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Colorado: New Cannabis Investment Law Allows Out-Of-State Money Next Year

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Passage of SB 16-40 allows out-of-state cannabis investments in Colorado to begin in 2017.

The new law removes the two-year residency requirement previously mandated for equity holders. Investors will still be required to meet other current ownership criteria, including criminal and financial background checks. Passive owners of less than 5 percent will be subjected to less extensive and more cost-effective screening.

LivWell Enlightened Health, a Colorado cannabis retailer, was part of an industry coalition composed of private businesses and major industry groups that lobbied and secured the passage of a bill that will allow out-of-state investors to have ownership interests in Colorado cannabis businesses.

“This levels the industry playing field a bit,” said Dean Heizer, chief legal strategist of LivWell Enlightened Health. “It puts us closer to competitive par with the many other states that don’t have residency requirements by freeing up capital for compliance investment, industry growth and by making it easier for small operators to access capital to survive.”

Arizona: Cannabis Retail Designer Receives 3rd National Recognition

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The awards keep coming for cannabis retail designer Megan Stone of The High Road Design Studio. The young entrepreneur is lighting up the billion-dollar cannabis industry by creating award winning dispensary environments catering to the modern consumer.

This month Stone was announced as one of the Top 40 Under 40 by design:retail magazine for her luxury dispensary designs. Stone was selected for the national recognition from more than 140 nominees for the award, one of three major awards recognizing the Tempe, Arizona based retail designer in 2016. Winners for the retail magazine award were honored in New York City in May.

“I design the way I do because, for many people, cannabis has been a miraculous plant. Buying it should be an experience that reflects that,” Stone said.

Stone’s revolutionary designs have established a new cannabis aesthetic transcending long-standing clichés of tie-dye tapestries and peace-sign motifs. Along with the Top 40 Under 40 Award, Stone was named a finalist for the prestigious 23rd Annual A.R.E. (Association for Retail Environments) Design Awards Competition alongside CHANEL, Target and Nordstrom, and was named Technical Professional Marketer of the Year by SMPS (Society for Marketing Professional Services) Arizona.

Oregon: Oregrown Cannabis Company Brings Beauty To Downtown Bend

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Oregrown Industries, a farm-to-table cannabis company, teamed up with the Downtown Bend Business Association on Thursday to turn an overgrown patch of land near the company's flagship store into a landscaped pocket park.

"Oregrown is committed to being a positive force in our community," said Oregrown co-founder Aviv Hadar. "This goes beyond creating jobs and local ownership. This pocket park is a small project, but it's an authentic expression of who we aspire to be."

A dozen volunteers from Oregrown and the Downtown Bend Business Association removed weeds and plant lavender beds and other landscaping purchased by Oregrown. The new plants will be watered and maintained through the business association's Flower Basket Program, a project that provides more than 100 hanging flower baskets throughout the downtown area.

"This spot is the gateway to downtown Bend on the north side, and we are so happy to be partnering with Oregrown to improve it," said Rod Porsche, executive director of the Downtown Bend Business Association. "The area has needed attention for some time. It's great that the folks at Oregrown saw the need and are stepping up to keep downtown Bend beautiful."

Hadar says Oregrown will continue to seek out opportunities be good neighbors.

U.S.: National Cannabis Industry Association, BDS Partner To Serve NCIA Members Industry Data

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NCIA members to receive free access to BDS Analytics' GreenEdge™ cannabis sales dataset

Members of the National Cannabis Industry Association will be getting a new benefit, thanks to a partnership with cannabis market intelligence firm BDS Analytics. Beginning next month, NCIA member-businesses will receive free interactive access to market and category-level sales data compiled and contextualized by BDS, an industry source of market data and business insight.

All NCIA members will have access to data and market intelligence reports through an interactive set of dashboards, spreadsheets, and detailed reporting powered by the GreenEdge™ sales tracking software developed by BDS. Reports will cover crucial insights such as market size and growth, dollar and unit volume, retail price trends, and shifts in category mix.

Sponsoring and Sustaining NCIA members will gain access to even deeper levels of insight and reporting, including monthly executive reports, additional dashboards and reports, and personalized access to BDS Analysts.

According to NCIA, members will be able to make informed strategic decisions and answer critical business questions like:

• What proportion of industry sales come from flower vs. extractions vs. infused products?
• How big is the infused product market, and how fast is it growing?

Massachusetts: Attorney General Asks Voters To 'Wait' On Legalizing Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey is asking state voters to "wait" to legalize marijuana.

Voters could be faced with a ballot question in November to legalize cannabis for recreational adult use. Atty. Gen. Healey is asking residents to vote no, reports Ashley Afonso at WWLP.

"Not now, not at this time," Healey said. "We're in the midst of his opioid crisis." (Evidently, the Attorney General doesn't know that cannabis is an exit drug out of opiate addiction.)

"I think it's really important that we talk about the public health aspects which haven't really been talked about," Healey said. "Legalizing recreational marijuana I think is a really bad idea for many reasons, but to me most important is the health and well-being of young people."

Massachusetts already has legalized medicinal cannabis, and has decriminalized the possession of less than an ounce for adults. The new measure would legalize recreational weed for adults 21 and older. It would also add taxes on cannabis sales and a commission that would oversee the regulation of the industry.

The Massachusetts Hospital Association wrong-headedly opposes legalization, claiming "safety concerns" including "greater youth accessibility." What they don't seem to realize is that black market dealers don't ask for ID, and legal marijuana stores do.

California: S.F.'s First Boutique Style Medical Marijuana Dispensary Opens

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Harvest, which is calling itself "San Francisco’s first boutique-style cannabis dispensary and private member lounge," opened in January, and according to its owners, the shop "offers a new style of shopping experience for those who are seeking a wide variety of high quality, chemical-free, tested medical cannabis products."

Harvest, which is located on Geary Boulevard in San Francisco’s Inner Richmond District, offers, according to management, "expertly curated artisanal products sourced from California’s craft cannabis artisans."

The retail store and members-only lounge interiors "were imagined by top designers from San Francisco and Chicago, reflecting a completely innovative approach to cannabis merchandising and consumption," we learn from a Wednesday press release.

"Harvest serves a growing number of San Franciscans who are seeking a retail experience that transcends the counter-culture industry reputation," the prepared release reads. "With windows open to Geary Boulevard, the bright and airy atmosphere features modern wood detail, contemporary lighting, polished concrete floors, and open shelving.

"Customers can freely interact with cannabis consultants and carefully chosen selections of cannabis flowers, concentrates, cosmetics, edibles, accessories, pet supplies and other products," the release reads.

Washington: Tipping Now Allowed In Marijuana Stores

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

If you know a particularly good budtender at a recreational marijuana store in Washington state, you can now legally show your appreciation by adding a little greenery to the scenery.

Monetary tipping of budtenders wasn't allowed in Washington recreational marijuana stores until Monday, March 14, when the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) revised its policy, effective immediately.

"The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) has received several inquiries asking about the practice of bud tender tip jars," Deputy Chief Steve D. Johnson said in an email under LCB letterhead. "In response, the LCB has reviewed their position and this bulletin is to clarify the policy on allowable tipping."

"Tipping has not been an allowable practice in a licensed retail marijuana location," the email reads. "This position was adopted based on an interpretation of RCW 69.50.357, and indications that prices of products were being manipulated based on the size of a tip to avoid paying excise tax.

Vermont: Faith Leaders Support Legislation To End Marijuana Prohibition

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In a letter to state senators on Tuesday, a diverse group of more than a dozen local clergy and faith leaders from across Vermont expressed support for legislation that would end marijuana prohibition in the state and regulate the cultivation and sale of marijuana for adult use. The bill, S. 241, is expected to receive a full Senate vote this week.

In the letter, the faith leaders say they believe they have “a moral obligation to support change” because the state’s current marijuana prohibition laws “have caused more harm than good for the people of Vermont” and they are “disproportionately enforced against the poor and people of color.”

“As those who teach compassion and love, we believe the harm associated with marijuana can best be minimized through a regulated system that emphasizes education, prevention, and treatment rather than punishment,” they said. “For these reasons, we support S. 241, the proposal to end marijuana prohibition and regulate marijuana in Vermont.”

S. 241 would make it legal for adults 21 years of age and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and establish a tightly controlled system of licensed marijuana cultivation sites, testing facilities, and retail stores.

Colorado: Cannabis Industry Reaches Nearly $1 Billion In 2015

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Cannabis Business Alliance applauds Colorado’s impressive growth while noting regulatory challenges ahead

Colorado has released the cannabis industry sales report for 2015, with total sales reaching more than $996 million, an increase of more than 42 percent over the previous year.

The Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA) noted this impressive industry growth even as many of its members prepare for more regulatory challenges ahead.

“With greater growth and continuation of operators entering the industry, Cannabis Business Alliance members and Colorado operators have continually set the standard of the maturing industry nationwide, impressively thriving amidst increasing regulation, including stamping, equivalency, and pest management,” said Mark Slaugh, CBA Board member and iComply CEO.

“Amidst these regulatory hurdles, CBA and its members continue to be committed to protecting the health, safety and welfare of the public," Slaugh said. "We are especially focused in protecting our adolescents and youth, by encouraging and actively supporting adult-use education, responsible parenting, and pragmatic and sensible regulations.”

During the second full year of recreational cannabis sales, Colorado retailers sold more than $587 million of recreational cannabis and more than $408 million of medical cannabis. In 2014, the total sales of medical and recreational cannabis in Colorado added up to roughly $700 million, making this year’s growth an impressive 42 percent.

Washington: Seattle City Attorney Promises Crackdown On Black Market Marijuana

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana legalization gets rid of the black market, and makes it obsolete, right? Wrong, if your legalization law is written as badly as Washington state's.

I-502, the clunky cannabis legalization measure, was made even worse by SB 5052; last year, that execrable piece of legislation assisted the original measure in completing a coup de grace on medical marijuana dispensaries and farmers markets in the state.

The onerous taxation scheme and miles of red tape forced upon marijuana retailers by state rules -- along with a healthy dose of old fashioned greed -- mean that, ironically enough, cannabis costs more in legal marijuana stores than on the black market, thus ensuring that the illegal market continues to flourish, even as the state desperately tries to prop up its anointed retailers by arresting their competition.

That's right: in the eyes of recreational marijuana retailers, not just black market dealers, but medical marijuana dispensaries and farmers markets represent unwelcome competition. You can really see their point when you realize that I-502 store prices average roughly twice the going rate in dispensaries and three times that in farmers markets.

Most patients are on limited incomes as they struggle with chronic illness, and the I-502 store prices, along with the 37 percent tax, makes medicine just about unaffordable.

Oregon: 142 Marijuana Applications Received On First Day

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Monday was the first day for license applications to enter Oregon's new recreational marijuana retail market, and the Oregon Liquor Control Commission had received 142 applications by 8 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Seventy-five of the applications came from growers, most of them planning operations in Clackamas, Jackson, Lane and Multnomah counties, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian.

Oregon doesn't plan to cap the number of marijuana licenses it will issue. According to a report from the liquor commission, the state will issue a total of 850 recreational marijuana licenses by the end of next year.

Applications are being accepted from marijuana processors, wholesalers, retailers, producers, laboratories and researchers, but as of Tuesday morning, no labs or researchers had applied, according to the OLCC.

The counties with the largest number among all applicants so far, according to the OLCC, are Multnomah County with 30; Clackamas County with 18; Jackson County with 17 and Lane County with 16 applications.

Colorado: Cannabis Industry Facing Robust Growth, New Regulations

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With Colorado marking the two-year anniversary of legalization for the adult-use/recreational marijuana market, the cannabis industry is predicting new milestones in both Colorado and the United States in 2016. With a burgeoning industry on the precipice of enormous growth, education and consumer safety will be a top priority for cannabis leaders as the industry expands throughout the country, according to the Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA).

“This year, the cannabis industry made great strides in protecting and educating the consumer,” said Peggy Moore, chair of CBA and owner, Love’s Oven. “The industry heard early on after legalization for the adult-use market about concerns of unintended access as well as overconsumption.

"We take our role in ensuring public safety very seriously," Moore said. "As such, we are working to bring best practices to the entire industry to ensure that all consumers are educated about how and when to consume cannabis, and how to avoid cases of accidental ingestion. The industry has embraced and furthered certified child resistant packaging, safety warnings on labeling and product testing, and will continue to promote this and other industry best-practices in 2016.”

The Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA) offers the following observations on the rapidly evolving cannabis industry and an outlook for 2016:

U.S.: Robust Growth, Consumer Safety, New Regulations Are Cannabis Trends For 2016

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With Colorado marking the two-year anniversary of legalization for the adult-use/recreational market, the cannabis industry predicts new milestones in both Colorado and the United States in 2016. With a burgeoning industry on the precipice of enormous growth, education and consumer safety will be a top priority for cannabis leaders as the industry expands throughout the country.

“This year, the cannabis industry made great strides in protecting and educating the consumer,” noted Peggy Moore, chair of Cannabis Business Alliance and owner of Love’s Oven Bakery. “The industry heard early on after legalization for the adult-use market about concerns of unintended access as well as overconsumption.

"We take our role in ensuring public safety very seriously," Moore said. "As such, we are working to bring best practices to the entire industry to ensure that all consumers are educated about how and when to consume cannabis, and how to avoid cases of accidental ingestion. The industry has embraced and furthered certified child resistant packaging, safety warnings on labeling and product testing, and will continue to promote this and other industry best-practices in 2016.”

The Cannabis Business Alliance (CBA) offers insight into the rapidly evolving cannabis industry and an outlook for 2016:

Massachusetts: Secretary of State's Office Validates Marijuana Legalization Signature Drive

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The Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office on Friday certified 70,739 signatures submitted by the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, clearing the way for the petition to move forward toward the 2016 state ballot.

“Today’s announcement confirms that the people of Massachusetts want to vote on an initiative to regulate marijuana and end the practice of punishing adults for using a substance less harmful than alcohol,” said campaign manager Will Luzier. “We are excited to have reached this milestone and look forward to the legislative debate over the benefits of ending prohibition and regulating and taxing marijuana.”

The petition will now be transmitted to the Massachusetts Legislature. If the legislature does not adopt the measure, initiative backers must collect 10,792 additional signatures in June 2016 to place the initiative on the November 2016 ballot.

The proposed initiative would:

· Allow adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow a limited number of marijuana plants in their homes, similar to home-brewing;

· Create a tightly regulated system of licensed marijuana retail outlets, cultivation facilities, product manufacturing facilities, and testing facilities, which would be overseen by a commission similar to the Alcohol Beverage Control Commission (ABCC);

· Provide local governments with the authority to regulate and limit the number of marijuana establishments in their city or town; and

Washington: Board To Increase Number Of Retail Marijuana Stores

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Board to increase the number of retail stores by from 334 to 556 "to ensure access by medical patients"

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Following an analysis of the entire marijuana marketplace in Washington state, the Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) on Wednesday heard a recommendation from staff to increase the number of retail marijuana stores from the current cap of 334 to a new cap of 556.

The methodology for the cap will be part of emergency rules which will be announced Jan. 6, 2016. The allocation of retail licenses determined by the board will be published on the WSLCB website at lcb.wa.gov.

Earlier this year the Washington Legislature enacted, and Gov. Jay Inslee signed, legislation (SSB 5052) ironically entitled the Cannabis Patient Protection Act (the Act dismantles the system of safe access which has existed for patients in the state for 17 years).

“Our goal was clear; to ensure medical patients have access to the products they need,” claimed WSLCB Director Rick Garza. “There will be more storefronts for patients going forward than are available today. In addition, qualified patients can grow their own or join a four-member cooperative,” Garza said.

Unsurprisingly, Garza didn't mention that the Board's original recommendations were to entirely eliminate home growing entirely. Garza also negelected to mention that the Board reduced the number of plants patients are allowed to grow from 15 to 6 (if on the state patient registry) or just 4 (for patients who opt not to be on the state registry).

Oregon: Retail Marijuana Rules Adopted; On Site Consumption Prohibited

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Marijuana stores will be prohibited from allowing on site consumption, and wouldn't be allowed to sell both recreational and medical marijuana under preliminary regulations approved Thursday by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.

More than 70 pages of rules were approved to govern Oregon's retail marijuana system once it is fully operational next year, reports Jonathan J. Cooper of the Associated Press. While medical marijuana dispensaries were allowed to begin selling to recreational customers 21 and older on October 1, they can do so only until January 1.

By 2017, all companies producing or selling recreational cannabis will be required to follow the OLCC's rules for health, safety, and security. The rules must be in place for Oregon to start accepting applications in January for licenses to operate marijuana businesses.

The rules will limit the size of growing operations to 10,000 square feet indoors, and 40,000 square feet outdoors. The rules are an attempt to control the amount of cannabis entering the legal market. "It's a really tough issue, and I don't think we have the data at this point," said OLCC Chairman Rob Partridge.

The OLCC also bans on site use of marijuana in stores. Employees with medical authorizations can do so in private, along and out of view, but they can't be "intoxicated," whatever that means.

Colorado: Marijuana Sales Top $100 Million In August

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Cannabis sales surpassed the $100 million mark in August for the first time ever in Colorado, according to recreational and medical marijuana sales data released on Friday by the state Department of Revenue.

Marijuana sales once again eclipsed the previous month's numbers, with recreational cannabis racking up $59.2 million in sales and medical marijuana getting $41.4 million, reports Elizabeth Hernandez at The Denver Post.

The combined $100.6 million in cannabis sales continues the 2015 trend of month-to-month record-setting.

"It means that $100 million is going to licensed, taxpaying businesses, creating jobs and helping to build new schools, instead of going to cartels and drug dealers -- as is the case in the 46 states that don't regulate marijuana," said Dan Riffle, director of federal polices for the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP).

Legal recreational cannabis sales began on January 1, 2014, in Colorado, which was the first state to launch a retail cannabis program. There were $46.4 million in total sales that month, with $14.7 million in recreational and $32.2 million in medicinal sales. August 2014 was the first month when recreational sales exceeded medical sales.

Colorado: Gas and Grass -- First Marijuana Gas Stations Ready To Open

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By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

The advent of recreational marijuana in Colorado has led to some interesting business models. Now a hybrid that combines a traditional filling station with a cannabis dispensary is set to open two locations in Colorado Springs.

Gas and Grass, operated by Denver-based Native Roots, will open its first two locations in Colorado Springs next month, one at West Uintah and 17th Street, the other at Academy and Galley, reports Andy Koen at KOAA.

"It's really just kind of pairing the convenience in one specific stop," said spokesperson Tia Mattson.

The dispensary will have its own separate entrance and must follow all the same rules that apply to other medical marijuana stores in Colorado, according to Mattson. The gas station will be open to the public.

"I believe we'll have lottery tickets, beverages, cigarettes and similar things that you would pickup in a convenience store," Mattson said.

Native Roots' 11 dispensaries and retail marijuana stores operate all over Colorado. The stores have a uniform look with merchandise and pricing structures in common, like most any other retail chain.

The stores, in addition to cannabis products, sell marijuana themed shirts, hats and souvenirs. The gas station idea simply expands the other-than-cannabis business concept, Mattson said.

Oregon: Marijuana Legalization Law Takes Effect July 1

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Adult Possession, Home Cultivation Permitted Immediately

Cultivation, Retail Businesses Expected to Open Fall 2016

By Steve Elliott
Hemp News

Measure 91, a voter-approved initiative legalizing marijuana in Oregon passed with 56 percent approval, takes effect July 1 and will immediately allow for adult possession and home cultivation. The law permits adults 21 and older to grow four plants (as long as they are out of public view) and keep eight ounces at home, and possess one ounce in public. Public consumption and sales will remain illegal.

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, the agency charged with regulating marijuana in the state, will begin to accept applications for cultivation, processing, testing, and retail business licenses starting January 4, 2016, and businesses are expected to be operational later the same year. More time was allotted to create specific regulations for concentrates to ensure the best possible public safety outcome, so these products will likely not be available immediately when stores open.

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