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DEA Emergency Ban on Synthetic Marijuana NOT in Effect

Contrary to previous reports that a DEA emergency ban on synthetic cannabinoids had gone into effect on December 24, that emergency ban has been delayed. The DEA published a notice in the federal register dated January 7 that its November 24 notice of intent to institute an emergency ban had to be revised due to "administrative errors."

Still legal under federal law -- at least for now. (image via Wikimedia)
Sold under a variety of names, including Spice and K2, the synthetic cannabinoid products have been criminalized in about a dozen states, with more states on track to join the list.

DEA spokesperson Barbara Carreno confirmed to the Chronicle January 13 that the ban was not yet in effect. "We're still writing the regulations," she said, explaining that, "While we must give the public 30 days notice, that doesn't mean it automatically becomes illegal. We're working diligently on it and hoping to get it done quickly."

The delay was forced by legal challenges from the Retail Compliance Association, a newly-formed retailers' organization created to block the DEA ban. "They need to stop hurting the small businesses that sell these products, and at least have a grip on the basics of the laws that govern their actions" said Dan Francis, the group's executive director, in a press release. "These rule do apply to them, they can't just declare that they don't and have it that way, we are a country of laws, passed by congress, not dictated by the DEA."
 

Washington, DC
United States

Prohibition-Created Drug Trafficking Organizations Intensify Attacks in Mexico's Richest City

Location: 
Monterrey, NLE
Mexico
Drug trafficking organizations fighting over Mexico's richest city have launched a wave of attacks against police and rivals since New Year's Eve, crushing hopes of a fall in violence and alarming business leaders.
Publication/Source: 
Reuters
URL: 
http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE70B4WL20110112

WeedMaps.com Experiences Significant Growth in 2010, Creates Medical Marijuana Stock Exchange

Weedmaps Media, Inc. grossed revenue of over $3,000,000 in 2010 compared to a gross revenue of less than $150,000 in 2009, its first year of operation. Weedmaps.com, a division of Weedmaps Media, Inc. is the largest finder site for medicinal marijuana dispensaries in the United States.
Publication/Source: 
Centre Daily Times (PA)
URL: 
http://www.centredaily.com/2011/01/05/2434023/weedmapscom-experiences-significant.html

Federal Fake Marijuana Ban Challenged

Location: 
Duluth, MN
United States
A Duluth man is now part of the first lawsuit challenging a federal ban on several ingredients found in synthetic marijuana products. Jim Carlson owns Last Place on Earth in downtown Duluth. He was already challenging the city's ban on fake pot ingredients.
Publication/Source: 
WDIO (MN)
URL: 
http://www.wdio.com/article/stories/S1901571.shtml?cat=10335

Drug Trafficking Organization's Bandits Stealing Oil to Fuel Mexican Drug Prohibition War Kill 27

Location: 
San Martin Texmelucan, TLA
Mexico
A breeched oil pipeline caused a massive blast in the Mexican town of San Martin Texmelucan. Rivers of fire coursed through the streets, killing at least 27 people and damaging 115 houses.
Publication/Source: 
TakePart (CA)
URL: 
http://www.takepart.com/news/2010/12/20/bandits-stealing-oil-for-mexican-drug-war-kill-27

Medical Marijuana Business Attracts Hedge Funds, Venture Capitalists

Medical marijuana is legal in 15 states and the District of Columbia. It's popularity is attracting attention from hedge fund managers and venture capitalists, not to mention a whole new batch of entrepreneurs.
Publication/Source: 
ConsumerAffairs.com (CA)
URL: 
http://www.consumeraffairs.com/news04/2010/12/medical-marijuana-business-attracts-hedge-funds-venture-capitalists.html

Marijuana Seed Company Sees Budding Business

Location: 
CO
United States
Now that Centennial Seeds has established a presence in Colorado selling cannabis seeds to producers of medical marijuana, Ben Holmes wants to tackle supplying seeds to vendors in other states where medicinal use of the drug is legal.
Publication/Source: 
CNBC (NJ)
URL: 
http://www.cnbc.com/id/40567103

Draft of Colorado Medical Marijuana Rules Is a 90-Page Tome

Location: 
CO
United States
Medical marijuana advocates and government representatives hammered out the final details of proposed new rules that would give Colorado the most comprehensive seed-to-sale cannabis business regulations in the nation. The rules would govern everything: how state officials regulate marijuana cultivation; how dispensary owners keep track of their sales; what makers of marijuana-infused pastries should put on their labels. Several of the rules would place Colorado in unprecedented territory — for instance, requiring marijuana growers to install security cameras through which state auditors could remotely monitor their crop.
Publication/Source: 
The Denver Post (CO)
URL: 
http://www.denverpost.com/news/marijuana/ci_16794489

Planners OK Medical Marijuana Zones in Battle Creek

Location: 
Battle Creek, MI
United States
The Battle Creek Planning Commission recommended changing the city's zoning rules to allow growing marijuana for medicinal use in certain commercial zones. Compassion clubs, operations that provide support services for medical marijuana patients, would be allowed in some zones and would give patients a second place to use their medicine besides their homes.
Publication/Source: 
Battle Creek Enquirer (MI)
URL: 
http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/article/20101202/NEWS01/12020314/Planners-OK-medical-marijuana-zones-in-B.C.

Marijuana Business Forum Seeks to Make New Arizona Law Work [FEATURE]

Voters in Arizona last month passed Proposition 203, an initiative that makes Arizona the 15th state to approve medical marijuana. State officials now have a little more than three months to come up with rules and regulations to implement the program, but budding medical marijuana entrepreneurs are not just twiddling their thumbs in the meantime.

With equal measures of enthusiasm and apprehension, would-be cannabis businesspeople are looking to cash in. The Arizona law allows for dispensaries -- as many as 124 of them statewide -- as well as off-site medical marijuana grow ops, but with the rules and regulations just being written, just how the dispensaries and grow-ops will be regulated is unclear at this point.

While businesspeople are eager to start serving the community and making money, they also worry about their investments. They look to states like California and Colorado, which also allow for dispensaries, but which have also seen significant blowback from communities that have felt overwhelmed -- Los Angeles, for example, where the city council responded to the nearly a thousand dispensaries that popped up in the area by cutting their numbers back dramatically.

The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is reporting that its phones are ringing off the hook with calls from people wanting to know how to go about setting up businesses that cater to the medical marijuana community. And MPP executive director Rob Kampia told the Chronicle the group is responding with a December 13 evening forum on the medical marijuana business in Phoenix.

"We've been getting lots of phone calls and emails from people in Arizona, as well as places like Colorado, who want to know all about this new law we just passed," Kampia explained. "These are entrepreneurs who smell opportunity and want a crash course on what the law would do and what the prospects are that the health department or city councils might mess with it. When a bunch of people are contacting you asking for guidance, you can either blow them off or you can field each call individually and have your organization come to a screaming halt. We chose a third alternative."

That would be the December 13 forum. In true entrepreneurial spirit, MPP will charge the would-be cannabis businesses $300 per individual or $500 for two people. A web site for the forum will be up shortly, but in the meantime, people who are interesting in attending should send an email to PhoenixForum@mpp.org.

"This will be a money-maker for MPP," said Kampia. "We'll use the money for lobbying efforts in Arizona and elsewhere."

But of course, it's not just a money-maker. "It's about educating the community," Kampia said. "One byproduct of education is that people will be less likely to creatively interpret the law."

That has been a problem in non-dispensary states, such as Montana and Michigan, where the cutting edge of medical marijuana entrepreneurship is bumping up against hostile state and local governments and recalcitrant law enforcement officials. Similarly, in California, where dispensaries are not licensed by the state, dispensaries face restrictions and even bans from local governments. Even in Colorado, which, like Arizona, features state licensing of dispensaries, conflicts have arisen.

"We will be giving words of warning at the forum, particularly about Michigan and Montana," said Kampia. "In Michigan, there are people who think the law allows for the unlimited operation of dispensaries, and as a result, the legislature will try to roll back the law. In Montana, you have that traveling circus giving group physician recommendations to patients, and that's causing similar backlash in the state legislature. There are already bills pre-filed to rollback or repeal the Montana law."

Some of the messages the forum will put out may seem obvious, but they aren't so obvious that somebody somewhere hasn’t gotten into trouble for not heeding them. "Don't put on a traveling road show, don't open a dispensary without a permit, don't do inappropriate advertising," Kampia ticked off in rapid-fire order.

Kampia will be at the forum in Phoenix to discuss the relationship between federal law and Prop 203. He will be joined by MPP's Karen O'Keefe, who co-authored the newly-passed initiative; Sensible Colorado's Brian Vicente, who will explain how dispensaries work in Colorado, and a representative of the Phoenix consulting firm that worked with MPP to pass the law, who will discuss how Arizona law will change and how state and local authorities might respond.

Medical marijuana as a business opportunity may seem crass to a sizeable segment of the community, but that is the American way. If people don't think sick people should have to pay for their medicine, that's a defensible position, but in the meanwhile it is probably unfair to expect medical marijuana providers to be the only ones not getting paid.

Phoenix, AZ
United States

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