‘Prince of Pot’ Released from Prison, Awaiting Passport
Canada’s celebrity cannabis activist known as the Prince of Pot — 56-year-old Marc Emery — has been released from U.S. federal prison after serving over four years for selling cannabis seeds to U.S. customers through mail order.
Emery was released on Wednesday, July 9th from a low security federal prison in Yazoo City, Mississippi. According to his final blog post from prison, this Thursday he was to be picked up by U.S. Immigration and taken to a for-profit detention center in Louisiana, where he must wait to receive a temporary passport to be deported back to Canada, a red-tape ridden process he says that could take several weeks.
Emery has always maintained that he was targeted because of his strident political activism to end cannabis prohibition. And at the time of his arrest, U.S. Drug Enforcement officials called it a significant blow to the legalization movement.
Before his arrest, Emery was the publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine, founder of Pot TV, a founding member of the Freedom Party of Ontario, the Marijuana Party of Canada and the BC Marijuana Party. Emery ran for mayor of the city of Vancouver in 1996, 2002 and 2008.
His final blog post from prison reads: “I can’t wait to get home and thank all my supporters in person in the weeks and months ahead, and resume the unfinished battle to finish off marijuana prohibition with renewed vigor.”
California Cannabis News
Dispensaries Must Give Free Medicine to Low-income Patients in Berkeley
Cannabis can be expensive for medical marijuana patients to purchase at dispensaries, but in Berkeley, low income patients just won a huge break. This Tuesday, the City Council of Berkeley voted unanimously to direct local medical cannabis dispensaries to freely give away cannabis to low-income patients.
The cannabis is to be of the same quality as that sold to paying patients, and the amount given away should equal 2 percent of dispensaries sales. Low income is defined as half of Berkeley’s median annual income, meaning $32,000 or less for an individual or $46,000 for a family of four. The council also amended its medical marijuana law to increase the number of pot dispensaries to four from three, and will consider upping that number to six next year. According to city records, the 3 Berkeley dispensaries paid nearly $640,000 in city taxes last fiscal year.
Los Angeles Creates Cannabis Farmers Market
Patients are taken a different approach to scoring affordable cannabis in Los Angeles — they’re eliminating the middleman. Last weekend, the first ever LA Cannabis Farmers Market featured 30 vendors and attracted thousands of medical marijuana patients. All were required to show their 215 recommendation to enter the 15,000 sq foot warehouse in the LA community of Boyle Heights. Plans are for the so-called CA Heritage Market to open every weekend.
Reason TV interviewed 22-year-old organizer Paizley Bradbury, the Executive Director of West Coast Collective.
Police Give Back Confiscated Cannabis in SoCal
Also in Southern CA, a dispensary in Clairemont got their 20 pounds of cannabis back from police this week, it was confiscated during a raid that occurred over a year ago, the District Attorney recently dropped the case due to insufficient evidence.
U.S. Cannabis News
Legalization Movement Not Dead in D.C.
The DC Cannabis Campaign submitted over twice the required signatures to put their cannabis legalization measure on the November ballot in Washington, D.C. The proposed law would allow adults to possess up to two ounces of pot on their person and would permit the cultivation of up to six marijuana plants at home.
It would not legalize the sale of cannabis, because a current law bars D.C. voters from doing so via ballot initiative. The D.C. Council, however, is currently considering a bill that would essentially undermine that law by allowing the District to tax and regulate commerce in marijuana.
D.C.’s first medical marijuana dispensary opened late last year and this March, the city council reduced the penalty for possession of an ounce or less to the equivalent of a parking ticket. Prior to that, D.C. residents could be arrested and go to jail for possessing small amounts of cannabis.
Ailing Iowan Found Guilty, Faces Prison for CBD Cultivation
Despite the nationwide trend towards decriminalizing small amounts of cannabis, sick patients across the U.S. continue to be locked behind bars for growing medical cannabis to treat their illness. This Wednesday, a terminal cancer patient was found guilty of drug charges by an Iowa jury that wasn’t allowed to hear his medical defense.
Benton Mackenzie, 48, suffers from severe angiosarcoma, a rare and aggressive form of cancer of the blood vessels that produces large skin lesions. Iowan Judge Henry Latham judge ruled in May that Mackenzie couldn’t use his medical condition as a defense>. Mackenzie said he was threatened with jail if he talked about his health in court.
Benton Mackenzie was arrested for growing 71 marijuana plants that local authorities seized in 2013 during a raid. Mackenzie said they were high-Cannabidiol or CBD cannabis plants that he used to make an oil to treat his tumors.
Mackenzie on Tuesday filed a motion arguing that a law that Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad signed in May legalizes the use of CBD oil to treat epilepsy, and should protect his use of the oil. Judge Latham ruled that the new law focuses narrowly on treatment for “intractable epilepsy” and does not apply to Benton Mackenzie. He faces a minimum of 3 years in prison. Family members say they intend to appeal the verdict. Due to his health condition, they worry that prison may kill him.
Utah Issues Permits for CBD Oil But Medicine Not Actually Available from Colorado Yet
On Tuesday, Utah officials issued the first permits to use high-CBD, low-THC cannabis oil. Utah officials Tuesday issued the first permits to use high CBD cannabis oil for the treatment of epilepsy in children under a law passed earlier this year.
That law okays the use of cannabis oils containing at least 15% CBD and less than 0.3% THC. But while initial permits have been issued, families are likely to have to wait until September to acquire the cannabis oil because the Colorado non-profit that produces it has a long waiting list and a crop that won’t be ready until the fall.
Washington Kicks Off Recreational Cannabis to High Demand
Lastly, in Washington State the first week of legal pot sales have been mostly successful — although the first man to purchase legal cannabis in Spokanenearly lost his job over it.
Mike Boyer was first in line this Tuesday. He allowed a local TV crew to film his purchase, and follow him home to film him consuming the cannabis. Boyer told KREM News that after receiving local media attention, he learned that his employer, TrueBlue Labor Ready, had terminated his position. But the company said it was a misunderstanding.
A spokesperson for TrueBlue Labor Ready told NBC News. “We were not aware that he had taken the day off. He was scheduled to work, we saw him on TV that he was under the influence, and that caused us to start a process of screening” … “When we realized that he was not on assignment, we reinstated him… Pot is legal, and we know that.”