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Marijuana Weekly News Roundup

Rap star Snoop Dogg grabbed headlines this past week with the launch of digital media platform called Merry Jane that is dedicated to all things cannabis. At the TechCrunch conference in San Francisco Snoop declared, “I’m a smoker, my name is Snoop Dogg and I’m a stoner.”

The Merry Jane website will feature a cooking show to demonstrate how to make marijuana edibles, a database containing information on the various strains of cannabis and dispensaries where cannabis can be purchased, and editorial content for marijuana users.

The site is currently in beta testing and is expected to go live in the next few weeks.

Here are other important news stories for the week.

Denver Health Officials Issue Food Safety Advisory for Marijuana Pills
Denver health officials have issued a food safety advisory for RX Green’s “Autopilot” capsules, a marijuana-infused product.

The city’s health department says any of the manufacturer’s Omega-3 and THC pills made before Sept. 17 should be discarded. The products have a license number of 404R-00109 on their package.

“The advisory is due to concerns regarding the manufacturing process and lack of temperature controls in place to prevent bacterial growth,” Denver’s Department of Environmental Health said in an advisory on Friday. “There have been no reports of illness at this time.”

Read more in The Denver Post.

Oregon Dispensaries Eager for Recreational Pot Sales
The beginning of recreational marijuana sales in October, three months earlier than originally approved by Oregon voters, brings excitement but uncertainty to producers and vendors.

More than 200 of Oregon’s 345 medical marijuana dispensaries have notified the Oregon Health Authority of their intent to sell recreational marijuana.

“They’re looking forward to the payday,” said Marv Olson of Healing Green, a marijuana dispensary in Independence. “I’m expecting our business to at least double.”

Starting Thursday, Oct. 1, Oregon customers 21 and older will be able to buy ready-to-smoke marijuana, seeds and live plants. The move is another major implementation of new rules following Oregon’s adoption of a ballot measure that legalized the recreational marijuana market in-state and changes the Legislature made to govern the new market. Next, the state will put systems in place to license and tax the industry. Sales won’t be untaxed until January.

Read more in the Statesman Journal.

SJC Bans Police Stops Solely for Suspected Marijuana
In a decision hailed by civil rights advocates and supporters of marijuana legalization, the state’s highest court ruled Tuesday that police cannot stop motorists solely because they suspect the vehicle’s occupants are in possession of the drug.

The Supreme Judicial Court based its 5-2 ruling largely on a measure that voters approved in 2008 that reduced possession of an ounce or less of marijuana from a criminal offense to a civil violation punishable by a fine.

“Permitting police to stop a vehicle based on reasonable suspicion that an occupant possesses marijuana does not serve [the] objectives” of the law change, Justice Margot Botsford wrote for the majority.

Read more at the Boston Globe.

Pope Francis to Meet Man Jailed for Marijuana During U.S. Prison Visit
While Pope Francis has been progressive on many issues, from caring for the poor to protecting our environment, he hasn’t exactly extended his progressiveness to cannabis law reform. In fact, Pope Francis spoke out against legalizing marijuana and ending the Drug War as the Washington Times reported back in June of 2014:

Francis said during a drug enforcement conference in Rome that even the most limited of tries to give legal status to the drug is “not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint,” but such would “fail to produce the desired results,” AP reported.

The pope’s comments—which aren’t that shocking, given his history of publicly ranting against the “evil” of drugs—comes just as Uruguay approved the selling of marijuana cigarettes in pharmacies. They also come on the heels of legalized recreational marijuana use in Colorado and Washington.

Read more at Marijuana Politics.

Seattle IRS Agent Charged with Bribing Pot-Shop Owner
A Seattle agent with the Internal Revenue Service was charged Monday with soliciting a bribe and accepting payment from a local marijuana business owner.

Paul Hurley, 42, was charged in U.S. District Court after he allegedly asked for $20,000 cash from the store owner in exchange for giving lenience in a tax audit, according to a news release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The pot-shop owner reportedly did not ask for leniency.

Read more at The Seattle Times.

Are Medical Marijuana Centers Gouging Patients?
Members of the medical marijuana community are questioning what the say are high prices and limited supply at the state’s three medical marijuana compassion centers — and are blasting the state for no legislative oversight of the facilities as mandated by law.

“Recently I’ve been getting a lot of complaints from patients about what’s going on at the compassion centers,” said Bill Cotton, who founded the B&B Medical Marijuana Evaluation Center. “I had a patient call and tell me compassion centers are charging $240 for a half ounce, and will only sell in grams or eighths. The average price off a caregiver is $200 an ounce — at the compassion centers, it’s $350 to $400 an ounce.”

Read more at GoLocalProv (Rhode Island).

By Paul Ausick