Posts tagged with ‘marijuana’
Aviva Palmer, CEO of a Seattle event-planning company, The Adventure School, to The Seattle Times. Tokin’ around the Christmas tree: Pot etiquette for parties.
FJP: Service Journalism on behalf of those throwing holiday parties in pot legal states.
Kleiman is leading the team hired to advise Washington State as it designs something the modern world has never seen: a fully legal commercial market in cannabis. Washington is one of the first two states (Colorado is the other) to legalize the production, sale and consumption of marijuana as a recreational drug for consumers 21 and over. The marijuana debate has entered a new stage. Today the most interesting and important question is no longer whethermarijuana will be legalized — eventually, bit by bit, it will be — but how.
Challenges include: the DOJ, since anyone who trades in cannabis is still a felon according to federal law; big profiteers, since the cannabis industry could easily become controlled like Big Tobacco; and how to measure drugged driving, since the government hasn’t funded too much research on the chemistry of weed in the human body.
You can read Kleinman’s proposal to Washington State here.
The Seattle Police Marijuana FAQ
- FJP: Washington State -- along with Colorado -- legalized marijuana last week for recreational use. The law goes into effect December 6. Meantime, the Seattle Police Department has a FAQ called "Marijwhatnow? A Guide to Legal Marijuana Use in Seattle." Here are some questions and answers. http://bit.ly/TGTauB
- Q: Can I legally carry around an ounce of marijuana?
- SPD: According to the recently passed initiative, beginning December 6th, adults over the age of 21 will be able to carry up to an ounce of marijuana for personal use. Please note that the initiative says it “is unlawful to open a package containing marijuana…in view of the general public,” so there’s that. Also, you probably shouldn’t bring pot with you to the federal courthouse (or any other federal property).
- Q: SPD seized a bunch of my marijuana before I-502 passed. Can I have it back?
- SPD: No.
- Q: What happens if I get pulled over and I’m sober, but an officer or his K9 buddy smells the ounce of Super Skunk I’ve got in my trunk?
- SPD: Under state law, officers have to develop probable cause to search a closed or locked container. Each case stands on its own, but the smell of pot alone will not be reason to search a vehicle. If officers have information that you’re trafficking, producing or delivering marijuana in violation of state law, they can get a warrant to search your vehicle.
- Q: Will police officers be able to smoke marijuana?
- SPD: As of right now, no. This is still a very complicated issue.
A statement by Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper about the state’s legalization of recreational marijuana. The law would allow individuals to carry up to an ounce of pot and/or grow up to six plants.
Emily Bazelon, Slate. Don’t Touch Their Stash!
FJP: Call this part PSA to our Colorado friends and part example of a great explainer on how state rights and the Justice Department play on this issue.
This is not a tale of the federal government following the lead of the states. It’s a tale of the Justice Department asserting its authority against the state’s voters and state sovereignty. The federal government has this authority because of the 2005 Supreme Court decision that essentially ended the march of federalism—the legal doctrine that the court’s conservatives previously invoked to limit Congress’s powers to make laws that affect commerce among the states. You may vaguely remember this one from the huge fight over Obamacare. In the 2005 case, Gonzales v. Raich, Angel Raich was a sick woman in California who said medical marijuana was the only way she could combat excruciating, life-threatening pain. She argued that in light of the state’s 1996 legalization of medical marijuana, the Justice Department couldn’t enforce the Controlled Substances Act against her—in other words, the feds couldn’t take away her pot. Raich lost 6-3, with conservative Justice Antonin Scalia joining the liberal-centrist wing of the court. When it came to a choice between a federal crackdown on pot smokers and a state-led push to leave them alone, Scalia lost his appetite for dismissing Congress and federal prosecutors in favor of the states.
Bonus: The New York Times with a six minute “Op-Doc Video" about Chris Williams, a Montana man who faces a mandatory 80-year minimum sentence for growing pot. He did so after Montana legalized medical marijuana. As the Times op ed notes: “[A] coherent system of justice must explain why one defendant is punished more harshly than the next. It must explain why a farmer who grows marijuana in compliance with state law should be punished much more harshly than some pedophiles and killers. If we cannot explain this disparity, we should fight to change it.”
Last week the US Justice Department announced a crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries in California, arguing that federal law trumps state law with regard to controlled substances.
This week, a California US attorney is upping the ante, saying that she will prosecute any newspaper, radio or television station that advertises medical marijuana dispensaries.
Via California Watch:
U.S. Attorney Laura E. Duffy, whose district includes Imperial and San Diego counties, said marijuana advertising is the next area she’s “going to be moving onto as part of the enforcement efforts in Southern California.” Duffy said she could not speak for the three other U.S. attorneys covering the state but noted their efforts have been coordinated so far.
"I’m not just seeing print advertising," Duffy said in an interview with California Watch and KQED. "I’m actually hearing radio and seeing TV advertising. It’s gone mainstream. Not only is it inappropriate – one has to wonder what kind of message we’re sending to our children – it’s against the law."
Federal law prohibits people from placing ads for illegal drugs, including marijuana, in “any newspaper, magazine, handbill or other publication.” The law could conceivably extend to online ads; the U.S. Department of Justice recently extracted a $500 million settlement from Google for selling illegal ads linking to online Canadian pharmacies.
Duffy said her effort against TV, radio or print outlets would first include “going after these folks with … notification that they are in violation of federal law.” She noted that she also has the power to seize property or prosecute in civil and criminal court.
Marijuana dispensary ads currently appear in a wide range of alternative publications, as well as mainstream ones such as the McClatchy-owned Sacramento Bee.
Nothing like First Amendment meeting Drug War meeting States Rights meeting Federal Authority to start the day.