November 16, 2014

12-Year-Old Arrested for Pot Brownie Distribution

For opponents of marijuana legalization, one of the concerns is the potential abuse of marijuana or accidental ingestion of edibles by children and teens. In cases of intentional distribution or consumption of edibles by children, there is the potential for severe criminal charges. This is true even when the distributor is a youth himself.

In a recent case, a California seventh-grader was allegeldy caught selling marijuana-laced brownies at school. Now, the 12-year-old is facing expulsion as well as serious criminal charges. According to media reports, the student accessed the brownies through his older brother, who holds a valid California medical marijuana card.

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School authorities discovered the student was distributing marijuana after one of the other students got sick. A parent took her unconscious student to the hospital where medical professionals determined that the student had ingested pot. School administrators sought out the student with pot brownies and found a container of individually wrapped brownies in a plastic container. According to the police department, it's not uncommon for youth to have access greater to marijuana where the drug is legal. The student who got sick is in the recovery process while the 12-year-old is now facing criminal drug charges.

If it's later determined the boy's brother failed to keep the drug in a safe place away from children, he might at some point face civil liability for injuries to other students.

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November 14, 2014

Could Medical Marijuana Help Ebola Patients?

Recent fears about the Ebola outbreak are prompting international investigations and medical probes into potential cures and treatments. The Ebola virus has erupted in West Africa, already killing over 4,500 people, and causing medical professionals, authorities, and government entities to scramble to contain the virus and to find a cure or vaccine.

Among the claims about potential cures for Ebola, is a U.S. governor's voice, claiming that marijuana has the potential to cure Ebola. According to reports, a medical director and the CEO of America's largest marijuana companies, made a public statement that cannabis has the potential power to stop the spread of Ebola.

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Gary Johnson, a former candidate for U.S. President and former governor of New Mexico, argued more research should be performed to determine whether certain cannabis properties could be effective in treating and managing the Ebola outbreak. The drug has formerly been associated with the alleviation of pain and other symptoms related to serious disease, including cancer. It has also been shown to improve the function of the immunity system.

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November 11, 2014

Two Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Raided by DEA in L.A.

Marijuana dispensary owners must always be wary of regulatory and compliance issues, as well as unlawful search and seizure. A search and seizure by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration can result in serious criminal charges and penalties. According to media reports, two legally-authorized medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles were raided, even though staff members vehemently insist they were in compliance with state drug laws. This case is another example of the patchwork state and federal laws related to medical marijuana. To make matters more confusing, any citizen can still technically be hit with federal criminal charges despite being in compliance with local and state laws.

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After an initial investigation, the Department of Justice confirmed the raid was based on a search warrant executed on the two dispensaries. According to a representative from the DEA, the warrant was sealed and would not be made public. Reports indicated several DEA raids initiated in two separate locations in L.A.

Authorities raided properties, seizing money, marijuana and computers. The West Hollywood staff members said no arrests were made, adding there was significant confusion about why the raids took place. The dispensaries have been established in the community for over 10 years, and operators insist they are "100-percent" state-compliant, abiding by cultivation, sale and tax laws.

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November 10, 2014

Patients Seek $600,000 in Damages for Warrantless Raids

Even though medical marijuana is legal in California, many patients can become ensnared in the criminal justice system. Law enforcement authorities are often looking for violations so they can charge users and distributors with drug-related crimes.

In a recent case, medical marijuana patients in Lakeport have filed a lawsuit against local law enforcement for Constitutional violations, including warrantless searches. The medical marijuana patients are also seeking a total of $621,000 in monetary damages and have succeeded in getting a preliminary injunction to stop local authorities from continuing with warrantless raids.

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According to reports, a lawsuit was filed after several claimants allege they were victims of illegal raids over the past several weeks. The three plaintiffs range from 60 to 70 years-old and were growing their own plants. These medical marijuana patients were the target of raids in which local law enforcement officials broke through gates, illegally entered the property of each patient and seized their medical marijuana. The law enforcement agents did not have consent, a warrant or any legal authority to enter premises or seize property.

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November 8, 2014

Mom Launches Crowd-Sourced Marijuana Venture

Crowd-sourcing has become an increasingly common way to raise capital for artistic projects, business ventures, medical emergencies and other personal or business endeavors. A Beverly Hills mother has taken to crowd-funding to raise money to bring medical marijuana to those in need.

According to NBC Los Angeles, the woman was diagnosed in 2007 with ovarian cancer. With only months to live, she began smoking medical marijuana and refused hospice. She credits cannabis with saving her life, and has since become a cultivator and staunch advocate of the drug.

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Now in recovery, she helms the Beverly Hills Cannabis Club, and has developed a reputation as a fierce fighter for medical marijuana. She has appeared on TV shows and as the subject of magazine articles, promoting her business and her beliefs.

She has been called the "Martha Stewart of marijuana." Though she may not fit the mold of a stereotypical pot smoker, she is more familiar than most with the benefit that the drug can have. She is using her platform to bring medical marijuana to others.

Her advocacy helps to remind the public that the face of medical marijuana is not a college-aged stoner/slacker. These are mothers. Children. The elderly. Each are suffering from severe and debilitating conditions. For them, marijuana is medicine. The drug has proven effective in coping with symptoms related to epilepsy, PTSD in veterans, cancer, and a host of nerve disorders.

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November 6, 2014

A New Study on Marijuana's Effect on the Brain

A primary concern for many opponents of marijuana legalization is the impact on the brain, especially for teens and young users. New research provides an in-depth look at how marijuana effects the brain. According to an article published in The New York Times detailing research completed by the Massachusetts General Hospital and the Harvard Center for Addiction Medicine, an increased denseness in the pleasure center of the brain indicates that the brain may adapt to marijuana exposure. Some theorize this "rewiring" suggests the brain has a reward system that begins to demand the drug.

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According to the report, researchers reviewed composite scans of the brains of 20 pot smokers between the ages of 18 and 25. Evidence suggested even those who smoked one or two times a week experienced key differences in two areas of the brain. The structural differences in the brain were even greater the more a subject smoked.

Marijuana use has been showed to reduce pain, improve appetite and help to combat symptoms related to diseases including epilepsy, cancer, PTSD and a host of others. Despite these benefits, many critics point out that recreational use can have a deleterious impact on the brain. Previous research showed that those who smoked pot at a young age were more likely to have learning and mental health issues.

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November 5, 2014

Marijuana Policies on Colorado Ski Slopes

The legalization of marijuana has changed environments from college campuses and cafes to the streets. But what about Colorado's famous ski slopes?

According to reports, locals and tourists alike have been taking advantage not only of Colorado's world-famous powder, but access to marijuana while there. Skiers are likely to see pot smoking outside the lodge, on the chairlifts and on the slopes.

Despite all this, pot smoking is actually highly-regulated on the slopes through strict policies and heavy taxation. It's important for both visitors and lodges alike to understand their rights, obligations and potential liabilities.

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Since Colorado voters passed legislation to legalize marijuana in 2012, dispensaries are able to sell a variety of marijuana-laden goods, from resin to edibles. In addition to the legalization of dispensaries, adults over the age of 21 are able to own, buy, and possess up to an ounce of marijuana. Tourists can purchase up to a quarter of an ounce, which is often consumed, before or after a day enjoyed on the ski slopes.

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November 3, 2014

Law Enforcement Officers Support Legalization in Oregon

Marijuana legalization is a polarizing issue in the U.S.

Historically, we could always count on certain groups to staunchly oppose greater access, including parents, prosecutors and law enforcement officers. But lately, we've begun to see a shift.

Parents now see how medical marijuana has worked to alleviate the symptoms of children suffering cancer. Prosecutors have noted the flood of non-violent drug offenders whose cases clog the courts. Law enforcement, though, had seemed the one staunch hold out. Perhaps no more.

According to a recent report in the Huffington Post, a coalition of law enforcement officers have spoken out in support of marijuana legalization in the state of Oregon.

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The petition was made public less than one week before voters cast their ballots in Oregon. The letter details the benefits of legalization, articulating that criminalization of marijuana has failed. According to the officers, arresting and citing the thousands of marijuana users in Oregon is only a distraction for law enforcement departments, as well as a "misuse of taxpayer resources." The officers say these resources would be better spent on other initiatives. According to the law enforcement officers who signed the petition, resources should go to tackling violent crimes, thieves and the cartels that distribute heroin, cocaine and other more dangerous drugs.

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November 1, 2014

Halloween and the Alleged Danger of Marijuana "Treats"

Every Halloween, teachers, parents and authorities warn of the potential dangers hidden in candy and treats. Trick-or-treating requires every parent to check to make sure that "treats" are safe for consumption. This Halloween, the Denver police department took extra precautions to warn parents of the potential danger of edibles this Halloween season. According to a public service video announcement, trick-or-treating children should be wary of the potential of marijuana edibles. With more edibles mimicking commonly-consumed candies, like gummy bears, chocolates or Jolly Ranchers, parents were urged to double check Halloween goodies to be sure they aren't infused with marijuana.

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One problem for parents and authorities is that it can be difficult to tell the difference between marijuana edibles and regular candies. In the event that a candy is not clearly marked or packaged, authorities advised parents to simply throw the candy away. For marijuana advocates, the fear of edibles is unfounded. it's extremely unlikely that anyone would hand out marijuana edibles to children. Despite the fears, there have been no reported cases of marijuana-laced handouts. The Halloween public service announcement echoed common fears about how the legalization of edible marijuana is a danger to children.

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October 31, 2014

California Marijuana Arrests May Increase, If Narcotic Officers Can Help It

Earlier this year, the California Narcotic Officers' Association left little doubt as to their position on the legalization of marijuana with a training manual entitled, "Marijuana is NOT Medicine." chicagonighttraffic.jpg

So perhaps it shouldn't be surprising that in its most recent quarterly newsletter detailing marijuana case law, it is educating officers on the best ways to secure a proper arrest and conviction for low-level marijuana possession during traffic stops. The author of the article, a police officer in Citrus Heights, indicates a driver's disclosure of a doctor recommendation for medical marijuana is basis enough to justify a warrantless search of the subject vehicle and person.

He goes on to note seven questions which, if answered by the driver and/or passenger, could be used by prosecutors to diminish whatever medical marijuana defense the individual may have. The article also includes information on how to prove whether a person was medicated during work hours, noting that depending on what they do for a living, "an employer may terminate a worker who tests positive for marijuana."

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October 29, 2014

New Study Shows Decriminalization of Marijuana in California has Not Led to the Disaster Predicted by Opponents

Those who oppose the legalization of marijuana are often quick to cite all the harm that will be done when more people run out and buy it. According to a recent Washington Post article on the effects of legalization in California, the opposite appears to be the case.

1212912_growing_graph.jpgThe article cites a new report from Center of Juvenile and Criminal Justice that shows overdoses, teen arrests, DUIs, and school dropout rates have fallen following decriminalization in California.

After total decriminalization took effect in the beginning of 2001, school dropout rates are down 22 percent since 2010. DWI Marijuana arrests in California are down three percent, while the rest of the nation experienced a nine percent increase. Deaths resulting from the overdose of drugs has fallen by 20 percent compared to a national increase of four percent.

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October 27, 2014

People v. Reece J. Clark: On Motions to Suppress in California Marijuana Cases

In the ever-changing world of medicinal marijuana legislation, it is important to follow all court decisions closely. The People v. Reece J. Clark, a recent case from the Court of Appeal of the State of California Second Appellate District, involved a defendant who pleaded guilty to possession of cocaine and possession of a short-barreled shotgun.

shotgun-shells-1207089-m.jpgThe primary issue in the appeal was that the affidavit in support of the warrant showed that defendant possessed and was cultivating marijuana, but it did not state whether the marijuana was possessed and cultivated for medicinal use.

The affidavit in support of the warrant, drafted by an LA County Sheriff's Deputy, alleged that the affiant was extensively trained by the department and had a considerable amount of field experience in the sale of street level drugs.

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October 25, 2014

Allen v. County of Lake: Court Issues Preliminary Injunction for Medical Marijuana Patients' Protection

In Allen v. County of Lake, the United States District Court for the Northern District of California recently issued an order granting plaintiff's motion for a preliminary injunction prohibiting abatement actions against medical marijuana cultivators.

860421_police_search.jpgIn July of this year, Lake County Ordinance No. 2997 ("ordinance") took effect. This ordinance regulates medical marijuana cultivation within Lake County California. Specifically, ordinance prohibits any growing of marijuana on vacant parcels of land, any growing on parcels that are one acre or less, growing more than six mature plants or 12 immature plants on parcels larger than one acre outside of local growth boundary, and using more than 100 square feet of indoor space to grow marijuana.

According to court papers, in August of this year, police officers from various state and local agencies conducted no less than seven searches of medical marijuana patients' homes without obtaining warrants. Marijuana plants were seized during some of these searches without any warrants being issued by a judge or magistrate.

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October 23, 2014

New App for Medical Marijuana Delivery in California

There are smartphone for apps for everything these days. According to a recent article from Tech Crunch, a new startup company in San Francisco has an app for medical marijuana users. The company requires users to upload their California identification card or a valid driver's license and physician's recommendation letter.

mobile-phone-in-hand-1438232-2-m.jpgThe patient information database is said to be completely secure and HIPAA-complaint and can be used whenever users log on to the app, so there is only a need to upload this information when signing up for an account.

The medical marijuana app lets patients in California see pictures of the marijuana they wish to order and make a selection. Once placing an order, the medical marijuana patients should receive a home delivery within one hour of placing an order. This is helpful to those are too sick to go to a dispensary or don't have a care provider to go for them.

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October 21, 2014

Anaheim Pulling Plug on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

According to a recent article from the Orange County Register, the City of Anaheim is using their control of the local water and power supply to literally pull the plug on medical marijuana dispensaries.

three-prong-electrical-cord-adapter-772937-m.jpgIn a city where medical marijuana dispensaries are illegal, the city has decided to use this more direct approach to get them to leave. Nine dispensaries were closed last month, and city officials believe that an additional eight dispensaries will be closed in the very near future.

The city is also planning to send letters to nearly a dozen more illegal medical marijuana dispensaries, threatening to shut off their water and power if they do not shut down operations immediately.

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Recent Entries

November 16, 2014 12-Year-Old Arrested for Pot Brownie Distribution For opponents of marijuana legalization, one of the concerns is the potential abuse of marijuana...

November 14, 2014 Could Medical Marijuana Help Ebola Patients? Recent fears about the Ebola outbreak are prompting international investigations and medical probes into potential...

November 11, 2014 Two Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Raided by DEA in L.A. Marijuana dispensary owners must always be wary of regulatory and compliance issues, as well as...

November 10, 2014 Patients Seek $600,000 in Damages for Warrantless Raids Even though medical marijuana is legal in California, many patients can become ensnared in the...

November 8, 2014 Mom Launches Crowd-Sourced Marijuana Venture Crowd-sourcing has become an increasingly common way to raise capital for artistic projects, business ventures,...

November 6, 2014 A New Study on Marijuana's Effect on the Brain A primary concern for many opponents of marijuana legalization is the impact on the brain,...