United States

New York passes restrictive medical marijuana law

Posted on July 7th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

New YorkGov. Andrew Cuomo signed a bill into law July 7 that makes New York the 23rd medical marijuana state. Advocates celebrated a deal struck last month between Cuomo and the state legislature that will protect qualified patients from arrest, prosecution and discrimination, and license up to 20 distribution facilities across the state. The new law empowers the New York State Department of Health (DOH) to license physicians to recommend marijuana to patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, epilepsy, and a limited range of other medical conditions. However, the law only allows for products that use an extracted form of cannabis, such as oil or edibles, which are to be produced under a state-licensed manufacturing process. Advocates have voiced concerns over the law's 7% tax, and a prohibition on access to whole-plant cannabis. Advocates also raise concerns over the prohibitive cost for many patients who cannot afford to purchase what would otherwise be an inexpensive medicine to grow. The new law gives the DOH 18 months to establish regulations and will sunset in seven years. (ASA, July 7)

Massachusetts nixes DeAngelos' Boston dispensary over pot conviction

Posted on June 28th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

SteveDeAngeloOn June 27, Massachusetts' Department of Public Health rejected an application from Green Heart Holistic Health and Pharmaceuticals to operate a dispensary in Boston, despite giving the company initial approval. The reason stated for the denial is Steve DeAngelo's criminal record. Controversy over the Green Heart dispensary, awarded to Andrew DeAngelo, erupted when Steve's participation as the financial backer and "strategic adviser" was revealed. Since Steve wouldn't be physically working at the store, his name was not included in the application. DeAngelo pleaded guilty on Aug. 6, 2001 of possession of cannabis with intent to distribute and received a five-year suspended sentence and three years' probation.

High court: warrant needed for cell-phone searches

Posted on June 25th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Shadow WatchThe US Supreme Court issued a key ruling in favor of Fourth Amendment rights in the digital age June 25, finding unanimously that police in most cases need a warrant before searching the cellphone or personal electronic device of an arrestee. Chief Justice John Roberts firmly rejected arguments that searches of digital devices are comparable to searches police routinely carry out for contraband after making an arrest. In the cases of Riley v. California and United States v. Wurie (argued separetly, but decided together), Roberts wrote: "Modern cell phones, as a category, implicate privacy concerns far beyond those implicated by the search of a cigarette pack, a wallet, or a purse... The fact that technology now allows an individual to carry such information in his hand does not make the information any less worthy of the protection for which the Founders fought. Our answer to the question of what police must do before searching a cell phone seized incident to an arrest is accordingly simple—get a warrant."

Narco wars drive migrant kids to US borders

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

Central AmericaUS authorities report a record flood of unaccompanied minors crossing the southern border, a wave that has been escalating since 2011. About 52,000 have arrived since October, about 112% more than the entire prior year, Alejandro Mayorkas, deputy secretary of the Homeland Security Department, said June 20 in a conference call with reporters. Up to 90,000 are expected to come in 2014, according to the White House—more than twice as many as last year, and three times as many as in 2012. President Barack Obama this month directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to address the "urgent humanitarian situation," and asked Congress for funding. Courts and social-service agencies have been overwhelmed, and guidelines on processing and detention thrown into disarray, Bloomberg reports. "It's been a humanitarian crisis since long before Obama called it that," said Kimi Jackson, director of the South Texas Pro Bono Asylum Representation Project, which aids children in immigration court.  

Federal court: warrant needed for cell-phone tracking

Posted on June 16th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

Shadow WatchIn what could turn out to be a landmark case, the US Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit in Atlanta ruled June 11 that police must obtain a warrant to get a person's cell phone location history from the service provider. Police conducting a robbery investigation in Miami had obtained the location histories of four suspects after getting an order from a federal judge. But the standard for getting a so-called "D-order" is that it be "relevant and material" to an investigation—lower than the "probable cause" standard required for a warrant under the Fourth Amendment. The court found "that cell site location information is within the subscriber's reasonable expectation of privacy. The obtaining of that data without a warrant is a Fourth Amendment violation." Nathan Freed Wessler, an attorney for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) who helped argue the case, hailed the ruling in United States v. Quartavious Davis as "a resounding defense of the Fourth Amendment's continuing vitality in the digital age."

'Collateral damage' feared in Harlem gang sweep

Posted on June 10th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

New York CityIn a dramatic early morning raid June 4, some 400 NYPD cops wearing bullet-proof vests stormed the Manhattanville and Grant housing projects in Harlem, arresting scores in what was boasted as the largest gang case in New York City history. In what was dubbed Operation Crew Cut Initiative, police commissioner William Bratton announced 103 indictments of accused members of the Make It Happen Boys, Money Avenue and 3 Staccs gangs. Charges in the 145-count indictment include conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit gang assault, and weapons possession. Of those indicted, 41 were already in jail on other charges. The three warring crews are  held responsible for at least two homicides and 19 shootings in and around the housing projects in recent years. The suspects are all between 15 and 30 years old. "If you choose this lifestyle, you will suffer the same fate as these individuals," Bratton said at a news conference later in the day. (Daily News, WABC, Newsday, June 4)

Family seeks federal review of SWAT raid that left tot in coma

Posted on June 9th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

GeorgiaA Georgia family and state lawmakers are demanding a federal investigation into the case of a toddler severely injured by a flash grenade during a drug raid May 28. Bounkham Phonesavanh—19 months old, and nicknamed Bou Bou—remains in a medically induced coma at the Grady Memorial Hospital burn unit in Atlanta. Habersham County District Attorney Brian Rickman told AP his office is investigating to determine whether any officers will face criminal charges. Police said officers were searching for a potentially armed drug suspect at the home and did not know children were inside when they broke down the door and threw in a flash grenade. The grenade landed in the sleeping boy's playpen, according to both authorities and the Phonesavanh family.

Victory for hemp in Kentucky

Posted on June 6th, 2014 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

leafUniversity of Kentucky agronomy researchers on May 27 planted a small hemp plot at Spindletop Research Farm outside Lexington—marking a victory in the state's showdown with the Drug Enforcement Administration. The seeds used were part of a shipment from Italy that was only released after Kentucky's Agriculture Department filed suit against the federal government, naming the Justice Department, DEA and US Customs and Border Protection. The breakthrough came after attorneys for the state and federal government met twice with a federal judge in Louisville, the DEA agreeing to issue a permit for release of the shipment—which Kentucky authorities said was not legally needed. Kentucky attorneys argued that the recent US Farm Bill allows state agriculture departments to designate hemp pilot projects for research in states that permit hemp cutlivation. Several more test crops were planted at other sites around the state in the following days. (ABC, Lexington Herald-Leader, May 27; AP, May 14)

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