Category Archives: Marijuana

Court Ponders Drug Dog’s Sniff

MIAMI (AP) — Franky the drug dog’s super-sensitive nose is at the heart of a question being put to the U.S. Supreme Court: Does a police K-9’s sniff outside a house give officers the right to get a search warrant for illegal drugs, or is the sniff itself an unconstitutional search?

Florida’s highest state court said Franky’s ability to detect marijuana growing inside a Miami-area house from outside a closed front door crossed the constitutional line. State Attorney General Pam Bondi, an elected Republican, wants the nation’s justices to reverse that ruling.

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If you have questions about medical marijuana contact Daniel Ambrose at 248-808-3130

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Marijuana Arrests Now More Than Half Of Total Drug Arrests Nationwide

Police made 853,838 arrests in 2010 for marijuana-related offenses, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report, released today. The annual arrest total is among the highest ever reported by the agency and is nearly identical to the total number of cannabis-related arrests reported in 2009. According to the report, marijuana arrests now comprise more than one-half (52 percent) of all drug arrests in the United States. An estimated 46 percent of all drug arrests are for offenses related to marijuana possession.

Of those charged with marijuana law violations, 750,591 (88 percent) were arrested for marijuana offenses involving possession only. The remaining 103,247 individuals were charged with “sale/manufacture,” a category that includes virtually all cultivation offenses. By region, the percentage of marijuana arrests was highest in the Midwest (63.5 percent of all drug arrests) and southern regions (57 percent of all drug arrests) of the United States and lowest in the west, where pot prosecutions comprised only 39 percent of total drug arrests. By contrast, the percentage of arrests for heroin and cocaine was lowest in the Midwest (14 percent of all arrests) and highest in the northeast (29 percent of all arrests).
Overall, law enforcement agents nationwide arrested 1,638,846 people last year for drug abuse violations, surpassing arrests for all other crimes. Read the full story here.

If you have been charged with a marijuana offense, contact Ambrose Law Group at 248-624-5500

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Subsidized Housing In Michigan And Medical Marijuana

Kathy Heller has degenerative discs in her back and has been controlling the pain with medical marijuana. She applied for and received a medical marijuana program card from the state of Michigan.  She lives in subsidized housing, utilizing a Section 8 rent supplement through the Wyoming Housing Commission which governs her area. She showed them her medical marijuana card and they made a copy.

A year later, they sent her a letter terminating her rent subsidy for her apartment.  “We’re federally funded,” said Rebeca Geerling of the Wyoming Housing Commission, “and federal rules (and) regulations pretty much supercede or govern what our agency does.”  The Commission failed to recognize that the federal government does give local agencies leeway to allow medical marijuana users to keep their subsidies.

Without her nearly $600-per-month subsidy, Heller says that her apartment would use up her whole disability check.  She said the Wyoming Housing Commission told her they’d let her keep her rent subsidy if she did not renew her medical marijuana card.  She hopes to hear the results of her appeal by mid-September.  Read the full story here.

If you have been charged with a crime related to medical marijuana contact Daniel Ambrose 248-808-3130 or  at www.marijuanlawyermichigan.com

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Samanatha Quoted In Daily Tribune 8/25/2011

Medical Marijuana Business Consultant Samantha Moffett of the Walled Lake-based Ambrose Law Group said she was disappointed with the ruling.

“It is not just business-minded patients and caregivers who believe dispensaries are a legal business structure in Michigan — multiple municipalities across the state have passed ordinances allowing and structuring such businesses,” she said.

“Cities and townships have been able to fill commercial spaces dormant for years, generate jobs, collect licensing fees to fund the municipality, and most importantly, provide safe access to medicine for patients. The appellate court has taken these things from the people of Michigan today.

“As of right now, all dispensaries in the state are considered a nuisance and must be shut down unless they want to be pulled into court. It will be interesting to see how municipalities who have collected licensing fees from these businesses react.”

Read the full article here

 

For information regarding medical marijuana contact Samantha Moffett at 248-624-5500

for information on Michigan’s marijuana laws visit our website www.marijuanalawyermichigan.com

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Michigan Attorney General Will Notify Counties To Shut Down Dispensaries


The Michigan Court of Appeals’ ruling in an Isabella County case took immediate effect and essentially bars the “sale” of marijuana, something that is a main component of some shops’ business models.

The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act is supposed to provide immunity from prosecution for “the acquisition, possession, cultivation, manufacture, use, internal possession, delivery, transfer or transportation of marijuana,” so long as they’ve been authorized to do so for the relief of medical condition or symptom.  The way the law stands right now, Caregivers and Patients can have a marijuana transaction, but it seems in a lot of cases only one half of the transaction is legal. The Michigan Court of Appeals ruling makes it a crime for almost anyone — including other licensed medical marijuana users — to provide the pot that card-carrying patients are entitled to acquire, possess, cultivate, etc.
Dispensary critics charge that communities and companies are violating the intent of voters who passed the law in 2008. Attorney General Bill Schuette said there are forces out there trying to twist the law in the opposite direction and legalize drugs, something he said would be “a big mistake for our state.”  This is an interesting perspective for Michigan’s Attorney General to have considering the PEOPLE of the State of Michigan support the State’s medical marijuana law by nearly the same margin by which it was adopted in the 2008 election, according to a recent poll commissioned by the Marijuana Policy Project.  The poll, conducted by Marketing Resource Group of Lansing, found that 61% of voters said they would vote yes again or would be likely to vote yes.  Support for 2008’s Proposal 1, legalizing the possession and use of marijuana for medical reasons, was 62.6%.
Attorney General Schuette said Wednesday he will notify prosecutors in all 83 Michigan counties about how to close dispensaries in the wake of the state Court of Appeals’ ruling in an Isabella County case.

If you have been charged with a crime related to medical marijuana contact Daniel Ambrose 248-808-3130 or  at www.marijuanlawyermichigan.com

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What’s Next For Marijuana Dispensaries?

Authority figures seemingly love to use the word “pot” rather than marijuana because to them it signifies something dirty, something dangerous. A drug that belongs in the gutters of society and at the centerpiece of shady drug deals, not in the hands of patients with debilitating illnesses who find relief in the leafy, green plant. Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette was happy to use the marijuana alternate a day after medical marijuana dispensaries were declared illegal by the state Court of Appeals. “These pot shops need to be closed down,” he proclaimed. “This ruling is a huge victory for public safety and Michigan communities struggling with an invasion of pot shops near their schools, homes and churches.”

Law enforcement will be given the ‘tools’ they need in order to start closing down the 400-500 marijuana clinics throughout Michigan, Schuette said. “Nobody voted to have pot shops across from schools and churches,” he went on to say. “The court of appeals unanimously cleared the air that these dispensaries, these pot shops – really drug houses – are not legal.”

So where does this leave the hundreds of people who have invested everything they have into opening a new dispensary? What about the 100,000 or so people with state-issued medical marijuana cards that rely on dispensaries for their medicine?

Fortunately, in some areas, a county-wide eviction and complete termination of all dispensaries is not that simple. City officials have drafted ordinances to license dispensaries that allowed them to operate, giving them the impression that they were doing so legally. This creates somewhat of a sticky situation, as county prosecutors don’t want to hang medical marijuana patients out to dry when they were under the impression that they were creating a legal business relationship with their local dispensary.

Additionally, some lawyers think that the ruling is merely political. Dispensaries could remain open for business regardless of the court’s ruling, according to Royal Oak Attorney James Rasor. He believes that the Court of Appeals “kind of missed the point”, and that the ruling “does nothing but impermissibly infringe on the rights of the voters.”

What happens in the weeks ahead will go a long way in defining what kind of future medical marijuana will have in the state of Michigan. It’s hard to see the logic in sending ill patients to the streets and stranger’s homes to get their medicine.

If you have been charged with a crime related to medical marijuana contact Daniel Ambrose 248-808-3130 or  at www.marijuanlawyermichigan.com

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Michigan Appeals Court Rules Marijuana Dispensaries Illegal

A three-judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals ruled today that medical marijuana dispensaries are illegal based on a 2008 law that forbids the sale of the substance. “Medical use of marijuana, as defined by the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act, does not include patient-to-patient sales of marijuana, and no other provision of the MMMA can be read to permit such sales,” the court stated. “Therefore, defendants have no authority to actively engage in and carry out the selling of marijuana between (apothecary) members.”

The ruling stemmed from a case in Isabella County where people with state-issued medical marijuana cards sold marijuana to each other.

Our medical marijuana expert, Samantha Moffett, was contacted by the local press in an effort obtain a statement with her reaction to the ruling. She had this to say:

“It is disappointing that the Michigan Appellate Court has ruled against the will of the people.  The lower court’s decision was firmly grounded in law.  The sale of medical marijuana was never legal.  The Michigan Medical Marihuana Act’s plain language allows for a registered Caregiver to receive compensation for assisting a registered Patient in the “medical use” of marijuana.  This language provides protection for a registered Caregiver to receive compensation for their services associated with a Patient’s acquisition, possession, transportation of medical marijuana, all of which creates a legal dispensary-style business.
The Act has a prohibition section, and no where is the transfer of medicine between those legally protected in their possession prohibited.  It is absurd to think the drafters of this law did not contemplate these transactions occurring in a dispensary-style setting.  Common sense and logic tells us they did, and they chose not to prohibit it.
It is not just business-minded Patients and Caregivers that believe dispensaries are a legal business structure in Michigan; multiple municipalities across the State have passed ordinances allowing and structuring such businesses.  Municipalities across the State have done a phenomenal job regulating land use and businesses utilizing their authority under the Michigan Enabling Act and applying the language of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act.  Cities and townships have been able to fill commercial spaces that have been dormant for years, generate jobs, collect licensing fees to fund the municipality, and most importantly provide safe access to medicine for Patients.  The Appellate Court has taken these things from the people of Michigan today.
There are no answers as to how the hundreds of businesses affected by this decision should react to this decision.  As of right now, all dispensaries in the State of Michigan are considered a nuisance and must be shut down unless they want to be pulled into court.  It will be interesting to see how municipalities who have collected licensing fees from these businesses react to this decision as well.

Marijuana dispensing facilities taking over suburban neighborhoods because there are no legal places available to do it in a commercial space, the weed dealers in parking lots and hallways, dealing without any regulations or ID checks – these evils are the result of the prohibitionary status quo.  These evils are why we should fear this prohibition, not legalization. “

If you have been charged with a crime related to medical marijuana contact Daniel Ambrose 248-808-3130 or  at www.marijuanlawyermichigan.com

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“Synthetic Marijuana” – More Dangerous Than the Real Thing

They call it “synthetic marijuana”, but experts say it may be more dangerous than the real thing.
iAroma is one of many synthetic cannabinoid products sold on many web sites under fake-pot product lines called “potpourri.” The products mimic marijuana’s active ingredient, THC, and binds to similar receptors in the brain. Experts say the industry is unregulated, so it’s tough to know what exactly is in the products teens can legally purchase online or in smoke shops and gas stations.  “The contents in the package are never the same – it’s a very dangerous game,” Dr. Robert Glatter, attending emergency medicine physician at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, told CBS News in an email. He said smoking synthetic marijuana is like “playing Russian Roulette.”
Just what’s in this stuff? Likely a mixture of herbs, spices, and other chemicals, Dr. Glatter said, adding “It’s really an unknown concoction when these products are produced.” But what is known is young users are showing up to emergency rooms in record numbers.  Smoking synthetic cannabinoid products can cause hallucinations, nausea, vomiting, paranoid behavior, panic attacks, and elevated blood pressure, and potentially-fatal seizures, Glatter said.

Why aren’t “potpourri” products illegal? Customs officials say when law enforcement tests and bans one of these synthetic marijuana products, new ones show up on the market overnight.  “It’s a chemical compound, so they keep changing the chemicals trying to stay one step ahead of us,” David Murphy, director of Chicago field operations for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

“The effects of smoking synthetic marijuana are completely unpredictable – you are gambling with your health and future,” he said. “Don’t ever smoke these products.”  Read full story here.

If you have questions about a drug related charge in Michigan contact Ambrose Law Group at (248) 624-5500

For more info on Michigan marijuana laws visit our website www.marijuanalawyermichigan.com

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MI Medical Marijuana Laws Won’t Affect Police Searches for Illegal Pot Plants

A Michigan State Police program, Operation HEMP is a domestic marijuana eradication/supression program that started in 1983. It is grant funded by the Drug Enforcement Agency and is a cooperative effort between state, county and local law enforcement agencies.

Illegal marijuana grow operations are popular in Michigan because of its fertile land and remote areas, according to State police. Private land used to grow the drug are subject to state and federal forfeiture laws, and the criminal response has been to grow the plant on publicly owned land or to trespass onto private land, according to State police.

When undercover officers from the Bay Area Narcotics Enforcement Team perform their annual sweep for marijuana plants this year, it will be business as usual.  Michigan’s medical marijuana law will have no affect on Operation Help Eliminate Marijuana Plants, a yearly search by ground and air for illegal plants, BAYANET Lt. Mark Uribe said.  Operation HEMP is done during the growing season, and officers in years past have pulled hundreds of the plants in Clare and Isabella counties.

Because the medical marijuana law requires Patients and Caregivers to keep plants grown outdoors under lock and key, officers searching for illegally grown marijuana will be able to distinguish between the two, Uribe said.  Read the full story here.

ARE YOU LEGAL?
If you are a Pateint or Caregiver, or want to become one, contact Ambrose Law Group to find out your rights and protections.
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Our Voice: Michigan’s Possession With Intent To Deliver Law, Unfair And Phony Charge

The criminal charge of Possession with Intent to Deliver (PWID) is often a scam police and prosecutors use to make money for the government.  The government cannot apply forfeiture to a defendant’s property and money if they only charge the defendant with simple possession of marijuana.  So, they overcharge a defendant, who merely possesses marijuana with no intent to deliver, with PWID in order to justify the seizure and forfeiture of the defendant’s property and money.  To make matters worse, property and money unrelated to the marijuana offense may be seized as part of the forfeiture as well.

So, the question is, why would the government do this?  Because once they seize and forfeit the defendant’s property and money, they can keep it or sell it.  This “scam” of overcharging a defendant with PWID is nothing less than legal, government-endorsed extortion.

How does the government get away with this abuse of power?  Unfortunately, the legislature has not created a bright-lined amount of marijuana that a defendant must to possess in order to be charged with PWID.  This means the decision to charge a defendant with either just simple possession or PWID is completely left to the police officer’s and prosecutor’s discretion.  It should come as no surprise that they are often of the opinion that a defendant possessing even small amounts of marijuana for personal use was intending to distribute.

Of course a victim of this government-endorsed extortion has a right to contest the forfeiture of the property and money by posting a bond. Unfortunately, most forfeitures are not worth fighting because of the costs associated with attorney fees and time. This is why most people who are charged with PWID do not demand a trial and often plead guilty – out of fear and a lack of money.

This “scam” does not end once the defendant is overcharged with PWID. If the defendant does choose to go to trial, the prosecutor continues this abuse of power by having the police officer involved on the case recognized as an “expert” in street-level narcotics dealing.  The prosecutor then has the “expert” testify that the defendant was possessing with intent to deliver based upon the amount of marijuana in addition to other factors such as, a scale and packaging. This is bogus. It is common knowledge that marijuana, like everything else, is cheaper in bulk. So, of course, a heavy user is going to purchase in quarter or half pounds. Additionally, most heavy users purchase in quantity to ensure that they have an uninterrupted supply. The “expert” testifies that a heavy user will smoke 6 joints that weigh 0.5 grams a day, based upon post-arrest interviews.   The “expert” always says that marijuana has a shelf-life and that the quantity that the defendant had exceeds the shelf-life; therefore, the defendant must have been distributing. The officer can never give any definitive opinions as to how the marijuana has deteriorated or changed over its shelf-life, which most will say is 2 months, because the officer is NOT an expert! Of course, the “expert” will never admit to having smoked marijuana; so, all of his information is from interviewing people he has arrested.

People who purchase marijuana for their own use in bulk often own a scale to weigh their purchase so they do not get ripped off. So, contrary to the police and prosecutor’s opinion, a scale is not evidence of intent to distribute.  The greatest bias/lies these police “experts” tell are surrounding packaging. In my most recent case, the defendant had 5 ounces of marijuana in a gallon size zip lock bag. The officer said that the way it was packaged was indicative of delivery because the bag was too large to fit on the scale, it draped over the sides. Of course, if you tape the two ends together it easily fits on the scale. He also testified that the two smaller baggies that were with my client’s smoking paraphernalia were significant to the charge of PWID because together they weighed 28.3 grams, almost exactly an ounce (28.2 grams). Only on cross-examination did this police “expert” admit that the zip lock package weighed 12 grams, ruining his own theory.

The bottom line is that you can be charged with PWID if you have ANY amount of marijuana! Simply passing a joint to another person or just admitting that you did can get you prosecuted for PWID.  This is especially true in Oakland County.  So, be careful and remember to NEVER talk to the police!

Dan@ambroselawgroup.com

If you have a question about a drug-related charge please contact Dan Ambrose at (248) 624-5500

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