Tags Posts tagged with "Recreational Marijuana"

Recreational Marijuana

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Marijuana-Stocks-Money Nug

Recreational marijuana has been an especially hot topic in the United States after Nevada became the fifth state to have a legal program on July 1st.

Companies levered to the Nevada marijuana market have benefited greatly from this and we want to highlight 2 companies levered to this opportunity.

• mCig (MCIG) issued a shareholder update last week and reported that its Grow Contractors division will shatter its previous record revenue numbers after it took on cultivation management contracts and delivered on its plan for cultivation and production ownership. Grow Contractors has a proven track record of success in Nevada and the boom in the state has led to an influx of requests for work. We are favorable on the company’s diverse operating structure, attractive debt-free balance sheet, its improving fundamentals, and its growth prospects, especially in Nevada and California.

• Terra Tech (TRTC) is one of the best-known marijuana stocks and the company has benefited the combination of its leverage to the Nevada market and its investor awareness. While we are favorable on the company’s brand recognition, we are cautious with the shares due to Terra Tech’s financial structure which is dilutive in nature. The company has tried to raise capital through private placements but has not been successful. Terra Tech has only been able to raise capital by issuing and selling stock and this is not a shareholder friendly way to raise money. We would become more favorable on the firm if it sold off one of its subsidiaries (Edible Gardens) to support its cannabis related capital needs.

 

 

Pursuant to an agreement between MAPH and mCig Inc. (MCIG), we were hired for a period beginning 7/1/2017 – 12/1/2017 to publicly disseminate information about (MCIG), including on the Website and other media including Facebook and Twitter. We are being paid 3 million common restricted shares of mCig, Inc. by mCig, Inc.  We may buy or sell additional shares of (MCIG) in the open market at any time, including before, during or after the Website and Information, provide public dissemination of favorable Information.

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Nevada’s recreational marijuana market opened on Saturday and there were several reports of long-lines at dispensaries as residents and tourists took advantage of this new market.

The Las Vegas review Journal recently said that they expect Nevada’s recreational marijuana market to to generate more than $70 million in tax revenue over the first two years.

We would not be surprised if these numbers proved to be conservative as we expect to see much higher numbers reported by the state. The Nevada marijuana market will be fueled by the 40+ million visitors who come to Sin City every year and we think these numbers underestimate the amount of money that will be spent on marijuana.

We are not the only ones excited about the new opportunities created by this burgeoning market and believe that investors can do well by investing wisely in Nevada-based marijuana firms.

Nevada’s recreational marijuana market will see incremental growth over the coming years and the companies levered to it should see significant top- and bottom line.

While there are a lot of companies focused on the Nevada marijuana market, investors need to be selective. Prior to investing, through due diligence must be conducted and investors should focus on companies that have a proven track record of success, a licensed facility to sell recreational and medical marijuana, and enough capital to support growth initiatives.

One of the most profitable sectors of the marijuana markets has been extracts and concentrates. We would look for companies that are vertically integrated, sell a wide variety of marijuana products (flower, concentrates, and edibles).

We also suggest looking for companies that have are constantly looking at new ways to stand out and differentiate from their competitors. Although we are still in the early innings of this growth opportunity, companies that are able to develop a brand that resonates with consumers will be best positioned for long-term growth.

The surge of marijuana products and product types will make branding very important over time and will lead to significant growth over the long-term. This is something investors need to look into when analyzing a company.

Authored by: Jason Spatafora

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Because recreational marijuana has the possibility of popping up soon, the Reno Police Dept. is reminding possible consumers and current residents of the rules when sales begin.

Marijuana, much like alcohol cannot be smoked in any public place including but not limited to; parks, sporting events, casinos, hotels, concerts, festivals and special events. If one chooses to do so anyway, they will be fined $600 for their first offense.

The only place where it is legal to consume marijuana is at a private residence or in the comfort of your own home.

The only people eligible to purchase recreational marijuana are those who are over twenty-one years of age. If a person is eligible, they are only allowed to possess one ounce of marijuana or one-eighth of an ounce of concentrated cannabis.

It is technically legal for homeowners to grow up to six plants per person however the law stipulates that you cannot grow marijuana if you live within twenty-give miles of a dispensary. This makes growing in Reno or Sparks essentially off-limits.

You can legally keep cannabis within your vehicle, but the laws of driving-under-the-influence (DUI) still apply. Law enforcement can pull you over and administer classic field sobriety tests and ask if the suspected DUI-er consents to a blood test.

The Reno Police Department is still working out all of the details with legalizing the plant including the laws of being under the influence in public and more. Deputy Chief Tom Robinson said “That’s a tricky question. I don’t see the Reno Police Department aggressively enforcing people being under the influence. I do see it being reserved for those extreme cases where someone is aggressive o extremely uncooperative.”

Another gray area is if a person carrying a legal amount of marijuana is arrested for an unrelated crime, can the officers take the legal marijuana into their possession?

“Because it’s federally illegal, we’re concerned that we’re violating federal law if we give the individual back their marijuana, so those are issues that are still hanging in the balance.” Robinson stated.

From now on we will see the path that recreational legalization takes on Reno. It is a complicated area of legislation but the police and lawmakers of Reno are working hard to figure out the details.

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Apart from increases in adult marijuana possession arrests in counties the border with legal states, a new working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research has discovered that state marijuana legalization has little effect on neighboring states.

Why Do Legal Marijuana States Hold Little Impact On Neighboring Counties

In the paper, The Cross-Border Spillover Effects of Recreational Marijuana Legalization, professors Zhuang Hao and Benjamin Cowan from the School of Economic Sciences at Washington State University found that legalization “causes a sharp increase in marijuana possession arrests of border counties relative to non-border counties.”

“If a county shares a physical border with [a legalized] state,” the authors note, “it experiences an increase in marijuana possession arrests of roughly 30 percent.”

However, the study found that the increased arrests are almost entirely among adults.

“[Legalization] has no impact on juvenile marijuana possession arrests,” in reference to the information given, which also shows that there is no “evidence that marijuana sale/manufacture arrests… of border, counties are affected on net by [legalization].”

While the counties bordering a legalized state see an increase in adult arrests, the researchers found that the counties farther from the border experience a decline in adult possession arrests. Impaired driving statistics improved as well.

“DUI arrests decrease markedly for both border counties and non-border counties after [legalization],” the authors concluded.

Both authors professor Zhuang Hao and Benjamin Cowan presented caution that the increase in border county arrests can’t necessarily be tied to increased trafficking of marijuana across state lines. Following legalization, “police officers might adopt new techniques or use more resources toward cracking down on what they perceive to be more illegal marijuana possession.”

Professor Zhuang Hao and Benjamin Cowan couldn’t find an increase in employment of police officers in the bordering counties following marijuana legalization. In conclusion, the authors suggest that marijuana legalization could cause an increase in law enforcement and criminal justice costs for the neighboring states. Maybe those states would be better assisted by joining their neighbors in legalizing marijuana for adult use, thus saving those law enforcement costs and earning tax revenue to boot.

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Vermont’s House of Representatives recently passed a bill that would legalize recreational marijuana. If Gov. Phil Scott, signs the law, Vermont would then take the place of the ninth state to legalize adult use of marijuana.

The passing of the bill, which was approved in a 79-66 vote Wednesday, according to Reuters, marks the first recreational marijuana measure to be approved by a state’s legislature. The other eight recreational pot states—Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, Massachusetts, Maine, Nevada, Alaska— plus Washington D.C., introduced legal marijuana programs following public votes.

If Scott doesn’t veto the bill, starting July 2018 adults in Vermont will not only be able to consume marijuana legally but people 21 and older would be allowed to grow up to two mature marijuana plants at a time. Possession of up to one ounce of marijuana would also be legal.

A nine-person team of researchers also is commissioned to conduct a study to determine the best ways to regulate and tax sales of the plant, as well.

Nonetheless, it is unclear if Scott will sign the bill. The governor has been vocal about his stance on marijuana, telling reporters in 2016 that “right now” wasn’t the time for Vermont to be legalizing recreational pot. A spokeswoman for Scott, Rebecca Kelley, told Reuters in a statement that the governor wanted to make sure public safety and health concerns are addressed before singing the bill into law.

“On the issue of legalizing marijuana, the governor has said he is not philosophically opposed, but we must ensure certain public safety and health questions are answered,” Kelley stated.

Supporters of the bill urged the governor to move forward with the law.

“The Legislature has taken a crucial step toward ending the failed policy of marijuana prohibition. There is no rational reason to continue punishing adults for consuming a substance that is safer than alcohol,” Matt Simon, political director of the New England chapter of pro-legalization group Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), said in a statement delivered to Newsweek.

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In a data-driven business environment, everyone is waiting on the most up to date statistical reports to show what direction consumers are spending their money. As a relatively new industry, the legalized marijuana sector still is working on how to best assist consumers and discern trends to sort out the hype from the reality. That’s created a whole new side business in marijuana: data analytics.

A company that has stepped to the forefront in this area is New Frontier Data. The company has partnered with Baker Technologies, which provides customer relationship management and marketing automation platforms to cannabis businesses, for access to an immense database of legal marijuana transactions.

In April, based on this data, the company released its annual “The Cannabis Industry Report: 2017 Legal Marijuana Outlook.” They uncovered some interesting trends.

Medical marijuana dominates the market. Recreational marijuana is otherwise known as the adult-use marijuana which has been the center of much of the recent media attention, partially because of its reflection of the wholesale change in how millions of Americans view marijuana. Voter have now made recreational marijuana legal in eight states: Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington, as well as the District of Columbia.

However, the report found that consumers of medical marijuana — legal in more than half the states — buy much more frequently and spend more than recreational users. The report included the following findings:

In 2016, recreational users shopped for cannabis, on average, every 14 days and spent $49 per transaction. That same year, medical marijuana users shopped every 10 days and spent $136 per transaction. In 2017, medical marijuana sales are expected to total $5.3 billion, with a projection to reach $13.2 billion annually by 2025.
In 2017, recreational marijuana sales are expected to reach $2.6 billion, with a projection to reach $10.9 billion by 2025. The numbers provide needed insight for entrepreneurs looking to enter the retail cannabis business, New Frontier Data CEO Giadha Aguirre De Carcer said in a news release.

“Given the size of the market, knowing who your customers are, how and when they shop, and what they buy are fundamental building blocks of developing any effective retail strategy,” he said.

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According to a story that appeared a couple of years back in The Philadelphia Inquirer, law enforcement in Pennsylvania were arresting about 21,000 people each year for possession of cannabis, and another 5,500 for growing marijuana. The column by Chris Goldstein, an editor at Freedom Leaf magazine, cited a report from the RAND Corp. think tank that estimated it costs $1,266 for the handling of every basic misdemeanor marijuana arrest.

That number rises to $8,600 for each prosecution of someone accused of growing the plant. Based on those figures, it predicted that Pennsylvania was spending more than $73 million a year on those cases, and that doesn’t include the costs of jail, prison, and supervision of those sentenced to parole and probation. What if Pennsylvania could not only wipe out those costs, but also gain millions from cannabis?

State Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said the state could earn $200 million a year by permitting recreational cannabis use and taxing it. At a recent news conference the auditor general noted that Colorado, with less than half the population of our state, is pulling in about $129 million annually through taxes on the farming and purchase of cannabis. In Washington state, that figure is $220 million.

DePasquale isn’t foolish enough to think such a move would find easy sledding in our Legislature, which has never had a reputation for being particularly visionary — or productive, for that matter. “It is an entirely fair and appropriate question to say, can this ever happen in Pennsylvania?” he said. In fact, it took years of pleas and protests from advocates before the Legislature finally approved use of medical marijuana in 2016, and that option won’t even be available to those who need it until next year, if all goes well.

House Republican spokesman Steve Miskin stated, “We don’t even have the medical cannabis program up and running yet, so it’s clearly a little premature to jump to the next step. While we’re appreciative of the auditor general’s multiple policy thoughts, as Pennsylvania and the nation is facing a serious drug problem, I’m not sure that legalizing a Schedule I narcotic is the best response.”

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Federal law still holds the power even though voters have legalized recreational cannabis. Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently said, “I’m definitely not a fan of expanded use of marijuana. States, they can pass the laws they choose. I would just say it does remain a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not.” Sessions’ remarks come after White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told reporters, “I do believe you will see greater enforcement” of federal marijuana laws. Spicer continued, “When you see something like the opioid addiction crisis blossoming in so many states around this country, the last thing we should be doing is encouraging people.”

If the Justice Department rekindles the mid-2000s war on state-legal cannabis, they should anticipate a bigger fight than any presidential administration has ever seen. A February Quinnipiac poll found Americans strongly oppose federal interference in states where cannabis is now legal. Colorado just finished its third year of collecting taxes and fees on recreational marijuana. According to tax data, the combined state revenue from Colorado’s marijuana industry has set a new record each year since implementation: $52.5 million in FY 2014-15, $85 million in 2015-16, and $127 million in 2016-17. While those figures include a 2.9% medical cannabis tax, the bulk of the money Colorado receives comes from a 10% sales and 15% excise tax on retail marijuana.

Recreational cannabis has also created 18,000 jobs in Colorado alone. Denver’s industrial real estate market is booming. Pueblo County even has a marijuana-funded college scholarship program. Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association stated, “It is a very real industry sector in these states now, and there’s no evidence of buyer’s remorse on the part of voters.” The California voters who passed Proposition 64 probably aren’t feeling remorseful about that decision either. Once it begins issuing licenses, California is going to sell large amount of retail marijuana.

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“Wait did I read that correctly?” you’re probably asking yourself, right? Mr. Sessions has seemingly been the thorn in the side of the legal marijuana movement and he’s been a topic of great debate for days now. But there may be some shining light ahead to put a bit more ease to those looking at this industry and in their favor. Yes, worries about this “great shift” in federal enforcement in states where recreational legalization has been granted may be able to breathe a little easier right now.

There’s been an immense amount of angst and paranoia with regard to what some have understood as a government crackdown on recreational use. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has had private discussions with a few Republican senators saying that he doesn’t plan to stray away from the Obama-placed policy of granting states the ability to enact their own marijuana laws for their residents.

Sessions has been a strong force to be reckoned with after he ordered a review of the “hands-off” policy that President Barack Obama previously had. But apparently Mr. Sessions has had a bit of a change of heart and in private conversations, has assured senators before he was confirmed that he didn’t have too much consideration about drastically changing the enforcement laws; even though he’s not a fan of the drug’s use.

Here are a few quotes from these informed senators:

“Nothing at this point has changed,” said Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.)

“He told me he would have some respect for states’ right on these things. And so I’ll be very unhappy if the federal government decides to go into Colorado and Washington and all of these places. And that’s not the [what] my interpretation of my conversation with him was. That this wasn’t his intention.”

-Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky)

“We respectfully request that you uphold DOJ’s existing policy regarding states that have implemented strong and effective regulations for recreational use. It is critical that states continue to implement these laws.”

-Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) & Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

“Do they really respect states’ rights? Then you should respect all of them, not just pick and choose the ones that you want to support or not. Many states have gone not only the path of Nevada of recreational marijuana but medical marijuana. How can you pick or choose one or another?”

-Sen Catherine Cortez Masto (D-Nevada)

A group of bipartisan senators also had submitted a letter on Thursday that pushed for Sessions to keep the Obama-era policy intact in order to let states decide on how to implement recreational marijuana laws. Sen. Warren and Sen. Murkowski lead the effort; both of who are from states who’s already put legalized marijuana laws in place.

To date, 8 states and Washington, D.C. have laws in place that legalize marijuana for recreational use. Most senators who signed on the letter are from those states with Murkowski being the only Republican. The others include:

Sen. Patty Murray of Washington
Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon
Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon
Sen. Maria Cantwell of Washington
Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts
Sen. Brian Schatz of Hawaii
Sen. Catherine Cortez Masto of Nevada
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey
Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado

The concern isn’t just among senators from those states but is an issue among many conservatives who are nervous about the GOP being selective about allowing the rights of states to supersede federal law.

“We’re concerned about some of the language that we’re hearing. And I think that conservatives who are for states’ rights ought to believe in states’ rights. I’m going to continue to advocate that the states should be left alone,” Paul said.

Sen. Gardner was even more direct with the opinion on Sessions’ comments, “He was talking about if there’s cartels involved in illegal operations, they’re going to crack down on that. That’s what everybody’s saying. I still haven’t heard Jeff Sessions say that. We obviously want to make sure we’re clear on what they’ve said.”

Despite the shake-up that Sessions almost single-handedly ignited with his comments about “not being a fan of expanded use of marijuana,” or how despite him being open to states passing laws that they choose, he made it a point to say, “it does remain a violation of federal law to distribute marijuana throughout any place in the United States, whether a state legalizes it or not,” senators like Murkowski seem unshaken. In fact Murkowski said that she wasn’t alarmed and is simply monitoring the DOJ closely, “It’s probably a little premature to try to predict what may or may not be coming out of the administration on this, so I think we just need to sit back and see.”

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By Jason Spatafora @WolfofWeedSt

“I fear the Greeks, even those bearing gifts.”- Virgil

The DEA’s recent cannabis research expansion is a Harry Houdini inspired smoke show of misdirection all to set up the next trick; there I said it. While some view it as a positive first step, I tend to think it served a very deliberate function. Optically it played directly into expected vitriolic fallout from advocates, activists and media touts, all of which lined up to ignite their “DEA should reschedule cannabis” torches. In a “perfect world” scenario these people aren’t wrong, cannabis isn’t Heroin’s equal & 1+1=2, but just as fire cannot exist in a vacuum, neither can a rational cannabis debate. And while everyone on the side of reason is shouting in unison about rescheduling they failed to see that they might have just had their pockets picked. DEA’s policy statement that everyone seemed to ignore there are 33 words that have the potential to create the legal framework for the monopolization of Cannabis by means of an exclusionary application process.

Prologue – August 10th, 2016

Russ Baer, a staff coordinator for the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) media affairs wing gave a response to Steven Nelson of USNEWS.com via email. Nelson later shared a screen grab of the email via tweet. The statement made to him from this Drug Enforcement Administration staff coordinator read:

“Tomorrow morning (August 11th, 2016) the Drug Enforcement Administration will be making some important announcement regarding Marijuana related topics that will be published in the Federal Register. Because of your interest and/or prior engagement with the DEA on this subject, the DEA office of National Media Affairs is reaching out to you regarding these anticipated announcements.”

Over the next 24 hours social media was a blaze, with many people within the industry uncovering the fact that Rescheduling wouldn’t happen and that the DEA response would have to do with research. As expected, the incendiary scheduling of cannabis debate raged on into the following day.

August 11th, 2016

As expected, the Drug Enforcement Administration disappointed the advocates and activists of medical marijuana by not removing or rescheduling marijuana from its class 1 controlled substance status. Yet the DEA, in all of its benevolence, offered a consolation prize of sorts, by “deciding” to expand the study of Medical Marijuana for researchers, Universities & drug companies outside of the confines of a single federally legal facility. The facility, to refresh your memory is located at the University of Mississippi, (ranked 164th in Bio Sciences) and had up to this point been the sole research monopoly on legally grown marijuana, courtesy of the NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse).

DEA’s Misdirection Strategy

Over the next few days it seemed that every headline following the DEA’s deliberation was about the archaic rescheduling system & how cannabis is safer statistically than opiates that are schedule 2. Some media outlets went as far as to paint a “glass half full” picture. The LA Times for example did a piece titled “DEA ends its monopoly on marijuana growing for medical research.” The social reaction from cannabis enthusiasts, advocates and potrepreneurs from Main Street to Wall Street was as expected with everyone chiming in on social media to wag their fingers at the DEA. Representative Barbara Lee, a congresswoman from Oakland California stating via tweet “Politicians aren’t doctors or scientists. Marijuana research prohibitions are outdated, unscientific, & dangerous for those who need #MMJ.” As expected the rhetoric from the cannabis side was “The DEA is bad, the War on Drugs is a complete failure, Big Pharma is to blame,” so on and so forth.

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The people aren’t wrong on many of these points. The War in Drugs is a failure when considering addiction has been plateauing since its 1970 inception and US drug control spending is up 2000%, which to date stands at $1.5 trillion dollars. We can go on and on as to where that money went, what industries it created (prison industrial complex), the people it disproportionately targeted (minorities), but that’s a whole other article or book for that matter. Big Pharma however does have its trillion dollars hands in this story, but more on that later as I’ve digressed.

Not to go back and pick on the LA Times click-bate headline of “DEA ends its monopoly on marijuana growing for medical research,” but did it really end the monopoly? Let’s evaluate the idea. Yes, a monopoly is defined as “the exclusive possession or control of the supply or trade in a commodity or service.” The University of Mississippi was in fact in exclusive possession of the NIDA edict to legally grow marijuana and study it. On the surface the Monopoly has ended, but the reality is that we are just switching out the term Monopoly for an Oligarchy. Is an oligarchy any different than a monopoly in the sense that it’s just a smaller group carving out the biggest slices for themselves, eliminating competition by means of out maneuvering or outspending their opponent in an effort to influence policy such as this? Consider that the biggest lobby against the cannabis Industry is the pharmaceutical industry, yet they’re simultaneously studying cannabis for the purpose of synthesizing its many chemical compounds to create their high margin drugs.

Currently, their high margin bread and butter are the opioids for pain management such as OxyContin, Percocet and their generic versions of each. The drug companies are experts at isolating molecules from nature to create drugs that cost pennies to manufactures. In a zero sum game, cannabis is a direct threat to pharma companies, by snatching billions in profit and simultaneously causing billions in losses. Anti-cannabis lobbies would also be at risk as the pharmaceutical giants that feed them down on K Street would lose out on easy paydays. These anti-Marijuana lobbyists provide a micro look at the systemic problems within American politics illustrating how/why elected officials in Congress consistently vote against the interests of their collective constituency and bring forth carefully crafted bills or amendments like this one.

On the DEA’s policy statement and legal considerations section, under, legal applicable considerations it states.

“Second, as with any application submitted pursuant to section 823(a), in determining whether the proposed registrationwould be consistent with the public interest, among the factorsto be considered are whether the applicant has previous experience handling controlled substances in a lawful manner and whether the applicant has engaged in illegal activity involving controlled substances. In this context, illegal activity includes any activity in violation of the CSA (regardless of whether such activity is permissible under State law) as well as activity in violation of State or local law. While past illegal conduct involving controlled substances does not automatically disqualify an applicant, it may weigh heavily against granting the registration.”

Translation, grow marijuana even in a state where it’s legal and you are going to have a hard time becoming a manufacturer or researcher for the DEA’s new policy, thus excluding tier one cultivators in practice and likely creating a perpetual home for cannabis on the scheduling list. Prohibition’s end could very well be right around the corner, but the fear is in the form of legal medical marijuana at a Walgreens near you. I asked the DEA’s Russ Baer directly if the inserted language above in bold would be a non-starter for current cultivators wanting to become manufacturers as they are in clear Violation of CSA? In a written statement to Marijuana Stocks the DEA’s official response was:

“DEA is serious about facilitating marijuana research and that there is a lawful pathway for doing so. This DEA decision will facilitate increased research involving marijuana, within the framework of the law and U.S. treaty obligations, to enhance the drug’s supply available to researchers. The goal of this historic and monumental policy shift is to increase the amount and variety of marijuana available to researchers and make it easier for researchers to obtain marijuana as compared to current system under which marijuana must be obtained from NIDA. Growers must become registered with DEA, following the submission of an application, which DEA will evaluate in accordance with the CSA. Registered growers will need to comply with all CSA regulatory requirements, such as quotas, record keeping, order forms, and maintenance of control against diversion. Marijuana produced under this proposal may only be supplied to DEA-registered manufacturers and researchers, and only for purposes authorized by the CSA.

All potential new drugs, including drug products made from marijuana, are subject to the rigors of the drug approval process mandated by the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). This drug approval process requires that before a new drug is allowed to enter the U.S. market, it must be demonstrated through sound clinical trials to be both safe and effective for its intended uses,” stated Russ Baer of the Drug Enforcement Agency.

When asked if the inserted language also creates an unfair advantage for Pharma companies the response from the Drug Enforcement Administration circled back to the CSA (Controlled Substance Act) stating that the “DEA has adopted a new policy, consistent with the CSA and U.S. treaty obligations, under which additional entities may become registered with DEA to grow and distribute marijuana for research purposes. DEA will evaluate each application it receives to determine whether adding such applicant to the list of registered growers is necessary to provide an adequate and uninterrupted supply of marijuana to researchers in the U.S. In addition, applicants must demonstrate their ability to safely secure the drugs to prevent diversion, while abiding by the approved research protocol.”

The Controlled Substance Act

Everything points back to the Controlled Substance Act, a bill that was introduced into the Congress by Harley Staggers and took less than 6 weeks to get passed by the Senate and signed into law by President Richard M. Nixon. The signing of this document not only created the “War on Drugs,” but put an enforcement agency (DEA) in charge of Cannabis scheduling, circumventing the FDA in a move that creates an inter-agency firewall of sorts. The DEA’s position on why the FDA, who already regulates pharmaceutical drugs, isn’t in charge of marijuana rescheduling was point blank, “The Controlled Substances Act provides a mechanism for substances to be controlled (added to or transferred between schedules) or decontrolled (removed from control). The CSA provides roles for DEA and the FDA. Proceedings to add, delete, or change the schedule of a drug or other substance may be initiated by DEA, HHS, or by petition from any interested party. Once initiated, the process involves a deliberate and collaborative interagency exchange.”

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In Laymen’s terms CSA effectively says “DEA you’re in charge of this, FDA you’re in charge of that.” Unfortunately, Marijuana will never be completely removed from the scheduling list unless there is a major political overhaul in every branch of government, if and only if elected officials stop letting lobbies pour honey in their ears and money into campaigns. The reality from my perspective is that the DEA is a scapegoat, the perfect Boogey Man, simply because their job is to follow orders. They are soldiers in a sense, adhering to the guidelines of the Controlled Substance Act (CSA), a legal document crafted by a congress, molded in the image of benefactors, used to fuel a fake war and create cottage industries.

The DEA knows marijuana is safer than Oxy and that’s not speculation that’s a direct quote. They don’t want to go after the mother transporting medication to her sick child because they’re suffering from seizures. They want the dangerous individuals like El Chapo or the pill mills slinging Oxy off the streets. They have no interest in going after all cultivators following state law to the letter. Are there exceptions, of course! Does it make these comments directly from them any less true? No.
DEA’s direct position on which drug is more dangerous from a consumption standpoint as it relates to Cannabis vs OxyContin? “There were more than 47,000 drug overdose deaths in 2014, or approximately 129 per day, more than half (61 percent) of which involved either a prescription opioid or heroin. Marijuana meets the statuary criteria of a Scheduled I controlled substance, and has been determined to have a high abuse potential with no currently accepted medical use. Schedule I includes some substances that are exceptionally dangerous (including heroin and LSD) and some that are less dangerous (including marijuana, which is less dangerous than some substances in other schedules).” When asked point blank, what’s more dangerous Oxy or Marijuana DEA says “Oxy.”

Robert Capecchi, Director of Federal Lobbying at the Marijuana Policy views medical marijuana legalization as a means to an opioid end as well as fiscal no brainer with far reaching benefits.

“Ending marijuana prohibition will allow licensed businesses to cultivate, distribute, and sell marijuana to adults. Unlike the criminal market, a legal and regulated market means products are pure, tested and labeled, sales are taxed, and business disputes are resolved in the courts, not with violence. Additionally, there is promising evidence to suggest that legal access to medical marijuana reduces the rates of opioid overdoses and the reliance on prescription pain killers.”

Foregone Conclusion?

Prohibition’s end could very well be right around the corner, but would we want it in the form of legal medical marijuana at a Walgreens near you? August 11th’s ruling was either one of many dominos in the quest for the monopolization of cannabis or just a pessimistic idea based off of history repeating itself. Regardless of which reality we are presently in, it doesn’t hurt to try and connect the dots, but if I can leave you with one last thing it’s the number 6630507. In case you’re wondering that’s the United States patent # they filed for cannabis in 2003 citing “multiple therapeutic uses.” I can only postulate why they did that….

Regards,

Jason Spatafora

Drug War

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