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The Shake: Michigan Cops Want Your Stuff, and Mail Carriers Aren’t (Supposed to Be) Narcs

March 31, 2016

Michigan cops take stuff illegally and don’t give it back. But apparently that’s not theft. Every time we read another story about civil asset forfeiture, we shake our heads and wonder how such a wrongheaded, un-American, out-of-control policy remains legal. Washington Post reporter Christopher Ingraham, one of the paper’s rising stars, penned a compelling feature that ran today about yet another cannabis bust that led to an enormous civil asset forfeiture by local police. This one occurred in Michigan, which is nominally a legal medical marijuana state but remains an illegal state whenever local police feel like stealing people’s stuff. In 2014 they arrested a husband and wife who operated a dispensary in St. Clair County, northeast of Detroit, and cleaned out their house. Like, they took everything. Last month a district court judge threw out all charges, stating the couple essentially had been entrapped by local officials who’d signed off on their dispensary permit. Now they’re fighting to get back their stuff. “Since the charges have been dismissed, the Drug Task Force has returned some of her property,” writes Ingraham. “But much of it is damaged. Electronic items are missing power cords and remotes. Her and her husband's phones were smashed. They returned her husband's guns and the safe he stored it in, but they didn't return the key. Two of the kids' insurance cards are missing. Shattuck says her marriage and birth certificates haven't been returned, and since the Task Force does not itemize seized documents in its paperwork, it has no record of taking them in the first place.”

Postal Service Doubles Down on Cannabis Enforcement, Issues Nationwide Policy

Lawmakers to U.S. Attorney General: Mail carriers aren’t narcs. Eight members of Congress wrote to Attorney General Loretta Lynch on Monday, asking for “clarification” on the U.S. Postal Service’s (USPS) announcement last December that the USPS would refuse to transport any mail, including newspapers, that carries cannabis advertisements. The group of eight representatives includes Jared Huffman (D-CA), Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Sam Farr (D-CA), Mark Pocan (D-WI), Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Ted Lieu (D-CA). The politicians ask Lynch to “clearly establish," in accordance with federal budget rules that prevent the Department of Justice from spending money to interfere with state medical marijuana laws, that her department will not prosecute anyone placing ads for state-legal cannabis products. Humboldt County's North Coast Journal, which has a fighting interest in the policy, has the story, and Forbes columnist Jacob Sullum has the hot take

Seinfeld's Newman in mail truck fire

Local NAACP supports San Francisco MMJ entrepreneur. In an unusual sign of support for a local businesswoman, the head of the San Francisco NAACP publicly urged city officials to approve Tikisha Ong’s bid to open a medical marijuana dispensary in the Outer Mission neighborhood. Rev. Amos Brown, who directs the local chapter of the national group, asked city planning officials to support Ong’s effort “to bring much-needed African American community representation to the city’s medical cannabis industry.” According to SF Weekly writer Chris Roberts, 22 of the city’s 28 dispensaries are owned by white people. Roberts added that he could only “name a single black-owned dispensary in Oakland.” Brown made his point clear: “It’s time for women of color like Ms. Ong to have a voice in this growing industry.” 

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Oh. No. Don’t Make. Us Close. In Eight Years. Colorado Springs cannabis clubs are fighting back against the city’s recently enacted pot club ban. The city’s eight private clubs formed the People’s Social Alliance (PSA), and are organizing a campaign to put the issue on a citywide ballot. They’ve got some time. The ban, strangely, gives the clubs eight years to shut down. Most businesses in the service industry are lucky to survive eight months, let alone eight years, so this makes us wonder if there’s some sort of Stoner Sloth action going on over there in the Springs. 

Stoner Sloth gif


  • Vogue magazine gets hip to cannabis infused topicals. The magazine gives shout-outs to industry leaders at Marley Natural, Foria, and the always quoteable Ah Warner at Cannabis Basics (who explained all things topical in our recent Cannabis Craftsmanship video).
  • If the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t like cannabis ads in newspapers, they really don’t like actual cannabis. In New Orleans, authorities arrested a 60-year-old woman after she received a mailed package containing six vacuum-sealed bags containing 5.6 pounds of cannabis. Sigh. Don’t mail cannabis, folks. Also: Have a peek at this poor woman’s mug shot and explain to me again why we’re arresting people for this. 
  • Vermont’s legalization bill continues to move, slow and steady, through the House. WaPo thinks success could be a national game-changer for cannabis. Andrew Friedman, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper’s marijuana policy coordinator, prowled the hallways of the State House in Montpelier yesterday, giving his perspective on the dos and don’ts of legalization. The House Judiciary committee takes public testimony on the bill later this afternoon. Limit those comments to two minutes, people! 

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