Tag: Marijuana Moment

Another Historic Cannabis Moment: Mexico’s Senate Votes to Legalize

As the United States continues to make slow, steady progress towards ending cannabis prohibition, our neighbor to the south is helping show the way. With Canada already leading the way, the U.S. is in danger of falling behind Mexico as the Mexican Senate just voted to legalize. The Chamber of Deputies now has to pass the bill and President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has already stated his support.

Like the debate in the U.S., as we are seeing both federally and in states like New Jersey, the issue isn’t just whether cannabis should be legalized (it should, of course), but around how the plant and its products should be legalized and regulated. Marijuana Moment reported:

While advocates have celebrated the advancement of cannabis reform through the legislature, they have fought hard for changes to better protect consumers’ rights and promote social equity in the legal market. Namely, they remain concerned about high penalties that can be imposed for violating the cannabis rules and feel the bill should do more to allow opportunities for small farmers.

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That said, Ricardo Monreal, the ruling MORENA party’s coordinator in the Senate, argued last week that the proposal is a significant improvement on current laws against possession, which have “only caused the detention centers to be full of people for possession of a few grams of cannabis, which is why they seek to reduce the penalties in carrying of this product.”

In a column published on the senator’s website on Sunday, he said the “intensity, duration and complexity of the discussion reflects the desire to achieve the pacification of a country that for years has been a victim of violence caused by drug trafficking, as well as the will to respect the right to free development of the personality, at the same time that favorable conditions are generated to expand national economic development,” according to a translation.

With 68% of U.S. voters supporting cannabis legalization, it is going to be an embarrassment if we are the last North American nation to end prohibition. Let’s get our act together so that our farmers and entrepreneurs can truly flourish.

Misguided Attack Against Medical Cannabis by Mississippi’s Governor

It’s 2020, so I should be used to everything being political, but I couldn’t help but be both saddened and outraged to see Mississippi’s governor attacking a medical cannabis measure on the state’s ballot as some type of “liberal” boogeyman. The science and facts are in. Medical cannabis is a nonpartisan issue and allowing medical use has benefitted states and their residents across our great nation.

Marijuana Moment reports:

The governor of Mississippi is not happy about the medical marijuana measures on his state’s ballot this week, saying they are favored by “stoners.”

“There are good folks on all sides of the medical marijuana debate. Most non-stoners say we should be careful & deliberate,” Gov. Tate Reeves (R) tweeted. “Initiative 65 is the opposite.”

“Experts say it would mean the most liberal weed rules in the US! Pot shops everywhere—no local authority,” he said.

Too much of our lives have devolved into a “liberal” vs. “conservative,” “blue state” vs. “red state” fight and that just shouldn’t be the case for many issues, especially medical cannabis. Decisions about medical cannabis should be a private matter between people and their doctors, and a supermajority of Americans agree with that. A strong majority understand that cannabis prohibition should be repealed and that adults should be trusted to make their own choices regarding cannabis.

Beyond the personal liberty and medical privacy aspects of cannabis, there is the fact that medical cannabis laws have proven to benefit patients and states in a number of ways. Study after study has shown various medical benefits and research has shown that opioid usage has decreased. Since states starting legalizing medical cannabis back in 1996, we certainly have seen that the sky hasn’t fallen and there is zero justification for arresting, prosecuting, jailing, and imposing criminal records on patients and their providers.

Residents of the United States of America need to find common ground on as many issues as possible. Medical cannabis and ending prohibition are two of the most agreed upon “controversial” issues in our nation. Let’s remember that more binds us than divides us as Americans. So stop into a craft cannabis boutique, preferably Kind Leaf in beautiful Pendleton, Oregon, and help alleviate your election day stress with the best cannabis selection in Oregon. Maybe purchase a gift for a friend that doesn’t share your exact same political views and make some time to bond over something that brings us together. We need a lot more of that these days.

Kind Leaf, Eastern Oregon’s premier craft cannabis boutique, not only has the best selection, but the best deals around as well. Oregon Medical Marijuana Patients receive a 15% discount. You can view Kind Leaf’s menu, deals, and order online via Leafly.

Will the 2020 Election Lead to Federal Cannabis Legalization in 2021?

Cannabis legalization, for both medical and adult use, is on the ballot in a few more states in 2020. Will more state victories lead to some common sense cannabis banking and tax law reform? Or, dare we dream big that the federal government will finally end the failed and harmful policy of prohibition in the coming years? Next year?

It’s always dangerous to pin your hopes to the words of most politicians, but if things go right, Uncle Sam could finally sweet Reefer Madness cannabis prohibition into the dustbin of history. Leafly has a breakdown on where the state efforts currently stand as election day nears:

New Jersey? Fuhgeddaboudit. Voters there are expected to approve adult-use legalization (Question 1) in a landslide.

The adult-use vote (Prop. 207) in Arizona may be a little closer, with 55% currently supporting legalization and 37% opposing.

Montana legalization (I-190 and CI-118) looks secure, as long as undecided voters break at least partly in favor of adult use.

South Dakota voters seem to love medical legalization (IM-26) but remain split on adult-use legalization (CA-A).

In Mississippi, a lack of recent polling, along with new campaign donation data, lead us to put that state’s medical marijuana legalization measure (Initiative 65) in a tight 50-50 battle going into Election Day.

As Marijuana Moment reported, United States Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer told Green Enterprise that success at the state level has demonstrated that cannabis legalization works, it’s a necessary step to promote racial racial justice, and that he looks forward to championing a legalization bill next year:

“I’m a big fighter for racial justice, and the marijuana laws have been one of the biggest examples of racial injustice, and so to change them makes sense,” he said. “And that fits in with all of the movement now to bring equality in the policing, in economics and in everything else. Our bill is, in a certain sense, at the nexus of racial justice, individual freedom and states’ rights.”

Schumer’s legislation, the Marijuana Freedom and Opportunity Act, was first introduced in 2018 and was refiled last year with a House companion version.

If he’s reinstalled as senate majority leader, the top Democrat said he “will put this bill in play,” adding “I think we’ll have a good chance to pass it.”

Regardless of how the 2020 election plays out, or who you support, it will be imperative that the cannabis community continues to make progress at the state and federal levels. Small, craft cannabis businesses like Kind Leaf need banking and tax reform to fully unleash their potential. And we need to end the federal war on cannabis. Too many lives are being held back and ruined. Please vote, and make your voices heard.

Utilizing More Oregon Cannabis These Days? You Are Not Alone.

There’s strong evidence that cannabis is being utilized more and more as people learn about a safer alternative to alcohol and opiates, but perhaps nothing is stronger than the record-breaking sales in Oregon. Cannabis sales have been strong throughout the coronavirus pandemic and there’s no sign of them slowing down anytime soon. Some thought that the all-time retail numbers would subside over time, but now economic analysts are considering that a cultural shift may be emerging and this could be an ongoing trend, not just a pandemic-inspired fad as Marijuana Moment reported:

“Marijuana sales continue to be strong,” Oregon’s Office of Economic Analysis wrote in a quarterly revenue forecast published on Wednesday. “Since the pandemic began, the increase in recreational sales have been more than 30 percent above forecast.”

The increase tracks with other more established cannabis markets, such as those in Colorado, Washington and Nevada, which have also seen “strong gains” since the pandemic, the office said. “There are a number of likely reasons for these higher level of sales and expectations are that some of these increases will be permanent.”

Analysts also expressed a rosier outlook on the future of the state’s marijuana market than they did in last quarter’s report, which acknowledged a spike in sales since the pandemic began but concluded that business was eventually “expected to mellow” as incomes fell and bars reopened. Officials now forecast Oregon will see “somewhat more” in sales than previously projected.

It’s no secret that 2020 has been a rough year and it shouldn’t be surprising that folks have turned to cannabis for entertainment and medicine. With the COVID crisis, wildfires, sluggish economy, and political season, it’s understandable that people are finding a bit of bliss and enjoyment with some of the best cannabis in the world. It shouldn’t be that difficult to also consider that people that have turned to cannabis would stick with cannabis over alcohol and other drugs as they choose safer and less addictive substance.

When people are choosing their cannabis, I urge folks to do their research and support local, Oregon craft cannabis retailers, farms, and brands. When you venture into Kind Leaf, you’ll know that you are supporting a small business that gives back to the local community, puts public safety first, and does all that it can to feature other small Oregon businesses. Kind Leaf also has the best selection, great deals, and provides several discounts, including those for patients, seniors, and veterans. The first presidential debate is tonight, so you can expect 2020 political talk to heat up even more, so no one can blame you for stocking up.

Justice Delayed: Cannabis Legalization Vote Postponed Until After the Election

It has been widely reported that the United States House of Representatives was going to vote on a cannabis legalization bill this month. Apparently, after a pushback from moderates, no vote will occur this month or next month. A vote on the MORE Act to end federal cannabis prohibition is now expected after the November 3rd election, during the lame duck session.

Politico reported how legislators were starting to get cold feet on holding a vote on legalization, despite broad public support:

Removing federal penalties for marijuana looked like an easy win for Democrats two weeks ago, but the momentum has stalled.

Democrats have been scared off by Republicans’ use of the marijuana bill to bludgeon Democrats on the lack of a coronavirus deal, and moderates in tight races worry it will be linked to hits they’re already taking over the “defund the police” movement. So instead of embracing the progressive messaging of this bill as an election win, House leaders are now thinking about punting marijuana until after November 3.

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Marijuana legalization has far-reaching national support from Democrats, independents and even a majority of Republicans, multiple polls show. Democrats have touted the MORE Act all summer as a criminal justice reform bill, amid ongoing protests over racial equity that a majority of the public supports. A disproportionate number of Black or brown people are arrested for cannabis possession each year, and this bill aims to reduce arrests and erase some marijuana criminal records.

Marijuana Moment got confirmation that a vote had been postponed:

Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA), cochair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, said on Wednesday that she was open to delaying the vote if it meant that more members would sign onto it, but she also told Marijuana Moment that lawmakers would be “doing everything we can over the next week to build broad coalitions of support to ensure that happens sooner rather than later.”

The MORE Act would federally deschedule cannabis, expunge the records of those with prior marijuana convictions and impose a federal five percent tax on sales, revenue from which would be reinvested in communities most impacted by the drug war.

It would also create a pathway for resentencing for those incarcerated for marijuana offenses, as well as protect immigrants from being denied citizenship over cannabis and prevent federal agencies from denying public benefits or security clearances due to its use.

It’s a serious shame that election-year politics is complicating a historic vote to end federal cannabis prohibition. It’s a shame first and foremost because legalization is simply the right thing to do. Too many people are still having their lives ruined by cannabis arrests and too many small businesses operating legally under state law, are hindered by federal laws that deprive them of banking services and arbitrarily overtaxes them above and beyond what other businesses must endure.

It’s rather nonsensical that politics is disrupting a vote on the MORE Act because voters overwhelmingly support cannabis legalization. Yes, voters are more concerned about other issues, but a vote to end prohibition doesn’t prevent Congress from passing any other bills. Has anyone ever punished a politician for passing a bill that they actually support? Just a maddening move by the United States House.

The Congressional Cannabis Caucus Co-Chairs Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) and Barbara Lee (D-CA) just released the following statement on the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act:

“As Americans confront hundreds of years of systemic racial injustice, ending the failed war on drugs that has disproportionately hurt Black and Brown Americans must be front and center. As co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, our goal has always been a vote on federal marijuana legalization and restorative justice this Congress. We have worked to build support for this historic legislation and expected a vote next week. Thankfully, the leadership has now given an ironclad commitment that the House will consider the bill this fall. The public deserves this vote and we will continue to build support to meet our objective of passing the MORE Act in the House and sending it to the Senate, which is one step closer to enacting it into law.”

In spite of the delay, the cannabis community can still take solace knowing that the first legalization vote in history will be held sooner, rather than later. It’s taken a long time for Congress to catch up with the American people on cannabis, another month or two isn’t going to set us back too much. We’ve been fighting for freedom and equality for decades now, we aren’t about to be stopped.

U.S. House Spending Bills Includes Cannabis Banking and Other Reforms

The fight to end cannabis prohibition at the federal level is a slow grind, seemingly with one step forward preceded by another step or so back, but progress continues. The latest sign of cannabis law reform advancing are the initial drafts of U.S. House spending bills that include some much-needed provisions for the cannabis community. As usual, Marijuana Moment is on top of the reporting:

As Congress prepares large-scale legislation to fund federal agencies for the next year, marijuana reform seems to be making progress. House versions of spending bills unveiled this week include provisions to protect medical legalization laws from federal interference, ease marijuana businesses’ access to basic banking services, expand cannabis research, oversee the country’s fledgling hemp and CBD industries and finally grant Washington, D.C. the ability to legalize recreational sales.

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Among the most notable inclusions in the new spending bills for Fiscal Year 2021 is a provision that would remove some roadblocks to banking and financial services for state-legal cannabis businesses. Cannabis firms have been pushing lawmakers to allow such access for years. The House has passed standalone banking legislation, later inserted into a recent coronavirus bill and approved again, but so far the matter has stalled in the Senate and is yet to become law.

The new spending rider suggests House lawmakers aren’t giving up. As introduced, the spending bill introduced Tuesday to fund fiscal and general government matters restricts Department of Treasury funds from being used “to penalize a financial institution solely because the institution provides financial services to an entity that is a manufacturer, a producer, or a person that participates in any business or organized activity that involves handling hemp, hemp-derived cannabidiol products, other hemp-derived cannabinoid products, marijuana, marijuana products, or marijuana proceeds” that is legal under state or tribal law.

It has grown tiresome to continue having debates around the need for sensible solutions to our nation’s cannabis policies, but no one ever said that political revolutions are easy. Decades upon decades of Reefer Madness propaganda and the entrenched powerful interests that have benefited from prohibition aren’t going away easily, but we are chipping away with common sense and the truth. Stay tuned as bills weave their way through Congress and be sure to contact your legislators and urge your like-minded friends and family members to do the same.

Study Finds Cannabis Community Exercises More, Smashing Stereotype

Everyone in the cannabis community has dealt with stoner stereotypes of all kinds, from being stupid to being lazy. Time and time again, we shatter those stereotypes, whether it’s with geniuses like Carl Sagan or world-class athletes like Michael Phelps and Usain Bolt. The “lazy stoner” stereotype was just dismantled again, this time with a new study, as Marijuana Moment reported:

“Compared to older adult nonusers,” says the study, out of the University of Colorado at Boulder, “older adult cannabis users had lower [body mass index] at the beginning of an exercise intervention study, engaged in more weekly exercise days during the intervention, and were engaging in more exercise-related activities at the conclusion of the intervention.”

In other words, not only were adults over 60 who used marijuana generally in better shape than their peers who abstained from cannabis, they were also more responsive to an assigned four-month “exercise intervention trial”—essentially a regimen of physical activity prescribed by a clinician.

“These findings suggest that it may be easier for older adults who endorse using cannabis to increase and maintain their exercise behavior, potentially because cannabis users have lower body weight than their non-using peers,” wrote the study’s authors, a team at CU’s Department of Neuroscience and Psychology. “At minimum, the evidence suggests that cannabis use does not hinder older adults’ ability to engage in physical activity, to participate in a supervised exercise program, or to increase their fitness as a result of physical activity.”

Of course, the activity level of Oregonians (known for a higher than average rate of cannabis use) should have dispelled this myth long ago. As The Oregonian reported back on January 16, 2020, that a study revealed how Beaver State residents were among the most active in the nation:

Oregon is known for an outdoorsy brand of fitness, and new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests this reputation goes beyond an affinity for the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

The study, released Wednesday, defines physical inactivity as not participating in activities such as running, walking for exercise, or gardening for a period of at least one month.

In Oregon, just 15-20% of residents polled ranked as physically inactive. That means that along with Washington, Utah, Colorado and the District of Columbia, Oregon ranks as one of the most active states in the country.

This summer, be sure to experience a ton of natural beauty across the great state of Oregon, from border to border. Of course, no summer is complete without a trek to Eastern Oregon, so be sure to stop in Kind Leaf and acquire some amazing cannabis products from the craft cannabis boutique with the best selection around. Enjoy yourselves and keep shattering those stereotypes, step by step.

Nevada Pardons Over 15,000 with Cannabis Convictions, Let’s Do This Nationwide

Cannabis prohibition has always been a terrible policy, but it is getting even more embarrassing to defend as each day passes. Reefer Madness prohibitionists can try all they want to rely upon decades of propaganda to prop up the racist and failed war on cannabis, but, when given the chance, voters would legalize nationwide. Even many that oppose cannabis use now see that our country has too many serious issues to tackle to waste limited resources citing, arresting, jailing, prosecuting, and jailing people for cannabis.

Nevada has taken a great step in the fight to right the wrongs of cannabis prohibition by pardoning over 15,000 people of their convictions. These folks can now become full members of society, getting their Second Amendment rights back and having their ability to vote restored, among other rights and privileges that have been denied to them for far too long.

Marijuana Moment reported:

The measure extends unconditional clemency to individuals with possession convictions of up to one ounce from January 1986 to January 2017. It was introduced to the board by Gov. Steve Sisolak (D) last week.

“Today is an historic day for those who were convicted of what has long been considered a trivial crime, and is now legal under Nevada law,” the governor said in a press release. “Since the passage of [adult-use legalization] in 2016 and the decriminalization of possession for small amounts of marijuana, many Nevadans have had these minor offenses remain on their records, in some cases as a felony. This resolution aims to correct that and fully restore any rights lost as a result of these convictions.”

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“Today we took another step toward justice by pardoning thousands of Nevadans for actions that Nevadans decided should no longer be illegal,” state Attorney General Aaron Ford (D) said. “I’m proud to work alongside Governor Sisolak to make it easier for these Nevadans to get jobs, housing, and financial aid for college. Together, we’re making criminal justice reform a priority across Nevada.”

We need to take this movement to pardon people persecuted by the war on cannabis nationwide and look for ways that we can right wrongs of our past. Too many tax-paying-otherwise-law-abiding citizens have had their educational and employment opportunities squashed by a racist and harmful policy that a vast majority of Americans now realize was a mistake. Legalization is great, but it’s just a first step of reconciling the sins of our past when it comes to cannabis prohibition.

Federal Representatives Urge Colleagues Legalize Cannabis to Promote Racial Justice

Oregon Congressman Earl Blumenauer made cannabis legalization and drug decriminalization a part of his police accountability plan recently and now he, and Representative Barbara Lee, are urging their colleagues to legalize cannabis as part of the movement to bring about racial justice. Cannabis prohibition has been a racist policy from its inception and the consequences have definitely had a racist impact as Black Americans are much more likely to be arrested and imprisoned for cannabis, even though use among races is about equal. Marijuana Moment reported on the Reps. Blumenauer and Lee’s “Dear Colleague” letter:

“We have all seen the pernicious effects of selective enforcement of cannabis prohibition across the country, and it is not just in red states or rural Republican America,” the letter states. “We have seen for the last 50 years the cannabis prohibition used disproportionately against people of color, especially young Black men. The use of cannabis is fairly uniform across different racial groups, but the people caught up in the net of cannabis enforcement are heavily skewed towards these young Black men.”

“It is time that we as Democrats take a stand against this pernicious hold-over from Richard Nixon’s blatant attempt at criminalizing the behavior of African Americans,” the two lawmakers, who are co-chairs of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, wrote, adding that prohibition has contributed to mass incarceration across the country.

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“We urge you to examine these issues, the legislative options, and to make federal cannabis reform part of the communities’ support in their quest for racial justice. We have information in greater specificity, if you wish, and have other pieces of legislation that will improve this tragic situation. Regardless, we hope you will be mindful of this rank injustice and the overwhelming support, which includes 93 percent of voters under 30. The cannabis reform train has left the station.”

As federal lawmakers debate legislation to address police accountability, reduce violent encounters with law enforcement, and bring about more racial justice, they should heed Reps. Blumenauer and Lee’s call to end cannabis prohibition. A whopping 40% of all arrests are for cannabis. Each law enforcement encounter has the chance of turning violent and each conviction can unnecessarily deprive someone of their freedom and employment, educational, and housing opportunities. It’s time that Congress follow the will of the voters and end federal cannabis prohibition. It won’t solve our racial issues, but it is one piece of the puzzle.

Oregon Attorney General Joins Bipartisan Coalition Urging Cannabis Banking Access

It is rather incredible that cannabis businesses keep breaking sales records (two months in a row in Oregon!) with so many regulatory obstacles put in their way. Local, state, and federal laws and rules stifle cannabis entrepreneurs unlike any other industry, yet the hardworking folks keep the Mary Jane train chugging along.

The lack of access to normal banking services is one of the most burdensome prohibitions, hindering not only cannabis businesses, but also everyone that they conduct business with, from their landlord to their insurance company to their attorney. Additionally, forcing businesses to be cash only is a danger to our communities.

Thankfully, common sense banking reform could be on the horizon with the U.S. House passing a coronavirus relief bill that includes the SAFE cannabis banking act. In addition to a majority of federal representatives supporting cannabis banking access, a supermajority of state attorneys general are urging Uncle Sam pass the SAFE Act. Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum joins 33 other AGs, forming a formidable bipartisan alliance. Marijuana Moment reported:

First, the public safety threat of operating on a largely cash-only basis has been exacerbated amid the crisis. Second, large cash transactions “places law enforcement, tax regulators, consumers, and patients at heightened risk of exposure to the virus.” Third, access to financial institutions would make it easier to collect tax revenue from marijuana sales, which is particularly needed to offset economic shortfalls due to the health crisis.

“The current predicament of a rapidly expanding national marketplace without access to the national banking systems has resulted in an untenable situation,” the officials wrote. “We stress that current legislative models are available to fix this situation.”

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The letter goes on to say that passing the Secure and Fair Enforcement (SAFE) Banking Act as part of coronavirus relief legislation would not represent an endorsement of cannabis legalization by Congress. “Rather, it reflects a recognition of the realities on the ground and an embrace of our federalist system of government that is flexible enough to accommodate divergent state approaches,” they said.

As usual for the cannabis community, passing the SAFE Act won’t be easy as passage in the Senate faces many hurdles. However, the progress that we’ve made among politicans and top law enforcement officers across the nation and political spectrum, bode well for the future of the movement and industry.

You can read the entire letter from the 34 attorneys general here.