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Photo: Les Bazso/PNG
Len Gratto on his property in Mission on Saturday, January 8, 2011. Gratto is ready to join an imminent class-action lawsuit against Mission, for hitting him with a $5,200 grow op inspection fee. The 67-year-old says he and his wife were growing cucumbers in the basement, he never grew pot, and he and many other Mission residents are being unfairly searched and fined.

​A Canadian homeowner says there is no way he will pay a $5,200 fine to Mission, B.C., for growing cucumbers in his basement.

Len Gratto, who has lived in the home for 30 years, said he’s ready to join an imminent class-action lawsuit against the municipality’s grow-op bylaw inspections, reports Sam Cooper at Postmedia News.
A number of citizens, led by Stacy Gowanlock, said their homes were illegally searched for marijuana grow-ops, resulting in them being slapped with fees and repair orders sometimes exceeding $10,000 — all on flimsy evidence.
Gratto, 67, said he has never grown pot. He said the “laughable” evidence against him consists of pictures of some “dirt” on the basement wall, and “a furnace pipe going up into the chimney, where it should be.”

Photo: The Huffington Post
The next public comment period for implementation of Arizona’s medical marijuana law begins January 31 and is open until February 18.

​How, exactly, will Arizona’s new medical marijuana law — narrowly approved by state voters in last November’s election — play out? Nobody seems quite sure, as some law enforcement aspects have yet to be spelled out, and lawmakers are not quite ready to spell out just how police will deal with violators.

Determining standards for driving under the influence of marijuana is one issue currently at the forefront of the new law, according to Lake Havasu City Police Chief Dan Doyle, reports Jayne Hanson of the Havasu News-Herald.
“There is no threshold for drugs,” Doyle said. “We have a test for alcohol. But there is no threshold for marijuana.”
Another iffy scenario is possession of cannabis.

Photo: The Daily Voice
Montel Williams uses marijuana to ease the symptoms of MS, but Wisconsin doesn’t recognize the medicinal uses of cannabis — yet.

​Former talk-show host Montel Williams, a medical marijuana advocate, has reportedly been fined for possession of a pipe of the sort “commonly used to smoke pot,” according to the Milwaukee County Sheriff’s Office.

The pipe was found Tuesday at a routine security checkpoint by Transportation Security Administration agents at the General Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, reports Jennifer LaRue Huget at the Washington Post.
Williams paid his $484 fine and went on his way, according to the sheriff’s office.
Williams, 54, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999. Laws in the 15 states which allow medical marijuana typically include MS among the conditions which qualify. But neither New York state, where Montel lives, nor Wisconsin, where he was fined, allows medicinal cannabis.

Photo: Don Davis Jr./High Point Enterprise
In happier times: Thomasville City Manager Kelly Craver rocks out with his Street Party Band 

​A rock and roll-playing city manager was arrested for marijuana possession in North Carolina on Saturday.

Thomasville City Manager William Kelly Craver, 54, of Greensboro, was arrested in Davidson County late Saturday night, reports MyFox8. Craver was charged with one count of misdemeanor possession of up to a half-ounce of marijuana and one count of possession of “drug paraphernalia,” according to court records.
Craver was taken before a magistrate and given a $2,500 secured bond, although he was not in jail, the spokesperson said Sunday morning.
The city manager was charged after he was found with marijuana, a plastic bag containing traces of marijuana, and a pipe with marijuana residue, according to court documents from the Magistrate’s Office in Lexington.

Graphic: ABC News

​Farmington, New Mexico has said it will quickly develop zoning regulations on medical marijuana during a six-month moratorium, but the State of New Mexico contends the city doesn’t have any authority to regulate.

The New Mexico Department of Health is the state agency tasked with regulating medical marijuana throughout the state, said spokeswoman Deborah Busemeyer, reports Steve Lynn at The Farmington Daily Times.
“It doesn’t appear as if local municipalities have any legal authority over the system,” Busemeyer said. “The state is in charge of approving producers and we will continue to do so as needed. The moratorium I don’t think would affect our decisions.”

Photo: Edmonton State Police/Edmonton Journal

​Three Australian men caught as they allegedly attempted to steal 9,000 marijuana plants from the police have been charged with theft.

Police wouldn’t confirm what was stored at the police logistics facility for security reasons, but the Herald Sun reports that the building contained marijuana plants confiscated in Victoria’s biggest drug bust.
The men were arrested after police claim they were caught breaking into the building about 10:15 p.m. on December 3.
The trio was apprehended during the break-in, and nothing was taken from the premises.

Now it’s all in the crapper: About 6,000 pounds of marijuana was seized at a Columbus, Ohio warehouse. Another 2,000 pounds was found at a vacant condo in suburban Hilliard.

​Drug Enforcement Administration officials have charged 13 people in an alleged scheme to ship tons of marijuana to Ohio stashed between packages of toilet paper.

The whole scheme went down the crapper Saturday when nearly 8,000 pounds of marijuana was found in two locations. The pot had a value of more than $5 million, claimed Anthony Marotta, the top DEA official in Columbus, Ohio, report Kathy Linn Gray and Jim Woods of The Columbus Dispatch.
Marotta said about 6,000 pounds of marijuana — more than three tons — was found hidden in a delivery of toilet paper rolls at a Columbus warehouse.
Another 2,000 pounds of pot was found in a vacant condominium in suburban Hilliard, Ohio, Marotta said.
The group allegedly used U-Haul trucks filled with toilet paper to hide the pot, authorities said, reports Ashleigh Barry of WBNS-10TV

Photo: The Weed Business
That looks a lot better than slot machines to me.

​A study funded by casino developers says that a large-scale marijuana farm is the only other economically viable option for a hard-luck San Francisco Bay area town, as officials consider the fate of a major strip of waterfront property.

Environmental consultants evaluated 28 different proposed uses submitted by the public for the land. They determined that only a medical marijuana cultivation facility could generate enough revenue to pay market price for the 422-acre property in Richmond, California, reports Katherine Tam of the Contra Costa Times.
The plan calls for medical marijuana to be grown, packaged, stored and sold within the century-old buildings where the Winehaven winery operated in the pre-Prohibition days of the early 1900s. According to the study, city coffers would swell with $3.2 million a year in additional tax revenue, under a five percent tax rate, depending on how much the cannabis is worth.

Photo: Cleveland Police/WTAM
Productive operation, by the looks of it.

​Two brothers are in custody after Cleveland police executed search warrants last Friday and discovered an indoor marijuana growing operation they claimed had more than 1,000 plants.

Members of the Cleveland Division of Police Narcotics Unit and the Westlake Police Department worked “jointly” investigating the operation, reports WTAM 1100. As a result of the joint investigation, evidence was presented to the Cuyahoga County Prosecutor’s Office and the search warrants were issued.


Ads Promoting Cannabis Dispensary Air Monday

Photo: KTXL
This is claimed to be the first time an ad for medical marijuana has ever aired on mainstream television.

​Sacramento FOX affiliate KTXL, “FOX40,” on Monday morning ran a paid TV advertisement for a medical marijuana dispensary, thought to be the first time an ad for medical marijuana has ever aired on mainstream television.
The 30-second ad, paid for by Sacramento-based CannaCare and produced by KTXL, features patients delivering testimonials on the benefits of medical marijuana, reports Matthew Keys at FOX40 News. Text at the bottom of the screen indicates that marijuana can be used to relieve symptoms of many illnesses, including diabetes, HIV, hepatitis C and hypertension, among others.
Note that in the TV news report from FOX40 above, reporter Elissa Harrington manages to miss the point when she compares marijuana ads to alcohol and tobacco ads. Neither alcohol nor tobacco is used for medicinal purposes as is marijuana — and, of course, neither alcohol nor tobacco use comes with a doctor’s legal authorization, as does cannabis — so there’s no reason that broadcast rules applying to recreational substances should be applied to medicine.
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