Marijuana industry angered by White House reversal

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Marijuana industry angered by White House reversal

The Columbian / Associated Press

The cannabis industry was rattled Thursday after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said he expects the Department of Justice to increase enforcement of federal laws prohibiting recreational pot, even in states where it’s already legal.

Along with the District of Columbia, eight states have legalized recreational use among adults, including California, Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada just this past November. That means one in five American adults can smoke, vape, drink, or eat cannabis as they please under state law.

Meanwhile, over half of the nation’s states have legalized medical marijuana despite federal laws prohibiting its sale. The industry is estimated to be worth north of $6 billion and will hit $50 billion by 2026, according to Cowen & Co.

“Today’s news coming out of the administration regarding the adult use of cannabis is, of course, disappointing,” Derek Peterson, CEO of marijuana cultivator Terra Tech Corp., said Thursday in a statement. “We have hoped and still hope that the federal government will respect states’ rights in the same manner they have on several other issues.”

Spicer sought to distinguish the prospect of federal enforcement for medical, versus recreational, cannabis use, saying “there’s still a federal law that we need to abide by when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.”

Spicer’s statements reanimated industry concern that first arose when Republican President Donald Trump’s short-list of potential attorney general nominees emerged. The final pick, former senator Jeff Sessions of Alabama, a Republican, has long opposed cannabis use, but is a major proponent of state’s rights.

In his mid-January confirmation hearing, Sessions said he wouldn’t “commit to never enforcing federal law” but added that “absolutely it’s a problem of resources for the federal government.” He said that if Congress felt marijuana possession should no longer be illegal, it “should pass a law.” Trump has similarly gone back and forth on the issue of legalization.

The Bloomberg Intelligence Global Cannabis Index fell as much as 3.7 percent after Spicer’s press briefing.

A crackdown on the industry would reverse existing federal policy and go against public opinion. The Obama administration largely deferred to the states, instead focusing on preventing distribution to minors, blocking sales across state lines, and keeping it out of the hands of gangs and criminals. A recent poll from Quinnipiac University found 71 percent of voters think “the government should not enforce federal laws against marijuana in states that have legalized medical or recreational use.”

The Drug Policy Alliance, a nonprofit organization that advocates for drug policy reform, cited the poll on Twitter in a reaction to Spicer’s statement. Of the more than 1,300 voters polled, 59 percent said marijuana should be legal in the U.S. Notably, Republicans opposed widespread legalization 61 percent to 35 percent.

Some in the cannabis industry see the federal reversal as a contradiction of the administration’s stated positions on state’s rights and job creation.

“To have Mr. Spicer say in one sentence that they’re a state’s rights administration and in the very next sentence say they’re going to crack down … it just defies logic,” said Robert Capecchi, director of federal policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, an organization that lobbies for pot-friendly changes to drug-related legislation.

The industry is also an abundant source of revenue, according to Patrece Bryan, president of Cannabrand, a pot focused marketing firm. New Frontier Data says the cannabis industry will create more than 283,000 jobs by 2020.

“This is absurd. For a president who ran under the banner of job creation, he actually needs to start looking at where the jobs are being created,” she said. “With Colorado generating $1.8 billion over a 10 month period, this is America’s new agriculture. Why would we take this revenue away from our country?”

The Drug Policy Alliance echoed Bryan’s point, noting that eliminating part of the legal cannabis market would mean “wiping out tax-paying jobs and eliminating billions of dollars in taxes.”

Still, not everyone was frantic about Spicer’s comments. The tacit endorsement of medical pot use was comforting, said Allen St. Pierre, a partner at Strategic Alternative Investments, which focuses on marijuana. Ian Eisenberg, founder of Seattle-based pot retailer Uncle Ike’s, was also sanguine.

“After the feds learn how well regulated Washington’s adult use and medical cannabis markets are, they will leave it status quo,” he said. Between July 2014 and April 2016, the state reportedly collected close to $200 million in tax revenue on cannabis.

Republican Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, where pot is legal, said he was assured before Sessions’ confirmation that there would be no drastic changes to federal policy. “That was the take-away from my conversation with Jeff,” Gardner said. “It’s not a priority of the Trump administration.”

Other politicians in states where recreational use is allowed said they will act to protect the industry. “These comments leave doubt and uncertainty for the marijuana industry, stifling job growth in our state,” said Democratic Rep. Jared Polis of Colorado.

Nevada Senate Majority Leader Aaron Ford, a Democrat, said his state’s attorney general “must make it immediately clear that he will vigorously defend Nevada’s recreational marijuana laws from federal overreach.”

Given the size and growth trajectory of the industry, entrepreneurs are not going to shut their doors without a fight, warns Troy Dayton, CEO of Arcview, a cannabis market research firm.

“People don’t respond well to having freedom taken away,” Dayton said.

(Why?)

Published at Fri, 24 Feb 2017 17:44:56 +0000

Marijuana dispensaries take wait-and-see approach after crackdown talk

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Marijuana dispensaries take wait-and-see approach after crackdown talk

The Columbian / Associated Press

Local marijuana shops say they will take a wait-and-see approach after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer recently made allusions to a federal crackdown on legal pot.

Ramsey Hamide, whose co-owned dispensary Main Street Marijuana is Washington’s top seller of marijuana, said cannabis-based businesses are worried they could face fines or jail time, but for many it’s too soon to say.

“We’re not going to do anything reactionary,” he said, later adding that he and his business partners would take it “one day at a time.”

Spicer said Thursday the administration may consider cracking down on the recreational marijuana industry now legal in eight states and Washington, D.C.

“I do believe that you’ll see greater enforcement,” Spicer said during a press briefing. He also made the distinction between recreational and medical marijuana, which he said were “very, very different” subjects.

Spicer then referred follow-up questions to the Department of Justice, now headed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has been critical of marijuana legalization.

The comments led Hamide and others to talk “contingency plans,” he said.

“If we’re to shut down, how do we unwind (the business)? How do we get rid of inventory? How does the framework unwind in a way that isn’t going to raise eyebrows with the federal government?” Hamide said.

Jim Mullen, owner of the trio of marijuana retailers called The Herbery, said he isn’t concerned and said people may be misinterpreting Spicer’s comments.

“I don’t think enforcement meant shutting (the industry) down, I think people are reading into it,” Mullen said. “And that’s common. It’s a new industry, it’s a big industry and it’s a popular industry. From what I’ve heard and read, people are making speculations that are completely inaccurate and out of context.”

Retailers have been thriving with little concern for federal involvement since the release of the so-called Cole Memorandum, in which Justice Department officials said federal prosecutors would not impede state laws as long as marijuana did not cross state lines.

Robert McVay of the law firm Harris Bricken said the Trump administration could choose to revoke or change the memorandum, or issue its own. But that move would put more work on agencies like the Drug Enforcement Agency.

“Federal law enforcement isn’t built to enforce these intrastate marijuana laws,” he said.

If they do proceed, the federal government could start by sending letters to marijuana businesses ordering them to halt production or sales, he said. They could be threatened with or face raids, arrests and other ramifications.

Hamide said if it comes to that, he will likely consider shuttering.

“Once that happens, we won’t be the last holdout on the block or anything, trying to take a stand against the Trump administration,” he said. “That’s a losing battle.”

Plans might also get tangled if the administration plans to knuckle down on recreational marijuana but not medical marijuana, McVay said. In Washington, for example, the programs are merged.

There are many marijuana businesses in Vancouver and Battle Ground, including 12 retailers and more than 20 producer-processors who grow, sell and make cannabis products. The industry has generated $34.1 million in excise taxes since debuting in 2014.

Washington officials look to oppose any moves made against the state’s marijuana laws. In a letter to Sessions dated Feb. 15, Gov. Jay Inslee and Attorney General Bob Ferguson said legalization had successfully turned a black market enterprise into tax dollars.

“This frees up significant law enforcement resources to protect our communities in other, more pressing ways,” the letter said. “We urge the DOJ to continue to allow states the option to pursue these sensible policies.”

Washington and Colorado were the first states to legalize marijuana, but have since been joined by Oregon, Alaska, California, Nevada, Maine, Massachusetts and Washington, D.C.

(Why?)

Published at Sat, 25 Feb 2017 02:19:30 +0000

An In-Depth Look at Cannabis Tourism

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An In-Depth Look at Cannabis Tourism

Posted by Jason Draizin on 02/21/2017 in Medical Marijuana

marijuana tourism

MarketWatch reports that travel site searches for Denver vacations increased nearly 75 percent in the year after the state legalized the recreational use of marijuana. Washington and Oregon saw similar search increases after it was legalized there as well.

denver weed tourism

What does that tell you?

Well, one thing businesses and state governments know is legalizing pot can bring in tourism revenues to local communities. This includes hotels, restaurants and other businesses that service the tourism industries, such as linen and food services.

Among younger travelers to Colorado, weed is said to have had a much bigger impact on their desire to visit, with as many as 33 percent of travelers between the ages of 25 and 34 suggesting the ability to legally use pot was one reason they chose Colorado as their vacation destinations.

millennials and weed

Of course, not everyone interested in marijuana is interested in its recreational use. Some have more medicinal needs to consider instead. This marijuana travel guide is poised to help you learn a few key points about traveling with marijuana and to destinations where cannabis may be a perk for your travel endeavors.

Traveling With Medical Marijuana

For people who use medicinal marijuana the question, “Can I take my medical marijuana on vacation?,” is one that comes up frequently because you can’t always get it where you’re going. Even if it’s allowed in one state, it depends on the laws of the states where you are going — and the states you are traveling through — as to whether or not it is wise to bring along with you.

In the United States, you should know that even though recreational and medical marijuana use is now legal in some states, it is still in violation of federal law. Since the Transportation Security Agency, which oversees air, rail and bus travel in this country, is a federal government agency, it’s not wise to bring even medically prescribed marijuana with you if you plan to fly, take a bus or ride the rails on your vacation within the country.

weed federally illegal

That said, if you are traveling to one of the states that allows recreational or medical marijuana, you could bring your prescription if that state recognizes out-of-state medical marijuana cards. And if you travel to states that allow the recreational use of marijuana, you should be able to find what you need during your stay.

One option is to embrace marijuana tourism by choosing locations where the use of recreational marijuana is not only lawful but accessible for tourists. This will prevent concerns over your medical marijuana needs while reducing your risks of running into jurisdictional issues related to it.

What Is Cannabis Tourism?

The term means different things to different people. For some people, it simply indicates marijuana-friendly hotels where they can enjoy the private use of marijuana without concerns of being escorted out of the building or having the police called.

For others, marijuana friendly vacations offer a little something more — whether that includes classes on how to properly use marijuana, access to cannabis-laced desserts or a complete package experience that offers something similar to wine tours and tastings, only with pot. Still others have a prescription for medical marijuana and need it to help manage pain, nausea and other health conditions while traveling. These individuals often book marijuana-friendly hotels.

For instance, Denver tourists booking a trip through 420 Tours can experience:

  • Craft marijuana concentrates tours
  • Sushi, sake, and joint-rolling classes
  • Greenhouse grow and dispensary tours
  • Budz & Sudz, grow & dispensary
  • Canna basics sommelier
  • Cooking with cannabis
  • Cannabis massage
  • All-inclusive cannabis vacations

While these types of tours appeal to many interested in cannabis tourism — and maybe yourself — other individuals simply want to have the opportunity to have access to weed in the form of their choice, often as a joint, and be able to experience it in privacy. This can be especially true for first-time or medicinal marijuana users.

cannabis tourism

Regardless of why you’re interested in a marijuana vacation, there are great packages available to travelers in the U.S. and across the globe.

Things You Should Know Before You Take Marijuana-Friendly Vacations

As exciting as it is to go on a pot-friendly vacation, there are a few things you need to understand before you head on out and land in a lot of hot water — and we’re not talking about the mineral springs kind, either. Even if you’ve taken a cannabis vacation before, it’s always wise to brush up on a few basics before lighting up.

Find Out the Local Laws

It’s important to know the rules about public and private marijuana use in the state or country you’re visiting. You also need to be aware of any limits related to how much marijuana you can have in your possession at a given time. You need to know the specific number of ounces or grams of hash, according to the local governance, that’s considered recreational — and at what point it becomes something more than recreational.

For instance, California allows people age 21 and over to possess as much as one ounce of marijuana, thanks to Proposition 64. Individuals who reside there can also grow up six pot plants in their homes.

ca weed laws

Finally, remember that laws are constantly evolving and changing, especially when it comes to the legalities of marijuana:

  • Make sure you are up to date on the most recent marijuana laws in the jurisdictions you’re traveling to.
  • If you’re traveling as part of a marijuana travel tour or group, they’ll often go out of their way to make sure you’re aware of the legalities.
  • Many pot-friendly hotels also inform guests about rules, especially the ones related to their properties so their ability to continue providing this valuable service is not compromised.

Understand the Specifics About Where You Can Purchase and Use Marijuana

If you use marijuana in the wrong places, you could find yourself in legal trouble. Where can you buy weed in the city? Some states have strict laws about selling recreational marijuana, and you must be the guest of an establishment in order to receive it. This means your hotel might leave a pot-laced brownie instead of a more traditional turn-down chocolate.

Don’t Partake and Drive

While you may enjoy some heightened sensitivities while under the influence of marijuana, you might also experience delayed responsiveness and reaction times. It’s not a good mix with getting behind the wheel and likely illegal in every jurisdiction around the world where recreational marijuana use is allowed – much like driving under the influence of alcohol.

dont smoke and drive

Some tours offer drivers for anywhere you need to go in the city or designated party buses for marijuana experiences. If not, there are always taxicabs, public transportation and ride services such as Uber and Lyft to consider. You may not ever need to leave your hotel or resort with some of the all-inclusive experiences available. Or you can partake in scheduled tours with transportation provided.

Less Is More

While you can buy up to one ounce in some locations, that is often far more than you really need — or will be able to consume during a typical trip. Buy the smallest amount vendors offer for sale and then get more later if needed, rather than buying more than is necessary and leaving a lot on the table at the end of your trip.

Be Discreet

Discretion really is the better part of valor. Even though marijuana is legal in many cities, there are still regulations about where and how it can be consumed. You can still get in trouble for consuming weed in the wrong place, and that can take a bit of the buzz out of your vacation fun, literally and figuratively.

Give Edibles the Respect They Deserve

These aren’t the traditional “bake sale” pot brownies you may have tried in college. Just like sneaky calories, the THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, which is the primary ingredient that gives the brownies their potency, can sneak up on you, giving you a much bigger return on investment than you had planned for. That’s a great thing because it means you don’t have to eat as much for the same buzz. However, it also means you’ll get much more than you bargained for if you aren’t conservative about your food choices.

edible thc

One thing to keep in mind at all times is laws and attitudes about recreational marijuana use are constantly changing. Be consistent when traveling to make sure you’re up to date with the latest at every stage of your travel.

Worldwide Vacation Hot Spots for Cannabis Users

There are different locations around the world where the recreational use of marijuana is much more widely accepted than in the U.S. Some have passed laws allowing for the legal use of marijuana while others have simply decriminalized its use or typically only prosecute in certain circumstances. Again, this is why it’s so important to understand the local laws and rules concerning the use of weed before traveling to the country.

These are a few of the global destinations you may want to consider if pot plays a role in your travel plans.

Barcelona

Moroccan hash is the most common form of marijuana available in Barcelona, where it does remain illegal. Pot use is often overlooked by law enforcement provided you are not in a club or bar while partaking. The beaches of Barcelona are always a draw, as well as the art and history of the region.

Visitors can enjoy the sensory lift lighting up creates while also visiting some of the city’s many museums, like the Picasso Museum. While under the influence, you might find your appreciation of art is a little more intense. Barcelona also has a legendary nightlife that blends with cannabis tourism.

Amsterdam

Considered one of the most romantic cities in the world, Amsterdam is also one with rather lax laws about pot. You can carry up to 30 grams of marijuana on your person for use indoors. Some area pubs will even allow you to light up inside. In addition to the liberal culture for weed, you will also find beautiful canal tours, historical tours and an abundance of museums, including the Van Gogh Museum and the Anne Frank Museum.

amsterdam weed laws

Jamaica

Many people dream about a trip to an island location such as Jamaica. With the Rasta culture and mellow beach vibes, it’s a great place for anyone who wants to enjoy a little Kush while watching the sun set over the Caribbean sea.

Like many tropical vacation hot spots, Jamaica can be as cost-effective or expensive as you’d like, according to your accommodation decisions. If you intend to have room in your budget for a little grass on the side, you’ll be glad to know there are plenty of budget-friendly options available — even in paradise.

While marijuana isn’t legal yet in Jamaica, its use has been downgraded to a petty offense in many cases by the government, while medical marijuana has become more abundantly available to tourists.  This means many tourists partake freely in cannabis use without fear of arrest or prosecution.

Uruguay

The cannabis culture is alive and thriving in Uruguay since it was legalized in 2013. You’ll find a wide range of vacation opportunities, from beachfront resorts and villas to more cost-effective apartment-style vacation spots in the city.

Each one offers many benefits and a different vacation experience. The fact that the use of cannabis in the country is fully legal makes it a great place to visit for those looking for a marijuana-related vacation ― whether you’re on the beach or in the heart of the city. You can also enjoy the nightlife, restaurants, and museums that go along with it.

Mexico

Another quickie consideration is to take a trip south of the border by visiting Mexico, where you can possess up to five grams of marijuana. However, having more than the legal limit can put you in a world of trouble, as Mexico takes this particular restriction seriously.

Mexico offers some of the most beautiful beaches and easy access for many American travelers, though attempting to cross the border with marijuana in your possession is not recommended going in either direction.

U.S. Hot Spots for Marijuana Tourism

You don’t have to travel outside of the country to use marijuana anymore. Some states have recently passed laws that either decriminalize the use of marijuana or make it legal to do so within the state borders.

The recreational use of marijuana is now legal in the District of Columbia and a slew of U.S. states, including:

  • Alaska
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • Nevada
  • Oregon
  • Washington

It’s important to reiterate this legalization is only from the perspective of state and local law enforcement. The U.S. federal government still considers marijuana illegal. For the most part, though, the federal police and law enforcement agencies aren’t going to go out of their way to hunt you down over an ounce of grass unless there is some other criminal activity or investigation going on.

Many other states have taken the step to decriminalize the use of marijuana without going the extra mile to legalize. Some have only seen fit to legalize medicinal use of marijuana and still strictly control and regulate that use.

While not all states in the U.S.A. have yet come around to the idea of decriminalizing medical or recreational marijuana use, the tides are turning, and this list will surely grow over time.

Below are a few hot U.S. cannabis destinations you might want to consider if you’re curious about marijuana or just want to use it to enhance your own vacation state of mind.

Denver, Colorado

The pot law allowing for the recreational use of marijuana in Colorado has been a huge boon for the state. Not only is the use of marijuana now taxed, bringing in new revenue for the state, but also it’s bringing in massive numbers of tourists dollars and sales tax revenues for the state too, as people flock in from other states around the country to sample the goods for themselves.  One survey revealed that marijuana is responsible for 50 percent of Colorado’s tourism.

marijuana tourism

There is a cottage industry cropping up to accommodate cannabis tourism in Colorado that includes chauffeured tours, bed and breakfast experiences, and more. Soon, perhaps, weederies in Colorado could be as popular as wineries in northern California or breweries in Vermont. Visitors can plan a number of cannabis-friendly getaways in the Mile High City, such as:

  • A ski trip
  • A white-water rafting trip
  • A spa getaway

Las Vegas, Nevada

One of the great things about Nevada is it practices reciprocity. That means if you have a medical marijuana card from another state, it will be honored in Nevada.

Now that it has become legal to use recreational marijuana in Nevada, analysts say the state will soon experience a boom that makes the Denver pot boom seem like small potatoes. Las Vegas already brought in a huge influx of partying visitors and tourists each and every day before legalizing marijuana. Now those numbers are only expected to grow as tourists have yet another way to party in Sin City.

United States Virgin Islands

If you’re interested in a vacation to a tropical paradise, it’s hard to go wrong with the United States Virgin Islands. English is the official language, the U.S. dollar is the official currency, and you still get to enjoy some of the most stunning beaches and waters the earth has to offer when you visit one or more of the three U.S. Virgin Islands:  

  • St. Thomas
  • St. John
  • St. Croix

Each island offers something beautiful, different and unique to explore, and there is always something to do, even if it’s just sinking your toes in the sand and watching the waves roll in. When it comes to traveling and cannabis, you’ll find while it is still illegal to smoke weed in USVI, it has been decriminalized on all three islands by a senate decision. Visitors possessing up to one ounce of pot will not face jail time, though they may be ticketed and fined up to $200, and their marijuana may be confiscated.

More Information About Marijuana/Cannabis Tourism

Whether you’re trying pot for the first time, partaking again after a long break or experimenting with new and different varieties of weed, any of these budding destinations in the U.S. or abroad have something unique to offer visitors. Make the most of your next vacation and consider booking a cannabis-friendly travel experience.

When you choose a vacation experience that educates you on the proper use of weed, it’s even better. Consider a travel experience or tour that offers advice and guidance rather than just access. If you have medicinal needs for marijuana, your best bet is to travel to states such as Nevada that honor the medical cards from other states.

Have further questions? Marijuana Doctors is the trusted source for patients searching for medical marijuana treatment or a dispensary in states where it is legal. Use our handy marijuana doctors search function today.

(Why?)

Published at Tue, 21 Feb 2017 05:00:00 +0000

Pot sales are mellowing out

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Pot sales are mellowing out

The Columbian / Associated Press

When recreational marijuana arrived in Washington, prices were still inflated by the black market. A gram of flower in 2014 could sell for $40.

“Those days are gone,” said Jim Mullen, co-owner of a trio of Clark County marijuana stores called The Herbery.

An average gram sells for $8.08 in Washington, according to the state Liquor and Cannabis Board. An agency spokesman said the price has dropped every month after its initial spike.

“It’s simple economics,” Mullen said. “It’s a business, just like anything else. It’s marijuana instead of widgets, you know?”

Competition from more retailers and growers is driving down the price of marijuana flower — the industry’s most sold product. Some predict revenues could plateau soon and local businesses are searching for ways to keep moving forward.

Customer loyalty

Mullen’s strategy for his Vancouver-based dispensaries is simple: Keep the customers happy.

“Our sales, I think, are going to increase because of great customer service, great products and great selection,” he said.

He compares the stores to Cheers, the Boston bar and setting for the 1980s sitcom of the same name, hoping they can become a place where customers have rapport with staff and return for a welcoming environment.

“It’s not just order off the menu and get them out the door,” he said. “It’s not uncommon to spend a few minutes talking with our budtenders about what’s new.”

Customer loyalty may become increasingly important as market forces drive down marijuana’s profitability. Clayton Mosher, a sociology professor at Washington State University Vancouver and author of a forthcoming book about marijuana policy, believes sales are heading for a plateau as demand hits the ceiling.

“We’ve had sales now for two-and-a-half years in Washington; I think the people that are going to use it have decided they are going to,” he said. “I don’t think that (new user) demographic is going to increase at all.”

Sales trends in Clark County lend credence to the theory. Revenues rose early on as marijuana first hit the shelves, but those revenues leveled off considerably in 2016. Dispensaries that have been open since the beginning saw sales peak in the latter half of 2015. Collective tax revenue for Clark County dispensaries has declined four out of the last five months.

Retailers say the price is falling as more marijuana flower has flooded the market. According to the state Liquor and Cannabis Board, flower harvests grew from nearly 60,000 pounds statewide in fiscal year 2015 to 226,500 pounds a year later. Flower comprises 60 percent of recreational marijuana sales, according to a 2016 report by the University of Washington Cannabis Law & Policy Project.

“This is not an exaggeration: We’ll get a call or a producer will come by with samples no less than twice a week,” Mullen said. “The majority of those are new companies that are starting up or are trying to move into a new market.”

Mullen said he used to buy directly from eight growers — now he buys from over 30.

‘Fighting for the consumer’

Prices are also falling as retailers try to get an edge over their own competition. Washington licensed over 200 new retailers just last year and Oregon’s own market came online in 2015. Portland alone has 125 approved dispensaries, according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

“In the old days, we saw 80 percent Oregon IDs” from customers, said Ramsey Hamide, co-owner of Main Street Marijuana. “Now it’s 80 percent Washington IDs. People are definitely shopping closer to home these days.”

Hamide’s store runs at a higher clip than most. A Friday afternoon crowd will flock around glass displays while workers in moss-colored shirts dive through the fracas. It’s friendly and lively, but there is definitely a premium on transactions, Hamide said.

“You’ve got to get more people through the door to make the same amount of money,” he said in a recent interview. The company also opened new locations in east Vancouver and Longview.

Its location in Uptown Village sells marijuana flowers for $6 to $12 per gram, and he said that the low-end price will likely fall to $4 per gram by spring.

The dispensary hopes to offset the price drop with more volume. It already logs between 1,500 and 2,000 transactions per day, and added online ordering and an express lane in the hopes of clocking even more.

It’s a familiar hustle for Hamide, who spent years with his brother reselling and wholesaling event tickets before graduating from the University of Washington with a business degree. Their drive to be the top destination in the Portland metro area has led them to beat the prices of their competitors — who then respond with their own price cuts.

“We get a lot of pushback from other stores,” Hamide said. “We get a lot of pushback from vendors who think what we’re doing is bad for the industry. But I’m fighting for the consumer. I don’t know how that’s bad for the industry.”

It appears to be working. Main Street Marijuana is the highest-grossing dispensary in the state, raking in more than $1.3 million per month.

“Not a lot of people have disposable income to waste, and they seek out the best deal,” he said. “The second we get a better deal (from producers) … we change our price.”

What’s next?

The price drop has not been unexpected. Before voters approved the legal marijuana marketplace, many predicted prices would be driven down by market forces.

Marijuana tax revenues are part of a multipronged funding package to hire 61 positions at the Vancouver Police Department. Revenues fell from $790,500 the first fiscal year to about $500,000 the second.

No positions will be impacted by the decline, according to Natasha Ramras, the deputy finance director for the city of Vancouver. She said the city budgeted for marijuana tax revenues to hover around $500,000 after the initial spike.

“We knew once Oregon matched the law we would lose, as a city, the revenue because those sales would go back,” she said.

For retailers, though, it may mean a bumpier path forward. Mullen said some local, industry peers are struggling. While licensing restrictions will keep Washington from being flooded with other retailers, Mosher suggested those without high sales may want to cultivate customer loyalty.

“People actually like established relationships with their budtenders,” he said. “They say, ‘I only go to The Herbery, or I only go here.’ ”

For others, business is business. Hamide said Main Street Marijuana will position itself to sell flower at the lowest prices, even if it means buying out competitors’ liquidation sales.

“People are either going to get it or they’re not. The one’s who don’t get it are going to go out of business,” he said. “When they go out of business, they’re going to have clearance sales and guys like me are going to scoop it up at an even cheaper price.”

Other marijuana products such as edibles and concentrates could become more important, as well. While those products don’t sell as much as flower, their prices have not fallen as much.

(Why?)

Published at Sun, 19 Feb 2017 14:05:50 +0000

Dutch lawmakers extend tolerance to cultivating cannabis

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Dutch lawmakers extend tolerance to cultivating cannabis

The Columbian / Associated Press

THE HAGUE, Netherlands — Dutch lawmakers on Tuesday voted in favor of tolerating the cultivation of cannabis, a move that could bring to an end a key paradox of the relaxed Dutch policy on marijuana and hashish.

Buying small amounts of pot at so-called coffee shops has long been tolerated in the Netherlands, but cultivating and selling the drug to the coffee shops themselves has remained illegal.

That hasn’t stopped coffee shops flourishing since liberalization of drug laws in the 1970s, and becoming a major tourist draw card, particularly in Amsterdam, where tourists often visit the cafes to light up a joint.

A narrow majority in the lower house of the Dutch Parliament voted in favor of the new law that would extend tolerance to growers as well as smokers. However, the bill still has to be approved in the upper house, known as the First Chamber, where it is not clear if it can find a majority.

If the votes in the upper house go along the same party lines as in the lower house, the bill would be rejected, Dutch broadcaster NOS reported. That means that the issue could become a bargaining chip in discussions to form a new coalition after the Netherlands’ March 15 lower house election.

Despite that uncertainty, weed sellers welcomed the vote.

“It is good news for the coffee shop industry because it will finally — if it passes the First Chamber — put an end to a lot of stuff we can’t organize in a normal and transparent way,” said Joachim Helms, chairman of the Coffee Shop Union.

Ahead of the vote, Alexander Pechtold, leader of the D66 party that drew up the legislation, said it would allow quality checks on cannabis crops, free up police and allow authorities to levy taxes on the huge pot-growing industry.

Afterward, he called the vote “a historic breakthrough.”

(Why?)

Published at Tue, 21 Feb 2017 21:43:43 +0000

5 Online Marijuana Marketing Tips For Start-ups

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5 Online Marijuana Marketing Tips For Start-ups

CBD and Children

02-20-2017

cbd-and-children

Cannabidiol (CBD) is one of 60+ chemical compounds found in marijuana that, along with tetrahydrocannabinols, or THC, gives marijuana most of its psychoactive and medicinal qualities. Different species or “strains” of marijuana contain different amounts of CBD and THC, with strains cultivated for medical purposes tending to contain more CBD than THC.
Alternately, pot cultivated… Read more

Weed-Infused Wine: The New Frontier in Edibles?

02-17-2017

weed infused wine

Innovation in the marijuana consumption market continues to grow as more and more states are beginning to legalize cannabis. The introduction of marijuana-infused wine is one of the latest examples of companies taking advantage of this. It joins the ranks of everyday food and drinks infused with cannabis, including:

Gummy bears
Cookies
Popcorn
Cakes
Candy
Brownies
Syrups and… Read more

Cannabis and Self-Esteem: Weed Out the Negative Thoughts

02-14-2017

marijuana and self-esteem

Low self-esteem affects nearly everyone at some point in their life, for varying durations of time. Constantly questioning your self-worth, however, is not healthy or normal. The effects of low self-esteem can include:

Disrespect for yourself, along with a propensity to allow others to disrespect you.
An absence of confidence, which can affect many other areas of your life, including family… Read more

How to Identify Old Marijuana

02-10-2017

old weed

If maintained and stored properly, cannabis can have an indefinite shelf life. A high level of care, however, has to be in practice for all stages of the plant’s life — from the growth and harvesting to processing and sale.
People who buy marijuana have virtually no control over how the product has been handled prior to purchase, so a consumer’s best defense against old… Read more

Tips for Educating Your Family on Medical Marijuana

02-10-2017

educate family on medical marijuana

Marijuana is a political topic in recent years that has some emotion attached to it for some people. People who use marijuana and find it harmless feel discriminated against by laws that ban the substance, while alcohol is openly consumed. Many people believe alcohol is a far more dangerous substance than marijuana, but the laws don’t treat it that way. Additionally, recent medical… Read more

What Is the Difference Between Different Types of Cannabis?

02-08-2017

types of cannabis

Marijuana can come in many different forms, flavors and strands — and the choices can be overwhelming for people seeking relief for certain medical conditions, but fear not. MarijuanaDoctors.com has the low down on the most common types of cannabis and what you will likely experience from each of them.
Above all else, you need to know what you’re looking for in terms of effects…. Read more

New Industries Developing Because of Medical Marijuana

02-07-2017

marijuana industry

Once an illicit drug that conjured up images of free love and the hippie movement back in the ‘60s, marijuana is currently legalized for medical and recreational use in many U.S. states, although it’s still illegal at the federal level.
According to figures from independent investment finance bank Ackrell Capital, this emerging growth industry is worth $40 billion both legally and… Read more

Can I Get Bad Breath From Medical Marijuana?

02-03-2017

marijuana breath

The good news about smoking marijuana is that it doesn’t come with the increased risk for cancer that accompanies cigarette smoking. This is because marijuana is more natural and doesn’t contain the carcinogens that cigarettes do. The bad news, however, is that it can give you bad breath.
For the majority of products meant to be smoked, there is always a risk for bad breath…. Read more

Your Guide To Cannabidiol

02-01-2017

what is cannabidiol

If you’re suffering from a chronic health condition that’s negatively impacting your life, it’s likely you’ve heard the buzz about cannabidiol, or CBD for short. In fact, this compound is rapidly changing the debate that surrounds using cannabis as a medicine.
You probably already know about THC, which is the substance in marijuana that gets you high. However, CBD… Read more

Getting Veterans Access to Medical Marijuana

01-31-2017

veterans and medical marijuana

Veterans comprise a community of people whose health issues are an especially good fit for medical marijuana. But gaining access has been a long journey for many, seeming like a never-ending uphill climb. The year 2016 alone was particularly tumultuous, featuring thrilling highs and crushing lows. Where the struggle goes from here is very hard to tell.
Medical Marijuana and PTSD
While many… Read more

(Why?)

Published at Fri, 17 Feb 2017 05:00:00 +0000

Pro-pot lawmakers to join forces, launch cannabis caucus

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Pro-pot lawmakers to join forces, launch cannabis caucus

The Columbian / Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Lawmakers looking to draw attention to pet issues have formed groups in favor of everything from auto care to zoos. Now, there’s a caucus for cannabis.

Rep. Earl Bluemenauer said the move is a sign of how mainstream the drive for marijuana legalization has become.

“This is happening all across the country, and its going to continue,” said the Oregon Democrat, an advocate for legalized marijuana since the 1970s. “The industry is growing, as is public acceptance and demand for medical marijuana.”

Blumenauer is one of the caucus’s founding members, along with California Republican Dana Rohrabacher, Colorado Democrat Jared Polis and Alaska Republican Don Young.

A wave of states approved recreational marijuana in November, a seeming boon for the argument that federal laws and regulations need to be revised to keep up.

But it remains to be seen whether new Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a longtime foe of legalized marijuana, will roll back Obama-era policies that have allowed pot businesses to flourish in states where it is legal.

The marijuana industry brought in $6.7 billion in legal sales in the U.S. last year. That figure is expected to grow after eight states — including the economic bellwether of California — passed marijuana-related referendums in November.

With that election, a total of eight states and the District of Columbia have now legalized recreational use of the drug and 28 states have legalized medical marijuana.

Under President Barack Obama, the Justice Department declined to interfere with states that had legalized marijuana, even though federal law defines it as an illegal drug.

Rohrabacher said he doubted the new administration would target medical use, which has mainstream support, but recreational use could be vulnerable. 

He and other members of the caucus pointed out that Trump said during his campaign that states should be allowed to make their own laws regarding marijuana use.

Congress passed a spending bill in 2014 that prohibits the Justice Department from using federal money to prosecute medical marijuana businesses in states where it is legal. That prohibition, co-sponsored by Rohrabacher, must be reapproved every fiscal year.

The cannabis caucus will focus initially on increasing medical research and revising banking and tax regulations that impede legal marijuana businesses, Blumenauer said. Measures that would address each of those issues have received broad support in both the House and the Senate in previous Congresses.

“These are things that aren’t strictly partisan,” Blumenauer said.

(Why?)

Published at Fri, 17 Feb 2017 03:44:18 +0000

New York Marijuana Possession Charges Would be Sealed Under Measure Approved by Assembly

White-Berry-Marijuana-Bud.jpg

New York Marijuana Possession Charges Would be Sealed Under Measure Approved by Assembly

With a 95 to 38 vote, New York’s full Assembly has given approval to a bill that would seal the criminal records of those charged with possessing marijuana.

According to government statistics, there have been over 800,000 people arrested in New York for simple cannabis possession in the last 20 years, making the reaches of this measure widespread. Assembly Bill 2142 now moves to the Senate, where its passage would send it to Governor Andrew Cuomo for final consideration.

“I introduced the marijuana sealing bill because drug laws have created a permanent underclass of people unable to find jobs after a conviction,” says Assemblymember Crystal Peoples-Stokes, the bill’s primary sponsor. “One of the most damaging issues derived from the war on drugs is that the policies are inherently racist. Communities of color have been devastated by bad drug policies and hyper-criminalization for the last 40 years.”

Peoples-Stokes continues; “It is an approach that has never worked and has caused significantly more harm than good to our communities and to our families. If today’s moment of increased attention to heroin encourages us to center public health in our drug policy, then we need to ensure that we are making amends to communities of color by alleviating the burden bad policies have had on their lives. Sealing low-level marijuana possession convictions is the first step to reintegrating thousands of New Yorkers who are inhibited daily from accessing employment, housing and an education all due to a conviction on their record for simple possession of marijuana.”

According to the Drug Policy Alliance; “New York State first decriminalized personal marijuana possession in 1977, recognizing the harmful impact an arrest could have on young people. Although New York officials, including Governor Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, have previously recognized these arrests as ineffective, unjust, and racially discriminatory, they still continue across the state because of a loophole in the law. In 2016 more than 22,000 New Yorkers were arrested for possession of small amounts of marijuana – 80% of whom were black or Latino.”

Click here for the full text of Assembly Bill 2142.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

(Why?)

Published at Fri, 17 Feb 2017 02:18:36 +0000

Weed 101: Colorado agriculture agency shares marijuana know-how

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Weed 101: Colorado agriculture agency shares marijuana know-how

The Columbian / Associated Press

DENVER — North Carolina wants to know if marijuana could one day replace tobacco as a cash crop. Louisiana is wondering how pot holds up in high humidity. And Washington has questions about water supplies for weed.

Colorado agriculture officials this week briefed officials from about a dozen states — some that have legalized weed, others that joked their states will legalize pot “when hell freezes over” — on the basics of marijuana farming and swapped stories about regulating a crop that the federal government still considers illegal.

The Colorado Department of Agriculture also is working on the world’s first government-produced guidelines on growing marijuana. There’s no shortage of how-to books catering to pot growers both in and out of the black market, but Colorado’s forthcoming guidebook aims to apply established agronomy practices to the production of marijuana.

“When you start with no knowledge at all, it’s rough,” said Mitch Yergert, head of Colorado’s Division of Plant Industry, an agency within the Agriculture Department that regulates marijuana production.

Yergert conceded that Colorado agriculture officials ignored marijuana entirely for more than a dozen years, from the time voters in the state approved medical pot in 2000 until recreational pot shops started opening in 2014.

“Nobody in our agency ever grew marijuana, so how are we supposed to develop best practices?” Yergert said.

But marijuana’s commercial popularity, coupled with increasing concern over pesticides and unsafe growing conditions, forced the department to stop considering marijuana a running joke and start seeing it as a commercial crop in need of regulation.

Colorado sold about a billion dollars’ worth of marijuana in 2016, making it a cash crop, the same as many others. Now, the agriculture department is sharing what it has learned with other agencies.

Speaking at a recent soil-conservation conference in Denver, Yergert briefed other state agriculture officials on how to inspect marijuana and hemp growers, and just as important, how to regulate a plant that’s illegal under federal law.

“You kinda gotta get your mind around it,” Yergert said.

The visiting agriculture officials toured a large Denver pot-growing warehouse, where a grower showed them the plant’s entire cycle, starting as clones in one room before getting transplanted to bigger tubs. The grower, Tim Cullen, also showed the officials how the plant is trimmed and its psychoactive buds dried for smoking. Finally, the farm regulators saw how marijuana waste — errant leaves and such — are rendered unusable before being thrown away.

“This is blowing my mind right now,” said Erica Pangelinan of the Northern Guam Soil and Water Conservation District. Pangelinan was using her cellphone to snap photos of wooden frames used to hold drying marijuana.

Guam allows medical marijuana; many states on the tour don’t, but the visiting agriculture officials say they need to be prepared in case laws change to allow pot-growing at home.

“We’re just looking to see what’s ahead,” said Pat Harris, director of North Carolina’s Division of Soil & Water Conservation.

Some states on the tour plan to grow pot themselves.

“We’re getting in the marijuana business in Louisiana, so we need to know what we’re doing,” said Brad Spicer of the state’s Office of Soil & Water Conservation, where the Legislature has authorized two universities to grow the plant for medical use and research.

Yergert warned the agriculture officials that regulating weed still isn’t easy and that they should be prepared for pushback from their own staffs.

“Our guys were saying, ‘I can’t pick my kids up from school because I smell like pot,”‘ Yergert said.

Another problem? Stony silence from federal agencies that agriculture offices usually turn to for help.

“It hasn’t gotten a lot more warm and fuzzy,” Yergert said. “I think they look at us as, ‘What an annoyance!’ I mean, they deal with drug smugglers and international cartels, and here’s the Colorado Department of Ag coming wanting a permit for something.”

Cullen urged the agriculture officials to look past the hurdles and see pot growers as farmers thirsty for guidance on growing healthy, profitable crops.

(Why?)

Published at Sat, 04 Feb 2017 14:05:25 +0000

Weed-Infused Wine: The New Frontier in Edibles?

UgFxC6.jpg

Weed-Infused Wine: The New Frontier in Edibles?

Cannabis and Self-Esteem: Weed Out the Negative Thoughts

02-14-2017

marijuana and self-esteem

Low self-esteem affects nearly everyone at some point in their life, for varying durations of time. Constantly questioning your self-worth, however, is not healthy or normal. The effects of low self-esteem can include:

Disrespect for yourself, along with a propensity to allow others to disrespect you.
An absence of confidence, which can affect many other areas of your life, including family… Read more

How to Identify Old Marijuana

02-10-2017

old weed

If maintained and stored properly, cannabis can have an indefinite shelf life. A high level of care, however, has to be in practice for all stages of the plant’s life — from the growth and harvesting to processing and sale.
People who buy marijuana have virtually no control over how the product has been handled prior to purchase, so a consumer’s best defense against old… Read more

Tips for Educating Your Family on Medical Marijuana

02-10-2017

educate family on medical marijuana

Marijuana is a political topic in recent years that has some emotion attached to it for some people. People who use marijuana and find it harmless feel discriminated against by laws that ban the substance, while alcohol is openly consumed. Many people believe alcohol is a far more dangerous substance than marijuana, but the laws don’t treat it that way. Additionally, recent medical… Read more

What Is the Difference Between Different Types of Cannabis?

02-08-2017

types of cannabis

Marijuana can come in many different forms, flavors and strands — and the choices can be overwhelming for people seeking relief for certain medical conditions, but fear not. MarijuanaDoctors.com has the low down on the most common types of cannabis and what you will likely experience from each of them.
Above all else, you need to know what you’re looking for in terms of effects…. Read more

New Industries Developing Because of Medical Marijuana

02-07-2017

marijuana industry

Once an illicit drug that conjured up images of free love and the hippie movement back in the ‘60s, marijuana is currently legalized for medical and recreational use in many U.S. states, although it’s still illegal at the federal level.
According to figures from independent investment finance bank Ackrell Capital, this emerging growth industry is worth $40 billion both legally and… Read more

Can I Get Bad Breath From Medical Marijuana?

02-03-2017

marijuana breath

The good news about smoking marijuana is that it doesn’t come with the increased risk for cancer that accompanies cigarette smoking. This is because marijuana is more natural and doesn’t contain the carcinogens that cigarettes do. The bad news, however, is that it can give you bad breath.
For the majority of products meant to be smoked, there is always a risk for bad breath…. Read more

Your Guide To Cannabidiol

02-01-2017

what is cannabidiol

If you’re suffering from a chronic health condition that’s negatively impacting your life, it’s likely you’ve heard the buzz about cannabidiol, or CBD for short. In fact, this compound is rapidly changing the debate that surrounds using cannabis as a medicine.
You probably already know about THC, which is the substance in marijuana that gets you high. However, CBD… Read more

Getting Veterans Access to Medical Marijuana

01-31-2017

veterans and medical marijuana

Veterans comprise a community of people whose health issues are an especially good fit for medical marijuana. But gaining access has been a long journey for many, seeming like a never-ending uphill climb. The year 2016 alone was particularly tumultuous, featuring thrilling highs and crushing lows. Where the struggle goes from here is very hard to tell.
Medical Marijuana and PTSD
While many… Read more

Prescription Drugs Based on Cannabis

01-26-2017

prescription drugs based on cannabis

Medical marijuana has been under an intense spotlight for years, but you might not know that many of the prescription drugs you take may already contain cannabis. These are just a few of the drugs on the market containing chemicals that are either found in the cannabis plant or are similar to them.
Sativex
This is a mouth spray that contains both cannabidiol (CBD) as well as THC. It is used… Read more

How pesticides destroy our ability to produce “super-cannabinoids” and are the reason for the exploding rates of autism

01-24-2017

Glyphosate Autism Rates

Autism is complex. No one has yet presented a comprehensive understanding of the disease process. In this article, I wanted to touch upon some simple core principles. I hope that by the end of it you start to see that what is happening here is beyond concerning.
According to the CDC, laboratory testing newly diagnosed individuals with autism is not recommended. This… Read more

(Why?)

Published at Fri, 17 Feb 2017 05:00:00 +0000