Tag: adult use

Is GOP Leadership Out of Touch With Voters on Cannabis?

A new poll released Thursday by Quinnipiac University has revealed some remarkable trends in support for cannabis legalization. One of the most pertinent takeaways, coming the same day that the White House vowed “greater enforcement” against legal states: A majority of voters, both Republican and Democrat, oppose the government interfering with state-legal cannabis operations.

A full 71 percent of those surveyed said they are against the federal government taking action against states that have legalized cannabis for medical or adult use. Majorities in both parties—80 percent of Democrats and 55 percent of Republicans—said they are against a federal crackdown on cannabis in legal states.

Or, as Quinnipiac put it: “REPUBLICANS OUT OF STEP WITH U.S. VOTERS ON KEY ISSUES … MOST VOTERS SUPPORT LEGALIZED MARIJUANA”

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The overwhelming support for respecting state laws, however, didn’t quite translate to full-throated support of  legalization outright. The poll found that 72 percent of Democrats were favored federal, adult-use legalization, while nearly two-thirds (65 percent) of Republicans were opposed.

On the issue of medical marijuana, voters in both parties came out out firmly in favor. A whopping 96 percent of Democratic respondents and 85 percent of Republicans said they support allowing adults using cannabis to treat medical conditions with a doctor’s recommendation.

The responses reflect similar trends toward bipartisan support of legalization that emerged during the November’s presidential election. While cannabis reform has largely been seen as a liberal issue, denigrated as a movement of hippies and freeloaders, it’s no longer a liberal issue. Voters in eight states, including Florida, Arkansas, and North Dakota, approved legalizing cannabis in some capacity last election.

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A recent poll out of Texas also showed a spike in cannabis support over the past two years. According to a poll by the University of Texas and the Texas Tribune, 83 percent of Texans support legalizing cannabis in some form, and 53 percent believe cannabis should be available for adult use, not just medicinal purposes.

The polls showing bipartisan support of state-by-state legalization, however, come as GOP leadership—and the White House—in particular, move to ramp up scrutiny of state cannabis programs.

After months of speculation about the implications of a Trump presidency and the appointment of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer lent fuel to the industry’s worst fears during a press conference on Thursday, Feb. 23.

Answering a question regarding adult-use cannabis specifically, Spicer replied, “I think you’ll see greater enforcement on that.”

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Spicer indicated that the Trump administration does recognize the distinction between medical and adult-use marijuana, suggesting the enforcement actions would focus on nonmedical programs.

While Republicans are more likely to support medical cannabis than adult-use measures, Thursday’s poll suggests GOP elders might do well to take a long, hard look at the growing support among Americans of all backgrounds for legal, regulated cannabis before taking action against states.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Breaking: White House Plans ‘Greater Enforcement’ Against Legal Cannabis

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer sent a jolt through the cannabis world on Thursday, suggesting at a media briefing that the Trump administration could take actions to crack down on state-legal cannabis programs.

“I think you’ll see greater enforcement,” Spicer said, according to The Hill. He added that precisely what that means will be “a question for the Department of Justice.”

Spicer, answering questions from reporters, drew a distinction between medical and nonmedical cannabis programs, expressing some support for the very sick who find relief through cannabis.

Trump “understands the pain and suffering that many people go through who are facing especially terminal diseases, and the comfort that some of these drugs, including medical marijuana, can bring to them,” he said, according to Politico, also noting previous action by Congress not to fund the Justice Department “go[ing] after those folks.”

“The last thing we should be doing is encouraging people.”

Sean Spicer, White House press secretary

As for “recreational marijuana, that’s a very, very different subject,” Spicer said.

“When you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people,” he said.

Patients, consumers, business owners, and government officials in legal states have been parsing cannabis-related language out of the Trump camp since the presidential campaign. Today’s message from Spicer is the latest sign that the White House could take actions to stymie adult-use programs already up and running in a handful of states across the country.

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The Senate Just Confirmed Jeff Sessions as Attorney General

Trump’s nomination of Jeff Sessions to head the Department of Justice has also cast a cloud of uncertainty over state cannabis programs. In April of last year, Sessions famously said that “good people don’t smoke marijuana.” He was cagey in Senate confirmation hearings when asked about his how he’d handle cannabis as US attorney general, pledging to “review and evaluate” existing policies under which the DOJ has allowed state programs to operate.

“Congress made the possession of marijuana in every state, and the distribution of it, an illegal act,” he told senators. “If that’s something that’s not desired any longer, Congress should pass a law to change the rule.”

Trump himself has stressed his frustration with the nation’s ongoing opioid crisis and has vowed to go after international drug cartels. Until now, however, he’s been mostly quiet on state-legal cannabis. He has expressed support for medical marijuana and states’ rights, but has also surrounded himself with numerous legalization opponents, from billionaire political donors to Cabinet-level officials. In addition to Sessions, Georgia Republican Tom Price, Trump’s Health and Human Services Secretary, has come out strongly against legalization.

This story is developing and will be updated as information is available.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Calif. Bill Would Make Underage Sale Violations Sting

As California gears up to open retail cannabis stores next year, one state lawmaker is proposing a stiff penalty for a business caught selling cannabis to underage buyers: the loss of its state license.

Assembly Bill 729, introduced this week by Assembly Member Adam Gray (D-Merced), would establish penalties and practices designed to limit access to nonmedical cannabis for people under 21. While sales to minors are already prohibited under Proposition 64, which legalized cannabis for adult use last year, AB 729 would require authorities to suspend an operator’s license after three such offenses within a three-year window.

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The bill would also require licensees to post signage that reads “No Person Under 21 Allowed” and allow for authorized undercover investigations using underage buyers (read: sting operations). It would bar the use of vending machines or other automated devices to sell cannabis; prohibit cannabis businesses near playgrounds, hospitals, and churches; and allow staff to seize fake IDs.

“With the legalization of recreational use marijuana under Proposition 64, it is more important than ever that safeguards are put in place to ensure marijuana stays out of the hands of children,” Gray said in a statement.

The changes would align California with other established adult-use states, such as Washington and Oregon, which have similar rules on the books. In Washington, licensees face an all-out cancellation of their license after three violations within a three-year window. In Oregon, a license suspension can occur after either two or three violations within a two-year window, depending on whether the sales are deemed intentional.

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Preventing underage access to cannabis is a key priority for state regulators in large part due to the Department of Justice’s Cole memo, a nonbinding document that provides a list of enforcement priorities states are expected to follow to avoid federal intervention in medical marijuana programs. On the very top of that list: preventing the distribution of marijuana to minors.

Despite early studies showing that cannabis use among minors has remained steady or even fallen in legal states, one of the biggest concerns about legalization is whether it gives children easier access to cannabis. It came up frequently last election season, as eight states weighed measures to legalize for medical or adult use.

So far, though, despite regulators in legal states making ID checks a top priority, repeat violations appear to be few and far between. “So far this fiscal year we have conducted 569 compliance checks (underage purchase operations) and have had 49 sales,” a Washington State Liquor Control Board spokesman, Mikhail Carpenter, said in an email. “No one has received a third violation.”

In Oregon, regulators are “shifting resources now to compliance and enforcement,” said Mark Pettinger, a spokesman for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. The office plans to conduct more “minor decoy operations” to test whether shops sell to people under 21 or those without proper ID. As for whether any licensees have had repeat violations, Pettinger said, “I would say there’s no data at this point.”

A California Assembly subcommittee is scheduled to consider AB 729 on March 18.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

What Budtender Qualities Make You Turn Away From a Shop?

Budtender etiquette can easily make or break a visit for a customer or patient. As a recreational adult consumer, a bad experience with staff often means losing a customer and in an industry where every sale counts, losing a repeat customer means losing a valuable source of revenue. For those who rely on cannabis as medicine, to have inexperienced or ineffective staff is beyond a simple annoyance; it undermines the importance of their visit and being recommended the wrong product can have serious consequences.

We asked you what budtender qualities make you turn away from a dispensary and Leafly readers had a lot to say.

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“Not knowing the attributes of strains to give advice for therapeutic purposes. Get poor recommendations frequently.”

Whether the cannabis is being purchased for therapeutic or recreational purposes, budtenders should be knowledgeable about the different types of cannabis and their effects. Budtenders can also avoid making a poor recommendation by asking questions of the consumer, making it easier to find the right product for the right person. If they are looking for a sleep aid, don’t recommend a high-energy sativa. If they’re looking for a boost in productivity, don’t recommend a heavy indica.

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“Uncaring people who can care less that you’re there because you’re in pain or haven’t slept well because of illness. All they’re interested in is squeezing every penny they can get out of you.”

A little bit of compassion can go a long way, especially for a patient who truly relies on cannabis to treat their symptoms. Yes, revenue is important for those who are trying to make ends meet in a tricky industry, but keep in mind why these patients are in your store to begin with. For a medical cannabis patient, having access to proper medicine is about much more than money. It’s about their personal well-being.

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“Condescending budtenders. Or the ones who show low effort towards minor sales. I’ll take my stuff right out of there and go somewhere else.”

Don’t underestimate the importance of quality customer service. Every customer, whether buying an ounce or a gram, should be treated with the same respect reserved for any patient or customer. In the same way that a condescending waiter can sour a dining experience, feeling disrespected during a dispensary visit is more than enough for a customer to take their business elsewhere. Remember, even small sales can add up to big sales over a long period of time. Invest in your customers and they’ll keep coming back.

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“Basic lack of education about what strain is best for what. And I gotta say, it would be very comforting to see one who is older than 20-something and has experience. Many if not most actual patients are older.”

There’s no reason for age discrimination when hiring (except, of course, for making sure to hire employees of legal age to be handling cannabis products), but no matter the age of your employees, keep your clientele in mind. In this new era of breaking the stigma behind cannabis consumption, there is a new generation of canna-curious baby boomers. When catering to older clientele, be mindful that they may have tons or no experience with cannabis and, once again, this is where tactful questions can come in handy. Some boomers have been smoking for decades, while others are just dipping their toe into the waters since legalization.

It’s also important to note here that medical patients may be sensitive about their ailments. When asking questions to discern their needs in a strain or product, be cognizant of that sensitivity. If they offer up information, use it to help them find the right product, but don’t pry into their background. This is not only uncomfortable for patients, it can be seen as rude, insensitive, and even insulting. Tread lightly when it comes to medical issues.

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“Forgetting my exact change, forgetting to pack the actual medicine in the bag before I leave the place, acting stupid. I get that you’re running a dispensary, but at least your budtenders can be at least somewhat responsive when I’m purchasing my meds. Judging by more than a few times this happened, at many different dispensaries.”

Is this a no-brainer or not? Cannabis consumption during work hours is clearly up to the discretion of the company, but if it’s affecting performance and leading to bad experiences with customers, maybe it’s time to reconsider your policies. This is no longer an era of “anything goes” like it once was in the past days of unregulated cannabis, and unprofessional behavior can be a huge turn-off for customers.

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When it comes to proper budtender etiquette, generally it’s safe to say you should trust your instincts. Be polite and unassuming and make your customer as comfortable as possible. We’re working in a new and unique industry, and, as you guide your customers through uncharted waters, you can help break the stigma. Your influence has the potential to make or break a customer’s cannabis experience. Take your responsibility seriously and treat every consumer with respect and sincerity.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Colorado Warms to Cannabis Clubs

DENVER (AP) — Colorado is on the brink of becoming the first state with licensed cannabis clubs. But the details of how these clubs will operate are as hazy as the underground clubs operating already.

Denver officials are working on regulations to open a one-year pilot of bring-your-own marijuana clubs, while state lawmakers are expected to consider measures to allow either marijuana “tasting rooms” run by marijuana dispensaries, or smoke-friendly clubs akin to cigar bars.

Alaska regulators, spooked by how the Trump administration might view marijuana, recently decided not to move forward with rules for use of marijuana at authorized stores, though the issue there isn’t dead.

Both parties seem to agree that Colorado needs to allow for places that let patrons consume. But that’s where agreement breaks down.

California and Maine voters expressly signed off on public marijuana consumption but haven’t settled on rules. Oregon lawmakers are considering legislation to allow marijuana use at special events like concerts, and in cannabis lounges. But Colorado may be first out of the gate with statewide cannabis-club regulations, possibly by this summer.

Colorado officials from both parties have come around to the idea of Amsterdam-style clubs for a simple reason: Everyone is tired of seeing pot smokers on public sidewalks.

“It’s a problem we’ve got to address,” said state Sen. Chris Holbert, a suburban Denver Republican who opposed marijuana legalization but doesn’t like seeing its use on the sidewalk, either.

Pointing jokingly to his suit and tie, the gray-haired Holbert said he’s even had panhandlers ask him for marijuana near the state Capitol.

“I mean, look at me. If I’m getting hassled, everyone’s getting hassled,” Holbert told reporters.

Democrats here agree tourists need an out-of-sight place to use marijuana.

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“No voter in Colorado voted to allow the use of marijuana on their sidewalk, in their parks, in their public view,” said Democratic state Rep. Dan Pabon of Denver. “But that’s essentially what we’ve done by not allowing private club space for marijuana uses.”

So both parties seem to agree that Colorado needs to allow for places that let patrons consume. But that’s where agreement breaks down.

“Jeff Sessions is the big question mark right now.”

State Rep. Jonathan Singer

A Republican-sponsored measure to allow marijuana clubs to be regulated like cigar bars was put on hold for a re-write. That’s because sponsors are trying to address concerns that cannabis clubs shouldn’t allow medical marijuana use, along with other legal wrinkles.

“Telling people to socially use their medicine? That’s like we’re legalizing pill parties,” said Rachel O’Bryan, who opposes marijuana clubs and ran an unsuccessful campaign to defeat a Denver social-use measure last fall.

There’s also intense disagreement over whether establishing social clubs would invite a federal crackdown.

Some say the clubs would be too much for federal authorities to ignore; others insist the Justice Department would view clubs as a way to keep cannabis away from children, a priority according to previous Justice Department directions.

“Jeff Sessions is the big question mark right now,” said Democratic state Rep. Jonathan Singer, referring to the newly minted, anti-marijuana U.S. attorney general. “I think we need to send a message to him that Colorado’s doing it right.”

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Gov. John Hickenlooper, a Democrat, opposed legalization but is undecided on signing a bill to allow clubs. He said he’s not sure how the administration would respond to such establishments.

“I don’t know whether we’d be inviting federal intervention, but certainly that’s one argument I’ve heard used persuasively,” Hickenlooper said Thursday.

The governor did indicate he’d veto a bill that allowed indoor smoking, not just smoking on enclosed private patios. The Denver clubs would have to abide by clean-air laws banning burned marijuana inside; the statewide proposal would allow indoor smoking with “proper ventilation.”

“We spent a long time letting everyone know that smoking is bad for you,” Hickenlooper said. “Just cause that smoke makes you happy, and dumb, doesn’t mean it’s good for you.”

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The marijuana industry seems frustrated by Colorado’s halting attempts to figure out how to allow cannabis clubs. Because current marijuana law is vague, Colorado currently has a patchwork of underground clubs, many of them raided when they try to file permits or pay taxes.

“The situation right now is a disaster,” said Chris Jetter, a licensed marijuana grower who owned a west Denver marijuana club that was raided twice. Jetter said authorities took more than six pounds of marijuana, along with tens of thousands in cash, then charged him with illegally distributing cannabis.

(Jetter eventually pleaded guilty to public consumption of marijuana, and was fined $100. He disputes he was doing anything illegal and says he pleaded guilty to end the matter. He has since closed his club.)

“Two or more people can get together and consume alcohol almost anywhere, and there’s no problem with that,” Jetter said. “But we’re not treating marijuana like alcohol. What’s going to happen with the feds? If they start kicking in doors, I don’t know. But we need to figure something out.”


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Leafly Investigation: California Has a Dirty Cannabis Problem

There’s no hard data available, but a survey of industry insiders contacted for this article suggests that fewer than half of California dispensaries and delivery services lab test the marijuana they sell. The actual figure could be even lower. After all, testing isn’t currently required under state law. In 2015, lawmakers passed a measure to require testing of medical cannabis, but that won’t be enforced until January 2018.

“Everything makes its way into the supply chain somehow.”

San Francisco dispensary operator

More troubling is what happens to cannabis that turns out to be contaminated. According to dispensary operators and other industry insiders interviewed for this article, cannabis rejected for mold, fungi, pesticide residue, or other contaminants often stays in the supply chain. It may end up on the black market, shipped out of state. It could be processed into concentrates or edibles. Or marijuana rejected by one dispensary may simply end up being sold across town by someone else. If your dispensary isn’t testing its products, you could be smoking some right now. It’s virtually impossible to know.

In a study published in October, Berkeley-based Steep Hill Labs claimed it found residual pesticides in 84 percent of cannabis tested over a 30-day period beginning in mid-September, the peak time in the state’s marijuana harvest.

All that cannabis would have failed safety standards in Oregon. In California, all of it can be sold.

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Why does testing matter?

The potential consequences of contaminated cannabis recently hit home with the release of an article in the journal Clinical Microbiology and Infection.

One of the article’s authors, Dr. Joseph Tuscano, an oncologist and researcher at UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento, Calif., had been treating a young man in his 20s with leukemia. After a stem-cell transplant, the prognosis was very good. The leukemia was gone, and the man seemed likely to recover. Then, very suddenly, he developed a severe lung infection.

An oncologist's article in this medical journal has opened questions about the safety of at-risk patients using untested cannabis. A UC Davis oncologist’s article in this medical journal has opened questions about the safety of at-risk patients using untested cannabis.

One consequence of cancer treatment is that patients’ immune systems become so compromised that even flowers and houseplants can pose a mortal risk. It’s common for bacteria and fungi that healthy people would never notice to cause sudden, severe, and sometimes fatal pneumonia in cancer patients. That’s what happened to Tuscano’s patient, who survived leukemia only to die of what turned out to be a rare fungal infection.

Then it happened again. Another young leukemia patient, another good prognosis, another sudden and severe lung infection caused by the same rare strain of fungus. This patient, however, recovered. When Tuscano asked him about his lifestyle, trying to identify a cause or any links between the two cases, he discovered the two men both used marijuana. The dead patient had vaporized a cannabis “mist” medicinally as part of his treatment; the survivor smoked recreationally prior to his leukemia diagnosis—which was when he developed the infection “instantly,” Tuscano told me.

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“When you have these rare infections, you wonder, ‘OK, how did this patient get exposed to this?’” he said. “We never suspected cannabis use … but after I interviewed the patient, one of the common links was the use of medicinal marijuana.”

It’s impossible to know for certain if the deadly fungus came from cannabis. Tuscano couldn’t test the cannabis the two men had used. It was gone. The next-best thing was to find out if the fungus was in marijuana generally.

Voluntary testing, poor results.

Unlike Colorado, Oregon, and Washington, there is currently no requirement in California for cannabis to be lab-tested before it is sold. Testing isn’t slated to begin until Jan. 1, 2018—and that’s assuming everything goes according to schedule. Some already worry the state’s adult-use rollout is destined for delay.

In the meantime, dispensaries, delivery services, and growers can voluntarily submit crops to testing labs to find contaminants and to determine their products’ THC content—a sought-after marketing metric, since the higher the number, the easier the cannabis is to sell.

This photo taken on Friday, Jan. 4, 2013, shows a lab technician loading a tray of marijuana samples into a Chromograph at CannLabs in Denver. The Chromograph analyzes the samples and reports their chemical content and strength. From potency standards to labeling requirements and even regulations about pesticides and fungicides, marijuana production is largely unregulated, for now. That's why there are places like CannLabs in south Denver, where medical marijuana dispensaries and consumers can voluntarily have their marijuana and pot-infused edibles tested. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)A lab technician in Denver loads a tray of cannabis samples into a testing machine that analyzes the samples and reports their chemical content and strength. (AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

One of Tuscano’s colleagues at UC Davis, Dr. George Thompson, had a connection to Steep Hill Labs. The lab selected, at random, marijuana samples they’d received from 20 different Northern California dispensaries. Each was tested for rare and common fungi and bacteria. The result? Every single one of the 20 samples was contaminated with a variety of both. They contained E. coli, Aspergillus, various strains associated with pneumonia, pathogens known to cause common infections—as well as the rare fungus that killed Tuscano’s patient.

“All these organisms were in there, and so many other ones as well,” said Tuscano. “Before this, I never really suspected there was a link.”

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A false perception of safety

Since the marijuana his patients consumed wasn’t tested, Tuscano can’t know for certain that his patients’ fungal infections came from cannabis. Instead, he can draw only a very strong and suggestive connection.

We don’t know for sure if dirty cannabis led to infection. But researchers suspect a strong connection.

There’s also a few clear warnings. For starters, immunocompromised people should not smoke or vaporize marijuana, Tuscano and his co-authors of the letter say. Neither smoking nor vaping nor filtration through a water pipe destroys fungus. Cannabis ingested orally, for example through edibles or tinctures, is a safer option.

There’s a cultural phenomenon at work, too. Legalization and the widespread acceptance of physician-recommended medical marijuana—a proven political winner, even in red states—have created a “perception of safety,” the researchers wrote. Consumers and even regulators have “unknowingly ignored a product that can be contaminated with infectious agents and thus harbor potentially lethal risks

“People need to quit assuming what they get from the dispensary is safe,” Tuscano told me. “It needs to be tested.”

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Caveat emptor at the dispensary counter

The problem is, under state law, it isn’t. Outside some local jurisdictions with their own testing requirements, California cannabis consumers take a leap of faith with every hit.

This leaves it up to patients and consumers to determine when a product is safe. Often, that relies on assumptions: assuming a dispensary is sincere when it says it tests its medicine, and assuming that test results in fact determine whether a product is or isn’t sold.

“I think you can tell when the culture of the shop embraces testing,” says Nicholas Smilgys, a co-founder and former chief buyer at Flow Kana, a San Francisco-based outdoor farm-to-consumer delivery service. A customer can demand to see a product’s lab results before purchase, but in high-volume dispensaries where a customer’s time at the counter is measured in minutes, such discretion isn’t always encouraged.

Lab rejects can reach the market

Kevin Reed is founder and CEO of The Green Cross in San Francisco. The dispensary has operated for more than a decade in various iterations, first as a storefront, then a delivery service, and now a combination storefront and delivery service. The store, one of the first to apply for a city license, has a history of activism and engagement that has earned it a good reputation among consumers. Before anything is sold, Reed has it sent for testing to CW Analytical, an Oakland, Calif.-based competitor to Steep Hill.

“A whole lot of shenanigans happen at the buying point.”

To this day, a “multitude of small and large scale commercial growers … attempt to sell” products that Reed’s testing discovers to be contaminated by pathogens or pesticides, he told me. The Green Cross rejects that medicine and sends the supplier on his or her way, Reed said, but “unfortunately, with the current [California] model, we cannot ensure that once a product is removed from our supply chain that it does not get sold to other dispensaries,” he said.

A lot comes down to a dispensary’s buyer, explained one San Francisco-based dispensary operator who spoke on condition of anonymity. “A whole lot of shenanigans happen at the buying point.”

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How dirty product gets sold

The operator offered a hypothetical situation as an example: A new dispensary opens up. The owner is a marijuana neophyte, maybe a newcomer from law or tech or real estate. Unfamiliar with the goods on the market, the owner hands over purchasing power to someone with cannabis-industry experience. Now, suppose that buyer has a budget of $1,400 a pound and is approached by a grower with lower-end cannabis for sale. Neither party is interested in the time and expense of a lab test.

“The seller says, ‘It’s got some issues, but I’ll give it to you for $800.’ So he gives it to him for $800, and the buyer keeps the extra $600,” the operator said. “That happens a ton in the industry.”

A grower with lab-rejected cannabis is faced with a choice: Discard the harvest and eat the loss or shop it at a discount until it sells.

“Or let’s say I’m a grower and I have a hundred pounds of OG Kush,” the dispensary operator added. Only a few grams are required “for testing, [so] I’m only going to send in my best stuff. Does that represent my entire crop?”

If a lab finds pesticides in a batch of cannabis and a dispensary rejects it, the grower is faced with a choice: Discard the harvest—and with it months of work and investment—or shop the bud around until it sells. Unless there is something catastrophically wrong, such as rampant pest damage or mold so out of control it’s visible to the naked eye, “it makes its way to a buyer somewhere,” the operator said. “And if it doesn’t make its way as a flower product, it’ll make its way to someone who will extract it” into vape-pen cartridges, extracts for dabbing, or oil to be used in edibles.

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One might think that’s a safe and acceptable fate, assuming the extraction process somehow kills off pests and eliminates contaminants. It does not, say lab scientists, who explained that when cannabinoids and terpenes are concentrated in extracts, certain fungi and pesticides are concentrated as well—sometimes disproportionately compared to the sought-after cannabinoids and terpenes.

But the point, the operator told me, is this: Very little marijuana is voluntarily discarded. “Everything,” he said, “makes its way into the supply chain somehow.”


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Colorado Governor Talks Cannabis Challenges in California Capitol

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper told California state senators Tuesday to set standards for edible marijuana goods and driving under the influence of cannabis as soon as possible to avoid repeating mistakes his state made when it legalized recreational cannabis.

The senators heard from Hickenlooper as the Legislature prepares to regulate sales of the drug. California voters legalized recreational cannabis in November through Proposition 64.

Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012 and faced a host of challenges implementing the new policy, from taxing dispensaries to keeping edible products away from children.

“We made an awful lot of mistakes as we were trying to wrestle with some of these issues,” Hickenlooper said.

California faces a similar challenges implementing Proposition 64. Cannabis sales under the law are scheduled begin in 2018.

“We are in a sprint between now and Jan. 1 to be able to implement the mountain of rules and regulations associated with Prop 64,” state Sen. Mike McGuire, D-Healdsburg, said during the committee hearing where Hickenlooper spoke.

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Colorado saw a rise in child hospitalization because of kids ingesting edible cannabis products in non-child-proof containers, Hickenlooper told the committee. The state now requires edibles to be sold in child-proof containers and has stricter regulations on labeling such products.

California faces challenges determining how to enforce laws prohibiting driving under the influence of cannabis, Sen. Jerry Hill, D-San Mateo, said.

“There is no real quantifiable, definitive impairment level as there is with our alcohol,” Hill said. “That’s been the criticism or the challenge that we’ve been faced with here in terms of defining what impairment would be.”

Colorado struggled to quickly pass laws to regulate impaired driving for that reason, Hickenlooper said. He recommended California lawmakers start to address that issue quickly because it will likely take time to resolve.

Marijuana dispensaries generally are forced to pay taxes in cash because federal law prohibits banks from taking their money, which can present a challenge for the state and local governments collecting taxes from the businesses, Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, said. State analysts estimate the California legal cannabis industry could generate more than $1 billion in tax revenue each year.

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Other speakers at the hearing, including local and state officials charged with overseeing the marijuana industry, also spoke about challenges implementing regulations so sales can begin next year.

“We are flying the plane while we are building it,” said Amy Tong, director of the California Department of Technology.

Mark Malone, executive director of the Denver-based Cannabis Business Alliance, cheered the interstate cooperation but also questioned the evidence of some of Hickenlooper’s claims.

“We encourage newly legalized states to visit Colorado and speak to representatives and those with established cannabis businesses so that they can form better and more efficient rules and regulations around a very successful industry; there is no reason to recreate the wheel,” Malone said in a statement Wednesday. 

He added: “The CBA does take exception to the statement that ‘Colorado saw a rise in child hospitalization because of kids ingesting edible marijuana products in non-child proof containers.’ This is false. The industry did not receive any data that there were any issues with accidental ingestion prior to Colorado changing its edible rules and regulations. It is something the industry requested multiple times but to no avail.”

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Cannabis is still illegal at the federal level. Recently confirmed U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said he opposes marijuana legalization but has not announced specific plans to target marijuana industries in states that have legalized the drug.

Colorado has worked with federal authorities to crack down on black market cannabis sales, which Hickenlooper highlighted as critical to the success of the legal marijuana industry in the state. Hickenlooper said he is optimistic President Donald Trump will not crack down on Colorado’s legal marijuana industry, pointing to comments the Republican made during his campaign indicating he was open to letting states that have legalized marijuana continue to do so.

“We’re optimistic that he’s going to let the experiment continue,” Hickenlooper said. “But they’re going to closely watch it, I’m sure.”

Editors’ Note: This article was originally published by the Associated Press. Leafly staff added additional comment from the Cannabis Business Alliance.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Vegas, Baby: Retail Cannabis Shops Could Open in July

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — Recreational marijuana shops could open in Nevada as early as July 1 under a timeline proposed by the state’s top tax official Wednesday.

Regulators at the state Department of Taxation have been crafting rules and deadlines to govern recreational marijuana since Nevada voters legalized it for adults 21 and older in November.

Executive Director Deonne Contine told a panel of state lawmakers that she expects to publicize a draft of those regulations in March and begin accepting applications for temporary licenses to sell recreational cannabis in May — well in advance of the state’s Jan. 1, 2018 deadline.

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Temporary licenses will be open only to medical marijuana shops in good standing with the state. Contine said she’s aiming to green-light those businesses to sell to the public by July 1.

Based on Contine’s tentative timeline, any entrepreneur could apply for a license to sell recreational marijuana in Nevada as soon as October 2018. The latest that could happen is July 2019.

Nevada’s regulations will borrow heavily from the state’s medical marijuana rules and Colorado’s recreational marijuana rules, Contine said. They’ll include a formula to set the wholesale price of cannabis, which will determine how much the state collects under a voter-approved 15 percent excise tax. They regulations also define who can transport marijuana and how.

While tax regulators work on those rules, an official who oversees the state’s medical marijuana industry, Joe Pollock, is growing concerned of how commercial cannabis will affect the drug landscape in Nevada.

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“Basically the rurals don’t have dispensaries,” Pollock said of medical marijuana shops. “If anything, I would be worried that the black market would move toward those rural counties because the recreational marijuana will not be available conveniently in those counties.”

Of the roughly 25,000 medical marijuana patients in Nevada, 482 of them are under the age of 21, according to Pollock, deputy administrator of the state’s Division of Public and Behavioral Health. Unless Nevada ensures medical cards and prices less expensive than recreational cannabis, Pollock said, those minors are some of the only patients with an incentive to continue using the medical track.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Washington State Lawmakers Want a Wall Around Legal Marijuana

Amid concerns that the Trump administration could stymie state-legal cannabis, Washington state lawmakers have quietly introduced bipartisan legislation that would protect the state’s system from federal intervention by barring local officials from cooperating with the feds.

It’s yet another sign of uncertainty as legal states wait to see how President Donald Trump and his Justice Department, likely to be led by Sen. Jeff Sessions, handle the ongoing conflict between state and federal law.

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Many are concerned that Sessions, whose nomination for US attorney general is slated for a full Senate vote on Wednesday, could seek to undo state cannabis programs. In confirmation hearings, he dodged senators’ questions about whether he intends to follow Obama-era DOJ policies that served to protect legal state systems, saying only that he will “review and evaluate those policies.”

House Bill 1895, sponsored by state Reps. David Sawyer (D-Lakewood), Cary Condetta (R-Wenatchee), Brandon Vick (R-Vancouver), and David Taylor (R-Moxee), is an answer to that response. It would attempt to protect the state’s cannabis program from federal intervention by “prohibiting the use of public resources to assist the federal government in any activity that might impede or interfere with Washington state’s regulation of marijuana and marijuana-related products.” Public employees would be forbidden from using their on-the-clock time or state resources to aid a federal action “that might have the effect of impeding, obstructing, or otherwise interfering” with the state’s cannabis system.

Under the proposal, officials who aid the feds would face disciplinary action and could even lose their jobs.

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While it’s generally not the role of local authorities to enforce federal law, it’s quite common for police and federal law enforcement to team up on investigations and enforcement actions. That’s been especially true when it comes to cannabis. In some cases, local governments trying to shutter unwanted cannabis businesses have called in the feds as backup. In 2011 and 2012, partly in response to such requests, US attorneys in California shuttered hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries across the state.

If passed, Washington’s bill would primarily benefit cannabis businesses, which have historically faced the brunt of federal enforcement efforts. While the DOJ could technically target patients—and has in the past—it has tended to focus on dispensaries and other larger-scale operations.

Nothing in the bill would prevent the feds themselves from going after state cannabis—nor could it keep the federal government from challenging the underlying legitimacy of state cannabis laws, which conflict with the federal Controlled Substances Act.

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Some small efforts are already underway to provide more durable protections at the federal level. Congress in December extended the so-called Rohrabacher–Farr amendment, a spending provision that prevents federal prosecutors from using DOJ resources to prosecute state-legal medical cannabis. That extension expires in April. Last year the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the provision, swatting down a federal enforcement action against Oakland, California’s high-profile Harborside Health Center dispensary.

More broadly, congressional representatives have introduced a pair of bills that would reschedule cannabis to a Schedule II controlled substance and entirely de-schedule cannabidiol (CBD), cannabis’s primary non-psychoactive compound.

Members of Congress have also begun organizing to form a Cannabis Caucus aimed at expanding access to medical marijuana and supporting the ability of states to craft their own cannabis policies. The group is expected to step up its activity later this month.

Washington’s HB 1895, by is currently before the House Committee on State Government, Elections, and Information Technology. The bill’s full text is available online.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.

Alaska Rejects Plan to Allow On-Site Consumption at Cannabis Stores

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) — Marijuana regulators in Alaska on Thursday narrowly rejected a proposal that would have made the state the first in the nation to allow cannabis consumers to use the products that they buy at the retail stores selling it.

In a 3-2 vote, the Alaska Marijuana Control board decided not to allow it — prompting criticism from retailers who vowed to continue to press for some sort of allowable cannabis use at their stores.

The proposed new rules would have let people buy cannabis products in authorized stores and go into separate store areas to partake.

Board member Mark Springer, among those who voted to reject the measure, said he was worried how the new administration of President Donald Trump might view marijuana use at retail stores in Alaska.

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It remains illegal at the federal level but has also been legalized in 7 other U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

Another board member, Loren Jones, said he voted against the proposal after receiving many negative comments from the public.

The Alaska Marijuana Industry Association representing the state’s newly legal industry will continue to lobby for some way to allow marijuana consumers to use cannabis at the stores, said Cary Carrigan, the group’s executive director

He predicted pandemonium could happen during Alaska’s upcoming summer tourism season, the first when legal cannabis shops will be open in Alaska.

Industry players have previously said tourists, especially cruise ship passengers, will not have any legal place they can smoke marijuana after buying it because the legalization law only allows cannabis to be consumed on private property. Marijuana is off-limits on cruise ships.

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They have said it would be better to allow Alaska tourists to smoke marijuana in the stores because prohibition will prompt users to consume in public places such as streets, parks and trails.

More than 2 million tourists visited Alaska last year, and just over half arrived on cruise ships.

A study conducted for the state estimated tourists from the 2014-15 season spent $1.9 billion in Alaska, mostly during the summer months.

Critics have said tourists will not come to Alaska only for its legal marijuana because other states have also legalized recreational cannabis.

The board’s rejection of the measure came after Sara Chambers, the acting director of Alaska’s Alcohol and Marijuana Control Office, told board members the public notice for the onsite consumption proposal was improperly done.

The board then had the options of re-advertising the measure for another 30 days or deciding not to advance it, and they approved the latter option.


Thank you for visiting MDMMCC.com, the premier Medical Marijuana Certification Center in Maryland. Our Mission at the Maryland Medical Marijuana Certification Clinics (MDMMCC) is to provide the certification necessary for qualified patients to obtain Medical Marijuana in compliance with the Maryland Medical Marijuana Laws in the State of Maryland.  MDMMCC will have offices open throughout Maryland.