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  1. hi New Jersey lawmakers to vote on cannabis referendum New Jersey lawmakers are set to vote Monday on a proposal to let voters decide in 2020 whether to legalize recreational marijuana. If the amendment goes on the ballot, voters would be asked whether to approve recreational marijuana for those 21 and older. All sales of cannabis products would be subject to the 6.625% sales tax. Towns could also pass ordinances to charge a local tax as well. There are two possible paths for the question to appear on the ballot. The proposed amendment must pass with a three-fifths majority in both houses in a single year, or with a simple majority in two consecutive years in order to appear on the ballot. Democrats control the Assembly and Senate. Lawmakers failed in March to advance legislation legalizing recreational cannabis, despite support from Democratic leaders and Democratic Gov. Phil Murphy, so they plan to seek support from voters. https://www.kentucky.com/news/business/article238429008.html Bongme
  2. hi Chilliwack cannabis greenhouse goes up in smoke CHILLIWACK (NEWS 1130) — A medical marijuana grow-op in Chilliwack went up in smoke Friday. The Chilliwack Fire Department was called to the structure fire around 9:30 a.m. “On arrival, fire crews saw heavy smoke showing from the rear of a single storey greenhouse structure,” says the fire department in a release. “Fire crews had difficulty trying to access the fire within the greenhouse. Once accessed, fire crews were able to ventilate and extinguish a small fire that was burning within the marijuana grow operation.” There were no injuries. https://www.citynews1130.com/2019/12/14/chilliwack-cannabis-fire/ I will try to get more details big greenhouse. Bongme
  3. hi State mounts largest crackdown on illegal pot shops in LA LOS ANGELES (AP) — California regulators mounted dozens of raids against illegal marijuana retailers in Los Angeles this week, the largest crackdown to date against the city's thriving black market, officials announced Friday. The state has been under pressure from California's legal industry to do more to stop the underground pot economy, which in Los Angeles and other cities often operates in plain sight. According to some estimates, roughly 75% of sales in the state remain under the table, snatching profits from legal storefronts. Investigators from the state Bureau of Cannabis Control and the Department of Consumer Affairs’ Cannabis Enforcement Unit served search warrants at 24 unlicensed shops from Tuesday through Thursday. They seized $8.8 million in cannabis products, confiscated nearly 10,000 illegal vape pens and $129,000 in cash, the bureau said. The crackdown was praised by the United Cannabis Business Association, a Los Angeles-based industry group that has been urging the state to do more to shut down rogue operators. “For a long time we have been playing a game of whack-a-mole, targeting and shutting down a small handful of illegal shops at a time, only to have them reopen days later in the same location or down the street," said Jerred Kiloh, who heads the group. He called the raids “the type of systematic action required” to combat the vast illegal market. “Every day, illegal operators are distributing products that are not tested, taxed or tracked by the state, putting not only the ongoing vitality of the legal industry at risk, but also the health and well-being of Californians,” Kiloh said in a statement. California kicked off broad legal sales on Jan. 1, 2018. But the illegal market has continued a bustling business, in part because consumers can avoid steep tax rates by buying in unlicensed dispensaries. But there’s a trade off for saving a buck. Illegal products have not met strict state testing standards and could be tainted by mold, pesticides, heavy metals — even human waste. The state's top cannabis regulator, Lori Ajax, signaled that more was to come. “We look forward to working with local jurisdictions and law enforcement as we continue to shut down unlicensed operators,” she said. https://uk.news.yahoo.com/state-mounts-largest-crackdown-illegal-234259867.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS91cmw_c2E9dCZyY3Q9aiZxPSZlc3JjPXMmc291cmNlPW5ld3NzZWFyY2gmY2Q9NSZjYWQ9cmphJnVhY3Q9OCZ2ZWQ9MGFoVUtFd2ppNlA2dV83VG1BaFhiZ1Z3S0hTbjJEc1VRcVFJSU9DZ0FNQVEmdXJsPWh0dHBzJTNBJTJGJTJGdWsubmV3cy55YWhvby5jb20lMkZzdGF0ZS1tb3VudHMtbGFyZ2VzdC1jcmFja2Rvd24taWxsZWdhbC0yMzQyNTk4NjcuaHRtbCZ1c2c9QU92VmF3M3J4WS1Vc2hvMmRmSll3SXMzNks0NQ&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAF7wVD9KsTV1pVsfHedkVO7cueV0sjGJ81BvXi9D1vZ0ZpObWbCIZ5TAxVyCfsEZqFyTMUFdXYxb0OYRebfNpA9kj81pp29qcDDiASMWc7gcXCB9gOvldi1R5sFP62JHXJgnnpxKH8OtKBEAt2lSaD-O3YOp8hhrJ8IhU30Cd_oX Bongme
  4. hi Cannabis' largest trade show is pretty ordinary, and that's what the industry wants Las Vegas (CNN)A stroll through the show floor this week at Sin City's convention center felt like your garden-variety glitzy business expo, except for the plentiful portrayals of cannabis leaves. MJBizCon, cannabis' biggest trade show, is slick, well-heeled, popular and professional. It's a stark reminder of how this fast-growing -- yet still federally illicit -- sector has cast off tired stereotypes in favor of traditional business approaches. Cannabis is becoming a big business, and the industry is dressing the part. "This is going to be mainstream, if it already isn't mainstream," said Dr. Nimesh M. Patel, a conference attendee, internist and vice chairman of Redbird LLC, a medical cannabis company based in Stilwell, Oklahoma. More than 35,000 people from 75 countries are expected to attend the three-day conference that occupied 250,000 square feet of the sprawling Las Vegas Convention Center. Last year, the footprint was half that size. Across the 1,300 exhibitors, there was plenty of CBD, the popular cannabis compound cannabidiol, to be found. But the products and services being showcased spanned across all aspects of the industry and beyond. Amid the purveyors of packaging products, edibles, software, vaping devices, AI-powered cultivation units, and towering extracting machinery, there were also lawyers, startup incubators and economic development officials from places like Pueblo, Colorado. While the show trended toward the ordinary -- suit-and-tie as opposed to tie-dyed -- it wasn't meant to be boring. Music pumped through the brightly lit halls, celebrities like former heavyweight champ turned cannabis entrepreneur Mike Tyson made appearances, and the nights featured an array of private parties, including an exclusive gathering hosted by the hydroponics arm of Scotts Miracle-Gro. Many MJBizCon attendees, exhibitors and panelists brimmed with optimism about the industry's future and potential -- how if certain states legalize, they could become billion-dollar markets in no time, and how progress is being made on fronts such as minority participation, social justice and social equity. Despite the optimism, many are treading carefully because the North American cannabis industry has hit a rough path in recent months. Some companies are entering 2020 in a state of flux as a wave of consolidation and business closures are expected to sweep through the industry. Compounding those struggles is the lack of US national legalization or, at least, federal allowances for cannabis banking, said Leafly CEO Tim Leslie, who took the helm of the cannabis education and technology company after a 20-year career at Amazon. "There will be good businesses that potentially don't make it through the current macroeconomic cannabis environment, and that's unfortunate," he said. "But I think the good companies will continue to prevail ... I think the fundamentals of the industry are strong." Following years of a "green wave" of US states and Canada legalizing cannabis, companies' financial valuations and expansion plans far exceeded the market realities. "I think everybody predicted that there was going to be a slew of new [legalized cannabis markets] on the East Coast, and then within a period of no time, the momentum just absolutely dropped out," Andrew Freedman, former Colorado cannabis czar turned regulatory consultant and investor, said during a Thursday speech. Those efforts were halted primarily because states such as New York and New Jersey were trying to enact regulations via the legislative process and ran into complexities when trying to address aspects such as social equity, Freedman said. The fits and starts may continue in some states, but other states such as New York appear to be making some headway and could move forward as early as next year, he said. https://edition.cnn.com/2019/12/13/business/mjbizcon-cannabis-conference-2019-las-vegas/index.html Bongme
  5. hi Ontario paves the way for more pot stores, scrapping lottery system for licences The Ontario government has scrapped its much-maligned lottery system for cannabis retail licences, paving the way for more store openings in the sparsely-served province. In a news release issued late Thursday, Attorney General Doug Downey said the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO) will remove the cap on privately licenced stores, and begin accepting new operator applications on Jan. 6, 2020. Store authorization applications are set to follow on Mar. 2 “Our government is determined to open the cannabis market as responsibly as possible," Downey said in the release. “We have said all along that opening more legal stores is the most effective way to combat the illicit market, protect our kids and keep our communities safe. That is our number one priority.” The policy shift was widely reported on Thursday prior to the announcement. Canada legalized recreational cannabis on Oct. 17, 2018. The Ontario government capped the number of physical stores in response to low supply at the onset of legal sales. Most industry observers agree that fears of short supply are now unfounded, with many warning that producers are sitting on a glut of unsold inventory. Ontario has opened only 24 physical cannabis stores since April 1, 2019, the first day new pot shops were allowed to serve customers. Alberta, a province with about 10 million fewer residents, had 176 stores as of July, according to Statistics Canada. Under the new rules, retail operators in Ontario will be able to own up to 75 cannabis stores by next September. Other regulatory changes include eliminating pre-qualification requirements for prospective retailers, and increasing the ability of licenced producers to participate at the retail level. The Ontario Cannabis Policy Council, a group of industry leaders and experts focused on adult-use pot in the province, applauded the decision. “With Ontario home to more than half of the recreational LPs, the majority of cannabis employment, and the largest domestic consumer market, opening up Ontario’s cannabis retail market will have a positive effect on job creation, investor confidence, and the economy,” the council said in a statement on Thursday. “Beyond this, we must ensure private retailers and licensed producers can operate in a regulatory environment where they can compete effectively with the illicit market. To that end, the OCPC calls on the Ontario government to continue along a path of reform and allow LPs to directly negotiate with retailers.” The lack of stores in Ontario has been widely blamed by executives in the industry for putting a damper on sales at a critical juncture for the sector. Canopy Growth CEO Mark Zekulin addressed the issue on a Nov. 14 earnings call with analysts. “At risk of oversimplifying, the inability of the Ontario government to license retail stores right off the bat has resulted in half of the expected market in Canada simply not existing,” he said. “Ontario represents 40 per cent of the country's population, yet has one retail cannabis store for 600,000 people.” https://uk.news.yahoo.com/ontario-paves-the-way-for-more-pot-stores-scrapping-lottery-system-for-licences-021503851.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvLnVrL3VybD9zYT10JnJjdD1qJnE9JmVzcmM9cyZzb3VyY2U9bmV3c3NlYXJjaCZjZD0yJmNhZD1yamEmdWFjdD04JnZlZD0wYWhVS0V3ajlyTUxCdUxMbUFoV3lzSEVLSFpNdUF2TVFxUUlJS3lnQU1BRSZ1cmw9aHR0cHMlM0ElMkYlMkZ1ay5uZXdzLnlhaG9vLmNvbSUyRm9udGFyaW8tcGF2ZXMtdGhlLXdheS1mb3ItbW9yZS1wb3Qtc3RvcmVzLXNjcmFwcGluZy1sb3R0ZXJ5LXN5c3RlbS1mb3ItbGljZW5jZXMtMDIxNTAzODUxLmh0bWwmdXNnPUFPdlZhdzNzZnlqNk14UU0xWlBYMEdGUUZlMjE&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAFF0nk-n4qpMsb2Aw82zHX3J7q3SkTaE3JLZmxLh9hBB8TqkzwaG909pDe03aj_FkAq8y9IiIIGhRc6EcNbBDuVH4878Koz3y5yKsqVMGtOzn-bBYWhZ5N0Qor5VcudlnhyPzKjhVnLAnyy7Z1R_tP2mZ1qsURo7rhFl1C8-KLOQ Bongme
  6. hi Oakland Council Votes to Reduce Taxes for Cannabis Businesses Despite opposition by Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, the Oakland City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday night to give final approval to a tax reduction for the city's largest cannabis businesses. The council had voted unanimously in favor of the tax reduction at its first reading last month and approved it again on Tuesday night. City Councilman Dan Kalb, who proposed the tax reduction along with Councilwoman Sheng Thao, said it is necessary because Oakland's 10% tax on all non-medical cannabis business gross receipts is among the highest such tax rates in the state that's being imposed by local jurisdictions. In a statement, Kalb said, "Many Bay Area jurisdictions tax their cannabis businesses at rates substantially lower than our rates in Oakland. If we want to make sure our cannabis businesses thrive so we can realize the jobs and tax revenue that come with a thriving cannabis industry, then we must be competitive with other jurisdictions." Kalb said the cities of Emeryville, Berkeley, San Francisco, Santa Rosa and Richmond all have lower taxes than Oakland. He said, "If Oakland doesn't act to reduce taxes on cannabis businesses, they simply might not survive, especially our equity-based cannabis businesses, or move to the neighboring jurisdictions." In a message to Oakland residents before the meeting Tuesday night, Schaaf said, "Our City Council is poised to give a massive $4 million a year tax-break to Oakland's largest cannabis businesses. I urge you to call your councilmembers to oppose this reckless give-away." Schaaf said the City Council already voted last spring to reduce taxes for the smallest 150 of the 195 registered cannabis businesses in Oakland. She said the proposal "will benefit the largest businesses -- with most of it going to a handful of businesses that gross more than $1.5 million a year!" Schaaf said that if the council voted to approve what she called "this irresponsible tax-break," residents should insist that council members be "transparent and responsible by specifying the services they will cut to pay for it." She said that's because by law the council must maintain a balanced budget. Kalb said he and other council members are sensitive to Schaaf's concern about not impacting the city's budget, so the measure calls for phasing in the break gradually over three years, not all at once. In fact, Kalb said that in the first year the break for the largest cannabis businesses will be "very modest" and only drop by 0.5 percent, from 10 percent to 9.5 percent. He said the measure "clearly is not some huge tax break for big businesses." Kalb said now that marijuana is legal in California the idea is to harmonize the tax rates for both medical and non-medical cannabis. He said medical cannabis is only taxed at a 5 percent rate in Oakland now and the measure approved Tuesday night calls for reducing the tax on non-medical cannabis to 5 percent over three years so the rates are harmonized. Kalb added that even under the new, lower rate, cannabis businesses "will still pay a substantially higher tax rate than any other type of business in Oakland." Kalb also said he wants to be clear that he won't support "any budget reductions when it comes to vital services, including homeless services, wildfire prevention, public safety, pothole repair and road repaving." https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/east-bay/oakland-council-votes-to-reduce-taxes-for-cannabis-businesses/2194628/ Bongme
  7. hi The Legal Cannabis Market Is Still Losing to the Black Market -- by a Wide Margin California is raising taxes on cannabis businesses, and that could dim the outlook even darker next year. Marijuana used to be a substance that was only available for sale on the black market. But with more countries and states making strides toward legalization, there is plenty of potential growth in legal cannabis markets. Some estimates have the legal cannabis market in the U.S. being worth as much as $29.7 billion by 2025. That is more than double 2019's expected sales of $13.6 billion. A big part of that growth will come from California, which had the largest market share of cannabis sales in the U.S. in 2018. But as impressive as all that growth is, the problem is that the black market is still winning, and it the legal market isn't even close. Legal market for cannabis is struggling The black market is still likely to dominate the cannabis industry in 2020, according to projections from New Frontier Data. The markets in California and Michigan are expected to see demand for legal cannabis products climb to 30% of the total market, but those states are the exception rather than the norm. Florida, which is one of the hottest markets for medical marijuana, may see only one-fifth of its demand being for legal products. That's a big problem for the industry, especially with health officials tracing vaping-related illnesses to black-market products, highlighting just how much risk there is for consumers who buy from the underground. As a result, vape sales have been down in multiple states. In Colorado, vape sales' share of the market have declined by 26% from July to October. Multiple states, including Massachusetts, have made moves to restrict the sale of vape products, at least for now. In Canada, some provinces have also said they will not allow vape sales, even before derivative products are set to hit store shelves later this month. Given the headwinds facing the markets in Canada and the U.S., the legal market for cannabis could continue to struggle. Tax hike in California will worsen the situation Some of the biggest obstacles to the industry's growth are a result of too many regulations and taxes. The more difficult and the more expensive it is to purchase pot from the legal market, the fewer customers who will opt for the legal route. That's why news that California's Department of Tax and Fee Administration was raising the state's tax rate on marijuana businesses came as a big shock to many in the industry. Local city and county taxes will cause some variations within the state, but according to Josh Drayton from the California Cannabis Industry Association (CCIA), consumers can expect to pay anywhere from $5 to $10 more for an eight-ounce bud, potentially reaching over $50 in tax. The increase will go into effect Jan. 1, and the CCIA is concerned it will send even more consumers to the black market. It's a valid concern for the industry and it could undermine the success that cannabis has made in that part of the country. California has been arguably the hottest market for marijuana in the world and by making it less competitive on price, consumers may simply opt to make the drive up to Oregon, where an excess supply of cannabis has made pot very cheap. But for those looking for local options, there will be no shortage of black-market shops ready to fill the demand. What does this mean for investors? For cannabis companies like Harvest Health & Recreation (OTC:HRVSF) that operate pot shops in California, there's significant concern that sales will take a hit next year. The company has three locations currently open in the state and one that it recently acquired. However, with Harvest Health having operations in six states, it has many options to grow its business and will have even more as legalization continues to progress in other parts of the country. This is where multistate operators have advantages over cannabis companies that are only operating in one or two states and thus may be more vulnerable to regional issues weighing on their operations. While California is still going to be a significant piece of the overall cannabis market, being versatile in this industry will be the key to success over the long term. That's why investors should look for companies with operations in multiple states but that aren't too aggressive in their growth plans. Harvest Health certainly falls into that category, but that doesn't mean the stock is risk-free. With losses of $39.5 million in its most recent quarter on revenue of $33.2 million, it's a stock that has potential but that investors should keep on a short leash if things get worse. Harvest Health, like many marijuana stocks, has struggled this year, losing more than half of its value thus far. The danger for cannabis investors is that the worst may not be over for the industry, especially given the potential for concerns surrounding vaping and tax increases to continue to weigh on pot stocks and driving cannabis users away from legal purchasing avenues. After all, the black market still isn't available to invest in. https://www.fool.com/investing/2019/12/06/the-legal-cannabis-market-is-still-losing-to-the-b.aspx Bongme
  8. hi Toddler killed himself mistaking loaded gun for water pistol while mum was high Vid On Link The mum of tragic Lokhi Bloom, from Colorado, US, was too high on crystal meth to notice her son was playing with her gun - she also gave her other two children cannabis Mirror A tragic toddler shot himself dead while junkie mum was too high to notice he was playing with her gun. Two-year-old Lokhi Bloom put the loaded pink .380 Ruger in his mouth thinking it was a water pistol as he liked to play with squirt guns. His mum Melissa Adamson, 33, a recovering crystal meth addict, admits she had taken drugs so was not watching him when he pulled the trigger. After the tot's tragic death she told police she'd loaded her pistol following a "threatening visit" from a drug dealer called Beast, the Colorado Springs Gazette reports. She said she left the gun in her office while she went into the garage to call her sister. When she heard a bang the mum rushed to the house and discovered Lokhi had shot himself. The little boy died at the scene, last October. When police searched the family home in Colorado they found drug paraphernalia, an axe and two toy guns that Lokhi used to play with. Adamson admitted child abuse resulting in death and on Monday she was jailed for 24 years. https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/us-news/toddler-killed-himself-mistaking-loaded-21022577 Vid On Link Bongme
  9. hi Lowell Café, the Nation’s First Cannabis Lounge, Is Now the ‘Original Cannabis Café” Lowell Café, which got worldwide coverage when it opened in October on La Brea Avenue in West Hollywood as the nation’s first cannabis consumption lounge, has announced that it is changing its name to the Original Cannabis Café. An announcement of the name change says that Lowell “is evolving from being associated with a corporate entity into a true home for the entire cannabis community and industry. The café is paving the way as the only restaurant in America where guests can openly consume cannabis and is a welcoming environment for people from all walks of life.” “Since we opened, our guests and employees have colloquially referred to the restaurant as the Cannabis Cafe, when talking about us to their friends and on social media,” said Ami Gan, the vice president of marketing and communications. “We’re excited to make the name change official as we focus on the community” Lowell is owned by Flore Flora LLC. Hollywood Reporter has reported that it was the idea of Sean Black and David Elias, co-founders of the Los Angeles-based cannabis brand Lowell Herb Co., whose pre-rolled Lowell Smokes are sold at over 300 dispensaries. A major supplier of the café’s cannabis products is Black and Elias’ Lowell Farms, which is known for its campaign against the War on Drugs and against jail sentences for cannabis consumers. While guests can consume both food and cannabis products, state law requires a certain separation. The food is produced inside a restaurant on the building’s site. It can be paid for by credit or debit card and can be delivered by restaurant servers to those sitting on the adjacent patio. On the patio, it is legal to eat or smoke cannabis products that are delivered by a different group of servers and must be paid for in cash. That approach is a workaround state regulations that bar cannabis lounges from serving food and which took effect after Flore Flora’s application for a license from the City of West Hollywood was approved. Today’s announcement notes that the cafe’s cannabis menu offers over 100 strains of cannabis flowers from 45 different growers and soon will be offering events with live music. The adjacent restaurant, overseen by executive chef Andrea Drummer, offers salads and sandwiches along with coffee and tea and juices but no cannabis-infused products. Alcohol will not be served. “This important social and historical establishment should belong to the cannabis community and industry, not any single cannabis corporation. By no longer being branded with a single company, our Cannabis Cafe will focus on its goal of presenting our diners with as diverse a range as possible of cannabis from small independent growers and entrepreneurs,” said Drummer. https://www.wehoville.com/2019/12/02/lowell-cafe-the-nations-first-cannabis-lounge-is-now-the-original-cannabis-cafe/ Bongme
  10. Hi Recreational marijuana is about to be legal in Michigan and Illinois. Here's what to know Two Midwestern states are breaking into the recreational marijuana market, and dispensaries are expecting huge crowds. Legal weed sales are set to begin Sunday in Michigan, where a handful of dispensaries in Ann Arbor plan to be open for business. The landmark moment in the state's cannabis industry comes amid a temporary ban on the sale of vaping devices in Michigan as health officials investigate the causes of vaping-related lung illnesses nationwide. In Illinois, where officials are grappling with a lack of racial equity in the cannabis industry, sales are expected to begin New Year's Day. The states are the 10th and 11th nationwide to allow recreational marijuana sales. Thirty-three states allow the sale of marijuana for medical use, which Michigan legalized in 2008, followed by Illinois in 2013. Here's what you need to know. Who can legally buy weed in Michigan and Illinois? Anyone over the age of 21 with a valid state ID or driver's license can purchase recreational marijuana from licensed retailers. In Michigan, residents can legally possess up to 2.5 oz on their person, or up to 10 oz at home. In Illinois, residents will be able to have up to 30 grams of cannabis flower, 5 grams of concentrate and 500 milligrams of THC in products such as edibles. Non-Illinois residents in the state may possess up to only half as much as residents. However, some restrictions still apply. Landowners can ban cannabis use, and employers can prohibit employees from having THC in their systems. It's illegal to drive while impaired and to possess marijuana on federal land and federally funded facilities, including some hospitals, public housing and more. Michigan's medical marijuana industry serves nearly 300,000 people but could serve about 1.5 million people in the recreational market, according to estimates from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Illinois has a much smaller medical marijuana industry, serving about 91,000 people. The state's recreational marijuana industry could serve nearly 1 million consumers living in the state, compounded by millions of tourists annually, according to a report by cannabis consulting firm Freedman & Koski. Marijuana legalization: Where the 2020 Democratic candidates for president stand Who's selling in Michigan and Illinois? In Michigan, at least three shops are ready to go on day one, and they're all in Ann Arbor: Exclusive Brands, Arbor Wellness and Greenstone Provisions. At 10 a.m., the retailers are expected to begin transferring up to 50% of their products from the medical side of the business to the new recreational market. In Illinois, sales are scheduled to being at 6 a.m. Jan. 1, 2020. The state has 55 existing medical dispensaries, but regulators have licensed 29 stores so far, according to the Chicago Tribune. Can you transport weed out of state? No, weed is still illegal at the federal level and cannot be taken across state lines — by any form of transportation. Recreational marijuana: A guide to legal weed in neighboring states More states than ever have waved the green flag on weed from a medical and/or adult-use perspective. Are communities buying in? It doesn't seem like it. Since Michiganders voted to approve legalizing recreational marijuana about a year ago, approximately 80% of municipalities in the state have opted out of allowing recreational sales in their communities. In early November, the Detroit City Council voted unanimously to opt out of the recreational business until Jan. 31. In Illinois, where the state legislature easily approved the sale of recreational marijuana this past spring, communities have been hesitant to allow businesses in their own backyards, particularly in the suburbs. While Chicago plans to allow cannabis sales, local aldermen may seek to opt out individual precincts. Illinois law expunges drug offenses The Illinois law aims to promote social equity by giving a leg up to minority entrepreneurs disproportionately impacted by poverty and the war on drugs. The law expunges certain drug-based criminal records and establishes a fund to provide financial resources for business start-ups. The provision to help expunge marijuana offenses applies to people convicted of possessing a small amount of the drug who were not associated with violence, meaning that some 770,000 Illinois residents could have their convictions expunged, according to ABC News. Some Illinois residents and politicians, however, say that minority groups are still being left out of the process. Earlier this month, a lottery to determine which businesses would gain the right to sell marijuana in Chicago attracted scrutiny when a viral photo posted to social media appeared to show a group of predominantly white men gathered in the room. That same afternoon, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a Twitter post that she was "not satisfied with the current state of equity in the cannabis industry." Where else are recreational sales legal? In addition to Michigan and Illinois, nine other states have legalized the sale and use of recreational marijuana for adults: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, Nevada, Vermont and Washington, along with the District of Columbia. Efforts to legalize marijuana in New Jersey and in New York failed earlier this year. How vaping deaths have chilled the industry The legalization of recreational marijuana sales comes amid a national vaping epidemic that has caused serious lung illnesses in nearly 2,300 people — including 47 deaths — in 49 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. On Nov. 22, Michigan mandated a temporary halt of the sale of marijuana vapes and ordered that a portion of existing cannabis-infused vape cartridges get retested to ensure they don't contain an additive. Officials suspect that vitamin E acetate, an additive used in THC oil, may be linked to the illnesses. One retailer told the Detroit Free Press that vape sales make up 30% of his business, raising questions about how the mandate may affect Michigan's recreational market. At least two people in Michigan and three in Illinois have died from a vaping-related injury. In September, President Donald Trump announced that he would ban flavored vaping products other than menthol and tobacco but has yet to do so. Earlier this month, he held a meeting with industry and advocacy groups. Weed in Indiana: A guide to legal weed in neighboring states for Hoosiers https://eu.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/12/01/legal-weed-michigan-illinois-know-recreational-marijuana/4339486002/ Bongme
  11. Hi California boosts pot taxes, shocking unsteady industry California is increasing pot business taxes in the legal market, shocking the state’s struggling marijuana companies.Hefty marijuana taxes that can approach 50 percent in some communities have been blamed for sending shoppers into the tax-free illegal market, which is thriving.Beginning Jan. 1, legal pot shops will have to shell out more to the state on the inventory they purchase from distributors.”It will definitely cause a problem for us,” said Tommy Pawloski, the manager of All about Wellness in midtown Sacramento. “It will cause a problem for the prices and increase prices for the consumers.”Owner Phil Blurton said he pays a fortune in taxes and fees, including a $22,600 annual licensing fee to Sacramento, a $96,000 annual licensing fee to California. Last year, his business operation tax was $400,000, which he said most traditional businesses only pay $5,000.On top of that, he said he pays the state sales tax of 8.75%, plus the cannabis city tax of 4%, and a cannabis state tax of 15% on 60% of whatever product he buys from distributors.Net year, that number will jump to a 15% tax on 80% of the product he buys from distributors.Many believe the cost increase of legal pot will force even more consumers to buy off the black market.The California Cannabis Industry Association says its members are “stunned and outraged.”The group says the tax increases will be passed on to consumers, pushing more to shoppers to the black market.The association said an 8-ounce purchase of marijuana could cost about $10 more next year.—The Associated Press contributed to this story LOS ANGELES — California is increasing pot business taxes in the legal market, shocking the state’s struggling marijuana companies. Hefty marijuana taxes that can approach 50 percent in some communities have been blamed for sending shoppers into the tax-free illegal market, which is thriving. Beginning Jan. 1, legal pot shops will have to shell out more to the state on the inventory they purchase from distributors. “It will definitely cause a problem for us,” said Tommy Pawloski, the manager of All about Wellness in midtown Sacramento. “It will cause a problem for the prices and increase prices for the consumers.” Owner Phil Blurton said he pays a fortune in taxes and fees, including a $22,600 annual licensing fee to Sacramento, a $96,000 annual licensing fee to California. Last year, his business operation tax was $400,000, which he said most traditional businesses only pay $5,000. On top of that, he said he pays the state sales tax of 8.75%, plus the cannabis city tax of 4%, and a cannabis state tax of 15% on 60% of whatever product he buys from distributors. Net year, that number will jump to a 15% tax on 80% of the product he buys from distributors. Many believe the cost increase of legal pot will force even more consumers to buy off the black market. The California Cannabis Industry Association says its members are “stunned and outraged.” The group says the tax increases will be passed on to consumers, pushing more to shoppers to the black market. The association said an 8-ounce purchase of marijuana could cost about $10 more next year. https://skystatement.com/california-boosts-pot-taxes-shocking-unsteady-industry-2/ Bongme
  12. On Wednesday, members of Congress did something that they had never done before. For the first time ever, a body of the U.S. Congress voted to end cannabis' nearly century-long status as a federally prohibited substance. By a vote of more than two to one, members of the United States House Judiciary Committee passed passed legislation, House Bill 3884: The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act. The MORE Act removes the marijuana plant from the federal Controlled Substances Act, thereby enabling states to enact their own cannabis regulations free from undue federal interference. The vote marks the first time that members of Congress have ever voted to federally deschedule cannabis. According to a 2018 Quinnipiac University poll, 70 percent of U.S. voters support this policy change. To date, 33 states have enacted laws regulating patients' access to medical cannabis and nearly one in four Americans reside in a state where the adult use of marijuana is permitted. It is inappropriate for the federal government to continue to either interfere with or stand in the way of these voter-initiated policies. Members decision to move forward with the MORE Act is significant. This act is the most comprehensive marijuana reform bill ever introduced in Congress, and it's backed by a broad coalition of civil rights, criminal justice, drug policy, and immigration groups. This legislation seeks to address the millions of Americans who suffer from the stigma and lost opportunities associated with a low-level marijuana possession conviction. It provides funding and inducements to states to enact policies that expunge these criminal convictions from citizens' records so that they can more successfully move on with their lives. And it also seeks to assist America's military veterans by, for the first time, permitting physicians associated with the Veterans Administration the authority to recommend medical cannabis therapy to patients who reside in legal marijuana states. It also permits those players in the existing state-legal marijuana industry to access to banking and other necessary financial services. Currently, federal law mandates that this multi-billion dollar industry operate on a cash-only basis - an environment that makes businesses more susceptible to theft and more difficult to audit. Growing a successful business is hard enough. Doing so without access to banking and credit is even tougher. The MORE Act ensures that these state-compliant businesses, and those millions of Americans who patronize them, are no longer subject to policies that needlessly place them in harm's way. Commenting on the bill just prior to the vote, Chairman Nadler (D-N.Y.) acknowledged that more than two in three Americans believe that the adult use of cannabis ought to be legal, according to the most recent national polling. He added: "States have led the way and continue to lead the way, but our federal laws have not kept pace with the obvious need for change. We need to catch up because of public support [in favor of legalizing marijuana] and because it is the right thing to do." It is for these reasons that members of the full House should now take up this issue on the House floor. Not only does this bill reverse the failed prohibition of cannabis, but it also provides pathways for opportunity and ownership in the emerging industry for those who have suffered the most under federal criminalization. It is time for Congress to right the past wrongs of the federal war on marijuana and for every member to show their constituents which side of history they stand on. Justin Strekal is the political director for NORML, where he serves as an advocate to end the federal prohibition of marijuana and to reform our nation's laws to no longer discriminate against its consumers.
  13. Does Marijuana Legalization Lead To More Problematic Weed Use? Marijuana legalization increased marijuana use and cannabis use disorder among older adults, a new study finds. While the benefits of marijuana legalization are aplenty, it’s also important to consider the possible consequences as well. According to a new study, not only does legalization lead to increased cannabis use, it increases the rate of cannabis users who develop addictive behaviors. The study highlights the possible public health consequences to legalization, so that regulators and lawmakers can create proper policies to prevent them. “Although occasional marijuana use is not associated with substantial problems, long-term, heavy use is linked to psychological and physical health concerns, lower educational attainment, decline in social class, unemployment, and motor vehicle crashes,” researchers wrote in the study published in JAMA Psychiatry. For the study, lead author Magdalena Cerdá, a drug policy expert at New York University, and her team analyzed data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (2008-2016). The survey divided age groups between those between 12 to 17 (teenagers), 18 to 25 (young adults), and 26 years or older (older adults). The researchers then looked at how marijuana legalization affected whether participants used cannabis in the past month, and if they met the NSDUH’s definition for cannabis use disorder (their criteria include problematic use to addiction). Where the sharpest rises in marijuana use occurred was for older adults, when comparing those in legal states vs. those in non-legal states. Among the age group, cannabis use in the past month jumped from 5.65% to 7.1%, frequent use rose from 2.13% to 2.62%, and cannabis use disorder recorded in the past year changed from 0.9% to 1.23%. However, the young adult group had no significant changes in marijuana consumption behaviors. While researchers found an increased risk of cannabis use disorder among teenagers, it was a relatively minor adjustment. “For adolescents, I think we need to take the findings with a grain of salt,” Cerdá told Vox. “We need to really track changes among adolescents over a longer period of time and across other states that are legalizing to see if that’s really a robust finding or it’s actually due to some other third factor.” As Vox adds, the researchers took special care in checking their findings against possible limitations. That included analyzing whether marijuana use was already increasing prior to legalization, if demographic or socioeconomic changes had any effect, or if other variables could be influencing their results. The researchers took several steps to validate their results. They looked at both demographic and socioeconomic changes to see if they had any effect; they checked to see if marijuana use had already been on the rise in states that eventually legalized cannabis; and they conducted statistical sensitivity analyses to try to account for other variables that they may have missed. But ultimately, because the data used comes from self-reporting participants, it’s always difficult to draw definitive conclusion from the research. What Cerdá emphasized, though, is that she and her team don’t believe their study should stop any possible marijuana legalization. Instead they want their research to influence how states develop regulations and frameworks around legalization. As she told Vox, legal drugs remain available despite their negative effects. Tobacco results in 480,000 to 540,000 deaths each year while drinking in excess is connected to 88,000 annual deaths. For marijuana, we should “start to think about ways to legalize that prevent those unintended consequences, just like we would regulate tobacco and alcohol,” Cerdá said. “[Because legalization] has a lot of important benefits from a criminal justice standpoint, and I think it could, if done well, have benefits from a public health standpoint,” she added. “If it’s well-regulated, we could regulate the quality of the product, we could regulate the potency of the product — in a way we couldn’t if it were illegal.” https://thefreshtoast.com/cannabis/does-marijuana-legalization-lead-to-more-problematic-weed-use/
  14. Hi Internet Owns NYPD After They Bragged About Stealing 106 lbs of LEGAL Hemp for Cancer Patients New York, NY — Despite marijuana being legal in some form in over half the country, police officers across the country still take pride in kidnapping, caging, and even killing people they catch with this plant. Despite a major majority of Americans supporting legal weed, cops still go out of their way to prosecute people for possessing it, even CBD. The ridiculous nature of depriving people of their freedom over a plant came to a head this week in New York after “hero” cops took to bragging about a massive “marijuana” bust. But because these cops were so gung-ho on arresting people for a plant, they are now the laughing stock of the internet after they bragged about seizing 106 pounds of entirely LEGAL hemp. The hemp was bound for a CBD dealer in New York who resells the highly beneficial product to cancer patients. This medicine would never make it to the cancer sufferers, however, because a FedEx driver, apparently indoctrinated by the see something say something campaign, saw the legal flora and called the police. Despite the shipment having all the legal documentation and paperwork showing that it was legal hemp for CBD, officers with the NYPD’s 75th precinct confiscated it, laid it out, and took their trophy photo to blast out on the internet. It is amazing how many police department still continue to post pictures of pot busts considering they are met with backlash and ridicule every single time they do it. Nevertheless, they still did it. “Great job by Day Tour Sector E yesterday. Working with FedEx and other local law enforcement, they were able to confiscate 106 Lbs. of marijuana, and arrest the individual associated with the intended delivery,” the NYPD’s tweet read. “I’m looking at it. It’s the stuff you see in movies,” Jahala Dudley, one of the owners of the company that grew the hemp told NBC5. “Like, these two cops are holding our hemp, like it’s an awesome drug bust! This is hemp!” Cops apparently used the notoriously faulty field test kits to test the hemp, and predictably, it showed positive for drugs. As TFTP has reported, these kits are so notoriously faulty that we have seen people put behind bars for possession of things like drywall, glazed donuts, crackers, kitty litter, baking soda, cotton candy, bird sh*t, honey, and even milk. And, apparently, hemp. “Industry hemp looks like real weed…It’s the same species of plant, it’s just the chemical compound is different,” Oren Levy, who sells hemp wholesale through his company GreenAngels CBD, said, adding his product was below legal federal limits for THC. While this is certainly hilarious, it is no joke to the person who is sitting in jail for “trafficking” marijuana, nor the company, who says cops stealing their legal CBD product — intended for cancer patients — may very well put them out of business. “We have a limited product, a limited crop,” Dudley said. “This shipment will make or break the farm this year. If this sale goes through, we’ll be OK. If it doesn’t, we don’t break even.” According the NBC 5, Vermont agriculture officials said they contacted New York Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball to make him aware of the situation, hoping he might help sort out the confusion. Hopefully, this mess gets straightened out and the cops responsible for stealing a company’s product based on faulty information get reprimanded. Until then, we can rely on the internet to rake the 75th precinct over the coals for this lunacy. Below are some of the tweets the NYPD has received in response to their reefer madness. Enjoy. https://thefreethoughtproject.com/nypd-seizes-cbd-brags-gets-owned/ 22 Comments Bongme
  15. Hi Bloomington Planners Recommend Cannabis Cafés Bloomington’s Planning Commission is looking to make the city the first in Illinois to allow marijuana sold at dispensaries to be consumed on site, a so-called cannabis café. That was one of several recommendations the panel made following a public hearing on the city’s proposed cannabis zoning ordinance, while a company that’s buying the medical marijuana dispensary in Bloomington plans to seek a state license for a dispensary in Bloomington. The city council will review changes to the draft ordinance in December, ahead of the state law taking effect on January 1 legalizing recreational use of marijuana. Planning commission member Justin Boyd said allowing on-site consumption might be the only option for some residents, since property owners will have the option to ban cannabis use on their premises. “I think the social justice issue is a big one that we should consider,” Boyd said. “If it’s legal to consume but you can’t consume it in public or in your home or any other location, then it’s not really legal to a certain population.” Commissioner David Stanczak suggested the city avoid making a “once-and-for-all” decision that could be tough to undo later if problems arise. He said he thinks some landlords will decide on their own to allow marijuana use. “We have apartment complexes that have pet-friendly buildings, I see no reason why they couldn’t have pot-friendly buildings just as easily,” Stanczak quipped. The commission voted 6-3 to recommend proposed setbacks to largely mirror Normal’s proposed ordinance. The panel wants to shorten the distance from residential areas to 200 feet and the distance from schools, daycares, places of worship, residential care homes, parks and playgrounds to 100 feet. “This is a business like any other that you have to be 21 to enter,” Boyd said. “You buy packaged goods and you take them home. That is why I don’t have an issue reducing those setbacks.” City staff had proposed no licenses within 250 feet and 500 feet, respectively. Commission chair Megan Headean said public comments convinced her to prefer the longer setbacks. “I understand it we did have this location it probably would be downtown and this is very restrictive, but I support the larger setbacks and mostly that’s due to the comments we heard tonight. I think that’s kind of balancing what the community is asking for and is comfortable at this time.” The planning commission agreed to those same distances which city staff had proposed for other types of cannabis licenses, including cultivation centers, craft growers, transporters and infusers. The panel moved the residential setback for processing centers to 500 feet. Several residents raised concerns about the odor coming from cannabis production. Wayne Montney urged the commission to move the setbacks even farther. “You should go home tonight and figure out where 250 feet is from your front door and said do you really want a facility that’s that close. I think you are going to find that 250 feet isn’t very much. Much of the public comment focused on whether the city should even opt in to allowing cannabis sales. Aaron LeNeve referred to cannabis bans as a ‘war against a plant’ that that has criminalized too many. “Listen to the people who are telling you that we want this business and their recommendations, because it’s rooted in fact,” LeNeve said. “It’s time to end this stupid war.” Others expressed concern the city was moving too quickly to cultivate a marijuana industry they see as harmful. Fr. David Halt of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in Bloomington said the city appears to be in a rush to cash in on cannabis, but it might not provide the windfall the city is hoping to get. “We know big business makes money, but does the city really gain true financial incentive, financial benefits, because we have not yet talked about the increased costs associated with these businesses,” Halt said. Business Eyes Bloomington If Bloomington decides to welcome marijuana sales, at least one business is looking to open a dispensary in the city. Nathan Wang with Jushi, a Denver-based cannabis company, said it has an agreement to buy The Green Solution, a medical marijuana dispensary in Normal. The deal is pending approval from the Illinois Department of Financial Regulation. Wang said the company is seeking state approval to allow recreational marijuana sales at the site in Normal and will exercise the option to open a second dispensary somewhere in McLean or DeWitt counties. Wang said the company has several locations it’s considering, including some downtown. He said locating in Bloomington makes the most sense. “It’s the same demographic, that helps us reach a broader audience and a broader population within the same region,” Wang said. “We love this region. That store in Normal has been very successful.” Wang, Jushi’s manager for new markets, said the company would welcome the opportunity to open Illinois’ first cannabis café. “I think it’s an opportunity where we are extremely excited I think it presents a lot of challenges certainly, both from a public community perspective as well as from a business perspective, there’s certainly challenges that come with having lots of consumption of cannabis.” Other Changes The city’s planning commission agreed to several other changes to the city’s cannabis zoning ordinance. The city would allow an applicant to seek a permit to operate as both a dispensary and an infuser, such as a shop that makes pot brownies or other marijuana edibles, but only in downtown districts zoned D-1 and D-2. Applicants would have to seek a special use permit for each type of business. Each request would have to be approved by the city’s Zoning Board of Appeals. if the city council approves the zoning changes, it will also have to decide whether it will tax is sales. Municipalities will be able to tax cannabis sales up to 3%. https://www.wglt.org/post/bloomington-planners-recommend-cannabis-caf-s#stream/0 Bongme
  16. Hi State Takes Child from Parents, Forces Him to Take Chemo for Treating Cancer With Cannabis Parents of a 4-year-old Florida boy had their child taken away last month because they sought to treat his cancer in a holistic manner. A judge ruled the couple had placed their son in harm’s way after ceasing chemotherapy treatments for his leukemia. Taylor Bland-Ball and Joshua McAdams had their parental rights taken away from them following the couple’s decision to seek a second opinion out of state. That decision led to the parents giving their son CBD and THC oil along with traditional chemotherapy treatments. NBC News reports: Bland-Ball responded to the judges decision outside the Florida courtroom. She said, “we’re disappointed with the fact that they are moving forward with chemotherapy considering all the side effects that were brought up in court today, including death.” It turns out, she’s right. A landmark study published in the United Kingdom detailed just how deadly chemotherapy can be, even within 30 days after its initial use. As TFTP reported, the chemotherapy often turned out to be deadlier than the patients’ cancers. In fact, some hospitals had a higher mortality rate than those in other cities, leading the researchers to question why such mortality discrepancies with chemotherapy existed. Bland-ball and McAdams wanted to do more for their child and include cannabis as an alternative to chemotherapy and radiation, the universal standard treatments for cancer. It’s unclear precisely which cannabis medicine they wanted to give their son. Currently, the only FDA approved cannabis-based medicine is produced by GW Pharmaceuticals whose researchers are attacking some of the world’s deadliest cancers such as glioblastoma, a brain cancer which is almost always fatal and of which chemotherapy and radiation have little to no effect. GW Pharmaceuticals’ 1:1 THC/CBD medicine was used in conjunction with a traditional chemotheraphy. The test results, according to GW Pharm hold promise. According to one of their recent studies conducted in the United Kingdom: Patients given cannabis lived nearly twice as long as those who were not given cannabis as an alternative treatment. But the choice to give cannabis to Bland-Ball and McAdams’ child was taken from the parents and given to the State of Florida which has usurped not only the parents’ wishes but the current research being conducted using cannabis in conjunction with standard chemotherapy. Florida has now ordered the son to be given chemotherapy completely against the parents’ wishes. In addition to being used to help kill cancer cells, cannabis also helps to mitigate nausea and pain while taking chemotherapy. Unfortunately, Bland-Ball and McAdams’ child will now have to take his chances with chemotherapy and wonder whether or not it will even work. With legal decisions being made by the state one must logically ask the serious question as to whether or not a day is coming when all decisions about one’s health can be taken away from the citizenry? As an example of humans losing rights to states, take for example the subject of vaccinations in the State of New York. As TFTP has reported, parents are no longer allowed to even decide when, if, or which vaccines will be given to their children, making such universal declarations akin to 1984, George Orwell’s work on a dystopian future where people give up all rights to the government. The forced vaccination program may be eerily reminiscent to Nazi Germany with the government controlling all procreation/birthing/parenting/child-rearing decisions. Enough is enough. The Police State in America has to be replaced with logical, common sense approaches to health and wellness. Fascist Big Pharma is now allowing the state to force feed its chemotherapy onto little children whose parents do not want the drug to be given to their kids. Shouldn’t an oncologist refuse to be an agent of the state in this matter? Where are the courageous physicians who will refuse to administer drugs to children whose parents object? Likewise, should parents be allowed to keep their children if they neglect life-saving medical treatment? https://thefreethoughtproject.com/parents-child-kidnapped-by-the-state-cancer-chemo/ 20 Comments Bongme
  17. Hi Woman Fights Back Against Charges for Using Cannabis to Treat Her Illness—and She WON Marshall County, TN — In millions of instances across the ostensible Land of the Free, people from young to old have their lives turned upside down and ruined after they are caught in possession of a plant. Despite marijuana being legal in a growing number of states, marijuana arrests actually increased in 2018. The low hanging fruit of arresting entirely harmless and innocent marijuana users provides for a constant stream of revenue and justifies the existence of the police state and predatory court system. One woman in Tennessee, however, just showed us all what can happen when you refuse to lay down and let the bureaucratic gear of tyranny grind you to pieces when the government catches you with weed. Melody Cashion, like thousands of other Americans, on a daily basis, was targeted for extortion for an alleged traffic violation in October 2017. “It was supposedly a rolling stop,” said Cashion. When the officer pulled her over, he claimed to smell weed and then threatened to search Cashion’s vehicle. In Tennessee, if a police officer claims to smell marijuana, they do not need a warrant to search your vehicle, so Cashion saved the officer some time and handed over her tiny bag of this illegal plant. Cashion is not a recreational smoker. This plant arguably saved her life by weaning her off opioids and treating her medical condition. In an interview with The Free Thought Project, Cashion explained why she used started to use marijuana. Cashion’s story mirrors that of thousands of other folks who have beaten their opioid dependencies through the use of marijuana. Despite this incredible plant saving her from a lifetime of addiction to opioids, and a possible deadly overdose, the officer still arrested and charged her. She had harmed no one. Prosecutors told Cashion that she was facing nearly a year in prison for the tiny amount of marijuana in her bag — less than one gram. “They basically told me I had no defense,” Cashion explained. When faced with the possibility of a year in a cage, many people would take a plea deal — even if they didn’t commit the crime — and get probation. But Cashion was determined to fight this. “Everybody thought I was crazy,” she said. But she wasn’t. Cashion tells the Free Thought Project why she fought the charges: According to News Channel 5, Cashion’s attorney had taken note of Operation Candy Crush in Rutherford County, where charges were dropped after prosecutors could not prove the level of psychoactive THC in cannabis gummies. It must be higher than .3 percent to be illegal. The TBI does not test misdemeanor cases — less than a half ounce of cannabis. Because Cashion had less than a gram, the prosecution had no case as they couldn’t prove her plant was illegal. The prosecution held the case over her head until the very last minute, likely thinking that she would accept their arrangements, but Cashion stood her ground. Just like that, Cashion fought the law, and unlike the song, the law didn’t win. Now, because Cashion was brave enough to stand up to the system, thousands of other people in the state facing weed charges can successfully challenge their charges too and save themselves from this stain on their record following them around for the rest of their lives. Cashion tells TFTP that she is still in a mountain of debt from fighting this madness. If you’d like to help her out, you can do so via paypal here. https://thefreethoughtproject.com/woman-fights-charges-weed-wins/ Vid On Link Bongme
  18. Hi Arrest of Ukranian sparks review of cannabis licenses in California SACRAMENTO, Calif. — The arrest of a Ukrainian-born businessman on charges of conspiring to violate federal campaign finance laws has triggered a review of the California cannabis licenses he was granted. Bureau of Cannabis Control Chief Lori Ajax tells the Los Angeles Times the indictment of Andrey Kukushkin raises concerns. Kukushkin was indicted this month along with two associates of President Donald Trump's attorney Rudy Giuliani on charges involving funneling foreign money into U.S. politics. The Times reports that in the last year a partnership involving Kukushkin obtained a dozen California state licenses to sell and distribute marijuana. Ajax says officials are looking at all the documentation associated with the licenses, which are provisional permits. An attorney for Kukushkin has said he intends to fight the charges filed in New York federal court. https://krcrtv.com/news/local/arrest-of-ukranian-sparks-review-of-cannabis-licenses-in-california Bongme
  19. Hemp plants seized in California were pot worth $1B Authorities in Central California have seized and destroyed about 100 million plants they said were being grown as legal hemp but contained THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The Kern County Sheriff's office said it served search warrants at several fields totaling 459 acres in the Arvin area on Oct. 25 as part of a joint investigation with the FBI and California Department of Fish and Wildfire. The office said samples of the plants tested "well above" the federal limit of 0.3 percent of THC for industrial hemp. Authorities said the plants were essentially cannabis worth about $1 billion on the black market. They wouldn't name the grower, citing the ongoing probe. The Bakersfield Californian said hemp cultivation is allowed in Kern County but pot production, sale and processing is all but illegal. https://uk.news.yahoo.com/police-hemp-plants-seized-california-222510861.html?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvLnVrLw&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAIHhHmNo1ZnVGULjzvsNaPFJEEI4hhUn2ToxRFEcVnaI1w5yPtltJlyUuc2tONVHR3AGGHL8GW0T8_X1PrIm9sI5f2auzF3NDowv0AS8wMMxVu_5QunPkIB_EluzJ2gtKnKCgC7jy4oqSlz8JfG102ikVoZk-DzieF4g_2LsXpMY
  20. On Vaping and Lung Disease A front-page story by Matt Richtel in the New York Times October 21 contains some useful info about the increasing incidence of lung damage caused by vaping, but gets the history wrong. And then gets it right. An editor should have caught the contradiction. The online subhed sums up the story thus: “A technology initially promoted to help cigarette smokers has transformed marijuana use, too. Now, with cases of severe lung illness rising, health investigators are warning people to stop vaping cannabis.” The piece begins: “For years, a divisive debate has raged in the United States over the health consequences of nicotine e-cigarettes. During the same time, vaping of a more contentious substance has been swiftly growing, with scant notice from public health officials.” The chronology is upside-down. E-cigs didn’t go on the market until 2007, long after cannabis aficionados and medical users had begun vaping. In 2002 the German-made Volcano vaporizer hit the market in California (with an instruction manual that, for political reasons, made no reference to cannabis). In 2003 Dale Gieringer, PhD, ballyhooed vaping in O’Shaughnessy’s first issue (Summer 2003) in a story headlined “Don’t Smoke, Vaporize” Gieringer also published in the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics a paper called “Cannabis ‘Vaporization’: A promising strategy for smoke harm reduction.” It described an experiment showing “that an electric vaporizer can successfully generate THC at 185 degrees centigrade while completely suppressing benzene, toluene and naphthalene formation.” The Spring 2004 O’Shaughnssy’s ram a piece called “Volcano is to Vaporizer as Porsche is to Automobile.” Dr. Tod Mikuriya recommended vaporizing to all his patients and the Volcano to those who could afford the >$600 price tag. Other devices that heated cannabis flowers short of the combustion point would keep coming on the market. Excerpts from the Times story follow: Millions of people now inhale marijuana not from joints or pipes filled with burning leaves but through sleek devices and cartridges filled with flavored cannabis oils. People in the legalized marijuana industry say vaping products now account for 30 percent or more of their business. Teenagers, millennials and baby boomers alike have been drawn to the technology — no ash, a faint smell, easy to hide — and the potentially dangerous consequences are only now becoming evident. Most of the patients in the outbreak of severe lung illnesses linked to vaping — which has left 1,479 people sick and 33 dead so far — vaped THC, the ingredient in marijuana that makes people high. Until more information is known, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned people not to vape cannabis products… Last year, Dr. Neal Benowitz, a professor of medicine and a researcher on nicotine and vaping at the University of California, San Francisco, sent a letter to Congress warning of the risks posed by leaving a hugely popular practice unstudied. “Very little is known about the safety or effects of vaped cannabis oil,” he wrote, cautioning that some ingredients mixed into the oils “could have harmful, toxic effect on users, including the potential for causing and/or promoting cancer and lung disease.” “It’s disgraceful,” Dr. Benowitz said in a recent interview as reports of hospitalizations and deaths from vaping-related lung illnesses mounted. “I’m not able to take products we think are potentially harmful and do analysis. I can buy a vape device around the corner, but I can’t bring it into the lab and test it.” The mounting toll of vape-related illness may turn into a boon for the regulated industry, which has long wanted law enforcement to crack down on unlicensed producers. The president of the board of the United Cannabis Business Association, Jerred Kiloh, emphasized to Richtel that only vape pens and cartridges sold in regulated stores have been tested by California’s Bureau of Cannabis Controls. Kiloh (great name for a pot dealer) owns the Higher Path dispensary in Los Angeles. Richtel writes: Vaping oils typically include other additives, solvents and flavor enhancers, and health investigators believe some such ingredients, including vitamin E acetate, could be responsible for some of the lung illness cases. The problem of unknown and potentially dangerous additives, Mr. Kiloh and others said, is vastly worse in a soaring black market in the nearly 40 states where recreational marijuana is still illegal. Even in states where the drug is legal, counterfeit cartridges are cheaper than the licensed, tested and taxed products. It is hard for legal players who pay taxes to compete. A regulated vape pen with half a gram of THC costs $55, compared with $25 or less on the street for an untested product. Richtel is evidently referring to Dale Gieringer’s 2003 paper, when he recounts: In the earliest days of cannabis vaping, a small group of innovators saw the technology as a safer way to help medicinal marijuana patients. They hoped that vaping — which entails heating THC so that it turns to an aerosol — would be less harmful to the lungs than inhaling combusted marijuana. But that ethos quickly gave way to a different lure: the pure convenience of vaping, which allowed users to avoid rolling joints, spilling ash, giving off a telltale smell — or getting caught. Vape pens brought the sheen of high technology to a drug associated with hippies and grunge, along with the discretion of, say, texting beneath the dinner table. The harm-reduction ethos gave way to the generate-revenue ethos. Growers who sold manicured flowers to dispensaries could now sell to hash oil makers the leaves theywould have composted and the “shake” they would have donated to needy friends and family. The hash oil makers were given shelf space by dispensary owners and created a profitable niche for themselves in the industry. The market itself expanded because bringing cannabis in the form of oil across state lines is so much less risky and more efficient than transporting bulky, odiferous flowers. As explained by Richtel in the Times: Entrepreneurs began to extract oil by bathing the leaf in ethanol or butane, filtering out the solid material that remained and then evaporating the solvent to leave the concentrated oil. Another method used carbon dioxide, which, when pressurized, creates a fluid that can be used to extract the oil… Once extracted, the THC oil could then be heated up using a small battery, kept in a cartridge or penlike case, creating aerosol, which is then inhaled from one end of the device. Consumers fell in love/ Businesspeople found they could use the entire plant to extract oil rather than throw away stems and other parts discarded by smokers, which maximized the value of the crop. The oil also could be mixed with other additives to give flavor, to create the effect of big puffs of smoke or just to cut the THC to substitute less expensive chemicals. You don’t have to be a regulated dispensary owner to assume that unregulated ganjapreneurs are making and selling the lung-damaging vape pens and cartridges. A looming question is: which ingredients are doing the damage? A friend in the industry who suspects the fungicide Myclobutanil cites pathology reports of damage from “toxic fumes” and notes that “Myclo converts to Hydrogen Cyanide when heated.” He adds, “The primary affected demographic is young adult males. This may or may not be simply representative of the user demographics. If there is a disproportionate effect on that population it may be due to a toxic conversion that is heat dependent. Healthy young males hit the pen harder, heating the oil hotter.” The vaping boom has been facilitated by the War on Drugs and societal disapproval of smoking per se. As Richtel observes, vape pens enable “discretion” by users. Drawing on a sleek little device can seem inobtrusve and respectable compared to firing up a joint. Maybe people forget —or maybe the news never got conveyed— that smoking marijuana does not cause lung cancer. A gold-standard study by Donald Tashkin and colleagues at UCLA established that cells damaged by cannabis smoke die off instead of metastasizing. Tashkin has established that smoking cannabis can cause bronchitis —but not a higher rate of lung cancer (or emphysema or COPD), Given that the real risk is bronchitis, maybe smoking marijuana will regain some of its popularity. Like vinyl LPs The ecological impact of large numbers of people smoking American Spirits marijuana cigarettes would be close to zero. Till that unimaginable day, disposable vape pens and empty plastic cartridges made in China and purchased in the US will keep adding to the debris coagulating in the ocean that everyone tsk-tsks about. Not to mention the poison leaching out of the batteries. https://www.counterpunch.org/2019/10/28/on-vaping-and-lung-disease/
  21. hi Cannabis found at North Dakota nuclear missile launch facility BISMARCK, N.D. -- The U.S. military says marijuana was found at a Minot Air Force Base nuclear missile facility in central North Dakota. Air Force Sgt. Benjamin Smith says the undisclosed amount marijuana was found Oct. 9 at a missile alert facility. He says the drug was discovered above ground and not near missile operators. Minot has one of the nation's two B-52 bomber bases and oversees 150 Minuteman 3 nuclear missiles. The base has been under scrutiny since a 2007 mishap in which a B-52 bomber was mistakenly armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles in Minot and flown to a base in Louisiana. Other lapses include the theft of a launch code device, missile crew members sleeping on the job and failed inspections. https://www.ctvnews.ca/world/cannabis-found-at-north-dakota-nuclear-missile-launch-facility-1.4652578 Bongme
  22. hi UK Company Creates Alternative to Cannabis Oil Vapes; Establishes Office in South Florida As a UK-based company, Liberty Herbal Technologies would like to reduce the risk for cannabis inhalation, more precise, simpler and sustainable for all patients and consumers of cannabis. That’s why the company created hapac®, a unique dry-vaping system that consists of ready to use filter-paper packs (or sachets) of pre-ground cannabis flower, specially designed for use in a simple, affordable, but highly effective dry-herb vaporizer device. The eco-friendly hapac®, sachets are made of specially engineered paper made from natural fibers, so after use they can be safely composted. Liberty Herbal Technologies was founded by Simon Rucker, Mark Waterfield, and Domenico Ventura who worked together at British American Tobacco (BAT), in the area of ‘Next Generation’ vaping products. In July 2016, Rucker reached out to both Ventura and Waterfield with the intention to form a company to develop and launch an innovative ‘heat not burn’ vaping product for tobacco users. “At that time, I was in contact with another ex-BAT colleague and friend based in Seattle who was developing disposable e-cigs containing cannabis concentrates,” says Ventura, CEO and Marketing Director for Liberty. This friend’s many stories about the benefits of cannabis, its applications and the challenges involved in establishing the rights to commercialize a product that worked for patients with some difficult conditions got Ventura and his partners interested in cannabis. “We researched the cannabis market, the consumer dynamics and we found it fascinating not only for the growing trend of this category but also for the curative and healing properties of the plant,” Ventura says. One pivotal question came up during these talks, Ventura recalls. Why is a product that should heal people mostly smoked? “We were aware of the many toxicants produced by combustion so we thought that the sort of ‘heat-not-burn’ system we were developing would be a really relevant innovation for cannabis consumers” he adds. The result was hapac®, which stands for ‘herb and paper anti combustion.’ The reason for anti-combustion is because combustion or burning, which occurs at 1652 °F when a cigarette/cannabis is smoked creates significant quantities of toxins in the smoke. There is no combustion when a product is vaporized and heated to 410 °F. The effect of vaporizing the cannabis rather than smoking it, is estimated to vary significantly reduces the toxins produced, by some 80%. “The hapac® system removes all the mess, fuss and fiddle normally associated with dry-herb vaporizers and makes vaporizing a measured dose of cannabis flower simple, convenient and consistent,” says Ventura. “Our first trip to Seattle in December 2016 to test with consumers the first crude hapac® prototypes gave us the confidence to continue the development.” The company worked hard to get hapac®to market and this past January, it launched its full marketing mix in Italy’s burgeoning ‘low THC cannabis’ (aka hemp) market. “We are having positive responses from consumers who made repeat purchases and we are receiving daily requests from consumers in other countries who would like to purchase our hapac®system,” adds Ventura. “Unfortunately the law on cannabis in Europe is very inconsistent and way behind North America.” Through other inhalation methods, hapac®offers the following benefits: vs. joints / smoked herb: • No combustion – reduced toxins • No smoke – reduced smell • Better value – doesn’t burn away between puffs vs vape pens / e-cigs: • Natural – not processed / no solvents or additives • Full spectrum cannabinoids & terpenes • More sustainable – no plastic packaging vs dry-herb vaporizers: • No grinding, no mess, no fuss, no wasted herb • Easy refill on the go • Reduced cleaning of oven vs ingested / edibles: • Fast acting – 2-5 minutes vs 30-60 minutes • Quick & easy to adjust dose • Less wasteful – bypasses liver “These benefits are the key differentiators versus existing inhalation methods,” explains Ventura. “I would like to stress some key points for medical patients: a consistent measured dose, easy to use and affordability/value for money of both the inhalation device and the hapac®sachets.” As the dose of cannabis is inhaled, the effect of the cannabis on the patient is very fast the patient can titrate the dose. This means that, dependent on the effect of the dose, the patient can easily adjust the balance of the dose by reducing or increasing puffs on the vaporizer. hapac®is not currently available in the United States, however, Liberty Herbal Technologies has appointed an Area Sales Director in Florida, Leonello Araujo (leo@libhol.tech), and is currently seeking both U.S. and Canadian commercial partners interested in establishing a JV or licensing agreement to launch hapac®in Florida and North America. According to Ventura, the benefits to a license producer include: • Made on low CapEx automated machinery • High hapac®output per man hour • Low manufacturing costs “The sooner we succeed in establishing a commercial agreement, the earlier we can launch in Florida and in other states in the U. S. since all the marketing and production mix is ready,” adds Ventura. “Our long-term goal is to build the leading global legal cannabis brand on hapac®, our patent-pending technology for vaping cannabis naturally.” https://communitynewspapers.com/cannabis/uk-company-creates-alternative-to-cannabis-oil-vapes-establishes-office-in-south-florida/ Bongme
  23. Hi Patient safety: public cannabis education hotline launched A public education cannabis hotline has been launched by Colorado nurses to help patients understand their medicine. Seed & Smith, Colorado’s leading cultivator, concentrate manufacturer and dispensary dedicated to producing high-quality cannabis, has announced its partnership with the non-profit, public cannabis education hotline Leaf411. The free hotline is staffed by cannabis-trained registered nurses providing education and directional support to the general public about the safe use of legal cannabis. Seed & Smith is a Founding Member of the non-profit organisation starting this month. The public hotline Seed & Smith’s latest medical partnership aligns with its corporate mission of complete transparency, education and patient care. Leaf411’s consulting nurses undergo a rigorous screening process and are trained extensively on cannabis use and the endocannabinoid system. Seed & Smith will display Leaf411 signage in retail locations, and dispensary budtenders will be able to direct all medical questions relating to cannabis use to Leaf411 nurses. Brooks Lustig, CEO of Seed & Smith, said: “A crucial component of advancing the legal cannabis industry is educating our customers about safe and responsible consumption. “There are still relatively inconsistent resources about cannabis use on the internet, and most doctors are untrained in the field of cannabis usage. Leaf411 is providing an important and accessible resource to consumers interested in engaging with the cannabis market. We’re proud to partner with an outstanding advocate for patient health.” Jennifer Axcell, COO and Co-Founder of Leaf411, said: “Leaf411 was started because the founders noticed a lack of balanced, transparent and accurate educational resources related to cannabis use. “For new customers, navigating the industry can feel like learning a new language, and our trained nurses are equipped to help all consumers make informed decisions about their medical and recreational use. Our team is grateful to partner with Seed & Smith and the opportunity they have provided us to reach even more cannabis users across the state.” Leaf411 is free and for educational purposes and is not an emergency hotline. Consumers experiencing a cannabis-related medical emergency are advised to dial 911 or go to the nearest hospital. https://www.healtheuropa.eu/cannabis-education-hotline-launched/94254/ Bongme
  24. hi Vid On Link Nevada's first cannabis lounge to open Saturday, employees high with excitement LAS VEGAS (KSNV) — It's the first for the state: It looks like a bar, or brewery, but behind the bar stool, you can see bongs instead of bottles. It's Nevada's first cannabis tasting lounge. The staff is high on excitement. While the state hasn't given the green light on these lounges, NuWu is on soverign tribal land, and subject to tribal authority. That's why come Saturday, customers will be able to light up. "In Nevada, it is the first," said Alfreda Mitre, a Paiute Tribe Councilwoman. "So we are looking foreword to providing this experience to our customers." It's an experience she says will mirror a craft brewery or wine tasting room. Flights are designed for cannabis connoisseurs to sample products. Waiters will be offering smoking and vaporizing options, along with edibles to customers inside. But what about safety concerns? Mitre says NuWu will be monitoring. "There is a time limit that will be in place," she said. "We do have bud tenders to do that that expertise and will be able to gently nudge the customer when they think their needs will be met." NuWu may be the only lounge in Southern Nevada for the next few years. While the city passed an ordinance allowing lounges earlier this year, Governor Sisolak signed Assembly Bill 533 in June that in part, created a two-year hold on lounge licensing so research could be done. In a statement, the Governor's Office said in part: "The cannabis control board... will strictly regulate the cannabis industry to protect public health and safety, as well as create a stable, predictable business environment to promote economic growth." In the meantime, Mitre says NuWu is happy to fill in the gap and show how it can be done. A spokesman for the City of Las Vegas says no cannabis lounges will open in the city the CCB has its findings. NuWu says its staff members will also be working with Uber, Lyft and taxi services make sure no one will be getting behind the wheel after partaking. https://news3lv.com/news/local/nevadas-first-cannabis-lounge-to-open-saturday-employees-high-with-excitement Bongme
  25. hi America's first cannabis cafe opens in Hollywood In California, which has the world's largest legal marijuana market, recreational pot became legal in 2018 merica's first cannabis restaurant has opened in West Hollywood, offering diners an array of weed products and hoping to rival Amsterdam's famed coffee shops. Called Lowell Farms: A Cannabis Cafe, the much-hyped 240-seat establishment is open to people 21 and over, who can order from a cannabis menu just like they would a wine bottle. "Flower Hosts," or "budtenders," help patrons navigate the menu, giving advice to connoisseurs or novices on what strain of cannabis to order with their meal and the potency and flavor of each product. On offer are pre-rolled joints starting at $18 dollars apiece, highly potent concentrates, some edibles, and accessories such as bongs, pipes and dabbing devices. "It's amazing to be a part of making history, I never thought I would have been," said executive chef Andrea Drummer as she surveyed diners at the soft opening of the eatery on Monday. "It's important to have a safe space to consume in a very communal setting," she added. "The only other place that I know that to be the case is Amsterdam." She said customers were flying in from different parts of the country, and one couple was even traveling from Britain, to take part in the grand opening on Tuesday. The cafe's launch comes as more and more states across America have legalized marijuana in recent years, both for medicinal and recreational purposes. The drug, however, remains illegal at the federal level. Largest legal marijuana market In California, which has the world's largest legal marijuana market, recreational pot became legal in 2018, setting off a mad rush by entrepreneurs to cash in on the multi-billion-dollar industry. Seven other eateries similar to "Lowell Farms" are expected to open in the near future in West Hollywood, one of the first cities in the country to embrace the concept. "This is a great idea and I do think that normalizing cannabis is something that we should do," said Derek Bollella, 22, a business student who drove 45 minutes on Monday to be part of the happy few who managed to secure a reservation at Lowell's. "If you go to Amsterdam, they have one of these every 10 feet," he added as he smoked a joint while munching on nachos topped with avocado. "They tried that over there and it seems to work." Antonela Balaguer, 23, another patron sitting nearby with a friend, said it was only fitting to finally have a cannabis cafe where customers could get high while enjoying some "nice stoner food." "I could probably come here every day," she said. "I would consume cannabis every day if I could." Drummer said the restaurant's 40 "Flower Hosts" have been trained to keep an eye on guests to make sure they are able to tolerate the cannabis they order and that nothing gets out of hand. "Our bud hosts are very proficient in enquiring and asking guest where they are at in their consumption level," she said. "You go to a bar and you know the cut-off point for the person who has ordered five whiskeys. So you have a conversation if that is the case. " For Matt Kirschner, the new eatery is long overdue and marks a major milestone for the country. "This is the greatest thing that the United States has implemented into its culture in a while," said the 22-year-old law student as he smoked a joint and nibbled on mac and cheese bites and a chicken sandwich with a friend at Lowell's. "We're pretty stoned right now," he added, grinning. "We're enjoying the day, the music's good, the weather's good and we're in California. "Life can't get better." https://www.ibtimes.co.uk/americas-first-cannabis-cafe-opens-hollywood-1669772 Bongme