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  • Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup

    The High Times Medical Cannabis Cup is more than just a celebration — although with the recent shift in attitudes toward marijuana legalization, there certainly is much to celebrate.  HT‘s Danny Danko described it as “just like any other harvest festival or a county fair where people bring their best produce, their best pigs and horses and cows, and they compete with each other for bragging rights, basically.” Here are a list of winners from this year’s Cannabis Cup: Indica 1ST - Oasis Medical Seeds - Paris OG 2ND - Herbal Solutions - Alien Dawg F2 3RD - Herban Legendz, LLC - Grape OX Sativa 1ST - Arborside Compassion - CATFISH 2ND - Organibliss - Ghost Train Haze #1 3RD - We Grow Education and Collective Centers - MelonGum Hybrid 1ST - Herbal Solutions - Gorilla Glue 2ND - Pure West Compassion Club - Death Star 3RD - Kushman Veganics for Buds & Roses - Veganic Candyland Concentrate 1ST - Mr. B’s Extracts - Raskal’s Lemon 2ND - 710 Savant - Kosher Kush Dewaxed 3RD - Oasis Medical / Vader Extracts / Dab Vader - Candy Jack Shatter Non-Solvent Hash 1ST - NLG - Jedi Kush Ice Wax 2ND - Arborside Compassion - HeadCandy Kush Hash 3RD - New World Seeds Resource Center - Northern Hash Plant Hash Edible 1ST - DepoTown - Captain Kirks’ Lime in the Coconut 2ND - Metro Detroit Compassion […]

    The post Winners announced for the ‘High Times’ Medical Cannabis Cup appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative

    So is the title of the press release we received this morning from The Satanic Temple. You may recall our interview with Doug Mesner from earlier this year. The Satanic Temple is, perhaps, best known for trying to build a child-friendly monument to satan in OKC: How Mesner and TST are rocking the Hobby Lobby ruling is interesting: The Satanic Temple Leverages Hobby Lobby Ruling to Claim Exemption From State Mandated ProLife Materials Reads the next line of the press release. And then their website: A number of states require that abortion providers give information to patients that maybe inaccurate or misleading. Demands that members of the Satanic Temple, or those who share our beliefs, be subjected against our will to anything but the best scientific understanding are a violation of our religious beliefs. Thanks to rulings such as Hobby Lobby, we can take a stand against these practices. Mesner points out how the Hobby Lobby ruling bolsters their position: While we feel we have a strong case for an exemption regardless of the Hobby Lobby ruling, the Supreme Court has decided that religious beliefs are so sacrosanct that they can even trump scientific fact. This was made clear when […]

    The post Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro­Choice Initiative appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio

    On Saturday we set out to check out the High Times Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio, Mich. — High Times did hold a Cannabis Cup in the Motor City back in 2011, but Detroit police flexing their muscles and making arrests at that event may have been to blame, at least partially, for the choice of a new host city. The event was held this year at the Auto City Speedway, (also known as “B.F.E.” to Detroiters). Nevertheless, the prospect of stopping at the Torch for the best burger in the Genessee County was compelling — and anyway, this was the Cannabis Cup we were talking about. Was it really going to be “work?” It turned out, just a little bit. An inexplicable lack of an on-site ATM meant hiking quite a ways up the road to the nearest gas station, and then waiting for an attendant to restock the ATM with cash. We spoke with plenty of Cannabis Cup attendees at the gas station — everybody knows that the local gas station is a stoner’s best-friend. The two-day festival, for which one-day tickets were sold for $40, was divided into two sections — a general area and a medicating […]

    The post Reports from the ‘High Times’ Medical Marijuana Cup in Clio appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list

    Yes, it’s true. Forbes says Detroit is one of America’s most creative cities: “We ranked these places based on four metrics: activity per capita on project-funding platforms Kickstarter and Indiegogo and music sites Bandcamp and ReverbNation. The goal was to capture organic creativity, since many artistic and musical types have “day jobs” outside of creative pursuits.” The Forbes list sandwiches #9 Detroit between #8 Seattle and #10 Oakland, Calif. If you are watching the art and culture explosion happening right now in Detroit, you probably think we should rank higher than #2 Boston and #1 San Francisco, if only for the fact that it’s actually affordable to create here and there is space for everyone to be creative. But hey, those metrics weren’t part of the equation. And there’s always next year.

    The post ICYMI: Forbes rates Detroit #9 on its “America’s Most Creative Cities” list appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Food trucks go to the dogs

    Today, starting at 10am, Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck will be swinging by the  Cherry Hill Village at Preservation Park on  N. Roosevelt St. in Canton. They’ll be serving the pups (“gour-mutts,” as Milo’s calls them) treats and the dog parents the opportunity of “family portraits.” Milo’s is on a cross-country food truck trip, promoting their “grilled burger bites” and “chicken meatballs” to pup parents from L.A. to NYC, with stops in between, including Chicago, Detroit, Pittsburgh, the Carolinas, and Arkansas. But watch out! Milo’s Kitchen Treat Truck markets “real chicken and beef home-style dog treats” that are are “wholesome” and “authentic” without “artificial flavors or colors-made right here in the USA.” Authentic, processed food that is. Remember what George Carlin said about “home-style”? Their treats are also packed with soy, TVP, wheat flour, tapioca, rice, and sugar–fillers that make the meat go far and aren’t the best for your pup. They’re also packed with preservatives, like sodium erythorbate, nitrates, BHA, sodium tripolyphosphate, and potassium sorbate. Small amounts are probably ok, and no doubt the pup will love it, the same way it’s easy for humans to love carb- and sugar- laden, processed and preserved, treats.  

    The post Food trucks go to the dogs appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.

  • Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych

    Coming up on August 16, former Detroit Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt will team up with the Navin Field Grounds Crew and Metro Times‘ own Dave Mesrey to honor legend Mark “The Bird” Fidrych. The festivities, known as the annual “Bird Bash,” will be held at the infamous Nemo’s Bar & Grill, and will benefit The Bird’s favorite charity, the Wertz Warriors, and also the Mark Fidrych Foundation. For more information, check out their website or Facebook page.

    The post Former Tigers Dave Rozema and Ike Blessitt to honor Mark “The Bird” Fidrych appeared first on Metro Times Blogs.



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Higher Ground

Cops against the drug war

The War on Drugs creates a new class of people to be discrimined

Photo: Illustration by Lee DeVito., License: N/A

Illustration by Lee DeVito.

Neil Franklin, executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), is a dedicated advocate against the War on Drugs. He’s participated in it on the police side as a 33-year veteran of the Maryland State Police and the Baltimore Police Department. He’s served on drug squads and done undercover work.

LEAP is a national organization of former and current law-enforcement officers who support ending the War on Drugs. Franklin was among those, along with Michelle Alexander (author of The New Jim Crow), who convinced the national NAACP to pass a resolution calling for an end to the War On Drugs in 2011.

A couple of weeks ago, Franklin came to Detroit in an effort to help inform officials about effects of the drug war and ways to reduce the harm it does.

His organization contacted the mayor’s office. They contacted the emergency manager’s office. They contacted City Council. They contacted the Detroit Police Department. None of those entities charged with making and enforcing policy chose to meet with Franklin.

I guess it’s possible that they were all too busy to take time off from their crowded schedules to have a conversation with Franklin. After all, they’re busy trying to save Detroit’s grand bargain to bring us out of bankruptcy. The Police Department ran one of its big neighborhood sweeps, this one called “7 Mile Cruise,” while Franklin was in town. 

These sweeps are good for PR. They give the sense that police are doing something significant to stop illegal drug activity it the neighborhoods. Police tend to grab some cash and property, some drugs and guns, make a few arrests of low-level drug couriers, but, in the end, life goes on more or less as usual. These things don’t impact the big picture.

Franklin’s visit was less dramatic. He spoke to a few organizations such as the Detroit Lions Club, made an appearance on Fox 2’s “Let it Rip” — during which he and District Judge Jodi Debbrecht-Switalski took turns telling each other that what they said is “not true.” He spoke to a group of activists at Cannabis Counsel and was a guest on the “Planet Green Trees” radio webcast via telephone from there. Cannabis Counsel is the downtown Detroit office of attorneys Matt Abel and Thomas Lavigne. Franklin also met with Donnell White, executive director of the Detroit branch of the NAACP while in town.

When the NAACP first came out against the War on Drugs in 2011, I contacted White’s office but got no response. Apparently Franklin has more pull with that organization. He works with various independent local NAACP chapters across the country. Franklin later reported that White “gets it. He understands it and is very concerned about the mass arrests that are going on in Detroit.”

When Franklin brought up what it means to end the War on Drugs, he says White isn’t willing to go that far.

During his talk at Cannabis Counsel, Franklin gave us some insight into how the drug war is conducted from the police side. He pointed out that about 60 percent of the police anti-drug activity is in regard to marijuana. That means the most benign of the substances police take aim at — including cocaine, heroin, meth, etc. — gets the most attention.

We also know that by far the subjects of that attention are African-Americans and Latinos — even though whites use drugs at about the same rate as everybody else. If you don’t believe that, take a look at Alexander’s The New Jim Crow. She breaks down the statistics, usage rates, arrest rates, incarceration rates, and the fallout in communities from incarceration. It’s devastating.

In effect, the War on Drugs creates a new class of people who lose their rights and become objects of discrimination. 

Franklin talked about how it’s done in the black community. He said that young African-American police officers are recruited into drug units so they can infiltrate black communities.

“When I was on my first assignment, in the same barracks, in the basement was a squad of undercover narcs. I would bump into the sergeant from time to time. The sergeant said you ought to come in. … Before I knew it I was a member of that squad. 

“You do this work and you got on blinders, tunnel vision. There was not data for us to analyze our work and know what we’re doing.”

Franklin says there were two black-owned nightclubs in the Maryland town where he was assigned. He made drug buys from people he met at the club — not from anyone who owned or ran the club. The buys made from contacts he made at one club never took place anywhere near the club. However, police were able to shut both clubs down as hubs of drug activity.

Another case he later told me about was how the reputation of a historically black university was sullied. 

“I recruited this young man right out of the state police academy to make buys,” says Franklin. “All he found was a little bit of marijuana on the entire campus. But we made it sound like there was a huge drug problem on the entire campus. … It wasn’t true. The reason we used for targeting that community was completely false and upside-down.”

Franklin’s stories hit me personally. My brother-in-law is a retired military detective who worked on a drug squad. His son, my nephew, is a detective in Illinois who once did undercover drug work making buys.

I called my nephew and asked if he had been recruited to the job. He said yes. When I suggested that it was because he is black and upper administration needed young black men to infiltrate the community, he didn’t agree. He said it was because they noted his work ethic.

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