Co-founder of cannabis church in Denver found guilty of public pot consumption. Authorities struggle to tell the difference between hemp and marijuana. A mother who was featured in the rejected Super Bowl ad speaks out about the CBS rejection. Also: Psilocybin decriminalization is going to be on the Denver ballot. 🍄🌳
Cannabis church founder convicted of public pot smoking. Co-founder of a Denver cannabis church Steve Berke was found guilty by a jury in a cannabis consumption case. “The case was the first to attempt to address a question Colorado pot smokers and industry experts have been asking since marijuana was legalized five years ago: What is the definition of ‘open and public’ consumption or marijuana?” Berke said he is considering an appeal and criticized the prosecution as a waste of taxpayers’ money. “They spent tens of thousands of dollars and they’ve now collected a $50 fine,” said Berke. The Denver Post “A judge declared a mistrial in the case a year ago due to a lack of jurors. At the time, some potential jurors openly questioned the point of devoting city resources to the case.” CPR
Is it hemp or marijuana? After authorities seized a truckload of cannabis in Oklahoma, alleging that the plants were marijuana and not hemp, the lab testing results mostly confirmed that the shipment contained hemp. Eleven samples were tested for THC content, and “only two found to be marginally over the legal THC limit and outside of the test’s margins of error.” The prosecutor is sending the entire truck to Colorado to test the entire nine tons of cannabis. The most potent sample tested so far found 0.5 percent THC — above the 0.3 percent legal threshold for hemp but still well below any marijuana products. “The unresolved situation has exposed how unprepared Oklahoma — and probably other states — is for legal industrial hemp.” Tulsa World A company is suing the Idaho State Police after cops seized more than 6,701 pounds of cannabis. The Idaho cops alleged that the plant material was illegal marijuana, but the company says that it is industrial hemp. A spokesperson for the state police says the substance is still being lab tested. Idaho Statesman
Maine authorities order stores to remove some CBD products. The Maine Department of Health and Human Services has ordered stores to remove edible CBD products, citing federal regulations. “The ruling threatens to derail Maine’s fast-growing hemp industry, in which farmers, extraction labs and retailers are investing millions of dollars, at a time when the CBD market is poised for explosive growth.” Health inspectors have told store owners that they can continue selling other CBD products that can be smoked, vaped, or applied as a topical. Hemp entrepreneurs in the state are worried, and plan to rally at the State Capitol on Tuesday. Portland Press Herald
Two women sue Pa. cop over sexual assault. Two women have filed a federal lawsuit against a Pennsylvania police officer, alleging that he sexually assaulted them. One woman was pulled over by Mark Icker in December despite having no probable cause, according to the complaint. Icker handcuffed the woman, searched her car, and found a partially smoked joint. “Icker told the woman she was facing felony charges, despite knowing the most she could be charged with was a misdemeanor count of possessing marijuana, the attorneys wrote… Icker then brought the woman to the police station and coerced her to perform oral sex on him in a bathroom, the complaint alleges. Afterward, Icker kept the woman’s driver’s license and sent her a friend request on social media, the complaint says.” Citizens’ Voice
Pro-pot presidential candidates. Senator Cory Booker (D-N.J.) is calling for marijuana legalization and criminal justice reform as part of his 2020 presidential campaign. The Hill U.S. rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) called out the criminal justice system for jailing cannabis consumers during a speech announcing the launch of her 2020 presidential campaign. Marijuana Moment Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is reportedly exploring a bid for the presidency. But unlike senator Kamala Harris, who has been criticized for portraying herself as a “progressive prosecutor,” Klobuchar “makes no pretense of having been anything but ‘tough on crime'” during her time as a county prosecutor. Filter Related: A look at where other candidates stand on marijuana policy. Circa
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Mother of MMJ patient in rejected Super Bowl ad speaks out. “It makes me feel like somebody’s playing a game with our son’s life and so many others,” said Amy Bourlon-Hilterbran, whose epileptic son is featured in the Super Bowl ad that CBS rejected. Bourlon-Hilterbran said she does not understand why advertisements for alcohol and pharmaceutical drugs are allowed during the broadcast, but that a public service announcement about medical cannabis would be rejected. “It’s not just unfair, it’s cruel,” she said about federal prohibition. The Oklahoma native moved to Colorado after doctors said her son only had two years to live. A last-ditch effort to save him using medical marijuana worked and made her into a medical marijuana advocate. The Daily Record
Replacing pharmaceuticals with medical marijuana. Illinois has launched its Opioids Alternative Pilot Program, which allows patients who have been prescribed opioids to use cannabis instead. One patient — who had been using black market marijuana to treat pain from sickle cell anemia — was able to buy her medicine legally for the first time under the program. “I can’t get in trouble for this. It feels really good to do this the right way,” she said. Clinics and dispensaries alike have been fielding calls from patients interested in the program, which is expected to increase the number of medical marijuana patients in the state significantly. The Chicago Tribune
MMJ for autism. A new study out of Israel found that cannabis oil was effective for treating autism-related symptoms including seizures and rage attacks in pediatric patients. “Overall, more than 80 percent of the parents reported significant or moderate improvement in their child,” said the co-author of the study, which was published in Nature. The researchers looked at data from 188 patients over two years — a majority of whom were taking a cannabis oil that contained 30 percent CBD and 1.5 percent THC. “Furthermore, 42.9 percent of patients were able to dress and shower independently after the treatment, an improvement from 26.4 percent.” Times of Israel
Cannabis in Canada. A cutting-edge aquaponics marijuana farm in Canada says its closed-loop system can raise 6,000 tilapia and 4,500 cannabis plants at once. The company, Green Relief, says it sees 10-20 percent better yields and uses 90 percent less water than traditional grows. It donates about about 300 tilapia to homeless shelters every five weeks. Reuters Analysts say that Big Pharma is poised to get into the Canadian cannabis industry once the U.S. federal government legalizes it. Marijuana Business Daily How a cannabis growing facility in Kelowna is getting into the clone business, predicting huge demand from other licensed producers, craft growers, and individuals. Global News Some are worried about the government’s cap on edibles potency. The Hamilton Spectator
Psilocybin decrim makes the Denver ballot. A campaign to decriminalize psilocybin mushrooms has made the ballot in Denver, Colorado. Voters will get a chance to weigh in on the issue this May. If voters approve the measure, Denver would become the first city in the U.S. to decriminalize the substance. The mayor opposes the ballot question. “Nothing on our ballot question would do anything to increase access – it does not allow for distribution and sale,” said the campaign’s director, seeking to dispel worries about the initiative. Reuters
Word on the States
- In California, high taxes are only part of the problem for the state’s low cannabis sales. Police destroyed more than 22,000 cannabis plants after a grower provided false information during the permit application process. How cannabis business are driving industrial development in Santa Rosa.
- In Oregon, Jackson and Josephine counties are hot spots for black market cannabis exports.
- In Colorado, the hemp industry is growing, buoyed by the Farm Bill. Denver is hiring a ‘cannabis process navigator’ to help prospective cannabis businesses navigate the red tape.
- In Arkansas, regulators are questioning whether the Democratic Party chairman’s ties to a cannabis company violates state rules.
- In New York, despite legislative leaders’ hesitance, the governor is hopeful about getting a legalization deal done by the budget deadline.
- In Pennsylvania, the Medical Marijuana Advisory Board voted to add anxiety and Tourette syndrome to the medical marijuana program.
- In Michigan, industry and health experts are concerned about recent medical marijuana recalls. What the state could learn from legalization in other states. Oakland county finally gets a licensed dispensary.
- In Minnesota, efforts to legalize marijuana suffered a setback.
- In Maryland, lawmakers are considering a bill to allow medical marijuana edibles.
- In Ohio, a trade association says that medical marijuana prices will fall as the industry grows.
- In New Mexico, how a medical marijuana producer is suing the state over tax deductions.
- In Guam, the governor supports new legislation to legalize adult-use marijuana.
Word for Word
“Last February, Terrence Wilkerson told a room full of technologists about his first day at Riker’s Island, New York City’s infamous jail… In New York’s courts, two algorithmic risk assessment tools now help judges decide whether or not to detain defendants like Wilkerson before trial. It’s not a perfect science, [Human Rights Data Analysis Group Lead Statistician Kristian] Lum argues: Because software of this kind is trained with historical data, with all its gaps and inequities, it risks reproducing past injustices. And the consequences can be dire for people like Wilkerson. ‘It comes down to ‘Bias in, bias out,” Lum says. Her goal is to reveal those biases and, when possible, find ways to correct for them using quantitative methods.” – Katia Savchuk for The Pacific Standard