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Minnesota Head Shop Owner Says Fake Marijuana Ban Won't Work

Jim Carlson, the owner of a head shop, says a new federal ban on the sale of five chemicals used to make synthetic marijuana won't make much difference - he'll just stock brands that use other, still-legal substances. Carlson said that with about 210 similar chemicals available, the manufacturers will try to keep one step ahead of the government. "Unfortunately he is correct," said Barbara Carreno, a DEA spokeswoman in Washington, who confirmed Tuesday that many suppliers are offering retailers products with new chemicals. "There are many of these substances and we chose five common ones because we don't have the resources to study all of them."

Seattle Farmers Market Features Medical Marijuana

There was little publicity for Seattle's first medical marijuana farmers market, but word of mouth alone packed the hall as hundreds of people lined up to go in. Under the current law, certain health care providers like doctors or nurse practitioners can issue recommendations for medical marijuana for a variety of ailments including cancer, HIV and anorexia. But unlike in California or Colorado where medical marijuana initiatives led to dispensaries that provide the drug, in Washington the medical marijuana community has remained, for the most part, underground.

"Walmart of Weed" Set to Open in California

A cavernous 10,000-square-foot medical marijuana emporium is set to open in California, and in coming months the company behind it plans to open similar stores in Arizona, Colorado, New Jersey, and Oregon. The new weGrow store - which wags have dubbed the "Wal-Mart of Weed" - isn't selling medical marijuana. It's offering up how-to experts and merchandise to help medical marijuana patients grow pot hydroponically.

Predicting Demand for Medical Marijuana in Rhode Island

Early next month, the state Health Department is poised to select from one to three proposals for dispensaries that will sell medical marijuana and related products to patients in the growing medical marijuana program. JoAnne Leppanen, executive director of the Rhode Island Patient Advocacy Coalition, and others seeking to open the centers have varying views on whether it’s financially feasible for the state to have three dispensaries. On Tuesday, there were 3,239 patients and 2,039 licensed caregivers, or medical marijuana growers, in the program. Many of the patients also have caregiver licenses, meaning that they grow their own medical cannabis to deal with chronic pain, nausea and other medical ailments. But just about everyone in the industry predicts that the establishment of one, two or three dispensaries will lead to an immediate surge in the number of patients, who must get approval from the Health Department to use medical marijuana for.

California Medical Marijuana Industry Seeks to Operate "For Profit" ?

In California, medical marijuana dispensaries are required by state law to operate as non-profit "collectives" of legal medical marijuana patients who simply cover the costs of distributing the plant or edible products made from it. In the aftermath of dozens of raids on dispensaries that were illegally profiting from the sale of marijuana over the last year, the medicinal marijuana industry is calling for new laws that would allow dispensaries to operate as for-profit enterprises.

Mexican Drug Prohibition Gangsters Menace Natural Gas Drillers

Gunmen representing the Zetas drug trafficking organization have threatened to attack isolated natural gas well drillers unless they pay to operate in parts of northern Mexico. The threats are a new twist in Mexico's failed drug prohibition war, which is hitting businesses near the U.S.-Mexico border.

Medical Marijuana Meets Social Couponing with Denver Company

Denver-based is picking up where other social couponing sites don't dare to go, offering deals of up to 80 percent off on medical marijuana in your inbox everyday. Founder John Molinare said his company is filling a void for medical marijuana patients who stand to benefit through increased accessibility and affordability.

Medical Marijuana Sellers Can't Take Their Money to the Bank

Conflict between state and federal laws over the legality of medical marijuana has left owners of medical marijuana dispensaries finding that their financial services can go up in smoke. They're caught in a legal gray area that makes big banks wary or downright hostile. Last spring, Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., and 14 other members of Congress sent a letter to Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner seeking reassurance for financial institutions. The letter to Geithner asks his office to "issue formal written guidance for financial institutions assuring that Department priorities do not include targeting or pursuing institutions whose account holders are involved in a business ostensibly operating in compliance with a state medical marijuana law." No response has been received.