Nebraska-woman-arrested-after-offering-to-sell-marijuana-on-Snapchat

A 19-year-old Nebraska woman is facing several charges after Beatrice Police responded to her social media post offering to sell marijuana.

Beatrice Police Sergeant Jay Murphy says an officer saw the 19-year-old woman’s post on Snapchat that showed her holding a large plastic bag with a green substance.

Police found the 19-year-old with two other teens Saturday night. They were sitting inside two vehicles, which officers said smelled of marijuana.

The 19-year-old who posted about selling drugs had two bags of marijuana. She is facing several charges including selling marijuana and using a juvenile to help distribute drugs.

The 15-year-old boy and 17-year-old girl who were with the woman are facing drug possession charges, and the 17-year-old has been charged with helping sell the marijuana.

California-to-Weedmaps-stop-promoting-illegal-marijuana-businesses-or-face-criminalcivil-penalties

California’s cannabis czar sent Weedmaps a cease and desist letter, ordering the Irvine company that maps marijuana dispensaries to immediately stop promoting businesses that don’t have state licenses.

“You are aiding and abetting in violations of state cannabis laws,” states the letter from Lori Ajax, chief of the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

If the company doesn’t immediately drop advertisements for unlicensed businesses, Ajax said Weedmaps could face criminal and civil penalties, including civil fines for each illegal ad.

The letter is the only one that’s been sent to an advertising company, according to bureau spokesman Alex Traverso. But it’s one of more than 900 cease and desist letters his agency has sent to unlicensed marijuana businesses in California since recreational weed sales were allowed to start and licensing requirements kicked in Jan. 1. And Traverso said many of those 900-plus black market shops were discovered on Weedmaps.

Tustin resident Justin Hartfield founded Weedmaps in 2007 with company CEO Doug Francis. The site and its app help visitors find dispensaries and browse their menus, with shops rated much like businesses on Yelp.

Weedmaps has grown into an international juggernaut, with offices from Denver to Berlin. But much of that business has been built on ad revenue from unlicensed dispensaries, with 20 ads for marijuana dispensaries in Anaheim live Wednesday, for example, even though all cannabis businesses are banned in that city.

Weedmaps didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter. But during a February interview, company president Christopher Beals remained defiant on the issue of accepting ads from black market shops.

“The thing is, at the end of the day, we’re an information platform,” Beals said. “We’re showing the same information that Google and Yelp and Craigslist and 30 other websites are showing.”

Beals said he believes it’s up to states and cities to put in a solid regulatory framework and to permit enough licensed marijuana businesses to meet demand. That’s the only way to control the illegal market, he said.

“To sort of say, let’s pretend an illegal market doesn’t exist or that people can’t just type ‘dispensary’ into Google and find this information, it isn’t really realistic,” he said.

Kentucky-House-Committee-Postpones-Vote-on-Medical-Marijuana-Bill

Update: The House Judiciary Committee heard statements from advocates of HB 166 to allow the state to establish a medical marijuana program, but avoided taking action. Committee Chairman Joe Fischer announced the committee would address the bill at a later date.

Democratic Rep. John Sims Jr. (70th District) introduced the legislation on Jan. 10 with the support of Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes (D). House Bill 166 has now picked up the support of Sgt. Dakota Meyer, a Kentucky native and Medal of Honor recipient, who issued his statement of support in a press release on Friday.

Medical cannabis works. I’ve seen firsthand lives it has positively impacted. I’ve seen how quality of life is vastly improved when a veteran struggling with PTSD can use medical cannabis to quiet their mind and sleep. It’s time we move away from the old-school mentalities that are holding our Commonwealth back and preventing Kentuckians from getting relief. I see legalization of medical cannabis as a huge step in fighting the opioid crisis. Frankfort has to act. There are too many people – especially men and women who have served our country – who need help. I’m counting on legislators and the Governor to make medical cannabis legal in 2018.

Thank you @Dakota_Meyer for joining in support of in KY! http://www.wkyt.com/content/news/Medal-of-Honor-recipient-Sgt-Dakota-Meyer-endorses-legalized-medical-cannabis-475683233.html 

Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Dakota Meyer endorses legalized medical cannabis

The Kentucky Secretary of State’s Office says Sgt. Dakota Meyer is joining Alison Lundergan Grimes’ efforts to help legalize medical cannabis in the Commonwealth.

Kentucky’s Secretary of State is hoping to cultivate Republican support for medicinal cannabis by appealing to the conservative ideal of state’s rights, which has been referenced in bipartisan support for similar efforts in other states. Grimes said she believes that by appealing to one of the GOP’s core philosophies and focusing on medicinal cannabis as a states’ rights issue, she can sway at least some of the staunch conservatives within Kentucky’s Republican Party.

“If folks are really believing in states’ rights, as the Republican-led administration in Washington claims to be, the Republican-led administration here in Frankfort, at all levels from the governor to each chamber in our House and Senate, then they will see this as what it is, a states’ rights issue,” Grimes said in January.

States-Mull-‘Sanctuary-Status-For-Marijuana-Businesses

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Taking a cue from the fight over immigration, some states that have legalized marijuana are considering providing so-called sanctuary status for licensed pot businesses, hoping to protect the fledgling industry from a shift in federal enforcement policy.

Just hours after U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced on Jan. 4 that federal prosecutors would be free to crack down on marijuana operations as they see fit, Jesse Arreguin, the mayor in Berkeley, California, summoned city councilman Ben Bartlett to his office with a novel idea.

Berkeley was already the first city in the nation to formally declare itself a sanctuary city on immigration, barring city officials from cooperating with federal authorities. Why not do the same thing with marijuana? Last month, it did.

“We knew we had to do something,” Bartlett said. “This is a new engine of a healthy economy.”

Others may soon follow Berkeley’s lead: Alaska, California and Massachusetts lawmakers are among those with similar bills pending, though the chances for passage is unclear.

Alaska state Rep. Adam Wool, who owns a movie, restaurant and concert venue with a liquor license in Fairbanks, said he introduced his bill as both a statement and a precaution.

“If the federal government wants to prosecute someone for breaking federal law, I guess they have every right to do that,” said Wool, a Democrat from one of Alaska’s major marijuana-growing areas. “I’m just saying, we will have no obligation to assist them.”

Sessions’ announcement invalidated a 2013 policy that allowed for legalized marijuana to flourish by limiting federal enforcement of the drug, as long as states prevented it from getting to places it was outlawed and kept it from gangs and children. His action also unsettled the industry and spooked potential marijuana industry investors. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law.

Casey O’Neill remembers helicopter enforcement raids of grow sites in California when he was growing up in the 1980s. It was then that his parents, carpenters who grew small amounts of cannabis, became school teachers, he said.

He now helps run a farm that produces vegetables and marijuana for medical use near Laytonville, California, and is glad lawmakers are looking at ways to push back against the federal government.

Over the years, enforcement “has been uneven, we’ll say, and that’s kind of one of the things about it. It just means that everybody’s always afraid, and that’s hard,” he said.

Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML, a marijuana advocacy group, said California has a lousy history with the federal government on marijuana enforcement.

“I don’t think the feds care too much about marijuana in Alaska, to tell you the truth,” he said. “But marijuana has been a big industry in this state, so we’re sort of on the front lines.”

There’s no apparent panic in the industry over Sessions’ change in policy, given limited federal resources and prosecutors having had discretion in bringing cases all along. But there isn’t complacency, either.

“I don’t think the federal government is going to effectively step in and wipe us out of business. I just find that hard to believe at this point. But they can make it hard for us,” said Jennifer Canfield, who co-owns a state-licensed marijuana cultivation operation and retail store in Alaska’s capital city, Juneau.

Peter Mlynarik, a police chief in Soldotna, Alaska, called the Alaska bill a terrible idea. He asked what would happen if a local agency were helping the federal government on a heroin bust but also found marijuana in the house.

“It’s crazy to put that burden on, especially, police officers that are supposed to obey federal laws,” said Mlynarik, who resigned from Alaska’s marijuana regulatory board after Sessions’ actions in January, saying it stripped the underpinning for the state’s legal marijuana industry.

Morgan Fox, a spokesman for the Marijuana Policy Project, said he can’t see federal agents raiding businesses that are complying with state law.

“But you can’t put it past them,” he said, adding that new U.S. attorneys have been appointed by President Donald Trump in many states. “I wouldn’t put it past at least a few of them to want to gain points with their boss. But I think, politically, it would be a disaster for them.”

Massachusetts’ sanctuary-style bill was prompted by comments from that state’s U.S. attorney, Andrew Lelling, who declined to rule out prosecuting commercial marijuana businesses that are legal under state law. He later said his priority would be prosecuting opioid crimes, not marijuana.

U.S. Department of Justice spokeswoman Lauren Ehrsam declined comment on the pending bills.

Ontario-Shocker-Province-to-Restrict-Legal

One of the great questions leading up to Canada’s 2018 legalization of adult-use cannabis is how individual provinces will handle their Trudeau-given duties to hammer out details of the newly legal plant’s distribution and sale.

Today, Ontario gave us a shocking example of what such provincial hammering might look like, unveiling a plan that would restrict sales of legal cannabis in the province to 150 government-run stores and a government-run website—a move that would completely outlaw the province’s thriving, beloved, and, yes, illegal independent dispensaries.

Other details of the plan, announced today at a joint press conference held by Finance Minister Charles Sousa, Health Minister Eric Hoskins, and Attorney General Yasir Naqvi in Queen’s Park: the aforementioned 150 government-run cannabis stores will be overseen by the Liquor Control Board of Ontario, and sales of legal adult-use cannabis will be restricted to those 19 and above (the same as liquor).

“There will be 80 LCBO weed stores in place across the province by July 1, 2019 and another 70 by 2020,” reports the Toronto Star. “Online sales will begin next July.”

Some backstory and speculation: This summer, Ontario conducted an as-vast-as-possible survey of its citizens, seeking their opinions on cannabis, to help steer the province’s official cannabis guidelines. “[The survey will carry] lots of weight,” Ontario Attorney General Yasir Naqvi told the CBC in July “It’s important from our perspective to hear directly from Ontarians.”

The results of this Ontario survey are still being digested, but in a Forum Research survey conducted in April 2016, 52% of Ontario respondents expressed the opinion that the best place to sell legal cannabis would be dedicated cannabis dispensaries. More recently, a survey conducted by Nanos Research in July 2018 found that 55% of Ontario residents preferred cannabis be sold by licensed private retailers rather than province-run liquor stores.

Clearly, Ontarions love their non-LCBO cannabis dispensaries—so why is the government, which made so much noise about valuing citizens’ input, killing them dead? Perhaps the dream is to incorporate everything people love about independent dispensaries into the forthcoming government shops. Or maybe it’s just a middle-finger to the illegal dispensary scene and any and all who appreciate it.

Stay tuned for on-the-ground reporting from Toronto

Will-Michigan-Shut-Down

Michigan’s Medical Marihuana Licensing Board will meet Tuesday and could vote to close the state’s medical cannabis dispensaries until mid-December.

The potential pause is the result of a 2013 state Supreme Court ruling that labeled dispensaries a public nuisance and called into question their legality. Now, more than four years later, the licensing board is attempting to act on the ruling. New state regulations for licensing are scheduled to kick in on Dec. 15, and board members have indicated they will attempt to shut down Michigan’s medical cannabis program until that time.

Board member Don Bailey introduced the closure motion at an Aug. 21 meeting at which he referenced the Supreme Court ruling and said he believed all dispensaries are currently operating in violation of state law. That sentiment was echoed by board chair Rick Johnson.

While the board has so far postponed action on the motion, members will have another chance to act when the five-member committee reconvenes on Tuesday.

That meeting will come almost exactly a year after the matter was addressed by the Michigan State Senate, which hastily passed legislation on Sept. 9 of last year to clear up the gray area created by the 2013 Supreme Court ruling. In total, lawmakers passed three bills to address questions around dispensaries, edibles, and seed-to-sale tracking systems. The bills’ passage led to the new regulations set to take effect in December.

But with just three months to go until the regulations kick in, Bailey’s introduced motion would require that all dispensaries temporarily close in order to be eligible for licenses come December.

With one member absent from that meeting, Bailey’s motion wasn’t considered for a vote. But even the suggestion of temporarily closing the state’s dispensaries spaked a response from patients concerned about access.

In a statement to Leafly, David Harns, a spokesman for the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation (BMMR), said the agency is “currently reviewing the recommendations and discussions from the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board, and consulting with the Attorney General’s office before any action is taken.”

At the next meeting, the board will make “a determination” regarding the board’s authority on this matter. Harns said any action ultimately taken will be handled in a manner that takes patients and dispensaries into account.

“BMMR will make recommendations and give guidance to the board on how to best implement any potential actions to ensure that patients are protected and the delivery of services to licensees are fair and efficient,” he said.

That doesn’t necessarily mean the state will act to protect cannabis dispensaries should the board move to temporarily shut down the system, however. The state’s attorney general, Bill Schuette, is no friend of dispensaries.

Schuette was also the AG at the time of the 2013 Supreme Court ruling. He and a local prosecutor initially brought the case to the Supreme Court and argued in favor of prohibiting retail marijuana sales in any fashion.

As part of the case, Schuette sent a letter to the other 83 county prosecutors with instructions on how to file similar nuisance actions. In a press release, he was quoted as saying that other dispensaries in the state “will have to close their doors.”

Schuette has not publicly updated his stance since the Senate passed its update bill in September 2016.

It was that legislation that created the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board. The bill laid out the procedures for how the five members would be appointed and established its legal authority. By law, the body is charged with the “general responsibility for implementing this act,” but the legislation gives no specific reference or mention of the board’s authority before the regulations are put in place.

Bailey’s motion seeks to utilize the board’s “jurisdiction over the operation of all marihuana facilities” per state law. If the vote proceeds, support from three of the five members of the board could temporarily halt the retail sale of cannabis, at least until the new regulations take effect in December.

Only four members were present at the Aug. 21 meeting, but with more time and an extra vote at the table, Bailey could receive the support he needs to move forward with the motion when the board meets on Tuesday. The meeting starts at 12 p.m. Eastern Time, and can be viewed via a livestream on the state government website.