Less than a week after admitting she illegally married an Ethiopian immigrant in 1997, Oregon’s first lady confessed to planning an illegal marijuana operation with another man that same year. Hayes, the fiancee of Governor John Kitzhaber, said she was living on the property with her then boyfriend in Okanogan, Washington, near the border of Canada, for the purpose of growing and selling marijuana. Patrick Siemon was the real estate broker who sold Hayes and her then-boyfriend, Karl Topinka, the cabin and 60 to 70 acres in rural Washington. According to Siemon, Hayes told him she wanted to get back to nature. Siemion said Hayes, not Topinka, was the leader of the operation. “The idea that she was an unwitting or unwilling participant in my eyes is totally erroneous,” he said. “She did a lot of the talking is all I can say.”
The one-time presidential candidate who is now in the medical marijuana business said pot could be the answer for Ebola. Former Governor Gary Johnson first made comments about marijuana and Ebola on the FOX Business Network on Monday. “We actually believe we have efficacy with regard to treating Ebola,” Johnson said before the anchor stopped him. Potentially, but Johnson told KRQE on the phone Tuesday, he is not saying it is the cure. “No one is making this claim,” he said. “There are those that would love to have the opportunity to provide this as potentially a game changer.” He said he is critical of the current system for making it difficult to try out possible alternatives, like marijuana but that he is not trying to mislead anyone about its potential.
The House passed a bill Tuesday that could make it a little harder for people to use government welfare payments to buy marijuana in states where the drug is legal. Supporters call it the “no welfare for weed” bill. The bill would prevent people from using government-issued welfare debit cards to make purchases at stores that sell marijuana. It would also prohibit people from using the cards to withdraw cash from ATMs in those stores. The reach of the bill would be limited because pot smokers could still use their benefit cards to get cash from an ATM at a different store or bank, and then use the money to buy marijuana. With Congress in a rush to get home to campaign, a Senate version is unlikely and the bill will probably not reach the president’s desk this year.
The Portland, Oregon, City Council unanimously agreed to discard a proposed 5 percent tax on medical marijuana while moving forward with a 10 percent proposal on recreational marijuana. On Wednesday, the City Council will discuss the proposed 10 percent tax on recreational pot, which could generate between $1.7 million and $4 million annually in new revenue. That estimate is intentionally conservative and based on revenue and sales forecasts generated by state officials. City Council members will continue a discussion started last week during a two-hour work session on whether Portland should join 17 other Oregon cities in preemptively taxing marijuana. According to city documents, legal recreational marijuana is an “if, not when” type situation in Portland. Measure supporters say cities are jumping the gun by enacting additional taxes, a tactic that hope would allow the taxes to be grandfathered in. Ballot language explicitly forbids new taxes after the measure is approved and invalidates any existing county or city measures that are inconsistent with it, making the hope for grandfathering in local taxes a pipe dream.
A group hoping to open San Diego’s first legal marijuana dispensary got a key approval Wednesday morning that could allow the proposed pot shop to open in Otay Mesa before the end of the year. A city hearing officer declared that A Green Alternative satisfies all of the complex conditions included in a controversial city ordinance approved last winter. Barring a possible appeal that would require a Planning Commission hearing next month, A Green Alternative will be the first legal dispensary to operate in the city since California voters approved the use of medical marijuana 18 years ago. A county-approved dispensary opened just outside El Cajon in late July. It’s the only legal dispensary operating in San Diego County, but more than 100 illegal pot shops continue to operate while authorities try to shut them down. A maximum of 36 dispensaries are allowed under city rules, with a cap of four in each of the nine City Council districts.