Legal World

US Medical Marijuana Update: Changes being made accross the country


Mitt Romney (mis)speaks out on medi- cal marijuana, the LA dispensary ban is repealed, and the feds keep on grinding away at medical marijuana providers with another conviction in Montana and a lengthy prison sentence in Michigan. And that’s just for starters. Let’s get to it:


On Monday, GOP presidential can- didate Mitt Romney weighed in on marijuana policy. Asked by the Denver Post what he thought about Colorado’s medical marijuana industry, Romney responded, “I oppose marijuana being used for recreational purposes and I be- lieve the federal law should prohibit the recreational use of marijuana.” Later the same day, his campaign clarified to the Washington Post that “Governor Rom- ney has a long record of opposing the use of marijuana for any reason. He opposes legalizing drugs, including marijuana for medicinal purposes. He will fully enforce the nation’s drug laws, and he will oppose any attempts at legalization.”


Last Thursday, the state ACLU joined a lawsuit supporting the Arizona Medi- cal Marijuana Act. The lawsuit, filed by White Mountain Health Center, seeks to compel county and state officials to move forward with the dispensary permitting process. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery has refused to issue the documentation to any proposed dispen- saries in Maricopa County because he

claims the law is preempted by the fed- eral Controlled Substances Act. The law- suit lists Montgomery, Maricopa County, and the state Health Department and its director, Will Humble, as defendants. A hearing is set for October 19.


On Tuesday, the LA city council voted to repeal its recent ban on dispensaries. The 11-2 vote came after activists gath- ered enough signatures to put a referen- dum repealing the ban to a direct vote. Rather than hold a March election that could give an okay to dispensaries, the council is counting on federal enforce- ment to accomplish what it hoped to achieve with its ban. “That is our relief,” Councilman Jose Huizar said of the DEA raids and threat letters to dispen- saries that began last week.

Last Tuesday, the DEA raided an Ana- heim dispensary, the Live Love Collec- tive, seizing two kilos of dried marijuana, 75 kilos of marijuana-laced edibles, 900 grams of hash and a kilo of marijuana gel, according to DEA officials. The shop had been warned by the feds that it was violating federal law in November 2011 and was also among 128 dispensaries is- sued “cease and desist” orders by the city of Anaheim.


On Monday, the state’s medical mari- juana law went into effect. Doctors will now be able to go online at the Depart- ment of Consumer Protection and begin the registration application for qualifying patients. This is the first step in the fledg-

ling program; the agency has until July 1 to submit new regulations to the General Assembly on how it will be dispensed.


On Monday, the Ann Arbor city council postponed action on amending its licensing ordinance. The suggested amendments including removing lan- guage suggesting involvement in regu- lating the industry by city staff, setting a cap of 20 on dispensaries in the city, and licensing 10 dispensaries. The coun- cil has steadfastly failed to move on the ordinance revisions since they were pro- posed at its January meeting, and they could die if not acted on within the next six months.

Also on Monday, a Monroe County caregiver was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. Gerald Duval Jr. and his son Jeremy had been raided by the DEA and charged with federal marijuana cul- tivation and trafficking offenses. They were convicted after a trial in which Michigan’s medical marijuana law, with which they were in compliance, could not be mentioned. Jeremy Duval was set to be sentenced Tuesday, but there is no word yet on his sentence. Americans for Safe Access called the Duvals’ case “an- other tragedy from President Obama’s war on medical marijuana.”


Last Wednesday, the Montana Canna- bis Association asked the state Supreme Court to reconsider its September ruling that a ban on marijuana sales does not violate the constitutional rights of regis-

tered users or providers. The ruling over- turned a lower court decision to block part of lawmakers’ restrictive rewrite of state regulations, and sent the case back to District Court with new instructions. The association argued that a new state law should be held to a higher standard of review. The Supreme Court decision is in abeyance until the justices address the motion and formally send the case back to the lower court.

Last Thursday, a medical marijuana provider was found guilty in federal court of multiple federal charges, includ- ing conspiracy to manufacture, possess and distribute marijuana and firearms charges. Chris Williams was the green- house operator for Montana Cannabis, where DEA agents seized 950 plants in one of the March 2011 raids that swept the state, decimating its nascent medi- cal marijuana industry. As per usual, he wasn’t permitted to argue that he fol- lowed state laws regulating medical mar- ijuana. He said he would appeal. One of his partners in Montana Cannabis, Tom Daubert, recently received a probationary sentence after pleading guilty, but anoth- er set of partners, the Flor family, weren’t so fortunate. They all got prison sentenc- es, and 68-year-old Richard Flor died in federal prison earlier this summer.

This article was originally published on Oct. 3, 2012 on <> and used with permission under the Creative Commons Attribution license.

By Phillip Smith

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