• Unlicensed Marijuana Dispensaries in Michigan May Continue to Operate Due To Shortage
    Dozens of unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries that were forced to close at the beginning of the year by Michigan regulators have received permission to reopen due to a shortage of legal cannabis in the state. The Michigan Medical Marijuana Licensing Board voted 4-0 on Wednesday to allow those provisioning centers, as they are officially known, that are in the process of applying for a license from the state to resume operations until March 31. On January 1, state officials closed 72 unlicensed dispensaries across the state and placed restrictions on medical marijuana caregivers supplying product to the industry. The actions have caused product shortages and a spike in cannabis prices at licensed dispensaries. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called on the board to address the shortages in a press release on Tuesday. “We have heard from Michiganders closely affected by the ongoing transition to licensed marijuana facilities,” Whitmer said. “It is important that we ensure that patients have access to their medicine while the medical marijuana industry continues to develop.” Robin Schneider, the executive director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, said on Tuesday that his group was working with the government to find a solution to the shortage. “With almost no access left to medicine for patients and empty shelves in our member’s facilities, solutions need to be put in place immediately that allow patients to obtain their medicine,” said Schneider. “We look forward to working with state regulators and Governor Whitmer’s administration to ensure a successful medical marijuana program and to develop long term strategies that will improve and expedite the business licensing process moving forward.” Board Members Explain Vote After Wednesday’s vote allowing dispensaries to reopen, board member Vivian Pickard said that the board wanted to ensure that medical marijuana patients have access to cannabis. “I think this resolution takes this back to the intent of the law — and that is to get medicine to the people who need it,” said Pickard. Board chairman Rick Johnson agreed that access was important and expressed hope that licensed operators would be able to adequately supply the cannabis market by the time the temporary measure expires. “We’re going to take care of patients and on the 31 of March I’m hopeful you all will be in the position to be in that process,” Johnson said. But Don Bailey, another board member, said he feared that continuing to allow unlicensed cannabis stores to operate is enabling the black market. “What we’ve done with these temporary operations for the past year and a half—we’ve expanded the black ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-16
  • Prosecutors in Nebraska Will Dismiss Case Against CBD Store Owners
    Prosecutors in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska said they have chosen to dismiss a criminal case involving a mother and son who opened a CBD store. The decision could have important legal implications for CBD in the state of Nebraska. Most immediately, the entire case highlights the confusion and tension surrounding CBD under Nebraska state law. And importantly, within that context, the decision to drop the case could pave the way to a more lenient approach to CBD in the state. Dismissing the Case Scotts Bluff County Attorney Dave Eubanks confirmed this week that his office will not follow through on charges against Heather and Dreyson Beguin. The mother and son team were facing criminal charges for opening and operating a CBD store. For them, the drama began back in December. On Dec. 14, Scotts Bluff police raided their store. Subsequently, Heather and Dreyson were both arrested. And when the dust settled, the two found themselves facing serious felony charges. Specifically, they were charged with felony counts of distributing a controlled substance. Now, prior to their scheduled court cases, the county attorney has decided to dismiss the case. Eubanks told local news source KETV Omaha that his office has better things to do than prosecute people for a substance “that can’t get you high.” Instead, he told the press that his office will redirect their efforts toward meth. Additionally, the county attorney said his office would also rather focus on prosecuting violent crimes than something like selling or consuming CBD. With all charges reportedly dropped, Heather and Dreyson said they plan to re-open their CBD store. Legal Confusion Surrounding CBD The Beguin’s case highlights a lot of the legal confusion that still persists around CBD. In the first place, the cops raided the Beguin’s store following a memo released by Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson. His memo asserted that CBD and CBD oil are illegal controlled substances because they come from the hemp plant. However, the Beguins and many others throughout the state disagree with Peterson’s take on things. “We wouldn’t have done this if we . . . weren’t ethically in the right,” Heather Beguin told local media. “We knew we were in the right legally as well.” Interestingly, recent federal legislation in the time following the Beguins arrest seems to provide a pathway to clarity on the issue of CBD. In December, Donald Trump signed into law the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. Also known as the “Farm Bill,” this law introduced a number of changes to several different government agencies. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-16
  • Governor of New York Presents Plan to Legalize Recreational Marijuana
    Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York presented his plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the state on Tuesday. The governor outlined highlights of his proposal in a written message that was distributed to lawmakers as part of his State of the State address. Under Cuomo’s plan, a state Office of Cannabis Management would be created to regulate the recreational cannabis industry. The new agency would also be tasked with developing a plan to review and seal past convictions for marijuana offenses. Cuomo’s plan would include licenses for cannabis cultivators, distributors, and retailers. Marijuana cultivators would not be allowed to own retail dispensaries. A twenty percent state tax and 2 percent local tax would be imposed on transactions from wholesalers to retailers and cultivators would be assessed taxes on a per-gram basis. The governor said that the tax rates of neighboring states were a factor in determining the rates for New York. “The how is something that we’re talking about right now,” Cuomo said. “I think you have to look at New Jersey and you have to look at Massachusetts. They are natural competitors in the marketplace.” State taxes in Massachusetts on recreational pot total 17 percent and local governments can add up to 3 percent more. New Jersey has not yet legalized recreational marijuana but is also developing a plan to do so. Big Money in Pot Taxes Cuomo said that projections show that up to $300 million dollars a year could be raised from taxes on legal cannabis. The legalization plan is part of the state budget, which earmarks those funds for regulatory costs, substance abuse prevention programs, a small business development plan, and traffic safety measures. The final budget is expected to be approved by the legislature before the start of the new fiscal year on April 1, giving a potential timeline for legislative action. Democratic lawmakers, who largely support cannabis legalization, now control both the state Senate and Assembly. Sales of recreational marijuana would only be permitted to adults age 21 and over. Counties and cities would be permitted to prohibit pot sales within their jurisdictions. Just two years ago, Cuomo referred to cannabis as a gateway drug but then changed his position during a primary challenge to his reelection in 2018. Cuomo was reelected in November and last month said he would make legalizing cannabis a priority of his new term. Since then, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for the state’s legalization plan to create an industry based on small businesses. Kevin ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-16
  • Oklahoma Students May Now Use Medical Marijuana in Schools, But School Staff May Not
    One Oklahoma public school district is taking steps to ensure students can access medical cannabis treatments while at school. On Monday, the Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education voted to approve a policy protecting students, staff and caregivers who have a medical cannabis license. The Board’s action marks progress on an issue that has prompted ongoing controversy and debate since Oklahoma voters legalized medical cannabis last June. Oklahoma City Public Schools Approve Medical Cannabis Policy for Students Last June, Oklahoma voters roundly rejected the state government’s prohibition-oriented policy by approving State Question 788 to broadly legalize medical cannabis. Immediately after the referendum passed, however, state lawmakers and officials began pushing back with measures aimed at restricting the program. Public opposition to those efforts eventually forced then-Gov. Mary Fallin to back down. But just as those restrictions fell, Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma announced policies banning access to medical cannabis on campus. The state’s two biggest public universities banning medical cannabis prompted intense public debate about whether schools should accommodate medical cannabis patients and if so, how. The question has been a vexed one nationwide, with school districts adopting a variety of policies to both shield students from potential risk or distraction while also ensuring all students have access to needed medication. The policy adopted by the Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education on Monday takes its own approach to the common issue. In the first place, it shields any public school employee from adverse action should they hold a medical cannabis license. In other words, you won’t lose your job or the chance at a promotion because you consume cannabis for medical reasons. But teachers, administrators and all other staff cannot possess or consume medical cannabis at school or during school hours, regardless of whether or not they hold a license. Students, on the other hand, can use medical cannabis while attending Oklahoma City public schools. At all times, they must follow Oklahoma state law. And furthermore, caregivers must be present to administer any medical cannabis treatments. This means students cannot bring medicine to school with them or take it themselves. Instead, their caregiver must arrive to school with the medicine, immediately administer it, and promptly remove any cannabis from the premises. Oklahoma City Could Provide a Model for Other Cities Looking to Allow Medical Cannabis at School Oklahoma Public Schools is implementing its new medical cannabis policy immediately. And that’s good news for the more than 30,000 medical cannabis patients with licenses from the ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-15
  • Former President of the Philippines Reveals She Uses Medical Marijuana
    The Philippines has seen a rapid reversal in attitudes towards cannabis among its political elite. President Rodrigo Duarte joked that the stuff helps him stay alert last year. On Tuesday, former president and current House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo hyped marijuana’s power to vanquish her persistent neck pain. “As you know I have my problem here (cervical spine) and when I’m in a country that allows it, I put [on] a pain patch,” Arroyo told ABS CBN News. “But here in the Philippines I cannot do it.” Macapagal — the country’s former president — is one of the co-authors of House Bill 6517 a.k.a. the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Bill. “I authored that bill because I believe that it can help me and many other people but there was a lot of objection to the bill from the House and from the Senate,” Arroyo told reporters. “That’s why we are just letting the legislative process take its course.” Her neck pain bombshell may be seen as a further motivator for her fellow legislators, who are considering the bill for passage during the current congressional session. It will not meet any resistance in the presidential palace. Duarte, well known for his horrific battle against low-level drug dealers and users at the start of his administration, recently and jocularly mentioned to the press that cannabis is what helps him make it through grueling conference schedules. When the press, baffled by this seemingly dramatic turnaround, questioned his staff about the president’s policy views on cannabis, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, “The president already made a statement that he’s in favor of limited use of marijuana… logically, then he will support… and sign any bill that would be consistent with his stand.” Arroyo’s HB 6517 would authorize the medicinal use by qualifying adults of cannabis in all forms except flower. There has been some debate over whether the legislation is necessary. Senate president Vicente Sotto III points out that Republic Act 9165, a.k.a. the Comprehensive Dangerous Act, states that lawmakers must “achieve a balance in the national drug control program so that people with legitimate medical needs are not prevented from being treated with adequate amounts of appropriate medications, which include the use of dangerous drugs.” In October 2017, the Philippines’ FDA disclosed that it had been receiving on average 50 applications a month for medical marijuana use. As of September of 2017, it had approved 558 applications. Sotto is unconvinced that the current and former presidents’ revelations merited brand-new ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-15
  • Mass. Court Ruling: Police Can Arrest for Drugged Driving Based on Observations
    A court in Massachusetts has ruled that police can make arrests for drugged driving based on their personal observations. The state Supreme Judicial Court made the ruling on Monday in the case of Mark J. Davis, who was pulled over on the Massachusetts Turnpike and arrested by Massachusetts State Police in July 2015. Troopers said that Davis had been driving at 80 mph and tailgating other motorists, according to the ruling. Davis, who was driving, and two passengers were in the vehicle. The car had a “strong odor of burnt marijuana and an odor of fresh marijuana,” according to media reports. The trooper said that Davis smelled like pot, too. Davis also had “red and glassy” eyes, which he had trouble focusing and struggled to keep open. The trooper also noted that Davis had difficulty following “simple directions.” He had also apparently admitted to recent cannabis use. “The defendant told the officer that he had smoked marijuana earlier that day, before he left to drive to Somerville,” the ruling states. Police then searched the car and found oxycodone, cocaine, and a firearm. Davis was arrested and later tried on drug possession, drugged driving, and gun possession charges. He was convicted of drug possession by a jury but acquitted of the other charges. Lawyer Throws Client Under the Bus During the trial, his attorney admitted that Davis was responsible for the drug possession charge. “Go ahead and find him guilty of the drugs in the glove box. Those are his,” the ruling says. Davis appealed the conviction, arguing that the troopers did not have probable cause to arrest him for driving under the influence of marijuana and therefore the search of the car was illegal. The court upheld the conviction, ruling that the observations made by the troopers during the traffic stop gave them probable cause to arrest Davis for drugged driving. The ruling noted that there are no validated field sobriety tests for drug use and that impairment by cannabis can be difficult to gauge. “We acknowledge that it is often difficult to detect marijuana impairment, because the effects of marijuana consumption ‘vary greatly amongst individuals,’” the court wrote. The court also ruled that the search of the car without a warrant was legal because of statutory exceptions for searches of automobiles. The post Mass. Court Ruling: Police Can Arrest for Drugged Driving Based on Observations appeared first on High Times. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-15
  • High-Level Coalition Launches Campaign Supporting Legalization in Minnesota
    As a congressman, Tim Walz pushed the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis for military veterans. And now, as the newly elected Governor of Minnesota, Walz wants to make it the next U.S. state to legalize marijuana. In fact, Walz’s tax-revenue-generating, economic-opportunity-creating, racial-disparity-reducing stance on legalization led Forbes to predict that Minnesota would indeed be the next legal-weed state. But Gov. Walz will need the help of state legislators to get there. So far, however, lawmakers aren’t making legalization one of their 2019 legislative priorities. But a newly formed coalition of legalization advocates, calling themselves Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Reform (MRMR), is working to change that. Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Reform (MRMR) Wants to Accelerate the State’s Legalization Timeline State lawmakers aren’t making cannabis legalization a priority in 2019. But Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Reform say the time for creating an adult-use industry is now. “We believe Minnesota is ready to enact sensible marijuana regulations,” said Sarah Walker, MRMR Steering Committee co-chair. And on Tuesday, MRMR announced the beginning of a statewide, multi-partisan coalition and campaign to support the legalization and regulation of marijuana for safe adult recreational use in Minnesota. So just who are the Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Regulation? Essentially, anyone and everyone with an interest in ending prohibition. MRMR leaders include Leili Fatehi and Laura Monn Ginsburg from the public affairs firm Apparatus and Jason Tarasek, the Political Director of Minnesota’s Marijuana Policy Project. Additionally, steering committee members include former state lawmakers (both Republican and Democrat), business owners, ACLU attorneys, justice reform advocates, civil society groups, indigenous community leaders, and even the mayor of Minneapolis: Jacob Frey. MRMR’s Steering Committee hopes to garner broad public and legislative support for legalization while leveraging Gov. Walz’s public support for policy change. Ultimately, however, the group will have to win a majority of legislators over to their side. Minnesota does not have ballot referendums, so voters can’t legalize cannabis on their own. Speaking with MRMR Co-Founder Leili Fatehi High Times caught up with MRMR co-founder Leili Fatehi. Fatehi is a legal and public policy expert in Minnesota with ten years’ experience working at the nexus of technology, environment, and human health law. High Times: MRMR is a broad coalition. What brought everyone together? How did you get organized? Leili Fatehi: My organization worked for many years on public policy issues implicating different kinds of social impacts and usually in areas that involve the natural environment, transportation and energy. Since working in that space, another colleague from the Marijuana Policy Project [Jason ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-15
  • Cop Caught with Child Porn Serves 90 Days in Jail; Man Selling Weed Gets 5 Year Sentence
    A former Ohio police officer will serve just 90 days in jail for child pornography charges while a Louisiana man will serve 5 years for conspiracy to distribute marijuana, according to a report from The Free Thought Project. Last week, former Columbus, Ohio police sergeant Dean Worthington was sentenced to 9 years in prison after pleading guilty to four child pornography charges. But then the judge suspended all but 90 days of the sentence, to be served at the Franklin County Jail, because of Worthington’s history as a police officer. Worthington will also be required to pay a fine of $5,000 and register as a sex offender. Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said in a press release that Worthington had uploaded sexually explicit photographs of children to the website Tumblr. After the social media platform notified authorities, a search warrant was issued and authorities found six cell phones and other electronic devices that contained the pornographic images. Sergeant Dean Worthington/ Courtesy of Franklin County Sheriff’s Office “This Columbus Police Sergeant was downloading child pornography to his personal cell phone,” O’Brien said. “This illegal behavior was discovered as a result of a tip Tumblr provided to law enforcement after Worthington uploaded an image of child pornography.” “Between January and July of 2018, it is alleged that Worthington uploaded an image to Tumblr and downloaded multiple videos and images depicting young children engaging in sexual activity with adults,” O’Brien added. Cathy Harper Lee, the executive director of the Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center, said that the sentence was too lenient. “When offenders are only sentenced to 90 days in prison it sends a horrible message to crime victims, it sends a disturbing message to offenders, it undermines the serious nature of the crime and it allows that industry to flourish,” Lee said. “Child pornography is a horrific crime that involves the production, distribution, and consumption of the images,” Lee added. “The children are sexually abused in order to produce the images. The images are distributed and redistributed to countless others—indefinitely, causing revictimization and long-term emotional trauma. This harm is magnified every time that material is circulated or downloaded. It’s time to take crimes against women and children seriously, especially child sexual abuse victims.” Five Years for Pot Meanwhile, last month Jabori Huntsberry was sentenced to 63 months in prison for marijuana distribution and other charges. Huntsberry had been convicted of mailing a package of marijuana from California to his neighbor’s house in Abbeville, Louisiana in 2014. Postal inspectors believed that he had been shipping cannabis from California ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-15
  • Original Series “Grow House” Premieres Today on High Times TV
    High Times TV is thrilled to premiere the new original series, Grow House. Starring newlywed cannabis advocates Liz Grow and Patrick Pope, Grow House explores the modern cannabis scene in the United States, while striving to normalize and destigmatize the plant—and its consumers. The series follows Liz and Patrick as they travel across the country to visit states that have legalized cannabis. They tour grow houses and processing facilities, and talk to farmers, producers, business owners, and more. Their mission? To educate the average citizen about the plant in a way that’s both fun and informative. And of course, to celebrate cannabis and the people who work with it. Courtesy of “Grow House”/ High Times TV For both Liz and Patrick, cannabis destigmatization and legalization is deeply personal. Liz, an athlete and mother of a teenaged girl, hopes to turn other moms onto the healing powers of cannabinoids—particularly CBD, which the self-described “cannathlete” uses in her workouts. She’s ready for the stereotype of a “wine mom” to be gone for good. Patrick, a producer and actor, aims to explore the connection between cannabis and spirituality. “We are passionate cannabis advocates and are dedicated to normalizing this amazing plant and all of its benefits at the personal, community, and global level,” they say. “We use cannabis and CBD for both health and recreational purposes daily. We’re committed to spreading that message with the world!” Shining a light on every part of the cannabis industry, from seed to sale, and from mom-and-pop stores to multi-million-dollar enterprises, Grow House shows the human side of the plant—and of course, shows how exciting and innovative the industry can be. Courtesy of “Grow House”/ High Times TV Grow House premieres exclusively on High Times TV Tuesday, Jan. 15. After the debut, Season One will air every Tuesday, and take the viewer to Philadelphia, Portland, Los Angeles, Denver, and Palm Desert. The post Original Series “Grow House” Premieres Today on High Times TV appeared first on High Times. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-15
  • Canadian Citizen Sentenced to Death in China for Alleged Role in Drug Ring
    A Canadian citizen has been sentenced to death by a Chinese court for his alleged role in a drug ring that attempted to export methamphetamine to Australia. The Dalian Intermediate People’s Court in China’s northeast province of Liaoning handed down the death sentence against Robert Lloyd Schellenberg of Abbotsford, B.C. in a hastily staged retrial of an earlier conviction on the charges. In November, Schellenberg was convicted of conspiring to smuggle 489 pounds of methamphetamine from China to Australia in 2014. He appealed the conviction, saying that he was a traveler who was being framed by a crime syndicate. In December prosecutors said that his sentence was improper and too lenient and the court ordered a retrial. Schellenberg was retried and convicted again and sentenced to death. He is expected to appeal the sentence. Caught in Diplomatic Squabble International relations experts believe that Schellenberg has been caught up in an international dispute over the arrest of a Chinese executive in Canada. In December, Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei Technologies, was arrested in Vancouver at the request of the United States. Although details of Meng’s release have not been released, the U.S. is currently investigating Huawei for possible violations of international sanctions imposed against Iran. Meng is currently free on bail in Canada while she fights extradition to the United States. China has denounced Meng’s arrest and warned of consequences if she is not released. Two Canadian citizens traveling in China have since been arrested on suspicion of endangering state security. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Schellenberg’s case should cause concern among governments around the world. “It is of extreme concern to us as a government, as it should be to all our international friends and allies, that China has chosen to begin to arbitrarily apply [the] death penalty … as in this case facing a Canadian,” Trudeau said. Former Canadian ambassador to China Guy Saint-Jacques said that the speediness of Schellenberg’s retrial coupled with the international dispute lead him to suspect that the death sentence was predetermined. “I think it shows clearly that they wanted to apply the rules maybe with more zeal than they would have otherwise,” Saint-Jacques said. “The other thing that I think has to be noticed is the fact that they invited foreign journalists to attend the trial,” the former diplomat added. “They claimed that it’s for transparency purposes. Well, if that is the case, they could have started doing that years ago. I think all this was orchestrated.” Saint-Jacques believes that if the death sentence is ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-15
  • Bill to Allow Medical Marijuana on School Property Introduced in Washington House
    Today marks the first day of work for Washington State Congress, and the session was kicked off by a bill proposal affecting students who have been prescribed medical marijuana. Aberdeen representative Brian Blake announced the filing of HB 1060, which would allow children to be administered medical marijuana on their school grounds, on the bus, or at school-sponsored events. Currently, the state’s kids have to leave school campus to get their meds. The bill would require that both the student and their designated provider register in the state’s medical marijuana database, and carry ID cards to that effect. It is not the first time such legislation has been proposed. Last year’s similar HB 1060 made it as far as its third reading by the House Rules Committee. In Washington, medical marijuana patients legally qualify with conditions that are “severe enough to significantly interfere with the patient’s activities of daily living and ability to function.” The hold-up on in-school medical marijuana deeply affects the kids who depend on cannabis for daily functioning. “This is not a scary thing,” The Associated Press reported parent Meagan Holt as saying at committee hearings for HB 1060. Her daughter has Zellweger Syndrome, whose symptoms the family treats with cannabis oil. “These kids are wonderful kids, they use a controversial medicine but it shouldn’t matter if it’s what works for them.” Washington State would be far from the first place to allow for children’s marijuana prescriptions. In Chicago, Ashley Surin was in sixth grade when she and her parents filed a federal lawsuit against her school for Surin’s right to take her medicine (in Ashley’s case, topically applied CBD oil) while at school. As a result, Illinois passed Ashley’s Law, ensuring that students are able to take their medicine while pursuing their education. “This is not just going to help her,” Ashley’s mother Maureen Surin told the Chicago Tribune. “I hope it’s going to help other kids down the road.” Across the United States, school districts are grappling with the factors necessary for on-site medical marijuana administration. In many places, school health staff have been instructed to administer medical cannabis to authorized students. But kids and cannabis have always been a flashpoint, and there is certainly debate, on a national level, regarding the place of marijuana meds in school. In Florida, an administrators’ group raised concerns that the federal government could hold school administrators responsible for students’ cannabis use. In that state, some school districts banned state-legal medicine from the reach of ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-14
  • Man Leaves Two Pounds of Pot in Uber, is Arrested Trying to Retrieve It
    A Pennsylvania man who left two pounds of pot in an Uber driver’s vehicle was arrested by police when he tried to retrieve the weed. Malik Mollett, 21, was arrested by undercover state troopers on January 9, according to media reports. Mollett had hailed a Uber near Pittsburgh late last month, but at the end of his ride forgot a bag with two sealed one-pound packages of cannabis. When he realized that he left his weed in the car, he contacted Uber in an attempt to recover the bag. Uber Driver Snitches on Rider Uber contacted the unidentified driver to pass on the information about the missing bag that had been left in the car. The email from Uber included a telephone number for the bag’s owner. After finding the bag, the driver discovered the two packages of marijuana inside and then called the police. Last week, an undercover Pennsylvania state trooper posing as the driver called Mollett at the phone number provided to report that the bag had been found. Mollett gave the police officer his name and a description of the lost bag. The undercover officer sent a photo of the bag via text message and Mollett confirmed that the bag was his. Mollett and the police officer then made plans to meet at a McDonald’s restaurant in the borough of Irwin, Pennsylvania so that the bag could be returned. At the meeting, Mollett, who appeared relieved and happy to recover the bag, again confirmed that it was his. Trooper Steve Limani said that Mollett even joked with the undercover police officer. “I think he even made a reference to ‘how much of this did you guys smoke?’ And the undercover officer that we had dropping it off said they did not consume any of his marijuana,” Limani said. The first trooper then exited the fast food restaurant and a second undercover officer then came in and arrested Mollett. Police say that the two pounds of pot recovered is high quality and worth thousands of dollars on the street. Mollett is being held at the Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of a $150,000 bond. He has been charged with drug possession and criminal use of a communication facility. The post Man Leaves Two Pounds of Pot in Uber, is Arrested Trying to Retrieve It appeared first on High Times. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-14
  • Rhode Island Governor Plans “With Reluctance” to Propose Legalizing Marijuana
    Throughout her first term as Governor of Rhode Island, Democrat Gina Raimondo fought efforts to move the state toward legalizing cannabis. But at the start of her second term, Gov. Raimondo is waving the white flag, conceding that unless Rhode Island wants to be an actual island of prohibition surrounded by legal marijuana states, and that it’s time for it to adopt its own framework for a taxed and regulated industry. Rhode Island Governor Surrenders to Regional Momentum Toward Legalization Earlier this year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed a state budget plan that included legalizing cannabis. In New Jersey, lawmakers are currently working on a regulatory framework for an adult-use industry. Connecticut’s new governor, Ned Lamont, is making marijuana legalization one of the state’s legislative priorities in 2019. And late last year, Massachusetts opened its first retail cannabis shops after legalizing adult use in 2016. Indeed, “things have changed,” as Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo told The Providence Journal. And they’re changing quickly in a region that has long lagged behind the western U.S. in terms of cannabis legislation. Now, in the face of the “inevitable” prospect of Rhode Island’s neighbors’ legalization, Gov. Raimondo says that by week’s end she’ll issue a formal proposal, included in her July 1 budget plan, to legalize recreational marijuana in Rhode Island. “I will say, I do this with reluctance,” said the two-term governor. Rhode Island General Assembly members expressed similar sentiments. And for that very reason, Raimondo said she suspects legislative leaders “will probably come to the same conclusion that I have, which is: it’s here, it’s inevitable, so let’d do this right.” Rhode Island Governor Proposes Extreme Regulation for Future Cannabis Industry For Gov. Raimondo, doing it right would mean setting up one of the most restrictive and regulated retail industries in the country. But these aren’t just rules and limits on the industry. Gov. Raimondo’s proposals would directly impact the kinds of cannabis products available to consumers. For example, Gov. Raimondo’s plan would ban home grows. Yet dispensaries would not be permitted to sell concentrates or other high-potency products. At the same time, the plan would cap edibles at 5 mg THC per serving and tax sales at 17 percent. Setting aside roughly $3.6 million to implement the regulated industry, Raimondo estimates it will take until 2020 before brick-and-mortal retail shops open. More details of the governor’s proposal will become available after her announcement later this week. Gov. Raimondo told reporters the heightened restrictions are necessary to reduce the health and safety ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-14
  • UConn’s New Cannabis Course Brings Scientific Rigor to the Art of Growing
    Beginning next week, students at the University of Connecticut have the chance to take a pioneering new course in cannabis horticulture. The course, titled “Horticulture of Cannabis: from Seed to Harvest,” aims to train students in all aspects of the cannabis cultivation process. Importantly, this course represents progress on multiple fronts. For starters, it is part of an increasing focus on bringing scientifically-proven and evidence-backed processes to the world of cannabis cultivation. Additionally, the course is part of a growing trend in which colleges and universities are beginning to train students to enter the legal cannabis industry. UConn’s New Cannabis Course UConn’s new cannabis course will begin on January 22, when the school returns from winter break. It is being offered as part of the school’s Sustainable Plant and Soil Systems program. And according to primary instructor Matthew DeBacco, the course will be a breakthrough for UConn, higher education in general, and the entire cannabis industry. Most immediately, the course is the first of its kind ever offered at UConn. But beyond that, it is also at the vanguard of a new trend sweeping across the entire university system. “From what I can tell, this is one of the first courses to talk not only about cannabis, but to really focus on every single step in the growing process from seed to harvest,” DeBacco told High Times. “We’ve seen other courses in different parts of the country that focus on the legality of growing, or cannabinoid production and how that affects the body. But this is actually taking a seed and turning it into a final product.” The course is organized to map onto the natural life cycle of a cannabis plant. As such, students will begin by learning about seeds. Specifically, this will include such topics as seed selection and germination. From there, the course will move into how to care for young plants. Similarly, students will learn about moving plants into mature phases including flowering and harvesting. Along the way, DeBacco’s course will also cover such topics as lighting, indoor versus outdoor growing, plant nutrients, and much more. More Than Just Learning From Books Perhaps most interestingly, DeBacco’s course is designed to move beyond simply reading and talking about growing weed. Specifically, he plans to grow actual weed. “We’re also going to have a grow tent set up,” DeBacco said. “Instead of just talking about setting up lighting and photoperiods and everything else, we’re going to have a publicly-visible grow tent. That way students and even the general public can ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-14
  • St. Louis, Missouri Will No Longer Prosecute Marijuana Possession Under 100 Grams
    St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell will no longer prosecute cases for possession of less than 100 grams of marijuana. The new policy first came to light in an internal memo to prosecutors and staff from Bell regarding changes in prosecutorial policy. It was leaked to reporters during Bell’s first week in office. Bell was sworn in as St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney on January 1 after being elected to the position in November. Although Bell said in a Facebook post after the memo’s release that the changes had not yet been finalized, in an email to local media, his chief of staff Sam Alton wrote that the new policy has already been enacted. “For possession cases alone — not a possession with a weapon or an intent to sell — possession alone, that policy is in effect and will stay in effect,” Alton said. Larger quantities of cannabis will also be tolerated by the prosecutor’s office unless there is evidence of marijuana sales or distribution, according to the memo from Bell. “Prosecution of more than 100 grams of marijuana will only be pursued if evidence suggests the sale/distribution of marijuana,” it reads. Alton said that cases for possession of less than 100 grams of marijuana referred by municipalities in the county would not be prosecuted. “If a municipality sends our office a case of possession of less than 100 grams, and that is the only charge that does not meet an exception and/or there is no extenuating circumstance, our office will not entertain and/or issue on that case,” Alton wrote. “We look forward to working with the municipalities on this and every other issue.” Cops Not On Board Although Bell’s office is responsible for prosecuting misdemeanor and felony cases in the county, municipalities can still enforce ordinances against marijuana and issue sanctions that do not include time in jail. In an interview with local media, St. Louis County Police union president Joe Patterson said that police officers in the county will still be enforcing the federal prohibition of cannabis. “I can’t pull a guy over with 96 grams of weed in his pocket and just let him keep it. That’s not something we can do,” Patterson said. “We’re still going to have to either write a county-level arrest summons, or there’s other recourses we have.” Current Cases Dismissed Under Bell’s new marijuana policy, prosecutors will be required to file motions to dismiss all pending cases for possession of less than 100 grams of cannabis. The prosecutor’s office will also be canceling all ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-14
 
  • Unlicensed Marijuana Dispensaries in Michigan May Continue to Operate Due To Shortage
    Dozens of unlicensed medical marijuana dispensaries that were forced to close at the beginning of the year by Michigan regulators have received permission to reopen due to a shortage of legal cannabis in the state. The Michigan Medical Marijuana Licensing Board voted 4-0 on Wednesday to allow those provisioning centers, as they are officially known, that are in the process of applying for a license from the state to resume operations until March 31. On January 1, state officials closed 72 unlicensed dispensaries across the state and placed restrictions on medical marijuana caregivers supplying product to the industry. The actions have caused product shortages and a spike in cannabis prices at licensed dispensaries. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer called on the board to address the shortages in a press release on Tuesday. “We have heard from Michiganders closely affected by the ongoing transition to licensed marijuana facilities,” Whitmer said. “It is important that we ensure that patients have access to their medicine while the medical marijuana industry continues to develop.” Robin Schneider, the executive director of the Michigan Cannabis Industry Association, said on Tuesday that his group was working with the government to find a solution to the shortage. “With almost no access left to medicine for patients and empty shelves in our member’s facilities, solutions need to be put in place immediately that allow patients to obtain their medicine,” said Schneider. “We look forward to working with state regulators and Governor Whitmer’s administration to ensure a successful medical marijuana program and to develop long term strategies that will improve and expedite the business licensing process moving forward.” Board Members Explain Vote After Wednesday’s vote allowing dispensaries to reopen, board member Vivian Pickard said that the board wanted to ensure that medical marijuana patients have access to cannabis. “I think this resolution takes this back to the intent of the law — and that is to get medicine to the people who need it,” said Pickard. Board chairman Rick Johnson agreed that access was important and expressed hope that licensed operators would be able to adequately supply the cannabis market by the time the temporary measure expires. “We’re going to take care of patients and on the 31 of March I’m hopeful you all will be in the position to be in that process,” Johnson said. But Don Bailey, another board member, said he feared that continuing to allow unlicensed cannabis stores to operate is enabling the black market. “What we’ve done with these temporary operations for the past year and a half—we’ve expanded the black ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-16
  • Prosecutors in Nebraska Will Dismiss Case Against CBD Store Owners
    Prosecutors in Scotts Bluff, Nebraska said they have chosen to dismiss a criminal case involving a mother and son who opened a CBD store. The decision could have important legal implications for CBD in the state of Nebraska. Most immediately, the entire case highlights the confusion and tension surrounding CBD under Nebraska state law. And importantly, within that context, the decision to drop the case could pave the way to a more lenient approach to CBD in the state. Dismissing the Case Scotts Bluff County Attorney Dave Eubanks confirmed this week that his office will not follow through on charges against Heather and Dreyson Beguin. The mother and son team were facing criminal charges for opening and operating a CBD store. For them, the drama began back in December. On Dec. 14, Scotts Bluff police raided their store. Subsequently, Heather and Dreyson were both arrested. And when the dust settled, the two found themselves facing serious felony charges. Specifically, they were charged with felony counts of distributing a controlled substance. Now, prior to their scheduled court cases, the county attorney has decided to dismiss the case. Eubanks told local news source KETV Omaha that his office has better things to do than prosecute people for a substance “that can’t get you high.” Instead, he told the press that his office will redirect their efforts toward meth. Additionally, the county attorney said his office would also rather focus on prosecuting violent crimes than something like selling or consuming CBD. With all charges reportedly dropped, Heather and Dreyson said they plan to re-open their CBD store. Legal Confusion Surrounding CBD The Beguin’s case highlights a lot of the legal confusion that still persists around CBD. In the first place, the cops raided the Beguin’s store following a memo released by Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson. His memo asserted that CBD and CBD oil are illegal controlled substances because they come from the hemp plant. However, the Beguins and many others throughout the state disagree with Peterson’s take on things. “We wouldn’t have done this if we . . . weren’t ethically in the right,” Heather Beguin told local media. “We knew we were in the right legally as well.” Interestingly, recent federal legislation in the time following the Beguins arrest seems to provide a pathway to clarity on the issue of CBD. In December, Donald Trump signed into law the Agricultural Improvement Act of 2018. Also known as the “Farm Bill,” this law introduced a number of changes to several different government agencies. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-16
  • Governor of New York Presents Plan to Legalize Recreational Marijuana
    Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo of New York presented his plan to legalize recreational marijuana in the state on Tuesday. The governor outlined highlights of his proposal in a written message that was distributed to lawmakers as part of his State of the State address. Under Cuomo’s plan, a state Office of Cannabis Management would be created to regulate the recreational cannabis industry. The new agency would also be tasked with developing a plan to review and seal past convictions for marijuana offenses. Cuomo’s plan would include licenses for cannabis cultivators, distributors, and retailers. Marijuana cultivators would not be allowed to own retail dispensaries. A twenty percent state tax and 2 percent local tax would be imposed on transactions from wholesalers to retailers and cultivators would be assessed taxes on a per-gram basis. The governor said that the tax rates of neighboring states were a factor in determining the rates for New York. “The how is something that we’re talking about right now,” Cuomo said. “I think you have to look at New Jersey and you have to look at Massachusetts. They are natural competitors in the marketplace.” State taxes in Massachusetts on recreational pot total 17 percent and local governments can add up to 3 percent more. New Jersey has not yet legalized recreational marijuana but is also developing a plan to do so. Big Money in Pot Taxes Cuomo said that projections show that up to $300 million dollars a year could be raised from taxes on legal cannabis. The legalization plan is part of the state budget, which earmarks those funds for regulatory costs, substance abuse prevention programs, a small business development plan, and traffic safety measures. The final budget is expected to be approved by the legislature before the start of the new fiscal year on April 1, giving a potential timeline for legislative action. Democratic lawmakers, who largely support cannabis legalization, now control both the state Senate and Assembly. Sales of recreational marijuana would only be permitted to adults age 21 and over. Counties and cities would be permitted to prohibit pot sales within their jurisdictions. Just two years ago, Cuomo referred to cannabis as a gateway drug but then changed his position during a primary challenge to his reelection in 2018. Cuomo was reelected in November and last month said he would make legalizing cannabis a priority of his new term. Since then, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for the state’s legalization plan to create an industry based on small businesses. Kevin ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-16
  • Oklahoma Students May Now Use Medical Marijuana in Schools, But School Staff May Not
    One Oklahoma public school district is taking steps to ensure students can access medical cannabis treatments while at school. On Monday, the Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education voted to approve a policy protecting students, staff and caregivers who have a medical cannabis license. The Board’s action marks progress on an issue that has prompted ongoing controversy and debate since Oklahoma voters legalized medical cannabis last June. Oklahoma City Public Schools Approve Medical Cannabis Policy for Students Last June, Oklahoma voters roundly rejected the state government’s prohibition-oriented policy by approving State Question 788 to broadly legalize medical cannabis. Immediately after the referendum passed, however, state lawmakers and officials began pushing back with measures aimed at restricting the program. Public opposition to those efforts eventually forced then-Gov. Mary Fallin to back down. But just as those restrictions fell, Oklahoma State University and the University of Oklahoma announced policies banning access to medical cannabis on campus. The state’s two biggest public universities banning medical cannabis prompted intense public debate about whether schools should accommodate medical cannabis patients and if so, how. The question has been a vexed one nationwide, with school districts adopting a variety of policies to both shield students from potential risk or distraction while also ensuring all students have access to needed medication. The policy adopted by the Oklahoma City Public Schools Board of Education on Monday takes its own approach to the common issue. In the first place, it shields any public school employee from adverse action should they hold a medical cannabis license. In other words, you won’t lose your job or the chance at a promotion because you consume cannabis for medical reasons. But teachers, administrators and all other staff cannot possess or consume medical cannabis at school or during school hours, regardless of whether or not they hold a license. Students, on the other hand, can use medical cannabis while attending Oklahoma City public schools. At all times, they must follow Oklahoma state law. And furthermore, caregivers must be present to administer any medical cannabis treatments. This means students cannot bring medicine to school with them or take it themselves. Instead, their caregiver must arrive to school with the medicine, immediately administer it, and promptly remove any cannabis from the premises. Oklahoma City Could Provide a Model for Other Cities Looking to Allow Medical Cannabis at School Oklahoma Public Schools is implementing its new medical cannabis policy immediately. And that’s good news for the more than 30,000 medical cannabis patients with licenses from the ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-15
  • Former President of the Philippines Reveals She Uses Medical Marijuana
    The Philippines has seen a rapid reversal in attitudes towards cannabis among its political elite. President Rodrigo Duarte joked that the stuff helps him stay alert last year. On Tuesday, former president and current House Speaker Gloria Macapagal Arroyo hyped marijuana’s power to vanquish her persistent neck pain. “As you know I have my problem here (cervical spine) and when I’m in a country that allows it, I put [on] a pain patch,” Arroyo told ABS CBN News. “But here in the Philippines I cannot do it.” Macapagal — the country’s former president — is one of the co-authors of House Bill 6517 a.k.a. the Philippine Compassionate Medical Cannabis Bill. “I authored that bill because I believe that it can help me and many other people but there was a lot of objection to the bill from the House and from the Senate,” Arroyo told reporters. “That’s why we are just letting the legislative process take its course.” Her neck pain bombshell may be seen as a further motivator for her fellow legislators, who are considering the bill for passage during the current congressional session. It will not meet any resistance in the presidential palace. Duarte, well known for his horrific battle against low-level drug dealers and users at the start of his administration, recently and jocularly mentioned to the press that cannabis is what helps him make it through grueling conference schedules. When the press, baffled by this seemingly dramatic turnaround, questioned his staff about the president’s policy views on cannabis, presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said, “The president already made a statement that he’s in favor of limited use of marijuana… logically, then he will support… and sign any bill that would be consistent with his stand.” Arroyo’s HB 6517 would authorize the medicinal use by qualifying adults of cannabis in all forms except flower. There has been some debate over whether the legislation is necessary. Senate president Vicente Sotto III points out that Republic Act 9165, a.k.a. the Comprehensive Dangerous Act, states that lawmakers must “achieve a balance in the national drug control program so that people with legitimate medical needs are not prevented from being treated with adequate amounts of appropriate medications, which include the use of dangerous drugs.” In October 2017, the Philippines’ FDA disclosed that it had been receiving on average 50 applications a month for medical marijuana use. As of September of 2017, it had approved 558 applications. Sotto is unconvinced that the current and former presidents’ revelations merited brand-new ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-15
  • Mass. Court Ruling: Police Can Arrest for Drugged Driving Based on Observations
    A court in Massachusetts has ruled that police can make arrests for drugged driving based on their personal observations. The state Supreme Judicial Court made the ruling on Monday in the case of Mark J. Davis, who was pulled over on the Massachusetts Turnpike and arrested by Massachusetts State Police in July 2015. Troopers said that Davis had been driving at 80 mph and tailgating other motorists, according to the ruling. Davis, who was driving, and two passengers were in the vehicle. The car had a “strong odor of burnt marijuana and an odor of fresh marijuana,” according to media reports. The trooper said that Davis smelled like pot, too. Davis also had “red and glassy” eyes, which he had trouble focusing and struggled to keep open. The trooper also noted that Davis had difficulty following “simple directions.” He had also apparently admitted to recent cannabis use. “The defendant told the officer that he had smoked marijuana earlier that day, before he left to drive to Somerville,” the ruling states. Police then searched the car and found oxycodone, cocaine, and a firearm. Davis was arrested and later tried on drug possession, drugged driving, and gun possession charges. He was convicted of drug possession by a jury but acquitted of the other charges. Lawyer Throws Client Under the Bus During the trial, his attorney admitted that Davis was responsible for the drug possession charge. “Go ahead and find him guilty of the drugs in the glove box. Those are his,” the ruling says. Davis appealed the conviction, arguing that the troopers did not have probable cause to arrest him for driving under the influence of marijuana and therefore the search of the car was illegal. The court upheld the conviction, ruling that the observations made by the troopers during the traffic stop gave them probable cause to arrest Davis for drugged driving. The ruling noted that there are no validated field sobriety tests for drug use and that impairment by cannabis can be difficult to gauge. “We acknowledge that it is often difficult to detect marijuana impairment, because the effects of marijuana consumption ‘vary greatly amongst individuals,’” the court wrote. The court also ruled that the search of the car without a warrant was legal because of statutory exceptions for searches of automobiles. The post Mass. Court Ruling: Police Can Arrest for Drugged Driving Based on Observations appeared first on High Times. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-15
  • High-Level Coalition Launches Campaign Supporting Legalization in Minnesota
    As a congressman, Tim Walz pushed the Department of Veterans Affairs to study medical cannabis for military veterans. And now, as the newly elected Governor of Minnesota, Walz wants to make it the next U.S. state to legalize marijuana. In fact, Walz’s tax-revenue-generating, economic-opportunity-creating, racial-disparity-reducing stance on legalization led Forbes to predict that Minnesota would indeed be the next legal-weed state. But Gov. Walz will need the help of state legislators to get there. So far, however, lawmakers aren’t making legalization one of their 2019 legislative priorities. But a newly formed coalition of legalization advocates, calling themselves Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Reform (MRMR), is working to change that. Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Reform (MRMR) Wants to Accelerate the State’s Legalization Timeline State lawmakers aren’t making cannabis legalization a priority in 2019. But Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Reform say the time for creating an adult-use industry is now. “We believe Minnesota is ready to enact sensible marijuana regulations,” said Sarah Walker, MRMR Steering Committee co-chair. And on Tuesday, MRMR announced the beginning of a statewide, multi-partisan coalition and campaign to support the legalization and regulation of marijuana for safe adult recreational use in Minnesota. So just who are the Minnesotans for Responsible Marijuana Regulation? Essentially, anyone and everyone with an interest in ending prohibition. MRMR leaders include Leili Fatehi and Laura Monn Ginsburg from the public affairs firm Apparatus and Jason Tarasek, the Political Director of Minnesota’s Marijuana Policy Project. Additionally, steering committee members include former state lawmakers (both Republican and Democrat), business owners, ACLU attorneys, justice reform advocates, civil society groups, indigenous community leaders, and even the mayor of Minneapolis: Jacob Frey. MRMR’s Steering Committee hopes to garner broad public and legislative support for legalization while leveraging Gov. Walz’s public support for policy change. Ultimately, however, the group will have to win a majority of legislators over to their side. Minnesota does not have ballot referendums, so voters can’t legalize cannabis on their own. Speaking with MRMR Co-Founder Leili Fatehi High Times caught up with MRMR co-founder Leili Fatehi. Fatehi is a legal and public policy expert in Minnesota with ten years’ experience working at the nexus of technology, environment, and human health law. High Times: MRMR is a broad coalition. What brought everyone together? How did you get organized? Leili Fatehi: My organization worked for many years on public policy issues implicating different kinds of social impacts and usually in areas that involve the natural environment, transportation and energy. Since working in that space, another colleague from the Marijuana Policy Project [Jason ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-15
  • Cop Caught with Child Porn Serves 90 Days in Jail; Man Selling Weed Gets 5 Year Sentence
    A former Ohio police officer will serve just 90 days in jail for child pornography charges while a Louisiana man will serve 5 years for conspiracy to distribute marijuana, according to a report from The Free Thought Project. Last week, former Columbus, Ohio police sergeant Dean Worthington was sentenced to 9 years in prison after pleading guilty to four child pornography charges. But then the judge suspended all but 90 days of the sentence, to be served at the Franklin County Jail, because of Worthington’s history as a police officer. Worthington will also be required to pay a fine of $5,000 and register as a sex offender. Franklin County Prosecutor Ron O’Brien said in a press release that Worthington had uploaded sexually explicit photographs of children to the website Tumblr. After the social media platform notified authorities, a search warrant was issued and authorities found six cell phones and other electronic devices that contained the pornographic images. Sergeant Dean Worthington/ Courtesy of Franklin County Sheriff’s Office “This Columbus Police Sergeant was downloading child pornography to his personal cell phone,” O’Brien said. “This illegal behavior was discovered as a result of a tip Tumblr provided to law enforcement after Worthington uploaded an image of child pornography.” “Between January and July of 2018, it is alleged that Worthington uploaded an image to Tumblr and downloaded multiple videos and images depicting young children engaging in sexual activity with adults,” O’Brien added. Cathy Harper Lee, the executive director of the Ohio Crime Victim Justice Center, said that the sentence was too lenient. “When offenders are only sentenced to 90 days in prison it sends a horrible message to crime victims, it sends a disturbing message to offenders, it undermines the serious nature of the crime and it allows that industry to flourish,” Lee said. “Child pornography is a horrific crime that involves the production, distribution, and consumption of the images,” Lee added. “The children are sexually abused in order to produce the images. The images are distributed and redistributed to countless others—indefinitely, causing revictimization and long-term emotional trauma. This harm is magnified every time that material is circulated or downloaded. It’s time to take crimes against women and children seriously, especially child sexual abuse victims.” Five Years for Pot Meanwhile, last month Jabori Huntsberry was sentenced to 63 months in prison for marijuana distribution and other charges. Huntsberry had been convicted of mailing a package of marijuana from California to his neighbor’s house in Abbeville, Louisiana in 2014. Postal inspectors believed that he had been shipping cannabis from California ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-15
  • Original Series “Grow House” Premieres Today on High Times TV
    High Times TV is thrilled to premiere the new original series, Grow House. Starring newlywed cannabis advocates Liz Grow and Patrick Pope, Grow House explores the modern cannabis scene in the United States, while striving to normalize and destigmatize the plant—and its consumers. The series follows Liz and Patrick as they travel across the country to visit states that have legalized cannabis. They tour grow houses and processing facilities, and talk to farmers, producers, business owners, and more. Their mission? To educate the average citizen about the plant in a way that’s both fun and informative. And of course, to celebrate cannabis and the people who work with it. Courtesy of “Grow House”/ High Times TV For both Liz and Patrick, cannabis destigmatization and legalization is deeply personal. Liz, an athlete and mother of a teenaged girl, hopes to turn other moms onto the healing powers of cannabinoids—particularly CBD, which the self-described “cannathlete” uses in her workouts. She’s ready for the stereotype of a “wine mom” to be gone for good. Patrick, a producer and actor, aims to explore the connection between cannabis and spirituality. “We are passionate cannabis advocates and are dedicated to normalizing this amazing plant and all of its benefits at the personal, community, and global level,” they say. “We use cannabis and CBD for both health and recreational purposes daily. We’re committed to spreading that message with the world!” Shining a light on every part of the cannabis industry, from seed to sale, and from mom-and-pop stores to multi-million-dollar enterprises, Grow House shows the human side of the plant—and of course, shows how exciting and innovative the industry can be. Courtesy of “Grow House”/ High Times TV Grow House premieres exclusively on High Times TV Tuesday, Jan. 15. After the debut, Season One will air every Tuesday, and take the viewer to Philadelphia, Portland, Los Angeles, Denver, and Palm Desert. The post Original Series “Grow House” Premieres Today on High Times TV appeared first on High Times. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-15
  • Canadian Citizen Sentenced to Death in China for Alleged Role in Drug Ring
    A Canadian citizen has been sentenced to death by a Chinese court for his alleged role in a drug ring that attempted to export methamphetamine to Australia. The Dalian Intermediate People’s Court in China’s northeast province of Liaoning handed down the death sentence against Robert Lloyd Schellenberg of Abbotsford, B.C. in a hastily staged retrial of an earlier conviction on the charges. In November, Schellenberg was convicted of conspiring to smuggle 489 pounds of methamphetamine from China to Australia in 2014. He appealed the conviction, saying that he was a traveler who was being framed by a crime syndicate. In December prosecutors said that his sentence was improper and too lenient and the court ordered a retrial. Schellenberg was retried and convicted again and sentenced to death. He is expected to appeal the sentence. Caught in Diplomatic Squabble International relations experts believe that Schellenberg has been caught up in an international dispute over the arrest of a Chinese executive in Canada. In December, Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of the Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei Technologies, was arrested in Vancouver at the request of the United States. Although details of Meng’s release have not been released, the U.S. is currently investigating Huawei for possible violations of international sanctions imposed against Iran. Meng is currently free on bail in Canada while she fights extradition to the United States. China has denounced Meng’s arrest and warned of consequences if she is not released. Two Canadian citizens traveling in China have since been arrested on suspicion of endangering state security. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that Schellenberg’s case should cause concern among governments around the world. “It is of extreme concern to us as a government, as it should be to all our international friends and allies, that China has chosen to begin to arbitrarily apply [the] death penalty … as in this case facing a Canadian,” Trudeau said. Former Canadian ambassador to China Guy Saint-Jacques said that the speediness of Schellenberg’s retrial coupled with the international dispute lead him to suspect that the death sentence was predetermined. “I think it shows clearly that they wanted to apply the rules maybe with more zeal than they would have otherwise,” Saint-Jacques said. “The other thing that I think has to be noticed is the fact that they invited foreign journalists to attend the trial,” the former diplomat added. “They claimed that it’s for transparency purposes. Well, if that is the case, they could have started doing that years ago. I think all this was orchestrated.” Saint-Jacques believes that if the death sentence is ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-15
  • Bill to Allow Medical Marijuana on School Property Introduced in Washington House
    Today marks the first day of work for Washington State Congress, and the session was kicked off by a bill proposal affecting students who have been prescribed medical marijuana. Aberdeen representative Brian Blake announced the filing of HB 1060, which would allow children to be administered medical marijuana on their school grounds, on the bus, or at school-sponsored events. Currently, the state’s kids have to leave school campus to get their meds. The bill would require that both the student and their designated provider register in the state’s medical marijuana database, and carry ID cards to that effect. It is not the first time such legislation has been proposed. Last year’s similar HB 1060 made it as far as its third reading by the House Rules Committee. In Washington, medical marijuana patients legally qualify with conditions that are “severe enough to significantly interfere with the patient’s activities of daily living and ability to function.” The hold-up on in-school medical marijuana deeply affects the kids who depend on cannabis for daily functioning. “This is not a scary thing,” The Associated Press reported parent Meagan Holt as saying at committee hearings for HB 1060. Her daughter has Zellweger Syndrome, whose symptoms the family treats with cannabis oil. “These kids are wonderful kids, they use a controversial medicine but it shouldn’t matter if it’s what works for them.” Washington State would be far from the first place to allow for children’s marijuana prescriptions. In Chicago, Ashley Surin was in sixth grade when she and her parents filed a federal lawsuit against her school for Surin’s right to take her medicine (in Ashley’s case, topically applied CBD oil) while at school. As a result, Illinois passed Ashley’s Law, ensuring that students are able to take their medicine while pursuing their education. “This is not just going to help her,” Ashley’s mother Maureen Surin told the Chicago Tribune. “I hope it’s going to help other kids down the road.” Across the United States, school districts are grappling with the factors necessary for on-site medical marijuana administration. In many places, school health staff have been instructed to administer medical cannabis to authorized students. But kids and cannabis have always been a flashpoint, and there is certainly debate, on a national level, regarding the place of marijuana meds in school. In Florida, an administrators’ group raised concerns that the federal government could hold school administrators responsible for students’ cannabis use. In that state, some school districts banned state-legal medicine from the reach of ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-14
  • Man Leaves Two Pounds of Pot in Uber, is Arrested Trying to Retrieve It
    A Pennsylvania man who left two pounds of pot in an Uber driver’s vehicle was arrested by police when he tried to retrieve the weed. Malik Mollett, 21, was arrested by undercover state troopers on January 9, according to media reports. Mollett had hailed a Uber near Pittsburgh late last month, but at the end of his ride forgot a bag with two sealed one-pound packages of cannabis. When he realized that he left his weed in the car, he contacted Uber in an attempt to recover the bag. Uber Driver Snitches on Rider Uber contacted the unidentified driver to pass on the information about the missing bag that had been left in the car. The email from Uber included a telephone number for the bag’s owner. After finding the bag, the driver discovered the two packages of marijuana inside and then called the police. Last week, an undercover Pennsylvania state trooper posing as the driver called Mollett at the phone number provided to report that the bag had been found. Mollett gave the police officer his name and a description of the lost bag. The undercover officer sent a photo of the bag via text message and Mollett confirmed that the bag was his. Mollett and the police officer then made plans to meet at a McDonald’s restaurant in the borough of Irwin, Pennsylvania so that the bag could be returned. At the meeting, Mollett, who appeared relieved and happy to recover the bag, again confirmed that it was his. Trooper Steve Limani said that Mollett even joked with the undercover police officer. “I think he even made a reference to ‘how much of this did you guys smoke?’ And the undercover officer that we had dropping it off said they did not consume any of his marijuana,” Limani said. The first trooper then exited the fast food restaurant and a second undercover officer then came in and arrested Mollett. Police say that the two pounds of pot recovered is high quality and worth thousands of dollars on the street. Mollett is being held at the Westmoreland County Prison in lieu of a $150,000 bond. He has been charged with drug possession and criminal use of a communication facility. The post Man Leaves Two Pounds of Pot in Uber, is Arrested Trying to Retrieve It appeared first on High Times. ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-14
  • Rhode Island Governor Plans “With Reluctance” to Propose Legalizing Marijuana
    Throughout her first term as Governor of Rhode Island, Democrat Gina Raimondo fought efforts to move the state toward legalizing cannabis. But at the start of her second term, Gov. Raimondo is waving the white flag, conceding that unless Rhode Island wants to be an actual island of prohibition surrounded by legal marijuana states, and that it’s time for it to adopt its own framework for a taxed and regulated industry. Rhode Island Governor Surrenders to Regional Momentum Toward Legalization Earlier this year, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo revealed a state budget plan that included legalizing cannabis. In New Jersey, lawmakers are currently working on a regulatory framework for an adult-use industry. Connecticut’s new governor, Ned Lamont, is making marijuana legalization one of the state’s legislative priorities in 2019. And late last year, Massachusetts opened its first retail cannabis shops after legalizing adult use in 2016. Indeed, “things have changed,” as Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo told The Providence Journal. And they’re changing quickly in a region that has long lagged behind the western U.S. in terms of cannabis legislation. Now, in the face of the “inevitable” prospect of Rhode Island’s neighbors’ legalization, Gov. Raimondo says that by week’s end she’ll issue a formal proposal, included in her July 1 budget plan, to legalize recreational marijuana in Rhode Island. “I will say, I do this with reluctance,” said the two-term governor. Rhode Island General Assembly members expressed similar sentiments. And for that very reason, Raimondo said she suspects legislative leaders “will probably come to the same conclusion that I have, which is: it’s here, it’s inevitable, so let’d do this right.” Rhode Island Governor Proposes Extreme Regulation for Future Cannabis Industry For Gov. Raimondo, doing it right would mean setting up one of the most restrictive and regulated retail industries in the country. But these aren’t just rules and limits on the industry. Gov. Raimondo’s proposals would directly impact the kinds of cannabis products available to consumers. For example, Gov. Raimondo’s plan would ban home grows. Yet dispensaries would not be permitted to sell concentrates or other high-potency products. At the same time, the plan would cap edibles at 5 mg THC per serving and tax sales at 17 percent. Setting aside roughly $3.6 million to implement the regulated industry, Raimondo estimates it will take until 2020 before brick-and-mortal retail shops open. More details of the governor’s proposal will become available after her announcement later this week. Gov. Raimondo told reporters the heightened restrictions are necessary to reduce the health and safety ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-14
  • UConn’s New Cannabis Course Brings Scientific Rigor to the Art of Growing
    Beginning next week, students at the University of Connecticut have the chance to take a pioneering new course in cannabis horticulture. The course, titled “Horticulture of Cannabis: from Seed to Harvest,” aims to train students in all aspects of the cannabis cultivation process. Importantly, this course represents progress on multiple fronts. For starters, it is part of an increasing focus on bringing scientifically-proven and evidence-backed processes to the world of cannabis cultivation. Additionally, the course is part of a growing trend in which colleges and universities are beginning to train students to enter the legal cannabis industry. UConn’s New Cannabis Course UConn’s new cannabis course will begin on January 22, when the school returns from winter break. It is being offered as part of the school’s Sustainable Plant and Soil Systems program. And according to primary instructor Matthew DeBacco, the course will be a breakthrough for UConn, higher education in general, and the entire cannabis industry. Most immediately, the course is the first of its kind ever offered at UConn. But beyond that, it is also at the vanguard of a new trend sweeping across the entire university system. “From what I can tell, this is one of the first courses to talk not only about cannabis, but to really focus on every single step in the growing process from seed to harvest,” DeBacco told High Times. “We’ve seen other courses in different parts of the country that focus on the legality of growing, or cannabinoid production and how that affects the body. But this is actually taking a seed and turning it into a final product.” The course is organized to map onto the natural life cycle of a cannabis plant. As such, students will begin by learning about seeds. Specifically, this will include such topics as seed selection and germination. From there, the course will move into how to care for young plants. Similarly, students will learn about moving plants into mature phases including flowering and harvesting. Along the way, DeBacco’s course will also cover such topics as lighting, indoor versus outdoor growing, plant nutrients, and much more. More Than Just Learning From Books Perhaps most interestingly, DeBacco’s course is designed to move beyond simply reading and talking about growing weed. Specifically, he plans to grow actual weed. “We’re also going to have a grow tent set up,” DeBacco said. “Instead of just talking about setting up lighting and photoperiods and everything else, we’re going to have a publicly-visible grow tent. That way students and even the general public can ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-14
  • St. Louis, Missouri Will No Longer Prosecute Marijuana Possession Under 100 Grams
    St. Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell will no longer prosecute cases for possession of less than 100 grams of marijuana. The new policy first came to light in an internal memo to prosecutors and staff from Bell regarding changes in prosecutorial policy. It was leaked to reporters during Bell’s first week in office. Bell was sworn in as St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney on January 1 after being elected to the position in November. Although Bell said in a Facebook post after the memo’s release that the changes had not yet been finalized, in an email to local media, his chief of staff Sam Alton wrote that the new policy has already been enacted. “For possession cases alone — not a possession with a weapon or an intent to sell — possession alone, that policy is in effect and will stay in effect,” Alton said. Larger quantities of cannabis will also be tolerated by the prosecutor’s office unless there is evidence of marijuana sales or distribution, according to the memo from Bell. “Prosecution of more than 100 grams of marijuana will only be pursued if evidence suggests the sale/distribution of marijuana,” it reads. Alton said that cases for possession of less than 100 grams of marijuana referred by municipalities in the county would not be prosecuted. “If a municipality sends our office a case of possession of less than 100 grams, and that is the only charge that does not meet an exception and/or there is no extenuating circumstance, our office will not entertain and/or issue on that case,” Alton wrote. “We look forward to working with the municipalities on this and every other issue.” Cops Not On Board Although Bell’s office is responsible for prosecuting misdemeanor and felony cases in the county, municipalities can still enforce ordinances against marijuana and issue sanctions that do not include time in jail. In an interview with local media, St. Louis County Police union president Joe Patterson said that police officers in the county will still be enforcing the federal prohibition of cannabis. “I can’t pull a guy over with 96 grams of weed in his pocket and just let him keep it. That’s not something we can do,” Patterson said. “We’re still going to have to either write a county-level arrest summons, or there’s other recourses we have.” Current Cases Dismissed Under Bell’s new marijuana policy, prosecutors will be required to file motions to dismiss all pending cases for possession of less than 100 grams of cannabis. The prosecutor’s office will also be canceling all ... read more
    Source: High TimesPublished on 2019-01-14