Tag: kind leaf

Shattering Stereotypes: Cannabis Consumers Exercise As Much, If Not More

There have been many harmful stereotypes of cannabis consumers and connoisseurs perpetrated over the years. We’ve seen dumb stoners plastered all over media, as well as the lazy, sedentary stoners. As a child of DARE propaganda throughout my elementary, junior high, and high school years, I was kind of shocked when I got to college. I met cannabis users that were the smartest, most active people that I knew. People were getting great grades, working out, dominating at pickup basketball games, and utilizing cannabis. My mind was blown and I wondered what other Drug War lies I was being fed over the years. Several years ago, I was fortunate enough to be acquainted with former NBA All-Star and Sixth Man of the Year, the late Clifford Robinson, and he shared a ton of stories about world-class athletes using cannabis and how many were contacting him and thanking him for his activism. A recent study published in the medical journal Preventive Medicine has just demonstrated what many of us have known for years: that the caricature of the lazy, inactive stoner is a huge myth. From the authors of the study:

“Results show that, particularly for fixed-effects models, marijuana use is not significantly related to exercise, counter to conventional wisdom that marijuana users are less likely to be active. Indeed, the only significant estimates suggest a positive relationship, even among heavier users during the past 30 days. These findings are at odds with much of the existing literature, which generally shows a negative relationship between marijuana use and exercise. As additional states legalize the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, perhaps its impact on exercise, one of the leading social determinants of health, is not necessarily a primary concern.”

The research published in Preventive Medicine backs up a previous study published in the Frontiers in Public Health Journal, which found:

“In summary, these data suggest that many cannabis users in states with legal cannabis access use in conjunction with exercise, and that most who do so believe it increases enjoyment of, recovery from, and to some extent the motivation to engage in exercise. As these factors positively correlate with exercise behavior, using cannabis with exercise may play a beneficial role in the health of cannabis users.”

In fairness, both of the studies I’ve cited in this blog note that more research is needed. However, among those that know cannabis consumers, I imagine that these findings match what you have found. Do you know anyone that plays disc golf, for instance? If you poll disc golfers, hikers, and other active folks in your life, there’s a decent chance that they utilize cannabis. Don’t be fooled by the propaganda. Cannabis doesn’t hold anyone back from achieving the lifestyle or goals that you want to achieve. Now, getting arrested and convicted for cannabis, that’s the real harm. Keep shattering those stereotypes, cannabis community. Step by step, freedom and common sense are on the march.

The weather is warming up. When you are being active across beautiful, majestic Oregon, be sure to stop into Kind Leaf, the best craft cannabis boutique in the Great Northwest.

Happy Birthday to Kind Leaf! Thank You for Four Great Years!

March 10 marks four years since the opening of Kind Leaf. Through hard, work, perseverance, and, yes, great cannabis, a hope and a dream has evolved into Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique. There is no better place to acquire cannabis flower and products in Oregon, with a selection that can rival any place on the planet. Kind Leaf is there for the cannabis community and even for your friends and family that don’t partake as the shop stays stocked with great non-cannabis items, making it a one-stop shop for tourists and local connoisseurs alike.

When shopping at Kind Leaf, you know that you are supporting a local, Oregon-owned small business that gives back to the community and cares about its neighbors. Kind Leaf supports local events and businesses, with everything culminating in the Kind Tree program that benefits families in need of help providing a magical Christmas Day for children who would otherwise go without.

Regardless of the headlines screaming about record-breaking profits and the next state passing a legalization measure, the cannabis industry is not for the faint of heart by any means. The rules, regulations, and taxes are very burdensome and the profit margins are way too slim, but if your heart is in the right place and you provide a quality product, you can actually achieve the American dream. Kind Leaf is a great example for other businesses to follow, as good work and good deeds can equal great business. Happy fourth birthday, Kind Leaf, here’s to FOUR MORE YEARS. And then four more. And then four more…

There are always great deals at Kind Leaf that include discounts to military veterans, OMMP patients, and all senior citizens. There are birthday specials to commemorate March 10th (the soft launch anniversary) and March 11th (the Grand Opening anniversary) and you can order online via Leafly.

IRS Commissioner Agrees that Cannabis Businesses Need Banking Services

The lack of banking services for cannabis businesses is a national embarrassment at this point. The cannabis industry has been deemed essential during the COVID pandemic, supporting jobs and generating record-breaking tax revenues each and every quarter. Billions upon billions of dollars are flowing into retailers’ cash registers, but all too often, state-regulated companies are without bank accounts or are forced to jump through unnecessary regulatory hurdles and pay arbitrary fees just for the “privilege” of keeping an account.

The cannabis companies’ inability to maintain bank accounts impacts all of the other vendors and businesses that the industry must interact with, creating inefficiencies that shouldn’t exist. People associated with the cannabis industry, such as lawyers, consultants, and property managers have lost bank accounts as well. On top of the burdens and extra costs, the prohibition on banking creates a danger, including for state and federal workers who have to handle the ever-increasing mounds of cash that are used to pay local, state, and federal taxes.

Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner Charles Rettig testified before the House Appropriations Financial Services and General Government Subcommittee, detailing how his agency would prefer that state-legal cannabis businesses had access to banking services that would allow electronic deposits, as Marijuana Moment reported:

Rep. David Joyce (R-OH), who serves as a co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, said that barring marijuana companies from traditional financial services is “inefficient for business and the IRS alike, obviously, not to mention ample opportunity for fraud and abuse it creates, as well as potential for criminal acts as far as robbing and stealing from those.”

Rettig replied that “the IRS would prefer direct deposits moreso than receiving actual cash payments.”

“It’s a security issue for the IRS. It’s a security issue for our employees in our taxpayer assistance centers, [which] is actually where we receive these payments,” he said. “We created special facilities in the tax to receive the payments. Then we similarly have to transport the payments themselves.”

Reefer Madness prohibition policies have hurt too many people for far too long, even years after states have passed legalization laws and 2/3 of Americans support ending cannabis prohibition. Prohibitionists that claim they support public safety and health are actually endangering more people. Our nation claims to support entrepreneurship and small businesses, but federal prohibition is stifling hard-working Americans and strangling mom-and-pops while multinational corporations with deep pockets can ride out these regulatory obstacles while buying up the little guys. It’s a small miracle that locally-owned craft cannabis boutiques like Kind Leaf are able to survive and even thrive under these circumstances. It’s past time that Uncle Sam legalize cannabis, but let’s at least get the SAFE Banking Act signed into law on our march towards freedom and equality.

The U.S. Cannabis Industry Now Employs More than 320,000 People

As too many of us are all-too familiar, the job market is extremely tough these days. One of the few bright spots has been the cannabis industry which now employs more than 320,000 people across the United States, outpacing many other professions. On one hand, it’s rather remarkable that the industry has been able to accelerate hiring during the COVID pandemic while some states irrationally cling to prohibition and the many regulatory roadblocks placed in front of cannabis businesses. On the other hand, it isn’t surprising that more employees are needed to keep up with record-breaking sales across the country as more states and localities move towards legalizing regulated cannabis commerce.

From Leafly which just issued its 2021 jobs report, a collaboration with Whitney Economics:

Cannabis job growth in 2020 represents a doubling of the previous year’s US job growth. In 2019, the cannabis industry added 33,700 new US jobs for a total of 243,700.

Despite a year marked by a global pandemic, spiking unemployment, and economic recession, the legal cannabis industry added 77,300 full-time jobs in the United States in 2020. That represents 32% year-over-year job growth, an astonishing figure in the worst year for US economic growth since World War II.

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When the COVID-19 pandemic hit the United States in March, many in the cannabis industry worried about a potential industry-wide shutdown. Instead, governors in most states declared cannabis an essential product. Dispensaries and retail stores responded by offering online ordering, curbside pickup, and delivery as COVID-safe options for their customers.

I am so proud of relient cannabis entrepreneurs, especially craft cannabis boutiques like Kind Leaf, that give back to the community and provide quality jobs. While those on the outside see the big sales and revenue numbers making headlines, those without an intricate knowledge of the industry aren’t aware of the many headaches that cannabis businesses face. It’s amazing that mom-and-pops and other small to medium retailers are finding ways to overcome a lack of banking services, an exorbitant tax rate, and other regulatory hurdles to compete with multinational companies with shareholders and deep pocketbooks.

Cannabis Legalization in Sherwood, Oregon, Shows Activists’ Heart

These days, a majority of people tend to think that cannabis legalization is inevitable and I understand why that seems like the case. However, for those of us that have been in the political fight for a decade or two, especially getting our start in a conservative state, we know that ending prohibition is battle that takes many twists and turns. The “inevitability” of legalization is only here because of the giants whose shoulders we stand upon, those that were willing to take risks before there was majority support. Those that were willing to hear nasty comments from prohibitionists while gathering signatures and risk defeat at the ballot box, knowing that the fight for freedom was worth it and that, even in defeat, there are victories to build upon. While folks around the nation may view Oregon has a cannabis utopia, those that live here know that the fight for freedom and equality still goes on.

In Sherwood, Oregon, the cannabis community finally prevailed in a fight to legalize the regulated sale of cannabis to all adults over the age of 21. Following the passage of of the Measure 91 legalization initiative in 2014, localities were allowed to prohibit retail sales. Sherwood advocates placed measures on the local ballot in 2016, 2017, and again in 2020. The third time’s the charm. In 2016, 44% of voters supported legal sales, while support dipped to 38% in 2017. Undeterred, hardworking activists won in 2020 with 54%. The work was spearheaded by Sheri Ralston, owner of Western Oregon dispensary, who had a an important ally on the city council, as the Regal Courier reported:

“My husband got cancer and marijuana has always been a part of my life and I believed in it, much over alcohol, and so it was just an easy step for me to move in to,” said Ralston, noting that marijuana sales is a challenging business but fun at the same time.

One of those who advocated for the passage of the Sherwood measure was Sean Garland, a member of the Sherwood City Council, something she believes was a plus. Another councilor, Renee Brouse, did not endorse the measure, but she said in November that she was impressed with Ralston’s work in marketing the recreational marijuana measure and finding support for it.

While the COVID-19 pandemic meant a drop in sales for many retailers last year, Ralston said her businesses reported a solid year.

“We saw an untick of new customers and a fair amount of those new customers were looking for products for stress, sleep and anxiety, rather than for recreational use,” Ralston said. “The new customer is more apt to move into an edible product rather than a smokable product.

While Sherwood’s plight won’t make the national headlines, the work of local activists is where the tough work is done. A sincere thanks to everyone putting in the hard work in their local communities. As we work to end prohibition, please remember to support the small businesses like Western Oregon Dispensary in Sherwood and Kind Leaf in Pendleton that are providing cannabis, jobs, and revenue for their neighbors.

Cannabis Can Be a Big Part of an Economic and Jobs Stimulus Plan

The economic situation in the United States is extremely dire for millions of people as our nation recovers from the COVID pandemic. So many industries have been decimated and the American people across demographics need assistance. Some help appears to be on the way as Congress is debating a relief and stimulus package. While our elected officials debate the size of stimulus checks, whether to increase the minimum wage, or several other aspects of their next major economic bill, they should be making plans to assist the cannabis industry, one of our nation’s few bright spots.

As Iris Dorbian writes in Forbes, the cannabis industry is booming on one level, but beneath the surface, you can see major obstacles remain because of federal prohibition:

Unlike other industries that were badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting recession, hiring in the legal cannabis industry has been booming. Experts attribute the industry’s designation as “essential” at the start of the outbreak as a key reason for the surge. However, challenges still mount. For instance, the industry may be growing exponentially, it is fragmented thanks to the federal illegality.

Federal law prevents or extremely complicated cannabis businesses’ access to banking accounts and other financial services while taxing companies at a ridiculous rate as normal business expenses cannot be deducted. While legal states announce record-breaking cannabis sales and revenue generation, small businesses, the lifeblood of our country’s economy are hindered while multinational corporations flourish. While it would be great for cannabis regulations to promote smaller operators, at the very least they should provide some type of even playing field. Instead, as usual, the mom-and-pops suffer disproportionately, but it doesn’t have to be this way. Craft cannabis boutique’s like Pendleton, Oregon’s Kind Leaf, are providing jobs, generating millions for important state programs, and give back to their local communities. By embracing the cannabis industry, the United States can improve our economy and improve lives.

Federal Cannabis Legislation Sets Up Stock Market Speculation

Interest in the stock market seems to be at an all-time high as the Reddit-inspired Gamestop story has been dominating headlines. The media loves covering cannabis and people love money, so naturally, speculation around the potential stock prices of cannabis companies are starting to make the news again as federal cannabis legalization appears to be on the agenda with the new changes in leadership.

From an op-ed with some insight and advice for those that want want to be “bullish” on cannabis stocks published on CNBC:

Instead of focusing on the micro picture of day-to-day legislative battles or the timing of reform being approved by each chamber of Congress, bullish cannabis investors need to view themselves as arriving on the doorstep of the end of cannabis prohibition.

The short-term perspective sees the stalling of legislation like the SAFE Banking Act as problematic for capital; whereas the macro view understands that Biden’s election and a Democratic Senate sweep indicates a better path for legalization.

With some form of legalization already in play in over 40 states (medicinal or recreational), cannabis is quickly emerging as a major consumer packaged goods investment allocation. Valuations which were once seen as lofty, now look extremely attractive as both profitability growth and legislation are tailwinds for a sector that’s only just begun to ride. 

The entire opinion piece by Tim Seymour and Brady Cobb, who both work in the cannabis industry, is worth the read. There are a lot of investment strategies and opinions and people should certainly do their homework before dumping their life savings into any type of stocks. There will be opportunities in the cannabis sector for sure, but as always, buyer beware. While you wait on full cannabis legalization and the ability to ride a green wave to extra money, please support small craft cannabis boutiques like Pendleton Oregon’s Kind Leaf, who are provided the best selection and quality while benefiting their local community and economy.

Power to the People: Before Gamestop, there Was the Cannabis Stock Tilray

If you are on the internet, you have probably heard about Gamestop and the billion dollar financial losses that some hedge funds are in line to suffer because they bet on the gaming retailers stock to plunge, a practice known as short selling. A short squeeze has occurred because folks in a Reddit forum got wind of the intentions of these billion dollar hedge funds and encouraged folks to buy up Gamestop stock, ruining the bet of those that gambled on the company losing value. I’m no financial markets expert, and must of what I knew about short selling is from watching the movie The Big Short about the housing market collapse. The situation is pretty confusing for lay people like myself, so I started educating myself.

One of the things that I learned is that the Canadian cannabis company Tilray experienced a similar short squeeze situation, albeit on a smaller scale, as CNBC reported:

The trading frenzy in shares of GameStop and now AMC Entertainment looks familiar to Tilray CEO Brendan Kennedy.

Back in 2018, shortly after it went public, the Canadian pot producer’s stock was ensnared in a wild short squeeze and rose about 1,400% between July and September of that year on an intraday basis.

“I’ve had a little bit of PTSD over the last couple of days,” Kennedy said Wednesday on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “I remember getting five different calls from Nasdaq in a single day about our stock being halted because the short sellers were being squeezed so badly.”

As noted by CNBC, Tilray’s stock rose from about $20 to $300 and hedge fund short sellers lost about $600 million. With billions of dollars at stake on the Gamestop short squeeze saga, the Wall Street empire has struck back against the Reddit rebels and Robinhood and other stock trading apps have temporarily frozen the ability to trade Gamestop stocks. Robinhood has since been hit with a class action lawsuit. Wall Street watchers, grab your popcorn.

With cannabis likely being legal in a few years, Tilray’s CEO is on the record expecting federal legalization within two years while I’m not quite as optimistic, the cannabis industry will only get bigger. As more cannabis stocks are traded, more will likely be put in positions like Gamestop or Tilray was in, unless regulations are put into place to curtail short selling. If you’re gonna invest in cannabis or any other stocks, you’ll want to do your due diligence as it is always buyer beware. In the meantime be sure to support locally owned businesses like Pendleton’s Kind Leaf as the money spent there helps the local economy, not foreign corporations or billion dollar hedge fund operators.

Step by Step Towards Legalization, Congress Should Pass SAFE Banking Act

Yes, it’s way past time that cannabis be legalized. Science and common sense as swept Reefer Madness into the dustbin of history. A supermajority of Americans support ending prohibition and view legalization as inevitable. Vice President Kamala Harris co-sponsored the MORE Act last year. And the new Senate Democratic Majority is on the record supporting the removal of cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act and just included cannabis reform as a part of his racial and economic justice policy platform. Momentum is clearly behind the cannabis community and there has never been a better time for federal drug policy reformers.

However, political momentum is about to crash into political reality once again. There’s a saying in baseball that momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher. The baseball cliche means that a team can be on a great winning streak, but a fantastic game by the opposing team’s pitcher or a bad game by their own pitcher, can cause them to lose the next game. Previously, Mitch McConnell controlling the Senate was an immovable object that could stifle both legislation introduced in the Senate, even if supported by fellow Republicans, and reforms passed by the House. Now, McConnell is in the minority, but the filibuster, the hotly debated Senate rule that allows any senator to force legislation to need 60 votes to pass, instead of a simple majority. With a 50-50 Senate, it seems likely that full legalization, whether it’s the STATES Act or the MORE Act will be filibustered and have a difficult time garnering 60 votes.

Where should cannabis reformers look to continue the momentum over the next two years? The SAFE Banking Act. Allowing state-regulated cannabis businesses to utilize banking services will be huge for the industry, especially for craft cannabis boutiques like Kind Leaf. Small businesses and mom and pops are at a huge disadvantage compared to multinational corporations without arbitrary banking regulations and fees, let alone being prohibited from banking and loans with most financial institutions.

Forbes, reporting on potential cannabis reforms over the next two years:

In addition to the STATES and MORE Acts, another notable pro-cannabis measure that has been languishing in the Senate since its passage in the House of Representatives has been the SAFE Banking Act, which allows banks and other financial institutions to work with cannabis companies without fear of prosecution. This is a critical piece of legislation, which if passed, would be a watershed as many cannabis businesses are forced to operate as cash-only enterprises because of the federal illegality.

Fighting for legalization can be maddening at times, when it is so obvious that the war on cannabis is a terrible failure, but we must be realistic and not be discouraged to continue what has worked for us thus far: positive change step by step. Oregon first decriminalized in 1973, California passed medical in 1996, and then Colorado and Washington legalized in 2012. Success begets success. Passing the SAFE Banking Act will help out cannabis businesses and improve public safety and it will be a prudent next step to build upon as we march towards true freedom and equality for the cannabis community.

The Oregon Liquor and CANNABIS Commission is Long Overdue for the OLCC

The Oregon Liquor Control Commission has overseen the nascent Oregon cannabis industry since Measure 91 went into effect in 2015. Since then, the OLCC has been the chief regulator over an industry that went from the underground into a licensed and regulated billion dollar business sector. With federal legalization getting closer and closer, the future looks bright Oregon’s cannabis industry to bring in even more revenue, but some sensible reforms are needed at both the state and national levels to fully unleash the economic benefits of cannabis, starting with helping craft cannabis boutiques like Kind Leaf thrive.

Adding “cannabis” to the OLCC’s name, may not seem like much, but it’s an important symbolic step in mainstreaming cannabis and implementing common sense regulations. That said, it’s important that the OLCC not regulate Oregon Medical Marijuana Program as the needs of OMMP patients and providers are distinct from those of consumers and for-profit businesses.

The Willamette Week reported on Governor Kate Brown’s House Bill 2111 would replace the word “control” with “cannabis,” renaming the regulating agency the Oregon Liquor and Cannabis Commission:

With Oregon retailers on a pace to sell $1 billion worth of recreational cannabis in the 2020-21 fiscal year, Gov. Kate Brown is asking lawmakers to change the name of the venerable Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which has worn the same label since its formation in 1933, after Prohibition ended.

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But following voter approval in 2014 of recreational cannabis, the OLCC took on a vast new responsibility, regulating legal weed. (To put the two industries into perspective, the OLCC expects to sell about $777 million worth of distilled spirits in the next fiscal year. That’s not an apples-to-apples comparison to cannabis, because it doesn’t include the retail markup on booze, but it shows that cannabis has quickly become a significant industry for the state to regulate.)

Unlike liquor, where established multinational and domestic distillers produce versions of the same booze Oregonians have drunk for decades, cannabis is a rapidly emerging and evolving industry. The state plays a much different role with cannabis: It is not a seller. Instead, the Oregon Department of Revenue collects a tax of 17% at the retail level, while the OLCC provides regulation. It is involved in helping the industry maximize safety without stifling growth and innovation.

With cannabis moving on par with alcohol, in the great state of Oregon and slowly but surely across the USA, the OLCC, legislators, and policymakers need to stop being afraid of federal intervention and start maximizing the industry, while protecting the needs of patients and growers. Oregon needs to move forward with expanding delivery services, allowing cannabis cafes (after the COVID pandemic ends), ending restrictions designed to curb the cannabis supply, and promote the state as a cannabis tourist destination, the same way that our local wineries, microbreweries, and distilleries are celebrated. Changing the name of the OLCC is a start, let’s continue, step by step, to treat cannabis as it should be, as a relatively safe substance. Let’s fully put Reefer Madness behind us and start using some cannabis common sense (hat tip to activist Paul Stanford and his crew) across the board.