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    Lawsuit Could Be The One To Legalize Marijuana Posted by CN Staff on February 15, 2018 at 05:55:27 PT By Mona Zhang, Contributor Source: Forbes Washington, D.C. -- On Wednesday, advocates and professionals in the cannabis industry descended on a federal court in New York to watch Justice Department lawyers try to dismiss a case against Attorney General Jeff Sessions. The suit involves a motley crew of plaintiffs: Alexis Bortell and Jager Cotte, both pediatric medical marijuana patients, Jose Belen, an Army combat veteran who uses cannabis to treat his PTSD, Marvin Washington, a former New York Jet-turned cannabis entrepreneur, and the Cannabis Cultural Association, a non-profit dedicated to ending the war on drugs and promoting people of color in the cannabis industry. Over the years, many have attempted to challenge the federal government’s classification of marijuana as a Schedule I substance. Wednesday’s hearing was both an example of how far the country has come on the issue and how far there still is to go. During the hearing, Judge Alvin Hellerstein considered the Justice Department’s motion to dismiss the suit. Assistant U.S. Attorney Samuel Dolinger argued that the case should be dismissed because “courts around the country have considered similar or identical claims and have rejected them.” Dolinger and Hellerstein spent a good deal of time discussing the case of U.S. v. Kiffer, which affirmed the drug’s Schedule I status. “When they talk about Kiffer, a 1973 case… you really don't know the rest of the history,” Michael Hiller, lead counsel for plaintiffs in the case, told reporters after the hearing. He cited numerous developments since 1973, including the government’s Investigational New Drug program, Nixon’s Schafer Commission, the federal government’s very own cannabis patent, and the emergence of state-level marijuana programs. “There is a well-established body of case law that when the facts change, the courts have to change too,” said Hiller. “If you only decided case law based upon what people thought years before, we would never have Brown vs Board of Education… We would never have Windsor. We wouldn't have marriage equality.” Indeed, while other attempts to challenge marijuana’s Schedule I status have failed, the atmosphere in the court reflected the times. Supporters of cannabis reform showed up in droves, quickly filling the court and spilling into an overflow room. They laughed and cheered when the judge grilled Dolinger, who seemingly struggled to answer some of his questions. They scoffed when Dolinger cited Kiffer, suggesting that marijuana’s Schedule I status "was constitutionally rational." But perhaps most indicative of our changing times was that “the judge made absolutely clear that cannabis does not meet one of the three requirements,” for Schedule I status, said Hiller. “As far as I'm aware, very few judges have commented openly on [that].” “Your clients are living proof of the medical applications of marijuana,” Hellerstein told Hiller during the hearing. “I have to take the plausible allegations in your complaint as true. How could anyone say that your clients’ lives have not been saved by marijuana? How can anyone say that your clients’ pain and suffering has not been alleviated by marijuana? You can’t, right?” “I could not agree with you more, your Honor,” responded Hiller. While the judge’s views did reflect the changing times – a majority of Americans now support some sort of cannabis reform – he questioned whether it made sense to challenge the matter in a district court. “There are lots of things district judges have to do,” said Hellerstein. “When agencies are set up to do the very kind of thing that you want me to do, I think the right thing is to defer to the agency.” The lawyers for the plaintiffs recognized this. “We can't carry the day necessarily with a judge that feels constrained by what the law may keep him from doing, which is declaring this unconstitutional,” said co-counsel David Holland. “He knows it is, but he may not be able to do it. We need you all to keep the fight alive.” Still, the pro-cannabis camp was heartened by the judge’s statements. “Our judge gets it,” said Lauren Rudick, counsel for the plaintiffs. “And that was really important today.” For the time being, the judge delayed making a decision on the government’s motion to dismiss the case. “He's going to consider the issues over the next several days or weeks until he comes to a conclusion,” said Hiller. But the plaintiffs came away from the hearing feeling optimistic. “I think the judge made it very clear that he agrees and understands that cannabis is helping Alexis and Jagger and so many other people,” said Jagger’s father Sebastien Cotte. “We're going to keep fighting because we have to make this happen for everybody.... we're in it for the long run.” Dean Bortell, Alexis’ father, agreed. “Kids are growing up seeing this hypocrisy... if we don't get it done. But we're going to get it done.”
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    Thank you for continuing the fight for Autistic children who need the benefits of medical marijuana. My son is severely Autistic and has severe self injurious behaviors so severe that they have caused him serious injuries. Self injurious behavior should qualify my son. Drs offer my son anti psychodic medication with serious side effects especiall the long term effects which are potentially life threatening with no real proof that they will reduce self injurious behaviors. Don't stop fighting.
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    Democrats Forming Marijuana Legalization Consensus Posted by CN Staff on February 15, 2018 at 05:45:36 PT By Tom Angell, Contributor Source: Forbes Washington, D.C. -- Support for marijuana legalization is quickly becoming a mainstream consensus position in the Democratic Party. Two of the party's leading potential 2020 presidential candidates joined together this week in support of far-reaching legislation that would end the federal prohibition of cannabis and encourage states to legalize the drug. “Legalizing marijuana isn’t a matter of if, it’s a matter of when," Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said about the legislation, the Marijuana Justice Act, which he introduced last August. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), who signed onto the bill as a cosponsor on Wednesday and did a Facebook Live chat with Booker about it, called cannabis legalization "a social justice issue and a moral issue that Congress needs to address." The vocal pro-legalization support from the two senators, who are widely considered to be weighing campaigns for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2020, signals that a shift toward marijuana reform advocacy that has been underway in the party for some time is elevating to a near consensus. And polling shows that Democratic voters are in support of the move. Gallup found last year that 72 percent of Democrats back marijuana legalization, and a Quinnipiac University survey last month showed that 95 percent of the party’s voters support medical cannabis. The latter poll also showed that just 12 percent of Democrats want the federal government to interfere with the implementation state marijuana laws. Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who caucuses with Democrats, also supports legalization. The senator, who introduced legislation to deschedule marijuana during his nearly successful campaign for the party's 2016 presidential nomination, is reportedly considering another run in 2020. Last week, Sanders's campaign organization launched an online petition calling for an end to marijuana prohibition and the broader "war on drugs." Democrats' march toward legalization seems to have been accelerated by the Trump administration's anti-cannabis moves. While Trump pledged during the campaign that he would respect local marijuana laws if elected, Attorney General Jeff Sessions last month to tore up Obama-era guidance that has generally allowed states to implement their own laws without federal interference. A large number of members of Congress from both parties, but Democrats in particular, immediately criticized the Justice Department reversal. "The Attorney General’s decision to rescind the Cole memo was a very bad one & I oppose it," Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) tweeted. "I believe that the States should continue to be the labs of democracy when it comes to recreational & medical marijuana. Jeff, this is one place where states’ rights works. Let each state decide." House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi also slammed the move, tweeting, "Attorney General Sessions, your unjust war against Americans who legally use #marijuana is shameful & insults the democratic processes that played out in states across the country." But while most Democratic lawmakers tend to vote in support of marijuana proposals in Congress, the party is by no means unanimous on the issue. Longtime Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), for example, is one of Congress's most ardent opponents of marijuana law reform, and has voted against amendments to protect her state's medical cannabis law from Justice Department intervention. She also vigorously campaigned against marijuana reforms at the state level. And some Democrats were upset that congressional leaders chose Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA), who opposes legalization, to deliver the party's response to President Trump's first State of the Union address last month. As a member of Congress, Kennedy has not only opposed his state's move to legalize marijuana, but has voted against amendments to shield state medical marijuana laws from federal interference, allow military veterans to access medical cannabis and protect children who use non-psychoactive cannabidiol extracts to treat severe seizure disorders. Kennedy knows that his views on cannabis are out of step with the party. "I come at it a little bit differently, obviously, than the vast majority of my colleagues,” he said in an interview. “I think the party is clearly moving in that legalization direction. It might already be there." But legalization isn't strictly a Democratic issue. Several Republican lawmakers have taken leadership roles in efforts to end federal cannabis prohibition. Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), for example, has gone so far as to actively block Justice Department nominees from being confirmed in protest of Sesssion's move. In a speech this week, Sessions called the dispute "frustrating" and implied that Gardner is prioritizing marijuana over national security. While support for marijuana law reform is growing across party lines -- Gallup's recent poll found for the first time that a bare majority of Republicans now back ending prohibition -- Democratic voters and elected officials are so far more likely to favor legalization. But although the party's platform adopted in 2016 included a plank calling for "a reasoned pathway for future legalization," that year's Democratic presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, only went as far as voicing vague support for respecting state laws and slightly downgrading cannabis's federal status. And not all rumored 2020 contenders have embraced legalization like Booker, Gillibrand and Sanders have. At least not yet. While another potential 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA), like Sanders, also recently launched an online petition about marijuana, she hasn't yet added her name onto any bills to change cannabis's status under federal law. Her position does seem to be evolving, though. In 2014, as state attorney general, Harris simply laughed in a reporter's face when asked about her position on legalization. But now she is signing letters calling on the federal government to respect state laws and cosponsoring legislation to allow banks to serve state-legal cannabis businesses. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) -- another potential 2020 contender -- is also cosponsoring the banking bill and has signed onto broader legislation to allow states to implement medical marijuana policies. A lot can happen before the 2020 Democratic National Convention, but it's a safe bet that the party's next presidential nominee will at least have a more far-reaching marijuana reform position than that of their 2016 candidate. Tom Angell publishes Marijuana Moment news and founded the nonprofit Marijuana Majority.
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    BUSTED: Forfeiture Laws Encourage Policing For Profit By Charmie Gholson Published Fall 2010 The Midwest Cultivator Ed Boyke, a former General Motors employee who served in the Navy, became disabled in 1996 after undergoing two brain surgeries due to a tumor and epilepsy. Boyke was approved for medical marijuana due to severe sciatica due to a pinched nerve. He was diagnosed by the Mayo clinic in Minnesota and is caregiver for himself and for one additional patient. On April 15, Boyke stepped outside of his Saginaw Township home and was surrounded by Saginaw County Sheriff’s deputies and U.S. DEA Agents. With weapons drawn, they served Boyke with a federal warrant to search his residence, based on confidential information that he had violated marijuana laws. They handcuffed Boyke while they executed the warrant. The DEA agents surveyed his home, said they wouldn’t pursue the case and left. The Saginaw County sheriffs department stayed to “see if he’d broken any state laws,” and according to Boyke, “started tearing the place apart.” They smashed his grow operation and a humidifier, dumped out dresser drawers and emptied closets in two rooms. They taunted him about who he voted for in the last presidential election. When the officers left, they took with them: two lawn mowers, a leaf blower, an air compressor and generator from his garage, his 2008 Chevy Impala, $62 from his wallet, his marijuana plants, hunting rifles and ammo, his harvested marijuana, Boyke’s medical marijuana card and paperwork, a generator, a paint sprayer, a dehumidifier, growing apparatuses, scales and a 42-inch Panasonic TV. “They asked me for the key to my girlfriend’s car too, but I didn’t have it,” he says. “They told me I was lucky ‘cause they would have taken that too.” The deputies returned the next day and asked Boyke how much money he had. “When they came back the next day threatening to take a lien on my house,” Boyke recalls, “I called this one lawyer, Tom Frank in Saginaw and asked him about the $5,000 they wanted from me. He said, ‘I’ll run over and talk to them.’” Frank didn’t call him Boyke back; instead the detectives called and asked if he had the money. “I was worried because they were threatening to take my house,” he says. “That Sheriff said ‘Make sure it’s cash, then we’ll bring your stuff back.’” Boyke gave them $5,000 in cash, and they returned his car, the lawn mowers, leaf blower and air compressor but they didn’t return his TV or rifles. He says everything except the car was old junk from the garage. One of the rifles, however, was a present and heirloom. Boyke’s wife passed away at the age of 36 and the rifle had been a gift from her father. He says he pleaded with the department to return, “ just that rifle, but they told me, ‘your guns are gone.’” “They didn’t give me a receipt,” he says. “I had to go down and get that myself.” The receipt is for storage and impound charges. Michigan forfeiture laws require contesting property owners to file a claim with the county clerk within 20 days of a seizure, a copy of the claim with the prosecutor’s office, and pay a bond, ranging between $250 and $5,000, which is reimbursed if they appear in court. When Boyke learned this, and after reading in the paper that he had received legal advice prior to paying his “impound and storage” charges, he was furious. He hadn’t received legal advice. He drove to Franks' office. “Frank told me he didn’t tell the sheriff he was my lawyer,” Boyke says, “but Frank could have told me I had twenty days, the detectives could have told me, I would have disputed it, but they didn’t tell me bunny muffin. I don’t know those laws, I’m not a lawyer, and that lawyer never called me back.” Saginaw County Sheriff’s Detective Sgt. Randy F. Pfau told the Saginaw times that no one forced Boyke to pay for the return of the items. Property owners “have every right to take it to a formal hearing with a judge,” Pfau said. “By coming in and paying that $5,000, he’s waiving that right.” Saginaw County Sheriff William L Federspiel says medical marijuana users are not his department’s targets. “I wish we could just say, ‘Hey, this guy’s got a card, don’t even bother with it,’ but unfortunately we don’t have that option,” Federspiel told The Saginaw News. “So we follow through, because you know what, it’s still against the law, unless you have the medical marijuana card.” But Boyke did have a medical marijuana and caregiver card, until police confiscated it during the raid. Pfau also said it is department protocol for deputies to destroy or seize all marijuana-growing related items when they perform a search or seizure at a suspected grow operation. Federspiel maintains the department’s investigation indicated Boyke was in violation of the law, illegally possessed marijuana and was thereby subject to forfeiture law. To date, however, Boyke has not been charged with any crime. According to Michigan state forfeiture laws, he may never be. GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT Michigan’s civil asset forfeiture laws are some of the most egregious in the country. In March 2010, The Institute for Justice released Policing for Profit: The Abuse of Civil Asset Forfeiture, the most comprehensive national study to examine the use and abuse of civil asset forfeiture, and the first study to grade the civil forfeiture laws in all 50 states and the federal government. Only three states receive a B or better. Michigan received the lowest score possible: D-. Americans are supposed to be innocent until proven guilty, but civil forfeiture turns that principle on its head. With civil forfeiture, your property is guilty until you prove it innocent. The report chronicles how state and federal laws leave innocent property owners vulnerable to forfeiture abuse. These laws encourage law enforcement to take property to boost their budgets. The report finds that by giving law enforcement a direct financial stake in forfeiture efforts, most state and federal laws encourage policing for profit, not justice. In Michigan, law enforcement receives all proceeds of civil forfeiture to enhance law enforcement efforts, creating an incentive to pursue forfeiture more vigorously than combating other criminal activity. The report says Michigan multi-jurisdictional task forces work extensively with district attorneys and police departments to forfeit property, resulting in more than $149 million in total forfeiture revenue from 2001 to 2008. Americans accused of using drugs also have much to fear from informants, such as the “concerned citizen” that tipped police to Ed Boyke’s “illegal activity.” Asset forfeiture laws allow police to seize money and property from anyone merely accused of drug activity. In 2007, Saginaw Sheriffs and Prosecutors reported earning $53,797 net proceeds from their multijurisdictional drug task forces, like the ones who raided Boyke. 2008 proceeds totaled $75,598.
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    True. Although I have to say it makes no sense that a patient be unauthorized to be near a plant that they are authorized to have everything that comes from it. The only legal purpose the plant has is to supply the patient who created the authorization in the first place.
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    As much as I hate it, I have to disagree with this based on the current state of the law. Assume for the sake of argument that we are discussing the most straightforward arrangement - the husband and wife patient-caregiver arrangement. One spouse's patient card will read "Authorized to Possess Plants: NO" while the other spouse's caregiver card will read "Authorized to Possess Plants: YES." The unfortunate problem becomes, if there is a police interaction while the patient is alone in the caregiver's grow room, is that the patient will have a card that explicitly says "Authorized to Possess Plants: NO" while they are possessing plants. I personally think that situation is to be avoided.
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    PGT #379 - Don't Take My Stuff, Man View the full article
  10. 1 point
    you see rest... its not my logic... so it can't be my error bud. its LARA's all i did was call....they said unless you hand deliver your application to the correct floor in the correct office (and have a stamped copy that says received by MMMP) - the 20 day clock starts the day you see your check has been cashed - they did not receive your application until it has been opened - processed - and then entered into their system. not worth my money.... proof of cashed check is free and the preferred method LARA recommends.... so its a no brainer (pun?) That is the advice i will give to anyone else who is asking or reading this wondering if they should invest their hard earned capitol reserves at the USPS on their application package to send it to LARA via certified mail with a return receipt to verify the "20 business day your paperwork serves as your card" clock starts to tick - do not take our word for it out here in Interweb land where everyone is an expert - call LARA and ask them for yourself. here is their number - http://www.michigan.gov/lara/0,4601,7-154-72600_72603_51869-358178--,00.html Mailing Address: Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation Michigan Medical Marihuana Program PO Box 30083 Lansing, MI 48909 Telephone Number: 517-284-6400 Email Address: LARA-BMMR-MMMPINFO@michigan.gov the cards get out on time these days... for the most part.... errors are quickly corrected. who among us patients "Needs" the paperwork to serve as proof for those couple days (if and when they exist where the card is delayed)? ask yourself who do you need to show that proof to where spending hard earned capitol AT the USPS would make a standing difference?