Nov 172014

420RADIO News for 2014-11-17 (Monday)

On Saturday, Fireweed Farms of Prosser, Washington, held America’s first bulk marijuana auction.  Owner Randy Williams sold about 300 pounds of marijuana to state-licensed processors and retailers for about $600,000, or about $125 per ounce, on average.  The auction brought more interested parties than Williams had expected, requiring him to borrow the use of a parking lot across the street for the thirty-six potential buyers who traveled across the state for the auction.  Monitoring the auction for the Washington State Liquor Control Board was Lt. Jeremy Wissing, who called the auction “a well-organized event” that “isn’t a circus.”  Prospective buyers could open and smell the bags of marijuana they were bidding on, but no consumption of marijuana was allowed, disappointing Nazareth Victoria, a 50-year-old licensed marijuana processor from Seattle, who explained that he didn’t bid on any marijuana for sale because, “smoking the product is the ultimate test to tell you the quality.”

Colorado’s first attempt at better regulating marijuana edible products ended in discord Monday, when a working group on the issue adjourned without reaching a consensus.  requires the Department of Revenue — the state agency overseeing marijuana businesses — to come up with rules to limit accidental ingestion of marijuana-infused edibles.  The rules must be in place by 2016, and they will apply only to edibles sold in recreational marijuana stores. Edibles sold in medical-marijuana dispensaries or made at home will not be subject to the rules.  Ideas for new rules ranged from better labeling of marijuana edibles to requiring all edibles be a certain color or be stamped with a certain symbol to an outright ban on almost all forms of edible marijuana.  The most prominent suggestion came from the state health department, which suggested that Colorado create a commission to approve marijuana edibles before they are allowed to be sold in stores.

One of the major issues to be resolved in Alaska’s marijuana legalization is the transportation of marijuana via air and water to the many Alaska communities that are off the main road system. With federal law governing much of that travel, the legality of transporting small amounts of marijuana that way is in question.  “It all depends on what the law says,” said John Parrott, airport manager at Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport.  Under federal law, it is illegal to possess and transport marijuana. However, federal prosecutors have indicated they will not pursue charges for minor marijuana-related crimes in states with legal marijuana.  Parrott said that for small regional air carriers that do not use TSA screening, airport police often help intercept alcoholic beverages that could be shipped to dry communities. He said the airport could potentially do the same with marijuana.

Veterans are lobbying for more states to legalize cannabis for medical use — 23 states and the District allow this — but the primary target is the federal government and, in particular, the Department of Veterans Affairs.  VA says that its physicians and chronic-pain specialists “are prohibited from recommending and prescribing medical marijuana for PTSD or other pain-related issues.” Medical staff are also prohibited from completing paperwork required to enroll in state marijuana programs because they are “federal employees who must comply with federal law,” said Gina Jackson, a VA spokeswoman.  If veterans report their use of marijuana to VA, they could face criminal charges if they live in a state where it is illegal. And though few have indeed been charged, the mere possibility has spawned a culture of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” said Michael Krawitz, a former Air Force staff sergeant and the director of Veterans for Medical Cannabis Access.

Buried inside a mountain on a remote Norwegian island, agricultural institutions from around the world are collaborating to safeguard important crops in the event of global catastrophe.  Including marijuana.  By preserving genetic material in an insulated, underground facility, the Svalbard Global Seed Vault hopes to guard against the permanent loss of plants that humanity relies on for food and medicine.  According to a analysis of Svalbard’s database, there are 21,500 cannabis seeds being held for safekeeping in the vault. That’s more weed seeds than there are asparagus, blueberry or raspberry seeds stored at the facility. There are more marijuana genetics in the “Doomsday Seed Vault” than there are for artichoke, cranberry and pear combined.  The stored cannabis seeds originate from at least 17 countries, some of which aren’t at all surprising, like The Netherlands. Five hundred of the marijuana seeds, however, come from North Korea. None originate from the United States.