By Steve Elliott
A new report says legal marijuana is now among the fastest-growing markets in the United States, and is on track to pass the growth rate of smartphones. Fourteen more states will legalize recreational cannabis in the next five years, the report predicts, creating a potential $10.2 billion marijuana market by 2018.
Researchers estimated that more than $1.43 billion worth of legal marijuana will be sold in 2013, reports Carly Schwartz at The Huffington Post. The report predicts that figure will grow to $2.34 billion by next year, a jump of 64 percent. Meanwhile, the smartphone market grew by 46 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to recent figures.
The researchers were unable to find any market growing as quickly as legal marijuana, said Steve Berg, a former managing director of Wells Fargo Bank and editor of the report, the second annual State of Legal Marijuana Markets.
"Those who really understand market dynamics will reap large rewards," Berg predicted.
Colorado alone is predicted to add $359 million to its existing marijuana market in 2014, with the rollout of recreational marijuana stores, as legalized by voters under Amendment 64 last year. Washington state voters at the same time passed Initiative 502, under which state-licensed legal marijuana stores are expected to open in mid-2014.
By Steve Elliott
A Missouri Drug Task Force cop who debated marijuana legalization advocates from the group Show-Me Cannabis at a town hall meeting apparently got butt-hurt during the debate because some people disagreed with his point of view.
When he got safely home at his computer and away from "those people," he posted a rant on Facebook in which he "basically call[ed] the legalization advocates a bunch of stupid potheads," reports Ray Downs at the St. Louis Riverfront Times.
Seemingly upset that these folks dared to hold an opinion different than his when it comes to cannabis, the petulant policeman, Sgt. Kevin Glaser of the SEMO Drug Task Force -- who evidently is having some real difficulty adjusting to the realities of modern America -- got home and really gave those weed-suckers a piece of his mind.
"It was held at the Cape Girardeau Library," Sgt. Glaser posted. "This was a good location because it afforded many in the group an opportunity to actually visit a library, probably for the first time in their life." But wait, he really got going, after that.
"My views and opinions were not well received and they appeared to have very closed minds towards what i had to say," Sgt. Glaser posted (you'll have to imagine him sniffling to himself indignantly as he furiously typed). "Many impressed me as having no minds at all. Or at least very slow functioning minds."
By Steve Elliott
Legalizing marijuana would more than double its potential market, if a new HuffPost/YouGov poll is to be believed.
The poll indicates that 26 percent of Americans say they would buy cannabis if it was legal in their state, compared to 9 percent who said they already buy it, reports Emily Swanson at The Huffington Post. The percentage who said they would buy marijuana "often" jumped from 1 percent who already do so, to 4 percent who said they would buy it "often" if it was legal.
When asked how often they'd buy weed, 18 percent said they'd buy it more often than they do now if it ws legal. That includes 16 percent who said they'd never buy pot now but would, at least on rare occasions, get it if it was legal.
Those under age 30 were more likely to say both that they'd buy cannabis if it was legal (35 percent) and that they already do so now (16 percent). But even among those 65 and older -- almost none of whom said they ever buy marijuana now -- 9 percent said they'd get it at least occasionally if it was legal.
UNH WMUR Granite State Poll shows 60% of New Hampshire adults support HB 492, which would make marijuana legal and establish a regulated marijuana market for adults; just 36% are opposed
The New Hampshire House of Representatives Criminal Justice and Public Safety Committee has voted 11-7 against recommending the passage of HB 492, a bill to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol, despite a new poll showing strong public support for the measure.
According to a new WMUR Granite State Poll released October 25 by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, 60 percent of New Hampshire adults support HB 492. Just 36 percent said they are opposed.
The poll of 603 randomly selected New Hampshire adults was conducted October 1-7 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent. The entire poll is available here.
"Marijuana prohibition has been just as big of a failure as alcohol prohibition," said Matt Simon, a New Hampshire-based legislative analyst for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "New Hampshire voters are clearly ready for a more sensible approach. It appears some legislators are still less evolved than their constituents on this issue."
By Steve Elliott
Denver is scaling back a proposed law against "open and public consumption" of marijuana after an earlier version, passed in response to cannabis legalization, would have banned even the smell of pot from back yards.
A new draft of the law introduced to the City Council on Monday would allow people to toke up in their back yards, and also, unlike the first draft, would allow them to possess cannabis in parks and on the 16th Street Mall, reports Jeremy P. Meyer at The Denver Post. The ordinance would make violations petty offenses that carry a maximum $100 fine and/or 24 hours of community service.
Marijuana industry officials had said the tough proposed rules would have effectively recriminalized marijuana, legalized or adult use by Colorado voters last November under Amendment 64. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) said the proposed law would be unconstitutional.
The new draft of the proposed ordinance chucks the language calling the smell of pot "open and public consumption," leaving odor complaints under the authority of Environmental Health inspectors.
The draft must still be approved by the Denver City Council. It would allow marijuana "possession," but prohibit "display and distribution" in parks and downtown. Under the rules, adults can possess marijuana, but not "wave it around," according to Councilman Chris Nevitt.
By Steve Elliott
A national cannabis education tour called "Weed Not Greed" is planning to launch next year, according to a press release from a group behind the plans.
"Weed Not Greed is on a mission to organize a national tour for cannabis visibility and education to re-legalize this long-cultivated plant of medicine, fiber, and consciousness," reads a Monday press release from the group. "To free innocent individuals incarcerated due to unconstitutional cannabis prohibitions, our group of passionate progressives will span the country visiting major metropolises.
" We are insisting on the right for anyone to grow, possess, consume, or distribute cannabis for all the gifts it has provided humanity over our thousands-year history together," the statement reads.
“We are making clear that cannabis use is a civil right, and the freedom to choose its use is as constitutional a right as freedom of religion and the pursuit of happiness,” said Weed Not Greed founder David Kowalsky.
"The mission," according to Kowalsky, "is to educate the unknowing and to raise the issue above the level of a key election topic (of which numerous polls now show a majority of Americans favoring legalization) to immediate health and economic concern. The number of neurological and muscular diseases that cannabis can treat is shown in the dozens, including many types of cancer."
Awardees Recognized for Groundbreaking Work to End the War on Drugs
Other Winners Include Seattle Police Department, Global Commission on Drug Policy, and More
The Service Intervention in Addictive Behaviors and Dependencies (SICAD) and its general director Dr. João Castel-Branco Goulão will receive the Norman E. Zinberg Award for Achievement in the Field of Medicine, at the International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Denver on Saturday, October 26. The award recognizes medical and treatment experts who perform rigorous scientific research and who have the courage to report their findings even though they may be at odds with current dogma.
“Portugal’s drug policy stands out as a model for other nations committed to treating drug use and addiction in a health-based and fiscally responsible manner,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA). “I only hope that people in Portugal fully appreciate not just the wisdom of their own drug policies, but also the extent to which Goulão and the Institute have provided international leadership on the issue.”
Serviço de Intervenção nos Comportamentos Aditivos e nas Dependências (SICAD) is an agency in Portugal’s Ministry of Health that is directly responsible for the implementation of the country’s national drug strategy. Its mission is to promote the reduction of harms related to drug misuse and drug addiction.
By Steve Elliott
With Uruguay about to become the first nation on Earth to fully, formally re-legalize cannabis since the the United Nations Single Convention Treaty on Narcotics in 1961, marijuana cultivators there are eagerly preparing for the day when they can openly grow the herb.
"To be a grower, once this is up and running, will be something like a sommelier," said Julio Rey, 38, reports Juan Forero at The Washington Post. Rey already has eight plants in two lighted cabinets.
Under a bill approved by the lower house of Uruguay's General Assembly, and expected to pass the Senate in the coming weeks, citizens will be allowed to grow up to six plants in their homes. Cooperatives of up to 45 members will be allowed to cultivate up to 99 plants for their own use.
Growers in places such as the rural town of Florida, Uruguay, where Rey lives, will also likely cultivate for the larger market, selling to the government. Cannabis will be supplied to pharmacies, the only retail outlets allowed to sell to individual customers. Marijuana smokers will have to sign up on a national registry, and sales to children or foreigners will be prohibited.
By Steve Elliott
Young Vietnamese cannabis users like imported marijuana better than the local product; their taste for Canadian and American cannabis goes along with their penchant for and Adidas and iPhones. Vietnamese youth have long shown preferences for imported goods of all kinds, and weed is no exception.
Potent North American marijuana is "easy to buy" in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City, reports Chris Brummitt of The Associated Press, but it sells for up to 10 times the price of Vietnamese cannabis.
Marijuana is a part of Vietnamese culture, and has long been cultivated locally, as just about any Vietnam veteran could tell you. Despite the tendency of some revisionists to blame the local popularity of cannabis on the departed American troops, it grows wild in much of the country.
The trade in North American pot can be explained by the role Vietnamese gangs play in cultivating it in Canada and the U.S., according to some experts, which makes sourcing it and smuggling it back to Vietnam easier than it would be otherwise.
Vietnamese criminal gangs got into the marijuana cultivation business in North America back in the 1980s; they found a niche and expanded, and now account for a sizable share of the business in Europe as well, according to the AP.
By Steve Elliott
Colorado and Washington, with their new recreational marijuana laws, and the 20 medical marijuana states are grappling with the question of driving under the influence of cannabis. Lawmakers seem to feel some action is required, although there hasn't been anything remotely resembling a rash of marijuana-related accidents, as has been the case with alcohol.
A recent study published in the peer-reviewed medical journal Clinical Chemistry suggests that a marijuana breath test might work for law enforcement to test for THC in drivers, like the "breathalyzer" test performed to determine the level of alcohol intoxication, reports Matt Ferner at The Huffington Post.
The THC blood test which is currently used remains controversial, especially since it involves blood being drawn from the suspect.
According to the new study, scientists collected breath samples from folks who used marijuana four or more times per week, and also from occasional users (fewer than two times per week) after they smoked a joint containing 6.8 percent THC.
By Steve Elliott
The Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB) has selected the firm BioTrackTHC, a division of Bio-Tech Medical Software, Inc., to provide a legal marijuana traceability system to the agency.
Accurately tracking cannabis throughout the entire supply chain (you'd think the stuff was radioactive by how much officials stress over it) is a major component of I-502, Washington's limited legalization initiative approved by voters last year.
BioTrackTHC's tracing system will assist the WSLCB with tracking and monitoring all marijuana cultivation, processing, testing, and retail transaction data by cannabis licensees through the supply chain to help prevent diversion, "promote public safety" (what are they gonna do, make sure a bale of it doesn't fall on someone?) and collect tax revenue (ah, so THAT's why they're so worried about it).
The WSLCB directly notified 785 vendors about the contract opportunity for tracing marijuana; out of 22 proposals submitted, BioTrackTHC was the highest scoring bidder, 1041.65 out of a possible 1200.
"We are absolutely thrilled," said Steven Siegel, CEO of BioTrackTHC. "We are very grateful to all of our existing clients, partners, and other industry friends who have given us invaluable feedback and insights into making BioTrackTHC the most robust and accurate seed-to-sale system on the market.
By Steve Elliott
A Gallup poll released on Tuesday shows 58 percent of voters nationwide “think the use of marijuana should be made legal.” Only 39 percent of respondents said they do not. Support increased by eight percentage points since Gallup asked the same question in October 2011, at which time it found a record-high 50 percent in favor.
The poll is the first conducted by Gallup since voters in Colorado and Washington approved ballot measures making marijuana legal for adults 21 and older and establishing state-regulated systems of marijuana cultivation and sales. It also comes nearly two months after the U.S. Department of Justice announced it would not interfere in the implementation of those state laws and others that effectively regulate marijuana for medical use.
The national poll of 1,028 registered voters was conducted October 3-6 and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent. The full results are available here.
“The dramatically increasing support for making marijuana legal should come as no surprise," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "Marijuana prohibition has been an abject failure. Most Americans realize it is unjust, wasteful, and counterproductive to invest in the criminalization of adults for using a substance that is far less harmful than alcohol.
Government Officials and Legislators from Uruguay, México, and Canada will be briefed by Colorado and Washington officials on Regulations Being Put in Place in the States
With Colorado and Washington State launching the regulated marijuana markets approved by the voters in 2012, the Washington Office on Latin America (WOLA) and the Drug Policy Alliance are hosting an international delegation in Denver this week to learn first hand from Colorado’s experience in regulating marijuana through enacting and implementing Amendment 64.
Comprised of government officials and legislators from Uruguay, México, and Canada, the delegation will be briefed by Colorado and Washington officials on the regulations being put in place in the states. On Tuesday and Wednesday, the delegation will visit cultivation facilities and dispensaries.
As Uruguay moves toward passage of legislation to regulate its domestic marijuana market and the debate over marijuana policy picks up pace in México and Canada, the pioneering steps being taken in Colorado and Washington are being watched closely.
A press conference featuring Jack Finlaw, chief legal counsel to Colorado Governor Hickenlooper, and Barbara Brohl, executive director of the Colorado Department of Revenue, as well as members of the international delegation to discuss the visit and their findings, will be at RiverRock dispensary at 4935 York Street, Denver, on Wednesday, October 23 at 3 p.m.
By Steve Elliott
Uruguay's government will sell legal marijuana for $1 per gram, according to the country's drug czar, though Julio Calzada has given higher estimates in the past.
A law already approved by Uruguay's lower house of Congress and expected to pass in the Senate would make it the South American nation the first in the world to tax and regulate the legal production, distribution and sale of cannabis, reports The Associated Press.
Calzada said marijuana sales should start in the second half of 2014 at the price of $1 per gram, reported the El Pais newspaper on Sunday.
Making money isn't the idea, according to Calzada, but rather the government wants to take the market away from illegal dealers. He had estimated in August that government-sold cannabis would cost about $2.50 per gram.
Unfortunately, Uruguay says it won't allow cannabis tourism; sales are restricted to locals only.
(Photo of Julio Calzada: El Diario de Caracas)
By Steve Elliott
Adam Eidinger, the co-owner of Capital Hemp and leader of DCMJ 2014, is confident that by 2016, a presidential candidate will campaign primarily on the legalization of marijuana. But in the meantime, he's focusing on legalizing in Washington, D.C.
"I imagine the President rolling up a tobacco-marijuana cigarette with John Boehner and sitting on the back porch of the White House to work out their problems," Eidinger said, reports Matt Cohen at dcist.
Eidinger and DCMJ 2014 earlier this year proposed an initiative which would decriminalize marijuana in D.C. The initiative was in support of Councilman Tommy Wells' (D-Ward 6) Marijuana Decriminalization Bill, which would reduce the maximum penalty for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana from six months in prison and a $1,000 fine to just a $100 fine.
But Eidinger officially withdrew that initiative last month, saying that DCMJ 2014 plans to resubmit it as a bid for full legalization of marijuana in the District.
Eidinger and the group have now unveiled the new craft of the marijuana legalization initiative for D.C. Titled "Legalization of Home Cultivation and Possession of Minimal Amounts of Marijuana for Personal Use Act of 2014," it proposes the legalization of possession, use, purchase and transport of up to two ounces of cannabis for people 21 and older.