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MJ News for 09/23/2014

7greeneyes

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http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/alaska-tv-reporter-quit-marijuana-crusade-article-1.1949056




Alaska reporter who quit on TV explains her crusade to legalize marijuana




The Alaska TV reporter whose journalism career went up in smoke when she quit her job during Sunday's newscast and announced she was running a medical marijuana business on the side took to social media to explain why.

Charlo Greene, whose legal name is Charlene Ebge, resigned as a reporter for KTVA in Anchorage with a signoff that had the Internet buzzing: "And as for this job, well, not that I have a choice but, f--- it, I quit."

Ebge went on a social media blitz Monday, calling herself a champion for Alaskans' right to smoke marijuana in a YouTube video. "Advocating for freedom and fairness should be everyone's duty," she said. "I'm making it my life's work to uphold what America stands for truly: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness."

Her organization, the Alaska Cannabis Club, touts itself as the state's only medical marijuana resource, detailing how to score medical marijuana and how to grow one's own supply. And did we mention free samples for members?

Ebge's Facebook page shows the club's self-described owner standing in a large hydroponic grow room blooming with marijuana plants while her profile photo has the former TV reporter holding a lit joint in one hand and a lighter in the other.

Like its owner, the Alaska Cannabis Club has gone political seemingly overnight. Its Facebook page touts: "No marijuana, big mistake #YesOn2." An Indiegogo campaign started Monday already hit its stated fundraising goal of $5,000 to help sell Alaskan voters on legalizing marijuana.

If voters do approve Ballot Measure 2 on Nov. 4, residents 21 and older will be allowed to legally possess an ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants, as well as allow for the sale and possession of related paraphernalia.

"If responsible adults should be allowed to choose how they like to drink," Ebge asked on YouTube, "why differentiate my toke from your beer?"

Ebge's final story for KTVA was a profile on the business she secretly ran before coming out as Alaska Cannabis Club's president and CEO in a stunning finale.

"Now everything you've heard is why I, the actual owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, will be dedicating all of my energy toward fighting for freedom and fairness, which begins with legalizing marijuana here in Alaska," Ebge said.

That's how Ebge lit the fuse in her crusade to legalize marijuana in Alaska.
 

7greeneyes

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http://www.azcentral.com/story/news...juana-advocates-kick-off-initiative/16060625/




(Arizona) Marijuana advocates kick off 2016 initiative




Supporters of an effort to legalize recreational marijuana in 2016 have filed paperwork with state elections officials, allowing them to raise money to campaign for the citizens initiative.

The Marijuana Policy Project of Arizona initiative almost certainly will be modeled after the voter-approved marijuana program in Colorado. For about a year, Colorado has allowed adults 21 and older to use and possess up to an ounce of pot, which is purchased at one of the many marijuana shops that are allowed under the law.

Andrew Myers, who is affiliated with the initiative, said Monday the group will bring together a "diverse coalition" to help draft the initiative's language, adding that marijuana advocates are closely watching Colorado's program to determine what should be replicated in Arizona — and what should be avoided.

Voters passed Colorado's Amendment 64 in 22 with 55 percent of the vote, driven by a campaign that pitched marijuana as a less-harmful alternative to alcohol. The amendment attracted young and new voters while tapping into the electorate's libertarian streak.

Representatives of the Washington, D.C.-based Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates for marijuana legalization and regulation, said it will pursue full legalization in Arizona in 2016 because of marijuana-legalization efforts are more successful during presidential elections, which draw more voters to the polls.

Marijuana is legal for about 50,000 Arizonans, but only for medicinal purposes. Patients must get recommendations from a physician and obtain a card from state health officials under the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act approved by voters in 2010.

Any effort towards full legalization in Arizona is expected to be met with stiff opposition from law enforcement officials, and possibly medical-marijuana dispensary owners who have spent the past few years building their businesses around the medicinal model.
 

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http://www.seattlepi.com/news/crime/article/Albania-destroys-marijuana-worth-8-2-billion-5774535.php




Albania destroys marijuana worth $8.2 billion




TIRANA, Albania (AP) — Albania's Interior Ministry says the country's authorities have destroyed marijuana of an estimated market value of 6.4 billion euro ($8.2 billion) this year — more than 60 percent of the country's annual GDP.

Minister of Interior Affairs Saimir Tahiri says police have destroyed 102 tons of marijuana and 530,000 cannabis plants since March and have arrested or indicted some 1,900 people.

More than half of the marijuana was found in the lawless southern village of Lazarat following a dramatic five-day police raid in June.

Tahiri said Tuesday Albania is now no longer a country where drugs are produced, and pledged "an absolute fight against drugs and dirty money."

Albania has been a major marijuana-producing country and transit point for moving other drugs from Asia and Latin America to Europe.
 

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http://www.click2houston.com/news/pot-draws-homeless-texans-to-colorado/28186888




Legalized recreational marijuana use draws homeless Texans to Colorado




DENVER, Colorado -
Colorado is seeing a significant increase in the number of homeless people arriving from Texas and the head of two homeless shelters said a big reason for the increase is homeless people wanting to smoke pot.

"It wasn’t the only reason but it was one of the main factors," Runa Renee Townsend, a homeless woman from Fort Worth, said of her reason for moving to Colorado.

At the Salvation Army’s overnight shelter, they have seen their numbers nearly double.

"We were averaging 190 people a night. Now we are averaging 345 people a night," said Murray Flagg, the Salvation Army Intermountain Divisional secretary for social services.

The shelter recently started using an old storage room to house the extra people.

"We find about one in four people have come for some marijuana related issue," Flagg said.

Colorado made recreational marijuana legal under state law at the beginning of the year. Medical marijuana, which requires a doctor’s prescription, has been legal for years. Both types of marijuana are still illegal under federal law, but the federal government has taken a mostly hands-off approach to prosecuting people who possess only a small amount of marijuana and who do not traffic it while committing other crimes.

Craig Howard, who used to live in Lubbock, went to Denver. He said he meets homeless Texans every day who went to Colorado to smoke marijuana.

"There are a lot of people here from Texas," Howard told investigative reporter Jace Larson.

The head of a day shelter in Denver said he was surprised by the increase in homeless from Texas coming to Colorado.

"At least 10 percent of our new out-of-state population is coming from Texas," said Tom Luehrs, the St. Francis Center executive director. "People tell us is that they think they can get a job because marijuana is legal here."

Homeless people often have jobs that pay minimum wage. Some of them work as day laborers making about $38 a day. They earn enough for spending money but not enough to pay rent.

But not everyone buying marijuana in Colorado is homeless.

"People you wouldn’t expect come in a dispensary -- people dressed in suits, some people come in scrubs," said Calvin Pijlman, an employee at a Denver dispensary.

Recreational marijuana is taxed at more than 20 percent in Colorado. The state received more than $3 million in sales tax in one month this year.
 

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http://www.courant.com/business/hc-medical-marijuana-sales-begin-connecticut-20140922-story.html




(Connecticut) Medical Marijuana Sales Begin At Dispensaries After Long Wait





Nearly two years after it was legalized, the first sales of medical marijuana were rung up in Connecticut Monday, ending more than 80 years of a wide-ranging ban on the substance.

More than two dozen customers flocked to The Healing Corner in Bristol, one of the six licensed dispensaries in the state, beginning at noon to purchase medical marijuana. At 4 p.m., six customers were still queued up in the lobby, the dispensary's owner said.

Sales also got underway at Arrow Alternative Care on Weston Street in Hartford Monday afternoon.

The first deliveries of medical marijuana Monday from Theraplant in Watertown meant the end of a long wait for patients like Daniel Gaita of Bethel, who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder following multiple tours of military duty overseas in the 1990s.

"I don't have to hide something that helps me," Gaita, 41, said. "It will enable me to treat my symptoms without feeling like a criminal."

The law legalizing medical marijuana gave patients registered with the state protection against prosecution for using marijuana, well before sales began Monday. But for Gaita and other patients, sales through dispensaries further lessens the stigma and opens up the option of buying marijuana consistent in strength and purity and subject to stringent testing under state regulations.

Theraplant, one of the four licensed manufacturers in Connecticut, told The Courant Friday that it expected to make the first round of deliveries to the dispensaries Monday. The deliveries included ground up raw flowers in 5-gram, 10-gram, 15-gram and 35-gram doses; pre-rolled cones or joints; and tabs that can broken apart and smoked or used in some vaporizers.


At The Healing Corner in Bristol, owner Geri Bradley said the dispensary was able to begin sales Monday — most dispensaries expected to begin sales later this week — because it had recorded its inventory Sunday based on a list supplied by Theraplant. Some adjustments were then made after the delivery arrived in the late morning, the first stop for Theraplant on its way to dispensaries throughout the state.

Bradley summed up the first sales this way: "We're making history."

Although the forms of medical marijuana are now limited, they will broaden into oils, tinctures, capsules and baked goods, such as brownies, bars and cookies, in coming months, manufacturers say. Marijuana-infused beverages and candies are not allowed.

"Smokables are going to be available first, but remember these smokables can also be vaporized," said Angelo DeFazio, owner of the Hartford dispensary. "We believe in vaporization. It's a better route of administration for the patient. It gets more of a dose to the patient quicker."

So far, the state has registered 2,326 patients who are eligible to buy medical marijuana. Manufacturers and dispensaries are counting on growth in registered patients. One estimate places the potential customer base at 35,000 to 70,000, or 1 percent to 2 percent of the state's population of 3.5 million.

Security is tight at the dispensaries, with approval from the state Department of Consumer Protection required for visitors.

In Hartford, Arrow Alternative Care has a security entrance, and a person behind an inch-thick window verifies a patient's state registration. Once approved, a customer enters a locked waiting area with display cases that have glass pipes and other paraphernalia. Consultations and marijuana sales are performed in private rooms beyond the waiting area.

One customer at Arrow Alternative Monday, Neil Johnson, said he hoped the medical marijuana would relieve the pressure in his eyes caused by chronic glaucoma that has led to intense migraines. Johnson found that marijuana helped, but laser surgery and eye drops, including a steroid, did not.

"I follow the doctor's orders," said Johnson, 31, of Marlborough. . "I take my drops, but I don't know what it is. My body seems to get immune to them, and my levels keep rising. The pressure keeps rising."

Johnson, a chef at Cafe Colt in Hartford, bought 5 grams of medical marijuana Monday. He declined to disclose how much he paid.

Dispensaries expect prices initially to range from $16 to $20 a gram. But they say the price is likely to go down as the three other manufacturers — Connecticut Pharmaceutical Solutions in Portland, Curaleaf in Simsbury and Advanced Grow Labs in West Haven — start shipping. All three are expected to begin deliveries by the end of the year.


Theraplant is charging dispensaries $11 a gram for the medical marijuana, arguing that is a fair price given the state's stringent regulations that add to manufacturing costs. Those regulations include testing every batch that is sold to dispensaries.

The website priceofweed.com, which compiles user-reported entries anonymously for marijuana bought on the street, on Monday gave the current average range of $271 to $341 an ounce in Connecticut, depending on quality. Based on 28 grams per ounce — medical marijuana will be sold by grams — the cost on the street ranges from $9.70 to $12 a gram.

But Theraplant said last week those prices lowball the actual cost, which is closer to $17 a gram on the street in Connecticut for higher-quality marijuana.

In addition to post-traumatic stress disorder and glaucoma, the 11 debilitating medical conditions for which medical marijuana can be used in Connecticut also include: cancer, HIV or AIDS, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, damage to the nervous tissue in the spinal cord or intractable spasticity, epilepsy, cachexia, wasting syndrome and Crohn's disease.

Registered patients can be certified by their doctor to receive no more than 2.5 ounces a month, or 70 grams.

The other four dispensaries in the state are: Connecticut/D&B Wellness in Bethel, Prime Wellness of Connecticut in South Windsor, Bluepoint Wellness of Connecticut in Branford and Thames Valley Alternative Relief in Uncasville.

Gaita says medical marijuana will guarantee consistency in strength and purity, something that was never a given when marijuana was purchased through other channels.

Marijuana has proven potent in treating his paranoia and anxiety and a spinal cord injury also sustained during his service, he said. Gaita said he hopes that he will be able to ease off a cocktail of prescription drugs that he now takes.

"I can take medication that directly treats my symptoms without the side effects," Gaita said.
 

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http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/09/22/seattle-marijuana-tickets/16062839/




Seattle tosses out marijuana tickets




SEATTLE – The city has torn up nearly 90 citations given to people accused of publicly smoking marijuana after an investigation revealed a single cop wrote most of them.

Seattle officials on Monday dismissed the tickets over concerns Officer Randy Jokela was unfairly and arbitrarily targeting the homeless and African-Americans. On one of the tickets, Jokela wrote a note indicating he had flipped a coin about who to give the ticket to. Jokela was temporarily reassigned and faces an internal affairs investigation.

"The police do not write the laws. They enforce the laws," said Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes. "You can't be a legislator out on the street."

Seattle has decriminalized simple marijuana possession, and the state of Washington permits both recreational and medical marijuana consumption and possession. Public consumption, however, remains illegal.

It's unclear, city officials said, whether Jokela was simply aggressively handing out legitimate tickets or if he was just making up the charges because he objected to the decriminalization and legalization of marijuana in Seattle. Jokela is accused of writing 80% of the marijuana tickets in the first six months of the year.

The city formally voided the 86 tickets on Monday morning.

Holmes, who backed the campaigns to decriminalize and then legalize marijuana, said Jokela's seemingly arbitrary approach to writing tickets was "abhorrent." He said social justice requires the law be applied evenly, and on Monday announced a new police policy aimed at educating users first before issuing them a ticket.
 

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