Enterprising NYU Students Learn How to Navigate the Legal Cannabis Industry

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Emily Tan for the Village Voice
A student at the 2014 NYC Cannabis Parade
Not too many panel discussions at NYU include speakers who say things like, "Cannabis is my god. I worship it like Jesus." But then "Cannabiz: Exploring the Cannabis Industry," organized by the NYU chapter of Students for a Sensible Drug Policy (SSDP), was not a typical university panel.

About 30 students came out to the event on Wednesday night, held in a lecture hall at NYU's Global Center, on the southern edge of Washington Square Park. The brainchild of Ericka Persson, the NYU SSDP vice president, "Cannabiz" featured a panel of four speakers who put forth a message of encouragement to students seeking knowledge of — and, potentially, employment in — the burgeoning cannabis industry.


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How the Creators of High Maintenance Crushed the Stoner Stereotype

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Photo by Jena Cumbo for the Village Voice
Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair, the couple behind the critically acclaimed Web series High Maintenance
"It's OK, I'm the guy who can do this!"

Katja Blichfeld is trying to pick a morsel of beet salad from her teeth, and her husband, Ben Sinclair, is doing his best to assist: leaning over in his chair, his arms outstretched, index finger poised in midair. Blichfeld demurs; Sinclair insists. "If anyone should do it," he says, "it should be me!"

Blichfeld and Sinclair, the couple behind the critically acclaimed Web series High Maintenance, are grabbing a late-afternoon bite at the lobby restaurant of the Standard Hotel in the East Village. They have a room upstairs where they're sketching out the next round of episodes (they spent the winter in L.A., and still have subletters living in their Ditmas Park apartment). It's the first day of spring, and outside, fat, wet crystals of snow quickly coat the ground.

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Pot Advocates See Connecticut Ruling as a Way Forward for New York

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A landmark Connecticut ruling has Nick Menditto in the clear.
When Nick Menditto was arrested for pot possession at a Connecticut rest stop, the timing could not have been worse. It was March 2011, and he was a few weeks shy of completing his probation for two other marijuana possession charges, which meant any new arrest would have serious consequences. But there was more to worry about — he was also busted just as the Constitution State seemed primed to decriminalize possession of small amounts of pot. And less than three months after his arrest, in June of that year, the legislature did just that.

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Unlikely Trio of Senators Forms Like Voltron to Revise Federal Pot Laws

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Credit: Marijuana Policy Project
Senators Gillibrand, Booker, and Paul want to stop federal interference with states that make medical marijuana legal.
On Tuesday, senators from both sides of the aisle stumped for a new bill that could drastically change the United States' confusing relationship with medical marijuana.

New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand stood alongside Kentucky Republican Rand Paul and New Jersey Democrat Cory Booker to promote the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States, or "CARERS," Act.

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Everything You Need to Know About New York City's New Marijuana Possession Policy

Categories: Marijuana

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dankdepot via Flickr
You can get away with carrying more than this.
The New York City Police Department announced Monday that officers will be adopting new guidelines when it comes to marijuana possession stops. What does that mean for you? Here's what you need to know, you goddamn hippie:

See Also: A Day in the Life of Your Friendly Neighborhood Weed Messenger

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How New York City's New Plan to Ticket Instead of Arrest for Pot Could Backfire

Categories: Marijuana

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Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office
Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton are set to hold a press conference at 1 Police Plaza on Monday
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner Bill Bratton are reportedly ready to announce a big change in the way the NYPD deals with low-level pot arrests. Police officers will begin issuing tickets for pot possession rather than making an arrest, according to a report published by the New York Times on Sunday. The change would mean anyone found in possession of a small amount of pot would be given a notice to show up in court, rather than put in handcuffs and hauled down to the station, where they would have to be fingerprinted and have a mugshot taken.

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New York City's Health Department Would Like to Remind You Fake Weed Is Dangerous and Stupid

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Image via Wikimedia Commons
Just don't.
New York City emergency rooms are seeing an outbreak of fake marijuana-related illnesses, according to the city's health department. The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene issued a warning on Sunday urging people not to buy or use "synthetic cannabinoids," which are often sold at head shops under names like K2, Spice, and Green Giant. The agency says it's gotten reports of 15 fake weed-related emergency room visits over the past two days, concentrated in East Harlem, Central Harlem and Chelsea.

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This is How Many Blacks and Latinos Will Be Arrested For Pot Possession in 2014, Compared With Other Races

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Communities United for Police Reform
Projected marijuana possession arrests, 2014; Black and Latino New Yorkers are represented in purple.
Newly-installed NYPD Inspector General Philip Eure has been on the job for less than a week, but there are no shortage of demands on his attention. Last week, we reported on the first complaint filed with Eure's office, nestled in the Department of Investigation, by Robert Jereski on behalf of activists including himself whose organizations had been infiltrated and surveilled by undercover NYPD officers.

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New York is THIS Close To Legalizing Medical Weed, But NYC is Still the Pot Arrest Capital of the U.S.

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Tessa Stuart
Congressman Hakeem Jeffries.
On Tuesday the New York State Assembly passed, for the fifth time since it was introduced in 1997, the Compassionate Care Act. The bill would legalize medical marijuana in New York state, allowing sick New Yorkers relief from symptoms associated with cancer treatment, MS, epilepsy, and other ailments. With that vote, New York comes one step closer to joining the 21 others states and the District of Columbia where marijuana is legal in some form.

The same day, in downtown New York, demonstrators in front of One Police Plaza called attention to the fact that, despite progress in Albany, New York City remains the marijuana arrest capital of the United States.

Congressman Hakeem Jeffries gathered with representatives from the Drug Policy Alliance, Human Rights Watch, and Vocal New York beside a large graph showing that despite promises Mayor Bill de Blasio made during his campaign, arrests for simple possession have not dropped in any significant way since he took office.

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New York is Closer Than Ever to a Passing a Comprehensive Medical Marijuana Law--But Don't Hold Your Breath

Categories: Marijuana

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rafael-castillo via Flickr
On Tuesday, the New York State Senate's Health Committee voted to approve the Compassionate Care Act. If the bill goes on to pass the full senate, it would create a comprehensive statewide system for New Yorkers to access medical marijuana.

I know what you're thinking--didn't Governor Andrew Cuomo say back in January that he was going to legalize medical weed? Yeah, he said that, but his declaration came with a truckload of caveats: the program would be limited only to patients with specific ailments, and the marijuana, which the state planned to buy from the federal government, would be dispensed at just 20 hospitals. That plan, which was allocated $0 of funding in this year's state budget, has enough built-in logistical obstacles that, realistically, it will years before it sees the light of day, if it does at all.

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