Ritchie King, from one of our favorite websites, FiveThirtyEight, recently released a fun Venn diagram helping us visualize where Cannabis legality currently stands in the United States.
Mathew Young fought for his country in Iraq, losing some of close friends and returned home a shattered shell of his former self. Now The Florida Army vet is latest victim in the war against marijuana. Cops arrested Young in November on trafficking, possession and manufacturing marijuana charges. During interviews with local TV stations, Young and his lawyer insist he was using pot to treat his war injuries.
In addition to suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and shrapnel wounds, Young has aids, which he said he contracted treating wounded soldiers during his tour as a medic. The 45-year-old Pasco County resident is also dealing with head trauma caused by concussions he sustained from roadside bombs.
The trauma of war followed him home. “I hid myself in a 12-by-12 bedroom and didn’t want to engage the world,” Young told Bay News 9. “I was dying. I was basically living in a bed and weighed about 128 pounds.”
He only started to feel better when he tried medical marijuana. The cannabis helped the Florida Army vet decrease the side effects and the pain of his illness and injuries. He was able to put away his wheelchair and walk without difficulty. And it calmed down his PTSD.
Shawn Gearhart, who is Young’s lawyer, said his client isn’t a criminal.
“He is a patient,” Gearhart told WTSP 10 News. “It’s obvious that he needs this medical cannabis to control the side effects of these other drugs he is taking and live a normal life.”
Gearhart managed to get two of the charges against his client dropped, but he still faces one county that could send Young to prison for five years. Gearhart’s goal is to ensure Young’s right to use marijuana for medicinal purposes.
“There is millions of Floridians that can benefit from whole flower cannabis that are dealing with debilitating diseases,” Gearhart said.
Sanjay Gupta’s cannabis crusade is really starting to irk the Drug Free America Foundation. After CNN aired Gupta’s Weed 3 documentary last night, the foundation quickly issued a rebuttal. In a press release, the Tampa,Fl-based anti-marijuana group claimed Weed 3 blurs the lines between legitimate research and propaganda. Drug Free America asked, “Legitimate Scientific Research or an Infomercial to Legalize Marijuana?”
If that’s the case, where do we provide our credit card number?
As usual, Drug Free America trotted out its medical expert, Dr. Eric Voth, to counter Gupta’s argument that cannabis is good for the health. Voth also lobbies that research on the potential benefits of marijuana is taking place today without the rescheduling of the drug.
“Two things about the documentary that really upset me as a medical professional are that Sanjay Gupta had a chance to drive home the point that because research is underway on the potential benefits of components in marijuana,” Voth said. “There is no need to legalize it through referenda where dosages can’t be controlled and various strains can’t be cloned. Nor is it necessary to reschedule the drug.”
The Drug Free America’s deputy director Amy Ronshausen accused Gupta of failed to acknowledge problems Colorado and California allegedly experienced since marijuana has been legalized in those states. Of course, she resorted to the usual drug scare tactics of the past to make her point.
“This show failed to cover Colorado’s increases in drugged driving fatalities and emergency room visits because of marijuana use,” Ronhausen said. “Nor did the show discuss the alarming trend surrounding high potency marijuana edibles sold as ‘medicine’ and marketed to be appealing to youth.”
Marijuana users in northern Indiana are feeling a bit higher these days.
The South Bend Tribune reports black market dealers are importing high-grade marijuana from Colorado and Washington, the two states that legalized recreational pot. The demand for great ganja has led to a spike in prices with an ounce fetching as much as $800, triple the price cannabis lovers typically pay for shawg weed from Mexico and South America.
The Tribune interviewed Guy Baker, resident agent in charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration’s regional office in Merrillville, who said:
“Historically, we would get truckloads of weed from Mexico, but now it’s apparent that some of this weed, especially the higher quality weed, is coming from states where you purchase recreational marijuana. The supply chain is growing, and the black market is thriving with people that are selling legally grown marijuana from these states.”
Since January, the DEA intercepted three shipments of marijuana grown and packaged in Colorado. However, authorities in nearby Elkhart County said police have no investigations tied to Colorado and Washington grown marijuana, but have seen an increase in dealers boasting they have high-grade marijuana for sale.
Indiana law enforcement authorities are also getting schooled on popular slang terms for high-quality marijuana like the use of the word “loud” to describe potent cannabis. “The prices are way up,” said Sgt. John Mortakis, who has been involved in drug investigations since the 1980s. “They call this stuff ‘Loud,’ it comes from Colorado and Washington, and it goes for $200 to $400, and even up to 800 bucks an ounce.”
Baker told the Tribune, Colorado and Washington pot growers can make more money selling on the black market since they don’t have to pay state taxes and can demand premium prices. “It’s all high-quality, high-grade marijuana, and they’re able to sell it for additional cost here,” Baker said. “They even market it as the best stuff they have in Colorado.”
Of course, cops blame the influx of high-quality marijuana for a recent rise in street robberies. Apparently, thieves are targeting dealers and buyers walking around with larger wads of cash, particularly in South Bend, home to Notre Dame University, where armed robberies have increased 15 percent since 2012.
“There’s a lot of people walking around with a lot of cash in their pockets, and they’re getting robbed, and it’s marijuana deals that go bad,” said Capt. Phil Trent, a South Bend police spokesman. “It completely raises the stakes.”
Taking a stand against prosecutors who want her to admit she did wrong, a Minnesota mom who gave her teenage son cannabis to treat a severe brain injury refused a plea deal that would have avoided jail time.
“I didn’t give my son back alley pot. I gave him controlled medicinal cannabis,” Brown told a local TV station. “I want them to have compassion for a mother that was just trying to save her child.”
Brown is charged with two gross misdemeanors: endangering a child — permitting to be present when possessing a controlled substance and contribute to the need for child protection. She faces a possible two-year prison sentence if she is found guilty at trial. Brown administered the cannabis oil before Minnesota passed a medical marijuana law that goes into effect in 2015. Brown’s defense attorney Michael Hughes insisted she is not guilty of child endangerment and would not offer a plea as part of a settlement offer.
Her 15-year-old son Trey has a traumatic brain injury who tried prescription medications before turning to marijuana. She claims Trey was in so much pain and discomfort that he cried himself to sleep and started punching and cutting himself. Determined to ease his pain, Brown traveled to Colorado where she purchased the cannabis oil. The results were amazing, she said. “Once it hit his system, Trey said the pressure in his brain was relieved,” Brown told the Huffington Post. “You could literally see the muscle spasms stopping. He felt amazing.”
Unfortunately, Brown told someone about giving Trey cannabis oil and that indivdiual reported her to the cops.
Pot Farmers are a danger to the coho salmon population in northern California and southern Oregon, officials from the NOAA Fisheries Service claim. In a report on how to save the coho salmon from extinction, federal biologists found that northern California marijuana growers are siphoning off too much water from creeks where young fish struggle to stay alive.
According to the Associated Press, the affected area is the Emerald Triangle, where some of the most potent marijuana in the world is grown. However, the grows are illegal. In addition to cutting off the creeks, the northern California marijuana growers are clear-cutting forests to create pot plantations, building roads that send sediment into salmon streams and spread fertilizer and pesticides that poison the water.
Coho salmon have been on the list of threatened species since 1997 due to losing their habitat as a result of logging, agriculture, urban development, overfishing, and dams, the AP reports. Federal officials took an interest following a state Department of Fish and Wildlife study estimated northern California marijuana growers suck millions of gallons of water from salmon streams.
Unlike logging and vineyards, marijuana growing in the Emerald Triangle remains unregulated. To combat the problem, the state imposed stiffer fines for illegal water withdrawals used for pot plantations. However, pot industry advocates told the AP that northern California growers would welcome regulations. Emerald Growers Association Executive director Hezekiah Allen said a regulated industry would allow legitimate growers to compete more evenly with illegal growers, who have a financial incentive to cut corners.
“We need regulation that’s going to make sense to the farmers on the ground,” he said. “That is also going to achieve the public safety and environmental goals that we all share.”
Randy Jokela deserves to get canned from the Seattle Police Department for all the man hours he wasted writing tickets to people he accused of publicly smoking marijuana. Earlier this week, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes announced the city was tearing up nearly 90 tickets following an investigation that found Jokela was responsible for writing most of them as part of his one-man protest against Washington’s marijuana legalization laws.
Holmes cited concerns that the police officer unfairly and arbitrarily targeted the homeless and African-Americans. Jokela was so brazen he added a note to one of the tickets stating he had flipped a coin to pick who he was going to write a ticket. He’s been reassigned pending an internal affairs probe. But considering all the time and taxpayer dollars Rokela wasted writing tickets, not to mention the hours wasted on the investigation into his tactics, Jokela deserves to be dismissed.
“The police do not write the laws. They enforce the laws,” Holmes told reporters. “You can’t be a legislator out on the street.”
Seattle has decriminalized simple marijuana possession, and the state of Washington permits both recreational and medical marijuana consumption and possession. Public consumption, however, remains illegal.
Holmes, who backed the campaigns to decriminalize and then legalize marijuana, said Jokela’s seemingly arbitrary approach to writing tickets was “abhorrent.” He said social justice requires the law be applied evenly, and on Monday announced a new police policy aimed at educating users first before issuing them a ticket.
Oy Vey! The FBI ruined a plan by a trio of Hasidic Jews to corner the kosher kush market in Brooklyn. Last week, Boruch “Barry” Rapoport, 47, Moshe “Mony” Horenshtein, 27, and Menachem Jacobson, 30, tried to buy 50 pounds of marijuana from an undercover special agent posing as a Texas drug dealer.
According to a criminal complaint filed in Brooklyn federal court, Rappaport met with the agent in April looking to set up a deal to receive 50 pounds of grade-A hydroponically grown marijuana. In his conversations with the agent, Rappaport allegedly demanded they use the code words “alfalfa” and “vegetables” for pot.
On Nov. 10, Rappaport met the agent at a Brooklyn hotel to hand over the cash while Horenshtein and Jacobson traveled to a warehouse on Atlantic and Nostrand avenues where the marijuana was being delivered. While inspecting the pot, Jacobson was allegedly pleased with the high quality, according to the complaint. “You can’t sell that Mexican stuff here,” Jacobson said.
Rapoport — who pays $108 in rent for his subsidized $1,400 apartment according to the New York Post — produced $95,000 in cash to pay for the pot before he was arrested. All three men were released on $500,000 bond and will appear in court in Texas federal court on Sept. 26.
Up in Smoke Shabbat jokes aside, Hasidic Jews have been experimenting with marijuana for centuries. In 2012, 30-year-old author Yoseph Needelman published “Cannabis Chassidis,” a book examining Jewish use of marijuana.
Give Benjamin Nutter some credit. The 26-year-old Florida man tried his best convince 911 dispatchers in Volusia County that there was no need to pull him over despite his suspicious behavior. Early Tuesday morning, deputies tried to stop Nutter after flagging him for driving with no tag light.
He ignored them for more than two miles, including a slow roll throw a shopping plaza parking lot. Deputies claim they saw Nutter reach into a cup in his car and dumping something out, according to a local TV news report. That’s when dispatchers got a frantic call from the suspect.
“My hands are on the wheel, sir, I have not done anything wrong,” Nutter screamed to a 911 dispatcher as he was being stopped by deputies. When they finally caught up to him, the deputies said marijuana was all over Nutter’s face and his car. Deputies charged him with making a false call to 911, possession of marijuana, and fleeing and eluding early Tuesday morning.
Nutter, who has three previous arrests including for marijuana possession, has since bonded out of the Volusia County Jail.
A Colorado marijuana plant field discovered in a remote, mountainous part of South St. Vrain Canyon prompted law enforcement officials to call in a military vehicle typically used to transport soldiers into the heart of battle. Citing the “very, very steep” location, authorities in Boulder County used a Black Hawk Army helicopter to remove 400 plants at the illegal grow site.
According to a local television report, the marijuana plant field was discovered by neighbors who were hiking in the area on Aug. 25. The grow location was about a 45 to 60 minute hike from the main road. Investigators have not determined who tended the marijuana plant field, located on private property. The owners said they did not give anyone permission to grow marijuana.
A cop told local reporters that the site appeared to have been set up by a drug trafficking organization, likely from Mexico. Cartels have been known to sprout marijuana plant fields in California national forests, but this would be the first time any Mexican drug traffickers are linked to illegal grow sites in Colorado.
The unknown growers arranged the plants in the ground a few at a time and around pine trees to help conceal the marijuana plant field from the air. Investigators told 9News that marijuana plant fields are typically arranged in nice, neat roads.
Authorities also seized irrigation pipes, other grow equipment and a makeshift campground that had been abandoned.
“Large marijuana grow sites like this are put in by people who have criminal minds, so they are very dangerous. They’re there to protect their investment,” Boulder County Sheriff’s Office Spokesperson Heidi Prentup said. “It’s always dangerous. If you find something like this, you should never go near it. Contact law enforcement, because you don’t know…there could be booby traps, there could be weapons. You don’t want to go into it.”
The growers also took a huge risk for very little reward. Boulder County deputies said the plants would only yield about $100,000 of consumable product.
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