Colorado Cannot Promote Cannabis to Tourists
The Marijuana Times - By. Julia Granowicz - 9/20/2016
As huge as the cannabis industry is in Colorado, you might be surprised to learn that the growing industry has not been as big of a tourist grabber as you might have thought. It turns out that as little as 5% of visitors say that legal marijuana was one of their main reasons for choosing Colorado as their vacation spot. More surprisingly, only 12% of people visiting Colorado actually report having gone to a dispensary – which means that a lot more of Colorado’s legal cannabis is being sold to residents than we had realized and that the legal industry isn’t bringing in as many tourists as we all would have expected.
While we may not know why it’s not getting more attention from tourists, we do know that those tourists who do choose to consume legal cannabis do not have a clear understanding of how the legal cannabis industry works in the state. Of course, to a degree this should be expected – the industry is relatively new, the laws are new and they are unique to each state that allows legal marijuana – but there also isn’t enough being done to let tourists know about these specific laws (such as not being allowed to consume cannabis in public).
Sadly, even though the cannabis industry could be an excellent tourist attraction, due to the conflicts with federal law the state does not intend to start promoting cannabis to vacationers any time soon. However, they have realized the need for more education for those coming into the state to purchase and consume cannabis products. After all, surveys have shown that the residents of Colorado who have been exposed to the “Good to Know” campaign (intended to educate residents on marijuana do’s and don’ts) had a much better understanding of the laws that were put in place with Amendment 64.
“I do believe we need to make it clear to our travelers what to expect when they come to a state where marijuana is legal,” said Cathy Ritter, director of Colorado Tourism Office. “I’ve had some hoteliers believe that their front desk clerks are paying the price because we do not share information with travelers about that.”
“Because a lot of people, when they come to the state, are unaware that they can’t smoke marijuana publicly; and so it’s really more of an education program that’s needed.”
While they will be adding the information about legal marijuana to the Colordo.com website, they have said that it will not be found on the home page – they will never have a “marijuana tab” where you can go find tourist information; rather vacationers will be able to search “marijuana” on their website and it will provide them with information on what is legal and what still isn’t. Likely it will be similar to the Good to Know campaign, or it may simply refer visitors to that website – there is no deadline for when this information will be included on the website.
So as much of a surprise as it is that the cannabis industry isn’t bringing in more tourism, those who are visiting for that purpose need to have a better knowledge on how the laws work. After all, a regulated market is much different than the black market – it’s more open in some ways, however it doesn’t offer you freedoms such as being able to smoke a joint while driving down the road, or while enjoying a picnic in the park. However, education is the best route here – finding a way to reach these visitors before they end up frustrated with police, hotel desk clerks and bar owners throughout the state simply because they don’t know the law.
Colorado Springs orders 9 cannabis clubs to “cease and desist”
Colorado Springs Gazette - 09/20/2016
Nine Colorado Springs cannabis consumption clubs received cease-and-desist letters from the City Clerk’s Office last week in the first crackdown under a ban on the clubs enacted by the City Council on March 22.
The clubs sprang up after Amendment 64 was passed in 2012 legalizing adult use and sales of recreational marijuana but banning public consumption. The clubs gave people a place to use cannabis and socialize in private.
Colorado Springs outlawed sales of recreational marijuana in the city, but the clubs got around the ban by providing pot to their patrons on a “reimbursement model:” they could either “trade” cannabis for memberships or sign affidavits saying the club was growing the customer’s legally allowed six marijuana plants for them. Although city officials view such actions as de facto sales, the practice has continued. The ban passed in March, however, says the clubs cannot sell, trade, give, distribute or allow the transfer of marijuana.
The ban gave clubs that existed before Sept. 23, 2015, eight years to phase out their businesses, an effort to help the owners protect their investment. But under the law, every owner had to submit a consumption club application and $200 fee by April 29 to get a one-year renewable license for $90 plus registration fees. Only five clubs applied by the deadline. One was approved, two are under consideration and two were denied.
The denied clubs, along with seven other identified clubs that did not apply for licensing, have been ordered to close because they are not licensed, as required.
An athlete becomes a legal marijuana grower and part of an emerging debate
The Coloradoan - By. Matt L. Stephens & Kelly Lyell - 09/12/2016
FORT COLLINS, Colo. — If college athletes want to use marijuana, the NCAA likely won't catch them, and Treyous Jarrells is proof of that. He says he was high in almost every game he played. Now he has given up his dream of a football career for one that’s very different: He has one of 102,620 medical marijuana licenses to legally grow plants in Colorado. And he has a message for organized sports, especially football: It’s time to take marijuana off the banned-substance list.
Jarrells, 23, earned a scholarship to Colorado State University, where he averaged 5.2 yards per carry as a running back as a sophomore in 2014. Then he suddenly quit the team because he was afraid he'd finally get caught and lose his scholarship.
“I practiced under the influence. I played games under the influence. This is my medicine,” Jarrells said. “I’ve seen players at CSU pop five, 10 ibuprofens before practice. Daily. You think that’s good? Over the course of two, three years, that’s eating your liver away.”
Jarrells said he smokes marijuana to relieve chronic pain caused from injuries he suffered from playing football for 13 years, since Pop Warner in Sanford, Fla. Consuming marijuana for medical use is legal in 25 states, including Colorado. Jarrells said the THC in marijuana, which he also consumes through edibles, brings relief without long-term damage.
Jarrells is not alone. A small but growing number of current and former National Football League players are calling for the NFL to consider more research on marijuana. They include former Chicago Bears quarterback Jim McMahon, Tennessee Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan and former Baltimore Ravens offensive tackleEugene Monroe.
Despite those pleas from players, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said before Super Bowl 50 last February that the league always reviews its drug policy, and have had talks in the past about medical marijuana, but “not recently.” Goodell went on to say he did not see any changes to the policy in the near future.
Goodell said the league’s medical experts have studied the issue but continue to believe the ban should remain intact for NFL players.
The use of marijuana conflicts with NCAA bylaws and Colorado State University athletics policy. But there is little risk of an athlete being caught. Colorado State’s parameters for drug testing include exceptional performance, reasonable suspicion and random selection. Jarrells said he was never tested.
The issue is complicated by health-related concerns that come with widespread use of university-prescribed opiates to relieve pain. From 2103 to 2016, Colorado State University ordered a combined 19,000 over-the-counter ibuprofens, acetaminophen and naproxen for its approximately 400 student-athletes, according to records obtained by the Coloradoan. By comparison, the University of Colorado in Boulder ordered 37,000 pills for its roughly 350 student-athletes.
It also prescribed 48 Vicodin tablets, although Colorado State’s head trainer, Terry DeZeeuw, said the majority of prescription medications for athletic injuries are filled at a pharmacy in the same manner as the general public and would not be part of the school’s logs.
'Get my body right'
A tour of Jarrells’ home is a tale of two lives.
In the basement, five pairs of green and white cleats dangle by their laces from the ceiling. His two Colorado State helmets, with receiving gloves on their crowns, rest in opposing corners of the room. The walls are checkered with letters from Utah State,Georgia State and Marshall, reminders of his options coming out of junior college, and newspaper clippings that paint a picture of the athlete he once was.
Then, an unfinished room with ventilation tubing and gardening supplies houses barely recognizable hemp plants in tiny planters scattered across the floor. “Those are the clones,” he says. “Just wait.”
Before unzipping the curtain to the final room, he straps on a pair of white painter’s overalls, throws on his yellow, marijuana-themed sunglasses to block the grow lights and reveals his most prized possessions. There are rows of cannabis plants – Pineapple Express and Blue Haze – waving proudly in a 10-by-10 room set at 83 degrees. The tallest towers more than six feet.
Jarrells' two lives came together when the football injuries mounted. Playing running back took its toll on his knees. A 2015 surgery to repair a torn meniscus helped, but the pain never went away.
Colorado State student-athletes sign a university drug policy consenting to being tested at any time for any number of reasons. A first positive test requires the athlete to undergo counseling. The second is a mandatory suspension for 15% of the season (two games in football). A third positive test results in dismissal from the team.
Jarrells appeared in 10 games as a sophomore and one as a junior before leaving the Rams. Not once was he tested, he said, despite playing under the influence in 10 of the 11 games he saw action in.
With fewer than two semesters until he graduated college – an accomplishment few in his neighborhood back in Florida ever achieved – he didn’t want to take the chance that he would be caught, thrown off the team and lose his scholarship. So he lied.
He walked into first-year coach Mike Bobo’s office and told him their relationship wasn’t working. Jarrells came to the school because of former coach Jim McElwain and Bobo wasn’t what he signed up for.
A coaching change coupled with the gun slaying of his godfather, Ron Moore, over the summer was taking its toll on classwork, Jarrells said, and he needed to step back from the game or he wouldn’t graduate. Jarrells said Bobo understood and let him leave the team while remaining on scholarship through the end of the academic year.
Jarrells felt if Bobo knew what was really happening, there was no way he’d allow him to stay on scholarship.
“In my mind, I’m thinking, ‘I can’t do it anymore with the pain. I can’t take it. I have to get my body right.’ I knew if I stepped back from the game, they wouldn’t drug-test me, but I could still get my degree.”
Athlete use in decline?
Marijuana is on the NCAA’s list of banned substances, but the only time athletes are tested for THC, the primary psychoanalytic ingredient in marijuana, is at championship events. Random drug tests administered throughout the year are only for performance-enhancing substances, said Brian Hainline, the NCAA’s chief medical officer.
“Every institution oversees marijuana as it sees fit,” Hainline said. “Some schools test regularly for marijuana, and others don’t. Just as some schools test for alcohol, and others don’t.”
Colorado State University tests its student-athletes for marijuana. It does not test for alcohol.
The program is designed to test every athlete an average of once a year, Colorado State head trainer Terry DeZeeuw said. The school tests for all substances banned by the NCAA.
The National Center for Drug Free Sport, which handles testing for the NCAA and more than 300 of its member schools, performed 447 tests for Colorado State during the 2015-16 academic year and 1,903 since 2010-11. Twenty Colorado State student-athletes tested positive for THC last year. The 4.5% rate of unique positive tests was higher than the average over the previous five years of 3.2%, but below the national average for college athletes of 6%, said Drug Free Sport spokesman Gene Willis.
The low rate of positive tests is “a strong indicator that our program is having a positive effect,” Colorado State athletic director Joe Parker said via email.
A study conducted by the NCAA and released in July 2014 found that 22% of athletes at its 1,200-plus member schools had used marijuana in 2013, down 1% from a previous study four years earlier.
Despite its legalization for medical use in 25 states and the District of Columbia, Hainline said there is no science backing the use of marijuana for pain management.
“There are anecdotes of some people who say, 'Marijuana helps my pain,' and there’s other anecdotes of people who say 'I tried marijuana for pain and ended up being hospitalized for a psychiatric, psychotic breakdown,' ” Hainline said.
The only options available to NCAA athletes are over-the-counter remedies with known long-term side effects including gastrointestinal bleeding and liver failure, or opioids such as hydrocodone (including Vicodin), which can lead to organ failure in addition to being addictive. Vicodin is labeled as a Schedule II narcotic by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Adminstration; marijuana is a Schedule I, which is defined by the DEA as having the highest potential for abuse and which has no currently accepted medical use.
As the rules are written now, Hainline said, an athlete in a state such as Colorado where medical and recreational marijuana is legal could not get a doctor’s note to be exempted from NCAA testing.
The International Olympic Committee has asked Hainline to co-chair a panel with other experts to discuss pain management in elite athletes in November. One of the sub-topics the panel will review is the use of marijuana for pain in athletes. The panel’s findings will be used as a springboard for the NCAA to create a college-specific document for how to treat pain in athletes.
Jarrells still struggles with pain. And he still faces charges from a May arrest for suspicion of driving under the influence of drugs. But he’s bottling and selling his own spray to help cannabis and other plants flourish. And he hopes to continue to grow his business.
“These two semesters I wasn’t able to play ball, I was able to make connections for my career,” Jarrells said. “If I would have played ball, I wouldn’t have had those opportunities because I wouldn’t have been in the places to make those connections. Right now, a lot of players who didn’t get into the league, they’re lost right now because they didn’t make connections. … That’s the thing, you’re not a student, you’re an athlete.’’
Ganja-preneurs create experiences that combine Colorado recreation and marijuana
The Summit Daily - 9/6/2016
When Joel Schneider first began doing business in Colorado, he wasn’t planning on entering the cannabis industry.
At the time, he was commuting back and forth from New York, managing several business ventures in Denver. Retail marijuana sales had recently been made legal in Colorado.
“I was living in a hotel, and I was blowing smoke — worried about getting in trouble — and realized that there was a disconnect,” he said. “You could purchase as much cannabis as you want, but there’s no place to enjoy it. I called my wife and said I have an idea for a new business.”
He and his wife, Lisa, launched their cannabis lodging business in April 2014 and, two years later, have four locations across the state. The group has Bud+Breakfast hotels in Silverthorne and Denver and ranch retreats in Colorado Springs and Grand County. All cater to folks wanting to make cannabis a part of their vacations while immersing themselves in mountain culture and enjoying the outdoors.
The Schneiders are among a small but dedicated group of ganja-preneurs looking to create an industry that is organic, high-end, customer-friendly and respectable in the same way other Colorado products, such as food and beer, have become.
“I see that there’s always going to be a need for canna-hospitality. There will be people traveling around who want to partake. But things could start changing. As other states open up, the tourism business will become diluted.”Joel Schneidercannabis lodging business owner
“We have the best agriculture in Colorado,” pointed out Philip Wolf, founder of Cultivating Spirits, a high-end cannabis event company based in Summit County. “That includes the farm-to-table movement, craft beer and why not pot tourism?”
A MAIN ATTRACTION
There are dozens of pot tourism companies in the state, most catering to younger crowds. Few offer high-end experiences or target an older crowd.
Schneider’s properties integrate luxury accommodations, outdoor activities — such as all-terrain vehicle riding, hiking, horseback riding and yoga at the ranches — and a general mountain getaway experience. And, lest anyone think guests are holed up in their rooms getting stoned, he makes it clear his properties promote the social aspect of marijuana. Smoking isn’t allowed in guest rooms — instead, guests are encouraged to smoke in community spaces and join daily events such as Wake and Bake Breakfast and 420 Happy Hour.
The appeal is broad, and guests come from all over the world, he said.
“We think of ourselves as a beautiful bar or smoking club that only offers top-line foods, beer and wine. This is not the stoner mentality with some music and an old couch to sit on. We want it to be classy and an amazing experience,” he said.
Cultivating Spirits offers a similar experience in the form of food, wine and cannabis tours, where gourmet food, a dispensary tour and wine tasting are all rolled into one educational evening. In Vail and Summit counties, the company offers cannabis parties, helping people integrate pot into a fancy dinner party, bachelorette weekend or even a wedding.
Wolf, the company’s founder, said people are surprised to find that cannabis events can be extremely social and sophisticated.
“The enlightened conversations, conscious consumption and attentive appreciation of what we put in our bodies is what these pairing dinners provide. It is not fast food sitting on our couch not remembering what happened five minutes ago,” he said.
PART OF THE WELLNESS INDUSTRY
Colorado is quickly becoming a destination for health and wellness, and Regina Wells, of Durango Artisanal Tours, thinks pot tourism can be part of that industry.
The company, which launched in 2015, offers tour guiding and cannabis concierge services. Some of its most popular tours include a walking tour of downtown Durango, visits to several dispensaries, shopping for local artisan goods and lunch in a mountain setting. One of its fastest-growing events is the wellness tour, which introduces smokers to the health benefits of cannabis, along with a massage and hot tub soak.
Wells’ interest in the industry came from personal experience. After a health scare in her 40s, she had to look for a less physical occupation and discovered pot tourism.
“After my cancer scare, I started taking an interest in learning about cannabis and health. I was spending long hours on the computer finding out everything I could about its therapeutic effects. It was an eye-opener just how many folks out there were helping themselves and their loved ones with this awesome plant,” she said. “Legalization happened at the same time, so it was a perfect time to jump on in.”
Durango Artisanal Tours attracts a number of unlikely canna-curious customers who are interested in learning about the medicinal side of pot. They include ex-military looking for relief from post-traumatic stress disorder, a woman dealing with grief after losing her college-aged son and even a couple who came out West to administer cannabis oil to their young child who suffered from seizures.
“We even had a former police officer who really needed a chill break,” Wells said. “He was convinced that marijuana wasn’t the evil drug he was led to believe and wanted to learn more about it for health reasons. We were not sure what to expect from our guests at the beginning of this venture, but we have had the good fortune to really help people in need.”
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Some of these ventures are so successful that companies such as Cultivating Spirits are poised to expand. The company is set to move into other states that legalize marijuana, but Wolf also points out this means the Colorado pot scene will have some healthy competition.
“Canada and Nevada are likely going to come on board next year,” he said. “We’ll be approaching $1 billion in tourism this year, but we need to take ownership of that now because that money isn’t always going to be there.”
He wants to see the marijuana industry recognized as a driver for Colorado tourism and become part of the state’s official tourism strategy. That legitimacy will help consumers trust companies such as his own and help Colorado stay competitive when other states legalize marijuana.
Schneider agreed, saying he hopes more policies and authorities will become more friendly to pot tourism.
“I see that there’s always going to be a need for canna-hospitality,” he said. “There will be people traveling around who want to partake. But things could start changing. As other states open up, the tourism business will become diluted.”
Jack Splitt, the teenager who changed Colorado medical pot law, dies
The Denver Post - By. Monte Whaley & Ricardo Baca - 08/25/2016
Our thoughts, prayers, and condolences are with the Splitt family. Jack did so much for so many-UA
Jack Splitt was a charmer, a flirt and a fighter for the right to open Colorado school doors for medical marijuana treatments for eligible students.
But most of all, the 15-year-old, who died Wednesday, was a good son and a role model for his younger brother, Cooper, their mother said Thursday. Stacey Linn also said Jack, who battled cerebral palsy and the brutal pain that accompanied it, came to Cooper in a dream early Wednesday, hours before his death.
“He was standing tall and in a powerful voice told Cooper, ‘Please do not be sad. I am free,’ ” Linn said.
Later that day, Jack died. He left behind a legacy in state marijuana law and a huge gap in his family.
“He fought hard for children everywhere, there is no doubt,” Linn said, “but we’ll also remember his smile.”
Jack’s work in the state legislature to turn around perceptions of medical marijuana was nearly unmatched, say lawmakers and advocates. Splitt was the inspiration behind “Jack’s Law,” which requires schools to allow parents to provide medical marijuana treatment to their children on school grounds. The law became official this summer.
Splitt’s work at the legislature helped win the hearts and minds of all lawmakers, said the law’s sponsor, state Rep. Jonathan Singer.
“Anyone who knew him knew that he was charming, he was engaging. He changed more minds on the issue of medical marijuana than I think I ever did, and he finally put a human face to what most people perceive as a Cheech-and-Chong subject,” said Singer, a Democrat from Longmont. “But it’s not a Cheech-and-Chong subject. It’s kids’ lives and their well-being.”
Jack and his mom began to fight for a change after a school employee ripped a skin patch that was delivering cannabis-derived medication off his arm in February 2015. They helped get a law passed in 2015 to allow schools to create policies to permit a student’s use of medical marijuana, but none did.
This year, they lobbied for a state law requiring schools to allow a parent or caregiver to administer medical marijuana on campus. Teri Robnett, founder of Cannabis Patients Alliance, doubts “Jack’s Law” would be on the books today if not for the boy.
“Oftentimes we know that there’s an issue that needs to be addressed, but when you have a sympathetic face that can really bring focus to the issue, you can really do amazing things,” Robnett said. “And that’s what Jack did.”
“Jack’s Law” was signed by Gov. John Hickenlooper in June.
“You watched how even his facial expressions can change liberal and conservative lawmakers’ minds,” Singer said. “The biggest case in point: When we passed Jack’s Amendment (in 2015), one of the conservative lawmakers came up to me a day after and said, ‘Jonathan, I came into this hearing expecting to vote against your bill, and tonight I’m talking to my constituents about why I voted for your bill.’
“This year when Jack came back to the same committee to help pass Jack’s Law, the very same lawmakers were so thrilled to see him, they couldn’t contain themselves. They all said on the record how glad they were to see him, and so many of them will be crushed. … I can’t change minds that quickly, but he could. And he didn’t even need to use his words to do it.”
Jack started classes at Wheat Ridge High School last week and was enjoying learning and being with his friends. But Wednesday, he stayed home because he wasn’t feeling well, Linn said.
Splitt suffered from debilitating muscle contractions and dealt with the pain by using cannabis-derived treatment. They worsened Wednesday, and he succumbed, his mother said.
“Jack had a tough life, but he was a trouper and a very, brave young man,” she said. “When he smiled at you, it changed your life. I’ve had people tell me that when Jack smiled at them a year ago, they can still remember his smile.”
Amber Wann is a family friend and a supporter of Linn’s Cannability Foundation, a major force behind “Jack’s Law.” Her son Benjamin, who turns 15 Friday, has epilepsy and they treat it with medical marijuana.
“At first meeting Jack, it’s his smile that speaks volumes,” Amber Wann said Thursday. “To talk with him and say hi to him and have him look you in the eye, it was his handshake to you, his way of welcoming you to his world, and as simple as that may seem, it honestly meant the world to have Jack smile at you. It meant the world to us.”
Jack’s only relief came through his daily medical marijuana treatments, which allowed him to relate better to his family and friends, some of whom he knew since elementary school, Linn said.
“He loved being around them and they loved being around him,” she said. “When he didn’t show up for school Wednesday, they all wanted to know where he was and how he was doing.”
“Jack’s Law” gives Colorado school districts the authority to write policies for where on campus the treatments can take place and what forms of cannabis can be administered. If a school district does not create a policy, parents and private caregivers have no limitations on where they can administer the treatment.
Marijuana dispensary security guard fatally shot during attempted robbery
FOX 31 Denver
AURORA, Colo. -- A security guard was killed after being shot during an attempted robbery at a marijuana dispensary, the Aurora Police Department said.
Police arrived at Green Heart Marijuana Dispensary (19005 E. Quincy Ave.) about 9:45 p.m. Saturday where they found the guard inside who had been shot multiple times.
The man, later identified as Travis Mason, was taken to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. The suspects are believed to be two black males armed with handguns, police said.
Anyone with information is asked to call police at 303-739-6067 or Metro Denver Crime Stoppers at 720-913-7867.
Insiders share their stories from the 'fastest-growing industry in America'; marijuana isn’t included in mainstream jobs reports, but another report says pot outsold Girl Scout cookies in 2015
Some have messy buns and sleeve tattoos. Some have salon cuts and $2,000 suits.
Some are joining blue-collar unions, getting health benefits as they grow and sell a plant they’ve long loved. Some say they never touch it, but they’re standing guard outside shops and fiercely lobbying legislators in Sacramento to ensure that others can.
As public support and legalization of cannabis spreads, those who’ve quietly worked in California’s medical marijuana industry are slowly emerging from the shadows. And professionals who never would have considered joining the industry a couple of years ago are leaving behind traditional careers in law, real estate and finance as they flock to what they see as the next big boom.
“The fastest-growing industry in America is marijuana, period,” said Jake Bhattacharya, who recently quit his information technology job to open a cannabis testing lab in Upland.
With medical marijuana legal in 25 states and recreational use allowed in four, pot outsold Girl Scout Cookies in 2015, according to a report from Marijuana Business Daily, a 5-year-old news website covering the industry.
Pot retail sales are expected to hit $4 billion this year, and Marijuana Business Daily is projecting that number could nearly triple by 2020.
The actual size of the industry may already be much larger, too, since California hasn’t tracked its massive medical marijuana market in the 20 years since it’s been legal. And it could skyrocket if voters here and a handful of other states approve recreational use Nov. 8.
The lack of reliable data coupled with the “niche” aspect of the industry is why cannabis — and the connected marijuana jobs — isn’t included in mainstream economic and jobs reports, according to Christopher Thornberg, director of the Center for Economic Forecasting and Development at UC Riverside.
“It’s still too fly-by-night,” Thornberg said.
California’s Employment Development Department doesn’t track the diverse daisy chain of cannabis jobs either. And several recruitment firms said they don’t deal with the industry.
Job seekers and employers instead turn to Craigslist or specialized sites. There’s a recent post on WeedHire.com for a $75,000-a-year account manager at GFarmaLabs, which makes marijuana products in Anaheim, and one on 420careers.com for growers and trimmers at Buds & Roses dispensary in Los Angeles.
Working in the industry isn’t without complications.
It remains illegal at the federal level, which limits access to financial services and causes lingering concerns over raids by federal authorities.
California’s market is also emerging from two decades of nearly nonexistent regulation and intense battles with local governments who were less than welcoming to “potrepreneurs.” That legacy means newly licensed shops often still rely on growers and manufacturers in the gray market, and they struggle to survive alongside unlicensed operators who aren’t paying the same hefty taxes.
Then there’s the glaring disapproval that comes from shrinking (per the polls) but vocal pockets of the public. Fear of backlash from conservative family members or future business associates kept a number of cannabis workers from speaking on the record for this story.
“Let’s face it, of course there is a stigma,” said Juliet Murphy, a career coach who runs Juliet Murphy Career Development in Tustin.
Murphy expects that it would raise eyebrows for more traditional employers to see a weed industry job on someone’s résumé. However, Murphy sees it as less of an issue going forward as the industry becomes more mainstream and as millennials continue to transform the workforce.
“There are still a lot of kinks that are being worked out. But I think this presents an opportunity for a lot of jobs, provided that people do it right,” Murphy said. “I think in the next 5 to 10 years, it’s going to be huge.”
Say goodbye to the bear
It’s important to ensure the safety of children; Keeping medications, cleaning products and other dangerous materials put away and out of reach of curious fingers. When it comes to THC-infused edibles, the strategy should be no different.
However, some people believe gummies shaped like bears, worms, people and fruit slices are just too appealing and tempting to children and need to be banned promptly.
On Friday, Colorado Governor, John Hickenlooper, signed a bill banning the sale and disruption of THC-infused gummies shaped like animals, fruit slices or people. The hope is, with the new bill in order, children will have less access to THC treat that looks all too familiar to them.
The infused version is nearly indistinguishable from standard gummy bears, making it easier and more likely for children to mistake the THC treat for their regular confection.
Colorado edibles must come with a stamp or sticker stating the product contains THC, but apparently that’s not enough for some. Supporters of the ban believe the gummies are simply “too attractive” for youngsters, making it nearly impossible for them not to eat if they should stumble upon them.
Um, what? When was the last time someone’s child ate an entire bottle of gummy antacids? They’re fruit shaped and can cause serious problems if too many are ingested, but responsible parents keep things like that stashed away, just like THC edibles should be.
With the gummy bear ban taking effect July 1, the cannabis market will undoubtedly bounce back, but with less fun shaped THC gummies. Squares and disc-shaped edibles are likely to be seen popping up on shelves of local dispensaries, as many manufacturers have already begun phasing out the illegal shapes.
If customers, for whatever reason, have an issue with the new shape, time is running out to stockpile the cute gummies. In less than three weeks, gummies shaped like worms, bears, people, fruit slices and any other whimsical shape will be removed and destroyed; not resold or given away as part of a compassionate care program.
Parents should be held accountable if edibles fall into the wrong hands. Just like Tylenol, Xanax or Adderall, medications are not meant to be in places where children have open access to them. If Colorado is experiencing an issue with kids accidentally ingesting THC gummies, the parents should be at fault.
Flintstone vitamins are people shaped, but we don’t ever hear about children consuming mass amounts of those. Why? Because parents know enough to keep them put up and away. Unfortunately, lesser intelligent people can’t seem to do the same with their cannabis edibles, meaning all of Colorado must suffer from poor parenting.
While marijuana laws have become lax in recent years, a "Marijuana DUI" can still get you in a lot of trouble.
criminaldefenselawyer.com by Monica Steiner, Contributing Author
The often tragic consequences and harsh legal penalties for driving under the influence of alcohol are well publicized. What many people don’t realize is that it is also illegal and punishable in all 50 states to drive under the influence of marijuana (or a combination of alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs).
Laws defining what it means to be “under the influence” of marijuana vary by state, as do applicable punishments.
Any amount = under the influence. In some states, any amount of marijuana in the driver’s system will conclusively establish that the driver was under the influence.
Above the threshold = under the influence. In other states a driver who is above a certain blood or urine concentration level will be considered under the influence.
The defendant’s behavior or actions= under the influence. A minority of states require the prosecutor to prove that the driver was under the influence, by pointing to his behavior or driving, regardless of the amount of marijuana in the driver’s system.
States also differ in their definitions of "driving." For example, in many states, a DUI charge can result from merely sitting in a stationary car while under the influence. Whether this definition of “driving” applies to you depends on the law of the state where you live, and is discussed further below.
What it Means to be "Under the Influence"
In most states, being “under the influence” means that the driver is incapable of driving safely due to the effects of drug or alcohol use.
As you are probably aware, when it comes to alcohol, a blood alcohol level of 0.08 percent of the driver's blood, by volume, will conclusively establish that the driver is under the influence (if the level is less, the prosecutor can still point to the driver's actions to prove that he was under the influence). In some states, the blood alcohol level threshold is even lower if the driver is a minor.
When marijuana is involved, however, states have different approaches to establishing that the driver was under the influence, as shown below.
Per se laws
In states with so-called “per se” DUI laws, any amount of marijuana in the driver’s system at the time of the offense will conclusively establish impairment. In these states, a prosecutor will not need to present any further evidence (such as behavior consistent with being under the influence or unsafe driving) in order to establish that the driver was under the influence.
State per se laws often include marijuana metabolites—compounds left over when the body metabolizes (or processes) marijuana—which can remain in a person’s body for days, weeks, or longer after marijuana use. While metabolites indicate that the person ingested marijuana at some point in the past, they do not indicate how long ago, or necessarily point to current impairment. Even so, state per se laws that include metabolites accept their presence as conclusive evidence of impairment for the purposes of a DUI charge.
Blood or urine marijuana concentration levels
As they do with blood alcohol thresholds, some states consider a level of marijuana (or marijuana metabolites) in the driver’s blood or urine—usually in nanograms/ liter—as conclusive proof of impairment. As with per se laws, the prosecutor will not need to prove that the driver’s senses were impaired—no need for field sobriety test results, or testimony about the driver’s speech, balance, or poor driving.
In these states, having a concentration level that’s lower than the threshold does not necessarily mean that the driver was not under the influence, however. The prosecutor may still point to the driver’s actions and behavior (such as his driving) to show that the driver was under the influence.
The driver’s behavior or driving
In the minority of states, the prosecutor must always establish that the driver was behaving in a way that showed that he was under the influence of marijuana at the time of the arrest—regardless of (even relatively high) marijuana blood or urine concentration levels. Prosecutors can do this by showing that the driver had impaired balance or speech, or that he was driving erratically—even that he smelled of marijuana.
People are sometimes surprised to learn that the prosecution need not show actual unsafe driving to prove that the driver was under the influence. Merely being under the influence and driving will suffice. For example, suppose you are involved in an accident that you did not cause—your driving was just fine. But the police officer who comes to the accident scene smells marijuana in your car, observes your reddened eyes and tell-tale behavior, and sees half-smoked joints in the ash tray. This may be enough evidence to charge you with driving while under the influence, even though your driving was not unsafe.
Driving as a Medical Marijuana Patient
Eighteen states have made it legal to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, as long as the patient follows the law with respect to amounts, registration, and so on. But no state has gone so far as to say it’s okay to drive after using medical marijuana, even when the patient has scrupulously followed the rules. This can be especially problematic for medical marijuana patients in states that employ per se laws, because as explained, metabolites may remain in the body for some time after use, arguably with no effect on the person's driving.
Medical marijuana patients should know how their state approaches the issue of being “under the influence,” as explained above. For more information on this topic, see Medical Marijuana and Driving.
What Constitutes "Driving"?
Most state DUI statutes consider someone to be a driver within the meaning of the DUI law when he is “in actual physical control” of the vehicle at the time of arrest. This definition is broader than our common idea of “driving” or “operating” a vehicle. The policy goal behind this broad-reaching definition is to keep people from doing a wide range of vehicle-related activities while under the influence, thus increasing safety for other motorists, pedestrians, and property along roadways.
Because of this expansive definition, most state statutes do not limit DUI charges to people who are operating moving vehicles. Being “in actual physical control” of the vehicle can include being in control of a parked car, if the judge believes that the defendant intended to begin driving, or even that the defendant had already driven the vehicle before being found by the arresting officer.
If a DUI can include more than simply driving, what constitutes “actual physical control” of a vehicle? Judges tend to consider a combination of factors, including whether:
the vehicle was on or off
the vehicle was moving or stationary
the vehicle was operable
the keys were in or out of the ignition (and whether the defendant even had access to the keys)
the driver was awake or asleep (was the defendant perhaps “sleeping it off” in a parked vehicle?)
there was any gas in the tank
the vehicle’s gears were engaged, and
the defendant was in the driver’s seat.
Whether you were in “actual physical control” comes down to the judge’s consideration of the specific facts surrounding your case.
Marijuana DUI Penalties
The most common punishments for DUI offenses are a fine, jail (or prison) time, or both. Many states will also impose some length of license suspension or require the use of an ignition interlock device, so that the defendant’s vehicle will not start without a clean breathalyzer sample. Specific penalties for DUI convictions vary by state, though all states impose some combination of the following to punish DUI convictions:
jail (or prison) time
victim impact program participation
home confinement (also known as house arrest)
ignition interlock device use
vehicle impoundment or forfeiture, and
drug and alcohol abuse programs.
Within each state, the severity of the applicable penalties in each case usually depends on whether the offense was a first or subsequent violation, and aggravating factors may increase applicable penalties (see below).
The following circumstances will increase the penalties that would normally apply to a DUI conviction. These include (but are not limited to):
second and subsequent offenses
a minor in the vehicle at time of offense (sometimes referred to as “child endangerment”)
a minor as the defendant
DUI while driving on a suspended license
DUI while driving a school bus
causing a traffic accident, property damage, bodily injury, or death, and
driving with particularly elevated alcohol or drug content levels
Sentence ranges and mandatory minimum sentences
Although many state statutes list maximum fines, jail time, and license suspension periods, unless the law requires minimum fines, jail time, and suspension, the judge usually has discretion to sentence for periods up to the various maximums. This means that a defendant can theoretically end up with no, or very low, jail time and penalties.
Defendants who have prior DUI convictions probably can’t count on a mild sentence due to the absence of a mandatory minimum sentence in the statute, however. In all states, penalties increase for second and subsequent offenses, and in most states, that means mandatory minimum penalties for these subsequent violations. However, often there’s a “wash out” provision—a rule that effectively makes a prior DUI of a certain age go away for purposes of enhancing subsequent sentences. For example, a mandatory minimum may apply to a current conviction only if the prior conviction was incurred less than five, seven, or ten years ago. When a prior has washed out, the subsequent offense is treated as a first offense for punishment purposes.
A tip for American farmers: Grow hemp, make money
By Doug Fine latimes
june 25 2014
After a 77-year break, hemp plants are growing in American soil again. Right now, in fact. If you hear farmers from South Carolina to Hawaii shouting "God bless America," the reason isn't because Thomas Jefferson drafted the Declaration of Independence on hemp paper (he did). Nor is it because the canvas that put the "covered" in pioneer covered wagons was made of hemp, nor that the hemp webbing in his parachute saved George H.W. Bush's life in World War II.
Nope. It's because U.S. policy is finally acknowledging that hemp can help restore our agricultural economy, play a key role in dealing with climate change and, best of all, allow American family farmers to get in on a hemp market that, just north of us in Canada, is verging on $1 billion a year.
Hemp is a variety of cannabis — and thus a cousin of marijuana — that contains 0.3% or less of the psychoactive component THC. (Marijuana plants typically contain 5% to 20% THC.) You can't get high from hemp, but starting in 1937, U.S. drug laws made cultivating it off-limits.
Finally, the U.S. hemp industry is back. A provision in the 2014 farm bill signed by President Obama on Feb. 7 removed hemp grown for research purposes from the Controlled Substances Act, the main federal drug law.
Not a moment too soon. American farmers have been watching as Canadian farmers clear huge profits from hemp: $250 per acre in 2013. By comparison, South Dakota State University predicts that soy, a major crop, will net U.S. farmers $71 per acre in 2014.
Hemp takes half the water that wheat does, and provides four times the income. Hemp is going to revive farming families in the climate change era. — Colorado farmer Ryan Loflin
Canada's windfall has been largely due to the American demand for omega-balanced hempseed oil. But hemp is also a go-to material for dozens of applications all over the world. In a Dutch factory recently, I held the stronger-than-steel hemp fiber that's used in Mercedes door panels, and Britain's Marks and Spencer department store chain used hemp fiber insulation in a new flagship outlet. "Hempcrete" outperforms fiberglass insulation.
Farmers I've interviewed from Oregon to Ohio have gotten the memo. In a Kansas-abutting corner of eastern Colorado, in the town of Springfield, 41-year-old Ryan Loflin wants to save his family farm with hemp. "It takes half the water that wheat does," Loflin told me, scooping up a handful of drought-scarred soil so parched it evoked the Sahara, "and provides four times the income. Hemp is going to revive farming families in the climate-change era."
From an agronomic perspective, American farmers need to start by importing dozens of hemp varieties (known as cultivars) from seed stock worldwide. This is vital because our own hemp seed stock, once the envy of the world, was lost to prohibition. This requires diversity and quantity because North Dakota's soil and climate are different from Kentucky's, which are different from California's. Also, the broad variety of hemp applications requires distinct cultivars.
Legally, farmers and researchers doing pilot programs in the 15 states that have their own hemp legislation (including California) now have the right to import those seeds. The point of the research authorization in the farm bill is explicitly to rebuild our seed stock. Such research is how the modern Canadian hemp industry was kick-started in 1998.
But one final hurdle has been placed in front of American hemp entrepreneurs. In Kentucky, U.S. Customs officials, at the behest of the Drug Enforcement Administration, in May seized a 286-pound shipment of Italian hemp seed bound for the state's agriculture department. After a weeklong standoff, a federal agency had to be reminded by the federal courts that the law had changed and Kentucky's seed imports were legal.
The problem is as much an entrenched bureaucratic mind-set as the ink drying on the new federal hemp policy. DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart told a law enforcement group last month that the hoisting of a hemp flag above the U.S. Capitol last July 4 was "the low point in my career."
It should have been a high point. Hemp's economic potential is too big to ignore. When he was China's president, Hu Jintao visited that nation's hemp fiber processors in 2009 to demand that farmers cultivate 2 million acres to replace pesticide-heavy cotton. Canada funded its cultivar research for farmers, with today's huge payoff.
Even Roger Ford, a politically conservative Kentucky utility owner, told me his Patriot BioEnergy's biofuels division would be planting hemp on coal- and tobacco-damaged soil the moment it was legal. Why? To use the fiber harvest for clean biomass energy. "We have a proud history of hemp in the South," Ford told me.
Congress knows the farm bill hemp provision is just a baby step. The real solution is the Industrial Hemp Farming Act, introduced by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), which would allow nationwide commercial hemp cultivation. Colorado, already ahead of federal law on legalizing psychoactive cannabis, is also in front on hemp; it has a state law allowing commercial hemp cultivation. At least 1,600 acres were planted this season.
Wyden's bill should be fast-tracked. In the meantime, Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) believes hemp is so important for the Bluegrass State that he's not waiting for another brouhaha over seed imports. He added an amendment to a bill that controls the DEA's budget to specifically protect imported hemp seeds from seizure. It passed in the House 246 to 162 on May 30.
It's a necessary move: Just last week at the Canadian border, the DEA seized another shipment of hemp seeds, this time bound for Colorado farmers. This counterproductive nonsense must stop.
American farmers and investors need our support to catch up with Canada's and the rest of the world's hemp head start. Now. As Loflin put it when I toured his family's 1,200-acre Colorado spread, "I'm planting hemp to show my neighbors that small farmers have a real option as businesspeople in the digital age."
We're down to 1% of Americans farming; it was 30% when our world-leading hemp industry was stymied in 1937. The crop is more valuable today than it was then. We should be waving flags and holding parades for the farmers ready to plant the crop that Thomas Jefferson called "vastly desirable." I know I'm ready. To cheer, and to plant.