mayor

Colorado: Crackdown Coming For Illegal Marijuana Grows In Colorado Springs

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A crackdown is coming in Colorado Springs, according to Mayor John Suthers, who said he expects hundreds of busts of illegal marijuana growers in the coming months.

Those busts are targeting unregistered, commercial-sized operations run by out-of-state residents, mainly from Florida and with ties to cartels, according to law enforcement officials, reports Kaitlin Durbin at The Gazette.

What that hopefully means is that the focus won't be on small-time home grows, where average stoners cultivate a few more plants than 12 legally permitted under Amendment 64, the legalization initiative approved by Colorado voters back in 2012.

"If you look at who is being busted in Pueblo and who will be busted in Colorado Springs over the summer, you can tell: These are organized crime," Suthers claimed. "A lot of them Cubans coming up from Central America, and they're buying or leasing homes, making huge amounts of money (and) trashing the homes."

"There's no question, in Colorado Springs we have large illegal grow operations in several hundred homes," Suthers said.

Oregon: Pro-Cannabis Group Endorses Ted Wheeler For Portland Mayor

TedWheelerPortlandMayoralCandidate2016[ChristineDong-WillametteWeek].jpg

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New Approach Oregon, the pro-marijuana group which was behind the successful Measure 91 legalization campaign, on Tuesday endorsed candidate Ted Wheeler for mayor of Portland.

"I want to strongly urge you to consider casting your vote for Ted Wheeler, an ally of the marijuana law reform movement and someone who understands the importance of the cannabis industry and implementing the will of the voters," reads a letter from New Approach Oregon's Chief Petitioner, Anthony Johnson.

"When the Oregon Financial Estimate Committee met to determine the amount of revenue Measure 91 would generate for the state, our campaign became very concerned when the state's Legislative Revenue Office projected that legalizing marijuana would only bring in about $17 million in new revenue to the state," Johnson's letter reads. "One elected official on the committee cooly and calmly considered all of the evidence and wisely advocated that the state project a range of revenue. That official was Ted Wheeler, at the time serving on the committee as our state's treasurer.

"Ted advocated for a range of $17 million to $40 million," Johnson said. "And as we just saw the state collect about $7 million in the first two months of taxes, the upper end of the range is looking like a pretty good call.

Washington: Seattle Mayor's Medical Marijuana Dispensary Plan Gets Resistance

EdMurraySeattleMayor[TheSeattleTimes]

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray's proposal for licensing medical marijuana dispensaries has run into opposition from some shop owners in the city who'd be zoned out of existence under the plan.

The mayor's proposal wouldn't allow Alex Cooley, a pioneer in medical marijuana in the city, to continue farming at his Sodo location, because it is too close to a child-care center, reports Bob Young at The Seattle Times.

"Why did I work voluntarily with the city to go through the front door, when all of my permits provide no value to me right now?" Cooley said at a Seattle City Hall meeting last week.

Cooley and other unhappy businesspeople at the meeting asked for changes in the mayor's plan to bring the city's longstanding, law-abiding medical marijuana dispensaries into compliance with the state's recreational marijuana system created by I-502.

The mayor's plan would reduce buffer zones between marijuana businesses and child-care centers and libraries from 1,000 feet to 500 feet; it would keep the 1,000-foot buffer in place for schools and playgrounds. It would also require pot stores to be at least 500 feet apart.

The plan would add 1,650 acres of available land in the city where legal marijuana stores could potentially locate. Some, including Cooley, believe the buffers should be further relaxed.

Oregon: Portland Mayoral Candidate Says He Would Lead On Cannabis Policy

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Portland mayoral candidate and Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler said at a roundtable this week that as mayor, he would lead on cannabis policy.

"First of all, let's acknowledge that this is a legal and regulated industry," Wheeler said. "Some of the issues I'd like to see resolved include banking.

"Right now, the cannabis industry does not have access to a legal banking framework," Wheeler said. "That means it's a high volume cash industry. That creates some public safety issues.

"It certainly makes it more difficult for the industry to be regulated the way people expect the industry to be regulated and frankly it makes it a very difficult proposition for those in the cannabis industry whether they're growers or whether they're suppliers or whether they're at the retail level," Wheeler said.

Wheler took a refreshing stand against the trend towards over-regulation of legal cannabis. Oregonians need only look north at their neighbor Washington to see the implementation of a wildly over-regulated legal marijuana industry, leading to unnecessarily high prices and over-taxation (a special 37 percent cannabis tax).

Massachusetts: Boston Mayor Says He Will Block Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

BostonMayorMartinJWalsh

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Boston Mayor Martin J. Walsh this week moved to block the opening of two medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, saying he's "dead set" against the shops at a forum in Dorchester and then sending a letter to state officials urging "swift action" if any problems are found with the companies' applications.

"I am writing to express my serious concern regarding the two registered marijuana dispensary applicants in the city of Boston," the mayor wrote in a Tuesday letter addressed to Massachusetts Secretary of Health and Human Services John Polanowicz, and to Executive Director Karen Van Unen of the state's medical marijuana program, reports Meghan E. Irons at The Boston Globe.

Questions remain about the two companies, Mayor Walsh claimed. Green Heart Holistic Health & Pharmaceuticals Inc. wants to open a 3,000-square-foot dispensary at 70 Southampton Street, and Good Chemistry of Massachusetts Inc. plans a shop on Boylston Street.

The mayor urged "swift and uniform action" if inaccuracies are found in the applications, saying that would bolster confidence in the regulatory process.

"If any information provided in either application is confirmed to be inaccurate, I ask that the Department of Public Health immediately eliminate that application from being eligible for a final certification of registration," Mayor Walsh wrote.

Colorado: Under Denver Ordinance Just The Odor Of Marijuana Could Get You A Year In Jail

DenverMayorMichaelHancock

"Bad News, Dude: If That Pot You're Smoking Smells Like Pot, It's Not Legal Anymore"

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It seems the minute marijuana legalization was approved by voters in Colorado and Washington, some politicians started trying to find ways to undermine the will of the people. Now, in Denver, the mere smell of marijuana wafting from your backyard could be illegal if the city council passes a new ordinance.

The ordinance, which will be introduced at Monday's city council meeting, comes in advance of legal retail marijuana sales, which are scheduled to begin in January, reports Jeremy Mayer at The Denver Post.

The ordinance would prohibit pot smoking in parks and in the 16th Street Mall, and would also ban toking in private property if it is "visible to the public," such as on your front porch or in a car, or if the odor of cannabis could be detected from neighboring property.

"Your activities should not pervade others' peace and ability to enjoy," Denver Mayor Michael Hancock said. "Marijuana is one of those elements that can be quite pervasive and invasive," the Mayor claimed. "I shouldn't have to smell your activities from your back yard." The mayor didn't explain why we should have to smell his intolerance from ours.

If the ordinance is approved by the city council, the mayor will sign it and it will take effect immediately. Offenders could face a fine of $999 and up to a year in jail.

Canada: Toronto Mayor Admits Smoking 'A Lot' of Marijuana

TorontoMayorRobFord

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Toronto Mayor Rob Ford on Wednesday admitted that he's smoked "a lot" of marijuana.

After a campaign address, Mayor Ford took questions from reporters, and was asked if he had ever smoked pot, reports The Guardian.

"Oh yeah," the mayor said, chuckling. "I won't deny that. I smoked a lot of it."

Ford would not answer when asked how recently he had smoked weed.

The mayor made world headlines earlier this year when allegations surfaced that he was caught on video smoking crack cocaine. The video has not been publicly released, and Ford has refused to step down.

"I do not use crack cocaine, nor am I am addict of crack cocaine," he said.

Ford admitted three years ago that he was charged with driving under the influence and marijuana possession in Florida in the 1990s.

He pleaded "no contest" to the impaired driving charge, and the drug charge was dropped.

Ford was asked about his cannabis consumption after Liberals leader Justin Trudeau admitted that he smoked a joint three years ago, while a member of Parliament. Trudeau said that marijuana should be legalized and regulated.

Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne joined the chorus on Wednesday, admitting she smoked "a little pot" about 35 years ago.

California: San Diego Mayor Calls For Jury Nullification In Medical Marijuana Case

SanDiegoMayorBobFilner

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

San Diego Mayor Bob Filner on Monday took on the federal government and its crackdown on medical marijuana. Filner held a press conference in support of medical marijuana patient Ronnie Chang, who was operating state-licensed dispensaries, calling for jury nullification in the case.

Chang's supporters say he was wrongfully arrested and persecuted in federal raids back in 2009, reports Sharon Chen at Fox 5 San Diego.

"Ronnie Chang has been in custody for about five months," said Terrie Best of San Diego Americans for Safe Access. "He has a very infirm mother he had been supporting and taking care of."

Chang's attorney, Michael McCabe, on Monday appeared before a federal magistrate judge to argue a temporary gag order against him be lifted. McCabe was criticized by supporters of the federal crackdown for appearing in a video blasting U.S. Attorney Laura Duffy, who has overseen the crackdown in Southern California.

The persecution of Chang is bias-driven and vindictive, according to McCabe.

Prosecutors wanted all material regarding the case removed from the internet and social networks, which makes one wonder why they are afraid of the truth. A federal judge wouldn't enforce the gag order, but instead McCabe agreed not to "try the case in front of the press."

The prosecutors came to their senses, backing down from their ridiculous request to remove information from the internet.

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