Articles Posted in California marijuana legalization

Recent statements by new U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions regarding the recreational marijuana industry have many on edge, concerned for a return to the days of constant federal raids and crackdowns on businesses and individuals abiding state cannabis law. cannabis

In response to this, a number of Sessions’ fellow Republicans – including Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman – are urging Sessions to reconsider.

Specifically, Coffman told The Denver Post she extended an invitation to Sessions to come to Colorado and see how the state has managed and regulated its recreational marijuana industry. Coffman’s invitation was reportedly extended in a meeting with some of Session’s top staffers in Washington D.C. Coffman noted that Colorado is a good place for Sessions to start any inquiry on the matter, as Colorado is the state with the longest history of recreational marijuana in the country.  Continue reading

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is no fan of marijuana. But would he really effect policy that would upend a multi-billion dollar industry that weakens cartels, provides relief for the ailing and dying and helps hundreds of thousands of people avoid unnecessary jail time and criminal penalties? arrest

If one of his recent speeches is any indication, the answer is likely: Absolutely.

The speech took place in Virginia at a summit on violent crime. In part of his message, he called marijuana use a “life-wrecking dependency” that could be considered only slightly less terrible than heroin.  Continue reading

University students in Iowa recently prevailed in a federal free speech lawsuit that affirms students’ rights, no matter what their political persuasion. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit ruled that two school administrators employed by Iowa State University violated the rights of two students who served as top administrators of the school’s local chapter of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). university

The two students had plans in the works to print off a series of t-shirts that showed a marijuana leaf alongside the school’s mascot. School officials claimed that the production of such material would be a violation of the university’s trademark policy.

Students sued the school in federal court, arguing that the policy on the mascot trademark was a violation of students’ free speech rights. Last year, the judge issued a ruling agreeing with the students and prohibiting the school from stopping the students from making the shirts. The judge ruled that the school’s rejection of the t-shirts with NORML’s designs were discrimination because the decision was based on the fact that administrators disagreed with the students’ political point-of-view. Continue reading

California marijuana regulations – and specifically, what they should be – is the first order of business for the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation. The state agency has now opened the doors for applications of stakeholders to weigh in as they craft the state rules that will govern the new legal market. marijuana

Wider medical marijuana laws passed by the state in 2015, plus the recreational legalization measure that was approved by voters in November require some type of regulatory framework put in place by the state agency. These provisions will ultimately cover the specifics of marijuana cultivation, manufacturing, transportation, sales and other market elements. But first, the agency wants input.

In the meantime, state lawmakers are busy working to hammer out a new law that would help to reconcile the various discrepancies between the medical marijuana law and the recreational marijuana law. The discrepancies currently are pitting labor unions against each other. Some of the differences involve things like who can move marijuana from farms and manufacturing plants to market. There are also numerous questions about whether marijuana businesses should be allowed to operate as a one-stop-shop. Continue reading

Measure M, a bill proposed by the City of Los Angeles that gives council the authority to regulate the local recreational and medical marijuana industries was overwhelmingly approved recently.marijuana bud

Measure M won over big in comparison to the votes garnered for another, Measure N, which was placed onto the ballot by a marijuana trade group that later swung its support behind the city’s proposal.

The bills were placed on the ballot in response to the November results in the state election that legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, beginning next year. Measure M gives the city the authority to repeal the current ban on medical marijuana dispensaries (Proposition D, passed in 2013), and replace it with updated rules that will regulate the varying kinds of marijuana businesses in Los Angeles. Additionally, the measure grants city leaders the power to enforce these rules, including imposition of fines, criminal penalties and loss of utilities like water and power for companies that flout city rules or try to operate unlicensed.  Continue reading

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer has rattled the cannabis industry after saying he anticipates the Department of Justice to ramp up enforcement of federal statutes that outlaw recreational marijuana – even in states where it is legal, including California. whitehouse

A total of eight states plus the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use of marijuana among adults. What this means is currently 1 in 5 Americans adults can lawfully smoke, drink, eat or vape cannabis under state laws. More than half the population lives in a state where the drug is legal for medicinal purposes. This has given rise to a $6 billion industry that is projected to grow to $50 billion by 2026. But all of that could be in jeopardy.

Many in the marijuana industry have expressed surprise at this about-face, especially given that the Trump administration has seemingly prioritized states’ rights on a myriad of other issues, from education to use of bathrooms by people who are transgender. The statement by Spicer was also surprising given the fact that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is a major proponent of states’ rights. However, Sessions has also for many years vehemently opposed cannabis use. During his confirmation hearing in January, Sessions refused to say he wouldn’t enforce federal law on the issue, and further indicated that if Congressional leaders believed the drug should no longer be illegal, they should pass a law.  Continue reading

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