The Washington Post reported it was changed to this:
"Because of conflicting laws concerning marijuana, both on the federal and state levels, we encourage the federal government to remove marijuana from its list as a Class 1 Federal Controlled Substance, providing a reasoned pathway for future legalization."
Could GMO marijuana be next? Scotts Miracle-Gro exec Jim Hagedorn is looking internationally for ways to pursue product development and cannabis research
Published: Jul 6, 2016, 4:04 pm •
A lord of lawn-and-garden isn’t backing down from his plans for building a billion-dollar business in the legal weed market.
In fact, he’s going full throttle on those efforts.
Jim Hagedorn, the CEO of Scotts Miracle-Gro Co., has flown in the face of his company’s board by wanting to target cannabis growers as customers.
Hagedorn recently spoke in-depth with Forbes about his vision for capitalizing on cannabis.
“It is the biggest thing I’ve ever seen in lawn and garden,” Hagedorn told Forbes reporter Dan Alexander.
While piloting his private jet named the “F-bomb,” the executive and former F16 fighter pilot who calls himself an “acquired taste” talked of his plans to invest $500 million in the marijuana industry, according to Forbes:
Hagedorn is backing up his big talk with serious cash. He shelled out $135 million last year on two California-based businesses that sell fertilizers, soils and accessories to pot growers, recently spent another $120 million on a still-undisclosed lighting and hydroponics equipment company in Amsterdam and promises to invest about another $150 million by the end of 2016. Altogether, the deals are bigger than the largest single acquisition in the history of Scotts Miracle-Gro, which takes in $160 million of profit on $3 billion in sales annually.
“For a lot of conventional companies, I don’t think they’d want to take the risk,” says Hagedorn, a short, bald 60-year-old with sharp blue eyes. “I mean I’ve talked to some other friends and CEOs who basically shake their head.”
The marijuana industry’s waters remain plenty murky for some: Cannabis continues to be classified as a Schedule I drug, deeming it illegal on the federal level.
But the rewards of getting in on the ground floor of an industry that is gaining acceptance among a growing number of states, ultimately could outstrip the risks. Amid reports in 2015 that Scotts had acquired a hydroponics company, Leslie Bocskor, legalization advocate and managing partner of Electrum Partners, told Bloomberg:
“Scotts can find themselves having the biggest growth they’ve experienced in decades coming from the nascent home-grow industry,” Bocskor said. “It’s a very smart play.”
And that play could very well go beyond hydroponics and into areas such as fertilizers, pesticides and even genetically-modified cannabis strains, according to Forbes:
Hagedorn has not given up on growing his own marijuana, either. He is already looking into foreign markets like Israel, Canada and Jamaica, where Scotts might be able to legally set up labs to test its products and conduct cannabis research. Hagedorn’s most eye-opening idea: someday expanding the company’s research on genetics into cannabis to create GMO marijuana. Showing an ounce of restraint, he says he is not ready to run that idea by the company’s directors — yet.
2016 has already been a monumental year for the medical cannabis industry as three separate Phase 3 clinical studies focused on products derived from cannabis have yielded positive results. At this time, we may see a watershed event that will profoundly impact the industry.
The DEA and FDA classify cannabis as a Schedule I substance, which places it in the same category as heroin, LSD, ecstasy, and peyote.
Data Disagrees with DEA
The Schedule I category is reserved for substances that have the highest potential for abuse, that have no accepted medical use, and that cannot be used safely even under medical supervision.
A substance needs to possess all three traits to be classified as a Schedule I substance and it is obvious that cannabis does not meet any of those criteria, let alone all three.
Are the Rumors True?
There have been a number of stories floating around about the DEA and its plans to reschedule cannabis during the first half of 2016.
A few months ago, the DEA responded to questions from members of Congress and said it hopes to announce its decision about cannabis’ classification in the first half of 2016. As much as we wish these rumors were true, the first half of the year ended and cannabis is still a Schedule 1 substance.
Although this news is exciting, DEA spokesman Rusty Payne told Vice News that it does not have a timeline on the decision. The government works on its own schedule and would typically be the last to jump on the bandwagon.
Evidence is Insurmountable
In our view, the decision to reschedule cannabis is clear cut. Earlier this week, Insys Therapeutics (INSY) announced that the FDA approved its orally-administered treatment for anorexia associated with weight loss in AIDS patients, and for nausea associated with chemotherapy. The treatment, Syndros, is a liquid formulation of the pharmaceutical cannabinoid dronabinol, a pharmaceutical version of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
Last week, GW Pharmaceuticals plc (GWPH) reported positive results of the first Phase 3 clinical trial of Epidiolex for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome (LGS). On average, the patients taking Epidiolex saw a decrease in monthly drop seizures of 44% compared with a reduction of 22% in patients receiving a placebo.
These positive results come less than a few months after GWPH reported positive data from a Phase 3 trial of Epidiolex for the treatment of Dravet syndrome. Epidiolex was accorded Orphan Drug Designation by the FDA for the treatment of LGS and Dravet syndrome.
Not Enough Positive Data for You?
If the results reported by Insys and GW did not provide enough evidence to support the claim that cannabis has medical benefits, Zynerba Pharmaceuticals (ZYNE) also reported positive data in late June from a Phase 1 clinical trial for its cannabis-based treatment of epilepsy, osteoarthritis, and Fragile X Syndrome.
Not only has the amount of medical data supporting cannabis grown but support from high ranking individuals and organizations has also increased.
•Years ago, a National Institute of Health panel determined that smoking marijuana could help treat a number of chronic conditions including pain and nausea. The panel also said that marijuana could help people who failed to respond to other remedies.
•Sanjay Gupta, CNN's medical guru and a renowned neurosurgeon, once spoke out against the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. Two years ago he wrote an article called, Why I Changed my Mind on Weed, in which he apologized for his previously negative stance toward marijuana. Dr. Gupta said that further research convinced him that he was simply wrong.
•In their April 2015 publication, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported that marijuana can kill certain cancer cells.
•Last year, Surgeon General Vivek Murthy appeared on CBS This Morning and said, we have some preliminary data showing that for certain medical conditions and symptoms, marijuana can be helpful. He also said added, I think that we have to use that data to drive policymaking.
Although the opinions of the Surgeon General, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the National Institute of Health were not enough to remove cannabis from its Schedule I classification, recent clinical evidence is hard to ignore.
Where to Find Value
The rescheduling of cannabis will serve as a major catalyst for the cannabis sector and this has created countless investing and trading opportunities for investors today.
Despite my optimism, investors must approach this sector carefully and have a strategy before investing. We would recommend targeting companies like GWPH, INSY and ZYNE, as long-term investments. These companies would be very attractive takeout candidates for big pharma businesses that want to enter the legal cannabis industry.
We also see value in certain OTC traded cannabis stocks as they too represent takeout opportunities. We would focus on companies that are levered to the biotech sector, that own valuable intellectual property, or that fill a specific and growing niche.
Some stocks to look at include MassRoots (MSRT), Terra Tech Corp (TRTC), CV Sciences (CVSI), Aurora Cannabis Inc. (ACB.CN) (ACBFF), Canopy Growth Corporation (CGC.V) (TWMJF), OrganiGram (OGI.V) (OGRMF), Medical Marijuana Inc. (MJNA), just to name a few!
California, a huge state with huge influence, could be crucial in national debate
Among the regulations legalization in California might help ease is the banking ban
Would a vote to legalize pot in nation’s largest state move Sen. Dianne Feinstein?
When Lynette Davies, co-operator of the Canna Care medical marijuana dispensary in Sacramento, pays her California taxes she needs to haul a bag with $20,000 in cash to the state tax office.
“That’s really unsafe for me, and it’s unsafe for my employees to have this cash in the store,” said Davies, whose business is legal under state law as a result of California’s 1996 vote on the use of medical marijuana. “All because the banks that want to bank with us can’t.”
Marijuana advocates are counting on Californians to vote to legalize recreational weed this fall, bringing pressure on Congress to end anti-pot policies that include federal obstruction of banks doing business with the industry. California is nearly six times larger than any other state that has legalized pot for recreational use, and its potential cannabis market has been estimated at nearly $7 billion.
“You’re talking about the largest state with the largest population and therefore the most members of Congress,” said Mason Tvert, communications director for the Marijuana Policy Project, a group that lobbies for pot legislation. “It would have a ripple effect that impacts the entire nation.”
The pot industry, though, has an outspoken opponent in Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, who opposes the legalization initiative and voted last month against giving the industry access to the banking system.
California is the sixth largest economy in the world. This is not some small experiment. This would be a major state making a clear decision to create a regulated market.
Taylor West, deputy director, National Cannabis Industry Association
Financial institutions won’t work with marijuana businesses because weed remains illegal under federal law. Some marijuana businesses manage to put together quiet relationships with small banks or credit unions, but generally financial institutions want nothing to do with the onerous federal reporting requirements that come with doing business with a pot dispensary.
Pot businesses often are forced to pay employees in cash and cannot get startup or expansion loans.
“It’s so hard because we have to deal with huge amounts of cash,” said Davies, who sells medical marijuana in Sacramento. “Every day I have to go out and get money orders to pay my bills.”
Taylor West, deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association, is hopeful that a California vote this fall to legalize marijuana for recreational use will convince Congress to loosen the rules.
“California is the sixth largest economy in the world,” she said. “This is not some small experiment. This would be a major state making a clear decision to create a regulated market.”
Feinstein was the only Democrat to vote against an amendment in the Senate Appropriations Committee last month that sought to forbid the use of federal funds to penalize financial institutions that work with marijuana enterprises operating legally under state laws. The amendment passed, but a similar effort in the House of Representatives failed, making its future uncertain.
Feinstein’s office said in response to questions that she wouldn’t support changing the federal banking laws without more understanding of the effect of state marijuana laws on issues such as driving under the influence and safeguards to prevent youth access.
“It’s one of those things where the people are always going to be ahead of the politicians on this issue.
Robert Capecchi, who works on federal issues for the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, said he hoped Feinstein’s views would soften if California voted this fall to legalize adult recreational use. He said he hadn’t expected California’s senior senator to be so opposed to marijuana legalization, given her state’s attitude toward weed.
“That surprised me when I started doing the federal stuff over here that we didn’t have a chance with Feinstein,” he said adding that “we would certainly welcome Sen. Feinstein’s evolution on the issue.”
The California Legislature passed a resolution last year urging Congress to allow financial institutions to work with marijuana businesses without fear of reprisal. The resolution was sponsored by California’s Board of Equalization, which oversees the collection of state taxes and fees.
The biggest issue, said Board of Equalization member George Runner, is the danger of so much cash.
There have been repeated incidents of violence, including the horrific torture of the owner of a Newport Beach medical marijuana dispensary whose kidnappers thought he’d stashed cash in the Mojave Desert.
Runner said forcing businesses to operate in cash also made it difficult for the state to prove how much tax they owed. If California legalizes recreational marijuana this fall, he said, there will be a lot more pot businesses in the state, and they’ll be forced to operate in cash.
“In my opinion both the violence and the lack of compliance to collect the proper amount of tax will increase,” he said.
John Hudak, who studies marijuana policy at the Washington-based Brookings Institution research center, isn’t sure what the impact of California legalization would be. He notes that the states where recreational marijuana is now legal – Washington, Oregon, Colorado and Alaska – aren’t big enough markets for the banking industry to pick a fight with the feds.
California could change the game, however. “If the California market booms there will become a point where the financial services sector will look at that and say, ‘Hey, we can make some money here,’ ” Hudak said.
Big banks will win if they decide to work with the marijuana industry and dare the feds to intervene, he said.
“Bank of America or somebody just might do it, and play a game of chicken with the Federal Reserve,” he said. “As we’ve seen the past few years, the government is not in the business of putting bankers in jail.”
In the United States, costs of prescription drugs continue to soar. While this puts an additional burden on many Americans, the older generation may be feeling it the worst.
One factor, however, is leading costs to actually drop: The legalization of medicinal marijuana. Research released by Health Affairs this week claim that since legalization of the medical use of the drug in several states, costs to Medicare Part D have dropped.
Medicare Part D focuses on drug costs for those apart of the program; patients must opt in and pay a premium for their prescriptions rather than individualized costs.
Doctors may recommend #$%$ to treat symptoms like chronic pain, depression or anxiety. It may be used as a replacement for antidepressants and painkillers. Because the demand for those drugs has decreased as patients opt for marijuana for treatment, costs have declined.
#$%$ is now legal in 25 states and Washington DC. The latest states to allow the drug are Ohio and Pennsylvania, which passed laws just this year. It may come to a vote in Florida and Missouri this November.
The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court said in an opinion Wednesday that a proposed ballot question legalizing marijuana can proceed to the November 2016 ballot.
A group of 57 voters, including Westborough's Josephine Hensley as the lead plaintiff, argued in a lawsuit that the court should knock down the question.
They said the ballot question was improperly certified by Attorney General Maura Healey because it contains two unrelated subjects: the legalization of marijuana for adult use and a potential change to the state's medical marijuana treatment centers.
The group also argued the ballot question summary, crafted by Healey's office and used by proponents to gather voter signatures, was unfair because it did not fully explain the ballot question would legalize "hashish" and food products containing THC, also known as marijuana edibles.
But the court allowed ballot question to go ahead and said that all marijuana includes THC. But the court added that the title should be changed as well as a statement that voters will see when they receive the ballot. The statement should include the term "edibles," the court said.
The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, which is behind the ballot question legalizing marijuana, claimed victory in a statement issued after the court ruling, saying the voters of Massachusetts will have "the opportunity to make their voices heard about legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana, an approach that is working in Colorado and other states and will work in Massachusetts."
The pro-marijuana campaign also noted that the SJC called on the attorney general and Massachusetts elections chief Bill Galvin to tweak the title of the ballot question, which is currently "Marijuana Legalization."
The court ordered that the title of the measure should be changed to "Legalization, Regulation, and Taxation of Marijuana," which the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said "accurately reflects the intent of our initiative." The campaign had asked the court to okay the change.
The attorney for Hensley's anti-marijuana legalization group did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
The Safe and Healthy Massachusetts Campaign, which opposes the ballot question, also claimed victory, citing the court's mention of marijuana edibles in its decision.
"We are pleased the SJC has recognized that this ballot question would usher in an entirely new marijuana edibles market and that voters must be informed of that fact," said Corey Welford, a spokesman for the effort. "Under this proposal, the Marijuana Industry would be allowed to promote and sell these highly potent products, in the form of gummy bears and other candies, that are a particular risk for accidental use by kids."
On Tuesday, the Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol said they had gathered enough voter signatures to make it onto the 2016 ballot. Galvin's office must validate the signatures, which the campaign said number at over 25,000.
"We received a clear message from voters who signed the initiative: It is time to regulate and tax marijuana in Massachusetts," Kim Napoli, a campaign outreach coordinator, said in a statement.
Both US coasts are a lot more progressive than the rest of the country. Recreation legalization will spread over most of the USA.
Boston, MA - Today marks the deadline to get questions on the ballot in November 2016, and a group promoting marijuana legalization believes it has sufficient signatures and then some.
The Massachusetts Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol announced this week, "On Wednesday we're going to turn in the remainder of the more than 25,000 signatures we collected over the last six weeks!"
A minimum of 10,792 signatures is needed to make the November ballot, and more than doubling that count effectively assures the campaign will have enough validated signatures to proceed with its ballot initiative.
The push follows four years after Massachusetts legalized medical marijuana, a slow-rolling process that so far has certified only a handful of dispensaries. Politicians including Gov. Charlie Baker have pushed back at the prospect of further expanding those offerings, opposition bolstered by an incident this spring that resulted in the death of a state trooper by a driver allegedly under the influence of marijuana.
Assuming the question makes it to the ballot, voters will be asked whether they support the legalization of marijuana for recreational use.
The proposed bill behind the ballot initiative lays out the taxation and other policy pieces. It outlines a graduated licensing process that, among other things, caps retailers, marijuana product manufacturers and cultivators at 75 each. As proposed, the act would take effect in December of this year, create a regulating body called the "cannabis control commission" and begin issuing retail licenses in October 2017, beginning with current medical marijuana facilities. That means sales would likely start no sooner than 2018, and that's assuming the state Legislature doesn't prolong the process.
Penalties, as outlined in the bill, echo those in place for alcohol and/or tobacco. Like alcohol, sales would be restricted to people 21 and older. Home-growing would be allowed, with limitations, and smoking would be prohibited in public places and other locations where cigarette use is already banned.
The deadline for signatures is today, and the question will appear on the Nov. 8 ballot.
California's Adult Use of Marijuana Act could have ramifications far beyond the state's borders
Last week California's pot legalization initiative, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, qualified for the ballot in November, setting the stage for a vote that will have ramifications far beyond California's borders.
There are several reasons why if the AUMA passes, it will make California the heaviest domino to fall in the nationwide effort to legalize marijuana, the most obvious being the state's size and the sheer number of people who would have access to legal weed. One in 10 Americans lives in California, while the Los Angeles basin alone is home to more people than Colorado, Oregon, Washington and Alaska — the four states that have so far legalized adult use marijuana — combined. California also has the sixth largest economy in the world, allowing the rest of the country to draw solid conclusions about the financial impact of legalization.
The Golden State is also known as a trendsetter with the power to break down stereotypes. Having pioneered medical marijuana in 1996, California is a leading exporter of cannabis policy and culture. If California legalizes, the way it goes about doing so will set a standard going forward for other local and national governments to follow.
"It really is the state that wags the tail of the nation, so if California's 55 senators and representatives in Congress were to be in favor of legalization, then it would be a total dynamic change," says Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, or NORML. Other states like Colorado and Washington give us models of how legalization can look, he continues, "but none of them has enough national sway so as to be the template for the rest of the country where possible."
California influences other states, as well the federal government. "We see California as a tipping point to end federal prohibition," says Lynne Lyman, California state director for the Drug Policy Alliance. If legalization passes, overnight a plurality of the United States population will reside within cannabis-legal states, and the federal government will be forced to reckon with the "marijuana question," she says. Moreover, California can make the biggest difference in regard to international drug cartels, especially in Mexico. "Colorado has begun to undermine the marijuana cartels, but I think [legalization] in California might cut their legs out from under them," Lyman adds.
California will become the new "gold standard" for legalization, she says. Other states can look to California for guidance on cannabis revenue allocation, community assessment, environmental protection, anti-monopoly provisions, drug education for juvenile possession of cannabis, expunging marijuana convictions and banning regulators from denying licenses to those with prior drug felonies.
First and foremost, the AUMA would legalize cannabis for adults 21 and older. In doing so, it would also herald a new economic program to offset the effects of prohibition and the Drug War. If passed, the measure would impose a 15 percent retail tax on cannabis, projected to generate up to $1 billion in revenue, as well as $100 million annual savings, to fund public university research on legalization ($10 million), DUI protocols ($3 million), medical cannabis research ($2 million) and support for communities most devastated by the Drug War ($50 million over five years). Everything left over would go to environmental cleanup from illegal grows (20 percent), law enforcement (20 percent) and youth drug prevention, treatment and education (60 percent).
The initiative would set up 19 different kinds of licenses for various sized growing operations, retailers and small-scale micro-businesses, such as "bud-and-breakfasts" with an on-site grow operations. Licenses for the largest scale cultivators would be banned for the initial five years of the program to offset immediate monopoly interests.
Additionally, people with prior marijuana convictions could petition to reduce or expunge them from their records — no matter whether they are still in jail, on probation or parole, or have already finished their sentences.
"We see 2016 in some ways as potentially the last year where social justice drug policy reforms are leading the marijuana legalization battle, as this becomes a full-fledged industry," says Lyman. Capitalist motives could take charge, pushing socially conscious policy to the sidelines.
If the AUMA fails, however, activists worry it could have a depressing effect on other legalization efforts and extend the end of prohibition. "Having California lose would be a tremendous setback," says Lyman. "We cannot afford to lose."
Yet, while polls show that a 60-percent majority of Californians favor legal marijuana, the state is rife with debate over what that should look like. For the past 20 years, California has enjoyed a lenient, highly unregulated, untaxed medical marijuana program. For a handful of activists who have fought long and hard to legalize cannabis, the AUMA is far from perfect. "The higher the taxes and the tougher the regulations, more people could be inclined to stay in the underground market," says Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML. Some jurisdictions are even considering marijuana taxes over 15 percent, such as 20 percent in Santa Barbara.
So while some Californians fear over-regulation, citing how easy it already is to obtain tax-free medical marijuana, Lyman says medical and decriminalized cannabis don't go far enough. "Marijuana is only practically legal for white people. If you are brown or black, you're still getting arrested or getting an infraction, despite medical and decriminalization," she says. California still sees over 13,000 felony arrests per year for marijuana, mostly targeting black and Latino young men. America overall sees about 750,000 annual arrests for marijuana.
Others, however, reject legalization as the end-all-be-all in the debate. "When I see what's going on in places like Colorado, we're foolishly going down the path of creating another Big Tobacco. The idea that we would think of legalization as a public-health success is misguided unless you're in the business of making money off addiction. That's what this is about: money," says anti-legalization activist Kevin Sabet, founder of Smart Approaches to Marijuana. Legalization isn't about mom-and-pop pot stores, Sabet says. "It's about, in the words of one 'ganjapreneur,' creating 'the Wal-Mart of Marijuana.'"
Nonetheless, the industrialization of cannabis is inevitable and has already taken root across the country. "If the regulation [in California] is successful, it will be a validation point for the industry. However, if it fails due to overregulation, opponents to legalization will use it as an example of why cannabis for adult use should remain illegal," says Derek Peterson, CEO of Terra Tech, a cannabis agriculture company. "All eyes will be on the passage [of the AUMA], but more importantly, over time, the success or failure will be measured and used to either further or halt any national progress."
Legalization in California opens up a conversation at national and international levels, says Chris Conrad, a court-qualified expert witness on marijuana, author and activist influential in shaping California's medical marijuana laws. Even if the AUMA isn't perfect, it's a starting point from which California and the nation can continue to see progress. "The initiative allows for more changes and improvements. Look at all this progress we made with marijuana illegal. Just think of what we can do when it's legal," he says.
Conrad points out that if California legalizes, the entire American West Coast from Alaska through Baja will have legal marijuana. (Canada will likely legalize in 2017, too.) "That's a huge chunk of the country, and it sends a message to the rest of the world that it's OK to do this," says Conrad. "Once California legalizes marijuana, people will say it's done. Remember we came from zero tolerance, and now we're talking about how much marijuana should a person be able to carry around legally. I think it's time to cash in some chips. It's a deal-breaker for the Drug War."
WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwired - July 05, 2016) - New Frontier, the cannabis Big Data and analytics authority, in partnership with Arcview Market Research, the leading publisher of cannabis market research has released its 2016 Nevada Legal Cannabis Market State Profile, which shows the potential growth of the adult use market if Nevada voters choose to legalize adult use cannabis in November. Over the next four years, Arcview Market Research's official market projection is that annual legal cannabis sales will grow at a compound annual growth rate of 51%; from $121.6 million in 2016 to an estimated $630 million by 2020.
"If Nevada legalizes adult use cannabis, we will witness an unprecedented socio-economic impact in a state already shaped and fueled by tourism and entertainment," said Giadha DeCarcer, Founder and CEO of New Frontier. "The scale of the impact is expected to be massive -- by 2020, adult use markets are projected to add an additional $484.3 million in annual sales, and account for almost three quarters of the total legal cannabis market in Nevada."
"2016 is poised to be the tipping point for the cannabis industry. Nevada is just the beginning of the significant opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs that lay ahead in the sector, especially given its top tourist destination rank," said Troy Dayton, CEO of The Arcview Group.
The initiative to regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol in Nevada will appear on the November 2016 ballot. If the measure passes, Nevada will join Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia as the only markets that have passed full medical and adult use cannabis laws.
Nevada's population is just under 3 million residents, leading to a relatively small resident consumer market. However, over 55 million tourists visited Nevada in 2015, and the state's medical marijuana reciprocity laws allow nonresident patients to purchase cannabis products while visiting the state. Nevada's experience managing world-class recreational experiences will create exciting opportunities to integrate cannabis into the state's rich hospitality and entertainment portfolio. If adult use legalization passes, a significant portion of all legal sales in the state are projected to come from tourists, and for many domestic and international travelers, Nevada will be their first experience in a market where adult use of cannabis is legal.
There is no guarantee California will vote to legalize recreational marijuana in November, but political operative and father of four Daniel Conway has already staked his future on it.
Conway left his job as chief of staff to Sacramento’s celebrity mayor, former Phoenix Suns NBA basketball star Kevin Johnson, to help start the marijuana investment company Truth Enterprises.
He is one of hundreds in the most populous U.S. state already pushing ahead with plans to enter a market experts say will be worth $4 billion by 2020.
“I’m someone of an age and of a demographic that sees the legalization and normalization of marijuana as inevitable,” said Conway, 35. “This was a chance not just to build companies but to build an industry.”
With a population of nearly 40 million people, and a thriving medical marijuana trade legalized 20 years ago, California already has the United States’ largest legal marijuana market. Legalization of recreational pot would generate an estimated $1 billion in additional taxes per year.
If voters in November approve a measure to legalize and tax marijuana that qualified last Tuesday for the ballot, California would be the fifth U.S. state—and by far the largest—to allow marijuana for recreational use, joining Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska, as well as the District of Columbia.
A similar ballot initiative failed in California in 2010, but recent polls show strong support for legalization. The latest effort is backed by mainstream leaders including Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, who helped negotiate the regulations and taxes it would impose.
Eight other states, including Nevada and Maine, also have recreational or medical marijuana proposals headed for their 2016 ballots. California’s sheer size as the world’s 6th largest economy means a decision by its voters to legalize marijuana could accelerate the trend elsewhere.
“I don’t believe there will be any precedent in the United States that can compare to it except for maybe the Gold Rush,” said Leslie Bocskor, whose Nevada-based private equity firm, Electrum Partners, advises and invests in marijuana-related businesses.
The lure of wealth in an uncharted industry is so great that thousands of people are jostling for position, said Bocskor.
Since January, 115 new California companies have joined the National Cannabis Industry Association, bringing total membership in the state to 330, said Deputy Director Taylor West.
New companies include cultivators, dispensaries, laboratories, law partnerships, accountants, software developers, insurers and more, she said.
Their challenge is to set up an infrastructure for a business that is not yet legal. Conway and his business partner, General Hydroponics CEO Ross Haley, for example, recently purchased farmland in Northern California that they hope to use to grow marijuana but would not say where before the measure is passed.
Newport Beach-based Terra Tech is trying to prepare for recreational sales while building a legal business within the state’s medical marijuana marketplace, which has annual sales of $2.7 billion.
The company spent more than $800,000 designing and remodeling its Oakland dispensary to look more like a high-end lounge than a drab medical clinic, said CEO Derek Peterson. It also developed colorful packaging for its marijuana instead of dispensing it in prescription bottles.
Despite such optimism, passage of the California measure is not certain. It is opposed by many of the same law enforcement and health care groups who helped defeat the 2010 initiative.
But this time backers have the deep pockets of former Facebook president Sean Parker, support from Newsom—a Democrat expected to run for governor in 2018—and a switch in attitude among voters who saw legalization come on line in other states.
The measure would allow adults age 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana, cultivate up to six plants and sets rules for commercial cultivation, manufacture and sale. It includes rules aimed at keeping cannabis products from children, preventing impaired driving and requiring licenses for sellers.
Newsom said he is backing it as a way to responsibly manage legalization, which he views as inevitable but necessary to handle carefully.
“As a guy with four kids, who doesn’t like the drug, doesn’t like the smell, doesn’t want my kids to think it’s normalized, this is my number one concern,” Newsom said.
you are another one, except you talk "funny". Coming up on the 4th of July and you are not from around here.
Here's the info on the Maryland application - MediFarm Maryland LLC
Also applied to sell and process
This team includes James Ronald DeJuliis, a former top state labor regulator.
Guy John Matricciani, Jr., Chief executive
Guy John Matricciani Jr.
Linda Lou Gray
Frederick L. Matusky
James Ronald DeJuliis
Michael C. James
TRTC has a former top state labor regulator on board. It helps to know people in high places, just sayin'.
MediFarm Maryland LLC
Also applied to sell and process
This team includes James Ronald DeJuliis, a former top state labor regulator.
Guy John Matricciani, Jr., Chief executive
Guy John Matricciani Jr.
Linda Lou Gray
Frederick L. Matusky
James Ronald DeJuliis
Michael C. James