The New York Police Department, which has been arresting tens of thousands of people a year for low-level marijuana possession, is poised to stop making such arrests and to issue tickets instead, according to law enforcement officials. People found with small amounts of marijuana would be issued court summonses and be allowed to continue on their way without being handcuffed and taken to station houses for fingerprinting. Under the current practice, more than half of those arrested for marijuana were released a couple of hours after being brought to a station house, according to 2012 data gathered by the Criminal Justice Agency, a nonprofit that assists with bail determinations. They were fingerprinted, checked for warrants and issued a ticket demanding their appearance in court six to eight weeks later. The remainder of those arrested for marijuana possession were “put through the system,” meaning they were held for up to 24 hours before being arraigned before a judge.
A 16-year-old boy has been charged as an adult in the fatal September shooting of a 24-year-old man in a Chicago home. Pedro Corral was charged with first-degree murder and ordered held without bail by Judge James Brown in bond court Saturday. On Sept. 5, Corral and co-defendant Luis Alfaro arranged to meet the victim, Giovanni Galindo, and his friend at a home thought to be Galindo’s residence. Corral and Alfaro asked Galindo to meet in order to purchase marijuana but intended to rob Galindo of the marijuana, prosecutors said. About 5 p.m., Corral and Alfaro insisted that Galindo’s friend let them into the home to examine the marijuana before they paid for it. After Galindo showed them the marijuana, Corral took out a semi-automatic handgun and shot Galindo several times, according to prosecutors. Corral and Galindo then took the marijuana and fled the home, prosecutors said.
A Rastafarian college student from Colorado has sued the Keansburg, New Jersey, police, saying a May marijuana arrest was made after he was profiled because of his dreadlocks. Justin Cooke, 19, alleges that he and a friend were walking across Center Avenue in Keansburg toward a friend’s birthday party on May 8, the lawsuit said. Two Keansburg officers stopped the two young men, saying they were suspected of arson and narcotics trafficking, the court documents said. One of the officers allegedly told Cooke that he believed Cooke had marijuana because of his dreadlocks. Cooke did not consent to a search – but the police officer searched him anyway and found what is alleged to be a glass pipe and 0.77 grams of marijuana, the lawsuit claims. Cooke produced his Colorado driver’s and marijuana licenses, the lawsuit states. One of the officers later told Cooke that “everyone from Colorado is a pothead who should all be shot and killed.”
This Thanksgiving weekend, MSNBC will premiere “Pot Barons of Colorado.” The six-part documentary series will air Sundays at 10pm ET/PT beginning November 30th, with a special Sneak Peek airing Friday, November 28th. In the six-part series, audiences will meet a handful of the state’s leading Pot Barons, including: Jamie Perino, owner of Euflora, a high tech pot parlor which she calls “the Apple Store of Weed.” Andy Williams, who co-owns a family business, Medicine Man, with his brother Pete, runs one of the largest single-store marijuana dispensaries in the world and hopes it will soon become the “Costco of marijuana.” Tripp Keber, the President and CEO of Dixie Brands, hopes to build an empire out of his marijuana soda that comes in fancy brushed-aluminum bottles. The documentary explores how each pot baron broke into the industry, the risks they are taking, the dreams they’re pursuing, and the setbacks they must overcome.
Even as Colorado farmers made history this fall with the first legal commercial hemp harvest on U.S. soil in 57 years, it’s unlikely that much of their bounty will go toward the plant’s diverse list of potential uses. Instead, hobbled by a longstanding federal ban on shipping hemp seed across state lines, most Colorado hemp farmers are squirreling away their seed supply, using this year’s harvest as a source of next year’s supply in an attempt to vastly increase planted acreage in 2015 with Colorado-grown seed stock. The federally induced seed shortage has already stunted the growth of Colorado’s hemp industry: Last spring, farmers registered with the Colorado Department of Agriculture to plant nearly 1,600 acres of hemp. Yet seed shortages, poor germination rates and inexperience with the crop limited their harvest this fall to about 200 acres, according to Zev Paiss of the Rocky Mountain Hemp Association.