Tagged: marijuana

Oregon coppers arrest couple after 8-hour standoff which included mooning the SWAT Team

standoff

An Oregon man and his girlfriend were arrested Saturday after an eight-hour standoff with police that involved marijuana, Mountain Dew and the male anatomy.

James Marco Bryan and girlfriend Carrie Hurley refused to surrender to police when the authorities attempted to bring Bryan in on outstanding warrants for reckless driving and absconding.

The 44-year-olds were so uncooperative that the Oregon State Police SWAT team was called in.

“He was kicking out windows, yelling and screaming, standing in the window making gestures with his penis and showing his buttocks in the nude,” Clatskanie Police Chief Marvin Hoover told the Oregonian. “At one point, he was wanting a pack of cigarettes, a Mountain Dew, some marijuana.”

The house that Bryan and Hurley were holed up in also had signs outside that contained “some graffiti-style writings like supremacist-type group stuff.”

During the standoff, the couple called local TV station KATU to complain about the Clatskanie police…

After authorities eventually used tear gas to subdue the suspects, Hurley was charged with hindering prosecution and Bryan was charged with resisting arrest, indecent exposure and first-degree criminal mischief.

The United States is an equal opportunity country when it comes to looneybirds.

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Research OK — doesn’t say anything about Reefer Madness!

Correlation does not equal causation, and a single exam cannot show a trend over time. Basic stuff, right?

But judging by coverage of a study just out in the Journal of Neuroscience, these are apparently foreign concepts for many folks in the media.

In the study, researchers at Boston’s Massachusetts General Hospital and Northwestern University in Chicago performed MRI brain scans on 20 young adult “casual” marijuana users and 20 age- and sex-matched nonusers. They found that, in the users, gray matter densities in the nucleus accumbens were higher than in controls, and the right amygdala and left nucleus accumbens were shaped differently.

Interesting, but remember that these findings only reflected differences between the marijuana users and controls at a single point in time. The researchers did not, could not, demonstrate that the differences resulted from marijuana smoking or even that the “abnormalities” relative to controls reflected changes from some earlier state.

You wouldn’t know that from the media coverage.

RTFA for a small sampling of almost universal crap

…Note that the study did not identify any cognitive or behavioral abnormalities in the cannabis users versus controls — it was strictly an MRI study.

That, however, didn’t stop senior author Hans Breiter, MD, of Northwestern from opining in the SfN press release that the study “raises a strong challenge to the idea that casual marijuana use isn’t associated with bad consequences.”

Um, no, it doesn’t — not without before-and-after MRI scans showing brain structure changes in users that differ from nonusers and documentation of functional impairments associated with those changes.

Further studies may – or may not – indicate one or another cause-and-effect relationship. That kind of study must be constructed differently than this one. And hopefully the press release and editors who get the email won’t be in a hurry to construe the study as something it isn’t.

Maryland lawmakers vote to decriminalize marijuana

State lawmakers in Maryland’s House of Delegates voted Saturday to decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana.

The state’s Senate has already approved a similar measure – but some changes made by the House would still need to be approved by the Senate in order to pass the bill before the legislative session ends at midnight Monday…

Some of the “decriminalized” penalties are crap and overblown. No doubt to be reduced at a later date.

Maryland’s Democratic governor will review the bill if it passes the General Assembly, said Nina Smith, a spokeswoman for Gov. Martin O’Malley…

Republicans had introduced several amendments to the bill – such as requiring a public service campaign highlighting the dangers of smoking, or letting it remain a criminal offense to smoke pot in public. None of the measures made it through.

“We don’t have to notify the public that they’re not supposed to use marijuana,” said Delegate Kathleen Dumais, D-Montgomery. “It’s still illegal.”

Much of Saturday’s debate focused on whether decriminalization would encourage teens to smoke marijuana…

Dumais said a better way to deal with drug abuse is to encourage treatment, rather than imprisonment.

Arguments in support of the bill tended to focus on racial disparities in drug law enforcement. The American Civil Liberties Union found last year that black people in Baltimore are 5.6 times more likely than the city’s white residents to be arrested for marijuana possession.

Golly gee. Maryland politicians actually noticed that racial disparity, eh? Must be gaining slightly better vision – along with a touch of backbone.

No correlation between medical marijuana legalization and crime

The legalization of medical marijuana has sparked debate across the nation for decades…Some have argued that medical marijuana’s legalization will lead to higher crime rates. But according to a new study at UT Dallas, legalization of medical cannabis is not an indicator of increased crime.

It actually may be related to reductions in certain types of crime, said Dr. Robert Morris, associate professor of criminology and lead author of the study…

The UT Dallas team began its work in summer 2012 after repeatedly hearing claims that medical marijuana legalization posed a danger to public health in terms of exposure to violent crime and property crime.

The study tracked crime rates across all 50 states between 1990 and 2006, when 11 states legalized marijuana for medical use…Since the time period the study covered, 20 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized marijuana for medical use.

Using crime data from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, the researchers studied rates for homicide, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft, teasing out an effect for the passing of medical marijuana laws…

None of the seven crime types increased with the legalization of medical marijuana…

While it’s too soon to say if there are definitive drawbacks to legalizing marijuana for medical purposes, Morris said, the study shows that legalization does not pose a serious crime problem, at least at the state level.

Anyone with a studied view of crime and criminology isn’t in the least bit surprised by the finding. If you pay attention to what makes crime a growth industry – we usually witness the quest for scarce goods dramatically and artificially shaped by restrictions that have nothing to do with reality.

Cannabis is no more deleterious to human beings than alcohol. As thoroughly as I advise moderation in food and drink, especially booze, I would encourage the same about cannabis consumption. In fact, in my own life I don’t even drink beer anymore though I appreciate it as a natural product of fermentation just like the bread I bake every week.

If and when cannabis becomes legal for recreational use here in New Mexico, I’ll hunt down a recipe for Alice Toklas brownies. Probably make one batch for family consumption. And never bother again.

That has nothing to do with the need to support an end to the stupidity that infects our legal system.

Is your banker ‘Dazed and Confused’ over White House assurances about banking for pot dealers?

OK. So, maybe Dazed and Confused isn’t the pot classic that Up in Smoke is, but the cult coming-of-age film set in the ’70s featured enough grass to rank as Rolling Stone’s No. 2 “Stoner Movie of All Time.” More important, Dazed and Confused seems to perfectly capture the reaction to Friday’s announcement from the Justice and Treasury Departments aimed at addressing the biggest challenge facing the almost-legal marijuana industry today — lack of access to banks.

Banks have refused to do business with marijuana dispensaries operating within the bounds of state laws for fear of being prosecuted themselves. Federal law classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug on par with heroin, which means a bank doing business with a marijuana shop can be accused of money laundering and racketeering. This has left dispensaries in the 20 states and Washington, D.C., that allow marijuana distribution in a challenging position; they can’t let their bankers know how they make money…

Friday’s moves by the Justice and Treasury Departments gave many hope that the Feds were making significant changes to address this banking problem. Instead, the memos show that the industry is still dealing with a basic issue: Despite all the changes to state laws, popular support and President Obama’s recent remark that he considers marijuana no more dangerous than alcohol, marijuana is still 100% illegal under federal law. So, it’s no wonder you might be dazed and confused listening to the reactions that followed the release of the memos…

The Colorado Bankers Association calls this guidance a red light for banks, stating, “At best, this amounts to ‘serve these customers at your own risk,’ and it emphasizes all of the risks…Where does this leave the fledgling multi-billion dollar industry? Very much where it’s been.

Although marijuana entrepreneurs are increasingly comfortable starting businesses under permissive state laws and a federal “look the other way” policy, the federally regulated banking system needs certainty

Trish Regan ends the piece by trivializing it all as election year politics. As cynical as I am, I don’t share the politics of many of those at Bloomberg. I’d like to presume that Obama and Holder went to the trouble of calling for opening service to the pot trade to save folks a lot of hassles. That brings in as many or more votes than a John Boehner tap dance.

She and Matt Miller got into a heated discussion on camera over the piece and though they both wasted time trying to talk over each other, I think she made the most sense. Fact is – and I’ve checked with my personal community banker, again – your community bank isn’t anymore likely than a chain store bank to open an account for a pot dealer who’s obeying all the local laws until and unless they receive assurances that would satisfy the most anal regulator.

US banks can accept legal marijuana money – if you believe?

The Obama administration has sought to lessen the fear of prosecution for banks doing business with licensed marijuana companies, further encouraging US states such as Colorado and Washington that are experimenting with legalising the drug.

The Justice and Treasury departments outlined the policy in writing to federal prosecutors and financial institutions nationwide…

The guidance stopped short of promising immunity for banks, but made clear that criminal prosecution for money laundering and other crimes was unlikely if they met a series of conditions…

Currently, processing money from marijuana sales puts federally insured banks at risk of drug racketeering charges, and they therefore refuse to open accounts for marijuana-related businesses, the AP news agency reported.

The guidance was intended to increase the availability of banking services, such as savings and checking accounts, to marijuana shops that typically deal in cash. Forced to deal in cash because of federal policy…

US Attorney General Eric Holder said last month that the administration was planning ways to accommodate marijuana businesses so they would not always be dealing in cash.

“There’s a public safety component to this. Huge amounts of cash, substantial amounts of cash just kind of lying around with no place for it to be appropriately deposited, is something that would worry me just from a law enforcement perspective,” Holder said on January 23…

The American Bankers Association expressed scepticism that the guidance would make much difference…Marijuana sales still violate federal law, so banks are still at risk, said Rob Rowe, a lawyer with the trade group.

“Compliance by a bank will still require extensive resources to monitor any of these businesses, and it’s unlikely the benefits would exceed the costs,”…

I asked my favorite banker about this – and received the same answer given by Rowe. As long as the Feds base their practices on existing law, there’s no one willing to be the test case after being arrested for violating federal banking regulations. Even if the DOJ says go ahead – we won’t bust you.

Why should a bank trust pronouncements from a political body unwilling or unable to change their own regulations?

County fair traditions will include pot in Denver


Canning, crafts and…cannabis

Colorado’s Denver County is adding cannabis-themed contests to its 2014 summer fair. It’s the first time pot plants will stand alongside tomato plants and homemade jam in competition for a blue ribbon.

There won’t actually be any marijuana at the fairgrounds. The judging will be done off-site, with photos showing the winning entries. And a live joint-rolling contest will be done with oregano, not pot.

But county fair organizers say the marijuana categories will add a fun twist on Denver’s already-quirky county fair, which includes a drag queen pageant and a contest for dioramas made with Peeps candies…

The nine marijuana categories include live plants and clones, plus contests for marijuana-infused brownies and savory foods. Homemade bongs, homemade roach clips and clothing and fabric made with hemp round out the categories.

Judges will look only at plant quality, not the potency or quality of the drugs they produce. Other contests — patterned after Amsterdam’s famed Cannabis Cup — already gauge drug quality and flavor.

Top prize is $20, plus of course a blue ribbon. The fair already has a green ribbon — awarded for using environmentally conscious methods…

Wait till we get legal ganja in New Mexico. I haven’t even had a contact high in 20 years – and I’m not likely to start smoking dope. But, I bet I could come up with a cashew, cannabis and sultana brownie that could challenge folks up north.

What does growing pot in New Mexico have to do with the NSA?

pot chopper

Fourteen marijuana plants and seven years later, a New Mexico high court has overturned a lower court opinion and ruled that a police helicopter search operation in rural Taos County was illegal and unconstitutional.

The subject of that search, who said he had the 14 plants for personal use to smoke to alleviate physical ailments, was elated when contacted on Friday.

“It has been a lesson in the slow progress of the legal system … I’m happy that justice was served,” said Norman Davis, now 78.

Davis’ home was one of several checked out during a 2006 operation dubbed “Operation Yerba Buena” – a joint State Police, National Guard, and state Game and Fish effort that was targeting marijuana plantations in the sparsely populated Carson area…

Davis had his privacy jarred when, on a summer day as he was sitting on his sofa and feeling a bit out of sorts, he “heard this helicopter overhead.

“It was loud. Very loud,” Davis said at the time. “And I looked out the window and see these guys hovering over me.” The drug raid by the New Mexico State Police, using National Guard helicopters, involved six or seven officers armed with semiautomatic weapons and at least five police vehicles…

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Puritans upset — weedheads behave like angels compared to boozers

Marijuana advocates said the smooth rollout of legalized recreational pot smoking in Colorado could serve as a model for the country.

Some critics predicted in advance of Wednesday’s opening day there would be long lines of unruly customers fighting over a scant supply of pot at newly opened recreational marijuana stores, but advocates and those opposed agreed nothing of the sort took place.

Crediting a cooperative spirit that brought together marijuana industry leaders, police, elected officials and bureaucrats tasked with overseeing the rollout, those involved celebrated a problem-free start to recreational marijuana sales…

Among the outreach efforts the two sides undertook together were 50,000 flyers handed out Wednesday at pot shops, encouraging responsible use of the drug — including refraining from driving under the influence, restricting use to those 21 and older and not carrying marijuana across state lines.

The relative success of Colorado’s rollout has emboldened marijuana advocates in other states…

In Massachusetts, for example, pro-pot activists applauded Colorado — and argued it could serve as a model for their state.

“The essence of what’s happening is that people are getting educated,” said William Downing, treasurer of the pro-marijuana group Bay State Repeal. “People are learning. The rest of the nation is finding out that they have been lied to about cannabis by their government for many decades.”

Hypocrites are winding up to get ready to block anything approaching reason and law about pot use – and maybe even taxation. The leading example I’ve seen so far here in New Mexico has been in a response to Democrat Jerry Ortiz y Pino introducing a bill for legalized consumption similar to that beyond our northern border in Colorado.

The first conservative I saw interviewed on TV said, “collecting taxes and funding needs for the state isn’t sufficient reason to legalize marijuana” – I remember seeing the same dude on the tube touting his support for the legislation that legalized the state lottery which is taxed to provide college scholarships.

Frankly, we have sufficient cowards in the Roundhouse to keep any bill decriminalizing pot from even getting a vote on the floor of the legislature – much less bringing it to a state referendum.

Colorado issues first marijuana sales licenses

The first licences in the United States that permit retailers to sell marijuana for recreational use from 1 January were issued in Colorado on Friday.

Owners of cannabis dispensaries lined up to collect the permits in Denver: an initial batch of 42 licences were issued, most to growers but around a dozen to shops.

Colorado voters approved a new law during the November 2012 general election that would expand the state’s laws allowing the production and sale of medical marijuana to cover recreational uses…

The state already licenses more than 500 medical marijuana dispensaries, and only those outlets may apply to sell it for recreational use. State authorities have already approved 348 recreational sale licences but businesses also require a local licence, the first of which were those issued in Denver on Friday.

A festive atmosphere took over at the normally staid city licensing office in Denver on Friday. Justin Jones of Dank Colorado in Denver picked up his grower’s and retailer’s licences for recreational pot on Friday to add to his newly-acquired state licence in readiness for expanding his medical business for recreational purchases…

“Most people have been doing this illegally for so long that they are just ready to celebrate the fact that they can now purchase marijuana legally. I look forward to ending this version of prohibition,” he said.

Colorado last year also brought in a new law specifically to cover the offence of driving under the influence of drugs, which sets a limit of 5 nanograms of the active ingredient in cannabis, THC, in the blood while operating a vehicle…

“We are waiting to see how the science works out. We are waiting to see how many elements of the new law will pan out,” he said.

He said he hoped employers who currently have a zero tolerance policy on drug use among their workers would “adapt to the cultural changes” now accelerating in Colorado.

Of course, we can just sit back and elect a flock of Confederate Republicans to Congress and they can start the fun and games of Prohibition all over again. It would fit what passes for religion among folks with 14th Century minds.