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Friday, March 2, 2018

Cannibals of Freedom: Bigotry in Law Enforcement - by Daniel L. Price, Esq.

I previously wrote about law enforcement hiding evidence and committing fraud/perjury.  Now I will share information about two cases, one without a victim, the other with a victim.   

The first case: People v. John Moyer, case #’s 16-004913-FY, and 16-004972-FY, in Berrien County.  The Berrien County Sheriff Dept., (yes, the same dept., where deputies commit perjury when writing speeding tickets), had surveillance set up on Moyer, a medical marijuana caregiver.  After deputies observed a person go in and out of Moyer’s home, they followed him (Moyer’s friend who recently had back surgery), and pulled him over for failing to use his turn signal.  They found marijuana, and determined he did not possess a medical marijuana card.  The man confessed he bought it from Moyer.   Deputies then executed a raid on Moyer’s home, took his plants, marijuana and any cash.  Moyer was charged with several felonies, including manufacturing and distributing marijuana, as
well as resisting arrest.

The second case: People v. Lisa Blanchard, case # HU-17-075942-SM, in Ottawa County.  Blanchard had been having sex on and off for a couple of months with a man who repeatedly told her he did not want to see her, because she badgered and threatened him in to continuing to have sex with her, even while she was seeing other men.  Indeed, she was texting him in excess of 1,500 times per month.  Blanchard was on a date with another man that apparently went bad one Friday evening in September. She then drove while intoxicated to the first man’s home offering food and sex, after he had said no earlier that day. He asked Blanchard to leave, and said she was neither invited nor welcome.  Blanchard still illegally entered his home stating he could not keep her from doing so.  He talked her out of his home, locked the door and refused her re-entry.  Blanchard became enraged and attempted to pry windows off the hinges so she could get in to physically attack the man, as she had previously attempted to scar him so that, “no woman will want to date” him.  Ultimately Blanchard damaged the home and other property in excess of $2,000.00, which is chargeable as a felony, before she finally left.

The next day the man called the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Dept., to report the incident. The deputy who called back refused to come to the home and take a report because he was investigating a possible drunk driver who had left his/her vehicle.  Ultimately, the deputy wrote the man’s complaint as a disturbing the peace case.  The man then had to go to the sheriff’s dept., and file a lengthy, detailed report of the incident with pictures of the damages.  The man did get a PPO, but it was reduced to a period of 6 months, rather than the statutory 1 year.  Blanchard was also criminally charged, but with only misdemeanors. 

In State v. Moyer, after a full pre-sentence investigation and recommendation from the probation department, Moyer received a 90 day jail sentence, with 30 days served, 60 days on tether, and 1 year of probation.  His total costs, fines and fees were approximately $2,500.00, not including the $1,260.00 the jail billed him for the pleasure of being caged for exercising his freedom, not harming a single person or anyone’s property. 

While in Blanchard’s case, no pre-sentence investigation took place, and the probation department did not receive the victim’s impact statement from the prosecutor.  However, a notation in the court file mentioned: “quickie sentencing”, full restitution, a $500.00 fine, and no probation recommendation.  Ultimately, the victim filed a victim’s impact statement supplement with the court, provided a copy to the judge, and attended Blanchard’s sentencing.  Blanchard had to pay full restitution, but received only 9 months’ probation, and was fined approximately $1,000.00, when it could have been thousands more. 

Similarities between Moyer and Blanchard: For both it was a first offense; and both are educated
professionals.  Differences between Moyer and Blanchard:  Moyer is a man, Blanchard a woman; Marijuana was involved in Moyer’s case, but not with Blanchard; Moyer caused no harm to anyone’s life, liberty, or property, Blanchard terrorized and attempted to harm a man, violated his home and freedom, and caused extensive property damage.

Merriam Webster’s dictionary defines bigotry as an, “obstinate or intolerant devotion to one's own opinions and prejudices”.  I cannot state with certainty that bigotry caused the differences in the severely disproportionate outcome in these cases.  But, I can state with certainty that Moyer’s actions did not violate the principles of freedom (Life, Liberty and Happiness), nor was there a victim.  In short, he was victimized for exercising freedom.  While, Blanchard’s crime did violate the principles of freedom that harmed a victim.  In short, she was destroying the freedom of another.  Yet Blanchard received penalties and suffered far less than Moyer. WHY?

Till next month, as always, 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.

MMMR Recipe: Gummy Canna Chews - by Annette Nay-Nay


3 packages of unflavored gelatin

2 packages jello, any flavor will do, sugar-free if dieting

1 cup of boiling water*

2-3 teaspoons of your favorite cannabis tincture

1 pack kool-aid, any flavor will do

1/4 cup of white sugar


Place all of the ingredients except for the sugar in a bowl.Stir mixture until completely dissolved. Pour mixture into a non stick 8" square pan. Spray pan with oil if pan is not non stick. Place in refrigerator for 2-3 hours or until firm. Cut Canna Gummys into cubes and place in bowl. Sprinkle with sugar and gently toss cubes until covered with light coating of sugar. Eat now or place in air tight containers for later use. Store in a cool place.

Green River Meds Goes for the Gold! - by Ben Horner

“Compassion First” is the mission statement for Detroit’s
most elite Medical Marijuana Provisioning Center, Green
River Meds. Green River Founder, Trevor LaFond, is one of
the few Detroit dispensary owners to make the cut both
with the city and the State of Michigan, by turning in the
extremely invasive and cumbersome set of applications
for a Michigan Medical Marihuana Provisioning Center

LaFond explains seriously, ”This love and passion of
cannabis and the ability to help cancer patients, as well
as patients of all ailments, live a longer, healthy life is
why we are here. Also, we are dedicated to giving back
to the City of Detroit.”

Connoisseurs prefer top shelf and Green River puts
the very best in their shop. There are a couple factors
which Green River looks for when giving their patients
options. Hand selected phenos of different strains
are crossed to create exotic flavors bursting with
terpens and flavor. Weed snobs know that once you get
accustomed to great taste and potency it’s hard to go

Located on Detroit’s west side on Grand River, just
west of Telegraph, Green River Meds has an ideal
spot. Plenty of parking, polite security and a relaxed
contemporary interior design. Trevor spent many
sleepless nights preparing for the city and state licensing
process, only 45 dispensaries turned in
applications on time.

Green River has exclusive brand. Precious extracts,
the premier brand consisting of a smorgasbord of
concentrates, delicious vape cartridges, pure CBD
isolate and gooey buckets of distillates. The viscosity
of the vape cartridges is so thick because they are
between 70%-90% pure.

Trevor is planning a social club for Detroit in the
future. He wants a full time place for patients and
caregivers to be able to come together. “People need a
place to medicate together in peace,” Trevor explains.
“We need a place for people to be able to share
information, genetics and techniques, as well as a
place to socialize without fear.

If you are in the D, you need to check out Green River,
if you want the best.

Grow Tip: Fungus Gnats - by Ben Horner

Fungus Gnats are pesky little flying insects that can devastate a crop of medical marijuana if gone untreated. These tiny flies have two small clear wings and thin long legs. These bugs have a 25-35 day life cycle, most of which is in larva form. Adults lay eggs in the grow media, and/or roots. After the eggs hatch, the larvae feast on the fungus in the soil and on the roots
of the plants.

To determine how bad your infestation is, place a few slices of potato on the top of your medium
for 5 hours then remove and observe under a microscope. If the is many larva (see picture) you are going to have to treat your soil. To do so, don’t water for a couple days and allow the topsoil to dry. Then mix Hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) with water, 1:4 ratio. Hang yellow fly strips to kill the adults. The same ratio should be used for hydro systems.

Often, store purchased peat soils have fungus gnats eggs dormant in the bag, adding coco to your
mix can help. Uncovered drains and pooled water can also be breeding grounds for these pests. Keeping your grow clean is very important. Neem oil solutions are an excellent organic preventative, and will keep away most bugs if used regularly. Neem oil should be sprayed on stalks and fan leaves every three weeks.

Over the counter pesticides are not recommended for obvious reasons, but may be the only hope for seriously infested situations.

Free the Weed 85 - by John Sinclair

Highest greetings from New Orleans, the cradle of American civilization as we know it, where I’ve made my annual pilgrimage for the Mardi Gras and as much time after Lent begins that I can get away with.

For the past few years I’ve headed back to Detroit in mid-March to take part in the annual THC Expo at the Roostertail, and this year will be no exception as I intend to be on hand to celebrate the Detroit Caregiver Cup with my friend & publisher, Ben Horner and the people from MMMReport, as well as the rest of the festivities for the weekend.

It won’t be long after that when the 47th annual Hash Bash takes place on the UM campus in Ann Arbor, followed by the 2nd annual Hash Bash Cup at a hotel just outside of town that turns into Cannabis Central for the weekend. I’ll be able to share more information about this great event in next month’s column.

Everything else considered, this is going to be a very special year for me before it’s over because in November we’ll be voting to legalize marijuana in Michigan at last and finally eliminate the fear of arrest for smoking weed and getting high. It’s all but certain that Michigan voters will continue to express their support for the sacred weed, although for some reason—at this writing—the state Board of Canvassers has not yet certified the petition submitted by MILegalize and the Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol although the specified period for the announcement has long passed.

It’s not entirely out of the question to anticipate some sort of ugly extralegal hanky-panky on the part of the State of Michigan with respect to allowing the citizens to vote on this issue in the November election. They changed the rules in the middle of the game in 2016 and prevented the issue from reaching the ballot, and of course the entire history of the marijuana laws is one big lie from start to finish.

Michigan is a place where the state government determined that marijuana was a narcotic drug and created a punitive structure that called for a prison sentence of 20 years to life for selling, distributing or giving away the weed and ten years in prison for simple possession of marijuana.

This law held sway until March 9, 1972 when the Michigan Supreme Court, ruling in the case of People v. Sinclair, declared that marijuana was not a narcotic and the prescribed prison sentences constituted cruel and unusual punishment. Anticipating this ruling, the Michigan legislature reclassified marijuana on December 9, 1971 and created a new class of drug called a controlled substance that carried a one-year maximum for possession and four years for sales or dispensing. This new statute took effect on April 1, 1972 and was greeted by the derision and disrespect of the smokers gathered on the Diag at the University of Michigan to smoke weed openly at what became the first annual Hash Bash.

Soon the cities of Ann Arbor, Ypsilanti and East Lansing passed local ordinances that reduced the penalties for marijuana crimes of all sorts to the issuance of a ticket carrying only a $5 fine, and Ann Arbor State Representative Perry Bullard attempted to legalize marijuana in the state legislature. But both Democrats and Republicans, spearheaded by African American legislators from Detroit like Rep. Daisy Elliott and Sen. David Holmes, resisted all reasonable arguments and scientific claims advanced by the marijuana legalization proponents and held fast to the anti-marijuana idiocy that’s held every since.

We’ll hear more anti-marijuana propaganda from the opponents of the 2018 legalization proposition because it’s worked so well for them for so many years and they’re more desperate than ever to keep their ill-founded legal system and the vast police-state apparatus they’ve developed in place even if the voters force them to give up their arrest and imprisonment powers.

I’ve said all these things many times before, but they can never be repeated enough until we have wrested the marijuana culture completely out of the hands of the police and their backers in the pharmaceutical complex, the alcohol manufacturers, the court and prison system, the drug rehabilitation industry, the federal and state legislatures and the corporations and lobbyists who own them—the whole gruesome mechanism of an oppressive social order that has grown so powerful on the backs of American marijuana smokers and the brave and resourceful people who supply us with what we need to get healthy and get high.

Once again it is important to note that it is the governmental bodies at all levels, from city councils to the federal legislature, that have created and enforced the depraved legal strictures against marijuana for the past 80 years, and that indeed remain the sole resistant force standing in the way of freeing the weed at all levels. They will never provide the solution to the problem of freeing the weed, and they will always seek ways to keep us from succeeding in our goal.

I hate to sound like a broken record, but take the ultimate bad example of the Detroit City Council, which is showing its ugly ass again in the face of the citizens’ vote against the draconic ordinance it passed to limit severely the access of medical marijuana patients to their medicine at designated cannabis caregiver centers. A ballot initiative last November to replace this 2016 ordinance was overwhelmingly passed by Detroit voters but has now been overturned by Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Robert Colombo Jr., who claims that citizens are not allowed to alter zoning ordinances by voter initiative.

I must point out here that it was this guy’s father, Detroit Recorders Court Judge Robert J. Colombo, who presided over this writer’s marijuana possession trial and sentenced your reporter to a prison sentence of 9-1/2 to 10 years without appeal bond on July 28, 1969, despite the fact that my appeal was successfully upheld by the Michigan Supreme Court and the marijuana laws declared unconstitutional—but only after I had been imprisoned for 2-1/2 years.

The former police officers and church officials who make up the majority of the Detroit City Council are committed way beyond reason to defying the citizens’ wishes with respect to making marijuana available to people in the City of Detroit and surrounding communities who want and need it. They’ve shut down scores of compassionate care centers under the dictates of a gangsteristic licensing scheme and continue to oppose the views and expressed wishes of the majority of their citizens who want to be able to get their weed when and where they want it.

The elected state officials aren’t any better, and who knows how far they will go to prevent full legalization from taking effect. Even our own forces have constructed the proposed new law along the lines of alcohol regulation and expressly bar citizens from smoking in public. This means we still have some way to go in order to Free The Weed for real, once and for all, and I can promise you this: I’ll be there upholding the banner of freedom for the weed as long as I’m blessed with my life on this earth.

—New Orleans
February 25-26, 2018

© 2018 John Sinclair. All Rights Reserved.

The Jeff Sessions Era Begins in Michigan - by Tim Beck

Tim Beck

Chairman of the Safer
Michigan Coalition

On January 4, a hammer from Washington DC hit the anvil.

US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to the surprise of some and the expectation of others; rescinded the famous Cole Memo which instructed US Attorney's across the USA to respect state decisions to legalize medical and recreational marijuana. The Cole memo was the creation of former President Barack Obama. Gutting the memo means federal attorneys anywhere in the USA can prosecute violators of federal marijuana laws anywhere, any time, at their discretion.

What does all of this mean for medical marijuana patients, caregivers and canna businesses in Michigan?

 Theoretically, it means all medical patients, caregivers, dispensaries, or legal grow operations are at risk of being busted down the road, unless federal law changes for the better. As of this writing we are safe; at least until March 23rd since the old federal budget restricts funding for federal prosecution of medical marijuana. The proposed new Trump budget, if it is passed as expected, does not contain such protective language. That is when the federal noose can tighten and choke.

Will such a thing really happen in Michigan?

Well, that all depends upon the whims of Michigan's interim United States Attorney's Matthew Schneider of the Eastern District in Detroit and interim United States Attorney Andrew Birge of Michigan's Western District, whose headquarters is in Grand Rapids.

The Eastern District consists of the counties of Alcona, Alpena, Bay, Cheboygan,Clare, Crawford, Genessee, Gladwin,Gratiot, Huron, Iosco, Isabella, Jackson, Lapeer, Lenawee, Livingston, Macom, Midland, Monroe, Montmorency, Oakland, Ogemaw, Oscoda, Ostego, Presque Isle, Roscommon, Saginaw, St. Clair, Sanilac, Shiawassee, Tuscola, Washtenaw and Wayne.

 All other counties in Michigan, including the entire upper Peninsula are in the western district.

Matthew Schneider and Andrew Birge were appointed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions this January, as "interim" appointees for the next 120 days, pending a presidential nomination and confirmation by the US Senate of a successor. Whichever comes first.

Prior to his elevation, Mr. Schneider was chief of staff to Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette.

When questioned as to how he will enforce federal marijuana laws, he told  Frank Beckmann, on WJR Radio, that his office "will review marijuana cases in terms of where those cases fit within our priorities and our limited federal resources. In every criminal case, we will rely on the Justice Departments long-established principles of federal prosecution, as all US attorneys have done
since 1980."

As far as Matthew Birge, chief of the western district is concerned, he too was appointed by Jeff Sessions to an "interim" role. Unlike Mr. Schneider, he has refused to make any comment about marijuana to the media. Two calls and voice mail messages to Birge's press spokesperson Kay Hooker, by MMM Report Magazine, were not acknowledged or returned.

Since 2007 Mr. Birge served as chief of staff to western district US Attorney's Donald Davis, Charles Gross and Patrick Miles Jr. Schneider and Birge's responses to the marijuana question were not unusual.

In a survey by "Cannabis Business Times" of all thirty states where medical or recreational cannabis is legal, 21 of the 50 US Attorney's questioned refused to make any comment. Most other statements were very carefully worded, similar to Mr. Schneider's response--- which can be interpreted to mean practically anything, good or bad.

Nonetheless, at a conference in Portland, Oregon on February 2nd, attended by some US Attorneys, state officials and cannabis industry representatives to discuss Sessions new policy there seemed to be a consensus. Specifically, nothing too radical will happen to canna businesses operating strictly according to state law. However, anything else could mean big trouble.

The consensus was described in an article published on February 8 by the "National Law Review" which covered the Portland event. That is "a crackdown on illegal overproduction in states where cannabis is legal and a focus on reducing the amount of cannabis being diverted to states where it is illegal " is all but guaranteed to happen.

Finally, in what could be a hopeful development, US Senator Cory Gardener (R-Colorado) agreed to partially end his blockage of Justice Department nominees. Gardener said he was lied to by AG Jeff Sessions who indicated prior to his Senate confirmation,  there would be no change in federal policy regarding the right of states to do things their way when it came to the cannabis issue.

According to the Associated Press (AP) on February 15, Senator Gardener had talks with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstien and he has been pleased with negotiations so far. Department leaders have "shown good faith in their willingness to provide what I think will be hopefully the protections we sought and as a good faith gesture on my behalf, I will be releasing a limited number of nominees" Gardener said.

So what is the real deal in Michigan so far?

Between now and March 23rd federal budget approval deadline, nothing changes. Beyond that, anything else is pure speculation.

Interim US Attorney's Matthew Schneider and Andrew Birge hold all the cards. It is their call as to what if anything will be done. They do not have lots of resources and they cannot expect to have any support from local police or prosecutors who only enforce state law. Come what may, the Michigan medical marijuana caregiver system is still intact and it is impossible for federal authorities to root it out. In a worst case scenario, medicine may not be as readily available as it is now, but it will still be there.

And oh yes. Mark my words. The vast majority of Michigan voters do not like this federal interference one bit. They will say YES to full blown legalization of cannabis in Michigan this coming November. That will only make the Federal Drug Enforcement Agency's (DEA) job
even tougher.

World News for March 2018 - by Kathy Hess

Canada the First to Offer Canna-Brews?
Canada - Cannabis is set to be a big business in Canada, and some alcoholic beverage companies are not looking to stop the emerging industry from possible draining their profits-rather their looking to merge the two and reef the benefits of cannabis infused beer.

Constellation Brands have been developing unique cannabis based beverages, they would be able to sell in markets all over the world, not just in Canada.  Bill Newlands, Constellation’s chief operating officer and president (who oversaw the nearly $200 million investment  Constellation made last fall in Canopy Growth Corp., one of Canada’s largest marijuana companies) told investors Wednesday at the Consumer Analyst Group of New York’s annual conference;

“This is very consistent with what our organization has done historically, which is to identify, meet and stay ahead of evolving consumer trends,” Newlands said, according to a transcript of the presentation obtained via Bloomberg.  “Our goal with this organization is to work collaboratively to both understand the cannabis business but also develop unique cannabis-based beverages that will be available around the world as legalities prove those to be an option,” he said.

 “Let me remind all of you, cannabis is going to be legal in Canada starting (this year), and we expect the beverages will be legal soon thereafter,” (2019) he said, according to the transcript. “And let’s keep in mind,” he added, “this is a big business.”

Rattling off the numbers of U.S. states that have legalized the medical use and/or the recreational use of marijuana, Newlands stated that by Constellation’s estimate, cannabis is a $50 billion business in America.

“That’s half the size of the beer business,” he said. “That’s pretty big business.”

Newlands was quick to give the caveat that Constellation has no intention of entering into the U.S. cannabis industry unless cannabis is legal “at all levels of government.”

Canopy Growth and Constellation have already proceeded with research-and-development work, The Canadian Press recently reported.

Grecians to Grow Ganja
Greece — The Grecian government says it’s accelerating plans to legalize the growth of medical marijuana, arguing that growing interest from investors could help efforts to pull the country out of years of financial crisis, not to mention bring other medicinal options to its aging citizens.

Legislation to legalize cannabis production was submitted to parliament mid February and is due to be voted on later in the month.

Greece allowed the use of medical cannabis products to its citizens last year, but currently needs to rely solely on imports until the legal framework for domestic growers was prepared. Greek officials are optimistic that production and processing could draw investments worth 1.5 billion euros (1.85 billion) over three years.

According to the draft legislation, growers must be age 21 or over, have no drug-related convictions, and have at least 1 acre of land available.

European Powerhouse Showing Early Signs of Change on Cannabis
Germany— The head of BDK, Andre Schulz, an organization representing criminal police in Germany, is calling for the consumption of cannabis to be decriminalized.

Germany has allowed some patients to get marijuana as a prescription medication since last March, but officials have stressed that doesn’t mean it will be legalized for non-medical purposes.

Schulz told the “Bild Daily” (local paper in Germany) that the group favors a “complete decriminalization of cannabis consumers.” Schulz also argued that the current system stigmatizes people and “allows criminal careers to start.” […]“the prohibition of cannabis was, viewed historically, arbitrary” and is “neither intelligent nor expedient.”

However, Schulz also said that marijuana must remain off-limits for drivers.

Cunctation of Cannabis in Canada
Canada- As recently as last week, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s was insisting it was on track for legalization in July.

But a new Senate timetable given to pass the legislation in mid February.  Health Minister Ginette Petitpas-Taylor conceded shortly afterward that it won’t be done by July.

Petitpas-Taylor echoed that provincial and territorial governments will need another 8 to 12 weeks following senate passage and royal assent to prepare for retail sales. That would put recreational sales starting in August at the soonest, but more than likely not until a month later.

Legalization of cannabis recreationally would make Canada the second country to have nationwide legalization, after Uruguay (July 2017).

Each province (sort of like states in the U.S.) in Canada is coming up with their provincial rules (age restrictions, purchase limits, ect.) for the sale of recreational pot.

Dank Depredation in Africa
Lesotho- The landlocked (entirely encircled by South Africa) country of Lesotho, where the use of cannabis dates back as far as the 16th Century, has become the first African country to permit the legal cultivation of cannabis – but the production of the drug has been restricted to two foreign-owned companies, while rural farmers and the wider population continue to be prohibited from harvesting their own.

A year ago, Lesotho's Ministry of Health granted a Prohibited Drug Operator license to  Pharmaceutical Development Company (PDC) Ltd to legally cultivate, supply, hold, import, and export cannabis. This made PDC (based in Lesotho's capital, Maseru) the first company in the entire African continent, to be permitted to legally produce the drug. Yet, just months later, PDC’s director resigned and was replaced by US-based businessman Michael Ogburn, and all of PDC’s shares were transferred to Corix Bioscience Inc., based out of Arizona.

According to the terms of the license, holders are permitted to "cultivate flowerings of the plant [...] for the purpose of smoking, vaporizing, extraction, edible, [...] and medicine production" across up to 20,000 square meters of land. The license-holder is permitted to "export, import and transit [cannabis] within, into and outside of Lesotho for medical use and/or scientific use and any other lawful use". This thereby allows Corix Bioscience Inc. to transport Lesotho-produced cannabis or cannabis-based substances to any jurisdiction in the world that allows the drug for recreational or medical purposes.
The provision of a cannabis license to PDC/Corix Bioscience Inc., and one to a South African botanical company Verve Dynamics, suggests that Lesotho has taken a ground-breaking step in African drug policy; rolling back prohibition and embracing a regulated approach to cannabis production. However, the reality for its citizens is markedly different.

Cannabis remains illegal for citizens to harvest, sell, and possess across the country, under Lesotho’s Drugs of Abuse Act 2008. Under section 9 of this Act, being convicted of harvesting a cannabis plant mandates a person to face either a minimum of five years in prison, or a fine of at least $1,664 US dollars. Section 81 of the Act allows any police officer to “without warrant … enter any place on or in which [cannabis is] growing” to destroy said plants.

The deprivation of Lesotho’s people from benefiting from a regulated production of this cash crop is particularly poignant given the country’s 57% poverty rate.

Cannabis continues to be a significant part of Lesotho’s agriculture and economy, albeit illegally, today. A 2007 UNODC report claimed that 70 per cent "of the cannabis entering South Africa was grown in Lesotho, where it is estimated to be the third largest source of income".

Despite the importance of cannabis for Lesotho’s economy, the government has yet to regulate the plant’s cultivation and supply – leaving rural farmers to risk criminalization and operate in the shadows to make a living. Despite the Lesotho government permitting two foreign companies to legally cultivate and export cannabis, the people of Lesotho still risk penalization for doing exactly the same thing.

National News for March 2018 - by Dolan F.

Girl Scout sells 300 boxes of cookies outside a California marijuana dispensary

This Girl Scout knows her customers well.

The young entrepreneur set up shop outside of Urbn Leaf, a recreational and medical marijuana dispensary in San Diego. According to local news outlet Fox 4, the girl sold more than 300 boxes in about six hours.

Urbn Leaf posted this photo on Instagram, encouraging its clientele to grab some "Girl Scout Cookies with your GSC." (GSC is a strain of weed named after girl scout cookies, and is known for its "sweet and earthy" flavor.)

"I think our customers loved it," said Savannah Rakofsky, a representative for Urbn Leaf. "They went out and bought boxes."

According to Rakofsky, there was an "added value" to visiting the dispensary and getting the chance to buy Girl Scout cookies. Although it didn't necessarily bring in customers, it did drum up publicity for Urbn Leaf. Rakofsky posted the photo as she was leaving for her lunch break, and there were already news teams at the store when she came back.

Rakofsky also said there's a possibility of this becoming a trend.

"The funny thing is, after the news story ran, we had more Girl Scouts show up over the weekend," Rakofsky said.

Although Girl Scouts are only allowed to sell at "approved sites" — which doesn't include pot shops — this particular scout got around the rule by selling cookies from her wagon, and by moving up and down the sidewalk instead of staying in front of the store. Alison Bushan, a spokeswoman for Girl Scouts San Diego, told the San Diego Union-Tribune that this tactic was "gray area."

It wouldn't be the first time a Girl Scout racked in sales in front of a dispensary. In 2014, one savvy scout sold cookies outside of a San Francisco cannabis clinic. Girl Scouts of Northern California actually condoned it, because "the mom decided this was a place she was comfortable with her daughter being at."

With tracking system hobbling, marijuana industry scrambles to keep pot on shelves

Widespread technology issues with the state's new pot-tracking system have kept marijuana growers and sellers scrambling, and store managers say they're beginning to worry about
increasingly sparse shelves.

Washington state requires marijuana products to be tracked from seed-to-sale, or from when its planted to when it’s sold to a pot user, through what it calls a traceability system. Last Thursday, the state switched to a new contractor, MJ Freeway, to provide a new software and data hub for traceability.

The transition to Leaf Data Systems has been anything but smooth, frustrated pot growers and sellers say.

“Right now, it sort of seems like the whole industry is a wreck statewide,” said Steve Lee, who owns two marijuana stores with his wife and is also a city councilman in Kennewick.

“It’s been a rough week so far,” said Lindsay Short, of Db3, a Seattle company that makes cannabis-infused candies and other edibles. “We’ve probably shipped 30 or 40 sales orders and had only five get through the system.”

The traceability system serves as something of a hub for pot transactions. It allows state regulators to watch the entire industry and flag the suspicious movements of plants or products. Every plant grown is supposed to be recorded in the system, documented when processed into an edible product or packaged and then recorded when sold to customers. Wholesale transactions between growers and retailers are also noted, along with shipping information.

The state was supposed to switch to a new data system last November, but that was delayed after the company initially selected for contract negotation by the state Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) withdrew from consideration.

“They [MJ Freeway] only had between July and October 31 to put together their system. It wasn’t ready,” said Brian Smith, a spokesman for the LCB. For the last three months, the state has been using a contingency system in which pot businesses submitted spreadsheet files with their traceability data.

Now, pot proprietors report myriad, different issues with the newly launched seed-to-sale system.

Some have struggled to get logged in at all. Some growers say the system has been scrambling shipping orders, and sometimes automatically changing which store is supposed to receive the marijuana. Some store managers, meanwhile, say they have not been able to receive shipping manifests, and don’t feel comfortable buying wholesale pot without that required documentation. Some reported that the disruption halted business altogether since the first of the month; others reported that it slowed business down or made simple tasks cumbersome.

“By and large, we just can’t get product right now. We’re basically selling off our back stock,” said Jason McKee, the General Manager of Ganja Goddess, a pot shop in Seattle’s SoDo neighborhood.  He said shelves are beginning to look more sparse, and if the technology issues don’t allow a fully-functioning wholesale market soon, some stores could face shortages.

Alex Cooley, the vice president of Solstice, a marijuana grow, said his company was having to re-label each plant with a new barcode because of technical issues.

She said other problems stem from integration issues with third-party companies whose software connects with the Leaf Data System and is used by marijuana companies for internal tracking and bookkeeping. She said it was a priority to get that third-party software integrated.

Marijuana business owners have flooded both the Liquor and Cannabis Board and MJ Freeway with calls, trying to troubleshoot issues.

Horton acknowledged it could take hours to reach someone at MJ Freeway, but said the company had called “all hands on deck” to answer questions.

Meanwhile, the rumor mill among pot proprietors fueled a feeling of chaos within the industry.

“It’s a nonstop mess of emails, text messages and phone calls, between everyone,” Lee said. “It reminds me a lot of high school kids passing gossip about, like, sex ed … no one knows anything, but maybe one kid, and it’s telephone from there. We’re all feeling around in the dark.”

Joby Sewell, who owns Seattle BubbleWorks, a pot processing company, said smaller companies could face cash flow issues because of the disrupted market.

“Most of us are living sale to sale, and you’re talking about a week where you can’t get any sales,” he said. “I have employees. Now, I’m not sending anybody home yet, but I thought about having people take a few days off.”

Big Money Squares Off with Trump Admin on Cannabis

The wealthy Koch brothers, who have tossed their coveted millions at (mostly) Republican politicians over the years, recently issued a statement on the current administration’s stance on cannabis and states’ rights.

The Koch brothers argue that "citizens have spoken on marijuana" and that the United State Justice Department can "choose to be on the side of individual liberty and states’ rights" by not interfering.  "That Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a Republican appointee in a Republican administration, is undoing a Democratic appointee’s work from a Democratic administration is irrelevant," the statement claims. "Republicans and Democrats alike have criticized the decision, and for good reason: It does little to improve the lives of people in our communities."

The Koch’s' public disagreement with the Trump administration over marijuana could offer Republican electives an advantage in supporting legal marijuana at the state level without risking major GOP donor support.

 The statement also branded the war on drugs as "misguided" and advocates a "new, smarter approach to drug policy."

"The administration would be better suited working with members of Congress to reform outdated sentencing laws," the statement reads. "However well-intentioned these laws were upon implementation, they have ruined lives, torn apart families and communities, and have burdened taxpayers, doing little to keep people safe." They have invested heavily into the cannabis and
hemp industry.

V.G.I.P Update - by Kathy Hess

February was been an adventurous month, to say the least.

With existing dispensaries scrambling to get applications in by the mid month deadline, and municipalities making their down-to-the-deadline (or post deadline) decision on opting out of Commercial Cannabis or not, everyday there’s one update or another across the state in regards to cannabis in Michigan.

Detroit is in complete upheaval, as voter initiatives on zoning are deemed invalid.  I’m sure there’s no corruption there, Detroit’s never suffered corruption before.  A number of northern cities like Gaylord, are suffering a long-awaited heartbreak as the much anticipated (delayed) decision on cannabis ordinances from city council came in.

If you look at the map of cities, townships and villages within the state you would currently find a rather large void where municipalities have yet to make a decision on cannabis.  They represent the lack of color across the state.  Perhaps they will eventually choose to opt in ad go green, but for now we wait. A good number of municipalities that have chosen to not allow commercial medical marijuana and are forcing their patients to travel to other counties to obtain their medicine, they would appear in red.  There is a decent list of cities, townships and villages appearing in green that have opted in to serve their medical marijuana community, but its not big enough to adequately serve the people of this great state.

I’ve read a lot of boards and forums over the last month, as each municipality hands down its ruling on whether or not commercial medical marijuana will be a part of their communities or not, and a lot of people are blaming Republican officials who hold seats and vote one way or another against cannabis.

Casting blame is easy enough when majority of local municipalities across this great state have filled their counsels with elected Republicans.  But casting blame in a society and culture where memories are short sighted (and I’m not talking about reefer haze, as those citizens who choose to abstain from cannabis are just as forgetful) does little to no good at all.

For whatever reason this state, which had traditionally backed democrats, faded from blue to red amidst politics which became a game of trumped up and unfounded fears, rather than politics of informed facts.  No one came for our guns.  No death panel reviewed our cases. No, Spanish isn’t our official national language. No, we’ve not been oppressed by the Muslim Brotherhood. No, no, no to all the ridiculous fears they’ve mongered us with.  We voted these conservative individuals in (whom cling to ancient and ineffective drug policies of the past with prejudicial bias), and now we’re surprised they don’t support cannabis? Ugh.

Well here is where you will find the answer to ever changing the tide in terms of cannabis reform. The only answer folks.


It’s not an immediate fix to the path of prohibition some municipalities have opted for.  But I promise you, it won’t get any better until we Vote Them Out.

The next elections are midterm elections.  That’s great in terms of other local officials and hopefuls getting more recognition and attention before people cast ballots when there isn’t the publicity of the presidential election casting its own wide shadow.  It’s bad in terms of how many people show up to the polls and let the state or local municipality, know where
they stand. 

Too many of us skip midterm elections.  Less than half of all registered voters let their voices be heard in the last midterm election (2014).  If we want change, then we have to vote for change.  So before this November let’s take a few minutes and research our local councils, find out their voting record on cannabis (and other issues important to you). Learn about the people running for those seats, where do they stand on cannabis?  Then vote accordingly.

If you want change, then be informed enough to promote that change into happening.  If you want change, then take the time (yes even if it takes all day!) and go vote!  Vote them out.

Michigan News - March 2018 - by Kathy Hess

Michigan’s New Universal THC Symbol

LANSING -  The Universal Symbol that will be required on all products containing THC has been decided upon by the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulations (BMMR). The universal symbol is required by Rules 38 and 39 of the Emergency Rules filed on December 4, 2017.

Rule 38 requires that prior to being sold or transferred, a marihuana plant must have a package tag affixed to the plant or plant container and enclosed with a tamper proof seal that includes a “universal symbol if applicable”.

Rule 39 requires that prior to marihuana product being sold or transferred to or by a provisioning center, the container, bag, or product holding the marihuana product must have a label that includes a “universal symbol published by the department”.

In addition to the universal symbol, marihuana product must have a label and be sealed with all the following information:

• The name of the licensee and license number of the producer and/or the packager.

• The tag or source number as assigned by the statewide 
   monitoring system.

• The unique identification number for the package or the harvest, if applicable.

• Date of harvest, name of strain, net weight, and concentration of THC or CBD.

• Activation time expressed in words or through a pictogram.

• Name of the safety compliance facility that performed any test, any associated test batch number,    and any test analysis date.

• A warning that states the following: "For use by registered qualifying patients only. Keep out of      reach of children. It is illegal to drive a motor vehicle while under the influence of marihuana."

If the plant or product does not meet the definition of “marihuana” as defined in the MMFLA then the universal symbol is not required. This advisory bulletin does not constitute legal advice and is subject to change. It is intended to provide advisory information as to the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs’ Emergency Rules which were promulgated on
December 4, 2017.

Licensees are encouraged to seek legal counsel to ensure their operations comply with the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act and associated Emergency Rules.

Repeal 6% Patient Tax!; The Unannounced 6% 
Patient Tax Sets Trap for Income Tax Evasion Charges!

LANSING - On Monday, February 12, 2018, Michigan NORML (MINORML) launched their REPEAL THE 6% PATIENT TAX campaign. This action is a direct response to the Michigan Department of Treasury's implementation of a 6% use tax on transfers of medical cannabis between a patient and the caregiver with whom they are connected to through the Michigan Medical Marihuana Program patient registry database. It's our hope this campaign will encourage policy makers to rescind this
atrocious policy.

Michigan NORML board members contend the 6% Patient Tax conflicts with Section 4(a) of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act (MMMAct); "A qualifying patient who has been issued and possesses a registry identification card is not subject to arrest, prosecution, or penalty in any manner,..." MINORML Social Media Director, Brad Forrester asks; “If the imposition of a 6% Patient Tax isn't a penalty, then what is?”. Section 7(e) of MMMAct ends with; "All other acts and parts of acts inconsistent with this act do not apply to the medical use of marihuana as provided for by this act." To that, Forrester replied, “The plain language itself couldn't be any clearer. No other Michigan statutes apply to the medical use of marihuana. None, not even Treasury Department policies!”

Michigan NORML board member Rick Thompson stated, “Perhaps the most revolting aspect of this new policy is how it was introduced to the 300,000 patients who participate in the program, they were not notified at all! This policy sets a trap for every patient by exposing them to possible income tax evasion charges.” In fact, this policy is so objectionable that it has motivated several legislators to introduce House Bill 5511, a bill that would amend 1941 PA 122 and require the Department of Treasury to provide both the House and the Senate with a written explanation of the Department's interpretation and justification for new policy changes. Thompson added, “Our position can't be viewed as extreme when even some legislators also believe the Treasury Department has overstepped it's authority instituting this new policy!”

Query for Questionable Council

KALKASKA — Emails show a Kalkaska official guided a medical marijuana investment group on a
shopping spree to snap up numerous village properties, including two with ties to elected officials who voted to legalize commercial medical marijuana production.

Record-Eagle, a newspaper out of Traverse City, obtained emails through a Freedom of Information Act request which showed Kalkaska village downtown authority Development Director, Cash Cook, advised investors while they worked to buy a passel of properties, some for future commercial medical marijuana businesses. Those investments include properties connected to village President Jeff Sieting and former Trustee Kathy Sanborn.

Cook helped Joe Pare (a representative for multiple companies), who had ongoing medical marijuana interests in town; locate properties that had specific zoning and others where the zoning could be adjusted to reflect the needs of businesses Pare represented.

“They sought out pieces of property, we attempted to clarify what the zoning usage would be for that piece of property,”said Cook.

The assistance Cook provided led Pare and KX3 HOT LLC to purchase Hotel Sieting from Jeff Sieting for $125,000 on Sept. 8. Yet emails between Pare and Cook indicate the group worked to seal the deal with the village president in July, a month before Sieting voted to opt the village into the Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act. That late-August vote effectively cleared the way for medical marijuana businesses to operate in the village under the new state law.

Sieting did not disclose the potential conflict or recuse himself from the Aug. 28 vote.

Cook claims he held a deposit check related to the hotel deal for Pare at one point and believes the investor began preparing to make the buy in July or earlier. Record-Eagle dug up mails between Pare and Cook in July, some discuss a deposit and purchase agreement for the hotel.

Robert Schwartz sold the building at 256 S. Cedar St. to Pare and KX3 LB LLC for $210,000 on Aug. 3, according to deed documents. Sanborn was a village trustee at the time of the sale and acknowledged she continues to date Schwartz. She resigned from the board Jan. 15 citing concerns with the “direction that the village council is taking,” according to her resignation letter.

Sanborn said Schwartz’s property sale had no impact on her Aug. 28 vote alongside other trustees to allow medical marijuana businesses to operate in the village under the new state law. Sanborn claims she had nothing to do with real estate dealings concerning Schwartz or his RJS Investments and did not see any benefit from the sale. Her only involvement was assuring some of the paperwork was completed by Antrim County Title, she said. Deed documents indicate Pare and FT ONE LLC bought additional parcels near 829 S. Cedar St. for approximately $1.95 million on Aug. 30. Cook claims Pare had already been working on property transactions before they met.

Cook also worked vetting/background checks on applications alongside village zoning and licensing officer Denny Corrado during the fall. Cook and Corrado, were the only officials who determined a list of finalists for licenses, including Pare’s application, to an advisory committee.Pare later received at least two village medical marijuana licenses, including one for a dispensary at 256 S. Cedar St.

Sieting said he knew some of the members of the group that bought his hotel had medical marijuana connections. He denied any conflicts of interest, despite the timing of the sale, less than two weeks after he and council members voted to make the medical marijuana changes.

Pare’s purchase of the hotel and former bank building came before or immediately after the August vote when village trustees decided to make various ordinance adjustments to reflect state statute, clearing the way for approved medical marijuana facilities to set up shop in Kalkaska. Cook contends trustees chose to allow medical marijuana facilities months prior to the August vote.

“None of the applicants in any way, shape, or form were guaranteed any kind of license,” said Cook.

Helping people find opportunities to join the community, build homes and open businesses is a job that Cook and all officials should work toward, Sieting said. “If it’s going to help individuals looking to invest in the community, I say do it,” he said. “Make their want to come here as easy as possible.”