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Washington State Garnering Nearly $1 Million in Daily Taxes from Legal Marijuana Sales

Washington State Garnering Nearly $1 Million in Daily Taxes from Legal Marijuana Sales

Washington State’s legal marijuana market continues to grow, with daily marijuana sales surpassing $4.8 million.

The daily average of $4.82 million in legal marijuana sales – a new high – garners the state roughly $910,000 in daily taxes. This is according to data collected by the state’s Liquor and Cannabis Board. According to the board, there have been 490 retail licenses and 974 producer/processor licenses distributed throughout the state.

So far in fiscal year (FY) 2017, which began on July 1st, there has been $1,181,675,336 in legal marijuana sold, resulting in $220,980,590 in taxes. This has already topped the total sales ($972,729,675) and taxes ($185,786,493) for FY 2016.

Data from the Liquor and Cannabis Board ;shows that there has been 363,268 pounds of marijuana harvested, and 20,736 pounds of extracts produced, so far in FY 2017.

Further data on Washington’s legal cannabis market can be found on the Liquor and Cannabis Board’s website by clicking here.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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Published at Sun, 26 Mar 2017 07:25:32 +0000

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A Complete Guide to Buying New Weed Grinder

A Complete Guide to Buying New Weed Grinder

Coffee with cream and sugar sounds pretty simple, right?

Some people can’t drink coffee without it.

Same goes for Vapes and Grinders.  

Yes, you read that right…

For those who love to vape, they must have the right herb grinder along side it.

It is next to impossible to get a good taste of your vapor if you use your hands to cut it.

Not only is this messy, it just doesn’t match up to the vaping experience when you have a good herb grinder.

No matter what kind of vaporizer you use, the absence of herb grinders can only make vaping half as fun.

Don’t even try to deny it.

It is just as important to have the best herb grinder that can turn the herbs in its finer form. It helps vaporizers to easily and quickly turn your material into vapor when grounded in small pieces.

If you are careful about your choice of a vaporizer, the same should be applied whenever you are going to invest in a herb grinder.

It should be safe, non-toxic, and not to mention, efficient.

It should also be durable and fits your attitude towards vaping.

Question:

Are you the type who vapes a good amount of herbs in one sitting with friends? Or maybe, you keep a small stash with you when vaping outside the house?

So, yes these are things that can affect your choice of herb grinder.

All of this can get quite intimidating fast.

So we have simplified everything for you, and put together all you need to know when investing in a new herb grinder.

All you need to do, is lay back, get comfy and keep scrolling!

So let’s get down to business. 

What is a weed grinder?

A herb grinder is a device used to churn and chop tobacco, marijuana, herbs and other small materials used for vaping.

Depending on the manufacturer, it can be anywhere from 1 to 3 compartments. Usual materials used on herb grinders include metal, acrylic, or wood.

Just imagine. 

Before the commercially available herb grinders, people used to rely on scissors or their hands to manually grind the herbs into small pieces.

With the help of herb grinders, preparing the material for vaping or smoking has become more efficient and less messy.

If you are somewhat new to the world of vaping with no idea which herb grinder to choose or what exactly should you be looking for It can get confusing at times, simply because there are so many grinders available on the market today.

Different Grinder Materials

There are different grinder materials that you’ll commonly see from different manufacturers.

But what you have to know is that material plays a major role in your vaping experience.

Think about it. 

Could you imagine using a toxic material on your herb grinder?

Let me take a wild guess. You won’t. 

Here are some of the most common options that you can go for in terms of grinder material.

Wood Grinder

Wood Grinder - Buying weed grinder guide

Wood is the type of material that is probably hardest to construct.

Typically hand-made, there are not a lot of wood herb grinders in the market due to the fact that it is harder to carve wood than make grinders from metal or acrylic. From a business standpoint, it is hard to mass produce this type of herb grinder.
A lot of people prefer wood over other materials because of the feel that it gives.

It has a more natural appeal which makes it a great choice for those who love organic materials.

Unfortunately, One disadvantage of wood is that it is typically a one compartment grinder. Thus you may not enjoy kief when you choose a wooden herb grinder. In addition to this, it has varnish that can potentially mix in your herbs.

Metal Grinder

Metal Grinder - Buying weed grinder guide

Let’s face it:

Metallic grinders are becoming popular today.

There are two types of metals typically used for herb grinders.

It can either be aluminum or titanium.

In most cases, a lot of products are made of aluminum but are titanium coated.

Most products that have this kind of construction have been advertised as ”titanium” grinders. The most common reason is to justify the higher price tag on the item.

Is aluminum a safe material?

It is possible that manufacturers are looking to get away from the negative connotation and the wrong impression that aluminum received over the years.

If you find some aluminum material flaking left, it is suggested that you simply brush it off.

So why is aluminum safe?

For starters, the melting point of aluminum is at 660°C, and the boiling point is at 2519°C. No amount of lighter or vaporizer can ever melt or boil this material and go to your lungs. Though it is true that you could be seeing metal shavings in your grinder, this can be rare, and you can just shake it off.

Acrylic

Acrylic Grinder - Buying weed grinder guide

Another material commonly used on grinders is acrylic.

It is another material, just like aluminum, that is frequently misunderstood.

A lot of vaping enthusiasts fear that acrylic is dangerous for our health. In reality, acrylic is a safe material since its melting point is at 1000°C and its boiling point is at 1,977°C.

Acrylic material is also known for its durability. However, if you’ll rate acrylic in comparison to other materials used on herb grinders, this is the least durable of them all.

Acrylic grinders are the ones that usually break about wood and metal. And this is the reason why it is also usually the cheapest.

Electric Herb Grinder

Electric herb grinder solves the common problem when it comes to messy dry herbs.

These devices are battery-powered and compact, and can even grind up to three grams of you material at a time.

It is usually a mix of different materials. Some electric herb grinder makes use of an acrylic container and metallic teeth.

Grinder type

There are different types of grinders based on the number of compartments and its design.

Here are the typical grinders that you’ll see in the market.

2 piece grinders

grinder 2 piece - Buying weed grinder guide

Otherwise known as 1 compartment herb grinders, this kind of herb grinder has one compartment which the herb is both retrieved and grounded.

The problem that you’ll typically encounter with a 2 piece grinder is the inconsistency of size.

Another common problem is that retrieving your herb can be quite difficult since the teeth are in the way.

You also can’t get to separate the kief if you are going to opt for the 2 piece grinders.

3 piece grinders

grinder 3 piece - Buying weed grinder guide

The three-piece grinder or a two-piece compartment grinder has the same grinding compartment as the typical 2 piece grinders.

There are holes that allow small herbs to fall down into the second compartment. And because of this design, you have consistent herbs that you can collect.

4 piece grinders

grinder 4 piece - Buying weed grinder guide

Another option is the four-piece grinders.

This type of grinder has three compartments. It works the same as the 3-piece grinder in collecting herbs.

The third compartment is then made for pollen or kief.

It also goes with a screen to allow a specific size of the residue to pass through the kief collecting chamber.

Herb grinder teeth

One of the things that dictate the ground result is the teeth of your grinder.

Let me explain. 

As rule of thumb, the more teeth that you get from your herb grinder, the better it is. More teeth give finer results, which means better vaping experience.

The best ones in the market have around 50 teeth for a 2.5” diameter grinder. Aside from the number of teeth, it is equally important to take a look at the shape of the teeth.

The shape allows the grinder to churn the herbs into small bits efficiently. Herb grinder teeth shape ranges from square to long narrow ones.

However, based on the number of products that we’ve reviewed, we recommend the diamond shaped grinder teeth if you are quite picky about the consistency of the output.

It also matters if how the teeth are positioned. If the teeth are evenly placed throughout the grinder, then you can expect consistent results from this kind of product.

Choosing the best grinder

As mentioned above, there are many factors that you need to consider if you are planning on investing in a new herb grinder.

But there’s one small catch

A quick browse online and you’ll  get quite overwhelming with all options, especially for someone who has no experience using these tools.

So, what are the main things you need to check in order to buy the best weed grinder?

Price

Let’s admit it.   

The first thing that you’ll most likely look into is the price of the grinders.

Vaping enthusiasts, especially casual ones are budget conscious.

Do you only plan on spending $50 on a grinder? Or maybe, you are planning to go for the high-end ones at the $100 range?

It’s simple. 

As rule of thumb, the more expensive grinders get, the longer these items last.

In addition to this, you’ll get to enjoy more if you stick with the more expensive ones because it usually comes with more compartments and a includes a kief catcher.

However, don’t be frustrated if you can’t spend on the high-end ones.

You’ll be surprised to see some great herb grinders around $20 to $40 that will meet your requirements.

Keep in mind that the price shouldn’t be the only thing that you have to check.

Always ask yourself if you are getting the best value for your money. Always look at reviews in order to judge other important aspects of a grinder.

Manual or electric?

Because of the advancement in technology, there are herb grinders that operate using batteries.

It results typically to a finer output than manually operated herb grinders. It can also give you fast results since all you need to do is to press the device.

Keep in mind that electric versions can be quite expensive. Also, you have to consider the fact that it needs batteries to operate.

In addition to this, since there are more moving parts, we can hypothesize that electric versions don’t last as long as the manual herb grinders since they are difficult to clean.

If it’s a long-term investment that you are looking for, it is a good idea that you stick to the manual options.

Size and capacity

Is the grinder handy?

You want to take a closer look at the measurement of the herb grinder to determine if it is travel-friendly.

If you are the type of vaping enthusiast who loves portable vaporizers, might as well keep a handy herb grinder that you can rely on. This gives you the chance to grind your herbs on the go.

On the other hand, if you are the type who loves to enjoy long periods of vaping sessions, you’ll need a large grinder that can accommodate a good amount of herbs for every batch.

Performance

The ideal results should be consistent, smooth, and broken down into small pieces enough to be vaped.

It is important that you read the reviews for the past experiences of other users.

Do the grind herbs small enough to be vaped or smoked smoothly?

The teeth of the grinder will most likely dictate the quality of the output.

High-quality grinders have evenly distributed diamond shaped teeth that can efficiently grind down herbs of different sizes that go inside the device.

Keep in mind 

The type of grind the grinder provides it is very important.

If you are using the grinder for your vaporizer, you need one type of grinder but if you using it for your joint you need a different one.

You may wonder why?

It is very important to know what you will end up using the grinder for. If you are looking for a fine grind, then there are some great options. For me though since I prefer the medium grind I choose to go with the Mama P’s. Simply the best grinder in my opinion.

It is also a good idea that you check the extras.

Does it have a magnetic lid?

The magnetic Lid ensures that your herb stays in place when you are grinding them down. Though not every grinder has a magnet, it is always a good idea to stick to options that have them.
Apart from the output, you also want to check the compartment.

Does it have a compartment that collects the kief?

If it does, you want to check the availability of the mesh screens that goes with the herb grinder.

Typically, you get to see mesh wires labeled 40, 60, 80, and 100.

What exactly do these numbers stand for?

A 40 mesh screen means that it has 40 wire threads per inch. Typically, it allows materials that are 420 microns and smaller to pass.
If you prefer to make resins and oils, you’d most likely stick to 100 mesh screens.

Other than that, you’d want to stick to either 40 or 60 mesh screens.

Quality

Next, it is just as important to check the quality of the herb grinder’s material.

Is it made of metal, acrylic, or maybe wood?

What are the usual pros and cons that you have to understand for each material?

For instance, is it made of titanium?

Is it titanium or was just advertised as such in order to have a hefty price tag?

If you are looking to buy a grinder made of wood, you also want to consider the fact that it has varnish that can mix with your material.

Make sure that you know the durability of each device.

If you opt to choose acrylic, for instance, just be open to the possibility that it could break sooner than other types of herb grinder.

Maintenance

To get the best results for your herbs, you will need to make sure that you also clean the device after every use.

It is important that the material of the herb grinder can be cleaned using isopropyl alcohol or by common cleaners at home.

An ideal herb grinder should also be able to tolerate cleaning methods to continuously provide the best output.

Does it include a cleaning tool?

If it doesn’t have a cleaning tool that goes with it, you can make use of a toothbrush.

You also have to evaluate the wear and tear on the screen.

If you are the type who collects the kief, it is a good idea that you check the physical appearance of the screen every now and then.

This is especially true if you are picky with the strains that you use. If you’re using high-grade cannabis, expect the screen to be a bit stickier. Therefore you will need to replace it regularly.

Replacement parts

There are instances when you need to replace the screen of your herb grinder.

It is important that the manufacturer of your herb grinder has some replacement parts that you can use. You don’t want to end up buying a new herb grinder now and then, especially if you paid a lot of money it.

Warranty

A lot of times, people forget about the importance of warranty on products that they purchase.

If you plan on buying herb grinders, you also want to know if the manufacturer is confident with the product it is selling. If it doesn’t go with a warranty, maybe, you want to do more research and check the reviews.

What is Kief and how you collect it

How do you collect the kief?

If you are a serious cannabis connoisseur with a very particular taste about the things you vape, you’ll most likely be interested with the kief. Kief is the loose pollen crystal that is considered a byproduct of grinding herbs.

In order to collect kief efficiently, you’ll first need to invest in a 4-piece grinder that has a kief catcher by the bottom.

The two-piece grinders will not be able to collect the residue of the plant matter the same way as the more expensive 4 piece grinders.

How does it work?

Once the teeth of the herb grinder churn on the herbs repeatedly, it breaks up the buds and falls into the screen. The screen then filters the material. Depending on the mesh screen that you are using, you can collect different sizes of kief.

The best time to collect the kief is when you are about to clean the device.

During this time, you want to maximize the residue of the herbs that gets stuck in the different parts of the grinder. Toothpick, brush, or gift cards can be a good way to scrap the material into a piece of paper.

Make sure that you also pay close attention to areas where the material can get stuck.

The edges and the teeth are the usual places that you might miss out.

The screen may also contain some residues that haven’t reached the lowest compartment of the grinder. Using a clean toothbrush, you can start collecting the residues on a clean paper.

How to clean your grinder

So, now that you have purchased your very own weed grinder it’s time to clean it.

You should always make sure that you follow proper maintenance in order to ensure that everything is going to work well.

Don’t be surprised if you need to clean your weed grinder on a regular basis, especially if you are using high-grade herbs that can get a bit sticky.

Cleaning your grinder could be a hassle, not to mention electric parts. However, regular cleaning gets you the desired and expected consistency in the ground herbs.

It also prolongs the life of your weed grinder and makes sure that all the parts stay operational the way it is supposed to be.

If you don’t clean it frequently enough, the resin will eventually get so sticky that it wont turn smoothly.

To make it easier for you, we gather some useful tips that you can us to make sure your herb grinder is clean and in the best shape possible.

So check these out:

Use a toothbrush

First, you want to disassemble the herb grinder.

If it involves electronic parts, it is best that you take the electronic parts off.

Next, if you have a herb grinder that collects kief, it is best that you take it out first.

Get a paper towel and brush off the kief into the towel.

There will be some kief stuck in between the teeth of your herb grinder.

Brush it off until there’s no noticeable material in between the teeth of your device.

If you don’t like using a toothbrush, you can also choose to experiment with different materials including a mascara brush, or a paint brush.

Try to see which brush gets into the groove of your herb grinder well.

Scraping tool

If you are worried about damaging the herb grinder when getting rid of the gunk in your herb grinder, it is a good idea that you use scraping tools along with your brush.

Once you’ve disassembled the grinder as described above, you can use an old ATM card or gift card to get rid of the hard to remove residues on your device.

You want to collect it in a paper towel still. But of course, keep in mind that this isn’t going to give your grinder the deep cleaning it needs especially after quite some time.

Put the grinder in the freezer

Yup, it’s not a mistake.

If you think that using a brush takes a lot of effort to maximize the retrieval of your kief, try putting the grinder inside the freezer for an hour.

After an hour, you can take the grinder out and just tap the grinder to knock the frozen kief into a paper towel.

You’ll notice how easy the buildup falls off.

Clean using ordinary cleaning solutions

The most effective cleaning tools for you herb grinder can be found in your kitchen.

You can make use of the common dishwashing soap mixed with 50% water to get the job done.

All you need to do is to soak your herb grinder for a night.

The next day, you can rinse it with warm water, and then wipe it dry.

Another great solution that you can use to clean your herb grinder is to make use of isopropyl alcohol.

Isopropyl alcohol can get rid of the weed gunk that gets stuck in your device.

If you are going to use alcohol regularly, keep in mind that it can weaken the acrylic material. However, the use of alcohol occasionally can be a good thing.

Use of boiling water

Boiling water can help get rid of the stiff material that gets stuck in between the teeth of your herb grinder.

Once you’ve removed the pieces of your grinder, just soak the material in boiling water for around 10 minutes.

Remember:

You should be extra careful though since this can burn your skin.

After ten minutes, you can take out the boiling water and just place warm water to rinse out the parts of your grinder.

Next, you can proceed by scrubbing the device using a brush.

Cleaning/replacing the screen

If you are cleaning the screen, make sure that you are extra careful with it.

If you see it already worn out, it is the time to replace it with a new one.

Cleaning the screen, you simply need to make use of a brush to get rid of the entire residue that gets stuck in it.

Follow the maintenance tips of the manufacturer

If you are cleaning the herb grinder, keep in mind that different materials may have different reactions to the cleaning methods that we’ve posted.

There’s a chance that wood and acrylic may get damaged when exposed to alcohol.

And your aluminum gets scrapped off when you use harsh cleaning solutions and scraping tools. It is always a good idea that you read the manufacturer’s maintenance tips.

Getting the right herb grinder shouldn’t be too hard.

The choice is yours. 

Yes, there are many types of herb grinders available in the market, but you shouldn’t be confused on which one to pick. You can read more about the best weed grinder here.

Given the number of options, you’ll find the right one that meets your preference as a vaping enthusiast.

Whether you are the type who loves to vape on the go or make oils from the kief, there’s the perfect for you.

Having the right knowledge of herb grinder’s characteristics can lead you towards the best product that is the right fit for you.

So there you have it.

Now it’s time to use all this knowledge to get your new weed grinder.

Do you still have any question about weed grinder? still feel confused? 

Comment below and let’s us know! 


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Published at Mon, 20 Feb 2017 15:18:22 +0000

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High pesticide level spurs first recreational pot recall

High pesticide level spurs first recreational pot recall

The Columbian / Associated Press

SALEM, Ore. — The Oregon Liquor Control Commission issued its first recall of recreational marijuana after samples of a type of pot were found to contain a level of pesticide residue above the state limit.

The Blue Magoo marijuana was sold at Buds 4 U in Mapleton, a community 45 miles west of Eugene, Ore., The Capital Press reported. The commission, which oversees retail sales of recreational pot, said people who bought the drug should return it to the retailer or throw it out.

The retailer notified the agency immediately after spotting the failed pesticide reading in the state’s cannabis tracking system, commission spokesman Mark Pettinger said. The shop sold the brand to 31 customers March 8-10.

Pettinger said a wholesaler shipped the pot to the Mapleton store before the test results were entered in the tracking system.

“The retailer was great,” he said. “They get the gold star.”

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission said the samples failed a test for pyrethrin levels. They are a mixture of six chemicals that are toxic to insects, according to the National Pesticide Information Center based at Oregon State University.

Pyrethrins are found in some chrysanthemum flowers and can be used on organic products in some cases.

With the legalization of recreational marijuana, growers are facing a new regulatory structure. Because the federal government still considers the drug illegal, states had to establish their own rules for pesticides and pot. Oregon tests for 59 active ingredients.

The testing was done by GreenHaus Analytical Labs, which is certified by the state to test cannabis for potency, water content and pesticide residue.

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Published at Tue, 21 Mar 2017 23:30:09 +0000

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Vermont marijuana legalization bills headed for back burner, but all's not lost

Vermont marijuana legalization bills headed for back burner, but all's not lost

MONTPELIER, Vt. — Two marijuana legalization measures in Vermont’s House will likely miss a key deadline Friday to advance to the Senate, hindering their chances of passing this year.

The two bills offer widely differing ways to legalize marijuana. The first measure was introduced in January and allows for personal cultivation of marijuana and legal possession of small amounts, but no regulatory or taxation structure.

A separate measure introduced in February relies on the earlier bill to pass. It would create the regulatory structure for taxing marijuana, but only if marijuana is already legalized by the earlier measure.

Under Vermont’s legislative rules, House bills should be out of their committees by Friday — the midpoint of the legislative session — so they can get to the Senate, and vice versa. Neither measure will get out of their committees in time.

The House Judiciary Committee was expected to vote on the earlier legalization measure this week to advance it but shifted focus to other bills.

Democratic Rep. Sam Young is the lead sponsor of the measure that would tax and regulate marijuana. Young’s bill has not been considered by lawmakers at all, he said.

Despite the poor signals, a bill is not necessarily dead if it misses the Friday deadline, Young said. If support builds, there are many ways for lawmakers to revive a seemingly dead bill.

Last year, the Senate decided late in the session to put language from a previous marijuana legalization measure into an existing bill, effectively reintroducing a legal pot bill.

But the effort ultimately failed. Senators passed the measure and sent it to the House, which voted it down.

The Senate could do something similar this year and hope for a different result to keep the idea alive, Young said.

“We play by the rules all year long and then on the last few days we suspend them all day long,” Young said.

Young said that for something as complicated as marijuana legalization, it’s better to take the time to craft a robust law.

“I always said I think it should be a two-year process. I think people should take their time and do it right,” Young said.

Another obstacle to legalization is Republican Gov. Phil Scott, who has said he will consider the idea of legalization but wants to put public safety first.

Scott would veto any legalization bill that does not give police a reliable and accurate way to measure driver impairment under the influence of marijuana, he has said.

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Published at Fri, 17 Mar 2017 21:26:50 +0000

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Over 100 Detroit medical marijuana shops closed down, more in jeopardy

Over 100 Detroit medical marijuana shops closed down, more in jeopardy

DETROIT — Detroit’s medical marijuana centers are finding difficulty in fulfilling the city’s list of strict requirements and regulations.

New figures released this week by the city reveal that only two prospective Medical Marijuana Caregiver Centers out of more than 260 applicants have been approved to operate, The Detroit News reported.

Green Cross opened in February as Detroit’s first licensed center. Manager Simon Berro said its operators were the first to apply under the law that went into effect last March and completed the “vigorous” zoning and licensing process Feb. 3.

“We went to the city. We listened to what they said. We followed their rules,” Berro said. “We took all precautions, and it was a vigorous process, but nonetheless, it worked out in the end.”

The Green Genie also has its license, but no staff was in attendance Thursday.

The new rules allowed Detroit to shut down marijuana shops failing to seek compliance under the ordinance or dispensing medical marijuana in unapproved zones. So far, 136 shops have closed down.

National Patient Rights Association official Robin Schneider said she’s disappointed in the lack of progress after a year.

“(Detroit) has the most exclusionary zoning practices of anything I’ve ever seen in the state,” she said. “I think the fact that patients still do not have access to licensed facilities is a disservice to patients.”

Detroit Corporation Counsel Melvin Butch Hollowell said the zoning legislation will allow about 50 shops overall.

“There will be an appropriate number of locations that will be made available for people to sell the medicine,” he said. “We just want to make sure that as they are opened, they are opening in an orderly fashion and meeting needs of patients required for treatment.”

Information from: The Detroit News

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Published at Fri, 17 Mar 2017 20:57:36 +0000

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Four arrested at Bellwoods Dispensary in Toronto

Four arrested at Bellwoods Dispensary in Toronto

Less than one week after Toronto police orchestrated raids at Cannabis Culture outlets across Canada, four people have been arrested after yet another raid of another local marijuana dispensary

Police raided Bellwoods Dispensary at 872 Dundas St. W. yesterday and arrested four Toronto residents who are facing charges of possession of a schedule II substance for the purpose of trafficking, possession of a schedule II substance and possession of proceeds of property obtained by crime.

A post on their Instagram account promised the location would re-open soon.

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 6.24.50 PM

They are scheduled to appear in court at Old City Hall four days after 4/20 on April 25.


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Published at Thu, 16 Mar 2017 02:17:07 +0000

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Federal marijuana convictions dropped by half under Obama

Federal marijuana convictions dropped by half under Obama

The number of people sentenced for federal marijuana-related crimes dropped for the fifth year in a row, according to data released this week by the U.S. Sentencing Commission.

A total of 3,534 offenders received sentences for federal marijuana crimes in 2016. The overwhelming majority of these cases – 3,398 of them – involved trafficking marijuana. Another 122 individuals received federal sentences for simple possession of marijuana, although some of these offenders may have pleaded down from a more serious offense.

The commission’s statistics show that more than 97 percent of people charged with a federal crime plead guilty, rather than go to trial.

Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana in 2012. The data show a sharp drop in the number of federal marijuana sentences the following year, down from 6,992 to 4,942.

The sale and use of marijuana for any purpose, recreational, medical or otherwise, remains a crime at the federal level even in states where it’s legal. But in 2013 the Justice Department issued guidance giving federal prosecutors leeway to ignore certain marijuana offenses, provided such behavior was otherwise in compliance with an applicable state law.

These federal numbers don’t include sentencing under state and local law, where the overwhelming majority of drug enforcement takes place. In 2015, for instance, more than a half-million people were arrested by state or local authorities for simple marijuana possession, according to FBI statistics. By contrast, only about 3,500 people received federal sentences for marijuana crimes of any sort that year.

Federal sentences for heroin have more than doubled over the past 10 years, according to the USSC, in part reflecting the current opioid epidemic. While 1,382 people received federal heroin sentences in 2007, over 2,800 were sentenced for heroin crimes last year.

But the overall number of federal heroin sentences is still low relative to most other drugs. That’s because heroin is a lot easier to smuggle: On a per-gram basis, heroin is about 26 times more valuable than marijuana, according to federal statistics from 2012. That means that small, easy to conceal heroin shipments can still be highly lucrative. (According to some estimates, the entirety of heroin consumed in a year in the United States could fit within one or two standard shipping containers.)

Heroin is a lot harder to detect, seize and charge people with than a cheaper, bulkier product like marijuana, but it’s also more dangerous. About 13,000 people overdose on heroin each year, while zero overdose on marijuana.

Much of the decrease in sentences is a function of the decisions made by individual U.S. attorneys. President Donald Trump recently fired all the remaining holdovers from the Obama administration, meaning that a new batch of prosecutors – who may have different ideas about what marijuana sentences have to do with the pursuit of justice – will soon be taking their place.

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Published at Tue, 14 Mar 2017 21:00:06 +0000

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Arkansas Senate Rejects Measure to Ban Smoking of Medical Cannabis

Arkansas Senate Rejects Measure to Ban Smoking of Medical Cannabis

An effort by Arkansas lawmakers to undermine a voter-approved initiative that legalizes medical cannabis has failed in the Senate.

In November Arkansas voters approved Issue 6 with 53% voting in favor. The constitutional amendment legalizes the possession and use of medical cannabis, including a system of licensed dispensaries. Today the Senate voted 15 to 11 to reject Senate Bill 357, a measure filed by Representative Jason Rapert (D) that would have made changes to this law, banning the actual smoking of medical cannabis. This is the second time this year the Senate has rejected such a measure.

A motion that would have allowed the bill to come up again at a later time failed unanimously, 11 to 0. This thankfully puts the bill to rest, at least for the time being.

Under Arkansas’ new law the state will begin accepting applications for dispensaries in July, which are expected to be open sometime next year. Those who receive a recommendation from a physician, and register with the state, will be authorized to use these safe access points once they open their doors.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

(Why?)

Published at Tue, 14 Mar 2017 06:10:23 +0000

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Simon2Zion: I haven’t smoked in a few days, and this morning it felt like I forgot how to.

Simon2Zion: I haven’t smoked in a few days, and this morning it felt like I forgot how to.

Simon2Zion: I haven’t smoked in a few days, and this morning it felt like I forgot how to.

I’m drinking my morning coffee, and toking my morning toke, as usual. However, I immediately start hacking like I have a furry invisible hairball as soon as the smoke hit the back of my throat. I’m standing crossing my legs, hoping I will not pee my pants as I cough up saliva and smoke. I hack so hard that I spill the bong water and almost knock over my precious morning coffee.  I forcefully spit the earthy tasting smoke out of my mouth and take a minute to recover. Then I wrap my lips around the top of my bong to hit it again. I lightly laugh with my exhale, thinking to myself  “this is how my 31 mile run is going to start today.” I grin as I draw in my next toke of floral scented indica dominate hybrid “rip Cindy.” A spin off of Cinderella 99, which is sativa dominant strain.

I proceed with my dynamic stretching feeling energized and uplifted. Almost simultaneously as I drink my last sip or coffee, I think about calling my parents. Wasting no time I dial their number while placing my feet onto the pavement for my warm up mile.

Yep, I’m calling them while running and for what I was about to tell them wasn’t the easiest for me either.

I’m a bit stirred me up, emotionally and the Cortizone in my brain was already releasing before my dad picked up. I go into fight or flight mode and quickly realize, I’m really stoned. I stumble over my words a little before I’m able to say “Good morning dad. How are you?”

See,  I’m about to tell my parents that I don’t want them at my hundred mile race in Zion national Park this April. At first I thought it was a good idea. I wanted them to be proud of me, to support me and feel included. However I’m eight weeks out and a lot of life has happened between then and now. I’ve gone through a lot of trial and error, ups and downs, and some new ways to find myself.

My mom gets on the phone and we have a cheerful good morning hello. Then I told her in a delicate and respectful manner that I really need her and my dad’s support in this race, but not needing them physically at the event. That I was needing more assistance with my children and scheduling. Which to me, is a big role and a huge component to me being able to participate in this race.

See, I need to know that my children and my personal affairs are taken care of without me worrying about any of that while out on the course. I’m sure I’ll still worry but that’s because I am human and sometimes humans worry.

Over all, I felt like my parents were very receptive and told me that they want to support me with my needs. Of course, I’m crying before I even get off the phone and I proceed to cry for the next mile of my run. At first I started to tense up and try to block the overwhelming feelings. However my altered relaxed body, with help from Cindy allowed for me to release the emotion as I said aloud “let go”.

Only after passing a burst of morning traffic, do I whip my ugly crybaby face off and proceeded about my run. I admired the spring like weather as I planned my course through the urban jungle. I plugged my ears with an audiobook and ate half of a Cliff bar at mile five. Then I stopped to make out with Cindy at mile eight, just before entering the beautiful Portland waterfront. There’s lots of foot traffic there so I wanted to be a little bit more discrete about my smoking.

As a cruise through the cityscape the skies darken and offer a raging downpour. It had been lightly sprinkling on and off with slight sun reflections behind the clouds pretty much all morning but this was a solid sheet of rain. For some odd reason something in the audiobook struck a chord in that very moment and I started to cry like the skies above.  I continue to head toward St Johns and I eat some black licorice at my turn around point. Stopping at a taco cart for a Coca-Cola around mile 18. I drank the Coke so fast that less than a minute after finishing it I belched the loudest burp ever, secretly hoping someone near by heard.

I stopped and made out with Cindy at mile 19.5 just before re-entering Portland’s waterfront. I ate some pretzels and a few more pieces of black licorice. Then another downpour and I too began to flood water from my eyes. I cry so hard my heart physically hurt but I don’t stop running. I notice a pattern by this time. It’s as if my emotions are following the weather. I was euphoric when there was no rain or light sprinkle and sobbing when it was stormy. I pondered that for a while.

I called a friend at mile 24 to discuss a film project that is in the works. Also taking the time to message my cousin,  Anna. She’s my crew boss for Zion and I wanted to inform her of changes in original plans and to process my feelings about my conversation with my parents.

This woman has been with me all my life. We’re two months apart in age and grow up together. Anna can read my face and body language before I even know what I’m thinking. She is my rock star and possibly up for a challenging job being in charge of me for 100 miles.

I stopped with only 5 miles to go to eat another serving of pretzels and drink some water. The sun is out with a heavy wind. I’m feeling calm, collective and present with the surroundings. I slip into the nearby portable potty only to wrap my lips around my pipe to inhale the sweet citrus kisses from Cindy. I know it would be my last took of the day, so I get myself nice and stoney before returning to my run.

My feet float down The Springwater trail for a few moments before the rain returns with a vengeance. No fail, salty liquid fills my tear ducks and roll down my cheeks. I pick up my pace and allow for the emotions to fellow like a river and not giving them much mental attention.

By mile 28 I was cussing the rain and frustrated with the amount of crying. I pretended to be a pony heading back to the barn as I made it up my last hill climb picking up speed knowing I only had a mile and a half to go. I’m singing softly “I really want this run to be over. This run is fun BUT now I am done.”

Feeling blessed as my feet hit the porch just in time to witness a fierce sideways shower of rain. Stripping my wet clothing before opening the door. I sit on the bench in the foyer to remove my shoes. Amazed that I still feel energized and noticeably physical, mental and emotional lighter.  As I walked to my dryer with wet clothes in tow, I kiss my boyfriend along the way, and notice my fatigued ankles and feet. I then pony gall-up to the bedroom and threw my damp body onto the bed. My face full from smiling, I realized that my body processed all this un-name-able emotions with the rhythm of the weather and I didn’t even have to put my mental powers to use. I giggle and think about how ripping on Cindy was one of many helpful component of my picnic by foot today.

(Why?)

Published at Fri, 10 Mar 2017 18:02:04 +0000

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Colorado House Passes Regressive Measure to Reduce Marijuana Grow Limits

Colorado House Passes Regressive Measure to Reduce Marijuana Grow Limits

Colorado’s full House of Representatives has passed House Bill 1220 through its second reading.

The measure will need to be passed through one more reading before being sent to the Senate for consideration. According to its official summary, the bill “places a cap on the number of plants that can be possessed or grown on a residential property at 12 plants in the aggregate, with 6 or fewer being mature.”

The measure would also set a limit of 12 plants for medical marijuana patients and primary caregivers. Patients who cultivates more than 12 plants “must cultivate the plants in compliance with applicable city, county, or city and county law.”

Colorado currently allows patients to grow up to 99 plants, by far the highest limit in the country. Although the grow limit for recreational use is six plants per person, multiple people can currently join together to grow more than that in a single residence, which House Bill 1220 would limit.

Click here for the full text of the proposal.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

(Why?)

Published at Sat, 11 Mar 2017 19:03:32 +0000

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