A New Initiative For The Legalization of Marijuana was Filed in Montana.
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Marijuana Legalization Initiative Filed In Montana
By Phillip Smith, Stop The Drug War.org
They’re back. Although a late effort to get on the ballot this year fell short, Montana marijuana activists are determined to get on the ballot in 2014, and just 10 days after the election, they submitted the first 2014 ballot question received by the secretary of state’s office.
The constitutional initiative is proposed by East Helena medical marijuana advocate Barb Trego and lists as contact person Chris Lindsay, former partner in Montana Cannabis and now a convicted federal marijuana offender for his efforts.
The language of the 2014 initiative is not yet on file with the secretary of state’s office, but it is said to mirror this year’s failed CI-110, which would have amended the state constitution so that “adults have the right to responsibly purchase, consume, produce, and possess marijuana, subject to reasonable limitations, regulations, and taxation. Except for actions that endanger minors, children, or public safety, no criminal offense or penalty of this state shall apply to such activities.”
To qualify for the ballot, initiative organizers must obtain the signatures of 10% of qualified voters, as well as 10% of qualified voters in each of the state’s 40 legislative House districts. It’s not clear yet what the exact numbers are — they are based on this month’s election results — but this year, organizers needed about 45,000 signatures and came up with only 19,000.
This next time around, organizers will have the benefit of more time. They will also have the benefit of the examples of successful legalization initiatives this year in Colorado and Washington.
Source – stopthedrugwar.org
A quick thought of why Marijuana and Cannabis are Illegal.
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Why is marijuana illegal? Follow the money
by Dan Griffin and Perry Hall
A retired police detective challenges us to name one advantage of marijuana prohibition “Banning marijuana doesn’t make us safer”. How about money?
A huge percentage of arrests are related to marijuana. If prohibition were ended, the need for lawyers, judges, police, jailers etc. would be far less. The politicians/lawyers who write the laws are not going to easily legislate themselves out of jobs regardless of how much tax money could be generated. The drug cartels do not want to end prohibition either as they would lose tons of money and thousands of dealers. The only ones to gain would be the taxpayers, who are mostly considered irrelevant.
Here are 5 questions the BBC News Magazine tried to answered about Marijuana Legalization.
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Marijuana legalisation in the US: Five burning questions
By Daniel Nasaw
BBC News Magazine,
The 6 November votes in Colorado and Washington left a lot of marijuana users happy and a lot of police officers nervous. And they set the two states up for a confrontation with the federal government, as marijuana is still illegal under federal law.
Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug in the US. Legalisation advocates say the recent votes mark the beginning of the end of the drug’s prohibition.
“It’s a tipping point for sure,” says Sanho Tree, director of the drug policy project at the Institute for Policy Studies.
“If these two states go ahead and legalise recreational use and the sky hasn’t fallen, that opens up more political space.”
But authorities are wary.
“The Colorado chiefs of police are incredibly concerned with regard to public safety as a whole,” says Chief John Jackson of the Greenwood Village police department, and legislative chair of the Colorado Association of Chief of Police.
Nearly 80 years after the US ended the prohibition of alcohol, we aim to answer just a few of the questions raised by the movement.
How will retailers and growers market and advertise marijuana?
The laws forbid under 21’s from possessing marijuana, and Washington bars marijuana adverts from within 1,000 ft (305m) of schools, playgrounds, parks and other places children gather.
To the uninitiated, different kinds of marijuana look and smell pretty much the same and when smoked, have more or less the same effect. Once it becomes a legal consumer product, how can Washington and Colorado companies in the marijuana business build brand identity and expand their market?
“Whether it’s socks or weed the first thing you have to do is look at who’s your target,” says Rahul Panchal, an advertising creative director in New York.
Panchal says the core market is well established: “Mid-twenties stoner guys”. Those people are already comfortable smoking marijuana and are happy to buy it with minimal packaging or advertising effort.
Successful marijuana entrepreneurs will try to expand that market, for example by tapping into existing subcultures or identity groups, for example outdoors enthusiasts, health-conscious suburbanites or stressed out professionals.
An enterprising grower or retailer could develop a premium marijuana brand using high-design packaging to project an aura of exclusivity.
“Gold leaf, black background,” imagines Peter Corbett, chief executive officer of iStrategyLabs, a Washington digital marketing and advertising agency.
“The packaging has a matte finish, so it’s tactile and feels expensive. It would never come in a plastic bag – it comes in a linen sack.”
Entrepreneurs in search of big profits should look at the dairy industry, says Panchal.
“The lowest margin is to just sell milk,” he says, while the real money is in processed products like cheese and yogurt.
“I would sell pot products: cookies, brownies and such. That’s where the money’s going to be.”
Can your boss still make you take a drug test?
An evening joint around a camp fire in Colorado, though perfectly legal in that state, could still threaten your job, because the new Colorado law specifically lets employers forbid marijuana use among workers.
“This isn’t forcing any kind of change,” says Mason Tvert, co-director of the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, which advocated for the Colorado initiative.
Washington’s law does not specify either way.
But workplace drug testing is already on the decline, says Lewis Maltby of the National Workrights Institute.
He and Tvert predict employers in Colorado and Washington will now be even less inclined to test employees or prospective hires.
Most drug testing, including pre-employment screening, is based on the perception that off-duty drug use among workers is bad for business, not on hard evidence, Maltby says.
Most people who fail workplace drug tests are what he calls “Saturday night pot smokers”, not people who smoke before work and are simply unable to get the job done.
“Since it was fear that drove the testing in the first place, when marijuana becomes less scary a few less employers will test,” he says.
How can police officers prevent drugged driving?
Both state referenda forbid driving while under the influence of marijuana.
But a driver can have marijuana in his blood and not necessarily be too stoned to drive, since marijuana remains detectable in the body days and even weeks after use.
The Washington law sets a threshold of five nanogrammes of THC, the active ingredient in marijuana, per litre of blood, and Colorado’s legislature is expected to enact a similar threshold.
Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich of Spokane County, Washington says officers who suspect a driver has smoked too much will have to summon a paramedic to draw blood for a test.
“How much of an added expense is that going to be to our agencies?” he asks.
Police have plenty of other ways to detect drug driving, says Chief Jackson: “I don’t need a toxicology test on the side of the roadway.”
If officers see motorists driving erratically, they can stop and interview them and ask them to perform field sobriety tests.
The encounter will likely be filmed from a dashboard camera. If the officer believes a driver is impaired, the officer will make an arrest and later testify in court, Chief Jackson says.
“You don’t need breathalyser tests to convict drunk driving,” he says. “People refuse to blow all the time but we still convict them in the state of Colorado.”
The US once prohibited alcohol. Do these laws portend the nationwide end to marijuana prohibition?
Daniel Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, sees two parallels between today’s legal and cultural marijuana environment and the late 1920s and early ’30s when the move to end America’s experiment with prohibition of alcohol gained steam.
Prohibition of alcohol, which took effect nationwide in 1920 after the passage of a constitutional amendment, utterly failed to keep Americans from drinking alcohol. Instead, it enriched criminal “bootleggers” and starved the government of tax revenue.
Similarly, Americans have stubbornly resisted millions of dollars spent on anti-drug education. Despite decades of law enforcement efforts, marijuana remains widely available just about everywhere.
In 2002, 6.2% of Americans over the age of 11 reported using marijuana within the past month, according to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration study. By 2011 that figure had risen to 7%.
The public rhetoric in today’s marijuana legalization movement takes the same tone as anti-temperance forces in the mid- to late-1920s, says Okrent.
“It’s not ‘we want to have fun and give us our freedom’,” he says. “There’s a sense it’s not working, it’s enriching criminal syndicates, it’s establishing a hypocritical view of law enforcement and let’s be honest with ourselves.”
Today, as in the last years of prohibition, state, local and federal governments are desperate for tax revenue, he says.
One major difference between then and now: alcohol and drinking had long been ubiquitous in American life, from sacramental wine at mass, in Jewish rites, and at the dinner table, to beer at the pub and spirits made in backwoods distilleries.
Marijuana, meanwhile, is a relative newcomer to mass American culture and is not deeply ingrained. Many, if not most, Americans still frown on it.
Nevertheless, since election day, lawmakers in at least two more states – Maine and Rhode Island – have promised to introduce marijuana legalization laws.
Will people stop distinguishing between “recreational use” and “medical use” of marijuana?
Neither the Washington nor the Colorado laws refer to recreation, but the media uses the term to distinguish the new movement from medical marijuana legal in at least 16 states. Yet no-one talks about “recreational use” of beer, wine and spirits.
Some people use marijuana aside from a desire to have a good time: to relax, in a religious rite, to spark creativity, to feed an addiction. Others insist it has medicinal benefits.
In some states medical marijuana is tightly controlled, but in California, it is widely viewed as a farce.
Just about anyone can get a marijuana prescription by paying a fee to a doctor and taking a minimal walk-in examination. In other states rules are stricter.
In the 1920s, during prohibition, Americans could pay a doctor to write a prescription for a weekly allotment of whiskey, to be dispensed by a pharmacy, says Okrent, the prohibition scholar.
“It was an equally dishonest racket,” he says. “There’s a very clear parallel.”
Source – BBC News Magazine, Washington
The Feds still have not said anything so Washington is proceeding forward.
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Washington set to legalize marijuana use without Justice Department guidance
By Sari Horwitz
Adults in Washington state will be able to smoke marijuana legally when it is officially decriminalized Thursday, even though the Justice Department has offered no guidance on the conflict with federal drug laws.
Prosecutors throughout the state have begun dismissing hundreds of misdemeanor marijuana cases, according to authorities there, and state and local police are being retrained to arrest drivers who are high and allow adults to light up in their homes.
Marijuana, however, is still illegal under federal law. State officials say the Justice Department is creating confusion by remaining silent about what steps it may take in Washington and Colorado, which passed initiatives in November legalizing the manufacturing, distribution and possession of up to an ounce of marijuana.
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire (D) met with Deputy Attorney General James Cole at the Justice Department, but came away with no answers.
“They said they were reviewing it,” Gregoire’s spokesman, Cory Curtis, said Friday. “They didn’t give us a timeline when they would provide clarity.”
After his state approved the initiative, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) called Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. and wrote him a letter asking for guidance about how the federal government will react to the state’s new law.
“We need to know whether the federal government will take legal action to block the implementation of Amendment 64, or whether it will seek to prosecute grow and retail operations,” Hickenlooper wrote.
He also asked Holder if Justice will prosecute Colorado state employees who regulate and oversee the growing and distribution of marijuana.
“We find no clear guidance on these issues in memoranda or statements previously issued by the DOJ,” Hickenlooper wrote.
Like their counterparts in Washington, Colorado prosecutors have begun throwing out hundreds of misdemeanor marijuana cases.
Holder has not responded to Hickenlooper’s Nov. 13 letter. Justice spokeswoman Nanda Chitre said the letter is “still under review.”
Several universities in the two states have decided to maintain the status quo, banning students from smoking or consuming marijuana on campus.
The schools rely on millions of dollars in federal funding, and officials say they are worried that failure to abide by federal marijuna laws could jeopardize the money. The federal Controlled Substances Act prohibits the production, possession and sale of marijuana and classified it as a Schedule 1 drug, putting it in the same category as LSD and heroin.
“There are a lot more questions than answers at this point,” said Kathy Barnard, spokeswoman for Washington State University in Pullman. “Marijuana is still illegal under federal law and as a federally funded institution, we abide and respect that.”
Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto also said he is waiting to see how Justice responds to the conflict between state and federal laws. In an interview with Time magazine last week, he called for a rethinking of drug policy and the war on drugs after the legalization of marijuana in the two states.
Peña Nieto’s top adviser, Luis Videgaray, has said that legalization “changes the rules of the game in the relationship with the United States” in regard to anti-drug efforts.
“Obviously, we can’t handle a product that is illegal in Mexico, trying to stop its transfer to the United States, when in the United States, at least in part of the United States, it now has a different status,” Videgaray said.
Source – washingtonpost.com
Another story about using Medical Marijuana on Kids or Infants in this case.
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Cannabis For Infant’s Brain Tumor, Doctor Calls Child “A Miracle Baby”
By Huffingtion Post Live
Medical marijuana is gaining acceptance, but could it even help kids? Dr. William Courtney has seen it happen, and on Friday, told HuffPost Live host Alyona Minkovski about it. Saying he was “quite a skeptic 5 or 6 years ago”, Dr. Courtney continued that “my youngest patient is 8 months old, and had a very massive centrally located inoperable brain tumor.” The child’s father pushed for non-traditional treatment utilizing cannabis.
“They were putting cannabinoid oil on the baby’s pacifier twice a day, increasing the dose… And within two months there was a dramatic reduction, enough that the pediatric oncologist allowed them to go ahead with not pursuing traditional therapy.”
The tumor was remarkably reduced after eight months of treatment. Dr. Courtney pointed out that the success of the cannabis approach means that “this child, because of that, is not going to have the long-term side effects that would come from a very high dose of chemotherapy or radiation… currently the child’s being called a miracle baby, and I would have to agree that this is the perfect response that we should be insisting is frontline therapy for all children before they launch off on all medications that have horrific long term side effects.”
Source – huffingtionpost.com
I think Medical Marijuana could help pay some of Superstorm Sandy’s Costs.
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By Jamie Schuh Bayside Douglaston Patch.com
Medical Marijuana Could Help State Pay Sandy Costs Medical marijuana proponents say that licensing fees and taxes could generate hundreds of millions of dollars a year in new revenues for New York State, which is still reeling from Hurricane Sandy bills, according to the New York Daily News.
“There is a huge amount of revenue here,” state Sen. Diane Savino, D-Staten Island, told the paper.
Earlier this month, top Albany lobbyists partnered with Big Marijuana to push for legalization in New York State, but Gov. Andrew Cuomo is still hesitant to back medicinal pot.
Cuomo said earlier this year that he believes the risks for medicinal marijuana outweigh the benefits, though he also projected that the state’s budget deficit would grow by $1 billion because of Hurricane Sandy’s destruction.
For marijuana opponents, the issue is not money, however.
“It sends a wrong message to the youth of the state and that’s more important than any amount of revenue the state would take in,” the state’s Conservative Party Chairman Mike Long told the Daily News.
But legalized medicinal marijuana is not only a revenue source, but a humane effort to help those suffering from pain caused by cancer and other illnesses, says Gabriel Sayegh, state director for the Drug Policy Alliance, adding that “the time for [legalization] has long passed.”
New York’s border states, including New Jersey, Connecticut and Massachusetts, have already legalized medicinal marijuana use.
Source – bayside.patch.com
More Legislators sign on to help legalize Industrial Hemp
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Massie signs on as co-sponsor of hemp legislation
By Seattle pi
FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) — U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie is co-sponsoring legislation that would require the federal government to honor state laws allowing production of industrial hemp.
The proposed Industrial Hemp Farming Act would exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. A similar bill is being co-sponsored in the U.S. Senate by Kentucky Republican Rand Paul.
Massie said industrial hemp, a cousin to marijuana, could be an important agricultural product for Kentucky farmers if the feds would allow it to be grown in the U.S.
Kentucky was once a leading producer of industrial hemp that’s used in hundreds of products from cosmetics to clothing to canvas.
Massie said it also can be used in bio-fuels more efficiently than corn or switch grass. Federal and state law enforcement agencies oppose loosening restrictions on industrial hemp.
Source – seattlepi.com
Its a time for Stocks in Marijuana and Cannabis but be careful.
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Over yesterday’s market hours Cannabis Science, Inc. (PINK:CBIS, CBIS message board) managed another feat – the stock dropped a whopping 19%, flushing investor money down the drain, on a volume higher than last week’s average.
CBIS stock was slowly cooling down after some hype-induced spikes but now it seems reality caught up with investors. The large volume shifted yesterday, plus the steep negative price movement makes it look a whole lot as though people are selling CBIS in a hurry, as a bounce is nowhere in sight.
The company managed to post another optimistic press release before the stock tanked yesterday, announcing the arrival of Mr. Michael Goldblatt, former DARPA director. Once again, as with previous arrivals, Mr. Goldblatt will be a scientific advisor, not an actual manager or board member of CBIS, and again, this addition to their experts roster is hardly going to have an effect immediate or tangible enough to make a difference to the stock price.
For those who missed the number crunch last time around, here is a recap of how CBIS did during fiscal Q3 of this year, as per their quarterly report:
- $9 thousand in cash assets
- $3.3 million current liabilities
- $1.8 thousand in quarterly revenue
- $2 million quarterly net loss
- $14 million in net loss for first three quarters of 2012
The company is neck-deep in debt and has next to zero cash to finance its trials. And those are still pre-clinical trials, in case anyone missed that too. CBIS’ website may lead investors to think otherwise, as it has a subsection titled ‘Products’. Alas, it contains anything but an actual marketable product description or name, as the company simply doesn’t have one yet.
Traders should remember to never buy in on hype alone, especially with OTC penny stocks, as hype-induced spikes tend to drop just as fast as they happen. Do your own due diligence and check all sources of information before you make an investment.
A story about investors seeing the potential in new pot laws.
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Investors see profit potential in new pot law
Two Seattle-based Yale MBAs emerge as the button-down straight men on the business frontier of marijuana, as legalization in Washington and Colorado turbocharged pot into a mainstream business opportunity.
Seattle Times Staff Reporter
Brendan Kennedy’s work at Silicon Valley Bank required him to put a value on startups and emerging industries. But he quit his job and became an investor himself when he saw limitless potential in one new industry. Marijuana.
The industry was fragmented, rife with unprofessional managers, and the medical-marijuana business couldn’t get access to capital.
“And yet, despite all those problems, it had annual revenues” in the billions, Kennedy said. “I became fascinated with it.”
Two and a half years later, Kennedy and Michael Blue, two Yale MBAs with backgrounds in banking, are emerging as button-down straight men on the business frontier of marijuana. Their leap into the fledgling industry seems prescient, especially as marijuana is poised to explode from the medical niche to mainstream recreation this week.
“It’s the biggest opportunity I’m ever going to see in my lifetime,” said Kennedy, 40.
Their Seattle-based private-equity firm, Privateer Holdings, is believed to be the first of its kind in the nation to focus exclusively on marijuana.
But Kennedy and Blue won’t be alone for long.
Votes in Washington and Colorado last month to legalize pot for recreational use turbocharged marijuana as a legitimate business opportunity.
Business people packed a marijuana-industry conference in Denver the day after the election, and shares of publicly-traded companies spiked — one that sells marijuana vending machines jumped 3,000 percent — on giddy enthusiasm.
The ripest opportunities are among cannabis-focused businesses ancillary to direct selling or growing of marijuana — from media to insurance, from hydroponic suppliers to specialty software.
Kennedy compares it to the corn industry, which is supported by supply warehouses, makers of high-fructose corn syrup and corn insurers.
“There’s whole sub-industries around corn. None of that exists in a mature fashion around marijuana,” he said. “It all needs to be built. It all needs to be grown.”
The decades-old federal ban on marijuana has constricted such investment, with investors nibbling at the edges.
But the potential size of a recreational marijuana market is now simply too big to ignore. In Washington alone, more than 360,000 people are projected to buy at state-licensed marijuana stores should they open in 2013, creating a billion-dollar industry.
Lawmakers in four Northeastern states are planning to introduce legalization measures.
“The wall of prohibition may crumble sooner than anyone imagined possible,” said Troy Dayton, CEO of a marijuana-industry angel investor network, The ArcView Group. “If that happens, this is the next great American industry.”
Cannabis is already big business. There are at least 20 publicly-traded companies — including indoor farming suppliers, pharmaceutical labs and financial-services firms — that market directly to the marijuana industry. Several of the companies have market capitalizations of $40 million or more.
A 2011 analysis by See Change Strategy estimated the medical-marijuana industry was $1.7 billion in 2011, and could grow to $8.9 billion by 2016 — and that was before legalization measures.
“Now, people aren’t talking about the medical-marijuana industry, they’re talking about the marijuana industry,” said Chris Walsh, editor of Medical Marijuana Business Daily, an online publication that sponsored the Denver conference.
Medical-marijuana startups have largely relied on private investment from friends and family. The ability to keep a bank account remains one of the industry’s biggest obstacles because federally insured banks view marijuana businesses as illegal.
“Businesses don’t like uncertainty in general, and this industry has so much uncertainty,” said Walsh, a former business reporter for the Rocky Mountain News. “It could collapse overnight.”
The federal government has not indicated how it will respond to Washington’s Initiative 502 or Colorado’s Amendment 64. Govs. Chris Gregoire and John Hickenlooper of Colorado recently pressed U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to say if he will intervene, and at least 18 members of Congress signed onto a bill to ensure federal authorities wouldn’t pre-empt the state marijuana laws.
Silence is interpreted as a good sign by entrepreneurs such as Sean Green, a former real-estate agent who opened a dispensary, Pacific Northwest Medical, in Shoreline, and hopes to expand.
“The longer the feds won’t say anything, the more the investors drool,” he said. “Before Nov. 6, it wasn’t a good risk-reward ratio. Now, people are reconsidering.”
The ballot measures in both states allow for-profit growers and retailers, and Washington’s law calls for regulating marijuana like alcohol.
Seattle marijuana-industry attorney Hilary Bricken said mainstream business people are quickly emerging, in part because voters approved the initiative by 12 points.
“That margin of victory just wholesaled marijuana to white yuppie America,” she said.
Pot for soccer moms
Kennedy and Blue did their risk analysis two years ago. They won a business-planning competition at Yale in 2005 before veering off into business — Kennedy, who’d already started and sold two tech companies, went to SVB Analytics, valuing startups; and Blue into private-equity firms in Connecticut and Arkansas.
Blue, 34, said he had no qualms after talking to conservative friends and family in his native Arkansas. “The feedback was, not only is this a good opportunity, you guys have the chance to do something really good,” he said.
They brought on a third partner, Christian Groh, and set up shop two years ago in Seattle, where Kennedy’s wife is a Pacific Northwest Ballet dancer.
Privateer Holdings started small and focused. It is closing a first-round investment pool of $7 million, and intends to buy existing marijuana-related businesses with a mainstream profile — “something that appeals to a soccer mom,” Kennedy said. They are currently considering buying the manufacturer of a marijuana vaporizer.
They are targeting those kinds of ancillary businesses, not those growing or selling marijuana, because of the federal risk.
Kennedy said their lawyers vetted the strategy, but he said he has not talked with federal authorities.
Privateer Holdings’ approach is the most common approach for the two dozen investors involved in The ArcView Group, which provides seed investment for marijuana startups, Dayton said.
“There’s the Mark Twain saying, ‘When people are looking for gold, it’s a good time to be in the pick and shovel network,’ ” said Dayton. “And gold wasn’t federally criminally illegal. There’s even more reason to be in picks and shovels.”
The first purchase was Leafly.com, a slickly designed website offering more than 40,000 reviews of about 500 marijuana strains. The website sorts them for medical use — from anxiety to seizures, and for effect — from lazy to tingly.
Medical-marijuana dispensaries in eight states upload their menus to Leafly so the site can send customers to a nearby retailer.
Kennedy emphasizes the need for professional management in an industry that is, at times, its own worst enemy.
“I’m waiting for the day when we can go to a conference, and you don’t have to listen to Bob Marley,” he said.
He’s run six Ironman triathlons, and says he didn’t use marijuana for about 20 years before trying it this year, on the theory that “I have to practice what I preach.”
It has been hard to get this far: They were rejected by nine banks before finding one willing to do business.
But he and Blue are bullish, especially after the Nov. 6 votes.
“I’ve seen a lot of small companies that grew to be big companies,” said Kennedy. “This is unlike anything I have ever seen.”
Source – seattletimes.com
Until Next Week – Go Out and Help Pollinate The World!