Most Read
  • The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues

    Ypsilanti police are still searching for the person dubbed the “mystery pooper.” Someone has been, as the Associated Press politely puts it today, “soiling slides at an Ypislanti playground over the last six months.” So, of course, someone purchased an electronic billboard along I-94 near Huron St. at exit 183 that delivers multiple calls for action: For instance,”Help us flush the pooper.” The company that purchased the billboard, Adams Outdoor Advertising, knows how to reach the world in the 21st Century, branding each billboard with a hashtag for the public utilize in its efforts: #ypsipooper. WJBK-TV says the billboard also toggles through other rich lines, such as: “Do your civic doody, report the pooper #YPSIPOOPER” “Help us catch the poopetrator #YPSIPOOPER.” You can have the runs, but you can’t hide. They’re still looking for you, Mystery Pooper.

    The post The Ypsilanti mystery pooper saga continues appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co.

    It’s a really, very cool idea. Paxahau, the good people behind the Movement Electronic Music Festival, are hosting a series of warm-up events, or previews, to the big festival which takes place Memorial Day weekend. On Thursday evening, Movement moved into the Urban Coffee Bean on Grand River in Detroit. While Dj AvA and Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp ably worked the decks, the regular coffee shop goings on continued behind them. It made for an interesting and amusing webcast experience – one guy was taking a nap on camera, while others supped coffee and tappd their feet. It should come as no surprise – the Urban Coffee Co. people have always been big supporters of electronic music. The place includes a DJ stand, and co-owner Josh Greenwood encourages customers to bring their own vinyl and spin on the open turntables. Not on Thursday night though. This being a coffee shop, and it not being particularly late at night, the music remained pretty chill throughout. DJ AvA (real name Heather McGuigan) includes Beth Orton, Madonna, the B-52’s, Daftpunk and David Byrne among her list of influences, so you know that she’s capable of both whipping up a storm and also […]

    The post City Slang: DJ AvA, Chuck Flask & Keith Kemp preview Movement at Urban Bean Co. appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County

    CNN has a message to all prospective landlords: Head to Wayne County! Occupancy and rental rates are increasing, the report says, creating an opportunity for serious returns on investments. In fact, after comparing the median sales price of homes to average monthly rents in nearly 1,600 counties, RealtyTrac found that Detroit’s Wayne County offers landlords the best return on their investment in the nation. Investors who buy homes in the metro area can expect a 30% gross annual return from rents. That’s triple the national average of 10%. RealtyTrac, an online real estate information company, says the county offers investors low prices for larger homes — with a median price of $45,000. “We’ve got some steals here,” said Rachel Saltmarshall, a real estate agent and immediate past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, told CNN. “There’s a six-bedroom, 6,000 square-foot home in a historic district selling for $65,000.” For more, read the entire report here.

    The post Here is why landlords could do well in Wayne County appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit

    This Saturday, audiophiles across the world will venture out to their favorite independent record stores in search of limited releases that quickly become collectors items. The third Saturday of April marks the fairly new international holiday Record Store Day. There are certainly dos and don’ts to know for RSD — like where to shop, and how to shop. That’s right, there is an etiquette to shopping on Record Store Day and violating that code makes you look like a real asshole. In my experience of celebrating Record Store Day, I’ve seen stores use a few different tactics as far as stocking the special releases. Some establishments will set up a table, somewhere in the store, where a few shoppers at a time can flip through records in a calm and contained manner. Other places will have a similar setup, with all the releases at a table, but shoppers ask the store employees for the releases they want. It’s like a record nerd stock exchange. This process gets loud, slightly confusing and incredibly annoying — this is where elbows start getting thrown. Then, there are places that put the releases on the shelves, usually categorized by size — twelve inches with the twelve inches, seven inches with the seven inches and […]

    The post The Record Store Day Guide for metro Detroit appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled

    The Detroit Electronic Music Festival, which was supposed to be making a triumphant return this year, has been canceled. A statement on the website says that the festival will be back in 2015. Back in November, Ford Field hosted an announcement party for DEMF, where it was revealed that a new DEMF festival would take place at Campus Martius Park in Detroit over the July 4th weekend. “I’m proud to be involved in the biggest and best electronic music festival in the world,” said Juan Atkins. “The future’s here. This is techno scene.” Not the immediate future, apparently. The DEMF people claim that the M-1 rail construction is partially to blame for the cancellation/12-month-postponement. Read the full statement here. Follow @City_Slang

    The post City Slang: DEMF 2014 canceled appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards

    Despite a turbulent 2013 which saw Metro Times change owners, move buildings and change editors twice, we picked up eight awards at the Society of Professional Journalists Awards on Wednesday night. The big winner was Robert Nixon, design manager, who picked up a first place for “Feature Page Design (Class A)” for our Josh Malerman cover story, first for “Cover Design (Class A)” for our Halloween issue (alongside illustrator John Dunivant), and a second in that same category for our annual Lust issue. In the news categories, our esteemed former news editor and current contributing writer Curt Guyette won third in “General News Reporting” and third in “Best Consumer/Watchdog” – both Class A – for the Fairground Zero and Petcoke Series respectively. Music & Culture Editor Brett Callwood placed third for his Josh Malerman cover story in the “Best Personality Profile (Class A)” category, and former editor Bryan Gottlieb picked up a couple of Class C awards for “Editorial Writing” and “Headline Writing” (third and second, respectively). We were also pleased to learn that our investigative reporter Ryan Felton won first place and an honorable mention for work published while at the Oakland Press. The MT ship is steady now, […]

    The post Metro Times wins heavy at the SPJ Awards appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Higher Ground

Barry and the Wacky Weedus

Obama escalates the War on Drugs

Photo: N/A, License: N/A

When Barak Obama became president in 2008, there was hope among marijuana activists that federal authorities would not concern themselves with medical marijuana facilities and individuals in states that legalized the plant for medical use.

After all, this was a president who had admitted to smoking pot and inhaling (the last three presidents have smoked marijuana, although Bill Clinton claimed he didn’t inhale). Then there was the so-called Ogden memo that declared medical marijuana a “low priority” in states that had legalized it. Activists thought they felt a breath of fresh air out of Washington regarding the War On Drugs.

That doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. Actually, the feds later overruled the Ogden memo, so it should be no surprise that the feds have been hitting large dispensaries and facilities. In fact, most marijuana activist organizations report that Obama’s administration has been more aggressive than George W. Bush’s against facilities that, by all accounts, are in compliance with state law.

That kind of stuff has been happening in California and Montana, but it came home to Michigan recently when several individuals were sentenced in federal court for their involvement in marijuana growing operations.

The members of a group known as the Lansing 7 all pleaded guilty to federal charges for their involvement in a medical marijuana growing operation and recently were sentenced to prison terms ranging from one day to four years. The Lansing 7 had a plan they believed was compliant with state law involving growing some hundreds of plants at several different properties. They met with law enforcement and lawyers to make sure it was legal. Unfortunately marijuana of any kind is illegal under federal law.

Another case involves Monroe farmer Jerry Duval and his son. Duval, 53, is a medical marijuana patient whose juvenile diabetes led to kidney and pancreas transplants. He also suffers from glaucoma and neuropathy. He grew marijuana on his farm, partly to supply his own needs. But in his federal trial he was convicted of distributing marijuana after being barred from mentioning his medical use.

Duval was scheduled to report to a medical prison facility in Massachusetts on June 11, to begin serving a 10-year sentence that will ultimately cost taxpayers an estimated $1.2 million, due to his special needs. The Michigan Chapter of Americans for Safe Access held a press conference outside Detroit’s federal building to publicize his case.

“Jerry Duval and his 10-year sentence are emblematic of how the Obama administration has been undermining state medical marijuana laws,” said Brandy Zink, chair of the Michigan chapter of Americans for Safe Access, a national medical marijuana advocacy group.

Duval’s son and daughter are both registered medical marijuana caregivers. His son received a five-year sentence and his daughter was not charged in the case.

As I have previously observed, it seems like the feds will tolerate individual use but once someone gets enterprising and there is significant money changing hands you had better watch out. It will be intriguing to see what happens in Washington State and Colorado as state-licensed businesses start to distribute recreational marijuana. The feds have been publicly mum on their reaction, although I’m sure things are humming behind the scenes. In the meantime, a word to the wise is to keep things on the down low. Even people who are certain that they are legal under state law can never be sure of how safe they are.


From Microsoft to Marijuana


IT’S KIND OF STRANGE to see the feds taking down people who, on the surface, seem to be lawfully going about their business in medical marijuana states and, at the same time, someone is actively promoting a nationally-branded chain of marijuana stores.

That’s what former Microsoft executive Jamen Shively proposes. Shively recently held a press conference announcing his intention to create his Diego Pellicer marijuana brand across the country. Shively claims that his great, great grandfather, Pellicer, was a governor of Cebu in the Philippines in the late 1800s and the largest hemp grower in the world. Former Mexican President Vicente Fox attended the news conference in support of Shively, whose plan calls for marijuana supplies to come from regulated commerce with Mexico.

“This historic step today is to be observed and evaluated closely by all of us, because it is a game changer,” Fox said. “I applaud this group that has the courage to move ahead. They have the vision, they are clear where they’re going, and I’m sure they’re going to get there.”

One news source reported that the Mexican marijuana would be coming from a Fox-owned farm. That would explain why Fox, who has come out against the War On Drugs, would bother showing up in Seattle to support Shively. However, Fox, a former Coca-Cola executive, claimed that he had no involvement in the venture that would be bigger than anything the feds have gone after.

“Yes, we are Big Marijuana,” Shively said.

It may be more that he hopes to be Big Marijuana. In a Securities and Exchange Commission filing in March, the company reported having raised $125,000, although Shively claims the figure is outdated. He says that he will invest $100 million in the business over three years and create 1,000 jobs in Seattle. That seems big enough to warrant some federal attention if my analysis of federal motivation is correct. We’ll have to wait and see on this one.


Marijuana News Roundup


ANOTHER DECRIMINALIZED STATE: Last week Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin signed a bill decriminalizing marijuana in that state. As is getting to be pretty standard in decriminalization — Vermont is the 17th state to do so — possession of less than 1 oz. will be a civil offense similar to a traffic ticket.

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We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
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