Cannabis Legal Issues
The purpose of law in any democratic country is first and foremost to protect the weaker and sick members of its society from harm; not expose them to the risk of punishments and imprisonment.
Common law (also known as case law or precedent) originated in England in the Middle Ages and it is implemented in most former colonies of the British Empire, this includes The United States of America and Canada.
English law still provides the basis for many American legal traditions and policies, although it has no superseding jurisdiction.
The essence of English common law is that it is upheld by judges sitting in courts, applying common sense and their knowledge of legal precedent to the facts of the case before them.
The laws in place should be fair, just and reasonable with any punishments proportionate to the given crime and based on sensible decisions made by compassionate judges.
The prohibition of cannabis can in no way be considered fair, just or reasonable. The system of law designed to protect the weakest in society was and still is being manipulated by powerful individuals with a purely commercial agenda.
Every argument that was put forward to ensure cannabis became illegal has been proven to be false and fraudulent. In essence the prohibition of cannabis was a corrupt venture and therefore an illegal undertaking and furthermore any person or persons who continue to maintain the illegality of cannabis are themselves party to this very same corrupt and illegal act.
Cannabis legal issues: Samuel R. Caldwell
On the very same day the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act was enacted (Oct. 2, 1937) the FBI and Denver, Colorado police raided the Lexington Hotel and arrested Samuel R. Caldwell, 58, an unemployed laborer and his alleged customer.
Caldwell became the first ever marijuana seller convicted under U.S. federal law. His customer was found guilty of possession.
Samuel R. Caldwell sold three marijuana cigarettes, and was sentenced to 4 years of hard labor at Leavenworth Penitentiary, in addition to a $1,000 fine.
Caldwell was incarcerated in 1937, at age 58, and released in 1940 at age 60. He died one year after his release.
If you are arrested for any cannabis related offense try to stay calm and remember that you do not have to say anything to the police officers.
You should not be intimidated into answering questions until you have spoken to a legal adviser. Give only your name, address and telephone number, also your immediate family and your employers number if asked.
Do not resist even if you are innocent, you will be charged with resisting arrest and they may possibly hurt you.
Do not speak to anyone apart from your legal adviser. If you’re arrested with somebody else do not talk to them about the incident. Police vehicles and holding cells are equipped to make video or audio recordings.
You have a right to make one phone call but the telephone you use will also be equipped to make an audio recording of your conversation.
You have the right not to incriminate yourself, it is the responsibility of the police to prove the charge against you.
Warnings regarding the right not to incriminate yourself originated in England in 1912, when the Judges Rules were introduced. These stated that:
“When a police member has admissible evidence to suspect a person of an offense and wishes to question that suspect about the offense, the officer should first caution the person that he is entitled to remain silent.”
The giving of this caution in England does not require a suspect to confirm that they understand the caution. Furthermore, the invoking of this right to silence does not prohibit officers from asking further questions, this is not the case in the U.S. where the police cannot interrogate a suspect further unless they waive their right.
Cannabis legal issues: Miranda rights U.S.
A Miranda warning is a criminal procedure rule that law enforcement must make in order to protect you from a violation of your Fifth Amendment right against induced self-incrimination.
However, in the case of Berghuis v. Thompkins, the Court held that unless a suspect actually states that he is relying on this right, his subsequent voluntary statements can be used in court and police can continue to interrogate the said person.
The Fifth Amendment right is the right to remain silent, the right to refuse to answer questions or to otherwise communicate information. Therefore, before any interview takes place the suspect must be advised:
• They have the right to remain silent. Anything the suspect says can be used against them.
• They have the right to have an attorney present before and during the questioning.
• They have the right, if they can’t afford an attorney, to have a attorney appointed at public expense to represent them before and during the questioning.
Cannabis legal issues: Canada
Equivalent rights exist in Canada consistent with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The right to silence is protected under section 7 and section 11(c).
The accused may not be compelled as a witness against themselves in criminal proceedings, and therefore only voluntary statements made to police are admissible as evidence.
Under the Charter, an arrested person also has the right:
• To be informed promptly of the reasons.
• To retain and instruct counsel without delay and be informed of that right .
• To have the validity of the detention determined by way of habeas corpus and to be released if the detention is not lawful.
Cannabis legal issues: European Union
Known as The Reding Rights, those suspected of a criminal offense must receive information about their basic rights during criminal proceedings, these are that:
• They have the right to a lawyer.
• To be informed of the charge.
• To interpretation and translation for those who do not understand the language of the proceedings.
• The right to remain silent and to be brought promptly before a court following arrest.
• They will be given a letter spelling out their rights in writing.
• The letter of rights will be easy to understand, without legal jargon.
• It will be made available in a language the suspect understands.
• It will contain practical details about the person’s rights.
Cannabis legal issues: Know your rights
Habeous corpus was conceived to protect against tyranny and the abuse of the judicial system and is Latin for “you may have the body.”
It is a writ which requires a person detained by the authorities be brought before a court of law so that the legality of the detention may be examined.
The act was passed by the English Parliament in 1679, but the first recorded use of was in 1305. However, other writs with the same effect appear to precede the English Magna Carta of 1215.
Although rarely used nowadays, it can be demanded by anyone who believes they are unlawfully detained and without it you can be imprisoned indefinitely without trial. Habeas corpus rights have been gradually eroded and weakened for over a decade now and the patriot act is just one of the latest efforts to chip away at it.
Cannabis legal issues: Legality of Cannabis Worldwide
Medical marijuana worldwide (courtesy http://en.wikipedia.org)