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
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
[continues 401 words]
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.
[continues 844 words]
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.
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.
[continues 344 words]
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.
[continues 194 words]
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
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.
[continues 435 words]
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
"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
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.
[continues 581 words]
PLUMSTED -- Medical marijuana farmers will find no home here until
federal and state laws are consistent in regard to the drug's use and
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
"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."
[continues 488 words]
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?
[continues 344 words]
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.
[continues 698 words]
To the Editor:
Re "Jurors Need to Know That They Can Say No," by Paul Butler (Op-Ed,
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.
[continues 169 words]
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.
[continues 387 words]
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."
[continues 513 words]
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.
[continues 770 words]
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
Burlington, N.C., Dec. 21, 2011
The writer is a recent graduate of Yale Law School.
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
[continues 139 words]
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
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
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
[continues 507 words]
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
[continues 580 words]
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.
[continues 549 words]
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.
[continues 164 words]