Marijuana

Friday, April 13, 2018

Trump No Longer Just Saying No to Legal Pot

Posted By on Fri, Apr 13, 2018 at 4:19 PM

Trump is turning over a new leaf on legal marijuana. - FILE
  • File
  • Trump is turning over a new leaf on legal marijuana.
California’s fledgling recreational marijuana industry may soon be able to fully exhale after President Donald Trump indicated this week that he is willing to support federal legislation protecting legal cannabis businesses.

Colorado U.S. Sen. Cory Gardner said in a statement today that he received a “commitment from the President that the Department of Justice’s rescission of the Cole memo will not impact Colorado’s legal marijuana industry.”

The legislator was referring to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ January announcement that he was reversing course on the Obama Administration’s policy — known as the Cole Memo — of not pursuing federal prosecutions in states that had legalized marijuana for medical or recreational uses.


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Monday, March 19, 2018

Supes Get Divergent Input on Cannabis Ordinance

Posted By on Mon, Mar 19, 2018 at 4:38 PM

GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
In packed chamber, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors began discussing its commercial cannabis land use ordinance today and — after a two-hour staff report and hours of public comment — Fifth District Supervisor and Board Chair Ryan Sundberg indicated he’s hopeful the board will adopt the new ordinance when it comes back before the board April 10.

The board also agreed to extend the county’s comment period on the new policy, agreeing to accept comments on the ordinance, which aims to replace the county’s existing cannabis policy and regulate the local industry in concert with California’s new recreational framework, and its accompanying environmental impact report until March 28. (Comments can be emailed to Planning Director John Ford at JFord@co.humboldt.ca.us.)

But the board hardly discussed what promises to be one of the more controversial elements of the planning department’s proposal — which is to pass a separate resolution capping the number of cannabis cultivation permits issued in the county.

Today’s meeting featured widely divergent public comment, with some speakers largely complimentary of the draft policy and its environmental impact report, and others seeking large-scale changes or lambasting the environmental study as inadequate or flawed.

Check back for a more thorough story detailing today’s meeting and see past coverage of the draft ordinance here and here.

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Friday, March 16, 2018

Supes Set to Consider Cannabis Ordinance, Permit Cap Monday

Posted By on Fri, Mar 16, 2018 at 9:45 AM

SHUTTERSTOCK
  • Shutterstock
As we reported in this week’s print edition, the Humboldt County Board of Supervisors will hold a public hearing at 9 a.m. Monday to consider approving a new land use ordinance to govern commercial cannabis and placing a cap on the number of cultivation permits issued countywide.

The proposed ordinance would change the way cannabis farms are permitted in agricultural zones, do away with the currently required setbacks from school bus stops and allow cities more control over cultivation operations that lie within their spheres of influence. Additionally, the new rules are aimed at giving farms and other businesses opportunities to delve into the world of canna-tourism by offering tours and farm stays.

Read more about the proposed permit cap here and the balance of the ordinance here. And see the county’s press release copied below. You can read the full proposed ordinance and see its accompanying environmental impact report here.

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Friday, February 2, 2018

Sheriff, Bachelor Contestant Respond to Media Frenzy

Posted By on Fri, Feb 2, 2018 at 1:06 PM

Rebekah Martinez - THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S OFFICE
  • The Attorney General's Office
  • Rebekah Martinez
When our story broke yesterday that one of the "Humboldt 35" – people on the California Attorney General's database listed as missing from Humboldt County – was not only safe and sound, but vying for a rose on national television, it was greeted by a variety of responses, and a lot of questions. The most pressing question: How did Martinez's name end up on the California Attorney General's website as a missing person, when she was clearly alive and well and active on social media during the time period she was supposedly missing? The answer to that question says a lot about how our system for reporting and investigating missing persons does – and doesn't  –  work.

Bekah Martinez herself helped our story go viral, retweeting it with the words "MOM. How many times do I have to tell you I don't get cell service on the Bachelor??" This year's season of the popular show started filming Sept. 20, according to Insider, and wrapped up around the end of November. On Nov. 18, Martinez's mother reported her missing, saying she was last seen Nov. 12, and her listing was active on the Attorney General's website as of Jan. 18, our "point in time" for capturing the Humboldt 35. Martinez's mom apparently reported her as having come to Humboldt to work on a cannabis farm. Whether she left The Bachelor set to come to Humboldt (Spoiler alert, Bachelor Nation), just offered the story as an alibi while she was wrapping up filming or the timeline is just wonky, we don't know.

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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Attorney General Reverses Obama-Era Marijuana Protections

Posted By on Thu, Jan 4, 2018 at 10:39 AM

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions. - GAGE SKIDMORE/WIKIMEDIA COMMONS
  • Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons
  • U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Just days after recreational cannabis became fully legal in California, U.S. Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions announced Thursday that he is rescinding an Obama-era policy that directed the Department of Justice to take a hands-off approach to marijuana in states that have set their own laws.

The policy, implemented since 2013, is known as the Cole Memo and directed U.S. Attorneys not to expend limited resources on prosecuting cannabis businesses and users in states that have legalized or decriminalized marijuana for medical or recreational purposes.

Sessions, a zealous critic of marijuana who infamously said marijuana is only “slightly less awful” than heroin and that “good people don’t smoke marijuana,” has also lobbied Congress to oppose the Rohrabacher-Farr Act, a longstanding budget rider prohibiting the Justice Department from spending federal funds prosecuting medical marijuana in states where it is legal, which now number 29. The spending provision, which has to be renewed annually, is currently in limbo as Congress hasn’t yet passed a federal budget.

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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

UPDATE: Fortuna Passes Registration Requirements for Personal Use Cannabis Grows

Posted By on Wed, Jan 3, 2018 at 1:37 PM

FILE
  • File
UPDATE:
The Fortuna City Council voted unanimously last night to require residents to register their personal-use cannabis grows with the city.

Residents wanting to exercise their rights under Proposition 64 to grow up to six marijuana plants for personal use will now have to pay a $100 filing fee to the city, file a “notice of cultivation” and potentially open their homes to city inspections.

The council also met in a special closed session meeting yesterday afternoon to evaluate the performance of City Manager Mark Wheetley. According to Deputy Clerk Megan Wilbanks, the council reported no action out of the closed-door meeting. (The closed session item on the same topic agendized for the regular council meeting was canceled.)

PREVIOUSLY:
As recreational cannabis goes legal throughout California, the Fortuna City Council will contemplate further cracking down on grows within city limits.

The council had already taken action to ban commercial cultivation and sales within city limits, for both medical and recreational cannabis, and banned personal-use outdoor grows, making it illegal for someone to grow a plant in their backyard. Now the council is looking at taking steps to rein in the right Proposition 64 granted on all Californians — to grow up to six plants in their residences.

Tonight, the council will decide whether to approve a $100 filing fee and require residents wanting to grow their six plants to file “notices of cultivation” with city hall.

“The purpose of the notice is to protect the public health and safety by notifying the city of legal cultivation sites, and to establish a fee that will cover a portion of the cost to administer the notices,” the staff report states. “Staff time will include basic filing and record keeping as well as review of each notice by the planning division, building division and police department to check for compliance with standards of the ordinance. Efforts might include discussion with the resident, checking existing building permit records, and site visits to confirm compliance with the standards such as the prohibition of visual and odor-related cultivation.”

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Monday, January 1, 2018

Humboldt Lines up For Legal Weed

Posted By on Mon, Jan 1, 2018 at 1:25 PM

Troy McCornack, working the door at the Eco dispensary in Eureka, checks the ID of Laura Montagna, who got in line two hours before the shop opened to become Humboldt County's first recreational cannabis customer. - THADEUS GREENSON
  • Thadeus Greenson
  • Troy McCornack, working the door at the Eco dispensary in Eureka, checks the ID of Laura Montagna, who got in line two hours before the shop opened to become Humboldt County's first recreational cannabis customer.
Dozens lined up on Eureka’s F Street this morning, waiting to become the first people in Humboldt County to legally purchase recreational cannabis.

Laura Montagna was the first in line, having shown up at about 10 a.m. — two hours before Eco, the only state licensed dispensary in Humboldt County, was slated to open its doors. What was she planning on buying, a reporter asked.

“I have no idea,” she laughed. “I don’t even smoke. I just think it’s historic and cool. … I hear there’s a strain that helps you clean your house. I’ll ask for that.”


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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Fast Food Giant Launches 'Munchie Meals' Targeting Recreational Stoner Cash

Posted By on Thu, Dec 28, 2017 at 3:22 PM

PHOTO ILLUSTRATION BY JONATHAN WEBSTER
  • Photo illustration by Jonathan Webster
Not to be left off the multi-billion-dollar cannabis bandwagon, fast food giant Jack in the Box announced earlier this week that it’s launching a line of stoner-targeted snacks.

“Jack’s Munchie Meals” will come with two tacos, five mini churros, three crispy chicken strips, a small drink and a serving of half curly fries and half regular fries, so, you know, all cravings are covered. Oh, and the new snack pack will be on sale for $4.20, you know, just so everybody gets their giggles. The idea is apparently the product of a partnership between the fast food chain and Merry Jane, a cannabis-focused digital media company started by rap legend Snoop Dogg, who once passed a weed collection bucket through the crowd at a concert in Eureka.

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Friday, November 17, 2017

New State Cannabis Regulations Allow for Limitless Grow Sizes

Posted By on Fri, Nov 17, 2017 at 2:48 PM

GRANT SCOTT-GOFORTH
  • Grant Scott-Goforth
It looks like you’ll be able to munch down on that cannabis beef jerky come January but the stony shrimp cocktail will have to wait.

California dropped its long-awaited emergency medicinal and adult-use cannabis regulations yesterday, setting the rules for legal markets slated to open in 45 days on Jan. 1. The new regulations — released by the Department of Health, Department of Food and Agriculture, and the Bureau of Cannabis Control — diverge sharply in some cases from their draft counterparts released back in April.

The new regulations lift a proposed cap on the size of marijuana farms, loosen restrictions on pesticide testing and clamp down on the potency of edibles. Collectively, the new regulations will dictate exactly how cultivators, manufacturors, distributors and dispensaries can operate, at least at the outset (the regulations will be revised next year).

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Sunday, September 24, 2017

TL;DR: Five Reasons NOT to Try This at Home

Posted By on Sun, Sep 24, 2017 at 10:52 AM

ncj-cover-092117.jpg
Busy week? We’ll help you catch up on the basics of this week's cover story, "Rio Dell's Hash Lab Murder Case," which takes a deep dive into hash lab explosion that rocked Rio Dell in November and spawned murder charges against all involved. You should really read the whole story here, but this will give you a quick primer on why butane hash oil extraction is inherently dangerous and how California's felony murder rule fits the alleged facts of this case.

1) It’s really dangerous: Butane hash oil extraction is an inherently volatile process. Used to make an ever expanding array of popular products — like oil, shatter, wax and honeycomb — the process uses butane gas to concentrate marijuana’s psychoactive properties to increase potency. It works like this: You take a long tube (usually plastic, metal or glass) filled with marijuana and push butane through it. The butane strips the THC from the plant matter, leaving behind a golden liquid. That liquid still contains butane, however, which must be evaporated off, usually in a two-step process involving hot water and a heating pad. But butane, once purged from its container, becomes a fugitive gas that’s heavier than air. In poorly ventilated spaces, the combustible gas will pool at the floor and build up until it escapes or hits an ignition source — anything from a pilot light to a spark of static electricity.

2) These labs don’t just burn, they explode: When the pooled gas hits the ignition source, there’s usually enough of it that an explosion results. In one such fire outside of Eureka last year, the blast was so strong that it lifted the roof off the walls and moved the structure off its foundation. In the case of the Rio Dell fire at the heart of this story, the blast was so strong it shook neighbors’ homes, rattling windows. And, if that weren’t bad enough, there’s also usually the hazard of stored butane in the lab, which, still in containers,  explodes when burned in the ensuing fire, causing subsequent blasts. This risk of subsequent blasts is so great that Humboldt Bay Fire has changed policy to prevent its firefighters from entering a burning lab unless they know someone is trapped inside.

3) You could be seriously hurt: This can’t be underscored enough. When these things blow up, they do damage and that includes to people. Initial reports from the scene in Rio Dell were that the three young men in the lab at the time of the explosion had burns covering 60 to 90 percent of their bodies. Neighbor Cindy Dobereiner said her husband and daughter ran over to help, finding one man whose “hair was burnt down into his head, his beard melted to his face.” They brought pitchers of water and a hose, and Dobereiner said her daughter tried douse one of the men to stop the burning. “She said, ‘Mom, I thought he had gloves on because when I poured water on him, the gloves just fell right off. But they weren’t gloves.’” In the Rio Dell case, Xavier Renner, a 21-year-old from San Diego, died due to secondary infections from the burns five weeks later in a U.C. Davis Medical Center burn unit.

4) You could destroy a neighborhood: Neighbors of the Rio Dell explosion say it turned the city into a war zone. A U.S. Army veteran who lives about a block away said the concussion from the initial blast was so strong it felt and sounded like someone had taken a battering ram to his door. Then, hundreds of subsequent pops and booms as butane cans blew in the fire sounded like gunfire. As they exploded, cans whizzed through the neighborhood or shot into the air, falling smoldering into neighbors’ yards and onto their roofs. Flames from the detached garage reached high into the air and neighbors say it was only a strong response from the Rio Dell Volunteer Fire Department that kept the fire from spreading to engulf neighboring structures and, possibly, the entire block. (Check out the video below.)


5) If someone dies, you can be charged with murder: Even after the explosion, the fire and the news weeks later that Renner had died, no one in Rio Dell seemed to expect the police to come knocking with murder warrants. But they did. All four people associated with the Rio Dell lab — Renner’s friends, Arron Mohr and Aaron Schisler, and the couple who rented them the garage, David and Tamara Paul — have been charged with Renner’s murder. While that may seem extreme to some, California law fits with the alleged facts under what’s called the felony murder rule. A legal doctrine, the felony murder rule holds that if Person A is knowingly committing a dangerous felony and Person B dies during the crime, Person A can be charged with Person B’s murder. In this case, prosecutors allege that Mohr and Schisler were engaged in manufacturing concentrated cannabis using a volatile solvent, a dangerous felony that caused Renner’s death. The Pauls, prosecutors allege, knew of the butane hash operation and thus were illegally allowing a place for the manufacturing of a controlled substance, causing Renner’s death. Some hope the prosecutions — which may be the first of their kind in California, as the Journal was unable to find any other reports of murder prosecutions stemming from hash lab explosions — will have a chilling effect in the industry, underscoring the high stakes of an inherently dangerous activity.

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