Four Years Later, Trump Still Owes Burlington for Campaign Rally

  • A Burlington police officer on Main Street during the Trump rally   FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN

On January 7, 2016, thousands of people lined Burlington’s Main Street to get a glimpse of the nation’s would-be president, Donald J. Trump, at the Flynn Center for the Performing Arts.
Four years later, Trump still hasn’t paid the city’s $8,500 bill for the additional police officers, firefighters and rescue personnel that were required to work that night.
Meanwhile, Trump’s 2020 reelection campaign is in full swing. He’s raised more than $200 million since 2017, including a $46 million haul during the fourth quarter of 2019, according to the campaign and finance disclosure filings. Even before he was elected, city officials wanted Trump to pay up — but had little reason to think he would. In June 2016, the city decided against suing the Trump campaign over the bill, saying in a press release that it would not be “cost effective for the City to pursue collections remedies through the courts.”
“Paying the invoice remains the right and honorable thing for Mr. Trump to do,” Mayor Miro Weinberger said in a statement at the time.  Burlington isn’t the only community Trump has stiffed: He owes at least nine other municipalities cash for campaign rally costs, according to a June 2019 report from the Center for Public Integrity.Two former White House denizens have an even older outstanding bill with the Queen City. The Obamas owe Burlington nearly $5,900 for campaign events held during their second term, according to city records. Then-first lady Michelle Obama held two fundraisers in Vermont in June 2011, including one at the ECHO Leahy Center for Lake Champlain that cost $5,000 per person or $10,000 per couple to attend. The city billed the campaign $2,064 for police services, according to Weinberger spokesperson Olivia LaVecchia.
In March 2012, then-president Barack Obama wooed a crowd of 4,400 at the University of Vermont’s Patrick Gymnasium on his reelection tour, raising an estimated $750,000, Seven Days reported then. Burlington police billed $2,816 for the 10 officers who provided traffic control and security; the fire department asked for a $1,015 reimbursement. All bills remain unpaid, LaVecchia said Tuesday. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), however, did pay his $858 bill for his May 2015 presidential campaign kickoff on the Burlington waterfront, which required four police officers and two firefighter/EMTs. Trump campaign treasurer Bradley Crate did not immediately respond to a request for comment. An inquiry to the office of Barack and Michelle Obama was also not immediately returned.

Our favorite holiday lights photos around Burlington Vermont

20 PHOTOS

2:37 p.m. EST Dec. 20, 2019

A light-bedecked Eiffel Tower — approximately one meter tall — glows on Elm Terrace in Burlington on Dec. 18, 2019.

A light-bedecked Eiffel Tower — approximately one meter tall — glows on Elm Terrace in Burlington on Dec. 18, 2019.

JOEL BANNER BAIRD

Tree-mounted lights decorate the Slate shop window on Church Street in Burlington on Dec. 19, 2019.

Tree-mounted lights decorate the Slate shop window on Church Street in Burlington on Dec. 19, 2019.

JOEL BANNER BAIRD

Christmas lights adorn a home on Vermont 116 in St. George.

Christmas lights adorn a home on Vermont 116 in St. George.

BRENT HALLENBECK

An ornamental snowflake mounted within a bicycle wheel is illuminated by morning sunlight and display-window lights at North Star Sports in Burlington on Dec. 19, 2019.

An ornamental snowflake mounted within a bicycle wheel is illuminated by morning sunlight and display-window lights at North Star Sports in Burlington on Dec. 19, 2019.

JOEL BANNER BAIRD

The Pomerleau Real Estate building all lit up for the holiday. December 2019.

The Pomerleau Real Estate building all lit up for the holiday. December 2019.

APRIL BARTON

Pomerleau Real Estate building decorated for the holiday. December 2019.

Pomerleau Real Estate building decorated for the holiday. December 2019.

APRIL BARTON

Pedestrians enjoy holiday lights on Burlington's Church Street Marketplace on Dec. 4, 2019.


Pedestrians enjoy holiday lights on Burlington’s Church Street Marketplace on Dec. 4, 2019.

APRIL MCCULLUM

One of S.D. Ireland's cement mixer trucks glows with holiday cheer at Severance Corners in Colchester on Dec. 17, 2019.

One of S.D. Ireland’s cement mixer trucks glows with holiday cheer at Severance Corners in Colchester on Dec. 17, 2019.

APRIL MCCULLUM

Holiday lights beam from a home at Winooski Avenue and Howard Street in Burlington on Dec. 3, 2019.

Holiday lights beam from a home at Winooski Avenue and Howard Street in Burlington on Dec. 3, 2019.

JOEL BANNER BAIRD

An ice rink in the front yard reflects holiday lights at a home in South Burlington on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019.

An ice rink in the front yard reflects holiday lights at a home in South Burlington on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019.

AKI SOGA

The elaborate display of holiday lights up  the front yard of a home in South Burlington on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019.

The elaborate display of holiday lights up the front yard of a home in South Burlington on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019.

AKI SOGA

A Christmas wreath lights up the chimney of a home in South Burlington on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019.

A Christmas wreath lights up the chimney of a home in South Burlington on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019.

AKI SOGA

Festive lights adorn a house in South Burlington on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019.

Festive lights adorn a house in South Burlington on Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2019.

AKI SOGA

A house in South Burlington is decked out for the holidays on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2019.

A house in South Burlington is decked out for the holidays on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2019.

AKI SOGA

Williston's Maple Tree Place decorated for the holiday season. December 2019.

Williston’s Maple Tree Place decorated for the holiday season. December 2019.

APRIL BARTON

Apartments getting into the spirit in Williston. December 2019.

Apartments getting into the spirit in Williston. December 2019.

APRIL BARTON

Maple Tree Place in Williston lit up for the season. December 2019.

Maple Tree Place in Williston lit up for the season. December 2019.

APRIL BARTON

Footprints in the snow leading to the tree in the Maple Tree Place square in Williston. December 2019.


Footprints in the snow leading to the tree in the Maple Tree Place square in Williston. December 2019.

APRIL BARTON

Christ Memorial Church gets into the Christmas spirit by decorating their trees. December 2019

Christ Memorial Church gets into the Christmas spirit by decorating their trees. December 2019

APRIL BARTON

Homes in Williston getting into the Christmas spirit. December 2019.

Homes in Williston getting into the Christmas spirit. December 2019.

APRIL BARTON

Jimmy T Thurston, ‘Vermont’s Grandfather of Rock and Roll,’ Dies at 78

Jimmy T Thurston - COURTESY OF JAMIE LEE THURSTON

  • COURTESY OF JAMIE LEE THURSTON
  • Jimmy T Thurston

On Friday, December 6, Jimmy T Thurston played a show at the Old Post with his longtime band, the Cobras. In true Jimmy T style, it was a rowdy and raucous night at the South Burlington roadhouse.
“I heard it was crazy good,” said Thurston’s son, country singer Jamie Lee Thurston. “The whole place was standing up, guitar player ripping solos. I heard it was great.”
Though no one knew it at the time, it was also Jimmy T’s last show. The Vermont rocker, known to many as “Vermont’s Grandfather of Rock and Roll,” died on Sunday, December 15. He was 78.

Jimmy T Thurston - BRAD BOQUET

  • BRAD BOQUET
  • Jimmy T Thurston

“He lived like he wanted to live and went out six days after a gig,” said Jamie Lee. “With the exception of stepping off stage and dropping dead after a show like that, I think that’s a pretty darn good way to go.”
Jimmy T had been a fixture in Green Mountain rock and roll since the 1960s. Born in Waterbury, the 12th-generation Vermonter played nightclubs, dive bars, juke joints, VFWs and county fairs all over the state for 70 years. He played his first gigs when he was 8, according to a 2012 story in the Essex Reporter.
His bands included the Mustangs, the Jimmy “T” X-perience, the Jimmy T. Thurston Band, Boogy Beast and Jimmy T and the Cobras, the last two of which were perhaps his best known and most successful acts. He also played with a group called Rip Van Winkle and the Sleepy Hollow Boys, the name a not-so-subtle nod to his signature long white beard.
Jamie Lee is a noted country singer-songwriter who grew up performing with his dad in Vermont. He now lives in Nashville, where he’s enjoyed some commercial success, including penning tunes for the likes of Trace Adkins and Rodney Atkins. He’s performed with country stars such as the late Waylon Jennings, the Dixie Chicks, Jason Aldean and Charlie Daniels. On Saturday, December 14, the night before his father died, Jamie Lee played a show at the Rusty Nail in Stowe.

Jamie Lee Thurston, left, and Jimmy T Thurston - COURTESY OF JAMIE LEE THURSTON

  • COURTESY OF JAMIE LEE THURSTON
  • Jamie Lee Thurston, left, and Jimmy T Thurston

Jimmy T was supposed to attend his son’s homecoming gig, but a couple of days after the Old Post show, he’d begun feeling ill and was eventually diagnosed with a virus.
“I called him on the way to the show and he sounded sick, but he was still cracking jokes,” Jamie Lee said.
“It was one of those stellar nights,” said Jamie Lee of his Rusty Nail gig. “After the show, he said he and some friends got a couple rooms and got into some tequila. “Ironically, about the time I went to bed was about the time he had gotten up,” Jamie Lee said, “and then he passed away not long after that.”
Jamie Lee woke up that morning to a flood of messages from friends and family. He eventually called his mother, who told him the news.
“I felt like Mike Tyson gave me a left hook,” he said. “Like I got run over by a freight train.”
Jamie Lee said that he and his sisters, Debbie West and Vicky Cleland, hope to start a fund in their dad’s name, the proceeds of which would go to the music program at the Waterbury Elementary School.
Jimmy T was also nearing completion on a new record, a follow-up to his 2012 album Welcome to My Country and a 2016 EP, VT’s #1 Outlaw.
“We’ve talked about doing a record-release party later [next] year, in June or July,” said Jamie Lee.

Jamie Lee Thurston, left, and Jimmy T Thurston - ROSS NICKEL / BOOTLEGGER BEWARE PHOTOGRAPHY

  • ROSS NICKEL / BOOTLEGGER BEWARE PHOTOGRAPHY
  • Jamie Lee Thurston, left, and Jimmy T Thurston

A celebration of Jimmy T Thurston’s life is planned for January 5, in the afternoon, at the Ballroom of the Hilton Burlington Lake Champlain — the same room where Jamie Lee used to play New Year’s Eve shows with local country radio station WOKO. Specific details are still in the works and will be announced soon. But Jamie Lee said you can count on plenty of music.
“That’s a good assumption,” he said with a laugh.

https://youtu.be/pbKil9amqfs

Good Times Gallery owner will serve prison time for selling marijuana, witness tampering

Elizabeth Murray, Burlington Free Press Published 8:26 a.m. ET Dec. 18, 2019

The former owner of Church Street business Good Times Gallery arrested for selling marijuana out of his downtown shop will spend more than two years in federal prison.

Derek Spilman, 45, appeared in U.S. District Court in Burlington on Monday, where he was sentenced to 29 months in prison to be followed by three years of supervised release.

He had pleaded guilty in August to conspiring to distribute marijuana, being a drug user in possession of a firearm and witness tampering.

A screen shot of court papers filed with U.S. District Court shows a photo included as an exhibit by the U.S. Attorney's Office that depicts the distance between Good Times Gallery and Full Tank on Church Street.

A screen shot of court papers filed with U.S. District Court shows a photo included as an exhibit by the U.S. Attorney’s Office that depicts the distance between Good Times Gallery and Full Tank on Church Street. (Photo: Free Press)

Original arrest in January

Spilman, who was originally arrested in late January, has been detained in federal custody since March. His detention came after a judge found that Spilman violated conditions of release by attempting to intimidate a witness in the case.

Spilman’s nephew took responsibility for one of the intimidation tactics — smearing dog feces on the storefront window of the business next door — but was later found to have lied under oath.

Derek Aviles pleaded guilty to witness tampering in July, and he is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

A screenshot of federal court papers shows photos of Derek Spilman, the owner of Good Times Gallery, on the day of his arrest in late January 2019.

A screenshot of federal court papers shows photos of Derek Spilman, the owner of Good Times Gallery, on the day of his arrest in late January 2019. (Photo: Free Press)

Spilman’s mother Donna Mahar has also pleaded guilty to witness tampering for her role in pressuring Aviles to take credit for her son’s actions. She is scheduled to be sentenced in February.

Both Mahar and Aviles remain free on conditions while their cases are pending.

ReadMore

Deer spotted frolicking on Vt. Statehouse lawn Deer spotted frolicking on Vt. Statehouse lawn

The Statehouse lawn was a big draw for some special guests over the weekend hoping to avoid hunting season.

A small herd of deer was captured on video by the Montpelier Police frolicking in the snow. While it is a beautiful sight, police warned in a Facebook post, it’s also a reminder to keep an eye out for deer as you drive.

Deer are mating this time of the year and are facing pressure from hunters pushing them into areas they aren’t usually seen.

Rifle hunting is restricted inside Montpelier city limit

TKP Thorne Peters–“I’m NOT crying – my eyes are running from the soapy tray.” May He Rest In Peace…

On Sunday, November 3rd, at approximately 7 a.m., TKP Thorne Peters was found deceased in his single person cell, where he had spent 22 hours a day, in “protective custody”, since being committed to the Penal Farm in Memphis Tennessee in 2018.

The Detectives came to Linda Harrah’s home at approximately 2 p.m. and notified her of the situation.  I can’t even imagine what she must have felt when she heard those words, (of Thorne’s death) from them.  God Bless her.

He was 57 years old and while in prison had been writing a new book which he was going to publish upon his release from prison.  “Paper is hard to come by here”, he said to me in a letter.

He always called me “Amore”, which at first I didn’t know what that meant, until I looked it up and found; Amore is the Italian word for “love”.  I will always hold that close to my heart.  He had written me several letters from prison, and they did not tell of any pleasantry at all.

The following is the last letter that I received from him, just a few days before his death.  Because of the circumstances I feel compelled to share it with everyone, especially his followers.

Felicitations Amore,

I have been crashed out hard over my latest victory.  I make the entire Courthouse shut down, and when the out of town Judge rules that ALL my evidence was on point and ALL 30 of the suspects were connected and therefore would have to take the Stand, they tunneled out of the Court to evade justice yet again.  11 years and the clock is ticking against me.

I had allowed myself a vision that when this trial began on December 9, 2019 and I lined up The Ministerz of Injustice for the big reveal that the evidence of their CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY of PUBLIC CORRUPTION would be so overwhelming in the glare of the WHITE HOT MEDIA SPOTLIGHT that would be forced to cover the story of the highest elected and appointed officials of law enforcement, politics, and the Judiciary taking the Stand to face dead bang, fatal blow evidence that my plight would reach the SAG and onto the Governor who would be forced to get involved and take a stand, and I could be pardoned by XMas.

Now the reality of my situation crashes in upon my head.  I am buried under this jail.  Instead of detonating a weapon of mass destruction in Court, I am reduced to taking pot shots with my blunderbust from deep within the bowels of the belly of the beast.

I have to remain focused and dedicated.  I cannot be disheartened.  These victories are not pyrrhic.  I’m not playing Chess.  This is Chinese GO.

I have to keep accumulating ground.  This battle brought me more ammunition to continue.  As it was in the Revolutionary War, we won very few battles.  The victory was keeping the Troops moving and maneuvering.   I had them in my sights.  I have to regroup and flank them again.

I am reduced to a HUNGER STRIKE to demand the Authorities investigate this case.  The hilarity is that DA AMY (WEIRICH) has to sign off on a case of PUBLIC CORRUPTION in order for TBI (Tennessee Bureau of Investigation), to proceed.  ROUND ROBIN.

Had I been brought back to Court to hear the ADA concede, I would have smacked him across his dickhead as I walked out and declared EXTREME EMOTIONAL DISTRESS as a defense.  The CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY would be back on point and the DIRTY 30 would be called to the Stand.

So, I deal POT at the Courthouse and they won’t charge me with a FELONY to take to SCOTUS.  They ignore that and charge me with MISDEMEANOR POSSESSION OF POT as part of a felony FTA (Failure to appear), that they prosecute across the Courthouse for 18 months, and 7 Courts, until all 10 ditch, (Judges recuse themselves from the Case),

I kicked their asses!  I am left here to celebrate alone in my mausoleum with a plate of gruel served on a soapy tray.  At least I can use that as an excuse.

I’m NOT crying – my eyes are running from the soapy tray.

October 28, 2019 will mark the longest I’ve ever done, (in prison).  January 20, 2020 will be half-way-home-day.  I can’t comprehend this time frame.  So I put my heart into doing ONE MORE DAY – an hour for every minute…

MWAZ!

KP

TKP1

These words of TKP Thorne Peters will be the last I will ever read or hear from him.  It is sad.  It is sad that a State (or a Country) can be so corrupt as to let someone die under such horrid conditions in a single cage without any sympathy or concern for them what-so-ever.  Unfortunately Thorne is not the first person this has happened to and will not be the last.  This is what we have become.  A Country that cares not for it’s Citizens, but only for their power and greed and punitive rights.  Rights?  Yeah, their rights!  Not ours.

We will never know how this Case would have ended, or if the corruption would have been exposed.  We only know how it did end, with a great person, and Activist dying in the Shelby County Correctional System – The Penal Farm.

The Book which he was writing will eventually be published and much more information about his days in HELL will be exposed.  We may never find out the truth about HOW he ended up dying, alone, in that CAGE, in one night’s time.

Of course an autopsy will be performed – probably already has been, but will we ever really know the truth?  Most likely not.  It      really doesn’t matter what they tell us such as “no foul play is         suspected”, because there isn’t a chance in HELL that they will         incriminate themselves in this matter.

Thorne was a self proclaimed Atheist, however when I wrote him letters I would always tell him God Bless You.  I believe God has/will bless him as he was martyred for his beliefs that humans should be free and have unalienable rights.  Everything he did was done to help humanity.

Oddly enough, in another letter from Thorne recently he stated;

I have been in this cell for a year.  I have another 26 months to go…so far.  If I am convicted at my next trial I will receive 36 more months.  I will be in this cell for the duration.  The aspect of such a trial and tribulation may drive me to find God…at least until I get outta here!

We had disagreements on how he presented himself to others, such as when he downed people for medical marijuana activism – But in fact he was NOT downing them at all – Just trying to get their attention as to what they were doing – giving their own unalienable rights away to legislation which was, is, and will continue to be the downfall of all Humanity – If we do not stop it.

We are all fighting in the same War!  We are all fighting for everyone, not just a few!  All humanity deserves the same unalienable rights!  We may have differing opinions on how to do this – but we all want the same outcome – FREEDOM!

On November 4th, one day after the fact, the Commercial Appeal published the story of his death;

Thorne Peters, ‘The Kingpin’ who waged war against pot laws, dies in Shelby County prison

In their article they wrote the following;

This year the appeals court affirmed his four-year sentence, citing among other things the following Facebook post in which Peters threatened to shoot people who came to take his drugs:

“I was just sitting around hoping some sorry want to be wigger, (expletive) was going to stop by with his partner to rob me of all this weed and money, I’m holding, so I can take target practice on their sorry asses. If you know anybody that wants to try me, let them know, I will be up all night, armed and dangerous.”

I was not there when this was said (written) so I have no way of knowing the actual thoughts behind it at the time, but I would never believe for a minute that he would in fact do such a thing.  I am from Kentucky, and many times we have, in general conversation, made similar remarks amongst ourselves, just in jest – but we would never actually do such a thing and I believe it was in extremely bad taste to even print such a quote.

I also do not believe that he had a gun at his disposal – in his home!

Thorne was living what he believed in and did it to the best of his ability – and he was crucified for it.  He never hurt anyone.

He believed in Our freedom, and he fought for it until the end.

In closing, I leave you with this,

God Bless Thorne Peters!

Untitled

Lord, please Bless Ms. Linda Harrah during this most difficult time.

Image may contain: text

Edwin Marshall Davidson

It is a sad day and with a heavy heart I recognize that my Friend in deed Thorne Peters has passed away while being a political prisoner in Tennessee. Thorne fought for everyone’s freedom not only his own. There is no freedom unless everyone is free. The cornerstone of freedom of his Teaching is “No Men’s Rea”….

No Men’s Rea Which is short for the Latin Phrase “Actus Reus No Facit Reum Nisi Men’s Sit Rea”.This translates to English to ” For the act to be guilty, the mind must be guilty., And for the mind to be guilty the act must be criminal with intent to do harm to a person, property or puppy” . In short, no guilty mind, no crime , no time.

We are free to do what we want as long as we don’t hurt anyone. Thorne Peters taught of No Men’s Rea, how legislation enslaves us, Freedom ends where legislation begins and if we go free they go broke, touched many.

Thorne was standing up against to Shelby County law enforcement and judges and the Ministers of Injustice that conspired to deny Thorne his Justice, due process and conspired to frame him for something he didn’t do. Thorne was fighting the system from the inside by using his malicious prosecution and making those whom conspired against him accountable by putting them on trial.

Shelby County did their best to silence him. Thornes teaching will never be silenced. For those not familiar and blessed to know Thorne you can go to ThornePeters.com .There you will see his videos, his music and poetry he wrote. . For those who know Thorne please consider going to ThornePeters.com and clicking on the Freedom Fund. Their is still a lot of work to do for freedom, extra costs, dogs to feed and we need to help Linda Harrah to keep those home fires burning.

Thorne just finished writing a book and I believe the title is Fully Free from Jail. I hope it gets published soon as those were his last words to us. .

I want to share a fond memory many of us have of Thorne. Thorne was prosecuted a convicted in a kangaroo court for a crime he didn’t commit. On the day he was to go to court for sentencing Thorne had a surprise. Thorne set up a table and opened up Tennessees first pot dispensary on the court house steps. We thought he would be arrested and charged immediately. Instead, Law enforcement was hiding. News cameras were their. Thorne sold pot on the court house steps without being arrested for about 2 hours. Thorne was never, charged or convicted of it. Proving No Men’s Rea works.

There is a video at ThornePeters.com . As a disciple of Thorne I vow to put forth his Teaching and continue the best I can by his example. The Bible says their is no greater love then a man lay down his life for a friend. Thorne did that for his friends in deed.We were all his “friends in deed”. I can still hear Thorne when he would say ” May you look inward, outward and upward to find Peace Love and Stars”.

I love you my Brother. Your brother and friend in deed!

Edwin Marshall Davidson


DO NOT FORGET TO VISIT THORNEPETERS.COM AND VIEW ALL THE INFORMATION ON THE CORRUPTION.  DONATIONS WILL BE MUCH APPRECIATED AS WELL.  ARRANGEMENTS HAVE YET TO BE MADE.

friends indeed button image map


https://www.commercialappeal.com/story/news/2019/11/04/thorne-peters-kingpin-dies-prison-shelby-county/4155825002/?fbclid=IwAR0o3R3GlbrdnMSIraRPtoKTRdeZdp9OQduakH_wTGwwbYrMIcYzvZpS40U

https://memphistruth.org/2019/04/18/amy-weirich-recidivist/

The Cannabis Catch-Up: Has Vermont’s Hemp Bubble Popped?

By SASHA GOLDSTEIN

Fields of green? - KEN PICARD

  • KEN PICARD
  • Fields of green?

Vermont is in the middle of a hemp boom.
Hundreds of farmers of all sizes and skills registered with the state about 9,000 acres for hemp in 2019. Most joined the green rush to capitalize on the popularity of cannabidiol-infused everything.
Yet all that glitters is not gold. Those who didn’t line up buyers before the season are finding that out the hard way. In fact, some hemp farmers will have to leave crops in the field to rot as demand fails to meet supply, VTDigger.org reports. Bigger companies, including Sunsoil in the Northeast Kingdom, are having no such problems.
“I see the mistakes folks are making and I wish I could warn everybody,” Sunsoil cofounder Alejandro Bergad told Digger. “Farmers are going into this without knowledge of where they are going to dry their products in a sanitary environment, and without knowledge of where they are going to fit into the supply chain.”
That’s certainly the case when some 1,000 farmers are taking a stab at hemp production this year. And that’s just in Vermont; production is up in other states as well. In Kentucky, for example, farmers planted an estimated 60,000 acres of hemp this year, more than six times Vermont’s output.
Here are some other recent cannabis stories we’ve followed:


October 6: As a trade war rages on and CBD becomes all the rage, farmers nationwide are turning to hemp to diversify their crops. An estimated 285,000 acres of hemp was planted across the country this year. [Amelia Nierenberg, the New York Times]


October 6: “Marijuana should not be legalized because it is popular. Pennsylvania should legalize recreational marijuana because it is the right thing to do.” [Editorial Board, the Philadelphia Inquirer]


October 7: If you’re hoping to nab that “I Love Weed, LLC” business name in Vermont then you better get on it: “Already, there are 68 active businesses, nonprofits or trademarks with the word ‘cannabis’ in their name, according to filings with the Secretary of State.” [Isaac Fornarola, Burlington Free Press]


October 10: “Though ‘wine mom’ culture has long been the source of many a mommy meme and largely socially acceptable, marijuana-using moms are stepping out of the shadows and proudly extolling the virtues of cannabis.” [Genevieve Shaw Brown, “Good Morning America”]


October 11: People in the Illinois cannabis industry are already bracing for weed shortages when recreational dispensaries open for business in January 2020. [Ally Marotti, Chicago Tribune]


October 11: “Public cannabis companies are facing a capital crunch as investors are recognizing that some firms were vastly overvalued and sweeping regulatory changes may come later than previously hoped.” [Alicia Wallace, CNN Business]


October 12: U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) spent two days visiting with members of California’s cannabis industry, raising hopes that he might change his tune on cannabis banking reform. Purveyors of legal pot have pushed for the SAFE Banking Act, which would allow banks to do business with marijuana companies in states that have legalized it. The House passed the bill but it faces an uphill climb in the Senate. [Max A. Cherney, MarketWatch]


October 15: The number of reported vaping-linked lung illnesses has risen to nearly 1,500 across the country. The tally includes 33 deaths in 24 states. Earlier this month, a 17-year-old boy died in New York City, the youngest person known to have died of the illness. As of October 17, Vermont health officials have confirmed three cases. [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]


October 16: It’s been one year since Canada legalized weed, a source of pride — and frustration — for our neighbor to the north. Legal sales totaled about $1 billion in the 12 months since. But the illicit market persists; buyers spent an estimated $5 billion to $7 billion on black market weed the same year. [Gene Johnson, Elaine Thompson and Rob Gillies, Associated Press]


October 16: The largest marijuana grower in Colorado lost millions of dollars in weed after a snowstorm earlier this month killed half of the farm’s outdoor-grown plants. The crop loss “is expected to send ripples throughout the state’s cannabis supply chain.” [Bart Schaneman, Marijuana Business Daily]
Got a story you want to see in our our weekly roundup? Send an email to [email protected].

Did you appreciate this story?

Readmore

Police investigating discovery of body on Burlington rooftop Police investigating discovery of body on Burlington rooftop

By Calvin Cutler |

Posted: Mon 4:40 PM, Oct 14, 2019  |

Updated: Mon 7:31 PM, Oct 14, 2019

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) An investigation is underway after a body was found on the roof of a Burlington building.

Police are not yet providing many details but did confirm a body was found at about 2:30 p.m. on top of the Parkhill Building. That’s the building at the corner of Main Street and South Winooski Avenue where Mr. Mike’s Pizza is located.

No word yet on the person’s identity or how they died. Police would not say if they suspect foul play.

Shortly before 6 p.m., crews used a fire department ladder truck to remove the body from the rooftop.

The building houses several businesses, and people who work there told our Calvin Cutler that the only way to reach the roof is through one door in the center of the building.

The Cannabis Catch-Up: New Weed Political Action Committee in Town

By SASHA GOLDSTEIN

click to enlargeThis could be you. - LUKE EASTMAN

  • LUKE EASTMAN
  • This could be you.

A newly formed political action committee is pushing to get a recreational weed market bill passed into Vermont law early enough in the upcoming legislative session to allow communities to discuss the legislation at Town Meeting Day in March 2020.
Founded by Geoffrey Pizzutillo and Jennifer Dye, the Vermont Growers Association wants state representatives to work off the framework of S.54, a cannabis regulation bill that passed the Senate last session but never came to a vote in the House. Eli Harrington, a lobbyist and cannabis consultant working with the PAC, thinks the group can convince enough lawmakers — and, they hope, Gov. Phil Scott — to get the measure across the finish line.
Harrington admitted that the organization’s proposed timeline is tight but said Town Meeting Day is an important deadline. The group is currently running a policy survey on its site.
“To make this thing work, it’s got to work for each community,” Harrington said. “We think it’s important for people to start the dialogue of, ‘Are we going to allow retail? If so, where? What kind of zoning is required?’”
Some communities are already passing outright bans. The Clarendon selectboard recently voted to prohibit both recreational and medical marijuana dispensaries from opening in town, following in the footsteps of both Newport and Dover. Meanwhile, Killington is considering a ban on medical marijuana dispensaries.
The first steps for groups like Harrington’s is to get a recreational sales bill passed. He thinks the Vermont Growers Association can offer valuable input. Harrington pointed to the regulations surrounding Vermont’s medical marijuana dispensaries as an example of what not to do. He called the recreational market a chance to “reset.”
The group emphasizes allowing enough growers to participate in the new business sector so there’s sufficient opportunity — and product — to go around.
“It’s an ambitious timeline, but the plant’s been around for 5,000 years, and it’s been effectively regulated and sold in these United States for quite a while,” Harrington said. “We have the information, we have the capacity and I think we have the will. What’s important is that we don’t screw it up.”
Here are some other cannabis stories we’ve been following:


August 28: About 160,000 people with marijuana convictions in New York State will have those offenses wiped from their records under a new law that recently took effect. [Azi Paybarah, New York Times]


September 2: Vermont Tech is offering a CBD & Greenhouse Cash Crop certificate program. The three-part class was scheduled to begin September 12. [Sarah Earle, Valley News]


September 5: Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have created a weed breathalyzer. But, as other scientists have found, the technology remains far from ready for use by police departments hoping to detect impairment. [Francesca Paris, National Public Radio]


September 5: Amid the outbreak of a lung illness linked to vaping, the New York Times editorial board called for more research on e-cigarettes. [New York Times]


September 7: Fall River, Mass., Mayor Jasiel Correia was arrested and accused of extracting hundreds of thousands of dollars in bribes from companies that applied to open marijuana dispensaries in the city. Correia has denied the charges and refused to resign. In fact, he was one of the top two vote getters in a recent primary and will run for reelection November 5. [WCVB]


September 8: More than $4.3 million worth of weed — about 1,000 pounds — washed up on a California beach north of San Diego. [NBC7]


September 9: A Texas high school student passed out and was taken to the hospital after hitting a vape pen right before choir orientation. [Jessica Willey, KTRK-TV]


September 9: Vermont’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey found that more than three-quarters of young people don’t think marijuana use is harmful, a statistic that concerns state health officials. [Kiernan Brisson, WCAX-TV]


September 10: A new study has found that legalizing marijuana has not necessarily lead to a spike in youth use of the drug: “It is more difficult for teenagers to obtain marijuana as drug dealers are replaced by licensed dispensaries that require proof of age.” [Elizabeth Murray, Burlington Free Press]


September 10: The Washington, D.C., public school system will allow health professionals to administer medical marijuana and CBD on campus for students who use it. [Mark Segraves and Allison Park, NBC4]


September 11: Those “trees” growing in Charlotte and all over Vermont aren’t trees at all. They’re hemp plants! [Ken Picard, Seven Days]


September 11: Cops chasing a couple of guys spotted smoking weed on a Bronx corner ended up finding a bound and beaten man inside the basement of a bodega. Yes, really. [Ben Feuerherd and Ben Cohn, New York Post]


September 12: The third-largest CBD producer in the country is located in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom. After just four growing seasons, Sunsoil has 100,000 plants in the ground at farms in Hardwick and Hyde Park. [Dan D’Ambrosio, Burlington Free Press]


September 16: Vermont-grown cannabis quality-tracking software company Trace recently received a patent for its tech, will have an app in the Apple store soon and is expecting to land its first government contract by the end of the year. [Anne Wallace Allen, VTDigger.org]


September 16: About 10 students at Lake Region Union High School in Barton got high — and some got sick — after eating THC-infused chocolate on campus. [Christina Guessferd, WCAX]


September 17: Even ahead of full legalization in Vermont, the town of Clarendon has passed a ban on weed sales and dispensaries. [Matt Leighton, WPTZ-TV]


September 18: Thieves in California broke into a cannabis dispensary and made off with $69,000 worth of weed and related products. [Hope Miller, KCRA-TV]


September 25: Cops in Minnesota busted a 22-year-old who had 77,000 vape cartridges that were loaded with a combined 185 pounds of THC. [Paul Walsh, the Star Tribune]


October 2: Vermont’s five medical marijuana dispensaries, which are regulated by a division of the state’s Department of Public Safety, can prevent the release to the public of any information about them. [Sasha Goldstein, Seven Days]


October 2: A Kentucky-based hemp company that purchased a Middlebury processing facility in 2018 has pulled out of Vermont. [Sasha Goldstein, Seven Days]


October 3: The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says there have been more than 1,000 reported cases of a severe lung disease related to vaping. Eighteen people have died in 15 states. As of October 1, officials have reported cases in 48 U.S. states. At least three nonfatal case have been reported in Vermont, though several possible cases are under investigation. [CDC.gov]


October 4: Here’s some satire for you to round out this Cannabis Catch-Up: “Dealer.com Receptionist Tired of Explaining That They Are Not That Kind of Dealer.” [The Winooski]

ReadMore

5 ways Vermonters have gotten in trouble for marijuana since legalization

April McCullum, Burlington Free Press Published 9:19 a.m. ET Aug. 23, 2019 | Updated 11:34 a.m. ET Aug. 23, 2019

The Ridin' High skateboard shop at the corner of Battery and Pearl streets in Burlington seen on Friday, Aug. 23, 2019.Buy Photo

The Ridin’ High skateboard shop at the corner of Battery and Pearl streets in Burlington seen on Friday, Aug. 23, 2019. (Photo: JOEL BAIRD/FREE PRESS)

Vermont legalized marijuana on July 1, 2018, but the plant continues to cause legal problems for some businesses who test the limits of the law.

There’s no legal market for marijuana, meaning that consumers must grow their own plants or find someone to share a small amount as a gift. Outside of the tightly-regulated medical marijuana system in Vermont, there’s no legal way to buy or sell the drug.

Why only subscribers?

Journalism at its core is made up of people who are passionate and dedicated to bringing you the news. No matter what. Our staff at the Burlington Free Press hopes to continue providing you with more stories like this. Sign up today to continue reading our in-depth coverage and get unlimited access to more subscriber-only content.

Recent court cases have underlined another reality: Marijuana remains illegal under federal law.

Here are five incidents of marijuana troubles since legalization.

Ridin’ High Skate Shop

The owners of Ridin’ High Skate shop, the colorful building on the corner of Pearl Street and Battery Street in Burlington, were arrested this week on charges that they grew marijuana at their home in Underhill and sold it at the shop.

John Van Hazinga and Samantha Steady are facing charges of conspiracy to distribute marijuana and edible products infused with delta-9 THC, the U.S. Attorney’s Office said in a news release. Van Hazinga and Steady pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Marijuana remains illegal on the federal level, though in Vermont, U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan has focused her office’s resources on heroin and drug trafficking rather than prosecuting marijuana possession.

U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan at her office on Feb. 4, 2019

U.S. Attorney Christina Nolan at her office on Feb. 4, 2019 (Photo: JESS ALOE/FREE PRESS)

Nolan said in a statement about the Ridin’ High case that “open and notorious trafficking of marijuana will not be tolerated.”

“Those who deal this drug and have prior criminal records, those who deal it to children or in their presence, those who engage in violence while dealing it, those who deal it for high profit, and those who deal it in areas of high commercial foot-traffic should expect to receive heightened attention from the U.S. Attorney’s Office,” Nolan said.

Good Times Gallery

Nolan’s office brought marijuana charges against the owner of a store on Burlington’s busiest shopping street in January 2019.

The federal case alleged that Derek Spilman sold marijuana and edibles out of his store, Good Times Gallery, on Church Street across from City Hall. Spilman pleaded not guilty to the marijuana charges and related firearms charges, and the case is ongoing.

A screen shot of court papers filed with U.S. District Court shows a photo included as an exhibit by the U.S. Attorney's Office that depicts the distance between Good Times Gallery and Full Tank on Church Street.

A screen shot of court papers filed with U.S. District Court shows a photo included as an exhibit by the U.S. Attorney’s Office that depicts the distance between Good Times Gallery and Full Tank on Church Street. (Photo: Free Press)

More: Vermont’s legal marijuana law: What you should know

‘Delivery’ businesses

Several businesses that offered to deliver marijuana to customers, for a fee, started advertising their services shortly after legalization.

Online advertisements quieted down after Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan announced the businesses were breaking state law.

Pete’s Greens

An organic vegetable farm in Craftsbury discovered earlier this year that at least one of their hundreds of “hemp” plants was actually marijuana, with a high level of THC.

Pete’s Greens received the seedlings from Champlain Valley Dispensary, the state’s largest medical marijuana business. Farmers are allowed to grow hemp after registering with state regulators.

The Vermont Agency of Agriculture tested two samples from the farm, including one that tested for high levels of THC. The story was first uncovered by the cannabis advocacy website Heady Vermont.

The Vermont Statehouse

Vermont’s most stately building briefly became the site of a cannabis grow this year.

Capitol police discovered 34 cannabis plants among the flower beds in front of the Statehouse in June. Capitol Police Chief Matthew Romei told the Associated Press that the plants had not been tested for THC content to determine whether they were marijuana or hemp.

Police uprooted the plants.

Read More