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Businessman sentenced to prison for involvement in black market marijuana organization

A California businessman described as the mastermind behind an illegal marijuana trafficking organization was sentenced to 12 years in prison for conning people out of money and shipping drugs out of state.

Scott Pack, 42, was sentenced Thursday by Arapahoe County District Court Judge Michael Spear on two counts under the Colorado Organized Crime Control Act, including a first-class drug felony, as well as two counts of securities fraud, according to a news release from the 18th Judicial District Attorney’s Office.

Spear characterized Pack as one of the leaders of the operation. He emphasized the sophistication of the criminal operation is cause for concern as the state seeks to enforce its marijuana laws, the news release said.

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Northern California police seize more than 1,700 pounds of processed cannabis, five suspects arrested

RED BLUFF — A cannabis bust on June 25 led to the arrest of five people and law enforcement seizing more than 1,700 pounds of processed cannabis.

Officers from the California Department of Fish and Wildlife served two search warrants near the west end of Vassar Road off State Route 36W, about 18 miles northwest of Red Bluff, said Information Officer Janice Mackey.

The first warrant yielded 5,041 illegal cannabis plants and 608.7 pounds of processed cannabis. A total of nine Fish and Game Code violations were documented.

Read the rest of this story on MercuryNews.com.

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Ticker: CCC says don’t change pot tax; Google selects Mississippi site; Mortgage rates hit another low 

Changing the way Massachusetts taxes legal marijuana could produce more revenue for the state, but it could also disrupt the fledgling cannabis industry, a report found.

In a report by the Cannabis Control Commission, regulators and state revenue experts considered taxing pot based on its weight or potency, rather than the current price-based tax. Although almost every single alternate tax structure studied in an analysis conducted by KPMG is likely to generate more tax revenue, the CCC determined the relatively small increases would not be worth the hassle.

“The Massachusetts adult-use cannabis industry is in a nascent stage. A large-scale change in taxation scheme would cause disruptions that are not worth the potential short-term revenue gain, especially in a market with currently stable prices and inelasticity,” the agency wrote in a report that commissioners are expected to submit to the Legislature.

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Marijuana raids ongoing in Mesa, Teller, El Paso and Las Animas counties

Two large marijuana busts are occurring in Colorado but authorities say they are not connected.

In Teller County, the sheriff’s office reported raids in Colorado Springs, Divide and in Las Animas County where two people were arrested and three properties were searched in a 14-hour operation. The investigation involved a group associated with black market marijuana cultivation and distribution, according to a Teller County Sheriff’s Office news release.

In Mesa County, the sheriff’s office asked people to stay out of the Grand Mesa area because of an investigation into marijuana illegally grown on public lands. A Colorado Army National Guard helicopter is participating in the operation, which is expected to last throughout the day.

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How a Colorado hotel owner got Ice-T to produce his documentary

Chris Chiari is a character. As owner of the Patterson Inn in Denver’s Capitol Hill neighborhood, he runs one of the city’s most recognizable historic buildings (also known as the Croke-Patterson Mansion) and recently welcomed Travel Channel crews from the “Portals to Hell” series to document its haunted mythology.

Before becoming a hotelier, the 46-year-old cancer survivor (diagnosed with melanoma at age 27) was also a cannabis advocate, CONORML board member and dispensary owner who took an active role in Colorado’s embrace of marijuana culture. His LinkedIn page lists still-active gigs at American Millennium Investment Corp. (where he’s president) and King of Quality Productions (founder), but also work for the Democratic Party (he’s run for elected office in Colorado and Florida) and nonprofit positions.

However, perfect as he may be for it, Chiari is not a character in his newest film, “Public Enemy Number One.” He reserves those r…

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The struggle to enter California’s cannabis market: ‘So much heartache, so much pain’

Linda Grant sold weed in the streets of East Oakland for 35 years before California legalized marijuana in 2016. She’s been “going through hell” trying to open a licensed business ever since.

Five years and two frustrating partnerships later, Grant still has to get a loan to pay for a business storefront before she can even apply for a license to operate. “It’s just ridiculous,” Grant said. “So much heartache, so much pain.”

The process is daunting: business plans, tax returns, seed money. Even with state programs designed to close the gap, experts and advocates say the cost of entry and long list of requirements are still keeping people of color and low-income applicants from entering the state’s lucrative legal market.

Read the rest of this story on MercuryNews.com.

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