Texas Judge Sentences Man To Death For Marijuana Possession | Empire News

Texas Judge Sentences Man To Death For Marijuana Possession | Empire News




Texas Judge Sentences Man To Death For Marijuana Possession | Empire News.

The National Drug Control Budget: FY 2013 Funding Highlights | The White House

The National Drug Control Budget: FY 2013 Funding Highlights | The White House

The National Drug Control Budget: FY 2013 Funding Highlights

FY 2015 Funding Highlights

Click here for details on the President’s FY 2015 drug control budget request.

FY 2014 Funding Highlights

Click here for details on the President’s FY 2014 drug control budget request.

FY 2013 Funding Highlights

February 2012
The Administration’s inaugural National Drug Control Strategy (Strategy), published in May 2010, represented a new direction in our efforts to reduce illicit drug use and its consequences in the United States, with the goal to achieve a 15 percent reduction in the rate of drug use and similar reductions in drug use consequences over the course of 5 years. This effort, which was continued in the President’s 2011 Strategy, includes:

  • preventing illicit drug use and addiction before their onset;
  • bringing more Americans in need of treatment into contact with the appropriate level of care;
  • protecting public safety while also ensuring that drug‐involved offenders have the opportunity to end their drug use and rebuild their lives;
  • countering drug production and trafficking within the United States;
  • implementing new strategies to secure our borders against illicit drug flows;
  • working with our international partners to reduce drug production and trafficking and strengthen rule of law, democratic institutions, transparency in government, alternative livelihoods, and respect for human rights around the world.

For 2 years this principle has guided the Administration’s efforts – and we will continue to pursue a balanced approach that brings all sectors of society together in a national effort to improve public health and public safety. The requested Fiscal Year (FY) 2013 National Drug Control Budget demonstrates commitment to these goals, requesting $25.6 billion to reduce drug use and its consequences in the United States. This represents an increase of $415.3 million (1.6%) over the FY 2012 enacted level of $25.2 billion.

The FY 2013 request includes two new Departments and two new bureaus to the National Drug Control Budget. These additions are consistent with the restructuring of the budget in FY 2012 that provided for a reliable, accurate, and transparent accounting of Federal funding spent in support of the President’s Strategy. The new bureaus or programs, which will be reflected in the National Drug Control Strategy: FY 2013 Budget and Performance Summary (Summary) are:

  • Department of Labor’s Employment and Training Administration (a comprehensive drug prevention and intervention program for all Job Corps participants)
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Continuum of Care (housing and other efforts in support of homeless with substance abuse disorders)
  • Department of Defense’s Defense Health Program (drug abuse treatment provided by military treatment facilities and private sector care)
  • Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children and Families (enhancing the safety of children affected by parental methamphetamine or other substance abuse)

Highlights of the FY 2013 Budget by Function


The FY 2013 Budget proposes $9.2 billion in Federal funds for early intervention and treatment services for individuals with drug problems. This represents an increase of 4.6 percent ($403.0 million) over the FY 2012 enacted funding level. The major efforts and changes are highlighted below:

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Department of Health and Human Services: $4,751.1 million1
(Reflects $283.7 million increase from FY 2012)
The Nation’s substance abuse treatment providers treated an estimated 2.6 million clients
in specialty facilities in 2010. Substance abuse treatment most often is paid for by two or more public and private sources (private health insurance, Medicaid, Medicare, state and local funds, and other Federal support). The Federal Government makes its largest contribution to the payment for treatment through the Medicaid and Medicare insurance programs. These programs are increasing in size and scope, with the expansion of populations and/or services covered.

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

Programs of Regional and National Significance ‐ Treatment
Department of Health and Human Services ‐ SAMHSA: $364.1 million
(Reflects $61.1 million decrease from FY 2012)

The SAMHSA request includes a bundle of programs that are awarded directly to providers. These programs advance specific treatment methods, modalities, and services to targeted groups. Grants are awarded on a competitive basis to ensure the funding supports a particular identified need. These include:

  • $93.8 million (decreased $4.5 million from FY 2012 enacted) for Access to Recovery, which provides states funding for vouchers, coupled with state flexibility and executive discretion, to offer an opportunity to create positive change in substance abuse treatment and recovery service delivery across the Nation.
  • $30 million (decreased $21.1 million from FY 2012 enacted) for a Screening, Brief Intervention, and Referral to Treatment approach, which provides grants to health care providers to intervene early in the disease process before individuals achieve dependency, and can motivate the addicted client to engage in substance abuse treatment.
  • $65.1 million (decreased $2.4 million from FY 2012 enacted) for Criminal Justice Activities, including Treatment Drug Courts and Ex‐Offender Reentry program grants. Drug Courts help reduce recidivism and substance abuse among offenders and increase an offender’s likelihood of successful rehabilitation through early, continuous, and intense judicially supervised treatment, mandatory periodic drug testing, community supervision, and appropriate sanctions and other rehabilitation services. Ex‐Offender Reentry program grants provide screening, assessment, and comprehensive treatment and recovery support services to offenders reentering the community, as well as to offenders who are currently on or being released from probation or parole.
  • $41.6 million (no change from FY 2012 enacted) for Treatment Systems for the Homeless grants, which combine long‐term, community‐based housing assistance with intensive individualized treatment and recovery support services.
  • $52.5 million (decreased $13.5 million from FY 2012 enacted) for the Minority AIDS Initiative, which delivers and sustains high quality and accessible substance abuse and HIV prevention services.
  • $13.3 million (decreased $14.7 million from FY 2012 enacted) for Targeted Capacity Expansion (TCE) grants, which are designed to address gaps in treatment capacity by supporting rapid and strategic responses to demands for substance abuse (including alcohol and drug) treatment services in communities with serious, emerging drug problems, as well as communities with innovative solutions to unmet needs.
  • $57.0 million (decreased $0.9 million from FY 2012 enacted) for several other Treatment Capacity programs including: Opioid Treatment Programs and Regulatory Activities; Children and Family Programs; Pregnant and Post‐Partum Women; and the Recovery Community Services Program.

Substance Abuse Treatment Block Grant

Department of Health and Human Services ‐ SAMHSA: $1,448.6 billion
(Reflects a decrease of $7.4 million over FY 2012)

This formula‐based funding to states expands substance abuse treatment services, while providing maximum flexibility to states. States and territories may expend their funds only for the purpose of planning, carrying out, and evaluating activities related to these services. In FY 2013, the grant will continue to support the delivery of treatment while allowing states to access funding for prevention services.

Bureau of Prisons (BOP) Drug Treatment Efforts

Department of Justice: $109.3 million
(Reflects $15.8 million increase from FY 2012)

Approximately 40 percent of new inmates entering BOP custody have a diagnosis of a substance use disorder. Accordingly, BOP’s strategy of strong and comprehensive drug abuse treatment consists of screening and assessment; drug abuse education; non‐ residential drug abuse treatment services; residential drug abuse treatment programming; and community transitional drug abuse treatment. There is enormous demand for these services, in part because of the potential for some non‐violent offenders to earn a 1 year reduction in sentence following the successful completion of the program. Due to limited capacity, inmates eligible for the reduction receive an average reduction of about 8 months. Resources requested in this budget are vital to allow expansion of drug treatment capacity, and will help BOP reach the goal of providing 12 month sentence credits to all eligible inmates.

Problem Solving Justice

Department of Justice: $52.0 million
(Reflects $17.0 million increase from FY 2012 (drug court funding only))

In FY 2013, the Office of Justice Programs (OJP) requests $52.0 million to increase their support to problem solving courts and other strategies. OJP provides grants to criminal justice agencies to implement and improve drug court programs, as well as focus on mental health and other issues. The program focuses on the risks and needs of offenders through drug court programs and other problem‐solving approaches in an effort to decrease recidivism and improve public health and safety.

Residential Substance Abuse Treatment

Department of Justice: $21.0 million
(Reflects $11.0 million increase from FY 2012)

The Residential Substance Abuse Treatment program for state prisoners was established to help states and local governments develop, implement, and improve residential substance abuse treatment programs in correctional facilities, and establish and maintain community‐ based aftercare services for probationers and parolees. Ultimately, the program goal is to help offenders become drug‐free and learn the skills needed to sustain themselves upon return to the community. The Department of Justice will assist states and local jurisdictions to improve substance abuse‐related services for offenders and increase the number of offenders served.

Homeless Assistance Grants ‐ Continuum of Care

Department of Housing and Urban Development: $542.4 million
(Reflects $96.4 million increase from FY 2012)

The Continuum of Care – Homeless Assistance Grants support efforts to eliminate homelessness by financing local solutions to locate, intervene, and house the homeless population. The Continuum of Care programs are designed to provide housing and supportive services on a long‐term basis for homeless persons with disabilities (primarily those with serious mental illness, chronic problems with alcohol and/or drugs, and AIDS or related diseases). With 28 percent of the persons using housing under these programs having a demonstrated substance use disorder, the Strategy specifically calls for programs to prevent homelessness as a step toward recovery from addiction. Finding stable and affordable housing is among the most difficult barriers for individuals in recovery to overcome.

Trainee Employment Assistance Program

Department of Labor ‐ Job Corps: $6.6 million
(Reflects no increase from FY 2012)

Job Corps is a no‐cost education and career technical training program administered by the U.S. Department of Labor that helps young people ages 16 through 24 improve the quality of their lives through career technical and academic training. The Job Corps program is authorized by Title I‐C of the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. The Job Corps operates 125 regional offices and employs approximately 125 Trainee Employment Assistance Program counselors who provide drug prevention and early intervention to nearly 60,000 at risk youth enrolled in the program. Costs associated with its Trainee Employment Assistance Program include salaries of the counselors and the cost of administering drug testing.

Veterans Health Administration Treatment

Department of Veterans Affairs: $568.2 million
(Reflects $19.4 million increase over FY 2012)

The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) operates a national network of substance abuse treatment programs located in the Department’s medical centers, residential rehabilitation facilities, and outpatient clinics. Reflecting the Administration’s commitment to combat veteran homelessness and provide compassionate and caring treatment to veterans, VHA increasingly treats substance use disorders in a mental health setting, including when it co‐ occurs with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).


Federal resources totaling $1.4 billion support education and outreach programs aimed at preventing the initiation of drug use. This represents a nearly 1 percent decrease ($‐12.9 million) over the FY 2012 enacted level; the major efforts and changes are highlighted below:

Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students Grant Program

Department of Education: $108.3 million
(Reflects $43.4 million increase over FY 2012)

This new program will support student achievement and help ensure students are mentally and physically healthy and ready to learn. The objective is to provide resources and programming to selected local educational agencies that are trying to create an improved school climate that reduces drug use, violence, and harassment and improves school safety and students’ physical and mental well‐being. Within the program, the Department of Education would use:

  • $85.9 million to award grants to assist state educational agencies and local educational agencies (LEAs) to develop and implement programs and activities that create safe environments. Included in this amount is $37.3 million for Successful, Safe, and Healthy Students State and Local Grants and $48.6 million for grants for Safe and Supportive Schools projects to support statewide measurement of, and targeted programmatic interventions to improve, conditions for learning in order to help schools improve student safety and reduce drug abuse.
  • $17.0 million for grant awards under the “Safe Schools/Healthy Students” initiative. Safe Schools/Healthy Students supports LEAs and communities in developing and implementing a comprehensive set of programs and services to prevent youth drug use and violence, support early childhood development activities, and provide needed student mental health services. Education blends this initiative with the HHS Youth Violence Prevention Program and administers it in collaboration with both HHS and the Department of Justice.

Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) Prevention Grants

Department of Health and Human Services: $404.5 million
(Reflects $49.5 million decrease from FY 2012)

In support of a national, community‐based prevention system to protect our adolescents, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) SAMHSA budget request includes a newly designed State Substance Abuse Prevention Grant that combines the Prevention set‐ aside and the Strategic Prevention Framework programs focusing exclusively on preventing substance abuse. The program will identify and address problems in communities, create a sustainable and predictable source of prevention funding that will focus on high risk communities and youth, integrate the Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant (SPF‐SIG) principles more widely, and hold states and territories accountable for achieving measurable outcomes in their prevention programs.

Drug Free Communities (DFC)

Office of National Drug Control Policy: $88.6 million
(Reflects $3.4 million decrease from FY 2012)

The FY 2013 request includes $88.6 million in DFC funding to support the development of community drug‐free coalitions throughout the United States, fully funding 624 grants. Community coalitions strive to develop local solutions and increase community involvement and effectiveness in carrying out a wide array of drug prevention strategies, initiatives, and activities.

Youth Drug Prevention Media Program

Office of National Drug Control Policy: $20.0 million
(Reflects $20.0 increase from FY 2012)

The FY 2013 request will allow for the continuance of a national media program with a community focus to educate youth about the dangers of drug use – its adverse and serious consequences – and to inspire teens to live “above the influence” through positive behaviors.    The Program will continue to build upon the high level of awareness of its “Above the Influence” (ATI) brand with teens by executing its multi‐tiered messaging approach – strong community‐level local ATI drug prevention efforts delivered through various youth‐serving organizations combined with a base level of national‐level ATI messaging to maintain the integrity of the ATI brand.

Drugged Driving

Department of Transportation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: $4.0 million
(Reflects $1.3 million increase from FY 2012)

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) FY 2013 request will support the Drug‐Impaired Driving Program, provide public information, outreach efforts, and improved law enforcement training to help reduce drugged driving. Funding will support the development of a roadside survey of drug use by drivers and the analysis of case control study data to determine the crash risk of drugged driving.

Domestic Law Enforcement

Over $9.4 billion in FY 2013 Federal resources are requested to support domestic law enforcement efforts, an increase of $61.4 million (0.7%) over the FY 2012 enacted level. The Departments of Justice, Homeland Security, and the Treasury, with support from the Department of Defense’s National Guard, provide key domestic law enforcement support; the major efforts are highlighted below.

Department of Defense (DoD) Domestic Counterdrug Support

Department of Defense: $146.9 million
(Reflects $124.6 million decrease from FY 2012)

In FY 2013, DoD’s request will support Federal, state, and local drug law enforcement agencies requests for domestic operational and logistical support to address drug‐related crime. The change from the prior year is largely the result of lower funding for the National Guard State Plans.

Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)

Department of Justice (DOJ): $7.0 million
(Reflects no change from FY 2012)

The PDMP program enhances the capacity of regulatory and law enforcement agencies to collect and analyze controlled substance prescription data, aiming to assist states that want to establish a PDMP. In addition to providing grants to states for PDMP planning, implementation, and enhancement, funding will support the continued training and technical assistance to states; further develop a clearinghouse of best practices and measures of effectiveness for PDMPs; and provide technical support for states to engage in electronic interstate data sharing.

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) – Diversion Control Account

Department of Justice: $352.6 million
(Reflects $30.6 million increase from FY 2012)

DEA’s Office of Diversion Control (ODC) enforces the provisions of both the Controlled Substances Act and the Chemical Diversion and Trafficking Act by preventing, detecting and investigating the diversion of controlled pharmaceuticals and listed chemicals from legitimate sources. The FY 2013 President’s Budget for the Diversion Control Fee Account includes an increase of $8 million and 87 positions to support Tactical Diversion Squads. Additional personnel will perform duties related to intelligence gathering and dissemination, laboratory analysis of evidence, legal counsel and action against violators, technology for internet investigative support, headquarters program support including internal controls, drug and chemical scheduling, liaison and policy, regulatory drafting, financial management, and clerical case support.

Incarceration Operations

Department of Justice/Federal Judiciary: $4,527.2 million
(Reflects $141.8 million increase over FY 2012)

The Bureau of Prisons, the U.S. Marshals Service ‐ Federal Prisoner Detention, and the Federal Judiciary conduct activities associated with the incarceration and/or monitoring of drug‐related offenders. As a consequence of drug abuse, the FY 2013 request includes funding for the costs associated with inmate care, security and facility maintenance, contracted confinement, and general management and administration.

High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas (HIDTA) Program

Office of National Drug Control Policy: $200.0 million
(Reflects $38.5 million decrease from FY 2012)

HIDTA coordinates Federal, state, and local collaboration of law enforcement investigations and operations to disrupt and dismantle complex drug trafficking organizations.


The Federal budget request for interdiction totals $3.7 billion in FY 2013, for an increase of $89.3 million (2.5%) over the FY 2012 enacted level. The Departments of Homeland Security and Defense perform activities designed to interrupt the trafficking of illicit drugs into the United States by targeting the transportation link; major efforts and changes are highlighted below.

Customs and Border Protection ‐ Border Security at Ports of Entry (POE)

Department of Homeland Security: $946.7 million
(Reflects $53.2 million increase over FY 2012 enacted level)

The FY 2013 President’s Budget request proposes a $53.2 million increase over the FY 2012 enacted level for border security and trade facilitation at the POE’s. The increase in resources will further drug interdiction efforts at POEs.

Customs and Border Protection – Air & Marine Support

Department of Homeland Security: $644.9 million
(Reflects $66.9 million decrease from FY 2012 enacted level)

The decrease in the FY 2013 request is due to a one‐time FY 2012 non‐recurring enhancement for the Office of Air and Marine’s (OAM) fleet acquisition of new aircraft and marine vessels and for the P‐3 Service Life Extension Program’s structural inspections and wing and tail replacements and upgrades. The decrease also reflects a reduction in OAM mission and field support staff.

United State Coast Guard Acquisition, Construction and Improvements

Department of Homeland Security: $401.9 million
(Reflects $147.4 million increase over FY 2012 enacted level)

The FY 2013 request proposes an increase of $147.4 million, primarily due to the Coast Guard’s planned procurement of the sixth National Security Cutter.


The FY 2013 Budget requests nearly $2.0 billion to provide international support, a decrease of $125.6 million (6.0%) from the FY 2012 enacted level. The Departments of Defense, Justice, and State perform a wide range of drug‐control activities primarily focused on or conducted in areas outside of the United States. These programs help facilitate the disruption or dismantlement of the most significant international drug organizations, and increase the demand reduction and drug enforcement capabilities of partner nations. Major efforts and changes are highlighted below.

United States Agency for International Development (USAID)

Department of State: $179.1 million
(Reflects $104.2 million decrease from FY 2012)

The FY 2013 request will focus on efforts to disrupt the market for illegal drugs through alternative development programs in the Andean Region. In Afghanistan, USAID will continue to focus on reducing the production of illegal crops by promoting alternative livelihoods programs. The majority of the decreased funding in FY2013 is in Afghanistan, and is due to a shift away from stabilization‐ and staple crop‐focused alternative development programs to those more closely integrating stabilization, alternative development, and market‐led agricultural development objectives. The decrease also is due to the ability of the Government of Colombia to support many alternative development programs themselves in the Andean Region.


Department of State/INL: $114.0 million
(Reflects $16.4 million decrease from FY 2012)

The United States will continue supporting Colombian‐led interdiction and eradication efforts as the Colombian Government works to implement its National Consolidation Plan. Additional support will expand local drug prevention programs and enhance the Colombian National Police’s capability to maintain a security presence in former conflict and drug trafficking regions while expanding access to state institutions and services in these regions. Much of the decrease in the FY 2013 request is due to the successful nationalization of the Colombian Army Aviation and Counterdrug Brigade programs in FY 2012, which resulted in no request for funding in FY 2013.


Department of State/INL: $55.0 million
(Reflects $12.0 million decrease from FY 2012)

In FY 2013, support will continue to include counternarcotics, law enforcement, and demand reduction initiatives in an effort to dismantle drug trafficking and other criminal organizations, and strengthen justice sector institutions while expanding their capacity to attack and deter crime affecting the United States, especially along our shared border. The reduction in counternarcotics funding is due to the successful maturation of programs that will become the responsibility of the Government of Mexico.

Caribbean Basin Security Initiative

Department of State/INL: $11.5 million
(Reflects $6.3 million decrease from FY 2012)

The FY 2013 request will include support for law enforcement professionalization and capacity building, as well as interdiction operations. Other priorities include rule of law initiatives and enhancements in the judicial process. The decrease in funding in FY 2013 is attributed to a focus on training and capacity building for law enforcement and less emphasis on logistical support and equipment.

Central America Regional Security Initiative (CARSI)

Department of State/INL: $14.0 million
(Reflects $4.8 million decrease from FY 2012)

The FY 2013 request will be used to combat international drug trafficking in Central America. In addition, support will be provided to assist law enforcement and justice sector capacity building and prevention programs. The decrease is attributed to the end of funding for the aviation program in Guatemala, as the 4‐year program ended in FY 2012.

Afghanistan and Central Asia

Department of State/Department of Defense: $653.3 million
(Reflects $72.5 million increase over FY 2012)

U.S. efforts in Afghanistan and Central Asia, provided by the Departments of State and Defense, will focus on interdiction, justice reform, and law enforcement capacity building efforts, as well as building the capacity of the Afghan government so it can independently support counternarcotics activities. Funding also will support reducing the supply of illicit crops through the Afghan Governor‐led eradication and the Good Performers Initiative programs, and providing demand reduction efforts. The majority of the increase in drug control funding in FY 2013 is attributed to increased requirements to support the Counternarcotics Police of Afghanistan and the work of the DEA in Afghanistan.

Performance Measurement

Performance represents a key tool for ONDCP in its oversight of Federal agencies – it enables ONDCP to assess the extent to which the Strategy meets its goals, and the relative contributions of drug control agencies. Section 1705 of Title 21 of the United States Code and the Government Performance and Results Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRAMA) set the framework for a range of performance requirements.

21 USC §1705(c) requires ONDCP to track and report on progress of the Strategy as reflected in performance measures and targets established for each goal and objective in the Strategy. ONDCP has worked to develop such a performance monitoring and assessment mechanism – the Performance Reporting System (PRS). The PRS will monitor key performance measures to inform ONDCP whether drug control programs are performing as expected.

The PRS was developed through an extensive interagency process that brought together subject matter experts, policy and program analysts, researchers, statisticians, and leadership from Federal drug control agencies. Targets were then determined by interagency groups for each measure based on baseline data and trend lines.

The PRS will collect and report on data for each performance measure in the PRS including the data source, agencies responsible for achieving the target, and the agency that reports the data. This information will be used to inform budget formulation and resource allocation, Strategy implementation, policymaking, and planning, and will show progress toward the Strategy’s Goals and Objectives. The first PRS Report will be published in 2012 along with the update of the Strategy.

Table 1: Federal Drug Control Spending by Function

Note: Detail may not add due to rounding.

1 Detail may not add due to rounding.
2 DOD amounts include funding appropriated or requested for overseas contingency operations.
3 OPTEMPO funding (flight hours and steaming days) is reported by the military services and is not part of DOD’s counter‐drug activities budget request.
4 The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) outlay estimates include substance abuse treatment expenditures for both Medicare and Medicaid. While CMS’s Office of the Actuary (OACT) developed the Medicare estimates, Medicaid estimates were developed as a placeholder by ONDCP, based on data in the 2008 Report from HHS entitled ‘SAMHSA spending estimates: MHSA spending projections for 2004–2014’. OACT did not develop nor approve the Medicaid estimates. Medicaid estimates are not consistent with the FY 2013 President’s Budget Medicaid baseline projections, and do not incorporate the impact of recent legislation (including the Recovery Act and the Affordable Care Act), or recent economic and policy changes to the programs. These estimates are for use while HHS develops a more precise estimate consistent with current program spending.
5 Includes budget authority and funding through evaluation set‐aside authorized by Section 241 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act.
6 FEMA amount reflects Operation Stonegarden grant funding.
7 The USCG budgets by appropriation rather than individual missions. The USCG projects resource allocations by mission through use of an activity‐based costing system. Actual allocations will vary depending upon operational environment and mission need. In FY 2011, the USCG anticipated allocating $1,162.3 toward the drug interdiction mission. According to the USCG operations database, however, actual EOY allocation totaled $1,408.1 million.
8 State Department amounts include funding appropriated or requested for overseas contingency operations.
9 VA Medical Care receives advance appropriations; FY 2013 funding was provided in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2012 (Public Law 112–74).

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The National Drug Control Budget: FY 2013 Funding Highlights | The White House.




19-Year-Old Texan Faces Life For Marijuana Brownies | High Times

19-Year-Old Texan Faces Life For Marijuana Brownies | High Times

A 19-year-old Texas man facing life in prison for allegedly making and selling marijuana-laced brownies faced a judge last week in a case that highlights the urgent need for nationwide marijuana decriminalization.

Jacob Lavoro could face anywhere from five years to life in prison for the brownies; the maximum penalty is so high because the treats not only contained marijuana, but hash oil as well. Read More Here >19-Year-Old Texan Faces Life For Marijuana Brownies | High Times.

Medical Cannabis On The Verge Of Being Destroyed In Washington | The Weed Blog

Medical Cannabis On The Verge Of Being Destroyed In Washington | The Weed Blog

Medical Cannabis On The Verge Of Being Destroyed In Washington | The Weed Blog.

Treatment or Jail: Patrick Kennedy Wages Fierce Anti-Pot Crusade – NBC News.com

Treatment or Jail: Patrick Kennedy Wages Fierce Anti-Pot Crusade – NBC News.com

Treatment or Jail: Patrick Kennedy Wages Fierce Anti-Pot Crusade – NBC News.com.

Denver Police Are Using a Nose Telescope to Sniff Out People’s Weed | VICE

Denver Police Are Using a Nose Telescope to Sniff Out People’s Weed | VICE

Can you smell the sweet, pungent perfume of legalized marijuana over the horizon? On November 6, 2012, voters in Colorado and Washington passed Amendment 64 and Initiative 502, respectively, which allowed marijuana to be produced, sold, and consumed by adults 21 and older, regulated like alcohol and tobacco. For pot smokers across the country, this was a huge get, paving the way for an increase in legalization across the country, and now that the related legislation has been reviewed and implemented, hundreds of dispensaries across both states are scheduled to open on January 1, 2014. However, one of the new mandates being upheld in Denver, Colorado, is aimed at the unexpected, yet most identifiable part of the process: the sticky-icky, funky-skunky smell of some dank-ass weed.

Denver is one of a handful of cities with a new odor ordinance, which ACLU lawyer Mark Silverstein called a “tremendous overreach, ill-advised, unnecessary and unconstitutional,” carrying a hefty $2,000 fine for smelly violators. The number of marijuana-based odor complaints in Colorado doubled from 7 in 2010 to 16 in 2012, and that number will undoubtedly continue to climb next year when retail marijuana becomes widely available, although the current crop of complaints comes from the wafting scent of grow-ops and not from smokers themselves. The regulatory concept is still tricky; I mean, how do you qualify the stink of any given area? Hot-box a station wagon in the middle of the summer and to the participants, the smell becomes undetectable after a few minutes, but get into your car the next morning and it smells like one of Wiz Khalifa’s dumps. To help with detection, the Denver police department bought themselves the awkwardly named, high-tech, futuristic, “Nasal Ranger” scent-o-scope, designed to help the user detect odor amounts.

Denver Police Are Using a Nose Telescope to Sniff Out People’s Weed | VICE.

Updated | Daniel Holmes’s appeal rejected, prison term confirmed – maltatoday.com.mt

Updated | Daniel Holmes’s appeal rejected, prison term confirmed – maltatoday.com.mt

Marzena HolmesAn Appeals Court has confirmed a 10-year prison sentence for Briton Daniel Holmes, after the accused tried to get his punishment reduced in an appeal that raised the public’s awareness on the harshness of Malta’s drug laws.

Judges Joseph Zammit McKeon, Abigail Lofaro and David Scicluna, presided over the court of criminal appeal.

Daniel Alexander Holmes (pictured) was appealing a jail term of 10 year, six months and a €23,000 fine, after facing five charges of drug possession and trafficking, four of which carried a life sentence, related to the discovery of a cannabis plant in his Gozo home. Holmes admitted to all charges ahead of a trial by jury.

In its sentence, the court of criminal appeal said it would not disturb the first court’s judgement simply because of its severity.

“This was an appeal from punishment, which was well within the  parameters of the law, as the maximum was a life sentence,” Mr Justice David Scicluna said.

In court, where he was flanked by his wife Marzena, Holmes listened attentively to Scicluna delivering his decision. “The defence overlooked the fact that the crime was continuously spread over a period of five years. Albeit claiming to be a cannabis addict himself, the 32 plants and the set-up found at Holmes’s residence prove it was in fact a production line.”

During police searches no evidence of smoked cannabis was found, however the police found clearly marked packets containing cannabis, including a box with 600 grams of dried cannabis leaves. The only evidence of drug consumed inside the residence was a bottle of water containing traces of cocaine.

In his statement to the police, Holmes had claimed Barry Lee was an accomplice and that he had taken responsibility of what was found at his residence. Lee committed suicide in prison in 2008.

“The defence held that the appellant helped the police, however one cannot expect a reduction in punishment simply for not resisting arrest,” judge Scicluna held.

“Those concerned over the suffering their family goes through due to their conviction, should consider this before embarking on criminal activity. Having a family is not a reason to disturb a court’s decision,” the judge said.

In a comment posted in MaltaToday’s comment board, father Mel Holmes said he had never witnessed anything as inhumane in his life as before. “I have never heard anything so inhumane in my entire life. Are they blind to the evidence, or did our defence lawyer present such a bad case they they laughed it out of court?”

Holmes’s defence counsel had told the court how the Briton accused of the trafficking of drugs, ostensibly after a cannabis plant was found at his house, lived in an old, ugly and decrepit apartment, a far cry from the prosecution’s claim of living in luxury.

In his submissions, Kenneth Grima had said the convict was no drug baron, but someone who could not even afford a paltry €150 rent that was always paid by his parents, and who still owed his landlord €400 in water and electricity bills.

Court expert Godwin Sammut had found that the plants found had weighed in their totality, including the roots and stalks, 1,063g – but under oath he stated that this was the weight of the leaves alone, which would lead to a street value of €13,800.

Since Holmes’s conviction, the law had changed so that first-time offenders are not liable to criminal proceedings. But the judge had delivered a prison sentence that was 40% harsher over the eight years requested by the prosecution.

The case generated a public outcry over the harsheness of the sentence, led to a public petition. Holmes, who spent 14 months under preventive arrest, had managed to kick his habit, found a job as a chef, and was in a stable relationship with a Polish woman who had given him a daughter.

Dr Maxine Bonnet appeared for the Attorney General while lawyers Kenneth and Christina Grima appeared for Holmes.

Updated | Daniel Holmes’s appeal rejected, prison term confirmed – maltatoday.com.mt.

US Supreme Court Rejects Marijuana Reclassification Appeal | The Weed Blog

US Supreme Court Rejects Marijuana Reclassification Appeal | The Weed Blog

The US Supreme Court Monday declined to hear an appeal from medical marijuana advocacy groups who had challenged the DEA’s decision to maintain marijuana’s status as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, the category reserved for the most dangerous substances.

The court denied in summary order a petition for a writ of certiorari from the groups, led by Americans for Safe Access, which had sought Supreme Court review of a DC Circuit Court of Appeals decision upholding the DEA’s ruling that a change in marijuana’s classification required the Food and Drug Administration’s recognition of acceptable medical uses for the drugs.

Advocates of rescheduling marijuana have been trying to do so for more than four decades, but have been thwarted by DEA delays and intransigence. This was the third formal rescheduling effort to be blocked by DEA decision making.

Schedule I drugs are deemed to have no acceptable medical uses and a high potential for abuse. Other Schedule I drugs include LSD, MDMA, and heroin. Despite the fact that there is an ever-increasing mountain of research detailing marijuana medicinal effects and despite the fact that 20 states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical marijuana, the DEA continues to insist that it cannot be down-scheduled.

Joe Elford, lead attorney on the case for Americans for Safe Access, told Law360 that the Supreme Court’s denial of certiorari was in line with its reluctance to overturn lower courts and administrative decisions on medical marijuana.

“It’s disappointing, but not altogether surprising,” he said.

A fourth effort to reclassify marijuana led by the governors of the medical marijuana states of Rhode Island and Washington was filed in 2011 and is still awaiting action.

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US Supreme Court Rejects Marijuana Reclassification Appeal | The Weed Blog.

Riverside Cop Tricks Autistic Teen into Buying Pot – Reason.com

Riverside Cop Tricks Autistic Teen into Buying Pot – Reason.com

“We felt like our family was totally violated by the sheriff’s department and the school district,” says Doug and Catherine Snodgrass of Temecula, California. Last December their 17-year-old autistic high school son was arrested after twice buying marijuana for an undercover Riverside county police officer.

The undercover operation, titled “Operation Glass House,” spanned a few months and included undercover officers in three area high schools: Chaparral, Temecula Valley, and Rancho Vista Continuation. The officers posed as regular high school students and would ask other students for drugs. Twenty-two students were arrested – the majority of them are reported to be special needs students like the Snodgrass’ son.

Their son, who wished to remain unnamed, is noticeably handicapped and has been diagnosed with autism as well as bipolar disorder, Tourettes, and several anxiety disorders.

“Everyday is a challenge for him,” says his father.

Their son’s list of disabilities have many in the community wondering why he was targeted in this undercover drug operation.

The ordeal began on the first day of school last fall. The family had just moved to a new neighborhood and their son began his senior year at a new school, Chaparral High, in the Temecula Valley Unified School District. Their son rarely socialized, so his mom was thrilled when he announced that he had made a new friend in art class on the first day of school.

“We were so excited. I told him he should ask his friend to come over for pizza and play video games,” says Catherine Snodgrass, “but his new friend always had an excuse.”

His new friend, who went under the name of Daniel Briggs, was known as “Deputy Dan” to many students because it was so apparent to them that he was an undercover officer. However, to their son, whose disabilities make it hard for him to gauge social cues, Dan was his only real friend.

Dan reportedly sent 60 text messages to their son begging for drugs. According to his parents, the pressure to buy drugs was too much for the autistic teen who began physically harming himself.

The Snodgrass’ son finally agreed to buy Dan the pot. Dan give him twenty dollars and it took him three weeks to buy a half joint of pot off a homeless man downtown. This happened twice. When Dan asked a third time, their son refused and Dan cut off all communication.

“Our son was pretty broken up about that and he was back to having zero friends,” says Doug Snodgrass.

On December 11, 2012 armed police officers walked into their son’s classroom and arrested him in front of his peers. He was taken to the juvenile detention center, along with the 21 other arrestees, where he was kept for 48 hours. First hand reports claim that the juvenile center was caught off guard by the large number of arrests and that some youths had to sleep on the floor, using toilet paper as pillows.

Their son was also expelled from high school.

The Snodgrass’ hired a private attorney and took their case to court. In January, he was found not guilty due to extenuating circumstances. The judge had him undergo informal probation and perform 20 hours of community service.

In March, an administrative judge ordered their son to be reinstated into school stating that the district had left their son “anxious and alone” to defend for himself against an undercover police officer.

Riverside Cop Tricks Autistic Teen into Buying Pot – Reason.com.