New York: Governor Says Legalizing Marijuana Is Among Administration’s Top Legislative Priorities

NEW YORK: Enacting legislation to permit and regulate the retail sale of cannabis to adults is among the Cuomo administration’s top 2019 legislative priorities, New York’s Governor announced on Monday.

Governor Andrew Cuomo said, “We must … end the needless and unjust criminal convictions and the debilitating criminal stigma, and let’s legalize the adult use of recreational marijuana once and for all.” His comments reaffirm those of a Cuomo spokesperson in November, who said, “The goal of this administration is to create a model program for regulated adult use marijuana.”

Days later, New York City Mayor Bill DeBlasio also publicly endorsed legalization, stating: “Our mission is clear: We want New York to be the fairest big city in America. If we get legalization right, marijuana can be an important new part of the solution.” A newly-released city task force report estimates that retail sales in New York City could total some $1.7 billion per year.

In July, a Health Department study commissioned by the Governor’s office recommended legalizing adult marijuana use and commerce. It concluded: “A regulated marijuana program enjoys broad support and would have significant health, social justice, and economic benefits. … Regulating marijuana enables public health officials to minimize the potential risks of marijuana use through outreach, education, quantity limits at point of sale, quality control, and consumer protection. … The positive effects of a regulated marijuana market in New York State outweigh the potential negative impacts.”


For more information, contact Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director, at (202) 483-5500.

Mentor Capital Discusses Opioids Vs. Cannabis at Congressman Rohrabacher Reception

CALIFORNIA: Mentor Capital  met with Congressman Dana Rohrabacher of Newport Beach at his reception by the Cannabis Host Committee in San Diego, March 6th, 2017. Mentor CEO Chet Billingsley, nicknamed “The Doc” by the Congressman, outlined in discussion how 20% of the opiate crises and 6,000 annual deaths could be avoided by the projected 20% substitution to legal cannabis from other illegal drugs that would follow a national marijuana legalization. Too much cannabis puts the user to sleep, but too much opiate, heroin or even alcohol can “relax” breathing to zero and overdose death. An additional 6,000 lives are saved by an observed 7% shift from alcohol.

Congressman Rohrabacher spoke to the exclusive group of major cannabis leaders on freedom as a cornerstone American value that is violated whenever a peaceful cannabis user is dragged off to be caged. He jokingly held a Moscow Mule drink in hand and asked how even in this time of Russian hysteria how could this rowdy alcohol be accepted and mellowing cannabis not be. The Congressman also railed against the practice of asset forfeiture being applied against legal cannabis firms without trial or even charges being levied. Reporting on his own Washington, DC cannabis prognosis, he felt that the campaign promise by now President Trump that cannabis use should be governed by the choices of each state, would prevail.

Following the political overview by Congressman Rohrabacher, the founders of the larger cannabis companies met with CEO Billingsley to explore how Mentor may provide public market liquidity and funding for their long-established medical marijuana and adult use cannabis enterprises.

Pro-Marijuana Group Rereleases Republicans’ Ratings Before Debate in Colorado

COLORADO: At a Republican presidential debate hosted in Colorado, one issue is destined to come up: pot.

Colorado’s experiment with legalized marijuana remains a hot topic as the next election approaches, and for many Republicans, the subject requires a balancing act between wanting to protect individual and state rights without seeming to condone people getting high.

In that spirit, the Marijuana Policy Project, an advocacy group for the legal marijuana industry, has dusted off its scorecard of where the candidates stand on the issue.

Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky is expected to get the most cheers from the legalization crowd, as he gets an A-minus grade from the group because of his calls to decriminalize recreational use and his desire for states to decide their own marijuana laws.

The Women In Cannabis Who Keep Me Lifted

WASHINGTON:  Last night I attended MJBA Women’s Alliance ‘Power To Influence’ at the Sorrento Hotel in Seattle, WA. Surrounded by lady politicians, business owners, advocates, moms, and grandmas I had my spirits lifted and was reminded why I am sitting here right now plinking on a keyboard about cannabis.

When I joined my first women’s cannabis group, a couple of years ago, I didn’t have my face on my blog, any kind of social media around it, and was nervous to come out publicly as a cannabis blogger and user. It was then that I attended a party with Washington Bud Company’s, Shawn Denae, and expressed my concerns about having my face attached to marijuana. She gave me a look I’ll never forget and told me that they are all putting themselves way out there so if I mean what I’m doing, then go for it. The very next day I updated my blog to include a picture of myself and never looked back. I’m not sure she even knows she did that for me and I am forever grateful that she did.

But this is what I’m talking about. When I hang around these women in cannabis I am spoken to candidly while still feeling supported and I am reminded that I am not alone on this path. I have a whole tribe of powerful women in my camp who want to see me succeed and celebrate with me.

Marijuana Industry Struggles Against Tough Politics

COLORADO:  Colorado’s effort to tax marijuana as a means to help the state budget never materialized, at least financially,  slowing expansion of industries supported by the drug. As attempts to approve marijuana’s use in other states and cities falters, these industries face unexpected road blocks.

Analysis by trade site Cannabis Executive shows how much the efforts to legalize marijuana vary. A number of doctors in Minnesota won’t support the use of medical marijuana by some patients. Medical marijuana is often considered the foot in the door that the industry needs for broader state legalization approval. Medical marijuana advocates in Iowa continue to complain that the state legislature, particularly Republicans, have blocked their progress to gain approval for use. A law to legalize medical marijuana has cleared all legislative hurdles in the state, but state approvals are sometimes not sufficient. Problems with federal opposition to marijuana use have triggered raids of facilities in California. The future of the marijuana  economy may be settled in federal court

 

And, a number of states are far away from approving marijuana use of any kind. These include New Hampshire and, possibly Arizona, where a poll shows public support of legalization of the drug.

 

Lost in the battle for legalization of marijuana is that the industries around it are tiny, especially for businesses which have staked their futures on expansion state by state. In Colorado, income from marijuana taxes has come in well below expectations. Hope that taxes on marijuana might match income for legal gambling or cigarette taxes have proven more than disappointing.

 

 

 

 

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.