Pro-pot advocate defends self on marijuana charges

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Katie Fretland, USA TODAY NETWORK – Tennessee

Wearing a cannabis plant necklace and a long black robe, pro-pot advocate Thorne Peters defended himself on marijuana charges and a gun charge Wednesday in an afternoon punctuated by yelling between him and the judge.

Judge Bobby Carter repeatedly asked Peters to stop editorializing and opining in front of the jury as Peters acted as his own attorney during the first day of testimony in his trial in Shelby County Criminal Court.

“This is not productive,” Carter said.

“I know it’s not,” said Peters, who told The Commercial Appeal he had smoked as much pot as he possibly could on Wednesday.

“And it’s because of you,” Carter said.

“No, it’s because of you,” Peters told the judge, who immediately asked the jury to step out.

“This is your last chance. You are in contempt. You are absolutely in contempt of this court,” Carter said, before telling Peters to stop pulling out documents, stop characterizing them in front of the jury and stop waving them around.

“You have to control yourself,” the judge said.

The first day of testimony was heard in front of a group of a dozen public defenders and prosecutors who watched the trial.

At one point in his discussions with the judge, Peters implored Carter to “swing the gavel and end the siege of prohibition.”

“No, I couldn’t,” Carter said.

“You can,” Peters said.

“No, I couldn’t,” Carter reiterated.
The charges against Peters, who pulled paperwork to run as an independent for Shelby County mayor in the Aug. 2 election, stem from an arrest Feb. 3, 2015 in a search warrant for him at his girlfriend’s address in the 700 block of Marianna Street in Orange Mound.

“I’m proud to be a pot salesman,” he told authorities in a tape played for the jury.

On the day of his arrest, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Narcotics division and the Multi-Agency Gang Unit served a search warrant naming Peters as the suspect, according to a law enforcement affidavit. Detectives approached the residence and cut a lock to the front gate and entered the property.

Two large dogs charged the detectives, according to the affidavit, and a sheriff’s sergeant fired a less lethal shotgun round. A pit bull named Muggles was shot in the face. He lived but lost his right eye and hearing on his right side. None of the officers was injured.

Muggles was shot with a less lethal round in the face by a Shelby County Sheriff's sergeant while the sheriff's office Narcotics division and the Multi-Agency Gang Unit executed a search warrant with Thorne Peters as a suspect on Feb. 3, 2015. Muggles lost an eye and hearing on his right side from the shooting.

Muggles was shot with a less lethal round in the face by a Shelby County Sheriff’s sergeant while the sheriff’s office Narcotics division and the Multi-Agency Gang Unit executed a search warrant with Thorne Peters as a suspect on Feb. 3, 2015. Muggles lost an eye and hearing on his right side from the shooting. (Photo: Mark Weber/The Commercial Appeal)

Detectives then forced entry through the front door of the house. Peters and Linda Harrah were found in the dining room and taken into custody.

The affidavit says a detective searched the front room of the house and found a Gendarmeria Nacional .45 caliber pistol. A plastic baggie of 14.8 grams of suspected marijuana, a wooden pipe, glass pipe and two baggies of marijuana cigarette butts were found in the dining room.

Detective Jeremy Drewery, who has since been terminated from the sheriff’s office and convicted in federal court of unlawfully taking money from a drug dealer in 2016 and trying to have a witness killed, was also part of the search. The affidavit says Drewery searched a northwest bedroom and found three jars of suspected marijuana weighing 339 grams, a digital scale and five glass pipes. He also found $403 in a tin box, the affidavit says.

Drewery searched Harrah’s purse and found $184 which was released back to her, and 4.8 grams of suspected marijuana, according to the affidavit.

All of the suspected marijuana tested positive for THC, according to the affidavit.

Peters, who has represented himself before, has two previous misdemeanor marijuana convictions on his record. Three felony drugs counts were previously dismissed, according to court records.

The trial was still underway late Wednesday afternoon.

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https://www.facebook.com/thorne.peters

Lexology Report: Congress temporarily de-funds US-DOJ medical marijuana prosecution but does not legalize medical marijuana

  • Littler Mendelson
  • Dale L. Deitchler

     

    • USA
    • December 30 2014

     

    Dale L. Deitchler Author page »

    In a few short paragraphs within the 1,603-page congressional spending bill signed into law on December 16, 2014, Congress prohibited the U.S. Department of Justice from using federal funds to prosecute users, growers and distributors of medical marijuana in states that have enacted medical marijuana statutes.  The full text of the de-funding rider barring the DOJ from the use of funds to “prevent. . . implementation” of state and local laws legalizing medical marijuana states:

    Sec. 538. None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

    Sec. 539. None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (“Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113-79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    Several U.S. Supreme Court decisions have upheld prosecution of medical marijuana growers and users under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA).  Nevertheless, the Obama Administration, as a matter of policy, has directed the DOJ to take a relaxed approach to prosecution and the DOJ has done so, except for use that impacts the DOJ’s “enforcement priorities” (e.g., preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors, preventing the revenue from the sale of marijuana from going to criminal enterprises, gangs and cartels).  This new de-funding measure now codifies that policy approach as law.  (Notably, the rider does not affect IRS or Treasury Department actions relating to payment of taxes by marijuana suppliers and online banking).

    The legislation, however, does not legalize medical marijuana.  Rather, the federal ban on marijuana continues – i.e., both medical and recreational marijuana continue to be illegal under CSA Schedule I.  And, though de-funding may affect enforcement of criminal laws in states with medical marijuana statutes, it has no effect in states that have not legalized marijuana, nor does it express any limitations on employer action on the basis of a positive marijuana test result administered under a workplace drug testing policy.  Finally, the rider expires on September 30, 2015, and may or may not be renewed heading into the heart of the presidential election campaign in the fall of 2015.  For all of these reasons, though significant in reflecting current legislators’ thinking at the national level regarding CSA enforcement, the mere enactment of the spending bill with this provision does not warrant adjustment to drug testing policies of employers choosing to continue to treat confirmed positive marijuana test results as positive even when the result was caused by medicinal use that is lawful under state or local law.

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  • Federal Spending Bill Blocks Funding For Medical Marijuana Raids, Legalization In D.C.

    The proposed congressional budget released Tuesday night prevents the Department of Justice from using funds to undermine state laws regarding medical marijuana.

    posted on Dec. 9, 2014, at 9:20 p.m.

    Michelle Broder Van Dyke BuzzFeed News Reporter

     

    The House budget passed Tuesday night prevents the Department of Justice and Drug Enforcement Administration from using funds to interfere with state laws that legalize medical marijuana.

    The amendment was introduced by California Reps. Dana Rohrabacher, a Republican, and Sam Farr, a Democrat, and was approved by the House of Representatives in May. It implies that DEA raids on medical marijuana patients in states where it is legal will stop.

    The budget Senate proposal — which must still go back to the House for a full vote before it lands on President Obama’s desk — would keep all but the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) operating normally through the end of the fiscal year in 2015.

    The compromise bill was approved with Republicans agreeing to put off a fight with Obama over his immigration policies until February, when funding for the DHS is slated to run out, the Associated Press reported.

    The bill’s Section 538, which addresses medical marijuana, reads:

    None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, and Wisconsin, to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

    The bill also includes a section that protects industrial hemp cultivation.

    None of the funds made available by this Act may be used in contravention of section 7606 (”Legitimacy of Industrial Hemp Research”) of the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Public Law 113–79) by the Department of Justice or the Drug Enforcement Administration.

    AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty

    Marijuana advocates were pleased with the bill.

    Tom Angell, founder of Marijuana Majority, said in statement to BuzzFeed News: “Congressional leaders seem to have finally gotten the message that a supermajority of Americans wants states to be able to implement sensible marijuana reforms without federal interference.”

    Angell also urged the Obama administration to use this opportunity to “reschedule marijuana immediately.” Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug, meaning it’s a dangerous narcotic with no accepted medical use. Heroin and LSD are also classified Schedule I, while cocaine and methamphetamine are Schedule II, a lower ranking.

    Advocates say reclassifying the drug would allow for state and federal laws to be in sync, and conserve law enforcement resources. It would also ease access to research of the drug and tension between banks and marijuana retailers.

    Erik Altieri, communication director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, also released a statement that said: “By restricting these agencies in this manner, the nearly two dozen states that implemented medical marijuana programs can hopefully breathe easier knowing federal money won’t be spent to interfere with their progress. We hope this leads to further reforms at the federal level further enshrining this sentiment into law.”

    The bill also effectively blocks the legalization of recreational marijuana use in Washington, D.C., but preserves its decriminalization law.

    Voters in Washington, D.C., overwhelmingly passed a recreational marijuana referendum on the November ballot, which is now effectively blocked. The District passed a decriminalization bill in April that will remain intact.

    The proposed bill’s appropriations section, which allocates millions in funds to the district, states:

    “None of the Federal funds contained in this Act may be used to enact or carry out any law, rule, or regulation to legalize or otherwise reduce penalties associated with the possession, use, or distribution of any schedule I substance under the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et seq.) or any tetrahydrocannabinols derivative.”

    Unlike most states, Washington, D.C., doesn’t take in any local revenue that it can spend and receives all of its funding from the federal government, so the ban on using funds for legalization effectively blocks the referendum voters recently passed.

    Earlier on Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, said of the rider: “I’m opposed to what the House is trying to do.”

    “If they put it in there, it’s going to be hard to take it out over here,” he added.

    Marijuana advocates in Washington D.C. and those who advocate for the district’s autonomy were not pleased. D.C. Cannabis Campaign, which sponsored the ballot measure to legalize weed, tweeted the following:

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    Mummy Proves America Is 2,400 Years Behind On Medical Marijuana

    mummyemebed

    Photo: Via Wikimedia Commons.

    A 2,400-year-old “Siberian Ice Maiden” apparently knew something that not all US lawmakers do: Cannabis is a perfect palliative for cancer.
    Discovered in 1993 by archaeologist Natalia Polosmak, the mummified remains of this woman, also known as the “Princess of Ukok,” were recently examined by a team of Russian scientists. They found that the woman, who was heavily tattooed and died when she was between 20 and 30 years old, suffered from and ultimately succumbed to breast cancer.
    “‘I am quite sure of the diagnosis — she had cancer,” one of the scientists told the Siberian Times. “She was extremely emaciated. Given her rather high rank in society and the information scientists obtained studying mummies of elite Pazyryks, I do not have any other explanation of her state. Only cancer could have such an impact.”
    The researchers also believe that the woman used cannabis to treat herself. A container of the herb was found in her burial chamber, along with a “cosmetics bag.”
    “Probably for this sick woman, sniffing cannabis was a forced necessity,” another scientist said, noting that wine, hashish, opium, henbane, mandrake, aconite, and Indian hemp were all used at the time as painkillers. “And she was often in altered state of mind. We can suggest that through her could speak the ancestral spirits and gods. Her ecstatic visions in all likelihood allowed her to be considered as some chosen being, necessary and crucial for the benefit of society. She can be seen as the darling of spirits and cherished until her last breath.”
    Hey, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas, Louisiana, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania: Stick that in your pipe and smoke it. (Siberian Times)

    Tennessee Representative proposes medical marijuana bill

    By Kym Clark – bio | email

    A proposal to legalize medical marijuana is once again advancing in the Tennessee House.

    A proposal to legalize medical marijuana is once again advancing in the Tennessee House.

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    MEMPHIS, TN –

    (WMC-TV) – A proposal to legalize medical marijuana is once again advancing in the Tennessee House.
    A companion bill is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Government Operations Committee.  The House Health Subcommittee approved the measure on a voice vote Tuesday.
    A previous proposal to legalize medical marijuana made it through Tennessee House committees two years ago, but did not fare well in the Senate.  The sponsor of the latest bill, 89th District Representative Jeanne Richardson, thinks her bill might just pass.
    "Medical cannabis is becoming more generally accepted in our society," said Richardson.
    The democrat, representing part of midtown Memphis, points to Gallup Poll results for support.
    "Over 80 percent of the American population feels that medical cannabis should be legalized," said Richardson.
    Richardson said she believes her bill has a better chance of becoming law due to an increase in medical marijuana use around the country, legally or not, to treat chronic and life-threatening illnesses.
    "It’s making people understand, mo matter which side of the political spectrum it’s on, that it is a compassionate way to treat certain illnesses," said Richardson.
    Richardson claimed the proposed bill would create some of the toughest access standards among states that have already enacted medical cannabis laws.
    Sixteen states and the District of Columbia have already passed bills legalizing medical marijuana.
    Richardson said most legislators she has talked with in Nashville support the idea of legalizing medical marijuana in Tennessee but believe it would be political suicide back home in the ballot box to vote in favor of the measure.  She said she believes that would be the only reason a medical marijuana bill does not pass this time.

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