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Chronicle AM: CA Will Vote on Legalization, Veterans' MedMJ Fight Not Over Yet, More... (6/29/16)

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 20:32

That nation's most populous state will vote on marijuana legalization in November, federal legislators keep fighting for medical marijuana access for veterans, a New Jersey needle exchange bill nears passage, the ACLU goes after the Border Patrol for abuses at interior check points, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Marijuana Policy

It's Official -- California Will Vote on Marijuana Legalization in November. A broadly-backed initiative to legalize marijuana in the country's most populous state will be on the California ballot in November. The secretary of state's office made it official Tuesday afternoon, certifying that a random sample of more than 600,000 signatures turned in showed there were enough valid signatures to qualify the measure. "Today marks a fresh start for California, as we prepare to replace the costly, harmful and ineffective system of prohibition with a safe, legal and responsible adult-use marijuana system that gets it right and completely pays for itself," said Jason Kinney, spokesperson for the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).

Medical Marijuana

Eleven Lawmakers Ask House and Senate Leadership to Restore Medical Marijuana Language in VA Bill. The move comes after language allowing VA docs to recommend medical marijuana passed both the House and Senate, only to be mysteriously dropped in conference committee. "We feel the failure of the Conferees to include either provision is a drastic misfortune for veterans and is contrary to the will of both chambers as demonstrated by the strong bipartisan support for these provisions," the supporters wrote to congressional leaders on Tuesday. Among the signatories were Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Sens. Steve Daines (R-MT) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR). Other signatories to the letter, all Democrats, include Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, Barbara Boxer of California, Cory Booker of New Jersey, Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin, Ron Wyden of Oregon, and Reps. Jared Polis of Colorado, Dina Titus of Nevada and Ruben Gallego of Arizona.

Illinois Judge Orders State to ADD PTSD to Medical Marijuana List. A Cook County judge has ordered the state Department of Public Health to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of diseases eligible to be treated with medical marijuana. The sternly worded ruling also said the department's director, Niray Shah, an appointee of Republican Gov. Bruce Rauner, had engaged in a "constitutionally inappropriate private investigation" before deciding to rule against adding PTSD after the medical marijuana advisory board had recommended adding it. The court accused Shah of applying his own standard of medical evidence that "appears nowhere in the Act or the department's rules" and "was contrary to the plain language of the department's rules."

Los Angeles County Extends Ban on Medical Marijuana in Unincorporated Areas. County supervisors voted Tuesday to extend by a year a temporary ban on medical marijuana cultivation and distribution in unincorporated areas. The county enacted a 45-day ban earlier this year and then extended it by another month before now extending it for another year. County planning officials said the ban was needed as they study how to regulate medical marijuana, but advocates retorted that the supervisors should concentrate on actually regulating the industry, not on extending bans.

Harm Reduction

New Jersey Needle Exchange Bill Nears Passage. The Senate Monday gave final approval to a bill that would allow localities across the state to enact needle exchange programs. The Assembly is expected to approve changes in the Senate version of the bill Thursday. The measure, Assembly Bill 415, would then await the signature of Gov. Chris Christie (R) to become law. The state enacted a law allowing pilot needle exchange programs a decade ago.

Law Enforcement

ACLU Accuses Border Patrol of Wrongful Detentions, Seizures The ACLU of Arizona Tuesday filed a formal complaint with the Department of Homeland Security and its constituent agency, US Customs and Border Protection, demanding an investigation into "abuses arising from Border Patrol interior operations." "At the same time the Justice Department and the Obama administration are rightly urging local police to adopt 'best practices' -- ending racial profiling, collecting stop data, and curbing police militarization and asset forfeiture abuses -- we see the nation's largest law enforcement agency, CBP, rejecting those commonsense reforms," said James Lyall, a staff attorney with the ACLU. "The federal government is effectively saying, 'Do as I say, not as I do,' which leaves Border Patrol free to target citizens and non-citizens alike with these increasingly extreme and abusive practices."

Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Medical Marijuana Smoker Loses Case On Firing

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 07:00
Vancouver 24hours, 29 Jun 2016 - A bartender who claimed he was fired for smoking marijuana while on shift has had his complaint dismissed by the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. Darin Burton alleged that the owners of Tugboat Annie's Pub discriminated against him on the basis of physical disability, as he consumes cannabis to treat pain associated with degenerative disc disease.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Toronto Puts Off Regulating Pot Shops

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 07:00
Toronto Star, 29 Jun 2016 - Licensing Committee Defers Debate Until October The city of Toronto won't regulate rogue pot dispensaries anytime soon, after the licensing committee voted this week to defer the issue until the fall, touching off a brief but noisy protest at city hall. Last month, Mayor John Tory asked staff to look at ways of regulating the marijuana dispensaries popping up in some parts of the city.
Categories: Marijuana

It's Official -- California Will Vote on Legalizing Marijuana in November [FEATURE]

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 06/29/2016 - 06:12

This article was produced in collaboration with AlterNet and first appeared here.

A broadly-backed initiative to legalize marijuana in the country's most populous state will be on the California ballot in November. The secretary of state's office made it official Tuesday afternoon, certifying that a random sample of more than 600,000 signatures turned in showed there were enough valid signatures to qualify the measure.

[image:1 align:left]"Today marks a fresh start for California, as we prepare to replace the costly, harmful and ineffective system of prohibition with a safe, legal and responsible adult-use marijuana system that gets it right and completely pays for itself," said Jason Kinney, spokesperson for the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA)."This measure reflects years of hard work, diverse stakeholder input and broad, bipartisan public support, Kinney continued. "A growing majority of Californians support a smarter approach to marijuana and we're gratified that voters will finally have the opportunity in November to pass comprehensive, common-sense policy that protects children, local control, public health and public safety, saves state and local taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars, funds critical local programs, and serves as a model for the rest of the nation."

California joins Maine and Nevada among states that have qualified marijuana legalization initiatives for the fall ballot. In two more states -- Arizona and Massachusetts -- legalization initiative campaigns are overcoming final hurdles and are almost certain to join them, but a valiant effort in Michigan faces an uphill battle, forced to rely on the courts to overturn a new state law and unfavorable election board rulings.

Marijuana is already legal in four states, voted in by residents in Colorado and Washington in 2012 and Alaska and Oregon in 2014. Washington, DC, approved possession and cultivation, but not a legal marijuana market, that same year.

Seeing more states go green in 2016 is one thing, but California is the Big Enchilada. With a population of 38 million, its market is more than twice the size of all the legal pot states combined, and it represents more than 10% of the entire country. What is currently a legal marijuana industry generating hundreds of millions of dollars in sales will easily tick over into multi-billion dollar territory once California joins in.

And it looks like that's likely to happen. A Probolsky Research poll in February had support for legalization at 59.6%. A Public Policy Institute of California poll in May had support at 55%, but at 60% among likely voters.

Poll numbers like these are encouraging for proponents, but skeptics can point to the failed Proposition 19 effort in 2010, which came up short with 47% of the vote after polling above 50% for months that year.

This year should be different, though. The AUMA has broad support, beginning with charismatic Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), and including the state Democratic Party, at least three members of the California congressional delegation, a number of state assembly members and other elected officials, the state NAACP, the state ACLU, the California Cannabis Industry Association, and the California Medical Association, as well as prominent figures in law enforcement.

It also has money, and a winning initiative campaign in California will need millions. The AUMA has some deep pockets behind it, including tech billionaire Sean Parker and Weedmaps founder Justin Hartfield, both of whom have dropped million dollar chunks of change into the campaign. The Drug Policy Action Network, the lobbying arm of the Drug Policy Alliance, has also kicked in at least $500,000.

The AUMA's campaign fundraising committee has raised $3.7 million so far this year, which is a good start and dwarfs the amount raised by the opposition Coalition for Responsible Drug Policies, composed of law enforcement and health groups such as the California Police Chiefs Association, the California State Sheriffs Association, and the California Hospital Association. The cops and docs have only managed a paltry $125,000 so far, thanks to donations from groups such as the Association of LA Deputy Sheriffs and the LA County Professional Peace Officers Association.

And it isn't 2010 anymore. Since Prop 19 failed, marijuana legalization has now won in every state where it's been on the ballot, and the whole national atmosphere around it seems to have relaxed. And unlike 2010, this is a presidential election year, with higher turnout, especially among young voters, than is seen in off-year elections. The omens are good.

So what would the AUMA do? According to the campaign website (read the complete initiative text here):

  • Adults aged 21+ will be allowed to possess marijuana, and grow small amounts at home for personal use. Sale of marijuana will be legal and highly regulated to protect consumers and kids. [Possession of up to an ounce and cultivation of up to six plants]
  • This measure brings California's marijuana market out into the open -- much like the alcohol industry. It will be tracked, controlled, regulated and taxed, and we will no longer be criminalizing responsible adults or incarcerating children.
  • Includes toughest-in-the-nation protections for children, our most vulnerable citizens.
  • Protects workers, small businesses, law enforcement and local communities.
  • According to the independent Legislative Analyst and Governor's Finance Director, these reforms will save the state and local government up to $100 million annually in reduced taxpayer costs -- and raise up to $1 billion in new tax revenues annually.
  • Majority of revenues will be allocated to teen drug prevention and treatment, training law enforcement to recognize driving under the influence of drugs, protecting the environment from the harms of illegal marijuana cultivation, and supporting economic development in communities disproportionately impacted by marijuana prohibition.
  • AUMA includes strict anti-monopoly provisions and protects small farmers, so California's marijuana industry isn't overrun by mega-corporations.
  • The measure builds on the bipartisan legislation signed by Governor Brown to control and regulate California's medical marijuana industry, and is modeled after national best practices, lessons learned from other states, and the recommendations of the Lieutenant Governor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy.

Whether the AUMA is the best way to go about legalizing marijuana in California is certainly debatable, and it does have its critics within the state's cannabis culture, but this is what's going to be before the voters in November.

Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: DEA Heroin Threat Assessment, Billboard Urges AZ to "Buy American," More... (6/28/16)

Marijuana (STDW) - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 20:06

A billboard campaign in Arizona encourages voters to "Buy American" and support marijuana legalization, a New Hampshire Democratic candidate for governor calls for legalization, the DEA releases a heroin threat assessment, and more.

[image:1 align:left]Marijuana Policy

Arizona Legalizers Launch "Buy American" Campaign. The Arizona Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, sponsors of the state's pending legalization initiative, today launched a campaign urging Arizonans to "Buy American" instead of supporting cartels by buying Mexican weed. The campaign features a billboard that says: "If Arizona regulates marijuana, adults could buy American." Doing so would lead to tax revenues that "support schools, not cartels."

New Hampshire Democratic Gubernatorial Candidate Calls for Legalization. Democratic contender Steve Marchand is calling for marijuana legalization, setting him apart from both sitting Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) and her Democratic predecessors. Marchand, the former mayor Portsmouth is running againswt Executive Councilor Colin Van Ostern and former state securities regulator Mark Connolly in the September 13 primary.

DC Health Department Recommends Taxing, Regulating Marijuana Sales. In a new report, the Department of Health now recommends taxing and regulating marijuana sales in the nation's capital. DC residents voted to legalize limited pot possession and cultivation, but Congress has blocked full legalization through budget riders.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

DEA Releases 2016 National Heroin Threat Assessment Summary. The drug fighting agency reports that the number of heroin users nearly tripled between 2007 and 2014 (from 161,000 to 435,000) and that deaths involving heroin more than tripled between 2010 and 2014 (from 3,036 to 10,574). The report also rang alarm bells about fentanyl, noting that fentanyl-related deaths jumped 79% between 2013 and 2014.

International

China's War on Drugs Rolls On. In a statement released on global anti-drugs day, China's Supreme People's Protectorate announced that nearly 190,000 people were arrested on drug charges between January 2015 and May 2016. The report also said there were more than 217,000 prosecutions for drug offenses. The numbers are large, but pale beside those of the US, where more than 1.5 million people are arrested on drug offenses each year.

(This article was prepared by StoptheDrugWar.org's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also pays the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Column: Sometimes, Young People Don't Get It

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 07:00
Toronto Sun, 28 Jun 2016 - Militant pot activists in Toronto and angry young people in the UK seem not to understand how to bring about the results they so furiously demand. I think I should be able to open a store selling hard liquor and hand guns if that's what I want to do, but under current law guns are highly restricted and liquor sales are monopolized by the government.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Column: Get On With It, You Dopes

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 07:00
Toronto Sun, 28 Jun 2016 - Somebody please sit our leaders down, spark up a big, fat doobie and get on with it. All this dithering over dope is making our heads spin, even those of us don't inhale. Entrepreneurs are getting busted, tokers are in a tizzy, glaucoma patients see red, freedom lovers steam.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Councillors Just Chill

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 07:00
Toronto Sun, 28 Jun 2016 - Decide to pass on pot debate until after new fed rules Toronto councillors have passed the proverbial joint when it comes to regulating the city's controversial pot dispensaries. Councillors on the licensing and standards committee voted Monday to defer a debate on regulating pot shops, opting to wait until Aug. 24 when the federal government is slated to introduce new rules around access to medical marijuana.
Categories: Marijuana

US MT: Justices Reject Appeal Over Medical Marijuana in Montana

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 07:00
Bozeman Daily Chronicle, 28 Jun 2016 - HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The U.S. Supreme Court said Monday it won't hear an appeal challenging a Montana law that limits medical marijuana providers to selling the drug to a maximum of three patients each, dealing a blow to advocates who are attempting to delay enforcement of the law. The nation's high court let stand a Montana Supreme Court ruling that upheld key provisions of a state law passed in 2011 that rolled back much of the 2004 voter-approved initiative legalizing medicinal marijuana. The state Supreme Court ordered those provisions to take effect Aug. 31, more than five years after the Montana Legislature passed the bill.
Categories: Marijuana

New Zealand: Kelly Pushes For Dope Vote

Marijuana (MAP) - Tue, 06/28/2016 - 07:00
New Zealand Herald, 28 Jun 2016 - Cannabis decriminalisation could happen through a citizen-initiated referendum, says reform advocate Helen Kelly. At a public meeting at Auckland's Town Hall last night on the effects of cannabis law, Ms Kelly said she hoped a referendum could be pushed through by a dedicated team of volunteers.
Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: Dems Adopt Marijuana Platform Plank, UN Says Still Plenty of Heroin, More... (6/27/16)

Marijuana (STDW) - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 20:59

The Democratic Party adopts a marijuana reform plank, scientists complain about marijuana research obstacles, Myanmar moves to reform a punitive drug law, the UN reports plentiful heroin supplies despite a bad harvest in Afghanistan last year, and more.

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Democrats Approve Marijuana Reform -- But Not Outright Legalization -- Platform Plank. The Democratic National Committee panel drafting the party's 2016 platform has approved language supporting marijuana law reform, but failed to approve language calling for removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances act. The approved language is as follows: "We believe that the states should be laboratories for democracy on the issue of marijuana, and those states that want to decriminalize marijuana should be able to do so. We support policies that will allow more research to be done on marijuana, as well as reforming our laws to allow legal marijuana businesses to exist without uncertainty. And we recognize our current marijuana laws have had an unacceptable disparate impact, with arrest rates for marijuana possession among African-Americans far outstripping arrests among whites despite similar usage rates."

Scientists Claims US Government Still Limiting Marijuana Research. In a letter published in Science, a group of scientists say the US government is still holding back research into marijuana. "This has created a truly unique and an unnecessary paradox in modern medicine, in which physicians are authorizing treatments to patients, and patients are regularly using medication without a scientific basis of knowledge on patient outcomes, forced rather to rely only on scientifically invalid or anecdotal information," said lead signatories Sarah Stith and Jacob Vigil of the University of New Mexico. The letter comes as the DEA is considering whether to reschedule marijuana.

Maine Legalization Initiative Will Appear on Ballot as Question 1. The initiative from the Maine Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol has been designated Question 1 on the November ballot by Secretary of State Matt Dunlap. The final wording of the ballot question reads: "Do you want to allow the possession and use of marijuana under state law by persons who are at least 21 years of age, and allow the cultivation, manufacture, distribution, testing, and sale of marijuana and marijuana products subject to state regulation, taxation and local ordinance?"

Massachusetts ACLU Endorses Legalization Initiative. The Bay State chapter of the ACLU has officially endorsed the initiative from the Massachusetts Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol. The initiative is waiting for a second round of turned-in signatures to be counted before it is officially qualified for the ballot.

Medical Marijuana

US Supreme Court Won't Hear Montana Medical Marijuana Appeal. The nation's high court refused Monday to hear a challenge to a state law that limits medical marijuana providers to selling it to no more than three patients. In refusing to hear the case, the high court let stand a Montana Supreme Court decision upholding most of a state law that effectively overturned a 2004 voter-approved medical marijuana initiative. New restrictions are now set to go into effect on August 31.

Pennsylvania Finishes Drafting Temporary Medical Marijuana Regulations. State health officials announced last Friday that they have completed drafting temporary regs that will allow child patients to use medical marijuana products from outside the state while the state's program is being set up. Applications should be available at the health department's website sometime next month.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

UN Says Still Plenty of Heroin Despite Opium Production Decline. In its World Drug Report 2016, released last Thursday, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reported that global opium production declined by 40% last year because of a poor harvest in Afghanistan, the world's leading producer, but that the harvest there in 2014 was among the largest on record, meaning that last year's decline was "unlikely" to lead to "major shortages" of heroin because traffickers have built up huge stockpiles in past years.

International

Danes Favor Marijuana Legalization, Even as Government Vows Crackdown. A Gallup poll has support for marijuana legalization at 45%, with 41% opposed. The poll comes days after the most recent crackdown on Pusher Street in Copenhagen's hippy enclave of Christiania, and the government says it doesn't care what the survey found. "I do not support legal cannabis and the Gallup figures don't change that," said Health Minister Sophie Lohde. "It's possible that some things would be easier if we let loose but I fear that legal cannabis would result in more people developing a substance abuse problem. And that particularly applies to young people."

Myanmar Government Moves to Reform Punitive Drug Laws. The government will push to delete provisions of the country's drug law that require drug users to register with the authorities on pain of imprisonment if they don't. Colonel Zaw Win Tun of the Myanmar Police Force said the provisions violate the country's human rights obligations under the UN Charter. "The existing law states drug users shall register and if not, they shall be imprisoned. Now we are trying to amend the law and remove the provision [requiring drug users to register]," he said. A bill to change the law was submitted to parliament earlier but has not been acted on. The government said it will now move on the bill.

Colombia, FARC Rebels Sign Ceasefire Agreement. Colombia's 50-year-long civil war is now winding down. Government officials and FARC representatives signed a ceasefire agreement last week in Havana and agreed to work together on coca crop substitution programs. The FARC also agreed to combat cocaine trafficking and the government has promised to engage in massive spending for alternative development. Will either actually happen? Read on.

Categories: Marijuana

CN AB: Caution Urged On Medical Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 07:00
The Calgary Sun, 27 Jun 2016 - There's still plenty up in the air when it comes to dispensing medical marijuana, a Saskatchewan pharmacist told colleagues gathered in Calgary Sunday for their annual conference. Amy Wiebe, pharmacy manager at the Saskatoon City Hospital, said she held biases about medical pot in the past.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Column: PM's Pot Czar Needs Credibility

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 07:00
Toronto Sun, 27 Jun 2016 - If Grits are serious about legalization, things must change Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a shrewd political decision when he promised to legalize the use of marijuana in the last election. It made him look hip and no doubt delivered many votes and helped him gain power.
Categories: Marijuana

US CA: Medical Marijuana Committee Discusses Proposed Grow

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 07:00
The Union, 27 Jun 2016 - Medical marijuana advocates bristled at a Monday meeting over suggested grow regulations, saying the proposed plant count restrictions go too far. Grow supporters also opposed the creation of a per-plant, per-day fine for violators of any new marijuana ordinance, though some advocates indicated they'd support the fines if their implementation was postponed a year.
Categories: Marijuana

US MT: Justices Reject Appeal Over Medical Marijuana in Montana

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 07:00
The Daily Astorian, 27 Jun 2016 - Supreme Court Won't Hear an Appeal Challenging Montana Law That Limits Medical Marijuana Providers to Selling the Drug to Three Patients Each WASHINGTON (AP) - The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal challenging a Montana law that limits medical marijuana providers to selling the drug to a maximum of three patients each.
Categories: Marijuana

US OR: AG Stats Will Answer the Question, Is Pot Oregon's No.

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 07:00
The Mail Tribune, 27 Jun 2016 - SALEM (AP) - Sales and tax figures collected by state agencies may finally solve one of Oregon's long-running farm crop questions: whether marijuana is indeed the state's most valuable crop, as cannabis advocates have maintained. Tight controls and reporting requirements by the Oregon Department of Revenue and Oregon Liquor Control Commission should result in accurate information about pot, said Bruce Pokarney, spokesman for the state Department of Agriculture. The department compiles an annual list of the state's most valuable crops.
Categories: Marijuana

South Africa: 'Drug Abuse Is Growing In SA'

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 07:00
The Citizen, 27 Jun 2016 - Cape Town - The abuse of illegal and over-the-counter drugs was seemingly growing and needed to be dealt with urgently, said the chairperson of the SA Medical Association, Mzukisi Grootboom. He added that South Africa continued to be the regional hub for drug trafficking in and out of the country.
Categories: Marijuana

South Africa: OPED: Drug Data Is Sorely Lacking

Marijuana (MAP) - Mon, 06/27/2016 - 07:00
The Daily News, 27 Jun 2016 - In a newsletter that reaches 700 000 medical aid members, a health insurance company presented "shocking South African drug statistics". But Africa Check researcher Vinayak Bhardwaj, says these aren't strictly factual THE APPARENT drug-related murder of a respected media personality, Hope Zinde, has reignited a countrywide discussion about drug abuse in South Africa.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Column: PM's Pot Czar Needs Credibility

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 06/26/2016 - 07:00
Ottawa Sun, 26 Jun 2016 - If Grits are serious about legalization, things must change Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made a shrewd political decision when he promised to legalize the use of marijuana in the last election. It made him look hip and no doubt delivered many votes and helped him gain power.
Categories: Marijuana

US OR: Residents Complain During Pot Hearing

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 06/26/2016 - 07:00
The Mail Tribune, 26 Jun 2016 - RESIDENTS COMPLAIN DURING POT HEARING Threats to put anti-pot measures on the ballot were juxtaposed against complaints about overregulation during a packed meeting Thursday evening about the future of the burgeoning marijuana industry in Josephine County.
Categories: Marijuana
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