SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- A marijuana activist whose advocacy dates
to the 1960s counterculture has been arrested in California toting 22
pounds of illegal marijuana, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Irvin Dana Beal, 70, of New York, was arrested Saturday in far
Northern California after prosecutors said his rental car was spotted
weaving across the road and driving 20 miles below the speed limit.
James Statzer, 51, of Michigan, also was arrested.
The arrest occurred along a well-traveled highway in California's
famed Emerald Triangle area, known for its high-grade pot. A police
dog smelled marijuana during the stop and 22 pounds of the drug was
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In a dark room, Jahful Price slowly worked a row of pungent plants
guided by his headlamp.
He wore a white biohazard suit, methodically picking up cannabis
plants by their stems and hanging them upside down on a rack with
plastic clothes hangers.
Price, a 31-year-old Oakland resident who is black, is getting
hands-on experience in cannabis cultivating that he hopes will help
him run his own business one day.
Since July, he's had a paid internship at NUG, a cannabis business
owned by Bloom Innovations, a horticulture consulting and management
firm in Oakland. NUG chose Nine Mile Tribe, a business owned by
Price's family, as one of its equity partners.
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At the two malls in town you can buy key chains and Christmas
ornaments shaped like marijuana leaves. Along a downtown shopping
corridor, paintings of cannabis plants grace storefront windows.
Even Kmart stocks its shelves with T-shirts and mugs decorated with
the signature green leaf and "Colorado est. 2012" -- the year the
state legalized recreational marijuana.
But that is the one pot product you can't buy in Colorado Springs.
When Coloradans voted overwhelmingly to make non-medical marijuana
legal, they left it up to cities whether to allow sales. Colorado
Springs, home to five military bases and known for its conservative
politics and religious values, blocked recreational cannabis sales.
Now some in town want to change that, saying the state's second
largest city is missing out on sales taxes that are enriching cities
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Medical marijuana dispensaries and other portions of the medicinal
cannabis supply chain could be legal in Fresno as the result of a
unanimous vote Thursday by the City Council.
The 7-0 vote begins the process of rewriting the city's complete ban
on commercial marijuana operations that was adopted earlier this year.
It will likely be several months, however, before drafts emerge for
ordinances and rules that will govern where and how businesses that
cultivate, process, manufacture, distribute or sell medical marijuana
can operate within the city.
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Two legislators called Tuesday for changes to regulations for growing
marijuana in California to better protect small family farmers from
being driven out of business by big corporate cultivators.
Initial proposals to cap licensed marijuana farms at one to four acres
were discarded by the state Department of Food and Agriculture, which
has since proposed new rules without any cap, according to a letter of
complaint to the agency by State Sen. Mike McGuire (D-San Rafael) and
Assemblyman Jim Wood (D-Healdsburg). McGuire and Wood support a
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When a rising Chinese American power broker became a partner in a
proposed cannabis dispensary in San Francisco's Outer Sunset, he knew
it would hit resistance.
But David Ho sees himself as the perfect emissary to the mostly older
Chinese residents and merchants who are deeply skeptical of the pot
"I'm the working-class, westside Asian American story," said Ho, who
is a co-owner of the Barbary Coast medical cannabis dispensary that
has applied to open at 2161 Irving St., on a block lined with grocery
stores, dry cleaning shops and banks.
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For 17 years, Chalfonte LeNee Queen suffered periodic episodes of
violent retching and abdominal pain that would knock her off her feet
for days, sometimes leaving her writhing on the floor in pain.
"I've screamed out for death," said Queen, 48, who lives in San Diego.
"I've cried out for my mom who's been dead for 20 years, mentally not
realizing she can't come to me."
Queen lost a modeling job after being mistaken for an alcoholic. She
racked up tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills, and her
nausea interrupted her sex life. Towards the end of her illness,
Queen, who stands 5-foot-9, weighed in at a frail 109 pounds.
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There's hardly a more receptive or captive audience for marketing an
intoxicant than the beleaguered commuters crowded onto a rush-hour
Muni bus (except perhaps the ones packed onto a rush-hour BART train).
But unlike many of the dopey regulations proliferating ahead of
California's legalization of marijuana for recreational purposes in
2018, Muni's decision to ban cannabis advertising makes sense.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency's board voted
Tuesday to ban recreational marijuana advertising and stop accepting
medical marijuana ads once current contracts expire. The policy is in
keeping with Muni's refusal of alcohol, tobacco and firearms
advertising in light of the number of children who ride city buses and
trains. It's also in line with statewide regulations that prohibit
cannabis advertising that targets children or reaches audiences with
large numbers of young people.
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VICTORVILLE - San Bernardino County Sheriff's Deputies seized 3,475
marijuana plants after serving search warrants at four High Desert
locations Friday, the agency announced Saturday.
All of the marijuana grows were not in compliance with the California
medical marijuana law or other ordinances, the sheriff's department
said in a statement.
At three of the four locations investigators found that the illegal
growers had tampered with the main power lines at residences to bypass
the electrical meters installed by the utility company, allowing the
theft of electricity needed to operate equipment used to grow marijuana.
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State Sen. Scott Wiener, who has adopted the cannabis industry as one
of his major concerns, is taking aim at new state regulations for
recreational marijuana that will allow for big growing operations in
"By not limiting the amount of land that can be cultivated by any one
operation, we are basically inviting mega industrial-scale operations
into the state," the San Francisco Democrat said. "It will squeeze out
the small farmers that have been at the forefront of the industry for
many, many years."
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The Sacramento City Council on Tuesday approved funding sources for
increased law enforcement against illegal indoor pot grows, following
a two-month pilot program that led to the closure of 614 pot houses.
The city expects to spend between $700,000 and $1.1 million on police
efforts to stop the approximately 1,000 illegal grows in Sacramento
houses in the fiscal year ending June 30.
The city will pay those costs with tax revenue collected from legal
marijuana businesses, which are expected to start operating sometime
after Jan. 1, when adults can purchase pot for recreational use
statewide. The city plans to supplement that tax revenue with
administrative fines collected from illegal pot growers.
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Demonized for decades, marijuana remains controversial even on the
brink of its statewide legalization - and even in pot-friendly
strongholds such as San Francisco. The city is one of many still
debating local regulations that will either embrace an overdue retreat
from the drug war or effectively prolong the failed policy at the
For vacillating municipal officials, some context is in order. This
week alone, New Jersey and Virginia voters resoundingly elected
gubernatorial candidates promising to liberalize marijuana policy;
Constellation Brands, a Fortune 500 seller of many popular wine and
beer brands, was reported to have bought a nearly $200 million stake
in a Canadian cannabis company; and California's attorney general
approved signature-gathering for a ballot measure to legalize
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A citizens committee in Colton has launched an initiative to regulate
and tax local cannabis cultivation, manufacturing and distribution in
order to generate millions of dollars in revenue for law enforcement,
schools and public safety programs.
The Committee for Safer Neighborhoods and Schools recently filed its
proposed marijuana ordinance with the city and will soon begin
gathering signatures for placement on the 2018 ballot.
Meanwhile, the Colton City Council awaits a drafted ordinance of
potential regulations recommended by a committee of city leaders and
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When 74 percent of San Francisco voters last year backed legalizing
the adult recreational use of marijuana statewide, the idea was to
make it easier to buy and smoke pot - a substance that has never been
that hard to buy or smoke in San Francisco anyway.
Tell that to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.
The Keystone Cops of Cannabis have spent countless hours over endless
committee meetings in recent weeks, devising ways to dramatically
limit where people can buy and sell marijuana once the substance
becomes legal for recreational use statewide on Jan. 1.
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A global credit rating agency says taxes on recreational marijuana in
California could reach 45 percent in some places, high enough to keep
the thriving black market in business despite legalization.
The report by Fitch Ratings, "Local Taxes May Challenge Cannabis
Legalization in California," warns that state and local taxes may
combine to threaten the government revenue expected from the sale of
legalized cannabis and cannabis products. The recreational use of the
drug will be legal in California starting Jan. 1 under Proposition 64,
the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act, passed by
voters last November.
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SAN FRANCISCO (AP) - Supervisors in famously pot-friendly San
Francisco are under pressure from cannabis advocates to pass
regulations that would allow the industry to flourish once
recreational sales become legal throughout California in January.
The San Francisco Board of Supervisors is scheduled to take up
proposed regulations Tuesday, when they may vote on a stop-gap measure
to allow the sale of recreational cannabis through existing medical
marijuana outlets on Jan. 1. That would give them time to figure out
where to allow new stores.
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San Francisco is having a surprisingly difficult time establishing
regulations for the broad legal pot market, thanks in part to
criticism from older Chinese immigrants who oppose marijuana use.
Divided San Francisco supervisors are scheduled to take up the issue
at a board meeting Tuesday, where they may vote on a stop-gap measure
to allow the sale of recreational cannabis through existing medical
marijuana outlets on Jan. 1 as they continue to figure out where to
allow new stores.
The possibility of overly strict regulations has businesses fretting
over access and some San Franciscans wondering what happened to the
counter-culture, anti-Prohibition city they know and love. The smell
of cannabis being smoked is not uncommon in certain neighborhoods and
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A proposed deal to cut through San Francisco's cannabis debate and
allow existing medical dispensaries to sell recreational pot on Jan. 1
could put a choke hold on the industry, two former supervisors said
Scott Wiener and David Campos, who formed an unlikely partnership to
intervene in the city's cannabis legislation, blasted the proposal by
Supervisor Aaron Peskin hours before it went to the full board.
Peskin's idea of granting recreational permits to the city's 46
existing pot businesses, when coupled with zoning rules that other
supervisors have introduced to keep the pot trade out of their
neighborhoods, would create a monopoly for those already in business,
Wiener and Campos said.
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Each of San Francisco's 11 supervisors has called for "equity" in the
city's cannabis laws, meaning they want to create a racially diverse
industry that gives former drug offenders a shot at success.
On Wednesday, Supervisor Malia Cohen presented an ordinance to help
the city achieve its social justice goals when sales of recreational
marijuana become legal throughout the state in January. The city won't
issue permits to sell recreational cannabis until an equity program is
Cohen's proposal - modeled after a similar program that Oakland
approved in March and another that's being considered in Los Angeles -
would prioritize permits for dispensary operators with marijuana
arrests or convictions between 1971 and 2009. Also eligible for
priority would be entrepreneurs who committed other nonviolent crimes
during that time period, or who earn 80 percent of San Francisco's
area median income, or who were displaced from their homes within the
past 22 years.
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California's legal marijuana marketplace is coming with a kaleidoscope
of new taxes and fees that could influence where it's grown, how pot
cookies and other munchies are produced and the price tag on just
Be ready for sticker shock.
On a retail level, it costs about $35 to buy a small bag of good
quality medical marijuana in Los Angeles, enough to roll five or six
But in 2018, when recreational sales take hold and additional taxes
kick in, the cost of that same purchase in the new market is expected
to increase at the retail counter to $50 or $60.
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