Search for Marijuana on Amtrak Train Leads to Deadly Shooting in Arizona

A deadly shooting aboard an Amtrak train in Arizona on Monday occurred following a search for marijuana by law enforcement officers, according to court documents filed in the case. Drug Enforcement Administration special agent Michael Garbo and a suspect only identified as D.T. were killed and two agents were wounded in the shooting at the Amtrak station in Tucson, Arizona on Monday morning.

A criminal complaint filed in the case in Arizona district court on Tuesday explains that agents boarded the train after it arrived at the station to search for drugs, contraband cash and weapons. Amtrak’s Sunset Limited, Train 2 was headed from New Orleans to Los Angeles, arriving in Tucson at 7:40 a.m.

The DEA agents and police officers with the Pima County Counter Narcotics Alliance were investigating a tip from Amtrak about a list of individuals traveling from Los Angeles to Texas. Agents observed two men on the list, D.T. and Devonte Okeith Mathis, sitting near each other on the train. 

Agents watched as Mathis moved three bags about three or four rows away from where the men were sitting before returning to his original seat, the criminal complaint alleges. When agents asked Mathis if the bags were his, he denied ownership, and the agents removed the bags from the train.

More than Five Pounds of Pot Found on Train

When agents opened the bags on the train platform, they found two packages of marijuana, including 2.39 kilograms (more than five pounds) of cannabis flower, 50 packs of marijuana edibles and other cannabis products. 

According to media reports, officers then reboarded the train and attempted to detain Mathis on the upper level of a double-decker train car. At that point, D.T. pulled out a handgun and began firing, striking the DEA agents. The gunman then ran downstairs and locked himself in the restroom on the first level of the train car as agents and police officers returned fire. The suspect was later discovered dead in the restroom.

The Tucson Police Department has told the Arizona Republic that the investigation into the shooting has been taken over by the FBI. Brooke Brennan, a spokesperson for the agency, said that the FBI is processing the scene of the shooting with the assistance of Tucson police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

DEA Agent Killed, Two Law Enforcement Officers Wounded in Shooting

Two other law enforcement officers were also injured in the shooting and taken to a hospital. A DEA special agent and a Tucson police officer working on the task force are both in stable condition, according to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram, who also reported Garbo’s death.

“The DEA is deeply saddened to report that DEA Group Supervisor Michael G. Garbo died as a result of injuries sustained during the shooting,” Milgram said in a press release on Tuesday. “Group Supervisor Garbo joined DEA in 2005 and served honorably for more than 16 years as a Special Agent and Group Supervisor combating criminal drug traffickers from the Nogales corridor to Kabul, Afghanistan.”

At the time of the shooting, 137 passengers and 11 crew members were aboard the Sunset Limited, according to a report from CNN. No injuries were reported among the passengers and crew, according to Amtrak spokesman Jason Abrams, and all were evacuated from the train.

“I just think it’s kind of incredible here there weren’t other people who were hurt, even though we’re completely so saddened by the loss of the officer,” Magnus said.

The Tucson Police Department wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday that “yesterday’s horrific shooting impacted the Tucson community and law enforcement family across Arizona. We mourn the loss of a heroic DEA Agent and ask that you keep his family, friends and fellow agents in your hearts and prayers. We are also thankful for the Tucson community for their support. We are grateful and proud of our officers, who ran towards the sound of gunfire.”

Mathis is accused of possessing with the intent to distribute less than 50 kilograms of a mixture or substance containing marijuana, according to the court filing.

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Arizona Dispensary Trading Pre-rolls for Bras to Fight Breast Cancer

A Phoenix-area cannabis dispensary chain is giving away free pre-rolled joints to customers who donate a bra in a campaign to support breast cancer awareness while supporting an Arizona nonprofit group. A collaboration between Mint Cannabis and Check for a Lump, the Buds ‘n’ Bras campaign aims to highlight the vital need for breast cancer screenings and raise funds for related support services.

Now through October 15, customers 21 and older who donate a new or gently used bra at any of The Mint’s three greater Phoenix dispensary locations will receive a free pre-roll. Those who donate 10 bras will also receive a free breast cancer awareness T-shirt, with a limit of one joint and one shirt per customer, per day. 

The bras will then be given to Check for a Lump, which receives a cash donation for each bra donated. The Mint’s goal for the campaign is to collect 4,200 bras to support the nonprofit. During the seven-week campaign, the Mint will also donate $1 from every pre-roll sale to the nonprofit.

Courtesy of The Mint

Vital Screenings Delayed by Pandemic

In an era of health screenings delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, nearly 6,000 new cases of breast cancer and 900 deaths are expected in Arizona this year, according to a statement from The Mint. A study from the IQVIA Institute for Human Data Science found that the number of mammograms declined 87 percent compared to the same period a year earlier. 

To address the issue, the Buds ‘n’ Bras campaign will include breast screening events held at its dispensaries in conjunction with Check for a Lump. Screenings will be conducted aboard the mobile mammography bus (MOM) from 8 a.m. to noon on Saturday, September 18 at The Mint’s Phoenix dispensary, and on Saturday, October 9 at the Mesa location. Patients can call (480) 967-3767 to pre-register for a screening.

All Mint locations will also share information about how to participate in the Check for a Lump Pink Out 5K walk/run planned for Saturday, October 2 at Steele Indian School Park in Phoenix. The company will also sponsor a booth at the event where it will collect new and gently used bras for the nonprofit group.

The Buds ‘N’ Bras campaign kicked off on August 27 with a “bra raising” ceremony held at The Mint’s Tempe/Guadalupe location with Check for a Lump. At the event, breast cancer patients and survivors hung a string of bras across the dispensary parking lot.

“Nothing better than seeing dozens upon dozens upon dozens of bras fluttering in the wind!” a spokesperson for The Mint told High Times in an email.

Arizona Campaign Off To A Good Start

So far, The Mint and Check for a Lump have already collected eight large, plastic trash bags “jam-packed” with bras. The spokesperson said that just one bag was too heavy to lift, adding that “at that point, it hadn’t even been a full two weeks that the program has been running, so the response has been wonderful.”

Rudy Molina, The Mint’s Director of Arizona Operations, told High Times in an email that “giving back to the communities we serve is a cornerstone of Mint Cannabis. We especially seek to help nonprofits that support our patients. We like to support organizations devoted to cancer, veterans, families and epilepsy, to name a few.”

 “As we approach Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, we wanted Arizonans to think about giving through a different lens,” Molina added. “By asking for a new or gently used bra, and then stringing it to fly high above the dispensary, Buds ‘n’ Bras offers a creative way for customers to give back while also helping a great local cause.”

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Arizona Court Clears Over 3,600 Cannabis Charges in Clean Sweep

Righting the wrongs of the War on Drugs is in full gear in Arizona. According to an August 30 press release, the Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County granted 3,643 petitions for expungement of cannabis-related charges since the process started last month.

The court announced that following the passage of Proposition 207 in 2020, an average of 650 people per week are filing petitions with the Superior Court of Arizona in Maricopa County to have felony cannabis-related convictions wiped off their records.

“The Law Library Resource Center worked hard to ensure the forms and instructions are easy to complete for customers seeking to expunge their felony marijuana conviction or arrest record. They can download the forms and instructions for free on our website and follow the instructions for the remainder of the process,” said Paula Collins, administrator of the Law Library Resource Center.

The Superior Court in Maricopa County’s Law Library Resource Center, among many organizations throughout Arizona, is helping with the expungement process, has posted all the necessary forms that petitioners can find online as well as instructions on how to complete the process.

If a court grants a request to expunge a cannabis-related criminal charge, three things could happen: the case file and police records will be sealed, the conviction and sentence will be vacated along with any outstanding court debt imposed in connection with the expunged charge, and the defendant’s civil rights will be restored in terms of cannabis-related charges. 

To see what offenses are eligible, visit the website.

Before filing a petition for expungement, people should check with their respective court. In the event that the conviction was adjudicated in a justice or city court, that court should be contacted for more information. If the case was resolved in the Juvenile Department of Superior Court, there is a separate juvenile petition to expunge. Anybody who has been arrested but not charged will need to file a civil petition to expunge the record. 

“Customers can also schedule an appointment on our website to visit any of the Law Library Resource Center location and purchase the packet if they are unable to download and print the forms,” Collins added.

A fee is not charged for the petition to expunge the conviction.

Arizona Court Decisions Under Proposition 207

Proposition 207 which passed with 60 percent of the vote in favor of legalizing cannabis, also included a 16 percent tax on sales that helps fund community colleges, public safety, public health programs and roads and highways.

The cannabis conviction program was launched last July 13. Under the program, Arizona residents with convictions for possessing, transporting or consuming 2.5 ounces or less of cannabis—no more than 12.5 grams can be a cannabis concentrate or extract—are eligible to have their records expunged. 

People with convictions for possessing, cultivating, processing or transporting up to six cannabis plants at their primary residence are also eligible. Expungements are also available for convictions for possessing, using or transporting paraphernalia related to the consumption, cultivation and processing of cannabis.

Assistance is also available from several organizations including the cannabis advocacy group Minorities for Medical Marijuana (M4MM), which has been offering expungement clinics through its Project Clean Slate initiative.

A similar initiative, Proposition 205, failed to be approved in 2016. It would have legalized adult-use cannabis with tax revenue going to the Arizona’s school system.

In Maricopa County, prosecutors took the lead early on in enacting the legalization of cannabis as mandated by the people through Proposition 207. Following the bill’s approval in November 2020, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office began filing motions to dismiss charges in pending cases covered by the initiative,

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The Winners of The Cannabis Cup Arizona: People’s Choice Edition 2021

The cannabis cup may be virtual this year, but that isn’t stopping us from nerding out over some of the best bud, concentrates and edibles in the Southwest. Here are the winners of the Cannabis Cup Arizona: People’s Choice Edition 2021.

Thank you to all the judges who put their hearts and souls into judging the competition entries to help crown the best of Arizona! For more info on how to become a judge and to sign up for updates, please visit CannabisCup.com/preregister.

Indica Flower

Courtesy of the Winner

First Place: Alien Labs – Kryptochronic

Courtesy of the Winner

Second Place: Shango x True Harvest – Modified Banana

Courtesy of the Winner

Third Place: Aeriz – Ice Cream Cake

Courtesy of the Winner

Fourth Place: Mohave Reserve – Zkittlez Mints #5

Courtesy of the Winner

Fifth Place: High Grade – AMF OG

Sativa Flower

Courtesy of the Winner

First Place: Alien Labs – Melonade

Courtesy of the Winner

Second Place: Shango x True Harvest – Anslinger’s Demise

Courtesy of the Winner

Third Place: Aeriz – Jenny Kush

Courtesy of the Winner

Fourth Place: Mohave Reserve – Durban Gushers

Courtesy of the Winner

Fifth Place: High Grade – Clementine

Hybrid Flower

Courtesy of the Winner

First Place: Connected – Gushers

Courtesy of the Winner

Second Place: Shango x True Harvest – Alien Cookies

Courtesy of the Winner

Third Place: Aeriz – Mac 1

Courtesy of the Winner

Fourth Place: Mohave Reserve – Motor Breath

Courtesy of the Winner

Fifth Place: Sunday Goods – Bangers & Mac #1

Pre-Rolls

Courtesy of the Winner

First Place: Alien Labs – Gelato 41 Pre-Roll

Courtesy of the Winner

Second Place: MPX – Kush Mints x Dark Knight Diamond-Roll

Courtesy of the Winner

Third Place: Item 9 Labs – Dosido Pre-Roll

Courtesy of the Winner

Fourth Place: Lovejoy’s – Sour Sprite Infused Pre-Roll

Courtesy of the Winner

Fifth Place: Mad Terp Labs – Snoop Dogg OG Terpstix

Concentrates

Courtesy of the Winner

First Place: Shango x True Harvest – Alien Cookies Live Rosin

Courtesy of the Winner

Second Place: HOLOH Extracts – Strawberry Banana Live Resin Diamonds

Courtesy of the Winner

Third Place: Earth Extracts – Platinum Kush Breath Badder

Courtesy of the Winner

Fourth Place: Aeriz – Runtz Live Resin Sugar

Courtesy of the Winner

Fifth Place: Vapen – Truck Driver Cake Batter

Vape Pens

Courtesy of the Winner

First Place: Item 9 Labs – Black and Blue Kush Vape

Courtesy of the Winner

Second Place: K.I.N.D – Sweet Karts – Rocket Pop Vape Pen

Courtesy of the Winner

Third Place: Bloom – Maui Wowie Vape

Courtesy of the Winner

Fourth Place: Rove – Skywalker Vape

Courtesy of the Winner

Fifth Place: The Pharm – Clementine Vape

Edibles: Gummies

Courtesy of the Winner

First Place: Baked Bros – Prickly Pear Lemonade OG Kush Stoney Gummies

Courtesy of the Winner

Second Place: Pure – 100mg Watermelon Indica Gummies

Courtesy of the Winner

Third Place: Kiva – Camino – Midnight Blueberry Gummies

Courtesy of the Winner

Fourth Place: Flav – Rainbow Sour Gummy Belts

Courtesy of the Winner

Fifth Place: Alien Labs – Galactic Gummies

Edibles: Non-Gummies

Courtesy of the Winner

First Place: Ediquette Edibles – Hazelnut Truffles

Courtesy of the Winner

Second Place: Good Things Coming – French Chocolate Brownie Bites

Courtesy of the Winner

Third Place: Encore – Tangerine Mints

Courtesy of the Winner

Fourth Place: Hippie Chicks – Menthe Dark Chocolate Bar

Courtesy of the Winner

Fifth Place: Vapen – White Chocolate Rainbow Crunch

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Arizona Introduces Social Equity Classes for Cannabis Businesses

For some prospective marijuana dispensary owners in Arizona, class is now in session. Social equity class, that is. 

It is a provision included in the ballot measure that voters in the state last year legalized recreational pot use for adults. The measure, Proposition 207, called on the state to “promote the ownership and operation of marijuana establishments and marijuana testing facilities by individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws.”

What that means in practice: Arizona’s Department of Health Services will award 26 dispensary licenses to individuals from those communities particularly affected by long standing anti-pot laws. 

The department, which is overseeing the implementation of the new recreational marijuana program, will accept applications for those licenses from December 1 until December 14, and a random lottery will determine who is awarded the licenses.

As part of the application process, the department is requiring those applicants to participate in classes “to ensure that social equity applicants are prepared for the application process and the challenges of running a marijuana business.”

According to the department, the classes will be taught by industry experts, and “will include two days of content and education focused on a number of aspects of operating an adult-use marijuana business, including legal requirements, business practices, regulatory compliance, and fundraising, as well as marketing and strategic growth.”

“The social equity ownership program is intended to promote the ownership and operation of licensed Marijuana Establishments by individuals from communities disproportionately impacted by the enforcement of previous marijuana laws,” the Department of Health Services said. 

“Social equity license holders will be required to comply with all statutes and rules that govern Adult-Use Marijuana Establishment licenses, including obtaining approval to operate before opening their retail location. Additionally, social equity license holders will be required to develop and implement policies to document how the Marijuana Establishment will provide a benefit to one or more communities disproportionately affected by the enforcement of Arizona’s previous marijuana laws.” 

The social equity program in Arizona is just one example of states legalizing marijuana and recognizing the communities that have long been harmed the most by prohibition. In Nevada, where pot has been legal since 2017, lawmakers recently agreed to permit cannabis consumption lounges so long as at least half of the first 20 licenses for the establishments are awarded to social equity applicants. 

But Arizona’s social equity efforts have drawn some critics who say the program could be ripe for exploitation, given the lack of restrictions imposed on transferring the licenses. 

Applicants for Arizona’s social equity marijuana program must meet three of the four criteria, per the state’s Department of Health Services: have a household income of “less than 400 percent of the federal poverty level in at least three of the previous five years”; “has been adversely affected by enforcement of previous marijuana laws” because he or she is “eligible for and has petitioned for expungement” or was “convicted in Arizona of a federal or state law related to marijuana, and does not have an excluded felony offense”; has “been adversely affected by enforcement of previous marijuana laws, because the individual is related to another individual who was convicted in Arizona of a federal or state law related to marijuana”; and has “a physical address, and has lived for at least three of the previous five years at the address, in a community that has been identified by the Department as being disproportionately affected by the enforcement of Arizona’s previous marijuana laws.”

The eligibility requirements were established by the department in June, and the random selection is expected to take place in the spring of next year. 

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