Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Medicinal Marijuana in Minnesota: First State to Offer Only Smoke-Free Medicinal Cannabis

Posted on: June 12th, 2015 by | No Comments

As of June 1, 2015, Minnesota residents can begin the application process to become certified marijuana purchasers and, in less than a month (July 1, 2015), they can receive final certification to legally buy and take cannabis – but only in pill, oil, and liquid form. Minnesota is the first state in the nation to legalize only smoke-free marijuana, but has become one of 24 states that have legalized the substance.

In order to qualify, a person must:

  • Be a legal resident of Minnesota
  • Have a qualifying condition –
    • Cancer (associated with select symptoms)
    • Glaucoma
    • Tourette Syndrome
    • Lou Gehrig’s Diseases/Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
    • Crohn’s Disease
    • HIV/AIDS
    • Terminal illness (life expectancy of 12 months or less)
    • Epilepsy and other seizure inducing diseases
    • Multiple Sclerosis and other chronic pain/muscle spasm conditions

Legal logistics are still a bit grey. Unless granted a valid search warrant, state and federal officials will not know who is on the patient registry, and the only people who can approve patient certification are physicians or health care practitioners. The federal government still does not recognize any form of marijuana as legal, but there is no indication of federal officials interfering with state-regulate pot businesses at this time. That being said, eight distribution centers will open in Minnesota to dispense the pills, oils, and liquid, and they are the only locations where marijuana can legally be sold. Hospitals and pharmacies will no longer be able to distribute cannabis. Instead, the certified patients will have to go to one of the designated distributors.

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) released this simple, yet informative infographic regarding the new policies regarding medicinal marijuana in Minnesota.

Minnesota Defamation Law Ruled Unconstitutional After Online Revenge Case

Posted on: May 28th, 2015 by | No Comments

Minnesota’s defamation law was struck down in May on the basis that it could be used to unfairly infringe upon free speech rights.

The decision was made after the state’s Court of Appeals overturned the conviction of a man who’d added a post on Craigslist – posing as his ex-girlfriend and her 17-year-old daughter on the site’s personals section as revenge after a bitter fight.

Timothy Robert Turner’s actions were discovered when the woman and girl began receiving explicit messages in response to the ad.

According to a story from the Star Tribune, Judge Denise Reilly called the Turner’s behavior “reprehensible and defamatory” in the ruling, despite setting aside the conviction. And although the man’s actions were clearly wrong and something he’d admitted to, his lawyer, John Archechigo, was successfully able to argue that his client’s actions didn’t matter because the law that the conviction was based upon was too broad.

“This type of challenge, it wasn’t necessarily advocating for the type of behavior that the defendant engaged in,” Arechigo noted, via a report from the Associated Press.

Not Designed for the Internet Age

In the meantime, the decision could leave state government scrambling to pass new legislation aimed at punishing impersonators who use the Internet – something that obviously wasn’t taken into account upon the defamation law’s passage back in 1963.

The law had allowed prosecutors to go after those who’d made true statements – something that today is considered a clear violation of the 1st amendment.

When initially looking to prosecute Turner, prosecutors were on the fence as to which charge should apply to the case – at one point, even considering pursuing him for disorderly conduct, something they ultimately decided didn’t fit the crime.

Turner, meanwhile, appears to be off the hook as charging him under a different law would be considered double jeopardy. Prosecutors, however, could appeal to the state court in a bid to bring back the conviction in its current form.

U.S. Supreme Court Provides Clarity on Unlawful Cellphone Searches

Posted on: August 25th, 2014 by | No Comments

The nation’s highest court has provided clarity on when and how cellphones can be searched.

In a win for privacy rights activists, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June that authorities are not allowed to search cellphones in connection to taking someone into custody. Instead, authorities must seek court-approved warrants before proceeding.

The question posed to the Supreme Court was to whether or not phone data fits in with other contraband that might be on a suspect, like in their pocket.

“Modern cell phones, as a category, implicate privacy concerns far beyond those implicated by the search of a cigarette pack, a wallet or a purse,” stated Chief Justice John Roberts upon making the ruling, according to USA Today.


What Minnesota’s New Expungement Law Means for Criminal Records

Posted on: June 13th, 2014 by | No Comments

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton in May approved a law that changes the expungement process and how it relates to criminal records.

The bill itself is aimed at giving former offenders a second chance after prolonged periods of time in instances where they’ve reformed their lives. Should an offender complete a diversion program and stay clean for at least two years, they could qualify for their records to be expunged, according to a report from (more…)

Giancola Law celebrates 10 year anniversary

Posted on: June 13th, 2013 by | No Comments

For the last ten years, the Giancola Law Office has served the Minneapolis and Twin Cities communities with top-notch criminal law defense.   The original partners–Mark Giancola and Rory Durkin–started the firm with the vision of providing quality defense and protecting the dignity and rights of their clients.  Mark and Rory look forward to what the next ten years will bring. The Giancola Law Office specializes in all areas of criminal defense, including DWI/DUI, Criminal Sexual Conduct, and Domestic Assault.

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