05/12/13 10:02 - ID#57661
article about legal sales ....
So Haven't posted an article in some time but this is part of the legal web of when something is legal on the state but not National Level
This ties in kinda with a post I wrote about since Pot isn't legal at the federal level even if it is Medical how does the taxes work.......
Pot Shops Can’t Take American Express or Deposit in Banks
By Alison Vekshin - May 12, 2013 8:00 PM ET
Every month, Elliott Klug or one of his business partners walks into the Colorado Revenue Department with a messenger bag holding thousands of dollars in cash and watches as state employees start counting.
Klug, co-founder of PinkHouse Blooms LLC, a chain of five medical-marijuana dispensaries in Denver, has to pay his sales taxes in cash because federal law bars banks from offering accounts to pot shops, even as Colorado allows and taxes them.
Colorado is among 18 states that allow the medical use of marijuana, and 11 that permit sales through dispensaries. Photographer: Matthew Staver/Bloomberg
“It highlights the awkward situation we’ve been placed in,” Klug, 36, said by telephone. “We are paying taxes, but despite our best efforts to be good citizens, we’re still paying in cash.”
Colorado is among 18 states that allow the medical use of marijuana, and 11 that permit sales through dispensaries like Klug’s. But federal law labels the drug a controlled substance and requires banks to report related transactions as suspicious activity. The inconsistency creates a gray area for dispensary operators, who have to choose between operating as a cash-only business, susceptible to robbery, or finding creative ways to open checking accounts and accept credit and debit cards.
“They’re encouraging cash operations, which are a threat to public safety, and much more difficult to track and audit,” Aaron Smith, executive director of the Washington-based National Cannabis Industry Association, said by telephone, referring to the conflicting rules.
Dispensaries pay federal, state and local taxes, in addition to state and local licensing fees “that often run up to tens of thousands of dollars annually” and many government agencies don’t accept cash, Smith said.
“We’re just looking for a solution where we can bank legitimately like any other industry,” Smith said. “Wherever you stand on the marijuana issue, it serves everybody’s interest to have banking access.”
Klug said that until 2011 he had checking accounts with Wells Fargo & Co. (WFC), which “welcomed us with open arms and then changed their minds.”
San Francisco-based Wells Fargo, the fourth-largest U.S. bank by assets, “opted not to bank these businesses in view of the complex and inconsistent legal environment,” Jim Seitz, a spokesman, said by e-mail. The bank conducts regular internal reviews and “if we identify a situation in which a policy is not being followed correctly, we act accordingly,” he said.
Klug now uses cash to pay about $45,000 a year in licensing fees to the state and remits about $35,000 a month in sales taxes to Denver and the state.
Some dispensaries get around the rules by setting up a shell business with an innocent-sounding name and not divulging that it’s tied to medical marijuana, said Dale Gieringer, director of the California office of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a pro-pot group. California was the first state to legalize medical-marijuana use in 1996.
“As long as the bank doesn’t find out, you should be safe,” Gieringer said by telephone. “Or you can use a family account or a personal account. Some people have another business on the side and they use that account.”
If the subterfuge is discovered, “the bank terminates services with no explanation,” Gieringer said.
Bank officials say they are complying with federal law.
At Wells Fargo, “our policy of not banking marijuana dispensaries is based on applicable federal laws and our own assessment of our responsibility,” said Seitz, the bank’s spokesman.
Similarly, American Express Co. (AXP), the biggest U.S. credit-card issuer by customer purchases, “has made a decision to not allow card acceptance for medical marijuana,” Sanette Chao, a spokeswoman for the New York-based company, said by e-mail. “It is our policy to adhere to federal law in such matters.”
Some financial institutions look the other way.
“There are some locally owned banks that medical marijuana companies are utilizing,” Daria Serna, a spokeswoman for the Colorado Revenue Department, said by e-mail.
Banks risk losing their deposit insurance or their federal charter if they violate the law, said Robert Rowe, senior counsel at the American Bankers Association, a Washington-based industry trade group.
Under federal law aimed at preventing money laundering, “banks are supposed to know their customers,” Rowe said by telephone. “One of the expectations is banks will do some checking into their customer and what kind of business they are doing.”
The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which insures customer deposits at U.S. banks and regulates some state-chartered banks, “has advised regional and field staff that banks should file Suspicious Activity Reports on transactions and deposits related to proceeds from the sale of controlled substances,” Greg Hernandez, a spokesman for the Washington-based agency, said by e-mail.
“It is the FDIC’s expectation that banks conduct prudent due diligence regarding their customers and should know and understand the types of businesses the customers operate,” Hernandez said. “Knowing that cashflow comes from an illegal activity should raise concerns of bank management, who is expected to evaluate the account relationship to determine whether the account should be maintained or terminated.”
At The Joint, a Seattle-based medical-marijuana dispensary, founder Shy Sadis said he has an account with “one of the top banks in the United States” and has an automated-teller machine on site for his customers to get cash.
“We do payroll for all of our employees,” Sadis, 40, said by telephone. “It’s crucial to have a bank account. If we didn’t, we would be underground, dealing with cash and not paying our taxes.”
In Washington, where voters last year legalized recreational use of marijuana, the Liquor Control Board is designing a regulatory framework for the new industry that includes a 25 percent tax on producers, processors and retailers.
Businesses paying in cash would present a security issue, said Brian Smith, a spokesman for the board.
“We’ll need to be prepared to accept potentially large amounts of cash,” he said. “Do we suddenly have to have armored-truck service? That’s a potential.”
Scott Jarvis, director of Washington’s Financial Institutions Department, took the issue to regulators at the FDIC and the Federal Reserve in March.
“The purpose was to let my federal counterparts know that we had passed the initiative, that the state was moving forward in fulfilling the will of the people and that when push comes to shove, money has to go somewhere into the banking system,” Jarvis said. “And to alert them that at some point somebody will have to make some decisions.”
Still, Jarvis said his agency will probably issue guidelines reminding financial institutions of the federal law.
“We have a lot of banking and credit-union folks that are interested in providing banking services to this industry,” Jarvis said.
“I think we’ll have some resolution either through policy at the federal level or through the court system,” Jarvis said. “Also, Congress could act.”
U.S. Representative Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat, in February introduced a bill to remove marijuana from a drug classification known as Schedule I, or most dangerous, where it is listed alongside heroin.
“We want to make sure they have access to the same type of banking facilities as other businesses,” Polis, who said he doesn’t smoke pot, said by telephone.
States are also looking to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, who said in March that the Justice Department is considering a response to voter approval of recreational marijuana use in Washington and Colorado.
In both states, anyone 21 and older can legally possess as much as 1 ounce (28 grams) of marijuana for recreational use. Nonmedical retail sales remain illegal until the new rules are in place.
In Colorado, lawmakers this week approved bills to regulate and tax recreational pot purchases. A task force on implementing the law recommended that the legislature consider all alternatives to help businesses access banking services.
“Efforts are needed either to secure a federal exemption for legal marijuana businesses in Colorado to be able to legally bank with federally insured banks, credit unions and other financial institutions, or to create a local financial institution that is not subject to federal regulation,” the task force said in a report.
Once recreational-marijuana retailers open shop, there will be some small banks that will accept their business either publicly or through “willful blindness,” said Robert McVay, a lawyer with Seattle-based Harris & Moure PLLC, which has helped medical-marijuana dispensaries open in the state.
“The business is there and whoever steps into it is going to do well,” McVay said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Alison Vekshin in San Francisco at email@example.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Stephen Merelman in New York at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last Modified: 05/12/13 10:04
04/24/12 05:00 - ID#56378
But this brings up the question of drugs and how people think she ruined her life.... I don't think she did... I think she died doing what she loves... Yes it is sad for the family she left behind... Yes she was an Addict but guess what everyone that goes to Happy Hour after work to take the edge of before they go home is also... Now she died with drugs in her system but drowned.... I just hope she passed out then drowned and it wasn't like she knew she was but couldn't move cause that would be awefull .... But I say that she loved the drugs more then her family.....
Now I'm sure most people would say no she is addicted.... Yes addiction is very real and it does destroy many lives... But it is a choice also... If you want to do a line of blow, or take some club drugs when you go dancing... or what ever you can get addicted that is the chance you take with any drug...
Now Then why doesn't rehab work.... Well for many the addiction is to strong... But for all the famous people we see in the news it is because they don't want to stop they don't want to change... But they are forced into it... But they are happy.... Then they get sober and I don't buy that they think they are better off now.... Well maybe they do...... It all depends on the person.... At some point they may go ok want to change my life I don't like what this drug is doing to me... But so often they love it and like it .... But sometimes by the time they decide to change the damage is done....
In this case that is why I feel happened to Whitney she lost her voice... So once that happened what is the choice......
I remember working with someone years ago who said her Aunt Dione Warwick was a big coke head... I can't confirm it but it would make sense...
In any event she had amazing music and looking forward to glee... I think the drug issue won't be touched cause it is about the music but who knows?
Last Modified: 04/24/12 05:00
04/20/10 05:22 - ID#51429
Happy 4/20 all
Well for those that Partake Happy 4/20 here is one article I found on Yahoo
Pot smokers out, proud for 4/20 high holiday
FILE - In this Friday Sept. 25, 2009 file photo, attendees at the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) conference, smoke mar AP - FILE - In this Friday Sept. 25, 2009 file photo, attendees at the National Organization for the Reform ...
By LISA LEFF, Associated Press Writer Lisa Leff, Associated Press Writer - 1 hr 33 mins ago
OAKLAND, Calif. - Forget Hippie Hill. For thoroughly modern marijuana smokers in the San Francisco Bay area, the hip place to celebrate their movement's high holiday this year was the inside of a stretch Hummer parked outside a pot gardening superstore.
Marijuana legalization advocates across the country are expected to light up during Tuesday's annual observance of 4/20, the celebration-cum-mass civil disobedience derived from "420" - insider shorthand for cannabis consumption.
IGrow, a 3-month-old cultivation equipment emporium, got a 24-hour jump, sponsoring a "420 Eve" festival Monday afternoon.
Several hundred revelers lined up outside the 15,000-square-foot shop - security guards kept them at bay until 4:20 p.m. - waiting for the chance to revel in marijuana's rising commercial clout.
Inside the gates, they perused booths stocked with pipe-shaped lollipops and specialty fertilizers, entered a medical marijuana delivery service's raffle for an oversized joint and toured a 53-foot-long portable grow room with a starting price of $60,000.
"I wouldn't have thought we would be able to consume on site," marveled John Corral, 19, of San Jose, after he obtained a wristband that gave him access to the event's two "vapor lounges," the one inside the Hummer and another inside a companion Range Rover limousine.
Marijuana use - medically and recreationally - is getting more attention these days, with California voters deciding in November whether to legalize the drug, and South Dakota voters considering this fall to allow its medical use. California and 13 other states already permit such use.
Most Americans still oppose legalizing marijuana, but larger majorities believe pot has medical benefits and the government should allow its use for that purpose, according to an Associated Press-CNBC poll released Tuesday.
Respondents were skeptical that crime would spike if marijuana is decriminalized or that it would lead more people to harder drugs.
There also was a nearly even split on whether government spends too much or the right amount enforcing marijuana laws. Almost no one thinks too little is spent.
Two years ago, before he had a doctor's recommendation to smoke pot, Corral commemorated 4/20 on Hippie Hill, the Golden Gate Park promontory where an earlier generation of pot aficionados made their stand.
IGrow has arranged to have a doctor working at the store three days a week to evaluate people seeking to become medical marijuana patients, and a handful of those at the 420 Eve party were able to snag last-minute appointments.
Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said the drug's steady movement from counterculture indulgence to mainstream acceptance will be evident elsewhere in the United States Tuesday, when four cable television channels have scheduled "a good chunk of programming to 420."
St. Pierre said that with the terms "marijuana" or "cannabis" regularly showing up on the top Internet searches and a measure to legalize the plant's recreational use appearing on as many as four state ballots in November, it's clear that groups like his, which has lobbied to decriminalize marijuana since 1970, are no longer blowing smoke.
"There is a large mainstreaming of all of this," he said. "Some of it is happening because of natural forces and some of it is happening because commercial entities looking to comport with local social mores and values are taking advantage of this bizarre numerology."
There are a variety of stories about the origin of 420, but pot advocates generally attribute the term to the time when a group of San Francisco Bay area high schoolers would gather to smoke marijuana. The term was then popularized by High Times magazine and the Grateful Dead.
At the iGrow event, Tom Patton of GrowOp Technology, proudly discussed the inspiration for the "Big Bud" growing trailer he developed with Derek Peterson, a former stock broker. Patton said he kept hearing about pot growers who "were constantly putting up and taking down" grow rooms built inside warehouses or residential homes because of complaints from neighbors, fires sparked by faulty wiring or threats of law enforcement raids.
His pot room on wheels, which comes outfitted with a security system and technology to adjust temperature and humidity levels from an iPhone, may not completely eliminate the last concern, but that hasn't stopped a pair of New York bankers from investing in the invention.
"This is an enabling technology, not a hiding-out technology," Patton said.
The lure of revenue and respectability has prompted some veterans of the marijuana wars to diversify. Joshua Freeman, a Sonoma County pot grower, was at the 420 Eve festival handing out samples of the specialty plant food he recently developed and is trying to market.
"We are not just a bunch of stoners sitting back on a couch playing video games," Freeman said.
08/11/09 08:41 - ID#49508
War On Drugs?
The Above link leads to a story on Yahoo about re looking at the war on drugs. I think at the least everyone can agree that the war on drugs isn't working. If any of you read my previous post one of the points that I made is that I don't think when it comes to drug Policy anyone in politics can be honest about what should really be done about drugs. I think in our country we all ways fight things the wrong way. People think that having sex with women on the street for money is wrong so they lock up Hookers and Johns and Pimps. Well here is an Idea why not help people so that when something is wrong in there relationship they can talk to their partner instead of trolling the street for pussy. Or if they are single why not work on making meeting people real instead of everyone playing games. If you made it so no one needed to buy sex on the street, guess what it would go away and the same thing can be said with drugs. But see if you taught people that then no one would buy Beer, Cigs, or scrips for mood or behavior altering drugs and those companies would also never let that happen. But maybe I'm wrong maybe when people re look at this then they will figure out some answers and be honest and move in a new direction.
Well here is the story for those that don't want to follow the link.
By Rafael Pardo and Juan Gabriel Tokatlian Rafael Pardo And Juan Gabriel Tokatlian - Tue Aug 11, 5:00 am ET
Bogotá, Colombia; and Buenos Aires - On Monday, President Obama restated his support for Mexican President Felipe Calderón's aggressive tactics in the fight against drug trafficking. He also reiterated his support for a drug security plan with Mexico that is similar to the failed drug plans of past administrations.
Before Washington ramps up yet another losing war on drugs, it should take a clear-eyed look at how its current strategies are affecting the supply and demand of drugs. Congressman Eliot Engel (D) of New York has introduced a bill to do just that.
Washington would be wise to back Congressman Engel's initiative because there has not been a thorough, frank evaluation of the fight against drugs in decades. The drug czar office's annual report is not enough. Recommendations by an independent commission, however, could generate the consensus and strategy we sorely need.
The cornerstone of US drug policy at home and abroad is to reduce the drug supply (from crop eradication to border seizures) in order to increase the domestic price of drugs. The idea is to deter both potential consumers and producers from entering the drug market.
Since May 1971, when President Richard Nixon proclaimed a "war on drugs," Washington and the Western Hemisphere have been unable to win it. Every claimed victory has turned out to be, in the end, a fiasco.
Consider Mexico and Jamaica in the 1970s and early '80s. Mexico cracked down on marijuana production. But that simply shifted production to Colombia and then to the US, while allowing heroin production and cocaine trafficking to rise. Jamaica's effort against marijuana similarly backfired and today, drug-related violence is at a high.
Colombia has been the most high-profile, high-stakes test case of the hemisphere's struggle against drugs.
A decade ago, the Clinton administration launched the multiyear, billion-dollar Plan Colombia.
The Bush administration then expanded Plan Colombia and provided even more funding.
With those funds, Bogotá has spent the past 10 years eradicating illicit crops over an area that is 2-1/2 times the size of the state of Delaware. It has extradited more than 600 Colombian nationals to the United States. It has dismantled the large, brutal, Medellín and Cali cartels; has criminalized all the phases of this illicit business; and has launched an attack on both guerrillas and paramilitary-linked drug emporiums.
And yet, after all that, production of cocaine in Colombia actually increased, and the drug network remains intact.
So why is the Obama administration extending a similar plan - the Mérida Initiative - for Mexico?
Plan Colombia didn't work for a number of reasons. It was based on a lopsided policy of shared responsibility that did not work in this case. The emphasis was on supply control and not on demand reduction. Wwhat good does cutting back on cocoa leaf production do if there are still people addicted and willing to pay high sums for cocaine? It relied too heavily on short-term benchmarks instead of long term implications. Then there were the negative effects on human rights, civil-military relations, the environment, and the rule of law - all very fragile in Latin America.
If Mr. Obama intends to avoid a potentially catastrophic scenario in a bordering country, then he should support Engel's initiative. The establishment of a Western Hemisphere Commission could be a rather inexpensive, short study. The commission would be required to submit recommendations on future US drug policy to Congress, the secretary of State, and the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy 12 months after its first meeting.
Gathering the reports and analysis and putting the minds together of leading experts from the Americas, nongovernmental organizations, policymakers, and the media would produce a more nuanced understanding of the situation. It is only by analyzing our current and past problems that we can make true progress now.
Rafael Pardo is a former Colombian senator and defense minister. He is the current Liberal party nominee for president in the 2010 election. Juan Gabriel Tokatlian is a professor of international relations at the Universidad Di Tella in Argentina.
04/22/09 06:50 - ID#48476
Maybe NYS will Legalise It?
Approval predicted for medical marijuana
State legislators likely to act this session
By Tom Precious
NEWS ALBANY BUREAU
ALBANY - Long-stalled efforts to permit the medicinal use of marijuana in this state appear to have a good chance of passage before lawmakers end their session in June. It would make New York the 15th state to legalize the drug for medical reasons.
Advocates say they believe the Democratic- controlled Senate and Assembly have the votes to pass legislation permitting qualified patients to grow their own marijuana plants, or obtain the drug on the streets or through a state-sanctioned dispensary.Gov. David A. Paterson also is said to be supportive of the legalization.
"It's looking pretty darn good," Assemblyman Richard N. Gottfried, a Manhattan Democrat and Health Committee chairman, said of the bill's chance to become law this session.
The lawmaker, who has sponsored the measure for years, renewed a public push Tuesday, using the cases of two New Yorkers who have turned to marijuana to relieve their chronic pain as evidence of the need for the bill.
"I'm looking for all the help we can get to get this passed," said Joel Peacock, a Buffalo resident and self-described conservative, who turned to the drug in the past to help with severe pain he still feels from a 2001 car accident.
The effort was jump-started by the Obama administration's decision in February to stop raids on marijuana-dispensing centers in California, where medical marijuana is legal. U. S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. signaled that federal prosecution would cease in states that legalize medical marijuana, even though U. S. law bans the drug's use.
The Assembly is considered certain to pass the measure. Advocates are working on the Senate Senate, where control switched in January to Democrats from Republicans.
In 2007, the measure had the backing of a half-dozen Republicans. Supporters say they fear as many as four Democrats, including Sen. William T. Stachowski, D-Lake View, might oppose it. That would require GOP help to get it passed in a chamber where Democrats hold a thin, 32-30 majority. Stachowski could not be reached to comment Tuesday.
Paterson's office said the governor is not taking a stance on the bill, but sources described him as very supportive and said he even offered to introduce his own legislation legalizing medical marijuana.
Proponents say marijuana helps to relieve pain from such diseases as multiple sclerosis and to calm nausea, as well as to aid the appetite of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The measure has the backing of groups representing physicians, nurses and hospices.
The association representing the state's district attorneys has not taken a formal position on the bill, said Daniel Donovan, the Staten Island district attorney and president of the group.
Speaking for himself and not his organization, Donovan, said a number of other drugs - from methadone to oxycondone - have been legalized to help with such things as relieving pain. "I'm not opposed to the idea. I'm open to the idea of seeing studies - and will trust the medical field," he said.
The most vocal opposition comes from the state's small but influential Conservative Party, which helped to kill the 2007 bill in the Republican-led Senate.
"If this passes, this is the beginning of a slippery slope that opens the door to legalize drugs," said Michael R. Long, the party's chairman.
Long said patients have plenty of alternatives to marijuana for pain relief. He claimed a lack of controls to prevent marijuana prescribed for a patient from getting into the hands of the patient's children or from being sold on the streets.
"This is not helpful to our society," Long said.
But Peacock, the subject of a 2007 profile in The Buffalo News, said his pain medications cost him and his insurer $39,000 a year. Pulling a package of painkillers from his pocket Tuesday - which cost $26 a dose - Peacock said marijuana would be both cheaper and more effective.
Peacock, who is enrolled in the Conservative Party, used marijuana during a construction job in Louisiana several years ago and then in Florida. He does not use it now because it is illegal in this state. "It took the pain away. I was absolutely amazed," he said Tuesday at a news conference in Albany.
Joe Gamble, a Liverpool resident, a former Army paratrooper and commercial pilot, turns to marijuana now to relieve his pain from multiple sclerosis. He called for "a little compassion."
"It's not for everybody, but it certainly does work for me," he said.
Backers say this is the first time the Assembly and Senate have had the same versions of medical marijuana bills. They note its Senate sponsor - Sen. Thomas K. Duane, a Manhattan Democrat - is chairman of the Health Committee, which has oversight of the matter.
Duane predicted the bill will pass with Democratic and Republican backing, saying: "This is about compassion. This is about medicine. This is not about politics."
The bill would make marijuana legal for those sanctioned by a physician with a "serious condition," defined as a "severe debilitating or life-threatening condition or a condition associated with or a complication of such a condition or its treatment, including but not limited to inability to tolerate food, nausea, vomiting, dysphoria or pain."
It permits the possession of up to 12 marijuana plants or 2z ounces of marijuana. Those approved for the program can grow the plants from seeds purchased in the illicit drug market or through state-approved dispensing centers. The centers also could dispense marijuana.
The bill calls for the state Health Department to play a role in regulating entities that produce and sell marijuana to eligible patients. Patients that violate the terms of the bill would be subject to stricter penalties than someone now caught possessing marijuana.
Those eligible to legally smoke the drug for medical reasons would be given a card good for a year before requiring new approval by a physician or an approved caregiver. Doctors could not prescribe marijuana for themselves.
Patients deciding to grow their own marijuana must keep it in a locked, enclosed area, such as a greenhouse or closet accessible only to the patient or caregiver. Patients could not smoke the drug in a public place, and no caregiver could be responsible for more than five patients approved for medical marijuana.
The bill allows the state to charge dispensers a fee, and the entities could be anything from a pharmacy to a hospital clinic to a registered marijuana producer. It does not require insurers to cover the treatments.
Critics have said wording that lets eligible patients get the drug on the streets will only encourage the illegal drug trade.
A growing number of states, including Minnesota, Illinois and New Jersey, are considering medical marijuana laws, especially after the Obama administration's policy change on the issue. In November, voters approved the drug's use in Michigan and Massachusetts.
I know some people think that this would and is a first step to make it legal to sell and to Tax it. I think those days are a long way away. There are still so many people who get all upset over that. Not to mention the cotton industry.
04/20/09 07:15 - ID#48456
420 and such
Last night on Fox they had an episode of Family Guy, that dealt with Weed. It was great it really was. Quigmire (or how ever you spell it) gets a cat. So the guys go over to shave it and Peter kills it and is covered in blood and has the cat it the back seat. So the cops pull them over and could care less about the blood and let them go but then Brian drops some weed and things get very interesting from there. Brian brings up reasons why it should be legal and why it was made illegal. So it winds up hurting this guy who sells cotton or something like that and so Brian in the end sells out his ideas to his book will sell. It was a funny episode Wish I could explain it better.
The thing that is funny is Fox has this going green message during some of their shows, but I don't think they thought of how ironic this is. I also saw a couple of the above the influence ads. I like those. They do make a good point that you need to be your own person and not do things because others do. But see that is kinda tough because a lot of people find out about family guy or some other show through friends and this is true of music and movies also. So it is tough to say that is ok to find out about a band from a buddy and not drugs of course it is still your choice to pick if you like both of those things.
03/31/09 06:21 - ID#48250
Cop is sorry for loss of dogs
"I made a decision in a split second to kill both dogs, and I've got to tell you, I don't feel good about that." Detective Sgt. Daniel Rinaldo
Updated: 03/31/09 09:34 AM
For police, killing of dogs was safety issue
2 were ready to attack in raid, detective says, but residents say their animals were fleeing
By Lou Michel
NEWS STAFF REPORTER
In a split second, Detective Sgt. Daniel Rinaldo decided he had to kill two dogs that appeared ready to attack during a police drug raid Saturday, despite assertions to the contrary from residents of the South Buffalo home where the raid occurred.
Rinaldo, in a news conference Monday, explained that he felt terrible about shooting the dogs but that the safety of him and other officers outweighed sparing the animals.
He disputed contentions by Rita Patterson, 27, and her father, Daniel, 68, who said the family pit bull terrier and pit bull-boxer mix were trying to get away from SWAT team members who burst into the house about dinnertime.
"It's an absolute lie," Rinaldo said.
"The situation was regrettable, but there was nothing I could do. The dogs were initially startled and went back on their hind legs and began barking and advancing toward me. I made a decision in a split second to kill both dogs, and I've got to tell you, I don't feel good about that."
Growing emotional, Rinaldo added that he has been a police officer 26 years and has owned two dogs, both strays he took home after finding them on the East Side.
Rinaldo said that police brass regularly urge the SWAT team to find less lethal alternatives for dealing with dogs during raids but that the consensus among similar-sized police departments is that there is no alternative. He said he has no recollection of Daniel Patterson's pleading with officers to allow him to put the dogs in another room, as the man contends.
"Keep in mind, this is happening in seconds, and the alternative was for me to get bit, and there would be mass confusion in this house," Rinaldo said.
The raid was one of nine conducted as part of an operation targeting gangs, guns and drug dealers in Kaisertown and South Buffalo. Police said they arrested 11 people, confiscated 10 ounces of cocaine and crack cocaine, a .38-caliber handgun and $1,300.
During a six-month investigation, undercover police and confidential informants made purchases of illegal drugs at the locations, including the Indian Church Road residence in South Buffalo, officers said.
"Drugs were purchased at that location based upon complaints of prescription drugs. After the SWAT team executed the search warrant, prescription drugs were found at that location. The reason arrests weren't made [was] they were legally prescribed to someone at that location," said Lt. Paul R. Delano, a Narcotics Squad supervisor. "Put 2 and 2 together: Somebody's selling drugs out of that location."
The prescription drug illegally sold was hydrocodone, police said.
"Some of the houses were doing as much as $5,000 a day in drug sales for at least a six-month period," Mayor Byron W. Brown said.
Both the mayor and Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson expressed support for Rinaldo and the overall conduct of the SWAT team. Gipson said sprays and other alternatives to shooting dogs have proved insufficient in halting dogs from attacks during raids.
Dogs kept at drug houses, Delano said, are not pets in the traditional sense, but rather "tools" used by drug dealers.
About a week ago, when a search warrant was being carried out on the East Side, police encountered seven dogs. One of the dogs was beside a toddler, and police were delayed long enough that a suspect they would normally have captured had time to jump out a rear second-floor window and escape, the lieutenant said.
Police said that in the last two years, more than 2,000 search warrants have been carried out and that on numerous occasions officers will try to avoid shooting dogs kept by drug dealers. Rinaldo, who serves as a Homicide Squad supervisor, said SWAT members often try to scare dogs and lock them in a closet or bathroom.
"I own three dogs myself, and in raids, it's a horrible thing," Delano said of dogs that are killed. "The blame needs to be placed on the owners."
As for the South Buffalo raid, Delano said that a day later, Sunday, William F. Hanavan, 32, the boyfriend of Rita Patterson, was charged with assault after attacking a neighbor whom Hanavan blamed for the raid. "He was trying to find out who was our confidential informant," Delano said.
Hanavan, 32, of Duerstein Street, was at the Patterson home during the raid but was not charged. Hanavan's parole from a drug conviction ended March 2, according to the State Division of Parole.
The Amherst and East Aurora police departments, state police and the federal Drug Enforcement Administration assisted city officers with Saturday's raids.
Those arrested Saturday were: William Robinson, 19, and Brittaney Slisz, 18, both of Gorski Street; Ronald Frida, 24, Johnny Nelson, 23, and Timilla Taylor, 18, all of Norman Avenue; Daniel Birkmeyer, 22, of Barnard Street; Curtis Clemons, 21, of Cambridge Avenue; Nelson Rodriguez, 18, of Genesee Street; Anwar Jackson, 17, of Olsen Street; Bryan Slisz, 44, of Weiss Street; and Kadeem McWilliams, 19, of Weimar Street. Police said the charges are all drug-related but did not provide specific charges.
Gipson said two men remain at large: Anthony Cameron, 28, and Paul Tucker, 19. Anyone with information on the case is asked to call the police confidential tip line at 847-2255.
03/30/09 08:00 - ID#48245
Dogs victims of drug war
The link goes to an article about cops killing dogs in a drug raid well kinda a drug raid. Yes it is cool to see on DEA (2 hour season Finale this week on Spike TV) where they come in and bust in door and draw guns and secure a house. Hey they are after the bad guys. But what about when you aren't the drug dealer. What about when the dogs are friendly and Not attack dogs. Hey when you come through that door how can you decide on what the dog will do? This is again another problem with the drug war, is some times the people who get hurt aren't the dealers. Here is an interesting buffalo news article.
John Hickey/Buffalo News
Updated: 03/30/09 08:21 AM
Police shoot, kill two dogs during raid
Family says animals did not pose a threat
By Aaron Besecker
NEWS STAFF REPORTER
A South Buffalo family wants answers after police shot and killed two of their dogs during a raid Saturday, leaving blood puddled on a living-room carpet and speckled on the wall.
Police, who were looking for a drug suspect and narcotics, left the Indian Church Road home without finding any evidence or arresting anyone, according to residents of the house.
The incident has left the family distraught and angry over the loss of the dogs, Essy and Moosey.
"It was just the most traumatizing, horrible thing," said Rita M. Patterson, 27, who lives in the house with her 68-year-old father, Daniel J. Patterson.
Rita Patterson's boyfriend, William F. Hanavan, 32, paroled last year after serving eight months in prison on a drug charge, was home but was not taken into custody Saturday.
However, Hanavan was arrested on a felony assault charge Sunday afternoon, Buffalo police reported.
When police stormed the house on Indian Church Road, near Seneca Street, at about 5:30 p. m. Saturday, Daniel Patterson was on the couch, watching the news.
"They shot the dogs for no reason at all," he told The Buffalo News on Sunday.
Rita Patterson said she was cooking dinner in the kitchen when she heard loud noises at the side door. Hanavan was upstairs taking a nap, and at first she thought he may have fallen out of bed.
Before she knew what was happening, police wearing masks and helmets and carrying automatic weapons had broken through the door. They tied her hands with a zip tie and put her on the floor.
Her father pleaded with police not to shoot the dogs, but they wouldn't allow him to grab the dogs and put them in another room, Patterson said.
One of the officers started firing a shotgun at the two dogs, one a pit bull and the other a pit bull-boxer mix.
One of the dogs was shot three times: once in the throat, once in the back and the last time in the leg while trying to run away, Rita Patterson said.
The other dog was cowering behind a table. Neither was a threat to the police, the residents said.
The police had a warrant for the home, but it named no suspects. It said only that investigators were looking for a white male and Hydrocodone. Information that led to the warrant, according to the warrant itself, came partly from an informant, Rita Patterson said.
Hanavan was paroled in February 2008 after he served more than eight months of a one-to three-year sentence for fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a Class D felony.
Hanavan was arrested Sunday following an assault at about 3:30 p. m. on Indian Church Road near the site of the raid.
Hanavan and a second suspect are accused of pinning down a man and punching and kicking him repeatedly, said Buffalo police spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge. The man suffered numerous injuries and was taken to Mercy Hospital.
It's not known how or if the incident is connected to the previous day's raid, DeGeorge said.
Police did have a warrant for the address, DeGeorge said, though he would not comment on who the target may have been or what police were looking for.
"It's part of an ongoing undercover operation," DeGeorge said.
Rita Patterson said she will be talking with a lawyer today.
"There's not even a word to describe the pain I feel," she said.
DeGeorge, the police spokesman, said the Pattersons have a right to request an investigation through the department's Professional Standards Division.
DeGeorge did point to the inherent danger police generally face when raiding a home.
"Executing a search warrant, police never know what they're going to find on the other side of that door," DeGeorge said. "In most cases, these can be life and death situations."
News Staff Reporter Stephen T. Watson contributed to this report.
Oh yeah this is my second post of the day, I posted about Metallica before this, and drugs and Metallica have no connection really.
03/29/09 01:05 - ID#48227
Vancouvers Drug Promblem?
So Hopefully that link leads to an interesting story about drugs in Vancouver . I would really like to read a follow up about the BC Bud, but I'm guessing there won't be one about that, it just gets a quick mention. The other day on Facebook I mentioned that I like the show DEA. I think there is a Marathon from about 1pm to 8pm on spike TV. It is a pretty good show. I also said that I don't agree with the drug war. I figured out why I like the show. First of all it is pretty good. Second of all since drugs are illegal there is all this crime and gangs and all the nasty stuff that goes along with things in the street. If you want to kill people over drugs then you should go to Jail and that is why I think the DEA is good. But on the other hand I think the drug war is wrong and drugs should be made legal. I think it would take a lot of the crime out of it and make a lot of people much safer and then you get tax money. In any event for those that don't like to follow links here is the article.
Guns seized by police in Vancouver, Canada, were displayed during a news conference about the city's rising crime rate.
03/29/09 06:35 AM
Increased crime plagues Vancouver
Drugs are source of the problem at 2010 Games site
By Jeremy Hainsworth
VANCOUVER, British Columbia - With its spectacular bay and stunning, snowcapped peaks, Vancouver ranks as one of the world's most beautiful cities. But in recent months, the people of Canada's Olympic city have been living in fear.
As Vancouver prepares to host the 2010 Winter Games, its crime rate is going up. Since January, there have been 45 shootings in the region, 17 of them fatal. There were 58 homicides last year in this region of 2.7 million people, up from 41 the year before, according to the regional Integrated Homicide Investigation Team.
"It's terrifying," said Doris Luong, who lives near the scene of a March 10 double homicide. "This used to be the best city in the world. . . . I fear for my children."
At a nearby elementary school, pupils' movements were immediately restricted as word of the killings spread.
The root of the problem seems to be drugs, or rather a shortage of them.
The Mexican cocaine supply line extends through the United States, especially Los Angeles, up to Vancouver, according to Royal Canadian Mounted Police Superintendent Pat Fogarty.
But the Mexican government of President Felipe Calderon has mobilized 45,000 soldiers and 5,000 federal police to curb drug cartel activity. That has driven up the price of cocaine in Vancouver from $23,300 per kilogram to almost $39,000, Fogarty said, and gangs are killing each other.
"People are nervous . . . and so are the police," said Fogarty, head of the regional gang task force. "The public's outraged. The government's outraged."
Vancouver social activist Jamie Lee Hamilton, who lives in Vancouver's seedy Downtown Eastside, said she no longer has much faith in the justice system.
"I'm really apprehensive about going out in the evening," Hamilton said. "We've turned into an American city."
Public Safety Minister Peter Van Loan recently called Vancouver the country's gang capital and said the violence is the worst in Canada.
Canada's largest city, Toronto, has seen only 11 homicides this year in a population of 5.1 million, almost double that of the Vancouver region.
On a visit to Vancouver earlier this month where he met with family members of victims, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper proposed a new law that would label gang killings as first-degree murder with a prison sentence of at least 25 years and no parole. The law would also create a new offense with a minimum four-year jail term for drive-by shootings.
Harper has said people planning to attend the Winter Games should not worry about violence, since 15,000 police officers, private security and military personnel are expected to provide security.
Local authorities say they have stepped up actions to curb the gangs and their violence. Police announced the arrests of 10 gang members recently, and four more were arrested on drug and weapon offenses earlier this month.
Police Chief Jim Chu acknowledged the city is in the middle of a "brutal" gang war and said the strategy is to detain gang members on as many charges as possible. However, some of those arrested are being released on bail by the courts.
Mayor Gregor Robertson has said police are fighting a losing battle.
Vancouver may in part be paying the price for some of the very features that help make it so attractive. Rob Gordon, director of the criminology school at British Columbia's Simon Fraser University, noted that the city has a laid-back attitude, easy access to the U. S. border and a vast backcountry with a climate ripe for growing potent marijuana. Police say British Columbia marijuana, known as B. C. bud, is often traded for cocaine, and Vancouver is known for marijuana growing operations.
03/15/09 12:20 - ID#48060
Bling Buffalo news story
A diamond-encrusted Breitling wristwatch, valued at $148,000, was seized in Kenmore.
Updated: 03/15/09 07:44 AM
Bling, other assets total $1.2 million in drug raids
By Dan Herbeck NEWS STAFF REPORTER
Times are tough these days, and many people struggle to make ends meet.
But one small group of people - some of the main players in the Buffalo drug gang known as 31 - has been enjoying some prosperity, at least until a Feb. 26 drug raid, authorities say.
More than $1.2 million in drug proceeds - ranging from a $148,000 diamond-encrusted wristwatch and other flashy bling to $215,000 cash found in a car-have been seized in the investigation, according to the FBI-led Safe Streets Task Force.
"Some of the people in this particular group were doing very well financially," said James A. Jancewicz, an FBI special agent with the task force.
The veteran investigator also was quick to point out that the life of a drug dealer involves more than flash and glamour.
"Many of the people involved in drug dealing are eventually going to wind up going to prison or getting killed by other dealers," Jancewicz said. "It's a high-risk profession."
Law enforcement officers define bling-also known as bling-bling- as the gaudy jewelry worn by some celebrities and also by some drug dealers. But investigators noted that many other drug dealers try hard to avoid the spotlight and never wear ostentatious jewelry or clothing.
Thirty-three people were arrested in Western New York and one in Reno, Nev., in connection with allegations of cocaine- trafficking and money-laundering by the 31 gang. Only a handful of the defendants is believed to have accumulated expensive possessions.
The more than $1.2 million in seized valuables is an unusually high amount for a Buffaloarea drug case, agents and prosecutors said. According to Assistant U. S. Attorney Kurt P. Martin, the items include:
> A Breitling wristwatch, encrusted with diamonds and valued at $148,000, was found in a couch cushion at a suspected dealer's "bachelor pad" on Victoria Boulevard in Kenmore. Other bling discovered at the same location includes another expensive watch with numerous diamonds and an ornate necklace - also with diamonds - with a huge diamond-studded medallion bearing the initials "GR."
The jewelry is believed to be worth hundreds of thousands of dollars.
> An $84,000 2007 Mercedes- Benz sedan found in a garage on the Victoria Boulevard property. Eric Marshall, described as a cocaine supplier for the gang, owned the car and much of the jewelry, authorities said.
> $215,000 in cash found Feb. 17 in a car owned by Marcus Chambers, an accused drug dealer. Police seized the cash in Mentor, Ohio, near Cleveland.
> $170,000 in cash seized Dec. 11 from a safe deposit box in a North Buffalo bank branch. Agents say they believe the cash belonged to Glance Ross, an accused dealer, and that the box was rented by former Syracuse University basketball star Damone Brown.
> More than $90,000 cash found in other locations during the Feb. 27 drug raids.
For anyone who thinks the life of a drug dealer sounds like an exciting opportunity, Jancewicz cited the example of David Howard, 36, of Buffalo, a defendant in the case who faces three felony drug charges.
"On Sept. 12, David Howard was shot five times in the chest outside a drug house on Shumway Street," Jancewicz said. "He survived and recovered. . . . But now, he's in jail."
Authorities said federal prosecutors are seeking forfeiture of all the cash, jewelry, cars and other items seized during the investigation.
"Ultimately, we expect that all the money we get from these forfeitures will come back to law enforcement agencies," Jancewicz said. "It will be used for paying overtime in investigations, buying high-tech equipment, paying for training and other crime-fighting uses," he explained.
I liked the story and look at it as a different take on the War on Drugs.
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