GoldDrop Blackberry Kush 0.5g

GoldDrop Blackberry Kush 0.5g

Comes in a nice black tube, the GoldDrop Blackberry Kush delivers a fine and fruity, solvent free vape experience that is top notch.  With a reported THC 67.17%, CBD 1.88%, CBG 1.90% and CBN 1.65% this vape produces a really soaring and medicinal effect that is profile Blackberry Kush.  The vape pen included is all plastic and cheap but extremely effective and light-weight, with an easy to see and watch window where your vapors will be seen on approach and well expected by your brain. 9/10!!

Spliffin Pure Good Vybes Dante’s Fire Indica

Spliffin Pure Good Vybes Dante’s Fire Indica is really nice, the 0.5 g variety vape a really tasty experience and 10/10 recommended.  From their own site:

“A new signature varietal from the Spliffin OG line of genetics . Robust, firey bracts produce this OG’s distinct earthy aroma. Superbly potent, with hints of pine and lemon. Dante’s Fire delivers long-lasting, pleasingly relaxing effects.”

Came with the most premium vape tank and mouthpiece, metal and acrylic and the flavor is amazing, Dante’s Fire Indica delivers and one of the best vape ready-to-go tanks around.

 

Here’s how big the legal pot business will be by 2020

Legal marijuana is already big business in America. Colorado alone sold more than $700 million worth of legal weed in 2014, its first full-year of legal recreational and medical sales. Three other states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana. Twenty-three states and Puerto Rico have legalized medical marijuana, and the industry as a whole has been growing nearly 34% a year for the past five years. And it’s only expected to keep growing.

$13.4 billion

Marijuana is what the research firm IBISWorld calls a growth sector, and it expects legal marijuana to generate $13.4 billion in revenue in 2020, up an annualized 30.3%. Legal marijuana is expected to generate about $3.6 billion in revenue this year alone. Recreational marijuana sales are driving much of the revenue gains, but the medical sector is also expanding. “Should medical marijuana become legal at the federal level, for example, the industry could see even more extensive growth,” IBISWorld said.

12,128 stores 

There are an estimated 5,000 stores currently selling retail recreational or medical marijuana across the U.S., and IBISWorld expects that number to grow nearly 20% a year through 2020, when the number is expected to break the 12,000-mark.

212,091 employees

It’s not clear how many jobs legal marijuana has created. While some jobs require government-issued licenses, no entity tracks the total number of jobs created not only by marijuana growers and dispensaries but also by security firms, business service providers, regulators and others who service the industry. IBISWorld estimates 75,000 people will work in legal marijuana by the year’s end and expects that number rise to 212,091 by 2020.

18 states

Medicinal marijuana may be more prevalent in America, but recreational marijuana is shaping up as the industry’s real growth opportunity. So far, four U.S. states — Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska — and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational marijuana use. Similar ballot initiatives have popped up in several other states, and by 2020 the ArcView Investor Group —which helps connect marijuana investors with companies seeking funding —expects voters in 18 states will have legalized marijuana. Brendan Kennedy, CEO of Privateer Holdings, the nation’s leading cannabis private equity fund, is a bit more optimistic. “It’s very likely that the prohibition of retail cannabis will have ended by 2020,” he said. “The Berlin wall of cannabis prohibition is past the tipping point.”

More than $120 million in investments

Privateer Holdings has raised $82 million from investors, including Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, which also has invested in Facebook, Airbnb, Lyft and Spotify. “Raising that first $7 million was harder than any financial raise I’ve ever done,” Privateer’s Kennedy said. But times have changed. Kennedy said he’s heard from more large institutional investors interested in the marijuana space in the past 90 days than he had in the previous four years. Separately, the ArcView Investor Network said it has helped facilitate more than $40 million in investments in 53 marijuana-related startups. Even Snoop Dogg has gotten into the funding game with a $10 million investment in a medical marijuana delivery startup.

Ganja Planted At The University Of West Indies

Minister of Justice Mark Golding (right) and Courtney Betty (left), president and CEO of Timeless Herbal Care, jointly plant a ganja seedling at yesterday’s (April 21) launch of the symbolic planting of the first legal marijuana plant at the Lecture Theatre Two, Faculty of Medical Sciences Teaching and Research Complex. Overseeing the activities are (at back, from left) Jamaica Labour Party representative Delano Seiveright, Richard ‘Dicky’ Crawford and herbalist Basil Hylton [PIC CREDIT: Jermaine Barnaby]

AHEAD OF being granted a licence to cultivate marijuana for research purposes, the University of the West Indies (UWI) is set to establish an institute to coordinate research efforts on medicinal and commercial products of marijuana.

The efforts are being pioneered by what is known as the UWI Cannabis Research Group, which is co-chaired by Professor Wayne McLaughlin and Dr Wendel Abel. It consists of a number of researchers drawn from various departments within the Faculty of Medical Sciences at the UWI.

Speaking with The Gleaner during the press launch of the symbolic planting of Jamaica’s first legal cannabis plant, members of the group disclosed that plans are currently being made for the establishment of a cannabis research institute.

“The setting up of an institute is under discussion. We have a team, of which I am the coordinator, and we have everyone who is interested in it on board, so we will be setting up a unit and getting it registered,” said Dr Lauriann Young-Martin, a member of the UWI Cannabis Research Group.

In the interim the group has set out elements of its initial research.

IDENTITY STRAINS

McLaughlin, co-chair of the group, said: “Initially, we will be focusing on characterisation, so we can identify what the different strains are, we will also be doing chemical profiling of all the strains.”

The group will also be studying what is known as the mechanism of action, which will detail how the chemicals in the plant operate and interact with the human body.

This aspect of the research will be carried out by Dr Maxine Gassel-Williams, Dr Carole Lindsay and Young-Martin.

Dr Rupika Delgoda, of the Natural Products Institute, will be looking at the products that can be derived from the plant.

Phillip Paulwell, the minister of science, technology, energy and mining, has said that the Scientific Research Council (SRC) will be monitoring the work of the research group.

The UWI had announced in 2013 that it would be setting up the Jamaica Cannabis Institute in collaboration with the University of Technology, Jamaica.

Federal Prohibition Prevents Billion-Dollar Industry from Helping Economy

Farmers can yield, at most, $1,000 per acre from corn. Moonrise Extracts, an industrial hemp operation in Colorado, expects to reap tens of thousands per acre, from what started as a few dozen feral hemp plants.

Moonrise Extracts was lucky to obtain local hemp seeds to start their plants. Seed procurement and local adaptation from foreign seeds are a big hurdle for the industrial hemp market. The dozens of plants harvested in the summer of 2014 became 12,500 square feet of greenhouse production and 15-20 varieties of native seeds for development.

Moonrise Extract’s high crop value is thanks to the cannabinoid, cannabidiol (CBD), found in the cannabis plant. CBD is used for cancer, HIV, anorexia treatments, controlling seizures, and pain relief. It works by interacting with cannabinoid receptors in the brain, nervous system, organs, connective tissues, glands, and immune cells.

Consumers can buy a month’s supply of CBD from Moonrise Extracts for about $100.

Zev Paiss, executive director of the Rocky Mountain Hemp Association, says Colorado hemp production is well suited for the extraction of CBDs for nutraceuticals, which are concentrated in the flowers of hemp plants. The soil conditions, higher elevation, abundant sunshine, and smaller amount of annual rainfall, however, may limit hemp fiber production.

Paiss said that experimentation is underway to determine the best cultivars for Colorado, but hemp in the state may be best used for seed, flower, and oil production.

Industrial hemp grown for cannabinol is different than the medical marijuana that is legal in 23 U.S. states. Both crops contain dozens of cannabinoids. The difference is that medical marijuana has high levels of THC, which produces psychoactive effects, along with various therapeutic effects.

 

Do You Know the Difference between Marijuana and Hemp?

 

In 2015, Moonrise Extracts will plant 293 acres of industrial hemp — mostly for CBD and food production — on organic soil. The company’s seed is considered organic because of its wild origins.

According to Rick Trojan, director of marketing and sales at Moonrise Extracts, organic branding increases the crop’s value. He added in an interview for IVN that it also guarantees a clean, healthy medicine for people whose bodies are already sick.

Non-organic CBD oils, Trojan says, can be contaminated with heavy metals, potentially complicating health issues. He expects their crop to bring in millions in 2015.

While medical marijuana is legal in 23 states, only 13 states allow industrial hemp production. Of those, only 3 states have planted hemp crops: Kentucky, Colorado, and Vermont.

Some, like Moonrise Extracts and Atalo Holdings, Inc., in Kentucky, have been very successful breaking into the U.S. hemp industry. However, a few key issues are holding the market back.

The most pressing issue is decoupling hemp production from federal DEA regulations.

Federal regulations prohibit seed from crossing state and national borders. Some hemp growers, like those in Vermont, are at risk of federal prosecution, even if states allow hemp production. Hemp seed has been illegal in the U.S. for decades. This, along with the prohibition of seed transportation, makes it difficult to start a crop.

One model, which is being used by farmers in Kentucky, is to import and plant seeds from other countries, with coordinated DEA permits.

Infrastructure is another barrier that will come down slowly. Few have equipment to harvest and process fiber at economies of scale, and procuring new equipment is expensive. Hemp oil is the breakout product for U.S. hemp, because harvesting and extraction can be done with available technology.

Bill Billings and Jim Bramer founded the Colorado Hemp Project and planted 2 acres of hemp in 2014. They hand harvested and processed their hemp into hemp oil products, like soaps and lotions. Billing’s daughter sells the products through her company, Nature’s Root. They also sold their hemp flowers to local beer makers.

Colorado Hemp Project currently has a cooperative of 4 farmers, but Bramer, who is 77, says he is not interested in trying another hemp crop in 2015.

“It will be a hard crop to pursue, until they come up with something,” he said.

He explained that the DEA restrictions are prohibitive, and the industry needs infrastructure for harvesting and processing hemp fibers.

Vermont grew less than an acre of hemp last year, largely because seeds cannot be transported over state lines unless they are crushed or sterilized, thus making them useless for planting. In an interview for IVN, Tim Schmalz of Vermont’s Department of Agriculture said that Vermont would like to add hemp oil to its state brand, but prospects are hard to gauge under federal prohibition.

It is clear that hemp can be a high value crop, but for many farmers, the path to profits remains a bit tangled.

The US potential of pot: marijuana from legalise to monetise

In the 19th century, American prospectors headed west to make their fortunes mining gold. Today, from California and Colorado to New York and Massachusetts, US states are seeing a “green rush” as entrepreneurs and investors stake their claims in the legal marijuana market.

Legal sales of cannabis for medical purposes and “recreational” consumption in the US grew about 75 per cent in 2014 to $2.7 bn, according to ArcView, an investor network. Medical marijuana is legal in 23 states and the District of Columbia. Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska and the District of Columbia permit some recreational use by adults.

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While marijuana remains illegal under federal law, ArcView predicts sales will reach $10.8bn by 2019 as more states end prohibition. “It’s a massive opportunity,” says Brendan Kennedy, chief executive and co-founder of Privateer Holdings, a Seattle-based private equity fund focused on cannabis. “It’s the first time anyone in our lifetime is seeing a $40bn-50bn industry transition from illicit to legal.”

Like the gold rush, the pot boom is luring people hoping to get rich quick. Many ventures fizzle out, but some entrepreneurs say they are working to build businesses with global ambitions and winning the backing of venture capitalists and Silicon Valley billionaires. Peter Thiel’s Founders Fund, which in­vested in Facebook and Spotify, was part of Privateer’s latest $75m funding round. It marked the pot industry’s largest private capital raising to date.

“This is the time to try to build businesses,” says Leslie Bocskor, an investment banker in Las Vegas who is spearheading efforts to develop what advocates say is the next big consumer sector. His firm, Electrum Partners, is raising $25m for its own cannabis investment fund: “We should have an exemplary industry that’s run by professionals as we transition from the black market to the white market.”

Terra Tech: Wall Street to weed

In 2010, amid fallout from the financial crisis, Derek Peterson left Morgan Stan­ley to start GrowOp Technology, a company selling hydroponic equipment to marijuana growers in California. The company became Terra Tech and he took it public in 2012. Shares trade over the counter rather than on an exchange, and the company has expanded into medical marijuana cultivation and dispensaries. It posted $7.1m in revenue and a $21.9m net loss in 2014.

Late last year, Terra Tech became the first company to win approval from the US Securities and Exchange Commission to use the money it raises on the stock market to cultivate and sell marijuana. It is setting up dispensaries in Nevada and applying for licences to operate in New York’s new medical market, following the state’s legalisation of some medical cannabis last year. Mr Peterson is eyeing Florida, where the legislature is considering a medical legalisation bill.

“It’s a land grab right now to get permits to operate medical marijuana facilities around the country,” he says. “If we have penetration in the biggest markets, when federal prohibition goes away, we’ll be well positioned for geographic dispersion around the country.”

Derek Peterson

Derek Peterson

Like Privateer, which partnered with Bob Marley’s estate on a line of products bearing the reggae singer’s name, Terra Tech wants to build brands to win customer loyalty. It recently launched IVXX, a line of cannabis products including joints, oils and plants.

But even as more states permit the sale of its products and public support for marijuana legalisation swells, Terra Tech and its peers face big hurdles. Banks remain wary of handling money from companies involved with a drug that federal law still classifies as a controlled substance alongside heroin and LSD. “We lost our [bank] account,” Mr Peterson says. “We pay our sales tax in cash. That’s a concern. It invites money laundering, theft, a criminal element.”

High There: cannabis connections

Cannabis already has a rich subculture. Todd Mitchem thinks cannabis needs a social network. Two months ago, the entrepreneur from Denver launched High There, a smartphone app to connect marijuana users. It has been dubbed “Tinder for pot smokers”, after the dating app, but Mr Mitchem says his aim is to make it easier for cannabis users to find like-minded friends as well as potential romantic connections. “It’s also for people like my mom, who is a two-time cancer survivor, who used marijuana medicinally, and who didn’t have anyone to talk to about it,” he says.

The app was initially only available to consumers in US states where marijua­na consumption is legal. But High There recently won approval from Apple and Google’s Android app stores to go global.

High There is a smartphone app that aims to connect marijuana users

High There is a smartphone app that aims to connect marijuana users

Mr Mitchem has funded the company with about $300,000 of his own money and a small investment from a friend, but is in the middle of raising a first funding round from outside investors. He is no stranger to “cannabusiness”, having worked at OpenVape, which makes marijuana vaporisers.

In Colorado, he was involved with the industry’s efforts to work out regulations when pot became legal last year. That experience proved useful when lobbying the tech companies to get his app broadly approved.

“The acceptance of cannabis is evolving quickly,” he says. “The idea that people can now seek out other cannabis users is becoming more mainstream. But the industry is going to have to get really sharp about consumer safety, product quality, interaction with law enforcement. They have to start behaving like grown-up companies.”

PotBotics: research and robotics

Father and son Boris and David Goldstein saw the beneficial effects of medical marijuana with their own eyes. In 2011, David Goldstein’s grandmother began treatment for cancer, but the pain medication diminished her quality of life. Then she tried pain relief using cannabidiol, one of the main components in cannabis. He says: “She could get up in the morning rather than being bedridden.”

Mr Goldstein, a college graduate working in marketing, and his father, an expert in artificial intelligence and robotics, wanted to know why the cannabis treatment worked.

“We want to quantify some of the claims being made in the medical market, ” he says.

In 2013 they founded PotBotics, based in Palo Alto in California and New York. They have raised about $2m from friends and family. The company, which has not yet generated revenue, will launch its first product this year: PotBot, a virtual “budtender” — the industry’s term for workers at dispensaries who sell cannabis and educate customers.

Medical patients can use the PotBot app on their smartphones, computers or in-store kiosks to answer questions about ailments and symptoms. PotBot will recommend the right kind of cannabinoid, what strains of marijuana have the appropriate levels and how best to consume it, whether by vaporising, eating or using a skin cream or oil.

“Our goal is to add transparency to the industry,” David Goldstein says. “We hope to be pioneers. As states see the hard scientific research, their arguments against it being a medicine will be drawn into question.”

PotBotics is also working on BrainBot, a wireless electroencephalography helmet that doctors would use to see how patients’ brains are affected by using marijuana. A third area of interest is agriculture. PotBotics plans to develop technology to read plant DNA that growers can use to improve their yields.

“Our investors have a long-term vision. We are trying to create a company that is positioned as a technological innovator for the medical cannabis community,” says David Goldstein.

 

A Day After World Weed Day, Modi ‘Weed Energy’ Video Gets Everyone High

On this slightly lazy Tuesday when everybody is still recovering from 4/20 (World Weed Day), we found something to keep the spirits high.

That’s a bit of goofy video editing, and (maybe Modi telling us to grow that stuff).

In other news – an Indian lawyer quoted the Vedas to fight for weed legalisation in a petition this week. “To the five kingdoms of the plants which Soma rules as Lord we speak. Darbha, hemp, barley, mighty power: may these deliver us from woe.” [the dude was seriously high! he said five and named three]. He’s also filed RTIs with the several government ministries and agencies asking them for explain why cannabis was bad.

Willie Nelson getting into the marijuana business

Country music legend Willie Nelson doesn’t only sing about marijuana anymore, he’ll soon be selling it.

Nelson’s brand of the drug is called “Willie’s Reserve” and will be grown and sold in Colorado and Washington state, where recreational pot smoking is legal.

Nelson plans to work with growers and local retailers in both states to make sure it’s “high quality” weed.

The 81-year-old made the announcement fittingly on April 20, which is unofficially “National Weed Day.”

Nelson’s new song It’s all Going to Pot, featuring country star Merle Haggard, also dropped on 4/20.

New Colorado Radio Station K-HIGH Devotes All Airtime To Marijuana

A Colorado radio station has become the first and only station in North America to dedicate its airtime exclusively to marijuana — and calls itself (wait for it) K-HIGH.

Three weeks ago, K-HIGH was a Fox Sports affiliate, but its station owners wanted to try something different. They decided to capitalize on the growing popularity of marijuana after the state legalized recreational use last January.

“A lot of us went into it with a little bit of apprehension that first day,” said Len Williams, K-HIGH program director. “But after it was explained and after we saw some of the positives benefits from it, we thought ‘we’re going to take the keys to this Ferrari and we’re going to rev it up.'”

Williams says the station will cover marijuana issues locally, nationally and even internationally.

“I sincerely doubt if we will run into any show or any host that’s going to come in front of the mic and say I have absolutely nothing to talk about. I believe we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface.”

According to Williams, the station is being run according to Federal Communications Commission guidelines and promises there will be no cursing or vulgarity.

“We are a radio station. We want to be as professional as possible and show people that we have a product that can be talked about intelligently.”

Williams says K-HIGH is taking precautions to ensure any young people listening to the station do not get the wrong impression.

“The number one thing we thought of when we actually started putting programming together was we have to use a disclaimer up saying that the programming we have is for ages 21 and up. We have that playing at the very least twice maybe three times an hour.”

The station is just over a week old and Williams says the station already has 15,000 streams on its website.

To celebrate 4/20, K-HIGH had correspondents at every major event in Colorado, including the Cannabis Cup in Denver.

“The unofficial holiday was going to be there regardless. We’re just happy to be the drum major at the front of the parade,” said Williams.

To listen to the full interview with program director Len Williams, listen to the audio labelled K-HIGH

Newsom’s marijuana commission to hold first forum at UCLA

LOS ANGELES (AP) – A panel established by California lieutenant governor and gubernatorial candidate Gavin Newsom is scheduled to hold its first public forum.

Newsom’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Marijuana Policy will have an open meeting at UCLA on Tuesday, and the public is encouraged to contribute either in person or online.

Newsom, who was re-elected as lieutenant governor last year and has begun raising money to run for governor in 2018, has announced his support for the legalization of marijuana in California.

His commission seeks to inform policymakers and voters on issues related to legalization.

It includes experts in health, social sciences and law enforcement.

 

Medical Marijuana Bill Signed By Gov. Nathan Deal, Becomes Law

A type of medical marijuana is now legal in Georgia. Gov. Nathan Deal signed a bill legalizing cannabis oil for Georgians with eight different medical conditions. That means some families who had left the state to get the oil can now return home.

The bill is named for 5-year-old Haleigh Cox who suffers from a seizure disorder.  Her mother Janea moved with her to Colorado so she could get Haleigh cannabis oil, but her husband stayed behind. Janea and her entire family attended the signing.

“I have permanent butterflies, they won’t go away, because I get to come back home and be a family,” Janea said.

Deal said the bill will give Georgians with several different medical conditions hope, and those pushing for the bill like Janea made it possible.

“I think that is what has touched the hearts of the General Assembly,” said Deal “It’s certainly touched my heart, and I’m just pleased we’re going to make a difference.”

The state gave seven temporary medical cards to families who’ve moved out of state. Deal says others who want to legally possess cannabis oil should be able to apply for medical cards soon. Residents will need permission from a doctor and will have to fill out several forms from the Georgia Health Department.

The legislation allows those with conditions including seizure disorders and Crohn’s disease to legally use the oil in Georgia. But the bill doesn’t give blanket permission for everyone with the conditions to possess the oil.

For instance in the case of cancer cancer, only patients who are dying or whose treatment is causing side effects like nausea and vomiting would be allowed to use it. The legislation also says those with conditions like Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis and sickle cell disease would have to be near death or have severe symptoms to get the oil.

The legislation also does not allow for the growth or manufacturing of medical marijuana in Georgia. The bill’s sponsor says two Colorado companies have offered to ship oil containing less than 0.3 percent THC to Georgia. Residents needing cannabis oil with a higher THC level would have to get it from other states. They run the risk of getting caught with the oil in states where it’s illegal.

The bill limits THC content in the oil to 5 percent. It also says Georgians can only possess up to 20 ounces.

Eaze To Deliver Cannabis Products To Your Door Step Within No Time

An American company came up with “Uber for weed.” Are you surprised? A startup called Eaze now enables patients prescribed with marijuana to easily order its products online and have the drugs delivered to their door step.

Last year, the company had raised $1.5 million funds in order to initiate a business structure. Further, the funds will be invested to expand the availability of the company’s services to more markets beyond its origin, San Francisco Bay Area.

Eaze was launched in the summer of 2014 and has developed a few new trends. The use of marijuana has been accepted in many countries. It can be for medical reasons or any other, it is likely to stay legal and expand to other countries including different states in the US.

The company is ready to make cannabis products available on demand via mobile or just by placing an order through the web, and will deliver it within a short duration.

Local distributors in the cannabis industry have been taking orders for quite some time now, so deliveries at your doorstep are not at all new, it has been going on for decades.

This delivery service is different to others in a way that it facilitates its consumers to make legal purchases of marijuana. In the case of Eaze, if it wants to connect distributors with the patients in California, who require cannabis products; it can target a delivery within a very short time for instance 10 minutes.

Eaze’s Founder, Keith McCarty, states that the company aims to provide “only the best” cannabis products to its consumers to purchase. Rather than to offer a long list of products, Eaze targets its customers with flowers, and edible items that customers will be most interested to purchase.

An unknown consumer reported to have ordered a few marijuana products in order to treat his insomnia and anxiety. He seemed to be satisfied with the delivery time, as it took just 15 minutes for the order to be dropped off at his door step. Although he mentioned a few reasons that did not please him, one of them being the limited variety of cannabis items on the list. Another thing the user specified was a cash payment, rather than a mobile payment, when there are a variety of high-tech options around.

The customer’s delivery was made possible by Eaze. The service seems more of a connection to increase distributor sales rather than an actual startup for deliveries. We would suggest the company initiates a strategy to make sure the products are delivered in line with customers’ point of view.

The issues may be secondary to most, but Eaze will initiate a startup in order to provide a platform to connect patients and local distributors together. Eaze’s startup assures other investors that to access marijuana, or even to offer it to public is not a risky bet.

The cannabis industry is moving forward indeed. Recently, the startup funded Eaze and a $75 million funding will be provided by Privateer Holding with a variety of cannabis’ brands. Within no time, we will definitely see a growth in the marijuana segment.

Boom in Bitcoin Adoption by Marijuana Dispensaries

The usage of Bitcoin ATMs and vending machines could increase among marijuana dispensaries, predicts Green Rush Review.

Medical Marijuana: Industry that Needs Cryptocurrency (OP-ED)

In its recent promotional press release, the medical marijuana news website blamed the absence of proper banking infrastructure as one of the major reasons why cannabis businesses would move towards other bankable options such as Bitcoin. It said:

“Marijuana businesses are unable to open checking accounts or accept credit cards. They are left without secure options, and are forced into dealing only with large amounts of cash — risking their safety and raising employee payroll and tax issues. Thus, dealing in bitcoins may wind up being the better and more secure alternative.”

To solidify its claims, Green Rush Review presented some recent events that involved companies setting up Bitcoin kiosks near the medical marijuana dispensaries in Seattle, Michigan and Colorado area.

As noted in one of our earlier articles as well, banks indeed are experiencing a conflict when it comes to providing their basic services to cannabis businesses. The “conflict” arises from a Federal Law that lists marijuana in the list of Schedule I drug, therefore putting it in the likeness of drugs like heroin. It simply inspires banks to maintain their business from a multi-billion dollar industry.

The medical marijuana dispensaries are therefore at risk, fearing thefts as their returns are mostly saved in cash. Meanwhile, the cannabis industry is expected to rise by 2-3% annually, therefore putting more pressure on small businesses to keep their returns safe. Bitcoin comes as a natural option, as it doesn’t require users to be dependable on centralized authorities when it comes to conducting transactions.

There will however be concerns even with Bitcoin thanks to its extreme volatile nature which makes it a risky asset to hold. A renowned payment processing company like BitPay has earlier rejected to be associated with medical marijuana business as well.

Ruling on marijuana classification disappoints advocates

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — A federal judge in California declined Wednesday to remove marijuana from the list of most dangerous drugs, disappointing activists who saw the case as a chance to get closer to their goal of nationwide legalization.

U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller said during a brief court hearing that she was initially prepared to rule that marijuana should not be a Schedule 1 drug but then decided it was up to Congress to change the law if it wishes.

“It has been 45 years since Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act,” Mueller said, noting “the landscape has changed” since then.

However, the judge pointed out that courts are not designed to act as a maker of public policy and explained that she had made her decision based on the facts of the marijuana growing case that sparked the legal challenge.

“This is not the court and this is not the time” to overturn federal law, she said.

The ruling came after more than 20 states legalized medical marijuana use, and voters in four — Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska — allowed recreational pot use. An effort is underway to legalize recreational marijuana in California as well.

A decision by Mueller to reject marijuana’s classification would have applied narrowly to the case she is hearing and likely would have been appealed. Still, it would have set a precedent for other criminal prosecutions and added to the growing push to change federal drug law, experts and advocates said.

The classification of pot as one of the most dangerous drugs has pitted federal authorities against states that have legalized medical marijuana and prompted raids on growers and dispensaries that appear to be operating legally under state law.

A ruling against marijuana’s classification “would have been significant because you would have had a federal judge acknowledging what a majority of the public has already concluded: That marijuana does not meet the three criteria of a Schedule 1 drug,” said Paul Armentano, deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

Armentano, who helped the defense, said he has always believed the issue would have to be decided by a federal appellate court. He expects the case being heard by Mueller to be appealed.

Legal experts said Mueller’s decision to hold a fact-finding hearing last year that included expert testimony marked the first time in decades that a federal district court judge seriously considered marijuana’s classification on constitutional grounds. Judges have generally accepted the classification and the federal ban on its use, growth and distribution.

Alex Kreit, a drug law expert at Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, called the hearing a “sign that at least some judges are increasingly skeptical of marijuana’s status under federal law” and said it would influence marijuana policy despite the outcome.

The ruling came in a case alleging that marijuana was being grown in a remote area of Northern California. Attorneys for the defendants had sought to dismiss the charges on the grounds that pot should not be listed among Schedule 1 drugs, which include heroin and LSD and are defined as drugs with no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.

Defense attorneys argued that marijuana is far less harmful than some legal drugs, and its classification as a Schedule 1 drug was arbitrary in violation of the Constitution.

Defense attorney Bill Bonham, speaking for his fellow attorneys, said he was disappointed.

“I felt that the judge was leaning to grant the motion from our previous hearings,” he said.

Mueller plans to issue a written ruling and gave defense attorneys three weeks to regroup before a May 6 hearing to set a trial date.

In a statement after Mueller’s decision, prosecutors characterized the defense motion as an attack on the federal Controlled Substances Act, which created the five-tiered drug classification system.

Prosecutors had argued that marijuana met all the criteria for a Schedule 1 drug, saying it had no accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse. They also argued that Mueller did not have jurisdiction to consider how marijuana was classified.

The criminal complaint filed in 2011 accused 16 defendants of conspiring to grow at least 1,000 pot plants as part of an operation that included land in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest in California. Several defendants have settled their cases, leaving nine to face trial.

 

Marijuana Science: Why Today’s Pot Packs a Bigger Punch

The marijuana that is available today may be much more potent than marijuana cultivated in the past, according to the results of new tests.

The psychoactive component in the marijuana plant is the chemical THC, and the new tests showed that today’s marijuana may contain 30 percent THC, Andy LaFrate, the author of the new report, said in a statement.

By contrast, THC levels in marijuana 30 years ago were lower than 10 percent, said LaFrate, who is the president and research director at Charas Scientific, one of eight labs certified by the state of Colorado to conduct marijuana potency testing.

At the same time, the marijuana samples tested had very low levels of a compound called cannabidiol, or CBD, that is touted for its medicinal properties. In fact, some samples did not contain any of this compound.

Researchers are investigating CBD for its potential in treating people with schizophrenia, Huntington’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

Still, even marijuana with low or nonexistent CBD levels has medicinal properties, said Anthony Fabrizio, a marijuana chemistry expert at Terra Tech Corp, a California agricultural company focused on local farming and medical cannabis.

“Cannabinoids are a single component of what is active in the medicinal properties of [marijuana] plants,” Fabrizio said.

Multiple other compounds contribute to these properties, working “synergistically together, almost like a football team,” he said.

LaFrate also said that although users can now choose from hundreds of strains of marijuana, the strains might have similar levels of THC and CBD.

“The absolute amount of cannabinoids might change, which relates to strength” or potency of the plant, he said. “But the ratio of THC to CBD to other cannabinoids isn’t changing a whole lot.”

As a result, there may not be much difference in how individual varieties of pot make users feel, despite claims that one variety makes people feel mellow, while another one makes them feel alert, he said.

But Fabrizio disagreed. In addition to cannabinoids, another class of compounds also affects the range of sensations a user may experience from smoking marijuana, he said.

The compounds in this class are called terpenes, and they are responsible for pot’s unique smell. “The feelings [resulting from using marijuana] vary by a huge amount, because what we are really changing from strain to strain is that terpene profile,” he said.

In his analysis of marijuana samples, LaFrate also found traces of fungi and contaminants such as heavy metals, and butane, a compound that is used to create marijuana extracts. It is not clear what a safe level of these substances might be, or which contaminants deserve concern, he said.

The new research was presented today (March 23) at the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Denver officials trying to shut down about 60 marijuana growing co-ops

DENVER – Denver officials may shut down dozens of pot-growing collectives scattered across the city.

Officials say they’re trying to shut down about 60 collective growing operations. The collectives are advertised as places to grow pot for people who can’t or don’t want to grow them at home. Many are not permitted by landlords or homeowners’ associations to grow the six plants they’re authorized under state law.

The City Council planned a vote Monday night limiting non-residential marijuana grows to 36 plants if they’re not commercial. Private homes are already limited to 12 plants, no matter how many adults live there.

City officials say the collectives can have up to 2,000 plants but don’t operate under the safety codes of commercial grows.

 

2,500 Illinoisans Apply for Medical Marijuana Cards

Illinois health officials over the weekend said about 2,500 residents have applied for medical marijuana cards, even as the four-year pilot program remains stalled.

About 1,600 of those applicants have received approval letters, Department of Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold told the Belleville News Democrat

  • She could not say where the applicants live.

A series of legal challenges over cultivation centers are still playing out in several areas of the state. That means that some patients who are entitled to apply for medical cannabis cards are waiting.

Legal Fight Rages Over State’s Medical Marijuana Licenses

[CHI] Legal Fight Rages Over State’s Medical Marijuana Licenses

A lawsuit filed claims the state’s process in who gets the coveted license to grow medical marijuana is dramatically flawed. NBC Chicago’s Phil Rogers reports. (Published Wednesday, Feb 25, 2015)

Kim Locke of Mattoon said she’s held off applying for a card for her 7-year-old daughter Alyssa, who suffers from severe epileptic seizures.

Special report, ‘Clearing the Haze:’ Black market is thriving in Colorado

A shrinking black market for marijuana was among the biggest benefits Colorado would realize from legalizing and regulating the drug, proponents of Amendment 64 promised in the months leading up to the state’s historic decision to sanction pot’s recreational use. 

More than 40 states have reported seizures of Colorado marijuana and THC products, according to the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area. The federally funded task force also reports that seizures involving Colorado marijuana bound for other states have risen nearly 400 percent, from 58 incidents in 2008 to 288 in 2013 — the year before Colorado’s marijuana retail stores opened. That is consistent with Denver police records showing a nearly 1,000-percent spike in the amount of marijuana officers have seized — 937 pounds in 2011 compared to a little more than 4 tons last year.

El Paso, Denver and Boulder counties are the top three sources for out-of-state marijuana trafficking, the HIDTA reports.

“Colorado is the black market for the rest of the country,” HIDTA Director Tom Gorman said. “Now, the state just has a so-called legal market competing with the cartels, which haven’t missed a beat. All ships rose with this tide.”

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman spoke in similarly stark terms when meeting with fellow state attorneys general at a professional conference in February. She lambasted marijuana legalization advocates’ linchpin argument that marijuana producers and users would play by the rules of law and significantly wrest control of marijuana sales from drug traffickers and cartels. 

“Don’t buy that,” she told the room. “The criminals are still selling on the black market. …We have plenty of cartel activity in Colorado (and) plenty of illegal activity that has not decreased at all.”

Mexican cartels remain big players in Colorado’s illicit drug trade, working their turfs as usual. Only now, because American marijuana users increasingly are turning to the more potent forms of pot produced at home, the cartels are changing tactics to capitalize on other profitable drug sales. Mexican drug producers have shifted their crops from marijuana to opium poppies — which produce the black tar heroin that has ravaged many parts of the country — and they’re ramping up production of methamphetamine. Last year, U.S. law enforcement agencies seized more than 2,100 kilograms of heroin coming from Mexico — almost triple the amount confiscated in 2009 — and about 15,800 kilograms of meth, up from 3,076 kilos in the same period, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency. The DEA estimates that about 90 percent of meth sold in the U.S. is produced in Mexico. 

Recreational Marijuana Now Legal In D.C.

After months of debate, threats and uncertainty, recreational marijuana became legal in Washington, D.C., Thursday — at least according to the city government.

Adults 21 and over may now legally use marijuana, possess up to two ounces and grow up to six marijuana plants in their homes for personal use. Marijuana sales remain illegal, but the District Council is considering a bill that would regulate and tax marijuana sales, similar to laws in Colorado and Washington state. Because of the city’s unique oversight by Congress, it’s unclear if any measure legalizing marijuana sales and regulation could go into effect before 2016.

The legalization of marijuana on the federal government’s home turf adds to a shift in U.S. marijuana policy that began when Colorado and Washington state allowed recreational marijuana two years ago. Alaska’s new recreational marijuana law also took effect this week. Oregon’s legalization takes effect later this year.

“This is a significant milestone in the movement for racial justice, civil liberties, and drug policy reform,” said Dr. Malik Burnett, D.C. policy manager at the Drug Policy Alliance. “The racially-biased enforcement of marijuana laws in the nation’s capital is officially a relic of history.”

D.C. continues to prohibit public use of marijuana and possession on federal land, which includes roughly 20 percent of the District. As a result, advocates urge eager marijuana consumers to use caution when trying out the new law. The Washington Post has a a helpful map of federal land in the District.

The District legalized medical marijuana in 2010, and its first medical marijuana dispensary opened in 2013. In 2014, the D.C. Council decriminalized the possession of an ounce or less of marijuana.

But the road to legalization has been fraught, with the city facing challenges over whether it has the authority to enact a law in the first place. D.C.’s city government is mostly autonomous, but the Constitution gives Congress final say over city laws.

Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) aimed to blocking D.C. legalization by tucking a measure forbidding the city from using funds to “enact” marijuana laws into a federal spending bill passed by Congress in December. D.C. lawmakers and congressional Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), said they believed legalization was enacted by voters when they approved it in November, so Harris’ measure was meaningless.

The debate continued hours before the law would go into effect, with House Republicans warning D.C. officials not to move forward. Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) went so far as to threaten District lawmakers with jail if legalization took effect.

Ultimately, the required 30-day period for congressional review of the District’s law expired at the stroke of midnight Thursday, and legalization automatically went into effect.

Congress may still take action to eliminate the new marijuana law and has several options to do so, ranging from passing a bill that effectively cancels the law, to filing a lawsuit. It appears unlikely that there is enough congressional support for either. Harris has maintained that his provision already blocks legalization.

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law and states that have proceeded with legalization have been able to do so because of Department of Justice guidance that urges federal prosecutors to refrain from targeting state-legal marijuana operations.

Despite the conflicted federal stance, legal marijuana is the fastest-growing industry in the U.S., according to a recent report from industry analyst ArcView Group. At least 10 more states are considering legalizing marijuana by 2016. By 2020, there could beas many as 18 states where recreational marijuana is legal.

Jamaica Decriminalizes Marijuana In Small Amounts

KINGSTON, Jamaica (AP) — Marijuana has been pervasive but illegal in Jamaica for decades, consumed as a medicinal herb, puffed as a sacrament by Rastafarians and sung about in the island’s famed reggae music.

After many years of dialogue about the culturally entrenched drug, and emboldened by changes to drug laws in U.S. states, Jamaica’s Parliament on Tuesday night gave final approval to an act decriminalizing small amounts of pot and establishing a licensing agency to regulate a lawful medical marijuana industry.

The historic amendments pave the way for a “cannabis licensing authority” to be established to deal with regulating the cultivation and distribution of marijuana for medical and scientific purposes. Both houses of Jamaica’s legislature have approved the legislation.

And in a victory for religious freedom, adherents of the homegrown Rastafari spiritual movement can now freely use marijuana for sacramental purposes for the first time on the tropical island.

The law makes possession of up to 2 ounces of marijuana a petty offense that could result in a ticket but not in a criminal record. Cultivation of five or fewer plants on any premises would be permitted.

Tourists who are prescribed medical marijuana abroad will soon be able to apply for permits authorizing them to legally buy small amounts of Jamaican weed, or “ganja” as it is known locally.

Peter Bunting, the island’s national security minister, said the legislation does not mean Jamaica plans to soften its stance on transnational drug trafficking or cultivation of illegal plots. Jamaica has long been considered the Caribbean’s largest supplier of pot to the U.S. and regional islands.

“The passage of this legislation does not create a free-for-all in the growing, transporting, dealing or exporting of ganja. The security forces will continue to rigorously enforce Jamaican law consistent with our international treaty obligations,” Bunting said in Parliament.

William Brownfield, the U.S. assistant secretary for counter-narcotics affairs, told The Associated Press days before the vote that “Jamaican law is of course Jamaica’s own business, and Jamaica’s sovereign decision.” But he noted that the trafficking of marijuana into the U.S. remains against the law.

“We expect that Jamaica and all states party to the U.N. Drug Conventions will uphold their obligations, including a firm commitment to combating and dismantling criminal organizations involved in drug trafficking,” he told AP in an email.

Debate has long raged in Jamaica over relaxing laws prohibiting ganja but previous calls to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana fizzled out because officials feared they would bring sanctions from Washington.

Jamaican officials now have high hopes that the island can become a player in the nascent medical marijuana industry, health tourism and the development of innovative pot-derived items. Local scientists already have a history of creating marijuana-derived products, such as “Canasol,” which helps relieve pressure in the eyes of glaucoma patients.

Commerce Minister Anthony Hylton said the cannabis industry holds “great potential” for Jamaica, where marijuana has long been grown illegally on mountainsides and marshes.

The move by Jamaican lawmakers adds to an international trend of easing restrictions on marijuana for medical or personal use. More than 20 U.S. states allow some form of medical marijuana and last year Colorado and Washington legalized personal use. On Tuesday, Alaska became the third U.S. state to legalize the recreational use of marijuana for adults.

In the Americas, Uruguay last year became the first nation to create a legal marijuana market. In Argentina, personal possession of marijuana was decriminalized under a 2009 Supreme Court ruling that jail time for small amounts of drugs violates the country’s constitution. A law in Chile permits use of medical marijuana.

Details of Jamaica’s licensing authority and its hoped-for medical marijuana sector will need to be refined in coming months. But for now, Jamaican cannabis crusaders applauded the amendments.

“This is a big step in the right direction, but there’s still a lot of work to do,” said Delano Seiveright, director of the Cannabis Commercial and Medicinal Taskforce.

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