Friday, August 30, 2013

US Attorney Melinda Haag to Continue Crackdown Despite White House Directive

by David Downs
Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 3:08 PM

The US Attorney's Office for the Northern District of California — which has conducted an almost two-year long crackdown on state-legal medical cannabis businesses — strongly indicated today that the office's anti-pot efforts will continue on their current course, despite a historic White House posture-change with regard to medical and recreational marijuana.

The White House said Thursday that the Department of Justice will not sue to stop the implementation of pot legalization in Colorado and Washington, adding that prosecutors should not spend their time working to dismantle lawful medical cannabis systems in the twenty states where it is legal.

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Marijuana Banking Troubles Could Improve Under New Federal Guidelines

by David Downs
Fri, Aug 30, 2013 at 11:13 AM

“Financial institutions and other enterprises that do business with marijuana shops that are in compliance with state laws are unlikely to be prosecuted for money laundering or other federal crimes that could be brought under existing federal drug laws, a senior Department of Justice official said Thursday,” according to the Huffington Post.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

White House Will Allow Colorado and Washington Legalization to Proceed

by David Downs
Thu, Aug 29, 2013 at 12:07 PM

The White House will allow pot legalization to proceed in Colorado and Washington with a few caveats, according to a new memo for all US Attorneys.

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Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Kleiman: Washington, Colorado Face Raids; Feds Need to Bargain

by David Downs
Tue, Aug 27, 2013 at 5:23 PM

Last week, Talking Points Memo talked up the notion the federal government gives "tacit approval" to Washington and Colorado's programs to tax and regulate cannabis.

UCLA professor and Washington legalization wonk Mark Kleiman calls the evidence "extremely tacit" approval at best in a Thursday post to his blog on SameFacts.com.

"... no one at DoJ has given the government of Colorado any promises of non-interference with the activities of Colorado’s licensees. There have been discussions involving state and federal officials, but no negotiations of the 'If you do X and Y we’ll let your people alone' variety.

"That seems to me like a big missed opportunity," Kleiman writes. "... had the federal government presented the two state governments with a list of demands there would have been very strong incentives pushing state officials to meet those demands. Once Washington and Colorado have regulations in place and start issuing licenses, retro-fitting the terms of a bargain into that process gets much, much harder."

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Feds Encourage Pot Club Robberies

by David Downs
Mon, Aug 26, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Marijuana remains a federally illegal drug, a fact that the Drug Enforcement Administration is re-stating to national armored car companies that service dispensaries in states where the plant is legal for medical use.

Consequently, armored car services are cutting off service to dispensaries, who are already holding too much cash because the Department of Treasury has cut off banking services to clubs.

The Chronicle's Bob Egelko reported Saturday:

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Thursday, August 22, 2013

CoCo County DA Mark Peterson Calls Richmond Dispensaries Illegal

by David Downs
Thu, Aug 22, 2013 at 12:30 PM

The District Attorney of Contra Costa County recently sent a pretty intimidating letter to the Richmond City Council reminding them they could technically be charged with a federal (and possibly state) crime for facilitating permits for the town's four, regulated medical cannabis dispensaries. In a letter to Richmond July 25, DA Mark Peterson said marijuana is a federally illegal drug and no city officials who facilitate its distribution should feel immune.

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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Feds Slowing State Efforts To Safety-Test Weed

by David Downs
Wed, Aug 21, 2013 at 12:43 PM

The states of Colorado and Washington — tasked with setting up a regulated cannabis industry — have hit a barrier: a lack of accredited labs that can test weed for potency and pathogens, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Cannabis remains a federally illegal schedule 1 drug, so any lab workers that tests it to ensure accurate potency and the absence of bacteria, and mold can end up in federal prison.

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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Salon: Here's How Pot Works

by David Downs
Tue, Aug 20, 2013 at 10:14 AM

Science is an unstoppable force behind changes in marijuana policy worldwide, yet cannabis science is not well understood by laypeople. But Salon's K.M. Cholewa does a bang-up job walking readers through the basics, and it's heartening to see phrases like the "endocannabinoid system" wend their way into the mainstream.

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Monday, August 19, 2013

This American Life: Mendocino Sheriff Tom Allman's Plan 'Nipped in the Bud'

by David Downs
Mon, Aug 19, 2013 at 10:02 AM

Award-winning, massively popular weekly public radio show This American Life recently told the story of Mendocino Sheriff Tom Allman's plan to increase public safety and better use scarce law enforcement dollars by issuing permits to legal medical pot growers. The feds, of course, then shut him down.

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Friday, August 16, 2013

California Police Leaders Defeat Medical Cannabis Regulations

by David Downs
Fri, Aug 16, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Legislators — under pressure from law enforcement groups who believe there is no such thing as medical marijuana — withdrew a bill this week that would have codified the rules of the road for medical cannabis collectives in California. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg’s SB 439 would have given the Califoria Attorney General's medical pot guidelines the force of law. Currently, the guidelines are not legally binding, meaning certain law enforcement agencies and medical pot groups just ignore them entirely.

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