No One is Outside Federal Marijuana Laws, US Says
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No One is Outside Federal Marijuana Laws, US Says
Posted by CN Staff on July 08, 2011 at 07:16:08 PT
By Dawson Bell and Bill Laitner, Staff Writers
Source: Detroit Free Press
Michigan -- A memo from the U.S. Department of Justice in Washington says state laws allowing medical marijuana opened the door to abuses and calls for legally targeting "large-scale, privately operated industrial marijuana cultivation centers" as well as distribution operations known as dispensaries.The memo -- which arrived June 29 in the e-mail inboxes of U.S. attorneys nationwide, including the Detroit office -- says that no patient or other user is shielded from federal prosecution by state laws. The memo comes after Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette unleashed a salvo last week, saying there was widespread lawbreaking linked to medical marijuana in Michigan.
The federal memo has medical marijuana advocates feeling betrayed by the Obama administration, which had been linked with hopes for leniency in the war on drugs."The $64,000 question is, are the U.S. district attorneys in offices across the country really going to go after these dispensaries and grow operations? We'll have to see," said Art Cotter, chairman of the medical marijuana committee for the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan.On Thursday, about two dozen operators of compassion centers -- where patients use the drug -- met near Flint to discuss the new threats to access."We now we have a double threat because of this (federal memo) and our own attorney general," Rick Thompson, editor of Oak Park-based Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, said from the meeting. U.S. Pushes for Strict Pot Law Enforcement Just when medical marijuana users are protesting plans for tighter restrictions on the drug in Michigan, a memo from federal authorities in Washington is asking for tougher enforcement.The memo, sent from the U.S. Department of Justice to U.S. attorneys and being circulated this week among Michigan's county prosecutors and sheriffs, is exactly what many in Michigan law enforcement said they were waiting for -- a green light to stamp out what they say is proliferating drug abuse and lawbreaking under the cover of medical marijuana.According to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette, the memo shows that the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act -- passed by 63% of voters in 2008 -- is entirely pre-empted by federal drug law."We are making that case as we defend Livonia's commonsense zoning ordinance in court," Schuette spokeswoman Joy Yearout said.The Livonia ordinance amounts to a total ban on medical marijuana cultivation and use in the city, lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union have said in the case.Defense attorneys, operators of medical marijuana facilities, such as compassion clubs, and medical marijuana users decried the memo as a step backward."This is an attack on the patient community," said Kristen Ford, field director for the nonprofit Americans for Safe Access, based in Washington, D.C.Rick Thompson, editor of the Oak Park-based Michigan Medical Marijuana Magazine, said Thursday: "All of us are more concerned now with federal intrusion." State Law No Shield The Justice Department memo says, without naming specific states, that "planned facilities have revenue projections of millions of dollars, based on the cultivation of tens of thousands of cannabis plants."Such large-scale operators must be stopped, and even smaller-scale users and distributors are not shielded from federal prosecution, "even where those activities purport to comply with state law," says the memo signed by U.S. Deputy Attorney General James Cole. Some say the memo makes clear that the Obama administration, contrary to the sense of a 2009 memo, opposes giving leniency to medical marijuana users."There was this feeling that the local police and prosecutors were on their own" for enforcing drug laws against people claiming a medical need for pot, Macomb County Prosecutor Eric Smith said Thursday."Now, I think we're all going to see that the abuses have to stop at all levels. When this law passed in Michigan, every person who voted for it had good intentions. But what we've seen is that for every one person who uses medical marijuana responsibly, someone else is abusing it and profiting from it," Smith said.Federal authorities are not changing their policy but instead are trying to correct a misreading of their stance, Berrien County Prosecutor Art Cotter said. Law enforcers and marijuana users alike misinterpreted an October 2009 memo from the Justice Department that "seemed to suggest, 'Don't go after medical marijuana patients,' " Cotter said. He chairs the medical marijuana committee for the Prosecuting Attorneys Association of Michigan."People read into that the idea that, as long as something complied with state law, the feds would not get involved. Now, this new memo is saying, no, dispensaries and large grow operations are not immune from our prosecution," he said.Federal prosecutors sued the Michigan Department of Community Health last year to obtain records of seven patients who are part of a criminal drug investigation. The government won its demand in early June, in spite of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act's promise of confidentiality to anyone who receives state approval. Last week, a Traverse City attorney representing the Michigan Association of Compassion Clubs asked for a stay in the case until an appeal can be heard. Focus Not On Patients Although precise statistics were unavailable this week, it appears that federal authorities have continued to prosecute alleged violations of federal marijuana laws on a regular basis since passage of the state's medical marijuana law.Some of the cases have been brought against growers who initially claimed to be operating in accordance with the state statute. But federal law enforcement officials said such a defense is irrelevant in a federal prosecution."We're going to enforce federal law," Rich Isaacson, a special agent in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's Detroit office, said Thursday. Nevertheless, the focus of federal law enforcement is on "large-scale growers," not on medicinal users and caregivers operating within state law, Isaacson said.In one federal prosecution begun in December, a pair of Ingham County men were each charged with the manufacture of more than 100 marijuana plants, a federal felony punishable by a minimum of five years in prison and a fine of up to $2 million. Both pleaded guilty in May in an agreement with prosecutors expected to minimize potential prison time.The agreement makes no mention of medical marijuana.Source: Detroit Free Press (MI)Author: Dawson Bell and Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press Staff WritersPublished: July 8, 2011Copyright: 2011 Detroit Free PressWebsite: letters freepress.comURL: Medical Marijuana Archives
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Comment #7 posted by sammyd on July 09, 2011 at 07:59:13 PT:
I believe in the Constitution and Freedom
This is sad, really. I don't even know where to start. I don't smoke weed, but I've done a lot of research on the topic recently. It blows my mind at how blatant lies created by people in the 1920's has grown to become what is literally a Civil War. There are so many facts that prove that the criminalization of marijuana has done so much harm to this country, not only financially, but physically and mentally. I have emailed so many officials that are leading this "War on Drugs", and yet none have returned my emails. The United States must be the dumbest nation on Earth, because they are fighting a battle that they can never win. That is a pretty big statement, considering I just got out of the Coast Guard, and I truly love my country. Yes, everybody knows that this is a dispute over money, but there is so much profit that is waiting to be legally made. All of the profits are going into the wrong hands, right now. For example, they say they couldn't tax it, because people would just grow their own. Okay, well, people can grow their own tomatoes, but we still buy a ton of them at the store. Not to mention, from what I've read, marijuana takes a lot of attention and care to grow. With tomatoes, you just have to pour a ton of water on them, and you're good to go. People are way too lazy to spend all of that time to grow pot, when they could just go buy some at the store. I don't want to get too much into the fact that alcohol and cigarettes are obviously much worse than weed, because that is common knowledge. I will say this: My theory is that the government is well aware of this, but they view all of these people dying as a good thing. I mean, a couple of hundred thousand more dead a year is good news to their ears. It's that much less people they need to worry about. They are scared that if marijuana was legalized, people would stop drinking and smoking cigarettes. This would cause massive population rise, according to all-time marijuana death tolls a.k.a 0 deaths. I agree with runruff that pill companies are feeling the pinch as well, and medical companies are so big, that they pretty much own everything. For example, my grandfather was a doctor, and he actually created a vaccine for shingles. It has never failed, but will the medical community recognize it? No, because it is extremely cheap, and there is no money to be made. Even after his death, my mother has written to so many magazines about this, but none care. She even got shingles herself, and went to the doctor. The doctor tried to use the same old tired remedy, that never works, but she said she wanted to use my grandfather's method. The doctor agreed, but said she had to come back a week later, so he can see if any improvements had occurred. The next week, she was completely cured. That was a little off topic, but it proves it's all about money. But, why couldn't they make marijuana pills? I mean, they already have them! Not all patients like to smoke, and taking it in a pill form would probably be ideal. I could go on for hours about the absurdity of the criminalization marijuana. I truly don't believe that it should be illegal, even for recreational use. I support the fight to decriminalize marijuana, because I believe in freedom and in the Constitution.By the way, I'm probably more republican than democratic. The Obama administration is just as against this as the republicans. To pin this on either party is wrong. It's the propaganda driven idiots and large corporations, who aren't willing to use common sense, that are bringing people down!
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on July 08, 2011 at 14:54:05 PT
News Article From The LA Times Blog
Federal Government Says Marijuana Has No Accepted Medical UseJuly 8, 2011Marijuana has been approved by California, many other states and the nation's capital to treat a range of illnesses, but in a decision announced Friday the federal government ruled that it has no accepted medical use and should remain classified as a dangerous drug like heroin. The decision comes almost nine years after medical marijuana supporters asked the government to reclassify cannabis to take into account a growing body of worldwide research that shows its effectiveness in treating certain diseases, such as glaucoma and multiple sclerosis. Advocates for the medical use of the drug criticized the ruling but were elated that the Obama administration had finally acted, which allows them to appeal to the federal courts, where they believe they can get a fairer hearing. The decision to deny the request was made by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and comes less than two months after advocates asked the U.S. Court of Appeals to force the administration to respond to their petition. “We have foiled the government’s strategy of delay, and we can now go head-to-head on the merits, that marijuana really does have therapeutic value,” said Joe Elford, the chief counsel for Americans for Safe Access and the lead counsel on the recently filed lawsuit.Elford said he was not surprised by the decision, which comes just after the Obama administration announced it would not tolerate large-scale commercial marijuana cultivation. “It is clearly motivated by a political decision that is anti-marijuana,” he said. He noted that studies demonstrate pot has beneficial effects, including appetite stimulation for people undergoing chemotherapy. “One of the things people say about marijuana is that it gives you the munchies and the truth is that it does, and for some people that’s a very positive thing.” DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart sent a letter dated June 21 to the organizations that filed a petition for the change. The letter and the documentation that she used to back up her decision were published Friday in the Federal Register. Leonhart said she rejected the request because marijuana “has a high potential for abuse,” “has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” and “lacks accepted safety for use under medical supervision.” This is the third time that petitions to reclassify marijuana have been spurned. The first was filed in 1972 and denied 17 years later. The second was filed in 1995 and denied in 2001. Both decisions were appealed, but the courts sided with the federal government. --John HoeffelCopyright: 2011 Los Angeles TimesURL:
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Comment #5 posted by dongenero on July 08, 2011 at 13:17:04 PT
Tim....."Dictators Party."
Reminds me of a Jon Stewart quote in response to a recent Presidential front-runners' comments moralizing against others .....Jon said,
"Just because you're not being allowed to tell everyone what to do, does not mean you are oppressed"The "Dictators" and moralists always have that controlling, indignant and self-righteous attitude toward others.
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Comment #4 posted by museman on July 08, 2011 at 12:45:39 PT
liberty and justice for all
And that includes the recompense and restitution from the federal government for unjustly, unconstitutionally, and yes ILLEGALLY punishing those who take their freedom seriously enough to actually exercise it.Cannabis users are not the enemy, even if some who use it do other stupid things like drink alcohol, believe in the pharmaceuticals that are toxifying their unhealthy bodies, and do other, actual 'drugs' that offer temporary escape from this rich mans world.The enemy is the state. The enemy is the corporation (that runs the state) and the false system of values that causes us all to be enslaved to it.Common sense does not exist in any level of government in this country. It is past time to recognize that fact and choose a new future accordingly.The miraculous is upon us. There is no magic or miracle in bureaucracy, no life, no blood, and no humanity.A new world is arriving and evolving right under their noses, and the noses of all who cannot surrender to the Absolute Truth of the Most High.The fallen agenda will continue to play out to the very end, but their power has been reduced to mere force of arms and threat; they no longer have the 'moral imperative.'The whole world sees their lies and intrigues, they are getting desperate. But its too late.If they would get down off their false thrones of false authority and power, and come meet the rest of their human family on the even turf of reality, we could meet this change with minimal pain and destruction, but it is painfully obvious that their little finite, small minded 'grasp' of reality is going to be their focus until it is ripped from their weakening grasp. Then there will be a 'gnashing of teeth' for all those who could not rise above their fear of not having, or 'priority of possession,' or the grand ego of political power. There is no forgiveness if, with all the Grace and time that has been given to embrace the truth, one does not abandon their false values and beliefs, but contests and combats those who do. When the curtain lifts on the next phase of change, they better be ready to change themselves, or they will be left in the dust of True Progress.Though it is hard to believe, unless one sees for themselves, I continue to testify that the Future has arrived, and there is no going back into the darkness of ignorance and global domination and slavery. They lost the war, their 'master' has left them to fight desperate battles of retreat as the Children of Yah come into the power so long denied and forcibly kept from them by the dynasties of power in the world.It is time to abandon false systems that do not work for anything or anyone, except the handful of rulers and Uber Rich.Start looking at nature a bit closer, because that is the only reality that is going to enable us to survive if these idiots in power continue the course they are on. And if the people continue to support these false guides, false prophets, and false leaders, they will be led to a place they cannot return from in this life, and will most likely have to be part of the destruction they support with their false faith in false systems.I do not revel in this awareness. I communicate it because I do not want to witness the widescale destruction and death that will come if these things are not addressed properly within the hearts and minds of humanity -particularly with those who have more resource, and therefore more responsibility to enable the future instead of trying to prevent it.The government is a council of fools. There is no wisdom in it. Even the 'good ideas' that seem to come from one or two politicians OCCASIONALLY, are all modified concepts that came from real people, but were, and aren't included in the mix. I for one am 100% over wasting time on fools who will not change. And as long as they keep trying to make us believe in this fallen state, they are worse than fools, because they are trying to make fools out of all of us! And we seem to comply every day with our actions, if not our words.LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #3 posted by Tim on July 08, 2011 at 12:42:18 PT:
State Law No Shield???
According to the very foundation of this country, state laws ARE the shield!!! The Federal government has absolutely no right over the States! They need to read up on the Declaration, and the Constitution. They are becoming absolutely ridiculous in their claims of what they can do. I think the Republican Party is quickly turning into the Dictators Party.
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Comment #2 posted by afterburner on July 08, 2011 at 09:41:02 PT
Attack on Patients
Patients have friends & family. How long, Republicans, do you think you can get away with attacking ill patients, who need medical cannabis, before you are voted out of power? The future of the Republican Party is dim indeed as you drag yourselves through the mud of opposition to the needs of ill patients. You are showing yourselves to be mean-spirited bullies unworthy of political office!
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on July 08, 2011 at 07:31:11 PT
This is a obvious as the nose on your face!
Cannabis is such a popular medicine that the evil pill makers are feeling the pinch. It is already pulling millions of dollars out of their pockets. So, what do they do? Mass propaganda is no longer working due to the fed has minus zero credibility. Their corporate masters are screaming bloody murder at the burgeoning massive financial leaks around the country which they have no control.The fed does what it always does when logic and common sense lose out...bully! Threaten and bully and use economic and physical violence to get their foes in line!Thank you...thank you very much...Runruff has now left the building!
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