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Sheriffs Sue Colorado Over Marijuana Legalization

Sheriffs Sue Colorado Over Marijuana Legalization

DENVER, CO — In another attempt to thwart the will of Colorado voters, sheriffs from Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska filed a lawsuit Thursday claiming that the state’s law legalizing marijuana creates a “crisis of conscience” and puts an economic burden on other states.

Larimer County (Colorado) Sheriff Justin Smith is the lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, which asks a federal court in Denver to strike down the 2012 voter-approved Amendment 64, and to order the state’s licensed marijuana stores — over 330 at last count — to close.

Sheriff Smith claims that every day he must decide whether to violate the Colorado Constitution, under which marijuana is legal, or the United States Constitution.  Marijuana is prohibited at the federal level.

Smith is joined by sheriffs in…

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Remaining ‘Kettle Falls Five’ Defendants Acquitted on 4 of 5 Charges

Remaining ‘Kettle Falls Five’ Defendants Acquitted on 4 of 5 Charges

Three remaining Kettle Falls Five defendants found guilty of manufacturing less than 100 plants, likely to appeal

SPOKANE, WA — In an unexpected verdict Tuesday, the jury in a widely watched federal medical marijuana case from eastern Washington State, known as the Kettle Falls Five, acquitted the three remaining defendants of all but one charge of manufacturing less than 100 marijuana plants.

The charge carries no mandatory minimum sentence and defendants Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 56, her son Rolland Gregg, 33, and daughter-in-law Michelle Gregg, 36, remain free until sentencing on June 10th at 10am.

In a prosecution and week-long trial that cost roughly $2 million tax dollars, the Obama Administration aggressively pursued marijuana trafficking charges against a family of patients who…

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Jury Acquits 50-Year Old Florida Medical Marijuana Patient

Jury Acquits 50-Year Old Florida Medical Marijuana Patient

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL — A Florida man has been acquitted by a jury after contending that dozens of marijuana plants he was growing were used for his own medicinal purposes.

The Broward County jury on Monday found 50-year-old Jesse Teplicki of Hollywood not guilty of criminal charges.

Teplicki testified that the 46 plants seized by authorities two years ago were not for distribution but for his own use, to fight chronic symptoms related to the eating disorder anorexia.

Teplicki’s attorney Michael Minardi says the case was the first of its kind in Florida decided by a jury rather than a judge.

Minardi also said the Legislature’s plan to debate medical marijuana this year is an indication that more people see medical value in the substance.

Teplicki faced a five-year prison sentence if…

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Jury Selection, Opening Statements Made in Federal Medical Marijuana Trial of Kettle Falls Five

Jury Selection, Opening Statements Made in Federal Medical Marijuana Trial of Kettle Falls Five

Three defendants still stand trial after dismissal of charges against cancer-stricken defendant, plea bargain by family friend

SPOKANE, WA — Trial began on Wednesday with jury selection and opening statements in a widely watched federal medical marijuana case against a family from eastern Washington State known as the Kettle Falls Five.

Last week, amidst mounting pressure, the Department of Justice (DOJ) dismissed charges against defendant Larry Harvey, 71, who was recently diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer.

Earlier this week, defendant and Harvey family friend Jason Zucker accepted a plea deal, whereby he agreed to cooperate with the prosecution by testifying against his co-defendants in exchange for a single felony conviction and a recommended sentence of 16 months.

Three…

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Trial Starts Wednesday in “Kettle Falls Five” Federal Medical Marijuana Case

Trial Starts Wednesday in “Kettle Falls Five” Federal Medical Marijuana Case

Government continues prosecution despite Congressional ban on interfering with implementation of state law

SPOKANE, WA — Trial starts Wednesday in a widely watched federal medical marijuana case from eastern Washington State known as the Kettle Falls Five. The Obama Administration is aggressively pursuing marijuana trafficking charges against a family of patients who claim to have been growing for themselves in full compliance with Washington State’s medical marijuana law. The Department of Justice (DOJ) is also choosing to try them in defiance of a recent Congressional ban on DOJ interference in the implementation of state law.

Last week, the federal government agreed to dismiss charges against Larry Harvey, 71, who has been diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer, but fought…

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Feds Drop Charges Against Larry Harvey in ‘Kettle Falls Five’ Medical Marijuana Case

Feds Drop Charges Against Larry Harvey in ‘Kettle Falls Five’ Medical Marijuana Case

Trial set to proceed next week against remaining members of the so-called “Kettle Falls Five”

SPOKANE, WA — Days before trial is scheduled to start in a widely watched federal medical marijuana case, the government dismissed charges Wednesday against Larry Harvey, 71, a defendant recently diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer.

Harvey has been prosecuted for more than two years as part of the so-called “Kettle Falls Five” case, along with other members of his family, who will still be tried by the government as early as next week.

“I’m thankful the charges against me have been dropped so that I can focus on my battle with Stage IV pancreatic cancer,” said Larry Harvey in a prepared statement. “However, if the Department of Justice truly has concerns for my well being,…

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Federal Judge Hears Closing Arguments In Constitutional Challenge to Cannabis’ Schedule I Status

Federal Judge Hears Closing Arguments In Constitutional Challenge to Cannabis’ Schedule I Status

SACRAMENTO, CA — Wednesday in Sacramento, a federal judge heard closing arguments in a motion challenging the constitutionality of cannabis’ Schedule I classification.

At issue is whether a rational basis exists for the government’s contention that cannabis is properly designated as a schedule I substance — defined as possessing a “high potential for abuse,” “no currently accepted medical use in treatment,” and “a lack of accepted safety … under medical supervision.” A federal court has not heard evidence on the matter since the early 1970s.

Lawyers for the federal government argue that it is rational for the government to maintain the plant’s prohibitive status as long as there remains any dispute among experts in regard to its safety and efficacy. Defense…

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Final Arguments Heard in Marijuana Schedule I Hearing; Decision Expected in March

Final Arguments Heard in Marijuana Schedule I Hearing; Decision Expected in March

SACRAMENTO, CA — A federal judge hearing the case of nine men accused of illegally growing marijuana in California said Wednesday she was taking very seriously arguments by their attorneys that the federal government has improperly classified the drug as among the most dangerous, and should throw the charges out.

Justice Kimberly Mueller

Judge Kimberly Mueller

Judge Kimberly J. Mueller said she would rule within 30 days on the request, which comes amid looser enforcement of U.S. marijuana laws, including moves to legalize its recreational use in Washington state, Colorado, Oregon and Alaska.

“If I were persuaded by the defense’s argument, if I bought their argument, what would you lose here?” she asked prosecutors during closing arguments on the motion to dismiss the cases against the men.

The men were…

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Federal Judge to Hear Motion to Dismiss Thursday in Widely Watched Medical Marijuana Case

Federal Judge to Hear Motion to Dismiss Thursday in Widely Watched Medical Marijuana Case

Defendant Larry Harvey will argue that new Congressional measure forbids the DOJ from prosecuting his family

SPOKANE, WA — A motion to dismiss will be heard in federal court Thursday in a widely watched medical marijuana case involving a family from rural northeastern Washington State. Larry Harvey, 71, and other family members of the so-called “Kettle Falls Five” have moved for dismissal of their case, arguing that a recently enacted Congressional measure forbids the Department of Justice (DOJ) from prosecuting them.

“Prosecuting persons who may be operating in compliance with state medical marijuana laws prevents states from implementing their own laws,” reads one of the motions to dismiss written by Harvey’s attorney Robert Fischer. Harvey’s motion argues that state law…

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Judge Halts Federal Seizure of California Medical Marijuana Dispensary

Judge Halts Federal Seizure of California Medical Marijuana Dispensary

SAN FRANCISCO, CA – A federal judge stayed a forfeiture action by the United States against a licensed Berkeley medical marijuana dispensary, pending Berkeley’s appeal to the 9th Circuit.

The government sought to shut down Berkeley Patients Group in May 2013. The dispensary, its landlord Nahla Droubi and the city of Berkeley challenged the forfeiture.

In March 2014 the court struck Berkeley from the action for lack of standing, but the city appealed to the 9th Circuit, asserting that its interest in dispensary-generated tax revenue and its ability to regulate dispensaries within its jurisdiction gave it a stake in the case.

U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar on Feb. 6 granted Berkeley’s motion to stay the forfeiture until the 9th Circuit resolves the appeal.

The case is similar to an…

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Defendant Moves for Dismissal in Widely Watched Federal Medical Marijuana Case

Defendant Moves for Dismissal in Widely Watched Federal Medical Marijuana Case

SPOKANE, WA — A motion to dismiss has been filed in a widely watched federal medical marijuana case involving a family from rural northeastern Washington State.

Larry Harvey, 71, of the Kettle Falls Five has moved for dismissal of his case or an order preventing further prosecution. The motion relies on a recently enacted Congressional measure that bans funding for medical marijuana enforcement by the Department of Justice (DOJ).

“Prosecuting persons who may be operating in compliance with state medical marijuana laws prevents states from implementing their own laws,” reads the brief written by Harvey’s attorney Robert Fischer. Harvey’s motion argues that state law is undermined by discouraging lawful patients from accessing medical marijuana because of the threat of federal…

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Federal Judge Weighing Constitutionality of Marijuana’s Classification

Federal Judge Weighing Constitutionality of Marijuana’s Classification

SACRAMENTO, CA — A federal judge in California is weighing the constitutionality of a 45-year-old act that classifies marijuana as a dangerous drug along with LSD, cocaine and heroin.

U.S. District Judge Kimberly J. Mueller in Sacramento held a five-day fact-finding hearing on the classification question late last year, and final arguments are scheduled for next month, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday. Her ruling is expected later this year.

The case marks the first time in decades that a judge has agreed to consider marijuana’s designation as a Schedule 1 drug under the 1970 Controlled Substances Act, the newspaper said. Under the act, Schedule 1 drugs have no medicinal purpose, are unsafe even under medical supervision and contain a high potential for abuse.

Mueller’s

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Oklahoma Republicans Encourage AG to Drop Lawsuit Against Colorado Over Marijuana Legalization

Oklahoma Republicans Encourage AG to Drop Lawsuit Against Colorado Over Marijuana Legalization

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK — Citing concerns that it could undermine their own state’s fight to govern themselves under the 10th Amendment, several Republican lawmakers in Oklahoma are urging Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt to drop his lawsuit against the state of Colorado’s legalization of marijuana.

The lawsuit, titled States of Nebraska and Oklahoma v. State of Colorado, was filed in December by Pruitt and Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and asks the United States Supreme Court to strike down Colorado’s law legalizing marijuana on the basis that it is “fundamentally at odds” with the federal Controlled Substances Act.

The suit, filed directly with the US Supreme Court, alleges that marijuana is being diverted into their states from Colorado, causing plaintiffs to suffer…

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Montana Judge Blocks Enforcement of Medical Marijuana Restrictions

Montana Judge Blocks Enforcement of Medical Marijuana Restrictions

HELENA, MT — A state district court judge last Friday dealt a hard blow to provisions of a restrictive state medical marijuana law passed by the Republican-dominated legislature seven years after Big Sky voters approved a more open initiative allowing for medicinal use and a wide open dispensary scene.

District Judge James Reynolds in Helena permanently enjoined the implementation of certain key provisions in the law. Those provisions have never actually taken effect because Reynolds blocked them with a temporary injunction back in 2011.

Reynolds blocked provisions that ban medical marijuana advertising, forbid the commercial sale of marijuana to authorized patients, restrict caregivers from growing for more than three patients, and require the state to report the names of doctors who…

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