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Tag: pot

Feds Continue Crackdowns on Pot Dispensaries in California

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com
 

The continuing clash between state and federal officials over how to handle medicinal pot in states that legalized it arrived in Sacramento again with a raid on a dispensary, the Sacramento Bee reports.

Although the Obama administration pledged to respect state laws on medicinal marijuana, the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency executed a search warrant on the El Camino Wellness Center.

Four U.S. attorneys announced a crackdown in October on marijuana operations in California, saying medical pot operations were “hijacked by profiteers,” according to the Sacramento Bee.

Since then, federal authorities have conducted raids from Los Angeles to Oakland.

Medical pot advocates accuse the federal government of trampling on state marijuana laws that allow sick and injured people to obtain the drug for relief.

Popularity of Synthetic Pot on the Rise

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

New trends indicate an increase in the use of dangerous synthetic drugs not currently covered under federal drug laws, reports Business Wire. The new drugs come from the cannabinoid family, closely related to marijuana.

“Simply making the new drugs illegal is not likely to make them go away,” said Dr. Barry Logan, Director of NMS Labs Designer Drug Initiative. ”There is now an established market for these products alongside traditional recreational drugs.”

“The latest trend we are seeing is the appearance of completely new drugs. These new drugs are different in design from the current synthetic drugs and alter the brain’s chemistry by amplifying the effects of normal brain chemicals, producing the same marijuana-like effects,” said Logan.

To read more click here.

Detroit Industrial Building Busted for Housing Pot Growers

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Known in recent years for the young artists that have taken over abandoned parts of the hulking structure, Detroit’s Russell Industrial Center was raided at 10 a.m. on Friday as a part of a federal investigation into illegal marijuana production, the Detroit News reports.

Four people were arrested at the building after DEA agents executed search warrants at the large warehouse, which also houses printing, bindery, woodworking and graphics firms, according to the Detroit News.

“We need this; the city has lost control. The drug dealers control everything,” said Detroit resident James Turner, who works near the building.

To read more click here.

 

Feds Target 4 Calif. Marijuana Shops in Ongoing Crackdown

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Over the past week, federal prosecutors filed four asset forfeiture lawsuits against buildings housing “marijuana stores” in Los Angeles and Orange counties, the Department of Justice announced in a statement on Wednesday. The owners of the buildings and operators of the stores have been sent warning letters as well.

The charges claim that business and property owners knowingly allowed marijuana sales to illegally take place. The Department of Justice said the moves were “part of a continuing, coordinated effort against commercial marijuana operations in California that started last fall.” California’s four USAttorneys announced in October coordinated enforcement actions targeting illegal marijuana cultivation and trafficking, the Justice Department said.

 

Colorado Asks DEA to Reclassify Marijuana

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Barbara Grohl, head of the Colorado Department of Revenue, has written a letter asking the DEA to loosen federal controls on marijuana and recognize its “potential medicinal value,” the Denver Post reports.

The letter, written on Dec. 22, is the result of a law passed last year; that legislation required the state to ask the feds to reschedule the drug by the end of the year.

“As long as there is divergence in state and federal law, there is a lack of certainty necessary to provide safe access for patients with serious medical conditions,” Brohl wrote in the letter.

The DEA has rejected similar requests in the past. The governors of Rhode Island and Washington also asked the DEA to reclassify the drug this year.

Click here to read more.

Retired FBI Official Backs Proposed Law to Legalize Small Amounts of Pot

By Danny Fenster
ticklethewire.com

Retired FBI agent Charles Mandigo has quite the resume. Over the 27-year span at the agency, he did a lot of things including head up the Seattle office,  investigate the “Millenium Bomber” and drug cases, and serve a stint as congressional liaison to former FBI Director Louis Freeh.

So when he endorsed an initiative in Washington state to legalize possession of small amounts of marijuana and regulate state-run pot stores, it got some attention.

The Seattle Times  reports the bill he’s backing is a “complex, 64-page initiative” that would legalize possession of small amounts of pot, but  keep intact police authority in cases of drug smuggling and street sales, as well as continuing the ban on marijuana possession for those under 2

“I am not aware of any case I worked on that this law would have changed,” Mandigo said, according to the Times, noting that he does not condone the use of any illegal drugs.

“There is no question the time has come when government must curtail discretionary programs,” Mandigo said in a written statement, according to the Times.”If the resources were available, continued enforcement of criminal laws for possession and use of small amounts of marijuana might be a discretionary function of government. But we have gone beyond the point where the resources are available or there is a justifiable cost-benefit to society. There must be an end to sacred cows.”

The bill is being pushed by the New Approach campaign, which the Times report calls a growing group of retired law enforcement officials including former Clinton-appointed US Attorney for Seattle Kate Pflaumer and her successor John McKay, a George W. Bush appointee, the Times reported.

To read more click here.

 

Oye! NY Man Who Lived With Orthodox Jewish Parents Was Drug Kingpin, Feds Say

staten islandBy Allan Lengel
ticklethewire.com

Oye Vay.

Federal authorities in New York  are alleging that Jonathan Braun, 27, ran an international pot smuggling operation and associated with the Hells Angels while living at home with his Orthodox Jewish parents in Staten Island, the New York Daily News reported.

His bond hearing is set for Thursday in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn.

Authorities allege that he smuggled 100,000 kilos of marijuana across the Canadian border.

“He’s the real deal,” a law enforcement source told the Daily News. “He’s huge.”

The Daily News reports that Braun allegedly used “a small army of boatmen and drivers who used vehicles with hidden compartments to transport pot from Canada through the Akwesasne Native American reservations to New York, court papers say.”

Authorities allege that proceeds from street level dealers went to Braun’s Canadian bosses, and that he headed up the organization’s U.S. operation, the Daily News reported.

To read more click here.

LA Times Editorial Wonders About DEA Chief Michele Leonhart’s Stance on Pot

DEA's Michele Leonhart/dea photo

DEA's Michele Leonhart/dea photo

Los Angeles Times Editorial

When President Obama nominated Michele Leonhart to head the Drug Enforcement Administration last month, those hoping for a sensible federal policy regarding medical marijuana — one that promotes scientific research into its medicinal value and eschews prosecution when it is used in accordance with local laws — shivered.

As special agent in charge of the Los Angeles Field Division, Leonhart zealously cracked down on dispensaries (though, it could be argued, that was during the Clinton and Bush years, and she was adhering to White House policy). Then, in 2008, as acting head of the DEA, she denied the application of a University of Massachusetts botanist to cultivate marijuana for research purposes (though that too was in line with the Bush administration’s anti-science stance).

So what are we to expect now if she is confirmed by the Senate? Hard to say. Since Obama’s Swearing in, it has been unclear whether the DEA — which Leonhart has been running as acting administrator since November 2007 — is willing to abide by his administration’s verbal and written policy of not pursuing medical marijuana operations that do not violate their state’s laws.

To read more click here.

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