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Cannabis news roundup

Photo: Haight Ashbury cannabis shop. Credit: Creative Commons contributor g.kallenborn

(SFGate) // Dhar Mann, founder of a chain of hydroponic supply stores called weGrow, is facing numerous fraud and theft charges stemming from redevelopment grants paid to him by the city of Oakland in 2008 and 2009. Mann was a prominent supporter of California’s 2010 ballot initiative to legalize marijuana use for all adults, and he supported the Oakland City Council plan to license industrial-sized medical marijuana farms. That plan was shelved when federal authorities reminded the Council that such actions would be illegal.

Mann is in the midst of writing a three-part advice column for the online Medical Marijuana Business Daily. Part two appeared Wednesday, beginning with this now-ironic advice: “Once you have carefully considered the unique challenges involved in opening a medical marijuana dispensary and the various ways to mitigate risk, the next step is to identify the right opportunity.”

He is expected to be arraigned Wednesday, although his attorney, John Runfola, announced Friday that he no longer represents the hydroponic entrepreneur...

(Americans for Safe Access) //  The situation with Dhar Mann coincides with a weekend summit of the medical marijuana community. Industry experts and leaders met in Sacramento to discuss ways to better understand California’s political and legal landscape and help them to influence policy. Reform advocates are expected to lobby their State Senate and Assembly members in their Capitol offices this afternoon.

Sponsors of the Unity Conference include advocacy groups Americans for Safe Access (ASA) and Cal NORML, growers associations, and the United Food and Commercial Workers Union (UFCW).

A press release from ASA says that their ultimate goal is passage of AB 2312, a statewide regulatory system for the production and distribution of medical marijuana...

(SFGate) // Early this month U.S. Senator Nancy Pelosi said in a statement that she has “strong concerns about the recent actions by the federal government that threaten the safe access of medical marijuana to alleviate the suffering of patients in California."

The Chronicle reports that about 300 cannabis clubs have closed throughout the state due to fear of evictions and property seizure, including five in San Francisco. A thousand or more suppliers remain open.

National Drug Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske was recently quoted as saying it would be better at present to "treat drug addiction as a disease," rather than trying to “arrest our way out of the drug problem.” The statement, which appeared in another Chronicle story, was met with skepticism by advocacy groups and wholly rejected by Congressional Republicans.

Crosscurrents CannabisDhar Mann