Recreational

Arizona: Marijuana Supporters Call On Opposition To Return $10K Alcohol Contribution

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The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA), the committee backing an initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona that is expected to appear on the November ballot, on Wednesday called on leaders of the committee opposing the measure to return a contribution from the alcohol industry.

According to a report published earlier this week by the Phoenix New Times, Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy (ARDP) received a donation of $10,000 last month from the Arizona Wine and Spirits Association, a trade group representing various alcohol wholesalers.

The leaders of ARDP, Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, and radio host Seth Leibsohn have repeatedly argued that marijuana needs to remain illegal because it is too dangerous to regulate for adult use. Yet, by every objective measure, marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol. See http://marijuana-vs-alcohol.org for details.

“Using alcohol money to fund their campaign to maintain marijuana prohibition is grossly hypocritical,” said CRMLA Chairman J.P. Holyoak. “They want to continue punishing adults for using marijuana, but they have no problem accepting five-figure donations from purveyors of a far more harmful substance.

U.S.: TV Pot Show 'Marijuana Straight Talk' Soars To Top Of Ratings

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A woman-owned media company has launched a national TV show focused on one of America’s hottest and most controversial topics: marijuana.

The show, Marijuana Straight Talk, soared to the top of the ratings with its “420 special” episode last month, making its debut at a time when support for legalizing marijuana in the U.S. has never been stronger. A recent survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 61 percent of Americans now support legalizing cannabis.

“Now, more than ever, this country is ready for Marijuana Straight Talk,” said host Becca Williams, a noted media entrepreneur and TV producer.

The growing interest among Americans is evident when it comes to Marijuana Straight Talk’s reception. Based on the show’s “420 special” episode, it became the most popular weekly program in 2016 to date on Free Speech TV network, which garners about 1.2 million viewers per month based on Rentrak ratings service.

Canada: Unlicensed Marijuana Dispensaries Thriving In Toronto

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More than 100 unlicensed marijuana dispensaries have sprung up in Toronto, most in the past six months, since the election of Justin Trudeau, who won on a legalization platform, among other progressive issues

Only a few dozen medicinal cannabis producers have a license from the Canadian federal government to sell marijuana; all other outlets are considered illegal, reports Jacob Templin at Quartz.

A few medical marijuana dispensaries have existed for years in Toronto, catering to a smallish clientele, requiring doctor's prescriptions, and operating out of undisclosed locations. The new breed of dispensaries, however, tend to have storefronts and are open to the public, according to Adam Verk, a project manager at The Big Toke, which consults with and collects data on cannabis-related businesses in Toronto.

"In the past six months it's gotten crazy, and a lot of them aren't following protocols," said Amy Brown, who has operated CannDo, a Toronto-based medical marijuana dispensary, since 2014.

It's unclear whether new federal laws will legalize the dispensaries. The Liberal government isn't unveiling its proposed legislation until Spring 2017.

Colorado: Denver Cops Combing Craiglist, Facebook For Illegal Marijuana Sales

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Denver Police are combing Craigslist and Facebook to find black market marijuana dealers who illegally promote their products online, law enforcement said on Thursday.

Recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado for adults 21 and older, but Denver Police Department spokesman Doug Schepman claimed pot dealers are circumventing state law by using online marketplaces like Craigslist and Facebook to stimulate sales, reports Andrew Blake at The Washington Times.

The Denver-area Craigslist page on Friday had more than 700 postings where marijuana is listed under the "for sale" category. Thousands of people are using the website to sell pot online, according to Kevin Torres at Fox 31 Denver.

"I think the black market in general is still very active and Craigslist is a perfect example of the active black market," said Lauren Harris, owner of Dynama Consultikng, a cannabis consulting firm that helps dispensaries navigate the rules of Colorado's legal marijuana industry.

D.C.: Congresswoman Lee Joins National Cannabis Industry Association Press Conference

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Congresswoman Barbara Lee on Thursday joined several of her colleagues and members of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) for a press conference on Capitol Hill demanding respect for state laws and fairness for the industry.

“Today, I’m pleased to join my colleagues and the National Cannabis Industry Association in making one simple request to Congress: 'Treat the industry just like any other business,'” Lee said. "It’s past time for the federal government to end its counterproductive overreach into state-legal cannabis markets.

"Last week, I was proud to join Harborside Health Center in celebrating the U.S. Attorney’s decision to end its unnecessary case against this health center," Lee said. "While it was victory for Harborside, there are still centers in my district and around the country that continue to face harassment.

"Additionally, outdated laws continue to prevent many state-legal businesses from thriving, including our arcane banking laws," Lee said. "These laws serve only to trap these businesses in the cash-only market, restrict their access to capital and prevent them from engaging in simple business-to-business transactions.

"This industry is just like any other, and Congress needs to ensure it has access to banking, just like any other industry," Congresswoman Lee said.

Washington: Study Says Licensed Grows Can Meet Recreational, Medical Marijuana Needs

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new study released on Thursday performed for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board by the University of Washington supposedly shows that the amount of marijuana allowed to be grown by state-licensed I-502 producers in the state "is enough to satisfy both the medical and recreational marijuana markets," while ignoring the challenges of price, pesticides, and access which I-502 stores present for patients.

The study, "Estimating Canopy Size for the Washington Medical Marijuana Market," seems tailor-made to be used as political ammunition in the fight led by many I-502 recreational cannabis merchants to finish the shutting-down of Washington's medical marijuana community, which is already slated for extinction, at least as we know it, on July 1. After that date, any medical marijuana dispensaries which don't have an I-502 license will be required to shut down under penalty of law.

Colorado: Cannabis Business Alliance Applauds 2016 Legislative Session

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As the 2016 legislative session comes to a close in Colrado, The Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA) on Thursday applauded legislators for what it called "the hard work and the goals achieved during the 2016 session."

“The 2016 legislative session has been eventful for the cannabis industry,” said Mark Slaugh, CBA executive director and iComply CEO. “Many of the bills that were up for discussion this session will have a major impact on our industry, and we are looking forward to seeing how some of these bills and laws change the landscape of the cannabis industry in Colorado for the better.”

“Consumer and public safety are CBA’s top priorities, which is why we are working to bring best practices to the industry to ensure consumers are educated about how and when to consume cannabis,” Slaugh noted. “CBA’s goal is to provide our members and the industry with insight to the bills being proposed, as well as sensible legislation for the industry. The industry has embraced many of the bills up for discussion this session and will work with the state to promote industry best-practices.”

The Retail Marijuana Sunset Bill (HB 1261)

"The Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA) applauds the Assembly for its prudent review of the Sunset Bill."

Purchasing Regulations

Oregon: Wednesday, May 11 Is Last Day Voters Can Mail Their Ballots

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Today, Wednesday, May 11 is the last day Oregon voters can mail their ballots and expect them to be received by Election Day. After today, voters will need to drop their ballots off at a drop box location.

Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner for Measure 91, the ballot initiative responsible for legalizing recreational marijuana in Oregon, is encouraging voters to take part in the democratic process, and he's made three specific endorsements.

"We have made great progress in Oregon and we can make even more by electing candidates that understand the need to implement sensible cannabis regulations," Johnson said on Wednesday. "We have made a couple of voting recommendations, but the most important thing is that you vote.

"Cannabis law reform, and candidates that support reasonable marijuana laws, do better when turnout is high, so let's continue to lead the nation, not just with our marijuana laws, but also with our voter participation," Johnson said.

U.S.: Members of Congress To Join Cannabis Business Leaders Thursday and Friday

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Members of Congress on Thursday will join cannabis industry leaders from across the country for a press conference to kick off National Cannabis Industry Association's sixth annual Lobby Days. More than 100 cannabis business professionals will travel to Washington, D.C., to take part in policy discussions and citizen lobby meetings to advocate for fair treatment of the legal cannabis industry.

On May 12, NCIA leaders, business owners, and members of Congress including Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Denny Heck (D-WA), and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), will hold an 11:30am press conference at the House Triangle to kick off two days of meetings across the Hill between cannabis industry leaders and congressional staffs.

Top priorities for these business owners are a solution to the banking crisis, which prevents many legitimate cannabis businesses from accessing basic financial services, and reform to Section 280E of the federal tax code, which forces cannabis business to pay double or triple the effective federal tax rates of any other industry.

NCIA members will also advocate for the descheduling of marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, which would give states the authority to make their own decisions about how to handle cannabis legality, much as they currently do with alcohol.

Colorado: Loopr Launches Mobile Cannabis Lounge and Mobile App

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Colorado’s 'first upscale cannabis-friendly transportation service' combines Uber-like app with luxury 44-seat buses running routes around a curated selection of Denver dispensaries, bars, restaurants, and nightlife destinations

Visiting Denver's many dispensaries, restaurants, bars, clubs, sporting venues and other destinations while enjoying cannabis becomes a premium, but accessible, legal experience with the introduction of Loopr transportation service and application.

The Loopr buses are 45’ Freightliner luxury coaches that include comfortable seating for 44, a glassware and dab bar, granite countertops on the four booths, more than a dozen video monitors for entertainment and route information, free WiFi, a lavatory and refrigerator, laser light show(!) and more.

The robust transportation app allows users to geo-target the Loopr bus location on its circuit around the city and receive accurate pickup and dropoff times. Whenever Loopr customers are ready to move around the city, or if they just want to spend time in the mobile lounge, they can purchase a day pass or subscription to always enjoy their favorite cannabis products with onboard service.

Maine: Legalization Initiative Would Force Merchants To Hide Marijuana Magazines

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Maine's Marijuana Legalization Act, which has qualified for November's ballot and is being sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), would require merchants to keep marijuana magazines behind the counter if their stores are open to customers younger than 21.

An almost identical provision which was part of a bill passed by the Colorado Legislature in 2013 was so blatantly unconstitutional that Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said the state wouldn't enforce it, reports Jacob Sullum at Reason.com.

Yet, just three years later, MPP is asking Maine voters to approve the same restriction as the price they must pay for the state's "legalization" initiative.

The Marijuana Legalization Act which will be on the Maine ballot in November says "a magazine whose primary focus is marijuana or marijuana businesses may be sold only in a retail marijuana store or behind the counter in an establishment where persons under 21 years of age are present."

U.S.: Cannabis Market Reaches New Heights

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A recent report by New Frontier and ArcView Market Research has revealed some very impressive numbers. Sales of legal cannabis products increased by 17 percent in 2015, reaching $5.4 billion, and sales are expected to increase by 25 percent more in 2016, reaching a total value of $6.7 billion.

This is quite an achievement for an industry in which the first legal dispensaries opened just two years ago. By 2020, total legal sales across the U.S. are expected to reach $22 billion.

According to ArcView projections, Washington state is expected to be the largest legal sales market by 2020, with estimated $2.3 billion of total sales. In 2015 alone, legal sales of marijuana products totaled more than $709 million in Washington, which is an increase of an amazing 242 percent over 2014.

It is a rare opportunity when a market that is potentially worth hundreds of billions of dollars is virtually untouched by large companies. While the number of states where the growth and sales of cannabis products remains limited, the majority of the population in the United States approves the end of federal marijuana prohibition nationwide.

For now, in states where cannabis is a legitimate and legal product, sales are through the roof.

Oregon: 17th Annual Global Cannabis March Kicks Off At High Noon In Portland

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On Saturday, May 7, 2016, nearly 300 cities worldwide, including Portland, Oregon, will participate in the 17th Annual Global Cannabis March. Portland participants will gather in Pioneer Courthouse Square for a rally that begins at high noon, 12 pm, with a scheduled cannabis freedom march beginning at 4 pm through downtown.

Musicians Garcia Birthday Band, The Hill Dogs, Mack & Dub and the Smokin' Section, Bad Habitat, Justin James Bridges and John Cornett & Friends have joined the lineup for the rally. There will also be several guest speakers and non-profit organization booths.

We march to stand in solidarity for cannabis consumer rights. While marijuana may be legal under state law, it is still illegal under federal law. We march to effect change on the federal level. We march for the right of employees to use marijuana in their off hours, just as employees can consume alcohol in their off hours. We march so renters can consume marijuana in their own homes without fear of eviction.

We march so cities and counties do not impose onerous regulations which offer little protection to the consumer or the non-consumer of marijuana. These choices only drive the cost of marijuana up and allow the unregulated market to thrive.

Vermont: Lawmakers Seen Drinking In Hallway Just Before Voting No On Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

When the Vermont House on Tuesday soundly rejected a Senate proposal to legalize marijuana and create a regulated retail market for it -- and even failed to decriminalize possession and cultivation of just two cannabis plants -- their unfortunate lack of political courage didn't shock many political observers.

What was a bit more upsetting, though, was that at least two of the politicians who voted "No" on legalization were seen (and photographed!) drinking alcohol in the hall shortly before the vote, according to multiple sources. Photos tweeted by reporter Neil Goswami depict Rep. Gary Viens (R-Newport) and Rep. Corey Parent (R-St. Albans City) enjoying alcholic beverages at the State House during a 15-minute recess from the marijuana debate.

"Drinking in the State House is cool, according to these people who voted against legal pot," Goswami tweeted.

Both Viens and Parent are widely grinning in the photos, apparently believing themselves to be quite clever in taking a drink in the hall before batting down a bill that would have treated marijuana similarly to alcohol.

Colorado: Cannabis Business Accelerator Launches In Denver

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Longtime entrepreneur Patrick O’Malley on Wednesday announced Good Life Colorado, a cannabis industry program that provides entrepreneurs space to develop products in a licensed MIP (Marijuana Infused Products) facility in Denver to develop a wide range of THC products.

“With licensing and space becoming prohibitively expensive along the Front Range, we decided to create a place for cannabis entrepreneurs who have fantastic ideas and solid budgets, but lack the resources for a MIP license and warehouse rent or purchase,” said O’Malley, adding that a basic MIP-oriented business today needs at least $750,000 to even begin experimenting with product development. “Good Life Colorado offers entrepreneurs a cost-effective way to turn their ideas into commercial triumphs.”

One company, Chooze Corp., has already taken part in Good Life Colorado, leveraging the facility to develop its mood-enhancing product LucidMood. Since launching, the pioneering LucidMood has become an industry leader in the field of cannabis mood-crafting, an area of exploration that experts predict will introduce cannabis to a far broader range of consumers.

Florida: Marijuana Business Conference Coming To East Coast May 9-11

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The publishers of Marijuana Business Daily will host their annual Spring Marijuana Business Conference & Expo in Orlando, Florida, May 9-11.

"This is going to be an epic year for the cannabis industry after a nearly two-year lull in state initiatives being passed," said George Jage, president of Marijuana Business Daily. "Starting with Pennsylvania becoming the 24th state to allow medical cannabis, there is also a surge of state ballot initiatives in place that will open more medical and recreational markets come November.

"Most notably, we are going to see a big change in the center of gravity of the industry from being West Coast focused to nationally focused with major markets in the Midwest, New England and Mid-Atlantic regions opening for business," Jage said.

The Marijuana Business Conference & Expo will host more than 200 exhibitors and 60 speakers. Attendance is expected to exceed 3,000 entrepreneurs, executives, and major private investors from all 50 states, Canada and Europe, according to organizers.

All seven key industry sectors will be fully represented, according to the sponsors: dispensaries and recreational retailers, wholesale growers, professional and financial services, infused product makers, private equity investors, ancillary products and tech, and testing labs.

Spain: Basque Parliament Urges Progress On Marijuana Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The Basque Parliament has asked the Spanish Government, the Parliament and the Justice Administration for "solid progress" on marijuana legalization and regulation, criticizing the "setback" that led to Supreme Court judgments against Basque cannabis clubs.

The House defended a "regulated solution" to allow the operation of cannabis clubs, passed as the Basque Addictions Act on April 7. The text adopted on Monday invites cannabis clubs and associations existing in the Basque Country to go ahead and "establish self-regulatory mechanisms, good practices" and work with the Administration, even though no specific regulations yet exist.

Acting Health Minister Alfonso Alonso last June said the central government is studying an appeal against the Law on Addictions with the possibility that legalizing and regulating the cannabis clubs exceeded the authority of the Basque Country.

It was pointed out that these cannabis clubs have already been operating for some time in Basque Country, and, in general, are pretty good at regulating themselves in an "orderly and responsible" fashion.

U.S.: New Study Shows Natural Marijuana Superior To Synthetic Cannabinoids

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new study called “Comparison of Outcome Expectancies for Synthetic Cannabinoids and Botanical Marijuana,” in The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, shows that negative effects are significantly lower for natural, botanical cannabis than for synthetic cannabinoids.

In the study, 186 adults who had previously used both the synthetic and natural forms of marijuana, as well as 181 who had previously used only natural (botanical) marijuana, were surveyed about their expected outcomes of using either type of cannabinoid. The results showed that the expected negative effects were significantly higher for synthetic marijuana than for natural marijuana across both categories of use history.

Despite the more commonly expected negative effects of synthetic cannabinoids, the most cited reasons for using these compounds were wider availability, avoiding a positive drug test for cannabis, curiosity, perceived legality, and cost. For instance, synthetic cannabinoids are popular among members of the armed services, and in other occupations where a positive test for marijuana might get you fired, but synthetic cannabinoids would remain undetected.

California: Adult Use of Marijuana Act Endorsed by Congressman Dana Rohrabacher

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Longtime GOP congressman U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) on Tuesday announced his support for the statewide ballot measure known as the Control, Regulate and Tax Adult Use of Marijuana Act (AUMA).

He is the second California Congressman to endorse the measure in as many weeks. U.S. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) announced his support last Monday.

"Rohrabacher is a 13-term Congressman who is a powerful voice for libertarian values," the AUMA campaign announced in a prepared statement. He is the co-author of the bipartisan Rohrabacher-Farr amendment which has been passed as part of the Federal Budget and prevents the federal government from prosecuting medical marijuana patients or distributors who are in compliance with the laws of their state.

“As a Republican who believes in individual freedom, limited government and states' rights, I believe that it's time for California to lead the nation and create a safe, legal system for the responsible adult use of marijuana,” said Rohrabacher.

“I endorse the Adult Use of Marijuana Act for the November 2016 ballot,” the Congressman continued. “It is a necessary reform which will end the failed system of marijuana prohibition in our state, provide California law enforcement the resources it needs to redouble its focus on serious crimes while providing a policy blueprint for other states to follow.”

Pennsylvania: Governor Says Medical Marijuana Doesn't Mean Legalization

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Medical marijuana is now legal in Pennsylvania, but Governor Tom Wolf has rushed to say that doesn't mean full legalization, or even a pathway there.

"This is not a gateway to anything other than ... reinforcing what we've always done and that is allow doctors, encourage doctors, to do what they can do to make the lives of their patients more comfortable," Gov. Wolf told KDKA Morning News.

Implementing the newly legal medicinal cannabis programs is expected to take from 18 to 24 months, but Gov. Wolf said patients should get relief long before that.

"People should be able to start using these medicines quickly," Gov. Wolf said. "If someone were to go to another state and buy it legally and bring it back for medicinal purposes, I kind of doubt that most prosecutors would pursue a case."

States that have effective medical marijuana laws have a 24.8 percent lower opioid overdose death rate, according to a 2014 study done by researchers at the Philadelphia VA. While Gateway Medical Director Neil Capretto called that study "tentative," he said he hopes it's true.

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