The Wayne County Drug Task Force and the Richmond Police Department SWAT team seized about $3,500 worth of crack cocaine and marijuana during a raid on Wednesday at a residence in the 200 block of North 17th Street.

Police went in with a search warrant as part of an ongoing drug task force investigation into the resident, Milleta Carpenter, according to a release.

Officers seized 13.67 grams of crack cocaine (approximate street value $1,367) and 394.63 grams of marijuana (approximate street value $2,200).

Carpenter, 44, was arrested on preliminarily charges of possession of cocaine and maintaining a common nuisance, both Level 6 felonies. She was being held in the Wayne County Jail Thursday night on a $7,500 bond, according to a jail records.

Tyrus Adcock-Bell, 23, was preliminarily charged with visiting a common nuisance, a B misdemeanor.

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Cannabis license applicants and Illinois officials are scrambling to change a court order after a judge prohibited the state from issuing up to 60 new craft grower licenses that were due out by Dec. 21.

Cook County Judge Neil Cohen issued an injunction Nov. 22, preventing the Department of Agriculture from issuing the licenses “until further order of the court.”

The order follows a similar order from Cook County Judge Moshe Jacobius preventing the awarding of 185 new marijuana retail store licenses until litigation over some of the licenses is resolved — which could take months or years.

Cannabis licenses had already been delayed more than a year by the state after complaints that the application scoring process had been badly mishandled by contractor KPMG. Some identical applications had been scored differently, applicants said, and many applicants had not been told additional information they needed to provide, as had been required by the law.

The continued delay means that applicants will continue to burn through money to retain real estate, employees and attorneys, while being prevented from opening and earning money. Most of the applicants are deemed “social equity,” who were supposed to be favored in licensing because they came from areas with high poverty and crime rates, or had been arrested for low-level marijuana offenses.
 
 
This summer, the state awarded 40 craft grower licenses, and disqualified some other applicants for unknown reasons.
 
Seven of those disqualified applicants who are challenging their disqualifications in court are represented by attorney Ryan Holz, who said his clients were never told their scores or why they didn’t qualify.
 
On Jan. 2, 2020, Jasmine Turner, a social equity applicant with The Majority-Minority Group, submitted her cannabis license application with other social equity applicants at the Thompson Center in Chicago.

Those applicants filed a request for the judge to modify his court order to issue the remaining licenses by Dec. 21, as required by state law.

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San Francisco is trying to fight back against the illicit cannabis market with a bold, new move—suspension of cannabis taxes.

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors last week unanimously approved a measure to temporarily suspend the city’s Cannabis Business Tax, citing strong competition from the illicit cannabis market and a crime wave that has plagued the regulated industry.

The tax was approved by San Francisco voters in 2018 and was scheduled to go into effect on January 1, 2022. Under terms of the ballot measure, a tax of from one percent to five percent would be levied on the gross receipts of the city’s licensed cannabis businesses.

Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said in a statement that suspending the tax would allow businesses in the city to better compete with unlicensed operators, who pay no taxes and are not subject to other costs mandated by regulations such as licensing fees and lab testing expenses.

“Cannabis businesses create good jobs for San Franciscans and provide safe, regulated products to their customers,” Mandelman said in a statement.

“Sadly, the illegal market is flourishing by undercutting the prices of legal businesses, which is bad for our economy as illegal businesses pay no taxes while subjecting workers to dangerous conditions and consumers to dangerous products. Now is not the time to impose a new tax on small businesses that are just getting established and trying to compete with illicit operators.”

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 A Helena man was arrested for trafficking drugs in Idaho.

Wesley V. Long, of Helena, was pulled over in Bingham County for making a lane change without signaling.

The Trooper stopped Long and in speaking with him, found evidence of drug use.

During a search of the vehicle, Troopers located several large bags of raw marijuana and three large baggies containing a white substance that tested presumptive positive for methamphetamine.

In all, four pounds of marijuana and nearly three pounds of meth were found.

Long is charged with Drug-Trafficking in Methamphetamine, Drug-Trafficking in Marijuana, and Possession of Drug Paraphernalia.

In addition, Long was charged, with an Enhancement as a Persistent Violator.

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City attorney asked to analyze current guidelines

Upon returning to its cannabis business ordinance Tuesday, the Chico City Council made the decision to ask City Attorney Vince Ewing to analyze what is currently in place and return with some new ideas.

The item was brought forward by Mayor Andrew Coolidge as a way to look beyond dispensaries toward manufacturing and production.

There are currently 24 proposed cannabis dispensaries going forward in the application process in Chico.

Ewing suggested to the council that it directs staff to look at all the options for potentially expanding the ordinance if desired.

Residents spoke in favor of potentially expanding the ordinance during the public comment period. David Petersen explained the economic side of how expansion could help bring revenue to the city.

“Dispensaries will capture the revenue of funds that are being spent by local people that are buying these retail products in and around the city,” Petersen said.

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Oklahoma County authorities found two moonshine stills and a marijuana grow in the home of a Harrah man after a four-hour standoff Wednesday afternoon.

The negotiator KFOR spoke with, Michael Davenport, said the call started out as a suicidal person. After some time on the phone with the man, it came to a peaceful end.

“I don’t know if he’s a good guy, bad guy or any other guy, he’s a person in crisis and he needs some help and we’re all human beings,” said Davenport, a 10-year veteran negotiator with the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office.

There was a massive police presence in Harrah Wednesday afternoon during a standoff with 42-year-old Bryant Hodges. Hodges was barricaded inside his home where authorities would later find the moonshine stills and marijuana grow. Davenport said the original call came in from a family member who reported a suicidal man armed with a pistol.

“What was handed to me was a person in crisis,” Davenport said.

At one point, Hodges allegedly opened fire at officers and nearly hit them. He struck two Luther police vehicles. Davenport worked to calm the situation down over the phone.

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Brookfield Township Police confirmed a driver was arrested after a traffic stop lead to officers finding various suspected drugs on Dec. 9.

BTPD stated officers pulled over a vehicle driving from Farrell to Warren for a marked lanes violation.

Officers detected criminal indicators and a probable search cause was conducted on the vehicle, according to BTPD.

BTPD said the following were found inside the vehicle:

 
13.9 grams of suspected cocaine1.2 grams of an unknown gray powder22 grams of marijuanavarious packaging materialsdigital scalecashthree cell phones

The driver was arrested for drug paraphernalia, BTPD confirmed.

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State Sen. Mike McGuire said Wednesday he plans to introduce legislation early next year to eliminate the state cultivation tax paid by cannabis growers, a favored target of the industry.

“We need to take a close look at the overall tax rate and whether it is impeding the overall growth of the cannabis market,” he said.

“The bottom line is this: Cultivation taxes are crushing small farmers throughout the North Coast,” McGuire said, adding:

“Basing it off the weight doesn’t account for when the market collapses. It’s simply not sustainable.”

To reduce the financial burden on growers, the Healdsburg Democrat, who serves as assistant majority leader in the Senate, said he plans to seek abolition of the cultivation tax in exchange for a higher excise tax, which is imposed on point-of-sale-transactions.

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Kentucky is ending 2021 on a high note. At least when it comes to the economy, according to Governor Andy Beshear.

The Bluegrass Governor told 44News, by the end of the year, new capital investments in the state will near $11 Billion. That is roughly double the annual investment Kentucky sees in a normal year.

That investment will create nearly 16,000 full-time jobs for Kentuckians and Western Kentucky will benefit from a portion of those new projects.

“When you look at two of our biggest jobs and/or investments across the Commonwealth, this year, there is Pratt Paper in Henderson,” Gov. Beshear told 44News Anchor Jessica Hartman. “I am so proud of this investment.”

Announced in July, Pratt Paper plans to build two large facilities on a piece of land that was annexed into the City of Henderson for the $400 million project. The first of the two mills will produce 100% recycled paper product and create 320 jobs.

“That is their biggest investment in their history and it will be the most sophisticated recycled paper mill in the world when it is built,” continued Gov. Beshear.

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Methamphetamine paraphernalia, pills, and Butane Honey Oil were also discovered by officials.

On Dec. 8, a deputy with the City of Shasta Lake Station authored a search warrant of Rebecca Lyons, 48, residence. Lyons residence is located within the City of Shasta Lake. She was arrested on Dec. 3 after deputies found her in possession of marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, and narcotic pills. 

The South County patrol station, City of Shasta Lake patrol station, and investigators from the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office
Marijuana Eradication Team helped serve the search warrant.

 

Deputies located approximately 220 more pounds of processed marijuana packaged for sales, methamphetamine paraphernalia, more prescription narcotic pills, and approximately 10 pounds of Butane Honey Oil. 

Officials say Lyons was not at her residence during the time of the warrant service and is not in custody. 

Charges will be filed with the Shasta County District Attorney's Office including possession of marijuana for the purpose of sales, possession of a controlled substance, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

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Virginia Cultivars hope to produce, educate and give back

July 1, 2021 was a historic date in Virginia as the Commonwealth became one of just 18 states to legalize marijuana for simple possession and home cultivation for adults 21 and over.

For some, like Hillsville’s Virginia Cultivars, that could mean a world of opportunity for both the business and the area. But first, Virginia Cultivars, located at 234 Virginia Street in Hillsville, wants to educate people about cannabis and the new laws, while also offering several new programs aimed at giving back to the community.

Located in a 48,000-square foot California Style Grow Facility (home of the former Bassett Walker plant), Virginia Cultivars started in 2018 out of the hemp boom that worked its way across the state as people began to use CBD and other cannabinoids as an alternative for anxiety, depression, PTSD and other similar ailments. Part of CBD’s popularity comes from the fact that it is “non-psychoactive,” meaning consumers can enjoy the benefits of the plant without the high. One most refrain from making medical claims on cannabis products outside of the medical realm. Looking to the google reviews for the company and those similar and one would argue the possibilities.

One thing is for certain. CBD is mainstream and because of that, CBD will continue to be the main focal point of Virginia Cultivar’s business, according to CEO and Master Grower Travis Wagoner. But rest assured, the company is making every effort for an opportunity to legally produce medical and/or recreational marijuana.

“I think once we get this new roof on this building and we make a couple of upgrades over the next few months, we are certainly positioning ourselves as a major player. And if you are in the region, in the area, know that if you are supporting us now then you are supporting grassroots cannabis in Virginia as a whole,” Wagoner said. “We certainly in making these alignments with other folks in the industry, we are trying to position ourselves with folks that show the same morals, values and ethics that we do, and believing in giving back and not just taking. I think everyone should research who they are getting their products from, what their values are, and what their roots are. Everyone that works here is from here.”

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As marijuana businesses find growing acceptance in the suburbs, DuPage County Board members are considering whether to lift a ban on retail pot stores in unincorporated areas.

County board member Liz Chaplin said more and more towns that had previously rejected recreational sales have since voted to allow shops within their borders. She's called on the county board to revisit the issue.

In response, board members have agreed to look at the possibility of repealing the county's ban on adult-use cannabis businesses. The topic came up as recently as a development committee meeting Tuesday.
 
"We saw that a lot of our municipalities that had originally opted out are opting in now," said Chaplin, a Downers Grove Democrat who serves as chair of the board's finance committee.

 

Illinois legalized recreational marijuana in 2020, but towns and counties were able to opt out of sales. DuPage County Board members voted 10-8 in October 2019 to prohibit cultivation centers, craft growers and other adult-use cannabis businesses from setting up shop in unincorporated areas.

At the same time, the board imposed a 3% tax on all retail sales of recreational cannabis in municipalities. If DuPage allows cannabis to be sold in unincorporated areas, the county can place a tax of up to 3.75% on the sales.

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Is it the fault of the DEA or HHS?

Does marijuana have medical value? That is the question. And the answer depends on whom you ask.

On the one hand, we have 36 states plus the District of Columbia saying yes it does through their legal medical cannabis programs. Then, on the federal level, authorities insist the answer is no, which is keeping marijuana categorized as a Schedule 1 Substance, meaning it has no accepted medical value and high abuse potential.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) issued a letter recently to the  White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) asking for help in resolving the long-standing dispute over the violation of the Information Quality Act in relation to cannabis, reported Marijuana Moment.

What Happened – DEA Vs. HHS 

Two federal agencies – the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) have been exchanging blame over which one of them is responsible for setting up an independent, peer-reviewed study on the medical potential of marijuana. 

CEI claims federal law demands a peer review of the scientific evidence that has been used to reject proposals for cannabis rescheduling.

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The town of Hartford will be holding an informational meeting on cannabis legislation next week.

The Hartford Selectboard and Hartford Community Coalition want to hear from you in a town hall scheduled for Monday.

They say the state legislature and Vermont Cannabis Control Board are in the process of developing ordinances and policies for a regulated market for cannabis.

The meeting will be held at the Hartford High School auditorium starting at 6 p.m.

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Two bills signed into law by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer will expand income tax deductions for disabled veterans and ease requirements for marijuana facilities. Senate Bill 25 will allow disabled veterans to deduct taxable income attributed to the cancellation or forgiveness of a student loan pursuant to the U.S. Department of Education’s Total and Permeant Disability Discharge Program.

"Our nation’s disabled veterans have served our country with honor and dignity, and this bill helps alleviate some of their financial burdens,” Whitmer said.

“I am proud to sign Senate Bill 25 to recognize the sacrifices made by our veterans and their families and help make their lives easier.”

Under the bill, disabled veterans can deduct income attributed to the forgiveness of a student loan between the 2016 to 2019 tax years and going forward starting in 2025.

"Senate Bill 25 is a great step towards recognizing the sacrifices and service of Michigan's disabled veterans,” VFW Michigan State Commander Kevin Conklin said. “The VFW Department of Michigan applauds Governor Whitmer and Senator Tom Barrett's efforts to make Michigan the best state in the Nation for veterans and their families, and we look forward to future legislation that helps us accomplish this goal together."

House Bill 4921 amends the Michigan Medical Marijuana Licensing Act to allow medical marijuana growers to submit financial statements of their operations to the Marijuana Regulatory Agency (MRA) and the municipality they operate in every three years.

"I am committed to making it easier for Michigan business owners to deal with state government,” Whitmer said.

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On April 8, Virginia became the first southern state to legalize the possession and use of marijuana by adults and the bill was signed into law July 1 by Gov. Ralph Northam.

"It is a huge day for equity in the Commonwealth," said then-House Majority Leader Del. Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, after an exhaustive legislative process putting together the 300-page bill that was introduced by Sen. Adam Ebbin and Senate President pro tempore Louise Lucas. 

"Virginia is now the first state in the South to legalize recreational marijuana use, and I am so proud to have been able to carry this monumental legislation," said Herring.

But not everyone was supportive of the decision.

“We are sending a message to our kids that it is okay to do drugs in Virginia now,” said Republican Sen. Amanda Chase of Chesterfield County.

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Montgomery city leaders are taking steps to bring a medical cannabis dispensary to the capital city.

On Tuesday, council members unanimously approved an ordinance authorizing the operation of a medical cannabis dispensary within city limits. The law recently passed in the legislature allows for five dispensaries across the state. City leaders say they want to make sure Montgomery is one of those possible destinations.

”Dispensaries are looking for cities to be proactive in saying ‘we’re open for business,” Councilman CC Calhoun said. “It’s an opportunity to create economic development and an opportunity to create jobs. They’re not looking to bring dispensaries into a city that’s not willing to say, ‘hey, we’re willing to do business.’ It’s taxable.”

City leaders say just one dispensary could bring between 100 and 200 jobs to the area.
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Leaders of a group working to legalize marijuana for adult use in Missouri say they believe the measure will pass if they collect enough signatures to get the issue on next year’s ballot.

Legal Missouri 2022 launched its initiative petition campaign last week in St. Louis. If voters approve the measure, anyone 21 or older could buy marijuana for any reason. Currently Missouri allows marijuana use only for medical reasons. John Payne, campaign manager for Legal Missouri 2022, noted that Missouri residents passed the medical marijuana initiative with close to 66% of the vote in 2018.

The campaign must get about 170,000 valid signatures in six of the state’s eight congressional districts to place the initiative on the ballot.

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After a recount found no change in the vote totals, Wellington's marijuana ballot measure has officially passed.

The town will repeal its ban on marijuana dispensaries, effective in February. Voters favored ballot measure 2B by a one-vote margin, with 1,678 voting "yes" to dispensaries and 1,677 voting no in Larimer County's final official election results.

The vote totals also stayed the same for the other two ballot items that got recounts: In Loveland City Council's Ward 4 race, Jon Mallo retained a one-vote lead over candidate Caitlin Wyrick, and the Larimer County Harvest Heights Public Improvement District No. 72 Ballot Issue 6B remained tied 15 to 15, meaning the measure to create a special taxing district for road maintenance failed.

Wellington will allow retail and medical marijuana sales only in licensed marijuana stores in a specific type of commercial zoning district at least 2,000 feet from schools, 500 feet from areas zoned as "public," 500 feet from other marijuana stores and 200 feet from residential areas. The item was referred to the ballot by citizen initiative. 

Wellington Ballot Issue 300, a measure to tax marijuana sales, passed 1,820 to 1,447. The town will impose a 3.5% tax on recreational marijuana sales that can be increased up to 5% without voter approval. The taxes will fund construction of a recreation center or other general operating expenses for the town.

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The Clarksville City Council has adopted a resolution that supports the decriminalization of simple possession, or casual exchange, of marijuana for personal use. The resolution also supports access to, and use of, medical marijuana.

The final vote on Thursday, Dec. 2, which included three amendments altering it from the original document presented was 9-1-3.

Not a single Clarksville City Councilmember voted against the measure.

Nine councilmembers voted yes, three of them abstained from voting.
The lone "no" vote came from Clarksville Mayor Joe Pitts.

“My ‘no’ vote was a combination of wanting to support law enforcement and their concern about the practical effect of the resolution,” Pitts said in an email following Thursday’s meeting.

“We were hanging amendments on the original resolution like ornaments on a Christmas tree to make it more palatable.”

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