Medical Marijuana Business Attracts Hedge Funds, Venture Capitalists

Marijuana has been a cash crop for many years in this country. The only problem is that most of that crop had been grown illegally. Now, that medical marijuana is legal in 15 states and the District of Columbia, legalized marijuana has quickly become so popular it is attracting attention from hedge fund managers and venture capitalists, not to mention a whole new batch of entrepreneurs.

Doctors still can’t prescribe marijuana because it is categorized as a schedule one drug like LSD. But they can recommend it and that’s all anyone needs to get a medical marijuana license that allows them to buy marijuana legally in those 15 states, with three more states about join them.

Each license sells for around $130 and some clinics selling the licenses have brought in more than a million dollars in just their first year. The once illegal joint is selling like hot cakes throughout middle America to consumers who no longer have to worry about getting arrested for possession, at least by local or state authorities.

The federal government still outlaws marijuana possession but it’s unlikely someone with a medical marijuana license will be busted by an FBI or DEA agent if caught smoking in his or her own home. In fact, just last year U.S. enforcers promised to leave medical marijuana operations alone if they complied with state law.

That prompted a significant increase in interest among entrepreneurs. Today, there are an estimated 2,400 medical marijuana dispensaries from California to Maine. In Colorado, they outnumber Starbucks two to one.

 

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Iceland may ban MasterCard, Visa over WikiLeaks censorship

Credit card companies that prevented card-holders from donating money to the secrets outlet WikiLeaks could have their operating licenses taken away in Iceland, according to members of the Icelandic Parliamentary General Committee.

Representatives from Mastercard and Visa were called before the committee Sunday to discuss their refusal to process donations to the website, reports Reykjavik Grapevine.

“People wanted to know on what legal grounds the ban was taken, but no one could answer it,” Robert Marshall, the chairman of the committee, said. “They said this decision was taken by foreign sources.”

The committee is seeking additional information from the credit card companies for proof that there was legal grounds for blocking the donations.

Marshall said the committee would seriously review the operating licenses of Visa and Mastercard in Iceland.

WikiLeaks’s payment processor, the Icelandic company DataCell ehf, said it would take immediate legal action against the companies to make donations possible again.

“DataCell who facilitates those payments towards Wikileaks has decided to take up immediate legal actions to make donations possible again,” DataCell CEO Andreas Fink said last week. “We can not believe WikiLeaks would even create scratch at the brand name of Visa.”

“It will probably hurt their brand much much more to block payments towards WikiLeaks than to have them occur,” Fink added.

 

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Four Queens men sue NYPD after being held for 30 hours, busted for laughing at cops

Four Queens men claim they were locked up for more than 30 hours by cops seeking revenge on a crowd of men who laughed at an officer who couldn’t catch a fleeing drug suspect.

The men insist they didn’t even laugh, says their lawyer Gabriel P. Harvis, who filed suit against the NYPD and 10 unidentified officers in Brooklyn Federal Court. They believe they were arrested because cops wanted to take their frustration out on them, he said.

“The cops knew my clients had done nothing wrong, but they didn’t care,” said Harvis, who represents Abdul Kabba, Isaiah Barnes, Hasan Allen and Ishmial Deas. Police “were embarrassed, so they abused their power by locking them up anyway.”

The four were held for 27 hours in the 103rd Precinct stationhouse before the Queens district attorney’s office dropped the charges.

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Move over, Big Pharma and Big Oil, Big Marijuana is here

Legalization ‘looking inevitable,’ spokesman says

If there’s one group of people who get their way in Washington, it’s lobbyists.

Now, advocates of marijuana legalization may have a reason to cheer that political reality: They’re getting their own marijuana lobby group.

And just Big Pharma and Big Oil lobby for greater leeway for their businesses, so too will Big Marijuana push for their industry to be given the freedom to succeed.

Aaron Smith, executive director of the newly formed National Cannabis Industry Association, says that marijuana legalization is “looking inevitable.”

Smith told McClatchy news service: “It’s pretty clear that the medical marijuana industry is becoming recognized more and more by the mainstream as a fully legitimate part of the economy.”

Legalization “didn’t happen in 2010, but it’s likely to happen in 2012,” he added. “It’s going to be relatively soon we’re going to see states move from medical marijuana into broader legal markets. And the federal government needs to catch up. Frequently the American people are ahead of the Congress.”

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Report: Growing mental health problems in military

Mental problems send more men in the U.S. military to the hospital than any other cause, according to a new Pentagon report.

And they are the second highest reason for hospitalization of women military personnel, behind conditions related to pregnancy.

The Defense Department’s Medical Surveillance report from November examines “a large, widespread, and growing mental health problem among U.S. military members.”

The 31-page report says mental disorders are a problem for the entire U.S. population, but that sharp increases for active duty military reflect the psychological toll of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

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Marine suspected of murdering toddler now in civilian hands

A New River Marine accused of killing a toddler last month in California has been transferred from base to the Onslow County Jail.

Joshua Kruzik, 21, is awaiting extradition on charges of murder and injury to a child resulting in death. He is accused of killing 18-month-old Audrey Allen, the daughter of Marines he was staying with while training at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center Twentynine Palms.

“Pursuant to an arrest warrant issued in San Bernardino County, Calif., and in accordance with Marine Corps policy, we transferred custody of Cpl. Kruzik to the Onslow County Sheriff’s Department,” New River spokeswoman 1st Lt. Kristin Dalton said. “There, he will be processed for extradition to California where he will face criminal charges brought by local authorities.”

While Kruzik is “in the hands of civilian authorities,” he has not been discharged from the Marine Corps, Dalton said, clearing up an erroneous report from California authorities that Kruzik had been dishonorably discharged.

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Ex-soldier found guilty of Barstow woman’s murder

VICTORVILLE • A jury found a former Fort Irwin soldier guilty of the murder and robbery of a fellow ex-soldier from Barstow.

Melvin Lee Satcher, 24, was found guilty of first degree murder, robbery, and a special firearms allegation in the killing of Sandi Duncan, 29, who was also a former Fort Irwin soldier. The jury returned the verdict after deliberating for five hours.

Ex-Fort Irwin soldier Phillip Ryan Franke, 27, of Las Vegas, is also charged with Duncan’s murder and robbery. Judge John M. Tomberlin separated their trials before jury selection. Franke’s trial is expected to begin in January.

Duncan’s body was found in a remote desert area in Apple Valley on Sept. 21, 2009. Authorities determined that Duncan was strangled — and likely unconscious — before she was shot twice.

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