Policy Experts and Advocates Testify in Favor of Directing Proceeds from Taxation to Communities Harmed by War on Drugs
Hearing Occurs As Initiative 71 Undergoes 30-Day Congressional Review
D.C. Councilmembers on Monday held a joint public hearing on legislation introduced earlier this year that would establish a system that legalizes, taxes and regulates marijuana in the nation’s capital.
The “Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2015”, B21-023, would establish a regulatory infrastructure for the production and sale of marijuana to adults 21 years of age and older in D.C. It would also create a dedicated fund for excise and sales tax revenue, and beginning in FY2017, the first $350,000 collected every three months would be directed to the D.C. Youth Court.
The next $500,000 collected every three months would be used for drug and alcohol prevention and treatment, and any remaining revenue would go to the general fund. Licensing fees and other non-tax revenues would be retained by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration to cover the costs of administering the regulatory system.
The hearing took place in Room 500 of the D.C. Council Chambers at 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W. in Washington, D.C. Advocates provided testimony in support of using the proceeds from legalization toward rebuilding the communities most harmed by the war on drugs.
In response to a question from a Marijuana Policy Project staffer, Michael Botticelli — whom the U.S. Senate is expected to confirm Monday as the next director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) — said he supports the Administration’s current policy of allowing states to regulate marijuana for adult and/or medical use.
During an event hosted on Friday by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, acting U.S. Drug Czar Botticelli said he agrees Congress should not interfere in the District of Columbia’s decision to make marijuana legal for adults.
In response to a question from MPP Federal Policies Director Dan Riffle, Botticelli said: “The President, as it relates to the District, I think was very clear that the District should stick to its home rule. As a resident of the District, I might not agree about legalization, but I do agree with our own ability to spend our own money the way that we want to do that.”
The U.S. Senate is expected to confirm Botticelli on Monday as the next director of the White House ONDCP. He received unanimous approval from the Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday.
Also on Monday, the Council of the District of Columbia is scheduled to hold a joint committee hearing on a bill that would regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol in the nation’s capital. It will begin at 10 a.m. ET in the John A. Wilson Building, Room 500 (1350 Pennsylvania Ave., NW).
New Policy Indicates Better Understanding of Addiction, Public Health Crisis
The acting director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli, this week said the federal government will deny federal funding to drug courts across the country that refuse medication-assisted treatment for those suffering from opiate addictions.
The ONDCP will now withhold federal funding from drug courts that prevent people suffering from opiate addictions from having access to drugs such as methadone and Suboxone that can allow them to lead normal lives despite their addiction, reports Jason Cherkis at The Huffington Post.
“I rarely get a chance to applaud the ONDCP, so I’m enjoying this,” said Maj. Neill Franklin (Ret.), executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). “People with addictions deserve access to treatment that works, and any policy that stands in the way of the recovery process is an affront to human rights.”
Because heroin is physically addictive, with users experiencing severe withdrawal symptoms such as depression, nausea and vomiting, those who abstain have a high rate of relapse. However after a period of abstinence, their tolerance drops and doses they could handle while a regular user become lethal. This is often when overdoses occur.
By Steve Elliott
More than 100 Native American tribes have reportedly contacted FoxBarry Farms, a company which says it is building the nation's first marijuana cultivation facility on tribal land, over the past month expressing industry in the cannabis industry.
There's been a surge of interest since the federal Department of Justice's announcement late last year that tribes are free to grow and sell marijuana on their lands, as long as they follow specific guidelines, reports Carly Schwartz at The Huffington Post.
"I really underestimated," said FoxBarry CEO Barry Brautman, whose company also works with tribes to build and operate casinos. "So many tribes are wanting to do this right now."
FoxBarry and the Denver-based United Cannabis Corp., recently signed a contract to construct a huge medical marijuana farm on the Pinoleville Pomo Nation's ranch in Northern California. The 2.5-acre, $10 million installation will cultivate, process and sell marijuana under the United Cannabis brand, according to Brautman, who said the operation would employ 50 to 100 people, with preference to tribe members.
Tribes across the country could experience an economic boom, according to Brautman, who's also negotiating with three other California-based tribes, as well as groups in seven other states.
By Steve Elliott
An Alabama state senator this week proclaimed "I'm really tired of dealing with these people" when pressed to release a doctor survey he ordered, which was conducted by the state medical association.
Oddly, Senator Jim McClendon, who at the time he ordered the study was chair of the House Health Committee, repeatedly denied ever ordering the survey in a telephone interview this week, reports Edward Burch at ABC 33/40.
Senator McClendon, who perhaps should seek a less stressful form of employment than public servant, said he had received emails from medical marijuana proponents for the past two years about the missing survey.
"I'm really tired of dealing with these people and this issue," McClendon said.
Reporter Burch later spoke with Rep. Patricia Todd, who sponsored a bill during the last legislative session which would have legalized medical marijuana.
Rep. Todd confirmed that Sen. McClendon did issue the request for the medical marijuana survey.
"I was in (McClendon's) office one day and one of the government affairs people for the medical association was in there and we were talking about it, and he said, 'Oh yeah, we did the survey,'" Todd said.
Rep. Todd said the Medical Association of the State of Alabama (MASA) refused to give her a copy of the complete survey. She said she had submitted a list of questions to McClendon to be included on it.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), Leading Female Cannabis Entrepreneurs, National Cannabis Industry Association Will Highlight Key Issues Affecting Small and Women-Owned Cannabis Businesses
Rep. Jared Polis will join leaders and members of Women Grow, a national network of female cannabis industry professionals, and the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) in the National Press Club’s Zenger Room on Thursday, February 12 at 9 a.m., to set the agenda for the group’s first-ever Lobby Days.
On February 12 and 13, more than 60 Women Grow members from 14 states nationwide will converge in Washington, D.C., to promote the essential role of small and women-owned businesses in creating a diverse, responsible cannabis industry.
In meetings with Congressional representatives and staff, members will address key industry issues including fair taxation and access to banking.
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO)
Jazmin Hupp, Executive Director & Co-Founder, Women Grow
Taylor West, Deputy Director, National Cannabis Industry Association
Women Grow members from more than a dozen states’ cannabis industries
Women Grow Lobby Days Press Conference
Thursday, February 12, 2015 at 9 a.m.
National Press Club
529 14th St. NW, 13th Fl.
Washington, D.C. 20045
About Women Grow
Papa Baer Productions, LLC, on Thursday announced they are offering for sale all currently owned Miss Marijuana cannabis web domains.
Included in the sale are Miss Marijuana World and Miss Marijuana for all 122 world countries in the Miss Universe pageant, such as MissMarijuanaBrazil.com, according to Papa Baer.
Also included are Miss Marijuana Pageant, MissMj.com, MissMJUSA.com. MissMarijuanaArizona and all other states and months are included.
The entire list of domains can be seen at www.MissMarijuana.com .
“This is as good an investment as one could make considering the current and potential future growth of the cannabis industry," said Howard R. Baer of Papa Baer Productions. "MissMarijuana.com, combined with the additional 300 MissMarijuana and MissCannabis domains are the primary real estate in this segment of the marijuana space and should increase dramatically over the next few years.”
"The ownership of Miss Marijuana worldwide covers every pageant for Miss Marijuana possible," Baer said.
Marijuana.com reportedly sold in 2011 for $4.2 million.
Bestselling author Steven Levitt is scheduled to keynote Marijuana Business Daily's Marijuana Business Conference & Expo, to be held at the Chicago Hilton May 19-21.
Levitt's book, Freakonomics, spent eight years on the New York Times bestseller list, selling more than five million copies.
A tenured economics professor at the University of Chicago, Levitt believes in order to fix or change the world, you first have to understand it. He sifts through data for revelations that help everyone from banks to professional athletes see new connections and opportunities.
Now, Levitt is applying his enormous curiosity to the future of the legal cannabis industry.
More than 2,000 marijuana entrepreneurs and major investors are expected to attend Levitt's keynote at the Spring show.
Spring 2015 Marijuana Business Conference & Expo
Photo: The Exiled
Vimeo on Thursday released three new episodes of the heralded cannabis-centered web series "High Maintenance."
Created by married couple Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair, the series successfully launched Vimeo on Demand’s first foray into original programming.
"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.
The series has received a bevy of acclaim from prestigious outlets including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The New York Observer, Entertainment Weekly, and Slate (among others).
In this new batch of episodes, "The Guy" delivers to a new set of clients, all who have vastly different motivations – or lack there of – for smoking weed. We also get a glimpse into “The Guy’s” personal life.
The new episodes are available globally and have subtitles translated to German, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Hindi, and Japanese, enabling High Maintenance to reach a wider audience than ever before.
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.
The 13 episodes from Season One are available for free at HighMaintenance.tv.
The successful campaign to legalize marijuana in Oregon has launched a new effort to defend Oregon’s marijuana law from those who are trying to undermine the measure.
“We want a marijuana policy that reflects the will of the people,” said Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner for Measure 91. “Instead of making major changes, the state first needs to get the basics of implementation right -- like childproofing, labeling, testing, packaging, auditing, inspecting, taxing, licensing and background checks.”
In places like Colorado, marijuana retail sales began before comprehensive rules for edibles and packaging were completed and in place, contributing to difficulties in implementing the new marijuana law.
“We don’t want to see that happen in Oregon,” said Leah Maurer, who led the Moms For Yes On 91 group.
New Approach Oregon announced it "will now work as the watchdog for the new marijuana law."
"From time to time, we will let you know what you can do to make sure we finish the job and get Measure 91 implemented effectively," the group announced in a prepared statement. "We will update you on what is happening with implementation and alert you about threats to Measure 91."
New Approach will host a 15-minute press conference at 11 a.m. on Thursday, February 5, at the ACLU of Oregon, 620 SW 5th Avenue, Portland, Oregon.
By Steve Elliott
U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy has joined the growing number of top medical professionals and organizations favoring the reform of marijuana allows to allow access to cannabis for medicinal purposes.
"We have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms, that marijuana can be helpful," Dr. Murthy said, reports communications director Jag Davies at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "I think that we have to use that data to drive policymaking."
Despite the legalization of medical marijuana in 23 states, the federal government still insists cannabis is a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning it has a high potential for abuse and no medical value.
It's an "interesting story that's unfolding in our country right now," according to Dr. Murthy, and "we have to see what the science tells us about the efficacy of marijuana, and I think we're going to get a lot more data on that" as more states legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes.
Patients in states without medical marijuana laws have no legal access at all to this therapeutic substance. Even in states where medical marijuana has been legalized, patients and providers are vulnerable to arrest and harassment from federal law enforcement agents.
By Monica Pupo,
Hemp News Correspondent
A tragedy took over the Spanish air last week, when a helicopter full of Moroccan hashish crashed after hitting a power pole. According to a report released by Hightimes magazine's website, the pilot and co-pilot died instantly.
The aircraft crashed near the mountain town of Cortes de la Frontera, in Malaga, apparently after performing some evasive maneuvers to escape another helicopter of the Spanish Civil Guard, which had started the chase.
Black painted to not be recognized during the night, the helicopter was carrying something around 800 kg of hashish.
One of the dead pilot was identified as Feka Sokol, a former major in the Albanian Army. Media reports in Albania say he used to work as an instructor at the air base in the Balkan country.
Exports of Moroccan hashish are growing in Spain, considered the main warehouse to European markets. Since June 2013, the Spanish authorities seized more than 100 tons of hash in various operations.
To read Monica Pupos blog, please visit http://maryjuana.com.br
To read Mike Bifari's blog in Spanish, please visit: Noticias Canamo
By Steve Elliott
A number of I-502 applicants who want to run legal marijuana businesses in the state of Washington have been alarmed by a solicitation from a company about an impending universal February deadline, according to a Wednesday morning email from the Washington State Liquor Control Board.
The letter warns of the supposed impending deadline for applicants to "get set up" and that the Liquor Control Board will "no longer wait for your plan to come together."
"We have money and a location and resources are are local honest hard working successful business people looking for like-minded people," the solicitation letter reads. "We are not brokers or big venture capitalists nor are we promising that anyone will make millions in this new industry."
"Those licenses that held out hoping to come up with a plan later may actually lose out and your license could now be worthless," the letter claimed. "The WSLCB will no longer wait for your plan to come together or moratoriums being lifted, they have goals and must achieve them."
"WSLCB expected you to have your plans which included funds and a location ready when you applied and their patience is wearing thin," the solicitation letter goes on (evidently someone is practicing their "Scolding a Stoner" skills).
"This has caused some alarm among applicants and led to calls to the Liquor Control Board," Wednesday morning's email from the WSLCB reads. "Those claims are not true."
By Monica Pupo,
Hemp News Correspondent
Published in the journal Drug and Alcohol Dependence, a recent study showed that the use of marijuana to relieve chronic pain is very common. Plus, patients reported greater relief with cannabis use than when using only opioid drugs.
The research included 1,514 people who live in Australia and received opioid prescription for treatment of non-malignant chronic pain. According to scientists, "Associations between demographics, pain, personal characteristics of each patient and the use of cannabis for pain."
The results showed that one in six - or 16% - had used cannabis for pain relief, and 6% in the previous month. Almost half (43%) of the sample had also used cannabis for recreational purposes.
A quarter of participants reported that would use marijuana for pain relief if he had access. Those who already use cannabis for pain on average are younger, reported higher pain intensity and greater pain interference in their daily lives.
The conclusion of the study shows that "cannabis use in order to relieve the pain seems common among people living with non-malignant chronic pain - and users report greater pain relief with the combination with opioids, than when the opioids are used alone."
To read Monica Pupos blog, please visit http://maryjuana.com.br
By Steve Elliott
With a recent report predicting that 18 states will legalize marijuana by 2020, there are some major changes on the way, and four states have already taken the plunge.
Last year was a groundbreaking one, according to the report. It "will be remembered as a year when ... a sense of inevitability about national legalization became conventional wisdom among elected officials and the general public."
Social worker, addiction counselor and recovering alcoholic Joe Schrank, the founder of Loft 107, a sober-living facility in the heart of Brooklyn, says it isn't in the public interest to continue a secret culture that facilitates a recession-proof industry for people who don't pay taxes.
According to Schrank, millions of people are already using cannabis recreationally, untaxed and unregulated. Schrank points out that alcohol has had a monopoly on legal intoxication for generations, so it's wrong to not let individuals make their own choice.
Furthermore, as more states legalize, Schrank hopes to see an "intoxicating substance" tax that will fund treatment and recovery options that are available and easily accessible -- "a far better policy than threats and incarceration," he said.
Photo: Joe Schrank/Facebook