“Marijuana Country: The Cannabis Boom,” reported by NBC News Correspondent Harry Smith, premieres on Monday, January 5 at 9 p.m. ET/PT. A year after Colorado passed one of the most permissive pot laws in the world and total sales of recreational and medicinal pot are on track to top $650 million, CNBC and correspondent Harry Smith return to the state to chart the rise of a new American industry and report on the results of this unprecedented social experiment.
Smith profiles the most successful marijuana merchant in Denver, who hopes to expand his family-run business to other states as they follow Colorado’s lead and legalize the sale of marijuana for recreational use. He explores the new world of cannabis-infused edibles and the sale of pot brownies, chocolates and even soda, which has led to some confusion and controversy over dosing and portion size.
CNBC cameras also follow two pot dealers – one of them a U.S. Army veteran – who profit from a black market that funnels the drug across state lines and continues to thrive despite the new law.
This CNBC original documentary examines the issue of pot in the workplace, as Colorado employers work to reconcile a more open marijuana culture with workplace rules that enforce zero tolerance.
Smith talks to Brandon Coats, who awaits a State Supreme Court ruling that could ripple across the country. Coats was fired from his job when he tested positive for THC – the result of an act that was legal according to the state.
By Steve Elliott
With two citizen referendums competing for the ballot -- either of which would legalize recreational marijuana in Maine -- Democratic state Rep. Diane Russell is introducing a bill in the Legislature which would accomplish the same goal through regulation and taxation.
Rep. Russell said that cannabis legalization is inevitable in Maine, with three marijuana-related bills alreadyu under consideration by lawmakers, reports Jonah Bennett at the Daily Caller.
Russell's bill would reinstate liquor inspectors and put them in charge of marijuana, as well. Marijuana would be regulated similarly to alcohol under her plan.
"It would dedicate tax revenue, significant tax revenue, to school construction so that we can make sure we're building new schools and remodeling old schools so our children have an opportunity to have a solid education," Russell told CBS 13.
There is growing uncertainty in Maine around exactly how cannabis legalization will look in the state, with competing initiatives from the Marijuana Policy Project and Legalize Maine vying for the ballot in 2016.
Women are working together to stake a claim in the legal marijuana industry that is projected to generate $21 billion by 2020. The marijuana industry’s rapidly growing Women Grow has named Sara Gullickson as co-chair of its Phoenix Chapter, the second largest chapter of this new organization that connects, educates and empowers cannabis business leaders.
Gullickson, executive director of the DispensaryPermits.com division of MariMed Advisors (a subsidiary of Worlds Online), brings four years of experience as a leader in the medical marijuana (MMJ) industry and nearly a decade of experience strategizing and executing online and traditional marketing campaigns for the health, beauty, medical, dental, fitness and spa industries. She has assisted clients in seven states through the medical marijuana license application process, laying out every aspect of their business strategy from identifying locations all the way through developing product and tracking customer results.
Her work has helped clients earn MMJ cultivation and/or dispensary licenses across the country. In addition, Gullickson launched a free weekly CannaBusiness Webinar series that is a source of information to both novice and experienced MMJ entrepreneurs.
By Steve Elliott
Almost a year after the first medical marijuana bill -- and a rather mild one, at that -- failed in Georgia, suffering patients and those fighting to relieve their pain hope that won't happen again.
As lawmakers prepare for the next General Assembly in January, a poll from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution shows that 80 percent of Georgians support legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes, reports Anita Oh at WMAZ.
Since Congress just approved, and President Obama signed into law, a spending measure that eliminated funding for the Drug Enforcement Administration to conduct medical marijuana raids on complying businesses in states where medicinal cannabis is legal, those favoring a change of law at the state level have more rhetorical ammunition.
After testifying in September before a medical marijuana study committee led by Republican state Rep. Allen Peake, Katie Crosby, 26, started a Facebook group called Hope For Silent Sufferers. "Imagine, before you even have a thought in the morning, you wake up, just in agony," she said. "A living hell, a living nightmare to be honest."
The group, which advocates for the legalization of medical marijuana in Georgia, has nearly 20,000 supporters. Through it, Crosby has connected with people like Pamela Skinner, who was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1996.
By Steve Elliott
Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo says he plans to file a bill in the upcoming General Assembly session to allow medical marijuana in the Bluegrass State, but he says its chances are slim.
Outright opposition to medicinal cannabis among lawmakers has softened, reports Gregory A. Hall at The Courier-Journal, but many lawmakers just haven't yet discovered the courage to vote for it.
"I think it's going to get some play this session; I don't know how much," said Stumbo (D-Prestonsburg).
The steady progress of medical marijuana legislation in other states is seen as increasing the likelihood for positive change in Kentucky. State residents expressed support for medical marijuana in Bluegrass Polls for the past two years.
Last session, timid lawmakers passed a no-risk "CBD-only" law that allows non-psychoactive cannabidiol oil to be used to control seizures. Two bills to allow broader medical marijuana use died, including one in the House that made it out of the Health and Welfare Committee before dying in the Judiciary Committee.
By Steve Elliott
The first executive director of the Maryland Medical Marijuana Commission has been appointed, it was announced on Friday.
Hannah Byron has been named to the position, according to the panel, reports the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Byron was assistant secretary for the Maryland Division of Tourism, Film and the Arts of the Department of Economic and Business Development.
Byron's appointment takes effect on January 14.
“The Commission is thrilled that Hannah Byron, an extraordinarily effective public official, has agreed to be our first full-time executive director,” said Dr. Paul Davies, chair of the Natalie M. LaPrade Medical Marijuana Commission. “For more than 12 years, she has been a top administrator in the Department of Business and Economic Development. We are excited that she will bring her deep experience with the business community and her commitment to the citizens of Maryland to lead the Commission.”
“We face an urgent challenge to get medical marijuana to patients whose doctors have certified that they need it,” Byron said. “I look forward to working with the medical profession and patients, law enforcement, business and agricultural leaders, the Commissioners and others to implement this law. I am committed to getting this program operational as quickly as possible.”
By Steve Elliott
A medical marijuana delivery smartphone application based in Los Angeles had aimed at becoming the city's first such service was ordered to stop conducting business by a county judge on Thursday.
Judge Robert O'Brien of the Los Angeles County Superior Court said Nestdrop, a mobile phone app designed to connect legal medical marijuana patients with dispensaries, violated a voter-approved law called Proposition D that bans medical marijuana delivery, reports Time Magazine.
Nestdrop said they weren't violating the law because they only connect dispensaries with patients, and don't handle the cannabis themselves, reports Soumya Karlamangla at the Los Angeles Times.
"We're a technology company," said Nestdrop cofounder Michael Pycher. "We have every right to be an app."
According to Pycher, Nestdrop helps bring more "legitimacy and compliance" with the city's medical marijuana rules, because they can track everything through the app. "We thought this would be making the city happy," he said.
"Let Not Mankind Bogart Love"
from Hemp News
By Steve Elliott
A year after marijuana legalization in Uruguay, the small South American country of 3.3 million people has registered 1,200 cannabis growers, the head of the National Drugs Board, Julio Calzada, announced on Monday.
"It is encouraging to have 1,200 growers after three or four months since the law came into effect," Calzada said, adding that implementation is progressing "on a clear path, carefully and under control," reports EFE.
"Roughly 500" cannabis clubs have registered with the Institute for Regulation and Control of Cannabis, Calzada estimated. Each club can have up to 45 members and can cultivate up to 99 marijuana plants.
Calzada believes most marijuana users won't grow their own, and won't become club members. Instead he believes they'll just buy their weed through authorized pharmacies, which is still in the works.
President-Elect Tabare Vazquez, who will take office in March, said his government will abide by the law allowing cultivation and sale of marijuana through pharmacies, but left open the possibility of introducing changes in the regulations.
"We will abide by this law and we will have a very strict monitoring to see how it works," said Vazquez, a medical doctor. "If the need arises to amend the law, we will send a bill to parliament to be debated."
By Steve Elliott
Brazil will soon study the possibility of legalizing the use of cannabidiol (CBD), a marijuana derivative, to treat people suffering from severe seizures.
The country's Health Surveillance Agency, ANVISA, announced that the "reclassification" of the cannabinoid CBD -- which is illegal in Brazil -- will be discussed starting next month, reports the Associated Press.
The statement came on Friday, one day after about 40 people protested in the capital city of Brasilia to demand the legalization of CBD.
Some Brazilians resort to an underground network of illegal cannabis farmers in Rio de Janeiro that extract the CBD and donate it. That network supplies Margaret de Brito with the oil she gives her five-year-old daughter Sofia, who was born with a genetic mutation that causes seizures.
"They won't even let you pay the shipping," Brito said of the clandestine growers' group.
Her daughter's seizures have decreased dramatically since starting the treatment more than a year ago, and she's been able to stop taking another medication that made her drowsy, Brito said.
The Federal Medical Council, which regulates the medical profession in Brazil, earlier this month authorized neurologists and psychiatrists to prescribe CBD to treat epileptic children and teenagers who don't respond to conventional pharmaceuticals. (You'd think a non-toxic alternative would be the first line of treatment, not the last resort!)
One of the keys to the continued growth of the legal marijuana industry will be the implementation and standardization of controls and compliance mechanisms that assure proper amounts of cannabis are dispensed and only to authorized customers. According to Self Service News Magazine, the vending industry may be a key driver in the marijuana industry's expansion.
"The idea of an automated marijuana-dispensing machine is no longer a fantasy," the publication reports. "In fact, automated dispensing systems are now being seen as a cornerstone of the fast rising legal cannabis industry."
"By automating the identification, purchasing, and dispensing processes, legally operating cannabis dispensaries can reduce concerns about security, cash management, storage, and authenticating identification, while at the same time reducing time and labor expense," Self Service News reports.
Several companies have already introduced such machines, including MedBox Inc.'s (MDBX) devices, American Green Inc.'s (ERBB) ZaZZZ, and Endexx Corp's. (EDXC) Autospense. The manufacturer of some of these machines and the co-developer of some of the design and high tech security features is AVT, Inc. (AVTC).
"Managing Drug Use at Your Event" Aimed at Event Producers, Focuses on Improving Health and Safety of Festival Attendees
Guide Calls for Drug Education, Onsite Mental Health Services and Drug Checking
In response to an increasing number of deaths at music festivals and other events in the U.S. and a rising emphasis on use of police and enforcement tactics, a new guide aims to give event producers an alternate approach that places health first when it comes to drug use. The recommendations in the guide include onsite drug education, mental health services and drug checking.
The guide states that alcohol and other drug use is “the norm at almost all events” while acknowledging that addressing illicit drug use is challenging. Drug war-era policies, such as the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act -- passed in 2003 and commonly known as the RAVE Act -- have loomed large.
The RAVE Act has been misinterpreted by many event producers as grounds to shut down their business if they take any approach to drug use beyond zero tolerance. “We know it’s a tricky subject, but it’s time to get real,” the guide states, concluding that, “The fact is, a pragmatic approach to managing drug use at events saves lives.”
As detailed by the guide, a pragmatic approach to managing drug use includes both improving practices event producers already employ, like use of security and medical teams, as well as adding new services, like onsite drug education and mental health spaces.
Vimeo on Monday announced that a new cycle of three episodes of the heralded web series "High Maintenance" will premiere exclusively on Vimeo on Demand February 5, 2015 – the second half of the series’ second season.
Created by married couple Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair, the series successfully launched Vimeo On Demand’s first foray into original programming.
"High Maintenance" has received a bevy of acclaim from prestigious outlets like The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Observer, Entertainment Weekly, and Slate, among others.
The new episodes are available globally and have subtitles translated to German, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Hindi, and Japanese, enabling "High Maintenance"’s audience to have an incredibly wide breadth.
"High Maintenance" centers around a cannabis dealer known simply as "The Guy" (Sinclair) who slips in and out of the lives of his clients – an eclectic array of Brooklynites, from the likes of a harried personal assistant buying weed for her boss to a misunderstood asexual magician.
In this new batch of episodes, "The Guy" is poised to deliver to a new set of clients, all who have vastly different motivations – or lack there of – for smoking weed.
Pricing for the series on Vimeo on Demand remains the same as the previous cycle of three episodes: to rent episodes individually, the cost is $1.99 or EUR 2.49. To buy all episodes the cost is $7.99 or EUR 6.49.
By Steve Elliott
Dab-haters be damned -- "concentrated cannabis" qualifies as medical marijuana, a California appellate court in Sacramento has ruled.
The unanimous decision by a three-justice panel of the 3rd District Court of Appeal last week disagreed with an earlier ruling by El Dorado Superior Court Judge James R. Wagoner, reversing that judge's ruling that a medical marijuana patient violated probation by possessing concentrated cannabis, reports Denny Walsh at The Sacramento Bee.
Sean Patrick Mulcrevy was charged in 2013 with unlawful possession of a concentrated cannabis, a misdemeanor, and was accused of violating his probation because of his failure "to obey all laws."
Judge Wagoner had reviewed the existing legal language indicating that cannabis concentrates are covered by California's Compassionate Use Act (CUA), the 1996 voter initiative that made the state the first to legalize medicinal use of marijuana with a doctor's authorization. But Wagoner rejected the authority as "unsound" and ruled that "the (CUA) does not apply to concentrated cannabis" because the act doesn't define "marijuana," refer to concentrates or incorporate statutory definitions of either term.
Concentrated cannabis is, according to the California Health & Safety Code, "the separated resin, whether crude or purified, obtained from marijuana."
By Steve Elliott
More than 100 medical marijuana farmers who cultivate cannabis in the southern part of Oregon -- the epicenter of the state's growing community -- met on Thursday to voice concerns about how they'll fit into a newly regulated industry.
The meeting, organized by the Oregon Sungrown Growers Guild, was held at a grange hall in Josephine County, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian. The group was established last spring to represent the interests of southern Oregon's outdoor marijuana farmers.
Thursday's meeting featured a short talk by state Senator Floyd Prozanski (D-Eugene), who strongly supports medical and recreational cannabis. Growers told Sen. Prozanski they don't want any changes to the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, and they're worried about zoning restrictions that could squeeze them out of both the medical and recreational marijuana programs.
They're also worried about deep-pocketed out-of-state investors swooping into their small communities and establishing price-gouging marijuana facilities.
"My goal is not to allow the medical program to be folded into the (recreational) program," Sen. Prozanski said, addressing concerns from the growers that they could meet a similar fate as their counterparts in Washington state, where the Legislature seems intent on doing exactly that. "My goal is not to impact the small farmer."