Articles Posted in California marijuana legalization

Over the course of the last year, a number of states have acquiesced to allow medical marijuana to be distributed for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD. army

For example:

  • The U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate voted on separate occasions to allow the Veterans Affairs office doctors to talk about medicinal marijuana with their patients as an alternative form of treatment if they suffer from PTSD.
  • In Ohio, PTSD was listed as one of the 20 conditions that qualified under the state’s medical marijuana law signed by the governor.
  • In Illinois (Cook County, to be specific), a judge ordered that the state’s department of health add PTSD as a condition that qualifies for medical marijuana.
  • In New Jersey, the state assembly passed a bill that qualified PTSD as a condition for which sufferers could obtain medical marijuana.
  • In Rhode Island, the governor signed a law listing PTSD as a condition that is debilitating for purposes of medical cannabis treatment.

In addition to all this, the results of the November election mean that 21 states plus Washington D.C. and Guam gave the green light for marijuana to be used to treat PTSD. However, not all states are on the same page about this.  Continue reading

Every single month, there are more than 22 million Americans use marijuana, medicinal or recreational, in the 28 states plus the District of Colombia where it’s legal in some form. Last year, national sales of marijuana reached an estimated $7.1 billion – which is what they are expected to reach in California alone in 2018. marijuana

And yet, a new comprehensive report on the health effects of marijuana indicates that so much of the benefits – and real dangers – of the drug are unknown because, as researchers explain, the federal government has continuously blocked efforts to conduct research that would provide concrete – reliable – answers.

The study, conducted by the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine, presents approximately 100 conclusions related to the health effects of cannabis and cannabinoid use. The report also makes a series of recommendations for agendas of government, health organizations and researchers to expand and/or improve the kinds of studies being conducted so the public will be adequately informed about their current and future health decisions.  Continue reading

Legal marijuana has resulted in an uptick in supply, which, as Bloomberg News recently reported, has dampened the profits of marijuana growers, who are seeing the price of pot plunge. However, as the report indicated, this may be an opportunity for companies that are able to carve out a niche by cutting production costs for cultivators. greenhouse

Once-illicit growers have been banking on some degree of legalization, investing millions in facilities and factors that can help in the growth and processing of the drug. But there has been stiff competition in the marketplace, and that has driven down the average cost that wholesalers are willing to pay – now down to about $1,300 a pound in Denver since January 2014, when sales to all over-21 adults became legal in Colorado. That’s a nearly 50 percent drop in a span of just two years.

As supply of the drug has ballooned, growers are now looking to invest in the latest-and-greatest technology to help them cut down on their turnaround time. Any marijuana business that can help growers focus on efficiency is going to find themselves an edge in the market.  Continue reading

Leaders in California and Massachusetts are asking the federal government to ease up on rules that keep banks from doing business with those in the marijuana industry.bank money

Specifically, California’s state Treasurer John Chiang formulated a group of 16 bankers, marijuana industry leaders and elected officials to define the problem as it relates to banking and work on hammering out some type of solution. Meanwhile, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) penned a correspondence with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, asking for rules and guidance for banks and dealing with cannabis businesses.

The majority of banks, financial institutions and credit unions won’t work with the cannabis industry – even those who work in businesses that are ancillary to the industry, such as product testers or product suppliers. Growers and distributors function almost entirely on cash-based models. Meanwhile, California’s first recreational marijuana businesses are slated to open sometime in 2018, per the recently-approved Proposition 64, which legalized marijuana use for and distribution to adults over the age of 21. The state now has one year to work out some kind of banking services model that is going to be workable in the legal framework. The big issue, of course, is the federal law that outlaws marijuana for any purpose. It doesn’t appear federal officials are likely to budge on this issue anytime soon, as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has steadfastly refused to reclassify marijuana from its Schedule I status – maintaining it in the same danger class as heroin. Continue reading

As we head into 2017, there is a great deal of uncertainty about what a Trump administration will mean for those in the marijuana industry in California and beyond. Cannabis advocates and industry players are struggling with attempting to formulate a strategy when no one knows exactly what the President-elect thinks about legalization.americanflag

There have been efforts to piece together an idea of what the strategy will be, based on off-hand remarks and Trump’s cabinet picks. Then there is the fact that conservatives have historically demonized marijuana use (including both the new attorney general, Sen. Jeff Sessions, as well as the new health and human services secretary, Rep.Tom Price). But then there is also the fact that Republicans have largely embraced the notion of empowering states’ rights. Plus, marijuana is no longer a red-blue issue, with many conservative Republicans favoring legalization, and there are also liberal Democrats who oppose it. Trump himself has said that he is in favor of medicinal marijuana access.

In light of all this, those in the industry have worked out some loose-level strategies and ideas that will likely need to be tailored as time goes on and the policies become more concrete.  Continue reading

Cannabis has made major strides in terms of public opinion in recent years. Today, a majority of Americans say marijuana should be legal. In November, California voters agreed it should be legal for recreational use. More than half of all states now have some form of legal access to medical marijuana. It would seem, then, the next logical step would be for the federal government to step back from the stringent law that’s currently on the books – the one that classifies marijuana as a Schedule I narcotic with no redeemable value – and create a policy that more fits the modern legal landscape. marijuana

Not so fast. As the Associated Press recently reported, two of President-Elect Donald Trump’s top picks for prime cabinet positions – Sen. Jeff Sessions of Alabama and Rep. Tom Price of Georgia – could mean a new crackdown on marijuana-tolerant states, including California.

Just this past April, Sessions was quoted during a U.S. Senate hearing as saying that those who smoke marijuana are “not good people,” and likening those who believe marijuana should be legal are not grown-ups. He added that legalization of marijuana posed a “very real danger” to America.  Continue reading

California’s new marijuana law could cost millions in taxpayer dollars before it actually raises billions, thanks to a technicality in the language of the law that was just passed. marijuana

Prop. 64, which legalized recreational marijuana, was always intended to raise substantial tax revenue for the state. However, it was intended to do so with a 15 percent excise tax on both medicinal and recreational marijuana. The law also imposes a 7.5 percent sales tax on top of that for recreational marijuana, but repealed it for medical marijuana. Medical marijuana buyers have been paying that sales tax since the drug first became available as medicine. The idea was that medicinal users of the drug would get a tax break relative to recreational users once recreational sales start in January 2018. However, there was one problem: The 62-page initiative did not include the January 2018 target date relative to the repeal of the medical marijuana sales tax.

That means the repeal of medical marijuana sales tax in California became effective immediately. It also means that medical marijuana may be obtained tax-free in California until next January, when it will be under that 15 percent tax.  Continue reading

No matter how many states legalize recreational marijuana, the corporate policies of private companies can play a big role in whether people will actually imbibe. job

A recent study by the American Public Health Association, presented in Denver, delved into the issue of what mattered most to those in five state where voters were mulling legalization. The goal was to examine what regulatory approaches states might consider making if they wanted to influence usage.

Researchers surveyed some 535 adults in California, Florida, Arizona, Massachusetts and Michigan, weighing their responses in four different scenarios. What they discovered was:

  • 5 percent said state tracking of their marijuana purchases would deter use;
  • 5 percent said the threat of arrest for smoking in public would deter them;
  • A price increase of $20 per gram (through higher taxes and fees) would slash usage by 5 percent.

But the biggest potential influence? Employers.  Continue reading

Marijuana is likely only going to increase in price. The question for many becomes: Should I grow it myself or buy it in a dispensary? cannabis

There are pros and cons to each, of course. Understanding what those are can help you make an informed decision.

Traditionally, cannabis has been produced on a small scale for purposes of flying under the radar of law enforcement. That means a lot of people have some knowledge of how to grow the plant. However, with a burgeoning legal market, people now (or will soon) have the option of choosing an array of products with specific chemical make-up and purpose – similar to what we would find in a grocery store produce aisle. And just like grocery stores, marijuana dispensaries are going to receive their supply cultivated from farmers who carefully produce the product and make it available for a reasonable price.  Continue reading

Days before the Nov. 8 election with the California ballot measure considering legalization of recreational marijuana, the largest city in the Bay Area, San Jose, voted to temporarily ban recreational marijuana sales there.cannabis

The city joined a growing number of other municipalities that preemptively banned recreational sales or passed certain regulations that limited cultivation, processing and distribution of non-medical marijuana in anticipation of Proposition 64, legalizing marijuana for adults.

San Jose city officials told The Mercury News the ban was an effort to curb illegal marijuana shops from opening immediately after the law passed. The ban is notably temporary, though there is no date at which the measure is slated to sunset. Leaders say this will allow them additional time to formulate a regulatory plan to help ensure proper oversight of dispensaries and shops within its borders. Continue reading