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Monday, January 30, 2017

The MPP Comes to Michigan - by Tim Beck


     In September of 2016, word began to seep out to the Michigan cannabis reform community that an 800lbs gorilla was coming back to town. In essence, the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), which was responsible for funding and running the successful campaign to create the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act (MMMA) of 2008, was closely eyeing Michigan for full blown cannabis legalization in 2018.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Finding the Silver Lining - by Rebecca Veenstra

 


 The art of keeping the glass half full is not an easy skill to maintain.

     We all have those days when the glass is empty—when we are turning it upside down cursing the powers that be—wishing even a drop would fall from our overturned dreadfully dry, empty glass.

     Those days are the worst, hopeless, sad times when we struggle to see just a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel.

     2016 was a particularly challenging year for us all. We watched so many of the World’s great people pass away. We witnessed war and destruction in so many places on the globe. We saw corrupt governments and politicians adversely affect the lives of people in many countries and states, including our own home state of Michigan. We saw forests burn, oil spills, earthquakes, and terrorism.

     When we turn on the news we see people struggling while the powers that be prevail, gleefully overturning our full glasses—laughing mercilessly as we cling to our ideology, naively shaking our fists at the injustices we witness.

     Why did Muhammed Ali have to die? Why did David Bowie have to suffer with cancer? Why did Carrie Fisher have a heart attack? Why couldn’t Michigan’s government keep thousands of people safe from poisoned drinking water? Why did the earthquakes in Italy have to happen? Why didn’t anyone stop the bombing in Syria? Why are there still people starving, living without water in a world of billionaires?

     I saw a news story once many years ago, where they interviewed a doctor who conducted psychological research on depression. He said that in the past people who struggled with depression were considered to be out of touch with reality.

     He then went on to explain that more current research had debunked that theory entirely. He said that recent research has indicated quite the opposite. People with depression are TOO in touch with reality.

     They shake their fists at the injustices in the world and stay angry and sad because of the wrongs they witness in their daily lives and on the news. They weep for the environment and cry over the latest extinct animal, devastating forest fire, or displaced war scarred children. They stay mired in the cold, hard real world with tears streaming down their faces, popping Prozac like candy, going to psychotherapy sessions to discuss the source of their sadness, reality.

     Buddhist religion teaches that the source of all human suffering is resistance.

The Serenity prayer says:
     Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.

     I think the happy subjects in that Doctor’s research recognize both the Buddhist concept and the serenity prayer in their own way. They see the forest fire and they know they cannot personally change the outcome They see Muhammed Ali has died and they accept that he is gone.

     The art of keeping the glass half full is accepting what we cannot change while keeping our rosy tinted glasses on for sanity’s sake; letting ourselves believe everything is going to be okay, no matter what.

     The art of keeping the glass half full is believing that we are acceptable, worthy of celebration and happiness even if reality tells us we are out of shape, or that we could be doing better. We are what we are.

     If we take the Buddhist advice to stop resisting what is and accept the challenge to change the things we can. Maybe we can keep our glasses half full. Maybe we can manufacture our own happiness despite the things that strive to bring us down. We need to allow ourselves to candy coat reality a little bit… a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.

     Like the good Doctor said, the people who embellished reality a little bit and let themselves believe in a reality that was rosy tinted were healthier than the subjects that were entrenched in the cold hard real world.

     Clinging to our rosy tinted glasses is not a sign of weakness, it is a survival mechanism that we need to practice more. If we allow ourselves to believe in happiness for happiness sake alone and fight the good fights while allowing ourselves to accept the things we cannot change; perhaps we can put the Prozac down and stop shaking our fists at a world of injustice that will surely endure beyond our short life times.

Rebecca Veenstra
Chartered Herbalist
New World Seeds, Traverse City, Michigan



Grow Tip for January 2017 - by Ben Horner

     Lighting Systems



     This month we decided to compare and contrast two double-ended (DE) high pressure sodium (HPS) 1000 watt lighting systems: Phantom vs. Vanquish.

     DE lights produce higher lumens then a traditional singles and last much longer. Traditional bulbs should be replace 2-4 times a year, whereas DE bulbs last almost a year before needing to be replaced.

     Using a lumen tester we compared the Vanquish Lighting digital ballast and hood against the Phantom digital ballast and hood. Booth hoods used where enclosed and both systems used a generic double ended bulb. Using a Victor digital lex meter we measured the lumen of both systems and a standard HPS single lamp.


Comparison of different 1000 watt Grow lights.

     Lumen is just one aspect of measuring light. The spectrum of light is also very important. Unfortunately we were unable to get a PAR meter that shows peaks in the spectrum for best plant growth.

     When using DE bulbs more blue light from a T5 or metal halide should be used to supplement your grow. Also, DE put out more heat then single HPS, so they need to be air cooled or raised higher over a plants canopy.

Cannibals of Freedom: New Year, Same Old War - by Daniel L. Price, Esq.


     HAPPY NEW YEAR!  I hope all had a fine Christmas and New Year’s Eve.  I also sincerely hope that all avoided the Grinch and his foot soldiers used in the war against our freedom.  Now that 2016 is gone forever, and the New Year is upon us, I think the following thoughts from the author Terry Goodkind are appropriate:

     Life is the future, not the past.  The past can teach us, through experience, how to accomplish things in the future…But only the future holds life.  To live in the past is to embrace what is dead.  To live life to its fullest, each day must be created anew.  As rational, thinking beings, we must use our intellect, not a blind devotion to what has come before, to make rational choices.

     More true words were never written.  2016 is gone, never to return again.  We can use the experiences of past years to teach us how to get things done.  And, the only effective way to get things done is to use our intellects and make rational choices, rather than have a blind devotion to what has come before.

      In the context of defending and spreading freedom, including the use of marijuana for both medical and recreational use, let’s look at what has come before.  Well, the majority of people view marijuana users as dope heads and thus they obstinately, irrationally, and/or are unfairly intolerant of ideas, opinions, or beliefs of marijuana use that differ from their own, and are intolerant of the people who hold those ideas.  In other words, they exercise bigotry.  Bigotry is central to denying freedom, whether it be due to race, gender, religious beliefs, nationality, or life choices, such as using marijuana.  For example, bigotry allowed the German and Russian peoples to help Hitler and Stalin murder millions due to their religious beliefs.  Bigotry also allowed otherwise good people to enslave blacks, murder and displace the American Indian, and a host of other tragedies in history.  These are but a few of historic examples.  But, make no mistake, bigotry is at the base of every thought and action whose ultimate purpose is to deny and destroy freedom.

     As for denying the freedom to ingest marijuana, bigotry against it and its users led to the criminalizing the use and possession of a natural plant.  It currently allows governmental actors to charge, convict and cage people simply for using that natural plant.  Men, women and children are killed and forcibly taken from their families for exercising their freedom, while harming no one’s life, liberty or property.  More recently, it also led to the MI State Police crime labs to knowingly and fraudulently falsify marijuana test findings in order for prosecutors to get criminal convictions of its users where they would otherwise not be able to do so.


     Many people believe that Michigan made great strides where marijuana is concerned because the people demanded medical marijuana.  Think again, criminal charges and convictions are skyrocketing.  The scheme drafted by the legislature in response to the vote of the people was to draft a law that should the people follow, they will automatically be guilty of a crime.  Let’s face it, if you are allowed to have 12 plants under the law.  Yet, if you harvest those twelve plants, you are guilty of felony manufacturing, maintaining a drug house, and possession with the intent to deliver, because you will have about 100 or more ounces of marijuana.  Giving the parasites in the legislature their intellectual due one must conclude that THEY DESIGNED THE LAW TO FURTHER DESTROY YOUR FREEDOM!

     Some think the new additions to the law, effective December, 2016, will be better.  Think again!!!  The new marijuana law additions deny the protections of the 4th Amendment to those who grow, transport, process, test and sell medical marijuana to patients.  According to the new laws, you have 3 options:  Give up your privacy, which is the cornerstone of freedom, don’t be involved with medical marijuana, or potentially go to prison.  Still think the new laws are going to help you obtain freedom?

     Make no mistake, it is not a war on drugs, it is a WAR ON FREEDOM!  But how can the average person help to win against the government actors’ war on freedom?  You must DESERVE VICTORY.  First, learn the role bigotry plays in providing ammunition to your oppressors.  Second, talk about the role bigotry plays to your friends, family, and people you meet.  Third, do not support your oppressors by allowing bigotry to guide your choices at the ballot box.  In other words, do not vote to take away, or to not allow, freedom to others, so long as their actions do not harm another’s life, liberty or property, merely because you disagree with them.  This is the only way to win against the war on freedom.  If this is not done, then we give support to the war against our own freedom.
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.

Free the Weed 70 - by John Sinclair

     Highest greetings from Amsterdam, where I’m spending the winter as Artist in Residence at Tariq Khan’s studios in the Heesterveld Creative Community in the southeastern sector of the city. I may have mentioned that this area was a terrible slum ten years ago but was reclaimed and repurposed by the local government as a mixed-use, mixed-income, mixed-race, multi-cultural living and working community with an emphasis on creative activity and grass-roots education and training programs for the young people in the community.

     Thanks to the extraordinary generosity of my friends in Michigan who turned my 75th birthday party in October into a massive fund-raising event that provided enough money for me begin the process of actualizing a long-dreamed-of social and cultural experiment that I call the John Sinclair Foundation, I’m working with my krewe here in Amsterdam to establish the foundation as Stichting John Sinclair and get it off the ground.

      We’re hoping my residency here at Tariq’s studios will blossom into a long-term relationship with the Heesterveld Creative Community. In fact, we hope to establish the offices of the foundation here in the Bijlmer district and integrate our activities into the life of the community as we continue to develop our internet radio station, RadioFreeAmsterdam.com, and make plans to open our projected cultural center, the Bohemian Embassy, in the coming year.

      You can be sure I’ll keep you posted throughout the new year while reporting each month on marijuana activities here in Holland, in Michigan, around the U.S. and the world.

     My friend Sidney Daniels of the Hempshopper and Ceres Seeds in Amsterdam turned me on to a little book called The Beginning of Cannabis and Coffeeshops in Amsterdam, written by Anne Bonney and published by the Grow Grrlzzz at Mashuga Productions in April 2002. Sid says it’s almost impossible to get a copy of this document today, so I’m taking the liberty of reproducing some of its knowledge and wisdom in this month’s column.

     I’ve always been fascinated by the origins of the cannabis tolerance movement in Amsterdam and the Netherlands. How did this happen? How did this little country develop the most intelligent approach to marijuana smoking in the entire world?

     At the same time that Holland launched its tolerance campaign, we passed local legislation in Ann Arbor, East Lansing and Ypsilanti that limited marijuana crime punishment to a $5 fine, but our movement never went any further than that until medical marijuana was legalized in 2008.

     Amsterdam and the Netherlands went on to establish a system that allowed hundreds of coffeeshops to serve marijuana and hashish smokers for what’s turned out to be almost 50 years.

Here’s how the Grow Grrlzzz say it happened:
From Cannabis in Holland—an Introduction: A Book of Cannabis Truths

HASH HITS EUROPE

     Along with the political and social unrest of the 1960’s came a huge explosion in the use of Cannabis and psychedelics. Another part of the cultural upheaval was travel.

     Many young Europeans left the comforts of home or university to travel to the exotic East. In those days the world political situation was such that one could drive (or in some cases, hitchhike) from Europe to Tangiers, Delhi or Kabul and many did.

     On their travels the young adventurers adopted many foreign practices—from meditation to vegetarianism and hashish smoking. Soon large quantities of hashish began to find their way back to Western Europe, with Amsterdam, Frankfurt, Copenhagen and other cities becoming consumption and distribution centers.

THE COFFEESHOPS ARE BORN



     By the early 1970’s there was widespread use of Cannabis, speed, heroin, LSD and other recreational drugs presenting various degrees of health risks to Dutch citizens….

     The then Minister of Health and Interior, Irene Vorink….concluded that Cannabis was considerably less harmful than the other drugs….Vorink saw that the most common way for Cannabis users to be introduced to drugs “harder” than Cannabis was by the drug sellers themselves.

     She took the step of recommending that the authorities stop prosecuting people for the consumption and sales of personal amounts of Cannabis. She then set up a system where access was provided to cannabis in a controlled setting. To do this, she took advantage of existing youth centers as places to permit the sales of small amounts of hashish and marijuana….

     The basic concept of the coffeeshop as a place to buy and smoke Cannabis, hang out, have a (non-alcoholic) drink, chat or play a game, has been around since 1971.

     That was when the first youth hostel started ignoring smoking and small-scale dealing. It was the government-tolerated selling and smoking in youth centers that provided the model for the coffeeshops of today.

     Mila Jansen started a teahouse where people hung out, drank tea and smoked a nice spliff. The first joints were handed out for free as an extra with your cup of tea. Also, people from other countries brought back hashish and other products, so they could trade products with each other.

     In 1973, Wernard and three friends opened a small “Tea House” called Mellow Yellow where a single “house-dealer” sold pre-bagged hash and grass from behind the bar rather than the old style where the house simply allowed deals and smoking to go on. Mellow Yellow also sold tea and coffee and had a table football game.

     In 1974 Henk de Vries opened the Bulldog Coffeeshop, soon to become world famous, and openly sold hash [as] the first business to use the name “coffeeshop.”
[Note: The coffeeshops proliferated for 20 years until there were 750 or so in the city of Amsterdam alone by 1994, when the federal government began its campaign to regulate and control the traffic in Cannabis, demanding that coffeeshops apply for a license and adhere to the government’s coffeeshop rules:]

THE COFFEESHOP RULES (since 1996)

1. No advertising, including no Cannabis leaf motif in the window or on the sign.
2. No hard drugs, no buying, no selling, no possession, by owner, staff or clients.
3. No public nuisance.
4. No sale of more than five grams to any client on any day.
5. No minors. This means persons under 18.

     If shop owners play by these five rules, the government will “turn a blind eye” to the fact that the business sells Cannabis. If any of the five rules are broken, then the shop owner becomes liable for a violation of the Cannabis laws [and subject to loss of license, criminal charges, and/or other punitive measures].

     So those are the actual facts of the cannabis issue in Amsterdam and how it sank its roots into the general culture to insure that smokers would be able to get their sacrament. Now let’s have some coffeeshops in Michigan!

     Here’s one last little factoid from the Cannabis and Coffeeshops pamphlet: Americans are generally fascinated by the way the Dutch, the British and Europeans in general mix tobacco with their weed before lighting up. I always thought this was because they started out on hashish and smoked it in a mixture with tobacco to keep the flame going. Then weed became available in the 1970s and 80s in large quantities and soon Europeans were smoking 2 grams of marijuana to each gram of hash while using the same mixture concept.

     But, as the Grow Grrrlzzz point out, “At first, tobacco was a rare and special imported product, available only to the rich. The seeds were hard to find, of doubtful quality and nobody knew where or how to grow it in Europe. Eventually tobacco became available to enough people that the entire nation [of Holland] took up the craze.

     “So, the frugal Dutch began stretching their expensive imported tobacco with the leaves and flowers of their hennep plants by the mid-1500s.” Wow. Merry Christmas everybody, Happy New Year, and Free The Weed!

—Amsterdam
December 23, 2016
© 2016 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

Artist Spotlight: Pauly M. Everett - by Ben Horner

This Month's Cover: 

Created by Pauly M. Everett

Pauly M. Everett is a former student of Mott Community College and a current student of a thing called survival, practicing the arts of mixed-media painting, up-cycled arts, sculpture, printmaking, and illustration. Spending his days creating art in Flint, Michigan he also can be found curating during the monthly Flint Artwalks. Pauly’s creative works can be spotted in the Metro Detroit Area and beyond.


You can also find his work on the web at: 

Facebook:
Facebook.com/FLINTUNDERGROUNDKID 

Instagram:
 @flintundergroundkid ALL ARTZ ALL DAY.












V.G.I.P. Update for January 2017 - by Ben Horner

MMM Report Man of the Year: Tim Beck     


      As Michiganders looks forward to finally legalizing marijuana in 2018 via a well-funded ballot initiative, very few citizens have contributed to cannabis law reform in the great lakes state like super activist Tim Beck. His achievements in reforming marijuana laws has led the way for both the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act and now a legitimate legalization possibility.

     Many people don’t really know Tim Beck and his history in our movement. He is sometimes misunderstood and demonized for his controversial outspoken efforts, but usually by people that only wish to capitalize themselves or take credit for the work that was mastermind by Beck. Mr. Beck has carefully directed the leaders of emerging medical marijuana industry in the effort to legislate new laws (HB 4209) to tax and regulate safe transfer centers, also known as provisioning centers, as well as grow facilities and processing centers. Using dispassionate pragmatism, wisdom gleaned from vast experience and rock solid determination he has changed society for the better with a singular issue, using direct democracy.

     Tim Beck grew up in southern conservative rule Michigan in a traditional Christian home. There he learned core values like hard work and down to earth American principles.  In 1974 Tim graduated from the University of Detroit, where he served as student body president, and received a BA in Political Science. Upon graduation, he was employed as a staff assistant to a member of the Michigan legislature.

     In 1975, he entered the insurance business, and after a variety of sales and management positions, he founded his own company, Michigan Benefit Providers. Inc. in 1988, specializing in the sales and service of corporate employee benefit programs. He was a candidate for the Michigan House of Representatives, and received the Republican Party nomination for Wayne County Sheriff in 2000.

     Tim O’Brien, Libertarian Party activist and friend of Tim Beck designed literature for the 
“Yes on Prop M” campaign to legalize medical marijuana in the City of Detroit featured an elderly, 
yet alert appearing, African-American female in a wheel chair. The caption read: “You 
would never take away her wheelchair … How about her medicine?”[Excerpted taken from 
TAKING THE INITIATIVE: A Reformer’s Guide to Direct Democracy by Tim 
Beck readable at www.drugsense.org/initiatives/democracy/index.htm]

His successes in his industry and his ability to communicate with people from any walk of life opened many doors. Realizing his political talents combined his understanding of policy opened the door to the social issue that has brought a legacy to activism in Michigan.

     In 2001, after losing his bid as Wayne County Sheriff and losing favor with the some of the Michigan Republicans, Beck decide to hatch a plan on the legalization issue. After studying the success stories in California’s medical marijuana petition drives, Tim filed the proper paperwork with the Wayne County Elections Commission, to form a legally registered ballot initiative committee, which he named The Detroit Coalition for Compassionate Care (DCCC).

     Tim assembled a diverse group to assist in building a strategy to use the Michigan home rule act to petition the city of Detroit to allow for the use of medical marijuana. It took two petition drives, hundreds of thousands of man hours and tens of thousands of dollars spanning three years of trial and error but in 2004, the successful campaign to legalize medical use in the city of Detroit was approved by the voters, becoming the first city in the Midwest to have a pro-medical marijuana law. This effort gained national attention and grant money from the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).

     In the years that followed, Tim helped train and counsel local activists in Traverse City, Ann Arbor, Flint and Ferndale to replicate the process used in Detroit. Local volunteers had to learn Tim Beck’s system for running these campaigns following several standards learned from the failures and successes in Detroit. Beck learned to follow and instruct his strict rules regarding perfect petition language drafting, timely petition turn-in and signature validation.  Using this principle, every city was a victory. Other activists attempted a statewide campaign which failed. Tim predicted that without significant funding, a statewide campaign would fail.

     During this time, Tim Beck became the spokesperson for cannabis law reform in Michigan.  He was elected Executive Director of Michigan NORML in 2005. Beck developed relationships with many activists and leaders around the country. National drug law reform organizations began to look at what Tim had been doing in Michigan, and the Marijuana Policy Project decided to come to Michigan to explore the possibility of doing a statewide ballot initiative.

     After much research and deliberations, MPP went forward with producing a petition to place medical marijuana on the ballot during the 2008 presidential election. Unfortunately, Tim was asked to step aside as the spokesperson in Michigan. Certain key individuals holding the purse strings didn’t appreciate some of Tim’s politics and refused to let Tim be involved in the campaign. Beck was stripped of his position with MI NORML via a hostile take over. In order to secure the funding from MPP, Tim was forced to sign a gag order barring him from participation on any level for one year.

     Although Tim set the board for the passing the Michigan medical Marihuana Act, he wasn’t aloud to receive any recognition at the time in a legally binding contract. The activists that ousted Tim from Michigan NORML, were paid to collect signatures and received local attention in the press along with the MPP. It was during this time that Tim became demonized by many of the cannabis community in Michigan. False rumors about him spread around the state, and with the gag order in place, Tim was left unable to advocate for anyone or anything on the subject, including himself.
 
     Shortly after the passing of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act of 2008, Tim Beck cofounded Coalition for a Safer Michigan and Cannabis Patients United (CPU). Beck and others together routed efforts to impede full and reasonable implementation of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Program. It was at this time that Tim began laying the groundwork for the Coalition for a Safer Detroit.

     Petitions to remove penalties for adult possession and use of marijuana under the Detroit City Code were circulated by Tim’s crew in 2010. The City of Detroit election officials denied the petition on grounds that the local law change would conflict with state law.  Beck didn’t give up. He challenged the decision in court and was rejected all the way up the Michigan Supreme Court. After two years of fighting legal challenges, Coalition for a Safer Michigan won it’s appeal and the Michigan Supreme Court Order the initiative to be placed on the 2012 ballot. Detroit passed the proposal and Flint and Grand Rapids did as well.

     During the years he worked on the Coalition for a Safer Detroit, Tim Beck advised several organizations which lobbied the state as advocates for medical marijuana. Using his experience and connections (many of which came from his affiliation with fellow members of the Michigan Republican Party) Beck lobbying parties avoided harmful legislation and advocated for new dispensary laws. Tim Beck admitted publicly those critics of the MMMA were correct, medical marijuana was a deliberate stepping stone towards legalization.

     Between the years of 2010 and 2015, Flint, Grand Rapids, Lansing, Jackson, Ferndale, Hazel Park, Berkley, Huntington Woods, Oak Park, Pleasant Ridge, Saginaw, Mt. Pleasant, Port Huron, and East Lansing joined Detroit passing similar measures to remove penalties under their municipal law. Tim Beck was a mentor to almost all of these petition drives, with the help of veterans of these local Michigan marijuana petitions.

     Many critics of these proposals were quick to point out that these local initiatives did not trump state law. In many cases, arrests for possession of marijuana decreased, but law enforcement and prosecutors continued to charge individuals under state law. Beck’s naysayers lacked the vision to realize that these local victories would prove Michigan ready for a well-funded statewide legalization petition. Tim Beck declined working with several statewide petitions drives that where not properly funded, all of which failed to garner the needed signatures to make the ballot.

     Currently, MMP is considering coming back to Michigan and repeating what they accomplished in 2007-2008 with the MMMA. Tim Beck is currently assisting in the effort to build the team for legalization in 2018 as an unofficial advisor. Regardless of whether Tim is given an official role in the 2018 campaign, his work has paved the way for the final battle in the war against cannabis in Michigan.

     Tim Beck’s work has not only lead to many campaign victories in marijuana Law reform. Dozens of activists have learned something not taught in school any more, civics. By learning this process of petitioning and grassroots lobbying, through Beck’s tutelage, the strategy and process for direct democracy using Home Rule laws was established in Michigan. This empowerment has crossed several generations of activists. It is for these reasons that Tim Beck is honored as Man of the Year for his lifetime achievements in political activism and Cannabis law reform.


   

World News for January 2017 - by Rachel Bunting


'Godfather of Grass' Arrested

Canada: John Robert “Johnny” Boone, also known as the “Godfather of Grass”, has been on the run for eight years after fleeing his farm in Kentucky shortly before a raid. Authorities in the US have been looking for Boone since the discovery of 2,400 marijuana plants on his property in Kentucky. Last month he was caught in a small town outside of Montreal. The Godfather of Grass is 73 years old and has already spent more than a decade in prison after a 1980 conviction found Boone guilty of owning 29 marijuana farms in 9 states. Prosecutors in that case called Boone the leaders of the “largest marijuana syndicate in American history.” Currently the grower is in jail awaiting extradition to the US.

High Heir 

Italy: A member of a prominent family in Italy, Duke Andrea Odescalchi, was arrested last month after he was found growing marijuana in his family’s ancestral castle. The Carabinieri, or paramilitary police, found 114 grams of ready-to-sell marijuana and 7 grams of hash. In Odescalchi’s homemade greenhouse, officers found 35 plants, each around one meter in height. The castle was built in the 16th century to defend the Italian capital, but has more recently been used as a wedding venue. Odescalchi was placed under house arrest and is accused of “possession and manufacture of narcotic substances with a view to their sale.”

Roadside Drug Testing

Italy: The new Road Traffic Bill 2016 was passed last month in Italy. The bill allows Gardai the right to begin Mandatory Intoxication Testing (MIT) for alcohol and drugs. The measures outlined in the bill allow officers to conduct preliminary tests for marijuana, cocaine, heroin, morphine, and a range of benzodiazepines. The Minister for Transport, Tourism, and Sport, Shane Ross, stated, “The new powers given to the GardaĆ­ to test for drugs at the roadside will allow them to test for a wide range of drugs which could not be previously tested for.  These represent 95% of all drugs found by the Medical Bureau of Road Safety in samples sent to it for confirmatory testing in 2015. Drivers taking opiates and benzodiazepines prescribed by their doctors, [who are taking these prescribed drugs in accordance with their prescriptions, and are not impaired], have nothing to fear from the new measures.  However, drivers abusing drugs such as cannabis, cocaine, benzodiazepines and opiate and driving while impaired will face a minimum disqualification of 4 years for their first offence and 6 years for their second and subsequent offence.” The Road Traffic Bill also allows county councils to set speed limits to 20 kph in certain areas if they see fit.

Largest Legal Grow Operation Breaks Ground

Alberta, Canada: Aurora Cannabis Inc. has broken ground in Leduc County to begin building what they hope to be the largest legal cannabis growing operation in the world. Aurora is building an 800,000 sq. ft. facility on nearly 30 acres of land. The project, called Aurora Sky, will be the largest, most advanced and most automated cannabis production facility, and will be capable for producing more than 100,000 kg of marijuana per year. President of the company, Steve Dobler, stated, “Our objectives are very clear: to build the largest production capacity, with the highest production quality and the lowest production cost.” The company expects the greenhouse to be functional by October of this year.

Benefits of Medicinal Cannabis

New Zealand: Elyse Johnson is a 3 year old girl from New Zealand who was diagnosed with a diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a large brainstem tumor, almost nine months ago. Elyse has never been able to walk or even bend her legs, until she was prescribed Sativex. Sativex is a mouth spray made from marijuana extracts, usually prescribed to patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. After being on the Sativex for four weeks, Elyse has begun being able to bend her legs. This is a miracle to her family who were told she had less than a year to live. Her mother is hopeful the medication will help shrink the tumor, and the family is currently accepting donations to fly Elyse to Australia for a complicated surgery to completely remove the tumor from her brain.

Synthetic Pot Comes to Nigeria

Nigeria: A news article released from Nigeria last month warns marijuana smokers of fake cannabis circulating the streets. Punchng.com claims the marijuana substitute is coming from Chinese factories and contains unsafe, harmful chemicals. While synthetic marijuana has been flooding the US for years now, Nigeria is just starting to experience the undesired effects of the spice in their country. The article warns synthetic cannabis can bring on temporary fits of psychosis, be more addictive than true cannabis, and can cause unwanted chemical reactions in the brain. Smokers in the country have been warned that while smoking marijuana may be illegal, smoking the fake strain could be deadly.

Nine Months for Seven Grams

Somalia: A 20 year old man from Somalia was arrested and sentenced to nine months in prison after officers found his fingerprints on 5 baggies located in a field. Officers first noticed the man when he dropped 6 packets off his person near a field. He then gathered the bags and walked into the nearby field where he appeared to pick something up and walk off. Police later searched the area with the help of drug dogs and discovered the five baggies with the suspect’s fingerprints on them. The man claims he went into the field to relieve himself, but his explanation did not sway the court. The Magistrate sentenced the man and considered the police to have conducted a clean investigation.

Seven Charged After Smoking Hash in Bar

Korea: Two foreign workers and five international students were arrested and charged with using and selling hash in the Daegu Metropolitan area. The two workers are believed to have smuggled the hash in from other countries, such as the Philippines or Egypt, after realizing airport security does not detect the drug inside luggage. The five students, however, were caught smoking the illegal substance at clubs in Itaewon, Seoul, and Dalseo-gu, Daegu. Police are continuing their investigation, hoping to find the top of the smuggling chain.

National News for January 2017 - by Rachel Bunting


Feds on Non-Psychoactive CBD Oil: As Dangerous as Heroin and Ecstasy

      In the July 2015 issue of the MMM Report, we told readers the benefits and laws regarding CDB oil in the United States. Recently, however, the DEA has ruled CBD Oil to be a Schedule I drug. This not only means the drug has no medicinal uses, but also that those using the medication could be punished as harshly as those who use heroin, LSD, or ecstasy, even if the medicine is legal in their state. As of October 2016, HealthyReport.info reported hemp oil to be legal in all 50 states because the oil can be extracted from marijuana as well as industrial hemp plants, which contain no THC.
Apparently the DEA disagreed with that idea, and came up with their own rule. There are 16 states with specific laws regarding the oil:

Alabama: Carly’s Law was signed into effect April 1st, 2014 by Gov. Robert Bentley. The law which legalizes CBD oil for medical patients also calls for the University of Alabama to conduct research into cannidibiol’s efficacy in treating neurological conditions like epilepsy.

Delaware: Governor Jack Markell signed SB 90, Rylie’s Law, in June 2015. The law states, “The Department shall issue a registry identification card to a qualifying patient with intractable epilepsy or involuntary muscle contractions that cause slow, repetitive movements or abnormal postures, such as dystonia, who is younger than 18 years of age, but only for the use of medical marijuana oil [that is not more than 7% THC].”

Florida: Governor Rick Scott signed HB 843 on June 16th 2014. CBD is not limited to only seizure patients but also those with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, and cancer. The law set up four regional organizations to grow, test, and dispense the oil.

Georgia: After the first time HB 885, or Haleigh’s Hope Act, failed in the state senate in 2014, Gov. Nathan Deal signed an executive order demanding a study into the oil. When the legislation was reintroduced in 2015 it passed and was signed into law on April 16th, 2015. Haleigh’s Hope Act covers seizure disorders as well as cancer, sickle cell, ALS, and MS.

Idaho: In April of 2015 Gov. Butch Otter vetoed a bill named for Alexis Carey, an epileptic 11 year-old, which would have allowed parents to possess up to 32 oz. of liquid CBD to administer to their children who suffer from seizures. The governor says he will issue an executive order mandating the state’s Department of Health and Welfare to study the effects of CBD oil on epilepsy, but this order has yet to be implemented so CBD is still not allowed.

Abram Mayhem of Iowa is one of CBD oil’s many success stories. He has now been seizure free for 19 months since starting CBD treatment.

Iowa: Gov. Terry Branstad signed the bill approving CBD oil on May 30th, 2014. Patients approved for the oil are allowed to have up to 32 oz. of oil for a six month supply and is strictly limited to those suffering from seizure disorders. The oil is not to be manufactured or distributed in the state so patients must travel out of state (usually to Colorado) to get their medication.

Kentucky: Governor Steve Beshear signed SB 124 on April 11th 2014. The law set up a trial run to be conducted by the University of Kentucky and the University of Louisville med schools which will provide research and distribute the oil to patients selected to be in the program.

Mississippi: The Harper Grace Durval law was signed on April 17th by Gov. Phil Bryant. The National Center for Natural Products Research in Oxford will be producing CBD medication to distribute to qualifying patients.

Missouri: Gov. Jay Nixon signed the bill on July 18th 2014, making CBD-only oil available to patients. The oil will only be for those who suffer from seizures and they must prove that other treatment options have failed to work. It can be produced by non-profit applicants approved by the state’s Department of Agriculture.

New York: While CBD oil is not legal yet in the state of New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced in June of 2014 that the state made an agreement with GW Pharmaceuticals to test the efficacy of CBD used by children suffering from Dravet’s syndrome and Lennox-Gastuat syndrome, which are both seizure disorders.

North Carolina: On July 3rd 2014 Governor Pat McCrory signed the CBD legislation. The bill calls for trial studies to be done by University of North Carolina, Duke, Wake Forest, and East Carolina with the focus on making the oil available for children who suffer from seizure disorders. Neurologists from the schools will be responsible for providing the oils.

Oklahoma: When Gov. Mary Fallon signed the CBD bill on April 30th, 2015, she stated that her hope was to help sick children get potentially life-changing medicine. Also mentioning the law “has been narrowly crafted to support highly supervised medical trials for children with debilitating seizures.”

South Carolina: CBD oil became legal in SC on May 28th, 2014 when Gov. Nikki Haley did not veto the bill that had been passed by the state House and Senate. The bill requires a clinical trial to be established at the University of South Carolina.

Tennessee: Gov. Bill Haslam signed his CBD bill in May 2014. It directs Tennessee Tech University to create a research program to study the effects of the medication in relation to seizure activity and states the research must be completed by 2018.

Texas: Texas was the fifteenth state to legalize CBD oil. Governor Greg Abbott signed SB 339 into law on June 1st, 2015.

Utah: The first state to legalize CBD oil was Utah. March 25th, 2014 Gov. Gary Herbert signed HB 105, or the Plants Extracts Amendment. The bill calls for the state’s Department of Agriculture to grow industrial hemp to create the oil. While patients are unable to purchase the oil in their state, the bill does allow for them to acquire the medicine in Colorado and transport it back to Utah.

Virginia: SB 1235 was signed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe on February 26, 2015. The bill prevents patients using the oil for seizure-related conditions from being prosecuted.

Wisconsin: The fourth state to legalize CBD oil was Wisconsin when Gov. Scott Walker signed AB 726 on April 16th, 2014.

     CBD has been proven to have medicinal benefits, much in the same way marijuana has been proven to have medicinal benefits. CBD is being called the miracle cure for seizures, especially in children. Numerous studies have backed the idea that CBD not only decreases the intensity of seizures but the frequency as well. The oil contains no THC, which is the main psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

     Patients feel scared and nervous that the medicated oil they have been using could now get them thrown in jail for up to five years for the first offense. The DEA claims the rule is being created to allow “for better accounting of marijuana extracts.” However, while this ruling allows federal officers to attempt to punish medical users, it will have a hard time being enforced due to the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment which bans the Department of Justice from using federal dollars to ‘interfere with states’ medical marijuana laws’.

Michigan News for January 2017 - by Rachel Bunting

MILegalize Takes their Issue to Supreme Court

After unsuccessfully attempting to sue the state, in Michigan’s Claims Court, and having their case denied by the Court of Appeals and Michigan Supreme court, MILegalize has filed a petition with the US Supreme Court. Originally the group went after the state for throwing out petition signatures that were outside the 180-day limit and essentially destroying the group’s ability to get marijuana legalization on the 2016 ballot. A press release from the group stated, “The case may set groundbreaking national precedent for both First Amendment rights and cannabis reform as an early test of the Trump administration and a new Supreme Court bench. [It] raises First, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendment due process and equal protection violations due to the gross injustices perpetrated by the Secretary of State, Board of Canvassers, and Bureau of Elections in refusing to process MILegalize’s 354,000 signatures submitted for the 2016 election.”


New Medical Bills Taking Effect 

Lansing: The three-bill package signed by Gov. Rick Snyder last month to clarify the current and blurred medical marijuana laws, will soon take effect. The new system gives local governments the right to regulate the number and location of marijuana dispensaries in their area. It also gives them the authority to allow marijuana infused products, such as balms or lotions, while having them create a seed-to-sale tracking structure. The biggest perk to the package is the idea of legally allowing dispensaries, as they were not outlined or mentioned in the original law. Edibles and oils will also be legal under the new bills. Michigan Radio reports, ‘“This new law will help Michiganders of all ages and with varying medical conditions access safe products to relieve their suffering,” Snyder said after signing the bills. “We can finally implement a solid framework that gives patients a safe source from which to purchase and utilize medical marijuana.”’ The bill does call for the medication to come with a 3% tax on the “gross retail income” of every provision center. There is concern from some that officials will take their time granting licenses, delaying dispensaries from opening.


Anonymous Tip Leads to Large Haul

Detroit: After receiving an anonymous tip, police raided a large warehouse on Van Dyke, south of 8 mile late last month. Officers from the narcotics unit discovered more than 400 plants in various stages of growth, worth over $900,000. The large grow operation is believed to be supplying to several Detroit dispensaries. Most of the plants will be destroyed while some will be kept as evidence. No one was in the warehouse at the time of the raid but police say they have identified a suspect.


Landlords May Decide to Prohibit Medical Marijuana

Lansing: Senate Bill 72, approved by both the House and the Senate, would allow landlords to prohibit tenants from growing or smoking medical marijuana in rental properties. The landlord would need to include a statement in the lease informing the tenant that the medication is not allowed on the premises. The bill was sponsored by Sen. Rick Jones, who feels the new law allows landlords to protect their property from damage. In a statement, released by mLive, Jone’s stated, “I have had two homes totally destroyed in my district that were turned into grow operations. They were basically turned into greenhouses.” When originally passed by the Senate, the bill also applied to businesses which would allow owners to ban medical patients from smoking on private property, but the House Judiciary Committee narrowed the bill to a tenant-landlord relationship. The bill is currently awaiting a signature from Governor Snyder to become law.


Medical Dispensaries Banned in Norton Shores

Norton Shores: The city council voted 6-1, last month, to approve an ordinance which will ban medical marijuana dispensaries, transporters, processors, safety compliance facilities, and growers from operating within city limits. Licensed caregivers will still be permitted to grow for state-licensed patients, but all others will face fines which will be used to cover any legal cost incurred by the city from having to shut down an illegal shop. One dispensary owner in the area warned the council that low-income patients will not be able to afford to drive to Lansing or Benton Harbor for their medication once the ordinance is passed and the current dispensaries are shut down. Mayor Gary Nelund commented on the ordinance, “Many of our business owners in the city have said, ‘I don’t want this next to my business,’ because it affects their business. We’re not opposed to the law necessarily ... you can buy it somewhere else, just not in Norton Shores.” The new ordinance will be in effect by the end of December.


Transportation Law Conflicts w/MMMA

St. Johns: Last month the Michigan Appeals Court decided patients charged with illegally transporting marijuana are protected by the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act. The ruling came after a man convicted of a misdemeanor for transporting his medication appealed his case. The patient was originally found guilty of improperly transporting the drug because it was not in a locked case in his trunk. The court threw out the conviction in a 2-1 judgement stating the transportation law, which came into effect four years after the Medical Marijuana Act, does not fit because ‘it puts additional requirements on compliant medical marijuana users.’


Traffic Stop Leads to Massive Haul

Sterling Heights: Officers from the Crime Suppression Unit in Sterling Heights have been looking for the source of high potency marijuana coming into Michigan from California. In the midst of their investigation they pulled over a vehicle with three passengers and nearly 200lbs of marijuana. Officers arrested the men, seized the marijuana, and obtained search warrants for various locations and a fourth suspect. Police were able to arrest the fourth man and seize another large quantity of marijuana and money from an undisclosed location. The department released a statement following the arrests, “The result of this investigation was the removal of a large quantity of illegal drugs from our neighborhood streets, the sizable seizure of U.S monies and the seizure of a vehicle as a furtherance of the crime. Because of the example of hard work set by Chief John Berg of the Sterling Heights Police Department, good old fashioned police work by the men and women of S.H.P.D was able to prevent a large quantity of illicit drugs from reaching our neighborhoods and schools.”