By Steve Elliott
Purple Haze, a recreational marijuana store in Everett, Washington, has become the only outlet in the state to be caught twice selling cannabis to minors, ironically calling to mind one of the themes of the 2012 I-502 legalization campaign, which was "illegal pot dealers don't ask for I.D."
Bonnie Arnestad, who owned two homes next door to the shop, wanted city leaders to keep it out, and now she feels totally vindicated, reports Joel Moreno at KOMO News. Gee, thanks, Purple Haze, for confirming all the worst stereotypes about marijuana, with the added insult of having done that under the I-502 banner.
Remember, owners of these recreational pot shops were the movers and shakers who convinced the Washington Legislature this past spring to pass SB 5052, which for all practical purposes, shuts down safe access through medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. Now that they've taken out the competition, do they feel comfortable doing the same things they were accusing the medical dispensaries of doing -- but which they never proved?
"I think they should have lost their license after the first one because that was less than six months from their opening," Arnestead said.
By Steve Elliott
Safe access to medicinal cannabis is being put in peril for hundreds of Canadian military veterans due to a battle between two companies, one comprised of veterans, in the Great White North.
Marijuana for Trauma Inc. and its principals/shareholders on Tuesday announced they have commenced a lawsuit against OrganiGram Holdings Inc., whose wholly-owned subsidiary, OrganiGram Inc. (OrganiGram) is a licensed producer of medical marijuana in Canada.
The lawsuit was filed with the Court of Queen's Bench of New Brunswick, Judicial District of Fredericton for breach of confidence, conversion, breach of contract, conspiracy and breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty, and negligent misrepresentation, according to MFT.
The lawsuit alleges OrganiGram denied MFT its interest in Trauma Healing Centers Inc. (THC). THC, developed through a partnership between MFT, OrganiGram and Denis Arsenault, CEO of OrganiGram and also a Defendant in the lawsuit, opened centers in several cities in eastern Canada to provide services to those suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other chronic conditions caused by trauma.
MFT alleges that OrganiGram unlawfully terminated the relationship, unlawfully used MFT's proprietary information, business practices, and expansion plans for MFT. Following the termination of the relationship in February 2015, THC moved to restrict MFT from helping veterans and first responders outside of New Brunswick.
With medical marijuana coming to Maryland, experts at Green Rush Consulting have evaluated this emerging market in a new Maryland Market Analysis for the Medical Marijuana Industry. This analysis examines both the latest draft regulations and the potential of the Maryland market.
"With a favorable political climate and more than 50 percent of Maryland residents in favor of recreational marijuana, the Maryland market is full of promise for the medical marijuana industry," according to Green Rush. "This analysis not only estimates the industry revenue potential, but also breaks down the patient population – critical information for opening a medical marijuana dispensary in Maryland."
The Maryland Market Analysis for the Medical Marijuana Industry also summarizes the application process with reference to the critical sections of the current draft regulations.
The GRC team gives applicants a handy reference as they begin preparing for the September application process:
• Comprehensive analysis of Maryland's political climate as it relates to medical and recreational marijuana;
• Descriptions of the qualifying conditions for patients, and a disease-by-disease estimate of the potential patient pool;
• Detailed breakdown of the application process for cultivation centers, processors, dispensaries, physicians, and patients;
• Projections of the revenue potential for dispensaries and cultivation centers; and
• Discussion of the potential future of recreational marijuana in Maryland.
Under Unconstitutional System, Sheriff and County Attorney Take People’s Property and Use Profits for Salaries, Overtime, Retirement Funds, More
The American Civil Liberties Union, the ACLU of Arizona, and the law firm Perkins Coie on Wednesday filed suit against the sheriff and county attorney of Pinal County, Arizona, for their enforcement of the state's civil asset forfeiture laws.
Law enforcement used this scheme against Rhonda Cox, a county resident, to seize and keep her truck, violating her constitutional rights. After Cox, an innocent owner, filed a claim to get her truck back, the county attorney’s office informed her that if she pursued her claim and lost, not only would she lose her truck, but the state’s forfeiture laws would require her to pay the county’s attorneys’ fees and investigation costs, an amount that would exceed the value of her truck.
Since she couldn’t risk so much financial loss, Cox was forced to abandon her efforts to retrieve her truck.
“Arizona’s civil asset forfeiture laws gave Pinal County license to steal from Rhonda Cox,” said Emma Andersson, staff attorney at the ACLU’s Criminal Law Reform Project. “That would be bad enough, but those laws also made it impossible for her to have a fair shot at challenging that theft in court.
"The county robbed Rhonda twice: first they took her truck, then they took her day in court,” Andersson said.
By Steve Elliott
Voters won't get the chance this fall to have their say on whether the Washington should keep changes made by the Legislature this spring to the state's medical marijuana laws.
Organizers of a petition drive to place a referendum on November's ballot reported they won't be turning in signatures by the deadline this week.
"I regret to report that the Referendum 76 effort has fallen short of the number of signatures gathered to qualify for the November ballot," organizer Don Skakie posted on the R76 NO Facebook page on Tuesday. "This was made known to the Elections Office yesterday afternoon and has appeared in the press already.
"While things are bad for patients, the struggle continues," Skakie said. "Please support Real Legalization through Initiative 739 for home growing, collecting signatures through December 31, 2015."
The secretary of state's office on Monday confirmed that the referendum had fallen short, reports Jim Camden at The Spokesman-Review.
R-76 would have challenged changes in Washington's medical marijuana law, putting medicinal cannabis under the regulation of the Liquor Control Board, currently in charge of recreational marijuana industry.
Medical marijuana dispensaries and growers will have to be licensed; the Catch-22 is that no licenses are currently available, and the path to legality for the shops is murky at best.
A simple marijuana possession charge in a small Nashville suburb back in 2005 changed the career trajectory of a small business owner and songwriter. When he saw firsthand how the system handles those convicted of what he saw as a victimless crime, Chief Greenbud decided to share his experience.
After writing several songs on the subject and posting them online, he was asked to perform for a local chapter of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Ten years later the Chief is releasing his fourth album and has amassed over 1.7 million followers on his social networks.
Chief Greenbud's latest CD, "Chief Greenbud Volume 4" is set for physical and digital release on August 25.
The Chief said he's especially proud of the title, saying “I've spent a lot of time thinking about it. We've had multiple meetings brainstorming ideas to come up with the perfect name to represent what we're putting on the CD. I feel that we captured its essence,” he noted lightheartedly.
“There are several songs that I am excited for people to hear," Chief Greenbud said. "‘Everybody Gets High’ is an upbeat anthem that every stoner will be able to groove to and sing along with.”
Another song on the disc is 'iBake', about a regular guy who likes to smoke a little weed but is fearful of what may happen if he is caught. As the lyrics state, "I can’t wait for the day when my state says okay, and I won’t waste a single minute being afraid I bake."
Top Experts to Testify on Federal Restrictions Holding Back Medical Marijuana Research
Americans for Safe Access (ASA) is hosting a Congressional Briefing on Thursday, July 23, with Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) on federal barriers faced by researchers working to understand the medical uses of marijuana. The briefing will provide expert testimony on how federal policy has undermined medical marijuana research, the state of contemporary medical marijuana research and the impact of reform proposals.
Dr. Sue Sisley will present testimony on how federal barriers have directly blocked her research on using marijuana to treat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) including the adverse impacts of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) licensing only one entity (National Institute on Drug Abuse) to grow the federal research supply of marijuana.
Dr. David Casarett, associate professor at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine and author of the recently published book, Stoned: A Doctor’s Case for Medical Marijuana will discuss contemporary medical marijuana research.
The final speaker will be John Hudak, fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institute and Managing Editor of the FixGov blog. Hudack will be discussing the often misunderstood impact of moving marijuana to a different schedule classification under the Controlled Substances Act.
Link to Banking, comprised of bankers, Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists (CAMS) and anti-fraud professionals, including a former bank regulator and former official from the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), in partnership with Kind Financial, a financial solutions company to the cannabis industry, on Tuesday announced what they called "a software solution to enable banks to serve cannabis-related businesses."
Link to Banking’s new, Bankers Link to Cannabis Compliance (BLINCC) program ties into Kind Financial’s Seed to Banking solution. The combination offers banks a compliant real-time solution that monitors cannabis related businesses at a granular level.
"This program provides a web based system with customizable dashboard, enhancing the banks on-going transaction monitoring and due diligence through real-time access to customer transaction data," the companies announced in a prepared statement. The platform incorporates technology that monitors, tracks and reports the customer transaction data from seed to sale as well as bank deposits, i.e., a Seed to Banking solution.
According to the companies, his technology compliments Link to Banking’s broader business services that:
• Evaluates each bank’s Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering program (BSA/AML) and recommends enhancements to facilitate banking services to the cannabis industry.
By Steve Elliott
In yet another demonstration of the broad usefulness of cannabis for a range of diseases and injuries, Israeli scientists have discovered that marijuana can be effectively used in healing broken bones, and possibly in treating skeletal illnesses.
Researchers from Tel Aviv University published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research a study that showed cannabis includes a component which enhances the healing process of fractured bones, reports RT.com.
Cannabidiol, a non-psychoactive component of marijuana, sped up the healing process in broken leg bones of trial rats with mid-femoral fractures, the study found.
"While there is still a lot of work to be done to develop appropriate therapies, it is clear that is is possible to detach a clinical therapy objective from the psychoactivity of cannabis," said Dr. Yankel Gabet of Tel Aviv University's Bone Research Laboratory. "CBD, the principal agent in our study, is primarily anti-inflammatory and has no psychoactivity."
Scientists tested two groups of rats, one with both CBD and THC, and the other with CBD only. "We found CBD alone to be sufficiently effective in enhancing fracture healing," Gabet said, in a statement which seems to imply that THC was also effective.
“Other studies have also shown CBD to be a safe agent, which leads us to believe we should continue this line of study in clinical trials to assess its usefulness in improving human fracture healing,” Gabet said.
By Steve Elliott
In Sinaloa State, Mexico, where Joaquín Guzmán Loera -- better known as El Chapo -- was born, the notorious drug trafficker's spectacular escape through a hidden tunnel under what was supposed to be the most secure prison in Mexico has enhanced his status as an outlaw folk hero.
American officials claim Guzmán has contributed to "the death and destruction of millions of lives across the globe through drug addiction, violence and corruption," yet for many Mexicans, he is a combination of Robin Hood and billionaire, report William Neuman and Azam Ahmed for The New York Times.
El Chapo fought the law, and unlike the Bobby Fuller Four, he won. He beat what many Mexicans view as a corrupt ruling class, and Mexico -- just like America -- loves an outlaw.
“Why do people admire him?” said Adrián Cabrera, a blogger in Culiacán wearing a black T-shirt with a picture of El Chapo. “Because he’s a living legend. He’s like Al Capone. He’s like Lucky Luciano. Like Tony Soprano. Like Scarface. He’s like a character on a television show, except that he’s alive, he’s real.”
Public Service Ads By Award-Winning Creative Audio/Music House Designed to Educate the Public and Reform Harsh Sentencing Laws
After witnessing first hand the effects of the nation’s draconian marijuana laws, Howard Bowler, president of the award-winning audio post/music production company HOBO, is responding the only way he knows how -- through the power of sound. The company is launching a TV, radio and Internet public service campaign targeting states where measures to legalize marijuana are on the ballot.
HOBO’s creative team wrote and produced the ads that are available for free to any broadcast outlet and organization interested in this issue. All of the spots can be customized for local markets. Several regional radio spots have already been produced with input from the organization Regulate Rhode Island.
Click here to check out one of the radio spots entitled: "Master-Peace Theater.”
“The more I learned about the origin of prohibition, the more I realized these laws have a complex political history, are not based on science or health and yet their social impact is huge,” Bowler said. “Last year alone 700,000 people were arrested on marijuana related charges. That’s more than for all violent crimes combined.
Representative Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) on Monday announced plans to introduce legislation reinforcing steps taken by Oregon to legalize and provide a clean start for certain marijuana offenses.
The Clean Slate for Marijuana Offenses Act of 2015, to be introduced on Tuesday, creates a pathway for the following two groups of federal marijuana offenders to expunge – or clear the criminal record of – their marijuana offense: those who were federally charged for activity that was state legal at the time; and those whose offense was the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana.
“The penalties of failed prohibition policies should stop ruining people’s lives," Rep. Blumenauer said. "The Clean Slate for Marijuana Offenses Act of 2015 follows Oregon’s lead to provide a pathway for expunging certain federal marijuana crimes.”
“People who were caught up in the federal criminal justice system for a marijuana offense that was legal under state law at the time should not carry around a drug record," Blumenauer said. "I support legalizing marijuana at the federal level to put a stop to any state-federal conflicts once and for all, but it is also important that we create pathways for expungement for those who should never have been charged in the first place.”
Group Proposes Alternative Approach that Complies with State and Federal Law
Beyond Pesticides on Tuesday submitted a letter to the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA) highlighting violations of federal law and encouraging CDA to implement an alternative approach to allowing the use of unregistered pesticides on cannabis crops throughout the state.
This letter was written in response to recent actions by CDA allowing the use of hazardous pesticides under general label language that does not specifically address use on marijuana, and encourages stakeholders to pursue exemptions for other highly toxic pesticides.
Both approaches violate federal law and Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations, according to Beyond Pesticides. Given the potential legal challenges associated with approving toxic pesticides for use on cannabis, Beyond Pesticides is "encouraging" CDA to allow within the state only the use of pesticides that fall under section 25(b) of the Federal Insecticide Fungicide and Rodenticide Act (FIFRA).
For months the state has been at odds with marijuana growers and municipalities, most notably the City of Denver, over whether or not pesticides can be used to cultivate marijuana crops. In June, CDA published a list of pesticides it believes are available for use on cannabis, despite the fact none have been registered by EPA, as required by FIFRA.
By Steve Elliott
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) wants to clear the roadblocks out of the way so that government-paid researchers can study marijuana -- and not just the negative side effects.
Warren is leading a group of eight Democratic senators who are urging federal officials to correct the "data shortfall" on potential health benefits of medicinal cannabis by making it easier to study the herb, reports Sarah Ferris at The Hill.
“It is important that we make a concerted effort to understand how this drug works and how it can best serve patients through appropriate methods of use and doses, like any other prescribed medicine,” wrote the Senators in a letter to government officials. The letter was sent to the heads of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Office of National Drug Control Policy – all of which have some control over cannabis-related rules.
Since marijuana is still inexplicably classified as a Schedule I substance under federal law -- meaning it supposedly has no medical value and a high potential for abuse -- it remains difficult to study. Researchers are forced to go through multiple layers of approval to even test the stuff, and under current rules, it can only be grown at the University of Mississippi by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
One of the largest marijuana cultivation installations in the world, located in Las Vegas, will be using LED lighting, it was announced on Thursday.
Heliospectra AB, maker of intelligent lighting technologies for plant research and greenhouse cultivation, and American Cannabis Company, Inc., a full-service cannabis industry consultant and provider of proprietary and preferred products, announced they have successfully sold one of the largest LED cultivation installations in the world to a Las Vegas cannabis licensee.
Phase I of this contract represents over $672,000 USD (5.7 million SEK) in revenue for Heliospectra's LX601C lamps and is to be installed during the fourth quarter of 2015. American Cannabis, Heliospectra and the operator have designed a cutting edge facility that they say will deliver high quality end product at lower cost, with a substantially lower carbon footprint, than the current HID or HPS lamps used in similar operations.
"Not only is this our largest deal to date, it is one of the largest indoor, horticultural LED installations in the world," said Staffan Hillberg, CEO of Heliospectra AB. "This operator represents the culmination of hard work – from our product engineering to American Cannabis's facility design.