By Caleb Hutton
Marijuana might be legal to possess under state law starting Dec. 6, but federal authorities want to remind you nothing has changed under federal law.
Here’s the verbatim statement from the U.S. Attorney’s Office, sent out minutes ago.
The Department of Justice is reviewing the legalization initiatives recently passed in Colorado and Washington State. The Department’s responsibility to enforce the Controlled Substances Act remains unchanged. Neither States nor the Executive branch can nullify a statute passed by Congress. In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance. Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on December 6th in Washington State, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Members of the public are also advised to remember that it remains against federal law to bring any amount of marijuana onto federal property, including all federal buildings, national parks and forests, military installations, and courthouses.
Exactly how the feds plan to enforce the letter of the law remains to be seen. Selling marijuana will still be illegal in Washington on Dec. 6, a month after voters passed Initiative 502. The state liquor control board has a year to build a marijuana industry from scratch.
See also, this Herald story by John Stark.
By Caleb Hutton
Prosecutor Dave McEachran is not taking a stance, at this point, on how to move forward with active charges of marijuana possession in Whatcom County, he said Friday, Nov. 9.
“We’ll be looking at all the pending cases,” McEachran said. “But the law certainly is not retroactive.”
In King and Pierce counties, prosecutors announced Friday they would drop misdemeanor marijuana cases, according to the Associated Press.
Washington voters legalized possession of the drug Tuesday after passing I-502. Possession is not technically legal under state law until election results are certified on Dec. 6. The new law sets up a clash between state and federal authorities.
McEachran’s decision could affect more than 50 possession cases in Whatcom County. Almost all of those cases have other more serious charges attached to them.
Posted by Caleb Hutton
Text courtesy of the Blaine Police Department, with minor edits for style.
Wednesday, Aug. 22
8:36 a.m. A business on Pipeline Road reported that a battery had been stolen overnight from a commercial truck parked on their property. The battery will cost about $300 to replace, while the damage the thief did to the truck will cost about $500 to repair.
Thursday, Aug. 23
11:11 a.m. A couple on Mitchell Street left home for a few hours during the day and returned to find that a burglar had gotten in through an unsecured window. The thief or thieves stole a small amount of cash and smashed a Tinkerbell cookie jar. The loss is estimated at about $50, and police are investigating.
Friday, Aug. 24
2:50 p.m. A resident on Blaine Avenue reported that a package delivery service had brought a package to her house while he was not at home, and left it on the porch. Someone stole the box before she arrived to collect it. It had contained children’s toys and clothing. Police are investigating.
Saturday, Aug. 25
11:30 p.m. A passerby called police late at night to report that a juvenile was sneaking around a car parked on Martin Street with a flashlight. Officers found and contacted the young man sleeping in the back of the vehicle. He was visiting his aunt but found the small home too crowded for sleeping, so he decided to spend the night in the auto. The boy’s story checked out, and officers wished him a good night.
Sunday, Aug. 26
4:04 a.m. A person called 911 numerous times to find out if police had responded to an earlier call he had made about a possible crash on the freeway. Officers responded and explained that officers had responded to the call and that officers simply had not used their sirens while responding. The intoxicated man thanked officers and agreed to stop calling 911 for the night.
10:26 a.m. A resident called police to check the welfare of her neighbor, whom she had not seen nor been able to contact for some time. An officer scaled the neighbor’s fence and peered through the missing woman’s kitchen window. He could see the lady inside, washing dishes about three feet away, and called to her by name. Following a B-movie worthy scream, the woman came outside and was reunited with her concerned neighbor. No dishes were destroyed during the event.
5:10 p.m. Officers responded to assist Ferndale police and the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office with report of a vehicle that was driving slowly on the freeway blocking a lane of travel northbound. Officers arrived to assist with the contact of the occupants. They determined the driver was from a foreign land and was not aware of U.S. traffic laws and our version of courteous driving behavior.
Monday, Aug. 27
8 a.m. The city received information about a business on D Street possibly selling liquor to minors and cigarettes to underaged kids. The information was forward to patrol officers and the state liquor control board.
Tuesday, Aug. 28
1:01 p.m. Blaine Police were dispatched to the Peace Arch border crossing after a fledgling post-modern baker arrived at the border with a bag of fresh baked brownies which contained a special ingredient prohibited by law. A Blaine officer confirmed that the baked goods indeed had suspected marijuana in them via a chemical field test. The Oregon resident was arrested, cited and released with the court date for the offense.
Wednesday, Aug. 29
8:36 a.m. A customer reported he purchased a $1413.56 watch on Ebay, but when he came to pick up the watch at his post office box, the package was empty. The victim had tried unsuccessfully to contact the seller, and Ebay advised a police report was needed in order to reimburse his money. Officers are assisting in the matter.
By Caleb Hutton
(Links go to relevant court documents and articles.)
BELLINGHAM — A third man has pleaded guilty in an attempted robbery of marijuana at Rock Hill Park.
Eric Tyler Bennett, 20, was ordered last week to serve five months in jail after he pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree robbery.
Here’s the gist of the case, from an article published Aug. 3:
BELLINGHAM – Two cousins pleaded guilty this week to slashing a man’s face with a rusty machete during a botched marijuana deal.Robert Lee Anthony Piggee, 21, was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison for attempted robbery in the first degree.
His cousin, 27-year-old Nicholas Gamayal Lorden, pleaded guilty to the same crime but has not been sentenced. Prosecutors suggested a prison term of three years and eight months for Lorden, who already had three felonies on his record. His sentencing is set for 8:30 a.m. Aug. 9.
According to charges filed in Whatcom County Superior Court:
In September 2011, Dylan Albrecht arranged to sell marijuana to Eric Tyler Bennett, 19, in Rock Hill Park. Albrecht walked along the park trail, as it was getting dark, with the marijuana in his pack.
He saw a man he thought was Bennett sitting on a rock. The man asked if Albrecht had the drugs. Albrecht said yes. Then two other men – later identified as Piggee and Lorden – jumped out from the bushes and demanded the backpack.
One of the men wielded a rusty machete. Albrecht fought back: He grabbed the blade and cut his hand. As one of the men tried to tear the backpack away, he slashed Albrecht’s forehead with the machete. All three men fell into a patch of blackberry bushes. Albrecht, bloodied and scratched up, escaped and ran to his car.
Albrecht was ordered in March to serve 50 days in jail for marijuana possession.
Piggee was arrested at 12:30 a.m. April 11, after an officer watched him blow through a stop sign and almost hit another car in the 2100 block of Texas Street, police said.
In their guilty pleas, Lorden and Piggee agreed to cover Albrecht’s hospital bill of $3,491.95. If he’s convicted, Bennett would have to chip in, too.
And here’s an amended probable cause statement from the prosecutor’s office, with lots more background info.
Note that Lorden’s recommended sentence of three years and eight months has since been approved by Judge Ira Uhrig. The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office noted last week that Lorden is suspected of having gang connections.
Bennett got a much lighter sentence than Lorden and Piggee. But he was convicted of a less serious “degree” of robbery, was never suspected of wielding a weapon, and had the cleanest criminal history of the trio.
By Caleb Hutton
FERNDALE — A teen accused of swinging a hunting knife at a 14-year-old boy before poking him in the chest with the blade was arrested Wednesday afternoon, May 23.
Darcy James Glenman, 18, was arguing with the boy outside about 5:30 p.m. Tuesday near the Ferndale Boys & Girls Club, in the 2000 block of Cherry Street, said Ferndale Police Lt. Matt Huffman.
Glenman thought the boy had stolen marijuana, so he pulled out a hunting knife and swung at him two or three times, Huffman said.
When police spoke to the boy, he had a “little, tiny” mark on his chest from when Glenman had “poked” him with the knife, Huffman said. He had apparently pressed the blade against the boy, but didn’t actually break the skin.
Police contacted Glenman the following afternoon. He was booked into Whatcom County Jail on investigation of second-degree assault. The knife wasn’t recovered.
Glenman had an extensive record in juvenile court, including guilty pleas for fourth-degree assault and possession of a dangerous weapon.
In 2010, an off-duty police officer spotted him waving a butterfly knife and a switchblade at the corner of Vista Drive and Washington Street.