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Chronicle AM: Asset Forfeiture Actions in Three States, Trump Kratom Petition Needs Signatures, More... (1/5/17)

Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 21:41

It's going to cost big bucks to get into the Arkansas medical marijuana growing business, a petition urging Donald Trump not to let the DEA ban kratom seeks signatures, there is asset forfeiture action in three states, and more.

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

Arkansas Sets Grower License Fee at $100,000. People who want one of the five commercial medical marijuana cultivation licenses the state is preparing to issue better have deep pockets. The Medical Marijuana Commission has set an annual fee of $100,000 for those licenses. But wait, there's more: That's in addition to a $15,000 application fee, only half of which will be refunded if the application is rejected. And applicants must show proof they have a million dollars in assets or surety bond and $500,000 in cash. One commission member argued for a lower, $15,000 license fee, saying he didn't want some residents to be shut out of the opportunity, but that move didn't fly.

Kratom

Less Than Three Weeks Remain to Sign Trump Kratom Petition. The American Kratom Association has organized a petition urging President-elect Donald Trump to halt the DEA's effort to criminalize kratom or to reverse any last-minute ban that might occur under the Obama administration. The group has set a target of 25,000 signatures before January 22, but only has 8,000 so far.

Heroin and Prescription Opioids

Ohio Governor Signs Naloxone Expansion Bill. Gov. John Kasich (R) has signed into law Senate Bill 319, which expands access to the anti-overdose drug naloxone to entities such as homeless shelters, halfway houses, schools, and treatment centers that deal with populations at higher risk of overdose. It also offers civil immunity to law enforcement officers who carry and use naloxone.

Asset Forfeiture

Kansas Bill Would Undo Police Asset Forfeiture Reporting Requirements. The first bill introduced in the 2017 legislative session, Senate Bill 1, would repeal a state law requiring law enforcement agencies to file annual reports on the money and other assets they seize. The bill is the creation of the Legislative Committee on Post Audit, which filed a report last summer noting that few police agencies comply with the reporting requirements, so the committee's solution was to kill the requirement. The bill is not yet available on the legislative website. The session starts next week.

Michigan Bill Would Reform Civil Asset Forfeiture. State Rep. Peter Lucido (R-Macomb County) has introduced House Bill 4629, which would reform the state's forfeiture laws by killing a provision that requires property owners whose property is seized to pay 10% of what police feel it is worth within 20 days to get the property back. Lucido said that the next step is getting rid of civil asset forfeiture. The bill is not yet available on the legislative website.

Ohio Governor Signs Civil Asset Forfeiture Reform Bill. Gov. John Kasich (R) has signed into House Bill 347, which limits civil asset forfeiture proceedings to cases involving at least $15,000 in cash and requires a criminal conviction or at least a criminal charge be filed in most cases before forfeiture proceedings can begin.

Categories: Marijuana

California's Six Largest Cash Crops: Marijuana is a Monster [FEATURE]

Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 19:08

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

California's agricultural bounty is fabled, from the endless olive and almond groves of the Central Valley to the world-class grapes of the Napa Valley to the winter vegetables of the Imperial Valley to the garlic fields of Gilroy, and beyond. But the biggest item in California's agricultural cornucopia is cannabis.

[image:1 align:right]According to report last week from the Orange County Register, California's marijuana crop is not only the most valuable agricultural product in the nation's number one agricultural producer state, it totally blows away the competition.

Using cash farm receipt data from the state Department of Food and Agriculture for ag crops and its own estimate of in-state pot production (see discussion below), the Register pegs the value of California's marijuana crop at more than the top five leading agricultural commodities combined.

Here's how it breaks down, in billions of dollars:

  1. Marijuana -- $23.3
  2. Milk -- $6.28
  3. Almonds -- $5.33
  4. Grapes -- $4.95
  5. Cattle, calves -- $3.39
  6. Lettuce -- $2.25

That estimate of $23.3 billion for the pot crop is humongous, and it's nearly three times what the industry investors the Arcview Group estimated the size of the state's legal market would be in the near post-legalization era. So, how did the Register come up with it, and what could explain it?

The newspaper extrapolated from seizures of pot plants, which have averaged more than two million a year in the state for the past five years, and, citing the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, used the common heuristic that seizures account for only 10% to 20% of drugs produced. That led it to an estimate of 13.2 million plants grown in the state in 2015 (with 2.6 million destroyed), based on the high-end 20% figure.

It then assumed that each plant would produce one pound of pot at a market price of $1,765 a pound. Outdoor plans can produce much more than a pound, but indoor plants may only produce a few ounces, so the one-pound average figure is safely conservative.

The $1,765 per pound farm gate price is probably optimistic, though, especially for outdoor grown marijuana, which fetches a lower price than indoor, and especially for large producers moving multi-dozen or hundred pound loads.

[image:2 align:left caption:true]And maybe law enforcement in California is damned good at sniffing out pot crops and seizes a higher proportion of the crop than the rule of thumb would suggest. Still, even if the cops seized 40% of the crop and farmers only got $1,000 a pound, the crop would still be valued at $8 billion and still be at the top of the farm revenue heap.

And it would still exceed the estimate of what the state's legal marijuana market would look like -- in 2020. Arcview estimated revenues of $6.5 billion by then under legalization. For 2015, the year the Register is looking at, Arcview pegged the state's legal (medical) market at $2.8 billion.

Even making conservative assumptions about the value of the pot crop, it's clear that California pot producers are growing billions of dollars' worth of marijuana that is not accounted for by the state's legal market. Where does it all go? Ask any of those state troopers perched like vultures along the interstate highways heading back east.

That's a phenomenon that's not going to stop when California's legal marijuana market goes into full effect. It's not going to stop until people in states like Illinois and Florida and New York can grow their own. In the meantime, California pot growers are willing to take the risk if it brings the green.

Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Column: B.C. Shows What Happens When All Goes To Pot

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 08:00
London Free Press, 05 Jan 2017 - Visiting British Columbia is like going to a foreign land without using your passport. Having spent most of my early life there, it's always fun to see how much has changed. When I was a kid, for example, there was a major moral panic over marijuana use and another about Vancouver being the heroin gateway to North America.
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CN ON: Column: B.C. Shows What Happens When All Goes To Pot

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 08:00
The Tribune, 05 Jan 2017 - Visiting British Columbia is like going to a foreign land without using your passport. Having spent most of my early life there, it's always fun to see how much has changed. When I was a kid, for example, there was a major moral panic over marijuana use and another about Vancouver being the heroin gateway to North America.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Column: B.C. Shows What Happens When All Goes To Pot 2

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 08:00
The Beacon Herald, 05 Jan 2017 - Visiting British Columbia is like going to a foreign land without using your passport. Having spent most of my early life there, it's always fun to see how much has changed. When I was a kid, for example, there was a major moral panic over marijuana use and another about Vancouver being the heroin gateway to North America.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Column: B.C. Shows What Happens When All Goes To Pot 20

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 08:00
Kingston Whig-Standard, 05 Jan 2017 - Visiting British Columbia is like going to a foreign land without using your passport. Having spent most of my early life there, it's always fun to see how much has changed. When I was a kid, for example, there was a major moral panic over marijuana use and another about Vancouver being the heroin gateway to North America.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Column: B.C. Shows What Happens When All Goes To Pot 6

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 08:00
The Simcoe Reformer, 05 Jan 2017 - Visiting British Columbia is like going to a foreign land without using your passport. Having spent most of my early life there, it's always fun to see how much has changed. When I was a kid, for example, there was a major moral panic over marijuana use and another about Vancouver being the heroin gateway to North America.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Column: B.C. Shows What Happens When All Goes To Pot 16

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 08:00
The Niagara Falls Review, 05 Jan 2017 - Visiting British Columbia is like going to a foreign land without using your passport. Having spent most of my early life there, it's always fun to see how much has changed. When I was a kid, for example, there was a major moral panic over marijuana use and another about Vancouver being the heroin gateway to North America.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Column: B.C. Shows What Happens When All Goes To Pot 17

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 08:00
North Bay Nugget, 05 Jan 2017 - Visiting British Columbia is like going to a foreign land without using your passport. Having spent most of my early life there, it's always fun to see how much has changed. When I was a kid, for example, there was a major moral panic over marijuana use and another about Vancouver being the heroin gateway to North America.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Column: B.C. Shows What Happens When All Goes To Pot 8

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 08:00
Barrie Examiner, 05 Jan 2017 - Visiting British Columbia is like going to a foreign land without using your passport. Having spent most of my early life there, it's always fun to see how much has changed. When I was a kid, for example, there was a major moral panic over marijuana use and another about Vancouver being the heroin gateway to North America.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Column: B.C. Shows What Happens When All Goes To Pot 12

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 08:00
Standard Freeholder, 05 Jan 2017 - Visiting British Columbia is like going to a foreign land without using your passport. Having spent most of my early life there, it's always fun to see how much has changed. When I was a kid, for example, there was a major moral panic over marijuana use and another about Vancouver being the heroin gateway to North America.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Column: B.C. Shows What Happens When All Goes To Pot 15

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 08:00
The Sault Star, 05 Jan 2017 - Visiting British Columbia is like going to a foreign land without using your passport. Having spent most of my early life there, it's always fun to see how much has changed. When I was a kid, for example, there was a major moral panic over marijuana use and another about Vancouver being the heroin gateway to North America.
Categories: Marijuana

CN ON: Column: B.C. Shows What Happens When All Goes To Pot 19

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 08:00
The Daily Observer, 05 Jan 2017 - Visiting British Columbia is like going to a foreign land without using your passport. Having spent most of my early life there, it's always fun to see how much has changed. When I was a kid, for example, there was a major moral panic over marijuana use and another about Vancouver being the heroin gateway to North America.
Categories: Marijuana

US MD: Poll: 41 Percent Of Maryland Residents Personally Touched By

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 01/05/2017 - 08:00
Baltimore Sun, 05 Jan 2017 - Among Baltimore residents, 68 percent said they had been affected by opioid epidemic. A new poll found 41 percent of Maryland residents said the escalating opioid epidemic has directly affected them or someone they know over the past five years.
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Medical Marijuana Update

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 22:20

Arkansas and Florida start moving toward voter-approved medical marijuana systems, Massachusetts activists push for greater patient access, and more.

[image:1 align:right]Arkansas

Last Friday, a lawmaker filed medical marijuana implementation bills. State Rep. Douglas House (R-North Little Rock) has filed a pair of bills aimed at the state's new medical marijuana law. House Bill 1057 would add national and state criminal background check requirements, while House Bill 1058 would amend the definition of written certification to clarify that it is not a medical record. The bills are not yet available on the legislative web site.

Florida

As of Tuesday, Florida is now a medical marijuana state. The constitutional amendment approved by voters in November to legalize medical marijuana went into effect Tuesday. But the state doesn't have a distribution system up and running yet. Lawmakers and the state Department of Health will have to craft rules, with an implementation target date of September 9.

Massachusetts

On Tuesday, a public hearing heard calls for eased patient access. At a public hearing in Boston Tuesday, advocates called for changes in the state's medical marijuana law to allow hospices and nursing homes to provide the medicine for patients. "Hospice patients are literally out of time," said Elizabeth Dost, clinical director for the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, which represents medical marijuana patients. "The patient's average length of stay (in hospice) in Massachusetts is 35 to 45 days. By the time they access cannabis, they are often deceased." Another public hearing is set for Thursday morning in Holyoke.

New Hampshire

Last Friday, a new bill being drafted would let patients grow their own. A bill currently in draft form would allow patients living at least 30 miles from a dispensary to grow their medicine. New Hampshire and Connecticut are the only New England states that don't allow patients to grow, and state Rep. Renny Cushing (D-Hampton) wants to change that. He said he is open to altering the bill's language, including the 30-mile provision.

Puerto Rico

Last Friday, the territory got its first dispensaries. Medical marijuana dispensaries have begun operating in the US territory, Gov. Alejandro Garcia Padilla said Friday. He said two dispensaries are now open. The move comes nearly two years after his administration adopted a regulation to allow for medical marijuana.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM: VT MJ Possession Pardons, No Jail for MJ in Houston, UK CBD, More... (1/4/17)

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 21:57

Vermont's governor pardons nearly 200 for pot, Houston's incoming DA says no jail for pot possession, a British medical regulatory agency recognizes CBD as medicine, and more.

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

Alaska Gets First Legal Marijuana Tax Revenues. The state is starting to reap the fiscal benefits of marijuana legalization, as the Department of Revenue announced it had taken in $81,000 in taxes from seven growers in the month of November. The revenues came from taxes on 98 pounds of pot and 10 pounds of trim, which are taxed at $50 an ounce and $15 an ounce, respectively.

Vermont Governor Pardons 192 for Pot Possession. Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) has pardoned 192 people convicted of possessing small amounts of marijuana. Some 450 people applied for pardons after Shumlin announced the program last month, but he only pardoned 192 after looking at subsequent criminal histories. "While attitudes and laws about marijuana use are rapidly changing, there is still a harmful stigma associated with it," Shumlin said. "My hope was to help as many individuals as I could overcome that stigma and the very real struggles that too often go along with it."

No Jail for Marijuana Possession in Houston. Incoming Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg has said the practice of jailing people for pot possession is over. "All misdemeanor possession of marijuana cases will be diverted around jail," Ogg said. "I've never felt good about putting marijuana users in the same jail cells as murderers. It's just not fair, it doesn't make any sense, and our country is resoundingly against that."

Medical Marijuana

Florida is Now a Medical Marijuana State. The constitutional amendment approved by voters in November to legalize medical marijuana went into effect Tuesday. But the state doesn't have a distribution system up and running yet. Lawmakers and the state Department of Health will have to craft rules, with an implementation target date of September 9.

Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Hearing Aims to Ease Patient Access. At a public hearing in Boston Tuesday, advocates called for changes in the state's medical marijuana law to allow hospices and nursing homes to provide the medicine for patients. "Hospice patients are literally out of time," said Elizabeth Dost, clinical director for the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, which represents medical marijuana patients. "The patient's average length of stay (in hospice) in Massachusetts is 35 to 45 days. By the time they access cannabis, they are often deceased." Another public hearing is set for Thursday morning in Holyoke.

Law Enforcement

NAACP Activists Arrested in Protest at Attorney General Nominee's Office. Six NAACP demonstrators were arrested after occupying the Mobile, Alabama, offices of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Donald Trump's choice to head the Justice Department. The NAACP is demanding the Sessions turn down the nomination to be attorney general, citing his record of ignoring voter suppression but prosecuting black voting rights activists. Sessions is also opposed by broad swathes of the drug reform community for his stances against marijuana legalization and sentencing reform and in favor of asset forfeiture.

International

Britain Recognizes CBD as a Medicine. The Medicines and Health Care Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) Tuesday classified CBD as a medicine in the United Kingdom. The agency said it made the move after reviewing claims from several companies that their CBD products offered health benefits.

Georgia Marijuana Activists Face 12 Years in Prison for Planting Pot Seeds. In a New Year's Eve act of civil disobedience, dozens of activists and the Girchi Party planted pot seeds at party offices, publicly breaching the country's criminal code and exposing themselves to up to 12 years in prison under the country's drug laws. The Girchi Party is demanding drug decriminalization and marijuana legalization.

Categories: Marijuana

CN AB: Legalized Marijuana Hurts Youth: Senator

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 08:00
The South Peace News, 04 Jan 2017 - A Canadian Senator with roots in the Peace Country is deeply concerned with the Liberal government's intention to legalize marijuana. "We are clearly headed in the wrong direction and our young people will be the most victimized due to the damage that marijuana causes to a young person's brain development," Senator Betty Unger states in a news release dated Dec. 14.
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US TX: Arlington Officer Allows Teen To Do Pushups Instead Of Jail

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 08:00
Ft. Worth Star-Telegram, 04 Jan 2017 - An Arlington police officer is popular on social media Thursday because of a video that shows he gave a teenager caught smoking marijuana in a movie theater parking lot an unorthodox alternative to being arrested: pushups. Officer Eric Ball was working off-duty Monday night at the theater in Arlington when someone told him that a teenager was smoking marijuana outside, WFAA-TV reported. Ball went outside to find the teen finishing a cigarette and discarding it, and Ball smelled marijuana when he approached him.
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US CT: Ct Mom Believes Marijuana Plant Oil Can Help Kids With

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 08:00
Hartford Courant, 04 Jan 2017 - Fighting Epilepsy: Should Children Be Given Controversial Cannabis Oil?' Kim Hearn believes marijuana plant oil can help her 10-year-old son, who has epilepsy. Each morning, Kim Hearn attaches a feeding tube to her son before outfitting him in specialized clothes that lend support to his torso, ankles and legs. A seizure often disrupts the process. It's a rigorous routine for this Stratford mom but it's nothing, she says, compared to what the 10-year-old, who can't speak or sit on his own, endures: "Sean just accepts it."
Categories: Marijuana

US MA: Millbury Voters Adopt Methadone Clinic Restrictions

Marijuana (MAP) - Wed, 01/04/2017 - 08:00
Worcester Telegram & Gazette, 04 Jan 2017 - MILLBURY - After barely drawing a quorum of 100 voters, with an unofficial count of 108, special town meeting voters approved zoning bylaws Tuesday to restrict the location of methadone and other medication-assisted drug treatment centers and to impose a moratorium on recreational marijuana outlets until May 31, 2018. Both articles received a two-thirds majority to pass, according to Town Moderator John M. Bartosiewicz. A vote count was not taken.
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