Tag Archives: marijuana

Moving Beyond Cannabis Culture: An Interview with Jodie Emery

By Jon Hiltz on March 23rd, 2017 at 8:20 am

6 ways

 

It’s impossible to look at the history of marijuana activism in Canada and not think of Marc and Jodie Emery. Their decades-long fight with the powers that be have culminated into a good part of the reason we are heading toward adult-use cannabis across the nation.

Throughout this battle, they have lost everything, and regained it again, just to lose it once more. The perfect example of this would be the four years Marc Emery spent in a U.S. prison for openly selling mail-order seeds across the border.

Canada’s unwillingness to stop this extradition of a nonviolent “criminal” was a stark example of a government not supportive of the needs of cannabis users everywhere.

Now, we are at a point where Canada is scheduled to legalize marijuana for everyone 18 and older. Despite that fact, the Emerys have once again been targeted by authorities; and this time, the government has taken away a most precious possession — their life’s work.

This week, as part of their bail conditions, Marc and Jodie have been forced to cut all ties with their brand Cannabis Culture.

Yesterday, Marijuana.com reported the facts on the ground as Jodie Emery headed to Vancouver to remove herself as director of the company. Once that task was complete Jodie took the time to speak with us about the reality she and her husband must confront.


What does it feel like to hand over something that you essentially put your blood, sweat and tears into?

When I moved to Vancouver in 2004 I wanted to do activism so I started working with Marc Emery at Cannabis Culture Magazine and Pot TV. In 2005, I was made the Assistant Editor of Cannabis Culture Magazine. I spent every day slaving away over that beautiful print publication and also engaging in activism because that very same year Marc was facing life in prison. I took great pride in what I did.

It’s not just a magazine, a head shop, a vapour lounge or dispensaries, it’s an idea of what legalization looks like. It’s a mission statement for people who believe that we shouldn’t go to prison for a plant. So, it is deeply upsetting to have to give up my involvement with what really has been my identity since I became an adult.

Now that you are free and clear of your business obligations, what are your next steps?

Marc and I are going to do a cross-Canada tour, because we need to have a marijuana truth tour. Right now [MP] Bill Blair is going across Canada and telling all of the police to enforce the [current] laws.

We need to educate the public on the facts about marijuana and remind them that this is a civil liberties issue. We have to make sure no one is being arrested anymore before people are able to profit. We need to talk about how marijuana is a safer choice for recreational consumption than alcohol and talk about the opioid crisis which is extremely newsworthy right now because so many people are dying.

How is Marc handling all this? I know he spent years locked up in a U.S. prison, which by comparison is much harsher, but how is he taking the loss of Cannabis Culture?

Marc is very used to this. He has been arrested, raided and jailed so many times. Marc has had everything taken from him numerous times and he always comes back, builds up again and fights for the cause.

He’s taking it well and he is giving me a hard time because I haven’t been arrested and put in jail before, except for Montreal, but I was arrested for four hours at a hotel, not too hard. This time I actually went to jail so I experienced what people go through and that was upsetting.

At the same time, Marc is wondering what to do next. He’s had many decades of work behind him and he’s tired of all this prohibition nonsense. I’m sure he would like to finally just retire and relax.

Are you concerned about your charges? Do you think they will be dropped?

My concern about our charges is that they’re conspiracy charges. That is a very broad charge to lay on somebody because you don’t even need to commit a crime to be found guilty. The fact that three people agree to break the law makes a conspiracy. They have chosen a very easy way to give us tough punishments and these allegations are very serious.

This government very much wants to shut us up, since they were unable to do so even when they called in the U.S. government to do it for them [through Marc’s previous sentence]. Our [case] will be in the court for a number of years and we do intend to fight it to the fullest. That will probably include a Charter challenge, where we will try to go to the Supreme Court of Canada to challenge the validity of prohibition entirely.

Do you think that the severity of the charges against you were because you were selling adult-use cannabis to anyone 19 or older, as opposed to at the very least, only selling to those with a prescription?

[Our]  stores being for 19+ adults and not pretending to be recreational was groundbreaking and a lot of people thought we were very courageous to do that.

It was something we wanted to do differently than everyone, but we were also addressing the concern people had about Canadians faking their illnesses or paying doctors for access. We thought we could just do away from that model, which was half farce and half unfairness for those who are [actually] sick.

We said time and time again, this is what legalization looks like. For the government and the licensed producers and police, they don’t like that model of legalization. They don’t want people to see that vision, they want people to accept their limited oligopoly.

We don’t have a liquor registry where if you want to drink booze you have to sign up with the government and give them your information, but for marijuana right now that’s what they are doing.

For myself, part of my bail conditions say that I have to use government-approved marijuana medically if I am going to possess any marijuana. In a very sad irony, what they are doing to me is what they are trying to do to Canada.

Do you have hope that things will change? Do you think that when adult-use marijuana comes into play that the government will have listened and that dispensaries will be a part of the mix?

It will take a lot of engagement for people to change the rules. Once it’s legal federally, it’s going to be up to the provinces and municipalities to do most of the regulating. We are going to need people to engage with their provincial governments to tell them what kind of model of distribution we should have.

Change will come, but it only comes when you keep pushing and campaigning. If you sit back and wait they will never do anything. That’s why it’s so important to push the envelope.

So to end on a happy note, what is your fondest memory of running Cannabis Culture?

The people. The wonderful love that we all have for this plant and this culture. It is almost spiritual in a way. It’s a calling that we know this plant is not just a simple little garden flower or vegetable.

We know that cannabis can help save lives. It can prevent people from dying, from sickness, or hard drugs. It’s endless the way this plant can truly help people. It sounds insane, but it’s more true than any god that I have ever heard of.


As Canada edges closer to some form of adult use cannabis, however that may emerge, the Emery’s will do everything in their power to ensure Canadians are given the access they deserve.

It’s clearly not just about being able to get high in peace, it’s about what we are allowed to do as adults in a free society. From Jodie’s point of view, marijuana may be the focus, but freedom to choose is and always has been the ultimate goal.

Photo courtesy of Allie Beckett.

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Federal Marijuana Sentences Plummet: Report

 

Cannabis Penalties

by Paul Armentano,

NORML Deputy Director

March 23, 2017

The number of federal offenders sentenced for violating marijuana laws has fallen significantly since 2012, according to data provided by the United States Sentencing Commission.

Just over 3,000 federal defendants were sentenced for marijuana violations in 2016, according to the Commission. That total is roughly half of the number of federal defendants that were sentenced in 2012. The total has fallen year-to-year since that time.

The 2016 total is nearly equal to the number of federal defendants sentenced for violating powder cocaine laws, and less than the number of federal defendants sentenced for heroin. Some 96 percent of federal marijuana defendants were sentenced for trafficking, with an average sentence of 28 months in prison.

Of those sentenced, 77 percent were Hispanic, 11 percent were Caucasian, and eight percent were African American. Fifty-six percent were categorized as non-US citizens.

In 2015, over 5,600 federal defendants were sentenced for violating marijuana laws, a total equal to some 25 percent of all federal drug sentences.

Click here to email your lawmakers on various pieces of legislation related to marijuana reform.

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California lawmakers want to block police from helping federal drug agents take action against marijuana license holders

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Patrick McGreevy

With federal authorities hinting at a possible crackdown on state-licensed marijuana dealers, a group of California lawmakers wants to block local police and sheriff’s departments from assisting such investigations and arrests unless compelled by a court order.

A bill by six Democratic legislators has drawn strenuous objections from local law enforcement officials, who say it improperly ties their hands, preventing them from cooperating with federal drug agents.

“It really is quite offensive,” said Kern County Sheriff Donny Youngblood, president of the California State Sheriffs’ Assn., who said he objected to lawmakers “wanting to direct law enforcement how they want us to work.”

But proponents say the measure is needed to assure marijuana growers and sellers that applying for state licenses will not make them more vulnerable to arrest and prosecution under federal law, which designates cannabis as an illegal drug.

“Prohibiting our state and local law enforcement agencies from expending resources to assist federal intrusion of California-compliant cannabis activity reinforces … the will of our state’s voters who overwhelmingly supported Proposition 64,” said Assemblyman Reggie Jones-Sawyer (D-Los Angeles), the lead author of the new bill.

The act of resistance is similar to legislation that would prevent California law enforcement agencies from cooperating with federal immigration officials in the deportation of people in the country illegally. Senate Bill 54 would address that concern and make California a so-called sanctuary state for immigrants, while Jones-Sawyer’s legislation would similarly make the state a sanctuary for the marijuana industry.

The immigration and marijuana issues have been given new focus by the administration of President Trump, who state officials fear is breaking from the policy of former President Obama, who took a more hands-off approach to both issues.

U.S. Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions has indicated in public comments that he thinks marijuana is a danger to society. Last month, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer caused a stir when he said, “I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement” of laws against the sale and use of recreational marijuana.

In November, California voters approved Proposition 64, which legalized the growing and sale of marijuana for recreational use. State agencies plan to begin issuing licenses early next year.

The new legislation would prohibit state and local agencies, unless served with a court order, from using agency money, facilities or personnel to assist a federal agency to “investigate, detain, report, or arrest” any person for actions that are authorized by state law. California authorities would also be unable to respond to requests by federal agencies for the personal information of anyone issued state licenses.

The measure has angered some local law enforcement officials — including Youngblood, who sees it as improperly meddling in law enforcement decisions in the same manner lawmakers are proposing with immigration law.

“This is ridiculous that this looks like a solution to somebody,” he said.

The sheriff said his agency frequently works with federal drug agents in task forces targeting illegal marijuana grows in forested areas of the county. He said he doesn’t want to be prevented from working with federal authorities, even if the state starts licensing pot farms.

“[Growing and selling marijuana] is still a federal felony and we are still in the United States of America, and the state of California cannot take over the United States,” Youngblood said, predicting that “at some point the federal government is going to have to step in and say, ‘You can’t do that.’ ”

The legislation has garnered initial support from marijuana industry leaders, including Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Assn.

“The election of Mr. Trump as president, and subsequent confirmation of Mr. Sessions as attorney general, has been perceived by many of our members to have increased the risk of doing business,” Allen said. “Businesses will need to feel confident that the state will protect them from the federal government.”

Current protocol and law obligates local law enforcement to cooperate with federal drug agents, he said.

“It is very hard for federal agents to go into a rural county and kick down a bunch of doors and arrest a bunch of people without the local sheriff being a part of it.” Allen said. “It’s dangerous, actually. This is about giving them legal standing to actively not participate.”

Updates from Sacramento »

Assemblyman Rob Bonta (D-Oakland), a coauthor of the measure, said the legislation is needed because of a threat that the Trump administration might withhold federal funds from states that do not cooperate with federal authorities, although that threat has so far been limited to immigration enforcement.

“As this administration has threatened to defund California, we should not be expending scarce local and state resources to assist the federal government in ways that run counter to the crystal-clear wishes of California voters,” Bonta said, adding that the measure, Assembly Bill 1578, “will reassure responsible operators” that the state won’t turn them in to federal authorities.

The assemblyman said it is important that the bill also protects the personal information of license holders so that they are willing to share it with state regulators.

“California is committed to not sharing licensee information with the federal government and thereby upholding the will of the voters in creating a safe marketplace for medical and adult use,” Bonta said.

The current policy of the state Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation would be to treat any request for personal information as a formal request under the California Public Records Act. The agency “would determine, based on the information being requested, what is required to be released and what is exempt from disclosure under the law,” said Alex Traverso, a bureau spokesman.

Allen expects California to follow the lead of states such as Colorado, which makes public on a website the names of businesses and addresses of those who are given licenses to grow and sell marijuana.

The Colorado website lists growers and sellers by the names of limited liability corporations and does not list who the individual investors and partners are.

Allen said industry attorneys have advised him that some basic information about license holders will have to be made public.

The bill’s provision on personal information “is good symbolically and well-intentioned,” Allen said, “but we are not relying on anonymity as our pathway forward.”

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ORGANIC HEMP IS IN DEMAND BUT CURRENTLY IT CANNOT BE CERTIFIED IN THE U.S.

 

ORGANIC HEMP IS IN DEMAND

BUT CURRENTLY IT CANNOT BE
CERTIFIED IN THE U.S.

HELP US CHANGE THIS!
See “Take Action” Section Below to Act Now.

Your participation in this call-to-action is crucial to our collective progress regarding organic certification of domestic hemp production.

Currently, hemp cultivated in the U.S. per Sec. 7606 Farm Bill regulations cannot be certified organic by the USDA, due to misinterpretation by the National Organic Program that aligns industrial hemp with other forms of cannabis.

We are asking all our supporters to register public comments for the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB) Spring 2017 Meeting, which is being held in Denver, Colorado, this April 19-21.

Background

Congressionally mandated by the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990 (OFPA) and governed by the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA), the NOSB considers and makes recommendations to the USDA National Organic Program (USDA-NOP) on a wide range of issues involving the production, handling, and processing of organic products.

Out of any rule-making process left functioning at the federal level, the NOSB is the most openly democratic in that any citizen is able to contribute to the process through written and oral public comment. It is because of this process that we have such robust standards where if international production is under equivalency and certified compliant under USDA-NOP standards, it may carry the USDA Organic Seal.

The USDA-NOP is currently basing approval of organic certifications for domestically-produced industrial hemp on a misinterpreted definition articulated on the “Statement of Principles on Industrial Hemp,” which is in contravention of the Sec. 7606 definition and is confusing certifiers, producers, consumers, State Departments of Agriculture and law enforcement in the implementation of legal hemp pilot programs.

Take Action! Here’s What We Need YOU to Do:

The official NOSB-USDA-NOP Docket for the meeting can be found here. All written comments must be registered through this site by 11:59pm ET, Thursday, March 30, to be considered.

We are collectively recommending the main points in our registered written comments to the NOSB,

feel free to copy & paste the following points into the NOSB-USDA-NOP Docket page:

  1. We highly-value the congressionally-mandated NOSB process and the integrity of the USDA Organic Certification. 
  2. Like many other common crops, hemp is bioaccumulative in that it has the potential to uptake toxins in whatever medium it is growing. It is important for hemp products consumed by humans and animals to be distinguished as organic if they are grown as such, for consumers with these food safety considerations in mind.
  3. We ask that the NOSB make a strong recommendation to the USDA-NOP to immediately clarify the instruction “Organic Certification of Industrial Hemp Production” to allow organic certifications of Industrial Hemp adhering to the congressional intent of the Sect. 7606 definition, and removing the language “as articulated in the Statement of Principles on Industrial Hemp” from the instruction.

Please consider adding your own comments on how this issue affects you and your involvement in the hemp industry.

We encourage you to share this action so that others may join in solidarity.

Thank you for all you do!

SOURCE LINK

Pro-marijuana church active in Alabama: Members tout ‘God and cannabis’

By Greg Garrison | ggarrison@al.com
Email the author | Follow on Twitter
on March 20, 2017 at 6:12 AM, updated March 20, 2017 at 2:40 PM

Marijuana in Alabama

With a stained-glass window behind them, a lineup of speakers stepped to the front of the church and talked about the potential health benefits of legalizing plants that are currently outlawed in Alabama.

“I smoke cannabis on a daily basis for my pain,” said Janice Rushing, president of the Oklevueha Native American Church of Inner Light in Alabama. “If I did not, I’d be on pain pills.”

Her husband, Christopher Rushing, chief executive officer of Oklevueha Native American Church of Inner Light, says he also uses marijuana routinely.

The Rushings founded the Oklevueha Church in 2015 and claim that it has a legal exemption for its members to smoke marijuana and ingest hallucinogenic mushrooms and peyote cactus.

At a January forum with an audience of about 30 gathered at Unity Church in Birmingham, which allowed the use of its facilities, speakers discussed the potential benefits of marijuana and other substances for medicinal purposes.

“I had an ungodly facial rash,” said Sherrie Saunders, a former U.S. Army medic who is now a member of Oklevueha Native American Church in Alabama.

“We made a cream that completely got rid of that rash,” Mrs. Rushing said.

Someone in the audience discussed a heart problem and sleep apnea.

“That could be something that cannabis could help,” Saunders said.

She also said marijuana can ease manic bipolar disorder and Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.

“The medical establishment took away cannabis so they could sell us pills,” Saunders said.

Before marijuana was stigmatized as an illegal drug, Native Americans valued it as a natural herbal treatment for more than 90 percent of sicknesses, she said.  “A woman in Nicaragua showed me how to cure cancer with cannabis,” Saunders said.

The woman had a son who was cured, she said. “I know why,” Saunders said. “God and cannabis.”

The National Cancer Institute, in its overview of cannabis in treatment of cancer, makes no claims for curative powers, but acknowledges that cannabis has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years and that it “may have benefits in the treatment of cancer-related side effects.” 

Chris Rushing stood in the pulpit and preached a sermon that mixed theology and a belief in natural, hallucinogenic plants. “That is God’s way of turning our brain on,” Rushing said.

“These entheogens work like tools to open up spaces and pathways of the mind,” Rushing said. “Yet it’s illegal. We all walk around producing natural chemicals that do the same.”

Rushing said it does not make sense that pharmaceutical companies make large profits on harmful synthetic and dangerous drugs, while plant and herbal medicines are illegal.

Rushing said the health benefits of marijuana, mushrooms and cacti are enormous. They can combat depression and cure people of addictions, he said.

The Oklevueha Native American Church of Inner Light in Warrior has been licensed as a federally registered branch of the Oklevueha Lakota Sioux Nation Native American Church, Rushing said.

The church has a religious exemption to use psylocibin mushrooms and peyote cactus, both of which have properties that augment traditional Native American spiritual beliefs and experiences, Rushing said. He calls their use in religious ceremonies a sacrament.

All 120 members in the Alabama church carry photo identification, similar to a driver’s license, that identifies them as members of a church that has a federal religious exemption to use natural drugs that are otherwise prohibited by law, he said.

He believes all natural plants should be legal for medicinal use, including marijuana, peyote cactus and psylocibin mushrooms.

Researchers at UAB and other universities are studying the benefits of such natural treatments, including the use of psylocibin mushrooms in treating cocaine abuse. Peter Hendricks, a clinical psychologist at UAB, is currently doing research on the use of the active ingredient in psylocibin mushrooms.

Hendricks spoke in May 2016 at a Homewood Public Library event sponsored by the church. He spoke again in January at the event at Unity Church in Birmingham.

Hendricks said he only talks about his research at the church-sponsored events and does not endorse Rushing’s church or whether its use of drugs is legal or not. The events give Hendricks a chance to advertise the research trials, which still need volunteers. Hendricks’ research explores the use of mushrooms in weaning addicts off serious drug addictions.

“I don’t support criminalizing any drug use,” Hendricks said. “People who have addictions are not helped by criminalization. If it were up to me, there would be more emphasis on providing treatment, less emphasis on punitive measures for people who are addicted.”

Rushing carries around with him documentation of court rulings such as a unanimous ruling in United States v. Robert Boyll in the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, which found that a non-Native American who was arrested for possession and intent to distribute peyote had the same constitutional protections as Native American members of the church.

Rushing said he was licensed in the church by James Warren “Flaming Eagle” Mooney of Utah, who won a court battle with the state of Utah. The Utah Supreme Court ruled in Mooney’s favor in 2004, in State of Utah vs. Mooney’s and Oklevueha Native American Church. The state had argued that Mooney was engaged in a criminal enterprise for distributing peyote and tried to seize the church property. The Supreme Court ruled that the Native American Church was entitled to the religious exemption.

Legal marijuana: Is it coming to Alabama?

As legalized marijuana spreads across the United States, most observers remain skeptical that recreational marijuana will be legal anytime soon in Alabama.

After the Jan. 21 forum at Unity Church, some in attendance expressed hope Alabama might soon follow in the footsteps of other states that have legalized marijuana. More than half of the states have decriminalized marijuana for medical uses and eight states have decriminalized marijuana for recreational uses.

Some of them say the Oklevueha Native American Church of Inner Light in Alabama is helping raise awareness.

“I think Chris’ work is vital,” said Jonah Tobin, founder of the Alabama Mother Earth Sustenance Alliance, or MESA.  “People like him are part of that movement.”

MJ Church.JPG

Janice Rushing, president of the Oklevueha Native American Church of Inner Light in Alabama, in the pulpit, and Sherrie Saunders, left, talk about the medical benefits of marijuana on Jan. 21, 2017, at Unity Church in Birmingham, Ala.

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Spannabis 2017: Lessons On Spain’s And Barcelona’s Marijuana Industry

By Hilary Bricken

Mar 20, 2017 at 4:20 PM

Spain flag cannabis

From March 10th through 12th, I was in Barcelona attending Spannabis. My firm’s Barcelona lawyers constantly get inquiries from serious international businesspeople wanting to start a cannabis social club or some other sort of cannabis business in Spain. And with more than 200 medical marijuana social clubs in Barcelona alone, I wanted to go there to meet with key industry players to learn more about what is going on with marijuana in Catalonia’s capital city and in the rest of Spain.

Barcelona and medical marijuana felt to me like some combination of California, Oregon, and Washington seven years ago. Namely, it feels like an unregulated, quasi-commercial gray market chock-full of “collective” non-profits and rotating patient members, unclear laws, and inconsistent enforcement of those laws. For a breakdown on the current medical marijuana laws in Spain and in Barcelona, go here. This unclear and pioneer atmosphere was also in full force at Spannabis, which was in many respects just like pretty much every other marijuana trade show/expo I’ve attended in the United States: light on serious education about marijuana laws and regulations and heavy on promoting marijuana consumption and on seeking to preserve the counter-culture. But with cannabis cups and consuming events dwindling in the U.S. from increasing state marijuana regulations, I would be remiss if I did not mention how the Spannabis fairgrounds managed to maintain a steady cloud of overhanging marijuana smoke from its more than 3,000 attendees who openly and consistently consumed despite the presence of law enforcement.

Spannabis had only a single panel on the legality and rules surrounding Barcelona’s (mostly medical) marijuana social clubs and the panelist gave little detail or explanation about the law that enables cannabis clubs to operate. That panel was made up of one criminal defense attorney telling attendees about the national and local government’s conflicting policy positions on health and law enforcement and the rights of individuals to consume cannabis for medical use. Needless to say, since our cannabis lawyers represent the business side, I didn’t find this panel very helpful. More importantly, this panel served as just another indication that Barcelona and Spain as a whole have just not yet really “arrived” yet as destinations for those seeking to form and operate a cannabis business fully compliant with local (in this case Barcelona), provincial (Catalonia), and federal (Spain) laws.

But as many in the industry there were quick and emphatic about telling me, the cannabis scene in Barcelona and in Spain is slowly maturing and slowly getting “more legal.” As we wrote just last week, the regional Parliament of Catalonia has proposed reforms in line with a 2014 initiative advocated by Regulacion Responsible in advance of the 2014 Spain national elections. The initiative’s aim was to create a framework for the national reform of cannabis laws to permit regions like Catalonia and cities like Barcelona to set their own cannabis policies. Though the 2016 legislative initiative stalled, it has recently reemerged and anticipation is building for a revised version of this bill that would mean increased regulation for legalized marijuana businesses on a regional basis. Given the inconsistent enforcement of current laws (within both Catalonia and Spain) and the lack of meaningful or comprehensive business regulations, such reforms cannot come soon enough to better protect and give more structure to those cultivating and distributing marijuana for and to patients. Patients would also benefit from such regulation as it would increase both transparency around the sourcing of cannabis products and cannabis quality assurance standards.

Even though marijuana social clubs in Spain exist in a risk-laden gray area, it’s clear that manufacturing and distributing CBD is a popular and, more importantly, legal practice in Spain and Barcelona (in contrast to the United States). Indeed, the majority of booths on the exhibitor floor at Spannabis focused on hemp seeds (there was even a company there from Humboldt County) and CBD-based products. Manufacturing and distributing cannabis paraphernalia or equipment used for consuming, cultivating, or handling are also legal and ancillary companies are alive and well in Barcelona, just like in most of the U.S. This is why foreign investors looking at Spain are mostly focusing on financing, starting, managing, or assisting ancillary companies and not so much on marijuana social clubs, all of which are non-profit because of existing laws prohibiting commercial “trafficking.” The Arcview Group (well-known for angel investments in ancillary marijuana businesses) held an investor meeting in Barcelona for the first time last week.

Barcelona’s medical marijuana marketplace remains immature and risky (these were the words used by many of those with whom I spoke while I was in Spain), but it no doubt has tremendous potential. Once local governments in Spain are given the freedom (and they might soon) to take the reins on cannabis regulation and to create a better business atmosphere for cultivators, manufacturers, and distributors, Barcelona will no doubt quickly become a major marijuana city in terms of popularity, investment, and access.


Hilary Bricken bio photoHilary Bricken is an attorney at Harris Bricken, PLLC in Seattle, and she chairs the firm’s Canna Law Group. Her practice consists of representing marijuana businesses of all sizes in multiple states on matters relating to licensing, corporate formation and contracts, commercial litigation, and intellectual property. Named one of the 100 most influential people in the cannabis industry in 2014, Hilary is also lead editor of the Canna Law Blog. You can reach her by email at hilary@harrisbricken.com.

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(2017) 60th session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (UNODC)

 

 

Aldo Lale-Demoz

Aldo Lale-Demoz

@AldoLale

UNODC Deputy Executive Director & Director, Division for Operations


unodc.org

60 UNODC


PRESS RELEASE

Alternative development can release farmers from the poverty trap of illicit crop cultivation

 

Vienna, 14 March 2017 – Alternative development can help farmers escape the poverty trap of illicit crop cultivation, but other factors are also involved, the head of UNODC Yury Fedotov said today.

“The transfer of skills and access to land, credit, and infrastructure, as well as marketing support and access to markets, while promoting environmental sustainability and community ownership are all necessary,” he said.

Mr. Fedotov was speaking at an event about alternative development held on the sidelines of the 60th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND), organized by Thailand, Germany, Colombia and Peru. Welcoming remarks were delivered by UNODC’s Goodwill Ambassador on the Rule of Law for South East Asia, HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand.

Both the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the outcome document of last April’s UN General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem pointed to the need to overcome the challenge of illicit drugs to achieve the sustainable development goals, said the UNODC Chief.  

UNODC has over 40 years’ experience implementing alternative development programmes and assisting countries in this work. This led, said Mr. Fedotov, to UNODC assisting Thailand and Peru to hold two international conferences on alterative development (ICAD I and II) and develop the UN Guiding Principles on the subject.

Mr. Fedotov underlined the need to strengthen the research and regular monitoring of key indicators to better understand and evaluate the contribution of alternative development to the targets of the Sustainable Development Goals.

UNODC’s World Drug report 2015 provided a detailed chapter on alternative development setting out the interplay between development and the challenge of illicit drugs.

Alternative development programmes are aimed at helping to eliminate the cultivation of coca, opium poppy and cannabis by promoting licit farming alternatives and helping to sustain the lives of farmers and their families.

For further information please contact:

David Dadge 
Spokesperson, UNODC 
Telephone: (+43 1) 26060-5629 
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5629 
Email: david.dadge[at]unvienna.org

SOURCE LINK


PRESS RELEASE

UNODC Chief sets out global efforts being taken against illicit drugs

 

Vienna, 13 March 2017 – The efforts of UNODC against illicit drugs is helping to achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, as well as promote peace and security, UNODC Chief Yury Fedotov told a high-level audience in Vienna today.

“Alternative development is aimed at, not only reducing the cultivation of coca, opium poppy and cannabis, but also improving the socio-economic conditions of marginalized farming communities,” said Mr. Fedotov.

In a video message played at the opening ceremony, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres said: “The Commission led an open and inclusive preparatory process for the UN General Assembly Special Session in 2016. Its unanimous outcome is rich and forward-looking – promising a more comprehensive approach to the world drug problem.” 

Mr. Fedotov used his keynote speech to set out the full range of UNODC’s global efforts against illicit drugs. He pointed to the help being given to countries to bring drug lords to justice, the promotion of cooperation in the justice and health sectors, and UNODC’s support for alternatives to conviction or punishment for minor offences.

UNODC was, he said, working closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) on a number of activities, including best practices to treat drug use disorders as an alternative to criminal justice sanctions. HIV/AIDS responses were also being fast-tracked by UNODC, as a UNAIDS co-sponsor, among people who use drugs, and people in prisons. 

Mr. Fedotov was firm in stating that UNODC would continue to help strengthen access to controlled drugs for medical purposes. He said UNODC was raising awareness of this issue through the World Cancer Congress and the UN Task Force on Non-Communicable Diseases.

On the follow-up to last year’s UN General Assembly special session on the world drug problem, Mr. Fedotov said UNODC was focused on the “practical implementation” of the recommendations made in its outcome document. “You may always count on UNODC to help put these approaches into action,” he said.

Mr. Fedotov was speaking at the opening of the 60th Session of the CND.  Speeches were also delivered by the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse of the United States, Dr. Nora Volkow, the President of the International Narcotics Control Board (INCB) Werner Sipp, and representatives of youth and civil society. 

The 60th Session of the CND brings together around 1,500 delegates annually representing Member States, inter-governmental organizations, and civil society for a global discussion on the world drug problem. This year, the Commission will discuss 12 draft resolutions, hold around 100 side events and a series of exhibitions.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres Message on the 60th anniversary of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

Remarks of the UNODC Executive Director, Yury Fedotov, at the opening of the 60th Session of the Commission on Narcotic Drugs

For further information please contact:

David Dadge
Spokesperson, UNODC
Telephone: (+43 1) 26060-5629
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-5629
Email: david.dadge[at]unvienna.org

SOURCE LINK


The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) was established by Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) resolution 9(I) in 1946, to assist the ECOSOC in supervising the application of the international drug control treaties. In 1991, the General Assembly (GA) expanded the mandate of the CND to enable it to function as the governing body of the UNODC. ECOSOC resolution 1999/30 requested the CND to structure its agenda with two distinct segments: a normative segment for discharging treaty-based and normative functions; and an operational segment for exercising the role as the governing body of UNODC.  

Commissions

 


 

https://twitter.com/AldoLale/status/832632912705003521/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw

https://twitter.com/AldoLale

http://www.unodc.org/documents/commissions/CND_CCPCJ_joint/Side_Events/2017/Programme_CND_60.pdf

http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/press/releases/2017/March/alternative-development-can-release-farmers-from-the-poverty-trap-of-illicit-crop-cultivation.html

http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/press/releases/2017/March/unodc-chief-sets-out-global-efforts-being-taken-against-illicit-drugs.html

http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/commissions/CND/index.html?ref=menutop

What is “Usable Marijuana”?

Man pleads guilty to having too much medical marijuana

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By Cole Waterman | cwaterma@mlive.com
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on March 14, 2017 at 8:34 AM, updated March 14, 2017 at 8:35 AM

BAY CITY, MI — Nearly two years after police raided their Bangor Township house in search of excessive medical marijuana, a couple’s cases have been resolved with plea deals.

David A. Dabrowski, 65, on Tuesday, March 7, appeared in Bay County Circuit Court and pleaded guilty to one count of delivering or manufacturing marijuana. The charge is a four-year felony.

In exchange, the prosecution agreed to recommend Dabrowski receive a delayed sentence, during which he’d effectively be on probation. If he receives the delay and is successful on it, he’ll be allowed to withdraw his plea and swap it with a guilty plea to misdemeanor possession of marijuana.

The same day Dabrowski entered his plea, prosecutions motioned to dismiss the same felony charge faced by his wife, Sandra K. Dabrowski, 64.

The Dabrowskis, who were arraigned on Sept. 9, 2015, faced trial the day the plea deal was accepted. Their cases date back to April 2015.

What is ‘usable’ pot under medical marijuana law focus in Bay County couple’s prosecution

Whether a Bangor Township couple broke the law by having too much “usable” pot in their medical marijuana growing operation is the point of contention in ongoing legal proceedings.

In a December 2015 preliminary examination, Bay County Sheriff’s Detective Barry Gatza, a member of the Bay Area Narcotics Enforcement Team — or BAYANET — testified he was tasked with investigating an anonymous tip that the Dabrowskis were illegally selling marijuana from their home in the 2900 block of Bangor Road.

He testified that in the early morning of April 27, he pulled two trash bags from a garbage can at the end of the Dabrowskis’ driveway.

“There were several items consistent with marijuana grows that we’ve come in contact with,” Gatza said. Among the items were trimmed marijuana leaves. “It was approximately just under 10 pounds, I believe,” he said.

Gatza obtained a search warrant and later on April 27, approximately a dozen police officers executed it on the Dabrowskis’ property. At the time, David Dabrowski was home selling firearms to two men, Gatza testified. Sandra Dabrowski was not present.

“There were firearms throughout the house,” Gatza testified, adding David Dabrowski is a licensed federal firearms dealer.

Police recovered a large amount of marijuana plants and usable pot, most notably in “the entire basement.” Throughout the house, officers found 96 marijuana plants, 37.7 grams of loose marijuana drying in a basket, and another batch on a table weighing approximately 1,400 grams. Police also found one marijuana plant and marijuana branches in a pole barn, Gatza testified.

In a freezer, police found marijuana oil and several pounds of usable marijuana, Gatza said.

Gatza interviewed David Dabrowski in a BAYANET van, he said. Dabrowski told him he and his wife were medical marijuana caregivers with five patients each.

“Between Sandra and himself, they did co-mingle the plants,” Gatza testified. “They didn’t separate them at all. As far as the daily operations needed to maintain the plants, he did most of the farming on the plants, including Sandra’s.”

Sandra Dabrowski’s jobs included trimming the plants, packaging the crop and setting up purchases, Gatza said David Dabrowski told him.

“He stated that obviously he does provide marijuana to his patients,” Gatza testified. “I think the rate he charges them was $130 an ounce, then he told me he also provides marijuana to people outside his patient list. He charges them $200 an ounce. He said he always makes sure they’re medical marijuana patients, just not his patients. He always makes sure they have a (medical marijuana) card.”

Under the state’s Medical Marijuana Act, patients can have 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana and caregivers can grow up to 12 plants producing 2.5 ounces of usable marijuana for each of their five patients and themselves. With both Dabrowskis being caregivers but only Sandra Dabrowski a patient as well, the couple could legally have a total of 132 plants and 27.5 grams of usable, or processed, marijuana.

Circuit Judge Joseph K. Sheeran is to sentence David Dabrowski at 9 a.m. on Monday, April 17.

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Top 6 Marijuana Bills to Follow

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by Nanette Porter on March 11, 2017

 

Lawmakers have been busy introducing a variety of marijuana bills since the election. While there is no guarantee that any of these bills will actually become laws, a perusal of the bills introduced offers useful insight into how the decisions made regarding cannabis might affect our lives more immediately than the slow churn of Washington, D.C.

In the current political climate, it more important than ever to spend some time getting familiar with these bills. Please click on the links to get more information about each proposed bill. We strongly encourage you to get in touch with your elected representatives to express your views and opinions.

Below are six (6) cannabis-related bills that are worth following closely:

H.R. 975 – Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2017

The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment has been law since 2014 and prohibits the Department of Justice from using funds to prosecute individuals who are acting in compliance with a State’s laws. Unfortunately, it was passed and signed into law as part of an omnibus spending package, and to remain legally binding it must be included in the end-of-year spending package for FY2017. The spending restriction is temporary and Congress must act to keep it in place.

California Congressman Dana Rohrabacher has sponsored H.R.975 to limit federal power on marijuana. Rohrabacher is a Republican and professed Trump-guy, but feels the government has become too involved in States’ rights and asset seizures, and believes this is the best way to proceed.

The Rohrabacher-Farr provision comes up for renewal on April 28, and rather than trying to convince the new administration to renew, he says he hopes this paves the way for them to leave it up to the States. If passed by Congress, it will then move to the Senate, and hopefully on to the President’s desk for signature to become law.

H.R. 1227 – Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017

Virginia Congressman Tom Garrett introduced legislation aimed at federally decriminalizing marijuana. H.R. 1227 asks that marijuana be removed from the federal controlled substances list, in essence putting it in the same arena as alcohol and tobacco.

“Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California.” – Congressman Garrett

Garrett claims “this step allows states to determine appropriate medicinal use and allows for industrial hemp growth…something that is long overdue. Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California.”

H.R. 331 – States’ Medical Marijuana Property Rights Protection Act

Sponsored by California Rep Barbara Lee, H.R.331 seeks an amendment to the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) so as to prevent civil asset forfeiture for property owners due to medical marijuana-related conduct that is authorized by State law.

H.R. 714 – Legitimate Use of Medicinal Marihuana Act (LUMMA)

Virginia Rep H Morgan Griffith introduced H.R. 714 to provide for the legitimate use of medicinal marijuana in accordance with the laws of the various States by moving marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act.

The bill also includes a provision that, in a State in which marijuana may be prescribed by a physician for medical use under applicable State law, no provision of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) or the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act shall interfere with such State laws. (This provision is also included in H.R. 715.)

At present, no U.S. healthcare professional can legally prescribe cannabis. Several states have laws on the books that were passed many, many years ago in expectation that federal law would change; but until then, doctors even in these states are legally prohibited from prescribing it. Doing so, would expose medical practitioners to prosecution and loss of his/her license.

H.R. 715 – Compassionate Access Act

Also sponsored by Griffith is H.R. 715. This bill asks for “the rescheduling of marihuana (to any schedule other than I), the medicinal use of marihuana in accordance with State law and the exclusion of cannabidiol from the definition of marihuana, and for other purposes,” and that cannabidiol (CBD), derived from the plant or synthetically formulated and containing not greater than 0.3 percent THC on a dry weight basis, be excluded from the definition of “marihuana.”

The bill also calls for control over access to research into the potential medicinal uses of cannabis be turned over to an agency of the executive branch that is not focused on researching for the addictive properties of substances, and empower the new agency to ensure adequate supply of the plant is available for research. It further asks that research performed in a scientifically sound manner, and in accordance with the laws in a State where marijuana or CBD is legal for medical purposes, but does not use marijuana from federally approved sources, may be considered for purposes of rescheduling.

California AB 1578

California lawmakers quickly got to work and proposed AB 1758, aiming to have California declared as a “sanctuary state” from federal enforcement. If passed and signed into law, state or local agencies would be prevented from taking enforcement action without a court order signed by a judge, including using agency resources to assist a federal agency to “investigate, detain, detect, report, or arrest a person for commercial or noncommercial marijuana or medical cannabis activity that is authorized by law in the State of California and from transferring an individual to federal law enforcement authorities for purposes of marijuana enforcement.”

AB 1758 is pending referral and may be heard in committee on March 21.

30+ bills have been introduced in California since voters approved Proposition 64 in November. Most of these have been submitted to help clean-up the administration and the complex and inconsistencies that exist between the medical and recreational systems.

Support for marijuana legalization is at an all-time high

Cannabis has long-established medical uses as an effective treatment for ailments that include HIV/AIDS, inflammatory and auto-immune diseases, gastro-intestinal disorders, PTSD, chronic pain, and many others.

According to a Qunnipiac poll released February 23, 2017, U.S. voters say, 59 – 36 percent, that marijuana should be legal in the U.S.; and voters support, by a whopping 96 – 6 percent, legalizing cannabis for medical purposes if prescribed by a doctor; and an overwhelming 71 -23 percent believe the government should not enforce federal laws against marijuana in states that have legalized it.

Twenty-eight (28) states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam, either through ballot measure or legislative action, have approved the use of medical marijuana when recommended by a physician. An additional seventeen (17) states have approved use of low THC, high CBD products for medical reasons in some situations.

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