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

California vape maker Kushy Punch caught making illegal products

California vape maker Kushy Punch caught making illegal products

[Canniseur: Bad players exist. Kushy Punch products will be a thing of the past as it seems certain their license will be rescinded. A bad business gamble would be one thing. But illegal products were made of impure cannabis that didn’t pass inspection for their legal product production. This put real lives in danger by selling contaminated products. It’s purely capitalist greed. This is exactly what we do not want in the marketplace.]

California state officials confiscated these Kushy Punch vape cartridges in their investigation of the company’s unlicensed Canoga Park facility. (Courtesy of CA Dept. of Consumer Affairs)

California has a troubling new wrinkle in the vaping story rocking the nation.

Prompted by a tip, investigators at the California Department of Consumer Affairs served a search warrant on Thursday, Oct. 3, at a light industrial space north of Los Angeles in the San Fernando Valley city of Canoga Park.

There they found an illegal cannabis product manufacturing operation apparently operated by Kushy Punch, a legal state-licensed company. Authorities seized a number of finished products, including gummies in Kushy Punch packaging and disposable vaporizers in Kushy Vape packaging.

In photos obtained by Leafly, the facility appeared to be performing petro-solvent extractions, where a technician concentrates the active ingredient in cannabis, THC. Petro-solvent extraction is legal with a permit in California. The extraction method can sometimes have the effect of concentrating pesticides along with the THC.

California officials documented slabs of raw THC oil fresh from the extractor. (Courtesy of CA Dept. of Consumer Affairs)

Edibles and vape cartridges seized

The facility appeared to be in the business of putting those extracts into professional-looking THC foods as well as disposable vape pen cartridges. Tall file cabinets held thousands of boxes of Kushy Vapes pens and Kushy Punch edibles packaged and ready for sale and consumption.

Read the rest of the story at Leafly:

Original Post: Leafly: California vape maker Kushy Punch caught making illegal products

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

Is ‘Smokable Hemp’ Legal?

Is ‘Smokable Hemp’ Legal?

Original Post: Cannabis Now: Is ‘Smokable Hemp’ Legal?

[Canniseur: This is a conundrum. The real question is; “Is cannabis sativa really cannabis sativa”? The answer should be obvious, but it’s not. The federal government needs to pull its collective head out its collective nether region and figure out a way to either de-schedule cannabis entirely or move it to at least Schedule 3. It should just be removed. It’s starting to get silly and this article shows why. Attorneys will have a field day.]

When the federal Farm Bill passed last December, it’s doubtful that its crafters — like Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — anticipated what we are now witnessing. In convenience stores, smoke shops and truck stops across the country, what is to all outward appearance marijuana bud is freely and openly for sale. To the eyes as well as the nose, this stuff is marijuana: fragrant flower-tops, sticky with resin. There’s only one real difference: it doesn’t get you high.

While it may be rich in the non-intoxicating cannabinoid CBD, it contains less than 0.3% THC — not nearly enough to feel high. This makes it “hemp” under the law — and, its purveyors insist, therefore perfectly legal.

And so far, the courts agree with them.

Read the rest of this story on Cannabis Now

Is ‘Smokable Hemp’ Legal? was posted on Cannabis Now.

House Takes First Step Pass the SAFE Banking Act

House Takes First Step Pass the SAFE Banking Act

Original Article: Green Market Report: House Takes First Step Pass the SAFE Banking Act

[Canniseur: This is the first step of the 3 necessary to make cannabis businesses safer. Now the SAFE Banking Act needs to pass the Senate, and then the President has to approve it. Ultimately, this is about big money and big business. If cannabis businesses can access traditional banking systems, more fortune 1000 companies will enter the market place. IMHO, because of this, it has a strong chance of passing the Senate by year’s end.]

House Takes First Step Toward Federal Validation of the Marijuana Industry: Votes 321 to 103 to Pass the SAFE Banking Act

In a showing of bipartisan support, the House of Congress voted 321 to 103 to pass the SAFE Banking Act.  Of those voting yes, 229 were Democrats and 91 were Republicans.  Unity amongst Democrats was particularly strong with only one Democrat vote being in opposition.  Going forward, this overwhelming amount of party support should help assuage any fears as to whether the Democrats will continue to back the bill as it moves to Senate.

What the SAFE Act Means for the Industry

Currently, banks that provide services to the cannabis industry are at risk of being prosecuted under federal law.  The risk is the same for insurance companies and landlords that operate in, or provide services to, the cannabis industry.  Consequently, cannabis companies are often forced to horde cash and jump through hoops to make payment for items as simple as a utility bill; proper insurance coverage is often difficult to obtain; and options are limited for cannabis companies seeking to rent facilities for their operations.  The lack of federal legalization has not only created several operational obstacles and inefficiencies for companies involved in the cannabis ecosystem, but by forcing cannabis companies to operate only in cash it has created safety issues for employees by making them, and their places of work, targets of robbery.

Although approval of the SAFE Banking Act would not fully legalize cannabis, it would prevent the federal government from taking action against banks, insurers and landlords that provide services to cannabis companies that are operating in compliance with applicable state laws.  Not only would such legislation go a long way towards normalizing the industry, moving from a cash-only environment would significantly enhance public safety.

It should be noted that the bill does not contain provisions relating to capital markets access for cannabis companies.  Accordingly, approval of the SAFE Banking Act would not provide cannabis companies with access to the U.S. capital markets or exchanges.

Next Steps

The next step is for the Senate to consider and vote on the SAFE Banking Act.  This process is expected to occur later this year.  While some are skeptical of the SAFE Banking Act’s chances of receiving approval from a Republican-controlled Senate, there are provisions in the bill that should appeal to Republicans.  One provision addresses Operation Choke Point, a program put in place by the Obama administration that investigated banks for doing business with payday lenders, firearms dealers and other companies at higher risk for fraud and anti-money laundering.  Another provision addresses access to banking services for the hemp industry, which should be of particular importance to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his home state of Kentucky.  If the bill is passed by Senate, it would then be submitted for Presidential approval.

Approval of the SAFE Banking Act will not fully legalize cannabis, but it would represent a significant milestone for the cannabis industry by providing access to banking services, and it could also lead to the approval of other cannabis-focused policies, and possibly, full federal legalization.

Jason Wilson
Global Cannabis Industry Expert with over 15 years of experience in the asset management, finance, and structured product space, Jason has a track record of bringing hard-to-access asset classes to market. Recently, Jason was Senior Vice President at INFOR Financial Inc., a boutique investment bank that acted as advisor to Canopy Growth Corporation in connection with entering into its strategic relationship with Constellation Brands.

The post House Takes First Step Pass the SAFE Banking Act appeared first on Green Market Report.

Original Article: Green Market Report: House Takes First Step Pass the SAFE Banking Act

Canadians Petition Government to Reduce Single-Use Plastic Weed Packaging

Canadians Petition Government to Reduce Single-Use Plastic Weed Packaging

Original Post: Merry Jane: Canadians Petition Government to Reduce Single-Use Plastic Weed Packaging

[Canniseur: We all need to follow Greta Thunberg’s lead and be avid environmentalists. Hurray for the Canadians taking the lead on this crucial effort.]

Canadians are demanding that Quebec’s government-operated cannabis store stop using single-use plastic for its weed products, but the company claims its hands are tied by government regulations.

Over 1,500 Canadians have signed a petition demanding that Quebec cut down the amount of plastic used to package legal cannabis products.

The petition asks the Société québécoise du cannabis (SQDC), the government agency responsible for selling and distributing all legal cannabis products in Quebec, to ban all single-use plastic for weed packaging. “There’s too much packaging for no reason,” said Ruba Ghazal, Member of the National Assembly of Quebec and sponsor of the petition, to CBC News. “The other request is to have more ecological packing, biodegradable plastic,” Ghazal added.

The petition notes that the SQDC uses thick, plastic child-resistant packaging on cannabis products, which is often boxed in a second layer of cardboard. Most of these containers are designed for single use and are non-recyclable, and the SQDC does not offer any options for its customers to dispose of this packaging in an environmentally-friendly fashion.

The SQDC responded that the excessive packaging is necessary to comply with the federal government’s strict marijuana packaging regulations. “Producers and suppliers must strictly adhere to government labeling and packaging requirements imposed by the Cannabis Act and by Health Canada,” the agency said in a statement reported by the CBC.

When the Canadian government legalized adult-use retail sales last fall, it included a number of severe regulations governing exactly how cannabis products could be packaged. Every weed product must be sealed in a tamper-evident, child-proof package devoid of any logos or flashy colors that could possibly attract the interest of children.

Gallery — Edibles That Look Like Real Food Products:

This is the second petition against the SQDC’s plastic packaging that has been circulated in two years. Last year, Montreal resident Jody Aveline, founder of the Cans 4 Cash Collection Service, petitioned the provincial weed supplier to take a more eco-friendly approach to its packaging. The SQDC is “pushing more plastic on the world,” he said to Global News. “It’s ridiculous.”

This earlier petition asked the cannabis agency to implement a refund or consignment policy to encourage customers to bring their opened packaging waste back to stores. The petition also suggested using reusable containers, or allowing customers to bring their own pot containers. “What about [making the packaging out of] hemp?” Aveline proposed. “Why not use the byproduct of the product?”

Aveline’s petition attracted around 1,000 signatures in total. In response, SQDC spokesperson Mathieu Gaudreault told Global News that the company’s packaging was “almost all completely recyclable.” Gaudreault added that “the SQDC is sensitive to this issue and will be looking at the environmental impact of our packaging during the next product selection meeting with our suppliers.”

The company did not change its packaging, however, prompting Ghazal’s new petition, which demanded that the company take another look at devising an environmentally-friendly alternative.

Original Post: Merry Jane: Canadians Petition Government to Reduce Single-Use Plastic Weed Packaging

New York’s Governor Wants to Legalize Weed, But Doesn’t Want You to Smoke It

New York’s Governor Wants to Legalize Weed, But Doesn’t Want You to Smoke It

Original Post: Merry Jane: New York's Governor Wants to Legalize Weed, But Doesn't Want You to Smoke It

[Canniseur: New York needs to take a lesson from Florida’s dabble at keeping smokable cannabis out of the market place. Smoking flower is the most prevalent method of consuming. Outlawing it is just not acceptable. The Governor needs to get educated on the subject of cannabis.]

After a year of flip-flopping on whether or not he supports legal weed, Governor Andrew Cuomo has suggested a bizarre compromise where weed would be legal, but smoking it would not.

For a minute, it seemed like 2019 would be the year when New York finally got around to legalizing marijuana, but state legislators managed to drop the ball — yet again.

Next year, lawmakers will take up the legalization debate afresh. But New York Governor Andrew Cuomo suggested that next year’s adult-use bill could come with one extreme caveat: weed might be legal, but you might not be allowed to smoke it.

During an interview with MSNBC last weekend, the governor explained that his administration is “not in favor of smoking marijuana,” and noted that there are other “ways to get THC without smoking marijuana,” according to Marijuana Moment. “People are vaping THC, yes that is true… We think that from a public health point of view, that is not something that we recommend and we think it’s dangerous — smoking of any kind.”

“You can legalize marijuana and sell THC in compounds that do not require you to smoke the marijuana, and we do not support smoking of marijuana,” Cuomo continued. “There are compounds that have the THC, which is a compound in marijuana, that you don’t smoke.” 

The governor stopped short of saying whether or not he would actually propose a ban on all smokable cannabis next year, or was simply reiterating his administration’s disdain of smoking in general.

Cuomo’s spokespeople have not indicated whether the governor would actually push for a ban on smokable cannabis, and it is even less certain that state lawmakers would agree to his proposal if he did. The governor did try to convince lawmakers to ban smokable cannabis from the state’s medical marijuana program, however. And he also advocated for a ban on home cultivation in this past year’s adult-use bill. So, there’s that.

What is certain, however, is that a ban on cannabis flower would undermine the state’s ability to have a thriving, legal adult-use market. In California, flower and concentrate sales account for a whopping 70 percent of the state’s entire legal weed market, which indicates that a non-smoking market would be significantly less profitable than a market that includes smokable flower. The popularity of cannabis flower would also likely keep the state’s black market alive, allowing illegal growers to easily compete with a limited range of legal products.

Governor Cuomo’s stance on cannabis reform has been anything but consistent. As recently as 2017, the governor still called pot a gateway drug, but after his challengers in last year’s election advocated for legal weed, he jumped on the legalization bandwagon. But once New Jersey’s push to legalize adult-use this year failed, Cuomo’s support waned, and the adult-use bill failed.

This August, the Empire State decriminalized minor cannabis possession and will now allow former offenders to clear their records. But the fate of full legalization remains as much of a hazy mystery as ever.

Original Post: Merry Jane: New York's Governor Wants to Legalize Weed, But Doesn't Want You to Smoke It

Florida Congressman Wants To Downgrade Controlled Substance Scheduling For Marijuana

Florida Congressman Wants To Downgrade Controlled Substance Scheduling For Marijuana

Original Post: High Times: Florida Congressman Wants To Downgrade Controlled Substance Scheduling For Marijuana

[Canniseur: Introducing a simple bill to move cannabis from Schedule 1 to Schedule 3 makes so much sense. This bill, containing only this rescheduling, comes at a time when our country could use a little relief from all the hate. Call your Senator or Congress representatives and let them know you support the Marijuana 1-to-3 Act of 2019.]

The lawmaker is aiming to reschedule cannabis from a Schedule I to a Schedule III controlled substance.

On Thursday, Congressman Greg Steube, who represents Florida’s 17th district, introduced a bill that would downgrade the controlled substance scheduling for marijuana. Steube’s bill, the Marijuana 1-to-3 Act of 2019, would reclassify cannabis as a Schedule III controlled substance. Currently, the federal government considers cannabis a Schedule I drug with “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” Downgrading cannabis to Schedule III, a classification which includes drugs like ketamine and anabolic steroids, would primarily make it easier for scientists to research cannabis and its health effects.

Marijuana 1-to-3 Act Would Allow for Federally-Funded Cannabis Research

On September 12, Congressman Greg Steube tweeted a press release announcing a bill to downgrade marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule III controlled substance. “The Marijuana 1-to-3 Act will allow additional research to be done on the benefits of marijuana by removing bureaucratic red tape,” Steube wrote in the tweet.

According to Steube’s press release, the bill directs the Attorney General of the United States to make a simple change to the Controlled Substances Act: dropping “marihuana” down to Schedule III. In the release, Steube acknowledges there are clearly medical benefits to cannabis. “We hear every day about the positive health benefits of marijuana,” Steube said. “Whether it’s young children with seizure disorders, or veterans suffering from chronic pain.”

Federal research into the health effects of cannabis has been extremely restricted due to its Schedule I status. A Schedule III designation would remove many of those barriers, including one of the most substantial: funding. As a Schedule III substance, federal funds would be available to support research projects on cannabis and its medical and therapeutic applications.

Marijuana 1-to-3 Act Would Also Benefit Cannabis Industry

Congressman Steube’s Marijuana 1-to-3 Act is simple. Unlike another rescheduling bill also filed Thursday by a bipartisan pair of Florida Representatives, which would require federal agencies to develop research programs and designate “Centers of Excellence in Cannabis Research,” Steube’s bill just directs the U.S. Attorney General to reschedule marijuana.

Still, Steube believes the reclassification is enough to drastically expand opportunities for research and study into the medical and recreational uses of cannabis. “With this rescheduling, researchers can now access federal funds to research this substance and determine its medical value,” Steube said.

But the rescheduling of cannabis won’t just impact research scientists’ eagerness to study it. It could also have a major impact on the legal cannabis industry. Many of the financial problems facing the industry, like its difficulty accessing bank services and inability to obtain tax deductions and other subsidies, stem from companies’ trafficking in what the federal government considers a Schedule I drug. If marijuana were to be rescheduled down to level III, cannabis businesses would become eligible for a number of federal tax deductions.

The Marijuana 1-to-3 Act isn’t the first piece of federal cannabis legislation Congressman Steube has introduced. Back in April, Rep. Steube, a former Army JAG Officer, put forward a bill to protect U.S. veterans who use medically prescribed cannabis from losing their VA benefits.

In 2017, the VA adopted a directive that protects veterans from losing their benefits over lawful medical cannabis use and authorizes VA officials to discuss cannabis treatments with patients. Steube’s bill aims to make that directive law, making sure no future administrative changes put veterans at risk of losing their benefits. “As a veteran, I’m committed to ensuring that veterans receive the care they deserve, and I know that sometimes that care can include medical marijuana,” Steube said.

Florida Congressman Wants To Downgrade Controlled Substance Scheduling For Marijuana was posted on High Times.

Cannabis News Highlights
Get Free Weekly News

Subscribe and get the best cannabis news of the week delivered directly to you.

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.