A KENTUCKY RESOLUTION to encourage the United States Food and Drug Administration to study the use of medical marijuana

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On Thursday, February 25, 2016,  HR 173(BR-1583)  was  introduced in House.  This is a Kentucky RESOLUTION to encourage the United States Food and Drug Administration to study the use of medical marijuana.

The Sponsors are David Osborne, Lynn Bechler, and Brad Montell.

This is to encourage the United States Congress to authorize and direct the United States Food and Drug Administration to study the benefits, side effects, drug interactions, and other aspects of medical marijuana.

On Monday, February 29, 2016 it was sent to Health & Welfare (H).

16RS/HR173 (PDF LINK)

The New Peaceful Pot Head Revolution: Or, Why I’m Going To Infiltrate The Democrats & Run As One Of Them

Cris Ericson

 

 

By CrisEricson2016 | Fri, February 26 2016

S.241 Vermont marijuana Bill does NOT make marijuana legal like alcoholic beverages: (1) because you can brew your own alcoholic beverage at home in Vermont, and this bill does NOT allow you to plant a seed in the ground and grow your own marijuana at home; (2) because the state government does not raid your home and count your cans of beer, but in the new Bill, S. 241, the state will raid your home and count every single seed you have, or have planted, and send you to prison if you are not one of the chosen few to pay a high price for and receive a license to commercially grow and sell marijuana.
S.241 was written for the express purpose of making the rich even richer, and sending the poor to prison for the benefit of the private-for-profit prison industry.

PUBLIC NOTICE to DEMOCRATIC PARTY in VERMONT

I live in the area of Windsor County just north of Windham County, and there are a lot of low income people who will be devastated by S. 241 proposed marijuana bill because when marijuana is legal, they will be tempted, but they can NOT afford to pay for it.

Until marijuana is legal to grow your own at home for your own personal use, without the government prying on your private property to count your plants, I will continue to campaign for legalization.
Because the Democratic Party has taken over the issue of marijuana legalization, whereas I started it in 2002, the first time I was on the ballot for Governor, I will run in the Democratic Primary this election season to off-set the injustice being brought down on low income Vermonters.

The whole current marijuana bill is intended to make a few farmers and Lounge merchants vastly wealthy, while the tax dollars will be spent hounding and stalking poor people and threatening them if they so much as plant one seed.

Did you know this is how the American Revolution began?

The King decided that one company could sell Tea, he made one company a monopoly.
So, the Settlers dressed up as Indians and dumped the Tea into Boston Harbor.
If Peter Shumlin gets his way and does the equivalent of allowing monopolies, allowing only a few businesses to farm marijuana and sell marijuana, then you are inciting a riot, you may be inciting the next Boston Tea Party, only it might be tons of marijuana dumped into Lake Champlain off the Ferry.

If I lose the Democratic Primary, I will be on the ballot for the General Election for the Marijuana Party, of course.

This is a battle of the rich against the poor, and the Democratic Party is in conspiracy with Governor Peter Shumlin to extort money from people for marijuana, rather than allowing them to plant a seed in the ground and grow their own.

Also, of course, your conspiracy with Peter Shumlin includes violating federal marijuana laws; and I might start a group to file an action directly with the Supreme Court of the United States which is allowed when a State law violates the U.S. Constitution – and I think we might have a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution guarantee of equal rights under the law: how can you possibly think it is alright for one man to profit growing marijuana, while another man may be imprisoned for the same thing?

And, in keeping with the Spirit of the American Revolution, you must know you are violating the U.S. Constitution in conspiracy with Peter Shumlin for making laws that require someone else, other than an elected official, to make rules and regulations to use the tax dollars collected;  that is clearly taxation without representation.

Cris Ericson

http://democracy.com/vermont
SOURCE LINK:  http://ibrattleboro.com/sections/politics/new-peaceful-pot-head-revolution-or-why-im-going-infiltrate-democrats-run-one-them
SB 241 VT LINK:  http://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2016/S.241

The New Peaceful Pot Head Revolution: Or, Why I'm Going To Infiltrate The Democrats & Run As One Of Them

Cris Ericson

 

 

By CrisEricson2016 | Fri, February 26 2016

S.241 Vermont marijuana Bill does NOT make marijuana legal like alcoholic beverages: (1) because you can brew your own alcoholic beverage at home in Vermont, and this bill does NOT allow you to plant a seed in the ground and grow your own marijuana at home; (2) because the state government does not raid your home and count your cans of beer, but in the new Bill, S. 241, the state will raid your home and count every single seed you have, or have planted, and send you to prison if you are not one of the chosen few to pay a high price for and receive a license to commercially grow and sell marijuana.
S.241 was written for the express purpose of making the rich even richer, and sending the poor to prison for the benefit of the private-for-profit prison industry.

PUBLIC NOTICE to DEMOCRATIC PARTY in VERMONT

I live in the area of Windsor County just north of Windham County, and there are a lot of low income people who will be devastated by S. 241 proposed marijuana bill because when marijuana is legal, they will be tempted, but they can NOT afford to pay for it.

Until marijuana is legal to grow your own at home for your own personal use, without the government prying on your private property to count your plants, I will continue to campaign for legalization.
Because the Democratic Party has taken over the issue of marijuana legalization, whereas I started it in 2002, the first time I was on the ballot for Governor, I will run in the Democratic Primary this election season to off-set the injustice being brought down on low income Vermonters.

The whole current marijuana bill is intended to make a few farmers and Lounge merchants vastly wealthy, while the tax dollars will be spent hounding and stalking poor people and threatening them if they so much as plant one seed.

Did you know this is how the American Revolution began?

The King decided that one company could sell Tea, he made one company a monopoly.
So, the Settlers dressed up as Indians and dumped the Tea into Boston Harbor.
If Peter Shumlin gets his way and does the equivalent of allowing monopolies, allowing only a few businesses to farm marijuana and sell marijuana, then you are inciting a riot, you may be inciting the next Boston Tea Party, only it might be tons of marijuana dumped into Lake Champlain off the Ferry.

If I lose the Democratic Primary, I will be on the ballot for the General Election for the Marijuana Party, of course.

This is a battle of the rich against the poor, and the Democratic Party is in conspiracy with Governor Peter Shumlin to extort money from people for marijuana, rather than allowing them to plant a seed in the ground and grow their own.

Also, of course, your conspiracy with Peter Shumlin includes violating federal marijuana laws; and I might start a group to file an action directly with the Supreme Court of the United States which is allowed when a State law violates the U.S. Constitution – and I think we might have a clear violation of the U.S. Constitution guarantee of equal rights under the law: how can you possibly think it is alright for one man to profit growing marijuana, while another man may be imprisoned for the same thing?

And, in keeping with the Spirit of the American Revolution, you must know you are violating the U.S. Constitution in conspiracy with Peter Shumlin for making laws that require someone else, other than an elected official, to make rules and regulations to use the tax dollars collected;  that is clearly taxation without representation.

Cris Ericson

http://democracy.com/vermont
SOURCE LINK:  http://ibrattleboro.com/sections/politics/new-peaceful-pot-head-revolution-or-why-im-going-infiltrate-democrats-run-one-them
SB 241 VT LINK:  http://legislature.vermont.gov/bill/status/2016/S.241

This Week in the Kentucky General Assembly

 

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This Week in the Kentucky General Assembly

February 22-26

With the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2016 in its second half, lawmakers have voted on scores of bills, held numerous budget hearings to dig into the governor’s state spending plan and heard many hours of testimony on the major education, health care, and crime issues confronting Kentucky.

But the legislative process is more like a marathon than a sprint, so the final half of our session is sure to see even more action – especially as the state budget comes closer to a vote in the House of Representatives and delivery to the Senate.

The state spending plan was unveiled one month ago by Gov. Matt Bevin, who proposed 4.5 percent budget cuts for the rest of the current fiscal year and 9 percent cuts across state government for the next two fiscal years. The savings are aimed at helping state pension systems meet obligations.

Not all parts of state government would see spending cuts under the governor’s plan. The main school funding formula, known as SEEK, is spared. So is Medicaid, veterans affairs, school district health insurance, student financial aid and more.

Lawmakers serving on budget committees are currently digging deep into the spending plan’s details and continue to seek information from state officials on how proposed spending cuts would affect state services.

Once House members tailor the spending plan into a document they are satisfied with, the budget will receive its turn in the Senate. By session’s end, Senate and House members are expected to meet in conference committee meetings to iron out differences in each chamber’s preferred spending plans.

While the budget is the issue commanding the most attention in Frankfort, many other bills are also working their way through the legislative process. Bills took steps forward this past week on the following issues:

Heroin. Senate Bill 115, would increase penalties for dealing heroin. It would make trafficking in any amount of heroin a Class C felony for the first offense. A Class C felony is punishable upon conviction by between five years and 10 years in prison. Currently, a person convicted of trafficking in under two grams of heroin faces a Class D felony on the first offense, which carries a penalty of one year to five years in prison. SB 115 would also double the time a person convicted of trafficking less than two grams of heroin would have to serve in prison before becoming eligible for parole. The bill calls for a person convicted of any amount of heroin dealing to serve 50 percent of his or her sentence before being considered for parole. The legislation was approved by the Senate and how awaits action in the House.

Life insurance. HB 408 specifies that a law already on the books requiring life insurance companies to make a good-faith effort to locate beneficiaries of death and burial policies should be applied retroactively. The bill passed the House and has been sent to the Senate.

EMS. Senate Bill 43 would create a death benefit for emergency medical services personnel, if they are employed by a city or county government and killed in the line of duty. The death benefit would be $80,000 and go to the next of kin. The bill was approved by the Senate and sent to the House for consideration.

Adventure tourism. House Bill 38 would allow recreational zip lines to be regulated. The bill would require the state to set standards for the use and operation of aerial recreational facilities like outdoor zip line and canopy tours should it become law. The bill was approved by the House and sent to the Senate.

Dog fighting. Senate Bill 14 would make the owning, possessing, breeding, training, selling or transferring of dogs intended for use in fighting a felony punishable by one year to five years in prison. The bill was approved by the Senate and sent to the House for consideration.

Tenant protection. House Bill 41 would allow victims of domestic violence to get out of a lease with at least 30 days’ notice to their landlord. Additionally, HB 41 would prohibit landlords from denying someone a lease based on the fact that a person has taken out an emergency protective order, domestic violence order or other type of restraining order. The bill also would prohibit landlords from using rental agreements to penalize tenants who request assistance from emergency services and allow a victim to request that locks be changed by the landlord with at least 72 hours’ notice. The bill has been approved by the House. It now awaits consideration in the Senate.

Firefighters. Senate Bill 195 would extend government –paid survivor benefits the families of cancer-stricken firefighters – both professional and volunteer. The $80,000 death benefit would be paid out of the state general fund. Under the legislation, the firefighter would have to be 65 years old or younger at the time of their passing and had been on the job for at least five consecutive years. Their cancer also could not be attributed to a preexisting condition or tobacco. The bill has been approved by the Senate and delivered to the House.

Drones. House Bill 120 would specify in state law that it’s illegal to use a drone to harass someone or for acts of voyeurism, forcible entry, theft or burglary. All offenses would be misdemeanor crimes except harassing conduct, which would be a violation carrying a fine.

The bill would ensure that drone use is allowed for lawful commercial, personal, or law enforcement use. The bill was approved by the House and has been delivered to the Senate.

Next week also marks deadlines for introducing new bills in the House and Senate. At the time of this writing, about 700 bills have been filed for consideration in this year’s 60-day session. With the approaching deadline to add to that number, Capitol observers will soon have an even clearer picture of the range of issues that will be considered in the days to come
That makes this a crucial time for Kentuckians to stay in close touch with their lawmakers and offer feedback on the issues of the day. Citizens can see which bills are under consideration and keep track of their progress by visiting the Kentucky Legislature Home Page at www.lrc.ky.gov. Kentuckians can also share their thoughts with lawmakers by calling the General Assembly’s toll-free message line at 800-372-7181.

–END–

Nuclear waste dumped illegally in Kentucky

This is the entrance to an Estill County landfill where

 

James Bruggers8:26 p.m. EST February 25, 2016

Drilling wastes containing concentrated but naturally occurring radio active materials made their way into Kentucky, state officials confirmed on Thursday.

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After learning in January that low-level nuclear waste from drilling operations had been dumped illegally in Kentucky last year, state officials are warning this week that all landfills be on the lookout and to not accept any of the radioactive material.

Kentucky Division of Waste Management Director Tony Hatton said officials have confirmed that low-level nuclear waste from drilling operations in Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia was sent to a landfill in Estill County between July and November. Officials are also investigating possible illegal shipments of similar waste to a landfill in Greenup County.

He said the waste comes from rock and brine that’s brought to the surface during oil and gas drilling. Naturally occurring radionuclides concentrate during the process. A West Virginia company that recycles the drilling further concentrates the radionuclides — and that’s the waste that Hatton said made to the Blue Ridge Landfill last year in the small town of Irvine, in Estill County, Ky., he said.

It came in 47 sealed boxes, he said. They believe each box contained 25 cubic yards of materials.

State officials do not believe the drilling waste sent to the Green Valley Landfill in Greenup County near West Virginia had gone through that recycling process, so it would present less risk to landfill workers or the public, Hatton said.

Neither is allowed to be transported into Kentucky from those states for disposal, he said.

Joint investigation

The state began investigating after receiving a tip in January about shipments of the waste.

The advisory letter was intended to put all landfill operators, waste haulers, transfer station operators and local waste management officials on notice so that they can make sure they are following the law, Hatton said.

Hatton said the waste management division is working with the Cabinet for Health and Family Services and its Radiation Health Branch on the investigation. He said the health cabinet regulates radioactive materials, radioactive waste and disposal under terms of a compact with the state of Illinois.

He said state officials plan to meet again with the Blue Ridge Landfill’s operators, Florida-based Advance Disposal, to learn more about how the waste was handled and whether any workers or others might have been exposed. He said there is no reason to believe that there is any ongoing exposure at that dump.

“The best we know, the material has been buried since November,” he said.

While the health cabinet is taking the lead, Hatton said the waste division is also investigating potential enforcement actions.

Kentucky does not have a landfill designed to safely accept low-level radioactive waste, which often includes radioactively contaminated protective clothing, tools, filters, rags and medical tubes. Radioactivity of this category can range from just above background levels to very highly radioactive in cases such as parts from inside a reactor vessel in a nuclear power plant, according to the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

No acceptable dump

The drilling waste is called TENORM, from the term technologically enhanced naturally occurring radioactive material. It comes from such activities as manufacturing, mineral extraction or water processing, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The EPA says radioactivity in TENORM can vary greatly.

Dr. Kraig Humbaugh, senior deputy commissioner at the Kentucky Department for Public Health, said authorities do not know the concentration or radioactivity levels of the material brought into Kentucky. Testing in Estill County now shows no radiation beyond normal background levels, he said.

The state health department is working to assess any risk to employees or others at the time of the placement of the material in the landfill, the agency said in a written statement.

“Legal action against the firm that engaged in the illegal dumping and the landfill that accepted the contaminated material is under review,” the statement said.

Louisville attorney Tom Fitzgerald, director of the Kentucky Resources County and an expert on waste disposal, said the notice sent out Monday by the state underscores concerns about environmental consequences from booming oil and gas fracking zones.

Every county in Kentucky with a landfill needs to have agreements with their owners and operators that ban this kind of waste, he said.

The radionuclides in the waste can have a half-life of more than 1,000 years while liners used in municipal solid waste landfills are warranted typically for only 30 years, FitzGerald said. A half-life is the amount of time required for half the atoms in a radioactive substance to disintegrate.

The Estill County High School and Middle School are located across Kentucky Highway 89 from the landfill.

“Our number one concern is for those kids out there,” Ronnie Riddell, Estill County Emergency Management Agency director, said. “It’s concerning.”

He said Estill County is looking to the health and family services cabinet for information and guidance, adding that he only learned of the dumping from a news reporter on Thursday.

Landfill operator reaction

Hatton said West Virginia-based Fairmont Brine Processing produced the waste, which was brought to the Estill landfill by Advanced TENORM Services, based in West Liberty, Ky. Calls to Fairmont were not returned, and the CJ could not reach Jason Hoskins, the West Liberty man identified as TENORM Services sole officer in state business filings. That company’s website was not functioning Thursday.

“We are working with the state and trying to determine who’s on first base,” Charles Law, general manager of Blue Ridge Landfill, said. He said the matter was being handled farther up the corporate ladder, and declined further comment except to say that there were “gray areas” in how the material got to the landfill.

“We accepted it under normal landfill practices,” he said when asked whether his company knew the material was radioactive.

The letter from the waste management division reminded landfill and transfer station operators and haulers, that it’s their responsibility to make sure they comply with state regulations regarding the handling and disposal of ra
dioactive materials.

FitzGerald said state officials need to track down and account for all of these radioactive wastes that came into Kentucky, and then make sure they do not pose a long-term threat to the public. For the Estill dump, that may mean extracting any closed containers and dispose of them in a licensed low-level nuclear waste dump, he said.

Any landfills that accepted the waste will need to extend the length of time that operators are responsible for any pollution to account for the long-lived radionuclides, he said.

Reach reporter James Bruggers at 502-582-4645 and at [email protected].

CONTINUE READING…

Alaska Bill Takes on “Policing for Profit” via Asset Forfeiture; Closes Federal Loophole

 

 

JUNEAU, Alaska, (Feb. 24, 2016) – A bill introduced in the Alaska House would reform asset forfeiture laws to prohibit the state from taking property without a criminal conviction. The legislation also takes on federal forfeiture programs by banning prosecutors from circumventing state laws by passing cases off to the feds in most situations.

Rep. Tammie Wilson [R], Rep. Jonathan Kreiss-Tomkins [D] and Rep. Gabrielle LeDoux [R] introduced House Bill 317 (HB317) on Feb. 15. The legislation would reform Alaska law by requiring a criminal conviction before prosecutors could proceed with asset forfeiture. Under current law, the state can seize assets even if a person is never found guilty of a crime, or even arrested.

The bills would also require proceeds from forfeitures be deposited into the state general fund. Under current law, Alaska law enforcement agencies keep up to 70% of asset forfeiture money. This provision curbs the policing for profit motive inherent in the current law.

ADDRESSES FEDERAL PROGRAMS

HB317 also closes a loophole that allows prosecutors to bypass more stringent state asset forfeiture laws by passing cases off to the federal government under its Equitable Sharing forfeiture program.

“A law enforcement agency may not refer or otherwise transfer property seized under state law to a federal agency seeking the adoption of the seized property by the federal agency.

“A law enforcement agency participating in a joint investigation or taskforce with a federal agency may not transfer property to the federal government unless the court enters an order, upon petition of the prosecuting attorney, authorizing the property to be transferred. The court may enter an order authorizing a transfer to the federal government if the transfer is actually necessary for an active criminal case or criminal investigation brought by the federal government. The court may enter an order declining the transfer if the transfer would circumvent the protections provided under AS 12.36.300 – 12.36.700”

In other words the legislation does not attempt to interfere with federally initiated forfeiture, but bans state and local police from passing off their cases to federal jurisdiction in most cases. The bill would also require any equitable sharing program money obtained through allowed transfers to be deposited in the state’s general fund.

The inclusion of provisions barring state and local law enforcement agencies from passing off cases to the feds is particularly important. In several states with strict asset forfeiture laws, prosecutors have done just that. By placing the case under federal jurisdiction, law enforcement can bypass the need for a conviction under state law and collect up to 80 percent of the proceeds from forfeited assets via the federal Equitable Sharing Program.

Late last December the U.S. Department of Justice suspended the Equitable Sharing Program due to budget cuts. But as the Washington Post reported, the suspension won’t likely be permanent.

“In its letter, the DOJ hints that it may be able to restart payments later: ‘By deferring equitable sharing payments now, we preserve our ability to resume equitable sharing payments at a later date should the budget picture improve.’ The DOJ hopes to ‘reinstate sharing distributions as soon as practical and financially feasible,’ the letter concludes.”

Even with the program suspension in place for now, the prohibition from passing off cases remains an important provision.

California prosecutors and law enforcement agencies have regularly utilized this loophole. As the Tenth Amendment Center previously reported the federal government has inserted itself into the California’s asset forfeiture debate. The feds clearly want the policy to continue.

Why?

We can only guess. But perhaps the feds recognize paying state and local police agencies directly in cash for handling their enforcement would reveal their weakness. After all, the federal government would find it nearly impossible to prosecute its unconstitutional “War on Drugs” without state and local assistance. Asset forfeiture “equitable sharing” provides a pipeline the feds use to incentivize state and local police to serve as de facto arms of the federal government by funneling billions of dollars into their budgets.

Asset forfeiture laws incentivize “policing for profit” on one hand, and dubious state-federal partnerships on the other.

NEXT

HB317 was referred to the Judiciary Committee where it will need to pass by a majority vote before moving on to the full House for further consideration.

Take action to support HB317 at this link.

CONTINUE READING…

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

ALASKA ASSET FORFEITURE

UNITED STATES ATTORNEY’S OFFICE

OFFICIAL NOTIFICATION

POSTED ON

FEBRUARY 25, 2016

U.S. House of Representatives will consider three bills that would dispose of vast stretches of national forests and other public lands across the country.

by Matt Lee-Ashley – Guest Contributor Feb 23, 2016 10:34 am

Less than two weeks after the arrest of Cliven Bundy and the armed militants who were occupying the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon, the U.S. House of Representatives will consider three bills that would dispose of vast stretches of national forests and other public lands across the country.

The bills, which will be heard in a meeting of the House Natural Resources Committee on Thursday, represent an escalation of the political battle being waged by the Koch brothers’ political network, anti-government extremist groups, and a small group of conservative politicians led by the committee’s chairman, U.S. Representative Rob Bishop (R-UT).

The first bill, introduced by Representative Don Young from Alaska (R), would allow any state to seize control and ownership of up to 2 million acres of national forests within its borders — an area nearly the size of Yellowstone National Park. A state would then be able to auction off the lands to private ownership or for mining, logging, and drilling.

The second bill, written by Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID), would give states and counties the right to take direct control of up to 4 million acres of national forests across the country for clear-cut logging, without regard to environmental laws and protections. A third bill, written by Rep. Chris Stewart (R-UT), would turn over what the Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance estimates to be 6,000 miles of road right-of-ways on U.S. public lands to counties in Utah, opening the door for road construction and development in protected wilderness areas.

These legislative efforts echo the demands of militant rancher Cliven Bundy and his sons, Ryan and Ammon, that the federal government cede ownership of all national forests and public lands to state, county, and private interests. A federal grand jury in Las Vegas last week indicted the Bundys on conspiracy charges for leading armed standoffs with federal law enforcement officials in 2014 and in Oregon earlier this year.

Although Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Governor John Kasich (R-OH) are making Bundy-inspired pitches on the presidential campaign trail, their proposals to seize or sell public lands are deeply unpopular among most Westerners. Recent public opinion research from Colorado College found that approximately six in 10 voters in the region — including a majority in Nevada — are opposed to the idea.

There are signs that the Bundys’ political supporters are facing a growing political backlash for their extreme views. In Wyoming, for example, an outcry from hunters, anglers, and outdoor recreationists in the state recently helped defeat two bills that aimed to facilitate a state take-over of national public lands.

Members of the U.S. House of Representatives may vote this week on an amendment by Congressman Jared Huffman (D-CA) that would prohibit convicted Bundy militants from ever carrying weapons through certain nationally-owned lands.

Four Democratic candidates for the U.S. Senate in Western states are also circulating a petition to “Keep Public Lands in Public Hands,” which criticizes efforts to seize and sell public lands. “We cannot allow our public lands to be locked up, sold off, or only accessible to the wealthy few,” the petition reads.

Matt Lee-Ashley is a Senior Fellow and the Director of the Public Lands Project at the Center for American Progress. You can follow him on Twitter @MLeeAshley.

Tags

 

CONTINUE READING…

Devils, Deals and the DEA

 

 

Why Chapo Guzman was the biggest winner in the DEA’s longest running drug cartel case

by David Epstein, ProPublica December 17, 2015 This story was co-published with the Atlantic.

For 14 months, the first thing Dave Herrod, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, did every morning was boot up his laptop and begin tracking a 43-foot yacht with Dock Holiday painted on the stern.

In the summer of 2005, the DEA had intercepted a conversation in which members of a Mexican drug cartel known as the Arellano Félix Organization discussed buying a yacht in California. Herrod and his colleagues studied the classified ads in yacht magazines and determined that the Dock Holiday was the boat the AFO members wanted. DEA agents then managed to get on board and install tracking devices before the sale went through. That’s when Herrod started watching the boat on his laptop.

CONTINUE READING…

From Organizing America to Operation Chronic Problem, How Cannabis Prohibition Ruins Lives

 

 

My Bust

 

Katree Darriel Saunders is a 30 year old mother, cannabis activist, and an active member of her community. Katree was living in Las Vegas, NV when she was arrested during a DEA sting called Operation Chronic Problem on the charges of: Conspiracy to distribute marijuana and hashish. For 10 grams of hashish and 3.5 grams of marijuana Katree has had her life as she knew it ended. This dedicated mother lost her family and job for trying to help. Trying to help what turned out to be a lying, conniving, scheming, weasel of a DEA Agent posing as a medical cannabis patient desperate for relief. This is Katree Darriel Saunders story. Her loss, her pain, and what many consider a major injustice as well as a violation of her constitutional rights.

Katree has been addicted off and on to prescription pain pills since the age of 15. In 2007, seeking pain relief from multiple car accidents, Katree Saunders became a medical cannabis patient. Knowing the harmful side effects of pharmaceuticals, plus their lack of effectiveness, Saunders chose medical cannabis. Not only did cannabis end Saunders pain, she was able to stop using prescription drugs all together. As a hardworking mother, Saunders put herself through college and became a positive and active member of her community.

Nevada’s laws prohibited the sale of cannabis in 2007, which forced Saunders to seek it through the black market, known for unsavory individuals who traffic anything from people to weapons to stolen merchandise. Once when Saunders sought cannabis from the black market she was sexually assaulted. This devastating incident convinced Saunders she had to do something. There had to be a way for her to legally and safely obtain her medication.

She contacted the state of Nevada and spoke with Jennifer Barlett, who referred her to Michael McAuliffe of Nevada’s Compassionate Care (NCC). It was there Saunders found her place. She began working with NCC and was helping others away from the black market.

Things were going well for Saunders in February of 2010. She volunteered for a political event called Organizing America where President Barack Obama spoke about healthcare reform. Saunders was chosen to be on stage. She sat in the front row behind the president as he gave his speech. Upon the close, Katree was able to shake hands with the President. While doing so, Saunders said ‘We needed to talk about medical patient’s rights.’ Then, according to Saunders, Obama looked at her and said ‘I’m not prosecuting.’

image (4)

 

Feeling confident and empowered after this Saunders then became active in helping patients obtain their medical cannabis cards from the Nevada state program. Unfortunately, while Saunders was working for NCC, she was set up by undercover DEA agents. They were conducting what was known as Operation Chronic Problem. A federal DEA agent posed as a sick patient asking for help obtaining medical cannabis.

Saunders, being a compassionate person, facilitated this lying individual’s request. Later she was indicted on distribution of a controlled substance. Saunders served four months in prison as well as a lengthy probation since she did not offer up the names of her medical patients.

While on pretrial Saunders was in another motor vehicle accident. This accident totaled her husband’s vehicle and left Saunders with a fractured foot as well as a back injury. She was placed on morphine, Xanax, and MARINOL®. The morphine began to make her heart hurt, so she opted to stop taking it in exchange for MARINOL®. MARINOL® is a synthetic version of a naturally occurring compound known as delta-9-THC. However, since Saunders was on probation, the state of Nevada told her that she could not take MARINOL® since they would not be able to determine if she was consuming cannabis or simply taking the medication.

The State of Nevada Probation Department obtained a court order preventing Saunder’s doctor from prescribing MARINOL® to her. Now, not only was Saunders in trouble for selling 3.5 grams of cannabis and 10 grams of hash, she also lost her job, family and right to medicate.

During her incarceration, her husband divorced her, took the kids and moved away. While in custody at the prison, Saunders says she was ‘sexually assaulted and harassed by US Marshals’.

During Saunders’ trial, her attorneys advised her not to mention anything about her encounter with President Obama. For the 4 months Katree Saunders was incarcerated, the state split her time between a private prison corporation (Corrections Corporation of America – CCA) and a state prison, and earned a minimum of $5,000 for hosting her. The state of Nevada spent an estimated $20,656 per inmate in 2012, and reported 267.9 million in costs. They also claimed to have 15 million dollars in prison related costs outside of the state budget. This is where states and private prison corporations make big dollars housing criminals. In the case of cannabis consumers, these corporations make out like bandits.

 

Imagine charging $21,000 a year to house someone who was busted selling or possessing cannabis. In Saunders case, that 13.5 grams of cannabis, with a street value of $150, cost taxpayers over $20,000 to put her through the system. That doesn’t include the cost of the actual arrest, which stands at $1,500 to $3,500 with booking, paperwork, police officers fees, donuts, etc.

Saunders fought hard to break away from prescription drugs, but in the end they were her only option. Purdue Pharma, the makers of OxyContin, has been making billions off victims. Purdue Pharma is involved in countless lawsuits and their officials have admitted to deceitful and immoral medical practices, yet they are still making money. These are the ones that presidential candidate Bernie Sanders speaks out about when he refers to the top one-tenth of 1%.

In 1993 the DEA allowed pharmaceutical companies to produce 3520 kilos of a drug known as oxycodone. Twenty-two years later they are manufacturing 137.5 thousand kilos of the same drug. That is an increase of 39 times in the manufacturing of this controlled substance. Since President Nixon founded the DEA in 1973, they have done nothing but prosecute those who attempt to possess, grow, or in any way affiliate themselves with cannabis.

Medical cannabis helps millions of people across the United States and world to find relief from pain and suffering. Cannabis helped Saunders break her addiction and take back control of her life. Cannabis is a safe treatment alternative for many illnesses, as well as the management of symptoms associated with a broad array of medical complications. Prescription drug addiction, of course, is a problem that is not only plaguing the United States, but the whole world.

Saunders’ battle with a prescription drug addiction from a young age illustrates the carelessness of the medical industry in allowing doctors to over-prescribe da
ngerous medications. It has also enabled them to receive substantial kickbacks from pharmaceutical companies in the process.

According to ABC News, America consumes over 90% of the world’s hydrocodone and 80 percent of the planet’s opioids. The United States of America makes up only 4.6 percent of the planet’s population. This opioid problem has destroyed mothers, fathers, brothers, and sisters. Children and soldiers suffer horrendously because of our country’s support for the pharmaceutical industry. Children suffer by being denied medication that could in fact actually help them, and at times even cure them. Children also suffer by losing parents who are consumed by prescription drug addiction. Soldiers who protect our freedom, often with their own lives, suffer from illnesses such as PTSD. They are sometimes denied a natural treatment, such as cannabis, to help with their symptoms.

The Doctors Enforcement Agency

The DEA licenses more than 600,000 surgeons, doctors, and podiatrists to administer prescriptions for narcotic pain relievers. According to NORML (National Reform of Marijuana Laws), in 2011 there were an estimated 1.5 million registered medical cannabis patients living in the United States of America. The sad side of this is that the laws pertaining to medical cannabis forced so many to seek their medication on the black market.

The public seems to believe that we think cannabis is the new cure-all, and other medications should be eliminated. This is not true. Common sense will tell you that there are many medical advancements today which have led us to the most sophisticated and advanced techniques and cures. During this evolution we have managed to de-evolve at the same time, through the abuse of prescription drugs, as much the fault of patients as it is the doctors doing the prescribing. Some individuals get prescription pain pills in large quantities because the doctors will prescribe them. Some individuals do not even take their medication. Instead they sell them on the street. When doctors prescribe as much as 100 to 300 pills at a time, with an average price of $10 a pill, some people can make an extra $3,000 a month.

Prohibition Has Failed and it’s Hurting America

The prohibition of cannabis that began in the late 1930s has devastated countless numbers of American lives and destroyed families across the country. The FDA will approve OxyContin for 6-year-olds but will not support cannabis oil. This is an absurd violation of human rights. The United States of America has held the patent for medical cannabis since 2003. This means that they knowingly have information that solidifies and validates medical cannabis as an effective treatment. This also means that the DEA and FDA know, and have evidence, that cannabis is medicine.

For the past 12 years the DEA has left cannabis as a schedule 1 narcotic. This puts it in the same class as heroin and cocaine, that it has no medicinal value. They have lied to the American people kept the public sick, and now some laugh at us while the cannabis community is trying to change laws to better the world around us.

The Dogs of the Feds

The DEA regularly raids medicinal cannabis facilities and Indian tribal lands. They arrest, abuse, neglect and destroy the lives of countless cannabis consumers. Medical patients and recreational consumers alike suffer the wrath of the DEA everyday. There are no public benefits from cannabis prohibition! The medicinal aspects combined with potential taxes are unquestionably positive. The simple implementation of taxation on cannabis will help to eliminate the black market. This puts a lot of politicians, local sheriffs, and other individuals out of extra income they have enjoyed for years.

Katree Saunders felt the wrath of the DEA during Operation Chronic Pain and now you know her story. From being hooked on prescription drugs at 15, to meeting the President of the United States, to prison, to an avid cannabis activist, Saunders’ struggle is all too familiar to many Americans, except for meeting Mr. Barack Obama.

Help support America by being a seed. One seed can tip the scales of injustice. Are you that seed?

Devils, Deals and the DEA

 

 

Why Chapo Guzman was the biggest winner in the DEA’s longest running drug cartel case

by David Epstein, ProPublica December 17, 2015 This story was co-published with the Atlantic.

For 14 months, the first thing Dave Herrod, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, did every morning was boot up his laptop and begin tracking a 43-foot yacht with Dock Holiday painted on the stern.

In the summer of 2005, the DEA had intercepted a conversation in which members of a Mexican drug cartel known as the Arellano Félix Organization discussed buying a yacht in California. Herrod and his colleagues studied the classified ads in yacht magazines and determined that the Dock Holiday was the boat the AFO members wanted. DEA agents then managed to get on board and install tracking devices before the sale went through. That’s when Herrod started watching the boat on his laptop.

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