Washington Regulators Seek Public Comment on Legalizing Home Cultivation for All Adults

Washington Regulators Seek Public Comment on Legalizing Home Cultivation for All Adults

By NORML

The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board (WSLCB) is seeking written public comment and will hold a public hearing on Wed. Oct. 4, 2017 on whether the State should allow home grows of recreational marijuana.

Legislation enacted in 2017 directs the WSLCB to “conduct a study of regulatory options for the legalization of marijuana plant possession and cultivation by recreational marijuana users.” The study must take into account the “Cole Memo,” issued by the United State Department of Justice in 2013, which outlines the federal government’s enforcement priorities in states where medical or recreational marijuana has been legalized or decriminalized. The study and recommendations are due to the Legislature on Dec. 1, 2017

“The agency is actively engaging other states, the public, the industry and stakeholders. We know there are many perspectives to this issue and we want to ensure they are captured for our report and recommendations,” said agency director Rick Garza.

Please enter your information below to contact the WSLCB in support of recreational home grow.

Also, please click here and take a moment to fill out Washington NORML’s survey about home cultivation rights in Washington State.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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Published at Tue, 19 Sep 2017 23:26:31 +0000

Federal Bill Introduced to Eliminate Mandatory Minimum Sentences for all Drug Offenses

Federal Bill Introduced to Eliminate Mandatory Minimum Sentences for all Drug Offenses

Legislation to end mandatory minimum sentences for all drug offenses has been filed in the U.S. House of Representatives.

The legislation – H.R. 3800 – was introduced by Representative Maxine Walters, a Democrat from California’s 43rd legislative district. It would end the practice of applying mandatory minimum sentences to offenses involving illegal substances. Mandatory minimum sentences require judges to give offenders a specific – and typically harsh – sentence regardless of extenuating circumstances.

Mandatory minimum sentences for drug crimes was greatly scaled back under President Obama’s terms as president. However, current President Trump and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently reversed much of the changes made by the Obama Administration regarding mandatory minimums, making Representative Walters’ proposal incredibly important and relevant to the times.

Walters’ proposal would apply to all illegal substances located on the federal controlled substances list. According to Congress.gov, the measure has been “Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.”

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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Published at Mon, 18 Sep 2017 23:33:15 +0000

New Hampshire Marijuana Decriminalization Law Takes Effect Tomorrow

New Hampshire Marijuana Decriminalization Law Takes Effect Tomorrow

A New Hampshire bill decriminalizing possession of small amounts of marijuana officially takes effect tomorrow.

The bill makes New Hampshire the 22nd state in the nation to eliminate the possibility of jail time for simple marijuana possession.

“The governor and Legislature both deserve a lot of credit for moving the state forward with this commonsense reform,” said Matt Simon, the Manchester-based New England political director for the Marijuana Policy Project. “Unlike his predecessors, who opposed similar proposals, Gov. Sununu appears to understand that ‘Live Free or Die’ is more than just a motto on a license plate.”

Simon continues; “A lot of credit also goes to the House, which has been supporting decriminalization bills since 2008,” Simon said. “It was refreshing to see the Senate finally come to an agreement with the House on this issue in 2017. This is a big step toward a more sensible marijuana policy for New Hampshire.”

House Bill 640 was introduced by Representative Renny Cushing and a bipartisan group of co-sponsors in the House of Representatives, where it received overwhelming approval in February (318-36). The Senate amended and approved it on May 11 (17-6), and the House passed the Senate version by a voice vote on June 1. Gov. Sununu signed it on July 18.

This legislation reduces the penalty for possession of up to three-quarters of an ounce of marijuana from a criminal misdemeanor — currently punishable by up to one year in prison and a fine of up to $2,000 — to a civil violation punishable by a $100 fine for a first or second offense and a $300 fine for a third offense within three years of the first offense. A fourth offense within three years of the first offense may be charged as a class B misdemeanor, but there would be no arrest or possibility of jail time.

“There is no good reason to continue arresting and prosecuting people for marijuana possession,” Simon said. “Marijuana is objectively less harmful than alcohol, and Granite Staters are ready to see it treated that way. A very strong majority of state residents support ending marijuana prohibition altogether.

“New Hampshire lawmakers should continue to follow their constituents’ lead on this issue,” Simon said. “Every state in New England is either implementing or strongly considering legislation to regulate marijuana for adult use. It is time for the Legislature to develop a realistic marijuana prohibition exit strategy for New Hampshire.”

More than two-thirds of adults in New Hampshire (68%) support making marijuana legal, according to a Granite State Poll released last month by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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Published at Fri, 15 Sep 2017 19:04:18 +0000

Delaware Governor Signs Medical Marijuana PTSD Bill

Delaware Governor Signs Medical Marijuana PTSD Bill

Delaware Governor John Carney has signed into law a bill that allows those with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to more easily become medical marijuana patients.

Governor Carney has signed the Bravery Bill into law, allowing those with PTSD to become legal medical marijuana patients if they receive a recommendation from a licensed physician. Before the new law those with PTSD could only get approval for medical marijuana use if they were recommended it by a licensed psychiatrist.

The Bravery Bill was introduced by Senate Majority Leader Margaret Rose Henry, and received strong bipartisan support in both the House of Representatives and Senate.

With the signing of the Bravery Bill, Delaware now joins New Hampshire, Minnesota, New Jersey, Michigan, California, Illinois, Connecticut, Delaware, Maine, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Arizona, Washington, Rhode Island and Oregon as states that allow those with PTSD to legally use medical cannabis.

About Anthony Martinelli

Anthony, co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of TheJointBlog, has worked closely with numerous elected officials who support cannabis law reform, including as the former Campaign Manager for Washington State Representative Dave Upthegrove. He has also been published by multiple media outlets, including the Seattle Times. He can be reached at TheJointBlog@TheJointBlog.com.

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Published at Fri, 15 Sep 2017 22:32:07 +0000

Cannabis and Surgery

Cannabis and Surgery

[Editor’s Note: We’d like to welcome back our writer, Julia, who’s currently in recovery after a successful hysterectomy procedure]

It’s a scary thought that more and more of us are having to face these days: What do you do when you can’t take narcotics but you have a major reason to, such as surgery? Cannabis works for me and many others, so, maybe it could work for you too.

Whether you are looking to add to your surgical opiate regimen or replace it altogether, there are some things to consider about surgery and the 72 hours after it; especially if you want to use cannabis.

1. Communication with your Doctors

I am so used to hearing no from my doctors when it comes to cannabis; so, usually, I just don’t ask and do what I want. However, in this circumstance, I communicated clearly about my cannabis intentions from the very beginning and you should too. Even though you risk a disagreement, you will need your doctors support in making sure that the post-op nurses have your cannabis medication ready and waiting.

2. Legality

Acquiring an ACMPR or license for use during and post surgery is extremely valid and few doctors will argue with it. After a 9 year struggle, my surgeon, with obvious discomfort, finally signed my ACMPR. She really didn’t want to until I explained that I could not risk being pulled over and having my medication confiscated if it was all I would take. It only got me a 3 month prescription for 2-3 grams per day but it enabled me to medicate in the hospital.

3. Method of Ingestion

This is one of the most important things to consider because your surgery instructions and cannabis ingestion have to harmonize; if they don’t, your surgeon will likely postpone your date.

Most operations require you to not eat or drink anything for hours beforehand and often have additional bowel instructions. So, what can you take?

Talk to your surgeon about your options. Ask them if a little bit of water to wash down a cannabis capsule would be acceptable because often times, it is. Cannabis suppositories are also fantastic options as long as they do not interfere with the bowel instructions.

4. Quality of Cannabis Product 

I heal faster taking cannabis than I do with using narcotics and I am not alone. When our body is working hard to heal, using a pain reliever that is easy on the system allows us to not waste physical energy filtering toxins. This is the time to ensure the quality and purity of what you ingest and inhale, so that the medicine can do its work without adding stress to a stressed out system. Plus, when you are lying in bed with nothing to do all day, you can really notice the burn in your throat.

5. Type of Cannabis Product 

Will you be allowed to eat anything at all or will you be on a liquid diet? Can you get up to go somewhere to smoke or vape cannabis? Will you have stitches anywhere that need to be treated gently, such as the throat? There are pro’s and con’s to all types of products:

Edibles – Dietary restrictions are the biggest challenge when it comes to using edibles post surgery. Often times, your food intake will be light and monitored on the first day. So, if you want to use an edible, make it something light and easy to eat.

Tinctures – I found this to be a great option for me as it was fast, effective and extremely discreet. I never had to get up and the bottle was small enough to keep tucked beside me in my bed and CannaMed knows how to make it taste mild.

Warning: Rick Simpson Oil or Phoenix Tears are a great option but taste them first (especially if you aren’t allowed anything to wash it down with).

Capsules – If you can take pills and are able to sip water, a capsule will allow you to control the dosing of your cannabis with easy consistency. In most cases, taking capsules wont compromise any dietary restrictions and can be taken right before surgery and immediately after.

Inhalation – As soon as I was out of the hospital, my vape pen was invaluable. Before, I didn’t use it once because I couldn’t get up and I was afraid to cough and rip my stitches.

Suppositories – Right out of surgery, suppositories are one of the best methods of ingestion as it provides strong, lasting relief quite quickly. I couldn’t always rely on a nurse to be there to refill my water immediately if I needed to take a capsule but suppositories don’t need anything to go down…or um…up.

6. Dosing

You need strong doses and its important not to underestimate this. Plan to have way too much and never just enough so that you can increase your dose as needed. Talk to friends and family, as well as your dispensary and make a plan in case you need more medicine. Make sure they know what you like and where to get it so that access is seamless.

During the surgery and within 2 weeks since, I have used:

Cannabis – 

  • 35 suppositories (1000mg each)
  • a 10ml bottle of Hayley’s Comet CBD Tincture
  • a 10ml bottle of Purple Kush Tincture
  • 7 Grams of THC Phoenix Tears (tested at 600mg THC per gram) put into capsules
  • In cannabis concentrates, I have vaped 2 grams of Blue Dream Live Resin, 1 gram of CBD Distillate, 1 gram Sour OG Shatter, 2 Grams THC Distillate and 2 Grams Bubba Kush Wax
  • In bud, I have smoked 5 Grams Blue Dream flower, 5 Grams Diamond Kush, 3 grams of Zeus, 7 grams Mountain Jam, 3 grams of Probiotic Pink Kush and 2 grams of Super Silver Haze

Opiates –

At my firm demand, I did not have ANY opiates or narcotics during the surgery whatsoever; several hours post-op I took:

  • 2 x 15mg Morphine Sulphate Tablets

It is your body and you have a right to it; if you want to avoid a dangerous medication like an opiate and replace it with a safe one such as cannabis, you should have the ability to do so. Just because it is not commonly done does not mean it is not effective; more and more people today are using cannabis to treat moderate to acute pain. Everyone and every situation is different but, cannabis for surgery should be on the table.

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Published at Fri, 15 Sep 2017 14:00:45 +0000

Groove Grinder From Aerospace (Review)

Groove Grinder From Aerospace (Review)

Mrs. Nice Guy

There are endless options of grinders on the market, so how do you decide which is worth your money?

That’s where I come in…because I just received a Groove Grinder from Aerospace. This 4 piece, 63mm CNC Groove Grinder comes with a magnetic lid, kief catcher/sifter, and a guitar pick scraper with double-lead threading.

I currently have two grinders, one was a cheap “herb grinder” I got for $9 on Amazon, and the other is a Sutra (not a real review) that I received last year that I’ve been using since. While I do love the Sutra it’s a bit different than the Groove Grinder because the shred patterns are different. While the Sutra Grinder has razor sharp shredding teeth, the Groove Grinder uses a coaxial turbine technology for a new type of shredding pattern.

It’s hard to completely remove stems from some buds, especially if they’re super sticky and most grinders will shred the stems along with your buds. That’s not the case with the new shred pattern from the Groove Grinder, it gives you a light feathery grind each time you use it and also separates unwanted materials *cough* stems and sticks *cough* and that’s pretty fucking dope!

The new radial shredding design and the end result of how well shredded my weed was had me impressed. I thought that the consistency did in fact feel different from other grinders which all use the same shredding teeth pattern, it’s nice to have different options. I did find that with stickier buds instead of falling straight through to the next chamber that some of the weed would get stuck and that became kind of bothersome. There is an easy remedy for this, I used the scraper/pick that was included and one of my vape poker tools to poke the product through.

Treat yo self and purchase a Groove Grinder from Vape World ($59.99), they come in a variety of colors.

The post Groove Grinder From Aerospace (Review) appeared first on Mrs. Nice Guy.

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Published at Thu, 14 Sep 2017 18:22:29 +0000

September 12 Michigan Medical Marihuana Board Meeting: December Closure Date for Existing Businesses Likely

September 12 Michigan Medical Marihuana Board Meeting: December Closure Date for Existing Businesses Likely

September 12 Michigan Medical Marihuana Board Meeting: December Closure Date for Existing Businesses Likely

A few hours before September 12’s widely anticipated Michigan Medical Marihuana Licensing Board meeting, the State’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) released its intended approach to currently operating dispensaries. As we reported, LARA announced that its forthcoming emergency rules will consider continuing marihuana operations after December 15, 2017, to be “a potential impediment to licensure.”

This issue, of course, dominated the Board meeting. LARA’s Director of the Bureau of Medical Marihuana Regulation, Andrew Brisbo, explained to the Board that the Board cannot act by motion to set policy, or to close dispensaries. Rather, per LARA’s discussions with the Michigan Attorney General’s office, policy must be set by rules. Although LARA must consult with the Board on rules, it is LARA that has rulemaking authority. Director Brisbo further explained that the December 15 date was selected after balancing patient needs with the letter of the law, and that tying the date to the opening of the application period made sense.

Board member Don Bailey, who has been the most vocal in advocating that existing dispensaries are not following the law and therefore should not be licensed, expressed concerns. He disagreed with the December 15 date, and also stated that he believes operating without licensure should be an absolute bar to future licensure, not a “potential impediment.” He moved that the Board request LARA to work with the Board to set an earlier date.

After Board Chairman Rick Johnson seconded Member Bailey’s motion, the other Board members voiced several questions. Board member Vivian Pickard asked who should be setting a closure date, and shared her view that it is the judicial system that should be enforcing current law. Board member Nichole Cover echoed the point that the Board is not an enforcement agency, and that criteria should be set through rules with applicants provided due process. And Board member David LaMontaine asked why the Board was even discussing a rule.

After Director Brisbo further explained the relative roles of the Board and LARA, Chairman Johnson withdrew his support for Member Bailey’s motion. This prompted Mr. Bailey to state that, when it comes to voting for licenses, he will vote against anyone who continues to operate past his own previously proposed date of September 15.

The upshot of all of this activity is that potential applicants are left with LARA’s statement that the emergency rules will provide that operation a marihuana business after December 15 will be a “potential impediment” to licensure. This could leave the Board free to consider evidence an applicant might put forward contending that they have indeed been operating within the limitations of the Michigan Medical Marihuana Act. Importantly, Director Brisbo made clear that LARA’s emergency rule on currently operating facilities will apply across all license classes. It is not just dispensaries that must pay attention to this rule, but growers, processors, and testing labs as well.  

Whether this is the end of the closure issue remains to be seen. Numerous members of the public argued that, under LARA’s approach, there will be many months between December 15 and when licensed product is available, during which patients may have challenges accessing medical marihuana. Board Member LaFontaine zeroed in on this issue, and seemed receptive to notions of temporary or provisional licenses to bridge the gap. Member LaFontaine, though, also recognized that such an approach would require the Legislature to act.

LARA and the Board are in a difficult position. Current law at the State level does not allow for most of the activity taking place today, and other applicants are abiding by the law and waiting to open. It also appears to us likely that even if there is a December 15 “closure” date, there will be dispensary owners who know that they cannot qualify for licenses—and they will stay open as long as law enforcement does not take action against them. We fully expect this controversy to continue for months, and possibly as long as another year.

Apart from the closure issue, there were other important announcements from LARA. Director Brisbo announced that non-refundable application fees will be in the range from $4,000 to $8,000 per license. After a decision is made to award an applicant a license, the regulatory assessment fee in the range of $10,000-$57,000 will need to be paid before the license is issued. Additionally, LARA announced its selections for members of the public workgroups that will advise LARA on final rules for the industry. If today’s Board meeting is any indication, those of us who have been chosen for those workgroups will be hearing from many passionate members of the public.  

Stay tuned to Dykema’s Cannabis Law Blog for further updates.

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Published at Mon, 11 Sep 2017 16:00:00 +0000

Ontario Liberals Acting in the Public Interest?

Ontario Liberals Acting in the Public Interest?

Since the Ontario government ran a survey on the topic of cannabis legalization, it’s assumed the Ontario Liberals are acting in the best interests of the public, instead of in the best interests of those who lobbied them.

The public will believe something along the lines of “The LCBO generated $1.9 billion to the Ontario government last year. That money was spent on social housing, upkeep of roads and bridges, schools and hospitals. I’d rather the people of Ontario receive the sales revenue from cannabis instead of a lucky few capitalists who will likely spend their profits on cars and mansions. A CCBO is in the public’s best interest.”

But this thinking is mistaken. It focuses on one group in the short-run instead of all groups in the long-run.

Take the claim that Ontario residents won’t see the revenue if cannabis remains under private ownership.

It’s as if those who profit from creating and selling cannabis goods and services don’t purchase other things in the economy. Y’know, non-cannabis goods and services that, when bought, contribute to the well-being of the sellers and their families.

We all benefit from allowing individuals to buy and sell with each other. Every attempt to undermine this peaceful process of mutual exchange has failed.

And since dispensaries pay taxes, the government has nothing to fear from relinquishing control. In fact, it’s more worthwhile for the government to allow a private regime where innovation can occur that adds to the variety and depth of cannabis goods and services.

A free market ultimately generates more tax revenue than a monopolized industry owned and operated by the government.

The government cites a static fund called “cannabis revenue.” These are the “seen” benefits of, say, $1 billion a year in cannabis sales going right back into government services, or rather, botched hydro deals and lucrative pensions for unworthy work.

But there are “unseen” losses from failing to allow private individuals to create a robust, free market industry.

If one-size-fits-all government revenue generating is superior, then why not appropriate all industries and all goods and services? Why stop at cannabis?

Is it because we can afford to bypass the diversity of wealth that comes from cannabis, but not other goods and services? By whose metric? Who gets to decide that?  The Ontario people through their representatives at the legislature?

Something is very wrong with the system when public labour union lobbyists have more influence than the individual voter. So much for acting in the public interest.

Insomuch that parliamentary democracy is the best form of government we have, even though it may be full of errors and tendencies for corruption, perhaps it’s best we err on the side of caution and permit government intervention only when everything else has failed.

Clearly, private cannabis sales haven’t failed anybody. In fact, it is the Ontario government’s pretense of knowledge that will fail cannabis consumers should they be deprived of private enterprise.

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Published at Tue, 12 Sep 2017 17:15:54 +0000

Pot shop clashes with tourism in eclectic Alaska town

Pot shop clashes with tourism in eclectic Alaska town

The Columbian / Associated Press

TALKEETNA, Alaska — The presence of a marijuana retail store has caused a deep divide in this quirky tourist town, where hundreds of visitors roam the streets daily browsing in art galleries and souvenir shops housed in historic cabins.

Most of Talkeetna’s stores line the two long blocks that make up its Main Street, where tourists — many who arrive in Alaska on cruise ships and are bused about two hours north from Anchorage — wander into storefronts like Nagley’s General Store for ice cream or slip through its back door for a cold one at the West Rib Bar and Grill.

At Main Street’s opposite end, near a river park where visitors snap photos of the continent’s tallest mountain, is Talkeetna’s newest venture into the tourism trade. The High Expedition Co. is a nod to the rich mountain climbing history of the eclectic community purported to be the inspiration for the 1990s television series “Northern Exposure.”

Talkeetna’s first marijuana retail store is causing a rift not seen in other tourist-dependent towns in this Libertarian-leaning state, where marijuana had a casual acceptance long before it became legal. But even here, like in many pot-legal states, some towns have opted out of sales, fearful it might invite crime and other evils.

In Talkeetna, some shop owners — the ones who built a multimillion-dollar business from the steady stream of mountain climbers who use Talkeetna as a staging point for treks up Denali — say this one shop could ruin the tiny town’s historic atmosphere and harm business like the eight or so stores that serve alcohol along Main Street could never do.

“I don’t think he belongs in downtown Talkeetna,” Meandering Moose B&B owner Mike Stoltz said.

Joe McAneney co-owns the High Expedition Co., which opened in mid-May. “The sky hasn’t fallen on Talkeetna, the sun is shining, and this is now the most photographed shop in town,” he said.

Grabbing the attention of amateur shutterbugs is a small “Cannabis Purveyors” wooden sign on the store’s deck.

McAneney has been working to open the shop nearly since the day in 2014 that Alaska residents voted to legalize recreational marijuana. He and a partner bought the cabin that was originally built for Ray Genet, an early Talkeetna climber and guide who died in 1979 on Mount Everest. McAneney worked with Genet’s family and has incorporated a small museum dedicated to Genet and Talkeetna’s climbing history. But even that association led to some disdain.

“Small towns in Alaska are harder than anywhere to break into and sort of become accepted,” McAneney said.

His store got its approval from the borough on a technicality when the assembly was writing regulations for marijuana businesses in unincorporated areas, like Talkeetna, and inadvertently omitted special land use districts — like the town’s Main Street. Talkeetna has no local governing body, only a nonvoting community council whose sole power is sending recommendations to borough officials roughly 75 miles away.

State regulators approved the store’s permit on a 3-2 vote in the spring.

“There’s people that are upset about it, but it’s legal,” said Sue Deyoe, the Talkeetna Historical Society and Museum’s executive director.

Opposition mounted as the issue went before state regulators, where a stream of residents unsuccessfully called in to the Anchorage meeting to oppose the store’s license.

Among the biggest issue for critics is the lack of places for tourists to puff the marijuana they buy — smoking pot in public is illegal, and that led to fears the nearby river park would become the place to partake.

Alaska State Troopers say there were no citations issued for anyone consuming marijuana in public in Talkeetna from April 1 to July 1, the same as last year.

But opponents argue Talkeetna is lawless, with the closest trooper an hour away.

“What are we supposed to do?” asked Stoltz, the bed and breakfast owner. “Are we going to take the law into our own hands? Duct-tape him?”

Stoltz said the very presence of a pot store will harm business in the historic town, where residents make a year’s living between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

“If we lose our tourism, we lose what Talkeetna is,” he said. “We’re not catering to stoner tourists. To me, that’s the conflict with Joe.”

Seeing a pot shop on Talkeetna’s main drag didn’t bother 65-year-old Jeff White, visiting from the Louisville, Ky., area.

Talkeetna has the artsy feel of a tourist town in Colorado, which also has legal marijuana, he said.

“This goes with that vibe, and I think that’s fine.”

One resident dismisses the idea that the pot store is giving Talkeetna a black eye. But it is dividing the town, Christie Stoltz said, noting the chasm has reached her home. She’s the daughter of Mike Stoltz, the B&B owner.

“I feel like it’s generations — the older generation versus the younger generation,” she said.

For some, marijuana was never an issue, Deyoe said, and it pales in comparison to a controversy last spring when the borough proposed leveling trees over an area about the size of eight football fields for an expanded parking lot for summer use.

“I think the community council got way more letters on that than they did in reaction to the marijuana shop,” she said.

(Why?)

Published at Tue, 05 Sep 2017 13:00:46 +0000

Pot has never been so cheap

Pot has never been so cheap

The Columbian / Associated Press

All the diverse effects of legalizing recreational marijuana may not be clear for a number of years, but one consequence has become evident almost immediately: Pot has never been so cheap.

Steven Davenport of the Pardee Rand Graduate School has analyzed marijuana retail prices in Washington since legal recreational markets opened in July 2014. Remarkably, prices have fallen every single quarter since.

When Davenport spoke to me 18 months ago, retail marijuana prices had already fallen a stunning 58.5 percent. Yet he predicted correctly that the price collapse was not complete. The current retail price of $7.38 per gram (including tax) represents a 67 percent decrease in three years of the legalization, with more decline likely in the future.

Davenport expects the marijuana industry to continue to find ways to lower prices for a simple reason: It’s a profitable business model. “Some consumers will prefer higher priced brands, but there will always be a market for the brand that can produce adequate quality cannabis at the cheapest cost,” he notes.

The ongoing decline in marijuana’s price after legalization has an important implication for drug policy more generally. The experience of Washington and other marijuana legalization states demonstrates how enormously effective prohibition of production and sale is at raising drug prices. For example heroin’s price took a decade to fall by 16 percent, which the legalization of marijuana accomplished in just eight months. Notably, even high taxes on legal marijuana don’t keep the legal price anywhere near what it was when the drug was more broadly illegal.

Prohibition imposes huge costs on drug producing industries that are passed on to consumers in the form of higher prices. These higher prices are one of the principal reasons (the others being stigma and fear of punishment) that illegal drugs are used so much less frequently than legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. Marijuana is a rare example where we can see the impact of legalizing a drug in real time, which shows that were the production and sale of heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine also legalized, those drugs would also become dramatically cheaper to consume.

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Published at Wed, 06 Sep 2017 13:00:34 +0000