Raul Ochoa and Eric Camacho Gonzalez Held for Robberies at OC Marijuana Accessory Shops

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The Glass Warehouse in Anaheim was the first shop robbed.
Here's how officials from various Orange County police agencies say two young Ontario men visiting relatives here got their kicks: robbing marijuana smoke accessory shops at gunpoint.

A dozen armed robberies pinned to Raul Ochoa, 20, and Eric Camacho Gonzalez, 18, also include shoe stores, t-shirt shops, a nail salon and a Metro PCS store--all in Anaheim, Santa Ana or Garden Grove--that were struck.

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Taiwanese Animators Take On Gov. Jerry Brown

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I wasn't going to post anything on Governor Jerry Brown saying that legalizing marijuana might turn everyone into a bunch of lazy stoners because who cares. I could go on all day about how how much tax revenue California could be raking in if our state's political leadership wasn't so beholden to law enforcement special interests.

In fact, I will go on a bit about that. Late last month, Colorado officials announced they expect to earn $184 million in taxes within the first 18 months since legalization took effect on Jan. 1. Meanwhile, here in California, our statewide medical marijuana industry is in disarray and the only people earning any money from the situation are lawyers and cops. And it looks like the soonest voters will have a chance to vote in favor of legalizing pot won't be until November 2016.

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Pot Celebrity "Bong Rip" Rips Off Soup Kitchen, Celebrates On YouTube

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Jay Brockman
Remember Bong Rip?

He's the curly-haired Harpo Marx lookalike from Huntington Beach who likes to post streaming videos of himself smoking weed in his limousine. The last time we wrote about him, he forgot to show up for court after being cited for--you guessed it--smoking weed in his limousine. (Actually he was cited for speeding and pot possession, but he had a poster of himself in the limo showing himself smoking weed).

Now Bong Rip--real name Mark Roen--is in trouble for a much lamer reason than simply smoking pot. He posted a video of himself on Youtube taking bong hits, coughing a lot, and bragging about how he drove his limo to a soup kitchen and drove off with an epic haul of food and other donated items.

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State Senator Lou Correa Authors First Marijuana Bill Backed by Cops

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Jay Brockman
State Senator Lou Correa (D-Anaheim) has pulled off the impossible: he's authored medical marijuana legislation that is actually supported by both the California League of Cities (which has both lobbied against pot dispensaries and helped cities actively ban them) as well as law enforcement, which has never supported a single pro-pot bill.

The proposed legislation, SB 1262, would regulate dispensaries, physicians and cultivation sites. Specifically, the State Department of Public Health would be responsible for licensing all dispensaries and grow operations, which would also be subject to inspections by county health departments. Meanwhile, there would be no such requirements for private medical marijuana patients, whose right to grow and consume pot would remain unchanged under current state law.

That's the good news. Click on through for the not-so-great stuff.

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California's Best Hope For Pot Legalization Delayed Until 2016

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Jay Brockman
Anyone hoping that California's ballot initiative process might finally deliver what most state residents and U.S. voters want--recreational marijuana---shouldn't hold their breath.

In an exclusive story leaked to the L.A Times on Sunday, a pro-legalization coalition led by Drug Policy Alliance said that it was delaying its much-vaunted Control, Regulate & Tax Marijuana Act until November 2016. If passed, the act would add California to the list of states that have legalized recreational marijuana use by adults. "The group was instrumental in legalizing recreational pot in Washington and Colorado and medical marijuana in Massachusetts in 2012, and it is supporting efforts in November to pass a recreational pot measure in Oregon and a medical cannabis measure in Florida," the Times reported.

In an interview with the Weekly, the Drug Policy Alliance's Stephen Gutwillig said that the coalition, which was financed by philanthropists George Soros and and the late Peter Lewis, had originally planned the iniative for the 2016 ballot. Because of the presidential election, Gutwillig said, "that's when you get the larger younger more progressive electorate." But late last year, he added, "the group decided to go for 2014, because "public opinion on this issue has evolved more rapidly in California than anyone had expected."


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Two Tons of Marijuana Seized at San Clemente Checkpoint

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Jay Brockman
U.S. Border Patrol agents seized 2 tons of marijuana at the immigration checkpoint near Camp Pendleton over the weekend. The bust occurred early Saturday morning, when agents stopped a U.S. citizen driving a Nissan van. Inside the rear of the 38-year-old man's vehicle, agents found 113 bundles of pot weighing 2,750 pounds, which they valued at $1.65 million, according to San Clemente Patch.

It's unclear how agents arrived at that figure, although presumably the pot was Mexican brick weed, given where it was seized and how much of it the driver was carrying.


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Major Fail: No Mention of Marijuana in Obama's State of the Union Speech

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Jay Brockman
Well, the reviews are in and the consensus seems to be that Obama missed a major opportunity to deliver a bold statement on one the biggest debacles facing our nation: the failed war on drugs.

Even Business Insider is highlighting the fact that Obama failed to so much as mention marijuana during his speech. "Obama could have used the State of the Union to announce that he was directing the Drug Enforcement Administration not to interfere with the legal marijuana trade in Colorado and Washington, and to call on Congress to repeal federal laws against marijuana," the magazine argues.

Obama's silence on the issue is all the more maddening, given the remarkable developments regarding marijuana that have unfolded in the past few weeks.


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CBS Poll: Most Americans Want Marijuana Legalized Now!

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Jay Brockman
Another year, another well-respected national poll confirms that a majority of Americans think that marijuana should be legal under federal law.

In April 2013, Pew Research found that for the first time since it began polling people back in the 1970s, most Americans thought pot should be legal. Now, CBS News has found that a majority of respondents favor marijuana legalization. It's a view shared by 51 percent of those polled versus just 44 percent who still oppose legal weed.

But what else did the poll find?


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Obama: Marijuana No More Dangerous Than Alcohol UPDATE

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Jay Brockman

Scroll to the bottom of the next page for an update.

ORIGINAL POST, Jan. 20, 10:58 AM: In an interview with The New Yorker's David Remnick, President Obama has conceded what most Americans already know: marijuana is no more dangerous than alcohol.

Given that nobody has ever died from an overdose on pot whereas countless Americans have perished from alcohol-related illnesses (not to mention drunk driving accidents and the like) Obama also took the next logical step and admitted that weed is actually far safer to the individual consumer than alcohol. The fact that a sitting president has admitted that the federal government's pot prohibition is essentially bullshit has led many observers to ponder whether 2014 might just be the year marijuana is legalized.

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Santa Ana's Connection to Mexico's Burgeoning Vigilante Civil War in Michoacán

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One of the best pieces of political cartooning I've seen in YEARS...
Over the past two weeks, gabachos have slowly been learning about civilian vigilante groups in the Tierra Caliente regions of Michoacán and Guerrero taking on the Caballeros Templarios cartel after complaining that local police are in the narcos' pockets. Calling themselves autodefensas, the groups shot it out with narcos, kidnapped police, and slowly took over communities, creating a logistical nightmare for the regime of Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto. Now, the federal army is being summoned to ask the autodefensas to disarm themselves--and, so far, they're refusing.

If the Orange County Register wasn't so busy laying people off, they'd have a great story on their hands, because the list of communities afflicted reads like a roll call of ranchos and cities that have emptied out into SanTana over the past 50 years.

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