United States

Paul Kantner, Jefferson Airplane's lead pilot, flies on...

Posted on January 29th, 2016 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , , , .

Paul KantnerPaul Kantner, co-founder of the Jefferson Airplane and a pioneer of the San Francisco music scene in the 1960s, died Jan. 28 at the age of 74. He had suffered a heart attack earlier in the week, according to his longtime publicist and friend, Cynthia Bowman. As singer, rhythm guitarist and song-writer as well as political visionary, Kantner guided the band from its folk-rock origins through its period as a pre-eminent symbol of the counterculture and youth rebellion, climaxing with the Monterey Pop festival that kicked off the 1967 "Summer of Love," its classic early-morning performance at the utopian-spirited Woodstock festival in August 1969—and that December's disastrous and violence-plagued Altamont Speedway free concert. The band had a rebirth in the 1970s, with a new line-up and more radio-friendly sound, as the Jefferson Starship, including fellow Airplane hold-overs Marty Balin and Grace Slick, Kantner's flamboyant and contentious lover. He continued to perform with various outfits in later years, including a re-formed version of the Starship and a briefly reunited Airplane in 1989. Kantner and his Airplane bandmates were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996. He continued to be a vocal advocate for political causes, from cannabis legalization to support for the Nicaraguan revolution during the 1980s. 

Native American church schism sues for right to cannabis

cannabisA seemingly schismatic Oregon branch of the Native American Church claims the US government illegally seized its sacramental cannabis—and is fighting in court to get it back. Oklevueha Native American Church leaders James "Flaming Eagle" Mooney and Joy Graves brought the case Jan. 15 in a US district court in Portland. Graves says she mailed five ounces of cannabis to a church member in Ohio on Dec. 10, but it never arrived. The Postal Service tracking website reported that the package had been seized by law enforcement. A postal inspector in Portland told her cannabis is illegal under federal law and was unimpressed by her claim that she sent the herb to a church member with esophageal cancer for use in healing rituals, according to Courthouse News Service. Oregon legalized medical marijuana in 2007 and approved recreational cannabis through a ballot measure last year. Both remain illegal in Ohio, although small quantities are decriminalized there. Sending cannabis through the mails is a federal crime.

High Times chairman Michael Kennedy dies

Posted on January 25th, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

Michael KennedyAttorney Michael Kennedy, the longtime guiding force behind High Times magazine, died of complications from an illness in New York Jan. 25 at the age of 78. He was the lawyer for High Times founder Tom Forçade, the notorious marijuana smuggler and political radical who started the magazine in 1974. "Tom and I became friends," Kennedy wrote in 2015. "We had five years of revolutionary pretense and fucking with the begrudgers. There were more grand juries, betrayals and sordid legal encounters. Tom brought street theater to everything he did. High Times was all theater... Tom had publishing experience, muckraking; he preferred shit-disturbing." After Forçade's death in 1978, High Times' parent company, Trans High Corp., operated as a trust until 2000 when the company was broken up into shares. Kennedy and his wife Eleanora and Forçade's family retained control of the company with Kennedy being named chairman of the board. He was also Trans High's legal counsel. During his extensive legal career, he defended the likes of acid guru Timothy Leary and Black Panther Huey Newton.

Kosher cannabis spells relief for Judeo-tokers

Posted on January 2nd, 2016 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

leafPharmaceutical firm Vireo Health of Minneapolis announced Dec. 30 that its medical marijuana has been certified kosher by the Orthodox Union, the body that sets such standards for America's half-million Orthodox Jews. The OU's Kosher Certification program usually stamps its seal of approval on food products. But now Vireo Health, one of five companies licensed to market medical marijuana in New York state, has received the OU's imprimatur for herbal product—a first in the industry. The New York Daily News reports that the OU rabbinical association gave its certification after inspecting the company's facilities and finding that the cannabis is produced according to the laws of kashrut—for example, being entirely free of insects.

Oregon tribe embraces cannabis economy

Posted on December 24th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , , .

OregonMembers of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs, on the eastern slopes of Oregon's Cascade Mountains, voted up a proposal to permit growing, processing and selling cannabis for the recreational market, tribal officials announced Dec. 18. The referendum passed by an impressive 86%, said Don Sampson, CEO of Warm Springs Ventures, the tribes' economic development corporation. Sampson told The Oregonian that the election drew about 1,400 voters who "turned out even in a winter storm." Turnout among youth was especially strong.

Congress votes up truce in war on medical marijuana

Posted on December 21st, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , , .

medical marijuanaOn Dec. 18, Congress approved a $1.1 trillion dollar spending bill—and in the process approved a provision promising to keep federal law enforcement out of medical marijuana operations in states that have passed acts legalizing them. The provision, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, was first approved in December of last year. The rider for a second year bars the use of Department of Justice funds "to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana."

Merrill Lynch mulls corporate cannabis

Posted on December 18th, 2015 by Bill Weinberg and tagged , , , , , , .

Shadow WatchPhiladelphia Inquirer columnist Chris Goldstein got hold of a leaked 45-page internal equity report from high-finance titan Merrill Lynch, wealth management division of Bank of America, looking at the future prospects for America's cannabis industry. Goldstein wrote it up for his occassional series Philly420 Dec. 8 under the title "Merrill Lynch is bullish on marijuana." Goldstein finds: "Carefully researched, it was an interesting peek at how heavy hitters on Wall Street are starting to view the expanding industry."

San Francisco forms legal cannabis taskforce

Posted on December 14th, 2015 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

CaliforniaSan Francisco's Examiner reports Dec. 14 that city authorities, in anticipation that California voters will legalize recreational cannabis use next year, are assembling a body to propose regulations for the industry. The newly created Cannabis State Legalization Task Force. The body will advise the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Last week, the board's Rules Committee selected 11 people to serve on the body, with three more seats still to be filled. One of the appointees is Erich Pearson, founder of SPARC, one of San Francisco's biggest dispensaries. "We need to determine how many cannabis users we are going to have in San Francisco and how many stores that's going to take to distribute that cannabis once it's legal," he told the Examiner.

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