Today's must-reads: 1. Reuters says Oakland's Jeff Wilcox aims to be the Trader Joe's of cannabis in a lengthy Friday piece entitled 'Special Report: High finance and corporate pot, California style' "The new Two Buck Chuck will be $40-an-ounce pot," Wilcox said in an interview, looking forward to a day of full legalization. Boutique growers could produce the high-end stuff in their "gardens," he explained, while he supplied the masses with a clean, controlled, great-value product. More headlines after jump.
2. The New York Times reports the Department of Veterans Affairs has changed its policy regarding medical pot. It will formally allow patients treated at its hospitals and clinics to use medical marijuana in states where it is legal. The policy will not permit department doctors to prescribe marijuana. [via MMJ News]
3. The NBA fined the Minnesota Timberwolves $50,000 and the team's president of basketball operations David Kahn an additional $50,000 for "inappropriate" and "detrimental" comments Kahn made about newly acquired forward Michael Beasley. "Michael Beasley smoked too much pot in Miami, but he's a changed man now," Kahn told St. Paul's KSTP radio station in an an interview on July 22. "Make that, changed young man. He's a very young and immature kid who smoked too much marijuana and has told me that he's not smoking anymore and I told him that I would trust him as long as that was the case.” [CelebStoner]
4. The 21-year-old father executed on his knees in his own bathroom by Las Vegas narcotics officers has virtually no criminal record the Las Vegas Review Journal reports. Detective Bryan Yant — who has a history of shootings — shot Trevon Cole once in the face with an AR-15 rifle during a pot raid on Cole's residence. Yant said the unarmed Cole made a "furtive movement". The Review-Journal discovered Yant's search warrant contained false information identifying Cole as having a lengthy criminal record, when he had just one misdemeanor arrest in California. Cole's family has not filed a lawsuit against the Las Vegas Police department, pending the outcome of a coroner's inquest scheduled for Aug. 20.
5. A fatal pot farm raid in Santa Clara County ended last week with the death on a male Latino, who police say pointed a gun at them while they were scouting him, the Merc reports.
6. Scott Herhold, Mercury News Columnist opines that “after a lot of thought, I've decided to vote for Proposition 19, the measure on the November ballot that would legalize and tax marijuana.” Herhold says prohibition-involved killings by cops and gangsters are worse than cannabis use.
7. Conversely, Lyndon E. Lafferty, writes to a Vallejo paper “the facts of all current research prove beyond any doubt that marijuana is the most pervasive and most dangerous drug in the world today, that it is positively the gateway drug leading to severe alcoholism and other drugs. ... if marijuana were decriminalized, thousands more would get wasted, more people would become dependent on alcohol, cocaine and heroin, and crime would increase due to the more illicit drugs.
8. The AP reports the Governor of New Jersey asked Rutgers University to grow the state's newly legal medical cannabis and the college has refused. The university issued a statement Friday saying marijuana's status as an illegal drug would jeopardize federal funding to the school. Rutgers received $552 million in federal funds last year, including research contracts, grants, student loans and work study. "There is no way for Rutgers to be involved in this initiative without violating the federal Controlled Substances Act, which we will not do," the statement says. "If there is a change in federal law or a change in the classification of marijuana, Rutgers would be willing to re-examine a possible role for the university."
9. Richmond may direct its staff to draft an ordinance similar to the City of Oakland's that would license and tax large-scale marijuana farms.The city council meets Tuesday.
10. The City of San Jose may place a 10 percent city sales tax on medical cannabis in addition to the state's 9.25 percent sales tax. The next city council meeting August 3rd, 2010.