Feds Target Medical Marijuana Operation

The federal government is trying to close down the country’s largest medical marijuana dispensary operation, filing papers to seize properties in Oakland and San Jose where Harborside Health Center does business. Copies of the federal Complaint for Forfeiture were taped to the front doors of the two dispensaries Tuesday, alleging that the business was “operating in violation of federal law.”

Those who advocate the use of medical marijuana, as well as some state and local officials, decried the action, saying it is harmful to patients who are in legitimate need of the drug and breaks several promises by President Obama’s Justice Department that it was only going to target the operations near schools and parks or otherwise in violation of California state laws. The U.S. attorney for Northern California, Melinda Haag, said she now has “the need to consider actions regarding marijuana superstores such as Harborside because they presented unique opportunities for abuse.”

According to Norml.org, an organization dedicated to reform medical marijuana laws in California, “56% of voters approved Proposition 215 on November 5, 1996. The law took effect the following day. It removes state-level criminal penalties on the use, possession and cultivation of marijuana by patients who possess a “written or oral recommendation” from their physician that he or she “would benefit from medical marijuana.” Patients diagnosed with any debilitating illness where the medical use of marijuana has been “deemed appropriate and has been recommended by a physician” are afforded legal protection under this act. Conditions typically covered by the law include but are not limited to: arthritis; cachexia; cancer; chronic pain; HIV or AIDS; epilepsy; migraine; and multiple sclerosis. No set limits regarding the amount of marijuana patients may possess and/or cultivate were provided by this act, though the California Legislature adopted guidelines in 2003.”

If you or someone you know is facing criminal charges, you will need to speak with an experienced criminal defense attorney in your area. One of the Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyers at The Mace Firm is ready to speak with you about your case. Call one of the Myrtle Beach criminal lawyers to schedule your free consultation.

Attorney General Holder Refusing to Turn over Documents to Congress

In what appeared to be in direct contrast to the administrations position on transparency in government, the attorney general has refused to provide Congress with documents requested in relation to the botched gun smuggling operation into Mexico.  The true sad reality about the United States Justice Department is that no matter what they say, they will never give all the documents, all the facts or all the evidence.  It is clear from the actions of different divisions of the Justice Department that there is an unwritten rule, “withhold any and everything that could make us look bad.”  Senator Stevens died before he could be completely vindicated from the actions of the United States Attorney malfeasance.  There is an old saying in many prosecutors offices, “it takes a good prosecutor to convict an guilty man, but it takes a great prosecutor to convict an innocent man.”  There is no stopping the power of the United States law enforcement.  The federal judiciary does little to curtail the power of the justice department.  Every federal judge has some experience with the power of the federal prosecutor prior to becoming a federal judge.  The FBI goes to some lengths investigating prospective judges prior to their Congressional confirmation.  To shed some light on this scenario it is as if the fox was interview the dog that would guard the chickens.  How can law enforcement be involved in approving the one person who can stop illegal government action.

Eric Holder knew he did not have to turn over any documents to Congress.  He went to Congress because he did not want to make the president look bad, but he knew there was nothing they could do to him.  Now, what is the next step in this investigation? NOTHING.  The justice department decides when and what they will investigate and they are not about to investigate their boss for refusing to follow the orders of a Congressional subpoena.   Many of my clients that are charged with federal offenses for the first time are shocked at how one sided the system really is.  Forget a fair fight, you are going into the ring against the power of the most powerful country in the world.  It takes skill and knowledge to win a federal trial as a federal criminal defense lawyer.  You can be the best criminal defense lawyer in your state, but if you have never been to federal court, you are in for surprise.  There are no rules designed to protect the innocent.  If the grand jury indicts, then the government knows they have their man.  If the grand jury does not indict, then the government will have to wait until the next convening to present the case to a new grand jury.  By the way, all this grand jury stuff is confidential and the public is not allowed to see what goes on in grand jury proceedings.  On that same note, ever wonder why there are not cameras or video allowed in federal court.  What goes on in the tax funded buildings that we as tax payers cannot see or hear?

It goes then that the attorney general of the United States answers to no one except the President. If you are wrongfully convicted of a federal crime and it is later discovered that the prosecutor intentionally withheld evidence in your favor.  You may go free and the prosecutor will also go free because they all have immunity.  There is never any fear that they have the wrong man, because they will not even get fired if they lie to the court. Federal criminal defense is a tough area of law to practice, but when you win a case, it is a big win.  They are difficult to come by no matter who the criminal defense lawyer may be.

GlaxoSmithKline Pleads Guilty in Fraud Case

Well-known pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline’s guilty pleas were part of the nation’s largest health-care fraud settlement, under which GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay $3 billion, including more than $35 million to the Massachusetts Medicaid program, to resolve allegations that the company engaged in illegal schemes related to the marketing and pricing of some of the drugs that it manufactures, more specifically, Paxil and Wellbutrin. The company also pleaded guilty to failing to report safety data to the FDA about the drug Avandia.

GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay $3 billion in total to resolve all of its criminal and civil liabilty related to this fraud scheme.

Even celebrity doctor Drew Pinsky has been linked with the fraud. He was accused of taking payments from GlaxoSmithKline to promote the two antidepressant medications. “In the late 90’s I was hired to participate in a 2-year initiative discussing intimacy and depression which was funded by an educational grant by Glaxo Wellcome,” Pinsky told HealthPop in a statement. “Services for the non-branded campaign included town hall meetings, writings and multimedia activities in conjunction with the patient advocacy group the National Depresive and Manic Depressive Association (NDMDA). My comments were consistent with my clinical experience.” Pinsky was mentioned in the complaint filed by the Unites States government against the company.

The complaint states that “Pinsky allegedly received two payments in March 2009 and April 2009 from GlaxoSmithKline totaling $275,000 to promote Wellbutrin SR.” The Wall Street Journal reports that in 1999, Pinsky made statements on a television and radio show. In these statements, Pinsky claimed that he prescribed the drug Wellbutrin to depressed patients because it “may enhance or at least not suppress sexual arousal,” like other similar medications are known to do. Pinsky has also been accused of promoting the drug for uses that had not been approved by the FDA.

If you or someone you know has been charged with fraud, it will be in your best interests to speak with an experienced federal criminal lawyer. The criminal defense lawyers at The Mace Firm are ready to speak with you about your case. Call one of the Myrtle Beach criminal defense lawyers to schedule your free consultation.