Posts Tagged ‘proposition 19’

California pot growers shifting crop to private farmlands – Politics Wires – MiamiHerald.com

Friday, December 9th, 2011

WASHINGTON — California’s commercial pot growers are moving plots from national forests to Central Valley farmland, Fresno County Sheriff Margaret Mims told senators Wednesday.

Citing a “conspicuous shift” in drug cultivation tactics, Mims added that growers also are increasingly using the “guise” of medical marijuana in an effort to protect their work that, arrest records show, frequently relies on illegal immigrants.

“Rather than growing marijuana in the relative secrecy and anonymity afforded by remote public lands, many moved illicit operations onto private agricultural lands,” Mims advised the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, which held a hearing Wednesday on marijuana cultivation on public lands.

Fresno County has seen a drop in marijuana plots on public lands. In 2009, for instance, law enforcement investigators identified 81 marijuana-growing sites on public lands in Fresno County. In 2010, the number fell to 19. This year, only eight have been found.

via California pot growers shifting crop to private farmlands – Politics Wires – MiamiHerald.com.

Does Long Beach Really Have to Ban Marijuana Dispensaries? – Orange County News – Navel Gazing

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Ever since a pair of Long Beach medical-marijuana smokers won a Sept. 24 ruling that threw the city’s ordinance regulating cannabis clubs into doubt, rumors have abounded that Long Beach, whose 2010 ordinance allowed pot clubs to operate if they won a $14,000 permit, will soon ban all dispensaries. Cities throughout the state are watching to see what happens as they decide how to respond, and the Long Beach City Council is expected to hear an update on a proposed ban at its Dec. 12 meeting.

Not so fast, argues the Long Beach Collective Association, a group of local dispensaries that yesterday handed the council a document detailing how the city can change its ordinance to comply with state law.

According a story yesterday in Village Voice Media’s marijuana blog, Toke of the Town, the group believes that while the court ruling — known as the Pack decision and named after one of the plaintiffs, Ryan Pack — may not allow the city to issue permits requiring dispensaries to cultivate a plant that’s illegal under federal law (this is what Long Beach’s ordinance effectively did), the ruling doesn’t necessarily mean the city has to shut the clubs down.

via Does Long Beach Really Have to Ban Marijuana Dispensaries? – Orange County News – Navel Gazing.

Latham introduces legislation banning “synthetic marijuana”

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Legislation that would essentially ban the sale of “synthetic marijuana” has cleared the U.S. House. The measure, cosponsored by Iowa Congressman Tom Latham, would make it illegal to possess or sell substances such as K-2. The drugs are often labeled as bath salts or incense and can be found in convenience stores or so-called “head shops.”

Latham, a Republican from Ames, credited a family from Indianola for bringing the issue to light. In July 2010, 18-year-old David Rozga shot himself after smoking K-2. “In response to the tragedy, David’s parents Mike and Jan have led a campaign to outlaw synthetic drugs like K2,” Latham said.

Mike Rozga testified before a U.S. Senate panel about the dangers of K-2 earlier this year. The drug can lead to serious illness, extreme paranoia and thoughts of suicide. Latham said K-2 continues to be a serious problem in Iowa, despite the publicity and efforts to remove designer drugs from store shelves.

“In Polk County, three teens were involved in a high speed crash after smoking one of these substances,” Latham stated on the House floor. “In central Iowa, a teenage boy was hospitalized after taking synthetic drugs and becoming violently ill, having seizures, vomiting and hallucinations.”

The Synthetic Drug Control Act was approved in the House on a 317 to 98 vote. Companion legislation awaits action by the U.S. Senate.

via Latham introduces legislation banning “synthetic marijuana”.

DEA: Crackdown Pushing Pot Growers North | NBC San Diego

Friday, December 9th, 2011

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) believes a crackdown on illegal pot growers in the backcountry is pushing the farmers out of San Diego County and into larger counties, according to a spokesperson for the DEA.

Click here for photos of recent raids

Every year the DEA scours the backcountry, searching for outdoor plots of land where illegal marijuana is being grown. But this year they’re seeing a drop.

Special agents destroyed nearly 200,000 marijuana plants found in San Diego County this year, according to the DEA. That’s fewer than last year, which was already down from 2009.

“The traffickers have learned that if they see helicopters overhead, that’s a really bad thing for them and we have helicopters flying overhead every day so I think that’s what’s driving them north,” said Bill Sherman from the DEA San Diego Field Division.

Sherman says avocado farmers are often helpful because they notice when an illegal grower is still their area and then they notify the authorities.

The DEA arrested 107 illegal growers in 2011.

via DEA: Crackdown Pushing Pot Growers North | NBC San Diego.

Emergency Summit Tackles Synthetic Cannabis Use | Midwest | United States | Epoch Times

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

CHICAGO—Drugs designed to mimic the effects of marijuana have been sold in tobacco shops, gas stations, and convenience stores across the country for much of the last decade. While these products have managed to elude attempts at regulation, the number of users continues to grow.

In an effort to limit access to synthetic cannabis, federal and state authorities recently convened at an emergency summit in Illinois, organized by state Attorney General Lisa Madigan. The event aimed to raise awareness of the dangers of these drugs and, according to Madigan, “formulate a coordinated, statewide response to fight back.”

Best known as Spice or K2—in reference to the world’s second highest mountain—the drug is found under a variety of brand names and is much easier to obtain than the illegal plant it’s designed to imitate. Despite this easy availability, authorities warn of serious health risks associated with K2 consumption.

“The fact that anyone can walk into a store and purchase synthetic drugs gives teens and young adults the illusion that these substances are safe,” Madigan warned officials in Springfield, Ill.

For years, K2 was believed to be a natural product—a proprietary blend of mildly euphoric flowers and leaves each with its own history of traditional use. But a 2008 analysis discovered that the chemicals responsible for the product’s high aren’t found in nature.

Although K2 products largely consist of plant material, they are laced with synthetic compounds designed to produce the same feel-good effects as marijuana, but without the threat of breaking the law.

While synthetic cannabinoids were originally developed by researchers in an attempt to slow tumor growth, the compounds were later co-opted for recreational use. However, authorities say these drugs are extremely dangerous because users can’t really be sure of the chemicals they’re ingesting.

K2 products feature a vast range of different chemical formulations and potencies, some of which can be two to 500 times stronger than tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the natural psychoactive chemical found in cannabis.

Although K2 is legal, the Illinois Poison Center says it causes far more side effects than marijuana. Users have reported increases in heart rate and blood pressure, as well as vomiting, panic attacks, hallucinations, seizures, and more.

via Emergency Summit Tackles Synthetic Cannabis Use | Midwest | United States | Epoch Times.

How Pot Could Save Obamacare | Mother Jones

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

On Monday morning, the Supreme Court announced that it will consider the constitutionality of the Obama health care reform law this term, guaranteeing a decision on the landmark legislation by the end of June, right in the middle of the 2012 election campaign. The administration seems fairly confident that the court won’t, in fact, overturn the law. It has asked for an expedited review of the legal challenges, and, like the law’s opponents, it has pressed the court to settle the matter as soon as possible so states can move forward with implementing the law.

“We know the Affordable Care Act is constitutional and are confident the Supreme Court will agree,” White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer said in a statement Monday morning. The administration has good reason to be optimistic—and if the law is eventually upheld, the Obama team might owe a thank you to a surprising group of people: pot smokers. Here’s why.

via How Pot Could Save Obamacare | Mother Jones.

Editorial: Corte Madera buys time with medical pot dispensary ban – Marin Independent Journal

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

GIVEN THE sharply mixed messages federal authorities have sent regarding California’s medical marijuana dispensaries, the Corte Madera Town Council is probably wise to extend its moratorium on new ones.

In 2009, the Obama administration announcement that these businesses would not be a top crime-fighting priority for federal prosecutors led to many pot outlets opening in Marin. Now, federal agencies are back targeting them.

The Corte Madera Town Council, understandably, voted to extend the town’s temporary ban.

The federal yoyoing leaves city and county governments in a bureaucratic “no man’s land” when they are asked to issue business or planning permits for a use that California voters in 1996 declared legal, but one that still violates federal law.

Maybe by next November, state and federal courts will clarify local government’s legal leeway on this issue. That’s a giant “maybe” that has been left unresolved since California voters approved the “compassionate” use of marijuana for medicinal purposes 15 years ago.

The measure was endorsed in Corte Madera and the rest of Marin by a comfortable margin.

Just last year, local voters also supported Proposition 19, which called for the legalization of marijuana in California. While failing statewide, the proposition was backed by 61.3 percent of Corte Madera’s voters.

via Editorial: Corte Madera buys time with medical pot dispensary ban – Marin Independent Journal.

Sacramento Press / Marijuana by the numbers

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Under heavy scrutiny from the federal government and an administrative freeze on the city’s permit program, medical marijuana dispensaries in Sacramento could face a full ban – but if Sacramento’s dispensaries are shut down, what happens to the city budget bottom line?

In total, the city has received approximately $1.4 million since the start of the permit process for medical marijuana dispensaries – nearly $1 million from one-time fees – according to Maurice Chaney, Economic Development Department spokesman.

If the city were to ban medical marijuana dispensaries, they could see a potential $528,000 budget shortfall from reduced or eliminated marijuana business operations taxes in the 2011-12 fiscal year.

The rate of the business operations tax levied on dispensaries in the city is 4 percent. This is in addition to California sales tax that all businesses are required to pay to the state franchise Tax Board.

The total amount of revenue projected in the FY 2011-12 city budget from medical marijuana business operations taxes was $1 million. Taxes are paid quarterly, so the Finance Department estimated $250,000 in revenue each quarter of the current fiscal year.

The total first-quarter income to the city from medical marijuana business operations taxes was actually $361,000 – a surplus of $111,000. This reflects revenue received from July 1 to Sept. 30. Data for October is not available yet, Brad Wasson, revenue manager for the city Finance Department, said Monday.

via Sacramento Press / Marijuana by the numbers.

Closing Time for Cannabis Clubs – The Bay Citizen

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Dispensaries shut down on eve of Justice Department deadline

On Friday morning, Mel Rosmon, a talkative 58-year-old veteran, paid a visit to his neighborhood medical marijuana dispensary, Divinity Tree, as it prepared to shut its doors for good.

As part of a federal crackdown on the state’s medical marijuana industry, U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag ordered the club and dozens of others to close, because they are near schools and parks where children play. Divinity Tree — a small storefront dispensary with a gated door and security guard — is located in the Tenderloin, around the block from Sgt. John Macaulay Park.

Rosmon, a longtime resident of the neighborhood, scoffed at the notion that the club was a threat to kids who might use the swings and slides at the playground.

“There’s more dope fiends and junkies in the park smokin’ crack and shootin’ dope then there’ll ever be in front of this place,” said Rosmon, standing outside Divinity Tree. “They got this bathroom in front of that park that’s a junkie paradise, and they’re coming and obstructing something that’s good for the community!”

via Closing Time for Cannabis Clubs – The Bay Citizen.

Medical marijuana crackdown troubles users – The Orion: Features

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Tasha Clark

Proposition 215 patients in Chico who use marijuana medicinally now have to travel as far as Sacramento in order to receive a prescription.

Medical marijuana supporters fought to keep dispensaries open in the city, but efforts were put to a halt due to the closing of all dispensaries in Butte County.

While selling marijuana in dispensaries and cannabis clubs is legal with proper identification under California state law, it is still illegal under federal law.

Because businesses were profiting off a federal illegal substance, they had to shut down, but supporters are not giving up and want a justifiable answer as to why these dispensaries no longer exist in the city.

Dispensary supporter David Coventree doesn’t see the big deal in legalizing marijuana, especially since he uses it for medicinal purposes, he said.

Coventree was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer two years ago.

His diagnosis is not severe enough to receive chemotherapy, but his chronic pancreatitis causes vomiting and stomach pains. Because of this, Coventree relied on marijuana to reduce the pain, he said.

The prescription drugs that he takes make him sick, and the excessive vomiting has created ulcers in his stomach, Coventree said.

“I checked online, made phone calls, there is nothing,” he said. “I didn’t even get a notice, no heads up.”

Coventree must now travel to Redding or Sacramento to get a prescription, but if stopped by police, the transport would be considered trafficking between counties, he said.

“I want to obey the law, but the law doesn’t want to help those who really need it,” Coventree said.

via Medical marijuana crackdown troubles users – The Orion: Features.