MJ News for 10/28/2014


Jul 25, 2008
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Alaska Marijuana Legalization Would Generate Millions In Taxes

If Alaska voters decide in next week's election to legalize marijuana, sales to adults will generate millions in state tax revenue.

That's according to a comprehensive report released Monday by the Marijuana Policy Group, an organization of Colorado researchers and economic consultants.

The first year of legal recreational marijuana sales would mean about $7 million in state taxes, according to Marijuana Policy Group, which previously analyzed the marijuana market in Colorado, one of two states where recreational sales are legal. Alaska's legal recreational marijuana sales would account for about 22 percent of total demand in that first year -- or about four metric tons, according to the research.

"Previous studies incorrectly assume that all demand will quickly shift to regulated markets," the researchers noted. "In our experience, such assumptions are naïve."

Adult Alaskans consume nearly 18 metric tons of marijuana, the researchers said. That demand is satisfied now through the black market, as well as the state's network of medical caregivers, home growers, and the diversion of medical marijuana to the black market.

By 2020, Alaska's legal retail marijuana market would grow to approximately 13 metric tons, adding $23 million in taxes to state coffers, according to the report. First-year legal sales are projected at $55 million, reaching $106 million by 2020.

The projections for the demand for legal marijuana depend on the retail price compared with black market channels, the researchers explained. "If retail prices increase significantly, then most heavy users
will avoid this supply mode and buy marijuana from black or grey market sources as possible."

Alaska's Department of Revenue has said it doesn't plan to forecast the state's marijuana market. Marijuana Policy Group researchers Miles Light and Adam Orens said in a press statement Monday that the report is offered "as a service to Alaska voters because there is no official tax revenue estimate supplied by the state." The group said it wasn't paid to do the study and neither supports nor opposes Alaska's Measure 2, the legalization initiative.

Under Measure 2, adults 21 and older would be able to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to six plants (with no more than three being mature) for personal use. The measure also would legalize the manufacture, sale and possession of marijuana paraphernalia, including devices for smoking or storing the plant. It's the state's third attempt to legalize recreational marijuana, with voters rejecting measures in 2000 and 2004. Alaska voters legalized medical marijuana in 1998.

If Alaska voters approve legalization, Marijuana Policy Group projects 2016 would be the first full year of legal sales. Both Colorado and Washington state, which legalized recreational marijuana in 2012, had delays between Election Day and retail sales as officials established a regulatory framework.

Oregon, Florida and Washington, D.C., also vote on some form of marijuana legalization in November.

The fate of Alaska's measure seems the most uncertain. Two polls released on the same day last month showed mixed reaction from voters, with one finding 53 percent opposed legalization, and the other showing 57 percent in favor.

Besides Colorado and Washington, 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Still, marijuana remains banned by the federal government, which continues to classify the plant as a Schedule I substance, along with heroin and LSD.


Jul 25, 2008
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Medical Marijuana in Florida: What Amendment 2 Means to You

Do you like smoking weed? I do. At the moment, though, as you may know if you've ever been pulled over and swallowed a roach or hidden a sack in your sock, marijuana is a Schedule I drug, meaning the DEA lists it in the top tier of dangerous drugs right along with narcotics like heroin. It's worth noting that cocaine is a Schedule II drug and that this scheduling scale is closely linked to the severity of sentencing in drug cases.

Marijuana, however, is the interesting exception in its class in that it is the only Schedule I drug that has been legalized in multiple states, with some, like California, allowing it only for medicinal use, while others, such as Colorado, have opted for full-on legalization. And next month, the Sunshine State might become one of the newest states to adopt such a policy regarding marijuana, depending upon what happens with Amendment 2.

But before you start feeding the grinder, let's hunker down and talk some numbers and what they mean. How likely is this amendment to pass come Election Day? What does it mean if Florida becomes the first Southern state to pass a medical marijuana amendment, and what does it mean if it doesn't? And what precisely does this amendment say in the first place?

What in **** does this amendment say, anyway?

Amendment 2 would make medical marijuana legal in Florida. The letter of the law would be that doctors could issue certifications for medical marijuana to people with "conditions for which a physician believes that the medical use of marijuana would likely outweigh the potential health risks for a patient." Think California: medical cards and medical dispensaries with taxation and regulation.

One of the possible distinctions between Florida's amendment and the example of California and its statute is that Florida's Department of Health is very keen on regulating medical marijuana -- from the doctor's office to the dispensary -- much more tightly than it's regulated in California. That means it'll likely be a bit tougher than simply walking into your general practitioner's office and saying you have a recurring headache (chronic headache would almost definitely be too thinly veiled) to get a card. It also means there will probably be significantly stricter zoning laws regarding the distance between schools and dispensaries, so don't expect to be able to pick up a quarter-ounce on Washington Avenue across the street from Fienberg-Fisher or anywhere near any other elementary, middle, or high school.

How likely is it that medical marijuana will be heading to a dispensary near you?

Well, that's become a trickier question to answer of late. Over the past year, polls have shown up to 88 percent of voters in favor of the measure, but as the gubernatorial race has heated up and Florida's political landscape has grown increasingly divided, the numbers have been sliding closer to the margin of error. One of the more recent polls conducted by the Graham Center at the University of Florida had the voters split 48-44 in favor of the amendment, and because it's a constitutional amendment rather than a regular old bill, it'll need at least 60 percent of the vote to pass.

Come November 4, what makes or breaks Amendment 2 is that elusive voting bloc between the ages of 18 and 25. That's not particularly good news for anyone hoping to see medical marijuana in the Sunshine State anytime soon, considering young voters in Florida are exceptionally unreliable when it comes to standing up and being counted, especially when it comes to a midterm election with a governor's race that has been characterized by mudslinging and bitching about fans.

What happens if it doesn't pass?

A few months ago, that question might have been seen as purely academic because support for Amendment 2 was so strong. But as the 11th hour draws nearer, the question mark looms a bit heavier. If 2 doesn't get the votes, it'll be at least another two years before we see another amendment like it in Florida. And because the fate of Amendment 2 will more than likely go the way of the governor's race -- yes, if Crist wins; no, if Scott stays in office -- we'll probably have to wait four years because Scott would almost certainly do everything in his power to keep that possibility off the table during the rest of his stay in the governor's mansion.

Why is this so important this election season? It's about more than marijuana.

Rick Scott has proven to be one of the most embarrassingly worthless governors in this state's history. Amendment 2 was worked onto the ballot to bring out the youth vote, which is all but essential to Crist's hopes to unseat Scott. If the young rascals don't make their way to the polls this November and pull that lever, it is a veritable certainty that Florida will remain in the death grip of terminal stupidity for another four years. We will continue to be that backwater peninsula that stands as a testament to the slow-stepping South that wards off anything that sounds like progress, regardless of whether it comes from the vox populi or not.

The implications are just as relevant if Amendment 2 does receive that 60 percent of the vote it needs. If Florida becomes the first state in the South to pass a medical marijuana amendment, it could be the first major step in changing this state's image from that of an ultra-conservative swampland full of crazies to something slightly closer to respectable. "Respectable as a result of medical marijuana? I don't think so..." Think again.

This nation is slowly but surely shifting to a more progressive, accepting ideology. Increasing numbers of Americans -- especially young Americans -- applaud states with the sense to vote for legislation that decriminalizes benevolent drugs, just like we applaud states with the sense to recognize gay marriage or outlaw the death penalty. The times, as Mr. Zimmerman wrote, they are a-changin'.

Florida needs to crawl out of the dark ages and stop relying so heavily on that primitive reptilian brain that seems to cling to the most antiquated notions. This generation of Floridians seems poised to bring about those changes. They aren't changes that could ever come to pass in one fell swoop. The state is entirely too diverse for that sort of shift in momentum. But medical marijuana would definitely be a fine start in that direction.


Jul 25, 2008
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Weed business incubator in works, with bank option too

A Colorado Springs company that leases property to marijuana growers has acquired a former bank building in south Denver with plans to turn it into the industry’s first business incubator.

And if a consortium of marijuana businessmen cobble together the state’s first cooperative financial institution, then Advanced Cannabis Solutions hopes to have its first location.

“The idea is for the incubator space on the second floor, but if there’s a banking opportunity, that would be explored,” CEO Robert Frichtel said. “It’s an ample amount of space to do many things.”

ACS will relocate to the 1970s-style building with its two-story windows and neo-Mansard wood-shake roof within a few months, Frichtel said. Property records show the sale price was $1,050,000 and the seller Barerose Evans LLC.

ACS, operating as 6565 E. Evans Owner LLC, took a two-year, $600,000 hard-money note from a New York-based lender to close the deal, property records show.

The 15,000-square-foot building has a bank vault and about 2,000 safe-deposit boxes, Frichtel said, perfect for anyone wanting to bank the marijuana industry, which struggles to find banking services.

To be called The Greenhouse, the building could serve as headquarters for businesses wanting to work on new ways to serve the marijuana industry, and its second floor has already been partly leased for that purpose, Frichtel said.

Legislators last spring passed a measure to allow for the creation of the financial cooperative, essentially a credit union, for the marijuana industry to solve its banking troubles.

Most marijuana businesses have difficulty finding a bank that will openly work with them because federal law prohibits financial institutions from doing business with illegal enterprises.

Despite 23 states allowing for medical or recreations marijuana sales, the drug remains illegal under federal law.

The consulting firm reluctantly made news in April when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission suspended trades of ACS’s over-the-counter stock because of suspicious trading activity.

Not long before, the company had landed up to $30 million in credit to help acquire properties it then leases to the marijuana industry.

ACS in late September filed a federal lawsuit against a shareholder it says wrongly traded in company securities, causing the SEC problems.

ACS stock trades under CANN and hit a 52-week high of $64.64 in March. On Monday it was at $3.50.


Jul 25, 2008
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Marijuana Laws in All 50 States: Oct. 27

The US Attorney General said last week that he is “cautiously optimistic” about efforts to legalize cannabis in the United States. Eric Holder recently announced plans to retire from his leading position with the Justice Department, but he says the agency is still very much watching to see what happens with the great marijuana legalization experiment current underway in Colorado and Washington, and perhaps soon in Alaska, Oregon and the District of Columbia.

Holder maintains that states where legal pot markets exist do not have to worry about a government intervention, as long as the laws remain civil. "What I've told the governors of those states is that if we're not satisfied with their regulatory scheme that we reserve the right to come in and to sue them. So we'll see," said Holder in an interview with CNN.

With the November election just another week away, here is an updated look at the marijuana laws and pending legislation in your neck of the woods:

There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.

The state will vote on establishing a recreational marijuana market in the upcoming November election. Decriminalization laws are already in place for up to four ounces of marijuana, and the state has a medical marijuana program. Recent polls show that nearly 58 percent of the voters support Measure 2, which would allow marijuana to be taxed and regulated similar to alcohol.

The state has a medical marijuana program in place. However, Representative Ethan Orr says he intends to push a measure in 2015 to legalize recreational marijuana. He claims to trust the public to pass a ballot initiative, and believes elected officials should approve the issue. Orr says the state could use the revenue from cannabis taxes to straighten out the state’s tanking budget.

There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place. Yet, while Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel rejected another proposal to legalize marijuana in the state, he has given approved to two marijuana-related proposals that are now collecting signatures for 2016.

Possession of 28.5 grams or less of marijuana has been decriminalized. In addition, the state has one of the most liberal medical marijuana programs in the United States. The Marijuana Policy Project, however, is preparing to start collecting signatures for a 2016 initiative that would legalize recreational marijuana.

San Jose is losing the majority of its dispensaries. Over the summer, the city had around 80, but now only six have permits… all others must shut their doors. This drastic decrease in access comes with the passing of a new ordinance.

Legal Recreational and Medical Marijuana Market in Place. Interestingly, Colorado officials announced they were considering imposing a ban on marijuana edibles, but later retracted the statement after the story hit the media.

A half ounce or less of marijuana has been decriminalized, and the state has a medical marijuana program.

A medical marijuana program is in place. Yet, a recent poll by the University of Delaware shows that 56 percent of population would support a measure to legalize recreational marijuana. This is not likely to happen, however, because Governor Jack Markell has said that he will no support any such legislation, but is open to discus decriminalization to a certain degree.

District of Columbia
The state will vote on allowing the recreational use of marijuana in the upcoming November election. In addition, the district has decriminalized 1 ounce or less of marijuana, and it currently has a medical marijuana program in place.

To vote on legalized medical marijuana in the upcoming November election. A recent poll indicates that the state has a good chance of passing this measure -- 67 percent of the state’s voters are in favor of establishing a medical marijuana program. In order for the initiative to be approved, 60 percent of the voters will have to cast ballots in support of the issue.

Yet, another poll released last week indicates that the state will not be successful in gaining enough support to pass. But this does not have supporters concerned. In an emailed statement, United for Care’s Ben Pollara said:

“In public polls there's literally a 19% swing between the highest and lowest. Here's what I know: Our own internal data currently puts us above the 60% we need to win.”

“We knew, when a billionaire got into the race and dumped millions on the No on 2 side, that we would take a hit -- and we did. But as it turns out -- his money didn't go as far as they thought it would. We're still winning.”

There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.

The state has a medical marijuana program in place, but access is limited.

There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.

There is a medical marijuana program in place.

There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.

The state recently passed the Medical Cannabidiol Act, which allows parents with epileptic children to possess CBD oil. However, there is nothing written in the legislation that allows cultivation, so parents have been reduced to smuggle medicine in from other states or simply do without. This is because federal law will not allow the transport of cannabis medicine across state lines.

There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.

The state recently legalized industrial hemp for research purposes.

There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.

Possession of 2.5 ounces of marijuana or less has been decriminalized, and a medical marijuana program is in place. Voters in select cities will decided on the issue of decriminalization in the upcoming election.

Possession of 10 grams or less of marijuana has been decriminalized, and a medical marijuana program is in place.

Possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana has been decriminalized, and a rough medical marijuana program is in place. Bay State Repeal, however, is currently working on an initiative to put the question to legalize marijuana in 2016. In addition, the state just launched a mandatory medical marijuana registration program that requires patients and caregivers to sign up before the end of the year to qualify for access to medical marijuana.

“You will need to register with the MMJ Online System by January 1, 2015 in order to possess marijuana for medical purposes, even if you already have a paper written certification from your physician. Paper written certifications will no longer be valid as of February 1st, 2015,” according to a press released issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

A medical marijuana program is in place.

A medical marijuana program is in place.

Possession of 30 grams or less of marijuana, first offense, has been decriminalized.

The heath department announced last week that will start accepting applications from those interested in growing CBD medical marijuana strains. A new state law goes into effect in November that allows the cultivation of low-THC cannabis. Two growers will be licensed, and application must be submitted within the next 30 days.

A medical marijuana program is in place.

Possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana, first offense, has been decriminalized.

A medical marijuana program is in place.

New Hampshire
A medical marijuana program is in place.

New Jersey
A medical marijuana program is in place.

New Mexico
A medical marijuana program is in place.

New York
Possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana, first and second offenses, has been decriminalized. In addition, the state recently approved legislation to establish a medical marijuana program.

North Carolina
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.

North Dakota
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.

There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.

There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.

To vote on Measure 91 in the upcoming November election, which serves to establish a recreational marijuana market. Recent polls indicate that 52 percent of the voters are in support of the measure, while 41 percent are opposed. If the initiative passes, residents would be allowed to be in possession of up to eight ounces of marijuana, while cultivating up to four plants. Retail cannabis stores would be permitted to open to adults over the age of 21.

Judge Pat Wolke handed down a verdict last week stating that local governments are well within their rights to band dispensaries.

Senator Daylin Leach is calling for the Pennsylvania District Attorney’s Association to not prosecute offenses related to medical marijuana. “Given the likelihood that using lifesaving medical cannabis will not be a legal issue in Pennsylvania for much longer, I ask that you consider using your prosecutorial discretion,” wrote Sen. Daylin Leach.

The Senate recently approved the Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Act, but it failed to heard by the House. Leach is calling for the association to exercise an act of compassion and not prosecute anyone who demonstrates a medical reason for using the herb.

Rhode Island
Possession of one ounce or less of marijuana has been decriminalized. In addition, the state has a medical marijuana program in place.

South Carolina
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place. A CBD bill was approved last year, which will allow the Medical University of South Carolina to study the medicinal benefits of the non-psychoactive strain.

South Dakota
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.

There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.

There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place. However, the Marijuana Policy Project is developing several proposals for the state, ranging from decriminalization to the use of medical marijuana and full legalization. The group will pre-file three bills next month, which they hope will be heard during the next legislative session.

There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.

Possession of 1 ounce or less of marijuana has been decriminalized. In addition, the state also has a medical marijuana program in place.

There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.

A Legal Recreational Marijuana Market in Place. However, voters will decide on how marijuana is taxed in the upcoming election.

West Virginia
There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.

There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.

There are currently no medical or recreational marijuana laws in place.


Jul 25, 2008
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Should the Feds reclassify marijuana? US judge holds hearing.

In a case that some say could change the relationship between the states and the federal government regarding marijuana, a US district judge in Sacramento, Calif., has granted a three-day hearing starting Monday that challenges the federal ban on the substance.

At issue is the classification of marijuana by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a Schedule I drug, established in the early 1970s. That is the same classification given to heroin, LSD, and Ecstasy. The status was reaffirmed in 2011 and upheld in a federal appeals court last year.

The hearing stems from a criminal case involving several men who were charged with growing marijuana on national forest land. The current evidentiary hearing was granted by Judge Kimberly Mueller after two San Francisco attorneys filed a motion last November to dismiss the charges on grounds that the indictment is unconstitutional. The defense attorneys are arguing that "marijuana does not fit the criteria of a Schedule I Controlled Substance" and shouldn't have been used to target their client.

“It’s earth-shattering to even have this hearing,” says Adam Levine, adjunct professor at Stetson University College of Law in Gulfport, Fla. “The fact that the judge is willing to hear this case means she is willing to question if the DEA’s original classification is constitutional.” He puts the chances of such a finding at “better than even.”

According to Kris Hermes, spokesman for the medical marijuana-related group Americans for Safe Access, the case could affect pending ones in Vermont, Colorado, and Washington – where states filed petitions to reschedule marijuana for medical use in 2011. And it could have bearing on the raids conducted last week at two medical marijuana dispensaries in West Hollywood and Westwood, Calif.: It could remove the legal premise underpinning the raids.

“So far, the DEA has given no explanation for these raids,” says Mr. Hermes, adding that both facilities operate in accordance with local and state laws. But he is encouraged that Judge Mueller is going to look at evidence, which he says courts have refused to do for decades in cases that his organization has been involved with.

Others are more skeptical about the current hearing changing anything, saying the standard that has to be met in court is very high.

“This constitutional challenge to the federal government’s regulation of marijuana is unlikely to succeed,” says Michael Moreland, vice dean of the Villanova University School of Law near Philadelphia, in an e-mail. To win, he says, the defendants have to show that the current classification of marijuana is unreasonable.

“That’s a very high legal standard to meet. Advocates of legalized marijuana have a better chance convincing Congress or the DEA to change the classification of marijuana. There is a process already in place to reclassify a drug, and I think federal courts will be reluctant to interfere with that,” he writes.

Others note that any ruling in this case would relate solely to the specific defendants in the case and could become broader only if appealed to higher courts.

Stanford law professor Robert MacCoun agrees that the case isn’t as strong as some may hope. “If we were starting from scratch, I very much doubt we'd put marijuana in Schedule I. But now that it's there, it isn't easy to move it out,” he writes in an e-mail.

All say that more would be known about the possible medical benefits of marijuana if the federal government had made it easier to study the drug scientifically. Now, they say, the question will be less the real or perceived benefits of marijuana and more its potential for danger.

Professor Levine and others see marijuana as less dangerous than other drugs on the Schedule I list, noting the fatal consequences often attached to heroin, for example. There are arguably greater dangers connected with some non-Schedule I drugs, too, including alcohol, cigarettes, and prescription drugs.

For a change in classification to happen, Professor MacCoun thinks more public acceptance is required, reflected in new lawmakers and laws.

“Perhaps court cases can resolve this,” he says. “But I think it is more likely to happen if and when state legalization spreads far enough to force us to confront the contradictions.”


Jul 25, 2008
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Infused Products, Sell SMaRT and more

A new round of Sell-SMaRT classes, the responsible cannabis vendor training program collaboration between NCIA and Cannabis Trainers, has been scheduled for today -- and that's just the first of many marijuana-related activities on this week's calendar.

In addition to today's Sell-SMaRT classes, further sessions are scheduled for Wednesday, November 19, and Wednesday, December 10. All classes will take place from noon to 5 p.m. at Dixie Elixirs, 4990 Oakland Street, and cost $97 for NCIA members and $147 for nonmembers. Visit thecannabisindustry.org/events to learn more or sign up.

The Infused Product and Extraction Symposium starts today with a cocktail and networking reception and runs through Wednesday, October 29; it'll be held at the Hyatt Regency Tech Center, 7800 East Tufts Avenue, and will include best practices, legislative discussions and more. Visit cannabisbusinesssummit.com/infused-products-symposium for details.

On Tuesday, October 28, you can find gubernatorial candidate Mike Dunafon on Cannabis Network Radio at 7 p.m. He'll participate in a question-and-answer session with the 710 PAC (political action committee), so listeners can learn more about his cannabis platform. Tune in to cannetradio.com to hear what he has to say.

The Colorado chapter of the Public Relations Society of America will host its annual Brand Challenge on Tuesday, October 28, and this year, the challenge revolves around pot; the theme is "Standing Out in a Field of Cannabis Edibles and Other Brand Challenges of Legalization." Guest panelists (Stacey Stegman of DIA, the Denver Post's Ricardo Baca and Joe Hodas of Dixie Elixirs) will discuss an array of topics related to marijuana and branding at the Oxford Hotel Theater at 4 p.m. Tickets are $20 for students and $35 for the general public; learn more at prsacolorado.org.
New marijuana rules will go into effect this Thursday, October 30; we have a summary of what you can expect in our post headlined "Inside Colorado's New Marijuana Rules."

The next Puff, Pass & Paint event, where you can explore your creativity in a cannabis-friendly atmosphere, is scheduled for Thursday, October 30, from 7 to 9 p.m. Admission is $50. Visit puffpassandpaint.com or e-mail [email protected].