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Denver holds first public hearing for recreational marijuana store

No one spoke in opposition at a hearing in Denver, Colorado to open the first recreational marijuana store in the United States. It was the first of 16 hearings scheduled this month.

The 9 a.m. hearing — for a store called The Grove, at First Avenue and Federal Boulevard — lasted less than an hour, said Larry Stevenson with Denver's Department of Excise and Licenses. The store's owner and a handful of employees spoke in favor of the store's application. No one spoke in opposition, said Mike Elliott, the executive director of the Medical Marijuana Industry Group, who attended the hearing.
Denver holds first public hearing for recreational marijuana store

Documentary about Richard Stratton - "marijuana millionaire" sentenced to 25 years in maximum-security prison

[Video Link] "A documentary chronicling the life of author Richard Stratton, from his early experiments with marijuana in suburban Massachusetts to his ultimate entry into the world of high volume, international hashish and marijuana trade. His involvement in the drug market, including the shipment of 7 tons of hashish from war-riddled Beirut into New York Harbor, led to his arrest and conviction to 25 years in maximum-security prison. This video, through re-enactments, stock footage, score and interview, tells the unbelievable story."

Here's a recent interview with Stratton.

(Via the World's Best Ever)

FBI data shows US cops made one pot arrest every 42 seconds in 2012

"Residents of two states voted to legalize marijuana in 2012, but despite an increase in public support for liberalizing drug policy, American police arrested about the same number of people last year on pot-related charges as in 2011." [US News and World Report]

Everything wrong about medical marijuana marketing in California, in a single snapshot


I snapped this photo of a popular medical marijuana dispensary storefront in the Venice neighborhood of Los Angeles last week. To me, it represents everything bone-headed about the way LA area pot shops (which operate in a legal gray zone in a conflicting patchwork of federal, state, and local laws) market themselves.

Read the rest

The golden, explodey menace of hash oil

Wired News has a feature on butane hash oil, a highly combustible form of marijuana that is increasingly produced inside the US. Just last week, FEMA posted an odd alert in its emergency services bulletin: “Hash Oil Explosions Increasing Across US,” along with the "more quotidian warnings of cyber terrorism and industrial vapor clouds." Why: more explosions at apartments and hotel rooms involving “a process using butane to extract and concentrate compounds from marijuana."

Drug OD fatalities up for 11th consecutive year; not one was due to marijuana

Federal data to be released this week through the Journal of the American Medical Association shows that drug overdose deaths rose for the 11th year in a row. Most were accidents involving prescription painkillers: specifically, opioids like OxyContin and Vicodin which are commonly prescribed for pain management, and are widely abused. Those two drugs contributed to 3 out of 4 medication overdose deaths, according to the report.

Not one single death in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data set was due to overdosing on marijuana.

Read the rest

Would you like to be a Marijuana Consultant?

Attention! The state of Washington requires a pot consultant with many years of experience in how cannabis is grown, dried, packaged and "cooked into brownies." It really is time we opened a job board for this stuff.

David Frum's reefer madness

Daily Beast contributor David Frum thinks legalizing weed is a bad thing: "marijuana smoking is a sign of trouble, a warning to heed, a behavior to regret and deplore," and that "young Americans deserve better than to be led to a future shrouded in a drug-induced haze." (thanks, @milesobrien)

Obama on pot smoking in newly-legal CO and WA: "Bigger fish to fry"

Photo: Shutterstock. "Young man eating leaves of hemp. Shoot in the field of marijuana."

“We’ve got bigger fish to fry,” Obama told ABC News' Barbara Walters, speaking about marijuana smokers in Colorado and Washington.

In those two states, recreational use is now legal, but the DEA still has a hard-on for weed prohibition, as demonstrated by the agency's ongoing and aggressive dispensary raids in CA. According to the president, going after potsmokers in states where it's legal is no longer a high (heh) priority.

“It would not make sense for us to see a top priority as going after recreational users in states that have determined that it’s legal,” he said. 

“This is a tough problem, because Congress has not yet changed the law,” Obama told Walters of the legalization in Colorado and Washington. “I head up the executive branch; we’re supposed to be carrying out laws. And so what we’re going to need to have is a conversation about, how do you reconcile a federal law that still says marijuana is a federal offense and state laws that say that it’s legal?”

More in the Washington Post.

Medical Marijuana comes to New Jersey

"They skulked in and out like criminals, shoulders hunched, heads down, declining to comment." —a NYT profile on the Garden State's first pot dispensary. Hey, in the patrons' defense, it may be because they spooted Snookie or The Situation inside or something.

As states legalize pot, will Obama continue the federal War on Weed?

Tom Dickinson in Rolling Stone about the growing conflict between what voters in more and more states want (legalizing pot) and what the federal government wants (shutting down dispensaries with guns and SWAT teams of DEA agents). "While the administration has yet to issue a definitive response to the two new laws, the Justice Department was quick to signal that it has no plans to heed the will of voters. 'Enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act,' the department announced in November, 'remains unchanged."

Marijuana now legal in Washington

CBS: "An impromptu celebration was held, appropriately enough, at the Space Needle, a Seattle high point. The air was filled with the scent of victory."

Marijuana dispenser machine company's stock gets really, really high, man

Medbox (MDBX), a firm that makes medical marijuana dispensing machines, says its stock "is getting way too high." Shares spiked 3,000% this week (from about $4 Monday to $215 Thursday), "prompting executives to try and dampen investor enthusiasm." The surge was caused by a MarketWatch story about how to invest in legalized marijuana.

Medical marijuana in Israel

"I've been a Holocaust child all my life. I'm now 80 and I'm still a Holocaust child, but I'm finally able to better cope." A Buchenwald survivor who uses cannabis for PTSD in a nursing home in Israel, in USA Today.

Feds to debate medical use of marijuana

Marijuana is currently classified in the US as a Schedule I controlled substance: no medically accepted use, despite ample evidence to the contrary.

Ira Flatow's syndicated public radio program Science Friday has a segment out about next week's planned arguments to a federal appeals court by pro-pot advocacy org Americans for Safe Access, in hopes of relaxing federal restrictions.

The radio segment includes UCSF oncologist Donald Abrams, who speaks about the evidence on the medical benefits of pot.

Disclosure: I'm a cancer patient, I use pot for medical purposes, and I'm strongly in favor of legalization and easier access for seriously ill people (and honestly, who cares, everyone else too).

HT: @milesobrien

City of Oakland sues to prevent closure of embattled medical marijuana dispensary

The NYT reports on a lawsuit filed by the City of Oakland in federal court to prevent the Department of Justice from seizing property leased to Harborside Health Center. Previous posts on Boing Boing about the facility here and here.

US crackdown on medical marijuana threatens a dad's search to halt son's epilepsy

In the Los Angeles Times, a really great feature about how the Obama administration's assault on medical marijuana dispensaries threatens one father's search for cannabidiol, which has helped reduce the severity and frequency of his 6-year-old son's seizures from Dravet syndrome.