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Recreational Marijuana Legalization in Israel Pushes Forward

Marijuana Legalization in Israel

Marijuana Legalization in Israel

Recreational marijuana legalization in Israel is continuing to move forward. They have developed a road map to legalize possibly within one year. Israel is modeling their plan based on Canada’s legalization model and would push to create a regulated market for recreational marijuana products.

Israeli Cannabis Magazine reported that Avi Nissenkorn, Israel’s justice minister, stated a legal memo should be released by the end of this month. It would then be presented to the Knesset in December for a first vote. If approved, Nissenkorn said the law would go into effect in approximately nine months.

The proposal comes just one week after New Zealand narrowly rejected a movement to set up a billion-dollar market for controlled recreational use marijuana.

in the Times of Israel newspaper, Nissenkorn also stated, “It is time to generate progress and legalize marijuana in Israel. This is a significant, holistic and responsible reform, which suggests that the State of Israel is not ignoring reality and is going in the footsteps of developed nations.”

Israeli Cannabis Magazine reported that Israel’s proposed model is expected to resemble Canada’s. The model will start with a strong emphasis on public health and carving out a large enough playing field for legal companies.

Proponents of the initiative are planning to hold the first of three essential votes in the Knesset in December, ahead of its potential dissolution for a general election. By completing the initial vote, or reading, it would enable parliamentarians to pick up where they left off after the election.

The announcement comes four months after an interministerial committee began meeting to discuss how to govern a possible legal recreational marijuana market.

Significant Tax Revenue Expected

“Research institutes that analyzed the industry discovered that the value of the Israeli illegal marijuana market is over NIS (New Israeli Shekels) 6 billion annually ($1.7 billion), which should bring Israel roughly NIS 2 billion annually from taxes and as much as a billion more from savings in enforcement resources.” A study found that Israel could make 11.3 billion-19.6 billion NIS in tax revenue in the first five years of a legalized and regulated marijuana industry.

Two marijuana related bills are now being combined based on recent studies. Those bills were introduced as private-member proposals earlier in the year but faced little probability of acceptance without being sponsored by the Israeli government. The joint bill is expected to lay the groundwork for anybody in Israel 21 years of age or older to purchase adult-use marijuana products.

There are small differences to Canada’s legalization roadmap. For instance, the bill isn’t anticipated to allow home farming. That component has been demonstrated to be a successful market in Canada.

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Connecticut House Speaker says Cannabis Legalization is “Inevitable”

Marijuana Legalization in CT

Marijuana Legalization in CT “Inevitable”

Matt Ritter, the incoming Connecticut House of Representatives speaker said on Tuesday that cannabis legalization is “inevitable.” Due to Connecticut surrounding jurisdictions enacting changes in their marijuana legalization policies. This is a good news for marijuana legalization in CT.

During a recent briefing, Matt Ritter (Democrat), House Speaker-designate, was asked about strategies to encourage economic recovery amid the coronavirus pandemic and specifically whether legalizing marijuana to create tax revenue would be a part of their strategy.

Ritter stated, “Look, I really don’t want to get into policy discussion. We’ve got a caucus we have to have, but marijuana has been a long time, I have said I think it is inevitable at some stage, particularly when your neighboring states do it.” Ritter also said, “we do not have earnings yet so it’s quite tough to say where we are going to be.”

While Ritter stopped short of committing to a deadline to pass legalization legislation, the opinions bode well for the prospects of marijuana legalization in CT reform in 2021.

Ritter confessed that surrounding states are implementing cannabis policy changes, which is adding pressure to Connecticut to pass similar legislation so revenue opportunities don’t go out of state. There has been ongoing talks about the need to organize legalization plans from a regional viewpoint. Those talks are being ramped up since New Jersey voters approved a marijuana legalization referendum this past week.

Connecticut Governor, Ned Lamont (Democrat), said last week that marijuana legalization in CT will improve public health amid the COVID-19 pandemic by preventing cannabis tourism to surrounding states. Lamont also stated that officials have “got to think regionally in regards to how we deal with the pandemic and I believe we need to think regionally in regards to cannabis legislation.”

Lamont and other policymakers in surrounding states also said last week that the passing of marijuana legalization in New Jersey underscores the need for their own states to progress marijuana legalization reform in a regionally coordinated fashion .

Connecticut’s state legislature increased the already Democrat majority in last week’s elections. This helps increase the changes of marijuana legalization in CT in 2021. Lamont stated the reform is “on the table” and that it should bring in needed tax revenue for Connecticut.

Be sure to check out: MORE Act set for House Vote in December

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MORE Act set for House Vote in December

MORE Act Vote Date

MORE Act Vote Date in December

The MORE Act vote date was originally proposed for a vote in September before it was postponed. Now the U.S. House of Representatives is expected to vote this December on the MORE (Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement) Act which would effectively legalize marijuana on a federal level by eliminating it from the Controlled Substances Act. The House Democratic leadership is preparing for a vote on the bill next month.

As well as legalizing marijuana on a federal level, the legislation will allow states to continue to choose how to regulate a commercial marijuana industry industry.

Steny Hoyer, the House Majority Leader, delivered a letter to colleagues outlining the legislative schedule for this upcoming November and December sessions. The letter stated that the House would vote on the bill but did not specify precisely which day in December. In December, the House is in session from the 1st to the 4th and the 7th to the 10th.

Hoyer stated, “The House will vote on the MORE Act to decriminalize cannabis and expunge convictions for non-violent marijuana offenses which have prevented many Americans from getting jobs, applying for loans and credit, and accessing opportunities which make it feasible to get ahead in our economy.”

There are still challenges to overcome if the MORE Act is approved. The Republican-controlled Senate is not expected to take the bill up and a new Congress is set to convene in 2021. However with the new president elect, Joe Biden and vice president, Kamala Harris taking office, there has been strong recent evidence that democrats support marijuana decriminalization.

Initially scheduled for a September vote, some Democrats in close elections were concerned about voting on the MORE Act having concerns that voters might question the value of legalizing cannabis when Congress has yet to agree on a coronavirus aid package. However, in the November election, five additional states legalized recreational and/or medical marijuana. The initiative is continuing to gain steam and should continue to be a hot topic in 2021, especially as the U.S. economy looks for ways to rebound from the COVID pandemic.

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Nug News – Weekly Cannabis News Update November 8, 2020

Cannabis News Update November 8, 2020

Weekly Cannabis News Update November 8, 2020

Cannabis News Update November 8

Minnesota Eyes Neighbor South Dakota’s New Cannabis Legalization

Most Minnesotans, especially those living in towns and cities that border South Dakota were surprised at the outcome of their neighbors vote to legalize both medical and recreational marijuana.  It seems there are red politics, blue politics and now green politics and for those living in Minnesota it is frustrating to see changes happening close by that they are not a part of.  In 2014 Minnesota voted to legalize medical marijuana however the restrictions were and have remained some of the toughest in the nation in terms of dispensary availability and conditions that the state considers to be qualifying for medical marijuana use for citizens of the state.

Each year since 2014 these restrictions have eased, little by little, with new dispensaries opening and more medical conditions qualifying for inclusion in the state’s medical marijuana program.  Next month the state will decide whether anxiety should be a qualifying condition.  With the passage of legalization in South Dakota, there may be increased pressure for Minnesota to pass more expansive legislation sooner rather than later.  In the meantime, law enforcement will not ease up on punishing those in possession of marijuana, especially concentrates, which it considers more dangerous than flower.  Read more here.

Cannabis News Update November 8

Aurora Cannabis and other Cannabis Stocks Seeing Records Gains 

With the green wave of cannabis legislation that was approved by voters, the stock market has finally given cannabis stocks some attention, and some support.  Starting with Aurora Cannabis, that saw a 100% gain since Election Day with over 56% of that gain coming before the closing bell on Friday.  All states that has cannabis legalization, either medical, recreational or in the case of South Dakota, both, on the ballot saw success.  This clearly took Wall Street by surprise but now that surprise has turned into financial support.  Other cannabis companies Tilray and Canopy Growth saw their stock surge on Friday as well by 23% and 11% respectively.

Traders will also be ready for more movement in the cannabis industry as Joe Biden was named the projected winner on Saturday and will be the 46th president of the United Sates.  President elect Biden has made it clear that he supports broad legislation that would decriminalize cannabis but has not made his position clear yet regarding his support for full legalization at the federal level.  Smart traders will be keeping an eye out for hints of how the newly elected president will address the issue come January. Check out additional information here.

Cannabis News Update November 8

Medical Experts Looking at CBD to Help Repair Lung Damage Caused by Covid

As we enter what will likely be a long winter and an increase in Covid cases, the medical community has continued to learn a lot about this mysterious virus.  As part of the treatment protocols, medical experts are looking at the benefits of CBD to help repair the damaged lungs of many Covid patients.  Scientists from the Dental College of Georgia and the Medical College of Georgia have determined how CBD can be useful in reducing the lung inflammation seen in so many Covid patients.

CBD helps to regulate apelin levels, which is a  natural peptide made by blood cells, brain, lung, heart and fat tissue in the body.  It regulates blood pressure and is essential to reducing inflammation.  The study looked at patients who were suffering from ARDS and saw this peptide plummet to zero and then with the use of CBD increase approximately 20 times.  Additionally, CBD was found to aid the normalization of oxygen levels, swelling, immune responses and lung scarring.  Similar studies have been conducted in Israel regarding the efficacy of CBD with very promising results.  Read more details here.

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Welcome Arizona, New Jersey, Montana, South Dakota & Mississippi

States with Legal Weed

States with Legal Weed

We are thrilled to welcome you to the recreational cannabis club.  It’s not easy getting into this club, but you guys did it. A special welcome to Mississippi as well for getting medical cannabis legislation passed in your state.  You can all now proudly say your are now one of the growing number of states with legal weed. Depending on your state’s certification process and the timeline for passing cannabis decriminalization legislation, the road to the day when dispensaries open in each state differs considerable from the first of 2021 all the way until January of 2022.  It seems like a long time for some states, especially Montana but it will pass quicker than you think and before you know it dispensaries will be popping up in your city or town.  No doubt cultivation licenses as well dispensary licenses and permits have been applied for or soon will be in all four recreational states.  Once dispensaries start to open there will be a period of time when the industry in your area experiences some growing pains.  It’s normal and will settle down usually within six months but there are certain things you can expect to encounter.

Limitation on Cannabis

Each state has their own laws regarding how much cannabis an individual can purchase within a 24 hour period.  Your state’s laws may be slightly different but generally speaking you can purchase up to one ounce of flower, 7 grams of concentrates, 18 ounces of edibles or 72 ounces of liquids.  As many people purchase multiple types of cannabis in one dispensary trip, it is up to the dispensary to make sure you don’t exceed the legal limits.  So expect a little confusion about how this all works but remember you can’t go from one dispensary to another and buy up to the limit in one or more types of cannabis because when you show your ID to get in the door, your purchase will be tracked and most dispensaries require you to show your ID a second time as you are making your purchase.  So no gaming the system please.  Also prepare for there to be cannabis shortages and additional limits placed on the amount of cannabis you can buy in the first few weeks or months of dispensaries opening their doors.  This seems to happen in all states with legal weed so you would think the industry would be prepared for the demand, they never seem to be but fear not as this problem is always short-lived.

Give Your Budtenders a Break

The requirements for budtenders are different depending on the state but all budtenders are required to know or learn about not just the different strains of cannabis and various cannabis delivery methods but the entire cannabis industry as well as have good sales and people skills.  For cannabis consumers, a job as a budtender may seem like a dream come true but it’s not as easy as you might imagine to be a great budtender.  When dispensaries begin to open in the newly legal states, don’t expect your budtenders to know everything on day one.  It takes time, and even additional training for budtenders to grow into their roles and shine.  If you have specific knowledge about a product and feel like sharing it with your budtender, they usually appreciate this, especially when things are still so new.  Anecdotal information is normally welcome by most budtenders.  Above all, be nice and patient, they are new at their jobs and the learning curve can be steep.

Prepare to Wait

Once the dispensaries open, unless there has been some citywide coordination there will be one dispensary that opens first, and then week by week others will open.  Imagine being the only dispensary open in a city that has been waiting years, well decades really, for cannabis to become legally available.  To say it will be crowded is a vast understatement.  Expect long lines at those first few recreational marijuana dispensaries for a few weeks. Be super chill and patient because if the security personnel sense any trouble you will likely be asked to leave.  No weed for you which would be tragic after such a long wait. The other issue that will increase wait times is that dispensaries will be practicing social distancing so that will drastically limit the number of people allowed into a dispensary at a time.  Dispensaries don’t like to rush their customers so they allow plenty of time for questions and menu browsing, which adds additional wait time for others.  Of course it’s all worth it when it’s your turn and hopefully you made good use of the wait time by checking out the dispensary’s online menu so you have a general idea of what you want to buy or at least what questions to ask.  It’s all part of the dispensary experience in states with legal weed, coming to your state soon!

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New Jersey and Arizona Legalize Marijuana

New Jersey and Arizona Legalize Marijuana

New Jersey and Arizona Legalize Marijuana

On Tuesday, voters in both New Jersey and Arizona legalize marijuana with strong support from on the ballot. They join the other 11 states and Washington D.C. who have already legalized marijuana.

New Jersey

The ballot vote passed 67.2% to 32.8% with strong turn out at the ballot. Under the change, only those 21 and older can legally buy and use cannabis.

Executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), Steve Hawkins, stated “This victory will have a rippling effect in the Northeast and increase the rising pressure in neighboring states to take action on cannabis legalization.”

It is uncertain when marijuana will be accessible because laws should first be passed in order to prepare the new cannabis industry. It’s estimated that recreational marijuana could bring New Jersey $210 million in additional revenue.

The change is expected to move relatively fast because the Democrat-led Legislature and Democratic Governor Phil Murphy, both support cannabis legalization.

Arizona

Proposition 207 in Arizona will allow individuals 21 years of age and older have up to an ounce (28 grams) of marijuana or a smaller amount of ‘concentrates’ such as hashish. It also allows recreational marijuana sales at accredited retailers and will let people grow their own cannabis plants.

The Smart and Safe Arizona Act also will levy a 16% excise tax on marijuana over the normal sales tax which will go to state and local authorities.  The new tax is estimated to bring in an additional $166 million annually. It will be used to fund police and fire departments, community colleges, public health and criminal justice initiatives and Arizona state transportation projects. The additional tax revenue combined with other state revenue opportunities, is estimated to bring in an additional $255 million in revenue.

The measure is backed by the legal cannabis industry and supporters argue it is time to rescind Arizona’s punitive penalties on cannabis, ensure high quality control through effective state testing and lower crime connected with marijuana smuggling and illegal sales.

When proposition 207 passes as election results are certified, marijuana will become officially legal in Arizona and retail sales could start as early as May.

Now that New Jersey and Arizona legalize marijuana, surrounding states will feel the pressure to follow suit if they haven’t already, to ensure they share in the increase tax and industry  revenue and job grown. Federal cannabis legalization has been a hot topic in this years election and should continue to be so in 2021.

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Oregon Decriminalizes Possession of All Drugs

Oregon decriminalizes possession of all drugs

Oregon Decriminalizes Possession of All Drugs

Oregon decriminalizes possession of all drugs, becoming the first state in the U.S. to fully support the movement. The move to decriminalize hard drugs such as heroin and methamphetamine in Oregon, as well as legalizing the use of psilocybin mushrooms, was passed by two big margins on Tuesday’s vote.

Measure 110 was the measure on the ballot and it will completely change how Oregon’s justice system treats those that are found with personal-use quantities of the hard drugs.

Kassandra Frederique, executive director of  the Drug Policy Alliance stated, “Today’s victory is a landmark declaration that the time has come to stop criminalizing people for drug use, measure 110 is arguably the biggest blow to the war on drugs so far.”

Under the new measures, rather than going to trial and facing potential jail time, an individual found with the possession of hard drugs could have the choice of paying a $100 fine or attending “addiction recovery centers”.

The addiction recovery centers would be financed by millions of dollars of tax revenue generated from the legalized, regulated marijuana industry in Oregon, which was the nation’s first state to decriminalize cannabis possession.

Co-chief petitioner of Measure 110, Janie Gullickson stated, ‘This is such a huge step in moving into a health-based approach rather than criminal punishment, and we are devoting significant new tools to assist Oregonians who want it.”

Measure 110 received 59% yes votes and 41% no votes, with approximately 1.9 million votes counted, based on unofficial partial results from the secretary of state, which is enough for Oregon decriminalizes possession of all drugs.

The Oregon Nurses Association and the Oregon chapter of the American College of Physicians were major supporters of Measure 110 and had a significant impact in pushing the the positive vote.

Mark Zuckerberg and his wife donated $500,000 to support Measure 110, showing their support for a health-based approach to drug addiction instead of criminalizing those affected.

Measure 109 was also passed in Oregon, which legalizes the controlled therapeutic use of psilocybin mushrooms.

To bolster tax revenue support, a tax increase of $2 was passed in Oregon on cigarettes. This measure would raise Oregon’s cigarette tax by $2 per pack, from $1.33 to $3.33, also a bump up on the cap on cigar taxes to $1 per cigar and include a 65% tax on vaping products and electronic cigarettes, which haven’t been taxed.

The capital from the tax increase will be used for public health programs such as smoking cessation and prevention programs. $130 million is the projected new yearly revenue that should be generated from this tax increase. These are all critical measures supporting Oregon decriminalizes possession of all drugs.

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Nug News – Weekly Cannabis Update November 1, 2020

cannabis news update November 21, 2020

Nugg News – Cannabis News Update November 1, 2020

Weekly Cannabis News Update November 1, 2020

Study Finds Medical Marijuana Helps to Reduce Alcohol Consumption

A Canadian study demonstrated that patients who began consuming medical marijuana had a significant reduction in their alcohol use.  More specifically of the 2102 people surveyed by the Canadian Cannabis Patient Survey 2019, 973 reported past or current alcohol use with 44 % of that group, 419 people, reporting decreased alcohol consumption during the 30 period prior to the survey.  Additionally 8%, 76 people, reported consuming no alcohol in the 30 days prior to the survey. This survey serves to illustrate, along with similar research, that medical cannabis use is associated with an overall reduction in the use of not just alcohol but of tobacco, opioids and other illicit drugs.  Adding to this body of research is an Oregon State University study published in January of this year showing that binge drinking rates are reduced in states where cannabis has been legalized.  As binge drinking represents a huge health and safety risk for college students, this study result is valuable as states contemplate whether to legalize cannabis either for medical or recreational use or ideally for both.

Read additional study details here.

Weekly Cannabis News Update November 1, 2020

New Zealand Voters Reject Cannabis Legalization and Decriminalization

Following the October 17 referendum vote in New Zealand to legalize cannabis for recreational use as well as decriminalize cannabis nationwide, the votes counted so far, approximately 85%, are trending towards the referendum failing to pass.  Thus far 53% have voted for the referendum to not pass while 46% voted in favor of the referendum.  As not all the votes have been counted there is still a slim chance it may pass however it is statistically unlikely.  Many proponents of the referendum place the lack of voter support squarely on the shoulders of Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.  Certainly the Prime Minister has been occupied, as have all world leaders, with the global pandemic, however many advocates of the cannabis legalization referendum contend that prior to the election the Prime Minister did not say how she planned to vote, revealing only after the election that she voted to legalize cannabis.  With the numbers so close, the popular Prime Minister could have spoken out in favor, giving the legislation the needed last minute support for those voters who may have been undecided.

Check out more information here.

Weekly Cannabis News Update November 1, 2020

NBA Legend Shawn Kemp Gets the Ball Rolling on Friday’s Grand Opening of Seattle Newest Cannabis Dispensary

Located on 1st Avenue, on Puget Sound in Seattle’s Queen Anne neighborhood is the city’s latest cannabis dispensary.  What makes it special is twofold.  The dispensary is named after and co-owned by NBA All-star Shawn Kemp who played with the Seattle Supersonics from 1989-1997.  The dispensary, aptly named Shawn Kemp’s Cannabis  got things off to a great start with a ribbon cutting ceremony early Friday afternoon and of course Shawn Kemp was there to do the honors along with quite a large number of his fans and would be customers.  No autographs though as social distancing practices were in full force.  What makes this dispensary special is not just that it is owned by a basketball legend, it is the first black owned dispensary in Seattle.  Kemp has big plans for the future of his namesake and plans to be a role model for people of color who want to be a part of the cannabis industry.  The dispensary’s staff of just over 30 employees is diverse and Kemp plans to offer training via his dispensary to people of color and women who specifically want to become dispensary owners.  All that plus top shelf cannabis will make this new dispensary stand out among others in the area.

You can read more on this topic here

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Will Cannabis Save the U.S. Economy?

Economic Impact of Cannabis

Economic Impact of Cannabis

While it’s unlikely one product has the power to prop up the entire US economy is these challenging times, the economic impact of cannabis sales can certainly go a long way towards making sure that states have a steady flow of cash as they struggle with empty coffers and so many people in need.  If we look at the recent history of cannabis sales in the US last year and the continued high demand for cannabis so far in 2020, states who have wisely chosen to legalize medical marijuana or recreational, or both, have a distinct economic advantage over states who have yet to see the benefits of cannabis, not just for the state’s residents but for the economy in general.

If we look at the data from states who have has legalized cannabis during the entire 2019 year, it is easy to see the financial advantage cannabis provided.  In 2019 nearly 2 billion dollars in tax revenue was generated with these states leading in cannabis profits; California took in $538 million, Washington state $354 million, Colorado $290 million and Oregon $155 million.  Simply put, cannabis has nearly unprecedented potential to be a top state income generator.  That is just money, what about job creation related to the cannabis industry?  As of early 2020, so looking mostly at job creation in 2019, the cannabis industry had created nearly 250,000 jobs.  These are not only dispensary jobs but in all areas of the cannabis industry including research and development, brand creation and cannabis cultivation.  As the industry continues to grow, so will the job opportunities and the overall economic impact of cannabis.

Early in 2020, when most of the US was headed into some form of lockdown, cannabis was declared an essential service and that declaration has helped the industry not just continue to operate during the pandemic but to thrive as the demand for cannabis in all legal states has hit new records.  This makes perfect sense as many people are at home and feeling the stress and anxiety that seems to be a part of the new normal we are all living, cannabis has truly been an essential service.  This is not likely to change any time soon and as more states vote to legalize the medical and/or recreational use of cannabis, the growth that the industry has seen in the last year will continue and may even increase.

The willingness of the cannabis industry to be flexible in their operations has also been a significant factor for the unparalleled success of the industry overall.  As many businesses struggled to adopt their brick and mortar storefronts to constantly changing conditions, marijuana dispensaries have been quick to make the necessary modifications to ensure a safe experience for not just customers and patients but employees as well.  Many dispensaries moved to strictly curbside pickup and made modifications to their websites to support this change.  It may be slightly disappointing for some people who enjoy the in person dispensary experience but cannabis lovers have adapted.  The cannabis delivery option seems to have uneven growth, with some states and cities offering multiple options and others not venturing down that path yet.  This is one area in particular that may continue to develop in various states.  If the demand is there and cannabis customers need delivery, the industry seems likely to respond in a positive way.

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Marijuana Legalization Candidates Outraised Opponents 36-1 in 2020.

Marijuana Legalization Candidates

Marijuana legalization candidates have gained significant momentum in 2020. Proponents of state ballot measures have outraised opponents this year by nearly 36-to-1, a gigantic increase from the last presidential voting year, when advocates outraised their opponents by only 4-to-1.

According to Marijuana Business Daily, candidates supporting marijuana legalization in Arizona, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota have raised approximately $19.6 million in 2020, compared with just $546,000 raised by opponents.

Adult-use legalization is back on the ballot this year in Arizona, and there is a good chance that it gets approved this voting period. A poll conducted at Monmouth University in New Jersey at the beginning of October showed 56% supported the measure with 36% opposed and 8% undecided. Marijuana legalization candidates have outraised competitions 11-to-1 in 2020. Up to now, Smart and Safe Arizona, the committee behind the measure, has raised more than $5 million while opponents have only earned $459,000.

29% of the supporting Arizona contributions came from the Marijuana Policy Project in 2016. The deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) , Matthew Schweich, stated that while the organization supports the Arizona and New Jersey ballot measures, its staff has been more focused on the Montana and South Dakota campaigns in the recent voting cycle. Schweich also stated, “That’s where our assistance can make the biggest difference.” MPP has given $84,330 in cash and in-kind donations to the two states, a much smaller amount compared with the $1.69 million it gave Arizona in 2016.

Other marijuana businesses, including Massachusetts-based Curaleaf, Arizona-based Copperstate Farms and Illinois-based Cresco Labs, have contributed a combined $1.3 million to support passing marijuana legalization in Arizona.

New Jersey marijuana legalization candidates received $800,000 from Scotts Miracle-Gro, a leading company in the lawn and garden industry. which possesses Hawthorne Gardening, a hydroponics subsidiary for cannabis growers.

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Governor Cuomo Says New York Will Legalize Marijuana Soon to Help Economic Recovery from COVID

New York Legalize Marijuana to Combat COVID

Should New York legalize marijuana to combat COVID? Andrew Cuomo, New York Governor, recently said that legalizing marijuana represents a realistic way that the state can recover economically from the COVID pandemic.

The governor was promoting his new book during a virtual event and was asked when New York will legalize marijuana for adult use. Cuomo stated,  “Shortly, because today we need the revenue. I have tried to do it the over the last couple of years.”, according to a recording which has been obtained by USA Today Network.

The governor also stated, “There are a whole lot of reasons to have it done, but one of the advantages is it also brings in revenue, and all sates, especially New York, need revenue and we are going to be searching the cupboards for revenue. And I believe that will place cannabis over the top.”

Andrew Cuomo supports marijuana legalization and included cannabis legalization in his past two budget proposals, but discussions between his office and the legislature dropped through each time, with sticking points being issues like how cannabis tax earnings will be allocated, preventing a deal from being negotiated. A leading adviser of his stated earlier this month that the strategy would be to attempt again to legalize cannabis in New York in early 2021.

Cuomo was likewise asked about cannabis legalization as a way to offset the budget deficit brought on by the coronavirus pandemic in May. So it is obvious he believes New York should legalize marijuana to combat COVID. While he said it is the federal government’s “obligation as part of managing this national pandemic that they will provide financial relief to state and local authorities,” he also stated that “I support legalization of cannabis passing. I’ve worked very diligently to pass it.”

Cuomo indicated in April that he believed the legislative session was “effectively over” for the year and increased doubts that lawmakers could pass marijuana reform.

Crystal Peoples-Stokes, Assembly Majority Leader, made similar remarks when asked about the reform issues in April, though she appeared to indicate that she laid partial blame for the failure to enact reform on the governor prioritizing different issues throughout the pandemic.

The New York State Association of Counties stated in a report published last month that legalizing recreational cannabis “will offer the state and counties with resources for education, public health and technical assistance” to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Meanwhile, the state Senate has approved several small marijuana reform bills lately. The chamber passed a bill in July that broadens the pool of individuals qualified to have their low-level marijuana convictions automatically expunged.

As a result of a bill expanding cannabis decriminalization in the nation the governor signed this past year, the New York State Unified Court System made a statement last month outlining steps people can take to clear their records for prior cannabis convictions. Support continues to grow that New York should legalize marijuana to combat COVID.

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Oregon’s Drug Decriminalization Efforts Gets More Celebrity Support From Musician John Legend

Celebrities Support Drug Decriminalization

More celebrities support drug decriminalization with their public platforms. On Friday, musician John Legend  endorsed an Oregon initiative to decriminalize possession of currently illegal drugs while investing in substance abuse therapy and treatments. John has long been a supporter of issues pertaining to criminal justice reform and on a recent twitter thread, encouraged Oregon residents to approve the ballot measure.

The proposal would make Oregon the first state in the nation to eliminate the threat of jail time for simple drug possession, and it would put money towards substance abuse treatment with the support of cannabis tax dollars. Support for the reform movement has come from several interesting supporters during this election.

The Oregon Democratic Party officially endorsed Measure 110 earlier this month, in addition to another proposal to legalize psilocybin mushrooms for therapy in specific areas.

Also business celebrities support decriminalization. Mark Zuckerberg, the CEO and founder of Facebook, donated $500,000 to the decriminalization effort through a foundation he and his wife run. Congressman Earl Blumenauer (Democrat-OR) is also backing the initiative, as well as the psilocybin measure. Blumenauer said, “Meausre 110 will help change Oregon into a health-based approach from a health-based drug addiction crisis. This is more compassionate, more powerful, safer, and simple common sense.”

While Legend’s endorsement brings some star focus on the matter, it is not the first time he has voiced support for putting an end to drug criminalization. In 2018, Legend was asked about what policies he would enact in a position of political power and he replied, “decriminalize drugs–treat drugs as a public health issue rather than as a criminal matter.” He also stated, “I think plenty of people believe if we lock up more people, people will not do as many drugs. But what ends up happening is, we aren’t really solving the problem of drug demand by waging a war on drugs when people are still finding ways to get drugs. And the drug overdose problem is still huge. You would think, you know, criminalizing it and making it tougher on people that get caught would actually help solve the problem, but it doesn’t. I think legalizing marijuana is the first step, but I think going beyond that—realizing that the war on drugs was never a good idea, and that we should treat drug addiction as a health problem instead of a criminal problem—is the answer.”

While more and more celebrities support drug decriminalization, the cause should continue to gain momentum on a state and federal level and help support the overall cannabis decriminalization and criminal expungement movement.

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Colorado Governor Doesn’t Want Texas to Legalize Marijuana

Colorado Discourages Texas From Legalizing Marijuana

The governor of Colorado discourages Texas from legalizing marijuana, saying it would mean less tax revenue for his own state from marijuana tourism. He may have been joking  with the statement, but there is some truth to how he and other legal recreational use state politicians feel.

Governor Jared Polis (Demcrat-CO) tweeted, “That may be true BUT it would decrease tourism to Colorado, so be certain you consider Colorado first in any Texas decisions.” The governor was reacting to a Marijuana Moment study on a new economic analysis that revealed how Texas stands to create billions in tax revenue and tens of thousands of jobs if it enacted the policy shift.

Governor Polis has a track record of making comments about the cannabis tourism revenue Colorado receives from non-residents visiting recreational marijuana dispensaries in Colorado. Soon after he was sworn in this past year, Polis said “we get a great deal of extra business from those coming to our state” and so “from the financial standpoint of Colorado, I would like other states to go slowly so that we may continue to reap all these advantages for Colorado.”

Polis also said, “For years, I had been kind of countering this type of dire picture of Colorado, but if they think that it is bad, it is better for us to have less competition at this time. I mean, if I am looking at it as the Governor of Colorado, I’d hope they halt their attempts and drive all their business here.” So if Colorado discourages Texas from legalizing marijuana, it’s not a surprise that Polis is behind the sentiment.

Colorado continues to have record breaking sales every month and and while he has been quick to tout the financial advantages of regulating cannabis sales in Colorado, Polis has also highlighted the need for restorative justice in the marijuana industry. Earlier this month, he exercised new clemency powers to grant almost 3,000 pardons for individuals convicted of low-level marijuana possession crimes.

Meanwhile, Polis is not the only governor making note of the fact that his state sells legal cannabis to those who reside in places where it’s still prohibited. Illinois Governor. J.B. Pritzker (Democrat), spoke about how his state’s new recreational marijuana market “gives us a opportunity to collect tax revenue from the residents of Missouri, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Indiana.”

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Cuomo Continues Push to Legalize Marijuana in New York

Andrew Cuomo Supports Marijuana Legalization

Andrew Cuomo supports marijuana legalization in New York and surrounding states. The New York Governor is renewing his push for marijuana legalization in 2021, and plans to issue fresh CBD rules in New York.

Canopy Growth recently launched a video series, “Under The Canopy“. In a discussion from that series, Axel Bernabe, one of Cuomo’s top cannabis advisers, told David Culver, an executive with Canopy Growth, that Cuomo intends to add adult-use cannabis legalization in New York’s 2021-2022 budget, which takes effect April 1.

Bernabe also disclosed that Cuomo intends to issue fresh CBD rules to regulate how the chemical is manufactured and marketed in New York state, including how it could be infused into beverage and food items, which is now prohibited.

Cuomo mentioned that New Jersey may get there first with the legalization referendum on their ballot next month.  Cuomo stated, “We’re watching New Jersey closely. We’ve always been confident that we get to this before New Jersey, so if they pass the referendum they still have to have agreement between the governor the Senate over there. We’re working on this. We’re going to reintroduce this in our budget in January. We think we can get it done by April 1.”

Governor Cuomo supports marijuana legalization and pushed for adult-use marijuana legalization in 2019 and 2020, with a legalization bill stalling in the state legislature in 2019 and another legalization proposal cut from the New York’s budget earlier this season. In 2019 Cuomo signed a cannabis decriminalization bill into law as well as had meetings with the governors of Pennsylvania, New Jersey and Connecticut to have initial conversations around a coordinated adult-use cannabis legalization plan.

The Governor also signed a hemp extract bill into law last year to create a regulatory framework for processing and growing hemp in New York. However, the legislation didn’t include the regulation of CBD in food or beverages at the time and is an issues that Cuomo would like to address as soon as possible due to the rapidly increasing popularity of the industry and the health and safety of consumers.

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Canada Reviewing the Effects Legalizing Cannabis Had on the Country

Effects of Legalizing Cannabis in Canada

The Canadian Chamber of Commerce, through their formally recognized National Cannabis Working Group, will be reviewing the Cannabis Act that presides as legislation over the cannabis industry in Canada. The goal being to analyze the effects of legalizing cannabis in Canada.

The review will be a opportunity to look deeper at the effects of legalizing cannabis in Canada and to offer insight on how Canada can enhance their cannabis industry structure, and what sort of changes could be made to make legal cannabis better as well as solve current problems in the industry. The Canadian Chamber of Commerce is a group that will help look into the economic consequences on and from the cannabis industry, and they expect to learn a great deal from taking a closer look at the industry as a whole.

Ryan Greer, senior manager of the Cannabis Policy in the Chamber and co-chair of the Working Group, stated, “As the first among larger developed economies to legalize recreational cannabis for adult use, Canadian cannabis businesses have learned first-hand about what portions of the Cannabis Act and related regulations have worked and what have not. During this review, the industry will offer comprehensive recommendations to the federal government about what changes are required so business can better compete with the illegal market, create more new jobs and maintain Canada’s leadership in global markets and help the government achieve its safety and health objectives.”

The Cannabis Act has to be reviewed three years after legalization, which happened in 2018, so as to keep up with the arrangements of the initial legislation. The review has to be launched October 17, 2021, on the anniversary date, so it is essential that the industry starts preparing now. Eric Foster of Dentons Canada will lead the review. Dentons Canada is a significant cannabis practice in the nation providing legal counsel to the Canadian cannabis market. Davies, a cannabis industry and investment law firm will support the review on the effects of legalizing cannabis in Canada.

Talks will start this fall to learn more about what ought to be looked at during the review. These discussions will also offer the public with a opportunity to let their feelings be known. The first conversations will set the stage for the real review to occur in 2021.

It’ll be a while before Canada has the results of the review and will know about any changes, but discussions have started to take a serious look at ways to enhance the industry for the next few years. A year from now, more will be known about the future of cannabis in Canada, among those nations paving the way for a global cannabis industry. This discussions will be held publicly with the next one November 11th, 2020,and if you are interested in attending you can click here to register.

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Kamala Harris Reiterates Cannabis Decriminalization and Expungements Are a Priority

Democrats Support Marijuana Decriminalization

In a recent interview, Kamala Harris (Democrat-CA), Democratic Party vice-president nominee, stated again that decriminalizing cannabis would be an administrative priority if Joe Biden and herself win the election. Democrats support marijuana decriminalization and expunging marijuana criminal records, in general, and have consistently voiced support for legislation to push these initiatives.

The interview was last Saturday on The Grio and the Harris spoke about the prospective Democratic government’s criminal justice agenda, comparing it with that of President Donald Trump. Harris reiterated the cannabis reform would be one of their policy objectives.

Harris stated, “We have a commitment to decriminalizing marijuana and expunging the records of those who have been convicted of marijuana offenses. When you examine the horrible war on drugs and the disproportionate effect it had on black males and generating then criminal records which have deprived individuals of access to housing and jobs and basic benefits.”

Cannabis reform advocates have enjoyed the senator’s repeated calls for marijuana reform on the campaign trail, they do not like her trend to refer to the drug war in the past tense, as she did here by referring to the impact the policy “had”, not recognizing that those prosecutions and enforcement disparities have persisted.  FBI data shows that there were over 1.5 million drug-related arrests in the U.S. along last year and approximately one third of them were for marijuana. 

Some people are also claiming that Harris has scaled back her reform drive since joining the Democratic ticket as Joe Biden’s running mate. When Harris was herself running for the presidential nomination, she strongly supported cannabis legalization while Biden did not. In general, Democrats support marijuana decriminalization and expungement and Biden does back modestly rescheduling the drug under federal law, allowing states set their own policies and legalizing medical cannabis.

Harris, who’s the lead Senate sponsor of a bill to deschedule marijuana on a federal level, said last month that a Biden government wouldn’t be “half-steppin” cannabis reform or chasing “incrementalism.” Harris has repeatedly discussed cannabis decriminalization on the campaign trail. She said during a vice presidential debate earlier this month she and Biden “will decriminalize marijuana and we will expunge the records of people who were convicted of marijuana crimes.”

Click here to watch the Kamala Harris interview on The Grio and discussions on the black male vote and Democrats support marijuana decriminalization and expungement.

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AOC Looks For Republican Support to Legalize Cannabis & End War On Drugs

AOC Supports Cannabis Legalization

AOC supports cannabis legalization and ending the war on drugs. Democrats and Republicans are usually divided on a range of big policy issues, however Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Democrat-NY) said on Thursday that legalizing cannabis and ending the war on drugs are standing out as exceptions to hyper-partisanship in Congress.

During a virtual town hall with cannabis reform ally Rep. Earl Blumenauer (Democrat-OR), Ocasio-Cortez said that since she took office, it’s been encouraging to see members on both sides come together on issues concerning “civil rights policy and civil liberties,” including ending “drug prohibition laws.”

“We have been able to suggest solutions on a broad spectrum towards cannabis decriminalization, towards legalization, and that’s increasingly turning into a stance that more Republicans are amenable to,” Ocasio-Cortez stated.

Examples include her spending bill amendment to divert $5 million in funding from the Drug Enforcement Administration to an opioid treatment plan has been approved with no opposition in the House this past year, she stated. This shows the commitment that AOC supports cannabis legalization.

Blumenauer also stated that “part of why we’re fighting so strongly to get rid of the failed prohibition on marijuana is because that has been a tool that’s been used against people of color in particular that has horrible consequences and helps fuel that prison pipeline that has wreaked such havoc on our communities.”

Ocasio-Cortez explained that, beyond federally legalizing marijuana, it is important for lawmakers to make certain that any regulated markets which emerge are organized in a manner that encourages participation by communities hurt under prohibition. Considering AOC supports cannabis legalization on a federal level will have a big impact going into 2021.

Ocasio-Cortez said, “There are various ways that we may go about legalizing marijuana in America, and you can go about it in a manner that concentrates power in large agriculture, that concentrates power in large banks and that cuts out small mom and pops, and then there is another route towards cannabis legalization where regular people and especially the black and brown communities which have been disproportionately affected by the war on drugs can be in the front of enjoying the financial benefits of legalization.”

Watch the joint town hall with Reps Blumenauer and Ocasio-Cortez.

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Federal Cannabis Legalization in the Crosshairs After the U.S. Election

Federal Cannabis Legalization

Federal cannabis legalization could become a reality after the upcoming presidential election in November. Washington D.C. marijuana advocates are taking a hard look at what the post-legalization landscape would look like.

Many Washington D.C. trade institutions and nonprofits are predicting a bill to federally legalize cannabis could pass Congress in the near future if Joe Biden wins the presidential election and the democratic party controls the House and the Senate.

Randal Meyer, executive director of the International Alliance for Cannabis Commerce (GACC), said “If the Democrats do a clean sweep, then descheduling with interstate commerce is absolutely within the realm of possibility.”

Descheduling would be the best case scenario for federal cannabis legalization and would have the following impact immediately:

  • Legalizae cannabis federally
  • End 280E taxation restrictions
  • Open banking accessibility
  • Permit for interstate and worldwide cannabis trade

Steven Hawkins, the executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said, “Descheduling unlocks everything else, such as banking, relief on 280E, everything, It’s a stone that kills three birds.”

Meyer, a former staffer in the office of Kentucky Republican U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, said the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement, MORE Act “are the principal vehicle” if the Democrats do take the White House and the Senate, in part because it is already teed up in the House this year.

There are still many outcomes depending on how the upcoming elections pan out.

If, for example, Republicans retain control of the Senate or the White House, then the fallback strategy for several groups is to concentrate on piecemeal bills like the Secure And Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act. That piece of legislation would allow financial institutions to deal with cannabis-related companies without fear of governmental punishment.

But if Democrats are the majority winners this November, following the presumed passage of the MORE Act or legislation near to it, would turn into the regulatory framework that supports federal cannabis legalization.

GACC issued a 66-page draft of a bill which “ends cannabis prohibition and generates an all-encompassing regulatory framework” that would make it possible for states to take the lead and allow the U.S. FDA and the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau to manage interstate cannabis trade.

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) issued a 48-page white paper touting a similar approach, asserting that a “one-size-fits all” regulatory framework could be ineffective.

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Cory Booker Hammers Amy Coney Barrett on Cannabis Criminalization and War On Drugs

Cannabis Reform

Senator Cory Booker (Democrat-NJ) raised the problem of racial disparities in cannabis enforcement and the wider war on drugs during his questioning of Amy Coney Barrett, the Supreme Court nominee. Cory Booker is a strong advocate for cannabis reform, including decriminalization and dealing with the racial inequalities due to the War on Drugs, in the judicial system.

Booker stated, “The war on marijuana in 2017, there were more possession of marijuana arrests in America than all the violent crime arrests combined and they were disproportionately African American people.”

“My point is, you see an African American is not more likely to use marijuana, but they are more likely to be convicted of a felony for it in some three-to-four times compared to white people, I hope you can see that means they’re going to be more inclined to lose other rights and liberties that deeply affect their lives.”

“Their ability to vote, to raise their children when a parent has been placed in a position where today, because of the felony conviction for doing things which among their past 3 presidents admitted to doing, they can’t vote, they now can not get jobs, they now can not get business licenses,” Booker stated.

While Booker did not ask Barrett any particular questions on cannabis reform, the senator did inquire whether she has read any books or articles that delve into racial disparities in the criminal justice system. He explained “The New Jim Crow” by civil rights advocate Michelle Alexander for instance. The prospective justice replied that she could not remember having done any of this reading, however, during her academic career, did have regular discussions about the subject. Booker recommended the identical publication to now-Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his confirmation hearing in 2018. Also, during Wednesday’s hearing, the senator more widely discussed the racial inequities of the war on drugs, including marijuana conviction records.

Booker stated, “One of the best drivers of disparities in the justice system, I have worked with partners of mine on both sides of the aisle, is the war on drugs, which is in fact a war on black and brown folks due to the outrageous disparities.” “There is no difference between blacks and whites in the case of using drugs, as well as dealing drugs, but in America blacks are numerous times more likely to be arrested.”

He explained that significant sentencing disparities for crack versus powder cocaine is “among the most tragic examples” of how this issue has played out and needs to be at the forefront of cannabis reform.

Under this system, Booker said, “someone caught with the quantity of crack cocaine the size of a candy bar would get roughly the exact same sentence as someone caught with a briefcase filled with powder cocaine,” and it just so happened to be the case that black people were often arrested with the latter drug.

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New Zealand Cannabis Legalization Vote This Saturday

New Zealand Cannabis Legalization Vote

This upcoming Saturday, voters in New Zealand will vote on a nationwide referendum that would legalize the possession and use of marijuana by people 20 years old and older. The world population has been anxiously awaiting for the New Zealand cannabis legalization vote. If passed, the vote could make New Zealand just the third nation worldwide to legalize cannabis in the federal level. The first two being Uruguay and Canada.

The Cannabis Legislation and Control Bill will require New Zealand Parliament to set regulations and rules for  commercial sale and production of cannabis and products infused with cannabis. The measure would also allow adults at least 20 years old to buy up to 14 g of herbal cannabis each day. Home cultivation of around four marijuana plants per family would also be permitted under the ballot measure. Under current New Zealand law, the use of cannabis by adults is a crime punishable by up to 3 months in prison.

Last week, a group of New Zealand’s major public health professionals expressed their support for the New Zealand cannabis legalization vote on the referendum in an editorial printed in the New Zealand Medical Journal. Professor Michael Baker at the University of Otago, one of those health specialists who helped guide New Zealand’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, said that the country is a world leader in using “innovative and evidence-informed approaches” to addressing complex public health difficulties. Baker also stated, “It is time to take the identical fresh approach to cannabis law and put public health first.”

“Our prohibition position for cannabis is obsolete and does not work,” Baker added. “Supporting law reform is about reframing cannabis use as a health problem which opens up new, more effective methods of reducing effects caused by this drug.”

Public opinion polling on the referendum has shown a tight race for the New Zealand cannabis legalization vote, with one survey published last month showing that 49.5percent of respondents were in favor of legalization and 49.5percent were against, while 1 percent had no opinion.

Chief executive of Helius Theraputics biotechnology company, Paul Manning said, “The ‘yes’ vote has firmed up slightly, but it is still looking very close, with public opinion set to keep altering up until voting closes.” “Turn-out of 18- to 34-year-olds are also key. Young adults are the strongest supporters of the bill, but they also have the lowest intention and registration to vote.”

“Those wanting to find a yes vote needed to convince a fair number of individuals that their past prohibitionist views were incorrect,” he explained . “At the moment, it does not look like they’ve been able to do this and time really is running out.”

Helen Clark, former Prime Minister of the Labour Party, who currently serves as the chair of the Global Commission on Drug Policy, launched a publicity campaign calling on Republicans to support the legalization referendum.

Early voting for the October 17 election has already started. The vote was initially scheduled for September 19, but was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.