By Steve Elliott
President Barack Obama on Thursday said he expects more states to legalize marijuana.
In a YouTube interview, Obama discussed cannabis policy and the contrasts between federal and state law, reports Niraj Chokshi at The Washington Post. Four states (Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska) plus the District of Columbia have now legalized marijuana.
“What you’re seeing now is Colorado, Washington through state referenda, they’re experimenting with legal marijuana,” Obama said in response to a question from Hank Green, who with his brother runs a YouTube channel with nearly 2.5 million subscribers.
“The position of my administration has been that we still have federal laws that classify marijuana as an illegal substance, but we’re not going to spend a lot of resources trying to turn back decisions that have been made at the state level on this issue,” Obama said, about 11 minutes into the video embedded below. “My suspicion is that you’re gonna see other states start looking at this.”
By Steve Elliott
Public perceptions of marijuana have certainly shifted. According to a recent study, more Americans now favor banning unpasteurized milk than favor banning marijuana.
About 59 percent of Americans support a ban on the sale of raw, unpasteurized milk, while just 47 percent support a ban on the sale of marijuana, according to Oklahoma State University's Food Demand Survey, reports Sam Frizell at Time Magazine.
A patchwork of different laws regulate raw milk in the U.S., much like marijuana. States like New York and Iowa ban the retail sale of raw milk, while California and Idaho allow it.
Twenty-three states and the District of Columbia have, to a greater or lesser degree, legalized the medicinal use of cannabis; four (Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska) have legalized recreational use. According to NORML, 18 states have removed criminal penalties for marijuana, known as decriminalization, reducing simple possession roughly to the equivalent of a parking ticket.
Photo: The Weed Blog
By Steve Elliott
Talk about a super bowl, man. Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch has a potent new marijuana strain named after him in the Emerald City... for the second year in a row.
Nate "Diggity" Johnson, co-owner of marijuana delivery service Green Umbrella, developed "Beast Mode OG," a strain named after the football star during the run-up to last year's Super Bowl, reports Stephen Cohen at the Seattle PI. Now Johnson and an unnamed grower have released "Beast Mode 2.0," also known as "Beast Mode Blue Fire," just in time for this year's big game.
According to Diggity, this Beast Mode is even crazier than last year's. "We're back in the Super Bowl and better than ever now, so it only makes sense to have a better strain," Johnson said.
Careful, though, you might get weed-tackled.
"There's no way that you're getting by smoking this without feeling it, kind of how Marshawn literally pushes the defense down instead of them pushing him down," Johnson enthused. "It's going to push you. You're going to feel it right away."
"It's a super pain reliever," Johnson told TMZ. "And it hits you like Marshawn -- hard and fast."
By Steve Elliott
A new marijuana-based spray which claims to help women have better sex is hitting the shelves in Colorado this week.
Foria, containing cannabis extract, claims the relaxing properties of weed will help women have better and more satisfying sex, reports Trevor Hughes at USA Today. The spray has been available for a few months in California, but only to people with a medical marijuana authorization; the Colorado roll-out will be to the general public, since adults 21 and over are allowed to buy and use cannabis in the Rocky Mountain State.
The edible, coconut oil-based spray is designed to be sprayed onto the vagina about 30 minutes before sex. It's making its Colorado debut on Thursday at an Aspen marijuana boutique.
Foria originates from Aphrodite Group, a California medical marijuana collective. It's the latest in a growing line of cannabis-infused products, including lotions, candies and patches. The long history of marijuana use gives "significant credibility" to the concept, according to scientists.
"Cannabis is an aphrodisiac," said Genifer Murray, CEO of CannLabs, a leading marijuana-testing company. "And there's a lot of nerves down there."
Foria's slick marketing campaign is setting it apart from its competitors. The company is launching Foria at the X Games in Aspen, which begin January 22. A video on the Foria website features women speaking about how they use it and its effects.
Calling for Alternatives to Drug Testing for “Recreational” Drugs that Aren’t Performance Enhancers
The NCAA announced on Thursday that it plans to re-examine its approach to drug testing student-athletes for recreational drug use. The news comes just days after two University of Oregon football players were suspended for the College Football Playoff national championship game for testing positive for marijuana.
The NCAA Competitive safeguards committee made two recommendations. The first would strengthen the NCAA drug testing for performance-enhancing drugs, while the second would develop alternatives to drug testing for non-performance enhancing drugs like marijuana because “they do not provide a competitive advantage.”
“Given that testing over nearly 30 years hasn’t served as an adequate deterrent – plus the fact that student-athletes who are penalized for recreational drug use by losing eligibility are more likely to drop out of school – the committee suggested the NCAA explore whether a different approach for recreational drugs is warranted,” the NCAA release stated.
According to the statement, the NCAA Sport Science Institute staff will develop a new policy proposal based on those recommendations and will bring the committee’s proposal to the divisional governing bodies in the coming months.
By Steve Elliott
Washington has a weed headache. Implementation of the state's weak, badly written marijuana legalization measure, Initiative 502, continues to be plagued with problems. When legal recreational cannabis shops opened last summer, there was a shortage of weed, and high prices. Now, six months later, there's a glut of weed, as growers are left sitting on hundreds of pounds of product -- but prices are still absurdly high at the 502 stores.
A big autumn harvest of outdoor cannabis from the eastern part of the state flooded the market, reports the Associated Press. That would normally mean plummeting prices at pot shops, but even as growers are worried about going belly up, pot shops continue to charge $23 to $25 a gram -- more than twice the going price either on the street or in medical marijuana dispensaries.
"It's an economic nightmare," said Andrew Seitz, general manager at Dutch Brothers Farms in Seattle.
Licensed growers had harvested 31,000 pounds of marijuana as of Thursday, according to state data, but Washington's few licensed pot shops had sold less than 20 percent of that. Many marijuana users in Washington, faced with ridiculously out-of-synch prices in state marijuana stores, have opted to stick with the less expensive pot they buy on the black market, or at medical marijuana dispensaries.
Legalizing recreational marijuana production, distribution and possession in Vermont could generate significant tax revenues, but also involves costs and important decisions about how best to regulate the substance, according to a new RAND Corporation study.
The report makes clear that if Vermont chooses to remove its prohibition on producing and selling marijuana, lawmakers will have many choices to make about who will supply it, who can buy it, if and how it will be taxed, and how it will be regulated.
The report does not make a recommendation about whether Vermont should change its marijuana laws. Researchers say the goal of the report is to inform, not sway, discussions about the future of marijuana policy in Vermont and other jurisdictions considering alternatives to traditional marijuana prohibition.
The RAND report provides the most-detailed accounting available about the wide number of issues that face state officials -- in Vermont and elsewhere -- when considering alternatives to traditional marijuana prohibition.
“Our conversation about whether to legalize marijuana must be rooted in facts and be transparent about the uncertainties,” said Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin. “This RAND report will serve as a critical foundation for our ongoing discussion about the best course for Vermont.
"I continue to support moves to legalize marijuana in Vermont but have always said that we have to proceed with rigorous research and preparation before deciding whether to act," Shumlin said. "This report will help us do that.”
By Steve Elliott
One political party in Israel is offering marijuana for campaign donations. The only catch is, it's marijuana in the future for campaign donations now.
The gimmick, launched in a YouTube video on Saturday, helped the Green Leaf (Aleh Yarok) party get more than NIS 100,000 ($25,000 US) in donations this week, reports The Jerusalem Post.
Donors who give campaign donations are promised they will receive cannabis if and when the day comes that the plant is legalized in Israel.
The party on Monday morning opened a Headstart fundraising campaign with a range of options for donors. The page includes a sliding scale of hypothetical amounts of marijuana along with corresponding contribution levels.
A donation of NIS 50 ($12.50) entitles the donor to a savings bond redeemable for one gram of marijuana, once it's legalized. That's significantly less than the black market street value of weed in Israel, where it runs NIS 80 to 100 ($20 to $25 US) a gram. By Wednesday, all 56 available for that donation had been purchased.
By Michelle Klampe
Oregon State University
Students at Oregon State University will have a chance to help shape policies related to marijuana legalization in Oregon as part of a new public policy course taught this winter on the OSU campus in Corvallis.
“Marijuana Policy in the 21st Century” is a new sociology course developed by Seth Crawford, an instructor in the School of Public Policy in OSU’s College of Liberal Arts. The course will examine some of the policy issues facing the state following the legalization of recreational marijuana by Oregon voters in November.
“We will be working with policymakers and stakeholders to help answer some of the biggest questions facing the state following the passage of Measure 91,” said Crawford, who is an expert on the policies and market structure of marijuana in Oregon.
Crawford also serves on the state’s Advisory Committee on Medical Marijuana, which advises the director of the Oregon Department of Human Services on administrative aspects of the state’s medical marijuana program. He has provided expert testimony on marijuana-related policies in Oregon.
The new course will examine marijuana control strategies, methods for investigating marijuana markets and recent case studies in legalization.
The course will culminate in the presentation of an evidenced-based, student-directed paper on policy recommendations for the OLCC and the Oregon Health Authority, Crawford said. Policies established by the OLCC will determine how marijuana would be produced, sold and distributed in Oregon.
Sunday 10 AM - 5 PM
305 Harrison Street
Seattle, WA 98109
With the coming of recreational marijuana legalization in Washington state, Seattle Hempfest has put on a suit and tie. A flourishing medical industry and an emerging statewide legal recreational cannabis market mean cannabis businesses are blooming, according to Hempfest, and now the former civil disobedience "protestival" is now providing a showcase for the newly legal businesses.
The Hempfest Business Show, taking place August 15 and 16 at the Seattle Center Exhibition Hall, "is about creating an environment in which these industries flourish & mature," according to Seattle Hempfest.
Running concurrent with Hempfest, which will be taking place a few blocks away, "Hempfest Business will connect business owners with the suppliers of cultivation equipment, packaging, marketing, web design, insurance, nutrients, and the myriad of other products and ancillary services it takes to run a cannabis business in the modern age."
Aimed at those looking for guidance through the complexities of the new frontier market of legal cannabis, the Marijuana Investor Summit is scheduled for April 20-22 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Denver, Colorado.
According to the presenters, you can "Gain an understanding of the industry, including: the markets, the risks, rewards, opportunities and more" through peer-to-peer networking opportunities and educational sessions designed to help attendees share, learn and invest "in this burgeoning frontier space."
Entrepreneurs have the opportunity to be cannabis industry innovators. Whether you have an existing business or want to start one, this is an opportunity to learn the basics of capital raising and working with investors to grow your business to its full potential.
"Network with peers, investors and service providers and learn how to turn your business dreams into reality," the providers suggest. "Service providers—reach your core demographic at the industry’s most comprehensive investment and networking event."
Featured will be educational sessions, peer-to-peer networking, a trade show, special guest speakers, and a live investor pitch session.
“Investors have a unique opportunity to shape a frontier market,” said David Friedman, publisher of MJINews.com. “We’ve designed the Summit and its corresponding investor and entrepreneur boot camps to help investors understand the risks and rewards of investing in legal marijuana and to help them make informed decisions about their investments.
Resource Ventures, Inc., has announced that its streaming media channel, cNation, will be focusing on the many uses of cannabis.
"We've placed a premium on focusing our production efforts on the different ways cannabis is being used in addition to smoking it," said Resource Ventures Interim President Michael Cipolla. "Specifically, edible forms in a wide variety of presentations, including savory main and side dishes, snack and energy foods, desserts, drinks, tinctures, and other extracts.
"As part of our new branding, this content can be found in the cFood section of the channel," Cipolla said. The streaming media channel was formerly known as "One Plant One Planet" before being rebranded as "cNation."
Company research suggests a certain segment of the population is keenly interested in cannabis for a variety of different reasons, but is unfamiliar with the myriad of ways in which it can be ingested beyond smoking it.
"Everyone is familiar with the fact that cannabis is primarily smoked, so we didn't feel a compelling need to place much emphasis on that method of use," Cipolla said. "Rather, we've placed our focus on the different ways cannabis is being used in both commercial and home kitchens to create incredible food and drink selections for both medicinal and recreational uses."
By Steve Elliott
A Northern California Native American tribe has announced it is building a $10 million indoor marijuana cultivation facility just north of Ukiah.
"The tribes are just getting out ahead of the game," said Mendocino County Supervisor Dan Hamburg, reports Glenda Anderson at The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa.
"Legalization is coming," said Dale Gieringer, California state coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). "It looks like it'll be the tribes."
The Pinoleville Pomo Nation has contracted with United Cannabis, based in Colorado, and FoxBarry Companies, based in Kansas, to grow thousands of marijuana plants in greenhouses on its 99-acre rancheria, The Press Democrat reports. FoxBarry -- which, interestingly enough, also invests in tribal casinos -- is bankrolling and managing the project.
This is believed to be the first California tribe to build a large cannabis-growing facility, but at least two more are already planned at other locations in the state -- by the same corporations behind the Ukiah operation. Those two locations are still undisclosed, other that they will be in Central and Southern California.
Monday's 60 Minutes Overtime web-extra segment explores the new tourism industry in Colorado, taking viewers to a party featuring a menu of marijuana-infused food and drink, on a tour bus offering "a smoke and ride tour of Denver," and to a "Bud & Breakfast" -- a new Denver inn that's making the most of the rise of marijuana tourism.
Correspondent Bill Whitaker also shares his insights on the budding industry.
"Well, the folks who handle all the statistics in Colorado will tell you they have no hard and fast numbers," Whitaker said. "But there is some anecdotal evidence.
"We've heard that up in the ski areas, up around the ski resorts, that the dispensaries up there are selling 90 percent of their marijuana product to people from out of state," Whitaker said. "So it seems that people are coming to the mountains for more than just a ski break."
You can see the full segment, featuring footage not seen on the broadcast, here: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/colorado-welcomes-cannabis-curious-tourists/
By Steve Elliott
Not one but two proposed ballot measures to legalize marijuana have emerged on Ohio in the past month.
On Thursday, Ohioans to End Prohibition announced the latest, the Cannabis Control Amendment, which would legalize cannabis sales, use and possession for adults 21 and older, reports the Associated Press. The group hopes to get the measure on the 2016 ballot.
Responsible Ohio in December had announced another proposal which calls for 10 authorized growing locations around the state.
Ohioans to End Prohibition Vice President Jacob Wagner said the new measure was different in that it would not restrict those who want to grow marijuana at home for personal use, just commercial sales.
"Any amendment that might consolidate the prospective economic power of a legal cannabis market in the hands of a chosen few is a raw deal for the people of Ohio," Ohioans to End Prohibition President Sri Kavaru and attorney Jacob Wagner wrote in a Thursday press release.
Kavuru and Wagner said in an interview they planned to announce their plan later this year but announced early after reports surfaced that the group was planning an amendment for the November 2015 ballot, reports Jackie Borchardt of Northeast Ohio Media Group.