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Benton Mackenzie, 48, faces a probable prison sentence after his Wednesday conviction on drug charges, which he views as a “death sentence,” reports Grant Rodgers at The Des Moines Register. “I knew that’s what they were going to do,” Mackenzie said as his wife pushed him in a wheelchair leaving the courthouse, reports Brian Wellner at the Quad-City Times.
The unbelievable guilty verdict on four felony drug charges was delivered by Scott County jurors; Mackenzie’s wife and son were also convicted alongside him.
Police officers in Massachusetts can no longer rely on the odor of unburnt marijuana as probable cause to justify a vehicle search, the state’s Supreme Judicial Court unanimously ruled on Wednesday — even if the smell is “strong” or “very strong,” the justices said.
The court had already ruled in the Commonwealth v. Cruz decision in 2011 that the smell of burnt marijuana was not, in itself, sufficient evidence to stop pedestrians or search vehicles, reports John R. Ellement at The Boston Globe. The court said in that ruling that it would be “legally inconsistent” to allow the cops the make warrantless searches after they smell burned marijuana, when citizens had decided through a statewide referendum that law enforcement should “focus their attention elsewhere.”
The court on Wednesday said it is now extending that same reasoning to cases where the owner has not yet started smoking the marijuana. The justices acknowledged that cannabis has a pungent aroma, but said that odor, by itself, does not allow police to determine whether a person has more than an ounce with them. Possession of an ounce or less of marijuana is not a crime in Massachusetts, where voters chose to decriminalize pot in 2008.
Tourists are responsible for up to 90 percent of recreational marijuana sales in some Colorado ski resort towns, according to a new analysis from the state. Those visitors are infusing tens of millions of dollars into the Mile High marijuana economy.
The study was prepared for state marijuana regulators by the Marijuana Policy Group, which is a collaboration between private consultants and the University of Colorado-Boulder Business Research Division, reports Trever Hughes at USA Today. It says that about 9 percent of Colorado residents are using cannabis at least once per month.
According to the study, which was released on Wednesday, 22 percent of users consume about 70 percent of the marijuana sold in Colorado. The study defines a “heavy marijuana user” as someone consuming a gram or more a day at least 21 days monthly.
A new Reason-Rupe study and survey of 2,000 Americans between the ages of 18 and 29 years old finds 57 percent of this demographic — known as the millennials –believe the government should allow the recreational use of marijuana. Just 39 percent were opposed.
More than 8 of every 10 millennials — 83 percent — think that marijuana users should either face no penalties, be fined, or have to attend rehabilitation. Just 14 percent say marijuana users should go to jail.
The Reason-Rupe report finds 74 percent of millennials say government has a responsibility to guarantee every citizen has a place to sleep and enough to eat. Seventy-one percent favor raising the federal minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, and 69 percent say it is government’s responsibility to provide everyone with health care insurance.
The Brooklyn district attorney’s office on Tuesday announced that it will immediately stop prosecuting most low-level marijuana cases. The policy change comes after months of resistance from the New York Police Department.
“This new policy is a reasonable response to the thousands of low-level marijuana arrests that weigh down the criminal justice system, require significant resources that could be redirected to more serious crimes and take an unnecessary toll on offenders,” DA Kenneth P. Thompson said in a release.
Those caught with under 25 grams of pot will have their cases dismissed prior to arraignment, which has been happening more and more often anyway, reports Christopher Robbins at Gothamist. “Given that these cases are ultimately—and predictably—dismissed, the burdens that they pose on the system and the individual are difficult to justify. We are pouring money into an endeavor that produces no public safety benefit,” Thompson said.
Twenty months after Washington’s voters approved limited marijuana legalization measure Initiative 502, the first licensed recreational cannabis stores in the state opened on Tuesday to long lines. With only four shops open statewide of 24 that received licenses on Monday, prices were high and competition was nonexistent.
Thomas Snyder of Richland went to Altitude in Prosser at 9 a.m. for Tuesday’s grand opening. “I didn’t actually go inside,” Snyder told Hemp News on Wednesday. “I decided we couldn’t afford two grams (at $30 each), so I let my wife go in while I watched the kids in the car.”
“The place was very professional,” Snyder told us. “The line was maybe an hour and a half wait when we got there an hour after they opened. Twice while I was waiting, the staff came outside and handed out bottled water and soda.”
Matt Anton, the man who offered marijuana to the President, posted footage of Obama on his Instagram account with the caption, “Asked him if he wanted a hit of pot … he laughed! #legalizeit #inhaled,” reports Dave Boyer at The Washington Times.
As the President’s motorcade came into Denver from the airport, someone had held up a sign reading, “Free Weed for Obama.”
Toke Signals Must Read of the Week
“While I do my best to keep positive and stick to doing my time, there are things out in the world that do affect me here. I have not felt this depressed and upset since first entering federal prison. I cannot describe what it is like to be in prison, you have to experience it for yourself to understand, but I hope you never have to experience it!”
~ Chris Williams