SALINAS, Calif. - This vast and fertile valley is often called the
salad bowl of the nation for the countless heads of lettuce growing
across its floor. Now California's marijuana industry is laying claim
to a new slogan for the valley: America's cannabis bucket.
After years of marijuana being cultivated in small plots out of sight
from the authorities, California cannabis is going industrial.
Over the past year, dilapidated greenhouses in the Salinas Valley,
which were built for cut flower businesses, have been bought up by
dozens of marijuana entrepreneurs, who are growing pot among the
fields of spinach, strawberries and wine grapes.
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SANTA ROSA, Calif. - In the heart of Northern California's wine
country, a civil engineer turned marijuana entrepreneur is adding a
new dimension to the art of matching fine wines with gourmet food:
cannabis and wine pairing dinners.
Sam Edwards, co-founder of the Sonoma Cannabis Company, charges diners
$100 to $150 for a meal that experiments with everything from
marijuana-leaf pesto sauce to sniffs of cannabis flowers paired with
sips of a crisp Russian River chardonnay.
"It accentuates the intensity of your palate," Mr. Edwards, 30, said
of the dinners, one of which was held recently at a winery with
sweeping views of the Sonoma vineyards. "We are seeing what works and
what flavors are coming out."
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Recreational cannabis may be legal in California, but buying the
actual stuff still makes Scott Campbell, a celebrity tattoo artist and
fine artist, feel like a class-cutting teenage stoner.
"You go in to buy weed, and it's like visiting your parole officer,"
said Mr. Campbell, who lives in Los Angeles. "You get buzzed through
three metal gates." Inside, cannabis products are often packaged with
loopy Deadhead-style graphics and goofy dorm-humor strain names like
Gorilla Glue and Purple Urkle.
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A man in his 20s sat handcuffed in the back of a police car Monday night
after about $500,000 worth of narcotics was found in a southeast Fresno
home, Fresno police Major Narcotics Unit Supervisor Timothy Tietjen said.
Several undercover investigators waited outside a home on the 700 block of
south 4th Street, south of Ventura Avenue.
Tietjen said around 6 p.m. officials made their move while family members,
including children between 4 and 7 years of age, were home.
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WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama on Thursday commuted the 20-year
prison sentenced imposed on Richard Ruiz Montes, convicted in 2008 for his
role in the Modesto's pot-dealing California Healthcare Collective.
In one of his final presidential acts, Obama used his executive authority
to cut Montes' sentence by more than half. Now held at a federal facility
in Atwater, according to the Bureau of Prisons' inmate locator, the
36-year-old Montes will be released May 19.
He is identified as Richard by the White House and Bureau of Prisons, but
has also been known as Ricardo. The White House listed his hometown as
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The Chowchilla City Council voted unanimously this week to ban marijuana
dispensaries, cultivation, manufacture and transport within city limits.
The move comes on the eve of an election in which Californians will vote
on Proposition 64, which would legalize recreational pot.
City Manager Brian Haddix said the council wanted to act now to ensure
stricter restrictions were in place prior to the Nov. 8 election. He noted
that marijuana is still a Schedule 1 substance under the Federal
Controlled Substances Act.
Mayor Waseem Ahmed said the move was necessary to "walk the talk of being
a family friendly city."
The city of Sacramento soon may begin accepting applications from
businesses wanting to cultivate marijuana.
A City Council committee this week voted to lift Sacramento's moratorium
on commercial cannabis cultivation. The action means that aspiring
marijuana businesses would be able to apply for cultivation permits
beginning April 2 under a new ordinance that could position the capital
city as regional hub for commercial pot production.
The council in November voted 5-3 to allow licensed recreational or
medical marijuana cultivation in city limits under state rules governing
the marijuana industry. But it is unlikely that the city will be issuing
actual permits for cultivation businesses until months after the
application period opens.
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The Tulare County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously Tuesday to
continue its ban on growing nonmedical marijuana in unincorporated areas
for another two years.
The ban is aimed at commercial growers. It's still legal to grow up to six
plants at a private residence under Proposition 64, as long as it's
Approved by voters statewide in November, Proposition 64 decriminalizes
marijuana by allowing adults 21 and older to use, transport and buy it in
But the proposition allows local jurisdictions to impose their own
regulations, including a ban on marijuana businesses, which the board
adopted as a temporary measure in December and now has extended until
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[photo] Cotton candy flavored marijuana is displayed for purchase at
Butter & Weed's booth at 420 Vancouver, in Vancouver, B.C. on Wednesday,
April 20, 2016.
The legal marijuana industry proved its staying power in 2016, racking up
$6.7 billion in business across North America.
That number represents 30 percent growth from the year before, according
to a report by Arcview Market Research, and it's expected to climb even
higher over the next few years, topping $20 billion by 2021.
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All Newman resident Phillip Blanton wanted to do, he said, was bring some
comfort to his granddaughter, who has stage 4 Hodgkin's lymphoma.
But his California medical marijuana card counted for nothing in Texas,
where the 67-year-old now faces felony drug possession charges.
Blanton was driving to Houston to see 20-year-old Makayla Farley, who's
being treated at the Houston Methodist Hospital cancer center. She's
fighting for her life, he said, has a hard time eating and is always
throwing up. She's on morphine and other drug cocktails for pain. "I was
going to give her Papa's cookies to help with the nausea and pain and to
help her relax."
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[photo] A cross-border drug smugglers' tunnel that had been shut down but
left unfilled on the Mexican side was found to be back in operation in
December, officials said. (Mexico attorney general's office / Associated
Mexican drug cartels have burrowed dozens of tunnels in the last decade,
outfitted them with rail and cart systems to whisk drugs under the U.S.
border and, after being discovered by authorities, abandoned them.
But some of the illicit passageways live on.
At least six previously discovered border tunnels have been reactivated by
Mexican trafficking groups in recent years, exposing a recurring
large-scale smuggling threat, according to U.S. and Mexican law
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What is cannabis topical oil? And why is this Rancho Cordova couple so
good at making it?
The runner-up in the "topicals" division at December's Emerald Cup
cannabis competition in Santa Rosa had a familiar name attached to it:
Lavender Epsom Salts by Whoopi & Maya, a company co-founded by comedian
Chelsea Dudgeon and Newell Taylor of Rancho Cordova didn't have the same
kind of name recognition with their product, which also provides pain
relief from cannabis via skin absorption. But these partners in business
and romance were equipped with something better: the winning formula.
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Uri Zeevi is used to skepticism. People hear about his Seedo indoor home
cultivator and they're astonished.
"Nobody has seen anything like this," he said from his office in Israel.
"It's really new, just coming onto the market."
But someday, indoor home cultivators may be as common as dishwashers or
backyard gas grills -- indispensable home appliances that changed the way
Without sunlight, outdoor space or experience, anyone could grow tomatoes,
strawberries, gourmet lettuce, herbs and, yes, cannabis year-round inside
a home cultivator.
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Marijuana and its derivatives can be effective medicines for treating
pain, nausea, vomiting, muscle spasms and other conditions, but cannabis
is not harmless, and more research is needed, the nation's top scientists
concluded in a landmark review of research released Thursday.
The nonprofit National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine
issued their report, "The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids,"
summarizing the current state of evidence for the efficacy of medical
marijuana and recommending new studies.
The 395-page report will stand as the most official medical review of the
botanical drug, which an estimated 8 percent of Americans used in the last
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The health and public safety concerns that kept marijuana illegal for
generations are proving unfounded where it is now legal.
A new study from Columbia University found that traffic fatalities have
fallen in seven states where medicinal cannabis is legal and that,
overall, states where medical marijuana is legal have lower traffic
fatality rates than states were medical marijuna remains illegal.
The study found that "medical marijuana laws were associated with
immediate reductions in traffic fatalities in those aged 15 to 24 and 25
to 44 years, and with additional yearly gradual reductions in those aged
25 to 44 years." Medical marijuana is now legal in 28 states.
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Newport Beach Police Chief Jon Lewis, seen in this file photo, says Prop.
64, which legalized recreational marijuana possession and use for adults
21 and older in California, will make for "an interesting year" in
Newport. (File photo)
Marijuana dispensaries and growing and delivery remain illegal in Newport
Beach, but residents can smoke it in their homes under California law.
The possible effects of the statewide legalization of recreational
marijuana use, which voters approved in November, were the focus of
discussion Wednesday night at a Speak Up Newport event where Police Chief
Jon Lewis and City Attorney Aaron Harp answered questions in front of more
than 50 Newport Beach residents and officials.
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Though Prop. 64 legalized recreational marijuana, businesses aren't
allowed start selling it until the state establishes a licensing system.
A security guard enters a shop with a sign posted that reads PROP 64
FRIENDLY! in Compton on Wednesday. (Photo by Ed Crisostomo, Orange County
The online ad for Green Light District -- a pot shop in a brick office
building 5 miles from Disneyland -- was clear: Anyone 21 years and older
was welcome to buy weed with only a "valid ID."
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Pot's legal in California. So why are people still getting busted in
Think pot is now legal in California? Try telling that to the National
Park Service rangers ready to bust people caught with marijuana in
Yosemite, Redwood, Death Valley and other federal lands across the state.
The federal government says it's not backing off on citing people who are
caught with marijuana in California's national parks, monuments,
recreational areas and other federal lands regardless of the landslide
vote that legalized recreational marijuana in the state.
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Hi is a cannabis brand. Its logo -- "hi" in white letters inside an
orange circle -- can be found above the front door of a Portland,
Ore., marijuana shop and on a handful of cannabis products, including
massage oil and Hi Releaf pain-relief balm.
But you wouldn't guess any of that from Hi's trademark filings. In
2015, the brand's parent company, Cannabis Sativa Inc., filed a
trademark application -- not for any of Hi's core products, but for
hats, T-shirts and a wide array of other apparel.
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A pot bust against legal growers in Yolo County seems to go too far
If ever you needed proof that we live in an age of confusion about
marijuana laws, let me share with you the story of Ted Hicks and Ryan
Mears, two Sacramento-area entrepreneurs who decided to start a legal
medical cannabis business last year and ended up on the business end
of assault rifles wielded by officers from a multi-agency, anti-drug
I first heard about the case from Yolo County Supervisor Don Saylor in
September, at a "State of Marijuana" conference aboard the Queen Mary
in Long Beach. Saylor, who was on a panel discussing how cities and
counties were dealing with cannabis regulation, said that Hicks and
Mears and their business, Big Red Farms, were considered by county
officials to be "shining stars" in the cannabis licensing arena.
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