Coinciding with the release of the Apple Watch on April 20, a Seattle-based multimedia company, Higher Ground, has created a parody ad to bring attention to marijuana legalization. The ad, “WeedWatch,” features a photo of the iWatch with the simple text, “Time for a Change: Legalize It.” A variety of marijuana-related icons and apps are featured on the device’s face.
One of the most innovative features of Apple’s Watch is the ability for users to customize the face of the device, and add additional information. In Higher Ground’s parody, they have taken the liberty to do just that!
The watch face is full of humorous and advocacy-related apps including NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), SXSW, Leafly (a Yelp-like mobile app for marijuana), 7-11, Cannabis News Network, and Doritos. The time? 4:20.
“The Apple Watch is a revolutionary product, and the legalization of marijuana in states across the country is also a revolutionary movement,” notes Higher Ground Editor-in-Chief Michael A. Stusser. “The message of our parody is as simple as the solution to the War on Drugs: Legalize It. It’s time to end Prohibition, and legalize, regulate and tax cannabis at the federal level.”
LEAD Establishes Unique Collaboration Among Law Enforcement, Human Service Agencies, Business Leaders, and Community Members
Interest in LEAD Grows Among Major Cities Across the Nation, Including New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Houston, Atlanta, and Albany
According to a new, independent study by a University of Washington evaluation team, one of the nation’s most innovative and promising approaches to ending the War On Drugs and mass incarceration has been shown to produce a dramatic drop in recidivism.
In 2011, Seattle launched "Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion" (LEAD), a bold new harm reduction-oriented approach to address low-level drug and prostitution crimes and break the cycle of addiction, joblessness and homelessness. Under LEAD, police officers exercise discretion to divert individuals for certain criminal offenses (including low-level drug sales) to a case manager and a comprehensive network of services, instead of booking them to jail and initiating the standard criminal justice process.
LEAD established a unique collaboration between multiple stakeholders who all work together to find new ways to solve old problems. Stakeholders include police, district attorneys, mental health and drug treatment providers, housing providers and other service agencies, the business community, public defenders, elected officials, and community leaders.
By Steve Elliott
A Spokane woman who owned a medical marijuana dispensary has, for now, come out on top in a long fight with the Department of Revenue over taxes.
Rhonda Duncan, who owned Club Compassion, was raided by the Drug Enforcement Administration four years ago. They warned her to shut down, but she refused, reports Shawn Chitnis at KREM.
Duncan then became embroiled in a struggle with the Department of Revenue over whether she owed the agency sales tax from her dispensary.
"It's been rough; my bank accounts have been seized, I can't have a bank account until this has been resolved," Duncan said.
The agency said that medical marijuana needed to be taxed; Duncan believes it shouldn't be taxed because it is medicine. She said she had lost $60,000 in the fight, and has struggled to make ends meet.
"It was just a witch hunt and it put me through so much stress," she said.
But a Superior Court ruling said medical marijuana sales are exempt from retail sales tax, reversing what the Department of Revenue had told her for years.
Duncan hopes to get back into the medical marijuana business, and she's hoping other dispensaries can make the same argument when also faced with tax challenges from the Department of Revenue.
The Department of Revenue is expected to appeal the decision.
As marijuana legalization has spread to new states and regions, the regulatory framework of the industry has struggled to adapt. How to ensure product safety via scientific testing has been a popular debate, and some legal markets have mandated testing for cannabis producers and retailers.
Ganjapreneur, a cannabis industry publication focused on business news and culture, recently published an interview with Dr. Michelle Sexton of PhytaLab about her take on cannabis testing regulations.
Dr. Sexton founded PhytaLab in 2010, and she has also served as a consultant to the Washington State Liquor Control Board on the implementation of I-502, the state’s bill which led to the legalization of marijuana for recreational use. She is a member of the International Cannabinoid Research Society, the International Association for Cannabinoid Medicines, and the Society of Cannabis Clinicians, and she is also an avid surfer and rock climber.
In the interview, Sexton explains how the lack of federal recognition of legal cannabis markets has made scientific research very difficult. "Due to the federal status, crowd-sourced science has virtually replaced clinical research, being 'loosely' conducted without the usual controls or theoretical frameworks," Dr. Sexton said.
By Steve Elliott
The Washington state Military Department has agreed to pay $110,000 to a King County marijuana activist and a Seattle attorney to settle a long-running public records lawsuit centered around the Washington National Guard's counterdrug task force.
Activist John Worthington of Renton and attorney William Crittenden sought the release of flight records and other documents, reports Adam Ashton at the Tacoma News Tribune.
Worthington, 51, had tried to get the records since 2008 under Washington's Public Records Act, which applies to state agencies. King County Sheriff's deputies seized six marijuana plants from Worthington's home in 2007.
"They went after me because I'm an activist, and I've been terrorized out of growing," Worthington told the Seattle PI at the time, reports Curtis Cartier at Seattle Weekly. "I can't have my kids frisked like they're criminals. That was disgusting. I'm not Al Capone -- I'm a dad."
The National Guard wasn't involved in that raid, but Worthington views the Guard's involvement as a federal entity in a state counterdrug task force as a violation of federal law prohibiting military authorities from participating in domestic law enforcement.
By Steve Elliott
Former two-term New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson, now CEO of a marijuana company, on Sunday told an audience of cannabis industry representatives that voters, not politicians, are behind the legalization movement, and he called Washington state's troubled implementation of legalization Initiative 502 a "worst-case scenario."
Johnson, a vocal advocate of legalization and former Presidential candidate who plans to run again next year, gave the keynote speech at the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian. About 750 people attended the conference, according to organizers.
Johnson, CEO of Cannabis Sativa, a publicly traded company producing marijuana-infused products.
When it comes to Washington's botched implementation of flawed legalization Initiative 502, Johnson was very critical of the over-taxation of cannabis in that model.
"How are they going to regulate it and make it a legal product? They have screwed it up as bad as they possibly can," Johnson said. "They have taxed it to the level where if you are a prior user of marijuana, prior to it being legal in Washington, you are still consuming it on the black market because of how expensive it is. It's the worst-case scenario and they have it playing out in Washington state."
"Pay attention to how you are taxing it," Johnson said. "You are moving the entire industry from a black market.
Mary's Medicinals on Tuesday announced that its entire product line is now available through medical cannabis dispensaries in Northern California.
To meet the growing need for accurately dosed, discreet medical cannabis options, Mary's offers a variety of isolated and blended cannabinoids that have been reported to treat a number of conditions.
"The power of cannabis as a treatment for many conditions has been clearly established," said Nicole Smith, CEO of Mary's Medicinals. "But, many patients are hesitant to use the traditional cannabis products on the market today. Not everyone wants to smoke joints or associate their medication with lollipops and gummy bears.
"With Mary's clinical grade extractions and accurate dosing mechanisms, patients are finding relief that is more effective, more reliable and more targeted than anything else available," Smith said. "We're thrilled to have found an amazing team of professionals with expertise in both chemistry and patient care to bring our products to California."
Mary's Medicinals has already established itself as one of the most trusted and innovative producers of canna-based products in Colorado and Washington. Mary's was first to offer THCa and CBN products; discovered harvesting techniques for the isolation of CBC, and continues to develop cutting edge approaches for isolating, manufacturing and delivering medicinal cannabis.
By Steve Elliott
Just a few days after it opened, the nation's only government-run marijuana shop was running low on weed. Open for just a few days, manager Robyn Legun, 36, was frantically trying to restock. "If I don't get this order in this morning, we're going to be out for the weekend," Legun fretted. Someone joked about a typical government operation, always running late.
But this government store is far from typical, reports Todd C. Frankel at The Washington Post. This store -- Cannabis Corner, in North Bonneville, Washington, deep in the Columbia River Gorge -- sells dozens of strains of marijuana, along with pot-infused cookies and coffee, glass bongs, and rolling papers.
And the store does all of this at the direction of the North Bonneville Public Development Authority, making the city government dependent on this once-illegal drug for cash flow.
Legun managed a Bed Bath & Beyond in a previous job, but now she leads a team of 10 city employees trained to sell marijuana. These days, she's placing orders for Blue Magoo, Purple Kush and Pineapple Express.
"I can't believe this is my life," she said.
Three remaining Kettle Falls Five defendants found guilty of manufacturing less than 100 plants, likely to appeal
In an unexpected Tuesday verdict, the jury in a widely watched federal medical marijuana case from eastern Washington State, known as the Kettle Falls Five, acquitted the three remaining defendants of all but one charge of manufacturing less than 100 marijuana plants.
The charge carries no mandatory minimum sentence and defendants Rhonda Firestack-Harvey, 56, her son Rolland Gregg, 33, and daughter-in-law Michelle Gregg, 36, remain free until sentencing on June 10 at 10 am.
In a prosecution and week-long trial that used up roughly $2 million, the Obama Administration aggressively pursued marijuana trafficking charges against a family of patients who claimed to have been growing for themselves in full compliance with Washington State's medical marijuana law. The Department of Justice (DOJ) also chose to try them in defiance of a recent Congressional ban on DOJ interference in the implementation of state law.
By Steve Elliott
With laws taking effect last week legalizing recreational marijuana in both Alaska and Washington, D.C., a researcher into the history of cannabis has predicted the next five U.S. states where voters will likely approve the use of pot for relaxation and enjoyment.
University of Kansas geography professor Barney Warf, author of "High Points: An Historical History of Cannabis," published in the peer-reviewed Geographical Review in September 2014, said legalization can be "hard to predict," but he made his forecast of the next states expected to legalize, "based on current laws and voter leanings."
"All five of these states have legal medical marijuana and tend to be liberal or libertarian in voting patterns," Warf said.
The Next Five States Where Recreational Marijuana Could Be Legal
1. California: "Recreational cannabis almost was legalized in the past, and California voters are sure to do so in 2016," Warf said.
2. Nevada:: "Nevada shares the libertarian sentiments of Alaska."
3. Vermont: "There's a strong liberal tradition there in Vermont."
4. Illinois: "The Land of Lincoln is surprisingly progressive on this issue."
5. New York:: "New York legalized medical marijuana last year."
The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) is launching its first cultivation-focused conference and expo, The Cultivation Management Symposium, March 14-16 in Seattle, Washington.
The conference, designed for cannabis industry professionals, will bring together leading minds in the cultivation arena for three days of education, product discovery, and networking. More than 400 attendees, more than 30 exhibitors, and dozens of speakers will share best practices in the rapidly evolving fields of cultivation and horticulture.
Keynote speakers include:
• Alex Cooley, Solstice Grow
• Jonathan Valdman, Forever Flowering Greenhouses
• Amy Poinsett, MJ Freeway
• Jan Carlos Byl and Adam Dunn, MedCanna Consulting
• Jennifer Martin, Bulbulyan Consulting Group
• Phillip Hague, Mindful
• Stephen Keen, Surna
• Jay Czarcowski, Canna Advisors
NCIA's Cultivation Management Symposium is positioned to give cannabis industry professionals a wide spectrum of information on cultivation, with topics ranging from horticulture science to operational efficiency. An array of experienced speakers will provide attendees with actionable solutions needed to drive return-on-investment for cannabis cultivation.
Topics of discussion will include:
• Sustainable approaches to commercial cannabis cultivation
• Analyzing harmful contaminants
• Cultivation practices: Soil-less mediums, alternative nutrients, outdoor, and greenhouse
• Facility design and operations
• HR and talent acquisition
• Cultivation science: Genetics, strain creation, tissue culture
The Ribbon Cutting for Higher Leaf, a recreational marijuana store based in Kirkland, Washington, will be held on Thrursday, February 26.
"We are thrilled to announce the Grand Opening Celebration for Higher Leaf, Kirkland’s premiere Recreational Marijuana Store," reads an prepared press release from Higher Leaf's Molly Honig. "The official Ribbon Cutting Ceremony, which will be co-hosted by the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce is on Thursday, February 26th at 5:30 pm. Representatives from both the Kirkland Chamber of Commerce and the Kirkland City Council will be in attendance."
"We will have product specials and demonstrations at the main event and throughout the weekend of February 26th-March 1st," the release promises. "Representatives from Zoots, Craft Elixirs, Verdelux Chocolates, Liberty Reach, Confidence Labs, and several growers will be on hand for product demonstrations and some will provide non-infused samples of their products."
"We will also have a full menu of of marijuana flower, marijuana infused products, edibles, concentrates and paraphernalia available for purchase," Higher Leaf spokesperson Molly Honig confirmed to Hemp News Thursday evening.
Consumption of marijuana or marijuana infused products on the premises is not permitted so demonstrations will be done with non-infused products or household spices. Snacks will be available at the ribbon cutting event for anyone with a case of the munchies, according to Higher Leaf.
By Steve Elliott
The City of North Bonneville, Washington, a community of about a thousand residents on the Columbia River, doesn't appear extraordinary at first glance, but it's unique in one way: It's about to become the first municipality in the state to run its own marijuana store.
The city is just weeks from getting a license to open the store, which local officials said could serve as a model for other cities across the state, reports Bill Conroy at The Narcosphere.
North Bonneville was founded on the timber industry, which is now in steep decline, so it counts on tourism as a major economic force. The city's just 45 miles northeast of Portland, Oregon, another state which recently legalized recreational cannabis.
But city leaders said tourism wasn't the driving force behind their decision to open a marijuana store. North Bonneville Mayor Don Stevens said the city wanted to seize control of its own destiny in the evolution of a legal cannabis market that holds great promise, even while pockets of hard-core opposition to pot continue to exist.
Defendant Larry Harvey will argue that new Congressional measure forbids the DOJ from prosecuting his family
A motion to dismiss will be heard in federal court Thursday, February 12, in a widely watched medical marijuana case involving a family from rural northeastern Washington State. Larry Harvey, 71, and other family members of the so-called "Kettle Falls Five" have moved for dismissal of their case, arguing that a recently enacted Congressional measure forbids the Department of Justice (DOJ) from prosecuting them.
What: Hearing on a motion to dismiss in the widely watched federal medical marijuana case of the Kettle Falls Five
When: Thursday, February 12 at 10 am
Where: Courtroom 902 of the Spokane Federal Courthouse, 920 West Riverside Ave, Spokane, WA 99201
"Prosecuting persons who may be operating in compliance with state medical marijuana laws prevents states from implementing their own laws," reads one of the motions to dismiss written by Harvey's attorney Robert Fischer. Harvey's motion argues that state law is undermined by discouraging lawful patients from accessing medical marijuana because of the threat of federal prosecution.
Harvey also argues that "federal prosecutions take away Washington's authority to determine for itself whether someone is in compliance with its laws or not."
By Steve Elliott
A number of I-502 applicants who want to run legal marijuana businesses in the state of Washington have been alarmed by a solicitation from a company about an impending universal February deadline, according to a Wednesday morning email from the Washington State Liquor Control Board.
The letter warns of the supposed impending deadline for applicants to "get set up" and that the Liquor Control Board will "no longer wait for your plan to come together."
"We have money and a location and resources are are local honest hard working successful business people looking for like-minded people," the solicitation letter reads. "We are not brokers or big venture capitalists nor are we promising that anyone will make millions in this new industry."
"Those licenses that held out hoping to come up with a plan later may actually lose out and your license could now be worthless," the letter claimed. "The WSLCB will no longer wait for your plan to come together or moratoriums being lifted, they have goals and must achieve them."
"WSLCB expected you to have your plans which included funds and a location ready when you applied and their patience is wearing thin," the solicitation letter goes on (evidently someone is practicing their "Scolding a Stoner" skills).
"This has caused some alarm among applicants and led to calls to the Liquor Control Board," Wednesday morning's email from the WSLCB reads. "Those claims are not true."