Tag: Marijuana Moment

Majority of Americans Agree that Cannabis is Essential

During the coronavirus pandemic, American residents and government officials have had to make important decisions on what services are deemed essential. For policymakers, they have had to weigh the pros and cons of keeping various industry sectors open and how some businesses could adapt to keep consumers, workers, and patients as safe as possible. Individuals have had to decide which food and supply trips are necessary, and what items can be skipped. Thankfully, Oregon decided that cannabis dispensaries are essential businesses that should stay open and a majority of Americans polled by YouGov agree, as reported by Marijuana Moment:

A majority of Americans believe that medical cannabis dispensaries should be kept open as “essential services” amid the coronavirus pandemic, according to a new poll.

The survey asked simply: “Do you believe medical marijuana dispensaries should or should not be considered essential services?”

Fifty-three percent said the cannabis providers should be regarded as essential, 26 percent said they shouldn’t and 21 percent said they didn’t know.

YouGove Poll

YouGov polled over 5,000 American adults, a rather large sample of people. It is rather remarkable how cannabis was illegal throughout the nation until California passed its landmark medical law in 1996 and now, during a global pandemic in 2020, dispensaries are considered essential businesses in legal states. It is great that the truth about cannabis has been winning hearts and minds across the nation, we must remain vigilant as Reefer Madness prohibitionists are lobbying government bodies to reverse the decision. The cannabis community just needs to keep sharing the truth about cannabis and remind our elected officials to follow the will of the people.

Kind Leaf has led the way on implementing sensible policies to keep its workers, customers, patients, and the community as safe as possible, even putting into place safe physical distancing policies before they were mandated. Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique has built upon its pioneering safety precautions, recently hiring Metcalf Painting and Contracting, a local contractor, to install “sneeze guards” to help protect everyone in the store. Cannabis is medicine and essential, a sincere thanks to the Kind Leaf crew, and everyone working to protect the health and safety of our people.

Kind Leaf’s message to its customers and patients:  

KIND LEAF is an essential business and open. We have implemented several measures to help keep our staff and the public safe during the pandemic.

PICK-UP and DELIVERY only – pick up orders can be placed on Leafly between the hours of 9am – 8pm. Pick-up/curb side/delivery begins at 10am. Deliveries cannot be made after 6pm, pick-up orders can be picked up until 8pm.

Only one customer in the lobby at a time. If someone is waiting to pick up their order please wait outside the front door until the receptionist is ready. Hand sanitizer is available inside the front door.

CURBSIDE PICK-UP!!! We can now meet you at your vehicle (have your ID and cash ready). NO MINORS CAN BE IN THE VEHICLE. All occupants of the vehicle must have valid identification. Call the receptionist and let them know you are at the store. Park in the front parking spots. 541-612-8588.

Online menu Ordering for pick-up and delivery:

https://www.leafly.com/dispensary-info/kind-leaf-pendleton

Senior citizens and those with technical problems can place an order via phone 541-612-8588. If the receptionist doesn’t answer please try again (phone lines are busy).

Thank you for choosing Kind Leaf.

73268240_975008896232150_5573607183465054208_n

Mexico Advances a Cannabis Legalization Bill

While we have made great progress legalizing cannabis state by state, the U.S. federal government continues to painfully lag behind the people, even with a majority of Americans supporting legalization. As we’ve seen more and more U.S. politicians including presidential candidates move towards supporting sensible cannabis legislation, we should seen an end to federal prohibition within the next decade. One thing that might speed up the process will be other countries joining Canada in legalizing cannabis.

As Marijuana Moment reports, Mexico is moving closer to joining our neighbor to the north, as the Mexican Senate has just advanced a legalization bill: to the Senate floor via a 26-7 Senate vote:

The proposal as introduced would allow adults 18 and older to possess and cultivate marijuana for personal use. Individuals could grow up to 20 registered plants as long as the total yield doesn’t exceed 480 grams per year. Medical patients could apply to cultivate more than 20 plants, however.

Personal possession would be capped at 28 grams, but possession of up to 200 grams would be decriminalized.

***

The bill proposes a 12 percent tax on cannabis sales, with some revenue going toward a substance misuse treatment fund.

Very exciting for tourists and locals alike, public consumption would be allowed, except in designated spaces deemed to be 100% smoke-free. It is bad enough that the United States has let Canada reap economic benefits that should be going towards American citizens. Are we gonna let Mexico beat us to the punch as well? On the bright side, the enlightenment of our friendly nextdoor neighbors should spur our politicians to act sooner rather than later.

The American Bar Association Passes Resolutions Supporting Cannabis Banking Rights

No matter your stance on legalization, everyone that wants safe neighborhoods should support legal banking services for state-regulated cannabis businesses. The lack of access to banking services severely hinders the ability of entrepreneurs to conduct business, pay taxes, and expand operations. Along with the despicable 280e IRS tax code, access to normal banking services is a top policy change needed to allow the cannabis industry to thrive. As with most issues, banking reform is needed most by small craft cannabis boutique’s like Kind Leaf, which don’t have the deep pockets of multinational corporations.

Thankfully, we are seeing great momentum for normal banking services for the cannabis industry. The SAFE Banking Act has passed the House of Representatives, awaiting some movement in the Senate. As Marijuana Moment reports, the American Bar Association added its voice to the cause:

The group’s House of Delegates voted in favor of proposals endorsing pending federal legislation to protect banks that service cannabis businesses and calling for a clarification of rules to ensure that lawyers will not be penalized for representing clients in cases concerning state-legal marijuana activity.

Under the banking resolution, ABA “urges Congress to enact legislation to clarify and ensure that it shall not constitute a federal crime for banking and financial institutions to provide services to businesses and individuals, including attorneys, who receive compensation from the sale of state-legalized cannabis or who provide services to cannabis-related legitimate business acting in accordance with state, territorial, and tribal laws.”

ABA added that “such legislation should clarify that the proceeds from a transaction involving activities of a legitimate cannabis-related business or service provider shall not be considered proceeds from an unlawful activity solely because the transaction involves proceeds from a legitimate cannabis-related business or service provider, or because the transaction involves proceeds from legitimate cannabis-related activities.”

It is great to see some allies coming around to help out the cannabis community. Let’s keep the pressure up and momentum going. Idaho Senator Mike Crapo is currently the Senate Banking Committee Chair that will determine the fate of the SAFE Act. Please contact him and let him know that you support banking services for cannabis businesses and spread the word.

Just Say NO to Trump’s Budget Plan to Cut Medical Cannabis Patient Protections

President Donald Trump’s budget proposal sent shockwaves through the cannabis community yesterday as his administration’s plan would eliminate protections for medical cannabis patients. Under current federal policy, the William Barr’s Department of Justice is prohibited from using any funds from prosecuting, arresting, and jailing medical cannabis patients and their providers who are following their state’s laws.

This is a surprising move by the Trump Administration as he is going back on a campaign promise and protecting state medical cannabis patients and programs has been a largely bipartisan endeavor over the last few year, thanks to the supermajority support medical use enjoys among Americans. Rarely do politicians want to go against the wish of 85% of voters.

As Marijuana Moment reported, this isn’t the first time that Trump has called for an end to the policy and thankfully, Congress has ignored previous attempts to gut the protections, following the will of the people:

President Trump proposed ending an existing policy that protects state medical marijuana programs from Justice Department interference as part of his fiscal year 2021 budget plan released on Monday.

The rider, which has been renewed in appropriations legislation every year since 2014, stipulates the the Justice Department can’t use its funds to prevent states or territories “from implementing their own laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

This isn’t the first time that an administration has requested that the rider be stricken. Trump’s last two budgets omitted the medical cannabis protections language, and President Obama similarly asked for the policy to be removed. In all cases, Congress has ignored those requests and renewed the protections in spending bills.

While there is a great chance that Congress won’t listen to Donald Trump on his proposal to end federal protections for state-legal medical cannabis patients, his administration’s budget plan is a reminder that we must remain vigilant. The gains that we have made can be taken away at any time. It is rather remarkable that anyone in government would have the notion to authorize the arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment of medical patients legally using cannabis under their state’s law.

The fact that this cruel and ill-advised policy would make its way into the 2020 budget plan of the President of the United States demonstrates how there is still a lot of work to be done to achieve true equality for the cannabis community. The good news is that the people, and the truth are on our side, so we just have to keep working hard to support the right public officials and spread the truth about cannabis.

Featured Photo Credit: Sonya Yruel/Drug Policy Alliance

 

Legal Cannabis Benefits Other Businesses

While cannabis entrepreneurs face many obstacles generating big profit margins, thanks to over regulation and excessive taxes, the economic benefits are easy to see. Legal cannabis creates industry jobs and generate tax revenue that benefits state programs. However, the initial job and money numbers don’t reflect the true value that the cannabis industry brings to their communities as ancillary businesses also benefit.

Consultants, lawyers, contractors, architects, and others are employed to help set up the businesses, for instance. Accountants, human resource specialists, public relations experts, are also often needed. The list goes on and on and we now have some proof as to the scope of the economic benefits from a new study that has some very interesting results. Marijuana Moment got a sneak peek of the study:

To investigate the impact legalization has on the economy, researchers at the University of Iowa analyzed 9,810 corporations between 1991 and 2017, finding “a multitude of positive effects” after a state enacts medical marijuana laws.

“Firms headquartered in marijuana-legalizing states receive higher market valuations, earn higher abnormal stock returns, improve employee productivity, and increase innovation,” the authors said.

The study, which was reviewed by Marijuana Moment but has yet to be published, found that having cannabis laws on the books can unleash the previously untapped potential of employees and helps companies attract new talent.

The cannabis community shatters stereotypes one by one, virtually every single day. The more that the truth is revealed and the benefits of cannabis legalization are revealed, we move closer and closer to true freedom and equality. Once we get our regulations and tax code on track, we will be able to fully unleash the full potential of the plant.

Congress Holds More Cannabis Bill Hearings

While federal reforms are taking entirely too long, it is still newsworthy and important that the United States Congress is holding hearings on important legislation. Each step at the federal level brings us closer to real change and today marked another important milestone for the cannabis community and industry.

As usual, Marijuana Moment was on top of another historic cannabis hearing:

The Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held the meeting to discuss six cannabis reform proposals, including two that would federally legalize marijuana. Most of the hearing involved lawmakers pressing witnesses from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) on the obstacles to marijuana studies that those officials claim are needed before pursuing broader policy reform.

Conversation was more limited when it came to legalization bills such as Judiciary Chairman Jerrod Nadler’s (D-NY) Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act, which was approved by his panel last year. That said, formerly anti-reform Rep. Joe Kennedy III (D-MA) did lead a powerful discussion about the failures of prohibition and the need to deschedule cannabis.

Kennedy announced that panel leadership has agreed to hold a second hearing featuring the voices of people negatively impacted by marijuana prohibition, which he said “has failed.”

Portland Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer issued a press release praising the hearing:

Congressman Earl Blumenauer Applauds Energy and Commerce Committee for Holding Cannabis Policy Hearing

Washington, DC – Congressman Earl Blumenauer (OR-03), founder and co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, today released a statement applauding the Energy and Commerce Committee for holding its first cannabis related hearing.

“After years of working to advance cannabis reform in Congress, this critical hearing is an important milestone where another major congressional committee focused time and attention on our movement. I’m pleased Chairman Pallone and Health Subcommittee Chair Eshoo made this hearing a priority. It was important to hear a number of senior members of Congress affirming the change that is taking place at the state level and affirming the contradictions that are created by the federal government being out of step and out of touch.

The topics discussed today are all relevant to bringing our cannabis policy into the 21st century, including my bill to clear the barriers to cannabis research. The hearing also included our top priority, the MORE Act, legislation to decriminalize cannabis federally and address the consequences of the failed war on drugs. It’s past time for Congress to catch up to the American people. We need action, and today was an encouraging and important step forward in our blueprint for cannabis reform in this Congress”

Step by step, we are moving closer to legalizing banking access, reforming our tax code, and ending the failed war on the cannabis community. It is not only notable that important congressional hearings are being held, but also that we are swaying former prohibitionists like Joe Kennedy to get on the right side of history. While there is a lot more work to be done, it’s nice to see our elected officials starting to give cannabis law reform the attention and priority that it deserves.

South Dakota to Vote on Cannabis Legalization This Year

Since 1996, presidential election years have been big years for cannabis law reform measures on the ballot and 2020 is shaping up to be another monumental one for the cannabis community. A somewhat unlikely state may just make the leap to full legalization as advocates in South Dakota have put in the hard work of gathering signatures to qualify an amendment for the November ballot. Each state that passes a medical or recreational measure brings us one step closer to ending prohibition federally, and bonus points go to activists that have success in conservative locales like the Mount Rushmore State. Marijuana Moment reported:

The proposed constitutional amendment, which was submitted by a former federal prosecutor in September, would allow adults 21 and older to possess and distribute up to one ounce of marijuana. Individuals would also be allowed to cultivate up to three cannabis plants.

***

Under the broader recreational legalization proposal, the South Dakota Department of Revenue would be responsible for issuing licenses for manufacturers, testing facilities and retailers. And sales on cannabis products would be taxed at 15 percent, with revenue earmarked to cover the program’s implementation, public education and the state general fund.

Additionally, the measure requires the legislature to pass bills providing access to medical cannabis for patients and allowing for the sale of hemp by April 1, 2022. If the separate medical marijuana legalization initiative is approved, however, that specific provision wouldn’t be necessary.

Gathering thousands of signatures is no easy task, especially during the winter, so my gratitude goes out to everyone that braves the elements to help legalize freedom, jobs, and revenue around our great nation, especially in states that aren’t your typical hotbed of support. However, the times are a-changin’ with medical provisions passing in places like Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Utah as these victories give me hope that sensible cannabis policies will soon be the law of the land in red states like South Dakota and Idaho. State by state, freedom is on the march, bringing the cannabis community closer and closer to equality from coast to coast.

Legal Cannabis Retailers Doing a Great Job Preventing Sales to Minors

Reefer Madness fear mongering has been a staple of prohibitionists for decades, but the truth about cannabis has been debunking each myth one by one. The fear tactics originally started with outrageous claims, like folks turning deranged, that a basic understanding of the plant and those that utilize it revealed that the stories were nonsense. The denial of medicinal properties has melted away as a majority of states legalized medical use and predictions of highway carnage have proven to be false as well.

The fact that regulated cannabis would do a better job of preventing sales to minors than the illicit market would take some studying, and now, the results are coming in, and legal retail outlets are indeed checking identification and turning away underage would-be buyers. A recent study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that cannabis retailers in Washington and Colorado, the first two states that legalized cannabis commerce to all adults, did a better job than alcohol establishments of denying purchases by those underage. Washington State retailers denied those under 21 86.6% of the time, while Colorado stopped minors 92.6% of the time. Marijuana Moment reported on the study:

The authors highlight that “refusal rates exceeded those for alcohol and are similar to those for tobacco.” In other words, the policies and regulations of the cannabis industry in Colorado and Washington could be used as potential models for other states looking to legalize recreational marijuana sales.

The findings are comparable to a sting operation conducted by Oregon regulators last year that showed a 100 percent compliance rate by licensed marijuana stores in not selling to underage individuals.

According to the new Colorado and Washington study, when it comes to cannabis, “regulators in both states worked with the industry, performed compliance checks, and penalized stores that failed.”

Those in the cannabis industry have a huge interest in ensuring that cannabis stays out of the hands of those under the age of 21 as minors’ brains are still developing and noncompliance with identification checks will lead to a backlash against legalization. Licensed and regulated cannabis retail outlets should be commended for their efforts in checking IDs and preventing sales to minors, helping prove, once again, that legalization is a better policy than prohibition.

Cannabis Community Must Rally to Pass Banking Bill in the U.S. Senate

Those thinking that the cannabis industry is a get-quick-rich plan are most likely to be severely disappointed. A long list of obstacles hinder cannabis businesses from over regulation to over taxation, at all levels of government. The lack of access to banking services is one major hurdle for hard working entrepreneurs that are foundational pioneers in the burgeoning industry. The lack of a bank account poses enough problems, but without the business loans and other programs available to other industries, growth is severely stifled.

Thanks to the diligence of advocates, we won a major victory by passing the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Act at the United States House this year, but unfortunately the much-needed banking bill faces a tough path in the Senate. Passage in the Senate will take a strong lobbying effort by the cannabis community after Idaho Senator Mike Crapo, while open to passing banking legislation, announced his opposition to the SAFE banking Act, as Marijuana Moment reported:

A powerful Senate committee chairman said on Wednesday the he opposes House-passed marijuana banking legislation and laid out potential changes he would like to see to the bill before he takes it up in his panel.

Among other amendments being floated for public feedback is a 2 percent THC potency limit on products in order for cannabis businesses to qualify to access financial services as well as blocking banking services for operators that sell high-potency vaping devices or edibles that could appeal to children.

“I remain firmly opposed to efforts to legalize marijuana on the federal level, and I am opposed to legalization in the State of Idaho,” Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID), who chairs the Senate Banking Committee, said in a press release. “I also do not support the SAFE Banking Act that passed in the House of Representatives. I have significant concerns that the SAFE Banking Act does not address the high level potency of marijuana, marketing tactics to children, lack of research on marijuana’s effects, and the need to prevent bad actors and cartels from using the banks to disguise ill-gotten cash to launder money into the financial system. I welcome input from all interested parties on how to thoughtfully address these concerns.”

Regardless of one’s stance on cannabis legalization, everyone should support banking access for industry participants. The SAFE Banking Act will help businesses grow, creating more jobs and generating more revenue. Public safety and prompt tax payments will also improve if banking services are fully legalized. The lack of banking services hurts small and medium businesses the most and these mom-and-pops and craft cannabis boutiques need our support, both with our dollars and our political activism.

The future of the cannabis industry depends upon our community shopping with local companies and urging our elected officials, especially United States Senators, to treat the industry like any other business sector. It certainly seems like Idahoans need to contact Senator Crapo and it is imperative that we make our voices heard. We’ve come a long way, we just need to remain vigilant and keep making progress for the cannabis community step by step, piece by piece, law by law.

Two New Polls Show Strong Support for Cannabis Legalization

People that utilize cannabis have suffered with criminal punishments and negative stigma for two long. Even in states where cannabis is legal, too many people are still unfairly harmed by a variety of laws and policy practices from housing to loans to employment to child custody. Those that have studied the issue understand the need to end the Reefer Madness-inspired war on the cannabis community, and thankfully, poll after poll demonstrates that a strong majority of the American people agree.

Marijuana Moment reports on two newly-released polls that demonstrate that more than 60% of Americans support cannabis legalization:

A Fox News survey, which involved phone interviews with 1,000 adults from December 8-11, showed that 63 percent of respondents support legalizing “the recreational use of marijuana on a national level,” while 34 percent oppose the policy.

A Marist poll, conducted in collaboration with NPR and PBS, surveyed 1,744 Americans from December 9-11. The results similarly showed 62 percent of respondents saying it is a “good idea” to legalize cannabis, with 33 stating it would be a “bad idea.”

***

“This holiday season, Americans are more likely than ever to agree in favor of legalizing marijuana when the topic comes up at the dinner table,” Justin Strekal, political director of NORML, told Marijuana Moment. “With a public majority mandate, now is our time to demand ending prohibition in advance of the 2020 elections.”

Holiday gatherings can be stressful for everyone, especially when sharing meals with friends and family with various disagreements, including whether cannabis should be legal. The cannabis community can feel strength in knowing that we are in the majority and that we are a part of a growing movement for freedom and equality. So, be sure to purchase that cannabis-related gift for your loved ones and don’t feel that you must hide your beliefs, you, and most folks across the nation, agree that it is time to stop prosecuting and persecuting the nonviolent cannabis community.

Featured Photo Credit: Drug Policy Alliance/Darrin Harris Frisby