• Canna Blog

Marijuana Legalization What it means for California and Other States
by Mrd 

Recreational cannabis cultivation, sales and use are the premise of Amendment 64. California voters will have the power and authority to follow the lead set by 1,383,139 Colorado voters on NoMvember 6, 2012, who voted yes to legalize cannabis.  A 52% favorable vote which has already had great impact on the industry forcing systems, rules and regulations into place. 

 It's reported that California's legalization of recreational marijuana would bank $1 billion in additional taxes per year.  Colorado collected more than $135 million in legal cannabis taxes and fees in 2015. If you compare the market size and tremendous growth in consumer purchases, $1 billion just may be a bit little low.

 On November 8, 2016, nearly 40 million California voters can flex their patriotic right to approve Amendment 64 which would legalize recreational sales to those age 21 and over.  Online consensus shows a strong positive movement toward legalization.

 Other states prepare to address many of the same issues and cultural norms within their communities when it comes to legalization.  Fortunately, in this country, voters have the power to make a difference and change old paradigms that no longer fit, ethically, morally or scientifically when there is greater benefit to all.

 If the population is educated with unbiased, un-agendaed, facts, with the number one understanding that in practise cannabis assists in relieving pain in the human body.  It is a plant that has a great impact on health, and obviously finances.

 Every state where medical marijuana is legal, you can expect recreational pot to follow.  There's an old saying, "Follow the money" and in this paradigm, it's growing out of the ground.

 Overall, legal marijuana in California, Colorado and every state that is forward thinking will have its impact.  Communities from coast to coast will begin to notice a much more positive vibe in their hoods as the populus begins to RELAX, and exhale from life's roller coaster ride.

 There will be less alcohol incidents, less fighting, less arguing and much more creativity flowing between neighbors.  Entrepreneurially speaking, the cannabis industry has already opened the door for those with the desire to become financially independant.  The cannabis industry has opened new avenues for job creation and for educational institutions who must teach the new industry employees.

 The scope of cannabis legalization is well beyond current comprehension.  It's like looking up at the sky and considering everyone is here on a single planet flying through space at an unheard of speed, hanging on the tip of a galaxy, surrounded by an infinite number of galaxies all in sync doing their own thing as we individually try to get a clue as to what's for dinner tonight.

 

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Federal Court Rules in Favor of Cannabis Church by Melanie Marquis

In a federal court ruling on December 7th, the Healing Church of Rhode Island won its legal right to use and distribute cannabis as part of its religious ceremonies. Founded on the belief that cannabis is a healing agent and holy sacrament mentioned throughout the original Hebrew biblical texts as a plant known as “KNH BSM,” the Healing Church uses cannabis for anointing, healing, and offerings. Monday's ruling was only a partial victory for the church, however, as federal court Judge Mary Lisi upheld the group's rights to consume and share cannabis with its congregation, but stopped short of granting the church permission to perform their cannabis ceremonies on federal lands. The battle has largely centered around a well located at the Roger Williams National Memorial in Providence, Rhode Island, a place the Healing Church believes is religiously significant, and a place which also happens to be a part of the National Parks system. Referencing their belief in the location as the birthplace of religious freedom as well as a sacred site linked to the resurgence of the “holy KNH BSM”--a.k.a. “biblical cannabis”--the group applied for a permit and federal injunction in May of this year to be allowed to hold a cannabis ceremony at the memorial. While their permit to conduct the ceremony was approved, the injunction to burn cannabis offerings as part of the religious ritual was denied. The group held their services anyway and faced fines, confiscation of various religious artifacts, and alleged harassment of church members.

Undeterred, church leaders filed an affidavit with the federal courts asking for their Constitutional rights to freely practice their religion to be permanently secured and upheld, including their right to conduct religious ceremonies with cannabis at the Roger Williams National Memorial. While the church can now use cannabis at private locations of worship without fear of legal consequences, Judge Lisi ruled that the group could not conduct their cannabis rites at the Roger Williams National Memorial well until they are able to fully demonstrate to the court's satisfaction the particular importance of practicing these ceremonies at the specific site in question. The Healing Church is planning to file an appeal.

 

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Where the 2016 Presidential Candidates Stand on Marijuana Legalization.

By Melanie Marquis

If you own a cannabis-based business or work in the recreational marijuana industry, there's a big reason besides politics to start paying attention to the 2016 Presidential race. Depending on who gets elected and how much our new President's influence is able to sway the direction of U.S. Policy, your very livelihood could be at stake. While it's never clear what a candidate's actual policies will be once they get into office, the things they've said in the past can indeed provide strong indications.

The Marijuana Policy Project website provides an evaluation of such indications, and their ratings provide cause for alarm. Only one viable candidate received a grade “A” on their policy regarding legalized marijuana—Bernie Sanders. Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton scored a “B,” Donald Trump a mediocre “C+,” and Marco Rubio an even lower grade of “D.”

To help you evaluate these candidates for yourself, we've compiled a sampling of relevant quotes from these politicians and their campaigns. Take a look, and if anything concerns you, be sure to do further research so that you can be sure to know who (and for what) you are voting for.

Marco Rubio: If one thing positive can be said about Marco Rubio's position on legal cannabis, it's that at least he makes his stance on the issue very clear. When he was a guest on the Hugh Hewitt Radio Show in February 2015, he was asked if he would enforce federal law and shut down the legal recreational marijuana industry in Colorado. Rubio responded, “Yes. Yes, I think, well, I think we need to enforce our federal laws. Now do states have a right to do what they want? They don't agree with it, but they have their rights. But they don't have a right to write federal policy as well.” He goes on to explain, “I don't believe we should be in the business of legalizing additional intoxicants in this country for the primary reason that when you legalize something, what you're sending a message to young people is it can't be that bad, because if it was that bad, it wouldn't be legal.” He reiterated that view at a Meet the Press conference in August of 2015, when he was asked if he would enforce federal law in states where cannabis legal. Rubio responded, “Absolutely. I believe that the federal government needs to enforce federal law.” Earlier this year, Rubio was quoted in the Washington Times as saying, “There is no responsible way to smoke marijuana repeatedly. There's nothing good about it.”

Donald Trump:  Trump's position, however, seems to change with the times. Way back in 1990, he favored the legalization of all drugs, calling the War on Drugs a failure. But when asked at a conference last June how he felt about Colorado's legalization of cannabis, Trump stated, “I say it's bad. Medical marijuana is another thing, but I think it's bad, and I feel strongly about it.” At an event just a few months later in October, Trump had this to say: “Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen—right? Don't we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states.” He then went on to mention Colorado specifically, saying, “And of course you have Colorado. And I love Colorado and the people are great, but there's a question as to how it's all working out there, you know? That's not going exactly trouble-free. So I really think that we should study Colorado, see what's happening.”

Hillary Clinton: Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton seems generally positive about marijuana legalization at the state level, but seems hesitant to take an official position one way or another. In 2015, Clinton aired her support for legalization in Colorado, saying, “I really believe it’s important that states like Colorado lead the way, so that we can learn what works and what doesn’t work. And I would certainly not want the federal government to interfere with the legal decision made by the people of Colorado, and enforced by your elected officials, as to how you should be conducting this business that you have approved.” As a guest on WBZ Radio in January 2016, Clinton was asked about her stance on marijuana legalization and replied, “I think that states are the laboratories of democracy, and four states have already taken action to legalize, and it will be important that other states and the federal government take account of how that’s being done, what we learn from what they’re doing. I think that the states moving forward is appropriate and I think the federal government has to move to make this more available for research that they can then distribute to interested people across our country.” She went on to explain, “I do think on the federal level we need to remove marijuana from the Schedule I of drugs, move it to Schedule II, which will permit it to be the basis for medical research because it’s important that we learn as much as possible.”

Bernie Sanders: Bernie Sanders is the only candidate so far to take a clear and undeniable stance in favor of federal marijuana legalization. As a senator, Sanders introduced legislation in November 2015 that would result in marijuana being removed from the federal list of controlled substances, and allow states the power to regulate and tax marijuana if they have the desire to do so. Under Sanders's plan, cannabis-based businesses would also be ensured fair and non-discriminatory access to banking services and standard tax deductions just like any other business. According to the Bernie Sanders campaign website, “Bernie favors removing marijuana from the list of controlled substances regulated by federal law. Under Bernie’s proposal, people in states which legalize marijuana no longer would be subject to federal prosecution for using pot. Owners of stores that sell marijuana could fully participate in the banking system, like any other business.” Sanders also seems to favor reforming the way marijuana cases are handled in America's justice system, stating, “Someone in the United States is arrested every minute on marijuana charges. Too many Americans have seen their lives destroyed because they have criminal records as a result of marijuana use. That’s wrong. That has got to change.”

Why it Matters:

Currently, federal laws against marijuana cause complications for many cannabis-based business entrepreneurs in states where commercial cannabis is legal, and the federal classification of marijuana as a schedule 1 controlled substance prevents hemp production and manufacturing from being economically viable under present law. Meanwhile, more and more states are seeing voter-led ballot initiatives to make recreational cannabis legal, and states like Colorado where it is already legal are experiencing the benefits of massive profit. Whoever wins the next Presidential election will likely hold heavy sway on determining which way the tide will turn.

Sources:

Marijuana Policy Project, “Where Do they Stand on Marijuana Policy,” Marijuana Policy Project, accessed March 11, 2016, https://www.mpp.org/2016-presidential-candidates/

“Trump Softens Position on Marijuana Legalization,” by Jenna Johnson, The Washington Post online, October 29, 2015, accessed March 11, 2016, https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2015/10/29/trump-wants-marijuana-legalization-decided-at-the-state-level/

 

Countinue Reading

If successful, the California Craft Cannabis Initiative could lead to better quality cannabis in California and beyond. Drafted by lawyers Heather Burke and Omar Figueroa, the initiative is one of a large handful of recreational marijuana legalization measures vying to make it onto the November 2016 statewide ballot. In addition to retroactively legalizing the use, cultivation, possession, transportation, processing, distribution, and sale of marijuana by persons 21 years of age and older, the initiative would establish a seed bank dedicated to the preservation and development of cannabis strains, and would also provide incentives to encourage small-scale growers to produce top-quality weed. We've all heard of craft beers, but have you ever heard of craft cannabis? The concept is the same whether we're talking beer or buds. Small-scale, focused production allows artisans the opportunity to create unique, unusual, or specialty products of often exceptional quality. If California's Craft Cannabis Initiative passes, craft cannabis growers could actually register and trademark their buds. For instance, their would likely be regional designations such as “Humboldt County” or “Emerald Triangle,” as well as certified strains.

What this would mean for the average California cannabis consumer is that what you pay for is what you get, at least when purchasing a certified or trademark-registered product. Seems like a simple enough consumer expectation, but this isn't always the case in legal recreational cannabis states like Colorado, Oregon, and Washington where strains are often misnamed, ill grown, and poorly preserved in the mass-production frenzy of trying to meet an ever-rising demand. No means for certifying any particular strains of marijuana exist in these states, which basically results in anyone being able to call their buds anything they like and sell them under any name they choose, and consumers having nothing other than their own eyes, nose, and knowledge of cannabis to help them tell the difference. That Lemon Haze might be Lemon Haze, or it might not. That “rare” strain whose name you've never heard of before could be good old Blue Dream with a fancy new alias. If the initiative in California passes and other states decide to adopt their own certification mechanisms, consumers would be able to tell exactly what they were getting, and growers would have an incentive to protect their strains and develop them to their fullest potential.

The California Craft Cannabis Initiative would also provide an opportunity for growers to have their crops certified organic. This is something none of the legal marijuana states currently offer, which again leaves the consumer with little but their own judgment and the shopkeeper's word to go on when hoping to purchase organically-grown cannabis. As it stands, much of the marijuana sold at dispensaries is coated with pesticides and often contains fungus or heavy metals. It might say “organic,” but there isn't really any way of knowing whether or not it actually is. The California Craft Cannabis Initiative would make it possible for consumers to choose products that are certified organic, which could encourage other legal weed states to follow suit.

The initiative also calls for the establishment of the California Cannabis Genetic Repository. The repository would collect germplasm from all known cannabis strains, carefully preserving and documenting the biodiversity of the cannabis genus. Researchers and others wishing to study the cannabis plant would have free access to the repository, which could lead to the development of strains with higher potency, new hybrids, and more. As the nation's herb supply continues to be flooded with mislabeled or wrongly identified strains, preserving the genetics of specific cannabis strains becomes increasingly important not just for California, but for the world. The sponsors of the California Craft Cannabis Initiative have until December 21st to collect the 365,880 signatures required to get the measure placed on next November's ballot. There are at least ten other recreational cannabis legalization initiatives that are in the process of meeting requirements to make it on the ballot, as well. For more information including the full text of the California Craft Cannabis Initiative, visit www.californiacannabis2016.com .

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