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1 US MI: Vague Medical Marijuana Law Led To Confusion, ArrestsThu, 29 Dec 2011
Source:Livingston County Daily Press & Argus (MI) Author:Roose-Church, Lisa Area:Michigan Lines:78 Added:12/30/2011

Michigan voters said yes to medical marijuana in 2008, but the vagueness in the statute put a wrinkle in the lives of numerous local caregivers and patients who were arrested in 2011 for violating the law.

The Michigan Court of Appeals helped iron out some holes when it ruled in August that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act "does not include the patient-to-patient 'sales' " and that an Isabella County dispensary that sells the drug can be closed because it's a public nuisance.

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2US CA: Future Hazy for Medical MarijuanaThu, 29 Dec 2011
Source:Desert Sun, The (Palm Springs, CA) Author:Honore, Marcel Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:12/30/2011

Experts: New Year Won't Bring Clarity on Legality, but Courts Could Answer Questions on Regulation

Palm Springs - Just over a year ago, voters were on the verge of making California the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use, but public opinion turned, and the idea swiftly went up in smoke.

That voter rejection left courts and local municipalities to grapple, yet again, with medical marijuana laws that are often vague, confusing, contradictory and vary from city to city.

In 2012, don't expect any new laws or decisions that will clear the murky legal landscape for the hundreds of thousands of Californians who use medical pot - or for opponents of legalization.

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3 US MA: PUB LTE: Prohibition Still FailsThu, 29 Dec 2011
Source:Boston Herald (MA) Author:Hawkes, Karen Area:Massachusetts Lines:30 Added:12/30/2011

The Herald is right to be alarmed by the many teens using marijuana, but the cause is the prohibition on the drug, not the movement to legalize it (" Generation up in smoke?" Dec. 27). The same federal survey also found that teen use of alcohol and tobacco - two legal and age-regulated substances - is sharply falling.

That teens have an easier time getting their hands on illegal marijuana than legal and regulated drugs shows that prohibition is ineffective in keeping our kids safe. Only by ending prohibition can we take marijuana (and its profits) away from street dealers and begin to control its use and distribution.

- - Karen Hawkes, Rowley The writer is a retired state trooper active with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

[end]

4 US CA: Pair Vows to Fight Live Oak's Medical Pot BanThu, 29 Dec 2011
Source:Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA) Author:Edwards, Jonathan Area:California Lines:75 Added:12/30/2011

The fight over farming marijuana as medicine is growing in Live Oak.

Growers are thinking about launching a campaign to recall the five Live Oak City Council members who voted to ban growing medical marijuana. The council voted for the ban Dec. 20, which takes effect Jan. 20.

"This town is disgusted with these people," said James Maral, who started the Live Oak Patients, Caregivers and Supporters Association. "This town is disgusted with what they're doing."

Council member Diane Hodges isn't getting the same reaction. About 20 people approached her over the past eight days to thank her for voting to ban marijuana grows, because they stink and threaten public safety, she said.

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5 US CA: Editorial: Black-Market EarningsThu, 29 Dec 2011
Source:Chico News & Review, The (CA)          Area:California Lines:42 Added:12/30/2011

So who's benefiting from the federal crackdown on medical-marijuana dispensaries? Why, black-market pot growers and dealers, that's who.

According to a recent report by the Center for Investigative Reporting's California Watch, prices for high-grade, outdoor-grown marijuana, after slumping precipitously in 2010, have risen by 20 to 40 percent since four U.S. attorneys began cracking down on growers and dispensaries and threatening local agencies-like the Chico City Council and city staff-with prosecution.

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6US CA: OPED: The Courage of CompassionThu, 29 Dec 2011
Source:Marin Independent Journal (CA) Author:Bragman, Lawrence Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:12/30/2011

FOR the past four months, the four United States Attorney offices in California have begun a "crackdown" on medical marijuana dispensaries in our state.

The crackdown is a departure from previous policy and judicial commitments by the Department of Justice to prioritize scarce enforcement resources elsewhere.

Recent events in Fairfax demonstrate that the crackdown is inhumane and counterproductive.

In 1996, the voters of our state overwhelming approved the Compassionate Use Act which allows patients to grow and possess marijuana with a physician's recommendation. The Marin Alliance of Medical Marijuana began operating as the state's first publicly licensed medical marijuana dispensary pursuant to a use permit issued by the town of Fairfax in 1997.

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7 US CA: Mendocino Medicinal Pot User Fights Texas ExtraditionThu, 29 Dec 2011
Source:Press Democrat, The (Santa Rosa, CA) Author:Anderson, Glenda Area:California Lines:105 Added:12/30/2011

A young Mendocino man whose legal plight has become a cause celebre for medical marijuana advocates appeared in Mendocino County court Thursday in hopes of halting extradition to Texas.

Mendocino County Judge Ann Moorman told Chris Diaz' attorney, Don Lipmanson, he needed to submit that request to Texas authorities.

"I don't have any jurisdiction," she said. But Moorman said she will consider releasing Diaz on bail at a hearing she then scheduled for Tuesday.

Supporters of Diaz, 22, an asthmatic and father of two children, ages 1 and 4, contend that he is emblematic of the problems wrought by inconsistent laws governing medicinal marijuana.

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8US NJ: Town Rules Out Medical Marijuana FarmingThu, 29 Dec 2011
Source:Asbury Park Press (NJ) Author:Oglesby, Amanda Area:New Jersey Lines:Excerpt Added:12/30/2011

PLUMSTED -- Medical marijuana farmers will find no home here until federal and state laws are consistent in regard to the drug's use and manufacture.

The Township Committee voted Wednesday night to adopt an ordinance requiring compliance with federal law. The ordinance was drafted to address inconsistencies in state and federal laws regarding medical marijuana cultivation and dispensaries after a company proposed a medical marijuana facility in neighboring Upper Freehold earlier this year.

"The purpose of this ordinance is about planning, not excluding," Plumsted Mayor Ronald Dancer said during Wednesday's meeting. "All five members of this Township Committee are very sensitive to and compassionate about the need for pharmaceutical drugs that can certainly provide a quality of life."

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9 US CO: Column: Cannabiz: Legalization Vote LoomsThu, 29 Dec 2011
Source:Colorado Springs Independent (CO) Author:Kelley, Debbie Area:Colorado Lines:73 Added:12/30/2011

Legalize it?

Coloradans may get to vote next November on legalizing recreational marijuana use. At an info session in Colorado Springs last week, organizers of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said they've collected more than enough signatures.

Among medical marijuana business owners and patients in attendance, said Jessica Hogan, spokeswoman for the Colorado Springs Medical Cannabis Council, there was one major concern: What will happen to MMJ if recreational marijuana is legalized for anyone over age 21 to buy?

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10 US CO: OPED: Help Save Safe Access To Medicinal Marijuana InThu, 29 Dec 2011
Source:Vail Daily (CO) Author:Manzanares, Dave Area:Colorado Lines:107 Added:12/29/2011

After we were granted a business license by the town of Eagle and were in business for a year, the town Board of Trustees' newly elected members joined together with some existing trustees and deemed it best to take back our business license to operate, and banned the most heavily regulated industry in Colorado from the town limits.

However, we, Eagle's sole medical marijuana dispensary, gathered enough signatures from the citizens of Eagle to reverse the trustees' split decision and put the matter to vote.

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11 US NY: LTE: The Jury's Duty When The Law Is UnfairThu, 29 Dec 2011
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Brassard, Raymond J. Area:New York Lines:53 Added:12/29/2011

To the Editor:

Re "Jurors Need to Know That They Can Say No," by Paul Butler (Op-Ed, Dec. 21):

The concept of jury nullification is more complex than Mr. Butler suggests. Because juries deliberate in secret and do not provide reasons for their decisions, there is no doubt that jurors have the power not to follow the governing law. The critical question is whether jurors have the right to do so.

For more than a century, the courts have ruled that juries have no right to decide what the law is, but rather have a duty to apply the law to the facts based on the trial evidence.

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12US MI: Jackson Residents Ready To Work On Legalizing MarijuanaThu, 29 Dec 2011
Source:Jackson Citizen Patriot (MI) Author:Aupperlee, Aaron Area:Michigan Lines:Excerpt Added:12/29/2011

Jackson residents have already volunteered to help a grass-roots organization put a measure to legalize marijuana on the ballot in November.

"oeEverybody that I've talked to said it should be legalized," said Steve Sharpe, a medical marijuana patient who volunteered to help the campaign. "oeWe want the public to be involved in this because it's their health, and it's their money."

The Ann Arbor-based group, Repeal Today For A Safer Michigan 2012, wants the question to go before voters. AnnArbor.com obtained a draft version of the petition that seeks to amend the Michigan Constitution, making marijuana legal for people 21 and older.

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13 US CT: Ledyard Student Survey Tracks Use Of Pot, AlcoholTue, 27 Dec 2011
Source:Day, The (New London,CT) Author:Hanckel, Julianne Area:Connecticut Lines:87 Added:12/29/2011

Tobacco Down, But Officials See Upward Trend For Marijuana

Ledyard - Results from the 2011 youth drug and alcohol survey, which show that tobacco use among the town's seventh-through 12th-graders is down but alcohol and marijuana use is trending upward, were presented to members of the Board of Education last week.

"The survey asks some really good questions about alcohol, drugs and tobacco use and gives us a baseline to determine if there are any trends of concern," Superintendent of Schools Michael Graner said Wednesday. "Overall, tobacco use is way down which is a good thing, but the two areas of concern that I know the youth survey has looked at throughout the region are marijuana use and alcohol use."

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14 US CA: Column: 2011 Wrap-UpThu, 29 Dec 2011
Source:Sacramento News & Review (CA) Author:Downs, David Area:California Lines:118 Added:12/29/2011

California's year in medical marijuana might best be summed up with the story of prominent Sacramento County dispensary Magnolia Wellness.

Sporting huge ads and a great selection of strains such as Violator Kush, the Orangevale club boasted an estimated 40,000 patients at its peak. But it drew increasing fire from fed up local and federal prohibitionist-minded officials. Facing fines and potential forfeiture, Magnolia held a widely publicized marijuana giveaway on Friday, December 16. Hundreds of patients lined up for free grams as police cruisers idled nearby.

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15 US NY: LTE: The Jury's Duty When The Law Is UnfairThu, 29 Dec 2011
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Chandler, Adam D. Area:New York Lines:31 Added:12/29/2011

To the Editor:

Jury nullification might sound appealing when it's used in a defendant's favor to set aside petty laws. But jury nullification doesn't just let off otherwise guilty people; it also convicts the innocent. Would anyone congratulate a jury for ignoring the law because of its animus toward the defendant rather than its sympathy?

Democratically accountable bodies write our criminal laws. Twelve unelected and anonymous people should not be able to flout them behind closed doors.

Burlington, N.C., Dec. 21, 2011

The writer is a recent graduate of Yale Law School.

[end]

16 US NY: PUB LTE: The Jury's Duty When The Law Is UnfairThu, 29 Dec 2011
Source:New York Times (NY) Author:Rao, Kumar Area:New York Lines:41 Added:12/29/2011

To the Editor:

What is hidden behind the heated philosophical debate that jury nullification generates are the real people and communities affected by prosecutorial and police policies. Paul Butler properly notes the disgraceful number of marijuana possession prosecutions in New York City. But what we need to be equally aware of is that drug prosecutions in this city almost invariably target people suffering from endemic joblessness, homelessness as well as mental health and substance abuse problems aggravated by collapsing and underfinanced social services.

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17 US ME: Opening Near For Pot ClinicThu, 29 Dec 2011
Source:Kennebec Journal (Augusta, ME) Author:Shepherd, Michael Area:Maine Lines:100 Added:12/29/2011

Dispensary Will See Patients Full Time Starting Next Month

HALLOWELL -- A city medical marijuana dispensary started seeing patients by appointment before Christmas and plans to open full time next month.

Wellness Connection of Maine's 2,400-square-foot dispensary, one floor above the Liberal Cup on Water Street, is scheduled to open by January's end, according to the firm's executive director, Becky DeKeuster.

Under state law, the dispensary will be the only one allowed in Kennebec County.

Earlier this year, DeKeuster had hoped the dispensary would be open by the fall. Renovations have held up the Hallowell dispensary's opening, according to Jane Lane, senior vice president with Philip W. Johnston Associates, a Boston-based public affairs firm working with Wellness Connection.

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18 US CA: Shasta County medical marijuana debate: Pot CultivationWed, 28 Dec 2011
Source:Record Searchlight (Redding, CA) Author:Shulman, Alayna Area:California Lines:116 Added:12/29/2011

A group of local medical cannabis advocates is trying to gather 10,000 signatures to overturn a recent ordinance Shasta County supervisors passed that restricts marijuana growing for county residents.

Nor Cal Safe Access member Dave Shore said about 30 people have been gathering signatures outside medical marijuana dispensaries and less controversial local businesses like Walmart for about a week now.

While county supervisors passed two ordinances regulating medical marijuana earlier this month "" one banning dispensaries and one introducing cultivation restrictions for county residents "" the group is seeking a referendum only for the growth ordinance, Shore said.

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19 US CO: Pot Backers Could Get Question On 2012 BallotWed, 28 Dec 2011
Source:Daily Sentinel, The (Grand Junction, CO) Author:Ashby, Charles Area:Colorado Lines:93 Added:12/29/2011

A group pushing for a citizens initiative to legalize small quantities of marijuana will submit more than 155,000 signatures next week to put the amendment on next year's ballot.

Mason Tvert, a proponent of the measure and head of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, said Wednesday he and hundreds of volunteers are nearing the end of the petition-signature stage to get the measure on the November ballot.

Tvert said the group plans to turn in petitions to the Secretary of State's Office next Wednesday.

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20 US: Johnson Says He's Leaving GOP For LibertariansWed, 28 Dec 2011
Source:Santa Maria Times (CA)          Area:United States Lines:45 Added:12/29/2011

Former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, a longshot candidate for the Republican presidential nomination, said Wednesday he is leaving the GOP in favor of running as a Libertarian.

Johnson told a news conference at the state Capitol that the decision was difficult, but that he was "deeply disappointed" by the treatment he received in the Republican nomination process.

"I had hoped to lay out a real libertarian message on all the issues in the Republican contest. The process was not fair and open," he said.

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