Texas man facing possible life sentence for pot brownies — video included
by Melanie Lofton
May 16, 2014
ROUND ROCK, TX (KEYE/CNN) — A Texas man accused of making and selling marijuana brownies is facing up to life in prison if convicted.
That’s because officials in Round Rock have charged him with a first-degree felony.
It’s a move that the man’s family and attorney outraged.
“It’s outrageous. It’s crazy. I don’t understand it,” Joe Lavoro, the man’s father said.
Like many familiar with the case, Joe does not understand why his son is in so much legal trouble.
The first of what may be many court appearances for Jacob Lavoro was Thursday morning.
The 19-year-old is accused of making and selling pot brownies.
He’s charged with a first degree felony.
“Five years to life? I’m sorry. I’m a law abiding citizen. I’m a conservative. I love my country. I’m a Vietnam veteran, but I’ll be ****ed. This is wrong. This is ***n wrong!” the father said.
Lavoro’s lawyer agrees.
“I was outraged. I’ve been doing this 22 years as a lawyer and I’ve got 10 years as a police officer and I’ve never seen anything like this before,” Jack Holmes, Lavoro’s attorney said.
The former high school football player has a clean record.
3 Months Since Legalizing Marijuana, Here’s What Colorado Looks Like
by Tom McKay
May 10, 2014
The news: Colorado’s pot sales are booming.
The state’s Department of Revenue reports that marijuana retailers sold nearly $19 million in recreational weed in March, up from $14 million in February. The first three months of legal weed have netted about $7.3 million in taxes, not including medical marijuana sales taxes and licenses, which bring the number to $12.6 million. In it’s first few months, Colorado could already soon be outpacing those historic first-day sales on a daily basis.
Retail marijuana sales taxes brought in $1.4 million in January, $1.43 million in February and now $1.898 million in March — a clear upward trajectory. And total marijuana tax transfers and distributions went from $2.927 million in January to $4.077 million in March. And perhaps more importantly, while it’s still somewhat early, the up-trending numbers indicate that initial sales weren’t simply the result of “new-toy” excitement wherein everyone was buying pot just because they could. Coloradans wanted marijuana before, and they still do now.
(Un)intended consequences: Over the same time period, crime in Denver has slightly declined, making opponents who said it would result in more trafficking seem kind of silly. It’s created a modest number of jobs ranging from “budtending” and marijuana journalism to farm labor and ownership. (Weedmaps, a dispensary review site, grossed some $25 million in revenue in 2013.) And the state has even created a banking system that complies with the U.S. treasury system’s guidelines, clearing up the last regulatory questions. While certain parts of the rollout, like edible cannabis regulations, have come under question, the law seems to be operating basically as intended.
Legal cannabis sales in the United States are projected to reach as high as $2.57 billion this year, split among the 21 states that allow the sale of some form of marijuana. That’s up from $1.53 billion a year ago. As time goes on, the marijuana industry will grow its own stakeholders and perhaps become a political lobby in its own right.
How it’ll be spent: The Colorado legislature has already formed a plan to spend $33 million of the marijuana taxes on school nurses and public education on marijuana. Even Colorado cops plan to get a chunk of the new revenue, asking for 10-15% of the proceeds for DUI enforcement and fighting diversion to other states and unlicensed sales.
Canada’s First Medical Marijuana Vending Machine Opened in B.C.
Canadian Awareness Network
May 10, 2014
VANCOUVER — Just five weeks after Ottawa outlawed B.C.’s cottage industry of cannabis dispensaries, one of them has just opened Canada’s first marijuana vending machine.
“Half an ounce for $50, which is unthinkable in the city,” said local hip hop artist Ray Gill, speaking Monday in a YouTube video promoting the new machine. “It’s like they’re just giving it away!”
The machine is operated by the B.C. Pain Society, a recently opened medical marijuana dispensary located a few blocks from the heart of Vancouver’s hip Commercial Drive district.
Society director Chuck Varabioff worked in vending machines before he went into medical marijuana, so the machine was a natural marriage, he said.
“It’s safe, it’s secure and your product does not get contaminated,” said Mr. Varabioff.
“Most other dispensaries in town, you don’t know what that product is getting contaminated with — which is a big issue for sick people.”
Mr. Varabioff’s creation, decorated in a pot leaf motif, contains a cross-section of popular pot strains, from Cotton Candy to Lemon Haze to MK Ultra.
For $20 the customer gets a “sealed, tamper-proof” bag containing an eighth of an ounce (enough for about half a dozen joints). And, as indicated in the video by Mr. Gill, half-ounce bags go for $50.
Two re-purposed gumball machines also offer smaller quantities of marijuana at $4 and $6 increments.
The machines, like the various marijuana products offered at the Society’s nearby retail counter, are only open to licensed medical marijuana users.
A waist-high fence separates the machines from the location’s public area, and to enter the fenced-off zone customers must flash a card confirming that they have received a doctor’s prescription for the drug.
Within the space of 20 minutes on a Wednesday afternoon, three customers came in to use the new machine: A woman who appeared to be in her early twenties, a woman with a slight limp and an older man in a dress shirt.
“It’s a convenience thing for regular customers to come in and say ‘I know what I want, I can avoid the lineup, come right up to the machine, put my $20 in, grab my baggie and go; bada bing, bada boom, done,’” said Justin Johnson, a licensed medical marijuana user who uses the drug to treat lower back pain.
Another perk: the B.C. Pain Society does not keep tabs on how much product its customers are buying.
“We’re not interested in what they’re buying; that’s up to them,” said a clerk. “Whereas Health Canada growers, they keep track.”
The B.C. Pain Society does not disclose the exact source of its marijuana, other than to say that it comes from the Vancouver area, is inspected in-house and does not come from drug traffickers.
“All of our product is sourced from confidential sources,” said Mr. Varabioff. “That’s pretty much all I can say about that.”
According to Health Canada, the B.C. Pain Society’s whole setup is illegal. As per legislation that came into force on April 1, Canada’s only source for legal medical marijuana is a small network of large-scale, for-profit growers certified by the health agency.
But the B.C. Pain Society, like all of the other dispensaries in the Vancouver area, keeps its doors open thanks to what many proprietors openly call a “legal gray area.”
The Vancouver Police’s official stance is that while medical marijuana dispensaries are indeed illegal, raiding them is far from its top priority.
In a March press release, the Vancouver Police Drug Unit said it would continue to focus on targeting “violent gang members” and other operations that pose a “danger to the public.”
“For the most part, medical marijuana dispensaries operating today in Vancouver do not meet these criteria,” it said, noting that they were just as illegal before the rule change.
The B.C. Pain Society vending machine is only the latest unorthodox vending machine to show up in Vancouver.
Last October, a Waves coffee shop became the site of the world’s first bitcoin ATM. A few months later, it emerged that a crack pipe vending machine had been operating at a harm reduction facility run by the Portland Hotel Society, a Downtown Eastside non-profit since roiled by spending scandals.
And while the B.C. Pain Society’s marijuana vending machine is a Canadian first, it narrowly lost the global title to Colorado, a state that legalized recreational marijuana in 2012.
Don’t smoke the Purple Kush: medical marijuana recalled
by Trevor Greenway
Apr 21, 2014
A medical marijuana production facility in British Columbia is warning users not to smoke their Purple Kush after Health Canada found “issues with the company’s production practices,” which prompted a voluntary recall of the batch.
Greenleaf Medicinals is telling clients to immediately stop using a batch of Purple Kush brand marijuana labelled “PK-10-20-13.”
“It’s not a danger to those people using the product, but they are being asked to discontinue use,” Health Canada Spokesperson Erika-Kirsten Easton told the Toronto Star.
She wouldn’t elaborate on what “production practices” Health Canada had issues with, but the company is now working other licensed producers to find another supply of marijuana for those who are impacted by the recall.
With Files from the Toronto Star
Medical Marijuana by Drone Delivery?
by Christina Sarich
Apr 20, 2014
It’s raining marijuana – medical marijuana that is, if everything bodes well for new start up companies that plan to deliver your cancer-reversing drugs via drone. QuiQui in San Francisco has reportedly unveiled plans to start drone deliveries in the Mission District, and could lead to a new way to get medical marijuana in other states, soon.
Many people dread going to the pharmacy. Now, waiting in lines, exposing yourself to others who are sick, or just getting out and about when you aren’t feeling well to begin with may soon be a thing of the past. According to QuiQui’s website, you’ll get an eco-friendly delivery that costs less than $1.00 from a ‘modern drone that gives off zero emissions and uses quiet clean electric power.”
QuiQui says it won’t deliver medical marijuana for now, although the International Business Times stated they would, but there is speculation that Joshua Ziering, the company’s founder, might change his mind with the growing demand for medical marijuana.
“We are not delivering medical marijuana,” confirmed QuiQui founder Joshua Ziering, who hopes his fleet of drones will one day be able to drop off prescription drugs. “I think [the International Business Times] just made it up.”
After all, shipping pot straight from a dispensary to someone’s front door would be no different than the delivery of other packages. If anything, the product is light weight and in high demand – the perfect product for modern drone delivery.
Furthermore, companies like QuiQui could possibly be within their legal rights according to a recent ruling that the FAA did not have authority over small market, commercial drones, and ended six years of prohibition of drone deliveries.
The FAA appealed the judge’s decision, however, concerned that it “could impact the safe operation of the national airspace system and the safety of people and property on the ground.”
“Commercial operations are only authorized on a case-by-case basis,” the FAA’s Elizabeth Cory said in an email last month. “A commercial flight requires a certified aircraft, a licensed pilot, and operating approval. To date, only one operation has met these criteria.” That’s an operation that uses drones to conduct environmental surveys in the Arctic prior to drilling.
The FAA appeal will be heard before the original ruling will be put back into practice.
Should the FAA ban be permanently lifted? It could open the floodgates for an extensive rollout of various drone-based ventures. Amazon might be delivering your books and movies, but other start up companies could soon be delivering your cannabis oil, and medical marijuana.
More than half of L.A.’s medical pot shops have closed
Toke of the Town
Apr 7, 2014
|Susan Sanchez/LA Weekly.|
Earlier this month we got the 2013 numbers for how many marijuana dispensaries in the city of L.A. have filed to pay a special city collective tax. It reflects how many weed retailers are in L.A. And it was higher than any other number we had seen in nearly five years: 1,140. This despite repeated city crackdowns and a new law, passed last year, that limits the number of shops in town to the 135 or fewer that were legit during a 2007 city “moratorium.”
Well, it looks that the law, Proposition D., and the efforts of L.A. City Attorney Mike Feuer, who has made legal moves against dozens of stores, are having an amazing effect: Numbers unveiled by the city Department of Finance this week show that so far only 462 business tax renewals have been filed for “L050” businesses in 2014 – aka collectives – a finance official told us.
Legal Canadian medical marijuana producer has shipment seized by mounties
Toke of the Town
Apr 7, 2014
Despite having approval from Health Canada, Tweed Marijuana says a shipment of herb grown by private B.C. growers previously licensed to grow cannabis was seized by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police over the weekend.
All of this after Tweed invited the mounties to examine the shipment. Only in Canada are people nice enough to invite the police over to check out their quasi-legal operations.
“We felt everything was done absolutely correctly,” Tweed chairman Bruce Linton told the National Post. “When you call police to say, ‘Come look at this,’ you believe you have everything in order.”
Tweed made headlines late last week as the first publically traded pot company in Canada. The group is one of the dozen that are legally allowed to produce and distribute cannabis under new government laws. The cannabis they were purchasing was produced under the old laws, which allowed for a caregiver-patient system similar to many U.S. states.
For their part, the RMCP isn’t saying anything. It’s their policy to not comment on ongoing investigations. Though, really, there’s not much to investigate. Again, this is Canada and everyone is being really nice and up-front about everything.
Growers licensed under the old system were able to sell off “starting materials” like clones, seeds and immature plants to the new, big, government-licensed grows.
Apparently, Tweed saw such a demand for products, however, that they asked the Health Department for a waiver to purchase actual bud. They got it, and thought everything was okay. Until last Monday, that is.
Linton says they had the police check out the shipment in part to be transparent, but also in part to protect the goods.
Part of the confusion comes from the ever-changing rules. Lawsuits have been filed in part to keep home cultivation in place, and there have been several changed deadlines for transferring materials.
Guatemalan President Will Present Plan To Legalize Marijuana
By Phillip Smith
Guatemalan President Otto Perez Molina said Wednesday his country could present a plan before year’s end to legalize the production of marijuana and opium poppies. His comments came in an interview with Reuters.
Perez, a conservative and former general, has been a harsh critic of the US-led war on drugs in Latin America, repeatedly denouncing such policies at international forums. He has alsopreviously mentioned the possibility of moving to legalize marijuana and opium production, but has yet to put forward a concrete plan to do so.
But a presidential commission has been studying the issue of reforms in the country’s drug laws, and Perez told Reuters he expected the commission to make its recommendations by October and that the measures could be presented by year’s end. That could include a bill to legalize drugs, particularly marijuana, Perez said.
“The other thing we’re exploring… is the legalization of the poppy plantations on the border with Mexico, so they’re controlled and sold for medicinal ends,” Perez said. “These two things could be steps taken on a legal basis.”
While Afghanistan is by far the world’s largest opium producer, accounting for nearly 90% of global production, poppies are also grown in the Western hemisphere — in Mexico and Colombia, as well as Guatemala. Western hemisphere opium accounts for most of the heroin consumed in the United States.
Perez is keeping a careful eye on his northern neighbor, too. Mexico decriminalized drug possession in 2009, but has been loath to take further steps to end the drug war there, although there are now proposals afoot to legalize marijuana. Meanwhile, Mexican drug trafficking organizations, under pressure in their home country, have expanded their operations in Guatemala and other Central American nations.
Article From StoptheDrugWar.org – Creative Commons Licensing – Donate
MUST LISTEN — The Classical Trivium, Magic Mushrooms, The CIA & Zionism: An Interview With Jan Irvin
The Real Deal
Mar 28, 2014
In this episode of The Real Deal journalist Joshua Blakeney interviewed California-based ethnomycologist Jan Irvin of http://www.gnosticmedia.com. Irvin addressed a wide array of subjects in the show including the Classical Trivium, the role of the CIA in popularizing Magic Mushrooms, Jewish ideologies and the health effects of consuming wheat.
This show will be archived here:
Other relevant links include:
PODCAST — An Interview with Freeman Burt and Dr. Tom – “How to Research: Case Study – Cannabis” – #191
Feb 25, 2014
Today Tom and Freeman Burt join the Gnostic Media podcast again to discuss “How to Research: Case Study – Cannabis”. This episode is being released on Sunday, February 25, 2014, and was recorded yesterday.
Both Dr. Tom and Freeman Burt have been on the Gnostic Media podcast a number of times, and for more information on them, see the Slaves Anonymous Section on the Gnositc media website, and also:
Burt’s Website: www.onlyfreemen.com
Dr. Tom’s website: http://www.boundaries-for-effective-ministry.org/
Documents used in this episode:
Music by Jesse Miller – Free Eddy Lepp, 2009.
My interview with Eddy Lepp (in the archives):
Donations. This episode is brought to you by:
Podcast: Play in new window | Download (Duration: 1:31:25 — 84.0MB) | Embed
Alaska Voters Will Soon Decide on Marijuana Legalization
by Elizabeth Renter
March 1, 2014
It’s official, Alaska voters will soon decide whether or not to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in their state. The proposal officially qualified for a statewide ballot on Wednesday after thousands of signatures were verified and certified by Lieutenant Governor Mead Treadwell. On August 17, voters in the northernmost state will go to the polls for pot.
As Reuters reports, if voters approve the measure, it would make Alaska the third state to legalize recreational marijuana, coming after Colorado and Washington who approved recreational pot in later 2012.
The proposed initiative would allow adults ages 21 and over to possess up to one ounce of marijuana for personal use and to grow up to six plants for their own consumption.
In addition, the proposal “charts a course” for a system of state-regulated marijuana sales as we see in Colorado, where dispensaries made well over $1 million in just their first day of business.
“A bipartisan tidal wave of public support for regulating marijuana like alcohol in Alaska has pushed this issue onto the ballot, and we will be running an aggressive campaign designed to build momentum on that,” said legalization campaign spokesman Taylor Bickford.
Marijuana users in the state aren’t the only ones who would benefit from the law. The state itself would collect a tax of $50 per ounce sold at the wholesale level.