By Steve Elliott
A 26-year-old Georgia man was arrested Friday after police found a pound of marijuana during a traffic stop. Richard Relliford was unable to convince the cops that he was just heading home planning to salad, according to a Facebook post from the St. Mary's Police Department.
The police Facebooked a photo of the marijuana in a sandwich bag with a message:
"Look, If we have said it once, we have said a zillion times! No matter how hard you try to convince us this green leafy stuff is salad and you're just coming back from the store going to make a chef salad, Well Sous Chef UP! A SALAD THIS IS NOT!!!"
"Officers encountered Richard Relliford during a traffic stop, a 26 year old St. Marys resident, who had recently obtained this 1 pound bag of marijuana. He went to jail, as this is still illegal in Georgia!!!"
"Stay Safe Out There---Criminals Are A-FOOT!!" the Facebook post read.
The post generated more than 140 Likes and sparked a conversation about drug reform in the comments section.
"And I was going to offer up some ranch dressing!" commented Facebook user Lisa Toal. "Too funny!"
"Normal bag of cabbage?" chimed in Richard Ghiloni. "No says I."
Developing a responsible, safe and ethical marijuana industry will be the theme of Ethan Nadelmann's keynote speech at the Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo taking place September 16-18 at the Los Angeles Convention Center in Los Angeles.
Described by Rolling Stone magazine as "the real drug czar," Nadelmann is the founder and executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and is known for his persuasiveness and passion for promoting alternatives to the war on drugs. His keynote presentation will take place at 2 pm PST on Thursday, September 17.
"California was the first state to legalize medical marijuana, almost 20 years ago, and its marijuana industry is certainly the biggest, most diverse and dynamic in the country," says Ethan Nadelmann. "The state is now poised to become a true global leader in responsible cannabis regulation, provided a smart and winnable ballot initiative prevails on Election Day 2016."
Nadelmann and his colleagues have played pivotal roles in many of the major drug policy reform ballot initiative campaigns in the United States on issues ranging from medical marijuana and marijuana legalization to prison reform, drug treatment and reform of asset forfeiture laws. They also have reformed state and federal laws involving drug sentencing, access to sterile syringes to reduce HIV/AIDS, access to drug treatment, prevention of overdose fatalities, and all aspects of marijuana policy.
By Steve Elliott
Support for a federal medical marijuana bill is building. The momentum is almost palpable from one day to the next, and the wave perhaps hasn't crested -- but the bill still isn't getting the Republican support it needs in the U.S. Senate.
Two more influential Democratic senators, Charles E. Schumer of New York and Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland (both states recently legalized medicinal cannabis) announced their support for the bill that would reschedule marijuana and let states set their own medical marijuana policies. But the bill needs more Republicans, reports Matthew Fleming at Roll Call.
The bill has just two Republican cosponsors, Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky, an original cosponsor, and Dean Heller of Nevada. Getting any more has been difficult.
"It's a slow process and we're trying," Paul said last week, adding there are "several" other Republicans considered possibilities -- but none are officially onboard yet.
Sixteen senators support the bill, including Democrats Cory Booker of New Jersey, the original sponsor, and Kirsten Gillebrand of New York an original cosponsor. Booker referred questions about Republican outreach to his office, which didn't respond to requests for comment.
By Steve Elliott
The Michigan Medical Marijuana Law Review Panel on Friday voted to recommend adding autism as a qualifying condition for treatment under the state's medicinal cannabis law.
That recommendation is now headed to the desk of Mike Zimmer, director of the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, who will have the final say on adding autism to the law, reports Jonathan Oosting at Mlive.com.
The review panel voted 4-2 in favor of a peitition submitted by Michigan mother Lisa Smith, who said cannabis oil helped improve her severely autistic six-year-old son's behavior, sleeping patterns and eating schedule.
"The parents I've talked to are passionate and adamant that this represents a dramatic improvement in the quality of life for them and their affected children," said David Crocker, a medicinal cannabis doctor and panel member.
"It was really a historic day in Michigan," attorney Michael Komorn said. "I can't say I remember the last time I cried over a ruling. Personally I learned on everyone within our cannabis community and they came through like superstars.
"Procedurally the next step provides that the new condition panels vote will be sent to the director of LARA for a final yes or no vote," Komorn said. "Our job is not quite finished and we will continue in this endeavor until official approval is made."
Anything Technologies Media, Inc. on Thursday announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, Frontier Indoor Garden Solutions (FIGS), has been announced as both the horticultural supplier and the project manager for a My Compassion originated medical cannabis facility project with a Native American Group located in Alaska.
The project will be funded through My Compassion by one of its finance Teaming Partners. "The first phase of the project, is a comprehensive on-site assessment, and determines the human, physical, and natural resources available from the Tribe(s), as well as the needs and requirements of the Tribal Community Members, is set to begin in August of this year," the company announced in a prepared statement.
The My Compassion program includes a comprehensive educational program as well as pre-approval from Federal law enforcement, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, and state and local government authorities, according to the press release.
As project manager and horticultural supplier, FIGS will utilize the members of its group, the Cannabis Facility Development Consortium (CFDC), to provide products and services to the project.
The value of these products and services for the grow facility are expected to exceed several million dollars of gross revenue for the company, according to the press release.
"More detailed revenue projections are dependent on the results of the on-site assessment and will be available upon conclusion," according to the company.
The Green Exchange, Inc., developers of "Loud Cannabis," the world's first HIPAA compliant service that connects marijuana growers directly to patients, on Thursday announced that the story of their ongoing battle with tech giant Google, was featured in Yahoo Finance. The article was titled, "For cannabis apps, the road to the app store is paved with rejection."
"Google's Play and Apple's app stores are home to hundreds of cannabis-related apps, but one that aims to cut the middlemen by connecting growers with customers in California — which legalized medical marijuana in 1996 — just got yanked from the virtual shelf," the Yahoo article reported.
The Loud Cannabis App was created to provide a "farm-to-table" direct link between growers and medical marijuana patients, as well as a safer and smarter alternative to other delivery app services that utilize 3rd party drivers whom are often unscreened and do not undergo background checks.
The mission of Loud Cannabis is to serve a co-op of growers, along with medical marijuana patients who want the freshest, organic cannabis available.
The app, which debuted on Google Play last summer, was recently kicked out of the Google store. "We had no indication they were going to pull the rug out from under our feet," Loud Cannabis founder and CEO Josh Artman said.
The New York State Department of Health (DOH) on Friday announced five companies would be awarded one of the coveted licenses to grow and dispense medical marijuana in New York: PharmaCann LLC, Empire State Health Solutions LLC; Columbia Care NY LLC; Etain, LLC; and Bloomfield Industries Inc.
The announcement came after a competitive bidding process through which 43 industry groups contended for the five licenses. Each producer is restricted to opening only four dispensaries each, they will only be allowed to produce five strains or brands of medical marijuana, and all products must be in pill, oil or tincture form. The price of the medicine will be set by the Commissioner of Health.
DOH has said that New York’s medical marijuana program will be fully operational by January 2016. Before the program can become operational, the state must also create a system for registering doctors and patients.
Since July 2014, advocates have been fighting for an emergency access program to get medicine to the critically ill sooner than the January 2016 deadline. But despite a year of advocacy and passing an emergency access bill in both the Senate and Assembly, to date, not one patient in New York has received medical marijuana.
By Steve Elliott
Keith Richards likes to wake and bake. "Wait... I need a NEWS STORY for this?" You may be thinking. But the guy's 71 now, and he quit cocaine a decade ago.
"I smoke regularly, an early morning joint," Richards told Mojo Magazine. "Strictly Californian."
Richards, who lives in a home in Sussex, England, which he bought in the 1960s and has a Manhattan apartment, praised the legalization of cannabis in some American states, reports The Telegraph.
"One of the most pleasant things to watch is a map of American [showing states where pot is legal], where it goes, green... green... green," Richards said. "Whether it's a good thing in the long run, I don't know."
Richards gave up cocaine back in 2006 after falling out of a tree and undergoing brain surgery. He said he hasn't taken heroin since 1978. He still drinks, he told Mojo, but "other than that, I'm pretty straight."
According to Richards, the Stones may return to the studio at the end of this year.
Photo: High Times
This October 27 and 28, the inaugural Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo kicks off at the Phoenix Convention Center with more than 300 floor exhibits, interactive workshops, leading industry guest speakers, a job fair, business-to-business networking and more. The event is expected to draw tens of thousands of attendees from all over the Southwest.
“The subject of this convention is too important to overlook,” said Rory Mendoza, executive director of the event. “The U.S. market for legal cannabis grew by 74 percent last year alone, according to researchers at the ArcView Group.”
Anyone interested in learning more about the wealth of business and employment opportunities presented by the booming $2.7 billion legal marijuana industry is invited to attend. “We’re expecting visitors from California to Texas and beyond in large part
because several of our states are evaluating policy and legislation affecting medical and recreational cannabis usage,” said Mendoza. “This conference is designed to allow policy makers and national industry leaders, investors, business executives, health experts, job seekers and entrepreneurs a place to learn, share ideas and connect with others on the national cannabis scene.”
The Federal Court of Canada has certified a class action commenced on behalf of more than 40,000 medical marijuana licensees alleging that Health Canada violated their privacy.
In November 2013, Health Canada sent notices to more than 40,000 participants of the Marihuana Medical Access Program (MMAP) to advise of changes to regulations governing the use of medical marijuana in Canada. The notices were delivered in oversized envelopes that had the words "Health Canada - Marihuana Medical Access Program" on the return address, revealing to anyone who saw the envelope that the recipient was licensed to possess or produce medical marihuana for medical purposes.
Previously, Health Canada's mailings to MMAP members were discreet and made no mention of marijuana on the envelopes. Despite the Government of Canada's acknowledgement of the error, it insists that no one was harmed by the breach.
Recipients were upset, and maintain their privacy had been violated. Some said they worried they'd lost their jobs or become victims of a home invasion, reports CBC News.
"It opened us up for discrimination," said Debbie Stultz-Giffin, chair of Maritimers Unite for Medical Marijuana Society. She was one of 2,105 Nova Scotians who received the letter, and she said it left patients and caregivers open to everything from condemnation from family and friends to robbery.
Kaya Holdings, Inc. on Wednesday announced that it has signed a lease on a 6,000 square foot facility in central Portland to serve as the company's expanded marijuana and cannabis manufacturing complex and West Coast operations base.
The company announced it will consolidate Kaya Farms and the newly acquired assets of OC Harley Gardens, including equipment, plants and all related licenses into the new facility for a substantially expanded grow with significantly increased volume capacities. "The Grow will continue uninterrupted to produce high quality, connoisseur-grade marijuana, as the expansion occurs to prepare the Company for the October 1st commencement of recreational sales in Oregon," a prepared statement reads.
"Additionally, the new facility allows for industrial level marijuana product manufacturing for our coming roll-out of proprietary strain-specific concentrates, extracts and related products, as well as the establishment of a commercial grade kitchen to produce a complete Kaya Kitchens line of cannabis-infused baked goods and candies," the announcement reads.
New Art Show Escaping Time Showcases the Therapeutic Power of Art for America's Inmates
Governor’s Island Show Opens August 1st, Runs Through September 27
This August, experience a different view of a life behind bars with Escaping Time: Art From U.S. Prisons, a unique show of artwork created by inmates. Curated by Anastasia Voron, director of exhibitions at Wallplay, the show is a production of the Safe Streets Arts Foundation, which aims to rehabilitate men and women in prison through the use of art.
On view from August 1 through September 27 on Governors Island, the show includes more than 200 pieces collected from prisons across the country and on view for the first time, including works from renowned painter Anthony Papa and display-only pieces attributed to Charles Manson.
Each piece for purchase includes an accompanying handwritten letter from the artist. The groundbreaking art show highlights the therapeutic properties of art, and calls attention to the struggle many prisoners face when attempting to reintegrate into society after their release. The show aims to help the prisoners by building their credibility as artists, giving them a platform on which to build a new career.
A coalition of immigrant rights and criminal justice reform advocacy organizations are calling on Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Office of Chief Counsel to allow green card holder Garfield Kenault Lawrence, who was deported away from his U.S. Citizen wife and child to Jamaica, to reopen his immigration case.
After a year of being held in an immigration detention prison (including during the birth of his first child), Kenault (A# 045 612 966) was wrongfully deported in 2013 based on an incorrect legal standard applied by an immigration judge who labeled his two minor 2009 marijuana convictions to be “drug trafficking aggravated felonies.”
However, just a few months later, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Moncrieffe v. Holder that “characterize[ing] a low-level drug offense as 'illicit trafficking in a controlled substance,' and thus an 'aggravated felony' . . . defies the 'commonsense conception' of these terms."
Despite this clear decision, ICE is refusing to reopen his case so that he can have a proper hearing under the correct law, and is fighting his lawyers’ attempts by claiming that too much time has passed.
“An Immigration judge got the law wrong and fractured an American family when he ordered Kenault deported,” said Heidi Altman, legal director of the Capital Area Immigrant Rights Coalition. "We call on ICE to right this wrong by allowing Kenault to come home and have his day in court."
By Steve Elliott
Charges have been dropped against an injured Iraq war veteran in Florida who was arrested after deputies said they found marijuana plants in his home.
Mathew Young was charged with cultivation after Pasco County deputies conducted a raid, reports Laurie Davison at Bay News 9. Young said a lawyer from Jacksonville gave him paperwork and false information that using medical marijuana is legal in Florida.
"I really to this day don't believe I did anything wrong," Young said. He said the marijuana gave him relief from medical problems he's had since returning from combat.
"It wasn't until I tried cannabis that everything turned around," Young said. "I could start functioning and start having a day. You have to have a day before you can start a life."
The State Attorney's Office dropped the charge against Young, saying he is "a cooperating witness in an ongoing investigation."
Young's attorney, Steve Gearhart, called it "justice." "Once I came back on the case in April, it was just getting the dialogue open with the State Attorney, providing them with information we had and working with them toward a common goal," Gearhart said.
Young said his condition has gotten worse since he was forced to stop using medical marijuana. "The reality and the prognosis is not all that positive for me," he said. "In eight months, I'm back in a wheelchair. Where am I going to be in 12 months?"
By Steve Elliott
Tourists in South Dakota may soon be able to go to a Native American reservation, buy a joint of marijuana for $10 to $15, then try their luck at the nearby casino.
The Flandreau Santee Sioux expect in December to become the first tribe in the nation to grow and sell cannabis for recreational use, taking the Obama Administration at its word when it says all 566 federally approved Indian tribes are free to enter the marijuana industry, reports Rob Hotakainen in the Bellingham Herald.
"The fact that we are first doesn't scare us," said tribal president Anthony "Tony" Reider, 38, leader of the tribe for almost five years now. "The Department of Justice gave us the go-ahead, similar to what they did with the states, so we're comfortable going with it."
Sixy strains of marijuana will be available from the tribe, according to Reider, who is hoping for hordes of visitors. He predicted that sales could bring in $2 million per month.
"Obviously, when you launch a business, you're hoping to sell all the product and have a shortage, like Colorado did when they first opened," he said.
But other tribes haven't been as gung-ho about cannabis. "Look at Washington state, where marijuana's completely legal as a matter of state law everywhere, and you still have tribes adhering to their prohibition policies," said Robert Odawi Porter, former president of New York's Seneca Nation.