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Cannabis front in Western water wars?

Posted on May 23rd, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

WashingtonCannabis cultivation is emerging as an issue in the American West's interminable conflicts over control of water. On May 20, the US Bureau of Reclamation (BuRec), which supplies irrigation districts across the western states, issued a policy memo saying its water may not be used for marijuana. BuRec staff would document "all activities and communications" regarding "known or potential uses" of its waters for cannabis cultivation—and "will report such use to the Department of Justice." Washington state's Roza Irrigation District, which supplies BuRec water to some 72,000 acres in Yakima and Benton counties, in early April issued a "precautionary message" warning cannabis growers that they could get cut off.

Hash oil explosions in the news...

dab rigOK, here comes the latest media blitz in the backlash against the recent gains for cannabis legalization... The Associated Press on May 6 runs a lurid story (one of several suddenly in the news), topped by a photo of a forelorn burn victim petting his dog for comfort, entitled "Hash Oil Explosions Rise With Legalized Marijuana." The incendiary lede: "The opening months of Colorado's first-in-the-nation recreational marijuana industry have seen a rise in fiery explosions and injuries as pot users try to make the drug's intoxicating oil in crude home-based laboratories. Since Jan. 1, when sales began, the state's only certified adult burn center has treated 10 people with serious injuries they suffered while making hash oil, compared with 11 in 2013 and one in 2012." Firefighters in Colorado have responded to at least 31 hash-oil explosions so far this year, compared with 11 all of last year, according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area—a slightly questionable claim, given that the number of explosions and number of casualties for last year are identical. A police sargeant in the Denver suburb of Thornton, which saw its first such explosion in January, is quoted: "These today are the meth labs of the '90s."

DEA chief: Mexican cartels move into Colorado, Washington

Posted on April 5th, 2014 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

leafDrug Enforcement Administration chief Michele Leonhart, in testimony before a House Appropriations subcommittee April 2, went on the offensive against the cannabis legalization initiatives in Washington state and Colorado. "What was explained to the voters was how much money that they'd be raising," Leonhart said. "What was explained to the voters was that this was good for law enforcement, because then police could go after the real crimes. What was told to the voters is that this would collapse the Mexican drug cartels." Instead, Leonhart asserted, Mexican drug cartels are "setting up shop" in Washington and Colorado in anticipation of a cannabis boom. "Whatever the price will be set in Washington and Colorado, criminal organizations are ready to come in and sell cheaper," she said. She also claimed, without offering evidence, that many cannabis shops get their supplies from grow operations controlled by cartels. 

CBD derivative gets 'orphan drug' status

Posted on November 18th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , , , .

THCBritish firm GW Pharmaceuticals has won "orphan drug status"—a special category for agents developed to treat rare diseases—from the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for Epidiolex, a derivative of cannabidiol (CBD), to treat Dravet syndrome, a severe form epilepsy. In Utah, parents who are lobbying to import CBD-rich cannabis strains from Colorado, say they will keep up their campaign. "This changes nothing" in regard to children being able to access CBD, said Jennifer May, mother of 11-year-old Stockton, who suffers from Dravet syndrome. "On the other hand, it does lend credibility to the potential of CBD as a treatment." Like many Dravet patients, Stockton has tried dozens of pharmaceutical fixes, and run out of options. He can no longer use the toilet and has to be fed from a tube. "Orphan drug" designation qualifies GW for tax credits and exclusive rights to the drug if approved. But FDA approval for Epidiolex could take a year or more. (Salt Lake Tribune, Nov. 18)

Secession fever sweeps Colorado, California counties —cannabis backlash?

Posted on October 7th, 2013 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

ColoradoOn Colorado's northeast plains, advocates of secession from the state have managed to put the question before voters in 11 counties this November —potentially bringing a split-the-state initiative to statewide vote by November 2014. As Weld County Commissioner and leading secession proponent Sean Conway explained to reporters, an "advisory" vote at the county level would require local lawmakers to request that state legislators introduce a constitutional amendment allowing the northeastern counties to go their own way. That would require two-thirds approval by both houses. Failing that, proponents could put the measure to statewide vote by collecting 80,000 signatures. Finally, the initiative would have to be approved by the US Congress. So it is an arduous process—but proponents are clearly dead serious.

Washington and Colorado: the empire chills out?

Posted on August 29th, 2013 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , .

cannabisDeputy Attorney General James Cole, the same who authored a notorious 2011 memo asserting that federal cannabis enforcement remains a "core priority" even in states that have passed medical marijuana laws, has just issued a new memorandum seeming to clarify Justice Department reaction to the legalization measures in Colorado and Washington state. While it is written in the usual dense bureaucratese that often hides as much as it reveals, on balance it appears to represent a retreat from the hardline posture the Obama administration has assumed regarding medicinal cannabis over the past two years. The text of the Aug. 29 memo is provided by our comrades at CelebStoner:

Colorado 'pot porn' reg goes down to defeat

Posted on June 15th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , .

ColoradoUS District Judge Richard Matsch in Denver on June 11 struck down a Colorado law that would have required businesses to place cannabis-related magazines behind counters. Matsch ordered a permanent injunction against Amendment 64 which would have treated cannabis-related magazines as pornographic material. The ruling comes a week after publishers and bookstores filed a lawsuit against the state.

Colorado governor signs bills regulating cannabis

Posted on May 29th, 2013 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

ColoradoGov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado on May 28 signed a new set of laws regulating the use and sale of cannabis. One law, HB13-1317, expands the medical marijuana enforcement division to cover retail cannabis sales. The law also prohibits retail cannabis outlets from selling more than one-fourth of an ounce to non-residents. Another law, HB13-1318, still subject to voter approval in the November statewide election, imposes a 15% sales tax on retail cannabis or cannabis products, and allocates 10% of the total tax revenue among the state's local governments that have at least one retail cannabis outlet. A third law, HB13-1325, provides that motorists found to have blood levels of five nanograms or more of delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol per milliliter may be charged for DUI.

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