Posts Tagged: marijuana

Pragmatism over principle on pot

The Chicago Tribune’s John Byrne reports that the city’s new top cop, Garry McCarthy, says that he might want to give citations, instead of court summons, to people arrested for marijuana possession. This comes shortly after Toni Preckwinkle, the head of the Cook County Board, declared marijuana arrests an unduly expensive burden on the judicial system.

Missing here, of course, is the argument that pot arrests don’t just drain resources but are a needless use of police powers that, in Chicago at least, unfairly target African Americans. A purely budgetary argument implies that once Cook County’s finances turn around, the city will again make casual marijuana users appear in court.

Washington sends unclear signals in war on weed

The legally murky world of medicinal marijuana cultivation has grown even more Byzantine. A recent old memo, penned by James Cole, a deputy U.S. attorney general, threw a curve-ball to everyone from growers to dispensaries to their customers, raising fears that federal authorities are about to upend a laissez-faire ethos announced in 2009 and begin raids and prosecutions, according to Peter Hecht of The Sacramento Bee.

The memo, somewhat contradicting the earlier statement that federal officials would not intervene in states where medicinal marijuana use is permitted, said state laws are “not a defense” from federal prosecution and that “Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug.” (more…)

Weeding out Michigan pot growers

Maybe because it’s so obviously the scourge of Detroit, the Obama administration is targeting medical marijuana growers near the Motor City. Robert Snell and Mike Martindale of the Detroit News reports that federal Drug Enforcement Administration officials raided a home and medical marijuana dispensary in Walled Lake, Michigan near Detroit and have targeted three other Detroit-area locations.

The raids illustrate the tensions between state and federal law. The U.S. Justice Dept. continues to prosecute for marijuana growth, but the possession and use of marijuana is legal in Michigan with physician approval.

Money (laundering) and medicinal marijuana

Granted expanded surveillance and oversight powers after the September 11 attacks a decade ago, federal banking regulators have been quietly tightening the noose on California’s semi-legal medicinal cannabis industry. (more…)

Doctors smoke it, nurses smoke it, judges smoke it, even the lawyer too

Legalizing it may be only a pipe dream for the advocates of California’s latest statewide ballot proposition.

Federal officials may sue to invalidate California’s Proposition 19 — a statewide ballot initiative that would more or less legalize recreational use of marijuana by the state’s adults, should voters approve it Nov. 2.  AP reports that Director of National Drug Control Policy Gil Kerlikowske, the so-called drug czar, is weighing all options, including a recommendation from nine former DEA chiefs urging President Obama to order Attorney General Eric Holder to file a preemptive lawsuit against Prop. 19. (more…)

Happy belated Labor Day to California marijuana growers

Sparking up a bong may still be a federal crime and only quasi-legal under California’s loophole ridden marijuana laws, but soon, some medical marijuana patients will be able to look for the union label when they are buying a bag, lid or stash. (more…)

Mom and Pop grass growers fighting “Walmart weed”

Hoping to generate badly needed tax funds, the City of Oakland has approved, in concept, four industrial-sized indoor marijuana gardens capable of filling rolling papers and bongs all over the Bay Area. It also appears geared toward drawing a federal backlash.

According to John Hoeffel in the Los Angeles Times, officials hope to grab a bigger share of the $28 million dollars changing hands annually at Oakland’s pot clubs, which distribute the ‘medicine’ to qualified ‘patients.’ (more…)

Cannabis really be true? Marijuana growers in California plan to unionize

In what is shaping up to be a confrontation with the Justice Department over federal prohibitions against marijuana, California voters will decide in November whether to legalize the substance for limited recreational use and tax it. In an effort to add legitimacy to the effort and to gain more leverage, workers at three medical marijuana dispensaries will announce today their intention to unionize. (more…)

Marijuana Legalization Not Gateway to a Balanced Budget

The New York Times Jesse McKinley reports on the push to legalize all marijuana in California — there’s a state legislative hearing today on the issue, but the real push is coming from petition writers to make marijuana legalization an initiative on the 2010 ballot.  I hope that the push to legalize marijuana doesn’t distract too much from the states’ bigger problems — being financially insolvent and relying on ballot initiatives for not just marijuana legalization but core tax-and-spend issues. Marijuana legalization is a bold idea, but a bolder idea would be for the state to hold a constitutional convention to rid the state running via gimmicky, dysfunctional practices like the ballot initiative.