Contractors For Cannabis: Builder Finds Niche In Marijuana ‘Grow’ Facilities

COLORADO:  “Green” building means something new these days in Colorado, where construction of legal “grow” facilities for marijuana producers is becoming big business.

General commercial contractor Nathan Mendel, whose Denver, CO,-based company Your Green Contractor once focused on building dental and medical buildings, now specializes in custom-building and remodeling dispensaries, product kitchens, extraction facilities, greenhouses and warehouses for firms involved in the legal sale and distribution of medical and recreational marijuana.

Mendel told Oregon’s Daily Journal of Commerce that contractors who don’t build for the marijuana industry are missing a business opportunity. Marijuana is legal in some form in more than 20 states and the District of Columbia.

 

Washington Lawmakers Tackle Marijuana Taxes

WASHINGTON: On the first day of the special legislative session, Washington House members took up a bill that would change the way the state taxes recreational marijuana.

Washington lawmakers are back in Olympia this week after failing to pass a two-year operating budget during the regular legislative session. Now, lawmakers have 30 days to address the operating budget, a transportation package and satisfy a court mandate to adequately fund the state’s public school system.

Also on their to-do list is cracking down on the illicit marijuana market by addressing the current tax structure.

With Oregon’s recreational market about to come online, the bill could have particular implications for border counties such as Clark County.

Rep. Reuven Carlyle, D-Seattle, chief sponsor of House Bill 2136, which passed the House in a 70-25 vote, said a lower tax rate would better align with both the black market and Oregon. Carlyle’s bill would change the tax structure to a 30 percent tax applied only at the point of sale. Currently a 25 percent tax is applied to recreational marijuana three times as it goes from grower to producer to processor.

San Francisco Supervisor Pushes For Task Force If Marijuana Legalized In 2016

CALIFORNIA:  San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener is hoping to get approval to create a task force to help plan local policies if cannabis is legalized in the 2016 California election.

Wiener planned to introduce legislation at today’s Board of Supervisors meeting to create the Cannabis State Legalization Task Force.

The supervisor said in a statement that if San Francisco doesn’t prepare for the possibility of legalization in 2016, the city could “end up having a chaotic fire drill after legalization occurs.”

The Dream Of Marijuana Business Is Alive In Portland

By TwicebakedinWA

OREGON: Yesterday I traveled with the Marijuana Business Association to Portland, OR where about 75 local cannabis entrepreneurs gathered at the Lucky Labrador for the monthly MJBA Meetup.

It would appear that the dream of running a marijuana business in Portland is alive and strong. The diverse group of business professionals who came out were very enthusiastic for what is happening in Oregon’s newly forming cannabis industry, even while many of them still seem to be figuring out exactly how they will fit into it.

I was reminded of what it felt like to be in a room of cannabis entrepreneurs and enthusiasts in Washington,  even just a year ago. A lot of the people who attended the networking event were just starting to “come ou”t to the business world, their friends, and their family that they are into weed and might even get into the business of it.  It makes me smile to think of the progression of my own journey out of the weed closet — from in the shadows to being broadcast all over the internet!

I left the MJBA Portland Meetup somewhat amused how people there view Washington kind of like a competitive sister state. I heard a few times that people think Oregon is ‘going to get it right’ and be the model for the rest of the world looking to legalize. I wonder if those people will still feel that way after a year of dealing with the OLCC as they navigate an industry that is literally changing day by day.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ouOdGtPqH0&w=420&h=315]

Rising Marijuana Sales Leave Pot Shops Flush With Cash They Can’t Deposit

OREGON:  Two months from now, on July 1, Oregon will become the fourth state to allow residents to legally purchase marijuana for recreational use. In anticipation of legalization, the governing body that will oversee marijuana licensing and sales is preparing for something unexpected: A huge influx of cold, hard cash.

Legal marijuana in states like Colorado and Washington have surpassed revenue expectations in their first few years. But when marijuana businesses try to pay their taxes, the federal law that makes marijuana illegal limits their access to financial institutions.

Despite assurances from the Treasury Department that they would not be prosecuted, banks have been reluctant to open accounts for weed-related businesses. Some banks that accept money generated by marijuana sales fear that they may leave themselves open to federal money-laundering charges.

 

Berkeley Marijuana Lab Raising Millions For U.S., Overseas Expansion

CALIFORNIA: Berkeley-based Steep Hill Labs Inc. is raising $5 million to expand into two states and Jamaica this year as well as pursue innovations in its testing equipment and genetics-related products.

Steep Hill, which employs 30 people, generated $1.2 million in revenue in 2014 and has raised $4 million since its founding in 2008. The company is taking advantage of the Jobs Act to raise its next round of financing from accredited investors, who meet SEC qualifications involving their annual income or net worth to participate in the offering.

In the offering documents, Steep Hill describes its core business as “testing and analyzing medical and recreational marijuana to ensure compliance with public safety standards.”

The Marijuana Industry And Its First Crossroads

Marijuana has come a long way in the United States since California launched its first-in-the-nation medical program 19 years ago. Today, 23 states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis to some degree, and public perception of the plant is clearly shifting. Medical marijuana is being used in treatment of a variety of illnesses including several types of seizures, cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder.

New polls by GallupBeyond the Beltway, and General Social Survey all show that for the first time since its prohibition, a majority of Americans support legalization of the plant. Change is coming to the American cannabis industry, and it’s time to prepare for it in earnest.

Marijuana is now on the cusp of mainstream legitimacy, and established business interests are beginning to work with the initial trailblazers of the American cannabis market. Further, while technological innovation is revolutionizing everyindustry, breakthrough ideas in a market as young this one have the chance to become defining cornerstones. Early-to-market products and solutions are seeing widespread adoption in absence of entrenched industry leaders.

New technology firms are playing a major part in increasing the efficiency, transparency, and security of the legal cannabis market. MJ FreewayBioTrack THC, and Agrisoft have all developed software to track the plant from seed-to-sale, protecting the integrity of the supply chain at every step. Additionally, I constantly see proposals from developers aiming to find new ways to connect grower to sellers and sellers to consumers.

Is It Finally Time to Invest In Marijuana?

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:  As public sentiment continues to shift in favor of marijuana legalization and more states legalize medical (and in some cases even recreational) marijuana, more people than ever are wondering whether now is the time to invest in marijuana. This interest persists despite the fact that the federal government bans both recreational and medical marijuana use and could shut down states’ marijuana operations at any time.

With the federal ban in place, it’s not easy to invest in marijuana in the public markets. There are no ETFs or anything of the sort, so the only option for public market investors is individual marijuana-related stocks. We asked our Motley Fool contributors whether it’s finally time to invest in marijuana. Here’s what they had to say.

Are Marijuana Regulations Weeding Out Family Farmers?

COLORADO:  Perry asked me not to use his last name. It wasn’t because of the plants in his basement — they’re perfectly legal now — but more out of garden-variety stoner’s paranoia. He worried some enemy might see his name in the news and come looking for him.

Whatever — his identity isn’t important. It’s not like he was leaking potentially false information about weapons of mass destruction. I was just there to talk to him about his experience and his opinions. He has red hair, thinning on top, but growing vigorously in a bushy beard beneath. He’s wearing rectangular framed glasses, a Grant Farm concert T-shirt, and shorts.

Perry is passionate about pot. In fact, that’s why he moved to Colorado. “I came here in 2006 because Colorado needed my vote,” he told me.

Now that cannabis is legal in the state, there’s nothing he’d like more than to set up shop as a farmer. But that’s not going to happen. The regulations are simply too onerous for family pot farms, he said.

Marijuana Industry Hosts Big, Three-Day Investor Summit In Denver

COLORADO: The convention floor at Denver Airport’s Crowne Plaza this sunny Tuesday afternoon in April could be the trade show for any well-established industry — gray-haired execs in conservative suits mingling with office park dads in polos and fresh-out-of-college types in brand-emblazoned T-shirts. Only this is a new kind of business conference with a special Colorado theme: legal weed.

As states and cities follow Colorado’s lead and consider legalizing marijuana for medicinal and recreational use, the cannabis market looks less like a music festival and more like a Silicon Valley confab, upscale, data-driven and focused on investors.

Vendors and potential financiers at this month’s Marijuana Investors Summit say the current market for legal marijuana is more than $3 billion in the 23 states that have already legalized marijuana for medicinal or recreational use. Expanding that market, they say, will require not just drug reform legislation, but also a consistent infusion of capital at a time when the marijuana economy still exists in a legal gray area — one where the drug is permitted in some states, but still outlawed at the federal level.