Judge Dismisses $4 Million Pot Bust Due to Illegal Vehicle Search

Judge Dismisses $4 Million Pot Bust Due to Illegal Vehicle Search

Original Post: Merry Jane: Judge Dismisses $4 Million Pot Bust Due to Illegal Vehicle Search

[Canniseur: Unscrupulous cops can no longer get away with their underhanded methods. Body cameras now protect citizens from unwarranted search (but not seizure). This is a very good thing. Even still, we cannot wait until legal cannabis is the rule of the land. ]

Two men were caught with 900 pounds of processed pot, and 112 jars of cannabis extract, but their case was miraculously thrown out.

It may be rare, but sometimes, the rule of law can work against the cops. And in the case of two Montana men accused of transporting more than 900 pounds of pot across the Midwest, a shaky police video and a skeptical judge resulted in a hail mary case dismissal for the ages.

According to the Minnesota Star Tribune, Jared Desroches, 31, and Alexander Gordon, 24, were driving a camper truck on Interstate 94 last March when Minnesota state trooper Aaron Myren spotted a cracked windshield and what he described as erratic driving. He pulled them over and found 900 pounds of processed pot, 406 grams of pre-packaged concentrates, 112 jars of cannabis extract, and $15,500 in cash in the back of the truck. 

Both men were arrested at the scene and taken into custody on charges of distributing illicit narcotics. But at a court hearing this week, Minnesota District Judge Timothy Churchwell ruled the vehicle search that led to the discovery illegal, after video from the scene refuted trooper Myren’s lane-swerving claims.

“The video played a huge role in us getting it tossed out because a lot of it didn’t match up to what he [Myrens] was saying,” Paul Applebaum, a St. Paul lawyer who is part of the two men’s defense team, told the Star Tribune. “The squad video, which essentially records from the same vantage point as Myren’s, shows that the pickup never crossed the fog-line — it merely touched it once for a fraction of a second and proceeded flawlessly for a substantial distance before Myren pulled it over.” 

Since the entire case was predicated on the roadside search and seizure, Churchwell dismissed the case altogether, releasing Desroches and Gordon from lock up and sending them back to their home state.

As America’s piecemeal legalization system continues to expand, opportunistic outlaws have revved up their interstate trafficking efforts in recent years, with law enforcement across the country announcing large scale pot busts almost daily.

Unfortunately, because the two men were stopped in a prohibition state with way more weed than is allowed, the two lucky transporters still won’t be able to get their truckload of product out of lock-up. You can’t win ‘em all.

Follow Zach Harris on Twitter

Original Post: Merry Jane: Judge Dismisses $4 Million Pot Bust Due to Illegal Vehicle Search

Bathroom Trap Door Leads Italian Police to Massive Cannabis Grow

Bathroom Trap Door Leads Italian Police to Massive Cannabis Grow

Original Post: Merry Jane: Bathroom Trap Door Leads Italian Police to Massive Cannabis Grow

[Canniseur: I bet it was the aroma that gave the location away. This reminds me of the large bust in a Philadelphia neighborhood, where the house had a strong aroma when just walking by. It was busted too. You just cannot hide that aroma for very long. ]

A mesmerizing video detailing a glowing portal to the huge grow operation has quickly gone viral across social media.

Police on the Italian island of Sardinia opened the cannabis equivalent of a cartoon treasure chest when they discovered a massive cannabis grow operation hidden behind a small trap door in the shower of a residential bathroom. 

In a new video that has now gone viral with more than 4 million views on Twitter alone, Sardinia cops find a secret door hidden on the wall of a tiled bathroom stall. Behind it, gold light shines from a secret room made to house an industrial-sized black market pot grow.

According to CNN, the clandestine grow room was over 5,000 square feet and housed more than 500 plants. To facilitate uniform growth, the room was equipped with full lighting ballasts and a halogen lamp system. And in true criminal fashion, the grow house was temperature controlled by heat pumps and fans running off stolen electricity.

Cops on the scene made one arrest, charging the homeowner with production and possession of illicit narcotics, as well as possession of an unlicensed firearm and ammunition. Police did not report how they stumbled upon the shower door greenhouse, but with such a massive space hidden from the public, we’re guessing they just asked where the second half of the house was. 

Follow Zach Harris on Twitter

Original Post: Merry Jane: Bathroom Trap Door Leads Italian Police to Massive Cannabis Grow

Dealers Caught with More Than 100,000 Counterfeit Weed Vape Cartridges

Dealers Caught with More Than 100,000 Counterfeit Weed Vape Cartridges

Original Post: Merry Jane: Dealers Caught with More Than 100,000 Counterfeit Weed Vape Cartridges

[Canniseur: While this is a start, the black market for vape cartridges is so large, ‘when it comes to slowing the damage done by counterfeit vape carts, this single arrest is nothing more than a flea bite on an elephant’s backside’. ]

While it’s unclear if these black market vapes contain chemical thickeners, the bust offers an important look at the underground industry which has led to a slew of vape-related illnesses.

Police officers in Kenosha County, Wisconsin say that a tip from a local high school student led them to a sophisticated counterfeit THC vape cartridge manufacturing operation that could potentially be tied to the vape-related illness that has already hospitalized hundreds of Americans and killed at least six.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, brothers Tyler and Jacob Huffhines were arrested after a search warrant of a condo in Bristol, WI turned up 31,200 filled vape cartridges, 98,000 empty vape cartridges, and 57 mason jars filled with what appeared to be cannabis oil. At the height of the operation, police say the crew was filling 3,000-5,000 cartridges every single day.

Local sheriffs say that they were led to the Huffhines brothers thanks to a pair of parents who pushed their son to tattle after catching him puffing on a vape cartridge, which the teen said he purchased for just $16. Authorities have sent samples of the oil to a laboratory, but it is not yet clear if the vape cartridges or cannabis oil confiscated from the Huffhines contains vitamin E acetate, the diluent currently thought to be causing the rash of vape illnesses.

But while parents, health experts, and even the president have all decried the vape illnesses as a cause for grave concern, most experts have failed to consider how black market vape cartridges are actually produced, and how potentially dangerous chemicals can be distributed to youth across the country. And so whether these particular Wisconsin cartridges contain chemical thickeners or not, the busted operation is an important look at the underground vape industry. 

Gallery — Here’s What Fake Vape Carts Actually Look Like:

At similar cart mills around the country, like-minded dealers order cheap empty vape cartridges and familiar packaging from overseas manufacturers, and mason jars full of cannabis oil from black market dealers — usually in California, Oregon. Next, the dealers will use syringes or pipettes to measure oil into each cartridge, screwing the tops on and folding them into boxes with names like Dank Vapes, Mario Carts, Exotic Vapes, and countless others. In Wisconsin, authorities say that the Huffhines paid a team of employees $20 an hour to fill cartridges and stuff them into thousands upon thousands of boxes labeled with various strains of “Dank Vapes,” “Chronic Carts,” and “Dabwoods.”

Since the cannabis oil is typically imported from a black market source, and traditionally sent by mail, illicit cart makers often do not know exactly what is in the mason jars they are sourcing. What may appear to be a potent THC distillate flavored with botanical terpenes could actually be cut with vitamin E acetate, glycol, or another diluent. On the other hand, it is also possible that counterfeit vape makers could purchase and add their own cutting agents to further stretch the selling potential of their untested cannabis oil. Without lab testing, there is frankly no way for consumers to know what it actually inside vape cartridges produced on the black market.

Wisconsin police say they are investigating to see how far the Huffhines’ suspected cannabis cartridge organization spread, and whether the brothers were responsible for distributing their carts on a national scale. But even if it is found that the brothers were selling cartridges cut with vitamin E acetate to high schoolers across the country, the widespread and decentralized nature of the black market cart industry means that it is almost certain that there are still countless other dealers pushing thousands upon thousands of similar products. In an interview with Leafly this week, Michigan-based Floraplex Terpenes CEO Alec Riffle estimated that there are 50 million vape cartridges cut with vitamin E acetate currently circulating throughout the US black market.

Tyler and Jacob Huffhines are being charged with manufacturing, distribution, and delivery of more than 10,000 grams of marijuana, as well as gun charges, cocaine possession, and a slew of other crimes. But when it comes to slowing the damage done by counterfeit vape carts, the single arrest is nothing more than a flea bite on an elephant’s backside.

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Original Post: Merry Jane: Dealers Caught with More Than 100,000 Counterfeit Weed Vape Cartridges

New Mexico Will Now Allow Out of State Residents to Get Medical Marijuana Cards

New Mexico Will Now Allow Out of State Residents to Get Medical Marijuana Cards

Original Post: Merry Jane: New Mexico Will Now Allow Out of State Residents to Get Medical Marijuana Cards

[Canniseur: More states with medical cannabis programs allow out of state residents to either get a card or use their card from their home state. This is a good thing and, at a low level, creating medical cannabis a ‘national’ program. Although it’s still contained entirely in each individual state. Confused? So am I!]

Thanks to a recent ruling from a New Mexico judge, residents from across the nation can now secure the right to purchase and consume cannabis legally in the Land of Enchantment.

If you’re planning a trip to New Mexico to check out the picturesque scenery or see if you can find and liberate a few new extraterrestrial friends, you can now add a little medicinal greenery to your desert vacation — even if you don’t actually live in the Land of Enchantment.

According to a report from the Phoenix New Times, a ruling from a New Mexico District Judge has opened the state medical marijuana program to out of state residents. Now, anyone who qualifies can register for a legal weed card in New Mexico, no matter where they live.

Derek Rodriguez, a cannabusiness owner who lives in nearby Arizona, was the first non-resident to obtain a New Mexico MMJ card. After a change in the state’s medical marijuana program removed a residency requirement, Rodriguez sued for his right to participate in the New Mexico system. And while Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham said that the residency removal was intended to facilitate reciprocity for MMJ cardholders from other states, District Judge Bryan Biedscheid sided with Rodriguez, and ruled that the program is open to any person who would like to apply, regardless of any MMJ status in their home state or country.

States like Nevada and Hawaii already allow reciprocity for medical marijuana cardholders from other states. But when it comes to open enrollment in an out-of-state program, New Mexico’s new policy is the first of its kind. Despite recent pushes from local cannabis advocates, New Mexico has not yet been able to pass a recreational legalization proposal.

“It’s fantastic that New Mexico is going through this in a very public manner,” Demitri Downing, executive director of the Marijuana Industry Trade Association of Arizona, told Phoenix New Times. “The more and more people discuss it, the more and more people understand the nuances of what doesn’t make sense. And what doesn’t make sense is not having reciprocity.”

Joining Rodriguez, two Texan men also sued New Mexico for the right to join the state’s medical marijuana program. For a huge number of Texans, New Mexico reciprocity could allow them to take a short drive from the draconian drug policies of the Lone Star State to legally access cannabis elsewhere.

New Mexico officials say that they plan to appeal Judge Biedscheid’s ruling to try and reign in the reciprocity clause.

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Original Post: Merry Jane: New Mexico Will Now Allow Out of State Residents to Get Medical Marijuana Cards

Anesthesiologists Say Cannabis Consumption Before Surgery Could Be Deadly

Anesthesiologists Say Cannabis Consumption Before Surgery Could Be Deadly

Original Post: Merry Jane: Anesthesiologists Say Cannabis Consumption Before Surgery Could Be Deadly

[Canniseur: PSA: Let your doctor know you use cannabis. Don’t imbibe before surgery.]

American doctors are still tip-toeing around legal cannabis, but when it comes to pre-surgery preparation, marijuana abstinence is becoming a new point of focus.

Doctors in legal weed states are pushing surgery patients to be honest about their cannabis use and to avoid consumption in the hours before going under the knife, or risk potential complications including heart attack or death.

Over the past year, a series of studies into pharmaceutical anesthetics and cannabis has found an inverse relationship between the effectiveness of pre-surgery sedation drugs and marijuana use. But in addition to decreased sensitivity to anesthetics, doctors are now warning patients to specifically avoid cannabis in the same ways that they would water and food in the hours before surgery. Since marijuana can raise our heart rate and lower our blood pressure, the combination of cannabis intoxication and surgical anesthetics can cause severe cardiac and respiratory complications.

“Most of the conditions, in the worst case scenario, may lead to death,” Dr. David Hepner, an anesthesiologist at Massachusetts’ Brigham and Women’s Hospital, told the Boston Globe. “I’m not saying that it’s very common, but the potential is there.”

Since California first legalized cannabis for medical use in the ‘90s, doctors have maintained a robust skepticism for cannabis. And since federal restrictions have stood in the way of in-depth clinical research, and piecemeal legalization has hindered product uniformity, physicians in both cannabis-friendly and prohibition states have largely dismissed or ignored weed altogether. When it comes to surgery, though, more anesthesiologists are beginning to dig deeper on patient pot use.

“We’re not going to have any judgment — there’s no stigma,” Dr. Hepner said. “It’s just important for us to know, because the cannabis could interact with the anesthetic, and we need to know how to adjust.”

On the other end of the communication divide, Hepner said that since legalization, patients have been more forthright with disclosing their cannabis use — a trend that he hopes will continue as general social stigmas dim even further. And while previous studies have shown that frequent cannabis use can necessitate increased doses of anesthesia in surgery patients, Hepner noted that the more serious heart and lung complications are only a threat for patients who consume marijuana in the hours immediately preceding a procedure.

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Original Post: Merry Jane: Anesthesiologists Say Cannabis Consumption Before Surgery Could Be Deadly

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