Tag: Politics

Torontonians Love Their Dispensaries. Why Is Mayor Tory Dead Set Against Them?

When a cannabis consulting firm determined Toronto had taken over from Vancouver as the Canadian city with the most marijuana dispensaries, the firm’s owner was excited. “In the next month or two, we might have as many dispensaries as Pizza Pizzas in Toronto,” Harrison Jordan said, referring to the ubiquitous fast food restaurants.

Not everyone in Toronto shares his enthusiasm about marijuana dispensaries but a lot of residents are perfectly fine with them. In fact, research indicates many people in Ontario would now like to see recreational marijuana sold in dispensaries when it becomes legal next year.

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In a Forum Research survey conducted in April 2016, 52% of Ontario respondents said they thought that dedicated cannabis dispensaries would be the best place to sell recreational marijuana after legalization. In a survey conducted by Nanos Research just last month, 55% of Ontario residents said they would prefer that marijuana be sold by such licensed private retailers rather than province-run liquor stores.

52% of Ontario survey respondents say dedicated cannabis dispensaries are the best place to sell recreational marijuana. But Toronto Mayor Tory has not wavered.

Despite such findings, Toronto Mayor John Tory has not wavered from the hardline stance he took against dispensaries when he took office almost three years ago.

The same week the Nanos survey results were released, Tory sent an open letter to Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne stating his opposition to dispensaries in many parts of the city. “I have made it clear that while I support the legalization of marijuana, I do not think the people of Toronto would support the future widespread location of outlets for the sale of marijuana in residential neighborhoods or in certain retail areas,” said Tory.

In June, two months after the federal government confirmed its intention to legalize recreational marijuana in July 2018, Tory said he would like to see dispensary raids continue in Toronto.

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Why does the mayor remain steadfast in his opposition to dispensaries while so many Ontarians have indicated they want cannabis available through such private retailers once recreational use becomes legal? The answer depends on whom you ask.

Tory’s defense of his position is heavy on vagaries and hearsay. He says he’s concerned that dispensaries might not “fit within [Toronto’s] communities” and that he’s worried about the well-being of children. At a press conference in June, Tory said residents of one Toronto neighbourhood had told him that people were being harassed at ATMs by others looking for money to buy marijuana at a nearby dispensary.

But the mayor’s critics see other factors at play.

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Lisa Campbell, spokesperson for the Cannabis Friendly Business Association, attributes Tory’s criticism of dispensaries to his desire to “play nice” with Wynne, who has expressed interest in having recreational cannabis sold at province-controlled liquor stores.

In recent months, Tory has asked the Wynne government to agree to an arrangement in which Toronto will share tax revenue generated by legal marijuana sales. He has also asked the province for more money to maintain Toronto’s massive transit system, two busiest expressways and public housing—so it’s in his best interest to be on good terms with the Premier, says Campbell. “He’s doing a great job of being friendly with other levels of government,” she adds.

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Like other Tory detractors, Campbell also attributes the mayor’s stand against dispensaries, in part, to a cozy relationship with “big money” entities that would prefer different sales models. The first of those are the licensed producers that now sell medical cannabis directly to Canadians and are poised to do the same with recreational marijuana once it’s legal. The second such entity is the wealthy family, the Westons, that owns Canada’s biggest pharmacy chain, Shoppers Drug Mart, and would like medical and, possibly, recreational marijuana to be sold there.

Campbell and other critics note that Tory himself comes from the Canadian establishment. His great-grandfather founded Sun Life of Canada, a big financial services company, and his father helped build one of Canada’s most influential and politically connected law firms, Torys LLP.

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While Tory’s motivation for opposing dispensaries is a matter of debate, one fact is not: With the legalization date less than a year away, the mayor of Toronto is at odds with many of his constituents about where recreational marijuana should be sold, making the future of cannabis in Canada’s biggest city a little hazy.


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.

Australian States Split on Medical Cannabis

Access to cannabis for people with terminal illnesses and chronic pain was delayed last week when the New South Wales (NSW) state government blocked a law that would have decriminalized possession of marijuana for those suffering from serious medical conditions.

The legislation, which would have decriminalized possession of up to 15 grams of cannabis in cases where it was being used to treat chronic pain, was introduced by the opposition Labor party and blocked by the majority Liberal Legislative Assembly. Despite the fact that the proposed law grew out of the recommendations of a bipartisan parliamentary inquiry into the use of cannabis for medical purposes, no bipartisanship was present when it was voted down.

“By refusing to pass this legislation, the NSW Government has put up an unnecessary hurdle for sufferers of terminal and chronic illnesses.” NSW Labor Leader Luke Foley said in a statement.

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“It is deeply disappointing that the Government has denied legislation that will restore dignity to those people seeking temporary relief from the pain and suffering of their affliction. Those who are suffering from terminal and serious medical conditions deserve sympathy and support—and they should not be treated like a criminal for seeking respite from relentless and unwavering illness,” Foley continued.

“We are particularly concerned that the government has done little to ensure a consistent supply of regulated and affordable product.”

Sen. Lisa Singh, Tasmania

Further south, in the island state of Tasmania, another Labor politician has taken up the cause of medical cannabis in a different way. Sen. Lisa Singh has been campaigning in the senate for a quicker and more consistent cannabis licensing program.

In a speech to the Australian senate last week, Singh urged the government to enable the establishment of the medical cannabis industry in Tasmania. Specifically, she wants to ensure that the global opioid supplier Tasmania Alkaloids (which has partnered with medical cannabis company AusCann) can secure a closed-loop cannabis production chain.

“Closed-loop production is key to a successful Tasmanian medical cannabis industry,” Singh said, “The opportunity to grow, manufacture, and distribute directly from one location alleviates legitimate security concerns.”

Rather than focus solely on patient access issues, Singh is also eager to realise the economic benefits of a thriving medical cannabis industry in her state. “Tasmania is ideally positioned to become a manufacturing base both for the domestic and international markets in medicinal cannabis,” she said, “The Australian domestic market for medicinal cannabis has alone been estimated to be worth AU$100 million a year.”

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“If Tasmania is able to seize the opportunity of becoming a global leader in the cultivation and manufacture of medicinal cannabis, then there will be similar substantial economic benefits to reap for my home state like we have from cultivating the world’s legal opium crops,” she said.

But before that economic dream can be achieved, Singh says the federal government needs to develop a more consistent application of its medical cannabis laws across states.

“We are particularly concerned that the government has done little to ensure a consistent supply of regulated and affordable product, or to drive consistency across states on the legal treatment of people currently accessing medicinal cannabis.” Singh told Leafly.

The Tasmanian senator isn’t the only politician taking up the torch for the medical cannabis industry. Victorian Minister of Agriculture and Regional Development Jalaa Pulford recently visited medical cannabis facilities in Canada with CannGroup CEO Peter Crock.

This state-level support for medical cannabis is good news for growers and patients in some parts of Australia, but frustration will continue to rise in states like New South Wales if their governments continue to block efforts to extend compassionate treatment to medical cannabis patients.


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.

Denver to Start Licensing First Cannabis Clubs, but Few May Apply

DENVER (AP) — Colorado’s largest city is on the brink of licensing some of the nation’s first legal marijuana clubs.

But Denver’s elaborate hurdles for potential cannabis-friendly coffee shops and gathering places may mean the city gets few takers for the new licenses.

Denver voters approved bring-your-own-pot clubs in a ballot measure last year after city officials’ dragged their feet on calls to give legal consumers a place to use the drug. The city plans to start accepting applications by the end of the month.

“There are plenty of places where you can consume alcohol. Let’s give people a place to go to consume marijuana,” said Jordan Person, head of Denver NORML, which advocates for cannabis-friendly public policy.

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But Denver’s would-be “social use” clubs have faced one delay after another.

First, the state liquor board prohibited cannabis use at any place with a liquor license, making bars and many restaurants off-limits. And retail shops can’t allow consumption on the premises.

That left gathering places like coffee shops, art galleries and yoga studios. Furthermore, would-be clubs must stay twice as far as liquor stores from schools and anywhere children congregate, including playgrounds and sports fields.

“We can’t be in places where it makes sense,” said Kayvan Khalatbari, a Denver marijuana consultant who helped run last year’s club campaign.

City officials say the rules are as flexible as possible given stiff resistance from some community groups and marijuana skeptics. The voter-approved club measure also says the club licenses are a pilot program and neighborhood groups must agree to allow a club before it could open.

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“There were no surprises in the rules,” said Dan Rowland, spokesman for the Denver department that regulates marijuana businesses. “They reflect all the comments we got from the community.”

One hopeful applicant says the regulations are stringent but still a step forward for the industry.

“A lot of us are hoping this will … open the doors for a new kind of business,” said Connor Lux, who runs a co-work space for the cannabis industry and plans to apply for a social use license to hold public, cannabis-friendly events at his business just north of downtown Denver. Applying for a license costs $1,000; the licenses itself is $1,000 a year.

Lux envisions open-to-the-public networking events at his space.

“I don’t think anyone’s planning a giant smoke-out, everybody-coming-to-get-high kind of thing,” he said.

Khalatbari has sued Colorado’s liquor regulators over the ban on cannabis and alcohol in the same location, a lawsuit that hasn’t yet been heard, and says he is considering a lawsuit against the city for what he believes are onerous club rules.

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Khalatbari noted Denver has much looser distance requirements for places selling alcohol, even allowing bicycle bars to cruise past schools and churches. The mobile bars with drivers ferry groups of pedaling drinkers from one tavern to the next.

“You can ride these stupid moronic bike bars down the street, getting hammered in public. But we’re not giving people a safer choice, even though voters have said over and over again they want to go that way,” Khalatbari said.

Colorado’s marijuana law neither allows nor denies cannabis clubs, leaving the state with a patchwork of local club rules. Some cities tolerate them; in others, clubs operate underground, with members arranging meetups using social media.

State lawmakers earlier this year decided against a plan to regulate marijuana clubs statewide. Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper warned that passing the measure could invite a federal crackdown.

The situation is similar in other legal-cannabis states.

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Alaska’s 2014 marijuana measure allowed for on-site consumption at potential “tasting rooms,” though regulators in that state have yet to allow any to open.

And measures approved last year in California and Massachusetts allowed for cannabis clubs, but both states are still working out rules.

Person, the marijuana activist, said she’s hopeful that Denver’s limited rules will prove a step forward in a national move toward marijuana acceptance.

“People still aren’t sure how this is going to work or what’s going to be allowed. But this is progress,” she said.


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 Proposal Would Open Door to On-Site Consumption

After flirting for months with permitting on-site consumption at retail cannabis stores, the Alaska Marijuana Control Board has officially proposed regulations to allow the idea to move forward.

The development comes after months of discussion on the issue. In February, following a push to permit on-site consumption, regulators voted 3-2 to reject a proposal that would have allowed it

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Since the narrow rejection, the discussion has grown increasingly contentious. Some worry the lack of a legal place to consume could hurt cannabis sales in the state, especially given Alaska’s thriving tourism industry. Others worry visitors will simply spark up somewhere else.

The proposed regulatory changes would allow dispensaries to apply for on-site consumption endorsements that would allow customers to consume cannabis products on the premises.

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Public comment is being accepted until 4:30 p.m. on Oct. 27 and can be submitted by email at amco.regs@alaska.gov or online through the Alaska Online Public Notice System. Written comments can be sent to the Alcohol & Marijuana Control Office, at 550 West 7th Ave., Suite 1600, Anchorage, AK 99501.

Written questions can also be submitted until 10 days before the public comment section closes.

Alaskan adult-use cannabis market is starting to find its groove, but sales still lag far behind the state’s original projections. From October—the first month of legal cannabis sales—through June, Alaska collected roughly $1.75 million in cannabis tax revenue—over a quarter of a million dollars less than the state had originally projected.

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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.

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.

California Is Still Arresting Too Many People of Color for Cannabis

California residents voted overwhelmingly to legalize cannabis for all adults last November. Yet law enforcement’s approach towards the drug has yet to fully evolve along with public attitudes. That’s according to crime statistics from 2016 released by the California Department of Justice last week.

Marijuana felony arrests fell by nearly half from 2011 to 2016. But racial disparities remain.

That crime data confirms a disturbing trend seen in other cities and states: While arrests for cannabis are on the decline, the disparity between arrest rates for white people and people of color still persists. Non-white people are much more likely to be arrested for marijuana in California, despite having the same rate of consumption.

Overall, marijuana arrests in California have plummeted since 2011—from 21,860 that year, to 13,810 last year. Felony marijuana arrests fell 44%, from 14,092 in 2011 to 7,949 last year.

Felony marijuana arrests dropped 44% from 2011 to 2016.

But those drops did not happen because of legalization—at least not directly.

In 2010, with a marijuana legalization measure on the ballot, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signed into law a bill that made possession of an ounce or less of cannabis a civil infraction, punishable only by a fine.

In 2014, following a voter-approved ballot proposition, most drug-related felonies became misdemeanors. Felony marijuana arrests promptly dropped by a third, as many of those offenses moved into the misdemeanor category. As cannabis arrests fell, overall misdemeanor drug offenses (including but not limited to marijuana) shot up from 92,469 in 2014 to 163,073 in 2015.

Possession of an ounce or less of cannabis became legal for adults 21 and over in California on Nov. 8, 2016, the day more than 57 percent of voters approved Proposition 64. Sale of marijuana remains illegal (except for medical sales) until the state opens up its regulated system in 2018.

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Voters in three other states—Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada—approved marijuana legalization on Election Night, joining Colorado, Washington, and Oregon.

In California, retail sales of recreational marijuana won’t begin until sometime after Jan. 1, 2018, by which time the state is supposed to issue business licenses to cultivate, transport, and sell the plant. Until then, the only legal method to purchase cannabis in California is with a medical marijuana recommendation.

But even as legalization loomed large in the state last year, marijuana still represented a significant portion of court caseloads in California.

Overall, drug arrests have increased significantly since 2011, although a larger percentage of those arrests are misdemeanors, not felonies. More than 220,000 people were arrested for drug crimes in California in 2016. Of those, 182,002 arrests were misdemeanors. In 2011, there were 192,248 drug arrests all told, with 76,916 misdemeanor arrests.

California trend: More misdemeanor arrests, fewer felonies.

While possession of an ounce or less of cannabis is now legal in California, it’s still illegal to cultivate the drug for sale or sell it without a permit, as multiple large law enforcement raids this summer of what police say are illegal grows have demonstrated.

And legalization’s seeming inevitability has yet to solve the drug war’s glaring racial bias.

Before and after legalization, nonwhite people were still arrested for marijuana-related crime at a rate greater than that for whites despite similar rates of use, with the disproportionate policing falling most heavily on black people.

More than 70 percent of people arrested for marijuana in 2016 were nonwhite, according to the California DOJ’s annual Crime in California report.

Black people comprised 20 percent of the state’s felony marijuana arrests, despite making up 6.5 percent of the population.

2016 felonies: Black people make up 6.5% of California’s population, but 20% of felony marijuana arrests.

Of the 7,949 people arrested for marijuana-related felonies, 3,066 were Latino, 1,215 were classified as “other” (a catch-all category including Asians), and 1,592 were black.

Overall, of the 13,810 people arrested for marijuana in 2016, 4,051 were whites, 2,201 were black, 5,994 were Latino, and 1564 were classified as “other.”

California is 37.7 percent white, 38.9 percent Hispanic, 14.8 Asian and 6.5 percent black, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.


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.

Gavin Newsom Racking Up Cannabis $$$ in California Governors Race

Campaign donations from the cannabis industry are starting to pop up in campaign disclosure forms in California, as the race to replace Gov. Jerry Brown in 2018 heats up. One candidate continues to separate himself, as current Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom has received over $320,000 in campaign donations from people associated with the cannabis industry.

Newsom has raised more than $320,000 from cannabis industry sources.

Cannabis industry campaign donations only make up a fraction of Newsom’s donation total; the LA Times reports he has around $16 million in campaign donations so far. But the Lieutenant Governor has made it a campaign priority to hear out folks from the soon-to-be flourishing cannabis industry in California.

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In an interview with the LA Times, political insiders told the paper that the industry’s political donations show how an industry that was once underground is now becoming a part of the establishment.

“In other industries, there’s an expectation that you’re at the table before legislation is passed,” Elizabeth Ashford, a former aide to Gov. Brown and California Sen. Kamala Harris, told the Times. “These businesses have evolved to that point.”

Though Newsom has said he’s never consumed cannabis, he was one of the first statewide officeholders to publicly support Proposition 64, which legalized cannabis for adult consumption this past year.

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Scrolling through the list of Newsom’s donors also turns up several key advocates and mega donors for Prop. 64, including PayPal cofounder and Donald Trump supporter Peter Thiel, and philanthropist and legalization advocate George Soros. Both have donated more than $100,000 combined to Newsom’s campaign.

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Other noteworthy Newsom campaign donors include entertainer Bill Maher, NFL running back Marshawn Lynch, and the widow of Steve Jobs, Laurene Powell Jobs.

The LA Times reports that some in the industry see Newsom as a candidate who listens to their concerns and will stick up for them.

It should be noted though, that Newsom isn’t the only gubernatorial candidate to support cannabis legalization efforts. State Treasurer John Chiang, who’s also running to succeed Gov. Brown, has been leading efforts to reform the cannabis banking system. Currently, he is working with a group that is debating reforms that could give cannabis companies full access to banks.


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.

Marijuana Becomes a Player in California Politics and It’s Putting Its Money on Gavin Newsom

Marijuana is already a multi-billion dollar a year business in California, and with recreational sales to adults coming online next year, it’s about to get even bigger.

Now, the legal pot industry is beginning to throw its weight around in state office-level politics, and it’s doing it the old-fashioned way: with a checkbook.

Fund-raising for the 2018 gubernatorial campaign is already well underway, and according to a recent Los Angeles Times analysis of campaign contributions, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom is running away with the cannabis cash.

Pot growers, retailers, and others in the industry have donated more than $300,000, swamping industry contributions to his Democratic competitors, former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa ($5,000) and Treasurer John Chiang ($100).

That means that Newsom has hoovered up around 98% of pot industry contributions in the Democratic race for the nomination so far. There’s a reason for that—actually a couple of them.

First, the charismatic former San Francisco mayor has been a key player in the state’s path toward full legalization, just as he was an early supporter of gay marriage.

One of the first state-level officials to come out for freeing the weed, he has used his largely ceremonial position as lieutenant governor to champion the cause, creating a blue ribbon commission and holding public hearings to develop policy to support what would ultimately become Prop 64, the legalization initiative approved by voters last fall. He’s earned some political goodwill from the pot people.

Second, he’s actively courting the industry. The Times reports that Newsom has held four industry fundraisers so far, including this one in March, hosted by the Indus Holding Company, maker of such marijuana-infused treats as Toasted Rooster and Crispy Kraken chocolate bars:

The fundraising dinner for Gavin Newsom in Salinas was in most ways a typical night for a political candidate. Local business leaders paid up to $5,000 for a chance to talk with the man aiming to be California’s next governor over cauliflower bisque, strip steak and Meyer lemon pudding cake.

The hosts that March evening were in the agriculture business, in a region known for its lettuce, grapes and strawberries. But they left their signature dish off the menu: candy infused with marijuana…. Dinner gave way to a roundtable discussion among the 20 or so guests, who raised with Newsom some of the issues affecting their nascent businesses, according to interviews with multiple attendees.

Banking was a major topic that night, they said. Currently, the vast majority of banks and credit unions will not work with cannabis companies, because the federal government considers their revenue illegal. Some operate on an all-cash basis, and most lack the ability to find traditional financing.

There is a lot at stake for the marijuana industry. Regulatory and tax policies for the new legalization regime are being developed now. As both wielder of the veto pen over legislation and head of the executive branch that will implement legalization, whoever the next governor is, he or she will be a critical player making decisions that will help decide who makes a fortune and who doesn’t.

And that worries Hezekiah Allen, executive director of the California Growers Association, which represents small growers in Northern California’s traditional pot-growing Emerald Triangle.

He told the Times the money to Newsom is coming from large enterprises and wealthy individuals seeking to cut out the ma-and-pa growers who paved the way.

“There are fierce and cutthroat business practices coming,” he said. “We’re pushing to keep craft growers in business.”

The $300,000 raised so far by the pot industry is only a small part of Newsom’s $14 million campaign war chest, but it’s more than raised by any agricultural sector in the state, and it’s a clear sign of pot’s increasing political clout.

But with legalization already won—at least on the state level—that clout is going to be focused on who benefits and how.


This content is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license from StopTheDrugWar.org and was first published here.

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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.

Trump Comments Spark Boycott of LA Cannabis Expo

A boycott of the Cannabis World Congress & Business Expo, slated for Los Angeles in mid-Sept., started with a Facebook post on Thursday morning. By Friday afternoon it had spread to a number of prominent members of the cannabis industry.

The boycott is the latest fallout from President Trump’s comments defending white supremacists and neo-Nazis.

On Thursday, the Minority Cannabis Business Association (MCBA) put up a Facebook post announcing its withdrawal from the expo due to the presence of Roger Stone, who is booked as a keynote speaker. Stone, a self-proclaimed political dirty trickster, is a longtime mentor and advisor to President Trump, and has a long history of ugly racial incidents in his past. He’s also a vocal advocate of cannabis legalization.

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The MCBA posted this on Thursday: “As a result of CWC choosing this guy as their keynote speaker, MCBA has decided to withdraw from attendance and speaking roles at this conference. CWC, you know better so there’s no excuse not to do better.”

Later that day, the Cannabis Industry Journal announced that it would “no longer be a media partner of any CWCBExpo events, unless they remove Roger Stone from the keynote slot.”

The Journal editors added:

“In choosing Roger Stone to keynote, the CWCBExpo is making a Faustian bargain and we don’t believe this is right. We need to stand by our morals; the ends don’t justify the means. The cannabis industry is no place for racism and we would like to see Roger Stone removed from the keynote position at CWCBExpo.”

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Scott Giannotti, a managing partner of the CWCBExpo, replied in a post addressed to Minority Cannabis Business Association leader Jesce Horton: “How convenient MCBA is promoting CWCBExpo’s biggest competitor NCIA, who hosts ALL WHITE CONFERENCES. Meanwhile CWCBExpo works hard at producing the most politically and culturally diverse conference program in the cannabis industry. But we’re racists ok lol I’ll put our show guide up against NCIA’s any day you want and show you how dumb you people are.”

That did not go over well. Wanda James, one of the most respected entrepreneurs in the cannabis industry, responded: “this is going big.”

Other leaders voicing their support for the MCBA’s position and withdrawing from the conference included Aunt Zelda’s co-founder Mara Gordon, as well as former Drug Policy Alliance California policy manager Amanda Reiman, who’s now vice president for community relations at Flow Kana.

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Stone’s presence has long made many cannabis activists uneasy. But he’s also been seen by some as a symbol of the common ground that conservatives and liberals can find on the issue of legalization. That uneasy alliance was shaken by Trump’s words and actions in the past week. For many, inviting a close Trump advisor like Stone to a cannabis event jumped a lane over the past seven days. What was once seen as a good-faith instance of reaching across the political aisle became a show of tacit support for Trump’s toxic views on race and violence.

Kaliko Castille summed up the feeling of many in the MCBA camp in Weed News earlier today:

“Maybe Roger Stone isn’t a racist, but you know what’s just as bad as being a racist? Using other people’s racism as a means to achieve your own political ends. There are plenty of well-intentioned conservatives that are coming around on our issue who don’t flirt with racism to make their point. If you want a principled conservative with political connections to speak at your events, invite Grover Norquist.

I don’t care how connected Stone is to Jeff Sessions or Donald Trump, if our industry decides to buddy up to people who have blood on their hands, there is no way for us to come out clean.”


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.

Charges Dropped Against DC Activist After 4/20 Arrest

Earlier this year, several DC cannabis advocates were arrested during a series of “smoke-in” protests at the US Capitol. This week, it was announced that the US Attorney’s office would be dropping charges against the leader of the protest.

DCMJ leader and vocal cannabis advocate Adam Eidinger first organized a movement to take place on April 20th, during which the group planned to give away 1,227 hand-rolled joints to Congressional staffers and members of Congress to spur support of House Resolution 1227, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017.

Labeled the First Annual Joint Session, the event was abruptly shut down by Capitol police within minutes of arriving on the scene. Eight DCMJ advocates were arrested and were told they were facing federal drug charges, despite the fact that the group was careful to restrict their demonstration to grounds that fall under local jurisdiction.

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Just days later on April 24, the group reorganized for a second round of protests, only to be met yet again with more arrests.

In both cases, the Capitol Police maintained that they were enforcing federal law and charged each activist with federal possession, which carries a penalty of up to a year in prison and a $1,000 fine.

It was later revealed that only two of the advocates arrested would be facing charges from the 4/20 protest, and the charges were eventually reduced to a violation of the DC Code for Public Consumption of Marijuana, an offense that usually does not require arrest and is instead punishable by a small civil fine.

Natalie De Leon, one of the activists who was arrested during both protests, described her experience as one of confusion and uncertainty from the moment of the 4/20 arrest onward.

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“They held us at the Capitol Police, and seemed like they were taking their sweet time and were extremely unorganized,” she said of the first arrest. “They didn’t know who the arresting officers were and even confessed that they’ve been planning this arrest all week, and MPD [Maryland Police Department] wanted nothing to do with it.”

“Eventually we got moved to the DC central holding block and the conditions were shit. Adam’s cell was infested with cockroaches,” De Leon described. “I also learned about how messed up this justice system is. We were there for God knows how long. The women [arrested during the 4/20 protest] witnessed police brutality in the middle of the night.”

She and the other protesters were held for another six to eight hours, bringing their total time in custody to over 24 hours. And then, unceremoniously, “they just let me go. They were like, you’ve got no papers and you can go.”

Although eight members of the group were arrested and held overnight, only Eidinger and William Angolia of the DC Canna Co-op Club faced charges of possession of a controlled substance due to the weight of the joints in their possession. Eidinger was charged with possessing 2.06 ounces, and Angolia was charged with possessing 2.405 ounces, just above the legal threshold.

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Eidinger, who helped draft the legalization initiative in DC, had his charges dropped when the Drug Enforcement Agency determined that he was, in fact, carrying less than the legal limit due to the initial inclusion of the weight of the paper and cardboard crutches on the joints.

Charges against Angolia are still pending.

During the second protest, four activists were arrested, including De Leon. This time, however, the charges were more clearly outlined as a violation of the DC Code of Public Consumption, and the arrestees will be required to attend a court hearing later in the fall.


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