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Judge Declines to Remove Marijuana from Dangerous Drug List

Category: News | Posted on Thu, April, 16th 2015 by THCFinder

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- A federal judge in California declined Wednesday to remove marijuana from the list of most dangerous drugs.

U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller issued the ruling in response to a motion by defense attorneys to dismiss charges in a case that authorities say involves a marijuana growing operation.

The case was unusual in that Mueller decided to consider marijuana's designation as a Schedule 1 drug. Schedule 1 drugs include heroin and LSD and are defined as drugs with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Marijuana's classification as a Schedule 1 drug has brought states that have legalized medical marijuana into conflict with federal authorities, leading to raids on growers and dispensaries that appear to be operating legally under state law.

Legal experts said it marked the first time in decades that a federal district court judge seriously considered marijuana's classification. Judges have generally accepted the classification and the federal ban on its use, growth and distribution.

Mueller's decision was expected, but her move to hold a hearing last year to consider the issue marked a significant step that reflects growing skepticism about federal marijuana law, said Sam Kamin, a marijuana regulation expert at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law.

"While this one came out the other way, what you see is a lot of momentum in changing federal marijuana law," he said.

Mueller said during a 15-minute court hearing that she was initially prepared to grant the defense motion but then decided from the facts of this particular case that "this is not the court and this is not the time." She said she decided it was up to Congress to change the law if it wishes.

She said a written ruling would be issued by the end of the week.

Read More:http://www.hightimes.com/read/judge-declines-remove-marijuana-dangerous-drug-list


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Apple And Google Just Approved The Global Rollout For High There, Tinder For Marijuana Fans

Category: News | Posted on Wed, April, 15th 2015 by THCFinder

It’s been called “Tinder for marijuana users,” but Todd Mitchem hopes his app will be much more. Now, the founder of what may be the first social network for cannabis fans has passed a critical early hurdle–as Apple’s and Google’s own rules about the industry evolve.

When High There launched just two months ago promising to connect people for whom marijuana consumption is a key lifestyle trait, it had a key restriction in the App Store and in Android’s Google Play: the app could only be downloaded by users in states in which the cannabis industry had been made legal. Anywhere else or internationally, and High There’s geo-fencing would lock a user out.

High There still gained some early traction in New York, California and Colorado, where the company is based, attracting about 41,000 downloads in its first six weeks, with 6,000 people active on the app on any given day. But with 100,000-plus tourists expected to descend upon Denver on 4/20, a holiday for marijuana enthusiasts, the app was set to miss out on a major opportunity as potential users from other states like Texas, where the drug is still banned, might visit and download but then be unable to stay in touch in their home state.

So the fledgling app went all-in on government relations and in working with the app stores, telling anyone who would listen the app was not encouraging the actual sale of any marijuana. “I kept saying, we are a social network first,” Mitchem says. “If you are someone interested in the movement and want to meet nice, chill people, that’s what it’s about.”

High There deletes accounts that post photos of actual marijuana as their profile photos, and removes the photos themselves when they’re within the account’s picture section. It encourages any user who encounters another encouraging illegal activity to report that user to be suspended. So Mitchem made his pitch to Apple and Google: As a responsible social network, could the app at least have limited chat features enabled in prohibited states and countries?

The tech giants’ responses surprised Mitchem. “I thought we might hear back that they weren’t ready, or that local governments might not be okay with it and ready. Instead, they said we were all clear to go do it globally.”

Read More:http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexkonrad/2015/04/14/apple-and-google-approve-high-there-to-go-global/


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Pot Delivery Startup Raises Big Money in San Francisco

Category: News | Posted on Wed, April, 15th 2015 by THCFinder

People love convenience, and pot delivery services are filling those demand. Now those delivery businesses are getting some very green backing—in the form of multimillion-dollar investments.

Eaze, an on-demand pot delivery service, recently raised a cool $10 million thanks to a group of investors led by DCM Ventures, Fresh VC, 500 Startups and Snoop Dogg’s Casa Verde Capital.

Eaze, based in San Francisco, was one of the first pot companies to get support from institutional investors, who, up until now, have been reluctant to invest in the industry. Those days are coming to an end as all things marijuana are squeezing their way quietly into the mainstream. For example,DCM Ventures, based in Asia and California, is a $2.5 billion venture capital firm that invests in seed, early and mid-stage start-ups, usually in the tech industry. However, DCM was the first company to give seed money, pardon the pun, to Eaze when it started up last summer, with a $1.5 million investment.

“At the time we invested in the seed, we had a thesis the medical marijuana market would continue to grow…Things accelerated much faster than we had anticipated,” Kyle Lui, a principal at DCM, told Quartz. (*1)

Referred to as the “Uber for weed,” Eaze’s founder and CEO Keith McCarty, says the company works with “only the best” dispensaries and has narrowed products down to flowers, edibles, and concentrates, most commonly purchased by users. (*2)

McCarty added that since its launch, Eaze it has made more than 30,000 deliveries.

Source:http://www.hightimes.com/read/pot-delivery-startup-raises-big-money-san-francisco


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MBank To Close All Marijuana Business Accounts

Category: News | Posted on Tue, April, 14th 2015 by THCFinder

marijuana cash industry bankingAnyone who has been involved in the marijuana industry knows that banking is extremely tough. For almost all marijuana businesses, having a bank account is not even an option. MBank has been trying very hard to become the ‘go to’ bank for marijuana businesses. A little while back MBank announced plans to expand into Colorado. After pressure from the feds, they decided to back off that expansion. Late last week, MBank announced that it would be closing all accounts for marijuana businesses, which is a huge blow to the industry. Per Marijuana Business Daily:

MBank, the small Oregon-based financial institution that has serviced the cannabis industry since last year, told Marijuana Business Daily that it will close all of its accounts with marijuana companies in the next two months.

Jef Baker, the CEO and president of MBank, said the cost and time spent on compliance is too much for the Gresham, Oregon-based community bank to handle. The company – which quickly became one of the largest banks serving the marijuana industry – has about 70 to 75 accounts with cannabis businesses, Baker said. Most of them are in Oregon, though a few are in Washington State.

“We just do not have the resources to manage the compliance necessary” to service the cannabis industry, he said. “This is not what we want to do, this is what we have to do. We got into this business to serve an underserved group and I wish we could still do that.”

The case of MBank highlights just how unworkable federal guidelines are when it comes to marijuana banking. For a long time the feds didn’t allow any type of marijuana banking. In recent years the feds have issued guidelines that were supposed to clear up some of the grey areas, but as the MBank situation illustrates, those guidelines just created more problems than they solved. We need true banking reform, otherwise the industry will never reach its full potential, and security and logistic concerns will remain.

Source:http://www.theweedblog.com/mbank-to-close-all-marijuana-business-accounts/


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Will Big Tobacco become Big Marijuana?

Category: News | Posted on Sat, April, 11th 2015 by THCFinder

DENVER — While federal law makes their entire industry illegal, many marijuana store owners, growers and retailers fear something completely different: Big Tobacco.

Today, most legal recreational marijuana operations are small, limited to a single state and barred from ever getting large by regulators who want to keep a close eye on the fast-growing industry. But those small operators struggle to get bank loans for expansion, often produce an inconsistent product and sometimes have no idea how to balance supply and demand for their crops.

And many fear that tobacco companies, with their deep pockets, longstanding experience dealing with heavy government regulation, and relationships with generations of farmers will jump into the burgeoning marijuana market. At marijuana business conventions and in private conversations, it sometimes seems like everyone has heard a rumor about Big Tobacco getting in.

"I think there's a ton of paranoia that they're buying up warehouses and signing secret deals," said Chris Walsh, the editor of Marijuana Business Daily, an industry publication.

It's not just paranoia: Tobacco companies for generations have talked privately about getting into the weed business.

This past summer, researchers poring through more than 80 million pages of previously secret tobacco industry documents found that Big Tobacco has long had interest in pot.

Read More:http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2015/04/11/cigarettes-and-marijuana/70746772/


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New Mexico Governor Signs Historic Property Rights Protections Into Law

Category: News | Posted on Sat, April, 11th 2015 by THCFinder

new mexico marijuanaGovernor Susana Martinez signed HB 560 into law, ending the practice of civil asset forfeiture in New Mexico. Civil asset forfeiture, also known as “policing for profit,” allows law enforcement officers to seize personal property without ever charging—much less convicting—a person with a crime. Property seized through this process often finds its way into the department’s own coffers. HB 560, introduced by NM Rep. Zachary Cook and passed unanimously in the legislature, replaces civil asset forfeiture with criminal forfeiture, which requires a conviction of a person as a prerequisite to losing property tied to a crime. The new law means that New Mexico now has the strongest protections against wrongful asset seizures in the country.

“This is a good day for the Bill of Rights,” said ACLU-NM Executive Director Peter Simonson. “For years police could seize people’s cash, cars, and houses without even accusing anyone of a crime. Today, we have ended this unfair practice in New Mexico and replaced it with a model that is just and constitutional.”

“With this law, New Mexico leads the nation in protecting the property rights of innocent Americans,” said Paul Gessing, President of the Rio Grande Foundation. “Convicted criminals will still see the fruits of their crime confiscated by the state, but innocent New Mexicans can now rest easy knowing that their property will never be seized by police without proper due process.”

“New Mexico has succeeded today in reigning in one of the worst excesses of the drug war,” said Emily Kaltenbach, State Director for Drug Policy Alliance’s New Mexico office “Like other drug war programs, civil asset forfeiture is disproportionately used against poor people of color who cannot afford to hire lawyers to get their property back. This law is an important step towards repairing some of the damage the drug war has inflicted upon our society and system of justice.”

“New Mexico has shown that ending policing for profit is a true bipartisan issue with broad public support,” said Lee McGrath, Legislative Counsel for the Institute of Justice. “America is ready to end civil asset forfeiture, a practice which is not in line with our values or constitution. This law shows that we can be tough on crime without stripping property away from innocent Americans.”

Bipartisan legislation has already been introduced in both houses of Congress that would dramatically reform federal civil asset forfeiture laws. The Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration (FAIR) Act has been introduced in the Senate by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Angus King (I-ME) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT). In the House, Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI), Rep. Scott Garrett (R-NJ), Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-CA), Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) introduced an identical version of the FAIR Act.

Source:http://www.theweedblog.com/new-mexico-governor-signs-historic-property-rights-protections-into-law/


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