A Manheim family of four was caught „dealing marijuana and neglecting several animals” at their home, the Lancaster County District Attorney’s office says.
Jordan, 24; Austin, 21; Scott, 49; and Heide Breland, 46, all of the 100 block of West Colebrook Street, were arrested following a search warrant executed Jan. 13 at approximately 10:50 a.m. by Members of the Drug Task Force, with the assistance of Manheim Borough Police.
The authorities found „3,284 grams of marijuana, two digital gram scales, two boxes of sandwich bags, and used vacuum-sealed bags with marijuana residue. Additionally, 73 THC vape pens and 32 THC gummy packs were located. Thirteen total rifles and handguns with assorted ammunition and $3,488.00 were located in the residence,” the da’s office states in the release adding that, „sixteen cats and two dogs were found in the residence with several medical conditions and at least three of the cats needed medical intervention. The animals were not provided access to clean and sanitary shelter. Nine of the animals were not provided necessary veterinary care. The SPCA removed the animals from the residence.”
Austin Breland and Jordan Breland are each charged with four felonies for possession with intent to deliver marijuana and conspiracy, and for possession with intent to deliver THC and conspiracy, two misdemeanors for prohibited offensive weapon and conspiracy, and possession of drug paraphernalia, as well as 18 summary counts of neglect of an animal, and nine summary counts of neglect of an animal, failure to provide veterinary care, authorities say.
Scott and Heide Breland are each charged with a misdemeanor count of prohibited offensive weapons and conspiracy, 18 summary counts of neglect of an animal, and nine summary counts of neglect of an animal, failure to provide veterinary care.
They’ve all been held in the Lancaster County Prison on $100,000 bail each and their preliminary hearing has been set before Magisterial District Judge Randall L. Miller on Friday, Jan. 27, 2023 at 1:30 p.m.
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While certainly a good way to relax, as long as humans have used it, cannabis has also been a wellness tool. From seeds discovered in ancient China to salves in ancient Egypt and spiritual smoothies in ancient India, the list is as curious as it is comprehensive, especially considering our modern outlook on the plant. Today, cannabis is either sold on the black market or hyper-regulated, and no matter why you use it, it’s harder to get than other (often much riskier) substances humans love.
It depends on how you use cannabis, but consider this: even if you reach for an edible to help you sleep or a topical for post-workout soreness, you’re using the plant for a presumed medical purpose. Just because you can freely buy the products to serve those needs doesn’t negate that fact. If you’re soothing something that ails you, whether mental or physical, consider reframing your ‘indulgence’ as a medical or wellness aid.
When to consider a medical cannabis card
Obtaining a medical cannabis card can be beneficial for a few reasons, the first of which is access—many states without adult use permit medical cards for a long list of less-serious conditions.
Another less obvious perk: sticking it to the man (sort of). Government-funded cannabis research is limited, making it difficult for the plant to be fully accepted in the mainstream. If you want to know precisely why it helps you sleep soundly, participating in the patient care program helps give states (and eventually the feds) a better picture of actual use. Having a true count, one that stands in contrast with years of discreet use, could help influence cannabis policy, too.
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One less visible benefit: medical cannabis cards and programs can help older uses who grew up alongside severe stigma against the drug consider weed a legitimate treatment for their issues.
The benefits of medical cannabis
While getting a medical card involves additional steps versus purchasing in a recreational shop, there are inherent benefits to going the medical route, including increased access in states where you don’t live. Some states, like Hawaii, provide what’s called reciprocity, where your medical card from state X is fair game in state Y—a boon for people who need the consistent and reliable access that medical outlets can provide.
Other states don’t have separate shops for separate types of buyers anymore, including California, which reformed its program in 2016 after decades of medical reign. But medical buyers are still treated differently, at least at the checkout: Today in California, retail adult use shops serve medical patients with the same products as recreational buyers, but certain city and state taxes are waived. These costs can be significant, and for regular medical users, the savings are worth the fees and extra steps.
In New Jersey, card holders can skip the line at the dispensary and select from a guaranteed stock and use a dedicated checkout, while adult use folks have to wait—and pray the products they want don’t sell out. Similar rules exist around possession in states like Oregon, where medical card holders can have more, or have permission to grow their own.
Establishing yourself as a registered patient right now could help you down the road if healthcare programs begin to consider cannabis as a legitimate treatment—perhaps one day it will be eligible for discounts, coverage, or even flexible spending accounts.
How to get a medical cannabis card
With a legitimate medical need—with the definition of “legitimate” varying from state to state—it’s generally not hard to get the documentation sorted to obtain a medical use card. Many states require only a doctor’s note, rather than a state- or county-issued physical card. Laws and regulations certainly differ from state to state; while New York might check in with you via email if you are missing paperwork, some counties in California will consider any missing detail an automatic denial unless you have a sympathetic intake staffer.
That’s where online medical use card services come in—they can get you what you need to get a card, provided you qualify and the doctor they set you up with agrees that cannabis would be a good treatment option. Sites like NuggMD, VeriHeal, and others can connect you with doctors who have experience with cannabis patients if your own doctor doesn’t feel comfortable prescribing it.
But when working with a site like one of the above, it’s important to remember that the company generally can’t communicate with the state on your behalf, so you typically have to be the one to forward the recommendation, your ID, proof of residency and any other needed information to your state or county agency to get final approval and obtain your physical card.
When to use recreational cannabis instead of getting a medical card
Is getting a medical card worth it if you only use occasionally, say when you’re suffering a sleepless night? It’s really your call. If you’re happy, keep doing what you’re doing. But if your use needs increase use for any medical reasons, like pain, sleep, or anxiety, consider signing up. If you have an eligible condition and just want the option, or perhaps hope to be able to shop in other states, get the process started.
An important additional note: If you buy cannabis for another person who uses it medically, you can get a caretaker card to help serve their needs better, so they don’t have to go to the store at all. It’s up to you how you want to shop, but the options are progressing in many states, and hopefully one day federal law will follow along.
The Food and Drug Administration says its current rules for regulating drugs and supplements don’t work for determining the safety of CBD products and is calling on Congress to help with a new approach.
Why it matters: Walk into many retailers and it’s not hard to find products — everything from oils, body lotions, lip balms, soaps, nail polish, makeup and bath bombs to candies, sparkling water and beer — containing CBD.
The big picture: The global cannabidiol market size is expected to top $22 billion by 2030, up from about $5.2 billion in 2021, according to Grand View Research.
Yes, but: „Studies have shown the potential for harm to the liver, interactions with certain medications and possible harm to the male reproductive system,” Woodcock’s statement read.
The other side: „The FDA continues to rely on pharmaceutical studies that show risk at significantly larger doses that are not commonly found in CBD products sold at retail,” U.S. Hemp Roundtable president Jonathan Miller said in a statement.
What to watch: The House Committee on Oversight and Accountability plans to investigate the decision, officials confirmed. The FDA did not respond to requests for comment.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced that a new regulatory pathway for cannabidiol (CBD) products is needed.
According to the statement—attributed to Janet Woodcock, MD, principal deputy commissioner for the FDA—careful review by an internal FDA working group concluded that the public’s desire for access to CBD products needs to be balanced with the regulatory oversight to help manage and prevent risks associated with use of CBD products.1
To this end, FDA is also denying 3 citizen petitions to allow CBD products to be marketed as dietary supplements. These findings are based on scientific literature, public information, and studies commissioned and conducted by the FDA, which identified various risks to both individuals and animals associated with the use of CBD and other cannabis-derived products.1
“The use of CBD raises various safety concerns, especially with long-term use,” Woodcock said in the statement. “Studies have shown the potential for harm to the liver, interactions with certain medications and possible harm to the male reproductive system. CBD exposure is also concerning when it comes to certain vulnerable populations such as children and those who are pregnant. A new regulatory pathway would benefit consumers by providing safeguards and oversight to manage and minimize risks related to CBD products.”
Woodcock, who also serves as chair of the working group, stated that the FDA is prepared to work with Congress in the development of a regulatory pathway for CBD products that helps minimize risks and protect the public.1 “The FDA will continue to take action against CBD and other cannabis-derived products to protect the public, in coordination with state regulatory partners, when appropriate,” Woodcock said in the statement. “We will remain diligent in monitoring the marketplace, identifying products that pose risks, and acting within our authorities.”
POSaBIT has reached a deal with Akerna to acquire three cannabis compliance companies in an all-cash deal, broadening the suite of software products it sells to marijuana merchants in the U.S. and Canada.
The Seattle-area financial tech business will pay $4 million to purchase MJ Platform, Leaf Data Systems, and Ample Organics. As part of the transaction, POSaBIT raised $11 million through a mix of debt and equity financing from Perga Capital.
The acquisition, expected to go through in Q2, will grow POSaBIT’s current workforce of 60 to about 100 employees. It will also obtain more than 350 new clients, growing its total customer base to nearly 900.
POSaBIT, headquartered in Kirkland, Wash., debuted on the Canadian Stock Exchange in 2019 through a reverse takeover of publicly traded Foreshore Exploration Partners Corp. Its stock trades on the OTCQX over-the-counter market in the U.S.
The new software components will integrate alongside POSaBIT’s point-of-sale (POS) systems, bringing so-called “seed-to-sale” data to the company’s customers. The new system will be able to track a cannabis seed’s “entire lifecycle” from being planted to sold as a marijuana product in a dispensary, CEO Ryan Hamlin told GeekWire.
The goal is to sell an all-in-one product that helps suppliers and distributors adhere to traceability laws around cannabis production and commerce, he said. “It’s a matter of connecting the systems up so you truly have full visibility,” he added.
The acquisition comes at a time when the U.S. cannabis payments market is in a state of turmoil due to ongoing regulatory hurdles. Many credit card companies and national banks refuse to work with cannabis retailers because it is still not federally legal. Lawmakers tried to loosen these barriers through the Secure and Fair Banking Act (SAFE), but it failed to pass in Congress last month.
“I think the general thinking was SAFE was going to make it through, particularly [in the] lame duck session,” Hamlin said. “And given that it didn’t, I think we as an industry probably took a step back.”
In 2019 POSaBIT first emerged with its blockchain-based POS terminal, raising $2.1 million to help cannabis companies accept non-cash payments. It has moved most of its customers away from a point-of-banking model, which is being cracked down on by large ATM companies, to its PIN debit system, which is compliant with local and federal regulations.
The company reported a net loss of about $1.2 million in Q3, with a cash balance of $8.2 million. It forecast revenue of $37-to-$40 million for 2022.
POSaBIT expects its three new companies to have generated $11 million in revenue and $6.8 million in gross profit for 2022. Hamlin said the newly added companies will add to the company’s overall EBITDA, helping to maintain its goal of being profitable in 2023.
MN legalization bills clear more panels; USDA’s new weekly hemp report; NC medical marijuana bill refiled; Study: Legalization not tied to psychosis
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Free to read (but not free to produce)! We’re proud of our newsletter and the reporting we publish at Marijuana Moment, and we’re happy to provide it for free. But it takes a lot of work and resources to make this happen. If you value Marijuana Moment, invest in our success on Patreon so we can expand our coverage and more readers can benefit: https://www.patreon.com/marijuanamoment / TOP THINGS TO KNOW The Food and Drug Administration announced that it will not be issuing regulations to allow CBD as a dietary supplement or food additive—and instead wants to work with Congress on a “new way forward.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture published the first issue of a new weekly report aimed at providing “unbiased, timely, and accurate data” on the hemp industry. The Minnesota House Labor and Industry Finance and Policy Committee and Senate Commerce and Consumer Protection Committee amended and approved companion marijuana legalization bills. A key North Carolina senator refiled a new version of his medical cannabis bill that passed the chamber last session but later stalled in the House. The Senate president pro tem says enacting it this session is “the right thing for us to do.” A new study published by the American Medical Association involving a population of more than 63 million people found that legal marijuana states see “no statistically significant increase in rates of psychosis-related diagnoses”—despite repeated prohibitionist claims to that effect. / FEDERAL The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Drug Testing Advisory Board will discuss the effects of cannabinoids including delta-8 THC on federal workplace drug testing programs in a closed-door meeting on March 7. Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) said moving marijuana banking legislation without addressing comprehensive reform would set a “terrible precedent.” / STATES Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) tweeted, “Let’s cut taxes for all Kansans with my #AxingYourTaxes plan, fully fund special education, secure clean water, legalize medical marijuana, finally expand Medicaid, and get communities resources to combat the opioid epidemic.” An Ohio senator filed a bill to give people caught driving with marijuana metabolites in their systema chance to argue that they were not impaired. Pennsylvania senators introduced a bill to allow doctors to recommend medical cannabis for any condition they see fit. Florida lawmakers filed legislation to allow medical cannabis recommendations to be issued via telehealth. A Missouri representative spoke about his bill to provide protections to people who use psilocybin therapeutically. A Maryland appeals court upheld a decision to allow regulators to recall medical cannabis edibles. Washington State regulators initiated rulemaking on allowing marijuana businesses to use cloud storage options for recordkeeping. Oregon regulators recalled cannabis vaping products that tested positive for pesticides. A former top Massachusetts marijuana regulator spoke about his new role at a company that makes an app for medical cannabis patients. — Marijuana Moment is tracking hundreds of cannabis, psychedelics and drug policy bills in state legislatures and Congress this year. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.
/ LOCAL New York City’s mayor spoke during his State of the City speech about a new loan fund to help people harmed by the drug war start new businesses, and about increased enforcement against unlicensed marijuana businesses. Denver, Colorado officials sent a reminder about marijuana license renewals. / INTERNATIONAL Italian lawmakers discussed marijuana legalization. International Criminal Court judges cleared the way for an investigation into the bloody Philippine “war on drugs” to resume. A European Parliament member from Malta tweeted, “A war on drugs will always fail. No country can arrest its way out of drugs – its much more complex. This matter is not for sensationalism & populist statements. We must attack trafficking, while at the same time work on addiction knowledge & wellbeing. Science not ideology.” / SCIENCE & HEALTH A review concluded that “growing evidence of preclinical research demonstrates that THCs reduce tumor progression by stimulating apoptosis and autophagy and inhibiting two significant hallmarks of cancer pathogenesis: metastasis and angiogenesis.” A study of horses found that “treatment with CBD reduced some inflammatory cytokine production with no negative side effects.” / ADVOCACY, OPINION & ANALYSIS A poll of Georgia residents found that 53 percent support legalizing marijuana for recreational and medical use, 23 percent want to allow medical use only, 15 percent back decriminalizing possession and 7 percent want to maintain criminalization across the board. A South Carolina Chamber of Commerce survey shows that more than two-thirds of business leaders in the state support legalizing medical cannabis. The U.S. Naval Institute published an op-ed arguing that the Navy should refocus on counternarcotics efforts. / BUSINESS Curaleaf Holdings, Inc. is closing the majority of its operations in California, Colorado and Oregon; reducing payroll by 10 percent and consolidating cultivation and processing operations in Massachusetts. Ascend Wellness Holdings, Inc. is acquiring the Maryland assets of Devi Holdings, Inc. Organigram Holdings Inc. announced that it is not in compliance with Nasdaq’s minimum bid price requirement.
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Six more dispensaries around the state are expected to open in the coming days
The race to become the undisputed first medical cannabis dispensary to sell product is over. But there is some dispute over the exact time when that exactly took place.
Early reports were that The Cannabis Company in Brookhaven sold the first product Wednesday afternoon. That was followed by the news that Hybrid Relief in Oxford sold the first product.
It appears we have a photo finish.
“Our vision was to be first to market. We thought that would be cool,” said Le Anne Penn of the Cannabis Company. “We were the first dispensary in Brookhaven to get a license, the third in the state and we think we were the first in the state to make a sale. There were a couple of more behind us, but we were the first one.”
What time was that?
“I don’t really know exactly what time it was. It was between 3 and 3:15 p.m.,” Penn said.
Umm, Houston, we have a problem.
Ryan Herget, CEO of Retail Management of Good Day Farm in Lafayette County, said that Hybrid Relief sold its first product at 3 p.m. There was no wavering on the time.
„Straight up 3 p.m.,” Herget said.
So, who made the first sale?
There may be no way of actually knowing. Both claim the title and that is probably OK.
The upshot is that the medical cannabis market is up and going and there is no looking back.
„When we got our first order in from Mockingbird, they helped us so much and have been a real partner in this process,” Penn said.
There are more dispensaries on the way with one in Hattiesburg expected to open Friday, followed by another in Brookhaven, one in Biloxi, Corinth, Laurel, Tupelo and Jackson in the coming days.
Mockingbird Cannabis is the largest cultivator in Mississippi with 163,000 square feet of space in Hinds County.
The facility, which formerly housed the Mississippi Department of Revenue, has four pods of 16 cultivation rooms and room to grow, based on demand as the medical marijuana business matures in the years to come.
„Mockingbird is thrilled to have sold and delivered the first order of medical cannabis in the state of Mississippi. This marks a significant milestone in the efforts to provide safe and effective medical cannabis to patients in need in our home state,” said co-founder Marcy Croft. „We are excited to continue working with state officials and regulators to make medical cannabis available to patients across Mississippi. We believe that medical cannabis has the potential to provide relief to those suffering from a wide range of medical conditions, and we are dedicated to making it accessible to as many people as possible.”
Good Day Farm will be supplying the dispensary in Hattiesburg that will be opening Friday as well as many others that will be opening in the coming days.
„Tomorrow will be a really busy day for us with the opening of the Hattiesburg dispensary,” Herget said.
Mississippi is the fourth state for Little-Rock-based Good Day Farm, a leading cannabis company in the South with operations in Arkansas, Louisiana and Missouri.
The market continues to grow as 1,600 patients are qualified in the state of Mississippi with nearly 1,000 more in the system to be approved.
„This really isn’t a competition,” Herget said. „We look at it in a way that we are all working together to serve the patients of Mississippi. We look forward to patient growth. Before yesterday there was nothing on the market. So, now that the dispensaries are open, patients that want to an qualify will be able to go and get a card.”
Now that legal medical sales are underway, Good Day Farm expects to scale its Mississippi operations quickly, with plans to double its cultivation and production footprint in the coming year.
OUR OPINION: Cannabis sales won’t fix Mississippi’s drug problem
Published 4:00 am Friday, January 27, 2023
With the first medical cannabis sales taking place in Mississippi this week, it seems like there’s a light at the end of the tunnel for those who need a medically approved solution to what ails them.
And there’s no doubt about it: for people who have expended other options or don’t want traditional medicine, medical cannabis can be a life-changing treatment. Not only that, but the millions in revenue the plant is anticipated to bring to Mississippi’s towns are vital to the state’s economic growth.
But here’s the rub: The state’s mechanisms for entering the medical cannabis industry make it almost impossible for the average Joe to get involved.
In order to open a dispensary in Mississippi, business owners must be able to pay about $65,000 to the state up-front. There is a $40,000 first-year license fee paid to the state Department of Revenue that includes a $15,000 non-refundable application fee, which means an applicant will not get that money back if they don’t get a license. The subsequent license fee is $25,000 per year.
That’s a pretty hefty amount for anyone to have on hand. In effect, it severely limits both the amount and type of people who could be successful in the medical cannabis industry in Mississippi.
For example, your average neighborhood pot dealer is likely already operating a successful enterprise — but coming up with $65,000 just to get off the ground, and then finding a storefront and employees and a supplier for the actual product puts the “little guy” at a disadvantage.
As a state with one of the highest incarceration rates and a prison that only recently emerged from a Justice Department probe, one would think lawmakers would make it easier for the small-scale indica entrepreneurs, as it were, to go legit and make money the legal way.
Instead, what’s happened in many cases is out-of-state cannabis professionals coming to Mississippi, taking advantage of the fledgling industry here and making a buck (or a few thousand).
It’s this sort of gatekeeping that makes Mississippi’s transition to legal medical cannabis particularly troubling. At the rate things are going now, from a legislative standpoint, it doesn’t appear that legalizing cannabis for medical use is going to make a dent in the number of people incarcerated for marijuana-related crimes.
Studies do indicate that legalized medical cannabis reduces the number of possession arrests, but it doesn’t make a difference in the number of people arrested for possession with intent to distribute or trafficking.
Mississippi marijuana distribution laws dictate that persons with 250 to 500 grams of marijuana with an intent to distribute face the same three to 10 years of incarceration and fines of up to $15,000 on conviction. The Mississippi Act also prescribes a penalty of five to 10 years of jail time with a maximum fine of $20,000 for 500 grams to one kilogram of marijuana possessed with the intent to distribute, according to mississippistatecannabis.org.
The penalty only goes up from there, with trafficking convictions being an automatic felony and a mandatory jail term of 10 years but not more than 40 years. In addition, the court may impose fines between $5,000 and $1 million.
For the majority of cases, it stands to reason that it’s cheaper and more cost-effective to sell marijuana on the street than it is to do so within the confines of state law.
All this begs the question: If it was easier to “go legit” in Mississippi, would we see fewer people incarcerated for a plant the state is now profiting from?