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Old 05-19-2017, 06:06 AM   #1
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Default MJ News for for 05/18/17

url: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics...s-desk-w483120





Marijuana Adult-Use Legislation Reaches Vermont Governor's Desk




Today, S. 22, a bill to legalize cannabis in Vermont for adults over 21, landed on Republican Governor Phil Scott's desk – potentially making the state the first in the country to legalize marijuana through the legislative process, and not a ballot initiative. The bill has already been approved by both chambers of the state legislature; now the governor has five days to decide whether to sign or to veto it. But even if he does neither, on Wednesday, May 24th, it would automatically become law.

If passed, the measure would legalize possession of up to an ounce of weed, two mature plants and four immature plants, beginning July 2018. It would also create a study commission, effective immediately, to look at cannabis tax-and-regulate models in other states and make recommendations for the adult use market in Vermont. (It's unclear at this time whether Vermont would adopt a regulated market, or simply allow citizens to grow and share cannabis with their friends.)

Vermont's legalization bill is significant because it's the first of its kind to originate and pass within a state legislature, without citizen participation. All other adult use legalization measures passed via popular vote. "It's a slower and difficult process," says Matt Simon, New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. "But the reality is that prohibition has failed in Vermont, and the majority of Vermonters are ready to move on with a new approach."

According to a March survey of 755 registered voters by Public Policy Polling, 57 percent of Vermont voters support legalization, while only 39 percent are opposed. Meanwhile, the RAND corporation reports that nearly 80,000 Vermonters – roughly 13 percent of the population – use cannabis regularly.

"The fact that Massachusetts and Maine are both moving forward with legalization and expected to have retail stores open next year is part of what's accelerated the conversation in Vermont," says Simon. People can already hop across the border and get cannabis from friends who grow it; soon they'll be able to buy it in dispensaries. "Does it make sense to continue punishing those people? Probably not," he says, adding that legalization brings economic development, jobs and tax revenue. "One of the benefits that comes with regulating and taxing marijuana is not having money leave the state, instead of going into cash registers in Maine."

Opponents to the bill, however, are particularly troubled by the introduction of an adult use cannabis industry to Vermont. "This legislation isn't about criminal justice reform," says Kevin Sabet, president and CEO of Smart Approaches to Marijuana and a vocal anti-legalization advocate, noting that Vermont's 2013 decriminalization bill lifted penalties for up to an ounce of cannabis. He worries that S. 22 could open Vermont to a "new addictive industry" that prioritizes profits over people.

Supporters of the bill, however, argue that it favors public health. "We would have a far better handle on the use of this product if it were in a legal and regulated system," says Lieutenant Governor David Zuckerman, who's been working on cannabis law reform for 20 years. While he and the governor have a "solid mutual respect," Zuckerman says Scott has chosen not to include him in the S. 22 decision-making process. Still, the lieutenant governor has made his support for the bill clear.

"We'd have a cleaner product," Zuckerman says. "We'd have money for all forms of impaired driving interdiction, resources for opiate or any form of drug addiction treatment, and money for higher education and economic development, which is the best method of drug abuse prevention."

Whether Governor Scott signs the bill, or just lets it pass, it will signal to legislators in other states they can also legalize weed without a ballot initiative, says Simon. However, while the governor has said he's not philosophically opposed to legalization, he also wants to be sure the bill answers certain questions about public health and safety, his spokesperson Rebecca Kelley says.

"I'll tell you with 80 percent confidence he won't sign the bill but let it become law," says Eli Harrington, cannabis advocate and founder of Heady Vermont. "Historically, he's much more practical than he is an ideologue. Vetoing the bill would draw negative political attention, as opposed to not signing it and not supporting it, but letting it happen."

Despite Attorney General Jeff Sessions' threats to go after the cannabis industry in legal states, most people nonetheless see regulated cannabis as an eventuality, Harrington adds. "But policy makers and advocates who want to have a good cannabis paradigm in their state need to be proactive," he says. "The tipping point has happened, cannabis is building schools, not killing people."
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Old 05-19-2017, 06:10 AM   #2
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Default MJ News for 05/18/17

url: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/loca...151193522.html





Miami attorney compares legalizing medical marijuana to legalizing pedophilia




In the wake of a constitutional amendment creating a broader medical marijuana market in Florida, cities around the state are preparing for the expansion of cannabis retail outlets.

Miami not so much.

Even though there’s already a so-called pot shop just outside its borders, South Florida’s largest city doesn’t appear to be in much of a rush to craft legislation regulating marijuana dispensaries. In fact, the mere thought of doing so seems taboo in City Hall.

Adam Gersten learned as much late Wednesday night when, during a meeting of Miami’s Planning Zoning and Appeals Board, he tried to prompt a discussion about zoning regulations for medical marijuana retail outlets.

“I’m happy to make it very easy. It’s not allowed,” Deputy City Attorney Barnaby Min responded.

When pressed further by Gersten, an attorney and board member who’d asked city staffers to research zoning rules in states with medical marijuana programs, Min offered what he prefaced as a “very poor example” to illustrate the legal issue with allowing pot shops.

“If the city of Miami for some infinite, God-forbidden reason thought having sex with a child was a great way to recover from some issue and so we wrote that into our city code, just because the city says that’s legal doesn’t mean it’s legal,” he said.

Gersten, the owner of Gramps bar in Wynwood, was confused about the city’s lack of interest in preparing for what he sees as the inevitable.

“I just find it somewhat crazy that we can’t have a discussion about something that isn’t an ‘if’ but a ‘when,’ ” he said.

The position that medical marijuana dispensaries are prohibited due to the conflict in federal law is not unique. Coral Gables, for instance, holds the same opinion. Meanwhile, the state has yet to set the parameters for its constitutionally mandated medical marijuana market after legislation fell apart in Tallahassee this month.

But the Coral Gables Commission has already passed zoning regulations for medical marijuana shops in order to prepare for the scenario when their city attorney opines that there is no longer a conflict in the law. Other municipalities have called moratoriums in order to study regulations. And if the Legislature doesn’t hold a special session to pass a medical marijuana bill, Amendment 2 still requires that the Department of Health have rules in place for patients and distributors by July.

Miami Commissioner Ken Russell said Thursday that his staff has already had internal discussions about crafting regulations to regulate dispensaries, and that he’s “happy to sponsor legislation” after compiling more information.
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Old 05-19-2017, 06:14 AM   #3
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Default MJ News for 05/18/17

url: http://www.denverpost.com/2017/05/18...room-patients/





(Colorado, USA) Marijuana sending more teenagers to the emergency room, Children’s Hospital doctor finds





The number of teenagers and young adults going to the emergency room at Children’s Hospital Colorado for what appears to be marijuana-related reasons increased significantly after legalization, a new study by a Children’s doctor found.

Dr. Sam Wang said his study contrasts with surveys that suggest youth marijuana use in Colorado has not increased since legalization. But he said the study also has its limitations, meaning it adds important data to the debate over legalization but is not the final word on it.

“Everything has to be taken with a grain of salt,” he said. “I don’t think one database is perfect. But this is just another way to look at the data that shows more teenagers are coming to the ER.”

Wang gathered data on marijuana-related emergency-room visits to Children’s Hospital and its satellite clinics for teenagers and young adults no older than 20 by looking at two measures.

The first is a hospital billing code used on a patient’s chart when marijuana is involved in a patient’s medical problem. Wang said marijuana might not be the primary reason the patient went to the hospital, but marijuana usually has to be sufficiently connected to the patient’s symptoms to warrant the code being written down. He said it is unlikely the code would be put on a patient’s record for marijuana use unrelated to the symptoms.

The second measure is when a patient has a urine drug screen that comes back positive for marijuana. Such drug screens occur when a patient ingested an unknown substance or before a patient undergoes a psychiatric evaluation.

Collecting those numbers, Wang said he found that 106 teens and young adults visited Children’s emergency room for marijuana-related reasons in 2005 and that number jumped to 631 in 2014. The rate of those visits increased as well — although by 2015 marijuana still accounted for only four out of every 1,000 visits.

Perhaps most worrisome, Wang said he found that the number of kids and young adults in the emergency room for marijuana-related reasons and who subsequently needed a psychiatric evaluation also increased rapidly — from 65 in 2005 to 442 in 2014. Wang said patients who receive psychiatric evaluations may be severely intoxicated or may have tried to commit suicide or talked about committing suicide.

Colorado’s medical marijuana dispensaries began opening in large numbers in 2010, and Colorado voters legalized the sale and possession of limited amounts of marijuana for any purpose in 2012, with recreational stores opening Jan. 1, 2014.

“Looking at the trend, it is definitely significant,” Wang said.

Wang’s study results were first presented this month at an academic conference in San Francisco. He said he hopes to publish the findings in a journal later this year.

The findings add another layer to understanding how marijuana legalization has affected kids. So far, much of the survey data of Colorado teens and young adults has suggested little impact. Both state and federal surveys have found that Colorado teen marijuana use rates — while among the highest in the country — have remained flat since legalization.

“Our worst nightmares haven’t materialized,” Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper said earlier this year of legalization.

In a previous study, though, Wang found that the number of older youths going to the emergency room for accidental marijuana exposure increased following legalization. He said his new study shows there is still more to learn about why a subset of kids is ending up in the hospital.

“We’re finding things contrary to other national survey data,” he said. “And so we feel like, to really better understand the impact in this particular population, I think we need to use multiple data sources.”
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Old 05-19-2017, 06:22 AM   #4
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Default MJ News for 05/18/17

url: http://www.mlive.com/news/index.ssf/..._proposal.html





(Michigan, USA) Marijuana legalization supporters ready to collect signatures after state approves ballot language




A group pushing to legalize recreational marijuana in Michigan scored a victory Thursday when the State Board of Canvassers approved the wording of a ballot proposal the group wants to place before voters in 2018.

The group, known as the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, can now begin collecting the 252,523 signatures from registered Michigan voters needed to get the measure on the ballot. The signatures must be collected by May 30 of next year to put the proposal on the November 2018 ballot.

"We've got petitions printed. We're ready to go," said Josh Hovey, a spokesman for the group.

The group's proposal would legalize and regulate marijuana for recreational use. People 21 and older could use the substance, but could not consume it in a public place or drive under the influence. Retail sales of marijuana would be subject to a 10 percent excise tax and a 6 percent sales tax, dollars that would go to roads, public schools and local governments.

The proposal faced opposition Thursday from the group Keep Pot out of Neighborhoods and Schools. Gary Gordon, an attorney representing the group, urged board members to reject the ballot language, arguing it was "unclear" and "sloppily drafted."

Gordon said the title of the petition doesn't accurately reflect the full scope of the laws and policies the ballot measure, if approved, would enact. For instance, the title indicates that marijuana will be regulated and taxed like alcohol. But that's contrary to a provision in the proposal allowing people - who aren't required to be licensed - to grow "up to 12 plants" that are not subject to taxation, he said.

Gordon also indicated the title doesn't reflect that the petition "ends up limiting authority of municipalities to regulate marijuana facilities."

The board approved the ballot language unanimously, 4-0. That approval, board members said, extended only to the proposal's language, not it's substance.

Hovey dismissed Gordon's claims as "laughable."

"We are clearly the most tightly controlled marijuana legalization initiative that has ever come to the state of Michigan," he said. "We create a licensed regulation structure similar to alcohol. We tax marijuana similar to alcohol. To argue that we are misleading in any way, I find to be laughable."

In response to Gordon's claims on cultivation of marijuana by individuals, Hovey said: "People are already allowed under the medical (marijuana) law to grow 12 plants. We will allow 12 plants. We followed the state medical marijuana law very closely and we think that was the proper way to do it.

An effort to get a marijuana legalization proposal on the November 2016 ballot fell short because of invalid signatures.

Eight states - as well as Washington D.C. - have legalized marijuana, according to the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The Michigan chapter of the group supports the legalization proposal.

Hovey said his group has signed a contract with a professional signature collecting firm, Brighton-based National Petition Management, and has volunteers that are eager to lend a hand.

"We will be on the streets immediately," he said.

Thursday's meeting drew the attention of Mike Tobias, a 48-year-old Perry resident.

He was at the state Capitol for an addiction recovery event, but decided to speak with reporters about the marijuana legalization effort because he's concerned such a move would make the substance more "available to children."

"I worry about the advertising that might come along with it," said Tobias, a substance abuse prevention specialist. "I'm concerned as a parent and as a professional who works in the field."

If the pro-legalization group gathers the necessary signatures, the proposal will go to the Legislature, which must decide within 40 days whether to adopt or reject the measure.

If the legislature adopts it, it becomes law. If the legislature does not act, it goes to a vote of the people in 2018. The legislature can also choose to reject the proposal and come up with a proposal of its own on the same subject, in which case the two proposals would both appear on the ballot and whichever receives the greatest number of votes prevails.

In addition to legalizing marijuana, the proposal would legalize the cultivation of industrial hemp and license businesses that test, process, cultivate and sell marijuana. Consumers would be protected through "proper testing and safety regulations for retail marijuana," according to the coalition.

Chris DeWitt, a spokesman for Keep Pot out of Neighborhoods and Schools, said his group is still determining how it will work to oppose the legalization effort.

"At this point, a number of issues are being looked at," he said. "Exactly what will happen we'll see. But it certainly could be very robust."
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Old 05-19-2017, 06:32 AM   #5
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Default MJ News for 05/18/17

url: http://www.cnbc.com/2017/05/18/how-t...-industry.html





How the Trump administration is affecting the multibillion-dollar marijuana industry





The pot industry is one of the fastest growing in the country — projected sales this year are in the billions. But with a new administration at the helm in Washington, D.C., one that is potentially less friendly to legalization, marijuana entrepreneurs and investors alike are dealing with uncertain times.

Startups, analysts and investors convened this week at Marijuana Business Daily's Conference and Expo right outside the nation's capital in Oxon Hill, Maryland. The topic on everyone's minds: what the marijuana industry looks like under a Trump presidency, as Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Press Secretary Sean Spicer have signaled the potential for stricter enforcement at the federal level, where marijuana is technically illegal. The Department of Justice did not immediately respond to request for comment.

"I am concerned about what I am hearing, but we've been through several administrations at this point, and this is a matter of states' rights," says Christie Lunsford, COO of Pro MAX Grow, which sells LED horticultural lighting for licensed marijuana growers and is based in Tappan, N.Y.

"I think the impact we will see coming out of Washington, D.C., is fewer investors coming into the space ... fewer people launching businesses direct to the plant — cultivation, dispensing and manufacturing. That's where you're going to see people not wanting to enter the cannabis space," she says.

To date, the growth within the industry is undeniable, with marijuana legalized for recreational use in eight states and Washington, D.C., and for medicinal use in 30 states and Washington, D.C., per Marijuana Business Daily.

Projections vary among industry analysts, but the numbers are substantial. Marijuana Business Daily predicts retail sales will hit $6.1 billion for 2017 and the industry could have a maximum economic impact of some $68.4 billion by 2021; GreenWave Advisors predicts $7.7 billion for 2017 and $30 billion by 2021 if recreational and medicinal cannabis is legalized nationwide.

Capital has also flooded into the space — nearly $1 billion from 2012 through 2016, according to GreenWave Advisors, citing data from Pitchbook. What's more, Marijuana Business Daily finds that investors report plans to increase the size of their investments this year. The average investor or firm involved in the industry has put around $450,000 in cannabis companies to date, with each investment coming in around $100,000. But this year, they plan to invest around $500,000 on average in marijuana businesses.

"The Trump Administration has not yet changed our strategy, because there's been a lot of rhetoric but not a lot of action," says Patrick Rea, CEO and co-founder of Boulder, Colorado-based Canopy Accelerator, an investment fund for early stage cannabis companies. It has invested over $6.5 million since early 2015 in more than 64 companies.

"A lot of investors are becoming more aware that they have an impact on what the administration might decide or not decide to do based on how they present themselves as a business-friendly environment, creating jobs and having positive effects on society," Rea says.

Investors such as Emily Paxhia are also closely watching developments out of Washington as they strike new deals. Paxhia is managing director at San Francisco-based Poseidon Asset Management, which has a fund dedicated entirely to investing in the cannabis space. Since January 2014, the fund has invested nearly $20 million into 30 cannabis companies.

"We take everything that is happening from the top down in the regulatory environment very seriously," says Paxhia. "We are not sure what the administration is going to do. ... It makes us really think carefully about the types of investments we are placing and whether or not it stays in the United States or moves abroad."

But for some cannabis entrepreneurs, Washington isn't on the radar as a potential problem. Ryan Wileman, founder of San Diego-based Abscent, which sells odor-absorbing bags marketed toward the cannabis industry, isn't worried.

"Before the new administration I was selling a lot of bags, and now that they're in, I am still selling a lot of bags," Wileman says. "I think that no matter what, people have a need to keep that smell discreet."
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Old 05-19-2017, 06:42 AM   #6
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Default MJ News for 05/18/17

url: http://thehill.com/regulation/333922...n-on-marijuana





Lawmakers renew push to end federal ban on marijuana





A small, bipartisan group of lawmakers is renewing a push at the federal level to legalize marijuana, calling it a criminal justice issue.

The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, sponsored by Rep. Thomas Garrett (R-Va.), would lift the nation’s pot restrictions and allow states to decide how to regulate medical and recreational marijuana.

Currently, states like Colorado that legalize marijuana do so in violation of federal law. This has created a confusing patchwork of pot laws around the country.

The bill, which has 11 co-sponsors, was introduced in February, and has gathered little momentum on Capitol Hill. Garrett hopes to build consensus despite indications that President Trump's administration is moving toward stronger enforcement of federal marijuana laws.

Garrett believes there are “redeeming medical uses for cannabis,” but he didn’t always feel that way.

“The first time I heard the term ‘medicinal marijuana’ 25 or 30 years ago, I probably chuckled,” he told reporters Wednesday.

Then, he began prosecuting marijuana users in Virginia.

“My background on this issue is shaped by my own experiences as a criminal prosecutor, where in fact, I did enforce the laws of the Commonwealth of Virginia as they relate to marijuana, and some would say, did so quite vigorously,” Garrett said.

Eventually, Garrett grew tired of “creating criminals out of people who otherwise follow the law.” So he flipped to the other side of the issue and began fighting to legalize the drug.

“If there’s anything I cannot tolerate as a citizen and as a prosecutor, it is the unequal application of justice,” he said.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) expressed similar concerns with the current federal ban on marijuana.

“Every 42 seconds someone is arrested for the use or possession of marijuana, turning every-day Americans into criminals, tearing families apart,” Gabbard told reporters.

“The question before us is not whether you think marijuana use is good or bad, or how you feel about this issue, but whether we should be turning people into criminals,” she said.

Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which advocates against legalizing pot, criticized this “Cheech and Chong ideology.”

“The marijuana industry is the next Big Tobacco of our time, and history will not look kindly upon those who enabled lobbyists and special interest groups to gain a foothold in putting profit ahead of public health and safety,” Sabet said.
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Old 05-19-2017, 06:48 AM   #7
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Default MJ News for 05/18/17

url: http://www.bizjournals.com/portland/...envisions.html





(Oregon, USA) Portland backs cannabis lounge bill, envisions 'craft' tourism boost





The city of Portland has joined with cannabis businesses in lobbying for a bill that would allow consumption of cannabis at licensed lounges akin to tobacco smoking patios.

Part of the city’s argument for Senate Bill 307: It could help boost craft cannabis tourism.

“The same way as Oregon and our city celebrate our craft beer and wine industry, Portland welcomes and wants to provide opportunities for our emerging craft cannabis industry,” Mayor Ted Wheeler and Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, who oversees the Office of Neighborhood Involvement, the city’s cannabis regulatory body, said in testimony submitted to the Joint Committee on Marijuana Regulation this week.

“SB 307 would provide the regulatory framework for tourists to enjoy the products from Oregon’s growing craft cannabis industry legally and safely, outside the home and outside of public view,” the Portland leaders went on.

As originally introduced, SB 307 allowed for consumption at temporary events and at indoor lounges. But after the bill ran into opposition, a workgroup produced an amended version, discussed at a public hearing on Tuesday, that drops the events provision and shifts to the smoking patio concept, with at least one open wall.

Licenses would only be allowed in cities or counties that pass ordinances allowing for them.

The Portland officials, along with other supporters, also said the bill is needed for citizens who, for whatever reason, can’t smoke in their residence.

“Absent a legal, regulated, and safe place outside of the home to consume cannabis … Oregonians may find themselves consuming cannabis in public view on sidewalks, on streets, in vehicles, and in parks,” they wrote.

Various health workers and officials testified against the bill, arguing that it could expose workers to dangerous second-hand smoke and send the wrong message to children.

“Our kids are watching,” Jennifer Vines, deputy health director for Multnomah County, testified. “Our concern is that the normalization of smoking when it is allowed in public erodes the decades of work that we’ve done in public health to roll back that social norms around tobacco and smoking products.”
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Old 05-19-2017, 07:00 AM   #8
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Default MJ News for 05/18/17

url: https://www.wuft.org/news/2017/05/18...n-gainesville/





(Florida, USA) First Medical Cannabis Dispensary To Open In Gainesville




The founders of Knox Medical don’t want you to think of their new facilities as pot shops.

Standing behind the counter in a white-walled room accented with brick and lightly stained wood, Bruce Knox and Jose Hidalgo, co-founders of the company, are hoping it reminds you more of a medical or pharmaceutical space.

“What we’re doing is changing people’s perceptions as to what cannabis in Florida is all about, and we want it to feel exactly like this,” Knox said. “And as we created this concept, it was meant to feel more like an Apple store than a cannabis store.”

According to the Florida Department of Health website, Knox is the only dispensing facility in Gainesville.

But Gainesville communications officer Chip Skinner said Knox is one of four dispensaries that have been granted zoning compliance. The zoning compliance is to dispense the non-euphoric Charlotte’s Web for medical purposes only.

Of Knox’s six dispensaries being constructed, Gainesville will be the first to open Friday at 11 a.m. But since last year, Knox said they’ve been delivering to patients around the state from Knox Nursery, which operates out of Winter Garden.

On Wednesday, media was invited for a press tour of the small space. In what used to be a burger joint, there are now glass walls and iPads. Between packages of vaporizers and liquid drops on shelves throughout the room were hats and water bottles marked with the company’s soft green flowered logo.

But what patients won’t find in the store is marijuana sold in “smokable” form.

“I think smoking a medicine is almost counterintuitive,” Hidalgo said. “It’s like an oxymoron.”

In fact, Knox said the company only refers to their product as medical cannabis.

“From our vocabulary, we have banned the terms marijuana, pot, weed — all of the slang terms,” he says.

But why Gainesville?

“Because I’m a Gator,” Knox jokes.

On a serious note, he says he thinks it’s going to be a good market for the company. “It kind of fit into the demographic that we’re looking for. And Orlando is just around the corner.”

“Just around the corner,” means Orlando can expect a new dispensary in the next couple of weeks. It will be followed by sites in Tallahassee, Jacksonville, Lake Worth and St. Petersburg, each with a similar design.

In all locations, Hidalgo says he’s hoping to create a memorable experience for the patients coming to the dispensary.

As members of the media leave, he excitedly raises his voice, telling us to tell our friends “this is the most beautiful retail shop you’ve ever seen in your life.”
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BHC#711
"When injustice becomes law, then resistance becomes duty."
Thomas Jefferson

“I am not the lifestyle police.”- (my new hero) Pitkin County, CO Sheriff Joe DiSalvo
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