U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller begins an evidentiary hearing today and over the next three days on the basis of marijuana’s Schedule I designation, over prosecutors’ objections. In an April 22 order, she said lawyers for the defendants had presented expert declarations “showing there is new scientific and medical information raising contested issues of fact regarding whether the continued inclusion of marijuana as a Schedule One controlled substance … passes constitutional muster.” Judge Mueller issued the order in a case that, based on the evidence so far, has little to do with medical marijuana — the defendants are charged with growing a large tract of pot plants on forest land, and there’s been no indication that it was for medical use. But defense attorney Zenia Gilg from the NORML Legal Committee said that’s irrelevant if they were charged under an unconstitutional law. As Gilg acknowledges, it will not be an easy case to win. She and her colleagues must prove not merely that the federal law is misguided, based on current research, but that it is entirely irrational. An initial ruling would apply only to the current defendants, but the impact would be broader if higher courts weighed in.
U.S. Sen. Jeff Merkley plans to vote for Measure 91, which would legalize marijuana for recreational use in Oregon, making him the first U.S. senator to support legalization. “I lean in support of it,” the Democratic senator told Sahil Kapur of Talking Points Memo. “I think folks on both sides of the argument make a good case,” Sen. Merkley said. “And there is concern about a series of new products — and we don’t have a real track record from Colorado and Washington. But I feel on balance that we spend a lot of money on our criminal justice system in the wrong places and I lean in favor of this ballot measure.”
A t-shirt reading “Fuck the growers… marijuana is still illegal” worn by cops during a raid of San Diego dispensary has sheriffs and DEA fuming. San Diego’s Narcotics Task Force conducted a marijuana raid in Imperial Beach on Wednesday, and during the operation, a photojournalist spotted an agent wearing a T-shirt with the following writing on the back: “Marijuana Eradication San Diego, CA.”, followed by the offensive language. A representative with the San Diego branch of the Drug Enforcement Administration said, “DEA does not condone the shirt and we find it inappropriate. The matter has been referred to the Sheriff’s Department.” In response to the issue, San Diego County Sheriff Bill Gore said, “This shirt is not approved or condoned by the Sheriff’s Department. Its message is vulgar and not representative of who we are and the values we uphold. Appropriate administrative action will be taken.”
On Friday, Mercury News obtained court documents showing that collecting nude photos from the phones of arrested women was a “game” for Officer Sean Harrington and other California Highway Patrol officers. According to the arrest affidavit, “Harrington said he first learned of this scheme when he was working in the Los Angeles office, Harrington said when he was assigned to the Dublin office, he learned from other officers that they would access the cell phones of female arrestees and look for nude photographs of them. Harrington said if photographs were located, the officers would then text the photographs to other sworn members of the office, and, to non-CHP individuals. Harrington described this scheme as a game.” In one text message exchange between Harrington and another officer, Harrington promised to send the officer nudes and said, “Just return the favor down the road buddy,” with a smiley face.
Minnesota Mom Angela Brown is facing two years in prison for child endangerment charges stemming from giving her son CBD oil from Colorado before Minnesota legalized it. When Angela’s son Trey was hit in the head during a baseball game, he was placed in a medically induced coma. Following his awakening, Trey suffers depression, daily migraines, muscle spasms, and uncontrollable outbursts. Angela drove to Colorado and obtained a bottle of CBD rich cannabis oil. Angela said after a few drops, Trey’s pain melted away. But the oil was confiscated by police after Angela explained to Trey’s teachers why he was suddenly doing so much better in school. The sheriff’s department confiscated the oil and county prosecutors charged Angela with child endangerment and requiring child protection. If convicted, she could face up two years in prison and $6,000 in fines.