TinctureBelle disputes claim its candies resemble giant chocolate maker’s products
A small, family-owned medical marijuana company in Colorado, TinctureBell, on Wednesday responded to allegations made by the Hershey Company in a lawsuit filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, that TinctureBelle is selling marijuana-infused candies that resemble Hershey products.
“The lawsuit from Hershey came as a huge surprise to us,” said TinctureBelle President Char Mayes, “because we changed our entire label line approximately six months ago, long before these allegations surfaced last week. Our new packaging looks nothing like Hershey’s or anyone else’s.”
Hershey did not contact TinctureBelle before filing suit, according to Mayes. “The first we heard of it was from a reporter, who called last Thursday for a comment on Hershey’s lawsuit,” said Mayes.
“We were unable to comment because that was the first we had heard of the suit," Mayes said. "We have yet to be served.”
Colorado Springs-based TinctureBelle is licensed by the State of Colorado to manufacture and distribute cannabis-infused products.
“Our mission is simple,” said Mayes: “We wish to contribute to the health and well being of all MMJ patients, as well as assist our beloved MMJ community in building a positive reputation for the community and the many dispensaries in the state of Colorado that carry our quality line of products.”
By Steve Elliott
The board of directors of the Colorado Springs, Colorado-based company formerly known as Endocan Corporation, which specializes in cannabis and cannabinoid formulation-based health and wellness solutions, has selected the new name OmniCanna Health Solutions, they announced on Tuesday.
"OmniCanna Health Solutions was chosen by the Board as a direct reference to the latin 'omnis' meaning 'all' and Canna in relation to 'cannabis and cannabinoids'," said Dr. Dorothy Bray, president of OmniCanna Health Solutions, Inc. "The 'health solutions' completes the full meaning and general mission of the Company to provide the wellness solutions using the full spectrum of legal cannabis and cannabinoid extract based products," Dr. Bray said.
The company's website has been changed accordingly to www.omnicanna.com .
According to the company, the name change began with appropriate regulatory filings with the Office of the Nevada Secretary of State, and the next steps are underway with FINRA for a symbol change to match the new name. The new symbol will be announced in the near term.
The company has also hired the accounting firm, Turner, Stone and Company, LLP to review and audit the Company's financials. "The OmniCanna Health Solutions name change will have no effect on the Company's share structure, corporate organization, business model operations, or corporate governance," according to a Tuesday release from the company.
By Steve Elliott
With voter-approved Amendment 64, recreational marijuana sales are now legal in Colorado. The law doesn't require stores to keep records on recreational customers, as medical marijuana dispensaries are required to do, but retail stores aren't prohibited from gathering information, either.
Store owners say they're taking a cautious approach, reports Eric Gorski at The Denver Post. Many of the shops are trying to balance customer privacy with their desire to know their customers, including, for instance, which strains of cannabis they enjoy.
"You have to find a healthy balance," said Brooke Gehring, of Bud Med, a chain of recreational and medical marijuana outlets in Colorado. "How do we capture information that is pertinent to the success of our new retail business, versus the privacy of adults who now have this right and are able to shop at our stores?
Customers punch their cellphone numbers or email addresses into tablet computers at the counter at Bud Med stores to receive promotional offers, according to Gehring.
The text of Amendment 64 forbids state officials from requiring customers to provide marijuana stores with any personal information other than a government-issued ID to confirm their age. Video cameras capture recreational marijuana customers; the required footage must be preserved for 40 days and can be inspected by state enforcement agents.
By Steve Elliott
Moriah Barnhart's determination to help her 2-year-old daughter, Dahlia, fight a cancerous brain tumor led them to become part of a new social phenomenon: medical marijuana refugees.
Within weeks of Dahlia being diagnosed, Barnhart packed the family's bags to move from Tampa, Florida, to Memphis, Tennessee, where the toddler could undergo treatment at St. Jude's Children's Research Hospital, reports Kelli Grant at CNBC. While in Memphis, Barnhart learned through her research that medical marijuana was a worthy treatment, and might mitigate the harsh effects of chemotherapy.
"It just was the safest and most viable, effective option," Barnhart said. "But it was illegal in Tennessee and Florida."
Thus the Barnharts joined the ranks of marijuana refugees who have relocated or are planning to move in order to gain safe access to medicinal cannabis. Twenty states and the District of Columbia currently allow the medical use of marijuana for certain conditions, and several other states have such laws being considered this year.
Advocates say they hear from plenty of families who move for safe access. "As soon as we have the intake form up, we're swamped with requests," said Lindsey Rinehart, cofounder of the Undergreen Railroad, organized to help patients and their families defray the expenses of moving to medical marijuana states.
Rinehart herself had to move from Idaho to Oregon last summer to treat her multiple sclerosis with cannabis.
The 10 Highest Cities In America By Movoto Real Estate
Colorado last week became the first state in the Union with legal sales of recreational cannabis, instantly conferring upon Denver the status of marijuana mecca.
But is Denver the highest city in the United States? That's what the Movoto Real Estate Blog set out to determine through the power of data, just as they've done with topics including which cities are the nerdiest, which are the worst dressed, or which is the best city in the whole country.
After extensive research, Movoto concluded that, yes, Denver really is the Mile-High City, but they also came up with a Top 10 list of the highest cities in America:
2. Colorado Springs
4. San Bernardino, CA
5. Aurora, CO
6. Santa Ana, CA
7. Irvine, CA
8. San Francisco, CA
9. Sacramento, CA
10. Los Angeles, CA
Now, I'm sure San Francisco's heads are quite exercised over the indignity of being outranked by Irvine, Santa Ana, and San Ber'dino, but are there any other surprises here?
Washington state is coming up fast with its own legalization law about to be implemented, but legal pot sales won't start until this summer.
To determine a city's ranking, Movoto measure seven different criteria:
• Marijuana dispensaries per capita
• Number of residents with medical marijuana cards
By Steve Elliott
Denver International Airport announced that marijuana is banned there, despite its legal status in Colorado, but it's still allowed at the Colorado Springs Airport, according to an official there.
"We talked to TSA about that issue," said John McGinley, assistant aviation director at Colorado Springs Airport, reports Bonnie Silkman at KRDO. "If they find it in someone's possession, they refer it to our law enforcement.
"If our law enforcement says it's within the legal limit, they're going to take no action," McGinley said. "In that case, TSA is not on their own going to throw the marijuana in the trash."
The question had arisen because marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
When KRDO asked a TSA spokesperson about the policy, the answer backed up McGinley's assertions.
"TSA's screening procedures are focused on security," the spokesperson said. "If an officer discovers an item that may violate the law, TSA refers the matter to law enforcement. There has been no change to this policy or how it is implemented in the field."
Meanwhile, Denver International Airport officials are sticking to their policy of banning marijuana.
By Steve Elliott
Colorado voters last year approved Amendment 64, legalizing marijuana possession, cultivation and sales for those 21 and older. But when recreational pot stores open on January 1, 2014, they may run out of weed, according to many experts.
Although more than 100 stores have applied, complicated licensing rules and operational regulations may mean that only about a dozen pot stores could open on New Year's Day, reports CBS News.
"We are definitely going to run out of cannabis," said Toni Fox, owner of Denver's Discreet Dispensary, reports Gabrielle Karol at Fox Business. "The question is when."
Fox expects to get clearance to open on January 1, and estimates her stock will be depleted by January 6. She expects to sell to at least 100 customers a day.
"We're anticipating $300,000 in revenue in January," she said.
Although Coloradans approved recreational marijuana legalization, about 70 cities across the state have banned pot shops. Cities not allowing recreational marijuana stores include Colorado Springs, the second-largest city in the state.
By Steve Elliott
The first gram of legal marijuana hasn't even sold yet in Colorado, and won't until January 1. But the politicians are already fighting over the tax revenues that will come flowing from the cannabis industry due to the passage of Proposition, which imposes special excise taxes on ganja at the wholesale (15 percent) and retail (10 percent) levels.
Gov. John Hickenlooper on Thursday presented a budget proposal that he said funds a "bare-bones" regulatory scheme for legalized recreational pot sales, but he said it "would not have made anybody proud," reports Megan Schrader at The Gazette of Colorado Springs. But fortunately, he told the Joint Budget Committee, voters approved Proposition AA.
The taxes are expected to generate $67 million annually, according to estimates from state government officials, but there's an element of uncertainty, as there's never been a legal marijuana market in the modern United States.
"What we're going to see is a regulatory environment that is going to have the resources to have every bit as much accountability and enforcement as we see in alcohol," Gov. Hickenlooper said. "That's what most voters in Colorado wanted to see."
By Steve Elliott
Endocan Corporation, a U.S. company specializing in cannabis and cannabinoid formulation-based health and wellness solutions, on Friday made public its ongoing negotiations with third parties in Colorado to start cooperative and joint venture arrangements for production, testing and distribution of Endocan brand products.
"This includes the long-awaited Endocan product line expected for release in early 2014, with Colorado seen as an early target market in the United States for testing in several critical ailment categories," a company press release states.
According to the company, Endocan's presence in Colorado "stems not only from the legal medical cannabis regulatory environment but also from the general openness with which Colorado has embraced cannabis, including the extension of legalization to recreational cannabis use for individuals over the age of 21, with a forward looking regulatory and taxation policy."
"This environment speaks highly of the future of Endocan Corporation's development opportunities in the state, with an estimated $200 million medical cannabis market at this early stage," the press release states.
"Colorado has now been my home for three years, my family having relocated to Colorado Springs," said Robert Kane, chief financial officer and senior vice president of business development at Endocan. "We have found Colorado to be a progressive, open-minded state with a compassionate position on improving the quality of life of its citizens.
By Steve Elliott
Commissioners in Pueblo County, Colorado on Wednesday night finalized rules for recreational marijuana sales beginning next year, limiting the number of pot shops to 10 and setting zoning rules and licensing fees.
That makes Pueblo County one of only seven Colorado counties that have decided to allow cannabis sales, likely making it a southern marijuana mecca for those who live in pot-dry areas like Colorado Springs and El Paso County, reports Megan Schrader at The Gazette of Colorado Springs.
"That's kind of the way I see it," said Josh Behling, manager of Steel City Meds in unincorporated Pueblo West. "We're kind of an an island right here. It's an hour to Denver (from Colorado Springs) and 30 minutes to Pueblo."
The only other places which have decided so far to allow marijuana sales in southern Colorado are Saguache, Huerfano, and Costilla counties. There are moratoriums on retail sales in place in Manitou Springs, Pueblo and Canon City until later in 2014.
Recreational pot sales won't begin anywhere in Colorado until state retail licenses are issued to the shops, beginning on January 1.
Behling said his store would submit an application next week for a state license, and will then try to get one of the 10 licenses Pueblo County has to offer.
By Steve Elliott
A Colorado man was arrested after he allegedly tunneled into a marijuana dispensary through a wall.
Craig Stevens, 43, was arrested in Colorado Springs Friday morning on charges including second degree burglary, criminal mischief, and offenses involving marijuana and theft after police responded to reports of a burglary in process, reports Gillian Mohney at ABC News.
Officers found and arrested Stevens after arriving at the Organic Seeds medical marijuana dispensary. Inside, they found a tunnel from the bathroom of the Birria De Chiva restaurant to the dispensary next door.
Stevens took a sink out of the wall, damaging the wall, before tunneling through to the dispensary on the other side, where he had allegedly taken several plants by the time the cops arrived.
By Steve Elliott
A mother in Colorado says she's doing the best she can to help her three-year-old son fight cancer, but now a doctor may turn her in to the state because she's refusing chemotherapy treatments for the child and is instead using cannabis oil.
Landon Riddle was diagnosed with leukemia, according to his mother, Sierra, reports CBS Denver. After telling Sierra that her son had only a few days to live, doctors placed him on chemotherapy and radiation treatments. Sierra said those treatments helped reduce the tumors, but made her son very sick, including night terrors.
She decided to stop the chemotherapy and give Landon cannabis oil capsules. "I am willing to do whatever I have to do to make sure my child gets to live another day and gets to have that relief and have that quality of life that he deserves," Sierra said.
Under the cannabis oil treatments, Landon now looks healthier and is feeling much better. But in a letter posted online, Sierra wrote, "They want to take away my son because I am refusing chemo!"
She had seen a doctor the day before. "They do not see cannabis as a treatment for cancer," she said.
The cannabis oil Sierra gives Landon is a concentrate made from the marijuana plant, and doesn't contain the psychoactive ingredient, THC.
By Steve Elliott
The wisdom of allowing an "opt-out" provision in marijuana legalization proposals could easily be called into question in Colorado, where it appears nine of the 10 largest cities in the state could be headed towards cannabis bans or moratoriums. Dozens of Colorado cities and counties have in recent weeks decided to ban marijuana stores, cultivation businesses and infused-products businesses.
Of the 10 largest cities in Colorado, only Denver looks likely to allow pot shops, reports John Ingold at The Denver Post. Only about 20 cities and counties statewide are likely to start accepting applications for recreational marijuana stores later this year, according to advocates.
The stores will be allowed to open as early as January 1, 2014.
Politicians in at least 56 Colorado cities and counties have already voted to ban marijuana businesses. A number of those are small towns in outlying areas, but the list also includes Colorado Springs, the second-largest city in the state. The city council there voted 5-4 to keep recreational marijuana shops out of the city.
"For us to move forward with this is not a responsible move from an economic development point of view," Councilman Merv Bennett said at a Colorado Springs City Council meeting this week. Merv didn't mention how "responsible" he thought it was to say no to all that tax money, nor did he mention how "responsible" it might be to ignore the will of the voters of Colorado Springs.
By Steve Elliott
"American Drug War II: Cannabis Destiny" is currently rated highest among all 2013 documentaries on IMDB, the Internet Movie Database, with a score of 9.7 out of 10, according to the film's makers.
The documentary focuses on the failed U.S. Drug War and its effect on a new generation. As IMDB states, "Director Kevin Booth navigates through the cutting edge of cannabis research while becoming a foster parent to a child ordered to take powerful mind altering drugs."
"It has been one of the greatest professional experiences of my life to work with Kevin Booth and his team," said Robert Kane, CFO and senior vice president of business development at X-Change Corp. "It is a privilege to be part of the project from the inception of the business plan, through production and release.
"To have it #1 on this year's IMDB highest rated documentary list is telling of the quality of production and the power of the film's message," Kane said. "This is important because the story speaks to our country's failed drug policy within a context of inhumane effects on children in need of treatment.
"We are thankful that the documentary includes the poignant story of little Cash Hyde," Kane said. "The interest in this film is a game changing moment for both the film and entertainment industry as well as the cannabis industry as the film's success establishes that the market is primed for further investment from media and entertainment giants to support, fund, and invest in related projects."
By Steve Elliott
It took four tries, but the long battle over marijuana and driving appears to be nearing an unhappy end in Colorado. The state House on Tuesday unanimously approved a bill setting pot blood limits under which drivers can be charged with DUI-cannabis.
The bipartisan proposal sets the limit at five nanograms of THC per milliliter of blood (5 ng/ml), the same as that approved last November by Washington state voters as part of Initiative 502, which legalized possession of up to an ounce of marijuana by adults in that state, reports Kristen Wyatt at The Associated Press.
Unfortunately, there is little to no scientific evidence correlating blood THC levels of 5 ng/ml with actual impairment; several studies have shown that experienced cannabis users, in particular, are relatively or completely unimpaired at that level.
We caught up with Paul Stanford, president of The Hemp and Cannabis Foundation, as he visited THCF Medical Clinics' Denver office. "The bad example of Washington's I-502 has set an unfair, arbitrary example for Colorado and elsewhere," explained Stanford, who also runs the Campaign for the Restoration and Regulation of Hemp (CRRH), owners of Hemp News.