Tag Archives: trafficking

‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery Faces Possible Life in Prison


By Jason Sander – Apr 3, 2017

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AP

If there’s any living cannabis activist who has earned the term ‘The Prince of Pot’, it’s Marc Emery. He and his wife Jodie own the Cannabis Culture brand in Canada and have been doing their part to end marijuana prohibition for over twenty years. Because of his activism, Emery willingly made himself a target and has paid the price for doing so. Now, he could face possible life in prison.

Marc faces fifteen charges, including conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime, while Jodie Emery faces five similar counts. Officers stole more than 65 kilograms of cannabis and 2.4 kilograms of extract. Police also took $250,000 in cash in several currencies after raiding Cannabis Culture stores across Canada, as well as several homes.

The Emerys were granted bail in a Toronto courtroom in early March, with several harsh conditions – including being barred from going to any Cannabis Culture location or other dispensary, and from facilitating or participating in running any Cannabis Culture shop. There are a total of 19 dispensaries in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec using the Cannabis Culture brand.

“This is my 30th arrest,” Emery said, hearing cheers from his supporters that were gathered outside Old City Hall.

Despite all of his personal sacrifices, Emery seems optimistic about the future of cannabis legalization.

“I’ve been raided six times, and yet, over all these years, we’ve made progress,” he said, in reference to his decades-long mission to see cannabis legalized.

In typical prohibitionist fashion, Steve Watts of the Toronto Drug Squad alleged to the Toronto Star that the Cannabis Culture franchises must have been getting their weed inventory from “illegitimate sources often tied to organized crime,” due to the high volume of cannabis they sell.

This type of narrative is often used to draw an association with organized crime in the minds of people who don’t know any better. The reality is very different. Marc has always been open about his marijuana businesses. He always paid income taxes on his seed sales, showing “marijuana seed vendor” as his occupation on tax returns.

“We’ve been on the front lines of legalization advocacy for twenty-plus years,” Jodie Emery said. “Legalization is coming, and it’s because of people like us, and for us to face these incredibly unjust penalties and punishments is just wrong.”

After being arrested thirty times and already spending five years in the U.S. prison system, Marc now faces possible life in prison for his current charges. He could also be forced to forfeit all of his assets. Emery, like others who are locked up for possession, could be in prison when his dream of legalization finally comes to pass. The hypocrisy of the failed War on Drugs knows no bounds.

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‘America Is Full Of Hypocrites’: Marijuana Lifer John Knock Speaks Out


By Tess Allen  |  Feb 20, 2017

'America Is Full Of Hypocrites': Marijuana Lifer John Knock Speaks Out

Days after John Knock learned that his application for clemency had been denied – meaning he would have to continue serving out two life sentences plus 20 years for a non-violent cannabis offense – he found himself transfixed by a story on NPR.

“There was [someone on the radio] talking about how they’re going to handle the marijuana distribution stores in Pennsylvania, and here I am doing a life sentence for marijuana,” Knock told Civilized from the federal penitentiary in Pennsylvania where he currently resides.

“It was just one of those wakeup moments, where you realize that America’s idea of justice is only their idea. It is not true justice.”

Knock, a first-time offender with no history of violence or drug abuse, was indicted in 1994 in the Northern District of Florida on charges of conspiracy to money launder and to import and distribute marijuana.

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John Knock (center) with his wife and son.

Now a senior citizen at 70, Knock had high hopes he would be included in former US president Barack Obama’s final round of commutations for nonviolent drug offenders, a move that brought the total number of clemencies during his presidency to 1,715.

But Knock was denied, along with uncounted other ‘marijuana lifers’, in a decision-making process that activist Cheri Sicard of the Marijuana Lifer Project has deemed completely nonsensical.

Knock has now been incarcerated for more than 20 years, and every day faces the sickly ironic reality that he may die in prison while the cannabis legalization movement makes greater and greater strides outside his permanent four walls.

“We’re sitting in here watching as [state after state] legalizes… and there are people in here doing life for pot, an accepted recreational and medical drug in the majority of the states in America,” said Knock. “When are they going to recognize that?”

Like most others locked up for life for nonviolent cannabis crimes, Knock believes greater public awareness about the issue would go a long way. He’s certain that most people don’t even know ‘marijuana lifers’ exist.

“My sister runs LifeForPot.com, and whenever she talks to people [about my case], they say: ‘He’s got a life sentence for marijuana? There must be something other than that. Somebody must have died.’ And that’s just not the case,” said Knock.

“Society has to be the one to say ‘now wait a minute’… to realize that the War on Drugs is actually a militaristic [effort] against an open society.”

There’s not much that can be done to change things on the part of “somebody locked in a room”, said Knock, which is why cannabis advocates on the outside need to make clemency a part of their activism platforms.                   

“I read an article the other day about a gym opening in San Francisco that’s going to utilize marijuana in their workout [regimes] because it helps people concentrate and eliminate the pain of the workout,” Knock told Civilized.

When asked what this news signified to him, Knock replied: “America is full of hypocrites.”

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Fentanyl crackdown bill clears House committee


For Immediate Release

February 16, 2017

Fentanyl crackdown bill clears House committee

FRANKFORT—A bill that would make it a felony to illegally sell or distribute any amount of fentanyl, carfentanil and related drugs tied to an increase in drug overdoses in Kentucky has passed the House Judiciary Committee.

Trafficking in any amount of fentanyl, a pain killer now frequently imported for illegal street sales, and drugs derived from fentanyl as well as carfentanil—a large animal anesthetic said to be 10,000 times more potent than morphine—would carry up to 10 years in prison under House Bill 333, sponsored by Rep. Kim Moser, R-Taylor Mill. Trafficking over certain amounts of the drugs could carry even longer sentences.

The bill would also make fentanyl derivatives—which potentially number 800 or more, state officials say–part of the same class of drugs as heroin and LSD. Those drugs are classified as Schedule I by the federal DEA which describes the drugs as having no “currently accepted medical use.”

“Whatever (fentanyl derivative) is thrown at us in the future will be a Schedule I controlled substance under Kentucky law,” if HB 333 passes, Office of Drug Control Policy Executive Director Van Ingram told the committee.

Fentanyl, carfentanil and fentanyl derivatives are being mixed with heroin and sold on the street as heroin or other drugs. Some cities and counties have experienced dozens of overdoses in the span of a day or two because of the potency of the drugs which, Ingram said, can be disguised as pharmaceuticals like Xanax or Percocet.

“The business model for drug cartels is to mix fentanyl with heroin and make it look like (something else),” said Ingram. “It’s a much better —- for them. It’s a very deadly situation for our population.”

HB 333 would also create a felony offense called trafficking in a misrepresented controlled substance for those who pass off carfentanil, fentanyl or fentanyl derivatives as an actual pharmaceutical, like Xanax. 

Another provision in the bill would limit prescriptions for fentanyl to a three-day supply with few exceptions, said Moser. Rep. Angie Hatton, D-Pikeville, questioned how the legislation would prevent someone from getting another dose from another physician after receiving their three days’ worth. Moser said the KASPER system, which tracks prescriptions written in Kentucky for all scheduled drugs, is still in place to monitor what is prescribed.

“This language does not preclude the fact that physicians have to document with the PDMPs or prescription drug monitoring programs. KASPER is still a way to monitor… that’s still a requirement,” said Moser.

HB 333 now goes to the full House for consideration.

–END–

80-year-old marijuana dealer pleads guilty in federal court


By Milton J. Valencia Globe Staff  October 16, 2015

Marshall Dion is scheduled to be sentenced on Feb. 11 after entering a guilty plea.

He owned houses in Massachusetts, Colorado, and Arizona, had $11 million stashed in a North Reading storage facility, and once crawled away from a plane crash in Wisconsin as thousands of dollars in cash (suspected drug profits) floated through the air around him.

But his dramatic exploits came to an end Thursday, when 80-year-old Marshall Herbert Dion, wearing tan prison clothing, shuffled to the witness stand to plead guilty to running a massive marijuana-dealing and money-laundering operation.

Under a plea agreement with federal prosecutors, Dion could serve 5 to 7 years in federal prison, ending a lucrative criminal career that spanned decades until a chance traffic stop in Kansas.

“Over the course of the conspiracy . . . he had sold approximately 3,000 to 10,000 kilograms of marijuana,” Assistant US Attorney Leah Foley said during a brief court hearing.

Dion’s lawyer, Hank Brennan, said later that “Mr. Dion has embraced his responsibility and is looking forward to the next chapter in his life.”

Dion’s unraveling began during a traffic stop in Junction City, Kan., in June 2013, when a police officer pulled him over for driving 80 in a 75 m.p.h. zone. During the stop, the officer searched Dion’s beat-up pickup truck and found nearly $850,000 in cash.

The discovery sparked a federal investigation that ultimately led to the discovery of $2 million in a bank account, another $880,000 in an Arizona building, and the storage facility in North Reading, where authorities found 395 pounds of marijuana and $11 million in cash.

Foley told US District Judge Denise Casper that authorities found travel logs that indicate Dion had sold more than 3,000 kilograms of marijuana — and possibly as many as 10,000 kilograms — dating back to 1992.

Dion’s decision to plead guilty Thursday caps a lengthy criminal career. He was convicted in Massachusetts in the late 1980s of drug trafficking after authorities in Boston found about 180 pounds of marijuana in a 1986 Chrysler sedan. Police later found 101 pounds of marijuana stashed in a commercial storage building in Lynnfield.

A Boston police spokesman told the Globe at the time that “apparently he has houses all over New England. He’s a major operator, there’s no question.”

After the plane crash in Wisconsin in 1985, Dion was found crawling through a muddy field, though he denied that the $112,000 in cash found inside the plane and floating through the air was his.

For Dion’s latest exploits, Casper could sentence him to prison for a term ranging from 60 to 87 months for conspiracy to deal marijuana, possession with intent to deal marijuana, and money laundering, under the deal he reached with prosecutors. He had faced a minimum mandatory sentence of 10 years in prison if he had been convicted in a trial. He is scheduled to be sentenced Feb. 11.

Under the plea agreement, however, Dion’s conviction and guilty plea would be vacated if he is successful in an appeal he is pursuing before a higher court. That appeal is based on what he calls an unconstitutional search of his truck after the traffic stop in Kansas.

Dion told Casper that he agreed with everything Foley said about him in court Thursday excepttwo things: That the Kansas officer had a reason to stop him for speeding, and that he consented to the search of the truck.

“There’s no way the officer could have known if I was speeding, even if I was, which I wasn’t,” Dion said.

Then he added, “There’s no way I would have agreed to a search of my property.”

Milton J. Valencia can be reached at mvalencia@globe.
com
. Follow him on Twitter @miltonvalencia.

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Sorry, high rollers: Marijuana is nowhere legal in these United States


Kevin Coe

February 27, 2015

 

Sorry, high rollers: Marijuana is nowhere legal in these United States

Kevin Coe

February 27, 2015

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I hate to be the party pooper but I feel there is a need to point out that the possession, transportation, processing and use of marijuana is still illegal. It is not legal in Alaska, nor Colorado, nor Washington, nor Oregon. It’s not legal in your house, nor in a car, or on a train, or in a plane. No Charlo Green I am; it’s not legal to grow pot in this here land.

There is this thing called the Controlled Substances Act. You can find it in Title 21, Section 800 or so of the U.S. Code. Section 812 lists marihuana (with an h) as a schedule I substance. The rest of the sections talk about how the federal government can punish (or, cough, deter) you from doing things with marihuana and other substances. By the way, the Controlled Substances Act was passed by Congress. Remember that high-school U.S. government class you kept falling asleep in? Quick refresher: The U.S. Constitution says if Congress passes a law, it trumps any state law.

What about my right to use marijuana? Didn’t Alaska legalize it? Can’t I have 4 ounces in my home after that Ptarmigan or Raven decision? No. Uncle Sam said no, and he couldn’t care less what Colorado’s constitution reads or what the Supreme Court of Alaska said. Ravin was a decision regarding the right to "privacy" provided by the Alaska Constitution. The recent ballot initiative was a voter initiative that changed Alaska state law. Neither gave anyone a legal right to marijuana. A state cannot grant a legal right to do something that the federal government has declared illegal. Just ask Angel Raich and Dian Monson of California; they thought they had a medical right under California law. The SCOTUS said no: Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1, 7 (2005).

What about Ballot Measure 2 in Alaska, and the Colorado amendment, and Washington’s and Oregon’s laws? All that these states have done is decide that they will no longer enforce criminal penalties for various acts involving marijuana. So once again, marijuana is not legal in Alaska; it’s just not criminal under Alaska law, and won’t be punished by law enforcement or courts of Alaska (within the limits set by Ballot Measure 2). 
OK, semantics, right? Except these are important semantics that the general public doesn’t quite understand. Semantics that legislators should be wary of when they enact legislation, lest they have their laws pre-empted. Semantics that public administrators should ensure to get correct to properly inform the public. Semantics that, if used properly in and by the media, could help further a national debate that we should be having about drug policies in the United States.

No matter how many times Sam I Am, or Charlene Egbe, or Charlo Greene tell you it’s legal now in Alaska, it isn’t. It’s not legal recreationally and it’s not legal medically. A doctor technically can’t prescribe pot (although they can “recommend” it under their First Amendment right to free speech — again, important semantics for policymakers and interested parties). In a way, I guess that’s a good thing for people like Ms. Egbe; they can go on treating “their patients” and not fear being prosecuted for the unauthorized practice of medicine (and yes, I ran her name through the Professional License search on the Alaska Department of Commerce’s website. She is not a doctor, or a pharmacist, or a nurse, or a lawyer (different search website)). But they still need to watch out for Uncle Sam. It’s not legal to sell it, and you face stiff penalties for doing so under federal laws. Oh, you think it’s just pot, no big deal, the feds won’t bust me for it and if they do, how bad could it be? Ask Weldon Angelos when he gets out of the Mendota Federal Correctional Institute in 2051 how serious $350 worth of pot can get.

OK, so before you get your pitchforks and torches and string me up in tar and feathers for blasphemy against the almighty Matanuska Thunder #@!*, I need to clarify the point of my rant. I truly believe our nation, not just our state, needs to rethink our policies on drugs, crime and punishment. As a society, we have a knee-jerk reaction to throw people in jail thinking it will solve everything, which it hasn’t. Reform with our current Congress isn’t likely to happen anytime soon, so reform at the state level is the next best thing — a thing that can help begin national change.

But what I would hate to see is more good people imprisoned under the current severe federal drug penalties because of mistaken beliefs of their “right” to use marijuana. I would also hate to see the national debate be ignored by complacent individuals with the misguided perception that “it’s legal in my state so who cares what the feds think.” So please, when people tell you how it’s legal to smoke pot in Alaska, or Colorado, or anywhere else, remind them of what they missed when they slept through that high school government class, and tell them more change is still needed.

Kevin Coe lives in Anchorage.

The views expressed here are the writer’s own and are not necessarily endorsed by Alaska Dispatch News, which welcomes a broad range of viewpoints. To submit a piece for consideration, email commentary(at)alaskadispatch.com.

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Schapelle Corby


A few weeks ago, The Expendable Project received information which showed that the AFP had information which corroborated the story of a man who had been ridiculed by the media in 2005, when he confessed that the drugs in Schapelle’s bag were meant to be collected in Sydney by him.

They suppressed this corroborative evidence, and never told anyone.

SchapelleCorby

“Schapelle Corby was unjustly jailed in Indonesia. Why was she denied access to all evidence that could potentially clear her. Why did the Bali police say fingerprinting was not necessary? Why was the baggage not weighed as requested by Corby. Why was DNA testing refused to determine country of origin? What happened to all the security tapes at three International airports on the same day? Australia needs answers to these questions.”

A few weeks ago, The Expendable Project received information which showed that the AFP had information which corroborated the story of a man who had been ridiculed by the media in 2005, when he confessed that the drugs in Schapelle’s bag were meant to be collected in Sydney by him. They suppressed this corroborative evidence, and never told anyone.

Expendable has today produced a report on this: see the story is below.

Somehow, though, this is business as usual in Australia. The Expendable Project has proved… not alleged… PROVED…  corruption and criminality by the Australian government and the AFP. There is no scope for any doubt, as the government emails and cables amount to a smoking gun confession, again and again and again.

But proof of a national scandal of the highest magnitude is not enough. Proof that an innocent has been sacrificed for commercial interests, and to hide AFP corruption, is not enough. The people of Australia are largely ignorant of it. They world is oblivious. Why?

Because the media, which in Australia is owned by a tiny handful of rich and powerful vested interests, refuse to report it. They are hiding it from the people. Those damning cables and emails don’t exist as far as they are concerned. And yes, they all know about them.

There is one, and only one, way around this…. US. We have to take this to everyone. We have to take it to the world, person by person, day after day. In the coming weeks People For Schapelle will be rolling out a campaign, leading to a ‘Schapelle Week’ and a ‘Schapelle Day’.

More information will be posted soon. But in the meantime, please continue to post www.expendable.tv to wherever you can. Send it to your friends, colleagues, media, politicians, anyone…. Facebook, Twitter, emails, forums. Print the posters, write the CDs, talk, anything. 

Schapelle’s life depends on us all…. let’s fight for her.

Thanks for caring.

Kathryn

PS: Today’s story on the police corruption is below:

From: Bart Vaart [mailto:bdvaart@gmail.com]
Sent: 03 April 2012 10:41
To: contact.list@gmail.com
Subject: URGENT: Here Is Tomorrows News

On Wednesday 4th April, ex-Detective Sergeant Christopher Laycock will appear for sentencing in a Sydney court, for a string of offences. These stem from the Cobalt Report, which was presented by the Police Integrity Commission to Parliament in 2005, and which presents him as one of the most notorious criminals in Australian history.
But, what meets the eye will be something of a mirage. His last hearing, on 29th March 2012, was closed to the public, on account of a mysterious 30 page ‘naming and shaming’ document, which his lawyer had dramatically presented at the hearing previous to this. The AAP has subsequently reported what the court instructed them to report.
The real story here is not only what is in that document, and why it has taken 8 years for Laycock to meet his fate, but what the New South Wales Crime Commission, and the AFP, have hidden from the public for 7 years.
THE LAYCOCK GANG
The Laycock gang, including John Robert Dunks, and David John Hopes, engaged almost every crime in the book. One was drug syndication. Indeed, a man called William Miller had named Dunks, on oath, to a court, as the man who had given him the job to pick up a quantity of marijuana from Sydney airport, on 8th October 2004.
You will recognize the date, and perhaps the name. Miller had been ridiculed by the media in July 2005, as a money chaser, when he broadly presented this story in the wake of Schapelle Corby’s dysfunctional Bali trial. 
The NSWCC and AFP? The Expendable Project have just published an extract from the minutes of a confidential NSWCC internal meeting, attended by Mark Standen, amongst others (header attached).
This confirms that Dunks was a ‘Person Of Interest’ in 2004, and that the NSWCC had secretly recorded a conversation between him, and Miller. The conversation corroborated Miller’s account of the airport pickup job.
The NSWCC recognized the significance of this recording, and consulted a named officer within the AFP with this information.
But both parties sat on it. Schapelle Corby was never told. No-one was ever told.
No-one would ever have been told, had The Expendable Project not obtained those minutes.
The latest Expendable report should be read very carefully. It can be viewed on the following web page:
http://www.expendable.tv/2012/04/candidate-sources-report.html
The Laycock/Miller affair is documented in Section 2. On Page 2-34 of the PDF you will find the extracts from the NSWCC meeting.
The Expendable Project have stated that further information will be published in due course.
B der Vaart