Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Roundup: Life in Prison for Hash and Grinders

By David Downs
Wed, May 11, 2011 at 10:14 AM

Here's your headlines: 1) Newsweek names Boston, MA. and Tallahassee, FL. the two most pot friendly cities in America — further demonstrating how clueless the East Coast press is. (via MAP)

2) Bob Marley would have turned 66 Tuesday, but he died from a brain tumor that apparently started with a cut on his toe, CelebStoner reminisces.

3) Have you considered registering for the 2011 International Drug Policy Reform Conference scheduled for Wed. Nov. 2-5 in Los Angeles. No? Read the rest of the headlines and reconsider.

4) Republicans are all in favor of smaller government — so small it fits in your uterus, your pipe and can test what's in your blood. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer points how hypocritical Republicans love to scream "state's rights!" when protesting the Obama health care mandate, but won't stand up for state-level drug law reform. Historic note in the interest of fairness: prohibition was originally a "progressive" idea that the government could legislate morality.

5) Meanwhile, the ACLU calls on U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder "to make clear that the Department of Justice (DOJ) will not prioritize prosecution of people who comply with state medical marijuana laws, in keeping with previous DOJ policy." State-level opponents in Washington, Colorado and California have been soliciting threatening letters from U.S. Attorneys to try and help abort local reforms.

6) Among such enemies of the sick and dying: Colorado Attorney General John Suthers who tried to invite the U.S. government in to raid the state. After an unscientific, unfair THC-DUI bill failed this week, he took to the Internet to bitch about it.

8) Also in the mile-high state, check out Denver lab Full Spectrum's weekly picks. Then read Colorado pot columnist William Breathes' story on how THC testing is a totally dodgy. "To see how much variation there was between lab tests, we gave nearly identical samples of Killer Queen to four testing facilities ...” and got four different answers back.

9) Back in Cali, call in to support Tom Ammiano's California AB 1017, which would further decriminalize cultivation by changing it to a "wobbler", which gives state district attorneys the room to either prosecute growing as a misdemeanor or felony. “This is the first time in thirty years that the legislature has considered a bill to reduce cultivation penalties,” said Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML. AB 1017 passed the Public Safety Committee and is headed to Appropriations. It should reach the Assembly floor shortly. The cop lobby is against it, possibly because California wastes an estimated $1 billion per year on failed marijuana prohibition, according to the Cato Institute's Jeffrey Miron.

10) Speaking of growing felonies: a 40,000 watt grow house brings achild endangerment charge in Arcata, Califoria. The haul: nearly 1,500 marijuana plants, 15 pounds of processed marijuana, 28 1,000-watt and 1,500-watt grow lights. Julie Robbins, 29, of Arcata, was arrested and booked on charges of possession, cultivation, and child endangerment. The house is owned by Susan E. Shores of Palo Alto. Police say the crawlspace of the home had been heavily modified to accommodate a grow, “with approximately 40,000 watts of unsafe lighting and wiring in constant use underneath the house in which two children lived. 'The electrical situation in this house is one of the worst jobs that we have seen in terms of unsafe, exposed wiring,' Chapman said.”

11) The next Silicon Valley Cannabis Coalition meeting is today at 8 p.m. at UFCW Local 5, 230 South Market St. San Jose. The SVCC battles an ill-conceived city council ordinance requiring massive industrial grow facilities, and a cap of ten dispensaries in the city of 1 million. Santa Clara County's new D.A. has recently said that the city's entire approach to medical cannabis law enforcement has been largely illegal, and his letter is reverberating through city hall.

"A limited number of jurisdiction and individual prosecutors have advanced a theory that all 'sales' are illegal. There is no legal precedent supporting this interpretation and significant indication within the laws themselves, AG Guidelines, and subsequent case authority to conclude that this interpretation is flawed," Rosen wrote.

12) In South San Francsico it ain't the pot that'll make you miss school: it's the penalties. Seventy students received weed suspensions this academic school year. That's enough to make the city council reconsider licensing one dispensary. Yet research shows unemployed high school dropouts have the highest risk of going to to serious drug addiction. So why are we encouraging at-risk youth to drop out? “Employment in young adulthood can protect people by 'closing' the marijuana gateway," said lead author Karen Van Gundy in a news release. "So over-criminalizing youth marijuana use might create more serious problems if it interferes with later employment opportunities."

13) Good thing Oklahoma taxpayers are springing for life in prison for hash, brownies and grinders, NORML reports.

14) And lastly: the drug war is working! This guy is going to jail for a year and a day with your tax money! We did it!


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