Know the Facts - Change the Law

Know the Facts - Change the Law
Life - Liberty - Pursuit of Happiness

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Traffic and other crime continue to be the only reasons ganja consumers are being arrested

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I continue to ask: Exactly what, other than a very tiny number of patients getting to pretend that they are protected (at the cost of further criminalizing everyone else) is to be gained through the passage of SB 94?

For the record, I have sent letters to all of Delaware’s politicians outlining why SB 94 is unconstitutional – a violation of equal protection as required by both the United States Constitution as well as Delaware’s constitution. I also pointed out that the real experts in ganja law reform, from Dr. Lester Grinspoon, as well as long time ganja law reform activists such as myself, say that the best – only way to protect all patients is to re-legalize ganja, not through ill-conceived “medical” marijuana laws.

I also pointed out that only a few Delawareans are presently being arrested, asked where the proof is that not arresting people would be so devastating (since we are already not arresting ganja consumers), and demanded that they do NOT support SB 94, but instead seek to re-legalize ganja.

A North Carolina man was arrested after police found a loaded gun and marijuana in his car when he was stopped for speeding near the Delaware Memorial Bridge.

Traffic or other crime still the only reasons for ganja arrests

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Senate Bill 94 is an unconstitutional act

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While there are some who believe that Senate Bill 94 – or any “medical” marijuana law, no matter how half-baked – would be a compassionate act, I do not believe that such laws, the horrific Senate bill 94 specifically, will ever serve that purported purpose. In fact, these medicalization laws always result in more persecution of ganja consumers.

I’ve covered many of the reasons elsewhere in this blog, from the destruction of protections afforded all patients for the dubious protections offered to only a very small number of patients who are rich enough to afford regular doctor examinations and the daunting regulations requiring a “locked facility accessible only to the patient” to the sellout of religious and recreational ganja consumers through increased criminalization under SB 94. So, let me talk about the legal hell of Senate Bill 94. I appologize in advance for being a little hazy on many points, but this article refers to legal research being conducted to mount a constitutional lawsuit should SB 94 move forward. We don't want to reveal all of our cards just yet.

Despite attempts to make the bill into law, the attempt is nothing but spinning wheels. In creating the state’s clone of the federal Controlled Substances Act, the legislature came up with the Uniform Controlled Substances Act (UCSA). Placed under Title 16 of the Delaware Codes laws regulating Health and Safety, The Act, Chapter 47 of Title 16, defines Delaware’s laws regarding all controlled substances, in this case the Delaware Code specifically defines the laws about ganja, and the exact process under which the law itself can be changed.

Of course, there are very few circumstances in the law that are simple or straightforward, and Controlled Substances laws are particularly convoluted. I am not a lawyer. So, I encourage anyone who can provide a better interpretation to contact me so that we can openly analyze these laws.

Under Delaware’s UCSA, one of the very first thing the law defines in Title 16, chapter 47, subchapter II, is that the Secretary (of State, Homeland Security, Safety, or someone specifically designated by the Secretary are the ones who maintain and administer (the direct application and management of the Delaware UCSA). One of the primary administrative duties defined under section 4711, is that the Secretary can only reschedule any drug covered by the Act if it has been removed from or rescheduled within the FEDERAL UCSA.

The further duties of the Secretary as defined under section 4713 require that the Secretary must place and keep any drug in the schedule of controlled substances of chapter 47 that is not recognized by the federal government as having any medical use. The Obama administration’s justice department position of restrained prosecution of controlled substance violations simply does NOT fit the requirement.

I assume that the legislature has the power to simply create another chapter under the Delaware Code (as Senate Bill 94 will try to do) that creates an exception that provides for the Secretary to remove or reschedule ganja under Chapter 47. The exception that SB 94 will create is a conflict against equal protection under the law for all of those patients not specifically listed under SB 94. SB 94 will create a constitutional problem for the patients now protected by the affirmative defense, as well as for all other ganja consumers.

In other words, by creating an exception for rescheduling in the first place, the legislature will be saying that ganja may no longer be maintained as a schedule I substance. As SB 94 fails to provide any further definition of which schedule ganja should be placed under, as soon as SB 94 passes into law it will mean that ganja is no longer covered under Delaware’s UCSA. Only the secretary (or Delaware’s Superior Court) can make a meaningful rescheduling of ganja under these circumstances.

Ganja could no longer be maintained as a schedule I drug, as that would create a legal fiction and conflict. In other words, lawsuits will be filed in Delaware’s Superior Court that the legal conflict creates a constitutional violation of the equal protection under the law requirement.

Furthermore, under further requirements of Chapter 47, a substance can only be placed in Schedule II if “The abuse of the substance may lead to severe psychic or physical dependence.” Such a standard has never been defined for ganja, and will probably lead to a protracted court battle.

The same thing applies to Chapter 47’s definition of Schedule III; “Abuse of the substance may lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.” Again, no such condition has been definitively researched. In fact, all available research shows that no such effect exists for ganja. Again, we will be left in a legal limbo while years of court wrangling unfolds.

One of the effects of all of this will be that SB 94 will have completely dismantled the affirmative defense, and while all of the court battles are underway, even patients SB 94 pretends to protect will be completely vulnerable. No one will be protected. At all.

Worst yet, as the government struggles to maintain a stranglehold over ganja prohibition, conditions for real ganja prohibition law reform will get worse and worse, as it has in every state that has these poorly conceived “medical” marijuana laws. The progress it took to get the arrest rate in Delaware down from over 8,000 people a year to only a few more than 200 a year will all be undone by the passage of SB 94.
Already, the legislators are using SB 94 to try to create an exception where ganja can not be maintained in the schedule of drugs, while at the same time saying that the exception only applies to the tiny sampling of patients listed in SB 94. This creates an unconstitutional condition where a significant number of Delawareans will be denied equal protection under the law. What SB 94 proposes to do is unconstitutional.

In the final analysis, ganja does not need medicalization to protect pharmaceutical companies or to bolster prohibition for religious, medical and even industrial uses. Instead of the three steps forward in reducing all persecution of any ganja consumer as we presently have, particularly for the pretend protections held out to a tiny minority of patients, replaced with the ten steps backwards with medicalization  ganja law under SB 94, ganja law reformers need to refocus and come together with the singular goal of meaningful re-legalization to reinvigorate the rights of all ganja consumers.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Price of snow removal breaks state's budget - Ganja Prohibition breaks my heart

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I have a pretty good idea where the state can come up with about $10.5 million. That’s a conservative estimate of how much Delaware throws away persecuting ganja consumers every year.
Am I the only one puzzled by the state breaking the bank over a simple snow removal project, while at the same time the state is tossing human dignity, respect for the law, and tens of millions of dollars away on arresting a tiny fraction of Delaware’s ganja consumers?

Imagine, for a second, applying the rationale of ganja prohibition mentality to the snow removal budget. Let’s have the state clean up only one hundredth of one percent of the snow, while spending over $10 million. The difference is that ganja consumers are persecuted for making a personal choice that affects no one but themselves, while this last snowfall brought a huge chunk of the East Coast to a slushy halt, affecting businesses, schools, and the government itself. The difference is, the snow is dangerous, while ganja consumers are not.  Another difference is that another huge wave of ganja consumers will be here again next week, next month, next year.

The reality is that while the state can effectively provide snow removal service, there will never be enough money in the budget to arrest enough ganja consumers for the laws to be meaningful, let alone effective. The prohibitionist war on ganja consumers is already lost. All they’ve become at this point is an albatross hanging from society’s neck, destroying more lives that it purports to save while creating irrational costs to society and the individuals caught up in the abattoir of the so-called justice system.

The state has $3.2 million in its snow removal account. But it costs between $3.5 million and $4 million for every 8 inches of snow that falls, Delaware Department of Transportation Secretary Carolann Wicks said.
"So if we go over, we have to find the money and do less of something else," Wicks said.
Price of snow removal breaks state's budget | delawareonline.com | The News Journal

Friday, December 18, 2009

Ganja IS Free!

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Every day
holds the promise of
new birth.
 
A theme on which I have written in the past is one I would like to revisit today. Many people may have thought of this themselves, and may not know - they have found the truth and should share this truth with friends and loved ones to defeat the hate and lies.
 
Others who know, but are afraid to speak out in fear of retaliation.
I say: United We Stand.
 
Some don't know. I ask those to read on. Read each part carefully, consider what is said even more carefully.
 
I hope everyone who reads this continues to spread the truths.
 
Without getting all polit-icky about ganja, let's ask ourselves a burning question: Why is ganja not legal?
 
Here in Delaware ganja almost is legal. Only a fraction of Delaware's ganja consumers, somewhere around a hundredth of one percent, see a cop any given year. Written mathematically, that would be one person arrested every year for every one thousand Delawareans who consume ganja in that same year.
 
Prohibitionists have already lost their little moralistic war based. The state can simply never arrest enough Delaware ganja consumers to have any impact. They can not afford the costs to society, and they can not afford the cost in taxes.
 
The sheer number of consumers means people who want to consume ganja are going to get away with that.
 
A side effect of that many ganja consumers in Delaware should be empirical proof of whether claims about ganja consumers and the effects of consuming ganja have any credence.
 
With 250,000 regular ganja consumers in Delaware (according to the FBI UCR statistics), if men were growing breasts (an old myth propagated by the federal government to demonize ganja consumers) one would expect to see people who one knows consume ganja to start growing breasts where the had none previously.
 
With that many ganja consumers, one would expect to see such consumers who can't drive because their reactions are off.  Such accidents would be easily documentable, except it seems that despite increased ganja consumption (coupled with significantly decreased ganja arrests in Delaware) there are actually fewer accidents than in the past (per capita).
 
Medical groups from the top down all call for some form of ending prohibition.
 
Many readers may be aware of the pain and muscle problems of a sprained back. Well, the prolapsed disks in my spine are a severely sprained back that has not healed in any significant way in about 13 years, in spite of several attempts at getting treatment to relieve the problems.
 
I know ganja gives me relief. And the side effects are minimal. Instead of covering all pain, it is primarily that moment to moment pain from which I obtain meaningful relief. But, the ability of my body to report new pain is not heavily influenced. I can still tell if I should not be lifting that box or sweeping the sidewalk or even running the vacuum.
 
I know, marijuana IS medicine.
 
Nonetheless, I think it would be unconscionable and unethical of me to demand just a little more safety at the cost of increasing Delaware's arrest rate for any other group. After all, patients just are not being arrested for using ganja in Delaware.
 
So, what is missing? A conscious recognition of the facts by Delaware's legislature? Well, sort of. Many politicians have already acknowledged that the laws are not only overpriced, they are ineffectual. The only way cops arrest ganja consumers are when they are charged with ganja crime incident to some other crime, or incident to a traffic stop.
 
So, what do we do about this mess we're in?
 
I know. And, I will share, free. That's the whole purpose, to free ganja consumers from the present state of persecution.
 
The present scheme prevents responsible consumers from growing their own. And, prohibition prevents a competitive, regulated marketplace while encouraging the price gouging of the black market.
 
So, what's the secret, you ask? The secret is you. You have the power to change things and get ganja re-legalized. Stop buying into the fear-mongering of the politicians. Even the cops are not buying the nonsense any more.
 
You have to talk about re-legalization. And not that wimpy medical marijuana subterfuge silliness. Once upon a time, I would have said that medical laws were a foot in the door. Well, that door has been wedged open for many years. At one time or another over the past few decades, thirty three states have had medical marijuana laws at one time or another. At the moment thirteen states have some form of medical marijuana law. Delaware has a pretty powerful medical necessity defense that has protected patients for the last twenty years.
 
People are basically not being arrested, and no one is getting hurt. Why pass an unnecessary "medical" marijuana law? Why not simply legitimize the present defacto legalization Delaware already enjoys?
 
YOU have to speak up to the politicians. If you believe in protecting the patients, don't get behind a law like SB 94 that will actually make things worse for most patients. The only way all patients will be protected is if ganja is re-legalized.
 
Call your politicians and tell the, Senate Bill 94 would be a step backwards. The only real progress would be to officially recognize that ganja should not be illegal. If you can't find your politician, visit the blog and look for the links to other sites that will find you politician for you. Phone them, write to them, visit them.
 
That's where the Delaware Cannabis Society will help. With many years of training, and long experience in the media and with the government, we know the ins and outs of personal lobbying.
 
If you want to form a group in your area, we will help you set it up - all of our training and assistance is provided absolutely free. We also provide materials for special events, free. That's right, we do not charge you to join us, or buy our advertisement materials, like NORML or many other so-called law reform organization$. And, our resources are your resources, free when we can get 'em.
 
Clearly, without YOU no ganja law reform group could make ANY progress. It has been Delawareans who helped reduce our ganja arrest rate so low.
 
So, if you want to know what the issues are so you can speak clearly and concisely when you phone your politician, if you would like help learning and applying personal lobbying, if you would like to get together and visit our politicians and talk to them about re-legalizing ganja, if you want help creating a local event or if you would like to take part in the many classes and events produced by the Delaware Cannabis Society, just contact us.
 
That is how we will get ganja re-legalized.
 
Now that the serious stuff is over, its time to light up a nice pipeful.
 
Visit the blog regularly http://hempmansays.blogspot.com.
Call us - (302) 439-0313.
        Visit the blog and even your long distance phone call could be free.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Is it really America’s responsibility to arrest adults for their private choices?

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This article below is misleading, only because the author has been mislead. There have always been lurid, over the top claims made about potential “reefer madness” effects from the use of ganja. But the claims don’t match reality.

Despite almost eighty years of claims such as the claim in the 1930’s that black men were using marijuana to make white women sexually available, to ‘60’s claims that men would grow breast, to modern claims of death and insanity, there is no empirical evidence to support a single one of the horror story claims about the supposed dangers of ganja consumption.

The governments’ own studies, from the Nixon era Schafer Report, the LaGuardia Report, and more modern studies such as that by the NIDA in the mid ‘70’s and the more recent study by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Science, have all debunked sensationalized claims about a gateway effect. In fact, every single independent study commissioned by the government says that the real gateway is prohibition itself.

In reality, only the misinformed or malicious still make any of these sorts of lurid, inaccurate claims about ganja’s supposed dangers. Thinking people know better.

By enabling a black market in which ganja is commonly sold by dealers who also profit heavily from heavier drugs like cocaine, meth and heroine, the laws are responsible for exposing people to these other drugs.

Coupled with a fading trust in government sources due to the lies and exaggerations they tell about ganja, it is the government that is responsible for  an environment where children no longer believe possibly more accurate concerns about the health effects of harder drugs.

Just as important to note, arresting adults for using ganja has had no effect on perceived dangers of the ultimate deadly drug, alcohol, or children’s disapproval of ganja use.

While it may well be responsible to discourage children from any drug use (including too quickly prescribed dangerous pharmaceuticals such as attention deficit and over-prescribed psychiatric medications), there is no connection between arresting adults for ganja consumption and children’s perceptions.

 

It is Americans' responsibility to help curb teens' drug abuse

Marijuana, considered by some as a "gateway" drug to more dangerous addictive substances, and binge drinking get a favorable assessment by teens.

•Among eighth- and 10th-graders, the perception of "great risk" associated with marijuana use declined; perceived harmfulness of marijuana deteriorated among eighth-graders; and peer disapproval of marijuana use has declined.

It is Americans' responsibility to help curb teens' drug abuse | delawareonline.com | The News Journal

Monday, December 14, 2009

20 Years for Growing Pot to Treat M.S.? - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

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This is the kind of attacks on any ganja consumer not specifically protected by SB 94 that we can expect if Senate Bill 94 is permitted to move forward. Delaware has a functioning affirmative medical necessity defense that SB 94 will gut. Patients not on SB 94’s short list should expect the mistreatment we see in this New Jersey case if it passes. free website counters

 

Sen. Lesniak observed, "Without compassion and a sense of moral right and wrong, laws are worth less than the paper they're printed on."

From the judge's pretrial rulings in this case, I gather that New Jersey does not recognize a "medical necessity" defense against drug charges, which can be used even in states that do not explicitly allow medical use of cannabis.

20 Years for Growing Pot to Treat M.S.? - Hit & Run : Reason Magazine

Sunday, December 13, 2009

California's Medical Marijuana Apartheid: Different Rules Apply for Rich and Poor Pot Smokers

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This is the REALITY that Delaware’s ganja patients will face should the horrific  Senate Bill 94 attack on everyone except the rich be passed and implemented. At the moment, under the rules of Delaware’s affirmative medical defense (covered elsewhere in this blog), any patient with any disorder or disease that could benefit from the therapeutic use of ganja can effectively raise the defense. This fact has basically stymied and stopped law enforcement from attacking most ganja consumers. In addition to public education outreach by ganja activists, the economy also plays a role. SB 94 will signal a shift in Delaware’s ganja policy that will be bad for everyone except the rich.

Should Senate Bill 94 pass and be implemented, only a few patients who can afford the bill for a doctor (who might or might not be willing to have the DEA spotlight turned on them) write a recommendation for them. Even under the defense rules of SB 94, the costly relationship with a health care provider will usurp the present system. Only well off patients will be able to doctor shop, paying office visit fees to tell their story until they finally find a doctor willing to take the chance. Then, there will be exorbitant fees to pay for the all but requisite ID card.

The state regulated compassion centers will be charging rates pretty much as high as buying the ganja on the street, but not in the budget of most people.

The following excerpt shows that contrary to the Pollyanna stories, everything is not all roses under California’s “medical marijuana” system. Should SB 94 pass in Delaware, there is absolutely no doubt the same exact problems will result.

Clearly, the only way to protect ganja consumers, patients, religious and recreational is NOT to support SB 94. That would be the very worst thing to do, worse than doing nothing at all.

 

Medical Marijuana Apartheid: Different Rules Apply for Rich and Poor Pot Smokers

By Joshua Holland, AlterNet. Posted December 13, 2009

It must be one of the great ironies of pot-politics. By using the "back-door" of medicinal use rather than legalizing marijuana sales outright -- treating it like alcohol or tobacco -- progressives in California have helped create a system of pot apartheid in the Golden State.

That's obviously not spelled out in the law. But marijuana is only legal for those who have $100-$300 to fork over for a medical marijuana card (you don't get any pot in return), who live in an area where there are medical marijuana dispensaries (generally liberal-minded, gentrified areas), who have proof of residence, and who don't fit the stereotypical image of a drug dealer.

Medical Marijuana Apartheid: Different Rules Apply for Rich and Poor Pot Smokers | Rights and Liberties | AlterNet

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Two stories that show that only people committing other crimes or stopped at traffic stops arrested for ganja

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These two stories (one was run twice in an apparent attempt to inflate the fear mongering rhetoric) about the latest arrests for ganja continue to show that only people arrested for other crimes and traffic stops get arrested for ganja. They also demonstrate both the futility and danger of passing SB 94.

SB 94 will limit access to Delaware’s affirmative medical defensefree website counters that anyone who can benefit from marijuana can now use by intentionally limiting patients who would be allowed to use ganja. SB 94 will also encourage the criminal justice system to go after other ganja consumers more rabidly as has happened in every other state that has passed such laws.

By intentionally narrowing the definition of what patients benefit from the use of ganja, as demonstrated by intentionally removing glaucoma patients from the list of approved applications, as well as the inclusion of language that creates more anti-religious/anti-recreational crimes. These will combine to encourage cops to go after more ganja consumers and will reverse the last 40 some years of advancements that have brought the arrest rate down from over 8,000 people a year to only a handful more than 200 a year.

 

They had been detained the previous day, police said.

New Castle County police first arrested Kayci Riley, of Landenberg, Pa., Tuesday morning in the parking lot of the Mermaid Run Condominiums in Pike Creek after someone reported the black Acura Integra she and Michael Maynard were in as suspicious. A responding officer approached the vehicle and smelled marijuana when the door was opened, police said.

In the vehicle he found more than 2 ounces of marijuana, a digital scale and 48 Ecstasy pills, according to police. Riley told police that the drugs were hers, and she was charged with related offenses. She was released on $33,500 unsecured bail. Maynard was released without being charged.

Delaware crime: Two twice found with illicit drugs, police say | delawareonline.com | The News Journal

 

Maurice Cannon, 27, of Bridgeville was spotted about 3 a.m. in the passenger seat of a vehicle on U.S. 13, said police Sgt. Walter Newton. It was stopped in a parking lot on Porter Street and Cannon was arrested without incident.

He was wanted on 10 charges including robbery, burglary and assault. When arrested, Cannon had 2.6 grams of crack cocaine and 2.5 grams of marijuana, Newton said.

The driver of the car, 22-year-old Mandy Tribble of Dover, had 1.8 grams of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, he said.

 

http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200991212009

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Friday, December 11, 2009

Smoking Kills 5 Million a Year, World Health Organization Says

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Another Compare and Contrast essay. Prohibitionists CLAIM that marijuana kills people, but there is no empirical data to support that contention.

I would never suggest that tobacco consumption be made illegal. But compare the unfounded claims that ganja kills to the documented proof that tobacco is a mass murderer. As doctors I have spoken with admit, while tobacco is a proven mass murderer, ganja is nothing but a jaywalker.

Report: Smoking Kills 5 Million a Year

By MARIA CHENG

posted: 2 DAYS 1 HOUR AGO

LONDON (Dec. 9) -- Tobacco use kills at least 5 million people every year, a figure that could rise if countries don't take stronger measures to combat smoking, the World Health Organization said Wednesday.

<SNIP>

WHO said secondhand smoking kills about 600,000 people every year.

<SNIP>

Smoking Kills 5 Million a Year, World Health Organization Says

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Dead athletes' brains show damage from concussions – Compare reality to the undocumented claims that ganja use causes mental health issues

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We are all familiar with one of the top reasons given lately for maintaining prohibition, that despite a complete lack of documentation that proves that anyone has actually been made mentally ill by using ganja, that somehow using ganja might cause one mental health issues. This claim is unproven hogwash.

The claim is based completely on dubious meta-studies (academic exercises that never look at actual people that are likewise based on other academic studies not based on actual people).

While I am not saying for an instant that sports should be outlawed, I think this actual study, based on actual injuries in actual people puts a more rational perspective on ganja prohibition claims. Everything humans do has some sort of risk associated with it, whether it is playing any sports all of which are inherently dangerous, driving cars, skiing, drinking beer, or simply walking down the sidewalk.

What I want to examine more closely is putting those risks into a relative relationship. For instance, I would say that based on growing concrete evidence of the dangers of having one’s child play football in some cases as early as 8 years old, smoking ganja entails far fewer concrete risks than playing football, relatively.

For now, let’s examine the growing evidence of one of the very real dangers of playing football. So far, and I am not going to make overblown claims of how pervasive this particular issue is but clearly it is a major issue, it appears that pretty much anyone who plays football any time in their lives is probably going to get brain damage from continually thinking that a helmet is providing any real protection and as a result acting invincible.

While CTE in an ex-NFL player's brain may have been expected, the beginnings of brain damage in an 18-year-old brain was a "shocking" finding, according to Dr. Ann McKee, a neuropathologist at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Bedford, Massachusetts, and co-director of the CSTE.

"We think this is how chronic traumatic encephalopathy starts," said McKee. "This is speculation, but I think we can assume that this would have continued to expand."

CTE has thus far been found in the brains of six out of six former NFL players.

"What's been surprising is that it's so extensive," said McKee. "It's throughout the brain, not just on the superficial aspects of the brain, but it's deep inside."

CSTE studies reveal brown tangles flecked throughout the brain tissue of former NFL players who died young -- some as early as their 30s or 40s.

McKee, who also studies Alzheimer's disease, says the tangles closely resemble what might be found in the brain of an 80-year-old with dementia.

"I knew what traumatic brain disease looked like in the very end stages, in the most severe cases," said McKee. "To see the kind of changes we're seeing in 45-year-olds is basically unheard of."

The damage affects the parts of the brain that control emotion, rage, hypersexuality, even breathing, and recent studies find that CTE is a progressive disease that eventually kills brain cells.

Dead athletes' brains show damage from concussions - CNN.com

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Monday, December 7, 2009

More proof that patients are not being arrested

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As readers should know (if you don’t check out the news and this blog), ganja consumers are simply not being arrested in Delaware, let alone patients, unless they are engaged in the commission of some other crime, or they are stopped for some traffic offence.

 

As long as you do not do anything illegal or draw attention to yourself, you simply are not going to be arrested for using ganja in Delaware.

That would all change if SB 94 is passed. It has in every other state that has passed such laws.

 

MARIJUANA CHARGES: Police arrested a 35-year-old Laurel man Dec. 3 for possession of marijuana. Delaware State Police said Melvin Brown was stopped by troopers in a Wawa parking lot at U.S. 113 and Del. 24 in Millsboro shortly after 8 p.m. Police said Brown was seen placing items under his front seat, which turned out to be 87 grams of marijuana. Police later got a search warrant for his home and found drug paraphernalia. He was charged with multiple drug offenses. His bail information was not released.

Police news | delawareonline.com | The News Journal

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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Trooper bit by dog during DUI stop

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Yet another case that proves we do not need Senate Bill 94. Exactly how would SB 94 have addressed this incident?
 
This incident illustrates that everyone in Delaware arrested for ganja charges is either incident to the commission of an actual crime, or a traffic offence. How does this woman's alcohol intoxication have anything to do with ganja in her purse?
 
Patients are not being arrested, thanks in great part to the presently available affirmative defense of ALL patients. How, exactly, would SB 94, which will dismantle the protection available to all patients and replace that with a limited definition and new laws against recreational and religious ganja consumers, make things better in that respect? By encouraging more arrests of patient not on the intentionally limited list of acceptable "debilitating medical conditions"? Will things be better when cops are encouraged to arrest more recreational consumers under the new crimes SB 94 creates?
 
Hempman says: Just Say Know. Know the real circumstances, know the law, know the facts. Just say NO to SB 94. Demand real, rational change. Delaware should not even be debating SB 94, but instead should be making into law the defacto legalization which we are already enjoying.
 
Can you prove me wrong?
 
As always, unlike NORML or MPP or any of the self-serving acronyms, we are here for REAL change and do not charge you a membership fee to fight for your own rights.
 
Please forward these posts to your friends and other ganja friendly people. We are in the position to demand real change. Let's get to it!
 
Meeting for organizing for the Mayday events are coming up. Let me know when you'd like to set up meetings in your area. Any new areas that want to hold a march and want to get their location on the posters need to respond ASAP.
 
PHONE: (302) 439-0313
 
 
 
December 4, 2009

Trooper bit by dog during DUI stop

By TERRI SANGINITI
The News Journal

A trooper who stopped an impaired driver and then helped catch her runaway dog was bitten by the dog in return.

The dog was quarantined by the SPCA.

The trooper was treated at Christiana Hospital for a bite to the forearm.

The incident occurred about 6:30 a.m. on northbound U.S. 13 near the St. Georges Bridge in Middletown, state police spokesman Senior Cpl. Jeff Whitmarsh said.

The trooper was sent to investigate several reports that a reckless motorist was weaving back and forth in traffic.

Officers in the area found the suspected vehicle at the St. Georges Bridge, still weaving back and forth.

When they stopped the Buick LeSabre, the driver – Agnes Jenkins – showed obvious signs of impairment and there were bottles of alcohol in the car, Whitmarsh said.

Jenkins was arrested for drunken driving, he said.

Marijuana was found in her purse, he said.

Before the car was towed and impounded, the trooper tried to make arrangements for the dog while Jenkins was in custody.

Jenkins removed the hound dog from the car and then lost control of the leash, Whitmarsh said.

The dog started to run into northbound traffic on U.S. 13.

The trooper, who is also a K-9 officer, grabbed the dog to prevent it from being run over, and the dog bit the trooper in the forearm.

Jenkins, meanwhile, was charged with DUI, driving while suspended, failure to have insurance and possession of marijuana.

She was released on the traffic charges and turned over to the court, which had an active warrant out for her arrest.

 
 
 
 
http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=200991204032

Delaware crime: Mother, son face weapons, drug charges

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How would SB 94 address the fact that all of Delaware's ganja arrests are like this?

SB 94 will dismantle an existing affirmative defense that protects ALL patients. SB 94 does not address that patients simply are not being arrested in Delaware. In fact, everyone arrested is either through an arrest incident to another crime, or incident to a traffic stop of some sort. No one is arrested for ganja alone in Delaware. Why would any rational person want to pass a bill that would undo that?
 
I repeat a question that any rational person should be asking; exactly how will SB 94 separate ganja from such a major problem as a parolee illegally holding weapons? What, exactly, did the mom's possession of ganja have to do with any of the other issues in this raid?
 
While I think there could be a problem with the illegal sleeping pills, why should mom be charged with ganja crime? That would be like looking in mom's refrigerator and charging her with possession of celery or lettuce, or looking in her purse and charging her with possession of tobacco products (except for the obvious fact that tobacco is dangerous while ganja is not).
 
Senate Bill 94, being advertised as a medical marijuana bill, is nothing but a stalking horse meant to eliminate the present affirmative defense that is stopping all patient arrests, and SB 94 is meant to encourage more ganja arrests of recreational and religious consumers.
 
I still await any rational response to my question; Why, exactly, would any rational person support SB 94, which will be a step backwards 40 years?
 
In fact, I've not had any response to the question. I guess I must be right.
 
PHONE: (302) 439-0313
 
 
 
December 5, 2009

Delaware crime: Mother, son face weapons, drug charges

By TERRI SANGINITI
The News Journal

A 25-year-old New Castle area man and his 44-year-old mother were arrested after a cache of weapons and drugs were found Thursday in their home, police said.

Michael T. Read Jr. and Roberta Read were arrested about 8:45 p.m. in their home in the first block of Roxeter Road in the Castle Hills community.

Michael Read, a convicted felon, was charged with 16 counts of possession of a firearm by a person prohibited and related offenses.

Roberta Read was charged with 16 counts of possession of a deadly weapon during a felony and four other offenses. .

According to court records, Michael T. Read was arrested by Department of Natural Resource officers for having a firearm and ammunition.

The shotgun belonged to Read's father, who assured probation and parole officers in 2007 that his son "could not get to the weapons while in the residence," police said in court records.

Michael Read is on probation and prohibited from owning or possessing firearms.

Officers seized four handguns, 12 rifles, four knives, five bows and several hundred rounds of ammunition in the master bedroom of the home, said New Castle County Police Senior Cpl. Trinidad Navarro.

Officers also confiscated three bags of marijuana containing 7 grams and 11 illegally prescribed narcotic sleeping pills also packaged in a bag and belonging to Roberta Read.

Roberta Read's 3-year-old granddaughter was in the house at the time of the raid, Navarro said.

Michael Read was committed to Young Correctional Institution in lieu of $20,000 bail.

Roberta Read was released on unsecured bail, Navarro said.

http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009912050335

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

WEAPONS, DRUG CHARGES

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As this article helps illustrate, ganja arrests in Delaware are limited. In this case, the man was a criminal who just happened to have ganja. In fact, no one gets arrested for ganja in Delaware unless they are committing (have committed) another crime or are careless and get stopped for traffic violations.

Patients simply are not being arrested. Senate Bill 94 is nothing but a stalking horse to encourage more arrests of recreational and religious consumers while PRETENDING to display concern for patients.

But, the reality is that Senate Bill 94 is the worst possible legislation and will set actual ganja law re-legalization efforts back 40 years.

It makes no more sense to say that Roderick had ganja than reporting that he had a pack of cigarettes. How would SB 94 have separated this man's actions from his ganja consumption? How would SB 94 separate traveling with a bad automobile registration or no license from having ganja in one's possession?

While there are probable cause provision that say that registering for an ID card under SB 94 is not to be used as probable cause, it does not say anything about reasonable suspicion. So, a search warrant could not be issued based solely on SB 94 registration for ID, such registration could be reasonable suspicion and could be sufficient to open an investigation to discover other actual probable cause.

Ultimately, I am trying to craft a reasonable, responsible position that would re-legalize ganja. Given the specific wording of SB 94, and its extreme, intentional limitations on who the bill applies to, and given the history of ganja related arrests in every state that has passed similar laws, this tells me that SB 94 is a very bad idea.

But, Delaware Cannabis Society represents all ganja consumers, so we want you to weigh in on the issues of SB 94.

Please take a few moments to call our new phone system and tell us what you think. Your message about re-legalizing ganja or the passage of SB 94 could end up representing the views of others on our website. Please Call - (302) 439-0313. Or email a response to or comment on this post on the blog at http://hempmansays.blogspot.com.

 

WEAPONS, DRUG CHARGES: A 19-year-old man was arrested by Wilmington police after allegedly breaking into a car. Police responded just before 3 p.m. Friday to the area of 20th St. and Baynard Blvd. for reports of a suspicious man who witnesses said broke into a car. Police responded and tried to arrest but he broke free and was Tasered. He was arrested and police found he had a loaded .22-caliber gun and three bags of marijuana. Roderic Grady Jr. was charged with weapons and drug offenses. He was released on $2,500 bail.

http://www.delawareonline.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2009912010350

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

New way to contact Delaware Cannabis Society

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I hope by now you have made yourselves familiar with http://hempmansays.blogspot.com . Now we are proud to add a new feature to our offices. We have a dedicated office phone and electronic phone tree setup.
 
Please call (302) 439-0313 to contact us. Please leave us messages. We love hearing about all the great things people have been doing to help get ganja re-legalized! Your message could end up being heard by other visitors to the website!
 
 
 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

UD fraternity fined $50,000 in hazing after drinking death of freshman

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Now, there's a headline you will never see refering to a ganja party. It is absolutely impossible to use enough ganja to die from toxic death. Yet, alcohol deaths are a real epidemic, many students come out of school fully immersed alcoholics on a slide that will kill them early, and many commit crimes such as drunk driving that kill many innocent people.
 
Compared to the mass murder caused by alcohol, ganja is a barely a jaywalker.
 
 

 
November 25, 2009

UD fraternity fined $50,000 in hazing after drinking death of freshman

By SEAN O'SULLIVAN
The News Journal

WILMINGTON -- The local chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity at the University of Delaware was fined $50,000 by a judge for hazing following last year's death of a freshman at an off-campus party.

According to the Delaware Attorney General's office, a representative of the Delta Lambda chapter of Sigma Alpha Mu did not appear at last week's arraignment, after also skipping a previous proceeding, and so no one was present to oppose the state's motion for a judgment against the chapter.

Court of Common Pleas Chief Judge Alex J. Smalls then fined the group $50,000 and entered a no-contact order with the state of Delaware "until the fine is paid and an interview takes place with the Attorney General's office."

Jason Miller, a spokesman for Attorney General Beau Biden, said the office was pleased with the court's decision which "prevents this fraternity from operating in the state of Delaware and sends a message to other fraternities that this behavior is not acceptable."

No representative of the chapter could be located for comment.


 

http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20091125/NEWS/91125047/-1/NLETTER03/UD-fraternity-fined--50-000-in-hazing-after-drinking-death-of-freshman?source=nletter-breakingnews

A link to Delaware's Affirmative Defense

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As may happen from time to time, I recently got an email that asked some questions I felt are important enough to share and answer openly. That email is at the end of this post.

The affirmative defense (in Delaware, it is called the Choice of evils law.) is in Delaware Title 11, Chapter 4. This law has been in effect since 1953 and used successfully by patients using medical cannabis who subsequently will not be protected if SB 94 is passed..

I've bolded the main section as it applies to medical ganja consumers.

Neither NORML nor Marijuana Policy Project cares that the very law that has been acting to stop almost all patient arrests in Delaware will be dismantled just to pass a very bad substitute that will not only protect fewer patients, but will create several new anti-recreational/anti-religious laws and ultimately end up with more patients being arrested. All the acronyms care about is self-promotion.


Unless inconsistent with the ensuing sections of this Criminal Code defining justifiable use of physical force, or with some other provisions of law, conduct which would otherwise constitute an offense is justifiable when it is necessary as an emergency measure to avoid an imminent public or private injury which is about to occur by reason of a situation occasioned or developed through no fault of the defendant, and which is of such gravity that, according to ordinary standards of intelligence and morality, the desirability and urgency of avoiding such injury clearly outweigh the desirability of avoiding the injury sought to be prevented by the statute defining the offense in issue. The necessity and justifiability of such conduct may not rest upon considerations pertaining only to the morality and advisability of the statute, either in its general application or with respect to its application to a particular class of cases arising thereunder.
11 Del. C. 1953, § 463; 58 Del. Laws, c. 497, § 1.;



In answer to the request for case law, I never claimed that there is any case law. I said that back when patients were being regularly arrested, anyone who mounted an affirmative defense was never convicted. I have also said that at the moment, the affirmative defense listed above is still an option that SB 94 will intentionally destroy.
The problem with trying to research case law based on affirmative defense of medical necessity is that if one successfully uses an affirmative defense no case law is generated, the charges just go away. One is neither found guilty nor not guilty; the charges are simply dismissed. At best, one could use forensics to identify and find patients who have been arrested (which would be rough in the last ten years*) and track back to court hearings and see if an affirmative defense to prosecution was successful.

I would refer you to Dr. Morgan, who traveled from New York as an expert witness for several Delaware patients, but unfortunately he has passed. Patients Out of Time might have some references, since they helped with research a few times. We chose not to maintain any such records in cases where we helped get charges dismissed so that law enforcement could not abuse the resource.

Just as with SB 94, there is no case law that protects patients who use ganja in most of the circumstances you mention - drug testing, pre-employment, or transfer. SB 94 would "protect" (kind of) a very small handful of patients, intentionally throwing the rest to the drug war wolves through the encouragements to escalate arrests once again for the majority of patients who would not be protected (in addition to creating new legislation to further criminalize and encouraging increased arrests of recreational and religious consumers).

I could not point to case law about unemployment, there is none. I can only refer to personal knowledge and the legal reasons that can be used to deny unemployment insurance (this can be verified simply enough by checking the federal Department of Labor website).

I once lost work due to a urine test but still got full unemployment, I also know a number of people in the same boat. I also once lost a job because I told them the only way I'd urinate in a cup was if I got to watch them drink up. I got unemployment benefits in both cases.

The very few reasons for being denied unemployment upon termination - leaving work without good cause, being fired for just cause in direct connection with the job - such as unexcused latenesses - absences -insubordination, conviction and sentencing to jail. Having drug metabolites in one's system is not a legal reason for the denial of unemployment insurance. Refusal to take a urine or blood test is also not a legitimate reason for denial of unemployment insurance. Remember, urine testing is not a legitimate measure of on the job performance and is not a direct connection to your job.

Anyway, here's a link to the applicable unemployment eligibility determination code - http://delcode.delaware.gov/title19/c033/sc02/index.shtml#3314


Potential employment is not covered under SB 94. While part of me wants to say just don't apply for jobs where they urine test, the reality is that these tests are very easily defeated and should not be an issue for a relatively intelligent person.

Cultivation is a grey area. Patients growing a few plants have successfully used affirmative defenses. Growing dozens of plants is probably going to be charged differently and the burden of proof is on the defendant to show that the two tons of weed was to treat chronic pain, migraines, colitis or glaucoma (all diseases SB 94 will not protect at all).

All of this is moot because as far as Delaware Cannabis Society has been able to research, patients are simply not being arrested. In fact, the overall arrest rate for ganja has been plummeting for the past decade, and is now a tiny fraction of what it was back when Delaware Cannabis Society first came about. That will all change if SB 94 passes - then tens of thousands of patients not specifically "protected" by SB 94 will be at the mercies of cops looking to bust pot smokers.

Transfer in Delaware is illegal, but again, patients of all sorts simply are not being arrested. If SB 94 passes, patients (those few eligible) will be further criminalized if they transfer ganja to another patient who just happens not to be covered by the law (most patients). Several other new anti-marijuana laws create similar criminal problems for against regulation transfers, such as the loss of ID card (Opening a "protected" patient to law enforcement harassment.).

One last item I recently noticed. Wording in Senate Bill 94 seems to be an encouragement to law enforcement to use property forfeiture against anyone not specifically protected by it.

And, one last closing item. Qualifying for protection under SB 94 requires that a medical practitioner must make a written prescription for medical marijuana. I know that this is not definitive, but a quick survey of the dozen doctors who answered the question over the past week stated that they would not write recommendations under the new law.

As a patient who would qualify under SB 94, I really wish I could support it. But, I am not so shallow to think that it is right to throw so many other patients to the drug war wolves for the protections I would get. That is self centered and greedy, and no legitimate patient should want to see others put in yet more danger for such false security as profered by SB 94. Shame on patients who would throw their brothers to the drug war wolves - SHAME ON YOU!


* Finding any patients who were arrested in the past ten years would be pretty much impossible. I have been tracking arrests and attending many hearings, and I have not been able to identify a single arrested patient in ten years. Maybe someone else with more resources and better luck would be able to find one. But, I've identified and traced almost a thousand ganja arrests and other than some out of state people or people who moved away and I could not track, I have not found a single legitimate patient who was arrested.

----- Original Message -----
From:
Sent: Saturday, November 07, 2009 4:45 PM
Subject: Re: Report: Pot use, arrests rising in California

Hi Richard,

You've mentioned frequently that ganja is virtually legal for medical patients due to case law. Can you point me in the direction of these cases so I can familiarize myself with them? I'd like to know what limits there are, if any, if there is anything that can be used to defend against drug testing in the work place, how cannabis use might affect one's eligibility for unemployment, and anything regarding cultivation and transfer.

Sincerely,



Monday, November 23, 2009

4 took baby on drug buy, police say - OR, how NOT to act when buying ganja

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4 took baby on drug buy, police say

This is a good example of things that would not happen if ganja were legal today. How would SB 94 help prevent situations like this? SB 94 will only make things worse.

That said, note where the ganjaists went wrong.

If you have to travel with children, make certain they are properly secured. If one gouy has to sit on the transmission hump, too bad. Make sure your license, car registration, insurance and the condition of the car are not going to give cops any reason to eyeball you, or "enhance" charges against you.

For gods' sake, don't stash your damned weed right next to the baby. What are you, brain damaged? Keep your weed, bowl and papers in your pocket. When you get your sack(s), don't try to hide in a friggin' parking' lot filling a bowl or rolling fat ones. Go home. You are far safer in the privacy of your own home. Did I ever mention that nearly every ganja bust in Delaware is during some sort of traffic stop? No one is busted in their own homes smoking a little ganja.

DO NOT GIVE POLICE PERMISSION TO SEARCH!!!! EVER!!!!!

See the sentence above regarding brain damage. Even if it seems like they "got you", shut the heck up. What in your mind wants you to help the cops make your life into hell?

Make sure your passengers know enough NOT to talk to the police or give permission to search. If the cops have to ask for permission to search, they do not have probable cause. If they have probable cause, they are not going to bother asking for permission, since you will already be in the back of a cop car wearing handcuffs.

Things WILL NOT go easier on you if you cooperate. Does it look like any of these boys are having an easy time of it? NO! Because they did not know enough to shut up and not give permission to search.



(Coming up, new information about how to mount an affirmative defense as a medical marijuana patient if you get busted. I really hope enough people tell their state congress critter SB 94 sucks, or we will lose this defense for MOST patients for a half-assed law that only protects a tiny number of patients who are not being arrested in the first place, and more people will be going to jail.)



November 23, 2009

4 took baby on drug buy, police say

By IRA PORTER
The News Journal

A 25-year-old Newark man and three of his friends were arrested for drug possession Friday afternoon after they drove around looking for drugs with a 4-month-old baby in the car, police said.

New Castle County police said officers stopped a suspicious car near the Castle Brook apartment complex at 1:35 p.m. after a call came in describing the car. Police responding to Saienni Boulevard and Karen Court stopped the car and found an infant improperly secured in the back seat.

According to court documents, Stephan Vickers, the baby's father, was driving. Craig Anderson, 24, and Matreed Spruill, 25, were in the back seat with the child improperly fastened between them. Drew Norris, 23, was in the passenger's seat next to Vickers, court records show.

Court records said Vickers gave police permission to search his car and that an officer found two plastic bags containing marijuana and drug paraphernalia. One bag of marijuana was in the back seat, next to the child. Police said another bag was on the floor, behind the passenger seat. Officers also found drug paraphernalia.

Police said the four were on an outing to buy drugs. The suspects were charged with multiple drug offenses, endangering the welfare of a child and conspiracy. Vickers also was charged with driving with a suspended license, driving without insurance and failure to transfer title and registration. All were committed to Young Correctional Institution, Norris and Spruill on $1,750 bail each, Anderson on $4,000 and Vickers on $3,750 bail. The baby was turned over to family members.


http://www.delawareonline.com/article/20091123/NEWS01/911230317/4-took-baby-on-drug-buy-police-say

Could Delaware's Prison Overcrowding Problems Be Solved By Decriminalizing Ganja?

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The Open Secret is that most of the people in Delaware's prisons are there not for committing a major, dangerous crime, but for pissing the wrong color. According to the study, Delaware Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Project 2003 to 2006 Evaluation with Recidivism Results, other state incarceration reports, and rough correlations made between the figures for Work Release, and the inmates who are there for violation of probation (most of which are for ganja related "dirty" urine tests), about 35% of Delaware's prison population is in the system for ganja related violation of probation or enhanced anti-ganja sentencing.
 
Don't get me wrong. If one has committed a serious, violent crime, there is no excuse for that. But when about 35% of the prison population consists of merely having having smoked some ganja the time to analyze the rationale behind that treatment has come.
 
Given the relative safety of ganja consumption, it makes about as much sense as the re-incarceration of people because they took a couple of over the counter pain relievers, since it is provable that taking counter pain relievers is more dangerous than consuming some ganja.  It makes as much sense to re-arrest people for drinking milk. If about a third of prisoners have consumed ganja, you can rest assured that almost all of them have drunken milk.
 
 
 

Friday, November 6, 2009

Report: Pot use, arrests rising in California

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Despite the Pollyanna rhetoric about the non-existent "New Obama Policy", the arrest rate continues to soar in California and every other state that has passed so-called medical marijuana laws. Instead of creating a more rational environment, it seems pretty obvious that these laws have muddied the waters and encouraged law enforcement to arrest more people for ganja related crimes.
 
These facts, coupled with the limiting effect of Delaware's Senate Bill 94, which will destroy a broadly available affirmative defense, intentionally limit the number of patients who can use medical marijuana, and creates several new anti-religious/anti-recreational consumer laws is why Delaware Cannabis Society has decided NOT to support SB 94.
 
What rational person would abandon the dropping arrest rate in Delaware in favor of a bill that would end encouraging law enforcement to arrest more patients, more religious consumers and more recreational consumers? Where is the sanity in the concept of supporting such a poorly written bill?
 
 
 

Report: Pot use, arrests rising in California

Friday, November 6, 2009

Marijuana arrests in California are increasing faster than the nationwide rate...

<snip>

Nationally, Gettman said, marijuana arrests have doubled since 1991,but marijuana use is unchanged.

Gettman is a former director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. He said he favors the legalization of marijuana.

Gettman's report came a day after state officials announced that the state-federal Campaign Against Marijuana Planting had seized a record 4.4 million pot plants in California this year, up from 2.9 million in 2008.

<snip>

 

http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2009/11/06/BA3D1AFV8I.DTL&feed=rss.news

Friday, October 30, 2009

Judge orders Fresno pot shops to stay closed - Crime & Court News - Fresnobee.com

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Some more proof that the memo about medical marijuana is just a head game. Some cities in California are on the move to close marijuana dispensaries.
 
This is an example of the sort of silly time wasting that Delaware will join if Senate Bill 94 manages to pass.
 
 
 

Judge orders Fresno pot shops to stay closed

Published online on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2009

Nine medical marijuana dispensaries in Fresno were ordered to remain closed Wednesday until a January trial on the city's contention that they violate its zoning rules.

<snip>

 
http://www.fresnobee.com/local/crime/story/1690292.html

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