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Read Up, Reach Out, And Help Reform Marijuana Laws

By Bailey Hirschburg, Legislative Associate, WA NORML PAC

WASHINGTON: Tuesday, March 7th is our 2017 Cannabis Community Lobby Day in Olympia. Even if you aren’t able to join us, you can still help. Below are several bills that impact recreational and medical cannabis consumers and could be passed into law this year or early next year. They have moved through some committees and may be voted on this week if lawmakers are pushed to act.

Attendees from across Washington will be discussing these and other marijuana issues with lawmakers. Your call to lawmakers helps to turn up the volume.

What follows is the same information and talking points given to attendees, as well as info on how you can contact lawmakers from home.

Once you’re done, let us know how it went by posting on social media using #CannabisCommunityLobbyDay .

EXAMPLE:

BILL#1 (Says whether to talk to Senator/Representatives) A title/subject sentence the legislature uses to describe the bill.

Explanation of how it impacts cannabis consumers in the legal market.

– A talking point or fact to discuss that helps frame the issue positively.

HB2021 (Representatives) Authorizing the sale of marijuana plants and seeds to qualifying patients and designated providers.

Medical marijuana patients and caregivers are allowed to cultivate cannabis but have no way to secure seeds/clones outside of one of the few medical cooperatives registered with the state. This would allow medically endorsed retailers/producers to sell seeds/clones to patients with authorizations or registered designated providers.

-There have been problems merging medical and recreational laws together, this starts to address safe access for patients, keeps potential medical crops tested, and helps the state observe distribution.

-Some retailers have medical endorsements, but according to the staff of the LBC, almost none have compliant products. Seeds offer producers an incentive into making compliant products, motivating businesses and patients to participate in the legal market.

HB1461 (Representatives) & SB5323 (Senators) Relating to creating a voluntary marijuana production standard and certification program.

The organic certification is a federal term, so the state cannot use this on cannabis. This takes comparable language to federal organic standards and applies them to a certification program overseen by the state Dept. of Agriculture. 

– Consumers appreciate the environmental and health implications of organic-type certification and would benefit from a recognizable and consistent standard.

-This incentivizes outdoor production which benefits the atmosphere through oxygenation while using less energy than indoor production.

SB5290 (Senators) Relating to the administration of marijuana to students for medical purposes.

Requires rules process for allowing caregivers/guardians to administer non-inhaled marijuana to registered student-patients at schools, buses, and school sponsored events. Currently, it’s optional, meaning school districts can avoid preparation even when a student is in need. It’s companion bill, HB1060, recently passed the state house.

-Colorado and New Jersey currently have laws accommodating student-patients. Our state has an expectation to provide education, and current federal law prohibits interference in state medical cannabis program. (H.Amdt. 748 to H.R.4660 – Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2015)

-Fortunately, there aren’t many needing this, but the current practice in many districts is for parents to take students off site to use medicine. This hinders learning and socialization that’s crucial for child development.

-This requires minimal planning and no staff participation, we shouldn’t wait until a student is missing out.

SB5324 (Senators) Relating to adding authority to the department of agriculture to regulate sanitary processing of marijuana-infused edibles.

Applies authority of state Dept. of Agriculture in sanitary food handling to infused-edibles and establishes a producer endorsement for them. Currently, Ag contracts with the LCB to monitor but can’t act on violations independently.

-Most edibles are made and handled well, but consumers appreciate knowing they’re regulated similarly to other food items.

There are also issues like home growing, and social cannabis use that the legislature hasn’t advanced. HB1212 passed unanimously out of the house Commerce & Gaming Committee, beyond personal cultivation it legalized sharing/gifting, and allowed patients or individuals to have their crop tested in a lab. A great bill, but no interest in the state senate.

Another bill proposed increasing the penalty for public consumption of cannabis, but nothing has been put forth for private events/businesses to allow even outdoor marijuana use. The frequent reason given is that there isn’t an appetite among lawmakers for those changes. There is an appetite for the cannabis tax revenue that funds 1.76% of the state budget. Consumers have been scared to speak up because of social/legal barriers. Some are broken. You’re breaking more.

What Would “Greater Enforcement” Mean for Washington’s Cannabis Businesses?

Justice Department has options to crack down, but may galvanize the push for even wider legalization

By Andy Aley

WASHINGTON: In statements that were perhaps inevitable but nonetheless surprising to the cannabis industry, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on February 23, 2017, provided the first official comments on how the Trump administration may address recreational marijuana.

Responding to a question from an Arkansas reporter regarding medical marijuana, Spicer indicated that the Trump administration sees “a big difference” between medical and recreational marijuana, stating that federal law needs to be followed “when it comes to recreational marijuana and other drugs of that nature.”

Spicer also indicated that enforcement decisions will primarily be a Department of Justice (“DOJ”) matter, stating that enforcement is “a question for the Department of Justice,” but that he believed there would be “greater enforcement of [federal law], because again, there’s a big difference between medical use, which Congress has, through an appropriations rider in 2014, made very clear what their intent was on how the Department of Justice would handle that issue,” which, Spicer stated, is “very different from the recreational use, which is something the Department of Justice will be further looking into.”

Although Spicer’s statements should probably not be considered as the Trump administration’s definitive policy statement on recreational marijuana use, they do raise a variety of concerns for cannabis businesses.

A New Direction for the Department of Justice

The August 29, 2013 DOJ Memorandum (the “Cole Memo”) is the closest thing the cannabis industry has to an official federal policy statement on DOJ’s enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act (“CSA”) in states that have legalized the possession, production, processing and sale of marijuana.

The Cole Memo is well-known throughout the cannabis industry, but to recap, it is essentially soft guidance to federal prosecutors regarding DOJ’s view on the appropriate allocation of federal resources regarding enforcement of the CSA.

The Cole Memo outlines eight general federal enforcement priorities related to marijuana in states in which it has been legalized, and notes that these enforcement priorities are less likely to be threatened in states with “strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems to control the medical and commercial cultivation, distribution, sale, and possession of marijuana . . . .”  In these situations, the Cole Memo provides guidance to federal prosecutors that “enforcement of state law by state and local law enforcement and regulatory bodies should remain the primary means of addressing marijuana-related activity.”

The Cole Memo is, however, non-binding, and expressly states that it is “intended solely as a guide to the exercise of investigative and prosecutorial discretion” and does not provide “a legal defense to a violation of federal law, including any civil or criminal violation of the CSA.”  This means that DOJ is free to reverse course and begin enforcement actions related to CSA violations in states that have legalized marijuana.  The appointment and subsequent confirmation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who has been an outspoken critic of marijuana use, raised the possibility of a change within DOJ.

Spicer’s recent statements indicate that Attorney General Sessions would be free to pursue a policy change without interference from the White House.

Exactly what that change would look like remains uncertain, but keep in mind that despite state-level legalization, marijuana remains a Schedule I controlled substance under the CSA, and the federal government can seize, and seek the civil forfeiture of, real or personal property used to facilitate the sale of marijuana, as well as money or other proceeds derived from such sales.  In addition, there is potential risk of criminal investigation or prosecution for aiding and abetting violation of the CSA or for conspiring to violate the CSA.

DOJ’s best, and perhaps most likely to be used, enforcement actions are criminal prosecutions and civil forfeiture cases brought against individuals and businesses directly participating in the cannabis industry (producers, processors and retailers).  Those actions are simple to implement, as DOJ simply needs to allow Drug Enforcement Agency agents to conduct investigations of and/or raids on producers, processors and retailers, then tell federal prosecutors that they are free to seek the indictment of these individuals and businesses for violating federal law.

The Distinction Between Medical and Recreational Marijuana is Critical – For Now

Spicer’s statements also highlight the “big difference” between how the Trump administration views medical and recreational marijuana.  This view is reflected in federal law, which currently grants limited protection to medical marijuana users and, by implication producers, processors and retailers.  The “Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment”, which is a rider to the federal spending bill currently in effect, prohibits DOJ from spending funds to prevent states’ implementation of their medical marijuana laws.  In United States v. McIntosh,a 2016 case, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that this rider “prohibits DOJ from spending money on actions that prevent the [states listed in the rider from] giving practical effect to their state laws that authorize the use, distribution, possession or cultivation of medical marijuana.”

The Ninth Circuit rejected a broader argument that the rider prohibits DOJ from bringing federal charges against anyone licensed or authorized under a state medical marijuana law for activities occurring in that state, including situations where those activities do not fully comply with state law.  The court determined the rider “prohibits the federal government only from preventing the implementation of those specific rules of state law that authorize the use, distribution, possession, or cultivation of medical marijuana,” and that DOJ does not “prevent the implementation” of rules authorizing conduct when it prosecutes individuals who engage in conduct unauthorized under state medical marijuana laws.

Accordingly, prosecuting individuals who do not strictly comply with all state-law requirements applicable to medical marijuana remains permissible.  For cannabis businesses engaged in the production, processing or sale of medical marijuana, having robust policies and procedures in place to ensure compliance with state law is critically important.

Also notable is that the current federal spending bill expires on April 28, 2017.  If the current bill is not extended, or if this rider is not included in the next spending bill, this protection will be lost and all marijuana industry participants will be again exposed to the risk of federal criminal prosecution and civil forfeiture actions, in addition to other enforcement actions.

There is also ambiguity in states, such as Washington, with overlap between the medical and recreational laws.  In July 2016, Washington’s previously unregulated medical marijuana market was integrated into the regulated recreational marijuana market, with new laws taking effect that focused on creating a patient authorization database, a consultant certification program and a certification for “compliant products” for medical use.

Under Washington state law, participation in these medical marijuana programs is essentially voluntary.  Medical marijuana patients in Washington are not required to participate in the patient database, and producers and processors are not required to obtain “compliant product” certifications from the Washington State Department of Health.  Many producers and processors have not sought this certification due to the increased product testing and compliance costs, and many medical marijuana patients have refused to register for the patient authorization database due to privacy concerns.  Given the current landscape, however, cannabis businesses may want to reconsider their participation in state medical marijuana programs.

The Need for a Congressional Solution

Spicer’s comments should also serve as a reminder that the status quo – that is, DOJ’s discretionary decision to not enforce federal law against state-sanctioned marijuana activities – is not viable as a long-term solution for the industry.  Spicer’s statements are at odds with polling data on legalization of marijuana, with an October 2016 Gallup poll indicating that 60 percent of Americans support legalization, and a February 23, 2017 Quinnipiac University poll indicating that 71 percent of Americans (including majorities of both Democrats and Republican voters and in every age group) believe that the federal government should not enforce federal laws against marijuana in states that have legalized recreational or medical marijuana.

A renewed focus on federal enforcement is also certain to trigger resistance from states such as Washington, Colorado and Oregon that have seen positive economic benefits from marijuana regulation.  Since regulated sales began in Washington in 2014, the state has collected approximately $430M in additional tax revenue.  Fiscal year 2017 tax revenue in Washington alone is projected at $272M.  It is difficult to envision states willingly giving up this tax revenue while disregarding the will of their voters.

Indeed, earlier this month, amid uncertainty over the Trump administration’s approach to cannabis laws, Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson and Governor Jay Inslee wrote to Attorney General Sessions asking that the guidance in the Cole Memo be maintained, and that any changes to the policy be coordinated closely with states that have established cannabis markets.  Ferguson has already responded to Spicer’s statements, stating in an interview that he intends to resist any efforts by the Trump administration to interfere with Washington’s regulated marijuana market.

Taking a “glass half-full” approach, Spicer’s statements could be what it takes to galvanize public support around re-scheduling or de-scheduling marijuana and to finding a viable long-term solution to the industry.  Industry participants and other stakeholders have an opportunity to use this potential shake-up to the status quo as an effective lobbying strategy in order to convince Congress that a well-regulated industry operating in the light with substantial state oversight is a better outcome, both economically and socially, than pushing it back toward an unregulated black market.

 Andy Aley is  co-chair of Garvey Schubert Barer’s cannabis practice

 

Digipath’s Todd Denkin On The Passage of Recreational Cannabis in Nevada and Impact On Lab Testing Market

NEVADA: Digipath, an independent cannabis lab testing and media firm, believes that Nevada’s recent approval of the recreational use of cannabis will push the industry to more standardized lab testing practices, resulting in a highly favorable long-term impact on Nevada’s cannabis lab testing market.

The combination of shifting public opinion and success experienced over the past two years by legal medical and recreational cannabis states has given rise to the passage of new cannabis regulations and has offered voters the confidence to pass new legislative initiatives, as reflected by the outcome of the 2016 elections. In the recent November elections, Nevada residents voted to legalize recreational cannabis, a move that enables the state’s 42 million yearly visitors to purchase and consume marijuana legally. Nevada, along with California, Massachusetts, and Maine now join Colorado, Washington, Oregon, and Alaska in legalizing marijuana for adult recreational use.

Recreational cannabis in Nevada is estimated to generate more than $1.1 billion in tax revenue and economic activity over the course of the law’s initial eight years, according to a study by Las Vegas-based RCG Economics. For the first 18 months after the legalization of recreational marijuana, current medical marijuana state registration certificate holders (dispensary owners) will have priority on building new facilities for recreational marijuana. That includes new dispensaries, cultivation and testing facilities, and manufacturing facilities for paraphernalia.

Todd Denkin, President and COO of Digipath, commented, “As the Nevada recreational market becomes operational, the increase in the number of potential consumers and cultivation facilities is expected to push the industry’s focus towards more standardized cannabis lab testing and recognition of the value of the data collected through the testing process in ensuring consumer safety. Commercial cannabis cultivators and producers understand that laboratory testing is one of the vital platform technologies in the cannabis marketplace, and it must become standardized, consistent, and robust in order to maintain the long term health of the cannabis industry.”

Kalyx Development Surpasses 600,000 Square Feet Under Management With The Acquisition Of Properties In Washington State and Arizona

COLORADO: Kalyx Development, a private real estate investment trust and pioneer in providing specialized real estate to the cannabis industry, announces the acquisition of two facilities in Washington State and Arizona.  At a combined 348,000 square feet, these two acquisitions advance the company’s holdings to over 600,000 square feet of cultivation and processing space, across seven buildings in four states.

The Washington State acquisition gives Kalyx control of the single largest multi-tenant facility in the state and is leased to 14 licensed and operating i502 tenants.  The Arizona property, located in the greater Phoenix area, is leased to an established cultivator and dispensary operator, licensed under the Arizona State Medical Marijuana program.

“We are excited to continue to expand our portfolio of cannabis leased facilities with the acquisition of these two great assets.  The quality of the operators in place reflect the continued evolution of the industry and they join the strong tenant list of our existing facilities in ColoradoWashington and Oregon,” said Co-Founder and President, Potter Polk.

“These two deals follow Kalyx’s charter of delivering value to the cannabis industry through transactions that are structured to allow entrepreneurial operators to make the most efficient use of their capital and grow their revenue base,” said George M. Stone, CEO of Kalyx Development.

Mr. Stone added, “Having spent decades in the real estate business where leverage was a common driver of returns, it’s precisely the absence of traditional financing sources that has created the opportunity for Kalyx to provide value to the industry.”  “By creating a new vertical within the industrial sector and the cannabis market, Kalyx represents a unique opportunity for investors to benefit from risk appropriate exposure to the complex and rapidly evolving cannabis industry. The unparalleled combination of real estate and cannabis expertise, has enabled Kalyx to build a national footprint, thereby sagaciously growing shareholder value.  The winning combination, as we see it, is employing a value-oriented approach to real estate acquisitions such that we amass a portfolio of properties with a reasonably low cost basis and high residual value, while carefully vetting and leasing to operators who are truly best-in-class,” concluded Mr. Stone.

 

Marijuana Product Packaging And Consumer Protection: New Regulations Nationwide

By Chris Lynch | NWMJ Law PLLC

OREGON: On October 1, 2016, Oregon issued its first licenses to recreational marijuana retailers. October 1st was also the date that all Oregon Health Authority (OHA) and all Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) licensees responsible for packaging marijuana products for sale to a consumer must adopt and utilize OLCC approved packaging and labeling. If the packing and labeling has not been pre-approved, no licensees will be able to sell any products using non-conforming packaging or labeling, including businesses currently operating legally under the OHA system.  The fact that Oregon issued its first recreational licenses under the OLCC is significant because the new packaging rules apply to all licensees, whether they are under the medicinal system (OHA), or the new recreational system (OLCC), which has only just started issuing licenses.

The new Oregon rules on packaging and labeling are comprehensive and very detailed, so make sure that you thoroughly review the rules before making a submission to the OLCC if you operate in Oregon. Generally, however, the new rules require that each container: (1) must be child-resistant and not attractive to minors (2) must protect the items it holds; and (3) must not contain false or misleading statements. Additionally, products that are dispensed at the point of sale must be placed in a child proof exit package that is capable of being resealed and made childproof again after it has been opened, has been certified by a qualified third-party testing firm. The labeling requirements are equally as comprehensive, and require information including, but not limited to, the business name, date of harvest or date of making, net weight, concentration, additives, name of the lab that performed the tests on the product, activation time, universal (THC or CBD) symbols, and warnings.

Oregon, however, is not the only state to update their packaging and labeling requirements in October. Washington filed in September new product compliance rules that go into effect in October, and identical emergency rules to fill the gap in the rules that went into immediate effect that require new labeling on all marijuana products, and the inclusion of three new General Use, High THC, or High CBD warnings labels that must be affixed to every product. Similarly, Colorado put into effect a regulation on October 1st that requires that all edibles sold in dispensaries must be marked with the “universal symbol” that denotes the presence of THC in the product (the mark is a small red and white square with a “!” and THC written inside it), as well as an equivalency measurement between flower, concentrates, or edibles, to show how much the user is consuming or purchasing.

Each of the recreational marijuana states have passed similar restrictions regarding packaging and labeling requirements now, emphasizing that the products (or at least their packaging) cannot be attractive to children and need to be in child-resistant packaging, and need to include health warnings.[1] Washington state is the most strict of all the recreational states, although it does not require childproof exit-packaging, like Oregon, Colorado and Alaska.

Although the changes will certainly be costly, forcing nationwide industry packaging renovations, the states are worried about consumer protection issues (both Washington and Colorado have seen increased consumer protection concerns, and made the changes citing the increased number of children admitted to hospitals for marijuana consumption.)[2] The effectiveness of the regulations, however, will likely depend on how the systems are set up in each state, and how much freedom the industry has within that system.

Packaging Systems and Their Effect on Regulation

Generally speaking, there seem to be two kinds of emergent packaging system across the legalized marijuana industry: off-site and on-site retail packaging. Think of off-site packaging as analogous to a liquor store model, where the product is packaged off-site by the producer, and then is merely sold in retail stores, whereas on-site packaging resembles a brewery model, where the product is packaged at the brewery (in, for example, a growler), which is then available for sale on-site. Currently, Washington State is the only recreational market that utilizes the off-site model, with every other state that has legalized recreational use is using the on-site model (including California, who is yet to legalize recreational, but is leaning towards the use of the on-site model). The on-site model predominantly uses exit packaging, which is used at the point of sale to create child-resistant and unappealing packaging for all marijuana products.

The changes to the packaging and labeling for marijuana products nationwide, though expensive, are promising steps in ensuring the safety of products and protecting consumers. How the differences in packaging regulation affect the market remains to be seen, but it does not seem likely that sales will slow down in any of the recreational states; both Colorado and Washington flirted with 1 billion dollars in sales last year, and each of the recreational states has amassed hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax revenue in the fiscal year. With Oregon’s recreational market going into full swing this month this data is not likely to change. However, only time will tell whether or not the steps Oregon and the other states have taken are the best means to protect consumers and their children from accidental ingestion of marijuana products.

 

[1] Much of this can be attributed not only to consumer protection laws, but also to the 2013 Cole Memorandum, which states that among the 8 priorities, states that legalize marijuana needed to keep product out of the hands of children and to reduce the risk of drugged driving, or risk federal prosecution. For more on this, please see: https://www.justice.gov/iso/opa/resources/3052013829132756857467.pdf

[2] The Denver Post reported that only 8 children were admitted to the Children’s Hospital Colorado emergency department between 2005 and 2013, but in the first half of 2016, 9 children between 3 and 7 were admitted to the hospital for marijuana consumption.

UPDATE: EVENT CANCELLED: The Politics of Pot, A Symposium On Cannabis Legislation And Regulation

UPDATE: Organizers have cancelled this event.

“Due to a number of scheduling conflicts around many of the intended political speakers with regards to other necessary obligations resulting from the Republican and Democratic National Conventions, we at Emerald Live Events have decided to postpone  ‘The Politics of Pot’ symposium to a later date,” Jason Santos, Chairman and CEO of Burn Entertainment Corporation, one of the partners in the event told MJ News Network.

“The entire purpose and agenda of this event is to bring political leaders together to discuss the successes and challenges around legalization to help further those efforts at both State and Federal levels.  Unfortunately, many of the great political speakers who wanted to speak at the event were unable to confirm in time due to changing agendas around other political events and obligations with regard to the RNC and DNC.  So we felt identifying another time would best serve the purpose of the event and deliver the best possible symposium to our attending guests.”

PENNSYLVANIA:  Timed to coincide with the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, The Politics of Pot, A Symposium on Cannabis Legislation and Regulation will take place July 23rd at The University of the Arts Gershman Hall: The Elaine C. Levitt Auditorium in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

According to organizers, the symposium is designed to provide a forum for legislators, delegates, regulators, and industry participants to share information on the realities of the legalization of medical cannabis, and to discuss the positives and the negatives of decriminalization and legalization of recreational cannabis in states such as Colorado, Alaska, Washington, and Oregon.

The public opinion and perception of cannabis is undergoing significant changes. Numerous legislative and regulatory changes have occurred in the last few years, and various initiatives are currently being considered in over half of the states. Faced with these changes, legislator must find a more nuanced and informed approach to cannabis than just con, or just pro. Therefore, it is critical for legislators understand the numerous issues involved with cannabis legislation and regulation — to define and refine their positions on these issues

Approximately 400-600 attendees expected to attend the event. The Symposium is priced right to provide the best value for each dollar spent, and Convention Delegates attend Free of Charge.

A full agenda is planned, including 6 featured panel discussions:

RECREATIONAL VS. MEDICAL

Panelists at the Symposium will discuss the myriad of issues that arise from regulation of Recreational Cannabis versus those issues related to the regulation of Medical Cannabis. We will learn from those closest to the issue and discover how the different states are currently tackling this difficult regulatory challenge.

CRIME STATS AND DRUG TESTING

The Symposium will explore the myths and realities of crime levels as they relate to legalized recreational and medical marijuana. Additionally, the issues related to current technologies and methodologies for testing cannabis blood levels will be analyzed, including implications for DUI and employment law.

REGULATORY ISSUES

The Symposium will delve into the complications and complexities both regulators and Cannabis industry professionals face defining and maintaining compliance with both state and federal regulatory regimes, including: taxation; licensing; and consumer protection, quality assurance, and product safety.

INVESTMENT

The Symposium will provide detailed insight into the current state of investment into the Cannabis industry. We will hear both from those currently investing and those on the sidelines, and gain an understanding what primarily drives the decision to invest.

DRUG RESCHEDULING

The Symposium will analyze the issues, timing, and ramifications of reclassification of Cannabis from CSA 1. The implications of reclassification will have on the medicinal advancements of the industry will be broad and far reaching.

BANKING

Banking in the Cannabis industry requires companies to navigate complicated and contradictory state and federal regulations. The Symposium will provide deep insight into current industry best practices and how baking regulation may evolve in the next year.

 

Wink-In-Weed: Cannabis Collaboration, Fun and Games

By David Rheins

This week’s column is dedicated to the importance of collaboration, fun and games in the cannabis industry.  Now for me, marijuana has always been experiential –  a mind expanding, humor producing, cosmic giggling good time. Long before it was medicine or big business, pot was fun.  Our cannabis counter-culture has morphed into legal industry, and our local community is evolving into broader coalitions: disparate factions all working together towards a common goal of raising the awareness and acceptance of the political, medical and commercial possibilities that the end of prohibition brings.

Moderating the ancillary businesses panel at CCC

Moderating the ancillary businesses panel at CCC

At canna-gatherings great and small, collaboration is taking center stage. So much so that CCC (formerly Cannabis Creative Conference) changed the name of last week’s trade show in Portland to ‘Cannabis Collaborative Conference.”  There,  at the Portland Expo Center, straight-laced regulators from the OLCC joined former-NBA basketball stars turned pot-entrepreneurs, wonky economists and well-heeled canna-technologists in emphasizing the possibilities that are possible for the new industry if we can only learn to work together cooperatively.

NBA Star Cliff Robinson, aka "Uncle Spliffy" delivers keynote at CCC 2016 in Portland, February 4, 2016.

NBA Star Cliff Robinson, aka “Uncle Spliffy” delivers keynote at CCC 2016 in Portland, February 4, 2016.

Working and playing together. Participating at cannabis industry events — as speaker, panelist, exhibitor or attendee —  while certainly not all ‘fun and games’, does mean being a part of a small, tight-knit collegial community.  One tends to see a lot of the same faces on the cannabis trade show circuit.  As a rule, most of us truly like being with each other, commonly greet each other with hugs and kisses, and frequently sneak off together to share a toke and a smile.

Farmer Tom Lauerman and friends

Farmer Tom Lauerman and friends

Cannabis is a community sacrament that leads to shared activities. Cannabis is a business and social lubricant, and an enhancement to our favorite activities. Forget Coca-Cola, things go better with cannabis: nature, sports, sex, music, video, and games.

Speaking of fun and games, imagine my delight when I arrived back in Seattle to find two separate packages on my doorstop: both cannabis games!   Now that pot is legal to purchase and consume for adults in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and DC, a consumer demand is quickly developing for “things to enjoy while legally high.”  One new product seeking to fill that need is ‘Cannabis The Card Game’, from Weed Games. Cannabis TCG is a fill-in-the blank Q&A card game designed to be fun and educational.   “After consuming Cannabis, lab mice are known to begin______.”  teases one card.

Now that pot is legal in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and DC, a burgeoning cannabis consumer demand is developing for things to enjoy while legally high!

Now that pot is legal in Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon, and DC, a burgeoning cannabis consumer demand is developing for things to enjoy while legally high!

To play ‘Cannabis The Card Game’, you’ll need your own legal cannabis, rolling papers (included with the game)/ blunt wraps, a bong/pipe or vaporizer, munchies, a grinder or all of the above!  Add paper and pen if you are attempting to keep score (completely unnecessary).

In a separate package I uncover another addition to the canna-games category, ‘Roll a Bong’, a board game dedicated to the community of marijuana smokers, who enjoy smoking while playing board games.  Billed as a “rolling and smoking game for the whole joint,” all players are encourage to contribute weed to the “Community Dish” at the start of the game.

‘Roll a Bong’, a board game dedicated to the community of marijuana smokers, who enjoy smoking while playing board games.

‘Roll a Bong’, a board game dedicated to the community of marijuana smokers, who enjoy smoking while playing board games.

Things to do in Oregon when you’re stoned: Both of these pot-smoker games would find an ideal home at Portland’s NW Cannabis Club, which I had the pleasure of visiting last Tuesday before the CCC show.  The members-only private club offers daily, monthly and annual memberships (beginning at $10/visit). Membership entitles you access to the expansive club room, the dab bar, where you are welcome to use their dab rigs, and a very cool landscaped outdoor patio area, complete with fire pit and local art installations.

The members-only private club offers daily, monthly and annual memberships (beginning at $10/visit).

The members-only private club offers daily, monthly and annual memberships (beginning at $10/visit).

MMJ activist Don Skakie has found a second home at the club, traveling regularly from his home in Renton, Washington since most of his local mmj farmer’s markets have shut down.  He summed it up his love of community for me while we were enjoying the crisp February night air, “Some people collect antiques, but for me this is a hobby. Whenever I can, I like to get together with my cannabis family and just hang out.”

This Presidential Candidate Plans To Fully Legalize Marijuana

If you said a decade ago that marijuana would be one of the key issues that would decide our next president, I’d probably have chuckled. However, the reality is that marijuana is very much entrenched as a hot-button issue in the 2016 elections.

Believe it: marijuana is a hot-button issue
With the rare exception, marijuana’s momentum has been positive. Since 1996, 23 states have decided to allow physicians to prescribe marijuana for medicinal purposes, while four states — Oregon, Washington, Colorado, and Alaska — along with Washington, D.C., have approved recreational marijuana sales for adults ages 21 and up.

Growing acceptance of marijuana has led to hope for terminally ill persons and patients with chronic diseases. There has been strong clinical evidence, for instance, that cannabinoids from the cannabis plant may be responsible for a marked reduction in seizures associated with certain types of childhood-onset epilepsy.  GW Pharmaceuticals‘ Epidiolex, which features tetrahydrocannabivarin (THCV), reduced seizure frequency by more than 50% in patients with Dravet syndrome and Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome. Needless to say, countless studies are under way examining the possible medical benefits of marijuana.

Voices: Oregon Legalizes Pot, And Nobody Cares

OREGON: What if we legalized marijuana and no one really cared?

That’s the overwhelming feeling I get standing inside Zion Cannabis in downtown Portland as customers buy marijuana from the friendly staff  five days after legalized marijuana legislation went into effect Oct. 1.

No muss, no fuss.

Oregon is the third American state to legalize recreational marijuana sales, following neighboring Washington, where legal pot debuted in the summer of 2014, and Colorado, where cannabis has been legal since Jan. 1, 2014. Hardly anyone is paying attention.

3 Presidential Candidates Who Are Strongly Against Legalizing Marijuana

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Let it be known that we’re still more than a year away from the 2016 presidential election, and the issues that will decide the election are still being felt out. However, with each day that passes it looks more and more plausible that marijuana and the federal government’s views on marijuana will play an increasingly important role in the election.

Why marijuana is a hot-button issue 
It’s not tough to understand why marijuana has become such a hot-button issue. Three well-respected national polls — Gallup, Pew Research Center, and General Society Survey — have all shown that a slim majority of respondents now have a favorable view of marijuana, with smaller, independent studies that have focused on swing states demonstrating that support for the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes is even higher. The people have spoken via polls, and more people than not want to see the federal ban on marijuana lifted.

But individual states aren’t sitting on their hands while the federal government weighs an eventual legalization or decriminalization of the currently illegal drug at some point in the future. Since 1996, 23 states have legalized the use of medical marijuana (as well as Washington, D.C.), with four states — Washington, Oregon, Alaska and Colorado — along with Washington, D.C. legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes.