Legalize Now NY Hosts Legalization Talks And Live Music

By Rich Woznicki

NEW YORK: Last night, advocacy group Legalize Now New York hosted talks from local politicians, advocates, and had a surprise visit from Redman at the Bell House in Brooklyn for the event.  In attendance were all the  likely suspects from the New York legalization movement, veterans like Troy Smit of Empire State NORML, NY Bar Association member Noah Potter, Mary Jane of High Times, Steve Bloom of CelebStoner.com.

Jason Draizin and Jon Nicolozzo from MarijuanaDoctors.com were there supporting the cause, handing out some fashionable cannabis socks, and catching eyes with their cannabis-decorated ambulance.  Harry Hefferman, Jason Pinsky of United Cannabis, NYC Deputy Comptroller Ari Hoffnung, City Council members Jumaane Williams and Rafael Espinal, “Ganja Granny” Arlene Williams, and Redman addressed the audience and spoke eloquently about the state of the legalization movement today.

As has been the case at other recent gatherings, there was an air of eager optimism amid the people in attendance and a clear and common theme: “New York Wants Full Legalization – No Compromises.”  These advocates are fully opposed to any excuse to penalize people for possessing marijuana for any reason – they want “Legalization Now.” This group of politicians is staring their opposition in their faces and demanding marijuana policy be commensurate with the dangers of marijuana itself – which would imply even less restriction than alcohol.

Some unexpected words were spoken by an unexpected guest, legendary artist Redman.  In addition to announcing that he is pursuing education with regard to the marijuana industry, he wishes a high-CBD medical strain of cannabis to bear his name because of his empathy for the sick people who would benefit most from that particular cannabinoid.

Redman speaks at the Bell House

Redman spoke about legalization, his new journey in pot education, and an offer to endorse a high-CBD marijuana strain with his name

New York City Council member Jumaane Williams brought up an often ignored aspect of the emerging legal marijuana market when he implored the audience to make sure that when regulations for legal medical and recreational marijuana stores and dispensaries are set, they ought not to exclude the same minorities which have been disproportionately oppressed by the War on Drugs.

After a call to the crowd charging everyone with the task of voting and making themselves otherwise heard, we were directed to enter the main hall to hear Ganja Granny speak about her cannabis journey and to introduce the musical guests.  Granny told a tale of illness and eventual relief, as well as her friend “Jose” who set her up with her first bag of cannabis – laws be damned, she was in need of comfort in the face of breast cancer.

Ganja Granny exited the stage to much applause, the live music started, and a low-key celebration ensued.  There was exuberant talk of new cannabis products and companies, as some lamented segments of the pot economy, but many more spoke in excited yet hushed tones about the hidden – and some not so hidden – opportunities to make grand sums of money in the emerging legal cannabis market.  It’s all just a matter of time now until policymakers get out of the way of cannabis users and entrepreneurs; when that happens, some are going to get rich and become the big players, many will just survive or fail, and most will not get a license in the first place.

COLORADO: Cranfords debuts its high THC, machine-rolled cannabis cigarettes

The cigarette is an American icon, like it or not. And while Big Tobacco and anti-cigarette activists alike can (and will) take advantage of its iconic visage, they’re not the only ones utilizing its familiarity.

A Colorado company debuted its all-marijuana cigarettes a few months ago, and now the Rifle, Colo.-based makers of Cranfords Cannabis Cigarettes are hoping their sharply marketed and smartly designed product takes off in Colorado — and soon other markets.

“A lot of people who smoke (tobacco) cigarettes have tried our products, and they like that it’s the same feeling — the way it fits between your fingers and how you smoke it and flick it,” said Cranfords chief operating officer Chris Connors. “But there’s no tobacco in there. It’s all marijuana, about 100 milligrams in each cigarette, so they’ll definitely make you feel differently than a regular cigarette.”

We spoke with Connors — whose dad spent 30-plus years on Wall Street and grandfather was an executive at Bristol-Myers — about Cranfords’ first few months, their feelings about the booming vaporizer market and their intentions for the future.

COLORADO: Medical Marijuana is Still the Best Deal on Pot in Colorado

Four months into legal recreational marijuana in Colorado, the market for medical cannabis is still by far the most cost-effective way to purchase pot in the state, a FiveThirtyEight analysis has found.

Colorado legalized the sale of recreational marijuana in 2012, setting the stage for the first open recreational marijuana economy in the United States. The first sales of recreational cannabis began this year. The medical marijuana economy had been established in Colorado for several years already, and has continued to be robust.

To see how prices compare across the two markets, I looked at data provided by WeedMaps, a site that posts locations, menus and prices of recreational and medical cannabis for sale in legal areas. The data set comprises 19,484 cannabis flower prices from 814 Colorado medical dispensaries starting in February 2013 and 1,940 cannabis flower prices from 104 Colorado recreational dispensaries, which opened Jan. 1, 2014. I found that at every price point, medical marijuana is cheaper than recreational pot.

PA: NORML Interviews: PA State Senator and US Congressional Candidate Daylin Leach

NORML recently interviewed Pennsylvania State Senator Daylin Leach regarding marijuana law reform and the role it has played in state politics and his campaign. While serving in Harrisburg, Senator Leach introduced measures to legalize marijuana for both medicinal and recreational purposes. In addition to currently serving in the state Senate, Daylin Leach is also a candidate in the Democratic primary to represent the Pennsylvania 13th Congressional District in the US House of Representatives (and had previously received the endorsement of NORML PAC).

 

What personally made you embrace marijuana law reform?

Senator Daylin Leach: My embrace for marijuana reform was based off of the pernicious and destructive laws currently in place. We live in a society where marijuana prohibition is putting a strain on our justice system that cannot continue, where sick children and adults are not getting the medicine they need, and where otherwise law-abiding citizens are losing their freedom for partaking in a “drug” that is so much less harmful than alcohol.

Despite 58% of Americans supporting marijuana legalization, why do you think some politicians are still hesitant to support these important reforms?

ILLINOIS: Waging war against drug prohibition

It was 25 years ago when James Gierach, a municipal attorney living in Palos Park, created political ripples by saying that marijuana should be decriminalized.

“It was a gathering of Cook County Democratic Party committeemen, and I was trying to get them to slate me for state’s attorney,” Gierach recalled Monday.

I asked what the reaction was at the time.

“Well, the TV cameras stopped rolling as I was speaking, and John Stroger, the Cook County Democratic Party chairman, started walking around the room chatting with the other committeemen,” Gierach said with a laugh.

Pot Prohibitionists Will Have to Do Better Than Bill Bennett’s BS

A couple of months ago, arguing in favor of marijuana prohibition at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), radio producer Christopher Beach faced a mostly hostile audience. “There used to be a strong conservative coalition opposed to drugs, but it’s dissipated in the face of mounting public support for legalization,” Beach told The Atlantic‘s Molly Ball afterward. “We’re fighting against the tide on this.” According to the headline of an essay by Beach and his boss, former drug czar Bill Bennett, in the May 5 issue of The Weekly Standard, they are also fighting “The Legalization Juggernaut,” which presumably is moving with the tide. Beach and Bennett nevertheless argue that it’s not too late to turn this juggernaut around. Maybe so, but they are going to need a bigger boat, or at least better arguments. Here are a few they should consider retiring:

The great political scientist James Q. Wilson staunchly opposed the legalization of drugs. He explained that “drug use is wrong because it is immoral and it is immoral because it enslaves the mind and destroys the soul.” No society should want unhealthy substances destroying the minds, bodies, character, and potential of its citizens.

As I note in my book Saying Yes, Wilson’s explanation made no distinction between use and abuse, weirdly implying that consumption of psychoactive substances always (or at least usually) “enslaves the mind and destroys the soul,” which was his tendentious description of addiction. Furthermore, Wilson conceded that alcohol poses the same sort of threat, which raises the obvious question of how it can be just to treat suppliers of beer, wine, and liquor as legitimate businessmen while treating suppliers of marijuana, cocaine, and heroin as criminals.

Meet the Congressman Whose District Grows Most of Your Weed

CALIFORNIA: Two years ago, California Rep. Jared Huffman, who had previously served as a state assemblyman and an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council, was elected to represent a district stretching from Marin County all the way to the Oregon border. It includes the Emerald Triangle, the three-county region that produces most of America’s domestically grown marijuana. Huffman’s people got in touch after seeing my recent story, “The Landscape-Scarring, Energy-Sucking, Wildlife-Killing Reality of Pot Farming.” The congressman wanted to discuss, among other things, how he proposed to deal with the devastation that results from trespass grows on public lands.

Mother Jones: What’s it like being the highest-elected official from the nation’s epicenter of marijuana cultivation?

“When I…saw what people were doing to our streams and our fisheries and our watersheds, I was outraged.”

Jared Huffman: I tell people that I represent the district with a third of the California coast, the biggest trees in the world, some of the best wine grapes in the world, and about 60 percent of the marijuana produced in America.

Fox Slams NJ Gov Chris Christie’s Pot Brutality and Ignorance

NEW JERSEY: Though Fox news is more or less consistently prohibitionist, Fox correspondent Greg Gutfeld gets it right and shames thuggish Governor Chris Christie on his refusal to stop destroying innocent – and mostly minority – people’s lives for choosing a safer buzz than alcohol.

 

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=videoseries?list=PLWgO_qyMJotzYKWiqdYYwHzcs6o63R9wq]

AirTHC Aims to Connect Weed-Friendly Homeowners and Travelers

COLORADO: Presumably, folks visiting Colorado for a bit of “weed tourism” will want somewhere to enjoy the fruits of their travels. But until more cannabis cafes proliferate, what’s a vacationing stoner to do? It can be hard to hide the smell of marijuana in a hotel, and most Airbnb hosts make no mention of their pot policies. Plus Colorado law prohibits smoking weed in any public places. Enter airTHC.

Building on Airbnb’s short-term rental model, airTHC connects travelers with marijuana-friendly vacation rentals, “ensuring that you’ll have a private space of your own to smoke—legally—while you stay in Colorado.”

As with Airbnb, both property owners and potential renters fill out a profile. “As you stay in places you acquire a reputation,” Jordan Conner, airTHC’s co-founder, told CBS Denver. “You will also be able to contact the person before they come and stay in your place.”

So far, more than 30 property owners have signed up with airTHC. The owners plan to launch to renters “in the very near future,” co-founder Greg Drinkwater says.

Marijuana Policy Roundup

Nevada Legalization Initiative Gets Underway, Aims At 2016. The Campaign to Regulate Marijuana Wednesday filed a petition with the Nevada Secretary of State to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the Silver State. The group needs to get 101,667 signatures by November 11 to move the process forward. If the signatures are collected on time, the initiative would then go before the state legislature in 2015. The legislature can approve it or vote it down, but if it is voted down, it would go before the voters in the 2016 general election.

Colorado Edibles Regulation Bill Passes House. A bill to tighten laws governing the sale of marijuana-infused edibles in Colorado was unanimously passed by the state House of Representatives on Tuesday after two deaths possibly linked to the ingestion of cannabis products shed light on the lack of guidelines for edibles. With House Bill 1361, Colorado lawmakers are aiming to limit the amount of concentrated marijuana that can be sold through a bill requiring more specific labeling of pot-laced products, such as candies and baked goods, as well as restricting the amount of the THC chemical in edibles.

Possession Of Marijuana In Brooklyn Decriminalized In Small Quantities. Marijuana users in Brooklyn will get slapped with a mere $100 fine for possession so long as they don’t have a criminal record. Brooklyn DA Ken Thompson said he will no longer be prosecuting marijuana smokers for possession provided they have no previous criminal history or have been busted for weed before. The DA said in a memo made public by the New York Post Wednesday that marijuana laws disproportionately hurt youths of color, especially those without previous records.

New York Poll Has Support for Legalization at 43%. A new Siena Poll has support for legalization in the Empire State at 43%, with 52% opposed and 5% undecided. There were majorities for legalization among Democrats, liberals, men, and people under 35. Medical marijuana fared better, with 51% backing a full medical marijuana law, 26% favoring Gov. Cuomo’s (D) limited program, and only 21% opposed to any medical marijuana. Click on the link for the crosstabs.