New Jersey Lawmakers Admit Failure on Weed Legalization, Will Let Voters Decide in 2020

Legalization seemed a certainty a year ago but political infighting and unflinching legalization opponents doomed the effort. May 15, 2019 4 min read New Jersey lawmakers have given up hope of legalizing adult-use cannabis and will leave the issue to be decided by a referendum on the 2020 presidential ballot. In the meanwhile, the Legislature will push forward a bill to expunge marijuana related criminal records. In recent days Governor Phil Murphy, who won election in part on his vow to pass marijuana legalization, has used his executive authority to dramatically expand the state’s existing medical marijuana program. “We are not going to move forward with adult use marijuana at this time. It’s something I feel strongly in, but the votes aren’t there,” state Senate President Stephen Sweeney said at a press conference Wednesday. “There’s no sense dragging this out,. We can’t hold back progress.” Expansion of the medical marijuana […]

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7 Statistics Entrepreneurs Need to Know About Legal Cannabis and CBD

Public opinion and consumer preference for cannabis over Big Pharma are powerful forces shaping the cannabis market. April 30, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Green Entrepreneur contributors are their own. How fast is the stigma of cannabis fading? Consider the numbers: Cannabis, whether for medical use or recreationally by adults, is legal in 33 states, Washington, D.C. and the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico. An estimated 73 million Americans live in the 10 states that have legalized for adult use. A record-high 62 percent of Americans agree cannabis should be legalized. 2019 marks the start of the second year of legal adult cannabis in California, the world’s largest legal market, yet consumers and business owners still must overcome significant hurdles. Cannabis consumers want to support the legal market but high prices, whopping taxes and impeded access to legal cannabis drives them to thriving illicit market. California has done a good job […]

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The Politics of Reforming Federal Marijuana Laws Increasingly Favors the Reformers

Business interests and public opinion clearly favor ending prohibition but the status quo still has a lot of momentum. April 29, 2019 6 min read Brought to you by Marijuana Business Daily U.S. cannabis reform efforts have seen movement recently with a House committee’s endorsement of a banking bill and Attorney General William Barr’s comments that a federal shift would be preferable to the current “intolerable” situation. But the progress that marijuana businesses have awaited remains an uphill battle — with Senate leadership a key hurdle — and experts say a narrowly tailored bill remains most likely to pass – such as the SAFE Banking Act, which would protect financial institutions that serve state-legal marijuana businesses. “That, to me, is one of the lowest pieces of hanging fruit,” along with a measure to provide veterans access to medical marijuana, said Douglas Berman, director of Ohio State University’s Drug Enforcement and Policy Center. […]

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Licensing Snafu Could Cost California Cannabis Growers Thousands in Lost Revenue, Possible Shutdowns

California is the world’s largest legal marijuana market but nobody is claiming it is the best regulated. April 23, 2019 6 min read Brought to you by Marijuana Business Daily California’s marijuana growers are at risk of losing thousands of dollars in revenue as scores of temporary business licenses expire each day before the state can replace them with annual permits. That leaves many cultivators trapped in a licensing logjam with a difficult choice: Continue operating with expired permits — or shut down. This is the beginning of the outdoor cultivation season, and many growers went ahead and planted despite knowing their temporary licenses were set to expire — holding out hope that state regulators would speed up the licensing process and issue annual permits posthaste. That largely hasn’t happened. And lawmakers in Sacramento have yet to pass a legislative fix. As of April 16, roughly 3,000 temporary cultivation permits had expired […]

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Pay Attention to These 6 Cannabis Industry Trends

The weed businesses that thrived four years ago don’t necessarily yield big profits today as new cannabis industry trends dictate the market. April 19, 2019 7 min read Opinions expressed by Green Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Cannabis industry trends evolve faster than most markets. Not only haven’t regulations been finalized, but methods of consumption, investment and the geography of the market itself are in constant flux. Though all the noise, these are the top six cannabis industry trends that entrepreneurs should pay attention to. 1. Cannabis industry trends indicate higher sales than ever. The biggest evolution within the cannabis industry is that sales will be higher this year than they were in 2018, and investors, consumers and entrepreneurs alike should expect to see legal weed sales blossom for the next few years as the market grows annually. The biggest of all cannabis industry trends for the next few years is […]

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Legalization Stalls In New Jersey Legislature

The vote on a bill to legalize marijuana for adults was cancelled when it became apparent it would be defeated. March 25, 2019 3 min read A bill to legalize marijuana use for adults and create what would have been among the nation’s largest markets for the booming cannabis industry has stalled in the New Jersey state Senate, a stinging defeat for Governor Phil Murphy, a Democrat who was working with Democrat majorities in both houses of the state Legislature. Propents of legalization avoided outright defeat by withdrawing the bill when it became apparent it did not have the 21 votes needed to pass the state Senate. Despite the vigorous backing of the leaders of both houses of the Legislature and the governor, the bill never gained support either from Republican legislators representing suburban and rural areas of the state or from several prominent, and notably older, African American legislators representing […]

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The UN Is Moving Toward Ending Decades of International Cannabis Prohibition

America and the entire world is waking up to the promise of cannabis and tiring of prohibition. March 25, 2019 9 min read Opinions expressed by Green Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The pace of expansion within the “legalized” cannabis industry is impossible to miss. News of U.S. states “going legal” or large commercial operations “going public” are often front page news. Notably, an increasing number of non-cannabis businesses find themselves working with the industry as it expands and requires greater resources. In all of this, people ask, “How is this legal?” Explaining the quickly-evolving U.S. regulatory framework is complicated — and it’s just as complicated at the international level. The role of United Nations coordinating international cannabis prohibitions. Following the creation of the United Nations (UN), member countries sought to consolidate existing treaties and debates concerning the control of so-called dangerous drugs. With this stated purpose, the UN convened and […]

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Presidential Candidates Back Marijuana Justice Act, But What Would It Do?

The bill would end the War on Drugs and allot funds to repair the damage it caused low-income communities. March 14, 2019 3 min read Opinions expressed by Green Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Democratic congressional members, emboldened by a freshman class that put their party in control of the U.S. House of Representatives, have pressed fast-forward on introducing progressive legislation. The Green New Deal is one example. Legalization of recreational marijuana from sea to shining sea is another. New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker has reintroduced the Marijuana Justice Act, which he first proposed in 2017. It legalizes marijuana at the federal level, among many other sweeping changes. The chances of it passing Congress and becoming law are approximately zero — Republicans still hold a majority in the U.S. Senate and President Trump has a veto — but it should at least get a full hearing in the Democratic-controlled House. California Representatives […]

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Volunteer Coders Partner With San Francisco to Clear 9,300 Marijuana Arrest Records

People arrested with a joint long ago were saddled with criminal records for decades. March 12, 2019 3 min read Opinions expressed by Green Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Marijuana legalization isn’t just about stopping arrests under War on Drugs-era laws for cannabis possession. In California, it’s also about clearing the records of thousands who were arrested during that era and still struggle with the stigma of a criminal record for actions that ara legal now. With the help of a volunteer organization that uses technology to make governments more efficient, San Francisco officials plan to expunge records of 9,300 marijuana-related convictions that go back as far 1975. San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón called expunging the records “the morally right thing to do,” according to the Los Angeles Times. He then added, “If you have a felony conviction, you are automatically excluded in so many ways from participating in […]

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California’s National Guard Targets Outlaw Pot Growers

The trauma of roughshod airborne enforcement by the Campaign Against Marijuana Planting remains raw in the Emerald Triangle. March 1, 2019 7 min read Brought to you by Marijuana Business Daily Legal marijuana companies are cautiously welcoming California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s announcement that 150 National Guard troops will deploy to Northern California to “go after illegal cannabis farms,” but the news also is kindling fears in some industry circles of a renewed, government-led drug war. Many legal marijuana companies have long argued that illicit operators pose a major threat to their bottom line — and a widespread law enforcement conundrum for the state at large. However, some of California’s legal cannabis companies remain unclear about how the National Guard effort will proceed, and the state has yet to offer clear-cut answers. Parallels drawn to the decades-old Campaign Against Marijuana Planting program (CAMP) have some worried about a “drug war 2.0” because in years past, CAMP arguably victimized many […]

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Booker, Harris Push Marijuana Legalization to Center Stage for 2020 Election

Perhaps the greatest proof the American people have rejected the War on Drugs is that presidential candidates can favor legalization at no political cost. February 19, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Green Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Two senators who are leading candidates in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination have already accomplished something early in the campaign – they’ve made legalization of marijuana at the national level a primary issue. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey already has introduced legislation to remove marijuana from the federal list of illegal drugs and continues to take that position as a candidate. And Sen. Kamala Harris of California this month very publicly declared her support for legalizing pot on “The Breakfast Club” morning radio show in New York City. She couldn’t have been much more straightforward. “Let me just make this statement very clearly: I believe we need to […]

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WHO Cannabis Rescheduling Recommendations Are Too Little for Some

The proposal would be great progress for medical marijuana and CBD but does much less for those who think adults can make their own choices about recreational cannabis. February 6, 2019 5 min read Brought to you by Marijuana Business Daily The World Health Organization (WHO) made great strides in its recommendations on how cannabis should be scheduled, but the global industry believes there’s more work to be done. Martin Jelsma, drugs and democracy program director at the Netherlands-based Transnational Institute, emphasized to Marijuana Business Daily that there are “very positive elements in the WHO recommendations,” including: Recognition of “medical usefulness” with its removal from Schedule IV. Additional clarity about CBD not being under international control. Resolution of the inconsistency of having cannabis under the 1961 and THC under the 1971 Convention. But the recommendations – first reported by Marijuana Business Daily – didn’t go far enough, Jelsma said. “(It’s) quite disappointing that the WHO recommends to keep […]

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World Health Organization Recommends Rescheduling Cannabis and Provides Clarity on CBD

The WHO is on the verge of removing marijuana from the world’s list of dangerous narcotics while recognizing its vast therapeutic potential. February 6, 2019 6 min read Brought to you by Marijuana Business Daily Member states of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) received the World Health Organization Expert Committee on Drug Dependence’s (ECDD) cannabis recommendations, which had been expected in December, Marijuana Business Daily has learned. The CND had been expected to consider rescheduling cannabis in March 2019 at its annual meeting, but the delay in receiving the ECDD recommendations may push that consideration into 2020 to provide additional time for member states to review them. The report recommends several changes to how cannabis is scheduled, which could have significant implications for the cannabis industry: The scheduling of cannabis in the international drug control conventions wouldn’t be as restrictive as it is now, because it would be removed from Schedule IV of […]

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More Seniors Are Using Marijuana and It May Decrease Their Opioid Use

Usage is surging among seniors looking for alternatives to prescription painkillers but research faces many legal barriers. February 5, 2019 3 min read Opinions expressed by Green Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The U.S. population is aging, which means a growing percentage of Americans are experiencing the aches and pains that come with the senior years. Apparently, many have found a way of managing those aches and pains: marijuana. Using cannabis for pain relief is a growing trend among seniors. The New York Times recently reported that “older Americans are flocking to marijuana.” They interviewed a 66-year-old Orange County, Calif., resident who uses a salve containing cannabidiol (CBD) on an aching toe she broke decades ago. She also said she smokes a little weed in the evening because “relaxing is healthy for you.” Related: 5 Ways Hemp Is a Boon for Health Seniors are a huge market. Seniors are a growing […]

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3 Long Debunked Arguments Against Legal Weed That Just Won’t Die

America has largely accepted the facts about marijuana but a stubborn opposition refuses to. January 28, 2019 5 min read Opinions expressed by Green Entrepreneur contributors are their own. There has been a huge change in public opinion about legal marijuana over the past 20 years but the tired arguments against it — it’s a gateway drug, legalizing weed leads to more underage use, THC causes mental illness, etc — haven’t changed in decades, despite having been repeatedly disproved. These claims are scary but a significant body of research from leading academic institutions and states that have already legalized cannabis has largel disproved the arguments against ending cannabis prohibition. Myth: Weed is a gateway drug. The age-old argument against cannabis legalization, and cannabis use in general, is that weed is a “gateway” to more dangerous illegal substances. This argument rests a handful of studies. A study from 1999 found that people who use […]

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Denver’s Marijuana Czar Reflects on Running America’s First Legal, Adult-Use Weed Market

Ashley Kilroy isn’t in the cannabis business but she knows as much about it as just about anybody who is. January 21, 2019 5 min read Brought to you by Marijuana Business Daily Ashley Kilroy has overseen Denver’s recreational cannabis industry since Colorado launched adult-use sales in 2014. As director of Denver’s Department of Excise and Licenses and the agency’s Office of Marijuana Policy, Kilroy has seen cannabis business owners experience growing pains as the industry has matured. “Being first wasn’t easy,” she said. “We’re proud of what we have accomplished, but we know we have to prepare for new challenges ahead as the marijuana industry evolves.” Kilroy spoke with Marijuana Business Daily about how cannabis companies in the Mile High City have stabilized, what they can do better and what’s on the horizon in 2019. What have business owners learned over the past five years? I’ve seen a stabilization of the industry. A […]

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Here’s What the Average Cannabis Consumer in Canada Looks Like

Now that cannabis is legal in Canada, a whole new market of middle-aged, infrequent consumers has emerged. January 18, 2019 4 min read Opinions expressed by Green Entrepreneur contributors are their own. The average cannabis consumer is young, adventurous, and not especially concerned with the law. More specifically, they’re between 18 and 34 years old, they ingest weed in some form more than once a week, and they’re likely to disregard legal and health warnings. But this is changing quickly. Now that Canada has legalized weed, middle-aged people who don’t break the law are interested. This new market is educated, family-oriented, and concerned with their wellbeing. Though young people will continue to be more frequent weed smokers, the average cannabis consumer in Canada is becoming a different kind of person with spending habits that are shaping the market. The average cannabis consumer is middle aged. Though there is some debate over […]

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Even Texas Is Getting Serious About Decriminalization and Medical Marijuana

The Lone Star state just might liberalize marijuana laws, at least as much as Oklahoma has. January 17, 2019 3 min read Opinions expressed by Green Entrepreneur contributors are their own. Texas, which leads the nation in marijuana-related arrests, may be on the verge of decriminalizing marijuana possession. While that’s a small move compared to what’s happening in other parts of the country, it’s significant in a conservative “red state” where marijuana laws have remained at War on Drugs levels. Nothing is a given, but marijuana legalization advocates are optimistic that Texas marijuana law could change this year. Jax Finkel, executive director for Texas NORML (the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), told the Dallas Morning News that she remembers when “legislators laughed” at the possibility of changing Texas marijuana laws. This year should prove different. “There will be change,” Finkel said. Related: Colorado Cannabis Business Leaders Share Lessons From America’s […]

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Colorado Cannabis Business Leaders Share Lessons From America’s First Adult-Use Market

Five years after Colorado legalized marijuana for adults the industry is a huge success but not every entrepreneur has succeeded. January 16, 2019 6 min read Brought to you by Marijuana Business Daily Colorado launched the world’s first recreational marijuana market on Jan. 1, 2014, and in the ensuing five years, the state’s cannabis companies have experienced booms and busts. Colorado’s adult-use sales last year are expected to set yet another record, topping $1.2 billion. But not all cannabis companies have shared in the boom. Some have gone out of business or faced legal trouble — think the likes of marijuana retailer Sweet Leaf. Others have become multistate success stories with dozens of employees and sizable annual revenues, including two makers of infused products: Wana Brands and Dixie Brands. Marijuana Business Daily surveyed several Colorado cannabis company owners of both plant-touching and ancillary businesses to suss out the lessons they’ve learned since 2014. The selected answers focused […]

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Federal Cannabis Prohibition Got a Lot Weaker in 2018

Prohibition has inertia but no momentum. December 31, 2018 8 min read Any listing of cannabis legalization highlights for 2018 has to begin with the triumph of marijuana at the ballot box in the midterm elections — voter approval for adult use in Michigan and medical marijuana in states as culturally conservative as Utah and Missouri, the defeat of virulently anti-cannabis Rep. Pete Sessions of Texas and the election of pro-legalization governors and state legislators. The big shifts in cannabis in 2018 were at the state level. Progress toward the ultimate goal — federal legalization — was subtle but significant nonetheless. The dizzying pace of the news makes it easy to forget 2018 began with then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions reversing the hands-off Obama era policy toward state-legal cannabis businesses. The decades old ban on hemp was lifted, giving America’s farmers a lucrative new crop and creating a large and legal (though regulated) source of […]

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