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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

The Michigan Dispensary Cartel Looks at Lame Duck Session to Pass State Controlled Medical Marijuana Program - by Ben Horner


     House Bill 5800 was introduced by Representative Lucido and referred to the House Judiciary Committee in August of this year and seeks to amend the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA). The Bill would add the following:

Political Wins and Raid Losses This Summer - by Ben Horner

     Lapeer County Prosecutor Tim Turkelson and Sheriff Ron Kalanquin both incumbents lost their reelection bids for the republican nominations. These two are well known for their hard-line stance against all medical marijuana activity in their county.  Patients and caregivers are hoping that their replacements will show more compassion and stop the focus on marijuana users and redirect their efforts on the opiate, heroin and meth problems in the county.  The initiative to legalize cannabis in Lapeer lost by just 5 votes in 2014, and this recent change in top enforcers could signal that Lapeer has finally overcome their reefer madness.

Michigan News for September 2016


MMMP Fees Pay Police

Detroit: According to the Detroit Free Press, many patients and marijuana advocates were surprised to learn the fees they paid to obtain their medical marijuana card are being used to pay the police that have been raiding them. The fees are meant to oversee and enforce the medical marijuana program. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) had so much money built up from the fees that it distributed $1.2 million to 18 county sheriffs. Oakland County’s Sheriff received $323,725. The sheriff plans to use the money for 28 “raid-style” bulletproof vests, a van, pickup truck, and trailer to transport seized marijuana, training investigators, and overtime pay for medical marijuana investigators. The sheriffs are expected to use the grant for training and the enforcement of the MMA.

National News for September 2016 - by Rachel Bunting


Smokin’ Sex

New York: Researcher Joseph Palamar and his colleagues at New York University have started a project to answer one of the many questions that have come forward since marijuana began to increase in popularity publicly: How does marijuana affect our sex lives? The study enlisted 24 heterosexual adults to conduct in-depth interviews about previous sexual experiences that took place under the influence of either marijuana or alcohol. The group of individuals involved in the project do not represent a national sample, but instead operate as a qualitative assessment group to gather the different effects of alcohol and marijuana on sexual behaviors and use this information as a “jumping-off” point for future quantitative research.

World News for September 2016 - by Rachel Bunting


Prison Plants

Australia: The operators of a privately-run correctional facility have a lot of explaining to do after 28 marijuana plants were found growing in the center’s vegetable patch. Minister for Corrections, Steve Herbert, said he would like to know how the plants came to be grown in the center and why they were not found earlier. Corrections commissioner Jan Shuard has requested a report from the GEO about the circumstances surrounding the incident. Shuard says, “Maintaining a safe environment for prisoners, and the security of the prison, is what the contractor is required to do. They’ve been asked to explain how this occurred within their prison [and] we will then determine whether or not they have met the standards to operate that prison.” The latest incident has many officials questioning whether private operators should be running correctional facilities for profit.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

VGIP Update for September 2016 - by Ben Horner

MI Legalize Makes Its Last Stand

The MI Legalize campaign lost their case to reverse a decision by the state Board of Canvassers regarding the 180 day ruling for signature gathering. The Michigan Court of claims agreed with the decision that rejected approximately 200K signatures which were collected after the deadline for petition circulators to complete and turn in their petition. MI Legalize board members made a decision in November of last year to continue past the 180-day window and join the Committee to Ban Fracking to challenge the current petitioning rules on constitutional grounds. Unlike the Committee to Ban Fracking, MI legalize continued to fund raise and raised over a million dollars in 18 months. The campaigns leadership vows to take the suit to the Supreme Court and is defending attacks from activists that say this strategy to ignore election laws and misdirect resources is counter-productive to real legalization.

      “These were very well-intentioned people, good-hearted but very naive — they really needed much more money and much sooner to pull this off” Tim Beck from Coalition for a Safer Michigan told the Detroit Free Press. Beck worked with the Michigan Responsibility Council to explore a plan to work with the Michigan legislature to create a state controlled six-company cultivation monopoly, which would replace the caregiver system as the source of cannabis for dispensaries throughout Michigan.

Free The Weed 66 - by John Sinclair


     Highest greetings from the northeastern sector of Detroit, where I’m visiting with my daughter Sunny and my granddaughter Beyonce for the next few weeks since returning from my summer in Amsterdam. I’d like to thank once again the people at Sensi Seeds for putting me up in one of their lavish guest apartments at the beginning and end of my stay, and to my man Tariq Khan for taking me in at his pad in the Heesterveld Creative Community in the Bijlmer for all the days in between. That was really sweet.

     Now I’m back in the U.S.A. in the middle of the toxic waste dump called the presidential election season, trying to get mentally prepared for either the best—our first female president—or the worst, which would be the installation of Mr. “You’re Fired” in the White House.

The Fenton Hydro Family Moves to a Bigger House - by Ben Horner


     After Five years of serving loyal growers in Fenton, Michigan, Fenton Hydroponics is moving to a bigger location on Leroy Street two miles from their original location. Owner of Fenton Hydro, Brian Hass (AKA “Big Haas”) and I met on a road trip to Gaylord with none other the Red Wings Legend, Darren McCarty. That day I had the chance to try some of Big Haas’ primo meds with Darren and learn how they became close. Darren came up to the store to support the Fenton Hydro family and reminisce.

Cannibals of Freedom - by Daniel L. Price, Esq.



Feasting on Freedom by Creating Criminals

     I wish to remind all concerned once again that a concerted effort has long been underway to undermine the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (“MMMA”).  Unfortunately, it’s not just that medical marijuana patients and caregivers alike are being treated as less than human by our State’s law enforcement and prosecutors.  Nor is it just that the Michigan State Police (“MSP”) Crime Labs are being apparently ordered to falsify drug test results.  Nor is it simply that the Michigan legislature enacted a law which allows police to force you to take a saliva test, simply because you hold a LARA Card.  To be sure, police and narcotics units have actually been creating criminal activity where none exists.

GROW TIP: Organic Mite & Mold Killer - by Ben Horner


     Finally an organic solution is available that tackles two of the biggest nightmares for growers in Michigan, powdery mildew and mites. Micro sniper is 100% organic and made in Michigan. We recently field-tested the Micro Sniper on some plants that had some powdery mildew, which is extremely common in Michigan. The results were amazing. Never have we seen mites eliminated with an organic product. It compares to products like Eagle 20 and Azamax, which unlike Micro Sniper, are not safe for patients or made from natural ingredients. Last Month we tackled a powdery mildew problem and this month we tried it on some plants with a mite infestation. The experiment proved the claim that Micro Sniper Works on both of these pest. It really works.

Monday, August 1, 2016

Happy Birthday Clio Cultivation!








Why Caregivers Should Cultivate Away from Their Primary Residence - by Paula Givens

Why Caregivers Should Cultivate Away from Their Primary Residence

1. Overly Sensitive and Nosey Neighbors: 

Very often a frustrated neighbor initiates a call to the police, which then causes unwanted intrusions into your cultivation facilities.  Local Police Departments are sensitive to the complaints of neighbors about excess odor, light and traffic related to suspected cultivation operations.  

In commercial and industrial areas the sensitivities of your neighbors are quite different from residential areas.  Very often those aspects of your grow operation that annoy your residential neighbors go completely unnoticed in a commercial or industrial setting.

By moving your cultivation facility away from your residence you are able to remove one of the major causes of police visits to your grow – the complaints of your overly sensitive residential neighbors.






2. Helps Caregivers Better Follow the MMMA:  

Another reason to consider separating your cultivation facilities from your primary residence is that, in my experience, this separation helps caregivers to better follow the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (“MMMA”).

Many of the legal issues that arise under the MMMA are because the grow is located at a residence, including issues with prohibited access and improper locking, which arise when the caregiver feels compelled to relax the standards of operation for the convenience of family members.  This is not an issue at a commercial/industrial facility.   

It is easier to be compliant with the MMMA when the caregiver has full control over those with access to the growing facilities.  





3. Minors:  

One of the federal priorities respecting cannabis is that minors have no access to the product.  By separating your cultivation facility from your residence you are able to prevent your children and other children from accidental access to your cultivation operations.  







4. May Prevent Your Residence from Being Searched: 

     The stories are familiar to us all; a caregiver is raided and not only do the police search the cultivation facility, but also the house.  Too often, personal property that has nothing to do with caregiving is seized in these circumstances.

     If your residence and your cultivation facility are not separate, then anytime your grow is searched every aspect of your residence is subject to search and possible seizure.

     I can not guarantee you that if your grow and residence are separate and you have a search and seizure at your grow that there will never be a search of your home.   However, I believe the separation of the two will make it much more difficult for the police to justify searching your home.  This is true primarily because your home and cultivation facilities are no longer directly connected.   

     I believe that if the two are separate the police will be forced to apply for and justify a separate search warrant of your home.  The search of your home will no longer simply be incidental to a search of your grow.  

     In my estimation, you are twice as likely to have your cultivation facilities interfered with by the police if it is located in a residential area.  It is much easier to protect your property from seizure now than try to get it back later.



5. Better Conditions to Operate a Business:  

     Basements and garages are made for storage, and are not designed specifically to cultivate cannabis.  Industrial and commercial space is far better suited to the cultivation of cannabis than your home.  Your home is for living, not for growing.  

     Your homeowners insurance policy has a clause in it that requires you to notify the Insurance company if you make material change to the use of your property.  Installing multiple lights, HVAC equipment, humidifiers and other related electrical equipment is arguably a “material change.”  In the 
event of fire this provides the insurance company with an argument that a material change existed and they should not be required to cover your loss.  

     If your cultivation facility is located in an industrial space you have so much more control over your business, what happens to your business and your personal life.   

Grow Tip: Organic Preventative Maintenance - by Ben Horner

Organic Preventative Maintenance

     



     Finally an organic solution is available that tackles two of the biggest nightmares for growers in Michigan, powdery mildew and mites. Micro sniper is 100% organic and made in Michigan. We recently field-tested the Micro Sniper on some plants that had some powdery mildew, which is extremely common in Michigan. The results were amazing. Never have we seen powdery mildew eliminated with an organic product. It compares to products like Eagle 20 and Azamax which, unlike Micro Sniper, are unsafe for patients and made from synthetic ingredients.

     This product was designed by top-level biochemists and is just hitting the market. Having an all-in-one product to handle mites and powdery mildew is the perfect preventative maintenance (PM), and unlike PM Wash, Mighty Wash and many others, this shit actually works. Although Micro Sniper is one of the few products that are safe to use on plants that are late in flower, it’s always better to stop problems using PM before they start. Results are clearly visible using the Dino scope magnifier.  Within minutes of the application, the white spots of powdery mildew begin to die and dissipate. All that remains is a lite shadow of the mildew stain and no further mildew spots form in the following week. 

     One drawback about Micro Sniper is that it does not come in a ready–to-use (RTU) spray bottle. The producer promises to have more sizes and RTU.  We will be field testing the Micro Sniper on mites  for next month’s issue as well as running lab tests for residual pesticides.  




Tips:

• We recommend using a spray bottle with a rotating angular nozzle for getting to the underside of the plant.  

• Don’t apply Micro Sniper in direct light sunlight or under hot grow lights. The light could burn the leaves.


• Maintain a consistent PM schedule and spray your girls down when they are young and reapply before flowering to prevent any problems before they start.




Cannibals of Freedom: The Making of Political Prisoners - by Daniel L. Price, Esq.


     A concerted effort has long been underway to undermine the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (“MMMA”).  Prosecutors routinely charge medical marijuana users with anything from possession, use, and illegally transporting medical marijuana.  And, we should never forget that it came to light last year that the Michigan State Police (“MSP”) Crime Labs are being ordered to falsify drug test results and claim that synthetic marijuana is present in blood, when in fact it is not.  The purpose of this was to make medical marijuana users guilty of felonies.  Worse, most often this is only done solely as a result of a patient showing their card to law enforcement, in compliance with the MMMA.   

     Well, its official, now Michigan has made yet another move reminiscent of Nazi Germany’s crackdown on Jews, Gays, Gypsies, and anyone else who did not look or act like government actors wanted.  The Michigan legislature, with the encouragement and blessings of the MSP and our illustrious governor (who apparently has no problem turning a blind eye to poisoning entire cities through the water supply), made a new law that will allow law enforcement to force you to take a saliva drug test simply because you are a medical marijuana patient.  And of course, like in Nazi Germany, it is allegedly in the name of the undefinable terms of public safety, public health, and public good.  

     Effective September 22, 2016, Michigan’s laws against medical marijuana users will now include a law that allows law enforcement to demand a swab test of anyone they have “…reasonable cause to believe that a person had in his or her body any amount of a controlled substance listed in schedule 1” of the public health code.  (MCLA §257.625r).  The result of this statute will be that if you comply with the MMMA and show your card to law enforcement when you are pulled over, you will be required to give a saliva (“DNA”?), sample or face a civil infraction.  If you do not do so, you may be fined, and your right to drive a vehicle stripped from you, as the new law states you are subject to breath tests and the refusal to take a breath test is still punished.  As a result, you could be punished twice for your refusals.

     But wait, so what level of marijuana in your body is enough to make you impaired to drive a motor vehicle?  That’s the worst part about it, the legislature, MSP and governor have absolutely no idea.  Actually, it is my understanding that there is no set level of marijuana in your blood that will cause you to drive impaired.  What is known is that if you ingest your medicine every day, it is guaranteed that you will have some level of marijuana in your body.  And if you show your card to law enforcement, they can on that basis alone demand that you take the swab test.

     As always, the basis of the justification for the law is public safety, public good, public welfare.  And, these terms cannot be defined objectively.  You can be sure that any law justified by terms that cannot be defined is solely designed to rob you of your dignity, your liberty, your right to think, act and look different than others.  Also, they are designed to generate money for government actors.   

     This new law is yet another example of government actors who suffer from PASY (Parasitic Anthropophagy Syndrome), and who make laws based upon the undefinable.  Indeed, government actors represent themselves as your servants.  Yet, it is they who expect that you will serve them by thinking, acting and looking like they do.  And if you do not, like in the case of the use of medical marijuana, they make you their political prisoner.

     A vote for those afflicted with PASY, is a vote for continuing the feasting on the flesh of our freedom.  Freedom is not free.  One must think, speak, and act to defend one’s freedom.  Remember, the denial of your freedom takes no action, you need only keep silent and walk in line to wherever cage they tell you to go in to.  

Till next month, keep rolling on.


Disclaimer:  This is an informational article only.  It is not to provide individual legal advice.  If you need legal services, feel free to contact me, or any attorney of your choosing.





V.G.I.P. Update for August 2016 - by Ben Horner


     Abrogate Michigan has failed to garner the needed volunteers and signatures to make the ballot in November. MI Legalize is still attempting to sue to get on the ballot via litigation, however most people have accepted that no form of statewide legalization will be on the ballot this election cycle.  Inconsistencies regarding how medical marijuana laws in Michigan are interpreted by local police, prosecutors, and judges have managed to keep patients and caregivers from being able to safely access medical marijuana in many counties. 

     HB 4209, the Michigan Medical Marihuana Facilities Act has been stalled again in the Michigan Senate.  HB 4209 is designed to create a state regulatory model for dispensaries, and while in the hands of Senator Jones in the Judicial Committee, two other bills have been added to control seed-to-sale and distribution via secured transportation services, which would theoretically act as a completely regulated commercial cultivation system. 

     National Patients Rights Association (NPRA), MPP, Michigan Cannabis Development Association, Ann Arbor Cannabis Guild and the Lansing Cannabis Guild have actively been working to pass these bills, and have been willing to compromise patient and caregivers right to grow in exchange for the state to license their dispensaries and commercial growing. Two Groups, Evergreen Management and the Cannabis Stakeholders Group, have actively been trying to expose these corrupt officials that want to turn cannabis into a private government controlled program similar to the way the state regulates gambling, tobacco, and alcohol.

     We had a chance to attend part of an Evergreen Management meeting in Farmington Hills hosted by George Brikho, owner of Edenz Hydroponics gardening store. George Brikho is a libertarian that has been running for the US Congress and aims to run for the Michigan House of Representatives in the years ahead. Evergreen Management has a special focus on protecting caregiver and patient rights to grow. Using lobbying power from Dunaskiss and Associates, Evergreen Management has helped prevent the liquor distribution companies from lobbying for them to take over distribution rights for medical marijuana. 


     The legislative lame duck session will be coming up shortly after the election in November. Jones has vowed to make another attempt to pass the bills that nearly all patients and caregivers are against at this point. If patients, caregivers and small business owners want to prevent this from happening and wait to retry from scratch in 2017, a massive organizing effort must take place. The Cannabis Stakeholders Group will be working with groups like Evergreen Management to make this happen and continue the advocate for comprehensive legislation and local initiatives that work for all Michiganders, not just the 1%.

Free The Weed 65 - by John Sinclair


Highest greetings from Amsterdam, where I’m enjoying one of the finest summers ever with lots of sunshine and not so much rain. As a Flint native, I’m accustomed to long hot summers with plenty of heat, and as a former resident of New Orleans, I know what heat and humidity are all about. 

     There’s nothing like that here, and it stays kind of chilly most of the time even after the sunniest days, but it’s great to have more sun than rain in one’s life here in Amsterdam, and I’ll take it!

     I had a great experience the other night when I went with my friend Leslie Lopez to the Nord to visit his little recording studio. I used to spend a lot of time with Lopez in the basement of CafĂ© the Zen, where his studio used to be, and we made an album together down there several years ago. It’s called Let’s Go Get ’Em if you ever want to hear it, and you can download it at CD-Baby for a modest payment.

     Speaking of payment, the economics of marijuana consumption has been a hot topic in the mainstream media and among internet commentators. Of course, those of us who came to the marijuana liberation struggle from a spiritual perspective, with a special interest in the medicinal uses of the sacrament, have always known that marijuana would turn into big business once people got a chance to use it without punishment. But it’s really booming now.

     For example, A story published by the Cannabis Law Group looks forward to the “all-but-inevitable legalization for recreational use” of marijuana in California this fall and reports that “investors are preparing for the day when legalization comes.

     “In fact, such explosive growth is expected in the cannabis business and so much profit is expected to be generated, the situation is being described as ‘a new California gold rush’ as new businesses open, new products come into the marketplace, and new investor money comes in.”

     The story explains that “the cannabis industry is an underground industry which is tremendously profitable. It’s now becoming investible for the first time. As cannabis businesses come out of the shadows, industry revenue is expected to leap from $2.7 billion in 2014 to around $11 billion by 2019. 

     “New and innovative products are being developed every day, including a whole new product category consisting of the world’s first cannabis distillery, as well as new vaporizer and accessories products.“

     On a smaller but not insignificant scale, the state of Louisiana is looking into growing and selling medicinal marijuana products now that the Louisiana Legislature has approved a bill that legalizes the use of marijuana for people suffering from a specific list of debilitating diseases.

     “The so-called medical marijuana legislation authorizes LSU and Southern University to grow and produce cannabis to be consumed in a liquid form,” Tyler Bridges reports in The New Orleans Advocate, asking in a headline: “How Much Might LSU, Southern, Companies Profit? How Will It Be Distributed?” 

     And what about the private companies that are now “emerging to try to profit from the new industry by partnering with the universities”? LSU and Southern both report getting calls from representatives of companies that want to rent or sell land or provide a growing facility, while others are inquiring about financing the entire venture with the expectation of earning a profit. “It’s a money-making venture,” Bridges quotes a Southern University official.

     On an even deeper level, Karen Turner writes in the Washington Post that “Microsoft Becomes The First Big Tech Company To Get Into The Legal Weed Industry” by “partnering with a cannabis industry-focused software company called Kind Financial to provide ‘seed to sale’ services for cannabis growers that allow them to track inventory, navigate laws and handle transactions—all through Kind’s software systems.”

     Tunrer notes that “the partnership marks the first major tech company to attach its name to the burgeoning industry of legal marijuana,” but I’m sure it won’t be the last. Wait until the big pharmaceutical companies get their hands on cannabis!

     In fact, one of my favorite sources, Wonkblog, just published a piece by Christopher Ingraham about “Why Pharma Companies Are Fighting Legal Marijuana.” They’re fighting now but, so far as I can see, it’s basically a holding action to keep down progress toward legalization of weed while they figure out how to coopt our natural medicine and bring it into their own highly profitable domain.

     But there’s a lot of fascinating information in Ingraham’s story, which points to “a body of research showing that painkiller abuse and overdose are lower in states with medical marijuana laws.

     “In the 17 states with a medical-marijuana law in place by 2013, prescriptions for painkillers and other classes of drugs fell sharply compared with states that did not have a medical-marijuana law.

     “In medical-marijuana states,” Ingraham reports, “the average doctor prescribed 265 fewer doses of antidepressants each year, 486 fewer doses of seizure medication, 541 fewer anti-nausea doses and 562 fewer doses of anti-anxiety medication.” That’s a lotta missing doses!

     “But most strikingly,” he concludes, “the typical physician in a medical-marijuana state prescribed 1,826 fewer doses of painkillers in a given year.” For many of us this is great cause for celebration. But guess what?  “These companies have long been at the forefront of opposition to marijuana reform,” Ingraham reveals, ”funding research by anti-pot academics and funneling dollars to groups, such as the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, that oppose marijuana legalization. Pharmaceutical companies have also lobbied federal agencies directly to prevent the liberalization of marijuana laws.”

     Big Pharma makes a strange bedfellow for the law enforcement and prison guard unions that typically lead the charge against marijuana legalization, but when the pharmaceutical industry adjusts its chops to the taste of selling legal cannabis medication, they stand to make big profits while their allies will lose their ill-gotten powers for good.

     In closing, It may be kind of a sick thing to say, but the War On Drugs, like legally-enforced racial segregation—with full recognition of their evil intent and inhuman effect—actually resulted in the creation of some beautiful lifeways and cultural constructs developed outside of and in opposition to the Americo-Puritan paradigm that in many ways were far superior to the ones we have now.

     Under legal segregation black business and entertainment districts thrived, and there was a palpable sense of community among the citizens of the black ghettoes that hasn’t existed since the one-way street of integration was bulldozed through the black communities of our nation.

     By the same token, the culture of interdependence, cooperative farming, underground economics and spiritual sharing that grew up in the wake of the insane marijuana laws created a life for many of us that no longer exists, even though we can buy our weed over the counter now in many locations. But the cost of freedom from imprisonment has been to surrender our identities and become mindless consumers of whatever the pot industry wants us to purchase.

     On a personal note, my friend Maryjane Bunker has recently left the Grannies For Grass group to pursue a pair of initiatives of her own: Cannabis Information & Education, an on-line service she writes me “is reaching 3.8 million this a.m.,” and Puff, Puff, Paint, an organization set up to integrate puffing and painting in the process of art therapy. I had some great times when she brought me to Grannies For Grass events, she’s an accomplished and very generous grower, and I wish her every possible success in this next stage of her adventure.

P.S. I started out to say that when I visited Leslie Lopez’s studio in the Noord, it was in an abandoned police station! And we had quite a few laughs sharing a joint and listening to music where the police used to do their ugly business. FREE THE WEED!

FREE THE WEED!

—Amsterdam


July 21, 2016

World News for August 2016 - by Rachel Bunting

Government Official Leaves Bag Behind

     Israel: A small bag of marijuana was found in a restroom last month by a parliamentary assistant. The drug was found in a bathroom that is exclusively used by lawmakers and their aides. The assistant that found the bag turned it into Chief Security Officer Yosef Griff, and an investigation was launched to find the source of the bag. Officer Griff believes the bag was left by mistake and that no one had used marijuana in the restroom. Investigators have a long list of potential suspects as many lawmakers have admitted to using the drug, most prominently Meretz MK Tamar Zandberg, who is also the chair of the Knesset Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse, as well as Meretz MK Michal Rozin, and four or five other lawmakers. The investigation is ongoing.








Who Were the First Pot Heads?

     Germany: A study conducted by researchers from the German Archaeological Institute and the Free University of Berlin. The researchers found that, contrary to previous beliefs that cannabis was first harvested by China or Central China, marijuana was possibly first harvested and used by the Yamnaya people. They discovered the uses of marijuana for medicinal purposes, as well as a food source and material to make ropes and textiles dating back to around 5,000 years ago. The results were found using ‘archaeological and paleo-enviromental records of cannabis pollen, fibers, and achene from Europe and Asia’. Researchers found that cannabis use became common in East Asia when they began trading with Yamnaya people at the dawn of the Bronze Age. Those involved with the study say more investigation is needed as there are other variables to take into account with the trans-Eurasian exchange migration network.



Don't Deal and Drive

     England: Ishfarque Uddin, a 24 year-old man, was arrested shortly after running from the scene of an accident on foot. He was not arrested for leaving the scene of the accident, but for the £6,500 worth of marijuana found in the trunk of the vehicle he crashed. Uddin was charged with, and pled guilty to, careless driving and possessing cannabis with intent to supply. At his sentencing, the Judge told Uddin he was on “thin ice” and needed to get his life back on track. The defense admits Uddin was a heavy cannabis user who was able to join a gym and turn his life around. He was sentenced to a suspended sentence of 12 months in prison as well as 120 hours of community service to be completed over the next year. 




Trying to Make Bread

      Manama: Four men from Asia were arrested in connection with smuggling marijuana into Bahrain. The first man arrested was caught carrying wooden cylinders used to make bread. The man was first suspected because officers found him “in an abnormal condition” arriving from Bangladesh. He claimed to know nothing of the 2,098 grams of marijuana hidden in the cylinders and was cooperative with police. Three other men were arrested when they came to pick up the cylinders from the first. 





Meanwhile in Humpty Doo...

     Australia: An extremely angry and loud man called the police last month to report that his father was destroying his marijuana plants. When police arrived to the small town of Humpty Doo, they found that “in order to teach his son a lesson” the father of the emergency caller allegedly set fire to his son’s small crop of cannabis. Police released a statement that no charges will be filed in this case because “any evidence of a drug stash, had it been present, had been destroyed”. The son was last seen gathering his things and claiming he was going to stay with relatives. Superintendent Louise Jorgensen, according to the Digital Journal, commented on the case, “the evidence has been destroyed as has the son’s reputation... people don’t usually come forward to say their drug stash has been destroyed or stolen but there you go.”







Huge Haul in Fiji

     Fiji: In a joint operation between the Fiji Police Force and the Republic of Fiji Military Forces, 23 people, five of which have been jailed, were arrested for the unlawful cultivation of illicit drugs. Officers uprooted more than 1500 plants and 860 seedlings in the forest around the Cakaudrove Province. The anti-drug task force operation began on July 6th and has been receiving support from many committees for the prevention of crime. The officers released a statement reminding the public to come forward with any information that could help locate marijuana farms in the area. 




National News for August 2016 - by Rachel Bunting

Colorado Still Has Laws to Follow
     
     Denver: While medical and recreational marijuana use have been legal in Colorado since 2014, there are still laws and regulations in place to control the industry. Four doctors in the state have had their licenses suspended while they are being investigated for breaking one of those laws. Investigators believe the physicians have been recommending excessive plant counts to their patients, totaling over 1,500 patients. Doctors Gentry Dunlop, Robert Maiocco, Debrah Parr, and William Stone are believed to have approved patients to grow or possess at least 75 plants. 

     The Denver Post reported the standard count for medical marijuana is about six plants. State Health Officials want physicians to have justification for the higher doses they are handing out and believe the amount of plants recommended should be reserved for cancer patients. The Medical Board investigating would like the doctors to provide proof that the patients they advised to grow more than 75 had been diagnosed with cancer, as they believe any patient provided that many plants without cancer “falls below generally accepted standards of medical practice and lacks medical necessity.” 


     However, there is no specification in Colorado’s amendment stating plant count is connected with diagnoses. While one doctor claimed the higher dose was to make up for the number of plants a patient may accidently kill off or because some patients develop a tolerance, law enforcement officials worry the high plant counts could be a cover for illegal activity. The doctors will remain on suspension until the resolution of the matter, according to the order. Attorney Robber Corry, representing Dunlop and Maiocco, neither of which have been disciplined by the Medical Board before, told The Denver Post, “This has nothing to do with medicine. This suspension has nothing to do with facts and nothing to do with the law. It’s all about politics.”



Update On Santa Ana Sky High Police Raid
     California: In June 2015, MMM Report published a news story about a trio of police in California that could’ve been facing a lawsuit after raiding Sky High Holistic and were caught on a hidden security camera ingesting some of the medibles and making fun of a patient with an amputated leg. One stated, “Did you punch that one-legged old Benita?” while a female officer replied, “I was about to kick her in her f—ing nub.” The officers caught on film have now been let go from the department. 

     Matthew Pappas, a lawyer for the dispensary, released a statement about the decision to fire the officers, “Around the country, citizens need to see and hear that police officers who break the law are held accountable. Orange County’s District Attorney took bold action when charges for destruction of property and theft – not just shootings or beatings of citizens – were filed to hold Santa Ana officers accountable for last year’s police raid of the Sky High Holistic marijuana collective in Santa Ana. It is time law enforcement, agencies like Child Protective Services and politicians nationwide, recognize medical cannabis is not going away and that recreational marijuana – far safer than alcohol – should be legal and not the basis for imprisoning Americans or taking children from families.” 

     The officers are still facing charges of petty theft and vandalism and have pled not guilty. The officers maintain that the food they were filmed eating was not infused with marijuana but was the employee’s un-medicated lunch. They are expected in court in August for a pre-trial hearing.



Amount of Marijuana in a Joint Smaller than Expected

     Pennsylvania: A new study conducted by Greg Ridgeway, a professor of criminology and statistics at the University of Pennsylvania, and Beau Kilmer, a director of the RAND Drug Policy and Research Center, uses marijuana purchase data from arrest records to determine the amount of marijuana in a joint. The amount of marijuana in a joint has been debated by many for years with one study claiming a single joint held 0.66 grams of marijuana while the federal government put the weight around 0.43 grams. The new study, however, used 10,000 responses, took into account price differences between areas, adjusted for inflation, and considered the idea of price breaks after buying in bulk. Understanding these variations they applied ‘a mathematical drug pricing model to the data’ and found there is approximately 0.32 grams of marijuana in the typical joint. The researchers acknowledge that their study only considers one demographic of marijuana consumers, but feel nonetheless that it is a step in the right direction to incorporate estimates such as this into drug policies. Weight is only one aspect of marijuana as the THC in the joint can vary and without testing every strain it is hard to pinpoint the average amount of THC being consumed in the typical 0.32 gram joint.









Large Drug Ring Busted in NY

     Manhattan: In an effort to end illegal trafficking in their state, New York officers arrested more than 20 people, all connected to the same operation. The illegal business had been operating for nearly two years and was worth at least $15 million. The group moved nearly 350 pounds of marijuana from California to New York every month from 2014 to late 2015. They were also involved with the sale of prescription pills such as oxycodone and illegal gambling operations. The distributor, Frank Parisi, had more than 10 pounds of marijuana in the apartment above his family owned restaurant. Parisi as well as other ‘crew’ members were arraigned last month in Manhattan Criminal Court on charges of trafficking, illegal gambling, and tax fraud charges. The tax fraud charges come from the defendants not claiming their illegal revenue on tax returns. The rest of the members of the group are expected to be arraigned on similar charges. 




Jay Walking in PA

     Philadelphia:  Around two dozen marijuana activists marched from City Hall to the Wells Fargo Center (around 3.5 miles) carrying a 51-foot inflatable joint. Mary Beth Degray, one of the few topless activists with marijuana pasties, told CBS News, “We’re here to let the DNC know that we want them to legalize cannabis federally, and we want it descheduled, not rescheduled. It’s a plant, and you don’t have to try it if you don’t want to, but everyone should have the right to have access as a first resort, not a last resort.” Earlier last month the Democratic Party called for the drug to be downgraded in the Controlled Substances Act, removing it from its Schedule I spot, but many advocates don’t feel that is enough. Another activist, Dana Beal, explained their protest, “We want to see people go from a mostly alcohol and tobacco world to mostly marijuana world.”





First Florida Dispensary 
     Tallahassee: The first dispensary in Florida has been granted authorization from the Florida Department of Health to open to the public. Trulieve, the approved dispensary, plans to open its doors the last week of July and will be holding a press conference on July 25th. Trulieve will be able to immediately begin delivering low-THC marijuana to patients and will have higher levels of THC medication available sometime in August. CEO of the business, Kim Rivers, stated, “We are happy to announce that we have passed all inspections — from growing and processing to dispensing — and are the very first medical cannabis provider in the state to receive these formal authorizations. And we are most excited to get this much anticipated medicine to the patients of Florida.”

Michigan News for August 2016 - by Rachel Bunting

















U of M Study: MJ and Dopamine Receptors

     Ann Arbor: A study released by the University of Michigan has found that marijuana may reduce the response from the “reward area” of the brain. This means the brain would need more of a substance to receive the same level of satisfaction. This applies to substances other than marijuana as the same area of the brain releases dopamine, meaning even substances like food would require more to feel satisfied. The Senior Researcher on the study, Mary Heitzberg, commented on the results of the study, “This kind of suggests that marijuana may be biasing the brain’s reward system away from things the brain would normally find pleasurable.” The study followed 108 young adults, all high-risk for substance use disorder, over a 4 year period, administering a total of 3 MRI brain scans to the participants. 

     Researchers also focused on marijuana’s effect on the brain’s mechanisms underlying addiction, finding prolonged marijuana use at a young age can lead to addiction problems later in life. Organizer of Hash Bash in the 80’s and 90’s disputes the findings, claiming “the curiosity to try other drugs is largely a social thing”. Heitzberg did add, “This is just one piece of evidence that points to the effects of substances on the brain and marijuana in particular.” The study also indicated there are low chances of harm connected with marijuana use.



Dispensary Ordinance at the Capital
     
     LANSING: A new ordinance for the City of Lansing, now in its fourth draft, could eliminate many of the marijuana dispensaries if passed by the city council. The reduction of cannabis businesses would be due to added zoning restrictions and steep fees. The ordinance would require owners of marijuana establishments to have licenses. Establishments are defined as provisioning centers, safety compliance facility, processor facility, or growing area. The order would already ban establishments from being within 1,000 feet of schools and child care facilities. 

     If passed, a five-member council (consisting of two members from the general public, a member of a residential and neighborhood organization, the Director of Planning and Development or a designee, and a representative from a marijuana patient advocacy organization) would review license applications for marijuana related businesses. Every application must be submitted first to the City Clerk’s Office with a $5,000 fee, with a $10,000 annual fee if the license is approved as well as an additional $10,000 fee if a renewal is needed. If a license is denied the applicant will be returned $2,500 of their application fee. The fees are in place to cover city costs enforcing the ordinance. 

     The draft needs to be approved by 5 of the 8 council members to pass. Currently the city has a moratorium on opening new dispensaries, but there is nothing on the books requiring any marijuana related business to carry a license. The city hopes to have a resolution when the council meets in late July.



Bond Violation Arrest Becomes Drug Bust

Kalkaska: Officers ended up adding extra charges of drug possession to a Kalkaska woman after the Department of Public Safety originally show up at her home to arrest her for a bond violation. The woman slammed and locked the door when officers arrived. After forcing their way into the home officers found the woman attempting to conceal a dog kennel. She was arrested on suspicion of drug use and manufacturing. Police confiscated what they believe to be marijuana and heroin and have sent them to the State Crime Lab to be tested.





New Church Celebrates Cannabis

     Lansing: There were around 50 people at the opening of the new church, The First Cannabis Church of Logic and Reason in south Lansing last month. Jeremy Hall, founder of the church, would like monthly meetings to celebrate “cannabis’ spiritual properties”. Hall specifically uses the word ‘spiritual’ as the religion has no ideology, no texts or prophets. KHOU describes the church as BYOB, bring your own beliefs, using marijuana as the common factor between each individual. Hall would also like the church to “elevate the community and to show we aren’t a drain on society or a bunch of unmotivated criminals”. 


     At the meeting last month members were given 100 hygiene kits to give to those in need as well as handing out  
     fans and water on hot summer days. Baked goods and joints were available to medical marijuana card holders in a room near the congregation area. There was a report of one protestor, but overall, Hall claims the community reaction has been a positive one.





Roadside Drug Testing

     Lansing: Michigan State Police are currently working on plans for a pilot program that would allow random roadside drug testing. The MSP will pick five counties to test the program for one year. The drug test would be a saliva based test to check for marijuana, cocaine, and heroin. The counties will be chosen based on the number of impaired drivers arrested, the number of impaired driving crashes, and the number of Drug Recognition Experts (DREs) trained in each county. 


     The program is being implemented after the Barbara J. and Thomas J. Swift Law was passed, named after a couple that was killed when a tractor trailer crashed into their Malibu. The driver of the tractor trailer was found to have THC in his system when tested at the hospital after the accident. Gov. Snyder told mLive, “The five-county pilot program will be used to help determine accuracy and reliability of the tests.” Neil Rockind, the founder and an attorney at Rockind Law, opposes the legislation stating, “The criminal justice system wants to take science and turn it into a fast, easy utility. Science is neither fast nor easy.” Rockind asserted that Michigan will be setting a dangerous precedent. There are 99 DREs in 37 counties and the saliva tests will be administered by DREs only along with a 12 step evaluation.




MiLegalize Suit May be Dismissed

Lansing: The State of Michigan is asking a court to dismiss a suit filed by MiLegalize claiming the campaign has not “met the criteria for filing a lawsuit and state government officials are immune from legal action”. MiLegalize filed the lawsuit asking the court to order state elections officials to count petition signatures though they were collected outside the new 180-day law. The state is also asking for dismissal because the group has run out of time, stating even if the case is won by MiLegalize there will not be enough time for officials to check the validity of the signatures, put the question to the Legislature for the required 40 days, and put on the ballot by the September deadline. Michigan Radio reports MiLegalize will file its response quickly, determined to still make the November ballot.