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Graphic: Reality Catcher

​A Rhode Island Senate panel is expected to recommend decriminalizing the possession of small amounts of marijuana when it wraps up its 3 1/2-month investigation later this week.

The commission, chaired by state Sen. Joshua Miller (D-Cranston), has been studying the costs of current marijuana policy since November. Rhode Island, facing a budget crisis, tasked the panel to build a dossier on how much it costs to arrest, prosecute, and sometimes jail people for pot, reports Katherine Gregg at The Providence Journal.

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Photo: Seattle P.I.
A federal agent carries plants away during the bust of a 16,742-plant grow operation at Ross Lake National Recreation Area, Washington state.

​Due to the enormous profits made possible by marijuana prohibition, Mexican drug gangs are taking over U.S. public land to grow cannabis, using smuggled immigrants to cultivate the plants.

Pot has been grown on public lands for decades, report Alicia A. Caldwell and Manuel Valdes of the Associated Press, but Mexican cartels have taken clandestine cannabis cultivation to a whole new level, using armed guards and trip wires to secure grow operations containing tens of thousands of plants.

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Photo: Church For Compassionate Care
Wayne Dagit: “I’m not serving pot, I’m serving the Lord”

​Wayne Dagit wants to run a place where patrons can belly up to a table, fire up a joint and swap stories and herbal remedies with other patrons.

The Green Leaf Smokers Club, a private club for medical marijuana patients, officially opens today in Williamstown Township, Michigan, reports Scott Davis of Gannett News Service.
Dagit said the club is the first one for marijuana smokers officially launched in Michigan, although there are many reports of underground clubs operating statewide.
“I’m not serving pot, I’m serving the Lord,” said Dagit, 60, who is a founder of the Church for Compassionate Care.
Williamstown Township officials claim they only recently learned of the club’s existence, and they are now investigating whether it’s legal for the club to operate.
At the same time, police claim they are concerned that the club will lead to an increase in “impaired” driving by patrons.

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Photo: Softpedia

​A teenage fan was arrested at legendary rocker Ozzy Osbourne’s book signing after police officers saw him smoking marijuana in the book store.

Nathan Robert Mosier, 19, was arrested at the book signing at a Barnes & Noble book store in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., where Osbourne was promoting his autobiography, reports Julius Whigham II at The Palm Beach Post.
Officers found “marijuana and fireworks” on the teenager, according to Palm Beach Gardens Police spokeswoman Ellen Lovejoy.
When officers saw Moser smoking pot in the store around 8 p.m. Friday, they approached and the suspect took off running, Lovejoy said.
The officers ran down Moser and found what appeared to be homemade fireworks during a search of his backpack. A bomb squad was called to the book store, and the fireworks were taken away to be disposed of, according to Lovejoy.

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Photo: St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office
Rapper Juvenile is led out of an Arabi, Louisiana house after his arrest Thursday. At right is Cpl. Leander Morgan of the St. Bernard Parish Street Crimes Unit.

​The rapper Juvenile was arrested Thursday in Louisiana and charged with misdemeanor marijuana possession, according to police.

The New Orleans-based artist was arrested in a house in Arabi, Louisiana. The St. Bernard Parish Sheriff’s Office said Juvenile, 34, doesn’t live in the house, but that it is owned by a friend who allows him to record music there, reports Bob Warren at The Times-Picayune.
Police investigators claimed there was no recording equipment in the house.
A spokesman for the sheriff’s department said someone called the office’s drug line to report “smelling marijuana smoke” at the house. A deputy with the Special Investigations Division went to the house, and also smelled marijuana when the door was opened, police claimed.
The man who answered the door, Leroy Edwards, 42, of New Orleans, was arrested after the deputy found marijuana on him, according to the sheriff’s department. Edwards identified himself as Juvenile’s producer.

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Photo: 9News
Chris Bartkowicz’s garden is going up in smoke… but not the fun way

​If you’ve ever found yourself wondering what’s happening to the 224 beautiful marijuana plants seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration from that guy who was really good at pot farming but not so much when it came to discretion

Well, there’s no easy way to say this. They’re gonna burn ’em.

Highlands Ranch, Colorado medical pot farmer Chris Bartkowicz didn’t mind bragging as he told TV reporters he spent $500,000 constructing his basement grow operation, and expected to rake in $400,000 this year for his crop.

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Photo: Monica Almeida/New York Times

​District Attorney Steve Cooley has been promising for months to “get tough” with marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles County, and this week, he followed through.

The media-loving, trash-talking D.A. charged dispensary owner Jeff Jones — who, maybe not coincidentally, is also an outspoken medical cannabis advocate — with 24 felonies, including selling and transporting marijuana, as well as money laundering, reports Richard Gonzales of NPR.
Cooley, who infamously said last year that “approximately zero” of L.A.’s dispensaries are operating legally, is now basing what looks to be misguided political ambition upon a quixotic quest to drive the pot shops out of business.
Bail for Joseph was set at more than half a million dollars, an amount usually reserved for violent criminals, according to Joseph’s attorney, Eric Shevin.
“They made an example of him,” Shevin said. “He’s a very outspoken, well-known advocate of marijuana, so he sends a stronger message to the community than the many other dispensary operators that no one even talks about.”

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Graphic: anewscafe.com

​A Colorado state senator said Thursday he wants to impose a special tax on medical marijuana.

Sen. Chris Romer (D-Denver) said he plans to amend a bill creating regulations for medical marijuana dispensaries to include a provision placing an excise tax on medicinal cannabis, similar to the excise tax that already exists for alcohol, reports John Ingold at The Denver Post.
If approved by lawmakers, that provision must be put before the voters, due to the Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights.
Romer wants to use the expected revenue — which he estimates at about $10 million to $15 million a year — to fund drug education programs for teens, substance abuse treatment centers, and medical care for veterans and the poor.
The state senator claimed he was concerned that the state’s booming medical marijuana industry could create increased recreational marijuana use among young people.

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Photo: The Fresh Scent

​Possession of small amounts of marijuana would be decriminalized under legislation advancing through the Hawaii State Senate.

The Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday passed a measure setting the fine for possession of less than an ounce of the herb at $100, reports the Honolulu Advertiser.
In separate legislation, a bill which would permit “compassion centers” to operate as medical marijuana dispensaries cleared its final Senate committee Monday.
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