Prominent cannabis advocate Dana Larsen called Mr Fantino’s decision to enter the market "shameful" and "unacceptable".

The cops and politicians joining Canada’s cannabis business

By Jessica Murphy BBC, Toronto   29 December 2017

Former police chief and Conservative cabinet minister Julian Fantino speaks at his company, Aleafia

As Canada moves towards legalising recreational cannabis, there’s a surprising group of entrepreneurs jumping into the market: cops and politicians.

In 2015, former Toronto police chief Julian Fantino was “completely opposed” to marijuana legalisation and supported mandatory jail time for minor cannabis offences.

Mr Fantino, who was also a Cabinet minister in the former Conservative government, criticised the now governing-Liberals’ plan to legalise the drug, saying it would make smoking marijuana “a normal, everyday activity for Canadians”.

In November, along with former RCMP deputy commissioner Raf Souccar, he opened Aleafia, a “health network” that helps patients access medical cannabis.

He also had a change of heart on legalisation, telling the Toronto Star newspaper he now supports it as long as it keeps pot away from children and criminals.

In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, he said his 2015 comments were made “in a different era”.

Mr Fantino said his turning point on medical marijuana came when he was minister of veterans affairs and met ex-soldiers who relied on it.

Marijuana activists who have fought against prohibition for decades – and sometimes faced subsequent criminal charges for their activities – were angry over Mr Fantino’s reversal on pot.

Prominent cannabis advocate Dana Larsen called Mr Fantino’s decision to enter the market “shameful” and “unacceptable”.

“I would not buy from those people,” he says, adding he would tell other marijuana users to do the same.

There is also concern the pot counterculture that flourished for decades will be elbowed out of a likely multi-billion dollar industry by a new corporate sector.

Mr Fantino is arguably among the more controversial entrepreneurs to join the “green rush”.

But a number of high-profile former police officers and politicians have jumped into the industry in recent years, including Mr Fantino’s Aleafia colleague and fellow ex-MP Gary Goodyear, former Ontario premier Ernie Eves and former deputy Toronto police chief Kim Derry.

Medical cannabis has been legal in Canada since 2001.

The industry got a boost in 2013 when federal government regulations shifted to allow licensed commercial producers to grow, package and distribute medicinal cannabis to patients.

Registered patients have also skyrocketed from 24,000 in June 2015 to more than 200,000 in June 2017.

Many of companies supplying that market have plans to expand into the recreational product when the product is legal next summer.

In December, the federal statistics agency estimated Canadians consumed an estimated C$5bn ($3.8bn; £2.9bn) to C$6.2bn worth of marijuana in 2015. Canadians spend about C$7bn a year on wine.

The government is pitching the legislation winding its way through Parliament as a way to keep pot out of the hands of minors and to undercut organised crime.

Derek Ogden spent more than 25 years with the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, including as head of the force’s drug squad.

He understands the frustration of activist watching the people they battled for decades now entering the industry.

“There’s absolutely no way Canada would be in this position right now as far as taking steps to legalise had it not been for the work that the activists did,” he says.

But Mr Ogden, who now runs National Access Cannabis, a consultancy that helps patients access medical marijuana, says it’s no surprise that ex-cops are in demand.

Licensed producers are hungry for people with security experience who can get clearances and who understand Canadian drug laws.

“One of the ideal groups of candidates to slide into those positions were former law enforcement personnel,” he says.

Mr Ogden himself got into the business around 2014, when Canadian and American producers hired him to consult on security protocols.

His nascent consulting company was “overwhelmed” by the demand.

Mr Ogden no longer believes that people who use medicinal cannabis are simply doing so “to avoid the legal implications” of using the drug recreationally.

He had an “aha moment” after meeting a respected physician who relied on cannabis during a bout with cancer. Mr Ogden now uses it himself for a chronic health issue.

He concedes changing his mind on its recreational use was “a tougher one”.

Former British Columbia municipal politician Barinder Rasode “grew up thinking [pot] was a gateway drug that ruined people’s lives”.

Now she’s president of the new National Institute for Cannabis Health and Education, which researches cannabis production and its use in Canada.

Marijuana activists have done “an amazing job” at highlighting problems with prohibition but with legalisation on the horizon, “having many voices at the table is really, really important”, she says.

“I don’t think the fact that somebody at some point had a different opinion about cannabis should exclude them,” she adds.

“I actually think their voices are extremely valuable.”

Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in Canada. Almost 60% of drug offences in the country in 2016 were cannabis-related.

Mr Larsen says he doesn’t “want to put narcs in jail”. But he believes police and politicians who supported prohibition and are now entering the cannabis business should admit they were wrong.

“I want people who were victimised by cannabis prohibition – who went to jail, who had their families torn apart, who lost their children, who couldn’t access medical cannabis – I want their voices to be heard,” he said.

CONTINUE READING AND TO VIEW VIDEO!

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State agents seize Heber City shop’s supply of CBD oil

by DJ Bolerjack   Thursday, December 28th 2017

cbd indiana

(KUTV) – The owner of a Heber City business, Medical Vanguard and Aspen Grove Rustics, is baffled after his cannabidiol, or CBD oil product, a nonpsychoactive byproduct from cannabis plants, was confiscated from his store’s shelves.

Manager of the business, Jenifer Tringham, told 2News Wednesday that they had checked with the DEA and found it was legal in all 50 states at the time.

The manager found the law confusing and since numerous smoke shops across Utah were selling the product, he assumed it was legal.

That profit was on the shelf for weeks, and Tringham said they were helping a lot of people and making a nice profit from it. But when the Department of Occupational and Professional Licensing found out about them selling CBD, they were served a subpoena by state agents.

“We didn’t realize that here in Utah, those that have a medical card and that suffer from epilepsy, they’re the only ones I can really have a CBD oil on hand,” Tringham said.

Dr. Marc Babitz, with the Utah Health Department, said CBD oil is legal only by use in Utah, not to sell.

“Number one: You must see your neurologist, somebody that specializes in seizure disorder who documents that you have a seizure disorder. They fill out forms, you fill out forms, bring them to the Department of Health, verify the information is correct and if everything is fine we issue you a card in the card allows you to be in possession of CBD oil.” Babitz said.

That oil has to be purchased outside of the state in places where it’s legal. Like Nevada and Colorado. With that card, it’s legal to bring back into the state.

“I don’t know of anything that would allow the sale of marijuana products of any kind,” Babitz said.

Now, it’s unclear whether the owner will face charges.

“Right now we’re not selling it. We are abiding by what we were told to do and that was to take it off the shelf and that’s what we’re doing right now.” Tringham said.

If you want to hear more from business owners or the Department of Health on this issue watch the news story above.

CONTINUE READING….

MISC.

http://kutv.com/news/local/gallery/state-agents-seize-heber-city-shops-supply-of-cbd-oil#photo-4

http://kutv.com/news/local/state-agents-seize-heber-city-shops-supply-of-cbd-oil

Marijuana firms in cloudy haze over banking woes

(Reuters) – Zach Lazarus, chief executive officer of A Green Alternative, a marijuana dispensary in San Diego, California, has lost count every time he re-opened a bank account after it was closed because of his connection to the cannabis industry.

Lazarus has had to play a game of “whack-a-mole” with banks, likening his frustrations to a popular arcade game in which a player repeatedly gets rid of something only to have it re-appear somewhere else.

“We have had Chase Manhattan and Wells Fargo shut us down … my wife’s personal bank accounts and credit cards have been shut down as well, all because I‘m in the cannabis industry,” he says.

Lazarus and other marijuana business owners in the $8 billion industry resort to cash-only transactions for business and to pay employees because they cannot get access to banks.

Despite making legal inroads in the United States, with California the latest state to legalize marijuana for recreational use starting Jan. 1, owners still feel the pinch.

The main problem is the classification of marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, alongside heroin, LSD, and ecstasy – making it almost impossible to get banking services.

Banks are governed by federal laws and doing business or extending services to the firms means tougher scrutiny, often at significant costs, as banks have to do their own due diligence to prove transactions are legal.

They are required to prove that the firms are not selling to minors, funding crime groups, and not using the pretext of selling marijuana to push illegal drugs among other things.

A poll conducted by industry publication Marijuana Business Daily in 2015 showed 60 percent of the companies operating in the cannabis industry reported not even having a basic bank account.

UNDERGROUND ECONOMY

The void makes it hard for cannabis companies to conduct basic financial transactions such as deposit money, receive federal insurance or pay taxes.

“Most marijuana companies have a courier service, or a Brinks truck, or a big wheelbarrow full of cash that they send to the Internal Revenue Service to pay their taxes,” says Stuart Titus, CEO of California-based Medical Marijuana Inc (MJNA.PK).

With an estimated 165,000 to 230,000 full and part-time workers, according to Marijuana Business Daily, many marijuana business owners pay their employees in cash. bit.ly/2nQBeYw

“It is basically a kind of underground, cash-based economy,” said Titus.

Sapphire Blackwood, director of public affairs for the Association of Cannabis professionals, says she got paid in cash at her last firm, a San Diego-based cannabis consulting company.

“Because I get paid in cash, and even though I did no illegal activity, I’ve had to deposit so much cash every week and every so often … I felt like I was being stared at by the banks. It’s frightening,” she said.

Blackwood’s current firm also had banking problems. All the deposit accounts were closed because the word “cannabis” was in the name of the company, she said.

SHADY WORKAROUNDS

Workarounds exist but most are borderline unethical.

Medical Marijuana Inc0.17923

MJNA.PKOTC Markets Group – (Current Information)

+0.02(+15.48%)

MJNA.PK

  • MJNA.PK

A widely-used practice is to create a shell or a holding company whose operations are acceptable to banks, and conduct financial transactions through the holding company.

“In many states that have legalized cannabis, pot companies deposit cash under a different description,” says Tim McGraw, CEO of Canna-Hub, a California-based real estate development and property management company for the cannabis industry.

“A lot of operators set up accounts as real estate management companies or call themselves ‘medical marijuana’ companies when they are anything but,” McGraw added.

Others use personal bank accounts to deposit cash earned from the sale of products, wire payments to employees and pay companies.

However, California’s state treasurer John Chiang wants the state to consider creating a public/government-owned bank that could serve cannabis companies.

Chiang’s office formed a group made up of representatives from law enforcement agencies, banks, taxing authorities, local government and the cannabis industry.

It held several meetings with owners to discuss ways to alleviate banking challenges and make information more available to banks for better transparency.

Talks have also begun to form a multi-state group to lobby Congress to ease federal regulations for marijuana companies and remove the Schedule I drug classification.

But it will be an uphill battle. In November, Attorney General Jeff Sessions at a congressional hearing said former President Barack Obama-era guidelines on cannabis will remain, meaning even though a state can legalize marijuana, it will continue to be illegal on the federal level.

To view a graphic on Legalization legislation jpg, click on this link: tmsnrt.rs/2AC91Hk

Reporting By Aparajita Saxena in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr

CONTINUE READING…

Rob Kampia Leaves Marijuana Policy Project

December 24, 2017

By  Tom Angell

Marijuana Policy Project founder Rob Kampia is no longer employed by or serves on the board of the organization.

He is starting a new cannabis policy group called Marijuana Leadership Campaign (MLC), structured as a for-profit LLC consulting firm.

The new company “will focus almost exclusively on changing U.S. laws,” Kampia said in a relatively unusual memo shared with Marijuana Moment late Saturday night, which also says that the firm has lined up “nearly $500,000 in seed money” from “a marijuana investment firm in Los Angeles, a major marijuana dispensary in Colorado, Kampia’s wealthy friends in Texas (where he lives half-time) and a coalition of new donors in South Carolina.”

The split with MPP is occurring as greater attention is being paid to past allegations of sexual misconduct by Kampia amidst a national backlash against workplace sexual harassment and abuse.

In 2010, a lengthy Washington City Paper story reported that Kampia had sex with an intoxicated MPP employee, an incident after which a staff revolt nearly led to his ouster from the organization. He later took a leave of absence to seek therapy, telling the Washington Post that he was “hypersexualized.”

Now, Kampia’s departure from MPP comes as several sources tell Marijuana Moment that a major newspaper is working on a story about previously unreported allegations against the former executive director. It is unknown when that article will be published, but its existence has been an open secret in cannabis reform circles for weeks.

Formally leaving the organization is the second and final wave in Kampia’s diminishing role at MPP, which he co-founded in 1995.

In November, days before Thanksgiving, MPP announced that Kampia had stepped down from his role as executive director but would remain at the organization in a new capacity focused on fundraising and strategy.

The new memo, shared with Marijuana Moment just before midnight on the day before Christmas Eve, says that the first announcement “opened new business opportunities for Kampia” and that while he “initially proposed splitting his time equally between MPP and the new MLC, Kampia and his fellow MPP board members reached a second milestone by voting unanimously on Dec. 20 to end his full-time status at MPP this weekend.”

It was also revealed this week that Kampia is no longer a member of Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s Advisory Council. Kampia said in an interview with Marijuana Moment on Sunday that he remains a member of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) board of directors.

The memo appears to lay out the case that Kampia’s departure from MPP has nothing to do with any old or new allegations of sexual misconduct, and he said in the interview that conversations among the organization’s board “about me shifting into lesser roles at MPP extend all the way back into late October.”

“We didn’t even talk about the s-word at all,” he said, referring to sex. “It wasn’t even on our minds, which I think was kind of naive of us given the stuff that’s happening with all of these celebrities.”

But Kampia acknowledged in the interview that he “did know that there was a story in the works somewhere” at the time he registered the domain name http://www.marijuanaleadershipcampaign.com on December 5.

“I didn’t know which publication. I didn’t know any of the questions. I didn’t know the name of the reporter. I didn’t know anything,” he said. “I just knew that people were sort of talking about how there’s a story in the works.”

Kampia has been a key architect of many of the most significant marijuana policy victories over the past two decades, and has arguably been the legalization movement’s best fundraiser.

In the memo, he says that MLC “will work alongside the institutions he views as most effective in each sector” of the movement and industry. While the document names MPP, NCIA and New Federalism Fund as “leading the charge,” and says that the new company will “provide substantial funding” for Doctors for Cannabis Regulation (DFCR), the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP) and Clergy for a New Drug Policy, Kampia said in the interview that he hasn’t “cleared the fact that I want to give them money” with those groups.

LEAP and DFCR did not respond to requests for comment.

The memo says Kampia will divide his time between work on Texas, South Carolina, Michigan and congressional cannabis policy reform efforts as well as “raising money to make MDMA (known as ‘Ecstasy’) available as a prescription medicine for the treatment of PTSD and end-of-life anxiety.”

He plans to raise more than $2 million in 2018 from steering committees comprised of donors contributing at least $100,000 each.

When asked if the investors who have already committed nearly half a million dollars to the new venture are aware of the looming newspaper story on sexual misconduct allegations, Kampia said that “they know about the worst allegations that have ever been made about me, and I have no reason to believe that the [newspaper] story will be worse than that, so these guys are friends of the family and they’re not going to be surprised by anything in the [newspaper] and in fact they might be pleasantly surprised.”

Several of the projects mentioned in the MLC document are campaigns that Kampia had been raising money to support through MPP, but he rejected the idea that his outside efforts would drain the nonprofit of resources.

“Are there people that want to fund Texas where they might otherwise be nervous about writing a check to MPP, where they might have to pay for payroll for Rhode Island, Vermont and the national operation?” he asked, suggesting that his new outfit would be “value-added” rather than competition.

“One thing for sure that no one would do if not for the fact that I’m going to agitate for it, is to take out Congressman Pete Sessions,” he said, referring to the Republican House Rules Committee chairman who has consistently blocked marijuana amendments from being voted on. “Take out, meaning not to date him,” he said, but to un-elect him.

In the memo, Kampia twice offers quotes that he suggests are in jest, at least in part.

In the first instance, he jokes that working full-time for nonprofit organizations is “a good way to avoid amassing wealth,” while working on marijuana policy reform through an LLC will allow him to form business relationships with for-profit institutions.

Kampia, who owns a Washington, D.C,. row house that he has often referred to as “The Purple Mansion,” dismissed concerns that people might take offense to his quip about amassing wealth.

“It depends on what your definition of wealth is. I don’t have cash,” he said in the interview. “All my money goes into my mortgage. So you could say that I have wealth or not, depending on your perspective. I don’t mind if that offends people or not, because socialists who are averse to wealth probably already hate me.”

He also “half-jokingly” wrote that he hopes “to be standing behind President Rand Paul during his bill-signing ceremony [for ‘the ultimate bill to legalize marijuana on the federal level’] in the White House in 2022.”

“I don’t think Trump is going to survive reelection,” he said when asked what Paul’s path to the presidency in the 2020 election would be. “I would like to see [Trump] impeached…and I think Mike Pence is tainted as a result of being in bed with Trump. So I think that you are going to see a bunch of challengers… Rand Paul was obviously my favorite candidate last time around and so I’m cheering him on. I don’t have any inside knowledge, though. I haven’t talked to him personally.”

The memo mentions Kampia’s holiday vacation plans in the Caribbean and says that when he returns to the country the new organization will hold a series of leadership meetings in Austin, Dallas and Washington, D.C.

He will also write a book that “provides an insider’s look at the marijuana-legalization movement.” He told Marijuana Moment that the working title is, “How We Legalized Marijuana.”

The memo offers a very specific account of the book’s progress to date.

“I’m particularly excited about writing my book, which will be nonfiction but will oftentimes read like fiction, as my life is strewn with outrageous experiences that are sometimes relevant to readers who have an interest in politics generally and marijuana policy specifically,” Kampia wrote. “The book is already one-eighth written, and I’m planning to spend my time in the Bahamas and other sunny islands writing another three- eighths of the book. In fact, one reason I’m leaving MPP is to write this book, with an aggressive book tour planned for the fall of 2018.”

As of Sunday afternoon, Kampia was still listed as an employee and board member on MPP’s website.

An MPP communications staffer could not be reached for comment by publication time, but a board member who did not wish to be named said, “I can confirm that we have been negotiating his permanent separation from the org for weeks and that he is no longer conducting any MPP business.”

Read Kampia’s full three-page memo on the new firm belowhttps://www.marijuanamoment.net/rob-kampia-leaves-marijuana-policy-project/:

CONTINUE READING…

Labor unions see organizing California marijuana workers as a way to grow

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Unions have caught a whiff of a rare opportunity to organize a whole new set of workers as recreational marijuana becomes legal in California.

The United Farm Workers, Teamsters and United Food and Commercial Workers are looking to unionize the tens of thousands of potential workers involved in the legal weed game, from planters to rollers to sellers. The move could provide a boost to organized labor’s lagging membership — if infighting doesn’t get in the way.

The United Farm Workers, co-founded by iconic labor leader Cesar Chavez, says that organizing an industry rooted in agriculture is a natural fit, and that growers could label their products with the union’s logo as a marketing strategy.

“If you’re a cannabis worker, the UFW wants to talk with you,” national Vice President Armando Elenes said.

But United Food and Commercial Workers, which represents grocery store employees, meat packers and retail workers, registered its intent to organize cannabis workers across the country.

“We would hope they respect our jurisdiction,” UFCW spokesman Jeff Ferro said.

Teamsters organizer Kristin Heidelbach said there’s no need for unions to battle each other. There will be plenty of workers needing representation as small cannabis businesses run by “happy stoner” types give way to large pharmaceutical corporations, she said.

The green rush that begins in 2018 is an opportunity for unions to regain influence that began declining in the late 1950s, said David Zonderman, a professor of labor history at North Carolina State University. But discord between unions could upend it, as could resistance from cannabis business leaders.

California's top marijuana regulator talks about what to expect Jan. 1, when legal pot market opens

“Are they going to be new age and cool with it,” Zonderman said, “or like other businesspeople, say, ‘Heck, no. We’re going to fight them tooth and nail’?”

Last year, California voters approved sales of recreational marijuana to those 21 and older at licensed shops beginning Jan. 1.

Cannabis in California already is a $22-billion industry, including medical marijuana and a black market that accounts for most of that total, according to UC Davis agriculture economist Philip Martin. Medical marijuana has been legal since 1996, when California was the first state to approve such a law.

Labor leaders estimate recreational pot in California could employ at least 100,000 workers from the north coast to the Sierra Nevada foothills and the San Joaquin Valley, harvesting and trimming the plants, extracting ingredients to put in liquids and edibles, and driving it to stores and front doors.

Pot workers have organized in other states, but California should be especially friendly territory for unions, said Jamie Schau, a senior analyst with Brightfield Group, which does marketing analysis on the marijuana industry.

The state has one of the nation’s highest minimum wages and the largest number of unionized workers across industries. Its laws also tend to favor employees.

At least some workers say they’re open to unionizing.

“I’m always down to listen to what could be a good deal for me and my family,” said Thomas Grier, 44, standing behind the counter at Canna Can Help Inc., a dispensary in the Central Valley community of Goshen.

The dispensary — with $7 million in yearly sales — sells medical marijuana.

Called a “bud tender,” Grier recently waited on a steady flow of regular customers walking through the door to pick out their favorite strains.

He said that so far, no unions have contacted him. Grier gets along with his boss and said he doesn’t want to pay union dues for help ironing out workplace disputes. But he hasn’t discounted the possibility of joining.

After recently entering the marijuana industry, Los Angeles resident Richard Rodriguez said one sticky traffic stop three months ago converted him into a “hard core” Teamster. He’d never been in a union until this year.

Rodriguez said an officer pulled him over while he was delivering a legal shipment of pot. He was accused of following too closely behind a semi-truck and was detained for 12 hours, he said.

A union lawyer stepped in, and Rodriguez said he was released without being arrested or given a ticket.

“Most companies can’t or are unwilling to do that,” he said, “because employees are easily replaced.”

CONTINUE READING…

Congress saves medical marijuana patients from pot crackdown — for now

Jonathan Bach, Statesman Journal Published 11:59 a.m. PT Dec. 22, 2017

Federal protections for medical marijuana patients are safe for now thanks to an emergency resolution passed by Congress Thursday.

Protections offered under the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment will need to make it into a final congressional spending package to extend past Jan. 19.

That’s the expiration date of Thursday’s continuing resolution, a temporary measure that keeps the government running while federal lawmakers hash out the details of their 2018 fiscal-year spending plan. President Trump signed the emergency resolution Friday.

While weed remains federally illegal, the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment stops the Justice Department from cracking down on patients where state law permits medical marijuana use. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has condemned use of the drug.

More: Seeking pot for pain, Oregon patient feels shortages

U.S. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, said, “Patients around the country who rely on medical marijuana for treatment — and the businesses that serve them — now have some measure of certainty. Our fight, however, continues to maintain these important protections in the next funding bill passed by Congress.”

Jered DeCamp, who co-owns marijuana retailer Herbal Remedies in South Salem, was happy to hear the news. In addition to being an owner, he’s a medical marijuana patient and grower.

“It’s nice to know they’re protecting us,” DeCamp said, though he wished the provisions extended past January.

Congressional lawmakers passed a similar continuing resolution Dec. 7 to keep the government open through Friday.

The newest extension comes after U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, announced he would cosponsor a bill to decriminalize marijuana across the nation. Passage of the Marijuana Justice Act of 2017 would make the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment obsolete.

More: Sen. Ron Wyden cosponsors bill to legalize marijuana across U.S.

The amendment is named for U.S. Reps. Blumenauer and Dana Rohrabacher, R-California.

Reach staff reporter Jonathan Bach by email at jbach@statesmanjournal.com or by phone at 503-399-6714.

CONTINUE READING…

MERRY (f/g) CHRISTMAS! “The Jirons now face felony charges of possession of marijuana…” OR.. SANTA CLAUS GOT BUSTED FOR cHRISTMAS!

Sheriff’s deputies in York County, Neb., stopped a pickup truck on Tuesday when they noticed it driving over the center line and the driver failing to signal.

During the traffic stop, deputies noticed a strong smell of raw marijuana, the sheriff’s department says.

Patrick Jiron, 80, and Barbara Jiron, 83, said they were from northern California and were en route to Boston and Vermont.

Deputies asked the driver, Patrick Jiron, about the odor, and he admitted to having contraband in the truck and consented to a search of the vehicle.

With the help of the county’s canine unit, deputies searched the Toyota Tacoma. When they looked under the pickup topper, deputies found 60 pounds of marijuana, as well as multiple containers of concentrated THC.

“They said the marijuana was for Christmas presents,” Lt. Paul Vrbka told the York News-Times. The department estimated the street value of the pot at over $3oo,000.

The Jirons now face felony charges of possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver and no drug tax stamp. (Nebraska law requires marijuana dealers to purchase drug tax stamp from its Department of Revenue as evidence that the state’s drug tax has been paid.)

For the friends and family in New England who expected a bag of weed in their stocking this year, it looks like it won’t be a green Christmas, after all.

CONTINUE READING…

Marijuana activist since 1960s facing California pot charges

By DON THOMPSON Associated Press

December 20, 2017 08:50 PM

SACRAMENTO, Calif.

A marijuana activist whose advocacy dates to the 1960s counterculture has been arrested in California toting 22 pounds of illegal marijuana, prosecutors said Wednesday.

Irvin Dana Beal, 70, of New York, was arrested Saturday in far Northern California after prosecutors said his rental car was spotted weaving across the road and driving 20 miles below the speed limit. James Statzer, 51, of Michigan, also was arrested.

The arrest occurred along a well-traveled highway in California’s famed Emerald Triangle area, known for its high-grade pot. A police dog smelled marijuana during the stop and 22 pounds of the drug was found.

Both men pleaded not guilty to charges of possessing drugs for sale and felony transportation charges and were being held in lieu of $75,000 bail.

Beal has been promoting marijuana’s medical benefits for decades. His activism dates to the 1960s heyday of Abbie Hoffman and the Youth International Party, known as the Yippies.

Recreational sales of marijuana become legal in California on Jan. 1, and medical marijuana has been legal in the state since 1996. But it’s still illegal to transport large quantities of the drug or to take it out of state.

It’s not uncommon for traffickers to think they can now transport pot risk-free, said Deputy District Attorney Colleen Murray, who is prosecuting the case.

“People are like, ‘It’s legal.’ So often they’re very open with officers, ‘Oh hey, I have 100 pounds,'” she said. “That’s not the way it works.”

Defense attorney Tom Ballanco said it’s not clear if his two clients thought they were acting legally.

Friends were raising money for Beal’s bail, Ballanco said, concerned that he is a heart attack survivor and has other illnesses. Beal isn’t a flight risk and looks forward to fighting the charges, Ballanco said.

“The nature of his life, really, is one of activism. He’s not the type of person who’s going to flee from this,” Ballanco said. “He’s certainly a very colorful figure. I’m happy to be representing him and his co-defendant.”

For law enforcement, these were routine arrests in an area where traffickers typically tote hundreds if not thousands of pounds of famed Emerald Triangle pot to East Coast states.

“People can buy it here for maybe $800 or $1,000 a pound,” Murray said. “Once they get back there … they’re going to get maybe $3,000 to $4,000 a pound for it. That’s a nice profit.”

CONTINUE READING…

Today Cory Booker discussed the “Marijuana Justice Act”

cory booker

Cory Booker was live.

2 hrs ·

Earlier this year I introduced the Marijuana Justice Act—a bill that aims to end the federal prohibition of marijuana in the United States and incentivize states to legalize it at the state level if they disproportionately arrest or incarcerate poor people or people of color.

For decades, the failed War on Drugs has locked up millions of nonviolent drug offenders—especially for marijuana-related offenses—at an incredible cost of lost human potential, families and communities torn apart, and lost taxpayer dollars. The effects of the drug war have had a disproportionately devastating impact on Americans of color and the poor.

The Marijuana Justice Act aims to right some of the wrongs of our failed War on Drugs—particularly for those communities hardest-hit by these failed policies—and do the right thing for public safety while helping to reduce our overflowing prison population.

Since introducing the Marijuana Justice Act I’ve been working to build support in Congress, and today I’m excited to announce our first co-sponsor, my friend and colleague Senator Ron Wyden.

Watch below as we discuss the bill in more detail. Please leave any questions you may have about the bill in the comments, and we’ll answer some of them live on camera.

CONTINUE TO CORY BOOKER’S PAGE ON FACEBOOK AND LIVE VIDEO!

"Overgrowing the Government"

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