Quick Hits: Judoka Dropped in 2012 for Marijuana Competes in 2016 Olympics


RIO DE JANIERO, Brazil – The 2016 Rio Summer Olympic games begin this week and a US athlete disqualified from the 2012 London Summer Olympics for marijuana use will finally get to compete. Nicholas Delpopolo is an American judoka – or judo competitor – who was kept off the Olympic team four years ago due to a failed drug test he blamed on unknowingly eating a marijuana-infused brownie. Another disqualified martial artist from 2012, American champion wrestler Stephany Lee, is no longer competing in the sport. The World Anti-Doping Agency, which monitors Olympic athletes for doping, has since raised its threshold by a factor of ten, now requiring 150 nanograms of marijuana metabolite in urine to trigger a positive instead of the 15 nanograms that cost Delpopolo and Lee their Olympic dream in 2012. WADA specifically mentioned the need to keep athletes whose use was long before competition from failing their tests.

MARYSVILLE, Ohio – Scott’s Miracle-Gro, the company famous for its lawn and garden products, has made another big investment in the legal marijuana industry by paying $136 million to purchase Gavita, a Dutch grow-light company. Scott’s has also signed a deal to purchase Botanicare, an Arizona company that makes nutrient and hydroponics supplies. Last year, Scott’s paid $130 million to acquire California’s General Hydroponics. Scott’s runs its marijuana industry business through a subsidiary called Hawthorne Gardening Company, which is well known among cannabis growers for its “Black Magic” soil brand. Scott’s CEO Jim Hagedorn sees the investments as the company’s chance to “take advantage of something that’s high margin, high growth.”

RIONEGRO, Colombia – Colombian farmers are beginning to plant their first legal cannabis crops since the government legalized medical use of marijuana. But unlike other countries and states where such use is legal, Colombia also legalized the export of medical marijuana products, like salves and tinctures. Officials in the South American country want to see a thriving cultivation and export business in hopes it will curtail the power and profits of the drug cartels that traffic in still-illegal cocaine and heroin. A Canadian company, PharmaCielo, received a license in June to produce cannabis products, which it plans to import back into Canada. PharmaCielo estimates that once their cultivation facilities are up and running, they will be able to produce marijuana flowers wholesale at just a nickel per gram.

BRIDGEWATER, New Jersey – The New Jersey Supreme Court has upheld the right to privacy for a man whose aunt reported his closet marijuana grow to the police. Michael Cushing, 29, was living in the home of his aunt’s mother when his aunt, Lisa Mylroie, became suspicious about her mother’s high electricity bill. Mylroie then entered Cushing’s bedroom while he was away and discovered grow lights and cannabis plants in Cushing’s closet. Mylroie called police and escorted them into the bedroom and closet. Police then obtained a search warrant and seized 16 cannabis plants. Cushing pleaded guilty to cultivation charges and was sentenced to ten years in prison. The Supreme Court agreed with appellate courts that determined Mylroie violated Cushing’s expectation of privacy and had no right to show police that closet. The case will now be re-tried to determine if that evidence should have been suppressed. If it is, Cushing’s conviction will be overturned, if not, Cushing will be re-sentenced.

"Radical" Russ Belville is a blogger, podcaster, and host of The Russ Belville Show, a daily two-hour talk radio show focused on the evolution of the legal marijuana industry in the United States. The program is airing live at 3pm Pacific Time from Portland, Oregon, on CannabisRadio.com, with podcast available on iTunes and Stitcher Radio. Russ began his marijuana activism in 2005 with Oregon NORML, then in 2009 went on to work for National NORML, and found and direct Portland NORML.in 2015.