Episode 346 – Jobs, Jobs, Jobs!

Andrew Livingston and first-time guest Ngiste Abebe join host Heather Sullivan to talk about the growth in legal marijuana jobs and the pressing need to address social equity disparities within the entrepreneurial community. Produced by Shea Gunther.

News & Links:
New York Governor Reveals Amendments To Marijuana Legalization Plan Weeks Before Budget Deadline | Marijuana Moment

New Jersey Lawmakers Send Marijuana Compromise Bill To Governor’s Desk, Setting Stage For Legal Sales | Marijuana Moment

Oregon marijuana firms enjoy booming market fueled by pandemic, consumers shunning illicit suppliers | Marijuana Business Daily

Photo: Beverly Yuen Thompson/Flickr

Tuesday, December 8, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, December 8, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// The House passed the MORE Act. Is weed legal now? (Leafly)

// Nebraska advocates aim for a marijuana legalization twofer in 2022 (Leafly)

// N.J. lawmakers reach deal on legal weed bill, plan to vote later this month (NJ.com)


These headlines are brought to you by Pall Food & Beverage, makers of professional filtration solutions for cannabis oil processing. If you need technology to clarify cannabis oil, to remove color, and to detect pathogens, look no further than Pall!


// GrowGeneration to Raise $125 Million Selling Stock (New Cannabis Ventures)

// U.S. cannabis firm Verano to go public with US$2.8B valuation (BNN Bloomberg)

// Ayr Strategies to Issue $75 Million 4-Year Notes at 12.5% (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Cannabis Sales in 5 Western States Grow in Excess of 30% During October (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Bill To Legalize Marijuana In Mexico Advancing In Committees Ahead Of Final Floor Vote (Marijuana Moment)

// Soda, gummies and Elbow chocolates: KC plant makes Missouri’s first marijuana edibles (Kansas City Star)

// House-Passed Marijuana Legalization Bill Would Add $13.7B To Federal Budget Congressional Analysts Say (Marijuana Moment)


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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Marijuana Legalization Bill Approved By Congressional Committee In Historic Vote

For the first time in history, a congressional committee has approved a bill to end federal marijuana prohibition.

The House Judiciary Committee passed the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act in a 24-10 vote on Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019, setting the stage for a full floor vote.

The vote saw two Republicans — Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-FL) and Tom McClintock (R-CA) — join their Democratic colleagues in support of the bill.

Debate on the bill generally followed two tracks: 

  • Republican lawmakers argued that the bill was being rushed and that it should be subject to additional hearings. 
  • Democratic members responded that there’s been enough debate on the issue and that there’s no time for delay in beginning to reverse decades of harms of prohibition enforcement.

On the other hand, some GOP members who recognized that the status quo is untenable pushed for legislative action on a separate piece of bipartisan cannabis legislation — the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act — which does not contain social equity elements or formally remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and would simply leave cannabis policy up to the states, arguing that a scaled-down approach would fare better in the Senate.

“We may need something a little less than MORE,” Gaetz said.

The approved legislation, introduced by Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), would federally deschedule cannabis, expunge the records of those with prior marijuana convictions and impose a five percent tax on sales, revenue from which would be reinvested in communities most impacted by the drug war.

It would also create a pathway for resentencing for those incarcerated for marijuana offenses, as well as protect immigrants from being denied citizenship over cannabis and prevent federal agencies from denying public benefits or security clearance due to its use.

“These steps are long overdue. For far too long we’ve treated marijuana as a criminal justice problem instead of a matter of personal choice and public health,” Nadler said in his opening remarks. “Arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating people at the federal level is unwise and unjust.”

“I’ve long believed that the criminalization of marijuana has been a mistake,” he said. “The racially disparate enforcement of marijuana laws has only compounded this mistake with serious consequences, particularly for minority communities.”

Lawmakers that have advocated for cannabis reform held a press conference on Tuesday to highlight the need for the federal policy change. And while Nadler said that it was possible that compromises could be made later in the legislative process, he doesn’t see the need to scale back the proposal’s reach at the onset and feels that bipartisan support will build around his bill.

He also told Marijuana Moment that he is optimistic the legislation will get a full floor vote before the end of the current Congress, and part of that confidence comes from the fact that his panel has been communicating with other committees where the bill has been referred in the hopes that they waive jurisdiction to expedite its advancement.

Watch the committee markup on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act below:

Rep. Doug Collins (R-GA), ranking member of the committee, said he does “believe we need to change our attitudes and our processes because the federal government has completely failed in this area,” but that he doesn’t support the MORE Act.

Several amendments were introduced during the markup.

Nadler put forth an amendment to his own bill, which was adopted, that simply adds a findings section noting the racial disparities in prohibition enforcement and the lack of equity for communities targeted by the war on drugs in the legal cannabis industry.

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) offered an amendment that would replace major provisions of the MORE Act with the STATES Act, but he didn’t request a roll call on it following its defeat on a voice vote. Nadler responded to the proposal by noting various issues such as banking and veterans’ access that the STATES Act doesn’t clearly address since it doesn’t deschedule cannabis.

“If we pass the bill that we want, and the Senate passes a different bill, we can negotiate,” the chairman said. “That’s what conference committees are for.”

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-LA) filed an amendment that would expand the justice reinvestment provisions of the bill. The measure, which was meant to clarify that provisions aimed at helping people most harmed by the war on drugs are not limited to individuals but could also be used to invest in community-wide efforts such as mentorship programs, was approved.

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) put forth a proposal, which was accepted without objection, to require the Government Accountability Office (GAO) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) to conduct a study examining the demographic characteristics of people convicted of federal marijuana offenses.

Buck filed a second amendment requiring GAO to study the societal impact of legalization, and it was adopted on a voice vote.

Much of the conversation during the markup, even among Republican members, involved recognition that prohibition isn’t working and federal policy should change regardless of personal opinions about cannabis.

“I don’t sing the praises of marijuana, I simply recognize the limitation of our laws and also the limits on my ability to try and run everybody’s lives for them,” McClintock (R-CA) said.

McClintock introduced an amendment that would have divided tax revenue generated from legal cannabis sales between local law enforcement and the general revenue fund within the Treasury Department, but it was ruled not germane, with the chairman saying its provisions fall under the jurisdiction of the Ways and Means Committee.

The committee vote comes two months after the House approved a bill that would protect banks that service state-legal cannabis businesses from being penalized by federal regulators. That vote ignited a debate within advocacy circles about whether Congress should pursue incremental reform that might be more amenable to the Republican-controlled Senate first or instead focus their resources on passing comprehensive legalization legislation that addresses social equity from the outset.

Prior to the vote on the marijuana banking bill, several advocacy groups, including the ACLU, urged House leadership to delay the action until wide-ranging reform cleared the chamber.

Many observers expect the MORE Act to receive a favorable vote if it reaches the House floor. The bill’s fate in the Senate is much less certain, however, and may depend on the kind of compromises that Nadler said he hoped to avoid.

This markup garnered significant attention, as it represents the first of its kind that isn’t simply a debate about whether cannabis prohibition should be ended — which occurred in a House subcommittee over the summer — but an actual vote on a bill that would accomplish legalization.

Feature image by Shutterstock


This article has been republished from Marijuana Moment under a content-sharing agreement. Read the original article here. 

The post Marijuana Legalization Bill Approved By Congressional Committee In Historic Vote appeared first on Weedmaps News.

La adicción a los opioides protagoniza el monstruo de la casa encantada de Maryland

The Haunted Trap House muestra las horribles realidades de la crisis de los opioides.

Los horrores de la adicción a los opioides son el tema de una casa embrujada en una ciudad de Maryland esta semana, completa con escenas que representan una sobredosis aterradora y detalles agonizantes de familias que luchan con las consecuencias de la adicción. Apodado “la casa de la trampa encantada”, el evento se lleva a cabo de jueves a sábado en Centerville, en la costa este de Maryland.

Patrocinada por la Coalición Libre de Drogas del Condado de Queen Anne y dirigida por líderes del Departamento de Salud y el Departamento de Servicios de Emergencia del condado, Haunted Trap House transmitirá las realidades aterradoras de heroína, fentanilo y opioides recetados a los jóvenes y sus familias. Solo el año pasado, el condado de Queen Anne vio 122 sobredosis de drogas con 16 muertes.

En la cultura de las drogas, una casa trampa es un edificio o casa donde las drogas son compradas, vendidas y utilizadas por múltiples individuos. Maggie Thomas, directora de Servicios de Prevención y Adicciones del Departamento de Salud del Condado de Queen Anne, explicó que Haunted Trap House llega 30 años después de un evento similar, Haunted Crack House, debutó en Centerville en 1989 para exponer los peligros de la cocaína crack. .

“La epidemia de opioides es devastadora para nuestra comunidad. Tenemos demasiadas sobredosis letales y no letales en el condado de Queen Anne cada año “, dijo Thomas. “Teniendo esto en cuenta, nuestro equipo directivo ejecutivo cambió el nombre a” Haunted Trap House “, después de mucha discusión y con el aporte de la población objetivo: estudiantes de secundaria y preparatoria y adultos jóvenes”.

El codirector del evento Eric Johnson, un planificador de manejo de emergencias del Departamento de Servicios de Emergencia del Condado de Queen Anne, compartió algunos detalles terribles de la experiencia de la comunidad con la adicción a los opioides con el Washington Post.

“En una de nuestras sobredosis más recientes, el tipo todavía tenía la aguja en el brazo cuando la mujer que estaba con él llamó al 911 para decir que había hecho OD”. Luego, ella sacó la aguja de su brazo y la puso en la de ella porque, dijo a los que respondieron, “fue una buena mierda”, dijo.

La casa de la trampa encantada

Mientras viajan por la casa, los visitantes se enfrentan a las crudas realidades que enfrenta alguien atrapado en la adicción, desde la primera experiencia con los opioides hasta la sobredosis. Los roles son ocupados por miembros de la comunidad local que juegan a sí mismos, incluido un juez que preside una escena de la corte.

Johnson, quien perdió a cuatro miembros de la familia debido a la crisis de los opioides, espera que la experiencia de Haunted Trap House sirva como una advertencia para aquellos que desafían sus horrores.

“Si podemos ayudar a una persona, solo una persona deja de usar o no comienza a usar debido a esto”, dijo Johnson, “todo vale la pena”.

El Haunted Trap House se llevará a cabo en el Centro de Patrimonio Cultural Afroamericano Kennard en Centerville del jueves 24 al sábado 26 de octubre. También se presentarán camiones de comida, música en vivo y actividades espeluznantes. La casa embrujada está destinada a niños de mediana edad y mayores y sus familias. Habrá servicios de guardería gratuitos para niños más pequeños. Los boletos están disponibles en línea por $ 3.

The post La adicción a los opioides protagoniza el monstruo de la casa encantada de Maryland appeared first on High Times.

House Approves Bill to Allow Cannabis Industry to Access Banks

The House of Representatives passed a standalone marijuana reform bill for the first time in history on Sept. 25, 2019.

The chamber advanced the legislation — which would protect banks that service the cannabis industry from being penalized by federal regulators in a vote of 321-103.

For six years, lawmakers have been pushing for the modest reform, which is seen as necessary to increase financial transparency and mitigate risks associated with operating on a largely cash-only basis — something many marijuana businesses must do because banks currently fear federal reprisal for taking them on as clients.

The Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act is sponsored by Democratic Rep. Ed Perlmutter of Colorado. It cleared the House Financial Services Committee in March 2019 and was officially scheduled for a floor vote in late September. The vote was held through a process known as suspension of the rules, meaning it required two-thirds of the chamber — 290 members if all were present — to approve it for passage.

While the House has approved historic cannabis amendments in the past, including one this summer that would protect all state marijuana programs from federal intervention, those have had to be renewed annually. This is the first time a stand-alone reform bill was approved in the chamber, and the policy will be permanently codified into law if the Senate follows suit and President Donald Trump signs it.

“If someone wants to oppose the legalization of marijuana, that’s their prerogative, but American voters have spoken and continue to speak and the fact is you can’t put the genie back in the bottle. Prohibition is over,” Perlmutter said in a floor debate prior to the vote. “Our bill is focused solely on taking cash off the streets and making our communities safe and only congress can take these steps to provide this certainty for businesses, employees and financial institutions across the country.”

Democratic Rep. Denny Heck of Washington made an impassioned case for the bill, sharing an anecdote about a security guard who worked for a cannabis shop who was killed on the job, and emphasizing that the legislation would mitigate the risks of violent crime at these businesses.

“You can be agnostic on the underlying policy of whether or not cannabis should be legal for either adult recreational use or to treat seizures, but you cannot be agnostic on the need to improve safety in this area,” he said.

“This bill is not only timely, but extremely necessary,” Democratic Rep. Barbara Lee of California said. “Right now the cannabis industry needs access to safe and effective banking immediately.”

Republican Rep. Patrick McHenry of North Carolina, ranking member of the House Financial Services Committee, raised concerns about the legislation and suggested that the bill would provide drug cartels with access to financial services. He was one of just three lawmakers who rose in opposition to the bill, with the remaining time allocated for opposition having been yielded to GOP supporters of the legislation.

The proposal hasn’t been without controversy, even among pro-reform advocates. After Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland announced his intent to put the bill on the floor by the end of the month, several leading advocacy groups including the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), Drug Policy Alliance, and Center for American Progress wrote a letter asking leadership to delay the vote until comprehensive legalization legislation passed.

The groups have expressed concerns to the Democratic Financial Services Committee Chair, Rep. Maxine Waters of California, that approving the banking bill first could jeopardize the chances of achieving more wide-ranging reform that addressed social equity issues such as legislation introduced by the Democratic Judiciary Committee Chair, Rep. Jerrold Nadler of New York. They said they were caught off guard when Hoyer announced the vote.

But as the vote approached, advocates and lawmakers wasted no time emphasizing the need to go further than the banking bill.

“I have long fought for criminal justice reform and deeply understand the need to fully address the historical racial and social inequities related to the criminalization of marijuana,” Waters said in a press release on Sept. 24. “I support legislation that deschedules marijuana federally, requires courts to expunge convictions for marijuana-related offenses, and provides assistance such as job training and reentry services for those who have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs.”

She reiterated that point during debate on the floor, stating that the banking legislation “is but one important piece of what should be a comprehensive series of cannabis reform bills.”

Nadler also released a statement stating that while he would vote yes on the SAFE Banking Act, he is “committed to marking up [his legalization bill] and look[s] forward to working with reform advocates and my colleagues in this important effort going forward.”

Hoyer also weighed in on the need for broader reform in a statement on Wednesday.

“I am proud to bring this legislation to the Floor, but I believe it does not go far enough,” he said. 

“This must be a first step toward the decriminalization and de-scheduling of marijuana, which has led to the prosecution and incarceration of far too many of our fellow Americans for possession.”

Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen of Tennessee applauded the Judiciary Committee for announcing that it will hold a markup of comprehensive cannabis legalization following this vote.

Justin Strekal, Political Director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), noted that much remains to be done in Congress.

“Today’s vote is a significant first step, but it must not be the last. Much more action will still need to be taken by lawmakers,” Strekal told Marijuana Moment. “In the Senate, we demand that lawmakers in the Senate Banking Committee hold true to their commitment to move expeditiously in support of similar federal reforms. And in the House, we anticipate additional efforts to move forward and pass comprehensive reform legislation like The MORE Act — which is sponsored by the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee — in order to ultimately comport federal law with the new political and cultural realities surrounding marijuana.”

Steve Hawkins, Executive Director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said the “cannabis industry can no longer proceed without the same access to financial services that other legal companies are granted.”

“This decision is an indication that Congress is more willing than ever to support and take action on sensible cannabis policies,” Hawkins said. “The passage of the SAFE Banking Act improves the likelihood that other cannabis legislation will advance at the federal level. It is important to recognize that the SAFE Banking Act, if passed by the Senate and signed into law by the president, would strengthen efforts to increase the diversity of the cannabis industry.”

An advocate for the cannabis industry expressed his optimism for the banking reform bill to have benefits federally as well as locally.

“We applaud the House for approving this bipartisan solution to the cannabis banking problem, and we hope the Senate will move quickly to do the same,” Neal Levine, CEO of the Cannabis Trade Federation, said. “This vital legislation will have an immediate and positive impact, not only on the state-legal cannabis industry, but also on the many communities across the nation that have opted to embrace the regulation of cannabis.”

“Allowing lawful cannabis companies to access commercial banking services and end their reliance on cash will greatly improve public safety, increase transparency, and promote regulatory compliance,” he said.

Ahead of the vote, Democratic Rep. Joe Neguse of Colorado said that “only Congress can provide the certainty financial institutions need to start banking cannabis-related legitimate businesses” and he’s “proud to support the SAFE Banking Act today to support hard-working Coloradans and their families.”

Democratic Rep. Kendra Horn of Oklahoma, said in a floor speech Sept. 25 that current law is “endangering communities as well as inhibiting small businesses from growing.”

“This industry is bringing revenue to our state, creating small businesses and helping those suffer with physical illness to relieve their ailments,” she said. “The SAFE Banking Act supports this growing Oklahoma industry, our banks and works to keep Oklahomans that work in and around this industry safe.”

“Access to safe banking is a big deal for the businesses and employees in New Mexico who work in the cannabis industry. It’s why I’m a co-sponsor of the SAFE Banking Act and will be voting for it today,” said Democratic Rep. Deb Haaland of New Mexico.

Democratic Rep. Betty McCollum of Minnesota said that conflict “between state and federal law means legal, legitimate marijuana businesses are forced to operate on a cash-only basis, creating serious risks for employees, business owners, and communities. The SAFE Banking Act will fix this problem and I’m proud to support it.”

Many have viewed the banking proposal as the first step on the pathway to ending federal cannabis prohibition, and it’s consistent with an agenda outlined by Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer of Oregon in 2018 through which he suggested that committees advance incremental marijuana reforms under their respective jurisdictions, leading up to the eventual passage of a full legalization bill.

“We’re in this fix today because Congress has refused to provide the partnership and the leadership that the states demand,” Blumenauer said on the floor. ”The states aren’t waiting for us.”

“This is an important foundation, but it’s not the last step,” he said. We have important legislation that’s keyed up and ready to go. This approval today will provide momentum that we need for further reform that we all want and will make America safer and stronger.”

That said, while the vote signals that the House has a clear appetite for reform, it remains to be seen if the Republican-controlled Senate will approve the banking bill. Apparently anticipating that conservative lawmakers might not support the legislation as it passed out of committee, Perlmutter moved to add amendments in late September 2019 that were designed to broaden its GOP appeal.

Those provisions include clarifying that hemp and cannabidiol (CBD) businesses would also be protected and stipulating that federal regulators couldn’t target certain industries such as firearms dealers as a higher risk of fraud without valid reasoning.

That’s likely to endear Republican Senate Banking Committee Chair Mike Crapo of Idaho to the SAFE Banking Act. His panel held a hearing on the issue in July 2019, and the senator said he wants to have a vote on cannabis financial services legislation by the end of 2019, but also suggested at the time that it might not be a copy of Perlmutter’s bill.

The hemp-focused provisions are also intended to appeal to Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, who championed hemp’s federal legalization through the 2018 Farm Bill but has said he doesn’t support its “illicit cousin” marijuana.

The legislation might also face pushback from some Senate Democrats who share concerns expressed by advocacy groups that it’s important to move on comprehensive reform before tackling banking. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York, and Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California, along with independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont, each recently indicated that their votes could possibly be contingent on advancing a justice-focused legalization bill.

Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York suggested in late September that she also might withhold her vote for the same reasons, but she ultimately supported its passage.

Tough work still lies ahead for lawmakers and advocates if they hope to enact the banking bill into law this Congress but, for the moment, there’s an air of celebration as the House made history by voting to pass a standalone cannabis reform bill for the first time.

“Having worked alongside congressional leaders to resolve the cannabis industry’s banking access issues for over six years, it’s incredibly gratifying to see this strong bipartisan showing of support in today’s House vote,” Aaron Smith, executive director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, said. “Now, it’s time for the Senate to take swift action to approve the SAFE Banking Act so that this commonsense legislation can make its way to the President’s desk.”

“This bipartisan legislation is vital to protecting public safety, fostering transparency, and leveling the playing field for small businesses in the growing number of states with successful cannabis programs,” he said.

Feature Image: By a 321-103 vote, the House of Representatives passed the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act on Sept. 25, 2019. While the law had support in the Democratic Party-led House, the legislation moves to the Republican-led Senate. (Gina Coleman/Weedmaps)


This article was republished from Marijuana Moment under a content syndication agreement. Read the original article here

The post House Approves Bill to Allow Cannabis Industry to Access Banks appeared first on Weedmaps News.

Thursday, September 26, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Thursday, September 26, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// House Approves Marijuana Banking Bill In Historic Vote (Marijuana Moment)

// House Judiciary Chair reiterates commitment to marijuana banking reform (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Wolf, Fetterman call for legalization of marijuana (Trib Live)


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 100,000 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!


// Massachusetts vaping shops facing financial ruin (Boston Globe)

// California health officials urge residents to stop vaping tobacco, marijuana (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Auxly Cannabis Group partner Sunens closes CA$84M credit facilities with Bank of Montreal (Marijuana Business Daily)

// West suburban school bus driver warns of CBD use after failing drug test, losing job (ABC 7 Chicago)

// National Expungement Week Aims to Erase Past Convictions (Leafly)

// Canada ‘falling woefully short’ of displacing illicit cannabis market, researcher says (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Marijuana industry reaction to California’s 2019 legislative session: Some wins, but many MJ business issues still outstanding (Marijuana Business Daily)


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: Donna & Keith/Flickr