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marijuana legal california, santa cruz criminal lawyerBy John W. Thornton

Marijuana is now legal in California, but subject to a lot of rules. For the ordinary fan of weed, or someone who has loved ones or friends who partake, this is a large step towards keeping them being labeled a criminal for doing something that endangers a bag of Cheetos more than the user, the public, or the neighbor’s dog. 

But what about those folks who have marijuana-related convictions on their records? Well, a lot can be done for many of those folks. Were you caught growing years ago and are considered a felon? Did you sell a bag of bud and get caught? Did you get pulled over in a car with a few pounds and suffered a felony for transportation? One aspect of this new law allows such felons to change those felonies into misdemeanors. One treatise going around summarizes this aspect of the law as follows:

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Arizona's medical marijuana laws which allow persons to access marijuana for medicinal purposes, does not give these cardholders immunity from prosecution for DUI charges. An Arizona court recently delivered a ruling in a case involving a man who was arrested for DUI after driving a car the car under the influence of pot. The man was a medicinal marijuana cardholder, and although he was found not guilty of driving while impaired, the court did find that he was guilty of driving with pot in his system.

According to the ruling, persons who are using marijuana and have traces of the drug in their system, can be charged with and convicted of DUI. It's an interesting ruling, and one that is bound to be watched in states like California that also have medical marijuana laws in place.

The ruling is also interesting to Los Angeles DUI lawyers because it comes at a time when a number of states are moving to ease restrictions on access to marijuana. Colorado and Washington recently became the first states to allow the sale of marijuana for recreational purposes. As restrictions on marijuana continue to ease, courts continue to deliver conflicting messages, ruling that while access to marijuana is easier, people who have traces of the drug in their system can actually be prosecuted for DUI.

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This is a decision that is likely to have many far-reaching effects. The United States Supreme Court decision came in the case Navarette vs California. The case is related to the California Highway Patrol’s decision to pull over a pickup truck based on an anonymous tip.

The California Highway Patrol was alerted to the silver Ford F-150 Pickup via an anonymous tip which informed officers that a truck had just run another car off the road. The officers found the F-150 pickup exactly where the anonymous tip had informed the officers it would be. They followed the truck for some time, but did not notice any illegal or suspicious activity. However, they still pulled the truck over, and searched it. They found a stash of marijuana in the truck, and he was arrested.

The cops say that they smelled marijuana near the truck, and then decided to search the truck. What is disturbing is that this entire search of the truck was based on an anonymous tip. There was nothing that the truck driver did to arouse suspicion in the officers. He was driving at a reasonable speed, and was not driving recklessly or dangerously. He was not veering lanes, and there was no reason to suspect that he was driving in an impaired condition. The officers had pulled him over based on an anonymous tip, claiming that he had run another car off the road.

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Law enforcement says that a Los Gatos, California doctor engaged in unlawful drug sales and illegally possessed controlled substances. Prosecutors are bringing 18 felony counts against the medical professional. The California drug crime allegations began after agents in Santa Clara County say that they noticed the doctor's name showed up in a number of police reports involving drug-related issues.

Agents apparently raided the doctor's home and claim that the residence contained methamphetamine, marijuana and ecstasy. Police also claim that the house was littered with foil and pens that officials concluded were linked to illicit drug use. Authorities also say that a marijuana grow room was located inside the house and pot was drying in the garage.

Authorities accuse the 61-year-old doctor of prescribing medications to people who have criminal drug histories. In addition, the doctor is accused of trading medications like OxyContin for methamphetamine or cash. Prosecutors further claim that the doctor gave minors methamphetamine and pot.

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A California Assemblywoman says the state needs a way to collect data on marijuana related fatal crashes. She says that, "One of the problems we faced as we continue to research this issue is that data specifically related to marijuana is not being collected." She apparently now hopes to have California drivers charged with DUI in order to have a new method to collect data.

She has introduced a proposal that essentially eliminates the necessity of the state to show impairment in marijuana cases. Currently, California laws on driving under the influence prohibit drugged driving. However, the Assemblywoman wants to change DUI laws in the state to allow convictions to be based upon any detectable level of marijuana compounds, or cannabinoids, in a driver's system. Marijuana compounds can remain detectable for weeks after a person uses marijuana.

Advocates for the legalization of marijuana are vehemently opposed to the new proposal. The measure would essentially make it a crime for drivers to get behind the wheel for weeks after using pot. The Assemblywoman who has introduced the concept to essentially eliminate impairment in marijuana related DUI cases admits that the language of the bill "is not perfect." She says she does not intend the proposed measure to impact Californians who have a prescription for medical marijuana.

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Three Gilroy teens were arrested early Tuesday on serious drug charges after law enforcement stopped a vehicle for being suspicious. In all, Gilroy police claim an officer saw several "suspicious vehicles" while on patrol at around 2:55 a.m. The officer asserts that the vehicles sped off when the squad approached the area, and the officer made a traffic stop of a Honda a short time after the several cars dispersed.

Authorities claim that the truck of the Honda was not fully closed because it was overflowing with marijuana plants. Three men in the Honda were reportedly arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession for sales. Authorities say that police found equipment in the street where the Gilroy officer originally saw the allegedly suspicious vehicles parked. Law enforcement concluded that the equipment looked like it may be similar to objects used to cultivate marijuana.

During the wee hours of the morning, law enforcement thought two homes looked suspicious, and police concluded that the homes must have been burglarized. Police allege that they entered the homes as a safety precaution in the middle of the night.

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Officials at a Southern California youth probation camp say they saw an increase in contraband entering the camp. Authorities say that conducting searches at such probation camps are not unusual, even searches of visitors who come to the camps to see probationers. However, due to the perceived increase of drugs, primarily marijuana, allegedly found in dorm rooms at the Sam Dimas area camp, authorities stepped up efforts during searches of visitors.

A 44-year-old Pomona woman who recently went to the probation camp to visit her son was arrested on suspicion of possession of illegal drugs. Authorities at Camp Glenn Rockey in San Dimas say they found bundles of marijuana and a medical marijuana card during a search of her purse. Authorities claim the marijuana card is fake.

After the alleged discovery of marijuana at the controlled juvenile facility, police arrested the woman on serious California drug possession charges. She was taken to the Century Regional Detention Facility and booked on suspicion of drug charges, and held on $35,000 bail.

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Law enforcement claims that the Watsonville marijuana bust is one of the largest pot busts in years. Law enforcement reportedly seized dozens of bags of marijuana and $67,000 in cash at the warehouse. On Nov. 16, a 30-year-old man that law enforcement claims lived at the warehouse was taken into custody, along with a 25-year-old Santa Cruz man.

Law enforcement says the marijuana found inside the warehouse amounted to more than 130 pounds, with an estimated street value of more than $1 million. The two men have been arraigned on felony charges of possession of marijuana for sales, cultivation of marijuana and sales of marijuana. A separate arraignment was set up for the 30-year-old Watsonville man on other offenses, including driving with a suspended license.

The Santa Cruz man reportedly bailed out of custody, while the Watsonville man reportedly continues to be held on $105,000 bail.

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The incident began around 8:00 in the morning when calls were placed to the police station regarding a stray pit bull trying to attack a leashed dog whose owner was taking the pet for a walk. The dog turned out to be an Argentine Dogo. The dog reportedly lunged at one of the police officers. Law enforcement claims the dog bumped the officer in the chest and tried to bite the officer's face. The officer responded with force, shooting the dog in its head.

The injured dog fled to the backyard of a nearby residence. Police approached the residence to talk to the occupants about the injured animal. Law enforcement claims that during the investigation related to the dog, police uncovered evidence of marijuana at the house.

Two people reportedly were in the house during the contact with police. One of the occupants reportedly admitted responsibility for drugs that were found in the house. Police seized an undisclosed amount of processed marijuana and marijuana plants. The man who police say claimed responsibility for the drugs was arrested on several drug charges.

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Tagged in: drug charges marijuana

Police in Los Angeles closed down a portion of a freeway after law enforcement executed a search warrant at a warehouse over the weekend. Police raided a warehouse in downtown Los Angeles on Saturday night. The warrant reportedly was related to suspicions regarding a single suspect.

When police arrived at the warehouse to serve the warrant, they say they found over 3,000 marijuana plants in the building. Law enforcement says that as many as 20 people were detained during execution of the search warrant. Police say that no arrests have been made. However, police say that potential California drug charges are pending.

Police continue to process the information and evidence seized during the search. Police claim that they gathered evidence including traces of chemicals used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. The freeway was closed while police and hazardous materials teams investigated the area.

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Public views on marijuana and the laws regulating the herbal substance are constantly changing. The debate about marijuana and its effects have caused states and legislatures all over the country to reconsider legalizing the drug. Some states already have - in the form of medical marijuana. Since medical marijuana became lawful (and popular), manufacturers are coming up with alternative ways to produce the product. 

Marijuana soda is the latest craze that will soon hit market shelves. Manufactured by a California soda maker in Soquel, California, Canna Cola (as it will be called) will reach medical marijuana dispensaries in Colorado in just a few months.

The manufacturer says the new soda line will include the "flagship cola drink Canna Cola, Dr-Pepper-like Doc Week, the lemon-lime Sour Diesel, the Grape Ape, and the Orange Kush." Each 12-ounce bottle will include 35-65 milligrams of  tetrahydrocannabinoil (also known as TNC and the main ingredient in pot).

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Federal law enforcement officials claim they received a tip of the existence of a drug smuggling tunnel along the California border with Mexico. Officials say that a tractor-trailer parked outside an office building in the area drew their suspicion. They reportedly followed the big-rig northbound on I-15.

At a border checkpoint near Temecula, law enforcement stopped the truck and searched its contents. Authorities say they discovered 10 tons of marijuana in the trailer. The husband and wife who allegedly were operating the big-rig have been charged for alleged conspiracy to distribute marijuana.

Law enforcement says they obtained a search warrant for the office building on Via De La Amistad near the Otay Mesa point of entry based upon the discovery of marijuana in the truck. Authorities claim that the warehouse on the American side of the border held another 15 tons of pot.

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Tagged in: California marijuana
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