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Field Drug Tests Defective

This stunning YouTube Video prepared with the help of Dr. Bronner’s soaps is a legal basis for throwing out a commonly used field test by hundreds of police agencies across the country called NarcoPouch.

In fact, it was instrumental in dropping charges against a band member in Southern California who was wrongly prosecuted based on the false presumption that his liquid soap was GHB. The false positive in the street field test led to his arrest. The crime lab’s testing eventually exonerated the accused musician.

It appears that the testing equipment utilized to ascertain GHB, a controlled substance, also tests positive for ANY natural or organic soap, such as Dr. Bronner’s Hemp-Pure Castille soap, readily available at Whole Foods markets locally. Further testing subsequently revealed that the popular NarcoPouch unit also tests positive on many colognes and perfumes.

Like the Intoxilyzer machines that have fallen under scrupulous legal review, if you can successfully show in a pre-trial motion that field-testing equipment is inherently compromised, the arrest itself can fail. Last week, the UK Guardian reported that a popular street side test for marijuana has also been compromised.

Known as the Duquenois-Levine, or D-L Test, it is produced by various for-profit manufacturers, and the standards to create the product are not exactly supervised by health agencies or homeland security. Not to be sarcastic, but you have to persuade a court that these companies have their own best pecuniary interests at heart, not the public good. We need to get the courts to presume fallibility.

Many of us already remember what happened to Robin Rae Brown on March 20, 2009, in Weston, here in Broward County, Florida. She parked her pickup truck and went for a hike off the beaten path along a remote canal and into the woods to bird watch and commune with nature. “I saw a bobcat and an osprey,” she recalls. “I stopped once in a nice spot beneath a tree, sat down and gave prayers of thanksgiving to God.”

Robin had packed a clay bowl and a “smudge stick,” a stalk-like bundle of sage, sweet grass, and lavender that she had bought at an airport gift shop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Under the tree, she lit the end of the smudge stick and nestled it inside the bowl. She waved the smoke up toward her heart and over her head and prayed.

Spiritual people from many cultures, including Native Americans, consider smoke to be sacred, and believe it can carry their prayers to the heavens. Law enforcement does not so abide. I learned that on Star Island in the 1980’s counseling members of the Ethiopian Coptic Church, whose daily rituals of religious marijuana use were not accepted by the DEA, who raided and arrested them, chasing them from Florida.

Robin Brown’s bird watch became a nightmare leading to an illegal arrest. When she returned to her pickup truck, a Broward deputy and a Florida Fish and Wildlife lieutenant confronted her. One spotted her incense and asked if he could see it. He took the bowl and incense, asking whether it was marijuana.

Robin told the police it was her ‘smudge.’ “Smells like marijuana to me,” said the deputy, who admitted he had never heard of a smudge stick. He then took the incense back to his car and conducted a D-L field test, which proved ‘positive for marijuana.’ She was eventually arrested.

Robin’s case has gained notoriety because she later learned that her incense had never been subjected to a confirmatory lab test. The Broward state attorney negligently filed a criminal charge without the subsequent testing, and was sued after the charges against her were dropped. Robin’s lawyers so far have not prevailed based on statutory immunity. Sadly, the state is immune from its carelessness, but innocent citizens go to jail because of it.

The test itself works fine. The problem is that, in addition to identifying marijuana or hashish, the D-L test frequently reads positive for tea, nutmeg, sage, and dozens of other chemicals—including ‘resorcinols,’ a family of over-the-counter medicines, which, includes Sucrets throat lozenges.

In a 2008 article for the Texas Tech Law Review, Frederic Whitehurst, Executive Director for the Forensic Justice Project and formerly with the FBI, concluded: “We are arresting vast numbers of citizens for possession of a substance that we cannot identify by utilizing the forensic protocol that is presently in use in most crime labs in the United States.”

As renowned drug expert author, John Kelley, has pointed out in Alternet articles, there are many flaws emerging with these tests. In fact, the problem of “false positives” in drug tests isn’t just limited to substances that appear to resemble marijuana or GHB. In Canada, the owners of a family-based chocolatier business were fingered as dangerous drug dealers by a Duquenois field test and found themselves in jail. Incarceration by Chocolate!

The test, as shown in the Bronner soap video, above, is a simple chemical color reagent test. To administer the test, you simply break a seal on a tiny micropipette of chemicals, and insert a particle of the suspected substance. If the chemicals turn purple or green or a particular color, this indicates the possibility of marijuana or maybe GHB. But ‘possibility’ is not automatically, ‘reliability.’

As scientific examiners unearth new drug testing techniques, the defense bar needs to maximize ways to bust them for their fallibility.

Don’t walk your clients to the plea counter. Plead their case instead with pre trial motions that require the state to authenticate the drug testing sources that provided the basis for the initial arrest. You may have the fruits of a poisonous tree. Suck it dry for everything it is worth.

Norm Kent

Originally published, August, 2012

 

New 2016 Medical Marijuana Petition Here

-News from NORML of Florida

Hi All-

Here is a link to the Medical Marijuana petition. If you have not signed a petition since the election of November 2014, you need to sign this new one.

Please print as many as you can, have them filled in by friends, family, co-workers, etc, and remember to have them signed and dated on the back. As with the last petition, the signers must be registered voters in Florida. If you know someone who is not a registered voter and who cannot figure out how to register, assuming the person is eligible to vote, connect us and I will help.

Once again, if you go out to collect petitions it asks for name, address with city, zip code and county (not state or country) and either voter registration number, if available, OR date of birth. There is a box that can be checked to change the voter’s address to a new one, if needed. Please ask folks to print their information legibly.

If you need the petitions picked up, reach out to me and we will arrange it, but if you can mail them in, the mailing address is on the back of the petition.

Together we can change the law, but we need these petitions to be able to move forward.

2016 Medical Marijuana Petition

Karen Seeb Goldstein, Director
NORML of Florida
NORMLFlorida@gmail.com
954.303.9254

Watch: Nancy Grace unleashes more reefer madness on Dr. Drew

“You take isolated instances of aberrant behavior and try to make them standardized for all marijuana users, and once and for all, Nancy, have you no conscience? When will this stop? When will you own up to the fact that millions and millions of Americans can light up a joint — and have been since the age of Woodstock — without impairing their families, driving recklessly or endangering people.” – Norm Kent

Despite being consistently wrong in the argument against marijuana legalization, talk show host Nancy Grace just can’t get enough.

Her latest quarry came in the form of celebrity doctor Drew Pinsky and NORML chair Norm Kent, who defended marijuana use after Grace blamed the plant for the shooting death of a Colorado woman last April.

“You take isolated instances of aberrant behavior and try to make them standardized for all marijuana users,” Kent told Grace. “And once and for all, Nancy, have you no conscience? When will this stop? When will you own up to the fact that millions and millions of Americans can light up a joint — and have been since the age of Woodstock — without impairing their families, driving recklessly or endangering people.”

The haughty Grace pompously dismissed Kent’s comment by replying, “Obviously you’re stoned.”

Read the full article at SF Gate »

SF Gate

Medical marijuana loses to entrepreneurial greed

Medical Marijuana

Well, this is Florida. The rules are different here.

Where else can you win a race with 58% of the vote and lose the election?

Only here, of course.

Here’s the thing. We have a process in Florida that allows citizens to amend the constitution of our state by popular referendum. It requires, however, that you must get 60% of the vote in order to change the law. A simple majority is not enough.

Consequently, even though the majority of Floridians voted last night to allow patients access to marijuana medicinally, by a vote of 58 % to 42 %, the numbers were not overwhelming enough to change our laws. Nevertheless, it was the third highest medical use vote ever recorded in America, surpassed only by Massachusetts with 64% and Washington, D.C. with 68%.

To continue reading this column, please go to: Sun Sentinel.

Pot smokers out of hiding as marijuana becomes accepted

as_needed

When 64 percent of voters in Miami Beach in a straw ballot said they would support medical marijuana in Miami Beach last week, it was no surprise.

Pot smokers may not wear rainbow flags, but they have finally come out of the closet.

For forty years, since early in the 1970’s, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws has been fighting to change repressive and regressive laws against the responsible use of cannabis by consenting adults.

The truth is the ‘war on drugs’ was never a war on drugs. It was a war on good and decent people, whose only crime was smoking a joint at the end of the day.

Most Americans have always known the horror stories about pot consumption were delusional hallucinations by cowardly politicians afraid to be seen as ‘soft on dope.’

NORML is winning the battle today because a raised consciousness amongst Americans realizes they can trust themselves more than their government.

This new awakening is why in 21 states where citizens have been asked if they want pot to be decriminalized, they have resoundingly said ‘yes.’ It is why current Gallup polls have showed nearly 60 percent of Americans wants pot legalized.

It isn’t because we are all stoners, though many of us are. It is because we as Americans are fed up with the lies and laws our legislators have passed and prosecuted. Over four decades, we have empowered our government to create draconian drug laws that compromised our civil liberties and sacrificed common sense.

They have enacted statutes allowing our sons and daughters to be jailed, our cars to be seized, and our scholarships to be forfeited. In certain places, moms and dads can still lose custody of their kids because they are caught smoking pot. It is an outrage and injustice Americans can no longer endure or countenance.

The only reason Miami Beach even agreed to a straw ballot is we showed them 8,000 petitions we had signed by residents supporting a special vote to make pot arrests the lowest priority of law enforcement. The public is always one step ahead of the politician.

Today, though, from Miami Beach to Maine, from Seattle to South Florida, we are saying ‘Free the Leaf.’ It’s not just to get high. There are valid medical and curative reasons to support normalizing marijuana.

Hundreds of thousands of Americans who were living with HIV learned years ago medical cannabis enhanced their appetite and inhibited a ‘wasting away’ syndrome. Others, like Elvy Mussika, a grandmother from Hollywood, Florida, who gets monthly prescriptions of cannabis from the DEA, found out pot can retard glaucoma and cataracts.

Scientists in Israel have discovered cannabis can control muscular spasticity and arthritic conditions amongst the elderly. One housewife in Manatee County, Cathy Jordan, has used cannabis for a quarter of a century to combat Lou Gehrig’s Disease. She grows her own in her backyard, and an enlightened prosecutor has declined to prosecute her, acknowledging her use is a ‘life-saving condition.’

Baby boomers from the 1960’s are now in their 60’s. For those of us who smoked joints watching Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, we have seen an America supplicate itself to pharmaceutical companies who gave us a sea of prescription pills which have led to multi million dollar class action lawsuits and premature deaths from unanticipated consequences. None of us have ever died from weed. But we have all been victims of the war against it.

Still, it does no good to enter an era of recrimination. As we approach an age of decriminalization and even legalization, let me just say ‘welcome.’ If you support reform now, and you have not before, thanks for joining a good cause.

In Florida, an effort has been launched to place medical marijuana on next year’s ballot as a constitutional amendment. If the signature requirements are met, you will get to vote on it. Like every other state where people vote on cannabis, it will pass, with cross-sectional support in both red and blue counties. Pot has only one party.

Support those communities that want to legalize and medicalize cannabis, and you will be on the right side of history, part of a community wrongfully denied a voice and now, finally, after all these years, rightfully being recognized.

Medical Marijuana is Coming to Florida

Florida Cannabis ConsultantsNorm Kent, the past President of the Board of Directors of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), has opened up a new medical marijuana consulting firm in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Florida Cannabis Consultants will be doing business as FCC420.com.

“Frankly,” said Kent, “with a constitutional amendment on the ballot to approve marijuana wellness centers here in the Sunshine State, entrepreneurs, growers, and venture capitalists are going to need guidance and direction. I am being swamped with calls and I needed to set up a vehicle to respond professionally.”

Few people in the industry can bring to the table the breadth and depth of experience that Kent can, having first worked with NORML four decades ago when he was a student and “toker,” he acknowledges, at Hofstra University. Kent sarcastically notes that “yes, marijuana was a gateway drug. It led to a higher education, law school and a lifetime of fighting for social reforms.”

“Today,” Kent notes, “my youthful indiscretion has become a professional crusade.” In Florida, it’s on the verge of coming to fruition. Early polling suggests nearly 72 percent of Florida citizens support medical marijuana. For the amendment to prevail, 60 percent of the voters must approve the initiative. Kent states that his consulting firm, formed with his law partner, Russell Cormican, “will guide clients through the emerging rules and regulations for Florida wellness centers.”

Kent, who has become somewhat of a regular on national TV defending cannabis consumers on the Nancy Grace show, indicates that his new consulting firm “will provide up to date and cutting edge advisories warning ‘cannabiznesses’ of the pitfalls and problems which may occur as they seek to invest their monies and open their doors.”

Importantly, Kent warns that you can’t start to “grow now and assert a medical defense tomorrow. The amendment has to pass first.” He adds “you can prepare but you can’t plant.”

In 1982, as a young attorney, Kent once sued the state of Florida to prevent it from spraying the deadly herbicide paraquat on marijuana fields growing in the state. Today his goal is to help the state craft reasonable rules and regulations for the dispensaries and wellness centers which will open when and if the amendment passes.

“No one is better equipped to do so,” says his business partner, Russell Cormican. “As the chair of NORML, Norm has criss-crossed the country as a medicinal marijuana advocate, lecturing in colleges, legal conferences, and advising legislators. He is a legitimate expert.” Kent served as vice chair and then chair of NORML from 2012-2014, and has served on their Board of Directors since 1996.

It was Kent who pioneered medical necessity defenses for cannabis consumers in Florida as far back as 1988. One of his clients, Elvy Mussika, is one of only four living Americans who have cannabis grown and delivered to them monthly by the federal government. A criminal defense attorney in South Florida for 35 years, since 1979, Kent also successfully represented patients and caregivers of the Key West Cannabis Buyers Clubs in the early 1990’s.

“The public is tired of prohibition. It seeks access to medicinal marijuana. I hope to help craft the rules so it happens fairly,” Kent stated, adding “I also want to insure that consumers and investors do not become victims of flim-flam artists and fly-by-night con artists. At FCC420.com, we will be like a third base coach, letting players know where the scoring opportunities are.”

FCC420.com will be providing its clients with online weekly updates and advisories through its password-protected website.

What would pot’s passage mean to Florida?

Excellent and well researched article.

If voters amend the state’s constitution in November to allow the use of medical marijuana, Florida could witness the birth of an $800-million-a-year industry.

In short order, Florida would become the second-largest marijuana market in the nation, behind only California.

But the variables in the financial equation of a law that would take effect Jan. 6 are many, starting with who ends up being Florida’s next governor.

The proposed amendment — which requires approval by 60 percent or more of the state’s voters — would give Florida’s Department of Health six months to start issuing ID cards to patients who can produce physician letters of recommendation, and nine months to write rules and register medical marijuana treatment centers. Read more…

Herald-Tribune

“I’m Going To Prison For Working At A Pot Shop That Was Legal In My State”

Robert Duncan thought he could comply with all the laws in California and start an honest dispensary. He wound up facing a two year prison sentence.

FCC420.com has been created to help you avoid the pitfalls of entering a profession where all is not yet legal, and much is still risky. Our expertise will guide you through the rules and regulations as they are developed.

Here is Robert’s story:

Robert Duncan moved from Los Angeles to Northern California in 2010 to manage marijuana growing operations for a collective of medical marijuana dispensaries. Although California voters legalized medical cannabis more than 17 years ago, the plant remains illegal under federal law, and the Obama administration launched a renewed crackdown on marijuana in California in 2011.

That October, Duncan’s grow house was raided. A few months later, U.S. Attorney Benjamin Wagner indicted him and others involved in the dispensary business on the grounds that it had grown too large. Despite California’s struggle with prison overcrowding, and despite new federal guidelines that say size should no longer be considered in prosecution decisions, Duncan, 31, was sentenced to two years in prison. He is scheduled to report to Mendota Federal Correctional Institution near Fresno, Calif., on Monday afternoon. Read more at the Huffington Post…

Huffington Post

FORTUNE Magazine Cover; Marijuana Inc.

In April of 2013, FORTUNE Magazine published an eye opening article featuring the entrepreneurs and investors sparking up a new industry in America.
Here it is, courtesy of FCC.420.com.

If the notion of a legal cannabis industry is new to you, and you’re wondering about public sentiment toward the reform of marijuana laws, we suggest also perusing the public feedback on a recent Washington Post opinion piece titled “GOP should stand firm against drug legalization”. Read more …

Fortune Magazine

Legalized marijuana — Buy it, sell it, just don’t teach them how to grow it

It may be called weed, but marijuana is legendarily hard to grow.

Now that the drug has been made legal in Washington and Colorado, growers face a dilemma. State-sanctioned gardening coaches can help folks cultivate tomatoes or zucchini, but both states have instructed them not to show people the best way to grow marijuana. The situation is similar in more than a dozen additional states that allow people to grow the drug with medical permission.

That’s leaving some would-be marijuana gardeners looking to the private sector for help raising the temperamental plant. Read more …

CBS News