Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Washington - Packed hearing on new pot law

source: The Seattle Times
By Bob Young

They came in suits and cowboy hats, with cropped gray hair and long ponytails, and they filled one room at Seattle City Hall and spilled into another, about 400 strong.

Some had waited decades for an event like this. Some thought they’d never see it. They were there to express views about the state’s new legal-marijuana law enacted last fall by Initiative 502.
“Wow, there’s one heckuva lot of interest in 502,” said Sharon Foster, chair of the Washington state Liquor Control Board, the state agency charged with implementing the new law. The crowd had started lining up three hours before the event.

Foster told audience members if they kept their remarks to two minutes they’d get a “brownie point.” That prompted several in the crowd to giddily ask, “What kind of brownie?”
Chris Marr, another liquor-board member, said, “When I was watching Cream at the Fillmore many years ago, I never envisioned this.”

The second of six statewide forums on legal marijuana, this was part rally, part policy conference.
Growers, breeders, sellers and advocates came out to push a variety of platforms. Some wanted the system to allow smaller growers. Others stressed the need for bigger breeding operations. Some begged to be taxed. Others said the law’s high taxes would drive customers to the black market.
Kevin Oliver, executive director of Washington NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), was one of the first to speak. “Indeed the whole world is watching,” Oliver said, noting he’d been interviewed by a popular French TV show before the forum.

Wearing a suit adorned with a gold pot leaf, Oliver first suggested the liquor board add “cannabis” to its name, which drew huge applause. He went on to call for both big and small growers. “Think Budweiser and microbrews,” he said.

John Eskola said he represented several small medical-marijuana growers. “We need to be part of it. This is a very emotional thing for me. The war is over. We won. Don’t punish us, take our money.”
Lobbyist Phil Wayt said the group he represented wants the state to follow the craft-beer model where there is no limit on the number of producers and processors.

Philip Dawdy of the Washington Cannabis Association warned that taxes are too high. They are set at 25 percent of the selling price at three different junctures in the growing-to-sales process. “You have to beat the black market in price. I don’t think you can do that with the 502 tax structure,” he said.
The most insightful comment, though, might have come from Sam Dodge when he told liquor-board members, “for you to figure out how to serve cannabis customers is the steepest learning curve I’ve seen.”

Washington’s new law, which allows those 21 and older to possess up to an ounce of pot, must be implemented by December. In theory, adults will then be able to walk into stores around the state and buy locally grown pot that is licensed, taxed and regulated by the state.

Early state estimates put retail prices at about $12 a gram. And stores will sell about 187,000 pounds of weed a year, the state figures, which would suddenly give the state a new $2 billion industry.
The new law calls for a seed-to-store closed marijuana market. No model exists for such a system.
Inundated with questions and opinions, the board decided it needed to go to the public on the issue.
And, lacking in weed expertise, the agency is soliciting help from private consultants in areas such as product standards and consumption validation.

Consumption estimates are crucial for the state in determining how big the system should be, how many growers it will need, and how many plants each will need to produce.
Estimating consumption is also fraught with political and legal issues, especially concerning the federal government, which bans all marijuana, and doesn’t want to see Washington’s legal pot leaking into other states.

“Everything flows from consumption,” said Foster in an interview before the forum. “We don’t want to overgrow because then it may go out of state; and we don’t want to undergrow because then the black market flourishes.”

In a news conference Thursday, Gov. Jay Inslee said he wants a digital tracking system to insure that legal marijuana isn’t slipping into the black market.

Once the liquor board has a grasp on the size of the market, it will move to questions such as the number of licensed growers.

Some issues remain vexing. Now, merchants in the state’s legal medical marijuana business face one daunting obstacle: They can’t establish bank accounts because the federal government won’t insure banking with marijuana businesses. “That is a huge outstanding issue,” said agency head Pat Kohler.
Foster vowed the liquor board — or liquor-and-cannabis board — will have a tightly controlled system in place as mandated by Initiative 502.

“We will be the first state in the world to adopt a licensed, regulated, disciplined, distribution market, I think in world history,” Inslee said.

Bob Young: 206-464-2174 or byoung@seattletimes.com

This story, originally published on January 24, 2013, was corrected on January 25, 2013. A previous version of this story had the name of Don Skakie misspelled in a photo caption. 

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Medical marijuana legalization likely headed to Supreme Court

source: The Raw Story
By Stephen C. Webster

An appeals court refused on Tuesday to even consider reviewing evidence to reclassify marijuana due to its medical usefulness, leaving the nation’s largest medical marijuana advocacy group vowing to ask the Supreme Court for a review.

In their ruling (PDF), three judges on the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. explained that they did not take up the question of medical efficacy because the suit was otherwise disqualified by a technicality. Attorneys for Americans for Safe Access argued that a petition denied by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 2011 was denied on “arbitrary and capricious” grounds, which the court took exception to.

That petition, which the DEA sat on for nearly a decade without any action, asked the agency to examine the latest scientific evidence for marijuana’s medical uses and consider changing the drug’s status in the federal register of controlled substances. The DEA considers marijuana to be Schedule I, a classification reserved for drugs like LSD, Peyote and Ecstasy that are considered to have no medical value.

The court noted that the Controlled Substances Act requires a “currently accepted medical use” before the DEA will consider rescheduling any drug. Added, a prior case from 1994 saw the D.C. Court of Appeals approve the DEA’s definition of what is and is not “currently accepted medical use,” stipulating that “adequate and well-controlled studies proving efficacy” must first exist.
“We defer to the agency’s interpretation of these regulations and find that substantial evidence supports its determination that such studies do not exist,” the ruling explains.

It’s not true that there are no controlled scientific studies into the efficacy of marijuana — The Raw Story has published articles detailing numerous such research reports — but since the court relied upon the DEA’s interpretation of “adequate and well-controlled,” ASA’s suit was doomed.

“To deny that sufficient evidence is lacking on the medical efficacy of marijuana is to ignore a mountain of well-documented studies that conclude otherwise,” ASA lead counsel Joe Elford said in a prepared statement. “It’s time for President Obama to change his harmful policy with regard to medical marijuana and treat this as a public health issue, something entirely within the capability and authority of the executive office.”

Despite the loss, there is still some hope in the lawsuit for drug reform advocates, in that the court ruled against the government’s claim that the plaintiffs lacked legal standing to challenge the DEA’s scheduling of marijuana.

One of the plaintiffs, Michael Krawitz, director of Veterans for Medical Marijuana, “has suffered injury-in-fact because he must shoulder a financial cost for services he could otherwise obtain free of charge” due to his status as a veteran, the court opined.

“There is a casual connections between the DEA’s continuing decision to classify marijuana as a Schedule I drug and the VA’s policy of refusing to provide referrals for state medical marijuana programs,” judges added. “And a favorable decision from this court would likely redress Krawitz’s injury because, if the DEA rescheduled marijuana, the VA could no longer use the [Controlled Substances Act] to justify its policy of refusing to complete medical marijuana referral forms.”

Medical marijuana. Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.
It is on those grounds that ASA likely plans to appeal the ruling to the Supreme Court, in hopes setting up what could be the highest-profile legal showdown over medical marijuana in U.S. history — but only if the court agrees to hear the case. Meanwhile, ASA is asking the D.C. Court of Appeals for all the court’s judges to review the ruling, which was decided by a vote of 2-1.

Photo: Shutterstock.com, all rights reserved.

10 Years to Life for Medical Marijuana: The Trial of Aaron Sandusky


"This is a Constitutional battle, and we're going to defend our rights," says Aaron Sandusky, the owner of a medical marijuana dispensary in Upland, California who now faces federal drug trafficking charges even though he was operating within California state law.

Reason.tv first profiled Sandusky in late 2011 in the midst of a federal crackdown on marijuana dispensaries across California, which occurred despite repeated promises from the Obama administration to lay off operators compliant with state law (Incidentally, the city of Upland, which initiated the legal action against G3, admitted in court that Sandusky was operating within state law). During the production of that video, Sandusky's storefront and grow house were raided, his assets seized and his product destroyed. But Sandusky was undeterred and joined a lawsuit with several other dispensary owners, challenging the right of city governments to outright ban dispensaries. After a favorable ruling from an appellate court, Sandusky re-opened, and the city of Upland was powerless to stop him. But the Feds were not happy with this outcome.

Sandusky was arrested and charged with six counts of drug trafficking, some of which could carry a life sentence. He's spent the last seven weeks in a county prison, just awaiting a bond hearing. He finally was granted bail last Friday and is now out on house arrest, where he awaits an October trial to decide his fate. He agreed to sit down with Reason.tv for an interview to discuss his case, the state of medical marijuana in this country, and why this is a cause for which he's willing to risk it all.

"If I have to go to jail for 20 years defending this, then so be it," says Sandusky.

About 6 minutes

Produced by Zach Weissmueller. Camera by Tracy Oppenheimer.

Visit http://reason.tv for downloadable versions, and subscribe to ReasonTV's YouTube Channel to receive notifications when new material goes live.

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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Mandatory Minimum Sentences Target Minorities

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 Filmmaker Eugene Jarecki, whose new documentary pillories America’s failed “war on drugs,” is cautiously encouraged by the apparent shift in public attitude represented by Colorado and Washington voting to legalize marijuana and California opting to soften its “insane” three-strikes law.

“While there is progress, it has to be seen in the context of what is needed, which is a larger revolution in the way America deals with drugs,” Jarecki said in a phone interview prior to the Canadian premiere of The House I Live In this week in Toronto.

“I want the victories. I wouldn’t trade them for the world. But I don’t want anyone to misunderstand them lest they think that the war has been won when it’s really just a couple of battles.”

The film captured a Grand Jury Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival and is receiving rave reviews both internationally and south of the border. Forbes magazine called it the most important drug film ever made.

It is playing this week at the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema and will open there for a longer run on Jan. 6. Executive producers include Brad Pitt, Danny Glover and hip hop legend Russell Simmons.

The numbers highlighted in the film are staggering: America has spent $1 trillion, arresting 45 million citizens ever since then president Richard Nixon declared drug abuse “public enemy number one” in 1971.

And what does the country have to show for it?

“Drugs are cheaper, purer, more available than ever before and we have 2.3 million people in prison, more than any country on Earth, and the highest rates of addiction,” Jarecki said.

He argues anti-drug laws have never been about drugs but about racial control, dating back to the 1800s when lawmakers introduced laws banning opium smoked by Chinese immigrants, who were seen to be taking jobs.

Starting in the late ’60s, the war shifted to African-Americans who today make up about 13 per cent of the U.S. population and 14 per cent of its drug users, while representing 56 per cent of those incarcerated for drug crimes.

Those living in public housing are an easy target for law enforcement seeking “low-hanging fruit,” Jarecki said.

“A white guy taking cocaine in the privacy of his comfortable home . . . is far less likely to come into contact with a law enforcement officer than a black person in public housing.”

The drug war has been a success in one sense. It has produced “entrenched bureaucracies, economic and political, who co-operate and feed upon the mechanics of war, the same way the military-industrial complex that emerged to profit from war-making in our society,” he said.

In both cases, “thousands and thousands of jobs depend on it.”

The film includes heart-wrenching interviews with people devastated by the drug war, including the film’s inspiration, Nannie Jeter, who helped look after Jarecki and his brother when they were growing up but whose own children were drawn into a world of drugs and violence.

But what really stands out are interviews with disaffected law enforcement officials, including a judge and corrections officials — one is a self-described tough-on-crime advocate (“I’d opt for 10 cop cars over one soup kitchen”) — who have decided there must be a smarter way to tackle drug abuse.

Jarecki is showing his film inside dozens of U.S. prisons. That the tour was sanctioned by corrections officials is a measure, perhaps, of an attitude shift south of the border, which can no longer afford mass incarceration.

“We’re seeing an incredible outpouring of mixed emotions at these screenings,” he said.
Many of the prisoners are serving lengthy terms for non-violent drug offences.

Jarecki doesn’t know a lot about Canada but questions why a country which “prides itself on a robust, social democratic system” has recently introduced mandatory minimum sentences for drug offences no matter what the circumstances.

“Oh Canada, you guys do a lot of things right. Keep it that way. Following us down the road to perdition we followed in the drug war would be extremely ill advised.”
Jarecki has a last thought before hanging up.

“Maybe I should re-title the movie for Canada, called ‘Don’t Live in This House.’

 source: The Star

Friday, January 18, 2013

Four B.C. attorneys-generals speak "We enforced Ottawa’s pot laws. They don’t work".

Four former B.C. attorneys-general - Colin Gabelmann, Ujjal Dosanjh, Graeme Bowbrick and Geoff Plant, all stand for the legalization of cannabis.

source: The Globe and Mail

Law enforcement officials, academics and government officials gathered in Ottawa this week to discuss how to keep Canadian communities safe at a time when policing costs are soaring. Canada’s failed marijuana policies must be part of this discussion.

Last year, we made public our support for the taxation and regulation of adult cannabis use, joining a growing number of prominent voices across the country urging changes to marijuana policy. The proof that cannabis prohibition has failed is irrefutable. We see the evidence on our streets, in our communities and on the nightly news – gang-related homicides and shootings, innocent victims caught in the crossfire, grow-op busts and violent grow-op thefts.

Under marijuana prohibition, violent criminals are provided a protected market that enables them to target our youth and grow rich while vast resources are directed to ineffective law enforcement tactics. Meanwhile, Canada’s criminal justice system is overextended and in desperate need of repair.

As four former attorneys-general of British Columbia, we were the province’s chief prosecutors and held responsibility for overseeing the criminal justice system. We know the burden imposed on B.C.’s policing and justice system by the enforcement of marijuana prohibition and the role that prohibition itself plays in driving organized crime and making criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens.
Recently, a study published in the International Journal of Drug Policy concluded that regulating BC’s cannabis market could likely provide government with billions of dollars in tax and licensing revenues over the next five years.

These dollars are in addition to the enormous cost savings that could accrue from ending the futile cat and mouse game between marijuana users and the police.
The federal government has now enacted mandatory jail terms for growing as few as six marijuana plants. There will be massive provincial budget and expenditure implications from this bill and yet, our streets will be no safer. It is time for a complete rethink.

We don’t take our call for a new system of marijuana taxation and regulation lightly. We know that there are harms associated with cannabis use, like there are with alcohol and tobacco use. But we expect significant benefits from a change in policy. The loss of the massive illegal marijuana market in British Columbia would hobble gangsters involved in the marijuana trade while at the same time raising significant tax revenue. According to health experts such as the British Columbia Health Officers’ Council, a strictly regulated legal market that restricts sales to minors would also better protect young people from predatory drug dealers.

We are pleased to see that the debate over marijuana law reform is happening across the country. We recently wrote an open letter to party leaders in British Columbia, urging them to support Stop the Violence BC’s call to overturn prohibition and regulate marijuana.

Stop the Violence BC is a coalition of law enforcement and leading public health and criminal justice experts who have joined forces to call for the taxation and regulation of marijuana as a strategy to better protect public health and safety. Several former B.C. mayors have joined the effort, and lent their voices to create a groundswell of influential opinion intended to persuade our elected leaders to demand change.

The public recognizes that cannabis prohibition has failed. A recent Angus Reid poll showed that approximately 75 per cent of B.C. respondents support the taxation and regulation of cannabis.
Now it is time to put ideology and politics aside in favour of a level-headed, evidence-based discussion about the failure of marijuana prohibition and the policy alternatives available to us. Provincial and municipal leaders across Canada must join, if not lead, the debate and demand change. Only then will we end the prohibition-fuelled cycle of crime, waste and violence.

Ujjal Dosanjh is a former premier of British Columbia (2000-01) and B.C. attorney general (1995-2000); Colin Gabelmann was attorney general of B.C. (1991–1995); Graeme Bowbrick was attorney general of B.C. (2000-2001); Geoff Plant was attorney general of B.C. (2001-2005)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Driving Force Behind The Industrial Hemp Industry

source: PRNewswire
Hemp, Inc.

LAS VEGAS, Jan. 16, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — In its efforts to help people make a real difference in the world and help prove there’s a place for positive, uplifting conversation on talk radio, Spread Peace Radio highlighted renowned philanthropist and leader in the industrial hemp industry, Bruce Perlowin, CEO of Hemp, Inc., on how he’s spreading hemp to heal the planet.

During the talk radio interview broadcasted on January 12, 2013, Perlowin enlightened   listeners on the many different products the company has brought to market  including HerbaGenix™ nutraceuticals (www.herbagenix.com); BasicHemp hemp protein complex with Rhodiola Rosa and Cordyceps (www.basichemp.com), all-natural, custom-branded sexual enhancers MJ Lover for Him and MJ Lover for Her with hemp extracts (www.mjlover.com) and Re-Load Hemp nutraceuticals formulated from a blend of organic nutrients, herbs, and vitamins including hemp extract (0.00% THC) and AFA blue-green algae, known for its healthful effects (www.re-load.biz), as well as expounding on the company’s spin-offs (mentioned in Hemp, Inc.’s previous press release).

But how will these products heal the planet? Perlowin is blanketing them around the world to feed the hungry with top quality ‘superfoods.’  His quantum economic leap into 2013 is already proving to be quite a success and is laying a strong foundation toward solving some of the world’s socio-economic problems such as starvation and homelessness. At the same time, Perlowin demonstrates that a public company can do these kind of acts and make a huge profit at the same time or, according to CEO Perlowin, “Those who give the most, earn the most in a new economic paradigm that is now operating in the world today.”

Bruce Perlowin, CEO of Hemp, Inc. continued, “Now that we’ve achieved the initial goals of the company and are spinning off the peripheral companies, it’s time to move from a development stage company to an operating company. The timing is right to implement a new marketing model,” which coincidentally correlates with Perlowin’s new economic paradigm he calls “Co-Operative Quantum Marketing.”

“The first beta test, with this new marketing model culminated in selling $2,000 of our Hemp protein complex product in the first 24 hours.”  According to Perlowin, this sale also was achieved with no commissions being paid, no marketing costs, no accounts receivable cycle, and  no sales staff related costs. “The product was pre-paid at full retail, with high profit margins,” Perlowin stated. “Since it was prepaid at full retail through my innovative “Purchasing Matrix,” the company can now donate 100% of those products to non-profit organizations anywhere in the world to help feed the homeless with phenomenal hemp protein. It’s truly a new economic paradigm.”

To hear the recorded conference call in which Perlowin explains this program, click here.
Listeners also reveled in the fact that Perlowin donated millions of shares of his personal stock to the Patch Adams project that is building a free hospital in West Virginia (www.patchadams.org). With a massive funding mechanism now in place, people are getting excited about funding what they’re most passionate about.

About Hemp, Inc. Spin-Off Companies
During this week and next week, Hemp, Inc. will announce a comprehensive, detailed description of each of the four spin-offs announced to date which will include specifics such as products and how each will interface with Hemp, Inc. As noted previously, and as of this moment, anyone who owns stock in Hemp, Inc. can still benefit from the spin-offs in that shareholders will own the same percentage of shares, in each new company, as they hold in Hemp, Inc.

  As described in a previous press release, the record date, which is the date that everyone on the company’s books as a shareholder is determined to receive the stock in the new spin-off company, is tied to the date when the new trading symbols will be issued for the spin-offs. Those dates will be determined by regulators, and while Hemp, Inc. management is working diligently toward that end, the exact date has not yet been set.  Again, this was covered in the radio interview on Spread Peace Radio.

Hemp, Inc. (OTC: HEMP) seeks to benefit many constituencies, not exploit or endanger any group of them. Thus, the publicly-traded company believes in “upstreaming” of a portion of profit from the marketing of their finished hemp goods back to its originator. By Hemp, Inc. focusing on comprehensive investment results—that is, with respect to performance along the interrelated dimensions of people, planet, and profits— our triple bottom line approach can be an important tool to support sustainability goals.

So what do you know about hemp?


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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Canadian physician group decries proposed changes to medical marijuana program

source: Postmedia News
 By Natalie Stechyson, 

CMA president Dr. Anna Reid says physicians are unfairly being asked to prescribe a drug without the information they need to use it safely and appropriately. Photograph by: Patrick Kane/Postmedia News/Files , Postmedia News


OTTAWA — The federal government’s proposed changes to the medical marijuana program would leave Canada’s doctors in a lurch, dumping the responsibility for a substance with very little clinical evidence onto them, says the head of the Canadian Medical Association.

Health Canada announced Sunday that it plans to change the way that people access medical marijuana, taking itself out of the production and distribution of the substance and opening up the commercial market to companies that meet “strict security requirements.”

The concern is that physicians are now going to be asked to be the sole gatekeepers to the drug, Dr. Anna Reid, the president of the Canadian Medical Association, told Postmedia News.

“There haven’t been any studies saying these are the risks versus the benefits. And we know there are risks. There are risks of psychosis. There are risks of problems with your lungs because you smoke it,” Reid said.

“We also know anecdotally that there are perceived benefits in terms of nausea and pain. But we don’t know what the balance is.”

According to Health Canada, there are currently over 26,000 people in the Marihuana Medical Access Program. There were only 477 enrolled in the program in 2002.

The changes announced Sunday aim to treat marijuana like any other narcotic used for medical purposes – patients can purchase the appropriate amount from a licensed vendor as long as they have a signed medical document, similar to a prescription, from a health care practitioner.

It would also mean production can no longer take place in private homes, Health Minister Leona Aglukkaq said in a news conference in Vancouver.

“Current medical marijuana regulations have left the system open to abuse,” she said in a statement.
“We have heard real concerns from law enforcement, fire officials, and municipalities about how people are hiding behind these rules to conduct illegal activity, and putting health and safety of Canadians at risk. These changes will make it far more difficult for people to game the system.”

The new system would also cut red tape, striking the “right balance” between patient access and public safety, Aglukkaq said.

Physicians are acutely aware that there aren’t enough adequate ways to treat chronic pain, but would like to see more research done on medical marijuana, Reid said.

“If something goes wrong, we’re the ones responsible and our number one concern as physicians is for the safety of our patients,” Reid said.

The Canadian Association of Medical Cannabis Dispensaries said in a statement Sunday that they were worried about the quality of patient care under the proposed regulations.

“CAMCD remains concerned that patients will continue facing barriers to access,” said president Rade Kovacevic.

“Affordability remains unaddressed, medical associations remain reluctant to endorse the government program, and there are no provisions for non-smoking alternatives such as baked goods and tinctures.”

The government intends to implement the new system by March 31, 2014. Health Canada has a 75-day comment period and will receive comments until the end of February 2013.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Can Marijuana Beat the Mafia? Some French Say Make It Legal

source: FORBES
by Cecilia Rodriguez,Contributor

Cecilia Rodriguez
Right there, on the front page of one of our daily newspapers in Luxembourg, is a full-page photo of the Health minister smoking a big, fat joint.

Ok, it was just a photoshopped ad for the paper, with a caption that promised: “When the government legalizes cannabis, you’ll hear about it from us.”

Although unusual and clearly out there, the ad triggered no outcry from readers, the government, or the minister himself. It was just another ad, no different, really, than seeing people smoking marijuana in movies or in television series. Weed seems to be the new cigarette in popular culture. The use of marijuana as an adult pastime is becoming mainstream.

It’s not only the more realistic media depiction of marijuana usage, or the recent laws decriminalizing recreational use in different countries including, remarkably, the United States (well, several states).
It’s also that the swelling wave of openness to the idea of legalizing  pot is also opening doors to efforts that until now had been kept well below the radar due to the “illegal” nature of the practice, despite its widesepread trafficking and use on a global scale.

France offers the most recent sign of changing attitudes. While consumption and production of pot for personal use are not criminal offenses in France, growing and selling for other than personal use is illegal. So 150 to 200 “clubs” of growers operating quietly, and their umbrella association called Cannabis Social Clubs, have decided to come out of the dark to lobby openly for legalization. Their main argument? Cannabis cultivated and sold legally and under regulations is the best way to fight crime.

Or, rather, “to protect our society from the perverse activities of the mafias that not only sell doubtful products at exorbitant prices but also sell to our kids,” according to one of the founders of the Social Clubs.

Unlike  the Netherlands where selling and using marijuana is legal in the infamous “coffeshops,” the French social clubs follow the model set across the border in Spain, where the law allows the cultivation of marijuana in small amounts and for private use. As a result, numerous cannabis clubs have sprung up across Spain, arguing that relatively small plantations providing marijuana offer the most effective way to keep control of the market, the quality of the product, the prices and to ensure that minors can’t get their hands on it.

Cannabis Without Borders
It works like this: Each member of the club submits an exact order for an amount of pot to last for coming months. The club is authorized to plant exactly enough to fill its members’ orders, buying or renting the necessary land or space.

The French Cannabis Social Clubs, campaigning to attract more members among private growers, have announced their intention to apply for legal permits at their local police stations starting in February. The permits don’t exist yet – this is an act of civic disobedience aimed at pressing the Socialist government to move to decriminalization.

Another impact of the global wave of openness and public debate around pot is the publication of scientific research that in many cases has been done secretly – like the government-approved  experimental farms in Israel that recently earned international headlines.

Although the use and possession of marijuana is still illegal in Israel and has not been regulated for medicinal purposes as in 18 American states, those farms located in a secret place are on ”the cutting edge of the debate on the legality, benefits and risks of cannabis,” according to the New York Times.
Fitted  with state-of-the-art equipment to control light, humidity, heat, and composition of the soil, they experiment producing cannabis of different strengths and proprieties and have become a “thriving commercial enterprise.”

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Harborside Health Center Wins Battle To Avoid Shutdown !

source: Huff Post
By Lucia Graves

A federal magistrate on Monday ruled that the Harborside Health Center located in Oakland and San Jose, Calif., can continue to operate, despite a bid by federal prosecutors to shut it down. Harborside is widely considered the world's largest medical cannabis dispensary.
Harborside Health Center

The ruling comes as the latest move in a larger battle over the fate of medical marijuana dispensaries in California, where shops operating in full compliance with state law have come under pressure from the federal government.

Harborside's landlords have called on the court to order an immediate halt of cannabis sales at their properties in Oakland and San Jose on the grounds that the activity is illegal under federal law. Meanwhile, the city of Oakland, which last year received more than $1 million in tax revenue from Harborside, has filed suit against the federal prosecutors to challenge the forfeiture action.

Chief Federal Magistrate Maria-Elena James ruled that it is the role of the government -- not Harborside's landlords -- to determine whether the business should be shut down for its alleged violation of the Controlled Substances Act.

Landlords "are attempting to use a procedural rule in a civil forfeiture proceeding to bring what amounts to an enforcement action ... against Harborside," the 17-page ruling said. "This is a measure which the Government -- the entity charged with enforcing the statute -- has elected not to pursue."
Judge James also declined to grant a motion from the City of Oakland to immediately prohibit the federal government’s legal efforts to close Harborside. A hearing is scheduled later this month to hear further arguments in the City of Oakland’s lawsuit.

Medical cannabis is currently legal in 18 states and the District of Columbia, but U.S. prosecutors have argued federal law -- which forbids the substance -- should take precedence.

Harborside's lawyer, Henry Wykowski, underscored the importance of Monday's decision.
"We are gratified that Judge James listened to and analyzed the parties' arguments so thoroughly and has now rendered an opinion that will ensure Harborside has the right to present its case to a jury," Wykowski said in a press release on Harborside's website. "Despite the government's efforts to shortcut the case, Harborside will now be able to fully defend itself at trial. That is all we had asked, and the court has now agreed. The stage is now set for a jury trial on the underlying issues of the litigation, which will probably take place in about one year.”

1840 Embarcadero
Oakland, CA 94606
10AM – 8PM
OPEN 7 days/week
(888) 99-Harborside (1-888-994-2726)

2106 Ringwood Ave
San Jose, CA
10AM – 8PM
OPEN 7 days/week
(888) 99-Harborside (1-888-994-2726)

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