Legal Marijuana Will Create 5 New Professions And 250,000 More New Jobs By 2020

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CNBC NEWS)

 

Six years ago recreational marijuana use was illegal in all 50 states — and had been for nearly a century. Following the 2018 midterm elections, anyone over 21 will soon be allowed to legally consume marijuana in 10 states plus the District of Columbia. Overall, 33 states in the past 22 years have passed some form of marijuana legalization, from medical to recreational use.

Despite the ever-present federal threat — the Drug Enforcement Administration still considers marijuana a banned substance, and former Attorney General Jeff Sessions threatened a crackdown — the $8.5 billion U.S. marijuana industry seems poised to grow as rapidly as the law will allow it. And it’s generating jobs just as quickly.

By 2020 the industry is expected to create 250,000 new jobs, according to New Frontier Data, an industry research firm. In 2017 the number of job posts for openings in the marijuana industry increased by 445 percent, outpacing tech (254 percent) and health care (70 percent), according to ZipRecruiter.

The industry is in search of workers across the spectrum, from accounting to compliance, customer service, sales, technology and more. As the industry grows, so too do the opportunities. California, Colorado and Washington currently have the greatest demand for workers, but that could shift as legalization spreads.

Though the total number of marijuana jobs are still far smaller than those other, much older industries, they include several positions that didn’t exist prior to legalization, offering enterprising workers the opportunity to get in on the ground floor of an entirely new career.

Because legalization has come state by state, there is no single association or governing body offering licenses, training or certifications. Workers looking to enter the industry will need to do a bit of research to find out their specific state requirements.

But newcomers don’t necessarily need an encyclopedic nature of weed culture to succeed in the industry. In fact, Karson Humiston, CEO and founder of recruiting firm Vangst, said she decided to start her firm, which specializes in the cannabis industry, after discovering the breadth of talent required by entrepreneurs attending a 2015 industry convention.

“When I asked people what positions they were hiring for, it was everything from a botanist to a chemical engineer to a Ph.D. to a retail store manager to a marketing manager to a human resource manager to a CFO,” she said. “You name it, and these companies were hiring for it.”

Though some may hesitate to join an industry selling a drug that’s still banned by federal law, everyday workers have little to fear, said Morgan Fox, media relations director for the National Cannabis Industry Association. “We haven’t seen any U.S. attorneys make an effort to crack down on businesses that are compliant with state law, even though the former attorney general gave them carte blanche to do so,” he said, referring to Sessions. “If someone is just an employee of a company, I would think there’s pretty much no risk.”

Here are five fast-growing new careers driven by marijuana legalization. Salary data is gleaned from the 2018 Vangst Salary Guide. In most cases the salary ranges are unusually broad due to the industry’s youth and rapid expansion.

Director of cultivation
marijuana cultivation
Garden Remedies operates a cultivation facility in Fitchburg, Massachusetts.
Garden Remedies

They call it a weed, but growing crops of strong, healthy marijuana is both an art and a science. All grow operations, no matter how small, need a director of cultivation — also known as a master grower — to oversee planting, cloning, feeding, watering and pest management. At larger operations, cultivation directors have management responsibility for a team of growers, and the position typically requires frequent interaction with law enforcement to ensure compliance.

A background in horticulture or agriculture is a must for this job, and advanced degrees in either are sometimes required. Familiarity with cannabis is preferred, but plenty of employers are happy to hire someone with experience managing a large-scale greenhouse operation.

Average national salary range for qualified professionals: $88,000 to $250,500

Budtender
AP: container of marijuana buds for a customer at Utopia Gardens, a medical marijuana dispensary, in Detroit. Michigan
In this Tuesday, Oct. 2, 2018, photo, a clerk reaches for a container of marijuana buds for a customer at Utopia Gardens, a medical marijuana dispensary, in Detroit.

Equal parts pharmacist, bartender, confidant and hall monitor, the budtender is where the marijuana industry meets the consumer. From behind the dispensary counter, budtenders check IDs and prescription cards, track all cannabis sales and — most important — help customers understand the products and how to use them.

Though budtenders are expected to have extensive knowledge of the goods, previous marijuana experience is not necessarily required. “Budtending is a great way to familiarize yourself with the industry and the peculiarities and particulars of it,” said Fox. Many dispensaries will offer on-the-job training, and budtenders are well positioned to advance in the industry.

Average national salary range for qualified professionals: $13.25 per hour to $16 per hour.

Dispensary manager
medical marijuana dispensary
Garden Remedies opened its first medical marijuana dispensary in Newton, Massachusetts in 2016.
Garden Remedies

In some ways, managing a marijuana dispensary is a lot like managing any other retail store: manage the staff, track inventory, and cultivate a clean, professional atmosphere. But the highly regulated nature of the product makes it a bit more complicated. It’s the manager’s job to make sure all employees are compliant with state laws, that everyone entering the store is 21 or older or, if it’s not a recreational store, that all customers have proper medical credentials.

Slip up and your dispensary could be shut down by the state. Dispensary managers often have experience running a high-end retail operation, like an apparel or jewelry shop.

Average national salary range for qualified professionals: $56,000 to $98,000

Director of extraction
Reusable CNBC: Vireo Health lab medical marijuana
A lab technician at Vireo Health in Johnstown, NY.
Jodi Gralnick | CNBC

Legal marijuana is sold in a dizzying variety of forms, including gummies, vaping oils, candies, lotions, teas, pills, perfumes — even tampons. The director of extraction oversees the production of the oils and concentrates within the plants needed to manufacture such products. That means running — or possibly building — a laboratory, managing a staff and maintaining strict scientific protocols.

Not surprisingly, this is a job that requires some skills. “Typically, we see a lot of Ph.Ds, chemists and people coming out of pharmaceutical labs going for these jobs,” said Humiston of Vangst. Fortunately, these positions tend to be well compensated, with salaries topping $250,000 in some states.

Average national salary range for qualified professionals: $72,000 to $191,000

Trimmer
GP: Inside The Delta 9 Cannabis Inc. Facility As Canada Set To Legalize Marijuana
A worker inspects cannabis plants growing inside a shipping container grow pod at the Delta 9 Cannabis Inc. facility in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.
Trevor Hagan | Bloomberg | Getty Images

This entry-level, hands-on job represents the marijuana industry’s intersection with the gig economy. Trimmers are called in at harvest time to remove buds from stems and trim leaves in preparation for sale. And while some large indoor grow operations employ trimmers year-round, most smaller businesses will hire trimmers either on a part-time or per-day basis. In fact, digital job boards, like Mary’s List and Vangst GIGS, are popping up to connect growers with freelancers. Though trimmers require no special education, they are usually required to be at least 21 years old and to obtain a special state permit.

A word of warning: Trimmers are the first marijuana workers to face possible displacement by technology. “There’s starting to be a little competition here between humans and machines, which can produce three to four times as much product as a human trimmer,” said Fox. But many marijuana purists insist on a hand-trimmed product, which they believe carries greater potency.

Score one for the humans.

Average national salary range for qualified professionals: $12.25 per hour to $14 per hour.

Michigan becomes first state in Midwest to allow recreational marijuana

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF CBS NEWS)

 

Michigan becomes first state in Midwest to allow recreational marijuana

In a new law that took effect Thursday, Michigan is now the first Midwestern state to legally allow recreational marijuana. It’s the 10th state to legalize recreational pot.

It could take a year before Michigan starts licensing medical marijuana shops to sell to recreational users. Critics worry the wait could lead to high demand on the black market where there’s no oversight, reports CBS News correspondent Nikki Battiste.

Stuart Carter showed us the products at his medical marijuana shop in Detroit.

“We’ve had people show up. Unfortunately, we have to shut them down,” Carter said.

Carter said he is eager to sell recreational marijuana at the store, but the state is requiring shops to go through a lengthy application process.

“They’re not going to take applications for about a year, and then there’s going to be the vetting process,” Carter said.

Though people will have to wait to buy recreational pot in stores, the new law allows people 21 or older to keep 10 ounces in their home and grow 12 marijuana plants for personal use.

“It’s going to be the marijuana capital of America,” said Scott Greenlee, the president of Healthy and Productive Michigan. He opposes Michigan’s high possession limit, allowing people to carry up to 2.5 ounces. It’s the largest recreational carry limit in the country.

“It’s too much,” Greenlee said. “That’s going to lead to a lot of crime as well. People are going to realize that all of this product is sitting around. Our law enforcement community is very concerned about is all that marijuana in all those large quantities.”

The new law may be good news for low-level pot offenders. More than 20,000 people were arrested last year for marijuana possession or use that is now legal.

California legalized recreational pot use in 2016. Since then, San Francisco district attorney George Gascon has cleared over a thousand misdemeanor marijuana cases.

“Quite frankly, it can impact your ability to get employment,” Gascon said.

Minor charges, Gascon believes, can have a major impact.

“In some places, it will impact your ability to get public housing or get subsidized housing,” Gascon said. “It may impact your ability to go into military services.”

But Greenlee said most low-level offenders don’t face severe consequences.

“Typically what’s being dismissed is a ticket, a fine,” Greenlee said. “It’s very similar to if… we’re going to 15 miles over the speed limit. We’ll get a ticket, we’ll pay our ticket and move on.”

One county prosecutor in Michigan told CBS News he has already dismissed 50 pending cases for misdemeanor marijuana offenders that are no longer illegal as of Thursday. Under the new law, it is still illegal to use pot in public, on college campuses, and while driving.

Missouri To Approve Legal Marijuana For All Adults In 2019

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF MARIJUANA NEWS)

Missouri’s voter-approved medical marijuana law hasn’t even gone into effect yet, but one state lawmaker is already taking steps to legalize cannabis across the board in 2019.

Rep. Brandon Ellington (D) prefiled a bill on Monday for the upcoming session that, if enacted, would permit adults 21 and older to legally grow, possess and consume marijuana. Individuals would be allowed to keep up to two ounces of cannabis and grow up to six plants—three of which could be “mature, flowering plants” at a time.


Marijuana Moment is currently tracking more than 900 cannabis bills in state legislatures and Congress. Patreon supporters pledging at least $25/month get access to our interactive maps, charts and hearing calendar so they don’t miss any developments.

Learn more about our marijuana bill tracker and become a supporter on Patreon to get access.

Retail sales would still be prohibited under the proposed legislation, however, meaning that the Show Me State would have a form of noncommercial legalization similar to those that exist now in Vermont and Washington, D.C.

Read the text of the new bill here:

Missouri marijuana legalization bill by Marijuana Moment on Scribd

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/395010906/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-pA73ntDVrUNPmKNKNEzz&show_recommendations=true

Voters in the state approved one of three competing medical cannabis measures during November’s midterm election, 66-34 percent. The law is set to formally go into effect on Thursday.

Even so, Ellington seems to be wasting no time getting the ball rolling on adult-use legalization.

https://www.marijuanamoment.net/the-midwest-may-be-the-next-frontier-in-marijuana-legalization/embed/#?secret=WO4tY1hhrT

 

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The 11th State to Legalize Recreational Marijuana Is …

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE ‘MOTLEY FOOL’ WEB SITE)

 

The 11th State to Legalize Recreational Marijuana Is …

This state could see $850 million in annual cannabis sales by 2022 if recreational weed is legalized.

Dec 2, 2018 at 11:41AM
This has been a big year for the North American cannabis industry. Without question, the highlight was the legalization of recreational marijuana in Canada on Oct. 17. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau had spoken for years about legalization and was finally able to see his vision realized with the passage of the Cannabis Act. A few years from now, when capacity-expansion projects are complete, the Canadian legal weed industry could be generating upward of $5 billion in added annual sales.

It’s also been a banner year for the U.S. market. During midterm elections in November, voters in two new states approved medical marijuana initiatives, bringing the number of states to have legalized pot in some capacity to 32. Residents of Michigan also voted to green-light adult-use cannabis, becoming the 10th state to do so.

Now cannabis enthusiasts and investors have turned their attention to which state(s) could be next to legalize. Thankfully, not much guesswork may be needed.

A judge's gavel next to a pile of dried cannabis buds.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

The Garden State has its eyes set on legalizing adult-use pot

On Monday, Nov. 26, two panels in New Jersey voted overwhelmingly to approve three new cannabis bills — one of which aims to legalize adult-use marijuana.

These panels, from the state’s Senate and Assembly, voted 7 to 4, with two abstentions in the Senate, and 7 to 3, with one abstention in the Assembly, in favor of the bill that would legalize recreational marijuana within the state. The additional two bills that also passed cover an expansion of the state’s existing medical cannabis program and the creation of a system that would speed up criminal expungements of low-level cannabis offenses. Now all three bills move on for an official vote from the full Senate and Assembly. Assuming passage, a recreational marijuana bill could find its way to Gov. Phil Murphy’s (D-N.J.) desk within a few weeks.

What might recreational legalization look like in the Garden State? As with other legalized states, it would allow adults aged 21 and up to purchase up to 1 ounce of cannabis. There would be an attached tax rate of 12%, which would be considerably lower than the aggregate tax rates that some folks might pay in Washington state or California of up to 37% and 45%, respectively. For what it’s worth, Gov. Murphy has suggested that a 12% tax rate is too low. Instead, Murphy has called for an excise tax of 25% on legal weed sales for what could be an $850 million industry within the state by 2022.

A bearded man holding up a lit cannabis joint with his fingertips.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Beyond the basics, the broad-based legalization bill also includes a section on the expedited expungement of low-level marijuana offenses. Though a separate bill is being worked on that would tackle this faster and more efficiently, the mere existence of this clause is worth noting. It’s also worth pointing out that North Dakota voters turned down a recreational legalization initiative in the recent midterms that had an expungement clause, suggesting that it’s no given to attract support.

Finally, the bill would allow for marijuana delivery services within the state, as well as give permission for dispensaries to create “consumption areas.” Essentially, New Jersey would permit pot shops within dispensaries where consumers could enjoy their product outside of their homes.

Needless to say, it’s an ambitious bill with a lot more going on than a simple cut-and-dried legalization of recreational pot.

An indoor commercial cannabis growing facility.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Marijuana stocks and investors are paying close attention

Though Gov. Murphy has taken exception to the proposed tax rate, he’s been very clear in the past about his support for legalizing recreational marijuana as both a revenue driver within the state and a means to reduce cannabis enforcement costs. This, presumably, gives New Jersey a very good chance of becoming the 11th state to legalize recreational pot. Should this happen, a number of pot stocks could be all smiles, and none more so than Curaleaf Holdings(NASDAQOTH:LDVTF).

Curaleaf, which IPO’d in late October with more than a $4 billion valuation, making it the largest IPO in marijuana history, currently has 28 dispensaries, 12 cultivation facilities, and nine processing sites throughout select legalized U.S. states. As a reminder, since the federal government has stood firm on its Schedule I classification for cannabis (i.e., wholly illegal), interstate transport of marijuana isn’t permissible. Therefore, the only way to vertically control supply and costs as a U.S. dispensary is to also grow and process cannabis within a state, which is what Curaleaf is doing.

As noted by analyst Robert Fagan of GMP Securities, courtesy of Investor’s Business Daily, the broad-based legalization bill would allow existing dispensaries in the state (which includes Curaleaf’s) to immediately begin recreational sales, assuming approval, without the need to apply for any new licensing.

Furthermore, Curaleaf is working on a 435,000-square-foot greenhouse facility in New Jersey. The first phase of that production should come online next year, allowing it to become a key producer and retailer within the Garden State.

A marijuana processor holding a freshly trimmed bud in their gloved left hand.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

By a similar token, the also-newly public Acreage Holdings (NASDAQOTH:ACRZF) would likely benefit from a New Jersey legalization. Back in March, the vertically integrated Acreage made the decision to enter the New Jersey market by partnering with the Compassionate Care Foundation (CCF) in the state. CCF is one of only six licensed alternative treatment center operators in New Jersey, with Acreage providing the financial resources to help meet patient demand. Presumably, with Acreage having assets up and down the cannabis supply chain, it could broaden its horizons if the New Jersey legalization bill passes.

Last, and per the norm, don’t sleep on KushCo Holdings (NASDAQOTH:KSHB). Pretty much anytime a new country or state legalizes in some capacity, KushCo is there chomping at the bit to get its piece of the packaging-and-branding-solutions pie. As a provider of tamper- and child-resistant packaging, KushCo ensures that medical and recreational growers remain compliant with local, state, and federal laws. Also, because packaging requirements tend to be so strict, KushCo takes on the task of helping growers and their products stand out. It’s an indispensable behind-the-scenes pot stock that could benefit if the Garden State goes green.

Sean Williams has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends KushCo Holdings. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

South Korea Legalizes Medical Marijuana, First Country In Asia To Do So

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE BUSINESS DAILY NEWS)

 

South Korea became the first country in East Asia to legalize medical cannabis, marking a significant milestone in the global industry and a potential turning point in how the drug is perceived in traditionally conservative societies.

The country’s National Assembly voted to approve amending the Act on the Management of Narcotic Drugs to pave the way for non-hallucinogenic dosages of medical cannabis prescriptions.

Medical marijuana will still be tightly restricted, but the law’s approval by the central government is seen as a breakthrough in a country many believed would be last – not among the first – to approve any use of cannabis, even if it is just low-THC, or CBD, to start.

To receive medical cannabis, patients would be required to apply to the Korea Orphan Drug Center, a government body established to facilitate patient access to rare medicines in the country.

Approval would be granted on a case-by-case basis.

Patients would also need to receive a prescription from a medical practitioner.

South Korea’s cannabis law overcame a major obstacle in July when it won the support of the Ministry of Food and Drug Safety, which said at the time it would permit Epidiolex, Marinol, Cesamet and Sativex for conditions including epilepsy, symptoms of HIV/AIDS and cancer-related treatments.

On Nov. 23 the ministry said a series of amended laws passed in a National Assembly session will expand the treatment opportunities for patients with rare diseases.

A number of other countries had been vying to join Israel as the first countries in Asia to allow medical cannabis, including Thailand and Malaysia.

“South Korea legalizing medical cannabis, even if it will be tightly controlled with limited product selection, represents a significant breakthrough for the global cannabis industry,” said Vijay Sappani, CEO of Toronto-based Ela Capital, a venture capital firm exploring emerging markets in the cannabis space.

“The importance of Korea being the first country in East Asia to allow medical cannabis at a federal level should not be understated. Now it’s a matter of when other Asian countries follow South Korea, not if.”

Matt Lamers can be reached at [email protected]

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U.S.: The growing consensus for legal marijuana

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE)

 

The growing consensus for legal marijuana

The United States remains starkly divided between red and blue, with Republicans and Democrats each registering some gains and some setbacks in the elections. But on one important issue, a national consensus is emerging that transcends party and ideology. America is becoming Weed Nation.

On Tuesday, Michigan became the 10th state, along with the District of Columbia, to decide to legalize marijuana for purely recreational use. A quarter of Americans will live in states that let them get stoned without fear of the constable.

The states include not only reliably crunchy Oregon and Massachusetts but two that went for Donald Trump in 2016 — Alaska and Michigan. They range from the East Coast to the West and from the first in population, California, to the 49th, Vermont. The others are Colorado, Maine, Nevada and Washington.

Then there are the states that allow marijuana to be used for medical needs. On Tuesday, Missouri and Utah — Utah! — voted to join the club. That brings the total number of states that allow pot to be legally consumed in some circumstances to 33, according to the Drug Policy Alliance, plus Washington, D.C.

Pro-pot candidates also did well Tuesday. Illinois elected a governor, J.B. Pritzker, who favors allowing recreational cannabis. So did Connecticut (Ned Lamont), Maine (Janet Mills), Minnesota (Tim Walz) and New Mexico (Michelle Lujan Grisham). The winner in Wisconsin, Tony Evers, has said he is “not opposed” to it and would like a statewide referendum to settle the issue.

Read more: Michigan voters bring legal recreational marijuana to the Midwest »

Cannabis has already run away with the contest for public favor. In 2000, according to the Pew Research Center, only 31 percent of Americans supported legalizing recreational pot. Today, 62 percent do.

But even in states where cannabis is legal, it isn’t. Federal law still bans weed, with penalties that include prison time even for mere users. Sick people smoking it to relieve chronic pain, muscular dystrophy or epilepsy, in faithful compliance with their state laws, are not exempt from prosecution.

Under Barack Obama, the Justice Department adopted a hands-off policy toward states with permissive policies. Then-Attorney General Eric Holder issued directives instructing U.S. attorneys to defer to state laws on medical and recreational cannabis. The administration also tried to provide banks some assurance that they could handle the accounts of legitimate marijuana suppliers without being prosecuted.

But as soon as he was installed as attorney general, die-hard prohibitionist Jeff Sessions reversed course. He ordered prosecutors to fully enforce federal laws reflecting “Congress’ determination that marijuana is a dangerous drug and that marijuana activity is a serious crime.”

Does Congress really still believe that? This ought to be an issue on which the two parties can come together — not on whether marijuana should be legal but on whether states should be allowed to make their own choices. Last year, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky joined with Democratic colleagues Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York to propose ending the federal prohibition on medical cannabis.

The conservative Tenth Amendment Center regards the federal law as an unconstitutional usurpation of state sovereignty. It was Georgetown professor Randy Barnett, a darling of the conservative Federalist Society, who in 2004 argued before the Supreme Court that the federal government had no right to stop individuals from growing pot for personal use.

Commentary: The cycle of life: Getting stoned again for health reasons »

He lost the case, but the court’s most conservative justice agreed with him. “Our federalist system, properly understood, allows California and a growing number of other States to decide for themselves how to safeguard the health and welfare of their citizens,” Clarence Thomas wrote in his dissent. “If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it can regulate virtually anything.”

Neither party is consistent on matters of federalism. But this is the rare occasion when Republicans could enlist Democrats in curbing Washington’s meddling in matters that can be handled perfectly well at the state level — deploying a concept that liberals might find attractive under President Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Justice Brett Kavanaugh.

Republicans might also gain politically from eliminating the federal role. Taking a more moderate position on a matter that millions of people regard as no business of politicians could soften their image among independent voters. Passing an important measure with bipartisan support would demonstrate that the 2018 election results didn’t prevent our lawmakers from getting anything useful done.

I can just imagine it happening. And no, I’m not high.

Steve Chapman, a member of the Tribune Editorial Board, blogs at www.chicagotribune.com/chapman.

[email protected]

Twitter @SteveChapman13

Mexico just took a big step toward marijuana legalization

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF VOX NEWS)

 

Mexico just took a big step toward marijuana legalization

Mexico’s Supreme Court deemed the country’s marijuana prohibition law unconstitutional.

Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Mexico’s Supreme Court on Wednesday deemed the country’s marijuana prohibition law unconstitutional, bringing America’s neighbor one step closer to marijuana legalization.

It was not the first time the court made such a ruling, but it was the fifth time — a crucial threshold in Mexico. Under the country’s legal system, once the Supreme Court reaches a similar decision in five separate cases, the standard set by the rulings applies to the country’s entire court system.

As the Associated Press explained, “The rulings technically do not legalize recreational use, however. They establish that courts must allow it, but it is still up to each individual to press his or her case in the judicial system.” The rulings apply to possession, use, and growing — not commercialization or sales.

The Supreme Court “found that adults have a fundamental right to personal development which lets them decide their recreational activities without interference from the state,” the AP reported. The right is not absolute, and it does not apply to all substances — but it does mean that total marijuana prohibition is unconstitutional.

Suprema Corte

@SCJN

Primera Sala reiteró inconstitucionalidad de la prohibición absoluta del consumo recreativo de marihuana. Lo que permitió integrar jurisprudencia sobre el tema.

Mexican lawmakers could react to the ruling by adjusting the law to regulate marijuana under the new legal framework set by the Supreme Court. Officials in President-elect Andrés Manuel López Obrador’s government have indicated that they may legalize marijuana, Reuters reported.

If Mexico’s government follows through, the country could become the third in the world to legalize pot for recreational purposes — after Uruguay and Canada.

Although nine states in the US have legalized marijuana for recreational purposes, pot is still illegal under federal law in America.

Supporters of legalization argue that it eliminates the harms of marijuana prohibition: the arrests over a relatively harmless drug (and the racial disparities involved in America), and the billions of dollars that flow from the black market for marijuana to drug cartels that then use the money for violent operations around the world. All of this, legalization advocates say, will outweigh any of the potential downsides — like increased cannabis use — that might come with legalization.

Opponents, meanwhile, claim that legalization will enable a huge marijuana industry that will market the drug irresponsibly. They point to countries’ experiences with the alcohol and tobacco industries, which have built their financial empires in large part on some of the heaviest consumers of their products. This could result in far more people using pot, even if it leads to negative health consequences.

At least in Mexico, the supporters won a big victory this week.

For more on marijuana legalization, read Vox’s explainer.

November 6th: Another Big Election Year For Marijuana

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF FORBES MAGAZINE)

 

15,547 views 

Another Big Election Year For Marijuana As Candidates Recognize Voters Want Legal Weed

Marijuana measures are big on the midterm ballot this year. Photo by Getty Images

The lucrative legal cannabis industry is again front and center this voting year as Americans head to the polls for midterm elections November 6. Ballots across the U.S. will include numerous cannabis-related measures — many at the county and municipal level — regarding laws for commercial cultivation in certain zones and how to spend abundant new cannabis taxes. In Colorado alone, legal cannabis revenues for 2018 crested a record $1 billion by August. The state is forecasting to gross over $1.5 billion by end of year, meaning more than $250 million into government coffers.

Several U.S. states will also vote on both adult-use and medical cannabis legalization. North Dakota and Michigan will decide on ballot initiatives for recreational cannabis for adults 21 and over, and Utah and Missouri will cast ballots on medical marijuana legalization. There are also 35 U.S. Senate seats up for grabs and 36 races for governor. And you can bet that those candidates are well aware that nothing brings out the vote — particularly the youth vote — like cannabis. Having already reached a tipping point of popularity in the U.S. — with 62 percent of Americans agreeing that marijuana should be legalized — candidates nationwide are currently more willing than ever to include cannabis endorsements in their platforms. Political contenders in many states are following the green, as a projection by BDS Analytics puts worldwide consumer spending on legal pot at roughly $57 billion by 2027.

In the highly contentious race for Florida’s governorship, candidates Andrew Gillum and Ron DeSantis are battling it out with clashing and irreconcilable political views — including opinions on healthcare, climate change and gun control — yet regarding the once controversial topic of marijuana legalization they are both supportive. “Legalize it. Tax it,” Tweeted Gillumearlier this year. “Use the revenue to fix Florida’s public schools and move us up from 29th in the nation to #1.” DeSantis was a bit more cautious but still pro-weed telling WPLG 10News, “I am going to implement the will of the voters. They passed medical marijuana overwhelmingly, and my view is we have a process in Florida when that happens, then we shouldn’t play games with it. We should just simply implement it.” Whoever becomes Florida’s next governor will certainly have a lot of say over the state’s evolving — and highly profitable — medical marijuana system, and over any potential recreational legalization efforts going forward.

There’s no better evidence of marijuana’s widespread popularity than Canada’s decision to make cannabis legal for adult use across the country this year. As cannabis retailers there contend with high demand and inventory shortfalls since legal weed sales fired up on October 17, it’s clear that consumers want this substance available. Buyers in the U.S. are signaling the same, as 31 states have legalized it for medical purposes and nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized the drug for recreational adult use. The message to candidates in many pro-marijuana regions is clear: go against the rising tide of cannabis legalization at your own peril.

Many states across the U.S. are weighing in on cannabis measures at the state and local level. Photo by Getty Images

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In California, where statewide recreational cannabis sales kicked off in January, Marijuana Business Daily reports that many jurisdictions in the state are still grappling with ironing out local marijuana laws. Some 82 cannabis-related ballot measures are slated to go before voters in cities and counties around the Golden State. Those measures will include regulations for cannabis entrepreneurs to operate within their borders, new licensing opportunities and setting tax rates. For instance, in Bakersfield, Measure J seeks to “retain the ban on commercial adult-use cannabis activity” but “allow and regulate commercial medicinal cannabis cultivation, manufacturing, testing, retailing, distribution and micro-business in the unincorporated area.”

In conservative-leaning Montana — a state that’s had a contentious history the past few years with legal medical marijuana — U.S. Senate candidate Jon Tester, who is currently ahead in the polls, said during a House Committee on Foreign Affairs meeting this year, “Veterans must have a say in how they manage their pain and the VA needs to listen to those veterans who are finding relief in medicinal cannabis.”

While midterm elections consistently have a much lower voter turnout compared with general elections, ballot measures can have a significant effect on who shows up to vote and subsequent outcomes. Cannabis looks to be one of the key motivators this year.

I’m a California native who’s seen marijuana go from back-alley weed deals to a new legal system with billion-dollar IPOs on Nasdaq. I cover worldwide trends of cannabis entrepreneurs, people building the backbone of this new sector with innovative products and services. I’m…

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David Carpenter is a contributing writer for Forbes covering cannabis from an entrepreneur’s perspective. You can visit his company Panther Papers and follow him on Twitter.

October 17th Recreational Marijuana Becomes Legal

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE MOTLEY FOOL NEWS)

 

Why Marijuana Stocks Cronos Group, Canopy Growth, and Tilray Jumped Today

Find out why cannabis investors were excited today.

Oct 15, 2018 at 4:32PM
The stock market pulled back on Monday, with major benchmarks failing to build on the positive momentum from last Friday. Investors are looking forward to earnings season ramping up to full intensity, but ongoing turmoil in international markets seems to be holding back sentiment despite signs that the U.S. economy remains reasonably strong. Even on a pretty lackluster day, though, market participants were excited about the prospects for major new players in the cannabis industry. Cronos Group (NASDAQ:CRON)Canopy Growth (NYSE:CGC), and Tilray (NASDAQ:TLRY) were among the best performers. Here’s why they did so well.

The one reason that sent all these stocks higher

All three of these stocks have something in common: They all stand to benefit from Wednesday’s effective date for legal sales of recreational cannabis product in Canada. Marijuana investors have looked forward to Oct. 17 for a long time, and anticipation that the industry will bring in huge amounts of revenue from the Great White North has driven all three of these stocks higher over the past couple of months.

Hand holding marijuana leaf in front of rows of plants.

IMAGE SOURCE: GETTY IMAGES.

Some fear that the reality of legal recreational marijuana could prove to be less impressive than what investors expect, and that could lead to sell-offs for these stocks if it proves true. Yet for now, optimism still reigns supreme, and cannabis bulls think that these companies could all have further to climb.

News for cannabis companies

In addition to the broad-based interest in marijuana-related stocks, these three companies had some specific news items that raised awareness:

  • Cronos shares gained 19% after the company reported that it had entered into a partnership with a technology institute in Israel, under which researchers will look at the potential use of cannabinoids in support of skin health and to fight skin disorders such as acne and psoriasis.
  • Canopy Growth jumped 14% after it said that it will acquire key assets of Colorado-based hemp research company Ebbu in a cash-and-stock deal, with the cash component amounting to less than $20 million but with Canopy giving up a whopping 6.2 million shares to Ebbu, worth about $300 million based on Friday’s close.
  • Tilray subsidiary High Park Holdings announced three new brands for the Canadian market, including broad-based Canaca, Quebecois-focused Dubon, and northwestern-targeted Yukon Rove. Additional product lines include the Irisa brand of women’s wellness products, as well as the Goodship and Wallops lines of edible cannabis items. Tilray stock closed up 11.5%.

In the end, all three of these companies will have to prove that they can live up to the lofty expectations of marijuana investors and produce continuing sustainable growth. It’ll take time to see how successful they are at achieving this goal, but for now, shareholders have high hopes that things will go well for the cannabis industry.

Dan Caplinger has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Trump Says He Will Probably Support Marijuana Legalization Bill

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF ROLLING STONE MAGAZINE)

 

Trump Defies Sessions by Saying He Will ‘Probably’ Support Marijuana Bill

The president appears to be joining a group of lawmakers pushing back on the attorney general’s marijuana policy

Could Trump really support a bill that would end federal marijuana prohibition? Evan Vucci/AP/REX Shutterstock

Before heading on a trip abroad that will take him to the G-7 summit in Canada on Friday, and then to Singapore to meet with Kim Jong-un early next Tuesday, President Trump hinted that he is likely to support a bill introduced Thursday that would protect state marijuana laws from federal interference. “I really do,” Trump said when asked outside the White House on Friday whether supports the bill, which was co-authored by Senator Cory Gardner, a Republican from Colorado. “I support Senator Gardner. I know exactly what he’s doing. We’re looking at it. But I probably will end up supporting it, yes.”

Though over half of all states have passed some form of legislation legalizing marijuana, the drug is still illegal under federal law, which classifies it as a Schedule I narcotic along with heroin, LSD and other drugs the government deem to have “no currently accepted medical use.” Marijuana business is growing rapidly in states where it is legal, but federal restrictions have led to a number of complications. Most banks, for instance, refuse to have relationships with marijuana-related companies, for fear prosecution from federal law enforcement.

“There are federal laws about not being able to put your money into banks if the money comes from illegal activities,” Senator Elizabeth Warren, who co-authored the bill with Gardner, explained Thursday morning on MSNBC. “So long as the sale of marijuana is illegal at the federal level, that means that marijuana stores that are perfectly legal in Colorado or Massachusetts or other states have to do an all-cash business. It’s dangerous and it’s dumb.”

The STATES – or Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States – Act would remove marijuana from the federal schedule of controlled substances in states where it is legal, and allow financial institutions to deal with marijuana businesses as long as those business are legal under state law. The Tenth Amendment reserves that states are in control of all “powers” not outlined in the Constitution. “Our founders intended the states to be laboratories of democracy and many states right now find themselves deep in the heart of that laboratory, but its created significant conflict between state law [and] federal law,” Gardner said alongside Warren as they introduced the bill on Thursday.

Though the bill would largely strip away federal influence from how states are able to enforce their marijuana laws, there are a few caveats. The bill holds that employees of marijuana businesses must be 18 years or older, and that recreational marijuana may only be sold to people 21 and over. It also stipulates that dispensaries may not be set up at rest stops along interstate highways.

Though the president has in the past voiced a desire to leave marijuana legalization up to the states, many have wondered if this latest expression of support may be a result of his intensifying feud with his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, who is a staunch opponent of marijuana legalization and has used his position as the government’s chief legal authority to crack down on convictions related to the drug. In January, Sessions put an end to an Obama administration policy that limited the degree to which federal authorities could enforce marijuana law in states where the drug was legal. Gardner, whose home state of Colorado has legalized recreational use of marijuana, criticized the move immediately.

Cory Gardner

@SenCoryGardner

This reported action directly contradicts what Attorney General Sessions told me prior to his confirmation. With no prior notice to Congress, the Justice Department has trampled on the will of the voters in CO and other states.

Cory Gardner

@SenCoryGardner

I am prepared to take all steps necessary, including holding DOJ nominees, until the Attorney General lives up to the commitment he made to me prior to his confirmation.

Gardner isn’t the only lawmaker pushing back against Sessions’s draconian stance on the drug, and those supporting reform have stressed the bipartisan nature of their efforts. In April, Republican Senator Orrin Hatch and California Democrat Kamala Harris wrote a letter to the attorney general asking him to cease blocking research in to marijuana’s medicinal properties. As Gardner and Warren introduced the STATES bill on Friday, Representatives Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon, and David Joyce, a Republican from Ohio, introduced a companion bill in the House. At a news conference Thursday, Warren said, “lining them up like Noah’s Ark as they come on two-by-two,” in reference to her and Gardner’s desire to match each of the bill’s co-sponsors with one from the other party.

Despite the attorney general’s vigilant opposition to any form of legalized pot Gardner has said he’s received multiple assurances from President Trump that he would support a bill giving power back to the states, and the president’s comments Friday morning reinforce the belief that he will ultimately endorse the bill. Trump has in recent months made good on several controversial campaign promises, including removing American from the Iran deal and relocating the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem. Marijuana reform could soon be added to the list.

“In terms of marijuana and legalization, I think that should be a state issue, state-by-state,” Trump told the Washington Post while campaigning back in 2015. “Marijuana is such a big thing. I think medical should happen – right? Don’t we agree? I think so. And then I really believe we should leave it up to the states.”

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