Wednesday, February 12, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, February 12, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Marijuana Decriminalization Approved By Virginia Senate And House (Marijuana Moment)

// ‘I really love the vibes’: How Yelp boosts black market pot shops (NBC News)

// After a rough 2019 California’s cannabis industry will bloom in 2020 (Leafly)


These headlines are brought to you by Atlantic Farms, a Maine-based multistate cannabis business with operations in Maine and Massachusetts. Atlantic Farms is looking for people to help it grow and evolve as investors. Open up TheAtlanticFarms.com for more on the company and email info@theatlanticfarms.com to learn about investment opportunities.


// 15 months after legalization, 2.8 million Ontarians live in places where cannabis retail is illegal (Global News)

// The writing is on the wall for Vancouver’s handful of illegal cannabis shops (Globe and Mail)

// Oregon Cannabis 2020: Legislative Forecast and Report (Canna Law Blog)

// Marijuana Patient in Pennsylvania Sues State After Being Denied Public Housing (Merry Jane)

// Another Louisiana grower set for initial medical cannabis harvest (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Weedmaps cracking down on illicit Michigan marijuana ads (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Girl Scouts cash in selling cookies outside Chicago dispensary (WSIL TV 3 ABC)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Photo: Nikita Gavrilovs/Flickr

Peddler’s Licenses & Co-Ops: Chicago Brainstorms Ways to Make Cannabis More Equitable

Cannabis became legal in Illinois on New Year’s Day, and now Chicago’s administration and community leaders are brainstorming ways to implement a model for the industry that addresses the social harms of prohibition.

Chicago is one of the cities that has been most impacted by the drug war dystopia, so it is fitting that some unorthodox and cutting-edge ideas are being broached in the Windy City. The current unique cannabis ideas the city is considering include a city-owned cultivation co-op which residents could join and earn a stake in and a “peddler’s license” for individuals to sell cannabis themselves.

“Ensuring this emerging industry brings unprecedented economic and social benefits to our communities has been at the heart of our efforts since day one,” Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot told the Chicago Sun-Times.

With some Illinois municipalities already experimenting with alternative models like cannabis-tax funded “reparations,” Chicago is still in the phase of weighing proposals.

Cannabis buyers spent nearly $40 million in the first month days of the adult-use market, according to numbers reported by the Chicago Tribune on Feb. 4. This was despite widespread supply shortages, long lines and a limited number of licensed outlets across the state.

“Illinois had a far more successful launch of cannabis than many of the other states that have legalized, but this is about more than money, it’s about starting a new industry in a way that includes communities left behind for far too long,” Toi Hutchinson, the governor’s senior adviser for cannabis control, told the Evanston Patch.

Some 40 new dispensaries have opened already this year across Illinois, adding to the approximately 30 pre-existing medical marijuana dispensaries that have been grandfathered into the adult-use market.

But Chicago may be trying something very different — indeed, unprecedented in the nation.

A City-Owned Cannabis Co-Op?

In December, Mayor Lightfoot said her office has plans for a city-owned cannabis cultivation co-op would especially offer residents, especially those from black and brown communities, an opportunity to buy in with a “modest cash investment,” or, for those who can’t afford it, with “sweat equity” — labor in lieu of money.

Lightfoot portrayed the “cooperative cultivation center” idea as a means of assuring that Chicago’s cannabis market will not be dominated by big capital, or the city’s most privileged.

“This is a very, very expensive business to get involved with,” she told the Sun-Times in announcing the idea. “The basics to be a cultivator requires about a $13 million to $15 million investment. There are not a lot of people that have that, particularly in a market that a lot of banks and traditional lenders won’t touch. I think the only way to really crack this nut is for the city to invest its own resources to get engaged, get diverse entrepreneurs involved in the most lucrative part of the business, which is cultivation.”

Alderman Jason Ervin of Chicago’s 28th ward expressed outrage that African Americans have “zero representation” among the 11 grandfathered medicinal dispensaries that offered the city’s first adult-use sales on New Year’s Day.

Gov. JB Pritzker’s office voiced tentative support for Lightfoot’s proposal — but said it would have to wait until next year, when the new law allows the Illinois Department of Agriculture to decide whether to increase the number of large-scale cultivators in the state.  

“The administration is excited that people are discussing new and innovative approaches to equity and we look forward to exploring those options when the application for cultivation centers begins in 2021,” a Pritzker representative said in a statement.

But the Department of Agriculture, contacted by the Sun-Times, hedged on whether the new law allows issuance of cultivation licenses to a public entity.  

“The rules are still being written on that,” said department media rep Krista Lisser. “We really haven’t been posed with that question as of right now.”

A ‘Peddler’s License’ for Pot Dealers?

Another proposal, likely to be more controversial still with state authorities, has emerged from community activists led by Tio Hardiman, a longtime anti-violence campaigner with the group CeasefireChicago. Hardiman on Jan. 22 issued his call for the creation of a “peddler’s license” that would allow a retailer to sell cannabis at farmer’s markets or out of the backs of trucks. Hardiman said the idea could help “ease some of the conflict with the illegal drug trade,” and help ease the city’s crisis of gun violence.

“This way you can take the criminal element out of [selling cannabis] and allow these young guys to make some legal money. And then you can help reduce unemployment in the African American community,” Hardiman said at a press conference outside the Herbal Care Center, one of the city’s grandfathered medical dispensaries.

According to the Sun-Times, Hardiman said these small retailers would be required to keep a “paper trail,” and drew a parallel to operations such as Grubhub or Uber that use mobile apps and log transactions.

Contacted by the Sun-Times, the offices of Gov. Pritzker and Mayor Lightfoot issued statements that “didn’t directly address” Hardiman’s proposal. Pritzker media rep Jordan Abudayyeh noted that legal cannabis is currently only sold by licensed dispensaries “to ensure that products are regulated and safe.” But she added that as new licenses are handed out, priority will be given to “social equity candidates,” who have cannabis offenses on their records or live in areas hit hard by the drug war.

Pat Mullane of Lightfoot’s office similarly said the mayor is committed to ensuring that all Chicagoans, but especially those from “disadvantaged communities,” will be able to “benefit from jobs and economic opportunity created by the newly legalized cannabis industry.”

Chicago over the past decade has suffered from blatantly racist police practices in drug enforcement, and what can only be called human rights abuses. In 2015, grim revelations emerged of “black site” or clandestine prison run by the city police force — completely outside the law or any public oversight.

Correcting this legacy will clearly be one of the biggest challenges for legal cannabis in the nation. Advocates coast to coast would do well to watch how things unfold in this heartland metropolis.

TELL US, would you want a license to sell pot at a farmers market?

The post Peddler’s Licenses & Co-Ops: Chicago Brainstorms Ways to Make Cannabis More Equitable appeared first on Cannabis Now.

Tuesday, February 4, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, February 4, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Nearly $40 Million Of Marijuana Sold During Illinois’s First Month Of Legal Sales (Marijuana Moment)

// Colorado Officials Unveil ‘Roadmap’ To Increase Marijuana Banking Access (Marijuana Moment)

// Andrew Yang Makes Case For Legal Marijuana And Mass Drug Pardons As His Kids Play On Stage (Marijuana Moment)


These headlines are brought to you by MJToday Media, publishers of this podcast as well as our weekly show Marijuana Today and the most-excellent Green Rush Podcast. And check out our new show Weed Wonks!


// Oregon wholesale marijuana flower prices rise after growers exit market, some pivot to hemp (Marijuana Business Daily)

// ‘Everybody’s friendly, everybody’s high’: Marijuana tour buses begin rolling in Chicago with a stop at a private bring-your-own smoking lounge (Chicago Tribune)

// A Certified Organic Labeling Program Is Coming To Cannabis In 2020 (Forbes)

// Whoopi & Maya Cannabis Company Ceases Operations (Celeb Stoner)

// How a cannabis unicorn lost 87% of its market value in six months (Market Watch)

// LP farm sales to improve access, not prices for Ontario consumers (Leafly)

// Cannabis producers asked to stop shipping to Campobello Island by Canada Post (Globe and Mail (Canadian Press))


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Photo: Pictures of Money/Flickr

Chicago Shop Owner Gets Prison Sentence For Selling K2 Laced With Rat Poison

Convenience store owner Fouad Masoud, owner of the King Mini Mart on South Kedzie Avenue on the west side of Chicago, will spend the next seven years in prison for selling K2 laced with rat poison. Prosecutors had fought for a sentence of 10 years, citing Masoud’s admission to selling upwards of 80 packages of K2 a day.

2018 Outbreak of K2-Related Sicknesses in Chicago Led to Shop Owner’s Arrest

Between March and April 2018, the Illinois Department of Health had received roughly 100 reports of hospitalizations due to severe bleeding. After recognizing a pattern in the cases, state health officials began linking them to patients’ consumption of so-called synthetic marijuana.

Typically sold under the monicker of “K2” or “Spice,” synthetic marijuana is a lab-made analog of the THC cannabinoid cannabis plants naturally produce. But these lab-made copies are imperfect and typically, way more potent, with more severe, long-lasting effects, than natural cannabis.

But it’s not the synthetic cannabinoids that are necessarily making people sick. Rather, its the mysterious chemical mixture used to produce the imitation cannabis compounds. During the 2018 rash of severe bleeding cases in Chicago, patients showed signs that they had consumed brodifacoum, otherwise known as rat poison. Brodifacoum is a lethal anti-coagulant that causes severe internal bleeding. Its effects can last up to months and are often fatal.

Amid the investigation launched to respond to the K2 epidemic, allegations surfaced that one of the victims had purchased synthetic marijuana from King Mini Mart, owned by Masoud. Chicago police sent an undercover cop to the convenience store to buy a packet of the drug. Lab tests later revealed the packet contained rat poison, which led to a criminal complaint against Masoud.

Chicago Shop Owner Said He Did Not Know He Was Selling Poisonous K2

When authorities arrested Fouad Masoud, he was in possession of $344,000 in cash and about 6.4 pounds of synthetic cannabis packets branded “Purple Giant,” according to court documents. DEA agents also shut down the King Mini Mart and arrested two employees, charging them for drug conspiracy.

Both employees agreed to cooperate with the investigation. One employee showed DEA agents where Masoud hid his stash of synthetic marijuana to avoid detection: in a hole in the ground behind his shop.

After his arrest, Masoud pleaded guilty to drug conspiracy charges in September. He admitted to selling drug packets manufactured overseas, but Masoud said that he had no idea that the K2 he was selling contained rat poison. “Maybe I got a bad batch,” Masoud said during his sentencing hearing.

“You didn’t know there was rat poison in it, but you also didn’t care what you were selling,” said U.S. District Judge Manish Shah. “it was just about money for you.”

In fact, Chicago police had previously cited Masoud, before his arrest, for selling K2. Masoud knew the synthetic drugs were banned. But he continued selling K2 to customers under the radar.

Several of the victims of the rat-poisoned K2 sold at Masoud’s shop barely escaped with their lives. Many nearly succumbed to uncontrollable internal bleeding. However, no deaths were tied directly to the K2 sold at Masoud’s shop.

The post Chicago Shop Owner Gets Prison Sentence For Selling K2 Laced With Rat Poison appeared first on High Times.

In Light of Legalization, Chicago Housing Authority Revises Policy on Cannabis Use

The board of commissioners of the Chicago Housing Authority voted on Tuesday to approve a new policy to help protect residents from being evicted for using cannabis. The board’s action revises an announcement from the agency last year that warned to end assistance for those found in possession of pot despite the legalization of marijuana in Illinois.

Under the newly revised policy, the Chicago Housing Authority (CHA) says that it plans to “work with residents, participants, applicants, and landlords to provide information and guidance in their efforts to exercise their rights under local law without jeopardizing their housing under federal law.”

Despite the legalization of cannabis that went into effect in Illinois on January 1, marijuana continues to be illegal under federal law. That contradiction led the CHA, which receives funding from the federal government, to announce that cannabis would not be acceptable in public housing once marijuana became legal at the state level. In a letter sent to the 63,000 households managed by the agency in November, residents were warned that any marijuana possession or use was grounds for eviction.

“The CHA can TERMINATE all assistance … if you, a member of your household, or a guest or person under your control is found engaging in drug-related criminal activity, including the use and/or possession of marijuana for medical or recreational purposes,” read a notice sent to housing voucher recipients at the time.

Mitigating Factors to be Considered

According to the new policy, possession, distribution, cultivation, or use of marijuana in public housing facilities can still be cause for a review by the agency, but each case will now be considered on an individual basis with any mitigating factors taken into account.

“These mitigating circumstances include the time, nature and extent of the conduct; the relationship of the conduct to the disability of a family member; its impact on others; the impact of a proposed action on family members; the viability of limiting a negative action to certain users rather than entire families; and any factors that might indicate a reasonable probability of favorable future conduct of the Resident or Participant, including rehabilitation,” the policy states.

Jeremy Jacobs, the CEO of cannabis retail technology company Enlighten, told local media that public housing residents shouldn’t have to choose between their rights.

“You’re making a choice: which one of my rights do I want to have? Do I want to have my state’s rights or do I want to have my federal rights?” he said. “You’ve got a situation where the federal subsidy with housing – people that are known medical consumers – and all of a sudden you have these federal regulators that are able to control these people’s housing.”

The post In Light of Legalization, Chicago Housing Authority Revises Policy on Cannabis Use appeared first on High Times.

Police Looking for Thief Who Stole From Chicago Airport Cannabis Amnesty Box

When Chicago police installed so-called “cannabis amnesty boxes” in the city’s airports earlier this month, the idea was to provide a safe repository for travelers to dump their weed.

But in that, one apparent thief saw an opportunity. Authorities in the Windy City said this week that someone snatched an item from a box located at Midway Airport. 

Chicago Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Chicago Sun-Times that an individual “removed an unknown object from inside” from the box on Monday evening.

“Tampering with them, or attempting to remove anything placed inside, is a crime, and detectives are investigating this matter,” Guglielmi told the Sun-Times.

Local officials announced earlier this month that the cannabis amnesty boxes have been installed at O’Hare International Airport and Midway Airport. Positioned at each airport’s TSA checkpoints, the boxes will serve as a receptacle for travelers who would like to ditch their marijuana products before boarding.

Flying High in Chicago

Domestic travelers passing through Chicago airports like O’Hare and Midway won’t be arrested if they’re caught with cannabis in their carry-on, as TSA has said they would defer to local law enforcement on the matter should an agent find marijuana on a traveler. Chicago police have said that so long as those travelers are within the guidelines of the state’s new marijuana law, they won’t enforce anything—though that shouldn’t be interpreted as encouragement. 

“We’re not encouraging people to bring cannabis through the airports at all,” Chicago Police Department spokeswoman Maggie Huynh said earlier this month. “But if for some reason you have it on you, we have those amnesty boxes out there so that you can dispose of it prior to getting on the airplane.”

Illinois’ new law, which took effect on New Year’s Day, permits adults aged 21 and older to purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana. The law, signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker last summer, will also result in the pardons of more than 100,000 individuals previously convicted of low-level, non-violent marijuana offenses. Illinois is the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana.

The city’s airports currently are using temporary amnesty boxes. Guglielmi told the Sun-Times that “new, permanent theft prevention boxes are expected to replace the temporary ones in the coming weeks, making them more secure and preventing anyone from further accessing materials dropped inside.”

The post Police Looking for Thief Who Stole From Chicago Airport Cannabis Amnesty Box appeared first on High Times.

Friday, January 24, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, January 24, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// MedMen Responds To Vendor Payment Crisis (Green Market Report)

// Two years in, California’s legal marijuana businesses struggle with financial woes as they battle illicit market (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Wisconsin Governor Blasts Lawmakers For Not Legalizing Medical Marijuana Despite Public Support (Marijuana Moment)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 165,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// Illinois’ first marijuana lounge gets approved hours away from Chicago. ‘It’s going to be an experience.’ (Chicago Tribune)

// California to require marijuana retailers to exhibit QR code (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Chicago Housing Authority relaxes recreational marijuana policy (WGN9 News)

// Cresco Labs secures up to $200M in debt for marijuana operations (Marijuana Business Daily)

// No edibles under New Zealand’s medical cannabis scheme, government says (Marijuana Business Daily)

// New Hampshire Lawmakers Debate Non-Commercial Marijuana Legalization Bill (Marijuana Moment)

// Thief Steals Cannabis From Chicago Airport Amnesty Box (NBC 5 Chicago)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

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Photo: Johanna/Flickr

Tuesday, January 21, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, January 21, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Proposed 10% THC Limit in Washington Could Wreck Its Entire Weed Industry (Merry Jane)

// Joe Biden Again Says No To Marijuana Legalization Without More Studies (Marijuana Moment)

// ‘Suffering’ medical pot patients have seen supply dwindle for months: ‘There’s literally nothing’ (Chicago Sun-Times)


These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 165,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to Curaleaf.com to learn more about this very cool company!


// Large Florida medical cannabis retailer stops most deliveries (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Canopy Growth Revises Beverage Launch Timeline (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Marijuana firm TILT backs off of strict contracts under pressure from state CCC (Boston Globe)

// Pot taxes in Chicago could be as high as 41% by July as county moves forward with 3% levy (Chicago Sun-Times)

// Oregon cannabis sales soar along Idaho border (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Company Gets Trademark For The Word ‘Psilocybin,’ Frustrating Decriminalization Advocates (Marijuana Moment)

// It’s MLK Day. Don’t Forget Cannabis is a Civil Rights Issue. (Canna Law Blog)


Check out our other projects:
Marijuana Today— Our flagship title, a weekly podcast examining the world of marijuana business and activism with some of the smartest people in the industry and movement.
Marijuana Media Connect— A service that connects industry insiders in the legal marijuana industry with journalists, bloggers, and writers in need of expert sources for their stories.

Love these headlines? Love our podcast? Support our work with a financial contribution and become a patron.

Photo: Weed Porn Daily/Flickr

America’s Airline Traffic Is Now Full of Weed

Whether O’Hare International Airport in Chicago is “the world’s busiest” terminal for airline traffic depends on how you gauge such superlatives. If it’s by number of passengers, the busiest airport is Hartsfield-Jackson in Atlanta; if it’s by the sheer number of airplanes taking off and landing, the United Airlines hub in Chicago remains “busier” than anywhere else on the globe.

Either way, as of Jan. 1, O’Hare is the busiest airport in the world to be newly located in a state where recreational cannabis is legal. And indeed, with recreational cannabis sales beginning in Illinois earlier this month, six out of the 10 busiest airports in the United States are now situated in states where passengers can legally load up at the nearest dispensary on their way to or from the airport — which means that airline traffic in the U.S. is even more loaded with weed than it was before, and there’s not much of anything anyone can do about it.

You may hear that boarding an aircraft while carrying cannabis is illegal in the United States. That is true — federal law governs the friendly skies over all 50 states, and federal law, quite famously, thinks cannabis is a highly addictive substance with no medical value — but practically speaking, it’s never been safer to fly with weed. (Legal disclaimer: This blog post is not legal advice and nobody should do anything we suggest, ever.) Complicating matters somewhat are the special legal jurisdictions that exist at airports — in both Las Vegas and in Denver, the airports have declared that state law does not apply and that cannabis is still illegal — but both the demand and the effort to enforce such laws are slim to none.

There are those who would have you believe that boarding a flight bearing cannabis in 2020 means blundering into a confounding arena, a maze of contradictions. This is not the case. The legal landscape is absurdly simple: Cannabis is legal if the local jurisdiction says it’s legal. The federal Transportation Security Administration has gone as far as to publicly announce that they are not there to check for drugs. But if agents do find cannabis, their only course of action is to alert the local authorities. Unless you are some kind of special breed of a damn fool and try to waltz through Customs with weed, all the local authorities will be able to do is enforce local law. (Under no circumstances should anyone who is not a U.S. citizen be so foolish; risks for non-citizens entering the U.S. with cannabis include seizures, fines, deportation, and a lifetime ban on entering the country.)

It’s true that in Las Vegas, for example, possession of an ounce or more of weed is a felony. But, as an airport spokeswoman allowed to Forbes last year, Vegas “is a leisure market and a destination market. We understand that people come here to have a good time, so our law enforcement and our community as a whole value that.” This attitude is prevalent, and this is how you explain O’Hare’s recent decision to kindly and politely ask the public to please enforce themselves, and throw away whatever weed they have on them before boarding their flight.

Truthfully, nobody — not even the hardest-headed drug-warrior cop — cares that much about a small amount of weed (except insofar as that weed is an expedient excuse to justify a stop, or further policing). No, cops care about big loads of weed, or, better yet, enormous stacks of cash that may (or may not, who cares) be used to buy big loads of weed. As the Los Angeles Times reported last year, cannabis “trafficking” arrests at Los Angeles International Airport, No. 2 on the busiest airports list and thus the busiest in the US where weed is legal, spiked 166% to 101 busts in 2018. One typical bust, the newspaper wrote, was an East Coast-bound passenger with 70 pounds of cannabis in vacuum-sealed packages stashed in his checked baggage.

Keep in mind that in all of 2018, there were only 503 reports of cannabis found in bags at LAX — and that year, the airport saw 87.5 million passengers trudge through its gates. Stashing weed in luggage “is normal procedure… and I would say 29 out of 30 times they make it through without a problem,” defense attorney Bill Kroger Jr. told the Times. The deduction here is obvious: legalization has made airports, and American passenger airlines, de-facto weed delivery systems.

So far, O’Hare hasn’t made itself a special exemption zone for legalization, and Chicago police have said publicly they won’t arrest anyone who’s following state law. (That’s nice of them!) You can almost certainly pack the legal limit and fly with confidence — knowing there are at least a few other people on your same flight doing the exact same thing, if not pushing things to the 50-pound carry-on limit.

TELL US, have you ever flown with cannabis?

The post America’s Airline Traffic Is Now Full of Weed appeared first on Cannabis Now.