Marijuana

cannabis_leaf.gifFor a while we had a commenter who liked to comment “Legalize it!” on every post, with “it” referring to marijuana. This person is surely quite happy today. From the New York Times:

People who use marijuana for medical purposes and those who distribute it should not face federal prosecution, provided they act according to state law, the Justice Department said on Monday in a directive with far-reaching political and legal implications.

In a memorandum to federal prosecutors in the 14 states that make some allowance for the use of marijuana for medical purposes, the department said it was committed to the “efficient and rational use” of its resources, and that going after individuals who were in “clear and unambiguous compliance” with state laws did not meet that standard.

Puff, puff, pass. Anyone want some brownies?
Justice Dept. to Stop Pursuit of Medical Marijuana Use [New York Times]

Andrew Sullivan Andrew M Sullivan Andrew Michael Sullivan.jpgApologies for not getting to this story earlier. Sometimes things fall through the cracks around here. (We were offline for much of Thursday and Friday, attending Lavender Law.)
Last week, a federal magistrate judge questioned the propriety of the U.S. Attorney’s Office moving to dismiss a marijuana possession charge against Andrew Sullivan. Yes, that Andrew Sullivan — the noted political pundit, author, and blogger (and proponent of marijuana legalization).
Judge Collings issued his saucy opinion (PDF) on Thursday. Later that day, the story was broken by The Docket. The case has also been covered by Gawker, Wonkette, and the WSJ Law Blog, among other outlets (links collected below).
So we won’t rehash what you’ve probably already read. But feel free to take our reader poll and to discuss the case in the comments.


Judge angered by special treatment for Andrew Sullivan [The Docket / MLW]
United States v. Sullivan [PDF] [U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts]
Andrew Sullivan’s Federal Pot Favors [Gawker]
Friendly D.A. Saves Andrew Sullivan From Life Sentence In Gitmo, For Smoking Marijuana [Wonkette]
On Marijuana, a Famous Blogger, and One Skeptical Judge [WSJ Law Blog]

Thumbnail image for jackpot slot machine casino.jpg* Legal hiring binge? We like the sound of that! [Washington Post via ABA Journal]
* What were the odds? The Third Circuit upholds the U.S. ban on Internet gambling. [Wall Street Journal (subscription) and Las Vegas Review-Journal]
* Marijuana can make you do dumb things. [Gothamist]
* …But Maryland is kind of okay with it. [Washington Post]
* This guy looks like the type to slap a stranger’s child. He looks like Tom Wilkinson’s evil doppelganger. [CNN]
* Maine voters will get to weigh in on same-sex marriage. [Associated Press]
* Polls close tonight in the ATL Douche Madness Final Four. [Above The Law]

Jonathon Cook.JPGCan you imagine rolling on your parents in an attempt to get out of a drug conviction? What if your parents were both attorneys? According to the Boston Globe, one kid attempted to throw his cool sounding parents right under the bus:

Two prominent attorneys are under police scrutiny after their son, arrested on charges he was dealing marijuana from home, told investigators his parents knew what he was doing. Police found a small smoking pipe, scale and baggies in their bedroom.
Jonathon Cook, 20, said his stepfather, Suffolk University law professor Timothy Wilton, helped him build a place to grow marijuana in exchange for some of the profits and also smoked it in the house, according to a police report.
He said that his mother, Kathy Jo Cook — the former president of the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts — also knew about the drug activity and frequently complained that her husband’s smoking left the house smelling like marijuana, authorities said.

Let me get this straight. Instead of beating you like a red-headed step child your stepdad actually helps you grow weed. Your mom isn’t happy about it but allows it to continue. And you — snot-nosed 20-year-old asshole that you are — rat them out for it? What kind of world are we living in?
His parents deny all of the allegations.
It is of course entirely possible that Jonathon Cook simply made this all up, which makes him a bad son and a terrible liar.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “The Ungrateful Tattletale”

man smoking marijuana joint ganja bud.jpgI hope you all enjoyed your bar exam day one morning session. For your lunch break, I have a real-life legal question I just picked up off of the street, standing in front of the Breaking Media offices in Nolita:

You are standing outside your office on a crowded street. Construction workers, residents, and even some clergymen regularly pass by. While smoking a cigarette and minding your own business, a local walks by and asks you for a light. You are about to comply with the request, but the object the local presses to his lips does not appear to be a store-bought cigarette; rather, it appears to be a joint.

You sheepishly ask, “Is that a hand-rolled cigarette?” The local replies “Naw man, it’s the good s***. You wanna hit?”

You shake your head “no,” then scan the street for police officers, but all you see are six-foot blonds entering the casting agency next to your building. Eventually, the local asks again for your lighter.

Should you give it to him? Why or why not? Could you be subject to criminal liability for doing so?

I’m interested to hear what you think. Check back here later — this post will be updated — for my solution.
UPDATE on my solution, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Bar Exam Open Thread: Day One Break Question”

Pot and Polos

polo ralph lauren pot bust.jpgHere’s a story that might interest the “legalize cannabis” crowd. From our friends at Fashionista:

This is turning into the summer of the fashion crowd running into trouble with the law.

Last week, a major drug bust went down in Ralph Lauren’s tony New Canaan, CT store. The stock manager, 34-year-old Ricky Sullins, was arrested for accepting a FedEx package loaded with 14 pounds of marijuana. FedEx contacted the police before delivering the package since they could smell the drugs through the box and an undercover cop posed as the delivery man.

Fourteen pounds is enough to get an entire polo team high — including the horses. Since it involved a large quantity of pot moving through the state of Connecticut, we wonder if U. Conn. law student John Belanger was involved.
If Sullins is looking for representation, might we suggest Allison Margolin, aka L.A.’s Dopest Attorney? She’s a California attorney, but perhaps she can get admitted pro hac.
To read more and comment, click on the link below.
Pot and Polos [Fashionista]

john belanger u conn law dea drug money.jpgJohn Belanger, who appears to be a rising 3L at the University of Connecticut, will likely be deferring his third year of law school. He has some bigger legal issues to deal with.
Belanger, 27, was arrested last week for his role in running an international drug ring. From the Watertown Daily Times:

Federal authorities have charged more than 45 people nationwide over their alleged roles in an international drug-smuggling operation that moved $1 billion worth of marijuana.
The two-year investigation exposed a pipeline moving thousands of pounds of marijuana each month from the north country to numerous U.S. cities, including Boston, New York and Miami, prosecutors said. The crime syndicate is alleged to have moved the marijuana, which came from Canada through the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation in Franklin County and near Churubusco in Clinton County, over the past four years….
Zachary Gouchie, 24, of Montreal, Edward Kener, 31, of Weston, Fla., and John Belanger, 27, of Hartford, Conn., were accused of recruiting people and directing the movement of the marijuana along the East Coast.

Given that this allegedly started four years ago, perhaps Belanger decided to go to law school to give legal advice to the drug cartel. Those with knowledge of Belanger tell us about his exploits at U. Conn. and his special interest in American Indian law, after the jump.

double red triangle arrows Continue reading “Law Student of the Day: John Belanger”

How should the federal and state governments deal with their depleted coffers? Here’s one idea, from Nick Gillespie of Reason.com, in yesterday’s New York Times:

cannabis_leaf.gifLegalize drugs and then tax sales of them. And while we’re at it, welcome all forms of gambling (rather than just the few currently and arbitrarily allowed) and let prostitution go legit too. All of these vices, involving billions of dollars and consenting adults, already take place. They just take place beyond the taxman’s reach.

Legalizing the world’s oldest profession probably wasn’t what Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, meant when he said that we should never allow a crisis to go to waste. But turning America into a Sin City on a Hill could help President Obama pay for his ambitious plans to overhaul health care and invest in green energy. More taxed vices would certainly lead to significant new revenue streams at every level. That’s one of the reasons 52 percent of voters in a recent Zogby poll said they support legalizing, taxing and regulating the growth and sale of marijuana.

Are ATL readers more or less libertarian than the general public? In a prior poll, almost 70 percent of you voted in favor of legalizing prostitution.
We know how L.A.’s dopest attorney feels — but what’s your opinion of pot? Vote in this poll, and debate in the comments.


Paying With Our Sins [New York Times]
Earlier: A Seminal Question: Should Prostitution Be Legalized?
Adventures in Lawyer Advertising: ‘The Dopest Attorney’

Allison Margolin, whom we have written about before, is an HLS grad who practices law in Los Angeles. According to her website, she “handles all criminal cases from murder to medical marijuana.” But the latter would appear to be her passion, judging from how she wishes to be reached:

  • You can call her at 1-888-DOPE-LAW.
  • You can check out her website at www.LAsDopestAttorney.com. If you visit it, you will be greeted by the banner, “Have No Fear. LA’s Dopest Attorney is Here.”
  • You can e-mail her at ask@lasdopestattorney.com.
    When we were in L.A. in March, we spotted her ad in L.A. City Beat (a newspaper that has since folded). A tipster did us the favor of scanning it and sending it our way:
    LA's Dopest Attorney.jpg
    Her branding skills are dope, yo.
    We don’t know if Margolin was on law review during her days at Harvard Law School, but we do know she recently penned a legal editorial for stoners. Check out her argument against the prosecution of medipot growers in CelebStoner.
    U.S. Must Stop Prosecuting Medipot Growers [Celebstoner]
    Earlier: Allison Margolin: ‘Lawyer Hot’

  • pot.jpg

    * AIG turned in the list of bonus recipients to New York’s Attorney General Andrew Cuomo yesterday–let the games begin. Just kidding, I too fear for the safety of heavily compensated AIG executives–there is nothing scarier than an angry progressive. [The Los Angeles Times]

    * Dispensers of medical marijuana have room to breathe after Attorney General Eric Holder announced that federal authorities would cease raiding their operations. [The New York Times]

    * Attorney General Eric Holder issued guidelines to federal agencies after The White House advised them to release their records to the public. [The Washington Post]

    * A 3-judge federal appeals panel is considering whether or not to re-instate Madoff’s bail–springing him from jail until sentencing in June. [Newsday]

    * Albert Hu, a Silicon Valley hedge fund manager conned clients by saying he was represented by prominent law firms like Heller Ehrman and Shaw Pittman; he was arrested in Hong Kong, and charged with defrauding millions from investors. [The National Law Journal]

    * Another sad tale of an associate whose offer has been put on hold–his employer Latham & Watkins is asking incoming attorney’s to defer their start dates. [The National Law Journal]

    Page 10 of 131...678910111213