Don't get confused: Medical use is still not allowed in Florida

3357331835 Every one knows what happens to those who abuse weed, and there are plenty of popular jokes to reference the damage.

Do you know the difference between a drunk and a stoner behind the wheel? It is that the drunk will drive through the stop sign. The pothead waits for it to turn green.

Or have you ever heard the one about the pothead who studied for five days for a urine test?

The Florida Department of Law Enforcement doesn't want that to happen to you. They are afraid that legalizing it for medical purposes would send the wrong message to young people and that the move had to do more with profit than with compassion.

There may be more profits than compassion in this market. The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws claims that in Florida it's production value is second to oranges and above of sugarcane and grapefruit.

On a mission in Florida, Kim Russell, the founder of People United For Medical Marijuana, is using online social networks to target college students. He hopes to collect 676,811 signatures from registered voters for a petition the Florida Division of Elections already approved. He is on Twitter.

In the meantime punishment remains severe: Posession of 20 grams or less of marijuana can still lead to a year in jail and a $1,000 fine. Selling or growing pot within 1,000 feet of a school, college, public park, public housing, daycare center, or church is still punishable by up to 15 years in prison and carrries a fine of $10,000.

Here is the memo from the U.S. Department of Justice authorizing the medical use of marijuana in state's where it is allowed (AK, CA, CO, HI, ME, MI, MT, NV, NM, OR, RI, VT, and WA).

'Hello, 911? Wait while I buy drugs'

Ap_911_call_070705_mn Alejandro Melendez could be a walking PSA for how drugs can scramble your brain.

Police say the Cleveland man called 911 on Saturday night to say two men with guns were spying on him, then he hung up.

The 911 dispatcher called back Melendez's cellphone, and Melendez picked up and asked the dispatcher to hold on. This what the dispatcher heard someone else say to Melendez:

"What you need, a 10-pack? You need a 10-pack? All right." (A 10-pack is slang for a bundle of heroin with a street value around $800-$1,200.)

The 911 center sent police to Melendez's location, where they found crack in his pocket and arrested him.

Google helps cops bust pot farmers

Google_earth_1 A buzzworthy story out of Switzerland today, where police say they used satellite images from Google Earth to sniff out a big marijuana crop.

It helped cops find a two-acre field where more than 1.2 tons of pot was growing. They arrested 16 people in what investigators said was a "interesting chance discovery."

Heroin has presidential seal

  0123091obama1Barack Obama's inauguration was a real rush for some people, including some drug-slangers in upstate New York, who took the opportunity to brand their baggies with the new president's name.

The Smoking Gun has the story.

Reminds me of one of my favorite posts from this here blog -- the green crack bust on St. Patrick's Day.

Drugged holy water makes Top 10 border busts

Everyone loves Top 10 lists as we head into the New Year. Here's one from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, highlighting its newsiest busts of 2008:

Download cbps_top_10_enforcement_events_of_2008.htm

Think my favorite is No. 10, where a dude tried to bring bottles of "holy water" in through the U.S.-Canada border in upstate New York.

Upon further review, the holy water turned out to be liquid ketamine, the animal tranquilizer sometimes used as a human date-rape drug.

Gas prices hurt drug dealers, too

Strike one against Anthony Salinas was selling cocaine to undercover officers.

Strike two was charging extra to recoup gas money for dropping off the drugs.

Indiana police say they set up two buys with Salinas, where he was to drop off a quarter-ounce of coke in parking lots at Starbucks and Bass Pro Shops. Salinas charged $240 -- $215 for the drugs and $25 for gas money. (The Smoking Gun has the charging docs.)

Darn gas prices make times tough for everybody. But with two felony drug charges against him, Salinas may be going somewhere where he won't have to drive for a while.

Teen with droopy drawers gets shot

0624081inside2 John Constantin (left) sure taught David Mitchell a sartorial lesson in Jacksonville over the weekend.

Constantin saw Mitchell, 18, walking around with his pants sagging below his underwear. The older man tried ordering the teen to pull up his knickers.

Mitchell refused, and the two men got into a scuffle. Constantin pulled out a gun and fired twice, shooting Mitchell in the stomach.

On the way to the police station, Constantin told officers "this is bullshit...I was just protecting myself." He's charged with aggravated battery with a deadly weapon. And, oh yeah, the rock of crack that cops found in his pocket will also likely net him a drug charge.   

The Smoking Gun has more details from the arrest report.

God arrested in coke sting near church

Story A man named God (not to be confused with a magician named Gob) was arrested in Tampa over the weekend, charged with delivery of cocaine near a church and a school.

Cops had been investigating God Lucky Howard (left) since April, according to this ABC Action News report. Undercover detectives picked him up on Saturday and charged him with selling drugs.

After arresting this man who apparently is neither godly nor lucky, officers searched his home and found 22 grams of coke and a scale.

Granny said heroin was for Ft. Lauderdale man

I found the four-page federal charging document filed against Maria Resfa Garzon de Arenas, the 74-year-old who allegedly tried to bring 6.5 pounds of heroin through the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport last week.

Read the PDF here: Download garzon.pdf

As you can see in the complaint, signed by Special Agent Jorge Gomez of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Garzon said she knowingly smuggled the heroin from Bogota, Colombia. She intended to deliver it to a man in Fort Lauderdale for $23,000 (investigators had estimated the heroin's street value at $180,000).

Prosecutors are asking that she be held without bond. Garzon's public defender will argue against that Wednesday in federal court in Fort Lauderdale, where she's scheduled for a 10 a.m. hearing in front of Magistrate Judge Barry Seltzer.

Smugglin' granny caught with dope

Large20photos_heroin Who knows what else was in her bags - gifts for grandkids, maybe some knitting materials? - but it was the 6.5 pounds of heroin hidden in Maria Resfa Garzon de Arenas' belongings that caused some red flags at the Fort Lauderdale airport yesterday.

Drug smuggling ain't news in South Florida, but here's what's interesting: Garzon de Arenas is 74 years old. Not exactly the profile you think of a smack smuggler.

Accessories_ruby_slippers1 The U.S. Attorney's Office in Miami announced that Garzon de Arenas was arrested after a Bogota-to-Fort Lauderdale flight that landed at 3 p.m. June 12. She went through the customs process, and agents found heroin "sewn within the lining of notebook binders, a jewelry case, and in a false cavity of women's slippers."

She'll have a hearing June 18 in front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Barry Seltzer. If the case goes to trial and she's convicted, Garzon de Arenas faces life in prison.

Before we get out our jump-to-conclusions mat, though, let's remember the drug-smuggling world is a dangerous, unforgiving one. Time will tell what other factors may have been at play here, including maybe someone forcing Garzon de Arenas to carry the drugs. Maria Full of Grace, anyone?

 
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