Vermont Man Uses Tractor To Flatten 8 Police Cars After Marijuana Arrest


Police report that a man drove a tractor over eight police vehicles on Thursday. They estimate the damage at about $250,000.

The man was allegedly driving a farm tractor that he used to run over eight vehicles in the parking lot of a Vermont police station. Police officials claim that this was in an apparent revenge scheme.  Continue reading

Elderly Man with Terminal Cancer Walks Out of Hospice after Treatment with Cannabis Oil

“After nine months of taking two different forms of cannabis oil, one, a cannabis capsule infused with organic coconut oil around 10:30am and high THC oil about an hour before bed, dad was given the life changing report, ”No evidence of recurrent disease”.
– Corinne Malanca (Stan and Barb Rutner’s daughter)

Stan Rutner

Stan Found Cannabis after Chemo and Radiation Almost Killed Him
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Marijuana: The Super Antibiotic Of The Future


A World Wide Emergency

“Without urgent, coordinated action by many stakeholders, the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era,” Dr. Keiji Fukuda, the Assistant Director General for the World Health Organization’s Health Security department, said last year after the WHO released its first ever global report on antibiotic resistance. “Common infections and minor injuries, which have been treatable for decades, can once again kill,” he continued, explaining how antibiotic resistant bacteria are now one of the top health concerns of the world.

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Santa Ana Cannabis Shop Raided, Officers Steal and Eat Cannabis Laced Edibles

santa ana weed

The Santa Ana Police Department will launch an internal affairs investigation after being provided video clips showing officers engaging in questionable behavior during a police raid last month on a medical marijuana dispensary, Police Chief Carlos Rojas told Voice of OC this week.

Attorney Matthew Pappas, who edited and produced the clips before providing them to Voice of OC, says the video shows officers eating food laced with marijuana, known in pot lingo as “edibles,” and seized during the raid. Officers also played darts inside the pot shop while apparently completing an inventory of the shop’s contents. Pappas represents the shuttered Sky High Holistic dispensary where the video was recorded.

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If Anyone Tells You Marijuana Is a Gateway Drug, Show Them This

cannabis plant

One of the most common arguments about drug use is that marijuana is a gateway drug. Some claim smoking weed puts young people on a slippery slope to other hard drugs like cocaine, heroin or amphetamines. Drug warriors often cite this idea when arguing in favor of continued marijuana prohibition.

But how strong is that argument really?

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9 Animal Species That Use Psychoactive Substances In The Wild


For millennia, our ancestors have enjoyed, and even regarded as sacred, a variety of mind-altering substances. Cultural artifacts, visionary artwork and rituals in many indigenous cultures and past civilizations point to this fact. As Ethan Nadelmann remarked in a recent TED talk, “Our desire to alter our consciousness may be as fundamental as our desires for food, companionship, and sex.” Continue reading

12 People Who Prove If You Smoke Pot You’ll Never Amount to Anything

The only way to be successful in life is to play it straight and narrow. Just hard work. No funny business. And certainly no marijuana.

Everyone knows you should never smoke weed if you want to be successful in life. Do you want to run a hit TV show? Or become a billionaire? Become the leader of the free world? Don’t smoke the reefer sticks.

Take it from these cautionary examples of what goes terribly wrong when you make the decision to smoke weed.

Continue reading

‘Major hypocrisy’: US govt-funded agency admits marijuana can kill cancer cells

The National Institute on Drug Abuse, a US federal government research institute whose mission includes “bringing the power of science to bear on drug abuse and addiction,” has officially admitted that marijuana extracts can kill cancer cells. Continue reading

3 Pillars of a Successful Psychedelic Experience (That Just Might Save Your Life)


Over the last few years as research and public opinion championing the benefits of plant medicines has proliferated, an equally disturbing trend has been developing –– not only in the news, but quietly within the community in stories that never reach the public. This disturbing trend is increasing as the supply of good practitioners is being overwhelmed by sheer demand. As thrilled as I am hearing the reports of positive transformation from the sacred plants, I am far more devastated when harm occurs that could easily have been prevented. Continue reading

Hemp Based Batteries Could Change The Way We Store Energy Forever


As hemp makes a comeback in the U.S. after a decades-long ban on its cultivation, scientists are reporting that fibers from the plant can pack as much energy and power as graphene, long-touted as the model material for supercapacitors. They’re presenting their research, which a Canadian start-up company is working on scaling up, at the 248th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), the world’s largest scientific society. Continue reading

Study: Here’s How Cannabis Helps Your Body Fight Off Cancer


A study in the journal Biochemical Pharmacology, published July 2014, elaborates upon a unique mechanism of cannabinoids’ anti-cancer activity. It is notable for demonstrating how cannabinoids work synergistically with the body’s immune system to stop cancer, unlike traditional treatments which destroy the immune system in the process of stopping cancer. Continue reading

Plants Communicate Using An Internet Of Fungus


Hidden beneath the surface and entangled in the roots of Earth’s astonishing and diverse plant life, there exists a biological superhighway linking together the members of the plant kingdom in what researchers call the “wood wide web”. This organic network operates much like our internet, allowing plants to communicate, bestow nutrition, or even harm one another. Continue reading

23 Things Terence McKenna Said Best, From DMT Sex To Telepathic Octopi


At 25, a friend introduced me to “Surfing Finnegans Wake,” in which a nasally man lectures for three hours, ostensibly off-the-cuff, on the psychedelic, boundary-dissolving experience of reading James Joyce. I remember thinking his voice sounded extra-terrestrial. It was Terence McKenna. Here’s a quote from the lecture, which will hopefully be blurbed on the next jacket cover of Finnegans Wake: “This [Finnegans Wake] comes about as close as anybody came to pushing the entire contents of the universe down into approximately 14 cubic inches.” Continue reading

Cars Of The Future Will Be Powered By And Made Out Of Cannabis


In 1941, Henry Ford partnered with famous scientist and botanist George Washington Carver to “grow an automobile from the soil,” with a body made and powered by cannabis hemp. The result was a car that was stronger, 25 percent lighter, cheaper to manufacture and considerably greener than any modern electric car available today — all thanks to cannabis hemp. Continue reading

Ruling Clears Way for Marijuana Convictions to be Erased


HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Thousands of people busted in Connecticut for marijuana possession now have the right to get their convictions erased after the state Supreme Court ruled Monday that the violation had been downgraded to the same legal level as a parking ticket.

The 7-0 ruling came in the case of former Manchester and Bolton resident Nicholas Menditto, who had asked for his convictions to be overturned after the Legislature decriminalized possession of small amounts of pot in 2011. ->

March Is A Big Month For Marijuana! 5 States Move Toward Legalization


The legislative season is in full swing at statehouses around the country, and cannabis is hot. And we’re not even talking about medical marijuana or decriminalization bills, we’re talking about outright legalization bills.

Early this month, the General Social Survey, the “gold standard” of public opinion polls, reported that for the first time, a majority nationwide favor legalization. Other recent opinion polls, including Gallup and Pew, have reported similar results. And all have reported rather dramatic increases in support in recent years, with the trend still continuing upward. Continue reading

The 4 Most Likely States To Legalize Cannabis In 2016


Almost as soon as the landslide votes ending the prohibition of adult use of cannabis in two states and the District of Columbia were cast, reform groups across the country began the long paperwork process of getting their legalization initiatives on the 2016 ballot for their respective states. Heartened by the solid victories of every legalization initiative to reach the ballot (a progressive medical measure garnered an impressive 58% of the vote in Florida, falling just short of the 60% needed for passing a constitutional amendment), movement allies around the country are naturally wondering whether their state will be next. Continue reading

Mexican Cartels Hiring US Soldiers As Hit Men



(Freedom Outpost) - It seems bizarre, but the fact is the Mexican cartels are offering big money to recruit hit men from the U.S. military. They contract highly trained soldiers to carry out murders and even share their expertise with gangs south of the border, according to law enforcement experts.Fox News reports:

The involvement of three American soldiers in separate incidents, including a 2009 murder that led to last week’s life sentence for a former Army private, underscore a problem the U.S. military has fought hard to address. Continue reading

Guns verboten for pot users

Rocky Mountain Pawn & Gun is confident about its own cultural identity. Before entering the shop – a palace of weaponry and camouflage gear – customers must pass a sign indicating that hippies should use the back door.

“Until they change that question, there’s no way,” said Chris Burnett, manager of Rocky Mountain Pawn & Gun, who said the federal form all firearms purchasers are required to fill out effectively prohibits the sale of firearms to medical marijuana card holders.

“Until they change that question, there’s no way,” said Chris Burnett, manager of Rocky Mountain Pawn & Gun, who said the federal form all firearms purchasers are required to fill out effectively prohibits the sale of firearms to medical marijuana card holders.

Then, in a glass display case inside the shop, another sign reads, “Federal Law Prohibits the sale of firearms to medical marijuana card holders.”

According to Chris Burnett, the store’s manager, the second sign isn’t a “hippies can’t have guns” joke, but an edict handed down from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, a federal agency.

Burnett said the shop put up the sign after an ATF agent called Rocky Mountain Pawn & Gun and said “anyone who has a medical marijuana card will not pass a background check.”

The ATF did not respond to requests for comment.

Nearly 100,000 Coloradoans are licensed to use medical marijuana, which treats a range of ailments, including pain, insomnia, nausea and vomiting, loss of appetite and muscle spasms.

Colorado law is in conflict with federal law, which criminalizes marijuana in all circumstances and by definition applies to the whole country.

Burnett said on the application to own a firearm, which is submitted to the federal government, the applicant is asked whether he or she has ever used illegal drugs, and because marijuana is illegal according to federal law, medical marijuana users must answer “yes” or commit a crime – meaning they are categorically disqualified from gun ownership.

While the gun lobby and the grass lobby are not intuitive political allies, this is the too-rare legal determination that has both in uproar.

“It’s difficult to explain it to people who we have to turn away, because they say, ‘I did this the right way, I got a permit,’ meanwhile, people who are buying it from their neighbors can still go out and by a gun,” Burnett said.

Though Burnett feared the federal government had amassed a database of medical marijuana users, against which the federal government would cross-check firearm applications as it putatively does felony convictions, Mark Sally, spokesman with the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, said that was impossible.

Only the state has that list, he said, and like all matters between doctors and patients, it is confidential.

Stuart Prall, a lawyer and marijuana advocate, said Rocky Mountain Pawn’s dilemma was indicative of the confusing state of the law regarding cannabis.

“I don’t think anybody should be denied rights, because people are taking one medicine as opposed to another medicine, and that’s true for parental rights, gun rights, any rights,” he said.

He said the unresolved and increasing contradictions in state law and federal law regarding marijuana meant that “it’s completely confusing to everybody.”

Rand Paul: Don’t Jail People for Non-Violent Drug Crimes

(Breitbart) -Sen. Rand Paul, speaking on Fox News Sunday, said today that although he is against legalizing drugs, he doesn’t think people should be incarcerated for non-violent drug crimes. Paul stated:

I don’t want to encourage people to do (drugs). I think even marijuana’s a bad thing to do. I think it takes away your incentive to work and show up and do the things that you should be doing. But I also don’t want to put people in jail who make a mistake. There are a lot of young people who do this and then later on in their twenties they grow up and get married, they quit doing things like this.

Paul pointed out that both Barack Obama and George W. Bush admitted using drugs: “Look, the last two presidents could conceivably have been put in jail for their drug use. Look what would have happened. It would have ruined their lives. They got lucky, but a lot of poor kids, particularly in the inner city, don’t get lucky. They don’t have good attorneys. They go to jail for these things, and I think it’s a big mistake.”

Smoke a Joint, Get an ObamaPass: Sell a gun to someone who smokes a joint, get 20 years in jail


(Gun Owners of America) -It’s Looney Toons on Capitol Hill.
Everyone’s heard about the “red herring” Feinstein Gun Ban, which “red state Democrats” will vote down in order to pretend they’re “pro-gun.”
But the bigger danger is that Obama will sign “non-controversial” gun control which is just as dangerous, but no one but us is talking about.
Take the gun licensure bill which anti-gunners are trying to dub the “gun trafficking bill.” In the Senate, the bill is S. 54, and was introduced by Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-VT) — although it appears that it could have been drafted by an intern.
GOOFBALL PROVISION #1: The bill would impose a 20-year prison term if you planned (“conspired”) to purchase a firearm in order to give or raffle it to a person who, unbeknownst to you, is a “prohibited person.”
Who is a prohibited person?
Well, there are the 150,000 law-abiding veterans who are “prohibited persons” –- for no other reason than that a psychiatrist appointed a fiduciary to oversee their financial affairs.
But probably the biggest category of “prohibited persons” is persons who smoke marijuana. Under 18 U.S.C. 922(d)(3) and (g)(3), you cannot possess a firearm in America if you are “an unlawful user of … any controlled substance…”
In over a dozen states, marijuana has been wholly or partly legalized under STATE law.
It doesn’t matter … if you even think about selling or raffling a gun to this expanding class of persons, you can go to prison for 20 years under S. 54.
GOOFBALL PROVISION #2: The bill would make you a federal “prohibited person” if you are prohibited from owning a gun under “State or local law.”
What does that even mean?
In places like New York and Chicago, everyone is prohibited from owning a firearm without a license. Does that mean that everyone in these jurisdictions is a federal “prohibited person” under S. 54?
What if someone applies for a license and is found not to have a need to possess one? Under the slip-shod language of the Leahy bill, these individuals would probably become federal “prohibited persons” because the bill denies any person from owning a firearm if they are “prohibited by STATE OR LOCAL LAW from possessing, receiving, selling, shipping, transporting, transferring, or otherwise disposing of the firearm or ammunition.” (S. 54, Section 5.)
Oh, incidentally, under the Veterans Disarmament Act, states are required to send the names of 95% of their prohibited persons to the FBI’s NICS system -– or lose federal funding.
So now you will have millions of law-abiding citizens — living in places like New York City and Chicago — who have their names placed in the NICS system. And the Leahy bill doesn’t address some very important questions related to their status as gun owners.
How will these banned citizens get their names cleared? The federal government has for years continued enforcing the Schumer amendment which defunds the ability of the ATF to restore the rights of non-violent prohibited persons. Will New Yorkers and Chicagoans get their gun rights restored after they move away from the localities that banned them from owning guns and which turned them into prohibited persons?
Again, the bill doesn’t say. But we could expect that a few years from now, a future anti-gun President could use the language in S. 54 to impose a federal licensure requirement on these persons — as part of a new 23-point Executive Action memo — and make non-licensees federal prohibited persons (with all that that implies).
Maybe –- just maybe -– the courts would save us from the implications of Leahy’s goofball language.
But answer us this: Why do anti-gun senators and representatives continue to push language which they know is fatally flawed –- just so they can say they “broke the back of the gun lobby”?
The solution is clear: Senators –- if they are pro-gun -– MUST vote against a “motion to proceed” to any of this goofball legislation. That is, they must vote to keep ALL gun control from even being considered on the Senate floor.
ACTION: Click here to contact your Senators. Urge him to vote against any motion to proceed to goofball anti-gun bills like S. 54.

Florida legislators introduce bills to legalize medicinal pot

(Digital Journal) -Legislators in the Florida state House and Senate have introduced bills that would allow residents of the state to use marijuana for certain medical conditions
Last week, Robert and Cathy Jordan met with state Democrats who agreed to support legislation known as the Cathy Jordan Medical Cannabis Act. The bills, which were filed earlier this week as part of the act, came just two days after law enforcement officials raided the Jordan’s home, confiscating 23 marijuana plants. The couple says there were growing the plants because marijuana is the only thing they have found that will stabilize Cathy’s neurodegenerative disease Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. Although neither Cathy or Robert were arrested, Robert, a disabled Vietnam veteran, is angry with officials, telling the Herald Tribune:


“They explained to me that they had no choice because it’s the law. Well, guess what? I’ve got no choice in the matter, too. We’re going head-to-head now and one of us is going to fall. And if it’s me, somebody else is going to step up.


They’ve come and taken away the medicine that’s been keeping my wife alive for 20 years. I’m not going to let my wife die, and anybody who loves somebody would do the same thing.”

Marijuana plants grown by Robert Jordon

Screen Capture
Marijuana plants grown by Robert Jordon

Dave Bristow, a spokesman for the sheriff’s department, insists his deputies did not know the Jordan’s were involved with the bill, saying Sonya Leigh Johnson, a housing inspector, had reported the possible presence of marijuana at the couples home. According to Bristow, Johnson was assessing a vacant home next door when she saw an extension cord running from an open window at the home she was inspecting towards the Jordans’ home. She looked through the backyard fence and saw the plants, took photos and reported it to the sheriff’s department.


Following the raid, Sen. Jeff Clemens introduced SB 1250 on Wednesday. On Thursday, Rep. Katie Edwards introduced the companion bill, HB 1139. Both bills would authorize “a qualifying patient to possess and administer medical cannabis, and possess and use paraphernalia for a specified purpose.”


The bills are about compassion according to Clemens, saying:


“When a patient comes into your office and tells you all the meds that they’re taking don’t work, don’t relieve their suffering, but marijuana does, it’s hard to look at that person in the eye and not do something about it.”


Not everyone is happy about the bill however, with Sharon Kramer, director of the Manatee County Substance Abuse Coalition, telling ABC Action News:


“It is naive to think we won’t pay a heavy price, especially impacts on the health and well-being of our next generation.”


Florida House of Representatives speaker Steve Crisafulli is not pleased with the measure either, saying he does not feel the measure will be something the legislature will focus on.


Clemens insists the introduction of the bill is the right thing to do for those suffering from debilitating illnesses however. He hopes images of a wheelchair bound woman suffering the affects of a fatal disease having her home raided will change opponents minds. He went on to say:


“This is a woman in a wheelchair simply looking to relieve her constant suffering who has tried medications that just don’t work. This is about helping people. It’s about compassion.”


Robert agrees, saying:


“I will replenish my wife’s medicine as soon as possible. It’s more of a crime for me not to

Delaware Senator Pushes for Marijuana Industry

(CAV News) - Of course, legalizing marijuana would help the budgets of many states. I’m not sure that’s the only reason you should want to pass such legislation.

Are you advocating for the right of people to make their own choices such as they do with unhealthy food? Or are you advocating passing legislation in order to fix the budget, curb deficits, and even worse, add another industry into the regulatory fold?

Can’t we just pass something without taxing it? Look I understand the argument is more appealing for those who don’t favor passing any Marijuana legislation. Those who oppose it, say, ” wait, did you just say tax?” 

Why yes I did you thief, meanwhile, the potheads, and medical patients who use marijuana are happy, because it’s no longer illegal, the taxpayers don’t have to foot more money into the justice system because of silly marijuana laws that incarcerate folks, and everyone wins.

Well do you really win? Haven’t we learned that regulating industry has actually hurt the patients, consumers, and the industry it strived to help ? I think it’s refreshing to get more politicians on board to decriminalize marijuana law, but let’s pass it for the fact of liberty not taxation. Let’s pass it out of personal choice, and not for the fact that many officials couldn’t balance a budget. I know it’s cliché, but more money equals more power. How do you get money when you are a government? You take it.

From Sen. Daylin Leach’s website:

As Gov. Corbett lays the groundwork to privatize Pennsylvania’s liquor stores and fund education this year with the revenue raised, Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) has offered an alternative plan: legalize marijuana and generate a constant revenue source for the state to use for years to come.

“We don’t need to sell our state stores to the highest bidder to bring in money to fund education, especially if the money gained can only be used once,” Leach said. “This plan may help our state in the short term, but is a foolish long term strategy, as it offers no permanent solutions. Why eliminate a constant revenue stream when we could keep it, continue to benefit from it, and add to it by regulating, taxing and selling marijuana under the state store umbrella?”

Corbett’s proposal would relinquish the state’s control over its liquor stores and use the $1 billion raised from licensing fees to fund a four-year state education grant program. Under the plan, schools could only use the block grant funds for school safety purposes, to create individualized learning plans, to improve reading and math skills in early elementary classrooms and for science, technology, engineering and mathematics programs. The plan would aim to resolve a major crisis our public schools faced after Corbett slashed $1 billion in education funding in his first budget.

Leach, who this session will introduce a marijuana legalization bill, said the answer our state is looking for is simple.

“In addition to raising millions of dollars per year from tax revenue, Pennsylvania would save more than $325 million per year by legalizing marijuana. The most conservative estimates say the revenue generated by taxing the sales of marijuana would amount to at least $24 million per year. Legalizing marijuana and taxing its sale could provide a multi-million dollar reoccurring revenue source that our state could tap into for years to come,” Leach said.

Under the terms of Leach’s bill, marijuana would be a regulated product, treated similarly to alcohol. He noted that his bill would not change current laws against driving under the influence of marijuana, selling marijuana to minors and disorderly conduct while publicly intoxicated.


Source: Daylin Reach, Activist Post

Federal Appeals Court Refuses to Reclassify Marijuana As Less Dangerous

(CNS) — A federal appeals court Tuesday rejected a petition  to reclassify marijuana from its current federal status as a dangerous  drug with no accepted medical use.


The appeals court panel denied the bid from three medical marijuana  groups, including Americans for Safe Access, and several individuals. In  2011, the Drug Enforcement Administration had rejected a petition by  medical marijuana advocates to change the classification.

In his majority opinion Tuesday, Judge Harry T. Edwards wrote that  the question wasn’t whether marijuana could have some medical benefits,  but rather whether the DEA’s decision was “arbitrary and capricious.”  The court concluded that the DEA action survived a review under that  standard.

The ruling came just months after Colorado and Washington legalized  marijuana for recreational use. Last month, President Barack Obama said  that federal authorities have “bigger fish to fry” than recreational  drug users in those states

Edwards, an appointee of Democratic President Jimmy Carter, was  joined by Judge Merrick B. Garland, an appointee of Democratic President  Bill Clinton. The third judge on the panel, Karen LeCraft Henderson, an  appointee of Republican President George H.W. Bush, wrote that none of  the petitioners was in a legal position to challenge the government’s  stance and that the case should have been dismissed. The other two  judges concluded that at least one of the people bringing the suit had  standing to challenge the DEA’s action.

In the federal system, marijuana is classified as a controlled  substance, categorized as having a high potential for abuse and no  currently accepted medical use, together with drugs like heroin, LSD and  ecstasy.

The court noted that the DEA denied the petition after the Department  of Health and Human Services gave the DEA its evaluation that marijuana  lacks a currently accepted medical use in the United States.

“Because the agency’s factual findings in this case are supported by  substantial evidence and because those factual findings reasonably  support the agency’s final decision not to reschedule marijuana, we must  uphold the agency action,” the court ruled.

DEA regulations define “currently accepted medical use” to require,  among other things, “adequate and well-controlled studies proving  efficacy.”

Americans for Safe Access cited more than 200 peer-reviewed published  studies demonstrating marijuana’s efficacy for various medical uses,  including a 1999 study by the respected Institute of Medicine, a  government adviser on health issues.

“The IOM report does indeed suggest that marijuana might have medical  benefits,” the court conceded. “However, the DEA fairly construed this  report as calling for `more and better studies to determine potential  medical applications of marijuana’ and not as sufficient proof of  medical efficacy itself.”

Contrary to what Americans for Safe Access suggests, “something more  than `peer-reviewed’ studies is required to satisfy DEA’s standard, and  for good reason,” the court said.

Those challenging the government “have not pointed to `adequate and  well-controlled studies’ confirming the efficacy of marijuana for  medicinal uses,” the court found.

Joe Elford, chief counsel with Americans for Safe Access, said that  his group will likely file a petition for rehearing, and failing that,  would seek a rehearing of the full appeals court. If that isn’t  successful, he said that the group would probably appeal to the Supreme  Court.

Elford said that while he was disappointed by the ruling, he said it  “lays the groundwork for future cases.” He pointed to a line at the end  of the opinion, which said that “adequate and well-controlled studies  are wanting not because they have been foreclosed but because they have  not been completed.”

“I kind of take it as, ‘Come back to us when those studies are  completed if they actually demonstrate medical efficacy,’ ” Elford said.

The DEA referred questions to the Justice Department, which did not respond.

Hawaii House Speaker Files Marijuana Legalization Bill

(Stop The Drug War) -Hawaii House Speaker Joseph Souki (D-8) Friday introduced a bill to legalize the possession of marijuana by adults and create a system of taxed and regulated legal marijuana commerce. The measure, House Bill 150, would allow people 21 and over to possess up to an ounce and grow an as yet unspecified number of plants in a secure location.

The bill passed its first reading Friday, but has yet to be sent to a committee. The 2013 legislative session begins Tuesday.

“Regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol takes marijuana sales out of the hands of criminals and puts them behind the counter in legitimate businesses that will generate significant new revenue for Hawaii,” said Mason Tvert, director of communications at the Marijuana Policy Project, which is working on passage of the bill. “Law enforcement resources should be focused on preventing and responding to serious crimes rather than enforcing antiquated marijuana prohibition laws.”

In addition to allowing adult possession and cultivation, the bill would also authorize the state to license marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities. Public pot smoking, driving under the influence, and use by individuals under the age of 21 would remain illegal.

The bill introduction comes on the heels of the release earlier this month of a QMark Research Poll that showed support for legalization at 57%. That poll was sponsored by the Drug Policy Action Group, a sister group of the Drug Policy Forum of Hawaii, and the ACLU of Hawaii, suggesting that local as well as national reform groups are pushing the bill.

In the wake of the legalization victories in Colorado and Washington last November, at least a half dozen states are expected to entertain legalization bills. Hawaii is first out the gate; the others are Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, and Vermont.

DEA Raids Three LA Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

(Stop The Drug War) -DEA agents raided three Los Angeles medical marijuana dispensaries Wednesday afternoon, according to a preliminary report from Americans for Safe Access California director Don Duncan. More details were not forthcoming by press time.

According to Duncan, the DEA struck LA Wonderland on West Pico Boulevard, the Downtown Collective on South Hill St. near downtown, and the Iron Works in Venice.
The federal government has unleashed the DEA on dispensaries under both the Bush and the Obama administrations, although there was a respite between 2009 and late 2011, when the Justice Department had a policy of generally leaving them alone. But that policy shifted again in 2011, and both the DEA and federal prosecutors have been busy going after dispensaries since then. One Southern California dispensary operator, Aaron Sandusky, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison just this Monday.
The policy has not been limited to California. While hundreds of California dispensaries have been forced out of business by raids, asset forfeiture threats and/or prosecutions, so have dozens of dispensaries in Colorado, and a series of statewide raids in Montana in the spring of 2011 virtually wiped out that state’s dispensary scene.
The LA DEA raids come as the city grapples over what to do about dispensaries. An effort by the city council to shut them all down was blocked by popular opposition. Now, the council, and perhaps city voters, will have to consider two different municipal initiatives, one of which would limit the number of dispensaries in the city to about 100, the other of which would allow most existing dispensaries to stay open.

Rockhurst High School will test all students for drugs


(KansasCityStar) -Beginning in the fall of 2013, every student at Rockhurst High School will be tested at least once a year for drug and alcohol use.

“It’s a huge shift,” Principal Greg Harkness said Thursday. It’s an unprecedented step among Kansas City area schools.

“But it’s one we need to do,” he said.

Not because the private Jesuit school has any extraordinary drug and alcohol abuse problems, Harkness said.

But because the school wants to help its students take a stand against illegal substances, and aid those at risk of abuse.

The new policy, announced Thursday, came after two years of research and discussion and retriggered an ongoing debate on the roles schools can and should play to influence their students’ lives.

Many members of Rockhurst’s junior class in the all-male school were involved in the conversations between school staff, trustees and parents as the policy was shaped.

Students in those meetings, like 17-year-old Matthew Brocato, anticipated some of the concerned reactions among students hearing the news for the first time, because he went through the same emotional swirl.

“When you hear ‘drug testing,’ you think cops,” Brocato said. “At first you’re taken aback. Is it for the better?”

But the purpose isn’t to punish students, he said. The school wants to help.

The first time a student tests positive, there will be no disciplinary consequences, but a confidential meeting will be held with a school counselor and the student’s parents.

A second positive test would go to the dean of students for possible discipline.

What students are learning through the process is that, while the pressure to use drugs or alcohol may sometimes be high, the actual amount of use among Rockhurst teens is not as high as many students think.

A testing policy will make it easier for students to turn down offers for drugs or beer.

“It’s helping the students out,” 16-year-old Dante Pennipede said. “I’ve seen kids succumb to peer pressure. This gives another reason not to.”

Rockhurst officials aren’t aware of any other Kansas City area schools that test all of their students. The nearest model they found was Christian Brothers College High School in St. Louis, an all-male religious private school that has been testing its students for six years.

Public schools’ drug-testing policies are restricted by the U.S. Constitution’s Fourth Amendment prohibition against unreasonable search and seizures. Supreme Court decisions have upheld public school policies that administer drug tests in limited ways, such as on students participating in extracurricular activities and students who drive themselves to school.

Several area public schools have  limited testing policies.

Private schools, however, can test all students, just as private businesses can test prospective or current employees.

Organizations that oppose random drug testing of students argue that some research shows such policies do little to deter drug use.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Drug Policy Alliance’s 2006 report argued that drug testing is not worth the cost.

Schools risk false-positive drug tests, they say. The tests take dollars away from other prevention programs. They can undermine trust and drive away students who might otherwise have gotten help in other school programming.

“Nothing prohibits it,” said Doug Bonney, the legal director for the ACLU of Kansas and Western Missouri. “But it is a colossal waste of money.”

Like Rockhurst, Christian Brothers College High School weighed many of these concerns when it opted to test its students six years ago, said the school’s president, Mike England.

“In our mind, it was a student health issue,” he said. “It would be in the best interest of our students to give them a reason to say ‘no.’”

The St. Louis school has used the testing company Rockhurst will use, Psychemedics, to take hair samples from students to detect drug use and evidence of binge drinking.

Families pay an annual fee of $60 per student to cover the program’s costs, England said. As with Rockhurst’s plan, Christian Brothers does not discipline students if they test positive for drugs or alcohol once, but tries to provide support.

Students who test positive a second time are asked to withdraw, England said, which he estimated happens three to five times a year.

The school saw a dip in enrollment from about 1,000 students to 930 after it started the program in the 2007-2008 school year, he said. Some of the decline might have been a reaction to the policy, but the declining economy also probably hurt enrollment.

But support for the policy overall has been strong, he said, and the drug testing is continuing. More than 99 percent of the tests this year were negative, he said.

Harkness said Rockhurst’s costs will be similar to Christian Brothers’ and that the fees can be covered under the existing fee structure for families.

The school’s leaders determined the testing would be a valuable aid in helping students in a world that is much different than when Harkness was a 1981 Rockhurst graduate, he said.

Family life is different. Both parents more often are working. Students’ lives are more programmed with after-school commitments. Students are coping with more intense competition for college while managing 700 Facebook friends.

“It’s profoundly different,” Harkness said. “A lot is riding on them.”

Son of top DHS border cop busted for running cocaine

 (Raw Story) -Four south Texas police officers, including the son of a top cop advising the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on border issues, were charged Thursday with accepting thousands of dollars in bribes to guard cartel cocaine shipments.

One of the officers arrested, 29-year-old Alexis Rigoberto Espinoza, is the son of Hidalgo Chief of Police Rodolfo Espinoza, according to south Texas newspaper The Monitor.

Another one of the officers, 29-year-old Jonathan Treviño, is the son of Hidalgo County Sheriff Lupe Treviño. The elder Treviño also serves on the Southwest Border Task Force, a group established by DHS chief Janet Natpolitano in 2009 to advise her on border issues.


Two other officers, 28-year-old Fabian Rodriguez and 30-year-old Gerardo Duran, were reportedly members of the sheriff’s narcotics task force, nicknamed the “Panama Unit,” according to Government Security News. All four men were arrested on Wednesday.

Feds say Oakland can’t block seizure of Harborside Medical Pot Dispensary

(Activist Post) -The Feds are at it again. Their relentless attempt to shut down the largest medical marijuana shop in the world, Harborside Health Center, continues.

After losing a recent court judgement that said they couldn’t evict Harborside under federal forfeiture, the Feds are now making the argument that the state and city cannot stand in their way of seizing the dispensary.

Back in July, the federal government filed forfeiture proceedings against the property that Harborside rents. Although Harborside has not violated any state laws, action by the Feds essentially forced the landlords Anna Chretien and Concourse Business Center to file eviction charges with the Feds.

On Friday November 30th of this year a superior court ruled that Harborside cannot be evicted from their location simply because their product violates federal law. The granted stay of forfeiture was seen as a huge victory for Harborside and for state sovereignty in a never-ending battle by the Feds.

“We are heartened by the robust support provided to Harborside by our elected officials and the California courts,” said Harborside’s co-founder Steve DeAngelo. “The decision makes it clear that organizations that comply with state law deserve the protection of that law.”

“For years, in medical cannabis cases, California state courts have followed a principle that cities should not be able to ask a state court to ‘indirectly’ enforce federal controlled substance laws in a way that disadvantages cannabis patients and caregivers,” said Harborside’s lawyer, Henry Wykowski. “However, this is the first opinion that extends that principle to private actors, such as landlords.”


However, that small victory for Harborside was short lived. The Feds have now challenged the ruling saying that they have the power over states and cities because they have no ownership in the property being seized, and federal law supersedes state law.

In a brief, Justice Department attorney Kathryn Wyer writes:

Plaintiff, the City of Oakland, has initiated this separate action in an attempt to halt forfeiture proceedings that the United States has initiated against an Oakland property housing a marijuana dispensary. Plaintiff’s lawsuit was filed after the time to assert a claim in the forfeiture action itself had passed. And in any event, Plaintiff lacks any ownership interest in the property. Plaintiff therefore lacks standing to participate in the forfeiture action

The brief further notes that the Controlled Substance Act applies to all states no matter if they have changed their own laws or not:

Plaintiff argues that the United States is stopped from seeking forfeiture of the Oakland property because it had adopted a ‘policy of nonenforcement’ of the CSA against all those in compliance with state law. Even assuming that the marijuana dispensary operating at the Oakland property – which is alleged to be the largest on the planet, with annual gross sales revenue of $20 million – were in compliance with California law, this claim cannot succeed.

…the United States has never misrepresented the fact that marijuana distribution, possession, and cultivation remain illegal under federal law…

Wyer even takes a swipe at the state and city for only sticking up for Harborside because “it has received a windfall of millions of dollars in tax and sales revenues through the operation of illegal marijuana dispensaries within its borders.”

Indeed, Harborside has been a major benefit to the state of California and Oakland, as it’s estimated $20 million in annual sales operating as a non-profit have generated over $3 million is local and state taxes. Yet, apparently Wyer thinks that is a bad thing.

Clearly the Feds have little respect for state rights, property rights, medical rights, and local sovereignty — all of which are being tried in this case. Meanwhile, one of the most respected, lawful, and successful medical marijuana treatment centers is facing closure.

A recent Gallup poll showed that 64% of Americans want the federal government out of state marijuana laws:

Even 43% of people who think marijuana should not be legalized believe that the Feds should leave the states alone.

Bill Clinton says war on drugs not working

(Digital Journal) -As government officials and residents of Washington and  Colorado wait to see how the Justice Department and federal law enforcement  agencies will respond to the legalization of marijuana, politicians and  celebrities are questioning current drug policies.

On Thursday, Digital  Journal reported that the Washington law which made it legal for adults  21-years-old or over to possess one ounce or less of marijuana went into at  midnight on December 6th, 2012.  Colorado passed a similar law in November,  although it is unclear when the law will go into affect.

A spokesman for Seattle’s  U.S.  Attorney’s Office issued a statement on Wednesday saying:

“Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change  that will go into effect on Dec. 6 in Washington state, growing, selling or  possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal  law.”

Officials with the White House and  Justice Department are still deciding what actions, if any,  should be taken  regarding the new laws.

As the legal limbo surrounding the  Washington and Colorado laws continues, a documentary entitled “Breaking  the Taboo” premiered on Friday.    The film focuses on The  Global Commission on Drug Policy’s attempt to break  the “political taboo”  surrounding the U.S. led War on Drugs, as well as showing how it and  global policies have failed over the last 40 years.

Narrated by Morgan Freeman, the film  includes interviews of former U.S. Presidents Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter.

During the Clinton  administration, the position of Drug Czar was raised to cabinet-level  status.  Nearly 60 percent of all federal and 25 percent of all state prisoners  were imprisoned for nonviolent drug offenses during the Clinton Presidency.  In  Latin America, the use of military and Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)   forces grew considerably and marijuana arrests soared. Despite Clinton’s  reputation as being one of the harshest Presidents to date when it comes to the War on Drugs, he now believes that the war is not working.

In the film, Clinton is quoted as saying:

“What I tried to do was to focus on every aspect of the problem.  I tried to empower the Colombians for example to do more militarily and  police-wise because I thought that they had to. Thirty percent of their country  was in the hands of the narcotraffickers,”

Clinton continued by saying:

“Well obviously, if the expected results was that we would  eliminate serious drug use in America and eliminate the narcotrafficking  networks — it hasn’t worked.”

Cater offered his support to the  legalization of marijuana, reminding the film’s audience that he proposed  decriminalizing the possession of less than an ounce of marijuana in 1977.  He  also warned against filling prisons with those who were “no threat to society:   He felt the money spent on law enforcement efforts and the housing of prisoners  charged with minor marijuana possession crimes would be better spent on more  intensive treatment options for those addicted to drugs.  He goes on to say:

“These ideas were widely accepted at the time. Penalties against  possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use  of the drug itself.”

Rafael Lemaitre,  a spokesman with the  White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, told US  News he believes law enforcement efforts will always play a major role in  preventing drug violence, but he also acknowledges that the drug problem is as  much of a public health issue as it is a criminal justice issue.

The release of “Breaking the Taboo”  comes three months after another documentary,  entitled “The  House I Live In“, was released.  In that film, David Simon, creator of the  HBO TV show “The Wire”,  said:

“What drugs haven’t done, the war against them  has.”


Colorado Business Groups Ask Feds to Enforce Marijuana Laws

(Stopthedrugwar) -Some 20 Colorado business organizations wrote a letter to US Attorney General Eric Holder last Friday urging him to enforce federal laws barring the sale and possession of marijuana. In doing so, the business groups are taking direct aim at the will of the voters, who passed Amendment 64 legalizing marijuana with 55% of the vote last month.

“Passage of Amendment 64 left considerable uncertainty for employers and business in Colorado with regard to their legal rights and obligations,” the letter said. “We encourage enforcement of the [federal Controlled Substances Act] to provide the certainty and clarity of law we seek.”

Amendment 64 legalizes the possession of up to an ounce of marijuana and the cultivation of up to six plants by adults 21 and over. That part of the amendment will go into effect by January 5 at the latest. It also directs the state to craft a system of regulations for commercial marijuana cultivation and sales. The state has until October 2013 to complete that task.

Still, marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but the Justice Department headed by Holder has yet to signal how it will respond. The Obama administration initially backed off enforcing federal laws in medical marijuana states, but for the last two years has stepped up enforcement actions.

For Coloradans and others who want to know who is attempting to undercut the will of the voters and respond in an informed and appropriate manner, here is the complete list of signatory organizations:


  • Colorado Concern
  • Northern Colorado Legislative Alliance
  • Associated Builders and Contractors — Rocky Mountain Chapter
  • Colorado Technology Association
  • Fort Collins Chamber of Commerce
  • Grand Junction Chamber of Commerce
  • Greeley Chamber of Commerce
  • Pueblo Chamber of Commerce
  • Colorado Springs Regional Business Alliance
  • Northern Colorado Economic Development Corporation
  • Upstate Colorado Economic Development Association
  • Colorado Contractors Association
  • International Electrical Contractors — Rocky Mountain Chapter
  • National Federation of Independent Business — Colorado and Wyoming Chapter
  • Club 20
  • Loveland Chamber of Commerce
  • Colorado Bankers Association
  • Colorado Auto Recyclers Association
  • Chrisland Commercial
  • Douglas County Business Alliance

U.S. Drug Czar on Legal Pot in Colorado and Washington: It’s “very clear that federal law will continue to be enforced”

(Reason) -Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske went on American Public Media’s Marketplace Thursday to respond to the legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado and Washington state.

“What really troubles me,” Kerlikowske said, “is that in Washington state, which really prides itself on independence, it was $6 million of outside money that was raised in order to advocate for legalization. Pretty hard to compete against $6 million in outside money.”

(Kerlikowske is right that a lot of outside money went into funding Washington state’s legalization campaign. But it wasn’t all outside money, and it wasn’t all big dollar contributions, as I detailed in The New Republic.)

Interviewer Kai Ryssdal then asks Kerlikowske about the “change of heart” the Obama administration seems to have had about medical marijuana. “The president came in saying, in essence, ‘We have better things to do with our time.’ Now in the last two years, there has been more vigorous enforcement of drug control laws.”

Kerlikowske’s response is that the federal government said it would not go after medical marijuana users, and has in fact not gone after them. But “there has been nothing that I have seen or heard from the Department of Justice that says ‘Look we’re not going to continue to enforce federal law,'” Kerlikowske said of medical marijuana growers and sellers. “And we’re going to continue to take a hard look at those people who are involved in making money on essentially a violation of federal law.”

Ryssdal then asks Kerlikowske the question on every drug reformer’s lips: Will Washington crack down on legal pot in Colorado and Washington?

“There are questions in front of the Department of Justice,” Kerlikowske said. “They’ve made some statements, and it has been very clear that federal law will continue to be enforced. And I think we’ll wait and see what those decisions are from the attorney general and the Department of Justice.” (Listen to the full interview here.)

Yesterday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said this about Colorado and Washington: “This is an ongoing debate. We are formulating our own response to the votes of two of our states as you know — what that means for the federal system, the federal laws and law enforcement.”

Municipal Governments in Michigan Reject Marijuana Decriminalization-and Democracy

(Reason) -While voters in Colorado, Washington, and Massachusetts celebrate the reform of those states’ marijuana laws, residents in two Michigan cities are learning that marijuana ballot initiatives are only as effective as the government wants them to be. In Flint and Detroit, popular ballot measures decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of pot have been rendered toothless by resistant city governments.

“Dead silence.” That’s how marijuana reform activist Tim Beck described the response of Detroit’s mayor, city council, and police department to the Nov. 6 passage of a ballot initiative decriminalizing marijuana possession. Three weeks after voters expressed their will, “no member of the media seems able get any kind of answer one way or another,” Beck adds.

On Nov. 7, the Detroit City Council—which months before had sued to block the decriminalization measure from appearing on the ballot—called voters’ attempt to scale back the drug war “illegal” and a “waste of time.”

“I’ve had extensive conversation with corporation counsel in regard to this, and the proposal is illegal,” Councilwoman Brenda Jones told CBS Detroit. “It was really a waste of our time, honestly, but, whatever—we were made to do it by a judge,” Council President Charles Pugh told CBS. Bold words from a city government that’s been plagued in recent years by scandal and fiscal insolvency.

That same day, the city of Flint released a press release calling the passage of its own decriminalization measure “symbolic in nature.”

“Possession of marijuana continues to be illegal under state and federal laws,” reads Flint’s press release. “The police will continue to enforce state and federal laws relating to possession of marijuana. The ballot initiate [sic] does not provide a defense to those laws and the public should fully appreciate that possession of marijuana remains illegal.”

Flint’s express refusal to comply with the ballot measure earned it a stern rebuke from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

“This is in direct violation of the wishes of voters who opted for a decriminalization approach similar to those successfully implemented in cities across the country,” LEAP Executive Director Neill Franklin said in a statement. “The citizens of Flint spoke loud and clear in favor of change. City officials should respect the wishes of the voters who put them into office and can remove them just as easily.”

Can Flint and Detroit simply ignore successful ballot initiatives? Yes. Yes, they can.

“Under Michigan law, state law supersedes local ordinances in much the same way federal law trumps state law,” Beck, who organized support for Detroit’s ballot measure, toldReason. “The one difference is Michigan state law specifically allows local law enforcement (such as the Flint police department) to enforce state law if they so choose and ignore any local ordinance which conflicts with state law. On the other hand, if local police choose to follow a local ordinance they also have that choice. Such a decision is made by authorities such as the mayor/city council who can order the police chief what to do. That said, enforcing state law means that any fine or forfeiture money now goes to the state.”

If Flint and Detroit cops have to give marijuana fines back to the state of Michigan, now’s a good time for them to focus their efforts elsewhere: Moody’s just downgraded Detroit’s debt rating yet again, and Flint is roughly $17 million in debt and under the supervision of an emergency manager.

Respecting the will of voters wouldn’t put Flint or Detroit in uncharted territory. Ann Arbor, home of the top-ranked University of Michigan, decriminalized marijuana in the early 70s (it has yet to descend into anarchy). Michigan voters approved medical marijuana (or “marihuana”) in 2008. The refusal of Flint and Detroit governments to respect voters is especially mystifying considering that a third Michigan city not only passed a decriminalization ballot measure, but is hard at work implementing it. According to Grand Rapids officials, the new marijuana ordinance, which reduces marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to a civil infraction, goes into effect Dec. 6.

While officials in Detroit can’t be bothered to elaborate on their intransigence, Flint Public Safety Chief Alvern Lock saidhis department is “still empowered to enforce the laws of the state of Michigan and the United States.” But is rule of law really the motivating factor here? According to Michigan Radio, the pre-Nov. 6 fine for marijuana possession under Flint’s city ordinance is $500, while the current fine under state law is $2,000. Over the last three years, according to Michigan Live, Flint law enforcement have charged fewer and fewer people under the city ordinance, while increasingly charging people under state law. That doesn’t sound like rule of law, that sounds like fleecing.

Regardless, Lock should know that he’s also empowered to respect the will of Flint voters. Considering that they’re the ones paying his salary, maybe he should treat them with a little less contempt.

Outrage at Potential Sentence for Montana Marijuana Grower

(Stopthedrugwar) -Chris Williams is sitting in a private federal prison on the Montana prairie these days. If the federal government has its way, he won’t be a free man again for three-quarters of a century, an effective life sentence for a middle-aged man like Williams.

So, what did he do that merits such a harsh sentence? Did he murder someone? Did he rape, pillage, and plunder? No. He grew medical marijuana. And, as is not uncommon in Montana, he had guns around as he did so. Standing on firm conviction, he steadfastly refused repeated plea bargain offers from federal prosecutors, which could have seen him serving “only” 10 years or so.

Williams is one of the more than two dozen Montana medical marijuana providers caught up in the federal dragnet after mass raids in March 2011 savaged the state’s medical marijuana community, including Montana Cannabis, one of the state’s largest providers, where Williams was a partner. A true believer in the cause, Williams is the only one of those indicted after the federal raids to not cop a plea, and he was convicted on eight federal marijuana and weapons charges in September after being blocked from mentioning the state’s medical marijuana laws during his trial.

It is the gun charges that are adding decades to his sentences. As is the case in drug raids where police come up against armed homeowners, or as was the case of Salt Lake City rap record label owner and pot dealer Weldon Angelos ended up with a 55-year sentence because he sometimes packed a pistol, the Williams case is one where the rights granted under the 2nd Amendment clash with the imperatives of the drug war.

Williams was not convicted of using his firearms or even of brandishing them, but merely of having legal shotguns present at the medical marijuana grow, which is legal under Montana law. Still, that’s enough for the gun sentencing enhancements to kick in, and that’s enough to cause a rising clamor of support for Williams as he faces a January sentencing date.

“The sentence shocks the conscience,” said Chris Lindsey, a former business partner of Williams who is awaiting sentencing after pleading guilty to a federal marijuana conspiracy charge. “Look at (former Penn State assistant football coach) Jerry Sandusky. For 45 counts of child sexual abuse, he gets 30 years. Chris Williams is going to get three times that for being a medical marijuana provider. It doesn’t make any logical sense,” he told the Missoulian.

Williams supporters have created a Free Chris Williams Facebook page and are petitioning the White House through its We the People online petition program for a full pardon for him. The White House responds to petitions that achieve over 25,000 signatures; the Williams petition has managed to generate slightly more than 20,000 signatures in less than two weeks. Other petitions seeking clemency for Williams are at and

Williams and his supporters are not just relying on the kindness of the White House. He is appealing his criminal conviction to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals, and he is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit that claims he and other medical marijuana providers were in compliance with Montana state law and the federal raid and subsequent prosecutions were an unconstitutional usurpation of state and local powers under the 10th Amendment. That amendment says powers not granted to the federal government by the Constitution and not prohibited by the states are reserved to the states or the people.

But legal experts said his chances for victory in the civil lawsuit were small, and he would still be saddled with the federal criminal conviction.

“The war on drugs is too sacrosanct a sacred cow for the courts to weigh in favor,” said California marijuana attorney Robert Raich, who has argued and lost two marijuana cases at the Supreme Court. “I think we can make better progress by doing something other than filing lawsuits,” he said in an interview with the Helena Independent Record.

Still, Raich said he sympathized with Williams’ plight and added that the federal attack on Montana providers was among its harshest.

“Montana is the worst,” he said. “The federal government has attacked medical cannabis with a vengeance in Montana more than any other state.”

Williams’ attorney in the civil suit, Paul Livingston, said he would press forward with the appeal even if his client is behind bars.

“He has been made a martyr,” said attorney Livingston. “It’s a very solid case, it is a case that needs to be decided and I think everyone would agree once they learn the facts of what happened,” Livingston said.

Ironically, as Williams languishes behind bars contemplating spending the rest of his life in prison, Montana could become the next state to legalize marijuana. Medical marijuana activists there, frustrated by the legislature’s gutting of their program last year and their inability to get that overturned this year, have filed papers to put a legalization initiative on the ballot in 2014. Even that wouldn’t directly help Williams, but it would serve to further underline the senselessness of his sentence.

7-Yr-Old Girl Takes Medical Marijuana To Help With Leukemia Treatment

(OregonLive) -Mykayla Comstock’s family says marijuana helps her fight an especially aggressive form of leukemia, keeps infection at bay and lifts her weary spirit. Twice a day she swallows a potent capsule form of the drug. Some days, when she can’t sleep or eat, she snacks on a gingersnap or brownie baked with marijuana-laced butter.

Mykayla is one of 2,201 cancer patients authorized by the state of Oregon to use medical marijuana.

She is 7.

The Oregon Medical Marijuana Program serves 52 children who have a qualifying medical condition, parental consent and a doctor’s approval. Like adults, most cite pain as a qualifying condition, though many list multiple health problems, including seizures, nausea and cancer.

Allowing adults to consume medical marijuana is gaining acceptance nationwide. But Mykayla’s story underscores the complex issues that arise when states empower parents to administer the controversial drug to children.

Oregon’s law, approved by voters 14 years ago, requires no monitoring of a child’s medical marijuana use by a pediatrician. The law instead invests authority in parents to decide the dosage, frequency and manner of a child’s marijuana consumption.

The state imposes no standards for quality, safety or potency in the production of marijuana.

Little is known about how the drug interacts with the developing body, leading pediatricians say. A recent international study found sustained cannabis use among teens can cause long-term damage to intellect, memory and attention.

Many doctors worry about introducing a child to marijuana when they say other drugs can treat pain and nausea more effectively.

Mykayla’s father, who is divorced from the girl’s mother, was so disturbed by his daughter’s marijuana use that he contacted child welfare officials, police and her oncologist. Jesse Comstock said his concerns were prompted by a visit with Mykayla in August.

“She was stoned out of her mind,” said Comstock, 26. “All she wanted to do was lay on the bed and play video games.”

But Mykayla’s mother and her boyfriend, Erin Purchase and Brandon Krenzler, see the drug as a harmless antidote to leukemia’s host of horrors. The couple, regular cannabis users raised in Pendleton, said Mykayla relies almost exclusively on pot to treat pain, nausea, vomiting, depression and sleep problems associated with her cancer treatment.

Mykayla, who favors a knit cupcake cap to cover her fuzz of strawberry-colored hair, said marijuana makes her feel better.

By the numbers
Most jurisdictions that have medical marijuana programs — 18 states and Washington, D.C. — permit children to participate with parental consent and a doctor’s approval. View the numbers for Oregon here.

“It helps me eat and sleep,” she said, nestled against her mother on a couch. “The chemotherapy makes you feel like you want to stay up all night long.”

Marijuana, she said, “makes me feel funny, happy.”

“She’s like she was before,” her mother said. “She’s a normal kid.”

Diagnosis: leukemia

Mykayla, a sweet girl with a splash of red freckles across her nose and cheeks, started showing cancer symptoms last spring. She was feverish. She had a hacking cough and night sweats. A rash spread on her leg.

Purchase, 25, worried that her daughter had Lyme disease or pneumonia. A Pendleton doctor suspected strep throat and put her on antibiotics.

But Mykayla’s health worsened. Purchase took her to a Hermiston pediatrician, who found a mass in the girl’s chest.

Purchase and Krenzler, 27, drove Mykayla to Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel that afternoon. The following day she was diagnosed with T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“My whole life is her,” said Purchase, who became pregnant with Mykayla when she was a 17-year-old high school senior. “I was so scared of losing her. It was heartbreaking.”

Leukemia is the most common childhood cancer, striking an estimated 3,800 American children each year. Mykayla has T-cell leukemia, an aggressive form of the disease that affects 10 to 15 percent of patients.

Immediately, Purchase, who is divorced from Mykayla’s father and has sole custody, faced decisions about her daughter’s treatment.

With chemotherapy, doctors put Mykayla’s odds of survival at 76.9 percent and her chance of relapse at 7 percent, Purchase said. Purchase accepted the chemo as part of her daughter’s treatment, although she takes a generally dim view of the pharmaceutical industry, is skeptical of childhood vaccines, rejects genetically modified foods and avoids products made with high-fructose corn syrup.

What Purchase believes, emphatically, is that cannabis heals.

Purchase said her stepfather’s topical application of cannabis oil cured his skin cancer. She said an acquaintance’s lung cancer went into remission after he used pot.

And Purchase herself consumes marijuana daily.

She said she became an Oregon medical marijuana patient in 2010 to treat vomiting from a metabolic problem and from her pregnancy with her second child. She is so convinced of the drug’s safety that she consumed it during the pregnancy and while breastfeeding.

She was certain of one thing when Mykayla was diagnosed: The child would use marijuana to defeat cancer.

Purchase and Krenzler took Mykayla to The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation clinic in Southeast Portland, where a doctor looked over a letter from Mykayla’s oncologist stating her diagnosis. The doctor asked about Mykayla’s medications, her symptoms and how Purchase planned to give her daughter the drug.

Purchase said the physician “was pretty thorough.”

If he had any concerns about Mykayla’s age, Purchase said, he didn’t mention them.

Ten days after her cancer diagnosis, Mykayla was an Oregon medical marijuana patient.

Undergoing treatment

On a recent afternoon, Krenzler placed a baggie of empty pill capsules on the kitchen counter and unwrapped a 10-gram syringe of cannabis oil, known among marijuana patients as Rick Simpson Oil.

Krenzler filled a capsule with a half-gram of the dark sludgy substance that friends had prepared and handed it to Mykayla. The oil smells bad and, says Mykayla, tastes awful. Krenzler got lime-flavored capsules to help mask the drug’s pungent aftertaste.

Test results showed the substance had a tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content of 58.6 percent, a much higher concentration than in dried marijuana. THC is the psychoactive property of marijuana that gives users a high.

Mykayla swallowed the pill.

“First you get hungry,” she said. “Then you get really funny, and then you get tired.”

Medical marijuana for Oregon child with cancer Mykayla Comstock is one of the youngest medical marijuana patients in Oregon. She has cancer. Read the full story here.Watch video

These days, Mykayla lives with her family in a 35-foot RV parked at a friend’s home in Gladstone while she undergoes chemotherapy. Returning to Pendleton is on hold.

Mykayla went into remission within a month of starting chemotherapy. Cancer specialists say such a development is expected, but Purchase and Krenzler credited marijuana.

“She wasn’t responding as well until she got the cannabis,” Purchase said.

Mykayla continues to receive a half-gram of cannabis oil twice a day: once in the morning, and again in the afternoon.

Krenzler said marijuana can relax or energize Mykayla, relieve her pain, stimulate her appetite, ease her nausea or put her to sleep

When she first started using marijuana, it knocked Mykayla out. She’d nap for hours at a time, a sign that Mykayla’s body was adjusting to marijuana, said Krenzler

“Once you get used to it and you gain a tolerance, it doesn’t make you high,” said Krenzler, who is listed with the state as Mykayla’s grower. “You’re functional.”

Sometimes, if Mykayla is feeling especially lousy, Krenzler and Purchase offer her a cookie or slice of banana bread baked with “budder,” made by slow-cooking butter and marijuana buds. Krenzler said she’s had up to 1.2 grams of cannabis oil in 24 hours, the rough equivalent of smoking 10 joints.

Purchase has an associate’s degree in medical office assistance but is out of work. Krenzler, 27, is also unemployed. The family lives on Mykayla’s Supplemental Security Income and food stamps.

The couple home-schools Mykayla for now. She loves sculpting clay and reading “Diary of a Wimpy Kid.” Her favorite book is “It’s Just a Plant,” a children’s book about marijuana illustrated by the artist whose work includes the blockbuster parody, “Go the **** to Sleep.”

Mykayla often reads the marijuana book aloud to her 17-month-old sister, Ryleigh.

“It’s really fun,” Mykayla said. “It teaches you about cannabis, that it’s good for you and other people use it too.”

The doctor’s opinion

The faith Purchase and Krenzler place in marijuana’s curative powers is not shared by the American medical establishment.

Purchase and Krenzler said Dr. Janice Olson, the medical director of the children’s cancer and blood disorders program at Legacy Emanuel’s Randall Children’s Hospital, called the girl’s marijuana use “inappropriate.” Now they’re seeing another Legacy pediatric oncologist, Dr. Jason Glover.

Both doctors declined The Oregonian’s request for interviews.

Leaders of the American Academy of Pediatrics are circulating a resolution opposing the drug’s use in children, prompted by the growing number of states with medical marijuana programs.

“The issue,” said Dr. Sharon Levy, an author of the academy’s anti-pot resolution, “is that marijuana isn’t a medicine.”

Much is unknown about marijuana’s risks and potential benefits for kids, said Levy, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and director of the adolescent substance abuse program at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Studies showing marijuana can be effective against nausea and vomiting have focused on adults.

Pot does not cure childhood leukemia, said Dr. Stephen Sallan, chief of staff emeritus at the Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston.

Sallan, a pediatric oncologist and professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School, said he views the drug as “relatively harmless.” He did groundbreaking research in the 1970s that found THC in marijuana helps prevent chemotherapy-related vomiting.

“If I had a teenager — not a 7-year-old — who kind of liked the psychological side effects, and it offered additional anti-vomiting protection, I would say, why not?” said Sallan.

On the other hand, Sallan said marijuana isn’t part of the “first line of anything we use” when treating childhood leukemia.

Aware of the medical community’s concerns, the couple has not discussed Mykayla’s marijuana use with Glover, though they said the doctor is aware of it. Krenzler said he also didn’t tell doctors when he gave Mykayla marijuana in the hospital.

“She has never asked for a pain pill,” he said. “We’re not going to stop what works.”

Mykayla’s father said he was stunned to learn her oncologist was not consulted about the child’s marijuana use.

Comstock, who works in a North Dakota oil field, pays Purchase child support and covers Mykayla’s health insurance. He said he observed strange behavior during an August visit and took Mykayla to a private lab, where technicians detected THC levels of an adult daily marijuana user.

Gladstone police contacted the girl’s mother, examined Mykayla’s medical marijuana paperwork, then told Comstock there was little they could do.

Comstock, who used pot in the past, said he doesn’t object to people over 16 using medical marijuana. But he worries about his daughter’s well being and the potential for addiction.

“She’s not terminally ill,” Comstock said. “She is going to get over this, and with all this pot, they are going to hinder her brain growth.

“It’s going to limit her options in life because of the decisions her mother has made for her.”


Mykayla disappeared into the bedroom of a friend’s home one recent evening and emerged in a pistachio-colored gown. Someone she’d never met had sent her 1,000 paper cranes that, according to Japanese tradition, offer a wish for healing.

The tiny cranes, fastened to strings dangling from a belt, rose as Mykayla twirled.

“When you get married,” her mom told her, “you can wear it with your wedding dress.”

Mykayla took a seat at the kitchen counter, where she eagerly pored over a stack of letters from her classmates at Sherwood Heights Elementary in Pendleton, closely examining their crayon illustrations.

“Dear Mykayla,” she read aloud. “I hope you feel better. Do you like cats?”

Snacking on kiwi, she remembered the fun she had playing with friends and visiting the Pendleton Roundup before she got sick.

Mykayla will be the one to choose when to stop using marijuana, her mother said.

For now, Purchase hopes other parents won’t judge her for decisions she made when her daughter was “walking a line between life and death.”

“As a mother,” she said, “I am going to try anything before she can potentially fall on the other side.”

Teen who asked judge for a joint says he’ll ‘cut back’ on pot

(Raw Story) -An Ohio teen who sparked headlines from coast to coast when he asked a judge if he could have one last joint before going to jail was convicted Monday of marijuana possession, but acquitted on an additional charge of distribution.

During Monday’s courtroom hearing, Damaine Mitchell, 19, told Ohio Judge Melba Marsh that he needs “to cut back on smoking marijuana,” according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.

“Cut back?” the judge reportedly asked. “Stop,” he replied. “I need to stop. I need treatment.”

The judge also asked if Mitchell was working in the jail’s kitchen to earn a reduced sentence. “I was just wondering if you were making brownies or something,” she reportedly said, drawing laughs from the audience.

Mitchell was arrested in June in possession of a single marijuana cigarette.  Although he’s now clear of any marijuana charges due to his time already served, the teen is still in jail for trespassing after being arrested on his grandmother’s property. He was reportedly kicked out of her home for refusing to quit smoking marijuana.

Although marijuana withdrawal symptoms are relatively minor compared to harder drugs like cocaine or heroin, long-term users can expect to feel irritable, have trouble sleeping, and may experience sweating and weight loss as a result of quitting. Despite the drug itself being less toxic than aspirin, tar from smoke inhalation is known to cause bronchitis, emphysema, lung cancer and other respiratory ailments.