So holds today’s Oregon Supreme Court decision in Willis v. Winters.
Under federal law, 18 U.S.C. § 922(g)(3), unlawful users of marijuana are generally barred from possessing guns, and this includes medical users (since federal law has no medical marijuana exemption). Does this preempt a state concealed carry licensing law that has no exception for medical marijuana users? No, said the Oregon Supreme Court: The licensing law doesn’t create an affirmative obstacle to the federal marijuana ban, but simply means that Oregon isn’t going to help enforce that ban. Oregon set up the general ban on concealed carry; it is now free to relax that ban by allowing licensing, and it doesn’t matter that some of the licenseholders are barred by federal law from possessing guns — let the federal government enforce its own gun ban if it wishes, but Oregon has no obligation to assist with that. via volokh.com and image via Medical marijuana and Guns @ cannabissativa.com
Oregon Medical Marijuana Users Are Entitled to Oregon Licenses to Carry Concealed Guns (Notwithstanding Federal Ban on Gun Possession by Illegal Drug Users)May 20, 2011
Elvy Mussika is a former South Florida resident who uses medical marijuana — grown and supplied directly by the federal government. As detailed in our October “Legalize It” issue, the government started a program in 1982 that supplied pre-rolled joints to patients with chronic conditions. George H.W. Bush cut all new prescriptions when he was in office, but a few legal tokers remain. We profiled Irvin Rosenfeld, a Fort Lauderdale stock trader who tokes up legally, in the open, every day.Now Mussika — “one of the four remaining United States citizens who still receives medical marijuana from the United States government” — has lost her pot.
JAABlog has the scoop on this one: In a letter to the director of the Drug Enforcement Administration and the postmaster general, Mussika’s lawyer, Norm Kent of Fort Lauderdale, explains the mix-up.Mussika recently moved to Eugene, Oregon (a logical development, all things considered), and was unable to pick up her six tins of 300 marijuana cigarettes before flying out West. So she appointed Kent to make the pickup himself, and mail the 1,800-joint, six-month supply to her new home.But apparently, Kent wrote the ZIP code wrong. Instead of “97405,” he wrote “90405,” which may have landed the packages in Santa Monica, California. Hence his letter to the DEA and the postmaster:I am going public with this in the hope that the DEA recognizes it is not in the public interest to have marijuana missing in the US mails, and because we will be needing to make a record of this loss in order to procure a new prescription. This marijuana is grown by the federal government for its patients under the protocol at the University of Mississippi. This is my formal notice of its disappearance.Either some drug-sniffing dogs are to blame, or the Santa Monica post office is suddenly full of non-disgruntled workers. No word on whether Kent inspected the packages before writing the address label.
The report, released Wednesday, predicts the medical marijuana industry will hit $1.7 billion in revenues in 2011, rivaling sales of Viagra.I got on a conference call with the report’s creators to ask the most important question: “Got any data on people who use marijuana and Viagra at the same time?”“No,” answered Ted Rose, editor of the report, as speechless as a guy who just took too big a hit off a bong.Rose works for See Change Strategy LLC, an independent financial analysis firm based in Washington D.C. You can get his report here. But it costs $1,150. And do you know how much weed and Viagra you can buy for $1,150?
Hey, no worries if you are in the biz, man. See Change expects the market to double in the next five years.Forget what you’ve heard about an industry that Arizona, California, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington and the District of Columbia have legalized.Most of the information is anecdotal, politically charged, or poorly researched, Rose said. Until now.See Change sent out more than 1,500 surveys–and about 300 dope peddlers actually answered them.“Whatever one’s opinion about medical marijuana, everyone benefits by understanding how big this market is, who is making money, and how,” Rose said.I am OK with legalized reefer madness, as long as my kid doesn’t catch it. I’ve met people in real pain who benefit from it, including some who are just suffering from the economy. But let’s be honest: Medical marijuana is a shameless front for complete legalization.The proof is that California and Colorado make up 90% of the market, according to See Change. And these are the two states where you can still spot the most Grateful Dead bumper stickers.In Colorado, where I live, it’s as easy to find a dispensary as a Walgreens. A TV reporter friend told me that whenever he walks into a dispensary unannounced to do yet another medical marijuana story, it’s difficult to find cancer patients or geriatrics. Mostly, it’s kids.“The 20-somethings would tell me they have back pain while sitting in a chair,” he said, “and then I’d watch them walk out of the dispensary just fine, joking with their friends.”That, of course, is anecdotal. The data suggest this highly fragmented industry could evolve from stoner boutiques toward money-grubbing corporations, even though it is currently illegal under federal law.President Barack Obama has promised to turn a blind eye in states that have legalized medical marijuana–which has ignited the industry’s growth, Rose said.So, for now, medical marijuana entrepreneurs are making astonishing bets that the next president won’t be some moralizing yahoo who shuts the whole business down and throws everyone in federal prison.It’s just like banking: Who needs risk management? Be an optimist.Serial entrepreneur Tripp Keber took me on a tour of his beverage plant on Tuesday. It’s called “Dixie Elixirs & Edibles,” even though a more obvious name would be “Soda Pot.”Keber, who also develops luxury RV parks, says business at Dixie Elixirs is just bubbling over.Why smoke when you can sip something that tastes like a popular fruit-flavored soda? The company also sells medicated biscuits, bars, chews, truffles, cakes, lozenges, topicals and tinctures.The plant is secure, has no signage, and seems to run as smoothly inside as Pepsi Bottling. Keber pays a PhD to maintain product quality. And he talks like any CEO looking for deals.“I truly believe that there will be an opportunity for a company in the medical marijuana space to go public in the next three to five years,” he said. “But within 24 to 30 months .. somebody is going to knock on our door. “It would be a rounding error for a Philip Morris or a U.S. Tobacco,” Keber said. “And if you don’t think that they are eying this market, you would be foolish.”
U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag
Today, a news release from the Cannabis Therapy Institute brought to light a February memo from the U.S. Department of Justice. It clarifies that regardless of state law, “the prosecution of individuals and organizations involved in the trade of any illegal drugs and the disruption of drug trafficking organizations is a core priority of the Department.”
“As the Department has stated on many occasions, Congress has determined that marijuana is a controlled substance,” wrote Melinda Haag, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of California, on Feb. 1 in response to a clarification request from the Oakland city attorney. “Congress placed marijuana in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) and, as such, growing, distributing, and possessing marijuana in any capacity, other than as part of a federally authorized research program, is a violation of federal law regardless of state laws permitting such activities.”
CTC says it thinks the memo could explain the recent increase in federal raids at dispensaries in California and Montana, where dozens were arrested, and the assets and bank accounts of the owners seized.
“Maybe this will wake people up who think that it can’t happen here,” says Kathleen Chippi of the Colorado-based Patient and Caregiver Rights Litigation Project. (See more on her efforts here and here.)
The memo came in response to a query from Oakland city attorney John A. Russo regarding a local company’s plan to build an industrial-scale medical marijuana warehouse, an operation Haag said the DOJ is “concerned” about.
“Accordingly, the Department is carefully considering civil and criminal legal remedies regarding those who seek to set up industrial marijuana growing warehouses in Oakland pursuant to licenses issued by the city of Oakland, individuals who elect to operate ‘industrial cannabis cultivation and manufacturing facilities’ will be doing so in violation of federal law,” Haag wrote, continuing with strong words for those who assist dispensary owners. “Others who knowingly facilitate the actions of the licensees, including property owners, landlords, and financiers should also know that their conduct violates federal law.
“Potential actions the Department is considering include injunctive actions to prevent cultivation and distribution of marijuana and other associated violations of the CSA; civil fines; criminal prosecution; and the forfeiture of any property used to facilitate a violation of the CSA. As the Attorney General has repeatedly stated, the Department of Justice remains fully committed to enforcing the CSA in all states.”
See the entire memo here; see the original Holder memo here.
New Jersey announced its six picks on Monday for treatment centers that can grow and sell medical marijuana.
The state Department of Health and Senior Services announced that the North Jersey locations are Montclair and Secaucus. In Central Jersey, the winners will locate in Manalapan and New Brunswick.
In South Jersey, Bellmawr has been chosen and another will be determined, either in Camden County or Burlington.
The Greenleaf Compassion Center will operate the Montclair location.
“We have developed a plan whose success would be measured by our ability to provide patients with products that will improve their quality of life,” the applicant said, according to the state.
The announcement comes as legislators and advocates challenge the rules the state devised to run the medical marijuana program.
They include a limit of 10 percent on the THC content of the marijuana, as well as restrictions on doctors who sign up to participate.
One senator who was a co-sponsor of the law that passed in January 2010, Sen. Nicholas Scutari, is trying to use a little known section of the state constitution to overturn the Christie Administration rules.
More high school seniors report using marijuana than smoking cigarettes in the last 30 days, a government survey finds. The U.S. drug czar blames Prop. 19 and similar measures.
Obama administration drug czar Gil Kerlikowske said young people had taken the “wrong message” from such state measures as Prop. 19. (Gina Ferazzi, Los Angeles Times / December 15, 2010)
the problem here is the Democrats are demonizing one vice. Kids abuse vices. We know this. No one says that everyone should be on pain killers either. The problem is that our government is concentrating on abstinence which is harmful, when in fact they should concentrate on moderation and responsible behavior.
OTTAWA — A medical marijuana user lit up a joint in the House of Commons Monday to draw attention to what he calls unfair rules set by Health Canada.
Samuel Mellace, who lives in Abbotsford, B.C., is a licensed pot user under the federal government’s medical marijuana program. He started smoking a joint Monday afternoon while in the public gallery of the House of Commons as the daily question period came to an end. Mellace took a few drags on the joint before a security guard asked him to put it out and leave the gallery, which he did without incident.
At a news conference on Parliament Hill a short time later, Mellace said he didn’t think it was wrong for him to take his medication in the House of Commons.
His complaints about the government’s medical marijuana program are twofold: delays in processing applications for licences and restrictions on how medical marijuana can be used.
Mellace wants licensed users to be able to use their legal marijuana in creams or food, something that is prohibited by Health Canada’s regulations.
“Smoking marijuana is not the only way,” Mellace said. “There’s other methods, there’s people that cannot smoke it.”
His wife is one of those people, he said; she has lung cancer and can’t inhale her marijuana medication. Mellace’s company, New Age Medical Solutions, makes products that contain marijuana extracts, including a hand lotion and a butter that can be used in baking and cooking.
The smoothies Mellace makes for his wife with the marijuana extracts are technically illegal. Health Canada rules stipulate that licensed users can only possess dried marijuana for medical purposes and that it cannot be processed into another substance. Doing so contravenes the Marijuana Medical Access Regulations and means the byproducts are controlled substances under federal drug laws.
“Any activities that fall outside of the MMAR is an enforcement issue and falls under the jurisdiction of law enforcement agencies,” Health Canada said in an emailed response to questions from Postmedia.
Health Canada does acknowledge there is a backlog in processing applications for licenses, which Mellace and other users at Monday’s news conference said is punishing patients.
If their licence expires before it is renewed, they say they risk either being caught and charged with drug offences or living in pain while they wait for a new licence, sometimes for months.
“Health Canada is currently experiencing a temporary delay in processing applications, due to a sharp rise in the number of applications received in recent months,” the department said. It aims to process applications within eight to 10 weeks and says it has implemented a strategy to improve waiting times that is already working.