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West Coachella Valley set for marijuana 'green rush'

Category: News | Posted on Sun, March, 29th 2015 by THCFinder

On a recent Thursday morning, a crowd gathered in the parking lot of a Desert Hot Springs gas station to welcome the latest new business to the struggling city.

Mayor Adam Sanchez stood in front of the shop's refurbished storefront and cut the ribbon with giant scissors — just as he would for a restaurant, tire store or hair salon — before talking about how perfectly Sun Grow would fit into Desert Hot Springs' healthy "spa city" image.

Sun Grow is the first permitted medical marijuana dispensary to open in Riverside County, outside of                                                               Palm Springs.

It's also the first shop to launch as part of a new wave of businesses coming to the western Coachella Valley, contributing to the fast-paced growth of legal marijuana businesses seen across the country.

At least a half dozen more local medical pot stores are expected to follow.

Known as the "Green Rush," a play on the Gold Rush that built California in the 19th century, legal marijuana has grown nationally into a $2.7 billion industry, with half of it in California, according to one industry report.

National cannabis sales for 2015 are expected to climb another 30 percent to $3.5 billion.

"The main draw of this industry is you can make a lot of money if you operate your business well," said Chris Walsh, managing editor of Marijuana Business Media, a company that conducts market research on the marijuana industry and publishes the online Marijuana Business Daily.

"It's not a guaranteed path to being a millionaire by any means," he cautioned.

But the dollars going in and out of a single dispensary can easily reach into the millions. Annual revenues for a store can range from $100,000 for a small operation in a rural area to tens of millions of dollars in a major city, Walsh said.

Sun Grow representatives declined to discuss revenue projections. But they but did say the dispensary was on pace to generate $9,000 in tax revenue for Desert Hot Springs in the first month.

Read More:http://www.desertsun.com/story/money/business/2015/03/28/coachealla-valley-marijuana-palm-springs-money/70553374/


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Colorado Asks Supreme Court To Toss Marijuana Lawsuit Filed By Nebraska, Oklahoma

Category: News | Posted on Sat, March, 28th 2015 by THCFinder

The Colorado Attorney General's Office on Friday asked the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out a lawsuit filed by Nebraska and Oklahoma that contends Colorado's legalization of marijuana is causing an increase in drug crimes in their states.

Attorney General Cynthia Coffman wrote in a brief filed with the high court that the lawsuit's aim to stop Colorado from regulating its recreational marijuana industry is a "dangerous" move that would leave "legalization intact" while neutering the state's ability to police businesses. The court should dismiss the lawsuit, Coffman said.

"Nebraska and Oklahoma concede that Colorado has power to legalize the cultivation and use of marijuana -- a substance that for decades has seen enormous demand and has, until recently, been supplied exclusively through a multi-billion-dollar black market," Coffman wrote. "Yet the Plaintiff States seek to strike down the laws and regulations that are designed to channel demand away from this black market and into a licensed and closely monitored retail system."

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning and Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt filed the lawsuit in December, alleging that Colorado's legalization of marijuana caused a surge of marijuana trafficking in their states and “created a dangerous gap in the federal drug control system."

The states seek to overturn Colorado's voter-approved marijuana law, arguing that federal law should take precedence over state law. Because marijuana remains illegal under federal law, Colorado's legalization is unconstitutional, the suit contends.

States that have legalized marijuana, for recreational or medical purposes, rely on guidance from Attorney General Eric Holder's office urging federal prosecutors to refrain from targeting state-legal marijuana operations.

Read More: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2015/03/27/colorado-marijuana-lawsuit_n_6958336.html


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Texas Men Facing Life in Prison for Pot Brownies

Category: News | Posted on Sat, March, 28th 2015 by THCFinder

Everything is bigger in Texas, even when it comes to handing out prison sentences for possession of marijuana. This is the unfortunate horror a couple of Amarillo men now face after learning that a judge could sentence them to life in prison for the pot brownies recently found inside their vehicle.

Earlier last week, a Potter County Sheriff’s deputy witnessed the driver of a Kia Soul commit a minor traffic violation along a busy stretch of interstate, causing him to flip on the old red, white, and blues to inspect the situation more closely. When the officer approached the car, he discovered two people inside, 30-year-old Eli Manna and his passenger, 27-year-old Andrew George.

The usual prequel to a roadside shakedown soon followed: driver’s license, registration, and an unreasonable line of questioning, which eventually made the two men nervous enough to arouse suspicion. It was at this moment, we suppose, when the deputy said something to the effect of, “You boys wouldn’t happen to have any of that marijuana in the vehicle, now would you?”

Of course, the two men likely gave the performance of a lifetime, doing their best to convince the deputy that there was nothing illegal in the car by feeding him lines like, “We don’t even smoke weed,” followed by some nervous chatter about not even drinking that much. But the deputy, having heard every excuse in the book, proceeded to take the encounter to the next level by asking the driver if he would consent to a search.

Being no stranger the Fourth Amendment, the driver refused to let the deputy rip his car apart in search of illegal contraband without a warrant. The officer, however, did not appreciate this refusal, and radioed the Texas Department of Public Safety to come out and unleash a drug-sniffing dog. Unfortunately, this is when the situation turned a bit hairy for Manna and George. When the officer turned the dog loose, it immediately alerted to marijuana in the vehicle. A search uncovered a number of individually wrapped pot brownies, which in this case, comes with the possibility of life without the possibility of parole.

Read More: http://www.hightimes.com/read/texas-men-facing-life-prison-pot-brownies


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New Directions New Orleans: A Public Health And Safety Approach To Drug Policy

Category: News | Posted on Fri, March, 27th 2015 by THCFinder
 

Louisiana MarijuanaAn unprecedented collection of drug policy stakeholders – including judges, elected officials, public health workers, law enforcement, and community advocates – will come together to chart a new course for Louisiana’s drug policies at New Directions New Orleans on Thursday April 2 from 9am-5pm at Dillard University.

The one-day conference will provide Louisianans with the opportunity to engage many of the leading minds on drug policy and criminal justice reform from across the country and around the world, who will discuss strategies for moving beyond drug war policies and toward a health-centered approach to drug use.

“Louisiana continues to strive to become a more population health focused state, but one of the outstanding issues we face are antiquated drug and criminal justice policies,” said Joe Kimbrell, CEO, Louisiana Public Health Institute (LPHI). “This collaborative conference will be a strong starting point for these extraordinary partners to begin outlining what new policies and best practices we can utilize to educate our policymakers and create a safer, healthier Louisiana.”

The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world – and Louisiana has the highest rate in the U.S.  Louisiana’s incarceration rate has doubled in the last twenty years and is nearly five times higher than Iran’s, 13 times higher than China’s and 20 times higher than Germany’s.  One of the key drivers of Louisiana’s world-leading incarceration rate is the war on drugs — 18,000 Louisiana residents are arrested for drug law violations each year.

“The drug war has been a catastrophic war on the people of Louisiana,” said Yolande Cadore, director of strategic partnerships at the Drug Policy Alliance. “This gathering is bringing key stakeholders together to find an exit strategy for this failed war on drugs. The time for a new direction in Louisiana is now.”

According to a 2013 report by the American Civil Liberties Union, Louisiana suffers from some of the worst racial disparities in marijuana enforcement of any state in the U.S.  Black Louisianans are arrested for marijuana possession at 3 times the rate as their white counterparts, despite the fact that black and white people use and sell marijuana at similar rates.

Read More: http://www.theweedblog.com/new-directions-new-orleans-a-public-health-and-safety-approach-to-drug-policy/


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Report Provides Data On Marijuana Arrests In Colorado After Legalization

Category: News | Posted on Thu, March, 26th 2015 by THCFinder
 

marijuana arrest prison drug drugsAll eyes are on Colorado to gauge the impact of the country’s first-ever state law to tax and regulate the sale of marijuana to adults 21 and older.  Since the first retail marijuana stores opened on January 1, 2014, the state has benefitted from a decrease in traffic fatalities, an increase in tax revenue and economic output from retail marijuana sales, and an increase in jobs, while Denver has experienced a decrease in crime rates.

Now, a new report from the Drug Policy Alliance brings another jolt of good news by providing comprehensive data on marijuana arrests in Colorado before and after the passage of Amendment 64 in 2012. The report compiles and analyzes data from the county judicial districts, as well as various law enforcement agencies via the National Incident Based Reporting System (NIBRS).

The report’s key findings include:

  • Since 2010, marijuana possession charges are down by more than 90%, marijuana cultivation charges are down by 96%, and marijuana distribution charges are down by 99%.
  • The number of marijuana possession charges in Colorado courts has decreased by more than 25,000 since 2010 – from 30,428 in 2010 to just 1,922 in 2014.
  • According to raw data from the NIBRS, drug-related incidents are down 23% since 2010, based on a 53% drop in marijuana-related incidents.
  • In 2010 the top five counties for marijuana possession cases in Colorado were El Paso, Jefferson, Adams, Larimer, and Boulder.  Marijuana possession cases in these counties all dropped by at least 83% from 2010 to 2014.
  • Marijuana distribution charges for young men of color did not increase, to the relief of racial justice advocates wary of a ‘net-widening’ effect following legalization.  The black rate for distribution incidents dropped from 87 per 100,000 in 2012 to 25 per 100,000 in 2014.
  • Racial disparities for still-illegal and mostly petty charges persist for black people when compared to white people, primarily due to the specific increase of charges for public use combined with the disproportionate rates of police contact in communities of color. The marijuana arrest rate for black people in 2014 was 2.4 times higher than the arrest rates for white people, just as it was in 2010.
  • The report also reveals a decline in synthetic marijuana arrests, presumably because people are less likely to use synthetic marijuana when marijuana itself is no longer criminalized.

Read More: http://www.theweedblog.com/report-provides-data-on-marijuana-arrests-in-colorado-after-legalization/


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Boat With $3 Million Worth Of Marijuana Seized In Channel Islands

Category: News | Posted on Thu, March, 26th 2015 by THCFinder

A panga boat stocked with nearly three tons of marijuana worth about $3 million was spotted in the Channel Islands, and three men on board -- all citizens of Mexico -- were arrested, authorities said Monday.

 

Alfonso Ramirez-Lopez, 40; Marco Montes-Lopez, 46; and Daniel Garcia-Sanchez, 32, are being held without bail on federal drug trafficking charges, according to U.S. attorney's office in Los Angeles. 

 

The boat was spotted about 12:40 p.m. Saturday near San Miguel Island by an off-duty officer with the state’s Department of Fish and Wildlife, according to a sworn affidavit by a DEA agent obtained by The Times.

 

A U.S. Customs and Border Protection Black Hawk helicopter was deployed to the island, about 45 miles southwest of Santa Barbara. After the three suspected smugglers were spotted, the helicopter landed and the men were arrested, according to the affidavit.

 

The three men told federal agents that they were from Sinaloa and that they had been at sea for three days, according to the affidavit.

 

The men were paid $1,000 before the trip, and after delivering the bales of marijuana they expected to receive an additional $3,000, according to the affidavit.

 

The men expected to land near Monterey or San Simeon, but after running low on fuel, they stopped at the island.

 

The 40-foot-long panga boat was towed to the U.S. Coast Guard’s base in San Pedro.

 

The trio will be arraigned on April 10 and are scheduled to appear in court on April 6 for a preliminary hearing. 

 

 

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