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Monday, June 20, 2016

FedEx Not A Drug Dealer After All: Feds Abruptly Drop Case Over Illegal Drug Shipments

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2016 at 2:18 PM


Is the U.S. Justice Department running out of things to do? In 2014, the federal government secured a grand jury indictment of FedEx, on allegations that the delivery giant was in fact a giant drug dealer. The feds claimed FedEx knowingly allowed drug dealers and drug addicts to send and receive illegal shipments of pharmaceutical drugs, some of which were intercepted by wild-eyed addicts en route to rural destinations in opiate-ravaged parts of the Midwest. 

Legal observers at the time said the case was a reach. FedEx even asked the Justice Department to share a list of known dealers and addicts so that it could suspend service; the feds refused. After all, if convicted, FedEx could have been fined $1.6 billion.

Instead, Justice Department attorneys took the extraordinary step of abandoning the case mid-trial last week. You could ask yourself why the government waited that long.

The feds agreed to a trial by judge, rather than jury; and in the spring, that judge, Charles Breyer, dismissed most of the 18 charges filed against FedEx, citing sloppy evidence. Breyer was no kinder in court last week when the feds finally ceded the field.

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Snitchin: Ex-Employee Sparked Massive, Empty-Handed Raid of Sonoma Cannabis Company

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2016 at 6:00 AM

One way to pay back your old boss. - PHOTO: JO LEEANN GALAUSKI'S IPHONE
  • Photo: Jo Leeann Galauski's iPhone
  • One way to pay back your old boss.

Last week's police raid on a major California cannabis company in Sonoma County came after a disgruntled former employee, who is attempting to form his own competing company, called the authorities on his old employer, an attorney said Friday.

Santa Rosa police and Drug Enforcement Administration agents wearing camouflage and kevlar descended on the production facilities and offices of CBD Guild, which manufactures popular cannabis products under the Care By Design and AbsoluteXtracts brand names.

Police seized cash, cannabis, paperwork, and expensive production machinery, including a one-of-a-kind device used to test pesticides, according to CBD Guild attorney Joe Rogoway.

According to initial reports, police were looking for a hash oil lab that uses flammable butane as a solvent. Labs that make butane hash oil — highly concentrated forms of cannabis also known as dabs — are illegal under state laws aimed at banning methamphetamine production.

But Care By Design does not use butane. On Thursday, Care By Design founder Dennis Hunter, initially in custody on $5 million bail, was released on no bail. He has not been charged with a crime — which means police essentially raided a business following "an employment dispute," Rogoway said.

"But because this is cannabis, it involves law enforcement," he said.

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Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Major Cannabis Company Raided in Sonoma Today

Posted By on Wed, Jun 15, 2016 at 5:09 PM


Local law enforcement and Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Santa Rosa raided the production labs of prominent cannabis company Care By Design this morning, possibly after receiving a complaint from a disgruntled former employee, according to reports.

Several people were arrested and police seized equipment as well as payroll and product paperwork, according to the company.

Care By Design, which produces high-potency cannabis oil cartridges under the AbsoluteXtracts brand name as well as sprays, tinctures, and many other products sold at California medical marijuana dispensaries, has production facilities in a Santa Rosa office park.

According to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat, Santa Rosa police raided the production lab as well as a nursery and two private homes in Sonoma County.

Several people were arrested, the newspaper reported, on suspicion of running afoul of drug laws. Authorities said the operation was not licensed, but it appears police were looking to bust a hash oil lab.

Producing high potency cannabis oil — a popular and potent way to consume cannabis — using butane as a solvent to extract active material from plant matter runs afoul of state law banning drug manufacturing.

However, according to company officials, Care By Design does not use butane, and does not create the cannais products — shatter, wax, and the like — popular with cannabis consumers who "dab." 

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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Marijuana Legalization Is Heading to California Voters

Posted By on Wed, May 4, 2016 at 3:51 PM

Your legalizers. - CHRIS ROBERTS
  • Chris Roberts
  • Your legalizers.
Legal cannabis for all adults (over 21) is closer to reality in California, after the star-studded backers of a well-funded legalization campaign announced Wednesday that they have enough signatures to put the issue before voters in November.

Mostly bankrolled by tech billionaire Sean Parker, and publicly supported by Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who has made cannabis one of his cause celebres since other states beat California to the legalization punch in 2012, the "Adult Use of Marijuana Act" would allow adults 21 and over to possess up to an ounce of marijuana and grow six plants in their homes.

It would also weaken other laws currently prohibiting marijuana use, and allow for a commercial adult-use cannabis industry. Laws around medical marijuana, which just changed this fall after the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act was signed by Gov. Jerry Brown, would not change further — and laws around every other drug, as draconian as they may be, would also not change. 

AUMA's backers are packaging their legalization, 61 detailed pages of regulations, as not necessarily cannabis-friendly. Instead, AUMA is being sold as parent-friendly, budget-friendly, and social justice-friendly.

"You do not have to be pro-marijuana to be pro-legalization," said Newsom, who has publicly said he hates cannabis, personally (and said it again on Wednesday). "That is not what this is about."

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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Did We Lose Prince to Prescription Pills? (Probably)

Posted By on Thu, Apr 28, 2016 at 12:24 PM


Yesterday, the Minneapolis Star-Tribune confirmed via public records what TMZ reported last week in a blind, unsourced item: Prince overdosed on prescription opiates on his private plane while en route from what would be his final concert in Atlanta. The plane was diverted and landed in Illinois so paramedics could give the musician a shot of Narcan, the same opiate overdose antidote used to revive overindulging heroin users (and with which San Francisco police are currently equipped).

All this happened six days before Prince was found dead back at home at Paisley Park in Minnesota a week ago today, after being seen out and about over the preceding few days: going to a jazz club, buying music on Record Store Day, and — again, according to TMZ — visiting a Walgreen's, where he may have collected one of the 259 million prescriptions American doctors have written for legal opiates.

Though results from Prince's autopsy won't be known for weeks, multiple sources are reporting more pills were found at the home following his death. 

In the last seven days, tributes have been paid to Prince from presidents and nearly every important musical artist still alive. Thus far, absent from the elegies have been any calls to action. It may now be time. He may have been our generation's greatest musician — meaning, it looks awfully like we lost our greatest musician to our country's ongoing prescription pill addiction.

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Wednesday, April 20, 2016

A 420 Miracle? D.C. Cannabis Activists To Talk Rescheduling With White House

Posted By on Wed, Apr 20, 2016 at 2:31 PM


The main obstacle holding back progress ending America's increasingly-silly obsession with cannabis is the Controlled Substances Act. Specifically, it's the politically-motivated, scientifically-unsound classification of marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance. According to Congress, cannabis is just as dangerous as heroin and LSD, more dangerous than cocaine and methamphetamine, is highly addictive and has no medical use.

Schedule I drugs are also in a kind of purgatory. They cannot be prescribed or, in most cases, obtained for medical research aside for studies showing what a bad thing they are. Removing marijuana from Schedule I and into Schedule II, where it can be prescribed and have its medical potential widely researched, has been a cause celebre of drug activists for decades, but efforts to convince and then sue federal authorities into rescheduling have failed.

Now, there are more and more U.S. senators backing a bill that would reschedule the drug. Might not President Barack Obama reschedule on his way out of office? He might. According to the activists that worked on the legalization measure that has made recreational marijuana legal for adults in D.C. — the place where you can legally smoke weed in front of the institutions that have outlawed it — the White House is inviting them in for a meeting to talk about just that.

Is a real 420 miracle afoot?

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Specials, Events, And Picking Up After Yourself: Your 2016 420 Guide

Posted By on Wed, Apr 20, 2016 at 4:20 AM

  • Gabrielle Lurie/SF Weekly file photo
  • Get some.

It’s shaping up to be a banner year for cannabis. With attitudes rapidly evolving nationwide and legalization looming in the country’s largest state, this polarizing plant’s acceptance has never been stronger. So what better year than 2016 to celebrate 420?

April 20 is the annual day to participate in all things cannabis consumption. Why April 20? While it definitely started in Marin County in the 1970s among some high schoolers, other fantasies prevail. Some say there are 420 different chemicals in cannabis. Still more claim Grateful Dead or Adolf Hitler connections. This helps clear up some of the myths and legends.

More importantly, 420 is widely celebrated in San Francisco and beyond. Which means there are tons of things to do involving stoners. Clear your day, call in sick, whatever. The weather will be unique to San Francisco, which means it will be a great day for the park or beach or club or concert venue or just standing around getting baked. Onward and upward.

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Monday, April 18, 2016

City Lays Out Rules For 420: No Selling, Lots of Cops — And Good Luck Driving Home

Posted By on Mon, Apr 18, 2016 at 1:01 PM


Wednesday is the 20th day of April, in the year of widespread cannabis use. Consuming America's favorite illicit drug is less and less a rebellious act these days, which means more and more people — up to 15,000, by the latest unofficial count from official city sources — descend on Hippie Hill on 420 every year to share a quiet, mellow smoke with thousands of strangers.

The city has in the past flirted with cracking down on 420, possibly San Francisco's largest unpermitted and therefore unregulated event, but has instead decided to just close down streets and (loosely, selectively) enforce Golden Gate Park rules. 

Good news: there will be public toilets and places to put some of the 10,000 pounds of trash city officials say 420-goers dump on the grass every year. Bad news: it will be an absolute nightmare trying to navigate the area, including for sober motorists trying to make it home on Kezar Drive through the park.

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Friday, April 15, 2016

Bob Marley Weed is Here — And You Can Buy Some

Posted By on Fri, Apr 15, 2016 at 3:40 PM

  • Jessica Christian/SF Examiner
  • Lively up your stash.

If you hadn't heard, the estate of one Robert Nesta "Bob" Marley — reggae music superstar, cultural icon, and reputed cannabis smoker — has its very own Bob Marley-branded line of cannabis and cannabis-related products (backed by $75 million in venture capital, including investment from Peter Thiel's Founders Fund).

And starting today, you can buy Marley Natural rolling trays, pipes, topical lotions, and — of course — marijuana in San Francisco.

The Marley family-approved red, gold, and green (if you know what I mean) rolled into select Bay Area medical cannabis dispensaries this week. (Sorry: it's not Jamaican collie; just mere California outdoor, grown by selected local cultivators. Which means it's better than Jamaican weed.)

There is already Bob Marley-branded just about everything — including Jamaica-bred consumables like coffee — so cannabis was a natural next step. But Marley Natural is making pains to have it known that it's not just about selling weed — or pure corporate culture.

"This is not Big Pot buying out Bob Marley," said Tahira Rehmatullah, the brand's general manager.

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Monday, April 11, 2016

SFPD Warns: If You're Going to 420, Leave Your Kids at Home

Posted By on Mon, Apr 11, 2016 at 10:12 AM

click image The kids are... alright. - GABRIELLE LURIE/SF WEEKLY FILE PHOTO
  • Gabrielle Lurie/SF Weekly file photo
  • The kids are... alright.
If you’re planning on being one of those wild and crazy kids who goes to Hippie Hill in Golden Gate Park on April 20 in order to get stoned with ten thousand like-minded strangers, you might want to leave the actual kids at home (or locked in the car with the windows cracked).

San Francisco police are gearing up for yet another 420 event — one of the largest unpermitted events in town, which is to say there's no "sponsor" to bill for the cleanup and security — and Park Station, the police station responsible for patrolling Hippie Hill, where the smoke-out takes place, issued a strong message to parents late last week: You could be arrested on child endangerment charges if you bring your little ones.

Police chief Greg Suhr is committed to “keeping the community safe,” according to the latest station newsletter, and this apparently extends to children being exposed to secondhand smoke and copious amounts of potato chips or THC-laced sweets — at least in public.

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    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"