Monthly Archives: January 2018

Governor of Vermont Expects To Sign Weed Legalization Bill By Monday

Vermont’s Governor Phil Scott is getting ready to sign a bill to legalize recreational greenery in his state.

Last week, lawmakers in the state of Vermont passed a bill to legalize recreational marijuana. They did this entirely through state legislature, making history by becoming the first state to pass such a bill without a vote from the state’s residents. And now, a week later, the governor of Vermont expects to sign weed legalization bill by Monday.

The State of Weed in the State of Vermont

Believe it or not, it has only been but a mere two weeks since President Trump’s right-hand man Attorney General Jeff Sessions made “good” on his threats to crack down on states with legal cannabis. Those two weeks ago, Sessions rescinded a little Obama-era piece of legislation called the Cole Memo. Basically, the Cole Memo was put in place to prevent the federal government from interfering in state’s rights. Specifically, those regarding the decriminalization or full-out legalization of cannabis.

Since then, states and lawmakers have been rallying to fight this rescission. As it turns out, members of both major political parties were sufficiently angry with Sessions over this decision. In Vermont, state lawmakers took almost immediate direct action. Last week, the Green Mountain State’s Senate passed a bill to legalize recreational cannabis. Timing aside, this social and political maneuver was particularly gutsy because it required each member of the legislation to take a definitive stance on the matter. Votes like this are public record, so the lawmakers involved were well aware of the political risks involved.

Another reason this vote was so risky is that the governor of Vermont, Phil Scott, vetoed a legalization bill this past May. He cited the need for more research and clearer wording on the bill as the reason behind his veto. He also made it known that he would be willing to revisit the matter.

And now he has the chance to do just that.

Final Hit: Governor of Vermont Expects To Sign Weed Legalization Bill By Monday

According to sources, the governor of Vermont expects to sign weed legalization bill by Monday. Or perhaps even before Monday. He has, reportedly, enlisted the help of a lawyer to go over the bill and make sure the language and specifications of the new potential law are of a high enough standard that he can sign it with a clear conscious. The specifications of the bill include maximum possession allowance of both flower and plants. If Governor Scott signs the bill into law, Vermont citizens will be permitted to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and six plants. Of those plants, two may be mature, and the grower may possess an additional four immature plants. No word yet on retailing recreational cannabis in the state of Vermont. But if the bill is signed, amendments regarding that are sure to come.

Another point to sweeten the pot? If the governor feels satisfied and signs, the new law will go into effect the first day of July. So, if all goes according to the state Senate’s plan, Vermont’s residents could have legal, recreational weed by summertime.

To read more visit: https://hightimes.com/news/governor-vermont-expects-sign-weed-legalization-bill-monday/

Former Mexican President Vicente Fox On Why Prohibition Is A Failure

High Times recently had the fortune, privilege and honor of interviewing Mexico’s former President Vicente Fox, a man whose ideas stand close to libertarianism. The state, the government, should not intervene in people’s lives unless their decisions affect third parties, he’s argued quite often.

Discussing cannabis legalization and the business opportunities that follow, Mr. Fox mentioned he actually supported the legalization of all drugs, not just cannabis. We were hooked: not often do we get to hear the former president of one of the world’s top 15 economies, of a G-20 country, defend the legalization of mushrooms, cocaine and LSD.

His argument is based on two basic premises:

  1. Keeping drugs illegal has generated nothing but violence. “We’ve seen so much violence, hundreds of thousands of young people die in the hands of drug-related violence over the last decade… It makes no sense,” Mr. Fox pointed out during our chat. “Drug lords have taken control of the markets, trafficking and the transit of drugs to the United States, and this has complicated things everywhere.”
  2. The illegality of drugs goes against the concept of individual liberty. “I am an intense believer in freedom. I think all prohibitions should disappear off the face of the earth – except for those limiting anything that affects a third party,” he explained.

“Prohibition doesn’t work and has never worked,” Mr. Fox argued, bringing up the example of Adam and Eve who, he thinks, might have never taken a bite off the Forbidden Apple if God had explained why it was bad for them instead of straight out banning them from eating it.

“We need to transform prohibition into regulation,” he said. Consumers need to have the freedom to decide what they want. But, before this can happen, we need education, access to information and time for people to digest this new information, to get comfortable with this new paradigm where the people take care of themselves and one another, instead of relying on the state to do that, he argued.

“We need to stop thinking that the government will protect our children and families from drugs. That has never happened. Only educating at home we’ll be able to create consciousness around the fact that what’s important is moderation, rather than prohibition,” he supplemented.

Legalize It All

Drug legalization will create a legitimate business community and put it in hands of honest entrepreneurs instead of criminals like we see today, Mr. Fox voiced. “In fact, legalization will help us create opportunities for many people who have been turned into criminals by this unjust system; people are not born criminals, they are pushed toward crime by the lack of opportunity.”

“But, as we re-legalize drugs, we will create a lot of new jobs that can help us keep young people away from crime,” he went on. “Legalization will create jobs for engineers, retailers, farmers, processing professionals, manufacturers… All of the formerly marginalized people will find opportunity and well-paying jobs.”

Mexico And The Opioid Crisis

The high demand for opioids in the U.S. has created in a war between cartels in Mexico. Many drug lords want to be the ones supplying poppy to opioids producers, Mr. Fox explained. “And this is intrinsically related to the fact that poppy is grown illegally,” he noted.

“So, instead of having people kill each other, why not produce poppy legally in Mexico and export it, legally, to the U.S.?” he suggested.

“Of course opioids are bad when they are used incorrectly. But opioids are also very useful and necessary to treat certain ailments.” So, we need to differentiate these two types of uses and have our laws reflect this difference, he concluded, calling for a comprehensive drug legalization plan for the U.S., Mexico, and ultimately the whole world.

 

To read more visit: https://hightimes.com/news/former-mexican-president-vicente-fox-prohibition-failure/

LEAFLY LIST: TOP DISPENSARIES IN NORTH AMERICA, WINTER 2017–2018

Every quarter we update the Leafly List in an effort to answer a question we hear all the time: “Can you recommend a great dispensary near me?” The list is a snapshot of the most talked-about medical cannabis dispensaries and retail locations in 10 major cannabis markets across North America. The top locations are determined using an indexing system that ranks locations across a variety of customer engagement metrics like reviews of each location’s quality, service, and atmosphere.

Click on your state or province below to find the most relevant Leafly List for you. Remember, if you don’t see your favorite dispensary on the list, make sure you follow, rate, and review your favorite cannabis locations to let the world know where you find your favorite cannabis.

More on the Leafly List

The Leafly List index score is a proprietary statistic created by Leafly to measure the performance of medical cannabis dispensaries and retail cannabis locations across Leafly’s digital platform. It is designed to be a comparative metric that offers context as to which locations are generating the most positive buzz and pushing the cannabis industry forward through exceptional service and digital engagement. Check out the Leafly List FAQ for more information on how dispensaries are ranked.

The Leafly List is based on 100% objective customer feedback and data collected by Leafly. Businesses CANNOT pay for a spot on the list.

The Leafly List is by no means a comprehensive list of your options when it comes to cannabis access points. You can use Leafly’s Find Nearby tool to see the complete list of dispensaries or recreational stores in your area. The Leafly List is designed to let you know which locations are being reviewed, followed, and have their Leafly menus visited the most, and it also provides other web-based engagement factors. Simply put, these are the places that the Leafly community is talking about, so if you don’t see your favorite location listed, make sure you follow, rate, and review your local dispensary to let others know it’s the best.

Lead image by Mordolff/iStock

To read more visit: https://www.leafly.com/news/leafly-list/leafly-list-the-best-cannabis-locations-in-north-america-winter-2017

Mike Tyson launches luxury marijuana resort in California, as state’s Green Rush finds celebrity backers

Controversial boxing champ Mike Tyson has broken ground on a 40-acre marijuana growing operation and luxury resort close to Edwards Air Force Base, celebrity blog The Blast reports.

The Tyson Ranch will have half of its acreage devoted to cultivating marijuana and the other half developed into a high-end retreat with “glamping” cabins, an edible factory and an amphitheater. Tyson, who is backing the project with business partners including California City Mayor Jennifer Wood and two entrepreneurs, Robert Hickman and Jay Strommen, also reportedly plans to create a Tyson Cultivation School at the site.

“Tthe company that operates the ranch, Tyson Holistic, is comprised mainly of veterans, and says taking care of men and women who have served in the armed forces is a top priority,” The Blast reports. “The ranch is located near Edwards Air Force Base and aims at creating lots of jobs, as well as connect with and give back to the community. The mayor describes the business venture as a ‘rebirth’ for the entire city.”

You can read more about the property, and see schematics of what it will look like, here.

In California, high hopes for ‘green rush’ with advent of legal pot

LOS ANGELES: At the stroke of midnight on January 1, pot lovers in California may raise a joint, instead of a glass of champagne.

America’s wealthiest state is legalizing the growth, sale and consumption of recreational marijuana, opening the door to the world’s biggest market.

With authorities looking to cash in via heavy taxes, the stakes are high—and the Golden State’s so-called “green rush” will be watched closely.

Arcview, a firm that studies the global cannabis market, estimates that it will be worth $22.6 billion in 2021, up from $6.7 billion in 2016.

Cannabis is displayed at the Higher Path medical marijuana dispensary in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles, California, December 27, 2017. AFP PHOTO

In California alone, the industry will be worth $5.8 billion in 2021, with almost three quarters of that from recreational use.

But 2018’s transition will not be automatic—or simple.

Although eight other states and the capital Washington have already legalized recreational marijuana use, none compare to the sheer size of California.

“The first year, two years are going to be a mess,” as cities determine their own regulations and supply and demand is established, predicts Arcview CEO Troy Dayton.

California already pioneered the legalization of medicinal cannabis in 1996, and approved the current law in 2016.

But the substance is still considered illegal under federal law, and the administration of President Donald Trump has been hostile on the issue.

Thriving black market?

According to the new law in California, anyone older than 21 can get up to 28.5 grams (one ounce) of cannabis without a prescription and grow up to six plants per residence.

It cannot be consumed in public places or while driving—nor can it be used within 1,000 feet (about 300 meters) of a school or other place for children.

The production, distribution and sale of marijuana also requires municipal and state permits.

Cities such as San Francisco, San Diego and San Jose have wasted no time, already issuing licenses to several dispensaries that can start selling recreational marijuana on Monday.

But in Los Angeles, there is a wait.

Seller Jerred Kiloh, who runs a thriving medical dispensary, will not be able to join the New Year’s party as authorities will only begin to accept applications on January 3.

Cat Packer, chief of Los Angeles’ cannabis regulation department, said the process “is not going to happen overnight.”

On one December afternoon, Kiloh’s dispensary is full.

Leaving the shop, a man says “I love your store”—which has a distinctive smell and products ranging from cannabis flowers to creams, cakes and candies.

Kiloh, who has been in the industry for a decade, says his biggest concern is that while he is closed awaiting a license, hundreds of other shops will be operating without one— offering attractive prices and drawing customers away.

Dispensaries can be seen on every corner, but it is hard to know which ones are legal.

Kiloh—who is also an economist and president of plant-based therapeutics corporation United Cannabis—claims “about 80 percent of the industry that operates in Los Angeles right now operates without a permit and without paying taxes.”

He also estimates only 135 shops operate above board.

According to Arcview, the illegal market generated $5.1 billion in 2016.

‘Crazy fluctuation’

Authorities in Los Angeles have said they are working on a plan to combat illicit drug trading.

For example, the police have the power to cut off electricity and water at illegal vendors.

Other more conservative cities will simply prohibit sales.

Meanwhile, some projections estimate that costs could hike up to 70 percent—due to state tax set at 15 percent, 10 percent sales tax, and municipal taxes of up to 10 percent on top of that—as well as license requirements and required technology such as trackers for each plant.

“You could see some crazy fluctuation in price over the first year or two,” said Dayton.

Marijuana for medical use should become cheaper and available for purchase in more quantities.

Kiloh estimates that to meet current demand, “you’d probably have to have 10,000 licenses available right now” in California.

In neighboring Nevada in July, when recreational marijuana went on sale, emergency measures had to be implemented to allow distributors to meet the astronomical demand. AFP

AFP/CC

To read more visit: http://www.manilatimes.net/california-high-hopes-green-rush-advent-legal-pot/371306/

California’s green rush is on as state legalizes recreational marijuana sales

The new year brought with it a big change in California – the legalization of recreational marijuana. Adults, 21 and over, are now allowed to buy cannabis products at licensed dispensaries without a medical card.

CGTN’s May Lee has more.

The celebrations have begun across the state of California as recreational use of marijuana is now officially legal. Customers stood in long lines at licensed dispensaries to be the first to buy cannabis products openly.

“It’s a historic moment” said one shopper. “We were in line for an hour and a half, and I think it’s great that I’m able to come in and do this today. It is a great day.”

At Alternative Herbal Health Services, also known as AhhsWeho, in West Hollywood, business has been brisk. Dina Browner, one of AhhsWeho’s founding partners, is a pioneer in the world of cannabis, having led the way when it was thought of as nothing but an illicit drug.

Browner recalls, “We started here 15 years ago, and I actually started the first, opening the very first doctor’s office that specialized in medical cannabis recommendations in Los Angeles.”

So well-known is Browner’s dispensary that it’s the role model for the Netflix comedy series “Disjointed”. For real-life AhhsWeho customers, the legalization of marijuana gives them, not only more freedom, but also serious relief.

Robert Hughes is a combat veteran who served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2005 to 2009 said he suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder. He added, “I think it should have been something available a long time ago especially for troops that are coming back that are suffering from mental illnesses.”

There are, however, concerns that the legalization of marijuana will boost a black market because the price of legal cannabis is now higher due to taxes and other costs. Another concern- Will there be legal clashes among federal, state and city jurisdictions that have differing marijuana laws?

Twilla Frosco, a tourist from Oklahoma, isn’t sure what’s in store when she tries to return home with her cannabis, but she said, “I’m going to figure it out.”

Though there are still many unknowns when it comes to the marijuana laws here in California, there’s one thing that isn’t really being questioned and that is the potential size of the market. It’s predicted to grow to about seven billion dollars in a few years. That’s much bigger than the entire market was in the U.S. in 2016.

To read more visit: https://america.cgtn.com/2018/01/03/californias-green-rush-is-on-as-state-legalizes-recreational-marijuana-sales