Can Government-approved Pot Beat Street Weed?

A key goal of legalizing recreational cannabis is squeezing out illegal suppliers. But how competitive will legal cannabis retail be against established black markets?

That’s a key question for federal and provincial politicians. Governments don’t like pot consumers funding organized crime.

That question may also interest investors. They’ve pushed up cannabis stock prices and created demand for four cannabis exchange-traded funds. Alcohol and tobacco companies have bought stakes in cannabis growers. Suppliers of hydroponic equipment and online retailing software could benefit too.

Price is the competitive element politicians mention most. In Colorado, cheap legal cannabis means black markets control only 20 percent of state sales. But in Washington state, where prices are higher, black markets capture 50 percent.

In Canada, governments agree cannabis prices must be competitive. They’ve suggested $10 per gram, including excise and sales taxes.

But Statistics Canada estimates market prices fell below $7.50 last year, and farther since then. Vancouver street prices reportedly are near $5. And street vendors don’t charge tax.

Read the full article at the National Post

Kush Bottles: Meet One of the Hottest Marijuana Stocks

Kush Bottles derives its revenue primarily from the sale of marijuana packaging and ancillary products like vaporizers, rather than the sale of marijuana. The company’s main customers are marijuana dispensaries and distributors, who purchase its products in bulk for retail sale. The company currently sells products in four major categories: bags, tubes, containers, and vaporizers.

According to commentary from a July 2017 presentation, Kush Bottles was selling more than one million pre-rolled tubes each month. The company has a patent on the child-resistant mechanism on its tubes, a potential point of differentiation in the marketplace, though there are currently several different types of child-resistant tubes competing for market share.

To expand its offerings and footprint, the company has completed three major acquisitions over its history.

1. Dank Bottles — Acquired on April 10, 2015, Dank Bottles was the exclusive distributor of Kush Bottles’ products in Colorado. Kush Bottles paid for the acquisition with $373,725 in cash and 3.5 million shares of stock.

2. CMP Wellness — Kush Bottles acquired CMP Wellness on May 1, 2017. CMP Wellness’ primary products are portable vaporizers, cartridges, and accessories. Kush Bottles paid for the acquisition with $2.3 million of cash and promissory notes, plus 7.8 million shares of restricted stock. The deal also included earn-outs of $1.9 million in cash and up to 4.74 million more shares of Kush Bottles to be paid out based on the company’s performance.

3. Roll-Uh-Bowl — On May 3, 2017, Kush Bottles acquired Roll-Uh-Bowl, which sells portable, silicone water pipes. Kush paid for the acquisition with $150,000 of cash and 200,000 shares of stock.

Continue Reading at The Motley Fool

Marijuana Sales Begin In San Francisco

Marijuana dispensaries in San Francisco have begun selling recreational pot for the first time, joining many other cities in California.

Six dispensaries confirmed Saturday that they’re selling recreational marijuana. They all received their state licenses to sell on Friday.

One of them, Apothecarium, held a ribbon-cutting ceremony with local politicians and even offered a 20% discount for people who brought their mothers.

Sales began nearly a week ago in other parts of the state including West Hollywood, Santa Ana, San Diego and Berkeley.

Los Angeles Times

Cannabis Is Now Legal in California

California has now joined a number of states changing their approach to marijuana, which marks exciting times for national drug reform. If you’re over the age of 21, it is now legal to grow up to six plants and possess up to an ounce (!) on your person.

While the state’s residents have already been celebrating the news, tracking down a spot to purchase your recreational weed may prove a little difficult in these early days.

However, this may not indicate the end of drug dealers pedaling marijuana, as taxes are expected to raise the retail cost of the pot up to 70 percent higher than the street price. Nonetheless, It’s a very, very happy new year for Californians.

Papermag

Mike Tyson Is Building a 40-Acre California Weed Resort

Mike Tyson has been a boxer, an actor, a monologuist, and an animated detective, but now it looks like the former heavyweight champion wants to take a bite out of California’s new legal weed game.

According to the Blast, Tyson and two business partners—Robert Hickman and Jay Strommen—have plans to build a massive “cannabis resort” on 40 acres of desert land in California City. The trio broke ground on the property back in December and are getting things rolling now that California has officially legalized marijuana.

It seems like the rest of the Mojave Desert land, though, will earn Tyson Ranch its “resort” title. The Beast reports that there will be “premium ‘glamping’ campgrounds and cabins” for people to stay in, an amphitheater for live music, and a factory for marijuana edibles.

The resort’s land isn’t far from Edwards Air Force Base, and the Blast reports that the ranch will be staffed mostly by veterans and will be committed to helping those in the armed forces, as CBD, a marijuana compound that won’t get you high, has been used to treat PTSD.

Read more at Vice

These States Are Likely To Legalize Marijuana In 2018

After four of five statewide marijuana legalization ballot initiatives were approved by voters in 2016, no additional states ended cannabis prohibition in 2017 (though New Hampshire did decriminalize possession of the drug and West Virginia allowed its medical use).

If marijuana policy advocates’ plans come to fruition in the new year, 2018 will bring about the first legalization laws passed by lawmakers; to date, all eight states to end cannabis prohibition did it through voter initiatives.

Here’s a look at the states that are most likely to enact marijuana reforms in 2018:

• Vermont
• New Jersey
• Michigan
• Oklahoma
• Utah
• Missouri
• Virginia

While Vermont and New Jersey are seen as most likely to pass marijuana legalization bills through their legislatures in 2018, advocates are also working to build momentum for bills to end prohibition in a number of other states next year. Among those are Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois and Rhode Island, any or all of which could potentially send legalization legislation to their governor’s desks in the coming months.

Forbes

Province of Ontario Demands To Halt Weed Store Placement

During a special meeting of council on Dec. 15 ahead of the presentation of the city’s 2018 operating budget, the mayor delivered a motion that requests the province back off on naming certain cities as potential homes for these LCBO-like, weed selling stores before the municipalities themselves have had the opportunity to consult with their residents and figure out proper zoning for these stores.

As the province has previously shared, the sale of the drug will be done through a storage system similar to and managed by, the LCBO. As of now, the province’s booze distributor is in the process of meeting with municipalities that have been identified to be future homes for these cannabis stores.

According to Mayor Henry, he met with officials from the LCBO, Municipal Affairs, and the Attorney General’s Office ahead of the regional council meeting on Dec. 13 to discuss the potential location, along with other questions the city has raised pertaining to the issue of legalization.

The Oshawa mayor has also previously raised concerns about the impacts on people’s health and wellbeing who live in apartments with shared ventilation systems, or how people smoking weed in their backyards will impact those around them who may choose not to smoke.

“There are far too many unanswered questions,” said Councillor Nester Pidwerbecki. “We need a lot of these questions that are asked in this motion to be answered before we can move forward.”

Read the full article at The Oshawa Express

Marijuana Activists: Oregon Can Lead Nation in Cannabis Industry

ASHLAND, Ore. — Marijuana businesses gathered Sunday at the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference to share new ideas and knowledge about the fast-growing industry and network.

Cannabis industry leaders and activists believe Oregon has the potential to show the rest of the United States what marijuana can do for the economy. Some even say the cannabis industry can become Oregon’s new timber industry if the state is able to break down marijuana’s stigma.

Although recreational marijuana is legal in Arizona, Arizona native Wes Parks moved to Oregon to start his pot farm.

Leaders at the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference Agree and say Oregon is on the brink of leading the nation in the cannabis industry. Rogers said it’s rapidly growing throughout the US. In the last five years, nine states have legalized recreational marijuana.

“We were legalized before a lot of other states are so this gives us not only advantage to tourism or whatever but this also gives us a competitive advantage in the industry all around as other states begin to follow suit,” Rogers said.

Marijuana activist said in order for Oregon to take on that lead, marijuana needs to be federally legal.

Read the full article at KDRV.COM

Medical Marijuana: Shore Medical Community Slow To Embrace It

Dr. Mitchell Gittelman can’t say whether medical marijuana will help any of his patients.

But he can’t say it won’t help them either.

“I think since you’re not going to die from cannabis,” the Salisbury physician said, “it’s reasonable to give people a chance to try it.”

The Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission records list a total of 520 eligible medical providers statewide.

“There will probably be pockets of Maryland that are disadvantaged,” Ransom said.

He suspects the number of doctors actively seeing patients is much lower than 520, noting that several on the list are medical directors affiliated with marijuana businesses.

Some fits and starts are to be expected even after the drug becomes available, said Patrick Jameson, executive director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission.

Read the full article at Delmarva Now

Is Marijuana In Candy A Real Concern This Halloween?

Before you send your kids out for Halloween, warn them about the dangers they could encounter. Wear reflective clothing, carry a flashlight, look both ways before crossing the street and it is never a good idea to go into someone’s house.

The other concern this year is to be on the lookout for people slipping kids marijuana-laced candy. It is always a good idea to remind your kids to have an adult inspect all candy before eating it.

“You probably can’t tell the difference between medicated gummy bears and the regular ones if you put them side by side,” said Encanto Greens owner Bill Brothers.

All the edibles sold at his store are manufactured someone else and sold locally. The packaging does list marijuana on it but it is often small and the box or wrapping looks like a candy wrapper.

“I think there is an opportunity to improve the labeling of medical marijuana, especially in edibles,” said Brothers.

But is there a significant physical danger if your child were to ingest marijuana found in cookies or gummy bears?

Experts warn parents and kids to never accept treats that don’t come in the original wrapping and always wait to get home and inspect the candy or sweets before eating it.

Full article at 10 News

Maine Lawmakers To Debate Sale Of Marijuana

AUGUSTA (WGME) – Maine voters approved recreational marijuana nearly a year ago, but there is still no market set up in the state.

The marijuana debate has yet to happen in the house or senate, but what we do know is Governor LePage and House Republicans seem to be ready to delay the sale of recreational marijuana in Maine.

Portland Senator Mark Dion says the marijuana legalization implementation committee he serves on worked for eight months on a bill that allows for the safe, regulated, taxed and legal sale of marijuana in Maine, which Maine voters approved.

But House Republican Leader Ken Fredette says the bill passed out of committee is far from ready. That’s why he is presenting a governor’s bill to delay the regulated sale of marijuana in Maine.

“There needs to be rulemaking done as part of passing this bill,” Fredette said. “And that rulemaking, in my opinion, is not going to be done anywhere near Feb. 1, 2018.”

The Republican chair of the Marijuana Legalization Committee says there is no need for a delay.

Read more at WGME

Greek Official Calls For Marijuana Legalization

On Greek TV, a Greek official calls for marijuana legalization for recreational purposes. The official in question is Yiannis Tsironis. He’s the Deputy Minister for Agriculture, originating from Greece’s Green Party. Yeah, we figured as much.

The Green in Green

Like many other countries, our own included, Greek federal policy outlaws cannabis.

Despite the country’s history of producing hashish, authorities officially criminalized the plant in 1890. Although the cultivation and possession of hashish were illegal, Greek citizens continued to use it. Particularly after the first World War.

This year, the Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes, thus becoming the latest European country to implement a nation-wide medical marijuana program. At the moment, weed is still illegal for recreational purposes.

But will it always be?

Continue Reading at High Times

State To Miss Deadline For Marijuana Licenses

TALLAHASSEE — Health officials won’t be able to meet a legislatively mandated Tuesday deadline to hand out five new medical-marijuana licenses, the head of the state’s Office of Medical Marijuana Use said Friday.

The law called for an overall increase of 10 licenses, some of which have already been awarded, by Oct. 3. It also specified that one license goes to a black farmer who had been part of settled lawsuits about discrimination by the federal government against black farmers.

In a letter to legislative leaders signed Friday, Bax wrote that his office has “worked diligently to implement” the new law, but that the issuance of five new medical marijuana licenses by Tuesday posed an “extraordinarily challenging deadline.”

Bax pointed out that 13 administrative challenges were filed after the agency issued the first medical-marijuana licenses in 2015. The agency is still in litigation over two of the challenges, he said.

The upcoming licenses will be the first time the state has opened the application process to businesses that did not participate in the first selection process in 2015, creating intense interest in what could be one of the biggest medical-marijuana markets in the nation.

Read more at Newsherald

Why Is Weed Getting More Potent?

The feds began monitoring the potency of the nation’s pot supply in the ‘70s by drawing samples from stashes seized by law enforcement, and boy was it schwag. The percentage of THC—the main psychoactive component in cannabis—averaged from less than 1% in 1975 to just under 3% a decade later, according to the data.

These notoriously low levels reflected the times, as the weed subculture in America was just starting to take root and could help explain why some of the most memorable old school brands have names like Acapulco Gold, Panama Red, Afghani, Thai stick, and Jamaican sensi; they were all originally cultivated outside of the country.

Now, as some critics have pointed out, it’s impossible to empirically confirm how strong domestically grown pot was back in the day due to inferior testing and sampling methods, however, there does seem to be enough prevailing research, firsthand testimony, and common sense to show that the illicit reefer from decades ago wasn’t nearly as powerful as today’s.

A recent federal study found that “the potency of illicit cannabis plant material has consistently risen over time since 1995 from approximately 4% in 1995 to approximately 12% in 2014.” This marked increase represents a shift when smokers began to pivot from dirt to mid-grade and hydro. In one standout bust from 2009, the DEA nabbed some sticky-icky that scored an impressive 33.12%, the highest concentration of THC the agency has ever seen in a domestic sample of weed.

Continue Reading at Gizmodo

How Weed Affects Women Differently Than Men

Everyone’s endocannabinoid system is different, and therefore everyone responds to weed differently. In fact, according to recent research, estrogen might make you more sensitive to the effects of cannabis.

A study from Washington State University found that women are most receptive to the effects of THC when their estrogen has peaked and is on the descent, which happens about a day or two before ovulation.

“What we’re finding with THC is that you get a very clear spike in drug sensitivity right when the females are ovulating, right when their estrogen levels have peaked and are coming down,” says lead researcher Rebecca Craft.

Other research has shown that women also tend to experience an increased libido from cannabis more so than men do. If a heterosexual couple is going to use cannabis to enhance sex, it’s best for the man to stop smoking about half an hour beforehand and for the women to keep on smoking. However, increased libido only works for moderate amounts of cannabis. If the dose is too high, the consumer might get too tired.

According to the study from Washington State University, increased appetite is a side effect of cannabis more likely to be found in men than in women.

Read the full article at Jane Street

Big Weed Will Capitalize On Cannabis At Any Cost To Society

Cigarettes are good for your health. There’s no such thing as global warming, so keep on burning coal. Benzodiazepines like Valium are a godsend — “mother’s little helper.” “Anything’s possible when you learn to handle Smirnoff.” These are some of the vintage ads and canards that we look back upon today with wonder.

What’s stupid is our collective amnesia about what happens in a democracy when a forbidden fruit hits the market: namely, capitalism at its worst. The response of capitalism to legalized cannabis will be to capitalize, as is its nature. To imagine that there will be no Big Weed akin to Big Tobacco is stupid. Consolidation is assured, and Big Weed will be run by executives from the other Big Bad Wolves.

The health benefits of “medical marijuana” will one day be equated with the disservice done by a generation of doctors who overprescribed opiates and benzos, the previous generation of doctors being suckered into smoking and recommending Camel cigarettes as good for you.

Read more at The Star

Why Michigan’s Marijuana Regulators Want to Shut the Pot Industry Down

Michigan’s medical marijuana industry has had a licensing authority—in this case, the Michigan Medical Marijuana Licensing Board—for less than three months. It took two meetings before the licensing board, in charge of overseeing and regulating the state’s cannabis landscape, suggested shutting it all down.

Medical marijuana has been legal in Michigan since 2008. Under state law, a caregiver is allowed to cultivate up to 72 marijuana plants—no more than 12 plants for no more than six patients.

Retail outlets offering cannabis in Michigan are technically illegal—and will be until the state starts issuing licenses, a development expected to come as soon as later this year—yet dispensaries have been operating with varying levels of transparency in select cities for years.

In Detroit, there are more than 70 dispensaries offering marijuana for sale that has completed or at least started the city licensing process, according to the Detroit Free Press.

“Every dispensary out there is open in violation of the Michigan Medical Marijuana Act,” Bailey said during a recent board meeting, according to the Detroit Free Press. “It’s a felony for every sale that occurs from a dispensary.”

Continue Reading at High Times

Is Marijuana Worse Than Tobacco For Cardiovascular Health?

If you consume cannabis, you are three times more likely to die from high blood pressure than those who abstain, according to a shocking new study. What does this mean to your cardiovascular health?

The study, published on Tuesday in the European Journal of Preventive Cardiology, found:

“Compared with subjects who had never used marijuana, the results revealed that marijuana users were 3.42 times more likely to die from high blood pressure. For each year of marijuana use, the risk of death from hypertension increased by 1.04 times.”

“We found higher estimated cardiovascular risks associated with marijuana use than cigarette smoking,” said study author Barbara A. Yankey from Georgia State University. “This indicates that marijuana use may carry even heavier consequences on the cardiovascular system than that already established for cigarette smoking.”

The study’s methodology has been questioned by other cannabis researchers. One significant shortcoming in the study is that the researchers did not control for diet and exercise as a factor in cardiovascular risk. It also did not assess whether test subjects ate, vaporized or smoked cannabis.

Read the full article at The Fresh Toast

Maine Panel Mulls Doubling 10% Tax on Cannabis

In November, legalization of recreational marijuana was approved. Possession of recreational marijuana became legal this year, while the Legislature pushed back the legalization until at least February.

The referendum included licensing fees as well as a 10 percent tax on sales by retail marijuana stores and social clubs.

“I think we’ll definitely be increasing (the tax) to some level,” said Democratic Rep. Teresa Pierce, co-chair of the Legislature’s joint marijuana legalization implementation committee.

Meanwhile, medical marijuana dispensaries and advocacy groups so far this year have reported spending more than $265,000 on lobbyists to sway officials. Legalize Maine has reported spending $32,000, while Maine Professionals for Regulating Marijuana has reported spending nearly $85,000.

The regulations will govern issues from the use of pesticides to grow for personal consumption, and the Legislature faces further votes on a bill to set up a system of labs to test marijuana. Pierce said that overall, the idea is to learn from states like Colorado.

Read the full article at Leafly

New ‘Cannabis Oil’ Named After Billy Caldwell

A CO Tyrone boy who became the first person to be prescribed medical cannabis on the NHS is to be the face of a new brand of oil derived from the marijuana plant.

Billy Caldwell (11), from Castlederg, made history earlier this year he was prescribed oil containing CBD – an extract from cannabis – to help with life-threatening epilepsy that caused him to suffer up to 100 seizures a day.

Now a medical cannabis firm, 710 Holdings MME, is launching ‘Billy’s Bud’ CBD oil, a product inspired by Billy’s bravery.

His mother Charlotte told the Irish News that she hoped the oil would help other families benefit from medical cannabis.

“We are overwhelmed with this, and the oil will be available all over the US, Ireland, the UK, and Europe,” she said.

The Irish News