Thursday, September 16, 2010
Proposition 19 to legalize marijuana has always had support from many California drug crimes lawyers and medical experts. It now has support from an unexpected quarter-a group of former police and judges. A group of former law enforcement officers have written a letter to support new laws that effectively control and tax cannabis.
The group calls itself the Law Enforcement against Prohibition. According to members of the group who include police officers and judges, the current rules that prohibit marijuana use increase profits and prices, and encourage drug cartels. Legalizing marijuana would allow the drug to be controlled and taxed, and this would effectively cut off a major source of funding for Mexican drug cartels. Besides, the group agreed that legalizing marijuana would ultimately make communities safer.
The support from this group of law enforcement officers is a great boost to supporters of proposition 19. These law enforcement officers have come from all across the country, and they are hoping to influence the voters of California who will decide the fate of proposition 19, come November. They also believe that the more focus that is placed on prosecuting marijuana offenses, the lesser focus there is on preventing violent crimes.
The importance of the letter cannot be underestimated, especially as it comes after a group of important drug enforcement officers wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder last month, asking him to suppress California voters in case they do decide to support proposition 19. That letter was written by former heads of the Drug Agency. The letter expressed concerned that voters will pass proposition 19 and asked Attorney General Holder to do everything he can to suppress any possible vote for legalization. In fact, the group is urging Attorney General Holder to sue California in case of a vote for legalization, just as the federal administration has sued Arizona over the controversial immigration law.
Thursday, July 01, 2010
It’s a fact that every Los Angeles criminal defense lawyer will confirm. African-Americans are much more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than white persons, in spite of the fact that the rates of marijuana usage are lower among blacks than whites. That fact is also confirmed by a study conducted by the Drug Policy Alliance. That fact is also behind a new decision by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons to endorse a November initiative that would legalize marijuana in the state of California.
NAACP chairperson Alice Huffman, this week announced at a press conference in California that her organization would support any move to legalize marijuana in the state. According to Huffman, California's marijuana laws “criminalize” young black men. Huffman is being supported by a number of prominent African-American leaders in California, including Aubry Stone, the president of the California Black Chamber of commerce.
The Drug Policy Alliance recently raised released a report which should hold no surprises for Los Angeles drug crimes lawyers. Marijuana crime defendants are usually given a summons that looks like a traffic ticket. They have no access to a public defender, and may be fined hundreds of dollars. These people are left with a criminal conviction that will show up on criminal databases, and will remain on their employment records for years after. This severely impacts their ability to obtain gainful employment.
According to the Drug Policy Alliance Report, most young Latinos and African Americans who are arrested for possession of marijuana continue to have their job prospects impacted by their criminal conviction. These are people who already face obstacles when it comes to looking for employment, and it doesn't help when they have a criminal conviction for marijuana possession on their record. This is in spite of the fact that these persons use marijuana less than whites.
According to the report, the number of arrests for marijuana possession is actually increasing, while the number of arrests for other crimes like assaults is decreasing. However, the rates of arrests for blacks and Latinos rose 4 times faster than for the rest of the population, spiking from 3,100 in 1990 to 16,300 in 2008.
Friday, March 26, 2010
Well it may seen antithetical to some that in California if you are sentenced to felony or misdemeanor probation, and are ordered to “violate no laws” that you may still be allowed to smoke medical marijuana while on probation. Well, the initial reaction is both correct and incorrect.
First of all, there are many situations in which I have successfully argued for a client to be allowed to continue to use medical marijuana while the client was on probation for a different type of offense such as theft, solicitation, or prostitution.
Now, it is true that Judges are very skeptical of defendants who claim that their medical condition can only be treated with medical marijuana. However, the fact of the matter is that unlike drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin, crack cocaine, or cocaine, marijuana is not believed to create a physical dependency on it and many people do not wish to take pills or medication to address problems such as stress or anxiety. Opponents of medical marijuana, of course, insist that marijuana creates a psychological dependence even if it does not create a physical one. Therefore, depending on the individual facts of the case, a person on probation may still be permitted to smoke medical marijuana, with a valid medical marijuana prescription, provided that his or her criminal defense attorney makes the court aware of the medical situation and ensures that the person is explicitly permitted to do so by the Court.
Unfortunately, when it comes to drug rehabilitation programs in California, such as Proposition 36 (Prop 36) or Deferred Entry of Judgment (DEJ), the client is facing an uphill battle if he or she wishes to use medical marijuana while on probation for an addiction issue even if he or she is in rehabilitation for a totally different type of drug such as methamphetamine, cocaine, crack cocaine, or heroin.
In People v. Brooks 2010 DJ DAR 3977; DJ, 3/17/10, C/A 2nd, Div 6, The Court held that even if a defendant was authorized to use medical marijuana, pursuant to a valid medical marijuana license from an authorized caregiver, in strict conformance with Proposition 215, the Court may still impose a probation condition prohibiting the defendant from using marijuana (while on Prop 36 probation.) And in all likelihood, the fact remains that no matter what the studies show, Courts will continue to prohibit the use of medical marijuana, no matter what the reasons, while a client is on informal or formal probation for a drug-related offense.