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Southeast Washington county to vote on pot production ban

Southeast Washington county to vote on pot production ban

The Columbian / Associated Press

Southeast Washington county to vote on pot production ban

PROSSER — Officials in a southeast Washington county will consider an emergency ordinance to ban new marijuana production and processing for six months.

The Tri-City Herald reports Benton County commissioners will vote Tuesday on the ordinance in Prosser.

Like a current retail ban, it would only affect new operators. It would not apply to the 47 cannabis producers and 35 processors with physical addresses in Benton County.

Benton County planning manager Jerrod MacPherson says the ban would end after six months unless the county commission acts to extend it or make it permanent.

Benton County has struggled with the unexpected consequences of recreational marijuana for much of the year.

Washington voters approved Initiative 502 in 2012. It passed statewide by 56 percent to 44 percent. Benton County voters rejected the measure.

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Published at Tue, 14 Nov 2017 19:28:56 +0000

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MJBizCon cannabis industry conference speakers optimistic about the future

MJBizCon cannabis industry conference speakers optimistic about the future

LAS VEGAS — New Jersey recreational marijuana legalization may be a highlight of 2018; it’s possible but unlikely the Trump administration will crack down on the U.S. cannabis industry; and major mainstream corporations are “not going to miss out” on the business opportunities presented by the burgeoning marijuana trade.

Those are just a few of the highlights from four keynote speakers on the opening day of the sixth MJBizCon, which began Wednesday at the Las Vegas Convention Center.

Some of the presentations conveyed negative overtones, but the general theme was unbridled optimism.

“There are many unicorns to come, and unicorns are those billion-dollar companies,” Jeanne Sullivan — a veteran of the dot-com boom and bust era — told thousands of MJBizCon attendees.

“They are out on this floor. It is your job to find them this week and to talk to them.”

Sullivan singled out companies in the sectors of cannabis testing, regulatory compliance, data analytics and well-established brands that will likely come to dominate future markets as the marijuana industry comes into its own on a national and global scale.

But those are far from the only opportunities, a point driven home by former Apple and Tesla executive George Blankenship, another of the keynote speakers.

Rather, he focused on innovation as the key to reshaping the marijuana business.

“Sooner or later, you’re going to be able to say, ‘Alexa, send me an eighth of flower,’” Blankenship said.

He noted that before the first iPhone launched in 2007, the vast majority of companies dominating the cellphone industry are firms that have lost their market share, such as Nokia and Motorola, to more innovative firms like Apple.

“What we focused on was what we could do, not what we couldn’t do,” Blankenship said while talking about how Tesla entered the Texas automotive market despite immense logistical hurdles.

“I suggest you think about that as you’re defining the rest of your industry. You should be looking around at what’s possible . that could turn into something special.”

That kind of reinvention could be key to survival down the line for many companies already in the marijuana business as well, given some of the points driven home by Sullivan and Marijuana Business Daily vice president of editorial Chris Walsh.

Both speakers predicted that major mainstream companies are going to play a big role in the future of the cannabis trade.

“These companies are not going to miss out,” Sullivan said, referring to the industry entrances of Scotts Miracle-Gro, liquor distributor Constellation Brands and Netflix.

Sullivan said that her advice to those in the marijuana space is to position themselves as best they can for potential acquisition down the road by larger corporations such as those and others from the pharmaceutical and agricultural industries.

That will enable them to get the most bang for their buck when they find buyers and are able to cash out.

Because, Sullivan said, the bottom line is that “cannabis is here to stay.”

As icing on the cake, the final speaker of the morning — longtime White House correspondent Kenneth T. Walsh of U.S. News & World Report — offered a prediction that vehemently anti-marijuana Attorney General Jeff Sessions probably won’t be let off the proverbial leash by President Donald Trump.

“One thing that politicians do is they keep track of the polls, and the polls are very consistently showing that America has had a tidal shift on marijuana. Most Americans favor legalization,” Kenneth Walsh said.

“Trump is following the polls. Trump is also watching what his people want him to do. If he (gets the sense) one way or the other that they want a clampdown on marijuana or they don’t, I think that’s the direction he’ll go in.”

The journalist cautioned, however, that Sessions is still very anti-cannabis and noted it’s possible Trump could decide to lump cannabis in with other culture-war topics he’s engaged in.

“He’s fully capable of being tough on marijuana if he feels his core constituency wants it that way, but I also think he’s capable of changing that if he feels his core constituency is not with him on that,” Walsh said.

“It’s not high up on his priority list. I don’t think it will be, unless his base openly demands it.”

Information from: Marijuana Business Daily

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Published at Fri, 17 Nov 2017 19:08:35 +0000

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Monetize Medical Marijuana in Canada

Monetize Medical Marijuana in Canada

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

canada marijuana

The growing legalization of marijuana not only provides recreational and medical opportunities but business ones as well. Not only can you set up a shop in legalized states, you can also plant businesses in other legalized countries. Since marijuana is becoming legal in more states and countries now, it may be worth investing in the growing medical marijuana industry or edibles industry.

With its close proximity to the United States, Canada is a prime candidate for such a venture. Canada serves as a great liaison for medical tourism with the United States. Several provinces already have out-of-country processes for medical procedures. Certain areas in Canada offer booming business opportunities.

There are just a few important safety and legal factors to keep in mind. Like knowing the difference in marijuana legalization or medical programs between the two countries. In fact, Forbes reports that many marijuana businesses struggle due to a lack of knowledge. In the report, Forbes cites the main infractions according to marijuana business regulatory compliance experts. They include security and surveillance regulations, labeling and packaging, business records, and transport and storage.  All categories with failing rates.

Marijuana legal experts can help clients understand and comply with regulations. The laws can be difficult to navigate and prosecutors can be especially hard on marijuana misuse. In addition to following proper regulations, there are a few other factors to keep in mind while getting your international marijuana business off the ground.

Benefits of Medical Tourism for:

Medical tourism is when a patient seeks medical care outside of their country or state. Though this might seem extreme, medical costs in the U.S. continue to increase at an alarming rate. Many patients are looking for international medical care. According to medical transportation experts, medical tourism is becoming so common that commercial air ambulance services are now available.

Medical tourism can have several benefits for patients. In many cases, patients can get the same medical procedures out of the country for a much lower cost. Even bringing down a potential six-digit bill to a more manageable five-digit one. It can also give patients waiting on a transplant or blood transfusion a higher chance of getting what they need. This is especially important if a patient needs an immediate operation and doesn’t have time to wait for an available donor in their country.

Additionally, travelling for a medical procedure can be a way to circumnavigate restrictive laws. It gives patients the freedom to make decisions without the limits of local legislation. Overall, medical tourism offers patients an alternative option for care that can be better for them without compromising the quality of services. Plus, it offers the extra opportunity to visit a new culture.

Investing in Multiple Locations

Taking advantage of business opportunities doesn’t necessarily mean you have to move. In fact, you can multiply your profits by investing your business in multiple locations. You could potentially have a location in the U.S. and one in Canada. Of course, starting a business is no small task and will require extensive organization and planning.

Financial advisor and author Craig Anthony advises that to best manage multiple business incomes at once, you should focus your efforts and keep your businesses separate. Firstly, focusing your efforts requires choosing one location to begin with and start manifesting the second one only after the first is running well. This will help keep the process cleaner, allow you to focus on one business at a time, and help prevent spreading your resources too thin.

Secondly, keeping your business separate will help maintain that balance as both business locations grow. Not only is this important for accounting purposes, but it will help you evaluate the profitability of each separate location and ensure that you are investing in the best way possible.

Going into the marijuana business has many benefits but requires extensive knowledge of the varying laws and regulations about it. This includes everything from shipping laws, to driving under the influence of marijuana, to knowing the different regulations of the neighboring states or provinces. Monetizing medical marijuana in Canada from the U.S. may not be easy, but it can be a rewarding enterprise to go into.

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Published at Tue, 14 Nov 2017 20:35:58 +0000

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Michigan’s Marihuana License Educational Sessions Focus on Application Procedures, Not Substantive Guidance

Michigan’s Marihuana License Educational Sessions Focus on Application Procedures, Not Substantive Guidance

Michigan’s Marihuana License Educational Sessions Focus on Application Procedures, Not Substantive Guidance

by Hilary Vigil

On Wednesday, November 8, Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) and its Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation (BMMR) kicked off the first of a series of six educational sessions on Medical Marihuana Facility Licensing. LARA’s staff presented information about the two online platforms that will be used to apply for facility licenses and to track and inventory cannabis plants and products once facilities are open for business. The session did not, however, address many of the substantive questions that arise out of Michigan’s new Medical Marihuana Facilities Licensing Act (“MMFLA”).

The first half of the session included a step-by-step walk-through of Accela, the platform that applicants will use to apply online for facility licenses. LARA confirmed that applicants may submit a paper application instead of using Accela, if they prefer. The Accela presentation highlighted the platform’s functionality, but it did not provide any insight into how LARA plans to interpret key provisions of the MMFLA. For example, LARA did not address how the emergency rules to be issued later this month will interpret statutory disclosure requirements and ineligibility criteria for an applicant’s affiliates. LARA also did not reveal the contents of certain disclosure forms that applicants and their affiliates will be required to submit as part of the application. While many industry hopefuls were wishing for much-needed guidance, it appears that answers will be provided only when the State’s emergency rules are issued.

The second half of the session consisted of an overview of the statewide monitoring system, Metrc, that the state and industry members will use to track marihuana growth, processing, transportation, testing, and sales. The training touched on everything from how the cloud-hosted online system will track plants and products using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags to how medical marihuana business owners will interface with the system, as well as how the state will use the system as a regulatory and compliance tool. Metrc staff reassured applicants that there will be more training and interactive support available to licensees who use the system once licenses have been issued.

Metrc will function mainly to log facilities’ employees and tasks, and to track marihuana inventory by location in each facility. Compliance investigators from the state will be able to scan an entire room of marihuana plants or products at once using an RFID scanner that reads an RFID tag attached to each plant or product. Licensees will use Metrc to assign a plant ID number and corresponding tag to each immature plant that will remain with the plant through its vegetative and flowering cycles. The system also facilitates harvest tracking in batches. During processing, licensees must assign package ID numbers to each product batch. Packages will be labeled with a new RFID tag. Metrc also facilitates transfers of plants and products between facilities; for example, a grower must assign its plants and their ID numbers to a secure transporter and then to the processor when transferring cannabis to a processing center. Each facility is responsible for the plants and packages corresponding to the ID numbers in its Metrc log, and compliance investigators will be able to compare inventory manifests in Metrc with plants and products physically present at each facility. Metrc aims to make regulatory compliance procedures efficient, but it also aims to provide value to facilities required to use the system.

Although Metrc was not created for the express purpose of managing or organizing businesses, facilities will receive some business management tools from the system. For example, facilities will be able to input information about marihuana strains, inventory items other than cannabis plants and marihuana products, and track weights and waste through the growing and processing stages. In its presentation, Metrc staff emphasized that enterprising facilities can use the system to analyze the regulatory data captured, to perform supply and demand forecasts based on moisture loss and waste data, and to calculate cost of goods sold. Information stored on Metrc will only be accessible on the industry side by the facility licensee and on the regulatory side by the state. The secure information will not be available to the general public.

As always, check back with Dykema’s Cannabis Law Blog for further updates.

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Published at Thu, 09 Nov 2017 17:00:00 +0000

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Study Finds Cannabinoids May Effectively Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Study Finds Cannabinoids May Effectively Treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Results of a new study “support the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in patients with OSA [obstructive sleep apnea]”.

For the study, published in the journal Sleep and epublished ahead of print by the National Institute of Health, “73 adults with moderate or severe OSA received either placebo (N=25), 2.5mg dronabinol (N=21) or 10mg dronabinol (N=27) daily, one hour before bedtime for up to 6 weeks.” Dronabinol, also called Marinol, is a synthetic THC meant to mimic the effects of natural, cannabis-based THC.

‘These findings support the therapeutic potential of cannabinoids in patients with OSA” states the study’s abstract. “In comparison to placebo, dronabinol was associated with lower AHI [Apnea–hypopnea index], improved subjective sleepiness and greater overall treatment satisfaction. Larger scale clinical trials will be necessary to clarify the best potential approach(es) to cannabinoid therapy in OSA.”

The full study can be found by clicking here.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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Published at Tue, 14 Nov 2017 02:25:44 +0000

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Bill Nye the Science Guy talks Marijuana

Bill Nye the Science Guy talks Marijuana

Bill Nye the Science Guy talks Marijuana

bill nye on pot

For those of us who grew up with Bill Nye the Science Guy, we did a lot of experiments at home. Hell, one time I made a fossil out of a bunch of stuff I found lying around the house. Bill Nye introduced science to an entire generation and we are thankful for his earlier shows. His new show…not so much.

Nonetheless, Bill was featured in a small segment of “Now This Weed” where he spoke about the concept of cannabis within a social setting. Let’s take a deeper look at the concepts he was talking about.

cannabis bud

We need to Study The Effects of Marijuana

His first beef was with the current scheduling of cannabis and the political shit-storm surrounding the classification. Marijuana is currently a “Schedule I” substance which suggests it has no medical value and a high potential for abuse.

Virtually every cannabis study suggests that this classification is ‘not accurate’.

Under a Schedule I categorization, conducting research on the plant is very difficult. The DEA has to give researchers a ‘special permit’ to conduct research and can only [currently] use one source of weed grown from the University of Mississippi. Many researchers have complained that the cannabis produced by the University is subpar in terms of quality and even more disturbing is that the DEA hardly ever hands out those research permits.

What this means is that people can never fully research the plant’s medical benefits. In fact, most of the previous research sanctioned by the DEA was only issued to researchers if they were looking for “negative” effects of the plant.

Secondly, while the CSA labels cannabis as having “no medical value”, millions of people are using it as medicine. Without the ability to study the plant and look for proven medical value means that the DEA and the DOJ can continue to claim the “no medical value” keeping the plant in its current scheduling.

cannabis tax

It’s good for the economy

Another point that Nye touched on was the fact that they legalized it in 2012 in Washington. Instead of spending on law enforcement, they are now spending money on regulation. Since then, there has been a surge of tax dollars to the state.

It’s also worthy to mention that Washington has high taxes on legal weed and as Nye said, “The world keeps on turning” despite the fact that marijuana is legal.

Prohibition costs a lot of money and all illicit cannabis sales do not funnel back into the State’s pocket. Under prohibition, all illegal revenue goes back to cartels or criminal organizations. I’m not saying ‘everybody that sells weed’ is a chapo, but what I am saying is that there is no direct benefit to the community under this scheme.

Additionally, prohibition limits the ability for the convicted to pursuit their lives to the fullest. A criminal record will haunt you for the rest of your life. This means that the convicted will always be fighting an uphill battle, they can’t get loans and in many cases good paying jobs.

The legalized cannabis industry on the other hand creates jobs, generates tax revenue and reduces the cost of enforcing prohibitionist laws. It’s a no brainer for anyone who has the ability to look past their own prejudices.

toker app

Is Nye a Toker?

In the beginning of the clip, Nye expresses his views on marijuana. “I don’t like it, but you guys by all means keep on toking [paraphrased]”.

This is an important notion for anyone who is on the fence about marijuana. You don’t have to partake to support the idea of legalization. It’s okay to advocate ending laws that do not benefit society at all, even if you don’t smoke it.

Nye is just one in a long list of other influential people who have come out and spoken in favor of legalizing, including Neil DeGrasse Tyson.

I believe it’s important for the cannabis movement to get more “non-smokers” to jump on the legalization bandwagon. It provides a deeper sense of legitimacy towards the cause. It shows us that this is not just a “toker issue” but goes well beyond that.

And anyone with an ounce of intelligence can easily see that the prohibition of marijuana, hell…the prohibition of drugs in general has social costs that far outweighs any of the potential risks of legalization.

Furthermore, anyone clamoring about being “free” should principally be opposed to the idea of prohibition. Drug consumption is a choice where you [the individual] literally only affect yourself. To prohibit the choice of experimenting with your own consciousness is a vile violation of your individual rights as a human being.

I’m glad that people like Bill Nye is speaking up in favor of cannabis and I hope more people will begin to chime in on the conversation. We know that prohibition is in its final days and with more people like Nye jumping on board…the end will come sooner than later.

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CANNABIS IS NOT A GATEWAY DRUG

CANNABIS IS NOT A GATEWAY DRUG, CLICK HERE.

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DR.OZ ON WEED

DR. OZ IS RIGHT ON WEED, CLICK HERE.

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Published at Sun, 12 Nov 2017 06:00:00 +0000

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Israel Will Start Shipping Cannabis Around The World

Israel Will Start Shipping Cannabis Around The World

Will FDA Allow Israel Be The World’s Source Of Legal Cannabis?

israel shipping cannabis

A long-time pioneer in cannabis research and biotechnology, Israel now wants to start exporting cannabis to the rest of the world, according to a Bloomberg article.

Jerusalem’s Shaarei Zedek hospital is conducting a research program to develop cannabis-based medicine for autism with the intention of getting approved by the US Federal Drug Administration for use as experimental treatment.  The medicine developed has already helped many of the 60 autistic children participating in the program, created by Adi Aran, neuropediatrician.

While the FDA still hasn’t approved a single plant-based cannabis medicine, a formula that would be labeled as approved by the FDA would propel Israel’s reputation as a global leader for medical cannabis research, development, and export since the medicine would no longer be classified as federally illegal to import to the US. According to Ameri Research, a US-based market research and consulting group, other potential markets for MMJ include the Netherlands, Belgium, Romania, Portugal, Switzerland, Germany, and the Czech Republic.

Ameri estimates the medical cannabis market to be worth $33 billion by 2024, which is three times as much as the projected $10 billion in sales for 2017 alone. This comes as no surprise considering that the acceptance for cannabis use as medicine is becoming stronger than ever especially for life-threatening conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and chronic pain.

Breath of Life Pharma, an Israeli medicinal formula developer and cannabis grower who also supported Aran’s autism research, intends to apply for an “investigative new drug” status from the US FDA by next year, if the research trials deliver convincing evidence. This kind of recognition from the FDA would help the company be successful in opening other production locations outside the US, as well as cultivate cannabis and conduct clinical trials, says Breath of Life Pharma CEO Tamir Gedo.

It seems that the fate of Israel in the global cannabis MMJ market depends largely on how the FDA feels. On the other hand, measures to legally export qualified cannabis already passed preliminary readings in Israel’s parliament, and the process is expected to be completed next year. In August, the inter-ministerial group said that international sales from interested countries would contribute to a hefty $1.1 billion annually to Israel’s $320 billion economy. Canada, as well as the Netherlands, are poised to join Israel in supplying the world’s medical cannabis. Uruguay and Colombia are also expected to begin sales abroad soon.

israel

Distinguished Israeli Products

The Israeli government hopes to distinguish itself in the global cannabis marketplace as a brand that uses state-of-the-art agricultural technology. There is no doubt that Israel is much more advanced than other countries when it comes to developing agricultural technology, such as the drip-irrigation system developed by Netafim Ltd., and the unique bred crops developed by Hazera Ltd.; clearly all of which can be applied to create innovative MMJ products.

“When Israel handed out original licenses for growing cannabis, they started with an advanced agricultural infrastructure first used to grow other leafy vegetables and fruit,” says Scott Greiper, founder and partner at Viridian Capital Advisors, a US-based financial advisory firm focused on the cannabis industry.

The government keeps a close eye on the industry and is protective of its reputation. Those in the team who proposed cannabis export said that Israeli companies should always maintain only high standards in developing medical-grade products which will be subject to stringent supervision. Sales will only be permitted to countries that have approved Israel’s products. However, according to Saul Kaye, iCAN founder, once other countries begin producing their own product for their markets, the demand for imports would decline.

As of the time of writing, Israel’s Health Ministry is already planning to increase cultivation licenses so that the number of farmers could grow from 8 to almost 50. Additionally, they’ve also invested 100 million shekels just for R&D. The Ministry of Health permitted 150 research proposals, 35 of which are clinical trials; and there are over 50 American companies conducting MMJ research in Israel. These companies invested over $125 million in Israeli cannabis businesses.

Even though Israel is the most progressive country in terms of cannabis research and tech, its use is still illegal for the general public. Some members of the Israeli army are made to undergo lie-detector tests, although regulations have somewhat been eased: civilians who are caught for first and second offenses for recreational cannabis use are fined, and it’s possible that they won’t have criminal records.

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Published at Sat, 11 Nov 2017 06:00:00 +0000

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More veterans parlaying their military skills into cannabis careers

More veterans parlaying their military skills into cannabis careers

Chad Drew considers himself a veteran of not only the Air Force but also the cannabis industry. The 41-year-old is sales manager at the Colorado Harvest Company, a chain of dispensaries in metro Denver.

And he believes his decision to get into legal cannabis as a profession eight years ago, after leaving the service and then finishing college, was helped by his time in the armed forces.

“The military totally played a part in it,” he told The Cannabist, when asked how he got hired. “When you serve, you come from a different cut of cloth. It instills a lot of discipline within you.”

According to a recent American Legion survey, an overwhelming number of veterans support both medical marijuana legalization and further research – as a treatment option for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), chronic pain and other ailments, and as an alternative to prescription pharmaceuticals that have potentially harmful side-effects and addiction risks.

But that support of cannabis by veterans extends beyond politics and into the workplace, especially when it comes to job creation.

A growing number of veterans are finding positions in the legal cannabis sector once they leave the service – and many are finding the skills they developed in the military are welcome within the industry.

Why weed jobs are a good fit

One of the more obvious job positions for veterans is to work within the armed security side of the cannabis market. Due to federal prohibitions, many banks and financial institutions refuse to set up accounts for cannabis companies, leading them to operate on a primarily cash basis. So there’s an established network of security firms that are hiring hundreds of veterans to literally ride shotgun on shipments of marijuana and cash, as well as protect dispensaries and grow operations.

A large number of vets are also finding cannabis cultivation, production and retail operations to be a good fit for both their skill-set and temperament when it comes to work.

Chris Driessen is president of OrganaBrands, the Denver-based parent company for some well-known vaping, edibles and concentrate brands such as O.penVape, Bakked and District Edibles. The company currently has licensees in 11 states, employing 250 people nationwide. And about 10 percent of those employees are veterans, according to Driessen.

Veterans working in marijuana industry
Air Force veteran Chad Drew has been working for Colorado Harvest Company since January 2014. He’s currently a sales manager. (Courtesy of Chad Drew)

“The veteran community pairs so well (with our business), regardless of the branch of armed forces you’re in,” he told The Cannabist.

And veterans can be ideal employees, he observed, for the detail-oriented work found in many cannabis grow operations or in jobs such as monitoring dispensary inventory.

“(As a veteran) you learned systems, you learned processes, you learned chain of command,” he said. “The fact that we don’t have to train people on some of those things — about work ethic and respect and doing what you say you’re going to do… is a huge benefit for any company, and of course ours as well.”

Cannabis job training for veterans

At least one cannabis company, meanwhile, has set up a training program specifically for veterans. This past summer THC Design, a California-based cannabis breeding and cultivation firm, launched a paid internship and mentoring program for veterans.

The program includes a 12-week course that gives vets hands-on experience while learning from growers, strain breeders, trimmers, engineers and others directly involved with the cultivation of cannabis.

“In that 12 weeks, they’re able to track a plant from start to finish,” THC Design co-founder Ryan Jennemann told The Cannabist. “They do everything from cutting clones to drying, following the plants through the entire cycle.”

Jennemann said none of his current crop of interns has any real background in agriculture. But that kind of know-how wasn’t expected, or necessary, for them to take part in the program.

“What I was hiring for was not experience,” he said. “I was hiring for a work ethic, an ability to handle adversity, an ability to solve problems.”

THC Design has hired several of the veterans it trained, but Jennemann said the program — which is open source and available online — has benefits for the wider cannabis industry as well.

“After those 12 weeks they should have a very good grasp on what cultivation is,” he added, “and they should be able to run a small operation on their own or be very much a value-add to wherever they move.”

Former Navy machinist Michael Garcia, 35, found his calling with THC Design.

“I don’t have to hide who I am. I can just be myself,” Garcia told The Cannifornian, a sister site of The Cannabist.

Veterans marijuana jobs
A group of veterans in THC Design’s training program get their first looks at the cultivation room for the California company. (Courtesy of THC Designs)

OrganaBrands’ Driessen, meanwhile, said his company is in the process of formalizing a hiring program for veterans; a program he expects to be up and running by January.

Veterans, he said, “set themselves apart in the interview. A lot of these folks are, on their own merit, heads and shoulders above their competition.”

There’s another, important factor that is drawing veterans to this career path: interest in medicinal cannabis. An estimated 2.7 million veterans have served in the Iraq and Afghanistan theaters since those conflicts began. And the Veterans Administration reports that up to 20 percent of those Afghanistan and Iraq veterans suffer from PTSD.

Roger Martin is a veteran who founded Grow for Vets USA, a Las Vegas-based nonprofit that educates veterans about medical cannabis and also gives away donated cannabis to veterans. And he believes that it can be mutually beneficial to have veterans working in the cannabis industry.

“No one understands the importance of reliability better than men and women whose very lives often depended upon being able to count on the person next to them getting the job done,” Martin said in a statement to The Cannabist.

At the same time, he noted, “the healing properties of cannabis are but one factor that makes the cannabis industry so suitable for Veterans. Medical cannabis provides a safe alternative to the deadly prescription drugs that kill more than 18,000 veterans each year. For vets suffering from PTSD, being involved in the cultivation side of the industry can often ease symptoms by providing a point of focus, something other than the negativity that many PTSD sufferers deal with.”

The Colorado Harvest Company’s Drew has also seen how working in cannabis has helped veterans return to the civilian world.

“I think other vets could definitely benefit from working within (the cannabis industry),” he said. “I think the stigma (surrounding marijuana)…is wearing off and I think it’s an accepted medium these days. People are starting to understand that we’re working just as much as anybody else is.”

Veterans and the cannabis industry
L-R: Chris Driessen of Colorado cannabis company OrganaBrands presents a donation check to Roger Martin, founder of Grow for Vets, a nonprofit that provides resources and donated cannabis to veterans. (Courtesy of OrganaBrands)

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Published at Fri, 10 Nov 2017 17:00:05 +0000

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New Brunswick to treat Cannabis like guns: Must be locked up at home

New Brunswick to treat Cannabis like guns: Must be locked up at home

Photo courtesy of Slate

And we thought Ontario’s LCBO-controlled monopoly was bad.

On Nov. 7, New Brunswick introduced its proposed Cannabis Control Act, which among other things, requires you to store your cannabis in a locked container or room when at home, treating cannabis the same way as firearms!

As New Brunswick’s justice and public safety minister told Global, “For people here in New Brunswick who have guns in their houses, it’s locked. It’s their responsibility. This will be the same thing”.

There’s no word yet on whether New Brunswick will force you to lock up your liquor or medicine cabinets, too.

Michael Spratt, an Ottawa-based criminal defence lawyer, called NB’s proposal “completely absurd”, telling CBC, “It represents a myopic and outdated thinking that has characterized the war on drugs that has been unsuccessful for the last 100 years”.

What else is in New Brunswick’s Cannabis Control Act?

Other measures in New Brunswick’s Cannabis Control Act include a minimum age of 19 to possess, cultivate, and consume cannabis. Those under 19 are not only prohibited from purchasing cannabis smoking and vaping supplies, they aren’t allowed in any establishment that sells cannabis- even if they are accompanied by their parents.

Public consumption is also banned, and the provincial government hasn’t said whether consumption spaces will be allowed yet. Also, if you decide to do a little personal cultivation, you’re going to have to secure it somehow, regardless if you’re growing indoors or outdoors.

Three-step test for impaired driving gets criticized  

The province is also amending its Motor Vehicle Act to establish drug-impaired driving sanctions such as immediate short-term roadside suspensions and zero tolerance for novice drivers and those under 21.

The amendments also include a “three-step test” consisting of:

  • Saliva test
  • Field sobriety test such as walking in a straight line
  • Blood test

It’s worth noting that saliva and blood tests have been criticized and may not even prove impairment because THC can remain in the body for months depending on what’s being tested (saliva, blood, hair, etc.) and frequency of use. That means testing for cannabis impairment is not like testing for alcohol because the presence of THC doesn’t automatically mean you’re intoxicated.

As NB-based criminal defence lawyer Gilles Lemieux told CBC, “Just simple pot in the system, I don’t think is anywhere near the evidentiary criteria to convict somebody [of impaired driving] under the Criminal Code.”

In other news…

Today, NB Liquor, the Crown Corporation that controls New Brunswick’s liquor system and will soon be in charge of the province’s cannabis stores, received a “D” on its liquor policy report card from Restaurants Canada for its outdated policies and lack of action- not an encouraging sign at all.

Sources

CBC: ‘Completely absurd’: Lawyers doubt clout of pending pot regulations.

CBC: Forget using pot in public when drug is legal, says province in strict new rules.

Global: New Brunswickers will have to keep marijuana locked up under proposed legislation.

Vice: New Brunswick wants to force people to lock up their weed at home.

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Published at Thu, 09 Nov 2017 20:57:25 +0000

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California Initiative Would Legalize Magic Mushrooms

California Initiative Would Legalize Magic Mushrooms

Proponents of a California initiative to legalize psilocybin (“magic”) mushrooms have been cleared by Secretary of State Alex Padilla to begin collecting signatures.

Psilocybin mushrooms.

Advocates of the California Psilocybin Legalization Initiative (Initiative 17-0024) are aiming to place the initiative on the 2018 general election. To do so, they must collect signatures from 365,880 registered California voters by the end of April.

If placed on the ballot and passed into law by voters, the initiative – introduced by Marina mayoral candidate Kevin Saunders – would eliminate all criminal penalties associated with magic mushrooms for those 21 and older. This includes removing penalties for “possessioin, sale, transport and cultivation of psilocybin”. If approved, California would become the first state in the U.S. to legalize magic mushrooms.

Under current law, those caught possessing magic mushrooms – even a small amount for personal use – can be charged with a misdemeanor and imprisoned for up to a year.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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Published at Mon, 06 Nov 2017 19:44:00 +0000

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