Tag Archives: dispensaries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CONTINUE READING…

Marc and Jodie Emery arrested in Toronto amid marijuana dispensary raids across Canada

Police raid a Cannabis Culture marijuana dispensary in Vancouver, B.C. on March 9, 2017.

 

By Adam Miller Online Journalist  Global News

Marc and Jodie Emery, Canada’s self-proclaimed “Prince and Princess of Pot,” have been arrested in Toronto ahead of coordinated raids at their Cannabis Culture marijuana dispensaries across the country.

The couple’s Vancouver-based lawyer, Kirk Tousaw, said the marijuana activists were arrested at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport Wednesday night and were being held in custody while awaiting bail hearings Thursday.

The Emerys own 19 Cannabis Culture marijuana dispensaries across Canada and Toronto police said Thursday they had executed 11 raids in connection with an investigation targeting the dispensaries — dubbed Project Gator.

Five Cannabis Culture locations in Toronto, one in Hamilton and one in Vancouver were raided and police said a total of five people had been arrested across the country in connection with the investigation.

Vancouver police confirmed to Global News they had raided one Cannabis Culture location in the city in conjunction with the Toronto police investigation. The Ottawa Cannabis Culture dispensary raid was reportedly not connected with the investigation.

Toronto police said they are still determining what charges will be laid, but said search warrants were also executed on two Toronto residences, one in Vancouver and one in Stoney Creek, Ont.

“Make no mistake, this is not about public safety. This is not about protecting the public,” Tousaw said in a statement.

“There is no harm being done by the production and sale of cannabis, for medical or recreational purposes, in storefront dispensaries.”

Marijuana legalization activists Amy Brown and Tracey Curley told Global News outside a Toronto courthouse Thursday they believed the Cannabis Culture locations were being “simultaneously raided.”

“From what we understand, is that various owners of Cannabis Culture franchises are now being arrested,” Curley said.

“Britney Guerra, the owner of Cannabis Culture Hamilton, was just recently arrested at her house in Hamilton.”

Curley said Cannabis Culture franchise owners Chris and Erin Goodwin were also “confronted by police” at the Toronto courthouse while they were waiting to provide bail money for the Emerys.

“They were arrested on site for possession for the purpose of trafficking,” she said. “[We are] a little shocked that it’s happening so fast and so quickly and so many people being affected right now.”

Brown said the arrests of franchise owners were “heartbreaking” but would not affect the operation of the dispensaries going forward.

“The cannabis industry is not going to change. It’s a small bump in the cannabis industry,” she said. “I’m assuming Cannabis Cultures will be back open in the next day or so.”

The Emerys were reportedly travelling to Barcelona, Spain to attend cannabis expo Spannabis, according to a Facebook post by Marc Emery.

Jodie Emery previously said she intended to open her latest location in Ottawa, just steps from the Parliament Buildings.

The 32-year-old recently appeared as a guest on AM980’s The Pulse with Devon Peacock after London Police raided five dispensaries in the city last Thursday.

The raids carried out by London Police took place two days after Bill Blair, former Toronto police chief and current parliamentary secretary to the minister of justice, came to London to visit with police leadership and city officials to discuss a regulatory framework for legalizing marijuana in Canada.

In December, 10 people were arrested by police in Montreal after raids on six newly opened Cannabis Culture dispensaries.

In May 2016, Toronto police raided dozens of marijuana dispensaries in the city, seized hundreds of kilograms of marijuana and laid more than 250 charges under an investigation dubbed Project Claudia.

Toronto police said at the time the raids were due to concerns over the “rapid increase of opening of illegal dispensaries” and the “lack of quality control” that could affect public health and safety.

CONTINUE READING AND SOCIAL MEDIA

Marijuana can be covered in pesticides, fungi, and mold — even if it’s legal

marijuana weed pot 2

There is no known lethal dose of marijuana, which means it can’t kill you. But the stuff that gets sprayed or grows organically on pot buds can.

Studies show that marijuana sampled across the US carries unsafe levels of pesticides, mold, fungi, and bacteria. Earlier this year, Colorado recalled hundreds of batches that tested positive for banned pesticides.

It’s unclear how much cannabis, whether purchased legally in a dispensary or bought from a college roommate’s cousin’s friend, is at risk. But as the industry goes mainstream, experts suggest it’s time legal weed gets quality assurance.

Educating consumers on what they’re smoking might be the first step, according to scientists at Steep Hill Labs, a leading cannabis science and technology firm in Berkeley, California.

In 2016, Reggie Gaudino, vice president of scientific operations at Steep Hill, set out on a scientific experiment. He visited three brick-and-mortar dispensaries in the Bay Area and bought at least five samples of cannabis flower from each.

In order to decide which strains to buy, he asked cashiers, called “budtenders,” for their recommendations. He also chose the strains with the highest percentage of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Many patients choose that option from the menu because they believe it will get them the most high, or give them “the most bang for their buck,” Gaudino explains.

It’s unclear if the dispensaries he visited test their products for contaminants at third-party labs — a practice that’s becoming more common as states with newly legalized cannabis roll out regulations.

When Gaudino took the samples back to the lab, he found that 70% of the samples tested positive for pesticide residues. One-third of samples would have failed pesticide regulations in the state of Oregon, which has the most sophisticated system for pesticide-testing of the seven states with fully legalized marijuana.

Fifty percent of the samples that tested positive for pesticides also contained Myclobutanil, a fungicide treatment commonly used on California grapes, almonds, and strawberries. When digested, it’s harmless. But when heated, the chemical turns into hydrogen cyanide, a gas that interferes with the body’s ability to use oxygen normally.

The central nervous system, cardiovascular system, and pulmonary system (lungs) start to fail when exposed to high concentration of the gas.

The news isn’t quite as alarming as it sounds. Donald Land, chief scientific consultant at Steep Hill, tells Business Insider that most people would not be susceptible to falling ill after inhaling a few spores.

However, someone whose immune system is weakened — like a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy or a person infected with HIV — is much more vulnerable to infection upon inhaling contaminated cannabis. Basically, the people who stand to benefit the most from medical marijuana are also the most vulnerable.

The results of Gaudino’s study have yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal, though Gaudino tells us a white paper is in the works. The lab plans to test an array of other marijuana products, like concentrates and oil cartridges for vaporizer pens, before publishing.

Land and Gaudino explain that, for the most part, the industry is doing the best it can to provide safe pot.

There is no framework on the federal level that dictates how cannabis should be tested or what threshold constitute a failing grade. Most growers and dispensaries in states with legalized marijuana have to hold themselves accountable for verifying the safety of their product.

Some pay third-party labs like Steep Hill to analyze their product for pesticides and contaminants, but most only want to know the THC content of a given strain, Land says. The more potent the weed, the more they can charge for it.

Fewer than 20 states offer some form of testing, according to estimate provided by Land. The states that offer the most widely available marijuana, including California, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, have testing facilities — but they don’t all require testing, and regulations can vary on a local level.

More research is needed to understand the health concerns associated with cannabis. Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, making it difficult for scientists to acquire the funding and samples needed for study.

In the meantime, Land suggests marijuana patients and recreational users take responsibility for their health by asking their budtender to see a lab report on the strain they wish to buy. They can compare the results with Oregon’s publicly available threshold levels for safe cannabis.

Even if you can’t make out what the report means, the dispensary’s ability to provide documentation is “absolutely better than nothing,” Land says.

CONTINUE READING…

As Marijuana Goes Mainstream, California Pioneers Rot in Federal Prison

Luke Scarmazzo and Ricardo Montes opened a dispensary in Modesto. Now they’re doing 20 years in federal prison. Their families want them home.

By Angela Bacca / AlterNet

April 13, 2016

Behind the headlines about President Obama’s historic visit to federal prisons and highly publicized releases of non-violent drug offenders, the numbers tell a different story. Despite encouraging and receiving more clemency petitions than any president in U.S. history—more than the last two administrations combined, nearly 20,000very few federal prisoners are actually being granted clemency.

Nowhere is this irony more glaring than in the world of legal cannabis. Cannabis is now considered the fastest-growing industry in the nation, yet remains federally illegal. The sea change from the Department of Justice since 2009 has allowed state-legal cannabis industries to thrive. Federal solutions seem to be around the corner and for the first time cannabis businesses are being publicly traded and receiving legal Wall Street investment.

Ricardo Montes and Luke Scarmazzo are two of the 20,000 federal prisoners appealing to President Obama for clemency. They have exhausted their appeals and are serving 20-year mandatory minimum sentences for openly running a dispensary in the early days of California’s pioneering medical cannabis law. The irony isn’t lost on them that their crimes are now legal and profitable, but their appeals for clemency aren’t based on justice anymore—they just want to be home with their kids. Their daughters, Jasmine Scarmazzo, 13, and Nina Montes, 10, are appealing directly to President Obama to release their fathers via a Change.org petition.  

Nina and Jasmine

Nina Montes is in fifth grade. She is a straight A student who loves math and wants to be a doctor when she grows up. She was just four years old when her dad went to prison. “All I remember is the cops coming and taking him away from me on my birthday,” Nina says. She has always dreamed that her father would be released on her birthday, May 15.  

“It is really sad and it makes me cry [when I visit my dad in prison],” Nina says. “I cry when the time is over and we have to go because we only get three hours, maybe two.”

Nina gets to visit her father once every two months at FCI Lompoc, a five-hour drive from her home in Modesto, Calif.

“All I know is he made a mistake and I don’t think he should be owing that [much time],” Nina says.

Federal prisoners must purchase minutes in order to use phones. They are allowed up to 300 a month and calls are limited to 15 minutes each. Ricardo Montes says he tries to call every other day, sometimes every day, but he has to share his limited phone time between his three children.

“I try to speak to all of them, Nina is the oldest so I have more of a conversation with her. She is at the age now where I can actually explain why I am here,” Montes says. “She didn’t know for a long time. She really doesn’t understand when I explain to her what I did. She’s like, there are still other dispensaries open, why aren’t they going to jail? I told her I have no answer for that.”

Jasmine Scarmazzo is in the eighth grade and loves to debate. Inspired by her father’s case, she says she wants to be a criminal attorney when she grows up. She is increasingly confused as to why her dad is still in prison.

“There were so many tears,” Jasmine says, remembering the day Scarmazzo and Montes were sentenced. “My mom said, your dad got 20 years in prison; I didn’t really comprehend how long that was, I just knew I wasn’t going to see him for a long time. I knew why [he was going to prison]—because of the dispensary—but I was so confused, why is he going to prison if he is helping people?”

Jasmine remained confused until about the age of 8, when she started learning more about federal and state government in school and how it applied to her father’s case.

Over the years legal dispensaries have popped up, not just in Modesto, but across the country. Today marijuana companies are publicly traded and driving legal and profitable Wall Street investment in a handful of states.

“It makes me feel confused, once again, as to why our system is only holding certain people who are doing the same thing in 2016 and are free, and my dad’s in prison,” Jasmine says.  

“Being in prison makes us miss the small normal things that a father and daughter share,” Luke Scarmazzo says. “I don’t get to be there to encourage her successes or console her when she fails or has a bad day. I don’t experience the little things like what she doesn’t like for breakfast or who her friends are. These are attributes that a dad should know and often take for granted, but because of our limited communication, I have to rush to talk to her about the larger mile-markers in life.”

Crime and Punishment

Scarmazzo and Montes opened the California Healthcare Collective in 2004, when they were both 23 years old. Although California became the first medical cannabis state by voter initiative in 1996, dispensaries didn’t begin to appear until the early 2000s, primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area. The state legislature passed S.B. 420 in 2003 to provide basic guidelines for state-legal medical cannabis cultivation and distribution. After the law went into effect on Jan. 1, 2004, more dispensaries began to open, but mainly in San Francisco and Los Angeles. CHC was the first in the Central Valley and served a patient base accustomed to driving an hour or more west to San Francisco and Oakland to obtain safe access under the law.

Montes says there was a clear need for a dispensary in the Central Valley. One local doctor writing cannabis recommendations had said up to 70 percent of his patients, many with cancer, were making regular trips to the Bay Area to access cannabis.

“We were the only ones open and we helped a lot of patients who were sick and couldn’t travel,” Montes says. “It was actually a good thing for the Central Valley… but [local law enforcement and then-mayor Jim Ridenour] didn’t see us as helping people out, they saw us as young kids making money and selling a narcotic drug. We tried to help people. We paid a lot of sales tax [over $1 million], but in that town it doesn’t matter.”

Modesto is largely an agricultural city located about an hour south of Sacramento, the state capital, and about an hour east of the San Francisco Bay. At 9.6 percent in 2015, the city has nearly twice the national average unemployment. Modesto, and the rest of the Central Valley, has consistently ranked high among the highest unemployment averages in the nation.

At the height of its operation, the collective employed up to 14 people.

“The people of the Central Valley are a hard-working, mostly blue-collar community and they don’t earn very high incomes compared to the rest of California,” Luke Scarmazzo says. “Many didn’t have the extra money to regularly make the 100-plus mile commute [to a legal storefront]. The patients that couldn’t afford to travel to the Bay Area before CHC opened were forced to break the law and purchase their recommended medication from the illicit market. It was a terrible hardship on so many levels.”

The dispensary was legal under state law, but as is it still is today, federally illegal. Although many have interpreted the 10th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution to leave the regulation of medicine to the states, the federal government affirmed its dominance over state medical cannabis programs in the controversial 2005 Supreme Court decision Gonzalez v. Raich. The federal government argued that because cannabis grown for personal consumption could wind up on the interstate market, the federal government had the authority to enforce federal commerce laws to control state-legal medical marijuana despite voter-approved or supported state legislation.

On Sept. 27, 2006—Jasmine’s fourth birthday—CHC was raided and Scarmazzo and Montes were taken into custody. In 2006, U.S. Attorney McGregor Scott referred to the pair as the “poster children” for the problems with medical marijuana.

“These were drug dealers selling marijuana. This case is that simple,” Scott told the press. He cited $9.2 million in gross sales over two years of operation as evidence the collective was operating for-profit, in opposition to S.B. 420, which required medical cannabis collectives operate not-for-profit.

Gross sales paint an inaccurate picture of actual income and are irrelevant to defining a not-for-profit enterprise. Further, they aren’t completely accurate under state law. Gross sales reflect the total revenues generated before expenses such as labor, security, overhead, legal fees, and perhaps most relevant, cost of goods sold. Under California law, collectives can be reimbursed for their expenses and donations are made to continue the service of cultivating and distributing cannabis to patients. Technically, the numbers reflect gross donations made to the collective before expenses.

Despite what federal prosecutors decried as over-the-top executive compensation, it is not illegal or unheard of that a director at a non-profit could make over $100,000 annually in personal compensation while the business remains a non-profit. Top directors at United Way make just as much and are unquestionably considered not-for-profit.

Scarmazzo and Montes were found guilty of conspiracy, distribution and cultivation of marijuana. 

As Luke Scarmazzo wrote for Kindland.com, “we were also charged with conducting a continuing criminal enterprise (CCE), a Nixon-era drug kingpin offense that carries a 20-year mandatory minimum sentence. No medical marijuana dispensary operator has ever been convicted under this fearsome statute. It has historically been reserved for cartel leaders and international drug kingpins. In fact, the charge is so rarely used that only 0.02 percent of inmates in the U.S., that’s 427 of them, are serving sentences for CCE.”

The FBI defines CCE in terms of membership and leadership, organizations with six or more people, one of which is a primary organizer, involved in organized crime or significant racketeering activity. Scarmazzo and Montes are the only state-legal dispensary owners to be convicted of CCE.

On May 15, 2008—Nina’s third birthday—Scarmazzo and Montes were sentenced and taken into custody. Scarmazzo was sentenced to 21 years and 10 months, Montes to the 20-year mandatory minimum.

Six months later Barack Obama was elected president. Shortly after he took office, in 2009, then-Attorney General Eric Holder released what is now known as the Ogden Memo, outlining the administration’s position in regards to state-legal medical cannabis; the feds said they were backing off compliant cannabis businesses and non-profits in legal states. The new position seemed to be a complete shift from the George W. Bush administration’s strong position against state legal medical cannabis. Cannabis businesses began to pop up all over California and Colorado.

Since Obama took office, four states and Washington D.C. have legalized adult use cannabis and 24 states have legal whole plant medical cannabis programs. In 2013, shortly after Colorado and Washington voters approved legalization initiatives, the Department of Justice issued the Cole Memo, which stated that, for the most part, the DOJ would not use its resources to enforce federal laws in states that had voted to legalize medical or adult use marijuana. Large-scale grow operations are now legal and profitable in many states. These states have not just legalized and regulated, they have taken in hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenues.

Today, Harborside Health Center in Oakland boasts over $25 million in gross annual sales. Blum, also in Oakland, recently became the first publicly traded dispensary with an initial valuation of $21 million based on $14 million in gross annual sales when it was acquired by Terratech Corporation. Privateer Holdings, owners of a portfolio of brands including Leafly.com, received the largest infusion of Wall Street capital of any marijuana business to date, $75 million. According to Weedmaps.com, there are four dispensary storefronts operating in the city of Modesto today and over 30 more mobile delivery services in the area.

Scarmazzo and Montes have watched all the legislative change around them from behind bars.

“I have mixed emotions when I read the headlines regarding legal marijuana,” Scarmazzo says. “On one hand, I’m happy to see the progress that is being made, research being conducted and the injustices being addressed. Marijuana in the context of criminal justice reform is something we desperately need in this country. On the other hand it’s extremely frustrating. With almost a decade served in prison, we’ve seen our freedom taken, our properties forfeited and our families lost, for business activities that are essentially legal now and taking place everyday throughout the country. Yet, we continue to struggle through this lengthy mandatory sentence. It’s hard to wrap my mind around sometimes.”

“It’s upsetting because when I got arrested I was young, I was only 26 years old, I thought I was doing something right by following state law,” Montes says. “So by exercising my rights and going to trial to fight for my innocence, they punished us severely. I have no action, so to me when I see that it’s a kick in the face. What did I do wrong?”

Selective Prosecution

Search the name “Luke Scarmazzo” online and the first thing that pops up is a Youtube video called “Kraz-Business Man.” The video depicts scenes of Scarmazzo in a courtroom arguing that his medical cannabis business is legitimate and in alternate scenes smoking blunts and counting cash. Midway through the video he turns his middle finger to the camera and raps, “Fuck the Feds.” The video was an undeniably dumb move for a man running a state-legal medical cannabis dispensary in unchartered territory in the earliest days of Prop. 215, though hardly a crime. The video was introduced as evidence against Scarmazzo and Montes in court.

Twelve years later, Montes and Scarmazzo are in their mid-30s and their daughters are growing up without them. 

“My daughter, Jasmine, was four years old when I was arrested. Ricardo’s daughter, Nina, was two. Today they are entering high school and junior high school, respectively,” Luke Scarmazzo wrote for Kindland.com. “They have spent much of their young lives growing up without their fathers. The impact is visible and saddening. According to a 2014 Rutgers University study, one in 28 children in the USA currently have an incarcerated parent. These children have a greater chance of living in poverty and an increased risk of experiencing serious mental-health issues.”

With all appeals exhausted, their only hope of early release is for President Obama to grant them clemency. Their applications are one of over 20,000 the administration has received. Jasmine and Nina hope that by appealing to supporters around the country via the petition they can ultimately reach President Obama.

“My dad is a good man. He made a mistake, but he is very sorry for it,” Nina says. “President Obama has two daughters. I don’t think they would like it if he went to prison for 20 years. His daughters would be miserable and want him home—he would want to come home too. That’s the exact same way I feel.”

“As we do time we realize our mistakes. Ignorance of the law is no excuse; at the time I didn’t understand federal law and how it trumps state law,” Montes says. “Now I understand it’s illegal federally. When I was young I didn’t understand that. We all make mistakes. Hopefully he could forgive our mistakes.”

“I’ve made some big mistakes in the past, ones that have greatly affected those closest to me, and I’m fully responsible for those poor decisions. But I ask for a second opportunity to prove I can make a positive impact, and most importantly, return to being a responsible father to a little girl that means the world to me,” Luke Scarmazzo says.

Sign the Change.org petition, “President Obama, Free Our Dads.”

Angela Bacca is a Portland, Oregon-based writer, photographer and medical cannabis patient. She has been published in Cannabis Now, SFCritic Music Blog, Skunk Magazine, and West Coast Cannabis, among others. 

CONTINUE READING…

 

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

 

Ninth Circuit Affirms Convictions of Two Modesto Men for Growing and Selling Marijuana

Modesto Marijuana Collective Owners Convicted

I Am Serving 20 Years For Opening a Medical Cannabis Dispensary

Marijuana Advocates Continue to Challenge Feds’ Authority

NANETTE GONZALEZ FOR LA WEEKLY

A team of attorneys is challenging federal authorities’ right to crack down on California marijuana dispensaries. They lost a courtroom battle this week.
See also: Weed’s Federal Battle in California Remains Uphill.
A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit denied the challenge, essentially ruling that, despite California’s own medical marijuana laws, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration can still bust pot shops because cannabis is fully illegal under federal law.
However, …
… there is still hope.
The panel noted that “a prior holding of this court may only be overturned through en banc consideration.”
What that means is that a hearing of the matter before the entire, 11-judge court was seemingly encouraged, and a spokesman for the plaintiffs, Matthew Kumin, says they’ll apply for just that next week.
On top of that, he says, if they lose before the entire court, there’s always the U.S. Supreme Court.
These people are serious.
The case, Sacramento Nonprofit Collective et al v. Eric Holder et. al, challenges federal authority to bust pot shops in light of “ambiguous” federal guidelines (the so-called Ogden memo that de-emphasizes medical prosecution) and in light of the DEA’s seemingly illogical classification of cannabis as a top-level outlaw with no medical uses.
The court said there’s “no clear inconsistency between the Government’s current and prior positions.”
Kumin says the plaintiffs’ team of seven attorneys will keep on keepin’ on.
“It doesn’t end,” he says, “because you lose an battle on important civil rights issue.”
Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Dennis Romero on Twitter at @dennisjromero. Follow LA Weekly News on Twitter at @laweeklynews.

CONTINUE READING….

Illinois cannabis patients cannot be discriminated against by employers

 

 

Blueberry Gum2

 

On December 10th the National Law Review

published an article written by Vedder Price in which

they give some clarification of the Illinois Medical

Marijuana Law.

On august 1, 2013 Governor Pat Quinn signed the

“Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot

Program Act”.

One of the most disturbing provisions to me is the

fact that a patient CANNOT grow their own medicine. 

It must be dispensed (and paid for) at a legally

licensed dispensary.

However, one good thing that is included in the

“Act” was in regards to an employment related

issue. Under the “Act” it would be unlawful to

discriminate against an employee or applicant based

upon their medical cannabis use, provided is legally

prescribed and obtained.

It would seem that legalization has opened up doors

in all commerce ventures across the country and

worldwide.  The problem is the legalization itself has

opened up a whole new door for criminalization.

As the product of “Cannabis” is patented, grown,

produced, sold and exchanged over the stock

market all around the world, the doors of the new

prisons will be opening for those of us who might

not choose to abide by their “growing standards”.

Each state law is markedly different and continuously

changing amid the stress of a newly marketed item. 

But the bottom line is legalization equals regulation

and taxation which we are seeing now amid the

hustle and bustle of the “legalizing states”.

There will indeed be much money to be made. 

Jobs will be created.  People will have access to

Cannabis – IF deemed necessary by thier doctor,

and the “law”.

Just like the opiate wars which we are living in every

day, which would include all Pharmaceutical Opiates

which are marketed through Pharmacy’s and

regulated by law therefore creating a black market

for them by law of supply and demand (via

addiction), so will the war on Cannabis continue,

long after it is “legal”.  The only difference is that the

Cannabis is not addictive like other opiates and that

is and will continue to be the saving factor in this

rude scenario of “legalization”.

Below are some links of information on the legalization process.

 

HALF BAKED:  THE FEDERAL AND STATE CONFLICTS OF LEGALIZING MEDICAL MARIJUANA  (2012)

THE NATIONAL LAW REVIEW (2013)

FINDLAW.COM