After Legalization, Michigan Prosecutors End Marijuana Cases

MUSKEGON, Mich. (AP) — A prosecutor’s office in western Michigan is dropping some pending marijuana cases after voters in the state approved recreational use of cannabis for adults 21 and older. A statement from the office of Muskegon County Prosecutor D.J. Hilson says he’ll also consider expunging any past marijuana convictions that otherwise would have […]
Marijuana

Federal Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Oregon Teen Caught with Gram of Marijuana

Federal prosecutors have agreed to dismiss charges against Oregon teen Devontre Thomas, sparing him a potential yearlong prison sentence after being caught with a single gram of marijuana.

Thomas made nSeal_of_the_United_States_Department_of_Justice.svgational headlines when federal prosecutors charged him with misdemeanor possession. This offense carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison, a revelation that sparked widespread outrage, especially in the state of Oregon, which had already voted to end marijuana prohibition.

The case caught the attention of Oregon state representatives and other elected officials who have called for marijuana to be taxed and regulated. U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley wrote to Oregon U.S. Attorney Billy Williams about the case.

Thomas’ attorney stated in a court filing that prosecutors have agreed to drop the case as long as the teen works or attends school and abides by all laws in the next two months.

The post Federal Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Oregon Teen Caught with Gram of Marijuana appeared first on MPP Blog.


MPP Blog

Federal Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Oregon Teen Caught with Gram of Marijuana

Federal prosecutors have agreed to dismiss charges against Oregon teen Devontre Thomas, sparing him a potential yearlong prison sentence after being caught with a single gram of marijuana.

Thomas made nSeal_of_the_United_States_Department_of_Justice.svgational headlines when federal prosecutors charged him with misdemeanor possession. This offense carries a maximum sentence of one year in prison, a revelation that sparked widespread outrage, especially in the state of Oregon, which had already voted to end marijuana prohibition.

The case caught the attention of Oregon state representatives and other elected officials who have called for marijuana to be taxed and regulated. U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer and Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley wrote to Oregon U.S. Attorney Billy Williams about the case.

Thomas’ attorney stated in a court filing that prosecutors have agreed to drop the case as long as the teen works or attends school and abides by all laws in the next two months.

The post Federal Prosecutors Drop Charges Against Oregon Teen Caught with Gram of Marijuana appeared first on MPP Blog.


MPP Blog

Michigan Court Overturns Medical Marijuana Conviction Because of Prosecutor’s Closing Rant

Last month, a Michigan Court of Appeals overturned the conviction of a man charged with cultivating marijuana for medical purposes. During the original trial, the prosecutor used her closing arguments to viciously criticize Michigan’s medical marijuana program.

The prosecutor’s closing argument was clearly and thoroughly improper. The prosecutor embarks on a political commentary, and a personal diatribe discrediting the MMA as a whole, claiming (without supporting evidence) that its protections are being abused by recreational users and exploitative physicians…and suggests that those suffering from chronic pain are simply cheating the system. She also denigrates the general population of lawful medical marijuana users, claiming that they attract violence to the community and advocate that everyone be allowed to “walk around stoned.” Finally, she states that it is unfortunate that the jury cannot judge the MMA…By making these unfounded, irrelevant and inflammatory statements, the prosecutor essentially argues that defendant’s affirmative defense is nothing more than a drain on the community, and that even if he is innocent under the MMA he is simply exploiting the system. As a result, the prosecutor encouraged the jury to convict defendant despite the protections of the Section 8 defense. This affected defendant’s substantial rights.

Hearing people in law enforcement use their positions to inappropriately cast dispersions on medical marijuana laws and patients is nothing new, but this is a rare occurrence where the consequences negatively impacted the prosecutor instead of the patient on trial. Police and prosecutors in medical marijuana states need to respect their laws instead of using people’s lives and freedom to protest policies they do not like.


MPP Blog

New Jersey Marijuana Prosecutors Reverse Course, Say It’s Time to Legalize

The New Jersey State Municipal Prosecutors Association now officially supports legalizing the possession of marijuana, which is quite an unlikely source of support, since they are the principle group who prosecutes marijuana users in the state.

Barr

Jon-Henry Barr

“Each week, New Jersey police officers arrest hundreds of citizens for the disorderly persons offense of possession of under 50 grams of marijuana,” said Jon-Henry Barr, president of the board of trustees of the Municipal Prosecutors Association. “Those arrested include professionals and many people who would never think of committing any type of serious, victim-related crime.”

In an interview with Kathleen Hopkins from the Asbury Park Press, Barr enumerated the reasons why a strong majority (seven out of ten) of the association wants to support the legalization of marijuana:

• Requests by prosecutors to analyze samples of marijuana are overwhelming the state’s drug-testing laboratories, sometimes leading to dismissals of cases when defendants invoke their rights to speedy trials;

• Studies show that marijuana is less addictive than alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine;

• Marijuana is easier for high school students to obtain than alcohol because the sale of alcohol is strictly regulated;

• Very few of the thousands of DWI cases prosecuted annually are for driving under the influence of marijuana;

• Statistics show that African Americans are four times more likely to be arrested for marijuana offenses than white people are, but there is no evidence to show there is disproportionately more marijuana use in minority communities;

• The state loses money by not collecting sales tax on marijuana, while drug dealers profit.

This much-needed support from the New Jersey State Municipal Prosecutors Association comes at a pivotal time in the state’s struggle to define its stance on marijuana. Two bills have recently been introduced; one bill permits citizens to carry an ounce or less of marijuana, while the other sets up a tax-and-regulate system.


MPP Blog

German prosecutors charge 10 organizers for Love Parade deaths

People stand in front of memorial to victims who were crushed during a stampede at the Love Parade in Duisburg, July21, 2011. REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

People stand in front of memorial to victims who were crushed during a stampede at the Love Parade in Duisburg, July21, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Ina Fassbender

(Reuters) – German prosecutors charged 10 organizers with negligent manslaughter and bodily harm on Wednesday over the 21 people killed and 500 injured in a stampede at a 2010 techno music festival in Duisburg.

Six private event organizers and four city workers face five years in jail if convicted for the deaths and injuries at the popular annual Love Parade festival, where mass panic broke out because the only entrance gate was too small for the huge crowd.

The 10 people charged have denied wrongdoing in the July 24, 2010 disaster, Duisburg prosecutor Horst Bien told journalists.

“Something happened on July 24, 2010 that should never have happened,” Bien said. “We weren’t looking to see who was morally or politically responsible but instead focused only on who was criminally liable.”

Eight foreigners – from Spain, Bosnia, the Netherlands, Australia, Italy and China – were among those killed when young people pushed through an underpass into the festival grounds at a former freight rail yard.

State prosecutors investigated why an event set up for 250,000 people ended up with nearly 500,000 attending. Bien said the entrance was not big enough to handle the numbers of those attending and said those charged should have known that.

“Mistakes in planning were the main reason for the disaster,” Bien said.

Accustomed to a high degree of efficiency and organization at such events, Germans were dumbfounded by the chaos and by media reports that officials and organizers did not heed warnings that there would be problems with such a massive crowd.

(Reporting By Erik Kirschbaum; Editing by Tom Heneghan)


Reuters: Oddly Enough

Arizona Prosecutor’s Ignorance Interferes With Treatments For Five-Year-Old Patient

Weltons

Jennifer, Zander, and Jacob Welton

Jacob and Jennifer Welton have filed a suit against the state of Arizona to allow their five-year-old son to be allowed to take marijuana extracts for his seizures disorder. Arizona has already passed a medical marijuana law, which permits qualifying patients to use any preparation of marijuana in their treatment. However, local providers have ceased carrying his medicine after warnings from the local prosecutor.

Maricopa County prosecutor and named defendant in the suit, Bill Montgomery, believes that the law only permits marijuana, not extracts of marijuana. He derives his argument from a complete misunderstanding of the Arizona law and an ignorance of the science behind medical marijuana.

In the past, Zander has consumed dried and ground marijuana mixed with applesauce for treatment. The extract is both more appetizing and more efficient, due to its high concentration and very low levels of THC compared to the other beneficial cannabinoids.

Bill Montgomery has responded to the Welton’s suit by directing them to the state legislature, which would have initiated a long and unnecessary process according to Dan Pachoda, the ACLU attorney representing the Weltons:

The normal thing is not going to the Legislature when some prosecutor is improperly, and, in our view, illegally interpreting a law that clearly decriminalized not only marijuana but things made from marijuana.

Bill Montgomery’s actions contravene the law and common sense. He is preventing a child, who is already taking medical marijuana, from taking a better, less psychotropic form of medicine. He is misinterpreting the laws of his own state and misunderstands the concept of marijuana as medicine. He is waging a political battle against parents who are fighting for the health of their child.

If you want to tell Bill Montgomery what you think about his position on this issue, you can reach him at 602-506-3411 or email him at maricopacountyattorney@mcao.maricopa.gov.


MPP Blog

VIDEO: Will Obama Pardon First-Time Offender Serving 55 Years?

Utah music producer Weldon Angelos is serving a 55-year federal sentence for selling $350 worth of marijuana while possessing a handgun.

Read more… “VIDEO: Will Obama Pardon First-Time Offender Serving 55 Years?”