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Abolish the Drug Czar’s Office!


NORML
04/14/2017

 

The Trump Administration is widely expected to pick Representative Tom Marino for Drug Czar.

Representative Marino is a longtime, rabid drug warrior who has a consistent record of voting against marijuana law reform legislation — a position that runs counter to that of the majority of voters and his own constituents. His appointment to this office highlights the fact that this administration remains committed to the failed 1980s ‘war on drug’ playbook.

The Trump administration promised to eliminate bureaucratic waste. It should start by eliminating the office of the Drug Czar. 

The White House Drug Czar is required, by statute, “to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance that is listed in Schedule I” and to “ensure that no Federal funds … shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in Schedule I.” This narrow-minded, Flat Earth mentality refuses to acknowledge the reality that the majority of the country is now authorized to engage in the use of medical cannabis and it mandates that US drug policy be dictated by rhetoric and ideology rather than by science and evidence.

NORML opposes Marino’s appointment to Drug Czar and we further call for this anti-science position to be abolished entirely.

Click here to send a message to President Trump – End the charade of the Drug Czar by abolishing the position. 

The Drug Czar’s office is a remnant of a bygone era when US drug policy was framed as a ‘war’ fueled largely by rhetoric and ideology. In 2017 we can do better and we must. The majority of Americans view drug abuse as a public health issue, they favor regulating cannabis as opposed to criminalizing it, and they are demanding policy changes based on science and evidence.

Tell President Trump: There is no place for ‘Czars’ in today’s American government, particularly those like Marino who still cling to the outdated and failed drug war policies and misplaced ideologies of the past.

Thanks in advance for standing together with the thousands of NORML members throughout the country.

The NORML Team

P.S. Our work is supported by thousands of people throughout the country as we work to advance marijuana reform in all 50 states and at the federal level. Can you kick in $5, $10 or $20 a month to help us keep going?

 

 

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Secretive investment group sought Indiana marijuana business


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Tony Cook , tony.cook@indystar.com 6:06 a.m. ET April 16, 2017

Some of Indiana’s best-known former legislators and lobbyists joined a secret investment company that several investors say was formed to cash in if marijuana was ever legalized in Indiana.

Some of Indiana’s most influential lobbyists and political operatives joined a secretive investment company that several partners say has worked for years to cash in on the potential legalization of marijuana in Indiana.

The company, Hoosier Emerging Technologies, was created in late 2012 and is registered to Jim Purucker, one of the state’s most prominent alcohol and gaming lobbyists. Two investors in the company told IndyStar the primary aim was to influence legislation that would enable it to secure a place in the lucrative marijuana market.

The people Purucker recruited to invest in the company are a veritable who’s-who of top Indiana powerbrokers — Democrats and Republicans — an IndyStar investigation has found.

Among them: Former Indiana House speakers, former state campaign chairmen for Barack Obama and Donald Trump, high-powered lobbyists and some of the state’s most prolific political fundraisers. However, not all of them said they were aware of the company’s marijuana ambitions.

It does not appear the company and its investors broke any laws. Still, government accountability advocates worry that such a secretive alliance of insiders with undisclosed financial interests in legislation could undermine an already cynical public’s faith in state government.

“It’s everything you don’t want in government,” said Zachary Baiel, president of the Indiana Coalition for Open Government.

He and other government watchdogs said the situation reinforces their calls for more transparency and disclosure in state government.

Legislative leaders also expressed concerns.

“It bothers me a great deal,” Senate leader David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said in response to IndyStar’s findings. “It would appear that there were people trying to surreptitiously insert language to help create a monopoly. … It bothers me that people might be trying to manipulate the law for their own financial benefit.”

Purucker declined to comment for this story.

Three investors and another source familiar with the company told IndyStar that Purucker’s pitch was simple: Buy at least a single $1,000 share and you could hit the jackpot if marijuana becomes legal.

Only one of those sources agreed to speak publicly about the company.

“It had to do with an opportunity to make money with this company if marijuana was ever legalized in this state,” said investor Kip Tew, a former Indiana Democratic Party chairman who served as Obama’s campaign chairman in Indiana.

Tew and others said details about how the company would make money under such a scenario were vague.

“What was told to me was that the entity I invested in was going to invest in another entity that was going to provide some service to the distributors or retailers like in other states where it was legalized,” Tew said.

Three other investors told IndyStar they were unaware of the company’s marijuana ambitions.

The company was such a closely held secret that leaders of the General Assembly said they were unaware of its existence, even as some with an interest in the company advocated for language that found its way into bills and, in some cases, into law.

That legislation included the state’s controversial vaping law that took effect last year. It effectively made a single Indiana security company, Lafayette-based Mulhaupt’s Inc., the sole gatekeeper of the vaping industry. The regulatory framework established in the vaping law could eventually be used if marijuana was legalized in Indiana, according to two investors who requested anonymity

Tew and other investors said they did not know if Hoosier Emerging Technologies’ intent was to invest in Mulhaupt’s.

Mulhaupt’s owner Doug Mulhaupt did not return multiple messages left at his office, with his lobbyist and with a PR firm the company hired.

It is unclear exactly how many investors Purucker recruited, though several investors said there may have been dozens, including members from most large lobbying firms in Indianapolis.

The involvement of so many Statehouse influencers made it difficult for some opponents of the vaping legislation to find representation at the Statehouse, said Evan McMahon, whose group Hoosier Vapers fought against the legislation, but was unaware of Hoosier Emerging Technologies until recently.

“In 2015, when this first came up, we tried to find a lobbyist to represent our industry and every single person we talked to said they had a conflict,” he said.

At that time, McMahon said, he did not know there was what he described as “a shadow cabal working together for years.”

Dealing among friends

While some investors told IndyStar that HET’s focus was marijuana, another said vaping was key to the company’s plans.

“What I thought they were doing, as far as I know, is try to get a lock on the vapor thing,” said investor Rex Early, a former Indiana Republican Party Chairman who served as Trump’s campaign chairman in Indiana.

He said he bought a $1,000 share of the company, but emphasized that he didn’t know about any marijuana connection.

“I never heard that,” he said. “I’m not a big marijuana guy. Do not put me in there as promoting marijuana.”

Former Indiana House Speaker Mike Phillips, now a lobbyist, acknowledged he and his son also put money into the company, but he also said marijuana was never discussed with him.

“We were of the mind it had to do with the high-tech development of the systems used in racetracks,” he said recently while sitting on a bench outside House Speaker Brian Bosma’s office.

Paul Mannweiler, another former House Speaker-turned-lobbyist who advocated for the vaping law, said neither vaping nor marijuana were discussed when he decided to put money into the company.

“I guess it could have included buying the USA TODAY, I don’t know,” he said, referring to the national news outlet owned by IndyStar’s parent company.

When asked how HET’s prospectus described the investment, he said he was “dealing among friends” and didn’t “remember reading anything.”

“I think Jim just said he was getting a group together,” he said. “I’ve worked with Jim on a number of issues. He’s a friend that I know to be a good person.”

Harmful side effects?

Two sources familiar with the company say many of its concepts were discussed informally over drinks at the Winner’s Circle, an off-track betting parlor in Downtown Indianapolis and a frequent hangout for lobbyists and lawmakers.

Purucker and his longtime client Rod Ratcliff were always at the center of the discussions, which typically took place in the betting parlor’s private Triple Crown Club, the sources said. Ratcliff is the chief executive of Centaur Gaming, which owns the Winner’s Circle and Indiana’s two horse track-casinos in Anderson and Shelbyville.

The off-track betting facility was an appropriate place to plan what was essentially a long shot gamble on marijuana legalization in staunchly conservative Indiana. Long and Bosma have consistently opposed legalizing even medical marijuana.

Some people with a stake in the company made several unsuccessful legislative attempts to create a license to distribute marijuana in 2013 and 2014. After that, Purucker and several other lobbyists with ties to Ratcliff and his Centaur Gaming company launched a massive lobbying effort in favor of the 2015 and 2016 vaping legislation.

Ratcliff did not return several messages from IndyStar. But a Centaur spokeswoman sent IndyStar a statement: “Neither Centaur Holdings, LLC, nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, has an affiliation with the vaping industry. Centaur has neither sole nor partial ownership of any licensees or entity related to the manufacture, distribution or security of vaping products. Our sole focus remains to provide our guests with the best value in gaming, racing, dining and entertainment.”

None of the high-powered lobbyists pushing for the vaping law — Purucker, Mannweiler, Brian Burdick and Kenneth Cragen — listed Hoosier Emerging Technologies as a client or employer. They listed their efforts under Indiana Vapor Company. Burdick did not return messages from IndyStar. Cragen declined to discuss his role.

Their efforts culminated in the vaping law that took effect last year and gave Mulhaupt’s sole discretion over who could seek a license to manufacture e-liquid.

Mulhaupt’s chose to work with only six companies, many with past ties to Centaur or current ties to the liquor industry.

As a result, prices skyrocketed and scores of vapor shops and manufacturers were forced to close or leave the state. The unusual nature of the law also drew attention from the FBI, which opened an investigation to determine if there was any wrongdoing.

The FBI has not commented on the status of the investigation or its targets.

IndyStar reported last month that the vaping law shared a common feature with draft legislation from 2013 that would have legalized medical marijuana. Both included security firm requirements that gave Mulhaupt’s a distinct advantage.

“It’s everything we always had a gut feeling about,” said Amy Lane, whose Indiana Smoke Free Alliance represents many small vapor shops and manufacturers that lost business because of the legislation. “This wasn’t for public health and safety. It was about lining somebody’s pockets. It’s disgusting, really. It’s disgusting that people are allowed to behave this way at the expense of small businesses.”

She said 60 vapor retail locations and 46 manufacturers have closed since the vaping law went into effect last summer. Wholesale prices for e-liquid have shot up 45 percent, she said.

A matter of disclosure

Lawmakers are now in the midst of overhauling that law. Senate Bill 1 would get rid of the security firm requirements and other portions of the law that a federal court found to be an unconstitutional barrier to interstate trade.

The House and Senate passed slightly different versions of the bill and must work out their differences before the 2017 legislative session ends Friday.

But fixing the vaping law is only the beginning of the work lawmakers need to do if they want to restore public faith in the General Assembly, said Julia Vaughn, policy director for Common Cause Indiana, a government accountability group.

“We are at a point in time when the public is cynical, and things like this confirms their belief that there is a small group of insiders who inflict their will on the General Assembly and usually with a profit motive behind it,” she said. “This is another example of why we need sweeping reform.”

The secretive nature of the company was enabled in part because of what some open government experts say is a gap in Indiana’s ethics rules. Lobbyists in Indiana do not have to disclose which lawmakers they lobby or any of their communications with those lawmakers. In fact, they are only required to list the general topic of their lobbying, not the specific piece of legislation they are trying to influence.

At least 13 other states require lobbyists to disclose more specific information about their activities, according to the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group that advocates for transparency in government.

Lawmakers had an opportunity earlier this year to make interactions between lobbyists and lawmakers more transparent, but took a pass.

Senate Bill 289, authored by Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, would have required lobbyists to keep a log of all communication with lawmakers, making their emails, texts and social media correspondence a matter of public record. The bill also would have made it illegal for lawmakers to accept gifts from lobbyists.

The measure never got a hearing.

“If the public needed another reason to have access to their legislator’s e-mails, this would be one to add to the ever growing list,” said Baiel, president the Indiana Coalition for Open Government. “Public policy should be made in the light of day and on the record. For posterity. If we cannot reconstruct how bills are made, how can we trust the outcomes of the legislation?”

About Hoosier Emerging Technologies

Hoosier Emerging Technologies was created Dec. 11, 2012, and registered as a limited liability corporation with the Indiana secretary of state’s office.

Company president: Jim Purucker. He is a longtime casino and alcohol lobbyist. He pushed for Indiana’s vaping law. His clients include the Indiana Vapor Co., Wine and Spirit Wholesalers of Indiana, Indiana Towing and Wrecker Association and the Indiana Motor Truck Association. He also represents New Centaur, the casino and horse-racing business led by Rod Ratcliff.

Purpose: Some investors said company’s goal was to establish a foothold in Indiana’s marijuana market when it became legal.  Others said the company aim was to make money off the vaping industry or develop horse-racing technology.

Among the investors

• Kip Tew, former Indiana Democratic Party Chairman who was President Barack Obama’s campaign chairman in Indiana, and is now a Statehouse lobbyist for Ice Miller. That law firm represents many of Indiana’s largest and most influential companies. Tew said making money off legalized marijuana was HET’s aim. 

• Two other investors, who requested anonymity, also said the company was planning to capitalize on the eventual legalization of marijuana.

• Rex Early, former Indiana Republican Party Chairman who served as President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman in Indiana. He said he was not aware of any company effort on marijuana and thought it was focused on the vaping industry.

• Paul Mannweiler, former Republican Indiana House speaker who is now a lobbyist at Bose Public Affairs Group. He also lobbied on the vaping law. Bose’s clients also include some of the state’s largest and most influential corporations. Mannweiler said neither vaping nor marijuana were discussed when he decided to put money into Hoosier Emerging Technologies.

• Mike Phillips, former Democratic House speaker who is now a lobbyist at the Statehouse. His lobbying firm, Phillips & Phillips, represents clients such as tobacco and pharmaceutical industries. He also represents New Centaur, the casino and horse-racing business led by Rod Ratcliff. 

Another player

Rod Ratcliff, Centaur Gaming CEO. Two sources familiar with the company say he was involved with Hoosier Emerging Technologies. That involvement included, at the very least, discussions at the Winner’s Circle about Hoosier Emerging Technologies and possible marijuana-related legislation.

CONTINUE READING…

Ahead of marijuana legalization, activists call on feds to forgive past pot offences


Travis Lupick on April 12th, 2017 at 11:23 AM

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The federal Liberal government is expected to table legislation to legalize recreational marijuana on Thursday (April 13), exactly one week ahead of the world’s annual 4/20 celebration of all things cannabis.

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The proposed law will be debated in Parliament. Then it’s likely that each province and territory will require some time to work out regulatory details.

In the meantime, long-time advocates for marijuana reform want to know if Ottawa has any plans to provide relief on past offences.

Just last month, Canada’s most prominent marijuana advocates, Jodie Emery and her husband, Marc, were charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, possession for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of the proceeds of crime.

In a telephone interview, Jodie said that once the new laws come into effect, she wants the federal government to look at expunging records of crimes that are no longer crimes.

“We should have amnesty, pardons, and an official apology from the government,” she told the Straight.

Other advocates have made similar calls.

“A great way for Justin Trudeau to show leadership on cannabis would be to announce amnesty for simple possession when tabling new law,” Victoria lawyer Kirk Tousaw posted in an April 11 message on Twitter.

At the same time, Jodie painted a bleak picture of how she predicts the Liberals’ regulatory framework for marijuana will work.

“We know the government will not apologize for prohibition because we know they intend to maintain it,” she said. “The form of legalization that they are going to put forward is really just an economic opportunity for a select few people while everybody else continues to be arrested….Growers and dispensaries will continue to be criminalized and they will introduce even tougher penalties for people operating outside the legal system.”

The Straight asked Justin Trudeau about amnesty at a campaign stop in Vancouver in August 2015.

“That’s something that we’ll be looking into as we move forward,” he said. “There has been many situations over history when laws come in that overturn previous convictions, and there will be a process for that that we will set up in a responsible way.”

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Sheriff Who Met DAPL Opponents With Brute Force Now Advising Other Law Enforcement


 

Nebraska officials are reportedly preparing for what they expect will be massive protests against the Keystone XL pipeline

by Lauren McCauley, staff writer

The Morton County Sheriff's Department deployed a tank and sprayed peaceful protesters with a water cannon amid sub-zero temperatures on November 20, 2016. (Photo: Dark Sevier/flickr/cc)

Morton County Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, made infamous for leading his department in brutal confrontations with opponents of the Dakota Access Pipeline, is reportedly advising other law enforcement on how to deal with protesters.

In an interview with the Omaha World-Herald published Tuesday, Kirchmeier predicted that the next flashpoint will come in Nebraska over the pending construction of the Keystone XL (KXL) tar sands pipeline.

Throughout the months-long standoff in North Dakota, the sheriff’s office was repeatedly criticized for acting as a security force for pipeline company Energy Transfer Partners, as well as for routinely employing an excessive use of force against demonstrators. Police in riot gear attacked the water protectors with rubber bullets, water cannons, teargas grenades, and other weapons.

In addition, military vehicles such as a BearCat and MRAPs were deployed, while protesters were monitored by helicopters and identification check-points.

Yet, Kirchmeier told the World-Herald “that several other states, including South Dakota, have asked him to relay what he learned from the Standing Rock protests, and said that eventually he expects to talk with those from Nebraska,” the newspaper reported.

Among the lessons learned, according to reporter Paul Hammel, is how the county and state both “declared emergencies so they could utilize emergency funds to buy riot gear and cover the costs of officers who came from other states, including Nebraska.”

Further, “Kirchmeier said some tactical lessons were learned in confronting protesters, but he declined to share them,” Hammel wrote.

Since Trump’s State Department issued a permit last month for the portion of the pipeline that would run from tar sands fields in Alberta, Canada to existing pipelines in Steele City, Nebraska, opponents have been ramping up legal challenges and plans for non-violence resistance.

And it seems that local law enforcement is also making preparations.

In Nebraska, Hammel reports:

Law enforcement and county officials interviewed say there have been some discussions about what might be coming, but they declined to say whether any protest-control training is underway. 

Taylor Gage, a spokesman for Gov. Pete Ricketts, said that commenting on such security preparations would “jeopardize” those plans.  The Nebraska State Patrol is well aware of what happened in North Dakota, patrol spokesman Mike Meyer wrote in an email, and regularly trains for “contingencies” such as protests and natural disasters. 

Meyer said that recent purchases by the patrol of the sort of nonlethal devices used in crowd control—such as impact sponges and rubber-ball blast and pepper spray grenades—were not out of the ordinary, and are part of the agency’s regular equipment purchases.

Activist Jane Kleeb, who founded the organization Bold Nebraska that helped lead the original movement against KXL under former President Barack Obama, told Hammel that she is hopeful the project will not come to fruition, either because of the pending lawsuits or because it still needs approval from the Nebraskan government.

Otherwise, she said, “I think you’ll see creative, nonviolent civil disobedience if it comes to that…We’re obviously going to do everything we can to stand with landowners and the Ponca Tribe to protect their land and their legacy.”

CONTINUE READING…

Kentucky Reaches Settlement in Radioactive Waste Dumping


Image result for radioactive waste

Kentucky officials have reached a $168,000 settlement with one of the companies accused of being involved in the dumping of radioactive waste in a landfill.

| April 14, 2017, at 4:26 p.m.

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky officials said Friday they reached a $168,000 settlement with one of the companies accused of being involved in dumping radioactive waste in an Appalachian landfill.

The Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services said it reached the settlement with Fairmont Brine Processing, which operates a wastewater treatment facility in West Virginia.

Kentucky officials accused Fairmont Brine of arranging to dispose of radioactive waste in an Estill County landfill in eastern Kentucky. The company had appealed its more than $1 million civil penalty order issued by the state cabinet late last year.

The state said Fairmont Brine contracted with a Kentucky company called Advanced TENORM Services to pick up, transport, treat and dispose of the waste. Some of it ended up in Blue Ridge Landfill in Estill County, the state said.

Fairmont Brine denied all liability but agreed to pay the $168,000 civil penalty over a 30-month period, the state said.

“All settlement proceeds will be directed to the Estill County Public Health Department,” cabinet Secretary Vickie Yates Brown Glisson said in a release. “The funds will be used for radiation-related public health issues in Estill County, particularly radon education and detection.”

Fairmont Brine was one of several companies targeted with civil penalty orders related to disposal of out-of-state radioactive material in Kentucky.

Fairmont Brine cooperated with Kentucky authorities, the cabinet said.

The company maintained it did not intend to violate Kentucky laws. When it contracted with Advanced TENORM Services to dispose its waste, Fairmont Brine relied on the other company’s claims that the waste would be safely and legally deposited in Kentucky, the cabinet said.

Monitoring and testing of areas at Blue Ridge Landfill have shown no evidence the disposal caused radiation or radioactive contamination above federal and state safety limits, the cabinet said.

When the state announced the penalties in 2016, it was also seeking fines from Advanced TENORM. The company is appealing the penalty order against it, the state said.

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Marijuana may be legal in California, but it could get you deported


Immigrant rights activists and attorneys are reminding immigrants of potential consequences of using marijuana at a time when President Donald Trump is ramping up deportation efforts.

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By Alejandra Molina | amolina@scng.com | The Press-Enterprise

PUBLISHED: April 14, 2017 at 7:07 pm | UPDATED: April 14, 2017 at 10:31 pm

It’s legal in California, but marijuana possession and use is still a federal offense that could cause serious problems for immigrants in the Golden State.

“It is still a federal offense,” said Inland-based attorney Russell Jauregui. “Federal law controls immigration and thus people will still face severe immigration consequences for marijuana conviction/use.”

Undocumented immigrants can be deported for marijuana consumption in certain circumstances and may risk not being admitted back into the United States if they leave.

Immigrant rights activists and attorneys are reminding immigrants of potential consequences at a time when President Donald Trump is ramping up deportation efforts. The White House has said that any immigrant living in the U.S. illegally who has been charged or convicted of any crime, or even suspected of committing a crime, is now an enforcement priority.

Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, declined to say how the agency deals with immigrants accused or convicted of marijuana crimes in states where it’s legal.

Instead, she reiterated the Department of Homeland Security’s focus on targeting all “removable aliens” who have committed crimes, beginning with those who have been convicted of a criminal offense.

While those who pose a threat to public safety will continue to be a focus, the department will not exempt classes or categories of unauthorized immigrants from potential enforcement, she said.

“All those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States,” Kice said.

That’s why immigrants need to be aware of consequences surrounding marijuana use, advocates said.

“It could happen that people think that now that it’s legalized, that it would be completely safe, but obviously in this era of increasing concern of criminalization, and the fact that the federal government has said it wants to crack down on marijuana on the federal level, we’re really just trying to help inform and be proactive with immigrants of these concerns,” said Angie Junck, a supervising attorney with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, a San Francisco-based national nonprofit agency.

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in February said that federal officials would try to adopt “reasonable policies” for enforcement of federal anti-marijuana laws. Sessions has said he believes violence surrounds sales and use of the drug.

California is home to more than 10 million immigrants, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Nearly half of all of the state’s immigrants are naturalized U.S. citizens and another 26 percent have some sort of legal status, including green cards and visas. It’s estimated that about a quarter of California’s immigrants are undocumented.

In a state where the immigrant population is so vast, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center in January 2017 issued a flier that spells out what non-U.S. citizens should and should not do when it comes to marijuana.

It advises non-U.S. citizens not to use marijuana until they are citizens, and not to work in marijuana shops. On top of that, it cautions undocumented immigrants not to leave the house carrying marijuana, a medical marijuana card, paraphernalia, or other accessories such as marijuana T-shirts or stickers. Additionally, they should never have photos, text messages or anything else connecting them to marijuana on their phone or social media accounts.

Most importantly, it advises non-citizen immigrants to never admit to any immigration or border official that they have ever have used or possessed marijuana.

What it boils down to, Junck said, is that immigration law is federal and marijuana use remains a federal offense, as well as grounds for deportation.

Marijuana is still listed as an illegal drug in the Controlled Substance Act and the Immigration and Naturalization Act deems drug trafficking an “aggravated felony,” a type of crime that has been a deportation priority.

Lawful permanent residents can be deported for any drug offense, with the sole exception of a conviction for possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana.

And, undocumented immigrants with a drug conviction can face a lifetime bar from ever gaining legal status. The only exception is a single conviction for possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana, and by showing extreme hardship to certain family members such as a spouse or children.

However, certain provisions under immigration law don’t always require a conviction in order for a person to be considered for deportation.

“Immigrants need to know that they can still face some consequences if they admit marijuana use to an immigration official,” Junck said.

“The biggest concern is admission to an immigration official,” she said.

Immigration officials can stop and ask people whatever they want; it’s just a question of whether the person decides to respond, Junck said. For example, when coming in from customs at the airport, officials can refer someone to what Junck referred to as secondary inspection.

“They may ask questions and those questions can vary from, ‘What’s your immigration status?’ to ‘Have you committed crimes for which you’ve never been arrested?’” Junck said. “Or maybe there’s a basic question that can be like, ‘Have you ever used marijuana?’”

Immigrant rights activists say the implications of admitting marijuana use are not widely known.

“There is a stigma about marijuana use in Latino immigrant communities and we need to erase that stigma if we are going to talk honestly about the legal repercussions of its use for non-citizens,” said Luis Nolasco, an immigrant rights organizer in the Inland Empire. “This is particularly for the older generation of undocumented parents who may have youth that engages in marijuana use.”

For now, it’s mostly unclear how federal authorities are going to address this legal situation. And in states where marijuana is legal, it’s a topic of serious concern for immigration attorneys and their clients.

“Under the Obama administration, I think it was treated more like a wait-and- see where we’re just going to kind of let this evolve,” said David Kolko, an immigration attorney in Colorado, where marijuana is legal.

“Under the Trump administration, I think people need to be even more cautious because there’s been certainly an impression that enforcement is going to be dealt with more aggressively and if they choose to use this marijuana issue as one enforcement tool, I think many immigrants … could be very vulnerable in terms of being able to stay in this country or move forward on their immigration cases,” Kolko said.

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Is No Men’s Rae “The plea to SET US FREE” ?


 

Image result for pot leaf

April 12, 2017

The debate over whether or not to use “no mens rae” when facing a Cannabis charge in a Court of Law has been brought to the forefront with Thorne Peters who is facing charges for Marijuana and paraphernalia possession which begins on July 31, 2017 in a Memphis, TN Court of Law.

There is always two sides to every story and multiple opinions, therefore I will attempt to present both opinions that I have been offered, as far as the use of no “mens rae” in a Court of Law.

In the first scenario Thorne Peters feels that no “mens rae” or having no guilty mind at the time the charge was incurred, is of itself enough to render a not guilty verdict if given the chance in a trial by jury.

In the second scenario Rev. Mary Thomas Spears differs in opinion as she states that no “mens rae” plead as a defense from the beginning of a trial is not in anyone’s best interest because this plea is meant to establish the fact the the defendant did not, in fact, know that they were guilty of a crime at the time.  It does not mean that you feel you were not guilty at the time because of your beliefs.

In a Facebook message today, Thorne Peters sent the following to me:

Image may contain: 4 people, people standing and outdoor

Judge Neil Gorsuch, of Denver, Colorado, a Supreme Court Justice nominee, (now confirmed) defends the lawful right of people using drugs and cannabis, as well as a variety of consensual acts currently prohibited.

In his 2006 book, “Assisted Suicide and the Right to Euthanasia”, Gorsuch claims that people have the right to die, kill themselves or join suicide pacts. He also supports the rights of citizens to use drugs, commit prostitution and even sell their body parts.

“If a person has the right to die, they also have the right to use drugs.”

Gorsuch claims the legal standard of “mens rea” (the guilty mind) does not apply to consensual acts.

In Memphis, since February 2015, CANNABIS Proactivist THORNE PETERS, known as “THE KINGPIN”, has been using a “no mens rea” defense against Possession for sales of CANNABIS charges . . . a case that has been set off for trial on two different occasions and is currently reset for trial in Division 1 on July 31, 2017 . . . 29 months after the arrest.

Judge Paula Skahan explained to Peters that “no mens rea” is a matter for the jury to decide. Peters claims the State is reluctant to go to trial because there are no legal grounds to proceed because he had “no mens rea.”

“When I make my case to the jury at THE TRIAL OF THE MILLENNIUM, I will prove my rights are being violated and we will have the legal mantra to end CANNABIS Prohibition. “NO MENS REA!”

Peters notoriously ran a “420 Friendly Nightclub” in Millington, TN which was closed as a Public Nuisance in 2009. He spent 19 months in jail fighting drug trafficking charges that were dropped. Peters was arrested for toking POT from an apple at the courthouse on 4/20/2011. In 2014, he spent a year dealing POT on Facebook; making YouTube videos that he posted to the walls of the local authorities seeking to be arrested. “The only way to make our case is to make the jury understand there is no mens rea. We must follow the law; not seek to change it.”

Once again Peters will represent himself, only this time he claims his case will represent all of CANNABIS Universe.

A case for NO MENS REA cannot be defeated in court, because we have no accuser and we have consent. Like it was in the JIM CROW south, we are being violated by political policies enforced with criminal codes that oppress us.

We will be following this trial till its conclusion, so stay tuned.


MOTION TO DISMISS POT BUST

Thorne Peters·Sunday, November 15, 2015

snapshot

“It is not against the LAW to grow deal and toke POT! It is against an unjust Political Policy known as PROHIBITION, which is as UNCONSTITUTIONAL as JIM CROW!”~ THE KINGPIN THORNE PETERS!
“ILLEGAL v. UNLAWFUL” . . . a distinction with the greatest difference. LINK


JUDGE PAULA SKAHAN (TN),

“….As far as “Mens Rae”, those are issues for a trial in front of a jury…” 


Now comes a differing opinion from Rev. Mary Thomas-Spears and the group of “Americans for Cannabis” which is also a repeal organization.

407802_10150588781162994_1598323166_n
Mary Thomas-Spears shared Constitutional Cannabis‘s post to the group: Kentucky for Cannabis™.

From another educational page of mine here on FB… –

Constitutional Cannabis

First Lesson to remember in Law is – That despite what you believe all the words mean… That those words are translated back to their Latin Definitions by the Courts = like Doctors

The Judges, Lawyers,… Use Latin Words and Terms to communicate and do their business!

“Where being a good Catholic boy pays off!” ~ Gatewood Galbraith

So your first lesson is? They do not want you to know what they are saying as they hide the true meanings of the words… While they taught you to read a Webster’s Dictionary….

They use Black’s Law Dictionary or West Business Law for the most part.

It is very important to note that both of these Dictionaries quote Cannon Law.

As the Law is an extension of the Law of G-d handed down or Canonized by the Roman Catholic Church and or Mosaic Law.

Just as Government is the extension of, incorporation or Corporation, Corpse = Dead Body of the Administration or Ministry established by the Church for Control and Profit = why the Church is Tax Exempt and why Courtrooms look like churches with pews…

Any questions??? About any of this?

Continuing on…

Bernard Lucas

I have a question for you Mary. I see a number of cannabis activist’s promoting a #NoMensRea (No Guilty Mind) To be used as a cannabis defense when charged with cannabis possession in a court of law. I have not seen any documentation or court cases, or defendants having their cannabis case dismissed by using the plea #NoMensRea? I don’t think activist’s should be promoting this defense when courts may be most likely to ignore this defense? Would you please be able to clear up this possible misconception and set us straight on this defense?

Mary Thomas-Spears

TY! Bernard Lucas for asking a question that I have asked myself, as it is a good question!

The question is #NoMensRea ?
No!!! I do not promote the use of this defense
http://nationalparalegal.edu/public_documents/courseware_asp_files/criminalLaw/basicElements/CommonLawMensRea.asp

Why???
I am not an Attorney so you can not construe this as Legal Advise as I share my understanding from research and experience only.

Making that your Defense is like making an Insanity Defense in my opinion.

Which is nearly impossible for most conscious people to pull off…

Why? It has to be proven or established to at least what?  Cast doubt upon a Jury…
I can see more than one problem with this defense in any Court in any case where it may be proven that the defendant was aware of the Laws in Question? Or the Charges brought before them… Or where they did anything covertly = any attempt to hide what they was doing… Or was not out open and upfront with their actions on….

Why? Because all the Prosecution has to prove at this point is, were you aware of the Law(s) and did you knowingly intend to break the Law = you intended to commit harm upon the State or Feds… As they are claiming to be the victim at this point.

It opens a can of worms that is hard to keep alive in the Courtroom without addressing their unconstitutional over reach… Like their claiming to be the victim!

Common Law Mens Rea

nationalparalegal.edu

Bernard Lucas

“Excellent answer Mary. Just as I had thought about it from my research. Kentucky for Cannabis™ and all Americans For Cannabis groups, pages etc. Will not be promoting anything like this defense. Which may send a defendant the wrong message.”

In another post on Facebook Mary states the following in response to a discussion with Thorne Peters,

I CHALLENGE ANYONE ATTACKING ME AND DEFENDING #ThornePeters to document ONE CASE where his Motion for #NoMansRae has ever worked in a Courtroom when filed in the ORDER of Process in which he had ADVISED OTHERS to FILE it

As I have already stated – IN MY OPINION- THE PROPER ORDER OF LEGAL PROCESS IS,

One friend wrote – “Her point is you have to be Arrested first!”  That isn’t my point at all but it is true.  No and Yes! Yes, you must first be arrested,

No,

HE IS OUT OF ORDER IN THAT  you have to first be willing TO ACCEPT YOUR RESPONSIBILITY FOR WHAT YOU KNOW, =  the current LAW WHICH YOU CHOSE TO BREAK.  You know you chose to break an Unconstitutional Act of Congress!  An Unconstitutional Act that is an Evil Lie! = ADMIT YOUR GUILT = START BY FILING A PLEA OF GUILTY BUT INNOCENT BASED ON A MOTION OF “LESSOR of EVILS” as YOUR DEFENSE  IN ORDER TO ESTABLISH  #NoMansRea. Otherwise you are pleading insanity in these cases.   I am just saying  that they know that you knew you were choosing to break the law = commit evil according to them! The next comment I have later added for clarity fact is – Unless you follow the Order of Process given above how will you be able to prove your case?  Because unless you first admit you knowingly broke an Unconstitutional Law,  how will you ever get to introduce the evidence that it is in fact, an unconstitutional, evil law? You can’t.

Common Law Mens Rea:

Mens rea, or “guilty” intent, deals with what the defendant needs to have been thinking at the time he or she committed the actus reus* for criminal liability to attach. In order to be guilty of most crimes, the defendant must have had the mens rea required for the crime he was committing at the time he committed the criminal act. As with the actus reus, there is no single mens rea that is required for all crimes. Rather, it will be different for each specific crime. LINK

*(ac·tus re·us /ˌaktəs ˈrēəs,ˈrāəs/ noun  / Law noun: actus reus / action or conduct that is a constituent element of a crime, as opposed to the mental state of the accused)


Mens Rea:
The state of mind that the prosecution, to secure a conviction, must prove that a defendant had when committing a crime.


In conclusion, first of all I do not think it is in anyone’s best interest to go into a Court of Law as a defendant and a defense attorney!  It is not a great idea to represent yourself in any circumstance, especially in trial.  Secondly, I would never try to use No mens rae because I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that the statutes will deem me guilty as charged if I tried to say I did not know marijuana was illegal!  I definitely know that Marijuana is illegal – according to the statutes which the Government now have in place to regulate commerce – it makes it an offense to the Government that I was using, possessing or giving away Marijuana.  And I KNOW this.

Rather, if I were to pursue a trial by jury I would make a guilty plea and then use a “lesser of two evils” defense.  Because of the fact that I have a disability for which Marijuana is  “the lesser of two evils” versus a strong pharmaceutical pain reliever, I may be able to convince the jury to nullify my verdict.  Mind you that this is just an example but I think it explains the concept.

It will be interesting to see how the trial proceeds in July.  I think it goes without saying that we all wish #ThornePeters the best of luck in his endeavor!  I hope that when it’s over Thorne can walk out of the Courtroom a free man and we can all get together and light up a big fat joint and celebrate the fact that we no longer have to feel guilty for breaking the Law to smoke a damn joint! 

sk

 

Notes, Links, and definitions of interest:

Mens rea (/ˈmɛnz ˈriːə/; Latin for “guilty mind”[1][2][3]) is the mental element of a crime. It is a necessary element of many crimes.  The standard common law test of criminal liability is expressed in the Latin phrase actus reus non facit reum nisi mens sit rea, i.e. “the act is not culpable unless the mind is guilty”. In jurisdictions with due process, there must be both actus reus (“guilty act”) and mens rea for a defendant to be guilty of a crime (see concurrence). As a general rule, someone who acted without mental fault is not liable in criminal law. Exceptions are known as strict liability crimes.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Model_Penal_Code#Mens_rea_or_culpability

https://www.facebook.com/thorne.peters/videos/1293329740747368/

http://www.tncourts.gov/sites/default/files/petersthorneopn.pdf

http://wreg.com/2015/02/05/man-known-for-marijuana-advocacy-in-jail-again/

http://www.tsc.state.tn.us/sites/default/files/petersthorneopn.pdf

http://press.princeton.edu/titles/8317.html

https://www.facebook.com/MaryL.Thomas.Spears

https://www.facebook.com/MaryL.Thomas.Spears/posts/1755983124714577

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1756018908044332&id=100009087183261&ref=m_notif&notif_t=like

 

DoJ Task Force Moves to Review Federal Cannabis Policy


In a DoJ memo, AG Jeff Sessions called for a subcommittee on marijuana and an email shows the DEA inquiring about Colorado cases.

By Aaron G. Biros

In a memo sent throughout the Department of Justice on April 5th, attorney general Jeff Sessions outlines the establishment of the Department’s Task Force on Crime Reduction and Public Safety. That task force, largely focused on violent crime, is supposed to find ways that federal prosecutors can more effectively reduce illegal immigration, violent crimes and gun violence.

The task force is made up of subcommittees, according to the memo, and one of them is focused on reviewing federal cannabis policy. “Task Force subcommittees will also undertake a review of existing policies in the areas of charging, sentencing, and marijuana to ensure consistency with the Department’s overall strategy on reducing violent crime and with Administration goals and priorities,” the memo reads. “Another subcommittee will explore our use of asset forfeiture and make recommendations on any improvements needed to legal authorities, policies, and training to most effectively attack the financial infrastructure of criminal organizations.” Those existing policies that Sessions refers to in the memo could very well be the 2013 Cole Memorandum, an Obama administration decree that essentially set up a framework for states with legal cannabis laws to avoid federal enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act.

In the past, Sessions has said he thinks the Cole Memo is valid, but remains skeptical of medical cannabis. In the last several months, comments made by Sessions and White House press secretary Sean Spicer have sparked outrage and growing fears among stakeholders in the cannabis industry, including major business players and state lawmakers. As a general feeling of uncertainty surrounding federal cannabis policy grows, many are looking for a safe haven, which could mean looking to markets outside of the U.S., like Canada, for example.

Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL)
Photo: Gage Skidmore, Flickr

Washington State’s former Attorney General Rob McKenna, Washington State’s former Chief Deputy Attorney General Brian Moran, and Maryland’s former Chief Deputy Attorney General Kay Winfree recently went on the record identifying the BioTrack THC traceability system as fully compliant with the Cole Memo. “The key to meeting the requirements of the Cole Memorandum is ‘both the existence of a strong and effective state regulatory system, and an operation’s compliance with that system’,” says the former attorney general and chief deputy attorneys general in a press release. “As described above, Washington State has a robust, comprehensive regulatory scheme that controls the entire marijuana supply chain.

The email sent to Colorado prosecutor Michael Melito

The flagship component of this regulatory scheme is the WSLCB’s seed to sale inventory system, the BioTrackTHC Traceability System.” Those commendations from a former attorney general could provide some solace to business operating with the seed-to-sale traceability software.

Still though, worries in the industry are fueled by speculation and a general lack of clarity from the Trump Administration and the Department of Justice. In an email obtained by an open records request and first reported by the International Business Times, a DEA supervisor asked a Colorado prosecutor in the state attorney general’s office about a number of cannabis-related prosecutions. The DEA supervisor asked for the state docket numbers of a handful of cases, including one involving cannabis being shipped out of state, according to The Denver Post. “Some of our intel people are trying to track down info regarding some of DEA’s better marijuana investigations for the new administration,” reads the email. “Hopefully it will lead to some positive changes.” So far, only speculations have emerged pertaining to its significance or lack thereof and what this could possibly mean for the future of federal cannabis policy.

CONTINUE READING…

Canada takes action to legalize and strictly regulate cannabis


News Release

From Health Canada

Proposed legislation would provide regulated and restricted access to cannabis and crack down on impaired driving

April 13, 2017              Ottawa, ON      

                                                           Government of Canada

The current approach to cannabis does not work. It has allowed criminals and organized crime to profit, while failing to keep cannabis out of the hands of Canadian youth. In many cases, it is easier for our kids to buy cannabis than cigarettes.

That is why the Government of Canada, after extensive consultation with law enforcement, health and safety experts, and the hard work of the Task Force on Cannabis Legalization and Regulation, today introduced legislation to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis.

The proposed Cannabis Act would create a strict legal framework for controlling the production, distribution, sale and possession of cannabis in Canada. Following Royal Assent, the proposed legislation would allow adults to legally possess and use cannabis. This would mean that possession of small amounts of cannabis would no longer be a criminal offence and would prevent profits from going into the pockets of criminal organizations and street gangs. The Bill would also, for the first time, make it a specific criminal offence to sell cannabis to a minor and create significant penalties for those who engage young Canadians in cannabis-related offences.   

In addition to legalizing and strictly regulating cannabis, the Government is toughening laws around alcohol- and drug-impaired driving. Under the Government’s proposed legislation, new offences would be added to the Criminal Code to enforce a zero tolerance approach for those driving under the influence of cannabis and other drugs. Additionally, the proposed legislation would authorize new tools for police to better detect drivers who have drugs in their body.

Subject to Parliamentary approval and Royal Assent, the Government of Canada intends to provide regulated and restricted access to cannabis no later than July 2018.

The Government will invest additional resources to make sure there is appropriate capacity within Health Canada, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the Canada Border Services Agency and the Department of Public Safety to license, inspect and enforce all aspects of the proposed legislation. These additional resources will also allow the Government to undertake a robust public awareness campaign so that Canadians are well informed about the dangers of driving under the influence of cannabis and other drugs.

Working in partnership with provinces, territories, municipalities and local communities, the Government will also make appropriate investments to train and equip law enforcement so that Canada’s roads and highways are safe for all Canadians.

In the months ahead, the Government will share more details on a new licensing fee and excise tax system. It will also continue to engage with all levels of government and Indigenous Peoples.

Quotes

“As a former police officer, I know firsthand how easy it is for our kids to buy cannabis. In many cases, it is easier for our children to get cannabis than it is to get cigarettes. Today’s plan to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis will put an end to this. It will keep cannabis out of the hands of children and youth, and stop criminals from profiting from it.”
Bill Blair
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice

“Today, we are following through on our commitment to introduce comprehensive legislation to legalize, strictly regulate and restrict access to cannabis and to create new laws to punish more severely those who drive under its influence. The Cannabis Act reflects an evidence-based approach that will protect Canadians’ public health and safety. By tackling alcohol- and drug-impaired driving with new and tougher criminal offences, Canadians will be better protected from impaired drivers and the number of deaths and accidents on our roads will be reduced.”
The Honourable Jody Wilson-Raybould
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada

“The bills we propose today are aiming at putting drug dealers and organized crime out of the cannabis business. It will allow law enforcement to focus on other serious offences, including the distribution of cannabis to children and youth and driving under the influence of drugs. Drug-impaired driving puts the lives and the safety of drivers and passengers at risk every day, and we will lead a wide-ranging campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of driving while impaired. The proposed Bill will also provide more tools and stronger laws to punish more severely drivers who drive under the influence of drugs, including cannabis. We will continue to work with our law enforcement, provincial and territorial partners and stakeholders to develop a consistent enforcement approach and to provide support in building capacity across the country.”
The Honourable Ralph Goodale
Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness

“The Cannabis Act will help keep our children safe and address the health risks associated with cannabis. The proposed legislation would allow Canadian adults to possess and purchase regulated and quality-controlled cannabis products, while prohibiting sales to young Canadians and any products, promotion, packaging or labelling that could be appealing to young people.”
The Honourable Jane Philpott
Minister of Health

Quick Facts

  • The Cannabis Act proposes that legal sales of cannabis would be restricted to people who are 18 years of age and over. Provinces and territories could increase the minimum legal age of sale, purchase and consumption.
  • The movement of cannabis and cannabis products across international borders would remain a serious criminal offence.
  • Following Royal Assent, the Government intends to bring the proposed Act into force no later than July 2018. At that time, adults would legally be able to possess up to 30 grams of legal cannabis in public, and to grow up to four plants per household at a maximum height of one metre from a legal seed or seedling. Until the new law comes into force, cannabis will remain illegal everywhere in Canada, except for medical purposes.
  • The provinces and territories would authorize and oversee the distribution and sale of cannabis, subject to minimum federal conditions. In those jurisdictions that have not put in place a regulated retail framework, individuals would be able to purchase cannabis online from a federally licensed producer with secure home delivery through the mail or by courier.
  • The proposed legislation would amend the Criminal Code to modernize and simplify the transportation provisions, strengthen the criminal law responses to impaired driving, and facilitate the effective and efficient investigation and prosecution of drug- and alcohol-impaired driving.
  • To facilitate detection and investigation of drug-impaired driving, law enforcement officers will be authorized and equipped to use oral fluid drug screeners at the roadside.

Related Products

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Contacts

David Taylor
Office of the Minister of Justice
613-992-4621

Media Relations
Department of Justice Canada
613-957-4207
media@justice.gc.ca

Andrew MacKendrick
Office of the Minister of Health
613-957-0200

Media Relations
Health Canada
613-957-2983

Scott Bardsley
Office of the Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness
613-998-5681

Media Relations
Public Safety Canada
613-991-0657
media@ps-sp.gc.ca

Public Inquiries:
613-957-2991
1-866 225-0709

SOURCE LINK

We are ANTI-PROHIBITIONISTS! We are "Constitutionalists"! We are "Overgrowing the Government"

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