REFER Act of 2018: There’s Still Hope for the Marijuana Industry

A Pro-Cannabis Force Is Organizing & They’re Ready To Take On The Weed Haters

It’s one thing that a large group of government officials have come together to advocate for the growing cannabis industry, but then you add a game changer like the aptly named REFER Act, and Sessions’ archaically warped threats are once again more and more obsolete.

 


Bipartisan REFER Act Targets Sessions’ War On Cannabis In High Style

In response to ongoing threats to the cannabis industry from the U.S. Department of Justice and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, lawmakers have prepared a bill meant to nip funding for federal interference in the bud.

Last week, Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced a house resolution aimed “to protect states and individuals in states that have laws which permit the use of cannabis, and for other purposes,” entitled the Restraining Excessive Federal Enforcement and Regulations of Cannabis Act or REFER Act for short.

Cosponsored by Reps. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), Don Young (R-AK), Dina Titus (D-NV) and Jared Polis (D-CO), HR 4779 would create protections for both medical and recreational cannabis by barring federal funding for any efforts by the justice department to interfere in states’ laws when imposing its own.

That includes efforts which seek to “detain, prosecute, sentence or initiate civil proceedings against an individual, business or property that is involved in the cultivation, distribution, possession, dispensation or the use of cannabis in accordance with the law or regulation of the state or unit of local government in which the individual is located,” according to lawmakers

Congresswoman Lee commented in a statement, “The federal government should respect the will of the voters in states that have voted to decriminalize cannabis. It’s time to stop wasting taxpayer money on the failed War on Drugs.”

Lee continued, “I’m proud to introduce the REFER Act, which would prevent the Attorney General and others in the Trump Administration from stifling the budding cannabis industry. If the federal government chooses to interfere in these state matters, it’s up to Congress to prevent this harmful overreach.”

In a release, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) praised the bill, which it helped Rep. Lee’s team within drafting the language.

NORML noted that the appropriations-targeting bill would also block the federal government from taking punitive action against a financial institution “solely because [it] provides financial services to an entity” that is involved in marijuana-related activities that are sanctioned on the state level.

Dependable financial services have topped the legal cannabis industry’s wish list for years, especially as federal pressure has continued driving many banks and types of investors to keep their distance.

As a result, legal cannabis operations around the country have been forced to get creative with how they manage, protect or just pay taxes on their cash-heavy revenues and products; when police raids, robberies, or even natural calamities happen, the losses that businesses and individuals incur can often be permanent, leaving otherwise growing businesses high and dry.

Justin Strekal, Political Director for NORML, commented by phone that the nonprofit is “incredibly pleased at the leadership that Rep. Lee has shown” in the marijuana space, including through the REFER bill.

“She truly understands that the federal government needs to get out of the way of states that are ending the absurd and racist policy of marijuana prohibition,” Strekal said. “The REFER Act would go a long way to preventing cannabis bigot AG Jeff Sessions from cracking down on the states that have legalized cannabis.”

“It’s a bill with a fun name and a serious purpose,” he added.

In the past year, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle have helped introduce several pieces of new legislation (and some revamped, long-researched favorites) to address the booming fields of cannabis scienceindustry, and incarceration in a meaningful way.

As in prior years, recent attempts to change federal cannabis laws have explored different legislative routes to getting the DOJ to lay off while states work to figure it all out.

How effective these approaches will be, both in Congress and on the ground, is yet to be seen. In this moment and juncture in the history of U.S. cannabis, however, it’s at least worth noting (as someone who follows the melee) that confident actions and a little humor can go a long way.


*Title Photo Courtesy of Sourx’s V on soundcloud, Original Article by Janet Burns & Published by Forbes.com

From Gold Rush to Green Rush

CA is Expecting Some SERIOUS Marijuana Sales in 2018

In California, green is now the new gold. Adult-Use legalization is massively increasing marijuana demand in California, and it’s taking the state’s cannabis industry by storm. With expected 1M pounds worth of marijuana sales this year, California is right on track towards becoming the most lucrative legal market out there.


California Predicted to Sell One Million Pounds of Weed in First Year of Legalization

The adult-use cannabis industry in California is expected to grow slower than other states, but it’s still on track to becoming the most lucrative legal market.

The adult-use cannabis market has been up and running in California for less than two weeks, and even though many cities have not yet allowed retail pot shops to open, the demand for weed has been so strong that some experts have predicted the state’s cannabis distribution infrastructure may not be robust enough to meet the demand.

Regardless of these potential constraints, the state’s Department of Finance has predicted that retail cannabis stores will sell over a million pounds of weed during the first full budget year of legalization, from July 2018 until June 2019. Officials expect this unprecedented amount of product to net $3.4 billion in sales, $643 million of which would go directly to the state in the form of tax revenue, The Hillreports. Some of this tax income will be directed to fund the agencies tasked with regulating and overseeing the industry. The rest of the revenue will go towards funding substance abuse treatment programs as well as research into the economic and environmental impact of legalization.

Finance officials said that they expect pre-tax retail costs of cannabis to fall from $3,800 per pound during the upcoming budget year to $3,000 per pound by the 2020-21 budget year. Despite the decrease in price, officials believe that the tax revenue collected by the state will remain constant, as the falling costs will be offset by increased demand for weed. Even though these predictions would make California the most lucrative U.S. state for the cannabis industry, the Finance Department estimates that the market will only grow by 22% each year, significantly slower than other rec-legal states.

The state’s financial analysts arrived at these figures after consulting finance officials from other canna-legal states. Colorado officials reported that their recreational market grew by 40 percent during the first three years of sales, from $76 million in 2014 to $198 million in 2016. Washington’s legal cannabis market has grown even faster, breaking a record of over $1 billion in sales during the 2017 fiscal year. Recreational sales in Nevada have only been legal for six months, but the state is already reporting record growth, selling over $27 million during the first month of sales, and $33 million the following month.


*Photo Courtesy of seedsman.com, Original Article by Chris Moore & Published by Merryjane.com 

10 Weed-Inspired Resolutions for 2018

“New Year, New Me” has an entirely new meaning for stoners in 2018

With the Adult-Use legalization in California, and the ongoing national growth of both medical and recreational use of marijuana, 2018 is looking like it’s going to be a good year for us stoners. The following resolutions will help you make the very most of the new year!


10 Weed-Inspired New Year’s Resolutions For Cannabis Lovers

If you’re someone who uses the phrase “New Year, New Me” every January 1st, you probably come up with a list of things you’re going to do differently. The list might include things like getting more organized and stopping your nail biting habit once and for all.

But did you know that you can include cannabis in your “New Year, New Me” list? Here are some weed-inspired new year’s resolutions to get you motivated for 2018.

10. Try New Accessories

If you’re someone who uses the phrase “New Year, New Me” every January 1st, you probably come up with a list of things you’re going to do differently. The list might include things like getting more organized and stopping your nail biting habit once and for all.

But did you know that you can include cannabis in your “New Year, New Me” list? Here are some weed-inspired new year’s resolutions to get you motivated for 2018.

10 Weed-Inspired New Year's Resolutions For Cannabis Lovers

You might be using the new year as an excuse to update your wardrobe. But what about an accessories overhaul?

Don’t just stop at adding more holographic fabrics into your everyday wear—look into new smoking accessories as well!

If you’ve ever been curious about a certain pipe or dab nail, the new year is the perfect time to take the plunge.

9. Incorporate Weed Into Your Relationships

10 Weed-Inspired New Year's Resolutions For Cannabis Lovers

We all know that smoking weed with someone can make you feel closer and more connected.

Whether you’re toking up with your best friends or your significant other, getting high can be an intimate bonding experience.

So why not do it more and with more purpose?

Depending on where you live, you might even be able to attend a “couple’s cannabis class” together.

8. Discover Your New Favorite Strain

10 Weed-Inspired New Year's Resolutions For Cannabis Lovers

Whether you’re a doobie newbie or a cannabis connoisseur, finding a new strain of weed that you love is exciting.

It’s like a whole new world has opened up!

This is especially true if you are using cannabis to cope with a specific ailment, like insomnia or nausea.

7. Try CBD Products

10 Weed-Inspired New Year's Resolutions For Cannabis Lovers

You might be well-versed in weed, but we too often forget about the unsung hero of cannabis.

The non-psychoactive component, CBD, has myriad health benefits and is relatively easy to purchase.

Choose from a wide variety of CBD dietary supplements like capsules or tinctures, or even look into topicals like skin care products.

6. Perfect Your Joint Rolling Skills

10 Weed-Inspired New Year's Resolutions For Cannabis Lovers

It’s a new year! Time to learn a new skill! Rolling a joint can be challenging at first, but in time, you’ll find yourself able to roll a perfect joint in a matter of seconds.

You might even try your hand at more advanced shapes, like a cross joint or even a scorpion joint.

5. Incorporate Weed Into Your Workouts

10 Weed-Inspired New Year's Resolutions For Cannabis Lovers

Adopting a healthy lifestyle is a pretty common New Year’s resolution. But why not bring some bud into the mix?

Research shows that consuming cannabis before a workout session can be beneficial.

This year might be the year to hire Mary Jane as your personal trainer.

4. Take a Tolerance Break

10 Weed-Inspired New Year's Resolutions For Cannabis Lovers

If you’ve been enjoying the high life for a while, you might find that your tolerance level for the herb has skyrocketed.

If you’re not getting the total experience that you want, or if it’s taking more and more weed to affect you, it could be time for a tolerance break.

Hey, the new year is when you want to “reset” your body, right? Luckily, research shows that successfully lowering your THC tolerance doesn’t take that long—only around four weeks.

3. Learn How To Cook With Cannabis

10 Weed-Inspired New Year's Resolutions For Cannabis Lovers

While you’re perfecting the art of joint rolling, why not add another new skill to your reefer repertoire?

Learning how to make edibles will open the door to a whole new world of cannabis consumption.

Since eating weed is way more discreet than vaping or smoking it, this skill will take you far. And make you very popular at parties.

2. Grow Some Ganja

10 Weed-Inspired New Year's Resolutions For Cannabis Lovers

If you live in a state with either recreational or medicinal cannabis, you might want to try growing a plant or two yourself.

Growing your own cannabis is empowering, especially when your primary focus is alleviating pain or illness.

Plus, gardening is fun and serves as a mindful and stress-relieving activity.

1. Be more politically involved

10 Weed-Inspired New Year's Resolutions For Cannabis Lovers

Now more than ever, political activism is imperative in almost every aspect of life.

When it comes to cannabis legalization and regulation, there are tons of ways to get involved.

One of the many weed-inspired new year’s resolutions could be to join a team pushing for more reasonable laws regarding the plant or educating more people about it.

Final Hit: Weed-Inspired New Year’s Resolutions For Cannabis Lovers

Maybe last year wasn’t so great for you and you want to implement some positive changes in your life. Or maybe you had an excellent year and want to keep up the good work. Either way, if you’re a lover of the loud, weed-inspired new year’s resolutions can improve your life and help you stay optimistic in these wild times.


*Original Article by Chloe Harper Gold & Published by High Times Magazine

“Sorry Bro”, Coachella’s Stance on Legalized Marijuana

California may have legalized recreational marijuana use, but Coachella still deems it a “no-go”

Considered one of the “trendiest” music festivals out there, it’s surprising  (and a tad frustrating) to cannabis users that Coachella isn’t supporting one of the largest trends in California: legal marijuana use. Looking back on the history of the festival, it’s even more mind-boggling to consider how many celebrities have publicly toked up while performing  on stage, but somehow, even with legalization of adult-use AND weekend 2 falling over 4/20, Coachella has seemingly no intent to lift their marijuana ban. Hypocritical? That’s still TBD.


Despite Legalization, Weed Still Banned From Coachella 2018

Although California officially launched its recreational marijuana sector at the beginning of 2018, creating the most mammoth statewide cannabis market in the nation, organizers with the infamous Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival are still refusing to let adults get stoned at the event – even if it does fall on 4/20 this year.

It was recently revealed that the Coachella festival is once again banning the possession and consumption of all things marijuana when it opens the gates to its popular concert event in April. The event website explicitly states that, “Marijuana or marijuana products aren’t allowed inside the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival. Even in 2018 and beyond.”

But try not to get too upset about this ridiculous policy, as it is nothing new.

Ever since Coachella began hosting some of the largest names in the music industry almost two decades ago, organizers have never given people the green light to smoke grass freely on the premises. Not even medical marijuana patients have been allowed entry with their stash.

But that was before the Golden State voters took a stand against pot prohibition in the 2016 election. Now, adults 21 and over can walk into their friendly neighborhood marijuana dispensary and purchase a variety of pot products in manner similar to beer.

Perhaps the Federal Government Has Coachella Organizers Frightened

It is conceivable the dimwitted forces of the federal government, specifically the big league thugs deemed the Trump Administration, may be one of the primary reasons Coachella’s anti-drug policy isn’t budging.

Sources close to the situation say that event organizers are still nervous about opening the concert up to weed due to some concern that it could become a hard target for Uncle Sam’s drug war shenanigans.

Last week, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded an Obama-era memo that has given states the freedom to experiment with legal marijuana without federal interference since 2013. The famed Cole Memo, which was never a binding agreement between the Feds and pot-friendly states, was sort of an illusion that gave everyone who cultivated and sold marijuana in a taxed and regulated market the sense they were safe from prosecution. But the smoke and mirrors of the pseudo policy could have come crashing down at any time. Why it took a year for Sessions, a man who has fought against weed since his days in the Senate, to toss this worthless piece of paper in the trash is anyone’s guess.

The consensus around the advocacy community is that this renewal of the war on weed is more symbolic than a heavy handed threat from the goons at the Department of Justice, but the folks responsible Coachella are not willing to take any chances.

Coachella Wants to Be Neighborly

It is more likely that Coachella organizers are maintaining the weed ban as a way to keep in good standings with the community. In the city of Indio, where the Coachella festival goes down, officials have taken a mighty stand against the concept of legal marijuana. Under state law, each city can choose whether to open its domain to the cannabis industry or stomp it out. Indio has gone with the latter. This means there is no cultivation, distribution or sales of anything pertaining to the cannabis plant allowed in the city limits. So, as a way to appease the town and prevent future hassles, Coachella organizers have simply decided to keep its prohibitionary standard in place.

“The promoter has a standing right to the property, and they can determine what can and cannot be brought onto the premises,” Indio police Sgt. Dan Marshall told the Los Angeles Daily News. “(For instance) you have the right to bear arms, but you don’t have the right to bear arms in my house.”

Final Hit: You’re Not Going to Jail As Long As You Use Common Sense

Much like last year, reports indicate that Coachella will provide “amnesty boxes” at the entrance to the grounds as a way to give people one last chance to dispose of cannabis before stepping inside. Anyone caught smoking weed during the event will be punished under state law, which means they will be slapped with a $100 fine for public consumption.

But it is perfectly legal to carry small amounts of marijuana, so there is not really a possibility folks will be dragged to jail for trying to smuggle marijuana into Coachella. It’s not quite than draconian. Although it could get them kicked out of the event.

Furthermore, while “marijuana and marijuana products” have been banned from the show, a resourceful stoner can always find a way to enjoy the festivities without catching any heat from security.

This year’s Coachella festival takes place April 13-15 and again on April 20-22. The 2018 lineup includes Eminem, A Perfect Circle, Beyonce and a variety of others. Most of which we are sure will have weed backstage.


*Photo Courtesy of David McNew/AFP/Getty Images, Original Article by Mike Adams & Published by High Times Magazine

Barbara Lee: Coming to the Cannabis Industry’s Rescue!

California Congresswoman Becomes Formidable Opponent for Sessions and Excessive Federal Enforcement

Barbara Lee’s affirmative action against Jeff Sessions is giving the worried cannabis industry members a bit of relief.  The informally named “REFER Act of 2018” was filed last Friday (1/12) by Lee aimed at protecting the country’s bolstering marijuana industry.

 


U.S. House Cultivates New Bill to Stop DOJ Cannabis Crackdown

California Congresswoman Rep. Barbara Lee (D-13th District) filed some powerful legislation last Friday aimed at protecting America’s burgeoning marijuana industry. Known as the Restraining Excessive Federal Enforcement & Regulations of Cannabis Act of 2018, HR 4779 would prohibit the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) and Attorney General Jeff Sessions from wasting taxpayer dollars on the needless enforcement of federal marijuana laws.

Baptized as the “REFER Act of 2018,” the protective piece of legislation would prohibit the DOJ from utilizing federal funding to “detain, prosecute, sentence, or initiate civil proceedings against an individual, business or property, that is involved in the cultivation, distribution, possession, dispensation, or use of cannabis,” provided those activities are in compliance with state law and local regulations.

Cosponsored by Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-3rd District), Nevada Rep. Dina Titus (D-1st District), and Colorado Congressman Jared Polis (D-2nd District), HR 4779 also received the bipartisan support of Alaska’s “at-large” representative Don Young (R).

Lee, who received assistance from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) in the drafting of the legislations verbiage noted, “I’m proud to introduce the REFER Act, which would prevent the Attorney General and others in the Trump Administration from stifling the budding cannabis industry.”

As identified in the REFER Act’s short proposal, the bill would have three primary functions:

  • The DOJ would be prohibited from utilizing taxpayer money to prevent a State or unit of local government from implementing or maintaining its state law or regulations that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of cannabis
  • No taxpayer funds shall be utilized to detain, prosecute, sentence, or initiate civil proceedings against an individual business or property, that is involved in the cultivation, distribution, possession, dispensation, or use of cannabis, in accordance with the law or regulation of the State or unit of local government in which the individual is located
  • No taxpayer funds shall be used to penalize a financial institution solely because the institution provides financial services to an entity that is a manufacturer, producer, or a person that participates in any business or organized activity that involves handling cannabis or cannabis products

Over the past few years, America’s elected officials from both sides of the aisle have helped introduced several pieces of meaningful legislation to address the heady topics of cannabis research, recreational marijuana sales, and incarceration in a constructive way.

Critically aware of the important nature of this legislative effort, Rep. Lee explained to Forbes “The REFER Act would go a long way to preventing cannabis bigot AG Jeff Sessions from cracking down on the states that have legalized cannabis.”

Note: On high alert this week, the marijuana industry will be keeping a watchful eye on Congress as its most recent deadline for authorizing a spending bill comes due Friday. Extended in that bill resides the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment, which provides specific protections to legal medical marijuana programs and their patients.


*Photo Courtesy of Jacquelyn Martin & Leafly, Original Article by Monterey Bud & Published by Marijuana.com

Sessions Fire 0% Contained

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is leading the anti-pot charge, and he’s coming in HOT!

With the repeal of the Cole Memo, federal prosecution is back on the table for legalized cannabis states, and Sessions is more determined that ever to destroy the cannabis industry… &  this time he’s taking no prisoners.


Jeff Sessions is Coming! Jeff Sessions is Coming! What the Repeal of the Cole Memo Means for Us

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Whether you consume cannabis or not, you’ve seen the news. Jeff Sessions has repealed the Cole Memo, which effectively protected state-legalized medical and recreational cannabis from federal prosecution. This hands-off approach has allowed the cannabis market to flourish over the past five years since its implementation, including large influxes of capital investments. But how will this affect us—the advocates, consumers, growers, business owners, medical patients, and occasional tokers? Are we still going to be able to buy our cannabis? Are we going to start seeing raids again?

Back to Busting In Doors?

While it’s tough to say exactly how this will play out, it’s clearly put fear into business owners in the cannabis marketplace. It seems, at least on the surface, casual consumers legally purchasing quantities within state-allotted amounts shouldn’t have any concerns. As dictated in Sessions’ minimal explanation yesterday, the Justice Department continues to focus on many of the same goals for their War on Drugs. They vow to “[D]isrupt criminal organizations, tackle the growing drug crisis, and thwart violent crime across our country.” Your weekly bong-a-thon doesn’t land on that list, unless you’ve somehow been incorporating a violent distribution network into your smoke sessions. Much like the early days of the California medical marijuana system, if the feds are coming for anyone, it’s worth more money to go for the big operations in plain sight: the legal ones.

As to the large cannabis operations and store fronts, so far every legal state has come forward in defense of their existing statutes and operations, not to mention the indispensable billions of dollars in revenue generated annually within the regulated marketplace. Considering the Justice Department already lacks funding, hence the initial memorandum in the first place, it seems unlikely they would directly attack a source of funds. Similarly, federal agencies regularly rely on state and local authorities to execute raids, shut-downs and more. With state officials unwilling to cooperate, the already-expensive raids are likely unattainable without Congress allocating specific funding to carry them out. With congressional members facing reelection—and, contrary to popular belief, they do have to please their constituents some of the time—this could sway the tides politically, as well as socially. Both sides of the aisle have a majority of their constituents in favor of legalization, at least for medical use. Sessions quite literally picked a fight with the American people. 

Hopeful Outcomes

Sessions’ relationship with cannabis is tenuous, to say the least. From his racist statement that the he thought the KKK was “okay” until he found out they consumed “pot” to his comparison of cannabis to heroin, he’s not only uneducated about the subject—he’s clearly ignorant. Sessions has mentioned that while he has every intention of coming after cannabis (because people who consume marijuana aren’t good people, you see), it is Congress’ job to change the laws around cannabis if they believe them to be unjust. He’ll (allegedly) let his crusade die if the laws are changed. Somehow, I feel like he won’t go down without a fight.

Depending on the reaction from Congress, which has thus far been in favor of states’ rights, Sessions’ move could force their hand in the national legalization debate. Though a bevy of questions remain as to what national legalization would look like, we could potentially see our dreams (and Sessions’ nightmares) comes true sooner than anticipated.

All we can do now, unfortunately, is wait to see how each of these departments will choose to carry out their renewed powers. We know the 9thCircuit Court of Appeals stands on the side of the West Coast, but time will tell for the rest of us.


*Original Article written by David Bailey & published by dopemagazine.com

Denver First to Legalize Social Marijuana Use

Denver’s social consumption ordinance is now in full effect.

Being one of the only “permissible” forms of social marijuana ingestion so far, it looks like the vaping industry is about to seriously cash in.


Denver: Mile-High City First in US to Permit Social Marijuana Use

Effective immediately, officials in Denver have approved the implementation of Proposition 300, the city’s voter-backed social consumption law.

Good news for some marijuana consumers in the Mile High City, the approval of Proposition 300 allows various forms of consumption at authorized bars, restaurants, and other public places.

“The big catch,” according to The Associated Press, is that customers of these pot-friendly establishments won’t actually be able to “smoke” their Colorado chronic inside. Also, any business seeking a permit will need the approval of their neighbors.

A little more than a year after Proposition 300 was passed by 53.57 percent of Denver’s voters, their social consumption ordinance is now in full effect.

The four-year pilot program allows adult patrons of social use businesses, to BYOM (Bring-your-own-marijuana). To be in compliance, Denver’s licensed bars, cafés, and restaurants can allow indoor consumption – provided it’s restricted to vaping and edibles – with absolutely no smoking. For Denver’s licensed businesses with an outdoor area, vaping, edibles, and smoking will be permissible.

Denver Social Consumption Etiquette

  • No sales in social consumption area
  • No social consumption between 2 and 7 a.m.
  • No more than 1 ounce of weed per individual
  • Designated areas will be limited to adults 21 and over
  • Social consumption areas must be at least 1,000 feet from any school
  • Designated consumption areas outside must be concealed from public
  • Denver’s cannabis consumption pilot program expires Dec. 31, 2020

No Amsterdam-Style Coffeeshops for Denver

Denver’s marijuana conundrum is more of a tourist issue than a local problem; most residents can go home and fire up, while 420-visitors are left out in the cold – with only a few places to smoke. While adults over the age of 21 can down their alcoholic beverages at countless establishments throughout the Mile High City and smoke or vape their nicotine-laced tobacco products in most open-air spaces, legal marijuana consumers lack the same rights.

Emmett Reistroffe of Denver Relief Consulting, the firm that helped pass Proposition 300, called out the program’s restrictive “new rules” on Facebook. Reistroffe vowed to address the program’s biggest hurdle – Denver’s zoning restrictions.

As designated in the Cannabis Consumption Pilot Program, any establishment within 1,000 feet of any school, child care facility, drug rehab facility, or city-run pools will be denied a license – which, Reistroffe explained, makes most of Denver’s interested businesses “ineligible from applying.”


*Original Article written by Monterey Bud & published by Marijuana.com