DOJ Memo: RI Dispensaries Could Face Prosecution
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DOJ Memo: RI Dispensaries Could Face Prosecution
Posted by CN Staff on July 01, 2011 at 06:35:21 PT
By Erika Niedowski, The Associated Press
Source: Associated Press 
Providence -- The U.S. Department of Justice has warned that large-scale medical marijuana dispensaries in Rhode Island could face federal prosecution for violating drug and money-laundering laws.A memo obtained by The Associated Press on Thursday says that marijuana dispensaries could be prosecuted even in states where medical marijuana is legal. Gov. Lincoln Chafee suspended plans to license three dispensaries in the state after U.S. Attorney Peter Neronha warned in April that opening such centers could lead to federal prosecution.
Michael Trainor, a spokesman for Chafee, on Thursday night confirmed receipt of the memo dated Wednesday from Neronha's office. He said it is under review by the governor's chief legal counsel and declined to comment further.Jim Martin, a spokesman for Neronha, also declined to comment.Sixteen states, including Rhode Island, have legalized the medical use of marijuana — actions that have prompted the Justice Department to take a tougher position on the issue.The memorandum is aimed at clarifying earlier guidance from the department to federal prosecutors in states that have legalized marijuana.In it, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole wrote that the department's earlier memo was "never intended to shield such activities from federal enforcement action and prosecution, even where those activities purport to comply with state law."That earlier memo specified that federal law enforcement interest in marijuana focused on illegal drug trafficking and not on individuals with cancer or other terminal illnesses who were using marijuana — or caregivers who were administering it — as part of their treatments.But since then, Cole said, there has been an increase in the scope of commercial cultivation, sale, and distribution of marijuana for what he called "purported medical purposes." Tens of thousands of marijuana plants could yield revenue in the millions of dollars.State laws are "not a defense" to civil or criminal enforcement of federal law, Cole said."Persons who are in the business of cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law," he said.Those individuals could also face federal money laundering charges, according to Cole.The Rhode Island Department of Health in March selected three dispensaries to distribute medical marijuana in the state: the Thomas C. Slater Compassion Center in Providence; Summit Medical Compassion Center in Warwick; and Greenleaf Compassionate Care Center in Portsmouth. But given the uncertainty of the federal government's position, they have yet to be licensed by the state or to begin operation.Rhode Island also allows smaller-scale licensed growers, or so-called caregivers, to have up to 24 marijuana plants and 5 ounces of marijuana for distribution to a patient. Patients can have up to 12 marijuana plants and 2½ ounces of marijuana.Associated Press writer Pete Yost contributed to this article.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Erika Niedowski, The Associated Press Published: July 1, 2011 Copyright: 2011 The Associated PressCannabisNews Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #9 posted by kaptinemo on July 02, 2011 at 19:51:45 PT:
A little history lesson
The 'Too Big To Fail' International Banks want to keep presently illegal drugs illegal because the dirty money from their laundering was all that kept them from folding during the crisis the banksters made. Banksters like Geithner.Now, google the following:Obama Clinton June 6 2008 Chantilly Virginia Just that. Nothing more. No front loading. Nothing but names of people and a place, and a date. Understand that the future President was picked at that meeting. As have past Presidents, and Canadian and British Prime Ministers (i.e. Harper met with them in 2003). It's why Clinton and Obama 'kissed and made up' after one of the most rancorous, divisive campaigns is Democratic Party history...which like all campaigns, are nothing but bunkum for the masses. It's the same for the Republicans; Lil' Georgie met with them in 1999, and his supposedly hopeless campaign took off like a shot, despite him being dumber than a post and surrounded by historically proven incompetents and retread crooks from the Iran-Contra days.The real decisions are made behind closed doors and away from the public's eyes...and behind their backs. Not elected by the electorate, but selected by the international banksters present at that meeting. The same banksters that caused the world-wide meltdown, and then demanded that the US bail them out. Meaning the banksters demanded that the US citizens bail them out. The same bansksters that have successfully, through their pocketed pols, thwarted drug law reform at every step. Banksters like Geithner.
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Comment #8 posted by afterburner on July 02, 2011 at 09:52:35 PT
Paul & runruff
I will contact my Representative, knowing full well that he will ignore my grievance and spout more Drug War platitudes as he has so many times in the past. However, I already sent a hand-typed letter to Congressman John Conyers, Jr., a co-sponsor of the bill & a member of the committee in charge of vetting the bill. Since Chairman Lamar Smith has already closed down his email & facebook to prevent citizen feedback, I will send respectful snail mail to his office. They may try to block electronic feedback, but they cannot stop the flow of protest letters hand-written or hand-typed and sent to Washington, D.C. by the U.S. Postage Service. I suggest that the time is right for a mass physical letter campaign to show the obstinate prohibitionists that we will no longer stand idly by, nor will we be sidelined by dismissively snide comments. We petition our government for redress of grievances according to the U.S. Constitution.We want the U.S. Congress to get a chance for a free vote on this important bill, and we will keep making a issue of this until they reconsider.
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Comment #7 posted by Canis420 on July 01, 2011 at 23:43:39 PT:
Paul A
Your comments related to the latest memo resound far and wide. To me it is an issue of freedom, and most of all, common sense.
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Comment #6 posted by paul armentano on July 01, 2011 at 11:27:37 PT
DOJ Memo Emphasizes Why We Must Pass HR 2306
Latest DOJ Memo Emphasizes Why We Must Pass HR 2306, The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act Of 2011
July 1st, 2011 By: Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director 
Share this Article 	       On Wednesday the Obama administration for the second time in two years issued a Department of Justice memorandum regarding the state-sanctioned use and production of medical cannabis. However, unlike the release of the 2009 ‘Ogden memo,’ which the administration promoted with great fanfare, the issuance of this week’s ‘Cole memorandum’ is strategically being downplayed by the Justice Department.As for the content of the memo, which you can read in full here, it’s hardly surprising — particularly in light of the administration’s recent, and highly public threats to lawmakers in states wishing to enact medical marijuana laws or expand upon their existing programs.Perhaps most notably, the memorandum states that the recent flurry of intimidating US Attorney letters to state lawmakers are ‘entirely consistent’ with the Obama administration’s position. In other words, the administration is now on record in support of claims made by US Attorneys in Rhode Island, Washington, and other states alleging that state employees could be targeted and federally prosecuted for simply registering and licensing medical cannabis patients or providers — a position that is even more extreme than that of the previous administration. (Notably to date, however, no state employee — or for that matter, no state sanctioned dispensary operator — has ever been prosecuted by the federal government.)The memo goes on to state that the federal government distinguishes between individual medical cannabis patients and third party providers, indicating that it is a poor use of federal resources (rather than a poor use of judgment) to target the former, while indicating that the latter are fair game for federal prosecution. It states:**“A number of states have enacted some form of legislation relating to the medical use of marijuana. Accordingly the Ogden memo reiterated to you that prosecution of significant traffickers in illegal drugs, including marijuana, remains a core priority, but advised that it is likely not an efficient use of federal resources to focus enforcement efforts on individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses who use marijuana as part of a recommended treatment regimen consistent with applicable state law, or their caregivers. The term “caregiver” as used in the memorandum meant just that: individuals providing care to individuals with cancer or other serious illnesses, not commercial operations cultivating, selling or distributing marijuana.”**Finally, the memo acknowledges that there has been an increase in the number of states that have either enacted or are considering enacting state laws allowing for the licensed production and distribution of cannabis to authorized patients. (To date, such state-licensed dispensaries are up and running in Colorado, New Mexico, and Maine; laws permitting such facilities are on the books in Arizona, Delaware, the District of Columbia, New Jersey, Rhode Island, and Vermont.) Clearly, the federal government is not at all pleased with this progress.**“The Odgen Memorandum was never intended to shield such activities from federal enforcement action and prosecution, even where those activities purport to comply with state law. Persons who are in the business of cultivating. selling, or distributing marijuana, and those who knowingly facilitate such activities, are in violation of the Controlled Substances Act, regardless of state law. Consistent with the resource constraints and the discretion you may exercise in your district, such persons are subject to federal enforcement action, including potential prosecution. State laws or local ordinances are not a defense to civil enforcement of federal law with respect to such conduct, including enforcement of the CSA. Those who engage in transactions involving the proceeds of such activity may also be in violation of federal money laundering statutes and other federal financing laws.”**Regardless of how one wishes to interpret the latest memo from the DOJ, one thing is clear. States will never truly enjoy the freedom to experiment with alternative marijuana policies until the federal government is compelled to get out of their way. Only the passage of HR 2306, the ‘Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011,’ can make that happen.House Bill 2306 mimics changes enacted by Congress that repealed the federal prohibition of alcohol by removing the federal government’s power to prosecute minor marijuana offenders. It would eliminate the existing conflict between federal law and the laws of those sixteen states that already allow for the limited use of marijuana under a physicians’ supervision. Further, it would permit state governments that wish to fully legalize and regulate the responsible use, possession, production, and intrastate distribution of marijuana for all adults to be free to do so without federal interference.State lawmakers should be free to explore alternate marijuana policies — including medicalization, decriminalization, and/or legalization — without being held hostage to archaic federal prohibition or the whims of the Department of Justice. Contact your member of Congress and urge him or her to vote ‘yes’ on HR 2306.
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Comment #5 posted by runruff on July 01, 2011 at 10:52:29 PT
The Controlled Substance Act is the vault that holds the key to ending the war on drugs. The key phrase that affects marijuana prohibition is "being there is no accepted medical use of marijuana in the United States or it's proven safety." The first to nullify the CSA was California in 1996. Since then there have been fifteen other states who have found accepted medical use for marijuana and find that it is safe. This completely nullifies the whole premise behind marijuana prohibition.
Going back to 1937 the first law "The Marijuana Stamp Act" enabled the Feds to put people in prison and to prohibit the use of marijuana/hemp for 33 years, until Timothy Leary challenged the constitutionality of the Stamp Act in 1969. The Supreme Court found the Marijuana Stamp Act unconstitutional and struck it down.
The lawyers and lobbyists for the pharmaceutical companies got together and created the unconstitutional CSA. They presented this to the corporate owned Congress and it was passed. Skip to the present. The CSA has now been used for the last forty years to put people in prison and prohibit the use of cannabis/hemp. 
The Feds have been perpetrating this ruse for all these years counting on American public ignorance and/or lack of courage to confront it. 
And so the beat goes on
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Comment #4 posted by Sam Adams on July 01, 2011 at 10:47:40 PT
campaign trail
can't help but notice the striking similarity between Obama and Bush. Both promised to leave medMJ alone on the campaign trail.Both sent in the thugs shortly after being elected.Time for RI to lawyer up & sue the feds. Vermont and Maine should join in. The northeastern states are used to suing the feds on other issues such as carbon emissions, mercury pollution, health care, immigration, etc.
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Comment #3 posted by Tim on July 01, 2011 at 09:27:04 PT:
"Prohibition... goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes... A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded." - Abraham LincolnWe can learn a lot from our founding fathers.
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on July 01, 2011 at 09:12:13 PT
Money Laundering Laws - A Big International Club 
Secondary and “unmentioned” consequences of US money laundering laws.
Wednesday, December 15th, 2010 by Mark D Hughes posted in Civil Liberties, Economics, Lifestyle, Philosophy, Politics, War on Drugs. Law: U.S. Money Laundering Laws - Denver Criminal Attorney Specializing in Criminal Defense for Denver - Colorado Criminal Lawyer of U.S. Anti-Money Laundering Laws.
Michael L. Burton,
James G. Tillen
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on July 01, 2011 at 07:43:01 PT
You know....
...this is an unproclaimed civil war...oh, except where the feds call it a war. But like the feds do...they like to be PC in everything to help us think correctly. So, they call it a war on drugs. The irony here is palatable because you cannot address the human experience without addressing the issue of human drug use.There it is! A war on drugs is a war on humans. No matter "how" you cut us we still bleed!
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