Releaf Magazine
7Jul/110

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9May/111

COMMANDO AGAINST MM; INDICTED FOR ILLEGAL GUN SALES.

Narc Is So Despised, A Local Strain Of Marijuana Was Named In His 'Honor'

A former Washington drug cop so notorious for his misdeeds and aggressive tactics that a strain of medical marijuana was named after him in retaliation has been federally indicted for unlawfully selling guns.

Roy Alloway spent 32 years in law enforcement, the last 10 of which he was involved in the WestNET regional drug task force. Alloway took something of an unhealthy personal interest in giving additional pain to medical marijuana patients, according to many activists in the area, who "see him as a cop determined to lock up even legal users of pot," wrote Nina Shapiro at the Seattle Weekly.

Alloway made a career of trashing houses and intimidating their occupants, apparently not giving a damn if the people he harassed were legitimately sick or not.

And that's exactly why a potent marijuana strain was named "Alloway" in his "honor." Created by a well-known Everett breeder associated with advocate Steve Sarich of CannaCare, the Alloway strain includes the genetics of popular Seattle strain PermaFrost, with a little White Widow reputedly in the mix as well. 

"Where do you begin?" said Sarich, who was raided by Alloway and WestNET in 2007. "This guy is a real piece of shit, and has been for years," Sarich told Toke of the Town Monday afternoon. "I can't wait to see how many of the cases Alloway was involved with are overturned, if he gets locked away on these charges."

​For just one example of how he habitually got down, there was the infamous May 2010 raid by Alloway and other WestNET goons of an Olalla, Washington home linked to a Tacoma medical marijuana dispensary known as North End Club 420.

According to a mom who lived at the house, the Rambo wanna-be's handcuffed her 14-year-old son, took money kept in the Mickey Mouse purse of her nine-year-old daughter and seemed to take an unsavory glee in loudly announcing that their dad was "going to jail" because he was a "drug dealer."

As if that weren't enough, clueless WestNET agents illegally seized signed petitions for marijuana legalization from the home (they were later forced to return the petitions).

Thank goodness that prosecution fell apart, like so many of WestNET's vendettas, I mean cases, when Pierce County prosecutors decided to drop all charges against Guy Casey and Mike Schaef, owners of The Tacoma Patient Resource Center, also known as North End Club 420. Prosecutors said "there were too many holes in the case," and their star witness was a known meth head, thief and violent offender whose testimony was seen as "not credible."

Now it seems Alloway, a former Bremerton police officer, was busily violating the law for years, even as he harassed medical marijuana patients who weren't.

Alloway, 56, allegedly purchased almost 400 guns from three different federally-licensed firearms dealers between January 2005 and November 2010, federal prosecutors say, reports Josh Farley at the Kitsap Times.

When he wasn't busy brandishing his pistol in the faces of medical marijuana patients and handcuffing their children, Alloway was allegedly selling pistols to undercover agents with the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives during gun shows.

Federal agents accuse Alloway of selling the guns without being properly licensed for the purpose of making a profit.

Alloway, a longtime Bremerton undercover narcotics detective, worked for both the West Sound Narcotics Enforcement Team (WestNET), a task force made up of officers from several local agencies, and the Bremerton Police Department's Special Operations Group.

He retired in May 2010 after a career "full of commendations." Yes, they're still decorating police for harassing medical marijuana patients.

The statutory maximum for Alloway's alleged crime as charged is five years in federal prison.

Alloway's South Kitsap home was raided by federal agents in November as part of a sweep of several suspects accused of illegal gun sales around Western Washington.

Federal prosecutors emphasized that the paperwork required during gun sales is important, because law enforcement can trace the weapon's sale, should the gun ever be used in a crime.

So, ironically, big "law and order" guy Alloway probably did far more to facilitate real crimes -- including cop killings -- than all the medical marijuana patients he ever hassled.

"Gun shows are legal, but funneling illegal gun sales through gun shows is not," said U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan. "Illegal gun sales allow guns to get in the wrong hands and blocks [sic] our ability to trace guns used in violent crimes. These defendants knew better, but put their profit ahead of the safety of the community."

- Isn't That a HOOT! 
T$M

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7May/111

UH OH, MICHIGAN…

Lawsuit threat leveled as Holland Township has first reading of its medical marijuana rules

HOLLAND TOWNSHIP — Threats of a lawsuit and accusations of violating the law were leveled at the Township Board Thursday during the first reading of its medical marijuana distribution ordinance.

Monica Bakker, a representative of a local medical marijuana dispensary, accused the seven-member board of staying behind after the adjournment of its March 3 meeting to discuss and give instructions on a ordinance being prepared by the township Planning Commission.

“You violated the Michigan Open Meetings Act and broke the law and we intend to sue the township if this passes. We do not want to do that,” said Bakker, community outreach director of Patient Solutions 421, which currently operates a dispensary in the township.

Township Supervisor Terry Nienhuis denied the board violated Open Meetings Act.
“It didn’t occur. It’s an incorrect statement,” Nienhuis said, declining to comment further on the accusation.

Township planners approved an ordinance requiring the licensing of the premise used for the growing and dispensing of medical marijuana. Only the address of the facility will be needed for the license, not the name of the caregiver.

The proposed ordinance does not permit dispensaries, or require the names and addresses of patients.

“We feel the intent of the state law is for individual caregivers to provide medical marijuana. We don’t want to see a lot of storefronts (for distribution) that could multiply,” Nienhuis said.

Joe Cain, CEO of Michigan Medical Marijuana Association, called the ordinance “unconstitutional and illegal” and said he would also sue the board on behalf of patients if it is approved.

“Only the Michigan Legislature with a three-quarters majority can change the (medical marijuana) act, not this board,” said Cain, calling the collection of addresses for caregivers the same as requiring names.

The board has the medical marijuana ordinance on its May 19 agenda for a second reading and consideration.

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7May/111

The New Sheriff of Medical Marijuana :: OBAMA!

Washington’s carefully restricted policy on medical marijuana – enacted by voters in 1998 – got along fine for 10 years without attracting much notice from the U.S. Justice Department.

No big mystery. Few people, including federal prosecutors, have any interest in preventing seriously ill people from using the drug when recommended by their doctors after other treatments have failed.

But would-be marijuana profiteers and their political allies – including the Tacoma City Council – weren’t content with the voters’ mandate for a nonprofit system. Perceiving a lax attitude in the Obama administration, they launched a marijuana trafficking industry that – for all the talk about suffering patients – was really about the money. (Ask the sick people being forced to pay as much as $400 an ounce for the drug.)

The Obama administration, it turns out, isn’t so lax after all. Lately, the Justice Department has been warning that sticking the “medical” label on cash-oriented operations won’t stop the feds from prosecuting, fining and confiscating the property of marijuana dealers – and the officials who abet them.

Gov. Chris Gregoire did precisely the right thing last month when she vetoed most of a bill that would have licensed for-profit marijuana dispensaries and grow operations.

Marijuana aficionados have accused her of caving to empty threats from this state’s two U.S. attorneys. In fact, the former attorney general was reading the legal landscape accurately.

The threats are originating in Washington, D.C. – not this state – and they are serious. Multiple states have been getting them, along with dozens of federal raids on marijuana dealers.

This new reality makes the official licensing of marijuana dispensaries a reckless action, for local governments as well as the state.

The Tacoma City Council, which has licensed roughly three dozen, has been waiting on legislative action to back up its local tolerance policy. But the Obama administration has made the Legislature irrelevant to any scheme for selling marijuana. Whatever happens in the special session, the City Council will be exposing landlords and city employees to serious legal risk if it doesn’t shut down anything that resembles a for-profit marijuana operation.

In Olympia, lawmakers would be wise to regroup, stop trying to extend faux legality to the industry and focus on passing a responsible budget this month.

There remains the problem of helping legitimate patients get access to therapeutic marijuana. Unfortunately, hack practitioners have passed out so many medical authorizations to common drug-seekers that it’s impossible to know how big a problem this is.

The industry has employed what amounts to a human shield strategy – hiding thousands of recreational users among the people who genuinely need the drug. It has every financial incentive to keep the numbers of “patients” as high as possible, and it takes only a handful of quacks and fly-by-night clinics to mass-produce the dubious authorizations needed to keep the industry swimming in cash.

The biggest favor the Legislature could do for the legitimate patients is enforce what the 1998 initiative envisioned: a strictly nonprofit system in which authorization happens in the context of established doctor-patient relationships. Then allow for a non-profit supply as needed.

Stop the gold rush. Weed out the drug-seekers. As night follows day, the Justice Department will lose interest in this state’s medical marijuana.

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26Apr/113

What a DOPE!

Drug-Bashing Republican Lawmaker Charged For Marijuana

In the latest fine example of Republican high-pocrisy when it comes to cannabis, a high-ranking GOP legislator in Rhode Island is squirming after being charged with driving under the influence of marijuana, possession of marijuana, and possession of "drug paraphernalia."

An embarrassing pot bust would be bad enough for any politician, but this guy -- Rep. Robert Watson -- is a real piece of work who is remembered for making offensive anti-drug, anti-gay and anti-immigrant remarks, reports Kase Wickman at The Raw Story.

In February, Watson said the Rhode Island Legislature had their priorities right -- "if you are a Guatemalan gay man who likes to gamble and smokes marijuana."

Rather than just apologize and move on, Watson -- while a guest on a radio show soon after that misstep, and in response to the understandable outcry over his comments -- said, "I reject the suggestion that it's insulting."

Watson continued to refuse to say he was sorry. "I apologize when appropriate and/or necessary," Watson told the Providence Journal in February. "I identify this situation as representing neither circumstance."

The East Greenwich, R.I., politician recently pooh-poohed debate over the decriminalization of marijuana as not worthy of legislators' time, reports The Associated Press.

Watson was pulled over at a police checkpoint on Friday, according to East Haven police. Officers noted a "strong odor of marijuana" coming from the nervous Republican's car, and charged him with possession and driving under the influence after a search.

The loud-mouthed, bigoted legislator seems to have suddenly gotten a lot quieter.

But his office finally released a statement on Monday in which he denied he was driving under the influence. He claimed he was in Connecticut to help a friend move, and was driving home from dinner when he was stopped.

"Trace evidence of marijuana was discovered and I was charged with operating under the influence, a charge I vehemently deny," Watson said in a prepared statement.

Watson won't face immediate political consequences for his little adventure. Rhode Island's Ethic's Commission won't investigate allegations that fall outside a lawmaker's public duties. So it looks like this two-faced THC-hound will continue having a bully pulpit to badmouth marijuana despite the fact that he enjoys hit himself.

He's been released after signing a $500 bond and promising to appear in court on May 11.

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24Apr/110

Arizona approving 80% +

About 80% of medical marijuana applicants in AZ approved so far


PHOENIX - It has been more than a week since Arizona starting receiving applications for medical marijuana cards.

The results have been surprising. About 1,000 people have applied to have the card since April 14 with approximately 80 percent of applicants being approved.

The average age for a patient is reportedly over 50 years old. Most of them live in the northern part of Phoenix from Surprise to Scottsdale.

“It reflects that fact that this may be at least so far a true medical marijuana program because as you get older you are more likely to have a real debilitating medical condition for which marijuana maybe something that you're looking for relief.”

The most common medical condition reported is chronic pain at 85 percent.

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24Apr/114

Maine gets a little ReLeaf…

Bill eases Maine's medical marijuana rules to do away with patient registration

AUGUSTA, Maine — A bill to ease Maine's regulations on the medical use of marijuana faces a legislative hearing.

The Committee on Health and Human Services holds its hearing Monday. Supporters say it expands and protects the rights of patients and caregivers.

The bill sponsored by Republican Rep. Deborah Sanderson of Chelsea would eliminate a requirement that patients register with the state. It also would take the decision about whether marijuana is appropriate in a given situation out of the hands of the state and let doctors decide.

Sanderson's bill would also prevent cities and towns from placing unreasonable requirements on caregivers and patients.

A separate bill unveiled last week would legalize personal use and private and commercial cultivation of marijuana, and tax consumer purchases at 7 percent.

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22Apr/115

420 Raid on Medical Kush Doctor…

Venice pot doctors shut down after raid by state medical board and police

One of the Venice boardwalk’s eye-catching only-in-California features, the storefront pot doctors who lure patients with barkers, was shut down Wednesday, when the state medical board and law enforcement officers raided three locations linked to Medical Kush Doctor.

Investigators carted boxes and at least two large plastic bags that appeared to contain marijuana out of the deep-blue building next to Muscle Beach that houses a doctor’s office, a smoke shop and a popular dispensary called the Medical Kush Beach Club.

Jennifer Simoes, spokeswoman for the Medical Board of California, said the warrant was sealed. She declined to discuss the reason for the board’s investigation, but said the warrant was served at 1313, 1811 and 2017 Ocean Front Walk.

Attorneys for Medical Kush Doctor raced to the beach, but said they were not allowed on the premises. Graham Berry, one of the lawyers, said the warrant authorized a search of the offices, vehicles and “anything else that your imagination could run to.” He said it also allowed officials to seize records related to the unlicensed practice of medicine. “Since all these doctors appear to be duly licensed, I don’t know what they are referring to,” he said.

Berry said that the raid started about 10:15 a.m. and that by the time he arrived at 11, he found a line of patrol cars, a crowd gathered outside, news cameras and a news helicopter fluttering overhead. “Once I arrived, they pulled the sliding gate door down,” he said.

The Medical Kush Beach Club was also shut down, but Berry said, “It appeared to me that the target was the doctors and the practice of writing recommendations and the collective was a collateral casualty.” The Medical Kush Beach Club is operated by Sean Cardillo, who is also the registered agent for Kush Dr., the limited liability corporation that runs the doctor’s offices.

Cardillo could not be reached for comment.

Stewart Richlin, another attorney who represents Cardillo, said that agents seized 5 pounds of marijuana from the dispensary but that he expected it to be returned. “They involved the Medical Kush Beach Club unfairly,” he said. He added that he did not know whether any cash or equipment was seized but said no one was arrested in the raids.

Richlin said Kush Dr. rents space and provides promotional services for medical marijuana doctors. He said he believed the doctors followed state law in issuing recommendations for marijana use.

“As far as I know, it’s by the book. I’m surprised that this is happening,” he said. “I have a feeling by the time the fat lady sings on this it will be a lot of sound and fury signifying nothing.”
 
Simoes said the operation was conducted with the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office, the Los Angeles Police Department, the county Sheriff’s Department and the state Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, which provided search dogs.

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22Apr/112

LA a day Late, and a dispensary short…

Two lawsuits challenge Los Angeles' lottery plan for medical marijuana dispensaries

Los Angeles' latest plan — to hold a lottery to allow 100 medical marijuana dispensaries to operate — meets resistance from shop owners, who say they've followed all the rules yet still face closure.

By John Hoeffel, Los Angeles Times April 21, 2011

The next round of the costly, drawn-out legal brawl over how to control medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles has begun with two new lawsuits challenging the city's latest ordinance.

The lawsuits, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, follow scores of other suits that stymied the city's fitful attempts to crack down on an unknown number of renegade dispensaries. The new ones could launch another series of judicial hearings and thwart the city's bid to enforce its ordinance.

Some of the oldest medical marijuana collectives in Los Angeles sued on April 13 to overturn the ordinance, which will choose the dispensaries to be allowed in a lottery, a process the lawsuit mocks as "a euphemism for a municipal game of 'Russian Roulette.'"

The 21 dispensaries suing the city are among those the City Council let operate when it adopted a moratorium on new stores in 2007. The city's first ordinance would have allowed them to stay open if they complied with restrictions on locations. But a judge ruled that key aspects of the law were unconstitutional, and the City Council passed a second ordinance that relies on a random drawing to select 100 dispensaries.

"We've done everything, everything that the city told us to do, and we're still sitting here looking at a lottery," said Yamileth Bolanos, the operator of PureLife Alternative Wellness Center, a dispensary on South La Cienega Boulevard. "We're fighting back. We have to fight back."

Bolanos, who also heads a coalition of the dispensaries the city allowed to operate during the moratorium, accused City Atty. Carmen Trutanich of creating an ordinance that could take her business away even though she said she has followed all city directives. "The city attorney has not acted in good faith," she said. "We don't believe that the things that he's done are fair."

House of Kush filed a separate lawsuit on March 21. The Eagle Rock dispensary and possibly hundreds of others were barred from participating in the lottery, which is limited to stores that were open when the city's moratorium took effect on Sept. 14, 2007. "This discriminatory treatment lacks a rational basis or compelling state interest," the lawsuit says.

A third lawsuit could be filed next week, said Stewart Richlin, an attorney who represents some of the dispensaries that successfully challenged the earlier ordinance. "We're going to bring it ASAP for multiple reasons," he said, "especially to stop any perception that this ordinance is constitutionally acceptable."

The city has appealed the judge's decision on its first ordinance, but has also taken steps to hold a lottery. It has accepted applications from 231 dispensaries and has told 206 others to close. Jane Usher, a special assistant city attorney, said the city disputes the claims in the new lawsuits.

Aaron Lachant, an attorney who represents the 21 plaintiffs that sued last week, said he plans to ask for an injunction to halt the lottery. "We'll file it as soon as we can," he said.

Lachant said the lawsuit is intended to protect the rights of those dispensaries the city allowed to remain open in 2007. City officials estimate that about 135 are still in business. "They want to work with the city, but they have not been given a fair chance," Lachant said.

The lawsuit targets the lottery and the process of choosing locations for dispensaries. It describes the lottery as "discriminatory, arbitrary, capricious, confiscatory and oppressive," and it calls the process of allowing the winners to pick their locations in the order they are drawn "a game of musical chairs."

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21Apr/111

Medical marijuana rules advance in Holland

HOLLAND — The City Council on Wednesday took its first step toward approving a medical marijuana ordinance, but some city leaders want to see a provision put that would limit the ability of caregivers to grow and distribute marijuana near school.

The council unanimously approved a first reading of the ordinance, which would make caregivers — those who grow and dispense medical marijuana — a home occupation status. That designation would require such providers to apply for a city permit and give their name and address.

A final vote is scheduled for June 1, but council members could amend the ordinance during a May 25 study session. One possible change could involve prohibiting caregivers from growing or dispensing marijuana within a certain distance of a school.

“I think it’s something that should be given serious consideration,” Councilman Todd Whiteman said. “I have four kids. I think this is something we need state leadership on.”

However, others on the council said the issue of proximity to schools and churches was earlier addressed by the Planning Commission. Mayor Kurt Dykstra, who serves on the planning body, said commissioners dropped the idea of placing a 1,000-foot gap between schools, churches and homes where caregivers could grow and dispense marijuana.

“It took out not just neighborhoods or blocks, but vast sections of the city,” Dykstra said. “It would create almost an exception that swallows the rule.”

Public Safety Director Matt Messer expressed support for some type of “safe zone” around local schools.

“I would not want to see a caregiver open next to a school playground,” Messer said. “I do think we need to give our children some kind of protection.”

The proposal continues to come under criticism from medical marijuana advocates. Kurt Volbeda, a resident of West 20th Street, says the measure discriminates against people who choose to grow marijuana in their own homes.

“The city does not inspect any home occupation residences. So why impose this on (medical marijuana) home occupations? Are medical marijuana growers less trustworthy than other citizens who engage in home occupations?” Volbeda wrote in a letter to the council.

Others expressed concern that the ordinance would still make it possible for marijuana to end up in the wrong hands.

“There’s extensive research that marijuana is addictive, particularly for young people who are much more prone to addictive response,” substance abuse prevention coordinator Lindell Herrick said.

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