Small drop in marijuana arrests, US still near record high

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

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Many felons can vote unless they are physically in state prison

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

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California Assembly votes to reduce drug possession penalty

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

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Marc Emery to Return to Canada

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.


Obama has spent over $300 million to block medical marijuana from patients

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