new york daily news

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New York: True Hemp Dog Chews A Hit In Manhattan


The only hemp-based pet product at the Cannabis World Congress
generates a New York-style buzz

From capturing the headline in the New York Daily News to selling out when they weren’t even for sale, True Leaf International’s True Hemp dog chews were the talk of the town – or at least of the 3rd annual Cannabis World Congress and Business Expo at New York’s Javits Center June 16-17.

When True Leaf CEO Darcy Bomford and Marketing VP Alison Ruks turned up at the True Leaf booth, a crowd had already gathered, and to their surprise, people wanted to buy the functional chews – even though they weren’t for sale.

“We had to rush-ship the product in overnight to keep up with the demand,” said Alison. “The response overwhelmed all our expectations.”

While they were busy filling orders from their impromptu storefront, the True Leaf team made time for interviews with Sports Illustrated and The New York Daily News, which led its story on the expo with “Hemp-infused dog biscuits peddled at New York cannabis expo.”

“Dogs are finally getting a real treat,” the story began, featuring an interview with Alison on the benefits of the True Hemp treats for dogs.

When they weren’t talking about True Hemp with the media or selling the display to Congress attendees, the True Leaf team even picked up a new retailer in Hell’s Kitchen.

New York: Patients Can Now Register For Medical Marijuana, But Good Luck Getting It


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

New York's medical marijuana law passed in 2014, but it's still unclear when ailing patients might be able to actually obtain any cannabis.

State health department officials claim the program is on track to open this month, which is when the 2014 legislation stipulated, reports Glenn Blain at the New York Daily News. But officials have been silent on the exact launch date, and haven't indicated the number or locations of doctors certified to authorize medicinal cannabis.

"I have significant concerns about the implementation of the program and how successful it will be, especially from a patient access standpoint," said Julie Netherland of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

According to Netherland, the New York Health Department waited until mid-October to offer the online certification course required for doctors who wish to prescribe medical marijuana, and didn't begin accepting registration requests from patients until late December. Those don't seem like actions of an agency that is particularly concerned about opening in January.

New York state law requires that patients seeking medical marijuana must first be certified by a state-approved physician, and then register with the Health Department and obtain a registry identification card before being allowed to purchase cannabis from one of five licensed growers operating in New York.

Washington: Pot Shop Sells Marijuana-Infused Coffee Pods


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana-infused coffee has been around awhile, but now you can get cannabis-infused Keurig-style coffee pods.

Seattle recreational marijuana store Uncle Ike's Pot Shop has started selling "Catapult" K-Cup style coffees infused with cannabis, reports Meredith Engel at the New York Daily News.

The pods, made by Fairwinds Manufacturing, work in single-serving coffeemakers and include 10 milligrams of THC, the principal psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. That's not a big dose, but it's the maximum allowed by Washington state in recreational cannabis edibles.

The pods cost $10 each, and that's a bargain, according to Uncle Ike's sales manager Jennifer Lanzador. "People might scoff at the price, but when you think of Starbucks (charging) $4, $5 a cup anyway, and you get the nice kick of THC, it's really not an expensive price at all," she said.

"It's delicious," Lanzador said. "Sometimes with edibles you'll get that real pot flavor, (but) I did not notice much of a pot taste."

With both energy-boosting and calming effects, it reminded her of a Red Bull/vodka cocktail, Lanzador said. "I had more energy, but I still had the relaxation you get from cannabis," she said, reports Mary Beth Quirk at Consumerist.

U.S.: 3 Super Bowl Champs Challenge NFL On Its Marijuana Policy


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's time for the National Football League to take a more modern approach to marijuana, according to three former Super Bowl champion players who wrote an op-ed in The Huffington Post on Monday.

Marvin Washington, Brendon Ayanbadejo, and Scott Fujita wrote that "many former and current NFL players use or have used marijuana to treat pain associated with injuries sustained on the field," reports Cindy Boren at The Washington Post.

"There is a compelling body of research showing that marijuana can help treat pain and brain injuries," the players wrote. They are asking NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and the league to change policies on cannabis.

"First and foremost, the NFL should allocate financial resources to advance medical research on the efficacy of medical marijuana in treating brain injuries," the players wrote. "In the case of trauma, a lot of inflammation occurs, which affects cognitive functioning and neural connectivity.

"A compound in marijuana called cannabidiol (CBD) has shown scientific potential to be an antioxidant and neuroprotectant for the brain," the players wrote. "In a sport where closed head injuries are common, the league should be doing everything it can to help keep their players healthy during and after their careers.

Australia: Researcher Claims Marijuana Causes Mental Disorders, Loss of Intelligence


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Surprise, surprise: When you summarize the results of 20 years' worth of the most anti-marijuana studies you can find, you get anti-marijuana conclusions. In what is being touted in sensationalistic press accounts as a "definitive study," an Australian is claiming that his investigation into 20 years of marijuana research shows that cannabis is addictive, causes mental health problems and is a gateway to hard drug use.

Professor Wayne Hall, a drug advisor to the World Health Organization and specialist in addiction at the University of Queensland in Australia, said that heavy, daily use of pot can also lead to car crashes and unhealthy babies. He arrived at this conclusion by hand-picking the most anti-marijuana studies from the past 20 years and passing them off as a "definitive new study."

Washington: Seattle Cop Who Wrote 80% of Marijuana Tickets Returns To Duty


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A bicycle officer who was briefly reassigned after it was discovered he had personally written 80 percent of the tickets for public marijuana use issued in the city this year has returned to his regular job, the Seattle Police Department announced Monday afternoon.

Police claim they're still investigating the conduct of Officer Randy Jokela, who has been with the force 24 years and who seems to be having real trouble adjusting to the implementation of I-502, the limited marijuana legalization measure approved by Washington state voters in 2012.

Seattle Police Chief Kathleen O'Toole and Pierce Murphy, director of the SPD's Office of Professional Accountability, "conferred and ultimately decided that there was nothing that precludes this employee from returning to his normal duties," according to department spokesman Sgt. Sean Whitcomb.d

While the department did not name their officer -- apparently they aren't all that proud of him -- Jokela, was identified by sources within the department as a patrolman who joined the force in 1990. He wrote 66 of 83 tickets for public use of marijuana issued in the first half of 2014, O'Toole said.

Florida: Man Arrested After Beating Brother With 3-Foot Marijuana Plants


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Florida continues its run as one of the most entertaining states in the union this week, as cops arrested a man on domestic battery and drug charges for whipping his brother with some three-foot marijuana plants.

Rodney Brown, 31, and his 33-year-old brother Jackie got in a big argument at their shared home in Lakeland, reports

While fighting with his brother, Rodney uprooted several cannabis plants on the property, some up to three feet tall, and started hitting his brother in the face with them. The brother didn't take too kindly to that, and apparently called the police.

Rodney then foolishly allowed the arriving cops to search the property. They found 10 more cannabis plants outside, and "drug paraphernalia" inside the house.

Rodney was taken to jail, where he posted bail.

Photo of Rodney Brown: New York Daily News

Canada: Medical Marijuana Vending Machines Hit Vancouver


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Vending machines could become one of the latest additions to Canada's medical marijuana industry, if Chuck Varabioff of the British Columbia Pain Society has his way.

Varabioff, who provides medical marijuana to Vancouver residents 19 and older, said his goal is to install the vending machines in clinics and nursing homes, reports the New York Daily News. He already has the machines installed at his Vancouver storefront dispensary.

For $4 Canadian, the brightly lit machine drops a plastic ball filled with Cotton Candy; $6 will get you Purple Kush. A variety of other strains is available.

The British Columbia Pain Society is one of about 400 medical marijuana dispensaries in Vancouver. The shops operate in a legal gray zone since a federal court ruling stymied Canada's latest attempts to regulate its distribution.

Under the new scheme, as of April 1, about 30,000 home-growing operations by patients across Canada were to be replaced by just a few large, commercial grow operations.

But many of tthe smaller growers -- particularly in British Columbia -- have refused to step aside.

While marijuana is illegal outside the federal medical marijuana program, Vancouver police said in March that it is not one of their top priorities, which are instead focused on gangs and hard drugs including cocaine, meth and heroin.

"Medical marijuana dispensaries operating today in Vancouver don't meet those criteria," a police statement said.

New York: Reportedly Enough Votes To Pass Medical Marijuana In State Senate


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Democratic Senator Diane Savino has more than enough votes to pass her medical marijuana bill in the New York State Senate, according to press reports on Friday.

Sen. Savino has lined up 39 votes for the Compassionate Care Act, reports Teri Weaver at, which is seven more than the 32 she needs to win passage in the Senate for the first time. Time after time, medical marijuana bills have passed the Democrat-controlled New York Assembly only to stall in the more conservative, Republican-controlled Senate.

The video and social media blitz by Sen. Savino seems to be making an impact. She has filmed a public service announcement urging New Yorkers to contact their state lawmakers and tell them to support the bill.

"This shouldn't be about politics," Savino said in the video. "This should be about science. We shouldn't handcuff our doctors from making the best decision on how to treat their patients."

The list of supporters is "growing every day," Sen. Savino said earlier this week on "The Capitol Pressroom" with Susan Arbetter.

New York: Advocates Say Medical Marijuana Could Be Legalized This Spring


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

It's been a tough fight in New York for medical marijuana. Time after time, advocates and patients believed they were on the brink of victory, only to be disappointed. But medicinal cannabis may finally be a dream that is coming true in the Empire State, and the change may come soon, according to advocates.

Pointing to favorable opinion polls and an evolving position from the office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo, proponents believe a new medical marijuana bill will be approved in Albany this spring, making New York the 22nd medical marijuana state, reports Glenn Blain at the New York Daily News.

"We're closer to this than we have ever been before," said gabriel sayegh of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA).

Advocates have revised the bill to more tightly control how marijuana can be used, and who gets to use it. The new version, introduced on Friday, removed language that gave doctors the freedom to authorize medical marijuana for a wide array of symptoms.

The new version limits pot's use to about 20 serious conditions, including cancer, traumatic brain injury, AIDS, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis and post-traumatic stress disorder. It also prevents anyone under 21 from being able to smoke marijuana for medicinal purposes, though they could be authorized to use other forms of cannabis, such as tincture or capsules.

Texas: Woman Jailed After Calling Cops To Complain About Low Quality Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

There aren't many good options when you buy a bad sack of black market marijuana. As Evelyn Hamilton of Lufkin, Texas, found out on Monday, calling the cops is one of the worst.

Lufkin Police arrested Hamilton, 37, after she called them to complain about some low-quality marijuana she had bought from a dealer, reports The Associated Press.

An officer went to Hamilton's home after she called the police objecting that her cannabis was substandard, according to Lufkin Police Sgt. David Casper.

When the officer asked if Evelyn still had the weed, she pulled it out of her bra, according to Sgt. Casper, just like she didn't have a care in the world.

Hamilton told the officer she had just spent $40 on "seeds and residue." When she got no satisfaction from the dealer or his family, she said she called the cops.

She was arrested on Friday on a charge of possession of drug paraphernalia.

Photo of Evelyn Hamilton: AP/Angelina County Jail

Florida: Couple Accidentally Brings Home 11 Pounds of Marijuana From Louisiana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Florida couple accidentally brought home an 11-pound stash of marijuana when they returned from Louisiana, according to police.

The husband and wife carried the weed on a 900-mile trip before getting back home to Key Largo, Florida, at which point they finally found it inside two mysterious suitcases, reports Doyle Murphy at the New York Daily News. Instead of throwing a party, the easily alarmed couple called the sheriff's department.

"This could have been really bad," claimed Monroe County Sheriff Sgt. Al Ramirez. "These people were traveling all over with this stuff in their truck. If they had been pulled over with it, they could have would up in jail and their truck may have been seized." Well, Sheriff, maybe it shouldn't be against the law, eh?

It all began back in July when an unidentified package showed up at one of the couple's rental properties in Louisiana. The husband instructed a housekeeper to ship it back to UPS. The cleaning lady did return the box, but it was later shipped back to the rental again, and she put it inside, the husband told a deputy.

When the couple took a trip to check on their vacation properties in Louisiana, the box was still there. They opened it and found two locked blue suitcases inside.

California: LA Sheriff Cuts Ties With Pastor After Learning He Rents To A Pot Dispensary


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A Christian pastor who's getting paid more than $100,000 a year by the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department has been sent home -- with pay -- after it was revealed he owns a strip mall where a medical marijuana dispensary is located.

Bishop Edward R. Turner, who has worked as a "paid field deputy" for Sheriff Lee Baca and headed the sheriff's Multi-Faith Clergy Council for 14 years, is being investigated for his connections to a medicinal cannabis access point which is housed in a mall he owns, reports Nancy Dillon at the New York Daily News.

"He was relieved of duty today and assigned to his home with pay," said sheriff's department spokesman Steve Whitmore on Wednesday. Whitmore confirmed an internal affairs investigation has started. Rev. Turner was relieved of duty by Sheriff Baca on Thursday after the department learned from KABC-TV Channel 7 about the revocation of Turner's foundation's nonprofit status, and that a medical marijuana dispensary is being operated on his property, according to Whitmore.

Whitmore said Rev. Turner owns two strip malls in L.A., and one of them has a medical marijuana dispensary as a tenant. "The City of Los Angeles has deemed dispensaries to be illegal," Whitmore sniffed.

Maine: Controversy Erupts Over Bus Ads Promoting Marijuana As Safer Than Alcohol


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A controversy has erupted in Portland, Maine, after the Marijuana Policy Project bought $2,500 worth ads on buses and bus shelters in support of Question 1, a measure that would legalize the recreational use of cannabis in the city. The advertising campaign, which promotes marijuana as safer than alcohol, has angered anti-drug crusaders.

"I prefer marijuana over alcohol because it doesn't make me rowdy or reckless," one of the captions reads, reports David Knowles at the NY Daily News. "Why should I be punished?"

"It's highly inappropriate to be promoting a pro marijuana message in a place that has a large audience of people under the age of 21," complained Kate Perkins, a spokesperson for drug prevention group 21 Reasons, reports Chris Rose at WCSH News.

The group claims the ads go beyond promoting Question 1, and instead promote the use of marijuana itself. But Portland's Metro bus authority said the ads fall within free-speech guidelines for an election campaign. Metro prohibits ads for alcohol and tobacco.

"If we do not ban such promotions, we will see a significant increase in marijuana marketing and promotion," 21 Reasons claimed in a news release. Project Manager Jo Morrissey claimed that further commercial advertising "will further erode youth's perception of risk and harm."

California: Poll Finds 52% of Adults Want To Legalize Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

There's majority support for legalizing marijuana in California, according to a new poll from the Public Policy Institute. The poll shows 52 percent of adults -- a record level of support since the group began polling residents -- support cannabis legalization.

Democrats favored legalization more than any other political group, by a margin of 64 percent to 33 percent, reports David Knowles at the New York Daily News. Independents favored legalization 60 percent to 36 percent, but Republicans wanted to keep pot illegal, with just 45 percent favoring legalization and 53 percent opposing it.

A majority of Californians said that the U.S. Justice Department shouldn't enforce federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized its used for either medical or recreational purposes. Of those polled, 61 percent of adults and 68 percent of likely voters said the feds should let state marijuana laws stand, even if they conflict with federal cannabis prohibition.

A national poll taken earlier this year by the Pew Research Center found, for the first time in history, a majority of Americans now favors the outright legalization of marijuana.

New Hampshire: Man Gets Year In Jail After Being Spotted In 'How To Grow Marijuana' Videos


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A New Hampshire man was busted after accidentally appearing in "How to Grow Marijuana" videos he uploaded to YouTube.

Kyle Berry, 40, didn't want to appear in the 35 anonymous clips he posted, not realizing that his face was reflecting off a shiny surface in his grow room, and that his name was on a package from a marijuana seed company, reports Lee Moran of the New York Daily News.

Berry said that was was growing the cannabis for his own use after undergoing 17 surgeries, reports Ray Brewer at WMUR-TV. But on Tuesday he pleaded guilty to "manufacturing a controlled substance" and was sentenced to a year in jail, with four months suspended, and fined $500.

"Showing how to grow it, how to set it up, what chemicals he uses, where he gets his seeds," said Assistant Rockingham County Attorney Jerome Blanchard. "He's very detailed about how he is doing it."

After being tipped off to the video's, authorities started watching them for clues; that's when they saw Berry's face and also noticed that he showed his name on a package addressed to him.

"In a video dated Oct. 17, 2012, the defendant showed a package received from the United Kingdom containing marijuana seeds that shows the postage from the Royal Mail," Blanchard said. "The package had the defendant's name on it."

Argentina: Dealers Arrested For Using Carrier Pigeons To Distribute Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Three men in Argentina have been arrested after using carrier pigeons to distribute marijuana.

The men, in the Lomas de Zamora district of Buenos Aires, allegedly tied up to 13 grams of cananbis around the birds' necks, making around 20 delivers a day, reports Lee Moran at the New York Daily News.

Law enforcement got wind of the feathery felons after discovering a pigeon carrying a small package packed with pot.

"It was released and we were able to follow it," a police spokesman told Manuel Rueda of ABC News. "Then it was a question of waiting and following again."

The three men, who had allegedly trained the birds to fly the marijuana from their farm to a distribution point, were arrested.

Cops said it wasn't very far between the two locations, so the pigeons could transport "substantial amounts" every day.

"We talked to pigeon trainers and they told us that these pigeons were capable of making up to 20 trips per day," Police Chief Nesto Larrauri said. "With pigeons they could ship their drugs without taking any risks."

Police said the birds were housed in the building where their owners sold cannabis. They would be driven to the house where the marijuana was produced, and once they were loaded up with ganja, they would faithfully fly back home.

U.S.: Federal Agency Takes Heat For Refusing To Admit Marijuana Is Safer Than Alcohol


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

One can kill you; the other doesn't. Seems pretty simple, doesn't it?

Well, it seems nothing is simple when it comes to federal bureaucrats, who demonstrated their tenuous grip on reality this week. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) released a statement refuting a claim in a recent ad by the Marijuana Policy Project that described cannabis as being "less toxic" than alcohol. NIDA is part of the National Institute of Health, a federal agency.

"Claiming that marijuana is less toxic than alcohol cannot be substantiated since each possess their own unique set of risks and consequences for a given individual," the agency lied.

Not surprisingly, MPP quickly fired back, rightly calling NIDA's statement "preposterous," reports David Knowles at the New York Daily News.

"The U.S. Centers for Disease Control report no marijuana-use-only deaths each year and there has never been a marijuana overdose death in history," said Mason Tvert, director of communications for the MPP. "It reports tens of thousands of people die from alcohol alone each year and hundreds die from acute overdose."

Citing statistics from the CDC, PolitiFact noted that there were 41,682 deaths attributed to alco0hol in 2010, while cannabis wasn't listed as the cause of any deaths.

U.S./Canada Border: Marijuana Found On Justin Bieber Tour Bus; Star Not Aboard


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents at the Canadian border on Sunday found marijuana on one of Justin Bieber's tour buses as it crossed into Detroit from Windsor, Canada, but the teen pop sensation wasn't on the bus at the time.

The bus was stopped as it attempted to enter the United States on the Ambassador Bridge when a police dog alerted authorities to the presence of "drugs," CBP spokesman Ken Hammond confirmed, reports Ann Zaniewski at the Detroit Free Press. Customs officers found and seized a small, personal-use amount of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, according to Hammond.

The bus driver was issued a civil citation, Hammond said. The bus and its passengers were then released.

The 19-year-old singer was in another vehicle, and was able to perform later that night at the Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.

A few months before, Bieber was in Sweden when cops discovered a small amount of marijuana and a stun gun aboard one of his tour buses.

(Photo: A.V. Club)

Ohio: Mayoral Hopeful Stages Pot Plant Giveaway, But Hands Out Tomato Plants Instead


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Cincinnati's Jim Berns hasn't even been elected mayor yet, but some would say he's already broken his first campaign promise.

Berns, a Libertarian mayoral hopeful, told people he would be giving out "nice plants about six weeks from harvest," reports Leslie Larson at the New York Daily News. Since Berns has often expressed his support to "re-legalize marijuana," folks naturally assumed he meant cannabis.

His attempt to attract voters -- and publicity -- with the ploy to draw attention to his platform, which calls for the legalization of marijuana in Ohio, drew about 30 people, mostly college-aged. They queued up following his talk to receive their plant at a city park.

But when the time came to hand out the greenery, they were just tomato plants. Wearing an American flag tie, Berns was photographed handing out the tomato plants and distributing fliers about his crusade to re-legalize cannabis.

"We support people deciding themselves to smoke marijuana," Berns said.

Before the event, Berns had been coy about the plants, saying only that they were "nice plants about six weeks from harvest."

He previously ran for a seat in Congress, but lost to GOP Rep. Steve Chabot (who, incidentally, is a "hard on drugs" pot-hating moron).

Photo: Jim Berns

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