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1 US PA: Pa. Marijuana Growers And Doctors Get Creative With No BudgetTue, 21 Nov 2017
Source:Philadelphia Daily News (PA) Author:Wood, Sam Area:Pennsylvania Lines:100 Added:11/23/2017

Patient response to Pa. marijuana program 'extremely positive'

What if Pennsylvania had a medical marijuana program but few people knew about it?

With hundreds of millions of dollars invested in cannabis growing facilities and dispensaries -- and the health of thousands of prospective patients on the line -- alerting state residents to the program should be a priority. But there's effectively a gag order on nearly all players involved.

The state Department of Health, responsible for the program's roll-out, has no budget to pay for advertising. Marijuana growers, processors and dispensaries are prohibited by law from actively promoting their wares. And doctors who write recommendations for medical cannabis are forbidden from publicizing that they're participating.

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2 US: Christie to Trump: 'It's Time' For Opioid DeclarationTue, 29 Aug 2017
Source:Herald News (West Paterson, NJ) Author:Pugliese, Nicholas Area:United States Lines:81 Added:09/01/2017

Gov. Chris Christie is growing impatient with the Trump administration over its delay in declaring the opioid epidemic a national emergency.

Christie said during an interview with MSNBC anchor Chris Hayes on Tuesday night that too many lives are being lost to drug overdoses for a formal declaration to wait any longer.

"I think it's time for the president and White House staff to get on this and for the president to demand that they get the papers in front of him so he can sign it," Christie said.

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3US NJ: Anti-Drug Activist To Seek Pardon From Christie In Gun CaseFri, 07 Jul 2017
Source:San Antonio Express-News (TX)          Area:New Jersey Lines:Excerpt Added:07/11/2017

JERSEY CITY, N.J. (AP) - A Pennsylvania man charged with trying to drive through the Holland Tunnel with a cache of weapons on his way to rescue a teenager from a drug den will ask New Jersey's governor for a pardon after a judge denied his request to enter a pretrial intervention program.

Attorney James Lisa told a judge Thursday that he will seek a pardon after the judge denied allowing John Cramsey, of East Greenville, to enter the program after he earlier rejected a plea.

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4 US: Sessions Toughens Policy For Drug CasesSat, 13 May 2017
Source:Wall Street Journal (US) Author:Reinhard, Beth Area:United States Lines:122 Added:05/13/2017

In a move expected to swell federal prisons, Attorney General Jeff Sessions is scuttling an Obama administration policy to avoid charging nonviolent, less-serious drug offenders with long, mandatory-minimum sentences.

Mr. Sessions's new guidelines revive a policy created under President George W. Bush that tasked federal prosecutors with charging "the most serious readily provable offense."

It is the latest and most significant step by the new administration toward dismantling President Barack Obama's criminal justice legacy. And it defies a trend in state capitals-including several led by conservative Republicans-toward recalibrating or abandoning the mandatory-minimum sentences popularized during the "war on drugs" of the 1980s and 1990s.

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5US CA: Obama Commutes Prison Sentence Of California HealthcareThu, 19 Jan 2017
Source:Fresno Bee, The (CA) Author:Doyle, Michael Area:California Lines:Excerpt Added:01/20/2017

WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Thursday commuted the 20-year prison sentenced imposed on Richard Ruiz Montes, convicted in 2008 for his role in the Modesto's pot-dealing California Healthcare Collective.

In one of his final presidential acts, Obama used his executive authority to cut Montes' sentence by more than half. Now held at a federal facility in Atwater, according to the Bureau of Prisons' inmate locator, the 36-year-old Montes will be released May 19.

He is identified as Richard by the White House and Bureau of Prisons, but has also been known as Ricardo. The White House listed his hometown as Escalon.

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6 US NC: Obama Commutes Prison Sentence Of California HealthcareThu, 19 Jan 2017
Source:Charlotte Observer (NC) Author:Doyle, Michael Area:North Carolina Lines:50 Added:01/19/2017

President Barack Obama on Thursday commuted the 20-year prison sentenced imposed on Richard Ruiz Montes, convicted in 2008 for his role in the Modesto's pot-dealing California Healthcare Collective.

In one of his final presidential acts, Obama used his executive authority to cut Montes' sentence by more than half. Now held at a federal facility in Atwater, according to the Bureau of Prisons' inmate locator, the 36-year-old Montes will be released May 19.

He is identified as Richard by the White House and Bureau of Prisons, but has also been known as Ricardo. The White House listed his hometown as Escalon.

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7 US TX: Obama Commutes Prison Sentence Of California HealthcareThu, 19 Jan 2017
Source:Ft. Worth Star-Telegram (TX) Author:Doyle, Michael Area:Texas Lines:50 Added:01/19/2017

President Barack Obama on Thursday commuted the 20-year prison sentenced imposed on Richard Ruiz Montes, convicted in 2008 for his role in the Modesto's pot-dealing California Healthcare Collective.

In one of his final presidential acts, Obama used his executive authority to cut Montes' sentence by more than half. Now held at a federal facility in Atwater, according to the Bureau of Prisons' inmate locator, the 36-year-old Montes will be released May 19.

He is identified as Richard by the White House and Bureau of Prisons, but has also been known as Ricardo. The White House listed his hometown as Escalon.

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8 US SC: Obama Commutes Prison Sentence Of California HealthcareThu, 19 Jan 2017
Source:State, The (SC) Author:Doyle, Michael Area:South Carolina Lines:51 Added:01/19/2017

President Barack Obama on Thursday commuted the 20-year prison sentenced imposed on Richard Ruiz Montes, convicted in 2008 for his role in the Modesto's pot-dealing California Healthcare Collective.

In one of his final presidential acts, Obama used his executive authority to cut Montes' sentence by more than half. Now held at a federal facility in Atwater, according to the Bureau of Prisons' inmate locator, the 36-year-old Montes will be released May 19.

He is identified as Richard by the White House and Bureau of Prisons, but has also been known as Ricardo. The White House listed his hometown as Escalon.

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9 US MD: Bid To Alter Drug Laws And Allow Some Early Prison ReleasesWed, 18 Jan 2017
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD)          Area:Maryland Lines:116 Added:01/18/2017

[photo] A cell at El Reno Federal Correctional Institution in Oklahoma. President Obama toured the prison last week. (Saul Loeb / AFP-Getty Images)

A bipartisan push to reduce the number of low-level drug offenders in prison is gaining momentum in Congress, but proposals may disappoint advocates hoping to slash the mandatory minimum sentences that are seen as chiefly responsible for overcrowding in the nation's detention facilities.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) surprised advocates Thursday by saying he strongly supported holding a vote on a prison reform bill similar to one sponsored by Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, a moderate Republican from Wisconsin. The measure has been languishing in the House Judiciary Committee.

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10 US NY: Pot Grower Serving 20 Years Seeks Clemency From ObamaSun, 15 Jan 2017
Source:Buffalo News (NY)          Area:New York Lines:173 Added:01/15/2017

Joseph Tigano III is spending 20 years in prison for growing marijuana.

He grew a lot of it. No one disputes that. And this was his second felony conviction. So no one, not even Tigano's lawyers, suggests the Cattaraugus County man should go unpunished.

But 20 years?

Even the federal judge who sentenced Tigano in 2015 thought it was too heavy a price to pay.

"It is much greater than necessary," U.S. District Judge Elizabeth A. Wolford said at the time, "but I do not have a choice."

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11US: Geraldine Ferraro's Son Pardoned For 1988 Cocaine ConvictionSat, 31 Dec 2016
Source:USA Today (US)          Area:United States Lines:Excerpt Added:12/31/2016

[photo] Geraldine Ferraro waves to the crowd at the 1984 Democratic Convention in San Francisco.(Photo: Dixie Vereen, USA TODAY)

MONTPELIER, Vt. -- The son of former vice presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro has been pardoned by the governor of Vermont nearly 30 years after he was convicted of selling cocaine to an undercover officer.

John Zaccaro Jr. was a Middlebury College student when he was arrested in 1986 and accused of selling $25 worth of cocaine to an undercover state police officer. He was convicted in 1988 and served four months under house arrest. At the time, Ferraro accused prosecutors of unfairly targeting her son because of her high profile after becoming the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 1984.

Outgoing Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, pardoned Zaccaro and nine others Saturday.

Zaccaro didn't immediately respond to messages left for comment.

Ferraro died in 2011.

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12 US IL: Medical Marijuana's Big Business Lures Ex-law Enforcers InWed, 28 Dec 2016
Source:Chicago Tribune (IL)          Area:Illinois Lines:114 Added:12/28/2016

With fewer than 4,000 approved patients, the nascent medical marijuana business in Illinois is off to a slow start. Yet it hasn't kept away a cadre of cannabis entrepreneurs who once relied on guns, badges, tough drug laws and lengthy prison sentences to fight the drug.

While neither state regulators nor the medical marijuana industry track the number of employees who were former law enforcement officials, The Associated Press has identified no fewer than 17 in Illinois, many of whom have outsized influence -- from a trustee of the state's chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police to one-time undercover narcotics officers.

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13 US PA: Past Approach To Crack Addicts Harsher Than Today's HeroinMon, 12 Dec 2016
Source:Reporter, The (Lansdale, PA) Author:Yates, Riley Area:Pennsylvania Lines:378 Added:12/14/2016

Officials, former inmate contrast the emphasis on treatment vs. incarceration

When Leola Bivins was first sent away for dealing drugs, she was a 22-year-old high school dropout with a 2-year-old daughter at home.

Addiction was the center of the life she knew in East Stroudsburg, where she was born and raised, she recalled recently. Bivins' mother was a heroin addict - she eventually died of an overdose - and seemingly everyone around her was either selling drugs or abusing them, Bivins said.

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14US: Obama Has Set A Single-Year Record For CommutationsFri, 28 Oct 2016
Source:USA Today (US) Author:Korte, Gregory Area:United States Lines:Excerpt Added:11/01/2016

WASHINGTON - President Obama granted 98 more commutations to federal inmates Thursday, bringing the total for this year to 688 - the most commutations ever granted by a president in a single year.

In all, he's now shortened the sentences of 872 inmates during his presidency, more than any president since Woodrow Wilson.

The actions were part of Obama's extraordinary effort to use his constitutional power to rectify what he sees as unduly harsh sentences imposed during the "War on Drugs." Through a clemency initiative announced in 2014, he's effectively re-sentenced hundreds of non-violent drug dealers to the sentences they would have received under today's more lenient sentencing guidelines.

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15US: Cells Stay Locked After Obama ClemencyFri, 16 Sep 2016
Source:USA Today (US) Author:Korte, Gregory Area:United States Lines:Excerpt Added:09/20/2016

WASHINGTON - For 126 federal inmates who received presidential clemency last month, the good news might have come with a dose of disappointment.

President Obama had granted their requests for commutations, using his constitutional pardon power to shorten their sentences for drug offenses. But instead of releasing them, he left them with years - and in some cases, more than a decade - left to serve on their sentences.

As Obama has begun to grant commutations to inmates convicted of more serious crimes, Obama has increasingly commuted their sentences without immediately releasing them. These are what are known as "term" commutations, as opposed to the more common "time served" commutations, and they represent a remarkable departure from recent past practice. Unlike a full pardon, commutations shorten sentences but leave other consequences of the conviction in place.

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16US: Obama Cuts Short the Sentences of 111 Imprisoned forWed, 31 Aug 2016
Source:Orange County Register, The (CA) Author:Freking, Kevin Area:United States Lines:Excerpt Added:08/31/2016

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama cut short on Tuesday the sentences of 111 federal inmates in another round of commutations for those convicted of nonviolent drug offenses.

Obama has long called for phasing out strict sentences for drug convictions, arguing they lead to excessive punishment and incarceration rates unseen in other developed countries.

White House Counsel Neil Eggleston said the commutations underscored the president's commitment to using his clemency authority to give deserving individuals a second chance. He said that Obama has granted a total of 673 commutations, more than the previous 10 presidents combined. More than a third of the recipients were serving life sentences.

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17 US DC: Forced Out Of A Home Over A Marijuana JointMon, 29 Aug 2016
Source:Washington Post (DC) Author:Hawkins, Derek Area:District of Columbia Lines:406 Added:08/29/2016

D.C. Tenants Face Eviction As 'Drug Nuisances' Even When No One Is Charged With a Crime

For eight years, Rajuawn Middleton, an assistant at a major downtown law firm, lived in a four-bedroom red-brick home she rented on a quiet tree-lined street in Northeast Washington - until she was forced out over a few cigarettes containing a "green leafy substance."

In March 2014, police arrested her adult son on charges of possessing a handgun outside a nightclub. He had not lived with Middleton for years, but two weeks later, D.C. police looking for more guns raided her home.

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18 US MD: An Unorthodox Marijuana PartnershipWed, 17 Aug 2016
Source:Baltimore Sun (MD) Author:Wood, Pamela Area:Maryland Lines:158 Added:08/17/2016

Town of Hancock Joins With Grower of Medical Cannabis

The small Western Maryland town of Hancock - population 1,545 - is poised to be a part owner of a medical marijuana company after winning a license to grow cannabis plants this week.

The town is in a unique partnership with an Arizona company that plans to grow cannabis in a town-owned warehouse and share profits with the Washington County town.

After Hancock suffered an exodus of about 1,000 jobs over the past two decades, the cannabis industry could spark an economic turnaround for the town and surrounding communities, said Mayor Daniel Murphy.

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19US: Obama Shortens Terms for 214 Federal Inmates, Most forThu, 04 Aug 2016
Source:Orange County Register, The (CA) Author:Lederman, Josh Area:United States Lines:Excerpt Added:08/04/2016

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday cut short the sentences of 214 federal inmates, including 67 life sentences, in what the White House called the largest batch of commutations on a single day in more than a century.

Almost all the prisoners were serving time for nonviolent crimes related to cocaine, methamphetamine or other drugs, although a few were charged with firearms violations related to their drug activities. Almost all are men, though they represent a diverse cross-section of America geographically.

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20 US MA: A Boston First: Medical Marijuana For SaleWed, 03 Aug 2016
Source:Boston Globe (MA) Author:Lazar, Kay Area:Massachusetts Lines:130 Added:08/04/2016

Young women in pink and powder blue princess costumes handed out cards advertising birthday parties to wide-eyed little girls, while commuters rushed past on bustling Washington Street to catch the Downtown Crossing subway.

Around the corner in a gray building with no signs other than a green awning listing 21 Milk St., executives at Patriot Care were preparing Tuesday night for a milestone. It's been a long road with more than a few bumps, but Boston's first medical marijuana dispensary is finally ready for its expected grand opening Wednesday.

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