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A look inside this year’s adult-use legalization campaigns

10/28/20--Activists working on measures in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota discussed voter education, COVID, legal challenges and more during the NORML 2020 Conference. Read

Editorial: Troubling lessons learned from legalization

10/1/20--As expressed by The Gazette editorial board, Colorado’s experiment with legal recreational marijuana — authorized by voters in 2012, with the first storefronts opening in 2014 — continues to charge ahead amid mixed results. Yet, at the same time, the question of whether the costs outweigh the presumed benefits continues to nag — at policy makers, even if many don’t care to admit it — as well as at the public at large. Read

Vermont becomes eleventh state to legalize adult-dose marijuana sales

10/8/20--Republican Governor Phil Scott today announced that he would permit legislation, Senate Bill 54, to become law establishing rules and regulations overseeing the commercial production and retail sale of marijuana to adults. The measure will become law absent the Governor’s signature. Read

Three Colorado localities voting on recreational marijuana in November election

10/13/20--Three localities in Colorado will vote on whether to allow recreational marijuana sales in their jurisdictions in November. For years, Littleton, Lakewood and Buena Vista have allowed medical cannabis to be sold. But the jurisdictions have blocked retail marijuana from being sold. Read

Sacramento increasing number of storefront dispensaries for the first time in 11 years

10/14/20--Ten new storefront cannabis dispensaries will be allowed to open in the city of Sacramento, after a unanimous vote by the Sacramento City Council on Tuesday night. Read

EDITORIAL: Troubling lessons learned from legalization

9/28/20--The national organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana, or SAM, has been assessing and chronicling the collateral damage in Colorado and across the country. Today, SAM released its fourth annual “Lessons Learned” report, a comprehensive review of the wide-ranging effects of legalization in states where it has been tried. As with previous years’ assessments by SAM, the Colorado-specific data is eye-opening and troubling. Read

Tell your representative to oppose the MORE Act

9/1/20--Big Pot is pushing hard for Congress to hold a full vote on the MORE Act, a bill to federally legalize and commercialize marijuana under the auspices of social justice. Read

This is California Cannabis

9/1/20--"This is California Cannabis" is designed to promote the state's legal cannabis cultivation market and raise awareness of the support and guidance offered to licensed cannabis growers by CalCannabis Cultivation Licensing, a division of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. Read

With 7 dead, large-scale California marijuana operation is tied to organized crime

9/9/20--An illegal marijuana growing operation where seven people were fatally shot in a small, rural Southern California town had the markings of organized crime, authorities said Tuesday. Seemingly, on the property, marijuana was processed to honey oil, a highly potent concentrate made by extracting the high-inducing chemical THC from cannabis. Read

7 deaths tied to illegal grow operation shake rural Riverside County community

9/28/20--According to authorities, the shooting deaths of seven people was one of many illegal marijuana growing operations in Aguanga in Riverside County where residents say they seem to thrive despite numerous raids by sheriff’s deputies. Read

Effects of Marijuana Legalization on Law Enforcement and Crime: Final Report

7/31/20--Effects of Marijuana Legalization on Law Enforcement and Crime: Final Report is comprised of constructed case study profiles and assessed qualitative (focus groups, interviews) and quantitative (Uniform Crime Reporting Program or UCR, calls for service records, and body/dash camera footage) data regarding how police practices and strategies, and crime itself, have been affected by legalization in Washington, and how that watershed decision in Washington has changed policing in adjacent border areas. Read

Clark County, Nev., allows cannabis dispensaries to create drive-thrus

8/20/20--Clark County, Nev., has approved a new zoning ordinance that allows cannabis dispensaries to create drive-thrus, according to a local KSNV report. The change will take effect Sept. 3 and apply to both medical and adult-use retailers. Read

Tell your representative to oppose the MORE Act

9/1/20--Big Pot is pushing hard for Congress to hold a full vote on the MORE Act, a bill to federally legalize and commercialize marijuana under the auspices of social justice. SAM is urging the public to tell representatives in Congress that moving the MORE Act is unacceptable. Read

Office of Marijuana Policy unveils new details on planned launch of adult use marijuana in Maine

8/14/20--Today, the Office of Marijuana Policy, a part of the Maine Department of Administrative and Financial Services, unveiled plans for the issuance of Maine’s first active licenses for adult use marijuana establishments. The Office intends to issue the first active licenses to recreational cannabis businesses on Tuesday, September 8, 2020. Retail sales of adult use marijuana to consumers 21 years of age or older will be permitted starting on Friday, October 9, 2020. Read

Canada marijuana dispensary count tops 1,000 for the first time

7/18/20--In less than two years after the country legalized recreational cannabis, Canada has reached an important milestone. According to a report in BNN Bloomberg, the country's dispensary count crossed the 1,000 mark as of July 17, landing at 1,010. Read

Report: Pot arrests still fall heavily on Hispanics, Blacks

7/16/20--Although the number of felony marijuana arrests in California continued to decline in 2019 in the age of legalization, another trend remained unchanged: those arrests fell disproportionately on Hispanics and Blacks, state data showed. According to a breakdown of demographic data, Hispanics accounted for nearly 42% of those arrests, followed by Blacks, at 22%, with whites at 21%. Other groups accounted for the remainder. Read

Las Vegas trial ‘world war weed’ begins despite pandemic

7/17/20--Some of Nevada’s most high-profile attorneys launched into opening statements Friday during a trial over marijuana dispensary licenses that could take months or come to a screeching halt within days. The lawsuit filed by companies that accused state tax officials of failing to disclose how they picked 61 winners from a pool of 462 applicants for new pot shops in late 2018 has worked its way through the court system for more than a year with those conditional licenses on hold. Read

Advocates file petition challenging Portland’s cap on marijuana stores

7/17/20--A group of marijuana advocates in Portland filed a petition Friday that seeks to remove the 20-store cap on the number of marijuana retail shops allowed under the local marijuana ordinance approved this spring. The group wants to put the question to a referendum vote in November. The petition also seeks to shrink the minimum buffer between marijuana shops from 250 feet to 100 feet. Read

Mass. marijuana regulators fine Acreage Holdings $250,000 for attempting to exceed license cap

7/9/20--National marijuana operator Acreage Holdings has agreed to pay Massachusetts $250,000 to resolve charges that it attempted to control more dispensaries than allowed by law. With Acreage already pursuing several dispensary licenses through its directly owned Botanist subsidiary, regulators said, the management deals threatened to put the conglomerate in control of five or more marijuana retailers — well over the legal maximum of three. Read

Grand Jury blasts Santa Barbara supervisors on cannabis ordinance

7/1/20--A Grand Jury report released Monday blasted the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors for its mismanagement of the county’s cannabis production, for dismissing public input, ignoring major environmental impacts, and allowing excessive production, among other criticisms. Read

2,735 Sonoma County marijuana convictions will be dismissed through “Clear My Record” application program

6/26/20--Sonoma County District Attorney Jill Ravitch announced today that 2,735 Sonoma County marijuana convictions will be dismissed as part of a program initiated by her office with the assistance of the “Clear My Record” application, a state-wide software application that allows District Attorneys to securely and accurately evaluate eligibility for Proposition 64 relief by reading and interpreting criminal history data from the California Department of Justice. Read

Assessment of Incorporation of Lessons from Tobacco Control in City and County Laws Regulating Legal Marijuana in California

6/19/20--The aim of this cross-sectional study is to assess the extent to which potential best practices, including those from tobacco control, were incorporated into state and local marijuana policies in California. Results indicate that all 539 California cities and counties found that jurisdictions differed widely in how they regulated marijuana and that key public health recommendations and lessons from tobacco control have generally not been adopted, although local innovation is emerging. Read

Cannabis in Michigan: New report documents trends before recreational legalization

6/4/20--This report documents everything from who’s using cannabis in the state of Michigan for medical and recreational purposes, to downstream effects including motor vehicle crashes, emergency department visits and criminal justice cases. It aims to provide a baseline for future studies on the impact of state-level recreational cannabis legalization that occurred in late 2018, and to inform future policies and public health messaging. The report also includes a wide range of findings compiled from original research and official sources. Read

Denver’s marijuana businesses lack diversity in ownership and employment, city study finds

6/8/20--The majority of Denver’s cannabis-focused businesses are owned and staffed by white residents, leading to a lack of opportunities for people of color to get involved in the industry, according to a city study released Monday. According to Denver’s Cannabis Business and Employment Opportunity Study, 74.6% of owners of licensed cannabis businesses within city and county limits are white, as are 68% of employees. Read

Oregon cannabis sales hit record high during pandemic

6/5/20--Oregonians bought a record-setting amount of cannabis last month, according to new numbers from the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. Cannabis sales in May increased 60% compared to the same time last year. TJ Sheehy, with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, said that for the first time ever, sales were over $100 million in one month. Read

Fire, explosion at Los Angeles marijuana-oil business injures 11 firefighters

5/17/20--An explosion Saturday at a hash oil manufacturer in downtown Los Angeles injured 11 firefighters who had gone inside the building after an initial report of a fire and then had to run for their lives when a ball of flames shot out the building and scorched a fire truck across the street. Read

Marijuana Laws, Rules, and Regulations

5/18/20--The Denver Department of Excise and Licenses has formed a Marijuana Licensing Work Group (MLWG) to gather community input regarding the new marijuana licenses created by the State of Colorado in 2019, Denver’s Cannabis Equity Program, and the City’s 2020 Marijuana Workplan. Read

Unlicensed marijuana delivery’s bold, bizarre existence in Denver

4/29/20--Even if you're not looking for a weed delivery service, it might find you, and dealing with any such businesses is risky, according to Denver Police Department Lieutenant Andrew Howard, who leads the DPD's vice and drug control unit. The risks that a would-be customer faces range from being robbed to getting scammed to breaking the law. Read

132 pounds of marijuana found in Wisconsin man’s car, Oregon police say

4/29/20--Oregon state troopers found 132 pounds of marijuana in a 52-year-old Bryant Oglen's car. Troopers said they noticed something was amiss and searched his car and discovered dozens of vacuum-packed bags of marijuana inside two duffle bags, police said. The discovery led to the illegal export citation, and Oglen was eventually released. Read

Coding and cannabis: Santa Clara County to expunge thousands of marijuana convictions

4/30/20--Santa Clara County plans to expunge 13,000 minor marijuana convictions that were rendered moot by the state’s 2016 legalization of recreational pot use and sales, two months before a deadline set by the landmark law. Read

Update: KCSO identifies body found in Shafter residence with marijuana extraction lab inside

4/29/20--The body of a deceased man was found yesterday inside a residence that had an industrial-sized marijuana extraction lab in it, police say. Occupants in the residence were detained as officers conducted a search of the residence, the Shafter Police Department said. Read

County invests over $2 million in cannabis businesses

5/1/20--Mendocino County announced April 20 an award of more than $2 million dollars from the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development. Read

Denver auditor explains why he called out city’s marijuana tax use

5/1/20--In 2016, Denver Auditor Timothy O'Brien released a report calling for more transparency and efficiency in how the City of Denver spends cannabis tax revenue. Four years later, O'Brien's is taking the city to task over what the auditor believes are shaky cannabis tax collecting and reporting practices, as well as a lack of discipline over black-market delivery services. Read

California announces $30 million grant program to promote marijuana industry social equity

4/21/20--California marijuana regulators announced on Tuesday that the state will be providing $30 million in grant funding for cannabis entrepreneurs from communities disproportionately impacted by the drug war. Read

How much does it cost California cannabis growers to safety test?

4/23/20--The high cost of testing cannabis in California leads to higher prices for the consumer, which could drive consumers to unlicensed markets. A new study finds the safety tests cost growers about 10 percent of the average wholesale price of legal cannabis. The biggest share of this expense comes from failing the test. Read

Massachusetts medical marijuana registrations spike 245 percent

4/23/20--A record-shattering number of Massachusetts residents obtained medical marijuana cards over the past month, a spike that followed Governor Charlie Baker’s decision to deem recreational cannabis stores “nonessential” and close them amid the coronavirus pandemic. Read

The first to legalize: demographic and spatial influences on Colorado Amendment 64

4/10/20--Colorado was one of the first states in the US to legalize the personal use and possession of marijuana. Using various estimation techniques, the purpose of this study is to examine the possible demographic and spatial factors influencing the voting behavior of Coloradans on the issue of recreational marijuana legalization. Read

Pot Stores Essential? A Counterpoint

4/24/20--The marijuana industry is using the fact that its stores have been labeled as “essential” as a call for legalization nationwide. According to an op-ed featured in Inside Sources, although buying a cappuccino at Starbucks is not allowed, walking into a marijuana store for a high potency weed is perfectly fine. Continuing on, the article states, "It isn’t because marijuana has been “solidified into the mainstream fabric of America”— it’s because its army of lobbyists are flexing their political muscle and threatening politicians to do as they demand. Read

California pot dispensaries are open during coronavirus crisis. Some want them closed

3/30/20--In designating California's marijuana industry as essential under the state's COVID-19 stay-at-home order, the administration of Gov. Gavin Newsom has argued that the health benefits of keeping pot shops open outweigh the risks — even as opponents of the policy call it reckless. Read

Citing a new study, advocacy groups say dispensaries should not be considered an essential business

3/30/20--A study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which is within the National Institutes of Health, reports smoking marijuana may increase a person's risk for contracting the novel coronavirus. Two national advocacy groups are citing the study as a reason for removing the “essential” designation from dispensaries in states where recreational use of marijuana is legal. Read

Baker says reopening recreational marijuana shops amid coronavirus outbreak is a ‘non-starter’

3/31/20--Despite pleas from leaders in the cannabis industry to reopen adult-use marijuana stores, Governor Charlie Baker defended his choice Tuesday to keep them closed, even while deeming medical dispensaries “essential" and allowing them to remain open. Read

Getting a medical marijuana card is easier than you think

4/1/20--Due to some recent regulatory changes, getting a medical marijuana card in Massachusetts is an easy process. For starters, the temporary Cannabis Control Commission process meant to support social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak, offers initial appointments (and required annual certification renewals) that can now be conducted over the phone. The agency also recently eliminated state fees for medical patients. Read

Prop 11: Onsite smoking of marijuana in Anchorage

3/31/20--Proposition 11 on the 2020 Anchorage Municipal ballot would allow cannabis businesses to apply for a license to have on-site smoking of marijuana. Read

To weed or not to weed: Local budtenders weigh health concerns with showing up to shifts

4/6/20--Cannabis shops and liquor stores that sell food were among the few businesses that Gov. Jay Inslee deemed essential, requiring numerous adjustments to stay open while abiding by both social distancing and cannabis sale regulations. However, despite being deemed an "essential business," some service workers don’t feel protected by the current state rules and business practices leaving some having to decide either to risk their health by showing up to work, or risk their economic stability by not showing up to work. Read

State releases list showing who’s seeking marijuana business licenses

3/13/20--The Office of Marijuana Policy on Friday made public for the first time the list of about 300 people who are applying for more than 200 state licenses to cash in on Maine’s long-awaited recreational marijuana market. Applicants are seeking to do business throughout Maine, from Kittery to Presque Isle, under corporate names ranging from Green Cures to Weed Mart. Read

Washington legislature passes bill aiming to diversify cannabis industry

3/13/20--The legislation, which passed through the House 57-40 Tuesday, creates a task force that will help create the Marijuana Social Equity Program. It would allow the Liquor and Cannabis Board (LCB) to issue forfeited, canceled and revoked retail licenses to applicants in communities disproportionately impacted by the war on drugs. The program would last for eight years. Read

Cannabis sales and delivery boosted in L.A. to “ease minds” about Coronavirus

3/12/20--As the coronavirus spreads in California, cannabis businesses including Lowell Farms, Caliva, Sweet Flower and Sherbinskis say the demand is high: "People are stocking up." Angelenos are turning to CBD and THC products to combat anxieties and stocking up. Read

Recreational marijuana shop opens near University of Michigan

3/13/20--High Profile, a new retailer serving recreational and medicinal marijuana, is open near the University of Michigan. Brothers and UM alumni Ankur and Vishal Rungta, and their friend, Joel Ruggiero, started the umbrella company C3 Industries in 2016 to produce marijuana in its 35,000-square-foot production facilities in Oregon and Webberville, Michigan. Read  

Colorado cannabis retailer voluntarily closes over coronavirus concerns after spike in customer traffic; similar closures could follow

3/16/20--Fort Collins, Colorado, cannabis retailer Organic Alternatives closed voluntarily on Monday over concerns about the spread of coronavirus. This is one of the first known instances of a cannabis retailer voluntarily closing because of coronavirus fears, but many more marijuana shops likely could do the same soon despite the loss in sales they’ll experience. Read

Former teacher accused of giving marijuana, alcohol to students

3/3/20--Monique Garcia, formerly of Southwest High School in El Centro, is accused of purchasing and providing marijuana and alcohol to underage students during a school-sanctioned camping trip in the Laguna Mountains was charged Tuesday with felony and misdemeanor counts. Read

Marijuana businesses are playing the waiting game in the state’s budding industry

3/3/20--WGBH News' Tori Bedford and Amanda Beland documented what they found in a two-part series after going through nearly 500 Host Community Agreements, or HCAs, which are contracts that include the perks pot shops negotiate with local communities. Evidently, the uncovered documentation indicates that these agreements aren't really helping the communities envisioned by the legal marijuana system in Massachusetts. Read

Who’s profiting off the millions that Illinois’ marijuana business is bringing in? State officials are keeping that secret.

3/3/20--Marijuana entrepreneurs are starting to rake in millions of dollars a month in Illinois as customers line up to buy newly legal weed, but who’s profiting from those sales remains secret. Regulators say state law bars the release of almost all the information businesses have to submit to get lucrative licenses to grow or sell cannabis. Read

Are recreational marijuana shops preparing to open in your town? Check our maps

3/3/20--The maps and tables presented by The Boston Globe are based on data from the Cannabis Control Commission, show where prospective retail operators hope to set up shop to sell recreational marijuana for consumers, as well as the stores that have already opened. Read

Meet the new Boston Cannabis Board

3/4/20--Mayor Martin J. Walsh appointed five members to the board, which will issue recommendations on which marijuana companies should receive local licenses and advise Walsh’s office on cannabis regulation and policy. Its creation follows criticism that Boston’s previous process for choosing pot operators has been slow and opaque, giving an advantage to better-connected and wealthier firms. Read

Legal marijuana in Maine expected to be in stores by June

3/3/20--The first legal sales of marijuana in Maine are expected in June as the state and municipalities work on issuing licenses. The process can be time consuming. The state Office of Marijuana Policy said it has received nearly 200 applications and deemed 80 of them complete enough for a regulatory review. Read

LA County DA moves to dismiss 66,000 marijuana-related convictions

2/14/20--Los Angeles District Attorney Jackie Lacey has asked a judge to dismiss and seal the records of 62,000 felony cannabis convictions for cases as early as 1961, as well as, 3,700 misdemeanor cannabis possession cases. Lacey called it a marker of the sweeping change that can occur when government partners with technology leaders. Read

Weapons and Weed: Legal marijuana causing confusion among gun control advocates

2/2/20--Currently in Illinois, the rules for people to legally own a gun and use recreational marijuana are hazy, and people are worried they must choose. The state became the 11th state to legalize recreational marijuana, but gun advocates do not believe the legislation is bulletproof. Cannabis is still considered illegal by the federal government. Read

Canadian cannabis GDP contribution rises by 15% in November

2/2/20--According to data compiled by Statistics Canada, the federal government's official statistics agency, the growth in the contribution of cannabis to gross domestic product (GDP) eclipsed every major category of the Canadian economy in November 2019. All told, cannabis industry production amounted to just over $7.4 billion Canadian ($5.6 billion) that month, which was 15% higher than the November 2018 result. Read

Marijuana host community bill on House agenda

2/3/20--The Massachusetts House is taking up legislation that gives state cannabis regulators the authority to review and regulate the agreements marijuana businesses are legally required to enter into with their host municipalities. Marijuana advocates and regulators have been wrestling with the issue of host community agreements (HCAs) for more than a year. Read

Oregon wholesale marijuana flower prices rise after growers exit market, some pivot to hemp

2/3/20--Oregon regulators set a low barrier of entry to grow cannabis in the state, and steady overproduction drove the market to rock-bottom lows. However, prices have begun to rebound due to a rash of growers going out of business because the market wasn’t lucrative enough, which has decreased supply. Additionally, other licensed producers have not utilized their full canopy because the market was too unfavorable, and more cannabis growers have pivoted to hemp production, seeking opportunities in the CBD market. Read