Could Washington Residents Grow Their Own Recreational Pot Soon?

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Despite having one of the oldest recreational cannabis programs in the country, the state of Washington is one of the few to forbid home cultivation. The reasoning behind it is mostly to do with the lack of resources to regulate homegrown cannabis. But lawmakers in the state House are introducing legislation aimed at changing all that. Could Washington residents grow their own recreational pot sometime this year?

Could Washington Residents Grow Their Own Recreational Pot Soon?

Many advocates and patients are in favor of the move to end the ban on home grows. Others, however, are expressing concern about the state’s ability to regulate them. After all, if someone were to grow the green in their own home, who would know if they were only growing the allotted amount?

From the perspective of Mitch Baker, of the Washington Association of Police Chiefs, law enforcement agencies would lack the resources to enforce a limit, let alone respond to every suspicion of someone growing more than the set number of plants.

The State Liquor and Cannabis Board also said it could not marshal enough resources to monitor and regulate home grows. Legalizing them would cause them to become too numerous to effectively regulate, according to Justin Nordhorm, the agency’s chief of enforcement.

Finally, some oppose the bill out of concern for public health and safety. “We have no safety provisions in place protecting our children from the serious issues surrounding home grows,” Jennifer Monds told the Spokesman-Review.

Despite concerns, however, the House has already introduced HB 2559. Currently, the bill is under review by the House Commerce & Gaming committee. This committee is in charge of the majority of marijuana policy in Washington state.

So, could Washington residents grow their own recreational pot soon? For now, it’s all up to the committee’s vote. And that vote is likely to come up in the coming weeks.

What Would Change For Home Grows In Washington?

The bill the House is currently considering would dramatically change the home growing landscape in Washington.

At the moment, recreational users can’t grow weed legally in their residence. Most medical cannabis users are also unable to cultivate at home.

The new bill, however, would allow for the cultivation of six mature plants per residence. Washington residents would also be able to keep up to 24 ounces of cannabis on hand.

It’s a generous amount, considering that those limits would surpass those of their neighbors to the south, in the state of Oregon. There, residents can cultivate only four mature plants at home and possess up to 16 ounces of cannabis.

Ultimately, the issue over allowing home grows in Washington boils down to giving state agencies enough time and resources to regulate it and enforce limits. Without such a system in place, it’s hard to imagine anything less than a home grow boom in Washington. Could Washington residents grow their own recreational pot in the near future? For now, we will simply have to wait to see if this new bill becomes a law.

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New York Gubernatorial Candidate Wants To Legalize Marijuana

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Millions of workers, students, tourists, and other travelers depend on the New York City subway system every day. But their rides are taking longer, fall behind more often, and many platforms are closing down. In short, the MTA is all but a literal train wreck—and sometimes that, too. Now, the city has to figure out how to fund the massive infrastructure projects necessary to get it back up to speed. And one New York gubernatorial candidate wants to legalize marijuana to do just that.

New York Gubernatorial Candidate Wants To Legalize Marijuana

NYC gubernatorial candidate Joel Giambra doesn’t have the same profile as many pro-pot politicians.

A Republican, Giambra cut his political teeth as an Executive for Erie County. While in office, Giambra’s track record was one of slashing and eliminating public services. He laid off thousands of county employees and was investigated for corruption.

But in 2006, Giambra penned an op-ed for the Buffalo News which criticized the War on Drugs, called for decriminalization, and more research into legalization.

And a year ago, he joined the group New York Grows, which advocates for legal cannabis across New York.

Giambra announced his bid for governor earlier this year. In one of his first statements as a candidate, he said he would legalize marijuana and use the tax revenue to revamp the state’s ailing public transit.

According to the NY Daily News, a source close to Giambra said that “adult use of marijuana can produce revenue for the state that can rebuild the MTA and our roads and bridges throughout the state.”

However, Giambra has yet to issue a formal proposal on his plan.

Legal Weed And A New Subway… Too Good To Be True?

Yes, a Republican New York gubernatorial candidate wants to legalize marijuana, as unlikely as that sounds. Especially since incumbent governor Andrew Cuomo, a Democrat, opposes recreational legalization.

But is Giambra’s plan, the details of which we’ve yet to hear, really a possibility?

Legal weed and a new subway system are both immensely popular issues. They cut across a wide range of demographics and have broad appeal across the political spectrum. Republicans have been seeking to make political inroads into NYC. On the other hand, Giambra could alienate his conservative base statewide.

But what if Giambra is just the candidate for student council president who promises soda from every drinking fountain?

Everyone acknowledges that infrastructure, especially public transportation, is in dire need of repair across the state, and especially in NYC. Still, Cuomo and Giambra’s rival, Assembly Minority Leader Brian Kolb, both think existing resources could fund improvements.

Considering the urgency and scale of the work to be done, it’s unclear whether a legal marijuana program could pull in enough tax revenue to find developments in the short and long term.

Waste, inefficiency, and playing politics has contributed to a subway crisis the New York Times called  “long in the making”.

Still, creative solutions exist that can wed cannabis legalization and the public interest in a variety of ways. From funding education to repairing roads, legal weed has quickly become a significant source of city and state revenue in places like Colorado and Oregon.

As the United State’s aging infrastructure continues to crumble through lack of investment, expect to see more candidates like Giambra running on platforms that present legal weed as a panacea to shortfalls in public funds.

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There Might Be a Need for a King of Cannabis

The post There Might Be a Need for a King of Cannabis appeared first on High Times.

Although the cannabis industry is currently allowed to operate only on a state-by-state basis, there will come a day when marijuana is taxed and regulated at the national level, the same as alcohol and tobacco. Some of the latest data suggest that this reform will eventually lead to the employment of more than one million workers and generate somewhere in the neighborhood of $132 billion in federal tax revenue. However, when this happens, it will be more important than ever for cannabis companies to sell products that can survive the novelty of legalization. Industry leaders will be forced to manufacture products capable of becoming household names, just as the brewing industry has done with national beer brands, or else risk being swallowed up by the competition. Thus, there may be a need for a King of Cannabis.

It is conceivable that Blue Dream and GG4 will be among the leading strains getting American stoned again. However, there could also be a significant market for less potent strains.

Beer Business Shows Customer Want “Light” Alternatives

A recent analysis of the brewing industry found that Americans prefer light beer. For the first time in several decades, Bud Light, Coors Light and Miller Lite have reportedly outsold their craft beer counterparts, according to Beer Marketer’s Insights. This is interesting considering that Budweiser has been the leading beer sold in the United States for quite some time. It is now ranked at number two. The lighter version of the brew formally known as the King of Beers now sits in the top spot.

I know, I know, the cannabis industry, as a whole, doesn’t really give two flying squirts about the trends connected to the brew trade. But perhaps it should. After all, while it has been proven that beer and weed can harmoniously coexist, the cannabis industry is still trying to persuade the American consumer to give up their beer money. Otherwise, we wouldn’t be seeing billboards in parts of California that read, “Hello Marijuana, Goodbye Hangover.”

The latest data shows that the $23 billion craft brew industry may have been a bit of a novelty in the beginning. Sure, people still enjoy IPAs, but the majority of the beer-drinking population simply prefers American lager. This is, in part, due to these watered down concoctions being easier to drink, less expensive and having a lower alcohol content.

Aside from high-CBD strains (the O’Doul’s of legal marijuana), there are not many strains available designed to help keep the pot-smoking consumer locked into a nice buzz without getting overly stoned. The closest strains on the market that produce this kind of mild effect are THCV Sativas, which top out at around 5 percent THC. This is significantly lower than the average 10-20 percent THC content found in most strains.

The latest snapshot of the brewing industry may be an indication that these types of pot products might become the go-to buzz for the average American, once Uncle Sam decides to let go of the prohibitionary standard. Pot that can be consumed all day long without getting the user ripped out of their minds will most likely become the King of Cannabis.

Brewers Already Working on the King of Buds

The brewing industry is already privy to this trend. Last year, Constellation Brands, the beer company behind Corona, Corona Light and Modelo, invested around $200 million in a Canadian medical marijuana company. In doing so, the brewer hopes to manufacturer cannabis-infused beverages to sell to its customers in the northern nation once the country goes fully legal later this year. Constellation’s CEO, Rob Sands, said in a statement at the time that “Our company’s success is the result of our focus on identifying early-stage consumer trends, and this is another step in that direction.”

By all accounts, this was Big Beer’s message to the cannabis industry: Prepare to go big or die.

A month later, Chris Burggraeve, former chief marketing officer for Anheuser-Busch InBev, which sells the leading beer brands in the country, announced that he, too, was taking his expertise to the cannabis industry. He is currently involved with a company in San Francisco called the GreenRush group that wants to become the Amazon of weed. Interestingly, Burggraeve compared marijuana to craft beer last year in an interview with Bloomberg, If the similarities hold true, it is conceivable that the cannabis scene will eventually experience a shift that requires a less potent alternative to high-THC strains.

Beer Companies Are Motivated to Join Big Cannabis

Earlier last year, New York investment firm the Cowen Group fired off a letter to its investors urging them to be patient with their alcohol investments. The company said it had identified a trend that suggests beer sales could drop by 22 percent in the coming decade thanks to legal marijuana.

It has since been discovered that 80 percent of consumers drink less booze when cannabis is tossed into the mix. For some, marijuana is already strong enough, that consuming alcohol only magnifies the buzz beyond the scope of human functionality.

Still, it has been said for years that beer and weed are more complimentary to one another rather than enemies. This argument is still being proven, making it well within the scope of possibility for more brewers to step up and find a place at the cannabis table. Considering that nationwide legalization could bring about almost $13 billion in economic growth, it makes sense that some beer companies are motivated to join in the fun.

Final Hit: There Might Be a Need for a King of Cannabis

There is a possibility that the popularity of domestic light beers in the United States has more to do with calories than a true appreciation for this sudsy beverage. Most light beers contain around 100 calories, while IPAs can top out at between 180 and 200. For the semi-health conscious consumer, hitting the bottle that is less likely to give them a gut is surely a factor. Although cannabis itself is not a risk to a person’s waistline, the after-effects can be. The munchies are something that every pot consumer battles from time to time. Fortunately, the same high THCV strains that could eventually become the blueprint for the King of Cannabis are also known for being mild munchie producers.

THCV strains could become big business in the wake of federal legalization.

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What Is Budder Weed?

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If you’re familiar with the world of cannabis concentrates, you probably know that they come in a bunch of different forms, like wax for example. Even wax has subcategories based on the specific consistency of the product. Budder is one of the most popular consistencies of cannabis concentrate. The consistency of budder weed is somewhere between solid and liquid. It won’t be as runny as a sappy oil and it won’t be as solid as shatter. Budder is typically made by dousing weed in butane, CO2 or another chemical solvent and purging it out so only cannabis extract is left.

Budder Weed vs. Crumble

Budder weed refers to pretty much any cannabis concentrate that is creamy in consistency.

People get budder and crumble confused because they are both somewhere between oil and shatter in their consistency. Fortunately, there is an easy way to distinguish the two. If the consistency is dry and crumbly like cheese, call it crumble. Budder is moist and easier to scoop. As a result, budder tends to be more desirable than crumble.

Wax can vary from crumble to budder depending on changing factors during extraction like the temperature, solvent, pressure and strain used. For example, using propane instead of butane tends to lead to more concentrates with a buddery consistency.

When it comes to aroma, a budder weed will tend to smell more than a crumble. This will obviously also depend on the strain and extraction techniques used.

Final Hit: Budder Weed

What Is Budder Weed?

Crumble

Budder is one of many forms of cannabis concentrate. For a while, the concentrate community was all about high-cannabinoid, stable concentrates like shatter. However, as of lately, concentrates that are closer to sauce in consistency with stronger aromas seem to be favored. Cannabis connoisseurs have shifted their interests to terpenes for a more therapeutic and flavorful smoke. If you’re not sure whether to pledge your allegiance to sauce or to shatter, budder is a solid middle ground. The potency and terpenes will vary more due to the grower and extractor than the consistency. So pick budder if you prefer the consistency. Pieces of shatter will break off and fly away if you go at it with a tool when it is too stable. Oils are hard to keep on a tool for more than a few seconds. Budder, on the other hand, is by far one of the easiest concentrates to scoop and serve consistently.

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Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Dazed & Confused about American Marijuana Law

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In a move that will surprise few people, conservative Attorney General Jeff Sessions—who has previously touted “state’s rights” as being of critical importance in the past—appears to be attempting to override state’s rights when it comes to legalized medical and recreational marijuana use. More than half the country—twenty-ninee states—have adopted medical marijuana laws which legalize at least some cannabis use for medical purposes. Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for recreational use.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions: Dazed & Confused about American Marijuana Law

Wikipedia

Earlier today, the Attorney General issued a confusing press release and DOJ memo regarding Federal marijuana enforcement which drew quick reaction by governors in states where marijuana use in now legal. In the memo (full text here), Sessions appeared to attempt to reverse former President Obama’s hands-off approach to Federal marijuana enforcement.

In 2013, under then-President Obama, then-Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole issued a memo later referred to as the “Cole Memo” which outlined the administration’s relaxed position on Federal marijuana enforcement. Today’s action by Sessions explicitly rescinded that memo. So what is now in its place? A mess of confusion about whether the Federal government will once again involve itself again in the prohibition of marijuana production, distribution, and consumption.

What Does This Mean for Medical Marijuana Use?

Probably not much. In May of 2017, Attorney General Sessions In May, Sessions asked Democratic and Republican leaders in Congress to allow him to prosecute medical marijuana, but his pleas appeared to fall on mostly deaf ears. It was probably more of a stunt for right-wing law-and-order Trump supporters. Politically, it would be foolish suicide for Sessions to target– for example– people suffering from chronic pain who rely upon marijuana to go about their daily lives. Even the most ardent anti-drug conservatives tend to feel that medical marijuana should be legal. It’s estimated that 94% of Americans support medical marijuana legalization. It is therefore highly unlikely that you’ll see FBI agents busting down downs of the homes of chemotherapy patients or the terminally ill in order to confiscate their pills or edibles.

What Does This Mean for Recreational Marijuana Use?

Much like medical marijuana, recreational use in legal states will probably remain legal. Why? Lack of manpower and political will. First of all, there aren’t enough Federal agents in the entire country to stop recreational use in Humboldt County California, let alone the million-plus communities of Portland Oregon, Seattle Washington, Denver Colorado, San Francisco or Los Angeles California. Second, the governors of these states are very politically-aware of the finances that recreational use bring to their states. Governor Jay Inslee of Washington State has already voiced concern over the Sessions memo, as have Oregon Governor Kate Brown, and Colorado Senator Cory Gardner. Sessions won’t risk alienating himself and creating enemies with seven governors over personal cannabis use. California—with its economy being the sixth largest economy in the world—just started marijuana sales days ago. The state is a political and economic force to be reckoned with, and it’s unlikely Federal law enforcement would have the political or practical capability to involve themselves with all state-legal marijuana sales.

What Does This Mean for Cannabusiness?

This remains to be seen… and is the most concerning. What’s most remarkable about Sessions’ memo is how vague and confusing it is. It does not say what exactly will be done in the states that have legalized recreational marijuana use. Will Federal SWAT teams be seizing and burning commercial crops? Raiding large dispensaries? Attempting civil forfeiture of funds from successful marijuana businesses?

Thankfully, even though the memo doesn’t set forth new details on enforcement, it appears to indicate a reversion to previous enforcement efforts. This means we can look for guidance as to historical enforcement efforts at the Federal level.

Based on marijuana enforcement prior to state legalization and the Cole Memo, we can probably expect more Federal enforcement of marijuana trafficking from outside the country (i.e. Mexico and China would be likely targets for the Trump administration), commercial black market marijuana trafficking, use of firearms in combination with marijuana trafficking, and illegal commercial marijuana trafficking that stems from legal marijuana trafficking (e.g. growers selling marijuana outside of otherwise state-legal restrictions). I would also expect banks to be even more concerned about having ties with state-legal marijuana businesses, although most cannabusinesses already rely upon cash for their transactions because banks won’t let or entangle themselves with activities that possibility violate Federal law.

Marijuana legalization advocates and enthusiasts can likely take some comfort in the fact that there is now a critical mass of legal marijuana use throughout the country, and it would be next to impossible to reverse that social and political development. Gallup has found in their polls that 64% of Americans now feel that marijuana should be legalized. That’s right: More Americans agree that medical marijuana should be legal than those who agree that Donald Trump should even be president.

Sessions is most likely pandering to ultra-conservatives as simply an extension of the Trump administration, and has no plan or little ability to begin a new drug war. Nevertheless, medical and recreational users of marijuana– as well as cannabis businesses– should likely tread lightly and avoid entanglements which violate other Federal laws or their local state laws. It very well could be the case that Federal law enforcement will be looking for low-hanging fruit to go after—to use as examples—in support of even more enforcement powers.

-Michael Romano

Michael Romano is an Oregon criminal defense attorney.

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