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sabato 31 gennaio 2015

Washington CUs Open 'Joint' Biz Accounts

By Michael Muckian
January 30, 2015


Humulus lupulus, or hops, an essential ingredient in brewing beer, is a close cousin to Cannabis sativa, or marijuana, long used both legally and illegally for medicinal and recreational purposes.

However, that botanical bond is not the reason the $195 million O Bee Credit Union, based in Olympia, Wash., chose to be among the first financial institutions to serve its state's budding recreational marijuana industry.

Chartered in 1955 to serve employees of Olympia Brewing Co., the credit union now serves the entire state of Washington.

“Credit unions were founded to serve the unserved,” Jenni Roberts, SVP/COO of O Bee, said. “Members told us they were thinking of getting into recreational marijuana and asked us to look into it.”

For those members, it wasn't just a matter of passing the pipe. They formed the vanguard of a newly legalized recreational marijuana industry and needed support from a financial institution to grow businesses designed to serve this emerging market segment, Roberts said.

venerdì 30 gennaio 2015

Droga, chiusa l'indagine sulla "dama bianca": 28 arresti

Individuata un'organizzazione che, secondo gli inquirenti, aveva contatti diretti con i cartelli della droga sudamericani. l'inchiesta era partita a marzo con l'arresto a fiumicino di federica gagliardi, che nel 2010 era stata inserita nella delegazione per il g8 di toronto insieme all'allora premier berlusconi, non coinvolto nella vicenda 


napoli 28 gennaio 2015 Si è chiusa con 28 arresti e con il sequestro di beni per circa 4 milioni di euro l’indagine su un’organizzazione dedita al traffico di droga partita nel marzo scorso con l’arresto di federica gagliardi, la “dama bianca” inserita nella delegazione per il g8 di toronto insieme all'allora premier berlusconi. nel primo mattino di oggi guardia di finanza e polizia hanno eseguito una serie di misure cautelari nei confronti di presunti appartenenti alla rete, che secondo gli inquirenti aveva sede operativa a napoli, ramificazioni all’estero e contatti diretti con grossi cartelli sudamericani. l'ex presidente del consiglio non è coinvolto nell'indagine. la "dama bianca" l'inchiesta era partita il 13 marzo, quando all'aeroporto di fiumicino federica gagliardi fu bloccata all'arrivo da caracas con 24 chili di cocaina nascosti in uno zainetto e in un trolley. la donna era stata soprannominata la “dama bianca” quando, a giugno del 2010, fu vista scendere dal volo di stato che portava il premier silvio berlusconi e il suo staff a toronto per il g8 in canada. in molti si chiesero che ruolo ricoprisse nella delegazione italiana quella donna completamente vestita di bianco, che era presente anche alla visita del presidente del consiglio a panama in quello stesso anno. alla fine gagliardi risultò essere la responsabile della segreteria del segretario della regione lazio, allora governata da renata polverini. per giustificare la sua presenza al summit di huntaville fu spiegato che la "dama bianca", che aveva fatto parte del comitato elettorale della polverini, durante la campagna aveva avanzato la richiesta di partecipare ad una missione all'estero in caso di vittoria elettorale.   arresti e sequestri il gip del tribunale di napoli ha emesso 27 ordinanze di custodia cautelare in carcere e un provvedimento agli arresti domiciliari. i militari della guardia di finanza di napoli e i poliziotti della questura di frosinone hanno eseguito anche il sequestro di beni mobili e immobili, quote societarie e disponibilità finanziarie per circa 4 milioni. traffici con l'america del sud secondo quanto ricostruito dagli investigatori, i vertici dell'organizzazione avevano contatti diretti con i cartelli sudamericani, dai quali acquistavano grossi carichi di droga. lo stupefacente entrava in italia via terra e soprattutto tramite navi ed aerei. tra le persone coinvolte ci sono anche degli addetti alle pulizie dell'aeroporto di fiumicino e un agente della polaria. una volta nel nostro paese, la droga finiva in campania, dove andava a rifornire le piazze di spaccio. i corrieri nel corso dell'indagine sono stati arrestati diversi corrieri utilizzati per il trasporto della droga. fra loro secondo l'indagine ci sarebbe stata anche la stessa gagliardi. al momento dell'arresto sarebbe stata alla sua seconda "missione": in quell'occasione le sarebbero stati offerti come compenso 50mila euro. nel corso dell'inchiesta sono stati sequestrati complessivamente 93 chilogrammi di cocaina e 930 chilogrammi di hashish, per un controvalore al dettaglio stimabile in almeno 35 milioni.

Droga, chiusa l'indagine sulla "dama bianca": 28 arresti

7 celebrities looking to cash in on the cannabis industry's 'Green Rush'


 

Celebrities look to cash in on a growing industry while entrepreneurs hope famous names will help their products stand out in a crowd.

While the alcohol industry has long had celebrities like Sean “Diddy” Combs and Bethenny Frankel endorsing brands, we’re just starting to see marijuana brands endorsed by musicians, actors and, well . . . Bethenny Frankel again.
Entrepreneurs across the U.S. are flocking to the burgeoning cannabis industry as more and more states pass legislation legalizing the sale of marijuana in some form. That proliferation of pot-related businesses means that business-owners are scrambling for ways to make their brand stand out in the minds of consumers. Cue the celebrities, who have been popping up across the marijuana industry recently with product endorsements as well as their own pot-related brands.
When you think of celebrities and pot, a host of well-known weed advocates likely spring to mind. Music icon Willie Nelson is an outspoken supporter of marijuana legalization who often throws his support behind political candidates with similar views. Meanwhile, actress and co-host of The View Whoopi Goldberg penned a column last year that details her love of her vaporizer pen — a tool for inhaling weed and other herbs — and comedian Sarah Silverman even showed off her own “vape” pen on the red carpet before attending last year’s Emmy awards.
In other words, there seems to be no shortage of celebrities who would surprise no one by jumping into the legal pot business. Here’s a look at several famous names who are already looking to cash in on the “green rush”:
Photograph by Tom Hill — WireImage/Getty Images
Sure, the reggae legend has been dead for more than three decades, but he’s still a household name and his fondness for marijuana was no secret. At the end of 2014, Marley’s family teamed up with pot-focused venture capital firm Privateer Holdings to announce a series of cannabis strains inspired by the legendary singer as part of a brand called Marley Natural. Fans could be enjoying the Marley-branded pot later this year in areas where marijuana is legal in some form.
Billionaire investor and PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel appears to be a believer. Thiel’s investment firm, Founders Fund, recently committed “multi-millions” of dollars to a $75 million funding round for Privateer, which also counts a medical marijuana growing facility and a Yelp-like website for marijuana among its holdings.

domenica 25 gennaio 2015

Scrivialtuodirettore want to say thank you to the first greatest activist in the cannabis world law reform, an icon, an inspiration and bring him best wishes

Dope smuggler turned celebrity Howard Marks has revealed he has inoperable bowel cancer.



Marks, the grammar schoolboy from south Wales who ran an international drug-smuggling ring, was locked up in the toughest federal prison in the US but on his release became an eloquent campaigner for the legalisation of cannabis. His autobiography, "Mr Nice," was made into a film starring friend Rhys Ifans.




Told he had cancer of the bowel last year, Marks has now learned it has spread to his lungs and liver and is inoperable. He has had eight courses of chemotherapy and according to The Observer has responded well, but says he accepts his time is probably running out.


"I've come to terms with it in my own way – which for me was about learning how to cry," said Marks, 69. "It's impossible to regret any part of my life when I feel happy and I am happy now, so I don't have any regrets and have not had any for a very long time."



Mr Nice
Rhys Ifans played his friend Howard Marks in the film of his life "Mr Nice"


Marks is now being cared for in Leeds by his partner Caroline Brown and says his only regret about his adventurous life was the effect it had on his loved ones, including his four children.


"Smuggling cannabis was a wonderful way of living – perpetual culture shock, absurd amounts of money, and the comforting knowledge of getting so many people stoned.


"Prison took the wind out of the sails for a while, and was a terrible blow to my young family. However, I felt immensely lucky and privileged to have written a bestseller and then embarked on a career of performing in public, which allowed me to hang out with musicians, DJs and other lovers of dope. I have had an incredible life."



Celebrity friends including Tracy Emin, Keith Allen, Richard Branson and Peter Hitchens have all sent their best wishes on hearing the news. Zoe Ball and husband Norman Cook call Marks "a ray of sunshine in our lives".



Although the battle to legalise cannabis seems far from won, Marks admits to some satisfaction that even in the US the drug is now legal in some states – he just wishes people didn't have to be ill to use it.



"Of course the legalising of marijuana for medical purposes is to be welcomed, but personally I never wanted to have to wait until I had cancer before I could legally smoke. I want it to be legalised for consuming recreationally – and I'm pleased to see they have now done this in four US states. After my experiences at the hands of the US legal system, America is the last place in the world that I thought would be leading the charge."


A celebratory event both to raise funds for Marks' treatment and to set up a charitable foundation will take place at London's Kentish Town Forum on 27 February. Marks will attend along with Rhys Ifans, the Super Furry Animals and DJ Greg Wilson.


'Mr Nice' Howard Marks diagnosed with inoperable bowel cancer

sabato 24 gennaio 2015

10 Cannabis Startups That Have Raised Over $1 Million (Besides Privateer)

Carol TiceCarol Tice
Contributor

Legal cannabis gained a higher profile recently, after Seattle pot-investment firm Privateer Holdings closed a $75 million funding round. The deal included the first mainstream venture capital involvement in the sector, from Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund.

But there’s plenty of other VC interest in legal weed, and it’s likely just the beginning of investor interest in “potpreneurs.” Quite a few legal-pot startups are publicly traded penny stocks, so everyman investors can get a piece of the action, too.

At first, many VC investors wanted to remain anonymous with their pot investing, but now more are coming out of the shadows and publicly announcing their interest in the sector.

To give you an idea of the types of marijuana startups that are attracting venture capital, here are a dozen other cannabis startups that have raised over $1 million to date (data compiled by this reporter from CB Insights, the MoneyTree Report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), Crunchbase, and company research):

Leafline Labs ($12.4M) — This Minneapolis-based medical-marijuana startup has the involvement of several members of the family that owns nursery company Bachman’s Inc. Leafline is one of only two cannabis companies that Minnesota has licensed to operate in the state. Leafline raised its funding from 113 individual investors.

Four Twenty Investments ($10M) — A private investment firm based in Toronto, Four Twenty did a $10 million debt financing in December. The firm invested an equal sum in Nhale, a publicly traded grow-technology company based in Houston that plans to acquire other pot startups.

Palliatech ($10M) — This New York City producer of marijuana-based pain medicines is also a grower and distributor. PwC reports funders include Russian VC firm Gruppa Sputnik OOO.

Vida Cannabis ($9.39M) — The Ottawa-based pot producer most recently raised nearly $5.8 million in a private placement last July. Part of the funding went to purchase a secure, hydroponic production facility in Nova Scotia.

CannTrust ($3.79M) — A Canadian medical cannabis producer, CannTrust is owned and operated by pharmacists. It raised $1 million of its funding this month, CB Insights reports.

MedMen ($3.75M) — This provider of turnkey management services to the legal-pot industry is based in Los Angeles. MedMen raised all of its funding in November, to expand operations to Nevada and Illinois. Backers included Florida-based N Squared Management.

Agricare ($2M) — Chicago-based Agricare raised its funding in October, though funders weren’t disclosed. Besides its hometown, the company is also in the licensing process to set up operations in Peru, Ill.

Eaze ($1.5M) — Funding for this San Francisco pot-delivery app came from technology microfunder Fresh VC in November.

Aquarius Cannabis ($1.16M) — This marijuana branding company raised most of its funding from angel investors at its October launch, CB Insights reports. It’s based in the L.A. suburb of Woodland Hills, Calif.
Privateer holdings management

MassRoots ($1.1M) — A social network for the cannabis community, MassRoots most recently raised $500,000 in September. Funders in past rounds include The ArcView Group. which runs a website platform for facilitating cannabis investment, and Dutchess Opportunity Fund, a fund of global investment firm Dutchess Capital.

This list is far from comprehensive — it’s just a sampling of the types of pot-related businesses that are interesting investors at this point.

It’s notable that most of these startups aren’t based in the traditional VC hubs of Boston or Silicon Valley. Indeed, many pot startups are based in Canada, where medical marijuana is already federally legal.


10 Cannabis Startups That Have Raised Over $1 Million (Besides Privateer)

L' inaugurazione dell' anno giudiziario

Nella relazione del primo presidente la «preoccupazione per l’Italia schiacciata da problemi sociali, politici, istituzionali» e sulle politiche sugli stupefacenti:


«Droga, inutile la Fini - Giovanardi»


«Il problema dell’eccesso di carcerazione chiama in causa anche i giudici che non possono limitarsi a sollecitare sempre e comunque l’intervento della politica e del legislatore. È necessario che si assumano anche essi la responsabilità di rendere effettivo il principio del `minimo sacrificio possibile´ che deve governare ogni intervento, specie giurisdizionale, in tema di libertà personale». Anche per quanto riguarda il problema della droga, «La gravità della sanzione non assicura un effetto di deterrenza, sicché appare criticabile la tendenza del legislatore a inasprire continuamente le pene detentive» in materia di stupefacenti. Lo sottolinea il Primo presidente della Cassazione Giorgio Santacroce nella sua relazione. La Fini-Giovanardi non «ha prodotto alcuna contrazione dei reati in materia di droghe».«Droga, inutile la Fini - Giovanardi»



sabato 17 gennaio 2015

Cannabis crusader asks: Isn’t it time that regulated medical pot shops came to your town?

Attorney Randall T. Longwith sits behind the desk in his spacious, brick-walled Fullerton office like a general in a war room, flanked by zoning maps of the cities where he’s aiming to bring medical marijuana dispensaries next.

Anaheim, Huntington Beach, Garden Grove, Westminster, Tustin, Placentia and Fullerton – they’re all on his maps.

Three months after Longwith’s Costa Mesa petition gained enough signatures to land a pot shop question on the November 2016 ballot, he has written similar initiatives for 10 more Orange County cities. The documents sit ready for marijuana advocates, who are eager to hit the streets, collect signatures and put the question to the people: Isn’t it about time that regulated medical cannabis shops came to your town?

But this time around, Longwith – a 45-year-old criminal defense attorney who says he makes a small chunk of his income from consulting for pot dispensaries – is taking a slightly different approach, encouraged by moves Santa Ana and Costa Mesa took in response to resident-backed initiatives.

In Santa Ana, after an advocate-backed pot shop initiative qualified for the November ballot, the city created its own marijuana measure, which ultimately won out and legalized a limited number of dispensaries.

In Costa Mesa, after two cannabis petitions received enough signatures to require an electorate vote, the City Council directed staff to pen the city’s own ordinance so that it would have control in determining regulations.

The retirement city of Laguna Woods was the first in the county to legalize dispensaries in 2008, but no property owner in town has agreed to lease space to a pot shop.

“I think cities recognize what’s happening,” Longwith said this week. “This is something that’s coming. … But we don’t want to force their hands. We want them to see that this is actually good for their city.”

So before he launches his petitions, Longwith is conducting pre-emptive, closed-door talks with five O.C. cities that either see the future as he sees it or are at least curious about what he has to say.

But D-Day is near.

Longwith has big goals to have six cities legalize medical pot shops within six months.

To do that, he’ll need to get moving soon, and he has suggested he may begin the ballot measure petitioning process soon after Santa Ana’s Feb. 5 cannabis dispensary lottery. By pulling the trigger, Longwith wouldn’t be able to put an actual ballot measure before voters within six months, but he thinks that he can escalate talks with cities and put a time frame on those discussions.


But are cities ready to listen?

CITIES SHIFT ON POT 

Orange County cities have a track record of opposing medical cannabis.

In 2007, Anaheim banned pot shops, and since then, the city has made it illegal for medical marijuana delivery services to make drop-offs in town – though that hasn’t stopped the Anaheim Convention Center from being the site of an annual medical marijuana expo.

In 2010, Dana Point chased dispensaries out of town by filing public nuisance lawsuits and winning $7 million in damages.

In 2011 and 2012, federal agents raided dispensaries in Garden Grove, Costa Mesa and Lake Forest after those cities asked for assistance in shutting down pot collectives.

But the landscape has shifted since those events.

Though the California Supreme Court ruled in 2013 that cities have the right to ban pot dispensaries, the decision since has inspired advocates in Los Angeles, Santa Ana and Costa Mesa to take the question directly to the people via initiative.

President Barack Obama, who long has said that marijuana should not be a priority for federal law enforcement, signed an action last month to defund the war on pot – thereby ending the raids of past years.

And after Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., legalized recreational marijuana use in 2014 (following Colorado in 2012), California advocates project that a statewide ballot measure will pass in 2016.

Santa Ana Councilman Sal Tinajero said the confluence of events was enough to make him “see the train was coming,” and Santa Ana’s resident-backed initiative convinced him it was “time to play defense” by creating a city-backed measure. Acting more out of fear than support for pot shops, Tinajero became an advocate for local regulation and persuaded other council members to back the plan, as well.

“I said, ‘Just because you create an ordinance, doesn’t mean that you are supporting (marijuana),’ ” Tinajero said.

“We had to make a move to protect the quality of lives of our residents. ... Now, the majority of the council is saying, ‘Thank God we did this.’ Otherwise, the medical marijuana distributor would write the laws and dictate to us how they are going to operate. ...

“Imagine lobbyists writing your laws. That’s what it comes down to.”

Tinajero since has spread his advocacy beyond Santa Ana, encouraging the Costa Mesa City Council to create its own marijuana ordinance and initiating discussions with Westminster, Fullerton, Garden Grove and Anaheim.

In Westminster, one of the first cities Longwith plans to target, Councilman Sergio Contreras said he has come around to the idea that cities need to proactively address the spread of medical cannabis and prepare for the likely arrival of recreational marijuana.

“Cities must be ready to respond with responsible ordinances that keep them away from parks, churches, neighborhoods and schools,” Contreras wrote in a recent email.

Elsewhere, the reaction to Longwith’s plans and Tinajero’s advocacy has been less welcoming.

Anaheim Councilwoman Kris Murray said she supported her city’s ban, relating a story of a local rogue dispensary, at which the smoke and pungent smell of marijuana billowed out of the business into a day care center next door.

“Our residents have loudly claimed that they do not want this in Anaheim,” Murray said. “I can’t speculate whether (pot shops in Anaheim are) an inevitability. I certainly hope not. … But I can say it is not a business model that we want in our city. They are destructive to our neighborhoods and business centers.”

In Huntington Beach, Mayor Pro Tem Jim Katapodis expressed similar concerns and said his City Council had not discussed any looming arrival of medical pot shops.

Costa Mesa Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer sits somewhere in between.

The train may be coming, he said, but why expedite its arrival?

Righeimer’s chief concern is a lack of state oversight.

Without a cannabis equivalent of the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control, he worries the only enforcement tool for cities will be code violations, leaving rogue operators to sell marijuana with near impunity. But if cities wait until 2016, when he expects recreational marijuana might be legalized, Righeimer thinks the state will be forced to create a regulating body to help cities control marijuana shops and medical dispensaries.

Why rush this decision, he asks, when help soon may arrive?

For Longwith, the answer is simple: because there are Orange County medical patients suffering right now who are unable to access the treatment they need.

PERSONAL MOTIVE 


It was 1989 when Longwith discovered his mom had been sneaking off to buy and smoke pot. He was furious.

That was also the year his mom died from an aggressive form of breast cancer.

Longwith found out about her marijuana usage after she died. After the double mastectomy, the radiation therapy, the bone marrow transplants, the chemotherapy, the hair loss, the loss of appetite and the mouth sores, the frail Yorba Linda “soccer mom” would pop on a wig, hop in her Ford Thunderbird and drive to a shady street to buy marijuana from gang members.

“That pissed me off,” he said of the lengths she had to take. “And we still have patients who are in dire need of this. It just needs to be regulated.”

Longwith agrees with Righeimer that medical marijuana could benefit from state oversight. He also agrees with Murray that poorly run pot shops can be a blight. And he understands some in O.C. see medical dispensaries as a farce for recreational use.

But he also knows that his client, Robert Taft Jr., a Costa Mesa marijuana advocate, regularly drives nearly three hours and 120 miles round-trip to San Bernardino County to buy cannabidiol oil (a non-psychoactive cannabis extract) for a local epileptic 10-year-old girl. The drug has helped the girl reduce her seizures from 1,000 per hour to six, Taft said.

Longwith said medical marijuana dispensaries need to open in all regions of Orange County to provide.

“I’m here for the patients,” Longwith said. “We don’t want to fight. We don’t want lawsuits. A lot of this is just to make cities have a robust discussion with us.”

Moments later, though, he again refers to his office as a war room, and it’s clear that bringing medical marijuana to Orange County cities will be part shove, part handshake.

“We have our (signature) gatherers, we’re holding them at bay right now,“ Longwith said. “They’re chomping at the bit to get going ...”

“But this is something that’s coming,” he added. “In 10 years, when you look back at Santa Ana, Tustin, Newport Beach, Irvine, they are going to wonder why we were so against this plan, and what a strange situation that we had a city without these facilities.“

Contact the writer: jgraham@ocregister.com 


Cannabis crusader asks: Isn’t it time that regulated medical pot shops came to your town?

Holder Slashes Civil Asset Forfeiture

January 16, 2015 - By Bill Piper 
Eric Holder just issued a huge blow to the drug war. This is big.

Today the Justice Department barred local and state police from using federal law to seize a person's property without evidence of a crime.

That might sound odd, since you would assume that it was already illegal in America for police to take your property without due process - but you would be wrong. Originally pushed in the 1980s as a way to combat illegal drugs, civil asset forfeiture has become common throughout the country.

Today people all over America who are simply suspected of drug law violations can have their assets seized without any ability to defend themselves in a court of law. Even if they are never convicted, or even charged with a crime they can have their property, bank accounts, cars, and assets taken from them forever.

If this doesn’t enrage you, I don’t know what will.

Civil asset forfeiture is another ugly aspect of the drug war, and here at the Drug Policy Alliance we are making it a top issue in 2015.

If you stand with us tweet out your support now to end unjust civil asset forfeiture for good.

Today’s actions by Eric Holder are a good first step to ending the unjust enforcement of this program once and for all. But now Congress needs to pass legislation to make this change permanent.

Bill Piper is the director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance.

Holder Slashes Civil Asset Forfeiture

giovedì 15 gennaio 2015

National news finally taking cannabis legalization seriously

By Leland Rucker

Colorado cannabis was all over mainstream news last weekend. Former Coloradan Harry Smith ran down some of the stories of the first year of legalization on his CNBC Saturday night special, Marijuana Country: The Cannabis Boom. Meanwhile, over at 60 Minutes, Bill Whitaker weighed in with Gov. John Hickenlooper and Colorado pot czar Andrew Freedman, among others. And rotating across the top of the online Politico site over the weekend was a story about Amendment 64’s consequences for the state and those along our borders.

Last year at this time, most of what passed for coverage of Colorado’s legalization efforts were guestimates of how much money the state might get in tax revenue, camera shots of the long lines at stores, rumors of product shortages and endless pondering of the infinite problems facing the state. The best part of watching the CNBC and CBS specials this year was that they didn’t start with a general bias against cannabis, a refreshing about-face. Perhaps even mainstream media are figuring out that, after a year, the experiment seems to be working pretty well.

On 60 Minutes, Hickenlooper changed his tune from just two months ago. It’s no secret that the governor opposed legalization, especially when Coloradans voted for it early on his watch as governor.

“I think even after the election, if I’d had a magic wand, and I could wave the wand, I probably would’ve reversed it and had the initiative fail,” he admitted to Whitaker. “But now I look at it, and I think we’ve made a lot of progress. I think we might actually create a system that can work.”

That’s quite a shift from a debate in October (during his campaign), when the governor deemed the experiment “reckless,” then dialed that down a day later to “risky.” Given that he’s not running for anything anymore, his latest comments are encouraging. He admitted his frustration over the lack of a cohesive banking system for many cannabis businesses. “If you want to guarantee a fledgling industry becomes corrupt … make it all cash, right? That’s as old as Al Capone, right? Cash creates corruption.”

Both stories included segments, not surprisingly, on edibles, which are very popular and a rallying point for those who oppose legalization. Both outlined how the state, after a couple of highprofile cases, has begun to take steps to change the packaging and help educate people about the differences in ingestion methods. Smith pointed out that though a few more children and adults have shown up in emergency rooms, edible overingestion is hardly epidemic.

Smith, a Denver broadcaster before moving up to CBS News in 1986, demonstrated a healthy skepticism about he subject. At one point he picked up a cannabis infused candy bar and asked Dixie Elixers’ Chuck Smith how a child could tell the difference if he or she found it on a living room table. Not missing a beat, Chuck Smith said that, like alcohol or anything else you don’t want your kids to have, it shouldn’t be on your living room table in the first place.

Smith was at his best reporting on the influx of parents coming to the state because their children have been diagnosed with Dravet syndrome and they’re seeking the high-in-demand, high-in-CBD Charlotte’s Web strain, which a Denver doctor admits needs more study but is showing promise for 20-30 percent of those who use it.

The Politico piece, written by Jonathan Topaz, looks at the lawsuit recently filed in the U.S. Supreme Court by Nebraska and Oklahoma against Colorado. Using the argument that Amendment 64 is preempted by the Controlled Substances Act, it seeks to force the U.S. to enforce federal cannabis laws in Colorado because legalization here harms neighboring states and may increase crime.

The story missed the latest wrinkle in that particular legal action. Last week a group of state Republican lawmakers petitioned Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt to drop the federal lawsuit. This is particularly interesting since none of the signees are pro-cannabis. But each one well understands the Pandora’s box opened if the Supreme Court were to rule in favor of the federal government over state’s rights. They have even threatened to side with Colorado if the case is ever actually heard.

“Oklahoma has been a pioneer and a leader in standing up to federal usurpations of power on everything from gun control to Obamacare and beyond,” they write. “We believe this lawsuit against our sister state has the potential, if it were to be successful at the Supreme Court, to undermine all of those efforts to protect our own state’s right to govern itself under the Tenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

No word on whether or when the Supremes might take up the case.

National news finally taking cannabis legalization seriously

USA - Cannabis legalizzata. Washington DC invia testo al Congresso

Washington DC sfida il Congresso degli Stati Uniti sulla marijuana. Il democratico Phil Mendelson, presidente del Consiglio legislativo della città, ha inviato al Congresso a maggioranza repubblicana il testo della misura per legalizzare il consumo di marijuana nella capitale federale. Ora il Congresso ha trenta giorni di tempo per bloccare il provvedimento, come è successo solo tre volte negli ultimi 40 anni per leggi approvate dal consiglio cittadino Se il Congresso o il presidente Barack Obama non interverranno per bloccare la misura, entro marzo diventerà legale a Washington possedere fino a due once di marijuana (56 grammi) e coltivare alcune piantine in casa. Tuttavia è difficile che ciò avvenga: già a fine dicembre il Congresso aveva inserito nella legge di bilancio una misura per impedire ogni spesa a Washington DC per rendere operativi i risultati del referendum del 4 novembre, quando sette elettori della capitale su 10 hanno votato a favore della legalizzazione della marijuana. Per molti deputati e senatori sarebbe imbarazzante la liberalizzazione della marijuana nella città dove ha sede la Dea, l'agenzia americana antidroga. Mendelson, che agisce in accordo con il sindaco Muriel Bowser, è stato molto attento a far sì che la misura approvata sulla marijuana non comprenda alcun costo. Il suo è un passo volutamente provocatorio per spingere il Congresso ad esporsi apertamente sulla questione.

USA - Cannabis legalizzata. Washington DC invia testo al Congresso

martedì 13 gennaio 2015

Sentenza della Cassazione: il consumo di cannabis in gruppo (forse) non è più reato


Tra le conseguenze della bocciatura della legge Fini-Giovanardi è ora riconosciuta anche la non punibilità dell’acquisto di cannabis al fine del consumo di gruppo, ma a precise condizioni. La Cassazione ha infatti riconosciuto anche in questo caso il ritorno in vigore della precedente legge (Iervolino-Vassalli del 1990) mitigata dal referendum radicale del 1993 il quale aveva già depenalizzato il consumo personale e di gruppo. Mentre la Fini-Giovanardi sancendo la non punibilità solo del consumo “esclusivamente personale” aveva trasformato in spacciatori dinnanzi alla legge anche chiunque fosse stato trovato a comprare fumo per sé ed un paio di amici.

Ora è la sentenza 532/14, pubblicata il 9 gennaio dalla terza sezione penale della Cassazione, ad esprimersi sulla vicenda, anche se come vedrete la situazione rimane poco chiara, con troppi cavilli che si prestano ad interpretazioni di stampo differente.

CONSUMO DI GRUPPO LEGALE, MA CON MOLTI SE. La sentenza della Cassazione legalizza il consumo di gruppo, ma appunto con molte condizioni. La Cassazione ha infatti confermato la condanna per spaccio a due giovani. Questo in quanto – come precisato da Dario Ferrara sul portale d’informazione giuridica Cassazione.net – “la giurisprudenza di legittimità pone paletti stretti all’irrilevanza penale dell’uso di droga in gruppo”. La condotta infatti può essere ritenuta legale nel caso di acquisto congiunto, o nel caso in cui un appartenente al gruppo di consumatori proceda all’acquisto collettivo per tutti, ma soltanto se: “L’acquirente è uno degli assuntori della sostanza; l’acquisto dello stupefacente avviene fin dall’inizio per conto degli altri componenti del gruppo; è certa fin dall’inizio l’identità dei mandanti e la loro manifesta volontà di procurarsi la sostanza per mezzo di uno dei compartecipi, contribuendo con i loro soldi all’acquisto”.

I CASI NEI QUALI NON VIENE RICONOSCIUTO IL CONSUMO DI GRUPPO. Non può configurarsi il consumo di gruppo quando manca “la prova certa che sia stato raggiunto un accordo sul luogo e sul tempo nei quali consumare la droga acquistata e non ci sono stati passaggi intermedi per lo stupefacente”. Mentre nel caso della sentenza di colpevolezza in questione, invece, i due imputati si erano appunto già divisi il fumo. Inoltre, affinché la condotta sia decriminalizzata è necessario che emerga una volontà condivisa di procurarsi la sostanza da parte dei membri del gruppo, mentre, in questo caso “i testi riferiscono versioni discordanti sulle quantità di fumo che si aspettavano di ricevere: contro gli imputati pesano il valore della sostanza, nascosta degli slip, e l’improvvisa inversione di marcia della loro auto alla vista della polizia”.
Sentenza della Cassazione: il consumo di cannabis in gruppo (forse) non è più reato

venerdì 2 gennaio 2015

Former US senator to lead new cannabis company, 'Kush'

Former US Senator Mike Gravel has agreed to become the chief executive of a Nevada company that develops and markets cannabis products to states that have legalized both medical and recreational marijuana.

Gravel, who represented Alaska from 1969 to 1981, will head KUSH, a subsidiary of Cannabis Sativa Inc, where Gravel previously sat on the board of directors for nine months, according to the company.

"We need to decriminalize drugs and treat them as a health problem," Gravel, 84, told Reuters. "You should go see a doctor on the subject, not a sheriff, a police officer or a warden."

Former New Mexico Governor and Libertarian Party presidential nominee Gary Johnson is the chief executive of Cannabis Sativa.

Gravel’s appointment comes after both Alaska and Oregon voters chose in November to join Colorado and Washington State as the only US states to legalize regulation and taxation of recreational marijuana sales to adults age 21 and over. The District of Columbia passed a more stringent weed legalization measure in November, yet the law faces obstacles in Congress, as RT has reported.

Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia, the nation’s capital, have laws permitting medical marijuana usage at the recommendation of a doctor.

As more and more states are now considering efforts to legalize marijuana, the federal government, as of now, still considers pot to be an illegal, Schedule 1 drug on par with the likes of heroin.

In a recent poll conducted by the Third Way think-tank, 67 percent of voters said they want Congress to pass a law that carves out a “safe haven” for states that legalize recreational pot use. Under such a law, “legal” states would be protected from federal legislation.

Gravel, who now lives in California, said KUSH will look to form partnerships with other companies to manufacture and sell its cannabis products, including a throat lozenge known as “Kubby,” in states that have legalized marijuana.

Gravel was a Democratic senator who aggressively opposed the Vietnam War. In 1971, he controversially entered contents of the Pentagon Papers into the public record during a time when there was still an injunction against revealing the leaked documents in the press. In 2008, he ran for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination