US quits UN Human Rights council:

US quits UN Human Rights council: What message does it send to the world?

CNN Digital Expansion 2017. James Griffiths

By James Griffiths, CNN

Updated 3:48 AM ET, Wed June 20, 2018

(CNN)The United States has quit the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), saying the body is a “cesspool of political bias.”

US ambassador Nikki Haley announced the move Tuesday, which followed criticism by the UNHRC of Israel’s shooting of unarmed protesters and the separation of children from their parents at the US-Mexico border.

While US officials have tried to frame the move as pro-human rights, Washington’s withdrawal is likely to renew criticism that the Trump administration places less value on human rights than its predecessors, as exemplified by Trump’s dealings with alleged human rights abusers like North Korean leader Kim Jong Un or Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, and the recent outcry over the treatment of immigrants along its southern border.

The UNHRC is only the latest international body or agreement that the Trump administration has withdrawn from, including the Paris climate accords, the Iran nuclear deal, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

    Why is the US leaving?

    Both Haley and Trump have previously sparred with the wider UN over criticism of the US and Israel, with Haley claiming the international community pays outsized attention to Washington’s actions while ignoring the “reprehensible human rights records of several members of its own Human Rights Council.”

    That comment was in response to UN criticism of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” immigration policy, which Haley said was the “sovereign” right of the US to pursue.

    In a statement, US Vice President Mike Pence said that in exiting the UN body Washington “took a stand against some of the world’s worst human rights violators,” claiming the council had made “a mockery” of its original mission in its criticism of the US and Israel.

    However, both the Trump White House and previous US administrations have been open to dealing economically and otherwise with human rights abusers such as Saudi Arabia, China and Egypt.

    Outrage over Trump's praise of Kim Jong Un

    What is the UN Human Rights Council?

    PLEASE CONTINUE READING…

    Trump Administration Battles Sick Kids on Access to Legal Pot

    By Erik Larson February 14, 2018, 3:56 PM CST

    In a New York courtroom packed with cannabis supporters, the Trump administration urged a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit that aims to pave the way for legal marijuana across the country.

    The case was brought on behalf of two sick children, a former National Football League player who says athletes deserve a better way to treat head trauma than addictive opioids and the Cannabis Cultural Association. The suit, filed in July 2017, seeks a ruling that marijuana was unconstitutionally labeled alongside heroin and LSD as a so-called Schedule I drug — the harshest of five government ratings — when Congress passed the Controlled Substance Act in 1970.

    In court on Wednesday, Justice Department attorney Samuel Hilliard Dolinger said the plaintiffs didn’t follow legal requirements before suing, beginning with a petition to the Drug Enforcement Agency.

    “The right thing is to defer to the agency,” said U.S. District Judge Alvin Hellerstein, an 84-year-old who was nominated by former President Bill Clinton, who famously admitted to experimenting with pot while claiming he “didn’t inhale.”

    Cannabis legalization has gained momentum in states, even with an unfriendly face in the U.S. Attorney General’s office. Nine states and Washington, D.C., allow adults to use the plant as they wish. More than one in five people can legally eat, drink, smoke or vape, according to state regulations. Twenty additional states have legalized pot for medicinal use.

    Trump Interrupts Marijuana’s Path From Taboo to Legit: QuickTake

    Hellerstein said he would issue a ruling later, and it was far from clear which way he was leaning. The judge, who had the courtroom erupting in laughter on more than a few occasions during the hearing, was skeptical of the government’s claim that there’s no medical benefit to marijuana.

    “Your clients are living proof of the medical effectiveness of marijuana,” Hellerstein said to the plaintiffs’ lawyer, Michael Hiller.

    The legal cannabis industry is predicted to reach $50 billion in sales by 2026, up from $6 billion in 2016, according to investment bank Cowen & Co. Still, the industry is rife with risk. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded in January the Obama-era policies that ushered in legalization in many states.

    The lawsuit has some star power with plaintiff Marvin Washington, who played for the New York Jets. He joined the case because the Controlled Substance Act made him ineligible for grants under the Federal Minority Business Enterprise program, which he planned to use for his medicinal cannabis business.

    The suit also highlighted the human toll of the federal government’s war on marijuana with young plaintiffs whose lives have been saved or improved by cannabis, including 11-year-old Alexis Bortell of Colorado and seven-year old Jagger Cotte of Georgia.

    Bortell’s epileptic seizures were brought under control by cannabis after her family moved from Texas to Colorado so she could legally use it in that state, according to the suit. Cotte, who suffers from Leigh’s Disease, was able to treat excruciating pain with medicinal marijuana and prolong his life by two years beyond his maximum prognosis, according to the suit.

    The complaint notes that American presidents from George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to John F. Kennedy and Barack Obama have smoked pot. It also claims the Nixon administration was motivated by ulterior motives when it pushed for the Controlled Substance Act.

    Cannabis was criminalized “not to control the spread of a dangerous drug, but rather to suppress the rights and interests of those whom the Nixon Administration wrongly regarded as hostile to the interests of the U.S. — African Americans and protesters of the Vietnam War,” the suit says.

    At the hearing, Hellerstein said that argument wasn’t going to work with him.

    The decision “will not depend on what may have been in the mind of Richard Nixon at the time,” Hellerstein said.

    — With assistance by Jennifer Kaplan

    CONTINUE READING…

    Court hears challenge to federal marijuana laws

    Trial begins for advocates suing Sessions and the DEA over …

    Family sues CPS workers who investigated after parents gave toddler CBD oil for seizures

    Fatima Hussein,Shari Rudavsky and Kaitlin L Lange, IndyStar Published 2:33 p.m. ET Feb. 6, 2018

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    The parents of a 2-year-old girl are suing the Department of Child Services case workers who they said threatened to take away their child after they gave her cannabidiol oil to treat her epilepsy.

    Lelah Jerger, the child’s mother, said Child Protective Services arrived at the Jergers’ house in Huntingburg in September, after personnel at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health reported her when she and her husband used CBD oil to treat their daughter, Jaelah, rather than Keppra, a prescribed medication.

    CBD oil contains only trace amounts of THC and has no psychedelic effects.

    Jerger said the CPS caseworkers told the parents to keep Jaelah on Keppra and required that they take her for weekly blood tests to confirm the girl was taking the drug.

    Now, the parents claim that the blood draw of their child represents “a non-consensual search and seizure without a warrant” and violates the Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, according to the 11-page complaint filed Monday.

    “This is about them understanding that we as citizens have rights too,” Jerger said in an interview Tuesday. “They have a job to protect kids … but we believe in our case it was a jump-the-gun situation.”

    ► Holcomb: Indiana stores can continue to sell CBD oil while lawmakers work on fix to law

    After leaving Riley, the Jergers took Jaelah to Norton Hospital in Kentucky, where their new neurologist said he was fine with their using CBD oil in addition to Keppra, the Jergers said.

    But CPS still demanded that Jaelah undergo a weekly blood draw to ensure her parents were actually using the prescription medication, according to court documents. At her first blood draw, the hospital worker had to stick her three times and she screamed, the Jergers said in their complaint.

    Right after the blood draw, the CPS worker also told Jerger she needed the results immediately, although the hospital said it might take a week, Jerger said.

    “It seemed like they were vampires waiting for my daughter’s blood sample,” she said. “They came down with this hammer. It was relentless right off the bat.”

    Before the date for the next blood draw, the agency dropped the case after state Sen. Mark Messmer, R-Jasper, called Danny Lopez, Holcomb’s legislative director, and Mary Beth Bonaventura, then the director of the Department of Child Services.

    However, in their complaint, the family says that “to date, the Jergers have not received service of any filing” of DCS withdrawing the case.

    ► CBD oil reduced toddler’s seizures: Still, state threatened to take away child, mother says

    The ACLU of Indiana is representing the family and filed the lawsuit in U.S. Southern District Court. An attorney from ACLU was not immediately available for comment. 

    Neither of the two workers named in their individual capacities could be reached for comment. The Department of Child Services did not immediately respond to an email request for comment. 

    The family argues that the caseworkers’ “requirement that J.J. (Jaelah) take Keppra represents an infringement into the Jergers’ fundamental familial relationship and, as such, violated the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution.”

    ► More: Indiana House votes to allow Hoosier farmers to grow cannabis plants with low THC

    Gov. Eric Holcomb’s office previously has said CPS acted appropriately, working to ensure the child’s safety.

    The legality of CBD oil was thrown into question after the passage of law last legislative session that created a CBD oil registry for epileptic patients. State excise police used the law to confiscate CBD products from nearly 60 Indiana retailers before the agency put a moratorium on the seizures.

    At the time of the CPS caseworkers’ visit, Attorney General Curtis Hill had yet to issue an opinion on the legality of CBD oil. Since then, he’s said the substance is illegal under current Indiana law.

    Three bills that would legalize CBD oil with trace amounts of THC, the substance that produces a “high,” have been passed in at least one of the two General Assembly chambers this session. The substance will likely be legalized at the end of the legislative session in March.

    Jaelah turned 2 last Friday. Her new doctor has taken her off the Keppra and she is doing well, her mother said.

    “That’s our daughter. We weren’t doing something to harm her. We were doing something to help her,” she said.

    Call IndyStar reporter Fatima Hussein at (317) 444-6209. Follow her on Twitter: @fatimathefatima.

    Call IndyStar staff reporter Shari Rudavsky at (317) 444-6354. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

    Call IndyStar reporter Kaitlin Lange at (317) 432-9270. Follow her on Twitter: @kaitlin_lange.

    CONTINUE READING AND TO VIDEO!

    Despite increased social acceptance, marijuana possession arrests increase: ACLU

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    ACLU calls for Pa. to legalize marijuana

    By Steve Marroni

    [email protected]

    HARRISBURG – The findings of a new study that black people are eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white people, even though usage rates are just about the same, does not surprise the ACLU.

    “The racial disparities in possession arrests have been around for a long time,” said Andy Hoover, spokesman for the American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania. “It is distressing that it’s getting worse.”

    But what is a surprise, Hoover said, is that possession arrests for marijuana are on the rise around the state, despite an ever-increasing social acceptance.

    “We’re seeing now that 59 percent of Pennsylvanians support legalization. Only 31 percent oppose,” he said today, adding “the rise in possession arrests is distressing.”

    But he hopes lawmakers are on board with the call the ACLU made today at the state Capitol to legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania.

    You can read the full report, Cannabis Crackdown, on the ACLU’s website.

    In summary, the authors of the report studied marijuana offenses in Pennsylvania from 2010 to 2016. The study shows:

    • Possession arrests of adults increased 33 percent in that time,
    • Black people were eight times more likely than white people to be arrested, despite similar usage rates,
    • The state police total arrests per year more than doubled from 2,221 to 4,612 in that seven-year period,
    • The cost to Pennsylvania taxpayers has been more than $225 million in that time.

    “Legalization is the only solution to this problem,” Hoover said.

    Philadelphia engaged in a decriminalization effort in the last three years, said Matt Stroud of the ACLU, who is an author of the report. The data there shows a remarkable decline in marijuana-related arrests there – about 88 percent.

    Cannabis consumer advocate Chris Goldstein said since Philadelphia’s decriminalization, there have been no marijuana-possession arrests of the more than 300,000 students on the city’s college campuses, as opposed to Penn State, where 250 students are arrested per year for marijuana possession.

    Cannabis consumer advocate supports ACLU stance to legalize

    And unlike Philadelphia, the other 66 counties in Pennsylvania show a remarkable increase in arrests, Stroud added.

    In reading this report, state Rep. Jordan Harris of Philadelphia, who is chairman of the Pennsylvania Legislative Black Caucus, agrees that marijuana should be legalized. The current laws are “nothing be a war on the people,” he said, and research shows legalization does not make communities less safe.

    State representative discusses racial bias in marijuana arrests

    “It’s time to stand on research, and the research shows it’s time to legalize marijuana in Pennsylvania,” he said, getting applause from the supporters attending the event.

    It is particularly disturbing that racial bias has creeped into marijuana arrests, he said.

    “I would much rather my law enforcement officers work on murder, rape and protecting our children than spending our valuable tax resources on arresting people for smoking a jay on their way home from a long day of work,” he said.

    The police have more important things to focus on than “a non-violent thing called smoking a joint,” added state Rep. Ed Gainey of Allegheny County.

    “We can’t continue to incarcerate,” he said. “What we have to do is legitimize and legalize a drug that the people should have the choice to use.”

    State representative calls for marijuana legalization

    And consumer advocate Goldstein said while the racial disparity is disturbing, so are the number of lives ruined by possession arrests. He said 70 percent of those arrested for possession are between 18 and 30 years old, and these arrests unfairly impact their ability to find jobs, get an education and make a life for themselves.

    While the ACLU and some lawmakers support legalization, it may be a challenging road ahead, but ACLU spokesman Hoover said he is hopefully.

    “There is a lot of conversation here in the General Assembly about smart justice,” he said. “There is a recognition that the policies implemented in the last 30 to 40 years have failed. We believe that cannabis legalization is part of that discussion.”

    Sen. Daylin Leach, a Democrat from Montgomery County, first introduced a marijuana-legalization bill in 2013, and has a new version of that bill in the Senate Law and Justice Committee now. His spokesman, Steve Hoenstine, said this bill calls for marijuana to be sold at state stores, where there is already a sales and monitoring system in place.

    And those sales are projected to “completely close the revenue gap with a brand new, sustained revenue that does not involved a tax increase.”

    He said it only makes sense to bring in these funds rather than spending taxpayer money on enforcement.

    Marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol, Hoover added, adding the “reefer madness mentality is old, inaccurate and wrong.”

    This post has been updated with more information about a bill currently in committee.

    CONTINUE READING, FURTHER INFORMATION AND VIDEO!

    Navdanya Call to Action against the Corporate Takeover of our Food and Health

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    People’s Assemblies for the Future of our Food and the Future of our Planet

    From a century of genocide and ecocide by war-based corporations to a future of seed freedom, food freedom based on rights of nature and rights of humanity.

    In the last century big agribusiness with roots in the World War have poisoned millions of people, destroyed biodiversity, pushed small farmers off their land, and attempted to take over every aspect of our life. The potential of this harm increases as these corporations become fewer and bigger. An example is the recent bid by Bayer to buy Monsanto.

    Using free trade neoliberal policies and deregulation of commerce to enlarge their empires, these corporations are attacking life on earth and biodiversity. They have broadened their control over our seed, our food and freedom, robbing us of our human rights and democracy. They have established monopolies and threatened farmers rights to seed and people’s rights to affordable medicine through patents and IPRs.

    In October 2016, Navdanya joined multiple civil society organizations at the Monsanto Tribunal and People’s Assembly in The Hague.

    Over the last months, the Monsanto Tribunal judges have been analyzing the testimonies of witnesses and experts on the damage caused by Monsanto. On April 18th, the judges have publicly presented their conclusions and legal advisory opinion in The Hague, which aims to contribute to the development of international law by the inclusion of new issues, such as the responsibilities of business with respect to human rights, and by formulating new concepts, in particular the concept of ecocide. Being also an educational tribunal, the Monsanto Tribunal is a way also to enable the public to understand the impacts of Monsanto’s activities.

    Also read:
    The Monsanto Tribunal’s Legal Opinion reinforces movements’ struggle for basic human rights
    19 April 2017

    The process of holding the “Poison Cartel” accountable for its crimes is the culmination of 30 years of scientific, legal, social, and political work by movements, concerned citizens and scientists.

    The People’s Assembly was a gathering of leading movements and activists working to defend our ecosystem and food sovereignty, to lay out the effects of industrial agrochemicals on our lives, our soils, our atmosphere and climate, as well as to chart the road to our future based on Seed Freedom and Food Freedom, agroecology and farmers rights, our commons and economies of sharing, rights of nature and earth democracy.

    With multinationals closing ranks through mergers to become bigger and more powerful, the civil society movements at the People’s Assembly have committed to joining forces to reclaim people’s rights to healthy food and a healthy and safe environment and to defend human rights and environmental rights and regulations gained through years of social struggle.

    In 2016 more than 110 People’s Assemblies took place in 28 countries to join forces and collectively defend our Seed Freedom, Food Freedom and Democratic Rights to shape the future of food that protects life on Earth and the well-being of all.

    This global mobilization is now continuing and movements across the world are converging in a new unity across diversity to end a century of ecocide and genocide.

    Please join us in celebrating in a new series of actions from 22 May, World Biodiversity Day to 5 June, World Environment Day, to celebrate Earth’s biodiversity and add strength to the movement against the Poison Cartel by organizing a People’s Assembly wherever you are to shape a better future of our food and our planet. Add strength to the movement against the take-over of our seeds and food by singing the Pact for Diversity.

    Over the last months Navdanya has joined the widespread opposition against poisons in our food system and is calling citizens throughout Europe to sign the European Citizens Initiative to #StopGlyphosate and demand the EU to reform its pesticides approval procedures. If you haven’t already, please join the campaign and sign online here: http://bit.ly/ECI_StopGlyphosate.

    On 24th of May in Rome, Navdanya launched the reportPoison is served – Glyphosate and other poisons from field to table”, in collaboration with ASud and CDCA. The report points the finger at the Poison Cartel, the group of six poison producing seed and agro-giants intent on controlling our food systems, while also making evident the lack of national and international regulations necessary for the protection of our health and our environment.

    CONTINUE READING…

    Kentucky judge refuses to hear adoption cases involving gay parents

    As ‘a matter of conscience,’ a Kentucky judge refuses to hear adoption cases involving gay parents

    By Samantha Schmidt May 1 at 4:22 AM

    Photo published for Kentucky judge won't hear adoption cases if adults are gay

    Two years after a Kentucky county clerk stirred national attention for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a family court judge in the same state announced he will no longer hear adoption cases involving gay parents, calling his stance on the issue “a matter of conscience.”

    Judge W. Mitchell Nance, who sits in Barren and Metcalfe counties in Kentucky, issued an order Thursday saying he believes that allowing a “practicing homosexual” to adopt would “under no circumstance” promote the best interest of the child, he wrote in the order obtained by The Washington Post.

    The judge disqualified himself from any adoption cases involving gay couples, citing judicial ethics codes requiring that judges recuse themselves whenever they have a “personal bias or prejudice” concerning a case. Nance’s “conscientious objection” to the concept of gay parents adopting children constitutes such a bias, he argued.

    The announcement garnered support from some conservative groups, while also spurring intense criticism from some lawyers and judicial ethics experts who viewed the blanket statement as discriminatory, and a sign that Nance is not fit to fulfill his duties as a judge. Kentucky state law permits gay couples to adopt children, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in 2015 that all states must allow same-sex marriage.

    That ruling came in four cases consolidated as Obergefell et al. v Hodges, one of which specifically involved a couple who wanted to adopt but was barred from doing so because Michigan banned same-sex marriage and adoption by unmarried couples.

    Nance’s recusal drew some comparisons to the case of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed after she refused in the face of multiple court orders to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, saying she couldn’t issue the licenses because her name was on them, and it violated her religious beliefs. Eventually, deputies in her office began issuing licenses. Kentucky’s governor and General Assembly would later remove the name of clerks from the marriage licenses.

    Reached by phone Sunday night, Nance told The Post he stood by his order, “based on the law, based on my conscience,” and to “minimize any disruption in the litigation,” he said. He declined to comment further on the order or calls from the public for him to resign. But he gave no indication that he would be stepping down.

    Nance told the Glasgow Daily Times he issued the order so there wouldn’t be a lag if an adoption case was filed in his court concerning adoption by gay parents. Because Nance’s court, the 43rd Circuit Court, has two divisions, the judge of the other division will hear any adoption cases affected by Nance’s recusal. Gay parents seeking to adopt a child in the affected counties should not expect a legal delay as a result of Nance’s decision.

    “I don’t have any plans to recuse myself from any so it should not affect the ability of any same sex couples to adopt in Barren or Metcalfe counties,” the judge of the other division, Judge John T. Alexander, told the Glasgow Daily Times.

    Charles Geyl, an Indiana University law school professor who specializes in judicial ethics, told the Louisville Courier-Journal that by issuing such an order, Nance could be violating his oath to uphold the law, “which by virtue of the equal protection clause does not tolerate discrimination on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation,” he said.

    “If he is unable to set his personal views aside and uphold the law — not just in an isolated case, but with respect to an entire class of litigant because he finds them odious — it leads me to wonder whether he is able to honor his oath,” Geyl said.

    Chris Hartman, Kentucky Fairness Campaign director, told the Glasgow Daily Times Nance’s decision not to hear adoption cases for gay parents is “clear discrimination.”

    “And if Judge Nance can’t perform the basic functions of his job, which are to deliver impartiality, fairness and justice to all families in his courtroom, then he shouldn’t be a judge,” Hartman said.

    Yet other groups, such as the Family Foundation, a Lexington-based group that promotes “family-first conservatism,” expressed their support of the judge’s decision to recuse himself.

    “If we are going to let liberal judges write their personal biases and prejudices into law, as we have done on issues of marriage and sexuality,” spokesman Martin Cothran said in a statement on the group’s Facebook page, “then, in the interest of fairness, we are going to have to allow judges with different views to at least recuse themselves from such cases.”

    Cothran added that he was unaware of any state law that would require a judge to place a child in a home with same-sex parents, prompting him to wonder why judges were being held to such a standard.

    “When adoption agencies abandon the idea that it is in the best interest of a child to grow up with both a mother and father, people can’t expect judges who do believe that to be forced to bow the knee,” said Cothran. “Judges have a right of conscience like everyone else.”

    [‘Mexican heritage’ judge bashed by Trump will oversee deported ‘dreamer’ case]

    Lawyers told the Courier-Journal that Nance should now also have to recuse himself from any legal cases involving gay people, including divorces involving a spouse coming out as gay. Nance told the newspaper he understands that gay and lesbian people would have reservations about appearing before him.

    Nance, who was first assigned to family court in 2004, performs marriages, but has never been asked to marry a gay couple, he told the Glasgow Daily Times. If he were asked, Nance said he would decline.

    He told the Glasgow Daily Times he could recall being assigned to two adoption cases involving gay parents, including one from which he recused himself several years ago. About two to three months ago, Nance was assigned to a case in Metcalfe County involving a same-sex couple seeking to adopt. Nance said he ruled in favor of the parents, but decided then he should take action to recuse himself permanently from hearing such cases.

    “It made the matter come to my awareness more directly, I would say,” Nance told the Glasgow Daily Times. “I felt it would be more prudent to go ahead and address it,” he said.

    CONTINUE READING…

    Marijuana may be legal in California, but it could get you deported

    Immigrant rights activists and attorneys are reminding immigrants of potential consequences of using marijuana at a time when President Donald Trump is ramping up deportation efforts.

    LEAF 445x451

    By Alejandra Molina | [email protected] | The Press-Enterprise

    PUBLISHED: April 14, 2017 at 7:07 pm | UPDATED: April 14, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    It’s legal in California, but marijuana possession and use is still a federal offense that could cause serious problems for immigrants in the Golden State.

    “It is still a federal offense,” said Inland-based attorney Russell Jauregui. “Federal law controls immigration and thus people will still face severe immigration consequences for marijuana conviction/use.”

    Undocumented immigrants can be deported for marijuana consumption in certain circumstances and may risk not being admitted back into the United States if they leave.

    Immigrant rights activists and attorneys are reminding immigrants of potential consequences at a time when President Donald Trump is ramping up deportation efforts. The White House has said that any immigrant living in the U.S. illegally who has been charged or convicted of any crime, or even suspected of committing a crime, is now an enforcement priority.

    Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, declined to say how the agency deals with immigrants accused or convicted of marijuana crimes in states where it’s legal.

    Instead, she reiterated the Department of Homeland Security’s focus on targeting all “removable aliens” who have committed crimes, beginning with those who have been convicted of a criminal offense.

    While those who pose a threat to public safety will continue to be a focus, the department will not exempt classes or categories of unauthorized immigrants from potential enforcement, she said.

    “All those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States,” Kice said.

    That’s why immigrants need to be aware of consequences surrounding marijuana use, advocates said.

    “It could happen that people think that now that it’s legalized, that it would be completely safe, but obviously in this era of increasing concern of criminalization, and the fact that the federal government has said it wants to crack down on marijuana on the federal level, we’re really just trying to help inform and be proactive with immigrants of these concerns,” said Angie Junck, a supervising attorney with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, a San Francisco-based national nonprofit agency.

    U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in February said that federal officials would try to adopt “reasonable policies” for enforcement of federal anti-marijuana laws. Sessions has said he believes violence surrounds sales and use of the drug.

    California is home to more than 10 million immigrants, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Nearly half of all of the state’s immigrants are naturalized U.S. citizens and another 26 percent have some sort of legal status, including green cards and visas. It’s estimated that about a quarter of California’s immigrants are undocumented.

    In a state where the immigrant population is so vast, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center in January 2017 issued a flier that spells out what non-U.S. citizens should and should not do when it comes to marijuana.

    It advises non-U.S. citizens not to use marijuana until they are citizens, and not to work in marijuana shops. On top of that, it cautions undocumented immigrants not to leave the house carrying marijuana, a medical marijuana card, paraphernalia, or other accessories such as marijuana T-shirts or stickers. Additionally, they should never have photos, text messages or anything else connecting them to marijuana on their phone or social media accounts.

    Most importantly, it advises non-citizen immigrants to never admit to any immigration or border official that they have ever have used or possessed marijuana.

    What it boils down to, Junck said, is that immigration law is federal and marijuana use remains a federal offense, as well as grounds for deportation.

    Marijuana is still listed as an illegal drug in the Controlled Substance Act and the Immigration and Naturalization Act deems drug trafficking an “aggravated felony,” a type of crime that has been a deportation priority.

    Lawful permanent residents can be deported for any drug offense, with the sole exception of a conviction for possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana.

    And, undocumented immigrants with a drug conviction can face a lifetime bar from ever gaining legal status. The only exception is a single conviction for possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana, and by showing extreme hardship to certain family members such as a spouse or children.

    However, certain provisions under immigration law don’t always require a conviction in order for a person to be considered for deportation.

    “Immigrants need to know that they can still face some consequences if they admit marijuana use to an immigration official,” Junck said.

    “The biggest concern is admission to an immigration official,” she said.

    Immigration officials can stop and ask people whatever they want; it’s just a question of whether the person decides to respond, Junck said. For example, when coming in from customs at the airport, officials can refer someone to what Junck referred to as secondary inspection.

    “They may ask questions and those questions can vary from, ‘What’s your immigration status?’ to ‘Have you committed crimes for which you’ve never been arrested?’” Junck said. “Or maybe there’s a basic question that can be like, ‘Have you ever used marijuana?’”

    Immigrant rights activists say the implications of admitting marijuana use are not widely known.

    “There is a stigma about marijuana use in Latino immigrant communities and we need to erase that stigma if we are going to talk honestly about the legal repercussions of its use for non-citizens,” said Luis Nolasco, an immigrant rights organizer in the Inland Empire. “This is particularly for the older generation of undocumented parents who may have youth that engages in marijuana use.”

    For now, it’s mostly unclear how federal authorities are going to address this legal situation. And in states where marijuana is legal, it’s a topic of serious concern for immigration attorneys and their clients.

    “Under the Obama administration, I think it was treated more like a wait-and- see where we’re just going to kind of let this evolve,” said David Kolko, an immigration attorney in Colorado, where marijuana is legal.

    “Under the Trump administration, I think people need to be even more cautious because there’s been certainly an impression that enforcement is going to be dealt with more aggressively and if they choose to use this marijuana issue as one enforcement tool, I think many immigrants … could be very vulnerable in terms of being able to stay in this country or move forward on their immigration cases,” Kolko said.

    CONTINUE READING…

    Marijuana may be legal in California, but it could get you deported

    Immigrant rights activists and attorneys are reminding immigrants of potential consequences of using marijuana at a time when President Donald Trump is ramping up deportation efforts.

    LEAF 445x451

    By Alejandra Molina | [email protected] | The Press-Enterprise

    PUBLISHED: April 14, 2017 at 7:07 pm | UPDATED: April 14, 2017 at 10:31 pm

    It’s legal in California, but marijuana possession and use is still a federal offense that could cause serious problems for immigrants in the Golden State.

    “It is still a federal offense,” said Inland-based attorney Russell Jauregui. “Federal law controls immigration and thus people will still face severe immigration consequences for marijuana conviction/use.”

    Undocumented immigrants can be deported for marijuana consumption in certain circumstances and may risk not being admitted back into the United States if they leave.

    Immigrant rights activists and attorneys are reminding immigrants of potential consequences at a time when President Donald Trump is ramping up deportation efforts. The White House has said that any immigrant living in the U.S. illegally who has been charged or convicted of any crime, or even suspected of committing a crime, is now an enforcement priority.

    Virginia Kice, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE, declined to say how the agency deals with immigrants accused or convicted of marijuana crimes in states where it’s legal.

    Instead, she reiterated the Department of Homeland Security’s focus on targeting all “removable aliens” who have committed crimes, beginning with those who have been convicted of a criminal offense.

    While those who pose a threat to public safety will continue to be a focus, the department will not exempt classes or categories of unauthorized immigrants from potential enforcement, she said.

    “All those in violation of the immigration laws may be subject to immigration arrest, detention and, if found removable by final order, removal from the United States,” Kice said.

    That’s why immigrants need to be aware of consequences surrounding marijuana use, advocates said.

    “It could happen that people think that now that it’s legalized, that it would be completely safe, but obviously in this era of increasing concern of criminalization, and the fact that the federal government has said it wants to crack down on marijuana on the federal level, we’re really just trying to help inform and be proactive with immigrants of these concerns,” said Angie Junck, a supervising attorney with the Immigrant Legal Resource Center, a San Francisco-based national nonprofit agency.

    U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions in February said that federal officials would try to adopt “reasonable policies” for enforcement of federal anti-marijuana laws. Sessions has said he believes violence surrounds sales and use of the drug.

    California is home to more than 10 million immigrants, according to the Public Policy Institute of California. Nearly half of all of the state’s immigrants are naturalized U.S. citizens and another 26 percent have some sort of legal status, including green cards and visas. It’s estimated that about a quarter of California’s immigrants are undocumented.

    In a state where the immigrant population is so vast, the Immigrant Legal Resource Center in January 2017 issued a flier that spells out what non-U.S. citizens should and should not do when it comes to marijuana.

    It advises non-U.S. citizens not to use marijuana until they are citizens, and not to work in marijuana shops. On top of that, it cautions undocumented immigrants not to leave the house carrying marijuana, a medical marijuana card, paraphernalia, or other accessories such as marijuana T-shirts or stickers. Additionally, they should never have photos, text messages or anything else connecting them to marijuana on their phone or social media accounts.

    Most importantly, it advises non-citizen immigrants to never admit to any immigration or border official that they have ever have used or possessed marijuana.

    What it boils down to, Junck said, is that immigration law is federal and marijuana use remains a federal offense, as well as grounds for deportation.

    Marijuana is still listed as an illegal drug in the Controlled Substance Act and the Immigration and Naturalization Act deems drug trafficking an “aggravated felony,” a type of crime that has been a deportation priority.

    Lawful permanent residents can be deported for any drug offense, with the sole exception of a conviction for possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana.

    And, undocumented immigrants with a drug conviction can face a lifetime bar from ever gaining legal status. The only exception is a single conviction for possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana, and by showing extreme hardship to certain family members such as a spouse or children.

    However, certain provisions under immigration law don’t always require a conviction in order for a person to be considered for deportation.

    “Immigrants need to know that they can still face some consequences if they admit marijuana use to an immigration official,” Junck said.

    “The biggest concern is admission to an immigration official,” she said.

    Immigration officials can stop and ask people whatever they want; it’s just a question of whether the person decides to respond, Junck said. For example, when coming in from customs at the airport, officials can refer someone to what Junck referred to as secondary inspection.

    “They may ask questions and those questions can vary from, ‘What’s your immigration status?’ to ‘Have you committed crimes for which you’ve never been arrested?’” Junck said. “Or maybe there’s a basic question that can be like, ‘Have you ever used marijuana?’”

    Immigrant rights activists say the implications of admitting marijuana use are not widely known.

    “There is a stigma about marijuana use in Latino immigrant communities and we need to erase that stigma if we are going to talk honestly about the legal repercussions of its use for non-citizens,” said Luis Nolasco, an immigrant rights organizer in the Inland Empire. “This is particularly for the older generation of undocumented parents who may have youth that engages in marijuana use.”

    For now, it’s mostly unclear how federal authorities are going to address this legal situation. And in states where marijuana is legal, it’s a topic of serious concern for immigration attorneys and their clients.

    “Under the Obama administration, I think it was treated more like a wait-and- see where we’re just going to kind of let this evolve,” said David Kolko, an immigration attorney in Colorado, where marijuana is legal.

    “Under the Trump administration, I think people need to be even more cautious because there’s been certainly an impression that enforcement is going to be dealt with more aggressively and if they choose to use this marijuana issue as one enforcement tool, I think many immigrants … could be very vulnerable in terms of being able to stay in this country or move forward on their immigration cases,” Kolko said.

    CONTINUE READING…

    Cannabis convict Eddy Lepp free from prison

    Lepp, age 64, hailed as a “marijuana martyr” by supporters

     

    By Lisa M. Krieger | [email protected]

    PUBLISHED: December 7, 2016 at 9:59 am | UPDATED: December 8, 2016 at 9:16 am

     

    Image result for eddy lepp

     

    SAN FRANCISCO — Free after eight years of federal imprisonment, one of the nation’s most celebrated cannabis convicts came home to California on Wednesday, walking off a United Airlines flight into the warm embrace of supporters — and a profoundly changed world.

    Charles “Eddy” Lepp, a defiant 64-year-old Vietnam vet and ordained Rastafarian minister, was convicted on federal felony charges in 2007 for doing something that California now considers legal because of last month’s passage of Proposition 64: growing marijuana.

     

    “I’m very honored. I’m very humbled. Thank you so much for caring,” Lepp told friends and family at San Francisco International Airport, tears streaming down his creased cheeks.

    Then he vowed to fight for national legalization of cannabis and presidential pardons for first-time nonviolent drug offenders.

    “Just because I went to federal prison doesn’t mean I got off the horse,” said Lepp, who will be on drug-monitored probation for five years. “It is still a long, long ride — and I’ll be there when it’s done.”


    Read the full story and find more California cannabis news at TheCannifornian.com.

    SOURCE LINK

    Robert Dupont claims PHPs result in a “lifetime of well-being” LMAO

    The Medscape article  Physician Health Programs- More Harm Than Good? by Pauline Anderson shed some light on coercive, controlling  secretive lair of Physician Health Programs.    Coercive v. supportive is the question Alissa Katz presents in todays Emergency Medicine News.  Supporting coercion, John Knight and J. Wesley Boyd claim that any doctor caught in the maw of their state PHP must abide by whatever the PHP requests in order to continue practicing medicine. Susan Haney concurs who notes the unwary self-referrer who unwarily steps into the lions den.

    Screen Shot 2016-02-14 at 11.34.00 PM

    Former White House Drug Czar (1973-1977) Robert Dupont, M.D. disagrees claiming the programs are worth the price of a “lifetime of well-being.”

    You don’t say?     Robert Dupont’s ties to the Drug and Alcohol Testing Association (DATIA) are thick  and the designs of the former National Institute on Drug Abuse Director are spelled out in the ASAM White Paper on Drug Testing as well as his keynote speech before DATIA proposing expansion of this paradigm to other populations including workplace, healthcare, and schools.  He profits from both drug tests and employee assistance program management.  The “PHP-blueprint” is simply Straight, inc. for doctors and the same propaganda, fabricated studies, 12-step indoctrination, coercion, control and abuse remain unfettered and just as vile.

    Dupont wants to swindle the PHP system into other EAPs such as as DOT proclaiming the “need to reach more of the 1.5 million Americans who annually enter substance abuse treatment, which now is all too often a revolving door.”1 They conclude:

    This model of care management for substance use disorders has been pioneered by a small and innovative group of the nation’s physicians in their determination to help other physicians save their careers and families while also protecting their patients from the harmful consequences of continued substance abuse. In fulfilling the professional admonition “physician: first heal thyself,” these physicians have created a model with wide applicability and great promise.1

    “Based on abundant evidence, a “new paradigm” for substance abuse treatment has evolved that is the exact opposite of harm reduction. This paradigm enforces a standard of zero tolerance for alcohol and drug use that is enforced by monitoring with frequent random drug and alcohol tests. Detection of any drug or alcohol use is met with swift, certain, but not draconian, consequences.”

    CONTINUE READING AT “DISRUPTED PHYSICIAN”!