Tag Archive | "marijuana"

The E-Joint Has Arrived



New Marijuana Device Has its Advocates and Critics




Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



It’s discreet, disposable, and mild—and they’re changing the way people consume marijuana.

At a recent Seahawks football game in Seattle, Shady Sadis, 41, took a drag on a slim vapor pen that looked like a jet black Marlboro.  The tip glowed red as he inhaled.

But the pen contained no nicotine.  Instead, it held 250 milligrams of cannabis oil loaded with THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.

“Nobody noticed,” said Sadis, who owns several marijuana dispensaries in Washington State.  “You pull it out of your pocket, take a hit like a cigarette, put it back, and you’re done.  It’s so discreet.”

“This day and age, everybody has a vapor pen,” he said.  “You don’t know if they’re smoking marijuana or nicotine.”

“It’s the iPod of vaporizers,” said one enthusiast.  It’s “very Apple,” his friend agreed.

The device, called a JuJu Joint, heralds a union that seems all but inevitable: marijuana and the e-cigarette, together at last in an e-joint.  For years, people have been stuffing marijuana in various forms into portable vaporizers and into the cartridges of e-cigarettes.  But the JuJu Joint is disposable, requires no charging of batteries or loading of cartridges, and comes filled with 150 hits.  

You take it out of the package and put it to your lips — that’s it.  There is no smoke and no smell.

Since their introduction in April, 75,000 JuJu Joints have been sold in Washington State, where marijuana is recreationally and medically legal.  The maker says that 500,000 will be sold this year and that there are plans to expand to Colorado and Oregon, where recreational use is legal, and to Nevada, where it is decriminalized.

“I wanted to eliminate every hassle that has to do with smoking marijuana,” said Rick Stevens, 62, the inventor and co-founder of JuJu Joints with Marcus Charles, a Seattle entrepreneur.  “I wanted it to be discreet and easy for people to handle.  There’s no odor, matches or mess.”

Not everyone is so enthusiastic.  Many addiction researchers fear that e-cigarettes will pave the way to reliance on actual cigarettes, especially in teenagers.  And THC adversely affects the developing brain, some studies have found, impairing attention and memory in adolescents and exacerbating psychiatric problems.

“In some ways, e-joints are a perfect storm of a problematic delivery system, the e-cigarette, and in addition a problematic substance, cannabis oil,” said Dr. Petros Levounis, the chairman of the psychiatry department at Rutgers New Jersey Medical School.

Each JuJu Joint contains 100 milligrams of THC, twice as much as a traditional joint, as well as propylene glycol, a chemical normally used to absorb water in foods and cosmetics, said Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin, an associate professor of psychiatry at Yale University School of Medicine.

“We do not know the effects of inhaling constant doses of this agent,” she said.  “We know very little about these products and what they contain.”

Stevens, a former marketing executive who spent 30 years in the tobacco industry, defended the device’s THC content, pointing out that each inhalation is metered by the device.  “Our goal is not to get people stoned so they sit in corner and vegetate,” he said.

Local retailers report that JuJu Joints are catching on, especially with women and consumers in their 40s to 60s.

“You wouldn’t believe the demographic this has opened up,” said Ed Vallejo, 60, a manager at New Vansterdam, a recreational store in Vancouver, Wash.  “This is the older, retired set.  The younger set can’t afford it.”

“I love the convenience of it,” drag queen Jinkx Monsoon said, taking a drag for the first time, pointing out it’s perfect for singers since “you don’t have to burn something and inhale the smoke.”

JuJu Joints for recreational use cost $65 to $100 each, 25 percent of which goes to the state’s Liquor Control Board.  It costs a suggested donation of $25 at medical dispensaries.  Purchasers must be at least 21.

“The underlying reason people buy it is because of its design and because you can smoke it in public,” said Lindsay Middleton, 21, a bud-tender at Green Lady Marijuana, a recreational store in Olympia.  Though smoking marijuana in public is illegal, customers report using JuJu Joints while skiing, hiking and going to concerts.

One may not immediately feel anything after using the JuJu Joint— the company website says to “enjoy three or four hits and give it five minutes.”  Even when it does hit its user, it’s a softer high than most are used to.  After you’ve taken a few drags, one can slip the device into their pocket without worrying about spilling ashes or weed into their pants.

Law enforcement agencies are concerned that discreet vapor pens filled with cannabis oil are already being abused by teenagers, and that many are sure to lay hands on JuJu Joints.

“If you go on Instagram, you will find hundreds of thousands of postings by kids on how they are using variants of e-cigarettes, or e-cigarettes themselves, to smoke pot in the presence of their parents and at school, and getting by,” said Barbara Carreno, a spokeswoman for the Drug Enforcement Agency.

According to the latest Monitoring the Future Survey, an annual study of 40,000 teenagers conducted by the University of Michigan and funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2014 marked the first year that more teenagers used e-cigarettes than traditional ones.

The study also found that in the past year, 35.1 percent of 12th graders consumed marijuana, making it the most common illicit drug among high school seniors.

But users of medical marijuana may prove to be the largest market for e-joints.  The Food and Drug Administration recognizes no legitimate medical use, and there is little high-quality research backing marijuana as a remedy for the scores of conditions for which it is being used.

A few studies, however, suggest ingredients in marijuana may help relieve pain and improve appetite in patients with cancer, AIDS and multiple sclerosis.  Some researchers argue that marijuana — especially in the form of nebulized vapor — could be found beneficial to even more patients, if the federal government loosened research restrictions.

“There may be and probably is a legitimate medical use for vaping cannabis, but we need to do the research to figure out if it’s true and to find out the dosing,” said Otis Brawley, the chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society.  “But with marijuana being a Schedule 1 drug, it’s so onerous to get the licensure that many people actually skilled to do the research just choose not to.”

Ocean Greens cannabis shop owner Oltion Hyseni says there are a lot of reasons the e-joint is so popular.  ”A lot of people that are new to recreational marijuana or are coming back after years of nonsmoking, they prefer vapes over smoke.  Juju Joints are good for people who don’t want to get so baked they can’t talk, don’t want to set something on fire, and don’t want to inhale carcinogens.  Health-wise, it doesn’t have the agents that smoke has—that’s the number-one benefit,” Hyseni says.

Even though the oil in Juju Joints contains about 40 percent THC—twice the amount of THC as what you’d find in the plant material of a traditional joint— it’s a different experience.

“The first few times I tried one, I didn’t think it was making me high.  It smelled lovely and solved all the problems I associated with other vaporizers, but still, where was the high?” Chris Frizelle said.  “Only 10 or 15 minutes later did I start to feel something, and when I did, it wasn’t the same high I was used to.  It didn’t scramble my brain.  I could read a book without getting lost in the shapes of the letters, like I do if I smoke a regular joint.”

“It was fine, but I missed the sensation of smoking a joint,” said one friend after trying it.  “I felt sort of stoned but in a different way.  It was less intense, but it was kind of weirder.”

The old school way had folks making their own hash oil; grinding up the weed and flushing it with a solvent: alcohol, naphtha, hexane, butane, propane—just about any solvent will do, and stuffing it into a vaporizer by hand.

 ”People left and right are blowing up their houses doing this,” Stevens said, holding up a bottle of cannabis oil someone had made with butane as the solvent. “It’s dangerous.  The other thing about using petrochemicals is that they end up in the final product, so Juju Joints don’t use petrochemicals in the first place.”

After simple trial and error, Stevens devised a system that uses liquid CO2, which is safe to ingest and also acts as a sterilizer—taking care of any bugs, mold, or mildew that might be in the weed.

Stevens is now developing a JuJu Joint that contains only cannabidiol, or CBD, a nonpsychoactive extract of marijuana that advocates say can prevent seizures.  This version contains less than 0.3 percent THC, so it would be legal nationwide.

The world belongs to those who build a better mousetrap, and the sky appears to be the limit for cannabis connoisseurs and entrepreneurs alike in this day and age.


~Via MSN News, NYT, The Stranger, YouTube, JuJu Joint

* * * * * * * * *

Want to know more?   Here’s the unofficial stoner’s review.



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Follow The Rules For Growing Weed, Or Else…



District Attorney Relies on a Different Tactic: Civil Lawsuits




Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



Do greedy growers who flaunt the law get what they deserve– and does crime really pay?

Humboldt County is at the forefront of an almost-legal, agribusiness weed-growing industry.  It’s an economic staple, an ever-prevasive and copiously prevalent culture with the District Attorney giving it the wink and a nod of an almost-legal permissiveness. 

However, cannabis farmers aren’t completely immune.  They need to follow the rules.  Even the small players.

One pot farmer found the regulations a real bummer– and found out the hard way that he may have to pay up.

A Humboldt County marijuana farmer found with 99 lbs. of buds and 1,039 plants has been civilly sued by the DA– for breaking environmental, fish and game and zoning regulations.

Courtney Fleming has been sued by the Humboldt County District Attorney for unfair competition and violations of numerous regulations. 

Fleming, according to District Attorney Paul Gallegos, allegedly cleared timberland, built greenhouses, filled in streams, dug a large hole in the ground for a toilet, and stored diesel fuel and motor oil, all without the proper permits.  He also failed to provide workers’ compensation insurance for his employees.

While law enforcement typically issues criminal complaints bringing the matter before the courts, the Humboldt County District Attorney has relied on something altogether different.  They sued Courtney Fleming on Dec. 9, alleging unfair competition and violations of health, labor and environmental laws on his 1.25-acre marijuana farm.

It’s not the marijuana he grew outside of compliance of Proposition 215–  it’s the way he did it.

The unfair competition charge stems from Fleming’s alleged failure to seek permits.

First, Fleming cleared about 1.25 acres of timberland without a Timberland Conversion Permit or a license to engage in timber operations, according to the complaint in Humboldt County Superior Court.

He then built 15 greenhouses and other structures, including drying sheds and residential structures.  He set up two 1,028-gallon fuel containers to power a 45 KW generator, a 5-gallon tank for waste oil, 1,700 gallons of liquid fertilizer and four 2,400-gallon water tanks with an electric system to mix in the water with
the fertilizer, the DA says.

Then, allegedly without permits again, Fleming pumped water out of the Mad River to water his crops, endangering fish and other living things, and he built a toilet by digging a large hole in the ground, according to the complaint.

Fleming filled a seasonal creek with soil and cut vegetation and pushed materials cleared off the property, into creeks, without following waste discharge requirements.  He had no hazardous materials business plan, nor a permit for the use of red dye diesel and liquid fertilizer, nor a Spill Prevention, Control and Countermeasure Plan for its fuel tanks, according to the complaint.

Fleming also failed to get a permit and an Environmental Protection Agency identification number for storing used motor oil, the DA prosecutor says.

None of his employees were covered by workers’ compensation insurance, and no waste permit was pulled for the portable toilets, according to the complaint.

District Attorney Paul Gallegos and the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office seeks a permanent injunction, and a civil penalty of $2,500 for the many violations.

It’s been big money for the growers who have cashed in on the new Green Rush.  Marijuana is an economic staple, particularly in Humboldt. 

Jennifer Budwig, a banking and economic  analyst, estimated that marijuana infused more than $415 million into the county’s annual economic activity in 2012, one-quarter of the total amount.  Others believe it is a much larger figure now— perhaps a billion dollar industry.

In Humboldt, epicenter of the Emerald Triangle trade, the booming business of marijuana has threatened the vibrant ecosystems of the area, critics insist.

Environmentalists have awakened to the fact that hilltops have been leveled to make room for the crop.  Bulldozers start landslides on erosion-prone mountainsides.  Road and dam construction clog some streams with dislodged soil; others are bled dry by diversions.  Little water is left for salmon whose populations have been decimated by logging.  Pesticides and rodenticides have been killing off the
local wildlife.

The environmental damage may not be as extensive as that caused by the 19th-century diking of Humboldt Bay or the advent of 20th-century clear-cut logging practices, but the romantic outlaw culture has become a destructive juggernaut thrashing the environment, many believe.

And local and state jurisdictions’ ability to deal with the problem has been hobbled by, among other things, the drug’s murky legal status.  Some growers ethically operate within state medicinal marijuana guidelines; others clandestinely operate totally outside the law without regard.

A local group, the Emerald Growers Association, recently produced a handbook on sustainable practices.

“There is an identity crisis going on right now,” said Gary Graham Hughes, executive director of the Environmental Protection Information Center in Arcata.

“The people who are really involved with this industry are trying to understand what their responsibilities are,” Hughes said.

~Via Courthouse News, Times-Standard, Kym Kemp,
  NYT, CBS-San Francisco



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Blackfeet Tribe Thought Rez Drug Abuse Story ‘Needed to Be Told’


Staff Pick **VIDEO**


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



Welsh filmmaker Josh Cole’s Alive is about drug use, crime and ceremony on the Blackfeet Indian Reservation.

It inspired a tremendous reaction from Indian country:  some viewers praised the clip for its tale of drug abuse on the Rez and spiritual redemption; others felt it was exploitative and disrespectful of the ceremonies it depicts.

Cole filmed the video on the Blackfeet Reservation in Browning, Montana, and worked with Blackfeet tribal members during the course of its creation.

A reformed drug addict himself, Cole has followed stories around the world where the worst drug abuse is common.  He feels it’s his mission through his films to try to steer people into recovery– as a thanks to those that helped him with his own addiction.

Shocked to hear stories about the reservations, he started researching and putting together a story based on the stuff he was told about.  “All my work is about the beauty that comes from hardship, and I wanted to tell the story of the spiritual awakening of a drug addict in a Native American community,” Cole says.

Several members of The Crazy Dogs Society in Browning are reformed alcoholics and they connected with Cole’s concept.   It was basically their own story, too, they said, and they regularly help those with addictions through ceremony on
the Rez.

Cole met with several community leaders of the Tribal Council and the Cultural Attaché of the Blackfeet Nation.  They gave him their blessing; he was allowed to shoot anywhere in Blackfeet territory.

The community basically backed the project, Cole says.

 “We were repeatedly told by various people how much they thought this story needed to be told.  I feel I could return there any time with my head held high,” he said.

“I’m also told the film has been very well received by people living not only on the Blackfeet Reservation but also on other reservations.   It still moves me when I think how much the people of Browning came together to help.”

Still, some scenes were controversial at first and taken into consideration.  Cole says:

“I was extremely sensitive when talking to the Crazy Dogs about the ceremonies and always said that we could shoot an alternative scene.

They spent a day or so discussing it with all members and they decided collectively they wanted the scene to be in the film.  They felt like they wanted it to be shown and I gave them many opportunities to make sure they were happy.  It meant a lot to me that they wanted to show this to the world.

They told me that they wanted to use the video to help to heal the youth of the Blackfeet Nation.  I should also say we didn’t film an actual ceremony — both the sweat lodge scene and the Sundance scene were mock ceremonies set up by the Crazy Dogs themselves to their exact specifications.

I had no control whatsoever over the look or sequence of the scene, nor did I want it.  I also had no interest in filming an actual ceremony — at every step of the process I was led by the
advice of the Crazy Dogs. 

I am ever grateful for that as I was led by a much greater knowledge than my own, as I am with most of my work.”

How does Cole respond to those critics sensitive to his portrayal?

He had this to say:

“I believe my portrayal of Browning is not negative.  It is ultimately a story of redemption and shows the elders of the community coming around the boy to heal him.

If you don’t show the darkness in a realistic way the young people I’m trying to reach will not take it seriously.  However, there is an element of drama as I want all my work to reach the masses, but it is always subverted as I believe I have done here.

You have to remember that in the States the concept of Native Americans living in severe poverty is old news, but in Europe people have no idea.  None!

I think this is something people here should know about.  So this video serves a dual purpose – to show Europeans some of the conditions on reservations and also to give a Native community an opportunity to show both its darkness and its beauty.

I want to thank again the Blackfeet Nation and the Crazy Dogs Society for all the love we were shown.”

 ~Via Josh Cole, Indian Country Today,
Vimeo, Evan Zimmer/Calvert Hall


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Because ‘I Got High’


Driving a Stoned Sofa




Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



Afroman’s old novelty song has taken on a whole new toke.

The simple little tune once sluggishly lamented the lethargy and uselessness of weed consumption.  But it’s been given a rework to promote the legalization of marijuana. 

Now, I Got High (Positive Remix) lists the healing qualities of weed– ranging from the treatment of glaucoma to staving urges to consume booze, cigarettes and Xanax– while also pointing out legalization benefits to society, mellowing out some criminal activity, and underscoring how amusing it is to drive a sofa on the streets

The remix of the 2001 track is a collaboration with online community Weedmaps and marijuana reform campaign NORML in the run-up for votes taking place in November in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia to decide on the legalization of marijuana, while Florida will decide on a medical marijuana amendment.

Speaking to Rolling Stone, Afroman described how the original song, which landed him a record deal and a Grammy nomination, might be a tool to influence the forthcoming reform.

“Getting high– and rapping about it– got me to where I am today and I’ll be forever grateful for that,” he said.

“With the current political battle of states trying to legalize weed, I thought it was a good time to educate– or set the record straight– about marijuana’s benefits, which is why I wanted to remake the song.”

Afroman’s original single was lifted from the album of the same name and became a huge hit.  It was picked up by the stoner flick Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back and hit No. 1 in nine countries.

While the controversial promotion of weed via song has a long lineage in the music world, this pro-marijuana remix comes stoking on the heels of Pharrell Williams and Snoop Dogg’s recent track for corporate-branded marijuana which appears in a video for Kurupt’s Moon Rock and sold at some medical cannabis dispensaries in California.

Afroman’s positive take on cannabis has apparently hit a chord:  the above video scored 2.2 million views on YouTube in 3 days.

And to note, 23 states have legalized medical marijuana thus far. 

Nonetheless, we don’t advocate driving sofas under the influence, whatsoever.


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The Government War on the Garden of Eden



An Eco-Community Under Assault


**VIDEO** by We Are Change


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



Paradise Lost.

Dedicated to living sustainably by raising fresh food, utilizing earthen materials for building projects, and facilitating “a human’s highest potential,” the Garden of Eden is an alternative community– providing food, shelter and sustainability education classes and workshops freely to the public since 2009.

Their 3.5 acres of land contains chickens, bees, composting stations, a large vegetable garden and many wildcrafted trees and plants that are used for foods, medicines, and household and beauty products.  Their vision is to be a fully self-sustaining center for education on sustainable living.

We Are Change’s Luke Rudkowski traveled to Dallas, Texas, to meet with Quinn Eaker of the Garden of Eden community.  In the video above, Eaker relates the Garden of Eden’s mission and how recent actions from the city and state has harassed, intimidated, fined, and threatened the very existence of their small community.

Here’s what happened.

In August of 2013, Arlington police raided a sustainable farm called the Garden of Eden looking for an extensive marijuana enterprise.

They didn’t find any weed.  Or a cannabis enterprise of any sort.  And the city still won’t release documents explaining why it erroneously believed the property was a drug empire.

In a warrant to search the premises, Arlington police cited a host of tips that the small farm was harvesting marijuana.  

That intelligence was unreliable, however, and Arlington police aren’t disclosing the reports that led to the warrant and August 2, 2013 raid at the little eco-community on Mansfield-Cardinal Rd.

The city claims those documents are privileged and not subject to a Freedom of Information Act request.  Quinn is awaiting a ruling from the Texas Attorney General to obtain those documents.

In the meantime, the city did provide 68 pages of correspondence and citations with the Garden of Eden dating back to February 2013.  Inexplicably, the city also handed over an audio recording of a public hearing on code violations at the garden titled, “Lady VIP:  Dare to be Rich.”

Property owner Shellie Smith vigorously denied many of the minor code violations, saying what she did on her property was none of the city’s business– provided no one was harmed by her actions.  No one was.

On August 5, code compliance officers took matters into their own hands, aggressively remedying high weeds and grass, improper outside storage of materials, hazardous wiring, improperly stacked firewood and “the misuse of an extension cord.”

Smith was also cited for running a home business without a permit.

It’s a laundry list of minor violations to be sure.  And it hardly calls for a tactical SWAT team and narcotics detectives to be on the scene as Eaker described.       

In the process of hauling away scrap wood, furniture and other items, Eaker, a Garden of Eden founder, said authorities destroyed 17 blackberry bushes, 15 okra plants, 14 tomatillo plants, and numerous native grasses and sunflowers.

“The primary inhabitants at the Garden of Eden have spent hundreds of dollars and thousands of hours of attention to the matters brought upon them by the City of Arlington, none of which have been honorable in any way,” Eaker said.

“It has been a very heavy burden, and has slowed down the progress of community and sustainable growth in many ways,” he added.

For now, the issue appears to be at a bit of a standstill.  Months after the failed ‘drug raid’, the Garden of Eden has yet to get any answers from authorities.

Perhaps the officials-that-be didn’t like the eco-groovy, alternative laid back lifestyle, the lack of structured discipline, naked kids, beautiful sunflowers, and the ukulele-strumming going on.  That may fit fine into the Humboldt lifestyle, but remember this is Texas, after all. 

Eaker says the city is attempting to recoup around $20,000 in fines, but the garden has no plans to pay up.  In fact, Eaker has submitted his own bill to the city in the form of an affidavit of damages.

“They have no idea what they are getting into,” Eaker says.  “They think I’m a lazy dope-smoking hippie, and they are completely wrong.  We will destroy them in court.  Everything is on our side.”

Eaker says he’s spent thousands of hours studying the law since the ordeal began, and he’s prepared to defend the rights of himself and his family, who also live on the farm.

“The issue is that we have been following due process of law since February,” Eaker says.  “We have established that they have no jurisdiction.  They have no authority to tell us what we can and can’t
do with our land.”


~Via We Are Change, Culture Map, Quinn Eaker,
the Garden of Eden, and YouTube

* * * * * * * * * *

Currently Quinn Eaker is looking for legal representation to keep the Garden of Eden going.

They ask that if you could help, please contact http://www.intothegardenofeden.com or gardenofedenvortex@gmail.com.


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Stoned Patients, Stoned Kids


92% of Medical Marijuana Users Say It Works

–But Should Children Be in the Mix?




Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


 Is it a miracle drug?  Patients and parents think so.

A 2013 survey in the New England Journal of Medicine found that nearly 8-in-10 doctors approved the use of medical marijuana, The Washington Post reported.

Now, a wide-ranging survey in California finds that medical marijuana patients agree: 92 percent said that medical marijuana alleviated symptoms of their serious medical conditions, including chronic pain, arthritis, migraine, epilepsy and cancer.

The data come from the California Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, a representative health survey of 7,525 California adults produced by the Public Health Institute in partnership with the CDC.  Researchers found that in total, five percent of California adults said they had used medical marijuana for a “serious medical condition.”

Treating young children with medical marijuana is controverisal.  It isn’t common but it’s happening, and increasingly often. 

Several US states that have legalized the drug to some degree also allow it as an alternative treatment for kids and even toddlers with epilepsy–  Oregon, Colorado, and California.  Illinois may be next on the list.

It appears Cannabidol, or CBD– one of 60 active cannabinoids in the cannabis plant– is the therapeutic miracle component.

Dr. Bonni Goldstein said she’s seen great success with CBD oil– about 70-75 percent of her patients saw a reduction in epileptic seizures, according to her early data.  She pointed to  a 2013 National Institute of Health study published in the journal Epilepsy & Behavior that found similar results: 16 of the 19 children treated with CBD had decreased symptoms of epilepsy, and in two cases the epilepsy disappeared completely.

There are scores of success stories from families with children suffering from leukemia and epilepsy. 

One of Goldstein’s patients, Genesis Rios, said her son suffered from epileptic seizures all day long until she started the CBD treatment. Now, the boy can now go two weeks without having a seizure, she said.

Rios said her son appeared “drugged out” all the time when on traditional epilepsy pharma drugs, but with CBD oil, “He’s actually more alert than he’s ever been before.”

“It’s been basically a miracle,” Rios said.  “He was having seizures 24 hours a day, even when he was sleeping, and none of the medications worked.  Nothing worked, not even surgery.”

Many parents are strongly advocating for the cannabis oil treatment.  The most common version is called Charlotte’s Web, derived from a strain of weed that’s particularly rich in CBD but only contains trace amounts of THC, the psychoactive component of weed that gets you high.

For hundreds of families, it’s a miracle treatment, and epilepsy isn’t the only example.  Austria has prescribed medical marijuana to kids with autism.  In the US, cannabis has been used to treat young kids with leukemia.

But the idea of treating kids with weed is still incredibly controversial.  Some question the validity of the treatment, and the problem is there is very little research to prove the alternative medicine is safe and effective.

Until recently, the war on drugs has hindered our ability to understand the possible benefits such a multifaceted plant can have.  But there’s a movement to change that, championed by the medical professionals who have seen the positive results firsthand, even in children.

“More research is needed, and cannabis should be removed from being a Schedule 1 controlled substance,” said Goldstein, hoping the government will understand how huge an impact the drug can have on the lives of suffering patients and families.


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California Love


The Golden State


**Award-Winning VIDEO**


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



“California is about the good life.

So a bad life there seems so much better than a bad life anywhere else.  Quality is an obsession there– good food, good wine, good movies, coffee, music, weather, cars.

Those sound like the right things to shoot for, but the never-ending quality quest is a lot of pressure when you’re uncertain and disorganized and broker than broke.

Some afternoons a person just wants to rent Die Hard, close the curtains, and have Cheerios for lunch.”

~Sarah Vowell, The Partly Cloudy Patriot


California is between a trip, a fantasy, a vacation and
of course, a reality.

Everyone says the West Coast is the best coast.  Maybe it’s true.

We literally have everything: the ocean, mountains, deserts, fertile valleys, big cities and the teeny-weenie tiny towns dividing a wide and divergent state.  A tantalizing attraction in and of itself, California’s varying landscapes play a big roll for making a great place.

The diversity of its people make the state complete. Due to its laid-back lifestyle, people are warmer and more welcoming compared to the rest of this great nation. There’s something mysterious about California that brings the beautiful people out to live and visit and play… and stay. 

But make no mistake, we also have the nutty, the nonsense,  the delusion and the egomania.  We all think we’ll be young and beautiful forever, even though most of us aren’t even young and beautiful now.  It’s a land where many would look like broken-down, worn out, has-been leathery-faced movie actors if it weren’t for the nip and tuck doctors plying their lonely trade to the insecure.

It rains on the just and the unjust alike.  Except in California.  Maybe it’s the year-round beautiful weather.  The gold rush mentality.  Or the drought, the Vicodin, the weed.

Unlike many other big cities, say Chicago and New York, it’s easy—and almost necessary– to have a car.  People like to drive, to explore, to feel free.  Granted, one can take public transportation, walk and bike and even ski, on roads tantamount for traversing such a large chaotic schizophrenic state that’s filled with political divisions, special bond-issue districts, and homogeneous cookie-cutter shopping nuclei– all with access roads to the common interstate.

California spoils its residents with the Pacific Coast.  From south to north, you can experience the warmer climes of San Diego to the legendary cooler climate of our Humboldt Redwoods.  The two regions of the state are about as similar as night and day, with the exception of earthquakes and tsunamis and wildfires held in a common trust to liven things up from time to time and awaken our senses.

With a couple of thunderstorms and blustery days here and there, the weather can drop temperatures on a cold winter’s day.  Still, a sweater is usually good enough for keeping you warm.  California pretty much has summer year-round– and it only snows in the mountains. 

People here know little about freezing temps because they simply don’t need to.  They understand the Donner Party was an anomaly, an abberant spectre of something gone wrong a long time ago and that could never happen again in this state of effervescent sunshine and tonic and perpetual happiness by the beach.

More than a state, California is a state of mind.  You can rush or stay still, work or play.  It’s an ideal place where you can do (almost) whatever you want, whenever you want.  Or darn close to it.

Many dream of making a life and living here in the Golden State.  Newcomers and transients from all walks of life are drawn by the dream, or running from the nightmare.  They want to make a fresh start, to draw a new lease on life.

Californians invented the concept of life-style and they say the best way to live it up in California is to be from somewhere else.   If you’ve ever had a good cold daiquiri on a hot day in Southern California with the people you love, you’d forget about Nebraska, too.  

There’s a reason why the tune goes, “There’s mirrors on the ceiling, pink champagne on ice, and she said, ‘We’re all just prisoners here, of our own device.’”

Be forewarned, though: Paradise has its limits. Some believe God will break California off from the surface of the continent like breaking off a piece of fine Belgium chocolate.  It will become its own floating paradise of underweight movie stars and dot-commers making for a fat-free Atlantis with superfast Wi-Fi.

Given all this, we say just do it— make the place more golden by being there.


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Mad Max’s Road Warriors—With a Twist


Leave it Up to Those Aussie Bashers




Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


We like the Aussie style of doing things. 
They’re a tough bunch.  And it’s oh so…

The NSW Variety Bash is Australia’s biggest motoring event, raising
more than a million dollars in August each year for kids in need.

It’s 110 weird, wacky, old and tricked-out vehicles run through 2,750
miles of Outback Hell and back. 

The 380 colorful characters who participate provide a unique spectacle akin to a circus caravan for the 17 towns that they visit along the way of New South Wales, South Australia, Queensland and Victoria.

Given that the Bash criteria are that the vehicles must be pre-1974, the colorful convoy is truly something out of a Mad Max movie– but with a charitable cause in hand.

In the video above you’ll spot a spectacular array of vehicles spanning three decades from 1959 to 1974: cars, ambulances, buses and fire trucks.

The oldest car in the fleet is a 1959 Ford Ranch Wagon, while a 1964 ‘Chico Roll’ themed Wolseley 2480 MK2 proved to be the most enduring by having survived 25 previous rough and tumble Bash events.

Other classic cars hitting the road are two Rancheros, 32 Fords, 36 Holdens, some minis, a Volkswagen Beetle, Ramblers, two Chevy Bel Airs, an Austin, a ‘74 Ford F100 Ambulance, and 12 rugged, dirty and dust ridden rag-tag Mercedes.

They rock, roll, rattle and hum into the towns hosting them.  The Bashers deliver much needed resources like sporting equipment, play equipment or special needs/medical equipment along the way to the local schools they visit. 

Schools kids put on events.  Beer, games, Aussie camaraderie and celebration pour forth in great fanfare.  Hotels get into the act sponsoring their locales and favorite vehicles. 

In short, it’s one big party and a hella good time playing
Road Warrior along the dusty ruts of the Outback.  While
there are few real rules, blatant cheating and bribery are encouraged.  Please check your weapons at the door.

To take part in the Bash costs a tax deductible donation of $8,500 to Variety, the children’s charity.  Any amount raised above this may be used for the purpose of bribing and corrupting officials during the event.

Bashers travel in the guises of cowboys, hippies, mermaids, Indians, ladybugs, Smurfs, Shrek, the Flintstones, and Batman and Robin. 

The oldest basher is 80-year-young Beryl Driver; set to complete her 15th Bash dressed as a Mermaid and in her appropriately sea-themed 1963 EH Holden.  We said they were a tough bunch.

The Bash is not a race or a rally as much as it is a hellacious drive in the Outback with fellow like-minded fun raisers.  They drive the miles for the smiles; travelling to parts of Australia they wouldn’t normally see, ramshackling their vintage vehicles to all heck, driving like a bat outta hell, and at the same time raising money to support kids in need. 

Yeah, sounds like fun.  We like the Aussie style of getting things done. 

Since the first Bash began, the event has raised in excess of $115 million with who-knows-how-many miles piled on and cruisers wrecked. 

Someone should tell our local big money cannabis weed farmers of Southern Humboldt to put their jacked up 4X4s to a similarly good use and charitable cause.

~Via Vimeo, NSW Variety Bash,
and Australasian Paint and Panel


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Aging, Swimming, and Marijuana


Meet the Aquadettes

Award-Winning VIDEO


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


These California Girls have character.

75-year-old Margo Bouer reflects on growing old, using marijuana, and her synchronized swim team, the Aquadettes.

California is a Place, from photographers turned filmmakers Drea Cooper and Zackary Canepari, profiles unique, interesting people who happen to be citizens of the Golden State.

In this film they travel  south to Leisure World, where their lens finds a lovely group of ladies who, in retirement, find fitness and friendship through synchronized swimming.

The regular aquabatics practice helps maintain their health and strength, with members suffering arthritis, joint replacements, and other health challenges.  They stay active with the Aquadettes; for Margo, marijuana has been another blessing on the side.

Emotional without being condescending, the ladies are upfront about the reality of aging and enthusiastic about what they do.  Watching this is a splendid use of ten minutes, and we highly recommend you do so. 

The biggest users of our medical system are senior citizens, and it should come as no surprise that when medical marijuana first became available in California, seniors were some of the first to try it out.  Seniors found that medical marijuana works on a large variety of illnesses that modern medicine has yet to effectively treat.

Aging can be a graceful, sociable, and active thing.  And marijuana, appropriately used, can be a healthy addition for older citizens.  It’s not something unique and special and secret for the young anymore.

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To see more videos from California Is a Place, visit  http://californiaisaplace.com/.

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The Laid-Back Arcata Farmers Market


Good Food, Good Vibes



Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


Just another Saturday morning at the Farmers Market on the Plaza in downtown Arcata, California.

Over the years, folks have become loyal groupies of the Farmers Market.  

They wait for the seasons of harvest like anticipating the arrival of Christmas.  Why?  It’s a fun place to walk around, buy and eat good food, and meet friends.

The Arcata Farmer’s Market is more than a farmer’s market.  It’s a destination spot.  There’s a lot to see here:  a celebratory lovefest hub of entertainment, vendors, local flavor and some great people watching. You can easily be occupied for several hours taking it all in.

One of the biggest and best farmers market around, there’s a fairly large selection of stuff:  eggs, plants, juices, mushrooms, soaps, seafood, garlic, flowers, herbs, cacti, regular produce fruits and vegetables, and a gazillion other groovy things.

You can pick up all sorts of goodies here.  There is honey fresh from the hive.  Locally fished and smoked salmon.  Tamales and fried things.  Coffee from Los Bagels, the best darkest sweetest French Roast you’ll ever have in del todo mundo.  Candles, crafts, olives, and sweets.

Even beanies spun out of some lady’s bunnies’ hair.

Many of the growers know exactly what they’re talking about and will be straight up with you on how their food is grown and whether or not a plant will survive where you plan on taking it. They love what they’re doing and like showing the passion for their mission.

The prices vary depending on what you’re looking for and what stand you buy from, so it helps to look around and barter a bit– but understand that some things are only available at one stand.

Oh, to frolic amongst the wannabe hippies, yuppies, jugglers, lumberjacks and potheads. Take our word for it, where else can you see a menagerie of people like this?  And where might you find excellent food, crafts, music, and stories to go along with it?

With an atmosphere that’s way laid back and all unto its own, locals bring their own bags or baskets to bring home their fresh, organically-grown produce.  Those that are less than local end up purchasing a bag or basket so they can look cool, too.  It’s all good.  Everyone takes part in the pleasant scene and the overall vibe happening.

And no, there are no weed vendors here… well, none that are legal and part of the Farmer’s Market.

With the smell of marijuana and patchouli and fresh onions in the air, you know you are in Humboldt County– and the Farmer’s Market is the highlight of Humboldt’s quintessential laid-back culture.

Peace and love, vegetables and broccoli, do still abound.



Kinetic Grand Championship Plaza Start 2008 from Kimberly Perkins on Vimeo.

Videos courtesy of Michael LM Joyce and Kimberly Perkins. 
Photos by Ben G.


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Wishes of the Rich and Powerful


Study:  America is an Oligarchy–
Not a Democracy



Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


We serve the rich and powerful.  So tell us something
we don’t know.

A new study by researchers from Princeton and Northwestern Universities finds that America’s government policies reflect the wishes of the rich and of powerful interest groups, rather than the wishes of the majority of citizens.

The researchers examined close to 1,800 U.S. policy changes in the years between 1981 and 2002.  They compared those policy changes with the expressed preferences of the median American, at the 50th percentile of income; with affluent Americans, at the 90th percentile of income; and with the position of powerful interest and lobbying groups.

What emerges from the research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy.  Meanwhile, mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence. 

The study found that the positions of powerful interest groups are “not substantially correlated with the preferences of average citizens,” meaning that to the extent that special interests groups have political power, they are driving our government’s decision making process away from the interests of the average American.

Our current system of a competing thicket of special interest groups all fighting for influence is not equal to a true representation of the wishes of the citizenry.  Whether or not the majority of Americans will ever tire and protest of being systematically marginalized remains an open question. 

We suspect nothing will ever happen until everyone’s cable TV gets taken away, because we just couldn’t tolerate that type of injustice.  He who has the gold, rules:  perhaps we can help serve them love and lunch, like good natured and inclusively minded Cole Escola does.

An excerpt, the full PDF of the study is here.

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Are we an oligarchy or a democracy?

This is a point the Humboldt Sentinel has been making all along. 

With its listing of polls in which Americans, as opposed to most of their leaders, favor progressive policies that have been consistently ignored, we have to wonder in which direction America is going in.

Here’s our current rundown of examples and it’s the short list:

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Humboldt Weed: ‘One Good Year’


Feature Film Documentary Premiers April 14



Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



“In Humboldt County, everyone has sticky stuff on their fingers…Every business in this county relies on the marijuana business.”
~Grower, One Good Year


One Good Year is all about the Humboldt weed.

While “Humboldt” has become synonymous the world over with high-grade marijuana for both the medical and black markets, the outside world knows little about the farmers themselves and their lives, history, dreams, and hopes for the future.

A feature length documentary in post production relating the inside story of Humboldt’s legendary pot-growing culture, One Good Year follows the everyday lives of four medical marijuana growers and their unique community.

Directed by local author, nursery owner, author, and volunteer firefighter Mikal Jakubal, the film is set in the remotely familiar hills where “Humboldt Grown” is well known.  Why did he do it?

As Jakubal explains:

“Humboldt pot farmers maintain one of the last remaining small farming economies in the country, the last of a tradition where people working the land with their hands could still sustain themselves and their families.

This is why we have to show the world the real face of pot farming.  Otherwise, when the inevitable regulation or legalization happens, we’ll be excluded by laws based on the paranoid public perception of pot farming as a dangerous,
gangster activity.

As the marijuana economy moves mainstream, we need to keep it democratic and accessible to farmers at any scale.

I think my film will go a long way toward that end by influencing public perception in a positive way.”


The outside world knows little about the marijuana growing culture.  One Good Year offers us a peak into it. 

You can expect the premier opening happening next month, on April 14.  We expect it to come closer to home soon for a showing.  Mikal won’t let us down.



Film and Photo CreditOne Good Year, Mikal Jakubal, Vimeo

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The Cannabis Farmers Market


Medical Marijuana Farmers Selling Direct to Patients



Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


It’s not your typical everyday farmers market.

Instead of tomatoes and cabbage and cucumbers, customers purchase medical cannabis.

The NW Cannabis Market hosts a variety of vendors who sell their products wholesale and direct to anyone with a recommendation for medical marijuana.  

Located in Washington state, the market fosters a conversation between farmers and patients about the process, ingredients, and specific health effects of the product.

Giving the patient more control over their medication and price, the ‘farmer’s market’ model offers insight into consumer demands for growers’ knowledge, while applying the simple basics of supply and demand to set the cost just as any marketplace does.

Though not completely unique (similar markets exist in Washington) the unique farm-to-consumer model has enormous potential to benefit the medical marijuana community, advocates and consumers alike insist.

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Governor Brown Wary Of Marijuana Legalization in the Golden State


‘The World is Too Dangerous for Competition and Potheads’


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


SAN FRANCISCOThe Golden State hopes to remain golden– and not too stoned and tarnished.

California Gov. Jerry Brown said he is not sure legalizing marijuana is a good idea in his state because the country could lose its competitive edge if too many people are getting stoned.

If pot smoking gains more legitimacy in the nation’s most populous state, Brown said he worries it could have negative ripple effects.

“The problem with anything, a certain amount is OK. But there is a tendency to go to extremes,” he said in a wide-ranging interview aired Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

”And all of a sudden, if there’s advertising and legitimacy, how many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation?” Brown said.

Californians voted to legalize medical marijuana in 1996.  But Brown said he is watching closely to see how Colorado and Washington handle their new laws that go a step further by regulating the growth and sale of taxed recreational marijuana at state-licensed stores.

Colorado’s pot shops opened Jan. 1, and Washington’s are expected to open later this year.

“We have medical marijuana, which gets very close to what they have in Colorado and Washington.  I’d really like those two states to show us how it’s going to work,” he said.  

“The world’s pretty dangerous, very competitive.  I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together.”

Brown, who was interviewed remotely from San Francisco, also discussed California’s drought problems, climate change and his future political career.

Now, as he prepares to run for his fourth term as governor, Brown said that despite his progressive politics, the key to turning California’s budget deficit into a projected multibillion-dollar budget surplus was exerting fiscal discipline.

“You’ve got to be tough on spending. No matter how liberal you want to be, at the end of the day, fiscal discipline is the fundamental predicate of a free society,” he said.

Brown also mused about the Democratic Party’s future, saying he favored a Hillary Clinton bid for president in 2016.

“She’s got more experience, both domestic and international,” he said. “I mean, it’s her nomination if she wants it, as far as I’m concerned.”


Via Google News/SF Gate News

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Obama Punts Marijuana Classification to Congress



“Schedule I Narcotic Is A Job for Congress”




Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


President Barack Obama says in a new interview that that it’s up to Congress to remove marijuana from the federal government’s list of the most serious narcotics, implying but not explicitly saying that he might support such a move.

In an interview that aired Friday on CNN, Obama was pressed on recent remarks he made to the New Yorker that marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol, and on whether he would push to remove pot from the Drug Enforcement Agency’s list of so-called “Schedule I” narcotics.

“First of all, what is and isn’t a Schedule I narcotic is a job for Congress,” Obama said.

“I stand by my belief, based, I think, on the scientific evidence, that marijuana, for casual users, individual users, is subject to abuse, just like alcohol is and should be treated as a public health problem and challenge,” Obama added.

“But as I said in the interview, my concern is when you end up having very heavy criminal penalties for individual users that have been applied unevenly, and in some cases, with a racial disparity.”

The DEA is required to make determinations, Obama said, but based on laws passed by Congress.  A spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy tweeted Wednesday that the attorney general can reclassify marijuana after a scientific review, but that it was “not likely given current science.”

But Obama wouldn’t specifically back congressional action to remove the schedule I classification for marijuana in the interview.

The drug is already treated differently than other drugs in the schedule I category.  It is decriminalized for medical purposes in almost two-dozen states, and Colorado and Washington state recently became the first to allow it for recreational use.  The Obama administration has cautiously allowed those two states to move forward in implementing their new recreational pot markets, while warning that it will react swiftly if the drug finds its way across state lines or into the hands of minors.

“We’re going to see what happens in the experiments in Colorado and Washington,” Obama said.  The DEA takes an opposing view.

“The Department of Justice, you know, under Eric Holder, has said that we are going to continue to enforce federal laws.  But in those states, we recognize that we don’t have… the resources to police whether somebody is smoking a joint on a corner.  And we are trying to provide them structures to make sure that, you know, big time drug traffickers, the spillover effect of the violence, potentially, of a drug trade are not creeping out of this experiment.”

Obama has admitted to his own drug use as a student in his memoir, Dreams From My Father, writing of using marijuana and “maybe a little blow.”

“But I do offer a cautionary note,” Obama said.

“…Those who think legalization is a panacea, I think they have to ask themselves some tough questions, too, because if we start having a situation where big corporations with a lot of resources and distribution and marketing arms are suddenly going out there peddling marijuana, then the levels of abuse that may take place are going to be higher.”

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(Via Google News/YouTube/Family Guy)

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Recreational Pot Industry Legally Opens for Business in Colorado


Rocky Mountain High


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


DENVER, Co.– They lined up before dawn and in the snow on Wednesday, baby boomers from Nebraska, retirees from Denver and a young man who had driven all
day from Ohio.

They were among the hundreds of tourists and residents across Colorado who eagerly took part in the country’s first-ever sales of state-regulated recreational marijuana.  They walked into 40 shops, from downtown Denver to snowy ski resorts, flashed their identifications and, in a single transaction, took part in what supporters hailed as a historic departure from drug laws focused on punishment and prohibition.

“It makes you giddy to say it: I went into a store and bought pot,” Linda Walmsley said as she walked out of the Denver Kush Club, where a line of shivering customers stretched down the block.

While about 20 states allow medical marijuana, voters in Colorado and Washington State decided last year to go one step further, becoming the first in the nation to legalize small amounts of the plant for recreational use and regulate it like alcohol.  

Colorado began promptly on New Year’s Day.

To supporters, it was a watershed moment in the country’s tangled relationship with the drug.  They said it was akin to the end of Prohibition, albeit with joints being passed instead of champagne being uncorked.

To skeptics, it represented a grand folly that they predicted would tarnish the image of a state whose official song is John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” and lead to higher teenage drug use and more impaired driving.  

The governor and the Denver mayor both opposed legalization and stayed away from the celebrations and inaugural sales on Wednesday.

Regulators said Colorado’s first sales — on a day called Green Wednesday by enthusiasts– went smoothly. Security guards were stationed outside dispensaries, and police officers and state officials watched closely.

Skeptical federal authorities are also paying attention.  Although marijuana remains illegal under federal law, the Justice Department has given tentative approval for Colorado and Washington to move ahead with regulating marijuana.  But it warned that federal officials could intervene if the state regulations failed to keep the drug away from children, drug cartels or federal property, and out of other states.

On Wednesday, Colorado had eight investigators out checking retailers’ licenses, inspecting packaging and labeling, and ensuring that stores reviewed customers’ identification to see if they were 21 or older, said Ron Kammerzell, the director of enforcement for Colorado’s Department of Revenue.

“So far, so good,” he said.

Ever since voters in Colorado and Washington approved recreational marijuana last year, the states have been racing to
devise rules on how to grow it, sell it, tax it and track it.

In both Colorado and Washington, recreational marijuana has been legal for more than a year.  Adults can smoke it in their living rooms and eat marijuana-laced cookies without fear of arrest.  In Colorado, they are even allowed to grow up to six plants at home.  But until Wednesday, marijuana dispensaries could sell only to customers with a doctor’s recommendation and a state-issued medical marijuana card.

Many people who lined up on Wednesday said they did not have medical cards, and had relied on drug dealers or friends with medical marijuana to satisfy their cravings.  They were paying high prices for new recreational marijuana — $50 to $60 for an eighth of an ounce, nearly double the price of medical marijuana — but said it was worthwhile to avoid the risk.

“People don’t like breaking the law,” said Andy Williams, who runs the Medicine Man dispensary in an industrial park in Denver.  “The burden has been taken off them.”

Now, any Colorado resident who is at least 21 can buy up to an ounce of marijuana at one of the dispensaries that began selling to retail customers on Wednesday.  Out-of-state visitors can buy a quarter-ounce, but they have to consume it here.  

Carrying marijuana across state lines remains illegal, and the plant is not allowed at Denver International Airport.

On Wednesday, some tourists puzzled over where they would consume their purchases.  It is illegal to smoke marijuana in public, in public parks or in campgrounds, and it is against the rules at many hotels. One group from Nebraska said it would find a parking lot and roll up the car windows.  Others said they would return to their hotels and crack the windows.  Some bought marijuana-laced baked goods to avoid the problem altogether.

Kirstin Knouse, 24, flew here from Chicago with her husband, Tristan, to take her first marijuana vacation, and she said the couple would smoke their marijuana at the home of a cousin.  She said that she suffered from seizures and fibromyalgia, and her husband from post-traumatic stress, but that they had not been able to get medical marijuana at home.  When Colorado opened sales to out-of-state residents, she said they leapt at the chance.

“This is our dream,” Ms. Knouse said.  “We’re thinking about moving here because of it.”

Washington’s marijuana system is at least several months behind Colorado’s, meaning that fully stocked retail shelves probably will not be a reality for consumers until perhaps June.

While Colorado has incorporated the existing medical marijuana system, Washington is starting from scratch, with all production and sale of legal recreational marijuana linked to a new system of licenses, which will not
be issued until late February or early March.

“After that, it is up to the industry to get it up and running,” said Mikhail Carpenter, a spokesman for the Washington State Liquor Control Board, which regulates the system and is reviewing almost 5,000 license applications to grow, process or sell marijuana.

Growers can start a crop only after they get a license, Mr. Carpenter said, and retailers can sell only marijuana produced in the state by licensed growers.

What happens next in both states will be watched closely by Arizona, Alaska, California, Oregon and other states flirting with the idea of liberalizing their marijuana laws.  Questions still abound.  Will drug traffickers take marijuana across state lines, to sell elsewhere?  Will recreational marijuana flow from the hands of legal adult consumers to teenagers?  Will taxes from marijuana sales match optimistic predictions of a windfall for state budgets?  What will happen to the black market for marijuana?

But on Wednesday, enthusiasts like Darren Austin, 44, and his son, Tyler, 21, just embraced the moment.  They arrived a few months ago from Georgia and North Carolina, respectively, and decided to stay.  

The father said marijuana eased his anxiety and helped him quit drinking, and the son said he simply liked smoking it with friends.  On Wednesday, they slept in their truck outside a dispensary, to ensure their place in line.

“We wanted to be here,” Darren Austin said. “It’s historic.”

(By Kirk Johnsen via Google News)

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Bob Dylan was right.  The times they are a changin’. 



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The Big Fortuna Hash Explosion


Severe Burns for Two Adult Victims; 
Nearby Infant Uninjured



Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



It was a big boom with wickedly turn-of-the-ugly burns
in the Friendly City of Fortuna last night.

From today’s Fortuna Police Department’s report:

On Monday November 11, 2013 at approximately 10 pm, the Fortuna Police Department Communications Center received numerous 911 calls from subjects reporting an explosion at an apartment complex located at 137 12th Street in Fortuna.

One caller reported that a “hash lab” had exploded.

A Sergeant with the Fortuna Police Department arrived on scene and located two male subjects who had sustained severe burns to their upper torsos, arms and heads.

Responders from the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department and City Ambulance arrived within minutes and assisted the injured males.

The two injured subjects were identified as Kenneth Nevers of Fortuna and Joseph White of Oakland.

Both of Nevers and White were transported to Fortuna’s Redwood Memorial
Hospital. They were later airlifted out of the area for treatment of severe burns.

Officers were able to locate several subjects who claimed to be within the apartment at the time of the explosion.  One of the subjects was a three month old infant.  The additional subjects—and baby– were reportedly uninjured.

While officers were checking the apartment, they observed items consistent with a butane process hash extraction lab.  They also located the area of the explosion and fire in the bathroom.

This is an open investigation and further details of the bake and quake will be released as they become available.

The Redheaded Blackbelt’s Kym Kemp has unsparingly sharp comments by readers of the whole hash-making affair breaking bad in the Friendly City.

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People as slow and stupid as Darwin turtles never cease to amaze us.


Via Fortuna Police Department, the Redheaded Blackbelt and the Humboldt Sentinel

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California Poised To Legalize Marijuana by 2016– Or Sooner


Different Initiatives in the Works


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


It’s coming.  Again.

Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Californians support legalizing,
regulating and taxing recreational marijuana in the state,
according to a
Tulchin Research poll.

The figure, based on responses of 1,200 likely 2016 voters surveyed during the last two weeks, shows a “solid majority” back proposals to legalize adult recreational marijuana, the San Francisco-based pollster said.  The poll found 32% oppose legalization and 3% were undecided.

Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and American Civil Liberties Union representatives released the poll results during a news conference last month and announced the launch of a two-year research effort focused on proposals to legalize recreational marijuana.

Newsom will chair a panel of 16 experts, including professors, medical professionals and policy researchers, who will study legal and policy issues involved in adult recreational marijuana.

“This is about real people,” Newsom said to The Huffington Post.  ”Communities are devastated because of this abject thing called the drug war.  Forget the politics.  This is the right thing to do.

“But we need to answer the tough questions before we put it on the ballot,” Newsom said.  ”I want the research in order to be more convincing to others.”

Not everyone is willing to wait until 2016.  Two groups have filed
proposals to put recreational pot initiatives on California’s 2014 ballot.

Both proposals — the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative and the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act — would regulate and tax marijuana similar to alcohol.  And both face an uphill battle in gathering enough funds and volunteers to collect the 504,000 signatures in 100 days needed to make it onto the ballot.

The organizers behind the California Cannabis Hemp Initiative are collecting signatures, and backers of the Marijuana Control, Legalization and Revenue Act are awaiting approval from the state to begin collecting signatures.

Other marijuana advocacy groups– including Newsom’s panel– are working toward a California voter initiative for 2016.

“Voter turnout tends to be much higher in presidential election years,” Mason Tvert, communications director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said.  “We believe a 2016 initiative will best demonstrate just how much support there is for ending marijuana prohibition in California.”

The Drug Policy Alliance echoed this sentiment, saying more education
is needed to rally voter support.

“The support for marijuana legalization in California is there,” Amanda Reiman, policy manager of the Drug Policy Alliance, said.  ”It just may not be there strongly enough or from the right populations to claim victory in 2014.”

California voters narrowly rejected marijuana legalization in 2010 with Proposition 19.  About 53% of California voters voted no.

Drug Policy Alliance co-hosted a symposium on legalization in California with the California Society of Addiction Medicine in Denver.  
Reiman said that working with that organization is part of an effort to
win support from California’s medical community, which she said is
essential to persuade the public.

Drug Policy Alliance also is working with environmental and agriculture groups, since much of California marijuana cultivation is outdoors, particularly in the northern counties of Humboldt, Mendocino and Ukiah.

California became the first state to legalize medical marijuana when voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996.  

Since then, the medical cannabis industry has flourished, generating upwards of $100 million in annual tax revenue.

“This is not a matter of 2014 or bust, or 2016 or bust,” Reiman said. “Legalization of marijuana in California is going to happen.”


* * * * * *

Surprising Facts About Marijuana and the US Economy


$13.7 Billion Saved On Prohibition Enforcement Costs

The government would save an estimated $13.7 billion on prohibition enforcement costs and tax revenue by legalizing marijuana, according to a paper endorsed by 300 economists.


Marijuana Inmates Cost Prisons $1 Billion per Year

Inmates incarcerated on marijuana-related charges cost U.S. prisons $1 billion annually, according to a 2007 study, AlterNet reports.

Marijuana Prohibition Costs Taxpayers $41.8 Billion A Year

Including lost tax revenues, a 2007 study found that enforcing the marijuana prohibition costs tax payers $41.8 billion annually, Forbes reports.

California Marijuana Crop Worth $14 Billion A Year

Marijuana growers account for $14 billion a year in sales in California, making it the state’s most valuable cash crop, TIME reports.

Illegal Marijuana A $36 Billion A Year Industry

It’s estimated that illegal marijuana is a $36 billion industry in the U.S., MadameNoire reports.

One-Third Of Americans Think Legalization Would Boost The Economy

About one-third of Americans say they think legalizing marijuana would boost the economy, according to a 2010 poll by Associated Press-CNBC.

Dispensary Ads Boost Newspapers’ Revenue

The Sacramento News and Review saw a big boost in ad revenue when it offered advertising space for more than 60 medical marijuana dispensaries, enabling the publication to hire three additional employees, according to News10.nets

Mendocino Zip Tie Program Raised $600,000

Mendocino County, California’s zip tie program aimed at regulating medical marijuana growing by charging permits for each plant raised $600,000 in revenue in for the Sheriff’s department in 2011.

Oakland Raised More than $1 Million In Marijuana Tax Revenue

The City of Oakland, California raised $1.3 million in tax revenue from medical marijuana dispensaries in 2011, 3 percent of the city’s total business tax revenue, according to The New York Times.

Colorado Pulls In $5 Million From Pot Sales Tax

In 2011, Colorado pulled in $5 milllion in sales taxes from medical marijuana businesses, The New York Times reports.

Legal Marijuana Could be $100 Billion Industry

Economist Stephen Easton estimated in 2010 that legal marijuana could be a $45 to $100 billion industry, Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

Majority of States Support Taxing Marijuana

More than 60% of states agree with taxing marijuana, according to a poll by Associated Press-CNBC.

Marijuana Affects Workplace Motivation

Sorry to say, but a Norwegian study 25 years in the making came to the shocking conclusion that frequent marijuana use lowers employees’ motivation at work.

Denver Counts More Dispensaries than Starbucks

As of July 2011, the city of Denver counted more medical marijuana dispensaries than Starbucks franchises.


Via Huffington Post/Mark Newcomb/Los Angeles Times/Forbes

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DEA Arrogance and Stupidity


Lawsuit:  Drug Enforcement Agency Tramples On Common Sense


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


By Robert Kahn
Courthouse News

Every so often, powerful government officials pull a stunt
so arrogant and stupid you have to wonder whether they’ve
lost their minds.

Such was the case in a lawsuit filed in Houston this week against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

Courthouse News reporter Cameron Langford wrote in his Thursday story:  “DEA officials ‘commandeered’ a small businessman’s truck and left him to pay for the damage after it was ‘shot to smithereens’ in a shootout in Texas between federal agents and the Zeta drug cartel.”

That’s right:  Without telling the businessman, who owned two trucks, the DEA arranged for him to hire an undercover snitch to drive a load of dope in one.  But the Zetas got wise, shot the truck to pieces, killing the snitch and wounding a sheriff’s deputy – and the DEA stuck the businessman with the bill for the bullet-riddled truck.

Then the DEA had the brass to demand to search the poor businessman’s house.

No one who has had to deal with the DEA will doubt this story.  It reminds me of a man I met when I worked as a paralegal inside U.S. immigration prisons.

This fellow had a signed letter from a death squad threatening to kill him for working with the DEA, but I couldn’t help him apply for political asylum.

This was in the 1980s, when the Reagan administration was arming, training and covering up for death squads who were murdering and torturing to death thousands of innocent people in Central America.

The fellow with the letter from the death squad was not innocent.  He was a drug dealer.  He told me so. The DEA got him busted in his home country and turned him into a snitch.  With his help, the DEA intercepted a ship carrying more than 1,000 tons of marijuana, then blew his cover and left him at the mercy of the cartels.

He fled to the United States, was busted by the Border Patrol and sent to an immigration prison, where he told me his tale.

He showed me the letter from the death squad, which stated clearly, in Spanish, that they would kill him for working with the DEA.  He saved the envelope, too, with the postmark.  He showed me two newspaper articles about the bust of the ship.

There was no question that the DEA had turned this guy and then thrown him to the sharks.

I couldn’t help him because he didn’t qualify for political asylum.  He was a criminal.

I told his story to our attorneys and asked if there was anything we could do for him, as he was a dead man in his home country.

The next day, news of the Iran Contra scandal broke, and the DEA snitch got lost in the shuffle.  I don’t know what happened to him.

Also lost in the shuffle, by a spineless U.S. press, was that Uncle Sam’s criminal intermediaries were allowed to fly planeloads of cocaine and marijuana to the United States after the CIA contract planes had been emptied of missiles for the ayatollah.

This was a key element of the Iran Contra deals, but practically no one remembers it, or was informed of it at the time.

I have no beef with the frontline agents of the DEA who are brave men and women.  They risk their lives every day dealing with murderous scumballs.  If they turn the scumballs into snitches on their bosses, so be it.

But there is no excuse for the DEA to entangle an innocent businessman in its toils, at the cost of half of his “fleet” of trucks; nor to make him pay to repair his truck after the DEA-inspired bloodbath; nor to endanger his life because the shootout, which made the evening news, made him, according to the federal lawsuit, “fear, of course, that his identity would be discovered by the Zeta cartel and that they, believing he had cooperated with … the Task Force, might seek retribution.”

It’s arrogance and stupidity like this that is making the United States hated around the world, and now, even at home.


(Courtesy and via Robert Kahn/Courthouse News)

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Unusual Cannabis Bedfellows For Controversial Treatment of Epilepsy


Republican Lawmaker and Mormon Moms Fight for Cannabis Oil



Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


A conservative Republican Utah state lawmaker is backing
an unexpected group of advocates:  Mormon moms fighting
for medical cannabis for their children.

State Rep. Gage Froerer (R-Huntsville) has committed to help Hope 4 Children With Epilepsy, an advocacy group fighting for safe access to cannabis oil.

The oil contains little to no THC, the chemical that causes the high in marijuana, but is high in cannabidiol, a compound that may fight seizures in some forms of epilepsy.  Though legal in neighboring Colorado, the oil is not legal in Utah.

Froerer said he hopes to change that with his support of the group, which was founded by four Mormon moms.

“If there’s anyone who can do it, it’s conservative Mormon moms from Utah,” joked Hope 4 Children With Epilepsy cofounder Jennifer May in a phone call with The Huffington Post.  May’s 11-year-old son, Stockton, seen at right and below, suffers from a rare form of epilepsy known as Dravet syndrome, which causes five to 30 seizures per day.

May told The Associated Press that she used to think giving a marijuana derivative to children was crazy.  But after witnessing unbelievable success stories like that of Charlotte Figi — a 6-year-old girl who suffers from the same syndrome as May’s son in the above video — she changed her tune.

“We’re not expecting this to be any kind of miracle cure,” May said.  ”But the results thus far with the children have been amazing with very little side effects.  It’s just something that needs to be available.”

May considered moving her family to Colorado to get safe access to cannabis oil for her son.  “But we decided it wouldn’t do anyone else any good if we just left and didn’t fight to get this here.”

“Some people think we’re crazy for not just going over there and bringing it back,” May said.  “But when you think about how often our kids are in the hospital, our choice is between telling our physicians and risking getting in trouble, or not telling our physicians and risking life-threatening drug interactions with our children.”

Instead, May joined other parents of children with disabilities to rally for cannabis oil access in Utah.

May and her cofounders are careful to distance themselves from medical marijuana.

“In Utah, a medical marijuana program is not going to go over very well,” May said.  ”Politicians here have promised to never let medical marijuana in the state and we don’t want to be seen as a toe in the door.”  May said she hopes the state can simply categorize cannabis oil as legal instead of legalizing medical marijuana.

“It’s not making the kids high, it’s shown to be effective, but it’s labeled as medical marijuana,” May said.  ”We want to change that.”

After convincing Froerer, that goal may soon be a reality.

In a meeting with Utah’s Substance Abuse Advisory Council next month, Froerer will appeal to the council to legalize cannabis oil with a THC content of less than 0.5 percent — less than that found in hemp oil at the grocery store.  He has committed to sponsoring legislation, if necessary.

“As legislators, I think we have a duty to think about what’s best for the people of our state,” Froerer told HuffPost.  “If we can provide this without causing any unintended consequences, we should do so.”

There have been no clinical trials testing cannabis oil for epilepsy, according to The Salt Lake Tribune

But there have been examples of success, including Charlotte Figi, the girl with epilepsy from a conservative Colorado military family shown on the CNN documentary “Weed.”  Regular doses cut her seizures from 300 a week to 1, according to the documentary.


* * * * * * *

Looking into this further, we were surprised by the strong therapeutic link between cannabidiniol and epilepsy.  It was striking on its face and we believe there is something conclusive here warranting further research and study.

If you’re still unconvinced cannabis oil can be a medical component for the treatment of epilepsy, you may want to see the scientific side here.


Via YouTube/CNN/Jennifer May and Libertas.org/University of Reading/Huffington Post
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For First Time, Americans Favor Legalizing Marijuana


Gallup Poll:  Support Surged 10 Percentage Points in Past Year, to 58%


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



For the data wonks of marijuana, this is making the
rounds from the Gallup Poll today:

WASHINGTON, D.C.– For marijuana advocates, the last 12 months have been a period of unprecedented success as Washington and Colorado became the first states to legalize recreational use of marijuana.

Now for the first time, a clear majority of Americans– 58%– say the drug should be legalized.  This is in sharp contrast to the time Gallup first asked the question in 1969, when only 12% favored legalization.

Public support for legalization more than doubled in the 1970s, growing to 28%.  It then plateaued during the 1980s and 1990s before inching steadily higher since 2000, reaching 50% in 2011.

A sizable percentage of Americans (38%) this year admitted to having tried the drug, which may be a contributing factor to greater acceptance.

Success at the ballot box in the past year in Colorado and Washington may have increased Americans’ tolerance for marijuana legalization.  Support for legalization has jumped 10 percentage points since last November and the legal momentum shows no sign of abating.

Last week, California’s second-highest elected official, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, said that pot should be legal in the Golden State, and advocates of legalization are poised to introduce a statewide
referendum in 2014 to legalize the drug.

The Obama administration has also been flexible on the matter.  Despite maintaining the government’s firm opposition to legalizing marijuana under federal law, in late August Deputy Attorney General James Cole announced the Justice Department would not challenge the legality of Colorado’s and Washington’s successful referendums, provided that those states maintain strict rules regarding the drug’s sale and distribution.

The movement to legalize marijuana mirrors the relatively recent success of the movement to legalize gay marriage, which voters have also approved now in 14 states.  Public support for gay marriage, which Americans also overwhelmingly opposed in the past, has increased dramatically, reaching majority support in the last two years.


Independents Fueling Growth in Acceptance of Legalizing Marijuana

Independents’ growing support for legalization has mostly driven the jump in Americans’ overall support.

62% of Independents now favor legalization, up 12 points from November 2012.  Support for legalization among Democrats and Republicans saw little change.  Yet there is a marked divide between Republicans, who still oppose legalizing marijuana, and Democrats and Independents.


Young Adults More Likely to Support Legalization

Americans 65 and older are the only age group that still opposes legalizing marijuana.  Still, support among this group has jumped 14 percentage points since 2011.

In contrast, 67% of Americans aged 18 to 29 back legalization.  Clear majorities of Americans aged 30 to 64 also favor legalization.


The Bottom Line

It has been a long path toward majority acceptance of marijuana over the past 44 years, but Americans’ support for legalization accelerated as the new millennium began.

This acceptance of a substance that most people might have considered forbidden in the late 1960s and 1970s may be attributed to changing social mores and growing social acceptance.  

The increasing prevalence of medical marijuana as a socially acceptable way to alleviate symptoms of diseases such as arthritis and mitigating side effects of chemotherapy may have contributed to Americans’ growing support.

Whatever the reasons for Americans’ greater acceptance of marijuana, it is likely that this momentum will spur further legalization efforts across the United States.

Advocates of legalizing marijuana say taxing and regulating the drug could be financially beneficial to states and municipalities nationwide.  But detractors such as law enforcement and substance abuse professionals have cited health risks including an increased heart rate, and respiratory and memory problems.

With Americans’ support for legalization quadrupling since 1969, and localities on the East Coast such as Portland, Maine, considering a symbolic referendum to legalize marijuana, it is clear that interest in this drug and these issues will remain elevated in the foreseeable future.

* * * * * * * *

By Art Swift and Gallup.com
Images by the Humboldt Sentinel

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Meet Your New $100 Bill


Strikingly Different Benjamin Makes Debut Today



Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel 


The new $100 bill goes into circulation today, adding a splash of
color and stylish flourishes to the currency featuring Benjamin
Franklin’s ever-familiar face.

While Ben’s prim-lipped ”You lookin’ at me?” portrait stays the same,
there are several notable security changes in the G-note facelift. 

So, what’s new?

The Very Feel of the Bill

For the first time, the engraving process includes the effect of “raised printing.”   This effect “can be felt throughout the $100 note, and gives genuine U.S. currency its distinctive texture,” a government website on the design changes says.

The Dashed Blue Strip to Ben’s Rightt? 

It’s not a printing goof.  It’s actually part of a security feature designed to help tell real $100s from fake ones.  

Tilt the bill, and designs along the strip change from bells — as in, Liberty Bells — to the number “100,” in moving patterns.  In fact, the blue ribbon has nothing to do with printing — it’s actually woven onto to the paper.

Further to Ben’s Right is a New Icon

Rendered in another non-green hue, it’s a copper-colored inkwell.  Within the inkwell is another security feature, a color-shifting bell.

Around the Inkwell–but not in it– is a Quill.

It represents the pen used by the Founding Fathers to sign the Declaration of Independence, according to newmoney.gov, a website affiliated with the Federal Reserve Board, U.S. Secret Service and the Treasury Department.  Near the quill are phrases from the Declaration of Independence.

By the Inkwell is a “100″ label, in the Bill’s Lower Right Corner

Its color alternates between copper and green when you tilt the bill — another new security feature.

The Ghostly Watermark of Franklin’s Face

The watermark visible on the right side of the bill when you hold it up to a light is still there.  But the portrait is simplified for the new bill.

The Golden 100

On the note’s reverse and running down one side is the number ’100′ highlighted in unmistakably bright gold ink.

* * * * * * * *

The new Benjamins will help Humboldt’s ‘agricultural farmers’ ensure they’re getting the real deal for their ‘product’– and not the funny money swindle switch.

(Via Discovery News/NewMoney.Gov/AP-YouTube)

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Humboldt Odds and Ends


Smattering Signs of the Local Times


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”


General Plan (GPU) Review at Board of Supes Today

From SoHum Parlance II and Bob Froehlich on the GPU Guiding Principles Final Hearing: 

“The Supervisors will finish reviewing the Guiding Principles this coming Monday, Oct. 7, starting at 1:30 pm.

I believe the large number of people who showed up at the last session and stood up for the environment contributed greatly to some compromises that the Supes. made – leading to a better outcome than I originally predicted.

However, they only got through G.P. # 5, so there is some very important work left to be done.

If this time we get a good turnout of folks speaking out for environmental health and  protection, it can make it difficult for the Supes to backpedal and not continue to compromise.

No doubt the development crowd will be there to push for no, or very minimal, restrictions and environmental safeguards.

Please come if you are at all able to and speak briefly about the importance of environmental protection for us and our future generations.

The public input begins at 1:30 pm and there’s nothing wrong with saying your piece and leaving shortly afterward.”


Shark Attack at North Jetty

From the Times-Standard:

A man surfing near the North Jetty was bitten by a shark Sunday morning.

The surfer — whose name was not released Sunday — is expected to recover after getting bit on the thigh at Bunkers, a popular surf spot near Humboldt Bay…

Details are scantily clad at this time.  You can read the full article at the Times-Standard and more at the Lost Coast Outpost.



Orick Mill Site Sold to Save the Redwoods

Members of the Save the Redwoods League are hoping to restore the former Orick Mill site, which they recently purchased from Green Diamond Resource Co. for $2 million.

”That property has been on the league’s radar for quite some time now,” Save the Redwoods League Land Project Manager Christine Aralia said. “It’s in a very strategic location.  The area is like ground zero for some of the tallest trees in the world…”

You can read more in the full article by Catherine Wong at the Times-Standard:  “Orick Mill Site sold to Save the Redwoods:  Green Diamond sells 125 acres for $2M


Drought and Pot Wreck Havoc on Klamath and Trinity Rivers

Two Rivers Tribune’s Kristan Korns had a very insightful piece about the perfect storm that’s been brewing for awhile:  low water flows, drought, and the residual fallout of marijuana and agricultural cultivation are all coming to a head impacting and devastating the Klamath and Trinity river watersheds.

She writes:

Severe drought, desperate farmers, and migrating fish struggling to survive in the shallow, over-heated and fertilizer-laden waters of the Klamath and Trinity Rivers:  almost all of the pieces are in place for a repeat of the 2002 fish kill.

Regina Chichizola, communications coordinator for the Hoopa Valley Tribe, said, “If we don’t get Trinity water this year, there’s a chance we’ll have another fish kill.”

The fish kill left tens of thousands of dead and rotting fish lining the banks of the Klamath and Trinity Rivers in September 2002, after political pressure forced the diversion of water to desperate farmers in the Upper Klamath Basin…

Krista has a lot more to say– and a surprising finish to her piece of “Drought and Expanding Marijuana Grows Paving Way for Repeat Fish Kill”


Trimmers and Their Toys

The Lost Coast Outpost has a spirited and lively article by Emily Hobelmann regarding some of the unusual ins and outs of the marijuana industry:  Choice of scissors, trim machines, and gender inequality in addition to some equally sprightly comments by readers make for a good voyeuristic read.

Emily starts her piece out by saying:

Last Monday I found myself on the KHUM airwaves with Mike Dronkers.  He put me on the spot, like he do, when he asked me what the most popular trimming scissors are these days.  He pressed me for information — scissors with a spring or no spring?

I didn’t know.  I didn’t have a nicely trimmed nugget of an answer to deliver on the airwaves.  Mike D. exposed me as the ignorant outsider that I am — he exposed my fraudulent association with the marihuana world.

After that radio appearance I felt compelled to right my ignorance, so I sought information about popular trim scene gadgetry from the pros at the most easy-to-find and accessible trim scene in Humboldt County — Trim Scene Solutions in Redway…

We enjoyed Emily’s insightful cannabis read and suspect you’ll like her inside peek-a-boo piece, too:  LoCO on the Pot: Trimmers and Their Toys

* * * * * * *

“And the sign said, ‘Everybody welcome.  Come in, kneel down and pray’
But when they passed around the plate at the end of it all, I didn’t have a penny to pay
So I got me a pen and a paper and I made up my own little sign:
I said, ‘Thank you, Lord, for thinkin’ ’bout me.  I’m alive and doin’ fine’

Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”



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Marijuana News


Cannabis Nugs From Across the Nation


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



Most Californians Support Weed Legalization

Sacramento– California voter’s support for marijuana legalization has hit a record high — no pun intended.

A survey released Wednesday by the Public Polling Institute of California found that 52 percent of the state’s residents advocate the legalization of marijuana, marking the first time a majority of the state has supported legalizing the drug.

On top of those record stats, 60 percent of likely California voters supported legalization, and 68 percent said the federal government should not intervene in states’ jurisdiction on marijuana…

…You can read more in the Huffington Post


Medical Marijuana Web Services Raises Concerns

Boston – Massachusetts’ nascent medical marijuana law has sparked a recent flurry of new Internet companies promising to match patients with doctors who will certify they need the weed for health reasons, a phenomenon that has dismayed the state’s medical society and raised concerns with the board that regulates physicians.

A number of the companies are run by entrepreneurs with no medical background, which the Massachusetts Medical Society said raises questions about the quality and safety of the care.

Some of the sites, the society said, appear to be tiptoeing just inside state rules, which require a “bona fide physician-patient relationship” be in place before marijuana can be prescribed.

“The fact that you have people with no medical pedigree launching these companies is testament that this is purely a money-making operation,” said Dr. Ronald Dunlap, a cardiologist and president of the medical society.  “These people are working around the edges.”

…You can read the rest of the story in the Boston Globe article here


Humboldt’s Massive $21 Million Marijuana Seizure

Eureka, Ca.– On September 24, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies assisted by the Cannabis Eradication and Reclamation Team (CERT) eradicated a large marijuana cultivation site on Barnum Timber Property in the Garberville area.

Deputies located and eradicated 9,056 growing marijuana plants ranging in height from 4 to 6 feet tall. Deputies also found rodenticides, fertilizers and environmental damage caused by the clearing of brush and timber along with a stream diversion.

The following day, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies assisted by CERT eradicated a large marijuana cultivation site again on Barnum Timber and adjacent private property in the Garberville area.

This time, deputies located and eradicated 5,717 growing marijuana plants of similar height.  Once again they found rodenticides, fertilizers and environmental damage by the clearing of brush and timber, along a with stream diversion.

They also found a trail of marijuana leaves which they followed to a residence.  A search warrant was obtained for the residence. Upon serving the search warrant on the residence, deputies discovered the residence was being exclusively used to process and dry marijuana.  Deputies located and seized 600 pounds of marijuana from the residence.  No one was in the residence when the search warrant was served.

On next day, September 26, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies assisted by the CERT eradicated a large marijuana cultivation site on Benbow State Park property and adjacent private property.

Deputies located and eradicated 6,750 growing marijuana plants at this location along with a stream diversion and other environmental damage.

The estimated value of the total marijuana seized, the HCSO said, is conservatively valued at a whopping $21 million dollars.


Florida Attorney Argues Marijuana is Safer and More Effective than Oxycontin

Florida — Claiming that medical marijuana would be a safer, non-addictive and more-effective alternative to OxyContin, Orlando attorney John Morgan condemned the prescription pain killer in a speech Friday to argue that many of its users would be far better off smoking pot.

It was a rare presentation in the normally conservative region.

Speaking to the Tiger Bay Club of Central Florida, Morgan said that OxyContin, a commonly “prescribed and abused” pain medication, kills 16,000 people a year and addicts many more.

He claimed marijuana, which is illegal in Florida and most states, is comparatively harmless and more effective…

The Orlando Sentinel has more here


New Hampshire Begins Medical Marijuana Introduction

Concord, N.H.– A committee helping to implement the state’s new medical marijuana law started its work on Thursday by supporting two proposed changes to the law.

The law, passed three months ago, will allow seriously ill patients diagnosed with cancer, Crohn’s disease and other conditions to have up to 2 ounces of marijuana obtained from dispensaries.  It also created a 15-member committee to help the state write rules to implement the law and track how it works.

On Thursday, members backed two revisions that lawmakers will consider later:  one regarding how much time the state will have to approve or deny applications from patient caregivers, and the other regarding confidentiality of the dispensaries’ locations…

The details are with the SF Gate


West Virginia Legislators Argue for Medical Marijuana

Charleston, W.Va.– Advocates and some doctors agree marijuana can alleviate symptoms of some medical conditions.  But the federal government doesn’t, and that gives some West Virginia lawmakers pause when contemplating state legislation to legalize medical marijuana.

Explaining how states negotiate the situation played a central role in two presentations given Wednesday during a joint state Senate and House health committee meeting., Karmen Hanson, a health policy expert with the National Conference of State Legislatures, and Matt Simon, a lobbyist and analyst with the Marijuana Policy Project, presented ways other states have handled legalizing marijuana for medical purposes.

At the moment, the federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug.  That classification is reserved for substances that offer no medicinal benefits and have a high propensity for abuse, Simon said.

Twenty states and Washington, D.C. have legalized marijuana for medical use, and President Barack Obama’s administration has said it will not try to criminally prosecute people who follow the laws in that state.

Still, the federal classification makes West Virginia lawmakers uneasy…

Read the rest in the Charleston Daily Mail


Can the United Nations Block Marijuana Legalization?

New York – The United Nations International Narcotics Control Board’s latest annual report expressed dismay at the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado and urged “the Government of the United States to take necessary measures to ensure full compliance with the international drug control treaties in its entire territory”.

This led many media outlets to report that the US had violated the UN drug control treaties to which it is a signatory.

US obligations under the treaties, and indeed the broader international future of marijuana legalization, are complex matters.  But the essential points can be summarized in the following 4-part Q&A…

Read the full Huffington Post piece here


Eureka City Council Makes Move to Ban Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

Or did they?


* * * * * * * *

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Eureka City Council Special Meeting Banning Medical Marijuana Dispensaries Canceled


Putting City Priorities in their Proper Place?


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



Tom Sebourn carried the following about the Eureka City
Council’s proposed meeting that was to be held tonight
banning medical marijuana dispensaries in the city limits. 

The meeting has since been canceled, we’re told.  At least for now.

Here’s what Tom said:

The City Council of Eureka will hold a special meeting today, Thursday, September 26, at 5 pm.

What’s on the agenda for the special meeting?  A ban on medical marijuana dispensaries within Eureka.

This is from Eureka Councilwoman Linda Atkins Facebook page:

Please come and let your views be known.

For those of you who don’t get the paper (a few, I think), I wanted to let you know that the Eureka City Council has a Medical Cannabis Dispensary Ban on our agenda for a Special Meeting tomorrow, Thursday, September 26 at 5 pm.

We spent many months drafting and refining an ordinance that would allow people to purchase medical cannabis from legal sources in our town.

Now, even after the California Supreme Court ruled that cities have the right to regulate medical cannabis and the DOJ has specifically mentioned local ordinances regulating medical cannabis as being a step in the right direction in keeping criminals from profiting from the sale of medical cannabis, the City of Eureka has a ban on a Special Meeting Agenda.

How does this happen? We had not one negative testimony from the public during our consideration of the ordinance.

Please come and let your Council know how you feel about this.

* * * * * * *

We wonder who initially called the meeting in the first place with little notice– and who put the item into full rollback reverse before canceling it altogether. 

It represents a large waste of city resources and time.

We hope the City Council will instead attend to the basic priorities that they should be focusing on.

The shuttered and deteriorating downtown business corridor, the crime wave and criminal element currently sacking the City, and the dilapidated and unsafe condition of Eureka’s streets– as well as retaining critical employees such as a City Manager and Chief of Police– are all matters of a more pressing concern.

Eureka is fast becoming an unliveable and incompetent basketcase, an embarrasing laughingstock of municipal ill-mentality running horribly amuck in Northern California.

If you have an opinion on the matter, you can contact the Eureka City Council here:

Council phone: (707) 441-4144
Mayor’s phone no: (707) 441-4200

 Or you can Email the City Council here.  

To the Eureka City Council, we kindly suggest you get back to what you should be doing:  concentrating on the basics of properly running a safe and efficient city rather than gawking as a not-so-innocent bystander at the sight of a runaway train skidding off the rails.


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Crime Flies


–Crime After Crime–



Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


What do you think:  Would one tiny crime be wiped out by thousands of good deeds?

~Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment



$750K of Ivory Ripped Off From Willow Creek Wildlife Museum

This morning, September 20, at approximately 5:00 am, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call regarding an audible alarm from the Tonkin Wildlife Museum in Willow Creek, located at 91 Mayfair Lane.

When deputies responded they saw a back door to the museum had been pried open.  After meeting with the museum representative, they learned two ivory elephant tusks, approximately 3’ in length and weighing 100 pounds each were stolen.

A mounted elk head, a bear skin rug and a kangaroo rug were also stolen from the museum.  The estimated loss is $750,000.  There are no suspects at this time and the Tonkin family is offering a $1,000 reward for their return.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

The Times-Standard has more details here. 


Every Environmental Weed and Greed Violation Possible

On September 19 at  approximately 9:00 am, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office assisted by Cal Fire, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Humboldt County Drug Task Force (HCDTF) served a Humboldt County Superior Court Search Warrant on an approximate 40 acre parcel of property off Dyerville Loop Road.  

The property is located approximately two miles east of South Fork High School.  When the officers arrived on scene they located several unpermitted structures, a residence and greenhouses.  

Two of the unpermitted structures were large indoor marijuana grows that had been recently harvested but were now dormant.  The indoor grows still contained lights and ballasts.

No one was home at the time of the officer’s arrival.  A search of the property revealed marijuana plants ranging in size from 1’ to 5’ in height being grown in and outside the greenhouses.  A total of 2231 growing marijuana plants were seized.

Officers saw unpermitted roads across water courses and portions of the water courses filled in with dirt, timber land converted to home sites without permits, illegal grading, illegal trash burning, and two large 1000 gallon diesel tanks.

Both diesel tanks did not have the required containment fields for spill protection as required by law.  Both of the diesel tanks were directly over a stream which feeds into Elk Creek which is a Coho Salmon spawning habitat.  California Fish and Wildlife Officers saw and documented violations of water pollution due to sediment and dirt being in the creeks.

The evidence of illegal burning is being forwarded to North Coast Unified Air Quality Management by Cal Fire for additional charges due to evidence of plastic and other trash being burned
in the burn pile.

The investigation is ongoing.  The Cal Fire Public Information officer is Jim Robbins, who can be reached at 707-726-1251.  The California Fish and Wildlife Public Information Officer is Jordan Traverso, who can be reached at 916-654-9937.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.


Man in Black with a Gun Causes Schools to go Into Lockdown

On September 19, at 1:30 pm, a woman walked into the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office McKinleyville Station and reported her son just stole her snub nosed .38 caliber revolver and just walked into the McKinleyville Safeway with it in a back pack.

She told the sheriff clerk at the station she was unclear what he intended to do with the firearm. 

She reported his name was Roy Lynn Scoggins III, 22, and said he was dressed all in black, including a black hat.

Deputies and California Highway Patrol (CHP) Officers immediately responded to the McKinleyville Safeway to look for Scoggins.  A warrant check revealed he was wanted on a felony warrant for manufacturing a deadly weapon.

While deputies were searching the store for Scoggins, his mother reported she just spoke with Scoggins on his cell phone and he told her he was walking by the Ace Hardware on Central Avenue in McKinleyville.

Deputies knew if that was true he would be heading in the direction of the McKinleyville Middle School.

The Middle School was notified by the Sheriff’s Office that a man reported to be carrying a gun in a backpack was walking towards their school.  The school initiated a lockdown as a precaution.

Additional deputies and CHP responded to the area and looked for Scoggins, but were unable to locate him.

At approximately 1:45 pm, the Sheriff’s Office learned Scoggins may be enroute to a relative’s home in the Ocean West Mobile Home Park on Murray Road in McKinleyville.

Due to Morris Elementary School and McKinleyville High School possibly being on Scoggins route, they were notified, too, as a precaution by the Sheriff’s Office.  Both schools chose to initiate a lockdown of their facilities as a precaution.

A relative of Scoggins provided his cell phone number to the Sheriff’s Office.  A dispatcher was able to contact Scoggins and spoke with him.  Scoggins told the dispatcher it was a misunderstanding– and he agreed to surrender himself to the Sheriff’s Office.

While walking to the Sheriff’s Office McKinleyville Station, Scoggins was located by a CHP officer on Central Avenue near Railroad Avenue and was taken into custody without incident.

Mr. Scoggins denied stealing his mother’s firearm and no firearm was located in his possession.  Nonetheless, he was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where he was booked on the felony warrant with set at $10,000.

At the request of the three schools, deputies and CHP Officers stood by at the schools as they were released to calm fears, even though Scoggins was in custody.

UPDATE September 21:

On Thursday, at approximately 4 pm, deputies were contacted by a concerned citizen who told them they located a backpack near the corner or Central Avenue and Babler Road, McKinleyville.

The backpack matched the description of the one Scoggins was seen wearing as reported by his mother.  Inside the backpack were bolt cutters, a machete and other items.  However there was no firearm.

Deputies went to the area where the citizen located the backpack and searched it.  They located the firearm covered in some leaves behind a property in the 2300 block of Central Avenue McKinleyville.

A check of the serial number confirmed it was the one reported stolen by Scoggins mother.  Mr. Scoggins was booked on grand theft of a firearm, besides the arrest warrant.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.


Another McKinleyville Gas Station Gets Knocked Off

On September 18 at 4:30 in the morning, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a silent panic alarm from the McKinleyville 76 Gas Station and Mini Mart located at 2698 Central Avenue in McKinleyville.

Deputies responded to the scene and met with the store clerk.  The clerk told the investigating deputy he was alone in the back of the store stocking the cooler when a man walked into the store.  He exited the cooler to greet the man and the man pointed a black semi-auto handgun at him.

The man told him to put all the money in the bag and to not touch the button, referring to the alarm system.  The man told him if he touched the button he would shoot him.

The man then put a green duffle bag on top of the counter and demanded the cash register drawers.  After the clerk put the drawers in the duffle bag the man ran out the front door.

Deputies checked the surrounding area for the suspect but did not find him.

The suspect is described as follows: White male adult, approximately 5’8” tall, 140 lbs, wearing a red bandana over his face, black sweatshirt, blue jeans last seen carrying a green duffle bag on foot towards the back of the station, armed with a black semi-auto handgun

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539. 


Gang Ties Alleged in Stabbing Death

…And then we have the unfortunate situation of William Flores, the 25-year old gang member on parole who allegedly stabbed another man to death only 30 minutes after his release from jail shortly after midnight last weekend.

A case of no parole supervision gone very bad, the mighty Thadeus Greenson reports more in his Times-Standard article, “Gang Ties Alleged in Stabbing Death: Eureka Man Faces 40 Years to Life if Convicted in Murder Case.”

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16 Heads Rolled to the Pokey in Bridgeville Weed Bust


Everyone Was Busted– Except Boris and Natasha


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


Growers will try anything once, twice if they like it, and three times to make sure.  But when they play with weed
and fire, they get burned by the greedy smoke in their eyes.

On Monday, September 10 at  9:00 am,the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office assisted by CalFire, California Department of Fish and Wildlife and Humboldt County Drug Task Force (HCDTF) served a Humboldt County Superior Court Search Warrant on a 160-acre parcel of property off State Route Highway 36 near mile marker 31.54 in Bridgeville.

When the warrant was served deputies located and detained twelve suspects located at various locations on the property.

A thirteenth suspect fled on foot as officers arrived.  A chase ensued;  however, the suspect was able to escape into the brush.

Officers searched greenhouses and buildings on the parcel.  They located an approximate 60’ by 30’ shop with living quarters being utilized to process and dry marijuana. Hanging in the shop was approximately 375 pounds of drying harvested marijuana.

Also located at the property were four greenhouses approximately 40’ by 80’ which contained growing marijuana plants.  A total of 685 growing marijuana plants from 6’ to 7’ tall, all budding and in rich fragrant bloom, were located and removed.

A semiautomatic 9 mm handgun was located in one of the suspect’s vehicles.  Officers located and seized $10,422 in US currency, scales, packaging material and other items indicating sales of marijuana for profit.

The suspects claimed the marijuana cultivation site was a collective for medical marijuana and presented the officers with a stack of medical marijuana slips approximately 3” thick.  It’s possible.  That is, when pigs fly.

Officers also located a significant amount of environmental damage to the parcel.

Cal-Fire Officers on scene described the damage as a “Significant environmental impact due to water course alterations because of heavy equipment operations in and around and through the watercourse.”

The watercourse affected is Little Larabee Creek where officers found clear cutting of trees and illegal roads wantonly carved into the hillside.  

A pump was found in Little Larabee Creek illegally removing water from the creek, which was drained dry downstream from the pump.  To note, Little Larabee Creek contains Steelhead trout and the drainage is federally protected per California Department and Fish and Wildlife.

Approximately four hours into the search of the parcel, officer heard noises in the brush at a different location on the property. The suspect who had fled on foot was sighted again– and ordered to surrender.

This time, the California Fish and Wildlife wardens had a K-9 with them.  After the suspect failed to stop and yield to the officer’s commands, the K-9 was unleashed and released– and lo and behold– the trusty K-9 canine caught the skunky suspect, identified as Yul Cashman.

Mr. Cashman (seriously, we didn’t make that name up) was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for dog bite wounds before being transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Pokey.

Mr. Cashman, however, was a drop in the bucket com-
pared to the number of other arrests.

The following suspects were arrested at this location and transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Slammer where they were booked on the listed charges:

Valentine Velikov Marinov, male, 37-years old from Pleasant Hill, California : charges of cultivation, possession of marijuana of for sale, armed in the commission of a felony, altering a streambed, water pollution, harvesting timber without a license, illegal harvesting timber, misuse of timber lands

Valeri Petrov Vasilev, male, 57-years old, from Las Vegas, Nevada : charges of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale

Maja Damnjanovska, female, 27-years old from New York, New York: charges of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale, also Immigration and Customs Hold

Dragoljub Obucina, male, 28-years old, from Astoria, New York: charges of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale, also Immigration and Customs Hold

Boriana Eugenieva Stoyanova, female, 51-years old, from Las Vegas, Nevada: charges of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale, also Immigration and Customs Hold

Paulina Aleksandrova Kitanova, female, 63-years old from Charlotte, North Carolina: charges of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale

Nevena Patrova Alexandrova, female, 46-years old from Charlotte, North Carolina: charges of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale

Silviya Simeonova Lazarova, female, 43-years old from Las Vegas, Nevada: charges of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale, also Immigration and Customs Hold

Julieta Mihaleva Ivanova, female,54-years old from San Francisco, California: charges of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale, also Immigration and Customs Hold

Tatyana Aleksandrova Pencheva, female, 59-years old from Buglaria: charges of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale

Milana Tojagic, female 31-years old from Chicago, Illinois: charges of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale , also Immigration and Customs Hold

Tamara Srpsko Acimovia, female 33-years old, from New York, New York: charges of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale

Yul Cashman, male, 65-years old from Las Vegas: charges of cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale and resisting arrest

While officers were searching and processing the first marijuana grow site, they located a second marijuana grow site on an adjoining parcel.

A second Humboldt County Superior Court Search warrant was obtained for that location.  As if they didn’t have enough on their sticky hands to do.

When the warrant was served at approximately 1:00 pm, officers located three greenhouses on that parcel containing 1,026 growing marijuana plants ranging in size from 1’ to 5’ tall.

They also located ammunition, but no firearms, along with additional significant environmental violations.  Those violations included illegal timber harvesting, allowing raw sewage to drain into Little Larabee Creek which included fecal matter, and more unpermitted roads.

Cal Fire officials who were at both locations commented that the roads cut at both sites were similar to what would have been seen during logging operations in the 1940’s.  They expect both locations to have significant sediment issues from runoff once
the winter rains begin.

Located and arrested at the second location were the following suspects:

Michael Kenneth Metelits, 42-years old from Fortuna: charged with cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale, five counts streambed alteration, four counts of polluting a waterway, littering with 150 feet of a stream, misuse of timber lands, and conducting timber harvesting without a permit.  

Unfortunately Mr. Metelits is also wanted by the State of Virginia for shipping wickedly large amounts of marijuana from Fortuna to Virginia.  Now what do you call that again?  Two-time loser?  A slow learner?  Too high?  Uh, just greedy.

Jaime Javier Contreras, 20-years old from Stockton, California: charged with cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale

Carlos Fuerte Cachu, 61-years old, from Stockton, California: charged with cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale

The investigation is ongoing.  Heads will roll.  More heads will roll after the heads that were rolled snitch off the heads that weren’t rolled yet.  Stay tuned for further head rolling.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

The Cal Fire Public Information Grand Poobah Officer is Jim Robins, who can be reached at 707-599-6435.

The California Fish and Wildlife Muckety-Muck Public Information Officer is Jordan Traverso, who can be reached at 916-654-9937.

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Some folks simply have all the luck.


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Crime Does Not Pay


–Most of the Time–


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


Humboldt County’s Criminal Activity as Reported by Law Enforcement–


Unsupervised Probationer Steals Vet’s Car for a Wild Meth-Fueled Ride

On September 3rd, 2013 at about 9:30 pm, a local resident called the Eureka Police Department’s (EPD) dispatch center to report someone had just stolen his 2005 Chrysler Sebring convertible from the parking lot of a business on the 600 block of West Harris Street, Eureka.

The victim, a Korean War veteran, explained he’d left his vehicle running with the door open while he got out to check for a possible water leak he’d noticed under his engine.

While he was leaning over looking for the source of the leak, an unidentified white male with no shirt and multiple tattoos jumped in and drove off in his car.  The suspect was last seen driving eastbound on West Harris Street. 

EPD officers set up surveillance at several locations around the city as they searched for the stolen Sebring.  At 10:06 pm, an officer spotted the Sebring traveling southbound on Broadway near Wabash Avenue.  A high risk traffic stop was initiated on the vehicle at Glenn and West Harris Streets once additional police units were in position. 

The suspect, later identified as Michael David Podesta, 38, attempted to evade officers and a short vehicle pursuit ensued.

Podesta turned right onto Thomas from Glenn Street and continued westbound at a high rate of speed.  Upon reaching the dead end of Gross Street, he abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot toward a nearby greenbelt area.

Podesta didn’t get very far.  Pursuing officers tackled him at the head of the trail leading into the greenbelt and he was taken into custody after a brief struggle.

At the time of his arrest Podesta exhibited symptoms consistent of being under
the influence of a central nervous system stimulant such as methamphetamine. 

Podesta was transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility (HCCF) where he was booked for auto theft, evading, resisting arrest, driving with a suspended license, and violation of his Post Release Community Supervision (PRCS) and violation of probation.

Mr. Podesta was on formal felony probation for burglary, receiving/possessing stolen property, and possession of a controlled substance.

He was also on Post Release Community Supervision for burglary.  He was released from prison and was supposedly supervised by the Humboldt County Probation Department– which is an oxymoron in itself.

May we kindly suggest the Probation Officer spend more time supervising clients
than Facebooking friends on work time?


Thunder in the Thorns

On September 1, at approximately 12:00 midnight, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a 911 call regarding a man and woman being assaulted.  They were injured as a result of the assault and were now on the side of road at the Samoa Blvd and State Route 255 intersection in Manila.

When deputies arrived on scene they met with the victims, a 48-year old man and his 23-year old wife, both from Eureka.  

Deputies saw the male had visible bruises and cuts to his face, and swelling on his head.  The female was bleeding from the top of her head.  Medical was summoned to the scene by the deputies to treat the victims.  Both were conscious and able to speak.

The female victim told the deputies that earlier she was at the intersection of State Route 255 and Samoa Blvd in Manila when she was approached by two men.

The men accused her of stealing a wallet.  She denied stealing the wallet and the suspects left.  At approximately midnight the suspects returned and started assaulting the female and her husband in their campsite which is near the State Route 255 and Samoa Blvd intersection in the woods.

The suspects used a stun gun against her husband and beat him with a wooden cane.  She also witnessed one of the suspects point a rifle at her husband.

The suspects grabbed her purse and threw the contents all over the ground.  She screamed and the suspects struck her with the cane in the head, then left the area.

The suspects stole the victim’s wallet during the assault.  She believed they left the area in a light brown pickup truck or jeep.  Deputies also saw the female had injuries to her head and leg.  The male victim related a similar story to the deputies as to what occurred.


.357 Thwarts Eureka Peeping Tom Scoundrel

On September 2, at 3:45 am, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a report of a home invasion in progress in the 300 block of Oak Street in Eureka.

When deputies arrived they met with the 29-year old female victim who was visibly upset.  The female told the deputies she was in her bedroom when she heard someone attempting to open her sliding glass door.

She walked into her kitchen and saw a white male adult wearing a black hooded sweatshirt , blue jeans and black boots attempting to force entry into her residence.  The suspect was unable to open the door because the victim had placed a dowel in the sliding mechanism.

The female victim armed herself with a .357 revolver which she brandished at the suspect who fled the scene immediately.  The victim told the deputies she had no idea who the suspect was.

Deputies checked the residence and surrounding area for the suspect but were unable to locate him. They found where the sliding glass door screen had been opened from the outside.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.


A Little Alcohol and Knife Play at the ‘Ol Watering Hole

On August 31, approximately 12:10 am, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office was notified of a stabbing victim being treated at Mad River Community Hospital Emergency Room (ER).

When a deputy arrived at the ER he met with the 32-year old male victim who resides in McKinleyville.  The deputy saw the victim had several cuts on his body and a puncture wound on his right arm.

The victim told the deputy he was at Central Station Bar, McKinleyville, at approximately 11:30 pm when he got into an argument with a Hispanic man.  He and the Hispanic man exited the bar to talk further.  When they did three other Hispanic males followed them outside.  The Hispanic male suspect and the victim got into a heated argument outside the bar.

The suspect then pepper sprayed the victim in the eyes and started stabbing the victim with a pocket knife.  

After stabbing the victim several times, the suspect fled in a blue four door “Mazda Type” sedan with dark tinted windows.  

Deputies checked the area, but did not locate the suspect or vehicle. A be-on-the-lookout was placed for the suspect and his vehicle.

The suspect is described as: Hispanic male adult, approximately 5‘8” tall, 145 lbs, brown hair, brown eyes.  He was last seen wearing a grey hooded sweatshirt, and white plaid shorts.  The suspect had a teardrop tattoo next to his eye area.

The victim was treated and released from the hospital.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.


Booty Bandit Wife-Beater Druggie Busted

On September 1st 2013, at approximately 2330 hours an officer with the Fortuna Police Department was dispatched to the National Nine Hotel for the report of a possible domestic violence restraining order violation.

The reporting party reported that William Shawn Tillman, 27, had violated a court order and was currently walking away from the hotel.

The officer located Tillman in the parking lot of Chevron and subsequently detained him for a violation of the court order.

During a search of Tillman’s person the officer located the following items:


· An unloaded firearm
· A hashish lab
· Marijuana
· Methamphetamine
· Concentrated cannabis
· Digital scales

Tillman was arrested and transported to the Humboldt County Jail on the following violations of law;

· HS 11377(a) F
· HS 11357(a) F
· HS 11379.6 F
· PC 273.5 F 
· PC 273.6 M

During the booking process at the Humboldt County Jail, Tillman was found to have a glass methamphetamine pipe and approximately 20 grams of hashish concealed within his body cavity.   

Mr. Tillman was also charged for smuggling controlled contraband into a correctional facility.

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Stay Away From the Lower Mad River


Toxic Blue-Green Algae Present; Dog Sickened


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



Officials with the Humboldt County Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) are urging users of the Mad River to avoid contact with algae in the lower Mad River in the area above the Blue Lake Bridge and below the Mad River Hatchery.

This week, a dog wading in this area suffered symptoms consistent with those of ingestion of toxic blue-green algae.  The dog survived and is recovering. 


Kevin Metcalfe, Consumer Protection Unit supervisor of the DHHS Division of Environmental Health advised:

“A blue-green algae bloom presents a health hazard to those swimming or playing in the river, especially children and pets.  

We recommend that people stay out of the water where significant algae are present, and keep their dogs out of this part of the river at this time.  Other areas that are warm, slow, stagnant and muddy are to be avoided, especially those areas with floating algal mats.”

DHHS is aware of 11 dog deaths which may have been caused by blue-green algae poisoning since 2001. The dogs died shortly after swimming in Big Lagoon, the South Fork Eel River and the Van Duzen River.

A nerve toxin associated with blue-green algae was found in the stomachs of the dogs that died on the South Fork Eel River in 2002.  

The same toxin was found in water samples from the South Fork Eel and Van Duzen rivers in 2009 just after two dogs died.  This poison is the most likely cause of the dog deaths on these rivers.  

Dogs are more vulnerable than people because they may swallow the toxin when they lick their fur.  The onset of symptoms can be rapid; dogs have died within 30 minutes to one hour after leaving the water.

Blue-green algae can be present in any freshwater body.  It looks like green, blue-green, white or brown scum, foam or mats floating on the water.  

Usually, it doesn’t affect animals or people.  However, warm water and abundant nutrients can cause blue-green algae to grow more rapidly than usual.

These floating algal masses or “blooms” can produce natural toxins that are very potent.  Dogs and children are most likely to be affected because of their smaller body size and tendency to stay in the water for longer periods.

People can experience eye irritation, skin rash, mouth ulcers, vomiting, diarrhea and cold or flu-like symptoms.

Potential symptoms in dogs following exposure to blue-green algae toxins can include:

    • Lethargy
    • Difficulty breathing
    • Salivation
    • Vomiting
    • Urination, diarrhea or convulsions

This summer, increased algae in the Mad River may be due to warmer coastal temperatures, low flows, added nutrients and warmer water temperatures.

DHHS officials recommend the following guidelines for recreational users of all freshwater areas in Humboldt County:

    • Keep children, pets and livestock from swimming in or drinking water containing algal scum or mats.
    • Adults should also avoid wading and swimming in water containing algal blooms.  Try not to swallow or inhale water spray in an algal bloom area.
    • If no algal scums or mats are visible, you should still carefully watch young children and warn them not to swallow any water.
    • Fish should be consumed only after removing the guts and liver and rinsing fillets in tap water.
    • Never drink, cook with or wash dishes with water from rivers, streams or lakes.
    • Get medical attention immediately if you think that you, your pet or livestock might have been poisoned by blue-green algae toxins.  Be sure to tell the doctor about possible contact with blue-green algae.

Human activities can have a big effect on nutrient and water flows in rivers, streams or lakes.  Phosphorous and nitrogen found in (marijuana and farm) fertilizers, animal waste and human waste can stimulate blooms.  Excessive water diversions can increase water temperatures and reduce flows.

People can take the following measures to prevent algal blooms in our waters:

  • Be very conservative with the use of water, fertilizers and pesticides on your lawn, garden or agricultural operation.
  • Recycle any “spent” soil that has been used for intensive growing by tilling it back into gardens or protect it from rainfall to avoid nutrient runoff.
  • Plant or maintain native plants around banks.  These plants help filter water and don’t require fertilizers.
  • Pump and maintain your septic system every three to four years.
  • Prevent surface water runoff from agricultural and livestock areas.
  • Prevent erosion around construction and logging operations.

The danger of blue-green algae sickening and killing your pets is a very real and significant threat in Humboldt County and most other states.  It can also hurt YOU.

If you don’t think so, take a gander at what happened to these folks in Ohio.

Contact the DHHS Division of Environmental Health at 707-445-6215 or 1-800-963-9241 for more information.

People may report unusual blooms or conditions, including pictures, to Environmental Health by emailing envhealth@co.humboldt.ca.us.

The California Department of Public Health website also has more details: www.cdph.ca.gov/healthinfo/environhealth/water/Pages/bluegreenalgae.aspx

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Feds Won’t Sue To Stop States’ Marijuana Laws


Justice Department Eases Rules on Pot Enforcement


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


WASHINGTONThe Justice Department has thrown down an olive branch in the war against marijuana use.

In a major policy shift by the Obama administration that reverses 75 years of marijuana prohibition, Atty. Gen. Eric Holder signaled yesterday that the federal government would no longer interfere in states that allowed commercial marijuana sales as long as they were strictly regulated.

The surprising move comes two years after the Justice Department said federal drug agents would not tolerate large-scale or commercial pot businesses and began a campaign to shut down dispensaries and growers. The crackdown was particularly aggressive in California, where hundreds of businesses were shut down.

The new policy suggests the federal government is trying to find a workable balance between federal law, which prohibits all marijuana use, and the changing laws in a growing number of states such as California that permit it.

Holder informed the governors of Colorado and Washington State– where voters in November passed ballot measures to legalize marijuana for all adult use– that the Justice Department would not move to halt those initiatives.

Meanwhile, Deputy Atty. Gen. James Cole wrote a memorandum to his top prosecutors around the country emphasizing that they should not automatically
target marijuana operations solely because they operate for profit and on a large

“I was expecting a yellow light, but this light looks a lot more greenish than I had expected,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the national Drug Policy Alliance, a group advocating an end to the so-called war on drugs.  ”The White House is essentially saying proceed with caution.”

He said the ramifications would be felt even in other countries, such as Jamaica and Uruguay, where officials feared their legalization initiatives would be squelched by pressure from the U.S.

Beau Kilmer, co-director of the Rand Drug Policy Research Center, said that while it was “a big deal” that the memo did not prohibit commercial, for-profit production, its scope was limited.  It does not legalize marijuana at a federal level, leaves U.S. attorneys plenty of discretion to prosecute, and focuses only on the Justice Department.

“There are other federal agencies and departments that can play a role in all this.  You’ve got the IRS, the Treasury, Customs…. It’s important to recognize that the federal government is not just a homogenous actor,” Kilmer said.

It’s unclear how the change in policy will affect California, where the medical marijuana industry remains largely unregulated.

The memo suggests that little might change in the state unless Sacramento implements some rules for the industry.  

“The department’s guidance in this memorandum rests on its expectation that states and local government will implement strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems,” Cole wrote.

California’s rules on medical marijuana are murky to nonexistent.  Certain counties and cities, such as Oakland, have created clear regulatory schemes, but Cole repeatedly calls for “state regulation.”

“This is a mandate for California to regulate medical marijuana,” said Dale Gieringer, a longtime activist and director of California NORML, the state chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Steve DeAngelo, who operates Harborside Health Center in Oakland, one of the largest dispensaries in the U.S., called the move “a huge step forward for a sane policy on marijuana,” but worried about the details.

“It looks very, very promising on the face of it.  But we won’t know the effects until it’s interpreted by the U.S. attorneys,” DeAngelo said.

Melinda Haag, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of California, has targeted growers in Northern California.

Haag filed papers last year to seize the properties where
Harborside operated, and said in a statement at the time
that “superstores like Harborside” went beyond what the
state law allowed, implying its size was the key issue.

Cole’s memo doesn’t address the other methods the federal government is using to put cannabis purveyors out of business.

“We’re still facing crippling tax assessments, seizure of our properties, denial of banking, credit cards, security and armed car services,” DeAngelo said.

Cole said prosecutors should focus marijuana enforcement on several areas: preventing distribution of pot to minors, keeping revenue from flowing to gangs or cartels, preventing marijuana from being used as a front for trafficking in other drugs, impaired driving and growing
on public land.

Legalization opponents saw Thursday’s memo as a historic step in the wrong direction.

“This president will be remembered for many failures, but none as large as this one, which will lead to massive youth drug use, destruction of community values, increased addiction and crime rates,” said Paul Chabot, president and founder of the Coalition for a Drug Free California. “America may never recover.”

Sen. Charles E. Grassley (R-Iowa), co-chairman of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, said the administration’s action sent “the wrong message to both law enforcement and violators of federal law.”

“Apprehending and prosecuting illegal drug traffickers should always be a priority for the Department of Justice,” Grassley said in a statement.

Bert “Buddy” Duzy has a hard time believing the government is making an about-face. “They weren’t supposed to hassle California meds either,” he said.

Duzy heads the Reefer Raiders, friends and disciples of the late pot guru and author Jack Herer.  The group has filed pot legalization initiatives in various forms since 1980.  He wants more radical change: taking marijuana off the list of Schedule 1 narcotics that include heroin and cocaine.  ”That’s been the holy grail for the cannabis movement for the last 30 years.”

In Humboldt County, Sheriff Mike Downey told the Times-Standard news that the Fed’s new policy offers room to address marijuana issues appropriately.  “The County has been working on an outdoor (marijuana) ordinance that may be easier with this new guidance… it’s a step in the right direction,” Downey said.

Humboldt County Supervisor Mark Lovelace also weighed in.  “Lack of state regulation allows the Department of Justice to still use broad discretion in enforcement and prosecution decisions.  This action expands the position to include states which have legalized marijuana for ‘recreational’ or non-medical use,” Lovelace said. 

“I think it’s a major step toward a more rational drug policy, but it’s only a step,” Lovelace cautioned.

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(Via Yahoo News, LA Advocate, and Times-Standard News)

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Humboldt Crime After Crime


Time After Time


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


It’s been a busy couple of days for law enforcement and scoundrels alike.


Woman Assaulted With Machete Behind Bayshore Mall

On August 24 around 11:15 am, Officers and emergency medical personnel were summoned to the greenbelt area west of the 3300 Block of Broadway Street for a report of a female having been assaulted with a machete.

An adult female Eureka resident was found there with a serious head injury consistent with an edged weapon attack.  She was taken to the local hospital for treatment and later moved out of the area for advanced care. 

Witnesses identified a suspect, Antonio Parker, 24, as the person who assaulted the female.

Parker was detained nearby and found to have a machete concealed in his backpack. He was arrested and taken to the Eureka Police Department, questioned, and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility on a charge of assault with a deadly weapon and a concealed weapon violation. Mr. Parker is being held on $50,000 bail. 

Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Senior Detective Todd Wilcox at (707) 441-4315.


Woman Shot in Sleepy Cutten Over Weed Deal Gone Bad

On August 24 around 9:30 pm, the Eureka Police Department received several reports of shots heard near Glatt and W Streets in Eureka.

Responding Officers found an adult female Eureka resident at the location with a gunshot wound.  According to scanner reports, an ambulance was summoned for her. 

She reported meeting with subjects of whom she was only casually acquainted for a planned marijuana sale.  For reasons not reported the pot deal went sour and ran off the rails.

After shooting the female victim, the subjects reportedly left in a vehicle described by her as a newer, possibly Chevrolet, gold four-door car.  The car had possible Wyoming license plate(s) and the right rear window was covered in tape. 

The subjects being sought are described as

Black male adult, 5’10” 160 lbs, with numerous face and arm tattoos, possibly known as “BJ.”

Black male adult, 5’10’ 175 lbs, possibly known as “J.”

White male adult, early to mid 20’s, blonde hair. 

Anyone with information regarding this incident is asked to contact the Eureka Police Department or Senior Detective Todd Wilcox at 445-4315.


Creep Abandons Three Old Female Dogs in Fairhaven To Die

On August 21 an Officer from the California Highway Patrol brought three dogs into the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Animal Shelter that were found running in the roadway on New Navy Base Road at Lincoln Avenue in Fairhaven.

The dogs were: a black Labrador retriever mix, approximately 12 years old; a brown German shepherd mix, approximately 10 years old; and a brown Airedale Terrier mix, approximately 10 years old. All three dogs were female.

Animal Shelter staff got on the case and located a posting on Craigslist from three days earlier from an unidentified person in Freshwater who stated that their neighbor was moving to the East Coast and had three dogs that he couldn’t keep.  The photos of the dogs on the Craigslist posting were the same dogs as those brought into the shelter.  The back yard of a residence is clearly visible in one of the photographs.

Animal Shelter staff pursued it further.  They then located a second posting on Craigslist about the dogs.  This posting is from someone who saw a male subject abandon the dogs on New Navy Base Road and Bay Street.  

The posting states that a male subject in his mid-30’s with short hair and driving a newer black 4-wheel drive truck left the dogs, telling them to “stay” as he drove away.

One of the dogs was nearly struck by a car while chasing the truck down the road.  It is not clear if the person responsible for this Craigslist post was the same person reporting the loose dogs to CHP. Animal Shelter staff replied to both Craigslist postings but so far haven’t received any response.

The Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office figured out quickly who was responsible and no doubt with some help from locally angered animal lovers who heard about it. 

Consequently, the HCSO positively identified the suspect in this case as Salvatore Ted Arena, age 42, of Freshwater.

The three dogs, Angel, Becky and Ginger, had belonged to Arena’s brother who passed away suddenly in February of this year.  Mr. Arena began trying to surrender the dogs to local rescues about a week ago saying he was moving to the East Coast.

Gail Holder of K-9 Angels Rescue had been in frequent contact with Arena and was working to try to get the dogs into foster care.  She received a call from him just before the dogs were found abandoned in Fairhaven and he said that he had to leave the following morning and couldn’t take the dogs across the country in his truck.

The Sheriff’s Office will be seeking a warrant for Arena’s arrest.  At this time they have reason to believe that he has left the area.

Anyone having information to the contrary is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Animal Control Division at (707) 840-9132 or the Crime Tip Line at (707) 268-2539. 

The Sheriff’s Office Animal Control Division is asking for the public’s help to identify the owner of these dogs.  Abandonment of an animal is a crime.  It’s also pretty low down and dastardly.

Anyone who recognizes the dogs and/or the back yard of the residence in the photographs is asked to call Animal Control Officer Hale at 707-840-9132 or the Crime Tip Line, 707-268-2539.


Motorcycle Rider Succumbs Following Collision

On August 9, 2013 at about 4:10 PM, officers with the Fortuna Police Department responded to the intersection of Rohnerville Road and School Street for a report of an injury traffic collision.

Upon arrival, officers determined that Justin Wier, 27 of Carlotta, had been traveling southbound on Rohnerville Road riding a 1979 Honda Motorcycle when Van Crismon, 70, of Fortuna, entered Rohnerville Road from School Street into the path of Wier.  Crismon was driving a 2005 Toyota SUV.

Crismon was treated and released from Redwood Memorial Hospital.  Wier was airlifted to Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital for advanced medical care and is currently listed in Critical Condition.

Preliminary information indicates that Crismon entered Rohnerville Road when unsafe to do so and that Wier was unlicensed and not properly wearing his helmet at the time of the collision.

This collision is still under investigation and it is currently unknown if drugs or alcohol played a factor.

Rohnerville Road was closed for nearly three hours and the department was
assisted on scene by the Fortuna Fire Department, City Ambulance and the
City of Fortuna Streets Department.

On August 24, the Fortuna Police Department received information that Justin Wier died at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital where he had been transported for advanced medical care following a collision on Rohnerville Road in Fortuna.

The Sonoma County Coroner’s Office will be conducting additional investigation and the case will be forwarded to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office for review.


Dead Fisher Found At Marijuana Grow Killed With Poison

On July 29 and July 31 Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and other related law enforcement agencies conducted an investigation and eradication of a large marijuana cultivation site below the Brushy Mountain Lookout on Friday Ridge in Willow Creek.

The officers eradicated 7,521 growing marijuana plants ranging and while conducting the investigation researchers and deputies found numerous quantities of herbicides and animal poisons in addition to a dead Fisher.

Deputies also located fresh hot dogs strung from a tree on treble fish hooks, along with two dead deer carcasses and a bird, a Hermit thrush.  Officers also witnessed environmental damage to the watershed.

The necropsy of the deceased young male adult Fisher located in the marijuana garden in Six Rivers National Forest was recently completed by a scientific team of researchers.

The necropsy confirmed suspicions that the Fisher was in fact killed due to Carbamate insecticide poisoning, specifically Methomyl.  Methomyl is a highly acute toxic insecticide and its use is restricted by the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

The Fisher also had Brodifacoum, a 2nd generation anticoagulant rodenticide detected in its system.  The researchers believe the Fisher experienced convulsions, muscle tremors and respiratory distress during its death.

There were pieces of meat believed to be hot dog inside the Fishers stomach.  It was pointed out that if this hotdog were eaten by any other animal it would be toxic to that animal and this toxicant can travel through the food chain, so any scavenger eating an animal poisoned with this would also likely become ill or die.

The public is being advised to not handle or touch any items located in any active or inactive marijuana garden site.  The items in the site could potentially poison the person by the mere handling of the items; some of these chemicals can travel through exposed skin.

Allowing your dog off leash in areas where one of these grows is located could also result in your dog being poisoned, the HCSO said.  

If a marijuana grow site is located, leave the area and notify local law enforcement, Sheriff’s officials advised.


Search for Missing Female Hiker Continues (UPDATED)

From the HCSO:

On August 14, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a citizen who reported his sister as an overdue hiker.

The citizen told the investigating deputy he dropped his sister Anna Maria Rodriquez off at a trailhead three miles out Slate Creek, Orleans.  He said his sister told him she intended to hike for about 75 days.  

He agreed to meet her back at the drop off area on August 9 but she failed to show up.  He re-checked the trailhead daily until five days later. 

He said she brought food, a tent, clothes, backpack and numerous other items with her.

She told him she planned to camp in the area about ten miles north- northeast of the drop off.  He told the deputy she has done this before.  This was her second or third time which is why he was not concerned about her returning to the area, however this was the longest time she had been camping out in that area.

She has a cell phone but it is currently turned off either due to a dead battery or voluntarily not in use. 

A California Highway Patrol plane flew the area on August 14 and a team of deputies are currently hiking the trails in the area assisted by a California Highway Patrol helicopter. 

Anna Maria Rodriquez is described as follows: 5-5” tall, 180 lbs, brown hair, brown eyes last seen wearing blue jeans and an unknown colored shirt.  She has no permanent place of residence. 

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

UPDATE:  Anna Rodriguez, a hiker missing in the wilderness near Slate Creek between Orleans and Weitchepec, still hasn’t been found after she was supposed to return a month ago, Kym Kemp has reported.

Rodriguez’s friends and family are continuing the searching for her.  They’ve combed through areas that they believed she should have been camping in.  Volunteer rescuers and camp staff are needed and the family is asking for your help.

“We’ve searched the right hand side of the canyon,” her brother said. “That is where she told me she was, but apparently she gave me bad directions.”

They have found the camp which Rodriguez used to overnight in before hiking all the way to her base.

Kym Kemp has more details in her story here.

* * * * * * * * *

Sigh.  Crime never sleeps in the Naked City.

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Humboldt’s Gnarly Wave in Crime


Pot, Parolees, and Peace Officers Gone Wild


Skippy Masssey
Humboldt Sentinel



Take a few days off and crime blossoms like fungi. 

Before we delve into the local haps, here’s the latest national story
developing that’s sure to take some twists and turns.


Abducted Teen Hunt Centers on Idaho Wilderness

(Yahoo News)  A massive search is underway in the remote Idaho backcountry for California murder suspect James DiMaggio and the 16-year-old he’s believed to have kidnapped following the grisly murders of her mother and younger brother.

More than 100 law enforcement officials are descending on a 320-square-mile area of the Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area.

A mostly roadless, rugged, heavily wooded forest in central Idaho about 70 miles north of Boise where motorized vehicles are prohibited, crews are searching the area by foot, horse and helicopter. 

More than 100 people are either working on the search or are on their way to help.  Agencies working on the search include the Valley County and Ada County Sheriff’s departments U.S Marshals Service, Homeland Security, FBI, Idaho Army National Guard and Idaho State Police.

DiMaggio’s Nissan Versa, covered with brush and missing its California license plates, was found about five miles from a trailhead into the area Friday.

The discovery came about two days after a horseback rider reported seeing DiMaggio and teen Hannah Anderson hiking with backpacks. Idaho authorities say the rider didn’t realize the pair were being sought until he got home and recognized them on news reports.

San Diego Police say they believe DiMaggio, 40, kidnapped Hannah after killing her mother, Christinia Anderson, and her brother, Ethan, last weekend.  Their bodies were found in DiMaggio’s burning California home near the Mexican border Sunday.  On Friday night, San Diego County Sheriff’s Office confirmed that the remains found in the home matched the DNA of Ethan, 8.

The Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness Area is more than 2.3 million acres, the second-largest protected wilderness area in the lower 48 states, coursing through mountain ranges, deep canyons and the middle fork of the Salmon River, a popular waterway for rafters and kayakers.

DiMaggio, a friend of the Andersons, is an experienced outdoorsman, according to Hannah’s father, Brett Anderson.

UPDATE:  Teen found safe in Idaho; alleged abductor killed.


Duck Pond Crash and Spree

On Thursday, at about 6 a.m., a citizen reported that his 1994 Ford F250 work truck was stolen from the 3300 block of H Street in Eureka.

A short time after Eureka Police Sergeant Reyna-Sanchez finished the stolen auto report, he saw the stolen truck being driven by 29-year-old Paul Bareilles at Glatt and W streets.  Making eye contact with Sgt. Reyna-Sanchez, Bareilles accelerated westbound on Glatt Street at a high rate of speed. Sgt. Reyna-Sanchez lost sight of the stolen truck as it turned onto the Sequoia Park Duck Pond Road.

This roadway is a winding single lane, one-way roadway that is the exit point for duck pond users.

Bareilles drove the Ford F250 the wrong way, down to the duck pond.  At the bottom of the hill, Bareilles turned onto a pedestrian pathway, crashing through the vehicle barrier gate.  He drove on the path until he crashed into a redwood tree, causing major damage to the truck.

Although his speeds were not witnessed, the destroyed gate and truck speak to speeds that were too dangerous for the conditions.  EPD patrol officers set up a perimeter and conducted an unsuccessful search.  The EPD is working with the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office to expedite an arrest warrant for Bareilles.

Paul Bareilles has a long history with auto theft and has convictions for auto theft and the possession of stolen vehicles.  He was currently out on bail for another pending auto theft charge.

Bareilles has either been arrested or named as a suspect in about 10 separate investigations since 2005 with the EPD. In lieu of an arrest warrant, the EPD has issued a Penal Code 836 arrest authorization. PC 836 allows state law enforcement officers to make an arrest for a felony offense based on probable cause.

Anyone with information of his whereabouts should counsel Bareilles to turn himself in or advise law enforcement of his location. Anyone with information
can call EPD dispatch at 441-4044.


Fighting, Meth, and Guns

On 08-8-2013, at approximately 1:00 a.m., Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies and California Highway Patrol Officers were dispatched to the area of the Weott overpass in regards to a man and woman involved in a physical fight.

When the first deputy arrived in the area he did not see anyone, however he did see a brown 1987 Dodge truck pull up to the stop sign at Weott Heights and Newton Road.  The deputy watched the truck make a right turn and drive into a parking lot of a vacant business.  A male and female were sitting in the cab of the truck.

The deputy contacted the male who was in the driver’s seat and saw he was visibly shaking and very nervous.  The deputy asked the man and the woman passenger if they were the couple who had been fighting.  The man told the deputy the fight involved their friends and they drove over to pick them up.

While speaking with the male driver the deputy saw he appeared to be under the influence of a controlled substance.  The deputy asked the male if he ingested methamphetamine recently.  The male told the deputy he used methamphetamine about six hours ago.

The deputy told the male to exit the truck, at which time the male told the deputy he had a gun in his waistband.  The man was immediately taken into custody at which time the deputy located a loaded .40 caliber Glock semi-automatic pistol in the man’s waistband.

He was identified as Jason Wayne Chapman, 38 years old, from Petrolia.  The female was identified as Karissa Lynn Coffron, 20 years old, from Weott. 

The deputy located two plastic baggies containing approximately 4.1 grams of suspected methamphetamine in Chapman’s pockets, along with a glass pipe for smoking methamphetamine. Inside the truck the deputy located a digital scale and $523.00 in cash. 

Coffron was questioned and also admitted to using methamphetamine recently and showed signs of being under the influence. She was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance. 

Both Chapman and Coffron were transported to the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where they were booked. During the booking process Coffron was found to have three baggies of methamphetamine concealed in her bra along with a syringe. 

Chapman was booked on charges of carrying a loaded concealed firearm in a vehicle, possession of a controlled substance, transportation of a controlled substance and driving under the influence. His bail was set at $100,000.00. Coffron was arrested for being under the influence of a controlled substance, possession and transportation of a controlled substance. Her bail was also set at $100,000.00. 

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related
criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or
the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.


Tweaker’s Sticky Fingers Leads to Meth and Gun Arrest

On 08-8-2013, at approximately 9:00 a.m., a Kmart loss prevention officer at the McKinleyville Kmart store reported to the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office a shoplifting of cosmetics had just occurred and the female suspect left in a cream colored 2006 Mercedes C-230.

At approximately 9:12 a.m. a Humboldt County Deputy Sheriff spotted the vehicle and female suspect on Sutter Road, McKinleyville. 

The deputy initiated a traffic stop on the vehicle which yielded near Azalea Avenue and Sutter Road.

After stopping the vehicle the deputy spoke with the female occupant and lone occupant of the car who identified herself as Karen Marie Palsson, 50 years old from Miranda.

While speaking with Palsson the deputy saw she had a five shot Smith and Wesson .38 special revolver next to her thigh in the driver seat.  Palsson was immediately detained by the deputy.  After detaining Palsson the loaded weapon was removed from the driver’s seat.

Kmart loss prevention staff responded to the scene and identified Palsson as the person they saw steal cosmetics. 

When Palsson was searched, the stolen cosmetics were recovered in her boot.  Deputies also located a small amount of methamphetamine on Palsson, and a pipe for smoking narcotics.

Ms. Palsson was arrested for petty theft, possession of a loaded firearm in a vehicle and possession of methamphetamine.  She was transported and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where her bail was set at $100,000.00.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.


Speedy Driver Leads to Pot Bust

On 08-7-2013, approximately 12:20 p.m., a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputy assigned to marijuana investigations was driving a marked patrol truck south bound US 101 near College of the Redwoods at approximately 65 mph when he saw a Gray Toyota Tundra pickup truck approaching at a high rate of speed behind him in the fast traffic lane.

The Tundra started to tailgate the deputy who immediately pulled over to the right lane to allow the Tundra to pass him.  As the Tundra passed the deputy he saw it was traveling at approximately 80 mph in the 65 mph zone. 

The deputy immediately initiated a traffic stop on the truck near Hookton Road on US 101.

After stopping the truck, the deputy spoke with the driver, identified as Kevin Bourque, 34-years old from Eureka.

The deputy learned Bourque was on probation with a search clause for maintaining a residence where illegal drugs were sold and told Bourque he was going to search his vehicle and had him, along with his two passengers exit the truck.  The deputy asked Bourque if he would find any contraband in the truck.  Mr. Bourque told the deputy he had “medicine” in the truck.

A search was conducted and the deputy located a bag with approximately one pound of marijuana bud along with paperwork indicating sales of marijuana in the truck.

The deputy located approximately $4,500.00 in cash in the bag with the marijuana bud, along with another approximate $9,900.00 in cash.  

The deputy also located paperwork indicating Bourque had ties to property located in the 2700 block of Felt Road, Eureka.

The two passengers who were detained were released at the scene. 

Deputies responded to the Felt Road address and secured it for a search warrant.  When securing the property for a search warrant, deputies contacted two men at the property who told them they were hired to work at the property for Bourque.  They were interviewed and released.

A Humboldt County Superior Court search warrant was obtained for the property.  The search warrant was issued and deputies immediately served it on the residence and located an indoor marijuana grow.

Deputies seized 497 growing marijuana plants ranging from 3” to 4’ in height, along with approximately 29 pounds of dried marijuana bud.  

Arrest warrants are being sought for the two men who were interviewed and released for cultivation and possession for sale of marijuana. 

Mr. Bourque was arrested for transportation of marijuana, possession of marijuana for sale and violation of probation.  Additional charges were added for Bourque for conspiracy to commit a felony and cultivation of marijuana. 

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip
line at 707-268-2539.


Bicyclists Beware of a Speeding Mr. Combs

On 08-8-2013, at approximately 8:20 p.m., a Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputy was dispatched to the 3600 block of Fieldbrook Road, Fieldbrook in regards to a report of a suspicious vehicle.  When the deputy arrived in the area he saw a gold and black 1999 Suburban in the area. 

When he drove behind the Suburban it immediately sped away at a high rate of speed northbound on Fieldbrook Road driving 60 mph in a 25 mph zone.  The deputy initiated a pursuit of the vehicle, which immediately sped up to over 90 mph.

The vehicle suddenly slowed about two miles down the road and turned onto Buckman Trail Road. 

As the vehicle turned it almost ran over two bicyclists– causing one to fall into a ditch. 

The deputy followed the Suburban on Buckman Trail Road to the 200 block where it drove into a fence after skidding to a sudden stop.  The driver immediately jumped out of the car, jumped over a fence and ran into the woods and disappeared. 

The deputy was able to get a good look at the driver and was able to identify him as William Robert Combs, 25-years old from McKinleyville.

A be-on-the lookout has been issued to area law enforcement for Combs who is wanted for felony evasion of a police officer. He is further described as follows:

William Combs: 25 years old, white male, brown hair, hazel eyes, 5’9” tall, and 150 lbs

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.


CARE Program Abused by Arcata Pot Growing Couple 

Officers from the Arcata Police Department’s Special Services Unit served a search warrant at a residence in the 200 Block of Beverly Court on Thursday morning.

Upon entering the residence, officers located a marijuana growing operation encompassing the garage area of the home.  Officers seized nearly 150 growing marijuana plants, approximately 11 pounds of processed marijuana bud, and nearly $6,000 in cash. 

The growing operation that was being conducted inside the home consisted of 16 1000-watt grow lights and was utilizing nearly 15 times the electricity of a typical Arcata family home. Records indicated the residents were currently enrolled in the PG&E CARE program for low income families. 

Nicholas Jackson, 31, and Sarah Keeble, 24, both of Arcata, were arrested and booked into the Humboldt County Jail on the following charges:

· 11358 Health & Safety (H&S)- Cultivation of Marijuana

· 11359 H&S- Possession of Marijuana for Sale 1358 Health & Safety (H&S)- Cultivation of Marijuana

City of Arcata building inspectors discovered numerous building code violations at the residence which necessitated the immediate disconnection of electrical service.

If you suspect illegal drug activity in your neighborhood, please call the Arcata Police Department at 822-2428.


Robbed at Gunpoint for the Weed

On 08-8-2013, at approximately 2:45 p.m., the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a 39-year old McKinleyville man who reported he had just been robbed at gunpoint and was struck in the head.

Deputies and medical personnel responded to the 1800 block of Sycamore Court, McKinleyville and met with the victim.

The victim told deputies he and two friends were manicuring marijuana bud when there was a knock at his front door. 

He went to the front door and saw a woman standing there.  He opened the door and a man suddenly appeared at the door with a six inch long black wooden handled revolver.

The man struck him in the head with the gun and entered the home.  The man and woman stole three pounds of marijuana bud and his electric guitar and amplifier.  During the robbery the two friends fled out the back door.  The victim told the deputy he had a medical marijuana recommendation which is why he had the marijuana.

The victim told the deputies his friends were only known as “Wayne” and a girl that Wayne knew. The victim told the deputy he would find Wayne and have him contact the Sheriff’s Office.

The victim was treated at the scene by medical personnel for a laceration to his head.

The suspects are described as follows:

White female adult, 6’ tall, 120 to 140 lbs, yellow curly hair

White male adult, 6’ tall, 160 to 180 lbs, wearing all black, including a black hat 

The stolen electric guitar is described a s a limited edition Paul Reed Smith turquoise on its face and brown on back and a 25-watt Mesa Boogie Amplifier.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.


Woman Fights Off Kidnapper; Parolee Nabbed

Eureka police arrested a man early Thursday morning who allegedly kidnapped a woman and threatened her with a knife while driving her around Eureka before she escaped.

The 38-year-old woman was trying to reclaim a friend’s 1996 blue Mercury Village van at a Shell gas station on the 1300 block of Fifth Street when the suspect, later identified as Eureka resident Ronald Gene Elwell, 42, jumped in and drove off with the victim inside, according to a Eureka Police Department press release.

Mr. Elwell — who is on active parole for grand theft, on formal probation for possession of a controlled substance and had a felony warrant out for his arrest for possession of a controlled substance — apparently drove the victim about a mile-and-a-half across town, the EPD said.

The van’s owner had loaned the van to Elwell, and wanted it back. The victim lived nearby, so the owner asked her to pick it up.

Early Thursday morning, an EPD officer found Elwell sleeping inside the van in the Kmart parking lot at the south end of Broadway, according to the release.

Elwell was arrested and transferred to the Humboldt County jail on suspicion of kidnapping, assault with a deadly weapon, criminal threats, brandishing a deadly weapon and for a parole violation.

During the trip, the victim alleges Elwell brandished a knife in an attempt to stab her, but after fighting for control of the knife, she grabbed it and kept him at bay, Watson said.

When Elwell turned down a dead end street and was forced to brake, the victim fled he car, and Elwell drove off, Eureka Police said.

While the victim was being driven all over town, officers searched the city for her and the van, and issued a countywide attempt-to-locate bulletin to law enforcement agencies after one of the victim’s teenage daughters, who witnessed the kidnapping, called authorities, according to the release.

After escaping, the woman used a Good Samaritan’s phone to call one of her daughters, and officers picked her up near Ross Park at the intersection of Eleventh and M streets and drove her back to the gas station.

* * * * * *

It’s been a long week.  Let’s hope things settle down in our peaceful little corner of Humboldt County.

(Graphic art by 1970s underground artist Robert Crumb)

Posted in Crime, LocalComments (0)

Medical Marijuana Not Immune From Seizure


California Appeals Court Rules on Humboldt County Cannabis Case


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


SAN FRANCISCO (Courthouse News)The mere presence of users’ medical marijuana recommendations
at a grow site did not immunize the crop from seizure, nor
did it require police to prove the growers were guilty of a
crime before they could destroy the harvest, a California
appeals court ruled last week.

 The case stems from a 2008 open field eradication project by Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies and agents from the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) task force.

 ”The facts are largely undisputed,” P.J. McGuiness and J. Jenkins wrote for the appellate court.

Officers “entered a garden that contained 118 marijuana plants ranging from three to eight feet tall with an average diameter of six to seven feet,” according to the ruling.  

Four medical marijuana recommendations were posted on the gate, for Sylvia, Timothy and Roscoe Littlefield, specifying conditions that included degenerative joint disease, low back pain, anxiety and glaucoma and indicating “the use of up to two ounces of cannabis per day, the equivalent of 45.6 pounds per year,” the court noted.  A fourth recommendation, for Jeffrey Libertini, did not specify a condition or dose.

Officers found a second plot on the property with “an additional 96 flowering marijuana plants from three to eight feet tall and averaging four to six feet wide.  Medical marijuana recommendations for Richard Littlefield and Summer Brown, each of which indicated up to two ounces daily for degenerative joint disease and low back pain, were posted in this garden,” the appellate court wrote.

The Sheriff’s Department “believed the recommendations were invalid and the marijuana should be seized.”  The appellate court noted the quantity was “enough of a supply for two ounces of cannabis daily for six people for five and one-half years.”

An affidavit by Deputy Cyrus Silva stated that destroying the marijuana complied with Health and Safety Code requirements and that it was not reasonably possible to store it elsewhere.

“Humboldt County does not have adequate storage facilities, or sufficient personnel to guard the marijuana.  In addition, recently harvested marijuana gives off great volumes of heat and may erupt into fire,” he wrote.  Most of the two large crops were destroyed, though some samples were kept for evidence, and a few other plots on the property were left undisturbed.

The Littlefield family sued Humboldt County for “the replacement value of the confiscated cannabis, physical and mental suffering, emotional distress, and medical expenses,” the appellate court wrote, but Humboldt County Superior Court Judge Christopher Wilson did not find their arguments compelling.

Wilson ruled that the quantity of marijuana would lead “a person of ordinary caution or prudence to believe, and conscientiously entertain a strong suspicion of the guilt of the accused,” that the requirements of probable cause had been met, and that the Littlefields did not lawfully possess the marijuana.  He did not buy into statements by an expert witness for the Littlefields, who failed to convince him that he had specific knowledge of the plaintiffs’ medical needs.

 California’s First Appellate District reviewed the facts of the case and examined each of the Littlefields’ arguments, agreeing with Wilson that the seizure and destruction of the marijuana was neither unconstitutional nor illegal.

 The appellate court agreed that the seizure was supported by probable cause and cited case law on the limits of medical marijuana legalization.

 ”The most salient fact here is the vast quantity of marijuana found,” the ruling states.  ”The CUA [Compassionate Care Act, California's medical marijuana statute] protects the possession of marijuana only in an amount reasonably related to the user’s current medical needs.”

 The appellate court agreed that the seizure was supported by probable cause and cited case law on the limits of medical marijuana legalization. “The most salient fact here is the vast quantity of marijuana found,” the ruling states.

The court also expressed skepticism about the recommendations themselves. “Each purports to authorize the use of up to two ounces per person per day, or 45.6 pounds of cannabis per year – 15 times the three pounds per year deemed reasonable under the County’s Ordinance,” the court wrote (emphasis in original).

The Littlefields claimed the County unlawfully destroyed their stash, but the appeals court agreed with Deputy Silva’s affidavit, quoted above, that the destruction complied with the Health and Safety Code.

The appeals court backed the trial court’s ruling that the Littlefields did not bring admissible evidence showing their possession was lawful, and ultimately concluded the trial court’s ruling was sound.

Kym Kemp, a writer who has followed medical marijuana issues in Humboldt County, told Courthouse News that the ruling could influence the dynamics of marijuana policing.

Referring to California’s Proposition 215, the 1996 ballot initiative that legalized marijuana use with a doctor’s recommendation, Kemp said, “An officer in the field now can feel more comfortable pulling out plants even with 215 recommendations, without having to worry about being sued or having to reimburse the growers.  It could be a game changer for growers and for law enforcement.”

Khurshid Khoja of Greenbridge Corporate Counsel, former general counsel for the Emerald Growers Association, told Courthouse News, “Given the number of plants that were seized and destroyed and the nature of the recommendations, it seems like a reasonable decision by the court.”

He added that there are some medical marijuana preparations on the market today, such as highly concentrated oils, which might require the use of up to two ounces a day to produce, but that the Littlefields had not brought a credible medical witness to testify during
summary judgment proceedings that they needed that much.

* * * * * * * *

Article courtesy of Barbara Wallace and the Courthouse News Service 
Images by the Humboldt Sentinel

Thadeus Greenson’s article in the Times-Standard news has more details of the case.

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The Explosion of Butane Hash Oil



Not Everyone’s Cup of High Tea



Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


Things that go boom in the night.

In February, FEMA posted a rather unexpected alert in its emergency services bulletin titled “Hash Oil Explosions Increasing Across US.”  

Alongside warnings of cyber terrorism and industrial vapor clouds, it described an uptick in explosions at apartments and hotel rooms involving “a process using butane to extract and concentrate compounds from marijuana,” destructive incidents that FEMA warned could be mistaken for pipe bomb or meth lab explosions.

Wait, marijuana-based explosions? When did cannabis products start sounding like something out of Breaking Bad?

A clear, golden brown cannabis derivative also known as honey oil, shatter, wax and disgustingly as “earwax,” butane hash oil (BHO) has some advantages over traditional marijuana:  It has very little smell, is very portable, and can achieve intense effects in small amounts.

“BHO has been gaining in popularity in the past three years,” High Times Senior Editor Bobby Black said. “It’s been done for decades, but it was only done by a few people and it was very underground.  Even we didn’t really talk about it or cover it because it was so rare.”

No longer. At a series of Cannabis Cup competitions taking place in states where medical marijuana is legal, Black says the once-marginal hash oil entries have not only increased over the last several years but “pretty much eclipsed traditional hash at this point.”

But as its popularity grows, so do the number of hash oil enthusiasts eager to attempt their own homebrew BHO, a process that usually involves the highly flammable solvent butane.  The result in a number of cases, as the FEMA bulletin notes, has been “fires and explosions that have blown out windows, walls, and caused numerous burn injuries.”

Local media reports often describe hash oil explosions as the result of “cooking hash” or “cooking hash oil,” but that isn’t strictly accurate.  There are no Breaking Bad Bunsen burners or chemistry sets involved, and the process of producing hash oil is a relatively simple one, but one that ill-informed stupid
stoners can still manage to screw up.

Hash oil is typically produced by filling a cylindrical glass or stainless steel canister with pot, and flooding the canister with a solvent — usually butane — that strips the plant matter of its cannabis-containing oils.  The resulting mixture of psychotropic plant oil and chemicals is then purified to remove traces of the solvent.  One common method of butane removal includes boiling it off in a hot water bath, while another involves the use of a vacuum pump and vacuum chamber to lower butane’s boiling point, pulling butane from the oil.

What makes it dangerous is not so much the extraction process itself, but rather the problem of improper butane ventilation.  Butane is highly flammable and it tends to sink, meaning that if you use it indoors or don’t ventilate well, you’ll run into serious trouble.  Let some butane puddle in your living room, throw in a thoughtless spark from a cigarette, stove, or lighting a bong hit, and suddenly your apartment is missing a wall.

That’s allegedly what happened in January, when three people were injured after a hash oil extraction gone wrong blew them through the walls of a San Diego hotel.  

A few months earlier, an Oregon man suffered burns in a similar explosion that blew out the windows in his apartment and sent him to the hospital.

Although it’s possible to make hash oil safely, such explosions are the result of a relatively small number of hash oil producers failing to take even the most basic precautions.  The number one precaution according to everyone is never make oil indoors.

We are as concerned as anyone about the dangers involved in making it,” said Black, who also cited safety issues beyond explosions to the quality of the product itself.  If you’re purchasing hash oil from a source besides a reputable dispensary, for example, you may not know whether it contains high levels of butane, or if it was created using poor materials — like PVC pipe instead of stainless steel — that can leech chemicals into the product.  “It’s really a kind of bathtub gin situation,” says the High Times editor.

It’s not easy to regulate the safety of an industry whose legal status varies from state to state, particularly regarding concentrates like BHO that often land in a regulatory gray area even in places where recreational or medical marijuana is legal. 

And as interest grows in both consuming and making hash oil,  so too do the number of YouTube tutorials and forum threads that spread misinformation and fail to emphasize proper safety – an explosive combination that suggests we’ll be seeing more attempts at DIY hash oil that end with a very dangerous bang.

* * * * * * * *

Yeah, we’re not real fond of Beavis ’n Butthead types blowing themselves up or us to smithereens, either. 

But folks all over Humboldt County are into the dab scene, buying butane in bulk from our local stores and making hash oil from their leftover pot trimmings.  And yes, they blow themselves up or spontaneously combust on occasion.


Article by Alison Hallett and from Wired.com

Video by Vice.com

More reading can be found in this Rolling Stone article, too.

The Humboldt Sentinel also had a previously popular article about hash oil ’dabbing’ here.

Posted in Local, Media, National, SceneComments (2)

Marijuana Growers Lay Waste to Eastern Humboldt


A Dead Fisher, Loads of Poison, a Ton of Fertilizer, and Thousands of Plants Destroying Environment


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



A dead fisher, enough poison to kill thousands of animals, and 16,000 marijuana plants were discovered in the wake of three recent marijuana growing operations found in Eastern Humboldt, the HCSO said yesterday.

Here’s a summary of the four day effort and what the Sheriff’s officers found:

On July 29 the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office Deputies, United States Forest Service (USFS) Agents , Hoopa Valley Tribal Police ( HVTP) Officers and the Cannabis Eradication and Reclamation Team (CERT) conducted an investigation and eradication of a large marijuana cultivation site below the Brushy Mountain Lookout on Friday Ridge near Willow Creek.

Three civilian scientific researchers with a background in wildlife, toxicology and ecology were with the officers when they entered the marijuana site.  The officers eradicated 7,521 growing marijuana plants ranging in size from 4 feet to 6 feet tall.  All the marijuana was being cultivated on United States Forest Service Land.

While conducting the investigation the researchers and deputies found the following:

•  1,230 lbs. dry fertilizer (that’s over half a ton)
•  28 lbs. liquid concentrated fertilizer
14 lbs. 2nd generation anticoagulant rodenticide bait (enough to kill
2,246 woodrats or gray squirrels, 12 fishers, or at least 4 spotted owls)
•  32 oz. Carbaryl insecticide
•  32 oz. Carbofuran (a banned chemical in United States due to its toxicity to people
and wildlife– a 1/4 to 1/8 teaspoon of the stuff is enough to kill a 300-400 black bear.

Deputies also located fresh hot dogs strung from a tree on treble fish hooks as bait, along with two dead deer carcasses and a Hermit thrush bird.  Officers also witnessed environmental damage to the watershed.

Two days later on July 31, Humboldt County Sheriff’s Deputies, USFS Agents, HVTP Officers and CERT Officers conducted a marijuana investigation and eradication at another cultivation site located in the Supply Creek Watershed of the Hoopa Valley Indian Reservation.

The three researchers again accompanied the officers.

Agents found the recently deceased Fisher in the garden site pictured here and above, as well as 8,473 growing marijuana plants ranging in size from 3’ to 6’ tall.  The officers and researchers again found environmental damage to the area.

Fishers are currently under review by the State and Federal Government to be listed as an endangered species.  The researchers took custody of the deceased Fisher and intend to conduct a necropsy on it to determine the exact cause of death.  There was no obvious sign as to what killed it.

The day after the dead fisher discovery, the same team listed above with the researchers went to a third marijuana cultivation site located at Le-Terron Flat, Orleans , which is USFS property. There, the officers located and eradicated an additional 376 growing marijuana plants ranging in size from 3’ to 4’ tall.

Lt. Steve Knight of the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office said the grow sites had been tended to recently but there are no suspects in custody.  He also added officers saw environmental damage at all the sites including clear cutting of trees, damming of creeks, and multiple truckloads of plastic piping in the ground.  Enough fertilizer was found to cover 25 football fields.

“Some of the banned chemicals are highly poisonous,” Humboldt County Sheriff Mike Downey told the Times-Standard news.  “People who aren’t residents of the county don’t really care.  They come in, take what they’ve grown and their profits and leave.”

A total of 1,942 lbs of dry fertilizer, 58 lbs of liquid concentrate fertilizer, 17 pounds of second generation anticoagulant rodenticide bait were removed altogether from the three sites.  The rodenticide by itself had the potential to kill 2,753 wood rats, 14 fishers and 5 spotted owls the researchers said.  Many of these toxicants were near creeks.

“What they’re finding is pretty astounding,” Sheriff Mike Downey said.  “Growers are using vastly more than what would be needed.  It’s enough to kill armies of rodents.”

The investigation into those responsible for the marijuana grows is continuing.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

* * * * * * * *

The Times-Standard news has more here.

Posted in Crime, Environment, LocalComments (0)

Slingin’ Dope in the Big City



The Dicey Life of Hustling in the Big Apple



Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



This mini-documentary by Vice.com gives a rare look into the dangerous life of a New York City drug delivery-man named Nim, a street hustler who started dealing drugs in the Big Apple at the age of 13.

Twelve years later, he says he’s selling $100,000 a week– anything you want, 24/7– with his subordinate ballers working round the clock supplying people with all the dope they want.

Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not the glamorous MTV life of wild parties, piles of coke,  Crown Regal, and loose pretty babes hanging around all the time that you might expect.  It’s more about doing the business than it is doing the pleasure.  Or as Nim puts it, it’s “all about the money.”

It also a business that wears on you.  Nim knows he’s not going to be in it forever.  He’d like to be able to leave it all behind someday and go sailing away with his girlfriend to somewhere more pleasant than the place hs is now.  After all, no one retires in NYC.  You only work there, make your stack, and then leave for somplace else.

Sooner or later he knows you’re going to have to learn the hard way— getting busted, robbed by rivals, having your stash ripped off or your stack jacked, or just pissing off someone around you. 

It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when.  You don’t grow old in the game, you get out or you get hit.

* * * * * * * *

For another side of the dirty business, check out our other Sentinel piece, Going Undercover as a Mexican Drug Lord.

Posted in Media, SceneComments (0)

Marijuana and Farm Poisons Contaminating California’s National Parks


New Study Indicates Problem Worse Than Originally Thought


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


CALIFORNIA (Live Science/Yahoo News)– Pesticides from California’s valley farms are collecting in the tissues
of a singing treefrog that lives in pristine national parks,
including Yosemite and Giant Sequoia, a new study finds.

The chemicals include two fungicides never before found in wild frogs, said Kelly Smalling, lead study author and a U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) research hydrologist.  The study was published today (July 26) in the journal Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry.

“Fungicides have been registered for use for many years, but for some reason, they haven’t really been on anybody’s radar screen until recently,” said Smalling, who is based at the USGS California Water Sciences Center in Sacramento.

California’s Central Valley is one of the country’s most productive agricultural regions; crops include stellar wine grapes, nuts and kiwis.

Agricultural pesticides and fungicides have been detected more than 100 miles to the east, in the rural Sierra Nevada’s snow, water, air and amphibians.  

But valley farmers aren’t the only source of agricultural chemicals: Illegal marijuana gardens hacked into public lands also expose wildlife to fertilizers and toxic rat poison.  Rare predator species, such as spotted owls and fishers, eat the poisoned mice and die.

“The marijuana cultivators make trail systems to go in, and put toxicants at every clearing,” said Mourad Gabriel, a University of California, Davis, wildlife disease ecologist who studies the effects of rodenticides on rare species.  “A lot of predators will use any type of trail system, so you can imagine the potential risk to multiple different species.”

Scientists first noticed sharply declining frog populations in the Sierra Nevada starting in the 1980s.  The problem, however, is a global one– amphibians everywhere are suffering steep population losses and strange deformities.  Earlier studies by the USGS researchers found toxic pesticide concentrations in several frog species living in the national parks.  In 2009 and 2010, the scientists resurveyed many of the same sites, Smalling said.

Researchers collected Pacific chorus frogs on a north-south transect across Lassen Volcanic National Park, Lake Tahoe, Yosemite National Park, Stanislaus National Forest and Giant Sequoia National Monument.  They tested frog tissue, water and sediment samples for more than 90 different pesticides and fungicides.

Complex Causes

The most common chemicals in the frogs were the agricultural fungicides pyraclostrobin and tebuconazole and the herbicide simazine.  DDE, a byproduct of the pesticide DDT, was also frequently found.

“This hammers home the point that even if you’re in an area that looks wild and natural, it can have very serious impacts from human activities 100 miles, or even more, away,” said Brad Shaffer, director of UCLA’s La Kretz Center
for California Conservation Science.

The chemical concentrations were often higher in frog tissues than in the environment.  ”The contaminants in the water and sediments were ridiculously low,” Smalling said.  The frogs may store up small exposures over time, or there simply wasn’t any pesticide when the water and sediment samples were taken, the researchers suggest.

While scientists agree that pesticides likely contribute to the dramatic decline in amphibians, there are many reasons that frogs are disappearing.  The heavyweight is habitat destruction and degradation.  Climate change is another factor.

Toxic Pot Gardens

Most pesticides in the Sierras come from the Central Valley.  The pesticides travel to the mountains as aerosols, tiny particles that waft into the atmosphere on warm, rising air currents.  Winds coming off the Pacific Ocean blow the aerosols west to the mountains, where they fall out of the atmosphere in rain and snow.

However, a boom in illegal pot farms in the past five years has brought a new chemical source into the parks. 

The cannabis cultivators spray pesticides and fertilizers and spread rat poison.   Rodents that eat the poison live for two to seven days before keeling over, giving predators plenty of time to capture their dazed prey.

UC Davis’ Gabriel and his colleagues are seeing the effects of these chemicals on the fishers, a carnivore being considered for Endangered Species Act listing.  

Fisher cats nibble on everything from acorns to deer carcasses.  The scientists found rat poison in 85 percent of fisher cat carcasses collected on public and tribal lands, according to a study published in June.

The animals are also passing the poison on to their kits when the babies nurse, Gabriel said.

The UC Davis group is now testing barn owls, which rely more heavily on rodents for food than fisher cats do.  Spotted owls have tested positive for rodenticides in Oregon, and Gabriel said preliminary data indicates barn owls are also
snaring poison-laced mice.

* * * * * * * *

To note, amphibians such as frogs are considered the bellweather of an ecosystem’s health– the canary in the coal mine, so to speak. 

If the Pacific tree frog is being affected by agricultural pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and rodenticide blowoff and fallout as studies suggest, you can bet other species are being affected too, such as insects (think bees), fish, larger predators– and yes, even you.

Posted in Environment, StateComments (0)

Cannabis News



Weed Developments and Budding Trends From Around the Nation


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



Keeping Humboldt informed and ahead of the cannabis
curve, here are a few snippets and links of what’s up
in the weed culture around the USA and beyond


New Hampshire is 19th State Allowing Medical Marijuana Use

CONCORD, NH — New Hampshire became the 19th state to legalize the medicinal use of marijuana yesterday, when Gov. Maggie Hassan signed a bill that passed the Legislature this year with bipartisan support.

“Allowing doctors to provide relief to patients through the use of appropriately regulated and dispensed medical marijuana is the compassionate and right policy for the state of New Hampshire, and this legislation ensures that we approach this policy in the right way with measures to prevent abuse,” Hassan said in a statement…

You can read more from the Concord Monitor here


Denver Reeling from Medical Marijuana Audit

DENVER, CO — While Denver has become a national leader in how it regulates medical marijuana, an audit released Thursday found serious problems with how the city licenses, tracks and manages the booming medical marijuana industry in the city.

Denver has the most medical marijuana dispensaries in the state, more than the number of liquor stores.

But the city’s oversight has been “ineffective” and “inefficient” and poses “substantive risks to the city,” according to a scathing report that Denver Auditor Dennis Gallagher called “devastating…”

You can read the full Denver Post article here


Huge Spike in Marijuana Lobbying

 DENVER, CO — As the Colorado legislature this year raced in its final weeks to get crucial marijuana regulations out the door, money spent on marijuana lobbying came rushing in.

According to state records, advocacy groups on both sides of pot issues spent at least $183,000 on lobbyists in April and May.  

The money spent on marijuana lobbying in that period, during which the legislature met for a total of 5 weeks, was
more than double the amount of money spent on marijuana
lobbying during the legislative session’s first three months
combined, the records show.

And it makes up more than half of all the lobbying expenditures on marijuana issues for the 2012-13 fiscal year, according to tallies by The Denver Post…

The full article in the Denver Post is here


Rules Change on Olympic Marijuana Testing

WORLD– It’s been 15 years since Ross Rebagliati won snowboarding’s first Olympic gold medal at the 1998 Winter Games, and then nearly lost that medal after he tested positive for marijuana.

Since then, the drug has become an integral part of Rebagliati’s life.  Next month Rebagliati will open a medicinal marijuana dispensary in Whistler, British Columbia, called “Ross’ Gold.”  The Canadian has also become a public face for pot-smoking athletes around the globe.

Like cocaine and heroin, cannabis is banned during competition in Olympic sports…

The USA Today article has more here


Weed Legalization Considered in Maine, DC, and California

USA — Advocates of marijuana legalization have seen an acceleration of their cause in recent years, particularly after residents of Washington State and Colorado voted to legalize recreational cannabis in November’s elections.

Now, more jurisdictions are taking up, or at least considering taking up the issue.

In Maine Monday, Portland City Council planned a public hearing to discuss a citizen-proposed measure legalizing possession of up to 2.5 ounces of marijuana for those 21 and older.  After the meeting, the city council will decide whether to adopt the measure, send a referendum to voters
or write an alternative proposal alongside the citizen measure…

United Press International has the details here


Marijuana Farmers Market Proposed in Boulder

BOULDER, CO — A Colorado entrepreneur is pushing to make buying marijuana nearly as easy as shopping for heirloom tomatoes.

Justin Hartfield, the CEO of a Denver-based website that maps and collects reviews on marijuana dispensaries, is currently shepherding an initiative that would allow “organic cannabis farmers markets” in the city of Boulder.

Colorado legalized recreational weed in 2012, and regulators at the state level are working out the rules that brick-and-mortar recreational pot shops will have to follow when they open their doors next year.  Hartfield wants local officials in Boulder to push even further, allowing the creation of markets like the ones now used to haggle over white asparagus and organic lavender…

Huffington Post has the rest of this farmers market piece


Former Mexican President Urges Weed Legalization

SAN FRANCISCO– Former Mexican President Vicente Fox took his crusade to legalize marijuana to San Francisco on July 8, joining pot advocates to urge the United States and his own country to decriminalize the sale and recreational use of cannabis.

Fox met for three hours with the advocates, including Steve DeAngelo, the Oakland-based executive director of California’s largest marijuana dispensary, and former Microsoft executive Jamen Shively, who hopes to create a Seattle-based pot brand now that Washington state has legalized recreational use…

Reuters has the story here


Veterans Struggling with PTSD Want Medical Pot

NEW MEXICO — A new campaign to expand medical marijuana access to veterans struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) aims to spread awareness about the drug’s efficacy, while urging states with medical cannabis programs to include PTSD in their lists of conditions for which medical marijuana may be prescribed.

The Freedom to Choose Campaign — launched by veterans, the Drug Policy Alliance, and elected officials — targets lawmakers, physicians, and employers to recognize marijuana as a safe, efficient
alternative to other PTSD medications that may not work
as well or cause troubling side effects.

While they urge lawmakers to adopt legislation that protects veterans’ access to medical marijuana, the campaign targets Veteran Affairs (and other) doctors to recognize the benefits of medical marijuana for PTSD, and demands employers not discriminate against employers who are medical marijuana patients with PTSD…

AlterNet covers it all here

* * * * * * * *

Bob Dylan was right:  The times they are a-changin’.

Posted in Media, National, SceneComments (1)

Humboldt Dolts and Dweebs


Crime and Criminals Greedily Roost Together


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



Felons Make Break and Beat Feet

Never understimate the power of stupid people in large groups.  Minimum security conditions are just too confining for some jailbirds.

Two minimum security inmates walked away today from Eel River Conservation Camp located just outside Redway.

The first escapee, 20-year old Dennis Rene Welch, is described as a black male, 179 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair and dark complexion.  He stands approximately 6’ 1” tall.

Mr. Welch was last seen wearing Orange Blaze colored jeans and a shirt with the initials CDCR prisoner written on them.  He was committed to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on October 23, 2012, from Santa Cruz County for 1st Degree Burglary.  He was scheduled to be paroled in January 2014.

The second escapee, 30-year old Glen Martin Whiteside, is described as a black male, 140 pounds, with brown eyes, black hair and medium complexion.  He stands approximately 5’7” tall.

Like the other guy, Mr. Whiteside was last seen wearing Orange Blaze colored jeans and a shirt with initials CDCR prisoner written on it.

Committed to the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation on November 22, 2011, from Sacramento County for 2nd Degree Robbery, he was scheduled to be paroled in December 2014.

Both Welch and Whiteside were last seen at approximately 12:20 am Saturday, July 13.  Escape apprehension efforts are continuing.  Anyone seeing the dim bulbs should contact 911 or law enforcement authorities immediately.

Anyone having information about or knowledge of the location of Dennis Rene Welch or Glen Martin Whiteside should contact the CCC Watch Commander at 530-257-2181 ext. 4173.

UPDATE July 15:  Prison Inmates Dennis Rene Welch and Glen Martin Whiteside, both minimum security inmates who escaped from the Eel River Conservation Camp CC#31 in Redway, California were apprehended this afternoon in Santa Cruz, California, the California Department of Corrections reported.

Mr. Welch and Mr. Whiteside were taken into custody by Special Agents from the Richmond and Rancho Cordova Special Services Unit of the Office of Correctional Safety, along with the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Department.


Loleta Armed Robbery and Assault

Loleta used to be such a sleepy place for cows and people.

On July 10 at 4:45 pm, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office received a call of an armed robbery and assault with a deadly weapon that had just occurred in the 2700 block of Eel River Drive in Loleta.

The 57-year old male victim told the Sheriff’s Office Dispatcher he had been assaulted by two men in an apartment in Loleta. 

He said one of the men was armed with a double barrel shot gun, the other guy with a baseball bat.  The victim said he was injured jumping out a window to avoid the men.  He also said his Nissan truck was stolen by the suspects.

Deputies and medical personnel were dispatched to the scene.  Upon the deputies arrival they met with the victim.

The victim told the deputies he went to the residence to sell prescription drugs to the suspects.  Two girls he knew arranged the deal.  When he arrived and entered the residence, he was met by two men.  One of them had a shotgun; the other had a baseball ball bat.

They verbally threatened the victim while putting the shotgun into the victim’s face and took his cell phone.  The victim was able to jump out a window when he had an opportunity and ran to a phone to call 911 for help.  Meantime, the sketchy suspects fled with the victim’s 2007 Nissan truck.

Deputies responded to the residence where the assault occurred and searched it for the suspects.  No one was inside the residence; however deputies located evidence consistent with what the victim said occurred.  Deputies recovered a .410 double barreled sawed off shotgun from the residence.

The victim was transported to a local hospital where he was treated for his injuries and released.  He received injuries to his hand and shoulder jumping out the window.

The suspects were described as follows: One a dark-skinned male, the other a shorter dark-skinned male.  The victim had no further description.

The stolen truck is a red colored 2007 Nissan four wheel drive extra cab, with a lime green 4×4 sticker on the side rear quarter panels of both the left and right side, a black rack, no camper shell, a mounted black tool box in bed, cold air intake valve on the hood, no tailgate, and with a 5th wheel trailer hookup in the center of the bed.  The license is California Plate # 8X00644.

After investigating, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies identified and is looking for three suspects in connection with this robbery and assault.   They’re identified as follows:

Suspect #1:  Von Eric Keener, 39-years old, male, 6’3” tall, 250 lbs, brown hair, brown eyes.  Mr. Keener has a felony warrant for his arrest for be being a Parolee at Large.

Suspect #2:  Tristina Lavern Roberts, 28-year old, female, 5’ 4” tall, 150 lbs, with brown eyes and hair.

Suspect #3:  Darlene Patricia Vandeepol, 32-years old, female, 5” 7” tall, 125 lbs, blond hair and hazel eyes.

It’s too bad stupidity isn’t painful.

A be-on-the-lookout has been broadcast to all local law enforcement agencies.  Deputies are still working on identifying the other male suspect. Anyone with information regarding these three suspects or the crime is requested to contact the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251.


Greedy Fieldbrook Dope Scene

Why bother even living in a house when you can grow weed there instead?

On July 10 around high noon, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office assisted by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force (HCDTF) served a Humboldt County Superior Court search warrant for marijuana in the 4700 block of Wiregrass Ridge Road in Fieldbrook.  Sheriff Deputies obtained the search warrant after receiving information by citizens about the commercial marijuana growing operation. 

When Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies and HCDTF agents arrived on the scene they located three structures and greenhouses.  No one was located at the scene.

Deputies searched the structures and greenhouses.  One structure was two stories high and estimated to be around 3,500 square feet in size.  The downstairs was being used solely to cultivate marijuana indoors while the upstairs was being used to process and dry the illicit marijuana.

Another structure was estimated to be 2,000 square feet and was only being used to grow marijuana indoors.  Deputies located marijuana being cultivated in seven other greenhouses and outside.

Altogether, a total of 1,449 growing marijuana plants ranging from 1 ½ feet to 4 feet tall were located– along with 180 pounds of marijuana bud.

The indoor marijuana grows contained a total of 72 1,000-watt lights with ballasts and hoods when deputies arrived; they were being powered by a 100 KW generator which the deputies seized.

Deputies saw the generator was leaking diesel and oil onto the ground and notified the Humboldt County Environmental Health Department of the environmental damage.  A third structure of approximately 200 square feet was located being used as a residence.  A loaded 12 gauge pump shotgun was located next to the structure being used as the residence.

The investigation is ongoing as to the suspect(s) responsible.  

Marijuana eventually dries out but dumb is forever with a longer shelf life.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.


More Fieldbrook Dope

Greedy misery loves greedier company.

On July 10 at 8:30 am, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office assisted by the Humboldt County Drug Task Force ( HCDTF) served a Humboldt County Superior Court search warrant for marijuana in the 4900 block of Wiregrass Ridge Road in Fieldbrook.  Sheriff Deputies obtained the search warrant after receiving information by citizens about the commercial weed ’n bud operation.

When Humboldt County Sheriff’s deputies and the Drug Task Force agents arrived at the residence, they announced their presence.

Upon seeing the deputies and knowing a bust was going down, a female, later identified as Tarah Pratts, fled out the back door of the residence.  Deputies chased and caught her, but not before she violently resisted their efforts to arrest her– and while she holding something in her hand.  When she was finally taken into custody, deputies located a bag of meth in her hand.

While deputies were out and about arresting and chasing Ms. Pratts, Timothy Mathew Pratts came out the front door of the residence.  He refused deputies’ command to show them his hands and immediately became argumentative with the deputies.  When deputies attempted to take him into custody, he, too, violently resisted their efforts to arrest him and caused a minor injury to one of the deputies during his arrest.  

Inside the Pratt’s home, deputies located their 5-month old child and a 13-year old teen.

During a search of the Pratt’s residence and property, deputies located 450 growing marijuana plants in three green houses and an additional 90 marijuana plants growing outside.  The plants ranged in size from approximately 1 ½ feet to 6 feet tall. 

Deputies also found approximately 40 pounds of marijuana bud, 29 grams of methamphetamine, and $2,200.00 in cold hard cash.  Packaging material and scales were seized, too.

Timothy Pratts, 40,  and his wife, Tarah Pratts, 35, were arrested and charged with cultivation and possession of marijuana for sale, possession of illicit drugs and possession of illicit drugs for sale, resisting arrest, interfering with an executive officer in performance of their duty and child endangerment. 

Humboldt County Child Welfare Services responded to the residence and took custody of the children.

The unhappy couple were booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility, scowling and pissed-off mug shots taken, and bail set at a cool $50 grand each.

The three most common elements in Humboldt are hydrogen, weed, and stupidity.  It sucks to be busted but greedy people typically get what they deserve.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

* * * * * * * * *

Happily satisfied people are always looking for opportunities to help others.  Unhappy and unsatisfied people are always looking to help themselves, asking, “What’s in it for me?”

Humboldt provides enough to satisfy every man’s happy needs, but not every man’s unhappy greed.

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2013 Bay Area Medical Cannabis Cup


Cannabis Competition and Hemp Fest Results



Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel 



San Francisco’s 2013 Medical Cannabis Cup sponsored by High Times magazine celebrated its fourth year in the Bay Area at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, California, on June 22 and 23.

As you might imagine, the weekend was filled with smoke and smiles galore.

Business relationships were built and personal friendships were made in a competition where the best of the best were lined up against one another in the urban jungle of cannabis connoisseurship.

Expectations were …high… but they got it done.

Discussion panels on marijuana topics were filled with informatively inspiring people such as DJ Short, Kyle Kushman, Aaron from DNA Seeds, Addison DeMoura from Steep Hill Labs, and others in the industry who enlightened their audiences about the ubiquitous weed and giving a shout out to us in Northern Cal.

Big money for a big money industry, a plethora of vendors also zig-zagged around the Pavilion: dispensaries, seed companies, paraphernalia dealers, grow companies and others in the biz offering their products and services.

Mind you, it was all medical.  Or “medical.”  Of course it is.

As Saturday evening came to a close and the sun began to set, vendors broke down their booths and a different kind of party started.  Wu-Tang’s Ghostface Killah, Raekwon and GZA took the stage, causing the blazed and haze-filled crowd to roar in delight.

Come Sunday, the smoke and haze began to clear with the competition winners emerging.  Here were the eagerly awaited results:



1st Place – Cracker Jack by Santa Cruz Mountain Naturals
2nd Place – Red Dragon by Leonard Moore Co-Op
3rd Place – Tangie by BAMF Extractions

1st Place – Girl Scout Cookies by Berkeley Patients Group
2nd Place – OG Eddy Lepp by 3rd Gen Family
3rd Place – Bomb Threat by Archive Seed Bank

1st Place – Headband by Loud Seeds
2nd Place – Phish OG by Sovereign Wellness Center
3rd Place – Veganic Platinum Girl Scout Cookies by Buds and Roses & Private Stock LA

1st Place – Paris OG Wax by Grateful Meds
2nd Place – Humboldt OG Shatter by Golden State Extracts
3rd Place – Lemon Amnesia Shatter by Archive Seed Bank & TerpX

1st Place – Lemon OG Solventless Wax by BAMF Extractions & Reserva Privada
2nd Place – Caramel Candy Kush Bubble by Dynasty Seeds
3rd Place – Master Yoda Solventless by Kush Connection & Essential Extracts

1st Place – C.B.CanD Oil by MTG Seeds & First Class Concentrates

1st Place – Jedi Kush by Blindpack Trading Pins

1st Place – Lemon Blueberry C.B.canD Lollypop by Top Shelf Collective & Shatter Made Edibles

1st Place – Doc Green’s Therapeutic Healing Cream by Doc Green’s Healing Collective

1st Place – Kiva Blackberry Dark Chcolate Bar by RCP Sacramento
2nd Place – Day Dreamers Medicinal Chocolates by SJ Patients Group
3rd Place – Toffee Turtles by CCSC Melrose Premium Collective LA

1st Place – Hitman by Hitman Glass
2nd Place – Revere Glass School
3rd Place – Silika Glass

1st Place – Oil Slick
2nd Place – Cloud V
3rd Place – Micro Vape Glass Globe Kit by Vaped Vaporizer

1st Place – Magnolia Wellness
2nd Place – Cali Connection
3rd Place – TGA Genetics

The standouts?

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.  See for yourself:  here are all the strains, hash, and edibles entered in the 2013 Bay Area Medical Cannabis Cup:


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Plunging Crime Where it Belongs


–Criminal Sewage Clogging the Pipes– 


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel



Dead Body Pulled From Under Samoa Bridge

We can always expect some flotsam and jetsam floating up on shore, but this is ridiculous.

On Wednesday, July 3rd at about 12:55 pm, occupants of a vehicle traveling southbound over the Eureka Slough Bridge saw a man jump off the Samoa Bridge.

It appeared that the male did a back flip while jumping.  It is unknown whether the actions were intentional.

The back flip could have been some strange kinetic motion juju necessitated by an accidental fall, the Eureka Police said, using some strange sense of logic we don’t follow. 

Nonetheless, the witness pulled in to the Target parking lot to investigate and saw the subject standing on the sandbar between the two channels.  The victim-acrobat-free wheeling thinker was waving his hands above his head which gave the witness the impression he did not suffer severe injury.

The witness called EPD.  Several patrol officers were dispatched as well as a fire engine that was in the vicinity.  The subject wasn’t located.

About three hours later, a subject kayaking in the slough discovered a deceased male, floating in the water, about 100 yards from the Eureka Slough Bridge.

Eureka Police Officers located the deceased person and contacted the HCSO boat patrol.  The boat patrol recovered the body.

The deceased has been identified as 36-year old Edward Conoboy from Arcata.

This incident is being investigated by the Humboldt County Coroner’s office as either a suicide or accidental drowning.  The Eureka Police Department’s Investigations unit is assisting the Coroner’s office.

EPD says they are looking for witnesses who may have been in contact with Conoboy earlier in the day– or anyone else who may have seen activity on the bridge or along the
shoreline of the slough near the bridge.

Please contact Senior Investigator Ron Harpham at the Eureka Police Department, 441-4305.


Details Emerge of Eureka Police Sergeant’s Excessive Use of Force

From the Times-Standard’s Thadeus Greenson:

EPD Sgt. Adam Laird pleaded not guilty Monday to misdemeanor charges of committing assault under the color of authority and filing a false report in his first court appearance since he was arrested April 17.

A fellow officer reportedly accused Laird of misconduct after his involvement in the Dec. 6 arrest of a juvenile suspect, spawning parallel investigations by the EPD and the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office.

The assault charge facing a Eureka Police Department sergeant stems from a December incident in which he allegedly kicked a minor in the back as the minor lay on the ground being handcuffed by another officer.

Authorities have been tight-lipped regarding the case and have repeatedly declined to discuss any details about the incident that led to Laird’s arrest, but a document in Laird’s case file sheds some light on the allegations confronting the officer.

Laird’s attorney, Patrik Griego, said the document omits a number of important facts.

Read the full story by Thadeus Greenson in the Times-Standard:Details Emerge in EPD Assault Case:  Police Sergeant Allegedly Kicked Prone Minor

One of the finest local reporters we know, Mr. Greenson is back in the house.  Welcome back, Thadeus.


Rancho Sequoia Crime Wave Brings Heat to the Community

There’s been so much stuff happening at Murder Mountain, also known as the Rancho Sequoia area of Alderpoint, that your grandmother would blush.

You know, missing people and murders and marijuana and such.  The HCSO decided it’s high time to show their muscle in the lawless area and make their presence known after some high profile incidents went down.

The Humboldt County Sheriff”s Office confirmed that officers, assisted by agents with the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, served search warrants in the area of Rancho Sequoia Drive in Alderpoint on Wednesday, July 3.  This follows on the heels of numerous other lawless deeds happening there previously over the past several weeks.

According to Lt. Steve Knight, a number of law enforcement officers were investigating what is believed to be a large commercial marijuana grow in Alderpoint.

A search warrant served by Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office deputies, assisted by agents with the Humboldt County Drug Task Force, led to the discovery of thousands of growing marijuana plants, but no arrests on Wednesday.

The warrant authorized deputies to search three parcels of property on the 5000 block of Rancho Sequoia Road for marijuana.

Deputies located one structure, but no residences on the property.  Almost 3,500 growing marijuana plants, ranging in height from 12 inches to 6 feet, were seized from the property. 

The plants weighed 4 pounds each on average.  All of the marijuana was seized from several greenhouse structures containing artificial lighting.

No individuals were located on the property. The investigation into who was cultivating the marijuana is ongoing and no arrests were made, the HCSO said.


 McKinleyville Man Nearly Thwacks Aircraft with Illegal Fireworks

HCSO badgeNo terrorists here, just a homegrown bumpkins doing his stupid shit and throwing a tanturm over it.

On July 3, at 10:00 at night, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s office received a 911 call from a medical evacuation flight pilot who reported he was landing his aircraft at the McKinleyville- Arcata Airport when it was nearly struck by an illegal aerial firework being discharged at Clam Beach.

The firework was discharged near the end of the runway.

A deputy was in the area at the time the call came out and witnessed several aerial fireworks being discharged into the air from Clam Beach.

The deputy responded to the Clam Beach parking lot and walked out the trail towards the beach area.  While walking through the bushes on the trail the deputy witnessed a man, identified as Alexi Bree Greenspan, 22, from McKinleyville, discharge an aerial “mortar” type of firework.

The deputy saw it travel approximately 100 feet into the air and explode.  The firework was in line with the runway to the airport which was approximately ½ mile away.

The deputy contacted Greenspan who told the deputy he knew the fireworks were illegal, but he thought it was just fine to fire them off at the beach.

A computer check of Greenspan with the Sheriff’s Office Dispatch revealed he was on formal felony probation for threatening an executive officer and misdemeanor probation for wreckless driving. 

While the deputy spoke with Greenspan he could also tell he was under the influence of alcoholic beverages.  Alas.  The probation clause required Greenspan to totally abstain from alcoholic beverages.

The deputy arrested Greenspan for violation of probation and discharging illegal fireworks.

After Mr. Greenspan was arrested by the deputy, he repeatedly threatened to kill the deputy with a firearm.  He also threatened to kill any deputy or any other law enforcement officer trying to arrest him in the future, also with a firearm.

Tsk-tsk.  An additional felony charge of threatening to kill an executive officer performing his duties was added to the rest of his rap charges.  Greenspan was transported and booked into the Humboldt County Correctional Facility where his bail was set at $50,000.

The deputy was unable to determine if Greenspan was the person who discharged the firework that came close to the aircraft that was landing.

Keep this up and they’ll close off that portion of Clam Beach below the runway for everyone.  Thanks, dude, for being a total idiot and a complete schlub.


Gas Station Attendant Deserves Hazard Pay

They seem to be getting knocked off every other week or so.  Especially in McKinleyville.

On July 4, Independence Day,  at about 2:15 in the wee morning, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office received a call from the clerk at the Freeway 76 gas station located in the 1200 block of Murray Rd in McKinleyville.

The clerk reported that the station was just robbed.

Deputies arrived within 5 minutes and the clerk told them a suspect wearing a black pull over type hooded sweatshirt entered the store.  The suspect had the hood pulled up and was wearing black gloves. 

The suspect brandished a silver-colored pistol and told the clerk to put “all the money in bag.”

The clerk complied with the request the suspect left the store on foot.  Deputies searched the area and were unable to locate the suspect.

Later viewing of the surveillance video showed the suspect to be a wearing black mask or bandana over his face. 

openThe suspect is described as being about five feet nine inches tall with a thin build.  An undisclosed amount of cash was taken during the robbery.  So look for a thin guy with wads of cash.

Anyone with information for the Sheriff’s Office regarding this case or related criminal activity is encouraged to call the Sheriff’s Office at 707-445-7251 or the Sheriff’s Office Crime Tip line at 707-268-2539.

* * * * * * * *

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Desperados, Deviants, and Dangerous Drivers


Wicked Evildoers Carry On


Skippy Massey
Humboldt Sentinel


It’s been one long week. 

Let’s just jump into it and call it a weekend, shan’t we?


Crossed Lines of Communication

On Tuesday, June 25, at 9 in the morning, detectives from the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office, with the assistance of the Eureka Police Department, served a search warrant on a residence in the 600 block of 16th Street in Eureka.

The residence was believed to have been the primary residence of Logan Corey Bremer, age 30.

Bremer is considered to be a person of interest– a potential witness– in the Dinsmore attempted homicide investigation occurring on June 11.  Bremer hasn’t been arrested in relation to this investigation.

Bremer was not at the residence at the time of search warrant service because he was in custody at the Humboldt County Correctional Facility.  That was for an arrest already made by the Eureka Police Department on suspicion of a vehicle pursuit and parole violation happening earlier in the day.

Technology is good when it works.  Tin cans on a string also work.  The lines of communicative cooperation apparently got crossed with the right hand not knowing what the left hand was doing on the matter until it got straightened out.

In the end, the HCSO got their man for questioning.  It happens.

Anyone with any information regarding this shooting investigation is asked to telephone Detective Franco at 707-268-3644 or the tip line at 707268-2539, the HCSO said.


For Pete’s Sake, Slow Down on Highway 36!

A 20-year-old Eureka man died and three others were injured on Wednesday night after the vehicle they were riding in struck a tree west of Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park.

According to California Highway Patrol Officer Chase Adams, the car was traveling westbound on U.S. Route 36 at about 10 p.m. when, for unknown reasons, the driver swerved out of the northbound lane. 

As the driver attempted to correct his position the car traveled off the southbound edge of the roadway, striking a tree.

A 20-year-old passenger was killed and an 18-year-old male passenger was transported to Redwood Memorial with major injuries.   The 23-year-old male driver and a third passenger, a 45-year-old female, were transported to Redwood Memorial with minor to moderate injuries.

The names of those involved in the accident, including the man fatally injured, are not being released at this time, Adams said.

Based on a preliminary investigation, alcohol and drugs are not believed to have been a factor and the accident is still under investigation.

UPDATE:  The California Highway Patrol has identified the Eureka man killed in a vehicle accident on Wednesday night as 20-year-old Ma Lee.

The driver, 22-year-old Toua Lee, and passengers 18-year-old Yee Lee and 45-year-old Yer Thoa, suffered moderate to major injuries and were transported to St. Joseph Hospital in Eureka.  The involved vehicle was a 2003 Honda Accord.


Really, Slow Down on Highway 36– and Don’t Drink and Drive!

A 62-year-old man who crashed a motorhome into a redwood tree on State Route 36, east of the Grizzly Creek Redwoods State Park entrance, was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, California Highway Patrol officials said.

The impact caused a propane tank on the motorhome to leak, leading to the road’s closure for over an hour, officials said.  It was quite a mess until it got cleaned up.

The CHP reported that John Frederick Norcom of
Coos Bay, Ore., was booked into the Humboldt County
jail on suspicion of DUI.


Greedy Growing Pains in the National Forest, Arcatan Busted

An Arcata man was arrested after law enforcement found 182 marijuana plants and significant resource damage in the Six Rivers National Forest.

On June 18, officers from the Trinity County Narcotics Task Force, United States Forest Service and California Highway Patrol walked into a marijuana cultivation site in the Six Rivers National Forest after receiving information that people had been stealing water from the water source that feeds Salyer, according to a Trinity County Sheriff’s Office press release.

Upon entering the site, officers noticed an area of the national forest had been clear cut.  On one side, they saw marijuana growing in pots that were being prepped for being planted in planter boxes.  Trees from the National Forest were cut down to construct the boxes.

When officers made their way through the clear cut, they found a tent.  While approaching the tent, they heard a dog barking.  Officers announced their presence and demanded anyone inside the tent make themselves visible.

A few seconds later, a pitbull mix dog was let out of the tent, according to the release.  The dog was aggressive, quickly approached officers, and bit an officer’s K9 in the face, the release said.

When the dogs were separated, the dog tried to attack the officers.  An officer then shot the pitbull with a rifle, the release said.

After repeated requests for the suspects to come out of the tent, officers cut holes inside of the tent.  They found two men inside along with a loaded pistol in reach of both, according to the release.

Both Samuel Barton, of Arcata, and Samuel Barton, of Redding, were arrested on suspicion of marijuana for sale, conspiracy to commit a crime, being armed while possessing a firearm and destruction of forest lands.  

Mr. Brown was also arrested on suspicion of being a felon in possession of a firearm and was on supervised release out of Shasta County as a result of prison realignment bill AB 109.

Barton and Brown were taken to the Trinity County jail.   Mr. Barton is being held on $265,000 bail and Brown on a $350,000 bail.

Officers are still investigating the environmental impact.


Missing Child Snatched by Parent in Arcata

On June 17, the Arcata Police Department received a report of an overdue child.

The child, three-year-old Zion Merritt, had been visiting for the day with his non-custodial father, Ramin Ahadi, 29.  Merritt’s mother became concerned when Ahadi did not return with their child and didn’t respond to phone calls.

Since that time Ahadi has not contacted the child’s mother and his whereabouts are unknown.

Investigators assigned to the case said it’s their belief Ahadi is intentionally concealing the child from his mother.  It’s further believed Ahadi may have left the state and could possibly be on his way to Montana or Oregon.

Mr. Ahadi is described as an Indian male adult, 6’1”, with a thin build, brown hair and eyes.  He was last known to drive a gold 1998 Saturn station wagon with a California plate of #5DDJ221.

The child, Zion Merritt, is described as a white male juvenile of three years, 3′ tall, weighing 40 pounds and with brown hair and eyes.

Anyone with information on Mr. Ahadi’s whereabouts are asked to call the Arcata Police Department at 707-822-2428.

* * * * * *

TGIF.   We hope crime takes a nap for the weekend.  Better yet, take a long slumber for the summer.


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