Thursday, February 27, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Thursday, February 27, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Vermont House gives initial OK to recreational cannabis sales, putting state on track to $160M market (Marijuana Business Daily)

// MedMen Reports Revenue Of $44 Million, But A Net Loss Of $96 Million (Green Market Report)

// Acreage Holdings Reports 2019 Revenue Of $74 Million, Net Loss Of $195 Million (Green Market Report)


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!


// Canada Finally Surpassed $1 Billion in Total Legal Weed Sales (Merry Jane)

// Mexican President Wants Focus On Medical Marijuana As Senators Consider Broader Legalization (Marijuana Moment)

// Utah Medical Cannabis Program Set to Launch Next Week (New Cannabis Ventures)

// Nevada Publishes List Of Cannabis Test Failures (Green Market Report)

// Medical marijuana is third in revenue in Maine (News Center Maine)

// Maine currently has no recreational marijuana testing facility says state agency (WGME 13 CBS)

// Plans for Special Cannabis Crimes Unit Sparks Outrage (U.S. News & World Report (AP))


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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.
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Photo: Don Goofy/Flickr

Wednesday, February 26, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Wednesday, February 26, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Presidential Candidates Clash Over Marijuana Legalization At Democratic Debate (Marijuana Moment)

// Massachusetts Regulators Warn That More Pot Shops Mean More Weed on the Streets (Merry Jane)

// Smokable Hemp Bill Heads To Virginia Governor’s Desk And Lawmakers Approve Legal Marijuana Study (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!


// Mexican Senate Committees Meeting This Week To Finalize Marijuana Legalization Plan (Marijuana Moment)

// Eaze Raises $35 Million As Company Pivots To Plant Touching (Green Market Report)

// Paraguay issues first 12 medical cannabis production licenses (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Chart: Montana medical marijuana patient count continues rapid growth (Marijuana Business Daily)

// How old do you need to be to legally sell cannabis? In Canada it depends on where you live (Growth Op)

// Pennsylvania approves four firms to grow cannabis for research (Marijuana Business Daily)

// GW Pharma Generates $109 Million Revenue in Q4 (New Cannabis Ventures)


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: CBS News

Tuesday, February 25, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Tuesday, February 25, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Bill To Legalize Marijuana Sales Heads To Vermont House Floor Following Key Committee Vote (Marijuana Moment)

// Arizona High Schooler Facing Deportation Over Weed Vape Pens (Merry Jane)

// Green Growth Sells Off CBD Biz As The Board Says It Has Limited Alternatives (Green Market Report)


These headlines are brought to you by Green Worx Consults, a company specializing in project management, workflow mapping and design, and Lean & 6 Sigma process. If you could use help making your business better at business, get in touch with Green Worx Consults.


// AP Exclusive: DEA agent accused of conspiring with cartel (AP News)

// Alaska wholesale cannabis flower prices remain strong despite heavy tax burden on growers (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Capitol Confidential: THC bill would kill Arizona’s medical marijuana system (Leafly)

// Marijuana use is rising sharply among seniors over 65, study says, and there are serious risks (CNN)

// New Mexico alters rules for medical marijuana sales to nonresidents (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Bernie Sanders Touts Marijuana Legalization Plan In South Carolina Ad Ahead Of Primary (Marijuana Moment)

// Mississippi Lawmakers Attempt To ‘Kill’ Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative With New Strategy (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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Photo: Jerry and Pat Donaho/Flickr

Monday, February 24, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Monday, February 24, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Elizabeth Warren Has A New Plan For Legalizing Marijuana (Marijuana Moment)

// Licensing appeals overwhelm Missouri’s medical marijuana program, point to widespread MJ industry concern about scoring fairness (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Vape crisis forced cannabis sector to increase focus on technology, testing, and transparency (Marijuana Business Daily)


These headlines are brought to you by Green Worx Consults, a company specializing in project management, workflow mapping and design, and Lean & 6 Sigma process. If you could use help making your business better at business, get in touch with Green Worx Consults.


// House Candidate Gives Marijuana To Voters At ‘First-Ever Congressional Weed Party’ (Marijuana Moment)

// Guidance issued for advertising marijuana products in Maine (Portland Press Herald)

// Legal Pot Sales in Canada Rise 8% in December (Motley Fool)

// Reynolds says she’s comfortable with board recs on medical marijuana (Radio Iowa)

// Secret U.S. document shows Canadians who use legal cannabis ‘not eligible’ for Nexus program (Growth Op)

// Medical Schools Aren’t Teaching Their Students About Cannabis, Survey Finds (Merry Jane)

// Federal Reserve Sends Reminder That Hemp Businesses Can Get Bank Accounts (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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Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Grading the Presidential Candidates on Marijuana: Michael Bloomberg

Last fall, we ran a 13-part series taking a hard look at each of the 2020 presidential candidates’ history and views related to marijuana. We assigned each candidate a letter grade corresponding with our analysis (for the final summary post, go here). In that popular series, grading criteria was as follows:

  • Current stance on marijuana: What have they recently said about marijuana legislation? When did they adopt this stance? We awarded higher grades to candidates who currently support legalizing marijuana and even better grades if they have openly supported legalization for more than just the past couple years.
  • Website and social media: Did the candidate include marijuana on their website? How often do they mention marijuana on social media? We used the candidates’ websites and social media as a litmus test of their dedication to the legalization of marijuana. While most candidates have expressed support for legalization, some only speak on the issue when prompted or have very few statements on the matter. If a candidate does not actively advocate for marijuana, we doubt their conviction.
  • Past legislative history: How many marijuana-related bills did this candidate introduce, sponsor or sign? Did this candidate legislate the War on Drugs? How much opportunity did this candidate have to legislate bills? We considered the legislative history of each candidate to determine whether they would be likely to take real action to legalize marijuana as president.
  • Past rhetoric: What has the candidate said about marijuana over the course of their political career? What about the War on Drugs? The views of most candidates have evolved over time, but we gave lower grades to candidates with a history of strong anti-marijuana remarks.

Many candidates have since dropped out of the race, but a handful remain. After we concluded the series, businessman and former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg announced his entry in to the race. Bloomberg’s summary is below.

Grade: D-

Stance on marijuana: This past December, Bloomberg’s campaign told the Wall Street Journal that he supports the decriminalization of marijuana. However, he does not mention marijuana reform on his social media nor on his campaign website. Bloomberg’s website paints the former NYC mayor as a long-time advocate for criminal justice reform, but his past rhetoric and legislative history tell a much different story.

History with marijuana legislation: In 2001, Bloomberg was elected mayor of New York City as a Republican. He won reelection in 2005 and again in 2009. In 2018, Bloomberg registered as a Democrat and in November of 2019 his announced he was running for president.

The topic of cannabis was first addressed publicly by Bloomberg in 2001, when he was asked in an interview if he had smoked marijuana. Bloomberg replied: “You bet I did. And I enjoyed it.”

Despite this lighthearted admission, Bloomberg was opposed to marijuana legalization throughout the course of his mayoral career, in the past referring to cannabis as a “narcotic”, asserting that it reduces IQ, and refusing to acknowledge the possibility of its medicinal use. His time as mayor also coincided with a spike in arrests for cannabis possession. In fact, the number of arrests for possession under Bloomberg exceeded that of the previous three mayors combined. In 2011, Bloomberg also opposed a bill proposed by state senators that reduced the penalty for possession of small amounts of cannabis.

To his credit, Bloomberg softened his stance on marijuana a bit in 2012, when he vocally supported a proposal to end arrests for possessing marijuana in public view. In 2013, the then-mayor also supported a proposal that would change marijuana possession from a misdemeanor to a violation.

Bloomberg’s presidential campaign website presents his time as mayor as successful at criminal justice reform, citing reduced murder rates and reduced incarceration during his time as mayor. Arguably the most memorable aspect of Bloomberg’s mayorship, however, was the expansion of New York City’s “stop-and-frisk” program, which allowed police officers to detain and search members of the public without probable cause. This policing strategy undoubtedly resulted in many arrests and convictions for marijuana possession.

In 2013, a judge ruled that the implementation of this program by the NYPD to be unconstitutional, as blacks and Latinos were disproportionately frisked. Despite this express finding of racial profiling, Bloomberg long maintained his support for the program, vetoing policing reform bills as mayor and claiming that stop-and-frisk was an effective method of crime reduction years after he had left office. This past November, Bloomberg finally admitted that stop-and-frisk had done more harm than good, but this apology comes far too late.

Conclusion: We award Bloomberg a “D-” grade because he does not support the legalization of marijuana and because of his history of anti-marijuana rhetoric and policies. As mayor of New York, Bloomberg actively obstructed attempts to reform the criminal justice system and fully supported a racist policing tactic, even after a judge ruled that its implementation had been unconstitutional.

Friday, February 21, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, February 21, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// New Hampshire House Approves Marijuana Legalization Bill (Marijuana Moment)

// Kentucky House Approves Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill (Marijuana Moment)

// USDA Approves Hemp Plans For Washington State And Wyoming (Marijuana Moment)


These headlines are brought to you by Green Worx Consults, a company specializing in project management, workflow mapping and design, and Lean & 6 Sigma process. If you could use help making your business better at business, get in touch with Green Worx Consults.


// Missouri faces complaints over how it licensed marijuana businesses. So who won? (St. Louis Today)

// NFL Would End Marijuana Suspensions In Deal Circulated By Players Union (Forbes)

// Harvest expands medical cannabis market reach by buying Arizona rival (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Peru sells out of medical cannabis (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Australia claims it has enough cannabis flower to meet demand, but industry says otherwise (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Australis ends purchase of Colorado CBD firm after lurid charges emerge (Marijuana Business Daily)

// New York Governor Will Visit Legal Marijuana States To Take Lessons Back Home (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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Photo: Coleen Danger/Flickr

Thursday, February 20, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Thursday, February 20, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// Colorado Sold $1.75 Billion in Weed Last Year Exceeding All Expectations (Merry Jane)

// USDA Touts Hemp Industry’s Growth But Says Challenges Remain (Marijuana Moment)

// Alabama Lawmakers Approve Medical Marijuana Legalization Bill (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!


// Virginia Marijuana Decriminalization Gets Closer To Governor’s Desk With New Amendments (Marijuana Moment)

// Most of Pennsylvania’s Medical Cannabis Patients Pay Over $200 a Month for Weed (Merry Jane)

// Is the Price of Legal Weed Going to Be Way Too Expensive in 2020? (Merry Jane)

// Legal marijuana use still costs people jobs. A new California bill takes on the issue (LA Times)

// New Utah Bill Lets Employers Discriminate Against Medical Marijuana Patients (Merry Jane)

// The buzz on Utah’s fledgling medical cannabis program (Leafly)

// At this high school apparently weed is okay- but only if you’re white (Leafly)


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: mrBunin/Flickr

Power to the People: Kern County Measure D Will Give Voters Control of Medical Cannabis

Last week, I presented oral argument to the Fifth District Court of Appeal in support of the people’s right of referendum. Long story short, the Kern County Board of Supervisors banned medical marijuana dispensaries in 2011, the people protested via referendum petition, and to this day the County has refused to comply with the legal mandate to submit the ban to voters before giving it effect. The County contends that they may reenact a protested ordinance after the passage of time; however, neither the California Constitution nor the Elections Code allow for such limitation on the people’s right to referendum.

The Court of Appeal granted our motion for calendar preference in light of the upcoming March election, at which the people and the Board of Supervisors have submitted competing ballot measures on medical marijuana for consideration by the voters.

Measure D is a people’s initiative measure, meaning it originated with the people, and will be submitted to a vote of the people. If and when the people adopt this measure (it would need to get more votes than Measure E), the Kern County Board of Supervisors will not have the ability to amend or repeal it. In other words, the Kern County electorate would gain control over the issue.

Enter Measure E. The County Board has demonstrated over the past decade that it is unwilling to relinquish control over the issue of medical marijuana, and has persistently interferes with the will of the voters. Upon the qualification of Measure D for the ballot, the County Board cooked up Measure E, which would give the Board full control over the issue. If the voters approve Measure E, the Board could amend or repeal it at any time in the future.

The Board’s agenda, as shown through its actions over the past decade, is to continue to ban medical cannabis in Kern County. The Board’s proposal of Measure E is yet another maneuver to silence the voices of the electorate and maintain control over the issue.

The initiative and referendum are powerful direct democratic tools reserved to Californians to use when their institutions are unresponsive. Measure D is the people’s way of taking control on this issue and giving power their voices. We believe the voters in Kern County are smart enough to see through the County’s intentions with Measure E, and expect it to be rejected in March.

ICYMI: Trump Dumps on Medical Cannabis (Again)

At this point, it probably feels to most people like the federal government is standing down when it comes to state-legal cannabis and cannabis businesses. It started back in 2013 with the Cole Memo when U.S. Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole opined in a memorandum that U.S. attorneys shouldn’t really prioritize federally illegal cannabis activities in states that robustly regulated cannabis and cannabis businesses (so long as eight main enforcement priorities were honored by the states).

This hands off approach was amplified by the 2014 FinCEN guidelines, which opened the doors on cannabis banking, a huge, positive development for the industry at the time. Then there was a bit of a downturn in January 2018 when then acting U.S. Attorney General rescinded all Department of Justice (DOJ) guidance (including the 2013 Cole Memo) regarding any federal enforcement position on state legal cannabis, fully returning to all U.S. Attorneys to go after state-legal cannabis according to the resources and priorities in their own jurisdictions.

Notably, none of the foregoing had any impact on actual federal law–enforcement memos do not represent changes in law and don’t do anything to amend the law. However, way back in 2014, Congress passed on omnibus budget bill that contained hard-fought-for language around protections for state medical cannabis laws. Section 538 of this budget bill contained the following language:

None of the funds made available in this Act to the Department of Justice may be used, with respect to the States of Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, California, [every other medical marijuana state], to prevent such States from implementing their own State laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.

Many legal experts and scholars speculated that Section 538 wouldn’t have too much of an impact on state legal medical cannabis businesses since the exact language, on its face, really only stops the DOJ from spending money on “interfering” with the enumerated states’ ability to implement their medical cannabis programs (notably, the law ignores adult-use cannabis programs and businesses).

Nonetheless, Section 538 proved to be hugely important in the Ninth Circuit courts of the United States (which make up a large portion of the medical cannabis states in America). The impact of the United States v. McIntosh cannot be overstated.  The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals interpreted Section 538 to mean that the DOJ could not prosecute the individual principals of state law-compliant medical cannabis businesses. And the effect of that case produced the result in the MAMM case, the notorious Kettle Falls Five case, and was very likely responsible for the DOJ’s dismissal of the Harborside forfeiture case. The bottom line? Section 538 has real power to protect medical cannabis businesses from enforcement actions by the federal government.

Congress has consistently renewed Section 538 in some form in its annual budget bills (it’s changed names a couple of times from the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment to the Rohrbacher-Blumenauer Amendment, named for the Congressional leaders who championed it and continued to keep it alive). Now though, Section 538 faces a new threat of elimination by President Trump, indicating that maybe the Feds aren’t really done with state-legal cannabis enforcement.

Notably, Trump has tried to delete Section 538 before (and so did Obama) but he’s been routinely ignored by Congress. In his 2021 budget proposal, Trump is at it again–section 538 is omitted from the white houses’s budget proposal. Only time will tell if members of Congress will fight against the proposed deletion. We imagine that they will, given the number of Americans that are now in favor of cannabis legalization generally and where hundreds of jobs and robust state revenue has been created on the back of cannabis legalization– including for medical applications.

The other positive boon here is the fact that the sitting U.S. Attorney, Bill Barr, made clear when testifying before Congress that spending time, money, and resources going after state-legal cannabis businesses isn’t really within the DOJ’s current interests, and that the DOJ would continue to adhere to the principles contained in the 2013 Cole Memo (so far, that seems to have held true).

It’s troublesome to see Trump go back and forth on medical cannabis (and legalization) and to watch him try to end the only real federal protection that exists for any form of cannabis business in the country. What’s clear to us though is that cannabis enforcement isn’t necessarily a priority one way or the other for this administration, and we can’t know yet if that’s ultimately a good or a bad thing. So, stay tuned.

Spain’s ‘Grandma Marijuana’ Fights the Power

Spain’s foremost cannabis activist is a 76-year-old woman in the southern province of Málaga who has been asserting her right to home cultivation for over a generation now. Fernanda de la Figuera — ubiquitously known as Abuela Marijuana, or Grandma Marijuana — has been busted before, and won a landmark ruling in her favor from the Spanish courts. 

In spite of this, she was busted again, and this time convicted and sentenced. But now she says she will appeal to the European Union’s highest judicial body.  

On Jan. 30, a Málaga judge convicted de la Figuera of drug trafficking, on the basis of a 2014 raid on her home in the small town of Alhaurín el Grande by a contingent of the Civil Guards, Spain’s militarized national police force. The raid turned up her backyard garden of some 180 cannabis plants.

Prosecutors asked for four years’ imprisonment. The judge gave a sentence of just nine months — which is below the two-year threshold for mandatory prison time. This means she could likely receive a suspended sentence and escape actually going to jail, if she confesses to her “crime” and commits no second offense during the nine months.

But de la Figuera isn’t having it. She insists she was growing for her own personal use, and her collective of medical users, and that she has the right to do so — already upheld by the Spanish courts. She told local media that she will now take her case to a higher authority — the European Court of Human Rights, in Strasbourg, France.


’Apostle of Homegrown’ Won’t Accept Deal


De la Figuera considers herself the “apóstol del autocultivo” — the apostle of homegrown. She smoked cannabis for the first time in Paris in the ’60s, and found that it relieved the epilepsy and rheumatism she had been struggling with since childhood. She has been growing the plant since 1973, and won her ground-breaking legal victory recognizing her right to do so more than 20 years later.

In 1995, her same home in Alhaurín el Grande was raided, and she was brought up on cultivation charges. But the judge dismissed the charges on individual liberty grounds. Abuela Marijuana boasted that she’d become the first legal cannabis cultivator in Spain.

The quantity in the case was considerably lesser than the 180 plants in the 2014 bust. But in the intervening years, she had founded MaríasXMaría (Marias for Maria), an “association” of women from across Spain’s southern Andalusia region suffering from arthritis, fibromyalgia and other ailments they treat with cannabis. She insisted that her cultivation was “therapeutic work,” for members of the association. 

And in 2015, Spain passed a law expanding on its 1983 decriminalization of cannabis, allowing personal cultivation — provided it is hidden from public view. However, it is uncertain this could apply in de la Figuera’s case, both because it would have to be retroactive and because of the quantities involved. Additionally, it is unclear if backyard cultivation clearly counts as hidden from the public. 

De la Figuera considers the charge against her transparently bogus. “The judge in my town knows that all my life I’ve made my living in the real estate market, and that I don’t dedicate myself to selling marijuana,” she told Andalusia’s El Diario newspaper. “This is not my interest, but to make known this wonderful substance, and how good it is for the health of many people.” 

The 2015 law was designed to protect Spain’s cannabis associations. But an unfavorable ruling of the country’s Supreme Court in 2018 imposed strict conditions on such associations, barring them from most public activity and making them nearly impossible to function legally. 

Rather than appealing within the Spanish judicial system, de la Figuera announced after the verdict that she intends to bring the case directly to the European Court of Human Rights, where a ruling could set a precedent for the entire European Union. 


From Málaga to Strasbourg

Grandma Marijuana just may have the savvy to pull it off. In addition to being a skilled cultivator and medical provider, she is an activist of long years’ experience. In 1995, after her historic court ruling, she founded the Cannabis Party for Legalization and Normalization (PCLYN), Spain’s first national political party dedicated to marijuana liberation.

The following year, she founded the Ramón Santos Association for the Study of Cannabis in Andalusia (ARSECA), named after a late criminal defense attorney who defended many cultivators in the region and dedicated to documenting the medical benefits of the herb. 

And MaríasXMaría is a member of another national organization she helped found, the Federation of Cannabis Associations (FAC). She’s also involved in the Action Group for the Legalization of Cannabis in Spain (GALCE), and its affiliated website, Infocannabis.

And she has taken her work to the continental level, as Spain representative of the European Coalition for Just and Effective Drug Policies (ENCOD).

When her new case was still pending late last year, de la Figuera won an important symbolic victory, at least, when her province’s ruling left-wing coalition, Adelante Málaga, came out unequivocally and publicly in her support, with provincial councilors posing alongside her in a photo op.

Her case may soon have an impact that will resonate across the European continent.

TELL US, do you think it should be legal to grow your own pot?

The post Spain’s ‘Grandma Marijuana’ Fights the Power appeared first on Cannabis Now.