By Steve Elliott
A bill simplifying the tax scheme for marijuana was signed into law by Washington Governor Jay Inslee on Tuesday. HB 2136, which the Legislature approved last week, also significantly loosens the rules on buffer zones that have kept recreational I-502 marijuana shops away from many dense commercial areas.
As originally approved by voters, I-502 taxed recreational marijuana at three tiers: producers (growers), processors (curing), and retail. Under the new scheme, the three-level tax system has been collapsed into one 37 percent point-of sale tax, reports Bryan Cohen at Capitol Hill Seattle. According to Ian Eisenberg, proprietor of Capitol Hill recreational marijuana shop Uncle Ike's, his customers won't see much of a change in pricing due at 37 percent tax.
I-502 originally stated recreational marijuana stores can't be located within 1,000 feet of parks, schools, and other public gathering places. Localities could soon have the power to bring that buffer down to 100 feet under HB 2136
The 1,000-foot buffer greatly restricted permitted locations for marijuana retail; it was written as an attempt to placate federal officials, who have released guidelines under which the Obama Administration won't go after state-legal pot shops, including just such a buffer zone. There are specific penalties for selling marijuana within 1,000 feet of schools under federal sentencing guidelines.
A federal lawsuit is being filed in the case of Santa Ana police officers who engaged in inappropriate behavior during raids of medical marijuana collectives. The officers were seen on hidden camera footage eating cannabis-infused edibles and threatening to kick a wheelchair-bound, legally blind dispensary volunteer.
The Law Office of Matthew Pappas, The Human Solution International, the Law Office of Anthony Curiale and The Swain Law Office will hold a press conference on Friday, July 3, 1:30 p.m. at the Marriott Live, located at 900 W. Olympic Blvd. in Los Angeles.
Attorney Pappas and retired L.A.P.D. Deputy Chief Steve Downing will discuss additional video of Santa Ana officers engaged in inappropriate behavior during raids of medical marijuana collectives and will provide an update on evidence of political corruption related to Santa Ana's medical marijuana ordinance and lottery.
Patient Marla James will show a new electric wheelchair paid for and provided to her by a cannabis oil company in Colorado after people working for the company watched video of the May 26 Sky High collective raid in Santa Ana. Thereafter, attorneys Anthony Curiale, James Kajtoch and Stefan Borst-Censullo will discuss a multi-million dollar state claim for damages filed on behalf of patients attacked during April and May raids in Santa Ana.
In addition, the Swain Law Office will announce the filing of a federal civil rights lawsuit against the Kansas Department for Children and Families and State of Kansas.
Water soluble formulations of cannabidiol (CBD), combined with Ayurvedic herbs, are now available for wholesale, private label, bulk and licensing opportunities from an Encinitas, California-based company.
Evolved Ayurvedic Discoveries, Inc. (EAD Labs), nutraceutical company, is announcing with their launch, "an intention to partner with companies that share a similar mission of providing the most effective and safe holistic health solutions on the planet."
“Side by side, our water soluble CBD, BioCBD™, is head and shoulders above every other CBD oil product in terms of bioavailability,” said EAD Labs CEO and cofounder James Sol Radina. “We are excited to announce our revolutionary delivery technology to the world.
"We are looking for companies who want to join us in evolving not only the Medical Marijuana industry, but the entire healthcare industry as well,” Radina said.
The technology and process behind EAD's products was devised by company cofounder and Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Mewa Singh, the inventor of Hybrid-Nanoengineering™, "possibly the single biggest advancement in nutraceuticals," according to the company.
Dr. Singh has spent almost 30 years developing and launching products for diagnostics, vaccines, nutraceuticals and nanomedicines. He has developed more than 145 nanomedicines for use as pharmaceuticals, nutraceuticals and agrochemicals, according to EAD.
Oregon Rewrites Marijuana Criminal Code to Reduce Most Felonies to Misdemeanors and to Make Prior Convictions Eligible to be Cleared
Law Goes Beyond Other Legalization States to Reduce Harsh Marijuana Sentences and Allow for 78,319 Prior Marijuana Convictions to Potentially be Cleared
Oregon Governor Kate Brown on Wednesday signed H.B. 3400, an omnibus bill to implement Measure 91, the marijuana legalization initiative adopted by voters last November. The bill was approved by the Senate and the House of Representatives this week.
Measure 91 legalized possession, use, and cultivation of marijuana by adults 21 and older and regulated commercial production, manufacturing, and retail sales of marijuana. Legalization for personal use took effect July 1, 2015.
As of that date adults 21 and older can legally possess up to 8 ounces of marijuana at home and up to 1 ounce of marijuana outside the home. They may also grow up to four plants at home, as long as they are out of public view. The regulatory structure for commercial retail sales will not be up and running until next year.
In addition to addressing the implementation of Measure 91, H.B. 3400 contains broad sentencing reform provisions that extend well beyond the elimination of criminal penalties for simple possession of marijuana and cultivation of up to four plants. The new law reduces most marijuana felonies to misdemeanors or lesser felonies with significantly reduced sentences.
The Cannabis World Congress & Business Exposition (CWCBExpo) attracted more than 2,500 business professionals and garnered major media attention at its recently concluded 2nd Annual event June 17-19 at the Javits Center in New York.
The event for the legalized and medical marijuana industry, sponsored by the International Cannabis Association, was three days of nonstop business building, education, networking and serious media coverage that included CBS, CNBC, Forbes, NBC, The New York Times, Getty Images, TheStreet.com, WNYC, The Sydney Morning Herald, and 200 media members in attendance.
LEAD Established Unique Collaboration Among Law Enforcement, Human Service Agencies, Business Leaders, and Community Members to Produce Nearly 60% Reduction in Recidivism in Seattle
Wednesday: Convening Hosted by Major Foundations and Seattle Police Department
Thursday: Convening Co-Hosted by Major Foundations and The White House
This week, government officials and community leaders from more than 30 city, county and state jurisdictions will gather to discuss an innovative program that brings together diverse stakeholders seeking to achieve better outcomes in public health and safety by diverting people from jail to services.
The program, known as Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion, or LEAD, was pioneered in Seattle. Under LEAD, police divert individuals who commit low-level drug offenses to harm reduction based case management services. An independent evaluation found that it reduced the likelihood of reoffending by nearly 60 percent compared to a control group that went through the criminal justice system “as usual.”
LEAD’s successes and positive evaluations have sparked widespread attention and interest, especially in a moment when the police role in dealing with “quality of life” issues is controversial and the way forward after the War On Drugs is uncertain.
Hemp Public Relations on Tuesday announced that they are refusing all multi-million dollar offers to provide their expertise to Governor Chris Christe’s presidential campaign. For good measure, Hemp Public Relations has issued a lifetime ban on Christie for all company events.
“Governor Christie has publicly said as president, he would "crack down" on states that have ended prohibitions on marijuana," said Ryan McCormick, cofounder of Hemp Public Relations. "We feel that anyone who would threaten to subvert the will of the people and claim that their own personal ideology trumps that of the people is an affront to the very foundation of America.
"For this reason, Hemp Public Relations will refuse to work or assist the Christie campaign in any capacity for any amount of money,” McCormick said.
Hemp Public Relations helps individuals and businesses in the marijuana industry to achieve greater visibility in the public eye through the media. The company is founded by Mark Goldman and Ryan McCormick, public relations professionals who are the creators of New York based Goldman McCormick PR (www.goldmanmccormick.com) and Legal PR Team (www.legalprteam.com).
LaMarihuana.com gets 1.3 million monthly visits, has 1.2 million Facebook fans, 53,000 Twitter followers
Northsight Capital Inc. on Monday announced it has signed an exclusive option to acquire LaMarihuana.com, which, according to the company, is "considered the Hispanic community’s leading cannabis portal."
LaMarihuana was founded in 2001 in Spain and currently has more than 1.3 million visits monthly, making it the most visited portal worldwide by the Spanish-speaking community. LaMarihuana has more than 1.2 million Facebook fans and 53,000 Twitter followers.
The Hispanic population of the United States as of July 1, 2013, was 54 million people, making people of Hispanic origin the nation’s largest ethnic or racial minority. LaMarihuana is a full informational site, with daily news, forums, reviews, business directory, chat, seedbanks, and other relevant information for the cannabis industry.
If the acquisition is completed, LaMarihuana will become a part of the Northsight platform and will work in conjunction with www.WeedDepot.com, Northsight’s leading marijuana dispensary website. As part of the acquisition, Northsight will acquire LaMarihuana’s website and content, customer information and all related technology. Northsight announced that it expects that key members of the current LaMarihuana team headquartered in Spain will stay on with Northsight post acquisition.
Oct. 1 early start bill passes in Oregon Senate; Oregon police to stop arresting people for some marijuana crimes
By Steve Elliott
The day before adult use of marijuana becomes legal in Oregon, leaders of the state’s drug reform movement said they plan to expand their work to change how Oregon approaches drug policy.
“Thanks to Oregon voters, we have made history and become national leaders in drug reform,” said Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner of the Yes on 91 campaign to legalize marijuana. “But there’s still a lot to do, and this is just the beginning.”
Johnson has been advocating for an earlier start to regulated sales for marijuana, and the Oregon Senate today passed a bill, 23-6, that would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to start selling marijuana to adults 21 and older on Oct. 1. Another bill that reduces marijuana-related criminal penalties is making its way to the governor’s desk.
Johnson said marijuana should no longer be classified as a drug as dangerous as heroin, that more money should be devoted to marijuana-related research, and that “we should focus more on helping people and less on incarcerating them.”
Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.), a strong advocate for changes to federal drug laws and a leader of the Oregon campaign to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, discussed his efforts to reform outdated marijuana policy at the federal level.
The California Cannabis Hemp Initiative 2016 (CCHI 2016) and ALOTOFFUN Productions invites everyone to a free concert and political rally at MLK Civic Center Park in Berkeley, California, on Saturday, July 11 from 11:30 AM to 7 PM.
This event will be the official kick-off of the CCHI 2016 campaign to thoroughly end Cannabis Hemp prohibition in California. The organization is seeking backing and volunteers to help with this effort.
This special event continues the effort to mobilize and inform the public about qualifying the CCHI 2016 for the Nov. 8, 2016 California ballot.
This special informational event is being held on Saturday, July 11, from 11:30 AM to 7PM. For more info: www.rallyforcchi2016.com
The CCHI 2016 signature drive will begin begin in late Fall 2015 in which the CCHI 2016 will have 180 days to gather 600,000 signatures from registered Californian voters to qualify for the Nov 8, 2016 ballot.
Full text of the CCHI can be found at:
This event is free and donations are kindly accepted.
Musical acts Include: psychedelic rock, reggae, Grateful Dead, soul and funk.
Legendary SF 60's band, Sopworth Camel will headline with Gigantis, Island of Black and White, Clear Conscience and many other musical guests participating. For a complete list: www.rallyforcchi2016.com.
Speakers in support of qualifying the CCHI for the 2016 ballot include:
Ross Mirkarimi: Sheriff of San Francisco
Longtime proponent of Cannabis legalization, is scheduled to speak between 3-4 p.m (schedule permitting).
New Law an Important Step Toward Reducing Louisiana’s Notoriously Overcrowded Prisons and Jails
Even With This Reform, Louisiana’s Marijuana Laws Remain Harsher Than Nearly All Other U.S. States; Majority of Louisianans Support Ending All Criminal Penalties for Marijuana Possession
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal on Tuesday signed legislation to reform the state’s severely punitive marijuana laws and reduce criminal penalties for simple marijuana possession. The law is expected to save the state up to $17 million and will reduce the chances of Louisianans caught with small amounts of marijuana ending up with lengthy jail or prison sentences or saddled with a criminal conviction.
“Louisiana's overdue for a major overhaul of its drug policies and this is a good first step,” said Yolande Cadore, director of strategic partnerships at Drug Policy Action, the lobbying arm of the Drug Policy Alliance. “It's a relief to see that smart policymakers are starting to recognize this political reality.”
The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world – and Louisiana has the highest rate in the U.S. Louisiana’s incarceration rate has doubled in the last twenty years and is nearly five times higher than Iran's, 13 times higher than China's and 20 times higher than Germany's.
One of the key drivers of Louisiana’s world-leading incarceration rate is the war on drugs – 18,000 Louisiana residents are arrested for drug law violations each year.
Minnesota’s first medical marijuana dispensary (called a "patient center" in their scheme of things) is scheduled to open in Minneapolis Wednesday. Minnesota Medical Solutions is scheduled to open its doors to patients at 12:01 a.m. CDT.
“This is a great day for suffering patients who have been waiting a long time to have access to this medicine,” said Patrick McClellan of Minnesotans for Compassionate Care, a Bloomington man with a rare form of muscular dystrophy who will be among the first patients served on Wednesday. “We are grateful that the Department of Health stepped up and implemented this law promptly.
"Patients in some states have had to wait years between their laws passing and medical marijuana finally becoming accessible,” McClellan said.
Minnesota’s medical marijuana law authorizes eight marijuana patient distribution centers throughout the state, and patients must comply with strict requirements in order to visit them. Their doctor must certify that they have one of nine specific medical conditions, which include cancer, HIV/AIDS, ALS, severe muscle spasms, seizures, Crohn’s Disease, and glaucoma.
Patients must then register with the state Department of Health and pay a $200 annual fee. Following each visit to a marijuana center, they must submit an online self-evaluation form before they may return to a center to obtain more medicine.
State records show only 41 patients have been approved and, according to Minnesota Medical Solutions, about half of them already have appointments for Wednesday.
Ganjapreneur, an online cannabis business resource, interviews Dr. Dominic Corva in the latest episode of its series of podcast interviews featuring successful cannabis entrepreneurs and industry experts.
Dr. Corva is a political geographer and public policy scholar who has written extensively on both international drug policy in the Western Hemisphere as well as the political economy of cannabis agriculture in southern Humboldt County. In the past he has worked as a professor at Sarah Lawrence College and Humboldt State University, though these days he is executive director at the Cannabis and Social Policy Center (CASP).
The interview is hosted by Shango Los of the Vashon Island Marijuana Entrepreneurs Alliance. Over the course of the interview, the two discuss the past and future of international drug policy, the flawed implementation of Washington's I-502 market, the impact of data-tracking on legal marijuana, and the future of Humboldt County cannabis growers.
“The biggest misconception is that legalization means that everyone is more free to engage in cannabis commerce, when in fact, legalization clearly means that new lines are being drawn,” Dr. Corva explained.
Though his work has been dedicated to aiding and understanding business interests in the cannabis industry, Dr. Corva is openly thankful for the activism efforts that brought us here: "As long as we’re not moving backwards on the criminal justice side of it, then we’re still, I think, moving a little bit in the right direction."
By Steve Elliott
Uruguay has stood up to the United Nations on the issue of marijuana legalization, refusing to back down after several meetings with officials from the international body.
Juan Andrés Roballo, the president of Uruguay's National Drug Board (JND), announced on Thursday that he will present a report before the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights defending the country's legalization and regulation of the cannabis market, reports PanAm Post.
Roballo said he will urge the U.N. to discuss legalization "without taboos," reports El Pais.
"Uruguay has embarked on a different path," Roballo said. "Not only have we made proposals; we have also taken effective, concrete measures in a different sense."
Roballo added that the whole world is watching Uruguay, and emphasized the "special commitment" the country has to run a successful legalization process.
The U.N., meanwhile, claims the legalization law approved by Uruguay "is incompatible with what is stipulated in the 1961 Convention," referencing the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, an international treaty restricting the production, manufacture, export, import, and distribution of various drugs.
Uruguay's decision to legalize cannabis has "kicked the hornet's nest," according to JND Secretary Milton Romani.
Adult Possession, Home Cultivation Permitted Immediately
Cultivation, Retail Businesses Expected to Open Fall 2016
By Steve Elliott
Measure 91, a voter-approved initiative legalizing marijuana in Oregon passed with 56 percent approval, takes effect July 1 and will immediately allow for adult possession and home cultivation. The law permits adults 21 and older to grow four plants (as long as they are out of public view) and keep eight ounces at home, and possess one ounce in public. Public consumption and sales will remain illegal.
The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the agency charged with regulating marijuana in the state, will begin to accept applications for cultivation, processing, testing, and retail business licenses starting January 4, 2016, and businesses are expected to be operational later the same year. More time was allotted to create specific regulations for concentrates to ensure the best possible public safety outcome, so these products will likely not be available immediately when stores open.