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Matt Ferner
Matt Ferner is a national reporter for the Huffington Post. He was previously the editor of HuffPost Denver. Matt is a graduate of the University of Colorado Boulder and the University of California, Los Angeles. For tips or comments email

Entries by Matt Ferner

Missouri Man Sentenced To Life In Prison Over Marijuana Is Set Free

(1) Comments | Posted September 1, 2015 | 1:28 PM

Jeff Mizanskey, a 61-year-old man who was serving life in prison for nonviolent marijuana offenses, walked out of...

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These Influential Marijuana Users Defy The Stoner Stereotype

(5) Comments | Posted August 25, 2015 | 5:10 PM

Now that nearly one out of every two Americans admits to having tried marijuana at some point in their lives, more than half of all states have moved away from draconian prohibition-style marijuana policies and the legal marijuana industry's savvy entrepreneurs are running businesses that are generating 

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Majority Of Voters In Iowa, New Hampshire Want Feds To Respect State Marijuana Laws

(1) Comments | Posted August 25, 2015 | 1:35 PM

Voters in the two earliest presidential voting states overwhelmingly agree: states should be able to set their own marijuana laws without federal interference.

Democratic-leaning Public Policy Polling asked voters in Iowa and New Hampshire if states should be able to execute their own marijuana laws without...

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Larry Harvey, Famed Washington Medical Marijuana Patient, Dies From Cancer

(1) Comments | Posted August 20, 2015 | 11:46 PM

Larry Harvey, a Washington state medical marijuana patient who had faced 10 years in prison in a high-profile federal pot case, died Thursday at age 71, a family spokeswoman said. 

Harvey succumbed to pancreatic cancer in Colville, Washington,...

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Advocates Say Marijuana Legalization In Arizona Could Generate $40 Million A Year For Schools

(3) Comments | Posted August 20, 2015 | 3:49 PM

The backers of a proposed 2016 Arizona ballot initiative that would legalize, regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol in the state estimate that if the measure makes it on the ballot and is passed, it could raise more than $40 million a year for schools.


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Pioneer Pot States Have Collected More Than $200 Million In Marijuana Taxes

(4) Comments | Posted August 20, 2015 | 1:49 PM

The first two states to legalize recreational marijuana have collectively raked in at least $200 million in marijuana tax revenue, according to the latest tax data -- and they're putting those dollars to good use.

In Colorado, after about a year and a half of legal recreational...

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Judge Says Video Allegedly Showing Cops Eating Marijuana Candy Can Be Used As Evidence

(0) Comments | Posted August 19, 2015 | 3:17 PM

LOS ANGELES -- An Orange County Superior Court judge ruled Wednesday that a controversial surveillance video allegedly showing three police officers eating marijuana-infused candy and mocking a disabled woman during a May dispensary raid can be used in an internal investigation by the Santa Ana Police Department. 

The unidentified officers and their union, the Santa Ana Police Officers Association, filed a temporary restraining order earlier this month to block the video from being used in an ongoing internal investigation of the officers' conduct during the raid. The police argued their privacy was violated when surveillance cameras recorded them inside Sky High Holistic medical marijuana dispensary after they thought they had disabled all of them.

Superior Court Judge Ronald Bauer rejected that notion on Wednesday, the Orange County Register first reported, saying that the officers had "no objectively reasonable expectation" that their actions and words during the raid would not be observed.

"[The officers] should not expect privacy in their on-duty performance of an official function at a marijuana dispensary," Bauer ruled. "They have made no claim that their work required secrecy or that it would be impeded by public view."

Matthew Pappas, the dispensary's attorney, said the ruling is a critical victory for holding police and public officials accountable for their actions.

"This ruling shows that the court had the courage to say 'no' to a very powerful police officer union and stand up for the rights of people when bad things like this happen," Pappas told The Huffington Post.

Pappas released edited footage of the May 27 raid in June that was published by various local news outlets. The edited video, which can be seen above, shows officers busting down the door and ordering everyone to the ground at gunpoint. 

The footage, according to Pappas, shows police unsuccessfully disabling the shop's surveillance cameras, which go on to record the officers playing darts, eating something -- which he argues is marijuana-infused food -- and making a joke about an amputee who uses a wheelchair.

"Did you punch that one-legged old Benita?" one police officer asks.

"I was about to kick her in her fucking nub," a female officer replies, to laughter.

Corey Glave, the attorney representing the officers and their union, argued that the video was edited to distort the officers' behavior during the raid. He previously told HuffPost that at least one officer voluntarily took and passed a drug test, the results of which were provided to the SAPD. 

Pappas denied the video was doctored. The full video is more than 12 hours long, he said, so he released edited versions with subtitles to show what officers were allegedly saying. The entire video has been made available to the police department and that they have seen the full, unaltered version, Pappas added. 

Sky High Holistic has filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit against the police department, alleging that the officers used excessive force during the raid. The dispensary is also seeking the return of its property seized during the raid -- which includes marijuana, cannabis-infused edibles and thousands of dollars in cash. A hearing regarding the return of the seized property is scheduled for Friday. 

Glave and SAPD did not immediately respond to request for comment following the judge's ruling.

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Marijuana Conviction Overturned By Colorado Appeals Court

(4) Comments | Posted August 19, 2015 | 12:18 PM

A state appeals court has overturned the marijuana conviction of a Colorado woman who was sentenced and convicted for marijuana possession just days after voters approved a measure legalizing recreational marijuana in the state almost three years ago -- retroactively applying the law to her case. 


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Many Anti-Pot Arguments Are Based On Weak Science, Say Researchers

(10) Comments | Posted August 12, 2015 | 12:07 PM

Many of the common claims about marijuana -- that it's a gateway drug, for example, or that legalization of the plant often results in more people using it -- are not strongly supported by science, a group of researchers say in a report released Wednesday.

"Many scientists...

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Man Who Was Serving Life In Prison For Marijuana To Be Set Free

(17) Comments | Posted August 10, 2015 | 6:20 PM

Jeff Mizanskey, a 61-year-old Missouri man who was serving life in prison for nonviolent marijuana offenses, will be set free in a matter of days, his attorney confirmed Monday to The Huffington Post.

"We were notified today that he will be granted parole and be released within...

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Push To Permit Pot In Denver Bars Gains Momentum

(0) Comments | Posted August 10, 2015 | 2:09 PM

Backers of a Denver ballot initiative that would allow adults to consume marijuana in some bars and other venues say they have collected more than 10,000 signatures in support of the measure -- many more than needed -- and they submitted the petition to the city clerk on Monday.


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State Lawmakers Want Feds To Respect Their Marijuana Laws

(0) Comments | Posted August 6, 2015 | 2:28 PM

State lawmakers agree: The federal government should not interfere with states that set their own marijuana laws.

The National Conference of State Legislatures, a nongovernment organization composed of state lawmakers and their staffs, passed a resolution Thursday urging the federal government to amend the Controlled Substances...

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The DOJ 'Intended To Discourage' A Historic Medical Marijuana Bill

(0) Comments | Posted August 6, 2015 | 11:52 AM

An internal Department of Justice memo leaked this week reveals that in the days leading up to last year's historic passage of a federal medical marijuana protections measure, the DOJ passed around "informal talking points" to members of Congress that were "intended to discourage passage" of...

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New DEA Chief: 'Heroin Is Clearly More Dangerous Than Marijuana'

(22) Comments | Posted August 5, 2015 | 2:05 PM

The new Drug Enforcement Administration chief has finally made it clear: Marijuana is safer than heroin. 

DEA head Chuck Rosenberg told reporters Wednesday morning at the administration's headquarters that "heroin is clearly more dangerous than marijuana," clarifying a less definitive statement he made last week, when he...

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Cops Sue Over Video That Allegedly Shows Them Eating Weed Candy During Raid

(3) Comments | Posted August 4, 2015 | 6:14 PM

Three unidentified Santa Ana Police Department officers -- allegedly caught on a surveillance video eating weed-infused candy and mocking a disabled woman during a dispensary raid -- are suing to prevent the video from being used against them in an ongoing investigation of police misconduct.

The officers and their union,...

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Anti-Pot Hard-Liner Chris Christie Says Drug War Is A 'Failure'

(0) Comments | Posted August 4, 2015 | 3:40 PM

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) said on Monday that the war on drugs has been a "failure" -- even though he has vowed to enact a federal crackdown on marijuana, a substance that has been a primary target of the drug war for decades.

"This is...

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Lawmakers Call For Investigation Into DOJ's Continued Crackdown On Medical Marijuana

(1) Comments | Posted July 31, 2015 | 12:40 PM

Two congressmen behind a federal provision protecting state-legal medical marijuana operations are seeking an investigation into the Department of Justice's continued crackdown on medical marijuana patients and providers, saying the DOJ may be in violation of federal law.

"We request that you immediately investigate the Department's expenditure...

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What Cops And Their Supporters Are Saying About The Sam DuBose Video

(8) Comments | Posted July 29, 2015 | 8:04 PM

University of Cincinnati police Officer Ray Tensing spoke to 43-year-old Samuel DuBose for less than two minutes on...

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Chris Christie Vows Crackdown On Legal Weed As Soon As He's Prez

(58) Comments | Posted July 28, 2015 | 5:58 PM

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is once again threatening marijuana users in states that have legalized the drug, telling them to "enjoy it" while they can because, if he becomes president, there'll be a crackdown.

“If you’re getting high in Colorado today, enjoy it,”...

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Oregon To Begin Recreational Marijuana Sales Early

(1) Comments | Posted July 28, 2015 | 4:34 PM

Oregon adults will be able to legally purchase recreational marijuana beginning Oct. 1, about a year earlier than had been expected.  

Gov. Kate Brown (D) signed a law on Tuesday allowing the sale of recreational marijuana in existing medical marijuana dispensaries, starting just three months after Oregon's...

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