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Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Hide and Convict - by Daniel L. Price Esq.

Is Michigan law enforcement Criminal Racketeering?  I recently read an article about an Ottawa County officer who turned off his dash and body cams during the search of a motor vehicle.  A search is a critical point of the invasion of the motorist’s privacy, and in generating revenue for the state.  The federal 6th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled against this defendant essentially stating that turning cameras off did not amount to hiding evidence.

As an attorney, and a citizen, I want mandatory body and dash cams for all law enforcement.  I believe they protect all concerned, as they provide evidence that can either support a conviction, or dismissal of false charges.  They can also exonerate an officer accused of excessive force, or show officer and/or department fraud and misconduct.

I’ve watched footage of dash cams since 2000.  It’s often disturbing to watch.  For instance, I represented a DUI defendant in Van Buren Twp., MI in the mid-2000’s.  The officer stated on dash cam that he “radar timed” the Defendant speeding.  Interestingly, the camera also showed the officer attempting to obtain a breath sample while the EMS technician administered breathing treatments on the driver as she suffered a severe asthma attack.  The EMS technician rightly told the officer to back off.

Even more, the camera showed the radar unit was not on at any time.  But worse, the officer had no training to use a radar device.  It gets much worse.  Turns out the local newspaper reported that the minutes of township meetings stated a group of officers were hired to generate traffic ticket revenue, and if they did not generate a minimum amount they would be fired after one year.  Ironically, I later observed a Van Buren TWP Police car traveling in excess of 90 mph as it traveled eastbound on I-96 from Grand Rapids, after officers received awards for traffic safety from then Governor Granholm. 

Another example is in early 2017, a Berrien County Sheriff’s deputy pulled me over.  His first question was, “how long has it been since you had a speeding ticket”?  Interesting!?!?  In any event, he cited me for going 5 mph over the speed limit.  Before my hearing the prosecutor told me that if I did not admit guilt she would have the officer write another ticket for driving 68 mph, instead of the 5 mph over, which he did.
   
I viewed the dash cam footage prior to entering the courtroom and it showed the radar unit was not on at any time.  Moreover, the deputy testified to having over 10 years in law enforcement, and had been fully trained in traffic safety and in the use of radar units.  Yet, the deputy testified he could not state the manufacturer’s name for the unit, or the manufacturer itself.  He further testified that it is the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department’s policy to have radar units turned off at all times.
 
Let that sink in.  The department takes from us hundreds of thousands of dollars for radar units, officer training, and officer salaries for traffic patrol.  Yet, the department’s policy is to not use the radar units, and the so called “training” results in an over 10 year veteran not knowing the radar unit which he is commanded not to use.

Warrants and tickets in Michigan state that the officer swears under penalty of perjury that the statements he/she writes on these are true.  In both cases above, the officers knowingly committed fraud/perjury themselves in writing the citations.  Moreover, their respective departments did as well, when they took money from us to pay for salaries, training, radar units, and patrol vehicles.  And, it is only due to the word count limitation in this article that I cannot show many more instances of this kind of practice.

Black’s Law Dictionary states, “Fraud consists of some deceitful practice or willful device, resorted to with intent to deprive another of his right, or in some manner to do him an injury.”  In Merriam Webster’s dictionary it is defined as, “Wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain”.  Further, that one who engages in this is a, “racketeer”, “cheat”, and “charlatan”, among others.

There are laws against quotas, fraud/perjury, and racketeering.  One must wonder, is the primary purpose of the state to deny citizens’ rights, or protect these rights?
 
How many have paid fines, suffered convictions, jail time, or job loss, because of this racket?  How many can’t pay for kids’ braces, school clothes, or a decent meal because of this? 

Fight those tickets!  There is a good chance there is no evidence against you.  Isn’t it cheaper than allowing your freedom and your wallet to be robbed from you with your consent?  Freedom is not free!  Giving up the fight costs you your money and freedom.

Till next month, as always, keep rolling on.


Disclaimer:  This is an informational article only.  It is not to provide individual legal advice.  If you need legal services, feel free to contact me, or any attorney of your choosing.

MMMR RECIPE: Canna Cinnamon Rolls - by Annette Nay Nay

Ingredients:

The Dough:
•2 cups cannabis flour
 •2 tbsp. granulated sugar
 •4 tsp. baking powder
 •1 tsp. salt
 •3 tbsp. canna butter
 •3/4 canna milk

The Filling:
•4 tbsp. canna butter
 •1 cup brown sugar
 •3 tsp. cinnamon

The Glaze:
•1/2 cup powdered sugar
 •1/4 cup canna milk
                                                                                                                                                      

Directions:

First of all, preheat your oven to 375 degrees. In a small to medium-sized mixing bowl, combine all the filling ingredients until it forms a crumbly, but well blended mixture (hint: it helps to soften the canna butter first). Next, spread half of this mixture over the bottom of a 9" x 9" pan, or closest size you have. Now, in a large mixing bowl, combine the cannabis flour, sugar, baking powder and salt and mix together thoroughly. Slowly begin to add in more softened canna butter a little at a time until well blended and subsequently mix in the milk. Spread some canna flour on a cutting board or similar surface and roll into a 1/4" thick rectangle. With the other half of your filling, spread it on top of the rolled rectangle of dough. Next, roll the rectangle up into a log and slice into 18 equal segments or 12 if you prefer bigger rolls. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes on 375 degrees Fahrenheit. While this is baking, combine the canna milk (or regular milk) and powdered sugar in a bowl and spread on top of the rolls once out of the oven. Let cool a minute or two and prepare to get really really medicated.

Cover Story: Dream Detroit-Detroit's Finest Dispensary - by Dolan Frick












Dream Detroit is celebrating 2 years of business this February! Dream Detroit is truly Detroit's Finest Dispensary. We are conveniently located at 15670 East 8 Mile.

With friendly staff and a clean professional environment we stand out above the rest! We are proud residents of Detroit and want to offer the people of the area a high quality experience when entering Dream Detroit Dispensary.

Let us help make your cannabis dreams come true

It's not just our unique name, helpful and friendly staff, or professional environment that makes us stand out. We also have one of Detroit's best and largest selections of concentrates and flower.

At Dream Detroit we specialize in concentrates! We offer at least 10 different strains of concentrates. Among those is one of our best sellers, the OG Cookie Shatter. Another favorite strain is our very own house brand shatter!

We also have our very own house brand of vape cartridges.

Dream Detroit has $20 daily deals on a gram of shatter or a $20 Distillate Vape Cartridge!

We're not just all about the concentrates, we've got it all! Now I'm talkin' Flower! We carry over 40 different strains of it! Among these strains is our best seller the Gelato Flower.

With over 40 strains of flower we are sure to have the one that's just right for you!

Dream Detroit is Licensed and here to stay!


- The dream at Dream Detroit is to offer the most exclusive flower and concentrates at the absolute lowest prices!

Grow Tip for February 2018 - by Ben Horner

Deep Water Culture

There are many variations of the deep water culture
hydroponic systems used by indoor cannabis gardeners. My
favorite is the tote system.

     The first reason I favor this version of the DWC is the low cost, each tote can be produced for under seventy-five bucks. Secondly, the totes can be customizable for different sizes, each tote can hold anywhere from one to a dozen pots. Of course, the bigger plant limits the size verse amount of plants per tote ratio. Third, each tote is contained and has its own water culture, which compartmentalizes problems typically associated with hydroponics, such as pH and nutrient balance. Finally, the system is crazy easy; just about anyone can make these. If you can follow any basic food recipe and/or build a Lego Star Wars x-wing fighter using the provided instructions, then you can probably handle this.
                                                                                                                                                       

Supplies:

• 30 Gallon Plastic Tote with Lid
• Timer (15 minute interval analogue)
• ¼ inch Black Plastic Tubing (15 inches per pot)
• ¼ inch Barbed Plastic T’s (1 for every 2 pots)
• 1 foot ½ inch Tubing
• ½ inch Barbed Plug
• ½ inch Ring Clamp
• 1 Water Pump 200-300gph Submersible Pump
• Net Pots
• Hydroton
• Label Stakes
• Air Pump
• Air Stone
• Twist Tie
• 3 Foot Air Line (1/4 inch standard) Nutrients
                                                                                                                                                       

Steps:

1. First step is to determine how many pots and what size you are going to use.
2. Use the tape measure and compass to map out your cuts in the lid.
3. Cut out pot hole using utility knife.
4. The next step is to assemble the irrigation system.
5. Attach ¼ inch hose to pump.
6. Insert plug and secure with clamp.
7. Make holes for T’s.
8. Insert T’s into pilot hole.
9. Attach ¼ inch hoses to the ends of the T’s.
10. Insert pump into the tote.
11. Drill pilot hole for hoses through the top of the lid.
12. Fill tote with 5 gallons of water.
13. Test the irrigation lines.
14. Add nutrients. Test the water.
15. Load plants into pots. Fill baskets with Hydroton.
16. Insert pots into the lid of the tote.
17. Secure water lines to the baskets, using the twist ties, ensuring that the water will be flowing close to the plant.
18. Attach air-line to pump, fish the line through the handle point on tote. Attach air stone.
19. Set timer. Connect pump and time and raise the power supply off the ground.
                                                                                                                                                       

Tools Required:

• Drill & Drill Bits
• Utility Knife
• Compass
• Sharpie
• Tape Measure
• Scissors

Treasury Demands 6% Use-Tax- by Kathy Hess

Michigan Department of Treasury Demands Patients Pay 6% Use-Tax on ALL Patient-Caregiver Transactions

     Due to a directive from the states treasury department on January 18th, Michigan medical marijuana patients are now expected to pay a 3% MMFLA tax and a 6% sales tax on purchases from dispensaries under Michigan’s new cannabis distribution program as required by law, but a reversal of policy from the Department of Treasury requires patients not using dispensaries to pay a 6% penalty, too, and that has the patient services community up in arms.

     In Revenue Administration Bulletin 2018-2, issued January 18, the Department of Treasury has decided to re-interpret the MMMA language and reverse their previous position on the taxation of cannabis sales. Every time a patient purchases cannabis from their registered caregiver the patient must log the sale and self-report a 6% use tax on the transaction, per the new directive.

     “The Michigan Department of Treasury is exceeding its authority by implementing a new “PATIENT TAX” that requires registered patients to pay a 6% use tax on medical cannabis purchased  from their caregiver,” wrote Matthew Abel, founding partner of the law firm Cannabis Counsel PLC and the Executive Director of MINORML.

     The policy change arrives without any connected change in MMMA language or court result, leaving the state’s 300,000 plus patients questioning the reasoning for the sudden policy change.

     “This new tax structure puts significant additional legal burden on caregivers operating in an already murky area of law,” said attorney Bruce Leach. “It signals the state’s clear intent to make caregiving as difficult as possible while the state moves to eventually eliminate caregivers altogether in favor of the regulated commercial market.  If the state is going to implement this tax system then it is only fair that caregivers be allowed to have their goods properly enter into the regulated market.”

     Under MMMA, caregivers are prevented from selling their goods through the state’s new dispensary system. Previously, patients purchasing meds directly from a caregiver did so as a tax-free transaction under the MMMA.  Now the definition of what is medicine and what is not seems to have mutated into a new phase which effectively allows the state to make people pay a tax for medicinal goods.

     “Michigan doesn’t tax medicine and we shouldn’t tax medical cannabis,” said Jeff Irwin, current candidate running for State Senate and a former House Representative, “especially when it is a critical tool in the fight against opioid abuse.”

     In their attempts to legitimize the taxing of medicinal cannabis the Treasury Bulletin distinguishes marijuana and marijuana-infused products as non-medicines because their use is not governed by a prescription written by a physician, but rather is derived from a ‘recommendation’ written by a physician. However, in denying the tax-exempt status of cannabis foods, their own Bulletin identifies cannabis products as medicinal in this statement:

     “Marihuana-infused products are not eligible for this exemption because they are consumed for their medicinal value rather than for their taste or nutrition.”

     This certainly has a lot of patients and caregivers scratching their heads.
MINORML, the Michigan chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws,  sent a letter to every state legislator on January 25th, opposing the change in how patients are treated by the state.

      The Department of Treasury took a hands-off approach to cannabis sales and tax assessment back in April of 2011, when Director of Bureau Tax Policy, Glenn White wrote; The MMA re-characterizes what otherwise might be a taxable sale of tangible personal property as a non-taxable caregiver service, and that The MMA does not authorize either a regulatory or enforcement role for the Department of Treasury.

      MINORML references the MMMA and identifies the new decision to issue a use tax on patients as a penalty which violates the 2008 voter-directed initiative. Advocates and attorneys’ seem to be in agreement on the issue.

     “There is no basis or precedent for this ruling,” said Mathew Abel. “It seems entirely constructed from some type of wishful thinking on the part of the government.”

      When asked what impact this new policy would have on patients, MINORML board member Brad Forrester responded, “The patients who comply with this new policy will place themselves and their caregivers at a higher risk for arrest and prosecution, simply by identifying themselves. Patients and caregivers now face a brand new risk, arrest and prosecution for income tax evasion, and conversely by complying, they are forced to divulge personal information that is confidential under the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act, but not confidential on the open records of our tax system.”

     “As a criminal defense lawyer who represents patients and their caregivers, I’m concerned that tax rules could be used by law enforcement as another tool to violate privacy rights and to prosecute those who are doing their best to follow the Medical Marihuana Act,” said Southwest Michigan attorney Daniel Grow, past Chair of the Marijuana Law Section of the State Bar Association.

      Forrester echoed that sentiment. “I can only imagine how overzealous cops and prosecutors will leverage this new law to help them squeeze patients and caregivers for some kind of lopsided plea agreement,” he said.

Free the Weed 84 - by John Sinclair

     Highest greetings from the Motor City, where I’m continuing to recover from the physical issues that plagued me all last year and are now beginning to recede somewhat as I get ready to travel south to New Orleans for the Mardi Gras this coming month—no better healing atmosphere to be had in these States.

     I’m talking about February, but as I write this it’s the 24th of January, a momentous date for me because that’s the day my serious troubles with the law started when I was arrested in 1967 and charged with dispensing marijuana to a police agent 33 days previously: To wit, on the 21st of December, 1966 I had given two marijuana cigarettes to an undercover policewoman attached to the Detroit Narcotics Squad.
I know it’s hard to understand, but marijuana was labeled a narcotic under the state drug laws—actually, much as it is still classified by the federal government today, over 50 years later!—and marijuana offenders were formally charged with V.S.N.L.: Violation of State Narcotics Laws. The penalties provided by these laws were a maximum of 10 years in prison for possession of marijuana and a minimum mandatory sentence of 20 years with a maximum of life imprisonment for selling, distributing, or giving away marijuana.

     My first marijuana arrest was in the fall of 1964 for selling a dime bag of weed to an undercover State Police officer. I was a graduate student in American Literature at Wayne State University and was allowed to plead guilty to possession, the sales charge was dropped, and I was sentenced to a modest fine and two years’ probation.

     The next year I was the victim of an elaborate set-up by the Detroit Narcotics Bureau when I was convinced to obtain a dime bag of weed from a friend of mine for a guy who turned out to be an undercover policeman. He drove me to my friend’s house, paid for the weed, and then had me arrested on a sales of narcotics charge.

     By this time I was not only a confirmed marijuana smoker and former weed dealer but also a budding marijuana legalization activist—the first in the state of Michigan. With the help of my parents I engaged an attorney not only to defend me on this trumped-up charge but also to challenge the constitutionality of the Michigan marijuana laws.

     Since I was charged with sales of narcotics I was facing a mandatory-minimum 20-year prison sentence if convicted of copping the dime bag for the undercover cop. After thoroughly studying the issue—then a new concept—my attorney let me know that we couldn’t possibly go up against the law itself because of the terrible consequences of a loss in the courtroom. He confessed that he wouldn’t be able to live with himself if we lost the case and I was sent to prison for more than 20 years.

     So once again I pled guilty to a reduced charge of possession of narcotics, the sales charge was dropped, and I was sentenced to another three years’ probation—with the first six months to be spent incarcerated at the Detroit House of Correction. I did my time between February 24 and August 5, 1966, a period during which very few citizens of any sort were locked up for marijuana possession.

     In fact, at the time the concept of an alternate way of life in America was just beginning to surface in different parts of the country, emanating from San Francisco and the West Coast and based in music, marijuana, non-conformity, and the idea of sharing. This was a beautiful thing, but it was just beginning to catch on, and the authorities were determined to do everything they could to stamp it out before it could take hold in he general populace.

     As Richard Nixon’s former policy aide John Ehrlichman confessed to Harper’s magazine in 2016, "We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or blacks, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."

     While I was a prisoner at DeHoCo I seriously considered the idea of rejecting marijuana and the legal nightmares it had brought into my life as a poet, alternative journalist and community arts organizer. I spent five months and 18 days without a single toke and I thought I could live like this if I had to in order to escape being locked up again.

      But when I was released in August 1966 I was welcomed back into my neighborhood west of the WSU campus with a big party at the Detroit Artists Workshop called The Festival of People. Everyone was smoking weed, and the idea of doing without was absurd.

     Two months later the Grande Ballroom opened with the MC-5 as its house band, I became close friends with the band’s lead singer, Rob Tyner, and the Grande’s poster artist, Gary Grimshaw, and with some other friends we began scheming up an organization called Trans-Love Energies, a hippie music and arts collective which first emerged as something called The 1967 Steering committee.

     From this point legalization of marijuana became an important focal point of our activities simply because marijuana smoking was such an essential part of our lives. At the time, there weren’t so many people like the readers of this publication: our numbers were very small, but constantly growing. Very few people exposed to the practice of marijuana smoking were not immediately attracted to its wondrous rewards, and the community of pot smokers expanded with each joint passed from one hippie to another.

     As the nation of dope smokers grew, the government’s commitment to the War on Drugs intensified commensurately. The lies got bigger and bigger, more and more smokers were arrested and jailed, assets were seized, freedoms were forfeited, and the repression barreled on out of control until 1996 when the first medical marijuana legalization was voted into being in California.

    Utilizing the popular “domino theory” against the people who conceived it, the marijuana legalization forces have gradually overcome the barrage of lies and idiocy concerning marijuana and have won over more than a majority of the population to the concept of freeing the weed. Here in Michigan, 51 years after the “lightning campus dope raid” on the WSU campus that netted 56 violators on January 24, 1967—of which only this writer was ever convicted and sent to prison on these charges—a large majority of voters are ready to legalize weed in November once and for all.

     After a lifetime of struggle against these liars, bullies, violent conmen and thugs posing as the American law enforcement community, I’m delighted finally to be on the verge of victory in the War on Drugs, and I look forward to 2018 being one of the best years ever. Free The Weed!


—Detroit
January 24-25, 2018

© 2018 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved

The Dana Nessel Phenomena - by Tim Beck - Chairman of the Safer Michigan Coalition

In November 2018, the office of Michigan Attorney General (AG) is up for renewal for the first time in eight years. According to the Michigan Constitution, the AG is the chief law enforcement officer for the State of Michigan. Its current occupant, cannabis hater Bill Schuette is leaving the office to run for Governor. This fact is a rare opportunity for cannabis reformers to help change the political landscape at the very top.


What is especially good, is for the first time in Michigan political history, a serious,  major party player with a chance to win, has openly endorsed the legalization of marijuana. No weasel words or hemming and hawing.


The candidacy of Democrat Dana Nessel has united the leadership of the cannabis reform community.

An attorney in private practice since 2005, Ms Nessel is a former Wayne County Prosecutor, who has the support of her old boss, Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy. She is bright, energetic, articulate and not afraid to take on issues most politicians are afraid to touch.

Her major accomplishment is playing a key role in legalizing gay marriage across the entire USA. In 2012 she took on the legal case of  DeBoer v Snyder which went all the way to the US Supreme Court. The court ruled that her clients April DeBoer and Jane Rowse have the right to legally marry.


Ms Nessel lives in Plymouth, with her wife Alanna Maguire. The couple have twin sons Alex and Zach, who are in their freshman year at the local high school. In addition to legalizing marijuana, she is a strong advocate of environmental protection, civil liberties, consumer protection and defending the rights of labor unions.

The road to victory will not be an easy one. There will be no statewide primary election. The party nominee for AG will be decided by delegates to the statewide Michigan Democratic Party (MDP) Convention at Cobo Hall in Detroit on April 15

She is now competing with Patrick Miles Jr., former US Attorney for Michigan's Western District, who was appointed to the job by President Obama.

Miles is infamous in the cannabis reform community for sending the "Lansing Seven" to Federal prison for the illegal production of medical marijuana in 2012. As an African American member of a fundamentalist Christian church, it is impossible to get a straight answer out of the man, as to what he really believes about the legal status of marijuana.

It also seems for now, Mr. Miles has the support of the traditional Democratic establishment. Organized labors ability to hand pick candidates at Democratic Party Conventions is the stuff of legend.
Ms Nessel and her team are engaging in a two pronged strategy. She is seeking the support of power brokers in organized labor, in addition to packing the convention hall with delegates who will cast a vote for her. 

She says her fundraising effort is not so much to impress MDP big shots, but to enable outsiders who believe in her message to vote at the convention.

'I'm not taking money from corporate PAC's. I did not spend my career with silk stocking law firms. My focus has been to represent the disenfranchised" she explained.

"We will have buses to take people to Detroit from out state areas, and a place for them to stay when they arrive" she explained. "If the grass roots does not participate, the big guy's will make all of the decisions. That is not what we want."

Can Ms Nessel make it all the way, if she does not get the support of organized labor?

Some long time MDP leaders and activists are skeptical such a thing could happen.

Former State Representative LaMar Lemmons, who is a member of the Detroit School Board and Chairman of the "East Side Slate" political organization, had some sobering words.

Based upon many love fests, and head butting with organized labor leaders over his long political career; Mr. Lemmons said such a task would be difficult.

"Organized labor, especially the UAW, is like the Chamber of Commerce and the DeVos and Romney families, which can get anything they want in the Republican Party. They have unlimited money and manpower, especially at a party conventions. They can change the rules... if they do not like the result."

"Upsets have happened a few times in the past, in both major parities, but that's not usually the way it goes" Mr. Lemmons concluded.

What is the reality on the ground as of January 25, the print deadline for this column?

Dana Nessel can win this. Patrick Miles, Jr does not have her charisma, work ethic and ability to excite grass roots members of the Party, especially the ever growing "progressive" wing. It is that simple, and organized labor will eventually understand this reality at the end of the day.

What do we need to do as a community?

We need every able bodied cannabis policy reformer in Michigan to join the Michigan Democratic Party and show up at the convention on April 15 to vote for Dana Nessel. It's that easy. Just go to Dana Nessel's website: "Dana Nessel for Attorney General." Her talented team has made it very easy to join the MDP. You can also go to the Michigan Democratic









DANA2018.COM

Party website and get the same result. Party rules state you must join by March 16 in order to vote at the convention. Do not procrastinate. Do it now. It takes at least a month to get your ID card in hand from the time you apply. There is no cost to become a member unless you want to make a voluntary donation.

I have identified with the Republican Party for economic policy reasons for many years.

No matter. If you lean Democrat, Republican, Independent or third party, for just one time, use this opportunity to cast a meaningful vote for cannabis policy reform and civil liberties in Michigan.

I got my Michigan Democratic Party I.D card in the mail last week, and I will be voting for Dana Nessel on April 15 in Detroit.