Posts Tagged ‘ Medical Marijuana’

California pot growers shifting crop to private farmlands – Politics Wires –

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 –

‘Weed Wars’ Goes Inside Medical Marijuana Dispensary | Fox News

Friday, December 9th, 2011

The issue of legal medical marijuana isn’t disappearing in a cloud of smoke, as Discovery Channel’s “Weed Wars” proves.

The four-part series premiering Thursday goes inside controversial business of medical cannabis by following Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, the nation’s largest medicinal cannabis dispensary, serving over 94,000 patients. The man behind the pot-centric business is Steve DeAngelo, who hopes that the show will educate Americans on the regulation, taxation and sale of medicinal cannabis.

“We wanted to be a model to other dispensaries, most of who have a media phobia. We wanted to tell our story and we gave Discovery complete access so that people could make up their own minds,” DeAngelo told FOX411’s Pop Tarts column. “There are a lot of stereotypes about who comes to these dispensaries, but viewers will see our customers cover a huge cross-section of the population – age, race and economic classes. They will also see how Harborside treats cannabis as a medicine, and we have a high standard of medical care.”

via ‘Weed Wars’ Goes Inside Medical Marijuana Dispensary | Fox News.

Bay Area medical marijuana dispensaries face a federal crackdown | Local: In Oakland | an blog

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Fifteen years after the adoption of Proposition 215, the Compassionate Use Act, a great disparity between state and federal drug laws exists in California.

In October, the U.S. Department of Justice announced a crackdown on medical marijuana facilities. The four U.S. Attorneys for California began sending out eviction notices to various medical marijuana dispensaries throughout the state. Melinda Haag, U.S. Attorney for Northern California sent 45 day warning eviction notices to three dispensaries in San Francisco. Since then, three dispensaries in San Francisco have closed and many other dispensary owners and patients across the Bay Area are worried about what will happen to California’s medical marijuana laws.

via Bay Area medical marijuana dispensaries face a federal crackdown | Local: In Oakland | an blog.

NM’s medical marijuana program flourishing |

Friday, December 9th, 2011

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) – More than 1,000 New Mexicans have applied for medical marijuana licenses since Republican Gov. Susana Martinez took office in January.

The popularity of the program has the administration that had advocated repeal of the law to instead propose taking the program outside of the public health department.

Health and Human Services Secretary Dr. Catherine Torres says she will ask lawmakers for authorization to create a new, self-supporting unit with seven full-time employees to administer the program.

Asked whether that meant Martinez had changed her stance against the legalization of medical marijuana, Torres said only that “the governor and I are following the statutes.”

She declined to speculate on whether the governor might in the future pursue attempts to repeal the law.

via NM’s medical marijuana program flourishing |

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.

NYC Cops Finally Begin Following Marijuana Arrest Laws

Friday, December 9th, 2011

Three months ago, New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly told the city’s cops to stop manufacturing misdemeanors by tricking pot smokers into “displaying” marijuana and then arresting them for what would otherwise be a citable offense (possession of up to 25 grams). Since then, according to numbers released today, the number of minor pot busts has fallen by 13 percent compared to the same period last year. That may sound like good progress, except that research by Queens College sociologist Harry Levine, which forced Kelly’s hand by highlighting what had been a little-noticed crackdown on pot smokers, indicates that most marijuana possession arrests in New York during the last decade and a half—a lot more than 13 percent—were trumped up in ways that Kelly himself now says are illegal. The Drug Policy Alliance, which published some of Levine’s research, says it shows “the vast majority of the marijuana arrests in New York City—up to 75 percent in some precincts—are the result of illegal searches and false charges.”

via NYC Cops Finally Begin Following Marijuana Arrest Laws.

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.