The Rhode Island Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a Tuesday hearing regarding a bill that would make marijuana legal for adults and regulate it similarly to alcohol. Supporters of the bill, including a policy expert with experience in implementing and analyzing marijuana regulations in Colorado, are expected to testify.
The Marijuana Regulation, Control, and Taxation Act, or S 510, would allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow one mature marijuana plant in an enclosed, locked space. It would create a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail stores, cultivation facilities, and testing facilities and direct the Department of Business Regulation to create rules regulating security, labeling, and health and safety requirements.
It would also establish wholesale excise taxes at the point of transfer from the cultivation facility to a retail store, as well as a special sales tax on retail sales to consumers.
One of the expected speakers, Jordan Wellington, worked closely with the Colorado state government to establish the systems called for by the 2012 passage of a ballot initiative, Amendment 64, which made retail marijuana legal for adults there. In 2013, Wellington served as the sole legislative staffer assigned to shepherd the legislation relating to the implementation of Amendment 64 and the legalization of marijuana through the Colorado General Assembly.
Members of the public now have unprecedented access to data about Washington state's legal cannabis industry through the Cannabis Transparency Project (CTP).
The CTP is an open source web application for processing and visually representing information released by the state as part of the Washington State Marijuana Traceability System database via a public records request, the Cannabis and Social Policy Center, in conjunction with the Cannabis Commodities Exchange, announced on Friday.
"The idea is to encourage transparency and legitimate trade practices in the industry by providing a user-friendly interface so that anyone can navigate through and discuss this large amount of data," said project developer Will Farley, CTO of CCX.
Farley said he hopes other developers will contribute to the project, so that this open resource can become "a powerful tool to inform the public about cannabis."
"This amount and type of data regarding cannabis has never been available for comprehensive analysis before," said CASP Executive Director Dr. Dominic Corva. "For the first time, for example, we can examine evidence for potency clustering and differentiation across dozens of cultivars. There are many, many other questions that can be answered using this information."
After using the system for a few days, CASP Affiliate Researcher Dr. Jim MacRae emphatically said, "In one week with this tool, I've been able to generate more meaningful insight into the state of cannabis potency testing in Washington than I was able to in three weeks using the tools I traditionally use.
SIPP Industries, Inc., a conglomerate corporation that specializes in technology, import and export of commercial and consumer products, on Tuesday announced the initial sale of Sipp's Advanced Plasma Lighting (APL) to a strategic partner located in Colorado involved with the commercial development of cannabis grow operations.
"This initial order will be evaluated by our partner in the Colorado market to determine potential and feasibility for larger scale deployment in excess of 100 Sipp lights over the next 6-12 months," said Sipp CEO Syman Vong. "It is our mission to be the leader in consulting large scale commercial grow operations seeking higher efficiency lighting solutions with a focus on key recreational markets such as Colorado.
"Advanced Plasma Lighting is still in its infancy and we are taking a consultative approach to larger scale engagements that wish to test Sipp APL technology for proof of concept and beyond," Vong said.
In comparison to other grow lighting systems plasma can save up to 50 percent in energy consumption while significantly decreasing or eliminating the need for costly ventilation systems. More importantly, plasma lighting is the only technology that provides the fullest spectrum available which enhances the quality of the grow operation from vegetation to flowering stages compared with HID, HPS, and LED lighting systems, according to Sipp Industries.
By Steve Elliott
The organizers behind a marijuana legalization drive in Michigan on Tuesday withdrew their petition, saying they plan to submit new language later.
The Michigan Cannabis Coalition told the Michigan Board of State Canvassers of the move on Tuesday, reports the Associated Press. The group had been expected to have its petition approved by the board.
The legislation would require 252,000 valid voter signatures before going to the GOP-led Michigan Legislature. If lawmakers took no action or rejected the bill, it would go before the voters in November 2016.
Several anonymous people from the agricultural, real estate, insurance and education sectors are backing the bill through the Michigan Cannabis Coalition. The state could add jobs and tax revenue by legalizing and regulating cannabis for recreational purposes, according to the group.
Michigan already allows marijuana for medicinal purposes.
With marijuana legal in more and more states, one issue that arises repeatedly is child safety.
Stashlogix wants to help keep marijuana where it belongs — in the hands of responsible adults.
With an integrated combination lock and strong odor barriers, Stashlogix says its container prevents kids from stumbling across a cannabis-infused hard candy that Dad uses to ease his back pain, or to stop a teenager from not only finding the stash of Maui Waui, but smoking it.
This simple solution to a serious problem pulls it off in style, too. These are not bags emblazoned with pot leaves and Rastafarian colors. Instead, Stashlogix line of three containers look more like cases for high-end camera equipment, or smartphone accessories.
“As a family man, I hunted for a container that could hold cannabis products discretely, and that would stop my kids from ever gaining access to it,” said Stashlogix founder Skip Stone. “But I could not find anything that was lightweight, lockable and portable.
"Most of the products were heavy boxes," Stone said. "The others were gaudy with nods and winks to stoner culture. Neither of these options appealed to me. So I designed Stashlogix.”
By Steve Elliott
Michigan state Rep. Brandon Dillon (D-Grand Rapids) on Wednesday said he supports legalizing and taxing marijuana, and using the proceeds for state road repairs and other funding issues.
Dillon said legalization will not only benefit the state by bringing in more funds, but will also give law enforcement more time to concentrate their efforts on violence and property crime, reports Fox 17 News.
In states like Colorado, where cannabis is already legalized, violent crime has fallen 6.9 percent, according to Dillon. He also pointed to several cities across Michigan, including his hometown of Grand Rapids, which have recently voted to decriminalize pot.
"We know that attitudes are quickly changing," Dillon wrote in a May 19 guest editorial on MLive.com. "Recent surveys show that more than half of Michigan residents are in favor of legalizing, regulating and taxing the adult use of marijuana."
While legalization won't be a panacea for all of Michigan's challenges, "However, taking marijuana off the black market will generate much needed revenue, allow us to redeploy law enforcement resources to focus on violent and property crime, and ease the tax burden on the middle class," Dillon wrote.
"Our current marijuana laws are broken," Dillon wrote. "It is time to fix them."
A cannabis documentary called Pot (the movie) recently had its world premiere at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival. The film is unlike any other on the subject, covering the most common misconceptions and under communicated aspects of marijuana. While the medical side is slowly becoming better understood, the movie also brings to light the public health aspect of the recreational side, presenting cannabis as safer than alcohol.
Michael Hope is an artist, musician and the independent filmmaker behind Pot (the movie). He is on a grassroots mission to educate the public and inspire change when it comes to the perception and legislation of cannabis.
“For the last 90 years or so, there has been a huge misinformation campaign against marijuana,” said Hope. “There are people struggling with disease and disabilities who could benefit from legislative changes related to cannabis use.”
Hope’s goal is to deliver widespread viewing of his movie, which advocates for pragmatic laws for recreational and medicinal use while introducing people to some of the exciting science about cannabis in a digestible and entertaining way. Through a crowdfunding campaign themed “Hope for Liberty and Justice,” he plans to raise $150,000 to help promote the film and make it as accessible as possible with a town-hall style tour offering low or no-cost screenings.
“I firmly believe that once people are informed and understand the benefits, they will stand up and support this movement,” said Hope. “People will care if we educate them.”
Baker, an order-ahead and loyalty platform for the burgeoning Colorado marijuana industry, has launched publicly. During a successful three-month beta run, dispensaries saw thousands of dollars of orders coming through the Baker app, which allows customers to reserve up to an ounce of their favorite cannabis strain and skip the line.
Dispensaries can easily list their menus, manage inventory, post real time specials and manage loyalty programs on the app, according to the company. Customers order ahead, browse member-only specials and earn loyalty rewards at their favorite dispensaries, and have their order waiting when they arrive.
With more than 400 licensed recreational and medical marijuana dispensaries and hundreds of millions of dollars in sales in Colorado, Baker fills a pressing need for the kind of reservation and loyalty tools which have revolutionized other industries, according to CEO Joel Milton.
The app, which is launching in Colorado with 20 dispensaries, is rapidly adding locations within Denver and in the coming months will expand to other cities with legal marijuana nationwide, according to Milton.
“We currently have a waiting list (well over 1,000+ people and 20+ dispensaries) so that each new user and dispensary has the best possible experience when they first use Baker,” Milton said.
He noted that demand at dispensaries has grown so fast, that many locations often have lines out the door, with the regular customers who know what they want waiting alongside tourists who want to linger and ask a lot of questions.
Four Western Washington recreational retail marijuana businesses this month failed compliance checks conducted by the Washington State Liquor Control Board (WSLCB).
Officers, working with underage investigative aides, checked 22 businesses for sales of marijuana to minors. The first checks represent an 82 percent no-sales-to-minors compliance rate.
The four businesses will be cited for selling marijuana to minors. The individuals who sold the marijuana will be referred to their respective prosecuting attorney’s office for potential criminal prosecution.
The WSLCB and local authorities regularly conduct compliance checks of area businesses licensed to sell alcohol. The checks, conducted May 15-18 in Skagit, Snohomish, Kitsap, Pierce and Cowlitz Counties, were the first marijuana compliance checks.
The checks followed a recent communication to all licensees that enforcement officers were beginning compliance checks and recommended best practices for avoiding an illegal sale.
Compliance checks are proven tools to reduce the sale of age-restricted products to minors, according to the WSLCB. Investigative aides assist officers with compliance checks. These individuals are from 18 to 20 years old. They must either present their true identification or none at all if asked by a clerk.
Liquor enforcement officers are empowered to issue Administrative Violation Notices to businesses that fail compliance checks. Fines or temporary license suspensions can be issued depending on the severity of the infraction or the frequency with which a business has been cited.
By Steve Elliott
Presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders on Tuesday hinted at support for marijuana legalization, saying police didn't focus on arresting people for pot when he was mayor of Burlington, Vermont.
Sanders, an independent Senator from Vermont, indicated an openness to legalization during an online question and answer session on Reddit.com.
"I can tell you very few people were arrested for smoking marijuana [when I was mayor]," Sanders said. "Our police had more important things to do."
Sanders, who describes himself as a socialist, is running for the Democratic nomination for President. He said he supports decriminalizing cannabis in Vermont, and is watching the situation in Colorado "very closely."
"Colorado has led the effort toward legalizing marijuana and I'm going to watch very closely to see the pluses and minuses of what they have done," Sanders said. "I will have more to say about this issue within the coming months."
Sanders, who announced in April that he's running for President, has acknowledged using marijuana when he was younger, reports Matt Ferner at The Huffington Post. He has been an outspoken critic of the War On Drugs, telling Time magazine in 2014 that he had "real concerns" about American drug policy.
Medical marijuana dispensaries are slated for extinction in Washington state, thanks to the passage of SB 5052 by the Legislature. But the R76 NO campaign would head off 5052 at the pass, essentially nullifying the law through the voter referendum process.
The R76 NO campaign, representing as it does a way out of the death sentence imposed upon the medical marijuana community in Washington as we've known it for the past 17 years, is gaining a lot of support statewide, but one recurring question has been where supporters can get signature sheets so that they can help the referendum qualify for the November ballot. Due to the untiring efforts of Washington activist Don Skakie, medical marijuana supporters can now go to any full service FedEx location in the state and get printed, double-sided, 11x17 Referendum 76 signature sheets for just 12 cents each.
According to Skakie, all you have to do is ask for File Retrieval Code 2EE4248 under Account Discount #0589281101 to print the signature sheets. "We have been given permission to use this account from the Georgetown Cultural Arts Center," Skakie said. "YOU MUST PAY FOR THESE COPIES, but the activity will benefit the Center by helping them meet their annual minimum purchases to keep their account open at these prices. Go and do great things!"
Logistics Trust, Inc. has launched a subsidiary named Doobster, a mobile application and platform that allows a consumer of legal marijuana to order products from their smartphones, tablets or computer and have the products delivered to their physical location. The company said it is launching in 15 states.
Started as a logistics and compliance consulting company in January 2013 by Scott Abadjian, founder and CEO, Logistics Trust said it now plans to provide consumers with a user-friendly, on-demand mobile (SaaS) platform.
"Consumers can register and order products quickly and with confidence," the company announced in a press release. "Products are delivered to a consumer’s location within minutes by using smart algorithms, advanced routing, heat maps, GPS, location services and other techniques."
“Doobster is not Uber for marijuana; we are more than a marijuana delivery app,” Abadjian said. "The Company intends to make the term 'doobster' synonymous with quality logistics and compliance facilitation services within the legal marijuana industry.
"Another objective of the Company is to create long-term value for its customers and business partners through the quality of its technology and services, its ability to facilitate compliance with applicable state and local laws, and its active commitment to helping customers and business partners build wealth," Abadjian said.
Doobster Platform users will include the following parties:
• State-authorized Cooperatives/Collectives/Dispensaries (“vendors”; “dispensaries”);
By Steve Elliott
Marijuana-infused coffee has been around awhile, but now you can get cannabis-infused Keurig-style coffee pods.
Seattle recreational marijuana store Uncle Ike's Pot Shop has started selling "Catapult" K-Cup style coffees infused with cannabis, reports Meredith Engel at the New York Daily News.
The pods, made by Fairwinds Manufacturing, work in single-serving coffeemakers and include 10 milligrams of THC, the principal psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. That's not a big dose, but it's the maximum allowed by Washington state in recreational cannabis edibles.
The pods cost $10 each, and that's a bargain, according to Uncle Ike's sales manager Jennifer Lanzador. "People might scoff at the price, but when you think of Starbucks (charging) $4, $5 a cup anyway, and you get the nice kick of THC, it's really not an expensive price at all," she said.
"It's delicious," Lanzador said. "Sometimes with edibles you'll get that real pot flavor, (but) I did not notice much of a pot taste."
With both energy-boosting and calming effects, it reminded her of a Red Bull/vodka cocktail, Lanzador said. "I had more energy, but I still had the relaxation you get from cannabis," she said, reports Mary Beth Quirk at Consumerist.
A new Harris Poll finds that the growing acceptability of marijuana among state lawmakers reflects attitudinal shifts amongst the general American public since 2011. Support for the legalization of marijuana for both medical treatment and recreational use has increased by seven percentage points over the past four years.
Currently, four in five adults (81 percent) favor legalizing marijuana for medical use, up from 2011 when three quarters of Americans (74 percent) indicated the same. Meanwhile, according to Harris, half of Americans are supportive of legalizing marijuana for recreational use (49 percent), up from the two fifths (42 percent) who felt that way in 2011.
• Nearly nine in ten Democrats and Independents are in favor of legalizing marijuana for medical treatment (87 percent & 86 percent, respectively) and over half support recreational use (58 percent & 55 percent, respectively)
• While a majority - albeit a slimmer one - of Republicans also support the legalization medical marijuana (69 percent support, 23 percent oppose), a similar majority opposes legalizing marijuana for recreational use (27 percent support, 65 percent oppose).
These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,221 U.S. adults surveyed online between February 11 and 17, 2015. Full results of this study, including data tables, can be found here.
Federal law or each state for itself?
The Texas House of Representatives Criminal Jurisprudence Committee on Wednesday approved a bill 5-1 that would end marijuana prohibition in the state.
HB 2165, introduced in March by Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview), would strike references to marijuana offenses from Texas statutes, resulting in marijuana being treated similarly to other legal crops.
Nearly three out of five Texas voters (58 percent) support making marijuana legal for adults and regulating it like alcohol, according to a statewide survey conducted by Public Policy Polling in September 2013.
Four states have adopted laws that regulate and tax marijuana similarly to alcohol. Two of them, Colorado and Washington, have established regulated systems of marijuana cultivation and sales. Alaska and Oregon are in the process of implementing similar systems.
“Marijuana prohibition’s days are numbered in the Lone Star State," said Heather Fazio, Texas political director for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP). "Texas voters recognize that punishing adults for consuming a substance that is safer than alcohol is a waste of law enforcement resources and an affront to individual liberty. It appears most of the committee members agree.
“State officials are increasingly becoming fed up with the failed federal government policy of marijuana prohibition, and they’re taking action," Fazio said. "Like most Americans, most Texans are ready for a more sensible, fiscally sound marijuana policy.”