3 Points for Voters to Consider When Reviewing Proposed Marijuana Laws
Cannabis Industry Expert Looks at Pros & Cons
Voters in seven states, one U.S. territory, and at least 17 cities and counties across the nation will face a marijuana initiative when they go to the polls in November. For some, the question is easy: They’re either for some level of legalizing marijuana or against it.
But for others, the issue is not so cut and dried. Decriminalizing marijuana can be good for the country – and it can be potentially dangerous, says Wall Street commodities expert Steve Janjic, CEO of Amercanex (www.amercanex.com), an electronic marketplace exchange for the cannabis industry.
“I’m a part of the industry, but that doesn’t mean I’m in favor of every measure to legalize pot,” Janjic says. “We need to proceed with care and thoughtful consideration of possible consequences, intended and unintended, of the decisions we make.
“We have the opportunity to fix some problems through decriminalization, but we don’t want to end up with even bigger problems down the road,” Janjic said.
The November initiatives range from legalizing recreational marijuana sales and use for adults in Oregon and Alaska to permitting it for medical purposes in Florida and Guam, to decriminalizing possession of small amounts in cities and counties in Maine, Michigan and New Mexico. Californians will decide whether to downgrade possession to a misdemeanor.
Ganjapreneur, a website dedicated to cannabis business news and professional content, has announced the addition of a cannabis industry job listings section to its website. The job listings will be generated primarily via third-party platforms where cannabis growers, retailers, and ancillary businesses post their employment openings.
Ganjapreneur's stated goal is to provide one location for aspiring ganjapreneurs to see all of the industry job postings each day.
Ganjapreneur hopes to compile a comprehensive overview of the legal marijuana job market. With positions ranging from Budtender to Delivery Driver, the professional opportunities in the burgeoning cannabis industry are unique and can often be fiercely competitive.
By publishing in-depth content, a weekly newsletter, and extensive interviews with prominent marijuana professionals, Ganjapreneur says its primary goal is to keep its readers up to date on the latest developments and opportunities related to the cannabis industry.
Last week, Ganjapreneur announced the first segment of an interview with Matt Brown, founder of Denver-based marijuana tourism company My 420 Tours. The interview was conducted via audio, and a transcription is available for reading on the Ganjapreneur website.
The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) is filing a committee with the California Secretary of State on Wednesday to support a 2016 ballot initiative to regulate marijuana like alcohol in California. According to MPP, "It will be part of a broad coalition of local activists, community leaders, organizations, and businesses working to pass a measure similar to the one approved by voters in Colorado in 2012."
The new committee, the Marijuana Policy Project of California, will immediately begin raising funds to help place the measure on the November 2016 ballot. MPP was the largest financial backer of the Colorado initiative campaign.
“Marijuana prohibition has had an enormously detrimental impact on California communities," said MPP Executive Director Rob Kampia. "It’s been ineffective, wasteful, and counterproductive. It’s time for a more responsible approach.
“A diverse coalition of activists, organizations, businesses, and community leaders will be joining together in coming months to draft the most effective and viable proposal possible," Kampia said. "Public opinion has been evolving nationwide when it comes to marijuana policy, and Californians have always been ahead of the curve.
“Marijuana is an objectively less harmful substance than alcohol, and that’s how it needs to be treated," Kampia said. "Regulating and taxing marijuana similarly to alcohol just makes sense.”
By Steve Elliott
The first legal hemp harvest in Kentucky in 70 years has begun at the University of Kentucky. Researchers on Tuesday cut their test plot, which will now remain in the field for two weeks.
The 10-foot stalks will remain on the ground at Spindletop Farm for "retting," the process through which they break apart, said David Williams, an agronomist at the UK College of Agriculture, reports Janet Patton at the Herald-Leader.
"Microbes break down the tissues of the stem," Williams said. "The outside tissues form the bast fibers and the inside form the hurd fibers."
Thirteen varieties of hemp were sown this spring at the University; each will be evaluated for fiber and seed production. More test plots are at other universities in the state, including Murray State.
"It was a good growing season for many crops, not just hemp," Williams said. "Precipitation was excellent this year and more than adequate for growth.
"The only downside to the growing season was that we planted a little bit late, but I don't think that had much effect on the crop," he said.
The seeds had been held up for two weeks in Louisville by the federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), which blocked them because the Kentucky Department of Agriculture didn't have a controlled substance import permit.
By Steve Elliott
Reserve soldiers in the Israeli Defense Forces who hold a prescription for medical marijuana will be allowed to continue using cannabis even while they are performing their active reserve duty, it was announced on Monday.
The decision affects only a few hundred IDF reserve soldiers, and the Israeli Army hasn't published exact guidelines, reports Gavriel Fiske at The Times of Israel. Left open are questions such as smoking in uniform, in the presence of other soldiers, locations on an army base where it would be permissible to smoke, and whether cannabis use will be allowed during operations, Channel 2 reported.
"Medical cannabis is given to treat various diseases under the civilian system," an IDF release noted,and the ability of Israeli citizens to undergo reserve duty is based on "medical condition, not on cannabis consumption."
The army is currently looking in greater depth at medical marijuana use among soldiers, according to the IDF. The report noted that medicinal cannabis use among non-reserve soldiers such as regular active-duty personnel or careerists, has not been explicitly approved. That, too, is under consideration, according to the IDF.
The issue of medical marijuana among army reservists was first raised during a recent forum discussion on "Cannibus," a marijuana-focused Israeli website, prompting a query to the IDF.
Rick Steves, one of America's most respected travel authorities, is launching a six-day, 10-city tour around Oregon to talk about travel and the need for marijuana reform in Oregon.
The Yes on 91 campaign will join him. On the November ballot, Measure 91 will regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older.
In "Travel as a Political Act: Ending marijuana prohibition in Oregon," Steves will share how travel has shown him how different societies tackle the same problems. Steves co-sponsored I-502, Washington's limited ballot measure to regulate, legalize and tax marijuana.
"One thing I've learned in 30 years of travel is that treating marijuana as a crime does not work," he said. "A better approach is to regulate it, legalize it and tax it. I'm an advocate for better policy, and that's what Oregon will get once Measure 91 passes."
With one exception, all the events are free and open to the public. To RSVP, click here.
Tuesday, October 7
First Congregational Church, 5:30 PM*
*Wine and Cheese Meet and Greet, $250/person (Limited space, reserve tickets in advance online)
Tuesday, October 7
First Congregational Church, 7 PM**
Wednesday, October 8
Ava Roasteria, Noon
Wednesday, October 8
Grand Ballroom, Noon
Thursday, October 9
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Corvallis, 5:30 PM
Thursday, October 9
ACLU Annual Membership Meeting
Friday, October 10
The Strategic Alliance will enable U.S.-based AltMed and Canada’s Vida to collaborate on clinical research, quality assurance, and the cultivation of pharmaceutical-grade cannabis
AltMed, a Sarasota, Florida company which says it is "bringing pharmaceutical industry precision to the development and production of medical cannabis," has signed a Strategic Alliance Agreement with Canada’s Vida Cannabis.
The two companies plan to collaborate on research, quality assurance, and technical expertise. They’ll also pool business development know-how to capitalize on complimentary strengths in their respective markets.
"We’re deeply impressed with the level of sophistication, and operational know-how designed into the Vida Cannabis team as they work toward building the most advanced medical marijuana facility in Canada," says David Wright, CEO of AltMed. "We have a parallel commitment to excellence in Florida, and we’ve identified vital complementary strengths and best practices that will guarantee that both of our companies excel."
Headed by former pharmaceutical executives, AltMed is focused on the science of medical cannabis. AltMed is forging skill-building alliances to lead in the delivery of effective, safe and well-tolerated alternative medicines. AltMed says its ultimate goal is to help people live better lives.
"With a strong team coupled with complimentary values and a focus on rigorous quality assurance and research, AltMed shares both our scientific DNA and our commitment to patients," says Greg Wilson CEO of Vida Cannabis.
By Steve Elliott
A new study indicates that if Maryland legalized marijuana, it would bring Maryland more than $40 million in taxes revenues.
The study by financial advisory company Nerd Wallet found that the United States would make $3 billion in taxes if cannabis were legally sold; it then broke down what every state could expect in marijuana revenue, reports Megan Pringle at WBAL-TV.
Due to the illegal nature of marijuana in 48 states, it's hard to get good numbers on the amount of weed that's bought and consumed. To estimate what each state would get from cannabis sales, Nerd Wallet said it had to rely on how many people report smoking pot to the federal government -- so it's a pretty safe bet that there numbers are substantially low.
The study found that in Maryland, more than 145,000 people use cannabis. Based on that, and estimated tax revenues, if marijuana were legal, it would bring Maryland $40,548,337m, the study estimated.
California would make the most, at $500 million, while Wyoming, South Dakota and North Dakota would make the least, each with less than $10 million, the study showed.
Texas, Washington, Michigan, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Florida are all estimated to get more than $100 million from legalization.
By Steve Elliott
Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes said on Monday that he will drop all tickets issued for using marijuana in public that were issued through the first seven months of 2014, because most of them were written by one police officer, Randy Jokela (pictured), who disagrees with cannabis legalization.
In a briefing to the Seattle City Council, Holmes said he is moving to dismiss about 100 tickets issued by the Seattle Police Department between January 1 and July 31, reports Gene Johnson of the Associated Press.
His office also said it would be seeking a refund for 22 people who had already paid their $27 ticket.
One single officer, Jokela, wrote about 80 percent of the tickets, writing on one that he thinks pot legalization is "silly."
Jokela was temporarily reassigned, and the department's Office of Professional Accountability is supposedly investigating.
Photo of Randy Jokela: Brandi Kruse/KIRO Radio
By Steve Elliott
If you're a television news reporter and you decide to quit, you might as well do it live on the air and in a spectacular fashion -- at least, that was apparently the thinking of Charlo Greene, who outed herself as the owner of a medical marijuana club and told viewers she was quitting her job to focus on legalization.
Greene reported on the Alaska Cannabis Club during TV station KTVA's Sunday night news broadcast, but didn't reveal her connection to the club until a live shot at the end of her report, according Laurel Andrews at the Alaska Dispatch News.
"Now everything you've heard is why I, the actual owner of the Alaska Cannabis Club, will be dedicating all of my energy toward fighting for freedom and fairness, which begins with legalization of marijuana here in Alaska," Greene said live on the air. "And as for this job, well, not that I have a choice, but fuck it, I quit."
With that, Greene walked off camera.
Alaska Cannabis Club had earlier urged its Facebook followers to tune in to the news broadcast Sunday evening. Greene later said KTVA had no idea she was going to quit, or how, or that she was connected to the dispensary.
Greene said she quit so dramatically "Because I wanted to draw attention to this issue. And the issue is medical marijuana.
San Jose's Joseph McNamara Leaves Behind a Remarkable Legacy of Public Service and Activism
Retired police chief Joseph McNamara, who fought to end the War On Drugs, died on Friday, September 19 at the age of 79. His 35-year law enforcement career began in 1956 as a beat cop for the New York City Police Department.
He would later become a criminal justice fellow at Harvard, where he focused on criminal justice research and methodology. During this time McNamara took leave from police work to obtain a doctorate in Public Administration, and was appointed deputy inspector of crime analysis in New York City upon his return.
McNamara spoke out publicly against the Drug War long before the issue had come to the political forefront. He was a speaker and advisory board member for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), a group of law enforcement officials opposed to the War On Drugs.
“When you’re telling cops that they’re soldiers in a Drug War, you’re destroying the whole concept of the citizen peace officer, a peace officer whose fundamental duty is to protect life and be a community servant,” McNamara said at a presentation for the International Conference on Drug Policy Reform in 1995.
Measure 91: Kris Olson, one of Oregon's most respected prosecutors, endorses campaign
Oregon's former U.S. Attorney, one of the most respected prosecutors in the state, has endorsed Measure 91, which would regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older.
Kris Olson has worked in justice and law enforcement for more than 40 years."I enforced our marijuana laws, and they don't work," she said.
"Filling our courts and jails has failed to reduce marijuana use, and drug cartels are pocketing all the profits," Olson said.
Olson joins several other high-profile supporters of Measure 91, including former Oregon Supreme Court Justice Bill Riggs and former Addictions and Mental Health Services of Oregon director Richard Harris.
By Steve Elliott
Military veterans who use marijuana are invited to Denver on Saturday, September 20, where a pro-cannabis organization plans to host a weed giveaway for vets who want it.
The group Operation Grow4Vets will hand out marijuana and cannabis products from 11 a.m until 3 p.m. at the Quality Inn in Central Denver, reports Denver Nicks at Time. Total value of the products given away to each veteran who RSVPs for the event by noon on Friday will be worth more than $200, according to the group.
Non-veterans will be asked for a $20 donation at the door and will get more than $100 in marijuana products in exchange, organizers told ABC7 News Denver.
Grow4Vets' mission is to "reduce the staggering number of Veterans who die each day from suicide and prescription drug overdose," by providing them "with the knowledge and resources necessary to obtain or grow their own marijuana for treatment of their medical conditions," according to the group's website.
The event is open to the public and restricted to adults 21 and older. "Our events are open to the public to help grow visibility for our cause," Operation Grow4Vets founder and executive director Roger Martin explained.
A repeat of the event will be held in Colorado Springs next Saturday, September 27.
As more states legalize marijuana for medical or recreational purposes, entrepreneurs believe they'll get rich from cannabis businesses that comply with the laws of a particular state. However, marijuana businesses that comply with state laws are still breaking federal law and, therefore, are criminal enterprises.
Business advisory and advocacy law firm McDonald Hopkins addresses this issue in a special report designed to help potential investors, vendors, and professionals, such as lawyers and bankers, understand the risks involved in participating in the so-called "legal marijuana business."
The report, authored by Bruce Reinhart, co-chair of McDonald Hopkins' white collar and government compliance practice group, details how federal law regulates controlled substances, and that only certain persons registered with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) can manufacture, distribute, and dispense controlled substances.
Reinhart outlines the tremendous risks businesses and business owners take on when dealing with legal marijuana businesses, including exposure to criminal prosecution, loss of assets, civil penalties, loss of licensure, and fiduciary duty litigation. These risks are assumed in an environment with limited -- if any -- protection from legal counsel or insurance.
Given the current legislative landscape, the report warns that the decision to enter the legal marijuana market should be made cautiously and with the advice of legal counsel experienced in criminal, civil, and forfeiture law.
By Steve Elliott
A nationwide survey released on Thursday found that legalization of recreational marijuana in Colorado hasn't led to more young people smoking pot there.
"The actual attitudes towards its use are really in line with other states," said Dr. Leslie Adair, reports MPR News. "What this survey has done is posed questions for further research in understanding why that is."
The survey was commissioned by the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, which operates drug and alcohol treatment centers in several states. It included interviews with more than 1,000 young adults between the ages of 18 and 25.
The study also found that about one in 10 young adults reported being high every day at school, at work or while driving.
"What we certainly know is that marijuana use affects memory, it affects concentration, it affects attention," Adair said. "It affects a lot of the cognitive processes required to drive."
But most marijuana users disagreed, according to the study, which found about 60 percent of pot smokers said they don't think it has a negative impact on the brain, reports Ashley Michels at Fox 31 Denver.
The survey also found that 72 percent of young adults whose parents had used marijuana also used it themselves.