Marijuana businesses near the Oregon/Washington border are experiencing whats called the "border effect" due to inconsistencies in price between the two recreational markets. The idea is not new, as both states have experienced the same effect with alcohol and cigarettes, but some effected marijuana shops are seeing 50% less sales. It doesn't make sense to have such varying taxes so close to eachother as consumers will most likely go for the cheaper price. The black market is also an important factor in determining taxation and overall pricing as legal businesses must be able to compete in price or users will not have much incentive to change. Ultimately, states with the lowest taxes, he said, "will flood the rest of the country" with black market pot. "This is something that the two governors should be talking about hard," said Kleiman, a professor at New York University's Marron Institute of Urban Management. "It's crazy to have a big tax differential across a short border."
Pro-marijuana activists in Maine spent months gathering 99,229 signatures to bring the state's recreational marijuana initiative to vote this November. Last month, Maine's Secretary of State office disqualified nearly half of the signatures, dropping the amount of valid signatures below the needed 61,123. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol appealed the decision to disqualify the signatures and last week a judge supported their case, reinstating the signatures and once again qualifying the initiative for the ballot. If passed by voters in November, adults 21 and over would be able to purchase marijuana with a 10% tax, and smoking in public would remain illegal. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana like Alcohol, a national group advocating for the referendum, appealed the state's decision last month, saying that officials had disenfranchised tens of thousands of Maine voters based on a "handwriting technicality."
Due to it's historic stigma, marijuana has had very little official research performed, especially human trials. After a family in Israel tried many medications with no progress, they were astonished to see the positive reaction that cannabis oil brought to their baby boy. Suffering dozens of seizures a day, Lavie Parush was given medical cannabis in the form of CBD oil and his parents saw the difference immediately. It was only a few weeks later that the seizures had ceased completely, bringing hope to the grateful parents that they may one day be able to truly meet their son. "We saw a difference immediately and after a few weeks, we didn't see any seizures at all," Lavie's father Asaf Parush says. Other medicines didn't work, his father says or worse, caused severe side effects. Lavie has now been on medical cannabis for a year and a half.
The group Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol is still collecting signatures to bring recreational marijuana to the upcoming November ballot in Phoenix, AZ. The bill has yet to qualify for the ballot, let alone be voted on, but legislators are convinced it will pass so much so that they're already proposing heavier regulations ontop of the original bill. These changes would make it much harder for marijuana businesses to find a location due to stricter zoning laws, keeping them further from churches, residential areas, day-cares, homeless shelters and youth community centers. The city’s planning and development department is proposing stricter regulations for new dispensaries, cultivation sites and infusion facilities. Industry advocates say the changes would make it even more difficult to find locations where they could operate.
Alaska voters legalized recreational marijuana in 2014, but the state is still ironing through regulations before any marijuana businesses open. Legislators and business owners alike within the Mat-Su Burough have been patient with the slow progress towards opening day, but a new proposal would create a moratorium on marijuana businesses, keeping them from opening until after October. Once licenses are approved, many dispensaries and growers could be up and running by summer, but this potential moratorium on marijuana would stop them from opening on the possibility that October's vote would ban all marijuana businesses except industrial hemp. Word of a possible moratorium drew praise from marijuana business opponents, and disappointment from a few marijuana business supporters who attended Tuesday's assembly meeting. A possible moratorium would undo work by business owners who sought license applications specifically with the intention of operating before the vote, Miller said. Kowalke admits prospective entrepreneurs are likely to feel betrayed, and said he should have proposed a moratorium sooner.
Clarkston could be the first city in Georgia to decriminalize less than 1 oz of marijuana after a new policy was introduced within city council. Mayor Ted Terry heavily supports this bill as he sees that the war on drugs was not only a failure, but has caused much more damage than the drug ever could have. The mayor wants to see marijuana possession treated like a traffic ticket, and the current proposal stands at a $5 fine. “This is still a controversial issue. At some point it’s going to take a city council, county commission, mayor or elected officials to step up and do something,” he said. “It’s obvious the war on drugs has been a failure.” “I don’t want our police officers to spend their time worrying about low-level nonviolent drug offenses. I’m more concerned about stopping violent crime and burglaries in Clarkston,” he said.
The City Council of Antioch, California voted in January to ban all marijuana cultivation within city limits. Antioch tokers will be forced to commute to a city with dispensaries. A pro-marijuana group is suing the East Bay for trying to ban medical marijuana home grows for medical marijuana patients. According to Podein, Patient J.K. is an Antioch resident who suffers from HIV, hepatitis C and post-traumatic stress disorder, and was using marijuana to deal with those illnesses and the side effects of other medication. ...and is asking a judge to overturn a part of the law that prohibits a medical marijuana patient from growing pot for personal use.
To anyone who has smoked or just googled marijuana, it's clear that marijuana is less harmful than the legal and lethal drugs, alcohol and tobacco. Marijuana is still considered a Schedule 1 drug next to heroin and LSD, meaning it has "no medical value and high potential for abuse". 23 states in the US would disagree with saying pot has "no medical value" as their medical marijuana systems are not only bringing relief to patients in need, but the states are also racking up considerable tax revenue. The DEA, not doctors or scientists, will be deciding if marijuana should be rescheduled within the next few months. If moved down to Schedule 2, with cocaine, cannabis would still remain federally illegal while also lifting many of the bans and prohibition on new research for medical marijuana. Should the DEA decide to reschedule marijuana, bumping it down with supposedly less dangerous drugs such as cocaine (Schedule 2) or ketamine (Schedule 3), the move would likely open the door for expanded research of cannabis’ potential for medical applications.
After several votes within the city council, the fine of $300 for possessing under 30 grams of marijuana has been lowered down to $50 in Urbana, IL. Citizens of Urbana, like in many places, feel there is a disparity in race when it comes to those being caught and penalized with marijuana, and the city council hopes to curb the problem by lowering the fine. One council member who is running for the state senate, Mike Madigan, wants to draft a resolution asking the state to decriminalize/legalize, as he sees the state having governing power over the city. "I think we've done a lot of good work to try to equalize the effect on disadvantaged people. I don't see any reason to muck around with it or split hairs on different amounts," Roberts said. Brian Dolinar of CU Citizens for Peace and Justice said he was glad to see the council take action and hopes that this is the first change of many. "This is just one small measure to put a dent in those disparities, but nevertheless a significant one," Dolinar said.
The City Council of Pittsburgh made the final vote today to decriminalize the possession of under 30 grams of marijuana, making it a summary offense punishable by a fine of $25 instead of a misdemeanor carrying 30 days in jail and a $500 fine. If users are caught smoking in public they can be fined $100. Pittsburgh's Mayor, Bill Peduto, will have 10 days to sign the ordinance into law. Summaries can be expunged in five years if the defendant is convicted and do not require the defendant to be fingerprinted or to appear at a preliminary hearing. “This is a small step — but an important step — in helping young men who may have a small amount of marijuana on them, not be entered into the criminal justice system,” Councilman Ricky Burgess said before the vote this morning.
A new proposal in the Dever City Council, if passed, would prohibit any more new medical marijuana shops or grow operations. The bill would place a cap on the number of marijuana businesses in the city, meaning more marijuana businesses will be allowed only if others close first. Future marijuana businesses who have already submitted applications for permits and licensing will be included in the cap and allowed to open if their applications are approved. Any new marijuana business location will be required to be 1,000ft away from schools, child care centers, drug treatment facilities, and other marijuana shops, while currently open marijuana businesses will be allowed to stay. Rather than impose an extended moratorium, the proposal would place caps on the number of marijuana businesses in Denver, which means that new businesses could form as existing businesses close or move out of Denver, as long as the city stays under its overall cap. Also included in the cap as proposed are those businesses for which owners have already submitted permitting and licensure applications, for both medical and recreational, if the applications are approved.
Legal marijuana businesses allover the country have to take a hit on a lot of normal business practices, like being able to take credit cards, storing money in banks, and even using a simple point-of-sale (POS) system, for the sole reason that marijuana is federally illegal and these other businesses are afraid to be associated with that. The bright side is this isolation leaves a vast array of markets open for development. A newer company like Meadow is hoping to take care of the needs of the marijuana industry one at a time with their videochat-with-a-doctor service to become a prescribed patient in an hour, a delivery service, and even their new and efficient POS system for dispensaries to move into the 21st century. For in-store purchases, Meadow also makes an iPad-based point-of-sale system similar to Square POS or Revel, but designed for compliance with medical marijuana laws that require strict tracking of how much pot gets sold to whom. Its analytics show which products are bought most, and helps stores manage inventory so they never run out of what’s selling. Hua relays rumors of Intuit and Square giving marijuana businesses a hard time or even kicking them off their services. So Meadow plans to use its new cash to keep expanding its monthly fee SAAS platform, and assist dispensaries with more of their finance, payroll and other back office problems.