Tag Archives: corporate cannabis

“…any Canadian working in the marijuana industry would not be permitted to enter the US. "

Canadian cannabis companies are whipping around after report says workers may face lifetime travel ban to US (TLRY, CGC, CRON)

Jonathan Garber   Sep. 14, 2018, 08:06 AM

Canopy Growth marijuana weed

  • A report out Thursday suggests workers in the Canadian cannabis industry could face a lifetime ban on travel to the US.
  • Shares of Canadian cannabis companies were down as much as 15% on the news before paring their losses.
  • Ballooning valuations have caused these companies to come under more scrutiny of late.
  • Watch Tilray, Canopy Growth, and Cronos trade in real time.

Canadian cannabis companies are whipping around Friday morning, tumbling as much as 15% before paring their losses, following a report suggesting workers may face a lifetime ban on travel to the US.

A Politico report published after markets closed on Thursday, citing a senior official overseeing US border operations, said any Canadian working in the marijuana industry would not be permitted to enter the US. “If you work for the industry, that is grounds for inadmissibility,” Todd Owen, the executive assistant commissioner for the US Customs and Border Protection’s Office of Field Operations, told Politico.

Here’s a look at the scoreboard as of 2:35 p.m. ET:

Canada’s marijuana industry has seen valuations balloon in recent months. Tilray, for example, has seen its share price skyrocket by more than 600% since it went public in July.

The huge growth in the industry has sparked the interest of institutional and retail investors alike and has led to investments from the competing alcoholic-beverage industry. Back in August, Constellation Brands, the company behind Corona beer and Svedka vodka, announced it was investing another $4 billion in Canopy Growth, which raised its stake to 38%.

The recent interest in the space has caught the attention of the US Securities and Exchange Commission. Just last week, the SEC warned investors to watch out for promises of guaranteed returns, unregistered sellers, or unsolicited offers in marijuana names.

“If you are thinking about investing in a marijuana-related company, you should beware of the risks of investment fraud and market manipulation,” the SEC said.

“Fraudsters may try to use media coverage about the legalization of marijuana to promote an investment scam.”

CONTINUE READING…

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Who would have thought that God had corporations in mind when he said “I have given you every plant bearing seed on the surface of all the earth?”

Is Foreign Money Buying Up Some of Michigan’s Corporate Cannabis State Grow Facilities and Dispensaries?

https://scontent.fftk1-1.fna.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/41550905_2330558496960272_723096575080923136_n.jpg?_nc_cat=0&_nc_eui2=AeEZARlqw_gjsDvkCYfr5Lq5mDQy1o5MKu-ztd0TsBJ_mPFqKpAji9F3iY_kJcywLLtWWnhfoWeqd97SDCccEnYwGbXMt6L4vMD7p9XDcSvnRA&oh=a899bb4633a5b81ad9f09145b8ab698d&oe=5C1D3D10

Bruce Cain·Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Introduction

Who would have thought that God had corporations in mind when he said “I have given you every plant bearing seed on the surface of all the earth?”

I have been a Cannabis Activist for 50 years and a Journalist/Activist for at least 30 years. I just wanted adults to be able to “grow their own” without government interference and become the only source of Cannabis for our state dispensaries. Instead our legislators are setting up a “Corporate Cannabis State Monopoly” in Michigan. And the same boilerplate is unfolding in CA, WA, CO, AZ and OR. As far as I’m concerned the people got screwed again. Rather than blather on let me refer you to a few of my recent essays which you can find at the links below.

===== The Coming War: Securing Our Right to Grow our own Cannabis from the Global Corporations BRUCE CAIN·SATURDAY, JUNE 9, 2018 1,231 Reads https://www.facebook.com/notes/bruce-cain/the-coming-war-securing-our-right-to-grow-our-own-cannabis-from-the-global-corpo/2445909552101685/

Just Vote No on Michigan’s Cannabis Initiative: Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (November 2018) BRUCE CAIN·WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6, 2018 419 Reads https://www.facebook.com/notes/bruce-cain/just-vote-no-on-michigans-cannabis-initiative-regulate-marijuana-like-alcohol-no/2441433565882617/

The Global Marijuana March originated with International Drug Policy Day in May 1990. BRUCE CAIN·SATURDAY, MAY 5, 2018 582 Reads https://www.facebook.com/notes/bruce-cain/the-global-marijuana-march-originated-with-international-drug-policy-day-in-may-/2393282000697774/

Why the Right to Grow Your Own Medical Cannabis Must Be Protected from “Tax, Regulate and Control” State Models BRUCE CAIN·TUESDAY, JUNE 27, 2017 3,920 Reads https://www.facebook.com/notes/bruce-cain/why-the-right-to-grow-your-own-medical-cannabis-must-be-protected-from-tax-regul/1941658819193430/

The Complete Recent Essays of Bruce W. Cain https://www.facebook.com/bruce.cain.98/notes?lst=100000184321094%3A100000184321094%3A1536699785

This little bit of research began with a Facebook post from Adam Brook, who has been the Master of Ceremonies for the Hash Bash since 1989 to 2018. Here’s Adam’s Post:

Wild Bills gets DENIED! There is no Oasis!

Before I go on I want to briefly review my history with Adam Brook and the Hash Bash. The two of us have been involved, as Cannabis Activists, since around 1985. We were both instrumental in having the Hash Bash occur on the first Saturday in April rather than on April 1st. And we did that, around 1989, in order to increase attendance for what might be the longest running Annual Cannabis/Marijuana protest in US history. I have spoken at the Hash Bash nearly 15 times between 1990 and 2012 and Adam continues to MC the annual event. We’ve both been significant Cannabis Activists for many decades. So when he blocked me from his Facebook feed — after calling me a racist and xenophobe — I was taken aback. I am neither a racist, an Islamaphobe or a Xenophobe.

I grew up in Dearborn and have lived in the area for many decades. I’m not at all racist and have many great neighbors who happen to be Muslim. But all groups have their “bad actors.” The Jews had the Purple Gang. The Italians had the Mafia. And yes I do believe there is a fringe group of Muslims that are probably connected to Hezbolla – a Lebanese Shiite Terrorist group.

Hezbollah: The Global Footprint of Lebanon’s Party of God By Matthew Levitt https://books.google.com/books?id=6QsxCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA323&lpg=PA323&dq=Zig-Zag+Counterfeit+Cigarette+Paper+Scheme+dearborn&source=bl&ots=UM1ExdVMVX&sig=xw__xZ5vpt5h6BG9YOYC7oznmmg&hl=en&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwjI5aKwn7HdAhUMr4MKHdcVBQ8Q6AEwEHoECAoQAQ#v=onepage&q=Zig-Zag%20Counterfeit%20Cigarette%20Paper%20Scheme%20dearborn&f=false

And there was a Chaldean Mafia operating in Detroit in 2011.

Chaldean_Mafia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaldean_Mafia

As you read this essay, largely focusing on Wild Bills Tobacco Outlets, it is obvious that they have little respect for our laws (e.g., the ZigZag Conterfiet Racket, 2004) and one has to wonder where are the money came to set up 75 stores in Michigan and more recently 3 stores in Ohio. Apparently the state feels the same way as they denied giving Oasis a dispensary in Lansing for previous criminal activity [Sept. 10 2018].

Frankly I have no formed opinion on Wild Bills but there is plenty of data to suggest they are not choir boys. And that is how I will present it in my essay. I will lay out the facts and let my readers decide. With 75 stores and recent acquisitions, of grow facilities and dispensaries, I guesstimate there is already over 200 million dollars in total assets for Wild Bill’s. * $50 million for grow warehouses if CRMLA (Prop 1) passes in November 2018 * $150 million, at least, for there 78 “Wild Bill’s Tobacco Outlets. [I’m guesstimating $2 million per outlet]. * ??? The Oasis Wellness Centers. * ??? Salaries for workers across 78 Stores. And my big question is this: where did all this money come from? Are there foreign Chaldean investors behind this? Or is it just a bunch of “rich greedy assholes?” What is not in dispute is that Wild Bill’s is trying to corner the market in both Cannabis production and distribution. What is not in dispute is Wild Bill’s has stated that they want to put the home growers out of business. Fuck that.

Every group has their bad apples. And what I do not want to see is a Cannabis Mafia monopolize the Cannabis business, in Michigan, as the Italian Mafia once monopolized Alcohol. Frankly I want it to remain in the hands of small growers which is why I am imploring people to boycott Wild Bill’s while encouraging you to “grow your own” and put the “Corporate Cannabis State Monopolies” — in Michigan and other states — out of business.

So let us begin disassembling this story by going back to Adam’s post.

Wild Bills gets DENIED! There is no Oasis!

Adam gave no link to any article describing “why” Wild Bills Tobacco got denied. And that began my research.

This is how Wild Bill’s Tobacco Website describes themselves:

===== About Wild Bill’s Tobacco

Wild Bill’s Tobacco, formerly known as Smokers Outlet, is the 5th largest tobacco retailer in the country. The first store opened in 1994 and the company slowly expanded to more than 60 stores over the next 22 years. At Wild Bill’s, we specialize in providing the best quality tobacco products at competitive prices all under one roof for the convenience of our customers.

Our stores are equipped with the largest well humidified walk in humidors containing fine cigars from across the world. Many of our locations have a lounge area where customers can relax and enjoy a fine cigar with friends. All staff members are trained and equipped with the necessary knowledge and tools to assist the customer and provide exceptional service. http://www.wildbillstobacco.com/about/ =====

The 75 Stores are mainly in Michigan and there are 3 locations in Ohio. They are named both “Wild Bill’s and Mr. Vapor.

http://www.wildbillstobacco.com/locations/

How Wild Bill’s Tobacco, Smokers Outlet Management and Oasis Wellness Centers are related

===== The top donor to the the current campaign, shown as giving a total of $150,000 as of June, is a company called Smokers Outlet Management in Troy, according to the campaign finance statements. The company owns 68 Wild Bill’s Tobacco shops across Michigan, its website says. But its plan is to use the name Oasis Wellness Centers to open a major chain of marijuana shops in Michigan, according to statements made to state lawmakers’ committees and summarized in a memo filed with the state House Judiciary Committee in 2015 by the company’s vice president, Paul Weisberger.

Top 6 Donors to the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol:

1.) Smokers Outlet (chain of 68 Wild Bill’s Tobacco shops), Troy, $150,000

2.) Marijuana Policy Project (nonprofit with 32,000 members), Wash, D.C., $58,161

3.) Andrew Driver Jr. (with Advance Electric), Gaylord, $35,000

4.) David Kelley (investment banker), Traverse City, $10,000

5.) Alec Riffle (with Tree City Health Collective dispensary), Ann Arbor, $10,000

6.) Wholesale Hydroponics (store for marijuana growers), Lansing, $10,000

Michigan marijuana campaign brings together activists, moneyed investors, tobacco dealers

Bill Laitner, Detroit Free Press Published 11:03 p.m. ET July 15, 2017

https://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/07/16/marijuana-legalization-michigan/481154001/ =====

Wild Bill’s has some really big plans for Cannabis Grow and Distribution Facilities

Under the name, Oasis **, Wild Bill’s is willing to pay $21 million dollars for a 320,000 square foot building to 50 percent of the company’s dispensaries across the state. So we can project that they somehow have the capital to invest $40 to $50 million dollars to supply all their dispensaries. Are they planning to convert the 75 Wild Bill’s Tobacco stores into dispensaries. And gee where is all this money coming from?

===== BANGOR TWP, MI – The Bangor Township Board of Trustees have thrown their support behind bringing a medical marijuana grow and distribution facility to Bay County.

Trustees unanimously agreed at their meeting Tuesday, May 9, to support an investment of a grow and distribution facility. Before any type of industry comes to town, however, the township needs to update its code of ordinances.

About 50 people were in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting.

Oasis Wellness Center, based out of Clawson, Michigan, is interested in investing $21 million into the former Dow Chemical Co. and Crane Resistoflex building, 4675 E. Wilder Road.

During public input, Oasis Vice President Paul Weisberger said his company is looking to employ more than 100 people in the 320,000 square-foot building. Weisberger said Oasis is not currently in the medical marijuana field.

Bangor Township Supervisor Glenn Rowley said other companies have reached out to the township, although Oasis has been the most vocal.

Rowley said future board meetings will discuss ordinances and layout details.

“There’s one opportunity to do this right and we want to make sure we have that,” Rowley said. “We agree we are going forward on this.”

As part of the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act, which went into effect last December, application processes for licensed dispensaries is expected to be finalized by Dec. 31.

Bay County township supports medical marijuana facility Updated May 10, 2017; Posted May 9, 2017 https://www.mlive.com/news/bay-city/index.ssf/2017/05/bangor_township_agrees_to_impl.html =====

===== BANGOR TOWNSHIP, MI — A medical marijuana company has approached Bangor Township about investing $21 million to purchase and convert an old factory building into a grow and distribution facility.

But before the controversial industry comes to town, the township’s board of trustees needs to throw its support behind it. A discussion takes place at 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 9, at Bangor Township Hall, 180 State Park Drive. It’s unclear at this time if the board is going to make any formal decisions on the matter Tuesday evening.

The company, which township officials are declining to name, hopes to purchase the old Dow Chemical Co. and Crane Resistoflex building at 4675 E. Wilder Road and hire 140 people to work at the plant. If plans come to fruition, the plant would supply medical marijuana to 50 percent of the company’s dispensaries across the state.

Medical marijuana company wants to invest millions into Bay County Updated May 6, 2017; Posted May 6, 2017 https://www.mlive.com/news/bay-city/index.ssf/2017/05/medical_marijuana_bay_county_d.html =====

Wild Bill’s is denied a provisioning center in Lansing

===== Accordingly, the latest round of state approvals didn’t grant a license to a single Lansing-based business. Oasis Wellness Center of Lansing — with local approval for two local growing operations and two processing facilities — was denied for state prequalification for those and several other business enterprises across mid-Michigan.

City records indicate Oasis planned five local businesses centered around Beech and Hazel streets. The state board suggested the owner was arrested twice but failed to disclose that information in its state applications. The would-be shops were also turned down based on the poor “moral integrity” of the company’s founders.

State officials eye marijuana deadline extension [Sept. 10 2018]

Local licensing system remains stagnant amid statewide changes http://lansingcitypulse.com/article-16421-State-officials-eye-marijuana-deadline-extension.html =====

Who own’s Wild Bill’s Tobacco?

Mike Samona, CEO Justin Samona, Chief Marketing Officer Paul Weisberger, VP Oasis Wellness Centers

===== The best business news for Wild Bill’s Tobacco, based in Birmingham,Michigan, with 50 stores, was when the state of Michigan enacted a 50-cent tax cap on individual cigars at the end of2012. “It allowed us to be much more competitive with our online competitors last year, which led to an increase in sales,” explains Justin Samona, chief marketing officer. Wild Bill’s specializes in premium cigars, with cigar lounges in20 locations and walk-in humidors with Spanish cedar paneling and advanced humidification systems in all 50 stores.But the top trend in 2013 was the electronic cigarette craze in Wild Bill’s stores, just as it was across America,according to Samona. “We see the paradigm shift and we feel that e-cigs are here to stay,” he says. “Wild Bill’s is  quickly becoming known as the electronic cigarette destination. Our stores are equipped with modern e-cig super centers, which we call ‘Mr. Vapor.’The chrome shelving and blue LED lights attract customers right when they enter the store. Customers can sample disposable e-cigs, rechargeable kits, tank kits, mod systems and over 100 different flavors of e-liquids and strengths.”  In 2013, the chain improved its business through customer service management.“  The HR management team here launched many creative bonus and incentive plans,”Samona explained.  One such plan that caused great excitement was the profit-sharing program, which is eligible to all managers that have been with the company for three or more years.The thinking behind it comes from Mike Samona, CEO. “When you have loyal, satisfied customers, your business becomes more referable, thus more profitable,” he says.   “We’ve discovered that staff members will provide much better service to our customers, whether it’s through up-selling, converting or handling complaints, when they know a percentage of the profits will go to them.”

https://tobaccobusiness.com/magazine/TOB_jan-feb_2014/files/assets/basic-html/page22.html Related: https://issuu.com/crainsdetroit/docs/cd_20140609 =====

If I had to guess they are possibly Chaldean as that is a common Chaldean (Catholic) surname. But who knows.

Wild Bill’s got busted in 2005 when it used to go under the name Smoker’s Outlet. “Wild Bill’s Tobacco, formerly known as Smokers Outlet, is the 5th largest tobacco retailer in the country.” In this case nearly 30 of their stores were selling counterfeit “Zig Zag” rolling papers . . . for which they ultimately got caught and busted. What other illegality went under the radar?

===== BOLLORE S.A., Plaintiff, CIVIL ACTION NO. 04-CV-73867-DT vs. DISTRICT JUDGE ANNA DIGGS TAYLOR MADISON HEIGHTS TOBACCO MAGISTRATE JUDGE MONA K. MAJZOUB https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/USCOURTS-mied-2_04-cv-73867/pdf/USCOURTS-mied-2_04-cv-73867-0.pdf =====

Next look at all the defendants (e.g. law breakers) in this case and take note of all the businesses owned by Wild Bills or Smokers Outlet Management that owns Wild Bills. And finally look at the names: many of which suggest Middle Eastern ancestry. Possibly Chaldean?

Habib Ajame, Defendant Mahmoud Ajami, Defendant Alsahil Enterprises, Incorporated, Defendant Amazing Dollar, Defendant Amazing Dollar of Highland, Defendant Steve Bahri, Defendant Baldwin Mini Mart, Incorporated, Defendant Bemis Road Service Station, Incorporated, Defendant Citgo Gas Station, 496 Main Street, Defendant Dina’s Dollar, Incorporated, Defendant Divon, Incorporated, Defendant Dort Highway 200, Incorporated, Defendant Edward Eid, Defendant Eid Enterprises, Incorporated, Defendant Mary Fawaz, Defendant Flint Tobacco, Incorporated, Defendant Joseph O. Garmo, Defendant Samer Hanna, Defendant Aoun Jaber, Defendant Jaber’s, Incorporated, Defendant John’s Marathon, Incorporated, Defendant Madison Heights Tobacco, Incorporated, Defendant Main Street Express, Incorporated, Defendant Marci, Incorporated, Defendant Mega Mile Gas and Mart, Defendant Awatif Misho, Defendant North Pointe Marathon, Incorporated, Defendant R and S Food and Gas, Incorporated, Defendant SAC Investment, Incorporated, Defendant John Samouna, Defendant Luke Samouna, Defendant Mazin Samouna, Defendant Saza, Incorporated, Defendant Shadia Enterprises, Incorporated, Defendant Shell Gas Station, 1220 North Wayne Road, Defendant Shell Gas Station, 28851 Hoover Road, Defendant Gurdial N. Singh, Defendant Roy Sitto, Defendant Smokers Discount, Defendant Smokers Outlet Management, Incorporated, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Centerline, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Centerline, Incorporated, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Eastpointe, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Eastpointe, Incorporated, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Ferndale, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Ferndale, Incorporated, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Hazel Park, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Hazel Park, Incorporated, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Highland, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Madison Heights, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Roseville, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Roseville, Incorporated, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Shelby Township, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Shelby Township, Incorporated, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Sterling Heights, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Sterling Heights II, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Sterling Heights II, Incorporated, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Sterling Heights, Incorporated, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Taylor, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Troy, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Troy, Incorporated, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Warren II, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Warren II, Incorporated, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Waterford II, Defendant Smokers Outlet of Waterford II, Incorporated, Defendant Speedy’s Gas and Groceries, Incorporated, Defendant Sunoco Gas Station, 3142 Miller Road, Defendant Sunoco Gas, 3000 East Eight Mile Road, Defendant Sunoco Gas, 6401 West Eight Mile Road, Defendant Sunoco-Miller Road/1-75, Defendant Super Mobil, Defendant Tobacco Road, Defendant Tobacco Road, Ltd, IV, Defendant Webb Operating Company, Defendant Charles A. Zain, Defendant Bollore, S. A., Plaintiff North Atlantic Operating Company, Incorporated, Plaintiff North Atlantic Trading Company, Incorporated, Plaintiff https://www.gpo.gov/…/USCOURTS-mied…/content-detail.html

More bribes and criminality as the “Corporate Cannabis State Monopoly” gets ready to put all the small growers out of business

===== The U.S. Attorney’s office has indicted three would-be Michigan medical cannabis dispensary owners, accusing them of attempting to bribe officials in Garden City to approve their license, the Detroit Free Press reports. Brothers Mike and Ali Baydoun, along with their nephew Jalal Baydoun, are accused of offering bribes to the three city council members, the mayor, and the police chief.

Federal authorities say the Baydouns handed an envelope with $15,000 to a city council official – $5,000 each – in December and offered to buy the city a police car, pay a police officer’s annual salary, and give the officials a 25 percent cut of the dispensary’s profits. The councilor handed the envelope of cash over to the FBI. The indictment also alleges that the family said they would put $150,000 in an escrow account that would be used to pay additional bribes.

Under the city’s medical cannabis ordinance, only two cultivation licenses are available and the accused were hoping the bribes would convince officials to amend the rules, add another license, and award it to them, allowing them to grow 1,500 medical cannabis plants in the city.

The U.S. Attorney’s office declined to comment further on the investigation or who else from the State might be suspected of colluding with the Baydouns.

U.S. Attorney’s Office Indicts Three for Attempting to Bribe Michigan Officials for MMJ License 8/04/2017 https://www.ganjapreneur.com/us-attorneys-office-indicts-three-attempting-bribe-michigan-officials-mmj-license/ =====

A Short History of Wild Bill’s Strategy to Monopolize “Corporate Cannabis” in Michigan

If you are from others states expect the same crap to play out: the Rich Ganjapreneurs — like Wild Bill’s — will soon be pushing to prohibit adults to “grow their own” in their homes. To put it in the simplest of terms the “Corporate Cannabis State Monopoly” — both the State Government and the Approved Millionaire Ganjapreneurs — don’t want any competition. In future years “your” Wild Bill may come in the form of a Microsoft Executive, Big Pharma or possible a foreigner with deep pockets. But if we don’t stop this crap everyone is going to see a “Wild Bill” coming to monopolize the market in your state eventually. “Money talks, bullshit walks.”

1994: Wild Bill’s (under the original name “Smokers Outlet”) opens there first store.

2004: Wild Bill’s (under the original name “Smokers Outlet”) get busted for selling counterfiet ZigZag rolling papers at nearly 30 of its stores throughout Michigan.

2015: Wild Bill’s announces its intent to open a major chain of marijuana shops in Michigan, according to statements made to state lawmakers’ committees and summarized in a memo filed with the state House Judiciary Committee in by the company’s vice president, Paul Weisberger.

===== Excepts from Weisberger’s Letter: (Vice President of Wild Bill’s Oasis Wellness Centers)

“We believe that the grow operation needed to supply consistent, high quality medical marijuana should be based in a larger scale “commercial grow” type model.” [What I call a “Corporate Cannabis State Monopoly.”]

“This would allow for a consistent and cost effective supply of product while at the same time moving the grow operations out of our neighborhoods.”

“We must bring this above ground and out of the neighborhoods through a commercial grow operation that provides consistent lower cost medical marijuana.” [05/07/2015]

RE: Michigan House Judiciary Committee; House Bills 4209 and 4210 From: Paul Weisberger, vice president, Wild Bill’s Oasis Wellness Centers http://house.michigan.gov/sessiondocs/2015-2016/testimony/Committee339-5-7-2015-5.pdf =====

2016: (December) The Legislature passed laws to tax,regulate and control the market: to create what I call the “Corporate Cannabis State Monopoly.” Once in place (October 2018?) the vast number of small growers — who sold their overage to local dispensaries and “patients” — will become instant criminals if they continue to sell without a license none of them can afford. In practical terms it will cost literally millions to “get into this game.”

2017: (May) Wild Bill’s offers $21 Million for a 320,000 square-foot building in Bangor Township to supply just 50% of it’s projected dispensaries.

2017: (July) Wild Bill’s becomes the top donor to the CRMLA Initiative ($150,000)

2017: (Sept) Wild Bill’s (Oasis) Gets on one of the 5 working groups (growers) regulated by the Medical Marijuana Facilities Licensing Act (MMFLA) for the State of Michigan.

===== Per the August 22 statement from LARA/BMMR, almost 750 applications were received and of those, more than 550 were valid and complete. From that huge pool of citizens the Departments have selected the advisory groups who will make recommendations to LARA for rules governing the different business types; LARA is not obligated to honor the recommendations.

Michigan: LARA Announces Medical Marijuana Workgroup Members September 27, 2017, 8:00 am Rick Thompson Medical Marijuana https://www.weednews.co/michigan-lara-announces-medical-marijuana-workgroup-members/ =====

2018: Wild Bill’s now has 75 Stores in Michigan and 3 in Ohio

2018: (Sept) Wild Bill’s is denied a provisioning center in Lansing because the owner had 2 arrests and because of the “poor moral integrity” of the company’s founders.

2018: (July) Michigan awards the first 7 Medical Marijuana Licences for the “Corporate Cannabis State Monopoly” — which was put in motion through legislation in December 2016.

===== Michigan awards first medical marijuana licenses Kathleen Gray, Detroit Free Press Published July 12, 2018 https://www.freep.com/story/news/marijuana/2018/07/12/medical-marijuana-michigan/779840002/ =====

2018: (Nov) If Prop 1 (CRMLA) passes, in November’s Election, those that get a “Corporate Cannabis State Monopoly” licence stand to profit from a $700 million dollar industry while all the smaller growers will become instant criminals if they continue to grow or sell to groups or individuals. This is what Wild Bill’s and all the other Millionaire Ganjapreneurs are betting on. That is why Wild Bill gave more money than anyone else ($150,000) to get it passed.

Concluding remarks:

The Corporate Cannabis State Monopoly will probably be operational in the next year. And once it becomes fully operational you can expect an increase in arrests and home invasions for home growers. The State will want all the profits from “seed to sale” and will therefore be incentivized to put the small growers out of business: regardless of whether they are growing for themselves or continuing to sell their overage.

Meanwhile you just have to wonder where Wild Bill’s is coming up with 50 million dollars to buy growing facilities and millions more for their dispensaries. And where did the Baydoun’s come up with $150,000 dollars in bribes to open a dispensary in Westland, MI. Could some of this money be coming from Terrorist organizations or other crime syndicates?

When my friend Jack Herer died in 2009 he could not have foreseen this nightmare. It was not what either of us had hoped for. I really thought I had retired from this fools crusade but I seem compelled to carry on. Perhaps the best solutions is to encourage everyone to “grow their own” and put these “Corporate Cannabis State Monopolies” out of business.

I also want to make clear that I don’t really know that Wild Bills is a criminal syndicate. I do know that it took me hours to find the little information that I did find on their operation. But where is all of this money coming from? I am no nearer answering THAT question than when I began. And Wild Bill’s is but one of many groups that want to get into these “Corporate Cannabis State Monopolies. Frankly they all deserve thorough investigation. Until that happens — which it never will — let me just say:

Grow Your Own.

Destroy the Corporate Cannabis Beast.

We cannot allow our government to take away our right to grow a plant the really belongs to all of us.

Please share this essay and others that I have written on Cannabis Policy. We cannot allow this to end this way.

SOURCE LINK

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Marijuana Banking Measure Rejected By Congressional Committee

Tom Angell , Contributor

A powerful congressional committee voted on Wednesday to reject a measure to protect banks that open accounts for marijuana businesses from being punished by federal financial regulators. Supporters then scrambled to craft a more limited measure focused on medical cannabis businesses, but it was ultimately withdrawn before a vote could take place.

PHOTO: TOM SYDOW

PHOTO: TOM SYDOW

The broader measure would have prevented the U.S. Department of Treasury from taking any action to “penalize a financial institution solely because the institution provides financial services to an entity that is a manufacturer, producer, or a person that participates in any business or organized activity that involves handling marijuana or marijuana products” in accordance with state or local law.

After a lengthy and impassioned debate during which at least 19 lawmakers spoke, it was defeated on a voice vote by the House Appropriations Committee.

Despite the fact that a growing number of states are legalizing marijuana for recreational or medical use, many financial institutions have remained reluctant to work with cannabis businesses for fear of running afoul of money laundering laws under ongoing federal prohibition.

As a result, many marijuana growers, processors and retailers operate on a cash-only basis, which can make them targets for robberies.

The issue is “not whether or not one approves of marijuana,” said Rep. David Joyce (R-OH), the chief sponsor of both banking amendments, before the vote. “This is about public safety and financial transparency.”

Either rider, if it were successfully attached to legislation to fund the Treasury Department for Fiscal Year 2019, would have provided added assurance to banks that federal officials won’t close them down for working with the cannabis industry.

A similar measure was approved by the full House of Representatives in 2014 by a margin of 231 to 192, but was not included in final spending legislation that year, and congressional Republicans have since blocked floor votes on most cannabis measures.

In the lead up to the Wednesday banking vote, several advocates and Capitol Hill staffers expressed confidence in interviews that the measure would pass. But a number of likely Republican supporters were absent during the debate, and others who are sympathetic to marijuana law reform expressed varying concerns about the specific proposal. As a result, supporters did not force a roll call tally following the defeat on a voice voice.

Joyce then went back to the drawing board and crafted the narrower medical-focused amendment, which he hoped would find enough support to pass. But after a brief debate on the second proposal, Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-NJ) asked Joyce three times to withdraw the amendment instead of forcing a vote. The Ohio congressman twice pressed ahead and said he wanted the committee to weigh in on the measure, only to give in at the last moment and pull the measure.

By seeking to adopt the language in the appropriations panel, before the overall spending bill heads to the Rules Committee, which is where marijuana amendments have gone to die for the past several years, advocates were attempting to circumvent an effective blockade that has prevented progress on cannabis reform in the House.

In a similar move last month, the Appropriations Committee approved a measure to protect state medical cannabis laws from Justice Department interference following several instances of that measure being blocked by the Rules Committee.

In a separate sign of the mainstreaming of marijuana politics on the other side of the Capitol, on Wednesday the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science and Related Agencies included that far-reaching medical marijuana language in the initial version of the Justice Department funding bill as introduced by Republican leaders, meaning that no vote or amendment will even be necessary to advance the provision in that chamber this year.

The Senate panel is scheduled to take up its version of the Treasury Department funding bill, which is called the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act, next week.

The Fraternal Order of Police, which opposes legalization, sent a letter this week urging House lawmakers to reject the cannabis banking move.

Letter to @USRepRodney & @NitaLowey advising them of our strong opposition to any amendment that would allow the marijuana industry full access to the American banking system. Drug cartels will be given the opportunity to launder money under the guise of marijuana normalization pic.twitter.com/y5a0gHPIUi

— National FOP (@GLFOP) June 12, 2018

PLEASE CONTINUE READING…

“Acreage has a mission to make cannabis available to any patient who can benefit from safe and reliable access…”

cannabis-sativa-plant-1404978607akl

John Boehner and Bill Weld to join Acreage Board of Directors

Appointments Add Unmatched Experience to Acreage Holdings’ Board of Advisors

New York City, NY – April 11, 2018 – Acreage Holdings (“Acreage”) (www.acreageholdings.com), one of the nation’s largest, multi-state actively-managed cannabis corporations, announced the appointments of former Speaker of the United States House of Representatives John Boehner and former Governor of the State of Massachusetts Bill Weld to its Board of Advisors.

As members of the Board, Speaker Boehner and Governor Weld will bring an immense, collective and unique set of experiences in government affairs, unmatched leadership and guidance to help drive Acreage towards its strategic mission.

In concert with this announcement, Speaker Boehner and Governor Weld have issued this joint statement:

While we come at this issue from different perspectives and track records, we both believe the time has come for serious consideration of a shift in federal marijuana policy. Over the past 20 years a growing number of states have experimented with their right to offer cannabis programs under the protection of the 10th amendment. During that period, those rights have lived somewhat in a state of conflict with federal policy. Also, during this period, the public perception of cannabis has dramatically shifted, with 94% of Americans currently in favor of some type of access, a shift driven by increased awareness of marijuana’s many medical applications.

We need to look no further than our nation’s 20 million veterans, 20 percent of whom, according to a 2017 American Legion survey, reportedly use cannabis to self-treat PTSD, chronic pain and other ailments. Yet the VA does not allow its doctors to recommend its usage. There are numerous other patient groups in America whose quality of life has been dramatically improved by the state-sanctioned use of medical cannabis. 

While the Tenth Amendment has allowed much to occur at the state level, there are still many negative implications of the Federal policy to schedule cannabis as a Class 1 drug: most notably the lack of research, the ambiguity around financial services and the refusal of the VA to offer it as an alternative to the harmful opioids that are ravishing our communities.

We are excited to join the team at Acreage in pursuit of their mission to bring safe, consistent and reliable products to patients and consumers who could benefit. We have full confidence in their management team and believe this is the team that will transform the debate, policy and landscape around this issue.

On the appointments, Acreage Founder and CEO Kevin Murphy said, “Acreage has a mission to make cannabis available to any patient who can benefit from safe and reliable access.  The addition of Speaker Boehner and Governor Weld to our Board will lead to even greater access for patients by changing the conversation overnight.  These men have shaped the political course of our country for decades and now they will help shape the course of this nascent but ascendant industry.”

Both the Speaker and the Governor have agreed to immediately join the Company’s Board of Advisors and have committed to join the Company’s Board of Directors once it has been formed and other qualified directors have been appointed.

CONTINUE READING…

“…Either you want your freedoms restored, or you don’t.”

Image may contain: text

Kevin James

Yesterday at 10:59am ·

I want to thank the non informed for the Cannabis Act… you’re insistence that legal is best is the gift earned.

I spoke for years about repeal vs legal…

— now I’m done & another wayseer abandons the masses due to tiredness

Either you want your freedoms restored, or you don’t. Most people “say” they want their freedoms restored, even as they deliberately stab themselves–and everyone else–in the back by begging for more statutory enslavement, and REFUSING to end the problem, somehow “believing” that not ending the problem, and always making it worse, is somehow going to end the problem.

So let’s look at the BULLSHIT NON-OPTIONS that people “believe” means they get their freedoms back, as opposed to the REPEAL of the statutes, which actually WOULD end the persecution once and for all:

1) “Decriminalization” is NOT repeal. It is NOT freedom. But some of you still fight for this, instead of to end prohibition.

2) “Legalization” is what we already have. It is NOT freedom. But some of you still fight for this, instead of to end prohibition.

3) “Re-legalization” is two letters prepended to what we already have. It is NOT freedom. But some of you still fight for this, instead of to end prohibition.

4) “Tax and regulate” will create more statutes, more regulations, more licenses, more fees, and create more problems and more “criminal charges.” It is NOT freedom. But some of you still fight for this, instead of to end prohibition.

5) “Regulate like _____” is just a different way to say “tax and regulate.” It is NOT freedom. But some of you still fight for this, instead of to end prohibition.

6) “Hemp ONLY!” It is NOT freedom. But some of you still fight for this, instead of to end prohibition.

7) “Medical ONLY!” It is NOT freedom. But some of you still fight for this, instead of to end prohibition.

8.) “Government control ONLY!” It is NOT freedom. But some of you still fight for this, instead of to end prohibition.

9) “Corporate control ONLY!” is financial in nature, and is ENTIRELY motivated by profiteering. It is NOT freedom. But some of you still fight for this, instead of to end prohibition.

10) “Government/corporate partnership control ONLY!” is actually OVERT FASCISM. It is NOT freedom. But some of you still fight for this, instead of to end prohibition.

There are several other “NOT REPEAL” options that people keep sucking up as “the ONLY solution”, even as they continue to “say” they want their freedom restored.

How can you ever hope to restore your own freedoms while you REFUSE to remove the statutes that took them away, and keep pushing for MORE STATUTES to further control your life in more intrusive ways?

How long are you going to keep paying for more of *your* own enslavement?

Are people EVER going to just wake up and see the truth that’s been staring them in the face for DECADES already?!?

CONTINUE READING…

RELATED:

“Rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary to purposes and principles of the United Nations.” HOW THE UNITED NATIONS IS STEALING OUR “UNALIENABLE RIGHTS” TO GROW FOOD AND MEDICINE THROUGH THE U.N. CONVENTION ON NARCOTIC DRUGS AND AGENDA 21.  LINK

https://www.facebook.com/iammkjm/posts/10214522031938895

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10214422174322517&set=a.4142741601196.166072.1063400382&type=3&theater

https://kentuckymarijuanaparty.com/2015/10/26/rights-and-freedoms-may-in-no-case-be-exercised-contrary-to-purposes-and-principles-of-the-united-nations-how-the-united-nations-is-stealing-our-unalienable-rights-to-grow/

Hash Bash 2017: The Great Cannabis Betrayal Continues

https://scontent-atl3-1.xx.fbcdn.net/v/t1.0-9/17634845_1663320983684030_613999681140897365_n.jpg?oh=01f806755de41808c5b7b54c2e8ee317&oe=599970C5

Bruce Cain·Friday, March 31, 2017

I would very much appreciate it if you would re-post and republish this article as widely as possible. Whether you live in the US, Canada — or anywhere around the world — your right to “grow and sell” your own Cannabis is under assault. I have been a small voice in this movement for many decades and this is not the “end state” that I, or many other activists had envisioned. And if we don’t take a stand very soon I fear your very right to grow your own will soon be “up in smoke.” And that is why I am giving explicit permission to republish this article with no further permission. The people have a right to understand how we have been betrayed. Bruce W. Cain March 31st, 2017

The Past:

Since I first smoked Marijuana, in 1968, I always felt that adults should have the right to both grow and sell what they were not able to consume. And most of us young Hippies felt the same way as we firmly believed that “government is best which governs least.” We also favored small decentralized economies which was perfectly expressed in the book “Small is Beautiful” by EF Schumacher (1973): “among the 100 most influential books published since World War II.”

===== Small Is Beautiful: A Study of Economics As If People Mattered is a collection of essays by British economist E. F. Schumacher. The phrase “Small Is Beautiful” came from a phrase by his teacher Leopold Kohr.[1] It is often used to champion small, appropriate technologies that are believed to empower people more, in contrast with phrases such as “bigger is better”.

First published in 1973, Small Is Beautiful brought Schumacher’s critiques of Western economics to a wider audience during the 1973 energy crisis and emergence of globalization. The Times Literary Supplement ranked Small Is Beautiful among the 100 most influential books published since World War II.[2] A further edition with commentaries was published in 1999.[3]

Small Is Beautiful From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Small_Is_Beautiful =====

Yep us Hippies were probably the first generation of Americans that understandably feared overbearing government control as well as the movement toward globalization: what Bush(1) would later call “One World Government” in the early 1990’s.

This Saturday will mark the 46th Hash Bash in Ann Arbor: one of the nations oldest Annual events calling for the legalization of Cannabis. The first Hash Bash was held on April 1st, 1972 in response to the arrest of John Sinclair. Sinclair was due to be imprisoned for 10 years for possession of 2 joints. At the time Marijuana arrests were at a very low level, compared to today, and there was little doubt that he was really arrested because he publicly advocated for the legalization of Marijuana (e.g., Cannabis).

Prior to the first Hash bash John Lennon (of the Beatles) played and spoke at the “John Sinclair Freedom Rally on December 10, 1971 at the Crisler Arena in Ann Arbor. The event drew about 20,000 people where Lennon performed a special song: “It ain’t fair John Sinclair” which you can listen to at the following link:

John Lennon – John Sinclair https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fZJLInCgem8

John Sinclair Freedom Rally From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Sinclair_Freedom_Rally

Prior to all of this the Beatles circulated the first petition, calling for Marijuana Legalization, on July 24th, 1967, which was signed by many luminaries including scientist Carl Sagan. It is worth noting that the petition did not speak to the issue of personal cultivation.

===== The Beatles call for the legalization of marijuana Monday 24 July 1967 A full-page advertisement appeared in The Times newspaper on this day, signed by 64 of the most prominent members of British society, which called for the legalisation of marijuana. Among the signatories were The Beatles and Brian Epstein. https://www.beatlesbible.com/1967/0… =====

My initiation into all of this occurred a year later in 1968 at the tender age of 14. It was in 1968 that I was first introduced to both LSD and Marijuana. And from that beginning I could never understand why either substance should ever be illegal. Cannabis never impaired my motor skills as much as the Boones Farm Wine we used to drink back in the day. And the propaganda that LSD was addictive was “too cute by half.” About the last thing you would ever want to do, after a 10 hour LSD trip, would be another 10 hour LSD trip.

[I am not, by the way, suggesting that 14 year olds should be doing LSD by the way. But I have “always” been an advocate for legalizing the cultivation of both Cannabis and Psilocybin Mushrooms for adults.]

It was not understood, till decades later, that the War on Drugs (including Marijuana) was perpetrated by the Nixon administration to criminalize blacks and Hippies.

=====

One of Richard Nixon’s top advisers and a key figure in the Watergate scandal said the war on drugs was created as a political tool to fight blacks and hippies, according to a 22-year-old interview recently published in Harper’s Magazine.

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people,” former Nixon domestic policy chief John Ehrlichman told Harper’s writer Dan Baum for the April cover story published Tuesday.

“You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Ehrlichman said. “We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

Ehrlichman’s comment is the first time the war on drugs has been plainly characterized as a political assault designed to help Nixon win, and keep, the White House.

Report: Aide says Nixon’s war on drugs targeted blacks, hippies By Tom LoBianco, CNN Thu March 24, 2016 http://www.cnn.com/2016/03/23/politics/john-ehrlichman-richard-nixon-drug-war-blacks-hippie/ ======

There are a few other milestones, during these early years that are worth consideration.

In 1965 Timothy Leary was arrested for Marijuana possession and was due to serve 30 years in prison. Just like Sinclair, Leary was singled out because he advocated the legalization of both Marijuana and LSD. I was asked to speak on a panel with Tim in 1993.

===== Leary v. United States, 395 U.S. 6 (1969), is a U.S. Supreme Court case dealing with the constitutionality of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Timothy Leary, a professor and activist, was arrested for the possession of marijuana in violation of the Marihuana Tax Act. Leary challenged the act on the ground that the act required self-incrimination, which violated the Fifth Amendment. The unanimous opinion of the court was penned by Justice John Marshall Harlan II and declared the Marihuana Tax Act unconstitutional. Thus, Leary’s conviction was overturned. Congress responded shortly thereafter by replacing the Marihuana Tax Act with the newly written Controlled Substances Act while continuing the prohibition of certain drugs in the United States.[1]

Leary v. United States From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leary_v._United_States =====

Leary’s successful overturning, of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, quickly resulted in something even worse: The Controlled Substances Act of 1970. The Controlled Substances Act place both Marijuana and LSD on Schedule 1, which also included drugs such as Heroin.

Controlled Substances Act From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Controlled_Substances_Act

Many decades later I have decided to “self identify” as a Perennial Hippie. You can understand what I mean by that through reading through the following links:

===== Hippie From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hippie

Perennial philosophy From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perennial_philosophy

The Perennial Philosophy (book) From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Perennial_Philosophy_(book) ===== In 1989 I had begun publishing a magazine on Drug Policy (New Age Patriot) which was internationally distributed by 1990. I was also involved in the Hash Bash along with Adam Brook and Rich Birkett even before that. It was around that time that we arranged to have the Hash Bash on the First Saturday in April, rather than on April 1st. That way we figured that the event would draw more activists, which it did. It was also in 1989 that I met Jack Herer (The Emperor Wears No Clothes): possibly the most effective Cannabis Activist in our long history:

Jack Herer From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_Herer

In 1990 I used my publication and my involvement in the Hash Bash to start a annual international event to call for the Legalization of Marijuana and an end to the Drug War in general. The event was called International Drug Policy Day (IDPD). I basically encouraged activists to set up an event which I would publish in my magazine. By 1996 IDPD was celebrated in 60 locations around the world: including Warsaw, Russia and South America. I stopped publishing New Age Patriot in 1997 which also ended IDPD. But then activist Dana Beal took the baton and IDPD became the Million Marijuana March which has been celebrated in over 300 locations world wide.

The next important milestone in the Marijuana Movement was the passage of the first Medical Marijuana Initiative in November of 1996. Prop215 was the first state initiative allowing adult to grow their own Cannabis for medical purposes. But of course as Peron once said: “all use is medical use.”

There are so many things that occurred from Prop215 (CA, 1996), to today, that it would take a book to cover it all. But certainly one of the most important Michigan events was the murder of Cannabis Activist Tom Crosslin at Rainbow Farm: about 1 week before the Terror Attack on the World Trade Center (09/01/2001). I spoke at his farm numerous times and sat down to lunch with him on a few occasions as well. In retrospect this is very important as it made clear that the “Deep State” was still more than willing to persecute and kill our activists in order to push back on the inevitable: the full legalization of Marijuana.

Rainbow Farm From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow_Farm

Tom Crosslin From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Crosslin

Then in November of 2008 the people of Michigan passed the Medical Marijuana Initiative by 63% of Michigan voters and majorities in ALL Michigan counties. I personally collected about 1200 signatures in order to get this on the ballot. Since we needed over 400,000 signatures this amounted to about 1 in 400. This was backed by the Marijuana Policy Project led by sex offender Kampia and had the same poison pill going back to Prop215: you had to get “a card” to be a grower/caregiver. In my opinion this registry will be used to bust every last grower once the “big boys” get their mega grows up an running. The data mining of “smart meters” will also be used to get growers who have refused to get “a card.” You should not need a fucking “card” to grow Marijuana. You don’t need it to brew beer or make wine at home. We should have been suspicious about the need to have a card from the very beginning!

The Present

Between 2008 and today (April 1st, 2017) both our legislators and monied drug reform groups — NORML, DPA, MPP, etc. — have been pushing “tax, regulation and control” — what is also know as a “seed to sale” model. This was already beginning to occur as early as 2000 by the way.

One of the first assaults on the Medical Marijuana Initiative came in the form of local city ordinances that forbid home growing in cities like Dearborn Heights, Royal Oak, Ferndale and many other cities. This “boiler plate” legislation was pushed through by Municiple Leagues and was an obvious subversion of the will of 63% of Michigan voters.

===== Bruce Cain, resident and drug policy activist, said he’s cautiously optimistic about council’s decision. He said his worry was the city would try to prosecute patients and caregivers who are in compliance with state law. “I’m just relieved you’re doing what you’re doing,” he said. [By the way, I never said that]. Cain said he supports the complete and untaxed legalization of marijuana. It is the only way the country will stop the drug cartels, he said, and it would make cheap medicine widely available. Marijuana is not a dangerous drug, Cain said. He said it should at least be treated the same as alcohol, which is more dangerous.

Heights council OKs ban on marijuana dispensaries Friday, January 14, 2011 http://www.rockindlaw.com/dearborn-heights-passes-ordinance-prohibiting-dispensaries/ =====

Adam Brook — long time Master of Ceremony for the Hash Bash — also spoke out against these ordinances, which I believe led to his arrest and incarceration for owning a gun which he inherited from his father or grandfather.

So here we are today just waiting for the Mega Grows to open: at which point the home growers will be thrown under the bus. I will leave it to the reader to read about what is about to happen to Cannabis in Michigan as the “big boys” move in to monopolize production and distribution. =====

===== LANSING — The medical marijuana industry is poised for explosive growth in Michigan. And new laws seeking to regulate, tax and legitimize the lucrative business have unleashed a torrent of cash at Lansing decision makers, sending dozens of lobbyists, lawmakers, legislative staffers and business owners scrambling for a piece of the billion-dollar enterprise.

All the jockeying is taking place under Michigan’s weakest-in-the-nation laws outlining government ethics, transparency and conflicts of interest. And it’s happening while Lansing awaits Gov. Rick Snyder’s appointment of a five-member board that will ultimately oversee licensing of the industry, raising questions about who will truly benefit from bringing pot to the mainstream.

The stakes are high: While medical marijuana revenues in Michigan are estimated at more than $700 million, if full legalization of marijuana happens, as it has in eight other states, the revenues could be enormous. Arcview Market Research, a California-based company that tracks the marijuana industry, reported $6.8 billion nationally in legal marijuana sales — both recreational and medicinal — in 2016, and projects the market to grow to $21.6 billion by 2021.

New medical marijuana laws set industry ‘on steroids’ http://www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2017/03/25/new-medical-marijuana-laws/99430088/

Medical pot draws rich, well-connected investors http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/03/25/medical-pot-marijuana-rich-investors/99415236/

===== * Registered medical marijuana users: 244,125 * Registered caregivers: 40,702 * Estimated sales with new medical marijuana regulations: $711 million * Estimated tax revenues with new law: $21 million * Number of plants for each class of medical marijuana growers: up to 500; up to 1,000; up to 1,500 * Product yield for single marijuana plant: Depending on the strain, 2 ounces to 2 pounds. * Price: $8 to $20 per gram, which would translate into a range of $448 to $18,140 worth of finished product from one marijuana plant.

Medical marijuana by the numbers http://www.freep.com/story/news/pol…

Medical pot: from ballot to regulated industry www.freep.com/story/news/politics/2…

=====

Medical pot laws ignite Lansing feeding frenzy http://www.freep.com/story/news/local/michigan/2017/03/25/medical-pot-laws-michigan/99250684/ =====

=====

The Future?

The dream of many of us Hippies — to be able to grow and sell without “tax, regulation and government control” — is fast becoming like the American Dream: you really have to be asleep to believe it.

Under “seed to sale” state governments and millionaire gangapreneurs are going to want every last penny that they lobbied for. So instead of many small growers supporting local communities we will see them herded into the criminal justice system for doing exactly the same thing the “big boys” will be doing: growing and distributing Cannabis. And let us not loose sight of how hypocritical this really is. The very same state governments that have been persecuting Cannabis Consumers/Producers — because Marijuana was so dangerous — are now going to become our New Drug Dealers. And the very same Hippies that optimized the the technology, hybridized new strains etc. will be going to jail. Please, let that sit in for a moment.

Between 2010 and 2012 the Hash Bash was overtaken by dispensary owners like Ream, 3rd Coast (Ypsi) and others. And because of that the last time I was allowed to speak was in 2010, following a speech by John Sinclair. You can watch the video here:

Hash Bash in Ann Arbor and the End of the War On Marijuana (2010) https://www.youtube.com/edit?video_id=TtmVsOg_XZw =====

===== This video contains speeches by John Sinclair and Bruce Cain with introductions by Hash Bash “Master of Ceremonies” Adam Brook. In the second year after Medical Marijuana became legal in Michigan we celebrate the 39th Annual Hash Bash in Ann Arbor Michigan. John Sinclair, the first speaker, is the actual reason the Hash Bash began. In 1970 he was persecuted, as a political prisoner of the state, after facing 10 years in Prison for the possession of 2 Marijuana Cigarettes. In December 1970 John Lennon, of the Beatles, came to Ann Arbor to hold a special concert to raise money for John Sinclair’s defense. Soon after John was free. Bruce Cain is the second speaker and is the author of the MERP Model for Marijuana Re-Legalization. Under this model all adults would be able to “grow their own” untaxed, unregulated and unlimited in the number of plants that they can grow. This is the ONLY way that the Mexican Drug Cartels can be defeated. It is the only way that the sick and the poor will be able to afford Marijuana. And it is the only way that the PIGS (Police Instigating “Grass” Stings) can be prevented from breaking into our homes . . . much like the British broke into the homes of the American Colonists. Both Cain and Sinclair support the right for Americans to grow their own Marijuana without taxation or regulation. We both would like to see Marijuana treated like Beer — where we can presently produce home brew — rather than “hard liquor” where you can purchase, but not produce, your own product.

It appears that NORML, DPA, MPP, Obama . . . and many other “interested” parties (e.g., the Rx and Tobacco industries) want to prevent Americans from “growing their own” in order to monopolize the market and charge $300 to $500 for an ounce of Marijuana when we could essentially grow it ourselves for free. It is worth noting that many members of State Chapters of NORML no longer agree with the “tax and regulate” model. The “tax and regulate” mantra is coming mainly from National Members of NORML, DPA and MPP.

Cain is urging American Citizens to recognize, that for the first time in US history, a majority of American voters now want complete legalization . . . including the right to grow our own.

Vast forces, including the Corporate Controlled Media, are trying to “manufacture consent” for a “tax and regulate” model that will prohibit any significant “self cultivation” in order to serve the greed of those most likely to monopolize the markets: large dispensaries, the federal government, the tobacco industry and the Pharmaceutical industry.

The Mainstream Corporate Media will not allow activists, such a Cain, Sinclair, Herer, Peron etc. explain what they see wrong with a “tax and regulate” model that does not allow self cultivation.

Hash Bash in Ann Arbor and the End of the War On Marijuana (2010) https://www.youtube.com/edit?video_id=TtmVsOg_XZw =====

That was the 15th(?) and last time that I spoke at the Hash Bash. And here is what I had to say about that in 2012.

====== Bruce Cain has been a long time activist who has always believed in the inalienable right of adults to grow their own Marijuana as well as other foods and herbs. He has spoken at 15 of the last 23 events but feels that the Hash Bash has been hijacked by those intent on “taxing, regulating and controlling” it for the benefit of monopolists like Steve DeAngelo of Harborside . . . who will be allowed to speak.

Here are some of the links cited in the video:

“The Obongo Song” for Marijuana Hypocrite Obama – YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S3iOHt1RKR8

I also found it unfortunate to hear your other Hash Bash planner, Charmie Gholson, expressing joy over that fact that they are busting white people. This is also unacceptable and some might even argue it to be racist in its own right. No one should be getting busted for growing or consuming Marijuana. Here is the podcast in which she makes the statement:

========================= Charmie Gholson-Comm. for a Safer Michigan, Caitlin Sampson by ROJS Radio Sat, March 3, 2012 At 43:00 Gholson states that she supports taxing Cannabis. Bad girl! At 46:00 It is good white people are getting arrested She is part of Able’s “Repeal Today” http://www.blogtalkradio.com/rojsra…

Why Bruce Cain is not being allowed to speak at 2012 Hash Bash https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PeOB6J6g2F8&t=16s =====

If you are a Cannabis consumer or producer you have every right to be pissed off at the current Hash Bash Promoters, the Pseudo Drug Reform organizations and your legislators. And don’t get excited by the two initiatives for 2018. Essentially, unless we act, the door on persona cultivation is shutting fast. The state wants the revenue and the “big boys” are going to be the sole providers to the local dispensaries. Small growers will obviously be thrown under the bus and treated like criminals. And the consumer will be paying through the nose for an herb they could grow themselve for perhaps $20/ounce. Instead you will probably be paying $60 and eighth and $350 per ounce.

So I will end this with links to proposed initiatives by MPP and MI_Legalize. Frankly I don’t know why they would even bother. And neither will do what we first set out to do in the late 1960’s:

* Erase all Marijuana offenses from judicial records. * Allow Marijuana consumers/producers to own a gun. * Allow adults to grow and sell their overage. * Stop the persecution of consumers/producers.

===== MI Legalize 2018: The People of Michigan’s Movement to Legalize Marijuana http://www.milegalize.com/ http://www.milegalize.com/read_the

March 22 Draft Ballot Language Michigan Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol https://www.facebook.com/notes/michigan-coalition-to-regulate-marijuana-like-alcohol/march-22-draft-ballot-language/280551502380931 =====

There is STILL a much better solution: MERP and the Tomato Model

Here are some notes on my MERP Model for legalization as it was in 2009. The basic plan is still better than most that I’ve read but it needs some revision. My web is long gone so this is what I’m left with. MERP is really just a version of what existed since the 60’s: Tomato Model, Hippie Distribution System. At the end of the day it was really structured to insure the “industry” would ALWAYS be dependent on local growers.

===== An Overview of the MERP Model for Marijuana Re-Legalization By Bruce Cain – submitted to NeuroSoup on July 20, 2009 http://www.neurosoup.com/an-overview-of-the-merp-model-for-marijuana-re-legalization/ =====

Frankly I would summarize my better solution this way in April of 2017.

Any adult should be able to have 2-4 1000 Watt lights per home. If you stay within these limits you can sell your overage and law enforcement will be reduced to the authority of a dead ghost on a bright sunny day. And of course you will still retain your 2nd Amendment right to own a gun. I still think THAT is the end game we should be fighting for. And please let me know if you agree. I would also encourage you to join my Facebook group in case I decide to throw my hat back in the ring of this insane “fools crusade.”

Bruce Cain’s Facebook Group https://www.facebook.com/groups/BruceCain2016/

Additional Links and Articles on the Hash Bash and Cannabis Policy:

Brad Forrester thread on competing Marijuana initiatives https://www.facebook.com/normlbrad/posts/1341595895961874?comment_id=1343570582431072&reply_comment_id=1345230525598411

More on MERP scattered throughout the web. Google [bruce cain merp] https://www.google.com/#q=bruce+cain+merp&*

===== Bruce Cain, Editor of “New Age Citizen,” talks about the history of Marijuana and how its prohibition is part of a larger Globalist agenda to push us towards a Post-Constitutional New World Order where inalienable rights are no longer guaranteed. He believes that both Obama and McCain have been selected to further this agenda and that citizens should stop legitimizing the “Election Charade” by writing in the names of 3rd Party and Independent Presidential Candidates. He further believes that the American People must organize to stop either candidate from pushing us further toward a Globalist New World Order when one of them becomes our next president in January 2009.

This lecture was given before a “live audience” at the Trumbull-Plex Theatre on Sunday, October 19th, 2008: just 2 weeks before the Presidential Election. The Trumbull-Plex Theatre is located in Detroit, Michigan. He was the featured speaker at this event that was celebrating that Michigan will most probably be the 13th State to Legalize Marijuana for Medicinal use. Bruce Cain encourages the distribution of this video in order to de-legitimize the 2008 Presidential Election and challenge the New World Order in 2009.

If nothing else it is a fact filled journey tracing the history of the animal kingdom’s consensual relationship with mind alterng drugs over the millennia. But it actually goes much further, tracing the role that Marijuana Prohibition has had in the building of a “Technological Cage” by which the New World Order is slowly stripping away the inalienable rights guaranteed by the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights.

Marijuana: Past, Present and Future from Bruce Cain November 2008 https://vimeo.com/2056650

=====

===== Bruce Cain Beyond the semantics it is rather clear that state legislators are taking what the people wanted (e.g., the ability to grow your own) and instead pushing forward with the corporate industrialization of Cannabis. All this is being done in order to trace all production from “seed to sale.” Of course in order to set up such a system it is pretty obvious that, at some point, they will “need” to smother out home growers.

A great case in point would be Michigan which passed one of the most liberal — thought not perfect — Medical Marijuana Initiatives in 2008. Ever since then our legislators have been carving away at that. And now they are setting up the Mega Grows to supply the dispensaries. And once “up and running” your caregivers (home growers) will no longer be able to supply dispensaries.

And once that occurs I predict increase raids on home growers using information from “card” registries and data mining smart meter readings/electrical usage. We are already seeing an uptick in states like CO where “tax and regulate” is further along than in Michigan. To put it in the simplest of terms: state governments smell the potential revenue and they want to be sure they capture all of that revenue. And by hook or by crook their incentive will be to further persecute those that continue to grow their own.

It is quite obvious that this “seed to sale” monopolization will have severe consequences for “home growers.” Since the 60’s millions have eeked out a living growing, trimming Cannabis. Once “seed to sale” is fully implemented these same millions will be left with “working for the man” at perhaps $10/hour and losing the accumulation of knowledge/wisdom that comes from maintaining a sustainable grow: cutting clones, maintaining mother plants, maintaining veg plants, maintaining bloom stage plants, optimizing output etc.

In the decades I have been involved in this “fools crusade” so much time has been spent on the semantics:

* Should we call our plant Marijuana or Cannabis?

* Should we talk about our plan as Legalization of by some other term.

I am a secularist like Jefferson who saw that, beyond the silly miracles, there was a lot of folk wisdom contained in the Bible. And this Bible quote seems quite relevant to the discussion:

God said, “See, I give you every seed-bearing plant that is upon all the earth, and every tree that has seed-bearing fruit; they shall be yours for food. Genesis 1:29

I have yet to see a version of this that states: “I give the corporations every seed bearing plant.”

Over the last 200 years we have seen the rise of the collectivist state.

* The Civil War effectively centralized federal authority.

* The Federal Reserve effectively put the control of our economy in the hands of globalist banks and corporations.

* The Drug War prevented us from growing our own herbs and medicines.

* If Hillary had won the TPP would have been passed and US sovereignty would have been subjugated to global elites (again global banks and corporations).

In all of this the individual has been relegated to a slave of the state. For 60 years small growers have supplied the market place with ample amounts of Cannabis. That system is what we have all been fighting for all of these years. And no matter how you want to slice it this outcome — the corporate industrialization of Cannabis — was NEVER the end game that we fought so hard for.

So regardless, of the semantics, our goal has always been to secure the rights of small growers. This has got to be one of the greatest “bait and switch” outcomes in recent history and it cannot stand. And there is no way you can characterize the corporate industrialization of Cannabis as “legalization” or whatever you want to define as our inalienable right to grow our own foods and herbs.

So at the end of the day — beyond the semantics — this has always been our goal: our inalienable right to grow our own foods and herbs.

Commentary on “What Legalization Wants” https://www.facebook.com/notes/mich… =====

The Terror Preceding 911: Rainbow Farm by Bruce Cain

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77b…

=====

So this lunatic Rick Jones wants sodomy laws and apparently he wants to sodomize us as well. When do we stop putting up with this bullshit?

“It’s time to get marijuana out of houses and put it somewhere else,” Sen. Jones said. “Let the pharmaceutical companies grow it and sell it in pharmacies.” https://www.facebook.com/notes/bruc… =====

Stopping the Michigan Legislatures War on Michigan Cannabis Consumers https://www.facebook.com/notes/bruc…

===== The Ride So Far Words and Music by Bruce W. Cain Copyright 2009

See you driving in you car How you like the drive so far babe? Will you travel very far? Or will the highway fade before your eyes?

You drive around so aimlessly Where was it you hoped to be now? Did you reach your destiny? Are you where you hoped to be today?

Chorus:

There must be a better way than this We need to talk about it They won’t even let us grow a weed It’s time to shout about it

Weed it just a symbol now Of those freedoms I hold sacred I wear this leaf to tell you now We’re here to take our freedoms back today

And all of us is all we need Peace on Earth is what we pray for The love you get will far exceed All the love you’ll ever give away

Refrain:

Come on, Come on, Come on baby Come on down and join the circle Come on little Goddess let’s get high

Come on, Come on, Come on baby Come on down and join the circle Come on everybody let’s get high

The Ride So Far https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKF…

Image may contain: 1 person, text

CONTINUE READING…

The stock markets will soon welcome a dispensary to the ranks of the publicly traded

January 13, 2016

Oakland Dispensary Shares To Be Publicly Traded

Following a brutal 2015 for marijuana stocks, the cannabis investment sector has something to smile about to start the new year. The stock markets will soon welcome a dispensary to the ranks of the publicly traded: Black Oak Gallery, better known as Blüm Oakland.

Blüm joins dispensary Kaya Shack in Portland, Oregon, a subsidiary division of a publicly-traded company, Kaya Holdings (KAYS). Kaya Shack opened in 2014.

But Blüm Oakland didn’t take the traditional route of selling shares to raise capital. Rather, the Oakland dispensary has announced it will merge with an already public company, Terra Tech Corp. (TRTC), an agricultural and cannabis cultivation company in Newport Beach, California, with a market cap of nearly $30 million.

“It’s very significant,” said Matt Karnes, president of GreenWave Advisors, a New York City-based cannabis consulting firm. “The fact that you have a dispensary that has to file financial disclosures and be transparent, that definitely helps the legitimacy of the industry.”

Karnes does not expect the SEC to oppose the deal, because Terra Tech has already stated in its filings that it plans to grow and sell marijuana. “They didn’t come back and ding it,” Karnes said. “I don’t expect them to block it.”

The emergence of publicly traded marijuana-touching businesses should also help reduce the leeriness that many institutional investors feel for the cannabis sector by providing them with companies that they can scrutinize.

“When a company has to file financial statements, it eliminates uncertainty,” said Karnes. “It could provide investors with a benchmark. They’ll have a company that they can compare to other marijuana companies that may go public.”

While Blüm’s soon-to-be publicly traded status is a major advance for the cannabis industry, the merger would also be a major milestone for Blüm’s owner Salwa Ibrahim, who hopes it will help the dispensary fulfill ambitions of expanding into other markets.

Ibrahim said Blüm and Terra Tech have already worked together to secure permits in Nevada for a venture known as MediFarm, which has several cultivation, processing, and dispensary sites in the state.

“It is our hope that we can continue to secure permits and to develop sustainable but successful operations in new markets opening up,” Ibrahim said in a statement. “We’re looking forward to bringing together the core teams of both companies and finding other capable operators in this growing industry to join with as we continue to further our business strategy.”

Under the agreement, Terra Tech will acquire 100% of Blüm’s outstanding shares plus its integrated supply chain, which consists of an onsite cultivation facility, proprietary strains, and retail storefront, the companies said in a statement. The deal is expected to close by March 31.

Blüm opened in November 2012 and had close to $15 million in revenue in 2015. The company sees almost 1,000 patients daily, and has about 42,000 registered patients in all.

Terra Tech bought Blüm for about 1.5-times forward-looking revenue – estimated to be about $14 million – for the 12 months after the merger closes, or about $21 million. To protect stockholders, 80% of the equity will be held in escrow subject to performance adjustments at the end of the 12-month term.

Terra Tech’s shares were up to 11 cents from nine cents on the news. The company had a 52-week high of 28 cents and a low of 8 cents.

Terra Tech CEO Derek Peterson said the merger gives his company more cash-flow and positions it to take advantage of the regulatory changes that will come with the implementation of California’s Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act in 2016 this March.

The states new regulations will for the first time allow for-profit marijuana businesses. Some of Terra Tech’s competitors are not likely to successfully navigate the licensing process, while they will increase the number of potential legal-market customers in the state. Also under the new regulations, vertically-integrated cannabis businesses which growing, extract, process and sell product will not be allowed – that is, unless that company was formed before July 1, 2015.

Terra Tech Corp also owns IVXX LLC, which produces medical cannabis-extracted products for regulated medical cannabis dispensaries throughout California, and Edible Garden, whose produce is sold in major grocery stores such as Shoprite, Walmart, and Krogers.

“As we continue to develop our long-term strategy in Nevada, it has always been our goal to also focus on near-term acquisitions that have immediate value to our stockholders,” explained Mike Nahass, Director of Terra Tech.

CONTINUE READING…

Kevin Sabet Is The Marijuana Movement’s Biggest Threat, But Can He Really Stop ‘Big Pot’?

By Joel Warner @joelmwarner j.warner@ibtimes.com on December 09 2015 8:02 AM EST

Judiciary Committee Holds Hearing, Drew Angerer, Getty

BETHESDA, Maryland — Kevin Sabet, the man Salon called the quarterback of the new anti-drug movement, the guy Rolling Stone labeled the No. 1 enemy of marijuana legalization, the 36-year-old political wunderkind whom High Times has declared the devil himself, takes the stage in a sprawling conference hall at the annual conference of the Association for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) and gazes with confidence over his audience. But what comes out of the mouth of the founder of the three-year-old nonprofit, Smart Approaches to Marijuana, or Project SAM, isn’t typical anti-marijuana rhetoric.

“We cannot be Reefer Madness 2.0,” he tells his audience. “We went overboard.” Sabet doesn’t suggest marijuana is a gateway drug, doesn’t resort to scare tactics like the “This Is Your Brain on Drugs" public service announcement from the 1980s. In fact, Sabet agrees with his pro-marijuana opponents on many matters. He’s opposed to harsh drug laws that have long criminalized people – mostly minorities – for smoking or possessing small amounts of marijuana. He concedes that components of marijuana might hold medical promise and wants the federal government to make it easier to study the plant. And, most strikingly, he concedes the war on drugs was a failure.

But he’s not willing to give up the fight. He’s launched a new war against marijuana legalization, one focused on a new bogeyman. “These are the guys who keep me up at night,” he says with dramatic flair during his presentation, clicking to a slide depicting not ominous drug dealers or disheveled hippies, but three slick-looking guys in suits and ties. They’re the co-founders of Privateer Holdings, a powerful marijuana private equity firm. (With his boyish, clean-cut looks and thickset frame swaddled in a jacket and tie, Sabet would fit in among the trio.)

“In my mind, legalization equals commercialization,” says Sabet, explaining that legal cannabis will lead to the rise of corporations whose bottom lines will be tied to promoting the use of an inebriating and habit-forming substance. Like the alcohol industry, these marijuana businesses will target excessive users. “This is the addiction business,” he says. “The industry has an incentive to encourage heavy use.” And like the tobacco industry, marijuana businesses will try to hook potential customers when they’re young – hence the growing ubiquity of marijuana-infused gummy bears and other candies.

It’s a compelling argument: Our country has already allowed the mass commercialization of two intoxicating substances, alcohol and tobacco, which together cause more than 500,000 U.S. deaths and $500 billion in social costs each year. Do we want to follow the same path for marijuana?

Now, more than ever before, the country may be ready to embrace Sabet’s line of reasoning. A legalization initiative in Ohio that would have granted an oligopoly to its deep-pocketed funders failed at the polls in November, but not before shifting the national dialogue around cannabis. Media outlets are reporting on the rise of “Big Pot" and marijuana advocates are bemoaning the fact that the country is entering a new era of cannabis reform in which “industry is taking over the legalization movement.” Sabet says the Ohio initiative has energized him and led to several new Project SAM donors.

"There’s a real tipping point here,” says Sam Kamin, marijuana law professor at the University of Denver. “It’s whether the industry runs this going forward or the policy wonks do. There’s real room for Sabet and others to say, ‘Let’s keep this from being tobacco and alcohol.’”

All it might take for the marijuana movement to lose ground is someone like Sabet, who has launched Project SAM chapters in three dozen states, to capture the hearts and minds of the people he calls “the marijuana middle,” the vast majority of Americans who don’t smoke pot but also don’t want to put people in jail for it. This could be why cannabis advocates are so antagonized by Sabet; maybe, deep down, they know he has a shot at stopping them.

But can Sabet even capture the hearts and minds of addiction specialists? At the end of his NAADAC conference presentation, he draws a hearty round of applause – from the 60 or so people in attendance. It’s a small fraction of the crowd the conference hall can hold.

The moderate turnout hints at the challenges that lie ahead for Sabet. While his kinder, gentler opposition to cannabis could be just what the anti-marijuana movement needs, with more than half of Americans now supporting legalization, are such efforts too little, too late? And if Sabet really has a realistic plan for marijuana that avoids both of hysterical excesses of the war on drugs and the corporate hazards of all-out legalization that the majority of Americans could get behind, why so often does it feel like he’s fighting this war all alone?

Driven to Compete

“Marijuana is more potent, it’s being marketed to kids, heavy use is at record highs … ”

It’s several hours before Sabet’s NAADAC presentation, and he’s hunched over a laptop in the 14th floor executive lounge of JW Marriot in downtown Washington, D.C. Through the lounge’s sweeping windows, the Washington Monument pierces the early morning sky. He’s prepping for several packed days of meetings and presentations, going over key talking points he has to hit not just at the addiction professionals convention, but in sit-downs with staff at the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, a drug court judge and other power players.

This is what Sabet does: He roves all over the country and beyond on the dime of the various policy groups that have invited him, hammering home key facts and figures. But right now he’s being extra diligent with his preparations. He only has three days here in D.C., where the future of national drug policy will be decided, before he’s off to his next excursion, to Ireland. It’s imperative he’s at the top of his game.

Usually the Kevin Sabet show is a solo operation, but this morning he’s joined by two Project SAM staffers, both recently hired. One is Jeff Zinsmeister, a former State Department narcotics affairs officer in Mexico who left a consulting job at Bain & Company to work for Project SAM. The other is Will Jones, who at 24 launched “Two Is Enough,” an organization that tried – and failed – to stop D.C.’s marijuana legalization initiative in 2012.

Zinsmeister and Jones look tired as they help Sabet finalize a PowerPoint presentation. At one point Jones makes a run for coffee. Sabet passes on the caffeine. He’s wide awake and ready to go, even though he got in late last night after a flight from Melbourne.

Sabet has always been like this: driven to compete, driven to win. “ The guy is always on,” says Zinsmeister. Buoyant and approachable, albeit well-versed enough in politics to stick to the script, Sabet likes telling stories of how he actively chats up hardened opponents, dismantling their assumptions of “the devil Kevin Sabet.” His wife Shahrzad, a postdoctoral fellow in international affairs at Harvard University, says she fell for him when they were both studying at the University of Oxford in 2004 because of his sincerity – “He totally wears his heart on his sleeve,” she says – compared to the slick alpha males she was used to at the institution.

But Sabet also has an aggressive side, one that arises and flourishes on the debate stage. His mentors vividly recall the moment when, at an Orange County, California, event, 17-year-old Sabet faced off against local Superior Court Judge James Gray and wiped the floor with the libertarian drug war critic. And his supporters speak in reverential tones of his ability to verbally spar with the marijuana movement’s most eloquent advocates. “He is probably one of the best debaters I have ever seen,” says Christine Miller, director of Project SAM’s Maryland chapter.

Sabet’s competitive streak was honed on the tennis courts of the upper-middle class southern California suburb in which he grew up. He was known for besting more powerful players who underestimated him, for thriving when all hope seemed lost. He did it all as a singles player.

“I hated doubles,” he says. “I didn’t want to let my partner down, and I wanted to rely on myself. I was going to go down alone or triumph in victory.”

His interest eventually shifted to another competition: Fighting marijuana. His crusade was inspired by a tragedy in high school. “A friend of his in school was killed in a drug-related car accident,” says his older sister, Mina Sabet. “He felt very passionate about it and wanted to find out the reason for it.” It’s the sort of anecdote that Sabet could use for political leverage, but he won’t go into details. “I don’t want to talk about my friend out of respect to the family,” he says.

The son of Iranian immigrants, avoiding alcohol and drugs was part of Sabet’s Baha’i faith growing up. But the stories his parents told of social injustices in their home country made him reluctant to fully embrace the strict criminal penalties of the war on drugs. “Our own family experienced persecution in Iran,” says Homa Tavangar, his older sister. “We grew up with a very strong sense of social justice, and taking a very big stand around issues like human rights.”

Becoming an anti-pot advocate at a young age was at times a lonely endeavor for Sabet, but it also got him noticed. “He always stood out,” says Robert DuPont, first director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse and one-time drug czar, who was one of Sabet’s mentors. “He was never like other people. You meet him and he is so clear on the issues, so outspoken, so against the stereotype.”

Launching Citizens for a Drug-Free Berkeley while an undergrad at the famed freewheeling school helped land Sabet a research job with President Bill Clinton’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, then another drug policy position under President George W. Bush. Finally he became a senior adviser to President Barak Obama’s first drug czar. He had high expectations for Obama’s marijuana policies. “I saw legalization coming down the pike, and I hoped this president didn’t get distracted by these really seductive arguments,” he says.

But instead there were setbacks, including the 2009 “Ogden Memo,” the Department of Justice notice that U.S. attorneys shouldn’t prosecute those in compliance with state medical marijuana laws, a memorandum that fueled dispensary industries around the country. According to Sabet, the memo blindsided the Office of National Drug Control Policy, triggering what he remembers as “pit in my stomach.”

The Ogden Memo was the turning point for Sabet. Marijuana advocates suddenly seemed more politically savvy, replacing buzzwords like “legalization” with more palatable options like “taxation and regulation.” In the fall of 2011, he left his job with the Obama administration to adopt his own approach to anti-marijuana advocacy. He recruited two contrasting heavyweights to his cause: Patrick J. Kennedy, the former Democratic U.S. representative from Rhode Island whose struggles with drugs and alcohol inspired him to become a steadfast anti-legalization proponent, and David Frum, a neoconservative speechwriter for George W. Bush. With their help, he launched what he titled “the third way” on marijuana policy, instead of outright criminalization or legalization.

“We had lost the middle,’” he says. “We had to rebrand.”

The Third Way

In January 2013, two months after Colorado legalized recreational marijuana, Sabet and Kennedy launched Project SAM in Denver. “We’re opening the doors to allowing a new, powerful industry to downplay the effects of a substance they will be profiting off of and to downplay the effects of addiction,” Sabet told the media at the time.

While the United States generally accepts big companies running major industries, Sabet argues a line should be drawn for potentially addictive products like marijuana. “Big Tobacco was a disaster for our country in terms of the marketing machine that was activated, while the government looked the other way for a century,” he says. “Do we want to repeat that with yet another substance? And one that in fact, unlike tobacco, produces intoxication and therefore leads to car crashes, workplace accidents, school dropouts and mental illness?”

Project SAM launch, REUTERS, Rick Wilking Former Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., (left) and Kevin Sabet at the 2013 launch of Project SAM.  Rick Wilking/Reuters

It’s why Project SAM opposes any form of legalization. But then what does the organization want in its place? Sabet has repeatedly promised to develop model laws, but so far, policy proposals encapsulating Project SAM’s preferred legal reforms, such as reduced marijuana arrests and increased public health campaigns and treatment options, haven’t materialized.

“What do they want as a policy?” says Tom Angell, chairman of the pro-legalization group Marijuana Majority. “They make these assertions, how it’s something in the middle, but it’s very vague.”

Sabet says his organization has been working with drug-law experts and political consultants on the matter, and Project SAM-backed policy initiatives are coming soon. “We have to go on the offense,” he says. “I am sick of saying, ‘Vote no, vote no.’ We want to be ‘yes.’”

Sabet insists these proposals will be a major shift from the punitive “War on Drugs” approaches of old, including policies he worked on as a White House adviser. But some of his opponents wonder if his evolution is simply political expediency. “For many, many years he was a major driving force behind jailing and demonizing marijuana users,” says Brian Vicente , a Denver marijuana attorney who co-authored Colorado’s 2012 legalization initiative. “Now that public opinion has shifted away from the drug war, he has attempted to rebrand himself as the ‘Smart,’ middle approach, without acknowledging his past.”

Then there’s the fallout Sabet predicted from the country’s first experiments with legalized marijuana, how he promised in 2014 that in Colorado, people should expect “criminal organizations to adapt to legal prices,” “our teens to be bombarded with promotional messages from a new marijuana industry seeking lifelong customers” and “the social costs ensuing from increased marijuana use to greatly outweigh any tax revenue.” Two years in, has the doom and gloom he foretold come to pass?

Marijuana Support Over Time | InsideGov

Sabet and others point to reports concluding that problems such as marijuana use among youth, cannabis-related hospitalizations and marijuana traffic deaths have all increased since Colorado legalized marijuana. But others argue these reports feature selectively parsed data to suit the authors’ purposes, and note that other studies indicate marijuana might lead to reduced driving fatalities and underage use.

The sky hasn’t fallen in Colorado or Washington State since marijuana became legal, concludes Jonathan Caulkins, a Carnegie Mellon University professor who studies marijuana policy. But that’s because, he says, it’s too soon to determine the social impacts of the policy change. He thinks that anyone who tries to spin the short-term data to either promote or condemn legalization is missing the bigger question: What happens years from now to the first generation to grow up not just with legalized but potentially mass-marketed cannabis?

“Only an idiot would predict that the problems would come in two years,” says Caulkins. “I think we are going to legalize this nationally, we are going to let Big Tobacco play, and 25 years from now we will say, ‘What were we thinking?’”

A Thousand Kevins

As his three-day Washington, D.C., junket progresses, Sabet and his two-person Project SAM entourage ping-pong from one appointment to the next. As an Uber driver transports the trio to the NAADAC conference, Sabet conducts a news interview with a British journalist over his cell phone while Zinsmeister and Jones tweak their boss’ conference slideshow. At the convention center in Bethesda, Maryland, the three grab granola bars and potato chips from a Starbucks to make do for lunch, then power-walk through the facility, looking for the right conference hall.

Throughout their exploits, there’s talk of money. Before the insurance association meeting, the three brainstorm as to how best ask for financial support. After Sabet’s NAADAC talk, Jones suggests they acquire a smartphone credit-card reader, so they can take donations from inspired audience members after future speeches. As they are driven through posh D.C. suburbs, they admire the sprawling residences, making cracks that “multimillion-dollar drug warriors” like themselves should get mansions like these.

Project SAM’s opponents have long wondered who is paying the nonprofit’s bills. Critics have scrutinized the fact that when Project SAM first launched, it received support from Community Alliances for Drug Free Youth, a California nonprofit that’s received funding from the Federal Drug-Free Communities Act, which means the organization could have a financial interest in preserving the country’s current drug policies and related grants. And they’ve pointed out that Project SAM appears to enjoy a cozy relationship with several local DEA task forces, which have long operated as an advance guard in the country’s war on drugs.

Sabet’s detractors also make note of the fact that Stuart Gitlow, an outspoken member of Project SAM’s board of directors, is the medical director for a pharmaceutical company marketing Zubsolv, a drug designed to treat opioid addiction, and that Robert DuPont, Sabet’s mentor, helps run a consulting firm specializing in drug testing management. Sabet himself was an advisory board member of the Drug Free America Foundation, an organization founded by Mel and Betty Sembler after they shut down STRAIGHT, Inc., a highly controversial drug treatment company. Drug manufacturers and drug testing companies are also major sponsors of anti-marijuana organizations like NAADAC. Could they be bankrolling Project SAM, too?

Sabet insists that his organization receives zero funding from pharmaceutical companies, drug-testing interests or the government, although some of his trips and talks have been financed by organizations that do. And while Project SAM hasn’t yet filed taxes for 2014 – the first year the 501c3 nonprofit was in operation – Sabet says that when it does, the records will show an annual operating budget of around $100,000, funded entirely by small donations and a few larger contributions from organizations like the Bodman Foundation and Patrick Kennedy’s Kennedy Forum. While recently new funding sources have allowed Project SAM to make two additional hires in Washington, D.C., the organization is still far from flush with cash. “On one hand, it’s a badge of honor how much we have done with so little,” says Sabet. “On the other, it’s kind of embarrassing.”

Project SAM’s financial situation isn’t just embarrassing; it also highlights just how much has changed since the days of bush-league cannabis activists going up against the war on drugs machine. In 2013, the Marijuana Policy Project posted $1.6 million in revenue, while the Drug Policy Alliance boasted over $9 million, and these organizations have used their coffers to outspend their opponents on major legalization initiatives by a factor of 10 or more. And while reporters now have a plethora of pro-marijuana spokespeople they can mine for comments on the importance of legalization, on the anti-legalization side, they mostly just have Sabet. While the head of Project SAM may be a capable spokesman, is his voice powerful enough?

“When we had the ‘Just Say No’’ press on drugs, we had the first lady leading the charge, and that’s powerful,” says Tom Gorman, director of the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area and longtime drug-war soldier. “The anti-legalization side doesn’t have that crusader that people are going to look to follow right now, and that’s a real deficit. Kevin’s not a radical; he is very reasonable; he is looking at the science, but he’s just Kevin Sabet trying to do the right thing.”

Late on his first day in Washington, D.C., Sabet returns to the JW Marriot’s executive lounge to unwind over a club soda. He doesn’t drink, but it’s clear the long day is getting to him. His polished talking points slip away, and anger seeps into his voice. But he’s not mad at pro-marijuana advocates, the ones he’s endlessly battling. He’s mad at anti-marijuana activists, or rather the lack thereof.

“I want there to be a thousand Kevins,” he exclaims. “There can’t be just one Kevin. Kevin is not going to be able to do this alone. Kevin can’t just do this year after year, he is going to have a heart attack.”

Running Out Of Time

After his D.C. lobbying trip, Sabet flies to Dublin followed by London for meetings and presentations, then he’s off to upstate New York for a fundraising event. After that, there are strategy meetings in San Diego, followed by a trip south to speak at a conference in Mexico before returning to New York City, where he lives with his wife Shahrzad. Sabet says his international work is partially about correcting misconceptions about U.S. policy, but also “advocates abroad [who] ask me to come to give a shot in the arm to their efforts.”

Through it all he’s prepping for 2016. At last count, there are more than a dozen legalization and medical marijuana initiatives being readied for state ballots next year. “Obviously, I think 2016 is important,” says Sabet. “If we can figure out the angles that are important and be smart about it and not shoot ourselves in the foot, as we often do, we have a shot.”

But even some of Project SAM’s staunchest supporters are starting to sound like they’re losing hope. “We are not as far as I would have expected us to be,” says Patrick Kennedy, the organization’s co-founder. “I am proud to be affiliated with Project SAM and doing what I can to help, but I am facing the same ambivalence and intransigence he is facing. It’s very disheartening.”

But Sabet, for one, won’t be giving up the fight. He’s a “happy warrior,” says Kennedy.

It’s like he’s back on the tennis court, begging his opponents to underestimate him, hoping to thrive when all hope seems lost. He’ll keep fighting to the end – even if he’s all alone. “This is deep in my veins,” says Sabet. “I feel like it is my calling.”

At one during Sabet’s D.C. junket, his packed schedule risks getting the best of him. He’s slated to appear on what he believes is a taped BBC News segment, but the car service that’s taking him, Zinsmeister and Jones to the television studio gets snarled in beltway gridlock. While they’re still several blocks away, Sabet gets a call from the studio: The segment is live, not taped, and cameras are rolling in just a few minutes.

The three scramble out of the car and take off. Zinsmeister and Jones look stressed, but not Sabet. Running down the sidewalk, he’s grinning, like he’s having the time of his life.

“We’re running out of time,” he says. “It’s a good analogy.”

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Marijuana for Millionaires

—By Kevin Drum

| Sun Nov. 1, 2015 2:31 PM EST

41128_424755311230_2510995_nYesterday a friend emailed to ask if I had any thoughts about Ohio’s Issue 3, which would fully legalize marijuana cultivation and sale in the state. Ohio? I barely pay attention to California, let alone Ohio.

But Issue 3 turns out to be surprisingly fascinating—or venal and repellent, depending on your tolerance for sleaze. Apparently one of the authors of the initiative came across a Rand report on marijuana written by a bevy of drug-policy worthies, and it offered up a dozen possible options for legalization. One of them is called "structured oligopoly":

It is natural to ask whether there is some way to get for-profit businesses to behave in the public interest. The answer is “Perhaps.”

….States might prefer instead to offer only a limited number of licenses, creating artificial scarcity that makes the licenses valuable—valuable enough that firms will have a strong incentive to cooperate with regulators rather than risk revocation….Limiting the number of licensees also makes monitoring their behavior easier. A rogue company could more easily break the rules if it were one of 1,000 licensees than if it were one of just ten.

….So a structured-oligopoly strategy might involve licensing a limited number of firms, monitoring them closely, and not being shy about rescinding a firm’s license if it behaves in ways contrary to the public interest.

This might not be your cup of tea, but let’s stipulate that it has some potential. How would you distribute these licenses? The straightforward approach is to auction them off for set periods. Unfortunately, this has a big drawback: it maximizes the payment for licenses, and thus minimizes the profit of the oligopolists. This is obviously vexing.

So how about this instead? Pick out ten rich friends. Each is required to put up $2 million to help pass a ballot initiative. In return, you promise to write the names of the investors directly into the initiative, giving them a perpetual and exclusive right to grow marijuana in the state of Ohio.1 In addition, you write a special, unalterable flat tax rate into the law, as well as a minuscule annual licensing fee. Now that’s an oligopoly you can believe in! Keith Humphreys, who brought this to my attention, has a few comments:

It has taken the alcohol industry decades of lobbying to roll back many of the restrictive, public health-oriented regulations established after the end of Prohibition. Booze industry executives must look with envy upon the emerging marijuana industry, which can use the ballot initiative process to achieve complete regulatory capture from day one.

….No one should be surprised that in a country with an entrepreneurial culture, a commitment to free markets, and a political system highly attuned to corporate donations, legalized marijuana would develop a significant corporate presence. Indeed, many drug policy analysts, including me, expected this to happen eventually. But the rate at which the change is happening is truly startling, and will become even more so if the Ohio initiative passes.

If the marijuana industry ends up being a clone of the tobacco industry, will legalization supporters experience buyers’ remorse? It depends who you ask.

Well, you could ask me. I don’t care what they’re legalizing. This stinks. It’s crony capitalism without even a veneer of decency, and if it applied to anything else nobody would have the gall to ever let it see the light of day. If this is the price of pot legalization, count me out.

1Technically, no names are actually in the initiative. Instead, it limits marijuana cultivation to ten specific parcels of land that are owned by the ten investors. Also, individuals are allowed to cultivate small amounts for their own recreational use if they get a licence.

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6 Stories That Prove You Can Still Be Arrested For Growing Marijuana In Colorado

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By TNM News on October 9, 2015 Latest Headlines, Legal, News Feed

Although it may be “Legal” in some way, some operations for making your own marijuana are being targeted by both the Federal and State governments. Much like the law that you cannot make and distribute your own alcohol without the proper licensing and adhering to certain guidelines, the Marijuana industry follows suit.

Fox31 Denver Reports:

DENVER — 20,000 marijuana plants, 700 pounds of dried weed and more than 30 guns, all found right out in the open.

“You see a group of people who are actually actively engaged, farming the marijuana. So that means there are tents, cookhouses. There are irrigation systems in place. There’s a lot of pesticides,” said United States Attorney for the District of Colorado John Walsh.

The busts started Aug. 19 and spanned the state of Colorado as listed below. Six of them took place through Thursday.

Pike National Forest, Aug. 19 in the Green Mountain Area in Jefferson County. Investigation is ongoing.

Law Enforcement Officers from the U.S. Forest Service, Department of Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office and the Colorado National Guard Joint Counter Drug Task Force joined together to complete an eradication of an illegal marijuana grow site in the Pike National Forest. The eradication team collected more than 3,900 plants and over 3,000 pounds of irrigation pipe, pesticides, flammable liquids, camping gear and trash.

Routt National Forest, Aug. 28, Buffalo Pass Area in Routt County, two arrested.

Law Enforcement Officers from the U.S. Forest Service, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and the Routt County Sheriff’s Office joined together to eradicate an illegal marijuana grow site located in the Buffalo Pass area, northeast of Steamboat Springs. The eradication team collected approximately 1,000 plants and removed camping gear from the site. Further, a handgun was found. Additional site clean-up of trash and other items will be ongoing by the U.S. Forest Service. Two Mexican Nationals in the country illegally were arrested.

Private Land, Sept. 1, Cotopaxi and Westcliffe in Freemont and Custer County. 20 people arrested.

A DEA-led task force executed eight search warrants in Cotopaxi and Westcliffe as part of a major drug trafficking organization investigation. Agents and officers found well over 1,000 marijuana plants, 50 pounds of dried marijuana, 28 firearms, and $25,000 in cash. The investigation and seizures resulted ultimately in the arrest of 20 individuals, many from Cuba, acting in an organized manner according to investigators. Those arrested were growing the marijuana in Cotopaxi and Westcliffe, and then either driving or using UPS to get it to Florida.

San Isabel National Forest, Sept. 7, Cordova Pass Area northwest of Trinidad in Huerfano County, two arrested.

Hunters discovered an illegal marijuana grow site located in the Cordova Pass area approximately 40 miles northwest of Trinidad. The eradication team collected more than 11,700 plants as well as irrigation pipe, pesticides, flammable liquids, camping gear and trash. The U.S. Forest Service and Huerfano County Sheriff’s Office are working together to identify the individuals. The cultivation site spread across 10 acres with some of the growing areas above 10,000 feet in elevation. The overall grow area included a kitchen structure, three sleeping areas and a rifle. Two men were arrested at one of the campsites within the cultivation area.

Bureau of Land Management land, Sept. 15, along the Dolores River corridor between Gateway and Naturita in Montrose County, four arrested.

BLM Rangers discovered more than 1,200 fully mature marijuana plants, many exceeding six feet tall, along with 211 kilograms of dried marijuana and a rifle. Because of the size of the operation, officers spent two-and-a-half days eradicating and removing the plants. The rangers arrested four Mexican nationals who were on-scene and believed to be working the grow site.

Bureau of Land Management land, September 30, also along the Dolores River corridor between Gateway and Naturita in Montrose County, six arrested.

Law enforcement officers identified a marijuana grow site, also along the Dolores River. Evidence of at least 1,000 marijuana plants appeared recently harvested with approximately 69.6 kilograms of processed marijuana still on site. The rangers arrested one Honduran and five Mexican nationals at or near the site.

“We think this is being grown in Colorado to be shipped all around the United States to states where it’s not legal,” said Walsh.

Some grows discovered by hikers and hunters, others uncovered by law enforcement. Walsh calls operations like these a multifaceted problem.

“A major concern is this marijuana is worth a lot of money and there may be violence in connection with protecting it. It’s causing Colorado to be a source state for marijuana for other states that don`t want our marijuana. Its creating environmental damage in our mountains. Its creating safety problems in our mountains,” Walsh said.

32 people are now in custody in connection with these illegal operations

Some face up to life in prison.

Walsh has one message for anyone who thinks because weed is now legal in the state, they can just come in and grow it.

“You are not going to stay long in Colorado because you are going to be in a Federal prison somewhere,” he said.

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