December, 2017

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Double Celebration: New Year and Legalized Marijuana

Double Celebration: New Year and Legalized Marijuana

At midnight Monday, recreational marijuana becomes legal in California. But not everyone who uses marijuana is cheering it’s new legal status.

Magnolia Wellness Center, a dispensary in Oakland, held a New Year’s Eve party to celebrate 2018 and the pot milestone it brought with it.

While some say marijuana legalization will end the negative stigma around using pot, others say it could also price people out.

Aaron Schleifer of Castro Valley toasted to a new era in California with a tonic infused with cannabis. He has been smoking pot for the past 30 years, but he’s worried about pot’s new legal status.

“The number of regulations and taxes and controls are going to go up – a lot!” he said. “So it’s going to be a lot more expensive to buy. A lot more expensive for people to run a business.”

Schleifer is not alone.

Magnolia’s Katie Rabinowitz and others at Sunday’s double celebration referred to the new marijuana law as the end of Prohibition.

“The end goal has always been ending prohibition. And it’s been a long road,” she said.

It also marks the start to a complicated set of new rules and regulations. Rabinowitz said part of Sunday night’s party was to help explain some of the changes coming. For example, there will be a 15 percent increase in the excise tax levied on all marijuana products sold. And the state has decreased the amount that is now considered a legal serving size. She argued that could hurt consumers. But she remains optimistic.

“We are celebrating new territory,” Rabinowitz said. “This is something we in California have never done before.”

Vendors at the party also see it as a positive step. Their issue is how the new laws can vary from city to city, which makes it hard to sell. Especially for mom-and-pop shops.

“It makes it so that only the big cats are getting first, with the most money, the most lawyers, the most everything, which hurts the small guys,” said Tiffany Conroy of Emerald Alchemy.

Many vendors also fear the new legal economy could struggle if the black market continues to thrives in the face of regulations. And there could a backlash if people grow their own product at home to keep costs down.

Right now, there about 90 retailers with a license to begin selling recreational marijuana. But people in San Francisco won’t be allowed to buy until Thursday.

California Pot Shops Prepare for First Day of Legal Recreational Marijuana Sales

California Pot Shops Prepare for First Day of Legal Recreational Marijuana Sales

A customer peruses the merchandise at the medical marijuana dispensary MedMen in West Hollywood on Dec. 31, 2017. (Credit: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

A customer peruses the merchandise at the medical marijuana dispensary MedMen in West Hollywood on Dec. 31, 2017. (Credit: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times)

Pot dispensaries in Southern California were scrambling Sunday to prepare for their first day of legal recreational marijuana sales, with a historic state law permitting such businesses set to take effect New Year’s Day.

“We are excited. We just got our state license on Saturday … so immediately there was extra energy in everyone’s step,” said Robert Taft Jr., founder of the medical marijuana dispensary 420 Central in Santa Ana. “Being part of history is an amazing thing.”

Taft said he brought in five new cash registers and hired six additional “budtenders” in preparation for the new law. He also doubled his inventory and consulted with his attorneys daily to ensure his store was in full compliance.

In addition, Taft has increased the store’s security, adding 24-hour armed guards. Selling recreational marijuana is an all-cash business.

Read the full story on LATimes.com.

36.778261 -119.417932

Source: California Pot Shops Prepare for First Day of Legal Recreational Marijuana Sales

CNN's Randi Kaye Reports Live With Lit Marijuana Joint on NYE Telecast

CNN's Randi Kaye Reports Live With Lit Marijuana Joint on NYE Telecast

Journalist Randi Kaye joined marijuana enthusiasts in Denver during this year’s annual coverage.

CNN anchor Randi Kaye rang in the New Year from Denver, Co. on Sunday’s NYE coverage on the news network.

Reporting live from the Mile High City, Kaye joined denizens of the Cannibus, a party bus loaded with marijuana enthusiasts, and showed off a gas mask bong to hosts Andy Cohen and Anderson Cooper via satellite. 

After explaining how the bong worked (without partaking) Kaye handed it off to a local Denver citizen who showed the smoking apparatus in action, taking a mighty puff from the mask as Kaye lit the bowl. 

Kaye was quick to assure Cooper and Cohen that marijuana use was legal in Denver.  

Later in the broadcast, Kaye reported from a “puff, pass and paint party” where she appeared on-air holding a burning joint, though she did not take a pull from it. Kaye traversed the party, chatting with smokers painting their works and holding her own joint.

Source: CNN's Randi Kaye Reports Live With Lit Marijuana Joint on NYE Telecast

California pot shops prepare for their first day of legal recreational marijuana sales

California pot shops prepare for their first day of legal recreational marijuana sales

Pot dispensaries in Southern California were scrambling Sunday to prepare for their first day of legal recreational marijuana sales, with a historic state law permitting such businesses set to take effect New Year’s Day.

“We are excited. We just got our state license on Saturday … so immediately there was extra energy in everyone’s step,” said Robert Taft Jr., founder of the medical marijuana dispensary 420 Central in Santa Ana. “Being part of history is an amazing thing.”

Taft said he brought in five new cash registers and hired six additional “budtenders” in preparation for the new law. He also doubled his inventory and consulted with his attorneys daily to ensure his store was in full compliance.

In addition, Taft has increased the store’s security, adding 24-hour armed guards. Selling recreational marijuana is an all-cash business.

Source: California pot shops prepare for their first day of legal recreational marijuana sales

Recreational marijuana sales begin Jan. 1

Recreational marijuana sales begin Jan. 1

SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) — Starting Monday, anyone 21 years of age and older will be able to legally buy marijuana in California with just an ID.

A local dispensary News 8 visited Sunday was getting ready to kick off sales.  

Customer Rachel Smith spoke with News 8 from inside Golden State Greens as she was getting her shopping done there on Sunday.  

“I enjoy it – it’s an occasional pleasure and entertainment,” said Smith. “I thought with tomorrow being the first official day of marijuana being legal, there might be a crowd.”  

As of Jan. 1, it will be legal to sell recreational marijuana at the dispensary and at about a dozen others throughout San Diego.  

“We have over 100 employees here that are ready to do anything at any time,” said Golden State Greens owner Adam Knopf. “All hands are on deck, right now. We are prepared.”  

While medical patients with proper authorization from a doctor can buy a maximum of eight ounces per day.  

Recreational customers are allowed to buy one ounce of adult-use cannabis per day – and the taxes are steep.  

“The recreational person flying in from Dubai or the Dominican Republic – they will be able to come in and purchase; if they’ve got a $100 purchase there will be paying 30 percent tax,” said Knopf. 

California is now the eighth state to legalize recreational marijuana. 

Opponents argue it’s a safety risk and it will make the drug more accessible to young people. 

 “I still think responsibility for young children is on their parents,” said Smith. “Education is really important.”  

Source: Recreational marijuana sales begin Jan. 1

Recreational Marijuana Legalized In California Jan. 1, But New Law Is Smoky

Recreational Marijuana Legalized In California Jan. 1, But New Law Is Smoky

Marijuana, the recreational drug that has launched a thousand comedy and dramatic bits on TV and film, will become legal in California as of January 1st.

Now the problem is navigating the crazy-quilt of regulations and law enforcement that will still govern marijuana’s use and possession in the state.

Thanks to the passage of Proposition 64 in November, 2016, legalizing the sale and cultivation of recreational marijuana for adults, California will be the biggest state to legalize by far. Despite the proposition passing by 57 percent, it still remains controversial in some quarters, and governments are not fully behind the movement.

Los Angeles is a prime example of the hurdles in the new law. The city delayed accepting applications for legal sales until Jan. 3, causing a delay of weeks in any recreational shops opening. Other places – like California’s Kern County – have banned commercial activity.

Even though recreational use is now legal, you can’t smoke it in public, or within 1,000 feet of a school or daycare center when children are present. You also can’t smoke and drive. Local governments have the authority to make their own rules governing use, which will cause further confusion.

Smoking weed from legal establishments will also be more expensive than street versions, thanks to the taxes imposed by the state. California anticipates generating a billion dollars in new revenue from recreational sales within a few years.

At least one business has embraced the anticipated new wave of recreational use. Jack in the Box Inc. has partnered with a digital media company backed by Snoop Dogg on a new munchie meal for hungry smokers, becoming the first national fast food chain to formally embrace the marijuana user community.

The “Merry Munchie Meal” will be available at three California locations for a week in January. Its price is an elbow-in-the-ribs $4.20, also the time of the day notorious for smokers to light up. The meal features two tacos, french fries, onion rings, five mini churros, three chicken strips and a small drink.

Source: Recreational Marijuana Legalized In California Jan. 1, But New Law Is Smoky

First retail pot shops open in California

First retail pot shops open in California

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After a year of planning, California makes history on Monday when it opens its first retail marijuana stores, allowing adults to buy up to an ounce of the drug.

Nearly 50 dispensaries in the Bay Area and Santa Cruz are allowed to sell recreational cannabis, and more licenses are pending.

In addition, about 20 licenses for cannabis cultivation and 22 licenses for manufacturing, which involves extracting desired chemicals, have been issued in the region.

“We’re really excited, and ready to go,” said Marcus Genosky of the San Jose-based dispensary Elemental Wellness. “We’re amped that the process, and all the operational systems, are all in place.”

Defying federal law, Californians have been lawfully using cannabis since passage of Prop. 64 in November 2016. But sales only become legal on Monday. California is one of eight states and the District of Columbia that have adopted permissive laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use.

To prepare, the state quickly erected a system to regulate and monitor the new businesses that grow, manufacture, distribute and sell cannabis. Final “emergency” regulations and the application process didn’t open until late last month.

State regulators with the Bureau of Cannabis Control worked all weekend to review and approve licenses. Some shops didn’t learn their fate until Saturday or Sunday.

“We’ve been sweating it, not knowing if we’d be able to open on Jan. 1,” said Debby Goldsberry, executive director of Oakland-based dispensary Magnolia Wellness.

After their permits arrived on Saturday, “we are making all the changes to our procedures to meet state regulations,” she said. “One hundred things have to be done differently when we wake up tomorrow — from packaging and labeling to purchasing and the way the product travels through the building.”

But because time was short, all of the current licenses are temporary, set to expire on May 1. Businesses will then need to re-apply for permanent licenses.

Retail licenses were awarded to 16 shops in San Jose, 20 in Oakland, six in Santa Cruz, two in Berkeley, two in Richmond and one in Hayward.

All of the shops are operating as cash-only because banks don’t want to violate federal law.

Of the state’s 150 cultivation licenses so far, 11 are in Santa Clara County, five are in Santa Cruz County and three are in Alameda County.

There is a “grace period” for retail businesses to comply with the law. For example, inventory bought from vendors as a “medical” product before Jan. 1 can be sold on their shelves as a “recreational” product. Testing and labels are not yet fully compliant.

But by July, businesses must follow the letter of the law.

The new rules require that pot businesses get permits from local authorities before being granted a state license.

So stores in cities like San Jose, Oakland, Berkeley and Santa Cruz — which were quick to approve regulations — were at the top of the list for state approval. Most shops are small and inconspicuous storefronts on the industrial edges of town. Former medical marijuana dispensaries, they’ll simply transfer their product to recreational sales.

But stores in cities like San Francisco and Los Angeles, late to approve local regulations, will not be selling recreational weed on Monday.

On Sunday evening, some cannabis growers, distributors and manufacturers still hadn’t received their licenses, so they were offering product at deep discounts.

“They’re suspending sales, or going out of business,” said Goldsberry. “We’re stocking up, with blowout sales.”

Source: First retail pot shops open in California

Guest commentary regarding adult use marijuana

Guest commentary regarding adult use marijuana


Dear Selectmen,

I am writing to urge you not to hold an additional election regarding the question of adult-use marijuana establishments in town. I strongly believe that the people of the town have already spoken when 82.4 percent of registered Belmont voters cast their ballots last November. To be precise, 14,453 voters stated their opinion on adult-use marijuana and only 238 voters took a ballot but chose not to mark a preference on the question.

Placing the question of prohibition on the April town ballot will almost certainly result in a decision by a smaller number of voters. If past voter turnout is predictive, we’re likely to see only 1 in 3 Belmont voters at the polls. How can we respect a decision made by a fraction of the population but not one made by nearly all of us?

I also implore you not to consider a special election. Special elections are costly and the earliest date of a special election would be mere weeks before the regular town-wide vote. It would be fiscally irresponsible to spend this money for very little time advantage, not to mention that the turnout is nearly guaranteed to be still smaller. If the Minuteman decision is any indication, we may see fewer than 20 percent of voters show up.

Mr. Selectmen, the voters have already spoken. Banning marijuana establishments will not prevent marijuana from coming into town. It will only prevent Belmont from taking advantage of a 3 percent sales tax that can be used for valuable programs. The town will be best served by enacting sensible by-laws and host agreements that ensure any potential establishments benefit our business districts and our residents.

Source: Guest commentary regarding adult use marijuana

Marijuana could net so much money for California that sales may even surpass beer profits.

Marijuana could net so much money for California that sales may even surpass beer profits.

As California prepares to legalize marijuana on New Year’s Day with more than 70 outlets already licensed to sell the drug, analysts predict it could net the state more profits than BEER by 2019

  <ul class="mol-bullets-with-font"><li class=""><strong>Starting Monday, retailers can legally sell recreational marijuana in California</strong></li><li class=""><strong>In 2018 alone, cannabis dispensaries are expected to earn $3.7billion and jump by more than a billion in 2019</strong></li><li class=""><strong>Pot could bring in more revenue than beer, which brought in $5billion this year</strong></li><li class=""><strong>More than 70 retailers have been licensed to start selling recreational marijuana</strong></li><li class=""><strong>California's Bureau of Cannabis Control has warned that patience is not necessary as not everyone will be able to buy or sell the drug on January 1</strong></li></ul><p class="author-section byline-plain">By

Mary Kekatos For Dailymail.com

and
Associated Press

Marijuana could net so much money for California that sales may even surpass beer profits.

On Monday, January 1, retailers will be able to legally sell recreational marijuana and, in 2018 alone, dispensaries are expected to earn $3.7billion, according to BDS Analytics, a cannabis market data and analytics company. 

By 2019, that number is expected to jump by more than one billion. If this is the case, marijuana could bring in more revenue than beer, which brought in $5billion this year, according to data from industry research group IBIS World.

More than six dozen marijuana retailers have been licensed to start selling recreational pot in California on New Year’s Day. 

So far, the Bureau of Cannabis Control has issued more than 300 licenses statewide for marijuana distributors, retailers and cultivators.

Marijuana could net so much money for California that sales may even surpass beer profits. On Monday, January 1, retailers will be able to legally sell recreational marijuana and, in 2018 alone, dispensaries are expected to earn $3.7billion (Pictured, a budtender displays cannabis at the Higher Path medical marijuana dispensary in California, Wednesday)

Marijuana could net so much money for California that sales may even surpass beer profits. On Monday, January 1, retailers will be able to legally sell recreational marijuana and, in 2018 alone, dispensaries are expected to earn $3.7billion (Pictured, a budtender displays cannabis at the Higher Path medical marijuana dispensary in California, Wednesday)

Marijuana could net so much money for California that sales may even surpass beer profits. On Monday, January 1, retailers will be able to legally sell recreational marijuana and, in 2018 alone, dispensaries are expected to earn $3.7billion (Pictured, a budtender displays cannabis at the Higher Path medical marijuana dispensary in California, Wednesday)

By 2019, that number is expected to jump by more than one billion. More than six dozen marijuana retailers have been licensed to start selling recreational pot in California on New Year's Day (Pictured, sample containers of marijuana are on display at MedMen, a medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles, December 21)

By 2019, that number is expected to jump by more than one billion. More than six dozen marijuana retailers have been licensed to start selling recreational pot in California on New Year's Day (Pictured, sample containers of marijuana are on display at MedMen, a medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles, December 21)

By 2019, that number is expected to jump by more than one billion. More than six dozen marijuana retailers have been licensed to start selling recreational pot in California on New Year’s Day (Pictured, sample containers of marijuana are on display at MedMen, a medical marijuana dispensary in Los Angeles, December 21)

Beer brought in $5billion of revenue for California this year, according to data from industry research group IBIS World (Pictured, left, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, brewed in California)

Beer brought in $5billion of revenue for California this year, according to data from industry research group IBIS World (Pictured, left, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, brewed in California)

Beer brought in $5billion of revenue for California this year, according to data from industry research group IBIS World (Pictured, left, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale, brewed in California)

Making money from cannabis sales has never been an issue. California’s existing marijuana black market is worth roughly $13.5billion, Newsweek reported.

‘You’re taking an industry that was completely underground and making it the most regulated product of all time,’ Jessica Lilga, who runs a medical cannabis distribution service in Oakland, California, and aspires to begin selling recreational pot, told USA Today. ‘It’s just insane.’

 

Despite becoming legal on January 1 for any adult in the state – both resident and tourist – analysts say that most people will not be able to actually receive the drug on Monday.

‘If people are looking to go out on January 1 and purchase adult-use cannabis, I think we would preach patience, because not everybody is going to be ready,’ Alex Traverso, a spokesperson for California’s Bureau of Cannabis Control, told Bloomberg

Although lighting up in California will be legal this week, it still remains illegal under federal law. 

The state paved the way for legal weed by passing the nation’s first medical marijuana law, though other states were quicker to allow the drug’s recreational use.

Despite becoming legal on January 1 for any adult in the state - both resident and tourist - analysts say that most people will not be able to actually receive the drug on Monday (Pictured, Dale Gieringer, of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, at his home in Berkeley, California, December 22)

Despite becoming legal on January 1 for any adult in the state - both resident and tourist - analysts say that most people will not be able to actually receive the drug on Monday (Pictured, Dale Gieringer, of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, at his home in Berkeley, California, December 22)

Despite becoming legal on January 1 for any adult in the state – both resident and tourist – analysts say that most people will not be able to actually receive the drug on Monday (Pictured, Dale Gieringer, of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, at his home in Berkeley, California, December 22)

In November 2016, California voters legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older, making it legal to grow six plants and possess an ounce of pot, 20 years after legalizing it for medicinal purposes in 1996 (A budtender displays cannabis at the Higher Path medical marijuana in California on Wednesday)

In November 2016, California voters legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older, making it legal to grow six plants and possess an ounce of pot, 20 years after legalizing it for medicinal purposes in 1996 (A budtender displays cannabis at the Higher Path medical marijuana in California on Wednesday)

In November 2016, California voters legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older, making it legal to grow six plants and possess an ounce of pot, 20 years after legalizing it for medicinal purposes in 1996 (A budtender displays cannabis at the Higher Path medical marijuana in California on Wednesday)

In November 2016, California voters legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older, making it legal to grow six plants and possess an ounce of pot. The state was given one year to set retail market regulations that are still being formalized and will be phased in over the next year.

In 1996, over objections of law enforcement, California voters approved marijuana for medicinal purposes, which led to wider acceptance of the drug as medicine.

‘The heavens didn’t fall,’ said Dale Gieringer, director of California National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). 

‘We didn’t see increased youth drug abuse or increased accidents or crazy things happening as our opponents predicted.’

Currently, 28 other states have adopted similar laws. In 2012, Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize recreational marijuana.

California is one of five states, plus Washington, DC, that followed suit. Retail sales are also scheduled to begin in Massachusetts in July.

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Source: Marijuana could net so much money for California that sales may even surpass beer profits.

The Biggest International Marijuana Stories of 2017

The Biggest International Marijuana Stories of 2017

This was an incredible year for international cannabis reform, with many governments realizing the futility of prohibition and actually doing something about it. Countries big and small on almost every continent made strides with decriminalization and legalization for both medical and recreational marijuana.

Marijuana.com was there to cover it all in 2017. So without further adieu, here are the biggest international cannabis stories of the year.

On June 19, big news came from south of the U.S. border when the president of Mexico, Enrique Peña Nieto published a medical marijuana bill which legalized the medicine for his nation.

The legislation ushered in regulations for domestic cultivation and cannabis research after significant support in the Senate with a 98-7 vote in favor of the move.

Catalonia is currently going through its own set of major challenges, but earlier in the year, the headlines out of this region were all about pot.

In June, the Catalonian Parliament regulated the cultivation, consumption, and transport of recreational cannabis.

This incredible shift was the culmination of years of effort by marijuana activists in the European nation. One such group, known as La Rosa Verde, collected more than 56,000 signatures in 2015 which prompted the government to seriously consider cannabis reform.

Israel made incredible leaps forward for cannabis in 2017. The country continued its domination in the medical marijuana research sector and even decriminalized cannabis in May.

However, we’ve chosen the biggest story from September, with the news that the Middle Eastern country officially classified medical marijuana cultivation as farming.

This decision on behalf of the Israeli agricultural ministry positioned the nation to become a commanding player in medical marijuana exports. Prognosticators predicted international medical cannabis sales could amount to over $1.1 billion annually for Israel.

The decision to legalize medical marijuana in Poland came fast and steady from the European nation.

In June, the legislation received an overwhelming vote of confidence from Poland’s Lower House of Parliament, with 440-2 in favor. Then, in the first week of July, the Health Care Committee gave their recommendation for legalization to move forward.

By July 21, President Duda signed the legislation into law, making Poland a part of the ongoing wave of momentum for medical cannabis reform.

While prohibition counted its last days in Poland, CBD joints started selling in Switzerland supermarkets.

A cigarette manufacturer named Heimat had a great idea to turn their attention to the cannabis market, knowing that in 2011, Switzerland legalized cannabis with up to 1 percent THC. The decision to manufacture CBD joints allowed for this product to be sold in the same location consumers buy bananas or coffee.

It took Ireland a very long time to realize the medical benefits of cannabis, and there is still much work to be done. But along the way, the Irish were introduced to CBD oil and it quickly grew in popularity.

Marijuana.com interviewed Cillin Cleere, the owner of a health food store known as Eats of Eden, who discussed the remarkable popularity of the product, especially in the 60 and over demographic.

New Zealand was another government that took the cannabis world by surprise after years of stagnation regarding any type of pot reform.

On June 2, Associate Health Minister Peter Dunne announced that doctors would finally be allowed to prescribe CBD as medicine. Less than one week later, Parliament decided to debate a medical cannabis bill. Then, as a new government was elected in October, Marijuana.com discovered the legislators wanted to usher in medical cannabis within 100 days.

True to their word, there is now legislation on the table to do exactly that.

Finally, the list of big international marijuana news would not be complete without Canada.

When Justin Trudeau was elected leader of the country Oct. 19, 2015, all eyes were watching to see if he would fulfill his campaign promise to legalize recreational marijuana.

Canada is now in the process of becoming the first G-7 country in world history to legalize recreational cannabis for adults 18 years or older.


As cannabis lovers rejoice over the accomplishments of the last 12 months and reflect on what still needs to be accomplished to end to marijuana prohibition on a global scale, it’s difficult not to be cautiously optimistic about what the new year could bring.

Since 2017 is about to go out in a puff of smoke, let’s hope that 2018 starts in the exact same way.

Source: The Biggest International Marijuana Stories of 2017

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