Tag: retail

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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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.

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“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.

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

In Photos: Arizona’s First Drive-Thru Dispensary Is an Old Bank

Arizona saw the launch of its first drive-thru cannabis dispensary over the weekend, with Sun City-based All Greens beginning to serve patients through the window of a former bank building.

The two-story, 6,500-square-foot shop, which opened Oct. 27, is among the largest medical marijuana dispensaries in the nation, according to CEO Anthony Harrington. “The facility was previously a bank with a massive vault, which we utilize for our inventory safe,” he told Leafly, “but most importantly we are now able to operate the drive-thru.”

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Getting regulators to OK a drive-thru was no easy task, Harrington added. It took six months of legal battles with the state, “but we were finally able to prove to the state that we can provide a safe and compliant process for our drive-thru and the community.”

Photographer Caitlin O’Hara took a trip to All Greens to see the drive-thru in action.

Mary Jo Chace, receptionist and bud tender, helps a customer on Oct. 30, 2017 at All Greens medical marijuana dispensary in Sun City, Ariz.
The first drive-through dispensary in Arizona on Oct. 30, 2017 at All Greens medical marijuana dispensary in Sun City, Ariz.

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Patients browse on Oct. 30, 2017 at All Greens medical marijuana dispensary in Sun City, Ariz. There is a wide age range of clientelle, given the dispensary’s close proximity to retirement communities and to Phoenix.
Andi Gonzalez, patient counselor and bud tender, prepares pre-rolled joints for a weekly promotion on Oct. 30, 2017 at All Greens medical marijuana dispensary in Sun City, Ariz.

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Patients browse on Oct. 30, 2017 at All Greens medical marijuana dispensary in Sun City, Ariz. There is a wide age range of clientelle, given the dispensary’s close proximity to retirement communities and to Phoenix.
A patient orders at the first drive-through dispensary in Arizona on Oct. 30, 2017 at All Greens medical marijuana dispensary in Sun City, Ariz.

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CEO Anthony Harrington, shows a photographer the converted bank vault turned inventory vault on Oct. 30, 2017 at All Greens medical marijuana dispensary in Sun City, Ariz. At the end of the night, the crew rolls display cases on wheels into the secure vault.
The converted bank vault turned inventory vault on Oct. 30, 2017 at All Greens medical marijuana dispensary in Sun City, Ariz. At the end of the night, the crew rolls display cases on wheels into the secure vault.

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CEO Anthony Harrington helps a patient on Oct. 30, 2017 at All Greens medical marijuana dispensary in Sun City, Ariz.


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.

Maine Governor Proposes Pushing Back Legal Cannabis Sales Until 2019

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) — Maine’s Republican governor is proposing that lawmakers consider simply delaying recreational marijuana sales, instead of passing a legislative re-write of the voter-approved marijuana law.

The Maine Legislature is set to return Monday to consider a re-write offered by a legislative committee handling marijuana implementation.

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Republican House Minority Leader Ken Fredette said he is sponsoring Gov. Paul LePage’s bill to delay recreational marijuana sales to January 2019. Lawmakers had previously pushed back implementation to February.

Fredette said there are concerns about the committee’s proposal and lawmakers having the time to read the 70-page bill, which would also delay sales until 2019.

Advocacy group Legalize Maine said the committee’s bill would make it harder to set up marijuana businesses. The bill would require towns to “opt in” to the adult-use marijuana market.


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.

Nevada’s Second Largest City to Begin Cannabis Sales This Week

Las Vegas’s most populous suburb will allow the sales of adult-use cannabis beginning Friday, following a vote by the Henderson City Council on Tuesday to approve the applications of five adult-use marijuana dispensaries.

Beginning at 8 a.m. Friday, the five dispensaries will be able to begin selling recreational cannabis legally. The development comes three months after the state began allowing adult-use cannabis sales, after considerable back-and-forth between city officials and cannabis advocates.

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The five dispensaries awarded licenses were The Source, Essence Cannabis Dispensary, Nevada Medical Marijuana, Jenny’s Dispensary, and The Dispensary.

Henderson, located about 16 miles southeast of Las Vegas, is Nevada’s second largest city, with a population of just under 300,000.

On Jan. 1 of this year, Nevada legalized up to one ounce of cannabis flower or up to an eighth of an ounce of THC concentrates by adults over 21 following the passage of Ballot Question 2 in November’s election.

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Legal sales kicked off in the state on July 1, but Henderson enacted a six-month moratorium back in February that was set to expire in August. It was then extended through last month.

As a condition of approving the local licenses, the Las Vegas Sun reports, City Councilman Dan Shaw requested that the five approved dispensaries secure banking services within the next six months so its easier for the city to track and receive tax payments.

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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.

Las Vegas City Council Eyes Paraphernalia Rule Change

Bongs, dab rigs, and other accessories could soon be making their way to Las Vegas smoke shops, as the City Council on Wednesday is set to consider changes that would allow tobacconists to sell cannabis paraphernalia.

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Smoke shops in Las Vegas currently need a license to be able to sell tobacco paraphernalia. The ordinance, posted online on the council’s agenda website, would implement a similar requirement to sell paraphernalia intended for cannabis.

The ordinance online doesn’t specifically define what marijuana paraphernalia is, describing it only as “equipment, products, and materials of any kind which are used” to ingest cannabis. The category will almost certainly include dab rigs, which are used to consume cannabis concentrates and are currently illegal to sell at tobacco shops.

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The ordinance would also set up additional rules around the sale of cannabis paraphernalia. Under current law, for example, an individual can be 18 and work at smoke shops that sell tobacco paraphernalia. Under the new ordinance, employees would have to be 21 or older to sell cannabis paraphernalia.

Shops would also need to limit sales of cannabis paraphernalia to those older 21 or older, according to measure’s text. The paraphernalia would need to be displayed in a manner that is not open to view by people under age 21, and signs would need to be posted at each entrance barring minors under 21 from entering.

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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.

With Plans to Sell CBD Nationwide, Lucky’s Market Charts Legal Gray Area

With cannabis legalization spreading across the country, it sometimes feels like any day now you could walk into a grocery store and see some sort of pot product on the shelves. Now, at more than two dozen Lucky’s Market locations across the country, that’s true—at least in terms of items containing CBD, the non-psychoactive cannabinoid believed to have numerous medical benefits.

“This is just about the grayest of gray areas as far as federal law and policy. I think the DEA’s even confused about it.”

Vince Sliwoski

The Colorado-based grocer, which is backed by retail giant Kroger, announced this week that it will add a dozen CBD products to its apothecary shelves nationwide, where they’ll be sold alongside herbs and natural cosmetics made from ingredients like echinacea and calendula.

Lucky’s Market isn’t the first large retailer to test the waters of the CBD market, forecast to be worth $3 billion by 2021. Last month, in a short-lived move, Target added four CBD-enriched products to its online inventory. The big box yanked them from its virtual stores in less than a week without explanation, though.

Yet as consumer demand for CBD products grows, authorities at the DEA have reiterated their stance that anything derived from the cannabis plant—including hemp-derived CBD extract—is a Schedule I drug.

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“This is just about the grayest of gray areas as far as federal law and policy,” said Vincent Sliwoski, a cannabis law attorney and professor in Oregon, of CBD products. “I think the DEA’s even confused about it.” (The agency may get some clarification by way of a federal lawsuit filed by hemp farmers challenging the way the agency codifies “marihuana extract”.)

Conversations of legality surrounding cannabis usually focus on the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the agency may well take issue with grocery store-sales of CBD extract. But would-be sellers may have to tussle with the Food and Drug Administration, too. Earlier this month, the FDA made a vague announcement about its intent to crack down on unproven health claims on cannabis products.

“The FDA is the bigger issue around hemp oil and CBD oil. That’s why Target backed out,” says Mark Slaugh, former executive director of the Cannabis Business Alliance.

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In a recent statement to the press, the DEA opined that sales of Charlotte’s Web were illegal because the CBD oil has not been FDA approved. (Even if CBD is “beneficial” in treating neurological disorders, as the FDA has declared, products containing it would still need to pass the approval process.)

In the past couple of years, the FDA has sent cease and desist letters to CBD producers for making unfounded health claims or claiming products contained CBD when in fact they contained less than advertised or none at all, said Rod Kight, an attorney in North Carolina who represents numerous companies that deal with hemp.

Lucky’s Market did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Under federal law, hemp can only be grown only in states with federal hemp research programs. “If the CBD were imported it could arguably be legal,” Sliwoski noted, adding it would be unlikely that a retailer could track the provenance of CBD in numerous products. “Maybe they could prove all their source material was from China or somewhere else. That would have to be their affirmative defense and it would end up being litigated.”

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Kight isn’t so sure federal law will be the problem (he says the DEA is slowly “retreating” from earlier positions) but state law might be. “The 9th Circuit has ruled that nonpsychoactive imported hemp is legal. If you connect the dots, the DEA says CBD is not a controlled substance,” he said. “But a lot of states haven’t carved out an official position.” Lucky’s Market could force them to, he adds.

“They see a demand for the products and feel comfortable enough with the muddled state of the policy.”

Sliwoski

Food and supplement companies that sell hemp seed or oil get away with it because they don’t claim the products contain CBD, Slaugh said. “Once you start claiming CBD is an active ingredient, are you getting into the realm of a regulated drug? I think that’s the great debate. These folks aren’t held to food, nutraceutical, or drug manufacturing standards.”

While the FDA does regulate nutraceuticals, the industry has developed many self-imposed standards in an effort to put regulators at ease, Slaugh said. CBD producers may want to consider going the same route, he suggested. “The hemp industry has to step up and create those internal, self-policing standards if they want to avoid regulation.”

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That’s already taking place, noted Kight. “Hemp and CBD are moving right in line with that. We’re probably going to see a split between cannabinoid prescription medications and nutraceutical-type producers who will co-exist,” he said.

Whatever potential response Lucky’s Market might see from regulators or law enforcement could be worth the opportunity of getting into the CBD space early. “It says the potential upside of doing this is worth the risk of any law enforcement action,” Sliwoski said. “They see a demand for the products and feel comfortable enough with the muddled state of the policy. They might be thinking the DEA will probably write us a letter rather than hauling us into court and we’re going to differentiate ourselves here.”


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

Hawaii Says It’s 1st State to Go Cashless for Cannabis Sales

HONOLULU (AP) — Hawaii said Tuesday that it will be the first state to require marijuana sales to be handled without cash, saying it wanted to avoid robberies and other crimes targeting dispensaries.

Medical marijuana dispensaries in Hawaii won’t be allowed to accept cash beginning Oct. 1 and will require people to use a debit payment app instead. The app is already an option for marijuana transactions in six states, including California and Colorado.

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Many marijuana businesses use cash because banks fear cannabis money could expose them to legal trouble from the U.S. government, which regulates banking and still bans marijuana.

The debit app called CanPay uses a Colorado-based credit union to facilitate transactions. Some mainland credit unions have opened accounts for cannabis businesses.

Hawaii was among the first states to legalize medical marijuana in 2000 but the state didn’t grant licenses to any dispensaries until last year. Maui Grown Therapies became the first to open last month after the state Department of Health gave it approval to begin sales.

During the Obama administration, the Justice Department issued guidelines to help banks avoid federal prosecution when dealing with cannabis businesses in states where the drug is legal.

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But most banks don’t see those rules as a shield against charges that could include aiding drug trafficking. And they say the rules are difficult to follow, placing the burden on banks to determine if a cannabis business is operating within the law.

There is also uncertainty over how the Trump administration will react. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said he wants to crack down on the legal marijuana industry.

Credit card companies like Visa and Mastercard say they won’t allow their cards to be used to buy cannabis or marijuana-related products.

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Patients who don’t own smartphones will have to create CanPay accounts with an email address and personal identification number. Patients will be able buy cannabis by logging on to their accounts with computer tablets at the dispensaries.


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.

Former Raider Now Selling Cannabis in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS (AP) — The display case just inside the front door is filled with the kind of stuff you would find at any sports memorabilia store. Frank Hawkins used to run interference for Marcus Allen back in the day, and there are plenty of signed footballs and pictures of No. 27 in silver and black.

There’s a picture of Hawkins with a former governor of Nevada, and a drawing of the late Raiders owner Al Davis with signatures from players on it. Next to them is a team photo from 1983, and a championship banner with the result of that season’s Super Bowl: Raiders 38, Redskins 9.

A few feet to the left is what is called the “smell room,” one of many signs that this is no memorabilia shop.

Everyone who enters is greeted by a smiling man with a question:

Medical or recreational?

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____

Hawkins didn’t set out to be in the marijuana business in the town where he grew up and later became a city councilman. He resisted it at first, mostly because he says he doesn’t smoke the stuff.

Now he sits in a back office at Nevada Wellness Center just a few blocks from the glittering Las Vegas Strip, amid strains of cannabis with names like Devil’s Lettuce, Silver Back Gorilla and Black Afghan.

It’s all legal in a city where almost everything goes. But Hawkins — who opened the first medical marijuana dispensary in town — says it hasn’t been easy.

“We started out losing $50,000 a month,” Hawkins said. “We suffered for a long time.”

That changed on July 1 when Nevada became the fifth state to legalize recreational marijuana. Marijuana shops, which had been competing for a few thousand customers who had medical marijuana cards, could now sell to anyone — including tourists — over the age of 21.

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That meant long lines on opening night at the shop Hawkins owns with two partners. It also meant a lot of cash in an industry where, as the sign in the lobby tells customers, business is all conducted in cash.

Things were slower on a recent summer afternoon, when only a few customers came in and headed to the smell room to get a whiff of what they might buy.

“Back when I was growing up marijuana was a bad word,” Hawkins says. “Now it’s a household name.”

And Hawkins thinks it can be beneficial to football retirees and current players as an alternative to opioid painkillers.

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Though undersized at 5-foot-9 and 210 pounds, Hawkins ran for 5,333 yards in four years at the University of Nevada, Reno.

The Oakland Raiders drafted him in the 10th round in 1981. He stuck with the team and showed some promise, but the next year the Raiders were salivating over the chance to get the Heisman winner.

“The running backs coach said, ‘You guys ever hear of a guy named Marcus Allen?” Hawkins recalled.

Hawkins became, “a battering ram.” For the next six years, he led the way for Allen. He got some carries of his own, though, and scored two second quarter touchdowns in the AFC Championship game to break open a close game to put the then Los Angeles Raiders in the Super Bowl.

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The Raiders would meet the Washington Redskins in Tampa Bay for the championship. They had Jim Plunkett and Allen in the backfield, but most importantly they had an attitude.

“We knew we were going to beat the snot out of them,” Hawkins recalled. “I told everybody at home, bet all you got because there’s no way in the world the Redskins can win.”

The Raiders wore black, and were so dominant the game would become known as “Black Sunday.” Allen ran wild behind Hawkins for 191 yards.

Hawkins ran three times for six yards and caught two passes for 20 more. He won a Super Bowl ring he only brings out on special occasions.

“I don’t want to lose it,” the 58-year-old said. “Somebody might say it was because of CTE.”

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The Raiders of past gathered in July in wine country in Northern California, where the team trains. There were 110 former players and the talk was about old times and the resurgence of the team under Mark Davis, son of the late owner Al Davis.

There was also talk about various ailments, and the possibility some former players might have CTE or other brain damage.

Among those in attendance was Plunkett, who the next week would create a stir by telling the San Jose Mercury News that his body was broken down by all the hits he took with the Raiders and that at the age of 69, “My life sucks.”

“He looked good, but a little bit off balance and he lost some weight,” Hawkins said. “He did mention the fact he was in pain.”

So were many of the players at the reunion, one reason they were quite interested in the business Hawkins is in.

“Most of them wanted to know how they could get involved or get one in their city or state,” he said. “I told them any state you’re in I’d be more than happy to come and invest my time and money and get another store opened in their communities.”

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Marijuana is still a punishable offense in the NFL, and players are subject to suspensions with a second positive test.

Pain pills, on the other hand, are readily available for almost any kind of injury. With the nation immersed in an opioid crisis, a 2011 study showed retired players misuse opioid pain medications at a rate four times that of the general population.

“You got a headache, they give you a pill,” Hawkins said. “You got shoulder pain, they give you pain pills. Whatever your problems are they gave you pills.”

Marijuana, a growing body of research indicates, can reduce pain more effectively than opioids and may be beneficial for concussions. It’s done not with the mind altering Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the drug, but the cannabis compound Cannabidiol, or CBD.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell was for years a hardliner on the use of cannabis but said last month he has reached out to the player’s union and is willing to fund a study to see if there are benefits.

Hawkins said he doesn’t need a study to be convinced. After a recent hip replacement surgery he had blood clots in his legs that his doctor was treating for six months with blood thinners.

A woman at his shop suggested he try capsules containing CBD that dissolve in water. After taking them for a few weeks, Hawkins said a body scan showed the blood clots had disappeared.

Hawkins estimated 20 percent of current players — some of whom have come into his shop — are using some form of cannabis to relieve pain and inflammation.

“The beautiful thing about the marijuana plant is they don’t have to smoke it to get in the system and they don’t have to get high,” he said. “They can use the CBD part of the plant and not the THC part of the plant. It can be put in soaps, eaten, in mints, you name it.”

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Hawkins considers himself relatively healthy, thogh he’s quick to show off scars, including one from a tendon that separated in a 1987 game, eventually leading to his retirement.

He still loves football, though if he had a son he wouldn’t let him play. He’s not so enamored with the NFL, which he believes knew long ago the effects of hits to the head but did nothing about it.

“I understand the NFL from a business perspective,” he said. “I don’t like it from a personal perspective.”

Hawkins also understands people may view him differently because he sells marijuana. He says he’s OK with recreational use, though it’s the medical side he’s most excited about.

“Folks who have PTSD to trauma to football injury or have cancer it works on all of them,” he said. “And it’s certainly better than the opioids they give players.”


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