By Steve Elliott
Home cannabis growers in Alaska need a way to enter the legal marijuana market, a group of advocates said Tuesday at the first public hearing dealing with legal marijuana businesses in the Fairbanks North Star Borough.
"Most of the entrepreneurs are wanting to start a small boutique-sized facility in their home," said Shuan Tacke of Fairbanks, treasurer of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association, reports Amanda Bohman at the News Miner. "No one would even know that it is next door to them as they don't even know now most of the time."
Tacke was among seven people to testify before the Planning Commission on an ordinance, 2015-41, which defines which zones allow cannabis dispensaries and companies.
Under the measure, no marijuana commerce would be allowed in residential zones. The Borough Assembly will have the final vote on the measure.
The details of the measure, according to deputy planning director Kellen Spillman, are:
• Heavy industrial zones are the most permissive for marijuana commerce. Cultivation, testing, manufacturing and retail would be allowed in heavy industrial zones.
• Cannabis cultivation would be allowed in agricultural and general use districts, but large facilities would be conditional and involve public hearings.
• Retail cannabis stores would be allowed in commercial and industrial districts.
Jamaica's Ministry of Industry, Investment and Commerce on Friday announced that BOTEC Analysis has been hired as a consultant for the development of regulations to guide Jamaica's nascent medical marijuana and industrial hemp sectors. At the end of the consultancy, BOTEC Analysis will submit to Jamaica's Cannabis Licensing Authority (CLA) a final report with regulatory recommendations, which will include, but are not limited to, licensing, market sizing, taxation, and organizational structures.
Over two months, BOTEC Analysis will conduct on-the-ground research and a series of interviews with stakeholders in the Jamaican government as well as marijuana industry participants, local business leaders, scientists, police departments, medical associations, and consumers. Researchers will take into account the role of proprietary strains, intellectual property, patented processes, and traditional cultural and religious practices in the development and operation of the industries.
"BOTEC Analysis will also incorporate global best practices and lessons learned from other jurisdictions in the development, administration, and management of medical marijuana and hemp," the company, which also oversaw implementation of Washington state's problematic legalization law, announced.
By Steve Elliott
Israel's natural gas reserves off its shores are considered a boon for the nation's economy. But the general consensus Thursday at a Thursday conference was that Israel is missing an even bigger opportunity -- in the field of medicinal cannabis.
The conference, on how Israel's farmers could benefit from the global market for medical marijuana, was hosted by the Israel Loss Adjusters Association (ILAA), reports Niv Elis at The Jerusalem Post. The cannabis market in the United States alone stands at $35 billion a year, according to Doron Havkin, chairman of the ILAA.
"Are we able to give up revenues from this market?" Havkin asked, arguing that the government could help Israel's struggling farmers in the Arava by declaring it a closed zone for growing export-oriented medical marijuana. Nearly 6,000 acres of land are waiting for such development, according to Havkin.
The economy would be the biggest beneficiary if Israel grew medical cannabis, according to Dr. Tamir Gadot, CEO of the pro-medical marijuana agricultural association Breath of Life. "The economic potential of growing Big Cannabis is greater than that of the gas," he said.
Dr. Gadot said that the government should recognize that medical marijuana is "a legitimate pharmaceutical industry,"
By Steve Elliott
Delaware lawmakers recently voted to allow facilities in the state to research the potential medical benefits of marijuana.
The vote came more than four years after the Delaware General Assembly legalized medical marijuana, but just days after the the state's very first marijuana dispensary opened in an industrial park west of Wilmington reports Jonathan Starkey at The News Journal.
"Delaware has the opportunity here to be in the forefront pioneering research," said Deb McPherson, one of about 400 state residents who have an ID card allowing them to buy medicinal cannabis to help treat a medical condition. Cancer, Alzheimer's disease, PTSD and conditions causing intractable nausea, severe pain or seizures qualify for medical marijuana in Delaware.
The legislation, signed by Gov. Jack Markell last month, allows facilities that meet FDA standards to initiate research on potential medical benefits of marijuana.
"Since the state has approved the use of marijuana for medical purposes, it makes sense to research what those medical purposes might be," said Jonathan Dworkin, a spokesman for Gov. Markell. "Given recent steps taken by the federal government to remove barriers to medical marijuana research ... we are hopeful that there will be a trend toward allowing more of it."
With the legalization of cannabis in several states in the U.S., a viable commercial market has risen out of an industry which once operated entirely in the shadows. As investors and entrepreneurs pursue profits in the new legal industry, employment opportunities have begun to open up for everyday citizens as well.
In their latest podcast, Ganjapreneur has interviewed David Murét of Viridian Staffing, a Washington-based recruiting agency working to connect employers with job-seekers in the cannabis industry, about the emergence of these cannabis careers and the people who are seeking them out. Viridian has been hired by companies to find and place candidates in job roles ranging from entry-level to executive, in every sector and niche of the marijuana market.
In the podcast, Murét and show host Shango Los discuss what types of jobs cannabis companies are hiring for and what steps an average person can take to find employment with such a company.
"People will be very often surprised to find out that their skill sets are relevant to the cannabis industry," David said. "These companies need the same type of support as any other company does, be it sales, marketing, social media...almost anyone can find a home in this industry if they’re willing to put in the time and the effort."
By Steve Elliott
Is it the American way? A sheriff's office in Kentucky is encouraging drug dealers to turn in their rivals, counting on old-fashioned greed to help them make arrests.
The Franklin County Sheriff's Office on August 3 posted a flyer on its Facebook page, reports the Associated Press. "Attention Drug Dealers," the flyer, which features a marijuana leaf, reads. "Is your Drug Dealing Competition Costing You Money?"
"We offer a free service to help you eliminate your drug competition!" the flyer reads. "Report your Competition to Us!
Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton claimed the post was funny, but the sheriff's department isn't joking.
At the bottom, people are asked to fill out information about the drug dealer they are reporting, including the dealer's name and vehicle.
"It is a great idea and hopefully spurs some more action on our tip line," posted the Franklin County Sheriff Facebook account.
The post had gotten 941 Facebook "Likes" and 3,079 shares as of Friday afternoon.
Sheriff Melton claimed he got the idea from the McIntosh County Sheriff's Office in Georgia.
Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner on Friday issued an amendatory veto of a bill that would remove criminal penalties for possession of small amount of marijuana, sending it back to the General Assembly for final approval.
The General Assembly has 15 days from the next session date to approve the amended version of HB 218, which needs to receive a simple majority vote in the House and then the Senate to officially become law. The original version, introduced by Rep. Kelly Cassidy (D-Chicago), was approved in the Senate (37-19) on May 21 and in the House (62-53) on April 23.
Gov. Rauner’s amended version of HB 218 would make possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana a civil law violation punishable by a fine of up to $200 with no possibility of jail time, and the civil offense would be automatically expunged in order to prevent a permanent criminal record. The original version applied to possession of up to 15 grams of marijuana and set the amount of the fine at up to $125.
Under current Illinois law, possession of up to 2.5 grams of marijuana is a class C misdemeanor punishable by up to 30 days in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500, and possession of more than 2.5 grams and up to 10 grams is a class B misdemeanor punishable by up to six months in jail and/or a fine of up to $1,500. More than 100 localities in Illinois have adopted measures that reduce penalties for simple marijuana possession.
By Steve Elliott
A Texas woman says sheriff's deputies violated constitutional protections by conducting a body cavity search in the parking lot of a gas station during a routine traffic stop last June.
Charnesia Corley, 21, was driving in Harris County about 10:30 p.m. on June 21 when a male deputy pulled her over, allegedly for running a stop sign, reports Dylan Baddour at the Houston Chronicle. He claimed he smelled marijuana, handcuffed Corley, put her in the back of his cruiser and searched her vehicle for almost an hour.
The officer found no marijuana, said Corley's attorney, Sam Cammack.
Returning to his cruiser, the deputy again claimed he smelled marijuana, and called in a female deputy to conduct a body cavity search. When the female deputy arrived, she ordered Corley, who is African American, to pull her pants down, but Corley protested, saying she was handcuffed and had no panties on.
The deputy ordered Corley to bend over, then pulled down her pants and began to insert her fingers into Corley's vagina. "She tells me to pull my pants down," Corley said. "I said, 'Ma'am, I don't have any underwear on. She says, 'Well, that doesn't matter. Pull your pants down," Corley said.
"I bend over and she proceeds to try to force her hand inside of me. I tell her, 'Ma'am, No. You cannot do this,'" Corley said.
Katherine Grimm, breakout star of CNN’s popular docu-series "High Profits," will appear at the inaugural Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo on October 27 and 28 at the Phoenix Convention Center.
Grimm, who will attend a meet-and-greet with attendees and appear as a panelist, is the unlikely star of the CNN Original Series, produced by Bat Bridge Entertainment, that followed the saga of a Breckenridge, Colorado recreational marijuana dispensary. As the owner of Clever Gent Bud, Grimm stood out as the show’s intelligent, strategic cannabis entrepreneur.
Organizers also announced featured breakout session speakers including Scottsdale attorneys Laura Bianchi and Ryan Hurley of the Rose Law Group who will discuss the latest legislative issues related to cannabis in Arizona, and the country.
More than 300 exhibitors are expected at the two-day event that includes interactive workshops, leading industry guest speakers, a job fair, business-to-business networking and more. Thousands of attendees from across the Southwest are expected to attend.
The first annual Southwest Cannabis Conference & Expo is presented by the Southwest Expo Group, software developer MJ Freeway and New Times Phoenix. Tickets and convention information are available by calling the Southwest Event Group at 1-877-775-1568 or online at swccexpo.com. The Phoenix Convention Center is located at 100 N. 3rd Street. Doors will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m during the event.
Advocates: New Yorkers Need a Public Education and Health Approach to Deal with Emerging Drugs
Earlier this week, Governor Andrew Cuomo issued regulations and the New York State Senate introduced a bill that would criminalize the sales of synthetic cannabinoids.
Recently, there have been several media reports of tragic episodes involving synthetic cannabinoids, such as spice and K2. Epidemiological reports suggest an increase in hospitalizations due to these substances.
Synthetic cannabinoids are a class of cannabinoid chemicals typically sprayed over plant matter and packaged with names like “K2,” “Spice” and “Green Giant.” These are only the latest “legal highs” to come on the market that simulate the effects of prohibited drugs like marijuana, ecstasy (MDMA), opioids, cocaine and methamphetamine.
In the past, as these kind of substances have been banned, manufacturers have simply invented new variations of the same substances to skirt the bans as well as for legitimate scientific purposes.
“New York needs to find effective, evidence-based strategies for responding to problematic use of these substances," said Kassandra Frederique, policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "Unfortunately, however, to date, the response from the media and from elected officials has been to employ failed drug war strategies and rhetoric.
Denver Digital Marketing Agency Ranks on the 2015 Inc. 5000 with Focus on Cannabis Marketing Arm
Inc. magazine has included cannabis-focused marketing agency JEMSU on its 34th annual "Inc. 5000," an exclusive ranking of the nation's fastest-growing private companies. JEMSU, a Denver-based digital advertising and marketing agency, ranked 1,187th on the list.
This is the first year JEMSU qualified for the list, which represents a definitive portrait of America’s most successful independent entrepreneurs. According to the list, JEMSU is the 33rd fastest-growing company in Colorado and the 4th fastest growing advertising and marketing company.
Chris Sams, CEO of JEMSU, identified several sectors of the business that contributed to such staggering growth including strategic partnerships, national expansion and the acquisition of two smaller companies. One of the most influential factors proved to be the explosive growth of legal cannabis businesses in Colorado.
Many of these business owners found that traditional agencies either were uncomfortable with or uninformed about the cannabis industry. Sams saw the potential early on and created Marijuana Marketing Gurus, which operates as an arm of JEMSU.
By Steve Elliott
U.S. Congress members from Oregon on Monday urged state agriculture officials to speed up a pilot project allowing farmers to begin cultivating industrial hemp crops in time for next year's growing season.
The federal lawmakers said in a letter that the program missed the 2015 growing season because of concerns in the Oregon Legislature over how hemp would coexist with the marijuana industry, which became legal for recreational use by adults in Oregon on July 1, reports Shelby Sebens at Reuters.
Industrial hemp cultivation faces a number of complications, including the fact that all forms of cannabis are federally illegal. Prosecutors have cautiously allowed state hemp experiments to inch forward.
In the letter, sent to Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Katy Coba and Oregon State University Director of the College of Agricultural Sciences Daniel Arp, lawmakers said provisions in last year's Farm Bill allow states and universities to research potential benefits of commercial hemp cultivation.
"The potential for industrial hemp production represents a great opportunity for Oregon agriculture," the lawmakers wrote.
Oregon, which has issued 13 hemp licenses to farmers since adopting rules for the program in January, is reviewing the letter, according to Agriculture Department spokesman Bruce Pokarney. The agency is reviewing the letter, Pokarney saikd.
The Colorado Cannabis Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday urged against a culture of dangerous potential overregulation of legal cannabis edibles in Colorado.
At the HB13-1361 and HB14-1366 Work Group Meeting on August 11, the Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED) of the Department of Revenue (DOR) discussed with various stakeholders the creation of new rules surrounding all edible cannabis products.
The Chamber also stands behind the consensus at the meeting regarding standard measurement procedures and the need for public education to always be the number one priority.
However, many proposed new regulations on edible products could create a strong negative impact not only on legal, licensed, compliant marijuana business throughout Colorado, but also on public safety for adults and children alike, according to the Chamber.
“The more we encourage overregulation, the more we risk pushing marijuana activity back onto the black market and into home kitchens without oversight or any regulation whatsoever,” said Tyler Henson, president of the Cannabis Chamber.
Furthermore the Chamber announced it is "disappointed in the letter that was signed by many of our state legislators that asked MED to ignore the rule of law and create rules based on false propaganda that has been perpetuated by prohibitionists."
“The letter that was signed by 85 state legislators is troubling," Henson said. "The letter is riddled with misleading information and asks the MED to create rules based off intent rather than what the bill mandates the state to enact.”
The California Cannabis Hemp Initiative (CCHI 2016) is organizing a statewide infrastructure of volunteers and activists in a drive to qualify for the November 8, 2016 ballot.
The group's signature drive is set to begin October 31, 2015 through April 21, 2016, and CCHI 2016 will have just under 180 days to gather 600,000 signatures to qualify for the ballot, according to proponent Michael Jolson.
"We are at a 30-year low in the amount of signatures needed to qualify an initiative for the California ballot," Jolson wrote in a Wednesday fundraising email. "We will need to gather 365,880 signatures ... In order to attain the necessary 365,880 signatures, we will need to gross around 600,000 signatures by April 21, 2016! We will submit our signatures into the counties on April 26, 2016."
"We are building our grassroots volunteer infrastructure in preparation for our upcoming signature drive," Jolson said. "The more volunteers and activists we can get to help us organize our grassroots effort, the better chance we have of qualifying for the November 8, 2016 ballot!"
"We need to raise massive support throughout California," Jolson said. "We need help coordinating volunteers in all 58 counties and are organizing Regional Coordinators for this task.
"We are growing as a grassroots political movement towards 100 percent ending the prohibition of Cannabis Hemp," Jolson said. "We are gaining interest every day. We, the CCHI 2016, look forward to having your help with our all grassroots effort to end the prohibition of Cannabis Hemp in California!"
Cascade Botanical on Monday announced the release of its newest TVO-2 and TVO-5 vacuum ovens, which have been designed specifically to meet the needs of professional cannabis extractors.
The company also announced the availability of the new CB 2052 by Welch, an oil-free membrane vacuum pump that offers the identical performance of the Welch model 2052B-01 at a retail cost of about $1,000 less.
The new ovens come standard with a more advanced temperature controller offering new features and functions along with built in over temperature protection. Other improvements include quarter-turn Swagelock valves, a digital vacuum gauge and a retransmit port that allows time, temperature and vacuum data to be exported and logged.
In addition, both models are TUV SUD certified, making them the first vacuum ovens in the industry to carry a safety certification from an accredited third party testing lab at no additional cost to the customer, according to Cascade Botanical.
“Unlike the first generation of Cascade Botanical TVO-2 and TVO-5 ovens, which were modified versions of products developed for the aerospace, electronics, and medical industries, these new models have been built from the ground up to accommodate the unique workflow and needs of cannabis industry professionals,” said Mary Babitz, CEO of Cascade Botanical.