Taxation of marijuana by the states of Colorado and Washington amounts to a violation of the Fifth Amendment. That’s the stand taken by activist marijuana attorneys in those states who are suing to have those states’ marijuana taxation regulations declared null and void. In Colorado, attorney Rob Corry argues that when growers and sellers pay Colorado marijuana taxes, they effectively incriminate themselves of the federal crimes of marijuana cultivation and trafficking. “In my mind over-taxation is just as bad as prohibition,” Mr. Corry told Denver’s 9NEWS. In Washington, attorney Douglas Hiatt, who opposed Washington’s I-502 legalization initiative, is presenting a similar argument. His client, a medical marijuana dispensary owner, is being prosecuted by Washington State for criminal distribution of marijuana and failure to pay sales taxes on it. Mr. Hiatt argues that paying the taxes would incriminate his client on the distribution charge, thus violating his Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination. Justice officials in Colorado and Washington dismissed the suits as frivolous with little chance of being upheld.
Wenatchee is the battle ground for determining whether local governments can ban the soon-to-open legal pot shops in Washington State. A local businessman seeking to open a pot shop is suing the city over its zoning code, which states that all Wenatchee businesses must comply with federal law. The mayor of Wenatchee has begged the city council to strike the word “federal” from the code, but the council decided 4-3 to affirm the code language as is. The mayor fears the city’s legal costs in defending such a ban, which could resolve state and federal conflicts over legal marijuana businesses if the case makes it all the way to the US Supreme Court. The council meets tonight to decide whether to follow through with defense of the lawsuit. The state attorney general has issued a non-binding opinion that localities do have the right to ban legal pot shops, which at least 10 Washington cities have already done, and another 69 cities and 12 counties have enacted temporary pot shop moratoriums.
Officers with the Denver Police Department have recently been plagued by violence and child porn charges; Denver Police Chief Robert White is blaming “alcohol abuse”. In March, a spokesperson for the police department was suspended when photos of nude women were found on his police cell phone. In April, a detective working vice was allegedly caught soliciting prostitution. In May, a police officer resigned after accusations of his possession of over 20 child pornography videos. In June, an officer was charged with trespassing and child abuse over a brawl that occurred at a detective’s home. The detective was charged with brandishing his weapon during the fight. And on Sunday, another detective was arrested on charges of domestic violence, child abuse, reckless endangerment and prohibited use of weapons.
New York may become the 23rd medical marijuana state next week, according to the bill’s Senate sponsor. “We will have a final product in time for the end of this legislative session,” said Sen. Diane Savino as three-way talks between the Senate, House, and Governor’s office began Wednesday evening. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he supports the idea of medical marijuana but still has some reservations about Sen. Savino’s bill. Under Savino’s Compassionate Care Act, patients would qualify under the most common conditions covered in medical marijuana states, like cancer, HIV/AIDS, and epilepsy, but others, such as glaucoma, chronic pain, and severe nausea, will not qualify. No medicated candy or soda will be allowed and minor patients will be barred from smoking marijuana. Patients will not be allowed to grow their own medicine and must shop at state dispensaries, which will limit purchases to 2.5 ounces of marijuana per month, taxed at 7%.
Hershey’s, the Pennsylvania candy bar maker, is suing a Colorado edibles manufacturer and a Washington medical marijuana dispensary for trademark infringement. The suits involve the manufacture and sales of marijuana-infused products that bear a striking resemblance to Hershey’s non-medicated candy bars, including Reefer’s Peanut Butter Cup (a rip-off of Reese’s), Mr. Dankbar (like Mr. Goodbar), Ganja Joy (mimicking Almond Joy), Hasheath (copying the Heath bar), and Dabby Patty (similar to York Peppermint Patty). Hershey’s complains the packaging illegally infringes on their trademarks and may lead someone to “inadvertently ingest” the medicated products. A spokesperson for the Washington dispensary claims “no reasonable juror” would ever believe a dispensary that sells only medicated products would think they’re buying an unmedicated Hershey’s product.
A new study out of Europe shows that the children of strict, overbearing parents are more likely to smoke, drink, and toke. The European Institute of Studies on Prevention interviewed over 7,000 adolescents from Spain, Sweden, the Czech Republic, the U.K., Slovenia, and Portugal to determine which type of parenting style best kept children from initiating drug use. “Our results support the idea that extremes are not effective,” lead researcher Amador Calafat told the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, “neither authoritarianism nor absence of control and affection.” When it comes to protecting children from drugs, Calafat explained that parents who reasoned with their kids about abstaining from drugs had the best outcomes and that “a good relationship with children” is paramount.