Taking The High Road: Roger Tilton’s Notes On Democracy

by Roger Tilton

In “Notes on Democracy,” H. L. Mencken wrote:  “Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.”

You’d think our 240-year-old experiment with democracy hit a rough patch this past Tuesday, or as we learned after “establishing ‘democracy’ in Iraq,” that you don’t always get the democracy you want.  Oddly fitting I guess is that the President Elect ended his racist, xenophobic rallies with the Rolling Stones’ song “You Don’t Always Get What You Want.”

I say praise democracy and all of its shortcomings.  We, the American voting public, had a chance to make history by electing a female president.  Instead, for the first time in generations we had a racist on the presidential ballot, a racist who also happens to be a misogynist.  The adage that if we elect a woman after an African-American man, we’re “losing our country” appealed (according to exit polls) to 53% of white women!  That candidacy also appealed to white supremacists.  And enough pluralities of voters (wins by one point or less in five crucial “battleground” states) pushed this candidate to an Electoral College victory.

Though more of us voted for the supremely qualified woman, she lost the job to the supremely unqualified man (sound familiar?).  Through it all, our democracy worked.  The political pros on both sides targeted the swing states to win the Electoral College vote  The “voter suppression” campaign won out over the “ground game, the get out the vote” campaign.  We all played by the rules and democracy prevailed.  Now even though this year’s Republican candidate won the election, he received about 1.5 million votes less than the losing Republican candidate four years ago.  Voters did not turn out, and that too, is our democratic right.

It is also our democratic right to make or change laws.  And voters in eight states did just that regarding cannabis:  Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada and California voted to join Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska in repealing marijuana prohibition; Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas approved medical marijuana laws; and Montana expanded its medical marijuana program.  The results mean that once all these new laws are implemented, more than a quarter of Americans aged 21+ can walk into a store and buy weed just like they go into a store and buy beer!  And more than 60% of Americans will have access to medical marijuana!

Now that’s democracy I can believe in!

Editor’s note:  Mr. Tilton, a longtime, strong and loud cannabis legalization activist, lost his bid for a New Hampshire State Senate seat by 12 points, 56-44, a 7-point improvement over his first bid two years ago.  “Even though I lost,” he told me, “I’m now sandwiched between two legal states!  Count me very bullish on the cannabis industry.  The 2016 national vote shows prohibition has reached a tipping point, and the end of prohibition is nearly at hand.  And on a personal level, I’m totally jazzed about my Seattle-based venture fund’s investments into cannabis-related startups!”  (Mr. Tilton is also a canna-pranuer.  You can check out his full_tiltON ventures website at fulltilton.com.)

 

The Expectations Of The Legal Cannabis Market After Elections

MAINE: In California, Massachusetts, Nevada and Maine, voters decided that recreational cannabis use is now legal. Now as for Arizona, it was the only state that rejected the proposal. Making it four of the five states, where the proposal of legalization of cannabis for recreational use were approved. Companies in this sector profiting from the growing demand, views this as a highly positive development for the legal cannabis industry, as it may bring billions of dollars to the industry and to the states themselves.

District of Columbia, along with other 8 states now recognizes recreational marijuana use as a legal practice for adults. Arkansas, Florida, Montana and North Dakota assed ballot measures legalizing medical marijuana use only.  California is of course the most populated state and the largest market for cannabis. California Lt. Gov. and former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, said the proposition could generate up to $1 billion a year in tax revenue, as well as $100 million in saved taxpayer money on an annual basis.

Freedom Leaf Reports Tech Hiccups, Success In Live Election Night Coverage With Cannabis Radio

NEVADA:  The morning after a marathon live video feed of election coverage on Tuesday night in conjunction with Cannabis Radio, Freedom Leaf, “The Marijuana Legalization Company™”  discovered early Wednesday morning, to the consternation of many friends and shareholders that its websites (http://www.freedomleaf.com/ and http://freedomleafinc.com/) were not responding.

The company released this statement n response to numerous inquiries about the incident:

When informed, in an email from our Virtual Private Server provider, that the sites were taken down, “As a part of A2 Hosting Perpetual Security, we’ve discovered a security issue in your VPS account. The evidence of the security issue: 69,581 pps during 5 second interval (DoS attack)”, Clifford Perry, President and CEO of Freedom Leaf, Inc. commented, “That doesn’t make any sense. We are the Good News in Marijuana Reform. No one takes the good guys down so there must be another explanation.”

Initially, Management believed that the high volume of traffic to the site during the election coverage like what happened to Canada’s immigration website crash during the US vote, and possible traffic to the site from foreign visitors in earlier time zones, was the cause of the outage. Freedom Leaf’s IT department looked at the analytics and noticed that the inbound traffic from Europe and Worldwide brought about as a result of our media partnership with www.LaMarijuana.com the largest player in the Hispanic market worldwide.

The sites were restored about 10:30 am (PST) and no credible evidence of an organized attack was found.  The incident actually was tracked to other media properties that are in development and hosted on the Freedom Leaf server.  “The volume of traffic certainly attests to the success of the election coverage. We and our partner Cannabis Radio are grateful to all of our friends and supporters who helped spread the word about the broadcast. Regardless of how people feel about the election, cannabis came out the winner and we are very happy to have been part of telling the story,” said Mr. Perry.  “We expect to be there to announce when Federal Agencies finally catch up to the states that increasingly recognize the rights of the people to care for their own health needs,” he concluded.

It makes sense that this election season generated a large spike in views for the Freedom Leaf website, considering it was the largest marijuana legalization event in the history of the nation. The number of recreationally legal states doubled to eight, and four more states now have medical marijuana programs. Visit Freedom Leaf’s results guide.

The Wink In Weed: 2016 Elections, A WTF Moment

By David Rheins

It is the morning after the 2016 elections and I’m still having a WTF moment.  I did not expect to be waking up to a President Trump, and the notion of The Donald as our Commander In Chief for the next four years seems more than a little surreal.

But despite the disappointing news, last night was a clear victory for those of us in legal cannabis.  Like most of my peers, I am excited to see the marijuana reform movement achieve critical mass, even as I remain unsure of what sort of Federal Drug Policy a Trump administration might take, given likely prominent roles by prohibitionists Chris Christie and Rudy Giuliani.

Overwhelming, ‘we the people’ have voted for legal cannabis. History was made last night, as the country added 4 new adult-use marijuana states – California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts – doubling the total to 8 states plus D.C. and affirming once and for all that the public has had enough of the failed War on Drugs.

2016 Election Night NORML Women of Washington Fundraiser

2016 Election Night NORML Women of Washington Fundraiser

With the entire Pacific corridor now a legal cannabis zone, federal enforcement of prohibition becomes “untenable” President Obama recently told HBO’s Bill Maher. However, that doesn’t mean that a conservative administration won’t make life more difficult for legal cannabis states to create and maintain regulated legal markets.

Many remain nervous. A cannabis attorney I spoke with this morning suggested that this election could mean huge changes to his business, and could easily dampen the growth of the budding industry that he and his firm have helped to create.

At a NORML Women of Washington fundraiser last night, dozens of industry folks gathered to watch the election results.  Many were shocked by the rejection of Hillary Clinton, and feared what it might mean to hard-fought victories of women and minority communities.   “Although I am happy about the major advances for marijuana legalization that happened all over the country last night, and what that means for my company and our culture, it is impossible for me to celebrate as I have never felt so devalued as a woman,” Cannabis Basics’ CEO Ah Warner told MJNN. “The fact that quite possibly the most qualified candidate ever lost her bid for the Oval to the personification of celebrity, bigotry, misogyny and greed is a devastating wakeup call about who we really are as a country. My heart bleeds for the women, no matter what their accomplishments, who will go to their graves knowing that they were never more than second class citizens.”

Others are optimistic about the economic opportunity of the expanding legal marketplace. “My business just got better,” a cannabis media executive told me. “Eight new markets just opened up. Think of all the new brands that need building, all the companies who will need our expertise and advice. I’m excited! We’re ratcheting our industry up to the next level.”

For while voters soundly rejected Hillary Clinton and the political status quo, Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike overwhelmingly embraced legal weed. The legal cannabis genie is out of the bottle as the topic of legalization take its rightful place on the centerstage of political discourse, creating a dissonance between federal and state law that will force a change in federal marijuana policy.

What began as an “experiment” in Colorado and Washington just four years ago has now spread from coast to coast, in red states and blue states. Last night’s election was a victory for America’s fastest growing industry – and it will certainly mean new interest, investment and acceptance.

 

 

All Eyes On The Legalization of Cannabis

Today is not only a politically important day for the United States, but also a very crucial day for marijuana industries, as many states will hold referendums on the decision to legalize recreational and medical marijuana or not. It is estimated that roughly 30 percent of the US population in nine of the states will partake in the vote for the historical decision.

According to a report by New Frontier and ArcView Market Research, the regulated cannabis market in the United States is projected to reach more than $7 billion this year. With many states voting today, all eyes will be focused on the Legalization of Cannabis.

Got Bank? Election Could Ereate Flood Of Marijuana Cash With No Place To Go

By Lisa Lambert

Although the sale of marijuana is a federal crime, the number of U.S. banks working with pot businesses, now sanctioned in many states, is growing, up 45 percent in the last year alone.

Still, marijuana merchants say there are not nearly enough banks willing to take their cash. So many dispensaries resort to stashing cash in storage units, back offices and armored vans.

Proponents believe the Nov. 8 election could tip the balance in favor of liberalizing federal marijuana laws, a move seen as key to getting risk-averse banks off the sidelines.

Measures on ballots in California, Florida and seven other states would bring to 34 the number of states sanctioning pot for medical or recreational use, or both. That could push annual sales, by one estimate, to $23 billion.

The prospect for a market of such scale is adding urgency to calls for a national approach to marijuana that expands banking options. Law enforcement and Federal Reserve officials have expressed concern about the fraud and crime associated with un-bankable cash.

Nearly 600 dispensary robberies have been reported in Denver since recreational pot was legalized in Colorado three years ago.

“There’s not a single human being who thinks there is any benefit at all in forcing marijuana business to be conducted on an all-cash basis,” said Rep. Earl Blumenauer, a Democrat from Oregon who has called for the decriminalization of marijuana since coming to Congress in 1996.

 

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.

 

San Jose Leaders Eye Changes To Medical Marijuana Rules

CALIFORNIA: With just weeks to go before a December deadline for compliance, medical marijuana providers are still balking at some of San Jose‘s rules and city officials are offering to ease them.

Nineteen pot providers have been seeking to meet San Jose’s regulatory requirements by Dec. 18. The rules, adopted in June 2014, restrict pot stores to select industrial and commercial areas away from schools and parks and impose a host of security, tax payment and other requirements. Dispensaries that fail to meet the requirements by the deadline face closure.

But one rule in particular requiring pot stores to demonstrate that their marijuana is cultivated locally and not from collectives around the state remains a sticking point. City officials plan to ask the City Council to ease the rules Tuesday, allowing another five months for shops to sell through products obtained from “third-party” vendors and letting San Jose pot clubs buy and sell to one another.

 

Missouri Could Decide Medical Marijuana Issue In 2016

MISSOURI:  Missouri’s 2016 ballot could be filled with weed.

Competing proposals, bolstered by growing national support, are seeking to put medical marijuana legalization on the statewide ballot. If approved, Missouri would join 23 other states that have done so.

Proponents have an uphill battle. First they need to collect 168,000 valid signatures from at least six of the state’s nine congressional districts. Then they need to win approval from the state’s conservative-leaning voters. Only a handful of states that have legalized medical marijuana are in the Midwest (Illinois, Minnesota and Michigan). And there’s not one in the South, the region with which Missouri has been more politically aligned over the past decade.

In addition, two competing efforts could confuse voters and create an additional hurdle for gathering signatures.

Past efforts to get such a measure on the ballot have languished and failed. This time proponents say things will be different, citing internal polls showing significant statewide support for medical marijuana along with a presidential election year that will drive a larger turnout yielding the best chance of success.

Marijuana And Election 2016: Where The Presidential Candidates Stand

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA: Legalization of marijuana is expected to be a big issue during the 2016 elections. Many states will have ballot items regarding the legalization of marijuana and for some voters, its the only issue they care about. Some candidates are very clear as to their position, while others are hard to pin down and deliver confusing and conflicting messages. Many of the candidates don’t post their positions on the issue on their political website, so their stance is determined from their quotes. Here then is a primer for the leading 2016 presidential candidates and their position on the legalization of marijuana.

Republicans

Donald Trump

Position: Cloudy

In 1990, Donald Trump argued that in order to win the War On Drugs, you had to take away the profits from the drug czars. He favored legalizing drugs and using the tax revenue to fund drug education programs. Fast forward to 2015 at the Conservative Political Action Conference where Trump reversed course and said he was against the legalization of marijuana. “I think it’s bad and I feel strongly about that,” he said. “They’ve got a lot of problems going on right now in Colorado, some big problems.” However, Trump contradicts himself when asked about states rights and marijuana laws. Trump said, “If they vote for it, they vote for it.”

Ben Carson

Position: For Medical, Against Recreational