By Martin Williams
WCL News — Police in the US conducted one drug arrest every 20 seconds and one marijuana arrest every 42 seconds in 2012, according to a Federal Bureau of Investigation report released September 16, 2013. The Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program report counts one arrest for each separate instance in which a person is arrested, cited, or summoned for an offense.
It shows that 82.2% of all drug arrests in 2012 were for possession only and 42.4% of all drug arrests were for marijuana possession (88% of all marijuana arrests). This amounts to almost 750,000 marijuana arrests and more than 1.5 million total drug arrests in 2012. The total represents a slight decrease from years past. During the years 2006 to 2010, police annually made over 800,000 arrests for cannabis violations.
By comparison, police made 757,969 arrests in 2011 for marijuana-related offenses, according to the annual Uniform
Read More: Small drop in marijuana arrests, US still near record high
By Allison B. Margolin, Attorney at Law
WCL News — Many, many marijuana felons can and should vote. With the next election cycle right around the corner, it is imperative for current and ex-felons to know and exercise their right to vote when the law allows them –which is most of the time . This way voters can choose leaders who will most effectively improve the legal, political and social contexts that led to their convictions.
In California, the Court of Appeals ruled in League of Women Voters of CA v. McPherson, 145 Cal. App 4th 1469 (2006), that felons can vote when they are in county jail or off parole. The Court relied on the CA Constitution Article II, Section IV: “The Legislature shall prohibit improper practices that affect elections and shall provide for the disqualification of electors while mentally incompetent or imprisoned or on parole for the conviction
Read More: Many felons can vote unless they are physically in state prison
By Martin Williams
WCL News — The California Assembly voted September 4, 2013 to let prosecutors charge personal possession of illicit drugs as a misdemeanor rather than a felony case, as circumstances warrant. The bill, SB649 authored by Sen. Mark Leno (D-San Francisco), passed with 41 votes and bipartisan support. It cleared the Senate earlier and now heads toward the governor’s desk after concurrence.
Current law provides for up to three years of prison, even for a small amount of drugs intended for personal consumption. The option of filing misdemeanor charges is expected to help reduce prison and jail overcrowding in California and potentially reduce overall court costs because misdemeanor offenses do not require setting a preliminary hearing, as felony charges do.
A statewide poll conducted by Tulchin Research in 2012 found that an overwhelming majority of Californians support this type of drug sentencing reform, with 75% favoring prevention and
Read More: California Assembly votes to reduce drug possession penalty
A "Free Marc" Emery tee shirt hangs above a cannabis garden. Photo by Chris Conrad.
The West Coast Leaf has learned that Marc Emery, the Canadian activist and businessman who has been held in US federal prison since 2010, has received approval for transfer to a Canadian prison. More details to come as they become clear.
By Kris Hermes
WCL News — President Barack Obama’s administration has spent 50% more tax dollars in its effort to block medical access to cannabis by patients in states that have legalized its use than Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush combined. Likewise, three out of four federal civil forfeiture cases against medical marijuana-related properties were filed by his administration.
Far from his 2008 election promise not to waste federal resources going after state-legal marijuana and his 2009 pledge to respect state law, Obama has committed nearly every federal agency to focus on medical use and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has made the war on patients its highest priority.
Medical marijuana advocacy group Americans for Safe Access (ASA) issued a June 14, 2013 report detailing the costs of the federal government’s years-long enforcement effort in states that have adopted medical marijuana laws. Notably, the report, which is entitled “What’s
Read More: Obama has spent over $300 million to block medical marijuana from patients
As the West Coast Leaf goes on hiatus, as announced in our previous issue, we would like to again thank our writers, advertisers, subscribers and helpers for making it possible for us to publish “the cannabis newspaper of record.”
These past five years have been among the most exciting in the history of reform, and we are glad to have played a role in informing and inspiring people to create change. See WestCoastLeaf.com as to our future plans
By Jeffrey Steinborn, Attorney at law, potbust.org
While everyone you know may think it’sfine to use cannabis responsibly, 750,000Americans get busted for it every year.Here are 10 keys to staying out of jail.
1. Break only one law at a time. If you’reholding or using cannabis — that’s one.Don’t break any more. Particularly in yourcar, all laws must be religiously obeyed.
2. Practice home hygiene. Sooner or later,someone is going to come to your housewho might turn you in if s/he sees somethingsuch as a pipe, a joint, a bud or agrow room. These things should alwaysbe kept where they can’t be seen.
3. Never invite trouble home, and don’tdo things that bring police to your house.Smoke out back, away from the frontdoor.
4. Protect the privacy of your home as bestyou can. Remember noise and odors travel.‘Private property’ signs, gates andfences give your lawyer a chance to arguethat the
Read More: How to not get busted
A Question of the West Coast Leaf’s future…
This editorial poses a question to our readers as to how the West Coast Leaf shall proceed. When we launched this newspaper, long-time activists and publishers Chris Conrad and Mikki Norris agreed to produce it for five years and then decide what to do next. As this current issue is Vol. 5 No. 3, we are nearing the end of that cycle, and it is time for us to decide. The upcoming Winter 2012 edition marks the end of this arrangement.
One thing is certain, things will not remain as they are now. Some people say the Internet has displaced the need for authoritative print journalism. Others say that a credible newspaper of record has a singular place and purpose, and it’s time for others to step up to the plate to keep it going. We just know it’s time for
Read More: SAVE THE LEAF
By Angela Bacca, Green-Aid.com
California patient and Vietnam vet Eddy Lepp was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison in 2008 for cultivating marijuana. His attempt to appeal his conviction on religious grounds was denied and he is now on year four of his sentence.
Until recently, Lepp was at Lompoc Federal Prison near Santa Barbara, but he has now been transferred to FCI La Tuna in Texas. While the exact reason is unknown, he believes it is because he “witnessed a lot of corruption and scandal among the guards.” After serving 10 days in “the hole” (solitary confinement), he was abruptly transferred out of state.
In four years of lockup in CA, Lepp had only two visitors. He is likely never to have any visitors in TX. Readers can comfort and support Lepp by writing him at:
Charles Edward Lepp, 90157-011 FCI La Tuna Federal Correctional Institution Federal Satellite
Read More: Eddy Lepp update
By Sharon Letts
Photo submitted by BOP
Double mastectomy survivor and physician Dr. Mollie Fry and her husband, Attorney Dale Schafer, surrendered one year ago, May 2, 2011 in Sacramento on federal cannabis charges. The first physician in the country to decline a plea bargain on principle, Fry stated, “Cannabis is God’s medicine,” and stood by her oath as a physician to do what she feels is best for her patients.
While Fry has been held at minimum-security Camp Dublin in California, Schafer spent the first several months being transferred from one facility to another, as if the Bureau of Prisons didn’’t know what to do with one of the country’s oldest living hemophiliacs. Schafer went through agonizing withdrawal from morphine for his level-10 pain, formerly treated with cannabis.
Fry has turned to her faith and God to see her through. “This place is full of evil and ruined lives,”
Read More: One year of federal prison
By Cheri Sicard, CannabisCheri.com
“I’ve been convicted of 11 felonies but I’m still out of jail and that’s a good thing,” proclaimed a beaming Joe Grumbine after showing up for his Jan. 11, 2012 sentencing hearing only to have the judge recuse himself from the case.
Joe Grumbine outside the Long Beach courthouse Nov. 2, 2011, with one of his youngest supporters, his grandchild Jojo. Photo by Catrina Coleman.
Grumbine had expected to be taken into custody that day, along with former business partner Joe Byron, after being found guilty of 11 counts of marijuana sales in a bizarre trial presided over by the overtly biased octogenarian Judge Charles Sheldon. Byron was also found guilty of tax fraud and electricity theft
Sheldon’s antics included making and sustaining his own objections, coaching the prosecuting attorney and witnesses, publicly castigating the defense attorneys, Allison Margolin and Christopher Glew, and allowing
Read More: Judge in Grumbine/Byron case recuses himself