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IRS forfeits totally legal money: investigation

Posted on April 10th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Shadow WatchAn investigation by the US Treasury Department's Inspector General for Tax Administration, launched under pressure of litigation brought by the libertarian-leaning Institute for Justice, maddeningly finds that the Internal Revenue Service has been using asset forfeiture to confiscate millions of dollars from businesses that committed no crimes. The libertarian-oriented website Reason breaks it down in detail, stating that "between 2012 and 2014, IRS investigators seized hundreds of bank accounts from business owners based on nothing but a suspicious pattern of deposits. In more than 90 percent of those cases, the money was completely legal."

Supreme Court gives judges leeway in mandatory minimum cases

Posted on April 10th, 2017 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

SCOTUSThe US Supreme Court on April 4 handed down a unanimous decision in Dean v. United States, giving federal judges greater flexibility in mandatory minimum cases—an aim activists have long been demanding. Advocacy group Families Against Mandatory Minimums filed a brief in support of the petitioner in the case.

Cannabis at issue in latest police shooting —yet again

Posted on December 10th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

BlackLivesMatterAs so many times before, cannabis again plays a key role in the latest police shooting of an African American citizen to spark outrage across the country. The prosecutor for Iowa's Linn County on Dec. 8 announced that a white police officer will not be charged in the shooting that left an unarmed Black motorist paralyzed and sparked protests in Cedar Rapids, the county seat.

North Dakota to get armed police drones

Posted on September 9th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , .

Shadow WatchNational Public Radio's The Two-Way blog reports that North Dakota police forces are about to get the nation's first weaponized drones, following passage of a bill allowing them earlier this year. Ironically, this is coming about in spite of the legislation's main sponsor, Republican state Rep. Rick Becker. While the law limits the type of weapons permitted to those in the "less than lethal" category—tear-gas, rubber bullets, beanbags, pepper spray and Tasers—the original bill would have entirely barred weapons from police drones. According to The Daily Beast, Becker told a hearing in March: "In my opinion there should be a nice, red line: Drones should not be weaponized. Period."

Nebraska, Oklahoma challenge Colorado cannabis law

Posted on December 20th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , , .

ColoradoIn the most serious challenge yet to Colorado's cannabis legalization policy, the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma took the unusual move of filing a case against it directly with the US Supreme Court. The two states argue that "the State of Colorado has created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system...  Marijuana flows from this gap into neighboring states, undermining Plaintiff States' own marijuana bans, draining their treasuries, and placing stress on their criminal justice systems." Lawyers for the Cornhusker State and the Sooner State assert that local authorities have registered a big uptick in cannabis entering their towns since Colorado legalized with voter-approved Amendment 64 in 2012. The suit also claims Colorado's legalization policy violates the Supremacy Clause of the US Constitution.

Legal hemp coming to Lakota country?

Posted on December 19th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

South DakotaThe new Justice Department policy to take a hands-off approach to cannabis cultivation on Indian reservations could be a boon for the Lakota Sioux, who have long been pressing their right as a sovereign nation to grow industrial hemp. US Attorney for North Dakota Timothy Purdon (who is also the US Attorney General's pointman for Native American issues) told AP he's not aware of any tribes in either North or South Dakota actively considering a cannabis industry. The tribal council of the Oglala Lakota Nation this year rejected a proposal to allow cannabis cultivation on the Pine Ridge Reservation in southwest South Dakota. The council's Law and Order Committee chair Ellen Fills the Pipe said: "For me, it's a drug. My gut feeling is we're most likely going to shoot it down." (The San Francisco Chronicle's cannabis-friendly Smell the Truth blog couldn't help noting the irony of her name, but also acknowledged fears, realistic or not, that rez pot sales could excacerbate already existing alcohol abuse problems.) But that's the smokable variety, not the industrial. Chairman Dave Archambault of the Standing Rock Sioux, with a reservation straddling North and South Dakota, said that his tribe might consider industrial hemp cultivation.

Did Missouri decriminalize?

Posted on May 21st, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

leaf Missouri has some of the harshest marijuana laws in the country, but became the latest state to remove criminal penalties for simple possession arrests on May 13, when a bill passed earlier this year by the legislature became law without Governor Jay Nixon’s signature. The new law, Senate Bill 491, eliminates jail time for possession of up to 10 grams on a first offense. The new law also reduces possible sentences related to sale and cultivation, lifting the current ban on probation or parole for those with third felony offenses. However, it will not take effect until Jan. 1, 2017, and the protections against incarceration only apply to those without prior marijuana convictions. Additionally, a possession charge will remain a criminal offense, merely reduced to a Class D misdemeanor from a Class A misdemeanor. The Marijuana Policy Project is saying the new law counts as "decriminalization," but Missouri attorney and NORML board member Dan Viets, who helped draft the bill, says, "Nobody should call this decriminalization." (CelebStoner, May 16; Daily Chronic, May 15)

Secession fever sweeps Colorado, California counties —cannabis backlash?

Posted on October 7th, 2013 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

ColoradoOn Colorado's northeast plains, advocates of secession from the state have managed to put the question before voters in 11 counties this November —potentially bringing a split-the-state initiative to statewide vote by November 2014. As Weld County Commissioner and leading secession proponent Sean Conway explained to reporters, an "advisory" vote at the county level would require local lawmakers to request that state legislators introduce a constitutional amendment allowing the northeastern counties to go their own way. That would require two-thirds approval by both houses. Failing that, proponents could put the measure to statewide vote by collecting 80,000 signatures. Finally, the initiative would have to be approved by the US Congress. So it is an arduous process—but proponents are clearly dead serious.

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