California weed stored serves 23,606 people in first month

Image: medmen

The first month of California’s legal recreational marijuana sales showed that weed is big business, despite local government’s reluctance to issue permits.

MedMen, a cannabis company that’s basically an Apple Store for pot products has dispensaries across Los Angeles, and found itself in an interesting position as one of the few places people could purchase marijuana in the most densely populated areas of Los Angeles when legalized sales began in California.

At MedMen’s West Hollywood location, customer traffic clocked in a 23,606 people in January alone. Revenue was up 200 percent, compared to December, and up 500 percent compared to the year before. Its Santa Ana location brought in 5,051 people, doubling December’s revenue. 

MedMen’s West Hollywood location.

Image: medMen

Since recreational pot sales began on Jan. 1, Californians have been flocking to the few dispensaries that are allowed to sell to residents without medical cards. Proposition 64, which legalized recreational cannabis, lets local governments regulate sales. 

Some cities in Los Angeles county have been resistant to recreational weed. Santa Monica, for example, has banned non-medical marijuana storefronts entirely. Long Beach issued a 180 day ban on recreational sales at the end of 2017, giving the city time to figure out regulations. 

The city of Los Angeles set up framework for regulation, but businesses couldn’t apply for licenses until January 3. Vendors also had to apply for a separate license from the state-run Bureau of Cannabis Control.

The city of West Hollywood issued temporary permits for stores like MedMen. The California Bureau of Cannabis Cannabis Control issued only 47 temporary retail licenses, but they’ll expire by May 1. 

The unique position helped set up MedMen to be a marijuana unicorn. Canadian investment firm Captor Capital invested $30 million in the company for just 3 percent, valuing the company at about $1 billion.

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Conservative senator’s statement laced with marijuana references

Washington (CNN)Sen. Orrin Hatch knows how to be blunt. And, yes, that is a marijuana reference.

When introducing a Medical Marijuana Research Bill, the Republican lawmaker did not shy away Wednesday from including weed puns in his statement. Eight, to be exact.
“It’s high time to address research into medical marijuana,” Hatch said in the statement. “Our country has experimented with a variety of state solutions without properly delving into the weeds on the effectiveness, safety, dosing, administration, and quality of medical marijuana. All the while, the federal government strains to enforce regulations that sometimes do more harm than good. To be blunt, we need to remove the administrative barriers preventing legitimate research into medical marijuana, which is why I’ve decided to roll out the MEDS Act.”
    “I urge my colleagues to join Senator Schatz and me in our joint effort to help thousands of Americans suffering from a wide-range of diseases and disorders,” he added. “In a Washington at war with itself, I have high hopes that this bipartisan initiative can be a kumbaya moment for both parties.”
    The weed references include: “high time,” “experimented,” “delving into the weeds,” “strains,” “to be blunt,” “roll out,” “joint effort” and “high hopes.”
    According to Hatch’s office, the humor was on purpose.
    “Sen. Hatch has a great sense of humor,” said Matt Whitlock, Hatch’s spokesman. “While this is a serious bill dealing with serious issues, particularly in Utah, he felt that the best way to ensure it received the attention required for a thorough and robust debate was with a bit of good-natured humor, similar to that of his social media platforms.”
    This isn’t the first time the Utah conservative has been creative about his word choice.
    In August, his colorful comment about how members of his party “shot their wad” on their efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare made headlines. As Hatch’s comment began circulating on social media, the senator shared a “valuable” lesson on Civil War jargon.
    His office tweeted a link to the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of the expression, explaining that it refers to a “a plug of tow, cloth, etc., a disk of felt or cardboard, to retain the powder and shot in position in charging a gun or cartridge.”
    Hatch later clarified his remarks with “helpful additional context,” sharing a tweet from Whitlock, who explained that this turn of phrase “was used quite often during the Civil War when Hatch was just a young senator.”
    Hatch also engaged in a funny Twitter exchange with Sen. Ben Sasse in July. Hatch responded to a dig from Sasse about his age by writing: “The vote-a-rama we had on the Treaty of Paris was quite the hootenanny.”

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    This Is What The Future Of Legal Weed Looks Like

    The green revolution is here ― and it’s mostly black, brown and female.

    This month, California became the largest state in the nation to allow and regulate recreational cannabis. With marijuana legal in some form in 29 U.S. states, many are rushing to cash in on the wealth and opportunity the industry can provide.

    But as legalization spreads and more people ― and more money ― enter the market, not everyone is interested in reckoning with the devastating effects of criminalization or with preserving the industry’s relatively progressive gender balance

    Fortunately, women, specifically women of color, have already been doing the work.

    Though mainstream images of cannabis users and industry executives might suggest otherwise, the industry is sustained by a diverse community of supportive women pursuing wellness, wealth, joy and justice through the plant.They are entrepreneurs, healers, lawmakers, scientists, doctors, activists, artists and immigrants. They’ve been in the field before most people called it one, and together they’re creating a just, equitable future. 

    Here are 27 women who will shape the future of the plant. 

    Shaleen Title, marijuana attorney; commissioner, Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission 

    A post shared by Shaleen Title (@shaleentitle) on

    “We have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create an industry from scratch, but the product itself has been used since the beginning of history. That dynamic is unique and provides an opportunity for anyone with expertise and drive to become a leader. It’s an honor to be one of the youngest women of color in a regulatory position like mine.”

    Nina Parks, co-owner of Mirage Medicinal and co-founder of Supernova Women

    “The cannabis plant is a female plant. Its essence is feminine. My position, and Supernova’s position, how I see it, is to bring the feminine wisdom, the beauty, the strength that this cannabis plant has and that we have as women ― that’s what we’re here to represent and for us to be able to build it. We already live it, we walk in it every day, but for people to start seeing that.”

    Wanda James, first black woman to own a dispensary in Colorado

    A post shared by Wanda James (@wandaljames) on

    Andrea Unsworth, consultant and co-founder of Supernova Women

    A post shared by Andrea Unsworth (@_msstash) on

    “You are going to respect this plant. As women, we’re finally getting the chance to scream that as a group. You’re going to respect what we have to bring to the table…. That’s been so empowering, and now that I’m seeing women on the other end becoming investors in the space, not only just running companies, but real estate investment trusts to give properties to people going into cannabis ― it’s amazing. It’s stuff that women do every day. Why not do it in cannabis as well?”

    Ophelia Chong, founder of StockPot images, Asian Americans for Cannabis Education

    Josh Fogel

    “StockPot wasn’t created because I saw this huge cannabis industry coming at all. My sister, who has an autoimmune disease, was trying to use cannabis to help with some of the symptoms. I was looking at her, and I thought, man, she looks like a stoner. And then it hit me: I thought, I’m stereotyping her. I hurt my own feelings. Then I was thinking about the lack of diversity and how people of color are viewed when they use cannabis. People talk about a ‘stoner grandma,’ which is not so bad of a term when it’s a white woman. But when I saw images of an African American man holding a joint, they would be labeled ‘convict,’ ‘illegal,’ ‘drug dealer’ or ‘addict.’ That was the day I started StockPot ― to change the way we look at the cannabis community.”

    Tsion Lencho, attorney, Supernova Women co-founder

    A post shared by Fast Company (@fastcompany) on

    “The reason I was attracted to this industry in law school was it was one of the few issues I had stumbled across where you had conservatives and liberals both coming to the same table about the failed war on drugs…. When I was in law school, California was first dealing with reentry and with over-incarceration and trying to reduce criminalization ― the timing [to make an impact] was pretty perfect.”

    Shanita Penny, founder and CEO of Budding Solutions; Minority Cannabis Business Association president  

    Budding Solutions

    “The movers and shakers in the industry and activist space are phenomenal women who broke down barriers in corporate America, politics and in every other aspect of life, out of necessity. These women are mothers, partners, wives, sisters and daughters to the men killed and imprisoned and left with few options in life as the war on drugs rages on. We don’t have the option of not speaking up for ourselves and not actively pursuing restorative justice in addition to creating an equitable industry. As a black woman helping to build this industry and as a longtime consumer, I had no choice! I not only advocate for myself and my interests but also those of my community. My personal experiences with cannabis are just as important as the professional skill set and expertise I bring from other industries.” 

    Angela Mou, founder of Elevate Jane

    A post shared by Elevate Jane (@elevatejane) on

    “Elevate Jane aims to destigmatize cannabis culture in support of the plant as medicine. You shouldn’t feel you have to hide your pipes in a shoebox in the closet; there’s nothing to be ashamed of. Your favorite painting hangs in your bedroom, and you should similarly be proud to display your beautiful, handmade piece on your coffee table. Within the industry, there’s an incredible force of women leading the charge to mainstream cannabis. There are vastly more female-owned and run businesses in the cannabis space compared to other industries, and we’re growing stronger together by collaborating and supporting each other.”

    Takiya Anthony-Price, founder and executive producer of One on One, a cannabis-friendly podcast 

    Ashlen Price

    “I’m the founder and executive producer of One On One, a cannabis centric media series, that aspires to craft a new perspective on how we view cannabis consumption within multi-cultural communities! Our guests narrate their history with the plant and how it plays a pivotal role in who they are today. I do it because when I began to use cannabis medicinally I noticed that there were very few POC discussing their relationship with the plant. Even fewer were in a position to do so, due to a plethora of issues. The first being the stigma already associated with cannabis and how deeply entrenched its history is with racist tactics that ultimately led to the War on Drugs. The other reason being that I know that my community generally listens to each other. You can give us statistics, you can tell us facts, and that’s all fine and dandy. But, if their Auntie Maxine is talking to them about something, you’re more likely to listen. [Being a woman in weed]  means that I have the ability to reshape the cannabis industry in my image. That image happens to be related to who I am ― queer, black, and a mother. All facets of who I am also happen to be underrepresented communities. My hope for the future is that we see more people of color join the cannabis movement, whether it be by, advocacy work or by owning and operating their own business. There’s absolutely enough room at the table, and if they don’t find a table they like, I encourage them to go ahead and build one.”

    Safon Floyd, Siritia Wright, Kali Wilder, founders of EstroHaze

    A post shared by EstroHaze (@estrohaze) on

    Kali Wilder, CEO:

    “We decided to start EstroHaze because we saw what was happening as far as industry growth, were enthusiasts and felt we could help close a gap in education within our communities. It angers me that so many people of color are locked up for a plant that saves so many lives. And the last time this whole prohibition thing happened, a lot of people who look like me didn’t benefit. Not this time.

    My co-founders and I worked together at a national media company and knew we could use our backgrounds to spread a message, to provide resources, to document what is happening. To spark conversations and amplify voices. There is a growing, evolving, beautiful community that we have the pleasure to share with on a daily basis.

    Being a woman in this industry, in this moment in time, and able to contribute in this way is something we don’t take lightly. It’s all new. How does it feel to be a woman in weed? We are women in weed focused on connecting women to weed. So, dope.”

    Sirita Wright, CMO:

    “Women in weed are either bold, brave or both. EstroHaze started as a podcast and evolved into a media platform where ambitious, career-focused women like us, who look like us, can come together to both appreciate and finally profit from cannabis. The women in the industry are focused on building impactful change both within the cannabis industry as a whole and in their own communities.”

    Natasha Singh, henna artist and cannabis advocate

    “I am a cosmetologist specializing in henna tattoos and lash extensions. I’m a mom to a one-year-old baby girl and a proud Indian cannabis advocate. My mission? I’m hoping by being vocal about my personal journey using cannabis will open conversations about cannabis in other Indian family homes. Being an Indian woman advocating for cannabis is very rare. My community tends to be judgemental and definitely looks at marijuana in a negative way. But I feel that education is the solution, especially with immigrant parents. I never imagined my parents accepting my own cannabis use. It wasn’t overnight, so I had to educate them and still continue to today. My greatest hope for the future of cannabis is to see it accessible in every country, especially India… I believe in the cannabis industry, and know more research and studies are unfolding every day about this miracle plant. I’m honored to have experienced it firsthand and now seeing it is changing the world.”

    Sonia Espinosa, co-founder, Massachusetts Recreational Cannabis Consumer Council

    A post shared by SONIA ERIKA (@furrealthoughh) on

    “Prior to graduating with Harvard’s class of 2016, I co-founded the Cannabis Cultural Association (CCA). I’m currently focused on the Massachusetts Recreational Consumer Council, MRCC, whose efforts seek to bridge the gap between communities, businesses and local legislators. MRCC launched the first cannabis consumer education campaign, Consume Responsibly Massachusetts. Legal sales for MA are expected in July. Aside from MRCC, I also collaboratively run @EatMe.Land, a cannabis, femme, art, tech collective. 

    [I do this work] because weed legalization is not simply ending prohibition and creating the ability to buy legal weed from a storefront. Legalization means creating equity for those who have been most damaged by the war on drugs…. Cannabis is a booming industry, but it’s important to consider who’s making money from it and who’s getting locked up and deported.”

    Dasheeda Dawson, president, MJM Strategy, and chief strategy officer for Minorities for Medical Marijuana 

    “I am The WeedHead, a corporate-to-cannabis cross-over executive. From Target to THC, I am the founder and president of MJM Strategy, a digital-focused management consulting firm specializing in the cannabis and hemp industries. After witnessing the palliative effects of cannabis on my mother as she underwent chemotherapy, I decided to explore the medicinal benefits. When my mother passed away, I moved to Arizona and immersed myself in the industry. My mission is to legitimize, stabilize and diversify the cannabis business. As a black woman, I have faced intersectional barriers because of my race and gender, which have only made me more determined to open doors for other women and people of color. My ultimate goal is to help end cannabis prohibition globally, so that people everywhere can enjoy the health and wellness benefits from the plant. I hope that my work and voice expand the world’s perspective on a myriad of cannabis-related issues, from equitable and sustainable business to social justice.”

    Chelsea Candelaria, advocate, blogger and customer success manager, Try Chemistry

    “There’s a huge stereotype about women that we don’t smoke or, if you do, that you’re a poor mother, you can’t be professional. That’s especially impactful in my own communities. I’m Latina and I’m also black. Those things run very, very deep. I’m determined to help break that stereotype. I’m an educated woman with a professional background and I use cannabis very regularly. You can be a productive person. You can be a good citizen and use cannabis. There’s such a deep history in my community around cannabis use and the effects of cannabis prohibition. My own family has been affected, significantly, by the war on drugs. That was another huge motivation for me to get into the industry and make an impact.”

    Reese Benton, entrepreneur, Posh Green Collective

    A post shared by Reese (@thestylistreeseb) on

    I’m the only African American woman that has any kind of cannabis business in San Francisco. I do on-demand hair. I thought: I work on demand, I work with all these tech people, I go to people’s houses. Let me open up a delivery service. So I just read and read and trained myself, and then I opened it up last year. For me to be able to be here after seeing all of this craziness and dysfunction is a dream. And to be able to go to the next level in this business, I never knew how I was going to make it in this world or how I was going to be able to capitalize on anything to be stable, and finally, because of this, I’ll be able to have money. I’ll be stable. And I’ll also have a successful business ― everything I always wanted and that I work hard for every day. 

    Ashley Brooke and Tahirah Hairston, founders of The High Ends

    A post shared by @thehighendsnyc on

    The High Ends is a community (and soon to be content platform) for women who smoke and want to explore their relationship with the plant amongst like-minded people. We’re working to disrupt image of what a woman who smokes weed looks like. Too often we were flooded with images that were either oversexualized or super carefree and bohemian—and mostly white. It wasn’t a realistic picture of what our world looked like, and it was important for us to open up the scope and create a space that showcases diverse women across all races, cultures, and professions. As black women in the industry, it has become even more important to carve out that space for women of color as cannabis becomes legalized and the people reaping the benefits remain predominantly white. Black and brown women are often stigmatized and still unfairly prosecuted for our relationship with weed, The High Ends wants to help combat that and create more opportunities for our stories to be told. Our hope is that by amplifying the voices and lifestyles of the many faces of women who smoke for reasons that range from chronic pain to distress to creative brainstorming, we’ll create a new image of what it means to be a woman who smokes.”

    Nicole Gonzalez, marketing assistant, founder of @stigmafit

    “I want to give people inspiration to get outside and explore the world around them. To stay active and as a community motivate each other to push to their highest potential. To be a “women in weed” to me means a strong female figure making moves and making a change in the cannabis industry. A woman who can have a voice for the community. Women are taking over this industry and #breakinggrassceilings!

    Maya Elizabeth, co-founder, Whoopi & Maya

    A post shared by Whoopi & Maya (@whoopiandmaya) on

    “I was always in love with cannabis. Almost 15 years ago, I started working at a dispensary. I just could never see myself going back to a regular job. I go to help people. I got to hold a space for people that was really missing. A lot of these people were suffering, slipping through the cracks and just couldn’t afford health care. I got a cold call that there was a celebrity who wanted to make a menstrual line and I was a good person to talk to, and I said absolutely. Whoopi [Goldberg] wanted to guinea pig some people that she knew who had severe menstrual cycles, and I was told if it worked we’d move forward, and if it didn’t, we wouldn’t. It worked, and it works for a good reason.”

    Leslie Valencia, researcher and founder of Cannabis Equity Org

    Leslie Valencia

    Women of color have played a critical role in ensuring equity in cannabis. We know that the LGBT community was one of the main reasons that cannabis was legalized in San Francisco and in California, we know that veterans are also playing a big role in the cannabis industry in advocacy and in using it as a medical treatment for PTSD. We know, of course, people of color, of course, women in general, have ties to it. People with disabilities using this, cancer patients, senior citizens have their own coalition. Immigrants, undocumented folks play an important role.In this field, it’s amazing how you can have discussions about all of these topics and interact with all of these people and have conversations that truly address all of these topics. Immigrants, undocumented folks play an important role. By far, of any topic that I’ve studied, it’s had the most intersectionality.”

    Kebra Smith-Bolden, registered nurse and president of CannaHealth CT and Cannabis Consultants of CT

    Kebra Smith-Bolden

    “As a ‘woman in weed,’ I have merged my traditional career as a registered nurse with the unconventional cannabis industry. As a cannabis nurse, I focus my energy on researching how and why people consume. I study the effective use of cannabis in conjunction with therapy for inner-city residents suffering from complex traumas. I also have the opportunity to work on ‘righting the wrongs’ of the prohibition of cannabis and the detrimental effects the criminalization of cannabis has had on communities of color as a result of the war on drugs. By providing education, avenues to entrepreneurship and equal opportunities despite race, class or socioeconomic status, communities of color can initiate the healing process and discontinue the suffering endured due to years of racial, social and economic inequities.”

    Lisa Sanchez, cannabis artist, speaker and advocate at Visine Queen

    “I started in 2008. At the time, it was for images of cannabis plants, art, clothes and whatever pictures I could find of women smoking. My [advocacy] work came about a few years into creating art and realizing that women of color are not represented properly. At the time, inclusion didn’t seem like a priority in the cannabis space. It was important to me to be a part of the inclusion that needed to happen within cannabis art. Today I create cannabis art to promote women of color and empower any woman who uses cannabis medically, recreationally or spiritually. My hope is that the black and Latino community sees cannabis legalization, cultivation and the businesses that come with it as opportunities ― stepping stones that will restore what we have lost, or what we never have had a chance to build.”

    Dr. Rachel Knox, Dr. Janice Knox, Dr. Jessica Knox, co-founders, The Canna MDs

    Amber Senter, COO of Magnolia Wellness Collective, Leisure Life founder and Supernova Women co-founder

    Verena von Vetten, founder of Gossamer magazine

    A post shared by Verena von Pfetten (@vonverena) on

    “I’m the co-founder of Gossamer, a lifestyle publication for the modern cannabis consumer, covering culture, travel, design, art, and food through a “green” lens. One of our goals with Gossamer, particularly as a lifestyle publication, is to change the perception of cannabis and cannabis consumers and, in doing so, help move the conversation around legalization and social justice forward, and perhaps into spaces that have been historically inhospitable to it. Legal cannabis is an entirely new industry in this country, which means there’s an incredible opportunity to build it mindfully, such that it is inclusive and diverse across all genders, sexual identities, races, and classes. It’s going to take a lot of work, especially considering the historical injustices perpetrated by the war on drugs, but it’s something I&

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    Jeff Sessions’ marijuana move will backfire

    (CNN)Jeff Sessions announced Thursday that he is rescinding the Cole memo, which reflected the Department of Justice’s relatively passive policy under the Obama administration since August 2013 on enforcement of federal cannabis laws.

    Unlike announcements from the DOJ in past years threatening to ramp up federal enforcement of the cannabis laws, this announcement was met with little more than a yawn by cannabis businesses.
    The harshest reaction came from local and state government officials — in California and in other states — who insisted that they were disappointed, concerned, and surprised by Sessions’ move.
      Now, unlike in prior years, government officials in California and elsewhere are totally aligned with cannabis businesses in resisting the federal government’s threats.
      In fact, the landscape has shifted so dramatically in recent years that some of the harshest critics of Sessions were senators and representatives, many of them prominent Republicans, from states with cannabis programs that generate much-needed medicine and tax revenue. They expressed outrage over this action by Sessions, claiming it belies promises he made to them before being confirmed by the Senate.
      As a result, Sessions has alienated many in Congress, where he can ill afford to lose any friends. Given his recusal — apparently against President Donald Trump’s wishes — from the Russia collusion investigation, he seems to be in a vulnerable spot with the President. Trump has said that he still stands with Sessions. But the attorney general still faces allegations from Democrats, who say that he perjured himself during last year’s confirmation hearings.
      Without protection from Republican allies in the Senate, Sessions’ next appearance on Capitol Hill could be bloody. Cannabis might be the issue that undermines Sessions’ already shaky support.
      Apart from Sessions’ announcement being unpopular, it really doesn’t have any teeth. The medical and legal cannabis industry has grown so big that it would be impossible to make a dent in it — let alone stamp it out through federal enforcement.
      Moreover, Sessions did not actually announce that there would be a crackdown on cannabis businesses, but rather that it would be left to the discretion of the local US attorneys in the various districts to decide how and when to enforce the federal laws. This does not amount to much of a substantive change in policy, which begs the question of why Sessions bothered to make the announcement at all.
      The Obama administration’s policy essentially left it to the individual states to regulate its respective cannabis industries provided those businesses did not engage in activities that threatened federal priorities, like serving as a cover for other illegal activity or violence.

        GOP senator fumes over marijuana memo reversal

      Under the Cole memo, in the past four-plus years, the already robust medical cannabis industry continued to evolve with more than half the states now allowing some form of medical cannabis use and commercial activity, and now eight states including California, Colorado, Washington and Nevada permitting recreational or adult use of recreational cannabis.
      Based on conversations I’ve had with federal prosecutors in Los Angeles, there does not appear to be much of an appetite on the part of federal prosecutors to go after cannabis. And if they do, at the moment their hands are tied, at least when it comes to medical cannabis. Since 2014, the federal budget has prohibited the DOJ from using federal funds to prosecute medical cannabis businesses pursuant to a budget rider championed by US Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, a Republican who considers Sessions a “longtime friend.”
      The Sessions’ announcement was likely timed to create anxiety in California, only days after it began issuing permits for both medical and recreational cannabis businesses. California and its attorney general have been somewhat of a thorn in the side of the Trump administration, filing a number of lawsuits challenging various policies, and perhaps most significantly, allowing so-called “sanctuary cities” for undocumented immigrants.

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      Although the spotlight seems to be on California, Colorado — a swing state — with a population that is dwarfed by California, has raked in hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue from its legalization of cannabis.
      It would be wise for Sessions to remember that cannabis businesses exist in red and purple states, too. Its investors include prominent Trump supporters like Todd Mitchem. Any real enforcement efforts would alienate this administration’s base and be a political risk.
      For all of these reasons, there isn’t much bark to Sessions’ bite. And in fact, it could precipitate a legal battle with California and other states — possibly overturning the authority of the federal government to even regulate legal cannabis businesses, an issue that has yet to be decided by the Supreme Court. That would be the ultimate irony to Sessions’ move and an appropriate epitaph on his fight against cannabis.

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      Vermont moves to legalize pot as feds signal possible crackdown

      (CNN)On the same day the Justice Department signaled a possible federal crackdown on marijuana use, lawmakers in Vermont passed a bill that would legalize the drug for recreational purposes.

      The state House voted 81-63 on Thursday to pass a bill legalizing possession of a small amount of marijuana, according to legislative records and House Clerk William MaGill.
      “Substance use should be treated as a health care matter, not as a crime,” said Rep. Brian Cina of the state’s Progressive Party, records show. “By passing judgment on others for the way that they deal with pain or seek pleasure, one further fuels the stigma that drives addiction.”
        The bill next heads to the Senate, where it is expected to pass, and Gov. Phil Scott, a Republican, has said he will sign it, according to CNN affiliate WCAX.
        The bill is similar to one Scott vetoed last year but includes stricter penalties for stoned drivers and for those who provide pot to children.

        Federal policy in flux

        Lawmakers’ approval came the same day Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded three memos from the Obama administration that had set up a hands-off policy toward marijuana-friendly states.
        Although several states have legalized possession, cultivation and distribution of pot in recent years, marijuana remains illegal under federal law. Sessions’ move indicates the end of the laissez-faire attitude of recent years and gives prosecutors more leeway in deciding whether to commit resources to stopping marijuana use, even in states that have legalized the drug.
        In Vermont, state Sen. Dick Sears, a Democrat, said he wasn’t sure what the new federal guidance would mean locally.
        “I’m not sure how much it will affect us. It might affect our medical marijuana, which would be a bigger concern because that is where the state is regulating and the state is allowing the sale of it,” Sears told WCAX.
        In the US, eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use of marijuana.

        Vermont and marijuana

        Vermont, the “Green Mountain State,” could soon become the first state to legalize marijuana by passing a law in the legislature rather than by use of a ballot measure.
        Long one of the most liberal states in the country, Vermont legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2004 and recently decriminalized possession of a small amount.
        This is Vermont’s second attempt at passing a marijuana bill in the past year. State lawmakers last spring passed a bill legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
        But Scott vetoed the bill, saying it did not adequately protect public safety. He said he was generally a “libertarian” on the issue but asked for more protections against stoned driving and children’s access to marijuana.
        “I am not philosophically opposed to ending the prohibition on marijuana, and I recognize there is a clear societal shift in that direction,” he said at the time. “However, I feel it is crucial that key questions and concerns involving public safety and health are addressed before moving forward.”
        Scott also said he wanted any such bill to include an “impairment testing mechanism” that police could use to determine whether a driver is stoned. However, there is no marijuana Breathalyzer-style product on the market.
        Scott set up a Marijuana Advisory Commission to study the matter. Its report is expected later this month.

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        FDA Issues Warnings To Companies Making Fake Claims Marijuana “Makes Cancer Cells Commit Suicide”

        Within a relatively short period of time, large parts of the US have passed some form of legalization which allows the possession and distribution of medical marijuana. There’s relatively sturdy evidence that marijuana can help tackle some symptoms for a handful of conditions, such as reducing chronic pain or stimulating the appetite of people undergoing chemotherapy.

        This relaxation of the law has helped bring marijuana out of the shadows and into the shiny world of marketing and advertising. So, just like any other advertised product or drug, bold claims about cancer-curing properties require bold evidence, which currently doesn’t exist.

        That’s why the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has publicly issued warning letters to a bunch of companies to stop peddling unproven claims about products containing cannabidiol. The FDA says four companies – Greenroads Health, Natural Alchemist, That’s Natural! Marketing and Consulting, and Stanley Brothers Social Enterprises LLC – have all made claims about the cancer-curing properties of their product on their websites, social media, or in shops.

        Their advertising has included claims such as: “[cannabidiol product] makes cancer cells commit ‘suicide’ without killing other cells,” “anti-proliferative properties that inhibit cell division and growth in certain types of cancer,” “Combats tumor and cancer cells,” and “effective in treating tumors from cancer – including breast cancer.”

        So far, these claims remain unverified by science. Despite the memes and the fuzzy YouTube videos you might have seen, there simply isn’t enough evidence to say that cannabinoids or cannabis can cut the risk of cancer in people.

        “Substances that contain components of marijuana will be treated like any other products that make unproven claims to shrink cancer tumors,” FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said in a statement.

        To become FDA-approved, a drug or product must undergo an evaluation of whether they work, what the proper dosage is, how they could interact with other drugs, and whether they have dangerous side effects. Otherwise, you could be wasting your time and money on drugs that don’t actually do what they claim or, worse still, harming your health.

        “We don’t let companies market products that deliberately prey on sick people with baseless claims that their substance can shrink or cure cancer and we’re not going to look the other way on enforcing these principles when it comes to marijuana-containing products,” Gottlieb added.

        “We recognize that there’s interest in developing therapies from marijuana and its components, but the safest way for this to occur is through the drug approval process – not through unsubstantiated claims made on a website. We support sound, scientifically-based research using components derived from marijuana, and we’ll continue to work with product developers who are interested in bringing safe, effective, and quality products to market.”

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        Corey Feldman Ticketed On Misdemeanor Marijuana And Traffic Charges In Louisiana

        A small town police department in Louisiana had to jail

        In addition to that, Mangham cops searched the bus and found both marijuana and prescription pills — and Feldman ended up being cited with possession of marijuana, speeding, and driving with a suspended license.

        Feldman quickly paid a fine and was released to go about his business.

        He tweeted about the ordeal (below):

        The band had been on their way to play the Live Oaks Bar and Ballroom in nearby Monroe, Louisiana that night before they got stopped — it appears, of course, that the show was called off.

        For what it’s worth, the group has another show tonight in Houston — and Feldman, tweeting about his whole ordeal, has indicated it’ll go off as planned.

        Let’s just hope everybody is OK and the prescriptions come out so charges will go away!

        [Image via FayesVision/WENN.]

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        Vermont becomes first state to legalize marijuana through legislature

        (CNN)Vermont, the “Green Mountain State,” has become the first state to legalize marijuana by passing a law in the legislature rather than by use of a ballot measure.

        Long one of the most liberal states in the country, Vermont legalized the use of medical marijuana in 2004 and recently decriminalized possession of a small amount.
        This is Vermont’s second attempt at passing a marijuana bill in the past year. State lawmakers last spring passed a bill legalizing marijuana for recreational use.
          But Scott vetoed the bill, saying it did not adequately protect public safety. He said he was generally a “libertarian” on the issue but asked for more protections against stoned driving and children’s access to marijuana, which this bill provides.
          “As I said when I vetoed S. 22 in May, I personally believe that what adults do behind closed doors and on private property is their choice, so long as it does not negatively impact the health and safety of others, especially children,” Scott said in a statement following the bill signing.
          “While this legislation decriminalizes, for adults 21 and older, personal possession of no more than 1 ounce, and cultivation of two mature plants on their private property, marijuana remains a controlled substance in Vermont and its sale is prohibited,” the statement added.
          “Also, consumption of marijuana in public places is prohibited. Consumption of marijuana by operators and passengers in a motor vehicle is prohibited. Schools, employers, municipalities and landlords are also empowered to adopt policies and ordinances further restricting the cultivation and use.”
          Although several states have legalized possession, cultivation and distribution of pot in recent years, marijuana remains illegal under federal law.
          In the US, nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use of marijuana.

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          Is marijuana a medical miracle? The truth is, we still don’t know

          Whats the evidence behind medical cannabis? While many attest to its healing powers, research into the full potential has long been legally restricted

          Is marijuana a medical miracle? The truth is, we still don’t know

          Is marijuana a medical miracle? The truth is, we still don’t know

          Whats the evidence behind medical cannabis? While many attest to its healing powers, research into the full potential has long been legally restricted

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          Dont Share Your Marijuana With Your Pets, Yet

          A growing body of evidence suggests that cats and dogs experience therapeutic benefits from cannabis products, just like us humans. Unfortunately for well-intentioned owners and veterinarians, critical information regarding efficacy, proper dosages, and possible side effects has not been established.

          One thing that is known, however, is that animals can become ill if they overdose on cannabis products. Dogs and cats display familiar responses after consuming small amounts of the marijuana plant or edibles: lethargy, altered behavior, blood-shot eyes, and slower response times. But if too much enters their systems, our furry friends can experience dangerously low blood pressure and heart rate, loss of bodily control, incontinence, diarrhea, and in severe cases, coma or death.

          Due to marijuana’s potential toxicity, it’s essential that owners never leave cannabis products lying about in their pet’s reach. 

          Though marijuana consumption appears to carry risks for pets that don’t exist in humans, our overall physiology is highly similar. They are vulnerable to many of the same diseases as us, including those that are now commonly treated or alleviated with medical marijuana. And because all mammalian bodies contain similar cannabinoid receptors, it is logical to surmise that pet species can experience the same symptomatic relief from cannabinoids.

          Due to marijuana’s status as a controlled substance, however, veterinarians are unable to prescribe or even legally recommend cannabis products for pets. In US states with legalized medical use, physicians may turn to cannabis to help human patients suffering from chemotherapy complications, chronic pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, seizure disorders, anxiety and more – but none of the laws included wording that authorized vets to do so for their patients.

          This hasn’t stopped some bold animal health practitioners from selling or supporting the use of pet-specialized medicinals, typically in the form of cannabidiol (CBD) oil extracts. One of several cannabinoid molecules found in marijuana, CBD appears to mediate many of the drug’s fascinating anesthetic, anti-convulsive, anti-inflammatory, and anxiolytic properties. And unlike THC, it does not produce a “high” mental state.


          Many in the veterinary research community would like to substantiate the existing anecdotal evidence in favor of CBD-based therapies with clinical trials, yet federal policy has made this endeavor nearly impossible.

          In 2016, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) added CBD to the list of the most tightly regulated Schedule 1 substances, alongside the likes of heroin and ecstasy. The classification for CBD could be downgraded, or a path to medical use approved if there was evidence of CBD’s benefit from completed studies. The catch-22 is that many proposed trials are either rejected outright or stalled for years due to unreasonable required conditions.

          According to a New York Post article, the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine had to halt investigations into CBD for canine arthritis due to worrisome legal ambiguities.

          “Unfortunately there’s not a lot of research out there, especially on animals, on CBD compounds,” Byron Maas, DVM, told the Post. “The research is really necessary to help us understand how to actually use these compounds on our pets.”

          Providing a beacon of hope in this quagmire of bureaucratic red tape, determined scientists at Colorado State University may soon provide some published data from their two trials on CBD for canine epilepsy and arthritis. 

          Furthermore, the American Veterinary Medical Association as a whole is lobbying for the DEA to relax restrictions on CBD.

          If all goes according to plan, you and your animal companion could stroll into a dispensary together someday soon.

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