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Pubdate: Fri, 22 Aug 2008
Source: Santa Cruz Sentinel (CA)
Copyright: 2008 Santa Cruz Sentinel
Author: Jennifer Squires, Sentinel Staff
Cited: City of Santa Cruz http://www.ci.santa-cruz.ca.us/
Cited: Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana http://www.wamm.org/
Cited: American Civil Liberties Union
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/mmj.htm (Marijuana – Medicinal)
FEDS’ MEDICAL POT CHALLENGE TOSSED
A federal court ruling handed down Wednesday has lifted the hopes of
medical marijuana users by denying a Bush administration request to
toss a lawsuit brought by Santa Cruz city and county officials and
Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana members.
WAMM co-founder Valerie Corral called the ruling "hopeful." WAMM had
its medical marijuana seized by federal agents in a 2002 raid.
"Our lawsuit is really much more of an appeal than a lawsuit. It’s an
appeal for mercy from the federal government," Corral said. "We’re
not asking to break the law. We’re asking to have another avenue for relief."
The plaintiffs in the case contend that the federal government is
deliberately interfering with how the state makes the distinction
between legal and illegal marijuana use: the recommendation of a
state-licensed physician to recommend medical marijuana to a sick
patient. The plaintiffs say the federal government is seeking to
disrupt California’s medical marijuana law by targeting doctors who
approve their patients’ medical marijuana use and local governments
that issue state-approved medical pot cards, among other things.
That, the plaintiffs say, interferes with California’s Constitutional
right to make its own laws.
U.S. District Court Judge Jeremy Fogel ruled Wednesday that that
portion of the case can go forward because if the plaintiffs prove
their claims "they may be able to show that the federal
government deliberately is seeking to frustrate the state’s ability
to determine whether an individual’s use of marijuana is permissible
under California law."
"The federal government can enforce its own laws but it can’t tell
the states what laws they can enact," said Graham Boyd, an American
Civil Liberties Union attorney representing WAMM. "If they can’t do
that, they also can’t use their law enforcement to sabotage the state
laws they don’t like."
California voters in 1996 approved Proposition 215, which gave ill
people with a doctor’s recommendation the right to use marijuana as a
medication. In the years since, federal drug agents have targeted
medicinal marijuana dispensaries and the doctors who prescribe marijuana.
"Those steps all make it impossible for California and its government
to enforce state laws," Boyd said.
Past lawsuits filed against the federal government have reached the
Supreme Court, but all have failed.
Boyd called this case "novel," explaining that the core claim by the
plaintiffs is that it’s chosen to make marijuana illegal for everyone
except for patients and that it has set up mechanisms to distinguish
the two, such as requiring a prescription from a doctor.
"It’s an unusual legal claim," Boyd said.
He said he expects the federal government will appeal the ruling, but
that it could also lead to a change in federal drug enforcement efforts.
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake
Pubdate: Fri, 22 Aug 2008
Source: Washington Times (DC)
Copyright: 2008 The Washington Times, LLC.
Author: Valerie Richardson
Cited: Denver police http://www.denvergov.org/police/
Cited: Safer Alternatives For Enjoyable Recreation http://www.saferchoice.org/
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/pot.htm (Marijuana)
Bookmark: http://www.mapinc.org/find?246 (Policing – United States)
POLICE TOLD TO IGNORE POT POSSESSION DURING CONVENTION
DENVER – A city drug panel has voted to urge police to refrain from
arresting adults for marijuana possession during next week’s
Democratic National Convention, but the cops aren’t necessarily on board.
Lt. Ernie Martinez, the police department’s representative on the
panel, said police, bracing for potentially tens of thousands of
protesters during the Aug. 25-28 convention, would have more pressing
duties than rounding up pot smokers.
At the same time, he said, authorities wouldn’t ignore blatant
flouting of the law. "If something occurs in front of us, we’re going
to act," he said.
The Denver Marijuana Policy Review Panel, appointed by Mayor John
Hickenlooper, voted 5-3 at its Wednesday night meeting to issue a
recommendation discouraging police from "arresting, detaining or
issuing a citation" to any adult caught with up to one ounce of
marijuana during the four-day convention.
Denver voters have twice approved initiatives calling on police to
overlook adult marijuana possession but police, citing state and
federal laws, have continued to make marijuana-related arrests. A
department spokesman yesterday said it was reviewing the panel’s
Mason Tvert, a panel member and pot-legalization activist, Thursday
delivered a copy of the panel’s recommendation to Mr. Hickenlooper
and police Chief Gerry Whitman, saying that "we expect police to
abide by this very logical recommendation."
"If police expect the taxpayers to cover their $1.2 million in
overtime during the DNC, it is only fair that they respect the laws
adopted by those taxpayers," said Mr. Tvert, leader of Safer
Alternatives for Enjoyable Recreation. "There will be plenty for
police to do during the DNC aside from arresting or citing adults who
are simply making the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol."
Mr. Tvert told the panel Wednesday that authorities have actually
increased their enforcement of marijuana laws since the 2005 and 2007
votes. Based on current numbers, he said, the city is on track to
prosecute 1,900 marijuana-related cases this year, up from 1,600 last year.
In 2005, Denver voters approved a measure legalizing adult possession
of up to an ounce of marijuana. Two years later, an initiative making
adult marijuana possession the city’s lowest law enforcement priority
also won at the ballot box.
Mr. Tvert said he hoped the police would give the panel’s
recommendation the same weight as if it were issued by the mayor.
"There’s no way for the recommendation to be binding, but it was
issued by a panel appointed by the mayor, so we would expect it to be
treated as a pronouncement from the mayor," said Mr. Tvert.
The Denver County Sheriff’s Office gave a media tour earlier this
week of its temporary holding cell, a renovated warehouse intended to
house anyone arrested during the convention.
The facility, equipped with a photo station and 18-by-18 holding
cells, can process 60 people an hour and hold up to 400 detainees.
Local activists have already dubbed the facility "Gitmo by the
Platte," referring to the nearby Platte River, but it could have been
worse. Officials abandoned earlier plans to line the top of the cells
with razor wire after objections from the community.
Authorities are bracing for potentially tens of thousands of
protesters during the Aug. 25-28 convention. Demonstrators will be
fenced in at a designated protest area in the vicinity of the Pepsi
Center, the site of most convention events.
The protesters, affiliated with groups like Recreate 68 and the
Alliance for a Real Democracy, are expected to demonstrate against
the Iraq war and in favor of social-justice issues.
One anti-war organization, Tent State University, has estimated that
its group alone will attract 50,000 demonstrators. The group had
hoped to camp overnight at a local park until city authorities nixed the idea
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake