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Cannabis Industry Matures: Angel Investor Network Launched

Category: News | Posted on Fri, March, 25th 2011 by THCFinder
Today, on the heels of the release of the first U.S. market data report putting the size of the domestic medical marijuana market at $1.7 billion, The ArcView Group announced the formation of the cannabis industry's first angel investment network. The ArcView Angel Network will facilitate seed and early stage investment in federally legal enterprises within the medical cannabis industry, and will host the Cannabis Investment Forum Series (CIF), a groundbreaking series of events exclusively for the top ancillary cannabis business entrepreneurs and qualified investors.
 
"Extraordinary rewards await investors with the courage and vision to be a part of building the new cannabis industry," said ArcView Group President, Stephen DeAngelo, also Executive Director of Harborside Health Center - the nation's largest model medical cannabis collective. "The ArcView Angel Network will open the door to the most promising business opportunities.
 
"There are many interested investors and investment-worthy entrepreneurs in the cannabis sector. But so far, that has not resulted in much investment. The lack of market data, industry knowledge and access to opportunities contributed to investor's perception of unacceptable risk.
 

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Ping fights medical marijuana dispensary near Phoenix location

Category: News | Posted on Wed, March, 23rd 2011 by THCFinder
Golf-equipment manufacturer Ping is threatening to leave its north Phoenix home of 45 years if the neighborhood continues to decline, its attorney says.
 
Phoenix will do all it can to prevent that from happening, according to a top city official.
 
The dispute between Ping and its neighbors came to light last week at the first use-permit hearings for medical-marijuana locations citywide.
 
 
While most of the applications sailed through without opposition, Stephen Earl, Ping's legal representative, objected strenuously to an applicant for a site at 1944 W. North Lane.
 
Ping is a block north of the North Lane site, on property north of Peoria Avenue and west of 19th Avenue, where it has been accumulating property since 1966. Earl told a Phoenix hearing officer that the company is considering investing $170 million to renovate its headquarters, but may not do so if the neighborhood decline continues. Ping has not announced its renovation plans publicly.
 
Earl said Ping brings in celebrities and professional golfers from all over the world, including college teams from across the country, for tours and club fittings. Because Ping customizes its clubs to buyers, the company is likely to see younger golfers.
 
Bringing them into a bad neighborhood reflects poorly on the company, he said. The neighborhood includes a striptease club, Centerfolds Cabaret; a lingerie store, Fascinations; and a hemp-products store is on the horizon.
 
Earl said the neighborhood has become a "hotbed of deleterious uses," including the possible medical-marijuana outlet.
 
The use permit was granted despite Ping's opposition. After the hearing, Earl told The Republic that moving is "an option that has to be on the table."
 
The attorney for the medical-marijuana applicants said they do not want to get into a fight with Ping.
 

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Pot DUI bill advances in Colorado House

Category: News | Posted on Tue, March, 22nd 2011 by THCFinder
DENVER (AP) — A proposal to set a blood-content threshold to charge marijuana users with driving under the influence advanced in the Colorado House Tuesday, after lawmakers argued over what would be an appropriate limit.
 
The measure would allow prosecutors to charge drivers with DUI if they test positive for a THC level of 5 nanograms or more per milliliter in their blood, a level that has angered some medical marijuana users but that would the most liberal in statute in the country. THC is the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.
 
The bill comes as medical marijuana in Colorado continues to skyrocket and lawmakers worry about the possibility of people driving impaired. The County Sheriffs of Colorado and the Colorado District Attorney's Council support the bill and say it's no different than setting a limit for what for what is considered too drunk to drive.
 
But advocates for medical marijuana use have pushed back, saying some daily users of the drug may develop tolerance levels that may allow them to drive safely and that they would be unfairly punished by a 5-nanogram level. Medical marijuana users also say they hope the blood test alone will not be the only factor in convicting drivers, and that suspects will be allowed to present evidence to rebut the case against them.
 
Rep. Claire Levy, a Democrat from Boulder who is co-sponsoring House Bill 1261, tried to ease concerns from medical marijuana users by suggesting that the limit be increased to 8 nanograms. But her amendment drew sharp criticism from the bill co-sponsor, Republican Rep. Mark Waller of El Paso County, who said 5 nanograms was a fair limit considering some experts had suggested that 2 nanograms would be fine, too.
 
Another lawmaker, Republican Rep. Bob Gardner, was so upset at Levy's proposed change that he suggested lowering the limit further to 2 nanograms. Republican Rep. Tom Massey of Poncha Springs, broke some of the tension.
 
"I can't remember what I was going to say but I'm hungry," he joked.
 
Levy opposed making the nanogram limit stricter.
 
"I think we really would run the risk of being very over inclusive and arresting and convicting people who are not impaired," Levy said.
 
Lawmakers approved a 5 nanogram level in the end and the bill faces a final vote in the House before it goes to the Senate.
 

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California medical marijuana dispensary plans to take IRS to court

Category: News | Posted on Mon, March, 21st 2011 by THCFinder
The IRS is thought to have begun audits on at least 12 medical marijuana dispensaries in California under the determination that past business deductions are invalid because of a clause in the federal tax code prohibiting any business that traffics in Schedule I or II drugs from making business deductions on their tax returns. The move could bankrupt every dispensary that it targets. The first dispensary to receive a final audit decision from the IRS is the Marin Alliance for Medical Marijuana (MAMM) in Fairfax, Calif.
 
Lynette Shaw, founder and owner of MAMM, is hoping to strike back before the IRS can deliver any more “final determinations” to other dispensaries currently being audited. Shaw intends to file an appeal in U.S. Tax Court within the month. There is actually a precedent for just such a case, when in 2007, a San Francisco dispensary primarily catering to terminal AIDS patients got its payment cut down to just over 1 percent of what the IRS originally said it owed in back taxes.
 
Shaw, however, seems to almost hope that a tax judge rules against her. A successful appeal of such a ruling would guarantee that neither MAMM nor any other dispensary in California or any other state would have to worry about future IRS audits. The next step would be the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and Shaw is prepared to take the case to the Supreme Court if necessary.
 
Shaw says she hopes to do more than just override the tax code. She calls the IRS applying regulations meant for illicit drugs to something considered medication by state governments “an abrogation of states’ rights.” But she also intends to challenge the very classification of marijuana that has allowed the IRS to go after MAMM and other dispensaries.
 
“The Constitution says that all American laws shall be based upon a rational basis,” she says. “I’ve got a truckload of evidence to argue that this doesn’t pass the muster of rational basis.”
 

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Spokane WA: Medical marijuana dispenser convicted

Category: News | Posted on Fri, March, 18th 2011 by THCFinder
A Spokane jury rejected arguments Thursday that the state’s medical marijuana law allows for commercial dispensaries, convicting a supplier of multiple drug trafficking charges.
 
Scott Q. Shupe, who co-owned one of the first marijuana dispensaries in Spokane, argued the state’s medical marijuana law enables dispensaries to supply card-carrying patients, provided they serve just one patient at a time.
 
Prosecutors disputed that interpretation, arguing that the medical marijuana law, approved overwhelmingly by voters in 1998, makes no provisions for commercial dispensaries.
 
The case was being watched closely by authorities and dispensary operators alike, with both sides hoping that the jury would provide guidance for what many argue is a confusing state law.
 
In Spokane, Mayor Mary Verner said earlier this week that she supports medicinal use of marijuana, but she’s concerned about the rapid increase of dispensaries in Spokane neighborhoods. “I don’t want to have our community allow the cover of being in business for medical care to be really just a way to just dispense pot that otherwise would be illegal,” Verner said.
 
Defense attorney Frank Cikutovich said his client routinely kicked out patrons who tried to buy pot without proper authorization. He indicated the case will be appealed in an effort to clarify the language of the law.
 
“Their fate lies with the prosecutor’s decision whether or not to shut them down,” he said, referring to other dispensaries. “They want to be legitimate and give medicine to those who need it.”
 

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LAKE ELSINORE: Search warrants served at pot collective

Category: News | Posted on Thu, March, 17th 2011 by THCFinder
Three people were arrested and marijuana, hashish and money seized when search warrants were served at four houses and a Lake Elsinore medical marijuana collective involved in a year-long dispute with the city.
 
Riverside County sheriff's deputies and code enforcement officials served the warrants Tuesday at 420 Hitters on Casino Drive, two homes in Lake Elsinore and at homes in Hemet and Murrieta, sheriff's officials said.
 
Deputies confiscated 8 pounds of marijuana, 2.5 ounces of hash, 378 marijuana plants and $1,900.
 
Arrested were Dominic Armato, 31, collective manager; Melanie Birchard, 27, a receptionist; and Carol Stahl, 54, an edible-marijuana cook, deputies said. They were taken into custody on allegations that include conspiracy to possess, transport and sell marijuana and the cultivation of marijuana for sale.
 
Collective operators Luis Stahl and his son, Eric, face similar allegations when they are located, deputies said. The collective was closed Wednesday afternoon.
 
Carol Stahl is Luis Stahl's wife.
 
The raids followed a four-month investigation that authorities said shows the collective is operating outside the state's medical marijuana laws because it making a profit.
 
Luis Stahl, who goes by his middle name Carlos, denied Wednesday that the collective is operating illegally.
 
"They thought they would come out and find a bunch of illegal stuff," Carlos Stahl said in a phone interview. "They didn't find one single thing we're doing that's illegal."
 
Carlos Stahl questioned how investigators determined the collective is making a profit, saying he does not believe they looked at the bookkeeping records.
 
"It's a collective, not a business," Carlos Stahl said. "The only thing we can charge for is reimbursement of our direct expenses. I have no idea why they said we're making a profit."
 
The collective has operated recently in at least three storefronts in Lake Elsinore under the names 420 Hitters on Casino Drive and R Side Medical on Auto Center Drive. The operation moved briefly to another location before opening on Casino Drive.
 

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