As the marijuana legalization movement has gained momentum in Washington, Colorado, Oregon, Alaska, and other states, the cannabis industry has increasingly been referred to as a potential opportunity for legitimate start-ups and businesses. Dan Humiston, founder of the International Cannabis Association, recently discussed how his organization helps aspiring cannabis entrepreneurs in an interview with Ganjapreneur.com, a cannabis industry and business news website.
In the interview, Humiston discusses how he first became involved in the cannabis industry, and why he decided to leave a successful career as a business owner to do so.
"In 1985 I opened my first tanning salon and over the next 30 years I grew my chain Tanning Bed Inc. to the largest chain in New York and one of the largest chains in the country," Humiston explained. "In the mid 2000s, tanning industry sales started to fall and by the end of the decade it was apparent that I needed to find ways to reduce or re-purpose the space of my stores which were over 4,000 square feet.
"In 2012 I saw a 60 Minutes report about the cannabis industry and started trying to figure out how divide my tanning salons into tanning salons and dispensaries."
Popular Festival Has Track Record of Success in Keeping Attendees Safe
The California-based Lightning in a Bottle festival is breaking new ground in the United States by taking a comprehensive harm reduction approach to drug use at its event. It is the only festival in the U.S. to offer both peer-led drug education and mental health services onsite, communicate about those services to its attendees, and evaluate their effectiveness post-event.
The festival, set to take place this Memorial Day weekend (May 21-25) at the San Antonio Recreation Area in Bradley, California, offers harm reduction services through the organizations DanceSafe and the Zendo Project.
DanceSafe is a public health organization working since 1998 mostly within the electronic dance music community to promote non-judgmental health and safety information, ranging from safer sex and “protect your hearing” resources to straightforward drug education that explains drug effects and safer use practices honestly. The Zendo Project is a group of trained therapists and volunteers who assist festivalgoers undergoing a difficult psychological experience, whether drug-related or not. They set up a separate “safe space” apart from main festival areas, and often work in tandem with onsite medical teams.
Weed Flirt, a cannabis friendly online dating website for adults 21 years and older, is now open to membership in the USA. The website is accessible from browsers on desktops, laptops, tablets and mobile phones.
“Marijuana use is coming out of the closet and into the mainstream as medical and recreational marijuana use laws are enacted across the United States and other countries," said Weed Flirt founder A.N. Todd. "Marijuana users have long struggled when it comes to finding a partner that doesn’t freak out when the question of cannabis use comes up.
"On Weed Flirt we are encouraging marijuana users and non-users who are marijuana friendly to come together in a progressive dating community,” Todd said.
“Weed Flirt is for laid back people who don’t mind if their potential partner uses marijuana. It’s a progressive service," Todd ssaid. "It’s not for you if you are a bigot, racist, juice head, needle junkie, wacko, extremist or simply don’t accept cannabis as a cure.”
Members create profiles in which they can post and update photos, video and audio clips.
Search is by age, sex, city and state as well as by geographic location or current proximity. Communication is by private message as well as instant online chat.
In a major change to what’s currently on offer by online dating services, Weed Flirt is supporting groups. For instance you might join the San Francisco Group and meet other singles offline.
What’s Next for the Medical Marijuana Revolution?
Over the last two years Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s reporting has been truly groundbreaking in mainstreaming the benefits of medical marijuana. Dr. Gupta has brought stories of everyday Americans that obtain essential benefits from medical marijuana products into the living rooms of millions of Americans.
“Watching CNN’s 'Weed' was the first time many Americans saw everyday people benefiting from medical marijuana,” said Steph Sherer, executive director of Americans for Safe Access (ASA). “Seeing how much good medical marijuana can do has lead to an outgrowth in activism that has helped create new laws at the state level and is laying the foundation for important federal legislation.”
On April 19, CNN will premiere the third installment of their documentary series on medical marijuana Weed 3, documenting the ongoing developments in what Dr. Gupta has declared a “medical marijuana revolution.” The following day -- on April 20, at 7 pm EST-- ASA will host a Google Hangout to discuss the documentary and the issues it examines.
What: Google Hangout on the medical marijuana revolution and issues raised in Sanjay Gupta's Weed 3.
Featuring: ASA Executive Director Steph Sherer, PA State Senator Mike Folmer (invited), Jahan Marcu Ph.D, Matt Kahl, U.S. combat veteran and activist with Grow for Vets and Weed 3 participant Dr. Sue Sisley.
By Steve Elliott
Perfectly embodying the definition of a sore loser, Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt is asking the state Supreme Court to strike down Tuesday's ballot initiative which Wichita voters passed to reduce penalties for marijuana possession.
"There are no facts in dispute -- only the legal question of whether the City of Wichita acted outside its authority by purporting to adopt this ordinance in conflict with state law," Schmidt claimed in a Thursday news release accompanying his filing, reports Dion Lefler at The Wichita Eagle.
"A quick, authoritative and final resolution in the Supreme Court will provide the clarity to guide everyone involved," Schmidt said.
A lawyer for the cannabis activists who forced Tuesday's successful decrim vote said it's kind of funny that Schmidt moved on the case only after his side lost.
"I guess if the wrong people win an election in Wichita, Kansas, the attorney general is going to want a do-over," said Scott Poor, the lawyer representing the Wichita Marijuana Reform Initiative group.
The decrim initiative was resoundingly approved by voters, 54 percent to 46 percent. It seeks to reduce the penalty for first-time marijuana possession for adults over 21 to a $50 fine. Violations would be considered infractions, meaning they wouldn't have to be disclosed on most job or scholarship applications.
The American Seed & Oil Company Medical Cannabis Cooperative, an organization of independent hemp and marijuana cultivation organizations, was announced on Tuesday. The intent of the cooperative is that by working together, cultivators can more rapidly and soundly expand their respective operations.
American Seed & Oil Company is dedicating its previously announced $1.2 million in secured funding to The Medical Cannabis Cooperative.
"American Seed & Oil Company is committed to establishing a leadership position within the developing U.S. legal cannabis industry," said Steven Rash, CEO of Algae International, Inc. and its operating subsidiary, the American Seed & Oil Company. "We believe our investment of time, talent and resources in a Cooperative Cannabis Cultivation strategy will more rapidly expand our revenues and assets than solely investing in the construction of wholly owned cannabis cultivation operations."
"We are already piloting a number of cannabis consumer products; working to develop a number of cannabis commercial products; contributing to the effort to mature and advance legalization nationwide and at the same time investing in the infrastructure to grow and process cannabis," Rash said. "We continue to evaluate and evolve our overall approach toward all these ends.
By Steve Elliott
Marijuana Policy Project Executive Director Rob Kampia reportedly threatened to spend thousands of dollars to disrupt two Arizona dispensaries, threatening that a key staffer at the shops who also formerly headed up MPP's recreational legalization push in the state will "pay a price" if she leads a competing ballot measure.
The rift leaves the future of recreational marijuana in Arizona in doubt, reports John Schroyer at Marijuana Business Daily, pitting a prominent pro-cannabis organization against a dispensary executive and many of her peers in the medical marijuana industry.
The dispute grew from disagreements between MPP and several dozen Arizona dispensaries over the language of a proposed 2016 ballot measure to legalize recreational marijuana. Negotiations between the two factions reportedly fell apart last week. Gina Berman, who at the time was chairwoman of MPP's Arizona legalization campaign, is the medical director at The Giving Tree Wellness Center dispensaries.
Photo of Rob Kampia: Reason TV
The 'Hempster Clothing' line was introduced on Thursday by Algae International Group, Inc., through its operating subsidiary American Seed & Oil Company.
The company is introducing the first clothing items it plans to start selling through an e-commerce site by April 20. The introduction of the first clothing items will be combined with a campaign to fund efforts to legalize marijuana nationwide.
American Seed & Oil Company will introduce four t-shirts bearing various designs specific to the 'Hempster Clothing' line brand. One hundred percent of the profit from the sales of these first four t-shirts over the course of the next year will be donated to the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), an organization dedicated to ending the federal prohibition of marijuana and empowering states to regulate their own marijuana policy.
American Seed & Oil's overall mission is to create a variety of market competitive, environmental conscious, consumer and commercial products utilizing various forms of cannabis. A clothing line was conceived as part of American Seed & Oil Company's original business plan.
Hemp requires half the water and half the land required by cotton to produce equal quantities of fiber for clothing production. While cotton accounts for a major portion of agricultural pesticides, hemp requires no pesticides at all.
Founded by experienced travel professionals, Budandbreakfast.com fosters safe, legal cannabis tourism by matching travelers with a variety of accommodations
Bud and Breakfast has launched what it calls "the first web-based booking engine to match travelers with safe and legal accommodations in places which have legalized the use of cannabis for medical and/or recreational use." This currently includes Alaska, Colorado, Oregon and Washington as well as countries like Jamaica, The Netherlands and Uruguay, according to the company.
Before now, anyone traveling to a place where cannabis is legal still faced the challenge of finding a place to smoke or vaporize cannabis flower or enjoy edibles infused with cannabinoids. The fact is, consumption of cannabis is still not legal in public – not in a car, hotel, bar, restaurant or anywhere other than a private residence.
"We want to provide an accessible network of accommodations that meet high standards of quality, reliability and satisfaction for travelers who also wish to enjoy the benefits of this wonderfully healing plant,” said Sean Roby, founder and CEO of Bud and Breakfast.
“This goes beyond people looking to smoke pot," Roby said. "There are families with sick children looking for alternative treatments and adults who live with handicaps being treated with cannabis. Bud and Breakfast makes it possible to find a comfortable setting – like a private home – to begin healing. It’s great to know we can help them.”
By Steve Elliott
Iconic stoner Tommy Chong has been dropped as a spokesman by pro-marijuana lobbying group the National Cannabis Industry Association.
According to NCIA Executive Director Aaron Smith, the pot lobby is tired of the Cheech & Chong stoner jokes and wants to be taken seriously in Congress, reports Burgess Everett at Politico. The cannabis industry reportedly wants to move past the stoner stereotypes represented by Chong as it tries to remake itself as a "serious suits segment" of the economy.
Smith, in a Monday email sent to Chong's representatives and allies, said that after feedback from "allied members of Congress," the group decided Chong wasn't its best representative in D.C., particularly when it comes to influencing right-wing lawmakers.
"Having Tommy out in D.C. for the NCIA Lobby Days will detract from the overall message we aim for with the event, which is that cannabis business people are regular professionals and relatable to the generally conservative members of Congress we are looking to appeal to," Smith wrote. "We are here to break 'stoner' stereotypes rather than reinforce them."
By Steve Elliott
Police in Palmerah, Indonesia, a sub-district of West Jakarta, accidentally got an entire town stoned when they burned a 3.3-ton pile of marijuana.
A number of residents and journalists in the Indonesian neighborhood reported feeling disoriented, dizzy and stoned when heavy plumes of smoke wafted through their streets, reports Dangerous Minds.
Some of the police wore masks as they first set the cannabis ablaze, but neglected to mention to onlookers and residents in the surrounding community that the smoke could affect them, too.
By Steve Elliott
As Oregon implements recreational marijuana legalization, you might expect bigger festivals and conventions like this weekend's Oregon Hemp Convention would become the norm. But as of now the convention is the only big cannabis event scheduled in Portland this year.
The state's voters last November chose to legalize recreational marijuana use, but despite its mainstream status, Portland doesn't have any official Boulder-style 4/20 smoke-ins on the calendar, nor any other mass cannabis gatherings, reports Jamie Hale at The Oregonian.
Hempstalk had been Portland's primary marijuana rally for the past decade, before the Portland Parks Bureau denied its permit for 2015, claiming unchecked illegal public consumption of cannabis at previous events, despite organizers' serious efforts to control it.
New York-based High Times magazine announced its touring Cannabis Cup would come to Portland in July, but no further details have been released, leading to concern that it, too, will fall through.
That leaves the Oregon Hemp Convention, where no smoking is allowed and the focus is on the industry, as the sole major cannabis event in town. And director Jerry Norton is just fine with that.
As part of what it calls its "ongoing mission to provide clean, effective and accurately dosed plant-based health and wellness products," Mary's Medicinals today announced that it has enlisted Noel Palmer, Ph.D. as chief scientist. In this role, Dr. Palmer will direct and manage all research, development and testing for current and future products.
"We're thrilled to add Noel's expertise to our team," said Nicole Smith, CEO, Mary's Medicinals. "As one of the most respected researchers in the cannabis industry, his understanding of plant chemistry will allow us to continue to improve the efficacy and accuracy of our products, and his skill set will lend itself perfectly to the development of our new Mary's Nutritionals line."
Dr. Palmer brings 15 years of experience as a laboratory scientist with an emphasis on plant properties to Mary's Medicinals. A member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, his R&D and testing of product potency and efficacy is award winning.
Most recently, he was recognized as Americans for Safe Access Researcher of the Year 2014. In collaboration with ASA and the American Herbal Products Association, he was closely involved in drafting the Industry Standards for Laboratory Testing of cannabis.
"Mary's Medicinals has established itself as a leader in the creation of effective, quality cannabis medicine," Palmer said. "I look forward to applying my understanding of the powerful properties of plants to finding new ways to help patients find relief."
Petition with more than 2,400 signatures demanding veto to be delivered to Gov. Ducey
Community groups will be rallying outside Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s office Tuesday afternoon to speak out against SB 1445, a proposal that would require law enforcement agencies to conceal police officers’ identities for months following their involvement in violent or deadly incidents.
During the rally, a petition with more than 2,400 signatures will be delivered to Gov. Ducey’s office demanding he veto this legislation if it reaches his desk.
This bill is unnecessary, takes discretion away from local officials, promotes mistrust of the police and threatens Arizona’s proud tradition of open government, according to the American Civil Liberties Union of Arizona. Furthermore, police officers’ extraordinary powers are much more likely to be abused when their use is concealed from the public.
WHAT: Speakers will encourage Gov. Ducey to veto this dangerous legislation if it reaches his desk and address the harm this law would inflict on communities of color, people with mental illness and their families, immigrants, and LGBT people, among others. A representative of the family of Michelle Cusseaux, who was killed by a Phoenix Police officer last summer, and representatives of the community group Justice for Rumain Brisbon, who was fatally shot by a Phoenix Police officer in December, are scheduled to speak.
Community leaders in Arizona on Wednesday morning will speak out against Senate Bill 1445, a proposal being considered by the Arizona Legislature that would conceal police officers’ identities following their involvement in violent or deadly incidents.
SB 1445 threatens to further erode trust between law enforcement and communities by undermining the public's ability to hold officers and agencies accountable for abusive behavior. Current law properly balances the public’s right to know with officer privacy.
The stakes are high. If this bill becomes law in Arizona, it will send a harmful message to cities and states across the country that it's appropriate to keep officers' identities secret.
That’s why community leaders are banding together to stop this bill from becoming law.
WHO: Community leaders, including Pastor Warren Stewart, Jr., Rev. Reginald Walton and Phoenix Human Relations Commission Chair Brendan Mahoney
WHAT: Speakers will address the harms of SB 1445 and announce a campaign to encourage Gov. Doug Ducey to veto this dangerous legislation if it reaches his desk.
WHEN: Wednesday, March 18, 2015, 10:00 a.m.
WHERE: Bolin Memorial Park, just east of the Arizona Capitol Complex (1700 W. Washington St., Phoenix, AZ 85007).
Graphic: Albany NY a.k.a. Smalbany