By Steve Elliott
A new report projects that legal marijuana could be an industry with revenues of $35 billion by 2020 if cannabis is legalized at the federal level. Greenwave Advisors, which authored the report, notes that this is a floor representing revenues in the first year of nationwide legalization.
That figure -- $35 billion -- represents more annual revenue than the NFL (currently $10 billion), and is roughly equal to current revenues from the newspaper publishing industry ($38 billion) and the candy/confectionary industry ($34 billion), reports Christopher Ingraham at .
Greenwave arrived at its estimates by looking at existing and likely marijuana markets, medical and recreational, in states that already have legalized them, as well as in states that appear likely to open such markets by 2020. The research and analysis company estimates 12 states plus D.C. will have legalized recreational cannabis by 2020, reports Matt Ferner at The Huffington Post, with medical marijuana in 37 states.
Currently 23 states have legalized medical marijuana, and two (Colorado and Washington) have legalized cannabis for recreational use. Even without full federal legalization, Greenwave estimates legal marijuana revenues of $21 billion by 2020.
Six days to go: Former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper, former Multnomah County Sheriff Don Clark and former Denver Police Department Lt. Tony Ryan among the supporters of Measure 91
With only six days left before ballots are due, 30 law enforcement officials from across the western half of the United States have endorsed Oregon’s Measure 91 to regulate marijuana.
The endorsers include former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper, former Multnomah County Sheriff Don Clark, former Denver Police Department Lt. Tony Ryan and Los Angeles Police Department Deputy Chief Stephen Downing.
The Yes on 91 campaign announced their support as part of a press conference today featuring former U.S. Attorney Kris Olson; former Oregon Supreme Court Justice Bill Riggs; 30-year law enforcement veteran Paul Steigleder; and Partnership for Safety and Justice director Cassandra Villanueva.
“Marijuana prohibition has a disproportionate and disparate impact on people of color and youth -- fueling their existence and penetration in the criminal and justice systems,” Villanueva said. “It is not an effective use of taxpayer dollars or reflect the value of Oregonians.”
Minnesota: Seriously Ill Residents Excluded From State's Medical Marijuana Program Question CandidatesSubmitted by steveelliott on Wed, 10/29/2014 - 23:54
Patients Call on Gubernatorial Candidates to Tell Voters Whether They Support Expanding the Law
Patients, family members, and supporters to announce which candidates have signed a statement in support of expanding the law at a new conference Thursday at 1:30 p.m. in the State Office Building
Seriously ill Minnesotans who have been denied access to the state’s limited medical marijuana program are calling on gubernatorial candidates to publicly state whether they support expanding the state’s medical marijuana law.
A group of patients, family members, and advocates will announce which candidates have signed the statement at a news conference on Thursday at 1:30 p.m. CT in Room 181 of the State Office Building. They will also explain why Minnesota’s medical marijuana program must be expanded to include all of the medical conditions and methods of administering medical marijuana that were approved by a bipartisan majority of the Minnesota Senate but left out of the final legislation.
“Unfortunately, there are a lot of Minnesotans suffering from truly debilitating conditions who will not be allowed to access medical marijuana under the new law,” said Patrick McClellan, a medical marijuana patient advocate. “Whoever is elected governor must be ready to work with the legislature to expand it to include all seriously ill Minnesotans who could benefit from medical marijuana.
"Voters deserve to know which candidates are committed to doing that,” McClellan said.
Historic Bipartisan Majority in Favor of Reforming U.S. Drug Laws and Letting States Set Their Own Marijuana Policies
Ideologically Diverse Representatives – From Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO), to Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) and Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) – Named 2013-14 “Champions of Reform”
Drug Policy Action on Wednesday released the 2014 Drug Policy Reform Congressional Voter Guide, which grades members of Congress on how they voted on seven key drug policy reform votes in the U.S. House of Representatives in 2013 and 2014.
The guide is designed not just to educate voters on which members of the U.S. House of Representatives support drug policy reform – but also to send a firm message to elected officials that they will be held accountable for supporting draconian policies that exacerbate the worst harms of the Drug War. Clear bipartisan support now exists both among the American public and in Congress for ending the Drug War and letting states set their own marijuana policies.
The voter guide examines historic votes on a wide range of issues, such as whether to bar the DEA from undermining state medical marijuana laws and whether to allow banks to accept deposits from marijuana businesses. The voter guide also summarizes decisive steps taken over the last two years by congressional lawmakers and officials in the Obama Administration toward advancing drug policy reform.
Enables Companies Serving the Cannabis Community to Deliver Ads to Highly-Targeted Audiences
NugMedia, a company that operates several popular cannabis culture-themed websites including TheNug.com, on Wednesday announced that the company has introduced geo-targeting and keyword-targeting capabilities that enable advertisers to increase click-through rates (CTRs) by delivering the right ads to the right audiences at the right time.
NugMedia says it is the first publisher network serving the cannabis community to feature geo-targeted ads, keyword tracking and ad placement analytics that ensure the highest CTRs for advertisers. NugMedia said it will utilize geo-targeting, keyword tracking and ad placement analytics for all clients, both current and prospective.
Advertisers will benefit from higher follow-through traffic and greater conversions on their ads, according to NugMedia. Publishers will benefit from targeted ads that provide higher click-through rates, which in turn results in greater revenue, according to the company.
"The ability to effectively deliver ads based on audience location and behavior has eluded the cannabis marketplace for far too long," said John Oram, director at NugMedia. "We predict a substantial spike in our advertisers' click-through rates now that we are able to target the optimal audience for each product or service they offer. Each ad will be served to the right audience based on location and relevant content."
Council committees will hear testimony on provisions regarding licensing and regulations for cultivation facilities and adult retail marijuana stores, as well as a dedicated fund for marijuana business taxes and fees
The Washington, D.C. Council will hold a joint committee hearing Thursday on a bill that would make possession of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older and establish a system in which marijuana is regulated and taxed similarly to alcohol.
The Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs and the Committee on Finance and Revenue will hear testimony regarding sections 6, 7, 8, and 9 of B20-466, the Marijuana Legalization and Regulation Act of 2013, which was introduced last year by Councilman David Grosso.
Those sections would amend District code to establish the regulatory infrastructure for the production and sale of marijuana and marijuana products in D.C. They would also create a dedicated fund, which would consist of excise taxes, license fees, and all other revenues received by the Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration from marijuana-related activities.
By Steve Elliott
A Madison, Wisconsin couple investigated for marijuana possession and drug paraphernalia in Baraboo won't be charged for possessing the controlled substance after citing a medical exemption.
The Baraboo Police Department and City Attorney Mark Reitz decided not to prosecute the couple after they provided authorities with valid Wisconsin medical marijuana authorizations from a physician, reports Elizabeth Onheiber at the Baraboo News Republic.
While looking into a complaint of a dog left in the vehicle of Greg and Karen Kinsley on September 13 at Sauk County Fairgrounds, Baraboo Police Sgt. Mark Lee and Det. Jeremy Drexler saw a marijuana pipe through the car window. They seized it, along with a small amount of cannabis, after resolving the pet issue.
The couple provided documentation from Wisconsin doctors recommending medical marijuana, and Karen Kinsley presented a valid Oregon medical marijuana registry card. Greg and Karen said their authorizations for medicinal cannabis are intended to treat Crohn's disease and the pain of scoliosis, respectively.
A little-known 1971 law allows Wisconsin citizens to possess marijuana with a valid doctor's note, and serves as an exemption to the Wisconsin Controlled Substances Act.
Crowdsourced Videos Feature Comedians and Actors Showing How Easy it is to Vote in Oregon and End Marijuana Prohibition
A new get-out-the-vote video campaign has been launched by Drug Policy Action, a related organization of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), an organization promoting drug policies that are grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights. The series of videos, entitled "In the Time It Takes,” show how easy it is to vote and to support Measure 91, a measure on the November ballot that would regulate, legalize and tax marijuana for adults 21 and older.
In the videos, supporters of Measure 91, including actor Tate Donovan and comedian Rob Cantrell, demonstrate something that can be done in the same amount of time it takes to vote for measure 91 and mail a ballot in Oregon. From the mundane to the ridiculous, each “In the Time It Takes” video emphasizes the fact that it only takes a minute to fill out and mail a ballot. Drug Policy Alliance and the local Yes on 91 campaign are counting on this new initiative to rally younger voters to get out and vote.
By Steve Elliott
Three medical experts on Friday, Monday and Tuesday testified in federal court that the federal government's war on marijuana defies science, and is thus unconstitutional.
Decades of medical studies prove cannabis isn't the danger the government has claimed it is, the experts told a federal judge, reports David Downs at SF Gate.
The epochal cultivation trial, U.S. v. Schweder in the Eastern District of California, in which U.S. District Court Judge Kimberly J. Mueller is allowing a hearing on a defense motion to declare marijuana's Schedule I classification as unconstitutional, has national implications.
Defense witnesses Gregory Carter, M.D., and Carl Hart, Ph.D., testified in Sacramento on Friday, and Philip Denny, M.D., testified on Monday and Tuesday. Government witness Bertha Madras, Ph.D., a former deputy drug czar under President George W. Bush, argued in that marijuana isn't medicine.
Madras compared cannabis to heroin, saying that humans no longer smoke opium poppies for pain relief. But while more than 22,000 Americans will die from prescription drug overdoses this year, with opioid pills killing more than any other prescription, cannabis has no lethal overdose level and zero recorded deaths from overdose in history.
By Steve Elliott
Millions of dollars in state tax revenue would be generated if Alaska's voters decide in next week's election to legalize marijuana sales to adults, according to a comprehensive report released on Monday by the Marijuana Policy Group, made up of Colorado researchers and economic experts.
The first year of recreational cannabis sales in Alaska would generate about $7 million in state taxes, according to the group, reports Matt Ferner at The Huffington Post. Legal recreational sales of marijuana would account for about 22 percent of total demand in that first year, about four metric tons, according to the report.
"Previous studies incorrectly assume that all demand will quickly shift to regulated markets," the researchers noted. "In our experience, such assumptions are naive." That conclusion would certainly jibe with the legalization experience in Washington state, where scant supplies have driven prices past $30 a gram and have driven many consumers back to the black market.
"If retail prices increase significantly, then most heavy users will avoid this supply mode and buy marijuana from black or grey market sources as possible," the researchers wrote.
Adult Alaskans use nearly 18 metric tons of marijuana, according to the researchers, a demand which is now satisfied through the state's black market, as well as a network of medical marijuana caregivers and home cultivators.
By Steve Elliott
U.S. Senator Jeff Merkley (D-Oregon) has said he plans to vote for Measure 91, which would legalize recreational marijuana in Oregon, which would make him the first sitting U.S. Senator to support legalization.
"I lean in support of it," Sen. Merkley told Talking Points Memo's Sahil Kapur last week. Reporter Jeff Mapes reported on Sen. Merkley's stance earlier this month, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian.)
"I think folks on both sides of the argument make a good case," Merkley said. "And there is concern about a series of new products -- and we don't have a real track record from Colorado and Washington.
"But I feel on balance that we spend a lot of money on our criminal justice system in the wrong places and I lean in favor of this ballot measure," Merkley said.
A Merkley staffer said her boss had stopped short of officially endorsing the ballot initiative, reports Courtney Sherwood at Reuters. "The senator has not endorsed the ballot measure, but he has said he will vote for it," said Courtney Warner Crowell, Merkley's deputy communications director.
By Steve Elliott
Denver police and federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents on Tuesday morning conducted large raids on multiple marijuana growing operations near Denver.
One Denver police officer seen in a blue hazmat suit entering a building on North Bryant Street told The Denver Post that he and other officers were executing a search warrant, and that several other raids were being conducted around town.
"It's a very large and successfu investigation," claimed James Gothe, group supervisor of the DEA's special support unit in Denver. "We're assisting."
Gothe called it an "ongoing operation" and wouldn't comment other than to say it involved the Denver Police Department and the Colorado Attorney General's Office.
The Denver Police Department announced at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday on Twitter that area law enforcement officers were conducting "an ongoing investigation into drug activity," but claimed no further information was available.
Denver police spokesman Ron Hackett said officers are investigating illegal drug activity at "multiple locations," reports The Denver Channel. Hackett said the department "may" provide more information about the raids later Tuesday or on Wednesday.
Mobile Billboard Highlights the Relative Safety of Marijuana Compared to Alcohol
Billboard satirizing ‘Reefer Madness’-style propaganda calls Question 2 ‘[a] safer marijuana policy for Lewiston’ because it would allow adults to use a substance that is ‘Less toxic! Less addictive! Less scary than ALCOHOL!’
Backers of the initiative to make marijuana legal for adults 21 and older in Lewiston unveiled a Halloween-themed mobile billboard Tuesday that highlights the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol.
The orange and black billboard, which will run through Halloween, satirizes “Reefer Madness”-style propaganda and calls Question 2 “[a] safer marijuana policy for Lewiston” because it would allow adults to make the safer choice to use marijuana instead of alcohol, if that is what they prefer. It features a screaming face and reads, “MARIJUANA: LESS toxic! LESS addictive! LESS scary than ALCOHOL!”
Facts regarding the relative safety of marijuana compared to alcohol are available at http://www.MarijuanaIsSafer.org .
Question 2 would make possession of up to one ounce of marijuana legal for adults 21 years of age and older. It would remain illegal to use marijuana in public.
The measure also expresses support for ending marijuana prohibition in Maine and regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol at the state level.
Anne Armstrong, Rhode Island’s Compassion Party’s write-in Gubernatorial candidate, seems almost like a normal Rhode Island mother, bustling about her living room, readying for a French TV News interview.
She speaks and dresses with unpretentious New England charm; you wouldn’t know just by looking at her that just last month, she was a viral video star, covered by CNN, AP, broadcast networks and Huffington Post. It’s hard to imagine that the woman gently mixing tiny doses of cannabis oil into a baking dish with coconut oil has an international cult following.
Armstrong on Tuesday gave hope to many of her followers who are in desperate life-or-death need of medical cannabis, by filing and serving a Constitutional complaint against Rhode Island’s cannabis ban and medical exemption restrictions. The candidate says those restrictions are catching the most gravely ill patients in chokepoints that threaten human life directly, while not even achieving any real purpose.
Ask Armstrong’s media outreach coordinator why he volunteers for her, and he points to the tiny dose of cannabis oil on the counter.
“See that stuff? Anne saved my friend’s life with that oil,” said activist Alan Gordon, who is also a plaintiff in the legal action along with unnamed female cancer patient "Jane Doe," who relies upon the cannabis oil to live. Gordon said Rhode Island law bans him from growing medical cannabis for patients in life-or-death need because he was once felonized for cultivation in Georgia.
By Steve Elliott
Marijuana for medicinal purposes was legalized by California voters at the ballot box back in 1996 -- but some law enforcement types apparently still haven't gotten the message. Police routinely terrorize thousands of patient-cultivators every year with warrantless, no-knock raids, willfully ignoring established law, and now a San Diego narcotics officer has been photographed wearing a t-shirt reading "FUCK THE GROWERS... MARIJUANA'S STILL ILLEGAL -- while raiding patients.
Advocacy group Reform California on October 24 posted pictures of a San Diego Narcotics Task Force officer wearing the profane shirt during a Wednesday raid in Imperial Beach, reports David Downs at SF Gate. The photo was reportedly snapped by a 10News photojournalist.
While marijuana is still illegal under federal law for any purpose, state law enforcement officers are supposed uphold state laws. California residents with a doctor's authorization can possess or grow any amount of marijuana deemed medically necessary by their physician.