MJ News for 05/21/2014

7greeneyes

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From an anonymous source: :)


http://www.chron.com/news/texas/art...life-after-cops-find-pot-brownies-5492631.php




(Texas) Teen could face life after cops find pot brownies


ROUND ROCK, Texas (AP) — A 19-year-old Texas man accused of making and selling brownies laced with marijuana and hash oil faces a felony charge that carries a punishment of anywhere from five years to life in prison.

According to Round Rock police, officers found 1.5 pounds of brownies, along with a pound of marijuana, digital scales, $1,675 in cash and dozens of baggies with marijuana and hash oil at Jacob Lavoro's apartment last month. Police were responding to a complaint about marijuana use.

Lavoro was arrested but is out of jail on a $30,000 surety bond.

His father, Joe Lavoro, said he was shocked at how much prison time his son could face.

"It's outrageous, it's crazy! I don't understand it," the father told Austin TV station KEYE.

"Five years to life?" he continued. "I'm sorry, I'm a law-abiding citizen. I'm a conservative. I love my country. I'm a Vietnam veteran, but ... this is wrong!"

However, the prosecutor who is handling noted that sentences can vary depending on aggravating factors and other considerations, and that a plea deal is always possible.

"First-time offenders are treated differently. As far as I know, he is a first offender," Williamson County prosecutor Travis McDonald told The Associated Press on Tuesday.

McDonald noted that possessing 4 grams of hash oil is enough for a first-degree felony charge. According to an affidavit filed with the court, Jacob Lavoro had 145 grams of hash oil, in addition to the brownies.

Hash oil is a controlled substance that carries much harsher state penalties than marijuana. The oil has higher concentrations of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. It's in a penalty group with amphetamines and ecstasy.

Also, because Lavoro used hash oil, prosecutors can aggregate the weight of the brownies and charge him with manufacturing and distribution of 1.5 pounds of that category of controlled substances, McDonald said.

That means, for example, that "if you dissolve cocaine into a coke, technically you could charge him with the weight of the coke," McDonald said. However, he added, "I don't think I would."

Lavoro's lawyer, Jack Holmes, told KEYE the first-degree offense should be changed to a misdemeanor. Calls the AP made to his office Tuesday went unanswered.
 

7greeneyes

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http://www.nydailynews.com/news/pol...on-bill-passed-state-senate-article-1.1799935




(NY) Medical marijuana legalization bill passed by state Senate's Health Committee for the first time


ALBANY — Backers of legalizing medical marijuana in New York were flying high Tuesday after the measure cleared a state Senate committee for the first time.

The Health Committee approved the bill on a 9-8 vote, with one Republican, Sen. William Larkin of Orange County, joining eight Democrats in voting “yes.”

Medical marijuana advocates, who have been frustrated for years by Senate opposition, erupted in cheers and applause when the final tally was announced.

“This bill is really about a simple concept, which is to alleviate suffering,” said Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan). “I can’t think of a more important or noble pursuit on the part of . . . the Legislature.”

To improve the bill’s chances, its sponsor, Sen. Diane Savino (D-Staten Island), amended it to limit to 20 the number of ailments for which marijuana could be prescribed. That list includes cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The bill would also create an advisory panel to consider expanding or reducing the list in the future based on science and doctor recommendations.
Savino also tried to alleviate fears that New York’s program could mirror the much-maligned California program that critics say made it too easy to obtain pot.

She said the bill “would create the tightest, most-regulated program in the nation.”

The legislation, for example, would require that every pot plant have a bar code to make “impossible to divert this into the black market,” Savino said.
And it would restrict to 20 the number of concerns that would be licensed to grow the pot.

Savino said she has corralled at least 39 “yes” votes in the Senate, enough to get it passed.

Still, she sounded a note of caution. “This is step one,” she said. “We are by no means at the end of the line yet.”

The bill now heads to the Finance Committee. If it passes there, it could be brought to the full Senate vote before the session ends next month.

Sen. Kemp Hannon, R-Garden City, speaks during Tuesday's meeting where the state Senate voted to advance the medical marijuana legalization bill.

Under the power-sharing deal between Republicans and five breakaway Democrats that control the Senate, each leader can block any bill from being considered for for a full vote.

The Senate’s Republican leader, Dean Skelos (R-Nassau County) says he supports medical marijuana use in oil form, but has reservations about allowing the drug’s use through

Savino said she has corralled at least 39 “yes” votes in the Senate, enough to get it passed.

Still, she sounded a note of caution. “This is step one,” she said. “We are by no means at the end of the line yet.”

The bill now heads to the Finance Committee. If it passes there, it could be brought to the full Senate vote before the session ends next month.

Under the power-sharing deal between Republicans and five breakaway Democrats that control the Senate, each leader can block any bill from being considered for for a full vote.

The Senate’s Republican leader, Dean Skelos (R-Nassau County) says he supports medical marijuana use in oil form, but has reservations about allowing the drug’s use through smoking.

Sen. Phil Boyle (R-Suffolk County) has sponsored a bill that would allow medical pot only in a form that can’t be smoked, but Savino said that could seriously hamper some patients. Instead, her bill would ban anyone under 21 from smoking medical pot.
 

7greeneyes

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http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2014/05/21/fbi-marijuana-new-hire/9366331/




FBI may loosen marijuana rules for new hires


If you've used marijuana in the past three years, you can't work for the FBI.

But the FBI could loosen its marijuana use rules — in large part, to attract top computer programmers and hackers for its cybersecurity efforts.

"I have to hire a great workforce to compete with those cybercriminals and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview," said FBI Director James Comey during a conference Monday in New York City, reports the Wall Street Journal.

The FBI has the authority to hire 2,000 employees this year, many of them assigned to cybertasks,the Journal reports.

Although marijuana is illegal under federal law, 21 states have legalized medical marijuana, including two — Colorado and Washington — that have also legalized recreational marijuana.
 

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http://www.npr.org/2014/05/21/314279711/without-a-marijuana-breathalyzer-how-to-curb-stoned-driving




Without A Marijuana Breathalyzer, How To Curb Stoned Driving?


Like many medical marijuana patients, Greg Duran says he drives in fear, knowing he could be busted at any moment for driving under the influence.

As he merges onto Interstate 70 north of Denver, Duran explains that he's probably over the state's new marijuana limit: 5 nanograms per milliliter of blood of THC, the psychoactive chemical in pot.

"It would be devastating if I lost my car. It would change everything," Duran says.

He needs marijuana to treat nausea from his vertigo and he tries to keep a constant amount in his body in order to keep his condition at bay, he says. Because the drug can stick around in the bloodstream long after a person has smoked, Duran says the THC limit will surely net innocent drivers.

With more than 100 recreational and 500 medical marijuana stores now open for business in Colorado, stoned drivers are a growing concern. As a result, the state is stepping up education and enforcement but that leaves people like Duran worried.

Sean McAllister, a Denver criminal defense attorney, says he's getting five calls a week from clients with pot DUI citations.

"If you were talking about this concept with alcohol and told people, 'We got a test that can say if you drank in the last 24 hours and if you fail it we're going to arrest you for DUI,' we would be occupying the Capitol right now," McAllister says.

Users don't have guideposts for marijuana impairment, he says. Is half a joint too much? What about two or five bong rips? No one is sure.

It doesn't help that marijuana doesn't metabolize predictably like alcohol, says John Lacey, a traffic safety expert based in Maryland.

"It makes setting an absolute level where everyone is impaired, like we have for alcohol, much more difficult for marijuana and for other drugs," Lacey says. "They just behave differently than alcohol does."

And drivers behave differently on marijuana than after drinking. They drive slower, but they also have trouble staying in their lane and lack a quick response time.

Lacey says it's best to stay off the road. Some studies indicate that stoned drivers are 33 percent more likely than sober drivers to be involved in a fatal crash. That's enough of a risk to prompt a new state educational campaign.

In one TV ad a man is trying to light a gas grill that happens to be missing a propane tank. Words come on the screen saying, "Grilling high is now legal. Driving to get the propane you forgot isn't."

If drivers don't heed the warning, State Trooper Nicholas Hazlett will be waiting.

"It is the toughest school that an officer will go through in law enforcement," says Hazlett, who is certified as a drug recognition expert.

The state has added dozens of these specialists to law enforcement ranks. They're needed, since there is no easy way to test for marijuana impairment. "I wish we did, but no, we don't have a marijuana Breathalyzer," Hazlett says.

The state patrol has just started keeping track of marijuana DUI citations but most local police departments don't specifically track marijuana DUIs in their own districts. That makes it hard to know the true scope of the problem.

Hazlett has a particular interest in the issues of driving while intoxicated, since he lost an uncle to a drunk driver many years ago. So far, since pot was legalized he hasn't seen a big increase in stoned drivers. But even one is too many.

The danger isn't worth it, Hazlett says. If you've smoked pot, it's best to stay off the road altogether.
 

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