Saturday, January 26, 2008

BERKELEY: City considers aiding marijuana patients

BERKELEY: Resolution would declare area a sanctuary for medical pot users
and distributors

By Doug Oakley


Article Launched: 01/26/2008 02:59:19 AM PST

Berkeley is considering a plan to help get medical marijuana to patients if
the Drug Enforcement Administration shuts down any of the city-permitted
cannabis clubs.

The plan by City Councilmen Darryl Moore and Kriss Worthington already has
drawn fire from the Berkeley police, the city manager's office and the DEA.

The resolution before the City Council on Tuesday night declares Berkeley a
sanctuary for medical marijuana users and distributors, and says "the city
itself shall ensure a continuum of access to medical marijuana" if the DEA
moves in.

Whether that means the city selling marijuana itself or helping another
distributor get started is up in the air at the moment, Moore said. He wants
the police chief and city manager to come back with suggestions.

"The piece I originally suggested is that in the wake of a DEA closure that
the city would step in and provide medical marijuana, and that was what the
city manager and the police chief had a problem with," Moore said.

After a December meeting with Berkeley police Chief Douglas Hambleton and
City Manager Phil Kamlarz, the language of the proposed resolution was

The DEA doesn't like the idea of Berkeley selling marijuana.

"Our stand on it is if someone from the city sells it, it is still illegal,
and we will investigate and take action as appropriate," said Javier Pena,
special agent in charge of the DEA field office in San Francisco. "Anyone
who breaks the law is at risk of getting arrested. We don't discriminate."

Moore said a DEA crackdown in Berkeley could necessitate a medical

"I personally feel the state has adopted medical marijuana, and it is
overwhelmingly positive," Moore said. "Should the DEA crack down here, it
will be a public health issue, and the city should be responsible for the
medical needs of its residents."

The DEA raided and closed five medical marijuana dispensaries in the Bay
Area in the past year, according to a spokeswoman. And according to the
resolution, the DEA has shut down 28 dispensaries in 11 counties statewide
since June.

The resolution also criticizes the DEA's warnings to property owners in
Berkeley that they face asset forfeiture and prosecution if they continue to
lease property to medical marijuana providers.

Berkeley police spokeswoman Sgt. Mary Kusmiss said the department must
straddle conflicting state and federal laws.

"There is a difference between us honoring Prop. 215 -- which legalized
medical marijuana in California -- and actively violating federal law,"
Kusmiss said.

Berkeley's two dispensaries are the Berkeley Patients' Group on San Pablo
Avenue and Berkeley Patients' Care Collective on Telegraph Avenue.

The city already has directed its police department not to cooperate with
federal investigations of any dispensaries. But critics, including Americans
for Safe Access based in Oakland, say police violated that policy last fall
when it was on the scene of a search by the Internal Revenue Service and the
Alameda County Sheriff of a Berkeley hills home that was connected to a
marijuana dispensary raided outside Berkeley.

"We weren't facilitating the search warrant in that case," Kusmiss said. "We
were there because there were cars being towed, and we were supporting the
other officers there."

The resolution before the council should mainly be used as a statement to
the federal government that Berkeley is serious about medical marijuana,
said Kris Hermes, spokesman for Americans for Safe Access.

"It's not going to be in the municipal code, but it is a strong statement
that the federal government is not welcome in the city of Berkeley and it
stands behind its permitted facilities," Hermes said.

Hermes said instead of distributing marijuana, he sees the resolution as a
way of getting the city to help find an emergency location for a cannabis
club to operate if one is shut down.

"We're not asking the city to become a distributor," Hermes said.

Reach Doug Oakley at

Friday, January 25, 2008


SAN FRANCISCO -- -- The California Supreme Court weakened the effect

of the state's beleaguered medical marijuana law, ruling Thursday

that employers may fire workers for using physician-recommended

marijuana while off duty, even if it did not hurt their job performance.


Supporters of medical marijuana immediately criticized the court's

5-2 ruling, saying it undermined the 1996 law, which prohibits the

state from criminalizing the medical use of the drug.


Hundreds of medical marijuana users have complained that they have

been fired, threatened with termination or not hired by California

companies because of their drug use, according to one advocacy group.


In siding with employers, the California Supreme Court said the

Compassionate Use Act passed by voters and later amended by the

Legislature imposed no requirements on employers.


"The Compassionate Use Act does not eliminate marijuana's potential

for abuse or the employer's legitimate interest in whether an

employee uses the drug," Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar wrote for

the majority.


Justice Joyce L. Kennard called the decision "conspicuously lacking

in compassion."


"The majority's holding disrespects the will of California's voters,"

wrote Kennard, whose dissent was joined by Justice Carlos R. Moreno.


The voters "surely never intended that persons who availed

themselves" of the medical marijuana act "would thereby disqualify

themselves from employment," Kennard said.


Within hours of the court's decision, Assemblyman Mark Leno (D-San

Francisco) announced that he would introduce legislation to prevent

employers from discriminating against medical marijuana users.


"The people of California did not intend that patients be unemployed

in order to use medical marijuana," he said.


The court majority upheld the firing of Gary Ross, an Air Force

veteran whose doctor recommended marijuana for chronic back pain

stemming from an injury in the military and whose disability

qualified him for government benefits.


Ross, 45, was hired by RagingWire Telecommunications Inc. in 2001 as

a systems engineer.


Before taking a required drug test, Ross provided a copy of his

physician's recommendation for marijuana.


The company fired him a week after he started the job because his

test revealed that he had used marijuana.


Ross sued the company on the grounds that it failed to accommodate

his disability as required under a state anti-discrimination law.


He contended that he had worked without any problems at other jobs in

the same field since becoming a medical marijuana user.


Lower courts, however, sided with the employer.


"All I am asking is to be a productive member of society," Ross said

in a written statement. "I was not fired for poor work performance

but for an antiquated policy on medical marijuana."


Stewart Katz, Ross' lawyer, said he was disappointed but not

surprised by the majority's ruling "because of what the political

realities are." He said the ruling could be overturned by a

legislative amendment to the marijuana law.


Ross, who continues to use medical marijuana, is now employed in another field.


His lawyer refused to disclose his current occupation because his

employer "is not terribly tolerant."


Attorney Robert M. Pattison, who represented RagingWire

Telecommunications, a Sacramento data center, said the ruling

resolved questions that have troubled employers about the use of

medical marijuana and did "not at all" eviscerate the marijuana law.


"In fact, the court makes it clear that the point here is the medical

marijuana law doesn't address employment," Pattison said.


California is one of 12 states with medical marijuana laws. At least

one of them, Rhode Island, specifically protects workers from being

fired for their medical use of the drug, said Bruce Mirken of the

Marijuana Policy Project, an advocacy group.


"The court is claiming that California voters intended to permit

medical use of marijuana, but only if you're willing to be unemployed

and on welfare," Mirken said. "That is ridiculous on its face, as

well as cruel."


Joseph D. Elford, chief counsel of Americans for Safe Access, which

argued the case on behalf of Ross, predicted the ruling would spark

an increase in employer sanctions against medical marijuana users.


His group already has reported hundreds of complaints of

discrimination by employers.


Medical marijuana patients may now be forced "to go underground and

to forgo using marijuana before a drug test," he said.


Traces of marijuana can linger in the body for weeks after its use,

long after the patient has stopped using the drug, advocates said.


Ross' lawsuit might have prevailed if the state's law gave marijuana

the same legal status as prescription drugs, the court majority said.


The law could not have done that because the drug remains illegal

under federal law, the majority said.


The two dissenting justices argued that the medical marijuana law

protected patients from criminal prosecution and "sanction," which

would include job termination. They said Ross did not seek to possess

or use marijuana at work.


They also contended that the majority would not have ruled against

Ross if he had been taking other doctor-approved drugs that might

affect work performance, such as Vicodin, Ritalin and Valium, as well

as many over-the-counter cold remedies.


Adam Wolf, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union's Drug

Law Reform Project, said at least one part of the ruling should be

welcomed by the medical marijuana movement.


The decision made clear that California could protect medical

marijuana users from job discrimination, despite federal law, if the

Legislature or voters chose to amend the law.


"Let us hope, then, that this ruling serves to silence those who

insist that California must march in lock-step with the federal

government's ill-considered medical marijuana ban," Wolf said.


Although there was no evidence in the case that medical marijuana

impaired Ross from doing his job, many employers, workers and

customers want "a drug-free workplace," said Deborah LaFetra, an

attorney with the Pacific Legal Foundation, a group that advocates

limited government and argued on behalf of the employer in the case.


"Drug-using employees are known to have impaired abilities, both

mental and physical, that can alter their judgment and other

necessary skills for their work," she said.


- ---

MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

HELP: Nebraska

Note: even if you don't live in Nebraska, you can still click here to Digg this article. This will at least help us bring the bill to the public's attention. Thank you for all your support!

TO: Friends of MPP
FROM: Nathan Miller, MPP legislative analyst

Please help defeat a bill that seeks to increase penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana

This Thursday, the Nebraska Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on LB 844 in Room 1113 at 1:30 p.m. This legislation is a step backwards for Nebraska as it seeks to impose harsher penalties than already exist for those found to be in possession of small amounts of marijuana. Please take a few minutes to read on about this horrible piece of legislation and then act to help defeat it.

Currently, a conviction for possessing less than one ounce of marijuana subjects offenders to a $100 fine and a drug education course — a civil infraction. LB 844 would not only raise the fine to $500, but it would also carry with it three months in jail — a class III misdemeanor. This unnecessarily harsh bill would raise the severity of penalties not one, not two, not three, but four levels of criminal liability. Interestingly, this bill actually takes away the ability of the sentencing judge to determine whether or not it is in the best interest of the offender to attend the aforementioned drug education course.

For good measure, this malicious piece of legislation also raises the penalties for possession of between an ounce and one pound of marijuana, as well as for possession of paraphernalia used in the consumption of marijuana. All of these penalty increases are not for manufacture or sale of marijuana, but for mere possession.

To read an article about this dreadful bill, click here.

Please send the members of the committee an e-mail today letting them know that if Nebraska considers marijuana legislation, it should be positive rather than negative. When writing your legislators, remember that a marijuana conviction can affect a person's ability to obtain public housing, receive student aid, and adopt a child. Quite simply, this bill is a step backwards that Nebraska doesn't need to take.

Thank you for supporting the Marijuana Policy Project. Please pass this on to your friends, family, co-workers, and anyone else who might be interested in keeping people out of jail, in school, and employed as productive members of society.

Please click here to Digg this article, even if you don't live in Nebraska. This is especially important in this case, since we really need people to be aware of this bill!

Monday, January 21, 2008



21st January 2008, 16:15 WST 

HAMBURG - The active ingredient in marijuana may suppress tumour invasion in highly invasive cancers, according to new research in Germany. 

Cannabinoids, the active components in marijuana, are already used medically to reduce the side effects of cancer treatment, such as pain, weight loss and vomiting. 

But the new study, published in the latest issue of the Journal of the National Cancer Institute, finds that the compounds may also have an anti-cancer effect. 

However, more research is needed to determine whether the laboratory results would hold true in humans, the authors wrote. 

Dr Robert Ramer and Dr Burkhard Hinz of the University of Rostock in Germany investigated whether and by what mechanism cannabinoids inhibit tumour cell invasion. 

Cannabinoids did suppress tumour cell invasion and stimulated the expression of TIMP-1, an inhibitor of a group of enzymes that are involved in tumour cell invasion. 

"To our knowledge, this is the first report of TIMP-1-dependent anti-invasive effects of cannabinoids," the two researchers said in a joint statement. 

"This signalling pathway may play an important role in the anti- metastatic action of cannabinoids, whose potential therapeutic benefit in the treatment of highly invasive cancers should be addressed in clinical trials," the authors said.  

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Time Well Spent: Marc Emery will spend 5yrs in prison

Assuming that you are reading this and assuming you are enjoying that cannabis in your pocket; you are aware that Marc “Prince of Pot” Emery accepted a plea deal to serve 5 years of a 10 year sentence for believing that people should have access to Cannabis. How do you spend your time? Do you try to make sure that you are treating others as you would like to be treated? It’s time that you are spending as we communicate through this medium. It’s time you spent time you spent last weekend. Your time not mine and its not stopping. If the name Marc Emery doesn’t ring a bell, or you are not even aware he was arrested. Then you are the single reason why we are in the position we are in. Closet smokers come in second but they aren’t even reading this so I’m just going to assume that its just us. If you have made it up in your mind that Cannabis is not only a safe and effective medicine; but a much safer alternative to alcohol. Not only that but you smoke almost every week and don’t get arrested and like it to stay that way. You need to put in what you want to take out. Because the truth of the matter is this Drug War is still very much a war. 

46,947; thats the number of people that have been arrested for Cannabis offenses so far this year. It’s been one month, we’ve got another 11 to go. If you have it in your heart to really make a change then its time to get your hands dirty. There is a great way to become involved in the Cannabis reform movement. It’s called spending your time effectively; and you are doing a good job so far. A lot more needs to be done until we have a sensible Cannabis policy. The more you empower yourself the more effective you will become. Sign up for email lists with all the major players. Americans for Safe Access. NORML. LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition). MPP. DPA. and the mother load Drug War Facts. Information is available to you. So when the time comes and you are trying to tell the people going to jail for Cannabis is not helping and is only hurting, you will be with great pride when the other person becomes aware of this situation. As a country we may not always get things right the first time, and sometimes the second time. Ya Nada Lo Que Era. 

What you may not be aware of is that part of Emery’s deal is  he must sell his magazine, Cannabis Culture. Information is being taken from you and its because information is the only thing Drug War backers fear the most. There are many reasons why this drug war has failed, but can you really fail something that’s based in psycho drama? One person tells you, “ Illegal drugs will ruin your life, even if its only one time”, and then another says, “ Some drugs are more dangerous and some are even helpful; you should never take anything that you don’t know”. The one thing they have in common is they both acknowledge the existence of drugs in our world. Now is the time to reassess the Drug War especially with regards to Cannabis. But the subject cannot be raised if the people raising the question are staying willfully ignorant. We cannot wait until “it” happens to you and 5 years are taken from your life. It’s not right and in a country full of just should not tolerate it one more moment. 

They’re weapon of choice is overwhelming fear and money. But don’t feel discouraged because we have our own power and its between your ears and slightly above and behind your eyes. It’s your right to spend your time how you wish as long as you are not harming another human being. Yet we are harming ourselves when we don’t put a little traction in our action. Please volunteer with your local Cannabis reform groups. For those who are not sure what they want to do with their lives then there are campaigns happening throughout the United Sates and they are always looking to hire. It will be some of the most difficult work but its truly where the battlefield is. We have but one moment on this planet and it’s asking for help. Don’t forget that Hemp is one of the most fiber-us plants ever known to mankind. It’s the only plant that could completely remove ourselves from petroleum chemicals. And its completely biodegradable. It could help feed, cloth and shelter all at the same time. But we will never know the full extent of   how much Cannabis will help the planet if we never release it from the minds that wish for its extinction. 

CORRECTION: Ukiah Journal: BOE policy

I'm afraid this may be misleading information. As far as ASA knows, 
there is no plan to change the BOE policy established in October 2005, 
which is to require the sale of medical marijuana to be taxed by the 
state. In fact, State Senator Carole Migden may soon be re-introducing 
her back sales tax amnesty bill (SB 529 from last year) to assist 
dispensaries and patients struggling to comply with these sometimes 
onerous BOE requirements.

ASA and others have been communicating with BOE Chair Betty Yee's office 
and no such policy change has ever been mentioned. While we would invite 
such a change, it will likely not come about unless medical marijuana is 
federally rescheduled or taken off the federal Controlled Substances 
list altogether (so that it can be prescribed), or someone wins a legal 
battle in state court (and I'm not certain that there even is such a 
case filed yet).


A POLICE chief has attacked parents for encouraging their children to abuse alcohol because they view it as less dangerous than drugs.  Northern Constabulary has become the first in Scotland to trial a scheme where off-licences use ultraviolet pens to mark bottles and cans with a code so police can track down where alcohol has been illegally bought by under-18s.

Police hope finding the source will allow them to snare off-licence owners who are breaking the law, or lead them to arrest older teenagers who often buy alcohol for those who are under-age.

Chief Inspector Paul Eddington, the operational commander for Ross, Cromarty and Skye, who is behind the scheme, is frustrated that some parents view their children drinking as less dangerous than smoking cannabis.

He said: "We've lost the thread somewhere when parents come up to our front counter demanding the bottle of wine we've confiscated from their youngster, as has happened to us.  It's very frustrating when this minority are rather upset we've taken alcohol off their 14-year-old bundle of joy.  Parents need to know what their children are up to and speak to them about their responsibilities.

"The parents have as much, if not more, responsibility than police officers, who are not here to babysit youngsters on Friday and Saturday nights when they are let loose in towns.  A lot of the time they don't have a clue where their children are or what they are up to.

"We are increasingly finding some parents are saying, well at least they are not taking drugs'.  To be perfectly honest, to a 14-year-old a half-bottle of vodka is probably more lethal than a puff of cannabis.  They can't seem to see that."

His comments echoed those of Helen Newlove, who spoke out last week after the drunken teenagers who kicked her husband to death in Warrington, Cheshire, were convicted.  Newlove called for parents to be jailed if they can't stop their children getting high on drink and drugs like those who killed her husband.

Eddington said that people needed to be taught that alcohol can be as destructive as drugs after his division's latest figures showed the problem is as bad in rural communities as urban areas.  His officers confiscated alcohol, including a high level of spirits which appeared to have been taken from family drinks supplies, from 490 youths last year and in another 50 cases after groups had been dispersed.  The figures are exceptional because only about 50,000 people live in the mainly rural communities.

Eddington said that the age of the children being arrested was coming down.  "We're getting children as young as 11 or 12, and regularly 14-year-olds, under the influence of drink," he said.

"We kickstarted the bottle-marking scheme after convincing licensees it was in their interests.  The ultraviolet pen is visible under a special light and enables our officers to know which off-licence could have sold, say, 10 bottles of beer.  It gives us a start if we can identify the source, but hopefully it will also make alcohol more difficult for youngsters to get hold of."

Wanda Mackay, a youth development worker at the Princes Trust-backed Cromarty Youth Cafe on the Black Isle, said that, in some cases, young people and their parents were reluctant for them to take part in education projects.She said: "They think older people are making judgements about them, and think people are picking on them.  They have seen the older people drinking and think they should be able to do it too."

Mackay, whose group has received UKP20,000 from Highland Council and Lloyds TSB's charitable fund to provide other activities for youngsters, advocates harm reduction to avoid placing young people - who she said would always find ways of experimenting with alcohol - in unnecessary danger.

She added: "Not all young people who are drinking are causing problems, but it's not good for them to be drinking in a cold or wooded area alone.  We had a girl left by her fellow drinkers when she was drunk.  She'd have been found dead if she hadn't been found in the dark."

MAP posted-by: Richard Lake 


Newshawk: JimmyG

Rate this article Votes: 0

Pubdate: Sun, 20 Jan 2008

Source: Sunday Herald, The (UK)

Copyright: 2008 Sunday Herald




Author: John Bynorth

Bookmark: (Cannabis - United Kingdom)

Bookmark: (Harm Reductio

Ukiah Journal: Medical marijuana sales tax may end

By ROB BURGESS The Daily Journal

Article Last Updated: 01/19/2008 10:57:28 AM PST


Medical marijuana dispensaries in California, including the two that

currently operate in Mendocino County, may soon be exempt from state

sales tax, said a representative from the California State Board of



The regulations will soon reflect the change that when marijuana is

prescribed by a physician it is determined to be a medicine, said

Sarah, the representative, who refused to reveal her surname.


In order to be exempt from sales tax, the business must conform to

Regulation 1591, which states in part that the item must qualify as a

medicine, said the representative.


"Regulation 1591 defines a medicine, in part, as any substance or

preparation intended for use by external or internal application to

the human body in the diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or

prevention of disease and which is commonly recognized as a substance

or preparation intended for that use," stated a special notice

released by the board titled "Information on Sales Tax and

Registration for Medical Marijuana Sellers."


The change will be a reversal from the board's previous position.


In February 2007, the board sent out a notice to dispensaries, urging

them to obtain a seller's permit like any other retailer.


There are currently two dispensaries operating in the county: Herban

Legend in Fort Bragg and Reflections of Avalon in Ukiah, which opened

last month on South State Street just outside of city limits.


A third dispensary, Mendo Remedies in Laytonville, was

open until last month, when it closed its doors for good.


Paula Deeter is the owner of Herban Legend in Fort Bragg. Deeter said

she has always adhered to federal tax laws.


"I wish they would make up their minds," she said. "We were unclear at

first if it was a taxable item. We've always paid federal income tax."


On April 20, 1996, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration drafted a

news release that declared that smoked marijuana had no medicinal



"A growing number of states have passed voter referenda (or

legislative actions) making smoked marijuana available for a variety

of medical conditions upon a doctor's recommendation," the memo

stated. "These measures are inconsistent with efforts to ensure that

medications undergo the rigorous scientific scrutiny of the FDA

approval process."


Rob Burgess can be reached at udjrb -at-


R.A. "Bob" Ames    +1-916-991-0585

Employment Status: Available.  Open Source Support.

Desktop Support, Internet Servers, Training,

Telephony, Network Integration, Anti-Spam Webmail.


Respect your body. Focus your mind. Love your heart. Support and

cooperate with anyone

who wants to do the same. - Laura Huxley

Saturday, January 19, 2008

POT PRINCE TAKES THE RAP: Marc Emery will go to jail

Weed Disciples Gasp As Marc Emery Cops to Five-Year Prison Deal 

Our prince of pot, Vancouver-based Marc Emery, puts it simply: "I'll be disappearing in 60 days." 

He's referring to his plea bargain with U.S.  officials over charges arising from his online marijuana seed business, made public January 14. 

The tentative agreement would see him serving five years of a 10-year sentence, waiving his right to early release and selling his beloved magazine, Cannabis Culture. 

"There's nothing much to prepare for," he tells me, "just getting the magazine into the right hands." 

There had been whispers in private for a while now to be prepared for Emery to plead.  Those of us in the know decided to give our friend his space. 

No, he won't fight the U.S.  anti-ganja goliath despite his strongest desires, and one reason is that his friends and co-arrestees, Greg Williams and med-marijuana patient Michelle Rainey, will likely get a reprieve as part of this deal. 

"I didn't want to think about Michelle in pain behind bars while I'm languishing in jail," he says. 

Things aren't so clear, however, at Rainey's end.  "I know nothing!" she writes me.  "My situation has not been resolved.  Nothing is signed." 

Confirms Williams's lawyer Kirk Tousaw, "I'm still prepared for the hearing on Monday, January 21." 

If the courts and governments can all agree, Emery will make a quick trip stateside to mockingly tell a Seattle judge how guilt-ridden he feels for overgrowing their government and to inspire folks to fight for their reefer rights and "Vote Ron Paul," an opponent of the war on drugs. 

Instead of Emery's trademark suit, I'd anticipate he'll wear his favourite Republican T-shirt for his court appearance. 

The fiery activist, who has already spent $90,000 on lawyers' costs and would have needed more, has a game plan for his time in the slammer.  "I'm going to learn languages and write 100 Chapters, my autobiography.  You need projects in jail, and those should keep me busy." 

About the wave of sadness and indignation fanning out across the country, he says, "I don't think about that." 

Others are less restrained.  "This is a tragedy," Vancouver East NDP MP Libby Davies says.  "His extradition has crossed all political spectrums as an issue of national sovereignty.  This is not a left-wing issue.  It's really unbelievable, agreeing to five years when his actions have produced no harm." 

When the news dropped, those who usually have the ganja gift of gab were left speechless.  Cannabis Culture contributor Chris "Pot Poet" Lawson kept repeating "wow" in awed tones when I caught him unawares. 

"Truly unbelievable.  Oh my god." 

MaddChronic, who'd already booked his Vansterdam flight for what we thought was Emery's upcoming trial, thought I was joking. 

"I'm kind of choked up, dude." 

Emery's dearest Toronto confidant, Chris Goodwin, refused to let it be. 

"If I were beside Marc right now, I'd punch him in the shoulder.  Fuck, man!" Goodwin said it was too soon in the proceedings for Emery to chuck it and that more could have been done politically.  The man's only expressing our painful feeling that we let the Prince of Pot down. 

At the U.S.  DEA, a spokesperson promises a press release soon.  And a rep at the U.S.  federal prosecutor's office in Seattle say it's too soon to divulge further details of the deal.  It seems they don't officially know whether or not Emery has accepted their deal. 

Emery denies he leaked the news, though it would seem apropos that he'd go that route. 

While the Harper government might feel relieved that the ghastly debacle will be swept away before an election, the Tories ought to worry about recurrent Emeroids - an incurable infection known to wipe out American-made drug policies.  

Friday, January 18, 2008



Federal Authorities Allege That Sgt. Alvaro Murillo Stole From Drug 

Dealers Then Sold the Drugs.


A veteran Huntington Park police officer once assigned to a federal 

anti-drug task force was arrested Thursday on charges that he 

conspired with others to distribute large quantities of cocaine and 

marijuana, federal authorities said.


Sgt. Alvaro Murillo, who allegedly was called "The Godfather" by his 

cohorts, is accused of using his job as a police officer to recruit 

informants in the drug world, then use them to help him steal 

narcotics from dealers.


Murillo allegedly arranged for the drugs to be put back on the street 

for his own profit, according to an indictment unsealed in U.S. 

District Court in Los Angeles.


One of Murillo's informants, Alberto Del Real-Gallardo, who 

authorities said was dubbed the "Fat Man," was also arrested Thursday.


In the indictment, prosecutors detailed several instances in which 

Murillo and Real-Gallardo allegedly recruited informants to gather 

intelligence on drug dealers and then ripped them off. They were 

charged with possessing, with intent to distribute, 5 kilograms of 

cocaine and 340 kilos of marijuana.


"Sgt. Murillo abused his position of trust to line his pockets with 

money earned from the sale of illicit drugs," U.S. Atty. Thomas P. 

O'Brien said in a statement. "As a result . . . [he's] facing a 

lengthy stint in federal prison."


Both defendants face potential life sentences if convicted, because 

of the quantities of the drugs involved, but are likely to receive 

lighter punishments.


According to prosecutors, Murillo, 44, of West Covina and 

Real-Gallardo, 40, of Palmdale would press informants for information 

about suspected drug dealers who would make good targets.


Murillo would run the information through a law enforcement database 

to make sure that they were not the subject of a legitimate law 

enforcement investigation. If they were found to be a suitable 

target, the defendants would arrange for a meeting at which they 

would take drugs "by trick, the intervention of defendant Murillo, or 

other means," the indictment said. The informants would be rewarded 

with a cut of the drugs or money from the subsequent sale.


They referred to the rip-offs as "black tactic" operations, "coded 

language signifying they would work the drug trafficker for their own 

benefit rather than as a legitimate law enforcement case," according 

to the indictment. In addition to Murillo and Real-Gallardo, the 

indictment referred to several other "unindicted co-conspirators," 

one of whom went by the moniker "The Columbian."


In one case, after at least one of the informants they had recruited 

was secretly working for the government, they allegedly plotted to 

steal 30 kilos of cocaine from an undercover Drug Enforcement 

Administration agent. The plot failed, but the indictment did not explain why.


In 2005 and 2006, Murillo was assigned to a DEA task force. He was 

suspended from the Huntington Park Police Department in 2006 after 

authorities became suspicious of his activities.


In court Thursday, prosecutors sought to have Murillo held without 

bond and submitted excerpts of secretly recorded telephone calls 

showing that he, among other things, knew that Real-Gallardo had been 

recruited by Mexican drug dealers to kidnap a man who owed them a 

$3-million drug debt but failed to report the plot to authorities.


Murillo also appeared worried that a mistress whom he had lent 

$10,000 would "open her trap about the money" and attract the 

attention of law enforcement, according to excerpts of a conversation.


Murillo was released on $200,000 bond. 

Newshawk: DrugSense Weekly

Pubdate: Fri, 18 Jan 2008

Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)

Copyright: 2008 Los Angeles Times




Author: Scott Glover Los Angeles, Times Staff Writer

Bookmark: (Corruption - United States)

Bookmark: (Policing - United States)

Bookmark: (Marijuana - California)

Bookmark: (Cocaine)



Massachusetts may soon become the thirteenth state to decriminalize the possession of marijuana, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws and the Massachusetts Cannabis Reform Coalition,

The House of Representatives has assigned a judiciary committee to review a bill that would change the punishment for those found in possession of marijuana.  Instead of being a criminal offense, it would become more like a traffic ticket for anyone possessing less than an ounce, and would be punished strictly by fine.

Twelve other states have already passed similar laws and NORML and MassCann hope that by May of this year, Massachusetts will also do the same.

The effect this would have on Northeastern's policy is unclear at the time.  Renata Nyul, the assistant director of communications and public relations at Northeastern said the administration is not concerned yet.

"Marijuana is currently an illegal drug and we are not planning for that to change," Nyul said.  "If this does happen, we will have to address it in terms with the law."

Many students, however, have actively advocated the passing of a law like this one, including the Northeastern chapter of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy ( SSDP ), which, despite attempts, is not a student group.

Kevin Wadsworth, a middler biology major who started the chapter, helped campaign and collect signatures to promote the new law, along with other students.

Wadsworth said the current law causes problems.  "It makes people use drugs in secret which is the worse thing possible because that just confirms the stereotypes when there's such a broad range of people doing it," he said.  "There's also no guarantee about who will get caught and there's no consistency.  Someone who smokes everyday might not ever get caught but someone who smokes once a week might and that isn't doing any good."

Because the details and implications of this law are still fuzzy, some students oppose the passing of it.

Hiba, a freshman biology major does not see the importance of the drug.  She didn't want to give her last name because of privacy.

"I'm sure a lot of people still use [marijuana] despite the legal issues, but with harsher consequences, they are more likely to think twice before using it," she said.

On the other hand, some students see no deterrence in current marijuana laws and no reason to punish those who use it.

"A lot of money is spent on punishing marijuana offenders who are only in possession and are not criminally dangerous," said senior psychology and English major Chris Coughlin.  "It's not deterring anything and it's just as bad as alcohol or tobacco."

Alex Faust, a freshman political science major, said he thinks the short term effects of the law may be less beneficial than long term effects.

"If this law passes, there's going to be a lot of people going out and using it [marijuana] right away.  But long term, the novelty will wear off and reverse psychology will kick in and it won't be as popular I don't think," Faust said.

The long term effects of similar laws in other states are yet to be determined since the law is so new.  Advocates, however, see the effects to be promising.

The law will only be applied to those over the age of 18.  In that sense, punishment for possession would be like an alcohol or tobacco citation.

Some students believe this is a necessary amendment.

"I know that young people are very easily influenced," Hiba said.  "They would try something without being fully aware of its effects and that needs to be taken into consideration." 


Newshawk: Students Fight Back -

Rate this article Votes: 0

Pubdate: Thu, 17 Jan 2008

Source: Northeastern News, The (Northeastern U, MA Edu)

Copyright: 2008 The Northeastern News




Author: Lisa Newman

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Attention San Francisco and California State Police: Protect SFPRC.

The San Francisco Patients' Resource Center (SFPRC) is the oldest

and most widely recognized San Francisco protector of patients'

legal and medicinal interests.  The planned SFPRC closing *IS A

PROBLEM FOR EVERY ONE OF US*, not just those directly affected.


The Constitution of the Great State of California takes precedence

over the Constitution of the United States of America.


Every California State and San Francisco City Officer is sworn

to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the Great

State of California against all enemies, both foreign and



*We have no authority to claim that a conflict exists unless and

until an appeals court has ruled that there exists a conflict.*


No appeals court has ruled that a conflict exists between

California Health & Safety Code Sections 11362.5 or 11362.7 and

federal law.


The City of Oakland and The Great State of California apparently

violated the spirit of both California & Oakland laws when they

didn't protect Oakland Cannabis Buyers' Cooperative (OCBC) from

domestic enemies during OCBC's time of need in the late 1990's,

leading directly to OCBC being forced to stop dispensing

medication, and the subsequent total chaos that we have today.


The SFPRC *PROTECTED US*.  Now it's time for us to step up to the

plate and *PROTECT SFPRC*.


If authorities refuse to protect us, then we will replace those

"authorities" with ones that will protect us.


Signed R.A. Ames in Rio Linda California on 16 January 2008 under

penalty of perjury.  All of the enclosed information is true and

correct to the best of my knowledge.



A Townville man has an idea to draw tourists to Crawford County and raise money to open Conneaut Lake Park: He wants to turn the county into a pot smoker's paradise. 

Pot plan mastermind Charles Stiles Jr.  has a long history with the drug.  He spent six years in prison for possession of marijuana and in November 2007, 57 people attended a rally in Meadville's Diamond Park as part of his ultimately unsuccessful attempt to get a referendum legalizing marijuana use on the ballot. 

Now he wants the county's magisterial district judges to throw out all marijuana charges, which Stiles claims would for practical purposes make the drug legal here.  He's also calling for the establishment of marijuana-growing licenses to raise revenue. 

He has sent a letter to all the five county magisterial judges asking them to attend a public forum to discuss his plan. 

If the reaction of two of the county's top law enforcers is any indication, Stiles' invitation will get no takers. 

"It's insane," said county District Attorney Francis Schultz.  "Of course not," he said when asked if he would support such a move. 

"In the bizarre world, if they ( district magisterial judges ) would do that, it would not make it ( marijuana ) legal.  It would still be against the law and people would still be arrested and charges filed," he said. 

"The Legislature decides what's legal and what's not legal," said Schultz, adding the magisterial district judges don't make that decision. 

He said marijuana isn't legal for any reason in Pennsylvania. 

Meadville Area Magisterial District Judge William Chisholm, who is president of the Crawford County Magisterial District Judge Association, said Stiles' "position seems rather unique." 

However, he said any dismissal of charges would have to be solely on whether the evidence presented meets the threshold required by law or whether an agreement has been reached with the police and the defendant. 

Chisholm said once a case is dismissed for lack of evidence, the police officer would have the right to refile the charges. 

He said magisterial judges take an oath to uphold the "Constitution of the United States and the constitution of Pennsylvania and follow the rules of the court.  What he's asking is totally contrary to logic and the rules in our system." 

Furthermore, he probably won't attend the meeting, noting the judicial canon of ethics doesn't permit judges to "take an active role in tearing down the Constitution.  Our presence on the surface would appear to be supportive of what he wants us to do." 

Stiles has a different view of the magisterial justices' role.  "All they have to do is tell the police no more pot charges," he said. 

He said if no pot charges are filed, Crawford County can be advertised as a "legal pot county," a move he said will draw lots of tourists to the county. 

His plan would include a county-issued license at $5 a plant, with the money going to getting Conneaut Lake Park opened. 

The one exception to dismissal of charges is if somebody sells the drug without a license.  "They have to keep it in their house," he said, adding his plan also would permit no advertisement of the product's availability. 

Instead, he would set up an 800 telephone number for those growing the plant to connect with buyers. 

Advocating for his plan, Stiles cited alleged medical benefits of marijuana for glaucoma, heart disease and other conditions.  He said cancer patients with chemotherapy "swear by it." 

"It's a miracle plant," he said.  

Newshawk: Herb
Rate this articleVotes: 0
Pubdate: Fri, 11 Jan 2008
Source: Meadville Tribune, The (PA)
Copyright: 2008 The Meadville Tribune
Author: Jane Smith
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)

Monday, January 14, 2008

Legal marijuana benefits state

Community Voices / The Bakersfield Californian

January 11, 2008


Federal Drug Enforcement Agency raids on California's medical 

marijuana dispensaries are costing the state's taxpayers millions of 

dollars in lost revenues. The DEA has not only closed facilities that 

were paying millions of dollars yearly in sales taxes, but also 

seized as much as $450,000 in sales tax payments that were in transit 

to the state Board of Equalization.


Among them was a $350,000 electronic payment to the BOE from the 

Compassion Center of Alameda County, which the DEA seized from the 

bank on Oct. 30.


Although the DEA has tried to portray dispensaries as illegal drug 

dealers, records show they have operated as legal businesses, paying 

income, payroll, business and sales taxes, and offering workmen's 

compensation, unemployment and health insurance benefits to their 



Several dispensaries closed by the DEA had licenses to operate from 

local governments, including facilities in Alameda County, Morro Bay 

and Kern County.


Nature's Medicinal in Bakersfield paid almost $1 million in taxes 

from 2005 until its closure in 2007, including $203,000 in state and 

federal income taxes, $365,000 in payroll taxes and $427,000 in sales 

taxes. Included was a $51,935 check to the state Board of 

Equalization issued on April 27, which bounced when the DEA seized 

Nature's Medicinal's bank account on May 1.


Nature's Medicinal reopened and tried to repay their taxes in monthly 

installments of $9,000. They made two payments before the DEA raided 

them again and seized all of their money. Nature's Medicinal had 25 

employees, eight of whom were indicted and the rest left unemployed 

and without health insurance due to the raid.


The DEA has tried to portray dispensaries as profiteers by citing 

gross sales revenues in the millions of dollars. However, their net 

income is modest when their costs are taken into account. For 

example, U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott charged that Nature's Medicinal 

in Bakersfield made $16 million in marijuana sales.


However, he failed to mention that their indictment shows they spent 

$13 million on the purchase of product not to mention payroll, rent, 

overhead and nearly $1 million in taxes.

Altogether, DEA enforcement actions have deprived the state's economy 

of tens of millions in tax revenues plus hundreds of paying jobs.


For example, the California Healthcare Collective Inc. in Modesto 

paid some $500,000 in sales taxes from its opening in December 2004 

until its closure by a DEA raid on Sept. 27, 2006. CHC had 22 

employees who were left unemployed by the raid.


The retail value of California's medical marijuana market is 

estimated at $870 million -- $2 billion per year. This is enough to 

generate some $100 million in sales taxes alone. At this time of 

budget deficits, we can ill afford the DEA's war on medical 

marijuana. Californians are better off having medical marijuana 

distributed by tax-paying businesses than we are by being taxed in 

order to arrest, prosecute, and imprison medical marijuana providers.


Dale Gieringer is the director of California NORML, a non-profit 

organization dedicated to reforming California's marijuana laws.


California NORML, 2215-R Market St. #278, San Francisco CA 94114 

-(415) 563- 5858 -

MAJOR CANNABIS NEWS: The Bad Kin....sort of



VANCOUVER - Marc Emery, Vancouver's self-styled Prince of Pot, has 

tentatively agreed to a five-year prison term in a plea bargain over 

U.S. money laundering and marijuana seed-selling charges.


Facing an extradition hearing Jan. 21 and the all-but-certain 

prospect of delivery to American authorities, Emery has cut a deal 

with U.S. prosecutors to serve his sentence in Canada. He also hopes 

it will save his two co-accused - Michelle Rainey and Greg Williams, 

who were his lieutenants for so much of the past decade.


The three were arrested in August 2005 at the request of the United 

States and charged even though none had ventured south of the border. 

Since then, they have been awaiting the extradition hearing. With the 

proceedings about to begin, Emery says his lawyer brokered the best 

deal possible.


If accepted by the courts in both countries, Emery said he will serve 

the full term and not be eligible for Canada's lenient 

get-out-of-jail-early rules.


"I'm going to do more time than many violent, repeat offenders," he 

complained. "There isn't a single victim in my case, no one who can 

stand up and say, 'I was hurt by Marc Emery.' No one."


He's right.  Whatever else you may think of Emery - and he grates on 

many people, what is happening here is a travesty of justice. Emery's 

case mocks our independence as a country. Prosecutors in Canada have 

not enforced the law against selling pot seeds and all you need do is 

walk along Hastings Street between Homer and Cambie for proof.


There are numerous stores selling seeds and products for producing 

cannabis. Around the corner, you'll find more seed stores. You'll 

find the same shops in Toronto and in other major Canadian cities.


The last time Emery was convicted in Canada of selling pot seeds, 

back in 1998, he was given a $2,000 fine. Emery has flouted the law 

for more than a decade and every year he sends his seed catalogue to 

politicians of every stripe.


He has run in federal, provincial and civic elections promoting his 

pro-cannabis platform. He has championed legal marijuana at 

parliamentary hearings, on national television, at celebrity 

conferences, in his own magazine, Cannabis Culture, and on his own 

Internet channel, Pot TV.


Health Canada even recommended medical marijuana patients buy their 

seeds from Emery. From 1998 until his arrest, Emery even paid 

provincial and federal taxes as a "marijuana seed vendor" totalling 

nearly $600,000.


He is being hounded because of his success. The political landscape 

has changed dramatically as a result of Emery's politicking for 

cannabis. Emery challenged a law he disagrees with using exactly the 

non-violent, democratic processes we urge our children to embrace and 

of which we are so proud.


But along the way he has angered the anti-drug law-enforcement 

community - the same gang that insists we must continue an expensive 

War on Drugs that has failed miserably for more than a quarter 

century and does more harm than good.


Canadian police grew so frustrated that neither prosecutors nor the 

courts would lock up Emery and throw away the key, they urged their 

U.S. counterparts to do the dirty work. And that's what's wrong.


Emery is being handed over to a foreign government for an activity we 

are loath to prosecute because we don't think it's a major problem. 

His two associates were charged only as a way of blackmailing him 

into copping a plea.


It's a scandal.


Emery is being made a scapegoat for an anti-cannabis criminal law 

that is a monumental failure. In spite of all our pricey efforts 

during the last 40 years, and all the demonization of marijuana, 

there is more pot on our streets, more people smoking dope and more 

damage being done to our communities as a result of the prohibition.


There is a better way and every study from the 1970s Le Dain 

Commission onward has urged change and legalization.


Regardless of what you think of Emery, he should not be facing an 

unconscionably long jail term for a victimless, non-violent crime 

that generates a shrug in his own country. Emery is facing more jail 

time than corporate criminals who defrauded widows and orphans and 

longer incarceration than violent offenders who have left their 

victims dead or in wheelchairs.


And while he has long seemed to court martyrdom, Emery is by no means 

sanguine about what is happening. He is angry at local lawyers for 

failing to come up with a viable defence.


"They had two years and $90,000 and they came up with nothing," he 

fumed. "John Conroy called me up and said 'take the deal - Michelle 

will die in jail. Michelle will die in jail!' What can I say to that?"


Rainey, who has a medical exemption to smoke marijuana, has Crohn's 

disease. Incarceration in the U.S. would deprive her of her medicine, 

and she fears it could lead to her death.


"It's an ugly situation but Marc expects miracles," Kirk Tousaw, one 

of the lawyers involved, told me. "There aren't any here."


He's right. Our extradition law puts Canadian citizens at the mercy 

of foreign governments and judges can't do much about it. Emery is 

being forced to accept a deal because not only are two of his friends 

in jeopardy if he doesn't, but also to go south for an unfair trial 

would mean serving as much as 20 years in prison, perhaps more.


One of his friends, for example, was handed a 30-year sentence for 

growing 200 plants. This is wrong.


If Emery has been breaking the law and must be jailed, our justice 

department should charge him and prosecute him in Canada. It's time 

for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson to step in and say, sorry, Uncle 

Sam, not today - not ever.