Tags Posts tagged with "Recreational"

Recreational

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Nevada’s idea of using its medical marijuana market to temporarily aid to the need of the recreational sector is set to launch sometime within the next month. Taken from a report from the Las Vegas Sun, there are more than 140 applicants vying to become the first to sell weed in a manner similar to beer.

The intent of the “early sales” initiative was to give adults 21 and older the liberty to walk into a state licensed dispensary and purchase up to an ounce of weed without flashing a medical marijuana card. Meanwhile, it would give state officials some breathing room while putting together the regulations for the full-scale market set to launch next year.

Is There Way Around Nevada’s Recreational Marijuana Issue

In the development phase, lawmakers pressed the importance of getting recreational pot sales up and running in enough time to beat the summertime tourism rush. After all, Las Vegas alone is predicted to see as many as 43 million visitors this year.

But unfortunately, there is a distinct possibility the whole idea of early sales is about to go down in flames courtesy of the alcohol industry.

When voters approved recreational marijuana last November, they gave the state’s alcohol distributors the first right of refusal on recreational pot sales for the first year and a half.

While there haven’t been booze companies to come forward with an interest in getting involved with legal marijuana, a small group of wholesalers is stirring up trouble.

On Tuesday, a district court judge issued a temporary restraining order that prevents the state from issuing recreational marijuana licenses until it can be determined whether the Independent Alcohol Distributors of Nevada is getting ripped off by early sales.

“The statute clearly gives a priority and exclusive license to alcohol distributors, in order to promote the goal of regulating marijuana similar to alcohol,” the judge ruled.

Oddly, no one is actually preventing the alcohol industry from applying for licenses to sell weed. The problem is 13 booze distributors do not want medical marijuana businesses involved for 18 months—even though they already have the infrastructure in place to do the job.

For now, no one is certain how the judge’s order will affect the recreational marijuana application process.

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Senator Tick Segerblom, a Las Vegas Democrat, wants recreational marijuana sales to begin by June. The reason he is seeking the early start is just in case something happens to extend the state’s current timeline. The original target date was July 1st, six months ahead of a voter-mandated deadline. Department of Taxation Director Deonne Contine said the state will be ready by then to license medical marijuana dispensaries to ring up the state’s first sales of pot bought for fun.

Much of what the Department of Taxation is aiming for is stated in Senate Bill 302, which include implementing sales taxes and some new rules and the general provisions of the legalization initiative voters passed in November. Segerblom stated, “We’re not trying to compete with Taxation’s early-start program. If their early-start program gets out there, we don’t need this bill, but if there’s hiccups in that or something, this would be an alternative.”

Hearings will be held regarding the tax department’s proposed marijuana rules. Continue stated, “I would like to emphasize that I feel like that process is prudent and it is with a lot of thought and so I’m confident that the state will be ready to go on July 1.” With voter approval, Nevada legalized recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older last year. However, there’s nowhere to legally buy marijuana for personal use until the state allows dispensaries to sell it.

Segerblom’s proposal would give the dispensaries permission to sell. The bill will put the 10 percent state sales tax on recreational marijuana into play that Governor Brian Sandoval floated in January, as well as another 5 percent sales tax to benefit local governments. Segerblom said his measure would streamline collection. Segerblom said to Continue, “We both agree we want to have one inventory, one accounting system.”

The proposal would have the recreational marijuana industry operate under the medical marijuana rules that took 15 years to carry out in Nevada. It would be replaced by the tax department’s regulations once that agency begins licensing recreational marijuana shops. Segerblom said he had intended the proposal to get Nevada’s recreational marijuana industry off the ground even earlier, but there was a setback in the legislative process. The proposal would take effect immediately after his colleagues in the Democrat-controlled state house and the Republican governor sign on, a constitutional process that must be finished by June.

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The Canadian cannabis industry may have received the catalyst it needed…

Yesterday, CBC News reported that the Liberal government will announce legislation next month that will legalize marijuana in Canada by July 1, 2018.

This is a huge announcement as it was one of the main reasons why Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party won the Canadian general election in 2015.

CBC said it learned that the legislation will be announced during the week of April 10th and will broadly follow the recommendation of a federally appointed task force that was chaired by former liberal Justice Minister Anne McLellan.

A Change of Words

According to the CBC, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Justice Bill Blair briefed the Liberal caucus on the roll-out plan and the legislation during caucus meetings this weekend.

This is a big change from early March when Blair said the Canadian government will take as much time as it needs to correctly implement a legal recreational cannabis program. Blair previously did not suggest a specific time frame because he said it could vary from province-to-province and territory-to-territory

An Industry to Watch

The Canadian medical cannabis industry continues to record double-digit percentage growth on a month-over-month basis and has more than 100,000 patients. There are currently 38 federally licensed medical cannabis producers in Canada and we are favorable on the opportunity that these companies have on hand.

We are favorable on this update and expect to see the market rally higher off this news. Some companies investors should watch include: Cronos Group (MJN.V) (PRMCF), Emblem Corp (EMC.V) (EMMBF), OrganiGram (OGI.V) (OGRMF), Canopy Growth (WEED.TO) (TWMJF), Aphria (APH.V) (APHQF), Aurora Cannabis (ACB.V) (ACBFF), and VinergyRes (VIN.CN) (VNNYF).

Authored by: Michael Berger

 

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Kimberly Cargile opened A Therapeutic Alternative Shop in 2009. She says her store serves more than 40,000 patients throughout California. In addition to buying marijuana products, patients can also take advantage of free services like massage therapy and yoga. Cargile stated, “I believe that a patient has a right to heal themselves by all means necessary. So we really are on the cutting edge.” There are 30 dispensaries in Sacramento that serve individuals with a doctor’s prescription for medical cannabis.

That number will soon increase as thousands of applications are expected for dispensaries that will sell cannabis to recreational users. A doctor’s prescription for cannabis is no longer necessary under the state’s Adult Use of Marijuana Act, but until 2018 there is no store where a person can legally buy marijuana without a prescription. The question is whether existing shops will open their businesses to recreational users next year. Cargile said, “We will stay medical. There are plenty of legit patients who come to us who really need our services. We believe that we’ll be able to stay sustainable in the face of quite a bit of competition from recreational stores.”

Nate Bradley, executive director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, says he’s spoken to dispensary owners who want to stay medical. But Bradley says many of them have changed their minds. He stated, “It’s just expanding your market. If you’re a business owner, why would you not want to expand your market?” Bradley says Prop 64 was written to complement California’s existing legal framework for medical cannabis. He says the goal is to have one system with two sets of retail licenses, one for medical cannabis and another for recreational marijuana. Bradley said, “But that is what we’d like to see for the long run instead of creating the bureaucracy of two separate systems with two separate sets of rules you have to be in compliance with.”

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A new proposal before legislators in Salem is arranged to protect people who purchase cannabis in Oregon. It’s considered emergency legislation, which means that if passed, it would immediately take effect. This proposal comes after comments from the federal government about pushing back on the six states that have legalized cannabis. Back on February 24, 2017, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said, “I do believe you will see greater enforcement of it.”

When asked about medical cannabis, Spicer stated, “that is very different than recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice, I think, will be further looking into.” Currently, when you buy marijuana in Oregon, the business records your identification information to ensure you’re not purchasing more than the legal amount per day. The CEO of Cannabliss & Co. in Portland, Matt Price, says the need for minimal identification information is to ensure buyers are staying within the legal limit.

Price stated, “If I have to purge the system and come up with some crazy way to track individuals it would be easy for people to abuse those powers.” Senate Bill 863 does two things. First, cannabis dispensaries or retailers wouldn’t be able to keep anyone’s information for more than four days. Second, it would make it illegal for the retailer or dispensary to give anyone’s information to anyone else. On the bottom of the bill’s summary it states the emergency act is “necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety.”

Price stated, “There is a lot of fear in a new administration I think these guys are going to be a little more stringent but I don’t think they are going to be messing with any licensed legal state business.” Senator Floyd Prozanski is one of the key supporters of the bill he says the goal is to ensure voters got what they were expecting when they passed Measure 91. He says the hope would be to get the marijuana industry to be more like the alcohol industry, meaning marijuana stores check age but don’t keep consumers’ personal information.

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Israel’s cabinet recently approved a proposal to decriminalize the recreational use of marijuana, permitting it to go to a vote in the country’s parliament, the Knesset. If it passes there, as anticipated, first-time marijuana offenders will face a fine of 1,000 shekels ($270 USD), but criminal charges will only be brought on a fourth offense. Gilad Erdan, Public Security Minister who led the reform effort said, “The government’s approval is an important step on the way to implement the new policy, which will emphasize public information and treatment instead of criminal enforcement.”

Legislator Tamar Zandberg of the center-left Meretz party, chair of the Knesset Special Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse, stated, “This is an important step, but not the end of the road. It sends a message that a million of Israelis who consume marijuana aren’t criminals. We will carry on following the details in the committee and ensure that the change is implemented.” The proposal was based on the suggestions of a committee headed by Public Security Ministry director-general Rotem Peleg, calling for a change of focus from criminal prosecution of marijuana users to fines and educational campaigns.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked stated, “Israel cannot shut its eyes to the changes being made across the world in respect to marijuana consumption and its effect. Israel is already a world leader in medical cannabis, with some 25,000 registered in its national program, and cutting-edge research underway. According to the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, almost 9% of Israelis use marijuana, although many believe the figure could be higher. For now, Israel’s predominantly conservative government is only going so far. Farming and selling marijuana would continue to be criminal offenses under the proposal.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “On the one hand we are opening ourselves up to the future. On the other hand, we understand the dangers and will try to balance the two.” However, even some conservatives are coming around. MK Sharren Haskel of the right-wing Likud, chair of the Knesset Caucus for Medical Cannabis, said the proposal is “not enough.” Asserting that “criminalization does not work and wastes resources.” She stated, “I will keep fighting until we have a full-fledged legalization of cannabis.”

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Legislators in New York are hoping that the recent legalization of cannabis in Maine and Massachusetts will motivate the state’s legislative forces to take similar action in the 2017 session. Two bills (A3506 and S3040) were introduced in the New York General Assembly recently, and in the Senate targeted constructing a system that would allow cannabis to be regulated and taxed across the state in a fashion like alcohol. The ideas would enact the “Marijuana Regulation and Taxation Act.” This would give adults 18 and older the right to possess up to two ounces of marijuana and grow as many as six plants for personal use.

The proposal reads, “The intent of this act is to regulate, control, and tax marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol, generate millions of dollars in new revenue, prevent access to marijuana by those under the age of eighteen years, reduce the illegal drug market and reduce violent crime, reduce the racially disparate impact of existing marijuana laws, allow industrial hemp to be farmed in New York state, and create new industries and increase employment.” There are people who believe that the evolving cannabis laws in parts of New England might be enough to add pressure to state legislators in 2017 and get them to take the issue of marijuana reform a little more seriously than they have before.

It has been a year since the state put its medical cannabis program into play. However, the Cuomo administration seems to have opened its eyes to some of the issues surrounding the Compassionate Care Act. State health officials recently made some critical changes to the program, including adding chronic pain to its list of qualified conditions. Cuomo said last month that he intends to clarify the state’s decades old decriminalization law, a move intended to stop people from going to jail for simply holding a little marijuana. Cuomo stated, “The illegal sale of marijuana cannot and will not be tolerated in New York State, but data consistently show that recreational users of marijuana pose little to no threat to public safety.” However, it’s likely that the idea of fully legalizing cannabis in New York will make the state’s law enforcement agencies a little worried and maybe cause them to put up some resistance.

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San Diego became the first major urban area in the state to prepare for the recreational marijuana sales allowed under Prop. 64, the cannabis legalization ballot measure approved by voters in November, as reported by The San Diego Union Tribune. It is legal for all adults 21 and over in California to consume, grow, and possess cannabis, but the only places where it can be bought legally are existing medical marijuana dispensaries. Retail pot stores may open as early as January 1, 2018. Cities and counties need to allow dispensaries, and state legislators need to create statewide guidelines for recreational cannabis farming, sales, and testing.

January 1st as the first day of sales is now looking vague, as some state legislators have called for a delay in order to have more time to create guidelines. However, as San Diego’s City Council proved, less than two months is plenty of time to get it done. All 15 of San Diego’s current licensed medical cannabis dispensaries will be allowed to sell recreational marijuana as well, once the state proposals come through, the newspaper reported. Any future dispensaries will also be able to sell to all consumers over the age of 21.

Later this year, the council will deliberate legalizing commercial cannabis farming, distribution, and lab testing. Police had recommended that all of the above be banned “based on concerns about crime and other potential problems.” The basis for those worries was judged and believed to be weak. Particularly weak, considering 62% of San Diego voters approved Prop. 64, and the city could rake in almost $30 million per year in tax revenue. San Diego is the first major city in California to prepare for sales of recreational marijuana, which means the city is ahead of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Oakland, San Jose, and Sacramento in getting ready for pot’s legal future.

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California farms, sells, and consumes billions of dollars worth of cannabis. For more than ten years, medicinal cannabis cardholders have been able to purchase marijuana over the counter in licensed dispensaries, who remit taxes to the state and federal governments. Still, figuring out how to do the same with recreational cannabis retail stores, something four other states have figured out, is turning out to be too complicated for the world’s seventh largest economy.

When a big majority of California voters were in favor of Prop. 64 and legalized recreational cannabis use and growing for adults 21 and over, they also set a date for when retail sales would be able to start, January 1, 2018. Sometime in between that day and Election Day, lawmakers would have to come up with a set of rules. That’s the same time frame legislators in Colorado had to set up the nation’s first legal sale. However, according to legislators in California, including those for whom cannabis is supposed to be a problem, it just is not enough time.

“Being blunt, there is no way the state of California can meet all of the deadlines before we go live on January 1, 2018,” state Senator Mike McGuire told the Sacramento Bee. “We are building the regulatory system for a multibillion dollar industry from scratch.” Even if Colorado, then Washington, then Oregon, and then Alaska had not provided California with a model to follow, the state in 2015 passed regulations for medicinal cannabis. Prop. 64 was specifically modeled after the Medical Marijuana Regulation and Safety Act and signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown in fall 2015. Legislators like McGuire, who represents a cannabis-growing region, and yet opposed Prop. 64, were on the hook for finalizing a host of details before licenses to grow, transport, test, and sell medical marijuana were issued.

And in over a year, they haven’t gotten around to that so they can’t possibly be expected to figure it out in less than a year. This heel-dragging is being seen all across the United States. Legislators in Massachusetts want to set back the start of recreational cannabis sales thereby as much as two years. It is common as lawmakers really have no incentive to delay.

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Lawmakers in Massachusetts went through a 6 month delay in the sale of cannabis for recreational use,saying they needed more time to dabble with a legalization measure that voters accepted in November.
According to a copy of the legislation posted online, House and Senate voted to push back the licensing of marijuana shops from January 1, 2018 til July 1, 2018. Personal use, possession, and cultivation became legal on December 15, making Massachusetts one of eight states in the country to take that step since voters in Washington and Colorado first approved the idea in 2012.

President-elect Donald Trump plans to leave this hanging after he is sworn in on January. 20. Marijuana still remains illegal at the federal level. Only by the Obama administration has the legalization occurred.
Democrat Senate President Stan Rosenberg of Massachusetts announced public health and safety are the reasons for the delay in sales. He said, “This short delay will allow the necessary time for the legislature to work with stakeholders on improving the new law.” Rosenberg stated, “Luckily, we are in a position where we can learn from the experiences of other states to implement the most responsible recreational marijuana law in the country.”

Legislation pushed back all deadlines in relation to retail sales, regulation, and taxes. A “cannabis control commission” that was to be appointed by March 1 is given a deadline to materialize by September 1.
Jim Borghesani (who ran the campaign to legalize cannabis in MA) said advocates learned of the legislation on Tuesday night. “We’re very disappointed with what they did and with the way they did it,” he stated. “We’re disappointed that they extended this awkward period we’re in now where possession is legal but sales are not.” Republican Governor Charlie Baker is expected to sign the delay bill into law. Spokeswoman Lizzy Guyton said this will work with public health officials to put legalization into place.

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