Some Minnesota Schools Target Synthetic Marijuana
It can be made to look like tobacco, herbal incense or a typical baking spice. But it packs twice as much of the active ingredient in marijuana, and the side effects can be life-threatening. Synthetic marijuana is legal for all ages and typically sold as an incense. Officials are seeing more of it in St. Cloud- area schools. Several Minnesota cities have banned the substance, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration plans to temporarily control five chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana. But St. Cloud school district chemical health counsellor Dan Becker said that isn't enough, because people who make synthetic marijuana can just create a new chemical recipe to get around a ban.
Becker has become the area's expert on synthetic marijuana. In his small office at McKinley Area Learning Centre, he has dozens of packages of synthetic marijuana that have been taken from students. "A year ago you couldn't find it anywhere," Becker said. But now synthetic marijuana can be purchased in local shops and online. Becker said the use of the substance has expanded quickly because it's so easy to buy on the Internet. Users describe switching from marijuana to synthetic marijuana as like switching from Coke to Diet Coke. The first time they use it, they can get sick or just dislike it.
"It's an acquired taste," Becker said. But once users get used to it, they never go back to marijuana, he said. The buzz is stronger, it's cheaper, and it's more accessible. It's also difficult for parents to detect. The substance doesn't have a scent; some manufacturers mix it with fragrances such as strawberry or cookies and cream. "How can marijuana compete with that?" Becker said. Every maker is his or her own chemist, mixing different chemicals to get the effects they want, Becker said. Then those combined chemicals are mixed with an organic substance so it can be smoked.
Car Crashes Into Man's Home And Exposes Marijuana Farm
An Ellicott City man has more than just insurance claims to worry about after a car crashed into his home earlier this month. Police say the crash revealed that 44 year old Richard Marriott had an indoor marijuana farm. Marriott and another person were uninjured when a BMW driven by 20 year old Bryan Bolster crashed into Marriott's house and burst into flames on Dec. 10. Bolster died in the crash.
Howard County police say fire investigators were inspecting Marriott's home for structural damage when they found the drugs. Police got a search warrant and found what they describe as an extensive growing operation, with nearly 20 large marijuana plants. Marriott was arrested Wednesday and is being held on $15,000 bond. Court records show he also faces trial next month on charges of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs.
Cannabis Plants Found In Romeoville Homes
Six people arrested in connection with an indoor pot-growing operation appeared Tuesday in bond court. Their next court date is Jan. 11 in Will County. The Cook County South Narcotics Unit and Romeoville Police found the operations Monday, leading to the arrest of six on felony charges of producing cannabis. “Unfortunately, it occurs throughout the country. Obviously, money can be made in this illegal activity, and it’s unfortunate there are people who are engaged in this activity. We are glad to see that these operations were shut down,” said Mark Turvey, interim Romeoville police chief. Cuong Van Tran, 31, Vinh Thi Nguyen, 51, Chien Van Tran, 29, Canh Van Tran, 55, all of the 1735 William Drive in Romeoville, have been charged with production of cannabis, a Class 2 felony. Bond for the four offenders has been set at $50,000.
Police reportedly found about 18 cannabis plants behind concealed rooms in the basement inside the home at 1735 William Drive. The group had an advanced indoor grow operation, with elaborate lighting, ventilation and irrigation systems, according to a Cook County Sheriff press release. Nghia Tien Dinh, 39, and Hue D. Tuong, 38, both of the 1663 Rose Lane in Romeoville, have been charged with production of cannabis, a Class 1 felony. Bond for Dinh and Tuong has been set at $70,000. At the Rose Lane home, police reportedly found another cannabis grow operation that spanned the basement, with approximately 225 plants. The house also had advanced cultivation equipment similar to the first home, indicating a wholesale distribution operation, police said.
Police developed information on the houses through weeks-long surveillance and investigations. They obtained search warrants Monday. Police reportedly found harvested marijuana in the basements of both houses. Charges are pending on this additional evidence. This is the second major grow house bust in a week by sheriff’s police which led to the seizure of more than $1 million in cannabis. This drug bust was the third in a month for Romeoville, Turvey said.
Oakland Suspends Pot Farm Plans
Under fire from the U.S. Department of Justice over its marijuana cultivation plans, the Oakland City Council voted just a moment ago to suspend the process for permitting four enormous marijuana-growing operations. Oakland City Attorney John Russo had warned the City Council repeatedly that federal law enforcement officials were skeptical of the city’s plans because they appeared to be in violation of state and federal laws. Reporting from a closed-door meeting with the city attorney, the council announced that it would put plans for permitting the growing operations as well as four more medical pot dispensaries on hold while fixes were made to bring it in line with state law.
It seemed clear that the city was worried about moving forward when it was revealed Monday in response to a public records request by The Bay Citizen that no applications had been submitted by Oakland’s many pot entrepreneurs just two days before they were supposed to be due on Dec. 22. The City Council will come back to the issue on Feb. 1 after changes have been made. More details later.
More trouble for accused marijuana doctor
15 Arrested In Christchurch Drug Raids
Police have closed down a "tinnie" house, arrested 15 people and searched 77 houses in northern Christchurch today as part of a mass crack-down on the drug trade. The operation, targeting cannabis dealers, began at 8am with 55 police including the armed offenders squad and dog teams taking part. Police said they found four houses where cannabis was being grown, one with video cameras and barricaded doors. "I believe we have sent a significant message to the criminal fraternity in this area that their continued involvement in illegal activities will not go unchecked," Senior Sergeant Roy Appley said.
"At one address a bank book revealed about $35,000 in an account - which seemed at odds with the person's known lifestyle." Police also visited houses where they believed there to be a risk of family violence, and drink driving was also targeted. A man was stopped and found to have a breath alcohol level nearly three times the legal limit, while driving his family to the river for a swim. He had three previous drink driving convictions. The offending was disturbing to communities and was often linked to more serious criminal activity, Mr Appley said. Further arrests were likely over the coming weeks as a result of today's inquiries.
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