San Bernardino County Fire crews were able to knock down a major two-alarm commercial fire in Adelanto Wednesday evening.
Authorities said the fire crews responded to the large commercial blaze in the 18000 block of Baldwin Street at around 4:35 p.m. Wednesday and went into defensive mode to protect other nearby homes and a strip mall center.
Officials said they think the fire started at a nursery on Baldwin Street. There were reportedly several explosions, possibly from propane tanks used at the business where the fire raged.
About 50 firefighters were called out to manage the blaze. No injuries were reported, and fire damage did not extend to any homes or the neighboring strip mall.
Two people were arrested and accused of sparking the fire. According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department, Peng Wei and Jing Wei Ping are accused of running an illegal cannabis grow operation which sparked the massive fire. After the fire was knocked down, investigators found evidence of a butane extraction lab, a marijuana extraction system, cash, two unserialized firearms and a large quantity of processed and concentrated marijuana.
Seizures of marijuana and ammunition at Michigan’s border with Canada have increased over the past year or so despite travel restrictions between the U.S. and Canada due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Detroit Field Office for U.S. Customs and Border Protection says Thursday that marijuana confiscated last year was up nearly 2,800% from fiscal year 2019. Fiscal year 2021 enforcement statistics show more than 14,000 pounds of marijuana, 240 pounds of cocaine, more than 25 pounds of methamphetamine and nearly three pounds of fentanyl were seized at ports of entry into Michigan.
The Detroit Field Office’s responsibilities include the Ambassador Bridge and Detroit Windsor Tunnel in Detroit and the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron.
South Carolina is one of 14 states that doesn’t allow medicinal marijuana use.
Senate Bill 150 aims to change that, but York County Sheriff Kevin Tolson is voicing his opposition to the legislation. He held a law enforcement forum to discuss the bill.
“If you’re going to call it medicine, then let’s treat it like medicine,” said SLED Chief Mark Keel.
Tolson added, “There is a concern amongst some leaders that this really isn’t about medical marijuana, the end game is recreational marijuana.”
The bill, filed by Republican Senator Tom Davis, states qualified patients includes those with chronic pain, people with PTSD and other debilitating medical conditions.
Oklahoma needs to move on from the “Wild West” that emerged with legalization of medical marijuana by strengthening regulation of the industry, a state lawmaker said.
State Rep. Sean Roberts, a Republican from Hominy, said Wednesday that he’ll introduce legislation this year to modify both the Oklahoma Medical Marijuana and Patient Protection Act and Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Waste Management Act. Goals are to cut down on illegal cultivation of marijuana and to address rising influences of “foreign actors” on state interests.
“These changes that I am proposing will stop the many illegal operations in our state run by foreign actors, such as criminal Chinese enterprises or cartels, who participate in human trafficking and are smuggling their illegal narcotics out of Oklahoma to other states,” Roberts said.
If passed, Roberts’ legislation would alter Oklahoma Medical Marijuana Authority ownership residency requirements for businesses. Specifically, it would change OMMA residency requirements from 75% of owners living in Oklahoma to 100%. It also proposes that Oklahomans found to be acting as “middlemen” for entities outside the state would face potential suspension of business licenses.
“When medical marijuana was legalized in Oklahoma, it basically created a ‘Wild West’ situation as we did not have enough legal structure in place to address all future issues that could arise,” Roberts said.
The Carlisle County Sheriff's Office says a woman accused of giving marijuana and alcohol to two minors was arrested Tuesday.
The sheriff's office says its investigation began when the Carlisle County School District contacted investigators regarding a threat the woman allegedly made against a student. Investigators later learned that there was no threat, and the report was the result of a miscommunication between a student and a staff member.
However, the investigation into that report led authorities to charge the woman — 34-year-old Christin Cole — with multiple criminal charges regarding other alleged offenses.
Nearly two decades ago, on a high desert road in San Bernardino County, Sara Rodriguez was pulled over and arrested with 10 small packets of cannabis in her car. She was convicted of a felony, possession of the drug for sale, and eventually spent more than two years in prison.
In the years since, Rodriguez, 39, became the first in her family to go to college, and in June graduated from UCLA with a master’s degree in social welfare.
But Rodriguez still has a felony on her record — a potential black mark for employers and the state social work licensing board.
When California voters legalized cannabis for recreational use in 2016, one promise was the creation of a legal pathway through the courts for clearing many past marijuana-related convictions or reducing them to a lesser charge.
At least 34,000 marijuana records still have not been fully processed by the courts, according to an analysis of data provided by court officials throughout the state. The number was more than twice that in August, before The Times began questioning the slow processing times.
Registered patients would be subject to purchase limits that would restrict them to no more than 3.5 grams of cannabis flower, 1 gram of concentrate, or up to 100 milligrams of THC in infused products.
A new bill to legalize medical marijuana was introduced in Mississippi on Tuesday and on Wednesday afternoon, the Senate Public Health and Welfare Committee approved the measure by a voice vote. The bill is expected to be taken up on the floor as soon as Thursday, reported Marijuana Moment. A medical cannabis program could start in 2022.
SB 2095, sponsored by Sen. Kevin Blackwell (R), would allow patients with about two dozen specific medical conditions (such as cancer, Parkinson’s, Huntington’s, muscular dystrophy, glaucoma, HIV, AIDS, hepatitis, Alzheimer’s, as well as chronic medical conditions) to qualify for medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.
The stakes were high — and scary — at a South Dakota community center card game. A group of seniors inadvertently ate a batch of cannabis brownies brought by a 73-year-old woman who didn’t know that her adult son had baked them with THC butter. The incident happened last Tuesday in Tabor, a town with a population of 423 people, according to an affidavit obtained by The Smoking Gun. Police responded to several calls of a “possible poisoning” and found that all the patients had been playing cards at the Tabor Community Center and were “under the influence.”
Cops arrested Michael Koranda, 43, after he reportedly told them he had cooked the illicit goods with half a pound of THC butter he bought in Colorado, where recreational cannabis is legal.Michael Koranda’s mother reportedly took the brownies he baked after he went to bed.
Koranda then went to bed and “his mother unknowingly took the brownies to the card game where several people ate them,” the affidavit read. He was charged with possession of a controlled drug or substance, which is punishable to 5 years in prison, according to the report.
Cannabis edibles can have a significantly stronger effect on users than smokable marijuana. Manufacturers warn that it is easy to accidentally ingest a paralyzing amount by overconsuming the tasty treats.
South Dakota voters approved an amendment to legalize recreational cannabis in November, but that referendum was struck down by the state’s high court.
As of Jan. 1, Oregonians can legally purchase up to two ounces of cannabis flower from licensed retailers, NORML reports. In a Dec. 28 meeting, Oregon's Liquor and Cannabis Commission approved new rules, including doubling how much marijuana customers can purchase and giving the green light to home delivery across city and county lines, among other issues. (Click here for Benzinga article.)
The new provisions are expected to help streamline oversight of the industry, reduce violence and help keep children from accessing hemp products containing THC, the agency said.
Last year, lawmakers enacted legislation, Senate Bill 408, allowing the amount of cannabis flower that adults can possess to two ounces and more when they're in their homes.
Ending Illegal Weed Grows & Decriminalization Efforts
The new rules have taken effect on the heels of Oregon lawmakers passing Senate Bill 893 and Senate Bill 5561 last month, with a goal of putting an end to illicit cannabis cultivation by creating better infrastructure to fight the proliferation of illegal marijuana grows in Southern Oregon.
In November, voters in Oregon approved Measure 110, which will decriminalize the possession of small amounts of all illegal drugs, such as cocaine, heroin, oxycodone, methamphetamine and LSD, as well as create a support program for drug abuse and addiction.
Armed men in pickup trucks rule over vast illicit industry that has transformed rural counties, depleting water and scaring locals
Christopher Hall parks his old Toyota on a dirt road that dead-ends in a forest in Oregon’s Illinois Valley. He points out a cluster of greenhouses surrounded by piles of trash, and the hillside above, which has been terraced and entirely stripped of vegetation. Guard dogs run through a small clearing, barking at us.
Two men pull up almost instantly in a Honda with busted headlights; the driver asks Hall what he’s doing there. For a bespectacled middle-aged conservationist, Hall is surprisingly reckless. Even though he can see the men are armed, he yells back at them: “Where are you from? We know what you’re doing here is illegal! How many plants are you growing?” One man says they’re from Serbia and claims they have a license to grow as another truck pulls up.
I tell Hall I think we should move on, and he reluctantly shifts into drive but is unable to resist a few parting shots:
“Do you think you can just keep trashing our streams? Have some respect for the land!”
Pot was legalized for recreational use in Oregon in 2015, making it legal for any person to grow up to four plants. But in the past year, longtime locals have been alarmed by the rapid proliferation of unlicensed pot farms, unprecedented in terms of size and allegedly controlled by crime syndicates from eastern Europe, China and Mexico.
Like many other states, Wyoming is gearing up for cannabis reform on the legislative sector in 2022. Here’s to positive change!
Activists in Wyoming are circulating petitions for two ballot measures to reform cannabis policy in the state, including one to legalize medical marijuana and a second to reduce penalties for cannabis-related crimes.
Wyoming is one of about a dozen states that have not yet passed laws to legalize cannabis in some form, despite data from the University of Wyoming that shows a majority of residents support cannabis reform and 85 percent support legalizing medical cannabis. Last year, a bill to study medical marijuana and another measure to legalize and regulate cannabis died in the Wyoming House of Representatives without a hearing, despite both measures gaining the approval of the House Judiciary Committee.
Activists Advance Two Ballot Proposals
Due to the legislature’s inability to pass cannabis legislation, the Libertarian Party of Wyoming is leading the campaign for two ballot initiatives to reform marijuana policy in the state. The first proposal would legalize the medicinal use of cannabis, while the second would reduce the penalties for cannabis offenses.
To qualify an initiative to legalize cannabis for the ballot in Wyoming, organizers will have to collect enough signatures to total 15 percent of the vote cast in the 2020 general election, when voter turnout was particularly high because of the hotly contested presidential race. The initiative campaign is also required to collect signatures from 15 percent of voters in at least two-thirds of Wyoming’s 23 counties.
Approximately 278,000 people voted in the general election in 2020, meaning that activists will have to collect more than 41,000 qualified voter signatures for each initiative to qualify for the 2024 election. Initiative campaigns are given an 18-month window to collect the required signatures, setting a deadline for the cannabis legalization measure organizers until January 23 to meet the requirement.
A medical marijuana shop in Flint is looking to add recreational pot use to its business.
At tonight’s city council meeting, members discussed approving a license for the local dispensary located in Flint’s 8th ward.
During the meeting, Councilman of the 8th ward, Dennis Pfiffer, stated that he was not in favor of granting the dispensary a license and believes that doing so will increase crime within his ward.
Other council members were not in agreeance with Pfiffer and immediately dismissed the idea of blocking the facility from being granted a license for sell of recreational use of marijuana, citing other marijuana facilities that are operating within the community with a lack of issues.
Councilman Quincy Murphy of the 3rd ward temporarily sided with Pfiffer in his disagreement with granting the center a license, but later changed his stance.
Maryland lawmakers are meeting this week to start their 90-day legislative session to discuss topics concerning the $4.5 billion budget surplus, COVID-19, climate change and legalizing recreational marijuana.
The Democratic-controlled Maryland General Assembly will plan how to manage the surplus for the current and upcoming fiscal years, and state Senate President Bill Ferguson said they need to be careful how they approach the budget.
"I think people have heard this $4.6 billion like it's time that we can fund everything possible, but we've got to be very, very thoughtful and moderate about how we approach it, because we don't want to set ourselves up for a fiscal cliff in two to three years from now," Ferguson said.
"The House will pass legislation early next year to put this question before the voters but we need to start looking at changes needed to state law now," Jones said.
Hogan, who is entering his last session as governor, also said he will be proposing an increase in the state's Rainy Day Fund as well as tax relief. The governor has been trying to win tax relief for retirees for years.
Florida's 2022 legislative session kicks off on Tuesday and this year lawmakers are working to pass a bipartisan medical marijuana bill.
Florida doesn’t have recreational marijuana and for its medical marijuana program, people have to have a valid medical reason and need to be able to get the marijuana prescribed.
“I think the first thing to understand about 679 is this is the first bipartisan marijuana package we’ve really run as a state in five years since the constitutional amendment passed. Just getting both sides to agree on a way forward, I count this as a win already,” said Learned.
House Bill 679 also regulates the use and sale of delta-8, a marijuana product with less THC.
“It’s still legal we’re just changing some definitions and making sure the product is safe and tested, and we’re also limiting them to the sale of over 21. Right now there’s no age limit so children can buy this stuff,” said Learned.
Facing a possible industry revolt over California cannabis tax structure, Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday signaled that he is open to rethinking the taxes the state levels on marijuana growers and purchases. The governor included in a budget proposal he released this week that he “supports cannabis tax reform and plans to work with the Legislature to make modifications to California’s cannabis tax policy to help stabilize the market.”
Asked to expand on the language at a press conference, Newsom said, “There was intention by having that language in the budget. It is my goal to look at tax policy to stabilize the market.”
Newsom’s budget projects that the state will collect $787 million in cannabis revenue during the 2022-23 tax year. Of that, the budget estimates that nearly $595 million will be available to be allocated to youth substance abuse treatment, clean-up of illicit cannabis grows and support public safety-related activities. It’s been a bumpy road for legal cannabis in California since voters approved adult-use sales in 2016. Cannabis activity, including cultivation, distribution and retail, remains outlawed in much of the state, as cities and counties have been reluctant to authorize such activities. Newsom said his goal is “to get these municipalities to wake up to the opportunities to get rid of the illegal market and the illicit market and provide support and a regulatory framework for the legal market.” Newsom’s statements, and budget proposal, came as welcome news to Elizabeth Ashford, vice president of communications for Eaze, a cannabis delivery company. Ashford previously worked for Govs. Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
“I think Gov. Newsom knows and his advisers know that they can’t let the legal market fail,” Ashford said in a telephone interview after Newsom unveiled his budget proposal.
“It’s extremely important that the steps that state government can take are taken. They need to take these steps.”
“Small possession of marijuana is not the type of violation that we want to stockpile jails with,” Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Monday.
As greater numbers of Texas voters sour on harsh punishment for marijuana offenses, Austin voters will likely decide in November whether to effectively decriminalize the drug.
The ballot measure, pushed by the group Ground Game Texas, would forbid Austin police officers in most cases from ticketing or arresting people on low-level pot charges like possessing small amounts of the drug or related paraphernalia — unless the offenses are tied to more severe crimes. The city also would not pay to test substances suspected to be marijuana — a key step in substantiating drug charges.
Both practices have already been informally adopted in Austin, but advocates want to solidify them at the November ballot box.
“The primary effect is that it would make the decriminalization that exists in Austin today actually long term and would put the force of law behind it,” said Chris Harris, policy director at Austin Justice Coalition.
Austin law enforcement has met the idea with varying degrees of hostility and indifference in recent years. After the Austin City Council informally asked the Police Department in 2020 to halt citations and arrests for misdemeanor marijuana charges, then-Chief Brian Manley said the council doesn’t have the authority to tell him not to enforce state law. And officers still have latitude to decide whether to make arrests and write citations.
The proven perks of taxable marijuana sales that benefit legalized states are beginning to outweigh the antiquated “gateway drug” mentality in many areas of the nation.
When liberal leaning states like California, Washington and Colorado sparked the movement towards marijuana legalization it hardly invoked much surprise. Marijuana legalization seemed closely connected to progressive liberal ideals at the time. It was also not earth-shattering news when recreational marijuana sales in these Democratic states skyrocketed and these states all reaped tangible benefits.
Recently, the Republican-leaning state of Montana legalized recreational marijuana, and it has already posted impressive sales numbers. In the first weekend alone, the 20% sales tax on recreational cannabis raised $313,396 in tax revenue for the state.
This may come as a slight shock to those who see marijuana legalization as a solely partisan issue. Montana, however, is simply a friendly reminder that in 2022 some Republican-leaning states enjoy marijuana just as much as their blue state neighbors.
Since its legalization in 2014, recreational marijuana has steadily increased in popularity over time. In 2020, the state of Alaska collected 24.2 million dollars in marijuana taxes and fees according to the state of Alaska annual report.
According to Forbes, “In 2022, many states will seek to legalize cannabis in an effort to address their electorate’s interest in revising current drug policies, creating a safe and stable marketplace, and mitigating the risks posed by the existence of the illicit market.”
Most states in the U.S. are in violation of a major federal drug statute.
The 1971 Controlled Substances Act lists marijuana in the most dangerous category defined in the law, on par with cocaine and heroin because of its supposed potential for abuse and lack of medical applications.
But 36 states plus the District of Columbia allow either full legalization for adult use or wide scale medical use, putting them at odds with federal law. Congress so far has been unable to come up with a solution, despite support from leading Democrats for a smoother relationship between the states and the federal government.
State acceptance happened quickly, with Colorado and Washington the first to legalize adult use less than 10 years ago. By the first of the year, marijuana possession will be legal for all adults in 18 states — including Arizona, Colorado, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon and Virginia –— that make up 44 percent of the national population.
That number has recently been growing: The governors of New Mexico and Virginia signed their legalization laws just this year. Montana’s, enacted through a ballot measure in 2020, will go into effect New Year’s Day.
For some time after the Supreme Court shot down a vote of the people to create a Mississippi medical marijuana, it appeared fait accompli that lawmakers would enact a program, per the “will of the voters.”
Legislative leaders got to work over the summer to draft a bill. Gov. Tate Reeves said he would call lawmakers into special session to pass it once there was general agreement on the plan.
But it took a while to get such a draft together, and it wasn’t until late September that legislative leaders told Reeves they had consensus on a bill. Then Reeves said he had problems with it — particularly that it would allow patients to receive too much marijuana (even though the 4 ounces a month was less than the 5 ounces voters had approved in 2020). Law enforcement, religious, medical and other lobbies stepped up opposition to the measure.
As the debate devolved into how many joints can be rolled from a gram of pot, the potential for a special session faded. Last week, the regular legislative session began, and whatever golden hour there might have been for medical marijuana after the 2020 passage of Initiative 65 appears to have faded.
RECENT FROM MISSISSIPPI TODAY:
As time drags on, passage of a Mississippi medical marijuana program in a legislative session crowded with many other major issues becomes less assured , or even less likely. Senate leadership has indicated they intend to move relatively quickly — as early as this week — on the issue, but even those that support a program in general are coming up with pet peeves with the draft or things they want taken out or put into the measure. Alternative bills are being drafted.
“Outside of the 1950s B horror movies, it has never been the job of the government to protect you from a plant,” Rep. Max Abramson (R) said ahead of Thursday’s vote.
On Thursday, the GOP-controlled New Hampshire House of Representatives approved a bill to legalize marijuana possession and personal cultivation for adults. Members passed the legislation, sponsored by Rep. Carol McGuire (R), in a 241-113 vote.
This comes one day after the chamber narrowly rejected a separate, broader legalization proposal that would have regulated commercial production and sales, reported Marijuana Moment.
“It is not—and never has been—the job of the government to try to protect you from hurting yourself,” Rep. Max Abramson (R) said ahead of Thursday’s vote.
“And outside of the 1950s B horror movies, it has never been the job of the government to protect you from a plant.”
“This is truly a bipartisan issue with strong and wide support from Granite Staters,” Rep. Mark Warden (R) said.