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billysoloCannabis POW of the Month: Billy Dekle

By Cheri Sicard
Cannabis Cheri

After growing up on a farm and serving in the marines, north Florida native Billy Dekle found his true passion in aviation. His early career in the 70s and 80s flying planeloads of marijuana into south Florida is the stuff of Carl Hiaasen novels and Jimmy Buffett songs, with hair-raising flights and narrow escapes from unsavory characters. While he never hurt anyone, the activity earned him one federal and two state felony convictions for marijuana before his real trouble began in 1990 when Billy Dekle was arrested for the marijuana conspiracy case that would land him a life sentence.

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hemp-farmHow the hemp industry can save economy in hinterland areas in Brazil, and also help combat the illegal cultivation in the territory called “The Marijuana Polygon”.

By Sergio Vidal* – sergiociso@yahoo.com.br


The brazilian hinterland area and “The Marijuana Polygon” [Wikipedia]

 The Brazilian Hinterlands, also called “Sertão”, is the region of this country with the lowest rainfall, where water scarcity is not only a limiting factor of economic development, but influences the quality of life of many people and in all aspects of a large number of communities.

With a set of specific natural features, the Hinterland is a habitat with a total area occupying much of the eight-state area (Alagoas, Bahia, Ceará, Paraíba, Pernambuco, Piauí, Rio Grande do Norte and Sergipe), plus a part of northern region of Minas Gerais state.

In the Sertão there is an region covering an area of approximately 950,000 square km, called officially the “Drought Polygon”, where the arid climate characteristics are even more intense, life is harder and adaptation becomes crucial for survival. This region has always been difficult for agricultural or livestock production and, over the years, to ensure survival, many farmers were forced to engage in the illicit cultivation of marijuana.

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Antonio Bascaro: America's longest serving marijuana prisoner

Antonio Bascaro: America’s longest serving marijuana prisoner

Cannabis POW of the Month
By Cheri Sicard (Cannabis Cheri)

Antonio Bascaro, who has served more than 35 years behind bars for a nonviolent marijuana conspiracy offense, holds the dubious honor of being the nation’s — and perhaps the world’s — longest serving marijuana prisoner. A former Cuban naval pilot who participated in the Bay of Pigs invasion, Bascaro fled Castro’s Cuba shortly thereafter.

Now 83 years old, Antonio’s de-facto life sentence is almost over and he will be eligible for release in in the summer of 2019. However, his daughter Aicha, who lost her father to prison when she 12 years old, fears that may be too late.

The octogenarian grandfather is in poor health and suffers from severe back problems, glaucoma, and other ailments. Back surgery left him confined to a wheelchair for a period of time, but with the help of a walker and a lot of determination he is slowly starting to get back on his feet.

Antonio’s “crime” involved no violence and no drugs aside from marijuana, and his part in it was that of a minor player. Antonio Bascaro had no prior convictions. That’s right, a first time offender can be sentenced to life or de-facto life, for a nonviolent marijuana offense, not in Castro’s Cuba, but right here in the so-called land of the free.

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loud-grower-delivery-appIt’s no secret there’s lots of green gravitating to the cannabis business, and we’re not just talking herbs. The scent of money has led to some sketchy deals and the welfare of mom-and-pop businesses, along with that of medical marijuana patients, has more often been taking a back seat to financial considerations (hello, Washington state).

The Green Exchange, Inc., the developer of “Loud Cannabis,” which bills itself as “the world’s first HIPAA compliant service that connects marijuana growers to patients,” commented on a CBS News report that put a spotlight on the big players entering the rarefied air of corporate cannabis.

“Delivery apps are part of a growing push by the cannabis industry to bring technology to bear on everything from growing and testing to selling and delivering their product,” CBS reported. “With marijuana legal in 23 states and big business in places like California, where sales reached $1.1 billion last year, there is no shortage of entrepreneurs and investors interested in getting in on the action.”

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Sunday afternoon at Hempfest  [Steve Elliott ~alapoet~]

Sunday afternoon at Hempfest
[Steve Elliott ~alapoet~]

I’ve attended Seattle Hempfest for a decade now, but yesterday I saw something I hadn’t seen before: marijuana being openly dealt from a booth at the event.

Make no mistake about it — it’s been easy to score weed at Hempfest every time I’ve gone, and I’ve written about that before (to the irritation of those who’d prefer to keep such things stuffed tightly in the closet). I got some pretty good herb, for instance, during Vivian McPeak’s “Don’t buy weed at Hempfest speech” in 2013.

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