An Inland church that uses marijuana to worship is embroiled in a
bitter dispute with Jurupa Valley, which alleges the Vault Church of
Open Faith is primarily a pot store and has been trying to shut it
down for more than a year.
An association representing the church and about 15 others like it
fired back Friday, April 13, filing a claim against the city seeking
$1.2 million in damages and alleging harassment and discrimination.
Church leaders say they smoke marijuana or eat edibles as part of
spiritual meditation as a religious sacrament, but city officials say
they're using religion as a front for selling pot.
[continues 887 words]
SAN DIEGO - Support for drugs like Suboxone, Vivitrol and methadone
was one of the rallying cries at the annual American Society for
Addiction Medicine conference this week in California.
Broadly known as medication-assisted treatments, the drugs are
sometimes-controversial tools for battling the growing opioid
epidemic. Though they work in different ways, all three can be taken
long-term to reduce the chance of relapse into drug use.
"It's not a matter of ideology," said ASAM president Dr. Kelly Clark.
"It's a matter of the facts show a person's risk of dying is higher
when they don't take medication."
[continues 546 words]
SARASOTA COUNTY -- More medical marijuana is coming to the county
after the Sarasota County Commission on Wednesday approved the second
dispensary application in two days.
The County Commission voted 4-1 to allow Sarasota-based AltMed to open
a medical marijuana dispensary at 5077 Fruitville Road in the Cobia
Bay shopping plaza -- making it the second approved dispensary in
unincorporated county. Commissioner Mike Moran, who has concerns
medical dispensaries could be the gateway to legalizing recreational
marijuana in the state, cast the dissenting vote.
[continues 133 words]
By the time Thomas Hodorowski made the connection between his
marijuana habit and the bouts of pain and vomiting that left him
incapacitated every few weeks, he had been to the emergency room
dozens of times, tried anti-nausea drugs, anti-anxiety medications and
antidepressants, endured an upper endoscopy procedure and two
colonoscopies, seen a psychiatrist and had his appendix and
The only way to get relief for the nausea and pain was to take a hot
He often stayed in the shower for hours at a time. When the hot water
ran out, "the pain was unbearable, like somebody was wringing my
stomach out like a washcloth," said Hodorowski, 28, a production and
shipping assistant who lives outside Chicago.
[continues 892 words]
CALIFORNIA SLOW TO ACCEPT PROP. 64
Recreational marijuana is legal in California, but it probably isn't
legal to buy in your city. Fewer than one in three cities in
California have approved any kind of cannabis industry, and only a
sliver of cities allow recreational pot shops. The Southern California
News Group has tracked the rules for every city and county in
California, to show the patchwork of rules governing a product that
became street legal four months ago. (Jane Tyska/Bay Area News Group)
[continues 1645 words]
In the first two months of cannabis legalization, consumers bought an
estimated $339 million worth of marijuana products from retailers in
California, 50 percent less than state projections, according to a
leading analytics firm.
The state has estimated that retail cannabis sales for the year would
be $3.4 billion, or $570 million every two months.
BDS Analytics of Boulder, Colorado, provided the firm's data to The
Bee. Greg Shoenfeld, vice president for operations, said the company
collects sales data from dispensaries and uses statistical modeling to
project statewide sales. BDS Analytics also collects and analyzes such
data in the three other states with recreational marijuana: Oregon,
Washington and Colorado.
[continues 443 words]
Three months after recreational marijuana went on sale in California,
San Diego retailers say business has been brisk and the customer base
diverse, including older people who use a private shuttle bus to reach
"There's been a change in the culture," said Will Senn, who operates
two Urbn Leaf marijuana stores in San Diego and is about to open a
"Cannabis is becoming more accepted. Now that adult-use marijuana is
legal, people are giving it a try. The average age of our customers
has gone from about 40 to about 50."
[continues 687 words]
What makes a 40-year-old marijuana movie relevant? Cheech and Chong
have an answer.
When Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong made their groundbreaking movie "Up
in Smoke" 40 years ago, marijuana and the culture surrounding it were
much different. People smoked "Mexican brick weed," and often had to
search high and low to "score a lid" because it was illegal.
Nowadays, consumers vape, eat and smoke cannabis, which is much
stronger and comes in so many strains that someone mimicked the
periodic table to keep track of them all. And, of course, cannabis is
legal in some form in much of the country.
[continues 641 words]
The Riverside City Council voted Tuesday, March 27, to have staff
members prepare an expansive ban on marijuana-related activities.
The ban, which must be approved as a city ordinance before it takes
effect, would replace Riverside's current moratorium that temporarily
bans most marijuana business.
Councilman Chuck Conder proposed the ban, which would prohibit the
retail and commercial sale, commercial cultivation, distribution, and
outdoor cultivation of medical marijuana plants. He did so after a
delegation of city officials who traveled to Denver, including Conder
himself, gave a three-hour presentation on the effects of marijuana
[continues 469 words]
Three months into the start of California's recreational marijuana
market, industry leaders are voicing concerns that sales are not
meeting projections, and that high taxes, complicated regulations and
a thriving black market are having deleterious effects.
The leaders pressed government officials to make changes during
Tuesday's gathering of an estimated 600 people at the California
Cannabis Industry Association conference at the Sheraton Grand in
"This is an industry in crisis," said Kristi Knoblich, president of
the association's board and co-founder of Kiva Confections, a
manufacturer of edible cannabis products. "This is me sounding the
[continues 599 words]
Moreno Valley officials have set the stage for a range of legal
marijuana businesses to open in Riverside County's second-largest city
while limiting the number of commercial pot enterprises to 27 -- eight
of them dispensaries.
The widely anticipated move, approved Tuesday, March 20, comes as the
city is working to shut down illegal pot stores.
City Attorney Martin Koczanowicz said that since last summer the city
has discovered 20 dispensaries operating illegally in Moreno Valley
and closed 15. It's now working to eliminate the other five.
[continues 607 words]
OAKLAND, Calif. - When officers burst into Rickey McCullough's
two-story home in Oakland a decade ago they noted a "strong fresh odor
of marijuana." Mr. McCullough had been growing large amounts of
marijuana illegally, the police said. He was arrested and spent a
month in jail.
A few weeks ago the city of Oakland, now promoting itself as a hub for
marijuana entrepreneurs, awarded Mr. McCullough, 33, a license to sell
marijuana and the prospect of interest-free loans.
Four hundred miles to the south, in the Los Angeles suburb of Compton,
Virgil Grant, 50, straddles the same two worlds, but with a different
outcome. He was a marijuana dealer in the 1990s whose customers are
said to have included rap stars like Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg and Tupac,
and he spent more than eight years in prison on marijuana convictions.
But his vision of starting a marijuana dispensary in his hometown was
dashed in January when the residents of Compton voted decisively to
ban marijuana businesses from city limits.
[continues 1415 words]
A popular marijuana website has told the state's cannabis czar that
she lacks the authority to make the company stop running
advertisements for unlicensed pot retailers.
In a letter sent Monday to Lori Ajax of the Bureau of Cannabis
Control, Doug Francis and Chris Beals of Weedmaps.com said the company
is not licensed by the bureau and therefore not subject to its
They also said Weedmaps is protected from such action because the
company is an "interactive computer service" covered under the federal
Communications Decency Act. The law states that such a service shall
not be treated as the publisher of information provided by a third
[continues 405 words]
Unlicensed marijuana delivery companies are operating across
Sacramento County, drawing the ire of legal pot retailers and warnings
from state and local regulators.
Regulators cite concerns about the delivery companies not paying fees
and taxes and selling weed that hasn't been tested for pesticides or
other possible toxins. They say the companies are threatening the
financial viability of legal retailers who must pay those costs in a
new legal marijuana market that started in California on Jan. 1.
In Sacramento County, about 200 marijuana delivery services were
advertising Friday on the website Weedmaps.com. Only one jurisdiction
in the county, the city of Sacramento, has plans to allow cannabis
delivery services, and it has yet to issue permits. In the interim,
city pot czar Joe Devlin has told delivery companies to register with
city, and eight have done so.
[continues 835 words]
A San Diego County resident is among 40 people nationwide to become
infected with salmonella bacteria linked to kratom, the controversial
tropical herb that many have begun using to treat opioid addiction
despite an import ban from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
According to the county Health and Human Services Agency, a
44-year-old, whose gender and city of residence were not released,
became ill in January.
Testing performed by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention confirmed that symptoms were caused by the same subspecies
of the salmonella bacteria that has now produced cases in 27 states.
[continues 695 words]
The state auditor says Ohio should continue its medical marijuana
program despite "multiple" flaws in selecting grower applicants.
Republican Auditor David Yost says the program's flaws should be
handled by administrative appeals or lawsuits.
At issue is the Department of Commerce's admission last week that a
scoring error led to a company's inadvertent exclusion from the
proposed list of the dozen big marijuana growers in Ohio's new program.
The agency says it identified the mistake after Yost expressed concern
that two employees had complete access to the scoring data.
The agency offered to put the program on hold. Yost said in
Wednesday's letter it's too late for that. He urged the agency to get
advice from the Ohio Attorney General.
Now that marijuana is legal in California, people don't have to hide
their marijuana use -- in fact, some are smoking it right in officers'
But these pot smokers aren't being brazen. They're actually helping
police better detect impaired drivers on the road, CBS Los Angeles
Glendale police Officer Bryan Duncan told the news station that about
75 percent of the DUI arrests he makes these days are drug impaired --
"more cannabis than alcohol."
A group of smokers recently gathered at a hotel where they were first
given field sobriety tests, and then allowed to start smoking
marijuana, Inside Edition reported. They later took sobriety tests for
a second time to judge how the drug affected their mental and motor
skill, the news outlet said.
[continues 349 words]
Berkeley may be the first city to declare itself a cannabis sanctuary
city. A customer shops at marijuana dispensary MedMen in West
Hollywood in January. (Christina House / Los Angeles Times)
The Berkeley City Council voted unanimously to declare the city a
sanctuary for recreational marijuana, a move that may be the first of
The resolution, adopted Tuesday, prohibits Berkeley's agencies and
employees from using city resources to assist in enforcing federal
marijuana laws or providing information on legal cannabis activities.
[continues 367 words]
Frustrated with traditional therapies for chronic pain and post-combat
stress disorders, a growing number of military veterans of the Iraq
and Afghanistan wars are turning to medical marijuana for their
treatment, a move that has put them at sharp odds with the Trump
The White House has resisted calls from Democrats in Congress,
pro-reform activists and even the American Legion, the nation's
largest wartime veterans service organization, to support research
into whether marijuana can help veterans, apparently fearing that any
move by the Department of Veterans Affairs to study its effectiveness
will be another step toward nationwide legalization.
[continues 1156 words]
Even before California legalized recreational marijuana Jan. 1, pot
was enjoying a gray renaissance.
From 2006 to 2013, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported
a 250% rise in marijuana use by Americans 65 and older. It is still a
small share, climbing from 0.4% to 1.4% of that population, but local
dispensaries see plenty of silver-haired shoppers.
"This is probably the most interested -- and wariest -- group," said
Lincoln Fish, chief executive of cannabis company Outco, noting that
the average customer at his Outliers Collective in El Cajon is over 58
[continues 963 words]
Officials in San Francisco said Tuesday they will open two safe
injection sites this summer, joining Philadelphia and Seattle on the
list of American cities that are planning to open sites where people
in addiction can use drugs under medical supervision and be revived if
The announcement comes three weeks after Philadelphia officials
announced their own plans to open a site here. Like Philadelphia's,
the San Francisco site will be funded privately. And also like
Philadelphia, the funding sources aren't yet clear, the San Francisco
Chronicle reported. City officials there said they were working with
"six to eight nonprofits that already operate needle exchanges and
offer other drug addiction services." Two will host the first safe
injection sites, and will likely open in July, officials said.
[continues 105 words]
A company responsible for keeping Sacramento dispensaries compliant
with the law has run afoul of the city's pot czar for planning an
illegal marijuana party.
Capitol Compliance Management and its nine affiliated dispensaries
have been running advertisements in the Sacramento News & Review for a
"Holiday Budtender Bash" that was scheduled for Thursday.
Joe Devlin, the city's chief of cannabis policy and enforcement, said
the company canceled the event after he told them it would violate
state and city laws by allowing public consumption of marijuana and by
giving it away.
[continues 373 words]
San Francisco is on track to open its first two safe injection sites
this July, a milestone that will likely make the city the first in the
country to embrace the controversial model of allowing drug users to
shoot up under supervision.
Other cities - including Seattle, Baltimore and Philadelphia - are
talking about opening their own safe injection facilities, but San
Francisco could get there first. Facilities already exist in Canada,
Australia and Europe.
Barbara Garcia, director of San Francisco's Department of Public
Health, said Monday that she's tending to the details, including where
the facilities will be located. She's working with six to eight
nonprofits that already operate needle exchanges and offer other drug
addiction services, and two of them will be selected to offer safe
[continues 956 words]
California's top cannabis regulator said the state deserves credit for
a successful rollout of retail marijuana sales, but acknowledged that
significant issues loom in the near future.
One month after the start of recreational marijuana sales, Lori Ajax,
chief of the state Bureau of Cannabis Control, gave an assessment of
the state's performance for a few hundred people at the International
Cannabis Business Conference.
She praised her employees, who worked through the weekend before the
Monday, Jan. 1 beginning of legal sales, granting licenses to
dispensaries eager to start. Employees continued to work on Jan. 1,
expecting to receive complaints from license applicants and holders,
but they never came, Ajax said.
[continues 360 words]
When California voters legalized recreational weed in 2016, they made
the law retroactive, allowing residents to petition to overturn or
reduce old convictions for possession, cultivation and distribution of
But it is a difficult and expensive legal procedure, advocates say,
and many people are not even aware they are now eligible to clean up
their records. State courts received 4,885 petitions in the first 11
months after Proposition 64 passed, while the pro-legalization Drug
Policy Alliance found more than 460,000 arrests for marijuana offenses
between 2006 and 2015 alone.
[continues 275 words]
State Treasurer John Chiang laid out a plan Tuesday to create a public
bank for marijuana merchants in open defiance of what he called an =93out
of step=94 Trump administration fixing to take the hose to California's
sizzling new herbal trade.
Chiang said he and California Attorney General Xavier Becerra have
initiated "a methodical and disciplined" cost-benefit analysis to
determine whether a public bank would work in California amid the
threat of a federal crackdown.
The move comes 30 days after California's recreational market
officially began, creating a financial windfall for marijuana
merchants and illuminating a serious problem. Store owners, growers
and distributors are being forced to use cash because most banks won't
open accounts for them while the federal government still considers
[continues 738 words]
Bay Area marijuana retailers who went fully mainstream this month were
forced to act like gangsters anyway as they rumbled down freeways and
across bridges in sport utility vehicles and sedans and, in at least
one case, a Tesla, bearing cash piled in shopping bags and suitcases.
The money was headed for the collectors at the San Francisco and
Oakland offices of the California Department of Tax and Fee
Administration, which are handling tax payments under the 2016 state
law that legalized recreational cannabis.
[continues 1174 words]
Dennis Peron, an activist who helped legalize medical marijuana in
California, died Saturday afternoon in a San Francisco hospital. He
Peron was a force behind a San Francisco ordinance allowing medical
marijuana, a win that later helped propel the 1996 passage of Prop.
215, which legalized medical use for the entire state. A Vietnam War
veteran, Peron spent some of the last years his life on a 20-acre farm
in the rolling hills of Lake County, growing and giving away what he
once sold: medical marijuana.
[continues 434 words]
During his 25 years of researching cannabis, Dr. Daniele Piomelli has
received hundreds of emails from people desperately wanting to know
whether the plant can help them with medical problems. He recalls the
one he received from the father of a girl with autism who was
desperate for help.
"Ninety-nine percent of the time, I have to say, 'We just don't know,'
" said Piomelli, a professor at the University of California, Irvine.
While Piomelli and other marijuana researchers acknowledge a shortage
of research on the benefits and risks of the drug, they also said they
feel the need to spread what is known about cannabis as California and
seven other states move forward with legalized, recreational weed for
adults. Piomelli was one of several public health experts who spoke
Thursday during a legislative briefing at the state Capitol on the
health effects of cannabis.
[continues 385 words]
Critics said this ad promoted drug use. Now the state of California
has pulled it
Video: The campaign, released ahead of California legalizing marijuana
on Jan. 1, stirred controversy with viewers over its descriptions of the
drug. California Office of Traffic Safety
The California Office of Traffic Safety has pulled a public service
advertisement that was intended to stop stoned driving but critics
said promoted marijuana use.
The office joined with law enforcement leaders last week to announce a
marketing campaign called "DUI Doesn't Just Mean Booze," which
included the controversial advertisement. The campaign was timed to
coincide with the start of recreational weed sales in California on
[continues 319 words]
This month, Rep. Barbara Lee, D-Oakland, introduced legislation to
change the spelling of "marihuana" in the 1970 Controlled Substances
Act to "marijuana" - and then to drop the word altogether from the
federal list of "controlled substances" - that is, illegal drugs.
Removing the marijuana prohibition from federal law is just the
warm-up act to the bill's primary goal: to end a counterproductive war
on drugs. It's past time to reform drug laws that have ruined lives
and devastated communities.
[continues 608 words]
Compton voters Tuesday soundly rejected two competing proposals for
regulating cannabis businesses in the city, where marijuana
dispensaries and other pot-related operations are now banned.
The city's proposal, known as Measure C, would have allowed marijuana
sales while imposing a 10% business tax and banning commercial
cultivation of marijuana. It was rejected 76% to 23%. The competing
initiative, Measure I, included many of the same provisions as Measure
C, but called for a 5% business tax and would have allowed indoor
marijuana-cultivation businesses. It was rejected 77% to 23%.
[continues 75 words]
Recreational weed is now legal in California. So what does that
In January 2018, state and local authorities will begin issuing
licenses for the sale of legal recreational marijuana. But what do you
need to know before you rush to the dispensary? Information courtesy
The California Department of Food and Agriculture has defied the will
of voters by allowing large-scale marijuana farms, a group
representing growers alleged in a lawsuit filed Tuesday.
At issue is a dispute that has divided the industry over whether the
state should prohibit sizable cultivation facilities for the first
five years of legalized retail marijuana sales, which started Jan. 1
of this year.
[continues 263 words]
Laguna Beach police this month shut down what they allege was a
marijuana dispensary posing as a church, the department said Monday.
Officers seized more than 20 pounds of marijuana and more than $3,000
in cash, according to police Sgt. Jim Cota.
Officers responded to Divine Church of Gardens at 910 Glenneyre St. at
about 4:40 p.m. Jan. 12 after a passerby reported a potent marijuana
smell emanating from the property and people leaving with white bags,
[continues 194 words]
As a teen in the '70s, Alexis Bronson sold joints to his Berkeley High
School classmates in front of the school cafeteria.
Bronson lived in hotels with his father and two brothers and made
enough money selling weed to eat and to buy clothes. He figured he
could probably make enough to keep a roof over his head, too.
In 1980, two years after he graduated from high school, Bronson began
cultivating cannabis, planting the seeds for his future business.
After California voters passed Proposition 215 to legalize marijuana
for medicinal use in 1996, Bronson began selling his cannabis flowers
to a dispensary in San Francisco.
[continues 816 words]
A Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy has been charged with operating
a large-scale drug trafficking operation in which he boasted that he
hired other law enforcement officers to provide security to drug
dealers and could assault people for his clients, according to court
Kenneth Collins, a deputy assigned to the Metropolitan Transportation
Authority, and two other men were arrested by FBI agents Tuesday
morning in a sting operation when they arrived to what they thought
was a drug deal, according to records unsealed following the arrest.
[continues 925 words]
Sacramento has more retail cannabis shops than any other city in
California, which is the largest retail marijuana market in the country.
According to recent records from the state Bureau of Cannabis Control,
Sacramento has 15 dispensaries licensed to sell recreational weed to
adults 21 and over, followed by San Diego with 13, San Francisco with
nine and Cathedral City with eight.
These figures will change as the bureau continues to process license
applications. Dispensaries in some places, notably Los Angeles and San
Francisco, lagged in the application process because local officials
did not approve their own regulations as early as Sacramento and other
[continues 110 words]
To the editor: The commercial interests driving the rapid legalization
of marijuana in California call to mind the playbook of Big Tobacco.
("For marijuana users, it's high times as California makes
recreational use legal," Jan. 2)
Decades passed and millions of lives were harmed before the adverse
impact of cigarettes was acknowledged. During that time, Big Tobacco
stifled government investigation of tobacco's potential harm while
manipulating their product's addictive properties and marketing to
Since the liberalization of marijuana laws in Colorado, more people
use marijuana than ever before, and many have or will become addicted.
Use of healthcare resources for marijuana-associated illnesses has
also increased here.
[continues 105 words]
To the editor: The three letters you published in "California moves into
its marijuana future on Jan. 1. Some readers are not eager to make the
leap" stated the following concerns about marijuana use, most of which
apply equally to alcohol.
Law enforcement does not have adequate test criteria for driving under
the influence. While there is no blood-alcohol test for pot, police have
many other field sobriety tests, including "walking the line," reciting
the alphabet backward and the "eye and penlight test." A driver may pass
the 0.08% blood alcohol content test and still be arrested for DUI if he
or she drives erratically or exhibits slurred speech or other cognitive
[continues 55 words]
To the editor: For far too long, our poor, working class and communities
of color have been suffering due to unjust criminal persecution for
minor offenses like possession of marijuana.
The time for criminal justice reform is long overdue. We ought to divert
money from prisons into education and drug recovery programs.
What happened in Portugal after it decriminalized drugs compared with
the U.S. when Presidents Nixon, Reagan and Clinton fought their war on
drugs is incredibly telling. We need to change our way of thinking and
get back to helping our communities, our brothers and sisters, succeed
and thrive in this country.
Melissa Veenhuizen, Long Beach
"Groove on! Groove on!" blared from speakers outside a gray warehouse
in Santa Ana. Inside, a line of 60 people snaked through the shop,
waiting to be helped by a budtender.
"We were bombarded!" said Robert Taft Jr., founder of the marijuana
dispensary 420 Central.
When the shop opened at 7 a.m. Monday -- Day 1 of legal recreational
pot sales in California -- a handful of people had already lined up.
Within two hours, more than 100 customers, some still nursing holiday
hangovers, had made purchases. As they walked out, Taft shouted,
"Enjoy your new freedom!"
[continues 1117 words]
The state has issued 104 licenses for retail stores to sell marijuana
for recreational use in California and 239 other applications for
those permits are pending, officials said Tuesday.
An official with the state Bureau of Cannabis Control added that the
agency is prepared to begin taking enforcement action against pot
shops that are not properly licensed.
"The bureau's enforcement team is ready to respond to any complaints
it receives and start doing compliance checks and site visits at any
time," said Alex Traverso, a spokesman for the bureau.
[continues 139 words]
Legal sale of recreational marijuana began in California on Monday
with fanfare, and some anxiety.
Companies began selling pot in a relatively small number of businesses
Monday, with more expected to join in the coming days and weeks.
The state has issued dozens of permits for retailers to begin
recreational sales this week, expanding a market that is expected to
grow to $7 billion annually by 2020. Several of those retailers are in
West Hollywood, but they won't open until Tuesday at the city's
request. That makes Santa Ana's licensed stores the closest option for
Angelenos who want to buy recreational marijuana on New Year's Day.
Buyers could also trek to San Diego or the Palm Springs area to
[continues 1015 words]
As Los Angeles moves toward allowing the sale of recreational
marijuana, joining cities across the state in the newly legal
enterprise, police here offered a stern word of caution.
Yes, recreational pot will be legal to sell (and buy, and consume, and
cultivate). But there are limits. And the Los Angeles Police
Department will help enforce them.
"Let me be clear," Assistant Chief Michel Moore said Tuesday. "The use
of marijuana needs to be done in a responsible manner that's
consistent with the law."
[continues 801 words]