Cannabis News
  Marijuana Group Not High on Patriot Act
Posted by CN Staff on June 02, 2006 at 21:36:07 PT
By Troy Hooper - Aspen Daily News Staff Writer 
Source: Aspen Daily News  

cannabis Colorado -- America's war on terror is leaving some criminal defense attorneys dazed and confused.

In an age when 11 states allow marijuana to be used for medicinal purposes -- a 12th state, New Jersey, is currently considering it -- and communities across the nation are softening penalties for possessing small amounts of the pungent green plant, conservative legislators are using the Patriot Act to crack down on drugs.

At a National Organization of the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) legal seminar at The Gant in Aspen this week, Denver attorney Jeralyn Merritt warned defense lawyers from across the country that the Patriot Act is infringing on civil liberties and how its overly broad definitions could impact their clients.

"Once you give the government power, it's very hard to get it back," she said.

In North Carolina, a district attorney has used the state's "weapons of mass destruction" statute to charge a suspected crystal methamphetamine lab owner. The creative application of the statute allowed the prosecutor to threaten the alleged meth producer with a prison sentence of 12 years to life, as opposed to the substantially smaller sentences already on the books for drug dealing.

In neighboring Georgia, dozens of Indian convenience-store clerks and managers have been prosecuted for selling cold medicine and other legal products that are commonly used to make meth, even though many of the defendants spoke limited English and apparently did not understand the medicine can produce drugs.

Up in Washington, federal officials enacted a Patriot Act provision to investigate a marijuana-smuggling operation that allegedly used a secret tunnel to transport pot into the United States from marijuana-friendly British Columbia. Authorities obtained a "sneak and peak" warrant that allows them to enter and bug locations without informing suspects a search warrant has been issued. Civil libertarians decry "sneak and peak" warrants, which Merritt said have increased by about 75 percent in this new century, as an affront to the Fourth Amendment.

"We have to protect people from a government that in its effort to do right, quite often does wrong," said Cal Williams, a criminal defense lawyer who traveled to Aspen from Colby, Kansas, to attend the NORML seminar.

U.S. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wisconsin), who Merritt calls "the most dangerous man in Congress," has introduced a bill called "Defending America's Most Vulnerable: Drug Treatment and Child Protection Act" that, if passed, could put offenders behind bars for five years if they pass a marijuana joint to a person who has previously been in treatment, lock up parents for at least three years if they witness or learn about drug-trafficking activities targeting children, and put persons away for two years if they don't report drug sales at universities and colleges, according to Merritt.

"Oh my gosh! Oh my gosh! That's terrible," a lawyer in attendance remarked.

R. Keith Stroup, a Washington, D.C., attorney who founded NORML in 1970, said his organization first began coming to Aspen after he smelled a curious smell emanating from the bleachers at the Democratic National Assembly in Miami in 1971. The aroma came from the late scribe Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, who was puffing a marijuana joint during a break of his coverage of the political convention. Stroup joined Thompson and the two became friends. Soon, Thompson became a senior advisor to NORML, helping lift the group's profile. "Doc was an enormous draw," said Stroup.

Aspen attorney Gerry Goldstein, who lectured on important new cases affecting marijuana users at the opening of NORML's seminar in Aspen this week, was among the first lawyers to get involved with the movement in 1971 and also helped bring the legal seminars to the area. NORML visits here every four or five years.

There are about 40 attendees to the seminar this year, Stroup said, adding that attendance is down because of the increased competition for continued-legal-education credits that lawyers receive for attending conferences like NORML's.

NORML holds seminars in Key West, Fla., every December, where about 155 to 160 attorneys show up every year. "If we were going to start doing this in Aspen every year, we'd bring our core group and the numbers would be bigger," he said.

Stroup said he is contemplating a larger presence in Aspen but no decisions have been made. This week's seminar started Thursday and ends today, with a "High Tea at Hunter Thompson's Owl Farm in Woody Creek." Other lectures included this week have focused on defending driving-under-the-influence-of-drugs cases, ethics and professionalism, child welfare and custody issues when parents smoke marijuana and cutting edge issues for medical marijuana patients.

NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre added that the organization decided to hold the seminar in Aspen in part to help focus attention on the effort currently under way to adopt a statewide voter initiative to legalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana by adults. The initiative, called Safer Alternatives for Enjoying Recreation, is expected to make the November ballot. It is modeled after a successful measure passed in the city of Denver last year.

Source: Aspen Daily News (CO)
Author: Troy Hooper - Aspen Daily News Staff Writer
Published: June 2, 2006
Copyright: 2006 Aspen Daily News

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Comment #13 posted by whig on June 05, 2006 at 21:24:37 PT

This is not a dress rehearsal. This is not a practice run. This is not a preparation. This is not a learning experience. This is it, the show is on and the games have begun and the toy soldiers are arranged on the board to do what the players tell them to do, like they had any significance to the powers? No. Not a bit, for it is not important who lives or who dies or who suffers if it be for the continuation of the powers that want the earth for themselves. They want it and they do not want to let it go when they have it in their grasp. But it is slipping away from them and it is not something they can stop, because it is us and we are here and we are aware of what we are.

There is nothing worse than cannabis for the powers, there is nothing that can steal away their authority for that which is superior to any earthly government, the conscience of the universe, the being of oneness of all with all, the reality of God and what it means.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by freshy on June 04, 2006 at 15:00:34 PT
cafe press
dang dude, i want that trucker hat with Sieg Heil, Sensenbrenner on it.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #11 posted by observer on June 03, 2006 at 19:33:43 PT
Sieg Heil, Sensenbrenner!
U.S. Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner Jr. (R-Wisconsin), ... [will put smokers] behind bars for five years if they pass a marijuana joint...

Sieg Heil, Sensenbrenner!

(I couldn't resist!)

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by FoM on June 03, 2006 at 13:04:22 PT
Oh that's funny!

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #9 posted by mai_bong_city on June 03, 2006 at 13:02:42 PT
"Strange! Strange! How doth this harmonise? Two kings do I see--and only one ass!"

'Thus Spake...' - F. Nietzsche

reminds me of bush and cheney - one big butt-head.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by mai_bong_city on June 03, 2006 at 12:57:55 PT
says it way better than i can
This loathing choketh me, that we kings ourselves have become false, draped and disguised with the old faded pomp of our ancestors, show-pieces for the stupidest, the craftiest, and whosoever at present trafficketh for power.

Friedrich Nietzsche - 'Thus Spake Zarathustra'

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by FoM on June 03, 2006 at 12:38:15 PT
LA Times: Dude, Where's My Loan?
Financial aid shouldn't be tied to a student's drug record.

June 3, 2006

College kids would be better off not taking drugs. They'd also be better off not drinking when they're underage, not driving drunk at any age and generally not doing illegal and dangerous things. Most people (except certain college kids) would agree this makes sense.

But a federal law that singles out drug violations from other kinds of lawbreaking for special discipline doesn't make any sense. A 1998 amendment to the Higher Education Act denies federal aid to students with drug convictions. That goes even for misdemeanor cases. But it doesn't affect those who commit, say, sexual assault, burglary or, for that matter, murder.


Complete Article:

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #6 posted by Max Flowers on June 03, 2006 at 09:15:39 PT
Right again, buddy. Every day I think about all those innocent people who died horrible deaths for the sadistic whims of these war criminals. Oh boy, they are going to get theirs one day, and it is going to be wonderful to behold. There is no statute of limitations on their crimes, jurisdiction is universal, and heads of state do not have immunity... their time will come...

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #5 posted by Toker00 on June 03, 2006 at 06:51:18 PT
The SS. Satans Servants.


[ Post Comment ]

Comment #4 posted by afterburner on June 03, 2006 at 05:39:07 PT
''the most dangerous man in Congress''
Look in the mirror, Sensenbrenner!

Or is it Souder?

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #3 posted by mayan on June 03, 2006 at 05:31:39 PT
It's time to stop being intimidated by these punks and spit right in their faces!

We're not gonna' take it! Never did and never will!!!

Gagged librarians break silence on Patriot Act:

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by mayan on June 03, 2006 at 03:28:01 PT
Thanks to the Inside Job!
If it wasn't for the 9/11 inside job there would be no Patriot Act,no wars for profit and no transfer of wealth.

The Patriot Act wasn't drawn up to protect us from foreign terrorists, it was meant to stifle dissent and civil liberties here at home. The real terrorists are in the government.

International 9/11 Truth Conference - Chicago, Illinois - June 2-4, 2006:

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by E_Johnson on June 02, 2006 at 21:45:17 PT
The breast cancer issue could work for SAFER
Speaking of SAFER, women who drink alcohol increase their risk of getting breast cancer.

Just Google "alcohol breast cancer" and check it out.

[ Post Comment ]

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