment of white women; the rate of imprisonment of Hispanic women was nearly four times the rate of imprisonment of white women.

    We can trace those disparities directly to discriminatory and selective enforcement of the drug laws. Most illicit drug users were white. There were an estimated 9.9 million whites (72 percent of all users), 2.0 million blacks (15 percent), and 1.4 million Hispanics (10 percent) who were illicit drug users. Yet, blacks constituted 36.8% of those arrested for drug violations, over 42% of those in federal prisons for drug violations and almost 60% of those in state prisons for drug felonies; Hispanics accounted for 22.5%. Drug laws had become the new Jim Crow.

    Texas was particularly bad. By 2000, there were more Texans under criminal justice control, 706,600 -- than the entire populations of Vermont, Wyoming or Alaska. Texas’s incarceration rate of 1,035 per 100,000 population tops every state but Louisiana. If Texas were a separate nation, it would have the world’s highest incarceration rate, well above the United States at 682 per 100,000 or Russia's 685.  The state's prison population had tripled since 1990, rising more than 60 percent in the past five years -- from 92,669 to 149,684.  Black Texans were incarcerated at a rate seven times that of whites -- and at a rate 63 percent higher than the national rate for blacks.  Blacks supplied 44 percent of the inmates in Texas although they constituted only 12 percent of the state's population.  More than half of all Blacks were in jail in Texas for nonviolent offenses. They ended up picking cotton, herding cattle or, contracted out as labor to assemble computers.

    Then came 9/11. Criminal justice reform took a backseat to terror wars until those wars too lost all legitimacy. It was not until the election of Barack Obama and the appointment of Eric Holder that the real roots of this massive, fraudulent, unjust war on drugs began to be addressed. Over the course of that presidency, states were allowed to advance their experiments with medicinal and later adult use marijuana. Civil asset forfeiture at the federal level was reigned in and the use of private, for-profit prisons was curtailed. A key part of this reform was a statement of guiding principles for federal prosecutors regarding marijuana. These guidelines allowed states to proceed with some predictability in their local marijuana programs. Mr. Sessions has undone all of this. Why is this important?

    Because the numbers have only grown worse. An African-American in Michigan is three times more likely to be arrested for violating marijuana laws compared to a white person, although surveys and research indicate little difference between usage rates between the two groups. In all, African-Americans comprise about 14 percent of Michigan's population, but 35 percent of marijuana arrests. Overall, African-Americans in Michigan are incarcerated at roughly five times the rate of whites.

    The numbers in the white flight counties of the Eastern District of Michigan are even more unconscionable. In St. Clair County, African-Americans make up 2.5% of the total population yet account for 43% of arrests for drug law violations. In Oakland County, African-Americans make up 14.4% of the population yet account for 48% of arrests for drug law violations. In Lapeer County African-Americans make up 1.2% of the population yet account for 10.4% of arrests for drug law violations. In Genesee County African-Americans make up 20% of the population yet account for 76% of drug arrests. This according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.

    Medical marijuana patients and programs are squarely in the cross-fire of a war with deeply racial roots. We say that the only citizen more vulnerable to police misconduct than a young black male in Texas is a medical marijuana patient in Michigan. Mr. Sessions knows all of this. It is in his blood. In his name. This is not accidental. Mr. Sessions and his ilk want to return us to an age when names like Jefferson Davis and P.G.T. Beauregard are names to be proud of and ditzy slogans like “just say no” and “good people don’t smoke marijuana” substitute for real science. Mr. Sessions war is arbitrary, capricious, and racist. His dismissive memo merely enshrines the worst of policies and promotes selective and discriminatory enforcement of the law.


    Can a community that has been abused for years by a corrupt, federal, militarized police force that is selectively enforcing the law on the basis of race organize to end its oppression?

    Yes. See e.g. the American Revolution. In 1776, the British Redcoats had become a federal military police force with wide ranging powers to enforce the contraband laws Then, as now, most contraband consisted of drugs, primarily tea and tobacco. Then, as now, the police were allowed to issue “writs of assistance” (roving search warrants devoid of probable cause) allowing them to seize and keep the property of those persons believed to be illicitly trafficking. Then, as now, such power and temptation corrupted the police authorities, resulted in selective enforcement of the law and produced wide scale violations of God-granted liberties. Then, the community organized to resist. The Boston Tea Party, the American Revolution and the Bill of Rights ensued. Among the rights enshrined is the right to organize and to oppose abuses by a federal, corrupt, militarized police force. 2nd Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

    “I thought those guys (the KKK) were alright until I learned they smoke pot.” -- Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III



    Michael Komorn

    The hemp industry is fighting the DEA again for its right to sell hemp products, including CBD. The Drug Enforcement Agency and US Attorney Generals have spent considerable resources on hemp farmers, state hemp projects, even attacking, raiding and destroying hemp crops in Native American tribal land. Members of congress have joined in the lawsuit against the DEA.

    Does the DEA even know what it is doing? Why did Eric Holder say hemp was schedule 1, prosecute hemp growers his entire tenure, only to retire and say that the laws should be changed?

    In Olsen v Holder 2009, some interesting facts about scheduling were reported:


    10. The Attorney General has delegated authority concerning "functions vested in the Attorney General by the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970" to the Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration. 28 C.F.R. § 0.100(b). The Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration has, in turn, delegated this authority to the Deputy Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, pursuant to 28 C.F. R. § 0.104. See App. to Subpart R, § 12. For simplification, the Court will refer to the Attorney General and the DEA interchangeably throughout this order.


    DEA Clarifies Status of Hemp in the Federal Register in 2001.


    The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) today announced rules to clarify the legal status of “hemp” products. “Hemp” is part of the cannabis plant, which is also known as marijuana. The rules published in today’s edition of the Federal Register explain the circumstances under which “hemp” products are subject to control under federal law.

    “Hemp” and marijuana are actually separate parts of the species of plant known as cannabis. Under federal law, Congress defined marijuana to focus on those parts of the cannabis plant that are the source of tetrahydrocannabinols (THC). THC is the hallucinogenic substance in marijuana that causes the psychoactive effect or “high.” The marijuana portions of the cannabis plant include the flowering tops (buds), the leaves, and the resin of the cannabis plant. The remainder of the plant — stalks and sterilized seeds — is what some people refer to as “hemp.” However, “hemp” is not a term that is found in federal law.

    DEA Administrator Asa Hutchinson stated that “many Americans do not know that hemp and marijuana are both parts of the same plant and that hemp cannot be produced without producing marijuana.”

    While most of the THC in cannabis plants is concentrated in the marijuana, all parts of the plant, including hemp, have been found to contain THC. The existence of THC in hemp is significant because THC, like marijuana, is a schedule I controlled substance. Federal law prohibits human consumption and possession of schedule I controlled substances. In addition, they are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration for medical use.


    The rules that DEA is publishing today explain which hemp products are legal and which are not. This will depend on whether the product causes THC to enter the human body. If the product does cause THC to enter the human body, it is an illegal substance that may not be manufactured, sold, or consumed in the United States. Such products include “hemp” foods and beverages that contain THC.

    If, however, the product does not cause THC to enter the human body, it is a noncontrolled substance that may lawfully be sold in the United States. Included in the category of lawful hemp products are textiles, such as clothing made using fiber produced from cannabis plant stalks. Also in the lawful category are personal care products that contain oil from sterilized cannabis seeds, such as soaps, lotions, and shampoos.

    In recognition of the fact that there may be a small number of manufacturers and retailers who have inventories of hemp food and beverage products or other products containing THC that are intended for human consumption, DEA is providing a grace period. As set forth in the rules, any person who currently possesses illegal THC-containing “hemp” products will have 120 days (until February 6, 2002) to dispose of such products or remove them from the United States. However, during this grace period, no person may manufacture or distribute any such product for human consumption within the United States.

    In issuing these rules, DEA has attempted to strike a fair balance between protecting the health and safety of all Americans and accommodating legitimate industry. The public has 60 days to comment on the rules in the manner set forth in the Federal Register. The rules can be accessed through the web site of the National Archives and Records Administration at www.archives.gov.

    What to do if you are uncertain whether a “hemp” food or beverage product is illegal:

    — Check the ingredients listed on the product label. If the label indicates that the food or beverage contains THC, it is illegal.

    — Ask the manufacturer or distributor of the product if it contains THC. If it does, it is illegal.

    What if you are unable to determine from reading the label and from asking the manufacturer or distributor whether the product contains THC?

    In such circumstances, if you wish to err on the side of caution, you may freely dispose of the product. As stated in the rules that DEA published on October 9, 2001, anyone who has purchased a food or beverage product that contains THC has 120 days (until February 6, 2002) to dispose of the product without penalty under federal law.


    Wait, Marijuana is the leaves and flowers and hemp is the stalks and seeds? What?


    Defining “Industrial Hemp”: A Fact Sheet

    The federal Congressional Research Service issued a report March 2017.


    Industrial hemp and marijuana can be distinguished from one another in three key ways:

    (1) differing statutory definitions,

    (2) differences in chemical makeup and use, and

    (3) differences in production practices. This fact sheet describes these three differences.



    Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity Renée Johnson Specialist in Agricultural Policy March 10, 2017


    Following enactment of the 2014 farm bill provision allowing for growing hemp under certain circumstances, several states have quickly been adopting new state laws to allow for cultivation. To date, more than 30 states or territories have enacted or introduced legislation favorable to hemp cultivation (Figure 6). Other states reportedly considering hemp legislation include Alaska, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Kansas, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Mexico, South Dakota, Texas, and Wisconsin.53 (The status of state actions regarding hemp is changing rapidly, and information differs depending on source.54)

    What about Cannabidiol?

    Since the DEA has been attacking Cannabidiol hemp products, some states have been claiming CBD is illegal.

    Department of Public Health Position Statement CBD Product Availability in Iowa



    The Department of Public Health (Department) has received a number of inquiries about the legality of CBD products currently sold in the state of Iowa. It is the position of the Department that CBD products other than those manufactured under the Department’s regulatory program are not legal in the state of Iowa. There are three exceptions to this:

    1. The following appropriately prescribed, FDA-approved drugs: Marinol, Syndros, Cesamet

    2. The following drugs as part of a FDA-approved clinical trial: Sativex and Epidiolex

    3. Products with less than 3% THC that are in a form recommended by the Medical Cannabidiol Board, approved by the Board of Medicine and adopted by the Department pursuant to administrative rule. Products that meet this exception do not currently exist, as the required administrative rule has not been adopted. The required administrative rule is anticipated to be adopted in 2018.

    Products manufactured in the state under the provisions of Iowa Code chapter 124E will be available at Department licensed dispensaries only, starting in late 2018.

    Nebraska AG issued a memo on Cannabidiol products.


    TO: Nebraska Law Enforcement Agencies and County Attorneys

    RE: Clarification of Nebraska Law Regarding Cannabidiol

    DATE: September 1, 2017

    Generally, cannabidiol has and continues to be included in the Uniform Controlled Substances Act’s legal definition of “marijuana.” See, Neb. Rev. Stat. § 28-401(13). This means that, with two exceptions, cannabidiol is a Schedule I controlled substance. The first exception is for cannabidiol obtained pursuant to Neb. Rev. Stat. 28-463 to 28-468. This exception was enacted in 2015 pursuant to LB390, which authorized the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) to produce or possess cannabidiol for a limited four-year medical study of seizures. The second exception is for cannabidiol “contained in a drug product approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.” This exception was enacted in the most recent legislative session, pursuant to LB 487 which prospectively reclassifies cannabidiol in an FDA approved drug as a Schedule V controlled substance. See, Neb. Rev. Stat. §28-405. LB487 took effect on August 24, 2017. To date no drug products containing cannabidiol have received FDA approval.

    Therefore cannabidiol or any product containing cannabidiol, obtained by any means other than the authorized UNMC study, remains illegal to possess, manufacture, distribute, dispense, or possess with the intent to manufacture, distribute, or dispense. Such conduct is subject to prosecution for illegally possessing or trafficking a Schedule I controlled substance.


    Indiana AG issued an opinion of CBD , while the Indiana Governor said stores will have 60 days to destroy or remove CBD products from its stores.


    As a matter of legal interpretation, products or substances marketed for human consumption or ingestion, and containing cannabidiol, remain unlawful in Indiana, and under federal law. This conclusion does not apply to any product that is approved by the FDA. 

    There are currently two products that contain cannabidiol undergoing clinical trials, Epidiolex and Sativex.

    The FDA tested some CBD products and found some products contained no CBD, some contained higher than .3% THC and other products fluctuated with percentages of CBD.

    Also, the FDA has stated that because CBD is being investigated as a new drug, it cannot be marketed as a dietary supplement.


    FDA has concluded based on available evidence that CBD products are excluded from the dietary supplement definition under section 201(ff)(3)(B)(ii) of the Act [21 U.S.C. § 321(ff)(3)(B)(ii)]. Under that provision, if an article (such as CBD) has been authorized for investigation as a new drug for which substantial clinical investigations have been instituted and for which the existence of such investigations has been made public, then products containing that substance are outside the definition of a dietary supplement. There is an exception if the substance was “marketed as” a dietary supplement or as a conventional food before the new drug investigations were authorized; however, based on available evidence, FDA has concluded that this is not the case for CBD.

    The FDA is ignoring history when it says CBD is a "new drug". CBD was an ingredient of Extract of Cannabis, a formulation in the US Pharmacopia dating back to 1851.

    The fight against hemp, marijuana, cannabis continues.


    Congress members defend CBD, blast DEA’s hemp decision

    Published January 12, 2018 | By Kristen Nichols

    In a bold show of support for the hemp industry and CBD, 28 members of Congress are asking a federal appeals court to reject the Drug Enforcement Administration’s argument that cannabidiol is a Schedule 1 drug.

    The Congress members filed the brief Thursday in conjunction with a pending lawsuit against the DEA.

    The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is set to hear arguments in the case Feb. 15.

    The Congress members – 22 Democrats and six Republicans – argue that the DEA is “blatantly contrary” to the 2014 Farm Bill when it argues that CBD is a marijuana extract and therefore illegal.

    “The Farm Bill’s definition of industrial hemp includes any part of the plant, including the flower,” the Congress members argue in the brief.

    The members conclude that the federal agency’s rule about CBD was an “abuse of DEA’s administrative procedure and rulemaking authority.”

    The lawyer who wrote the brief for the Congress members, Steven Cash, told Marijuana Business Daily that Congress members took the extraordinary step of weighing in on the lawsuit in hopes of seeing the courts resolve the conflict between the Farm Bill and the DEA’s interpretation on the Controlled Substances Act.

    “Apart from arguing about the relative benefits, flaws and dangers of medical marijuana and hemp, it appears we’re going to solve this (conflict) through traditional avenues, the courts,” Cash said.

    The DEA said in late 2016 that because CBD cannot be easily extracted from non-flower parts of the cannabis plant, CBD should be considered a controlled substance. The decision brought a hasty lawsuit from the Hemp Industries Association and a CBD business.

    A lawyer for the hemp companies says the brief will show judges that Congress understood what it was doing when it authorized hemp production, meaning not just the stalks and seeds but the whole plant.

    “Congress has spoken, yet again,” Bob Hoban said in a statement. “The industrial hemp industry has seen exponential growth … and this case represents the most significant challenge the U.S. hemp industry has seen to date.”

    Michael Komorn

    While private internet companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google censor marijuana on their various communication platforms, a publicly funded state university must adhere to the free speech first amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America.

    In this case, Iowa State University objected to a NORML student group using the ISU mascot on their t-shirt.


    Read the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals ruling here.

    Read the Iowa Board of Appeals Settlement plan here.

    Other case files can be found HERE.



    Iowa State pays $343,000 for censoring pro-marijuana students – and it’s on the hook for ‘substantially’ more

    Legal fees for the trial portion haven’t been resolved

    It’s hard to think of a university that’s had a worse few years in court regarding a First Amendment dispute than Iowa State.

    It was slapped down for refusing to let a pro-marijuana student group use the university’s name on its club T-shirt (which included a pot leaf), when it let every other student group use its trademarks on their club gear.

    Last year a federal appeals court confirmed that individual university officials could be heldpersonally liable for violating the “clearly established” constitutional rights of students.

    Now Iowa taxpayers are finally footing the bill for the university’s litigation adventures – and they’re going to pay even more later.

    Courthouse News Service reports Iowa State is paying the plaintiffs and their lawyers $343,260 just for the appellate portion of the lawsuit:

    The State Appeal Board last week agreed to pay $75,000 apiece to the two students who sued — Paul Gerlich and Erin Furleigh — plus $178,826 to Davis Wright Tremaine and $14,434 to Faegre Baker Daniels, in Des Moines.

    The legal fees are for the law firms’ appellate work. Legal fees for their work at the trial level will be determined on remand by Judge [James] Gritzner. Those fees are expected to be substantially higher than the appellate fees.


    In other words, taxpayers are looking at a high six- to low-seven figure payout because the school was afraid people would think it institutionally endorsed pot smoking (inset, the shirt). The original lawsuit was filed more than three years ago.

    The state finally came to its senses, with the attorney general’s office telling the appeal board last week that it would cost even more to to endure “a trial solely on the question of damages.”

    The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ ruling that the ISU officials didn’t deserve “qualified immunity” for violating the students’ rights stands in stark contrast to the 10th Circuit’s recent ruling that gave immunity to a University of Kansas administrator for expelling a student based on a private tweet, saying First Amendment law wasn’t “clearly established.”


    Ari Cohn of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which sponsored the lawsuit against ISU, writes about the importance of courts holding individual administrators financially responsible:

    Without that threat, student rights would be in grave danger as administrators would undoubtedly find it easier to beg for consequence-free forgiveness in court rather than refrain from violating the Constitution. This is precisely why it is dangerous when courts grant undue immunity to administrators rather than expecting them to carefully consider whether what they are doing is lawful. As I have noted previously, the only thing that a public university hates more than a court ruling against it is a court order to pay for it. And if there is anyone who should hate it even more, it’s the taxpayers whose money ultimately funds that university.

    Cohn’s colleague Peter Bonilla noted the settlement was timed well with an upcoming ISU event on freedom of expression, featuring the chancellor of the University of California-Irvine, a staunch public defender of student free speech.

    And what a time and circumstance for Iowa State to be hosting a discussion on free speech! https://t.co/hYVaK63qkdhttps://t.co/Hbh6SJI5pI

    — Peter Bonilla (@pebonilla) January 11, 2018


    Read the Courthouse News Service article and FIRE post.

    Michael Komorn

    Read on to see the consensus from research spanning 50 years from USA, UK, Canada, Australia, and everywhere else. Just under 300 studies along with independent and government reports were collected, yet the research keeps pointing to the same thing. People driving after using cannabis drive a little bit slower. States with Legalized and Medical Marijuana have fewer fatal car accidents. My guess is that the fewer fatal accidents are due to substituting alcohol and other medications for cannabis.


    Marijuana makes drivers drive slower.

    That's about it.

    Don't believe me, take the official government word directly from NIDA:


    However, a large case-control study conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found no significant increased crash risk attributable to cannabis after controlling for drivers’ age, gender, race, and presence of alcohol.

    NHTSA 2017 Marijuana-Impaired Driving A Report to Congress


    Description and Assessment of the Role of Marijuana as a Causal Factor in Traffic Crashes and the Extent of the Problem of Marijuana-Impaired Driving

    The scope and magnitude of the marijuana-impaired driving problem in this country cannot be clearly specified at this time.


    The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration did its own tests in 2015 and found that THC showed no increased crash risk.


    However, analyses incorporating adjustments for age, gender, ethnicity, and alcohol concentration level did not show a significant increase in levels of crash risk associated with the presence of drugs. This finding indicates that these other variables (age, gender, ethnicity and alcohol use) were highly correlated with drug use and account for much of the increased risk associated with the use of illegal drugs and with THC.



    Crash Fatality Rates After Recreational Marijuana Legalization in Washington and Colorado.


    We found no significant association between recreational marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado and subsequent changes in motor vehicle crash fatality rates in the first 3 years after recreational marijuana legalization.


    CANNABIS USE AND DRIVING: Evidence Review Canadian Drug Policy Coalition (CDPC) Simon Fraser University


    An increase of cannabis use involved in fatal car crashes has been seen in Washington State after the implementation of legalization regulations; however the presence of cannabis cannot be said to indicate impairment, nor be the main contributor to the crash risks.

    • Overall, the rates of fatal crashes have declined in states with medical cannabis laws.

    • The rate of cannabis-related driving offences in Canada remains low in comparison to the rate of driving offences associated with alcohol.


    NHTSA The Incidence and Role of Drugs in Fatally Injured Drivers 1992


    The responsibility rates of drivers with THC-only or cocaine-only were not higher than the drugfree rates.

    NHTSA Marijuana and Actual Driving Performance 1993


    Drivers under the influence of marijuana retain insight in their performance and will compensate where they can, for example, by slowing down or increasing effort. As a consequence, THC's adverse effects on driving performance appear relatively small.



    Based on alcohol and drug testing of the full range of patients presenting to emergency departments for treatment of motor vehicle crash injury, including patients treated and released as well as those admitted to hospital, alcohol is clearly the major drug associated with serious crashes and greater injury.

    With crash severity, age, and seat belt use taken into consideration, alcohol is still associated with more severe injury. However, patients testing positive for illicit drugs (marijuana, opiates, and cocaine), in the absence of alcohol, were in crashes very similar to those of patients with neither alcohol nor drugs.

    When other relevant variables were considered, these drugs were not associated with more severe crashes or greater injury.




    SENATE SPECIAL COMMITTEE ON ILLEGAL DRUGS CANNABIS : SUMMARY REPORT - 18 - Given what we have seen, we conclude the following:

    • Between 5% and 12% of drivers may drive under the influence of cannabis; this percentage increases to over 20% for young men under 25 years of age;
    • Cannabis alone, particularly in low doses, has little effect on the skills involved in automobile driving. Cannabis leads to a more cautious style of driving. However it has a negative impact on decision time and trajectory. This in itself does not mean that drivers under the influence of cannabis represent a traffic safety risk;
    • A significant percentage of impaired drivers test positive for cannabis and alcohol together. The effects of cannabis when combined with alcohol are more significant than is the case for alcohol alone;


    Psychomotor Performance, Subjective and Physiological Effects and Whole Blood D9 -Tetrahydrocannabinol Concentrations in Heavy, Chronic Cannabis Smokers Following Acute Smoked Cannabis


    In the present study, we found minimal performance changes in critical tracking and divided attention tasks 1.5 –5.5 h after smoking 700 mg/kg (range 480–1,000) THC (Table I).


    Medical Marijuana Laws, Traffic Fatalities, and Alcohol Consumption


    The first full year after coming into effect, legalization is associated with an 8–11 percent decrease in traffic fatalities. The impact of legalization on traffic fatalities involving alcohol is larger and estimated with more precision than its impact on traffic fatalities that do not involve alcohol. Legalization is also associated with sharp decreases in the price of marijuana and alcohol consumption, which suggests that marijuana and alcohol are substitutes. 

    Marinol Patient Information


    Patients receiving treatment with MARINOL® Capsules should be specifically warned not to drive, operate machinery, or engage in any hazardous activity until it is established that they are able to tolerate the drug and to perform such tasks safely.

    Marinol Patient Information


    What should I avoid while taking MARINOL?

    • Do not drive, operate machinery, or do other dangerous activities until you know how MARINOL affects you.


    See the full studies here:


    Grab all of the studies here, 200mb



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