Marijuana News

25 Nevada Dispensaries Will Sell Recreational Marijuana Starting July 1

Nevada Dispensary

The commissioners of Clark County – where Las Vegas resides –  approved 25 medical marijuana dispensary special use permits allowing them to sell recreational marijuana beginning July 1.

Adam Denmark Cohen of Jardin Dispensary said, “We believe that we’re on track for a July 1 launch. The state of Nevada, and Clark County in particular, are quite used to regulating complicated industries, and we’ve just seen a commitment and follow through on all levels to get the program implemented and launched in a timely manner,” reported the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

The commissioners also discussed a code violation regarding Digipath Labs. The testing facility sent an email blast in April advertising for a “cannabis-infused dining experience and cannabis cocktail hour” for another company. The event was canceled.

Todd Denkin, president and founder of Digipath Labs, said, “I want to wholeheartedly apologize for my obvious lapse in judgment. We were just trying to help a friend promote her event.”

The commissioners chose not to revoke the lab’s license. Instead, they instructed the lab to create and distribute free handbooks regarding Nevada’s marijuana laws. They are also to host a dozen educational lectures about marijuana laws. In addition to these consequences, they are also ordered to make a $50,000 donation to Roseman University of Health Sciences to aid an ongoing pilot study regarding children and drug abuse.

Commissioners aren’t going to use this alternative punishment approach with future violators though.

Commissioner Chris Giunchigliani said, “We wouldn’t let that happen with liquor and gaming. Then why would we do it with the marijuana industry? If we want to be the gold standard, then let’s be the gold standard.”

Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick said, “I will support this motion today, but I, in the future, am not doing it this way.”

Moving forward, there will be specific violations with corresponding consequences for future violations of Clark County code.

 

Landlords Offer Rooms Via Airbnb for Marijuana-Consuming Tourists

Airbnb Marijuana

Marijuana lounges continue to face scrutiny in Oregon, so Portlander John Mealy decided to list two rooms in his home on Airbnb for marijuana-consuming tourists. He is one of about 2-dozen rentals offering marijuana-friendly bookings.

Not everyone is aware that Oregon’s bill (SB 307) to allow marijuana consumption lounges died in the legislature, according to Willamette Week. The current law allows those over age 21 to use recreational marijuana at home or on private property. Public consumption is not permitted.

Mealy said, “People come from all over – Nepal, Romania, Australia. If they have pot, they can smoke it anywhere in the house they want.”

Sean Wilson of Ascend said, “We have a lot of people come in thinking Portland is like Amsterdam. They think they can just go to a coffee shop and smoke, and we have to tell them no, that’s not the case.”

Some were surprised when SB 307 died in legislation. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler and the City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly supported the bill. They wrote a letter to lawmakers that read, in part: “The city appreciates the need to balance the business interests of the cannabis industry, the needs of cannabis consumers, and the safety and livability issues that affect Oregonians and Oregon’s visitors and the city of Portland believes that balance is appropriately struck with SB 307.”

Law enforcement officials aren’t very strict with enforcing the no public consumption portion of the law, openly admitted. Tourists caught smoking marijuana in public rarely get a ticket.

Sgt. Pete Simpson said, “We do little to no marijuana enforcement and haven’t for many, many years.”

Mealy’s quaint, private home is typically booked throughout the entire summer. This is his third year in business. He puts a personal touch on his “Romancing the Stoned” rooms by being personable, friendly and offering treats to his guests throughout the day. It isn’t uncommon for John to offer marijuana brownies or pineapple upside down cake and other treats to his guests.

Many of the 420-friendly tourist rental options in Oregon don’t allow smoking in the rooms, but at John Mealy’s Arbor Lodge home, renters can consume anywhere and however they’d like.

Marijuana Users Are “Among the Most Well-Adjusted and Successful of American Adults”

Marijuana Hiking

A first-of-its-kind study reveals that marijuana users are among some of “the most well-adjusted and successful American adults.” The study was conducted by BDS Analytics. Three categories were examined including consumers, accepters and rejecters.

The study found that Colorado marijuana users are more likely to have a full-time job, reports Fox 31 News Denver. They are also more likely to be more satisfied with their lives today than a year ago and are also more social. The study also shows that marijuana consumers enjoy outdoor recreation more than those that reject marijuana use.

Featured data from the study:

  • 64-percent of Colorado marijuana consumers are employed full-time
  • 51-percent of those accepting marijuana use are employed full-time
  • 54-percent of those rejecting marijuana use are employed full-time
  • Nearly 50-percent of Colorado marijuana consumers are more satisfied with life today than compared to a year ago
  • 36-percent of Colorado marijuana consumers are very social while only 21-percent of acceptors and 28-percent of rejecters are very social
  • 50-percent of Colorado marijuana users enjoy outdoor recreation compared to only 36-percent of the rejecters.

“Cannabis consumers are far removed from the caricatures historically used to describe them. In fact, positive lifestyle indicators like volunteering, socializing, satisfaction with life and enjoyment of exercise and the outdoors are highest among cannabis consumers, at least in Colorado and California,” said Linda Gilbert of BDS Analytics.

Judge’s Ruling Allows Nevada Liquor Dealers to Sell Marijuana

Vegas

Regulators in Nevada are still determined to launch recreational marijuana sales via medical marijuana dispensaries on July 1, even though a Nevada judge put roadblocks in place on June 20.

A temporary order previously issued has been extended, according to Nevada Public Radio, and the extension of the temporary order bans existing medical marijuana dispensaries from obtaining proper licenses to sell recreational marijuana.

Until another order is issued or the ban expires, only licensed liquor wholesale dealers will be permitted to have recreational marijuana licenses, which will make Nevada the first state to have liquor companies legally selling marijuana.

There are no mentions of further actions planned by the existing medical marijuana dispensaries or marijuana regulators in Nevada yet.

Mexico Has Legalized Medical Marijuana Nationwide

Mexico Marijuana Legal

Medical marijuana has been confirmed in Mexico via decree issued by President Enrique Pena Nieto. The Ministry of Health is responsible for crafting the country’s medical marijuana regulations. The decree also includes allowing marijuana research to take place.

Criminalizing consumption of marijuana is also ending, according to KSAT 12 News.  Medicines will be permitted to be created with the base ingredient being marijuana and/or its active cannabinoids. Mexico’s president has never tried marijuana and has long been opposed to legalization. His shift in opinion is significant.

Medical marijuana legalization may aid in reducing drug violence throughout Mexico.

Bitcoin May Revolutionize the Legal Marijuana Industry

Bitcoin Marijuana

Banks still don’t want to work with legally operating marijuana businesses because marijuana is still federally illegal. But cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, can solve transaction issues for marijuana businesses. The digital currency helps prevent these businesses from having large amounts of cash on-hand.

In 2016, the legal marijuana industry was valued at $6 billion, according to Bloomberg. By 2026, the industry could be worth around $50 billion. Bitcoin services like POSaBIT and SinglePoint Inc. are helping marijuana users use this digital currency to purchase recreational and medical marijuana.

John Baugher, co-founder of POSaBIT, said, “There’s no industry – whether it’s the production and sale of cannabis or the production and sale of a cup of coffee – that can operate safely, transparently or effectively without access to banks or other financial institutions and traditional services. That’s where we thought we could leverage the use of digital currency.”

POSaBIT is in use by 30 different dispensaries across Washington State. One of POSaBIT’s customers, Trove Cannabis, recorded $3 million in marijuana sales last year, all done in cash. That averages to about 3,000 individual transactions weekly. Trove Cannabis was on a wait-list to use POSaBIT for six months.

In February, POSaBIT services were made available and since then, 13-percent of the business’ customers have chosen to use bitcoin.

When customers make a purchase, they’re asked if they’d like to pay with cash or digital currency. If digital currency is preferred, the customer is referred to the POSaBIT kiosk (which charges a $2 transaction fee), to purchase bitcoin to complete their purchase. Once transactions are completed, POSaBIT sends the funds in U.S. currency to the dispensary’s bank account.

To maintain compliance, POSaBIT follows these guidelines:

  • Limit of $150 of bitcoin purchased per transaction
  • 9-point fraud detection program
  • Bank account is required for the business

Neil Demers, a marijuana business owner in Denver, said, “I’m sure education could enlighten me and a lot of this industry on bitcoin being a feasible payment option, but we just don’t see it.”

Some industry experts, like Jeffrey Zucker of Green Lion Partners, believe that traditional banking options should be available before bitcoin really gets its footing in the industry.

Zucker said, “The banking issues are going to be solved in such time that the people in this industry are going to gravitate toward traditional banking.”

Greg Lambrecht of SinglePoint said, “It’s not foreign to them now, like some sort of weird scam that they don’t know about. More and more establishments are accepting it, but it’s kind of like the wild, wild west.”

 

Colorado Is Using Marijuana Industry Tax Revenues to Fight Black Market

Denver

Colorado is the first state to use its own tax dollars from the legal marijuana industry to help local law enforcement crackdown on the illegal marijuana industry. Governor Hickenlooper signed legislation allowing $6 million annually to be used for reimbursing police departments working against the black market.

Law enforcement groups backed the measure, according to Herald and News. Law enforcement says the black market has increased since marijuana became legal in 2012. The marijuana industry also backed the bill stating that the black market is undercutting marijuana prices and that it gives legalization “a bad name.”

Hickenlooper said, “We don’t want people to say they’re trying to grow for medical purposes, or licensed recreational uses, and instead they’re shipping it out of state.”

Oregon has a similar program, but law enforcement agencies are not directed to use the money specifically for the state’s black market.

Much of the efforts to reduce the black market will be focused on rural areas where legal marijuana may not be available and local taxes aren’t being collected. Some say the rural areas are exploiting the state’s law and are cultivating marijuana for out-of-state sales.

These rural areas have limited law enforcement resources and cannot investigate every complaint that comes in. Michael Phibbs of the Colorado Association of Chiefs of Police said, “An investigation like this can be very time-consuming and expensive.”

Part of the reason for the U.S. government staying out of Colorado’s legal marijuana experiment was that the state is supposed to prevent marijuana from traveling to other states where it’s not legal.

Growers in Colorado must obtain proper licensing and use the seed-to-sale tracking system, but not all growers are abiding by those rules.

Kevin Gallagher of Cannabis Business Alliance said, “The black market certainly hurts the regulated industry.”

In 2016 alone, Colorado law enforcement agencies seized 22,000 pounds of marijuana intended to be shipped out-of-state for sale.

Governor Hickenlooper is expected to sign legislation restricting the number of marijuana plants that can be grown in one household to 12 total, regardless of how many legal adults reside in the home. The new statewide limit takes effect in 2018.

Bill to End U.S. Medical Marijuana Prohibition Reintroduced in U.S. Senate

Carers Act

The CARERS Act has been reintroduced with bipartisan support to the U.S. Senate. Sponsors and co-sponsors include Senators Rand Paul, Corey Booker, Kirsten Gillibrand, Mike Lee and Lisa Murkowski. The bill also aims to respect states’ rights and expand marijuana research.

Possession, production and distribution of medical marijuana would be permitted in compliance with state medical marijuana laws, according to Marijuana Policy Project. Furthermore, doctors working for the Dept. of Veterans Affairs (VA) would be permitted to recommend medical marijuana for veterans, in states where medical marijuana is legal. Cannabidiol (CBD) would be removed from the federal definition of marijuana.

The first introduction of the CARERS Act was on March 10, 2015. Twenty-nine states have legalized medical marijuana, and nineteen other states have recognized marijuana’s medicinal value and have negligible laws for it (heavy restrictions or unworkable programs).

An April Quinnipiac University poll showed that 94-percent of U.S. voters support medical marijuana.

Don Murphy of MPP said, “The reintroduction of the CARERS Act is the first of many steps we hope this Congress will take to end the federal prohibition of medical marijuana. The addition of Sens. Lee and Murkowski as original co-sponsors should inspire other Republicans to seriously consider this legislation and the absurd federal overreach that it seeks to correct. Marijuana is effective in the treatment of several debilitating conditions. The federal government should not be meddling in state laws that allow it or obstructing research into its many medical benefits.”

Murphy also said, “Polls show overwhelmingly strong support for medical marijuana, and it spans the political spectrum. There is no better example of an issue that garners the level of bipartisan support necessary to pass meaningful legislation. Twenty-nine states and our nation’s capital have enacted effective medical marijuana programs, and an additional 19 states have adopted laws that recognize marijuana’s medical value. There is no rational reason to continue prohibiting seriously ill patients from using this medicine or punishing those who provide it to them.”

Photo: msnbc

Toronto Board of Health Says Canada Should Legalize Marijuana Immediately

Toronto Marijuana

Canada is still sailing toward legal recreational marijuana launching in 2018, but the Toronto Board of Health says the country should decriminalize immediately. It would be an effort to prevent more possession convictions just before legalization takes effect. The vote to recommend decriminalization was unanimous.

Toronto’s medical officer of health, Dr. Eileen de Villa, recommended decriminalization, according to Yahoo! News Canada. The recommendations also included setting the legal age to purchase marijuana at 19, rather than 18, as lawmakers previously suggested. Dr. de Villa also included recommendations for strict marketing and advertising regulations for the marijuana industry.

She said that, “A significant number of young Canadians will continue to obtain criminal charges before cannabis is legalized.”

AG Sessions Begs Congress to Let Him Prosecute Medical Marijuana Industry

Congress Marijuana

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions wants congress to repeal federal medical marijuana protections from 2014. The Rohrabacher-Farr amendment prohibits federal funds use for prevention of states “from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

Sessions wrote a letter regarding the nationwide disablement of medical marijuana protections, Bangor Daily News reports.  Sessions claims the amendment “inhibits [the Justice Department’s] authority to enforce the Controlled Substances Act.”  Sessions’ comments completely contradict current research.

Sessions says, in the letter, that, “I believe it would be unwise for Congress to restrict the discretion of the Department to fund particular prosecutions, particularly in the midst of a historic drug epidemic and potentially long-term uptick in violent crime. The Department must be in a position to use all laws available to combat the transnational drug organizations and dangerous drug traffickers who threaten American lives.”

America’s drug epidemic involves opiates and other street drugs, not marijuana. The National Institute on Drug Abuse acknowledges growing research showing that opiate overdoses and deaths decreased in states where medical marijuana is legal. Research also shows that a medical marijuana crackdown could make the opioid epidemic worse.

John Hudak of the Brookings Institution said that the letter “could appeal to rank-and-file members or to committee chairs in Congress in ways that could threaten the future of this Amendment.”

Hudak also called the content of the letter as a “scare tactic.”

Representative Dana Rohrabacher responded directly by saying, “Mr. Sessions stands athwart an overwhelming majority of Americans and even, sadly, against veterans and other suffering Americans who we now know conclusively are helped dramatically by medical marijuana.”

During President Donald Trump’s campaign, he voiced his support for state-level medical marijuana regulations. He provided notions that states can do what they want with individual medical marijuana policy.

Hudak said this “should make everyone openly question whether candidate Trump’s rhetoric and the White House’s words on his support for medical marijuana was actually a lie to the American public on an issue that garners broad, bipartisan support.”

Photo: Fox News