• Mailman Delivers Cannabis to Home Being Raided by Police
    North Port, Florida has two medical cannabis dispensaries. But neither of them should be confused with a residence on the 5600 block of Brickell Drive, where police served a warrant and arrested two men on multiple drug charges Thursday. The USPS carrier who showed up while police were executing the warrant was probably confused, however, as he attempted to deliver a package containing cannabis buds, THC wax and vaporizer cartridges with law enforcement still on the scene. USPS Carrier Delivers Weed, Wax and Vape Cartridges While Police Raid a Home When it was all said and done, North Park, Florida police arrested two men and seized four pounds of cannabis buds, 243 grams of THC wax, 97 THC vaporizer cartridges, 12 grams of cocaine, liquid codeine and 2 handguns with extended 30 round magazines from a residence in the 5600 block of Brickell Drive they raided on May 16. But most of that contraband arrived at the house while police were on the scene executing the warrant, searching the home and making arrests. That’s because a U.S. Postal Service carrier showed up with them in the middle of the raid. The packaged the carrier delivered during the raid contained several vacuum-sealed bags of cannabis products. According to police reports, the package included four pounds of weed, 223 grams of THC wax and 50 THC vape cartridges. The guns and other substances were found during a search of the residence. Florida Drug Enforcement Keeps Up as State Expands Medical Cannabis Access Stemming from the raid, police arrested 24-year-old Bryan Vanskiver and 19-year-old David Chesser. Both face multiple charges, including drug possession, drug sales, drug equipment and weapons charges. North Port law enforcement have booked Vanskiver and Chesser in a Sarasota County jail. But just a 10 minute drive down Route 41 from the spot where police raided a home, arrested two men and seized several forms of marijuana, stand two medical cannabis dispensaries offering Florida medcard patients everything from THC oils to vape cartridges, tinctures, concentrates, smokable flower and more. In Florida, law enforcement continues to crack down on suspected unauthorized cannabis sellers. They’re even going after shop owners and sweet old ladies for selling and possessing cannabidiol (CBD). Meanwhile, marijuana legalization advocates continue to press for statewide adult-use. And health and patient advocates have succeeded in expanding Florida’s restrictive medical cannabis program. Florida’s medical cannabis program has already grown to support a roughly $5.7 billion industry, according to a recent report. In all, the state ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-17
  • Joe Biden Supports Marijuana Decriminalization, Not Legalization
    “Nobody should be in jail for smoking marijuana.” That’s what former US Vice President Joe Biden told voters in Nashua, New Hampshire on Tuesday. But Biden, one of more than 20 contenders for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination, said he does not support making cannabis legal. Instead, Biden favors decriminalization, not legalization. But the former VP and 2020 hopeful still thinks states should be able to make their own decisions when it comes to legalization, without federal interference. Biden also believes the federal government should support medical cannabis research and make it easier for people to expunge criminal records for some cannabis-related offenses. As a Senator, Biden Helped Wage the War on Weed On March 16, ahead of his officially announcing his candidacy for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, Joe Biden said, “I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the nomination.” But even a cursory look at Biden’s record reveals that’s not the case, especially when it comes to drug policy. As a Senator, Biden was a militant in the war on drugs. He helped passed bills that eliminated parole, authorized civil asset forfeiture and imposed harsh mandatory minimums for drug possession. He introduced the racist sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine, helped pass dozens of new death penalties and directed massive amounts of public resources to building new prisons and arresting people to fill them. Indeed, during his decades in the Senate, Biden bragged constantly about his central role in drug and criminal legal policies that devastated black communities. And even setting that record aside, Biden today still isn’t anywhere near the most progressive candidate when it comes to marijuana policy. Marijuana Legalization a Key Issue Among 2020 Democratic Contenders The dividing line between decriminalizing marijuana and legalizing is splitting the field of 2020 Democratic candidates. And Joe Biden isn’t on the legalization side. But Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Cory Booker do support legalization, along with several other contenders. On the other side stands Biden, who along with Sen. Sherrod Brown and John Hickenlooper, favor support criminalization, not legalization. In other words, among the Democratic field, legalization is winning out over decriminalization. But Biden isn’t hopping on board. However, speaking before New Hampshire voters, Biden outlined what federal marijuana policy might look like under his administration. Biden “would allow states to continue to make their own choices regarding legalization and would seek to make it easier to conduct ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-16
  • New Marijuana Legalization Bill Introduced in New York
    Lawmakers in New York announced plans to introduce a new marijuana legalization bill in the state legislature, according to media reports. The new bill comes after an effort to include a cannabis legalization plan in the state budget failed to gain enough support earlier this year. Democratic Sen. Liz Krueger of Manhattan, an advocate for cannabis legalization, said that the new bill builds on the common ground achieved during talks for the unsuccessful budget plan. “We’ve attempted to take all of the negotiated agreements that took place during budget negotiations and expand our bill,” said Krueger. The bill’s sponsor in the New York State Assembly, Democratic Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, called for a comprehensive plan to legalize cannabis, regulate hemp, and improve New York’s medical marijuana program. “I am working on amending the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act to incorporate many aspects of Governor Cuomo’s proposal,” Peoples-Stokes said, “including having one regulatory body overseeing medical marijuana, hemp extracts, and adult-use cannabis.” Measure Aims for Social Equity Peoples-Stokes also said that the core principles of the previous plan including “significant dedicated investment in communities most harmed by marijuana prohibition, equity in the industry, permitting individuals to grow cannabis for personal use, and addressing past criminal convictions,” had been preserved in the new bill.  The majority leader also said that the new plan would include public health benefits and provisions to address the consequences of the War on Drugs. “A certain percentage of it will go towards comminutes that have been negatively impacted by mass incarceration,” Peoples-Stokes said. “And a certain percentage of it would go for research, drug prevention and treatment,” she added.   The new plan also includes expansion to the state’s medical marijuana program by leaving it up to doctors and patients to decide when the therapeutic use of cannabis may be beneficial instead restricting access to those with a specified qualifying medical condition. “It is my hope that this legislation will be approved by the Legislature, and there will not be a need to take up separate legislation that updates the medical marijuana program, and regulates hemp/CBD,” Peoples-Stokes said. Will the Bill Succeed? Krueger said that she does not believe that there are enough votes in the state Senate for the bill to succeed. She’s calling for the Assembly to pass the measure first to build support for the plan. “And then I can try to make the case that people who might have been scared away when it dropped out of the budget ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-16
  • Behind the ‘Stache with Tacoma FD’s Kevin Heffer and Steve Lemme
    Kevin Heffernan and Steve Lemme have been making people laugh for decades, most notably as part of the comedy troupe Broken Lizard, which came together in 1990 at New York’s Colgate University. The group’s films Super Troopers, Beerfest, Club Dread and last year’s Super Troopers 2 are now widely considered cult comedy classics. New Show on truTV Their latest project, Tacoma FD, is wrapping up its first 10-episode season on truTV this week, and the pair sat down with HTTV recently to talk about the series. “Tacoma FD is our new show on truTV and it’s a show about firefighters in the wettest city in America,” says Heffernan. “And it’s basically Super Troopers in a fire station.” “Right down to the mustaches,” Lemme chimes in. Heffernan and Lemme explain that the impetus for the new series is rooted in their vanity. “The thing that inspired us to make this show was an intense desire to get on TV,” Lemme says, adding that they incorporated popular elements of their earlier hits while creating the show. “Super Troopers are on the most deserted stretch of highway, so they have a lot of downtime,” Lemme says. “What’s the equivalent of that for firefighters? The rainiest city in the country.” The storylines in Tacoma FD include antics from real departments, as told to the duo by the likes of one of Heffernan’s cousins Lt. Bill, a firefighter who was hired as a technical director for the production. “Also, we’ve talked to a bunch of firefighters,” adds Heffernan. “And when Super Troopers came out, firefighters said to us, ‘Cops are pretty funny, you know, but you know who’s really funny? Firefighters.'” ‘World’s Biggest Hotbox’ Because Tacoma has such a wet climate, fires don’t have much chance of starting and getting out of control, leaving the department plenty of downtime for shenanigans. In fact, Lemme and Heffernan decided that the crew of Tacoma FD would only actually fight one fire each season of the series. “In the first season, it takes place in Washington state, so what makes sense?” Heffernan asks. “Fire in a weed dispensary. Weed dispensary catches on fire, we’re sent in to put it out. Hilarity ensues.” “It’s basically the world’s biggest hot box,” Lemme explains. Sequel to Beerfest in the Works Lemme and Heffernan also talk about other projects they have in the works, including a cannabis-themed sequel to Beerfest. One of the producers of that film, Bill Gerber, is currently enjoying the success of another film he produced, last year’s ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-16
  • Police Test CBD Water Purchased at Gas Station and Find THC
    Police in Alabama say a bottle of CBD-enhanced water on sale at gas stations tested positive for THC. The company that makes that water, CBD Cure, says that’s next to impossible. But a Facebook post the Summerdale Police Department put up May 15 shows THC field tests turning red due to the presence of the psychoactive cannabinoid. So either the test is faulty, or CBD Cure needs to find a new lab to better test their products. Then again, federal law states CBD products can contain up to 0.03 percent THC without violating the Controlled Substances Act. And if CBD Cure uses whole-hemp extract to source the cannabidiol for its water, that could be exactly what happened. How Does THC-Free CBD Water Tests Positive for THC? “Just an FYI,” Summerdale Police wrote on a May 15 Facebook post, “we tested random CBD water from a local gas station that claims there is no THC in it, only CBD oil, and it failed 2 field tests.” But police admitted the tests don’t tell them how much THC is in the CBD water. It only alerts them to the presence of THC. But in a photograph, police compared a test of “real marijuana” to the test of the CBD water, and they look identical. The label on CBD Cure’s bottled water advertises 10 mg of CBD and “No THC.” “You’re more likely to win the lottery than find THC in our water,” said CBD Cure spokesperson Sid Robinson. Robinson also said that every batch of its CBD Cure water undergoes rigorous testing at an FDA-approved lab before the company distributes it. If that’s true, the Summerdale Police department has won the lottery twice, showing two tests that came up positive. And while the laboratory CBD Cure contracts with to tests its products may have an FDA license, CBD products are still largely unregulated. That’s starting to change, now that the federal government has legalized hemp and hemp products containing less than 0.03 percent THC. But for now, companies can more-or-less put whatever claims they want to on CBD packaging. So either CBD Cure’s third-party lab is not providing accurate results. Or, the marijuana field test kits police use are sensitive enough to give a positive reading from less than a .03% THC content. Law Enforcement Struggles to Differentiate Hemp and Weed When law enforcement tests for THC, they use testing kits that are extremely sensitive to its presence. On average, most tests trigger positive when a sample ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-15
  • Former Phylos Bioscience Employee Sheds Light on Breeding Controversy
    There were perhaps twenty people gathered to hear me speak. For a noon slot, not too bad. All the same, it was my first time giving The Pitch for Phylos Bioscience, and I psyched myself up through a buzzing chest as best I could. Fairbanks Alaska in July is a land without night; having spent the previous evening watching the sun through my hotel window as it barely dipped below the horizon only to creep back up from its catnap an hour later, I was a bit edgier than perhaps I should have been. I stiffened, walked up to the podium, clumsily fiddled with the microphone, had a deep breath and jumped right in. This was my moment, after all. I smiled. The Script “Hello, folks! Hope everybody’s had a pleasant morning. My name is Ricky, and I’m here today from Phylos Bioscience.” Many of you in the grower and breeder communities who are reading this met me under exactly these circumstances. I smiled at you, shook your hand. I answered your questions with austerity and confidence, gained your trust, followed up on the phone, shared laughs and grow stories, tragedies and drug war nightmares. And I even fulfilled your orders for the Phylos Genotype kit, compiling a vast blueprint of your genetics and charting them in the Galaxy, the largest genomic map of cannabis worldwide. I reassured you time and again, hundreds of times daily: “We are not out to steal your work. We are here to help you protect it, to prove prior art. We’re a different type of cannabis company. We fucking hate Monsanto. We fucking hate Monsanto. We fucking hate…” and on and on. The Flip Within the last three weeks, a side of the company has come to public light that calls all of this into question. What I helped build was merely a pawn for a horribly different endgame. I helped build an unparalleled data set of the cannabis genome, paid for by an eager public, to help the company build barriers to entry for anyone else who breeds. I helped establish my employers in a dominant and unfair competitive position for this new venture with an eye towards becoming the industry’s number one acquisition target for Big Ag. And in the end: I am so, so sorry to you all. I genuinely believed I was doing the right thing. I’ve never believed more deeply in what I was doing, nor been bamboozled so fully. I’d like to speak to this, and ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-15
  • The Who’s Roger Daltrey Curses Out Fans for Smoking Weed at Show
    It’s not at all uncommon to smoke weed at a concert. In fact, it’s almost a given that any live music performance will be accompanied by at least a little weed smoke somewhere in the crowd. But if you’re going to a show by The Who, they want you to leave your weed at home. As fans at last night’s concert in New York City found out, The Who’s lead singer Roger Daltrey does not like weed smoke—and he will definitely call you out if he catches you toking. Roger Daltrey Will Get Mad if You Smoke Weed at His Show The Who recently kicked off their “Moving On! Tour” and last night they played at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. At one point during the show, he had a few choice words for some fans smoking weed near the stage. “I’ve got to tell you, all the ones smoking grass down in the front there, I’m totally allergic to it,” Daltrey said. In response, the crowd laughed and cheered, almost as if they thought he was joking. Apparently, he wasn’t. “I’m not kidding,” Daltrey continued. “Whoever it is down there, you fucked my night. I’m allergic to that shit and my voice just goes [weird slurping sound]. It sucks up. So fuck you.” You can watch the entire thing here: It Wasn’t the First Time This isn’t the first time Daltrey has gotten angry at fans smoking weed during a Who concert. For example, back in 2015, Daltrey almost walked off stage halfway through a show because there was too much marijuana smoke. Very similar to last night’s incident, he stopped the music and yelled out at the crowd to stop smoking weed. He explained that he’s allergic and that it messes up his voice. After a while, Daltrey agreed to continue the show. But according to reports from that 2015 show, Daltrey isn’t making anything up about his allergies. A reporter for Newsday who covered the 2015 show wrote that “the smoke’s impact was almost immediate on his voice, which went from crystal clear and potent . . . to something rougher and more limited.” During that show, Daltrey even said: “My voice is shutting down.” Here’s video of that incident, from 2015: After last night’s NYC show, The Who will continue their tour, with their next show in Noblesville, Indiana. And for anyone planning to catch one of the band’s shows this year, it’s probably a good idea to plan on notsmoking ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-15
  • Did Illinois’s Weed Just Kick Cali’s Ash?
    Illinois medical marijuana cultivator Green Thumb Industries is reporting that a recent batch of house cannabis strain Brownie Scout has tested at a whopping 37.5 percent total potential THC. All of the THC present was in the form of THCa, with no Delta 9 THC detected. Samples of the strain were tested by ACT Laboratories, with results from the analysis released on May 5. Representatives of Green Thumb Industries (GTI) told High Times in an email that the flower is the most potent the lab has seen and they believe that the 37.5 percent THC test result is a record-setting achievement. Brownie Scout is a GTI exclusive strain that is a cross between Koser Kush and Platinum Girl Scout Cookies that was bred at the company’s facility in Rock Island, Illinois. Representatives at GTI say the strain has been popular with patients, who report therapeutic effects including relaxation, pain relief, and anti-anxiety benefits since the medical marijuana program began in Illinois in 2015. “Consumer satisfaction is paramount to GTI,” said Kate Denton, the senior vice president of Marketing at GTI. “Our last 4 harvests of Brownie Scout have yielded highly potent flower, consistently testing in the mid to high 30% of THC. Paired with the terpene profile and crystal flower, this is a product that delights both the consumer and our retail partners.” GTI plans to sell the 37.5 percent THC batch of Brownie Scout as flower under its brand Rythm and in Dogwalkers brand pre-rolled joints. “The Rythm brand is the cornerstone of the GTI portfolio and it all starts best in class cultivation,” Denton said. “Brownie Scout was grown in house by our expert team of growers. It has become beloved by patients and adult use consumers (where adult use is legal) for its relaxation and pain relief properties.” How High is Too High? High test results for THC can be a contentious issue in the highly competitive cannabis market. When Portland cultivator 7 Points Oregon’s strain Future (#1) tested at 37.28 percent THC last year, critics cried foul, claiming it’s just not possible for flower to contain that much THC. But even that assertion is controversial, according to Mowgli Holmes, the CEO of cannabis research firm Phylos Bioscience. “The general consensus seems to be that the physical limit is gonna be around 35 percent,” said Holmes. “But we don’t really understand that or why it is. We’re just guessing. So could a plant get to 37 or 38 percent? Maybe. Probably. Not impossible. It ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-15
  • Coca Cola Heir Caught with 5000 Cannabis Plants on Private Jet
    Billionaire and Coca-Cola heir Alkiviades “Alki” David was arrested on the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts last week after customs officials discovered 5,000 cannabis plants on his private jet. David and his friend Chase Ergen were taken into custody by officers with the Anti-Narcotics Unit at Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport after the plants, seed, and CBD oil products were found. David was then released but arrested again on May 9 when he tried to leave the island nation. The billionaire was charged with crimes including possession with intent to supply, possession of controlled drugs and importation of a controlled drug into St. Kitts. David was released on bail after paying a cash bail of approximately $30,000. He is due for a court appearance on May 14 and has been required to surrender his travel credentials and report to the Frigate Bay Police Station daily while awaiting the hearing. David is a member of the Leventis family and heir to the Leventis-David Group, the majority owner of the Coca-Cola Hellenic bottling plants in Europe. The resident of the Isle of Man has an estimated net worth of more than $3 billion, according to media reports. A Billionaire CBD Advocate David is a medicinal cannabis advocate and owner of the CBD oil company SwissX. David has denied the drug charges and claims that the plants carried aboard his aircraft are hemp and not illegal in St. Kitts. “We’re going to go into the granular details of what cannabis genus it is,” David said at a press conference on Monday. “We didn’t even bring in cannabis, we brought in a cousin of cannabis that has been genetically modified.” At the press conference, David blamed St. Kitts Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris for his arrest. “This little dictator who thinks he can do this,” said David. “It’s illegal and it’s unconscionable. Mr. Harris here has a whole new thing coming at him.” “I’ve never been to jail in my life, I’ve never had handcuffs put on me,” he added. “I was degraded, my friend is being degraded and we’ve done nothing wrong.” Representatives for Harris declined to comment on the situation, according to media reports. CBD Infused Coke? SwissX might not be the only one of David’s companies interested in the benefits of CBD. In October of last year, media reports claimed that Coca-Cola was in “serious talks” with Aurora Cannabis to develop a CBD-infused beverage, according to a report from BNN Bloomberg Television. An unnamed source reported that the two ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-14
  • Michigan Issues First Medical Marijuana Home Delivery Licenses
    Medical marijuana patients in Michigan are about to see improved access. Thanks to new rules approved and put into place by the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency, medical marijuana providers can now legally deliver to patients. The change is the latest development in several key changes to Michigan’s medical marijuana program. Home Delivery in Michigan Last week, the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency issued the state’s first three home delivery licenses. One license went to a dispensary called Lake Effect, which serves patients in Kalamazoo County. And the other two home delivery licenses went to BotaniQ and Utopia Gardens. Both are located in Detroit. Under the new rules, these and any other dispensaries to receive licenses in the future will now be able to deliver orders directly to patients’ homes. Not surprisingly, the new home delivery program will be heavily regulated by the state. Here’s home delivery will work: To complete home deliveries legally, dispensaries with a license must hire their own delivery drivers.Dispensaries licensed for home delivery must document and track all delivery inventory.All delivery vehicles must be tracked with a GPS system.Dispensaries will have to get a copy of the patient’s identification card and medical marijuana card before doing deliveries.The delivery address must match the patient’s address as listed on both their identification card and their medical marijuana card.Patients can order up to the daily maximum, which is 2.5 ounces of flower. Above and beyond those rules, many dispensaries plan to implement their own additional guidelines. For example, local news source MLive reported that some shops plan to install dashcams in delivery vehicles. Similarly, some dispensaries will take additional security measures. This could include giving delivery people body cameras. “It’s the first time it’s ever been done in the state of Michigan legally,” Jevin Weyenberg, general manager of Lake Effect, told MLive. “We want to make sure everything is secure. We want to make sure we’re a hard target for any criminal that might try anything.” Expanding Access The new rule is being hailed as an effective way to improve patient access. In one key provision, home deliveries will be available even in places that have not yet allowed any dispensaries to open. As a result, patients who live in a city or town that has banned dispensaries, or that has not yet joined the state’s medical marijuana program, can get deliveries from elsewhere. Of course, each dispensary will have different rules for how far they will deliver. At this point, Lake Effect plans to take phone orders. Additionally, the ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-13
  • Cannabis Smuggling Arrests at LAX Up 166% Since Legalization
    Arrests for cannabis smuggling at Los Angeles International Airport are up 166 percent since the legalization of marijuana in California, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times. Officials at LAX reported that cannabis was discovered in checked luggage and carryon bags 503 times last year. In 2017 there were 400 reports for marijuana possession at the airport while in 2016, the year California voters legalized cannabis with the passage of Proposition 64, pot was found on 282 occasions. About 20 percent of those reports involved trafficking and the rest were related to passengers who had been found possessing weed or cannabis products in quantities consistent with personal use. In 2018, Los Angeles Airport Police made 101 trafficking arrests, compared with 38 in 2017 and only 20 trafficking arrests in 2016, according to LAX police records. Ben Kroger, Jr., a criminal defense attorney that specializes in cannabis law, said that the legalization of marijuana in California and a resulting drop in prices has made smuggling weed to other jurisdictions a lucrative proposition. “Since pot’s been legalized in California, there’s no money to be made because everyone got involved in it,” Kroger said. “They’ve got these big 50,000-square-foot [grow] houses, and they’re flooding the market. The money is outside of California.” Kroger recently represented a client who had been caught at LAX with 70 pounds of cannabis in vacuum sealed bags packed in his checked baggage. The man had been brought to the attention of police after he discretely asked another passenger waiting for a flight to Philadelphia if she wanted to join his “drug smuggling ring.” “This is normal procedure for these guys, and I would say 29 out of 30 times they make it through without a problem,” said Kroger. LAX isn’t the only airport in California seeing a surge in cannabis smuggling after legalization. Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, which has jurisdiction over Oakland International Airport, said that officers in his department are also finding pot headed for resale in other states. “We intercept large quantities of marijuana regularly,” said Kelly. “We find it in about 50-pound quantities … the carry-on rate for luggage. I would imagine we’re only intercepting some of it, not all of it.” Most Passengers Found with Pot at LAX Released The vast majority of passengers found to be possessing pot at LAX are caught with less than an ounce of weed, an amount now legal under California law. In accordance with a new airport policy ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-13
  • Toronto Police Seize $17 Million in Drugs During Large-Scale Bust
    Nearly 29 kilograms of powder cocaine and 20 kilograms of phenacetin to cut it with. Almost 700 kilograms of the crystal methamphetamine precursor ephedrine and a sizable amount of ketamine and crystal meth. About $308,000 in cash, likely proceeds from selling drugs. And exactly 3,905 illegally-grown cannabis plants. That’s the haul—about $17 million worth—Toronto police brought in as a result of a large scale drug bust on April 25, 2019, when the Organized Crime Enforcement Drug Squad executed 29 search warrants and netted eight arrests. “Project Dos” Drug Investigation Makes Historic Bust Officers involved in April’s drug bust are calling it the largest seizure of illegal narcotics by Canadian police in history. The Toronto Police Service held a news conference about the raids on Thursday, explaining that all 29 search warrants were connected to a large-scale illegal drug distribution investigation codenamed “Project Dos.” TPS executed the search warrants across the province of Ontario, in Toronto, Vaughan, Kitchener and Stoney Creek. But the bulk of the arrests took place in Toronto, where seven individuals ranging from 19 to 38 years of age were taken into custody. All are facing multiple high-level drug trafficking charges and possession of proceeds of crime charges. According to a news release, Toronto police say the illegal drug distribution network was large enough to generate profits in the tens of millions of dollars. The suspects are scheduled to appear in court at Old City Hall on Wednesday, June 12. Canada’s Legalization of Cannabis Lets Police Prioritize High-Level Organized Crime The cocaine, cannabis, cash and chemicals Toronto police seized as a result of Project Dos raids likely represents a not-insignificant portion of illicit substances and proceeds from the illegal drug market. And that’s exactly the kind of law enforcement action many marijuana legalization advocates hoped would come about as a result of ending the criminalization of marijuana. There are still plenty of marijuana-related crimes on the books in Canada, of course. There are laws against cultivating cannabis without a license or selling it without a license, and against distributing it or manufacturing it without a license. Edibles are still unauthorized on the retail market. But unless they’re caught under the influence of THC behind the wheel or driving with an open container, cannabis consumers have little to fear under Canada’s historic Cannabis Act. Yet Canadian police agencies have been relentlessly pursuing unauthorized cannabis operators, especially retailers. These controversial enforcement actions have highlighted inequalities in Canada’s emerging retail cannabis industry. Some have argued that the ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-10
  • Chuck Schumer, Hakeem Jeffries Reintroduce Bill to Federally Decriminalize Marijuana
    Another year, another federal marijuana decriminalization bill proposal? It’s starting to seem that way for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has joined forces with New York representative Hakeem Jeffries on Schumer’s second decriminalization bill in two years. “The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act is a phenomenal step forward in terms of social, racial, and economic justice in the context of what many people view as the failed War on Drugs that has been with us for decades,” said Jeffries in a homey video that the men released on Friday as part of the bill’s announcement. They shot the clip in the neighborhood both men grew up in, at Brooklyn’s BRIC arts and culture center. Central to the bill — which will be introduced in both houses by the dynamic duo — is the re-scheduling of cannabis so that the drug is no longer include on the federal list of controlled substances. That will allow states some wiggle room in crafting their own legislation around marijuana, and alleviate some of the worries of current cannabis providers and users that they could be subject to federal prosecution down the line for their connection to the plant. It will also dictate a certain level of support for small entrepreneurs in any resulting legal industries. “Let’s not have some big fancy corporation, some big tobacco company make all the money,” says Schumer in the video. The bill will include coordination through the Small Business Administration to support new business owners who are women and/or people of color. Given the wave of decriminalization measures that have recently passed across the country, timing makes sense for the introduction of the federal bill. Even in the South, certain states are making progress towards rejecting small time marijuana crime prosecution. New Mexico’s governor passed decriminalization legislation last month. West Virginia voters will get a chance to vote on the issue, Alabama’s most populous county announced it would no longer prosecute marijuana misdemeanors, and up in New York state, prosecutors have dismissed possession warrants. In Texas, the House of Representatives approved a decriminalization bill last week, but the legislation was pronounced deceased when it reached the state’s Senate. (Dallas isn’t waiting around for state-level go-ahead, however; the city recently saw its own seismic shakeup in terms of misdemeanor prosecution.) Though Senate Republicans, as ever, present a considerable obstacle to the passage of Jeffries and Schumer’s bill, it remains unclear that the president will be a problem in its passage. Trump — whose ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-10
  • Louisville, Kentucky Lawmakers Propose Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession
    Members of the Louisville, Kentucky city council introduced a proposed ordinance on Wednesday that would make possession of small amounts of marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority for the city’s police department. The proposal was filed by four Democratic members of the Louisville Metro Council, including Councilman Brandon Coan, who represents Louisville’s District 8. “The idea is pretty straightforward: You don’t want to punish somebody who makes a minor indiscretion … to prevent them from getting a job or advancing in their career or being prejudiced in any other normal way of life,” said Coan. The ordinance would make “investigation, citations, and arrests” for possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority, although it would not legalize cannabis possession or use. Marijuana possession cases related to “an act or threat of violence, or where public safety officials reasonably believe that the marijuana offense poses a substantial threat of serious physical harm to the public” would not be covered by the ordinance. “We don’t want to have to send people downtown and through the court system for small infractions that are not serious problems,” Coan said. “We really need police to be on the street and available to respond to violent crime and other serious crimes.” Police, Mayor Push Back Jessie Halladay, a spokeswoman for the Louisville Metro Police said that officers have already stopped making arrests in most marijuana possession cases. “Police are statutorily required to write citations for small amounts of marijuana possession already, unless there is some other circumstance related to public safety,” Halladay wrote. “Our department continues to focus on violent crime as a top priority.” Halladay added that Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad has said previously that “he must follow the laws as written in Kentucky and marijuana remains illegal in this commonwealth.” Jean Porter, a spokeswoman for Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, wrote in a statement that the goal of the proposed ordinance is already in effect. “First, marijuana is still illegal in Kentucky, and the mayor has a constitutional duty to uphold the law,” Porter wrote. “Second, LMPD already prioritizes violent crime, and state law has, since 2011, required police to issue citations instead of arresting individuals for possessing marijuana in low amounts.” Earlier this year, an investigation revealed that Black people, who make up less than one-fourth of Louisville’s population, were the defendants in two-thirds of the cases where possession of marijuana was the most serious charge. Coan, who was joined in proposing ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-10
  • Attorneys General from 33 States Call for Passage of Cannabis Banking Bill
    Attorneys general from 33 states and five federal territories called for passage of a bill pending in the U.S. Congress that would allow legal cannabis businesses access to the banking industry. In a letter sent to congressional leaders on Wednesday, the National Association of Attorneys General called for the approval of the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act, also known as the SAFE Banking Act. “Our banking system must be flexible enough to address the needs of businesses in the various states and territories, with state and territorial input, while protecting the interests of the federal government,” the letter reads. “This includes a banking system for marijuana-related businesses that is both responsive and effective in meeting the demands of our economy,” The SAFE Banking Act was introduced in March by Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado and approved by the House Financial Services Committee later that month. 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. Consequently, companies in the cannabis industry often do business only in cash, putting the firms and their employees at substantial risk. The SAFE Banking Act would protect financial institutions who do business with legal cannabis businesses and likely make more banks willing to serve the industry. Restrictions Make Regulation Difficult The letter, which was signed by a bipartisan group of the nation’s top prosecutors, noted that current restrictions make regulation of the legal cannabis industry more difficult. “The resulting grey market makes it more difficult to track revenues for taxation and regulatory compliance purposes, contributes to a public safety threat as cash-intensive businesses are often targets for criminal activity, and prevents proper tracking of billions in finances across the nation,” the attorneys general wrote. Xavier Becerra, the attorney general for California, the nation’s largest legal pot market, said in a statement that the bill “would reward taxpayers and small and local licensed businesses who play by the rules,” and support economic development. “This is simple: not incorporating an $8.3 billion industry into our banking system is hurting our public safety and economy,” said Becerra. The letter was signed by the attorneys general for Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. It was also signed by attorneys general from five ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-09
 
  • Mailman Delivers Cannabis to Home Being Raided by Police
    North Port, Florida has two medical cannabis dispensaries. But neither of them should be confused with a residence on the 5600 block of Brickell Drive, where police served a warrant and arrested two men on multiple drug charges Thursday. The USPS carrier who showed up while police were executing the warrant was probably confused, however, as he attempted to deliver a package containing cannabis buds, THC wax and vaporizer cartridges with law enforcement still on the scene. USPS Carrier Delivers Weed, Wax and Vape Cartridges While Police Raid a Home When it was all said and done, North Park, Florida police arrested two men and seized four pounds of cannabis buds, 243 grams of THC wax, 97 THC vaporizer cartridges, 12 grams of cocaine, liquid codeine and 2 handguns with extended 30 round magazines from a residence in the 5600 block of Brickell Drive they raided on May 16. But most of that contraband arrived at the house while police were on the scene executing the warrant, searching the home and making arrests. That’s because a U.S. Postal Service carrier showed up with them in the middle of the raid. The packaged the carrier delivered during the raid contained several vacuum-sealed bags of cannabis products. According to police reports, the package included four pounds of weed, 223 grams of THC wax and 50 THC vape cartridges. The guns and other substances were found during a search of the residence. Florida Drug Enforcement Keeps Up as State Expands Medical Cannabis Access Stemming from the raid, police arrested 24-year-old Bryan Vanskiver and 19-year-old David Chesser. Both face multiple charges, including drug possession, drug sales, drug equipment and weapons charges. North Port law enforcement have booked Vanskiver and Chesser in a Sarasota County jail. But just a 10 minute drive down Route 41 from the spot where police raided a home, arrested two men and seized several forms of marijuana, stand two medical cannabis dispensaries offering Florida medcard patients everything from THC oils to vape cartridges, tinctures, concentrates, smokable flower and more. In Florida, law enforcement continues to crack down on suspected unauthorized cannabis sellers. They’re even going after shop owners and sweet old ladies for selling and possessing cannabidiol (CBD). Meanwhile, marijuana legalization advocates continue to press for statewide adult-use. And health and patient advocates have succeeded in expanding Florida’s restrictive medical cannabis program. Florida’s medical cannabis program has already grown to support a roughly $5.7 billion industry, according to a recent report. In all, the state ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-17
  • Joe Biden Supports Marijuana Decriminalization, Not Legalization
    “Nobody should be in jail for smoking marijuana.” That’s what former US Vice President Joe Biden told voters in Nashua, New Hampshire on Tuesday. But Biden, one of more than 20 contenders for the Democratic Party’s 2020 presidential nomination, said he does not support making cannabis legal. Instead, Biden favors decriminalization, not legalization. But the former VP and 2020 hopeful still thinks states should be able to make their own decisions when it comes to legalization, without federal interference. Biden also believes the federal government should support medical cannabis research and make it easier for people to expunge criminal records for some cannabis-related offenses. As a Senator, Biden Helped Wage the War on Weed On March 16, ahead of his officially announcing his candidacy for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, Joe Biden said, “I have the most progressive record of anybody running for the nomination.” But even a cursory look at Biden’s record reveals that’s not the case, especially when it comes to drug policy. As a Senator, Biden was a militant in the war on drugs. He helped passed bills that eliminated parole, authorized civil asset forfeiture and imposed harsh mandatory minimums for drug possession. He introduced the racist sentencing disparities between crack and powder cocaine, helped pass dozens of new death penalties and directed massive amounts of public resources to building new prisons and arresting people to fill them. Indeed, during his decades in the Senate, Biden bragged constantly about his central role in drug and criminal legal policies that devastated black communities. And even setting that record aside, Biden today still isn’t anywhere near the most progressive candidate when it comes to marijuana policy. Marijuana Legalization a Key Issue Among 2020 Democratic Contenders The dividing line between decriminalizing marijuana and legalizing is splitting the field of 2020 Democratic candidates. And Joe Biden isn’t on the legalization side. But Sen. Bernie Sanders, Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Cory Booker do support legalization, along with several other contenders. On the other side stands Biden, who along with Sen. Sherrod Brown and John Hickenlooper, favor support criminalization, not legalization. In other words, among the Democratic field, legalization is winning out over decriminalization. But Biden isn’t hopping on board. However, speaking before New Hampshire voters, Biden outlined what federal marijuana policy might look like under his administration. Biden “would allow states to continue to make their own choices regarding legalization and would seek to make it easier to conduct ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-16
  • New Marijuana Legalization Bill Introduced in New York
    Lawmakers in New York announced plans to introduce a new marijuana legalization bill in the state legislature, according to media reports. The new bill comes after an effort to include a cannabis legalization plan in the state budget failed to gain enough support earlier this year. Democratic Sen. Liz Krueger of Manhattan, an advocate for cannabis legalization, said that the new bill builds on the common ground achieved during talks for the unsuccessful budget plan. “We’ve attempted to take all of the negotiated agreements that took place during budget negotiations and expand our bill,” said Krueger. The bill’s sponsor in the New York State Assembly, Democratic Majority Leader Crystal Peoples-Stokes, called for a comprehensive plan to legalize cannabis, regulate hemp, and improve New York’s medical marijuana program. “I am working on amending the Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act to incorporate many aspects of Governor Cuomo’s proposal,” Peoples-Stokes said, “including having one regulatory body overseeing medical marijuana, hemp extracts, and adult-use cannabis.” Measure Aims for Social Equity Peoples-Stokes also said that the core principles of the previous plan including “significant dedicated investment in communities most harmed by marijuana prohibition, equity in the industry, permitting individuals to grow cannabis for personal use, and addressing past criminal convictions,” had been preserved in the new bill.  The majority leader also said that the new plan would include public health benefits and provisions to address the consequences of the War on Drugs. “A certain percentage of it will go towards comminutes that have been negatively impacted by mass incarceration,” Peoples-Stokes said. “And a certain percentage of it would go for research, drug prevention and treatment,” she added.   The new plan also includes expansion to the state’s medical marijuana program by leaving it up to doctors and patients to decide when the therapeutic use of cannabis may be beneficial instead restricting access to those with a specified qualifying medical condition. “It is my hope that this legislation will be approved by the Legislature, and there will not be a need to take up separate legislation that updates the medical marijuana program, and regulates hemp/CBD,” Peoples-Stokes said. Will the Bill Succeed? Krueger said that she does not believe that there are enough votes in the state Senate for the bill to succeed. She’s calling for the Assembly to pass the measure first to build support for the plan. “And then I can try to make the case that people who might have been scared away when it dropped out of the budget ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-16
  • Behind the ‘Stache with Tacoma FD’s Kevin Heffer and Steve Lemme
    Kevin Heffernan and Steve Lemme have been making people laugh for decades, most notably as part of the comedy troupe Broken Lizard, which came together in 1990 at New York’s Colgate University. The group’s films Super Troopers, Beerfest, Club Dread and last year’s Super Troopers 2 are now widely considered cult comedy classics. New Show on truTV Their latest project, Tacoma FD, is wrapping up its first 10-episode season on truTV this week, and the pair sat down with HTTV recently to talk about the series. “Tacoma FD is our new show on truTV and it’s a show about firefighters in the wettest city in America,” says Heffernan. “And it’s basically Super Troopers in a fire station.” “Right down to the mustaches,” Lemme chimes in. Heffernan and Lemme explain that the impetus for the new series is rooted in their vanity. “The thing that inspired us to make this show was an intense desire to get on TV,” Lemme says, adding that they incorporated popular elements of their earlier hits while creating the show. “Super Troopers are on the most deserted stretch of highway, so they have a lot of downtime,” Lemme says. “What’s the equivalent of that for firefighters? The rainiest city in the country.” The storylines in Tacoma FD include antics from real departments, as told to the duo by the likes of one of Heffernan’s cousins Lt. Bill, a firefighter who was hired as a technical director for the production. “Also, we’ve talked to a bunch of firefighters,” adds Heffernan. “And when Super Troopers came out, firefighters said to us, ‘Cops are pretty funny, you know, but you know who’s really funny? Firefighters.'” ‘World’s Biggest Hotbox’ Because Tacoma has such a wet climate, fires don’t have much chance of starting and getting out of control, leaving the department plenty of downtime for shenanigans. In fact, Lemme and Heffernan decided that the crew of Tacoma FD would only actually fight one fire each season of the series. “In the first season, it takes place in Washington state, so what makes sense?” Heffernan asks. “Fire in a weed dispensary. Weed dispensary catches on fire, we’re sent in to put it out. Hilarity ensues.” “It’s basically the world’s biggest hot box,” Lemme explains. Sequel to Beerfest in the Works Lemme and Heffernan also talk about other projects they have in the works, including a cannabis-themed sequel to Beerfest. One of the producers of that film, Bill Gerber, is currently enjoying the success of another film he produced, last year’s ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-16
  • Police Test CBD Water Purchased at Gas Station and Find THC
    Police in Alabama say a bottle of CBD-enhanced water on sale at gas stations tested positive for THC. The company that makes that water, CBD Cure, says that’s next to impossible. But a Facebook post the Summerdale Police Department put up May 15 shows THC field tests turning red due to the presence of the psychoactive cannabinoid. So either the test is faulty, or CBD Cure needs to find a new lab to better test their products. Then again, federal law states CBD products can contain up to 0.03 percent THC without violating the Controlled Substances Act. And if CBD Cure uses whole-hemp extract to source the cannabidiol for its water, that could be exactly what happened. How Does THC-Free CBD Water Tests Positive for THC? “Just an FYI,” Summerdale Police wrote on a May 15 Facebook post, “we tested random CBD water from a local gas station that claims there is no THC in it, only CBD oil, and it failed 2 field tests.” But police admitted the tests don’t tell them how much THC is in the CBD water. It only alerts them to the presence of THC. But in a photograph, police compared a test of “real marijuana” to the test of the CBD water, and they look identical. The label on CBD Cure’s bottled water advertises 10 mg of CBD and “No THC.” “You’re more likely to win the lottery than find THC in our water,” said CBD Cure spokesperson Sid Robinson. Robinson also said that every batch of its CBD Cure water undergoes rigorous testing at an FDA-approved lab before the company distributes it. If that’s true, the Summerdale Police department has won the lottery twice, showing two tests that came up positive. And while the laboratory CBD Cure contracts with to tests its products may have an FDA license, CBD products are still largely unregulated. That’s starting to change, now that the federal government has legalized hemp and hemp products containing less than 0.03 percent THC. But for now, companies can more-or-less put whatever claims they want to on CBD packaging. So either CBD Cure’s third-party lab is not providing accurate results. Or, the marijuana field test kits police use are sensitive enough to give a positive reading from less than a .03% THC content. Law Enforcement Struggles to Differentiate Hemp and Weed When law enforcement tests for THC, they use testing kits that are extremely sensitive to its presence. On average, most tests trigger positive when a sample ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-15
  • Former Phylos Bioscience Employee Sheds Light on Breeding Controversy
    There were perhaps twenty people gathered to hear me speak. For a noon slot, not too bad. All the same, it was my first time giving The Pitch for Phylos Bioscience, and I psyched myself up through a buzzing chest as best I could. Fairbanks Alaska in July is a land without night; having spent the previous evening watching the sun through my hotel window as it barely dipped below the horizon only to creep back up from its catnap an hour later, I was a bit edgier than perhaps I should have been. I stiffened, walked up to the podium, clumsily fiddled with the microphone, had a deep breath and jumped right in. This was my moment, after all. I smiled. The Script “Hello, folks! Hope everybody’s had a pleasant morning. My name is Ricky, and I’m here today from Phylos Bioscience.” Many of you in the grower and breeder communities who are reading this met me under exactly these circumstances. I smiled at you, shook your hand. I answered your questions with austerity and confidence, gained your trust, followed up on the phone, shared laughs and grow stories, tragedies and drug war nightmares. And I even fulfilled your orders for the Phylos Genotype kit, compiling a vast blueprint of your genetics and charting them in the Galaxy, the largest genomic map of cannabis worldwide. I reassured you time and again, hundreds of times daily: “We are not out to steal your work. We are here to help you protect it, to prove prior art. We’re a different type of cannabis company. We fucking hate Monsanto. We fucking hate Monsanto. We fucking hate…” and on and on. The Flip Within the last three weeks, a side of the company has come to public light that calls all of this into question. What I helped build was merely a pawn for a horribly different endgame. I helped build an unparalleled data set of the cannabis genome, paid for by an eager public, to help the company build barriers to entry for anyone else who breeds. I helped establish my employers in a dominant and unfair competitive position for this new venture with an eye towards becoming the industry’s number one acquisition target for Big Ag. And in the end: I am so, so sorry to you all. I genuinely believed I was doing the right thing. I’ve never believed more deeply in what I was doing, nor been bamboozled so fully. I’d like to speak to this, and ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-15
  • The Who’s Roger Daltrey Curses Out Fans for Smoking Weed at Show
    It’s not at all uncommon to smoke weed at a concert. In fact, it’s almost a given that any live music performance will be accompanied by at least a little weed smoke somewhere in the crowd. But if you’re going to a show by The Who, they want you to leave your weed at home. As fans at last night’s concert in New York City found out, The Who’s lead singer Roger Daltrey does not like weed smoke—and he will definitely call you out if he catches you toking. Roger Daltrey Will Get Mad if You Smoke Weed at His Show The Who recently kicked off their “Moving On! Tour” and last night they played at New York City’s Madison Square Garden. At one point during the show, he had a few choice words for some fans smoking weed near the stage. “I’ve got to tell you, all the ones smoking grass down in the front there, I’m totally allergic to it,” Daltrey said. In response, the crowd laughed and cheered, almost as if they thought he was joking. Apparently, he wasn’t. “I’m not kidding,” Daltrey continued. “Whoever it is down there, you fucked my night. I’m allergic to that shit and my voice just goes [weird slurping sound]. It sucks up. So fuck you.” You can watch the entire thing here: It Wasn’t the First Time This isn’t the first time Daltrey has gotten angry at fans smoking weed during a Who concert. For example, back in 2015, Daltrey almost walked off stage halfway through a show because there was too much marijuana smoke. Very similar to last night’s incident, he stopped the music and yelled out at the crowd to stop smoking weed. He explained that he’s allergic and that it messes up his voice. After a while, Daltrey agreed to continue the show. But according to reports from that 2015 show, Daltrey isn’t making anything up about his allergies. A reporter for Newsday who covered the 2015 show wrote that “the smoke’s impact was almost immediate on his voice, which went from crystal clear and potent . . . to something rougher and more limited.” During that show, Daltrey even said: “My voice is shutting down.” Here’s video of that incident, from 2015: After last night’s NYC show, The Who will continue their tour, with their next show in Noblesville, Indiana. And for anyone planning to catch one of the band’s shows this year, it’s probably a good idea to plan on notsmoking ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-15
  • Did Illinois’s Weed Just Kick Cali’s Ash?
    Illinois medical marijuana cultivator Green Thumb Industries is reporting that a recent batch of house cannabis strain Brownie Scout has tested at a whopping 37.5 percent total potential THC. All of the THC present was in the form of THCa, with no Delta 9 THC detected. Samples of the strain were tested by ACT Laboratories, with results from the analysis released on May 5. Representatives of Green Thumb Industries (GTI) told High Times in an email that the flower is the most potent the lab has seen and they believe that the 37.5 percent THC test result is a record-setting achievement. Brownie Scout is a GTI exclusive strain that is a cross between Koser Kush and Platinum Girl Scout Cookies that was bred at the company’s facility in Rock Island, Illinois. Representatives at GTI say the strain has been popular with patients, who report therapeutic effects including relaxation, pain relief, and anti-anxiety benefits since the medical marijuana program began in Illinois in 2015. “Consumer satisfaction is paramount to GTI,” said Kate Denton, the senior vice president of Marketing at GTI. “Our last 4 harvests of Brownie Scout have yielded highly potent flower, consistently testing in the mid to high 30% of THC. Paired with the terpene profile and crystal flower, this is a product that delights both the consumer and our retail partners.” GTI plans to sell the 37.5 percent THC batch of Brownie Scout as flower under its brand Rythm and in Dogwalkers brand pre-rolled joints. “The Rythm brand is the cornerstone of the GTI portfolio and it all starts best in class cultivation,” Denton said. “Brownie Scout was grown in house by our expert team of growers. It has become beloved by patients and adult use consumers (where adult use is legal) for its relaxation and pain relief properties.” How High is Too High? High test results for THC can be a contentious issue in the highly competitive cannabis market. When Portland cultivator 7 Points Oregon’s strain Future (#1) tested at 37.28 percent THC last year, critics cried foul, claiming it’s just not possible for flower to contain that much THC. But even that assertion is controversial, according to Mowgli Holmes, the CEO of cannabis research firm Phylos Bioscience. “The general consensus seems to be that the physical limit is gonna be around 35 percent,” said Holmes. “But we don’t really understand that or why it is. We’re just guessing. So could a plant get to 37 or 38 percent? Maybe. Probably. Not impossible. It ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-15
  • Coca Cola Heir Caught with 5000 Cannabis Plants on Private Jet
    Billionaire and Coca-Cola heir Alkiviades “Alki” David was arrested on the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts last week after customs officials discovered 5,000 cannabis plants on his private jet. David and his friend Chase Ergen were taken into custody by officers with the Anti-Narcotics Unit at Robert L. Bradshaw International Airport after the plants, seed, and CBD oil products were found. David was then released but arrested again on May 9 when he tried to leave the island nation. The billionaire was charged with crimes including possession with intent to supply, possession of controlled drugs and importation of a controlled drug into St. Kitts. David was released on bail after paying a cash bail of approximately $30,000. He is due for a court appearance on May 14 and has been required to surrender his travel credentials and report to the Frigate Bay Police Station daily while awaiting the hearing. David is a member of the Leventis family and heir to the Leventis-David Group, the majority owner of the Coca-Cola Hellenic bottling plants in Europe. The resident of the Isle of Man has an estimated net worth of more than $3 billion, according to media reports. A Billionaire CBD Advocate David is a medicinal cannabis advocate and owner of the CBD oil company SwissX. David has denied the drug charges and claims that the plants carried aboard his aircraft are hemp and not illegal in St. Kitts. “We’re going to go into the granular details of what cannabis genus it is,” David said at a press conference on Monday. “We didn’t even bring in cannabis, we brought in a cousin of cannabis that has been genetically modified.” At the press conference, David blamed St. Kitts Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris for his arrest. “This little dictator who thinks he can do this,” said David. “It’s illegal and it’s unconscionable. Mr. Harris here has a whole new thing coming at him.” “I’ve never been to jail in my life, I’ve never had handcuffs put on me,” he added. “I was degraded, my friend is being degraded and we’ve done nothing wrong.” Representatives for Harris declined to comment on the situation, according to media reports. CBD Infused Coke? SwissX might not be the only one of David’s companies interested in the benefits of CBD. In October of last year, media reports claimed that Coca-Cola was in “serious talks” with Aurora Cannabis to develop a CBD-infused beverage, according to a report from BNN Bloomberg Television. An unnamed source reported that the two ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-14
  • Michigan Issues First Medical Marijuana Home Delivery Licenses
    Medical marijuana patients in Michigan are about to see improved access. Thanks to new rules approved and put into place by the state’s Marijuana Regulatory Agency, medical marijuana providers can now legally deliver to patients. The change is the latest development in several key changes to Michigan’s medical marijuana program. Home Delivery in Michigan Last week, the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency issued the state’s first three home delivery licenses. One license went to a dispensary called Lake Effect, which serves patients in Kalamazoo County. And the other two home delivery licenses went to BotaniQ and Utopia Gardens. Both are located in Detroit. Under the new rules, these and any other dispensaries to receive licenses in the future will now be able to deliver orders directly to patients’ homes. Not surprisingly, the new home delivery program will be heavily regulated by the state. Here’s home delivery will work: To complete home deliveries legally, dispensaries with a license must hire their own delivery drivers.Dispensaries licensed for home delivery must document and track all delivery inventory.All delivery vehicles must be tracked with a GPS system.Dispensaries will have to get a copy of the patient’s identification card and medical marijuana card before doing deliveries.The delivery address must match the patient’s address as listed on both their identification card and their medical marijuana card.Patients can order up to the daily maximum, which is 2.5 ounces of flower. Above and beyond those rules, many dispensaries plan to implement their own additional guidelines. For example, local news source MLive reported that some shops plan to install dashcams in delivery vehicles. Similarly, some dispensaries will take additional security measures. This could include giving delivery people body cameras. “It’s the first time it’s ever been done in the state of Michigan legally,” Jevin Weyenberg, general manager of Lake Effect, told MLive. “We want to make sure everything is secure. We want to make sure we’re a hard target for any criminal that might try anything.” Expanding Access The new rule is being hailed as an effective way to improve patient access. In one key provision, home deliveries will be available even in places that have not yet allowed any dispensaries to open. As a result, patients who live in a city or town that has banned dispensaries, or that has not yet joined the state’s medical marijuana program, can get deliveries from elsewhere. Of course, each dispensary will have different rules for how far they will deliver. At this point, Lake Effect plans to take phone orders. Additionally, the ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-13
  • Cannabis Smuggling Arrests at LAX Up 166% Since Legalization
    Arrests for cannabis smuggling at Los Angeles International Airport are up 166 percent since the legalization of marijuana in California, according to a report from the Los Angeles Times. Officials at LAX reported that cannabis was discovered in checked luggage and carryon bags 503 times last year. In 2017 there were 400 reports for marijuana possession at the airport while in 2016, the year California voters legalized cannabis with the passage of Proposition 64, pot was found on 282 occasions. About 20 percent of those reports involved trafficking and the rest were related to passengers who had been found possessing weed or cannabis products in quantities consistent with personal use. In 2018, Los Angeles Airport Police made 101 trafficking arrests, compared with 38 in 2017 and only 20 trafficking arrests in 2016, according to LAX police records. Ben Kroger, Jr., a criminal defense attorney that specializes in cannabis law, said that the legalization of marijuana in California and a resulting drop in prices has made smuggling weed to other jurisdictions a lucrative proposition. “Since pot’s been legalized in California, there’s no money to be made because everyone got involved in it,” Kroger said. “They’ve got these big 50,000-square-foot [grow] houses, and they’re flooding the market. The money is outside of California.” Kroger recently represented a client who had been caught at LAX with 70 pounds of cannabis in vacuum sealed bags packed in his checked baggage. The man had been brought to the attention of police after he discretely asked another passenger waiting for a flight to Philadelphia if she wanted to join his “drug smuggling ring.” “This is normal procedure for these guys, and I would say 29 out of 30 times they make it through without a problem,” said Kroger. LAX isn’t the only airport in California seeing a surge in cannabis smuggling after legalization. Sgt. Ray Kelly of the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office, which has jurisdiction over Oakland International Airport, said that officers in his department are also finding pot headed for resale in other states. “We intercept large quantities of marijuana regularly,” said Kelly. “We find it in about 50-pound quantities … the carry-on rate for luggage. I would imagine we’re only intercepting some of it, not all of it.” Most Passengers Found with Pot at LAX Released The vast majority of passengers found to be possessing pot at LAX are caught with less than an ounce of weed, an amount now legal under California law. In accordance with a new airport policy ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-13
  • Toronto Police Seize $17 Million in Drugs During Large-Scale Bust
    Nearly 29 kilograms of powder cocaine and 20 kilograms of phenacetin to cut it with. Almost 700 kilograms of the crystal methamphetamine precursor ephedrine and a sizable amount of ketamine and crystal meth. About $308,000 in cash, likely proceeds from selling drugs. And exactly 3,905 illegally-grown cannabis plants. That’s the haul—about $17 million worth—Toronto police brought in as a result of a large scale drug bust on April 25, 2019, when the Organized Crime Enforcement Drug Squad executed 29 search warrants and netted eight arrests. “Project Dos” Drug Investigation Makes Historic Bust Officers involved in April’s drug bust are calling it the largest seizure of illegal narcotics by Canadian police in history. The Toronto Police Service held a news conference about the raids on Thursday, explaining that all 29 search warrants were connected to a large-scale illegal drug distribution investigation codenamed “Project Dos.” TPS executed the search warrants across the province of Ontario, in Toronto, Vaughan, Kitchener and Stoney Creek. But the bulk of the arrests took place in Toronto, where seven individuals ranging from 19 to 38 years of age were taken into custody. All are facing multiple high-level drug trafficking charges and possession of proceeds of crime charges. According to a news release, Toronto police say the illegal drug distribution network was large enough to generate profits in the tens of millions of dollars. The suspects are scheduled to appear in court at Old City Hall on Wednesday, June 12. Canada’s Legalization of Cannabis Lets Police Prioritize High-Level Organized Crime The cocaine, cannabis, cash and chemicals Toronto police seized as a result of Project Dos raids likely represents a not-insignificant portion of illicit substances and proceeds from the illegal drug market. And that’s exactly the kind of law enforcement action many marijuana legalization advocates hoped would come about as a result of ending the criminalization of marijuana. There are still plenty of marijuana-related crimes on the books in Canada, of course. There are laws against cultivating cannabis without a license or selling it without a license, and against distributing it or manufacturing it without a license. Edibles are still unauthorized on the retail market. But unless they’re caught under the influence of THC behind the wheel or driving with an open container, cannabis consumers have little to fear under Canada’s historic Cannabis Act. Yet Canadian police agencies have been relentlessly pursuing unauthorized cannabis operators, especially retailers. These controversial enforcement actions have highlighted inequalities in Canada’s emerging retail cannabis industry. Some have argued that the ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-10
  • Chuck Schumer, Hakeem Jeffries Reintroduce Bill to Federally Decriminalize Marijuana
    Another year, another federal marijuana decriminalization bill proposal? It’s starting to seem that way for Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, who has joined forces with New York representative Hakeem Jeffries on Schumer’s second decriminalization bill in two years. “The Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act is a phenomenal step forward in terms of social, racial, and economic justice in the context of what many people view as the failed War on Drugs that has been with us for decades,” said Jeffries in a homey video that the men released on Friday as part of the bill’s announcement. They shot the clip in the neighborhood both men grew up in, at Brooklyn’s BRIC arts and culture center. Central to the bill — which will be introduced in both houses by the dynamic duo — is the re-scheduling of cannabis so that the drug is no longer include on the federal list of controlled substances. That will allow states some wiggle room in crafting their own legislation around marijuana, and alleviate some of the worries of current cannabis providers and users that they could be subject to federal prosecution down the line for their connection to the plant. It will also dictate a certain level of support for small entrepreneurs in any resulting legal industries. “Let’s not have some big fancy corporation, some big tobacco company make all the money,” says Schumer in the video. The bill will include coordination through the Small Business Administration to support new business owners who are women and/or people of color. Given the wave of decriminalization measures that have recently passed across the country, timing makes sense for the introduction of the federal bill. Even in the South, certain states are making progress towards rejecting small time marijuana crime prosecution. New Mexico’s governor passed decriminalization legislation last month. West Virginia voters will get a chance to vote on the issue, Alabama’s most populous county announced it would no longer prosecute marijuana misdemeanors, and up in New York state, prosecutors have dismissed possession warrants. In Texas, the House of Representatives approved a decriminalization bill last week, but the legislation was pronounced deceased when it reached the state’s Senate. (Dallas isn’t waiting around for state-level go-ahead, however; the city recently saw its own seismic shakeup in terms of misdemeanor prosecution.) Though Senate Republicans, as ever, present a considerable obstacle to the passage of Jeffries and Schumer’s bill, it remains unclear that the president will be a problem in its passage. Trump — whose ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-10
  • Louisville, Kentucky Lawmakers Propose Bill to Decriminalize Marijuana Possession
    Members of the Louisville, Kentucky city council introduced a proposed ordinance on Wednesday that would make possession of small amounts of marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority for the city’s police department. The proposal was filed by four Democratic members of the Louisville Metro Council, including Councilman Brandon Coan, who represents Louisville’s District 8. “The idea is pretty straightforward: You don’t want to punish somebody who makes a minor indiscretion … to prevent them from getting a job or advancing in their career or being prejudiced in any other normal way of life,” said Coan. The ordinance would make “investigation, citations, and arrests” for possession of less than one-half ounce of marijuana the lowest law enforcement priority, although it would not legalize cannabis possession or use. Marijuana possession cases related to “an act or threat of violence, or where public safety officials reasonably believe that the marijuana offense poses a substantial threat of serious physical harm to the public” would not be covered by the ordinance. “We don’t want to have to send people downtown and through the court system for small infractions that are not serious problems,” Coan said. “We really need police to be on the street and available to respond to violent crime and other serious crimes.” Police, Mayor Push Back Jessie Halladay, a spokeswoman for the Louisville Metro Police said that officers have already stopped making arrests in most marijuana possession cases. “Police are statutorily required to write citations for small amounts of marijuana possession already, unless there is some other circumstance related to public safety,” Halladay wrote. “Our department continues to focus on violent crime as a top priority.” Halladay added that Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad has said previously that “he must follow the laws as written in Kentucky and marijuana remains illegal in this commonwealth.” Jean Porter, a spokeswoman for Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, wrote in a statement that the goal of the proposed ordinance is already in effect. “First, marijuana is still illegal in Kentucky, and the mayor has a constitutional duty to uphold the law,” Porter wrote. “Second, LMPD already prioritizes violent crime, and state law has, since 2011, required police to issue citations instead of arresting individuals for possessing marijuana in low amounts.” Earlier this year, an investigation revealed that Black people, who make up less than one-fourth of Louisville’s population, were the defendants in two-thirds of the cases where possession of marijuana was the most serious charge. Coan, who was joined in proposing ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-10
  • Attorneys General from 33 States Call for Passage of Cannabis Banking Bill
    Attorneys general from 33 states and five federal territories called for passage of a bill pending in the U.S. Congress that would allow legal cannabis businesses access to the banking industry. In a letter sent to congressional leaders on Wednesday, the National Association of Attorneys General called for the approval of the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act, also known as the SAFE Banking Act. “Our banking system must be flexible enough to address the needs of businesses in the various states and territories, with state and territorial input, while protecting the interests of the federal government,” the letter reads. “This includes a banking system for marijuana-related businesses that is both responsive and effective in meeting the demands of our economy,” The SAFE Banking Act was introduced in March by Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado and approved by the House Financial Services Committee later that month. 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. Consequently, companies in the cannabis industry often do business only in cash, putting the firms and their employees at substantial risk. The SAFE Banking Act would protect financial institutions who do business with legal cannabis businesses and likely make more banks willing to serve the industry. Restrictions Make Regulation Difficult The letter, which was signed by a bipartisan group of the nation’s top prosecutors, noted that current restrictions make regulation of the legal cannabis industry more difficult. “The resulting grey market makes it more difficult to track revenues for taxation and regulatory compliance purposes, contributes to a public safety threat as cash-intensive businesses are often targets for criminal activity, and prevents proper tracking of billions in finances across the nation,” the attorneys general wrote. Xavier Becerra, the attorney general for California, the nation’s largest legal pot market, said in a statement that the bill “would reward taxpayers and small and local licensed businesses who play by the rules,” and support economic development. “This is simple: not incorporating an $8.3 billion industry into our banking system is hurting our public safety and economy,” said Becerra. The letter was signed by the attorneys general for Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin. It was also signed by attorneys general from five ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-05-09