Nov 242014

420RADIO News for 2014-11-24 (Monday)

The burgeoning marijuana industry in Colorado is scrambling to get a piece of the holiday shopping dollar.  The Grass Station in Denver is selling an ounce of marijuana for $50 — about a fifth of the cost of the next-cheapest strain at the Colorado dispensary — to the first 16 customers in line Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  One of the state’s largest edible-pot makers, Sweet Grass Kitchen, debuted a new miniature pumpkin pie that delivers about as much punch as a medium-sized joint.  Colorado Harvest and Evergreen Apothecary timed the release of some top-shelf strains of potent pot for the holiday season.  The Growing Kitchen is making $49.99 gift sets for both the medical and recreational pot user. The sets include the edible-pot maker’s new Mighty Mint cookie, a pot-infused confection new for the holiday shopping season, along with marijuana-infused salves for muscles sore from the ski slopes.

Data provided by the Philadelphia Police Department to Philly420 shows a sharp decline in marijuana arrests since a new decriminalization policy went into effect. But, despite the change, some local residents are still getting handcuffed for weed.  From Oct. 20 to Nov. 20 just 20 of the new tickets were issued: 14 for possession and 6 for smoking in public. Possession of under 30 grams (about an ounce) results in a $25 ticket. Smoking it in public nets a fine of $100 and community service.  There were still 72 arrests for marijuana in the last month, but that was significantly less than the same time period in 2013. Last year in the same period, there were about 320 arrests. Overall that’s a decline of 78 percent. City Council passed the decriminalization bill sponsored by James Kenney in June. It went into effect on Oct. 20.

Marijuana advocates want to finally take their legalization drive to the Northeast, and they say the first state to do it there might be Maine.  Pro-legalization advocates cite a pair of recent victories in municipal legalization drives — Portland, the state’s largest city, in 2013 and South Portland, its fourth largest, this month.  Maine supporters are already crafting the ballot initiative for the 2016 election cycle, according to David Boyer, a Falmouth resident and political director for the Washington-based Marijuana Policy Project.  The petitioners will need to collect about 61,000 signatures to get the item on the ballot, according to the state constitution. Boyer said the petition drive will likely begin in the next six months.  National advocates are also targeting Massachusetts for a potential referendum in 2016. State legislatures in Rhode Island and Vermont could also take up the issue next year.

The evidence seemed solid in a marijuana case, but a “personal diatribe” against Michigan’s medical marijuana law by an Upper Peninsula prosecutor spoiled the conviction, the state appeals court said.  In a 3-0 decision, the court granted a new trial to Paul Heminger, who was convicted of growing nearly two dozen pot plants in Alger County.  Heminger had a medical marijuana card, but there was evidence that he was growing an excessive amount, possibly to sell or use, the appeals court said.  Nonetheless, his right to a fair trial last year was violated by the prosecutor’s “unfounded, irrelevant and inflammatory statements,” the court said in an opinion released Friday.  “The prosecutor’s closing argument was clearly and thoroughly improper,” the court said. “The prosecutor embarks on a political commentary, and a personal diatribe discrediting the (law) as a whole. … She calls the act ‘meaningless,’ and suggests that those suffering from chronic pain are simply cheating the system.”

Despite the risk of jail time, about 100 parents in Chile have formed a group, Mama Cultiva or “Mama Grows,” to share knowledge about cultivating marijuana to extract cannabis oil for their seizure-stricken children.  In clandestine meetings, the parents exchange tips and listen to cultivation experts explain how to grow and reproduce plants. Bobadilla and most of the members grow marijuana in their backyards, even though they could face up to 15 years in jail for doing so.  Chile allows consumption of the drug, but growing, selling or transporting it is illegal. Approval to use the drug as medicine is hard to win, and requires navigating a bureaucratic puzzle that most see as a waste of time. A proposal to decriminalize such use is making slow progress before lawmakers.  Growing plants is slow work and members complain they sometimes must resort to buying from illegal dealers. A mother said one dealer even tricked her into buying the male strand of the plant, which does not produce the prized oil.