Skip to Content

Marijuana

New Zealand: Mother's Overseas Quest to Get Cannabis for

Marijuana (MAP) - Sun, 07/06/2014 - 07:00
Sunday Star-Times, 06 Jul 2014 - An American Family Is Upending Their New Start in New Zealand to Chase Cannabis Treatment for Their Young Daughter Josh Fagan Reports. A NORTHLAND family is being torn apart in their bid to give their six-year-old daughter cannabis.
Categories: Marijuana

US AR: OPED: Stop Crisis By Ending War On Drugs

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 07/05/2014 - 07:00
Northwest Arkansas Times, 05 Jul 2014 - Since Oct. 1, U.S. Border Patrol agents have apprehended more than 52,000 children traveling alone from Central America and Mexico. Many of these kids made the dangerous trip to escape even more dangerous conditions in their home countries. According to a 2013 United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees survey of 400 children who fled to the United States from Central America and Mexico, nearly half said drug cartel and gang violence had affected them personally, while 20 percent said they had been abused or otherwise experienced violence in their own homes.
Categories: Marijuana

US HI: Editorial: Hawaii Due To Set Up Pot Dispensaries

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 07/05/2014 - 07:00
Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 05 Jul 2014 - Hawaii was a vanguard state in the medical-marijuana movement, but soon dropped behind others in the development of drug dispensaries. That may have been a lucky break, in that Hawaii can now capitalize on the lessons learned in other jurisdictions. Hawaii is one of 22 states, in addition to Washington, D.C., to launch medical marijuana programs. Nineteen of those states have set up dispensary systems; Connecticut and Delaware are about to open their first dispensaries later this year.
Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Concerns Mount Over `Cruel And Unfair' Civil Forfeiture Process

Marijuana (MAP) - Sat, 07/05/2014 - 07:00
Globe and Mail, 05 Jul 2014 - When the first offer from B.C.'s Civil Forfeiture Office came in, suggesting Robert Murray could keep 20 per cent of the proceeds from the sale of his property if he gave the office the other 80 per cent, he believed the government agency was shaking him down. Mr. Murray's property near the southeastern B.C. community of Nelson had been searched by RCMP in February, 2012. He says the search, which turned up dozens of marijuana plants, violated his Charter rights because police did not have a warrant. Mr. Murray maintains he only grew for personal use. "I just didn't think what was happening was right," he recalls.
Categories: Marijuana

US FL: Court: Car's Color Can't Justify Stop

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 07/04/2014 - 07:00
The Palm Beach Post, 04 Jul 2014 - The Florida Supreme Court on Thursday overturned the conviction of a man who was found to have cocaine and marijuana after an Escambia County sheriff 's deputy pulled him over based on the color of his car in June 2010. The deputy ran the license tag number on a bright green Chevrolet through a state database. The database indicated the car had been registered as being the color blue, an inconsistency that led the deputy to pull over the car.
Categories: Marijuana

US MA: Half Of Mass. Voters Ok With Legalized Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 07/04/2014 - 07:00
Boston Globe, 04 Jul 2014 - HALF OF MASS. VOTERS OK WITH LEGALIZED MARIJUANA Nearly half of Massachusetts voters would support the legalization of marijuana, according to a new Boston Globe poll that suggests the state could be fertile ground for a ballot campaign to legalize the drug here in 2016.
Categories: Marijuana

US: 'Hempcrete' Touted As Healthy, Environmentally Friendly

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 07/04/2014 - 07:00
The Day, 04 Jul 2014 - It's certainly not the most common building material, but advocates of "hempcrete" are saying it makes plenty of sense for environmentally conscious homeowners. This substance, also known by the registered name of Hemcrete, is a bio-composite material. American Lime Technology, a joint venture of the Chicago-based U.S. Heritage Group Inc. and UK-based Lime Technology Ltd., says the material is made by combining the woody core of the industrial hemp plant, or "shiv," with a lime-based binder. The shiv has a high silica content, allowing it to bind well with the lime.
Categories: Marijuana

US WA: OPED: It's Time To Start Child-proofing Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 07/04/2014 - 07:00
Seattle Times, 04 Jul 2014 - IN states where medical and recreational cannabis sales are allowed, disquieting new trends and statistics are proving its unique dangers for those most vulnerable to its effects: children. One such statistic is a spike in calls to poison-control centers. According to the National Poison Data System, calls about accidental ingestion of marijuana in children 9 and younger more than tripled in states that decriminalized marijuana before 2005. In states that enacted legalization from 2005 to 2011, calls increased nearly 11.5 percent per year. Over the same period in states without decriminalization laws, the call rate stayed the same. In the decriminalized states, such calls were also more likely to result in critical care admissions. Neurological effects were the most common.
Categories: Marijuana

US NC: N.C. Allows Limited Use Of Medical Marijuana

Marijuana (MAP) - Fri, 07/04/2014 - 07:00
Washington Post, 04 Jul 2014 - North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) signed a law Thursday allowing limited use of medical marijuana to treat seizures. North Carolina joins states that include Alabama, Mississippi and Florida in allowing the controlled use of a cannabis extract, cannabidiol. - --- MAP posted-by: Matt
Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM -- July 3, 2014

Marijuana (STDW) - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 17:19

The Afghan poppy trade is spilling over into Central Asia, legal marijuana goes on sale in Washington state on Tuesday, Georgia holds off on welfare drug testing, a California sentencing reform bill is now one vote away from passage, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Retail Marijuana Sales Begin at Noon Tuesday in Seattle. The first legal retail marijuana sale in Seattle will take place at noon Tuesday, the owner of Cannabis City says. But the first pot sold legally in Washington state may actually be purchased in Bellingham, where Top Shelf Cannabis says it will be open at 8:00am.

DC Mayor Calls for 4th of July Boycott of Maryland Shore to Protest Congressman's Move to Mess With City's Decriminalization Law. DC Mayor Vincent Gray (D) is joining DC activists in calling for city residents to not spend their holiday weekends in Ocean City or St. Michaels, Maryland. That's the area represented in Congress by Rep. Andy Harris (R-MD), who authored a successful amendment to a House budget bill that would effectively overturn the District's decriminalization law. DC residents who want to enjoy the beach should instead go to Rehoboth Beach, DE, or Chincoteague Island, VA, instead, Gray suggested.

Medical Marijuana

North Carolina Governor Signs Limited Low-THC, High-CBD Medical Marijuana Law. Gov. Pat McCrory (R) has signed into law a bill that will allow people suffering from certain epilepsy conditions to use cannabis extracts containing less than 0.3% THC and more than 10% CBD. But only neurologists in a pilot study may recommend it.

Drug Testing

Georgia Governor Holds Off Welfare Drug Testing. Gov. Nathan Deal (R) has announced that even though a new law to drug test welfare recipients went into effect Tuesday, he will delay implementing it until a federal appeals court rules on a similar Florida law. But the Florida law mandates suspicionless mandatory drug testing, while Georgia's law, House Bill 772, only requires drug testing upon suspicion of drug use, so some critics are wondering if something else is at play. The Georgia law also had a food stamp applicant drug testing provision, but that part has already been nullified by the US Department of Agriculture, which runs the food stamp program.

Sentencing

California Fair Sentencing Act Wins Final Assembly Committee Vote. The California Fair Sentencing Act (Senate Bill 1010) was approved by the Assembly Appropriations Committee on a 12-3 vote Wednesday and now heads for an Assembly floor vote. Sponsored by Sen. Holly Mitchell (D-Los Angeles), the bill would correct the sentencing and other disparities between crack and powder cocaine. The bill has already been approved by the Senate.

Law Enforcement

US Indicts Three Peruvian Shining Path Leaders on Drug, Terrorism Charges. Three leaders of the Peruvian Shining Path guerrilla group have been indicted in New York on drugs, weapons, and terrorism charges. They are accused of cocaine trafficking and committing terrorist acts against Peruvian -- not American -- civilians and military personnel. They are Florindo Flores Hala, also known as Comrade Artemio, and Victor and Jorge Quispe Palomino. Flores Hala is in custody, but the Quispe Palomino brothers are not. Among other things, they are charged with providing material support to a terrorist organization, i.e. themselves.

ACLU Sues Massachusetts SWAT Teams for Refusing to Release Public Records. The ACLU of Massachusetts has filed a lawsuit against SWAT teams in the state after they refused to release records sought in a freedom of information request. The SWAT teams are making the novel legal argument that they are not required to comply because the law enforcement councils that operate them are not public entities, but private, not-for-profit groups. Click on the link for a lengthy article on the issue.

International

Afghanistan's Central Asian Neighbors Complicit in Drug Trade, Report Says. About the only substantive cooperation between Afghanistan and its Central Asian neighbors comes in turning a blind eye to the opium and heroin trade, according to a new report from Afghanistan Analysts. The report is Between Cooperation and Insulation: Afghanistan'sa Relations With the Central Asian Republics.

Categories: Marijuana

CN BC: Home Saved By Police Error

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 07:00
The Calgary Sun, 03 Jul 2014 - Senior keeps dwelling after grow-op bust The Calgary senior busted for keeping a marijuana grow-op in her basement won't lose her home, Alberta's top court has ruled. In a written decision, a three-member Court of Appeal panel said Justice Carolyn Phillips decision to order Heng Kiet Kouch to forfeit her home was based on inadmissible evidence.
Categories: Marijuana

US CA: Editorial: Root Of Border Crossings

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 07:00
The Chico News & Review, 03 Jul 2014 - It's Time to Look at the Real Reasons This Country Is Flooded With Illegal Immigrants. The U.S. is seeing an influx of undocumented immigrants in historic numbers, many of them young children whom parents have entrusted to smugglers. According to U.S. Border Patrol statistics, more than 52,000 Central American children traveling alone have been picked up by authorities.
Categories: Marijuana

US CA: Column: What Does 7/10 And Marijuana Mean?

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 07:00
Sacramento News & Review, 03 Jul 2014 - Because "OIL" Upside Down and Backward Is "710," Duh. Hey 7/10 is coming up. Any ideas on how to celebrate? - -The Tin Man
Categories: Marijuana

US NM: OPED: Relaxed Marijuana Laws Put Our Children At Risk

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 07:00
Albuquerque Journal, 03 Jul 2014 - In states where medical and recreational cannabis sales are allowed, disquieting new trends and statistics are proving its unique dangers for those most vulnerable to its effects: children. One such statistic is a spike in calls to poison control centers. According to the National Poison Data System, calls about accidental ingestion of marijuana in children 9 and younger more than tripled in states that decriminalized marijuana before 2005. In states that enacted legalization from 2005 to 2011, calls increased nearly 11.5 percent per year. Over the same period in states without decriminalization laws, the call rate stayed the same.
Categories: Marijuana

US CO: Column: Where Can I Find a Cannabis-Friendly Physician?

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 07:00
Westword, 03 Jul 2014 - Dear Stoner: I recently retired to Colorado from Texas, where I was with my doctor for more than twenty years. I want to find a GP or internist in the Denver area who is marijuana-friendly. While I may not want or need that prescription anytime soon, I'd like to start with a doc who likes the idea of cannabis before pills when necessary. Can you offer any recommendations of how to find such a person? What a joy for this to even be a valid question! I love you, Colorado! Granny
Categories: Marijuana

US CO: Column: Commercial Cannabis at Six Months: The Sky

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 07:00
Boulder Weekly, 03 Jul 2014 - We are just past the six-month point in the state's roll-out of commercial sales of cannabis, and from all indications, it's been an unspectacular but successful half a year, especially for a state whose social experiment has been under local and international media scrutiny since Amendment 64 passed in November of 2012. Half a year is hardly enough for a serious analysis, but as Department of Revenue Director Ron Kammerzell told Vox: "I would say that the rollout was extremely smooth, the sky hasn't fallen like some had predicted, and we're moving forward and trying to fine tune this regulatory model."
Categories: Marijuana

US DC: Gray Urges Boycott of MD. Eastern Shore After Official

Marijuana (MAP) - Thu, 07/03/2014 - 07:00
Washington Post, 03 Jul 2014 - If you're a District resident planning to vacation in the Maryland havens of Ocean City or St. Michaels this summer, Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and some D.C. activists would prefer you choose Rehoboth Beach, Del., or Chincoteague Island, Va., instead. A week after Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) successfully attached an amendment to a House budget bill that would overturn the city's marijuana decriminalization law, Gray and the District's largest voting-rights advocacy group said city residents would be better off vacationing somewhere besides Harris's district, which includes all of Maryland's Eastern Shore.
Categories: Marijuana

Medical Marijuana Update

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 21:06

An Arizona researcher gets fired for apparently political reasons, new medical marijuana-related laws come into effect in several states, California dispensary conflicts continue as the Assembly grapples with a statewide regulation bill, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:left]Arizona

Last Friday, the University of Arizona fired a medical marijuana researcher. The University of Arizona has abruptly fired Dr. Suzanne Sisley, who months earlier had received approval from the federal government to study the effects of medical marijuana on people suffering from PTSD. Now, her research is in jeopardy, and she is blaming state legislators who threatened university funding after her research plans made the news. "This is a clear political retaliation for the advocacy and education I have been providing the public and lawmakers," Sisley said. "I pulled all my evaluations and this is not about my job performance."

California

Last Friday, a bill to impose statewide medical marijuana regulations won an Assembly committee vote. The bill, Senate Bill 1262, passed the Assembly Public Safety Committee, but is described as "unworkable, incoherent, and unacceptable to most advocates." Committee approval was conditioned on working out the problems before hearings in the Appropriations Committee in August.

On Wednesday, San Jose activists warned that 70 dispensaries and collectives will be shut down beginning July 18. This is the result of recently passed ordinance in the city, which activists hope to challenge with a referendum now in its signature-gathering phase. Click on the link to see the list of affected businesses.

On Tuesday, the city of Bakersfield filed suit against a dispensary. The suit against the Healthy Life Center is the first of at least five civil suits the city is expected to file against dispensaries. The lawsuit comes as the city's ordinance banning dispensaries is being challenged in state appeals court. It seeks to force Healthy Life to close through an injunction.

Also on Tuesday, Lake County supervisors ratified the passage of Measure N in the June 3 primary. The initiative, which institutes rules for medical marijuana cultivation, received the needed majority, coming in with with a "yes" vote of 51.6%. The measure becomes law on July 11.

Florida

On Tuesday, John Morgan kicked in another $4 million for the Florida medical marijuana initiative. Prominent Florida attorney and Amendment 2 initiative backer John Morgan has contributed another $4 million of his own money to ensure the medical marijuana initiative wins in November. Because the initiative is a constitutional amendment, it needs 60% of the vote to pass.

Iowa

On Tuesday, a low-THC, high-CBD medical marijuana law went into effect. Iowa is one of two states whose low-THC, high-CBD medical marijuana laws went into effect July 1. It is unclear what impact the law will have or how many people it will help.

Massachusetts

On Monday, a crackdown on caregivers was announced. The state Department of Public Health has sent letters to more than 1,300 patients and 17 caregivers warning that state regulations bar caregivers from selling marijuana to more than one patient. Caregivers are the only legal avenue for patients to buy medical marijuana until dispensaries open, and that won't happen until November at the earliest. The move has forced Bill Downing, the operator of Yankee Care Givers, which supplies an estimated 1,000 patients to quit selling medical marijuana. He is urging patients to join him in a lawsuit challenging the state's interpretation of the law. "DPH is more concerned with their regulations than they are with the well-being of the citizens of Massachusetts," Downing said.

On Tuesday, legislators balked at taxing medical marijuana -- for now. Legislators in Boston Tuesday voted not to approve taxes on medical marijuana, but instead to send the proposal to study, which generally means it's dead. The vote came in the Revenue Committee. They said they might want to revisit the issue later.

New Jersey

On Tuesday, a state legislator filed a bill to fix the state's "broken" medical marijuana program. Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union) has filed a bill to fix the state's medical marijuana program, which she describes as "broken." The bill would allow patients to grow their own supplies, remove caps on the number of dispensaries, expand the list of qualifying diseases, and remove some of the law's most rigid provisions. The bill is not yet available on the legislature's web site.

Ohio

On Monday, organizers of a signature-gathering campaign for a medical marijuana initiative conceded they wouldn't make it this year. Medical marijuana won't be on the ballot in the Buckeye State this year. The campaign by the Ohio Rights Group needed 385,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the ballot this year, but had only 100,000. The good news is that those gathered signatures are still good in future years and can supply a starting point for a new campaign down the road. The initiative would also have legalized hemp production.

Oklahoma

As of Monday, the medical marijuana initiative campaign had gathered more than 75,000 signatures. The constitutional amendment medical marijuana initiative sponsored by Oklahomans for Health now has 75,000 raw signatures. The group needs 156,000 valid voter signatures to qualify for the November ballot. They have until August 17 to come up with the needed signatures.

Pennsylvania

Last Thursday, a Senate committee approved a medical marijuana bill. The state Senate Law and Justice Committee voted unanimously to approve Senate Bill 1182, which would allow qualified patients to obtain marijuana through dispensaries, but not grow their own. Neither could patients smoke their medicine, but they could use edibles or vaporize it. Now, the bill is on to the Appropriations Committee and, if it passes there, a Senate floor vote. Companion legislation in the House has yet to move.

On Tuesday, a new poll showed record high support for medical marijuana. The latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll has support for medical marijuana at 84% in the Keystone State. That's up three points over the same poll six months ago, and up eight points from eight years ago. A medical marijuana bill is currently pending in the state Senate.

Utah

On Tuesday, a low-THC, high-CBD medical marijuana law went into effect. The measure is known as "Charlee's Law" and allows for trials of CBD cannabis oils for epilepsy. It is unclear what impact the law will have or how many people it will help.

Vermont

On Tuesday, a law improving the state's medical marijuana program went into effect. The new law, Senate Bill 247, eliminates the cap of 1,000 patients who may access dispensaries, allows naturopaths to certify patients, and allows dispensaries to deliver marijuana to patients. It also authorizes a study of whether PTSD should be added as a qualifying condition.

[For extensive information about the medical marijuana debate, presented in a neutral format, visit MedicalMarijuana.ProCon.org.]

Categories: Marijuana

Chronicle AM -- July 2, 2014

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 18:39

The Louisiana State Bar goes where the state legislature wouldn't, the Florida medical marijuana initiative gets a big cash donation, the CDC issues an eye-opening report on opioid prescribing, some Vancouverites celebrate Canada Day with an illegal open marijuana market, and more. Let's get to it:

[image:1 align:right caption:true]Marijuana Policy

Iowa State NORML Sues School Over Ban on Use of Marijuana Image. ISU NORML yesterday filed a lawsuit against the university charging that administrators violated its First Amendment rights by blocking the group from using the university's mascot on their t-shirts because the t-shirts also included a marijuana leaf. The "overbroad" trademark decision effectively censors the group's goal of "challenging the orthodoxy that marijuana use should be prohibited." The university initially approved the design, but withdrew approval after getting negative feedback from the public.

Louisiana State Bar Backs Marijuana Reform. The Louisiana State Bar Association has approved a resolution backing efforts to classify simple possession of marijuana as a misdemeanor, rather than a felony. An effort to pass a similar bill failed this year in the state legislature.

Medical Marijuana

John Morgan Kicks in Another $4 Million for Florida Initiative. Prominent Florida attorney and Amendment 2 initiative backer John Morgan has contributed another $4 million of his own money to ensure the medical marijuana initiative wins in November. Because the initiative is a constitutional amendment, it needs 60% of the vote to pass.

New Jersey Legislator Files Medical Marijuana Fix Bill. Assemblywoman Linda Stender (D-Union) has filed a bill to fix the state's medical marijuana program, which she describes as "broken." The bill would allow patients to grow their own supplies, remove caps on the number of dispensaries, expand the list of qualifying diseases, and remove some of the law's most rigid provisions. The bill is not yet available on the legislature's web site.

High Support for Medical Marijuana in Pennsylvania Poll. The latest Franklin & Marshall College Poll has support for medical marijuana at 84% in the Keystone State. That's up three points over the same poll six months ago, and up eight points from eight years ago. A medical marijuana bill is currently pending in the state Senate.

In Massachusetts, No Tax on Medical Marijuana -- Yet. Legislators in Boston Tuesday voted not to approve taxes on medical marijuana, but instead to send the proposal to study, which generally means it's dead. The vote came in the Revenue Committee.

Prescription Drugs

New CDC Report on Opioid Prescribing. A new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report, Opioid Painkiller Prescribing: Where You Live Makes a Difference, finds that Americans were prescribed 259 million bottles of opioid pain relievers in 2012, but that there is great regional variety in levels of pain reliever prescribing. Doctors in Alabama, for example, wrote opioid prescriptions at a rate three times higher than those in Hawaii. The highest prescribing rates are generally in the Deep South and the Appalachian Midwest. Forty-six people die every day from prescription opioid overdoses, but efforts to restrict access to opioids in some states have managed to lower deaths. The report did not address the the possible impact of such restrictions on undertreatment of pain.

International

Australian Octogenarian Drug Reformer Named Victorian of the Year. Professor David Penington, 84, who has called for marijuana and ecstasy to be legalized and who heads a committee advising the Victoria state government on drug policies, has been named Victorian of the Year at a national ceremony in Melbourne. "At the age of 84 I was really looking forward to genteel disappearance from the scene," he said, adding that he would use his new honor to continue to push for drug refom. "The reality is that prohibition just hasn't worked for 100 years and the problems are getting worse," Professor Penington said. "We've got to find better ways to handle illicit drugs."

Canada Day Marijuana Street Market in Vancouver Goes Unimpeded. As our northern neighbor celebrated its national holiday yesterday, a street market outside the Vancouver Art Gallery offered up hash brownies and fudge, as well as dime bags and joints of BC bud, despite such acts being illegal. Vendors said the market was a protest "to legalize marijuana." A Vancouver police officer watching the scene from his bicycle said he was there in case anyone needed help, but that police would not stop anyone from selling marijuana.

Categories: Marijuana

An Industry Emerges: The NCIA Cannabis Business Summit in Denver [FEATURE]

Marijuana (STDW) - Wed, 07/02/2014 - 15:00

The exhibition hall in the Denver Convention Center last week was a wonder to behold. Automated, high-capacity marijuana trimming machines. Industrial strength cannabis oil extraction devices. Marijuana real estate specialists. Marijuana accountants. Marijuana attorneys -- real estate, intellectual property, contracts. Marijuana consultants. Marijuana investment advisers. Point-of-sale marijuana sales tracking systems. Chemical testing companies. Vaporizer sellers. Odor-proof bag producers. Automated rolling machine makers. Anything and everything to do with the business of legal marijuana. All in a high-gloss trade show environment.

[image:1 align:left]It was the National Cannabis Industry Association's (NCIA) Cannabis Business Summit, which brought more than 1,200 registrants to the state capital that for now at least is also the capital of legal marijuana. And it represents a new phase in the evolution of marijuana policy.

This is not your father's marijuana movement. There were lots of men in dark suits and ties, lots of women in snappy professional attire. A few dreadlocks here and there, but only a few. And nary a tie-dye to be found. There wasn't a whole lot of talk about how "We have to free the weed, man;" although social justice including ending prohibition came. up. There was a whole lot of talk about business opportunities, investment strategies, and how to profit from crumbling pot prohibition, as well as the dangers and pitfalls facing would-be entrepreneurs in an industry still illegal under federal law.

The legal marijuana industry has been bubbling up for awhile now, building from the quasi-legalization that is medical marijuana in Wild West California and the more regulated, but still thriving medical marijuana industry in states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. In the past decade or so, the High Times Cannabis Cup has evolved from a November trip to Amsterdam to a virtual traveling circus of all things pot-related. And marijuana trade expos have drawn crowds in the tens of thousands.

But one can reasonably argue that last week's Cannabusiness Summit represents the maturation of marijuana as an All-American business opportunity. With Colorado this week beginning to accept applications from people who don't represent medical marijuana dispensaries (for the first six months of commercial legalization, only operating dispensaries could apply) and Washington state set to see its first retail marijuana operations next week, the era of legal marijuana is truly upon us. And it's likely to continue to expand, with Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, DC, poised to join the ranks of the legalizers after elections later this year.

[image:2 align:right caption:true]The Cannabis Business Summit was, unsurprisingly, mainly about the nuts and bolts of operating a legal marijuana business. It could have been any industrial trade show and conference, except this was about weed. Panels covered topics such as "Grow 101: Cultivation Facility Build-Out and Management Best Practices," "Advanced Cultivation: Scalability, Sustainability, and Growth Management," "Protecting Your Investment: Risk Management and Insurance for the Cannabis Industry," and "International CannaBusiness Opportunities." And that was just session one of day one.

Marijuana is an industry on a roll, and the NCIA can point to its own success as exhibit one.

"We now have over 600 marijuana business members, and that has doubled since January," said NCIA founder and executive director Aaron Smith in a keynote speech. "When Steve Fox and I started the NCIA in 2010, we had 20 members. Investors and entrepreneurs are rushing into this new space."

That, in turn, is allowing NCIA to expand its operations, Smith said.

"We're seeing more experienced business people because they understand what a trade association is," Smith explained. "So we've been able to staff up, we have a full-time DC lobbyist, which is a first for the industry, and we've already contacted every congressional office on the Hill and had sit-down meetings with half the House offices and 30 Senate offices. We're also attending campaign fundraisers on behalf of the NCIA."

Although the conference was all about business, Smith made clear that the NCIA had not forgotten that these business opportunities have come about because of a decades-long movement for social justice and human liberation around marijuana policy.

"We have to acknowledge those who came before us," he told his audience of businesspeople. "Before we were an industry, we were a movement, and we are still a social movement. The growth of this new industry will drive the final nail in the coffin of marijuana prohibition, so that no one is put in a cage for using a beneficial, extremely therapeutic herbal product ever again."

[image:3 align:left caption:true]The industry has to put its best face forward, Smith said.

"We are still under scrutiny, the world is watching Colorado and Washington, as well as the medical marijuana states, and we have to lead by example," he said. "Be a good neighbor and corporate citizen. Reach out to neighborhood associations and work with them. Contribute to the community. Be a model citizen. Be professional. Don't use marketing you wouldn't want your mother to see."

Smith wasn't the only NCIA officer to warn the industry it needed to watch its step. NCIA deputy director Taylor West had more words of wisdom in a session on marketing and communications.

"This is a cultural movement in the midst of an enormous wave, and we have the opportunity to define an idea on the rise, to be responsible, and to do the education around that," she said. "We are building an industry from scratch, and we have to take this opportunity to make this an industry that's not like every other industry."

That requires some maturity within the industry, the communications specialist said as she displayed tacky advertising images of scantily clad women covered in marijuana buds.

"Responsible branding is important," West noted. "Don't screw it up for everybody. We don't have a rock-solid foundation, and we're still very vulnerable from a public opinion and policy standpoint. Don't market to children and don't market like children," she said. "We're like the wine industry or craft beers or wellness. No one is ever drunk in a wine commercial. And," she said, pointing to the tacky ads, "don't alienate half the population."

[image:4 align:right caption:true]There are many issues facing the nascent marijuana industry, but both the conference agenda and the talk in the corridors made it clear that the federal tax issue takes center stage. Under current federal law, marijuana remains illegal, and that means marijuana businesses cannot take standard business tax deductions under an Internal Revenue Service (IRS) provision known as 280E.

"This law must be changed, and this law can be changed. If Obama won't do it, we will do it for them," said marijuana tax attorney Henry Wykowski before heading deep into the weeds in a discussion of the intricacies of dealing with 280E.

"There is legislation to address this," said NCIA Capitol Hill lobbyist Mike Correia, pointing to Rep. Earl Blumenauer's (D-OR) House Resolution 2240, the Small Business Tax Equity Act of 2013.

But it's unlikely to go anywhere anytime time soon, Correia said. The congressional bill tracking service GovTrack.us agrees, giving the bill zero percent chance of passage this session.

"This is sitting in Ways and Means," Correia explained. "It's a Democratic bill in a Republican-controlled House, and the committee chairman is not a fan."

There is one back-door possibility for moving the bill, though, the lobbyist said.

"Every few years, the Congress addresses aspiring tax breaks," he noted. "They usually pass it in the middle of the night when no one is watching. I hope to have 280E provisions inserted into a bigger tax bill, but we need to get Republicans to support it. The Ways and Means members are not from marijuana-friendly states, so it's hard to get traction, but next year, Paul Ryan (R-WI) will be chair, and he could be more responsive."

The nascent marijuana industry has other issues, of course, but the Denver conference was a strong signal that the marijuana movement is indeed mutating into a marijuana industry. The power of American entrepreneurialism is very strong, and it looks like it's about to run right over the remnants of marijuana prohibition.

But the industry needs to remember that while we now have legal marijuana in two states, there are still 48 states to go. For people in Alabama or South Dakota or Utah, for example, the issue is not how much money you can make selling marijuana (or marijuana-related products or services), but the criminal -- and other -- consequences of getting caught with even small amounts. If the industry is indeed the movement, it needs to be putting its money where its mouth is to finish the work that remains to be done.

Categories: Marijuana
Syndicate content