BFI Launches Short Form Animation Fund Supporting UK Creatives

The British Film Institute has launched a new Short Form Animation Fund, offering support for higher-budgeted animated works from U.K.-based teams, Animation UK reports.

“Short animated films are the bedrock of our animation industry,” commented producer Phil Davies or Astley Baker Davies / The Elf Factory Ltd. / Gastons Cave Ltd. “Be it stunning visuals or challenging shorts of the avant-garde, all have a home in this wonderfully eclectic art form. They not only act as a driver for the animation film and TV industries, but have also established themselves as an essential art form in themselves. Some of the purest story telling you’ll ever see.”

Two years ago, Animation UK set out to support growth in the sector and a secure production base by lobbying for further investment in the nation’s globally respected animation industry. In addition to vigorous support for the Young Audience Content Fund, and increased commitments from broadcasters in response to the Children’s Content Review, Animation UK joined the BFI’s consultation on support of the sector, which was identified as a priority in their five-year strategy BFI2022. The organization gathered evidence on the impact of reduced dedicated support for animation over the last decade and made a case for a support for animated shorts.

The resulting BFI Short Form Animation Fund is a vital part of the investment program, which will fill the vacuum left by previous schemes for investment in our animation creative talent and provide the next step on from the BFI NETWORK, which funds smaller projects at entry-level across the U.K.

“This new Fund is a result of us listening to the industry, and filmmakers, and working with them to develop something which celebrates excellence and creativity at a point when talent need is most,” said Ben Roberts, Deputy Chief Executive of the BFI. “Huge thanks to everyone we consulted on this work for their time and expertise, particularly Animation UK, Animation Alliance UK, and Helen Brunsdon, Director of the British Animation Awards. Our animators have long led the way in driving forward this art form, and we are thrilled to be offering funding which aims to back U.K. animation talent from a host of backgrounds, and through a variety of traditional and innovative media.”

The fund is for high-budget, U.K.-based animation teams, providing funding of £30,000 to £120,000 per project, to help support these teams in creating work which can open-up new opportunities, and gain them better recognition. It can support narrative short form projects in any animated technique or genre and for any platform, from cinema to online to TV (not work intended focally for broadcast TV), and more. The fund is intended for work that is unlikely to be fully commercially financed and would therefore benefit from National Lottery support. The call for applications will take place once a year.

Ruth Fielding, Joint Managing Director of Lupus Films, observed, “Animated short films provide a valuable talent ladder for directors and writers to move from short form to longer form work be it series, one-off specials or features. Securing funding from the BFI, together with the support of existing established production companies, will help propel the talent of tomorrow towards the tipping point in their careers. We at Lupus Films as well as Animation UK welcome this initiative with open arms.”

The BFI Short Form Animation Fund will also offer the funded projects access to insight from a BFI Executive, and allocation of support from a dedicated animation specialist if required. Although the fund will not provide distribution support for projects, in some cases the BFI may take up a consultation role for funded teams in giving advice on distribution, exhibition, festival strategies, and methods of promotion.

“Huge credit should go to Animation UK and the BFI for creating this opportunity to access funding for short animated films, giving the next generation of filmmakers the opportunity to develop ideas, styles, techniques that all add to the ecosystem of our industry. Blue-Zoo already runs a successful in-house shorts program and hopes to support this initiative and the individuals who apply,” said Oli Hyatt, Managing Director and Co-Founder, BlueZoo.

Applications for projects for directors and writer-Director teams are open through November 5, 2019. Further details and guidelines for the BFI Short Form Animation Fund are available online.

Animation Magazine

Crowdsourcing to Fund Rare Disease Research

SOURCES:

Nicole Henwood, MD, president and CEO, NF2 BioSolutions, West Chester, PA.

UpToDate: “Neurofibromatosis type 2.”

National Institutes of Health: “Rare Disease Clinical Research Network.”

Lancet: “Spotlight on Rare Diseases.”

National Institutes of Health: “FAQs About Rare Diseases.”

University of California, Davis: “What is Translational Research?”

National Organization for Rare Disorders: “Member Snapshot.”

National Institutes of Health: “What is Gene Therapy?”

NF2 BioSolutions: “FAQs.”

Amber Salzman PhD, president and CEO, Ohana Biosciences, Merion Station, PA.

Gary Brenner, MD, PhD, director, Pain Medicine Fellowship, Massachusetts General Hospital; associate professor, Harvard Medical School.

Cancer Gene Therapy: “Schwannoma gene therapy by adeno-associated virus delivery of the pore-forming protein Gasdermin-D.”

University of California, Davis: “What is Translational Research?”

Chris Coburn, chief innovation officer, Partners HealthCare, Cambridge, MA.

Peg Brivanlou, PhD, partner, King & Spalding, New York.

Kaiser Health News: “The High Cost of Hope: When The Parallel Interests of Pharma and Families Collide.”

The Scientist: “The Challenges of Rare-Disease Research.”

WebMD Health

Denver Could Raise Pot Sales Tax to Fund Affordable Housing

To help remedy its well-publicized affordable-housing shortage, Mayor Michael Hancock wants to use a lifeline that mayors of most major cities don’t have: pot. On April 16, the city floated the idea of using $ 105 million in bonds from the Denver Housing Authority — a quasi-municipal corporation that provides housing for middle- and low-income families and individuals — to help cover a proposed $ 105 million surge in funding for affordable housing over the next five years.

The City of Denver would partner with the DHA to double annual contributions from $ 15 million to $ 30 million for Denver’s Affordable Housing Fund, according to an announcement from the mayor’s office. That money must come from somewhere, though, and that’s where marijuana comes into play.

To help cover its contributions to the Affordable Housing Fund and pay back the DHA bonds, the proposal calls for raising Denver’s special marijuana sales tax from 3.5 percent to 5.5 percent. The raise would bring in an additional $ 8 million of tax revenue each year, according to estimates from the mayor’s office, with $ 7 million of that going toward the city’s general fund.

“Denver’s need for more affordable housing is critical. Since our creation of Denver’s first dedicated Affordable Housing Fund, we’ve been working on ways to leverage those dollars to expand the fund’s capacity and broaden its impact,” Hancock said in a statement accompanying the announcement of his new plan. “This proposal will deploy more funding quicker to support our residents and families without increasing costs on the very households we are working to serve.”

The plan would direct about half of the new funding to support Denverites in the bottom 30 percent of area median income (AMI) and those experiencing homelessness; the other half would go toward fulfilling the rest of the city’s five-year plan to increase affordable housing. “The bonds will spur building new and preserving current permanently affordable housing units maintained by DHA, and create a new land acquisition fund to secure a pipeline of projects to serve Denver’s lowest-income residents and those experiencing homelessness,” the proposal states.

At least 1,400 affordable units would be created or preserved over the next five to ten years through land and property acquisition; those would be paired with a minimum of 300 project-based vouchers. Under the plan, an additional 759 units would be added to three DHA developments over the next five years.

The marijuana tax increase would create or preserve approximately 750 units over the next five years, the city estimates, and also provide subsidies to 1,000 additional households over the next five years.

Denver voters approved a measure in 2013 that allows the city to raise the special marijuana sales tax up to 15.5 percent. According to Ashley Kilroy, director of the Denver Department of Excise and Licenses, that flexibility is unique to legal marijuana; she says she doesn’t know of any other area under the authority of Excise and Licenses that has a sliding tax.

“That was right when marijuana had first started and we had very little idea of what regulating marijuana was going to cost us,” she explains. “I reached out to a number of marijuana industry representatives and had a couple of conversations with them. … It’s commendable that the marijuana industry has been so supportive of this increase.”

Both the Marijuana Industry Group and Colorado Leads, as well as the dozens of legal marijuana businesses that the organizations represent, are behind the proposal. “We support the cannabis sales-tax increase to help ease the housing challenges faced by our employees, as well as scores of other Denver residents,” says Colorado Leads chairman Chuck Smith.

Khalatbari (left) is running against incumbent Michael Hancock for mayor in the May 2019 election.

Khalatbari (left) is running against incumbent Michael Hancock for mayor in the May 2019 election.

Anthony Camera

Even mayoral candidate Kayvan Khalatbari, who will face off against Hancock in the 2019 campaign if the incumbent runs again, sees some benefits to the plan. An affordable-housing advocate and founder of Denver Relief, a marijuana business consulting firm and former dispensary of the same name, Khalatbari has become well known in Denver thanks to his role with both communities. “I think it’s something we should look at when we’re in the crisis that we’re in,” he says. “There’s a lot of things that I would probably look at before this, honestly — but that said, if [the revenue] is sitting there, then it could be worse.”

Khalatbari believes the city would be better served by pursuing the idea of a community land trust proposed by a private philanthropic group last December, as well as eviction protection for renters and approval of accessory dwelling units, such as tiny homes in back yards. “Developers keep building these things for $ 250,000 a unit when we could be building tiny homes for $ 10,000,” he says, calling the new proposal a “drop in the bucket” for Denver’s housing needs.

“I think housing and homelessness is definitely a worthy cause, and when you’re in a crisis like we are, then you have to do something,” Khalatbari adds. “I wish it were more money, though. The money we’re talking about here isn’t enough.”

Although he doesn’t believe there will be a major uproar from Denver marijuana businesses over the proposed tax increase, Khalatbari thinks some of the smaller operations will feel the effects, and so will the consumer. “This isn’t going to affect businesses that much at the end of the day, but I do believe it will be a detriment to most mom-and-pops. They’re having a hard time keeping pace with the consolidation and the large-scale operators,” he explains. “And, ultimately, this will be passed down to the consumer.”

The proposed increase would add around $ 1 of extra sales tax to a $ 50 dispensary purchase in Denver, according to Excise and Licenses — an essential move to help match the needs of a growing city, says Denver Chief Financial Officer Brendan Hanlon.

“We have a number of issues as a growing city — affordable housing, mobility and many others just as a population that now exceeds the demands of 700,000 folks,” Hanlon explains. “Addressing [affordable housing] is really imperative right now. You’re hearing a lot from members of the City Council and Housing Advisory Committee, saying we’ve made some positive steps. But this was a way to double that effort.”

Toke of the Town

Colorado Marijuana Taxes Fund Sims-Style RPG Aimed at Substance Abuse

A Denver-based nonprofit that focuses on fighting substance abuse will be able to try a new approach to curbing drug addiction thanks to a sizable infusion of cash derived from the state’s cannabis tax revenue. Peer Assistance, a company that has spent the last three decades helping people conduct difficult intervention-related conversations with their loved ones […]
Marijuana

New York: Cuomo Germinates $5 Million Grant Fund For Hemp Cultivation

Do you live in New York State, have a green thumb, and an interest in cultivating industrial hemp? If so, Gov. Cuomo, in conjunction with Empire State Development, has just rolled out a ‘multi-year’ cultivation grant that will help qualifying growers, businesses, and universities plant the seeds of eco-friendly prosperity. Farmers, businesses, researchers, apply to […]
Marijuana

Slovak AV Fund Opens Animated Series Co-Pro Proposals

slovak-audiovisual-fund-150

The Board of the Slovak Audiovisual Fund has opened its call for proposals for 2017, and approved new conditions for obtaining AV productions subsidies. Some of these were proposed by AVF Director Martin Šmatlák based on intense discussion between Slovakia experts and professional and film fund representatives from elsewhere in CEE.

The program involves two basic open calls for the animation industry. Productions with majority participation by a Slovak creator or producer can apply for support for the development or production. The maximum amount of subsidies for the development of an audiovisual work is €50,000, whereas subsidies for the production can go up to €1.2 million.

A significant and wholly new avenue is the inclusion of animation intended primarily for TV broadcasting (especially TV series) in the call for projects with minority Slovak co-production. This arrangement initiated by APAF (Slovak Association of Animated Film Producers) is a result of negotiations with fellow film funds on the VAF (Visegrad Animation Forum) platform. The maximum amount of subsidies allocated to producing a co-production in which a Slovak co-producer has a minority share is €300,000, provided the project is already at least 60% financed.

The total amount preliminarily allocated to support audiovisual culture in Slovakia in 2017 is being raised to €7,000,000 which is encouraging news not only for Slovak film industry, but, thanks to the newly announced call for minority co-productions, to all projects considering Slovakia as their future partner in co-production.

“During VAF meetings (gatherings of producers from Central and Eastern Europe), we understood that we need to bring up a practice and tools so it becomes far easier and more straightforward to co-produce within our region,” said Michal Podhradský, Chairman of VAF. “We invited the heads of the national film funds from the CEE countries to discuss the possibility of harmonizing different country-specific criteria. In some countries, the film funds were not even accepting TV series projects or were only supporting national majority projects focused on TV. This was the case for example in Slovakia. We are delighted by this great first move for easier cross-border cooperation in our region.”

Slovak AV Fund Opens Animated Series Co-Pro Proposals

Slovak AV Fund Opens Animated Series Co-Pro Proposals

Animation Magazine

Adelson and Casinos Fund Nevada Legal Marijuana Opposition

Casino interests, led by conservative billionaire Sheldon Adelson, are providing the the vast majority of funds for the effort to defeat marijuana legalization in Nevada. Adelson, owner of The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and Sands Expo and Convention Center in Las Vegas, dropped $ 2 million into the leading opposition committee, Protecting Nevada’s Children, according to campaign finance records […]
Marijuana

DEA Marijuana Seizures: New Bill Would End Forfeiture Slush Fund

A sweet new bill with bipartisan support is seeking to cut off all funding for the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) generated through asset seizures.

According to Forbes, The “Stop Civil Asset Forfeiture Funding for Marijuana Suppression Act” was introduced mid-September by (D) California Representative Ted Lieu, and (R) Michigan Representative Justin Amash. The DEA’s new legislative nemesis would work like this; the bill would preclude the DEA from utilizing any and all federal forfeiture resources to further its domestic campaign of terror, a.k.a. the Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Program.

In 1979, Hawaii and California were the first states to feel the sting of the feds new tool used in the War on Drugs. Shortly thereafter, the Domestic Cannabis Eradication/Suppression Act had spread like a disease throughout all 50 states in the US. Since it’s unfortunate introduction, the program has been responsible for widespread misery from coast-to-coast; in 2014 alone there were 6,310 arrests, $ 27.3 million seized, and more than 4.3 million plants destroyed. Currently, the asset-freezing program collects approximately $ 18 million annually in federal funding, largely from accused marijuana cultivators and their distributors.

Learn more about marijuana funded DEA raids

What has people concerned over this money-grab of a program is the bulk of its asset seizures are anything but criminal. Rather most of these transgressions are civil in nature. In the real world, an individual must be convicted of a crime for criminal forfeiture to occur. Unfortunately, civil forfeiture lacks the requirement of any conviction or criminal charge for the federal government to grab your personal assets, cash, or other items of monetary value.

The ugliest and most simplistic explanation of civil forfeiture is this, the police aren’t required to demonstrate you’re guilty of anything to seize your property … However, you will need to prove your lack of guilt to get it back.

This newest bill is similar to another defensive piece of legislation passed last year, an amendment authored by (D) California Rep. Sam Farr and (R) California Rep. Dana Rohrbacher. Their anti-seizure legislation was added to the 2014 and 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Spending Bill. Working towards the same goal, their amendment banned the use of any federally seized assets from being utilized for raids in states that have reformed their marijuana laws.

The most notable change in the newly offered Bill, is the new program would provide a permanent fix to problem of overzealous federal government illegally grabbing cash from those legally operating a marijuana business in states that are sanctioned their operations. Rather than having to renew each year by vote the Omnibus Appropriations Spending Bill.

*Not one to miss an opportunity to shine the light of irony of our legal system, John Oliver rips into the unjust nature of civil forfeiture in the below video.


Marijuana

ASIFA-Hollywood, AEF Fund Scholarships

animation-educators-forum-150

ASIFA-Hollywood and the Animation Educators Forum (AEF) announce the ASIFA-Hollywood’s AEF Scholarship fund. This year’s fund will assist with up to $ 30,000 in tuition, books, supplies and other educational costs for students of the medium.

Scholarships are merit-based and designed to support college students continuing their education in animation. Proposals will be accepted for undergraduate students entering their second year and above, as well as graduate students. Awards ranging from $ 2,500 to $ 5,000 may be applied to tuition, books/supplies, animation hardware/software and/or thesis production.

Applications for the 2015-16 school year are available now and must be submitted by June 15, 2015. Winners — who will also receive a 1-year ASIFA membership — will be announced July 15, 2015. Visit http://scholarships.animationeducatorsforum.org/ for more information and to apply.

ASIFA-Hollywood

ASIFA-Hollywood

Animation Magazine

Colorado Fires Up $10M Marijuana Research Fund

Potentially putting an end to the DEA’s reign of misinformation, Colorado’s governor put pen to paper yesterday and signed SB 155,  a bill  that could theoretically pump up to $ 10 million worth of new marijuana tax revenue into the much-needed field of cannabinoid research.

Colorado-State-Rep.-Crisanta-Duran

Colorado State Rep. Crisanta Duran

According to the bill’s co-sponsor, “SB 155 invests the dollars collected from medical marijuana fees into a meaningful effort to study the therapeutic and medicinal benefits of the drug.” Explaining to the Huffington Post, Colorado’s state Rep. Crisanta Duran noted that, “Patients will benefit from this investment and Colorado will become a national leader in developing medical marijuana research.”  Fingers crossed.

Ultimately hoping to uncover new cannabinoid applications, SB 155 would allow Colorado’s scientific community to determine, through research, which ailments and conditions should be added to Colorado’s list of eight acceptable maladies.

Mike Elliott of Marijuana Industry Group is excited about the possibility of these game-changing studies. Not only because physicians around the country might potentially gain a better understanding of the physiological role cannabinoids play in our healthcare – but also, exposing the damage done by the federal government’s reluctance to study a plant will surely prove beneficial for the move to legalize.

“This bill is exciting because it gives researchers the opportunity to show why and how marijuana works, and to do research that the federal government refuses to conduct.”

Despite the mountain of evidence from researchers around the world, our federal government has been more than reluctant to acknowledge many of the recent studies. As solid American taxpaying citizens – and their children – continue to be stricken with diabetes, cancer, MS and different forms of epilepsy… we the people anxiously await research that the DEA will recognize.

Thanks again Colorado…

Marijuana

Pot For Tots: South Carolina Candidate Seeks to Fund Schools By Legalizing Pot

Well, well, well… Politics in South Carolina are beginning to get interesting. One of South Carolina’s Democratic candidates for state superintendent of education, Sheila Gallagher, has cultivated the rather controversial notion (at least deep in the belly of America’s Bible Belt) of legalizing pot for those over the age of 21 – as a means of raising new revenue for the state’s crumbling school fund.

The way Gallagher, and quite frankly the rest of the nation sees it, “Between the tax dollars you could bring in and stop putting some of our kids in prison and such, we could probably raise about $ 188 million a year, and if that would be the case that would be great because we could have the best schools in the nation, and that’s what we’re really looking for.”

Currently, Colorado is estimated to rake in approximately $ 98 million in tax revenue for the first fiscal year of their program. Of which the first $ 40 million has already being earmarked for school construction and updating. Meanwhile Washington State is estimating that they’ll harvest nearly $ 190 million in the first four years of their legalization program.

Regardless of the potential positive aspects of any new revenue stream, Gallagher understands it will be an uphill battle to get her otherwise fiscally responsible (see conservative) lawmakers to green light the idea of marijuana legalization anytime soon in “The Palmetto State.”

Steeped in education and critical thinking, Sheila Gallagher once gave her life’s blood as both an educator and the president of the South Carolina Education Association (SCEA). For which she was promptly rewarded by the SCEA with a speedy retreat from her idea of legalizing pot in South Carolina to raise new school funds; “Gallagher’s our opinions are her own and not those of the SCEA, which does not endorse or plan.”

Undaunted by those stuck in the old dogma of reefer madness. Gallagher understands the virtue of legalizing a plant that is no more dangerous than the pills, booze, cigarettes and assorted household items that are far more prevalent in every South Carolina home today. Pointing out the obvious, Gallagher noted “it isn’t about getting high, it’s about investing $ 188 million every year until we have the best schools in the nation.”

WSPA.com

Marijuana.com

Emerald Ocean Investment Fund: Providing Seed Capital For Pot Related Business Ventures

Stick a fork in it… Marijuana prohibition is just about done! Investors around the country can smell the chronic smoke rising from the investment opportunities – sure to cultivate America’s next green rush. Whether for recreational or medicinal purposes, marijuana is slowly emerging from the shadows of persecution – no longer an illicit drug, but rather a benign way to relax and an incredibly valuable medicine.

As such, the owners of Marijuana.com and WeedMaps.com have been extremely busy creating a 420 friendly investment fund, with the sole focus of providing much-needed capital for weed-related business ideas.

The fund, Emerald Ocean Capital, plans to steer clear of growing operations and retailers, instead investing in business that support those industries, such as online payment processors, security firms and hydroponic equipment manufacturers. The fund will also function as a venture capital incubator, providing office space within an 8,000-square foot Denver facility to select start-up companies.

The fund began raising money in March, according to Justin Hartfield, one of its two general partners. He portrayed American investors as eager to capitalize on a swiftly growing emerging market with improving prospects, and according to the San Francisco Business Times, the fund aims to raise between $ 10 and $ 25 million by the end of this year.

“We’re finally at a point where the American public is supporting marijuana legalization and that’s encouraging people to invest,” said Hartfield, an industry veteran who co-counded WeedMaps.com, a California-based startup that identifies and rates medical marijuana dispensaries in various states. “The game has changed in the past six months.”

Much of the momentum comes thanks to the legalization of marijuana in Washington and Colorado. But another driver is the perception that the federal government is inclined to eventually accept the trend, rather than confront states that opt to legalize.

In May, a firm called the ArcView Group also announced plans to support promising marijuana-focused ventures

Emerald Ocean operates like a traditional investment fund, with wealthy people handing over their money to be managed in a bid to exploit the growing embrace of marijuana. But Emerald Ocean and ArcView share some things in common: Both seek to minimize their potential legal troubles by investing only in so-called ancillary businesses, while steering clear of companies that actually touch the cannabis.

This past April 20 — a holiday celebrated by marijuana users as a day to light up and enjoy the plant’s effects — Hartfield attended the High Times Cannabis Cup, an annual bake-off at which growers compete for the title of best crop. Held inside a smoke-filled convention hall in Denver, the event saw people less attuned to marijuana culture intermingling with a more predictable crowd sporting dreadlocks and tie-dye.

“I was surprised at the number of people who kept asking me how to get into the industry,” Hartfield said. “A 70-year old gentleman came up to me in a suit saying he was from New York and wanted to know about investing.”

The current furor presents a marked contrast to the climate marijuana-related firms faced in just the recent past, when many companies found it difficult to impossible to secure financing. Large investors and banks, scared off by federal prohibition, have been too afraid of potential legal liabilities to back those ventures, Hartfield said.

Now that the dynamic has changed, Emerald Ocean is banking on word-of-mouth alone to fill its coffers.

“The more money and the more people you have invested, the more they tell their friends,” Hartfield said.

Emerald Ocean is also keeping an eye on politics. A portion of the capital in the fund will be used to support a political action committee lobbying for the legalization of marijuana at the federal level.

“The business and the politics are essentially intertwined.” Hartfield said, “Right now the industry exists basically as a loophole in the law. We need federal marijuana legalization as the ultimate goal. Without that, none of this really takes off.”

Source:

Marijuana.com

HSBC swings to victory at Hong Kong’s hedge fund fight night

1 of 3. Steven ”The Wizard of Wanchai” Taw from South Ocean Management Ltd emerges as he takes part in the Hedge Fund Fight Nite white collar charity boxing event in Hong Kong October 25, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Bobby Yip

HONG KONG | Thu Oct 25, 2012 3:13pm EDT

HONG KONG (Reuters) – Adam Gazal trained for six months to stand in the ring for six minutes of live boxing. He remembers the noise, and not much else, and said he’d like to try it again, though he realizes that the time in the gym took time away from home.

“I think my wife will divorce me if I go through another six months of training,” Gazal said after the fight.

The managing partner of National Australia Bank was one of 14 contenders who on Thursday took part in Hong Kong’s sixth annual IronMonger Hedge Fund Fight Night, a fundraising event that is now a staple of the city’s financial community.

Gazal, who fought his pal Grant Livingston, an executive director at JPMorgan with a long reach and quick jab, won by unanimous decision.

A survey of the crowd found more bankers than hedgies in attendance, perhaps a sign of the industry’s struggles in the region. Asian-focused hedge funds as measured by the Eurekahedge index rose 3.8 percent through September this year, falling short of a 7 percent rise in the MSCI Asia index. At least 73 Asia hedge funds have shut down this year.

The city’s bankers and financiers aren’t faring much better, though the sector’s woes failed to impact attendance on Thursday night. At more than HK$ 2,000 ($ 260) a seat, the black-tie crowd filled every chair inside the makeshift boxing tent. Proceeds go to children’s charities Operation Breakthrough and Operation Smile, with last year’s event raising more than HK$ 500,000.

American Anthony Carango, an executive director at Nomura Holdings, had a focused plan going into his match – a plan that he said “went out the window” as soon as the bell rang.

Carango, who squared off against Craig Barnish, a managing director at BAH Partners Ltd, said it came back to him occasionally – “head, body, head, body” – enough to allow him a unanimous-decision victory.

HSBC fielded three fighters on the night. Richard Rouse, an account manager at the bank, held steady in his match against Andrew Wylde, head of sales and operations at Hatstand consultancy. Wylde fought hard, needing to stop twice to mend a bloody face, but Rouse held on to win.

Blair Crichton, an assistant vice president of HSBC, and Brad Moreland, a director of prime services at the bank, each won their matches, pulling off a clean sweep. Crichton defeated Stephen Taw, a director at South Ocean Management Ltd, while Moreland won against Frenchman Nicolas Boulay, a derivatives broker at Louis Capital.

“As the fight goes on, you get tired, you tend to lose form, which was obvious,” said Boulay, who noted his strong crowd support from friends and clients.

Danielle Midalia, a creative manager at Operation Smile, defeated Andrea Glynn, an associate at the Bank of Montreal, in the night’s only female match-up. Mark O’Reilly, a managing director at Astbury Marsden, lost to George Radford, a consultant at IP Global.

Taw, 53, was the eldest boxer and crowd favorite, known as the “Wizard of Wanchai”. With grey hair protruding from his red headgear, he went down in the first of three rounds, then held tough throughout.

“My strategy was simple: do not get hit in the face,” he said, a strategy that quickly fell apart. Standing near the ring in his boxing outfit after the fight and holding two glasses of beer, Taw reflected on his performance.

“I think I won the third round,” said Taw, his face now cleared of blood. “But I didn’t land my jabs.”

(Editing by Dale Hudson)

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Gov. Martinez OKs Bill Creating MMJ Fund

Neither Ripley nor countless New Mexico residents would believe it, but Republican Gov. Susana Martinez signed a marijuana bill on Monday. Martinez, who was a prosecutor for 25 years, spent half her lifetime fighting the war on drugs.

She took office as governor after the state already had a law permitting marijuana to be used for select medicinal purposes. Now Martinez has signed Senate Bill 240, creating a medical cannabis fund to cover the program’s costs.

Producers of marijuana for medical treatment pay the state fees of $ 10,000 to $ 30,000 a year, said Sen. Cisco McSorley, who sponsored the bill.

Rather than the money going into the state’s general spending account, it will be maintained by the Department of Health as a specific fund to pay for administration of the medical marijuana program.

“It means the few New Mexico taxpayers who objected to their money going toward the medical marijuana program no longer have to worry,” said McSorley, D-Albuquerque.

He said he worked on the bill with Martinez’s secretary of health, Dr. Catherine Torres, but had no contact with the governor regarding the bill.

Martinez’s press secretary did not respond to requests for comment on her decision to sign the bill into law.

McSorley said New Mexico’s medical marijuana law was carefully thought out and had become “a model for the nation.”

He said the state had a strict screening process, in which both a patient’s physician and an independent medical board have to endorse the use of marijuana to help in curtailing pain.

The state had 4,310 medical marijuana patients in October, the latest period for which the health department has statistics.

They have cancer, chronic pain, HIV, AIDS or post-traumatic stress disorder. The leading category for medical marijuana use was PTSD with 1,854 patients.

McSorley said state government had been careful to limit the illnesses for which marijuana could be used.

“We have designed conditions that are much tougher than elsewhere. The result is we have a lot fewer patients than other states,” he said.

His bill for the medical cannabis fund cleared the Senate 33-0, but had a tougher time in the House of Representatives, where 27 members opposed it.

They included 25 Republicans, one Democrat, Dona Irwin of Deming, and independent Andy Nuñez of Hatch.

Source: Las Cruces Sun-News (NM)
Author: Milan Simonich
Published: March 5, 2012
Copyright: 2012 Las Cruces Sun-New
Contact: letters@lcsun-news.com
Website: http://www.lcsun-news.com/

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