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  1. Today
  2. Bolt

    How long does it take to potty train a puppy

    Go thing I don’t have a dog though.
  3. Ngaio Bealum (@ngaio420), writer, comedian, and resident cannaseur on the Netflix show Cooking on High, told High Times that he makes his connection to California’s legal pot industry obvious in his Instagram posts. Little did he know that by doing so, it made his social media identity vulnerable to imposters attempting to scam people. “I got a lot of pictures of me, sitting out there holding giant bags of weed, or sitting on a farm or whatnot because that’s what I do,” Bealum says. “I love hanging out at the farm.” But last week, a friend sent Bealum a screenshot of an Instagram profile that had an image of Bealum and a group of his friends as the main photo. The account had 12 of images lifted off of Bealum’s real account—and the bio offered pot for sale, with shipping available to any location. “Whoever that person was had just stolen all those shots and posted them up like I was out here selling weed across state lines to all kind of people, which we cannot have,” Bealum says. “I don’t sell weed. I love marijuana, but I don’t sell it.” Bealum is just one example of thousands, however. From A-list celebrities to popular figures in the cannabis industry, social media has become a means through which low-level identity theft and scams are regularly taking place. Particularly on Instagram, the faces of cannabis influencers are being used to facilitate scams. And the people often left suffering are the those just trying to score some weed. Instagram After being made aware of the imposter account, Bealum notified Instagram and posted a screenshot of the fake profile, asking his 57,000 followers to report it as well. Bealum believes that the added pressure spurred Instagram to act quickly—the bogus profile was removed from the platform within a couple of hours. “Top Cali packs on deck,” the fake Instagram bio said. “We do discrete delivery within and out of state. Wikr for price and menu…” (In this case, the way to determine the Instagram account is a scam is because they don’t use the right “discreet” in a sentence. But more on that later.) Lynn Thomas (@greengoldfarms) of Green Gold Farms in San Diego has seen dozens of Instagram users purporting to be him and offering weed for sale. And what’s worse, he’s heard from people who have been scammed by them. On several occasions, Thomas says he’s received Instagram direct messages from people who have wired money to one of the imposters for weed they never received. He hates having to be the one to let people know they’ve been scammed. Thomas says the social media imposters have devised themselves a good racket: victims aren’t likely to seek a refund from a payment service or complain to the police. “I see how it works,” he says, “and there’s [almost] no way to get caught.” There was one scam victim in particular who contacted Thomas after sending an imposter $2,600 for two pounds of pot that never arrived. Thomas said that even if the scammer is only successful a couple of times a month, at that rate, it’s not a bad take. Like Bealum, when Thomas gets wind of imposter accounts he notifies Instagram immediately. He then shares a post calling out the scammer and asks his followers to spread the word and report the account. More than anything, Thomas says he doesn’t want more people to have their money stolen, and he also doesn’t want to run into anyone angry about being victimized. “At the end of the day, they’re using my face to rip people off,” said Thomas. Courtesy of Jerry Krecicki Photographer Jerry Krecicki (@jerrykrecicki), whose work has graced the pages of High Times, is another cannabis influencer who’s been impersonated on Instagram and other social media platforms. “I grew up in Everglade City and Naples, Florida—the hub of where all the marijuana came into the country back in the ’80s,” he says. “I started taking pictures of cannabis and growing cannabis at 14-years-old.” Krecicki said that he was first impersonated by a scammer on social media a couple of years ago. “I got a message from a friend of mine, complaining to me that he couldn’t believe I was selling cannabis online. I asked him what he was talking about and he pulled the page up. The original page was using pictures of me and my family members for pushing cannabis. So I reported it to Instagram, and I got it deleted.” He said that with decades in the industry, criminals find his identity attractive to assume. It happens continuously, and Krecicki believes that a repeat offender is to blame. “I get an average of three to five a week,” Krecicki says. “They’re all from the same guy, normally, that’s doing them. Over the last two years, it’s been a chronic pattern of the same crew doing these fake pages.” Jerry Krecicki When contacted for this story, an Instagram spokesperson noted that claiming to be another person violates the platform’s Community Guidelines. The company uses automated tools to detect fake accounts and has more than 20,000 employees working on safety and security—twice as many as last year. Every day, millions of fake accounts are blocked at registration. “We care deeply about the quality of content on Instagram. And we take spam, inauthentic and other abusive behavior very seriously. When we find inauthentic activity, we work to counter and prevent it, including blocking accounts and removing violating content all at once. We review suspicious activity closely and take the time to understand how to help prevent similar activity in the future,” the spokesperson said via email. So, how can you determine if a profile you’re following is the real deal? Jonathan Lepow, owner and co-founder of Top Tree (@toptree), a social media digital advertising agency, said that influencers can complete a verification process to assure their followers the profile is legitimate. “Ultimately, being verified is a great way to know if the person that you’re talking to is legitimately that person,” Lepow says. “But not everybody can be verified,” There are requirements to meet for an account to attain a verified status. And the existence of imposter profiles could expedite the process. “When you show a need to Instagram to have your page verified because people are copying you, that can sometimes be a motivator to get an account verified,” said Lepow. He added that it should be obvious that social media should not be considered a safe way to find your next pot connection. “If you’re putting yourself in the position to where you’re purchasing cannabis online, you gotta be ready to be scammed,” Lepow said. “Paypal isn’t going to return your money because the drugs weren’t delivered.” In Bealum’s case, the bio of the fake account had misspellings, which is sacrilege for a writer and a massive indicator that something’s off. Bealum did, however, offer a generous solution for anyone having a hard time finding weed: “People can follow me on Instagram,” he says, “and if they want weed from me, they just gotta come over and we can just smoke.” The post Weed Scams are Trending on Instagram—and People are Falling for Them appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  4. Yesterday
  5. In the lead up to Canada’s world-historic legalization of cannabis on October 17, most public and official debates about the law centered on how to best implement it–not whether legalization was a good idea. But one anti-legalization talking point in particular remained lodged in the national conversation: the concern over a post-legalization spike in drug-impaired driving. And when it became clear that Canada’s legalization of adult-use cannabis was a matter of when, not if, law enforcement officials’ hand-wringing over the issue managed to squeeze hundreds of millions of dollars out of public coffers and into officer training, drug awareness programs, and expensive roadside testing equipment. But a month after legalization went into effect, early data collected by the CBC shows that police have not seen any uptick in instances of cannabis-impaired driving. Canadian Police Aren’t Seeing the Spike in Cannabis-Impaired Driving They Spent Millions Preparing For Canadian safety groups’ concerns that legalization would lead to an increase in cannabis-impaired driving are not without reason. Indeed, Canada has the worst drunk-driving record of any wealthy country. 34 percent of all traffic deaths are alcohol-related, and years of public messaging about the dangers of drunk driving have made little impact. But with so little opposition to cannabis, these concerns quickly became exaggerated, pouring massive public investment and energy into a problem that had yet to materialize. About a year ago, the crusade against the specter of dangerous, drug-addled drivers flooding Canadian highways took an odd turn. R.I.D.E. Checks, a Canadian road safety group, partnered with a marketing firm to create three broadside advertisements for strange cannabis strains. The strange strain names were based on scenarios a cannabis-influenced driver might face, like Kourtroom Kush, Slammer Time!, and White Whiplash. On the official side of things, Canadian police routinely sounded the alarm about cannabis-impaired driving, saying they didn’t have enough time to train officers to detect cannabis impairment or field test new detection devices. Police even rolled out a new training curriculum focused on cannabis and developed an online course to train officers in the new cannabis laws. Then, in July, the Canadian government announced a $62.5 million, five-year spending package to combat drug-impaired driving. Meanwhile, Canada’s attorney general approved a German-engineered roadside mouth swab drug test that is already facing legal challenges. And before passing the Cannabis Act, lawmakers ratcheted up the penalties for driving under the influence of cannabis and other drugs, establishing strict new impaired driving rules. Most Weed Driving Offenses are for Improper Storage or Passenger Consumption However, the CBC is reporting that police departments in multiple provinces and territories across Canada have seen no change in the amount of instances of cannabis-impaired driving. Alcohol-impaired driving continues to be the most common reason police arrest impaired drivers. Furthermore, of the citations for cannabis-related driving offenses departments have issued, most are for improper storage or passenger consumption. Driver impairment, in other words, was not a common reason for cannabis citations. The data CBC collected breaks down as follows: Police officials in Regina, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island all said there was no significant change in driver behavior after legalization. In Manitoba, Royal Canadian Mounted Police said they’ve issued 3 cannabis-impaired driving charges and 50 alcohol-impaired driving charges since October 17. Vancouver police forces say that most of their 18 cannabis and driving violations were for open containers of weed or passengers who were smoking weed in the vehicle. Toronto is on pace to have a handful more drug-impaired driving incidents compared to 2017’s figure. But Toronto police don’t specify intoxicant in their data. British Columbia, the Northwest Territories, and Quebec are all on pace to have lower numbers of drug-impaired driving arrests this year than last. In short, the amount of drivers getting behind the wheel under the influence of cannabis hasn’t changed significantly after legalization. However, it may be too soon to tell what kind of effect legalization will ultimately have. Driving high is definitely risky behavior. In addition to impairing drivers ability to operate a vehicle safely, driving high is illegal and can lead to serious consequences. The post Canadian Officials Report No Spike in Impaired Driving After Cannabis Legalization appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  6. A spike in teen vaping has spurred the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to seek new rules governing e-cigarettes. FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb announced the proposed regulations in a statement on Thursday. If adopted, the new rules would prohibit flavored e-cigarette products from being sold in stores and websites used by children. They would not apply to retailers that restrict access to adults only, such as tobacconists, vape shops, and age-restricted websites. Youth Vaping Up Dramatically The tighter rules on e-cigarettes were prompted by new data that show that vaping has increased by 78 percent among high school students and 48 percent by children in middle school. The survey of students conducted from March through May of this year also found that students who vape are doing so more frequently and using more flavored products. “These increases must stop. And the bottom line is this: I will not allow a generation of children to become addicted to nicotine through e-cigarettes. We won’t let this pool of kids, a pool of future potential smokers, of future disease and death, to continue to build. We’ll take whatever action is necessary to stop these trends from continuing,” Gottlieb said. “This spike in use threatens to stall or reverse the substantial public health gains we’ve made by reducing tobacco use overall, and especially among children,” he added. Gottlieb noted that young people who vape have a higher chance of becoming smokers. “The data show that kids using e-cigarettes are going to be more likely to try combustible cigarettes later,” Gottlieb said. “This is a large pool of future risk.” Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said in a statement on Thursday that flavored e-cigarettes are contributing to nicotine addiction “Flavors are a major reason they use these products in the first place,” Azar said. “Flavors increase the likelihood of kids progressing from experimentation to regular use, and a portion of them will go on to use combustible tobacco products, with the huge added dangers of tobacco-related disease.” Menthol Still OK Menthol, mint, and tobacco flavored vape products will be exempted from the new rules. Gottlieb said that the FDA wanted to keep those products available for adults who wish to use them as an aid in quitting smoking, although he was wary they also might be used by kids. “We will not allow that opportunity to come at the expense of addicting a whole new generation of kids to nicotine,” Gottlieb said. The FDA is also, however, proposing that menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars no longer be permitted. Not Far Enough? Matthew L. Myers, president of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, said in a statement on Friday that the new rules are not tight enough to prevent young people from vaping. “The FDA needs to go further,” said Myers. “There is nothing to prevent the number of vape shops from rapidly expanding and there is no solid evidence that vape shops do a good job of preventing illegal underage sales.” Gottlieb said that the FDA would continue monitoring the use of e-cigarettes by young people. “We’re committed to utilizing the full range of our regulatory authorities to directly target the places kids are getting these products and address the role flavors and marketing are playing,” Gottlieb said. “We will leave no stone unturned,” he said. “This is one of our highest priorities.” The post FDA Seeks New E-Cig Regulations in Response to Spike in Teen Vaping appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  7. The cannabis world is currently in the middle of what has become one of the largest and most important industry events: MJBizCon. Hosted in Las Vegas, the annual conference and trade show has seen explosive growth in recent years. So much so that the city of Las Vegas has just announced plans to extend the event. Beginning next year, the three-day expo will become a weeklong cannabis event. Introducing “MJBizCon Week” This year’s MJBizCon kicked off this week in Las Vegas. It started on Wednesday, November 14, and ends on Friday, Nov. 16. The three-day event features a huge number of exhibits, presentations, and opportunities for cannabis players to network and learn more about what’s going on throughout the industry. Yesterday, event organizers announced that the conference and trade show is going to expand to become a weeklong event. The change will begin next year. The decision to launch MJBizCon Week was spearheaded by event organizers and officials from the city of Las Vegas and Clark County, Nevada. “The City of Las Vegas and Clark County have officially proclaimed the debut of ‘MJBizCon Week’ surrounding the annual MJBizCon Conference & Expo beginning in 2019,” organizers said in a press release. According to the release, organizers and local officials chose to make the change after seeing how many people are now attending the annual conference. Extending the length of the event will allow for even more activity and could draw even more visitors. In addition to expanding from three days to a week, the event is moving from mid-November to mid-December. The press release said that the first MJBizCon Week is scheduled for Dec. 9-13, 2019. More specifically, the official MJBizCon Conference and Expo show will take place Dec. 11-13. Prior to that, the first two days of the week will feature new events and activities. So far, planners have not specified exactly what new features the extended event will include. MJBizCon Drawing Huge Crowds MJBizCon has quickly become one of the most important conferences in the cannabis industry. Beyond cannabis, it’s also grown to become one of the biggest and best-attended conferences in general. In fact, event organizers said that Trade Show Executive Magazine now ranks the conference as the fastest-growing retail show in the United States. Further, the magazine ranks MJBizCon the nation’s largest event, both in terms of exhibit space and the number of companies exhibiting. This year’s MJBizCon is spread out across almost 175,000 square feet of exhibition space. That space is hosting more than 1,000 exhibiting companies. In total, event organizers expect to see more than 25,000 people in attendance. That’s a massive 137 percent increase from last year’s conference. Importantly, the event is becoming more and more global in its scope. For example, this year’s expo will include cannabis companies or visitors from all 50 U.S. states as well as more than 60 different countries. These countries include China, Israel, Colombia, Australia, and many others. Immediately after announcing next year’s expanded event, planners began issuing calls for participation. Specifically, they said that anyone who wants to take part in next year’s MJBizCon Week should check out the application at the event’s website. The post Las Vegas to Expand MJBizCon to Weeklong Cannabis Trade Show appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  8. Hopefully, more cities are creative with this hard stop.We recently wrote about an announcement by the California Department of Food and Agriculture (“CDFA”) that temporary license applications need to be submitted by December 1, 2018 in order to be reviewed on time for approval and issuance before December 31, 2018. To date, California Department of Public Health (“CDPH”) followed suit, but the California Bureau of Cannabis Control (“BCC”) has not. It’s safe to say that BCC applications submitted after December 1, 2018 have a low chance of being issued this year. This is significant because after January 1, 2019, these agencies will have no legal authority to issue temporary licenses, and will not do so. After January 1, 2019, only provisional licenses will be issued, and only then to parties who hold or held temporary licenses. Parties that don’t have temporary licenses and thus cannot get provisional licenses will be stuck in the annual license logjam, which everyone knows moves at a snails’ pace. These deadlines cannot be solved with more regulations. They are from MAUCRSA and only the legislature can modify them. We wouldn’t count on that happening. This time crunch places would-be licensees whose local applications are under review from California cities in a tough spot. As part of the state-level application process, the above-linked MAUCRSA section requires applicants to fork over “[a] copy of a valid license, permit, or other authorization, issued by a local jurisdiction”, and cities are not going to state that an applicant is approved while an application is under review. Some cities have come up with creative solutions to this problem. The Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation (“DCR”), for example, issued a release stating that it would issue to applicants from the second phase of applications (which closed a few months ago) who have paid their application fees a local letter of authorization that could be taken to the target state agency. The letter would not authorize commercial cannabis activity in Los Angeles. It would authorize an applicant to simply move into the temporary license phase, in order to eventually secure the provisional license that would eventually get them operational faster. At least one state agency, in turn, has expressed that letters from localities may be sufficient. Earlier this year, the CDPH wrote that local authorization may take the form of a “letter of acknowledgement”. L.A. is a big city, and is swamped in applications. Our L.A. cannabis business and real estate lawyers have seen some other cities issue letters of authorization, but others that have refused. It’s not clear whether many other cities would write a letter of authorization, or what they would be willing to say. But it’s certainly worth reaching out to a city to see if they will. View the full article
  9. Ohio’s medical cannabis law went into effect in September 2016. But the program’s implementation has faced a number of delays and setbacks. As a result, the state only began issuing licenses in September of this year. So far, Ohio has approved 300 doctors to recommend medical cannabis program. Regulators process and approve more applications every month. But the thousands of doctors who work for some of the state’s largest healthcare providers, including MetroHealth, University Hospitals, and the Cleveland Clinic, will not be able to recommend medical cannabis to their patients, whether or not they obtain a license to do. Ohio’s Three Biggest Healthcare Providers Bar Medical Cannabis Recommendations The three northeast Ohio-based healthcare providers have all issued statements announcing their policy to prohibit their doctors from making medical cannabis recommendations. The announcements came shortly after an Ohio medical marijuana meeting last week in Cleveland. Each healthcare network cited a different concern for their policy stance, according to Cleveland.com. University Hospitals spokesperson Katelyn McCarthy cited “the discrepancy between state and federal law with regard to the legality of marijuana use” as the reason UH doctors are barred from recommending medical cannabis on any UH campus. University Hospitals employs more than 4,000 providers. Carolyn Deming Glaviano, a Cleveland Clinic spokesperson, cited medical cannabis medication’s lack of FDA approval as the reason behind the ban. She touted the Food and Drug Administration’s approval process as “the most effective way to ensure the safety, efficacy, and purity of medications provided to patients across Ohio.” Furthermore, Glaviano said it would take regulatory approval for Cleveland Clinic to consider involvement with medical cannabis treatments. She did not, however, reference the FDA’s recent approval of a cannabis-derived epilepsy medication Epidiolex, which is now available by prescription in all 50 states. Cleveland Clinic employs about 4,000 doctors. Spokesperson Tina Shaerban-Arundel said that MetroHealth’s policy has always been to prohibit staff doctors from providing medical cannabis recommendations. About 650 doctors work for MetroHealth. Ohio Patients Forced to Seek Medical Cannabis Patients from Private Practitioners Ohio health officials and regulators anticipate that at full capacity, the state’s program could enroll more than 200,000 patients. In the first two years, the Ohio State Board of Pharmacy predicts between 4,600 and 51,000 patients will register. At the moment, just 300 doctors can provide care for them. And the majority of those doctors are private practitioners, which limits patient access. Private practitioners are more likely to be out-of-network for most patients, requiring expensive visits to the doctor’s office to discuss medical cannabis treatments. Furthermore, restricting the range of care doctors can provide at world-class healthcare institutions like the Cleveland Clinic denies patients their full range of choices. The post Healthcare Networks in Ohio Prohibit Doctors from Recommending Medical Cannabis appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  10. One thing I never really understand was why when you buy a dime you would get two grams and then when you went to go buy an eighth it would be 3.5 grams, why would we just buy two dimes instead and get an extra .5.
  11. Last week
  12. Those looking to play a role in the development of medical uses of cannabis in the United States, listen up; Uncle Sam needs you. As reported by Marijuana Moment, a listing posted by the National Institute on Drug Abuse via the Federal Business Opportunities website last week asked for “capability statements” from businesses with the capacity to produce a variety of marijuana strains and products. Prospective firms must also be equipped with storage space for up to 5000 kilograms of cannabis stock. The posting seems to be excellent news for those who have been waiting for the US to step up the cannabis stock available for critical drug trials. Such projects can only proceed with federally authorized marijuana and only one farm has been approved by the feds to provide such a supply. A University of Mississippi site currently holds the only authorization—as it has since it was approved way back in 1968. What could have caused this long-awaited entrée to the expansion of cannabis science? Many will point to the recent resignation by request of Trump of Attorney General Jeff Sessions. Sessions’ well-known reputation as a salty adversary of legal cannabis may have played a major role in slowing the federal government’s support of marijuana clinical trials. His departure has certainly invigorated the cannabis industry—publicly traded stocks like those of Canada’s Tilray, Canopy Growth, and Aurora Cannabis spiked in the hours following the announcement. Here’s some more specs, for those interested in playing what could be a monumental role in US cannabis history by becoming the feds’ supplier. Prospective companies must be equipped to grow or be able to procure marijuana from qualified foreign sources. They’ll need to be able to process marijuana extracts with a range of THC and CBD ratios. The ability to manufacture standardized marijuana cigarettes is a must. They’ll need to be able to store the product and place FDA quality requirements. Also obligatory is the capacity to operate a secure shipping facility, to be able to send that cannabis out to scientists across the nation. The right candidate will also need to be able to secure all the licenses you need to work with controlled substances, and fulfill a vast array of other requirements. (Check the listing itself for more on these specifications.) Marijuana advocates cheered earlier this year when it was announced two teams — one at NYU Langone Health and the Montefiore Medical Center and another at UC San Diego — will be launching clinical trials to examine the effect of marijuana on children with autism. Earlier this year, Science magazine published an article encouraging research professionals to consider cannabis research as a career. Now it seems that large-scale cannabis producers may be able to play a role in making this green future a reality. We’ll ask of you just one favor; if your firm is the qualified candidate the feds are looking for, can you make sure that the pot you produce for scientists is the good stuff? The US government has a dire reputation when it comes to the quality of its cannabis. Say no to stems! The post Federal Government Seeks Cultivators to Grow Thousands of Kilos of Cannabis appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  13. A bi-partisan duo of congressmen from Massachusetts and Florida will co-sponsor a trio of bills that, together, would help make the Department of Veterans Affairs more responsive to veterans who use and are interested in seeking medical cannabis treatments. Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton, a Democrat and former Marine Corps office who fought in Iraq, and Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz will introduce the bills in the next legislative session, Moulton announced Wednesday. Rep. Seth Moulton Prepares Volley of House Bills to Provide Cannabis to Veterans Despite numerous previous efforts to pass legislation that would grant veterans access to medical cannabis treatments through the VA, the Republican-led House has blocked any significant progress on the issue. There were signs, in mid-2017, that Congress would pass a bill allowing VA doctors to issue medical cannabis recommendations for states with legal medical use. For the first time, the amendment made it out of committee. But a House committee blocked it weeks later, sidelining the legislation entirely. In response to the legislative failures, veterans sought alternatives, often at high cost. Veterans who disclosed their medical cannabis use to their VA doctors risked losing out on prescription medication and other benefits they earned for their years of military service. Veterans organizations are becoming increasingly vocal about their overwhelming support for marijuana legalization. The momentum led to another push, in late 2017, by House Democrats. The effort led to a small change in VA policy that freed doctors to discuss medical cannabis treatments with patients. But doctors still could not make recommendations. But it would take almost another year for Senate Democrats to introduce another bill. This time, the “Safe Harbor” bill aimed to shield veterans who legally obtain and use medical cannabis in their state of residence from any penalties or federal prosecution. It also made another attempt to free VA doctors to make recommendations. Currently, HR 1820, the Veterans Equal Access Act, has only been introduced. A Closer Look at Moulton and Gaetz’ Proposals In the first place, one of the bills Moulton and Gaetz will propose would make it official policy that veterans can freely discuss medical cannabis treatments with their doctor without repercussions. If passed, the bill would require VA doctors to discuss medical cannabis alternative treatments with their patients. Finally, this proposal would make it clear that consuming cannabis legally won’t result in a veteran losing their federal benefits. A second measure would compel the VA to collect comprehensive data about veterans’ use of cannabis for medical reasons. Little is known about veterans cannabis use, despite a recent survey that found 1 out of every 5 veterans treat some condition with cannabis. This proposal would make sure the VA learns what conditions veterans treat with medical cannabis. The third and final proposal would direct funds to the VA so that it could form partnerships with medical schools that provide courses on medical cannabis. The aim here would be to educate VA healthcare providers about the medical uses of cannabis and the research behind them. Already, all three proposals have received endorsements from drug policy advocacy groups, including NORML, as well as the National Cannabis Industry Association. During his announcement, Moutlon said lawmakers “have an obligation” to ensure veterans receive the best health care. And he described the three legislative proposals as important first steps toward incorporating cannabis into veterans healthcare services. The post House Reps. Announce Trio of Bills to Make VA More 420-Friendly for Veterans appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  14. The Sacramento City Council is considering lifting the cap on cannabis dispensaries allowed in the city in an effort to promote racial equity in the city’s marijuana industry. Sacramento has had 30 cannabis dispensaries doing business in the city since 2014. Even when the sale of recreational cannabis became legal at the beginning of this year, Sacramento did not allow more marijuana dispensaries to open in the city. Instead, most of the 30 licensed medical marijuana retailers began selling recreational cannabis as well. Racial Equity in the Cannabis Industry Malaki Seku Amen, the CEO of the California Urban Partnership, told the Sacramento Bee that none of the city’s cannabis dispensaries’ owners are black. A spokeswoman for Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg said that the city does not track the race of the city’s cannabis dispensary owners. In August, the city council approved a program designed to support ownership in the legal cannabis industry by people in communities negatively impacted by the War on Drugs. The Cannabis Opportunity Reinvestment and Equity (CORE) program reduces or eliminate costly licensing fees and helps potential business owners navigate the licensing and regulatory process. Councilman Jay Schenirer said then that he believed that other jurisdictions could eventually follow Sacramento’s example. “This is just the right thing to do,” said Schenirer. “It’s going to take some work, we’re going to learn as we go, but I hope we can be both the statewide and national model.” Seku-Amen would help address the racial disparity long prevalent in the enforcement of cannabis prohibition. “This CORE program is going to help those who were disproportionately impacted by the War on Drugs,” said Seku-Amen. ”It will help us who suffered generational poverty to benefit from the region’s $4 billion industry in cannabis.” Councilman Suggests Lifting Cap But even with the CORE program, a minority-owned dispensary won’t be possible unless the city lifts the cap. At a meeting of the council on Tuesday, Councilman Larry Carr suggested lifting the cap. “The outcome I’m looking for is expanding the pool of people who own dispensaries and make sure our CORE participants have the opportunity to own a dispensary,” Carr said. Councilmen Steve Hansen said that he would like to see any new dispensaries outside of the industrial areas where most of the current ones are located. “I noticed there are districts that have zero and so how do we make sure that licenses are in places that currently have none?” Hansen said. Regulations enacted in 2010 prohibited dispensaries from being located near schools, churches, and tobacco shops, but those restrictions have since been relaxed. Consequently, three dispensaries already licensed by the city have submitted applications to move their businesses to the downtown and midtown areas, according to Joe Devlin, the chief of cannabis policy for Sacramento. “We’re beginning to see the re-shifting of those dispensaries,” Devlin said. If the city council authorizes an increase in the number of dispensaries, it could be 2020 before any new cannabis retailers open. “If they decide to lift the cap, there’s a lot of work to be done,” Devlin said. The post Sacramento May Raise Limit on Cannabis Dispensaries to Promote Racial Equity appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  15. Norman Reedus, who plays the motorcycle-riding, crossbow-wielding badass Daryl Dixon in AMC’s television series The Walking Dead, is kickstarting his second fundraising drive for children who use medical cannabis. After raising money for pediatric cancer patients with the CannaKids organization in early 2017, Reedus is now collecting donations for another non-profit, Saving Sophie, that works with children and adult cancer and epilepsy patients who use medical cannabis. ‘Walking Dead’ Star Norman Reedus Is Back in the Fight Against Pediatric Cancer Running through the end of November, Saving Sophie is holding a fundraising raffle for The Walking Dead memorabilia signed by Norman Reedus. Each raffle ticket costs a minimum of $5, but participants can donate as much as they would like. Saving Sophie plans to use the money to enroll more patients in their medical cannabis research program and to expand pediatric and adult cancer research at a southern California university (TBA). Currently, Saving Sophie’s research team has 4 children and 4 adults enrolled in their cancer study. These 8 cancer patients use cannabinoid therapies alongside doctor-prescribed treatments like radiation and chemotherapy. The organization is raising funds to enroll more patients into the research program. Saving Sophie got its start thanks to the efforts of the parents of Sophie Ryan, a pediatric cancer patient diagnosed with a glioma brain tumor when she was eight years old. Sophie’s parents created a Facebook page about their daughter’s condition, which prompted a friend to introduce them to Ricki Lake, who at the time, along with filmmaker Abby Epstein, was in the middle of shooting their just-released documentary Weed The People. The filmmakers introduced Sophie’s parents to the possibility of non-toxic cannabinoid treatments, and they decided to try them alongside Sophie’s chemotherapy. Some pioneering studies have already demonstrated the effectiveness of THC, CBD and other cannabinoid treatments for patients with glioblastoma, the type of brain cancer from which Sophie suffered. Furthermore, a worlds-first clinical trial will soon begin in Australia that will specifically investigate the use of medical cannabis alongside traditional brain cancer treatments. Indeed, Sophie’s own results attest to the immense therapeutic benefits of the combination. With cannabis oil and chemotherapy combined, Sophie’s tumor shrunk by 90 percent. Norman Reedus’ Saving Sophie Fundraiser Brings Needed Attention to the Issue of Medical Cannabis and Children In many places, the issue of granting minors, especially young children, access to medical cannabis is fraught with controversy. There have been debates over whether or not pediatric patients should be allowed to have and take their medical cannabis at school. And debates about whether and where and how parents can obtain medical cannabis. Too often, parents have to take extreme and illegal measures to provide their children with needed medicine. Using his celebrity status, Norman Reedus can make an impact on the conversation. And his commitment to fundraising for organizations that work with pediatric cancer patients can only help toward efforts to bring the issue the attention it deserves. Reedus generated a ton of love and support for CannaKids when he got behind a similar fundraiser for them in 2017. Without doubt, his latest call to action is going to do the same for Saving Sophie. Fans know: there’s nothing not to like about this guy! The post Norman Reedus Raising Money for Children Using Medical Cannabis appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  16. Less than four months after voters in Oklahoma legalized the use of medical marijuana, more than 12,000 patients have been approved for licenses by state regulators. Nearly 2,000 more licenses have been issued to cannabis businesses, according to a tweet from the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA). As of November 11, OMMA had issued 12,281 licenses to medical marijuana patients. Another 76 licenses were approved for patient caregivers. The agency has approved licenses for 651 medical marijuana dispensaries, 1,060 cannabis cultivators, and 277 processors of medical marijuana products. In all, OMMA has already approved 14,345 license applications. It appears that even more applications for medical marijuana applications are yet to be processed by the state. OMMA also reported in its tweet the total number of applications the agency has received. So far, applications from 16,640 patients, 148 caregivers, and 2,221 businesses have been filed. Data on any license applications that may not have been approved was not provided. Business Applicants Info Posted Online Security concerns were raised by applicants for medical marijuana business licenses when their addresses were posted online by OMMA on October 31. OMMA communications manager Melissa Miller said that the agency was required to release the information. “We were inundated with requests to share grower’s addresses and, because they’re public records, we had to reply,” Miller said. “We thought it would be easier to make the list public.” After the addresses were posted online, at least one applicant for a cultivation license was burglarized, according to media reports. Applications Opened In August OMMA began accepting applications for the state medical marijuana program on August 24. Applications may be completed online at www.OMMA.ok.gov. When state regulators announced that OMMA was ready to accept applications for the new medical marijuana program, Interim State Health Commissioner Tom Bates said that the agency had complied with the mandate of State Question 788 (SQ 788), the initiative that legalized medicinal cannabis. “Thanks to the hard work of our Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority (OMMA) project team, we have been able to meet the required timelines of SQ 788 and provide a system that will efficiently provide for the processing of applications,” said Bates. “It has taken many long hours and great coordination between partners to reach this benchmark and we could not have accomplished our work without the help and expertise of the Office of Management and Enterprise Services and our software vendor, Complia Government Solutions.” Voters Passed Medical Marijuana Initiative in June Oklahoma voters approved SQ 788 in a statewide election in June. The initiative legalized cannabis for medicinal use and establishes a regulatory framework for a legal distribution and retail sales. Unlike medicinal cannabis legislation in many states, SQ 788 does not include a list of specific qualifying conditions. Instead, the initiative allows doctors to decide if their patients might benefit from cannabis. Chip Paul is the chairman of Oklahomans for Health, a cannabis advocacy group responsible for SQ 788. He told High Times after the initiative succeeded at the ballot box that the measure is a victory for patients. “With the passage of SQ788, Oklahomans have passed perhaps the most unique medical marijuana law in the nation. With no qualifying conditions, the law will put accountability squarely in the hands of physicians and under the same state regulatory controls as prescription medications. We are pleased that Oklahomans have seen our vision and have adopted the state question into law.” The post Oklahoma Approves Over 12,000 Medical Marijuana Licenses appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  17. DON’T BE THE MOOCH.This morning when I went to the gym before work, I put on an NPR podcast that delved into the story of the FTC’s bust of David Diamond. Diamond is an infamous Angeleno who defrauded hundreds of people via telemarketing scams. In the podcast, the interviewee does a great job of explaining the common scammer term, “mooch.” A mooch is, according to the podcast, “… someone who will essentially buy anything from anybody who calls [them] on the telephone.” This got me thinking about the ideal marijuana mooch since so much fraud and bad behavior is rampant in the national marijuana marketplace. We’ve covered multiple marijuana scams here, here, and here (and have written about fraud and important red flags (and red herrings) in the industry multiple times in this past). This time however, I want to dedicate this post to the top 5 red flags of which a marijuana mooch should be aware: 1. Anyone who tells you to invest in cannabis at all costs because you might “miss the boat.” News flash–big alcohol, big tobacco, and big pharma are not active in the U.S. cannabis space. Even though they may be thinking about it and may have future plans for it (and even if states may already creating “Big Marijuana” interests), there’s not one single U.S. cannabis company (that actually traffics in cannabis under state licensing laws) that’s tied officially or legitimately back to these big business interests. Normally, the mooch hustle is “You’re going to miss this once in a lifetime opportunity with cannabis since the bigger companies are flooding the space already, so you better invest all you have now, now, now.” Utilize your judgment to understand that this statement is not only overblown, but it’s untrue, and the source of the information is seriously suspect, even today. In any event, before you invest cannabis, which is an extremely volatile prospect, do your homework and determine whether there’s real value at the end of the elevator pitch. 2. Marijuana penny stocks. Stay away from most marijuana penny stocks. As both we and the SEC keep pointing out, many (but not all) publicly traded cannabis companies are vehicles for investor fraud. As we have written before: It almost seems that publicly traded stock companies are more focused on selling their stocks than on competing in the market. The herd mentality of investors seems to encourage this. Here’s how that basic logic works: Marijuana is booming. Therefore, marijuana businesses must be booming. In turn, all marijuana businesses must be booming. Therefore, I need to invest in a marijuana business. The only way I can easily invest in a marijuana business is to buy the stock in a publicly traded marijuana business. And so the stocks just keep booming. All of which leads to pump and dump scams where “the group behind the scam increases the demand and trading volume in the stock and this new inflow of investors leads to a sharp rise in its price. Once the price rise has formulated, the group will sell its position to make a large short-term gain.” Pump and dump scams with publicly traded marijuana companies are still quite popular, especially as more and more states have legalized and “medicalized.” 3. Marijuana franchises. Most marijuana franchise “offers” are just plain garbage because they fail to account for all of the reporting, registration, and disclosure requirements required by federal and state franchise laws and regulations. Franchising is governed by FTC and various state agency rules. Because of the state and federal law conflict with cannabis, franchising a cannabis business is a very risky proposition, and we are finding that most cannabis “franchisors” are not providing their potential “franchisees” with nearly enough risk disclosures to really inform franchisees and their investors what they’re getting themselves into at the end of the day. 4. Marijuana reverse mergers (ESPECIALLY CANADIAN ONES). Seems like everyone and their mother is trying to accomplish a Canadian reverse merger in the U.S. cannabis industry. Reverse mergers are a relatively fast, cheap and easy way for a private company to “go public” without having to go through all of the SEC reporting, disclosure, and registration requirements required by a standard initial public offering. Just like penny stock fraud though, reverse merger stock fraud is nothing new. In the typical reverse merger transaction, a privately operating company seeks to acquire controlling shares in an already publicly traded company with the goal of acquiring the public company’s listing. In the reverse merger scam, the underlying publicly traded company is usually just a shell company with little or no assets or positive business history. Because the underlying publicly traded shell has no assets, no real management base, and oftentimes no business at all, the whole point of these scams is to acquire investors and raise capital based on pumped-up stock statistics, prices, and claims before everything eventually goes bust. These scams tend to involve the same subset of marginal accounting and law firms that assist by securing IRS and SEC reporting delays. Like anything else, if you’re looking at acquiring stock in a reverse merger company, do your due diligence and know the red flags. 5. Marijuana crowdfunding. Back in May of 2015, the SEC released new crowdfunding rules designed to let the small fry swim with the sharks. As of May 16, 2016, companies were able to solicit $2,000 from anyone (and more in many cases) in exchange for an equity stake in their business. Companies can now raise up to $1 million annually through these offerings, which fall under Title III of the 2012 JOBS Act. As we have written before, the SEC does not care whether your business is a pot business, so long as you follow its offerings rules. Though the SEC’s rules for crowdfunding advertising are incredibly strict, we know there are a wind of crowdfunding cannabis companies seeking to skirt these new rules to the detriment of investors and mooches. Don’t be the marijuana mooch! For more on cannabis scams, check out the following: California Cannabis: Scams and Schemes of the Week California Cannabis: Scams and Schemes of the Week, Part 2 California Cannabis: Scams and Schemes of the Week, Part 3 View the full article
  18. Bolt

    Forum upgrade

    I will be “upgrading” the forums in the follow days, for example changing the theme adding other little features as well. So, be on the look out for that ?
  19. Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker of Jackson County, Missouri announced on Tuesday that her office would no longer prosecute most cases for possession of marijuana. The change in policy comes one week after voters in Missouri approved a constitutional amendment legalizing the medicinal use of cannabis in the midterm elections. The county of nearly 700,000 residents in western Missouri includes Kansas City, the state’s most populous municipality. Baker said in a press release that voters had not taken their responsibility lightly, approving Constitutional Amendment 2 while rejecting two other measures she characterized as “lesser proposals.” “Voters were discerning in considering the issue,” Baker said. Broad Support For Medical Marijuana Amendment 2 received the approval of two out three Missouri votes statewide. Support for the initiative was even higher in Jackson County, with three out of four voters giving the nod to the measure. The amendment legalizes the medical use of marijuana in the state and sets a 4 percent tax on cannabis sales. Revenue generated from taxes generated by medical marijuana sales will be spent on health services for veterans. Baker said that the broad support for Amendment 2 was a factor in her decision to end prosecution for marijuana possession. She also noted that a change in public opinion had become evident as jurors became more reluctant to hand down convictions for marijuana offenses. “That mandate from voters is directing this shift in our office,” Baker said. “This changing attitude toward marijuana is something we have been seeing anecdotally from our juries for some time.” Baker said that some marijuana offenses would continue to be prosecuted by her office. Charges would still be filed in cases of possession of marijuana with evidence of sales or distribution such as large amounts of cash, scales, or individually packaged bags, for example. Cases of possession that lead to driving under the influence of cannabis or harm to a minor would also be prosecuted. Jackson County’s top prosecutor also announced that she would be initiating two public safety awareness campaigns related to cannabis. The first will warn caregivers to keep marijuana edibles away from children while the second will focus on “drugged driving,” warning cannabis users that driving under the influence is still illegal. “Voters spoke very clearly and overwhelmingly,” Baker stated. “But we need to keep the drug – like any drug – away from the kids, and driving while high is a serious crime that puts us all at risk.” Law Enforcement Supports Prosecutor’s Decision Jackson County Sheriff Darryl Forté said that Baker’s decision was a “bold and progressive” one. “Once again, she is showing that she is a leader,” Forté said. The sheriff added that his department would initiate changes to comply with the new guidelines from the prosecutor’s office. “We would have to look at our policies and see how to proceed, because we will not present any drug cases that are not going to be prosecuted,” he said. “Since she is taking the lead, we will tweak our policies and procedures to make sure nobody will get falsely arrested.” The post Jackson County, Missouri Will Stop Prosecuting Marijuana Cases appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  20. On Tuesday, Green Thumb Industries Inc. (GTI) finalized a deal to acquire 100 percent of Integral Associates, Nevada’s top cannabis company. The move marks a major expansion for the Chicago and Vancouver-based GTI. Integral will bring onboard its operational capacity, distribution and, crucially, its significant retail footprint in Nevada. The total value of the transaction is approximately $290 million. $52 million will go to Integrated Associates in cash along with 20.8 million Subordinate Voting Shares of GTI. Highlights of Green Thumb Industry’s Acquisition of Integral Associates Beneath its unassuming name, Integral Associates emerged as the leader of Nevada’s rapidly-developing retail cannabis industry. The company owns and operates two cultivation and processing facilities: Desert Grown Farms and Cannabiotix NV, covering 95,000 square feet. Desert Grown Farms has gained recognition for its genetics library that houses more than 100 strains of cannabis. Cannabiotix NV is well-known to High Times readers, having earned multiple High Times Cannabis Cup awards, including a 2018 Flower of the Year award for its Kush Mountain strain. The acquisition deal also includes the Essence retail brand. Under the brand Essence, Integral Associates owns and operates three nationally-recognized dispensaries, including the first and only dispensary on the Las Vegas Strip. The Essence Las Vegas Strip location earned Business Insider’s number one dispensary in Nevada and its top-25 dispensary in the United States award, in addition to several others, including a High Times top-10 dispensary in Nevada award. Strategic Importance of GTI’s Nevada Acquisition Nevada legalized adult-use cannabis in 2016. But unlike other regulated retail states, Nevada is a limited license adult use market. This means that there are only a certain number of retail licenses available; hence, just the single dispensary on the Las Vegas Strip. Acquiring Integral Associates means GTI also acquires a handful of those limited licenses. In a press release announcing the deal, GTI Founder and CEO Ben Kovler described the acquisition as “immediately accretive and an important milestone” as the company positions itself to scale in Nevada. Armen Yemenidjian, who founded Integral in 2014, will join GTI’s leadership team as president. Yemenidjian described Tuesday’s deal as “a big win for Nevada communities and the customers we will continue to serve.” GTI expects the acquisition to officially close in the first half of 2019. Despite the agreement and unanimous approval by the Board of Directors, the deal must secure customary regulatory approvals. The post Green Thumb Industries Acquires Nevada’s Top Cannabis Company appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  21. Recreational marijuana retailers in Massachusetts are slated to open shop in the near future. And with the prospects of legal weed on the immediate horizon, the University of Massachusetts Amherst is spreading the word that weed will not be tolerated on campus. No Weed at UMass Amherst Massachusetts is one of the newest states to legalize recreational marijuana. And while there is still no product on shelves yet, things are getting close. In particular, one of the first weed shops scheduled to open is in Northampton. Importantly, Northampton is located near UMass Amherst. In fact, it’s only a short drive to get from campus to the dispensary. And that has some school and city officials worried. For starters, local authorities are worried that the roads between Northampton and Amherst will see a huge increase in traffic. This fear is apparently founded in the idea that there will be so many students traveling to the dispensary that the highways will become congested. Beyond that, officials at UMass Amherst are making it clear that although recreational marijuana is legal in the state, it is still not allowed on the campus of UMass Amherst. The university recently launched an aggressive information campaign about cannabis. More specifically, the campaign is aimed at letting students know that weed will not be tolerated anywhere on campus or school property. Part of this campaign is taking place on the university’s website. There, a page called “Know the Facts” states: “You may not use or possess marijuana, medical marijuana, or marijuana paraphernalia in any form anywhere on University of Massachusetts Amherst property.” The university’s page goes on to warn students that “marijuana negatively affects academic performance.” Additionally, the site says: “The academic impact of using marijuana includes lower GPA and delayed graduation. If drug testing is required, marijuana use can cause you to lose scholarships, jobs, or internships.” University Rules and State Laws So how can UMass Amherst outlaw marijuana when the state of Massachusetts has made it legal? According to the university, it has to do with federal prohibition and certain aspects of state law. In particular, the school says that “federal laws prohibit the use, possession, and/or cultivation of marijuana at educational institutions.” Additionally, the university cites state laws that make it illegal to possess or consume cannabis in public. According to the university, the state includes schools in its definition of “public.” Legal Weed in Massachusetts This is one of the latest developments in the protracted rollout of legal weed in Massachusetts. Initially, retail sales of recreational cannabis were supposed to begin July 1. But that objective failed to materialize. A major problem was a number of hiccups in the licensing process. In particular, the state was unable to license the testing labs required to get the program up and running. Similarly, the state took longer than anticipated to license marijuana retailers. After these setbacks, the state finally began issuing retail licenses over the summer. So far, the state has reportedly issued licenses to three medical marijuana dispensaries. That includes the one in Northampton. These shops still need to clear final inspections before beginning recreational retail. The post UMass Amherst Launches Campaign Warning Students Pot Won’t Be Tolerated appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  22. An American college student is back in the United States after spending eight months in a Chinese prison on false charges of cannabis distribution. Matthew Fellows, 23, of Gambrills, Maryland arrived in Los Angeles on Monday afternoon before changing planes for a flight scheduled to land in Washington, D.C. Tuesday morning. Matthew’s parents, Donna and Bill Fellows, planned to meet their son at the airport. They told the Daily Mail that they were relieved that Matthew was coming home after not being able to visit or speak with him for eight months. “We’re absolutely thrilled, we can’t wait to get him home and smother him with love and hugs,” Donna Fellows said. “It’s been a traumatic time for the entire family, we’re just glad it’s over.” Matthew speaks fluent Mandarin and had moved to China to teach schoolchildren to speak English. He was subsequently accepted as a student at a university in Nanjing. But then, Matthew was arrested and held at Nanjing Detention on four charges of drug trafficking. He was detained for eight months in a cell with 15 other men, surviving on a bowl of rice and a cup of watery porridge each day. After learning of his arrest four weeks later, Matthew’s parents sought help from experts at Conflict International, an investigative, intelligence, and security firm. Stephen Komorek, operations director of the firm’s New York branch, offered his help securing Matthew’s release pro bono. “We immediately contacted our assets within the Chinese government and were able to quickly ascertain what had happened to Mr. Fellows,” Komorek said. The investigators learned that Matthew had been charged with lighting a joint at a university function and passing it to friends, which constitutes a drug trafficking offense in China. Death Penalty For Sharing A Joint? Komorek said that Matthew’s predicament was dire. “In some places in China you can get the death penalty for as few as two counts of drug trafficking, Mr. Fellows had four, they have a zero tolerance approach,” he said. “We then conducted our own investigation and working with the local authorities and court system, we managed to get to the truth,” said Komorek. Apparently, a jealous man had called police with the trumped-up allegations. “We discovered that there was a local interest in Mr. Fellow’s Russian girlfriend Victoria,” said Komorek. “Crimes were reported to the local police because of a romantic rival he was even unaware of. We quickly came to learn that the crimes Mr. Fellows was accused of, he did not commit.” Komorek’s team was able to convince local authorities of Matthew’s innocence and was released on Sunday. “Luckily the judge in the case was able to see the evidence we brought forward and the charges were dropped,” he said. “We want to thank the Chinese government for taking care of our citizen and working with us to get to the truth.” Komorek said that the U.S. Consulate in Shanghai, the US Embassy in Beijing, the Chinese government, and Maryland Senator Ben Cardin’s office helped to secure Matthew’s release. After being set free, Matthew updated his Facebook page to let friends and family know how he was doing. “I haven’t worn shoes in 8 months let alone walking for more than three minutes,” he wrote. “My feet hurt and so do all the muscles associated foot movement in my lower legs. I’ll get the hang of strolling around on my feet after a few days.” The post American Student Facing Death Penalty in China for Cannabis Distribution Released appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  23. An L.A. County Sheriff’s Deputy and his two accomplices will appear in federal court on Friday facing charges for armed robbery and conspiracy to distribute a controlled substance. All three are currently behind bars awaiting trial. But the charges don’t begin to tell the story of how the robbery went down. Posing as a narcotics investigator executing a search warrant at a downtown L.A. cannabis warehouse, Deputy Mark Antrim and his accomplices pulled off a heist that netted them more than $1 million in cannabis and cash. In fact, it took LAPD officers days to discover the robbery, which they might not have at all had an attorney for the warehouse not contacted the L.A. Sheriff’s Department. DOJ Says Police Took Their Time Robbing a California Cannabis Warehouse In the early morning hours of October 29, Deputy Mark Antrim, along with Eric Rodriguez and Kevin McBride, arrived at an L.A. marijuana warehouse in an unmarked Ford Explorer. The license plate on the vehicle identified it as belonging to the sheriff’s Temple City Station. The trio all wore sheriff’s department patches and told warehouse workers they were serving a search warrant. Decked out in police duty belts, with holstered handguns and carrying long-rifles, Antrim, Rodriguez and McBride proceeded to detain three employees and two security guards in the back seat of the Ford Explorer, according to a written statement from the DOJ. With workers and guards detained in the vehicle, Antrim and his crew proceeded to load the warehouse’s wares, pound packages of cannabis and bundles of cash, into a large rental truck. Police on Scene Fooled By Fake Narcotics Investigator The robbery was in progress for nearly two hours before LAPD police officers—not connected with the robbery—arrived on the scene. One of the employees detained during the fake raid managed to call police using a cell phone. When police arrived in response to the call, Antrim’s accomplices fled the scene. Antrim stayed behind. And although he was neither a narcotics officer nor executing a real search warrant, Antrim managed to convince the officers that the “raid” was legitimate. As a result, the officers who arrived in response to the employee’s call left the scene. They interviewed Antrim for all of 15 minutes. Even more incredibly, after the LAPD officers left the scene, Antrim continued with the robbery. He called his accomplices, who returned to the scene and continued to help load cannabis, warehouse safes, and cash boxes into the truck. It would take several days and a call to the Sheriff’s department from an attorney representing the warehouse for investigators to discover that Antrim had actually robbed the place, not executed a search warrant. When federal agents searched Antrim’s residence, they found more than $300,000 in cash and firearms. Agents also found several pounds of cannabis in McBride’s residence. All told, the DOJ says the Deputy and his accomplices made off with 600 pounds of cannabis and $100,000 in cash. Fake Police Raid Highlights Real Risks of the Cannabis Industry’s Banking Problems The Los Angeles Sheriff’s department says it is taking the criminal action of one of its deputies seriously. The department is currently cooperating with the federal investigation. In a statement, an Assistant Director with the FBI’s L.A. field office described Antrim’s conduct as “an egregious level of corruption that posed a safety risk to victims and fellow police officers.” This is absolutely true. And the risks could have been mitigated if the legal cannabis industry in California did not have to handle large amounts of cash. The federal prohibition on cannabis has made basic banking services scarce for cannabis companies. And the result is that many are forced to accept the risks of having large amounts of cash on hand. This creates incentive for criminal actors to target vulnerable facilities. The post LA County Sheriff’s Deputy Allegedly Faked Raid to Rob Cannabis Facility appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  24. Marijuana will continue to be banned at several colleges and universities in Michigan, despite the passage of Proposal 1 that legalized recreational cannabis in the state. The initiative succeeded at the polls in last week’s midterm election with more than 55 percent of the vote. No Sparking Up For Spartans Administrators at Michigan State University sent a letter to the campus community on Monday informing students and staff that the results of the election would not change the university’s policy on cannabis. “We would like to remind everyone that this new state law will not change policies prohibiting the use or possession of marijuana on any property owned or managed by MSU, and by MSU’s faculty, staff, or students on any MSU property or during off-campus MSU business or events,” the letter obtained by High Times reads. Because of the continuing illegality of cannabis at the federal level, Proposal 1 will not apply on campus, according to the university. “Marijuana use remains illegal and fully criminalized according to federal law, and MSU is subject to the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 and the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act Amendment of 1989. In addition, the MSU Drug and Alcohol Policy prohibits the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensation, possession, and use of controlled substances, illicit drugs, and alcohol on property governed by the Board of Trustees and at any site where university work is performed,” the notice continues. The letter concludes with a warning of repercussions for violation of the school’s policy on marijuana. “Employees and students who violate university policy prohibiting the use or possession of illegal drugs on campus will continue to be subject to legal and disciplinary action.” Other Colleges Follow Suit The University of Michigan released a similar statement last week, also noting that federal law would take precedence over Proposal 1. “Therefore, the use, possession or cultivation of marijuana in any form and for any purpose continues to violate the U-M Alcohol and Other Drug Policy and is prohibited at the university,” the statement reads. President Bob Davies of Central Michigan University also announced to students and staff that marijuana would still be banned on campus and at university functions. “Prop. 1 does not change CMU policies or federal law — both of which prohibit the possession, use and distribution of marijuana by students, employees and any person on university properties and at all university events,” Davies wrote. “The use or possession of marijuana is still not allowed on university properties or in the conduct of university business away from campus.” Oakland University President Dr. Ora Hirsch Pescovitz also announced the continued prohibition of cannabis at the college, noting that even the use of medical marijuana would not be allowed. “As a recipient of federal financial aid and grant funding, Oakland University is required to adhere to regulations outlined in the Controlled Substances Act, the Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act and the federal Drug Free Workplace Act,” Pescovitz said. “All of these prohibit the possession, use and distribution of marijuana in all forms. Enforcement of federal law applies to violations for any reason, including use for medicinal purposes.” Proposal 1 will go into effect 10 days after election results are certified by the state, most likely some time next month. Licenses for cannabis businesses will not be issued until at least one year after the initiative becomes effective. The post Michigan Colleges Will Continue to Ban Marijuana on Campuses appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  25. You get what you negotiate in development agreements.This is the third post in our three-part series on development agreements in California. In our first post we provide an overview of the use (and misuse) of development agreements in the cannabis industry. The second post breaks down the basics of development agreement laws. Here, we will discuss the key terms to include and what to watch out for when negotiating a development agreement with a public agency. Term As we’ve explained, California’s development agreement laws were enacted to provide assurances to developers faced with uncertainty in government approval processes for complex and long-term development projects. A development agreement should provide developers with assurances that the developer will see a return on investment by providing vested rights to engage in a particular use on a property. The rights are locked in so that if local laws change in the future (e.g., the voters or legislative body prohibit a particular use), the uses permitted in the agreement can continue for the remaining term of the agreement. Accordingly, one of the fundamental terms of a development agreement is its duration. Commonly, development agreements in the non-cannabis context provide vested rights for a period of ten to twenty years. Properly building out a facility tailored for commercial cannabis uses may cost millions to tens of millions of dollars. If the term of a development agreement is only one to five years (as many California public agencies are proposing), a developer will not likely recoup the value of his or her investment. Imagine investing $15 million into a state-of-the-art cultivation and manufacturing facility, only to be prohibited from engaging in commercial cannabis activity one year down the road. Don’t go in for a short-term agreement! Permitted Uses Another key term of a development agreement is the description of permitted uses at the property. This clause should be given careful attention, and must be drafted to ensure that all of the contemplated uses of the property are explicitly spelled out. Stating “commercial cannabis activity” without referring to specific categories or license types will lead to confusion and potential problems. If the developer wants to engage in manufacturing, cultivation, and distribution, for example, then all of those uses should be described with as much specificity as possible to ensure that there is no question as to what the public agency authorized. Many developers want to include uses that the local jurisdiction has not yet authorized. For example, a local jurisdiction may currently allow cultivation and manufacturing, but no retail use. A developer might want to engage in retail use at some point down the road, and therefore want to include retail in the permitted use clause. However, while a developer can commit to uses more restrictive than those set forth in the zoning ordinance, a development agreement may not allow uses or create exceptions to use restrictions beyond those allowed in the zoning code; to do so requires a rezoning or amendment to the zoning ordinance. Neighbors in Support of Appropriate Land Use v County of Tuolumne (2007) 157 Cal. App. 4th 997, 1015. Once the zoning code is amended, the developer can apply to amend the development agreement accordingly. Vested Rights Another fundamental aspect of a development agreement is the provision of vested rights to the developer. A “vested right” is a right to proceed with construction or other land use activity despite an intervening change in the law. See Avco Community Developers, Inc. v South Coast Reg’l Comm’n (1976) 17 C3d 785. Obtaining vested rights is essentially the entire point of a development agreement. However, we have seen some cities attempt to expressly prohibit developers from obtaining a vested right to engage in commercial cannabis activity. A development agreement should explicitly grant vested rights to the developer, and the vesting should not be conditioned on unreasonable or unattainable benchmarks. Notice and Cure Period Development agreements should provide developers with an adequate notice and cure period to enable the developer to remedy any problems and maintain its rights under the agreement before the public agency has the right to terminate. Vested rights under a development agreement are a valuable asset to the property, and developers (and their lenders, if applicable) need to have an opportunity to cure any potential defect and remain in good standing with the public agency to protect the value of the property. Non-Mandatory A development agreement should provide developers with the right, but not the obligation, to develop and use a property. Similarly, a development agreement should not require the developer to pay fees for a use it does not pursue. Many development agreements we have seen purport to require developers to pay fees to the public agency even when the cannabis uses are not actually pursued by the developer. Construction Schedule Some public agencies require developers to include a construction schedule in the development agreement. If the public agency insists on such a provision, make sure that the proposed schedule provides maximum discretion and control to the developer, is realistic and attainable, and does not penalize developer for failing to reach certain construction milestones. Construction is riddled with unforeseeable delays, which means there is a strong chance of running afoul of the development agreement terms or having to amend the development agreement if a strict construction schedule is spelled out in the agreement. This post is not exhaustive, and you should consult with an experienced cannabis real estate attorney before negotiating a development agreement related to this highly dynamic industry in California. View the full article
  26. On October 17, 2018, Canada became just the second country on earth to legalize cannabis for adults. Now, anywhere within the borders of the 3.8 million square miles of land that makes Canada the second-largest country by area—in addition to being the country with the highest prevalence of cannabis use—adults aged 18, and in some places 19, can legally buy, possess and consume weed. And if you aren’t one of the nearly 37 million people that live there, you’ve probably thought about taking a little trip to see what life is like under legalization. Or if you’re already there, maybe you’re looking at a couple grams of leftover flower next to your boarding pass and packed bag and asking yourself, “can I bring weed out of Canada?” It’s a good question. And one you might be considering if you’re traveling back to a place where you can’t legally obtain cannabis, or if you’re a medical cannabis patient or caregiver, or just someone who’s having a hard time gifting; or worse, tossing the weed you didn’t have the chance to enjoy before the end of your stay. Deep down, you probably already know what the answer is. But isn’t there some way, any way, you can bring this amazing, legal weed out of Canada? Back home with you, or on to your next destination? Can I Bring Weed out of Canada if Cannabis Is Legal at My Destination? Your first thought might be, if you happen to live in a U.S. state with legalized cannabis, that you must surely be able to bring weed out of Canada and back to your home in Oregon or Vermont. Weed is legal in Canada; weed is legal where you live. What’s the problem? The border, of course! Even if you were traveling from British Columbia to Washington, the boundary between them is a federal border. And now you’re remembering how the U.S. government feels about cannabis. Oh yeah, it considers “marihuana” a Schedule I controlled substance. Bringing it across a national boundary into the U.S. is super illegal, even it it is legal on both sides of the border. Can I Bring Weed out of Canada if I’m a Medical Cannabis Patient? Ah, you say, but I’m a medical cannabis patient. I have all the required paperwork and documentation to show I am exempt from laws prohibiting cannabis possession and use where I live and where I’m traveling. So I’ll just go ahead and bring these buds in my carry-on, no problem. Nope. Problem. We already ruled out the United States because of the whole federal prohibition thing. But maybe you live somewhere in Europe or South America where medical cannabis is legal. Can you bring weed out of Canada in this case, you eagerly, hopefully ask? Each country or territory has the sovereign right to say what can enter or exit through its borders. But even if your destination allows you to enter with medical cannabis, Canada won’t let you exit with it. Whether legalized or decriminalized at one’s destination, Canadian law prohibits anyone from leaving the country with cannabis. Can I Bring Weed out of Canada if I’m Returning to Canada? Maybe you’re taking a little weekend getaway; a short round-trip flight. You’ll barely be out of Canada for 72 hours. Can you bring your stash with you then, to ensure you enjoy yourself to the fullest? No. Sadly, no. We had to say it twice because doing this would break Canada’s laws as many times: once when you leave the country and once when you return. Can I Bring Weed out of Canada if I Hide It Very Well or Bake It Into a Cookie? Well, you could. I mean, now we’re getting into semantics, right? You can do anything you put your mind to. The human will is boundless, anarchic, free. But should you try to bring weed out of Canada by hiding it very well or baking it into a cookie? Well, if avoiding serious legal repercussions is something you’re into, you probably shouldn’t. Actually, you definitely shouldn’t. We just thought it would be a good way to inform you that no matter what form your cannabis is in, you can’t legally exit the national territory of Canada with it. And in fact, if you have an edible or concentrate, you’ll also be giving yourself away to any authority that catches you that you made your purchase at an unlicensed seller—hence, illegally. Edibles and concentrates won’t be available on Canada’s provincial retail markets until next year. Can I Bring Weed out of Canada If I’m Canadian? Well wait, you say. I’m a proud Canadian. And I proudly consume legal cannabis, as is now my right as a Canadian. Indeed, congratulations are in order. Unfortunately, there’s nothing in Canada’s C-45 legislation that gives Canadian citizens special privileges when it comes to traveling with weed. Legalization, in other words, doesn’t travel with you. And you will face Crown prosecution if you try to take cannabis across Canada’s borders, which sounds as serious as it is. Can I Bring Weed out of Canada If It Does Not Contain THC? Okay, now you’re just looking for any reason to bring weed out of Canada. If you have weed that doesn’t contain THC, like a pure CBD strain, the rules that apply to marijuana still apply. So no, you can’t travel with marijuana products, even if they have no THC. But what about CBD oil that comes from hemp? Yeah, you can travel with that. We’re just not talking about weed anymore. And there’s still no guarantee you won’t face a hassle for your CBD oil. Is There Any Way I Can Bring Weed Out of Canada? You, personally? No. Sorry. There’s no way you can bring weed out of Canada. Not legally, anyway. However, there is a way to bring weed out of Canada. And that’s if you happen to work as a transporter for a Canadian cannabis company, like Tilray for example, that has been authorized to export cannabis to another country—for research purposes. Actually, there is one way anyone can bring weed out of Canada. In their system. You can carry as much THC as your body can absorb out of Canada, can’t you? So get in that final session right before you head to the airport! Just don’t, you know, say anything about it to any border guard or official. They can bar you from re-entering a country or you could face legal consequences in your country of residence if your cannabis use abroad is found out. The post Can I Bring Weed out of Canada? appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  27. Two people were shot and killed early Monday morning at a Koreatown cannabis dispensary, according to a press release from the Los Angeles Police Department. At 4:20 a.m., officers from the LAPD’s Olympic Division responded to a shooting call at the 400 block of Western Avenue. When they arrived, officers found a “locked and secured marijuana dispensary.” Police contacted a woman who said that she was an employee of the cannabis dispensary. She told officers that she and several customers had been inside the dispensary when they heard gunshots fired in the waiting room of the business. The employee and customers then escaped the dispensary through the building’s back door, according to police. Once police officers gained entry to the business, they found two shooting victims in the waiting room of the marijuana dispensary. The victims were later pronounced dead at the scene of the crime. The victims have not yet been identified by police. An LAPD spokesperson has reported that both victims were adults but declined to give the name of the cannabis dispensary and whether it is legally authorized to operate, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times. Police did not comment on a possible motive for the crime and did not supply a suspect description. No Licensed Dispensary On Record At Scene Of Double Homicide A search of the Los Angeles Department of Cannabis Regulation website revealed no licensed marijuana dispensaries listed on the 400 block of Western Avenue. However, the online platform Weedmaps has a listing for a medical marijuana dispensary called Korea Town Exotics at 447 S. Western Avenue in Los Angeles. Despite information in the listing indicating the business is open 24 hours per day, the phone number listed was not being answered early Monday afternoon and an automated message reported that a voice mailbox had not yet been set up for the line. A request for comment sent the email address listed for the business has not yet received a reply. Homicide detectives with the LAPD’s West Bureau are investigating the double murder. Police are urging anyone with information about the crime to contact investigators at West Bureau Homicide during business hours or the LAPD non-emergency line at other times of the day. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers or give information via the website at www.lacrimestoppers.org or click on “Anonymous Web Tips” under the “Get Involved-Crime Stoppers” menu at www.lapdonline.org. The post Two People Shot and Killed in Los Angeles Cannabis Dispensary appeared first on High Times. View the full article
  28. What’s it take to get a white guy picked up on cannabis charges in downtown Montreal in post-legalization Canada? Longtime Toronto-based marijuana advocate Marc Emery found out on Sunday the answer is: rather a lot. The Montreal Gazette reports that Emery spent upwards of two hours loudly hawking marijuana-emblazoned merch in front of a government-run cannabis store, which he says is illegal under current law. His pop-up was an attempt to confront the state’s legal system over what Emery sees as major failings in the new Quebec Cannabis Regulation Act. According to Emery, the offending language in the legislation is the section declaring that, “any operator of a business selling, giving, or exchanging a product that is not cannabis and contains a name, logo, slogan associated directly with the SQDC, a brand of cannabis or an authorized producer” is eligible for a fine of up to $62,500 Canadian.” In addition, “any person … not complying with the standards established by the government in matters of promotion” of cannabis is liable to a fine of between $5,000 and $500,000.” What Exactly is Emery Fighting? Emery’s issue is not that he would like to be able to sell the pot leaf flags, 420 stickers, and Bob Marley shirts that he brought along for his one-man protest action. Rather, he is concerned that the government’s end game is to take over and subvert both both the cannabis industry and cannabis user culture. “Ultimately the Quebec government, and I suspect the federal government and many other provincial governments want to get rid of cannabis culture paraphernalia shops entirely and the gov’t be the exclusive handler of our culture,” Emery shared on Twitter. The advocate appears to use his social media account on the site to post cannabis news, op-eds, and retweet the white supremacist-signaling comments of Conservative Parliament member Maxime Bernier. The Montreal Gazette reports that the activist was “gently chiding” customers of the Société Québécoise du Cannabis (SQDC) store as they waited for their weed in the cold. “All these things are illegal in Quebec under the Quebec Cannabis Regulation Act,” Emery is reported to have yelled while conducting his protest pop-up. “You can’t (sell) any products with 420 on it, or the cannabis leaf or any kind of promotional sayings, so I’ve got T-shirts, illegal banned flags, and everything is a lot cheaper than normal because I’m not really doing it for the money. I’m just trying to get charged.” He nearly succeeded around 2:30 p.m., when the Gazette reports that two Montreal police officers arrived. But when they threatened to book him under a municipal bylaw that bans permit-less outside retail, Emery decided to pack up. It wasn’t the law he was there to protest, after all. “I’ll have to come up with a new strategy where I won’t be deterred by some municipal bylaw,” he told the Gazette. If the incident seems to have been concocted for media attention alone, rest assured that Emery has more than proven that he is ready to do time in the name of cannabis culture. He spent upwards of four years in jail after being extradited to the United States for selling cannabis seeds by mail to US customers. In 2016, he was arrested and eventually fined for operating six illegal Cannabis Culture dispensaries in Montreal. His response? To open more illegal dispensaries — at one point there were 19 Cannabis Culture locations in three different Canadian provinces. The post Pot Activist Marc Emery Seeks Arrest to Challenge Quebec’s “Unconstitutional” Cannabis Laws appeared first on High Times. View the full article
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