• Michigan: Pro-Marijuana Group claims of getting required support

    November 17, 2017

    Leaders of a pro-marijuana group, which has been spearheading a campaign to legalize recreational marijuana, have claimed that they have gathered enough signature to put the issue statewide in 2018 ballot. While, 252,523 votes are required to be on the ballot, the group has gathered at least 360,000 signatures.

    The Committee to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol , has confirmed the development. The group now needs only about $30,000 to pay off a signature-collection vendor before its leaders can submit truckloads of signed petitions to the Michigan Secretary of State.

    They would hold a press conference in Lansing November 20 before submitting the signatures to the state. They want to make it legal for adults 21 and older to be able to use marijuana with safety measures in place.

    The group in Michigan was bolstered by the recent surprise success of pro-marijuana initiatives in Detroit, as despite strong opposition from Detroit City Council members and church leaders, voters passed two ballot measures by huge margins to withdraw regulation on city's medical marijuana shops.

    The tough ordinance forced closure of shops/dispensaries near parks, churches, schools and day care centers. However, the voters rejected the ordinance, freezing the process of closures. 60% voters give thumbs up to allow more such facilities, while 58% favored easing of zoing rules on the businesses.
  • Indiana Prosecutors strongly oppose Medical Marijuana Legalization

    November 09, 2017

    Indiana's county prosecutors have opposed to marijuana legalization stating that the plant’s not medicine.’

    In a letter sent to Republican Governor Eric Holcomb last week, the Association of Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys have warned that any type of marijuana legalization would come with grave consequences.

     “Reports abound of efforts to legalize marijuana in the state of Indiana. We respectfully ask the (administration) to formally oppose the legalization of marijuana in any form, for any purpose,” wrote David N. Powell, the association's executive secretary.

    “We strongly believe both medicinal and recreational marijuana legalization are wrong for Indiana. We urge you to take a stand against these policies that would cause further harm to communities already suffering from the devastating effects of drug abuse.”

    The argument comes after Representative Jim Lucas’s statement that he will “100 percent full-throttle”support the legalization of medical marijuana.

    The Prosecuting Attorney’s group have made three points in their plea.

    “Marijuana use increases the risk of the abuse of opioids and other controlled substances, it claimed that marijuana is not a medicine and it argued that the legalization of marijuana has had ‘devastating effects’ in other states,” the group has cited.

    Though marijuana is considered illegal under the Federal Law, most of the states, have legalized medical marijuana for the treatment of patients who hold a license.

    The prosecutors, however, say the legalization could worsen drug crisis, citing those who argue that marijuana can be used as medicine are relying on “half-truths and anecdotal evidence.”

    In 2016, Holcomb had signed a law allowing epilepsy patients in Indiana,to use cannabidiol, often referred to as CBD.

  • Cops seize 97 pounds marijuana while searching for suspect

    October 31, 2017

    Police have arrested three persons from Crown Heights Apartment in Brooklyn for possessing 97 pounds of marijuana and nearly a million in cash, officials have informed. The accused have been identified as Humphrey Olivo, 36, Yazmin Olivo, 30 and Jose Pichardo, 28.

    The cops raided 899 Montgomery StreetTroy and Schenectady avenues, after securing a search warrant of the building. The warrant was issued following a joint operation by the NYPD and Jersey City Police into a drug ring operating out of the building. According to authorities, the officers were assisting the Jersey City police track down a man wanted for arson and terrorist threat charges.

    When the police reached the spot, another person answered the door and even invited the cops inside, despite having the drugs in plain sight. After obtaining the search warrant, the police unearthed more marijuana and cash at their home.  However, there is no information on whether the person the cops were looking for, has been found.

    The Olivos have been charged with criminal possession of marijuana, criminal sale of marijuana and criminal use of marijuana. Pichardo was charged with criminal possession of marijuana, criminal sale of marijuana and criminal use of drug paraphernalia.

    Humphrey and Yazmin Olivo are living at 899 Montgomery Street and Pichardo is a resident of a building on Rivington Street on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

    The drugs and $931,000 amount in cash have been seized by the police during the raid which was carried out on Friday.

  • Police bust marijuana racket at abandoned liquor store

    October 31, 2017

    Police officials have busted a major marijuana racket at an abandoned liquor store, right across the street from the 11th precinct station in north-east Detroit.

    The police found about $127,420 worth of marijuana in a building that used to be Piper Liquor, informed Chief James Craig.

    Officers in the 11th precinct station smelled a strong odor on Sunday, which was unusual in the area. Though they couldn’t figure out where it was coming from, but they recognized it as cannabis, Craig said.

    “Today, they just started sniffing around. Through some diligent police work, they were able to identify this location behind us: a closed liquor store. As they (got close to) the liquor store, the odor was very strong. They went and got a search warrant and once they got in, what they found was significant,” said James Craig.

    Police searched the building and found ready-to-be harvested 46 marijuana plants, which comes to about 12,742 grams.The plants were approximately seven feet tall.

    The officials suspect the operation has likely been going on from six to eight months.

    “It’s bold and brazen.We were standing in the parking lot and started smelling it yesterday.But if you kind of think about it, you’ve got the best security, being right across from the police station,” said Cpl. John Siejutt.

    The police have found suspects with $10,000 on them while they were executing the warrant, the official informed.

    Though the police said they are yet to trace those behind the operation, the investigation is on and there are “a couple of individuals” in custody.

  • Confusion prevails as California set to legalize recreational pot from January

    October 31, 2017

    Ahead of January 1, when California is set to legalize recreational marijuana, the State seems unprepared for the move.

    With the cities and municipalities yet to chalk out the actual details of recreational marijuana in their jurisdictions, there might be limited options for consumer on legal pot purchase.

    “The bulk of folks probably are not going to be ready January 1,”said Cara Martinson of the California State Association of Counties.

    The recreational sales of marijuana will merged with medical cannabis market, which will also have much stronger regulation from January. For now, marijuana in California will be treated like alcohol and will be accessible to people above 21 years who can possess up to an ounce of recreational pot and grow up to six marijuana plants at home.

    While the State will start rolling out temporary licenses from January, it is yet to release the set of regulations on the plan govern the market, which is estimated to be $7 billion and USA’s largest legal cannabis economy.

    However, the people in the pot industry seem to have found out potential conflicts or contradictory plans and raised concerns. 

    The state expects licensed industries to work only with others that hold them, but it has raised concerns businesses who are wondering what happens if their supplier decides against joining the legal market.

    Moreover, most of the banks have refused business with marijuana industries as cannabis is still considered illegal under Federal Law. This would lead to limited insurance options for the businesses. 

    In a similar manner, many cities including Los Angeles and San Francisco are still struggling to release local rules for marijuana shops and growers.

  • Cleveland City Council votes for medical marijuana zoning legislation

    October 31, 2017

    The Cleveland City Council, on Monday, voted to adopt the new zoning legislation that will prevent sale of medical marijuana in about 95 percent of the city.

    The legislation which was approved 15-1, “allows state-licensed medical marijuana cultivators, processors, retail dispensaries and testing laboratories to operate in certain zones in the city.”

    As per the legislation, the location of the marijuana dispensaries will be limited to only cultivation sites, production and refining facilities and research sites. It further has state restrictions, which includes limiting pot dispensary operations within 500 feet close to schools, parks, churches and libraries.

    The council members are trying to tightly regulate the businesses without forcing them out from the city out to the suburbs.  

    Flushing marijuana dispensaries would lead the city to be cut out of potentially thousands of dollars in tax revenues from the new cannabis industry. It would also deny access to medical pot a few residents who have license for medical marijuana due to lack of transportation. 

    “Medical marijuana is happening. If the closest access to this for medicinal use ... is in Independence, for example, I know a lot of my residents won't be able to get there,” said Kerry McCormack, a Council member.

    Medical pot was in Ohio legalized on September 8, last year. However, the legislation rules were completed only this summer.

    As per the legislation, the municipalities can regulate the processing and sale for medical pot under their jurisdiction. The state of Ohio will allow 24 growers and up to 40 processors to make various marijuana products.

  • Constellation Brands confirms 9.9 per cent stake in Canopy Growth

    October 31, 2017

    Constellation Brands, one of the world’s largest alcohol companies, have confirmed that it has acquired a minority stake in Canada-based Canopy Growth Corporation, a leading provider of medical cannabis products.

    It will invest $245 million in Canopy Growth in exchange for the 9.9 per cent stake in Smith Falls, an Ontario based company. The transaction is expected to close during the Company’s third fiscal quarter in 2018.

    “Canopy Growth has a seasoned leadership team that understands the legal, regulatory and economic landscape for an emerging market that is predicted to become a significant consumer category in the future. Our company’s success is the result of our focus on identifying early stage consumer trends, and this is another step in that direction,” said Rob Sands, Constellation Brands President and Chief Executive Officer.

    The investment also entitles Constellation Brands the option to purchase an additional ownership interest in the future. The two companies said they will work together to make cannabis-based drinks for distributions where medical pot products is legal.

    “In Constellation we have a strategic ally that will join us as we lead the global cannabis sector into the future,” said Canopy Growth CEO Bruce Linton in a press release.

    "We have also strengthened our balance sheet to fund the ambitious expansion efforts we have planned heading into 2018 – a year that will see unprecedented growth in medical and adult-use opportunities."

    Canopy Growth Corporation is one of the earliest commercial company in Canada’s legal pot business. The company, which has a market cap of more than C$2 billion, has a diverse collection serving international markets where medicinal cannabis products are legal.