Recreational cannabis has been legal for adults in Washington for nearly 6 years now. Sales of cannabis products including an enormous array of edible options began two years later, and always included various types of gummies and candies. Products containing cannabinoids had been previously required to be clearly marked as psychoactive in order to help avoid unintentional consumption. Rather unexpectedly, the Liquor and Cannabis Board has decided that previous steps do not go far enough to protect our children. The argument is that the candies and gummies are far too appealing for kids and assumes that parents and others will not be responsible enough to keep it out of the access of children. The new guidlines that the board established will pretty much disallow all candy-type edibles in stores. Banned products will include gummy type products, hard candy, tarts, fruit chews, colorful chocolates, and jellies. This will severely limit the available products available to adults and result in much more plain offerings. The state claims that edible products like baked goods, chocolate, and mints will still be produced and sold as long as they are not colored, molded into shapes, or covered in frosting. Regulations like these are simply unnecessary and will do nothing but hurt edible producers across Washington.
The only positive news that comes from these new regulations is the fact that they won’t take effect until next year. Dispensaries may sell all inventory that met previous regulations through April 3, 2019, or until it is sold. Candies have always been an extremely popular choice as an edible for cannabis consumers. Outside of that, producers that have purchased lots of their preparation and packaging equipment for candies that were once allowed. All of this equipment was purchased with the individual business owner’s own personal savings because loans cannot be giving to legal cannabis producers/stores. On top of all the other endless regulations and tax rates that they must comply with, these new guidelines are going to severely cut into many firm’s profitabilities. The barriers to entry in the cannabis industry added to the large number of risks that come with unpredictable new legislation keeps many potential entrepreneurs from getting involved in the growing industry. This move is not only scaring edible producers in Washington but across the nation. Many are afraid this will set a precedent and have a major effect on how edible cannabis is produced nationwide.
According to 502 Data, in 2017 there were $927 million in retail marijuana sales. The Liquor and Cannabis Board in Washington claims that edible marijuana accounts for roughly 9% of these sales or $83.4 million/yr. While the state is not going to disallow all cannabis edibles, a large percent of the edible market will disappear and form into a more basic unappealing array of products. Marketing companies use colors and unique shapes to create a personal identity and brand that consumers can recognize. It shouldn’t be any different in the cannabis industry. These products are being marketed to adults, not children. No sensible person wants a child to have access to cannabis, so regulators shouldn’t be playing the same “protect our kids” card they used to run anti-legalization ads. They’re simply adding unneeded regulations that limit options for consumers, and make it hard for companies to maximize profitability.
Bringing cannabis to an airport is something most people would never think of doing. The benefits do not outweigh the risks. The fact that cannabis is a popular substance worldwide that can be found rather easily, prevents people from transporting it across state lines. While other airports in states with legal cannabis have made it clear bringing cannabis on their jurisdiction is not acceptable, LAX has decided to take a different approach. They have announced they will be allowing passengers to possess amounts that stay within the state’s current cannabis laws. This means that local police will not arrest people in the airport’s jurisdiction. Those who are departing the airport to a different location are no longer provided legal protection once they leave. It’s also possible TSA could hold you up until local police sort out the issue. The TSA is required to report violations of federal law and possessing marijuana is still illegal federally.
It appears the key to staying out of trouble for traveling with marijuana via plane is knowing the local laws of the state you are departing and arriving in. We can only hope that other airports take a similar stance publicly about their policy on recreational/medical weed. Until it becomes a trend in airports across the country I would avoid bringing anything along for the ride. Those with serious medical conditions that are willing to take the risk to ensure the availability of their specific strain/product should only bring what is allowed in both states. TSA claims they are not looking for drugs but upon their discovery will report it to local law enforcement. This is a primary reason why it shouldn’t be declared until it has been discovered.
For Los Angeles specifically, the state is allowing anyone over the age of 21 to carry up to an ounce of flower and 8 grams of concentrates. That should be more than enough to get you through your trip. There have been reports of medical marijuana patients being permitted to carry much larger amounts of their medicine because of California’s generous possession amounts for patients. It seems there is only one way to find out exactly what will result from a marijuana discovery outside of LAX. I’m not willing to test the waters myself, but I am interested in what will happen over time as people become more bold about traveling with their legal marijuana. Assuming other airports follow suit with a policy change reflecting their local laws, the TSA might stop bothering to report it at all. It’s also possible that if this becomes a trend, the federal government may respond and find a new way to prosecute these people. Technically most of these flights are in the jurisdiction of many more than 2 places. Today only 9 states have protections for recreational use and possession. So the vast majority of the country is still enforcing prohibition and this could be a technicality the government uses to respond like it usually does and target cannabis.
This week another beverage giant, Coca-Cola, has shown interest in possibly partnering with Aurora Cannabis in order to develop various weed-infused beverages. While nothing has been verified by either company, they have both made statements confirming that they are thinking about pursuing this business opportunity. Even though no solid agreements were made, this didn’t stop Aurora’s stock prices from soaring today. It saw an increase of 12% when the news of this partnership first broke. Both companies have hinted that they will be producing beverages that are more focused on approving health then getting stoned. CBD seems to be the main focus of Coca-Cola, at least for the time being. They mentioned that the non-psychoactive compound is already being used in beverages across the world for health benefits and that they are monitoring this closely. It is likely that they are focusing on this instead of THC infused drinks because recreational marijuana is not yet legal in Canada or the U.S. There will also be a period of time after it is legalized next month where stores will not yet be operating. So it makes sense to first focus heavily on the already existing medical marijuana industry.
If this partnership were to happen, it would be the first time a major non-alcoholic drink producer entered into the cannabis market. This is shortly after the major $4 billion investment Constellation Brands made in Canopy Growth, Canada’s largest medical marijuana producer. A lot of investments and partnerships are being considered as we come closer and closer to recreational marijuana in Canada. Alcohol producer Molson-Coors had already announced earlier this year that they plan to produce cannabis-infused drinks with Hydropothecary. I would be willing to bet there will be more partnerships made by companies that have no existing relationship with cannabis. As long as a corporation has the existing infrastructure to easily produce a cannabis-related product or service, the possibility exists. Coke would have to invest little to nothing into their existing bottling and distribution centers. They would just need to source CBD or other cannabinoids and simply add it into the existing production process.
Cannabis infused drinks, if priced competitively, are extremely popular among cannabis consumers and patients. It is a great way to consume cannabis without the harms of smoking or eating unhealthy infused sweets. Most popular edibles that are produced have lots of fat and sugar. The target market for these new types of drinks would be the more health-conscious consumer. That is as long as Coca-Cola doesn’t decide to produce marijuana-infused drinks that are as bad for you as drinking coke. I think it would be a much smarter move to create a drink with much less sugar and caffeine. After all, they are planning on producing a beverage aimed at improving health. If they are successful at accomplishing this, they may even be able to reduce the negative stigma associated with their popular brand name.
Both companies have made it clear that there is absolutely zero guarantee that this merger will happen despite the great opportunity. Having an enormous corporation like Coca-Cola on Aurora’s team would put it in a better position to compete with Canopy Growth. They also probably will be developing marijuana-infused beverages with the knowledge and expertise Constellation Brands brings to the table. Both Coca-Cola and Aurora saw a rise in their stock value without any solid plans being announced. Imagine what type of increase they would see if a merger is confirmed, or if Aurora was able to expand to the United States. There is great opportunity ahead for Canada’s biggest medical marijuana producers.
The long existing problem of opioid abuse and addiction is receiving a valuable response from a group of researchers at UCLA. They’re determined to figure out the optimal combination of cannabinoids when it comes to treating pain. Almost everyone knows someone who has been negatively affected by the opioid epidemic, and it’s encouraging to see this team prove/disprove this commonly substituted solution. Pain patients have been sharing their success with making the switch to cannabis for years, but medical science has remained far behind. Today, there are still many people that are unconvinced cannabis can provide relief similar to hard narcotics when it comes to severe or chronic pain. This is much-needed scientific data that can lead to a serious change in opioid usage rates. Opioid painkillers have been the go-to drug doctors have been prescribing for pain since the late 1800s. No other options have really been considered as medically prescribed substitutes for all this time.
Natural alternatives such as cannabis or even the Kratom plant will clearly have far less negative side effects for pain patients. Not to mention the excruciating physical withdrawal symptoms that can develop after short periods of use. However, the real test is how effective they stand against the notorious synthetic drugs originating from the poppy plant. The other limited sources of research available involving opioid use and cannabis have shown some positive results. One 5 year-long study in the JAMA(Journal of the American Medical Association) pointed to the fact that states that have medical marijuana laws in effect saw 6% fewer opioid prescriptions among Medicaid patients than states without laws in effect. 6% is a significant number of prescriptions. However, the fact that the study was unable to determine whether the people in the medical marijuana states were making the switch over to marijuana led to some uncertainty. It could be attributed to other factors outside of substituting it with cannabis although it’s unlikely.
This study will not be taking place until it is able to secure more funding along with approval from two major governmental agencies. The DEA and FDA must both give the go-ahead allowing the university to study a schedule one substance. This study is by no means guaranteed to happen. It simply is the goal of the cannabis initiative team. Those that have a financial incentive in marijuana will be prohibited from giving donations in order to establish an environment of “fair research”. This could also become a hurdle for the researches, but it is a good policy by the university to help strengthen any future findings that they are able to make. It would be beyond frustrating to see something so beneficial and promising to the cannabis industry stopped in its tracks by the government, although it certainly wouldn’t be the first time. The constitutionality of marijuana’s schedule one status has been unsuccessfully challenged several times in court over the years despite it’s well known medical uses and safety profile. So don’t be surprised if officials pull something similar in an effort to further delay federal legalization here in the U.S.
Patients in the state of Michigan with a registered caregiver have been taking advantage of home delivery since 2008. Those who do not have a registered caregiver in the program and use provisioning centers as their point of access will likely have similar options soon. This is great news because for many patients there simply aren’t any local dispensaries operating nearby. Also, there are many cases where a patient is severely ill or suffers from a condition that affects their ability to drive. The fact that caregivers can only supply up to five patients makes it hard for some people to find a grower who can supply them with a steady supply of high-quality medicine. Along with that, some people benefit/prefer using marijuana in different ways outside of its raw form. As a result, this sends many patients to dispensaries so that they can have a large selection of products to choose from.
If you live in Michigan or have looked at the local Weedmaps directory, it is obvious that delivery services have been operating for years. These businesses are hiding in a grey area at best. They can’t claim to be caregivers because they are servicing anybody with a valid medical marijuana license that contacts them. While I’m sure a few have run into some legal trouble, the overall delivery market hasn’t been affected or slowed down. These services are prevalent in metro Detroit and offer reasonable pricing despite their convenience. Patients most likely wouldn’t see any major changes if deliveries become allowed, it would simply provide protection for brick and mortar stores to expand operations outside their store. Unregulated delivery services will probably be cracked down on and be forced to apply for a commercial license or close. This is no guarantee, just what I think is likely to happen considering the closing of all the dispensaries in Detroit lately. By September 15th, all dispensaries who haven’t been awarded a commercial license must close their doors. Unless there is an extension to that date, I think this will be applied to existing delivery services soon. The state hasn’t been too friendly to the medical marijuana businesses that have been operating unregulated for years and I think that trend will continue.
The proposed rules would allow dispensaries to have only one staff member making deliveries at a time. This driver can only make three consecutive stops before returning. In addition, the GPS location of the driver must be tracked and logged by the dispensary. There is also a provision added to the proposal that mentions residents living in a city or township banning dispensaries would still be allowed to receive deliveries. These “dry” communities have accomplished nothing but make medicine less accessible for patients. At least residents will now have legal protection to acquire medicine without leaving their local area. It seems that the state is headed in the right direction establishing permanent rules and providing protections for those looking to deliver medicine to patients. However, I think it could go with a lot less regulation. Making it so existing delivery services have to have a physical storefront and limiting the number of staff that can be conducting deliveries is just unnecessary. Marijuana has been unregulated for years through prohibition and even up until last December when the state began accepting commercial licenses. Those who took all the risks and were the pioneers in the industry are being flushed out by newcomers with lots of capital. It would be nice to see some of the existing delivery services able to continue to build their business and reap some benefits for all the risks they have taken for their patients.
There seems to be one common similarity among the different states and countries that have moved to legalize marijuana. Each law mentions the issue of public consumption and explains that it is still illegal. Even though the punishment for consuming in public is minor in most jurisdictions, the only legal place the law allows consumption without penalty is your own private property. If you look at any other recreational substance that is popular in our society, it’s clear that it is not a reasonable expectation for people to never consume marijuana outside of their own private property. The local city council in Calgary is concerned with this issue and wants to address it before legalization even takes effect in Canada.
One of the issues that are brought up by opponents of public consumption areas is that there will be a rise in impaired driving rates in cities that allow these type of businesses to run. The truth is that if lawmakers were truly that concerned about the dangers of impaired driving, alcohol wouldn’t be served at nearly every restaurant and corner store. Alcohol has been proven through numerous studies to have a much larger impact on motor skills and leads to more aggressive driving behaviors then marijuana. Not to mention drunk driving is responsible for more than 10,000 deaths a year Anybody that has used both will tell you the same thing. However, the availability of more dangerous substances for public consumption by itself doesn’t justify allowing these places to operate. The fact that there are enormous amounts of people who visit/live in Calgary without owning any property means legally they can’t use marijuana at all. Why make it legal in the first place if only property owners have the right to consume? This essentially keeps prohibition in place for the rest of the local population. People will of course not abide by these rules and smoke in public places regardless, so it’s only sensible they establish designated areas to help regulate where it is used.
Canada’s legalization measure not only banned public consumption of marijuana but it also prohibited its use in apartment buildings, condominiums, and hotels. It seems counterintuitive that the country wanted to eliminate smoking in these locations but did not offer any alternative in order to make this law reasonable. This is why the city council is taking matters into its own hands. It is proposing that there be four separate locations that were selected in relation to their distance from schools and areas frequented by children. All of these locations would be located in Ward 9 and within a relative proximity of one another. Even though the public is most likely going to be in agreement and support the availability of cannabis clubs, the government wants to reach out and receive feedback before the 9th of September. The committee will be holding a meeting on the 9th of October where the public can also make comments in person about the important issue. Calgary should have a clear decision made by the time the new law goes into effect so consumers won’t have to worry about being prosecuted for consuming a legal product.
Legalizing marijuana has offered some great benefits to California and the other 8 states who have passed similar legislation. Some of the main benefits that come to mind are tax revenue, reduction in crime, personal freedom, and job growth. These are all improvements that will help to make the future a better place. Like other states in the past, California lawmakers are trying to undo some of the enormous damage the war on drugs has had in the past. The senate voted in a large majority to require prosecutors to expunge or reduce the punishments for people who were convicted of marijuana related crimes since 1975. The Department of Justice would need to review all these cases and determine which ones are eligible for reevaluation. Misdemeanors would be expunged in most cases while some felonies would be able to be downgraded to what is now considered a misdemeanor offense. This bill has not yet become law; it must be signed/vetoed by Governor Brown or it will go into effect automatically in early September.
Currently Oregon, New Hampshire, Colorado and Maryland have made it easier for past offenders to have their records sealed. While California wouldn’t be the first state to successfully expunge past marijuana records, other legal states have struggled to offer similar protections. These bills have faced opposition from prosecutors and other lawmakers who argue that these people knowingly violated the law at the time and it’s a dangerous trend to apply new laws to old cases. For example in 2014, the year recreational sales began in Colorado, a similar bill died in committee. The opposition argued that many drug distributors had their charges lowered to low level felonies. Their concern was that these serious convictions would have the possibility of being changed to misdemeanors. Luckily later in 2017, a similar bill was passed that just targeted marijuana misdemeanors instead of felonies. While it won’t have as much of an effect at reducing the damage of the drug war, it is still helpful for many people.
If California is successful at passing this bill, they will have done more than any other state when it comes to requiring judges to excuse past marijuana crimes. This is likely due to this issue being mentioned in Amendment 64, the initiative that legalized recreational marijuana in the state. There was no framework established in 2016 when the initiative passed that established how the Justice Department would enforce the changes. This bill clarifies many of the uncertainties by establishing deadlines for the department and establishing that both misdemeanors and felony pot convictions must be reviewed for eligibility. There are a total of 218,000 cases that have the possibility of being expunged or downgraded to misdemeanors in the state of California alone. Imagine how large this number is if we included all Americans since 1975. All these people likely have faced issues when it comes to key parts of life. Things like seeking great employment opportunities or getting federal loans or grants for education can be nearly impossible. Regardless what the laws used to be, people convicted of non violent marijuana crimes were never criminals.
Across the great lakes state, cultivation facilities and dispensaries are facing a September 15th deadline to either be approved and licensed by the state or shut down operations. Those who have gained approval from their local officials and have already submitted their applications to the state are extremely worried. The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) began accepting applications in December of 2017, but the process to approve businesses is taking a very long time. There have already been two previous deadlines set that were extended before the fast-approaching September 15 cutoff. It seems that the government was not prepared to handle the overwhelming number of applications.
Currently, only 16 applications were given approval out of the 637 submitted for one of the four license types: cultivation, retail, transportation, and processing. Processing refers to businesses that will purchase cannabis from growers and create infused products or extracts like Rick Simpson oil. There seems to be a small number of resources being devoted to inspecting and approving licenses. Luckily, local officials are concerned for patients access to medicine and have been reaching out to Snyder asking for an extension. It’s equally important to support the cannabis pioneers that have invested their life savings into provisioning centers in order to legally help patients find relief. Now, dispensary employees are left to question if they will have their paycheck coming next month or if they will find themselves unemployed. It is crucial that the state responds back quickly so these people aren’t forced to abandon their investments and careers in order to pursue other sources of income.
It almost seems like the officials enjoy causing problems among the medical cannabis community since they can no longer arrest those involved. Why even set a deadline at all for these businesses to get approved? Deny and approve the licenses as they come in and if they have been approved by their local city/township then they should be able to operate until they are given a response. It’s bad enough they are picking and choosing which dispensaries can and can’t operate as they please. Shutting them down before they even get a chance to be evaluated because people created a random date is just wrong. No other industry is facing the same level of regulations and hoops to jump through in order to legally operate. It’s just another example of unnecessary government regulation. The number of stores should be determined by the levels of supply and demand and as a result of certain companies gaining competitive advantages over one another.
There should be some regulation when it comes to advertising and locating next to schools, but not with arbitrary date setting. These businesses would risk losing the chance to secure a license in the future if they operate past the September 15th deadline without being approved. I can’t imagine the level of stress these owners are dealing with right now. They only have two options if the deadline is not extended. Either close temporarily and pray for a license while still paying overhead costs, or close permanently and exit the business. Staying open and risking being raided/closed shouldn’t be considered a valid third option. Criminal charges and no possibility of entering the industry would be the worst possible outcome for a successful marijuana entrepreneur. The next coming weeks are going to be full of uncertainty until a solution is offered by the state.
The beverage company that owns several brands of wine and beer including Corona and Modelo just gained 38% ownership in the Canadian cannabis company Canopy Growth. In order to acquire this much ownership of Canada’s largest medical marijuana producer, Constellation Brands made a record-breaking investment. The owner decided to drop $3.8 billion in order to establish his company in the cannabis community before Canada’s recreational sales begin and before that sector of the economy explodes. He believes like many other cannabis consumers and businessman that the time for federal legalization in the United States is also quickly approaching. Robert Sands is confident that Canopy growth has market-leading capabilities that will allow them to expand and build their company across international borders.
This nearly $4 billion investment by an alcohol company is clear evidence of the culture change we have and currently are experiencing in both the U.S. and Canada. If this kind of thing were to happen just ten years ago it would have been considered shocking and extremely risky. Ten years ago there wasn’t even a Canopy Growth Corp. operating in Canada. Although medical cannabis laws have been in place in the country since 2001, recreational legalization didn’t pass until this year. Also, the U.S. hardly had any laws regarding medical cannabis besides a few select states which were mostly out west. The market was in early development and did not have the legal protections or the enormous customer base that continues to grow over time. Many still think that shifting focus away from the lucrative alcohol sector that Constellation brands worked so hard to build is questionable even at this point in time. There still is no guarantee that legalization won’t hit more roadblocks and get delayed for years. Nobody knows for sure if Canopy Growth will be successful in expanding its operations into a new country with established medical and recreational companies.
This move has to be extremely exciting for Canopy Growth’s point of view. With an enormous boost in capital, it should be able to maintain it’s status as the largest cannabis company/producer in Canada. Canopy also has stated they will not grow or distribute any of their products until it is legal at all levels of the government. They will not be dealing with individual states that have passed laws allowing recreational or medical cannabis. They are playing it safe and trying to remove any possibility of liability. This may have an impact on their ability to establish themselves in the United States and other countries because other companies may be willing to take the risk and build their business behind the security of state or local laws. However, with the type of cash they now have access to, they might be able to enter late and still be successful. They would still have a strong reputation from their presence in the north and use that as a sales point for new customers who aren’t aware. Another result of this investment is that Constellation will now be able to select four of seven directors for the company. Management positions are going remain the same for Canopy Growth for the time being. When news of Constellation Brands acquisitions first broke the stocks for the Canadian company rose 31.3%. I’m hoping that everybody has made their investment before Robert Sands did.
There seems to be a never-ending list of absurd reasons police and other professions benefitting from the prohibition of marijuana have used to argue against legalization. The latest comes from a K-9 handler from Illinois, who claimed that dogs currently being used to detect controlled substances would most likely have to be killed. The fact that current dogs can’t be untrained from detecting the odor of cannabis, doesn’t mean they couldn’t be repurposed within the same department. Many of these same dogs have already been trained to track down fleeing suspects and could also be used as a threat to criminals hiding in an enclosed space. Those types of scenarios are routine and seem to happen in every episode of Cops. While the local police departments would have to procure and train new drug-sniffing dogs for roadside traffic stops, saying euthanization is the likely future for many pups is a desperate scare tactic. The center of drug investigations in states with prohibition including Illinois has always been marijuana. These departments have a ton to lose when it comes to funding, staffing, and most importantly, probable cause. Cannabis has a pungent odor that is the most recognizable among recreational drugs. This has been used as an excuse to search and arrest countless people for offenses including cannabis but often additional, more serious crimes.
I would like to believe that not all police officers are for the prohibition of cannabis and would enjoy not having to arrest people for simple possession. This individual officer ( Macon County Sherrif Buffett) was not part of this minority. He simply knows that the past few years have shown great legislative progress across the nation pertaining to legal cannabis. The public approval of recreational marijuana has been rising among polls steadily each year and is now said to lie slightly above the 60% mark nationwide. Desperate times call for desperate measures and in his eyes, this was the last resort speech he needed in order to support the growing problem of mass incarceration. K-9’s were put on the force to be trained and help fight the failed war on drugs. It’s not the community’s problem that there will be a surplus of dogs that shouldn’t have been used in the first place. If they can’t be reassigned as mentioned earlier, they could be adopted by gradually removing them from the working environment. Handlers already live with their dog outside of work hours, so there is no reason they couldn’t adjust to being there all day long.
The impact these type of nonsensical statements have on the public is often opposite from the original intent of the message. Many more people start to question the true purpose of the anti-pot stance and see right through the distraction and follow the money. Few still believe the illusion that the government is looking out for your health and the well-being of communities by outlawing plants, but they’re out there. Opponents like Buffett are simply putting themselves on the wrong side of history before it is written. Not many people have a positive outlook on Harry Anslinger from the 1930’s or anyone else that put profits over doing the right thing. The fact that the war on drugs got so out of control and drug squads grew into a local military force, isn’t a reason to keep unnecessary jobs employed. There are many professions that have been wiped out due to their inability to adapt to change(political or technological) and law enforcement should be expected to do the same.