By Steve Elliott
With laws taking effect last week legalizing recreational marijuana in both Alaska and Washington, D.C., a researcher into the history of cannabis has predicted the next five U.S. states where voters will likely approve the use of pot for relaxation and enjoyment.
University of Kansas geography professor Barney Warf, author of "High Points: An Historical History of Cannabis," published in the peer-reviewed Geographical Review in September 2014, said legalization can be "hard to predict," but he made his forecast of the next states expected to legalize, "based on current laws and voter leanings."
"All five of these states have legal medical marijuana and tend to be liberal or libertarian in voting patterns," Warf said.
The Next Five States Where Recreational Marijuana Could Be Legal
1. California: "Recreational cannabis almost was legalized in the past, and California voters are sure to do so in 2016," Warf said.
2. Nevada:: "Nevada shares the libertarian sentiments of Alaska."
3. Vermont: "There's a strong liberal tradition there in Vermont."
4. Illinois: "The Land of Lincoln is surprisingly progressive on this issue."
5. New York:: "New York legalized medical marijuana last year."
Drug Policy Alliance: The Real Way to Address Violence Related to Marijuana is through Legalizing and Regulating It
NYPD Commissioner William Bratton this week gave a press conference about the rising number of shootings in NYC. Incredibly, Bratton went on to
“Commissioner Bratton’s claims today about marijuana are straight out of the tired old drug war handbook and frankly, are ridiculous," said gabriel sayegh, managing director of policy and campaigns at the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). "What evidence is Bratton relying on in making these statements? Hasn’t he heard that correlation does not equal causation?
"Marijuana is the most widely used illicit substance in the U.S. and in New York and, therefore, is far more likely to be found on New Yorkers than any other drug," sayegh said. "It appears that finding marijuana on the scene of a violent crime is enough for Bratton to assert a causal link.
"Using that rationale, we can make other causal links to violence – for instance, if police find a cell phone at the scene of a violent crime, then certainly the cell phone must cause that crime," sayegh said.
CannTrust, which describes itself as "Canada's only pharmacist-controlled and operated producer and distributor of medical cannabis," on Friday announced an incentive offer for qualified patients that encourages vapouizing to consume medical cannabis.
In a partnership with Arizer, a Canadian manufacturer of personal vaporizers, patients can now access the latest in vapor technology with an exclusive price for three devices, not offered at these prices by any other Health Canada approved provider of medical cannabis, according to CannTrust.
"Patient safety is our priority and we've built our business on that," says Normal Paul, chairman of CannTrust. "We've created a state-of-the-art growing and testing facility to ensure our patients have access to consistent quality medical cannabis in Canada. It would be irresponsible for us not to make every effort to ensure patients have access to safe consumption and that is what our vaporizer program is all about."
CannTrust patients who place any order of 15 grams or more of medical cannabis can purchase one of three vaporizers for the lowest price in Canada. The patient can choose from three different starter packs depending on which vaporizer model selected.
Combo pack A includes the Solo model for $250, which includes the vaporizer and 15 grams of medical cannabis. (Just a Solo model retails for $224.) More advanced packages include the Extreme model with 15 grams of medical cannabis for $265 or the Air model for only $295.
Steep Hill, which specializes in cannabis testing and analytics in the United States and internationally, has announced intends to open a full service medical cannabis quality assurance laboratory in Albuquerque, New Mexico, bringing advanced scientific tools and methodology to the state, for regulatory oversight of cannabis.
Steep Hill is currently the only laboratory licensed by the New Mexico Department of Health to conduct potency and contaminant testing in order to meet the recently adopted regulatory requirements pertaining to cannabis safety for medical patients in New Mexico, according to a prepared statement from the company.
"We are excited to bring our entire suite of products to New Mexico, including our QuantaCann2™ - an advanced cloud-based potency monitoring system," said David Lampach, CEO and cofounder of Steep Hill. "This will enable the state to meet its THC and CBD testing requirements, while also providing regulators with a real time window into the marketplace."
The State of New Mexico requires regular testing be done in a Department of Health approved laboratory as the only acceptable method to determine the quality, purity and potency required for the sale of medical cannabis products.
For more information about cannabis testing, you can visit the Steep Hill website: http://steephill.com
About Steep Hill
By Steve Elliott
With even the Mormon-dominated state of Utah now considering a bill that would allow patients with certain debilitating conditions to be treated with edible forms of cannabis, it's clear that change is coming everywhere, regardless of political stripe.
But last week, that didn't stop an agent of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration from testifying to a Utah Senate panel that if the bill passes, the state's rabbits and other wildlife may "cultivate a taste" for marijuana and stay high all the time, reports Christopher Ingraham at The Washington Post .
"I deal in facts," claimed DEA Special Agent Matt Fairbanks, who's been working in Utah for a decade, as he warned the Senate of bhang-bombed bunnies. "I deal in science," said Fairbanks, who's a proud member of the "marijuana eradication" team in the state.
Fairbanks bragged about all the time he's spent pulling up back-country pot grows in the Utah mountains. He said that at some illegal marijuana grow sites, he saw "rabbits that had cultivated a taste for the marijuana."
"One of them refused to leave us, and we took all the marijuana around him, but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone," Fairbanks claimed of one stoned bunny.
Apparently the spectre of high hares wasn't scary enough to keep the Senate panel from approving the bill; it was sent to the full Utah Senate, where it will be debated this week.
Advocates Reminded of the Often Undeserved Sway of Law Enforcement
This week an asset forfeiture reform proposal died in Colorado’s Senate Judiciary Committee. SB 006 aimed to join other states and the recent federal effort to curb the intrusive, arguably unconstitutional and financially distorted incentive practice of civil asset forfeiture.
State law provides people due process protections from state authorities seizing their property. However, local and state police often circumvent state law by turning seized assets over to federal authorities who then liquidate those assets and return the proceeds to local law enforcement.
SB 006 would have provided constitutional protections in the case of joint state and federal asset forfeiture proceedings -- requiring a conviction, mandating a pre-trial hearing and only allowing forfeiture proceedings for assets valued over $50,000. The bill attempted to deter frivolous and subjective forfeiture efforts by law enforcement.
The Drug Policy Alliance, ACLU of Colorado, Colorado Criminal Defense Institute, Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition and many local lawyers, victims and like-minded civilians testified in favor of the bill.
Bill Passes Senate Judiciary Committee, Heads to Senate Floor Next Week
Utah is the latest 'red' state to consider medical marijuana. Utah's Senate Judiciary Committee on Thursday approved a bill that would allow for the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The bill is expected to go to the Senate floor early next week.
Senate Bill 259, from Sen. Mark B. Madsen, would create a state registry of medical marijuana patients who could possess and use marijuana. The bill would also direct the state of Utah to issue licenses for cultivators, processors, and dispensaries to qualified patients.
“I am one step closer to legal access to my medicine,” said Christine Stenquist, a medical marijuana patient and executive director of Drug Policy Project of Utah. “Our elected leaders have an opportunity to help sick patients find relief and there is no excuse not to.”
“If medical marijuana can advance in Utah – with significant support from Mormons in and out of the legislature – it can advance anywhere in the U.S.,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “Medicine is medicine, regardless of one’s politics, faith or views about drugs.”
The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is launching its first cultivation-focused conference and expo, The Cultivation Management Symposium, March 14-16 in Seattle, Washington.
The conference, designed for cannabis industry professionals, will bring together leading minds in the cultivation arena for three days of education, product discovery, and networking. More than 400 attendees, more than 30 exhibitors, and dozens of speakers will share best practices in the rapidly evolving fields of cultivation and horticulture.
Keynote speakers include:
• Alex Cooley, Solstice Grow
• Jonathan Valdman, Forever Flowering Greenhouses
• Amy Poinsett, MJ Freeway
• Jan Carlos Byl and Adam Dunn, MedCanna Consulting
• Jennifer Martin, Bulbulyan Consulting Group
• Phillip Hague, Mindful
• Stephen Keen, Surna
• Jay Czarcowski, Canna Advisors
NCIA's Cultivation Management Symposium is positioned to give cannabis industry professionals a wide spectrum of information on cultivation, with topics ranging from horticulture science to operational efficiency. An array of experienced speakers will provide attendees with actionable solutions needed to drive return-on-investment for cannabis cultivation.
Topics of discussion will include:
• Sustainable approaches to commercial cannabis cultivation
• Analyzing harmful contaminants
• Cultivation practices: Soil-less mediums, alternative nutrients, outdoor, and greenhouse
• Facility design and operations
• HR and talent acquisition
• Cultivation science: Genetics, strain creation, tissue culture
CBDpurUS.com, a supplier of pure natural CBD isolate (not a synthetic) in the United States, on Thursday announced that the medical and research community, as well as members of the public, can order CBD isolate from the company in 1 gram, 5 g, 10 g, 25 g and 50 g sizes. Delivery normally takes 72 hours.
Because this isolate is pure CBD, it is normally diluted by dissolving it in canola oil, sunflower oil, hemp seed oil, etc. The oil is heated to 155 degrees and the Pure CBD is dissolved therein.
Dosages of 10 mg to 25 mg are the most common. The individual's body naturally determines the amount of strength needed daily for relief. Thus we see 1g of CBD isolate will produce forty 25 mg doses when diluted in oil. This equates to a huge savings for patients in addition to research, manufacturing, etc.
Oregon Analytical Services has tested the CBD to be 99.8 percent pure, according to CBDpurUS.com. They suggest the oil be delivered in a eye dropper that can be obtained from any pharmacy.
The drops should be placed under the tongue and held there for maximum delivery via the sublingual, buccal, and Peroral membranes of the the body.
At least these days, both major political parties in the United States are smart enough to jockey for position on the marijuana issue rather than running away from as they did in the recent past. U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) on Thursday told attendees of the Conservative Political Action Conference that he supports states’ rights to legalize and regulate marijuana, notwithstanding federal law.
Fox News Channel’s Sean Hannity asked Sen. Cruz whether it was a good or bad idea for Colorado to legalize and regulate marijuana, to which he replied:
“Look I actually think this is a great embodiment of what Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called ‘the laboratories of democracy.’ If the citizens of Colorado decide they want to go down that road, that’s their prerogative. I personally don’t agree with it, but that’s their right.”
A video of the exchange is available at http://bit.ly/1aqXrAC .
Sen. Cruz is the latest Republican presidential hopeful to take such a position. Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), and former Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) have also said they think the federal government should not interfere in states that legalize marijuana.
“Marijuana policy reform is, at its heart, a conservative issue," said Don Murphy, a former Republican state legislator from Maryland now serving as a federal policies analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "This is a matter of Federalism, the 10th Amendment, and state autonomy, which are core conservative priorities.
PyoorCBD on Wednesday announced they will begin to distribute their Cibamine Xtra CBD Infused Drink Additive and 7 Hour Sleep CBD Formula for the United States market.
Both formulas are PassionFruit flavored all natural, zero calorie, sugar free, gluten free, GMO free drink shots/additives that uses Carlsbad Alkaline Water as their water source for their formulas. The company already has these available for sale in THC Formulas in more 200 medical marijuana dispensaries throughout California.
In the company's product line are Energy Drinks CBD and THC Infused, a complete pre- and post- workout supplement line infused with CBD Cannabinoids and Hemp to assist with muscle fatigue, rehabilitation from inflammation and extreme workout overload.
PyoorCBD says its products are herbicide and pesticide free, peanut-free, vegetarian approved, kosher certified, THC-free (NO THC, 100 percent legal), and tryspin inhibitor free.
PyoorCBD has developed a line of cannabis infused products targeting the health and fitness conscious consumer. The product line includes products developed in-house as well as products from partners that compliment the overall product line.
In partnership with an established health and fitness recognized brand name partner, PyoorCBD has a pilot retail store in San Diego to market cannabis infused beverages and food supplements. The products are infused with Hemp to include CBD, which is legal in all 50 states. Formulas that include THC are for when and where laws permit.
Kind Financial, (formerly KindBanking), the financial solutions platform for the cannabis industry, on Thursday announced that it has secured its second round of funding.
The company, in a prepared statement, said this investment will accelerate its mission to provide the legal cannabis industry with a full platform of financial services including, but not limited to, merchant and payment services, financing, equity investments, and insurance offerings. The company said it plans to launch a payment solution for the cannabis industry in the first quarter of 2015.
"Legitimate cannabis businesses are being denied many of the financial services available to other industries," explained David Dinenberg, founder and CEO of Kind Financial. "As a result of current regulatory measures, most financial institutions such as banks and credit card companies, are reluctant to do business with the cannabis industry.
"Our financial platform will fill this crucial need as the industry continues its exponential growth," Dinenberg said.
The investor group was led by Lindy Snider, founder and CEO of LindiSkin which manufactures and distributes clinically-proven skin care products for cancer patients. This is the latest in a series of investments Snider has made within the cannabis industry including a product designed to safely ship medical marijuana plants as well as an asset management company.
Legislation to make provisions for ganja reform was approved by the Jamaican Cabinet and tabled in the Senate in January 2015. This Bill, the Dangerous Drugs Act 2015, and popularly called the Ganja Bill, opened the door to the emergence of new financial and commercial opportunities for companies who want to do business in Jamaica.
As advisors for cannabis reform to the country of Jamaica, the Cannabis Global Initiative (CGI) says it is now offering "a full suite of services to assist companies wanting to be among the first to do legal cannabis business in the Caribbean," and has opened a second office in Kingston.
With the opening of its second office and CGI's longstanding relationships with the Jamaican government, policy stakeholders and the growing community, CGI is prepared to advise companies with placing their products and/or services in the first Caribbean country to legalize marijuana for medicinal use. TessMaria Leon, director of Client Services for CGI's Caribbean team, heads CGI's Kingston office.
"We've created a robust offering to ensure the best companies are being represented and positioned correctly to do business in the Caribbean," says CGI President Wanda James. "CGI has created a number of packages with several levels of service designed to introduce cannabis-related businesses to Jamaican culture, lifestyle and business infrastructure."
By Steve Elliott
Running up to the March 17 elections, Israel's Green Leaf Party on Wednesday announced a comprehensive economic study showing higher than expected revenues of about NIS 3 billion per year for the state if the cannabis market is regulated by law.
The study, conducted by the head of military budgets, Elad Daudi, an expert military economist, is based on data from a study published by the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies, along with data from Colorado, reports Israel's Cannabis Magazine.
The new study shows economic benefits both from stopping prosecution of marijuana consumers, and from the expected tax to the state treasury which would result from a legal cannabis market. According to the study, NIS 700 million would be saved by the state on enforcement expenditures, courts, arrests, etc., with at least NIS 2.2 billion from revenues from all taxes.
Further, those amounts don't include the expected revenues once the new market is fully reopened. The cannabis industry is expected to quickly product about 10,000 new jobs. The exportation of medical cannabis overseas alone is expected to result in NIS 2 billion per year in state revenues.
CannTrust Inc., a licensed producer and distributor of medical cannabis in Canada, today announced CannTrust Access, a comprehensive patient assistance program for medical cannabis compassionate use in Canada.
The CannTrust Access program is a Canadian first in medical cannabis programs and is available immediately to eligible Canadians whose health plans do not reimburse medical cannabis.
To enroll, a patient must have a signed CannTrust medical form from their physician, the required qualifying documents listed at canntrust.ca, a letter from their physician indicating a need for financial assistance to access medical cannabis, and proof of their financial status (Revenue Canada Notice of Assessment).
Qualified patients will be eligible for up to 30 grams of medical marijuana per month. Three levels of financial assistance are available through the CannTrust Access program depending on the patient's income status, which will be reassessed every six months.
CannTrust anticipates that a number of patients' financial status will qualify them to receive their monthly order at no cost. A patient is obliged to notify CannTrust if their status changes in any manner.