Battle Between Oakland, CA And Feds Heats Up
Late last year we reported on the Oakland, CA City Council’s decision to suspend plans concerning 4 large “industrial” marijuana farms in the wake of threats from the federal government to intervene. We reported then that the council would revisit the issue on February 1st. They have, and it doesn’t look good for proponents of the large cannabis farms idea.
In no uncertain terms the federal government says that marijuana is illegal and they will treat it as such. According to a letter from U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag, marijuana is against federal law and “anyone who “knowingly facilitates” others to commit the crimes associated with marijuana growing is also breaking federal law.” Her letter went on to say that the federal government doesn’t waste resources on targeting sick people, but they are looking into the matter of Oakland’s cannabis farms and deciding what they will do.
Ominous words, intended to make the city scrap these plans altogether. The city council has to decide how much of a battle these large farms are worth. If they are allowed to open, chances are good the DEA will sweep through and shut them down, take all the cannabis, cash, and equipment they can find, then condemn the warehouses. This looks like something we will have to revisit down the line. The DEA is too powerful and too hostile for something like this to work currently.
Substance Abusers May Have Difficulty Identifying Emotions
New research suggests individuals who abuse drugs have difficulty identifying emotions from facial expression. Spanish scientists from the University of Granada analyzed the relation between drug abuse and recognition of basic emotions (happiness, surprise, wrath, fear, sadness and disgust) by drug abusers. They found the abusers had trouble identifying wrath, disgust, fear and sadness by facial expression. Further, regular abuse of alcohol, cannabis and cocaine usually affects abusers’ cognitive fluency (how easy it is to think about something) and decision-making. Consuming cannabis and cocaine negatively affects working memory and reasoning. Similarly, cocaine abuse influences inhibition.
For the purpose of this study, researchers carried out a neuropsychological evaluation (with neurocognitive evaluation and emotional processing tests) of a total of 123 polysubstance abusers and 67 no-drug users with similar social and demographic backgrounds (age and schooling). The target population were individuals who consumed drugs such as cocaine, cannabis, heroin, alcohol, MDMA (ecstasy) and methamphetamine, and who were enrolled in two rehabilitation projects in the province of Granada.
The study revealed that 70 percent of drug abusers presented some type of neuropsychological deterioration, regardless of the type of substance consumed. Deterioration was most pronounced in working memory, but fluency, flexibility, planning, multitasking ability and interference were also affected. Dr. J.M. Fernández Serrano, a psychologist and principal investigator, thinks that the results obtained “should be employed to develop political and social policies aimed at promoting adequate rehab programs adapted to the neuropsychological profile of drug-abusers.” The research conducted at the University of Granada has been the first to study the prevalence of psychological deterioration in drug abusers enrolled in therapeutic communities.
Bill would ban synthetic marijuana in Colorado
DENVER -- Colorado may join roughly 20 other states in banning chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana.
Senate Bill 134 would ban synthetic cannabinoids which are often sold under the brand names Spice and K2.
When consumed, the chemicals mimic the effects of cannabis.
The bill’s introduction comes a week after the Air Force Academy suspended 25 cadets accused of using synthetic marijuana.
SB 134 would make synthetic cannabinoids illegal to possess or sell, and it would make no exception for people with legal clearance to use medical marijuana.
$770,000 Cannabis Crop In Sydney House
A woman has been charged with cultivating cannabis valued at more than three-quarters of a million dollars in a small town southwest of Sydney. Police searched the house on Wynyard Avenue in Rossmore on Wednesday and allegedly found seven rooms set up for cultivation of the drug.
They seized 348 cannabis plants with an estimated street value of $774,000. A 39 year old woman was arrested at the scene and later charged with large commercial cultivation of prohibited plants. She was refused bail and is due to appear at Liverpool Local court on Thursday.
Marijuana Backers To GOPers: Why Not Cut The DEA Budget?
With Republicans in the House looking to cut down on spending in the next fiscal year, supporters of legalizing marijuana have a suggestion for where they should start -- the Drug Enforcement Agency's budget.
Sure, they know it's a long shot. But the Marijuana Policy Project's Steve Fox told TPM it makes a lot of sense.
"In the grand scheme of things, the entire federal budget dedicated to keeping marijuana illegal and carrying out all the enforcement measures to do so is really something that is long past its prime," Fox said.
"I'm not naive enough to think there would be such a major step, but you can just pick it apart and look at the marijuana seizures -- the amount of time and energy put into those seizures -- is really doing essentially nothing except maybe having a marginal effect on the price of marijuana," Fox said. "So all they're really doing is giving those involved in illegal marijuana dealing a little bit of price support."
Attorney General Eric Holder, whose Justice Department oversees the DEA, issued a memo last month telling the agency (as well as the FBI, ATF and U.S. Marshals Service) to freeze hiring and curb non-personnel spending.
That came around the same side as conservative Republicans in the House said they planned deep budget cuts -- which, according to Democrats, would require the DOJ to fire 4,000 FBI agents and 1,500 DEA agents if applied across the board.
Troopers Seize 83 Pounds Of Marijuana
A man is facing felony drug charges after Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers seized 83 pounds of marijuana, valued at more than $188,000 during a recent traffic stop. Troopers stopped a 2011 Kia Sorento SUV for an unsafe lane change on I-70, near milepost 8 in in Preble County at 9:28 a.m. Thursday. Troopers observed criminal indicators and a Patrol drug sniffing canine alerted to the vehicle. A probable cause search revealed three large bundles of marijuana, four marijuana cigarettes, and 45 prescription pills.
The driver, William J. Meyer, 38, of Rochester, N.Y., was charged with trafficking in marijuana, a second-degree felony. Other charges are possible. The suspect was incarcerated in the Preble County Jail. If convicted, he could face up to eight years in prison and a $15,000 fine.
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