Cryptocurrencies and Marijuana: Made for Each Other

Cryptocurrencies and marijuana both exist in a gray area in the United States. Although medically legal in 29 states and recreationally in 9, marijuana businesses have some serious limitations. The biggest hurdle to overcome is the banking system, something cryptocurrencies do better than anything else.
Market analysts like the Brightfield Group estimate that the current marijuana industry is worth about $7.7 billion. They also project it to grow to $31.4 billion by 2021. But the legal status of weed prevents that money from flowing through traditional banking channels.
Without access to banking, the industry is forced to struggle getting the investments they need to survive. Without access to investors, small businesses like dispensaries can’t get the money they need to survive financial storms. So many cannabis companies embrace cryptocurrencies as a safer alternative to keeping everything in cash.
Investing in either market is tricky
According to experts like Jim Cramer , host of “Mad Money”, investing in cryptocurrencies and marijuana is equally speculative. In an interview with CNBC Cramer said “As far as I’m concerned, there’s way too much speculation in this sector already.” His main concern is the volatility of these emerging markets.
While marijuana is dealing with an Attorney General that ignores evidence and actively despises the community, cryptocurrencies have a massive bubble growing. Investors rightly fear putting their money into a market that is likely to see massive changes in the near future. The biggest turn off for cannabis is the lack of any guarantees and the significant risk involved.
Over inflated stocks are less of an issue than looming action from the federal government. Something both industries are dealing with but is especially problematic for cannabis. The problem stems from the fact that cannabis is still federally illegal.
The government can choose to take action at any moment
There are only around 500 independent banks that work with cannabis businesses. None of the major names will go anywhere near it as it stands. So thousands of businesses across the nation are unable to accept credit or debit cards.
This creates significant problems for customers, investors and businesses. It increases the likelihood of crime, corruption and introduces human error into every transaction. So many of these businesses are turning to cryptocurrencies which bypass many of the risks of cash.
“Cryptocurrencies and the marijuana industry have a natural intersection,” according to Bryan Meltzer, a partner at the Feuerstein Kulick law firm. He specializes in cannabis clients and was featured on CNBC’s Annie Nova. He explained that using Bitcoin allows operators to avoid having cash on hand while adding a level of transparency to transactions.
Because cryptocurrencies run on blockchain tech, they are an incorruptible digital ledger. They keep records public and ensure every transaction is transparent, legitimate and theft-proof. As more companies embrace the change, it pressures others in the industry to adapt or lose out.
There is still a long way to go
We are still in the early days of both cryptocurrency and marijuana. Although many dispensaries are turning to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, most of the industry is wary. Besides that, several specialized cryptocurrencies like PotCoin and HempCoin divide the market and prevent a single currency from becoming the defacto choice.
Some experts believe the cannabis industry will lead the country to fully embrace cryptocurrencies but it’s too early to tell. If chronic and crypto do become bosom buddies, other industries are sure to follow. If the government cracks down on either or both cryptocurrency and marijuana, it will cost some investors a pretty penny.
Do you use cryptocurrencies to pay for marijuana? What do you think about the future of blockchain payments? What would you do if dispensaries only took cryptocurrency? Let us know your thoughts down below!


Canada Still Hashing Out Cannabis Act Details

Canada Wants More Time To Review Cannabis Act

In an interview last Thursday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that recreational cannabis is on track for summer. This promise comes despite significant push-back from Canadian senators for a delay in the implementation of the new law. Officials claim that they may need up to a year for consultations with indigenous communities before implementing the Cannabis Act.
The committee in charge of the talks say the government needs the extra time to ensure “culturally sensitive” materials are available to indigenous peoples to warn of the risks of consuming cannabis. Officials also want to finalize negotiations for revenue sharing with First Nations before the law goes into effect. First Nations government representatives want to make sure they get a fair share of the millions of dollars in taxes Canadians expect to come in.
Beginning in 2018, all cannabis providers in Canada must be authorized by Health Canada to provide dried marijuana, fresh flower, or cannabis oil to patients. The government has created a list of all authorized providers under the Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations. The list is available to review and download on the Health Canada Website.

Some Providers Aren’t Fully On Board

Health Canada takes compliance seriously. They have a number of enforcement tools including suspending or revoking licenses. Non-compliance can also lead to prosecution so providers have a major incentive to conform to the regulations.
Despite the ramifications, there are approximately 300 medical marijuana providers across the territories operating illegally. Law enforcement is aware of them and taking action to shut them down. But until the Cannabis Act is passed and implemented, dispensaries don’t have to follow standards so shutting down bad actors is a challenge.
The lack of oversight means that many Canadian dispensaries obtain their product from the black market. Patients needing clean medicine put themselves at risk when purchasing from these providers. So many patients bypass the mess and grow their own. But there are still many rules and regulations Canadians need to learn and follow when growing their own medicine.

Patients Have Some Protection

Medical users aren’t allowed to let others smoke, import or export their cannabis, seeds, or derivatives. That includes things like hashish, concentrates and even resin. It doesn’t matter if they grew it themselves or if they purchased it from a licensed provider, sharing is strictly forbidden.
But if you so happen to have marijuana seeds on hand and a medical license, you are in luck. In 2016, a British Columbia judge ruled that medical cannabis users are allowed to grow at home. With the right documentation from the Government, some Canadians are allowed to grow marijuana seeds for medical use legally.
However, until the Cannabis Act is finalized, it is still illegal to produce and distribute marijuana for recreational purposes. This makes the delay a major concern to people trying to get ahead of the curve. Another year of debating can lead to millions of dollars in lost revenue and thousands of patients without access to safe products.

Do you think the delay in implementing the new Cannabis Act is justified? Is Health Canada doing the best thing for patients and the population at large? How do you think the government should handle the situation? Let us know in the comments section!


Berkeley California Fights the Black Market

Berkeley California Fights the Black Market

Berkeley is Tired of the Black Market

Thousands of people purchase cannabis regularly in California. Residents, tourists, and visitors contribute billions of dollars to California’s economy, but that is not enough for one city in particular. The city of Berkeley, California decided to take action against the cannabis black market.
Berkeley city officials decided the best way to compete is to cut taxes on marijuana in half. But it isn’t greed motivating the price cutting, it’s a fear of the black market. Since price is a main factor in why people choose unlicensed distributors, that is where they are going to make a stand.
Berkeley officials see that there is much more to be gained financially if they have better control over the marijuana market. But too many taxes put on cannabis may ruin the legal weed industry. So to combat that possibility they lowered the overall cost to consumers by giving them a tax break.

Marijuana is an Expensive Product

The cannabis industry is an expensive market to get into. Businesses spend thousands on overpriced licensing fees and almost everything is out of pocket. Marijuana is federally illegal as a schedule I drug, so banks won’t take the money. Current outrageous business expenses make it hard them to compete with the cannabis black market. The cannabis black market is a fierce competitor.
At the moment, Berkeley is the only city in California to try to directly take on the underground marijuana market. They feel that if left unchecked, underground distributors will continue to grow. So they chose to combat these distributors where it counts the most to people: in the wallet.
The city of Berkeley, CA did themselves a huge favor when they dropped cannabis taxes from 10% to 5%. The tax drop might be the edge they need to compete with underground cannabis. The black market doesn’t have the plethora of fees and costs associated with doing things the “right way”. But when people are caught in a black market operation that deals with federally illegal substances, the fines and arrests are nothing to scoff at.

For the Love of Raids

Despite state laws, the feds still randomly raid cannabis businesses. The feds also take the weed, money and anything else they see of value and destroy pretty much everything else. They also close down their businesses causing the owners more financial devastation.
In 2017 alone, Sacramento shut down hundreds of illegal operations. Within a 60-day-period the city issued $6.8 billion in fines. They collected $25,000 within days and continue to collect more.
When legitimate cannabis businesses shut down, the black market gets more opportunities to compete. If cannabis consumers don’t have a place to safely purchase weed then they’ll likely to get it from somewhere else.

What are your thoughts about Berkley’s choice to decreasing their city tax on Cannabis? Is it a good move or are they losing money by cutting taxes? Is the fight against the cannabis black market a losing battle? Let us know in the comment section below.

Featured image: GettyImages

jeff sessions

Holland Takes Sessions to Federal Court

David Holland is here to defend marijuana.

Holland is a member of the legal team representing 5 plaintiffs in an ongoing suit against the current Attorney General.But he is no fledgling looking to make a name for himself. He is a litigator in New York City and the legal director of Empire State NORML. He also used to be on the High Times Magazine legal team and is a member of the New York Cannabis Bar Association.
So when it comes to productive stoners, he is one of the shining examples. But he feels that the current state of marijuana enforcement is unsustainable. Holland’s firm is suing Sessions and the DEA. The suit claims the classification of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act is unconstitutional.
Their list of reasons include it violates rights surrounding travel, business and racial discrimination against communities of color. Basically, the law works to discriminate and criminalize communities that don’t have the power or money to resist. Sessions and the DEA failed to get the case dismissed.

The case is going forward.

Holland’s legal team managed to convince US District Court Judge Alvin Hellerstein to let the case go forward. That decision was made in large part because of the personal experiences the plaintiffs had with medical marijuana. The medical efficacy of cannabis to treat patients suffering from a variety of ailments is so apparent, the court has to reconsider the constitutionality of the law.
Despite the strong support showed by the judge, it is still too early to break out the champagne. Despite a mountain of evidence showing the opposite, Jeff Sessions continues to blame marijuana for the opioid epidemic. And with almost no pressure from the White House to change his stance, there is little to stop him from waging a emotionally motivated war against the American population.
Attorney General Sessions is the same person that thought the KKK was OK. At least until he found out some of them smoked marijuana. And he is the same person who said “I can’t remember” in one form or another over 26 times when asked under oath. The performance showed how willing he is to stonewall and deflect about his questionable activities.

The CCC believes marijuana prohibition is racist.

Some plaintiffs claim that people of color are disproportionately targeted for prosecution for marijuana offenses. Armed with scientific evidence and confessions, the Cannabis Cultural Association (CCA) went to bat for its members. We still don’t know how Judge Hellerstein will rule on the racism claims presented by the CCA. But Judge Hellerstein seemed unconvinced by opening statements showing that the Nixon administration admitted to criminalizing marijuana for the express purpose of suppressing minorities and social backlash against the Vietnam War.
Both sides of the case are preparing for a long battle. But despite the court clearly favoring marijuana reclassification, there are many hurdles to overcome. One major hurdle is making sure the court doesn’t pass off the problem to a dysfunctional and ideologically insane Congress. But Holland hopes to keep that from happening.
There is always the possibility the court will decide to ship the final decision over to Congress because of the political controversy surrounding marijuana. But proving its controversial is harder than ever for Sessions defense team. There are more than 30 states and the District of Columbia that already passed legislation legalizing marijuana in some form. With so many, there isn’t much controversy left. But don’t underestimate the vitriol and determination of the diminutive lawyer from Alabama.

Do you think the court will reschedule marijuana? Do you think the Attorney General is doing the right thing or mad with power? What would you do if cannabis became federally legal tomorrow? Let us know in the comments below!

2018 Weed Legalization PUSH Mag

2018 Weed Legalization: These 4 States Are Joining The Movement

The road to weed legalization has been full of pot-holes for decades. With those now being filled by tax revenue from the legalization of the plant, many states are now toying with the revolutionary idea of allowing a legal industry.
Most people are aware of the states that have already taken it there. What started in 2012 with Colorado and Washington state, quickly evolved to include Oregon, Alaska, California, Nevada, Massachusetts, Maine, and Washington D.C. Turns out that whole 2012 thing wasn’t a fluke, and more and more states are now putting a fresh set of eyes on their outdated laws.
There are two different paths to cannabis legalization available in the United States. Some of the states employ ballot initiatives that put legalization in the hands of voters, while the others work through the process within their state legislature — passing the house, senate, and ultimately requiring the signature of the governor.
Since hope of federal legalization from our current administration looks bleak, here’s a breakdown of the states we have the highest hopes for in 2018. There’s potential for a lot of progress in other states as well, but these are some of the best shots.

Via the Legislature

Rhode Island
As a medical state that shares a border with the recently legalized state of Massachusetts, the potential loss of revenue could spur the legislature to make a bold move.
The house and senate delivered a legalization bill to the desk of their governor in 2016, which he chose to veto. People are still pissed and it’s close to Massachusetts, so progress here is a good possibility.

By the People

Voters voted on Prop 205 in 2016 and it received 48.7 votes in favor. This close of a call means we could definitely see them inch over the finish line in 2018.
So close, yet so far away. They turned in over 340,000 signatures back in 2016—qualifying the measure for the ballot—only to be denied because signatures over 180 old were not considered valid. The 2018 showdown should be epic.
If you’re a voter in any of these states, get involved and make your voice heard. Should you find yourself in one of those never gonna happen states like Idaho or Louisiana, we suggest finding local representatives that align with your beliefs and engaging in some good ol’ fundraising and campaigning.
This post was originally published on: Pushmag.

MMJ Patients Banned from Owning Gun wr

MMJ Patients Banned from Owning Gun

Marijuana Patients Can’t Own a Gun

Christopher Morales is a California Criminal Defense Attorney well versed in gun law. He believes that the Gun Control Act of 1968 prohibits anyone who uses cannabis medically from owning a gun. Unfortunately for the cannabis consuming public, some state courts agree.
The exact wording on the federal law is vague and misleading because it says “unlawful user or anyone using a federally restricted substance”. Cannabis is a federally restricted substance but many states consider medical use as lawful. But gun ownership is federally protected but considered a state controlled matter. So courts had to decide if following state laws protected patients from the federal clause preventing ownership of firearms.

The Gun Control Act

The Gun Control act is also full of outdated language. There is ample evidence of outdated language contained within the 1968 document. Evidence including the claim that marijuana is addictive. Modern research has proven that cannabis creates no chemical addiction or dependency. This discrepancy and others like it have caused issues in more than one state.
A Nevada medical marijuana patient named S. Rowan Wilson filed a lawsuit in 2011 challenging the federal statute against gun ownership. Wilson attempted to purchase a gun and was denied because she has a medical card. Unwilling to give up her 2nd amendment right without a fight, she lawyered up.
Wilson’s case went all the way up to the 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals. Eventually, she lost her fight. Chief District Judge Gloria Navarro was the one who made the final ruling against Wilson. Judge Gloria says that denying the sale of guns to a marijuana patient does not violate the Second Amendment.

States Decide Gun Laws

When it comes to gun purchases, every state is different. Some states require background checks. While other states call in to check a criminal record. If Wilson went to the state of Georgia, she could have easily purchased a gun at a flea market. But that’s not the point. Wilson wanted to buy a gun in her own hometown regardless of her legal marijuana status.
It is strange how unevenly rules are applied across populations. Patients using prescription opioids are allowed to own a gun when opioids are on the list of federally controlled substances. Yet medical marijuana patients are unable to obtain personal protection. And this poses a special threat to patients who also own or operate dispensaries.
People employed in the cannabis field already can’t use banking systems to store money. Having all that cash on hand makes them a target for a whole list of nefarious people. Add to that the knowledge that they can’t legally defend themselves and trouble is almost guaranteed to ensue.

The Gun Show Loophole

According to federal law, all licensed firearm dealers must perform background checks on those seeking a purchase of a gun. But there is an escape clause called the Gun Show Loophole. At gun shows there are unlicensed firearms dealers, and they are not required to perform background checks. About 22% of all firearm sales are done by these unlicensed sellers.
Federally, the government is uninterested in closing the loophole. Federal agents routinely use it to funnel arms and ammunition to drug cartels and kinpins. After the documents regarding the federal Fast and Furious program became public, their reluctance began to make sense to the broader public. Luckily, several states have moved to stop such practices.
11 states have closed the loophole and require background checks at the point of sale. The 11 states are: Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Maryland, Nevada, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhodes Island and Washington. Eight other states require a background check and a permit for private purchasers. Those eight states are: Hawaii, Illinois, Iowa, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nebraska, New Jersey and North Carolina.
None of the listed states ban ownership by medical marijuana patients or recreational users. But, possessing a firearm will likely only add fuel to the fire if charged with large-scale cultivation. Especially if the government is looking to make an example of you.

The Bottom Line

When filling out the Firearms Transaction Record during the purchase of a gun, there is a question. A Ninth Circuit Court ruling amended the question about cannabis use. The new language puts patients into a catch-22.
Originally, the text read “Are you an unlawful user of, or addicted to, marijuana or any depressant, stimulant, narcotic drug, or any other controlled substance?” The new version includes a nifty little addition to clarify that they mean medical patients. It reads; “Warning: The use or possession of marijuana remains unlawful under Federal law regardless of whether it has been legalized or decriminalized for medicinal or recreational purposes in the state where you reside.”
What this says is that medical users are not allowed to own a gun because they are using a substance that is under the federal control substance list. Marijuana is federally illegal and therefore gun ownership while using it is federally illegal. Alcohol is not federally illegal, just restricted. That is why people shoot themselves every year while drinking and handling guns.

I Want My Attorney

When it comes to buying a gun, it is up to the seller to perform their due diligence by asking whether or not the purchaser is a cannabis user and to perform a background check. If the medical marijuana user says ‘yes’ then technically they must be denied the purchase of a gun. If they say ‘no’ and get caught for lying, they can face felony charges.
When it comes to cooperating with law enforcement, it becomes a tricky situation. According to Morales, a medical marijuana user should never disclose to police if they have drugs or guns in the vehicle. He maintains that they are under no obligation to disclose that information. When confronted with these questions, patients need to say the four magic words ‘I want my attorney’.
Recent evidence of police brutality and blatant corruption in the penal system can make asking for a lawyer scary. Police are not required to be direct, honest or limit their force. they can invade your home, kill your animals, confiscate your property and shoot you dead if they feel threatened. Don’t resist, don’t lie and don’t answer any questions without YOUR lawyer.

Do you have feedback about owning a medical marijuana card and gun ownership? Do you think MMJ patients should own guns? Why or why not? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.

MEDS Act Sponsored By Senator Hatch

MEDS Act Sponsored by Senator Hatch

Senator Hatch Introduces the MEDS Act.

The Marijuana Effectiveness Drug Study Act (MEDS Act) was just sponsored by Senator Orrin Hatch from Utah. If you have ever been to Utah, you might know that it is a highly religious state. The Mormon temples are proudly displayed and most stores are closed on Sunday. So it comes as no surprise that Senator Hatch is a dedicated Mormon.
But the Senator isn’t a blind follower. He sees the damage that opioid addiction causes and the good that cannabis can do. Especially as the U.S. grapples with spikes in teen overdose deaths rates. And the opioid crisis is causing a significant drop in U.S. labor force participation—particularly among American men. And Senator Hatch wants to stop it.
But the problem is bigger than just one state. The entire nation seems under the oppressive whip of opioid addiction. If you aren’t struggling with opioids, chances are you know someone who is. And most of them got hooked by their doctors.
Trump even declared the opioid crisis a national emergency and seeks solutions that will appease his base and his face. But Trump has yet to put forth a comprehensive sentence, much less a policy directing the nation on how to handle cannabis. And Hatch is much more pragmatic about his approach to dealing with this sensitive and rampant issue.

Senator Hatch has a plan for how to fight the opioid crisis.

Youtube Bong
As part of his plan to combat the opioid epidemic, Hatch introduced the Marijuana Effectiveness Drug Study Act of 2017 (MEDS Act). The speech he gave during the introduction Wednesday, he couldn’t help but sneak in some weed puns.
He started his speech by saying “Mr. President, it’s high time to address research into medical marijuana. Our country has experimented with a variety of state solutions without properly delving into the weeds on the effectiveness, safety, dosing, administration, and quality of medical marijuana.”
Hatch wore his religion on his sleeve but showed his willingness to compromise when he said “it will surprise no one that I am strongly against the use of recreational marijuana. I worry, however, that in our zeal to enforce the law, we too often blind ourselves to the medicinal benefits of natural substances like cannabis.”

He feels cannabis is a powerful ally in the fight.

Senator Hatch sees red tape as the big problem with cannabis today. He explained that there are no federal quality controls for marijuana-based medications. The MEDS Act would remedy that and establish standards for growing medicinal marijuana.
Bureaucratic red tape surrounding safety and efficacy prevent the kind of “rigorous scientific evidence” Hatch feels is still needed. He understands that there are many unique and powerful compounds in the cannabis plant. And the MEDS Act is his attempt at stimulating research into the potential of cannabis.
Like most of us, it took Senator Hatch a personal encounter to come around to cannabis. When a friend was faced with the choice between using weed and getting a risky brain operation, Hatch realized how important research into cannabis is.

Hatch isn’t a hippy.

He was quick to clarify that he wasn’t going to be advocating recreational consumption though. His very next words were “While I certainly do not support the use of marijuana for recreational purposes, the evidence shows that cannabis possesses medicinal properties that can truly change people’s lives for the better. And I believe, Mr. President, that we would be remiss if we threw out the baby with the bathwater.”
Senator Hatch wants to encourage research into potential medical uses for marijuana. The plan involves streamlining the research registration process. The goal is to make marijuana more available to the scientific and medical research communities.

The MEDS Act will make an impact if it passes.

marijuana grow
Ideally, the bill will sail through both houses, get signed into law and become a new foundational piece of legislation moving forward. But that seems like a pipe dream. There is plenty of cannabis reform legislation making the rounds right now and none of it has much support.
More likely, it will suffer the same fate as the other pro-cannabis legislation making the rounds in congress. Bills like the Compassionate Care Act and the Research Expansion and Respect States (CARERS) Act couldn’t find the support they needed to move forward.
These bills are stuck in a state of limbo, dead on the floor and unable to pass on. Mainly because there isn’t enough support to pass them or even to get them to a vote. This effectively makes them zombie legislation with little hope of actually passing.

Senator Hatch wants to do things right.

Smoke Sessions
The MEDS Act encourages commercial production of FDA-approved drugs derived from marijuana. It would also put pressure on the Attorney General (AG) to increase the national marijuana quota in a timely manner. It would do this by requiring the AG meet the nations changing medical, scientific and industrial needs for marijuana.
The bill would also include certain protections against abuse as well. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) would then have to develop and publish recommendations and best practices. These would include how to grow and produce marijuana for research.
But there is still a long road ahead. Even if the bill gets passed, there will be many edits, re-writes and last minute additions. Political opponents will try to dismantle the important protections and stall it out like past bills. It’s hard to tell how far this one will go. But we can at least hope it goes all the way.

What do you think about Senator Hatch and the MEDS Act? Do you think it will become law? Let us know why or why not in the comments below.

Charities Refuse Cannabis Contributions

Charities occupy a special place in modern society.

Charities function like a corporation but they are very different. They are an institutional mechanism for people and groups to affect change. They can be local, national or international organizations and often work closely with governments.

Governments even subsidize certain charities, demanding strict adherence to rules and regulations in exchange for massive amounts of money and tax write-offs. But individuals can also give money. Some mega-donors can give over $100 million at a time.

Unlike corporations or government agencies, charities can be motivated by religious, social, political or economic goals or any combination of the above. They can be organized around an idea like stopping cancer or around a person like Hillary Clinton.

But charities have a few limits on what they can do and why.

Charities function as non-profit companies with many working internationally. These international organizations rely on government assistance to achieve their goal. This can be simple like providing permits or incredibly complex like hurricane relief efforts.

 There are some Organizations like the Unicorn Children’s Foundation or the Children’s Hospital Foundation that work exclusively with children. Most rely on a few wealthy donors to keep things going while most small donations make up any shortfalls. So keeping those big donors happy is a high priority.

If the charity gets publicly shamed, big donors can pull their support almost instantly. This makes charities very cautious about alienating their biggest supporters. It also means they may turn away help because of where it comes from.

Not all help is the same.

Imagine you ran a multi-million dollar organization with 100 employees. Money is always tight but one donor provided 50% of the income needed to run the organization for a year. That donor is all about the cause and wants to help but loathes cannabis.

Now imagine that a local dispensary wants to donate a few hundred dollars to your charity. You know that if your big donor finds out you took the money, they will withdraw their support. That means ripping the carpet out from under 100 employees, their families, and likely having to close the doors. What do you do?

Would you risk losing the large donor? Would you try to hide where the money came from? Or would you refuse the money? What if the small donor was a black-market meth dealer? There is no right or wrong answer but there are clear winners and losers.

This is a real problem for the weed industry.


As cannabis moves from the black market into the grey market, charities are having to make a choice more and more. Do they accept the grey-money from cannabis or do they protect their current arrangements? Depending on who governs the board, that answer may change.

Politically conservative or highly religious individuals tend to regard cannabis as a negative. Organizations with these types of individuals will resist cannabis far past the point of legality. Many feel a religious mandate to prevent cannabis from moving forward.

Even if most of the individuals in an organization have no qualms about where a specific donation comes from, they still have to remain in the good graces of their main contributors. This is especially true when the organization receives federal money like the American Cancer Society (ACS) and Wounded Warriors (WW).

It usually comes down to federal law.

Since cannabis is still federally illegal, organizations that require federal assistance cannot risk accepting questionable money. Even if the money is legit, each organization needs to take a good hard look at itself before it can accept contributions from cannabis companies.

Those of us in the industry understand the threat that Attorney General Sessions poses to the movement. We looked at the state of cannabis and decided to add our effort to the cause despite the personal risk. But not everyone wants to or even can do that.

Once federal law unambiguously declares that cannabis is legal, we may see conservative and religious organizations jumping on board with cannabis. Groups like the ACS and WW will likely stay opposed to cannabis though.

There will always be naysayers.

On their website, the ACS talks extensively about the science of cannabis and cancer. It also states that:

” The American Cancer Society supports the need for more scientific research on cannabinoids for cancer patients, and recognizes the need for better and more effective therapies that can overcome the often debilitating side effects of cancer and its treatment.”

The ACS and WW may never advocate for cannabis use. Their missions stand in opposition to many of the stereotypes and misconceptions that persist around cannabis. Without more research and changes to its federal status, cannabis donations will remain off-limits to many organizations.

There is hope though.Landrace Strain 1

Just last week, Utah Senator Orrin Hatch introduced new legislation for cannabis called the Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act of 2017 or MEDS Act. As a longtime cannabis prohibitionist, he doesn’t like cannabis, but he can see the medical effectiveness of it. If a religious conservative like him could come arou
nd to cannabis, there is hope for others.

Once cannabis becomes federally legal, more charities will start accepting donations from cannabis based businesses. Many organizations that currently refuse donations from the cannabis industry will lose the last legitimate reasons to resist legal weed and the people involved in it.

There will always be those that feel cannabis is dangerous or negative. But as long as we continue to move forward with legalization, fears and misconceptions about cannabis will be replaced with understanding and hopefully tolerance. Until then, donations from the cannabis community to these organizations will remain unwelcome.

What is your opinion on accepting donations? Should organizations accept money from anyone? Should they only accept donations from certain people? let us know in the comments below.

Is Legalization Really Responsible for More Car Crashes

Is Legalization to Blame for the Increasing Number of Car Related Fatalities?

opioid treatment

Colorado State and Federal data shows a rise in the number of drivers involved in fatal crashes who tested positive for marijuana.The overall number has doubled since marijuana legalization in 2013. The Denver Post recently launched an in-depth investigation into this issue. They are (among other things) reading coroner’s reports to determine if Colorado’s roads have become unsafe since legalization. In Front Range counties, more drivers involved in fatal car accidents are testing positive for marijuana than before 2013.

Part of what people fear is negligent drivers behind the wheel. In 2016, nearly a dozen drivers tested positive for THC with almost five times the legal amount in their systems. In 2016, a report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) Fatality Analysis Reporting System showed some surprising information about drivers.

It’s just plain difficult to accurately test cannabis intoxication.drivers

Drivers who survived car crashes were regularly drug tested within a few hours of the incident. This type of information is trying to show how recently drivers consumed cannabis.The problem they run into is that cannabis metabolizes slowly.

Although the high wears off after a few hours, THC remains in a persons system for up to 30 days. Especially heavy or sedentary people may find that THC remains in their system for significantly longer than that. A person could have been high days before but still test positive after an accident. This makes it look like they were high while driving when in fact, they weren’t.

According to the Denver Post, “positive test results reflected in the NHTSA data do not indicate whether a driver was high at the time of the crash since traces of marijuana use from weeks earlier also can appear as a positive result”. Nevertheless, there is a clear trend of car accidents with marijuana in the driver’s system. This trend is causing great concern with city officials and residents. Without an in-depth investigation into the specifics, everyone is left wondering if legalization is to blame.

There are studies on drivers, accidents and cannabis.

Other studies show that in 2013, 10% of drivers who were involved in fatal car accidents tested positive for marijuana. By 2016, that figure rose to 20%. Also, more drivers are testing positive for cannabis and nothing else. Slightly more than 52% of drivers had no alcohol in their system in 2013 and by 2016 that figure rose to 69%.

Of the 115 drivers involved in fatal accidents in 2016 alone, 71% had THC in their systems. Of those approximately 81 people, 63% had over 5 nanograms of THC (the legal limit) floating around in their veins. The average age of drivers in fatal accidents was between 35 and 40 years of age.

Taylor West is the former deputy director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. According to Taylor, “Unlike alcohol, THC can remain detectable in the blood stream for days or weeks. When any impairment wears off in a matter of hours. So, these numbers really tell us is that, since legal adult-use sales began, a larger number of people are consuming cannabis. And then at some point… (are) driving a car.”

Survivors and victims need something to fight.

Ed Wood of DUID (Driving Under the Influence of Drugs) Victim Voices, started this organization after his son’s death. He believes his son’s death was the direct result of a drugged driver. Ed feels like the system only cares about tax revenue from marijuana and not the people he feels it affects. Instead of simply complain about a system he disagrees with, he activated and found other like-minded people.

Ed Wood and other families who have lost loved ones in a fatal car accidents are compelled to seek closure. If someone can say that the driver was intoxicated, it becomes a rallying cry to purge society of that substance. Mothers Against Drink Driving (MADD), Mothers Against Prescription Drug Abuse (MAPDA) and more are reactions to the very real issue of unsafe roads. But they lead into the next issue.

The system is set up against cannabis users.

People often claim that it is too early to tell whether marijuana is the true culprit for the rising number of fatalities. And that additional data is required before any real conclusions can be done.But that is where things get sticky. You see, it’s incredibly difficult to research marijuana.

Only two universities nationwide are allowed, by the government, to conduct research on how marijuana affects the human body. But they have to get permission from the Department of Justice (DOJ) before they can start any studies. The DOJ has made it clear that they have no intention of permitting marijuana research as long as Jeff Sessions remains Attorney General.

This means that law enforcement is left with no solid way to prove that drivers are dangerous when under the influence of THC. The executive director of the Colorado-based Marijuana Industry Group (Kelly) says, “There needs to be better understanding about what constitutes impairment”. And cannabis users should want a reliable way to test for impairment.

Washington and Colorado are undergoing similar driver trends.CBD Flower 1

Since Washington’s legalization, the rise of fatal car accidents involving cannabis has risen. But the problem still remains, that there is no definitive method of testing drivers for recent use of cannabis. Yes, drivers are found with cannabis in their system, but the tests don’t show is if they were impaired while they were driving. This means that dangerous drivers hide behind innocuous drivers and cause unnecessary complications and loss of life.

Washington States policy for DUI is that they test for alcohol first. Once a driver is found with alcohol that is over the limit, they don’t bother testing for marijuana. According to Washington police, they don’t have the time and resources to do a thorough check of alcohol and marijuana. According to Denver’s coroner’s report, people are f
ound with higher levels of THC on average than before. Their toxicology tests are showing THC levels as high as 24 ng/ml; with one result showing 68 ng/ml.

Police Chief Jackson says that potency is the issue here.

That the weed of today is not the same weed that was consumed during our grandfather’s time. The levels of acute overdose is what he believes is causing the number of accidents to increase.Although there is no peer-reviewed scientific evidence supporting his claim.

Coroners disagree on whether the presence of THC should be listed on a death certificate. This is because of how people interpret as impairment. Jill Romann, Douglas County’s coroner says, “There are others across the state who feel the same way and won’t use the word intoxication with it. Despite the fact we are all coroners, everyone does as they want.”

Hopefully the Denver Post can shed some light on how cannabis users drive. It is always good to remember that correlation is not the same as causation. Just because people buy more ice cream on hot days doesn’t mean that buying ice cream makes the day hotter. Likewise, just because more people have THC in their system doesn’t mean THC is causing accidents. But scientists have to look at all the data, even the stuff that doesn’t agree with our preconceived notions.

How do you feel about driving while high? Do you think DUID, MADD or MAPDA are on crazy? Have you lost someone to an intoxicated driver and how did that change your view? Let us know in the comments below and what you think should be done.

Black Market is Oregons Most Notorious Export

Black Market is Oregon's Most Notorious Export

Oregon is the Epicenter of national Cannabis Production.

The black market is alive and well. According to the Oregon State Police report, Oregon generates between 132 tons and 900 tons of cannabis. That is more cannabis than Oregon can conceivably consume per the Oregon State Police. They clearly underestimate their citizens. However, the real issue is that more and more cannabis is leaving the state to be sold elsewhere. And the Feds are looking at Oregon officials wondering what they intend to do about it.
Even though Oregon has implemented tacking methods to aid in efforts of control, it’s clearly not enough. But what else can they do, they already have cameras in every dispensary. Along with grower’s information, tracking numbers on all cannabis products and a strict budtender to consumer sales protocol.

Attorney Gen. Jeff Sessions wants to change the rules.

The Feds want to interfere with Oregon’s s cannabis laws, but the Cole Memorandum restricts federal marijuana law enforcement. However, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions is criticizing congressional leaders about the federal government’s hands-off approach to medical marijuana. The governors of Oregon, Colorado, Washington and Alaska wrote a warning to Sessions in April.
The governors believe that altering the Cole Memorandum “would divert existing marijuana product into the black market and increase dangerous activity in both our states and our neighboring states.” Making marijuana illegal again is not going to fix the problem. Cannabis will still be sold out of state and the black market will grow even larger once again.  Because of this, Congress is strongly considering renewing the Cole Amendment for the next fiscal year.
Oregon Democratic Rep. Earl Blumenauer said that Sessions is “out of step” with most members of Congress. Many members of Congress are supportive of the idea to end the failed prohibition on marijuana. According to Blumenauer, cannabis has left Oregon for decades. But now-a-days we have better mechanisms to control it. He is correct, and people are continuing to create better methods of cannabis tracking and control.

Tracking technology is racing to keep up with the market.

Tina Kotek is the speaker of the Oregon House. She said that lawmakers wanted to ensure that they’re trying their best to protect the new industry that they’re supporting. The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board says it’s replacing its current tracking on Nov. 1st.
The new tracking system is supposed to be highly secure, more reliable, scalable and flexible. In California, they approved using a tracking system run by Lakeland, a Florida-based Franwell company. Franwell tracks cannabis using bar-code and radio frequency identification labels on packaging and plants.
“The tracking system is the most important tool a state has,” said Michael Crabtree. Crabtree runs the Denver-based Nationwide Compliance Specialist Inc. They help tax collectors track cash-heavy industries like the cannabis industry. Unfortunately, the systems aren’t 100% locked tight, they rely on user’s honesty.
According to Crabtree, “We have seen numerous examples of people ‘forgetting’ to tag plants”. And Colorado’s tracking doesn’t apply to several non-commercial marijuana caregivers. That doesn’t mean that they’re not trying to keep better track on cannabis distribution. California Sen. Mike McGuire said that it will take years for a fully operational and legal market will be in full force.

The Feds can’t catch’em all.

Even if there is a large percentage of marijuana leaving the state of Oregon, the Feds can’t catch them all. There’s a lack of authority and resources for them to snuff out every operation. There is a strong incentive for growers to take the risk because they can earn thousands of dollars per pound. And the punishments for getting caught are not as severe as they used to be.
Anthony Taylor is a licensed marijuana processor and lobbyist. He says that he used to grow large cannabis crops that were hidden from aerial surveillance. “In those days, marijuana was REALLY illegal. If you get caught growing the amounts we were growing, you were going to go to prison for a number of years.”
The large profit incentive for selling cannabis in the black market is real. And according to Taylor, the illegal sale and distribution of cannabis will stop when it becomes fully legalized nationwide. New Jersey U.S. Sen. Cory Booker agrees with Taylor. He introduced a bill to Congress on Aug. 1st to fully legalize marijuana in the U.S.

Even if marijuana becomes legal nationwide, there may still be a black market.

Currently, there is another incentive for distributors to sell cannabis underground. Lab testing remains expensive. Growers must take several samples to get lab tested which can costs thousands of dollars. The wait times are long because there is a shortage of testing labs, and the tests are strict. If one sample test negative for pests or mold, then the entire batch is considered a loss. Labs also test for THC and CBD percentages which adds to the expensive costs of testing.