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The myriad challenges awaiting MA’s frontier entrepreneurs aiming to open up medical marijuana dispensaries in light of the recent passing of the final regulations have been documented at length. There’s the perpetually looming threat of a federal raid, which can leave lawful business owners facing criminal charges and financial calamity. The uncertainty of local zoning restrictions puts into doubt exactly what kind of physical limitations the dispensaries will have to deal with, and whether they can realistically operate under such parameters.
Police send evidence to crime labs for testing and analysis. This evidence is then used to build a case or gain a conviction against a defendant. The integrity of these labs is crucial in that the evidence that travels through them must be handled with respect to constitutional protections, due process, and scientific standards or risk jeopardizing the entire case. So, when one lab chemist is accused of putting her hands in the cookie jar, so to speak, numerous cases can be affected. [Read more…]
Since early 2013, Massachusetts law enforcement officers have busted a number of local residents, as well as others caught while traveling through the state. Those accused of violating the state’s controlled substances laws fit a wide variety of descriptions.
Two years ago, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court held that police may not search a vehicle based merely on the presence of the smell of marijuana. The holding in Massachusetts v. Cruz concerned a police officer who approached the car of driver Benjamin Cruz when he noticed Cruz smoking a small cigar. Once the officer smelled a “faint odor” of marijuana, Cruz was ordered out of the car, with an ensuing search revealing 4 grams of crack cocaine and resulting in an arrest for Cruz. The court held that the officer did not have a reasonable basis to order Cruz out of the car.
Years later, several decisions appear to suggest that the court has not backed down from the principles underlying the Cruz decision. [Read more…]