April 2017

420 Celebrations Around the Country: The Biggest Day for Marijuana

It feels like Christmas for the country’s legal marijuana stores today. Not only Christmas but all other holidays rolled in to one one smoky party known as 420.

April 20 has for a long time been a day full of civil disobedience by marijuana users, who assemble in public to light up weed at 4:20 p.m. The phrase “420” is a longtime code for marijuana users, who work it into dating profiles or post it on signs to show their common interest. But while it used to be a celebration held using a particular degree of furtiveness, the swiftly growing legalization of cannabis means an increasing number of Americans no longer face critical, if any, punishment for smoking weed.

All states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana also have prohibited public consumption, but those rules in many cases are dismissed on April 20, when crowds assemble on college campuses and central parks to light up. That means huge sales days for shops, particularly in states with operating marijuana marketplaces: Washington, Oregon and Colorado, which could see single-day 420 sales of $20 million.

One of Colorado’s largest marijuana stores, the Medicine Man, anticipated to see more than double the regular number of customers each day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Legalization activists usually stage stunts along with the 420 celebrations.

In Washington, D.C., for example, activists are planning to give out 1,000 marijuana cigarettes to Capitol Hill workers and members of Congress, and then hold a mass “smoke-in” on the Capitol steps Monday. They’re attempting to convince Congress to reauthorize a law prohibiting federal prosecutors from interfering with state-level medical marijuana programs and are also seeking clarity on the way in which the Trump administration will approach voter-approved recreational weed.

While the District of Columbia’s voters have approved recreational marijuana, Congress has prohibited the district from creating any kind of system to allow taxable sales.

In Washington state, marijuana sales are anticipated to easily top last year’s quantity of $4.8 million from April 20, 2016. And the 2016 numbers themselves represented a staggering 200% increase over 2015. According to New Frontier, making a year-to-year comparisons of marijuana sales is challenging since the industry is very fresh and growing so rapidly and because people frequently celebrate 420 on the weekend closest to it, as opposed to the actual day.

But for a lot of customers, there’s an undeniable appeal to say that they purchased legal marijuana for that special day. In Colorado’s cannabis shops, the demand was evident Wednesday: lines snaking through receptions and guards accumulating cash as harried workers raced to complete orders. Many hotels in Denver are sold out, and cannabis tourists were pouring into the state for free concerts and then a gigantic rally outside the Statehouse.

In Nevada, which recently legalized recreational marijuana, even if they still only have stores for medical marijuana, business was likewise expected to be lively.

In Oakland, Calif, marijuana-infused sweets manufacturer Kiva made 60,000 special-edition samples of the company’s low-dose Petra mints and plans to hold 55 sampling occasions around the state this week. And in Tulare County, Calif.’s, only dispensary, Canna Can Help, workers have purchased 1,000 tacos for their planned customer appreciation day this weekend.

Back inside the Medicine Man in Denver, first-time cannabis tourists pronounced themselves astounded at the available variety and choices. Grams of popular forms were selling for $17 plus tax, and like many shops, Medicine Man was offering 420 specials intended for tourists, including pre-rolled joints.

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Florida Representatives Propose Measure To Ease Marijuana Access

Two Florida representatives have proposed a bill that would allow it to be easier for researchers and patients to get marijuana by classifying it differently from illegal drugs on the federal level.

U.S. Reps. Matt Gaetz, R-Fort Walton Beach, and Darren Soto, D-Orlando, have joined to push for a bipartisan measure that would move cannabis from being a Schedule I substance, like heroin or LSD, to a Schedule III substance, like anabolic steroids or Tylenol with codeine.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says Schedule III substances “have a potential for abuse less than substances in Schedules I or II and misuse can lead to moderate or low physical dependence or high psychological dependence.” The federal Controlled Substances Act presently classifies marijuana, heroin, LSD and Ecstasy in the same class, saying the drugs “have no currently accepted medical use.”

“Floridians have spoken and medical marijuana is the law of the land,” Soto says in a statement. “It is now time for the federal government to recognize this emerging law and the well-known medical benefits of marijuana.”

In a joint news release, Gaetz and Soto say nearly all Americans support legalizing medical marijuana, and that HR 2020 would allow it to be easier to research the plant’s medical advantages, help small businesses in local economies satisfy patients’ needs, and ensure it is easier for those businesses to get bank loans and services.

“This drug shouldn’t be in the same class as heroin and LSD, and we don’t need to continue with a policy that turns a large number of young people into felons each year,” Gaetz says in a statement. “Nor do we need to penalize the millions of people who are sick and seeking medical help – from pain, from muscle wasting, from chemotherapy-induced nausea.”

The bill was assigned to a congressional committee last week that considers it before sending it on to the House of Representatives or the Senate.

While this bill may align with the will of Florida voters, it’s miles away from what the Trump administration has intended. While President Donald Trump has expressed that he’s in favor of medical marijuana, his appointed Attorney General Jeff Sessions has said “medical marijuana has been hyped, perhaps too much.”

Sessions has also created a crime reduction task force created to review the Department of Justice’s present policies, including the way that it enforces marijuana laws, which might hint at a future crackdown on legal recreational marijuana. The former Alabama senator, who once joked that he believed the Ku Klux Klan was OK until he found out they smoked weed, said in March that marijuana was “only slightly less awful” than heroin.

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