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Tag: marijuana

Maine Legalized Marijuana Use, But Border Patrol in Maine to Continue Enforcing Federal Law

marijuana-istockBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Eight months after Maine residents voted to legalize marijuana, defiant Border Patrol agents say they will continue to enforce federal laws that ban the use of pot.

Chief Daniel Hiebert told The Portland Press Herald that Border Patrol agents will confiscate marijuana when they find it. He added that agents aren’t actively looking for the drug, though.

Hiebert maintains that enforcing federal marijuana laws will not distract agents from their focus on terrorism and human and drug trafficking.

Since 2012, Maine Border Patrol agents have confiscated about 720 pounds of marijuana. In the past, the federal government has declined to prosecute those cases.

Justice Department Stymies DEA’s Proposal to Grow More Marijuana for Research

marijuanainthemittenphotoBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA’s plans to allow more research of marijuana has been stymied by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has insisted pot is almost as dangerous as heroin.

The Justice Department has not allowed the DEA to move forward with proposals to grow more marijuana for research, the Washington Post reports. 

“They’re sitting on it,” said one law enforcement official familiar with the matter. “They just will not act on these things.”

Consequently, one senior DEA official said, “the Justice Department has effectively shut down this program to increase research registrations.’’

The standoff pits the DEA and Justice Department against each other on the value of researching marijuana to determine if it has medicinal benefits. Although more than two dozen states have approved the use of medicinal marijuana, the federal government still considers pot a schedule 1 drug.

AG Sessions’ Extreme Position on Marijuana Worries States That Legalized It

Photo by Steve Neavling.

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who said earlier this year that marijuana “is only slightly less awful” than heroin, has prompted concerns among states that have legalized marijuana use.

Despite a federal law banning marijuana use, eight states have approved marijuana for recreational use. Nearly 30 states have legalized medical marijuana.

In letters released last week, Sessions warned four governors that he had “serious concerns” about legalizing marijuana, the Los Angeles Times reports

The letters were vague enough that states aren’t sure whether Sessions plans to crack down on legalization. Sessions said he wanted to talk with governors about his concerns.

“The letters did appear to be a bit off base, and in several instances referred to the way things were but are no longer. But more importantly, the letters did not tell the states they lack the authority to sell marijuana,” Mason Tvert, a co-director of Colorado’s 2012 legal marijuana initiative, said.

ATF: Medical Marijuana Cardholders Barred from Buying Guns

medical marijuanaBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The continuing battle between states and the federal government over medical marijuana just got a lot more intense.

The ATF said Wednesday that medical marijuana cardholders are not allowed to buy guns from licensed dealers, 40/29 News reports.

Although medicinal cannabis has been approved in 29 states, marijuana is still illegal on the federal level. Under President Trump’s administration, the feds are increasing the crackdown on medical marijuana.

People who buy gun from a licensed dealer are required to disclose whether they’re an unlawful marijuana or drug user. Because marijuana is illegal federally, that means anyone who uses it is an unlawful user, said ATF spokesman Kevin Moran.

Large Drug Bust in Colorado Targets Marijuana Grown for Out-of-State Sales

Photo by Steve Neavling.

Photo by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The DEA, along with local and state police, arrested 43 people as part of a major drug bust in Colorado that involves thousands of pounds of marijuana that was intended to be shipped outside of the state.

Authorities, who are calling “Operation Toker Poker” the state’s largest marijuana bust, said the suspects in the multi-state scheme were exploiting Colorado’s law that allows the sale of recreational marijuana, CBS4 in Denver reports. 

According to law enforcement, many of the suspects moved their marijuana grow operations to Colorado to pose as cannabis caregivers in order to launder more than $200,000 per month.

The marijuana was grown out of the suspects’ homes.

Nearly 20 suspects are still on the loose.

“When you think the Denver Police Department and the DEA are going after users, I can tell you, after 30 years of doing this, we don’t care about marijuana users, we never have and we never will,” said DEA Assistant Special Agent-In-Charge David A. Schiller. “We care about those coming into our state, taking advantage of the laws.”

Secret Service Will Now Hire Agents with a History of Smoking Pot

marijuana-istockBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The Secret Service is having trouble hiring agents, but it’s not because there aren’t enough applicants.

Turns out, the agency is forced to turn down a lot of applicants because of a policy that disqualified people who smoked marijuana in their past, the New York Daily News reports. 

Under the agency’s new policy, job candidates who smoked marijuana in the past aren’t automatically disqualified. The agency will now consider the length of time a person hasn’t smoked pot.

Applicants younger than 24, for example, are still eligible for a job if they had not smoked marijuana for a period of 12 months Candidates who are 28 or older must have refrained from smoking pot for at least five years.

Without the revamped policy, the Secret Service projects it wouldn’t be able to fill thousands of employees.

“We need more people. The mission has changed,” Secret Service Director Randolph Alles said, according to CNN. “It’s more dynamic and way more dangerous than it has been in years past.”

DEA Chief: ‘Marijuana Is Not Medicine,’ Despite Evidence Suggesting It Is

marijuana-istockBy Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

DEA Acting chief Chuck Rosenberg said Thursday that “marijuana is not medicine,” despite new evidence that suggests that cannabis has medicinal benefits.

“If it turns out that there is something in smoked marijuana that helps people, that’s awesome,” he said, speaking at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio. “I will be the last person to stand in the way of that. … But let’s run it through the Food and Drug Administration process, and let’s stick to the science on it.”

Although many states have approved the use of medicinal marijuana, the drug remains illegal federally because it’s classified as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substance Act.

Former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said the country needs to research the medicinal benefits of marijuana.

“Should we be reducing the administrative and other barriers to researching that in the government? 100 percent,” he said. “But what we should not do is make policies based on guesswork. When we do that, what we do is put people at risk.”

FBI: Seattle Cop Smuggled Massive Amounts of Marijuana to Baltimore

Photo of marijuana by Steve Neavling.

Photo of marijuana by Steve Neavling.

By Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

The FBI busted a Seattle police officer who authorities say helped smuggling hundreds of pounds of marijuana to Baltimore.

Alex Chapackdee, a 17-year veteran of the force, was arrested and was among four men charged with conspiring to distribute marijuana, the Associated Press reports. The 44-year-old office is the brother-in-;aw of the group’s alleged ringleader.

“While (it is) always disturbing to investigate one of our own, I am proud of the detectives and commanders who worked diligently on this case,” Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O’Toole said in a written statement. “Officer Chapackdee’s conduct is disgraceful and disappointing. While he will have his due process in the courts, I hope these charges demonstrate to our community that SPD will not tolerate corrupt behavior in our ranks.”

According to the FBI, Chapackdee drove marijuana from Seattle to Baltimore in his recreational vehicle several times last fall. The FBI said he deposited nearly $20,000 in cash into his bank account.

Chapackdee, who is on unpaid leave, also is accused of accepting $10,000 a month from his brother-in-law to alert him to any law enforcement investigations and to keep an eye on marijuana grow operations,

Chapackdee’s attorney, David Gehrke, declined to comment on the allegations but said the charges have been difficult for him and his family, which includes a wife and four children.

“This is a huge fall from grace, an embarrassment,” Gehrke said.

The investigation was prompted by a confidential source.