Marijuana

RSS Feed for this category

Canada: Smell of Pot No Grounds for Arrest or Search, Says Saskatchewan Appeals Court

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal has ruled that the scent of burning marijuana emanating from a car window is not probable cause for an arrest and vehicle search. The decision came in the case of Archibald Janvier, who was pulled over for a broken headlight four years again in La Loche, Saskatechewan.

When the officer approached Janvier's truck, he said he could smell burnt marijuana. He arrested Janvier for marijuana possession based on smelling the burnt weed, then searched the vehicle and found eight grams and a list of names, which led to Janvier being charged with possession for the purpose of trafficking.

At trial, the judge found that the scent of marijuana created a suspicion it had been smoked, but did not provide "reasonable and probable" grounds for either the arrest or the search. To arrest him based simply on the scent of burnt marijuana violated his right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, the judge ruled as he declared him not guilty.

The Crown appealed the verdict, but the appeals court upheld the judge's verdict. That was the correct decision, said Ronald Piche, Janvier's attorney.

"Until now, police have used the smell of marijuana as reasonable grounds to arrest someone for possession of marijuana," he told Canwest News Service after the decision. "It always struck me as a little thin, frankly. It's frankly a lazy officer's way of giving out a warrant, and getting to check a vehicle out, and oftentimes finding some evidence."

It's hard to possess something that's already been smoked, Piche continued. "The smell alone can't constitute the grounds, because the smell of burnt marijuana -- as opposed to raw marijuana -- gives an inference that the material is gone, it's dissipated into the atmosphere. So how can you say you're in possession of something that doesn't exist?" Piche said. "There may be suspicion that the person is in possession of marijuana, but that's not enough to base an arrest."

Crown prosecutors, unsurprisingly, were not happy. Crown lawyer Douglas Curliss told Canwest the court's decision was based on the lack of any additional evidence to justify an arrest and search. "The court was of the view that all he had was the smell of burnt marijuana alone; he couldn't act." Still, he said, the Crown will not appeal the decision.

Is there a continental trend here? Last March, the Utah Supreme Court held that the smell of burning marijuana is not enough evidence for a warrantless home search. And just last month, a California Appeals Court ruled that even seeing someone smoking pot inside a home was not sufficient grounds for a warrantless entry.

Travel Expert Rick Steves Speaks Out Against Marijuana Laws

Rick Steves is such a smart, friendly, non-threatening gentleman. And that makes him a terrific advocate for reform:
Travel guru Rick Steves wants America to take a cue from Europe and start talking seriously about marijuana.

Too many lives, according to Steves, are ruined by criminal penalties associated with pot possession, and too much law enforcement and too many court resources are tied up focusing on cannabis as a legal problem instead of a health issue.

Steves, who built his Edmonds travel business into a nationally known television show with travel books and tours, is now taking his marijuana message to the masses, too.

Wednesday, together with the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, Steves introduced a half-hour infomercial-style program he hosts called "Marijuana: It's Time for a Conversation." The program is available on Comcast on Demand, and promoters hope it will soon debut on local television stations. [Seattlepi.com]
Last Christmas, my mother received a European travel guide by Rick Steves. "Oh, Rick Steves!" I exclaimed, "What a nice man. I met him in San Francisco at the Wonders of Cannabis festival." Mom was incredulous. "WTF?! No, this is Rick Steves," she said, "the travel guy from public television. He's a Lutheran. Your aunts love him." I replied that while all that is true, Steves is also an outspoken marijuana reformer who presents regularly at conferences I attend. The matter was finally settled when I flipped open the European travel guide to the Amsterdam chapter and began reading aloud Rick Steves' coffeeshop recommendations.

Gee, I can't wait to send my aunts a copy of Rick Steves' half-hour marijuana reform infomercial. And while he's at it, Steves should start World Travelers For Drug Policy Reform, or WTF for short.
Location: 
United States

Thursday: Meet Your Medical Cannabis Match

[Courtesy of Americans for Safe Access]

Join ASA's Condition-based Union

Dear ASA Supporter,

Thus far this week ASA activists nationwide have joined the movement, met their Senators, and put their pens to paper. Today, on Valentine's Day, we are urging you to meet your medical cannabis match! We are calling on patients, family members, researchers and medical professionals to match up with ASA's condition-based unions!

Visit www.AmericansforSafeAccess.org/Thursday to find out how you can sign up for ASA's condition-based unions.

Patients nationwide have joined together to form condition-based unions to further promote medical cannabis research and advocate for safe access to medical cannabis through the Medical Marijuana Union project. Plug into one of ASA’s growing network of patients, researchers, advocates, and medical professionals. Join a condition-based union today!

Over the past several months, ASA has been working to improve our services and access for the condition-based unions. Many of you have begun posting online in our condition-based forums, filled out the condition-based survey, which was released last summer, and viewed and given us great feedback on how we can further serve our unions.

In our constant effort to improve our services and strengthen the movement, ASA has designed a website specifically for seniors, which was launched in January. The Seniors' Union Website provides information about medical cannabis issues and aging. In the future, ASA intends to roll out similar websites for our other condition-based unions as well. You can check out the website at: www.MedicalMarijuanaandSeniors.org

If you are a current union member or are new to Americans for Safe Access, medical cannabis, and ASA’s condition-based unions, please help strengthen ASA’s unions by completing two easy tasks:

Ways to Meet Your Medical Cannabis Match:

1. Join a Condition-based Union today: Plug into ASA’s growing network of patients, researchers, advocates, and medical professionals.

2. Join the Movement: In the past day, hundreds of supporters have joined the movement by donating to ASA. There are thousands more of you who support ASA, but have not taken action yet. Please join the movement today. It only takes a couple minutes and will renew your commitment to the medical cannabis movement.

3. Spread the Word: Forward this message widely to friends, co-workers, and family to encourage them to join you in the national movement to protect safe access!

Sincerely,

Rebecca Saltzman
Chief of Staff
Americans for Safe Access

Location: 
United States

Wednesday: Put Pens to the Paper, Write a Letter to the Editor in Support of Research

[Courtesy of ASA]

Dear ASA Supporter,

This week, ASA called on you to "Join the Movement" and “Meet Your Senators.” Today, we are asking you to take your involvement to the next level by making your voice heard and putting your pens to the paper for medical cannabis research. Write a letter to the editor about medical cannabis to educate your community about the issues patients and doctors face every day.

 

Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper calling on your Senators to support access for FDA-approved medical marijuana research. FDA-approved research is key to safe access nationwide. Use the talking points provided as a guide, but please be sure to personalize your message. Editors do not appreciate receiving several of the same messages so be sure to make yours unique!

Please write a letter to the editor today about the importance of medical cannabis research and how your Senators can get involved. Read on for ways to take action.

Ways to Make Your Voice Heard:

1. Use ASA's LTE Action Page to write a letter to the editor about research: After clicking here you will be asked pick your state, then you can choose from newspapers in your area, and finally you will be taken to a page with talking points, but please personalize your letter. Editors do not appreciate receiving several of the same messages so be sure to make yours unique!

 

2. Join the Movement: In the past day, hundreds of supporters have joined the movement by donating to ASA. There are thousands more of you who support ASA, but have not taken action yet. Please join the movement today. It only takes a couple minutes and will renew your commitment to the medical cannabis movement.

3. Spread the Word: Forward this message widely to friends, co-workers, and family to encourage them to join you in the national movement to protect safe access!

 

Sincerely,

Kris Hermes
Media Specialist
Americans for Safe Access

Location: 
United States

Hey Barack Obama, Fixing Marijuana Laws is Smart Politics

As the Obama campaign appears to gain momentum, the Senator has been reluctant to support any change in the way recreational marijuana users are treated by the criminal justice system. Given Obama's past sympathy for marijuana reform, it's a pretty safe bet that his current position is politically calculated. But what if he's making the wrong calculations?

As SSDP's Tom Angell explains in this LTE, actual public support for marijuana decriminalization simply defies conventional political wisdom:
Chicago Tribune columnist Steve Chapman is absolutely right that decriminalizing marijuana will save taxpayers boatloads of money and free up limited resources so that police can focus on preventing violent crime, as he pointed out in his recent column "A truth Obama won't dare tell" (Commentary, Feb. 3).

But it's absolutely wrong of Chapman to say, as he does in the column, that endorsing this common-sense policy change "would be considered political suicide" for a presidential candidate like U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.).

To the contrary, a CNN/Time Magazine poll taken in 2002 shows that 72 percent of Americans support marijuana decriminalization.

Obama's latest position opposing decriminalization will only win him favor with the mere 19 percent of Americans who, according to the poll, favor the continued arrest and jailing of otherwise law-abiding citizens who happen to use marijuana.

Supporting the criminalization of responsible adults is not only a senseless and cruel public policy, it is politically foolish. [Chicago Tribune]

Of course, polling data like this doesn’t necessarily reflect precisely how those same people will behave at the ballot box. And, as Pete Guither explains, any candidate endorsing reform faces the prospect of vicious mischaracterizations from their opposition.

All of this is true. Still, success in American politics has always depended on a candidate's ability to gracefully negotiate divisive issues. Just as an opponent's harsh attacks might chip away support for a controversial policy position, so may passionate words and sound reasoning reshape public opinion itself, turning polling data on its head and bringing legitimacy to ideas long relegated to the political fringes.

In that rare instant when the pre-written script is abandoned and the truth is permitted to speak for a moment on its own behalf, we have no frame of reference for the political viability of marijuana reform in presidential politics. The "foolishness" Tom describes is the mistake of recognizing common ground within the electorate and declining to indulge and nurture public values which run parallel to the candidate's own.

I suspect that the moment an already exciting and change-driven candidate takes the marijuana issue on the offensive and challenges Americans to envision a better policy, the popular preconceptions of our pundits and politicians will be disproved. If I am correct, then the biggest obstacle facing any politician who'd like to reform our marijuana laws is nothing other than his/her own willingness to throw the first punch.


(This blog post was published by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Location: 
United States

Tuesday: Meet Your Senators! Drop in on their District Offices Today!

[Courtesy of ASA]

Dear ASA Supporter,

Celebrate Medical Marijuana Awareness Week by urging your U.S. Senators to support medical cannabis research! Today and tomorrow, hundreds of activists throughout the country are “dropping in” on their U.S. Senators’ district offices. Join your fellow activists as they seek out their U.S. Senators’ at their local district offices today to talk about supporting access for FDA-approved medical cannabis research. Urge your Senators to support medical marijuana research by signing-on to the letter Senators Kennedy and Kerry are circulating to enable FDA-approved research. Visit www.AmericansforSafeAccess.org/MMJWeekTuesday to take action right away!

Background:
The federal government refuses to allow private researchers and scientists to conduct medical cannabis research using their own non-governmental materials, creating an obstruction for FDA-approved medical cannabis research. At the same time, the FDA and DEA claim there is not enough research to determine the medicinal values of marijuana. This hypocrisy and gridlock must end now!

Drop in on your U.S. Senators’ local district offices on today! Visit www.Senate.gov for contact information for your local district office.

When meeting with your Senators’ offices please bring with you the following materials, which are enclosed in this packet:

 


1. The Kennedy/Kerry letter of support
2. Research/Gridlock campaign fact sheet
3. University of MA’s letter of support

What to Ask:
Please support medical cannabis research by co-signing the Kennedy/Kerry letter to Acting DEA Administrator, Michele Leonhart, urging her agency to follow the recommendation of Administrative Law Judge Mary Ellen Bittner and grant a license to Prof. Lyle Craker of UMass Amherst to grow marijuana exclusively for federally-approved research. To join the letter, contact Graham Shalgian in Senator Kennedy’s office at 617 565-3170.

Follow Up:
At your meeting or drop-in, be sure to schedule a follow up meeting to discuss other pressing national medical cannabis issues. After you take action, be sure to contact Sonnet@AmericansforSafeAccess.org to let us know how it went!

If you have questions about scheduling meetings with your senators’ offices, contact Sonnet@AmericansforSafeAccess.org or call (510) 251-1856 ext. 321

Sincerely,

Caren Woodson
Director, Government Affairs
Americans for Safe Access

Location: 
United States

Monday: Join the Movement, Become a Member of ASA Today!

[Courtesy of ASA]

Dear ASA Supporter,

Welcome to Medical Marijuana Week! Today, we're calling on you to "Join the Movement" by becoming a member of ASA. Donate today. Your voice needs to be heard, and we need your support to keep fighting for patients’ rights more than ever. Don’t wait any longer to get on board!

Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is the largest national member-based organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. ASA works to overcome political and legal barriers by creating policies that improve access to medical cannabis for patients and researchers through legislation, education, litigation, grassroots actions, advocacy and services for patients and their providers. ASA has over 40,000 active members with chapters and affiliates in more than 40 states.

Medical cannabis patients and current Executive Director Steph Sherer founded ASA in 2002 in response to federal raids on patients in California. Since then, ASA has been instrumental in shaping the political and legal landscape of medical cannabis. Our successful lobbying, media, and legal campaigns led to positive court precedents, new sentencing standards, more compassionate legislative and administrative polices and procedures, as well as new legislation.

 

2007 Major Accomplishments

  • September 2007: Defeats Senate amendment that would have blocked implementation of state medical marijuana laws
  • April 2007: Co-sponsors the largest annual HIV/AIDS constituent-based federal advocacy and education event in the US, training hundreds of HIV/AIDS advocates to lobby for medical cannabis issues.
  • March 2007: Files successful vindictive prosecution motion in the federal case of Ed Rosenthal, leading to the dismissal of the majority of his charges.
  • February 2007: Files a lawsuit against the federal government demanding that the FDA and HHS stop spreading misinformation on medical cannabis and correct the information the have published.
  • January 2007: 500 patients and advocates rally outside the Los Angeles federal building, in protest of DEA raids.

Take action by joining ASA today!

  1. Donate to ASA: Take a moment right now to make a sustaining monthly pledge to defending safe access. Your monthly pledge of $10, $25, $50, or even $100 will let us know we have the resources to keep fighting for you!
  2. Spread the Word: Forward this message widely to friends, co-workers, and family to encourage them to join you in the national movement to protect safe access!

Sincerely,

Steph Sherer
Executive Director
Americans for Safe Access

Location: 
United States

Celebrate Medical Marijuana Awareness Week: February 11-17

[Courtesy of Americans for Safe Access]

Join the National Movement to Protect Safe Access!

Dear ASA Supporter,

To celebrate the growing support for medical cannabis and the spread of safe access in medical cannabis states throughout the nation, Americans for Safe Access (ASA) has organized Medical Marijuana Week 2008 . This will be the sixth annual Medical Marijuana Week, held during the week of 2/15 to commemorate the passage of Proposition 215, California's medical cannabis law.

This year, we are calling on you and advocates nationwide to take action every day this week. Please read on for daily opportunities to advance safe access to medical cannabis. Celebrate Medical Marijuana Week with us by educating your community, meeting with your U.S. Senators, writing letters to the editor, and more!

Also, be sure to wear your ASA gear next week to further educate your community about Medical Marijuana Week! If you do not have an ASA t-shirt, sticker, hat, bag, or sweatshirt yet, visit our store so you can "Gear Up" for Medical Marijuana Week and beyond!

Monday: Join the Movement

In just five years, ASA has become the nation's largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research. Join the fastest growing medical cannabis group, ASA, by becoming a member and/or asking your friends and family to join ASA.

Tuesday: Meet Your Senators

On Tuesday and Wednesday during Medical Marijuana Week hundreds of activists throughout the country are “dropping in” on their U.S. Senators’ district offices. Join your fellow activists by dropping in on both of your U.S. Senators’ local district offices on February the 12th to talk about supporting access for FDA-approved medical cannabis research. Urge them to support research by signing on to the letter Senators Kennedy and Kerry are circulating to enable FDA-approved research.

Wednesday: Put Pens to Paper for Research!

Write a letter to the editor of your local newspaper calling on your Senators to support access for FDA-approved medical marijuana research. FDA-approved research is key to safe access nationwide. You never know who you might be influencing - other community members, a staffer in one of your Senator's district offices, or perhaps even one of your Senators! Visit ASA's LTE action site on Wednesday for an easy way to submit your LTE online, using talking points provided by our communications specialists.

Thursday: Meet Your Match

Patients nationwide have joined together to form condition-based unions to further promote medical cannabis research and advocate for safe access to medical cannabis through the Medical Marijuana Unions project. Plug into one of ASA’s fastest growing network of patients, researchers, advocates, and medical professionals. Join a condition-based union today!

Friday: Meet the Movement and Get Organized

ASA is excited to release our first ever National Field Report, which paints a comprehensive picture of the local, state, and national campaigns ASA’s chapters and affiliates work on and also highlights the 2007 accomplishments in the field. Download the report on Thursday and start or join an ASA chapter!

Saturday and Sunday: Walk Your Talk

On Saturday and Sunday, mobilize your community for medical marijuana research. Download and print out a petition calling on your U.S. Senators to support access to materials for FDA-approved medical cannabis research. Visit ASA’s fun interactive map to download a petition addressed to your state’s U.S. Senators. Gather signatures on this petition at your work, school, home, church, and in your community. Please send completed petitions back to ASA via fax: (510) 251-2036; or mail: 1322 Webster Street, Suite 402, Oakland, CA 94612

Please forward this email widely to friends, co-workers, and family to encourage them to join you in the national movement to protect safe access!

Sincerely,

Sonnet Seeborg Gabbard
Field Coordinator
Americans for Safe Access Americans for Safe Access is the nation's largest organization of patients, medical professionals, scientists and concerned citizens promoting safe and legal access to cannabis for therapeutic use and research.
Location: 
United States

February Cannabinoid Chronicles Now Available Online

[Courtesy of The Vancouver Island Compassion Society] The February issue of Cannabinoid Chronicles is now available for your viewing pleasure at: http://www.thevics.com/publications/vol5/VICSNews5_6.pdf Some stories: MMAR Provision Found Unconstitutional Sunshine Coast Constitutional Challenge Use Medical Cannabis, Lose Your Job Medical Cannabis Vending Machines IACM Bulletin Enjoy, Robin at the VICS
Location: 
Vancouver, BC
Canada

Southeast Asia: Philippines Court Orders Life Sentence for Selling Two Grams of Marijuana

The Philippines has effectively imposed a moratorium on the death penalty, but that doesn't mean drug offenders don't still face incredibly harsh punishments there. That was certainly the case this week, when a judge sentenced a 54-year-old man to life in prison for selling 10 sticks of marijuana weighing just 1.79 grams, or less than one-eighth of an ounce.

Regional Trial Court Judge Gabriel Ingles Monday sentenced Rosario Bayot Mahinay to life on Monday. Mahinay was convicted of selling marijuana to undercover agents, a charge he denied. He said two men approached him as he waited for his daughter and offered him money for marijuana, which he refused because he wasn't selling marijuana. One of the men then threw down a plastic bag containing marijuana, and Mahinay was then arrested, he said.

Judge Ingles, however, pronounced himself unconvinced by Mahinay's testimony. He said Mahinay had failed to present any evidence to show ill faith by the undercover officers who did the buy-bust.

Mahinay's may be an extreme case, but law enforcement in the Philippines, abetted by a mass media prone to tabloid-style sensationalism on drug issues, continues to consider marijuana serious business.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Safe Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School