Recreational Dispensaries Could Finally Be Opening Shop in Massachusetts

Massachusetts voters legalized adult recreational cannabis via a ballot initiative vote in November of 2016. The state had already taken steps back in 2008 to decriminalize small amounts of cannabis for personal use. As of December of 2016, though adults in the state of Massachusetts possessing less than 1 oz of cannabis in public or 10 oz of cannabis in their home we’re officially abiding by the law.
The initiative in which voters passed in 2016 also allowed for the creation of cannabis dispensaries to serve the needs of adult consumers in the state. To date, however, none have opened. This could change however in the coming days.

It’s Been a Long Road but Dispensaries Could Open Soon

Like with every other state that has chosen to legalize cannabis it has taken time to do so. It has taken time for businesses to obtain all the approvals that are required for them to open shop. Entrepreneurs looking to open dispensaries in the state of Massachusetts don’t just have to obtain licensing and approval by the state. They also have to come to an agreement with their local governments before the state will review their applications.
As of September 6th, there were over 2,500 pending applications for various types of cannabis businesses hoping to open their doors to the new commercial market in the state. On September 20th there will be a Cannabis Control Commission hearing in which the first licenses may be approved.
On this date, the commission, which is the state’s cannabis authority, will review the applications of businesses that have passed certain aspects. Aspects such as physical site inspections as well as staff fingerprinting. If businesses that have passed these aspects receive approval on Sept. 20th, they could technically open their doors the next day. That is if they have met all other requirements including submitting their business license fee.
If no businesses receive approval during this meeting of the Cannabis Control Commission, the next hopeful date will be Oct 4th.

What is Legal for Cannabis Consumers in Massachusetts?

We know that Massachusetts has legalized cannabis and that dispensaries may soon open their doors, but what is and isn’t legal? Here is a breakdown of what is and isn’t allowed for adult cannabis consumers in the state. This is based upon the text of the approved ballot initiative passed in 2016.

What can be purchased and by who?

Adults over the age of 21 are allowed to purchase 1 ounce of cannabis. Alternately they can chose 5 grams of cannabis concentrates, or an equivalent combination of the two. This is the limit per day from licensed and state-regulated recreational cannabis dispensaries. Adults over the age of 21 will not be permitted to enter a medical cannabis dispensary without proof of a medical marijuana card upon entry.

How much cannabis can be legally possessed by adults over the age of 21 in the state?

Adults are able to legally travel with up to 1 ounce of cannabis in flower form, 5 grams of cannabis concentrates, or equivalence of the two within the state as long as it is not visible in the vehicle. In the privacy of their own homes, adults can possess up to 10 ounces of cannabis (or more) if the crop is from plants they cultivated at the residence.

Can adults obtain cannabis from friends legally?

Yes, as long as no money or services are provided in return.

Are adult consumers allowed to grow their own stash?

Yes. The initiative passed by voters allow for adults to grow up to 6 cannabis plants per adult residing at the residence. There is, however, a cap of 12 plants per household.

Where will dispensaries be located?

According to most reports, we can expect to see recreational dispensaries open in the following cities; Leicester, Northampton, Easthampton, Amesbury, Brookline, Salem, Fall River, Wareham, Plymouth, Lowell, and Greenfield. It is expected that a few others may receive approval in outlying areas as well.

Where can cannabis be consumed legally in the state?

Cannabis, unlike harmful and deadly cigarettes, can only be consumed in a few places. Parks and public areas are out of the question along with smoking in your car. If you live in the state or are visiting, you can legally consume in a private residence. That is if the home is owned by the occupants or consumption is approved by the landlord. Cannabis will also be able to be consumed at some private clubs and in some rental properties. Consumption on properties such as AirBnBs and hotels will be up to the owner/operators discretion.

Can cannabis that is legally purchased at a dispensary be taken out of state?

Absolutely not. Despite that it was legally obtained, any cannabis found in possession of someone outside of the state will still subject said individuals to the laws in the state in which they are found in possession of the product.
While it may have taken the state nearly 2 years, it is very exciting to see that we could be just a few short days away from seeing Massachusetts make history. And by making history, I mean by opening the doors to the states very first recreational cannabis dispensaries!


Everything You Need to Know About the Difference Between Medical and Recreational Cannabis

It goes without saying that the legalization of recreational cannabis by Colorado and Washington in 2012 became a memorable milestone in the history of the herb. It won’t be an overstatement to say that we are witnessing a true, green revolution in America right now. With California and several states jumping on the legalization bandwagon, and with Canada legalizing the plant nationwide, we are one step forward in our endeavor to shed the stigma off the cannabis community once and for all. 

However, the majority of U.S. states still allow only the medical use of marijuana, while the so-called recreational use remains a misdemeanor or a felony depending on the state. If you want to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, you will have to apply for a medical marijuana recommendation or an MMJ card. 

So, what’s the actual difference between medical and recreational cannabis?

Key Differences Between Medical and Recreational Marijuana Explained

To begin with, both terms “medical marijuana” and “recreational marijuana” are inaccurate and can be misleading because this would imply that whether marijuana is recreational or medical depends on the type of the plant. 

I would rather use terms like “the medical use of marijuana” or “the recreational use of marijuana because that’s what it is. 

For example, if you take the Super Silver Haze strain, you will probably notice that it has a nice pungent, citrus aroma. When you consume it, be it by smoking, vaping, or eating weed-infused edibles, you’re going to experience the characteristic effects of the strain. 

It may make you feel a pleasant tingling sensation in the back of your head, it can give you a creative buzz, or make you craving for some mouthwatering food. It sounds like a perfect strain for relaxation, doesn’t it? 

But, at the same time, Super Silver Haze can stave off stress, reduce anxiety, and ease that pain in your back you start to curse at. It’s a good indicator of its medicinal potential if you ask me. 

To cut the long story short, cannabis is cannabis, period. You can use it either for recreational or medicinal purposes, but it’s still the same plant. Of course, some cannabis strains are specifically bred to address specific conditions in a more accurate way, but that’s a story for another article. 

The Medical vs. Recreational Cannabis Purchasing Process

To be honest, there is no big difference in the shopping experience when it comes to buying medical and recreational marijuana. Qualified medical cannabis patients need a valid proof of ID to prove their age in order to buy their medication from a dispensary. Some cannabis dispensaries have dedicated waiting rooms where patients can consult their conditions with a physician in privacy. 

Recreational stores, on the other hand, are not allowed to give medical advice to customers as they do not have the required license. Nonetheless, you can still shop at them as a medical marijuana user. There are also “dual-licensed” shops which offer a full spectrum of marijuana services and they cater to the needs of both medical and recreational users. 

If all you want is buy your favorite cannabis strain to enjoy the recreational benefits of the herb, go ahead and shop at your local dispensary; that is, of course, if you live in a state or country where the so-called “adult use” of marijuana is legal.

However, if medical advice and professional knowledge is your priority, I would recommend medical and dual-licensed dispensaries, especially those that care about the education of their budtenders.

Medical vs. Recreational Cannabis Product Selection

Both recreational and medical dispensaries offer the abundance of different marijuana products, namely: 

  • Edibles,

  • Vaporizers

  • Oils

  • Concentrates

  • Dry herbs

  • Topicals

  • Drinkables

Who’s In a Better Situation at the Moment?

Currently, medical marijuana users are the more privileged group. They receive certain perks that are out of reach for recreational cannabis. These are as follows: 

  • Higher THC potency limits

  • Lower prices and taxes

  • Medical users are allowed to grow their own marijuana plants

  • They can also carry up larger amounts of cannabis

What is the Public View on Medical and Recreational Marijuana Users?

The social perception of recreational marijuana users has changed throughout the last couple of years. Although using cannabis for enjoyment is still taboo in some communities, more and more people become aware of its advantages over other recreational substances. Marijuana finds particularly strong support in female users, who begin to give up on alcohol in favor of the herb. 

Still, a greater percentage of Americans support medical cannabis than recreational adult use, mostly because, despite the differences, we all agree that our health is of the utmost importance. Nevertheless, when a state legalizes the recreational use of cannabis, consumers might first get attracted by the easy access to a wide range of high-quality marijuana products, only to discover that a particular form of cannabis works wonders for their condition. 

Regardless of the point of view you take, it’s a win-win situation.

Nevada Debuts Recreational Cannabis

Nevada Debuts Recreational Cannabis

Nevada started recreational sales just in time for the 4th of July.

Nevada recreational sales debuted July 1st. Firework, parties, DJ’s and Sen. Tick Segerblom (who is considered Nevada’s hero) were celebrating the recreational kick-off. Sen. Tick has been around the cannabis scene for a while and remembers the hippies of the 60’s in addition to spearheading the cannabis legalization in Nevada.
Segerblom was the first in line buying a bit of weed from Reed dispensary on July 1st. The senator was all smiles. As he looked at the variety of flower available, he said, “When I was doing this back in the 60’s, it didn’t look like this. No seeds, no stems, no sticks. This is pure bud.”
Local Nevada resident, Zach Prekop, said,” Now that it’s legal, it’s more accepted and people can try it out without feeling like they’re doing something wrong. I think it’s going to be another tourist attraction.” Many Las Vegas residents feel the same way and look forward to the increased tourism.

The industry is running into issues spreading awareness about the new changes.

Even with all the hype, many people were not aware that recreational weed is now legal in Vegas. A cabby said on Friday that he expected a lot of people to show up for the July 4th holiday. He also noticed that no one seemed to know they could buy it.
Part of the issue is the lack of available ad space. Nevada law bans cannabis advertising on radio, TV and any other medium where the audience is expected to be under 21 years old. Finding good places to advertise is expensive and limited.
Sen. Segerblom says that cannabis is going to be another feature of Las Vegas. That Las Vegas is the entertainment capital of the world. And they aim to keep it that way with the help of exceptional recreational marijuana.

As of July 1st, recreational weed is legal in Nevada.

All customers need to show legal ID that they are 21 years or older. Out-of-towners are free to purchase as much as anyone else. But that doesn’t mean that it’s a free-for-all. Nevada does have some purchasing and cultivating limits.
Customers may purchase up to 1oz. of cannabis flower per day and/or up to 3.5g of concentrate per day. Nevada will excise a 10% sales tax, but medical patients are exempt from the tax.
Adults may grow up to 6 plants each and a household may grow up to 12 plants in total. Consumption is legal at private homes and on porches or in yards.  Public consumption is still considered illegal and carries civil penalties.
Cannabis is prohibited in casinos, bars, restaurants, parks, concerts and federal property, national forests and federal subsidized housing. The best bet is that if you don’t own it, you shouldn’t consume there. Literally, cannabis consumption is legal only on private property, for now. Oh, and smoking in the car will get people DUI’s.

Where is a traveling stoner to consume?

There are cannabis clubs being put together in Nevada, especially around the Las Vegas strip. These cannabis clubs are to give consumers, mainly tourists, a place to smoke instead of taking it back to their hotel rooms or smoke in the open.
Nevada officials don’t want to see a bunch of cops on the Las Vegas strip creating havoc. Deputy Reno Police Chief Tom Robinson said that previously, officers were told to aggressively enforce cannabis laws. Deputy Chief Robinson said, “Now, we’ve got to change our stance, which isn’t a big deal, it’s just a mindset shift for our personnel.” With police protection and oversight, Las Vegas Cannabis Clubs are set for development by 2019.
A Denver-based entrepreneur started setting up 420 condos on the Las Vegas strip. The interesting thing is that these cannabis-friendly condos are only 420 friendly and not cigarette friendly. Entrepreneurs set up cannabis tours complete with swag bags. They even have coupons and vouchers to use on tours of dispensaries and grow ops.

Nevada is preparing for the next step in their legalization plan.

Nevada is expected to take the lead in national cannabis sales. This is despite the state legalizing cannabis after California and Colorado. While California is the nation’s bread-basket, Nevada is where people go to party, and they know it.
Nevada is set to sell more cannabis that any other state. The reason is because Las Vegas, Nevada brings in 63 million tourists a year. That’s 20 million more than California, Colorado and Washington bring in.
Nancy Whiteman is the co-owner of the Colorado based Wana Brands, they create yummy edible products. Whiteman says, “I don’t think we’ve ever seen anything quite like what Nevada is going to look like just because of the sheer volume of tourism in the state.” Whatever the future holds, Nevada is proving that it can meet its cannabis goals.

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Nevada's Early Start for Recreational Weed Sales in Trouble

Nevada liquor wholesale distributors challenged marijuana licenses.

Nevada’s Department of Taxation expected the first recreational sales to begin July 1st, but alcohol distributors wanted to put a stop to that. A group of liquor wholesale distributors filed a temporary restraining order that prohibits Nevada’s Department of Taxation from distributing marijuana licenses.
Carson City District Judge James Wilson ruled in favor of the liquor wholesalers and granted the temporary restraining order. “The statute clearly gives a priority and exclusive license to alcohol distributors. In order to promote the goal of regulating marijuana similar to alcohol.” Wilson wrote in an opinion paper.

All hope is not completely lost.

The Nevada Department of Taxation still expects the July 1st sales of recreational marijuana to proceed. But they are not clear as to how the process will play out due to the judge’s ruling.

Why did the liquor wholesale distributors go through all the trouble?

The liquor wholesalers argued that they have first rights to distribute recreational marijuana. They also claim that medical dispensaries could not apply for recreational licensing because there wasn’t enough interest among liquor wholesalers. The wholesalers also claimed that the November ballot gave liquor wholesalers exclusive rights to marijuana distribution licenses for the first 18 months of sales. The ballot measure states that marijuana should be regulated in a manner that is similar to alcohol.

Are liquor wholesalers worried they can’t compete with the M.J. market?

Sam McMullen stated, “We just want our rightful place. We don’t want to slow this down inordinately.” McMullen is the attorney for the liquor wholesalers. He fought hard so that the Nevada Tax Department can only distribute marijuana licenses to liquor wholesalers. According to Judge Wilson, the liquor wholesalers demonstrated irreparable harm if the department proceeds to issue cannabis distribution licenses to existing marijuana establishments.
Stephanie Klapstein is a spokeswoman for the Nevada Tax Department. She said that, “We are still looking toward a July 1st launch of the program.” Klapstein also stated, “We expect a hearing on the matter to be scheduled for some time in the next couple of weeks.”

Why the big rush?

On January 1, 2017 recreational sale of marijuana became legal in Nevada. And on Jan. 1, 2018, the Nevada law requires permanent regulations for the sale of recreational weed to be in place. But the Nevada Legislator is expected to give final approval for the “quick start” program to allow existing dispensaries to sell recreation weed before that. The reason for the big early push is because the expected tax revenue from pot sales is expected to total $70 million over two years. That is a lot of money and alcohol wholesalers want exclusive rights to it.

Great Interest Is Being Shown In Oregon Retail Marijuana Market

Great Interest is Being Shown in Oregon's Retail Marijuana Market

In 2014 voters in the state of Oregon voted yes on measure 91 to legalize recreational marijuana for individuals over the age of 21. With an existing medical marijuana program already in place, medical marijuana dispensaries were able to open their doors for retail sales on on October 1st, 2015. The move to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to cater to retail consumers was taken to allow time for the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, which oversees the recreational market in the state, to properly implement a retail industry. Retail marijuana dispensaries are set to open their doors on October 1st of 2016.
Over the last few months, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission has received over 1,300 recreational cannabis related business applications. At this time Oregon has not implemented a cap on how many recreational facilities can be implemented in the state. So far they have approved almost 200 licenses with the majority of them being granted to cultivators. Many applications have been delayed as they have either been incomplete or there has been questionable logistics surrounding applications for outdoor cultivation.
With the process of approval taking between 45 and 60 days any medical marijuana dispensaries that are hoping to transition into the recreational market are urged to get their applications submitted immediately as they only have until the end of the year. On October 1st of 2015 when medical marijuana dispensaries were allowed to open their doors for retail consumers no taxes were being applied to recreational sales. This did, however, change on January 1st when Oregon implemented a 25% sales tax on all retail cannabis sells. This retail cannabis tax is expected to decrease to 17% once the Oregon Liquor Control Commission takes control over retail sales this fall.
Oregon offers many benefits for retail cannabis consumers. Unlike many other states where cannabis is legal for recreational purposes, Oregon offers cannabis social clubs where cannabis consumers can socialize with like-minded individuals. This is not something you currently see in states such as Colorado, which pioneered recreational cannabis legalization in the United States. If you are a resident of the state you are allowed to cultivate a small number of cannabis plants for personal use which is something that is not legal next door in Washington state. Oregon also offers many spectacular natural landscapes including mountains and oceans which are loved by individuals throughout the cannabis community.
If you are looking to move to a state where you can blaze and not worry about going to jail or if you are looking to open a retail cannabis business, Oregon would be a great place to check out as the market is set to grow expeditiously in the state in the coming years.
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