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MJ News for 08/03/2014

7greeneyes

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http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/03/o...-in-the-rockies-a-chill-marijuana-debate.html





High in the Rockies, a Chill Marijuana Debate


GUNNISON, Colo. — Getting a feel for Gunnison, Colo., a town in the Rockies about four and a half hours southwest of Denver, takes a bicycle and a few minutes. On Main Street and nearby blocks you will pass a Wal-Mart, a pizza place called Pie-Zans, a bike-repair-and-espresso shop, the offices of The Gunnison Country Times, the campus of Western State Colorado University and Traders Rendezvous, which claims to have the state’s largest collection of antlers and mounted animal trophies. Ride long enough and you will find seven churches and five liquor stores, six if you count the Safeway.

What you will not find are any stores selling marijuana. These are not allowed.

To see the new Colorado after Amendment 64, which legalized recreational cannabis, you have to drive a half-hour north, to Crested Butte. It has three dispensaries selling marijuana buds and pipes and cannabis-infused candies and drinks. They are off the main drag; their presence is low-key, even deferential.

The towns are not drastically different. Crested Butte, population 1,550, is for skiers and tourists; its main street is more colorfully painted, more self-consciously alpine. Gunnison, population 5,854, has deep roots in ranching and mining. It’s for hunters towing A.T.V.'s, students and underpaid faculty members at the university, and high-caliber athletes devoted to the strenuous life. A classic Gunnison sight is a $6,000 mountain bike racked atop a $700 Subaru.

The towns are divided by marijuana now, but many in Gunnison expect a change is gonna come. Voters will be deciding in November whether to legalize marijuana sales within the city limits, and if so, whether to tax them. The city voted down medical marijuana stores in 2011. But just a year later Gunnison County, which includes the city, voted 67 percent in favor of Amendment 64. To many in Gunnison, that is a sign that the world has turned.

This is how it feels in Colorado, in Denver and beyond: Even people and places not overeager to embrace marijuana are not cowed by legalization. Seven months after plunging into the what-if world of legal marijuana, Colorado feels years ahead of the rest of the country in cannabis understanding. If you go to Colorado, as many out-of-town reporters have, armed with adolescent stoner jokes, you should know that Cheech and Chong were famous 40 years ago. Many of the advocates and entrepreneurs leading the revolution are in their 20s and 30s and will not relate. And the majority of Coloradans who are going on with their lives, living apart from the world of weed, will not find you funny.

Gunnison has two would-be ganja-preneurs, Jason Roland and Todd Houle, pressing for legalization so they can open a store. The closest they have to an adversary might be Matthew Kuehlhorn, director of the Gunnison County Substance Abuse Prevention Project, which works in the public schools. He puts himself on the tolerant end of those who want to discourage marijuana use, and refuses to exaggerate its dangers. “You can’t get the toothpaste back in the tube,” he said. “So now we’re finding ways to reduce harm and continue on forward.” He wants marijuana taxes to be earmarked for youth programs. Mr. Roland and Mr. Houle agree. The City Council isn’t so sure.

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The real drug problem in town, several Gunnisonians said, is alcohol — no surprise in a skiing-ranching-college town. Western State Colorado University has had to live down a reputation as a party school (locals call it “Wasted State”), and officials there do not think legal marijuana is going to help. The dean of students, Gary Pierson, said the school tries hard to send a drug-free message. Even authorized medical-marijuana users have to medicate off-campus.

I asked Chris Dickey, publisher of The Country Times, whether his paper had editorialized for or against Amendment 64. He couldn’t remember. “We have other issues. It’s a small town; the economy’s always kind of limping along. The environmental issues are always a pressing concern. The status of our local education institutions. Those are the things that impact people’s lives.”

George Sibley, a writer who came to the Gunnison Valley in the 1960s, said the key to grasping local politics in the Mountain West is knowing your altitude. “Above 8,000 feet, it’s almost always Democrat, and down-valley it’s almost always Republican,” he said. “Down-valley it’s more agricultural, self-reliant, Jeffersonian-type Republicanism. But up-valley, it was miners, originally, and union people, and then it became posturban liberals with urban backgrounds.”

By this theory, Crested Butte, at 8,885 feet, breathes solidly liberal air. Gunnison, at 7,703 feet, is more in the zone of political flux. Mr. Sibley said he expected legalization to win, which suited him fine. But he said there was a silent faction in town, how big he wasn’t sure, that would vote against marijuana shops simply to preserve the status quo.

“I actually think it’ll be slow,” Mr. Sibley said. “But life will not be very much different. There will be a significant new tax source for the community, and everybody will be even more used to it than they are now. You’re never going to stop it, of course, because if you put a challenge in front of a bunch of high school kids ...”

He let the thought finish itself.
 

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http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/natio...esses/12836395/





Green gold rush creating gray marijuana market



DENVER – The gold rush of legalized marijuana in Colorado and Washington is creating a confusing market of goods and services, from illegal Craigslist pot deliveries to a marijuana vending machine and a food truck selling pot-infused sandwiches.

While recreational marijuana sales are legal in both states, the marketplaces are surrounded by a web of laws and regulations intended to keep buyers paying taxes and transactions aboveboard. But with tens of millions of dollars in profits up for grabs, entrepreneurs are flooding the market with products and services operating in a gray area. Some ventures are completely illegal but the vendors escape prosecution by trying to stay low key. Others grab headlines that are misleading at best.

Craiglist is filled with advertisements for marijuana-delivery services in the Denver area. The ads insist they're offering a legal service: "Please do not flag! Amendment 20 and 64 compliant," referring to the state's medical and recreational marijuana laws. But Colorado law requires marijuana sales to occur inside licensed stores.

These services get around that requirement because the law also allows adults to give marijuana to other adults for free and without any "remuneration." So the delivery services simply ask for a voluntary donation or a tip. Is it legal? Nope.

"it doesn't matter how anybody characterizes it," says Denver Police Cmdr. Mark Fleecs. "They're trying to make a buck and they can't do that. It's all illegal."

A similar service in Washington state in mid-July stopped delivering recreational pot to buyers and switched solely to the less-regulated medical marijuana market in that state. The company, WinterLife, gained national attention for delivering recreational marijuana in the Seattle area even though police said it was illegal.

But what can you expect from an industry that remains entirely illegal in the eyes of the federal government?

"We're right on the cusp. Unfortunately, the people who have been in the industry … were criminals. If you had any experience in growing marijuana, you were illegal. You were a criminal," says Craig Ellins, CEO of GrowBlox Sciences, a Las Vegas-based company that makes marijuana-growing equipment. "So what did they expect when the industry changed? But now real companies are coming in."

Ellins said the nascent marijuana industry today is much like the early days of legalized gambling in Las Vegas. Traditional companies wouldn't back casinos trying to shed their mob-connected ways and no one else would consider legalizing them. Today, casino companies are publicly traded on Wall Street, and dozens of states have legalized gambling in one form or another.

"A year ago it was much harder," Ellins said. "All of a sudden, people on Wall Street and Main Street are saying this is something real."

The marijuana industry is drawing huge attention because there's such a large existing market, says Mike Elliott of the Marijuana Industry Group, a Colorado-based pro-marijuana lobbying organization. Elliott says the rush by businesses into the legalized marijuana market is much like the gold rushes that helped populate the West.

"There was a lot of opportunity (in gold) to get rich, but a lot of people froze to death and starved to death," Elliott says. "There's a lot of opportunity (in the marijuana industry), but a lot of people are going to try and fail."

In some cases, marijuana sellers take advantage of the media's unsophisticated understanding of the laws. In Colorado, for instance, a marijuana store received national headlines when it installed a first-of-its-kind pot vending machine.

But most of the coverage missed the fine print: The machine is located inside a medical-marijuana store, which means only Coloradans with a special state card can buy from it. Tourists aren't allowed, and a store employee supervises purchases, which can made only after scanning a valid driver's license. And on a recent visit by a USA TODAY reporter, the machine simply didn't work.

Or take the Washington-based Samich Truck, a converted school bus selling marijuana-infused sandwiches that was dreamed up as a publicity stunt by a company that makes marijuana-oil machines. The $20 treats range from nut-butter spread and banana on artisan bread to the "Danks-giving," a smoked-turkey sandwich with stuffing and gravy. The truck has drawn headlines across the country, but there's a catch: It's illegal for a food truck to sell marijuana-laden food to recreational users in either Colorado or Washington state.

"They're not even in a gray area. The law is that for recreational marijuana, you have to be regulated by us … and have a specific location," says Brian Smith, a spokesman for the Washington State Liquor Control Board, which regulates recreational marijuana sales. "What they're proposing, it's illegal in Washington to do that."

The truck last month got around those rules by setting up shop inside a medical marijuana farmers' market, which was open only to medical marijuana patients. And it gave away free samples in Denver earlier this year – but only to people who had bought tickets to a special marijuana festival and were considering buying the company's Magical Butter machines, which mix butter or oil with marijuana to create a powerful drug that can be turned into salad dressing or even soup.

"In the future, we won't have to jump through so many hoops. I'm looking forward to that day," says Garyn Angel, the CEO of Magical Butter, which sponsors the truck. Angel says he has consulted with lawyers and industry experts and is confident he's not breaking any laws. But he acknowledges there are legal gray areas that his truck must carefully thread to avoid getting shut down.

"We like to think we're on the very compliant side," he says. "We've built a very legitimate company, and there's a lot at risk. We want to make sure that legalities aren't what takes it away from us."
 

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http://www.cbsnews.com/news/marijuana-dr...ounding-states/





Trafficking Colorado's pot to neighboring states


Life in Cheyenne County, Kansas, is more about cows than cannabis, but now this part of the Old West is on the frontline of marijuana's new frontier. Pot is legal in nearby Colorado, but when it leaves the state, it often travels across Kansas' remote highways, reports CBS News correspondent Barry Petersen.

"We can't ignore the marijuana. It's just hard to justify pulling resources away from things like this to put them on the highway to just strictly find marijuana coming in from Colorado," said Sheriff Cody Beeson.

A recent study found that nearly half of all marijuana purchases in Colorado are made by out-of-state visitors. Under federal law, that marijuana has to remain within Colorado's borders.

In 2013 the federal Rocky Mountain High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas calculated 288 cars smuggling Colorado marijuana beyond state lines. That may not seem like much, but experts estimate that they are only catching 10 percent. Meaning 90 percent of illegal trafficking is going unnoticed.

"We've documented forty different states that it's gone to," said Tom Gorman, the agency's director.

Gorman has spent his whole life as a cop in this battle, and he said the situation makes him "darn uncomfortable."

"Either we're a country of the laws, or were not," Gorman said.


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Making the pot business women-friendly
A car crash last year in Sheriff Beeson's county left an injured driver -- and marijuana everywhere. It was not just the sheriff on the clock, but all the county's first responders.

"EMS arrived on scene, fire arrived on scene. We helped with the injured individual," Beeson said.

The reality is, however, the taxpayers of Cheyenne County, Kansas, are paying for what's happening in Colorado.

"Whether it's through the prosecution or the arrest or even -- like I said, time is money," Beeson said. "When you're paying a deputy by the hour, he's not getting another job you want done that serve the community. He's working on this issue."

Deputies now carry testing kits they can drop suspected marijuana into to get a quick result; a pinkish purple result means they've found pot.

But on patrol, arrest is not the only answer in a cash-strapped county of fewer than 3,000. Sometimes, it's more beneficial to let someone go after the sheriff confiscates the small amount of marijuana found, if they don't pose a threat, Beeson said.

In small town Cheyenne County, opinions vary on using Kansas public funds to chase Colorado pot.

Resident Dostin Wiley told CBS News that the case is simple; "If somebody's trafficking drugs," he argues, the police should stop them.

Lester Cress, however, told us he'd rather see his state's money spent at home, protecting his family.
 

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http://www.cbsnews.com/news/first-ever-f...ijuana-ad-runs/





First-ever full-page New York Times marijuana ad runs



The New York Times had its first-ever full-page marijuana-related ad run on the heels of its editorial board calling for the drug's legalization.

The ad, from a company called Leafly, ran on page 17 in the paper's A section, and featured the tagline "Just Say Know."

On its website, the company said: "We want to help New York patients learn about cannabis and make responsible and informed consumer choices about the product best suited for their medical conditions. Patients need a reliable, mainstream information portal about cannabis that is free of classic stoner stereotypes, and we truly believe that Leafly is the resource for them."

Aaron Smith, with the Cannabis Policy Center, told CBS News correspondent Anna Werner it's time for the federal government to change its policies too.

"Right now, the immediate goal is to allow states to decide their own policies and move forward without interference from the federal government," Smith said.

Shops that sell marijuana in Colorado or Washington often have trouble getting federally-insured banks to take the proceeds of their business.

In April, Attorney General Eric Holder said the Justice Department will still enforce drug laws, but in a way that maximizes limited federal resources.

"We will prevent marijuana from getting into the hands of minors. We will prevent violence in the trafficking, the sale of marijuana, prevent the cartels from profiting," Holder said.

But Holder has not removed marijuana from the list of drugs considered dangerous by the government -- that, he said, will be up to Congress.

Earlier this year, New York became the 24th state to legalize medical marijuana under certain circumstances. Although marijuana remains illegal in New York, possession of small amounts has been reduced to a low-level violation subject to a fine.

Just last month, the New York Times ran an editorial calling for the legalization of marijuana nationally, saying it is "long past time to repeal this version of Prohibition." The move received both criticism and praise.

The editorial acknowledged legitimate concerns about the health affects of marijuana, but said the drug is "far less dangerous than alcohol."

"The social costs of the marijuana laws are vast," the editorial stated. "There were 658,000 arrests for marijuana possession in 2012, according to F.B.I. figures, compared with 256,000 for cocaine, heroin and their derivatives. Even worse, the result is racist, falling disproportionately on young black men, ruining their lives and creating new generations of career criminals."
 

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http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/...a-legalisation/





The Quite Hilarious GrassIsNotGreener.com Campaign Against Marijuana Legalisation



here’s a moment of some joyous hilarity today as an organisation calling itself “GrassIsNotGreener.com” takes out an ad in the New York Times opposing that newspaper’s editorial line that the time has come to legalise marijuana. The fun comes from looking at who is supporting this campaign and then trying to work out why they’re doing so. The co-founder seems to be one of the more addicted Kennedys, the former Congressman from Rhode Island, Patrick. I’m afraid that I stray from accepted wisdom here, I tend not to think that addicts, whether former or not, have any great insights into what the rest of us should be allowed to do. I’m much more likely to take seriously on these subjects someone like myself who has dabbled in all sorts of things over the decades but not really found myself even discommoded, let alone trapped, by any of them. Given that that seems to be the usual human experience, most of us have tried one drug or another and few of us have become addicted to any of them, that sounds like the more sensible group of people to listen to. Rather than, say, someone who blamed a car crash on the use of too much Adderall.

But there’s much more fun at their website:

GrassIsNotGreener.com is an initiative of Smart Approaches to Marijuana (Project SAM), a nonpartisan alliance of lawmakers, scientists and other concerned citizens, co-founded by former Congressman Patrick Kennedy. The initiative is supported by a number of prevention, treatment, and medical groups.

Prevention, treatment and medical groups? You mean precisely the groups that if dope becomes a usual and accepted part of American life won’t actually have those nice middle class jobs dealing with “drug addicts” any more? You might think that I’m being too harsh here but the first thing that should be in everyones’ mind when we consider support or opposition to one or another piece of public policy is “Cui bono?” Who benefits from whatever it is that is being proposed?

In this case the supporting groups include the American Society of Addiction Medicine and the National Association of Drug Court Professionals. Two groups who really would see a fall off in business if hundreds of thousands of people aren’t criminalised each year for smoking a common ditchweed.


Their claims are also amusing: “Marijuana can lead to schizophrenia, psychosis and depression.” Well, no, not really, although there’s definitely a correlation between all four. The usual finding though is that those who feel their minds weakening under the advance of those three (serious and horrible) mental disorders seem to self-medicate, pot being one of the things they do so with.

You might call me cynical for saying this but what we see here is is those who make their living from the current drug laws arguing that they must be kept, that freedom must be denied, so that they get to keep their jobs. Which is, when you come to think of it, a fairly hilarious argument, most especially if we take them seriously.

Update. An organisation called the Marijuana Majority has contacted us and their Chairman, Tom Angell, has this to say about the ad:

As someone who has been working in the legalization movement for over a decade to smash unhelpful stereotypes about who uses marijuana, I actually love this ad. The vast majority of people who see it in the newspaper are going to think it’s a pro-legalization ad making the point that not only hippies use marijuana, but successful businesspeople do too. And most people who bother to read the text are going to realize that legalization means that a professional, aboveground industry will be taking control of the marijuana trade once we take it out of the hands of the violent drug cartels and gangs that run the show in the prohibition-created black market. I’m a little sad that SAM didn’t ask Marijuana Majority to help fund the ad.

A quite wonderful point, I hope you’ll agree.
 

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http://blogs.wsj.com/cmo/2014/08/03/why-...new-york-times/



Why Cannabis Company Leafly Bought A Full Page Ad in the New York Times


Newspapers are having a tough time wooing advertisers these days, but there could be a new category of marketer emerging in the marijuana industry.

Leafly, a website and mobile app that lets users research strains of cannabis and dispensaries, ran a full-page in the New York Times’ Sunday edition. The ad, which congratulates New York state for recently legalizing medical marijuana, is Leafly’s first ad in a mainstream publication. Leafly, owned by private equity firm Privateer Holdings, has previously run ads in cannabis industry publications aimed at patients and doctors.


Leafly, a website for users to research different strains of cannabis and dispensaries, has purchased a full page ad in the Sunday edition of the New York Times.
The ad depicts a man and a woman who each used a different strain of marijuana for a medical condition. It carries the tagline “Just Say Know,” a reference to former first lady Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” anti-drug campaign in the 1980s.

Leafly Chief Executive Brendan Kennedy said the ad is designed to encourage patients to use Leafly’s resources to make informed decisions about cannabis. Leafly’s Web properties generated four million visits in June, with traffic increasing 10% to 15% month-over-month, he said.

“One of the ways you knock down the Berlin Wall of Prohibition is by talking about cannabis in a mainstream way,” Mr. Kennedy said. “We’re continuing to look at other mainstream publications that would be open to this type of advertising.”

Leafly began working on the creative for the ad about 18 months ago but decided to run it after the Compassionate Care Act — allowing medical marijuana –was passed in New York last month and the Times a few weeks later published an editorial in favor of repealing the federal ban on marijuana. Leafly is also concurrently running an online campaign on the Times website.

The rate for a full page color ad in the Sunday New York Times costs around $200,000. The Times declined to comment on the price of the Leafly ad.

The Times says it has previously run ads for marijuana advocacy groups such as the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law.

“We accept ads for products and services that are legal and if the ad has met our acceptability standards,” said New York Times spokeswoman Linda Zebian, adding that the Times can decline an ad if it is misleading or fraudulent in some way. “Each ad is evaluated on its own merit,” Ms. Zebian said.
 

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http://rt.com/news/177532-uruguay-cannabis-grow-license/





Uruguay calls out to cannabis growers to join govt's pot project



Uruguay’s authorities have called on private pot growers to send in applications if they want to farm the plant in a government-run field as the country is taking a step closer to selling recreational drug.

The tender was issued from the Institute for the Regulation and Control of Cannabis (IRCCA), a newly formed governmental body which oversees the marketplace for marijuana. Open until August 18, it seeks up to five cannabis farmers who will get a license allowing them to grow the plant at a government-run field.

Five-year licenses will allow the growers to produce and distribute between one and two tons of pot a year. The drug will be allowed to be sold to the country’s pharmacies at about $1 a gram. The plant will then be sold to private owners with regulated sales to start early next year. The government expects some 150,000 people to sign up for the program, with annual production of around 20 tons of cannabis.

The area permitted for cannabis cultivation is in the southwest of Uruguay. The perimeter of the field will be guarded 24 hours a day, officials said.

The South American nation of Uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize the sale, cultivation, and distribution of cannabis in December 2013, despite global criticism.

Each Uruguayan citizen will have an opportunity to grow up to six marijuana plants, the equivalent of 480 grams, but only for personal use. The growers, on the other hand, will be allowed to produce and distribute a total of one to two tons of cannabis per year, to be sold at pharmacies for about $1 a gram, according to AFP.

According to the legislation, buyers will be able to grow their own or purchase cannabis via consumers’ clubs. The customers must be 18 or older, residents of Uruguay, and must be registered as cannabis consumers with the authorities.

Cannabis users will also be allowed to organize smoking clubs of 15 to 45 members, which will be able to grow up to 99 plants per year.

Uruguay delays legalized sale of marijuana until 2015

In the US, Colorado became the first state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana and to allow it to be sold in shops at the beginning of 2014. However, in Colorado any adult can buy up to 28 grams at a time, meaning they can buy one lot at a pharmacy and then go down the street to buy another 28 grams. Jose Mujica, the president of Uruguay, called this practice a “complete fiction.”
 

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http://www.marketwatch.com/story/med-can...gton-2014-08-04





Med-Cannabis Pharma, Inc. Announces the Opening of Stores on the Olympic Peninsula in the State of Washington




PORT TOWNSEND, WA, Aug 04, 2014 (Marketwired via COMTEX) -- Med-Cannabis Pharma, Inc. (otcqb:MCPI), a Nevada Company specializing in Medical cannabis sales will be opening several Medical cannabis stores through its subsidiary Cannabis Hemporium in various towns on the Olympic Peninsula in the State of Washington during the month of August. The towns include Port Townsend, Port Hadlock and the Hood Canal location where work has been continuing for opening.

The announced acquisition of the Port Townsend Herbal Collective on April 21, 2014 has been canceled by mutual agreement between the Company and James Loe due to the inability of the Company to complete the audit of Loe and Associates. Due to the nature of the Medical Marijuana business it is very difficult to conduct an audit of a previous business when all transactions are in cash. The Company's new Point of Sale system will solve that problem in the future. The previously announced 126 million shares of stock to be issued in conjunction with that transaction have also been canceled.

James Loe has agreed to remain with Med-Cannabis in his position as a Director and Vice President /COO. In Connection with that decision a shareholder (South Beach Live, Inc.) has agreed to transfer to James 10,000,000 shares of Restricted Common Stock that it owns. That will leave the total outstanding Common Stock for Med-Cannabis Pharma, Inc. at approximately 51 Million shares with no commitment for additional stock to be issued.

Currently the Company is in discussions with parties in New Mexico, Montana and Oregon to lease stores and open Medical Dispensaries in those states. In addition, the Company has negotiated a lease for space to open the only dispensary at the entrance and exit to a ferry landing with 4 million cars a year loading and unloading onto the peninsula.

The Company's Pharmacy Management system is currently in negotiations with a recreational license holder for management services in setting up their recreational retail operation in the area where we are currently operating.
 

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