Investigators are now looking into a possible link between a maraschino cherry factory and organized crime after the owner of the New York-based business committed suicide on Tuesday. Arthur Mondella, 57, president of Dell's Maraschino Cherries factory in Brooklyn, shot himself in the head as police broke into a drug lab hidden behind a wall. Mondella had cooperated with investigators for five hours over allegations the 67-year-old family business had been dumping hazardous waste. But a law enforcement source tells New York Post that the Breaking Bad-style drug operation at the cherry plant may have been been just the tip of the iceberg. 'He knew the mob would kill him,' the unnamed source told the paper. 'That’s why he shot himself. ‘Why else would you shoot yourself over 100 pounds of weed? It was the multi-million operation he lost.’ Investigators reportedly came across suspicious shelving in a storage unit - then behind a door found a false wall with the smell of weed seeping through.
The entrance to a dug-out basement was then found, with three bags of marijuana inside. According to the NY Post, generators were found inside the factory along with a high-tech security outfit of dozens of cameras, barbed wire and motion-detector lights. Mondella then excused himself to go to his private bathroom, locked the door and shot himself at 1.30pm, a law enforcement source told Daily Mail Online. Before committing suicide, the third-generation cherry tycoon told his sister who was present, Joanne Capece, 'Take care of my kids'. Those present heard a single gunshot, according to CBS New York. Mondella later died at a local hospital from the .357 magnum gunshot wound. The paper reported Wednesday that the cherry tycoon was hiding a .357…
Two bills were introduced introduced to Congress in an effort to legalize marijuana on a federal level.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) proposed separate but related measures for how the federal government —and subsequently states— should regulate marijuana like alcohol and tax all non-medical marijuana sales. These bills are significant compared to recent state legislation, as they address the substance's legality from a more sweeping, federal perspective.
Polis’s bill is the H.R. 1013, or the more descriptively named “Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol Act.” The bill’s main goal is to eliminate the federal government’s disciplinary repercussions against states that legalize the marijuana. Marijuana oversight would also be transferred to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) where it would be regulated like alcohol under the category of “intoxicating liquors.” The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), who currently oversees marijuana as a Schedule 1 (non-medical) drug, would transfer oversight to the ATF allowing the drug’s status to be reclassified as a medical substance.
Rep. Polis says, "“Over the past year, Colorado has demonstrated that regulating marijuana like alcohol takes money away from criminals and cartels, grows our economy, and keeps marijuana out of the hands of children.”
Rep. Blumenauer’s bill, H.R 1014, or “Marijuana Tax Revenue Act of 2015” likewise aspires to revaluate marijuana’s potential as a cash crop. The bill intends to create a tax on all non-medical marijuana sales and reposition marijuana as a more mainstream product to dissolve the economies of drug cartels. The legislation would treat marijuana tax and failures to comply like those enforced on the tobacco industry. However, marijuana tax would be introduced at a lower rate than the current tobacco tax —$1.01 per pack— that was enacted via the Children’s Health Insurance…