Archive for the ‘Drug Enforcement Administration’ category

Congress Passes Historic Medical Marijuana Amendment as Part of Federal Spending Bill

December 15th, 2014

The bill includes an amendment that prohibits the Department of Justice — which includes the Drug Enforcement Administration — from using funds to interfere with state medical marijuana laws. A similar amendment has been offered seven times in Congress,Congress logo failing in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2012. The House finally approved it in May when it was offered by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) as an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act. 
The federal spending bill also prohibits the U.S. Justice Department from interfering with state-level hemp laws.
Unfortunately, the bill also contains a provision that is meant to interfere with the implementation of Washington, D.C.’s recently approved marijuana initiative, and effectively blocks the District from regulating marijuana.

Concern over Colorado’s Medical Marijuana Research Grant Program

September 3rd, 2014

According to a Denver Post story, Colorado is scheduled to begin administering significant funding for the largest ever state-supported medical marijuana research grant program starting in early 2015. It is anticipated that Colorado’s health department will release the program’s official request for applications sometime this week. The state expects to deliver $9 million geared towards research on the medical effects of marijuana. There is, however, skepticism over who will be able to accept funding for the research program due to marijuana’s federally illegal status.

Dr. Larry Wolk
Dr. Larry Wolk

At a recent meeting, several members of the health department questioned whether or not university-based researchers would be able to participate in the research program without first receiving approval from the federal government. Some members fear that the university review boards may disapprove of projects that are seen as being too controversial or as threats to the university’s federal funding, regardless of state-funded approval for the research.

As stated by the health department’s executive director, Dr. Larry Wolk, “It’s going to be a challenge for the applicant.” Although, Dr. Paula Riggs, a council member who is an addiction medicine specialist at the University of Colorado, said researchers can reduce that concern by getting approval from the Drug Enforcement Administration, but such approval typically takes a long time. “You can do it,” she said, “but you have to jump through hoops.”

[MPP emphasis added]

With the Governor of Colorado signing a law allowing the state to fund up to $10 million for research into the medical benefits of marijuana, the state has demonstrated its ability to jump through the federal government’s “hoops.” What remains now is the issue of eliminating the obstacles brought upon by the federal government in giving researchers the opportunity to investigate the benefits medical marijuana.

Petition to Obama: Remove Marijuana From the Schedule of Drugs

January 22nd, 2014

In a profile published this week by The New Yorker magazine, President Barack Obama acknowledged the fact that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol for the consumer. Yet federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, a category the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) considers “the most dangerous drugs of all the drug schedules.” It’s time for that to change.

The Controlled Substances Act gives the executive branch, led by President Obama, alert_sidebar_ObamaPetition_v3the legal authority to remove marijuana from the DEA’s schedule of drugs. That authority should be exercised immediately.

Please sign our petition calling on President Obama to remove marijuana from the DEA’s schedule of drugs. Then share it widely with your friends and relatives, and encourage them to sign and share it, too.

The president clearly recognizes that marijuana is safer than alcohol — which is not a scheduled drug — so he should do everything he can to ensure our federal laws reflect that fact. Actions speak louder than words, and it’s time for the president to take action.

Sign our petition now and tell President Obama to remove marijuana from the DEA’s schedule of drugs. Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and it is time for our government to start treating it that way.

Even the most important witnesses get betrayed when the powerful are threatened

April 29th, 2013
The New York Times front page story by Ginger Thompson reports on the saga of Luis Octavio López Vega. For years, Lopez has been living underground in the U.S. He is former chief of police of Zapopan, a city of more than 1,000,000 near Guadalajara, and top aide to former Gen. Jesus Gutierrez Rebolllo (praised by ONDCP Director Barry McCaffrey for his bullet-proof integrity before he was arrested for his ties to a cartel).  Lopez was a key DEA informant. As the investigation of Gutierrez commenced, Lopez realized that he was a target for execution and went underground. The U.S. helped his family escape to the U.S.

For a dozen years, top Mexican officials have been trying to get the U.S. to arrest Lopez to turn him over to them, where it is likely, the Times suggests, that he will be tortured and killed. Yet the U.S. Marshals Service raided him -- but he spotted the surveillance and fled. He has been hiding out ever since.

This extensive report confirms our worst suspicions that considerations of justice are abandoned when powerful politicians and powerful criminals feel threatened, and when the trade and political interests of the U.S. may be affected. In this account, the decisions of the U.S. Attorney General and the Secretary of State about protecting a man who was offered protection by the U.S. for his life-endangering cooperation are swayed by political considerations. When does a government betray someone it has offered to protect?

Drug enforcement is such a peculiar species of law enforcement. No matter how zealously anti-drug agents, prosecutors or officials might be, they all recognize at some level, because the drug trade is so large and perpetual, that any individual load of drugs or any individual defendant is ultimately insignificant. Considerations of national security, national economics, and national politics -- if pressing -- will always trump any investigation.

Is this a form of corruption? Or is it a necessary exercise of discretion? Is letting a cartel leader go for reasons of state legally or morally different than letting a juvenile street dealer go for reasons of compassion and retaining the human capital of a community?

This Week in Weed: July 29th – August 4th

August 3rd, 2012

This Week in Weed

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The latest installment of “This Week in Weed” is now streaming on NORMLtv.

This week: A big drop in DEA marijuana plant seizures year over year and a new study illustrates how cannabis can help keep patients from the dangers of pharmaceutical opiates.

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DEA Involved In Killings Of Innocent Civilians In Honduras

May 17th, 2012
Phantom ReportU.S. DEA agents were involved in the shooting deaths of four innocent people, including two pregnant women, and the injury of at least three others in Honduras last weekKillings Scrutini

Appeals Court Accepts Challenge of DEA’s Marijuana Research Denial

May 10th, 2012
Rose Law Group PCUniversity of Massachusetts-Amherst Professor Lyle Craker has been trying for almost 11 years to get federal permission to grow marijuana for medical researchOn Friday, May 11, the U.

Hawaii Church Takes Cannabis Claims To Federal Appeals Court

February 20th, 2012
​The 9th Circuit last week heard arguments to let a Native American church get some marijuana replaced that federal drug agents confiscated and local police destroyed years ago.Michael Rex "Raging Bear" Mooney and the Oklevueha Native American Church of Hawaii filed a complaint for declaratory and injunctive relief in 2009 after the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) seized a FedEx package with about five pounds of cannabis in Tupperware containers inside, reports Purna Nemani at Courthouse News.Mooney said he planned to use the marijuana in certain religious ceremonies, specifically "lunar use" and "sweat lodge use." He contends that the DEA interfering with those activities constitutes a violation of his religious freedom. Continue reading "Hawaii Church Takes Cannabis Claims To Federal Appeals Court" >

Colorado Asks DEA To Reclassify Marijuana

December 29th, 2011
​The head of Colorado's Department of Revenue has written a letter to the director of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration asking that the U.S. government slightly loosen its strict controls on marijuana due to its "potential medical value."Colorado is the fourth state within the past few weeks to ask the DEA to reschedule cannabis from its current, most restrictive classification as Schedule I, which means the government regards pot as having a high potential for abuse and no valid medicinal uses. Heroin and LSD are also considered Schedule I substances under federal law. Continue reading "Colorado Asks DEA To Reclassify Marijuana" >

U.S. Atty.’s Office Gives Statement On WA Med Marijuana Raids

November 16th, 2011
​U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan of the Western District of Washington released a statement late Tuesday on the Drug Enforcement Administration's dispensary raids.The raids, which stretched across at least three counties and involved more than a dozen dispensaries, took many in the community by surprise, even some who had long expected such as move on the part of the federal government.The post on the U.S. federal government's Department of Justice website follows in its entirety: Continue reading "U.S. Atty.'s Office Gives Statement On WA Med Marijuana Raids" >