MJ News for 05/23/2014


Jul 25, 2008
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Where the War on Pot Will Go to Die

In some states, there's an untenable mismatch between the crime and the time, but does anyone think that pot—medical or recreational—will still be illegal in 10 years?

Now that a majority of Americans—54% and climbing, according to Pew Research—believe that marijuana should be treated like beer, wine and liquor, it’s time to ask: where does the war on pot go to die?

What episode will trigger that final skirmish that kicks over the hollowed-out edifice of marijuana prohibition like the Berlin Wall? What will be the final outrage against common sense and common decency that triggers an Arab Spring for weed in these U.S.? Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia already have medical marijuana (with more to come), and full legalization has gained 13 percentage points in just the past five years.

Ironically, whatever ends the war on pot won’t happen in Colorado or Washington, which have already legalized recreational pot and have received vague promises from Attorney General Eric Holder that the feds won’t bust people and businesses who comply with state laws. Colorado is further along in the retail process than Washington (where pot shops won’t open until mid-July), and so far the only problem of note is that the state is raking in 40% more tax revenue than originally projected.

Look instead to places such as Round Rock, Texas, where 19-year-old Jacob Lavoro faces a sentence between five and 99 years for allegedly selling a 1.5-pound slab of hash brownies. Under state law, selling up to five pounds of plain old pot is punishable by no more than two years in the clink and a $10,000 fine. But hash, a concentrated form of pot, is considered a controlled substance and even the tiny amount in Lavoro’s brownies qualifies him for what amounts to a potential life sentence. Through a convoluted rationale, you see, the law can count all the brownie ingredients—the eggs, butter, flour, cocoa—as hash.

Oh well, everything’s bigger in Texas, including the unconscionable mismatch between the crime and the time. If he was only a couple of states away, Lavoro wouldn’t be facing jail, he’d be a successful entrepreneur. That sort of mind-blowing disjuncture is exactly the sort of thing that takes the fight out of the war on pot.

Or look to recent comments made by FBI director James Comey, who admitted that he can’t hire the 2,000 cyber-crime fighters the bureau needs to protect America because of workplace drug tests. “I have to hire a great work force to compete with those cyber criminals and some of those kids want to smoke weed on the way to the interview,” Comey said. He was upbraided by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) for providing yet “one more example of leadership in America dismissing the seriousness of marijuana use.” Whatever you can say about Comey, he’s in good company acknowledging the ubiquity of pot smoking in today’s America. According to the latest government data, 43% of Americans—including the three most recent presidents—have tried pot at least once. And when asked whether alcohol or marijuana is more harmful to society, fully 63% say booze and just 23% say pot. How much longer can the Jeff Sessions of the world hold back the tide of public opinion?

And, finally, look to California, which passed the nation’s first medical marijuana ballot initiative way back in 1996 and saw 46.5% vote in favor of recreational pot in a 2010 proposition. In 2011, federal agents raided the operations of business of dispensary owner and medical grower Aaron Sandusky. This came after repeated promises by the Obama administration that it wouldn’t go after medical pot providers who were operating within state law. And even though officials from the city of Upland, which had tipped off the feds, later admitted in court that Sandusky was operating properly within state law.

Sandusky refused on principle to cop a plea because he thought he was in the right. Tried in federal court, he was unable to offer a defense based on California state law, Sandusky ended up pulling a 10-year sentece. In March of this year, he lost his final appeal. If he’s lucky and stays on good behavior, he’ll be out in 2021. Does anyone think that pot—medical or recreational—will still be illegal by then?

As it happens, Sandusky is doing time in Texas’ Big Spring Federal Correctional Institute, which is only a four-hour drive from Jacob Lavoro’s hometown of Round Rock. As Lavoro ponders whatever deal prosecutors might offer him, he’d be smart to visit Sandusky and ask what life behind bars is like. Because while the war on pot is surely in its final stage, there will still be plenty of casualties before peace is declared.


Jul 25, 2008
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Medical Marijuana OK’d in More States in 2014

May 22, 2014 -- More than half the states in the country now have laws that in some way permit medical marijuana -- even in the most conservative states.

This week, Minnesota became the 22nd state, along with Washington, D.C., to allow broad use of medical marijuana. Nine other states passed laws that allow medical marijuana, but only for children with seizure disorders.

Political pressure from parents with children suffering from severe forms of epilepsy helped drive these restricted laws. They give children access to a form of marijuana low in THC, the ingredient in marijuana that affects mood, but high in cannabidiol (CBDs), a non-mood-altering ingredient.

“We are definitely reaching the beginning of a new era in marijuana policy,” says John Hudak of the Brookings Institution, a think tank based in Washington, D.C. “There are interest groups now really starting to come together, with better funding, better understanding of the political landscape, and [the ability] to move forward on getting marijuana policy enacted not just in liberal states, but in conservative states, too.”

Since 1972, marijuana has been classified under federal law as an illegal drug with no medical value. But as popular opinion has shifted on marijuana legalization, more and more states are passing medical marijuana laws. Two states, Colorado and Washington, have legalized marijuana for recreational use as well.

Roundup of State Action in 2014

States that only allow medical marijuana for children with seizure disorders: Alabama, Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Utah, Wisconsin.

States that recently passed broader medical marijuana laws: Maryland and Minnesota. Although Maryland had allowed research on medical marijuana, the new law gives people more access to it.

It may become legal in more states by year’s end. Florida voters will have a chance to decide on a November ballot measure that would legalize medical marijuana. Comprehensive laws are still pending in four other states: Missouri, New York, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.

"Congress won’t be able to continue to ignore what is going on at the state level,” says Bill Piper. He's the director of national affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit that favors making marijuana legal for adults. Eventually, Congress will have to change federal law to accommodate the states, he says.


Jul 25, 2008
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Recreational Marijuana - Just Because It’s Legal, That Doesn’t Mean It Can't Get You Fired

Judging from the talk filtering out of the highest offices of American law enforcement, one might conclude that smoking marijuana is no longer much of a threat to keeping one's job. This week, due to the widespread use of marijuana among hackers, the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation said his agency may need to revisit its strict prohibition against hiring pot smokers if it wants to strengthen its cybersecurity capabilities.

Yet even as the FBI laments its limitations on hiring those who smoke marijuana, a host of corporate policies aimed at maintaining drug-free workplaces, a patchwork of state laws and remaining federal prohibitions on marijuana make smoking pot perilous when it comes to employment, labor experts say.

“There’s this misconception where people think, ‘It’s legal in my state, so I can’t get fired.’ None of that is true,” Kabrina Chang, an assistant professor of business law and ethics at Boston University, told International Business Times. While the law in some states allows anyone over the age of 18 to smoke marijuana, it does not provide any workplace protections, and state laws do not override corporate policies that prohibit drug use.

In Colorado, recreational marijuana use was legalized on Jan. 1, and medical use has been legal there since 2001. However, still unresolved is the question of what companies will do if their employees choose to partake in the now-legal pastime outside of the office.

“Companies are expressing a lot of interest in what to do with their policies,” Nathan Schacht, an attorney at Baker & Hostetler LLP’s Denver office, told IBTimes. The Colorado law explicitly states that employers have the flexibility to maintain a drug-free workplace, and many companies want to strike a fair balance with their employees.

“If someone smoked pot two weeks ago and it shows up in their system, employers want to be consistent with their policies, so most of the time they have to terminate them,” Schacht explained. “But there’s nothing out there yet that is helping them set certain standards in order to make decisions.”

In Colorado and Washington, where both recreational and medical use of marijuana is legal, federal law complicates the situation. Marijuana is considered a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it is not recognized as having any medical use and is subject to abuse. On the state level, recreational use may be permitted much like alcohol or tobacco.

But unlike alcohol or tobacco, which have defined limits under federal law and state law, marijuana intoxication symptoms are not as clear, nor is the drug testing as accurate, since THC can stay in a person’s system for weeks, compared with only hours for alcohol. Meanwhile, there aren’t any guidelines for companies that want to be fair to their employees while staying true to their corporate culture.

Schacht said an anticipated state Supreme Court decision regarding Brandon Coats, a quadriplegic medical marijuana patient from Colorado who was fired by Dish Network in 2010 for taking his medicine while off duty, may provide some clarity for Colorado companies. Until that happens, companies must come to terms with how they define themselves under the new law.

“It is very much a cultural issue,” said Ingrid Fredeen, an attorney and vice president of advisory services, at NAVEX Global, based in Oregon, referring to the apparent double standard regarding alcohol and marijuana use.

Some industries are more open to allowing their employees to use marijuana, either in their off-time or in some instances, if company policy permits it (such as an exception made for individuals with medical marijuana prescriptions) even at work. Tolerance is less likely at larger corporations.

“If a company had a drug-free workplace policy before, they probably haven’t changed it,” Schacht said.

That likelihood is borne out by drug-testing requests companies send out. Tim Thoelecke Jr., president of InOut Labs in Illinois, said most companies that do drug tests continue to test for the presence of marijuana. In fact, he said, “Employers are more concerned with marijuana. Most want to make sure to include it in their testing, especially if their employees have safety-sensitive roles. Many companies that did not test before are confused and a little afraid, and a lot are implementing testing.”

Labs can determine various levels of marijuana, but Thoelecke said most corporate policies consider “any detectable amount” of marijuana a positive result.

Andrew Shulman, CEO of Mobile Health in New York City, said much the same thing. “We find that most employers leave it in -- the price difference is minuscule -- and decide on a response appropriately,” he said.

A company’s position on this issue may have less to do with ethics or morality than legal liability, Schaht said. “What it really comes down to is analyzing the risk. You’re looking at it from a liability perspective on the part of the employer, both with terminating the employee and, if they let this employee go, what does that mean for future cases?”

“The biggest driver, in my mind, is safety,” Fredeen said. “Employers are expected to keep the workplace safe.” Drug use -- even legal drugs -- could undermine that goal, especially in industries such as transportation or construction work. She also pointed to a recent finding by the National Council on Compensation Insurance that highlighted medical marijuana as one of the top emerging workers’ comp issues to watch for in 2014.

But in some industries -- most notably tech -- marijuana may be part of workplace culture.

“You will absolutely find organizations that say, ‘We think it’s great. We think it boosts employee creativity.’ Those are organizations that are not your heavy manufacturing, high-risk jobs,” Fredeen said. At lower risk jobs, such as those in call centers and office jobs, “The worst you get there is a paper cut and a fall down the stairs,” she said.

While legal marijuana is gaining traction in both the legal and medical fields, it will take time for the change to be felt in the corporate world.

“I don’t see there being a great cultural shift in corporate polices saying, 'We welcome it and because we do, people will flock to them from a recruiting perspective'” Fredeen said. “I don’t think that’s where we’ll go with it. I think it will go like alcohol. It’s there but there are limits and the limits are very clear.”

And for now, those limits include the residual presence of THC (the psychoactive chemical in marijuana), which can be detected in urine samples up to two months after a person smokes marijuana.


Jul 25, 2008
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Medical Marijuana Could Soon Grow In Central Illinois

Marijuana could soon be growing in your backyard if one central illinois city has its way.

The city of Delavan in Tazewell County could soon be the new location for a medical marijuana cultivation center.

More than half the states in the nation have some form of law permitting medical marijuana.
Now, Illinois is finally hopping on board.

One city here in central illinois wants to help supply the medicine for more 375-thousand people who need it.

The small city of Delavan is strongly looking into the idea of developing a medical marijuana cultivation center.
Under the Illinois new law, a cultivation center will be approved for each state police district.
The Delavan cultivation center would take care of district 8 in Illinois, covering Marshall, Peoria, Stark, Woodford and Tazewell Counties.

Delavan officials say some residents may not like the idea of medical marijuana growing in their city, but argue there is an upside.

City Administrator Joe Woith says economic growth in Delavan has been low for several years.
He thinks medical marijuana may be the spark the city needs.

"The benefit would be the 25 jobs and also it would be a project in the tif district which would bring in approximately a millions dollars to the school over a twenty year period", says Woith.

He says it would also generate anywhere from $2.5-3 millions dollars for city infrastructure.

A medical marijuana cultivation center in Delevan is still very much in the works.
But some locals there say they're on board, if it helps their community.

Illinois state police will be in charge of applying state laws and keeping up with how much medical marijuana is grown and transported from the cultivation center.


Jul 25, 2008
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Attendance underwhelming at 1st Colorado Cannabis Summit

I was pretty disappointed when I walked into the Colorado Cannabis Summit at the Exdo Event Center Thursday, expecting to see a packed room full of entrepreneurs and marijuana startup enthusiasts eager to drink in knowledge of how to get in early on a growing industry.

What I got instead was what I can only describe as a slightly underwhelming feeling — not by the room, which was beautifully decorated with dimly-lit green-lights, fancy-looking table set-ups and business booths, but rather the attendance.

Before an audience that topped out at around 60, KC Stark, owner of Colorado Springs-based MMJ Business Academy, a marijuana business consulting firm, kicked off the event.

Among his other conversation points, which included some step-by-step insights on how to build a marijuana business, Stark said banking is one of the biggest challenges faced by cannabis small businesses, but that it “is coming.”

That was the one that really caught my ear, considering the hot topic marijuana banking has become in recent months.

“Those bankers don’t even know their own damn rules,” Stark said loudly.

“We must know the rules.”

He also hurled some accusations in the direction of the feds, saying that since the government takes their money in taxes, marijuana businesses should have every right to bank where they’d like.

“This is the beginning of the end of Prohibition,” he said. “We’re not disappearing. We’re getting louder.”

A panel discussion following Stark's talk gave businesses insight on marketing, branding, social media and hiring. And while some stuff was probably good insight, I got the impression that while enthusiastic, panelists were a bit nervous.

In fairness, some of the points they touted as “needs” for pot brands were pretty legitimate points.

Tabor Carlton, creative director at Australia-based Tiny Robots, a digital studio, emphasized the importance of having a unique logo.
“Logos and visual material are where your audience connect with you,” he said. “People are very visual.”

Stacy Stout, owner of Denver-based Stout Strategies, emphasized the need for businesses to connect with like-minded businesses.

“Focus on adult entertainment or alcohol companies,” she said. “That’s what makes sense.”

How cannabis businesses should use social media garnered the most attention, as some crowd members seemed unsure whether it was safe to use it, or if they put themselves in a risky spot by joining the social firehose.

“You don’t ever want to say something that could come back to bite you,” said Robyn Vie-Carpenter, owner of the Lesbian Socialite, a social media consulting firm.

“You don’t want to be just randomly tweeting or posting something to your Facebook page. You need to have a reason to be putting yourself out there,” she added.

And Stan Wagner, owner of Red Thread Creative Group, which sponsored the event, talked about attracting millennials, an issue that has really drawn the attention of businesses lately as they prep for Baby Boomers’ retirements.

Millennials, he said, need to know the companies they work for more intimately than do older workers.

Many 18-to-34-year-olds want to be part of a company that they care about personally, he said.

“Your next employees are looking at you,” he said. “They want to know what you’re saying that’s truly representing your company culture.”
Ultimately, I was a bit shocked that more people didn’t show up to Colorado's first cannabis summit for businesses. Perhaps people are just timid to enter into an industry that’s got a long way to go to earn its stripes.

Or perhaps it’s just that there’s still so much up in the air.

Whatever the reason, it’s safe to say that if you expected people to be knocking down the doors to get in on an industry that’s hardly begun to walk, you might be left a bit disappointed.

Other panels at the summit included:

Testing and safety, to explain how grow facilities should test their product;

Regulation and tax updates, to share up-to-date legislation;

Technology update, for growers to provide tools for greater crop yields; and

Buildings and security, to give tips on how to find space and navigate the permit process.


Jul 25, 2008
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Performance of Cannabis Sector Stocks Tied to New Ventures, Acquisitions and Identifying New Verticals for Marijuana Industry Growth

CORAL SPRINGS, Florida, May 23, 2014 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- CORAL SPRINGS, Florida, May 23, 2014 /PRNewswire/ --

Market news updates and commentary for emerging companies in the Cannabis Sector aimed at growing worldwide brands, acquiring resources and developing new solutions as the industry continues to evolve at a rapid pace: Cannabis Capital Corp CBCA 0.00% , Hemp, Inc. HEMP +8.33% , Medbox, Inc. MDBX +9.66% , Medical Marijuana, Inc. MJNA +0.54% and Creative Edge Nutrition, Inc. FITX +1.59%

By Tapping Into Human Element, Cannabis Capital Corp (otcqb:CBCA) WebCongress Emerges as Tech Industry Leader - (See more at: http://tomorrowsbluechips.com/tappi...es-tech-industry-leader/#sthash.MZp2yuoM.dpuf ) -- The tech industry can be daunting to navigate. Due to the anonymity involved in digital marketplaces, the companies that succeed are often the ones that draw upon a foundation with a strong human element, while still maintaining an unmistakable brand and continuous global presence. Enter WebCongress, an industry leader in worldwide tech events that meets those standards, all while growing exponentially over the last several years.

Right at this moment, WebCongress is navigating the globe, embarking on a 16-city tour of the United States and Latin America, hosting one of the fastest-growing tech conferences in the world that features educational workshops, networking, expert panels, and speakers from top companies, which have included Twitter, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, and many more. Each year, WebCongress has met face to face with, and fostered the interactions of 10,000 people, having already held successful conferences in major cities like Miami and Barcelona that have attracted over 100 CEOs and 450 digital agencies. The vast number of WebCongress attendees is projected to see a substantial increase in 2014.

Read this full CBCA Article by going to http://tomorrowsbluechips.com/tappi...cas-webcongress-emerges-tech-industry-leader/

In fact, WebCongress's new "Americas Tour" has already kicked off in San Francisco on May 8th, where their conference attracted over 550 people looking to build partnerships, participate in workshops, and hear from established speakers with industry experience and exciting new ideas. Just one of those speakers was one of Mexico's most successful women, Laura Gomez known as @laura due to her status as one of the first Twitter employees who was there to unveil a brand new project.

Hemp, Inc. (otc pink:HEMP) recently announced it has committed $1,000,000 to kick-start the search for an appropriate banking partner in Colorado and to perform due diligence thereof. The allocated funds will be held in escrow while the search begins. Bruce Perlowin, CEO of Hemp, Inc., stated, "We are committed to moving this industry forward and supplying the infrastructure to make it more viable. Our recent acquisition of the largest decorticator in the United States, in order to process raw hemp into valuable renewable products, is off to a great start, but it doesn't stop there. As a 'farmer' in China, Hemp, Inc. understands the needs of farmers and we believe farmers, as well as other providers, will undoubtedly need financial services to make this industry soar to new heights. This is already a very unique, rapidly growing market and it is our goal to be a part of supplying their financial needs."

Medbox, Inc. (otcqb:MDBX), a leader in providing ancillary services to the alternative medicine industry, dispensary consulting services, and patented medicine dispensing systems to medical and retail industries, recently announced that the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has issued a notice of allowance on what company executives describe as the first "Seed-to-Sale" patent the marijuana industry has ever seen. The patent application that was allowed by the USPTO describes a system used to: Verify the identity of a patient/consumer receiving medication; Monitor the dispensing of medication/product to the patient/consumer; Monitor the development of the medication/product, including tracking the location from which the seeds are obtained, cultivation and harvesting of the plant, and conversion into medication/product and support a complete biometric chain of custody seed to sale system from cultivation facility to dispensary where dispensing can occur through Medbox's patented "Secure-Safe" technology for added security and transparency.

Medical Marijuana, Inc. MJNA +0.54% operates in the medical marijuana and industrial hemp markets. Its products range from patented and proprietary based cannabinoid products to seed and stalk or isolated high value extracts manufactured and formulated for the pharmaceutical, nutraceutical, and cosmeceutical industries. The company's services include development of cannabinoid based health and wellness products; and development of medical grade compounds; and licensing of proprietary testing, genetics, labeling and packaging, tracking, production, and standardization methods for the medicinal herb industry. On Thursday, MJNA closed down .27% on over 2.4 million shares traded.

Creative Edge Nutrition, Inc. (otc pink:FITX) recently announced that it has retained the leading national law firm Thompson Hine LLP as its corporate counsel. Established in 1911, Thompson Hine has offices in Atlanta, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, New York and Washington, D.C. The firm has been ranked among the top four in the country for "Value for the Dollar" and "Commitment to Help" by in-house counsel, and among the top ten firms for client service excellence, according to The BTI Client Service A-Team: Survey of Law Firm Client Service Performance. Thompson Hine serves premier businesses worldwide. "We are delighted to be working with Thompson Hine ," commented Bill Chaaban, President & CEO. "The firm has been recognized in the top 1% of law firms nationwide by in-house counsel for innovation for two years in a row and we are proud of our association with them. Given their business-oriented approach, we look forward to sculpting a framework based around our highest priorities which include our corporate governance practice, future financing activities and high quality counsel on our corporate business objectives. We look forward to working together to strengthen our public company infrastructure and to create realizable returns for our shareholders."

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