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  • By insisting that they need not disclose whether there had been surveillance under the 2008 law, the two sets of prosecutors have so far accomplished precisely what Mr. Verrilli said would not happen. They have immunized the surveillance program from challenges under the Fourth Amendment, which bans unreasonable searches and seizure. Yet there is excellent reason to think that surveillance under the 2008 law, the FISA Amendments Act, was involved in both cases. In December, in explaining why the law should be reauthorized, Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, said the Fort Lauderdale and Chicago cases were among the "specific cases where FISA Amendments Act authorities were used." "These cases show the program has worked," she said. Michelle Alvarez, a spokeswoman for the United States attorney's office in Miami, would not say whether prosecutors there had consulted with the Justice Department in Washington before taking a position that seems at odds with Mr. Verrilli's assurances to the Supreme Court. Neither would Randall Samborn, a spokesman for the United States attorney's office in Chicago.
  • Seagate Desktop HDD.15 ST4000DM000 4TB 64MB Cache SATA 6.0Gb/s 3.5" Internal Hard Drive 4TB $179.99 Your Price: $159.99 With Promo Code EMCYTZT3792
  • I came across this video while checking out stuff on YouTube. It's Friday, and even though I am working overtime tomorrow, I'm still very excited that it's Friday and plan on smoking very, very hard tonight as if I didn't have to work tomorrow. In case there are others out there that have the same plan, I figured I'd pass along this video for your viewing pleasure. Happy Friday to all of the TWB readers out there, be safe, and may your bongs be full of goodness!
  • The BBC said initially that "at least eight people are reported dead. ... The intercity train had just left Paris and was heading towards Limoges when it derailed, crashing into a station platform. ... Passengers were said to be trapped inside the train." Reuters reported that "7 people died and several dozen were injured. ... Interior Minister Manuel Valls said on Friday. 'The death toll is evolving constantly at this point and unfortunately it will probably rise,' Valls said. 'At this stage there are seven people dead, several dozen wounded and some of them are serious.' " Le Parisien said in its first report that there were at least four dead and at least 10 injured. When news such as this breaks, details often change as more information is gathered. We'll focus on reports from officials and from news outlets with reporters at the scene or in contact with those officials and witnesses.
  • Yesterday, the Arizona Supreme Court upheld a California medical marijuana patient's right to posses her Dr. recommended pot...in the sometimes ass backwards state. In their infinite wisdom, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled that the Yuma Arizona sheriff who seized her medical marijuana -- must return it. It said that's because Arizona's medical marijuana law allows people with medical marijuana authorizations from other states to legally possess marijuana in Arizona. The marijuana was found in Okun's vehicle at a Border Patrol checkpoint near Yuma. State drug charges against her were dismissed after she showed she had authorization under California's medical marijuana program. Prosecutors argued that federal drug law invalidates Arizona's medical marijuana law. source: Strange -- when convenient, Arizona's politicians have claimed the federal government has no right to dictate their immigration or border control policy... claiming state supremacy. Yet, when the people of their state voted to legalize medical marijuana, the same set of cruel hearted politicians flip their argument... claiming federal law supersedes their own state law.
  • According to the study, prisoners named off a variety of benefits they received from consuming cannabis; "Participants showed similar opinions on effects of cannabis use that were described both at individual and institutional levels: analgesic, calming, self-help to go through the prison experience, relieve stress, facilitate sleep, prevent violence, and social pacifier." Prison staff claimed that they feel cannabis to be a relatively safe and peaceful drug; they believe that cracking down on its consumption will lead to an increase in violence, and harder drugs. In Switzerland cannabis consumption is less of a criminal priority than in countries like the United States, although it's still explicitly prohibited. This study is one of the first to show the positive benefits of inmates consuming cannabis on a regular basis.
  • Ron Kelly, a 20-year Army veteran, recently tried to buy a .22-caliber rifle at the Wal-Mart in Tomball, Texas. He was turned away because he failed the FBI background check. He appealed the rejection, and last month he got a Justice Department letter explaining that he was legally disqualified from owning guns, after handling them in defense of his country for two decades, because of a 42-year-old marijuana conviction. As a high school student in Durham, North Carolina, he had been caught with a small amount of pot and pleaded guilty to misdemeanor possession, receiving a sentence of probation because he was a first-time offender. The probation lasted a year, but according to the Justice Department the ensuing loss of Kelly's Second Amendment rights lasts a lifetime. "I am ashamed of the way my government has treated me," Kelly told The Houston Chronicle. "The government may have the greatest of intentions with the [law], but they messed it up." Kelly's disqualification may in fact be unjustified under current law, which bars gun sales to people convicted of felonies but not misdemeanors (except for misdemeanors involving domestic violence). Unless the feds are treating what North Carolina called a misdemeanor as a felony for some reason, Kelly's pot conviction should not be covered by that provision. The only other disqualifier that seems possibly relevant is the one for anybody who is "an unlawful user of or addicted to any controlled substance," but more than a 1971 conviction for possession should be required to demonstrate that Kelly falls into that category. More on this shameful story from News Radio 600 KOGO: The outraged veteran, who spent two decades of his life using firearms to defend his country, has since reached out to U.S. Rep. Michael McCaul (R-Texas) and Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas) for help in resolving the issue. He says he'd be happy with a waiver so he can regain his right to own a firearm. As an infantryman in the Army, Kelly has fired "perhaps 100,000 rounds of government ammo over his 20 years of service," Schiller notes.
  • "We have a real appreciation for the brewing energy in Ballard right now. Thirty years ago Redhook was exactly where guys like Hilliard's, Reuben's Brews and Populuxe are today," said Karmen Olson, Redhook Brand Manager. "We're stoked to be working with our friends at Hilliard's and to raise a pint to our Emerald City heritage." Joint Effort is a session ale brewed with hemp seeds. Dry-hopped with Zeus, Cascade, Summit hops, Joint Effort has a dank, resinous hop aroma balanced by nutty, earthiness from hemp seeds. It's the perfect brew for hanging with your buds, grabbing some munchies and enjoying a beer. ABV 5.6%, IBU 25. "We're really excited to release Joint Effort with Redhook because we have a lot of respect for how they helped shape craft beer in Washington," said Hilliard's Beer co-founder Ryan Hilliard. "It's the first collaboration beer either of us has done with another brewery and it's fitting they started in Ballard a few blocks from where we are. Voting to legalize marijuana use in Washington is another example of the pioneering spirit that makes this state so great." In keeping with Redhook's reputation for creating imaginative tap handles, Joint Effort will be poured by a handle shaped like a bright yellow bong. Joint Effort will be available on draught only beginning July 15th and will launch in 22oz bottles under the Blueline Series in late October. The beer will be available in Washington State only. Locations can be found using Redhook's "Beer Finder" at www.Redhook.com.
  • Currently, even the most basic banking services, such as business checking accounts or merchant credit card processing services, are largely unavailable to the marijuana industry. Federal regulators impose stiff punishments and penalize banks and their employees for providing services to marijuana related businesses. The result is legitimate, licensed and regulated businesses have extreme difficulty accessing the banking system to accept credit cards, deposit revenues, or write checks to meet payroll or pay taxes. This forces legal, state-compliant marijuana businesses to operate as cash-only enterprises, inviting crimes such as robbery and tax evasion, adding to the burden of establishing a legitimate small business in their community. "We need to address the public safety, crime and lost tax revenue associated when these legal and regulated businesses are operating in a cash-only system," said Rep. Perlmutter in a statement released Wednesday.  "We also need to provide financial institutions assurance that they can make their own business decisions related to legal, financial transactions without fear of regulatory penalties or criminal prosecution." "As a small business owner, I can't imagine trying to operate a legitimate business without access to the banking system," added Rep. Heck.  "Forcing legitimate businesses to operate on a cash-only basis without bank accounts is an invitation for robbery, tax evasion and organized crime. With twenty-one states and D.C. now allowing for some form of legal adult marijuana usage, federal law needs to be updated to reflect the reality of the situation in the states." 
  • In 17 states kids are able to get medical marijuana, by prescription, to treat everything from autism to cancer to seizures. Growers are now breeding the plants with low levels of the substance THC, which reportedly helps kids get the medicinal benefits of marijuana without the high. NBC's Dr. Nancy Snyderman reports.
  • Greg Carpenter has come a long way since the 20 years he spent in prison in Maryland, California and Georgia. For the last 15 years in Baltimore he's been working to help prisoners re-enter society and last year served on the Gov. Martin O'Malley's Re-Entry Task Force. What brought the two men together Wednesday night in a downtown Baltimore office building was the launch of a new book, "Incarceration Generation," in which each man authored a short essay in his area of expertise. Prison population grew seven-fold in 40 years Forty years ago, 204,211 people were held by U.S. prison authorities; in 2011, there were 1.6 million, a 780% increase while the U.S. population as a whole had grown by about 50%. Produced by the Justice Policy Institute in Washington, "Incarceration Generation" documents how, why and to whom that happened. It gathers commentary from 19 researchers, advocates and people who have personally experienced the system.
  • SimpleGov allows citizens in any city in this country to make a simple request to its elected government officials--and then allows other citizens to echo this sentiment. In other words: rather than writing fruitless notes to elected officials, you can create your own campaign, call your officials out, and put them to task. And in Colorado--where marijuana is about to become legal--that's exactly what the A64 Local Task Force is doing. Cannabis is largely about community, but, unfortunately, the growers and cultivators within the community are forced to remain in the shadows. However, in a legal state, this could--and should change. That's why the Task Force has requested that Boulder's Community Planning and Sustainability agency helps to allow the dream of a Marijuana Farmer's Market become a realty. As cities around Colorado discuss how to implement the legalization initiative Amendment 64, we believe it is important that local communities create standards and opportunities that are appropriate to the local culture. For this reason, we are proposing that Boulder certify an organic cannabis farmer's market zone district, where growers from around the state can sell their products to adult residents in designated places. We would like the city to clarify that such a zone can operate under an Agricultural Zone, pursuant to 9-5-2 of the zoning code.
  • According to the study's researchers, "This study documents the motivations for and prevalence of heavy marijuana use among HIV-positive gay and bisexual male emerging adults", they continue, "Our findings suggest that using marijuana to alleviate stress associated with living with HIV is a widespread phenomenon among this population, and that this phenomenon may not extend to other forms of substance use." The study states that daily cannabis use among this group is nearly four times higher than the national average for the same age group; "The marijuana use reported in Phase II of this study greatly exceeds that of national samples of emerging adults and previous studies on LGB emerging adults. Almost one-quarter of the sample reported smoking marijuana every day, almost four times higher than percentages reported in national samples of emerging adults" The study found that this increase in cannabis use led to a decrease in alcohol use; "On the other hand, heavy alcohol use reported in this study was substantially lower than in national samples of emerging adults".
  • The fine was issued by Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown in April 2012 because it was reported that Wolfe was paying petitioners by the signature, instead of by the hour, which violates Oregon state law.  According to the Oregonian, that is the largest fine ever levied for violating the petitioning law, surpassing a $10,900 fine issued in 2008. Senior administrative law judge Alison Greene Webster upheld the fine Friday, ruling that based on testimony from petitioners she believed Wolfe was in violation of the petitioning law. Wolfe's attorney, Dan Meek, plans on challenging the fine in the Oregon Court of Appeals.  He says the fine was levied for allegedly paying two petitioners by the signature on a total of only 26 signature sheets out of over 30,000 submitted by the campaign. In a statement released Friday, Meek says the allegations were made by two workers "incapable of telling the truth": The Secretary of State's case depends on the testimony of the 2 circulators. Only one of them appeared in person at the hearing. Cross-examination showed that he repeatedly lied about all aspects of circulating the petition and made up stories that could not be true. He claimed to have spent hours collecting signatures at a bustling Saturday Market in January and February 2012, even though Saturday Market does not operate at all during those months. His lies became so apparent that he shouted out that he wanted to "take the Fifth" and not answer any more questions.
  • Robin Room, director of the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, says marijuana should be legalised under strict controls because the social harm associated with it was significantly less than from drinking. "It makes sense to legalise marijuana in a controlled market," he told the Herald Sun yesterday. "We are in a situation where we need to look ahead. I think we need to have the discussion and it makes a lot of sense in terms of, among others, cutting down government costs to have a fairly highly controlled legal (cannabis) market and, while we are at it, tighten up the legal market of alcohol in the same way we tightened up the market of tobacco." Prof Room, a leading academic at Melbourne University, is funded by the Department of Human Services.
  • The state spent more than $26,000 to achieve these results. It spent more than $5,000 to administer the Substance Abuse Subtle Screening Inventory (SASSI) test to applicants and more than $20,000 to pay for drug testing. Those figures do not include staff costs to administer the SASSI test or the costs of drug treatment. Of the 813 SASSI test-takers who ranked high, more than 300 tested negative, 163 chose to abandon the aid application process and 137 were denied eligibility based on other criteria. Others had false positives or incorrect SASSI scores or failed to show up for the drug test. The SASSI Institute claims its diagnostic test is 94% accurate at detecting people with a high probability of substance abuse, but the Utah numbers belie those claims. Of those assessed as likely drug or alcohol abusers by the test, only 1% actually tested positive for drugs. In the best case—assuming that everyone who abandoned the aid application process or didn't show up for a drug test was actually using drugs—the predictive value of the SASSI test was under 50% "It seems silly to drug test hundreds. It's not worth the money they're spending," Gina Cornia of Utahns Against Hunger told the Tribune, adding that welfare workers could still screen clients for substance abuse the old-fashioned way—by forging relationships with them.
  • More than a year ago, the Department of Public Safety knew it had a problem. It discovered, purely by accident, that an analyst at its forensics lab in Houston had falsified the results of a drug test. DPS retested 100 of his cases and found two more errors. That was pretty bad. The lab technician, Jonathan Salvador, had worked there since 2006 and handled evidence from almost 5,000 cases from 36 Texas counties. DPS suspended Salvador and sent a letter alerting prosecutors and district attorneys, and listing which of their cases Salvador had processed. "We believe it prudent to review his entire body of work," the lab manager wrote in April 2012. "We are sorry for any inconvenience."  This also has not had universally good results. In June the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals overturned the conviction of Leroy Coty, who pleaded guilty to possession of more than 400 grams of cocaine in 2010 and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Coty's case was important because the Harris County district attorney had videotapes of Coty with drugs and other evidence that almost certainly could have convicted him without Salvador's lab results. If any case was going to survive being handled by Salvador's, it was Coty's. It didn't. The first Salvador-tainted convictions overturned by the appeals court were those in which all the evidence was destroyed during testing. Since an estimated 25 to 50 percent of Salvador's cases had no surviving evidence, prosecutors knew right away that they'd be freeing a lot of guilty people-and likely had jailed some innocent ones. Most DAs took steps to notify affected defendants and allocated resources to handle the coming waves of habeas corpus writs. Then they set about retesting any leftover evidence.
  • "What we don't want is surveillance to become a profit center," said Christopher Soghoian, the ACLU's principal technologist. But "it's always better to charge $1. It creates friction, and it creates transparency" because it generates a paper trail that can be tracked. Regardless of price, the surveillance business is growing. The U.S. government long has enjoyed access to phone networks and high-speed Internet traffic under the U.S. Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act to catch suspected criminals and terrorists. More recently, the FBI has pushed technology companies like Google and Skype to guarantee access to real-time communications on their services. And, as shown by recent disclosures about the NSA's surveillance practices, the U.S. intelligence community has an intense interest in analyzing data and content that flow through American technology companies to gather foreign intelligence. The FBI said it could not say how much it spends on industry reimbursements because payments are made through a variety of programs, field offices and case funds. In an emailed statement, the agency said when charges are questionable, it requests an explanation and tries to work with the carrier to understand its cost structure.
  • In a ruling written by Justice Goodwin Liu, the state high court dismissed arguments by Santa Barbara County prosecutors that contraband could be searched under a theory that would extend the "plain sight" test to "plain smell."  Police are generally entitled to seize evidence that is in plain sight. Although officers had the legal right to take the FedEx package, they should have obtained a warrant before  opening it, the court said. "There is no dispute as to whether the police lawfully seized the package without a warrant," Liu wrote. "Because there was no justification for an immediate search of the package once it was seized, the police had no derivative authority to search the package later at the police station without a warrant." This case of course does not apply outside of California, but it may be referenced by other court cases out of the state, or possibly be appealed to the United States Supreme Court. I don't recommend mailing marijuana, but if you must, maybe try to do it from California
  • Within his own article, Dr. Wilkinson discusses the "cliff of sanity," a metaphorical line between sanity and mental illness, and he claims that those with a pre-existing tendency towards mental illness may be "pushed over" by marijuana use. However, if marijuana use before the age of 21 is riskier as a result of a developing brain, then legalization and regulation is the solution. In response to the article, MPP's Mason Tvert said, "Legalization would involve carefully controlled outlets that would not sell pot to minors, as opposed to the current situation where illegal dealers will sell pot to anyone, including schoolchildren. The net effect would be less exposure to the drug by our young people at a time when they are most vulnerable." In Mason's letter to the editor, he states that a 2009 study from the journal Schizophrenic Research found that "the prevalence of schizophrenia and psychoses has remained stable or declined during periods in which marijuana use increased significantly among the general populace." A predisposition to mental illness is a preexisting condition that is not created by marijuana use. In fact, any chemical substance introduced into the body may very well exacerbate the issue, including alcohol. Marijuana does not cause mental illness for users, either occasional or frequent, and making marijuana legal poses the best chance for a safer marijuana market that more effectively limits access to people aged 21 and over.
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