With the looming November 2 vote on Amendment 2, which would expand medical marijuana in Florida for specific diseases and conditions, one thing is clear: Weed is a polarizing topic. As New Times reported in August, according to one of the most respected marijuana-usage surveys in America, roughly half the residents in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties think smoking weed once a month is “harmful” and should be avoided. The other half rallied for legalization in our Facebook comments.
The old cotton gin on the west edge of Gunter seems an odd place to launch an economic boom. A breeze blows through broken windows and holes in its rusting, corrugated metal walls. Inside, a half-dozen or so squat machines that once separated cotton from seed sit corroding in a jumble of elevated metal walkways and busted machinery. Fistfuls of cotton, blackened by age and dirt, still rest in their bins.
High above, a buzzard ruffles its wings from its perch on the edge of a gaping hole in the roof. Visitors have driven it from the eggs it’s brooding in a tin flue near the gin’s floor, so Patrick Thomas Moran urges his guests to step outside.
“We don’t want to disturb the mamma buzzard,” he says.
A buzzard setting up a nursery on a factory’s floor is generally a good sign that the time has come to call in the wrecking crew and start looking for greener pastures, but Moran has plans to relight this old gin with a new cash crop, even if he has to ruffle a few feathers. The CEO and managing partner of AcquiFlow LLC, which bills itself as “the first open, transparent and legal Texas-based cannabis company,” wants to strip out the old machinery and build a cannabis oil production facility inside the gin’s old shell.
When the South American nation of Uruguay became the first country to officially legalize marijuana last year, headlines about $1 grams of cannabis made news around the world.
As it turns out, $1 per gram is considered to be outrageous in nearby Paraguay, where weed can be had for a mere $0.06/g.
“People in the state of California unfortunately have to be aware of the inherent risk that the feds may come in and shut you down.” – Nathan Shaman, CA-based Attorney
Earlier this year, 25-year old Zack Curcie was at work as a gardener on a 10-acre parcel of land being used to cultivate medical marijuana in the foothills of southern California.
Though the grow site was legal under California state law, and the people behind it went to great lengths to follow the state’s 18-year old pot laws as best they could, on September 24th Curcie, an Iraq War vet, found out what it is like to be on the other side of a military-style raid as aggressive San Diego-based Narcotics Task Force (NTF) agents stormed the property with weapons raised.
Back in 2008, a massive DEA sweep through suburban Philadelphia took down a multimillion dollar cannabis cultivation ring, resulting in the arrest and indictment of twelve Vietnamese Americans who stood accused of conspiring to grow thousands of highly illegal pot plants across several grow sites in Berks County, Pennsylvania.
Among those rounded up in the raids was then 40-year old Dung Bui, also known as “Danny Bui”. Facing compounded consequences due to the fact that his grow site was within spitting distance of a school-owned park, Bui pled guilty to charges of conspiracy to manufacture more than 1,000 marijuana plants and manufacturing and distributing marijuana within 1,000 feet of an athletic field owned by the school district.
Now, six years later, the 3rd Circuit Court has tossed the 2008 ruling out the window, vacating Bui’s guilty plea based on his appeal that he was given bad advice by his attorney.
Deborah & Dennis Little had their home raided in 2012, now they’re fighting back
Two years ago, in September of 2012, a law enforcement helicopter buzzed over the top of Dennis Little’s land in the quiet country town of Ramona, California. One month later, a joint task force comprised of local law enforcement officers and DEA agents kicked down Mr. Little’s door and arrested him and his wife on suspicion of cultivating illegal amounts of marijuana.
In March of 2013, San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis took them to court on the charges, and one full year later, in March of this year, they beat her at her own game and were fully acquitted of all charges by a jury of their peers.
With two years of their lives turned upside down, thousands of dollars lost to lawyers and courts, and a hard reputation to shake in a small town, one might think that the Little’s would be happy to put it all behind them. But they have some justice of their own to attend to first.
In recent weeks, around a thousand marijuana dispensaries across the states of California, Colorado, and Washington have received a marketing flyer advertising a partnership opportunity with the 3rd richest man in the world, Warren Buffet.
Well, it’s not exactly a partnership, and the flyers didn’t exactly come from Mr. Buffet himself, and really, they weren’t even aimed primarily at the dispensaries they were sent to. But with weed growing faster than warehouse space, Berkshire Hathaway subsidiary Cubic Designs, Inc. has stepped into the industry with a proven solution that promises to double the yield on each harvest.
“Instead of putting this guy in jail, somebody should be studying him,” Dr. Charles Goldman, cancer surgeon at Mercy Hospital in Des Moines
Unless you are one of the very few who qualify for Iowa’s recently passed, and highly restrictive, medical marijuana program, the law is clear in the Hawkeye State when it comes to possessing and growing cannabis.
A first offense of possessing any amount of weed in Iowa can earn you a fat $1000 fine and up to six months in the clink. If they catch you growing pot in Iowa, you’ll be looking at a much steeper fine and anywhere from five, to twenty five, years in prison.
So it was kind of a big deal when 48-year old Benton Mackenzie left the courtroom with just probation yesterday, after being found guilty of cultivating 71 cannabis plants after a police raid on their property back in June of last year. Under the circumstances, however, it’s easy to see why the Judge showed some leniency.
Harvest season is upon us. We’re not talking about tomatoes, lettuce and carrots. We’re talking about that most green of crops, marijuana. Late summer marks the beginning of bud harvesting in the Emerald Triangle growing region of Northern California, perhaps the most productive cannabis region in the United States. And California’s historic drought is having its effect on what has described as California’s biggest cash crop.
Ed Rosenthal, an expert in marijuana cultivation known for his books on the topic, says that the drought is already showing its results when it comes to Golden State cannabis. “Crops will be 10 to 20 percent smaller,” he said.
More at the LA Weekly.
It’s becoming a sadly regular occurrence that Houston-area police are busting huge pot grows. Tuesday, cops in Polk County northeast of Houston say they busted a grow with more than 9,600 plants.
But there have been few arrests made, and try as they might you can still buy pot today in Houston.