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Photo: Carol Hirata/Windsor Beacon
MediGrow owner Lazarus Pino said he’s ignoring Windsor’s moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries. “I’m here for the patients. I provide medical care.”

​MediGrow, one of three medical marijuana dispensaries operating in Windsor, Colorado, has been ordered to close in compliance with a 75-day moratorium the town board passed on Dec. 16. But MediGrow’s owner, Lazarus Pino, said Tuesday he plans to stay open.

“I’m here for the patients,” Pino said, reports Lisa Mehring of the Windsor Beacon. “I provide medical care. What’s so bad about helping people medically? I’ve invested a lot of money in this place. I wish they would let me operate.”
Since the moratorium on Dec. 16, the Windsor Police Department has issued a citation every single day the business has remained open. Every citation comes with an appearance in Windsor Municipal Court.
If a judge finds MediGrow in violation, the dispensary could face a $293 fine with a $7 surcharge for every day the business remains open.
Chief of Police John Michaels said there’d been no problem in issuing the daily citations. “We go in, we issue our citation, and we make a little small talk,” Michaels said.

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Graphic: Reality Catcher

​Medical marijuana patients in Colorado have a constitutional right not only to use cannabis, but to buy it as well, a judge ruled Wednesday.

Arapahoe County District Judge Christopher Cross ruled in favor of CannaMart dispensary, which along with three patients sued the city of Centennial after the city forced it to shut down in October, reports Kristen Wyatt of The Associated Press.
CannaMart maintains that Colorado cities 
are violating the state constitution when they ban all dispensaries. Unlike similar laws in a dozen other states, Colorado’s medical marijuana law is a constitutional amendment.
The injunction granted by Judge Cross prevents Centennial from keeping CannaMart shuttered while the dispensary challenges the city’s ban on pot shops because they’re in violation of federal drug laws. The medical use of marijuana isn’t recognized under federal law.

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Graphic: laborbeat.org

​It often seems as if the mainstream media is just waiting for something — anything — bad to turn up about the effects of marijuana, despite the long, fruitless search for damning evidence.

Smoking pot is bad because it’s illegal and it’s illegal because it’s bad, goes the circular logic; with this conclusion reached beforehand, then it’s just a matter of waiting for the research to roll in.

Unfortunately for the prohibitionists, just about every unbiased scientific study ever done on the herb shows it to be remarkably safe and amazingly non-toxic.
Especially when compared with other psychoactive substances, and even everyday palliatives such as aspirin and related painkillers — Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), which cause 7,600 deaths per year — pot looks pretty damn safe with a grand total of zero overdose deaths in history.
The difference is even more stark with other “recreational” substances such as tobacco (435,000 deaths per year), alcohol (85,000 deaths per year), prescription drugs (32,000 deaths), and illicit street drugs (17,000 deaths).
But you won’t be seeing much about that in our “fair and balanced” mainstream media, because that apparently doesn’t generate as many sales and click-throughs as trumpeting scare stories about pot.

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Photo: Michigan Medical Marijuana Association
Marijuana’s all over the news in Michigan.

​Washtenaw County’s first medical marijuana dispensary will open tomorrow in downtown Ypsilanti, Michigan, reports Jeremy Allen of Heritage Newspapers.
It’s been a year now since The Michigan Medical Marijuana Act was approved by an overwhelming majority — 63 percent — of the state’s voters. 
“My vision for this dispensary is to find a cure for cancer and to help free thousands of people who are currently in jail cells unjustly for the responsible use of cannabis,” said Anthony Freed, executive director of the Michigan Marijuana Chamber of Commerce.

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Colorado Marijuana Coalition

​A marijuana dispensary in Centennial, Colo., could be back open for business by the end of the day.

An Arapahoe County District Court judge is expected to give an oral ruling Wednesday in a dispute between the city and CannaMart, which was shut down after only a few weeks in business, reports The Associated Press.
CannaMart sued the city, maintaining the marijuana dispensary was a legal business, and that Colorado cities are violating the state constitution when they ban all dispensaries.
The lawsuit has been inching forward for two weeks; last week, the judge said he needed more time to consider the case.

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Graphic: Darwinek

​Vermont legalized medical marijuana five years ago. But eligible patients who want to use the plant to ease chronic pain and nausea have been forced to either grow their own or resort to the black market, since the state never established a legal outlet to obtain it.

A state lawmaker plans in 2010 to introduce legislation that would solve this problem. The bill would create compassion centers where people on Vermont’s medical marijuana registry can buy their medicine, reports Peter Hirschfeld of the Vermont Press Bureau.
“What is driving me is a sense of compassion and fairness,” said Chris Bray (D-New Haven). “This is a drug we have vetted as a state as being appropriate for people with defined medical conditions and yet we haven’t provided a safe and legal way for them to purchase it.”
Bray said a constituent, one of 189 people registered as medical marijuana patients in Vermont, has suffered because of Vermont’s lack of dispensaries. “He resents the fact, and I think justifiably, that he was pushed into buying medical marijuana from illicit sources, which is expensive and illegal and often not even available to him,” Bray said.

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Dallas Observer

​Couples who engage in “joint” ventures smuggling pot really need to get their stories straight before they even think about making a road trip.

This bit of weed wisdom was further underlined on Christmas Eve when Charley Taylor and Theressa Mills of Dallas were pulled over in Arizona, reports Robert Wilonsky in the Dallas Observer.
The two were taken in for separate questioning after their Dodge van was stopped for weaving on Interstate 17.
Charley, 47, told the cops the couple was traveling from Dallas to Los Angeles to visit their children, Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Dwight D’Evelyn told KPHO-TV in Phoenix. Unfortunately, Theressa, 37, told ’em they were traveling from Phoenix to Dallas to visit their children.
So they had the “visit their children” part right. If only they could have agreed on their destination!

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Photo: Quest Magazine
Wisconsin Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen wants to keep being able to bust all marijuana users — even the medical ones.

​Wisconsin’s attorney general claims legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes in the state would create serious problems for law enforcement.

While it’s no surprise he thinks so, let’s interpret Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen’s statement generously: He may actually be right.
That is, if you define “having to pursue real criminals instead of sick and dying patients” as a “problem.” And you could do that, since real criminals are usually a lot more dangerous, can run faster, and sometimes shoot back.
The A.G.’s office was one of only five groups testifying against the medical marijuana bill introduced this month in the Wisconsin Legislature, while more than 100 people testified in favor of it, reports Gil Halstead of Wisconsin Public Radio.
The attorney general claims the bill is “seriously flawed” and “will create a nightmare for law enforcement.” Once again, the dude is probably telling the truth, since lots of cops seem to already have nightmares about pot being legal for anyone, even the sick and dying.


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ocnorml.org

Toke of the Town realizes that many of you are going to get blotto on New Year’s Eve, and there’s no denying that’s the traditional thing to do.
But as Mason Tvert has told us, marijuana is safer. So if you want to have the best time possible this December 31 as you bring in a fresh 2010, maybe you should have a pot party instead of a beer bash.
At the very least, if you must get drunk, smoke pot while doing so. Scientific studies show that marijuana helps protect your brain cells from the damaging effects of bingeing on alcohol.
Towards the goal of reducing the incidence of nasty hangovers, projectile puking, and waking up in bed with people you don’t know, and in the interest of promoting parties that are safer and more fun, here are 10 songs you don’t want to miss when compiling a playlist to bring in the new year in high style.

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Graphic: thefreshscent.com

​Proposed regulations for the operation of compassion centers to dispense medical marijuana have been issued by Rhode Island health regulators, but it could still be up to a year before the first center opens, reports Mike Stanton of The Providence Journal.

“What’s a reasonable timeline? You could be talking about up to a year, or maybe it will take less time,” said Health Department spokesman Robert Vanderslice.

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