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marijuana-arrest.jpgadmin | Toke of the Town

Arrests for possession are ongoing even in legal states.

Here’s your daily round-up of pot-news, excerpted from the newsletter WeedWeek. Download WeedWeek’s free 2016 election guide here.

A study from the ACLU and Human Rights Watch found that more people are arrested for pot possession in the U.S. than for all violent crimes combined. See the report here.
Arizona’s REC debate has led to questions about how drug smugglers would adapt. REC supporters say traffickers will lose business. Opponents say they’ll switch to selling heroin and crystal meth.
marijuana-money-credit-paul-geilfuss-Shutterstock.com-1200Paul Geilfuss / Shutterstock.com

The stigma is shrinking and the money is growing.

The following is excerpted from the newsletter WeedWeek. Get your free and confidential subscription at WeedWeek.net.

Private equity investment in weed is heating up. Canadian MED company Organigram raised $17.5M. Denver’s Baker Technologies, a software company which helps dispensaries win and retain customers, raised $1.6M. The industry’s average seed round is $1M according to investment firm Poseidon Asset Management.

Commodities investor Jim Rogers, who started Quantum Fund with George Soros, has invested in PharmaCielo, a Canadian company that won the first license to grow MED in Colombia.

CMH Brands, a company which processes Willie Nelson brand Willie’s Reserve, acquired Denver Relief’s grow and manufacturing facilities. The deal comes weeks after Denver Relief sold a store to Terrapin Station.

The Clinic’s new flagship store in Denver cost more than $1M. A JPMorgan analyst thinks Scotts Miracle-Gro’s push into the industry will benefit the stock. Bloomberg BusinessWeek interviewed Dixie CEO Tripp Keber.

Fast Company looks at what it’s like to work for social media app MassRoots.

San Jose, Calif., dispensary Medimarts promised a court fight against a ruling that it owes $767,000 in taxes and late fees.

787 drivers were involved in Colorado’s 546 driving fatalities last year. Of the drivers, 59, or 7.1% tested positive for cannabis but not other drugs. The total number of fatalities was down from 606 in 2005.

Researchers found that a Vermont Department of Health study was overly negative and did not account for the possibility of legalization alleviating the state’s opioid crisis. This year the state legislature failed to pass a REC bill that was widely expected to become law.

In the Des Moines Register, the founder of an addiction center writes that pot is still dangerous. “We see the faces of marijuana addicts first hand. And it’s not funny. We see people who struggle with simple tasks at school and work.  People incapable of perceiving or expressing emotion. People who suffer from higher incidence of mental health diagnoses, such as schizophrenia, paranoia and anxiety.”

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The Washington State Liquor Control Board yesterday announced the 929 applications to the state recreational marijuana program so far.
Included in that total are 444 grow operation applications, 327 cannabis processing licenses which include edibles manufacturers and 158 retail applications. In all, the state will license 334 marijuana stores, though they do not have a limit on growers or processing the state is putting a cap on the total amount of cannabis that can be produced overall.

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Dwayne Bowe.

Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Dwayne Bowe is the latest NFL player to be involved in a marijuana-related incident after being arrested for speeding and possession of pot early Sunday morning in Riverside, Missouri.
According to cops, Bowe was pulled over in his A8 Audio for doing 48 mph in a 35 mph zone and when the cop walked up to the car he says he smelled a “strong odor of marijuana”. The cops then called in a local K-9 dog that sniffed out about 10 grams of herb in Bowe’s car and another seven grams or so on a passenger in the car, George Thompson.
Bowe posted a $750 bond and was released.

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KING 5
Frank Schnarr, Frankie’s Bar & Grill: “To bring in another type of person to come in my establishment is a plus for me”

Things are changing in Washington state now that residents voted last month to legalize marijuana. As of Thursday, Washingtonians can smoke weed in the privacy of their own homes. And now, Frankie’s Bar & Grill in the capital city of Olympia has invited pot smokers to toke up there.

Owner Frank Schnarr, 62, said he hasn’t smoked any marijuana since he fought in Vietnam in the 1970s, but he could sure use the extra income. “I’m about to lose my business,” he told Jonathan Kaminsky of Reuters. “So I’ve got to figure out some way to get people in here.”
“To bring in another type of person to come in my establishment is a plus for me,” Schnarr told MyNorthwest.com.

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Sensible Washington

Sensible Kitsap, a local group of volunteer cannabis activists, is hosting a march in downtown Bremerton, Washington, on Saturday, June 9 at 12 noon. The march is in support of Sensible Washington’s Bremerton Marijuana Reform Act of 2012. The petition needs 2,000 signatures by June 11 to meet a city deadline of June 13.
The Bremerton Marijuana Reform Act would make arrests for responsible adult use, and possession of marijuana, a low enforcement priority, as has been done in Seattle and Tacoma with great success.

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Mike Purdy’s Public Contracting Blog
The Washington State Capitol building in Olympia

​History was made on Wednesday as 42 members of the Washington Legislature petitioned the head of the Drug Enforcement Administration to reschedule marijuana from its current Schedule I status to a less restrictive classification to allow for its medical use.

“I don’t think a state legislature has done this before,” Seattle-based activist Philip Dawdy told Toke of the Town Thursday evening.

Among the lawmakers signing the letter to DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart was Rep. Timm Ormsby, brother of federal prosecutor Michael Ormsby, U.S. Attorney for Eastern Washington. Ormsby, along with Western Washington U.S. Attorney Jenny Durkan, last year oversaw a federal crackdown on medical marijuana dispensaries in the state.

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Photo: Hemp Beach TV

​The city of Federal Way, Washington, just south of Seattle, is trying to shut down three medical marijuana dispensaries, claiming they are illegal under state law. Two of the businesses are fighting back, appealing the city’s denial of their business licenses.

Federal Way city officials claim they are trying to enforce the state’s medical marijuana law, but they may run out of time if the Legislature changes that law in the coming weeks, reports Steve Maynard at The Tacoma News Tribune.

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Graphic: OC NORML

​The Washington Cannabis Association has announced its support for a historic and sweeping medical cannabis reform bill — S. 5073 — which is set to have its first legislative committee hearing Thursday in the State Senate’s Health and Long-Term Care Committee.

According to a January 20 press release from the group, the WCA “supports the bill with some modifications and recognizes that it could clean up our state’s medical cannabis law for the good of medical cannabis patients, their providers and law enforcement.”
Sponsored by State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Queen Anne), S. 5073 [PDF] would for the first time offer Washington medical marijuana patients true arrest protection and would offer legal protection to dispensaries and producers, while also regulating them under the authority of state agencies.

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Graphic: Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Directory
Dispensaries already exist in at least King, Pierce and Snohomish counties, but if a new bill passes the Washington Legislature in 2011, they could operate statewide

​State Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles will introduce a bill in the Legislature this week which would permit medical marijuana dispensaries to open across Washington state.

Washington’s medical marijuana law doesn’t specifically allow dispensaries, reports Dominic Holden at The Stranger, but the shops are already proliferating in some areas, existing in a legal gray area that is yet to be sorted out.
Existing dispensaries — concentrated in the Seattle and Tacoma areas — often avoid drawing attention by inconspicuously setting up shop in industrial areas and office buildings (although I’ve personally been to more than one storefront dispensary in King County). If Kohl-Welles’s bill passes, though, the state Department of health would permit the shops to operate statewide as nonprofit corporations, likely resulting in more open advertising and more visibility.
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