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A lawsuit filed Friday challenges the constitutionality of part of a new state law that requires a coveted medical-marijuana license to go to a black farmer.

Columbus Smith, a black farmer from Panama City, filed the lawsuit, alleging that the law is so narrowly drawn that only a handful of black farmers could qualify for the license. The lawsuit contends that the measure is what is known as an unconstitutional “special law.”

The law, passed during a June special session, was designed to carry out a November constitutional amendment that broadly legalized medical marijuana in Florida. A key part of the law was expanding the number of licenses that would be awarded to operators in what could turn into a highly lucrative industry.

While the law called for an overall increase of 10 licenses by Oct. 3, it also specified that one license go to a black farmer who had been part of settled lawsuits about discrimination by the federal government against black farmers. The law also said that the black farmer who receives a license would have to be a member of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association-Florida Chapter.

The lawsuit said Smith meets the qualification of being part of the litigation about discrimination against black farmers. But it said he has not been allowed to join the black farmers association, effectively preventing him from receiving a license.

“There is no rational basis for limiting the opportunity of black farmers to obtain a medical marijuana license to only the few members of that class of black farmers who are also member of a specific private association,” said the lawsuit, filed in Leon County circuit court.

The Florida Constitution bars “special” laws, in part, that relate to “grant of privilege to a private corporation.” The lawsuit alleges that the medical-marijuana law

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City says marijuana legislation is not necessary to be selected for a dispensary.

“The State of Ohio authorized medical marijuana throughout the state,” Solicitor John Haas stated. “The only way to keep a dispensary or other medical marijuana facility out of Portsmouth is for City Council to pass an ordinance banning them.”

At the last City Council meeting, City Manager Derek Allen explained that the State of Ohio passed legislation approving medicinal marijuana last year. At that time, the City issued a six month moratorium on municipal legislation permitting a dispensary. Allen added that the City chose to issue the moratorium while awaiting guidelines from the State level. Still awaiting those guidelines, the City issued a second six month moratorium in February, which has now expired. He added that the State has now established guidelines and thus the City could make a decision as to how to proceed.

“It is an unusual situation given the City must take steps to ban rather than permit a business,” Haas explained. “Portsmouth City Council voted 5-1 not to ban. Therefore, a dispensary may be located in Portsmouth. No other action is necessary to permit a marijuana facility in the City limits subject to zoning restrictions.”

During, the last Council meeting, Portsmouth City Council members asked the solicitor to look into zoning issues. After reviewing current zoning laws within the City, Haas decided that currently established zoning would not prevent the dispensary.

“My review of the current zoning code leads me to the conclusion a dispensary in Business AA, Business A, Business B or Industrial Districts. Therefore, I am of the opinion, no legislation is necessary to effectuate Council’s directive,”he stated.

According to an article published in the Ironton Tribune on March 8, the Village of Chesapeake has already established legislation allowing for a

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CEO/Founder of Beverly Hills Cannabis Club Cheryl Shuman has expanded her advocacy work across the world from educating families in pediatric oncology units to working with seniors who she says can also benefit from cannabis medicine. Shuman has also studied in genetics and breeding specific strains of cannabis for multiple illnesses. Working in the Tikun Olam Gardens of Israel and working with the top endocannabanoid scientists in the world.

Cheryl Shuman, known as the Cannabis Queen of Beverly Hills, is now looking to do her work in Portsmouth.

Shuman moved to California in her early 20s, and quickly built a career catering eye wear to the stars. Soon her life consisted of working on movie sets with Hollywood’s top actors. After making millions, she has returned home to Scioto County on a mission.

“I was born and raised in Portsmouth, Ohio,” Shuman began. “My parents were born and raised here in fact. Both my parents’ families have been in the area since 1740. We’re one of the native Appalachians. My family start in Kentucky and then came over to Portsmouth and never left Portsmouth.”

She explained that her parents had fallen madly in love when they were in high school

“It was a love at first sight type thing,” she commented.

Shuman then explained that her parents ran away and got married. Two years later, in 1960, she was born.

“My father couldn’t find work. Like many people here, he went into the service,” she explained.

Shuman said her parents drifted apart, and soon divorced when she was very young.

Forty years later, Shuman was on a TV set working on a new show and got a call from her mother, saying her dad called.

“She (Shuman’s mom) was so heart broken when

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Dwight Newell, of Ohio Health Consortium, demonstrates how the company can use an E-reader to test urine for drugs and illegal substances.(Photo: Sara C. Tobias/The Advocate)Buy Photo

NEWARK – The use of medical marijuana, legalized in Ohio a year ago, remains a reason for discipline in the workplace.

Employers in Licking County continue to oppose any changes to the standard zero-tolerance policy supporting a drug-free workplace.

The one known exception is Apeks Supercritical, a Johnstown manufacturer of equipment used in the medical marijuana industry.

Companies are not inclined to change their drug policies for safety reasons, insurance purposes and the federal law recognizing all marijuana use as illegal.

Ohio’s law now treats medical marijuana like a Schedule II substance, similar to methadone or oxycodone, which has some medical purpose. That allows doctors to recommend it to patients, but it is not a prescription.

Anyone charged with possession or use of the medical marijuana permitted in Ohio will have a defense in court.

In the workplace, however, nothing has changed, except some companies added language into its policy, clarifying that the use of medical marijuana is a reason for discipline of an employee.

Caroline Fraker, vice president of compliance and chief privacy officer at MedBen, said the health care benefits management company will not change its drug use policy.

“We made a decision we won’t change that policy for marijuana if you have a medical card,” Fraker said. “It’s not a prescription and not a doctor-prescribed thing.

“We’re not going to consider a medical marijuana card as a valid prescription, so it’s completely prohibited.”

Fraker, also a member of the Licking County Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee, said the policy allows for some discretion on the discipline based on the circumstances, but the use

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Southern University has selected a vendor to run its medical marijuana program.

The university’s Board of Supervisors on Friday chose Lafayette-based Advanced Biomedics, LLC, to grow the marijuana for Southern, which will receive more than $6 million over five years.

Advanced Biomedics will produce pharmaceutical grade medicines for patients with cancer, HIV/AIDS, cachexia or wasting syndrome, seizure disorders, epilepsy, spasticity, Chrohn’s disease, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis. Under the law, marijuana can be available in medicinal oils, pills, sprays and topical applications, but cannot be sold in a form that can be smoked.

Lawmakers agreed to a framework for dispensing medical marijuana in 2015, but only allowed the agricultural centers at LSU and Southern to grow the product. LSU completed its contract with Las Vegas-based GB Sciences earlier this month.

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Intoxicated crash, Clague Road: A 59-year-old Rocky River woman struck a pole at the Clague and Sperry roads intersection Sept. 15. She asked a passerby for a ride but was refused. Police arrived as she was walking away from the scene. She was under the influence of alcohol and threw a small container of marijuana when she thought the officers weren’t looking, according to police. She was arrested for operating a vehicle while impaired and having an illegal blood alcohol content (0.173 as measured by a breath test), failure to control, not wearing a seatbelt, possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia, and tampering with evidence.

Wandering youngsters, Center Ridge Road: Police found boys, 5 and 2, wandering around unsupervised Sept. 16. They had left their nearby home while their mother and grandmother were asleep. The younger wore only a soiled diaper. The elder received a small cut on his foot while going barefoot. Police contacted county children’s services and a prosecutor will whether to file charges.

Credit card fraud: Someone used a Bradley Road man’s credit card three times in Cincinnati Sept. 14. One purchase was online, while the other two were at a store for a total loss of $1,591. Police are seeking video of the in-person purchases.

Credit card fraud, Main Street: A 33-year-old Chicago woman tried to use a fake credit card to make a $500 purchase Sept. 16 at a Main Street store. It was declined. Police found her in a nearby store trying to make more purchases. She was wanted in Pennsylvania on a warrant related to credit card fraud. She was arrested for that warrant and for felony theft and possession of criminal tools.

Disorderly conduct, Grande Court: An intoxicated 26-year-old Cleveland man passed out Sept. 17 in a yard. He had warrants from

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Published: Sep 22, 2017, 3:07 pm • Updated: Sep 22, 2017, 3:09 pm

Featured guests: Larry Ulibarri and Kathie J., Denver radio personalities and founders of Blazin Hit Radio.

LOTS TO TALK ABOUT

•  Transitioning from the family-friendly drive time radio personality to a 420-friendly persona, without losing the audience; getting the children of your audience up to now to become your new listeners.

•  Marijuana media cashing in on the cannabis craze.

•  Trying to avoid the burnt-out pothead schtick.

TOP MARIJUANA NEWS

Sen. Orrin Hatch pushes to ease marijuana research barriers with MEDS Act: There’s a bipartisan effort underway in the Senate for easing the path to marijuana research. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, announced Wednesday that he and Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, are introducing the Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act of 2017, or MEDS Act. The legislation was previously introduced by Schatz in 2016. Signing on as co-sponsors are Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.; Chris Coons, D-Del.; and Thom Tillis, R-N.C. One aspect of the MEDS Act is to help research progress more expeditiously. “Regulatory acrobatics can take researchers over a year if not more to complete, and the longer researchers have to wait, the longer patients have to suffer,” Hatch said in a speech on the Senate floor, citing the current government restrictions on cannabis research. –Report by The Cannabist’s Aleta Labak

Dr. Oz surprises hosts of “Fox & Friends” by talking about America’s marijuana “hypocrisy”: For the first six minutes of the segment, “Fox & Friends” host Steve Doocy agreed enthusiastically with his guest Mehmet Oz, better known as Dr. Oz — even as Tuesday’s episode kept straying from the original topic of Ivanka Trump’s pregnancies. As they were wrapping up, Dr. Oz broke in: “Can I ask you one thing?”

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Published: Sep 22, 2017, 3:07 pm • Updated: Sep 22, 2017, 3:09 pm

Featured guests: Larry Ulibarri and Kathie J., Denver radio personalities and founders of Blazin Hit Radio.

LOTS TO TALK ABOUT

•  Transitioning from the family-friendly drive time radio personality to a 420-friendly persona, without losing the audience; getting the children of your audience up to now to become your new listeners.

•  Marijuana media cashing in on the cannabis craze.

•  Trying to avoid the burnt-out pothead schtick.

TOP MARIJUANA NEWS

Sen. Orrin Hatch pushes to ease marijuana research barriers with MEDS Act: There’s a bipartisan effort underway in the Senate for easing the path to marijuana research. Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, announced Wednesday that he and Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, are introducing the Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act of 2017, or MEDS Act. The legislation was previously introduced by Schatz in 2016. Signing on as co-sponsors are Sens. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.; Chris Coons, D-Del.; and Thom Tillis, R-N.C. One aspect of the MEDS Act is to help research progress more expeditiously. “Regulatory acrobatics can take researchers over a year if not more to complete, and the longer researchers have to wait, the longer patients have to suffer,” Hatch said in a speech on the Senate floor, citing the current government restrictions on cannabis research. –Report by The Cannabist’s Aleta Labak

Dr. Oz surprises hosts of “Fox & Friends” by talking about America’s marijuana “hypocrisy”: For the first six minutes of the segment, “Fox & Friends” host Steve Doocy agreed enthusiastically with his guest Mehmet Oz, better known as Dr. Oz — even as Tuesday’s episode kept straying from the original topic of Ivanka Trump’s pregnancies. As they were wrapping up, Dr. Oz broke in: “Can I ask you one thing?”

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An African American farmer out of Panama City is suing the state to block the issuance of a medical marijuana license set aside for minorities on the grounds that a new law cut him out of the deal.

Columbus Smith, 79, says he can’t bid on the Florida Department of Health’s cultivation license reserved for members of the Florida chapter of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association because the private association won’t allow new members to join. He says the association stopped accepting new members before the state even passed a new medical cannabis law in June implementing an expanded system.

“There is no rational basis for limiting the opportunity of Black Farmers to obtain a medical marijuana license to only the few members of that class of Black Farmers who are also members of a specific private association,” Smith, represented by attorneys Sam Ard, Wilbur Brewton and Kelly Plante, states in his complaint.

Howard Gunn Jr., president of the farmers association, said he was not aware of the lawsuit and declined to discuss Smith’s assertions.

The state’s medical marijuana licenses grant farmers the valuable ability to cultivate and distribute marijuana to be processed into medicine. A new law passed in June required the state to issue 10 new licenses on top of the seven that, at the time, already existed. Recently, a license-holder out of Alachua sold the management rights to its business for $40 million.

The first licenses were issued in a method that effectively cut out black farmers. To address the problem lawmakers made sure to set aside one of their new licenses for farmers who participated in the Pigford v. Glickman case, a late 1990s class-action lawsuit that was settled between the USDA and black farmers who said they’d been discriminated against by the federal government.

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A 22-year-old was arrested Sept. 10 after authorities allegedly found him with $351 worth of marijauana during a traffic stop on Wynnton Road, authorities said.

Rodderick Glanton of Columbus faces one count each of possession of marijuana with the intent to distribute, possession of a firearm during the commission of a crime, giving false information, possession of drug-related objects, no headlights, no proof of insurance and no state driver’s license. He was booked into the Muscogee County Jail.

A Columbus police officer was in the area of Wynnton Road and Brown Avenue around 10 p.m. Sept. 10 when she spotted a black Toyota Camry with no headlights on. She performed a traffic stop on the vehicle.

The driver was identified as Glanton, but he allegedly gave the officer false information about his identity and more several times.

Police found 35.1 grams of marijauana (street value $350), one Glock 23 and an unspecified drug-related object during the stop, according to an arrest report.

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