Ohio Law Enforcement Is Suing Afroman for Use of Security Footage Online

In September 2022, Afroman’s home residence in Ohio was raided by local law enforcement. While Afroman wasn’t home, his private security camera system recorded them searching his property as they rifled through his clothes and other belongings looking for drugs or other illegal paraphernalia. Afroman posted videos of these law enforcement officers on his social media channels, with commentary making fun of them as they searched his house. He even made two music videos using the footage entitled “Lemon Pound Cake” and “Will You Help Me Repair My Door.”

Now, seven Adams County Sheriff’s Department officers are suing him because of his use of the footage without their consent. According to the lawsuit, exposing people’s faces without consent is a misdemeanor under the Ohio Revised Code. The officers are also suing because their faces were publicly visible, which caused “emotional distress, embarrassment, ridicule, loss of reputation and humiliation.”

The plaintiffs claim that they’re entitled to Afroman’s proceeds gained from the songs, as well as music videos and live event tickets, in addition to his brand, which offers beer, cannabis, T-shirts, among other things. In addition to this, they’re asking that Afroman remove all videos and photos that feature them online.

Afroman posted a response to the lawsuit on all of his social media channels. “Essentially a racist judge signed a fictitious false warrant, lying on the warrant, accusing me of kidnapping and drug trafficking,” Afroman wrote. “The warrant put the Adams county sheriff in a position to attempt to kill me. After the Adams County Sheriff. Burglarized vandalized and destroyed my property. They became thieves and stole my money. After they stole my money they became criminals. After they became criminals they lost their right of privacy.”

Afroman’s attorney, Anna Castellini, also issued a statement about their next move. “We are waiting for public records requests from Adam’s county we still have not received,” Castellini said. “We are planning to counter sue for the unlawful raid, money being stolen, and for the undeniable damage this had on my clients family, career and property.”

Law enforcement obtained a warrant to search Afroman’s home in August 2022 with probable cause that they would find drugs and drug paraphernalia. The only items that were allegedly seized were a vape pen, a few roaches, and thousands of dollars in cash. Ultimately they did not find any evidence of drugs or paraphernalia and no charges were filed. 

The law enforcement officers claim they’ve become the subject of ridicule by Afroman fans, which has made it “more dangerous” for them to continue working, and have received death threats “by anonymous members of the public who have seen some of Defendant’s above-described postings.” The lawsuit claims that “Defendants’ actions were willful, wanton, malicious, and done with conscious or reckless disregard for the rights of the Plaintiffs.”

In Afroman’s most recent post on TikTok on March 24, he points out how Adams County is home to meth labs, but they chose to raid his home instead.

In December 2022, Afroman announced that he’s running for president in 2024. “My Fellow Americans, there comes a time in the course of human events when change must be affected,” Afroman wrote on Instagram. “That time is now. Americans are suffering, and the status quo is no longer acceptable. Inflation is out of control. The economy is in shambles. The housing market is staggering. Politicians are corrupt. Bad apples are allowed to remain in law enforcement, amongst our noble and brave officers.”

The self-described “Cannabis Commander in Chief” and “Pot Head of State” claims that he would tackle cannabis reform and criminal justice reform, among other top priority issues.

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Ohio Cannabis Industry Announces Opposition to Medical Weed Revamp Bill

A group of medicinal cannabis operators and advocates in Ohio have joined forces in “strong opposition” to a bill that would dramatically alter the state’s medical marijuana program. The measure, Senate Bill 9 (SB 9), was introduced by state Senators Steve Huffman and Kirk Schuring on January 11.

The bill aims to update Ohio’s medical marijuana law, which was passed by the state legislature and signed into law in 2016. But this week, the Ohio Medical Cannabis Industry Association (OMCIA) came out against SB 9, saying that the increase in medical marijuana dispensaries and cannabis cultivation space included in the measure would lead to an oversaturation of supply that could cripple the industry.

“SB 9 punishes companies like mine that have invested hundreds of millions of development dollars into our state,” Daniel Kessler, co-owner and CEO of medical marijuana cultivator and processor Rivera Creek said in a statement from the OMCIA. “Instead of reducing bureaucracy, this bill does the opposite by adding an additional level of oversight in the form of a commission of lifetime political appointees.”

The group says that the bill would add an additional two million square feet of medical cannabis cultivation space and add more than 60 new medical marijuana dispensary licenses to the 130 permits already issued. The legislation also adds cultivation licenses for some independent cannabis processors, as well as processing licenses for level 2 cultivators. 

“What we’ve found is that many of the growers want to expand and grow more,” Huffman said when the legislation was introduced earlier this year. “There’s more growers, there’s more demand. They put an application into the Department of Commerce, and it sits there for 18 months, two years. Hopefully this takes the bureaucracy out of this and streamlines things and make it a better-functioning industry.”

Ohio Group Says Increased Capacity Unnecessary

But the OMCIA says that the increased production capacity would come at a time when “many current cultivators have scaled back their production by 30% – 50% and are not operating at full capacity.” The group also noted that Ohio’s current medical marijuana program regulations already have provisions allowing current operators to expand their operations as the market grows. 

“We are opposed to the massive expansion outlined in SB 9 because it lacks the data justifying that such an expansion is needed,” said Bryan Murray, executive vice president of government relations at multistate cannabis operator Acreage Holdings. “The negative impact of oversupply in markets across the nation cannot be overstated – and opening the floodgates in contradiction to market realities would be detrimental to the industry in Ohio.”

Kessler added that “the expansion measures in the bill would add immense supply to an already over-supplied market. Despite my company’s high-quality product reputation, we currently have hundreds of pounds of product in our inventory that we cannot sell. Even at wholesale pricing, the demand is not there. If the bill passes in its current state, it is likely that the industry will crumble, and the only winner will be the illegal illicit market.”

The bill creates a new state agency within the Ohio Department of Commerce, the Division of Marijuana Control, to regulate the state’s medical marijuana program. The legislation also creates a 13-member commission responsible for oversight of the new agency and the medical program. Under current law, the state’s medical marijuana program is overseen by the Ohio Department of Commerce, the State Medical Board of Ohio and the Ohio Board of Pharmacy. 

Senate Bill 9 would also add autism spectrum disorder, arthritis, migraines, chronic muscle spasms and opioid use disorder to the state’s list of medical conditions that qualify a patient to use cannabis medicinally. Currently, the list of qualifying conditions includes more than two dozen serious medical conditions including cancer, chronic pain, AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD and terminal illnesses. The measure also allows medical marijuana use by patients who have other debilitating medical conditions that can be treated with medicinal cannabis, as determined by their physician.

The OMCIA notes that the number of participants in Ohio’s medical marijuana program “has remained stagnant at an average of 163,000 active patients” and argues that adding more production and retail capacity is not needed. Instead, the group called for several changes to make medical marijuana accessible to more patients.

“Ohio’s stagnant patient base does not warrant SB 9’s additional licensure and expansion of cultivation space,” said Matt Close, executive director of OMCIA. “The last thing we need is more supply. Instead, legislation should focus on addressing our industry’s most significant challenge: excessive barriers to patient participation.”

The OMCIA recommends adding anxiety, insomnia and depression as qualifying conditions for the program and for annual medical marijuana identification card fees to be reduced or eliminated. The trade group is also calling for medical marijuana recommendations to be valid for three years instead of the current one year and for patients with incurable conditions to be granted lifelong approval. 

Further recommendations from the group include eliminating state, county and local taxes on medical marijuana purchases, employment protections for medical marijuana cardholders and a prohibition on intoxicating hemp cannabinoids such as delta-8 THC from being sold outside the state’s regulated medical marijuana program.

SB 9 is currently under consideration by the Senate General Government Committee, with a hearing on the legislation scheduled for this week.

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Ohio Bill Would Relax Penalties for Drivers with THC in System

A lawmaker in Ohio has introduced a bill that would help marijuana users in the state avoid a costly impaired driving charge. 

News 5 Cleveland reports that the legislation, introduced by a Republican state senator, “would change the standards of the Operating a Vehicle Under the Influence (OVI) law,” and “help update Ohio laws due to the prevalence of medical marijuana licenses.”

The station said that the bill would help drivers avoid “facing charges for driving with THC in their system as long as they can prove they weren’t impaired.”

“Under the current statute for an OVI, it’s testing whether or not it’s in your system. Now that we have legalized it for medical purposes, I think we need to update the statute to where we’re looking at whether or not somebody is impaired,” GOP state Sen. Nathan Manning told News 5 Cleveland

“Marijuana in general is a lot different than alcohol, alcohol is lot more black and white,” he added.

Ohio lawmakers passed a bill legalizing medical cannabis in 2016, and sales began in the Buckeye State three years later. 

According to the Ohio Medical Marijuana Control Program, there are more than 330,000 registered medical cannabis patients in the state. The state announced last year that its medical cannabis program had generated nearly $725 million in sales since 2019.

Ohio patients with the following qualifying conditions are eligible for medical cannabis treatment under the state’s law: AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cachexia, cancer, chronic traumatic encephalopathy, Crohn’s disease, epilepsy or another seizure disorder, fibromyalgia, glaucoma, hepatitis C, Huntington’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease, multiple sclerosis, pain that is either chronic and severe or intractable, Parkinson’s disease, positive status for HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder, sickle cell anemia, Spasticity, spinal cord disease or injury, terminal illness, Tourette syndrome, traumatic brain injury and ulcerative colitis.

Advocates say the medical cannabis law, and the ubiquity of the treatment statewide, has created a dilemma for law enforcement and patients alike.

“In an OVI, we are charged with being medicated on stuff you bought legally from a dispensary or smoke shop,” Ally Reaves with Midwest CannaWomen told News 5 Cleveland. “That’s not fair.”

The bill introduced by Manning “would allow drivers to have up to 25 nanograms of THC per milliliter in their urine instead of the current 10,” and “would raise the concentration from two to five nanograms of THC per milliliter” for blood, according to the station.

Shifting those standards is crucial, given how long THC can remain in a person’s system. 

“Our policemen and women that are enforcing these traffic laws are doing a great job and very often are not charging anybody unless they are showing signs of impairment, whether that’s through their field sobriety tests or their own observations,” Manning told News 5 Cleveland. “But there are situations where somebody is arrested and has consumed marijuana in the previous few days and technically would be above that ‘per se’ level, even though there’s no impairment whatsoever.”

“The consensus of the scientific community is clear that there is no acceptable limit of marijuana that automatically makes a person impaired,” Manning added. “Impairment must be considered on a case-by-case basis considering all of the available evidence.”

As the number of enrolled medical cannabis patients has grown in Ohio, so too is the number of places where they can legally obtain the product. 

A state medical cannabis regulator said last year that Ohio was aiming to double the number of dispensary licenses in the state by adding more than 70 to the existing 58.

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Ohio Lawmakers File Medical Cannabis Revamp Bill

Two Republican state lawmakers in Ohio have introduced a bill to revamp the state’s medical marijuana laws that would create a new state agency to oversee the program and allow more patients to use cannabis medicinally. The measure, Senate Bill 9, was introduced by state Senators Steve Huffman and Kirk Schuring on January 11 and on Tuesday was referred to a legislative committee for consideration. The bill is similar to another proposal from the last legislative session, Senate Bill 261, that failed to gain approval in the Ohio House of Representatives after passing in the Senate in December 2021. 

Both pieces of legislation attempt to update Ohio’s medical marijuana law, which was passed by the General Assembly and signed into law in 2016. Under the new bill, a new state agency, the Division of Marijuana Control, would be created as part of the Ohio Department of Commerce to regulate the state’s medical marijuana program. The legislation also creates a 13-member commission responsible for oversight of the new agency and the medical program. Under current law, the state’s medical marijuana program is overseen by the Ohio Department of Commerce, the State Medical Board of Ohio and the Ohio Board of Pharmacy. 

“What we’ve found is that many of the growers want to expand and grow more,” Huffman said in a statement quoted by local media. “There’s more growers, there’s more demand. They put an application into the Department of Commerce, and it sits there for 18 months, two years. Hopefully this takes the bureaucracy out of this and streamlines things and make it a better-functioning industry.”

Ohio Bill Adds New Qualifying Conditions

Senate Bill 9 would also add autism spectrum disorder, arthritis, migraines, chronic muscle spasms and opioid use disorder to the state’s list of medical conditions that qualify a patient to use cannabis medicinally. Currently, the list of qualifying conditions includes more than two dozen serious medical conditions including cancer, chronic pain, AIDS, Parkinson’s disease, PTSD and terminal illnesses.

The measure also allows medical marijuana use by patients who have other debilitating medical conditions that can be treated with medicinal cannabis, as determined by their physician. The earlier bill had a similar provision, allowing patients to use medical cannabis if a doctor decides that “the patient’s symptoms may reasonably be expected to be relieved from medical marijuana.”

In a committee hearing on Senate Bill 9 held on Tuesday, Huffman and Schuring told their colleagues that many medical marijuana patients in Ohio are crossing state lines to obtain cannabis from neighboring states with more liberal marijuana laws. As of Januray 1, ore than half of the more than 320,000 patients who have registered in the history of Ohio’s medical marijuana program, only about 164,000 had an active doctor’s recommendation and patient registration, according to information from state regulators.

“The largest dispenser for Ohioans is in Michigan,” Huffman said in testimony Tuesday. “We need to turn that around, and make it more friendly, so people come here and they have a safe, viable product.”

Senate Bill 261 also would have allowed the state’s licensed medical marijuana cultivators to expand their growing operations. Although the provisions to increase the square footage of allowable cultivation space are not included in the new bill, Huffman said he is open to amending the legislation to add the increased growing area.

“In my discussions with Sen. Schuring, we felt this would be a positive move and positive change for the industry,” Huffman said. “At the same time hopefully members of the House will be comfortable with it.”

Recreational Marijuana Proposal Under Consideration

Ohio lawmakers are also considering a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana in the state. Earlier this month, Secretary of State Frank LaRose reintroduced the proposal, which would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older and levy a 10% tax on commercial cannabis products. Activists had hoped the measure would appear on the ballot for the November midterm election, but legal challenges caused delays that led to an agreement with state officials to revisit the issue this year. If the state legislature does not approve the measure within four months, the Coalition To Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, the group spearheading the legalization effort, can collect signatures to put the proposal before the voters in the fall.

Despite the adult-use cannabis legalization bill, Huffman, who is a physician, said that he is still interested in improving the state’s medical marijuana program. If recreational marijuana is legalized, he said it would create an environment without “much of a medical marijuana industry.”

“This bill, to me, is not so much about the ballot initiative, but to make the industry as best as we can,” Huffman said.

Trent Woloveck, the chief strategy officer of Jushi, a vertically integrated, multistate cannabis operator that last week opened Beyond Hello Cincinnati, the company’s first medical marijuana dispensary in Ohio, called on state lawmakers to approve Senate Bill 9 in a statement to High Times.

“If passed, SB 9 will make safe, tested medical cannabis products accessible to more Ohioans by expanding qualifying conditions, authorizing additional administration forms and codifying mechanisms to allow responsible, incremental industry growth,” said Woloveck. “Ultimately, the changes proposed in SB 9 will facilitate a stable supply chain, reduce product prices and generally benefit Ohio patients.”

Senate Bill 9 has been referred to the Senate General Government Committee for consideration. At a hearing on Tuesday, the Republican chair of the panel, Senator Michael Rulli, said that the committee would move quickly on the bill.

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Cannabis Legalization Could Make New Strides in 2023

The effort to reform the nation’s cannabis laws made new strides in 2022 with the passage of recreational marijuana legalization ballot measures in Maryland and Missouri in the November midterm elections. Success was not universal, however, as similar propositions on the ballot in Arkansas, North Dakota and South Dakota failed to gain the approval of voters. 

Looking at 2023, new milestones have already been achieved this year, with Connecticut launching regulated retail sales of adult-use cannabis on January 10, a move that was preceded by the expungement of nearly 43,000 marijuana-related convictions in the state at the dawn of the new year. And as we head further into 2023, several states across the country are likely to make new ground in the struggle to end cannabis prohibition.

A New Focus

Brian Vicente, a founding partner at the cannabis and psychedelics law firm, Vicente Sederberg LLP, says that despite spending millions of dollars on lobbying federal lawmakers in 2022, the efforts of cannabis activists were unable to result in the passage of any meaningful marijuana policy reform at the next level. With the change in the political climate in Washington, D.C., efforts this year will take a new focus.

“With Republicans taking over the House, any federal reform in the two years seems exceedingly unlikely. Fortunately, movement leaders have begun coalescing around a strategy to cut back on federal lobbying and instead push resources toward state-level reform,” Vicente said in an email. “These efforts are aiming to flip as many as 10 states to adult-use in just three years, which would not only open new markets for consumers, but also create intense pressure on Congress to pass legislation aligning federal law with the thirty-odd states where cannabis is legal for adults.”

As the new year begins, more than a half-dozen states are likely to consider legislation to reform their marijuana laws, with most activity centering in the South and Midwest regions. Outside those broad areas, Hawaii could be poised to make progress on the issue with a new governor at the helm, Democrat Josh Green, who included support for expanding the state’s current legalization of medical marijuana to include adult-use cannabis as part of his campaign for office last year. On January 11, Democratic state Rep. Jeanné Kapela announced her plans to introduce a recreational marijuana legalization bill, saying, “this year, we stand on the precipice of history.”

“We now have a roadmap for legalizing recreational cannabis in our islands,” Kapela said in a statement quoted by Marijuana Moment. “Legalizing cannabis is not just a matter of money, it is a matter of moralities.”

Snowden Stieber, a regulatory analyst with cannabis compliance technology firm Simplifya, notes that the bill has some hurdles to clear before it can get to Green’s desk, however.

“The Hawaii Senate President, Ron Kouchi, has already come out with statements expressing skepticism on any fast movement for cannabis legalization, and many elected officials are still waiting on the upcoming report from the Dual Use of Cannabis Task Force to guide their votes in the new year,” he said in an email. “While it is of course possible that the task force recommends full legalization, prior experience in other states would suggest that legislators will take their time with any report’s findings and that a sudden move toward legalization is unlikely.”

The South

Vicente believes three states in the South—Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina—could pass legislation to legalize medical marijuana this year. With the nearby states of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and Florida already demonstrating that a regulated marijuana industry can provide jobs and tax revenue, other states in the region are likely not far behind.

South Carolina, where Rep. Nancy Mace has become one of the few Republicans in Congress advocating for cannabis policy reform at the national level, is one of the few remaining states that still hasn’t legalized marijuana in any form. But reform is popular with the state’s residents, with a Winthrop University poll conducted before last year’s midterm elections showing that more than 75% of voters support the legalization of medical cannabis. This year, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have pre-filed separate medical marijuana legalization bills for the 2023 legislative session. But Simplifya regulatory analyst Justin Bedford isn’t optimistic about the fate of the legislation.

“Though these may seem like promising developments, history suggests that South Carolina still has a long way to go before any form of commercial legalization occurs,” he wrote in an email. “All 14 cannabis-related bills that were deliberated during the 2022 legislative session failed to pass, with most dying in the early stages of development. Nothing has changed in the state’s sociopolitical environment that would suggest anything will be different this year.”

In North Carolina, the state Senate passed a bill to legalize medical marijuana in June 2022, but the House of Representatives declined to take up the legislation. Brian Fitzpatrick, chairman and CEO of cannabis software developer Qredible Inc, notes that public support for medical marijuana legalization is strong, and if a bill makes it to the desk of Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, he’s likely to sign it into law.

“A poll carried out in January 2021 by Elon University found that 73% of North Carolinians supported medical cannabis,” Fitzpatrick said in an email. “A subsequent poll in May 2022 showed that support had increased to 82% across bipartisan lines. I believe that the governor is aware of this and will fully support the legalization of a medical cannabis bill in 2023.”

In Kentucky, where an executive order from Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear decriminalizing medical marijuana went into effect on New Year’s Day, a bill to legalize both medical and recreational cannabis was unveiled by lawmakers on January 7. The measure, Senate Bill 51, would legalize and regulate the “possession, cultivation, production, processing, packaging, transportation, testing, marketing, sale and use of medical cannabis and adult-use cannabis,” according to a report from the online resource Business Insurance. With Kentucky being one of the nation’s largest hemp producers, industry insiders believe the legislation has a good chance of success this year.

The Midwest and Surrounding States

Several states in the Midwest could make advancements in cannabis policy reform in 2023. In Ohio, voters could get the chance to vote on a cannabis legalization measure championed by the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which was kept off the ballot for the November midterm election after legal challenges. Last week, Secretary of State Frank LaRose reintroduced the proposal, which would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older and levy a 10% tax on commercial cannabis products. If the state legislature doesn’t approve the measure within four months, the coalition can collect signatures to put the proposal before the votes in the fall. Trent Woloveck, chief commercial director of cannabis commerce platform Jushi, believes legalization efforts have an even chance of success in Ohio this year.

“It is very unlikely that the legislature acts on the initiated stature in the next four months, but reasonably likely that the Coalition will be able to gather the additional required signatures for the effort to make the ballot,” he says. “While polling would suggest a ballot initiative legalizing cannabis would pass, the Senate president and other legislators disagree. And, even if voters approved an initiated statute, the legislature would have unrestricted authority to repeal or materially revise legalization.”

Like Hawaii, Pennsylvania has a new governor, Democrat Josh Shapiro, who has expressed support for legalizing recreational marijuana. The issue has been stymied in years past by Republican lawmakers, but a new Democratic majority in the state House of Representatives may help the chances at success.

“While we’ve heard some interest from both sides of the aisle in previous years, conversations about legalization seem to be happening among a much larger group of legislators with increased frequency and specificity,” Woloveck says. “It also sounds like many legislators, including several previously unwilling to engage in any cannabis-related discussions, now acknowledge something has to be done about the illicit market and to stop revenue from flowing to neighboring states where people can buy legal, regulated cannabis for non-medical purposes.”

After legalizing low-potency THC edibles last year, cannabis policy experts say Minnesota could be the most likely state to legalize recreational marijuana in 2023. The state’s Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (DFL) is now in charge of both the legislative and executive branches of government, and party leaders including Gov. Tim Walz have said that cannabis legalization will be a priority for 2023. Last Wednesday, a bill sponsored by DFL lawmakers Rep. Zack Stephenson and Sen. Lindsey Port received the approval of a legislative committee, with more hearings on the measure to come.

In Oklahoma, where 10% of adults hold cards to participate in the state’s liberal medical marijuana program, voters will decide on a ballot measure to legalize recreational cannabis in March. If passed, State Question 820 would legalize marijuana for adults 21 and older. The measure also contains provisions to expunge past convictions for marijuana-related offenses. Proponents of the measure had hoped it would appear before voters during the November midterm elections, but a delay in certifying petition signatures and legal challenges from opponents prevented its inclusion on the ballot.

Lawmakers in other states including Georgia and Delaware could also take up measures to legalize marijuana this year, although the prospects for success in 2023 seem unlikely given the political climate in those states. But progress in cannabis policy will probably continue if the trend seen over the last decade goes on.

“Since 2012, when Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize cannabis, we’ve seen an average of two states per year pass adult-use laws,” Vicente notes. “I predict that 2023 will continue this trend with both Oklahoma and Minnesota looking very likely to legalize.”

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Ohio Bill Would Allow Record Sealing, Expungement for Paraphernalia Convictions

The Ohio Senate passed Senate Bill 288 on Nov. 30 with a 27-2 vote. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Nathan Manning, spoke to the Senate about his goals for this 975-page measure. “We have done a lot of work on this bill. And, really, the goal of this—we talk about criminal justice reform, we talk about tough-on-crime, soft-on-crime—really what we want to do is improve our criminal justice system and lower crime in our society and make our society a safer place,” said Manning. “And to do that, we did a lot of work here.”

Manning explained that “a lot of this bill is long-term, making sure that people that have entered our judicial system exit the judicial system as better people, and to lower recidivism rates, to improve their quality of life and to make sure that we have less victims in the future.”

Among many proposed changes, SB-288 would consider possession of cannabis paraphernalia a minor misdemeanor. “Arrest or conviction for a minor misdemeanor violation of this section does not constitute a criminal record and need not be reported by the person so arrested or convicted in response to any inquiries about the person’s criminal record, including any inquiries contained in any application for employment, license, or other right or privilege, or made in connection with the person’s appearance as a witness,” the current bill text states.

Those who receive a cannabis paraphernalia possession conviction would be allowed to seal their record from the public after six months have passed, and records would be eligible to be expunged after three years. The current draft notes that the application fee would cost “not more than $50.”

SB-288 now heads to the House of Representatives for further consideration. The 134th congressional assembly will end on Dec. 21, and if the bill is not passed in the House and then signed by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine then it will need to be reintroduced in the next legislative session.

Earlier this year in May, Ohio advocates decided to delay a ballot proposal for adult-use cannabis legalization to 2023. At the time, Republican state officials refused to consider the ballot proposal, so the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol sued them. The organization had already collected 140,000 signatures to qualify the measure for the ballot, but the lawsuit settlement will allow them to keep those signatures going into next year.

“We expect that we’ll be able to do it,” Attorney Tom Haren said about the adult-use cannabis effort. “We’ll have staff get ready. Our intention is to give Ohio voters an opportunity to weigh in if the General Assembly continues to ignore them.”

It’s been two years since Ohio legalized medical cannabis, and as of March 2022 the state has collected $725 million in sales revenue. The state allows resident patients to use medical cannabis as a treatment for 22 conditions, but this number may change if the general assembly passes a current proposal if “the patient’s symptoms may reasonably be expected to be relieved from medical marijuana.”

Recently, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed an executive order to allow medical cannabis if it has been purchased in a state that has legalized medical cannabis. Although Ohio borders Kentucky, patients would not be legally allowed to buy medical cannabis in Ohio because it only allows residents to purchase cannabis as medicine. Currently, this only leaves Illinois as an option, with Missouri and Virginia to possibly open up later on when their medical cannabis programs take effect.

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More Than 400 Pounds of Weed Seized by Border Control (and Dog) in Cincinnati

On the outside, they looked like dehumidifiers. A look inside the appliances revealed more than a million bucks worth of contraband. That was the haul intercepted by U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers––and their trusty narcotics detector dog, Bruno––in Cincinnati over the weekend.

The dog apparently alerted the officers “to a shipment of dehumidifiers, with each one containing vacuum sealed bags containing marijuana” on Saturday, the agency said.

The shipments arrived in the port of Cincinnati “and while conducting canine operations, Bruno alerted to these dehumidifiers that were arriving from Ontario, Canada.”

“Officers inspected the first shipment and discovered vacuum sealed bags hidden inside the dehumidifier cases. Officers tested the substance which was positive for marijuana. Officers then inspected all 12 dehumidifiers and discovered that each one had concealed bags containing marijuana-413 pounds in total,” Customs and Border Protection said in a press release.

CBP said that the shipment was “heading to a company based in Great Britain and the illicit narcotics had an approximate street value of $1.10 million.”

LaFonda D. Sutton-Burke, the director of field operations in CBP’s Chicago Field Office, praised the work of Bruno.

“Our canine teams are an invaluable asset to the CBP enforcement strategy,” Sutton-Burke said in the press release. “These interdictions are a testament to the hard work, dedication and training these teams employ on a daily basis protecting America.”

The agency “emphasized that transnational criminals are desperate and will take any measures within their reach to get their illegal narcotics across our borders.”

“Our officers have been trained to identify and stop shipments that pose a threat to our nation and our international counterparts. We are committed to the CBP mission and continue to assist our law enforcement allies around the world,” Richard Gillespie, Cincinnati’s port director, said in the press release.

While recreational cannabis has been legal in a growing number of states––and Democrats in Washington continue to flirt with the idea of ending prohibition on the federal level––the U.S. Customs and Border Protection continues to intercept weed on the U.S. border and in the country’s ports.

In April, shortly after New Mexico became the latest state to legalize adult-use cannabis, the Customs and Border Protection issued a stern warning to anyone carrying weed in the state.

“Border Patrol agents have drug enforcement authority. Marijuana is still a prohibited drug under Schedule 1 of The United States Controlled Substances Act. Therefore, U.S. Border Patrol agents will continue to take appropriate enforcement action against those who are encountered in possession of marijuana anywhere in the United States,” the agency said at the time.

Earlier this month, Border Patrol agents in Texas “seized over 200 pounds of marijuana in two separate events within five hours,” the agency said.

CBP said that agents “assigned to Bike Patrol observed multiple subjects carrying bundles away from the Rio Grande in Escobares [Texas].”

“Additional agents responded and interdicted just as the smugglers attempted to load the narcotics into an awaiting Chevrolet Tahoe. The Tahoe departed the area as the smugglers abandoned the bundles and absconded back toward the river. Agents seized three bundles of marijuana weighing 115 pounds and valued at 92,000 USD,” CBP said in its press release.

Then, shortly after midnight the following day, “agents observed a group of ten subjects walking away from the Rio Grande south of Cuevitas,” ultimately discovering 90 pounds worth of cannabis.

“One of the Mexican nationals, along with the narcotics, was turned over to the Texas Department of Public Safety to face state charges,” the agency said in the press release.

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Afroman’s Ohio Residence Raided by Local Law Enforcement

Afroman recently shared that his home in Ohio was raided on Aug. 21 by the Adams County Sheriff’s Office. Although he was in Chicago at the time of the raid, his neighbors told him about what was going on.

He also shared multiple security footage videos on Instagram showing law enforcement searching various areas of the house. “This is supposed to be a drug and narcotic warrant I had to pay technical people top dollar to install my camera system there’s no drugs or guns in my computer screen. These are burglars hoodlums breaking into the houses of law-abiding taxpaying citizens destroying property,” he wrote on Aug. 29. “I had to pay the camera people thousands of dollars to install my camera system I don’t need them kicc-ing down my door spreading monkeypox in my clothes and ripping up my camera systems so nobody will see these thieves disguised as law-enforcement officers stealing my money Just like the cops in Saint Charles Missouri.”

Afroman’s social media posts took off in popularity. As of Aug. 30, Afroman said he thanked “Police Officer Poundcake” for helping him gain 13,000 followers on TikTok. As of Sept. 2, the TikTok post has 4.7 million views.

According to a TMZ Live interview with Afroman, law enforcement didn’t find what they were looking for. “They took, like, some roaches, and a vape pen, and a jar of CBD. I think they thought I had like hundreds and thousands of pounds or something like that,” he said. “They didn’t have to run up my driveway with AR-15s and all kind of assault weapons. I would have gladly just given that to them.” Afroman also mentioned he has footage of cops pulling cash out of the pocket of his clothing.

“They said they want me to come down and make a statement. I need a lawyer, I don’t know why they came here like this,” he said.

TMZ also asked Afroman about a previous burglary that had occurred in the past as well. He said it took three days for police to visit his home and write a report on the incident. He continued to follow up with the local police station about the report. “I was following up with the progress of the case, and I guess the consistency of my calls was irritating them. They told me ‘If you keep calling up it will get addressed.’ I got a funny vibe, so I fell back, you know.”

Interviewers asked him to elaborate on the “funny vibe,” and inquired if that statement felt like a threat. “You know, a cop speaks politically correct…” Afroman started, but said that he felt like the police station told him to stop calling. 

On Sept. 1, a local news channel covering the incident claimed that the search warrant listed “possession of drugs, drug trafficking, and kidnapping.” “No kidnapping victims, no pounds of marijuana (especially in my suit pocc-ets) or narcotics. No charges. No warrant for my arrest,” Afroman wrote. Just A few roaches in my ash tray them on camera destroying my property, stealing my money like the cops in Saint Charles Missouri, and disconnecting my cameras so no one sees them stealing my money.”

Ohio legalized medical cannabis in 2016, but recreational cannabis is not allowed. Although there was a legalization ballot initiative in the works, it has been postponed until the 2023 election.

The post Afroman’s Ohio Residence Raided by Local Law Enforcement appeared first on High Times.

DoorDash Driver Delivers Side of Weed, Gets Canned

One DoorDash customer received more than he bargained for when he placed an order of food—finding an unwanted bag of weed in his order, and decided to complain about it. The actions of the driver led to his termination as a Dasher with the company.

A Columbus, Ohio man, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he ordered food through DoorDash on August 9 and complained that the bag of weed made him feel “scared.”

“I was scared at first but then again, I wasn’t very surprised,” the man who ordered food from DoorDash told ABC 6.

He provided a photo of his bag of food where he found a fork and a bag filled with cannabis. The photo shows a baggie adorned with alien heads holding what appears to be about a gram of weed. “Did this start with the driver?” he said. “Or did this start in the restaurant that I ordered this from?”

“It’s scary, because I’m a healthcare worker, and I see how this affects people every day,” the customer said. “I even have a close friend whose nephew actually passed away due to smoking some marijuana that was laced by fentanyl.” (Both WebMD and Snopes have dismissed claims of fentanyl-laced pot, and Dr. Peter Grinspoon told High Times that fentanyl most likely disintegrates with the heat of a flame.)

“What happened is not acceptable, and we have removed the Dasher from our platform,” a DoorDash representative told ABC6 and FOX28 in a statement. We appreciate the customer for reporting the incident.”

“I think about the kids,” he said. “I have a nephew. I think about my coworker. He has granddaughters and grandsons.”

DoorDash quickly responded and told the customer that the Dasher had been terminated. “We do not condone this type of action and have therefore taken the step in removing them from our platform,” the customer email from DoorDash reads. “This Dasher will no longer be able to deliver future orders on DoorDash.”

Dashers, or DoorDash delivery drivers, must submit both a DMV and criminal background check before becoming a driver according to the company’s background check policy.

DoorDash and Cannabis

Four years ago, at Fortune’s 2018 Brainstorm Tech conference, DoorDash CEO Tony Xu said that while the company toyed with the idea of cannabis delivery, there were no immediate plans of doing that, at least not in the United States.

“That’s our general counsel’s favorite question,” Xu said. “That’s not what we’re doing today nor what we plan on doing. There are a lot of complications around payment when it comes to something that has that level of regulation.”

Since then, however, the company explored the cannabis industry in Canada, where it’s legal at the federal level. Deliveries, however, are not yet part of the equation.

Forbes reported last April that Canadian cannabis retail outlet Superette led a partnership with DoorDash Inc., offering pick-up out of its Toronto, Canada, locations. The partnership is with DoorDash Technologies Canada, Inc., a subsidiary of DoorDash Inc. The rumor that DoorDash was getting involved in cannabis was first exposed on Twitter, Benzinga reported last April.

The partnership features curated menus and special collections to reflect the local area. Superette goods, however, are available for pick-up only and not yet offered for delivery.

Uber Eats also announced a partnership with a Canadian cannabis retailer, in this case, Tokyo Smoke.

Uber Technologies Inc. added Canadian cannabis retailer Tokyo Smoke to its marketplace on November 29, 2021—allowing customers to browse, then place orders from the Uber Eats app and finally pick it up at their nearest Tokyo Smoke store, with dozens of locations in the province. You can browse through an assortment of cannabis products.

The post DoorDash Driver Delivers Side of Weed, Gets Canned appeared first on High Times.

Cash Only’s 420 Recs: DJ and Producer Galcher Lustwerk

This article was originally published on Cash Only. Sign up for the newsletter here and follow Cash Only on Instagram and Twitter.

Galcher Lustwerk is an electronic music producer and DJ, as well as the head honcho at label Lustwerk Music. The artist hails from Ohio, but has been a cult hero in the Brooklyn dance music scene for over a decade, starting with his instant-classic release 100% Galcher—a visionary debut that blew everyone’s minds all over their faces.

Galcher cut his teeth as a producer alongside his RISD pals in the collective/label White Material Records, and has put out releases on Tsuba, Ghostly, and his own imprint. The catalog includes the full-length albums Dark Bliss, 200% Galcher, and Information, on top of many 12-inches. He’s also dropped numerous records under other monikers, including Road Hog, Studio OST (a collaborative project with Alvin Aronson), and—fittingly for Cash Only—420.

Not DJ 420… just 420.

Lustwerk is a thoughtful and interesting guy, whose taste in art, culture, and weed is as strong as his selections behind the decks. So Cash Only hit up the musician to talk about all things green. Galcher weighed in on what type of weed he likes to smoke, his love for Volcano vaporizers, and why he’s super into making skate edits within the PC game Skater XL once he’s really stoned.

Read our interview below, and pre-order the vinyl release of “420” here. Also take a look at Galcher’s upcoming tour dates here to catch him in a city near you.

Courtesy of Galcher Lustwerk

Cash Only: What’s your current favorite weed strain? How do you like to consume it?

Galcher Lustwerk: Lately I’ve been enjoying a variety of strains, but years ago I tried an OG Kush pack and from then on decided it’s my favorite. It was during one of those productive streaks, and I felt like it didn’t ever bog me down, but would still deliver on the psychedelic tip. It’s a common-ish strain; it’s got a reputation. If I see OG Kush, I pick that instantly and never regret my choice. My favorite method of consumption is the Storz & Bickel Volcano Classic, where I’m either recycling AVB [already-vaped-bud] or just vaping all new flower.

What’s your current favorite weed product?

The Volcano by Storz & Bickel, hands down. I sold mine a decade ago, then an old boss gave me his shortly after—so it was destined to be. For someone who grew up having asthma, I try to take care of my lungs. The Volcano hits the strongest, but also the smoothest. All other dry herb vapes are disappointing. This is my daily driver. I hardly ever “smoke” now, unless it’s social or I roll a J for when I’m out and about. I keep the Volcano at level 6 and use an XL size bag. Two bags keep me goin’ for a few hours. It’s super easy to clean and maintain, plus it’s efficient for your bud. I’ve even sent it into their headquarters to get serviced—it’s like having a car.

What activity do you like to do after you’ve hit the Volcano?

Making Skater XL edits. Skater XL—especially the PC version, which allows you to download custom maps and clothes—has saved my life during pandemic and throughout quarantine. It’s literally a dream to be able to execute tricks you could never do IRL, and then “film” them the way you want, as well. I wanted to be a professional skate videographer when I was a teenager, and this game realizes that ambition in an accessible package. I’ve only made a few parts, but hope to build an entire skate video with it one day.

Can you recommend something to watch while stoned?

Watching Manben / Mangaka art documentaries. Another dream I had as a kid was to become a comic book artist. Seeing the masters’ workflows, techniques, and past influences through these YouTube videos is awesome. Such a crazy resource. It inspires me to start sketching myself. There are only a few episodes with English subtitles online, but the visuals are well worth it. I’m also fascinated by these artists’ workspaces, which are usually dark and cluttered, but very deliberate and based on decades of practice.

Can you recommend something to listen to when you’re smoking?

If you dig house music, then I recommend Yoyogi Park by Lawrence. It’s just the mellowest shit ever. It’s like pillows for my ears, and it’s also good for the winter months. I recommend that album or something like Move D’s “Inside the Freero Dome,” which has gentle and hazy grooves that can carry a dance floor when turned up loud. David (Move D) has been an early supporter of my music and his prolificness and dedication to DJing and performance continues to inspire me.

Can you recommend something to read after getting high?

The Miles Davis autobiography. It’s somehow really dense but also a casual read. The way he narrates is really chatty and feels like it’s in the present moment. You can just read it without needing an attention span for much. It’s funny to imagine being a fly on the wall while Miles just waxes poetic in his raspy voice. I still haven’t finished the book, actually, but it’s really good. I’m just taking it slowly.

Galcher Lustwerk’s upcoming record “420” is available for pre-order and check out his upcoming tour dates here. Stay tuned for a new release under his Road Hog moniker, too.

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The post Cash Only’s 420 Recs: DJ and Producer Galcher Lustwerk appeared first on High Times.