‘Prince of Pot’ Marc Emery Faces Possible Life in Prison


By Jason Sander – Apr 3, 2017

prince-of-pot-marc-emery-faces-possible-life-in-prison

AP

If there’s any living cannabis activist who has earned the term ‘The Prince of Pot’, it’s Marc Emery. He and his wife Jodie own the Cannabis Culture brand in Canada and have been doing their part to end marijuana prohibition for over twenty years. Because of his activism, Emery willingly made himself a target and has paid the price for doing so. Now, he could face possible life in prison.

Marc faces fifteen charges, including conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, trafficking and possession of proceeds of crime, while Jodie Emery faces five similar counts. Officers stole more than 65 kilograms of cannabis and 2.4 kilograms of extract. Police also took $250,000 in cash in several currencies after raiding Cannabis Culture stores across Canada, as well as several homes.

The Emerys were granted bail in a Toronto courtroom in early March, with several harsh conditions – including being barred from going to any Cannabis Culture location or other dispensary, and from facilitating or participating in running any Cannabis Culture shop. There are a total of 19 dispensaries in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec using the Cannabis Culture brand.

“This is my 30th arrest,” Emery said, hearing cheers from his supporters that were gathered outside Old City Hall.

Despite all of his personal sacrifices, Emery seems optimistic about the future of cannabis legalization.

“I’ve been raided six times, and yet, over all these years, we’ve made progress,” he said, in reference to his decades-long mission to see cannabis legalized.

In typical prohibitionist fashion, Steve Watts of the Toronto Drug Squad alleged to the Toronto Star that the Cannabis Culture franchises must have been getting their weed inventory from “illegitimate sources often tied to organized crime,” due to the high volume of cannabis they sell.

This type of narrative is often used to draw an association with organized crime in the minds of people who don’t know any better. The reality is very different. Marc has always been open about his marijuana businesses. He always paid income taxes on his seed sales, showing “marijuana seed vendor” as his occupation on tax returns.

“We’ve been on the front lines of legalization advocacy for twenty-plus years,” Jodie Emery said. “Legalization is coming, and it’s because of people like us, and for us to face these incredibly unjust penalties and punishments is just wrong.”

After being arrested thirty times and already spending five years in the U.S. prison system, Marc now faces possible life in prison for his current charges. He could also be forced to forfeit all of his assets. Emery, like others who are locked up for possession, could be in prison when his dream of legalization finally comes to pass. The hypocrisy of the failed War on Drugs knows no bounds.

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South African Court OKs Marijuana for Home Use


FILE - A protester carries a marijuana pipe during a march calling for the legalization of cannabis in Cape Town, South Africa, May 7, 2016. On Friday, Western Cape province's High Court ruled that marijuana can now be legally grown and smoked in the privacy of one's home.

JOHANNESBURG — 

Last week’s court ruling allowing home use of marijuana has sent South Africa buzzing about the possibility that cannabis will now be widely legal in the Rainbow Nation.

To which pro-marijuana activist Julian Stobbs says: Chill.

Friday’s ruling from the Western Cape province High Court does apply across the nation, but the decision is really more about privacy than it is about pot.

The ruling struck down part of an old law that prohibits private and personal use of marijuana. The ruling still has to be solidified by parliament and pass through the constitutional court, which could take up to two years.

South Africa first criminalized the substance in 1908. Police statistics say that drug-related arrests have recently risen, with just under 260,000 people arrested last year, according to the most recent annual crime report. That’s just over 13 percent of all arrests.

Stobbs and his partner, who he says use marijuana recreationally and regularly, made headlines in 2010 after police raided their home and arrested them for marijuana possession. They were later released.

No victim, no crime

Under the ruling, Stobbs says, cases like his won’t be part of that toll anymore.

So, if you are using cannabis in the privacy of your own home, or indeed if you have grown cannabis in the privacy of your home and it’s never left the building, you now have a loophole in the law that if you do get arrested and you do go in front of a magistrate, you can use the defense that you are hurting nobody, there was no victim, there was no crime, there’s no black market, there are no transactions, no one is making money out of this, you are using the cannabis you grew in the privacy of your own home,” he told VOA.

As it stands, then, this ruling is only helpful if you’re an above-average horticulturalist with no plan to make a dime off the substance. Buying and selling marijuana is still illegal, as is smoking it in public.

Few anti-marijuana activists made their voices heard to protest the move. One online group, called “South Africans Against Dagga and Satan” — “dagga” is the local slang for cannabis — said on social media that the day of the ruling would “Forever be known as the day Satan took over South Africa!” They were shouted down on their Facebook page by supporters of the ruling.

‘Religious’ use

Users of the drug for religious purposes say they welcome the news. In the seaside Rastafarian community of Judah Square, a well-known tour guide and storyteller who goes by Brother Zebulon told VOA that while he is very happy about the ruling, he doesn’t support the widespread use of marijuana.

“My daughter,” he said to VOA, “it’s sacred, so it’s secret, so we really don’t advocate it. Yeah, no, no, no, no, we don’t advocate it, no. It’s a personal … you know, it’s your meditation.”

In February, South Africa’s government approved a bill that would allow for the limited manufacturing of medical marijuana.

Stobbs says he hopes these are just first steps in the eventual regulation and decriminalization of marijuana, like in the U.S. state of Colorado. Marijuana is now legal in 28 U.S. states for either medical or recreational use.

“That’s exactly what we see,” he said. “And we see billions of rand going back into the treasury in taxation on the plant.”

“Because we’re not asking for legalization; we’re asking for the legalization and regulation of the plant. This doesn’t come with a free-for-all. It is a free-for-all now — we’re trying to stop the free-for-all. It’s legalized regulation that we’re after.”

But Stobbs, who is 56, told VOA that he took a moment to pause and celebrate the court ruling.

“We had a pretty smoked-up weekend,” he said.

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(KY) This Week at the State Capitol


March 31, 2017

This Week at the State Capitol

2017 Legislative session draws to a close

FRANKFORT — The Kentucky General Assembly wrapped up its 2017 legislative session on Thursday night after a final swirl of meetings, debate and eleventh-hour votes. After leaving Frankfort for a nearly-two-week veto recess, members of the House and Senate returned this week for two final days during which several major pieces of legislation achieved final passage and seem poised to become law.

One of the most closely-watched measures was Senate Bill 1, which makes sweeping changes to public education in Kentucky by changing how students, teachers, and schools are evaluated and held accountable. The bill is designed to return more control to local school districts, giving them a stronger voice in measuring and improving performance, including that of schools that are struggling.

Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, Kentucky schools would review and revise academic standards with recommendations from educators and suggestions invited from members of the public. Local school boards would also be responsible for evaluating teachers, the amount of paperwork now required of teachers and administrators would be reduced, and new locally-controlled accountability measures would be enacted for success indicators such as graduation rates and college admissions. The bill had widespread support from education groups and easily passed both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Senate Bill 1 comes on the heels of another major change for education in the Commonwealth – the passage of the charter schools bill earlier in March. House Bill 520 passed both chambers, clearing the way for local school boards to authorize and operate charter schools in Kentucky. Beginning with the 2017-2018 school year, such schools can be established by contract and governed by independent school boards, providing students with programs that meet or exceed student performance standards adopted by the state’s Board of Education.

A third measure affecting Kentucky schools was House Bill 128, which establishes a method for allowing public high schools to offer courses in Bible literacy. The classes, which would be voluntary for schools to offer and elective for students to take, would be part of a school’s social studies curriculum. The bill passed the Senate on Wednesday after being cleared earlier by the House, so it is now in the hands of Gov. Matt Bevin.

Also achieving final passage this week was Senate Bill 120, which is designed to give convicted felons an easier path to successfully re-enter society. The bill would enable prisoners to gain work experience while still incarcerated, reduce probation and parole times for certain offenders, and prevent defendants from being jailed for inability to pay their court costs.

One of the week’s more vigorously-debated measures was House Bill 333, which would prevent physicians from prescribing more than a three-day supply of opioid painkillers such as fentanyl and carfentanil, with some exceptions allowed. The bill, which is now in the hands of Gov. Bevin, also increases penalties for trafficking in opioids and authorizes the Kentucky Office of the Inspector General to investigate trends in drug usage and trafficking in a further effort to tackle the state’s increasing problem with painkiller addiction.

Also achieving final passage this week were:

· House Bill 524, a measure to prevent and reduce human trafficking, including sexual and labor exploitation, in Kentucky. The bill requires public schools and highway rest areas to post hotline phone numbers for reporting human trafficking.

· House Bill 253, legislation to require unannounced welfare checks on children who have been the subject of reported child abuse or neglect. Such visits would continue until the child’s safety has been ascertained, and schools would be unable to deny access to a child who is the subject of an investigation.

· House Bill 309, which enables tenants who are victims of domestic violence to terminate a lease  with 30 days’ notice to their landlords and prevent abuse victims from being denied a lease because of their history as domestic violence victims.

Finally, the General Assembly voted this week to override Gov. Bevin’s vetoes on four pieces of legislation that had been approved by the legislature earlier in the session:

· Senate Bill 91, which will allow court-ordered outpatient treatment for certain mentally ill people and hospitalization in some cases after getting a petition from loved ones, legal guardians, law enforcement or medical professionals.

· Senate Joint Resolution 57, which will designate honorary names and sign placements on Kentucky roads.

· House Bill 540, which will create state regulations for drones.

· House Bill 471, which will create funding for public charter schools. The governor’s line-item veto on this bill would not have affected charter school funding, though. It only targeted a portion of the bill dealing with the disbursement of funds from a multimillion dollar legal settlement with Volkswagen

Although the legislative session has concluded, constituents are still encouraged to contact their Representatives and Senators to voice their opinions about issues of interest. If you’d like to share your thoughts and ideas with state lawmakers, please call the General Assembly’s toll-free message line at (800) 372-7181, or find contact information for individual legislators at www.lrc.ky.gov.

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Kentucky Hempsters | April 2017


 

 

Springing into hemp season!

 

April showers mean May planting is right around the corner! We’re excited to spring into year four of Kentucky hemp crops, and can’t wait to show you the progress that has taken place through the hemp pilot program over the past three seasons!

Last month, our state took another step toward progress as the Kentucky General Assembly passed two bills that aim to improve the hemp pilot program. House Bill 333 and Senate Bill 218 will protect and expand the Kentucky hemp industry, particularly in regards to CBD (cannabidiol or hemp extract) crops and the products derived from them.

Looking forward, we are eager to share updates as we prepare and plant our crops this season! There are also several events coming up with opportunities to learn more about industrial hemp, get involved, purchase Kentucky Proud Hemp Products, and network with others in the industry.

State Hemp Legislation

Last month proved particularly stressful for those involved in hemp legislation on behalf of the Kentucky industry, as several bills included language that could have negatively impacted hemp pilot projects. Fortunately, and due largely in part to the many concerns expressed by program participants, these bills have been revised to benefit and expand the emerging industry.

House Bill 333

KY HB 333 is an effort to deal with the state’s growing opioid abuse problem. As introduced, the bill included a controversial provision which would require CBD (cannabidiol, or hemp extract) to be prescribed by a physician and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA.)

Fortunately, this language has since been altered to protect and expand CBD hemp protection within the state. According to Commissioner Quarles, the bill removes any remaining doubt that CBD products derived from industrial hemp are legal, and not “marijuana” under state law. Click here to learn about the subsections in HB 333 that concern industrial hemp derived CBD and CBD products.

Senate Bill 218

KY SB 218 revised legal framework enacted by the Kentucky General Assembly Senate Bill 50 in 2013, and aligns the state law with Section 7606 the 2014 Farm Bill. In a recent press release, Quarles described the bill as “a product of six months of close collaboration and consensus-building with the Kentucky State Police and the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.” It passed early last month, and the law immediately took effect after Governor Bevin signed it on March 20, 2017.

Click here to learn more about KY HB 333 and KY SB 218

Federal Hemp Legislation

We are anxiously awaiting the introduction of the Industrial Hemp Farming Act (2017) by Kentucky Congressman James Comer! If passed, the bill would: 

  • Get the DEA off the Farm: Remove industrial hemp from the purview of the Controlled Substances Act; empower states to monitor and regulate.
  • Redefine Industrial Hemp: Distinguished from its cousin, “marijuana,” industrial hemp is all parts of the cannabis sativa L. plant with a THC level of less than 0.3% (and potentially up to 0.6% if states permit.)
  • Create A New Industry: Allow for the growth, production, and commercialization of industrial hemp and hemp products.

Those working alongside Congressman Comer on the bill have informed us that the legislation should be introduced sometime early this month, if all continues to progress accordingly. Stay tuned for updates on social media! 

Click here to learn more about the Industrial Hemp Farming Act (2017)

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