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Police Raids Dupont Party Mansion, Finds Cannabis Pop-Up

Stacey Wellington

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DC Police Raids Dunpont Party Mansion

Police raided Dupont Circle last Wednesday, September 25, 2019. Authorities confiscated approximately 25 pounds of marijuana, alongside other THC edibles and vaping devices.

Dupont Circle is more popularly known as the D.C. celebrity mansion or the Dupont party mansion. The place of residence was previously marketed as a site for partying and other similar rave events, attracting the likes of rapper Ja Rule. The house, located at 2220 Q Street NW, formerly held a business permit to hold events, weddings, and other similar gatherings.

The house went through a series of events and investigations, with the last house owner, Douglas Jefferies, settling a lawsuit and agreeing to stop all other entertainment-related activities and other business transactions on-site. In July of 2019, the house was foreclosed.

Despite being closed for some time, police authorities continued to investigate drug-related activities in the area. In particular, authorities have focused their efforts to stop the alleged cannabis pop-up parties in the area.

Last September 25, 2019, Wednesday, more than 12 police officers stormed the area. The authorities were able to seize 25 pounds of marijuana, vaping instruments, and cannabis edibles laced with THC. In addition to these, authorities also confiscated more than $16,000 in cash.

Based on the report released by Fox News DC, individuals who attended the event ran out as police raided the house. Fox said one man tried to run and escape the area, while another man locked himself in the bathroom.

Following these events, two men allegedly involved in selling and distributing marijuana have been arrested by the authorities, namely John Sweeney and Nabil Yazbeck. Both are charged with unlawful possession with intent to distribute a controlled substance, says Fox. The two individuals charged with felony possession are slated to attend a hearing in the D.C. Superior Court on October 15, 2019. At the moment, both Sweeney and Yazbeck are free.

Events and information about marijuana pop-ups in the area were supposedly advertised on social media platforms such as Instagram. With Instagram handle HonestHerbsDC, the page has been inviting customers to come to the place to obtain illegal drugs since 2018. The Washington Post states customers were given the address via text message and emails.

While news sites and authorities have reportedly reached out to Douglas Jeffries for comment, the former owner declined to issue a statement nor did he return calls from these entities. Investigators and police officers are still unclear about Jeffries’ link to the pop-ups.

Cannabis in Washington D.C.,

In Washington DC, cannabis is legal for medical and recreational use, but not for commercial sale.  In May of 2010, the Council of District of Columbia passed a bill legalizing medical marijuana. Congress did not overrule the bill, thereby making it legal by January 1, 2011.

On the other hand, the legalization of recreational use of marijuana was made possible through Ballot Initiative (Initiative 71) last November 14, 2014. This was supported by 64.87% of voters of DC residents, making it fully legal by  February 26, 2015.

It should also be noted that the prohibition of marijuana is observed in federal lands like military property and national parks. In DC alone, the federal government owns about 29%  of the total land area.

Cannabis News

Cannabis Startup Demecan Raises €7m in Series A Funding

Jordan Webber

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Cannabis Startup Demecan Raises €7m in Series A Funding

German cannabis startup company Demecan raised €7 million in the recent Series A Funding round. Demecan is the only German company in the country which has been allowed by the government to manufacture medical cannabis.

Tech investor btov Partners led the Series A Funding round. Apart from the btov Partners, the other investor for the round includes a German entrepreneurial family office named Single Office Family. Single Office Family hails from a consumer goods industry, notes Der Brutkasten.

In a statement, spokesperson Jennifer Phan of btov Partners said “Demecan operates in a very attractive market at the right time. Germany currently represents the third-largest market for medical cannabis in the world and is on a growth path. We believe that the company has a first-mover advantage in a highly regulated market environment, especially as it is the only German manufacturing and trading company in the European market.”

The cannabis law in Germany allows the use of medical marijuana but with certain medical context. Patients who have sought a doctor and “have no therapeutic alternative” can use MMJ. Recreational use of cannabis is illegal.

Demecan’s Plan to Expand it’s Medical Cannabis Market

Through its funding, the German startup revealed they “are now focusing on further growth and the start of production in 2020,” says co-founder Dr. Constantin von der Groeben. In the same way, the business expressed excitement over the support and partnership of the tech investor. Another co-founder of Demecan, Dr. Adrian Fischer, states that having reliable partners is essential for their success in the field.

Demecan’s financing and government approval entail the company will be legally allowed to manufacture at least 2,400 kilograms of dried cannabis flowers for medical purposes within the next 4 years, reports Tech Crunch. The contract for production came from the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) in Germany.

Part of the funding will be geared towards the improvement and expansion of their production facilities. Meanwhile, some of the financing raised by the company will go towards its wholesale distribution in Germany.

Starting in 2020, the company will start its production and supply of medical marijuana in partnership with the Federal Republic of Germany. According to EU Startups, the cultivation and processing site of these cannabis flowers are located near Dresden.

Apart from being granted permission to produce dried cannabis flowers for the medical industry, Demecan will also be allowed to distribute and sell medical cannabis within the nation.

Besides the German cannabis startup company, two other companies from Canada obtained contracts from the government last May 2019 to produce and provide medical marijuana in the country.

The demand for medical marijuana increased after it was legalized in the country last 2017.

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Cannabis Legalization

Pennsylvania Rep Files a Bill to Allow Recreational Marijuana in State-Run Liquor Shop

Jordan Webber

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PA Bill to Allow Recreational Marijuana on Liquor Store

A lawmaker from Pennsylvania introduced a bill on Wednesday, Oct 2, that would legalize the sale of recreational marijuana and allow cannabis to be sold in over 600 state-owned liquor stores.

David Delloso, a Democratic state representative, introduced House Bill 1899, which allows individuals aged 21 and above to legally possess and consume marijuana. Under the bill, sales of cannabis will be limited to businesses licensed by the state. The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) would be responsible for administrating the production and sale of marijuana at the state-controlled stores.

“What I’m afraid of is, without this bill, if we don’t sell cannabis in the state stores, big corporate interests throughout the United States are going to come to Pennsylvania and they’re going to put corner stores up,” Delloso said. “They aren’t going to provide family-sustaining jobs, and all the profits are going to leave Pennsylvania.”

The medical marijuana in the state has been approved last April 17, 2016, with 17 initial qualifying medical conditions.

Economic Benefits to Pennsylvania

According to Pennsylvania’s Budget and Policy Center, over 18, 000 new jobs could be produced once recreational marijuana is to be legalized within the state. The bill also proposes that retail sales of cannabis be taxed at 19%, which could generate around $581 million per year for the state in new tax revenue.

“As an administrative agency tasked under current law with responsible, effective, and efficient regulation of the sale of wine and spirits in Pennsylvania, we generally leave policy discussions regarding the future of this agency up to the General Assembly and the Governor,” said press secretary for the Liquor Control Board, Shawn Kelly. “If, however, a new law presents the PLCB with additional or different duties and responsibilities, we would adapt accordingly.”

With the said measure, individuals convicted of possession of marijuana would have their criminal record expunged while inmates currently confined for such offenses would be released.  Employers would also no longer be able to fire or discipline employees if a drug screening shows the “presence of a nonintoxicating level of cannabis.”

“It is time for us to not just have a conversation but sit down and really look at details on how we can do this in Pennsylvania understanding that the support is there, the revenue will be there for us and we could do a lot of good things with those resources,” added State Rep. Jordan Harris, (D) Philadelphia County.

To date, the House Bill 1899 has been raised to the House Judiciary Committee for its consideration.

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Cannabis Legalization

Australia allocated $3m Fund for Medical Cannabis Research

Stacey Wellington

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AU $3m Fund for Medical Cannabis Research

The Australian Federal Government allocated A$3 million (US $2.03 million) for medical cannabis research in the country. Greg Hunt, the Australian health minister, made the announcement last Sunday, October 6, 2019, alongside Grease star Olivia Newton-John in a wellness walk held in Australia.

Research in the field aims to address the growing number of cancer patients within the nation and the potential ability of cannabis to provide relief and cure to these patients. The research will build upon existing studies to gauge the effectiveness of the plant in pain management and its potential side effects on users.

The government’s decision to fund research comes as more than 11,000 patients have been approved for medical marijuana use.

In a statement, Hunt said that “there have only been a limited number of well-designed clinical studies on medicinal cannabis, and we need to increase the evidence base to support medical professionals.” In line with the safety and security measures observed by the Australian government and its healthcare institutions, individuals who are given access to cannabis medication are required to only obtain these from accredited medical professionals.

Despite more than 10,000 individuals being given access to medical marijuana, the Grease star voiced her disappointment for other patients and individuals having little to no access to cannabis. She said “I’m a great proponent of it, for general health, for pain, for sleep, for anxiety. I really believe it is important in my journey”. Olivia Newton-John had been diagnosed with cancer, and she has admitted to using cannabis to manage her pain.

Newton-John spearheaded the annual Wellness Walk and Research Run held in Melbourne, Australia. The actress supported the event in the hopes of raising awareness about the plant and the wealth of benefits and possibilities that could come from using it. In a statement, the Grease actress said “they’ve discovered it hasn’t caused all the problems that people are afraid of. People need to let go of that old hippie thing,” when asked about the lack of advancement and accessibility of medicinal marijuana in the nation.

ACT Cannabis Law

While the Australian federal government is providing funding for medicinal cannabis research, recreational use is still largely prohibited on a federal level. However, through the Australian Capital Territory (ACT), six states and two main territories have filed to legalize the recreational use of the plant.

The ACT Law is slated to start on January 31, 2020, with some of its provisions conflicting with the current laws in place.

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