Pennsylvania Senators Seeking Co-Sponsors for Recreational Cannabis Bill

A pair of Pennsylvania senators have unveiled a plan to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana for adult use. The bill, which reads like a pot progressives’ wish list, has already stirred up high-ranking Republican opposition. But even with long odds, the legislation, which includes provisions for home grow, public consumption and release from prison, is starting off Pennsylvania’s latest push for legalization on the right foot.

Public Lounges and Release from Prison Included in Pennsylvania Senators’ Legalization Plan

State Sen. Daylin Leach (D-Montgomery/Delaware) and Sen. Sharif Street (D-Philadelphia) have co-authored a bill, SB 350, to legalize cannabis. And on Monday, they circulated their joint proposal and called on colleagues to co-sponsor it. The move represents the latest effort to legalize and regulate adult-use in Pennsylvania. But unlike legislative efforts in other states, Leach and Sharif haven’t compromised-in-advance with the opponents of legalization. Instead, their bill checks nearly every box when it comes to progressive drug policy reform.

Like the 10 other U.S. states (and D.C.) with legal marijuana, Pennsylvania would set broad guidelines for personal possession and consumption for adults 21 and over. But Leach and Sharif’s bill goes much further. It would allow home cultivation of up to six mature plants and permit the home delivery of retail cannabis products. While prohibiting public consumption, SB 350 would permit licensed lounges where people can consume cannabis socially.

Perhaps most striking, however, are the criminal justice provisions of Sens. Leach and Sharif’s bill. Laws legalizing cannabis in other states all include provisions for criminal record expungement for non-violent, minor marijuana offenses. Many also require prosecutors to drop any pending marijuana cases. But SB 350 would actually get people out of jail. If passed, anyone currently incarcerated for a misdemeanor marijuana convictions would see their sentence commuted.

Legalization Bill Would Direct Most Cannabis Tax Revenue to Public Schools

Legal cannabis is a money-maker for states. But despite promises of revitalized infrastructure and reinvestment in schools, many states have their cannabis tax revenue tied up in the costs of regulating and overseeing the industry and training law enforcement. Sens. Leach and Street, however, say their bill prioritizes spending tax revenue on public education. The bill also lays out how individual districts could offset tax liabilities for home owners. Overall, the SB 350 projects that in the first year of operations, a retail cannabis industry could generate $600 million for the state.

Sen. Sharif Street also said that adult-use legalization could help with Pennsylvania’s ongoing opioid epidemic. Health officials in every place where cannabis is legal for adults have seen a reduction in opioid use. In New York, for example, a recent study of elderly medical cannabis patients recorded a 33 percent reduction in prescription opioid use among the study’s 200-plus participants. “In the midst of an opioid epidemic, we have to be able to take every step we can to mitigate against more people using opioids,” Street said.

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has signaled that he supports a closer look at legalizing cannabis in Pennsylvania. But as might be expected, not everyone is on board with SB 350. In fact the Republican Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman has already blasted legalization as “reckless and irresponsible.” Corman says legal weed sends the wrong message to young people, and he has vowed to do everything he can to stop it.

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How Sharmila Clee Got Off Valium With Plant-Assisted Therapy • High Times

After drug use caused Sharmila Clee’s parents to lose custody of her and her siblings in 1998, Clee said she was squarely against anything related to drugs or alcohol, including cannabis.

“An anti-drug and alcohol mantra became my identity for years,” she said.

Once her parents and extended biological family’s rights were terminated, Clee and her siblings were put up for adoption. She and her sister were separated from their special needs brother, who needed extended care.

“It was difficult finding a home willing to take in three children with a history of trauma,” Clee shared. “My experience started my passion to become the best social worker in the world, and help other children like us.”

Her brother was eventually returned to her biological parents; Clee started experiencing panic attacks soon after.

“I was barely managing, receiving calls in the middle of the night from my brother, with reports of our dad drunk and violent,” she recalled. “I was three hours away at college and felt powerless, but it propelled me to move forward with vengeance and purposes, after witnessing so much social injustice—in the world, then through the eyes of my brother.”

Clee learned to push down her feelings of panic and anxiety by numbing herself with a Valium habit that began in the Fall of 2001 while at graduate school. She was diagnosed with latent Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). She remembers it disrupting her studies with random visions of her turbulent childhood, yet, she says, she managed to pull A’s in all subjects.

Her goal of climbing the corporate ladder was achieved. But she found that her new bureaucratic life was not all she had hoped for. She dreaded the monotony of wearing suits, the grueling commute, and her life in a cubicle.

“It was sucking my soul away,” she said.

“I ran out of Valium during Fourth of July weekend in 2014, when a British, barefoot, hippie friend passed me something called a ‘vape extreme,’” she said, laughing. “That weekend was the longest time I went without my medication, and eventually my body began to shake with withdrawal symptoms, so my friend convinced me to take a hit of his vape pen, and the shakes stopped.”

Clee began researching cannabis as medicine, which eventually led her to Greener Pastures Recovery in Maine—and its Plant-Assisted Therapy Program for addiction recovery.

How Sharmila Clee Got Off Valium With Plant-Assisted Therapy

Greener Pastures

“My personal treatment program has been a slow tapering off of the Valium and Zoloft, by smoking flower, hash oil, ingesting turmeric, relora, moringa, calcium, multi-vitamins, and full spectrum cannabis oil, or FECO,” she explained. “The FECO has probably been the most effective treatment, as it completely changes the overall feeling in my body, with a comforting internal blanket of well-being.”

Clee told us that not only is the throbbing bodily pain of withdrawal symptoms quelled with the strong concentrate, but the electric shock-type headaches are replaced with a feeling of comfort. She said the plant was a Godsend.

“Even with all the steps taken to subside any dangerous symptoms, my body still overheated in front of the fire one evening in my first Benzo-related seizure. Nothing makes the detox symptoms entirely go away, but Greener Pastures, its PAT program, and the space they provide, allows you to take the time to understand how your life has unfolded into addiction, helping you to reevaluate your life, better understand your psyche, history, and allows you to look at the here and now, and be present.”

Clee believes the culture of today’s society is a breeding ground for emotional detachment, leading to an unhappy life and subsequent addictions, either to drugs or an unhealthy lifestyle.

“Even when we appear to be successful and fulfilled, when we detach from a past filled with turmoil, we have a skewed perception of what happiness looks like,” she said. “Then next thing you know, you are making six figures, cheating on your spouse with a co-worker who is as emotionally unavailable as you are—but, hey, you have 50 thousand Instagram followers, so what’s the problem?”

Clee said she’s still a work in progress. She was disheartened to discover that kids in America’s foster care system are prescribed anti-anxiety medications at an alarming rate. Researchers even admit that a therapeutic dose often leads to dependency or addiction issues later in life.

“When you hand a bottle of Xanax to a teenager, it’s a potential death risk,” she said. “I’m not saying just give every kid cannabis, but pharmaceuticals are not the answer. We do know that every human body has an endocannabinoid system that accepts the healing properties of cannabis and other beneficial plants into all the systems in our bodies for health and mental well-being.”

“It’s time to start making moves in that direction.”

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Researchers Launching CBD Study with Former Hockey Players • High Times

The NHL Alumni Association is one of the sponsors of a study that will examine the effects of CBD on around 100 former pro hockey players who suffer from brain trauma caused by the league’s notoriously rough play.

“It’s really rather sad when you see these giants of sport having to deal with terrible headaches and emotional issues as well—there’s quite a bit of anxiety and depression and PTSD in athletes that has gone unrecognized,” neurosurgeon Charles Tator told a morning television program on Monday.

The announcement of the study is a victory for the former NHL players who have fought for adequate treatment for the damage that professional hockey does to its athletes. Detroit Red Wings standout Darren McCarty and VEDA Sport director Marvin Degon are among the players past and present that have been outspoken about the urgency of connecting pro athletes to safe and effective cannabis treatment for chronic pain.

In fact, professional hockey is leading the charge when it comes to athletes having access to marijuana. Currently, 28 of the NHL’s 31 teams is located in an area where players are able to consume cannabis with minimal risk of penalty. The league in general tends to separate their approach to players’ drug use between performance-enhancing drugs and “drugs of abuse”. The latter category of substances is dealt with on an often confidential, case-by-case basis geared towards helping players to deal with addiction issues. There is no publicly available list of the league’s banned “drugs of abuse”.

This approach is in stark contrast to the MLB, NBA, and NFL, which take a much more punitive view of many substance. Their players are still banned from use of cannabis completely, despite the fact that 82 percent of major league teams (including the NHL) are located in regions where cannabis is recreationally or medicinally authorized. This zero tolerance policy has raised concern among those who recognize the heavy physical punishment visited on professional players’ bodies in a typical work day.

But the chorus of voices for medicinal marijuana in pro sports is growing. The volume was turned up last year with former NBA Commissioner David Stern told an interviewer that he thought cannabis should be removed from the league’s list of banned substances. “I think there is universal agreement that marijuana for medical purposes should be completely legal,” Stern said.

The study for former NHL-ers is due to start this summer and will entail giving many participants CBD pills for a period of one year, the investigation being sponsored by the NHL Alumni Association, Canopy Growth, and Neeka Health. Should the study reveal positive linkage between the treatment and alleviation of symptoms, Canopy Growth has committed to funding further research. The line of study is crucial for former athletes who need an alternative for pain treatment to highly addictive opioids typically prescribed for such health conditions. Concussion-related conditions have been found to lead to depression, PTSD, and dementia.

“We see a lot of athletes who have chronic pain and have other problems related to repetitive brain trauma,” said Tator. “We are reasonably optimistic that cannabis and especially the CBD part of cannabis can relieve a lot of that suffering.”

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Monday, March 18, 2019 Headlines | Marijuana Today Daily News

Former Republican speaker of the house John Boehner speaks at a podium wearing a suit.

Marijuana Today Daily Headlines
Monday, March 18, 2019 | Curated by host Shea Gunther

// SXSW Cannabis Headliner Draws Crowds and Protest (Leafly)

// Gov. Charlie Baker pushes bill to crack down on marijuana-impaired drivers (Mass Live)

// Trump White House Claims Executive Privilege Over Agency Memos on Marijuana Legalization (Reason)

These headlines are brought to you by Curaleaf, one of the leading vertically-integrated cannabis operators in the U.S. With legal medical marijuana dispensaries, cultivation sites, and processing facilities all over the United States, Curaleaf has served more than 100,000 medical cannabis patients and looks forward to helping many more long into the future. Swing over to to learn more about this very cool company!

// Legalizing Marijuana With a Focus on Social Justice Unites 2020 Democrats (New York Times)

// Medical cannabis expansion bill could still be signed by governor (KOAT 7 Action News)

// As marijuana gets legalized companies drop THC testing of employees (Herald-Tribune)

// RCMP worried Hells Angels and Mafia would take over medical cannabis business internal report says (Toronto Star)

// California May Try to Fill the Gaps on Provisional Licensing (Canna Law Blog)

// Secretary of State: Voter initiative bill would apply to cannabis petition (Post Register)

// New Mexico Lawmakers Send Marijuana Decriminalization Bill To Governor (Marijuana Moment)

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Junk food purchases increase after recreational marijuana legalization — ScienceDaily

It’s an infamous pop culture portrayal. After smoking marijuana, the main characters in the movie go on an epic junk-food binge, consuming mass quantities of chips, cookies, and whatever other high-calorie, salt-or-sugar-laden snacks they can get. While some neuroscientists have hypotheses, there remains no formal causal evidence to support this notorious effect of marijuana on the human brain.

A study released this month from a UConn economist, however, did find a link between state recreational marijuana legalization and increased consumption of certain high-calorie foods, suggesting there may be something more substantial to the urban myth of “the munchies.”

Assistant professor of economics Michele Baggio conducted the study in collaboration with Alberto Chong, a professor at Georgia State University’s Andrew Young School of Policy Studies. Published by the Social Science Research Network, the study looked at data on monthly purchases of cookies, chips, and ice cream from grocery, convenience, drug, and mass distribution stores in more than 2,000 counties in the United States over a 10-year period. The data, largely taken from the Nielsen Retail Scanner database, covers 52 designated market areas in the 48 contiguous states.

The researchers compared purchasing trends to the implementation dates for recreational marijuana laws in states including Colorado, Oregon, and Washington. Their analysis showed that legalizing recreational marijuana led to a 3.1 percent increase in ice cream purchases, a 4.1 percent increase in cookie purchases, and a 5.3 percent increase in chip purchases immediately after recreational marijuana sales began. While increases in ice cream and chip purchases reduced slightly in the months following legalization, the increase for cookie purchases remains high.

“These might seem like small numbers,” says Baggio. “But they’re statistically significant and economically significant as well.”

The trend was consistent across the three legalizing states included in the study. Additional states that have also legalized recreational marijuana were not included in the study because 18 months of purchasing data was not yet available for those states.

While Baggio initially set out to see whether ties existed between marijuana legalization and increased obesity rates, this study did not delve into an analysis of obesity rates, instead focusing strictly on trends in sales data. Further analysis of health trends may come at a later date, but he says that both the growing marijuana industry and policymakers may find the developing research around varying aspects of marijuana legalization of interest when considering future policies.

“I’m not an advocate for legalization or not,” Baggio says. “I’m just interested in whether there are unintended consequences to the policy.”

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Materials provided by University of Connecticut. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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Pennsylvania police recklessly killed marijuana grower with bulldozer, lawsuit claims | US news

Pennsylvania state police acted recklessly when troopers used a bulldozer to pursue a 51-year-old Grateful Dead fan who had been caught growing marijuana on public land, killing him when he wound up under the machine’s treads, according to a civil rights lawsuit filed on Monday.

Greg Longenecker’s family said police had no business chasing him with a dangerous piece of machinery, especially over a few pot plants he was cultivating for personal use.

His death last July, in a rural area about 75 miles outside Philadelphia, also provoked outrage from a marijuana advocacy group.

“They killed a beautiful human being, a caring, loving man,” said Longenecker’s uncle, Mike Carpenter, who is named as a plaintiff in the federal suit. “He’ll never be able to share his life with us, or us with him, again. For no reason. He wasn’t hurting anyone.”

Mike Carpenter, uncle of Greg Longenecker, walks the field where Longenecker was killed by a bulldozer in 2018, in Bernville, Pennsylvania.

Mike Carpenter, uncle of Greg Longenecker, walks the field where Longenecker was killed by a bulldozer in 2018, in Bernville, Pennsylvania. Photograph: Jacqueline Larma/AP

State police declined comment. A prosecutor who investigated Longenecker’s death concluded that troopers acted reasonably.

The chase developed as Longenecker – a short-order cook and avid vegetable gardener – and his friend, David B Light, tended 10 marijuana plants in a small clearing on state game lands near Reading, Pennsylvania. A Pennsylvania game commission worker, operating a bulldozer in the area, spotted their car parked in a field where vehicles were not allowed and called police.

Light surrendered but Longenecker fled, disappearing into the thick vegetation. Police began a lengthy search. A helicopter spotted Longenecker in the underbrush, and the game commission worker, with a trooper aboard, used the bulldozer to blaze a trail in pursuit. The bulldozer was traveling no more than 1mph or 2mph, according to an official account.

How Longenecker got caught in the machine’s treads is hotly disputed. Authorities concluded he was high on methamphetamine, crawled under the back of the bulldozer in an attempt to elude capture, and was crushed to death when it made a left turn. Longenecker’s friends and family call that explanation ludicrous.

“That morning, Gregory was not high or under the influence. He was normal,” Light wrote in an affidavit obtained by the AP. “There is no way Gregory crawled underneath the back of the bulldozer. It is unthinkable and ridiculous that anyone would say he crawled underneath.”

Light, 55, pleaded guilty to misdemeanor drug charges and was accepted into a program for first-time offenders. He declined comment.

Longenecker’s family questioned why state police did not simply get a warrant for Longenecker and arrest him later, given they knew his identity and that his crime was relatively minor. An expert in police procedure agreed the state police overreacted.

“It’s outlandish. This is the craziest thing I’ve heard in years,” said Walter Signorelli, a lawyer and retired New York police commander who has overseen investigations into police pursuits. “It seems like they were more concerned with the chase than the danger to themselves and the public and the guy they’re chasing.”

The Berks county district attorney, John Adams – the prosecutor who determined that state police acted appropriately – said Longenecker put himself in jeopardy by fleeing from the authorities.

“His behavior was despicable,” Adams said. “They yelled to him, they asked him to surrender. He did not surrender.”

Longenecker would probably have faced probation over his marijuana plants, Adams said. He said the family would have been just as angry had troopers abandoned the search and it had turned out that Longenecker was injured and in need of medical attention.

“He’s in a pile of brush that is completely uninhabitable. Something could have happened to him. And if the state police would have picked up and left, then they would be pissed off: ‘Why didn’t the state police try to find him?’ So they were damned if they did or damned if they didn’t,” he said.

But at least one state police official has acknowledged the situation could have been handled differently. Carpenter, Longenecker’s uncle, said he met Sgt William Slaton from state police headquarters about a month after Longenecker’s death.

He said Slaton apologized, telling him that “for 10 plants, he would’ve sent everybody home because they already knew who he was, where he lived, where he worked. He would’ve sent everybody home and maybe picked him up a couple days later.”

A state police spokesman would not confirm or deny Carpenter’s account.

The suit, which was filed in Philadelphia, seeks damages against state police, the game commission and the individuals involved in the pursuit. A game commission spokesman declined comment.

“State police ran Gregory Longenecker over with a government-operated bulldozer and essentially turned him into human roadkill,” said the family’s lawyer, Jordan Strokovsky. “There will be a thorough investigation and a lot of questions will be answered, and ultimately, those who need to be held accountable will be held accountable.”

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Most teens report using marijuana less often after legalization — ScienceDaily

Only one group of teenagers used marijuana more often after retail sales were legalized in Washington than they did before — high school seniors who work 11 or more hours per week, according to new research led by a WSU College of Nursing professor.

Marijuana use went down significantly among 8th and 10th graders after legalization, and among 12th graders who didn’t work. It stayed nearly even for high school seniors who work less than 11 hours per week.

The research on marijuana use and employment, led by WSU College of Nursing Assistant Professor Janessa Graves, appears in the Journal of Adolescent Health.

Washington was one of the first states to approve legalization of marijuana for retail sale, with recreational cannabis stores opening in mid?2014.

The authors were interested in knowing whether legalization in Washington made a difference in marijuana use among 8th, 10th, and 12th graders who work in jobs that don’t include household chores, yard work or babysitting. They used data from the state’s biennial Healthy Youth Survey from 2010 and 2016 in their study.

No matter what grade the students were in, those who worked 11 or more hours per week reported using marijuana more often than their non?working peers.

Post-legalization, 4.8 percent of non?working 8th graders reported using pot within the last 30 days, while 20.8 percent of their working peers did. Among 10th graders, 13.9 percent reported using marijuana within the last 30 days in 2016, versus 33.2 percent of 10th graders who worked 11 or more hours per week. The difference for 12th graders was 20.5 percent non?working, versus 36.7 percent working.

“Kids who work more often use substances, that’s not a shock,” Graves said, noting other studies have shown the same result. Teenagers who work usually come into contact with adults who aren’t their coaches, teachers and parents, and they are often exposed to adult substance use. In addition, working teens have more disposable income than their non?working peers, the study notes.

So what’s a parent of an older teen to do?

“Kids learn a lot by working, in terms of responsibility,” Graves said. “But there are also pretty good data showing that kids who work engage in adult?like behaviors earlier. I would say this for any parent of working kids: It’s important to know the quality of management and supervision at your child’s job. Be thoughtful about the quality of a particular workplace.”

The study also suggests that employers could take action by advertising and enforcing zero-tolerance policies of adult employees providing substances or endorsing substance use to their adolescent co?workers.

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Materials provided by Washington State University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.

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Zimbabwe Authorizes License for First Medical Marijuana Company • High Times

The African nation of Zimbabwe issued the country’s first license to a medical marijuana company earlier this month, according to a report from Marijuana Business Daily. In a letter obtained by the publication that is dated March 7,  Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Health and Child Care informed Precision Cannabis Therapeutics Zimbabwe that the company’s application to produce medical cannabis had been approved. The letter notes that the authorization was being issued pending payment of a license fee of US$46,000.

Zimbabwe legalized the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal and scientific purposes last year. Although the program was put on hold shortly thereafter in June, regulations to license producers and export cannabis have been put in place. The law also permits licensed producers to mail medicinal cannabis to authorized patients, but a system to approve patients has not yet been established. The legislation allows for the regulated production of goods including fresh and dried marijuana, cannabis oil, live plants, and seeds. Mandated cultivation and processing standards are higher than those enacted by the Canadian government.

Economic Development Through Cannabis

According to reports in local media last month, the government of Zimbabwe was processing applications to produce cannabis from 37 companies. Nathan Emery, the chief operating officer of Precision Cannabis Therapeutics Zimbabwe, said that the country was encouraging broad economic development.

“The government of Zimbabwe is open for business and welcomes investors in all sectors of the economy, including licensing for the production of medical cannabis,” he said.

Emery noted that Zimbabwe is an ideal location in Africa for marijuana cultivation, with “large, functioning, commercial farms with access to abundant water for agriculture purposes and a mild climate, year around, for the most cost-effective production of medical cannabis.”

Lesotho was the first country in Africa to grant a license for the cultivation of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes and last year made its first export of the crop to Canada. Rhizo Sciences, a Seattle company that has an exclusive supply agreement with Lesotho cannabis producer Medi Kingdom, reported that the shipment would be analyzed by a laboratory before being used for research and development purposes. Dallas McMillan, the CEO of Rhizo Sciences, said that the company planned to provide medical marijuana to vertically integrated cannabis companies in Canada.

“These exports demonstrate our production and export capability, so we can open the channels for our commercial production later in the year,” McMillan said. “We have buyers in Canada lined up, but of course they all want a Certificate of Analysis (from a certified lab) before we can really even talk business.”

After the action by Lesotho encouraged investment from international corporations eager to take advantage of the country’s cannabis opportunities, several other African nations including Ghana, South Africa, Swaziland, and Zambia have initiated efforts to legalize marijuana for medical purposes.

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Can legal weed ever beat the black market? | Society

One big reason to legalize cannabis is to wrest the market away from criminal enterprises and tax the proceeds. But in Canada and the US states where weed is legal, the illegal market has proven to be a tenacious competitor – and it’s likely to remain so for years.

Take California, the largest and most complex of the legal US markets. Here underground sales can be divided into two broad categories: the illegal or “black” market includes everyone growing and manufacturing products for export out of state, which is always against the law. The so-called “gray market” refers to companies that continue to operate in California even though they either can’t or don’t want to go through the time and expense to acquire licenses.

For licensed businesses trying to follow the rules, California’s gray market presents the bigger problem. Because these companies don’t adhere to the complex regulations covering everything from security to product testing, they can undersell their law-abiding counterparts by up to 50%, according to Bryce Berryessa, the president of the licensed California cannabis company La Vida Verde.

In much of the state, gray-market companies operate in plain sight, and it’s not necessarily clear to customers whether a store is legal or not. Weedmaps, a popular online dispensary locator, doesn’t distinguish between licensed and unlicensed dispensaries – nor do mainstream sites like Google and Yelp. Gray market dispensaries and delivery services also stock counterfeit products, which are packaged to mimic the best known legal brands. (Consumers who want to be certain they are shopping at a legal dispensary can check on the state regulator’s website.)

To combat the illegal market and foster legal businesses, California’s governor, Gavin Newsom, said last month he would be sending national guard troops into northern California’s cannabis-growing regions. There have been crackdowns on unlicensed dispensaries as well, though legal businesses have called for more. Lawmakers have also proposed lowering marijuana taxes so legal businesses can compete against the gray market.

On the east coast, where the gray market isn’t as pervasive, states need to set taxes at a level that won’t send users back to their dealers.

On the east coast, where the gray market isn’t as pervasive, states need to set taxes at a level that won’t send users back to their dealers. Illustration: George Wylesol/The Guardian

But neither of these proposals address what could be the most significant problem for legitimate businesses: while California has legalized marijuana sales to all adults, most jurisdictions in the state do not yet allow marijuana businesses. This in effect forces millions of customers to shop on the gray market. “Hundreds if not thousands of companies who intend to shift into the legal market are forced to participate in the [gray market] infrastructure that has been in place for decades,” Berryessa said. In January 2018, the month California’s adult market opened, he says, there were about 200 fully legal pot shops in California, compared with roughly 4,000 gray market dispensaries.

Unlicensed businesses have continued to thrive in other markets as well. Canada’s gray market has capitalized on rolling supply shortages. In Oregon, where there is a glut of product, growers offload their crop on to the illegal market, sometimes referred to as the “traditional” or “free” market.

As legalization becomes more widespread and more corporatized, it seems likely that the black and gray markets will recede, though many law-abiding businesses are likely to go under in the meantime. Absent a mandate from the state capital in Sacramento, every city in California can legalize marijuana businesses on its own timeline. The resulting uncertainty nourishes the gray market.

In states currently figuring out how to regulate the drug, striking a balance to encourage consumers to shop at legal businesses has become a key priority. On the east coast, where the gray market isn’t as pervasive, states need to set taxes at a level that won’t send users back to their dealers. Two recent reports in New York warned that a high tax rate “could hamstring the industry before even getting off the ground”, according to Neil Willner, a lawyer with the firm Wilson Elser.

The governors of New York and New Jersey want to legalize marijuana, but the debate in both states has hinged largely on taxing businesses at a level that won’t end up empowering illegal businesses.

Similar dynamics are likely to exist in many of the other nations which are flirting with legalization. But so far, there’s no proven formula to support those businesses trying to follow the rules.

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3 Reasons Why The Cultivation Classic Is The Greatest Cannabis Competition Ever – Weed News

cultivation classic

Earlier this month I posted an article about the upcoming Cultivation Classic cannabis competition that is taking place in Oregon. The competition is currently in its fourth year and was born out of a conversation between Oregon legends Jeremy Plumb and Congressman Earl Blumenauer. It’s put on in collaboration with Oregon media outlet Willamette Week.

Anyone who has participated in the competition as a competitor, judge, or event-goer knows that it is the greatest cannabis competition on earth. I am a third generation member of Oregon’s cannabis community, and I am so proud that there is an event of this caliber representing the Oregon cannabis scene.

The Cultivation Classic highlights some of Oregon’s best flower from indoor, greenhouse, and sungrown cultivators. Oregon has long been home to the best cannabis growers on the planet in my opinion, and I will have words with anyone who says otherwise!

However, I will be the first to recognize that such a claim is a subjective one. When I am asked why I think that the Cultivation Classic is the best cannabis competition on the planet beyond the quality of the flower involved, I am quick to offer up three reasons. They can be found below:

1. Cultivation Classic judge’s input is used for meaningful cannabis research

The input from judges in other cannabis competitions is used only to help pick a winner at best or is basically meaningless at worst (in competitions in which the championships are bought ahead of time). The Cultivation Classic differs in a really big way in that the input from the judges is not only used to determine a winner in each category, it’s also used as part of an ongoing research project led by neuroscientist Dr. Adie Rae.

We are asked as judges to really focus on how the cannabis samples make us feel, beyond just ‘it was good’ or ‘it was bad.’ Did the sample make us hungrier? Did the sample make us feel more social or less social? Did the sample give us more or less energy? Those are really important things to know for patients who may need a boost in hunger, such as with patients going through chemo. It’s a really, really big deal.

The Cultivation Classic is the most data-driven cannabis competition of all-time and knowing that the judge’s survey answers and the math from analyzing the strains will be used to help patients well into the future is a truly awesome thing. It sets the Cultivation Classic apart from any other competition that I have ever heard of. It’s one of the many reasons why everyone should agree that the Cultivation Classic is the gold standard of cannabis competitions.

2. Cultivation Classic organizers take extra steps to boost diversity among judges

As I stated in my article earlier this month, a lot of the competitions that I have seen are only designed to generate revenue and hype. They are geared towards making the most money possible from ticket sales and entry fees, and building the most hype for the biggest sponsors. Zero thought is spent on who is included for judging outside of who is willing to pay, and judges’ input is basically moot as pointed out earlier in this article.

The Cultivation Classic is very unique from a judge selection standpoint. On the application to be a judge a question was asked that still warms my heart every time that I think about it. To help ensure that the judging pool is diverse the application asked if applicants were from a background that is underrepresented in the cannabis industry  – people of color, LGBTQIA, etc. I think that the inclusion of that question is absolutely fantastic.

I am a heterosexual white Christian male and I will be the first to say that people that do not fit that description should have a spot ahead of me in line. For that matter, if it means that I end up getting bumped as a judge in the name of diversity and inclusion, I am all for it. I guarantee that the Cultivation Classic’s judging pool is more diverse than any other competition’s judging pool and that is rad beyond words.

3. The Cultivation Classic promotes and celebrates earth-friendly cultivation practices

Most of the cannabis competitions that I have ever heard of do not involve a strong vetting process for entries. Typically the only vetting involved is whether or not the entry fee check cleared the bank. What the judges end up consuming is an afterthought at best. The competition organizers don’t care what nutrients were used to cultivate the cannabis, or if any sustainable and organic cultivation practices were used. Steroid buds for everyone!

All of the Cultivation Classic entries are from true Oregon craft cannabis growers that take a regenerative approach to cultivation. At the public education event that is part of the Cultivation Classic organizers will be awarding a farm with a ‘2019 Regenerative Cannabis Farm Award.’ The event will also include an award for ‘commitment to innovative energy practices’ in conjunction with the Resource Innovation Institute (RII). Expect an article about RII soon.

Historically, cultivating cannabis has often involved a lot of inputs and practices that are harmful to consumers and to the environment, but it doesn’t have to be that way. A good grower should not only want to cultivate top-shelf cannabis. They should also want to do it the right way. The Cultivation Classic puts that concept front and center in the competition, and that is something that is worth pointing out over and over again. Kudos to the organizers!

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