Tag: Medical Marijuana (page 2)
The Department of Justice has sent a threatening letter to marijuana dispensaries in California. The Associated Press has obtained the letter and reports:
Federal prosecutors have launched a crackdown on pot dispensaries in California, warning the stores that they must shut down in 45 days or face criminal charges and confiscation of their property even if they are operating legally under the state's 15-year-old medical marijuana law.
There will be a press conference tomorrow at which California U.S. Attorneys announce the new crackdown. At least 16 dispensaries and landlords got the letter which says they are violating federal drug laws, regardless of whether they are in compliance with California law. [More...]
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The IRS has now jumped into the fray of medical marijuana businesses -- including dispensaries operating legally under the laws of their states.
The IRS is asserting that dispensaries cannot deduct ordinary business expenses like salaries, rent and security costs.
Here are the letters the IRS has sent. Its position: [More...]
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The Department of Justice issued a new memo (available here) to federal prosecutors yesterday further "clarifying" its 2009 Ogden Memorandum. The Odgen memorandum (available here) said federal resources should not be used to prosecute those in "clear and unambiguous" compliance with state medical marijuana laws.
Sorry, the new memo says, that's not what we meant. We only meant federal resources shouldn't be used to prosecute cancer patients and other seriously ill people who used marijuana in compliance with state law. We never meant to provide a shield for those who supply medical marijuana to those in full compliance with state law.[More...]
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U.S. District Magistrate Judge Hugh Brenneman Jr. in Michigan has ordered the state to turn over medical marijuana records to the DEA for its use in a federal criminal investigation.
The DEA had issued administrative subpoenas to the Michigan Board of Community Health.
[H]e said that “while the Michigan Legislature declared its intent not to penalize the medical use of marijuana under state law, it had to acknowledge its action did not alter the existing federal prohibition against marijuana....The use of marijuana remains a federal felony.”
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Arizona Governor Jan Brewer filed a federal declaratory action suit today against the Department of Justice, Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke and some medical marijuana groups, asking the court to rule whether Arizona's medical marijuana law is valid when federal law prohibits it. The complaint is here and the exhibits with the letters from U.S. Attorneys and DOJ memos are here.
Despite the Governor's claimed and transparently false concern that Arizona's law puts state workers at risk of federal prosecution, medical marijuana advocates say the lawsuit is designed to thwart the state law. Yesterday, U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke said that despite the threat of the lawsuit, which now has been filed, medical marijuana in AZ is not at risk and Gov. Brewer is distorting the facts. [More....]
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DOJ's tricks are working. After the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington sent a letter to the legislature warning that passage of a medical marijuana licensing bill would subject state workers to federal prosecution, today Governor Christine Gregoire vetoed the bill, saying she was "swayed" by the letter. (Background on the almost identical letters sent by a number of U.S. attorneys in recent weeks in states where medical marijuana is legal is here.)
And in Montana today, Governor Brian Schweitzer let the bill that passed the legislature this week restricting medical marijuana become law by doing nothing. His lame explanation: [More...]
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Here is the position of the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Washington, contained in an April 14 letter to the Washington legislature concerning on a proposed bill to establish a licensing scheme for marijuana growers and dispensaries: [More...]
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Montana has allowed medical marijuana since 2004. Today, the Senate joined the House in passing a reform bill. It now heads to the Governor. You can read the bill, SB 423 (SB0423.ENR) here. Among the key provisions:
- The law repeals the existing Montana Medical Marijuana Act.
- Lawmakers specified a list of debilitating medical conditions which qualify for a medical marijuana card and defined a standard of care that doctors must comply with to issue a card. The bill now prohibits telemedicine.
- Lawmakers placed regulatory authority with the Department of Health.
- The committee limited the number of plants a card-holder can have to 4 mature plants, 12 seedlings and 1 oz of usable marijuana.
- The amended bill defines chronic pain and forces a patient to either have proof of pain or have 2 doctors certify a chronic pain patient.
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The U.S. Attorney's office in Colorado is the latest one to advise state prosecutiorial agencies that it will continue to prosecute and impose sanctions against those involved in medical marijuana, despite the Ogden Memo and despite state law to the contrary.
Here are the actual letters, from Colorado Attorney General John Suthers to the legislature, from Colorado U.S. Attorney John Walsh to Suthers, and similar ones from U.S. Attorneys in Northern California, Hawaii, Eastern Washington and Montana. [More...]
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Arizona, which approved medical marijuana in November, began accepting applications from patients last week. The application process is done online. At the end of week 1, 579 of 718 applications were approved. Those rejected can re-apply. By the numbers:
About 78 percent of them were men, and the largest age group, at 37 percent, was people 51 and older. The next largest age group, at 22 percent, was people between 41 and 50 years old. Diseases reported included cancer, Hepatitis C, glaucoma, HIV/AIDS and Crohn's disease,
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The Colorado Board of Health is up to its old tricks, now trying to change the definition of caregiver in a way that will restrict patient choice and require patients to pay for unnecessary services. From Sensible Colorado:
Once again, the Colorado Health Department (CDPHE) has launched an attack on medical marijuana caregivers. Hiding behind the Attorney General’s questionable legal interpretation, the CDPHE has rejected the proposed definition of "caregiver" as put forward by the CDPHE Medical Marijuana Advisory Board. After studying the issue, the Advisory Board concluded that providing education about medical marijuana was sufficient to meet the definition of "caregiver".
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The Colorado Department of Revenue has issued new rules relating to Medical Marijuana Centers (MMCs) in Colorado. They go into effect July 1, 2011. You can read the 77 pages of rules here.
Via e-mail received from Cannabis Therapy Center, which is still studying the rules, the Department of Revenue made some effort to comply with patient privacy and confidentiality but they fall short in some areas, for example: [More...]
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The U.S. Attorney in Montana issued this press release today about the 26 search warrants executed yesterday in Montana. (More here.) The targets: medical marijuana businesses, which the U.S. Attorney calls "criminal enterprises."
According to the list of items to be seized, it's not just records of the businesses they were after, but customer records too:
According to the warrant, signed Thursday by U.S. District Court Magistrate Judge Jeremiah C. Lynch, authorities were authorized to seize “items that are evidence of the commission of drug trafficking offenses” under federal law, including marijuana; packaging materials and related paraphernalia; cell phones, firearms; books and records.
“Books and records,” include items and “papers with names, addresses and telephone numbers, including but not limited to (those) of co-conspirators and/or persons to whom dangerous drugs have been delivered to or obtained from,” according to the warrant. Also sought: “documents and/or papers which may aid in the identification and location of customers, suppliers and/or co-conspirators.”
The U.S. Attorney insists "Individuals with illnesses who are in clear and unambiguous compliance with state law are not the focus of this investigation." Then why get a warrant for customer records? [More...]
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The much-publicized case of Colorado marijuana grower Chris Bartkowicz wrapped up this morning when a federal judge sentenced him to five years in prison.
Bartkowicz came to the attention of the DEA after giving 9News an on camera interview and tour of his residence with the grow. He thought he was in compliance with state law. The DEA raided the house and seized 224 plants, which was more than six plants per the number of patients for whom he was a caregiver.
Bartkowicz had two prior felony convictions and the feds decided to play hardball by filing a notice to enhance his sentence due to the prior convictions. He was facing a mandatory minimum of 60 years and possibly life in prison. [More...]
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Following up on medical marijuana raids conducted last fall, the Feds have indicted 11 people in Nevada. John Birmele, Jr., the owner of The Happiness Consultants, is charged with 15 counts including distribution of marijuana, using a firearm in
drug trafficking and concealing information from social security. The indictments are here and here.
Nevada state law is a little peculiar.
Under Nevada state law, a person with a medical marijuana license can legally possess up to one ounce of pot and grow seven plants. Technically, it's illegal to buy or sell it.
Many people who are authorized to possess pot in Nevada have argued that state law is a "catch 22". Unlike California, there aren't any legal dispensaries patients can go to. The Las Vegas businesses that were raided are only legally licensed to consult patients in getting medical marijuana cards.
Nevada needs to authorize and regulate dispensaries as do other states. While its law allows people to use medical marijuana, they must grow it themselves. Not everyone has a green thumb. And it's questionable whether it's legal for anyone to possess the seeds needed to grow a marijuana plant.
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