Tag: Industry

Would a ‘Public Cannabis Bank’ Really Work in California?

Most cannabis business owners eventually confront the stresses of working in an all-cash environment. If you’re lucky, you’ve found one of the 368 reported banks or credit unions providing limited services to the industry under FinCEN guidelines. You might be experimenting with more exotic solutions like cryptocurrencies or pre-paid services like Tommy Chong’s Green Card. In the past few months, a bold new financial project has re-emerged from Occupy-inspired economic circles to captivate city councils, state treasurers and weary cannabis industry entrepreneurs: the public bank.

‘A multi-billion dollar cannabis industry could be the catalyst that propels public banking into becoming a reality.’

John Chiang, California State Treasurer

A public bank is a bank fully owned and operated by the state or municipal government within which it operates. Instead of depositing its money in a third-party bank owned by private interests and insured by the FDIC, the state or city deposits and insures the public bank’s money and builds up its own assets. A public bank can choose whether or not to engage with the Federal Reserve system, which means it could possibly provide a suitable home for the cannabis industry’s cash.

A lot of the action around public banking and cannabis right now is happening in California. The state’s Cannabis Banking Working Group, chaired by State Treasurer and gubernatorial candidate John Chiang, devoted an entire session to the public banking option on August 10th.

“The emergence of a multi-billion dollar cannabis industry could well be the catalyst that propels public banking into becoming a reality,” Chiang said to open that session. “We are here to test the idea and see if it’s truly workable.” His comments have been prefaced by similar considerations of the concept in San Francisco, Oakland, and most recently in Los Angeles.

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Public banks are nothing new, either in the United States or internationally. Beginning in rudimentary fashion with the rise of colonial “land banks,” public banks were developed within the states of Alabama, Kentucky, Illinois, Vermont, Georgia, Tennessee and South Carolina, and countries such as Argentina, Malaysia and China currently maintain their own state-run banks. However, the only US public bank currently in existence is the Bank of North Dakota.

Founded in 1919 as a populist alternative to national banks that had reduced their willingness to lend to local farmers, the Bank of North Dakota now controls over $7 billion in assets and $876 million in capital, returning 46% of its earnings to the state every year. It famously occupied the financial high ground during the 2008 meltdown, which kickstarted the current public bank revival.

The Bank of North Dakota refused comment on both the current resurgence of interest or its own relationship to North Dakota’s imminent medical marijuana program. Because the Bank of North Dakota maintains a master account with the Federal Reserve, it probably won’t accept cannabis deposits unless expressly mandated by the state of North Dakota.

Other states have studied the Bank of North Dakota model. Not all have come away impressed. At the Working Group session, former commissioner of the Massachusetts Division of Banks David Cotney cited his state’s 2011 feasibility study, which determined that BND’s model was inapplicable for a state as large and economically and financially diverse as Massachusetts, to say nothing of a state the size of California, which contains the world’s sixth largest economy.

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What Would It Take?

Creating a public bank, even one that would be constructed to accept cannabis business deposits as well as provide merchant services, would be an extremely heavy lift. Banking experts have commented on the extraordinary levels of capitalization needed for such an effort. For the Los Angeles bank alone, initial capitalization costs are estimated between $125 million to $250 million for a bank with $1-2 billion in assets, for starters.

Before founding the cannabis legislation database CannaRegs, Amanda Ostrowski worked as a bank examiner for the Federal Reserve, which informs her perspective on the road ahead. “The number of different things a bank has to pass through, it’s not just simple stress tests,” she said recently. “It’s safety and soundness exams, consumer lending compliance, there’s so many different factors that go in… There’s a reason why the federal reserve is still refining the systems and equations to this day and why these examiners go through at least two years of training before they’re certified examiners. And to put that kind of infrastructure into place from the ground up is going to be extremely costly.”

Using that logic, Ostrowski believes getting a cannabis bank up and running would take more time and effort than the industry can spare. As several speakers at the Working Group noted, absent a master account from the Federal Reserve and access to the fedwire, a cannabis bank would merely serve as a vault that couldn’t even complete intrastate transactions with other banks.

Adam Johnson, author of the investment newsletter Bullseye Brief, elaborates: “There are very few banks that are chartered solely within state lines, which means that they’re by definition unable to handle transactions across a state line where it would certainly become illegal transfer.”

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Harborside Is Interested

But some in the industry think well enough of the project to occupy a seat at the table, most notably Harborside Medical Center co-founder Dress Wedding. In addition to serving as Harborside’s Director of Holistic Services, he also volunteers at the advocacy group Friends of the Public Bank in Oakland.

Harborside has not officially endorsed the public bank initiative. But Wedding supports the social and economic justice elements of the public bank, and argues for a bank business plan that would apply for a master account and commingle municipal and cannabis funds.

He is seconded by Matt Stannard, Policy Director of Commonomics USA, who told the Working Group: “What a public bank can do is really  stare in the face of whatever existing guidelines, however ambiguous or however contingent those federal guidelines might be… and say, ‘We are going to do everything and beyond that these non-regulatory guidelines [such as the Cole Memo and the FinCEN guidelines] ask of us.’”

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The possibility that the Federal Reserve would grant an account to such an application is remote. But so was the idea of a legal cannabis industry 20 years ago. The current cannabis-based public banking initiatives are stuck in feasibility study mode, but Ostrowski feels that the acceptance of some potential variation of this perennial economic moonshot could be catalyzed out of necessity. Its impact could extend well beyond cannabis.

“There’s a lot of these things in history,” said Ostrowski. “They were built to solve one problem [and they] balloon and become the new way. If it works and it makes sense, then who knows? Maybe this is a model that goes all the way through, but we’ve got to look at the costs and the general impacts on society.”


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.

Ohio Picks 2 Vendors to Ramp up Medical Marijuana System

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — A pair of vendors has been selected to develop Ohio’s seed-to-sale, medical marijuana tracking system and its online licensing system.

The Ohio Department of Commerce said Tuesday that it competitively selected Metrc, a Franwell company, to develop and build the program’s digital tracking infrastructure. Metrc received a $1.2 million contract to build an integrated system for tracking medical marijuana through cultivation, processing, testing and sale.

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Persistent Systems Inc. won a $574,000 contract to design and build the e-licensing system for tracking the Ohio licenses required of marijuana growers, processors, testing labs and their employees.

Ohio’s law allows people with 21 medical conditions, including cancer, Alzheimer’s disease and epilepsy, to buy and use marijuana after getting a doctor’s recommendation.

The law launching in September 2018 doesn’t allow smoking.


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.

Word From Seattle’s Hempfest: ‘Nobody’s Hiding’ Anymore

Last weekend brought Seattle Hempfest—AKA the biggest annual cannabis event on the planet—to the Seattle waterfront, for three days of pro-cannabis outreach, activism, music, mingling, marketing, and glorious sunshine. Photojournalist Jovelle Tamayo was there for Leafly with a question for attendees: “What’s the most surprising change that you’ve witnessed since legalization?”

Nancy Garcia, 57, Tacoma, Wash.

“You can go into stores and buy pot now! I never thought I’d see it in my day. I just like to get stoned but I believe in a world of hemp. It can be used for so many resources—plastic, fuel, housing, paper products, clothes.”

Juliet Hodgen, 21, of Marysville, Wash.

“It was cool to see how big the actual culture is. I went to cosmetology school and over half the people I went to school with, we all eventually bonded over marijuana because we all had social anxiety. People don’t really bat an eye at you anymore.”

Kayla Faber, 27, of Conway, Wash.

“I was pleasantly surprised [with legalization]. I was always a closet smoker and I’ve been smoking for as long as I can remember. But it had to be a secret—people couldn’t smell it on me and I couldn’t talk about it. But it was part of my everyday life. I suffer from severe social anxiety. And now I’m able to have conversations and have friends because of [cannabis].”

Lala Jones, 21, of Seattle, Wash.

“I smoke every day. There’s profit from it on the federal end—the government took over overnight. They’re building all these weed shops and taxing everybody to smoke weed. [I’m surprised by] all the rules and regulations around it, like not being able to smoke in public places.”

Acacia Schaffer, 20, of Auburn, Wash.

“[Since legalization], it seems like people are friendlier toward one another, in a way. You don’t have people staring at you.”

Felicia Kopperdahl, 30, of Seattle, Wash.

“I started smoking when I was 13, and I always got it on the ‘illegal’ side. But then when it became legal, it became easier to get it. It was way more accepted, it was more accessible, and you know what you’re getting. I’ve always had an interest in cannabis…I just graduated from college and I got to take a marijuana business class, which was amazing. I don’t know how many colleges offer that but that was awesome.”

Klaver Wilson, 21, of Auburn, Wash.

“Everybody’s way more open about it. Nobody’s hiding to go smoke.”

Nancy Elliott, 82, of Chinook Pass, Wash.

“I’m on medical marijuana. I know what it’s done. It’s these ignorant people that don’t believe in it and the druggies that give it a bad name. But I see all the good it’s done.”

Darnell James, 46, of Seattle, Wash.

“Legalization surprised me. Sometimes it’s surreal—like, did that really happen? It’s still unbelievable. The reason why, is that even though it’s legal, the feds still categorize it as illegal. So technically, it’s almost like it’s a mask and pretty soon, depending who’s in office, they’ll probably try to reverse it and do whatever to try and stop the legalization of it. But I love the way the states are handling it. It took a while for my mom to grasp because she thought it was still illegal. So I had to turn the news on and say, ‘Mom, listen to this.’ She was happy, then she started smoking and she’s 66.”

Garrith Mclean, 62, of Juneau, Alaska

“The low cost and availability [surprised me]. We’ve always been strong advocates for legalization. But even though it’s legal, it’s not free and we’re still restricted to certain amounts of stuff. Cigarettes and alcohol, the guys could buy all they want, but with pot, we can only grow a small amount at a time.”


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.

A Professional Dominatrix Walks Into a Cannabis Investor Conference…

I walked into the ballroom of the downtown Toronto Marriott Hotel and looked around at the throng of people talking, laughing, and swapping business cards. It looked like any ordinary business conference—at least to me. Still, this was the first business conference I’d ever attended, so I didn’t have a lot to compare it to. I’m a professional dominatrix, and I’ve never had an office job in my life. So this was a completely new experience for me.

However, this was no ordinary business conference. This was the Arcview Group’s Investor Network Forum, a gathering of fledgling cannabis entrepreneurs who have come to make their pitches, in a Shark Tank-style environment, to angel investors looking for rising cannabis businesses. And I had come to showcase my new business: a cannabis sex lubricant called Velvet Swing.

Cannabis enthusiasts share many good traits with kink/sex enthusiasts. They know what they like, and they are not afraid to ask for it.

I first learned of the Arcview Group when Seattle cannabis company Tarukino invited me to join them at the conference and learn the fine art of pitching to investors. Tarukino was presenting their two cannabis-enhanced drinks, Happy Apple and Pearl 2.0, at the conference, and since I’ve partnered with them for the manufacture and distribution of Velvet Swing, they were game to take me along.

I can lace up my corset and swing a whip at a man I met only minutes before with perfect ease. But pitching my business to 200 sharp-eyed cannabis investors? My stomach fluttered at the thought. Still, a cannabis business requires a lot of cash to get going, and I would never have a better opportunity to learn how to get those kinds of funds. Getting people to give me money is something I’ve been reasonably good at so far, so I agreed.

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The day I arrived, I went down to the hotel’s convention center and walked around the room where booths were being assembled. Some offered things like accounting services or insurance specifically geared to the cannabis industry’s highly specialized needs. Others held unique devices like a robotic arm in a glass box that deftly trimmed (faux) buds of marijuana, and a “Lightlab Marijuana Analyzer,” a suitcase-sized tool for measuring cannabis potency.

A bud-trimming robot, on display at Arcview

It gave me a warm glow of pride to see my product there among them. There are not many personal lubes being offered for sale in the legal cannabis market. Topical marijuana products of any kind are dismissed by some as a small, not-wildly-profitable niche of the industry. But the people who think that have never met me, and they’ve definitely never tried Velvet Swing.

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My confidence flickered slightly, though, when I walked into the ballroom for the evening’s meet and greet. I’m completely comfortable talking to one person, or one hundred, about BDSM and sex, and I love talking to potential consumers of Velvet Swing. But I’m far less accustomed to pitching my three-months-old business to ruthless corporate tycoons. I don’t know all the latest business buzzwords, and I’m not especially good with numbers. I briefly considered ducking back out of the event and fleeing upstairs to my hotel room.

No, you came here to learn how to do this, Matisse. You are going to make some rookie errors, but if you talk to everyone in this room who will listen, at the end of it, you’ll know a lot more than you do now. So get going, lady. I made sure my freshly-printed Velvet Swing business cards were handy and waded into the chattering mix of people.

Another new product being pitched at Arcview

Here’s the best part of the story: I have never met a nicer, friendlier bunch of people in my life. Everyone I talked to—and I talked to a LOT of people—was delighted to listen to my pitch. How’d I manage that? I decided: if you can’t fix it, feature it. So I told each person I met that this was my first investor’s conference and asked them to give me tips on my individual pitch to them. People love to give advice to a beginner. By the end of the weekend, people were coming up to me and saying “Hey, I want to introduce you to some people. They want to hear about Velvet Swing!” I may be a rookie, but it felt like a win to me.

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Here’s the thing about selling a cannabis product: You are constrained by the fact that you cannot simply carry samples around and hand them out to people. It is less illegal for me to give someone a taste of my skills as a dominatrix than it is for me to squirt a little bit of Velvet Swing onto the back of their hand. Legal pot comes with a boatload of laws and regulations. Only a licensed pot shop can dispense pot products, no exceptions. So without the ability to actually demonstrate your product, you just have to be extra persuasive.

Here’s the thing about pitching a cannabis product: You can’t legally hand out samples, so you just have to be extra persuasive.

In this regard, I think pitching to people is a little like having sex: there are important points that you must make sure you touch on, but everyone likes it just a little bit differently. What I have found about talking to cannabis enthusiasts is that they share many good traits with kink/sex enthusiasts. They know what they like, and they are not afraid to ask for it. No one spent a lot of time shilly-shallying in what they wanted to know from me.

“Okay, but you can’t use it with latex, can you?” “Velvet Swing is revolutionary—it’s a water-based lube that’s safe to use with condoms. As far as I know, it is the only truly latex-safe cannabis lubricant in the world.”

“Pot lube huh? I tried that once—made a mess on the sheets and it smelled really skunky.” “I’ve tried products like that too. But Velvet Swing has a light, lotion-like texture, its non-staining, and it doesn’t smell like WEED.”

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Best question ever? A tiny sixtyish woman who asked me, somewhat sternly, “But…what does it DO?” “It makes women have longer, stronger, multiple orgasms,” I told her. She broke into a smile. “All right, you have my full attention. Tell me more.”

Did I get anyone to invest in Velvet Swing? Well, they say a lady never tells. But by that calculus, there are not many ladies in the world! Let’s just say it was very definitely worth overcoming my new-business-owner nerves. Money aside, Arcview was a great overall experience for me professionally—I learned a lot about how to pitch in a really short span of time. And I started doing the one essential thing in any industry: I began building personal connections with smart, successful people in my field.

As a late registrant for this event, I was spared the ordeal of pitching up on the main stage—this time. Am I rehearsing already to get up there at the next Arcview conference I attend? Yes I am. I can’t think of a better place to do it.


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.

7 Tips for Making the Most of Seattle Hempfest

Being a free-of-charge cannabis festival held in a glorious outdoor locale, Seattle Hempfest is easy to enjoy. But here are a few strategic tips for making the most of it.

The post 7 Tips for Making the Most of Seattle Hempfest appeared first on Leafly.


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.

How to Make Your Cannabis Dispensary More Disability-Friendly

Walking into a dispensary can be an intimidating experience. Whether the customer is a newbie or a seasoned cannabis consumer, it still requires some confidence to walk in, talk to strangers about a previously illegal drug, and find the right products.

For someone who suffers from a disability, this endeavor could be next to impossible. Medical marijuana is now legal in a majority of states, and most of the qualifying medical conditions are officially considered a disability by the US government. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that, as of 2015, there were 53 million Americans living with some kind of disability, making disabled adults one of the largest minority groups in the United States. More than one of out of every five adults (22%) suffers some kind of physical, functional, mental, or sensory disability in the United States.

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However, because cannabis is still federally restricted under the Controlled Substances Act, there is no federally-mandated law that states dispensaries are required to adhere to the Americans With Disabilities Act. This means medical marijuana patients are not only at risk of losing their job and/or government assistance benefits due to state-legal cannabis use, the dispensaries they visit are also not required to make accommodations for them.

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Ways to Better Accommodate Disabled Visitors

Consider making a few adjustments to your dispensary to make the experience a little easier for disabled customers or medical marijuana patients:

  • Install a ramp and widen doorways to make your shop more wheelchair accessible.
  • Make chairs available in the lobby and waiting room for those who have trouble standing for long periods of time.
  • Designate a staff member to cater to patients with special needs.
  • Install a dimmer switch to adjust the lighting for those who have head trauma, seizures, or light sensitivities.
  • Print menus with extra-large font for patients with poor vision.
  • Offer a veteran’s discount for former service members and disabled veterans (according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, there are 3.5 million veterans living with a disability right now, including an estimated 30% of veterans who suffer from a “signature” disability, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or traumatic brain injury (TBI), both considered a “service-connected” disability)
  • Schedule “quiet days” for patients with sensory issues or anxiety.
  • Offer a free shuttle from central locations to your dispensary for those without transportation or who have limited mobility.
  • Allow service and therapy dogs to enter your store premises with their owners.
  • Train your employees to understand and work effectively with disabled customers.
  • Create employment opportunities for disabled workers, particularly who that may specialize in helping medical marijuana patients.

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Hiring Employees With Disabilities

Employment opportunities for disabled individuals do not come easily, especially if they are a certified medical marijuana patient. Those who are found to be using drugs or alcohol often don’t qualify for disability benefits, and that includes individuals who use cannabis for medicinal or therapeutic purposes. The unemployment rate for disabled persons in the US was 17.9% in 2016, nearly four times the national unemployment rate, listed as 4.3% in May of 2017.

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Offering positions that make a reasonable accommodation for disabled adults could mean a huge difference in the quality of life for a person who might not otherwise be able to contribute to society through the workforce. Furthermore, having a staff member with a disability involved in the medical marijuana industry means they may be able to empathize with other disabled customers and offer curated recommendations and a more relatable customer experience.

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What other tips or suggestions do you have to make your business more disability-friendly? Share your insight in the comments!


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.

Ontario Report Urges Immediate Decriminalization and Many Other Things

One of the many distinctive (and divisive) features of the Cannabis Act—which proposes to legalize adult-use recreational cannabis across Canada in July 2018—is how it leaves the specifics of cannabis distribution, possession, and purchase up to the individual provinces.

This week, Ontario took a step toward creating its own regs with the release of “Cannabis Legalization and Regulation,” a report by the Ontario division of the Canadian Mental Health Association (CMHA). The report provides provincial officials with “wide-ranging recommendations to reduce the health risks and harms associated with the legalization and regulation of cannabis.”

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The most notable of those recommendations: immediate decriminalization. “Given the plans for legalization of cannabis in 2018,” the report states, “decriminalization of cannabis for simple possession for the general population should be considered immediately in the coming months prior to legalization.”

That policy advice came in the report’s “Focus on Health Equity” section, which also includes this observation: “Currently, there are systemic inequalities leading to the criminalization of marginalized groups for cannabis possession, which account for thousands of arrests and convictions every year. Arrests for cannabis possession continue to take place, often disproportionately impacting marginalized communities across the country.”

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Other recommendations range from revenue mandates (the CMHA urges allocating 100 percent of cannabis-related revenue to mental health and addictions services) to the minimum age for cannabis purchase, which the CMHA would like to align with the Ontario’s legal age for purchasing alcohol (19). A few notable passages from the 5,000-word document:

* The “Regulating Sales” section puts forth an impressively intricate recipe for doing so, from restricting advertising to the same cartoon- and endorsement-free zone occupied by tobacco marketers, to ensuring “appropriate and reasonable pricing to deter consumers from purchasing cannabis through illegal means.” The CMHA would also have cannabis distributors earn the title: “Distribution of cannabis should include the provision of cannabis education to patrons through the implementation of a Cannabis Card program, similar to Ontario’s Smart Serve program.”

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* In the “Road Safety” section, things get strict, with the CMHA urging a zero-tolerance policy for cannabis consumption in any motorized vehicle. “A zero-tolerance policy would include both the driver of the motorized vehicle, as well as any passengers in the car,” reads the report. “It is important that a clear message be sent to the public as soon as possible regarding zero tolerance for impaired driving due to cannabis use.”

* Tagged onto the section addressing the Minimum Age for Purchase is this bracing proposition: “The Government of Ontario should advocate with the Federal Government to remove criminalization for simple possession of cannabis, especially for youth. CMHA recommends further research into a model similar to the Portugal’s decriminalization policy for young people that would allow for social services, counseling and education instead of criminal sanctions for underage cannabis possession.”

Read the full CMHA Ontario report here.


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.

This Cannabis-Infused Meal Box Wants to Be the New Blue Apron

Meal-kit delivery services have become a multibillion-dollar industry, and with the popular service Blue Apron cashing in a cool $800 million just last year, other industries are looking at ways to get in on the action. With fresh, pre-measured ingredients right at your fingertips, traditional meal kits advertise themselves as being both healthy and waste-conscious.

It was only a matter of time for canna-chefs to get in on this sustainable practice, and one ambitious new startup is taking the concept a step further by developing cannabis-infused meal-kit delivery options.

(Courtesy of The Baking Supply Co.)

Starting August 15th, The Baking Supply Co. is launching a 40-day campaign to bring its simply-made, cannabis-infused meal boxes to the cannabis market through the crowdfunding site Indiegogo. This concept can be especially beneficial to medical patients who are tired of sugary candies and sweet chocolates, and instead want nutritionally-dense meals that won’t sacrifice the therapeutic effects of CBD or THC.

(Courtesy of The Baking Supply Co.)

Keep in mind that the meals don’t come pre-infused—customers have to provide the cannabis. But the healthy edibles concept does include “digital herbal butter guides” for proper infusion and dosing.

The Indiegogo campaign offers various perks to donors, beginning with a custom pin designed by artist Adam J. Kurtz and stretching all the way up to a private infused three-course dinner for six lucky participants. As of this writing, the campaign has raised about 18% of its $22,000 goal. Check it out if you’re interested in supporting the potential evolution of meal delivery, and find out more about The Baking Supply Co.’s meal boxes by visiting their website.


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.

Who’s Sabotaging This Cannabis Company’s Instagram Account?

On Saturday, online trolls who’d been quietly running a fake Instagram account in the name of the California-based cannabis company Kiva Confections suddenly began abusing people in comments and direct messages.

People were offended by the messages, ‘and rightfully so,’ said Kiva co-founder Kristi Knoblich.

“At least cancer doesn’t run in my family,” they wrote in one particularly offensive message, directed toward a user with a family member who died of cancer. They followed the note with a smiley face emoji.

These particular imposters were dedicated, setting up the ruse as a kind of sleeper cell. They kept the fake account private and spent months amassing followers. They cribbed copy and high-quality photos from Kiva’s website to make the account look official. As of last Saturday, when the harassment began, the fake account had more than 2,000 followers.

“It was just pretty dark and macabre,” Kiva co-founder Kristi Knoblich told Leafly in a phone interview yesterday. “It makes my blood boil to think about how somebody could, even under the cloak of acting as an imposter to try and hurt us, just be that insensitive to another human being. It just tears you up inside.”

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Fighting Back with Video

As the hateful comments and messages piled up, account followers became increasingly offended, and “rightfully so, because it was disgusting,” Knoblich said. It wasn’t long before another Instagram user, who happened to have over 90,000 followers, posted screenshots of the cancer-related taunt to their own page alongside a note condemning Kiva. That opened the floodgates to an onslaught of vitriol directed towards the company—and alerted Kiva officials to the existence of the fake account.

Kiva co-founder Knoblich: Help us shut down the troll.

As soon as she found out what was going on, Knoblich posted a video to the company’s Facebook and Twitter pages making it clear that the account was fake. She apologized for the troll’s hurtful comments, and asked users to help get the imposter account removed by reporting the abuse to Instagram. Following the release of the video, a number of people appeared to have unfollowed the imposter account.

As of Tuesday morning, though, the fake Kiva account was still up and running—which is especially ironic considering that Kiva’s actual Instagram account has been shut down by the social media site a total of eight times.

“I don’t have a good understanding of what the algorithms are and what they’re scanning for, so it could be that we’re just constantly getting hit by the same troll reporting our account,” Knoblich told Leafly. “But within a few months or even days of us starting a new page with the name Kiva in it, it’s flagged for removal and taken down.”

Knoblich says Kiva lost nearly 60,000 followers as a result, and that for more than a year they were unable to get more than a one-line email from Instagram saying Kiva had violated the site’s terms of service in response to inquiries about their account.

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The Mysterious Rules of Social Media

Strangely, Kiva hasn’t had the same sort of trouble on other social media sites like Twitter or Facebook (which bought Instagram in 2012)—though dozens of other legal cannabis companies have a history of seeing their Facebook accounts banned, too. Facebook’s community standards specifically prohibit content that promotes marijuana sales, even in states where it’s legal.

Fake. Fake. Fake.

Many legal cannabis business owners have complained that on both Facebook and Instagram, the rules are vague and seem to be enforced in a patchwork fashion, creating an uneven playing field among competitors in the same industry.

“What’s so interesting is that you’ll see posts from other companies or users and it’s naked women and paraphernalia and guns and cash,” Knoblich said. “But all the posts we had on our real page were about education. Things like how to keep edibles away from kids, how to store and lock your edibles, pointers and tips for how to use safely. The nature of what we were posting didn’t have anything to do with promoting sales, illegal use, shipping or distribution.”

Instagram Responds, Kind of

After trying for months to get in touch with an Instagram representative, Kiva finally recently received an email that included a more detailed policy around cannabis. The language doesn’t appear to be included in either Instagram’s official community guidelines or terms of service, so it seems the policy hasn’t been made public.

Here is that statement in full:

Instagram does not allow people or organizations to use the platform to advertise or sell marijuana, regardless of the seller’s state or country. This is primarily because most federal laws, including those of the United States, treat marijuana as either an illegal substance or highly regulated good. Our policy prohibits any marijuana seller, including dispensaries, from promoting their business by providing contact information like phone numbers, street addresses, or by using the “contact us” tab in Instagram Business Accounts. We do however allow marijuana advocacy content as long as it is not promoting the sale of the drug. Dispensaries can promote the use and federal legalization of marijuana provided that they do not also promote its sale or provide contact information to their store.

Now that those terms are more clearly laid out, Knoblich is tentatively hopeful that Kiva might eventually be able to get its original account back. She also hopes Instagram might find a way to crack down on imposter accounts like the one that drew ire from the community while posing as Kiva on Saturday.

Instagram’s official policy states that “It’s not currently possible to request or purchase a verified badge,” and that “right now, only some public figures, celebrities and brands have verified badges.” As a result, it’s incredibly easy to create convincing fake accounts—especially when a brand’s real account has been shut down.

“It would be really nice to see some sort of verification feature,” Knoblich says. “I don’t know what the solution is, but there’s got to be a better way than what’s currently happening.”

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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.

‘First Green Bank’ Is Florida’s First to Serve Cannabis Industry

Orlando-based First Green Bank is giving new meaning to its name by offering financial services to cannabis businesses. It appears to be the first financial institution in Florida to serve the state’s medical cannabis industry.

While most major US banks have steered clear of cannabis companies due to convoluted rules around working with the still-federally-illegal industry, First Green Bank has more than just a commercial connection to cannabis. Founder Ken La Roe credits medical marijuana with helping his wife after suffered a serious bicycle crash that left her with traumatic brain injuries and a seizure disorder, according to the Orlando Business Journal.

A friend suggested medical marijuana. The results were stunning. “In six months [she] was able to completely get off the seizure medication, and six months later it completely cured her seizures,” Ken La Roe told Fox 35 Orlando.

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La Roe told reporters he believes his bank is the first in Florida to offer banking services to cannabis businesses. While some states, such as Washington, have issued guidance on how local financial organizations can work with the cannabis industry, Florida currently lacks guidelines around how banks should go about doing business with dispensaries.

“There is no rule or law because it’s federally illegal,” La Roe said.

As La Roe explained to the Orlando Business Journal, First Green Bank won’t actually touch any of the cash from dispensaries.

“We don’t ever touch the cash or allow dispensaries to deposit it,” said. “We require them to use the armored car service we have vetted to go to the dispensaries.”

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The armored trucks pick up the cash directly from dispensaries, then transport it to the nearest Federal Reserve location, La Roe explained. First Green Bank also tracks inventory from seed to sale, as it’s the bank’s responsibility to make sure all the transactions are above board.

The process hasn’t been easy. According to news reports, it’s taken La Roe and First Green Bank around two years to implement this system. Today, First Green Bank serves six of the seven licensees in Florida.

So far, First Green Bank has processed nearly $30 million dollars in deposits from cannabis companies. That’s about 6% of the bank’s $479.38 million in total deposits from all customers during 2016.

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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.