• Man Arrested in North Carolina for Weed Turns Out to be Fugitive Murder Suspect
    A man arrested on marijuana charges by law enforcement officers in North Carolina on Saturday turned out to be a fugitive from California wanted for murder, according to media reports. Boren Lay, 25, was arrested by agents with state Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) at the El Barracho, a bar licensed by the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control in Winston-Salem. The agents had been conducting an investigation at the bar when they discovered cannabis. After obtaining a warrant to search the establishment for drugs, agents confiscated more than 11 pounds of marijuana and 842 vials of THC oil. Lay and two other men, Sovath Yern, 30, one of the owners of El Borracho, and Sovann Yern, 31, who are both of Massachusetts. Police say that they have confirmed that all three men are members of the Southern California street gang known as the Asian Boyz. After his arrest, Lay reportedly concealed his identity from police for almost nine hours. When he finally revealed his true name, officers discovered that Lay is wanted for a murder that was committed in California in July 2013. Bryan House, ALE branch head, said that officers with the agency have to be prepared to act on any violations that they discover. “Through the course of a normal investigation, ALE special agents never know who they could potentially encounter,” said House. “As highly trained professionals, ALE special agents’ primary job is to investigate any criminal behavior associated with an ABC licensed establishment and arrest those responsible.” Facing Multiple Charges The men arrested have been charged with multiple crimes including trafficking marijuana by possession,  trafficking marijuana by transport, possession with intent to sell or deliver marijuana, maintaining a building for controlled substances, possession of drug paraphernalia, and allowing violations of the controlled substances act to occur on the licensed premises.  El Barracho could also be penalized by the ABC with fines or a license suspension or revocation. Bail was set at $100,000 for Lay on the drug charges but denied for the murder charge. Bail of a $50,000 secured bond was set for both Sovath and Sovann Yern. A detective with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said that while deputies had not been actively looking for Lay, his arrest is “extremely important.” Lay has been wanted by the LASD as a suspect in the murder of 19-year-old Timothy Teapaco. According to witnesses, Lay had been arguing with Teapaco in a parking lot, when he allegedly shot him. Reports say that Teapaco had allegedly been in the gang Tiny Rascals, but became “inactive” ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-19
  • New Jersey Mayor Who Banned Weed in His Town Revealed to be Paid Lobbyist
    Stephen Reid is the mayor of Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. In December 2017, under Mayor Reid’s leadership, Point Pleasant became the first New Jersey city to preemptively ban any cannabis industry operations, should the state legalize them. The Point Pleasant Beach ban kicked off a statewide trend, leading to more than 10 percent of all New Jersey towns, representing nearly every county, passing resolutions restricting, banning or opposing cannabis industry operations and adult-use legalization. Today, the total number of towns that have opted out has topped 60, and Mayor Reid continues to be a leading voice in the effort to oppose marijuana reform — in fact, he gets paid to do so. Thanks to the investigative efforts of blogger Patrick Duff, we now know that Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Stephen Reid is on the payroll of an influential anti-marijuana lobbying group. Mayor of First New Jersey Town to Ban Weed Is on the Payroll of an Anti-Cannabis Lobby In late November 2018, New Jersey lawmakers in both the Assembly and Senate voted to advance an adult-use bill, marking the first official legislative action on the issue since pro-legalization Gov. Phil Murphy assumed office in 2018. But since their 2016 takeover of the New Jersey legislature, Democrats have expanded qualifying conditions for medical cannabis treatments, licensed more dispensaries and centered criminal justice reform. At the same time, opposition to the adult-use industry dug in, and a groundswell of anti-cannabis advocacy prompted a number of cities to opt out of any legal-weed future. Point Pleasant Beach mayor Stephen Reid has been at the heart of that movement. After making his city the first to ban the retail cannabis industry in late 2017, Reid has traveled around the state advising other towns to join Point Pleasant’s policy of prohibition. But since at least May 2018, Reid has been pushing prohibition on the payroll of the prominent anti-marijuana lobby group New Jersey Responsible Approaches to Marijuana Policy. Now, that connection and its potential conflict of interest are the subject of a lawsuit filed against Point Pleasant Beach. Mayor Reid isn’t just on NJ RAMP’s payroll. Since May 2018, he has been the group’s executive director. Blogger Patrick Duff revealed the connection after suing Point Pleasant Beach himself, to obtain records of Reid’s emails with the group. Reid has himself never been upfront about his connection with RAMP. In fact, he failed to properly register his lobbying activity on behalf of RAMP with the state until October, five months after taking the job. Lawsuit ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-19
  • UPS Brings Lawsuit Against Cannabis Delivery Services for Trademark Violation
    Here’s a good reason to forgo the parody logos so popular in the cannabis industry; last week UPS became the latest brand to sue its marijuana copycats. The company has filed a lawsuit against United Pot Smokers, UPS420, and THCPlant, a group of medical marijuana delivery businesses, for misleading advertisements and using brand identifiers that encroach on the United Parcel Service’s trademarks. This is far from the first time a cannabis company has been taken to task for a copyright infringement. Last year, Hershey’s Chocolate renewed its quest to keep its brand away from candy-crazy pot brands. In 2017, Detroit’s Buds R Us dispensary was ordered away from its name by Toys R Us, and Gorilla Glue adhesives reached a non-monetary settlement with Gorilla Glue Strains. That same year, Tapatio Hot Sauce sued a company marketing an infused salsa under the name “Trapatio”. And now the multinational delivery company is taking issue with the fact that the United Pot Smokers brand was promoted with a logo that echoed the original UPS’ well-known shield, not to mention the shipping service’s distinctive acronym. The complaint, filed on February 13 in Los Angeles’ Central District federal court, also cites the fact that websites www.upsgreen.com and www.ups420.com were operated by the defendants to coordinate mail orders of cannabis product. On them, the companies used language that could possibly have led to confusion between them and the venerable brand. World Intellectual Property Review reports that among the offending nomenclature on the United Pot Smokers sites were lines saying that it was a “nationwide logistics expeditor” and “operational courier”. Requests for comment by Bloomberg were not immediately responded to by the suit’s defendants. The lawsuit’s demands include compensation for damages and that control over the websites in question be passed to the original UPS company. The two URLs cited in the lawsuit now forward users onto a pair of defunct-looking websites—one for an out-of-stock marijuana storage system and the other for marijuana clones and grow equipment. The site www.ups420.com now links to a defunct-seeming page for California marijuana clones, and once offered “business class transportation” for cannabis products within the state. Worries about the brands’ aesthetic similarities were apparently heightened by user reviews about United Pot Smokers “ripping off” medical cannabis patients that were included in the lawsuit’s filings. UPS stated that United Pot Smokers “have acquired a reputation for unlawful and unprofessional conduct, including offering sham services.” In addition, it claims the cannabis company disregarded more than one cease-and-desist warning from the UPS legal team ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-19
  • California Cannabis Tax Revenue Isn’t Going To Youth Programs—Yet
    According to new reports coming out of California, a key aspect of the state’s original marijuana legalization bill is not being met. Specifically, youth programs are so far not receiving the funding that the original legislation promised they would. As concern grows over why this is happening, experts have identified a few trends that could be creating this scenario. And on an optimistic note, many in the state expect to see things start improving. Why Youth Programs Aren’t Receiving Funding In November 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64. The bill made recreational weed legal in the state. And as is typically the case with legalization bills, one of the primary concerns of the proposition was figuring out how the state would use tax revenues. Among several uses, the state promised to use a portion of cannabis taxes to fund youth programs. Specifically, youth programs aimed at substance abuse education. After Prop. 64 passed in 2016, the retail sale of recreational cannabis officially launched Jan. 1, 2018. Now, a full year after that date, the state has failed to fund youth educational programs. According to the AP, experts say there are two primary reasons for this lack of funding. First, the state’s structure for spending cannabis tax money places these youth programs at a lower priority than other initiatives. As outlined in California’s legal framework, there is a multi-tiered system for prioritizing who gets tax revenue first. Under this system, the top tier of funding goes to startup costs and operational costs associated with state regulatory functions. Below that, things like university research and funding for California Highway Patrol is on the second tier. That leaves youth educational programs for the third tier of spending. It’s possible that there might not be any problems with this system. But experts say it’s problematic because the state has not brought in as much cannabis tax revenue as originally predicted. As a result, there simply hasn’t been enough money in the coffers to make it to the third tier of spending. And that means that youth programs have so far gone unfunded. Fixing the Problem For advocates of these youth substance abuse education programs, the news isn’t all bad. In fact, many experts think that things could turn around soon. California’s fiscal year ends in June. And current trends in the state’s cannabis market indicate that there could be enough revenue by then to fully fund youth educational programs. If the state hits that milestone in June, things could be on track to get even better next ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-18
  • Pick The Finest Flower Every Time With These Three Tips
    Growing weed is an earthly joy that everyone across the world should experience. But the ability to legally buy the herb makes things even sweeter. As laws begin to relax across the world and a newfound acceptance towards recreational and medicinal-use and culture continues to grow, it’s crucial to know what to look for and how flower should smell and taste– which, most of the time, is easier said than done. Below are three factors to keep in mind the next time you’re legally buying cannabis. Courtesy of Spliffseeds Appearance: The First Impression They say you only get one chance to make a first good impression, and that certainly rings true when it comes to cannabis flower. At a street level, it can be challenging to acquire consistency as well as variety. That’s why going to an established dispensary, coffee shop (we’re looking at you, Amsterdam!), social club, or smoking lounge is ideal because the rigmarole of filtering out the schwag from the good-good is already done for you. That said, there are a few ways to indicate the quality of a flower’s genetics, how apt the grower was, if the trimmers were experienced, how long the bouquet cured for, and the quality of care a cultivation group put toward their product–and, thus, the customer. Top quality flower should primarily be bud with almost zero leaf ratio. The color of the flower should not be dark brown or yellow, and the actual biomass will have a dense look to it. Calyx development should be totally swollen and, in some cases, displaying signs of foxtailing. The pistils coating the buds will be a mature brown or maroon, and there certainly should not be any white pistils on the flower or signs of seeds. As far as removing all twigs and sugar leaf, this can reflect whether the growers are considerate of using trim for isolator or making oil. Not all varieties of dried cannabis flower will share the same appearance and structure; so in most cases, “Kush” and indica-dominant strains will produce smaller, dense nugs that looks like it would yield only a few nugs. On the other hand, sativa varieties such as “Haze” will produce buds slightly elongated. They offer more in terms of shape and calyx size. Everyone is different and basing your experience on which flower offers more value will drastically reduce how much you learn about the plant. It’ll also stop you from enjoying the full-spectrum of flavor, taste, and effects this wonderful plant has to ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-18
  • Activist Charged With Felony Wiretapping After Streaming Marijuana Justice Rally
    Last October, the cannabis legalization advocacy group Maryland Marijuana Justice organized a protest outside of state Rep. Andy Harris’s congressional office in Salisbury. Six months earlier, ex-Colorado residents Adam Eidinger and Kris Furnish founded the group to accomplish one primary object: remove Rep. Andy Harris, a politician the group calls “one of the worst concerning cannabis reform laws,” from Maryland’s 1st Congressional District. 20-year-old Jake Burdett, a student at Salisbury University, attended the October protest. It brought him face to face with one of Rep. Harris’s staffers, an encounter the young activist briefly livestreamed on Facebook Live. And on Valentine’s Day, Burdett was charged with multiple felony wiretapping charges for recording and posting that meeting online for a day. The charges brought against Burdett were filed by Rep. Harris’ office. Maryland Marijuana Justice Demonstrator Faces Felony Charges for Livestreaming a Meeting These days, members of the cannabis advocacy group Maryland Marijuana Justice (MDMJ) are a regular fixture outside Maryland’s Congressional offices. The group has been organizing demonstrations and protests to support cannabis reform efforts and challenge the lawmakers opposing them. Lawmakers like Republican state Rep. Andy Harris, who in 2014 worked to block the full legalization of marijuana in D.C. Rep. Harris has been in the news recently. Not for his opposition to drug reform, but for a meeting he took with white supremacist and Holocaust denier Chuck Johnson, who Twitter banned for threatening the Baltimore civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson. But Maryland Marijuana Justice want the press surrounding Jake Burdett’s indictment to stay focused on Harris’ views on cannabis, not just his racist scandals. MDMJ activists have long-protested Harris’ backwards views on cannabis and refusals to meet with cannabis reform advocates. At the October protest, Burdett was streaming to Facebook Live. When one of Harris’ congressional staffers offered to meet with a handful of demonstrators, Burdett made the cut and kept the camera running for a short while into the meeting. But Burdett didn’t obtain the staffer’s consent to film inside the office where the meeting was occurring. He didn’t know he had to. Or that it wasn’t just illegal, but a felony to film the staffer without permission. Burdett found out it was illegal the next day and immediately took down the video. He also personally apologized to the staffer. But Congressman Harris threw the book at him anyway. And on February 15, prosecutors charged Burdett with felony wiretapping. Maryland Rep. Andy Harris Keeps Calling the Cops on Marijuana Justice Activists This isn’t the first time Andy Harris ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-18
  • Utah’s Largest Healthcare Provider Authorizes Medical Marijuana Recommendations
    Utah’s largest healthcare provider has authorized its doctors to recommend the use of medical marijuana for their patients, according to media reports. Intermountain Healthcare announced on Thursday that it has established a system to issue recommendation letters to patients with qualifying health conditions who could benefit from cannabis. Mark Briesacher, the Intermountain chief physician executive, said that the company’s healthcare providers have prepared to discuss medical marijuana with patients who ask for a recommendation. “We’re ready for patients to meet with their physicians, their nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, and begin the conversation around, ‘Is medical cannabis something that I should consider? Is this something given my health conditions, do you think this might help?”’ Briesacher said. Briesacher noted that Intermountain took input from patients, families, advocates, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists to create its medical marijuana policy. He said that providers are not required to discuss the use of medical marijuana with patients and that those who do will only be able to issue a recommendation, not a prescription. “We’ve worked diligently to verify protections to providers who choose to give letters to their patients and ensure our process fully complies with state law,” Briesacher said. He also said that there is still a lot to be learned about medicinal cannabis. “This is the first of many steps to come,” he said. “There are still many things for us to understand.” For example, patients will not be able to get advice on how much cannabis they should use from their doctors. “We’re not getting into dosing at this point,” Briesacher said. No Dispensaries Until Next Year Steve Urquhart, a former Republican state senator, said that Utah’s medical marijuana program, which was approved by voters last November, still needs work and that he hoped the move by Intermountain will change the focus to doctors and patients and away from lobbyists and special interest groups. “I think that will change everything. There needs to be changes in the law, and I’m hopeful that Intermountain will take the lead on this,” Urquhart said. Christine Stenquist, the founder of Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education, which led the campaign to legalize medical marijuana in Utah, noted that patients have no place to legally obtain their medicine. Cannabis dispensaries are not expected to open in the state until 2020. “While we’re applauding that this effort has happened, right now the state’s turning a blind eye as to where you’re actually procuring your medications,” said Stenquist. “Patients are still suffering a little bit, but we’re moving the ball down the field.” ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-15
  • Researchers In Canada Studying Hemp Protein To Treat Hypertension
    Researchers in Canada are recruiting volunteers to participate in a clinical trial to study the effects of hemp protein on hypertension. Peter Jones, the director of the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals at the University of Manitoba, said that the study could lead to treatments for hypertension or high blood pressure that rely on foods instead of medicines. Previous studies at the university have shown that hemp protein can lower the blood pressure of lab rats with hypertension. “People may be able to replace their dependency on drugs and move to a dietary approach to managing their high blood pressure,” Jones said. Jones, who is the principal investigator for the research, noted that evolving public opinion about hemp has led to support for further research into the potential health benefits of the plant. “People are more intrigued, it’s ok to do hemp now more so than it might have been a decade ago,” said Jones. To conduct the study, 35 volunteers with high blood pressure will be divided into three groups who will take one of three protein supplements in a fruit smoothie twice a day. One group will get hemp protein, another hemp with peptides, and the control group’s smoothies will have casein, a protein derived from milk. The participants will not know which protein they are using and the two daily smoothies will be the only food they consume during three 42-day periods. The entire trial will last 22 weeks. Amino Acid in Hemp Reduces Blood Pressure Lead researcher Maryam Samsamikor, a Ph.D. candidate, said that hemp protein contains the amino acid arginine, which is known to reduce blood pressure. “This amino acid is used by the body to make nitric oxide which is a molecule used to relax the body’s cells,” she said. Jones said that the hemp with peptides will increase the amount of arginine exposure for that group of participants. “We put a special enzyme in that is like a little Pacman and it goes in and takes that long strand of protein and essentially like a pair of scissors just snips it into what we call a polypeptide,” he said. Participants’ blood pressure and several other health indicators will be tracked throughout the study. Samsamikor said that researchers hope to determine if the hemp protein leads to an improvement in the blood pressure readings. “Their blood pressure should be within 130 to 160,” said Samsamikor. The research is being sponsored by the University of Manitoba, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and Manitoba Harvest, a producer of ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-15
  • Man Arrested After Offering Weed Wax in Exchange for Fast Food Delivery on Facebook
    By any measure, a gram of wax is a solid deal for a double quarter-pounder, two fries, and two large sodas. For 22-year-old Brian Starliper of Idaho Falls, convenience—and the possibility of making a new friend—outweighed cost. “I’m too lazy to get up and go to McDonald’s myself tbh,” Starliper wrote on Facebook. But Facebook, tbh, is crawling with snitches. And somebody tipped off the Idaho Falls Police Department about Starliper’s offer. That tip led to a search warrant which led to a pair of arrests and a long docket of charges. And that’s why it’s not a good idea to talk about weed on Facebook in Idaho. Who Snitched on the Brian Starliper’s Incredible Wax-for-Fast Food Offer? Cannabis prices can vary substantially, especially in a place with no legal market. Idaho is one of the few remaining states in the country where cannabis is fully illegal. No medical–not even any decriminalization measures–but plenty of harsh sentences. Possess less than three ounces for personal use, and you’re looking at a misdemeanor charge with up to a year in jail. Anything above that, or any amount with intent to distribute, and you’re looking at a felony. Idaho even has felony charges for weed paraphernalia. So, based on law enforcement’s search of his residence, Starliper had cannabis for personal use—and trading for fast food, obviously. Whoever brought Starliper the grub was going to get more than a gram of wax to take home. The dude and his companion were open to a hang. “I have hella wax to play with too,” he wrote. Starliper’s ad received an answer almost instantly. He even provided his address to the helpful stranger for all to see. Bring some food and get some wax; could be a standing offer with this guy. He’s got wax to play with! Or at least about 10 grams of it, and a gram of coke, and various dab rigs, according to Idaho Falls police. Facebook Weed Wax Bust Reveals Idaho’s Strange Law Against “Criminal Frequenting” Someone, obviously, saw Starliper’s post and decided it would be cool to tell the cops about it. And when they got the tip, the Idaho Falls Police Department Special Investigations Unit wasted no time. They obtained a warrant on Thursday, then raided Starliper’s residence early Friday. Starliper already had two outstanding warrants for violating his probation and failing to appear in court. In addition to those charges, he faces charges for possessing controlled substances with intent to distribute. He’s currently behind bars at Bonneville County Jail. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-15
  • Iconic Florida Bar Will Be Converted Into Medical Marijuana Dispensary
    Stratford’s, the oldest bar in Hollywood, Florida, will soon be converted into a medical marijuana dispensary, according to media reports. First opened in 1938, Stratford’s Bar moved to its current location east of Interstate 95 on Hollywood Boulevard in 1944. The tavern was purchased by Stadlen Family Holdings for $1.5 million on Jan. 28 and will be closing later this year. After the final last call, a cannabis dispensary will be setting up shop at the site. The medical marijuana retailer will be a partnership between the Stadlen company and Harvest Health and Recreation Inc. of Arizona. Ben Kimbro, a spokesman for Harvest, said that the property will be restored. “We’ve got this wonderful iconic building that’s in a gateway entry point to Hollywood,” Kimbro said. “We want to get that property back to its original intended glory.” Joseph Stadlen of Stadlen Family Holdings said that Stratford’s would remain a Hollywood landmark. “We are not tearing down the building. We’re restoring it to its iconic heyday,” said Stadlen. “As someone who was born and raised in Hollywood, I recognize the significance that Stratford’s plays in the community, and I’m very respectful of that. We never even thought about tearing it down.” Hollywood Landmark Robin Roper, the daughter of former Stratford’s owner Guy Roper, Jr., said the bar and restaurant were popular with lots of people in South Florida. “You had every walk of life, from blue-collar workers to judges to politicians,” said Roper, who still lives in Hollywood. “And everyone got along. It became like an extended family. We’d open the bar on Christmas Day for people who didn’t have anywhere to go.” Even the Super Bowl-winning 1972 Miami Dolphins frequented Stratford’s. “The Dolphins were in there all the time,” said Roper. “It was their watering hole, with the cheap drinks. They didn’t get paid then like they do now.” Retired Hollywood detective Lee Soccol, who is now 70-years-old, said that he is a third-generation Stratford’s regular. “We’d all meet Fridays after work at Stratford’s,” said Soccol, now 70. “That was the place. Each of us would take turns buying a round. The beer was cheap. They used to have a different dish every day of the week. Guy Roper did all the cooking.” Soccol noted that he had been going to Stratford’s since he was a child. “I used to go there as a kid with my father,” he said. “The old man, Roper’s father, would give you a Mounds candy car and a Coke for free.” Attorney Mark Butler ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-15
  • North Carolina Bill Would Legalize Possession of Up To Three Ounces of Weed
    A new bill proposed in Raleigh would make it legal to legally possess up to three ounces of cannabis for personal use. State senator Paul Lowe, a Democrat from Forsyth County, proposed SB 58, which would decriminalize low level drug possession. It would also allow for some past offenders to have North Carolina drug violations expunged from their record. Possession of up to three ounces of cannabis, the bill proposes, could be erased by a petition with a $100 filing fee. Lowe’s bill would not alter laws regarding sentencing for hashish possession. Lowe acknowledged that not all lawmakers would initially be on board, but; “This is heading in the right direction,” he said. The state senator also introduced a similar bill to decriminalize cannabis possession in the last session of the Senate. “There are new legislators with differing outlooks on a lot of legislation being reintroduced,” he said upon announcing SF 58, as reported by the Winston-Salem Journal. “So now let’s see if the legislation gets a different reception.” SB 58 takes aim at North Carolina’s current penalties towards marijuana. At the present time, those found with a half ounce or less of any controlled substance face a Class 3 misdemeanor plus 20 days of jail time or community service. Possession of an ounce and a half or more can now be punished by up to five months’ jail time. Moves towards regulation have long been simmering. In November, State representative Kelly Alexander told members of the press, “It’s time now for the legislators in North Carolina to catch up with the people.” Alexander, first elected to the state Congress in 2009, has been a longtime advocate for legalization in North Carolina. He had previously thrown his support behind medical marijuana, before beginning to propose legislation that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug. A poll conducted by Elon University that indicated that 80 percent of North Carolinians favor the legalization of medicinal marijuana has been widely shared. Decriminalization measures are often seen as an effective legislative step towards eventual regulation of cannabis. Another survey conducted by a group of state newspapers of 60 community leaders found that many were in favoring of changing cannabis laws. One former governor weighed in saying that the state should have medical marijuana regulation. A banking CEO opined that decriminalizing marijuana could reduce crime. One factor that could be influencing North Carolinians’ opinions on cannabis is the fact that the state is primed to become one of the United States’ largest producers ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-15
  • Arizona Judge Rules Walmart Discriminated Against Medical Marijuana User
    Another ex-employee has won in court after losing their job due to their authorized possession and use of medical marijuana. It’s a story that’s repeating itself across the country. So much so, in fact, that New York lawmakers want to ban most workplace THC tests the moment the state legalizes marijuana. This time, however, the story involves an Arizona Walmart that fired an employee in 2016 because she tested positive for cannabis. But last week, an Arizona judge ruled that Walmart discriminated against the woman when it terminated her for her medical marijuana use. Importantly, the judge’s ruling sets a key legal precedent for medical cannabis patients in Arizona. Arizona Judge Rules That Drug Tests for THC Can’t Determine Impairment Carol Whitmire is in her 50s. She worked at Walmart for eight years before her manager fired her. And for the last five years, Whitmire has been a registered medical cannabis patient in Arizona. Whitmire told the court that she used medical cannabis to treat her chronic shoulder pain and arthritis and as a sleep aid. She says she consumed cannabis before bed and never brought her medication to work or showed up under the influence. But on May 21, 2016, Whitmire suffered an injury at work—at Walmart. A bag of ice fell on her wrist as she was arranging the bags in a cooler. The injury prompted an urgent care visit. And under Walmart policy, such incidents require drug testing any employee involved. Knowing the policy, Whitmire contacted Walmart human resources. She told them about the incident, her injury, and her status as a registered medical cannabis patient. Walmart suspended Whitmire anyway, on July 4, 2016, after her urine sample tested positive for cannabis metabolites. On July 22, Whitmire’s manager fired her. It would take Whitmire until March 2017 to put together a discrimination complaint against Walmart with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The charge of discrimination also involved the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. A lawsuit followed three months later. It alleged Walmart wrongfully terminated Whitmire and discriminated against her in violation of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. Last week, U.S. District Judge James A. Teilborg ruled that Walmart was not justified in firing Whitmire because the company’s assumption that she was impaired at work due to the presence of cannabis metabolites in her urine is unjustifiable. In other words, the judge recognized that the presence of metabolized THC in a person’s body is no indication of being under the influence of cannabis’ psychoactive effects. Key Arizona Court Ruling Upholds ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-14
  • Bank Officials Urge Congress to Allow Cannabis Businesses Banking Services
    Bank officials and cannabis industry representatives joined together on Wednesday to urge Congress to allow marijuana businesses access to banking services. At a hearing of the House Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Subcommittee, lawmakers heard from advocates of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019 who are seeking support for the bill. Due to federal drug and money laundering regulations, even cannabis businesses operating legally under state laws are often unable to obtain financial services regularly used by other industries. As a result, companies in the cannabis industry often do business only in cash, putting the firms and their employees at great risk. The SAFE Banking Act would protect financial institutions and likely make more banks willing to serve the cannabis industry. Gregory S. Deckard, speaking for the Independent Community Bankers of America, said that the legislation “would offer the needed clarity” to financial institutions hesitant to provide services to marijuana businesses. Mason Tvert, the communications director for the advocacy group the Marijuana Policy Project, noted that the SAFE Banking Act is not about legalizing cannabis at the federal level. “Lawmakers are not being asked to weigh in on whether marijuana should be legal or not. They are simply looking at whether banking services should be available to these businesses in states where it is already legal,” said Tvert. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., founding member of the Congressional Cannabis Congress, said that lawmakers needs to find a solution to the banking issue. “I’ve worked on this for years all over the country,” said Blumenauer. “Nobody thinks it’s a good idea to prohibit them from having banking services.” Opponent ‘Conflicted’ The only person to testify at Wednesday’s hearing in opposition to the bill was Johnathan Talcott, the chairman of anti-legalization group Project SAM. Backers of the SAFE Banking Act noted that Talcott is an attorney for the firm Nelson Mullins, which was hired by Weedmaps to lobby for the cannabis industry. “He believes in his position enough to be here and testify in Congress, but he works for a firm whose clients oppose what he’s testifying to,” said Marijuana Policy Project director of federal policies Don Murphy. “Anybody with a shred of integrity would just leave, it’s that simple.” Justin Strekal, policy director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, was also critical of Talcott. “Mr. Talcott is a hypocrite of the worst kind,” said Strekal. In response to the criticism, Talcott said there was no conflict of interest. “I don’t take any money from the pot industry,” Talcott said. “In ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-14
  • Georgia Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Allow Growth, Sale of Medical Marijuana
    A bill introduced in the Georgia House of Representatives would legalize the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana. Georgia has had a limited medical marijuana program since 2015. Under the program, patients with one or more qualifying medical conditions who register with the state may possess cannabis oil with less than 5 percent THC. But there are no provisions for growing, transporting, or selling cannabis legally. State Rep. Micah Gravley, a Republican and sponsor of the legislation, told local media that the law makes it difficult for patients to obtain their medicine. “The problem is that there’s nowhere to purchase the oil here in the state of Georgia,” said Gravley. “We know it’s beneficial. We’ve seen seizures reduced, we’ve seen the easing of the effects of Parkinson’s, cancer, MS, Crohn’s, sickle cell anemia, and autism.” Although passage of the bill is not guaranteed, it is supported by lawmakers from both parties and last month Republican Gov. Brian Kemp indicated in an interview with Georgia Public Broadcasting that he might support in-state cultivation. “I sympathize and empathize with them on that issue, and I support research-based expansion,” Kemp said. “Thankfully, there is some research that’s going on in this field that will give us some good data that will kind of tell us how to move forward.” Sue Rusche, president and CEO of the Atlanta-based anti-pot group National Families in Action, hyperbolically declared that growing cannabis in Georgia will lead to the legalization of recreational marijuana. “Cultivation is the kiss of death. It leads to full legalization,” said Rusche. “Every state that has legalized marijuana for recreational use began with legalizing cultivation of marijuana for medical use.” Virginia Galloway of the Faith and Freedom Coalition sang a slightly less alarmist tune late last year when a state panel recommended expanding the medical marijuana program and allowing cultivation and sales. “If anyone thinks this isn’t a path to legalization, they’re deceiving themselves,” said Galloway. “The industry is going to have a vested interest in legalization because they’re going to want to broaden their market.” License Fee Sky High Under Gravley’s proposal, the state would issue only 10 licenses for cannabis cultivators to serve Georgia’s 8,400 (and rising) registered patients. Five of the licenses to grow, process, and manufacture cannabis oil would go to large companies, with the rest being reserved for smaller operators. Large firms would pay an application fee of $50,000, an initial license fee of $100,000, and an annual renewal charge of $50,000. Small companies would pay an application fee of $12,500, $25,000 ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-14
  • Some Legalization Activists Skeptical of Newly Pro-Pot 2020 Candidates
    There’s no denying it: pro-pot regulation views are practically requisite for Democrat aspirants to the 2020 presidential nomination. But an article published Wednesday in the Washington Examiner interviews activists who have long been struggling to push for expanded access to cannabis, and who don’t take kindly to fair weather marijuana friends. “I think they put their fingers in the wind,” cannabis advocate Douglas Hiatt told reporter Steven Nelson for the piece. “But which of them were talking about if before it became acceptable in the last few years? Not many.” Take your pick of the 2020 White House challengers, both announced and considering — most have now declared federal regulation is the only way to go when it comes to cannabis. But though some declared candidates like Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, and the still-considering Senator Bernie Sanders have long proven themselves as active advocates for the end of pot prohibition, others have rather recently incorporated green into their political wardrobe. Take for example, the as-yet unannounced candidate, former VP Joe Biden. In the past, Obama’s number two did not mince about the fact he thought marijuana should be decriminalized, but remain illegal. In 2010, he called cannabis a “gateway drug”, and worse still, pushed for drug sentencing laws that relentlessly persecuted communities of color, like 1994’s Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. That legislation, meant as a response to Republican critiques that Democrats were soft on crime, invented the devastating “three strikes” rule enforcing a life sentence for anyone with a trio of drug trafficking crimes or violent felonies, and increased prison funding by $9.7 billion. California Senator Kamala Harris is another 2020 candidate whose pro-legalization views expressed over the last year have raised an eyebrow. Today she identifies the racist consequences of the War on Drugs, publicly admits to smoking “a long time ago”, and even served as Sen. Booker’s co-sponsor for his Marijuana Justice Act last year. But as California’s attorney general in 2014, Harris scoffed when reporters asked whether she would echo a challenger’s pro-cannabis regulation viewpoints. Harris is joined in the presidential race by Senator Amy Klobuchar, a fellow former prosecutor who has yet to sign onto the regulation represented by the Marijuana Justice Act, but has been a co-sponsor of legislation that would widen scientific study of cannabis. In regarding the candidates who have evolved their views on the issue, one may ask how important history is if they’re on board with ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-14
 
  • Man Arrested in North Carolina for Weed Turns Out to be Fugitive Murder Suspect
    A man arrested on marijuana charges by law enforcement officers in North Carolina on Saturday turned out to be a fugitive from California wanted for murder, according to media reports. Boren Lay, 25, was arrested by agents with state Alcohol Law Enforcement (ALE) at the El Barracho, a bar licensed by the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control in Winston-Salem. The agents had been conducting an investigation at the bar when they discovered cannabis. After obtaining a warrant to search the establishment for drugs, agents confiscated more than 11 pounds of marijuana and 842 vials of THC oil. Lay and two other men, Sovath Yern, 30, one of the owners of El Borracho, and Sovann Yern, 31, who are both of Massachusetts. Police say that they have confirmed that all three men are members of the Southern California street gang known as the Asian Boyz. After his arrest, Lay reportedly concealed his identity from police for almost nine hours. When he finally revealed his true name, officers discovered that Lay is wanted for a murder that was committed in California in July 2013. Bryan House, ALE branch head, said that officers with the agency have to be prepared to act on any violations that they discover. “Through the course of a normal investigation, ALE special agents never know who they could potentially encounter,” said House. “As highly trained professionals, ALE special agents’ primary job is to investigate any criminal behavior associated with an ABC licensed establishment and arrest those responsible.” Facing Multiple Charges The men arrested have been charged with multiple crimes including trafficking marijuana by possession,  trafficking marijuana by transport, possession with intent to sell or deliver marijuana, maintaining a building for controlled substances, possession of drug paraphernalia, and allowing violations of the controlled substances act to occur on the licensed premises.  El Barracho could also be penalized by the ABC with fines or a license suspension or revocation. Bail was set at $100,000 for Lay on the drug charges but denied for the murder charge. Bail of a $50,000 secured bond was set for both Sovath and Sovann Yern. A detective with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said that while deputies had not been actively looking for Lay, his arrest is “extremely important.” Lay has been wanted by the LASD as a suspect in the murder of 19-year-old Timothy Teapaco. According to witnesses, Lay had been arguing with Teapaco in a parking lot, when he allegedly shot him. Reports say that Teapaco had allegedly been in the gang Tiny Rascals, but became “inactive” ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-19
  • New Jersey Mayor Who Banned Weed in His Town Revealed to be Paid Lobbyist
    Stephen Reid is the mayor of Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey. In December 2017, under Mayor Reid’s leadership, Point Pleasant became the first New Jersey city to preemptively ban any cannabis industry operations, should the state legalize them. The Point Pleasant Beach ban kicked off a statewide trend, leading to more than 10 percent of all New Jersey towns, representing nearly every county, passing resolutions restricting, banning or opposing cannabis industry operations and adult-use legalization. Today, the total number of towns that have opted out has topped 60, and Mayor Reid continues to be a leading voice in the effort to oppose marijuana reform — in fact, he gets paid to do so. Thanks to the investigative efforts of blogger Patrick Duff, we now know that Point Pleasant Beach Mayor Stephen Reid is on the payroll of an influential anti-marijuana lobbying group. Mayor of First New Jersey Town to Ban Weed Is on the Payroll of an Anti-Cannabis Lobby In late November 2018, New Jersey lawmakers in both the Assembly and Senate voted to advance an adult-use bill, marking the first official legislative action on the issue since pro-legalization Gov. Phil Murphy assumed office in 2018. But since their 2016 takeover of the New Jersey legislature, Democrats have expanded qualifying conditions for medical cannabis treatments, licensed more dispensaries and centered criminal justice reform. At the same time, opposition to the adult-use industry dug in, and a groundswell of anti-cannabis advocacy prompted a number of cities to opt out of any legal-weed future. Point Pleasant Beach mayor Stephen Reid has been at the heart of that movement. After making his city the first to ban the retail cannabis industry in late 2017, Reid has traveled around the state advising other towns to join Point Pleasant’s policy of prohibition. But since at least May 2018, Reid has been pushing prohibition on the payroll of the prominent anti-marijuana lobby group New Jersey Responsible Approaches to Marijuana Policy. Now, that connection and its potential conflict of interest are the subject of a lawsuit filed against Point Pleasant Beach. Mayor Reid isn’t just on NJ RAMP’s payroll. Since May 2018, he has been the group’s executive director. Blogger Patrick Duff revealed the connection after suing Point Pleasant Beach himself, to obtain records of Reid’s emails with the group. Reid has himself never been upfront about his connection with RAMP. In fact, he failed to properly register his lobbying activity on behalf of RAMP with the state until October, five months after taking the job. Lawsuit ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-19
  • UPS Brings Lawsuit Against Cannabis Delivery Services for Trademark Violation
    Here’s a good reason to forgo the parody logos so popular in the cannabis industry; last week UPS became the latest brand to sue its marijuana copycats. The company has filed a lawsuit against United Pot Smokers, UPS420, and THCPlant, a group of medical marijuana delivery businesses, for misleading advertisements and using brand identifiers that encroach on the United Parcel Service’s trademarks. This is far from the first time a cannabis company has been taken to task for a copyright infringement. Last year, Hershey’s Chocolate renewed its quest to keep its brand away from candy-crazy pot brands. In 2017, Detroit’s Buds R Us dispensary was ordered away from its name by Toys R Us, and Gorilla Glue adhesives reached a non-monetary settlement with Gorilla Glue Strains. That same year, Tapatio Hot Sauce sued a company marketing an infused salsa under the name “Trapatio”. And now the multinational delivery company is taking issue with the fact that the United Pot Smokers brand was promoted with a logo that echoed the original UPS’ well-known shield, not to mention the shipping service’s distinctive acronym. The complaint, filed on February 13 in Los Angeles’ Central District federal court, also cites the fact that websites www.upsgreen.com and www.ups420.com were operated by the defendants to coordinate mail orders of cannabis product. On them, the companies used language that could possibly have led to confusion between them and the venerable brand. World Intellectual Property Review reports that among the offending nomenclature on the United Pot Smokers sites were lines saying that it was a “nationwide logistics expeditor” and “operational courier”. Requests for comment by Bloomberg were not immediately responded to by the suit’s defendants. The lawsuit’s demands include compensation for damages and that control over the websites in question be passed to the original UPS company. The two URLs cited in the lawsuit now forward users onto a pair of defunct-looking websites—one for an out-of-stock marijuana storage system and the other for marijuana clones and grow equipment. The site www.ups420.com now links to a defunct-seeming page for California marijuana clones, and once offered “business class transportation” for cannabis products within the state. Worries about the brands’ aesthetic similarities were apparently heightened by user reviews about United Pot Smokers “ripping off” medical cannabis patients that were included in the lawsuit’s filings. UPS stated that United Pot Smokers “have acquired a reputation for unlawful and unprofessional conduct, including offering sham services.” In addition, it claims the cannabis company disregarded more than one cease-and-desist warning from the UPS legal team ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-19
  • California Cannabis Tax Revenue Isn’t Going To Youth Programs—Yet
    According to new reports coming out of California, a key aspect of the state’s original marijuana legalization bill is not being met. Specifically, youth programs are so far not receiving the funding that the original legislation promised they would. As concern grows over why this is happening, experts have identified a few trends that could be creating this scenario. And on an optimistic note, many in the state expect to see things start improving. Why Youth Programs Aren’t Receiving Funding In November 2016, California voters approved Proposition 64. The bill made recreational weed legal in the state. And as is typically the case with legalization bills, one of the primary concerns of the proposition was figuring out how the state would use tax revenues. Among several uses, the state promised to use a portion of cannabis taxes to fund youth programs. Specifically, youth programs aimed at substance abuse education. After Prop. 64 passed in 2016, the retail sale of recreational cannabis officially launched Jan. 1, 2018. Now, a full year after that date, the state has failed to fund youth educational programs. According to the AP, experts say there are two primary reasons for this lack of funding. First, the state’s structure for spending cannabis tax money places these youth programs at a lower priority than other initiatives. As outlined in California’s legal framework, there is a multi-tiered system for prioritizing who gets tax revenue first. Under this system, the top tier of funding goes to startup costs and operational costs associated with state regulatory functions. Below that, things like university research and funding for California Highway Patrol is on the second tier. That leaves youth educational programs for the third tier of spending. It’s possible that there might not be any problems with this system. But experts say it’s problematic because the state has not brought in as much cannabis tax revenue as originally predicted. As a result, there simply hasn’t been enough money in the coffers to make it to the third tier of spending. And that means that youth programs have so far gone unfunded. Fixing the Problem For advocates of these youth substance abuse education programs, the news isn’t all bad. In fact, many experts think that things could turn around soon. California’s fiscal year ends in June. And current trends in the state’s cannabis market indicate that there could be enough revenue by then to fully fund youth educational programs. If the state hits that milestone in June, things could be on track to get even better next ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-18
  • Pick The Finest Flower Every Time With These Three Tips
    Growing weed is an earthly joy that everyone across the world should experience. But the ability to legally buy the herb makes things even sweeter. As laws begin to relax across the world and a newfound acceptance towards recreational and medicinal-use and culture continues to grow, it’s crucial to know what to look for and how flower should smell and taste– which, most of the time, is easier said than done. Below are three factors to keep in mind the next time you’re legally buying cannabis. Courtesy of Spliffseeds Appearance: The First Impression They say you only get one chance to make a first good impression, and that certainly rings true when it comes to cannabis flower. At a street level, it can be challenging to acquire consistency as well as variety. That’s why going to an established dispensary, coffee shop (we’re looking at you, Amsterdam!), social club, or smoking lounge is ideal because the rigmarole of filtering out the schwag from the good-good is already done for you. That said, there are a few ways to indicate the quality of a flower’s genetics, how apt the grower was, if the trimmers were experienced, how long the bouquet cured for, and the quality of care a cultivation group put toward their product–and, thus, the customer. Top quality flower should primarily be bud with almost zero leaf ratio. The color of the flower should not be dark brown or yellow, and the actual biomass will have a dense look to it. Calyx development should be totally swollen and, in some cases, displaying signs of foxtailing. The pistils coating the buds will be a mature brown or maroon, and there certainly should not be any white pistils on the flower or signs of seeds. As far as removing all twigs and sugar leaf, this can reflect whether the growers are considerate of using trim for isolator or making oil. Not all varieties of dried cannabis flower will share the same appearance and structure; so in most cases, “Kush” and indica-dominant strains will produce smaller, dense nugs that looks like it would yield only a few nugs. On the other hand, sativa varieties such as “Haze” will produce buds slightly elongated. They offer more in terms of shape and calyx size. Everyone is different and basing your experience on which flower offers more value will drastically reduce how much you learn about the plant. It’ll also stop you from enjoying the full-spectrum of flavor, taste, and effects this wonderful plant has to ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-18
  • Activist Charged With Felony Wiretapping After Streaming Marijuana Justice Rally
    Last October, the cannabis legalization advocacy group Maryland Marijuana Justice organized a protest outside of state Rep. Andy Harris’s congressional office in Salisbury. Six months earlier, ex-Colorado residents Adam Eidinger and Kris Furnish founded the group to accomplish one primary object: remove Rep. Andy Harris, a politician the group calls “one of the worst concerning cannabis reform laws,” from Maryland’s 1st Congressional District. 20-year-old Jake Burdett, a student at Salisbury University, attended the October protest. It brought him face to face with one of Rep. Harris’s staffers, an encounter the young activist briefly livestreamed on Facebook Live. And on Valentine’s Day, Burdett was charged with multiple felony wiretapping charges for recording and posting that meeting online for a day. The charges brought against Burdett were filed by Rep. Harris’ office. Maryland Marijuana Justice Demonstrator Faces Felony Charges for Livestreaming a Meeting These days, members of the cannabis advocacy group Maryland Marijuana Justice (MDMJ) are a regular fixture outside Maryland’s Congressional offices. The group has been organizing demonstrations and protests to support cannabis reform efforts and challenge the lawmakers opposing them. Lawmakers like Republican state Rep. Andy Harris, who in 2014 worked to block the full legalization of marijuana in D.C. Rep. Harris has been in the news recently. Not for his opposition to drug reform, but for a meeting he took with white supremacist and Holocaust denier Chuck Johnson, who Twitter banned for threatening the Baltimore civil rights activist DeRay Mckesson. But Maryland Marijuana Justice want the press surrounding Jake Burdett’s indictment to stay focused on Harris’ views on cannabis, not just his racist scandals. MDMJ activists have long-protested Harris’ backwards views on cannabis and refusals to meet with cannabis reform advocates. At the October protest, Burdett was streaming to Facebook Live. When one of Harris’ congressional staffers offered to meet with a handful of demonstrators, Burdett made the cut and kept the camera running for a short while into the meeting. But Burdett didn’t obtain the staffer’s consent to film inside the office where the meeting was occurring. He didn’t know he had to. Or that it wasn’t just illegal, but a felony to film the staffer without permission. Burdett found out it was illegal the next day and immediately took down the video. He also personally apologized to the staffer. But Congressman Harris threw the book at him anyway. And on February 15, prosecutors charged Burdett with felony wiretapping. Maryland Rep. Andy Harris Keeps Calling the Cops on Marijuana Justice Activists This isn’t the first time Andy Harris ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-18
  • Utah’s Largest Healthcare Provider Authorizes Medical Marijuana Recommendations
    Utah’s largest healthcare provider has authorized its doctors to recommend the use of medical marijuana for their patients, according to media reports. Intermountain Healthcare announced on Thursday that it has established a system to issue recommendation letters to patients with qualifying health conditions who could benefit from cannabis. Mark Briesacher, the Intermountain chief physician executive, said that the company’s healthcare providers have prepared to discuss medical marijuana with patients who ask for a recommendation. “We’re ready for patients to meet with their physicians, their nurse practitioners, physicians assistants, and begin the conversation around, ‘Is medical cannabis something that I should consider? Is this something given my health conditions, do you think this might help?”’ Briesacher said. Briesacher noted that Intermountain took input from patients, families, advocates, doctors, nurses, and pharmacists to create its medical marijuana policy. He said that providers are not required to discuss the use of medical marijuana with patients and that those who do will only be able to issue a recommendation, not a prescription. “We’ve worked diligently to verify protections to providers who choose to give letters to their patients and ensure our process fully complies with state law,” Briesacher said. He also said that there is still a lot to be learned about medicinal cannabis. “This is the first of many steps to come,” he said. “There are still many things for us to understand.” For example, patients will not be able to get advice on how much cannabis they should use from their doctors. “We’re not getting into dosing at this point,” Briesacher said. No Dispensaries Until Next Year Steve Urquhart, a former Republican state senator, said that Utah’s medical marijuana program, which was approved by voters last November, still needs work and that he hoped the move by Intermountain will change the focus to doctors and patients and away from lobbyists and special interest groups. “I think that will change everything. There needs to be changes in the law, and I’m hopeful that Intermountain will take the lead on this,” Urquhart said. Christine Stenquist, the founder of Together for Responsible Use and Cannabis Education, which led the campaign to legalize medical marijuana in Utah, noted that patients have no place to legally obtain their medicine. Cannabis dispensaries are not expected to open in the state until 2020. “While we’re applauding that this effort has happened, right now the state’s turning a blind eye as to where you’re actually procuring your medications,” said Stenquist. “Patients are still suffering a little bit, but we’re moving the ball down the field.” ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-15
  • Researchers In Canada Studying Hemp Protein To Treat Hypertension
    Researchers in Canada are recruiting volunteers to participate in a clinical trial to study the effects of hemp protein on hypertension. Peter Jones, the director of the Richardson Centre for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals at the University of Manitoba, said that the study could lead to treatments for hypertension or high blood pressure that rely on foods instead of medicines. Previous studies at the university have shown that hemp protein can lower the blood pressure of lab rats with hypertension. “People may be able to replace their dependency on drugs and move to a dietary approach to managing their high blood pressure,” Jones said. Jones, who is the principal investigator for the research, noted that evolving public opinion about hemp has led to support for further research into the potential health benefits of the plant. “People are more intrigued, it’s ok to do hemp now more so than it might have been a decade ago,” said Jones. To conduct the study, 35 volunteers with high blood pressure will be divided into three groups who will take one of three protein supplements in a fruit smoothie twice a day. One group will get hemp protein, another hemp with peptides, and the control group’s smoothies will have casein, a protein derived from milk. The participants will not know which protein they are using and the two daily smoothies will be the only food they consume during three 42-day periods. The entire trial will last 22 weeks. Amino Acid in Hemp Reduces Blood Pressure Lead researcher Maryam Samsamikor, a Ph.D. candidate, said that hemp protein contains the amino acid arginine, which is known to reduce blood pressure. “This amino acid is used by the body to make nitric oxide which is a molecule used to relax the body’s cells,” she said. Jones said that the hemp with peptides will increase the amount of arginine exposure for that group of participants. “We put a special enzyme in that is like a little Pacman and it goes in and takes that long strand of protein and essentially like a pair of scissors just snips it into what we call a polypeptide,” he said. Participants’ blood pressure and several other health indicators will be tracked throughout the study. Samsamikor said that researchers hope to determine if the hemp protein leads to an improvement in the blood pressure readings. “Their blood pressure should be within 130 to 160,” said Samsamikor. The research is being sponsored by the University of Manitoba, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, and Manitoba Harvest, a producer of ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-15
  • Man Arrested After Offering Weed Wax in Exchange for Fast Food Delivery on Facebook
    By any measure, a gram of wax is a solid deal for a double quarter-pounder, two fries, and two large sodas. For 22-year-old Brian Starliper of Idaho Falls, convenience—and the possibility of making a new friend—outweighed cost. “I’m too lazy to get up and go to McDonald’s myself tbh,” Starliper wrote on Facebook. But Facebook, tbh, is crawling with snitches. And somebody tipped off the Idaho Falls Police Department about Starliper’s offer. That tip led to a search warrant which led to a pair of arrests and a long docket of charges. And that’s why it’s not a good idea to talk about weed on Facebook in Idaho. Who Snitched on the Brian Starliper’s Incredible Wax-for-Fast Food Offer? Cannabis prices can vary substantially, especially in a place with no legal market. Idaho is one of the few remaining states in the country where cannabis is fully illegal. No medical–not even any decriminalization measures–but plenty of harsh sentences. Possess less than three ounces for personal use, and you’re looking at a misdemeanor charge with up to a year in jail. Anything above that, or any amount with intent to distribute, and you’re looking at a felony. Idaho even has felony charges for weed paraphernalia. So, based on law enforcement’s search of his residence, Starliper had cannabis for personal use—and trading for fast food, obviously. Whoever brought Starliper the grub was going to get more than a gram of wax to take home. The dude and his companion were open to a hang. “I have hella wax to play with too,” he wrote. Starliper’s ad received an answer almost instantly. He even provided his address to the helpful stranger for all to see. Bring some food and get some wax; could be a standing offer with this guy. He’s got wax to play with! Or at least about 10 grams of it, and a gram of coke, and various dab rigs, according to Idaho Falls police. Facebook Weed Wax Bust Reveals Idaho’s Strange Law Against “Criminal Frequenting” Someone, obviously, saw Starliper’s post and decided it would be cool to tell the cops about it. And when they got the tip, the Idaho Falls Police Department Special Investigations Unit wasted no time. They obtained a warrant on Thursday, then raided Starliper’s residence early Friday. Starliper already had two outstanding warrants for violating his probation and failing to appear in court. In addition to those charges, he faces charges for possessing controlled substances with intent to distribute. He’s currently behind bars at Bonneville County Jail. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-15
  • Iconic Florida Bar Will Be Converted Into Medical Marijuana Dispensary
    Stratford’s, the oldest bar in Hollywood, Florida, will soon be converted into a medical marijuana dispensary, according to media reports. First opened in 1938, Stratford’s Bar moved to its current location east of Interstate 95 on Hollywood Boulevard in 1944. The tavern was purchased by Stadlen Family Holdings for $1.5 million on Jan. 28 and will be closing later this year. After the final last call, a cannabis dispensary will be setting up shop at the site. The medical marijuana retailer will be a partnership between the Stadlen company and Harvest Health and Recreation Inc. of Arizona. Ben Kimbro, a spokesman for Harvest, said that the property will be restored. “We’ve got this wonderful iconic building that’s in a gateway entry point to Hollywood,” Kimbro said. “We want to get that property back to its original intended glory.” Joseph Stadlen of Stadlen Family Holdings said that Stratford’s would remain a Hollywood landmark. “We are not tearing down the building. We’re restoring it to its iconic heyday,” said Stadlen. “As someone who was born and raised in Hollywood, I recognize the significance that Stratford’s plays in the community, and I’m very respectful of that. We never even thought about tearing it down.” Hollywood Landmark Robin Roper, the daughter of former Stratford’s owner Guy Roper, Jr., said the bar and restaurant were popular with lots of people in South Florida. “You had every walk of life, from blue-collar workers to judges to politicians,” said Roper, who still lives in Hollywood. “And everyone got along. It became like an extended family. We’d open the bar on Christmas Day for people who didn’t have anywhere to go.” Even the Super Bowl-winning 1972 Miami Dolphins frequented Stratford’s. “The Dolphins were in there all the time,” said Roper. “It was their watering hole, with the cheap drinks. They didn’t get paid then like they do now.” Retired Hollywood detective Lee Soccol, who is now 70-years-old, said that he is a third-generation Stratford’s regular. “We’d all meet Fridays after work at Stratford’s,” said Soccol, now 70. “That was the place. Each of us would take turns buying a round. The beer was cheap. They used to have a different dish every day of the week. Guy Roper did all the cooking.” Soccol noted that he had been going to Stratford’s since he was a child. “I used to go there as a kid with my father,” he said. “The old man, Roper’s father, would give you a Mounds candy car and a Coke for free.” Attorney Mark Butler ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-15
  • North Carolina Bill Would Legalize Possession of Up To Three Ounces of Weed
    A new bill proposed in Raleigh would make it legal to legally possess up to three ounces of cannabis for personal use. State senator Paul Lowe, a Democrat from Forsyth County, proposed SB 58, which would decriminalize low level drug possession. It would also allow for some past offenders to have North Carolina drug violations expunged from their record. Possession of up to three ounces of cannabis, the bill proposes, could be erased by a petition with a $100 filing fee. Lowe’s bill would not alter laws regarding sentencing for hashish possession. Lowe acknowledged that not all lawmakers would initially be on board, but; “This is heading in the right direction,” he said. The state senator also introduced a similar bill to decriminalize cannabis possession in the last session of the Senate. “There are new legislators with differing outlooks on a lot of legislation being reintroduced,” he said upon announcing SF 58, as reported by the Winston-Salem Journal. “So now let’s see if the legislation gets a different reception.” SB 58 takes aim at North Carolina’s current penalties towards marijuana. At the present time, those found with a half ounce or less of any controlled substance face a Class 3 misdemeanor plus 20 days of jail time or community service. Possession of an ounce and a half or more can now be punished by up to five months’ jail time. Moves towards regulation have long been simmering. In November, State representative Kelly Alexander told members of the press, “It’s time now for the legislators in North Carolina to catch up with the people.” Alexander, first elected to the state Congress in 2009, has been a longtime advocate for legalization in North Carolina. He had previously thrown his support behind medical marijuana, before beginning to propose legislation that would decriminalize possession of small amounts of the drug. A poll conducted by Elon University that indicated that 80 percent of North Carolinians favor the legalization of medicinal marijuana has been widely shared. Decriminalization measures are often seen as an effective legislative step towards eventual regulation of cannabis. Another survey conducted by a group of state newspapers of 60 community leaders found that many were in favoring of changing cannabis laws. One former governor weighed in saying that the state should have medical marijuana regulation. A banking CEO opined that decriminalizing marijuana could reduce crime. One factor that could be influencing North Carolinians’ opinions on cannabis is the fact that the state is primed to become one of the United States’ largest producers ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-15
  • Arizona Judge Rules Walmart Discriminated Against Medical Marijuana User
    Another ex-employee has won in court after losing their job due to their authorized possession and use of medical marijuana. It’s a story that’s repeating itself across the country. So much so, in fact, that New York lawmakers want to ban most workplace THC tests the moment the state legalizes marijuana. This time, however, the story involves an Arizona Walmart that fired an employee in 2016 because she tested positive for cannabis. But last week, an Arizona judge ruled that Walmart discriminated against the woman when it terminated her for her medical marijuana use. Importantly, the judge’s ruling sets a key legal precedent for medical cannabis patients in Arizona. Arizona Judge Rules That Drug Tests for THC Can’t Determine Impairment Carol Whitmire is in her 50s. She worked at Walmart for eight years before her manager fired her. And for the last five years, Whitmire has been a registered medical cannabis patient in Arizona. Whitmire told the court that she used medical cannabis to treat her chronic shoulder pain and arthritis and as a sleep aid. She says she consumed cannabis before bed and never brought her medication to work or showed up under the influence. But on May 21, 2016, Whitmire suffered an injury at work—at Walmart. A bag of ice fell on her wrist as she was arranging the bags in a cooler. The injury prompted an urgent care visit. And under Walmart policy, such incidents require drug testing any employee involved. Knowing the policy, Whitmire contacted Walmart human resources. She told them about the incident, her injury, and her status as a registered medical cannabis patient. Walmart suspended Whitmire anyway, on July 4, 2016, after her urine sample tested positive for cannabis metabolites. On July 22, Whitmire’s manager fired her. It would take Whitmire until March 2017 to put together a discrimination complaint against Walmart with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The charge of discrimination also involved the Arizona Attorney General’s Office. A lawsuit followed three months later. It alleged Walmart wrongfully terminated Whitmire and discriminated against her in violation of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act. Last week, U.S. District Judge James A. Teilborg ruled that Walmart was not justified in firing Whitmire because the company’s assumption that she was impaired at work due to the presence of cannabis metabolites in her urine is unjustifiable. In other words, the judge recognized that the presence of metabolized THC in a person’s body is no indication of being under the influence of cannabis’ psychoactive effects. Key Arizona Court Ruling Upholds ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-14
  • Bank Officials Urge Congress to Allow Cannabis Businesses Banking Services
    Bank officials and cannabis industry representatives joined together on Wednesday to urge Congress to allow marijuana businesses access to banking services. At a hearing of the House Consumer Protection and Financial Institutions Subcommittee, lawmakers heard from advocates of the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act of 2019 who are seeking support for the bill. Due to federal drug and money laundering regulations, even cannabis businesses operating legally under state laws are often unable to obtain financial services regularly used by other industries. As a result, companies in the cannabis industry often do business only in cash, putting the firms and their employees at great risk. The SAFE Banking Act would protect financial institutions and likely make more banks willing to serve the cannabis industry. Gregory S. Deckard, speaking for the Independent Community Bankers of America, said that the legislation “would offer the needed clarity” to financial institutions hesitant to provide services to marijuana businesses. Mason Tvert, the communications director for the advocacy group the Marijuana Policy Project, noted that the SAFE Banking Act is not about legalizing cannabis at the federal level. “Lawmakers are not being asked to weigh in on whether marijuana should be legal or not. They are simply looking at whether banking services should be available to these businesses in states where it is already legal,” said Tvert. Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., founding member of the Congressional Cannabis Congress, said that lawmakers needs to find a solution to the banking issue. “I’ve worked on this for years all over the country,” said Blumenauer. “Nobody thinks it’s a good idea to prohibit them from having banking services.” Opponent ‘Conflicted’ The only person to testify at Wednesday’s hearing in opposition to the bill was Johnathan Talcott, the chairman of anti-legalization group Project SAM. Backers of the SAFE Banking Act noted that Talcott is an attorney for the firm Nelson Mullins, which was hired by Weedmaps to lobby for the cannabis industry. “He believes in his position enough to be here and testify in Congress, but he works for a firm whose clients oppose what he’s testifying to,” said Marijuana Policy Project director of federal policies Don Murphy. “Anybody with a shred of integrity would just leave, it’s that simple.” Justin Strekal, policy director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, was also critical of Talcott. “Mr. Talcott is a hypocrite of the worst kind,” said Strekal. In response to the criticism, Talcott said there was no conflict of interest. “I don’t take any money from the pot industry,” Talcott said. “In ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-14
  • Georgia Lawmakers Introduce Bill to Allow Growth, Sale of Medical Marijuana
    A bill introduced in the Georgia House of Representatives would legalize the cultivation and sale of medical marijuana. Georgia has had a limited medical marijuana program since 2015. Under the program, patients with one or more qualifying medical conditions who register with the state may possess cannabis oil with less than 5 percent THC. But there are no provisions for growing, transporting, or selling cannabis legally. State Rep. Micah Gravley, a Republican and sponsor of the legislation, told local media that the law makes it difficult for patients to obtain their medicine. “The problem is that there’s nowhere to purchase the oil here in the state of Georgia,” said Gravley. “We know it’s beneficial. We’ve seen seizures reduced, we’ve seen the easing of the effects of Parkinson’s, cancer, MS, Crohn’s, sickle cell anemia, and autism.” Although passage of the bill is not guaranteed, it is supported by lawmakers from both parties and last month Republican Gov. Brian Kemp indicated in an interview with Georgia Public Broadcasting that he might support in-state cultivation. “I sympathize and empathize with them on that issue, and I support research-based expansion,” Kemp said. “Thankfully, there is some research that’s going on in this field that will give us some good data that will kind of tell us how to move forward.” Sue Rusche, president and CEO of the Atlanta-based anti-pot group National Families in Action, hyperbolically declared that growing cannabis in Georgia will lead to the legalization of recreational marijuana. “Cultivation is the kiss of death. It leads to full legalization,” said Rusche. “Every state that has legalized marijuana for recreational use began with legalizing cultivation of marijuana for medical use.” Virginia Galloway of the Faith and Freedom Coalition sang a slightly less alarmist tune late last year when a state panel recommended expanding the medical marijuana program and allowing cultivation and sales. “If anyone thinks this isn’t a path to legalization, they’re deceiving themselves,” said Galloway. “The industry is going to have a vested interest in legalization because they’re going to want to broaden their market.” License Fee Sky High Under Gravley’s proposal, the state would issue only 10 licenses for cannabis cultivators to serve Georgia’s 8,400 (and rising) registered patients. Five of the licenses to grow, process, and manufacture cannabis oil would go to large companies, with the rest being reserved for smaller operators. Large firms would pay an application fee of $50,000, an initial license fee of $100,000, and an annual renewal charge of $50,000. Small companies would pay an application fee of $12,500, $25,000 ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-14
  • Some Legalization Activists Skeptical of Newly Pro-Pot 2020 Candidates
    There’s no denying it: pro-pot regulation views are practically requisite for Democrat aspirants to the 2020 presidential nomination. But an article published Wednesday in the Washington Examiner interviews activists who have long been struggling to push for expanded access to cannabis, and who don’t take kindly to fair weather marijuana friends. “I think they put their fingers in the wind,” cannabis advocate Douglas Hiatt told reporter Steven Nelson for the piece. “But which of them were talking about if before it became acceptable in the last few years? Not many.” Take your pick of the 2020 White House challengers, both announced and considering — most have now declared federal regulation is the only way to go when it comes to cannabis. But though some declared candidates like Senators Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Representative Tulsi Gabbard, and the still-considering Senator Bernie Sanders have long proven themselves as active advocates for the end of pot prohibition, others have rather recently incorporated green into their political wardrobe. Take for example, the as-yet unannounced candidate, former VP Joe Biden. In the past, Obama’s number two did not mince about the fact he thought marijuana should be decriminalized, but remain illegal. In 2010, he called cannabis a “gateway drug”, and worse still, pushed for drug sentencing laws that relentlessly persecuted communities of color, like 1994’s Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act. That legislation, meant as a response to Republican critiques that Democrats were soft on crime, invented the devastating “three strikes” rule enforcing a life sentence for anyone with a trio of drug trafficking crimes or violent felonies, and increased prison funding by $9.7 billion. California Senator Kamala Harris is another 2020 candidate whose pro-legalization views expressed over the last year have raised an eyebrow. Today she identifies the racist consequences of the War on Drugs, publicly admits to smoking “a long time ago”, and even served as Sen. Booker’s co-sponsor for his Marijuana Justice Act last year. But as California’s attorney general in 2014, Harris scoffed when reporters asked whether she would echo a challenger’s pro-cannabis regulation viewpoints. Harris is joined in the presidential race by Senator Amy Klobuchar, a fellow former prosecutor who has yet to sign onto the regulation represented by the Marijuana Justice Act, but has been a co-sponsor of legislation that would widen scientific study of cannabis. In regarding the candidates who have evolved their views on the issue, one may ask how important history is if they’re on board with ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-02-14