San Diego Cops Employ New Black Market Raid Strategy: Destroy Entire Pot Shop

San Diego Cops Employ New Black Market Raid Strategy: Destroy Entire Pot Shop

Original Post: Merry Jane: San Diego Cops Employ New Black Market Raid Strategy: Destroy Entire Pot Shop

[Canniseur: This destructive raid seems like police overreach. I can understand a raid, but destroying evidence before a guilty plea, just feels overwhelmingly wrong. Perhaps Chula Vista should legalize recreational cannabis, allowing for regulated purchases. That sounds like a more logical approach than brute force.}

Chula Vista doesn’t have any fully licensed cannabis dispensaries, but cops are still focused on stomping out unlicensed pot shops. This time, police destroyed display cases and store infrastructure to prevent a black market operation from reopening.

Police in Chula Vista, California went the extra mile during the raid of an unlicensed cannabis dispensary this week. In addition to confiscating hundreds of pounds of weed and thousands in cash, cops also brought along heavy duty construction equipment that was used to extract and destroy large shelving and display cabinets from the store.

According to a report from the San Diego Union-Tribune, cops took more than $10,000 in cash and $500,000 worth of cannabis products. But in an effort to try and prevent the unregulated dispensary from reopening shop in the coming days or weeks, cops didn’t stop with the seizures, and continued by ripping display cases out of the building, where they were then crushed and tossed into the back of a dump truck. In footage of the raid, one of the display cases can be seen still packed with weed products.

“The Police Department has a responsibility to maintain the health and safety of the community and its own personnel. This may include the mitigation of safety hazards and the reduction of the occurrence and re-occurrence of crime — including the occurrence and re-occurrence of illegal cannabis operations,” Chula Vista PD Captain Phil Collum told the Union-Tribune. “As previously stated, all search warrants and court orders (including the warrant service from the other day) as they relate to the search, seizure, or destruction of property are conducted with specific authorization and approval provided by the Superior Court.”

In the years since the Golden State fully legalized adult-use cannabis sales, cities across California have struggled to shut down the area’s vast network of unlicensed dispensaries. Despite frequent raids, unregulated pot shops often reopen in the same or nearby storefronts shortly after police leave. The Chula Vista police strategy to destroy dispensary infrastructure along with the weed appears to be a new method in slowing those rapid reopenings.

“I’ve worked with a lot of search warrants, a lot of drug cases, and I’ve never heard of that before,” Attorney Kerry Armstrong told the Union-Tribune. “It is just odd, really odd… They are destroying evidence, even before a court case is filed.”

But due to lenient punishment for cannabis crimes in the wake of legalization, most California dispensary raids are not prosecuted in criminal court. Instead, most police departments and district attorneys opt for seizures, fines, and now — thanks to Chula Vista PD — destruction of shelving and display cabinets. 

Even in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Chula Vista police have raided more than a dozen unregulated dispensaries since April 21st, confiscating more than $10 million worth of cannabis products.

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Original Post: Merry Jane: San Diego Cops Employ New Black Market Raid Strategy: Destroy Entire Pot Shop

“Obama Runtz” Viral Video Sets Internet on Fire… But Is It a Real Weed Strain?

“Obama Runtz” Viral Video Sets Internet on Fire… But Is It a Real Weed Strain?

Original Post: Merry Jane: “Obama Runtz” Viral Video Sets Internet on Fire… But Is It a Real Weed Strain?

Photo via

[Canniseur: I’ve had a few Runtz strains in the past. Pretty good and now there’s an “Obama Runtz” which might be a hoax, but a pretty funny one, if true. We love that people are having some fun with this during COVID-19. Hang in there.]

You won’t be able to find Obama Runtz weed in dispensaries — at least not yet — but the viral strain name is already confusing political pundits and cracking up social media.

In California’s legal weed market, Runtz and its many crosses are currently some of the most sought after strains on dispensary shelves. Whether it’s Runtz OG, White Runtz, Pink Runtz, Divine Runtz, or Money Bagg Runtz, it can be hard to keep track of the popular flower variety. But on the black market, or at least in the internet rumor mill, there’s a new version of Runtz, and it’s now trending on social media and making political experts scratch their heads. Enter: Obama Runtz.

The term “Obama Runtz” exploded on social media yesterday, thanks to a viral video of a young kid with a thick Southern accent walking around a housing complex and telling followers to look out for a local man boasting about this particular, presidential strain of pot.

“I ain’t never heard of no Obama Runtz a day in my life, and I ain’t even know Obama condone shit like that,” says the kid in the clip.

Runtz, a potent cross of Zkittles and Gelato, is branded and sold legally in California by rapper Yung LB, a member of Berner’s influential Cookie Fam. But in addition to selling non-stop at Golden State dispensaries, Runtz has taken on a life of its own through the black market, where the strain and its namesake have proliferated in a number of unlicensed forms across the country. And while there are at least a half-dozen different legit Runtz strains on the market, Obama Runtz appears to be an unofficial (or hypothetical) cross of Runtz and Obama Kush.

 

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Above, Google Trends data for the term “Obama Runtz” indicating peaks in 2018 and again this week on May 20th

Of course, as soon as the viral selfie video hit Twitter, social media comedians immediately turned “Obama Runtz” into a trending topic, cracking jokes about the made-up presidential strain name and potential packaging. But while most Twitter users got the jokes, the term eventually ended up trending under the “politics” tag, leading to plenty of head scratching and even a massively misguided article in Newsweek.

But just like the old saying about art imitating life, a quick look at Runtz CEO Yung LB’s Instagram page shows plenty of story posts making fun of the fake Obama Runtz strain early on Wednesday, but ended last night with a full-scale music video shoot for a new song called, you guessed it, “Obama Runtz.”

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Original Post: Merry Jane: “Obama Runtz” Viral Video Sets Internet on Fire… But Is It a Real Weed Strain?

Americans Think Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol, But Social Stigmas Remain

Americans Think Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol, But Social Stigmas Remain

Original Post: Merry Jane: Americans Think Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol, But Social Stigmas Remain

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[Canniseur: Of course we know cannabis is safer than alcohol. What makes me most happy about this article is that Americans are now believing that cannabis isn’t the danger that Harry Anslinger wanted us to think it was. The social stigma will take longer to go away, even if it’s not based in fact. Just human nature, I guess.]

Most Americans finally believe that weed is safer than alcohol. But according to a new survey, consumers are still more comfortable taking a sip than toking a puff, due to lingering social stigmas about the plant.

After another year under our belts with zero total deaths caused by cannabis, a majority of Americans have finally been convinced that weed is safer than alcohol. But when it comes to social stigmas, consumers are still more comfortable taking a sip than toking a puff.

In a new survey, titled The 2020 Cannabis Consumer and conducted by legal weed industry analysts ICR and Spectacle Strategy, pot and alcohol consumption and the perception of each substance were analyzed and compared. First reported by Javier Hesse at Benzinga, the new research offers a look at the changing dynamics of bud and booze use as the country’s piecemeal legalization map continues to expand.

Broken down by the numbers, 84% of the 1,000 survey respondents said that they believe cannabis is safer than alcohol, while 81% said they felt weed was safer than prescription pills. But when it comes time to actually purchase the safer intoxicant, 73% of survey-takers said that social stigma was still the biggest barrier affecting their cannabis use — or lack thereof.

“We recognized the need for more insightful consumer data and were excited to partner with Spectacle on this research to help the industry get a deeper look inside the mind of the cannabis consumer,” said Tim Streeb, senior vice president of ICR. “Many of our findings are eye-opening. For example, 35% of consumers indicate they ‘consume much less alcohol than before cannabis was legal,’ a significant insight for spirits and beer companies already facing a contracting market.”

Outside of booze and bud comparisons, the research paper said that survey respondents were not particularly interested in cannabis branding, and that more than half of admitted pot users consumed the plant for both medical and recreational reasons.

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Original Post: Merry Jane: Americans Think Cannabis Is Safer Than Alcohol, But Social Stigmas Remain

Cannabis Start-Up Develops COVID-19 Test That Can Detect Virus Within Minutes

Cannabis Start-Up Develops COVID-19 Test That Can Detect Virus Within Minutes

Original Post: Merry Jane: Cannabis Start-Up Develops COVID-19 Test That Can Detect Virus Within Minutes

[Canniseur: Now this this is what cannabis legalization should be all about. Innovation, not just in growing, but in meeting needs. These new cannabis companies are full of the creative spirit of cannabis…and some capitalism as well…and that is what used to make America great: Creativity and Chutzpah! The author never mentioned the name of the company responsible for this; It’s name is Facible.]

In the continued fight against COVID-19, testing for the virus has become one of many pitfalls in the country’s delayed crisis response. Without enough test kits to check everyone who seeks one, and long wait times for results, asymptomatic carriers have been freely spreading the virus in their communities.

Now, in an effort to help solve the US COVID-19 testing crisis, one Idaho cannabis start-up is converting devices built for roadside THC tests into coronavirus screening tech that works in five minutes. By checking for viral proteins instead of antibodies, Facible CEO Steven Burden is confident that the cannabis tech company can use its machines to help with the public health crisis.

“It’s not the traditional test which is what most — 90 percent of the market right now — [is using], and it’s not a stereological test, meaning you don’t need blood for it, so we’re not testing for antibodies. We’re actually testing for the presence of viral proteins, and it’s actually different from anything else on the market right now, in terms of how fast it is and how accurate it is,” Burden told news station KTVB.

The machines still need to pass clinical trials before they can be used to test the American public. But due to the dire crisis that COVID-19 presents, FDA approval timelines have been shortened for test kits, giving Facible a potential fast-track to production.

“We’re launching with COVID-19 because the regulations have dropped; they don’t have that year-long FDA approval process,” Burden said.

Across America’s northern border in Canada, health officials have already reached out to cannabis testing labs to see if cannabinoid testing equipment can be used to run COVID-19 screenings. Meanwhile, cannabis businesses across the globe are donating personal protective equipment to healthcare workers in need, and are looking into whether THC or CBD’s anti inflammatory properties could help reduce COVID-19 symptoms in patients.

For Facible, the next step in turning their THC and CBD testing machines into COVID-19 screeners will be securing FDA approval and then funding to produce more of this potentially game-changing technology.

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Original Post: Merry Jane: Cannabis Start-Up Develops COVID-19 Test That Can Detect Virus Within Minutes

NY Cop Caught Allegedly Planting Weed on Suspects for a Second Time

NY Cop Caught Allegedly Planting Weed on Suspects for a Second Time

Original Post: Merry Jane: NY Cop Caught Allegedly Planting Weed on Suspects for a Second Time

[Canniseur: This story is disgusting on so many levels, it’s hard to imagine. I don’t normally like to publish stories like this, it’s not Canniseur’s wheelhouse, but this one shows these neferious “officers of the peace” cheating. I know that many cannabis and or drug arrests in many arrests made in many places are illegal plants. I have no idea (nor does anyone else really) why planting drugs on a ‘suspect’ has anything to do with serving and protecting. If there’s a lack of respect for law officers, it’s because of stupid shenanigans like this.]

A pair of New York City police officers are once again in hot water with the public after newly-released body camera footage shows the cops clearly planting cannabis in a car before making an arrest. The footage of illegal police malpractice — which was released this week, two years after the stop occurred — came just months after the exact same officers were caught on camera planting false cannabis evidence in a separate car.

The new video, which was obtained exclusively by The Intercept, shows Staten Island NYPD officers Kyle Erickson and Elmer Pastran stopping a car, telling the driver and passenger that they smelled weed, and demanding the two get out of the car so they can search it.

Immediately, the car passenger, Jason Serrano, informs the officers that he is returning from the hospital after surgery for a stab wound, and shows them his bandages and stitches. Officer Erickson can then be heard saying, “I don’t want to see that,” before forcing him out of the car and then quickly pushing him to the ground. Serrano would remain handcuffed, in visible pain, lying on the sidewalk for the rest of the incident before an ambulance had to come take him to the hospital.

Before Serrano could be treated for the damage to his wound, the cops rifled through every inch of the car, with their body cameras catching multiple muttered expletives as the officers failed to find any contraband. On a third trip into the front seats of the car, Officer Erickson’s body camera clearly shows him holding a small nug of what looks like cannabis, before he drops it in the center console, immediately picks it up, and then tells his partner that he found something. A few moments later, the same cop is seen fiddling with Serrano’s jacket — after it had already been thoroughly searched — before allegedly finding an empty plastic bag with drug residue in it.

As a result of Erickson’s false evidence accusation, Serrano sat for five days handcuffed to a hospital bed while his stab wound re-healed, and was charged with both possession of illegal drugs and resisting arrest. In an attempt to avoid jail time, Serrano took a plea deal. The video of the false arrest would not come out for another two years.

“They said I was resisting arrest, but I just didn’t want to hit the floor, the only thing I was thinking about was this,” Serrano told The Intercept, pointing to the scar on his stomach. “I still had staples in me… I couldn’t even stand up straight.”

And while Serrano’s case alone may seem like enough to keep Officers Erickson and Pastran off the street and put into jail cells of their own, the cops were actually caught planting cannabis as evidence during another traffic stop just two months before Serrano’s arrest. The victim in that instance, who was also detained for narcotics possession, has since filed a $1 million lawsuit against the NYPD. Despite clear video footage of the officers planting false evidence in at least two separate cases, both Erickson and Pastran are still on the force, patrolling the same Staten Island neighborhood.

New York legislators and citizen advocates have for years tried to tamp down the power of the NYPD, especially when it comes to minor, non-violent offenses like cannabis possession. But as the world continues to change dramatically in the face of the growing coronavirus crisis, departments across the country — including major east coast cities — have taken a hands-off approach to policing. The recent changes have been pitched as ways to protect officers, but with arrest stoppages for most misdemeanor and non-violent crimes in places like Philadelphia, the new cop directives will also protect thousands of citizens from the police. Similarly, newly detected calls of COVID-19 inside of America’s prison system have led to loud, encouraging calls for widespread prison reform in the interest of safety, including the release of all cannabis offenders.

Follow Zach Harris on Twitter

Original Post: Merry Jane: NY Cop Caught Allegedly Planting Weed on Suspects for a Second Time

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