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before_its_news 199 posts  |  Last Activity: May 27, 2016 12:31 PM Member since: Aug 7, 2012
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  • A group of 125 prominent scientists, doctors and medical ethicists released a letter calling for this summer's Olympic Games to be postponed or moved from Rio de Janeiro due to the ongoing Zika virus outbreak in Brazil.

    In a letter directed to World Health Organization Director Dr. Margaret Chan, the group said that new findings about the Zika virus should result in the games being moved or postponed to safeguard the thousands of athletes, staff and reporters scheduled to attend the games.

    "Currently, many athletes, delegations, and journalists are struggling with the decision of whether to participate in the Rio 2016 Games," the group wrote. "We agree with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommendation that workers should 'Consider delaying travel to areas with active Zika virus transmission'. If that advice were followed uniformly, no athlete would have to choose between risking disease and participating in a competition that many have trained for their whole lives."

    Mosquito-Born Zika Virus Linked to Birth Defects
    Experts Explain Key to Stopping Zika Virus From Spreading
    New information about the Zika virus was cited by the group in the letter as an additional reason to postpone or move the games. The disease has been found to cause the birth defect microcephaly in pregnant women and has also been linked to an immunological reaction called Guillain-Barré syndrome.

    "That while Zika’s risk to any single individual is low, the risk to a population is undeniably high. Currently, Brazil’s government reports 120,000 probable Zika cases, and 1,300 confirmed cases of microcephaly (with another 3,300 under investigation), which is above the historical level of microcephaly," the group said.

    The group of experts also pointed out that current mosquito-killing programs in Rio were ineffective and that when they looked at dengue fever, which is spread by the same mosquitoes that spread Zika virus, the infections were up markedly in 2016 compared to the previous two years.

    The group also claimed the WHO had a conflict of interest due to a decades-long partnership with the International Olympic Committee and said previous statements by WHO officials have been "troubling."

    "To prejudge that 'there's not going to be a lot of problems,' before reviewing this evidence [on Zika virus effects] is extremely inappropriate of WHO, and suggests that a change in leadership may be required to restore WHO's credibility," the group wrote.

    The WHO and the International Olympic Committee did not immediately respond to ABC News' requests for comment.

    Art Caplan, director of the NYU Division of Medical Ethics and co-author of the letter, told ABC News that the group was not alleging any wrongdoing by the WHO or IOC but wanted to bring up these issues to spark a dialogue about the risks involved and encourage health officials unrelated to the Olympics to weigh in.

    "What we’re really focused on is can we have transparent, open, frank, televised, out-in-the-open discussion with experts" unconnected to the Olympics, Caplan said. "We think WHO is close to the IOC. ... They work together a lot."

    The big fear, Caplan said, is that the giant sporting event will enable the transmission of the virus through infected travelers to other parts of the globe that have yet to be affected by the disease.

    "We’re worried about bringing the mosquito back to places it isn’t, like India," Caplan aid. "You have people who will be infected and ... there are people literally coming from everywhere."

    Earlier this month, the director of the WHO addressed Zika virus fears amid the Olympics, saying the WHO would not call for the games to be moved but that they were using a "targeted approach" to decrease transmission and warning those most at risk not to visit the country.

    "I do share the concern of some athletes and travelers and, as I said, it is very much an individual decision," Chan said at the time. "The role of WHO is to provide them with support so they can make the right decision.

  • TRINIDAD, Humboldt County — Pot politics are nothing new to Sunshine Johnston, who has been cultivating cannabis on her organic farm near the famous Avenue of the Giants for many years. But the emergence of land speculators in the Emerald Triangle is threatening to ruin her bucolic buzz.

    Johnston, her friends, neighbors and fellow growers are perturbed by hordes of high rollers who are snapping up every old ranch, logging tract and forested parcel that goes on the market.

    The scramble for land in Humboldt County and, to a lesser extent, Mendocino County, is an apparent attempt by entrepreneurs to cash in on the possible legalization in November of recreational-pot peddling in California.

    “The way people are behaving is like multinational corporations in Third World countries,” said Johnston, 43, who runs a growers cooperative called Sunboldt Grown that sells medicinal and “artisanal” weed. “There’s a feeling of a free-for-all and of people taking advantage of the local community.”

    The land grab is happening here in part because Humboldt has name cachet in the weed world, also because it was the first California county to adopt a commercial marijuana land use ordinance.

    Skywalker marijuana plants at Sunboldt Grown farm in Redcrest (Humboldt County). Photo: Connor Radnovich, The Chronicle Photo: Connor Radnovich, The Chronicle Skywalker marijuana plants at Sunboldt Grown farm in Redcrest (Humboldt County).
    ‘Like a gold rush’

    The pot industry is hardly new to the county — the Emerald Triangle has long been the world’s best-known ganja-growing region — but nobody can remember the market for property being this red hot since the once-thriving timber industry began dying out decades ago.

    “It’s like a gold rush,” said Kevin Sullivan, a real estate broker who recently sold several large, historic ranches in Humboldt County to growers who he said were open about their intentions. “People are coming from all over the place, from different states, and they’re all buying to grow or to split the land up for multiple people to grow. It’s pot on crack, and it’s driving prices up.”

    Jim Redd, a real estate agent who specializes in ranch sales in Humboldt and Mendocino counties, said land that under normal circumstances would sell for $1,500 an acre is now going for up to $4,000 an acre.

    One 65-acre plot in Redway, midway between Fort Bragg and Eureka, had 25 offers recently when it was put up for sale. It eventually went to a marijuana cultivator, neighbors said.

    Gone in a week

    Redd said buyer consortia generally try to subdivide the big ranches, which can be 5,000 acres or larger, and then divvy up the parcels, sometimes fitting a dozen or more grow sites on the property.

    “There are not many large ranches that go on the market, but if they do they are gone within a week,” Redd said.

    Mitchel Bryant and two other investors recently bought four parcels, each 30 acres, just outside Garberville for about $1 million. Their plan is to obtain licenses from the county to grow medical marijuana.

    Bryant said he bought 200 acres for about $500,000 two years ago and that pot farm did so well that he decided to double down.

    “We were basically, like, wow, the timing looks pretty good,” said Bryant, 34, who lives in Walnut Creek. “We had to look where we are allowed to do it, where we can find people to operate it, and there is obviously brand recognition with the Humboldt name.”

    Bryant says he’s already been contacted by several people who want to buy his land, including an investment company in Southern California that indicated it was willing to offer a good deal more than what he paid for it. For now, he has no plans to flip the property.

    The situation is alarming for those who wish to preserve some of California’s most beautiful, environmentally sensitive forests and coastal areas. Sullivan said the speculators are outbidding all comers, including land conservation groups.

    Snapped up

    The Wildlands Conservancy, which over the years has bought 150,000 acres of forest and coastal wildlands in California and created 15 nature preserves, was recently outbid by pot growers for a 6,500-acre ranch on the Eel River.

    “It’s extremely unfortunate,” said David Myers, executive director of the conservancy, which was prepared to finalize a purchase agreement for $15 million when the growers swooped in with more than $20 million.

    “Every landscape is, in its own right, a masterpiece, and once you start scissoring it up, you can’t bring it back,” Myers said.

    The Wildlands Conservancy did manage to buy another property, a spectacular 128-acre stretch of coastline known as Scotty Point. The site, between the seaside town of Trinidad and Patrick’s Point State Park, is a former pot farm.

    The conservancy now has a little over a month to raise $2.3 million to complete the purchase, allowing Myers to turn Scotty Point into a nature preserve with hiking trails and Adirondack shelters for camping.

    “We have to close this deal or else it goes to pot growers. That’s the sad truth,” Myers said as he stood on a steep hillside above the rocky knife-edge point, sea lions barking amid the roar of the ocean. “We’re trying to make a last run at some of these properties before they’re split up and sold off to pot growers. I see it as the last chance to preserve some of these great spaces.”

    David Myers (left), executive director of the Wildlands Conservancy, and Alex Blessing, preserve ranger with the Wildlands Conservancy Eel River Estuary Preserve, walk through a woods at Scotty Point in Humboldt County. Photo: Connor Radnovich, The Chronicle Photo: Connor Radnovich, The Chronicle David Myers (left), executive director of the Wildlands Conservancy, and Alex Blessing, preserve ranger with the Wildlands Conservancy Eel River Estuary Preserve, walk through a woods at Scotty Point in Humboldt County.
    November measure

    The hot real estate market is evidently driven by a measure likely to qualify for the November statewide ballot that would legalize recreational use of marijuana. It is being helped along by a perception that the federal government, although it still considers marijuana an illegal drug, is no longer strictly enforcing laws against growing or selling the aromatic crop.

    Meanwhile, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, the District of Columbia and Alaska have legalized recreational use of the drug. If California follows suit, Humboldt, Mendocino and Trinity counties — the Emerald Triangle — would undoubtedly be the primary cultivators.

    That’s largely because the area already produces 60 percent of the weed consumed in the United States, including a significant portion of what has been sold for 20 years to California’s medical marijuana dispensaries. Marijuana infuses more than $400 million a year into the Humboldt economy alone.

    The booming industry isn’t hurting real estate agents — Sullivan and Redd say they are making money — or the many local businesses, especially agricultural merchants, that cater to marijuana farmers.

    Landmark law

    It’s not just that consumers consider Humboldt to be to pot what the Napa Valley is to wine. Adding to the fabled Humboldt stamp is the county’s landmark Medical Marijuana Land Use Ordinance, which went into effect Feb. 29.

    It allows up to an acre of outdoor cultivation, a half-acre of mixed-light growth and 10,000 square feet of indoor growth on each parcel licensed by the county.

    The ordinance, which has a deadline of Dec. 31 for cultivators to apply for a permit, gives incentives for growers to set up shop in agricultural zones. That’s where many speculators and pot growers looking to relocate are concentrating their efforts.

    More than 40 applications have already been submitted to the county, but there are at least 370 known growers who are expected to apply before the year is out, said Steve Lazar, the county’s senior planner. There are about 8,400 pot growers in the county, according to a 2012 survey.

    “There has been exponential growth in the industry, and we’ve had a lot of action in the last six months,” said Lazar, who helped draft the marijuana land use ordinance. “We like to say we are the tip of the spear.”

    Likely to spread

    The hemp industry is also growing in other places. The market is likely to take off in counties that draft laws regulating cultivation — 15 of California’s 58 counties are working on permitting plans, according to marijuana lobbyists.

    Besides Humboldt, Trinity and Mendocino counties, pot growers are flocking to places like Calaveras and Placer counties. It is widely believed that the Central Valley will become a major growing region if marijuana cultivation becomes fully legal — after all, though Humboldt is where the action has always been, most varieties of pot grow better on flat ground in full sun.

    “Humboldt County is the poster child, but this phenomenon is really a statewide challenge,” said Hezekiah Allen, former proprietor of a Humboldt pot farm who is now executive director of the California Growers Association, which represents cannabis cultivators.

    Environmental damage

    There are, in fact, quite a few problems with the trend, said Robert Sutherland, founder of the Humboldt Mendocino Marijuana Advocacy Project, which filed a lawsuit to block the Humboldt County ordinance on the grounds it encourages environmental damage.

    “We’re talking to a very large degree about absentee owners trying to get in on the ground floor,” Sutherland said. “The county in their policies of nonenforcement and overly liberal allowances has waved a green flag at the world and said, ‘Come here.’ As a result, we’ve had a huge influx of people snapping up land and showing no respect for the environment, for the community or for the law.”

    Environmental damage from pot farming has been a major problem for decades. Drug traffickers growing illegally, often on public land, use pesticides and fertilizers that have poisoned wildlife, including endangered spotted owls and Pacific fishers.

    Growers have clear-cut trees, removed native vegetation, diverted streams, caused erosion, shot deer and littered the landscape with garbage and human waste.

    Cracking down

    The Humboldt County ordinance does require growers to meet environmental guidelines to get a permit, but it does little to address the illegal grow sites, which account for about 80 percent of what is sold on the East Coast, said Lt. John Nores of the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

    The hope is that the taxes collected by the county for marijuana cultivation can be used to fund law enforcement efforts against drug cartels, Nores said.

    “What we’re trying to do now is mobilize all of the growers who are trying to do it right to help fund us, and we’re getting a lot of grower support,” Nores said. “They are going to be our biggest funders by design, in the taxes they pay to grow.”

    POT OF GOLD

    Andrea Unsworth, owner of the cannabis delivery service StashTwist, dabs a hit of live resin at her company's office in Berkeley, CA on May 11th, 2016. Oakland hopes to light the way for minority-owned pot businesses Alice Huffman, President of the California NAACP, speaks at a news conference in support of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act ballot measure in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 4, 2016. Backers of a marijuana legalization initiative said Wednesday they have collected enough signatures for the measure to qualify for the November ballot in California. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu) The key to legalizing weed in California is found at church Suspended San Francisco Sheriff Ross Mirkarimi arrives at a Board of Supervisors meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, in San Francisco. The supervisors planned to vote on removing Mirkarimi from office following a domestic violence incident between Mirkarimi and his wife Eliana Lopez. (AP Photo/Noah Berger) Ross Mirkarimi wants to bring medical weed to Uruguay Customer service Flow Kana employee Parke Davis, left, delivers a box of promotional pre-rolls for 4/20 to Assistant Manager of Harvest dispensary Gannon Castner, center, as Namone Johnson, right, Cannabis Consultant for Harvest works at right in Harvest April 19, 2016 in San Francisco, Calif. Small cannabis growers roll out ‘California Way’ ad campaign
    Still, Sutherland said, not enough is being done to protect the locals who were responsible for legitimizing the pot trade in the first place.

    “Humboldt County has a worldwide reputation, and it was earned by people who weren’t growing to make a lot of money. It was to produce a high-quality product,” Sutherland said. “These people are trying to cash in on our reputation by mass producing a junk product with our label on it.”

    Lazar, the county senior planner, said the pot industry “has had profound impacts on the county, for good and for bad. How we transition from an unregulated industry to a regulated one will be central to our success.”

    Growing the right way

    The reefer madness is especially tough for people like Johnston, who prides herself on growing cannabis in an environmentally sustainable way, without pesticides or chemicals. She hopes for the day when hemp is legal across the country, the black market has been eliminated and land speculators interested in bulk production have moved to the Central Valley.

    When that time comes, she said, Humboldt will be the undisputed artisanal grass capital of the country, and restaurant goers will be selecting her sinsemilla varietals for after-dinner tokes.

    “Ecological agriculture is the answer,” Johnston said as she sauntered through fields of sticky red and yellow flowering buds with names like Loopy Fruit, Blue Dream and Mendocino Diesel. “It’s about planning for the future, healing yourself and healing the land at the same time.”

  • before_its_news by before_its_news May 27, 2016 7:37 AM Flag

    Cannabis company Terra Tech Corp. held a job fair in Las Vegas. They ran a quarter page ad and expected about 200 people to show up. They got 2,000 instead. “Most people just want to get into the space,” said chief executive officer Derek Peterson. “They believe in the product.” Peterson said a lot of people came without any experience and since the jobs are unique, they tried to pair existing skills with new job requirements.

    He also noted that a lot of people in the 40-50 age group have been aged out of the traditional workforce. “Almost everyone had a bachelors degree that we saw,” he said. While some positions like store managers overlap more traditional jobs, others like bud trimmers are truly unique to the space.

  • before_its_news by before_its_news May 26, 2016 1:56 PM Flag

    Blüm Reno

    Replacing the Scotland Yard Spy Shop in Midtown on Vassar and Virginia streets, Blüm Reno would open its third Nevada location in Midtown.

    Owners of Blüm did not immediately return calls requesting comment.

    "At Blüm, we pride ourselves on providing consistently friendly service to all our valued medicinal cannabis patients," according to their website for their Oakland and Las Vegas locations. "Our knowledgeable staff is well versed in all the medicine we offer. Please feel free to ask our budtenders about our proprietary IVXX brand of premium medical cannabis, including flowers, shatters, waxes and oils, among other high-quality cannabis products from a range of reputable providers of superior grade medical cannabis. They are available to walk you through our menu and help you choose the medicine that is right for you. We also offer unsweetened topical and ingestible medications."

    They filed building plans on May 20, which could take a few weeks for approval and then licensing before they can begin construction.

  • before_its_news before_its_news May 26, 2016 1:41 PM Flag

    41 million tourists each year.

  • LAS VEGAS (KSNV News3LV) ? A number of California Marijuana companies are in Nevada looking to get a foot in the door of a growing industry.

    "They understand the 41 million tourists that come here and the visibility that gives them nationwide," said John Laub of the Las Vegas #$%$ Association.

    The Las Vegas #$%$ Association is hosting the companies this week in an effort to attract attention to the Silver State's #$%$ industry.

    The companies are also interested in what looks to be a promising future in Nevada, as voters will get a say on recreational sales of marijuana to the polls in November.

  • before_its_news by before_its_news May 25, 2016 10:33 AM Flag

    Even without any dispensary income reported in the last 10Q, revenues doubled quarter over quarter.The next 10Q filing will have a full quarter of the Blum Oakland revenues and most of a full quarter of Blum Las Vegas revenue, in addition to the new Superleaf lettuce rollout to Shoprite.

  • Reply to

    Here's the whole Q&A with CEO Derek Peterson

    by before_its_news May 25, 2016 10:07 AM
    before_its_news before_its_news May 25, 2016 10:20 AM Flag

    este1 found it, I just posted the full article.

  • before_its_news before_its_news May 25, 2016 10:08 AM Flag

    nice find. I posted the full Q&A

  • Terra Tech Expands, Maintains Quality: A Q&A with CEO Derek Peterson
    By Aaron G. Biros No Comments

    Terra Tech’s rapid expansion with IVXX and Blum dispensary depends on maintaining rigorous quality standards.

    Derek Peterson, chief executive officer of Terra Tech
    Terra Tech, with the recent acquisition of Blum, a dispensary in Oakland, and the line of concentrates, IVXX, is sweeping the cannabis industry by setting standards for safety and quality. Terra Tech, publicly traded in the Over-The-Counter market, is well known as an agricultural company, with the subsidiary brand, Edible Garden, selling produce to Whole Foods, Wal-Mart and Kroger’s. In December of last year, we covered Terra Tech’s entrance into the cannabis marketplace and their experience with large-scale, sustainable agriculture. We sit down with Derek Peterson, chief executive officer of Terra Tech, to get an update on their progress and quality controls.

    CannabisIndustryJournal: In January, Terra Tech announced revenue guidance of $20-22 million for 2016. Can you share some of your strategy going forward to meet your goals?

    Terra Tech is taking organic and GFSI-certified agricultural practices to growing cannabis

    Derek Peterson: We have always played both a long game as well as a short game, meaning while we are building our longer term business, like in Nevada, we are also focusing on short term accretive acquisitions, like we did with Blum in Oakland. We want to make sure we capture short-term revenue growth while we plan our future revenue production. We feel confident about achieving those results.

    CIJ: How big of a role does the acquisition of Blum and IVXX brand expansion play in meeting those goals?

    Derek: Blum is a significant factor even though we are only capturing three quarters of revenue considering we closed the deal on March 31st of this year. So for the full year of 2017 we will have growth from this level considering we will be able to report a full year of Blum revenue. IVXX presents us with the best opportunity for growth in the coming years. As the market in California and Nevada grows we can continue to expand our IVXX footprint throughout the state. Being able to wholesale to thousands of other retail facilities affords us a significant opportunity to grow our sales.

    CIJ: How do you think the brand of Edible Garden positions you well for expansion in the cannabis industry?

    Derek: One of the reasons we were so successful in the Nevada market was because regulators and legislators felt a high degree of confidence in our abilities considering we are USDA organic, Kosher and GFSI-certified. Our traditional agricultural experience has been very synergistic with our cannabis division from both an optics and operational perspective.

    CIJ: Could you give us an update on progress in Medifarm LLC in Nevada? And on your distribution plan for IVXX in California?

    Derek: We are continuing to expand our IVXX line throughout the state and increasing our sales force. In addition we will continue to develop new products to distribute into our existing supply chain, like we just did with our new pre filled cartridge line.

    We are opening our Decatur location in Las Vegas in early July and Reno and Desert Inn towards the end of August. Our cultivation and extraction facilities should be complete no later than January 2017. We will have our entire infrastructure in place if the recreational bill passes in Nevada this November.

    CIJ: Tell us about the role of laboratory testing in your business.

    Derek: Laboratories play a significant role, as they are becoming a mandated step in most new legislation around the company. Independent lab testing is extremely important to maintain safe access for consumers and patients. We work primarily with Steep Hill Labs and CW analytics.

    CIJ: Can you expand on your integrated pest management and your growing practices?

    Derek: Well we cannot say organic, however we do cultivate all naturally. We also cultivate traditional produce that we sell to major retailers. We are USDA organic-certified and we implement similar processes in our cannabis cultivation. Pest control is extremely challenging for any farmer but we rely primarily on bio control, meaning the good bugs eat the bad bugs. This has been very effective for us in the cultivation of all our products.

    CIJ: How is your business different from the slew of other dispensaries and growers in California?

    Derek: Service and consistency; we have over 42,000 registered patients and our operations team has over 19 years of experience in California. One of the reasons we have become one of the largest dispensaries in the state is because of that experience. In addition, consistency is extremely important. Consumers expect the same product in every other business and ours is no different. If they come in for our Platinum Cookies one month and the next month it has different characteristics you are going to lose patient confidence. So in the front of the house, we are focused on pairing patients’ needs with the correct product and in the back of the house we are focused on providing a meticulously cultivated product, produced at the highest standards.

    CIJ: Can you delve into some of the processing for concentrates? How do you meet such rigorous quality standards?

    Derek: Through research and development, we have engineered a proprietary process in which our solvent profiles used under our proprietary conditions ensures solvent residual levels which are not detected by instrumentation at 3rd party testing agencies such as Steep Hill Labs. In addition, any good scientific method requires repetition and corroboration of results. In order to accomplish this we also rely on random routine testing in which we send out extracts out to other 3rd party testing labs. Proprietary conditions include, but are not limited to, heat, vacuum, agitation, etc. By utilizing the correct amalgamation of solvent profiles, extraction conditions, purging conditions, as well as rigorous quality control standards, we are able to ensure a product that is void of any residual solvents, without sacrificing potency or identity of the cannabinoids and terpenes. Cannabinoids and terpenes are of chief interest when extracting cannabis for patients so that they have access to these essential oils without any of the actual leaf and bud.

    All solvents used are the highest grade available to us, which ensures a truly medical product for the patient. In addition, all of our extraction equipment is routinely cleaned and sterilized using medical grade cleaning agents.

  • New Jersey would gain at least $300 million a year in taxes if it followed the lead of four other states and legalized marijuana for recreational use, according to a report released Tuesday by New Jersey Policy Perspective and New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform.

    New Jersey Policy Perspective and New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform announced how much the state stands to gain in taxes if it legalizes marijuana.

    The revenue projection is based on imposing an eventual 25 percent sales tax on consumers, who would have to be at least 21 years old.

    The organizations represent a coalition of advocacy groups working for legalization in New Jersey. They analyzed available data on the number of people who purchase the drug illegally in New Jersey, and examined the experiences of states that recently approved legalization.

    "The lessons from around the country are loud and clear: Marijuana legalization makes fiscal sense and it makes practical sense," said Policy Perspective policy analyst Brandon McKoy, who coauthored the report with Ari Rosmarin, public policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey.

    The coalition said legalization also would stimulate business, create jobs, and eliminate the cost of enforcing marijuana-possession laws that it says are unfair and unnecessary. More than 24,000 individuals are arrested in New Jersey for marijuana possession each year, with African Americans being penalized three times as often as Caucasians despite similar usage rates, the group said.

    The tax proposed in the report would start at 5 percent the first year, then rise to 15 percent the next year and finally be set at 25 percent, which is comparable to Colorado's 27.9 percent tax. The report projects about 343,100 New Jersey residents and about 100,000 Pennsylvania and New York residents would purchase marijuana at a legal marketplace in New Jersey.

    Besides Colorado, the other states that allow recreational marijuana are Oregon, Washington, and Alaska. The District of Columbia also has legalized it, but only for personal use, not for sale.

    Two years ago, State Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D., Union) introduced the state's first bill to legalize marijuana. But it was not brought to the floor for a vote and expired in December. An identical bill in the Assembly was introduced this year.

    Scutari said Tuesday that he plans to visit Colorado next month to meet with officials and industry representatives to discuss their program, and will introduce a new bill in the Senate this summer.

    Scutari said he would like to expedite its launch. "We would like to be the first on the East Coast. That's why we would like to get out in front of it. . . . We need the money," he said.

    Gov. Christie has repeatedly said he would veto any legalization bill. He has said that he believes marijuana is a gateway drug that could put children and others at risk. His representative did not respond to an email Tuesday asking for comment on the report.

    Coalition members say they will continue to lobby for passage, since Christie's term will end after next year. They cite a 2015 Rutgers-Eagleton poll that found 58 percent of New Jerseyans support legalization.

    New Jersey allows medical marijuana to be sold only to patients with certain ailments, and they must obtain physician approval.

  • Derek Peterson, president and CEO of Terra Tech Corp., which grows non-intoxicating crops on the East Coast and is building out eight #$%$ cultivation, processing and retail locations in Nevada while operating a successful cultivation-dispensary location in California, says Nevada?s experience with effectively and tightly regulating gambling may play some role in the local alcohol industry?s support, but says distributors are acting according to obvious self-interest.

    ?With 50 million people coming into a few square miles on an annual basis, they get the numbers involved, because they see the alcohol consumption numbers,? he says. ?It?s a rocket ship from a business perspective to have recreational pass in Nevada with the transitory population that comes through.?

  • The other day, in a seaside cafe here, veteran cannabis journalist David Bienenstock gamely fielded my attempts to catch up on a subject I have failed to appreciate for far too long: the coming end of marijuana prohibition.

    Earlier this month, the backers of a California initiative to legalize the recreational use of marijuana, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and tech kabillionaire Sean Parker, said they had gathered enough signatures to make the November ballot. In the same week, the federal government dropped its long-standing case against Oakland’s Harborside Health Center, the largest medical pot dispensary in the country.

    California, with a thriving medical marijuana industry, already produces and sells more pot than any other state, including Colorado, Washington and Oregon, which have all legalized adult recreational use. In California, we could see a tenfold increase in what is already a billion-dollar-plus industry, and this despite the continuing federal classification of marijuana as a dangerous substance with no medical value.

    Support for legalization

    Right now, a majority of Californians favor legalization. Latino voters, who strongly opposed a failed legalization measure in 2010, are increasingly leaning toward it as well.

    The stars, finally, seem aligned.

    “This is California’s time to re-emerge as the center of the cannabis economy and the center of cannabis culture, and that’s what’s so exciting,” said Bienenstock, 40, who has just written a modest but charming weed primer, “How to Smoke Pot (Properly): A Highbrow Guide to Getting High.” A former High Times editor, Bienenstock, who lives near Santa Cruz, writes Vice’s “Weed Eater” column and produces Vice’s very funny cooking show, “Bong Appetit.”

    I am not a weedinista. I hate feeling stoned. I don’t think pot will save the world, and dependence, especially with younger users, can be a problem. But I do think, in some settings, it can work miracles.

    A year ago, probably after hearing me knock pot smokers one too many times, David Downs, a San Francisco cannabis journalist, who is married to my niece, sat me down and explained something I hadn’t known. There are two important components in marijuana. The primary psychoactive ingredient in pot is THC, which also has medicinal properties such as pain relief and nausea reduction. And there’s CBD, a nonpsychoactive ingredient that has been shown to be helpful for many ailments, including epilepsy, cancer pain and anxiety.

    Health benefits

    Increasingly, researchers are investigating the health benefits of CBD. Growers, in turn, are meeting demand for pot strains that are high in CBD and low in THC.

    You can achieve a tremendous benefit from high-CBD marijuana and never feel stoned.

    This was a revelation.

    I recommend Bienenstock’s book for people who want to know more about pot because it’s far more than a how-to guide.

    It covers the history of cannabis, the biology of the plant, the many ways it is processed for human consumption, and some of the medical applications of its various compounds, which are only now starting to be accepted by the American medical establishment.

    Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s groundbreaking 2014 CNN special about a young girl whose uncontrollable epileptic seizures were radically diminished by CBD is often cited as a watershed moment. The girl’s family only became aware of CBD, Bienenstock said, after watching the reality show “Weed Wars,” featuring Oakland’s Harborside dispensary. No medical professional had ever suggested they look into CBD.

    “How to Smoke Pot” offers tips about pot etiquette (yes, do pass the dutchie on the left hand side; no, don’t ever joke about being a cop) and how to handle being too high (lie down, stay hydrated, and remember that no one has ever died from a marijuana overdose).

    Bienenstock is versatile; he also has advice on how to get a job in the incredibly diversified cannabis industry, how to make marijuana-infused butter, how to roll a joint in a windstorm. I saw him light one in a windstorm, a slightly less impressive feat.

    He takes pains to explain why it’s so important to be vigilant and patient when ingesting edible forms of cannabis, which take effect much more slowly and make you much higher for far longer than smoked cannabis. New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd’s infamous 2014 misadventure with a cannabis-infused candy bar in Colorado is Exhibit A in how not to do it.

    Keep pot weird

    But above all, the book is a plea to keep pot weird, a call for those who have worked so hard to bring an underground economy into the light to struggle against the forces of capitalism that would reduce an inherently spiritual substance into just another marketable commodity, like Twinkies.

    “Marijuana should transform capitalism,” Bienenstock said, “not the other way around.”

    I doubt that will be possible. Every month, it seems, the private equity groups, the technologists with their delivery apps, the PR firms hold yet another conference extolling the investment opportunities for the pot industry. I am on the mailing list of at least two magazines dedicated to cannabis entrepreneurship.

    For members of a long besieged group, who for years have risked their livelihoods and freedom to provide a drug that is far safer and far more beneficial than alcohol, this is a moment that is fraught with worry for the future.

    “Prohibition, for all its evils,” Bienenstock said, “acted in a way to protect this underground economy from capitalism.”

    If Californians vote to legalize marijuana six months from now, they will be validating what many already know to be true: Pot is no longer the counterculture.

    It is, quite simply, the culture.

    Robin Abcarian is a columnist for the Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

  • TRENTON — New Jersey could reap $300 million a year in sales tax revenue by legalizing marijuana for recreational use, according to a new report by supporters of the effort.

    The report by New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform and New Jersey Policy Perspective says a federal study shows about 365,900 people in New Jersey age 21 and over illegally use marijuana on a monthly basis, consuming 2.53 million ounces a year.

    With the average price of cannabis on the street going for $343 an ounce, the underground marijuana market nets $869 million in sales. If pot was legalized, that marketplace would be worth $1.2 billion from consumers in New Jersey and surrounding states. A 25 percent sales tax on pot would bring in about $300 million year, the report concluded.

    The organizations that produced the report said there are other compellings reason to legalizing pot. The cost of enforcing marijuana possession laws is a drain on the law enforcement and court systems, which have statistically shown to mete out stiffer punishment against African-Americans than whites, the report said.

    "New Jersey can't afford to wait — it's time to legalize, tax, and regulate marijuana," said Ari Rosmarin, the public policy director for the American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey which belongs to the New Jersey United for Marijuana Reform.

    "With just one vote, the Legislature can raise hundreds of millions of dollars annually, help end a civil rights injustice, and make sure that no more New Jerseyans see their lives ruined for something every president in the last 24 years has done," Rosmarin said. "It's time for common sense, and that means ending prohibition again."

    Bill legalizing pot introduced
    Bill legalizing pot introduced
    Sen. Nicholas Scutari (D-Union) introduced a bill Monday legalizing the sale, possession and home cultivation of small amount of marijuana

    Although there is a legalization bill pending in the legislature, Gov. Chris Christie said he would never sign it into law.

    Christie is vehemently opposed to legalizing marijuana, and has cited a study by the Journal of Neuroscience that concluded even casual marijuana use — smoking once or twice a week to get high — can alter the brain. The authors of the report said it was the first study to examine light marijuana use.

    "I am not going to be the governor who is going to tell our children and our young adults that marijuana use is okay," Christie said in 2014. "Because it's not. I don't care about the tax money that may come from it."

    New Jersey is one of two dozen states that allows medical marijuana. At times, Christie has accused those seeking to expand the medical marijuana law — enacted before he took office in 2010 — of using it as a back-door means to legalizing marijuana for recreation use.

    The report is part of the slow campaign to build support for legalizing cannabis.

    Christie's term ends in January 2018, and Democratic legislative leaders have expressed a willingness to consider it.

    The authors of the report based their assessment on a 25 percent sale tax rate. The tax rate on marijuana is 27.9 percent in Colorado, 17 percent in Oregon and 37 percent in Washington. Growers must pay a $50 per-plant tax in Alaska.

    The 25 percent tax rate, phased-in over three years, is high enough to command considerable revenue for the state, but low enough "to ensure that consumers abandon the illegal marketplace and enter the legal, regulated one," according to the report. At year three, New Jersey could realize $305.4 million in tax revenue.

    Portions of the money should go toward drug abuse prevention and treatment, and job training, re-entry programs and other initiatives to strengthen local communities" that have been disproportionately affected by marijuana laws, the report said.

    "The lessons from around the country are loud and clear: marijuana legalization makes fiscal sense, and it makes practical sense," said New Jersey Policy Perspective Policy Analyst Brandon McKoy, a co-author of the report. "Expanding economic opportunities and addressing our persistent budget deficit aren't the only reasons to legalize and regulate marijuana, but they are extremely persuasive ones."

    The report will be unveiled during a press conference Tuesday in Trenton.

  • before_its_news by before_its_news May 23, 2016 5:42 PM Flag

    No-Name Field at Mile High? The solution is simple:

    MILE HIGH STADIUM.

    And:

    Pat Bowlen Field.

    To compensate for the annual $6 million (average) in lost revenues from not having a corporate sponsor, each of the 10 gates at Mile High Stadium could be sold — as the NFL does at the Super Bowl. For example: “Meet me at The Dish Network Entrance.”

    Or do you actually prefer Chipotle Mexican Grill Field at Mile High, Tru Cannabis Mile High Dispensary & Marijuana Field or Mile High Drain Cleaning and Plumbing Services Stadium?

    Return the revered, respected, rightful name to The House That Taxpayers Built!

    Against the wishes of the majority of the people in six counties, the avaricious board of directors of the Metropolitan Football Stadium District (MFSD) sold its soul to the devil and Invesco in 2001, and the curse continues. The stadium naming rights issue won’t go away, but the corporate sponsors do.

    The appalling appellation Invesco Field perished, and Sports Authority is now biting the dust. Beware, corporate serpents, of trying to force your will and name on Mile High Stadium.

    The background story is that in 1998, metro-wide voters approved a temporary sales tax increase to provide $364.2 million in funding, and Broncos owner Pat Bowlen guaranteed the rest ($111 million), for construction of a new Mile High Stadium. A stadium district, with a nine-member board, was created to oversee the mammoth project and its ongoing operation.

    The State Legislature mandated that the board conduct a survey to consider the wishes of the populace about the stadium name. The board decided not to spend $10,000 on a poll. However, in an independent survey, 68 percent were in favor of retaining the name “Mile High Stadium.”

    LoDo brewpub proprietor John Hickenlooper and I started a grassroots fight to prevent a corporate sellout. John produced thousands of “Mile High Forever” signs, rallied the opposition and spoke out at district hearings, and I wrote dozens of columns.

    At the stadium groundbreaking, Bowlen announced he was in favor of keeping the name “Mile High Stadium,” and Denver mayor Wellington Webb also was strongly supportive.

    The campaign was both a success and a failure. Despite overwhelming objections throughout Colorado, the district board compromised with the company on a reduced amount (20 years, $120 million) and a ludicrous hybrid name ending in “@Mile High.” Mile High What? An e-mail address?

    (I never understood why the Broncos received half of the monies when the franchise paid one quarter of the cost of the stadium. The other half went to the MFSD for maintenance, improvements and administration, not to taxpayers.)

    Politicos were highly impressed by Hickenlooper’s fervent stadium name effort (even in, mostly, defeat) and persuaded him to run for mayor.

    Now, the most important name on the big office door at the State Capitol is “Gov. John Hickenlooper.”

    Sycophants in the local and national media uttered only the first half of the new stadium name, as the corporation hoped. But this hard-headed insurgent rebelled, and Dean Singleton, The Denver Post’s owner, ordered “Mile High Stadium” to be used in every stadium reference.

    Invesco threatened in private and a news release to sue The Denver Post and me when I wrote a column quoting a company executive vice president, who declared employees called the stadium “The Diaphragm.” When an Invesco internal investigation proved inappropriate jokes about the stadium’s name were common in the company, the potential lawsuit was dropped.

    In another matter, Invesco paid Colorado, New York and the Securities and Exchange Commission $450 million to settle allegations of improper trade practices. The CEO who made the stadium deal left the company, and Invesco would leave Denver.

    The stadium naming rights were sold to Sports Authority, a sporting goods company with roots and headquarters in Colorado, in August 2011.

    A company executive told me the name “Mile High will be displayed prominently.” Instead, “Mile High” was buried in letters approximately 10 times smaller than the corporate name when gigantic signs were erected outside the stadium.

    Sports Authority, purchased by a hedge fund 10 years ago, has filed for bankruptcy, and is auctioning off assets — including the naming rights.

    There is no certainty about the stadium’s name for the Broncos’ 2016 season or the future. The football district board has been fooled from the beginning.

    In the Chapter 11 case Wednesday, the stadium district filed a limited objection to Sports Authority transferring the naming rights. “It is important that MFSD continues to have the ability to approve the new name for the stadium in its reasonable discretion,” the motion stated.

    The new name cannot be “obscene or disparage the MFSD,” violate NFL policy, be affiliated with tobacco products or “confer the impression of an association with a foreign country.”

    Republic of Macedonia Field at Mile High?

    Hick, we need you again to help lead the fight.

    MFSD left out the most important demand.

    The stadium must have the name “Mile High Stadium.” It’s about time.

  • before_its_news by before_its_news May 23, 2016 2:04 PM Flag

    that TRTC doubled revenues, without any Blum revenues reported yet. Next quarter will include the Oakland Blum dispensary and partial reporting (from 4/20) of the first Blum Las Vegas dispensary and possibly revenues from the second Las Vegas dispensary.

  • Terra Tech Corp (OTCMKTS:TRTC) is moving up steadily since reversing off lows just over $0.20 a share. The stock saw a parabolic rise earlier this year tearing up the charts to highs of $0.7455 as pot stocks heat up across the board.

    TRTC is easily one of the most exciting stocks on the OTC with a long history of spectacular moves skyrocketing to $1.25 during the last pot stock boom. When pot stocks heat up TRTC is a great place to be; they are masters at selling the sizzle on the pot sector and getting themselves featured by mainstream media such as the April 23 article on Forbes.

    Terra Tech Corp (OTCMKTS:TRTC) is one of the original pot stocks on the OTC led by Derek Peterson “The Public Spokesperson for Medical and Legalized Marijuana.” TRTC is the only US-based, publicly-traded company that touches every aspect of the cannabis lifecycle—from cultivation, to extraction, to branding, and now, with the acquisition of Blum, to retail sale.

    MCP has been covering TRTC for years; the Company was initially incorporated as Private Secretary, Inc. on July 22, 2008 in the State of Nevada. The Company planned to develop a software program that would allow for automatic call processing through VoIP technology. On January 27, 2012, the Company filed an amendment to its Articles of Incorporation changing its name to Terra Tech Corp and a new pot stock was born.

    Derek Peterson is a former Vice President at Morgan Stanley. He left Wall Street because he saw a huge opportunity in medical marijuana. His vision is setting up growing facilities in various states to grow herbs such as basil and thyme with plans to switch to Marijuana production as state laws permit.

    TRTC has a number of subsidiaries including Edible Gardens which was established in 2007 and proves fresh, locally grown herbs and leafy greens to supermarkets, restaurants and the food service industry. The growing process utilizes time-tested, classic Dutch hydroponic farming methods to grow produce in a safe and healthy environment.

    IVXX Elevate is a TRTC subsidiary focused on building a recognizable, superior brand that delivers unsurpassed quality and consistency to consumers of recreational and medical cannabis throughout the legal U.S. markets. TRTC recently launched a new line of pre-filled, IVXX-branded medical cannabis cartridges. An initial order for approximately $170,000, or 10,000 units, has been received from one of Terra Tech’s distributors. This is the first of multiple cartridge lines, each containing varying percentages of cannabinoids, to be launched over the next four months.

    The cannabis oil cartridges will offer a variety of cannabis strains of varying potencies in easy-to-use, convenient cartridges designed for use in vaporizers. Made from local, sustainably grown cannabis that has been cleanly extracted using a supercritical CO2 method, the oil is lab-formulated for consistency, and lab-tested for purity and potency. Terra Tech manufactures the pre-filled cartridges at its IVXX Extraction Lab, and will distribute them via its existing distribution network and retail locations.

    TRTC has an agenda to move to a higher exchange which may necessitate a reverse split. Everyone seems to think that RS is bad and usually results in lower PPS as the result of panic selling etc., but if we really examine the issue we come to an entirely different conclusion. Yes in almost all cases when a non-revenue, sub penny co with a history of dilution does another RS it almost always ends in more downside. At the other end of the spectrum when an established Company such as TRTC that already does significant revenues does a RS it almost always results in significant moves to the upside.

    Back in March TRTC announced record revenues for the year ended 2015. Total revenues generated for the quarter ended December 31, 2015 were approximately $2.17 million, an increase of 44% from $1.5 million in the same period in 2014; total revenues for the full year 2015 were $9.98 million, an increase of 40.6% from $7.09 million in the year ended December 31, 2014.

    TRTC also provided revenue guidance for 2016 calling for $20 million to $22 million. Driving this growth is TRTC’s recently completed acquisition of Black Oak Gallery, DBA: Blüm Oakland, an established, retail medical cannabis dispensary in Oakland, CA. Blüm Oakland, which holds over 42,000 registered patients, has been operating since November 2012 and services close to 1,000 patients each day.

    A big part of TRTC recent rise is due to their recent acquisition of Black Oak Gallery, DBA: Blum Oakland, an established, retail medical cannabis dispensary in Oakland, CA which holds over 42,000 registered patients, has been operating since November 2012 and services close to 1,000 patients each day. The acquisition includes Blum’s fully integrated supply chain, which consists of a sophisticated onsite cultivation facility, its portfolio of proprietary strains, as well as its high volume retail storefront. Trailing 12-month non-GAAP revenue for Blum Oakland is over $14 million, which tracks the revenue reported by Blum Oakland in its associated sales tax and marijuana tax reporting and payments.

    In March TRTC announced the Grand Opening of its medical cannabis dispensary located at 1921 Western Avenue in Las Vegas, Nevada will be held on April 20, 2016. Located adjacent to the Las Vegas Strip, the Western Avenue dispensary will offer patients the Company’s proprietary IVXX™ brand of premium medical cannabis, including flowers, shatters, waxes and oils, among other high-quality cannabis products from a range of reputable providers of superior grade medical cannabis. The 3,900 square foot facility is located adjacent to the Las Vegas Strip at 1921 Western Avenue and is expected to benefit from the heavy traffic in Las Vegas.

    Western Las Vegas is the first of four retail medical cannabis dispensaries slated to open in Nevada in 2016. Three of those, operating under the store name Blüm, will be in Southern Nevada, on Western Avenue, Desert Inn Road near the Las Vegas Convention Center, and Decatur Boulevard. The fourth is to be located in Reno, in Northwest Nevada. All locations are expected to open in time to take advantage of the very active summer tourism season in Nevada.

    Earlier this month TRTC said it has had its final business license approved by the Las Vegas City Council. The Company now possesses all the permits issued by the City of Las Vegas necessary to operate this medical cannabis dispensary. The Company is still awaiting final issuance of the State Registration Certificate from the State of Nevada, which is expected to be issued upon completion of the State of Nevada’s operations inspection. The Grand Opening of the dispensary was held on April 20, 2016 although the Company has not yet issued a pr on the opening.

    Clearly TRTC plans to franchise the Blum name nationwide. TRTC director Mike Nahass has purchased a number of domain names such as BLUMCHICAGO, BLUMMANHATTAN, BLUMHOUSTON, BLUMSANDIEGO, BLUMNJ, BLUMNY, BLUMMIAMI as well as dozen more

    Nevada is an important market for the cannabis industry as the state will recognize the medical status of non-residents. Nevada also has around 40 million annual visitors with 30% of those coming from California. Recreational marijuana use will be on the Nevada ballot box come November.

    On May 23 TRTC announced its subsidiary, Edible Garden, a retail seller of locally grown hydroponic produce, herbs, and floral products, has shipped its first order of nutritionally-enhanced lettuce to ShopRite Supermarkets. The lettuce was developed in partnership with Nutrasorb LLC under the name SUPERLEAF™, in conjunction with Rutgers University, and is the latest addition to Edible Garden’s product line of non-GMO fruits and vegetables.

    Edible Garden grows and sells two product lines under the SUPERLEAF brand: the Living Salad Mix, a living salad blend high in nutrients, and the fresh cut, ready-to-eat SUPERLEAF Spring Mix. These lettuces are high in vitamins A & C, magnesium, iron and potassium contents. These nutritionally-enhanced, proprietary Green and Red Lettuces were developed by scientists at Rutgers University following years of intensive research and have high levels of fiber and chlorogenic acid. One serving of lettuce contains 2.5x as many antioxidants as blueberries, helping to maintain metabolic health and wellness. These lettuce super blends are grown 100% naturally and are non-GMO Project verified.

    It is easy to see why pot stocks are on fire again; Four western US states — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington as well as the nation’s capital Washington D.C. have legalized marijuana for recreational use. An additional 19 states have legalized marijuana for medical use. 2015 was an epic year for the industry; Colorado earned $135 million in taxes and licensing fees on nearly $1 billion in pot sales and the state of Washington took in $70 million on statewide pot revenue totaling $257 million.

    Currently trading at a $121 million market valuation TRTC is the only US-based, publicly-traded company that touches every aspect of the cannabis lifecycle—from cultivation, to extraction, to branding and to retail sale. This gives TRTC a huge advantage because on-site cultivation reduces that cost to about $700 per pound, while the company’s retail price will remain at industry levels 5 to 10 times higher. TRTC is turning into a Revenue leader reporting $9.98 million in sales for 2015. Derek Peterson “The Public Spokesperson for Medical and Legalized Marijuana” is a master at selling the sizzle on the sector and getting their story into the national media spotlight with such news outlets as the Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Fox Business News, The Huffington Post, the Daily Telegraph and CTV news all covering TRTC in the past. When pot stocks heat up TRTC is the place to be.

  • Terra Tech Subsidiary, Edible Garden, Ships First Order of Nutritionally-Enhanced 'SUPERLEAF' Lettuce to ShopRite Supermarkets

    Last update: 23/05/2016 8:05:01 am

    NEWPORT BEACH, Calif., May 23, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- Terra Tech Corp. (OTCQX: TRTC) ("Terra Tech") or (the "Company"), today announced that its subsidiary, Edible Garden, a retail seller of locally grown hydroponic produce, herbs, and floral products, has shipped its first order of nutritionally-enhanced lettuce to ShopRite Supermarkets. The lettuce was developed in partnership with Nutrasorb LLC under the name SUPERLEAF(TM), in conjunction with Rutgers University, and is the latest addition to Edible Garden's product line of non-GMO fruits and vegetables.

    Edible Garden grows and sells two product lines under the SUPERLEAF brand: the Living Salad Mix, a living salad blend high in nutrients, and the fresh cut, ready-to-eat SUPERLEAF Spring Mix. These lettuces are high in vitamins A & C, magnesium, iron and potassium contents. These nutritionally-enhanced, proprietary Green and Red Lettuces were developed by scientists at Rutgers University following years of intensive research and have high levels of fiber and chlorogenic acid. One serving of lettuce contains 2.5x as many antioxidants as blueberries, helping to maintain metabolic health and wellness. These lettuce super blends are grown 100% naturally and are non-GMO Project verified.

    Derek Peterson, CEO of Terra Tech, stated, "ShopRite is a leading supermarket in the U. S. with over 300 stores in the Northeast. This order further cements our relationship with ShopRite while demonstrating the value of our product and our growing partnership with Nutrasorb. Through this established customer, our lettuce will be given peak exposure to a broader audience allowing us to gain a sense of its marketing capabilities nationwide. We have always said developing new innovative products to distribute through our existing sales channels is a primary growth driver fo

  • SALEM, Ore. — Legalization of marijuana in Oregon has created at least 2,165 jobs and will add more as the market matures, a new report suggests.

    Nearly $46 million in payroll will be paid to retail cannabis employees statewide in 2016, according to the "Oregon Cannabis Jobs Report," sponsored by cannabis industry consulting firms New Economy Consulting and Whitney Economics.

    By comparison, Oregon's beer, wine and liquor sector employed 1,450 people and paid $28 million in wages in 2015, according to Employment Department data.

    The department estimates there are nearly 2,500 dispensary employees statewide.

    But the industry report delves beyond employment numbers and into potential effects of the cannabis industry. It concludes the market is "much stronger" than previously thought.

    The total economic impact of paying cannabis workers could be in the hundreds of millions, said Beau Whitney, one of four authors of the report. As cannabis workers spend their wages, they cause an economic "ripple effect," he said.

    Other key findings of the report include:

    • About $46 million in payroll to retail cannabis workers is expected in 2016, with a potential economic effect of $196 million by 2017 year-end.
    • Up to 27% growth is anticipated in retail cannabis jobs by the end of 2017, based on high-growth projections.
    • The cash-only nature of business makes it difficult to provide benefits to employees.



    The Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which oversees marijuana business licensing, has received more than 950 license applications. Ten have been granted.

    The report's authors gathered their data by conducting confidential telephone and online surveys of dispensaries registered with the Oregon Health Authority.

    The survey achieved a 55% response rate. Its margin of error is +/-10 percentage points.

  • This was a huge week for marijuana law reform. Congress voted for the first time to expand medical cannabis access to military veterans, and Governors in numerous states signed cannabis legalization and depenalization measures into law. Keeping reading to get the latest news and to learn what you can do to take action.

    Federal:

    Members of the US House and Senate voted yesterday for the first time to expand military veterans’ access to medicinal cannabis in states that allow it. House members voted 233 to 189 last week in favor of the Veterans Equal Access Amendment. The amendment, offered by Rep. Blumenauer (D-OR) to the Fiscal Year 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations bill, prohibits the federal government from sanctioning V.A. physicians who wish to recommend cannabis therapy to their patients. Members of the US Senate Appropriations Committee previously voted in April in favor of a similar provision and the full Senate also signed off on their version of the bill yesterday. The House and Senate versions of FY 2017 Military Construction, Veterans Affairs and Related Agencies Appropriations now await a concurrence vote prior to being sent to the President.

    State:

    Colorado: House and Senate lawmakers have overwhelmingly approved legislation, House Bill 1373, to permit qualified patients access to the use formulations of medical cannabis while on school grounds. The measure now awaits action by Gov. John Hickenlooper, who indicated that he would sign the bill into law. Once enacted, a primary caregiver may administer non-inhalable formulations of medical cannabis to a qualifying patient while that patient is on the grounds of a pre-school, primary, or secondary school in which the student is enrolled. Medical marijuana patients may not be denied eligibility to attend school because of their cannabis use.

    Connecticut: Democrat Gov. Dannel Malloy this week signed legislation expanding patients’ access to the state’s medicinal cannabis program. House Bill 5450 permits qualifying patients under the age of 18 to possess and consume medical cannabis preparations. The proposal also expands the list of qualifying illnesses eligible for cannabis therapy to include: ”uncontrolled intractable seizure disorder,” ”irreversible spinal cord injury with objective neurological indication of intractable spasticity,” “cerebral palsy,” “cystic fibrosis,” or “terminal illness requiring end-of-life care.” Other provisions in the bill seek to establish a statewide clinical research program, and protect nurses from criminal, civil, or disciplinary sanction if they choose to administer marijuana to a qualifying patient in a hospital setting. The new law takes effect on October 1, 2016.

    fifty_dollar_fineIllinois: Members of the House voted 64 to 50 on Wednesday, May 18, in favor of Senate Bill 2228, legislation to decriminalize the possession of small amounts of marijuana. Members of the Senate had previously voted 44 to 12 in favor of the measure, which makes the possession of up to 10 grams of marijuana a civil violation punishable by a fine of $100-$200 — no arrest and no criminal record.

    Currently, those caught possessing that amount could face up to six months of jail time and fines of up to $1500. The bill also amends the state’s zero tolerance per se traffic safety law. Senate Bill 2228 now goes to Gov. Bruce Rauner. Last year, the Governor issued an amendatory veto to a similar bill. However, this year’s language addresses the Governor’s past concerns.

    Kansas: Governor Brownback recently signed House Bill 2462 into law to amend marijuana possession penalties. The law reduces criminal penalties for first-time marijuana possession offenses from a Class A misdemeanor (punishable by up to one year incarceration and a $2,500 fine) to a Class B misdemeanor (punishable by no more than six months in jail and a $1,000 fine). Second convictions will no longer be classified as a felony offense. You can read the full summary of the engrossed bill here. The sentencing changes take effect imminently.

    Louisiana: Governor John Bel Edwards signed legislation yesterday amending the state’s dormant medical marijuana law. Senate Bill 271 permits physicians to ‘recommend’ rather than ‘prescribe’ medical cannabis therapy. The change allows doctors to authorize cannabis without running afoul of federal law, which prohibits the prescription of a schedule I controlled substance.

    The measure also expands the pool of conditions eligible for cannabis therapy to include the following: “cancer, positive status for human immunodeficiency virus, acquired immune deficiency syndrome, cachexia or wasting syndrome, seizure disorders, epilepsy, spasticity, Crohn’s disease, muscular dystrophy, or multiple sclerosis. Separate legislation, SB 180, which explicitly immunizes the program’s participants from state criminal prosecution, remains pending in the House and is anticipated to be voted on as early as next week.

    Maine: Governor Paul LePage has signed legislation, LD 726, into law permitting qualified patients to use medical marijuana while admitted in Maine hospitals. This measure does not require hospital staff to administer medical marijuana to a patient and will only allow for patients to consume cannabis preparations in a smokeless form. The law also establishes licensing protocols for marijuana testing facilities and the labeling of medical cannabis products.

    New Hampshire: Members of the Senate on Thursday, May 19, sent House-backed decriminalization provisions to conference committee rather than engage in an up/down vote of the bill. Members of the House previously voted 298 to 58 to amend Senate Bill 498 to make first-time offenses a civil violation rather than a criminal offense. The civil penalty would be limited to a fine only: no arrest, prosecution, or criminal record. Subsequent offenses would continue to be classified as misdemeanors. In past years, the Senate has been consistently hostile to any House efforts to decriminalize marijuana possession penalties.

    The conference committee, consisting of members of the House and Senate, will now try to agree upon a finalized version of SB 498. It is important that Senate members hear from you and are urged to keep the House provisions in SB 498. #TakeAction

    cannabis_pillsOklahoma: Governor Mary Fallin signed legislation into law on Friday, May 13, to expand the pool of patients eligible to possess cannabidiol (CBD) under a physician’s authorization. House Bill 2835 extends existing legal protections to the following patients: those with “spasticity due to multiple sclerosis or due to paraplegia, intractable nausea and vomiting, appetite stimulation with chronic wasting diseases.” The measure also removes the age requirement limitation from existing law so that adults with various forms of epilepsy are eligible for CBD therapy. The expanded law takes effect on November 1, 2016.

    Rhode Island: On Thursday, May 19th members of the Senate approved legislation, Senate Bill 2115, to make post-traumatic stress patients eligible for medical cannabis treatment and to accelerate access to those patients in hospice care. The measure will now be sent to the House for consideration.

BCRX
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