CLEVELAND — Ohioans wanting medical marijuana have been crossing the border into Michigan, where some Detroit-area dispensaries will sell to out-of-staters who are issued recommendations for cannabis use months ahead of the drug becoming available in their home state, according to officials from a company providing the recommendations.
Those recommendations, given by doctors working for a Toledo business or any other Ohio physician, won’t necessarily help someone in court if they are busted for having pot into Ohio. Possession of less than 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces) is a minor misdemeanor in Ohio with a maximum $150 fine, but could lead to someone losing their driving privileges for six months.[related_articles location=”left” show_article_date=”false” article_type=”automatic-primary-section” curated_ids=””]While it’s a violation of federal law to cross state lines with marijuana, legally obtained or not, the likelihood of someone being prosecuted federally for carrying smaller amounts of marijuana is negligible.
Ohio’s medical law was approved last year and requires that dispensaries must open by September 2018. The Ohio Attorney General’s Office says marijuana possession, medical or otherwise, remains illegal while state agencies write the rules and regulations on how cannabis can be grown and sold.
The doctors working for Toledo’s Omni Medical Services are relying on an ambiguous provision in the new law that says doctors can give people “affirmative defense” letters to use in court if cited or arrested for possession ahead of dispensaries opening.
The state medical board said it would investigate complaints against physicians who have recommended medical marijuana, but did not say whether doctors who followed the provision’s requirements could face discipline.
“We’re not here to serve people to get high,” Johnson said. “That’s not what we’re about.”
— Associated Press
FRESNO — Chief Jerry Dyer said the Fresno Police Department took a public relations hit when former deputy chief Keith Foster was convicted of federal drug charges.
But Dyer said, “the personal choices and actions of one individual does not translate into an organizational problem or corruption.”
In his first detailed response to Foster’s conviction on May 23, Dyer asked the public not to lose faith in his department. He also said the public’s perception of the department is so important to him that he wants his officers to be held “to the highest standard” in order “to gain and maintain the trust of our citizens.”
The case against Foster — Dyer’s second in command, longtime friend, and apparent heir — was built on wiretaps and surveillance by federal agents. Foster, 53, was convicted in U.S. District Court in Fresno of conspiring to traffic heroin and marijuana. The jury deadlocked on six other felony charges. Foster is to be sentenced in October.
In his trial, Foster contended the wiretaps show he was secretly gathering evidence for narcotics detectives. Dyer played a key role in the trial, testifying for the prosecution and debunking Foster’s undercover defense.
Dyer acknowledged the backlash, saying “I do recognize that certain folks may have lost confidence and trust in this department.” But he said, “it is my hope that the entire department will not be judged by the actions of one individual.”
Dyer also also said “there is absolutely no indication that any other department member was involved in or had knowledge of Foster’s criminal activity.”
— Fresno Bee
MADISON, Wis. — A Republican state lawmaker joined three Democrats in a longshot effort to loosen the penalties for possessing small amounts of marijuana in Wisconsin.
Rep. Adam Jarchow, of Balsam Lake, said at a Tuesday news conference that he realized the need for the proposal after voters he met in his district repeatedly urged him to reconsider the state’s approach to marijuana.
“If people in rural Northwestern Wisconsin in a conservative district think we need to change course, then maybe we do,” he said.
The measure from Jarchow, Sen. Fred Risser and Reps. Evan Goyke and Jonathan Brostoff would cap the penalty for possessing 10 grams or less of marijuana at $100 and remove the possibility of jail time or being charged with a felony for subsequent offenses. The current maximum penalty is $1,000 and six months in jail for a first conviction and any subsequent convictions are felonies. It wouldn’t change the penalties for marijuana dealers who possess large amounts of the drug.
“It seems to me to be pretty odd that possession of a couple joints could land you in jail or prison,” Jarchow said.
Risser said having a small amount of marijuana doesn’t endanger other peoples’ lives and therefore shouldn’t be harshly punished. Marijuana possession arrests account for about 5 percent of all arrests, according to a Legislative Fiscal Bureau analysis.
The proposal faces an uphill battle with Republicans who control the Legislature.
“I’m not naive to think that we are going to pass this and get it signed into law,” Jarchow said, adding that he hopes the bill will get a hearing and start a bipartisan conversation.
Finally, some fake news. From the Associated Press’ roundup of “news” stories making the rounds on social media that aren’t really true:
NOT REAL: NASA Will Pay You $18,000 To Stay In Bed And Smoke Weed For 70 Straight Days
THE FACTS: NASA has been willing to pay people willing to stay in bed, but there was no marijuana involved in the offer. The space agency’s website says bed rest studies give scientists information on how the body adapts to weightlessness. NASA spokesman William Jeffs tells the AP that the story is “absolutely untrue” and the agency hasn’t conducted bed rest studies for some time.
— Associated Press