State Likely To Ban Marijuana-Like Drug
Possession of "spice," a synthetic drug that mimics marijuana, will probably become a separate offense in the state code.Numerous state legislators--including both Sen. Edd Houck, D Spotsylvania, and Sen. Richard Stuart, R-Stafford--had submitted bills to outlaw the drug, which is sold legally in convenience stores and gives users a high similar to marijuana. Fredericksburg police said last fall that use of spice had increased dramatically in 2010 Users have been known to suffer tremors, seizures, vomiting and more serious health effects such as unconsciousness and coma, authorities say.
More than a dozen states have already made it illegal. The Senate bills seeking to ban spice in Virginia were heard in a subcommittee Thursday. A big question during the debate, Houck said, was whether spice should be classified as a Schedule 1 substance, or whether a separate and new offense should be created. Both he and Stuart think the subcommittee will lean toward the latter.
"There are unintended consequences" to making a drug a Schedule 1 drug, Stuart said. The subcommittee decided to have staff look at all the bills and combine them into one that would cover the concerns expressed during Thursday's hearing. Stuart believes the end result will look more like his bill, which differed from many of the others in that it was aimed at "imitation marijuana," rather than trying to list the chemical compounds that would be banned. Once compromise language is settled upon, Houck said, he believes the measure will pass. "I think everybody understands there's a problem," he said. "We are going to address it."
Marijuana Drinks Spring Up
Clay Butle may soon be marketing a food product that he's never tasted, and that he would never buy. The product is called Canna Cola, and it's a soft drink that contains THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana, aimed at medical marijuana dispensaries. "I don't do drugs," said the Soquel-based commercial artist. "Never have. I never drank, never smoked. I'm a clean-living guy. I've had two beers in my whole life, and I remember them both too. No marijuana, I've never smoked a cigarette. I take an aspirin when I get a headache. That's it." Yet Butler is a partner in a company that is poised to move aggressively in a market that could one day be enormously popular by combining marijuana with soft drinks. "Even though, personally, I'm not interested and I don't think it's right for me," said Butler, "I'm a firm believer that adults have an inalienable right to think, eat, smoke, drink, ingest, decorate, dress any way they choose to do so. It's your life; it's your body."
What really interests Butler is branding, the art of differentiating a product in the marketplace through words and images. And he's designed a line of soft drinks that he says will be branded to take advantage of an entirely new market. The line includes the flagship cola drink Canna Cola, the Dr. Pepper-like Doc Weed, the lemon-lime Sour Diesel, the grape flavored Grape Ape and the orange-flavored Orange Kush. Marijuana sodas do exist in the marketplace. But, said Butler, none of them have the branding savvy of his product. "You look at all the marijuana products out there, and they are so mom-and-pop, hippie-dippy and rinky-dink," he said. "If someone can put every color on the rainbow on it, they do. If they can pick the most inappropriate and unreadable fonts, they will. And there's marijuana leaves on everything. It's a horrible cliche in the industry."
Butler's epiphany was to market the THC-laced sodas "how Snapple or Coca-Cola or Minute Maid would make a marijuana beverage, if they ever chose to do it." Thus, he used the marijuana leaf -- it's an unavoidable part of the "brand DNA" of marijuana products, he said but he designed a leaf made of bubbles, to suggest soft drinks. The beverage line's dosage of THC will be "somewhere between 35 to 65 milligrams," said Scott Riddell, the founder of Diavolo Brands, which is marketing Canna Cola. He said the levels of THC in his line of soft drinks will be substantially below the levels of many drinks now on the market. He likened his product to a "light beer" alongside high-proof liquors. The new sodas will retail for $10 to $15 per 12-ounce bottle. The company plans to launch its product in medical marijuana-friendly Colorado in February. Plans are tentatively to have it in California dispensaries in the spring.
Cannabis Fields Torched In Morocco
Early January, in Taounate, a little village in the Moroccan mountains of the Kif region, almost eight tons of cannabis was seized in three farmers’ homes. Last June, right after the Bab Berred revolt, three helicopters dropped pesticides on plantations in the region to burn the fields. As the political will to eradicate the production of the illegal crops grows, observers say there are few measures to help the region’s inhabitants as they lose their main source of income.
“Eradication should not precede economic development or even accompany it,” said Pierre-Arnaud Chouvy, a research fellow at the French National Center for Scientific Research in Paris, and author of several books on the geopolitics of illicit drugs. “It should come afterward and only in case of necessity. Alternative development never had the expected success. It lacked political will, financial resources, persistence and it was flawly designed.” Morocco, the world’s leading producer and exporter of kif (the dried bud of the female marijuana plant), according to the United Nations, has for decades tolerated the illegal production of cannabis that allows an entire region to survive.
More than 70 percent of European countries in 2008 claimed that Morocco was their prime source of cannabis (either directly, or via Spain or the Netherlands), according to the most recent figures from the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. These countries have pressured Morocco to take action to significantly reduce its production of the drug.
Ohio mom who gave pot to 2-year-old gets probation
CINCINNATI -- An Ohio woman who admitted giving her 2-year-old daughter marijuana and using her cell phone to record the child smoking it has avoided prison.
A Hamilton County judge on Friday placed 21-year-old Jessica Gamble, of suburban Cincinnati, on two years of probation with plans to reunite the mother and child.
The Cincinnati Enquirer reports that Gamble has been in the county jail since September and must remain there for two more months to complete a program for drug treatment, job readiness and parenting skills. She also must spend three months in an inpatient drug rehabilitation facility and undergo outpatient drug treatment.
Gamble could have received up to 6 1/2 years in prison after pleading guilty to corruption of another with drugs and tampering with evidence.
Police officer accused of taking seized marijuana
WINTER HAVEN, Fla. -- A Winter Haven police officer is accused of pilfering a "marijuana bud" following the department's seizure of marijuana plants from a home.
Authorities say 36-year-old Ricardo Flores was just ending his shift about 7 p.m. Wednesday as detectives were unloading marijuana plants from a truck. As the evidence was being processed, an officer saw Flores take a marijuana bud from a plant and conceal it.
When the officer reported what he saw, Flores was called back to the department. Officers recovered the stolen marijuana and Flores was charged with burglary of a conveyance, petit theft and possession of marijuana.
Flores was suspended pending an internal investigation.
Winter Haven Police Chief Gary Hester commended the officer who reported the incident, saying "no one is above the law."
Phoenix Woman Arrested In Border Pot Bust
A Phoenix woman was taken into custody after border officers found 560 pounds of marijuana hidden in a vehicle she was driving. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, officers selected the woman's 2003 Ford Expedition for screening at the Douglas Port of Entry Monday morning where they found a double floor had been built into the entire floor area of the Expedition.
There they found the marijuana with an estimated street value of $256,000. The 31 year old woman, identified as a U.S. citizen, was turned over to Immigration and Customs Enforcement for further investigation and prosecution. The vehicle and marijuana were seized by CBP officers.
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