Canada: Vancouver Grants First Marijuana Dispensary License


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Vancouver last week became the first city in Canada to issue a marijuana dispensary license after creating a separate set of bylaws regulating the establishments.

The Wealth Shop, just outside the gates of the University of British Columbia in the Vancouver neighborhood of Point Grey, got the city's first license to operate a cannabis business, reports Katie Shapiro at The Cannabist.

The store, which hasn't yet opened for business, will be required to pay an annual licensing fee of $30,000 to the City of Vancouver. The majority of already existing pot shops operate as "compassion clubs," which require a $1,000 fee to get a license. Currently, both types of shops still operate outside the Canadian federal government's medicinal cannabis program.

Rhode Island: Physicians' Organization Throws Support Behind Marijuana Legalization Effort


Doctors for Cannabis Regulation, an organization led by some of the most prominent physicians in the country, has formally endorsed the effort to legalize and regulate marijuana for adult use in Rhode Island.

The addition of DFCR to the Regulate Rhode Island coalition comes at a pivotal time, just as state lawmakers are considering legislation to end marijuana prohibition.

Members of DFCR’s leadership team include former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders; integrative medicine pioneer Dr. Andrew Weil; Dr. H. Westley Clark, former director of the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment; Dr. Chris Beyrer, founder and director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights; Dr. Lester Grinspoon, associate professor emeritus of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School; Dr. David Lewis, professor emeritus of Medicine and Community Health at Brown University; Dr. Donald Abrams, chief of the Hematology-Oncology Division at San Francisco General Hospital; and Dr. David Nathan, a Distinguished Fellow of the American Psychiatric Association and clinical associate professor of Psychiatry at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School.

Colorado: Denver Police Issue 18 Citations For Public Marijuana Consumption At Pot Rally


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Denver Police on Saturday issued 18 citations for public marijuana consumption at the rescheduled 420 Rally in Civic Center Park downtown, according to police spokesman Doug Schepman.

While that's bad enough, at least it's noticeably less than the 60 citations handed out on April 20, when thousands gathered in Civic Center to celebrate Cannabis Day.

Recreational use of marijuana was legalized in Colorado when voters approved Amendment 64 in 2012, but smoking weed in public remains illegal, reports Katy Canada at The Denver Post.

Last year's rally -- which lasted for two days -- resulted in more than 150 police citations.

On Saturday, police also issued three citations for driving with a suspended license, and two for flying drones in a public park.

The rally ran from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and brought thousands of cannabis advocates to downtown Denver. Organizers had been forced to postpone the original event, scheduled for April 1t6, because of snow.

Oregon: Liquor Control Commission Approves Recreational Marijuana Licenses


First Wholesaler Among Newest Group of Licensees

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission on Friday approved 14 Recreational Marijuana producer and wholesale licenses.

The producer licensees include:

• Kit Johnston, (MariCo Farms) – Mixed, Tier 2, Yamhill County

• Sol-Sisters, Inc. (Sol-Sisters) – Outdoor, Tier 2, Polk County

• Mountain Sun Botanicals, Inc. (Mountain Sun Botanicals) – Mixed, Tier 2, Jackson County

• Oregon Grown Organics LLC, David Tourzan (Oregon Grown Organics) – Mixed, Tier 2, Jackson County

• Oregon Roots Inc. (Oregon Roots) – Mixed, Tier 2, Washington County

• Pilot Farms, LLC, Matthew A. Dolinar (Pilot Farms) – Outdoor, Tier 2, Jackson County

• Harlen Magnie, Thomas Pretorius (H&H Gardens) – Outdoor, Tier 2, Jackson County

• Patricia Downing (Elvenwood Enterprises, LLC) – Outdoor, Tier 1, Josephine County

• Trichomes Gardens Limited, James Newgard (Trichomes Garden) – Outdoor, Tier 2, Washington County

• Jefferson State Farms LLC, Benjamin Yuma (Jefferson State Farms LLC) – Outdoor, Tier 2, Jackson County

• Oregon Roots Inc., James Stitch, Trichomes Gardens Limited, James Newgard (Oregon Roots) – Outdoor, Tier 2, Washington County

• Trailhead Farms LLC, Dave Henderson, Terry McDowell (Trail Head Farms) – Outdoor, Tier 1, Hood River County

D.C.: Hour-Long TV Show Examines Confusing State of Weed In Our Nation's Capital


You can own it, but you can’t buy it. You can grow it, but you can’t sell it. You can smoke it in your home, but not on federal land.

FUSION’s Chief Cannabis Correspondent Ryan Nerz rolls into our nation's capital to investigate the controversial world of weed in Washington with “The Naked Truth: District of Cannabis.”

Washington, D.C. is home to some of the most liberal and confusing laws surrounding marijuana, making it a compelling window to the many cannabis contradictions across the country. Nerz, who has traveled to every state that has some form of legalization in the U.S., follows one man's cannabis crusade all the way to the White House, examines some of the weirdest pot laws in the country, and explores some of the special interests involved in the battles over legalization.

“The Naked Truth: District of Cannabis” premieres Sunday, May 22 at 8 PM on FUSION (channel listings). Additional reporting from “District of Cannabis” will be available across FUSION’s digital, social, and OTT channels. Watch a preview here.

Arizona: Marijuana Supporters Call On Opposition To Return $10K Alcohol Contribution


The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol (CRMLA), the committee backing an initiative to end marijuana prohibition in Arizona that is expected to appear on the November ballot, on Wednesday called on leaders of the committee opposing the measure to return a contribution from the alcohol industry.

According to a report published earlier this week by the Phoenix New Times, Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy (ARDP) received a donation of $10,000 last month from the Arizona Wine and Spirits Association, a trade group representing various alcohol wholesalers.

The leaders of ARDP, Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk, and radio host Seth Leibsohn have repeatedly argued that marijuana needs to remain illegal because it is too dangerous to regulate for adult use. Yet, by every objective measure, marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol. See for details.

“Using alcohol money to fund their campaign to maintain marijuana prohibition is grossly hypocritical,” said CRMLA Chairman J.P. Holyoak. “They want to continue punishing adults for using marijuana, but they have no problem accepting five-figure donations from purveyors of a far more harmful substance.

U.S.: TV Pot Show 'Marijuana Straight Talk' Soars To Top Of Ratings


A woman-owned media company has launched a national TV show focused on one of America’s hottest and most controversial topics: marijuana.

The show, Marijuana Straight Talk, soared to the top of the ratings with its “420 special” episode last month, making its debut at a time when support for legalizing marijuana in the U.S. has never been stronger. A recent survey conducted by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research found that 61 percent of Americans now support legalizing cannabis.

“Now, more than ever, this country is ready for Marijuana Straight Talk,” said host Becca Williams, a noted media entrepreneur and TV producer.

The growing interest among Americans is evident when it comes to Marijuana Straight Talk’s reception. Based on the show’s “420 special” episode, it became the most popular weekly program in 2016 to date on Free Speech TV network, which garners about 1.2 million viewers per month based on Rentrak ratings service.

Canada: Unlicensed Marijuana Dispensaries Thriving In Toronto


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

More than 100 unlicensed marijuana dispensaries have sprung up in Toronto, most in the past six months, since the election of Justin Trudeau, who won on a legalization platform, among other progressive issues

Only a few dozen medicinal cannabis producers have a license from the Canadian federal government to sell marijuana; all other outlets are considered illegal, reports Jacob Templin at Quartz.

A few medical marijuana dispensaries have existed for years in Toronto, catering to a smallish clientele, requiring doctor's prescriptions, and operating out of undisclosed locations. The new breed of dispensaries, however, tend to have storefronts and are open to the public, according to Adam Verk, a project manager at The Big Toke, which consults with and collects data on cannabis-related businesses in Toronto.

"In the past six months it's gotten crazy, and a lot of them aren't following protocols," said Amy Brown, who has operated CannDo, a Toronto-based medical marijuana dispensary, since 2014.

It's unclear whether new federal laws will legalize the dispensaries. The Liberal government isn't unveiling its proposed legislation until Spring 2017.

Colorado: Denver Cops Combing Craiglist, Facebook For Illegal Marijuana Sales


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Denver Police are combing Craigslist and Facebook to find black market marijuana dealers who illegally promote their products online, law enforcement said on Thursday.

Recreational marijuana is legal in Colorado for adults 21 and older, but Denver Police Department spokesman Doug Schepman claimed pot dealers are circumventing state law by using online marketplaces like Craigslist and Facebook to stimulate sales, reports Andrew Blake at The Washington Times.

The Denver-area Craigslist page on Friday had more than 700 postings where marijuana is listed under the "for sale" category. Thousands of people are using the website to sell pot online, according to Kevin Torres at Fox 31 Denver.

"I think the black market in general is still very active and Craigslist is a perfect example of the active black market," said Lauren Harris, owner of Dynama Consultikng, a cannabis consulting firm that helps dispensaries navigate the rules of Colorado's legal marijuana industry.

D.C.: Congresswoman Lee Joins National Cannabis Industry Association Press Conference


Congresswoman Barbara Lee on Thursday joined several of her colleagues and members of the National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) for a press conference on Capitol Hill demanding respect for state laws and fairness for the industry.

“Today, I’m pleased to join my colleagues and the National Cannabis Industry Association in making one simple request to Congress: 'Treat the industry just like any other business,'” Lee said. "It’s past time for the federal government to end its counterproductive overreach into state-legal cannabis markets.

"Last week, I was proud to join Harborside Health Center in celebrating the U.S. Attorney’s decision to end its unnecessary case against this health center," Lee said. "While it was victory for Harborside, there are still centers in my district and around the country that continue to face harassment.

"Additionally, outdated laws continue to prevent many state-legal businesses from thriving, including our arcane banking laws," Lee said. "These laws serve only to trap these businesses in the cash-only market, restrict their access to capital and prevent them from engaging in simple business-to-business transactions.

"This industry is just like any other, and Congress needs to ensure it has access to banking, just like any other industry," Congresswoman Lee said.

Washington: Study Says Licensed Grows Can Meet Recreational, Medical Marijuana Needs


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

A new study released on Thursday performed for the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board by the University of Washington supposedly shows that the amount of marijuana allowed to be grown by state-licensed I-502 producers in the state "is enough to satisfy both the medical and recreational marijuana markets," while ignoring the challenges of price, pesticides, and access which I-502 stores present for patients.

The study, "Estimating Canopy Size for the Washington Medical Marijuana Market," seems tailor-made to be used as political ammunition in the fight led by many I-502 recreational cannabis merchants to finish the shutting-down of Washington's medical marijuana community, which is already slated for extinction, at least as we know it, on July 1. After that date, any medical marijuana dispensaries which don't have an I-502 license will be required to shut down under penalty of law.

Colorado: Cannabis Business Alliance Applauds 2016 Legislative Session


As the 2016 legislative session comes to a close in Colrado, The Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA) on Thursday applauded legislators for what it called "the hard work and the goals achieved during the 2016 session."

“The 2016 legislative session has been eventful for the cannabis industry,” said Mark Slaugh, CBA executive director and iComply CEO. “Many of the bills that were up for discussion this session will have a major impact on our industry, and we are looking forward to seeing how some of these bills and laws change the landscape of the cannabis industry in Colorado for the better.”

“Consumer and public safety are CBA’s top priorities, which is why we are working to bring best practices to the industry to ensure consumers are educated about how and when to consume cannabis,” Slaugh noted. “CBA’s goal is to provide our members and the industry with insight to the bills being proposed, as well as sensible legislation for the industry. The industry has embraced many of the bills up for discussion this session and will work with the state to promote industry best-practices.”

The Retail Marijuana Sunset Bill (HB 1261)

"The Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA) applauds the Assembly for its prudent review of the Sunset Bill."

Purchasing Regulations

Oregon: Wednesday, May 11 Is Last Day Voters Can Mail Their Ballots


Today, Wednesday, May 11 is the last day Oregon voters can mail their ballots and expect them to be received by Election Day. After today, voters will need to drop their ballots off at a drop box location.

Anthony Johnson, chief petitioner for Measure 91, the ballot initiative responsible for legalizing recreational marijuana in Oregon, is encouraging voters to take part in the democratic process, and he's made three specific endorsements.

"We have made great progress in Oregon and we can make even more by electing candidates that understand the need to implement sensible cannabis regulations," Johnson said on Wednesday. "We have made a couple of voting recommendations, but the most important thing is that you vote.

"Cannabis law reform, and candidates that support reasonable marijuana laws, do better when turnout is high, so let's continue to lead the nation, not just with our marijuana laws, but also with our voter participation," Johnson said.

U.S.: Members of Congress To Join Cannabis Business Leaders Thursday and Friday


Members of Congress on Thursday will join cannabis industry leaders from across the country for a press conference to kick off National Cannabis Industry Association's sixth annual Lobby Days. More than 100 cannabis business professionals will travel to Washington, D.C., to take part in policy discussions and citizen lobby meetings to advocate for fair treatment of the legal cannabis industry.

On May 12, NCIA leaders, business owners, and members of Congress including Representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Denny Heck (D-WA), and Ed Perlmutter (D-CO), will hold an 11:30am press conference at the House Triangle to kick off two days of meetings across the Hill between cannabis industry leaders and congressional staffs.

Top priorities for these business owners are a solution to the banking crisis, which prevents many legitimate cannabis businesses from accessing basic financial services, and reform to Section 280E of the federal tax code, which forces cannabis business to pay double or triple the effective federal tax rates of any other industry.

NCIA members will also advocate for the descheduling of marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, which would give states the authority to make their own decisions about how to handle cannabis legality, much as they currently do with alcohol.

Colorado: Loopr Launches Mobile Cannabis Lounge and Mobile App


Colorado’s 'first upscale cannabis-friendly transportation service' combines Uber-like app with luxury 44-seat buses running routes around a curated selection of Denver dispensaries, bars, restaurants, and nightlife destinations

Visiting Denver's many dispensaries, restaurants, bars, clubs, sporting venues and other destinations while enjoying cannabis becomes a premium, but accessible, legal experience with the introduction of Loopr transportation service and application.

The Loopr buses are 45’ Freightliner luxury coaches that include comfortable seating for 44, a glassware and dab bar, granite countertops on the four booths, more than a dozen video monitors for entertainment and route information, free WiFi, a lavatory and refrigerator, laser light show(!) and more.

The robust transportation app allows users to geo-target the Loopr bus location on its circuit around the city and receive accurate pickup and dropoff times. Whenever Loopr customers are ready to move around the city, or if they just want to spend time in the mobile lounge, they can purchase a day pass or subscription to always enjoy their favorite cannabis products with onboard service.

Maine: Legalization Initiative Would Force Merchants To Hide Marijuana Magazines


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Maine's Marijuana Legalization Act, which has qualified for November's ballot and is being sponsored by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), would require merchants to keep marijuana magazines behind the counter if their stores are open to customers younger than 21.

An almost identical provision which was part of a bill passed by the Colorado Legislature in 2013 was so blatantly unconstitutional that Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said the state wouldn't enforce it, reports Jacob Sullum at

Yet, just three years later, MPP is asking Maine voters to approve the same restriction as the price they must pay for the state's "legalization" initiative.

The Marijuana Legalization Act which will be on the Maine ballot in November says "a magazine whose primary focus is marijuana or marijuana businesses may be sold only in a retail marijuana store or behind the counter in an establishment where persons under 21 years of age are present."

U.S.: Cannabis Market Reaches New Heights


A recent report by New Frontier and ArcView Market Research has revealed some very impressive numbers. Sales of legal cannabis products increased by 17 percent in 2015, reaching $5.4 billion, and sales are expected to increase by 25 percent more in 2016, reaching a total value of $6.7 billion.

This is quite an achievement for an industry in which the first legal dispensaries opened just two years ago. By 2020, total legal sales across the U.S. are expected to reach $22 billion.

According to ArcView projections, Washington state is expected to be the largest legal sales market by 2020, with estimated $2.3 billion of total sales. In 2015 alone, legal sales of marijuana products totaled more than $709 million in Washington, which is an increase of an amazing 242 percent over 2014.

It is a rare opportunity when a market that is potentially worth hundreds of billions of dollars is virtually untouched by large companies. While the number of states where the growth and sales of cannabis products remains limited, the majority of the population in the United States approves the end of federal marijuana prohibition nationwide.

For now, in states where cannabis is a legitimate and legal product, sales are through the roof.

Oregon: 17th Annual Global Cannabis March Kicks Off At High Noon In Portland


On Saturday, May 7, 2016, nearly 300 cities worldwide, including Portland, Oregon, will participate in the 17th Annual Global Cannabis March. Portland participants will gather in Pioneer Courthouse Square for a rally that begins at high noon, 12 pm, with a scheduled cannabis freedom march beginning at 4 pm through downtown.

Musicians Garcia Birthday Band, The Hill Dogs, Mack & Dub and the Smokin' Section, Bad Habitat, Justin James Bridges and John Cornett & Friends have joined the lineup for the rally. There will also be several guest speakers and non-profit organization booths.

We march to stand in solidarity for cannabis consumer rights. While marijuana may be legal under state law, it is still illegal under federal law. We march to effect change on the federal level. We march for the right of employees to use marijuana in their off hours, just as employees can consume alcohol in their off hours. We march so renters can consume marijuana in their own homes without fear of eviction.

We march so cities and counties do not impose onerous regulations which offer little protection to the consumer or the non-consumer of marijuana. These choices only drive the cost of marijuana up and allow the unregulated market to thrive.

Vermont: Lawmakers Seen Drinking In Hallway Just Before Voting No On Marijuana


By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

When the Vermont House on Tuesday soundly rejected a Senate proposal to legalize marijuana and create a regulated retail market for it -- and even failed to decriminalize possession and cultivation of just two cannabis plants -- their unfortunate lack of political courage didn't shock many political observers.

What was a bit more upsetting, though, was that at least two of the politicians who voted "No" on legalization were seen (and photographed!) drinking alcohol in the hall shortly before the vote, according to multiple sources. Photos tweeted by reporter Neil Goswami depict Rep. Gary Viens (R-Newport) and Rep. Corey Parent (R-St. Albans City) enjoying alcholic beverages at the State House during a 15-minute recess from the marijuana debate.

"Drinking in the State House is cool, according to these people who voted against legal pot," Goswami tweeted.

Both Viens and Parent are widely grinning in the photos, apparently believing themselves to be quite clever in taking a drink in the hall before batting down a bill that would have treated marijuana similarly to alcohol.

Colorado: Cannabis Business Accelerator Launches In Denver


Longtime entrepreneur Patrick O’Malley on Wednesday announced Good Life Colorado, a cannabis industry program that provides entrepreneurs space to develop products in a licensed MIP (Marijuana Infused Products) facility in Denver to develop a wide range of THC products.

“With licensing and space becoming prohibitively expensive along the Front Range, we decided to create a place for cannabis entrepreneurs who have fantastic ideas and solid budgets, but lack the resources for a MIP license and warehouse rent or purchase,” said O’Malley, adding that a basic MIP-oriented business today needs at least $750,000 to even begin experimenting with product development. “Good Life Colorado offers entrepreneurs a cost-effective way to turn their ideas into commercial triumphs.”

One company, Chooze Corp., has already taken part in Good Life Colorado, leveraging the facility to develop its mood-enhancing product LucidMood. Since launching, the pioneering LucidMood has become an industry leader in the field of cannabis mood-crafting, an area of exploration that experts predict will introduce cannabis to a far broader range of consumers.

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