Russian state media says Morgan Freeman's marijuana use behind his critique of Putin

Russian state media says Morgan Freeman's marijuana use behind his critique of Putin

Morgan Freeman’s honey-kissed baritone has sound-tracked dozens of documentaries and public announcements in the Oscar-winner’s long Hollywood career.

But the 80-year-old star’s tenure in the business probably failed to prep him for the Russian reaction that greeted a two-minute online video he recorded recently for a group hoping to keep alive concerns over Kremlin meddling in the 2016 Presidential election.

Freeman is being portrayed as a tool of the U.S. establishment trying to bring down Trump, and as a man suffering from a “Messianic complex” from movie roles playing God and the president of the United States.

A “#StopMorganLie” hashtag is circulating aimed at discrediting the actor.

In the controversial video’s opening, Freeman dramatically declares: “We have been attacked. We are at war.”

The Morgan Freeman video was put out this week by the Committee to Investigate Russia. Founded by Rob Reiner, the director of comedy classics such as “This is Spinal Tap” and “When Harry Met Sally,” the nonpartisan group is pushing for a more aggressive acknowledgment of the alleged Russian hack. Morgan’s video sets that tone, referring to President Vladimir Putin as an “a former KGB spy” who has “set his sights on his sworn enemy, the United States.”

Story continues below video

“We need our president to speak directly to us and to speak the truth,” Morgan urges. The clip currently has over 264,000 views.

But now the legendary American actor is a pariah in Russia, with Kremlin officials, Russian talking heads, and pro-Putin social media trolls ganging up to denounce Freeman. The all-hands-on-deck response suggests a concerted Russian effort to discredit the actor via social media.

Reiner’s group does boast significant names among its advisory board, including former National Intelligence director James Clapper and conservative never-Trump critic Charles Sykes. (But as ThinkProgress points out, the committee does not boast any actual Russian experts in its governing body).

The moviemaker told Variety this week the committee would be a “one-stop shop where people can come and be made aware” of “what the breaking news stories are today, the various investigations, what stages they are in, but also to the understand the history, and what the Soviet Union and now Russia has been trying to do for many, many years.”

Reiner added: “My concern is people don’t understand the gravity of what they were able to do.”

Russian government officials hit back immediately at the video this week, fixing their crosshairs specifically on Morgan.

Tass, the Russian news agency, published remarks from Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova arguing Freeman had been “roped in” to the Russia attack, and likening the video to when former Secretary of State Colin Powell unknowingly lied to the United Nations about Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction.

“I believe this is another story about the end justifying the means. However, we will know who is behind this story sooner than we knew about the true contents of the infamous test tube,” Zakharova stated, an apparent reference to Powell’s 2003 United Nations presentation, in which he held up a vial of anthrax to support the claim that Saddam Hussein had stockpiled chemical weapons.

“Recently it became known that the Obama administration had been wiretapping Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort based on a secret court decision . . . The wiretapping activities continued after the election. Do you understand what Russia has to do with it? Right, the goal is to legitimize the post-election lawlessness.”

This week, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also addressed the video, telling reporters Freeman’s comments “can hardly be taken seriously” and arguing the actor was “a victim of emotionally charged, self-exalted status,” according to Radio Free Europe. The official added that “many performing artists easily succumb to becoming victims of emotional strain with no real information about the real state of things.”

Russian media was more wild in its theorizing.

The BBC reported this week Freeman was a frequent topic on Russian television. One station – Rossiya 24 – quizzed a panel of psychiatrists about the actor’s motivations, and the medical professionals reportedly attributed “the performance to a Messianic complex resulting from playing God or the president in several films, not to mention ‘drug abuse.’”

Another TV personality said Freeman was sick from “overwork and marijuana use.” TV Centre claimed the clip was part of an “establishment campaign to oust Trump,” the BBC reported.

Pro-Russian Twitter trolls have also jumped in on the actor, wielding the somewhat awkward hashtag “#StopMorganLie.”

But as commentators have pointed out, the #StopMorganLie trolls seem to all be following the same script – trying to discredit the idea that the U.S. is a democratic nation.

“Freeman’s comments leveled at ‘Russia’s continuing attacks on our [US] democracy’ have created quite a stir on Twitter,” reported RT, the Russian funded news cable network. “People said that the ‘democracy’ statement is pure hypocrisy, as the US has been at war with and interfering in the affairs of many other states, such as Libya, Ukraine and Iraq.

It has left some experts like Rols Fredheim, an analyst at NATO’s Strategic Communications Center of Excellence in Riga, wondering whether the anti-Freeman blowback was less of an organic reaction than a Kremlin scheme.

“It does look very highly coordinated, because you’re seeing something on multiple platforms at the same time communicating the same message,” Fredheim told Radio Free Europe this week.

“It’s more than just a teenager in the basement. It could be many teenagers in many basements. But it could also be something more sophisticated than that . . . the St. Petersburg troll factories, for instance. It could be an example of some kind of Russian troll-farm output.”

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Published at Fri, 22 Sep 2017 18:32:07 +0000

The Many Reasons Cannabis is a Medicine Worth Legalizing

The Many Reasons Cannabis is a Medicine Worth Legalizing

28 states in the United States, as well as many other countries around the world, have legalized medical marijuana – with some even legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. Canada, under the Liberal Government, recently proposed a bill legalizing not only medical marijuana, but also recreational marijuana.  There are many reasons why cannabis is a medicine worth legalizing.  

The medical applications of cannabis are vast. Clinical studies have shown that the chemical compounds in cannabis – CBD and THC – effectively treat chronic pain and a significant number of other ailments. The largest-ever study on cannabis examined over 10,000 other studies and found cannabis to be an effective treatment for chronic pain suffers, and medication for many other health conditions. Cannabis can be an effective treatment option for those suffering from muscle spasms due to multiple sclerosis, for nausea in those undergoing chemotherapy, for inflammation, arthritis, fibromyalgia, anxiety, stress, PTSD and more.

In addition to its ability to effectively treat pain and many other health conditions, medical marijuana has also been proven to lower incidents of opioid prescriptions and opioid-related deaths. Statistically, the states that have legalized medical marijuana, suffer from fewer incidents of opioid-related deaths. Another anticipated benefit of legalizing cannabis  is that the profits to organized crime from the marijuana drug trade will be cut off and replaced with legitimate business and government profits.

However, while the above noted benefits of cannabis legalization are real, the present lack of regulation needs to be addressed. With marijuana anticipated to be legalized as of July 2018, current suppliers exist in a legal grey area and don’t necessarily feel pressure to meet Health Canada standards. This is evident in that ⅓ of  Toronto dispensaries do not currently comply. Non-regulated cannabis could potentially contain everything from yeast and mold to bacteria typically found in sewage and the intestinal tracts of humans. In fact, a study of a popular dispensary in Toronto found that its marijuana contained 9 times the acceptable amount of yeasts and molds, as well as a large traces of the bacteria often found in sewage. Many our hopeful that legalization will address issues of regulation and quality control.

While cannabis has had a long, complicated history the benefits of its legalization cannot be denied. Once the Liberal government’s recently proposed bill passes, anticipated to legalize recreational marijuana use as of June 2018, it will be determined whether we will appropriately perceive cannabis in it’s full-potential, as a medicinal treatment option for a wide number of health issues and a much needed defence against the opioid epidemic.

Toronto Defence Lawyers practice in the area of drug offences, successfully defending countless drug offences under the Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, including cannabis related criminal offences. This infographic demonstrates the medicinal applications of cannabis and why it is, in fact, a medication worth legalizing.

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Published at Fri, 15 Sep 2017 15:37:59 +0000

More Summer Events and Dispensary Stops: Walking with Redhat Ralph

More Summer Events and Dispensary Stops: Walking with Redhat Ralph

More summer events and dispensary stops in Week 16 with RedHat Ralph….

This week includes serving Root Beer at the Oregon Brewers Festival, the Canna Closet Oregon launch, and The Summer Fair 2.  Here is how I walked 22.6 miles from Sunday July 23 through Saturday, July 29.

Sunday, 7/23/17, 0.2 miles. Today it will get warm, so I will stay home, stay buzzed, watch pre-season football, and clean part of the house.

Monday, 7/24/17, 0.9 miles.   It is expected to reach 90 or so today, so again I am staying home.  Perhaps I will clean more of the house.

Tuesday, 7/25/17, 3.3 miles.  Third day with expected warm temperatures, so I shall stay home again, right after I walk to my dentist’s office, visit the dental hygienist to receive my quarterly teeth cleaning, and wander back home.  I also finish cleaning the house once Flo is up and out of bed.

Wednesday, 7/26/17, 2.8miles.  Today I take the MAX Blue line train to Tom McCall Waterfront Park to volunteer at the Oregon Brewers Festival.  I have done this every year since we moved to Portland and love serving Root Beer from Crater Lake Soda to folks at the Festival.  The children and designated drivers appreciate that we have this available for them in a shaded tent with tables and (youth) chairs so that the children can color and draw.  All of the proceeds from the sale of the carbonated beverages ($1 or a token per glass for those not a child and not a designated driver) goes to the Community Transitional School, which provides “at-risk children with a stable educational environment that promotes their academic and personal growth.”

Thursday, 7/27/17, 3.4 miles.  Another wonderful day at Tom McCall Park, handing out Root Beer and Apple Ginger Soda to folks at the Oregon Brewers Festival.

Friday, 7/28/17, 7.9 miles.  Today I am heading to the east side of town.  I was too lazy to leave home in time to attend the Canna Closet OR Launch at the Jupiter Hotel on East Burnside.  However, since it is Friday I take the MAX to the Rosa Parks stop and visit Satchel for another episode of 5-gram-Fridays.  Today my nose tells me to pick up 5 grams of Cosmic Treehouse’s Purple Hindu Kush.  From here I slowly wander south down Interstate Ave and visit Jeffery’s, a yet-to-be-opened new dispensary in the old Greensky Collective dispensary building.  Nusheen Ava Bakhtiar is gracious and takes the time to show me around their new space while Sam continues to get the place ready.  A short wander south brings me to The North Warehouse where I try to help folks get ready for tomorrow’s party.  I spend a little time helping Katherine Self assemble a display rack for her farm’s merchandise.  I discover that I am much older and out of shape than I thought when I attempt to help two gentlemen lay some sod in the outdoor consumption area; after laying a dozen or so pieces of sod I must take my leave.  I wander the Eastbank Esplanade, cross the Steel Bridge, and wander south along the Willamette River before heading home.

summer fair

Having fun at the Summer Fair!

Saturday 7/29/17, 4.1 miles.  Today is The Summer Fair 2! I leave home in Beaverton at 7 and finally arrive at the North Warehouse at 9:30, but at least I had the good sense to stop at Coco Doughnuts downtown and arrive with a dozen assorted doughnuts for the crew.  Stephanie Barnhart has graciously included my name in the list of Staff at the event, and has assigned me to perform “General Help” during the event.  Most of my day has me checking names from “The List”.  In other words, if you arrive and tell the ticket taker “my name is on ‘the list’”, the ticket taker sends you to me and I check “The List”.  It is so good to be King (or at least to feel that you could wield King-like power).  Of course, all of us volunteers also take time away from our assigned duties to experience the Fair itself.  During different times of the day I visited with many of the vendors at their booths inside the warehouse before making my way to the outside area and visiting with each and every one of the vendors.  You see, the outside area is the consumption area, and there is a lot of social consumption being achieved here today!  I took the opportunity to try some dabbles, some THC-a isolate, and the REL Goliath vape pen.  The dabbles are wonderful; I want to try them again.  The THC-a isolate vaporized in my mouth tasting like a diet marshmallow puff; I will need to try it a few (hundred) more times before I can properly review it.  The Goliath absolutely wowed me; finally I have found a vape pen that gives me a proper volume of vapor!  Finally!

Man, I hate the Tear-Down time because it indicates that I must wait another year to participate in this; on the other hand I really enjoy it because you would be surprised at all the goodies we find discarded hither thither and yon.  I found a few joints and a few containers of shatter in just one round.  By the time I walked to the MAX station I had collected at least a week’s worth of odds and ends.  This is so the life of a retired pot-head.  I LOVE MY LIFE!

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Published at Fri, 15 Sep 2017 16:55:32 +0000

Milestone for Colorado marijuana: $100M in monthly recreational sales

Milestone for Colorado marijuana: $100M in monthly recreational sales

The trend of summer highs for Colorado’s cannabis industry continued in July as monthly recreational sales surpassed the $100 million mark for the first time since legalization.

The Cannabist’s calculations of the latest Colorado marijuana tax data show that the state’s cannabis shops sold nearly $137 million in marijuana products — $101.1 million in adult-use sales and another $35.8 million in medical marijuana sales — during the month of July.

The monthly sales tax reports posted by the Colorado Department of Revenue and the subsequent extrapolations by The Cannabist customarily come with their share of caveats: The reported receipts largely reflect sales made in July but could vary because of aspects such as incomplete or late-filed returns.

The July 2017 sales figures, however, come with some added wrinkles. It’s the first month to reflect a new taxing structure for recreational marijuana.

As a result of recent legislation, the retail marijuana special sales tax rate increased to 15 percent from 10 percent and exempted recreational marijuana products from the 2.9 percent state sales tax rate. Accessories or other goods not containing marijuana are still subject to the standard 2.9 percent sales tax rate.

“Due to this tax change, the marijuana industry is in a period of transition,” Department of Revenue officials stated in a footnote to the sales tax report filed Tuesday. “The value reported (for the retail marijuana tax revenue from the 2.9 percent state sales tax) may include, but is not limited to: errors filed by taxpayers that may be corrected by amended returns in the future, prior period return payments and 2.9 percent state sales tax collected on accessories.”

Department of Revenue reported $735,326 was remitted by retailers at the 2.9 percent tax rate.

Larson Silbaugh, senior economist for the Colorado Legislative Council Staff, told The Cannabist that the 2.9 percent rate collected in July “looks inflated.”

“This is the first month, there’s an education component” to vendors implementing the new system, Silbaugh said.

As such, The Cannabist’s calculations for the July 2017 recreational sales are based primarily on revenue reported for the new 15 percent sales tax.

Math aside, the July haul shows a developing trend for Colorado’s 4-year-old industry: The summer season is good for business.

Last year, monthly medical and recreational cannabis sales consistently eclipsed $100 million starting in June 2016. Monthly combined sales of medical and recreational cannabis — flower, concentrates, edibles and accessories — have not dipped below that mark since.

Seven months through 2017, Colorado’s cannabis industry tallied $888 million in sales, a 23.3 percent increase from the same period a year ago.

Economists and state officials have projected that the annual growth rates for Colorado’s cannabis sales will eventually moderate as the local market matures and other states adopt recreational cannabis measures.

The Cannabist’s Aleta Labak contributed to this report.



Sales stats for Colorado weed
A month-by-month look comparing sales of recreational and medical marijuana, as calculated by The Cannabist:
2017 Recreational total (7 months)
$632,757,152
2017 Medical total (7 months)
$255,443,890
2017: $888,201,042
2016 Recreational total (12 months)
$875,277,360
2016 Medical total (12 months)
$437,879,186
2016: $1,313,156,545



(Why?)

Published at Tue, 12 Sep 2017 23:37:49 +0000

NFL Kickoff: Catch up on football's off-season drive for medical marijuana and CBD

NFL Kickoff: Catch up on football's off-season drive for medical marijuana and CBD

The new NFL season kicks off this weekend following a summer that saw new momentum in the drive to put medical cannabis in the pros’ pain-management playbook.

At the beginning of August, the NFL wrote to the NFL Players Association (NFLPA) offering to work in tandem to study the potential use of marijuana as a pain management tool for players. It’s the first time the league has offered to work with players’ union on the topic of medical marijuana.

Days later, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reaffirmed the position during a forum held at The Denver Broncos headquarters.

“If pain management is something that medical marijuana can address responsibly, that’s something that our medical community is evaluating,” the commissioner said.

The league’s letter — and the commissioner’s apparent evolution — capped off an off-season that saw powerful figures such as Goodell, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and NFLPA chief DeMaurice Smith weigh in on the marijuana issue.

The momentum isn’t limited to medical cannabis — earlier this year the NFLPA announced that it intended to pursue a new, “less punitive” drug policy that reflects the changing legal landscape as it pertained to recreational and medical consumption.

The Cannabist Network has all the NFL marijuana news on lock, so here’s everything you need to know before the first snap.


NFL alumni lead the drive

– Retired NFL pros back new nonprofit advocating for medical marijuana
– CBD patch turns former NFL star linebacker into cannabidiol disciple
– Former NFL pros say CBD oil vital pain-management tool
– NFL players hope CBD can be breakthrough treatment
– Medical marijuana key to treating former NFL All-Pro’s lingering injuries
– Former Eagle OL Todd Herremans pushes pot for pain management


NFL Players Association makes a stand

– NFLPA announces proposal for ‘less punitive’ approach to player pot use
– NFLPA looking at marijuana as possible pain-reliever for players
– Marijuana policy in NFL is ‘a CBA issue, not a law-enforcement issue’
– Give and take expected in marijuana policy negotiations with NFL owners
– Players’ families involved in push for marijuana policy change


League leadership evolves

– NFL offers to work with players’ union to study cannabis for pain
– NFL’s chief medical officer: medical marijuana research ‘really important’
– NFL commish Goodell says league ready to research medical marijuana
– Cowboys owner Jerry Jones: Lift NFL ban on marijuana
– NFL commissioner calls marijuana ‘addictive’ and questions smoking risks

(Why?)

Published at Sat, 09 Sep 2017 14:56:24 +0000

GOP-led House Rules Committee blocks voting on bipartisan marijuana amendments

GOP-led House Rules Committee blocks voting on bipartisan marijuana amendments

The U.S. House Committee on Rules has blocked a number of marijuana-related amendments from a federal appropriations bill, including the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment.

The GOP-led committee’s moves late Wednesday mean multiple amendments protecting existing and future state marijuana laws won’t be getting a vote on the House floor. Earlier Wednesday, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-California, told The Hill that GOP leaders viewed the amendments as potentially divisive and planned to not have them go to a vote.

The most notable measure cast out of the must-pass appropriations bill was the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which would bar the Justice Department from using funds to interfere with existing state-enacted medical marijuana regulations. The amendment formerly known as Rohrabacher-Farr (Rep. Sam Farr has retired) has been in place since late 2014, when it received a 219-189 vote in the House, and was approved again in 2015, by a 242-186 vote. It has been extended through omnibus spending legislation set to expire at the end of this month.

The committee’s removal of the medical marijuana protections from the House bill does not kill the amendment, and it still has a chance of making it into the legislation that lays out annual funding for the federal government. In late July, the Senate Appropriations Committee authorized the amendment for inclusion in the larger spending bill. Once the House version is passed, it faces reconciliation with that Senate version by a conference committee.

In a joint statement released Wednesday night, amendment sponsors Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-California, and Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Oregon, condemned the committee’s decision, saying the move “goes against the will of the American people” and “is putting at risk the millions of patients who rely on medical marijuana.”

“Our fight to protect medical marijuana patients is far from over,” the statement continued. “The marijuana reform movement is large and growing. This bad decision by the House Rules Committee is an affront to the 46 states and the District of Columbia that have legalized use and distribution of some form of medical marijuana. These programs serve millions of Americans.

“This setback, however, is not the final word. As House and Senate leadership negotiate a long-term funding bill, we will fight to maintain current protections.”

As The Cannabist’s Alicia Wallace previously reported, the potential short-term funding deal revealed Wednesday likely would include the existing Rohrabacher-Farr language, extending those protections through year’s end if it is approved.

Earlier Wednesday, Rohrabacher, and co-sponsors Blumenauer, and Jared Polis, D-Colorado, all testified before the committee that the medical marijuana protections are existing law and that public opinion is in favor of the existing medical cannabis regulations in 46 states.

“To deny (members of Congress) the right to have a vote, I think, is unconscionable,” Rohrabacher told the committee.

Said Blumenauer: “It would be a tragic mistake to lose the progress that we made.”

Three amendments on banking were offered, sponsored by Dennis “Denny” Heck, D-Washington. They would have allowed for marijuana businesses to have access to banking by prohibiting the punishment of financial institutions that serve licensed marijuana businesses and preventing the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network from rescinding its guidance for banks that work with marijuana firms.

The measures were rejected on an 8-5 vote, with the four Democrats on the committee joined by Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington in favor of the banking amendments.

Other amendments blocked by the committee included additional protection for medical marijuana research, sponsored by Florida GOP Rep. Matt Gaetz, and another allowing the District of Columbia to use local funding to regulate and tax recreational marijuana, which D.C. legalized in 2014.

Staff Writer Alicia Wallace contributed to this report.

House Rules Committee members:
Rep. Pete Sessions, R-Texas (chair)
Rep. Tom Cole, R-Oklahoma (vice-chair)
Rep. Rob Woodall, R-Georgia
Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas
Rep. Doug Collins, R-Georgia
Rep. Bradley Byrne, R-Alabama
Rep. Dan Newhouse, R-Washington
Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colorado
Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyoming
Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-New York (ranking minority member)
Rep. Jim McGovern, D-Massachusetts
Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Florida
Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colorado

Watch the committee hearing:


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Published at Thu, 07 Sep 2017 04:21:06 +0000

DOJ secretly using IRS to investigate Colorado marijuana businesses, lawsuit says

DOJ secretly using IRS to investigate Colorado marijuana businesses, lawsuit says

The U.S. Department of Justice is secretly using the Internal Revenue Service to conduct criminal investigations into otherwise legitimate marijuana businesses in Colorado under the guise of tax audits, lawyers for the companies say in an ongoing federal lawsuit.

The IRS called the allegations baseless and illogical, saying inquiries it is making for information from Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division are simply part of its efforts at verifying financial records in determining if businesses owe more tax.

The case in U.S. District Court filed by the owners of Rifle Remedies, a medical marijuana business in Silt, is one of several that challenge IRS subpoenas to MED seeking information about how much pot they’ve grown, to whom they’ve sold it, and when. The IRS said it has resorted to the tactic because businesses have refused to offer the information voluntarily.

Though properly licensed in Colorado to sell the drug, in the view of the IRS the companies are traffickers that violate the federal Controlled Substances Act that lists marijuana as an illegal narcotic. As such, the businesses cannot deduct expenses as other companies can, but before the agency can make that assessment, it must first determine the companies are actually selling pot.

Filings in the Rifle Remedies case allege a deeper conspiracy involving at least three federal agencies.

Lawyers for the companies did not immediately return messages, but have said in recent court filings they suspect the IRS is overstepping its auditing authority by conducting investigations for the DOJ. They claim the Drug Enforcement Administration has trained tax agents on how to investigate drug operations.

“The IRS is working jointly with the Department of Justice to investigate purported criminal activity of the taxpayers,” the lawyers — Greenwood Village attorneys James Thorburn and Richard Walker — wrote in a recent filing. “To this end, the IRS has converged on Colorado and is conducting mass audits of those it has determined to be unlawfully trafficking in controlled substances … dishing out summonses like candy …”

They say their clients would happily give the IRS what it wants, but only with a grant of immunity from prosecution.

They say the DEA and IRS held training sessions in March 2016, “where (IRS) agents were trained in criminal drug law investigator (sic) techniques,” but efforts to learn what actually transpired have been rebuffed.

“The depths of the IRS and DOJ joint effort is shrouded in secrecy,” they wrote, noting responses to their requests under the federal Freedom of Information Act have been repeatedly stalled.

The lawyers assert the conduct is the result of a 2016 law in which Congress prohibited the use of DOJ funds to prevent implementation of state medical marijuana laws. So because the DEA can’t conduct such an investigation, it is working through the IRS in the U.S. Treasury Department.

The IRS, DEA and MED do not comment on pending litigation and will not confirm the existence of any investigation.

The IRS called the assertion “baseless,” saying Rifle Remedies “appears to sell marijuana for recreational use,” and that the DEA doesn’t need the help.

“That the DEA is using the IRS to investigate … defies common sense,” the government said in a court filing. “If prosecution were truly the goal, it would be far simpler — and likely more effective — for the DEA to send a plainclothes agent to purchase marijuana from (Rifle Remedies) than to co-opt the IRS into issuing summons to MED for information about past years’ marijuana sales. (Rifle’s) underlying theory of this case lacks not only evidence, but logic.”

The IRS is trying to get its hands on Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance system, or METRC, which follows every marijuana plant from seed to sale. The agency wants annual gross sales reports for 2014 and 2015, but apparently also information about who is buying from Rifle Remedies.

Until now, the IRS relied on pot businesses — growers, distributors and manufacturers — to concede they are selling the drug, which the lawyers say is tantamount to admitting to a federal crime. Once done, the IRS uses section 280E of the Revenue Code in denying any business tax deductions, a move that raises the business’s tax bill by multiples.

Businesses are able to deduct their cost of producing goods from the revenues generated, just like other businesses can, but cannot do more than that, a massive liability that leaves them with huge tax bills.

No hearings have been set on the case.

This story was first published on DenverPost.com

(Why?)

Published at Fri, 01 Sep 2017 21:44:54 +0000

DOJ secretly using IRS to investigate Colorado marijuana businesses, lawsuit says

DOJ secretly using IRS to investigate Colorado marijuana businesses, lawsuit says

The U.S. Department of Justice is secretly using the Internal Revenue Service to conduct criminal investigations into otherwise legitimate marijuana businesses in Colorado under the guise of tax audits, lawyers for the companies say in an ongoing federal lawsuit.

The IRS called the allegations baseless and illogical, saying inquiries it is making for information from Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division are simply part of its efforts at verifying financial records in determining if businesses owe more tax.

The case in U.S. District Court filed by the owners of Rifle Remedies, a medical marijuana business in Silt, is one of several that challenge IRS subpoenas to MED seeking information about how much pot they’ve grown, to whom they’ve sold it, and when. The IRS said it has resorted to the tactic because businesses have refused to offer the information voluntarily.

Though properly licensed in Colorado to sell the drug, in the view of the IRS the companies are traffickers that violate the federal Controlled Substances Act that lists marijuana as an illegal narcotic. As such, the businesses cannot deduct expenses as other companies can, but before the agency can make that assessment, it must first determine the companies are actually selling pot.

Filings in the Rifle Remedies case allege a deeper conspiracy involving at least three federal agencies.

Lawyers for the companies did not immediately return messages, but have said in recent court filings they suspect the IRS is overstepping its auditing authority by conducting investigations for the DOJ. They claim the Drug Enforcement Administration has trained tax agents on how to investigate drug operations.

“The IRS is working jointly with the Department of Justice to investigate purported criminal activity of the taxpayers,” the lawyers — Greenwood Village attorneys James Thorburn and Richard Walker — wrote in a recent filing. “To this end, the IRS has converged on Colorado and is conducting mass audits of those it has determined to be unlawfully trafficking in controlled substances … dishing out summonses like candy …”

They say their clients would happily give the IRS what it wants, but only with a grant of immunity from prosecution.

They say the DEA and IRS held training sessions in March 2016, “where (IRS) agents were trained in criminal drug law investigator (sic) techniques,” but efforts to learn what actually transpired have been rebuffed.

“The depths of the IRS and DOJ joint effort is shrouded in secrecy,” they wrote, noting responses to their requests under the federal Freedom of Information Act have been repeatedly stalled.

The lawyers assert the conduct is the result of a 2016 law in which Congress prohibited the use of DOJ funds to prevent implementation of state medical marijuana laws. So because the DEA can’t conduct such an investigation, it is working through the IRS in the U.S. Treasury Department.

The IRS, DEA and MED do not comment on pending litigation and will not confirm the existence of any investigation.

The IRS called the assertion “baseless,” saying Rifle Remedies “appears to sell marijuana for recreational use,” and that the DEA doesn’t need the help.

“That the DEA is using the IRS to investigate … defies common sense,” the government said in a court filing. “If prosecution were truly the goal, it would be far simpler — and likely more effective — for the DEA to send a plainclothes agent to purchase marijuana from (Rifle Remedies) than to co-opt the IRS into issuing summons to MED for information about past years’ marijuana sales. (Rifle’s) underlying theory of this case lacks not only evidence, but logic.”

The IRS is trying to get its hands on Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance system, or METRC, which follows every marijuana plant from seed to sale. The agency wants annual gross sales reports for 2014 and 2015, but apparently also information about who is buying from Rifle Remedies.

Until now, the IRS relied on pot businesses — growers, distributors and manufacturers — to concede they are selling the drug, which the lawyers say is tantamount to admitting to a federal crime. Once done, the IRS uses section 280E of the Revenue Code in denying any business tax deductions, a move that raises the business’s tax bill by multiples.

Businesses are able to deduct their cost of producing goods from the revenues generated, just like other businesses can, but cannot do more than that, a massive liability that leaves them with huge tax bills.

No hearings have been set on the case.

This story was first published on DenverPost.com

(Why?)

Published at Fri, 01 Sep 2017 21:44:54 +0000

DOJ is secretly using IRS to investigate Colorado marijuana businesses, lawsuit says

DOJ is secretly using IRS to investigate Colorado marijuana businesses, lawsuit says

The U.S. Department of Justice is secretly using the Internal Revenue Service to conduct criminal investigations into otherwise legitimate marijuana businesses in Colorado under the guise of tax audits, lawyers for the companies say in an ongoing federal lawsuit.

The IRS called the allegations baseless and illogical, saying inquiries it is making for information from Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Division are simply part of its efforts at verifying financial records in determining if businesses owe more tax.

The case in U.S. District Court filed by the owners of Rifle Remedies, a medical marijuana business in Silt, is one of several that challenge IRS subpoenas to MED seeking information about how much pot they’ve grown, to whom they’ve sold it, and when. The IRS said it has resorted to the tactic because businesses have refused to offer the information voluntarily.

Though properly licensed in Colorado to sell the drug, in the view of the IRS the companies are traffickers that violate the federal Controlled Substances Act that lists marijuana as an illegal narcotic. As such, the businesses cannot deduct expenses as other companies can, but before the agency can make that assessment, it must first determine the companies are actually selling pot.

Filings in the Rifle Remedies case allege a deeper conspiracy involving at least three federal agencies.

Lawyers for the companies did not immediately return messages, but have said in recent court filings they suspect the IRS is overstepping its auditing authority by conducting investigations for the DOJ. They claim the Drug Enforcement Administration has trained tax agents on how to investigate drug operations.

“The IRS is working jointly with the Department of Justice to investigate purported criminal activity of the taxpayers,” the lawyers — Greenwood Village attorneys James Thorburn and Richard Walker — wrote in a recent filing. “To this end, the IRS has converged on Colorado and is conducting mass audits of those it has determined to be unlawfully trafficking in controlled substances … dishing out summonses like candy …”

They say their clients would happily give the IRS what it wants, but only with a grant of immunity from prosecution.

They say the DEA and IRS held training sessions in March 2016, “where (IRS) agents were trained in criminal drug law investigator (sic) techniques,” but efforts to learn what actually transpired have been rebuffed.

“The depths of the IRS and DOJ joint effort is shrouded in secrecy,” they wrote, noting responses to their requests under the federal Freedom of Information Act have been repeatedly stalled.

The lawyers assert the conduct is the result of a 2016 law in which Congress prohibited the use of DOJ funds to prevent implementation of state medical marijuana laws. So because the DEA can’t conduct such an investigation, it is working through the IRS in the U.S. Treasury Department.

The IRS, DEA and MED do not comment on pending litigation and will not confirm the existence of any investigation.

The IRS called the assertion “baseless,” saying Rifle Remedies “appears to sell marijuana for recreational use,” and that the DEA doesn’t need the help.

“That the DEA is using the IRS to investigate … defies common sense,” the government said in a court filing. “If prosecution were truly the goal, it would be far simpler — and likely more effective — for the DEA to send a plainclothes agent to purchase marijuana from (Rifle Remedies) than to co-opt the IRS into issuing summons to MED for information about past years’ marijuana sales. (Rifle’s) underlying theory of this case lacks not only evidence, but logic.”

The IRS is trying to get its hands on Colorado’s Marijuana Enforcement Tracking Reporting Compliance system, or METRC, which follows every marijuana plant from seed to sale. The agency wants annual gross sales reports for 2014 and 2015, but apparently also information about who is buying from Rifle Remedies.

Until now, the IRS relied on pot businesses — growers, distributors and manufacturers — to concede they are selling the drug, which the lawyers say is tantamount to admitting to a federal crime. Once done, the IRS uses section 280E of the Revenue Code in denying any business tax deductions, a move that raises the business’s tax bill by multiples.

Businesses are able to deduct their cost of producing goods from the revenues generated, just like other businesses can, but cannot do more than that, a massive liability that leaves them with huge tax bills.

No hearings have been set on the case.

This story was first published on DenverPost.com

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Published at Fri, 01 Sep 2017 21:44:54 +0000

What is the Best Way to Do Dabs? A Little Dab Will Do!

What is the Best Way to Do Dabs? A Little Dab Will Do!

What is the Best Way to Do Dabs?

Dabbing is the common terms for smoking or vaping concentrated cannabis. While it has been around for nearly a decade, there are still some uncertainties as to how to perform this technique.  TWB has posted about dabs before, but we wanted to give you the lowdown on different ways to do dabs so you can decide which method is the best for you.

The preference for the concentrated version over the cannabis flower lies in its much stronger and powerful kick. The potency comes from its 70 to 90% THC content and no dead plant matter. With the heightened popularity of the ‘dabs’, the increased attention to consumption methods are growing. The below methods are guaranteed whether you are novice or pro.

  1. Dab Rig

This is only advised if you know what you’re doing and have a high tolerance. The rig consists of four components; oil rig, torch, nail and wand. The concentrated marijuana goes on the wand. You heat the nail with the torch and once hot, dab the the concentrate and inhale.

A similar but alternative method is using the electric nail. Similar to the Dab Rigs, except that instead of a torch, the nail is plugged in to heat up. You get more control over the temperature this way and can be sure to vaporize concentrates rather than combusting.

  1. Health Stone

This stone is a porous rock that you place in your bowl-piece. The marijuana is placed directly on the stone; no dab tool required. You still need a torch to heat the stone which then vaporizes the dab. This method works best for any concentrates like hash or crumble.

  1. Dab Pen

This is the most convenient way to use highly-concentrated cannabis. The pens are easy to use and portable and you don’t need a torch or any tools. The biggest complaint of the pens is the plastic aftertaste that gets left in your mouth, but it is not the worst thing, considering you can just pour the liquid in and go.

  1. Pre-Filled Vape Cartridges

Easy to use, these cartridges can be used in a dab pen that allow for refills or an e-cigarette or vape pens. These are very discreet and convenient but can be pricey too.

  1. T-Waxing

When you have super potent cannabis, you can mix it with some dry herb, creating ‘twax’. It offers a pleasurable experience but the high is sub-par to other methods. When rolled with flowers, the dab will burn slower making it perfect to share.

Whichever method you decide upon, one of these popular methods will be the better choice. Then all you have to do is decide what type of concentrate you want, shatter, crumble, wax or oil, and in a short matter of time your dabbing experience will be under way.

Author bio: Taylor Walker is a cannabis enthusiast and freelance writer based in Canada. Taylor has a keen interest in the health benefits of marijuana. He has written about topics such as CBD oil and various cannabis consumption methods and almost everything in between.  

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Published at Wed, 30 Aug 2017 16:38:51 +0000