Growing pains: Oregon marijuana boom brings jobs — and complaints — for Josephine County
Grants Pass Daily Courier - By. Shaun Hall - 08/29/2016
GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Josephine County’s growing marijuana industry is experiencing growing pains.
The number of medical marijuana grow sites in the county has remained steady from a year ago, at about 2,500.
But growers who sell to retailers have been sprouting up — 38 new state-issued licenses have been granted this summer to people who plan to grow for the recreational market. More applications are pending.
Pivoting to take advantage of retailer preference for indoor-grown marijuana, these new operations are springing up in former pastures and fields across the county.
“This industry didn’t exist a year ago,” observed Dani Jurmann, standing outside a row of industrial-size greenhouses on Cedar Flat Road near Williams, where he and his family employ nearly 30 people growing marijuana for the recreational market. “The world has changed, and Oregon is at the forefront.”
There’s good and bad happening. The good includes jobs and investments. Jurmann pays employees $15 an hour to start, plus benefits. He employed contractors and suppliers to get the place up and running. He obtained land.
He also bought big greenhouse fans and framing lumber, and built a gravel road.
That’s where the bad comes in— some neighbors complain about noise from the fans, and the road had to be moved to avoid annoying a neighbor who complained about the new traffic.
Operating as Shadowbox Farms, Jurmann employs not only gardeners and trimmers, but a compliance officer and a foreman. The operation’s aim, besides providing 6 million servings of product a year, is to provide a living for his family and employees, in a career some might consider a dream job.
“We offer real jobs with a real future,” he said. “We’re supporting a lot of families here and that’s what’s important to us.”
It all comes with a price, of course. There’s the competition and the new neighbors, and a county planning department that has told him there’s a need for permits for those greenhouses.
In response, Jurmann has applied for the permits, said he’s willing to invest in new fans, and is planning to put up a line of closely packed trees to block sound and sight.
“We are working very hard to meet the needs of our neighbors,” says Jurmann’s wife, Angellina. “We are a mom and pop business. Our community reputation is really important to us.”
The fans are shut off by 8 p.m. nightly.
The whole operation is surrounded by an 8-foot-high chain-link fence. Dozens of cameras provide surveillance. A former stable has become an office, and there’s a room for young plants, in addition to a dozen or more new greenhouses topped with plastic and removable black covers, which give plants 12 hours of sunshine and 12 hours of shade. Every plant it tagged, so it can be tracked.
It’s a going concern and yet a work still in progress.
This week, the new road was put in. Last week, post holes had been dug for a new fence, outside Jurmann’s nearby home, where his four children are being raised. A couple dogs that looked anything but vicious lounged in the sun. The place bustled with workers.
“You couldn’t build something like this in six months without making a mess,” says Jurmann, a grower for the last decade who persuaded fellow family members to pool their money and give it a try.
He’s convinced his crop is superior to marijuana grown outdoors, where rain and wind and dust can take their toll, including how the product looks — an important consideration for retailers.
He predicts a glut of marijuana grown outdoors, which could cause prices for those products to drop, and affect the ability of outdoor growers to make a go of it.
“There’s only going to be the biggest and strongest that survive,” he said.
First Florida marijuana dispensary opens in Tallahassee Tuesday
Tallahassee Democrat-Ryan Dailey-07/21/16
Florida’s first marijuana dispensary will open Tuesday at 800 Capital Circle SE, Tallahassee.
Licensed cannabis grower and distributor Trulieve won the race among the state’s six medical cannabis licensees to open the state’s first retail location. It will sell its proprietary high-CBD, low-THC strain of marijuana named Vita Jay, and has plans for a stronger strain on the horizon.
To do so, according to Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers, the company had to complete a rigorous 2,000-page application that was “very technical,” and pass the consequent inspections from the Department of Health.
“At the end of the day, we are responsible for the plant, what comes out of the ground, and responsible for processing. It is highly regulated, of course, but also a very serious medicine,” Rivers said.
Trulieve is involved in every step the cultivation and sale, with its processing plant Hackney Nurseries located in Quincy.
“We, of course, hope and anticipate a warm welcome from our Tallahassee friends, neighbors and community,” Rivers said. “We’re local, and that’s why it was really important for us to open our first dispensary here.”
Rivers said that she and the company hope the public will see the medicinal value that Trulieve’s product can bring to those with health needs.
“I think once people realize that it really is medicine, that it’s not in any way recreational, they will see why people need it,” she said.
Under Florida’s Right to Try law, which gives patients with diagnosed terminal illness the right to try certain approved “experimental” drugs or ones not found in a pharmacy, Trulieve will have a higher-THC strain available mid-August.
In order to obtain the more potent strand, patients must be declared terminally ill by two physicians.
Customers will not be able to make marijuana purchases with plastic at the store, however, as state law allows only cash transactions at dispensaries.
The company has locations listed on its website as “coming soon” to Pensacola, Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater and Bradenton.
Trulieve will host a press conference at the Capital Circle location at 2 p.m. Tuesday.
Medical marijuana dispensary manager shoots armed robbers clad in masks, body armor
By Leo Stallworth and ABC7.com staff
Wednesday, June 08, 2016
WALNUT PARK, Calif. (KABC) --
The manager of a medical marijuana dispensary in Walnut Park opened fire on two armed men after he said the suspects tried to rob him.
The incident occurred at around 10:40 p.m. Tuesday in the 2400 block of Florence Avenue, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.
The store manager told Eyewitness News that the suspects barged into his business clad in body armor and with their faces covered, pointing assault rifles at him.
The manager said he had no other choice but to grab his handgun and shoot at the suspects, firing at least 10 shots in self-defense.
Jasmine Chavez, who lives just behind the business, said when she came out of her home a short time after the shooting, she saw the suspects being wheeled into an ambulance.
She then talked to the manager of the business.
"His reaction was wow, like lucky to be alive," Chavez described. "He's like, I had to do what I had to do to save my life and his employee there as well."
Local resident Hector Martinez, who has worked at a marijuana dispensary as a security guard, says the owners of such businesses usually have security guards around all the time.
"A lot of money is kept inside, and that's why they always hire guards and actually have to escort people with that amount of money out so they won't get robbed," Martinez said.
Authorities said both suspects were taken to the hospital to be treated for gunshot wounds, though their exact conditions were not immediately released.
The investigation was ongoing.
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.”
May 2, 2016
But, but...weed is for the people, it's the people's weed.
On Friday, longtime weed enthusiast Woody Harrelson lost a Hawaii-wide bid for licensing a medical marijuana dispensary through his company Simple Organic Living LLC. The State of Hawaii Department of Health opened applications for "a total of eight dispensary licenses: three for the City & County of Honolulu, two for Hawaii County, two for Maui County and one for Kauai County." According to Reuters, the state "did not specifically say why the actor's application was denied." Sure, he's not too upset, though. He'll find something else to do with all that would-be dispensary money.
Application forms for the first phase of bidding for dispensaries are available at www.comm-pass.com. Completed forms must delivered by hand to the department in Boston on Aug. 22, the department said in a release.
Backers of the law expect dozens of applicantsfor dispensaries and the first dispensary to open sometime next year. Each dispensary is expected to have a retail store and growing operation with security.
“The department has created a solid regulatory framework for this new industry, and now we are ready to move forward with the competitive application process,” Cheryl Bartlett, commissioner of the public health department, said in a statement. “We are committed to a fully transparent process that respects patient needs, while ensuring safe communities.”
After the Aug. 22 deadline has passed, DPH will post the list of applicants and proposed dispensary locations online at www.mass.gov/medicalmarijuana.
The program allows up to 35 non-profit dispensaries across the state, with at least one but no more than five in each county.
Matthew J. Allen, executive director of the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance, said he is pleased to see the department moving quickly to get dispensaries operating.
“In some other states the process has taken years, so the fact that DPH has started accepting applications just over two months after regulations went into effect demonstrates a commitment within the department to meeting patient needs," Allen said in a statement.
According to regulations approved by the state, dispensaries will have comprehensive security, strict restrictions on signs, bans on advertising and medical marijuana use on the premises, comprehensive security and seed-to-sale monitoring plans, the alliance said.
Under the first step of bidding, dispensary applicants will be reviewed for their finances and integrity. Applicants must report whether any member of their proposed organization has a felony drug conviction.
If applicants pass muster on the first step, they can move to the second step, when a panel will complete an in-depth review and select dispensaries through a competitive process.
The review panel will evaluate and score phase-two applications based on such factors as appropriateness of the site, geographical distribution of dispensaries, local support, and the applicant’s ability to meet the overall health needs of registered patients, while ensuring public safety.
Prospective marijuana dispensaries will be required to pay a $1,500 fee for a first-phase application, and $30,000 for a second phase application. Both are nonrefundable.
Dispensaries that are selected will be required to pay a $50,000 annual registration fee. There will also be a $500 annual registration fee for each dispensary employee.
Other fees include a $50 annual fee for patient registration, a $100 fee for a hardship permit to grow marijuana at home and a $10 charge to replace a medical marijuana identification card. Caregivers must register, but they will not pay a fee.
The department will use the fees to meet the program’s operational needs, including hiring staff and training inspectors to monitor the industry. The department will also develop an online system for registering and auditing. Fees must cover operating costs for the medical marijuana program, approved at the ballot by 63 percent of voters last year.
Even if Obama doesn't support it, WE as the PEOPLE have the power and the right to vote, be heard! - ILLA
The movement to legalize marijuana has arrived at Congress' back door.
Later this month the first medical cannabis dispensaries are expected to open in the nation's capital, including one just eight blocks from the Capitol dome.
The milestone is lifting the spirits of pot enthusiasts who believe a safe and profitable in D.C. could help nudge along the drug nationwide.
ABC News recently toured the Metropolitan Wellness Center, one of the district's three soon-to-open shops, located on Capitol Hill.
While pot products have yet to hit shelves – the shop is still awaiting a license from the district – general manager Vanessa West said they will soon offer multiple varieties of cannabis, paraphernalia and a mix of pot-infused products, including brownies, cookies and drinks.
West, a veteran operator of dispensaries in California who admits she "smoked a little grass in college," said the sleek, modern set-up of her "product selection and payment room" underscores a serious focus on patients and treating their pain.
"When we find out what a patient's symptoms are, we can make a recommendation about what the best strain is for them and what the best possible route for ingesting that strain is," she said.
"Forget about the recreational part for a second," she says to skeptics. "Listen to how cannabis has changed patients' lives for the better."
Only employees and patients registered with the District of Columbia Department of Health will be allowed inside the dispensary once weed sales officially commence. The shop will effectively go on lockdown, protected by a high-tech security system of a dozen cameras and motion sensors keeping watch.
"This is sort of a delicate business," West said. "It's like a bank or a high end jewelry store. We want to protect the product and the people that are inside this building."
Under district law, no one is allowed to consume pot on the premises, West said. Approved users are required to head directly home after making their purchases.
The rules for obtaining legal access to the drug are equally stringent. A prospective patient must be a district resident with one of the few qualifying diseases, such as AIDS, glaucoma or multiple sclerosis. A doctor must formally recommend the drug, and that recommendation must be certified by the Department of Health. Each patient must also submit an application and pay a license fee.
"It's a pretty difficult process, but it sort of needs to be," said West. "You don't want to create a free for all."
The dispensaries in D.C. will remain illegal under federal law, which still bans the cultivation and sale of marijuana as a dangerous and addictive "Schedule I" drug under the Controlled Substances Act. Officially, marijuana is classified has having "no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S."
The headquarters for the Justice Department, the federal agency responsible for enforcing federal law, is located just four miles from the Metropolitan Wellness Center.
West says she's not worried about a raid.
"History has shown that if you are a dispensary operating in a state that is transparent and heavily regulated, the federal government is not interested in intervening," she said.
Medical marijuana is now allowed in 18 states plus the District of Columbia. In November, voters in Colorado and Washington took the movement further, endorsing the sale of marijuana without a prescription for recreational purposes. Both states are establishing regulatory regimens for pot similar to alcohol.
A poll released last month by the Pew Research Center found for the first time a majority of Americans now favor full legalization of marijuana. Fifty-two percent favor decriminalization, with 45 percent opposed.
The level of support is a landmark shift from 40 years ago when just 12 percent backed legalized pot, according to Gallup.
In light of the trend, President Obama told ABC News' Barbara Walters in December that he's re-thinking federal prosecution of some marijuana users.
"It does not make sense, from a prioritization point of view, for us to focus on recreational drug users in a state that has already said that under state laws that's legal," Obama said.
"We've got bigger fish to fry," he added.
The big question now for pro-pot states: Will the Justice Department spoil plans for dozens of new dispensaries, and a potential bonanza of millions in taxes and fees?
The Department, which is reviewing the new Colorado and Washington marijuana laws, has yet to formally decide whether or not they will be challenged in court.
Meanwhile, lawmakers from those states have re-invigorated legislative efforts to repeal or weaken the federal ban on pot. So far this year, seven bills dealing with marijuana have been introduced in the U.S. House, including one that would entirely decriminalize the drug.
All of the bills face an uphill climb, which means for now at least, the new D.C. dispensaries will remain at odds with the law.
New Zoning Needed for Medical Marijuana Dispensaries in Boston
Boston will be updating its zoning code to permit medical marijuana dispensaries in specific areas around the city.
By David Ertischek
Now Boston has to figure out where the medical marijuana dispensaries will be within the city.
District 5 City Councilor Rob Consalvo led the charge at Wednesday's Boston City Council meeting, saying while they don't know how many facilities the city will get yet, it's clear they will get some.
"I’m proposing what we do regularly - update our zoning code," Consalvo said. "This will be my seventh effort of amending the zoning code. Clearly this is a new use and a new change in front of us."
But first the state needs to provide regulations, "We don’t know how the state regulations will take place, we are waiting for the Department of Health to have those new regulations in the New Year," Consalvo added.
The matter was moved to the Committee on Government Operations, for the code to be developed by the Boston Redevelopment Authority, while working with the state and city's health departments, the Boston Police, as well as residents. A hearing is expected to be held in the next 10 days to develop the zoning changes.
Consalvo said there is nothing in the current zoning code that addresses medical marijuana facilities. Issues such as what stores will look like, how medical marijuana will be sold, and more still need to addressed.
Due to it being medicinal marijuana, Consalvo suggested dispensaries should be zoned into hospital areas, to make it a one-stop shop for patients. He added dispensaries should not go in residential neighborhoods, parks or playgrounds, near schools or daycare facilities.
"Without anything in place they could open up anywhere and we’ll get lots of calls. We need to move fast and be ahead of the curve," said Consalvo.
He called for a hearing to be held in the next 10 days to get to work on the issue.
Medical Marijuana: Arizona To Hold Prescription Pot Lottery
For starters, Arizona will hold a lottery tomorrow to pick medical marijuana dispensaries, according to The Associated Press.
Why will the state hold a contest, you might ask?
Though prescription pot is legal in Arizona, the Department of Health Services received 486 apps from individuals or businesses who want to open shops in 99 of the 126 designated dispensary areas -- part of the Department's long-term goals for its medical marijuana program.
However, in 75 of those 99 areas, more than one individual or business applied for a dispensary certificate.
So they're doing a straight-up lotto -- we're talking ping pong balls chosen at random, for reals -- to pick a winner.
The Department's decision comes shortly after many of Arizona's sheriff's and county district attorneys demanded that Gov. Jan Brewer put the brakes on the state's dispensary program, citing federal statutes against cannabis -- which have caused confusion (read: a messy, messy clusterfuck) in California.
And in other bud-oriented breaking news, California Rep. Barbara Lee has sponsored legislation that would put an end to the federal crackdown on state medical marijuana operations, according to U.S. News and World Report.
Recall, also, that Ron Paul recently introduced the "Truth in Trials Act" in Congress, which would give legal protections to prescription pot users.
Follow Victoria Bekiempis @vicbekiempis.