Texas Man Faces Possible Life in Prison For Pot Brownies
Category: News | Posted on Thu, May, 22nd 2014 by THCFinder
A 19-year-old Texas man could be facing the possibility of life in prison for allegedly baking and selling pot brownies.
According to police in Round Rock, a city north of Austin, officers found 1.5 pounds of brownies, along with a pound of marijuana, digital scales, $1,675 in cash and several bags of marijuana at Jacob Lavoro's apartment last month.
Now, Lavoro faces a first-degree felony and if convicted, the former high school football player with a clean record faces a possible punishment ranging from five years to life behind bars.
His father Joe Lavoro called the potential punishment “outrageous.”
“Five years to life? I’m sorry, I’m a law-abiding citizen, I’m a conservative, but I’ll be damned,” Joe Lavoro said. “This is wrong. This is damn wrong.”
Prosecutors say the charge is so severe because of Lavoro’s brownie recipe. Authorities say he mixed in hash oil, which features a far higher concentration of THC, the psychoactive component of marijuana. Under Texas law, the hash oil can be treated similarly to far more serious narcotics such as ecstasy.
Because the drops of oil were cooked into the brownies, police weighed the entire brownie batch – sugar, flour and butter – and charged him with possessing 1.5 pounds of drugs.
Jack Holmes, Lavoro’s defense attorney, believes the charge should be downgraded.
“They’ve weighed baked goods in this case,” Holmes said. “It ought to be a misdemeanor.”
Lavoro has pleaded not guilty. His father remains upset that prosecutors aren’t backing down.
“If he did something wrong, he should be punished, but to the extent that makes sense,” he said. “This is illogical.”
Lavoro is due back in court next month.
Colorado Food Inspectors Are Cracking Down On Cannabis Edibles
Category: News | Posted on Wed, May, 21st 2014 by THCFinder
Cannabis edibles are harder to regulate than flower in some ways. Flower, if grown correctly, is easy to test for contaminants and potency. Cannabis edibles have more factors to consider. Since edibles also contain some cannabis flower, the issues that revolve around flower are present. But there are additional factors that are involved when creating cannabis edibles.
One factor, which is true of cooking/baking anything (cannabis or otherwise), is whether or not the edibles were prepared in a sanitary workspace. Creating the right dose is another thing that is tricky. One thing that a lot of people don’t take into consideration is calculating for food allergies. How does one properly store the edibles? And then there is of course the factor of making the edible appeasing to consumers taste buds.
As cannabis edibles continue to grow in availability and popularity, issues surrounding these types of businesses are also on the rise. Colorado food inspectors have been cracking down on cannabis edible companies and distributors that aren’t following the correct procedures. Per the Denver Post:
“Food safety inspections of businesses that manufacture and sell marijuana edibles in Denver have found products that should be refrigerated sitting out on shelves and preparation methods insufficient to kill bacteria that can cause serious food-borne illness.
The unannounced visits by the Denver Department of Environmental Health have led to three product recalls and the destruction of tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of products.”
If you are a cannabis edible company, or are thinking of starting a cannabis edible company, then you are aware that there is a greater need for rules and regulations in this sector of the cannabis industry. Customers want to know that the products they are buying are safe. The general public wants to know that cannabis edible companies are following proper food handling practices. Right now all eyes are on Colorado, and everything has to be done right in order for the industry to spread and flourish inside and outside of Colorado.
Uruguay leaders won't tax pot to keep prices as low as 85 cents per gram!
Category: News | Posted on Tue, May, 20th 2014 by THCFinder
Leaders of Uruguay, where the cultivation and sale of recreational marijuana is legal, won't impose taxes on the drug, Reuters reports.
Their goal: keep prices low enough to undercut the black market for cannabis. Uruguayans will be able to buy up to 10 grams of cannabis at pharmacies for between 85 cents to $1 per gram, the news outlet reports.
Writes Malena Castaldi:
"The principal objective is not tax collection. Everything has to be geared toward undercutting the black market," said Felix Abadi, a contractor who is developing Uruguay's marijuana tax structure. "So we have to make sure the price is low."
Uruguay will auction up to six licenses to produce cannabis legally in the next weeks. The government is also considering growing marijuana on a plot of land controlled by the military to avoid illegal trafficking of the crop.
While cigarettes and alcoholic drinks are taxed heavily in Uruguay, the official marijuana trade will operate virtually tax-free, Abadi said. Uruguay does not require a decree or law to exempt a product from taxes.
Wisconsin Girl Dies Waiting For Implementation Of Marijuana Extract Legislation
Category: News | Posted on Mon, May, 19th 2014 by THCFinder
Tragically, Lydia Schaeffer (aged 7) passed away on Mother’s Day from a rare genetic disorder called Kleefstra syndrome, which causes terrible seizures and other complications. Her plight inspired lawmakers in Wisconsin to legalize a marijuana extract to treat her condition, despite their opposition to a broader medical marijuana reform.
Sally Schaeffer, Lydia’s mother, lobbied the state legislature to legalize the cannabidiol (CBD) extract from the marijuana stain known as Charlotte’s Web for use on children with seizure disorders. Even though lawmakers moved to pass the limited CBD-only bill in record time, determining the implications of the law stalled it from going into effect. Additionally, CBD-only bills leave behind 98% of the patients who can benefit from medical marijuana, so Wisconsin still has a long way to go before patients have legal access to this much-needed medicine.
In Lydia’s honor, Sally plans to continue spreading the word on CBD oil. She said she was contacted by Sen. Robert Wirch’s office this week and told they would try to have the bill she championed called Lydia’s Law. Wirch’s sympathy toward the Schaeffer family is welcomed, but his and other politicians’ compassion for the vast majority of other patients in need is currently lacking.
Feds Prosecute Medical Marijuana Patients While Tolerating Commercial Cannabis All In The Same City
Category: News | Posted on Fri, May, 16th 2014 by THCFinder
Sean Green grows marijuana at 1919 East Francis Avenue in Spokane, about six miles from the courthouse where the federal government plans to try Larry Harvey, a 70-year-old retired truck driver, for growing marijuana. Green’s operation is a lot bigger than Harvey’s: up to 21,000 square feet of plant canopy, compared to the 45 plants that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) found on Harvey’s property in a rural area of northeastern Washington about 10 miles from Kettle Falls. The difference in scale makes sense, because Green is growing pot for Washington’s newly legal recreational market, while Harvey and four other medical marijuana users were growing it for their own consumption. Both kinds of cultivation are allowed under Washington law, and both are prohibited under federal law. Yet Green’s future as a cannabis entrepreneur looks bright, while Harvey and his co-defendants face prison sentences ranging from 10 years to life.
The case of the Kettle Falls Five highlights the gap between policy and practice in the Obama administration’s approach to medical marijuana as well as puzzling inconsistencies in the prosecution choices of Michael Ormsby, the U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Washington. Since 2009 the Justice Department has been saying that prosecuting patients who use marijuana in compliance with state law “is unlikely to be an efficient use of limited federal resources.” Last August the department extended this policy of prosecutorial forbearance to state-licensed suppliers of recreational marijuana, saying it will not interfere with legalization in Washington or Colorado as long as the markets are properly regulated. While Ormsby seems to have gotten the second memo, he seems to have missed the first one. “This case is another glaring example of what’s wrong with the federal policy on cannabis,” says Kari Boiter of Americans for Safe Access. “If the Justice Department can continue to aggressively prosecute individual patients without any consequences from the White House, none of these DOJ memos are worth the paper they’re printed on.”
The Harvey trial, which was originally scheduled to start this week, has been postponed until July 28, at which point at least some of Spokane’s eight state-licensed pot shops should be open for business, selling marijuana grown by state-licensed producers like Sean Green. It will be a surreal juxtaposition. Last week the judge overseeing the Kettle Falls Five case ruled that the defendants may not so much as mention the reason they were growing marijuana, which under federal law does not matter. Meanwhile, on their way home from the courthouse, jurors will be able to buy pot from openly operating businesses licensed by the state of Washington, approved by the city of Spokane, and tolerated by the federal government.
The seeds of this bizarre situation were planted in July 2012, when the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office received a tip from the Civil Air Patrol that someone was growing marijuana near the Colville Airport. A few weeks later, Sgt. Brad Manke flew over the area and spotted about 70 marijuana plants. Based on that evidence, the sheriff’s office obtained a search warrant for the property, which it served on August 9. Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, Larry’s wife, told the officers that she, her husband, their son, their daughter-in-law, and a family friend were using the marijuana to treat various conditions, including gout, osteoarthritis, wasting syndrome, and chronic pain from severe back injuries. All five have medical recommendations, which under a ballot initiative approved in 1998 gives them an affirmative defense against possession and cultivation charges.
DEA Defies Congress, Seizes Hemp Seeds Bound For Legal Kentucky Crop
Category: News | Posted on Fri, May, 16th 2014 by THCFinder
The ban on industrial hemp has long been the most glaringly senseless prohibition in America. Nearly everybody knows that hemp is “marijuana’s sober cousin”, that smoking even a whole field of it couldn’t get a person high. Yet hemp has been illegal since the Controlled Substances Act mandated its prohibition. One must procure a permit from the Drug Enforcement Administration to plant hemp in America, and they’re not giving out any permits.
But that has changed. This session, the US Congress, at the behest of Kentucky Senator and Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, passed an amendment he wrote to the annual Farm Bill allowing for the cultivation of hemp for research in the US states that have passed hemp laws, like Kentucky and eleven others.
This led Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer to move forward on his promise to return hemp as a commercial crop for Kentucky farmers. He announced that the state would be moving forward with the planting of 250 pounds of hemp seeds imported from Italy. The planting ceremony was to take place this Friday with the organizations Vote Hemp and Growing Warriors, a veterans’ group that helps returning veterans assimilate upon return from war through teaching them agricultural skills.
Now that ceremony is on hold and farmers fear the delays could force them to miss the spring planting season. The DEA seized the 250 pound hemp seed shipment, evoking furor from the Comer, who took his complaints to Senator McConnell and Kentucky’s other pro-hemp senator, Rand Paul. The DEA seemed to relent late Tuesday night, saying they’d issue a permit. Then they reneged on that promise, claiming that nothing in the passage of the Farm Bill amendment authorized theimportation of hemp seeds into America, so Kentucky must apply to the DEA for the usual hemp permit that DEA never gives out.
Ag Commissioner Comer has now sued the DEA, claiming that “unaccountable federal agencies” are exercising “arbitrary and capricious powers” to deny the fact that the “cultivation of industrial hemp… is lawful.” Kentucky Ag officials refuse to apply for the permit, reasoning that doing so would force the state to admit hemp is a Schedule I drug. The Friday planting ceremony has been postponed indefinitely, as Comer says he doesn’t want to “jeopardize this court ruling.”
This stall tactic by the DEA over industrial hemp is just the latest in a long series of insubordinate acts by DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, who once called the flying of a hemp US flag over the Capitol her “lowest point in 33 years in the DEA.” She has repeatedly condemned statements and moves by the Obama Administration toward saner marijuana policies, saying her boss’s policies make her DEA “fight harder than ever”.
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