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Cannabis: a cruel law pauses for Billy Caldwell

The cretinous rule that led to 12-year-old Billy Caldwell’s medicine being confiscated at Heathrow airport has not been undone. It’s been paused. The matter of how Billy’s mother, Charlotte Caldwell, can best care for her ill and suffering son reached the desk of the Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, who in his wisdom granted a licence for cannabis oil to be administered to the boy at home. Javid’s never met the lad but as a former banker he is ideally placed to know what’s best for Billy.

A doctor in Northern Ireland thought he knew what was best for Billy. In 2017 that GP saw the improvement in Billy after Charlotte had taken him to America to see paediatric neurologists. They had prescribed cannabis oils. And these drugged helped. The GP continued the treatment, prescribing medicinal cannabis oil on the NHS. It continued to work. Billy went 300 says without an epileptic seizure. Then the Home Office spotted the horror and ordered the GP not to renew the prescription. The GP was breaking the law. Give Billy the medicine and be disbarred. But now the Home Secretary says the law can be bent and Billy can get a medicine that helps him.

Javid has been advised, of course. He’s listened to experts, considered the options and the evidence, and, as an adult, made up his own mind about medical cannabis. The problem is that he and other politicians get to make up your mind as well, or at least turn you into a social pariah if you consider the laws they pass and leave unchallenged wrong, and decide that medical cannabis is helpful.

The Government has issued a statement to celebrate its humanity. “The Department of Health yesterday received an emergency licence application from Belfast Trust clinicians regarding medicinal cannabis use for Billy Caldwell. An emergency licence has today been issued by the department, replicating the licence issued last month by the Home Office for treatment at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London. We have also been in discussions with the Home Office to finalise arrangements for the immediate transportation of Billy’s medicine from London to the Belfast Trust.”

Funny, no, how the sight of an ill child having his medicine confiscated by the uniforms can change minds. As TV crews broadcast images of Billy hugging his careworn mother, the Home Office was telling us there is “no recognised medicinal benefit” to cannabis. Anyone using cannabis to dull the pain and the symptoms of MS, cancer, epilepsy and more was a fool and a criminal. Now, a few weeks later, the politicos think there might be something useful in cannabis. No new findings have been made in that time but there has been lots of bad Press for the Government.

So will all parents have to fight the law as hard as Billy Caldwell’s mum to improve the lives for their flesh and blood? The Government is investigating laws around medical cannabis. The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs is musing on the “balance of harms and public health needs”. But this is about who knows what’s best for the sufferer: their loving mum or the authoritarian State?

Who would you trust?

Posted: 5th, July 2018 | In: Key Posts, News, Politicians | Comment


Cannabis cafes are refuges for the sad, boring and controlled

When cannabis is legalised for recreational use in the UK – oh, come on, it will be (think of the money) – you can expect not only legislation to tax it and lots of regulation to control its use but also zones where puffing can take place with State approval. There will be places like the proposed Coachella Valley Green Dragon in sunny California, where pot heads can hang out with other dope fiends in a social setting. A club for tokers if every bit as naff as it sounds. It’s not liberty to smoke a joint in a State-approved lounge. Marijuana smokers are being herded and managed.

The laws in California are mad:

It’s illegal to consume cannabis in public, a restriction included in the 2016 ballot measure that legalized recreational marijuana in California. That measure, Proposition 64, also gave landlords the right to regulate marijuana use on private property.

You can buy it but you might not be able to smoke it. If you rent a property and the landlord says ‘no smoking’, hard luck.

So, while a small number of hotels are permitting consumption and a few marijuana-themed festivals are held throughout the state, those two provisions can severely limit legal cannabis use for certain groups, including tourists and many renters.

It’s not about freedom. It’s about control. Special lounges. Special festivals. Marijuana smokers are special needs. And it’s even worse for visitors. Tourists who fancy a puff can check into a  “bud and breakfast” resort, and suffer living amongst weed bores. Or they can toke in the hotel room and risk a fine.

So to the cannabis lounge, then, is gaining favour. There everything will be hunky-dory. But there are more rules; alcohol and tobacco must not be consumed in the same venue; you can’t open a cannabis lounge within 600 feet of a school; and all consumption of weed must be out of public view.

In Seattle, it’s much the same:

If you are a renter with a landlord that doesn’t allow smoking pot on the premises, a tourist at a hotel, or a homeless person living on the street or in a shelter, you have no legal place to exercise your right under state law to smoke pot.

A statewide indoor smoking ban prevents any kind of smoking inside buildings. A separate state law makes it illegal to smoke weed anywhere in public.

So where do you go?

If you have walked around Seattle recently, you have already smelled the answer: You go smoke on the sidewalk. Even though it’s not technically allowed, smoking weed in public in Seattle is punishable by a measly $27 fine, and cops are instructed to try not to give those tickets out.

Smell all the freedom, eh. Last February, Denver opened a weed club:

The city of Denver granted its first license on Monday to a business that will allow marijuana use on its premises. The Coffee Joint plans to charge patrons a $5 entry fee and permit them to consume their own cannabis in edible or vapor form.

How off your face do you need to pay to pay $5 to eat the cannabis sweet in your pocket? Weed might be legal, but that’s only because the State now has more control over cannabis than it ever had.

Posted: 2nd, July 2018 | In: News | Comment


Yes, let’s legalise cannabis – but not for tax revenue

One of the long running shouting matches out there is over the legalisation of cannabis. It’s worth remembering that it’s only just over a century since it was actually legal. Actually, back in Victorian England everything was legal, yes including the morphine and opium. It was concern over people being able to enjoy themselves which led to both the drugs bans and that idiot Prohibition over in the US.

Given that cannabis doesn’t harm anyone why not undo that historic mistake and make it legal again?

The report from the Institute of Economic Affairs has valued the UK’s black market in cannabis at £2.6bn.

OK, there’s quite a lot of it going on already then.

A report from the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) says decriminalising the Class B drug would also lead to savings for the police and other public services.

Well, yes, there’s an awful lot of idiocy that we’ll be able to stop doing.

Margaret Thatcher’s favourite free-market thinktank has called on the government to legalise cannabis, arguing that the move could save more than £1bn generated from extra taxes and other savings in public services.

The thing is though that we don’t really want to do it for the tax take. The point being that we’re only here talking about consenting adults. And it’s a basic matter of freedom and liberty that consenting adults should be allowed to get up to what adults consent to. Sure, some of these things will be wasteful – say, Simon Cowell – some will be damaging – Simon Cowell – and yet that’s the whole point of freedom itself. We get to do as we wish, even Simon Cowell. The only truly moral constraint is when our activities prevent others from enjoying those same rights.

So, legalise cannabis just in order to legalise cannabis.

As the report itself notes, if we do legalise it then we can tax it. Actually, we could tax it pretty highly and still have it being cheaper than the illegal stuff is today. And we’ve got to gain our tax revenue from somewhere. So, yes, tax it and collect some money.

But the reason for the legalisation is because there’s no reason it should be illegal.

Posted: 30th, June 2018 | In: Money, News, Politicians | Comment


£1bn of cannabis to boost the British economy – and let criminals sell skunk

The argument for legalising cannabis hinges not on your chronic pain or need to bark in front of daytime telly, rather on money, specifically how much the Government rake in by taxing it? The sickness is all too apparent. What goes inside the body of a consenting adult is no-one else’s business, least of all that of the wonks. But money will win the argument – it always does. And the latest news is that decriminalising the drug will earn the State £1bn a year.

That’s according to guesstimates by the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA). The headline figure is not all earnings but also savings, primarily on the cost of policing the Class B drug. The IE report, the snappily titled Joint Venture: Estimating the Size and Potential of the UK Cannabis Market, estimates the black market for cannabis at £2.6bn a year with 255 tonnes sold to more than three million people.

“It’s high time for reform of cannabis policy in the UK,” says Chris Snowdon, head of lifestyle economics at the institute, and most definitely unaware of his pun. “Canada and the USA are showing the way. Done properly, the legalisation of cannabis is a win-win-win: criminals lose a lucrative industry, consumers get a better, safer and cheaper product, and the burden on the general taxpayer is reduced.”

Maybe. Criminals get to re-evaluate their business and undercut the licence holders. Customers get to chose a product, whether it be safe or less safe will depend on price. Licensed sales allow regulators and other authoritarians to control the drug’s psychoactive compound tetrahydrocannabinol sold on their premises. But if you want skunk or anything stronger than Theresa May thinks you can handle, asks Matt the Talc if he can sort you out – and look out for the Kitemark on his bag of greens.

The IE also adds in its report: “When added to tax revenues of £690m, plus new streams of income tax, business tax and VAT created by the legal industry, claims about cannabis legalisation providing a £1bn windfall to the Treasury seem pessimistic.”

No doubt the kind of bores who sell fine wines and hipsters who felt-tip their necks and dress like Norman Wisdom in undersize jackets and leggings will set up shops offering all manner of exclusive guff to the discerning toker looking for top notes of pettuli oil over hints of uncertainty. The rest of us will just want a hit from the stuff that grows out the ground. It’s not called ‘weed’ for nothing.

Posted: 29th, June 2018 | In: Key Posts, News | Comment


Top Tories profit from the cannabis they say only criminals sell

Cannabis is a dull drug that induces apathy. Maybe something in the air confused Victoria Atkins, the drugs minister. Her husband, Paul Kenward, is managing director at British Sugar, operator of Britain’s biggest legal cannabis farm. But there’s no conflict of interest between he and she’s jobs. Perish the thought. The Home Office said she had “voluntarily recused herself from policy or decisions relating to cannabis”. It’s all ok because the drugs minister won’t talk about, er, drugs.

The drugs policy is a mess. If you grow cannabis illegally, you can be locked away for 14 years. Kenward’s business is fine because it grows the banned weed for a new epilepsy medicine soon to be approved in the US – it was licensed in 2016; Atkins became a minister in 2017. Sill it all stinks stronger than that nasty skunk crap.

The Sundays Times adds:

[Atkins] She does not declare Kenward’s role in the register of ministerial or MPs’ interests, though she mentioned it in a debate when she was a backbencher. Cabinet Office guidelines say interests held by the “close family members” of ministers should be declared where they “are, or might reasonably be perceived to be, directly relevant to a minister’s ministerial responsibilities”.

Whoops!

Steve Moore, of Volteface, a think-tank on drug policy, tells the paper: “The medical use of cannabis and its wider decriminalisation is rising up the political agenda. But we have the ridiculous situation of the drugs minister being unable to speak in parliament or make decisions on one of the most important parts of her job.”

Ridiculous. Hypocritical. Wrong. Stupid. And useless for people who suffer from conditions that cannabis can alleviate.

Atkins, a barrister and former criminal drugs prosecutor, has been a firm opponent of decriminalising or regulating cannabis, saying its brief downgrading to a class C drug during the Blair government had a “terrible” impact and that the “gun-toting criminals” who control the trade would not suddenly “become law-abiding citizens” if it was legalised.

In 2017, she opined:

“We are talking about gun-toting criminals, who think nothing of shooting each other and the people who carry their drugs for them. What on Earth does my Honorable Friend think their reaction will be to the idea of drugs being regulated? Does he really think that these awful people are suddenly going to become law-abiding citizens? I do not share the optimism of others about tackling the problem through regulation.”

Maybe they’ll all get jobs at her husband’s firm?

The paper adds:

In her first three months in her post, between November and early February, Atkins gave 17 Commons speeches or ministerial parliamentary answers about drugs, including several on cannabis-based drugs known as cannabinoids. In the three months since, she has not spoken about drugs in the Commons and has answered only six written questions on the subject.

And there’s more.

The majority of this “legal” cannabis is produced by one company: GW Pharmaceuticals.

GW made headlines in 2010 after releasing Sativex: a controversial, cannabinoid-based, medication, legal to purchase in the UK.

Sativex is “an oromucosal spray of a formulated extract of the cannabis sativa plant that contains the principal cannabinoids delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and cannabidiol (CBD) in a 1:1 ratio.”

GW is legally growing cannabis containing THC despite the British Government viewing cannabis as having “no medicinal properties,” refusing to remove it from Schedule I, the strictest level of drug schedule.

And:

GW was granted a licence from the Home Office in 1998 to grow cannabis plants for medical use and in 2010 the UK became the first country in the world to authorise a prescription medicine derived from cannabis.

This site adds:

[Theresa] May’s husband, Philip May works for Capital group, which has a 19% holding in GW through its subsidiary, Capital Research Management Company.

Bit hypocritial?

It’s no what you know, it;’s who you blow…

Posted: 13th, May 2018 | In: News | Comment


Ill woman wants stolen illegal medicinal marijuana returned

At her home in Christchurch, New Zealand, Jane, 49, is surveying her loss. “They took my medicine,” she says of her missing marijuana crop.

Thieves broke in and stole Jane’s drug of choice, the one she uses to treat chronic debilitating foot and leg pain after a car accident. “Other drugs upset my system so badly,” she says. “I have tried all the pills, none of them agree with me. Tramadol put me in hospital, damaged my pancreas. I rely on cannabis – it’s the only thing that doesn’t upset me.”

They took her Afghan Kush.

“I can’t have any old stuff. I need the stuff that numbs me,” she adds. “I know that does it beautifully. Other varieties I need to take three times the amount to get the same effect, just so I can walk without screaming.”

But weed is banned in New Zealand. Jane is unfazed: “I have a mother who is 84 years old. She’s seen me on the pills, in hospital. She approves of me smoking. As far as she’s concerned hers is the only permission I require.”

Good on her.

If it helps Jane, why should Jane be made a criminal for helping herself? Whey should the State own her body?

Posted: 5th, September 2016 | In: Reviews | Comment (1)


Tory MP: I watch porn and smoke cannabis

"It was either porn and weed or put my knob in pig's mouth"

“It was either porn and weed or put my knob in pig’s mouth”

Conservative Party MP James Cleverly says he’s watched internet porn and smoked cannabis.

But Cleverly, MP for Braintree, Essex, did not tell BBC Radio Five whether or not he had turned to porn and drugs since joining the Commons.

Maybe its just part of the initiation ceremony?

 

 

Posted: 2nd, November 2015 | In: Politicians, Reviews | Comment


Shona Banda: Police rip child who argued school drugs policy from medical cannabis oil using mother

 

 

Shona Banda

 

Shona Banda has a problem of location. Her Chrohn’s disease can be legally treated with cannabis in Colorado, where she’d lived for some time. Shona uses cannabis oil. She says it helps. But in the State of Kansas, her current home, using cannabis for the same condition makes her a criminal.

 

shona-banda

 

Trouble began when Shona’s 11-year-old was at his Kansas school’s drug education class. She tells Ben Swann that the lad told the drugs expert: “Mom calls it cannabis and not marijuana.” Says Shona: “He let them know how educated he was on the facts.”

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Posted: 18th, April 2015 | In: Reviews | Comment (1)


Cannabis: non-psychoactive cannabidiol can curn your epileptic seizures

More evidence that marijuana can be good for you. A cannabis extract containing non-psychoactive cannabidiol cut epileptic seizures in half:

The experience of 213 hard-to-treat patients age 2 to 42, including some who were already taking a dozen drugs to fend off seizures, is a promising start for the strawberry-flavored liquid extract [Epidiolex], which may be a potent new therapy for the condition, said lead researcher Orrin Devinsky, director of the New York University Langone Comprehensive Epilepsy Center. The findings released Monday are scheduled to be presented at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting on April 22 in Washington.

And in the UK, cannabis is outlawed…

Posted: 14th, April 2015 | In: Reviews | Comment


Devon Man Guilty Of Possessing 9 Pence Worth Of Cannabis

Screen shot 2014-11-18 at 07.43.30

 

TO North Devon Magistrates’s court, where Christopher Saunders, is answering the charge of being in with possession of nine pence worth of cannabis, roughly 0.09 grams of prohibited drugs.

Tim Hook for the defence, argues:

“If I close one’s eyes and try to imagine nine hundredths of a gram it is a very difficult thing to fasten your mind on. I think it is a quantity that is barely capable of measurement… I am staggeringly surprised it couldn’t have been dealt with by way of a caution at the police station, when so many things are.”

Mr Saunders pleads guilty. He is awarded a conditional discharge.

The war on drugs goes on…

Posted: 18th, November 2014 | In: Reviews, Strange But True | Comment


Peter Lilley Says Legalise Cannabis – Local Paper Photoshops Him In A Rasta Hat

PETER Lilley, Conservative Party MP for Hitchin and Harpenden and former Government minister, says cannabis should be legalised.

Good. Agreed. It’s time for a sensible debate on the drugs. And cannabis should be legal.

Or is it. Because the local Mercury newspaper has seen fit to photoshop a rasta hat on his bonce.

 

Peter Lilley cannabis

 

 

Spotter:  @martinbeckford

 

Posted: 7th, November 2014 | In: Politicians | Comment


Cannabis: The Terrible Truth Is That All Users Will Die

TODAY in cannabis news:

Screen shot 2014-10-07 at 12.20.53

 

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Posted: 7th, October 2014 | In: Reviews | Comment


Devon Gardener Asks BBC Viewers To Identify Her Big Cannabis Plant

DEVON local Patricia Hewitson wanted help identifying the huge weed growing in her gaden. She asked BBC Radio Devon’s The Potting Shed for help.

 

 

Pippa

 

 

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Posted: 25th, September 2014 | In: Reviews | Comment


Wonderful TV: KTVA Charlo Greene Quits Live TV After Revealing She Founded The Alaska Cannabis Club

KTVA Charlo Greene quit on live TV after revealing she was the founder of the AK Cannabis Club.

 

Posted: 22nd, September 2014 | In: Reviews | Comment


Good manners cost Aberdeen DJ his career and his cannabis stash

Polite DJ weed
WHY did Aberdeen DJ Lee Falconer sell cannabis? He tells Aberdeen Sheriff Court he did it to be “polite”.
Mr Falconer has “taken a step back” after being constantly approached by clubbers asking him to source drugs.Mr Falconer, who was caught with £2,000 of the Class B drug, has been sentenced to a Community Payback Order with 200 hours of unpaid work by Sheriff Graeme Napier.
Looks like you mum was wrong: manners do cost something.

Posted: 25th, September 2013 | In: Reviews | Comment


How to conceal the smell of cannabis

weed paint copy
HOW do you cover up the smell of cannabis? The residents of a former estate agency on Edinburgh’s Leith Walk disguised the stink of their marijuana crop of 60 plants by painting the shop’s exterior every day. Two men spent five hours a day every Monday to Friday painting the shop a deep cream. So as not to arouse suspicion, the men worked only Monday to Friday.  
Says a witness:
“We were wondering what was going on because two men were painting the outside of the shop every day. They did not appear to be professional painters. They were just wearing jeans and things. I think some people in the street had noticed the smell. They were obviously hoping that the fresh paint smell would cover it up.”
They should have baked cakes instead.
Derbyshire Police were summoned by a couple who had purchased cakes in Ilkeston market. They said they cakes smelled of weed. The police investigated. They assure one and all:

“The smell was just the jam or cream inside the cakes.”

So, there you have it. If you want to conceal your marijuana operation, paint your farm in cream.

Posted: 11th, May 2013 | In: Reviews | Comment


Crimestoppers release Marijuana scented scratch ‘n’ sniff cards, which will make great roaches

crimestoppers cards

THE war on drugs is an amusing/disturbing one, when you think of a load of policemen harassing a hapless stoner as they make their way through ten packets of Aldi jaffa cakes and watch Freddy Got Fingered for the seventh time that day.

Sure, stoners are useless individuals, but they’re thoroughly harmless.

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Posted: 19th, March 2013 | In: Reviews | Comment (1)


Electrocuted dog used wee to detect Liverpool cannabis factory

TO Liverpool, where a dog taking a leak has been electrocuted on a live metal shutter. The Jack Russell was outside the former Oluyole restaurant in Prescot Road, Fairfield. The emergency services were called. Firemen cut their way into the premises. Inside they found 55 cannabis plants in an upstairs flat. Live wires dangled from the flat, conducted along the metal shutter.

It’s a tragic event.

Merseyside police detective inspector Julie Milburn then wades in:

“This incident shows the dangers of cannabis farms and highlights the misconception that cannabis and the growth of the drug is harmless.”

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Posted: 17th, December 2012 | In: Reviews | Comment (1)


Nottinghamshire Police sell cannabis at auction

FOR just £21.50, Nottinghamshire Police sold a Sony PSP games console made of cannabis. The item had been handed into lost property. No-one claimed it, so Nottinghamshire Police put it up for auction at Mansfield Police Station. The advert trilled:

“Sony PSP with case. Not tested. Average condition.” 

Bidding gtarted at £1. Daniel Ford, 33, won the day. He tells us:

“It was strange that the police didn’t open up the compartments of the carry case and look inside. I found a pair of headphones and the cannabis, which smelled strongly.”

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Posted: 9th, July 2012 | In: The Consumer | Comment


Tabloids say skunk smoker mistook pylon for bridge: what really happened

DID you hear about the Czech woman who, having smoked cannabis, mistook an electricity pylon for a bridge? She climbed it. The Daily Mail says the woman spent “four hours smoking super-strength ‘skunk’ cannabis“. She was “hallucinating“.

The Sun agrees, stating that the woman from Zlin, Czech Republic smoked skunk and mistook a pylon for a bridge. The Sun gets identifies her as a “21-year-old girl”.

The Mirror notes that the “girl” was wearing a “tiny pair of denim hotpants and a t-shirt.”

All papers quote “police spokesman Jan Macalikova”, who says:

“It was a nightmare because she was very much under the influence of drugs and wasn’t making much sense….She received treatment at hospital for her drugs consumption but was otherwise unhurt. She’s lucky she didn’t get a new high – high voltage.”

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Posted: 22nd, June 2012 | In: Reviews | Comment (1)


Cannabis and the Daily Mail’s schizophrenia scaremongering

WHEN the Daily Mail told its readers “Just ONE cannabis joint ‘can bring on schizophrenia’ as well as damaging memory” back on October 25, 2011, we wondered. Could it be true? Well, no. It wasn’t. A mere five months later, on pril 3, 2012, the Mail wrote:

A report on research by the University of Bristol on 26 October was headlined ‘One cannabis joint “can bring on schizophrenia”.’ We are happy to clarify that, as the article explained, the research on rats found that the active ingredient in cannabis could induce symptoms similar to schizophrenia, rather than schizophrenia itself.

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Posted: 10th, April 2012 | In: Reviews | Comment (1)


Does cannabis make you more creative?

DOES smoking cannabis make you more creative? Two videos:

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Posted: 10th, April 2012 | In: Reviews | Comment


Tayside police revoke hero’s award because he grew three cannabis plants

WHEN Tayside police went to praise Adrian Mailer, 33, for administering first aid to an injured nine-year-old boy, they smelt cannabis. They then searched Mr Mailer’s home and found a cannabis “farm“.  (This farm was a small tent in his living room in which he was growing marijuana plants.) The helpful police duly arrested him.
Tayside Police boss Justine Curran detailed his officers to go to Mr Mailer’s home and thank him for his good deed.
A police “source” tells the Daily Record:
“The officers were there to tell him that he had been selected to receive an award. Mailer had helped out when this young boy was severely injured after he was involved in an accident while driving an off-road buggy. But the officers noticed a pungent smell of cannabis from another room. Mailer went from hero to villain in a split-second and was nicked on the spot. It goes without saying that the award was withdrawn.” 

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Posted: 23rd, January 2012 | In: Reviews | Comments (3)


The National Cannabis Trade Association Will Franchise Your Legal British Weed

THERE is big money to be made in medical marijuana. And that means corporations and unions. Should weed be made legal in the UK, chances are the refers and pills will be sold by an American brand. You’ll be working for the man, man. The National Cannabis Trade Association…

was founded on the principle of power in numbers. Thousands of American businesses are involved in some fashion in the cannabis industry, yet they are often ignored at the federal level.”

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Posted: 23rd, November 2010 | In: Reviews | Comment


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