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Photo: HempCon 2010
HempCon 2010 Los Angeles is already a huge success, with thousands of festive attendees on the convention floor. Stay tuned, San Francisco… your turn is in April.

​A three-day celebration of all things cannabis opens Friday in downtown Los Angeles.

HempCon 2010 Los Angeles, at the L.A. Convention Center, will host exhibitors from across the country who’ll be showcasing products and services relating to medical marijuana and the movement to legalize pot, reports the Los Angeles Daily News.
Smoking and marijuana won’t be allowed at the event.
“There’s not going to be any cannabis — but we’re trying to spread the word,” said Cheryl Shuman, executive director of Beverly Hills NORML 90210, a branch of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

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Photo: 9News
DEA agents bag and remove marijuana plants from the home of Chris Bartkowicz during their February 12 raid of his home

​A federal judge ruled Friday that the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) must keep 10 marijuana plants with roots along with 10 clone starts taken from a medical marijuana grower while he awaits trial on drug charges.

Joseph Saint-Velktri, attorney for defendant Chris Bartkowicz, appeared in federal court Friday morning after filing a motion which asks the federal government to preserve all of the plants taken from Bartkowicz’s home last week, reports Nicole Vap Jace Larson at 9News.
DEA agents brought into the courtroom a box of the marijuana taken from Bartkowicz’s home to show the state of the plants. The marijuana shown in court still had its root system, and appeared wilted but not dried.

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Medical Marijuana Patients of the District of Columbia

​The District of Columbia Council is scheduled to hold a hearing next week to discuss legislation to legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes in D.C.

The bill was introduced in late January when Congress — after waiting more than 12 years — finally lifted restrictions that had prevented a 1998 voter initiative from being impolemented, reports Martin Austermuhle at The DCist.
The legislation would allow the creation of five marijuana dispensaries where patients with specific ailments and a recommendation from their primary care physician could go to buy pot. Patients would also be allowed to grow their own cannabis.
Medical marijuana advocates feel the proposed legislation is too restrictive and doesn’t live up to the spirit of the 1998 voter initiative. The advocates plan to propose a set of amendments to the bill.

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Photo: WuTangCorp.com
Vegetable matter is sprayed with synthetic cannabinoid JWH-018 and marketed under the brandname “K2”

​Federal agents are cracking down in imports of a “synthetic marijuana” as the substance, legal in 49 states (everywhere except soon-to-be-illegal Kansas), gains popularity nationwide.

Officials claim Food and Drug Administration regulations bar the important and sale of JWH-018, a synthetic cannabinoid, “because it is not a tested and approved drug,” reports Peter Mucha at the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Eighty-five parcels have already been seized at Philadelphia International Airport after tests proved positive for JWH-018, according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection. Officials said the parcels were arriving from Amsterdam at a UPS facility at the airport.

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Photo: ^Berd
Happier days: Olympia, WA Mayor Pro Tem Joe Hyer in 2009

​Well, at least Olympia used to be cool.

Olympia, Washington Mayor Pro Tem and incoming Thurston County Treasurer Joe Hyer was arrested Thursday evening at his home on suspicion of marijuana trafficking, according to Thurston County Sheriff Dan Kimball.

Kimball said the mayor pro tem’s arrest is the result of a two-month investigation by the Thurston County Narcotics Task Force, undoubtedly flush with stimulus cash and hungry for more.

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Reality Catcher
Once again, a jury has seen through the lies and distortions and found a medical marijuana patient not guilty

​Washington state jurors took less than two hours Thursday afternoon to find Cammie McKenzie, who grows marijuana to treat her chronic back pain, not guilty of all charges in a case where prosecutors tried to portray her as a drug dealer.

The prosecution’s unsuccessful case was notably nasty, even for a medical marijuana arrest in a state where some law enforcement officials have been slow to adjust to the legalization of medicinal cannabis passed by voters in 1998.

“This case is not about medicine. This case is about money,” Snohomish County Deputy Prosecutor Matthew Baldock said in his opening statements Tuesday. “The defendant was masquerading as a marijuana patient and was in reality a drug dealer, no question.”
One can only imagine the incensed reaction of Snohomish County’s good voters when they realize their scarce tax dollars are being wasted on foolishness like this.
Prosecutors and narcotics detectives claimed McKenzie, 24, was using her medical marijuana authorization as a front for an illegal pot farm at her home in Bothell, Washington, reports Diana Hefley of the Everett Herald Net.

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Graphic: Cannabis Culture
Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has reintroduced a bill to legalize marijuana in California

​A bill to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol was reintroduced today in the California Assembly.

Assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) reintroduced the legislation, A.B. 2254, which would create a regulatory structure similar to that used for alcoholic beverages. The bill would permit taxed sales to adults, while prohibiting sales to or possession by those under 21.
Marijuana is California’s largest cash crop, with an estimated value of $14 billion in 2006, nearly twice the combined value of the state’s number two and three crops, vegetables and grapes.

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Photo: The Last Free Voice
This was the scene left by DEA agents after the 2008 raid at Organica. The collective was raided again in 2009 and again Thursday.

​Drug Enforcement Administration spokeswoman Sarah Pullen has confirmed the DEA is serving warrants at Organica Collective, a marijuana dispensary in Culver City, California.

Culver City police also participated in the raid, reports Amina Khan at the Los Angeles Times.
Witnesses saw several officers and cars congregating around 10 a.m. Thursday around Organica Collective at 13456 Washington Boulevard.
At least three people were detained, according to witness Erin Olf, officer manager at Rainbow Acres Natural Foods, a neighboring business. Olf said she saw the three handcuffed and standing in front of a graffiti-covered storage truck.

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Graphic: Last Blog on Earth

​The defense team for a San Diego medical marijuana collective manager is requesting the return of several pounds of cannabis and all other property seized in a 2008 raid after Jovan Jackson was acquitted of all pot charges.

During their “investigation” of Answerdam Collective, law enforcement agents “confiscated” computers, business records, and several pounds of medical marijuana, reports Eugene Davidovich of Americans for Safe Access (ASA) San Diego.
Dispensary owner Jackson is a medical marijuana patient, Navy veteran, and the victim of two “Operation Green Rx” raids, part of San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis’s quixotic and misguided war against medical marijuana patients and providers.
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