Friday, February 28, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Friday, February 28, 2020 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// USDA Announces Two Temporary Changes To Restrictive Hemp Rules (Marijuana Moment)

// In major shift, UN drug chief questions whether control treaties involving cannabis are out of date (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Vermont farmers concerned by cannabis bill provisions (WCAX 3 CBS)


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!


// Mass. Cities And Towns Demand Large Payouts From Marijuana Companies (WGBH 89.7)

// What marijuana companies can learn from federal legalization of hemp (Marijuana Business Daily)

// Colorado’s First Marijuana Tasting Room to Open on 4/20 (Wikileaf)

// Alcohol is killing more Americans than ever. Here’s how to save them (Leafly)

// Marijuana and the NBA: Erasing the stigma and healing the league (NBC Sports)

// Massachusetts May Tax Black Market Weed Dealers Instead of Fining Them (Merry Jane)

// More Than 80% of Denver Teens Don’t Smoke Weed, New Study Says (Merry Jane)


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.

Friday, February 28, 2020 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily NewsPhoto: Oregon Department of Agriculture/Flickr

Connecticut Clergy Push Pot Legalization at State Capitol

Faith leaders from across Connecticut converged on the state capitol recently to show their support for legalization efforts this year. The move comes on the heels of Connecticut’s legislative session starting last week. Also prompting the Feb. 18 press conference, Senate President Pro Tem Martin Looney and House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz are both filing cannabis legalization bills backed by Governor Ned Lamont during the new session. 

In light of the bills, a coalition of clergy gathered at the State Capitol for a news conference in support of the legislation to legalize, regulate and tax cannabis for adults 21 and older. The festivities included the leadership of nearly a dozen congregations around the state, with a performance from the gospel choir “Brothers in Christ” of Cross Street AME Zion Church in Middletown.

At the gathering, the religious leaders spoke to the failure of the state’s current marijuana policies one by one. Rev. Alexander Sharp, executive director of Clergy for a New Drug Policy, spoke of the status quo saying that, “prohibition does not work.”

“Legalization will regulate the market and bring sorely needed revenue to the state budget, reduce needless arrests, especially for people of color, and provide jobs in communities ravaged by the failed War on Drugs,” Sharp said.

Clergy for a New Drug Policy’s mission is to mobilize clergy nationally on behalf of an agenda that ends the War on Drugs by allocating resources to education, treatment, and public safety. Their vision is, “a society in which values of compassion, mercy, and healing, especially concerning drug use, replace our nation’s culture of punishment.”

The organization currently has 14 partner organizations under their umbrella including the American Civil Liberties Union, Community of Congregations, Drug Policy Alliance, and Marijuana Policy Project.

The local clergy in attendance echoed Sharp’s sentiments.

“Connecticut can’t afford to wait any longer before addressing this urgent issue,” Bishop Robert L. Middleton said. “ It’s time to right the many wrongs associated with the prohibition of marijuana, and Connecticut can and should be a leader in this process.”

Middleton is the senior pastor of New Beginnings Ministry, Inc.

”I urge our legislators to pass legislation to regulate and tax cannabis for adults and end the harmful and failed policy of prohibition in our state,” he said.

Rev. Charlie Stallworth of East End Baptist Church in Bridgeport said he believes the results of legalization will be similar to what occurred when alcohol prohibition ended.

“Much like alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, our efforts to deal with cannabis using law enforcement and the criminal justice system have been a total failure,” Stallworth said. “Regulation will free up resources so that police can focus on more serious crimes and will also help improve police/ community relationships. And, instead of continuing to fuel organized crime, the money spent on cannabis in our state can and should be used to help revitalize communities that have been disproportionately harmed by enforcement of laws against cannabis.”

Rev. Tommie Jackson of Rehoboth Fellowship Church in Stamford noted on the scale of the movement they had put together. “Our group represents more than 100 congregations across the state.”

Jackson said he believes there is a real need to make things happen sooner than later, and that it is critically important to make lawmakers act during this legislative session.

“Connecticut needs to send a strong message that the public safety and public health of its residents is a top priority,” Jackson said. “Regulation will reduce prison sentences, fund much-needed services, and direct revenue to those communities most negatively impacted by the war on cannabis. It’s time to pass it.”

Three different committees in Connecticut advances bills to legalize regulate and tax cannabis. Unfortunately, the legislature adjourned last June without bringing any of them to a vote. The Marijuana Policy Project says that the governor and legislative leaders have made it clear that they will be working a lot harder to legalize cannabis in Connecticut in 2020.

Jason Ortiz, president of the Minority Cannabis Business Association’s board, has been involved in Connecticut’s cannabis politics for over a decade. He believes the progress on cannabis started in the Governor’s Mansion years ago. 

“Governor Dan Malloy made it a priority for his administration to pass both decrim and medical and he did. So I would say cannabis policy started becoming a mainstream issue in 2011,” Ortiz told Cannabis Now. “I was there to work on both efforts as a college student through Students for Sensible Drug Policy and Malloy came through UConn multiple times and would always address criminal justice reform and drug policy specifically.”

We asked Ortiz how helpful is it having clergy on the pro-cannabis side of the debate?

“It’s incredibly helpful as they can appeal to the older generations in ways I and other young progressives just can’t,” he said. “There are thousands of older Latinos and African Americans that take their faith very seriously and will not support an issue their church does not support. This event means houses of worship across the state who are supportive of reducing suffering can feel supported if they want to come forward and support ending the war on cannabis users.”

Ortiz believes the leadership shown by these clergy will have incalculable ripple effects and change the way the conversation is discussed at Sunday dinner in homes across the state. 

The effort to legalize cannabis in Connecticut is being led by the Connecticut Coalition to Regulate Marijuana.

TELL US, are you a religious person who supports marijuana?

The post Connecticut Clergy Push Pot Legalization at State Capitol appeared first on Cannabis Now.

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))


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: Don Goofy/Flickr

Re-Legalize it? Herer’s Legacy Lives on in Hemp Initiative

Jack Herer was likely the figure most responsible for the revolution in cannabis consciousness in the 1990s — especially where the industrial applications of hemp are concerned.

His 1985 book “The Emperor Wears No Clothes,” an encyclopedic take-down of cannabis prohibition, to be expanded over several editions with more documentation of the plant’s multifarious uses, was the proverbial bible for a generation of hemp crusaders.

Now, a decade after his passing, his surviving friends, family and comrades are fighting to get his legacy enshrined in California law though an updated version of a ballot initiative that he authored over a generation ago. 

A Post-Prop 64 Vision

A new plan for changing the scope of legal marijuana in the Golden State is California Cannabis Hemp Initiative (CCHI). Dan Herer  —  Jack’s son, who founded the Jack Herer Foundation to carry on his father’s work —  says that with some “minor changes,” the initiative is the same one that the “Emperor of Hemp” first crafted in 1990.

The initiative failed to win enough signatures that year, and several election years since then. But Dan thinks that widespread disillusionment with how things have unfolded since California’s 2016 legalization initiative, Proposition 64, could mean that the CCHI’s hour has arrived. 

“We’re collecting signatures for a new initiative that we hope will put Prop 64 out of business,” Dan Herer tells Cannabis Now. “The way Prop 64 was written, there was a lot of room for serious f*ckery to go on, and over the past four years a lot of our worst fears have been realized. Things have gone woefully awry for those who hoped for a cannabis economy that lifted communities rather than suppressed them.” 

The CCHI is crafted to support small businesses and encourage hemp production by keeping taxes and licensing fees manageable, and lifting restrictions on cultivation.  

Dan has little patience with the limitations in Prop 64 and its enabling legislation.

“The narratives used in the name cannabis control are same lies and falsehoods that created prohibition and all the pushback over the past 80 years about what cannabis is and what it can do,” he says. “We are being inhibited at every step.” 

Lifting the Tax Burden

Dan is scathing in his indictment of California’s status quo.

“If you grow cannabis in Santa Cruz and sell it in San Jose, there are taxes in both jurisdictions of up to 15% of gross,” he protests. “By the time you’re paying all your taxes, there’s no room for expansion, for lobbying — for educating the community about the truth about cannabis, and countering the lies that are created to control cannabis.” 

The text of the CCHI stipulates that only a point-of-sale excise tax can be imposed on “euphoric” (psychoactive) cannabis products, with the total not to exceed 10%. The state and localities can divvy up the 10% as they wish, but that’s the cap. And at least 50% of the revenues would go toward research, development and promotion of an industrial hemp industry in California.

Current taxes based on gross sale from producers to retailers are to be eliminated. “Now, the tax liability can be up to 80% and it is taxed on gross rather than earnings, and regardless of cost to produce goods,” Dan said of the current system. “The profit margin can be as low as four percent.” 

In a very critical issue for “compassionate care” in California, taxes would be eliminated for medicinal use under the CCHI.

The CCHI would loosen things up quite considerably in other ways too. It would raise the state limit on the number of plants that can be grown for personal “euphoric” use from the current six to a very impressive 99. 

Licensing fees for commercial cultivators are to be capped at $1,000, as opposed to up to $30,000 now. Localities would only be able to impose an ordinary business license. The text also allows temporary licenses for special events. 

These regulations mostly follow the model already in place for wine and beer. And the CCHI, unlike Prop 64, would actually de-schedule cannabis under state law, removing it from the California Uniform Controlled Substances Act.

Limits on quantity for commercial cultivation would also be lifted. This may, for some, raise fears about corporate cannabis exploiting economies of scale. But Buddy Duzy, CCHI initiative coordinator, thinks the market will ultimately favor small growers.

Under CCHI, he says, “big corporations and craft farmers don’t get treated differently. We expect craft farmers to be basically controlling it, because people don’t like to smoke the same thing all the time — they like to switch brands. And most pot smokers don’t like to support big corporations either.” 

The Arc of Hemp History

The CCHI has never made it onto the ballot before, despite tries in 2008, 2012 and 2016, most recently. But Duzy echoes Dan’s optimism. “We’re hoping its gonna pass this time, because Prop 64 made such a mess out of the pot industry in California that people are screaming for change.” 

To get the CCHI on the November ballot, the campaign must line up 625,000 validated signatures by April 20 (which, fortuitously enough, happens to be 420). This may seem a daunting prospect, but Duzy is confident that with enough money to hire signature-collectors, it can be done. The campaign, based in the Los Angeles area, is currently raising money to launch this effort.

“We’re talking to big growers in the Emerald Triangle, and trying to get the environmentalists on board,” says Duzy. “We’re around half way to what we need.”

Duzy has been at this a long time himself. He was involved in California’s first cannabis legalization initiative, the California Marijuana Initiative or Prop 19, which made it on to the ballot way back in 1972. It got about a third of the vote, which was impressive for a first try. The CMI’s second try in 1980 failed to make it onto the ballot due to disqualified signatures. This was an early case in the ongoing controversies over what constitutes a valid signature under California electoral law. The courts have ordered the authorities to loosen their formerly rigid standards since then.

Dan has been something of a torch-bearer since his father Jack’s passing in 2010. He’s been speaking around the country and the world, spreading the gospel of the cannabis plant for medicine, food, fuel and fiber (as well as euphoria). He’s also been marketing the Original Jack Herer line of cannabis products. 

“If my father’s name is gonna be used in connection with cannabis, it should be controlled by his family and people committed to the values he lived and died for,” Dan says of the legacy he is carrying on.  

“He believed cannabis should be taxed like a tomato, like the plant that it is — not as a sin. It is safer than alcohol, safer than tobacco, safer than peanuts. And when you use the plant to its full potential, you are uplifting communities.”

TELL US, would you like to see changes for California’s Prop 64?

The post Re-Legalize it? Herer’s Legacy Lives on in Hemp Initiative appeared first on Cannabis Now.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

Photo: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

Trump Campaign Official Says Pot Should be ‘Kept Illegal’

If the Democrats cannot figure out their strategy for dominating the upcoming election, there is a fair chance that we could see President Trump weaseling his way back into the White House for a second term. And while some cannabis advocates would be pleased as punch with this turn of events others believe that any other candidate, and we do mean any, would be better for the sanity of the United States.

But ask toking Trumpsters why it is that they have grown so keen on reelecting the Donald and they’ll tell you, “He’s the only president so far that has said he would legalize marijuana at the federal level.” Ah, yes, we remember the comment. It was just two years ago, ahead of the G-7 summit in Canada, when Trump told reporters that he would “probably” support a long since dead cannabis bill known as the STATES Act. Since then, Trump supporters have believed that “their president” sides with them with respect to legalizing marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol.

Well, not so fast, maverick.

Just weeks after a secret tape surfaced, revealing that Trump seriously thinks that marijuana is leading to the dumbing down of America, a new interview with his Director of Strategic Communications, Marc Lotter, shows that Trump doesn’t support the legalization of marijuana at the national level. Earlier this week, Lotter told Las Vegas CBS affiliate KLAS-TV that President Trump is still dedicated to keeping the prohibition standard in this country.

“I think the president has been pretty clear on his views on marijuana at the federal level. I know many states have taken a different path,” Lotter said. “I think what the president is looking at is looking at this from a standpoint of a parent — of a parent of a young person — to make sure that we keep our kids away from drugs. They need to be kept illegal. That is the federal policy.”

But, Trump said he would…

Yeah, yeah, we know what he said. You see, the confusion over whether Trump is pro-pot or not really stems from statements made during his 2016 campaign. That’s when he professed to the nation that marijuana legalization should be allowed to move forward as a state’s rights issue. Trump never came out and said that the old U.S. of A needs to be legalizing some weed. It wasn’t until 2018 that he made comments about supporting the STATES Act, which was not precisely designed to legalize the leaf at the federal level, but to — yep, you guessed it  — strengthen the cause in terms of state’s rights. The bill, which is deader than a doornail at this point, simply aimed to actually give states the freedom to legalize however they see fit without federal interference. It was one of those toe-in-the-water bills that Congress likes to noodle with on occasion. Many journalists wrote that the passing of such a measure would have effectively legalized weed nationwide, but that wasn’t exactly true. There would have been no major changes to the Controlled Substances Act, and marijuana would have remained illegal at the federal level.

So, yeah, Trump said he might support that two years ago. It was no skin off his back. After all, most law-abiding cannabis operations in the 40 odd states that have them are being left alone, anyway.

But ahead of the 2020 campaign, political analysts predicted that President Trump might come out in favor of marijuana legalization as a way to stay competitive with all of the Democrats that have done the same. All except for Joe Biden and Michael Bloomberg support bringing down pot prohibition once and for all. Hell, even Congressional Democrats suspected that Trump would eventually get behind legal weed to get reelected. If we look back a ways, Representative Earl Blumenauer of Oregon wrote in his 2018 “Blueprint to Legalize Marijuana in the 116th Congress” that “if we fail to act swiftly, I fear as the 2020 election approaches, Donald Trump will claim credit for our work in an effort to shore up support — especially from young voters.”

Welp, it seems like everyone was wrong.

Listen, I’m going to be honest with you folks, this situation with Trump creates even more trouble for legal weed. Right now, the Democrats are trying to develop a plan that would allow them to regain control of the Senate, as well as the presidency. But if they had to choose one, they are really frothing at the mouth over the possibility of laying claims to the upper chamber. It’s the reason that some predict Democrat Bernie Sanders — a candidate that has sworn to legalize marijuana nationwide on his first day in office — will fail to get the nomination again this year. Some are worried that his socialist ideals will turn off suburban America and cause an uprising in Republicans to make noise at the polls.

In a perfect, pot-friendly world, we would see the Democrats taking both the Senate and the presidency in 2020. This scenario would allow the most potential for marijuana legalization to strike nationwide in 2021. But if Democrats lose the Senate and win the presidency, legal weed could still be six or more years away. Then again, if they win the Senate and President Trump gets reelected, marijuana is probably still going to be delayed for another four years. No matter what marijuana-related measure a Democratic-controlled Congress pushes through, Trump is not likely to support it. Really, the only chance we have at seeing full-blown legalization soon is if voters decide by November that they would rather support the path of the Dems rather than Republicans.

Right now, however, the country is split. Around 28% of the nation identifies as Democrat, 28% Republican and 41% independent.

TELL US, do you think America will ever legalize marijuana nationwide?

The post Trump Campaign Official Says Pot Should be ‘Kept Illegal’ appeared first on Cannabis Now.