Texas cops mistake actual weed for marijuana, spend hours doing yard work

It’s a good thing this was in a park and not someone’s yard; they probably would have gone to jail for a while until the cops realized their mistake.

From Raw Story:

Like the old song goes, one of these things is not like the other…

However, remind a police officer in Corpus Christi, Texas of those famed Cookie Monster lyrics and they’re likely to give you an annoyed look.

That’s because a recently discovered cache of plants, initially pegged by officials speaking to local news as “one of the largest marijuana plant seizures in the police department’s history,” turned out to be a relatively common prairie flower of little significance.

Texas officers ultimately spent hours laboring to tag and remove up to 400 plants from a city park, discovering only after a battery of tests that they had been sweating over mere Horse Mint, a member of the mint family — effectively turning their ambitious drug bust into mere yard work.

The plants, which bear very few aesthetic similarities to cannabis, were reported by an unnamed youth who came across them while riding a bike in the park around 8 p.m. on Thursday. Upon visual inspection, police apparently agreed that the inoffensive plants had to go.

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Ultimately, officers were reduced to conducting chemical tests to learn their “weed” was really just that: an actual weed.

marijuana Texas cops mistake actual weed for marijuana, spend hours doing yard work“That shows exactly the caliber of police work that is done in Corpus christi, Tx,” commenter Derick Sillers opined in a local NBC affiliate’s comments section.

“The resident of corpus and nueces county should seriously be concerned with how their tax dollars are spent,” he continued. “[This] is the same police department that serves, protects and investigates you…. does it really take that long to find out you don’t have marijuana.”

“Officers did not explain how their big ‘drug haul’ will be disposed of, now that they’ve spent untold hours and plenty of taxpayer money clearing weeds of the the city park,” writer Steve Elliott summarized for News Junkie Post.

The tale is, at very least, a compelling argument for accurate, non-fear-based drug education in public schools, which advocacy groups say is sorely lacking.

This video is from NBC affiliate KRIS News 6, published May 21, 2010.

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Video of SWAT Raid on Missouri Family

You have to wonder how much it cost the taxpayers to capture these “dangerous” criminals?

From Reason.com:

In February, I wrote the following about a drug raid in Missouri:

SWAT team breaks into home, fires seven rounds at family’s pit bull and corgi (?!) as a seven-year-old looks on.

They found a “small amount” of marijuana, enough for a misdemeanor charge. The parents were then charged with child endangerment.

So smoking pot = “child endangerment.” Storming a home with guns, then firing bullets into the family pets as a child looks on = necessary police procedures to ensure everyone’s safety.

Just so we’re clear.

Now there’s video, which you can watch below. It’s horrifying, but I’d urge you to watch it, and to send it to the drug warriors in your life. This is the blunt-end result of all the war imagery and militaristic rhetoric politicians have been spewing for the last 30 years—cops dressed like soldiers, barreling through the front door middle of the night, slaughtering the family pets, filling the house with bullets in the presence of children, then having the audacity to charge the parents with endangering their own kid. There are 100-150 of these raids every day in America, the vast, vast majority like this one, to serve a warrant for a consensual crime.

But they did prevent Jonathan Whitworth from smoking the pot they found in his possession. So I guess this mission was a success.

I’ve exchanged emails with the mother of the family, who was in the home at the time of the raid. I’m waiting on her permission to publish her account of what happened.

Boxer: Legalizing pot could increase crime, car accidents

Who elected this idiot anyway? And will they learn the error of their ways and vote against her in the next election?

From Raw Story:

California Sen. Barbara Boxer has a message for marijuana law reform activists: Just say no.

The liberal senator’s position might come as a surprise, but it’s no surprise to those who follow California politics: Boxer is facing perhaps the toughest reelection race of her career in 2010. She’s neck-and-neck with former GOP Rep. Tom Campbell and slightly ahead of former Hewlett Packard chief Carly Fiorina.

In a statement issued late Friday to liberal blog Talking Points Memo, Boxer’s campaign manager Rose Kapolczynski said the senator opposes a California ballot measure that seeks to legalize and tax marijuana.

“Senator Boxer does not support this initiative because she shares the concerns of police chiefs, sheriffs and other law enforcement officials that this measure could lead to an increase in crime, vehicle accidents and higher costs for local law enforcement agencies,” Kapolczynski said. “She supports current law in California, which allows for the use of medicinal marijuana with a doctor’s prescription.”

Boxer’s six-year Senate term comes to a close this year. She’ll stand for election Nov. 2 against a yet-to-be-determined Republican challenger.

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The marijuana legalization measure will be on the Nov. 2 ballot as well.

If California voters approve, it will be the most comprehensive reform of marijuana laws ever undertaken in the United States. While some states, such as Oregon, have relatively lax penalties for possession, no state has attempted to regulate and tax the herb before.

The measure’s chances are good: A poll taken last April found that 56 percent of Californians want to see the herb legalized and taxed.

According to the L.A. Times, the measure would make it legal for anyone over 21 to own an ounce or less of pot, and to grow pot for personal use in a space no larger than 25 square feet. It would also give cities the right to license marijuana growers and sellers, and to collect taxes on the crop.

Breckenridge, Colorado voters legalize marijuana, paraphernalia

Hopefully, this will start a trend. And hopefully, the feds will butt out; if not, hopefully the town (and the state) will stand up to them (the feds).

From Raw Story:

Voters in the ski resort town of Breckenridge, Colorado legalized marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia by a nearly three-to-one margin on Tuesday.

It is the first municipality in the United States to allow paraphernalia, such as pipes, bongs and bubblers.

“[The measure] passed 73 percent to 27 percent,” ABC 7 News in Denver reported.

Continue reading

Obama issues new medical marijuana rules: No arrests

From Raw Story:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration will not seek to arrest medical marijuana users and suppliers as long as they conform to state laws, under new policy guidelines to be sent to federal prosecutors Monday.

Two Justice Department officials described the new policy to The Associated Press, saying prosecutors will be told it is not a good use of their time to arrest people who use or provide medical marijuana in strict compliance with state laws.

The new policy is a significant departure from the Bush administration, which insisted it would continue to enforce federal anti-pot laws regardless of state codes.

Fourteen states allow some use of marijuana for medical purposes: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and Washington.

California is unique among those for the widespread presence of dispensaries — businesses that sell marijuana and even advertise their services. Colorado also has several dispensaries, and Rhode Island and New Mexico are in the process of licensing providers, according to the Marijuana Policy Project, a group that promotes the decriminalization of marijuana use.

Attorney General Eric Holder said in March that he wanted federal law enforcement officials to pursue those who violate both federal and state law, but it has not been clear how that goal would be put into practice.

A three-page memo spelling out the policy is expected to be sent Monday to federal prosecutors in the 14 states, and also to top officials at the FBI and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Los Angeles DA: ‘About 100%’ of medical marijuana dispensaries are illegal

At about the same time that California is considering completely legalizing pot, this guy is going after the dispensaries.

From Raw Story:

In spite of a law on California books for over a decade which allows the sale of medical cannabis to properly licensed patients, the district attorney in Los Angeles County is preparing an all-out legal assault against the “vast majority” of dispensaries.

“Hundreds of dispensaries operate under a 1996 voter initiative that allowed medical marijuana use, and a state law that allows for collective growing of marijuana,” NBC Los Angeles reported. “But based on a state Supreme Court decision last year, [LA County District Attorney Steve] Cooley has concluded that over-the-counter sales are illegal. Most if not all of the dispensaries in the state operate on that basis.”

“The vast, vast, vast majority, about 100%, of dispensaries in Los Angeles County and the city are operating illegally, they are dealing marijuana illegally, according to our theory,” Cooley said, according to The Los Angeles Times. “The time is right to deal with this problem.”

That “problem” — over the counter sales of marijuana to licensed patients — accounted for some $18 million in tax revenue for the state last year, reported The Christian Science-Monitor, during a time when California is facing the greatest budgetary challenges in its history.

However, those with prescriptions for marijuana account for roughly 10 percent of the state’s marijuana users, according to a California NORML report (PDF link) prepared for the Oakland Civil Liberties Alliance.

“In a radio interview on KABC-AM (790), Cooley reiterated his plan to close down many of the 800 to 900 medical marijuana shops believed to be operating in the city of Los Angeles,” noted the Contra-Costa Times.

“We will give them fair notice and, hopefully, they will see the light and voluntarily close down,” Cooley reportedly said. “We are going to uphold the laws of California.”

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a group which advocates the nation-wide legalization of cannabis for adults, strongly disagrees.

“Last year, the state’s attorney general issued a legal opinion that clearly stated that ‘a properly organized and operated collective or cooperative that dispenses medical marijuana through a storefront may be lawful under California law,'” MPP noted in Opposing Views. “Maybe Cooley didn’t get the memo.”

They continued: “If Cooley is somehow successful in eliminating L.A.’s medical marijuana facilities, the effect would be disastrous for patients forced to find their medicine in the underground market and would be a boon to the violent drug cartels that often supply that market. Voters in Los Angeles — who overwhelmingly support medical marijuana — are probably scratching their heads trying to figure out why their district attorney wants to enrich criminal drug dealers at the expense of patients.”

“Cooley and other officials say that in addition to selling to minors and others who do not use the drug for medical purposes, some of the dispensaries sell marijuana laced heavily with insecticides that endanger users even as they help finance Mexican drug cartels,” Contra-Costa added.

There are three voter-sponsored initiatives circulating California at the moment which seek to put complete legalization and taxation of marijuana on the state-wide ballot in 2010, according to the Orange County Register.

“If one of these initiatives passes, California would become the first state to legalize marijuana and impose a tax on it, a move proponents say could help get the state out of an unprecedented budget crisis,” the paper reported.

DA Cooley’s first targeted dispensary is “Organica,” in Culver City, according to Mercury News.

“We have our strategy and we think we are on good legal ground,” Cooley said, the LA Times noted.

Marijuana is California’s most valuable cash crop, responsible for over $14 billion in annual sales, according to Time magazine. If legalized and taxed, it could produce $1.3 billion or more in revenues for the state, California tax collectors have estimated.

Psychiatrist: Prohibition makes pot more harmful

From Raw Story:

The prohibition on marijuana makes its use a more addictive habit, says a prominent author and psychiatrist.

Dr. Julie Holland, a psychiatrist at the New York University School of Medicine and author of Weekends at Bellevue, told Matt Lauer of NBC’s Today Show that the feelings of shame and suspicion associated with an illegal habit, as well as the adrenaline kick it fuels, all make marijuana use more habit-forming and harmful than it needs to be.

“The fact that [marijuana is] illegal is a very big deal,” Holland said. “People have to hide and they feel like criminals and there’s a lot of shame and guilt, and it ends up making … it decreases self-esteem a little bit and it makes [the habit] more adrenalized. The fact that you add adrenaline into it, and you have to hide and you have shame, can make it more addictive and more dangerous.”

Holland and Lauer were discussing a recent article in Marie Claire magazine that argues marijuana use is gaining social acceptability among female professionals, a trend that bucks the common perception of potheads as young and lacking in ambition.

That article cites a study from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in stating that eight million women in the United States have smoked pot in the past year. That figure, as Lauer pointed out, did not include teenagers experimenting with the drug.

Marie Claire editor-in-chief Joanna Coles disagreed with Holland’s view that there is a large social stigma attached to smoking marijuana.

“I have to say, that’s not what we are hearing from readers,” she said on the Today Show. “First of all, it’s decriminalized in 13 states, and I don’t think this is a generation of people who get excited about the fact that it’s illegal.”

The inspiration for the article, Coles said, was “hearing from readers that they were feeling stressed. Clearly, the economy is a great deal of stress for people and they wanted a way to unwind. And they found more and more of them were doing this [smoking marijuana] and they found it had less impact on them when they were going to work the next morning. So they didn’t want to drink. It’s cheap and they felt they could do it in the privacy of their own home, and it was a very effective way to calm down.”

Holland agreed that marijuana may be a less harmful drug than alcohol, saying that marijuana has “psycho-therapeutic” properties that booze lacks.

“It’s more of a mind drug,” she said. “Alcohol’s sort of a deadening, numbing… maybe more like a body drug.”

On pot, “people are unwinding and they’re relaxing, but they’re also able to think and maybe analyze or think clearly … I think cannabis is … more functional than alcohol, certainly in terms of anxiety. It can be a treatment or a medicine.”

Coles added that the Marie Claire article seems to have struck a nerve with readers.

“Feedback from our readers is really that they’re very pleased that they recognize themselves” in the article, Coles said.

This video is from NBC’s Today Show, broadcast Sept. 30, 2009.


Download video via RawReplay.com