Releaf Magazine
27Jul/111

When NBA money isn’t enough…..part 2

Former top 10 pick Rodney White arrested for growing marijuana

Maybe he had aspirations to one day own his own non-profit marijuana dispensaries (in Rhode Island or Maine) that profits millions........-UA

Kurt Helin Jul 27, 2011 probasketballtalk.nbcsports.com

Rodney White, the college star who put UNC Charlotte in the NCAA Tournament a decade ago then was the No. 9 pick of the Detroit Pistons in 2001, has been arrested, according to the Charlotte Observer (via SLAM).

The charges are pretty serious — “managing what investigators called “an elaborate” marijuana-growing operation in Alexander and Iredell counties” according to the report.

“During the search, an elaborate underground bunker was located, where detectives found a hidden marijuana grow room,” Redmond said.

Based on that discovery, agents got a search warrant for a residence on Montibello Drive in Mooresville. Redmond said detectives found more than four pounds of marijuana; an assortment of firearms; grow lights; planting materials; and other items used to grow marijuana.

White played four seasons in the NBA with the Pistons, Nuggets and Warriors, plus played some in Europe and Asia after his NBA career ended.

He is being held on $50,000 bail.

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4Jul/110

Oh I thought they already did that pretty regularly…

Justice Department Could Crack Down on Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

by Amelia T. / July 3/ care2.com

A new memo from the Department of Justice could threaten production of medical marijuana, even in states like California, where cultivation of marijuana for sale to people with medicinal licenses is legal.  This seems to be a response to plans among marijuana growers, advocates, and even some city politicians, to create authorized commercial centers of cultivation.

In a letter sent earlier this week to federal prosecutors, Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole wrote that the Obama administration, which generally takes a hands-off approach to prosecuting medical marijuana operations, “never intended to shield such activities from federal enforcement action and prosecution, even where those activities purport to comply with state law.”  The “activities” to which Cole refers are “cultivation of large quantities of marijuana, or broadening the regulation and taxation of the substance.”

In other words, this derails localized plans to turn marijuana into a large-scale, privately operated industry, which the city of Oakland in particular had been eyeing.  It also does not bode well for large-scale medical marijuana dispensaries.  ”I would be hearing, ‘If you get too big, we may well put a target on your back,’” explained Joe Elford, chief counsel for Americans for Safe Access.

According to a recent report, the legal marijuana business registered $1.7 billion in sales last year.  If, as Oakland had planned, cities allowed marijuana to be cultivated on a large scale, the new procedures could mean millions of additional dollars in tax revenue.  Jeff Wilcox, an entrepreneur, put the dilemma bluntly: “Oakland is so broke, and Oakland is going to be more broke next year and the year after.”

The city of Berkeley was also planning to move to similar operations, albeit on a much smaller scale.  Essentially, the city’s marijuana-growing collectives would move to industrial facilites, allowing Berkeley officials to control for faulty conditions that could lead to fires, and inspecting the crops to ensure that they’re free of pesticides.  Now, however, prospects seem to be dim.

The memo is puzzling because, during his campaign, Barack Obama said that the federal government should not prosecute medical marijuana growers and caregivers.  Shortly after his inauguration, the justice department issued a memo explaining that this would be the administration’s official policy.

Now, the justice department says that it’s “clarifying” the previous memo, but in a way that makes it impossible for cities to move forward with commercial cultivation, and may also threaten the large-scale dispensaries that sprang up in the wake of the original policy.

The new guidelines have implications for the handful of states where medical marijuana is legal, and where growing the drug is fraught with legal complications.  While it may be logical to assume that since marijuana is legal for medical use in these states, that it should be grown industrially and taxed, the federal government seems determined to make that impossible.  Why the Obama administration is cracking down on large-scale pot production is unclear.  But the guidelines are sure to create more tensions between state and federal governments on such a potentially lucrative enterprise, as well as threatening the chronically ill people who use marijuana to alleviate pain.

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13Jun/112

Poor media reporting…….

Police find 1,600 marijuana plants growing in Vancouver home

Two suspects detained for questioning

This is a BIG NON-MEDICAL bust.....why did STEPHANIE RICE feel the need to tie the medical marijuana community into this? This type of reporting is slanted and shouldn't be tolerated. -UA

By Stephanie Rice Columbian Staff Reporter columbian.com 6/10

Vancouver retirees Luis and Joanita Munoz recently returned home after spending five months in a warmer climate, and family members who’d been staying at their house, as well as neighbors, wasted no time reporting the growing suspicions about the house at the end of the street.

The window drapes that were never open.

The vans that were always in the garage, never in the driveway.

The mold on the siding, streaking down from under the eaves.

The Munozes, who live in the Northcrest Neighborhood in McLoughlin Heights, have been volunteering with the Vancouver Police Department’s Neighbors on Watch (NOW) program for three years.

“The neighbors bring their concerns to us,” said Joanita Munoz, who started writing down the license plate numbers of the vehicles that came and went from the home.

Munoz, in turn, called police Cpl. Duane Boynton on Friday morning with the concerns. He agreed to stop by and take a look.

By Friday afternoon, a search warrant had been signed by Clark County District Court Judge Darvin Zimmerman, two suspects had been detained for questioning, and members of the Clark-Skamania Drug Task Force had descended on the home, where they found approximately 1,600 marijuana plants.

As of Friday evening, the names of the two men detained had not been released.

The home, 6124 Broadview Lane, which had been turned over approximately six months ago to renters under a lease-to-own deal, had a 2010 property value of $434,219, according to Clark County property records.

The owners live in Sumner, east of Tacoma.

Task Force Commander Mike Cooke walked into the garage, pointing to the mold on the ceiling. The mold alone will likely render the home a total loss, Cooke said.

Inside, a network of ducts and ballasts lined the hallway walls, while jugs of fertilizer lined the floor. The temperature was 85 degrees; the air was humid and smelled of pot and mold.

The power cords inside the grow rooms were labeled to match the corresponding light hoods, which were hung over tables holding rows and rows of plants.

The walls in the grow rooms were lined with mylar paper. All the heat was vented to the attic; Cooke pointed to one spot on the ceiling that was bulging from the mold.

With the exception of a small living room off the front entry, which was set up as a break room with an old couch and table, and stocked with bottled water and cans of Coors Light and Pabst Blue Ribbon, the house had been transformed into a greenhouse.

In the garage, employees from Clark Public Utilities zoned in on a box set up to divert power before it reached the meter.

In all, it’s what police call a “sophisticated grow.”

“I couldn’t do it,” Cooke said, pointing to the diverter box.

Cooke said the task force estimates the value of the plants by figuring a plant when fully grown has a street value of $1,500.

By that measure, the value of the grow operation was $2.4 million.

This was the type of house Cooke had in mind when he spoke to Clark County commissioners during a June 1 work session with the county’s Substance Abuse Advisory Commission.

Cooke was encouraging commissioners to be proactive about passing a zoning ordinance restricting where medical marijuana dispensaries can be located. He mentioned the increasing number of “whole house” grow operations the task force was discovering.

Counties and cities may regulate dispensaries by zoning but can’t ban them outright.

“The reality is, medicinal marijuana is a cover for unlawful sales,” Cooke said. “All of these grows are designed to feed into dispensaries (and other distributors). The West Coast has turned into a manufacturing center.”

Cooke said Friday he’d like to see dispensaries in industrial areas, away from schools and shopping centers.

Cleve Thompson, the county’s drug and alcohol program manager, said Friday that the advisory committee will review the new state legislation regarding medical marijuana before making a recommendation to commissioners.

“It’s new information, and we haven’t reviewed all of the information. I think Mike (Cooke) and many other people in the community are farther along in understanding what this is all about,” Thompson said. “The dispensaries have popped up like wildflowers in Spokane, and the people running the dispensaries are misusing the law.”

While voters in Washington have approved medical marijuana and the state and federal laws add up to a tangled web that no one seems eager to sort out, Friday’s bust can teach a very simple lesson about being a good neighbor.

“Be vigilant,” said Joanita Munoz. “And speak up. VPD is very receptive,” she said.

Take notes, give them the circumstances, “and then let them make the call,” she said.

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12Jun/111

Who is helping the fuzz?

Marijuana regulators helping bust illegal marijuana grows

greenfieldreporter.com 6/12

This smells fishy, lets not forget where we came from......-UA

DENVER — Colorado medical marijuana regulators have partnered up with local law enforcement agencies to help cities shut down illegal pot cultivations and prosecute those running them.

With Colorado the only state with medical marijuana regulations that allow companies to profit from selling the drug, strict business licensing requirements are making it easier for law enforcement to find, raid, and prosecute illegal marijuana cultivators. Before a 2010 law requiring special marijuana business license passed, dispensaries, cultivators, and infused product manufacturers operated without oversight.

Before the new laws, police investigations of illegal pot gardens fell apart when pot cultivators who were raided claimed they were growing it for patients. Police and state regulators say the new regulations now create a bright line for enforcement.

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20May/112

Pot-holes of the week award

Two arrested after marijuana is found in taxi

5/19 boston.com

3am burnin' one in a taxi with 13.5 lbs? Way to blend in guys..........the defective illumination will getcha everytime.......smh....-UA

By Jenna Duncan, Globe Correspondent

Two men traveling in a taxi on Route 3 south in Hingham early this morning were arrested after police found a suitcase in the trunk containing 13½ pounds of marijuana, officials said.

At 3:11 a.m., troopers pulled over a taxi driver for defective illumination on the taxi's rear license plate and changing lanes without signal, State Police said in a statement. When two troopers approached the car, they smelled the odor of burning marijuana coming from inside.

Christopher M. Barnes, 23, of Falmouth, and Charles E. Timbers, 27, of Watertown, were passengers in the taxi. They said they were traveling from South Station to Plymouth but appeared nervous, police said.

One of the troopers had his K9 partner Zander with him. After Zander alerted to the trunk of the car, the officers found a large suitcase “containing green vegetable matter believed to be marijuana.”

Barnes and Timbers are to be arraigned today in Hingham District Court, police said.

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16May/111

Too much going on…..

West Phila. man gets 16-year federal sentence for marijuana growing network

There are a lot smarter ways to do things.......-UA
May 12, 2011|By Vernon Clark articles.philly.com

A West Philadelphia man was sentenced Wednesday to 16 years in federal prison for organizing and financing a network of high-tech marijuana-growing facilities from Florida to Connecticut.

Anthony Bui, 57, received the sentence from U.S. District Judge J. Curtis Joyner for leading a ring that established the growing facilities. Each facility cost about $100,000 to equip with sophisticated lighting, irrigation, and ventilation systems.

The facilities were designed to produce millions of dollars' worth of marijuana annually, court officials said.

Bui, who owns a commercial fishing company in Egg Harbor, N.J., began importing large amounts of high-grade marijuana into the United States from Canada, court officials said.

In 2001, U.S. customs agents caught him trying to smuggle into Canada more than $30,000 hidden inside his socks to pay drug suppliers there.

He later turned to cultivating the drug, officials said. Authorities were alerted in June 2005 when one of Bui's cultivating facilities, in a former chicken warehouse, caught fire in Staley, N.C.

Firefighters discovered the operation and contacted local authorities. Bui was arrested by sheriff's deputies, who also seized 600 pounds of marijuana and pot-growing equipment worth tens of thousands of dollars.

An investigation by federal drug agents led to three more cultivating operations in Jacksonville, Fla.; New Britain, Conn.; and Birdsboro, Pa., just southeast of Reading. More than a dozen members of Bui's organization were prosecuted in the case.

Investigators said Bui used proceeds from distributing marijuana to pay for his marijuana-growing operations. He also used tens of thousands of dollars from his fishing company, Asian Fish Inc., to purchase property and equipment for the cultivating operations.

In addition to the prison term, Bui was ordered to pay a $20,000 fine and serve five years of supervised release.

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