California is on the verge of creating a legal market for marijuana worth more than $5 billion that will help make the state a destination for pot-loving tourists, according to a new state-sponsored economic study.
But about 29% of all cannabis consumers may stay in the illegal market at first to avoid the cost of new regulations requiring the pot to be tested, tracked and taxed at 15% of its retail value, according to the study by the University of California Agricultural Issues Center.
State officials developing the regulations hope to gradually persuade the vast majority of cannabis users to go through the legal market, said Lori Ajax, director of the state Bureau of Marijuana Control, which hired the center to look at the economic impact of the new rules.
“It’s going to take some time,” Ajax said. “While it’s unlikely that everyone will come into the regulated market on Day One, we plan to continue working with stakeholders as we move forward to increase participation over time.”
The economic projections are both encouraging and daunting to state officials who hope to begin issuing licenses in January to thousands of businesses that will grow, transport, test and sell marijuana, following voter approval in November of an initiative legalizing recreational use.
The study indicates there will be economic benefits for the state from a regulated market. The analysis estimated that as of November, aggregate annual sales in medical marijuana were $2 billion a year (about 25% of total marijuana sales) and sales in the illegal market were $5.7 billion (75%).
Voter approval of Proposition 64 has set in motion a system for fully legalized marijuana, which may bring state and local governments $1 billion in tax revenue, according to government estimates. The study estimated that more than 1,200 jobs will be created for testing and handling cannabis in the legal market.
New regulations allowing purchase of marijuana for recreational use are expected to shrink medical cannabis sales from $2 billion to $600 million as people are given an alternative to going through physicians to get medical pot cards for a fee, the study said.
“Revenues for medical cannabis in Washington State, for instance, fell by one-third in the first year after the legal adult-use cannabis system took effect, and by more subsequently,” the study said.
After the state adopts regulations, legal recreational use will make up 61.5% of the overall market, illegally purchased pot will make up about 29.5% of the market and legal medical marijuana use will be about 9% of the overall market, the analysis estimated.
“We projected that when legally allowed, slightly more than half of the demand currently in the illegal adult-use segment will quickly move to the legal adult-use segment to avoid the inconvenience, stigma, and legal risks of buying from an unlicensed seller,” the study says.
Californians should be concerned about the high rate of continued illegal activity, said Kevin Sabet, president of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which opposes legalization of the drug.
“We have seen this in other states too, that the legal market is easily undercut by the well-established underground market,” Sabet said. “This is unsurprising. It is just one more unrealized promise from the marijuana industry.”
The study also said the legalization and regulation should boost California’s tourism industry as visitors pour in from states and countries that do not allow the sale and use of marijuana.
Currently, there are more than 260 million visits to California from people from out of state each year, and the visitors spend more than $122 billion in California, much of it on leisure goods and services, the study noted.
For example, tourists have been estimated to spend $7.2 billion a year on wine in California, the report said.
“Given that adult-use cannabis remains illegal in most other states, California’s legalized adult-use industry may attract some new visitors whose primary reason for visiting the state is cannabis tourism, as has been observed in Colorado,” the study said.
The report cited a survey by Strategic Marketing and Research Insights, commissioned by the Colorado Tourism Office in 2015, a year after that state legalized recreational use.
The survey of 3,250 tourists from Chicago, Dallas, Houston, San Diego and other cities found that 8% reported visiting a recreational-use cannabis store.
Of those, 85% said cannabis was a “primary motivator” of their visit to Colorado.
Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Assn., agrees with the economic forecast that a boost in tourism will be one of the side benefits of marijuana legalization.
“Folks have been visiting California to enjoy the best cannabis in the world for many years,” Allen said. “It will be hugely beneficial to bring this existing commerce out of the shadows.”
But Sabet, the opponent of legalization, noted that some cities have taken steps to ban marijuana sales. They include Pasadena and Laguna Beach.
“I think you’re going to see a lot of cities opposing marijuana stores in their community precisely because they do not want the pot tourism that comes with them,” Sabet said. “The backlash is starting to happen in California.”
Link to article here.
By Baynard Woods
Steve Herrin, a pot farmer in Pueblo, CO. who has won two Cannabis Cup prizes, can recall the first time he tasted good pot. As it happens, he says I sold it to him.
This was more than 20 years ago in South Carolina, and though I don’t recall selling him any, I know exactly what he was talking about. We’d never seen anything but schwag or dirt weed, or “Mexican” weed as it was variously called. It was dry and crumbly, often coming in dense, almost rope-like bricks.
But sometime around 1991, something altogether different came around. This weed was wildly pungent, not just when burnt, but fresh. The buds were, well, I hate to say it, dank. They were damp and sticky and delicious. All we knew about it was that it was called “indica” and it was expensive. But we loved it.
I hadn’t seen Herrin since I allegedly sold him that bag. He says he bought it right before he moved out of town.
I moved away too — living on the East Coast now — but Her- rin and I ended up friends on Facebook, and when I decided to try to find out what was really going on with this plant I’d spent half my life hanging out with, I figured I’d try to get back in touch with him.
He now runs Pueblo Agriculture, which has a license to grow 3,600 outdoor recreational plants. Before meeting up with Herrin, I had wondered what impact legalization has had on cannabis cultivation. After talking to him, I felt like I was turning a corner into a new world of toking.
“I would say it’s more scientific than art, but a lot of people aren’t using very scientific methods,” he says of growing weed as we drive up a mountain from Denver to a place he has in Ever- green. “Most people just go off visual and smell and just now with terpene testing and potency testing, that gets more scientific.”
In terms of potency, there’s not all that far to go. You can’t find the schwaggy old stuff at all anymore and even the “indica” of yore would be weak sauce today. It’s not uncommon for a lot of contemporary pot to have THC levels over 20 percent.
So weed is poised, for the first time, to be like wine: something cultivated for subtle flavors and essences, more than just for the pure punch.
“People want potency; I do too,” Herrin says. “But it’s like, I would rather smoke a 20-percent bud that smells really, really good than a 25-percent that [just] smells really good.”
And the smell comes from terpenes.
“There’s only one real kind of THC,” Herrin says. “CBD is the only other medicinal thing. The only things people are breeding for are THC, CBD, or really terpenes. And [now] really the terpenes.”
The influential weed website Leafly speculates that “terpenes may play a key role in differentiating the effects of various cannabis strains” — a theory that Herrin and others also bring up. Leafly notes that “some [terpenes] are especially successful in reliev- ing stress, while others promote focus and acuity. Myrcene, for example, induces sleep, whereas limonene elevates mood. There are also effects that are imperceptible, like the gastroprotective properties of caryophyllene.”
In other words, this is the cutting edge in cannabis research, with a lot of exciting prospects — beyond just getting high.
“I think the terpenes are the main thing,” Herrin says. “We’ve just now gotten to the point that it’s legal for people to send in all these tests and [get] test results. It’s not just a few guys with their homegrowns illegally doing it.”
Science of scent
When you sniff that little crystalline bud to inspect its dankness, a number of aromatic hydrocarbons, known as terpenes, interact to produce the smell. ￼Why care? Because terpenes, although lesser known than other compounds like THC or CBD, may deserve significant credit for the medicinal and therapeutic effects of cannabis.
Their chemical structure means they dissolve easily in fats, which is relevant to their role as a neurotransmitter in the brain. They’re said to be an antidepressant, acting similarly to serotonin reuptake inhibitors or dopamine boosters. But, like most things weed-related, hard science on the matter is limited. So, a good, boot- strap method of determining whether a bud’s particular terpene makeup will do positive things for you is to smell it.
Smell good? It will probably make you feel good. Smell bad? Well, you get it. The online medical marijuana resource, medicaljane.com, breaks it down a little further: “[V]arieties that smell of musk or of clove deliver sedative, relaxing effects (high level of the terpene myrcene); piney smells help promote mental alertness and memory retention (high level of the terpene pinene); and lemony aromas are favored for general uplift in mood and attitude (high level of limonene).”
The presence of terpenes also enhances the effects of other compounds in the plant, like THC and CBD. Studies have found that each compound has a greater effect when combined with the others — a phenomenon known as the “entou- rage effect” in which the synergistic interactions of THC, CBD and terpenes pro- duce a therapeutic effect greater than the sum of its parts.
So, keep that in mind when weighing a “CBD-only extract” against a whole- plant extract. And, consider that CBD and terpenes can subdue the anxiety some- times produced by THC. Terpenes get secreted when cannabis is exposed to light, so the fresher the flower, the more terpene-rich it’s likely to be.
There’s much, much more to know about terpenes, so if you’re really looking to get into it, definitely consult an expert (maybe not just your budtender, but a doctor or scientist). In the meantime, now you know to pay attention to what poet and known hashish-eater Arthur Rimbaud once referred to as marijuana’s “riot of perfumes.”
Terpenes are oils excreted from the same glands that make the THC and the CBDs. They are called things like “alpha-pinene” — that’s a terpene that is in rosemary, pine needles and the popular strain of weed Chemdawg. Or “myrcene,” which is present in hops, thyme and Skunk No. 1.
Herrin shows me one of the genetic tests he had done on his own crop. “There’s about 20 [terpenes] on this list,” he says. “There’s a bunch of different labs. I have to send samples to labs for mold and potency. The terpene test was extra, that was really just for my own knowledge.”
He adds, “I think that terpene tests like that can be a really good tool for breeding, because instead of it being all me and my nose deciding what plant to breed with, I could actually look and see ... which terpenes. I could do crosses and then test the results and see which one is going in the right direction for the terpene I’m aiming to increase.”
Link to article here.
By Amy Dawn Bourlon-Hilterbran | May 30, 2017
The state of Oklahoma was pursuing life in prison against an honorably discharged Marine who served his country for a decade. “It is my right to choose the safest, most effective treatment for my PTSD and pain…pills or plant, it is what I fought for, it is what America stands for,” said Kris Lewandowski, a combat Marine veteran who served three tours overseas in Iraq, Afghanistan and off the coast of Somalia. But the life of this veteran and his family for the past 3 years, “has been nothing short of hell” over a plant. Lewandowski, obviously shaken, recalls the misery, “It has been harder on me psychologically and emotionally than even my deployments were. I am in America but I am fighting for my rights, my freedom…over a plant. Cannabis saved my life. It’s my medicine. I believe in my soul that I have earned the right to consume a plant in America, to choose my medicine.”
Kris was set for trial in Lawton, Oklahoma on May 30, 2017. He was facing ten years to life in prison for growing 6 cannabis plants to treat his PTSD and combat injuries after the pharmaceuticals had failed him. When a MassRoots blog detailing the case went viral after it’s May 18th publishing, the prosecutors for the case finally changed their position and offered a plea deal that meant no jail, and a deferred sentence. Kris would remain a veteran, not become a felon. The blog reached the masses, and the masses mattered, it made “the” difference. People lept into action, sharing the blog, tweeting, emailing, and calling…in droves.
“Every case needs media attention. It literally makes all the difference. In three years they hadn’t thrown out any deals at all. They [the prosecutors] told us so many times there would never be a deal. Right before trial, after that blog went viral, we get a plea offer with no jail. After we get a large media push? That is no coincidence, but it was certainly magical,” said Kris’s wife, Whitney Lewandowski, “That exposure was exactly what made the state rethink this case and their ‘war on Kris’. The post went viral and they started throwing out deals and trying to make something work to make it go away. It wasn’t a dismissal, but it was a victory. The day has finally arrived, it feels like I’m in a dream. This nightmare is finally over. Our future is bright again. I am humbled by the outpouring of love and support we got over the years. We are blessed with an amazing family, and group of friends who stuck by us at our bleakest time. Supporters and strangers who never turned their backs on us. Some days they were all that got us through.”
It’s harder than ever to be heard above the “noise” of the world. Even though the internet and social media make it easier, it is still like screaming during a concert hoping the artist on stage hears you over the thousands of other fans trying to get their attention, and actually hear them sing.
When people are fighting for their lives and want their voices to be heard. Any case needs to get media attention, because the right media attention reaches the masses. That means their case has a better chance of garnering support and getting the attention needed to put pressure on prosecutors to do the right thing, to stop injustice, and to make plea deals with no jail and deferred sentences if dismissal is not an option.
Kristoffer Lewandowski served 10 years in the United States Marine Corps and was a member of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit. PTSD and combat injuries to his shoulder and back were a constant battle after his deployments and worsened over the years. The numerous daily prescribed pharmaceuticals weren’t helping, his pain was becoming unmanageable and the pills were causing liver damage, so they gave him another prescription.
He became addicted to the legally prescribed pills, he became eruptive, depressed, angry and physically was starting to show signs of the pharmaceutical damage. He was unable to serve the Corps as he had done so faithfully before. “I felt broken. I didn’t feel like a soldier anymore. It was devastating. I started trying to wean off some of the pills, I was desperate, but the withdrawals were vicious. It was a ‘damned if I do, damned if I don’t’ situation, but the liver damage was killing me, the pills were changing me” said a tearful Lewandowski.
He was a Marine instructor at Ft. Sill, Oklahoma and was processing for medical retirement when, on June 1, 2014, after a PTSD flair up, no effective medicine, withdrawals from antidepressants and a postpartum Whitney, a heated argument broke out and escalated into screams that had neighbors calling in a domestic dispute.
The police arrived, the search found six cannabis plants and the almost three year nightmare began. But this time, the nightmare was temporary and the story has a happy ending, even in Oklahoma, where laws against cannabis patients and consumers are some of the harshest in the US.
Lewandowski’s plea hearing was held Friday, May 26, 2017, at the Comanche County Courthouse in Lawton, Oklahoma, and for the first time in their three year ordeal, the prosecutors and the DA were offering Kris Lewandowski a no jail, deferred sentence deal, no felony. The Marine veteran was treated with regard rather than disdain in the Judge Emmitt Tayloe courtroom. The DA didn’t have degrading remarks or sneering looks for Lewandowski as he had experienced before, it was a mutually beneficial resolve for the court and the defendant, an example of how our system should and could be.
But it took three years and an alignment of stars to get an acceptable plea deal that didn’t include jail, felony or both. A legal team from across the US who dedicated to representing him for little or no cost; fellow veterans offering support; friends and family standing by them; people and organizations raising funds; supporters and activists dedicating time and money to spreading the word about the case; and a blog that was shared thousands of times in the first 24 hours it was published. It was a rare moment most defendants in cannabis cases will never have.
This case is important for veterans, as well as all cannabis patients. It sets a precedent and can help others convince leaders of the injustice of prosecuting cannabis patients. “This case demonstrates that we can, by working together, change cannabis policy and perception,” said Matthew Pappas, a California-based attorney who has been working on Lewandowski’s case since 2014, “Even in states that continue to persecute patients and cling tight to unjust, outdated laws.”
Margaret Mead, an American cultural anthropologist said, “Never doubt that a group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” For three years, Lewandowski’s case has brought a new face to cannabis patients and veterans that choose a plant over pills to treat their PTSD and service related injuries. It may not have been “the” world but it was “their world” and if it can happen to Kris, it can happen to any veteran.
Until US laws catch up with logic and science regarding the cannabis plant, scenarios like this will become more and more common. “Our efforts to keep Kris out of jail were successful because so many people came together effectively on his behalf,” said his Oklahoma-based attorney, Thomas Hurley.
“If we unite towards a common goal, we can literally move mountains,” said Lewandowski, who is now considering a run for California Congress, “In this three-year plight, my wife and family and freedom were at stake. I almost lost all that I hold most dear. We will win this war. This attack on citizens and soldiers simply trying to heal themselves. United…together, we will prevail. Divided, our battle is much more difficult and the end result unsure.” He and his wife, Whitney, are the State Co-Chairs for the American Medical Refugees Foundation, a nonprofit in Colorado and are both active in the Weed for Warriors Project. Their goal is help other veterans, patients and consumers have legal access to cannabis medicine and support for their injury, illness or disease.
Michael Minardi, a Florida-based attorney who has been helping with the case thinks this is only the beginning, and stresses the importance of unity, “Stand by your fellow soldiers who are being prosecuted for using cannabis medicine. Talk to your legislators, your representatives, your Senators, local and federal. Run for office and educate people to the benefits of medical cannabis and we will see veteran suicide decline. We owe a debt of gratitude to all veterans, servicemen and women. I will continue to fight for and serve veterans’ and all American citizens’ rights to use cannabis as medicine.”
Link to original article here.
By Mike “DJ” Pizzo
Darin Carpenter, Director of Cultivation at Tryke Companies pictured above
The entourage effect of the terpene and cannabinoid content plays a far greater role in determining your experience
Picture this. You are preparing an elegant dinner for yourself and your significant other. You head into a liquor store looking for the perfect alcoholic beverage to complement the flavors of your meal. Do you walk up to the counter and ask the shopkeeper for the bottle with the highest alcohol percentage? Most likely not, as Everclear doesn’t really have the most appetizing taste.
But with the advent of state legal marijuana, many dispensaries in the United States report that medical patients or recreational users tend to do just that when selecting their strains. “Which one has the highest THC content,” is a question often heard by the ears of budtenders, suggesting that anything with a lower count isn’t worth their dollar. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. After all, what is the reason that sometimes one drinks a beer, another time one enjoys a glass of wine, and yet another night one savors a smooth whiskey on the rocks?
The problem with selecting cannabis strains based solely on the THC content is much like stomaching the worst swill at the bar just because it has a high alcoholic percentage. By doing this, the consumer is robbing themselves of not only the rich scents and flavors of the strain, but also missing out on the beneficial effects that can be delivered through a strain’s specific terpene profile.
Terpenes are essential oils that determine all of these factors and make each strain unique. Together with the cannabinoid content — compounds such THC or CBD — we get what’s often referred to as an “entourage effect,” which ultimately has the final say in what kind of benefits you can receive from a particular strain. In fact, it has almost gotten to the point where one can zero in on what exactly they would like a strain to do for them, and by studying the effects of the individual terpenes, with a little trial-and-error, they can find the perfect strain to suit their needs.
But because of the limited scientific research done inside the United States on marijuana, many of these discoveries have been made “in the field” by the underground cannabis users.
“It’s almost as if the rest of the scientific community is in the present, but as far as marijuana is concerned, we are sitting at the forefront of the scientific revolution,” says Adam Laikin, Director of Marketing for Tryke companies.Darin Carpenter, Director of Cultivation at Tryke, feels passionately about the science of terpenes. We spoke to him to get a better idea about the fascinating discoveries happening in this space.
Mike Pizzo: When did people really start looking at terpenes as a variable in the cultivation process for marijuana?
Darin Carpenter: I think generally people were looking at terpenes — whether they knew it or not — way back in the underground days, because terpenes are what give the cannabis its smell. Some people prefer very strong, pungent types of smells. Others prefer the sweet types of smells. Other growers didn’t want any type of smell. But it was all based on the concentration and makeup of the terpenes.
More recently, I think, the terpenes became more of a major subject of interest, once states started mandating analytical labs to test the different potencies of various compounds. This caused people to start truly questioning the effects and combinations of terpenes and cannabinoids.
What are some good examples of how the entourage effect works or how cultivators zero in on what is going to work together in a strain?
It’s synergy; multiple elements that work together to amplify an effect. When the cannabinoids are paired with terpenes and certain concentrations of them, that’s what generally provides the particular effect. What science understands now is that the combination of those terpenes actually has the ultimate say in the type of effect and intensity that one experiences when consuming cannabis.
Cannabinoids do have a very specific effect, but the terpenes work to amplify that effect and move it to a more particular subset, whether it’s anti-anxiety, paired with pain remediation, or helping people with insomnia, etc. CBD, for instance, is known to be a neural protectant. So that’s the effect of it, helping people with seizures, etc. When people are consuming a CBD plant with one profile of terpenes, they might get a different effect than consuming a different CBD plant with a different terpene profile.
What are some of the more popular terpenes, or are they well known enough to be popular?
Well, for instance, myrcene gives off the sweet smell, more indicative of indica plants. Then you have limonene, which has more of a citrus odor, which leans heavier into sativas. There are over 200 terpenes out there, it’s just the molecular composition that changes its odor and effect.
I think there is a lot more experimentation that needs to be done. Certain labs are actually increasing the number of terpenes and cannabinoids that they are actually looking for, in an effort to understand the entourage effect of the molecular profile of that particular genetic and how it effects individuals. You can break the terpenes down to a core group, but there might be some other compounds that actually are enhancing that core group for the total enhancement. There is a lot more work that needs to be done.
Probably because there are so many combinations out there, right?
Right. So, for instance, Medusa, some people just don’t like Medusa. It doesn’t work for them. But for me, it might be the thing that takes my pain away. It might be the thing that helps me with anxiety, or symptom I am trying to control. One strain might work for you, that may not work for me the same way. One may make you feel relaxed and comfortable, while I might get a feeling of paranoia.
Everyone is harping on, “I have to have the highest THC concentration.” To me, it’s not about that. It’s the effect and finding the strain that works for you, particularly. Yes, THC gives you that psychoactive effect, but some of the better strains out there aren’t higher THC. It’s the combination of the flavors and the terpenes that are paired with the THC and the cannabinoids that make it so powerful. People see THC as a value proposition, like “I am spending $25 an eighth and this one’s got 30% THC. Why would I spend $35 or $45 on something that’s got 15%?” If they tried it, they might see that it’s not all the THC.
They actually might get a better effect, taste and experience because of the terpene/cannabinoid profile that works best for them.
Federal law has made it really difficult to study cannabis in the United States, so there is not a lot of scientific research done on this here, right?
Yeah, not a lot in the United States. Israel and England is where most of the research is being done.
That actually brings up another point, that a lot of the “testing” is going on in the field, where people are going “This worked for me, this didn’t,” etc. And through word-of-mouth, those findings are kind of going “viral” in the cannabis community, is that right?
Yeah. A lot of the guys in Mendocino and Santa Rosa, the Emerald Triangle area, they were kind of growing and breeding what works for them and what speaks to them. That’s really kind of how it’s been, but nobody that I am aware of has really started a targeted breeding program to develop strains to create a library with a wide range of particular effects, quality and yield.
So do you think people that are purchasing based only on a super high THC levels are doing so out of naivety?
It’s not always about the concentration of the psychoactive ingredients in the flower. It is the combination of the terpenes and cannabinoids that provide that effect. So if people are looking for something, they don’t need to go for that super high-potency strain. Yes, it may work for them, but there are other options that may or may not.
For me, I hate expensive beers. If you take some super craft, micro brew with a heavy amount of hops and for me it just tastes too bitter. It doesn’t quench my thirst. I prefer other types of flavors when enjoying a beer. I think when educating the patients, we need to explain that you will still get the desired effect in most cases, and because of that, you should enjoy something that has the flavor profile smell and look that speaks to you and controls their individual symptoms.
How and where can people figure out what the effects of each terpene are and which strain is right for them?
Leafly and Weedmaps have that capability. They have a menu where you can search for strains that provide whatever you are looking for and where to get them.
Article link here.
By Jennifer Bendery
It’s the latest sign that a major federal crackdown on state pot laws isn’t likely.
WASHINGTON ― Congress, once again, is blocking the Justice Department from spending any money that interferes with state medical marijuana laws.
In their newly unveiled budget bill, lawmakers included a provision, known as the Rohrabacher-Farr amendment, that allows states to carry on with crafting their own medical marijuana policies without fear of federal intervention. The bill, which funds the government through the end of September, is expected to pass this week.
Here’s the full text of the marijuana provision:
None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to any of the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, or with respect to the District of Columbia, Guam, or Puerto Rico, to prevent any of them from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.
It’s not unusual to find this tucked into a budget bill; lawmakers have been renewing the medical marijuana provision in every consecutive budget since it first passed in 2014. But what it shows is that Congress isn’t interested in stepping up federal oversight of state pot laws under the Trump administration, even as U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions hints that he wants a crackdown.
He issued an ominous warning in February to states with legalized marijuana. “States, they can pass the laws they choose,” Sessions said at a Justice Department press briefing. “I would just say it does remain a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not.”
He has also said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana” and that pot is only “slightly less awful” than heroin. Last year, heroin killed nearly 13,000 people. Nobody has ever died from a marijuana overdose.
Jeffrey Zucker, president of the cannabis business strategy firm Green Lion Partners, praised lawmakers for sticking with the status quo.
“Medical cannabis patients in the U.S. can rest easy knowing they won’t have to return to the black market to acquire their medicine,” Zucker said. “Operators can relax a bit knowing their hard work isn’t for naught and their employees’ jobs are safe.”
In theory, Sessions could still take action against states that have legalized recreational marijuana. Eight states and the District of Columbia have laws like this, and they are not shielded by the language in the budget bill.
And while medical marijuana is legal in 29 states and the District of Columbia (and 16 states have laws allowing limited use of cannabidiol, or CBD, the non-psychoactive ingredient in pot that holds promise for therapeutic use), cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. That’s why proponents of medical marijuana are thrilled by the ongoing legislative caveat, but ultimately have their sights set on changing the law.
“While this is great as a continuing step, it’s important for activists and the industry to remain vigilant and getting cannabis federally unscheduled and truly ending the prohibition of this medicinal plant,” Zucker said.
Weirdly, at least two states with new cannabis laws are not included in the legislative provision. North Dakota voters approved a medical marijuana ballot initiative in November, and Indiana passed a CBD law last week.
Link to article here.
In November of 2016, California voters passed Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Act), by 57%, with 63% support in San Mateo County and 65% support in San Carlos.
As a result of the passage of the Act, the State now allows both personal use and cultivation of marijuana (now referred to as cannabis) by adults over 21. In addition to personal activities, the Act allows the State to begin issuing licenses to cannabis-related businesses commencing in January 2018.
Cities and counties must enact regulations by November 2017 if they wish to regulate cannabis-related business activity in their jurisdictions before the State’s licenses go into effect. The San Carlos City Council is currently gathering information to help decide which types of cannabis-related businesses, if any, should be allowed in San Carlos and, if allowed, where they would go and how they would operate.
City Staff and the Chief of Police have reviewed the Act and are of the belief that, if properly located, secured, and regulated, cannabis-related businesses pose no measurable threat to safety in San Carlos. It is believed that any impacts on the community related to the legalization of cannabis are unlikely to be generated by business-related sales activity, but are more likely to stem from illegal personal use, such as driving under the influence or public intoxication, and would be similar to alcohol-related public health and safety issues. While the State has limited what regulations local agencies can impose on personal use, it has allowed local agencies more authority to regulate businesses.
The Act has a number of restrictions and requirements built into the law that may be regulated by local agencies, which include, but are not limited to, the following:
- No one under 21 may possess cannabis, nor enter a retail establishment or purchase cannabis products.
- Onsite security must be provided by the business at all times.
- Parking issues at the business are to be minimized.
- Hours of operation are limited to what is appropriate for the community.
- All products must be clearly labeled with potency per serving information and not packaged or sold in such a way as to be attractive to minors.
- Medical and non-medical cannabis must be sold separately within a retail establishment.
- Law enforcement is allowed access to the business.
- Good neighbor policies are established.
- Procedures are in place for the suspension, fines and revocation of permits if a business is not complying with State and local requirements.
Legalized cannabis and related business activity is an entirely new area of the law and land use regulation for California communities to consider. The City Council has held two public study sessions on this issue to learn how the law works and to understand what regulatory options are available concerning both personal use and businesses in San Carlos (material from these meetings is attached for additional background information). Unfortunately, there was very little public attendance at either meeting, with only one member of the community providing public comment. The Council is seeking more input from the community on this important issue.
In an effort to gather more input, the City Council asked that a Shape San Carlos topic be created to help solicit feedback from community members on cannabis-related retail sales businesses. This input will help inform Council as it considers allowing a limited number of retail sales businesses to operate here in San Carlos.
By Melia Robinson
Apr. 30, 2017
Former TV personality Montel Williams has used cannabis nearly every day for 17 years. But he hasn't smoked it in over a decade.
"I have dexterity problems. I can't roll a joint to save my life," Williams told Business Insider. He prefers vaporizing more concentrated forms of the drug.
Williams, who is also a retired Navy officer, has multiple sclerosis, a disease that causes his immune system to attack the insulation around his nerves. It produces intense, burning sensations from his head to his toes.
Every morning, Williams takes a fistful of pills to ease the pain. He supplements this cocktail with cannabis, which he started using after his diagnosis in 1999. The drug has been shown to improve symptoms in patients suffering from MS, according to a summary from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
In April, Williams became a "ganjapreneur," launching a line of cannabis products. Lenitiv Labs makes high-quality, user-friendly marijuana products designed for medical users. They're available in over 30 dispensaries in California.
The company uses a type of cannabis extract made from compressing carbon dioxide at high pressures, a process that does not require chemical solvents or artificial additives. The oil and drinks come in three formulas that vary the ratio of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in cannabis, and CBD, a chemical compound thought to be responsible for many of the drug's therapeutic effects, so patients can control their doses with precision.
"The Montel Williams Show," which made Williams the first African-American man to host a syndicated daytime talk show, ran for 17 seasons. He hid his disease for most of that time, until a tabloid threatened to print the story and forced him to reveal his diagnosis on air.
Williams has since described how he'd take long commercial breaks backstage, where he could cry from the pain in private. "[I would] let it go, refocus, come back out and sit down, and do another interview with a person," he told Oprah Winfrey in 2009. "I was doing that every day."
After his diagnosis, Williams jumped in front of a taxi in New York City in an attempt to kill himself. Around the same time, he started using cannabis — specifically kief, a fine powder made from the plant's dried resin glands — to help manage his pain and mood. Depression is one of the most common symptoms of MS, according to the NMSS.
Today, cannabis "helps me to function," Williams said.
He lives in New York, which is home to one of the country's more restrictive medical marijuana programs. But because he operates a business in California, Williams says he is qualified to buy and consume medical marijuana there. He sources his kief from a "compassionate caregiver" — a person authorized by the state to grow the plant for medical users.
Montel Williams, a TV personality, veterans advocate, and retired Navy officer, before a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee in 2014.
Williams says that since 2012, when the first states legalized marijuana for recreational use, sugary, weed-laced junk food has dominated dispensaries.
"They're putting all kinds of junk in there," he said. "And I say, 'Really? That's medicine?'"
An increased demand for recreational products has Williams and others worried that the needs of medical users will be ignored.
"This industry has gotten so caught up in making money, they forgot they're leaving patients on the battlefield," Williams said.
He hopes to expand Lenitiv Labs to every state where medical marijuana is legal, and he's traveling the country this spring to give educational talks on cannabis.
Article link here.
With California’s cannabis industry poised to explode under Prop 64, regulators are researching the impact that grow-ops will have on the state’s energy supply.
by Tyler Koslow
Since Prop 64 was passed last November, California has anxiously prepared for what will undoubtedly make it the central hub of the world’s cannabis industry. But while the Left Coast braces itself for the explosive market that recreational legalization is predicted to create, regulators and utility companies are concerned about how cultivation will impact the state’s energy supply.
Back in February, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) hosted a workshop to study the potential effects of large-scale cannabis cultivation on the state’s power grid. The event included a panel of utility representatives, cannabis growers, and state regulators, all working together to ensure that marijuana cultivation will be as energy efficient as possible.
Last Thursday, the CPUC released a report entitled called “Energy Impacts of Cannabis Cultivation,” a study focusing on the impact that both indoor and outdoor grow operations have on energy and water supplies. According to the report, indoor cultivation will likely use more energy, but could also provide more efficient water usage.
Thanks to the strict land-use policies that Prop 64 allows local governments to implement, indoor grow operations are already a more appealing option for cultivators. Some municipalities, such as Sonoma County, have already restricted marijuana farms to within four walls, outright banning outdoor cultivation. But the consequences that these limitations will create for the state’s energy use remains hazy and uncertain.
During the CPUC workshop, a number of solutions were offered to prevent excess energy use by the cannabis industry. For instance, the utilities agency could share energy-use information with the government, enabling them to make more informative regulatory decisions.
California may also borrow practices from other states with recreational legislation. In Oregon, all growers are required to submit energy-use projections before they’re permitted to start growing, effectively putting responsibility in the hands of cultivators.
Another consensus from the CPUC-hosted meeting was that the state should work with the cannabis industry, state agencies, and utility companies to form a “Cannabis Working Group.” This type of organization would allow California policymakers to take the needs of each faction into account, ultimately allowing them to create policy that works best for everyone.
Unfortunately, when it comes to developing proper standards to promote energy conservation, the state does not have much time on their hands. California will begin accepting applications from cannabis cultivators on January 1, 2018.
There isn’t a lot of data detailing how cannabis cultivation impacts energy-use and the environment, so California will have to pioneer their own research and sort out how to best integrate cannabis cultivation into the Golden State.
Link to article here.
Mythbusting 420: Its One True Origin (And a Whole Lot of False Ones)
BY MICHAEL GOLDSTEIN, APRIL 19, 2013
The new holiday of 420 may be secular, but like St. Patrick's Day, featuring drinks ranging from Guinness to Irish Car Bombs, 420 has its own sacrament, the wacky weed. Just as it's always 5 p.m. somewhere in the world, as the drinkers among us rationalize, any time of the day can be 420, the perfect moment to wake and bake.
In Los Angeles, it sometimes seems that the majority of dispensaries, delivery services, recommendation-granting doctor's offices, cannabis-finder websites, hydroponics outlets and other parts of the marijuana ecosystem are packed with 420 references. Phrases such as "420-friendly" appear in roommate ads on Craigslist, indicating that the occupants are officially licensed medical marijuana recipients and probably won't freak out over bong-water spills.
Indeed, a recent Google search for "420" brought up 913 million hits. But where did "420" actually come from?
Haynes put his finger on it. There are a lot of crazy stories about the origins of 420. Let us clear it up for you:
Q: Does 420 commemorate the death of Bob Marley?
A: No. It is not the date Bob Marley died (he died on 5/11/81), nor is 4/20 his birthday. It is also not the date that Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin or Jim Morrison died.
Q: Isn't there some kind of Grateful Dead connection?
A: Yes! Deadheads spread the wake-and-bake message of 420 around the country. However, the Grateful Dead did not always stay in Room 420 in hotels on the road.
Q: Isn't 420 Adolf Hitler's birthday?
A: Yes. Hitler was born on April 20, 1889. But 420 hardly commemorates that genocidal murderer. April 20 is also the anniversary date of another horrible buzzkill, the Columbine High School massacre of 1999. Fortunately, that is definitely not 420's origin, as references to 420 date back to the 1970s.
Q: Doesn't 420 refer to the number of chemical compounds in cannabis?
A: Wrong again. There are reportedly 315 chemicals in cannabis.
Q: OK, isn't 420 the number of a bill in the U.S. Congress to legalize weed?
A: Hah! Interesting but wrong. In 2003, California Senate Bill 420 (SB 420), also known as the Medical Marijuana Program Act, established guidelines for Proposition 215, such as how many plants and how much processed cannabis a medical marijuana patient is allowed to have. Oddly, the specific legislator, clerk or aide who apparently numbered the bill in a nod to the 420 tradition has never been identified.
Q: A lot of people say 420 is a police radio code for marijuana.
A: "All units, all units available, please respond to a 420, marijuana smoking in progress." No. But interestingly, 420 is the radio code for homicide in both fact (the Las Vegas Police Department) and fiction (CSI).
Q: Doesn't 420 refer to the section of the California penal code relating to marijuana?
A: No again. According to noted urban mythbuster Snopes.com, Section 420 of the California penal code refers to obstructing entry on public land.
Q: How about "teatime" in Holland? Don't cannabis smokers light up at exactly 4:20?
A: Sorry. Nor is 420 the date that cannabis was legalized in pot paradise Amsterdam.
Q: Isn't April 20 the best time to plant weed?
A: Hardly. The best time would vary from region to region, and with modern grow houses, you could plant successfully on Feb. 2, even if it's 20 degrees outside.
Q: OK, this one has to be true: Doesn't 420 come from a Bob Dylan song?
A: This is the most charming tale of all. In "Rainy Day Woman #12 and 35," Dylan repeatedly chants, "Everybody must get stoned!" Even more convincingly, 12 multiplied by 35 equals 420! Sorry, no. Points for creativity, not reality.
If all these stories are false, what's the real deal? The true birth of 420 dates back to the early 1970s, when it became the hour of cannabis consumption among high school students in San Rafael. Even in mellow Marin County, stronghold of the Grateful Dead, no concessions were made to allow puffing during school hours.
So a group of stoners calling themselves "the Waldos" — because they liked to hang out in front of a wall — would pass each other in the halls, exchanging knowing glances and muttering "420 Louis!" One told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2000, "It was just a joke, but it came to mean all kinds of things, like, 'Do you have any?' or 'Do I look stoned?'?" They used 420 as a code word for their activities and the time said activities would take place.
The group met in front of the statue of 19th-century French scientist Louis Pasteur, as well as other spots on school grounds, to get high at 4:20 p.m. It's said that the pack of teens would sometimes roam the campus, searching for a rumored marijuana patch.
The term "420" was widely in use by the end of the 1970s. Deadheads spread it outward like a virus from their San Rafael ground zero. Within a decade, pot smokers were using it across the country and around the world.
The stoner bible High Times started using the term "420" as early as 1990, and later bought the website 420.com, which includes videos, news, horticulture tips, activism and conspiracy links ("Will the LAPD Have Armed Drones Hunting Suspects?").
Various members of the Waldos have surfaced over the years, showing letters with postmarks from the 1970s that refer to "420" to authenticate their claims. Sources as reputable as Wikipedia and Snopes.com have also confirmed this origin story.
Pop culture is chockablock with references to 420. The clocks and timepieces in Pulp Fiction and later in Lost in Translation are all set to 420. And is it an accident that the score on the football scoreboard in stoner classic Fast Times at Ridgemont High reads 42-0?
An episode of animated comedy Family Guy, naturally titled "420," is dedicated to the subject. The plot has Stewie and Brian attempting to legalize marijuana. The show includes the classic song-and-dance performance "A Bag of Weed," which can be seen on YouTube.
Snoop Dogg (now Snoop Lion) said in 2009, "Me and Willie Nelson recorded [a] song in Amsterdam on 4/20, 2009. It was a beautiful day, it was a roomful of smoke. It was historic." The song, of course, was "Roll Me Up and Smoke Me (When I'm Gone)".
Awareness of 420 has even spread to Australia. A smoker calling himself "Max Stone" told the Brisbane Times, "You'd go on a job and you'd say to someone in the afternoon that it's going to be 4:20 soon. If they give you a blank look, then you don't take the conversation any further. But if they say, 'yeah,' then you're instantly tuned into the 420 culture that's inside every workplace. It's not as secretive as it used to be."