Tag: regulations

Dear Justin: I Beg Your Pardons

Hello Justin! The holiday season is just a few weeks away, which means it’s time for kindness, love, and most importantly, forgiveness. Ah forgiveness, a healing exchange that dissolves contempt and resentment, unburdening us from the wrongdoing of others.

Your office’s silence on pardons and amnesty for ‘cannabis criminals’ is an action unworthy of your family legacy.

You’ve shown you understand forgiveness, Justin. You’ve begged forgiveness of our Indigenous Peoples, and apologized for Canada’s conviction of those found guilty of gross indecency for committing homosexual acts—a law loosened in 1969 by your father, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, who historically said, “I think the view we take here is that there’s no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation.”

And yet, despite your understanding of forgiveness, I’m worried you lack the ability to practice it meaningfully. Your office’s silence and side-stepping concerning pardons for cannabis charges and amnesty for those currently convicted or incarcerated for soon-to-be-legal cannabis crimes is an action unworthy of your family legacy.

Earlier this year, Public Safety Minister, Ralph Goodale said, “The Trudeau government is not considering a blanket pardon for people with criminal records for possessing small amounts of the drug [marijuana]…It is important to note that as the bill moves through the legislative process, existing laws prohibiting possession and use of cannabis remain in place, and they need to be respected.”

RELATED STORY

Leafly List: The Top Cannabis Dispensaries in British Columbia, Fall 2017

I realize there’s concern of a cannabis free-for-all gripping our society as we approach July 1, but this is about logic: If a person is arrested in possession of 30 grams of cannabis or less sometime in the next six months, is it really reasonable for that person to be charged? Is ethical or even practical to entangle them in the legal system? And should those convicted and/or currently imprisoned for such a crime—one that will soon be totally legal—really continue to live in a criminalized world? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, I’d sure love to know why.

While I’m chasing down explanations, brace yourself for a future interrogation on the newly announced excise tax—a one dollar per gram tax that’ll apply not just to recreational sales but also medical cannabis. Do you seriously want to make it more expensive for people with cancer, HIV/AIDS, or chronic pain to access their medicine? Are we really that worried about healthy people faking sick to access a legal drug?

62% of Canadians would support a blanket pardon for cannabis possession offences.

Just for fun, let’s project ourselves into the future: The year is 2045, your own child serves as Prime Minister because this is how we choose leaders now. They stand before a media scrum to deliver a heartfelt apology to Canadians whose lives were derailed by cannabis offences, before the drug became legal. I suspect this vision is not Pierre-approved.

Your government’s reluctance to face this issue makes me think they haven’t read the recent Nanos Research poll indicating that 62% of Canadians would support a blanket pardon for cannabis possession offences. That’s 10% higher than your latest approval rating, by the way. So how do you put into practice what we, the people want? Simple, blame it on the scientists.

RELATED STORY

Cannabis and Arthritis

Researchers at the C.D Howe Institute released a report asking the government to consider pardons as well as dropping outstanding charges to achieve a practical, sensible goal: to free resources for the legalization process itself. And while we’re at it, C.D Howe also wants you to consider pardoning people who have been convicted for illegal possession of cannabis but have no other convictions, and have not been charged with any other Criminal Code offence. Humane, practical, forward thinking, modern and it saves money? Our next Prime Minister Trudeau would be proud.

Now I’m not a fancy, non-profit think tank, but I would ask that you add streamlining the pardon process to your list of things to consider. As it stands, this is a rigorous (and confusing) application process that can begin only five years after a sentence is completed. This time-served, half-decade hangover effectively makes the road back to employment in our desperate job economy all the more difficult to survive.

The charges are piling up, the legal system continues to bloat beyond its capacity, the law is indeed erroneous, and the time to fix it is now.

I will give you half marks for hinting that your government would look into changing the laws. But you only did it when pressed by a constituent who challenged you face-to-face at an event.

“We will change the law,” you replied. “We are taking the time necessary to get it right. Then we will move forward in a thoughtful way on fixing past wrongs that happened because of this erroneous law that I didn’t put in place and that I’m working hard to fix.”

Justin, the charges are piling up, the legal system continues to bloat beyond its capacity, the law is indeed erroneous, and the time to fix it is now.

RELATED STORY

The Best Dab Rig for You

And though cannabis-related offences have been on the decline for the past five years, there were still 55,000 offences in 2016 alone, and about 61,000 in 2015. Without a plan for amnesty and streamlined pardons, Canada faces a great risk: crippling citizens, many of whom are youth, who are simply victims of poor timing and government shortsightedness.

So, this holiday season, instead of dodging the question, you need only stop and ask yourself if you want to be remembered as a leader who will need forgiveness for his unfair actions, or one who applied reason, compassion, and practicality to allow many Canadians to avoid being meaninglessly embroiled in the legal system.

As they say over at C.D Howe, just “consider” it, okay?

Kate


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’s Legal Cannabis Countdown: What’s Coming by Jan. 1

LOS ANGELES (AP) — California has published the rules that will govern its legal marijuana economy in 2018, giving businesses and consumers a glimpse into the future.

But there are important steps before legal recreational sales kick off on Jan. 1, and even more uncertainties about how the marketplace will function. Warning: Don’t count on being able to stroll into your local dispensary on New Year’s Day to celebrate with an infused cookie or a joint.

RELATED STORY

California Releases Emergency Cannabis Regulations

Why Are the Regulations Important?

They form the framework of the new cannabis economy, estimated to be worth $7 billion. Can you make animal-shaped edibles? No. Transport products in a drone? No. But retailers can be open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. It’s a dense stack of rules that includes fees for licensing (nearly $80,000 annually for a large grower), how cannabis will be traced from seed to sale and testing requirements to ensure customers get what they pay for.

Can I Buy Legal, Adult-Use Cannabis on Jan. 1?

For most people, probably not. It will vary place to place, but many cities are not prepared. Even though the state regulations went out Thursday, the Bureau of Cannabis Control is still developing an online system for businesses to apply for operating licenses. California is working out technical bugs and hopes it will be ready in early December.

RELATED STORY

San Francisco Almost Certainly Won’t Be Selling Cannabis on Jan. 1

“There certainly will be licenses issued on Jan. 1,” said Alex Traverso of the Bureau of Cannabis Control.

“The state dropped the ball big time. This should have been done by June, July.”

Donnie Anderson, Los Angeles grower and retailer

But there’s a snag: To apply for a state license, a grower or seller first needs a local permit, and many cities are struggling to establish those rules, including Los Angeles and San Francisco, two of the biggest markets.

“I think the state dropped the ball big time. This should have been done by June, July,” said Los Angeles grower and retailer Donnie Anderson. “I don’t think this is going to be ready.”

Other places, like Kern County, have banned commercial cannabis activity. At the same time, San Diego is among the cities that have local rules in place and are ready for legal sales. Palm Springs is planning for cannabis lounges, where recreational marijuana can be smoked on site.

A Gradual Start

For six months, the state is allowing businesses to bend the rules a bit, recognizing it will take time for the new system to take hold. During that period, businesses can sell products that do not meet new packaging requirements. Retailers can sell inventory that does not meet new rules for ingredients or appearance.

At an industry conference in September, California’s top marijuana regulator sought to ease concerns that the state would move quickly on enforcement against operations without licenses. If authorities are aware a business has applied for a license “I don’t want you to have anxiety that we’re out there and we’re going to be enforcing everything right away,” said Lori Ajax, who heads the state cannabis bureau.

RELATED STORY

California Unveils Temporary Licenses to Allow Early 2018 Retail Sales

Everything Is Temporary

Even if you get a license, it will be temporary — good for 120 days. In some cases, there can be a 90-day extension on top of that. During that time, the state will review a business’ credentials and information submitted in the license application, such as financial records and investors in the business.

The regulations issued by the state this week are temporary, too.

Many Challenges Remain

Key pieces of the legal cannabis system are still in the works. A massive tracking system that will follow plants from seed to sale is in development, but officials say it will be ready at the start of the new year. It’s not clear if enough distributors will be available to move cannabis from fields to testing labs and eventually to retail shops, possibly creating a bottleneck between growers and store shelves.

RELATED STORY

Confusion Coming With California’s Legal Cannabis

The Looming Illicit Market

No one knows how many operators will apply for licenses. While medical marijuana has been legal in California for over two decades, most growing and selling occurs in the black market. Come Jan. 1, officials hope those growers and sellers will join the legal pot economy.

But there are concerns many might continue business as usual to avoid new taxes, which could hit 45 percent in the recreational market in some cases, according to a recent study by Fitch Ratings.

“The existing black market for cannabis may prove a formidable competitor” if taxes send legal retail prices soaring, the report 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.

Alberta Will Sell Cannabis Through Private Retailers and a Government Website

The Alberta government has introduced legislation that, if passed, will see private retailers selling cannabis at brick-and-mortar stores and the province conducting online sales starting next July, when the federal government legalizes cannabis for recreational use.

The minimum age for cannabis consumption will be 18 years old.

The provincial government says this hybrid model of sales is a response to the wishes of people who took part in an online consultation and survey.

At a press conference, Justice Minister Kathleen Ganley said her government has been required to make “a major shift” in a short amount of time. She said the Trudeau government has set “an ambitious deadline” for legalizing recreational cannabis.

RELATED STORY

Leafly List: The Top Cannabis Dispensaries in British Columbia, Fall 2017

“At the end of the day, we had to choose between moving forward and anticipating that we’ll be ready or just leaving it to the federal government. We felt it would be better to move forward with a framework that reflects Albertans’ concerns and values,” she said.

Some other highlights of Bill 26, An Act to Control and Regulate Cannabis:

• The Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission will obtain and distribute legal cannabis to the private retailers as it now does with alcohol.

• The province has determined that cannabis will not be sold in places that sell tobacco, liquor or pharmaceuticals—but has yet to release details about how the private stores will operate.

RELATED STORY

The Best Cannabis Strains and Products for Every Situation

• Smoking or vaping cannabis will be banned in the same public places where smoking is currently banned, including bars and restaurants.

• Consumption of cannabis will also be banned on hospital grounds and in places where children gather, including schools, daycares, pools, playgrounds and sports fields.

• The minimum age for consumption will be 18 years old.

• Adults will be allowed to possess 30 grams of cannabis at any given time.

The government has the power to allow cannabis cafes and lounges to exist but there are no plans for that yet.


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.

Quebec’s Cannabis Regulations: 8 Takeaways

On Thursday, Quebec’s Liberal government tabled Bill 157, the legislation outlining the system of sale and distribution for legal cannabis in the province. Though Public Health Minister Lucie Charlebois describes it as “an evolving plan” which is “not the end,” since “it is certain we will have to adapt,” some facts about it are now fixed.

A crown corporation will be created to sell cannabis products on behalf of the Government of Quebec.

The purpose of the legislation, reads the text of Bill 157, is “to prevent and reduce cannabis harm in order to protect the health and security of the public and of young persons in particular. The Act also aims to ensure the preservation of the cannabis market’s integrity.” Certainly the law’s ability to do that will be up for debate, as critics are already attacking what they see as the legislation’s faults.

Here are eight of the most important factors introduced by Bill 157.

1. The legal age for consumption of cannabis in Quebec will be 18, which was previously semi-confirmed by Liberal government sources in late September. This is in line with the recommendation of the Canadian Pediatric Society, which acknowledges that THC can be harmful to a child’s brain development, but underlines that the brain develops much less between the ages of 18 and 21.

RELATED STORY

Leafly List: The Top Cannabis Dispensaries in British Columbia, Fall 2017

2. A crown corporation, the Société Québécoise du Cannabis (SQC), will be created to sell cannabis products on behalf of the Government of Quebec. The SQS will be administered as a subsidiary of the Société des Alcohols du Québec (SAQ), which distributes alcohol in the province. However, SAQ storefront outlets primarily sell wine and spirits, since lower-alcohol content beverages (beer, wine, and malt liquor products) are legal for sale in grocery stores and dépanneurs. The SQS will be the sole body permitted to sell cannabis products under law. It will also be the only organization allowed to buy, transport, and store cannabis from licensed commercial producers. No forms of cannabis will be approved for sale privately.

Quebec will begin by opening only 20 cannabis storefronts across the province.

3. Though Quebec has a population of 8.3-million, the SQC will begin by opening only 20 storefront locations across the province for the sale of cannabis. However, cannabis will also be available for sale online, provided that it is delivered by Canada Post and signed for by someone of legal age. By contrast, alcohol is available in 406 SAQ outlet locations across Quebec. Unlike SAQ outlets, the 20 SQC storefront locations will not allow minors to enter. No cannabis products in SQC will be accessible to customers without employees handing them over, and no cannabis products are to be made visible from outside the outlets. Each SQC outlet must install a sign on or close to its door including a warning from the Minister of Health “concerning the harmful effects of cannabis on health.”

RELATED STORY

The Best Dab Rig for You

4. While the law does not explicitly outlaw edible cannabis products (in fact acknowledging the possibility of “edible and non-edible” products being subject to government regulation), it does criminalize any attempt to modify the flavour, aroma, or colour of cannabis products. (Au revoir, flavored vape pens.)

5. Despite federal law allowing home-growing of up to four plants of no more than one metre in height, home-growing of cannabis for personal use will remain outlawed in Quebec, and all commercial growing of cannabis will remain illegal except in companies licensed by the government.

Smoking cannabis will be legal in palliative care hospices with designated smoking areas.

6. Smoking or vaping cannabis will be illegal wherever smoking tobacco is illegal under Quebec law, limiting cannabis consumption  more or less to private homes, as well as unenclosed public parks. Also off-limits are obvious locations such as schools and child-care facilities, as well as pubs, taverns, bars, bingo halls, and “enclosed spaces where sports, cultural or artistic activities, or similar activities are held.” However, smoking or vaping cannabis will be legal in palliative care hospices with designated smoking areas. Fines for smoking or vaping cannabis in “an enclosed space” other than a private residence will range from $500 to $1,500, while fines for those who do so in an enclosed space that is also an educational institution or child-care facility will range from $750 to $2,250.

RELATED STORY

Cannabis Strain Recommendations for Beginners and Low-Tolerance Consumers

7. There will be “zero tolerance” for driving under the influence of cannabis. Police will be able to take saliva samples from drivers and potentially impound vehicles for up to 90 days if any presence of cannabis or other drugs is detected in drivers’ saliva. However, there is no ready means available to measure blood-cannabis levels, and recent studies suggest no reliable means exist for exact measures of cannabis intoxication such as are available for alcohol.

Quebec repeated its demand to the federal government to delay the deadline for cannabis legislation at least one more year.

8. On Wednesday, in the leadup to tabling Quebec’s cannabis legislation, the Liberal government of Premier Philippe Couillard repeated its demand to the federal government to delay the deadline for cannabis legislation at least one more year. Health Minister Lucie Charlebois and Finance Minister Carlos Leitao declared that the provincial government would not accept a 50/50 split of cannabis tax revenues with the federal government, and Charlebois argued the two governments needed more time to figure out how to divide cannabis tax revenues. Ottawa previously ignored a similar request by the Quebec government in June.


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 Releases Emergency Cannabis Regulations

California is racing toward the launch of a state-regulated cannabis market, with sales set to begin Jan. 1 despite a number of unanswered questions.

RELATED STORY

Confusion Coming With California’s Legal Cannabis

On Thursday, with less than a month and a half before the program is slated to be up and running, state regulators unveiled a long-awaited package of emergency rules that will guide the industry through the transition ahead. We’re poring over those documents and will update this page with key takeaways from the newly released guidelines.

Have questions? Let us know in the comment section.

RELATED STORY

San Francisco Almost Certainly Won’t Be Selling Cannabis on Jan. 1

Emergency Medicinal and Adult-Use Cannabis Regulations

The Bureau of Cannabis Control released the following package of documents on its website:

This story will be updated.


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.

San Francisco Almost Certainly Won’t Be Selling Cannabis on Jan. 1

SAN FRANCISCO—If you booked a New Year’s trip to San Francisco—the birthplace of medical cannabis in America and the first city in the country to experiment with the concept of retail sales—in order to celebrate the dawn of the recreational marijuana era in California, it’s time to update your itinerary.

“It’s embarrassing that we probably won’t be ready on Jan. 1.”

Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco)

The San Francisco Board of Supervisors failed to come to terms on regulations for the nascent industry at a meeting Tuesday. Amid criticism and controversy—and bowing at least in part to pressure from vocal neighborhood activists opposed to retail sales—the lawmakers elected to delay further discussion of cannabis rules for two weeks, until Nov. 28.

The move means San Francisco will almost certainly be sitting on the runway Jan. 1, when California’s first state-licensed cannabis stores open for business.

“It’s embarrassing that we probably won’t be ready on Jan. 1,” state Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) told Leafly.

RELATED STORY

Recreational Marijuana Rules Rile Cannabis-Friendly San Francisco

After a solid majority of California voters legalized adult-use cannabis last November, the onus has shifted to California cities and counties to pass rules for how and where retail marijuana stores and other cannabis businesses would be allowed to operate. Many of the state’s thousand-plus existing medical marijuana dispensaries are eligible for state permits to sell either medical or recreational marijuana under new regulations—but only if they also receive local approval.

The earliest the city could see a licensed store open for business is Jan. 5.

San Francisco lawmakers were scheduled to decide on a pair of proposals Tuesday, including one with zoning controls so strict it would have made it next to impossible for any new cannabis retail outlets to open in the densely populated city.

Barring extreme parliamentarian gymnastics, the very earliest the city could see a licensed store open for business is Jan. 5. Likelier than that, some observers say, is lawmakers passing the buck to voters, who could be asked to approve commercial cannabis rules at the ballot in June’s primary election.

“We’ve already had three … hearings, and we haven’t been able to move anything forward for these past two weeks,” said Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, sponsor of a proposal that would have allowed San Francisco’s roughly three-dozen existing medical dispensaries to start selling cannabis to all adults 21 and over on Jan. 1 under provisional permits.

RELATED STORY

California Unveils Temporary Licenses to Allow Early 2018 Retail Sales

Concerns over racial and socioeconomic equity scotched that proposal—a competing proposal was just as unpalatable to Sheehy and other supporters of the marijuana industry. That plan included stricter-than-ever land-use restrictions, including prohibitions on placing retail marijuana outlets near day-care centers and as a complicated web of neighborhood carve-outs, local caps on dispensaries, and other various other restrictions.

“We’re still stuck on land use—and we didn’t even talk about it” on Tuesday, an incredulous Sheehy told Leafly News on Tuesday evening. “We have not been able to move anything forward for two weeks, and with Thanksgiving coming, I don’t see how we’re going to move anything forward in the interim.”

“We have the exact situation we were trying to avoid: a fire drill.”

Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco)

Another possibility: Either the cannabis industry or marijuana-hating agitators collect signatures and put competing referendums before voters next June.

At a press conference prior to the Tuesday’s Board of Supervisors vote, Wiener, the state senator and a former San Francisco lawmaker, threatened a ballot initiative if the restrictive proposal passed the board.

Before Wiener decamped to the state Legislature, he put in place a system to ready San Francisco for legalization, creating a task force responsible for recommending rules to San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee and the Board of Supervisors on how to regulate recreational sales. The task force presented its findings in January.

RELATED STORY

Leafly List: The Best Cannabis Dispensaries in Northern California, Fall 2017

“And as far as I can tell, a good eight or nine months went by and nothing happened,” Wiener told Leafly News. “Now we have the exact situation we were trying to avoid: a fire drill.”

It’s a surprising and demoralizing setback for the legal cannabis industry in San Francisco, where 74% of voters supported Prop. 64, last year’s legalization ballot measure. Medical marijuana has been openly sold and dispensed in San Francisco since the early 1990s, years before California first-in-the-nation statewide medical-marijuana initiative passed in 1996.

The city isn’t alone in its slow, reluctant approach to legalization. As of Tuesday, none of California’s major cities have put regulations in place for the first day of sales, although San Diego may be the closest. In the Bay Area, the only dispensaries that say they are guaranteed to sell to all adults 21 and over, no medical-marijuana recommendation required, are in Berkeley.

RELATED STORY

Confusion Coming With California’s Legal Cannabis

Of the three other states to legalize adult-use last November—Maine, Massachusetts, and Nevada—only Nevada, where retail dispensaries opened on the Las Vegas Strip in July, has recorded a sale.

Cannabis industry advocates present at Tuesday’s hearings saw the delay as a blessing. No regulations are better than bad regulations, they said—for now, at least.

“At this point, we just need good policy,” said Stephanie Tucker, a consultant active with the San Francisco Cannabis Retail Alliance, a loose organization of medical-cannabis dispensary permit-holders. “If that means we have to go to the ballot, we go to the ballot. This can’t go forward in its current form.”

“We have to be able to grow as an industry,” she added. “We’re not even five minutes old, and all they’re thinking is restriction, restriction, restriction.”

RELATED STORY

Leslie Bocskor: Nevada ‘Best Regulatory Framework in the World’

Others say the fumble by San Francisco—with its massive 4/20 celebration every year, its cannabis-friendly atmosphere, and a long history of leadership on weed—sets bad precedent in California, where dozens of the state’s 400-plus cities have passed severe restrictions or bans on commercial marijuana activity in advance of the legal market’s launch.

“San Francisco should not be setting a bad example and encouraging more communities to do the same,” Wiener said. “The rest of the state is looking at San Francisco, and if San Francisco is shutting down this industry, why would any other city do differently?”


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.

Recreational Marijuana Rules Rile Cannabis-Friendly San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Famously pro-cannabis San Francisco, where the 4/20 marijuana holiday is celebrated with a group smoke-out on Hippie Hill, is having a surprisingly difficult time establishing regulations for the broad legal market coming to California in January.

RELATED STORY

Confusion Coming With California’s Legal Cannabis

Writing local rules in the cannabis-friendly city has taken a contentious turn as critics, many of them older Chinese immigrants who oppose marijuana use, try to restrict where products can be sold.

“Cannabis is effectively legal now and the sky hasn’t fallen. A lot of the information people have been given is completely false.”

Supervisor Jeff Sheehy

Divided San Francisco supervisors are scheduled to take up the issue at a board meeting Tuesday, where they may vote on a stop-gap measure to allow the sale of recreational cannabis through existing medical marijuana outlets on Jan. 1 as they continue to figure out where to allow new stores.

The possibility of overly strict regulations has businesses fretting over access and some San Franciscans wondering what happened to the counter-culture, anti-Prohibition city they know and love. The smell of cannabis being smoked is not uncommon in certain neighborhoods and parks.

“Let’s be honest: Cannabis is effectively legal now and the sky hasn’t fallen. A lot of the information people have been given is completely false,” said Supervisor Jeff Sheehy, who uses medical marijuana to mitigate pain from older HIV medications.

RELATED STORY

Leafly List: The Best Cannabis Dispensaries in Northern California, Fall 2017

He and others are calling for keeping recreational retail stores 600 feet (183 meters) away from schools, comparable to the radius required of stores that sell liquor or tobacco. Medical marijuana dispensaries are required to be at least 1,000 feet (305 meters) away from schools and recreation centers that primarily serve minors.

But some Chinese-American organizations have pushed back, calling for an outright prohibition on retail stores in San Francisco’s Chinatown. They want future retail stores to be at least 1,500 feet (460 meters) away from schools, child-care centers and any other place minors gather. Supervisors are considering a 1,000-foot (305-meter) buffer that cannabis advocates say is too restrictive for a city as compact as San Francisco.

“We’re not just legislators. We are group therapists for 850,000 people.”

Supervisor Aaron Peskin

Ellen Lee, family social worker at the nonprofit San Francisco Community Empowerment Center, which has helped lead the protests, said most of the people opposed to recreational cannabis are elderly and speak little to no English. She said children are impressionable and must be protected from a drug that remains illegal under federal law, and she is frustrated by elected officials.

“We have been meeting with them and talking to them,” she said, “but they are not listening.”

Chinese-Americans are an integral part of San Francisco’s history and they carry political clout in a city where one-third of its 850,000 residents are Asian and Chinese-Americans are the largest Asian sub-group. The mayor is Chinese-American, as are other elected officials in the city.

RELATED STORY

6 Ways to Advocate for a Pro-Cannabis Local Government

Supervisor Aaron Peskin said Monday he has a holdover measure that will allow 46 existing medical marijuana facilities to sell to adults while the board takes more time to hash out zoning regulations. He said that would allow people plenty of places to buy cannabis come Jan. 1.

Peskin, who represents the Chinatown district, said he expects the board will come up with a resolution that satisfies most people in the diverse city.

“We’re not just legislators. We are group therapists for 850,000 people and understanding what their concerns are, whether we agree or disagree, and addressing them respectfully is very important in the legislative process,” he 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.

6 Ways to Advocate for a Pro-Cannabis Local Government

The clock is ticking in California as months dissolve into weeks leading up to the Jan. 1 launch of an adult-use cannabis market. While the state Bureau of Cannabis Control will impose regulations on the newly legal industry, many of California’s nearly 600 municipalities are scrambling to enact their own guidelines that could mean life or death for local businesses.

RELATED STORY

Confusion Coming With California’s Legal Cannabis

Rules adopted at the city and county level will, in many ways, shape the face of the state’s cannabis industry—and could make or break a would-be business. Not only do state regulators require local authorization to grant a cannabis business license, but beyond that, local ordinances often dictate crucial elements of business operations, such as zoning restrictions and additional tax requirements.

“We’re going from a culture of hiding to all of a sudden being a culture of inviting.”

Gavin Kogan , Grupo Flor

That’s why legislative advocates, cannabis activists and consultants alike are encouraging everyone in the cannabis business to engage with their local governments.

“There’s no doubt about it,” said Gavin Kogan, an attorney and a co-founder of cannabis consortium Grupo Flor. “If you’re in the pot industry, you’re in politics.”

Leafly spoke with industry experts on how to best rally support of local officials as members of an industry that’s long carried social stigma. The first step? Don’t be intimidated.

RELATED STORY

Leafly List: The Best Cannabis Dispensaries in Northern California, Fall 2017

1 Show Up! Be Visible!

If you’re struggling to find a good place to begin your political career, start small. Make a call to your representative or show up at City Council meeting. Speak up during the appropriate comment period, said Amy Jenkins, a longtime legislative advocate for cannabis in California, or request a meeting to speak one-on-one with the appropriate municipal official. Don’t forget to follow up!

Don’t stop there. Keep writing letters and meeting with community members—especially those who aren’t so sure about cannabis, said Kogan. Be available to share helpful, relatable information—tidbits, he said, like: For every dollar earned in the cannabis industry, ancillary businesses make $5.

RELATED STORY

Cannabis Jobs Count: Legal Marijuana Supports 149,304 Americans

Advocacy takes time and energy, so make sure you’re reaching out to the right local agency. If you’re operating in an unincorporated county area, you’ll want to focus efforts on the Board of Supervisors. If you’re in a city, it’ll be the City Council. (Most local governments have staffers who can help direct you to the appropriate departments.)

2. Build Relationships

Engagement means more than speaking your mind. It also entails doing your homework on politicians and supporting—financially or otherwise—those who favor cannabis causes. Reach out to those officials, community leaders, and others, Jenkins said, to allow them to ask questions and better familiarize themselves with the cannabis space and how you operate.

RELATED STORY

When Seniors Visit a Cannabis Store, There Are Questions Aplenty

3. Know Your Audience

Most government officials will need a good reason to support cannabis-friendly policies. That’s why Jenkins suggests familiarizing yourself with your mayor, City Council members, and/or county supervisors. Learn what their interests are in order to better understand how to speak to their values. For example, a councilmember who puts a priority on public safety may respond more favorably if you’re able to explain how regulating cannabis businesses can reduce risks to the public.

“When you go in and understand what makes a policymaker tick, you’re going to get a lot more bang for your buck,” she said.

In Santa Ana, for example, the city is considering expanding commercial cannabis activity and has also prioritized securing funding for youth and afterschool programs, Jenkins explained. The situation could be an opportunity for cannabis advocates to bring up revenue opportunities presented by the legal cannabis industry, Jenkins said, and highlight its potential benefits to the greater community.

RELATED STORY

Liberty, Jobs, & Freedom: How Cannabis Became a Conservative Issue

Get to know officials’ staff as well, encouraged Kogan. These behind-the-scenes personnel serve as gatekeepers to the higher ups, he explained, and in many instances will even outlast their bosses.

4. Care About More Than Cannabis

While attending cannabis-related meetings is a no-brainer, it’s important to demonstrate that you’re concerned with the community—not just with issues that impact you directly, said John Kabateck, executive director of Kabateck Strategies.

“The most important thing you can do is get to know the people and the organizations in your surrounding community.”

Kabateck, Kabateck Strategies

From City Council discussions on the success of small businesses to neighborhood hearings around public safety, events are an opportunity to make yourself visible as an advocate for the community. Get involved with groups like the local chamber of commerce, the Boys & Girls Club, or other philanthropic organizations—and do it with a “sincere heart,” said Kabateck.

“Even before getting to know your legislators, your council members … the most important thing you can do is get to know the people and the organizations in your surrounding community,” he said.

RELATED STORY

Maine Dispensary’s Offer: Clean Up Trash, Get Free Cannabis

5. School Your Officials

You’ve probably been told that spiders are as afraid of you as you are of them. The same often goes for government officials. While members of cannabis industry may not always know how to navigate bureaucracy or approach local officials, Jenkins said, those officials themselves often don’t know much about marijuana businesses.

Jenkins said she met recently with a Northern California mayor, for example, who didn’t understand even the most fundamental aspects of the trade, from the different license categories to the range of products. “The level of understanding is really alarming,” she said.

RELATED STORY

The Biology of Cannabis vs. Opioids for Pain Relief

And because many small governments have no incentive to educate themselves on the benefits of cannabis, it’s often up to the cannabis community to teach them. Invite your local representative to tour your grow or witness the extraction process, suggested Kogan, or have the fire department over to see firsthand the safety precautions you’ve put in place.

“We’re going from a culture of hiding,” he said, “to all of a sudden being a culture of inviting.”

6. Form a United Front

Put aside disagreements or business competition and join forces with others in your local cannabis community. Identify a few common goals and meet with lawmakers as a group, said Jenkins. “Don’t make policymakers have to choose amongst you.”

Jenkins said she saw the power of group advocacy firsthand when she formed the Cannabis Caucus, an organization of 13 lobbying firms with cannabis clients that came together to rally for change at the state level in California. Groups in other parts of the state have formed their own industry associations as well, from the Southern California Coalition to the Sonoma County Growers Alliance.

RELATED STORY

Emerald Triangle Growers Scale Up Together in Co-Ops

Even if you don’t form an official organization, there are plenty of other ways to work together. It can be as simple, Kabateck said, as inviting industry members to a roundtable or informal coffee meeting with community members and officials to share experiences and ideas.

While grassroots advocacy isn’t always the sexiest of endeavors, it’s key to securing good policy around legal cannabis. After all, local regulations will affect you whether or not you’re a part of the process. If you care about what the future of California cannabis looks like—or how the industry will impact you—now’s the time to get involved.


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 Get High in Las Vegas

Nov 15-17 brings the annual Marijuana Business Conference to Las Vegas. The huge cannabis industry convention is expected to draw 14,000 guests from all over the world. In advance of MJBizCon—and in celebration of Nevada’s freshly legal recreational cannabis market—Leafly presents a four-part series for cannabis fans ready to make the most of their time in town. 

Yes, Cannabis Really Is Legal Here

We now live in a world where you can visit the singular city of Las Vegas, Nevada, with all its glamour and gambling and world-class sensory delights, and in between the buffets and thrill rides and high-tech shows by pop superstars, you can stop by a store to purchase legal, sensory enhancing cannabis.

Cannabis may only be legally purchased by those 21 and up, who must show government-issued ID.

This pinch-me reality comes with clear boundaries. Cannabis may only be legally purchased by those 21 and up, who must show government-issued ID to enter one of the city’s several dozen retail cannabis stores. Once inside, customers may purchase up to one ounce of cannabis flower and 3.5 grams of cannabis concentrate, all of which is subject to a 10% retail excise tax. (Purchases by US medical patients are tax-exempt.)

Once purchased, cannabis may be legally transported in your car, but not across state lines, and it can’t be lit on fire. Smoking cannabis in a motor vehicle can result in a DUI charge, complete with jail time and a fine of up to $2000.

Tourists can buy cannabis everywhere but can smoke it almost nowhere.

So where can you smoke it? Unfortunately, Vegas doesn’t provide many options for tourists, who can buy cannabis everywhere but can smoke it almost nowhere.

At present in Las Vegas, it is only legal to imbibe cannabis in a private residence with the shades drawn. (Public consumption is banned, including consumption “exposed to public view.”) So, Vegas visitors lucky enough to know home-owning, cannabis-friendly vampires are in luck.

RELATED STORY

Leafly List: The Best Cannabis Dispensaries in Nevada, Summer 2017

The rest of us are on our own. A good percentage of hotels forbid smoking of any sort, while casinos, which abide by federal guidelines, forbid even possession of the federally prohibited substance. The handful of Vegas cannabis stores that make deliveries all make the same stipulation: No deliveries to casinos.

Here’s a fun way to remember where you can and cannot ingest cannabis in Las Vegas: Wherever alcoholic beverages are allowed—which in Vegas means the airport, casinos, plazas, and out on the streets and sidewalks—cannabis consumption is forbidden.

Public cannabis consumption could result in a $600 ticket. Thankfully, it appears police aren’t aggressively hunting offenders.

What’s more, public consumption of cannabis in Las Vegas could result in a $600 ticket. Thankfully, it appears the city’s police aren’t aggressively hunting offenders. As attorney Carlos Blumberg told Leafly in September, his law firm has seen no rise in the ticketing of tourists since adult-use legalization began on July 1.

But none of this helps tourists in possession of legal cannabis but lacking places to legally imbibe. If it’s any consolation, Las Vegas County Commission Chairman Steve Sisolak feels our pain. “I’m very sympathetic to these people because they have no place to go to,” Sisolak told Leafly in September. “They’re purchasing product they can’t use anywhere and we’ve got to address this situation.”

RELATED STORY

The Best Cannabis Strains and Products for Every Situation

For now, there are a handful of cannabis-friendly AirBNBs not far off the Strip, and the promise of adults-only cannabis lounges in the future. (Legislation to establish such venues failed this spring but will be revisited in 2019.)

5 Tips for Getting Yourself Properly High in Vegas

1. Forgive the home-team plug, but for god’s sake use the Leafly app, which will tell you the location of the nearest dispensary down to a tenth of a mile. If you’re required to travel more than an eighth of a mile, drive or be driven. Vegas is infamous for its deceptive distances, and many attempted strolls to visibly nearby landmarks have turned into death marches of sweaty friends hallucinating their way toward an ever-receding mirage. I blame the heat, and the humongous scale of the place. As Drake will croon in a 2019 chart-topper, “Vegas is the place for Lyft.”

2. Shop around. Vegas’s retail cannabis scene is a mere 18 months old—essentially a still-morphing newborn—and the differences between the retail outlets should be celebrated. Among my most highly recommended offerings: Reef Dispensaries, perched at the tip of an industrial-block-filling warehouse grow-op (and a mere block and a half from the Erotic Heritage Museum!); Las Vegas ReLeaf, tucked in a Strip-adjacent shopping center across the street from the world’s largest gift shop; Sahara Wellness (beautifully appointed and open 7 am-1 am daily!); Oasis Cannabis (also beautifully appointed and opens 24 HOURS A DAY); the casual Blum (whose waiting room boasts a half-dozen mirror balls); and Essence, which recently opened an elegant outlet in the 15-miles-south-of-Vegas desert oasis of Henderson.

RELATED STORY

Everything You Need to Know About Pre-Filled Oil Vape Cartridges

3. This isn’t directly related to being high, but is instead a general quality-of-life directive: Unless you are someone who really loves casinos, consider staying at a non-casino hotel. Casinos are crowd-packed carnivals of excitement—which may not be what you want at the bottom of the elevator first thing in the morning.

4. Medical patients: Know that you will be well taken care of in Vegas, which maintains a firm distinction between recreational and medical cannabis. Dispensaries offer menus of high-dose medical products to patients that are off-limits to recreational users. (Maureen Dowd would no longer be capable of buying the medically-dosed candy bar that sent her beyond and back.) Just be sure to bring your home-state medical card and/or documentation.

5. Leave what remains behind. Only criminal dunces attempt to smuggle their purchased Vegas pleasures home with them. Yes, throwing away cannabis may seem to invalidate everything you ever knew about yourself, but the alternative is a possible high-drama bust that will at least ruin your trip and at most complicate the rest of your life. Be smart, and leave any and all surplus Vegas cannabis behind. To quote the beloved psalm, “What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.”

Next up: Being High in Vegas, which surveys the city’s cannabis-friendly entertainments.

Photo credit: LPETTET/iStock 


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.

Calaveras County Pivots, Will Consider Large-Acreage Grow Model

In California’s Calaveras County, the battle over commercial cannabis cultivation rages on.

The Gold Country enclave’s plan to reinvigorate its economy through cannabis farming sparked a seething showdown among locals earlier this year and led to a debate over whether to ban cannabis cultivation completely.

RELATED STORY

California’s Calaveras County On Verge of Banning Cannabis Farms

But just as the dispute seemed ready to boil over—two county supervisors stomped out of a meeting, another called for the recall of a colleague, and a farmer simply resorted to singing—the battle suddenly paused. After two days of hearings that drew overflow crowds to the Calaveras supervisors’ boardroom Oct. 17-18, the board abruptly declined to vote on a measure to ban all commercial cultivation.

Instead, the Board of Supervisors on Oct. 24 voted 3–2 to work toward crafting a far stricter regulatory program, one that critics say could decimate the county’s cannabis production.

“Basically what they’re proposing is a ban under a different name,” said Bob Bowerman, Calaveras County director for the National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), “And that’s unacceptable.”

The proposal stands to dramatically reduce the number of allowable farms in the county, which has already collected $5 million in cannabis taxes and $3.7 million in 2016-17 application fees from more than 700 cannabis farmers.

RELATED STORY

The Great Cannabis Clash of Calaveras County

Here’s what folks in Calaveras can expect:

  • Another surefire drama in December as supervisors in the county of 45,000 residents consider a plan to cap the number commercial cannabis farms at 50. The proposal would allow cultivation on large properties only—perhaps 50 acres or greater.
  • A well-funded June 2108 ballot fight. Cannabis advocates are expected to qualify an initiative seeking to allow all previously approved farms to continue operating. The measure would also permit outdoor cannabis farming on parcels of five acres or more.
  • Lawsuits—perhaps a bundle of them. The county’s 187 already-permitted and tax-paying cannabis farms may seek legal redress, as might 316 other farms with applications still being processed under the county’s current regulations.
  • A continued push for an all-out ban from residents who say they’re fed up with the growing number of farms, including both licensed cultivators and illicit growers, some of whom operate on two-acre, residential lots.

In the meantime, expect plenty more cannabis confusion. “We’re still weeks away from being able to make a decision,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Michael Oliveira, a retired Oakland police officer and former sheriff’s deputy who has indicated cautious support for a regulated and taxed marijuana economy.

RELATED STORY

Leafly Investigation: California Has a Dirty Cannabis Problem

“The ban issue is still alive,” Oliveira told Leafly. “I haven’t made up my mind. I need to look at the regulations. I’m very concerned whether we will have the resources for law enforcement under either scenario. And if we go with a ban, we’re going to lose all our revenue from [cannabis] taxes.”

“This is my county, and I don’t want to see it going into bankruptcy.”

Bob Bowerman, Calaveras NORML

At the October board meetings, two supervisors—Dennis Mills and Clyde Clapp—fought fiercely for a commercial cannabis ban. Supervisor Jack Garamendi, the target of a recall by ban supporters, backed continuing local regulations. The swing vote came down to Gary Tofanelli, a supervisor many residents had pegged as an advocate of the ban.

Then, at the Oct. 24 meeting, Tofanelli, a steel construction contractor, plunked down a stack of regulations his own industry faces.

“I’m still in favor of a ban, but I could consider regulations,” Tofanelli said.  He urged that Calaveras County adopt a strict package of cannabis rules that would keep farms far from residential neighborhoods, significantly curb their number, and require water and soil sampling for pesticides, fertilizers, and other chemical contaminants.

RELATED STORY

Leafly List: The Best Cannabis Dispensaries in Northern California, Fall 2017

“I won’t vote for anything that does not include all this,” he said.

Following his comments, the board voted to direct the county’s planning staff to study and draft a plan based on Tofanelli’s guidelines.

For his part, Calaveras NORML’s Bowerman, a retired advertising executive, is already working to publicize a June 2018 ballot fight to settle the Calaveras cannabis issue once and for all. A legal, regulated cannabis industry, he said, could be a huge boon to the county’s ailing coffers.

“I think what is going to come up before the Board of Supervisors in December is a major bait-and-switch,” he said. “The attorneys for the farmers are lining up [to sue]. This is my county, and I don’t want to see it going into bankruptcy. I’m working 24/7 to avoid that.”


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.