How to claim marijuana on your taxes

With Canada now raking in up to $100 million per year in pot taxes, some of that revenue will soon be heading right back to pot users in the form of cannabis-specific tax receipts.

The only catch? Pot-smokers have to have permission from a physician indicating that they’re toking for medical reasons.

Cannabis is one of the myriad of categories that the Canada Revenue Agency has authorized as a permitted medical expense. The tax agency, which prefers the somewhat outdated spelling of “medical marihuana,” considers pot as no different than braille printers, glass eyes or oxygen tents.

However, tax-filers will be required to show evidence of a prescription. Even if a Canadian swears by cannabis for treating their sleep apnea, the CRA isn’t going to care unless they can provide a doctor’s note.

Medical cannabis users also need to buy their product from a licensed producer. As a general rule, the CRA doesn’t let you write off anything purchased on the black market.

CRA rules also exclude the reams of dispensaries who, prior to legalization, handed out dubious prescriptions from naturopaths.

It’s similar to the way the CRA decides whether to write off a gluten-free diet. If a taxpayer can provide a doctor’s note provide proving they have celiac disease, they are allowed to claim the “incremental cost” of gluten-free bread versus regular bread. If the taxpayer is merely going gluten-free to be trendy, however, they pay full price.

Over-the-counter drugs are similarly denied tax relief, even if they are indeed legitimate medical expenses. A Canadian may require cold relief drugs or skin creams to function, but they can’t claim it against their taxes unless someone with a med school diploma has given them the go-ahead.

Still, even authorized medical marijuana users can’t expect to deduct the full value of whatever they’ve paid for their prescribed pot. As with all medical expenses, Canadians must calculate the full value of all the medical pot they’ve purchased and then subtract either $2,268 or 3 per cent of their net income

Medical marijuana has been eligible as a tax deduction for roughly 10 years, although the CRA confirmed as much in 2015 with a letter to the Canadian Medical Cannabis Industry Association.

Prior to legalization, however, it was arguably much easier for auditors to check if a cannabis write-off was above board, since no cannabis could be purchased legitimately in Canada without medical authorization.

The tax situation is much more complicated in the United States. Even in states that have legalized medical marijuana, it is not eligible as a medical write-off because the United States federal government, and thus the Internal Revenue Service, still considers cannabis illegal.

Of course, that’s proven no barrier to the IRS collecting billions in taxes from U.S. cannabis dispensaries.

To read more visit: https://www.thegrowthop.com/cannabis-news/how-to-claim-marijuana-on-your-taxes

Wild, Wild Weed: Genetics, Business and Politics Changing Cannabis

For thousands of years humans have cultivated a species of plant known as Cannabis Sativa.  In the 21st Century, it may be the plant’s turn to change us.

What began as an ancient crop is now having its cultural moment in America.  In Minnesota, there is the lingering possibility of legalization for recreational use.

“For more than 10,000 years we’ve been shaping it,” said George Weiblen, a University of Minnesota Plant Biologist.

For more than a decade, Weiblen’s lab has been mapping the cannabis genome, by cross breeding two cousins:  marijuana and hemp.

The research has led to the discovery of a single gene, responsible for producing two of Cannabis Sativa’s signature chemicals:  THC and CBD.

THE MAGIC GENE

“They’re like sister molecules,”  said Weiblen.  “We know the gene is responsible for whether a plan produces mostly the THC, or mostly the CBD.  They’re inversely related.”

THC is the predominant chemical in marijuana that induces euphoria.  CBD is the dominant chemical in hemp, which clinical research shows may reduce anxiety and pain, and boost the immune system.

There is a typically a minuscule amount of THC in hemp, and generally speaking, smaller quantities of CBD in marijuana.

Beginning in the 1970s, breeders in the Netherlands and California began genetically manipulating marijuana for higher levels of THC, often at the expense of CBD.

Marijuana in the 1970s and 1980s sometimes contained 10 percent THC.  Today’s commercial brands, with names like “OG Kush,” “Trainwreck,” and “Sour Diesel,” can contain 20-30 percent THC.

“For a plant to put 20 to 30 percent of its resources into making one molecule is pretty extreme,” said Weiblen.

“There’s much we still don’t know,” said Weiblen.  “The discovery of these receptors in the nervous system to which THC binds, these turn out to be the most abundant receptors in our nervous system, and they have wide reaching effects on all our mood, appetite, memory, sleep.”

“It’s a much more complex interaction these molecules have on our brain,” said Weiblen.

THE GREEN WAVE

The THC molecule still defines what is legal or forbidden, depending on where you live.
Ten states, Washington, D.C., and Canada, have legalized marijuana for recreational use.  Twenty-two other states, including Minnesota, have legalized marijuana for medical use.  In Minnesota, patients can be certified for medical use of marijuana if they have one of a dozen different conditions.

“I lived everyday praying for God to allow me to die,” said Donna Davidge, a medical cannabis patient, who once took several opioids for chronic pain.  Now, she just takes THC.

“With this, I just take a couple little hits.  Get some giggles, and I’m good to go.  I’m not cloudy,” said Davidge.

According the Minnesota Health Department’s Office of Medical Cannabis, among the more than 14,000 current medical cannabis patients in Minnesota, most take it for intractable pain (64 percent), followed by PTSD (16 percent) and muscle spasms (13 percent).

For parents like Kim Kelsey, it is not THC, but CBD that is the savior.

Kelsey’s son, Alec, had life-threatening seizures every day – until he began taking high doses of CBD.

“He had tried over 24 pharmaceuticals,” said Kelsey.  The treatment costs her $700 a month, and insurance doesn’t pay a dime.

Kelsey is one of many patients struggling with the high cost but who worry about what would happen to the medical marijuana  program if Minnesota legalized recreational use.

“I’m supposed to go and pick something out of a cookie jar and roll up a joint for my 26 year old,” said Kelsey incredulously. “That’s not going to happen. I’m not going to pick out a bud and extract CBD.  I mean, I can’t even keep a poinsettia alive.”

‘CLOSE TO BREAK EVEN’

“There are some roadblocks in Minnesota,” said Dr. Jay Westwater, CEO of Minnesota Medical Solutions, which along with LeafLine, are the two companies licensed to sell medical cannabis in the state.

In just five years of medical cannabis being legalized in Minnesota, the two companies have reportedly lost $11 million.

“Our accountant tells us we are close to break even,” said Westwater.

Asked why they aren’t making money selling cannabis, Westwater has a simple answer:  “We don’t have enough patients.”

Minnesota’s medical cannabis program does not allow the sale or use of marijuana flower (bud). Instead, THC and CBD are extracted from the plant and put into vaping oil, pills and patches.  All contain very precise amounts of THC and CBD.

Westwater said the companies providing medical cannabis are treated more like a drug cartel.  While the overhead is expensive, there are none of the normal business tax deductions because cannabis is still considered a Schedule 1 Controlled Substance.

“I’m coming at this as a physician, and I’m very comfortable in a medical model,” said Dr. Westwater.

COST IS TOO HIGH

At a recent meeting of the Governor’s Task Force on Medical Cannabis, the message from patients was that the cost of medical marijuana is too high.

“The patients are not being heard,” said Maren Schroeder of Sensible Minnesota.

Joan Barron, a medical marijuana patient, told the task for she is grateful the program has allowed her to get off pain killers, but the cost is becoming prohibitive.

“My husband and I are driving two cars that are about to give out on us, because the cost of a car payment is what I need to find a safer alternative,” said Barron.  “The cost has got to come down.”

In other states, where recreational cannabis has been legalized, cost did come down, but at a price.

“We’ve seen quality go up, and we’ve seen people go out of business,” said Craig Small, a Denver attorney who specializes in cannabis.

Like other states, Colorado is growing more marijuana than people are consuming, leading to a drop in prices.  He said the medical and recreational system are now almost identical.

The concern in Colorado and other states is that market forces will mean more people are buying cannabis flower and fewer people will buy the more expensive medicine.

“I know that’s one of the biggest complaints of medical community is how can we say medical marijuana is medicine when we can’t scientifically identify doses,” said Small.

Dr. Charlie Reznikoff, an addiction expert with Hennepin Healthcare, agrees.

“When you draw physicians into it and say we want you to supervise, we are going to have a set of expectations,” said Reznikoff.

Dr. Reznikoff, who also sits on the Medical Cannabis Task Force, said he hasn’t seen the program produce rigorous data and research that will significantly advance the science of medical cannabis.

Dr. Reznikoff believes a recreational program and a medical program could co-exist in Minnesota.  He dislikes the term ‘recreational’ because “it sounds like you’re on a beach somewhere.”  He prefers the term ‘discretionary use.’

“So, if you think about all the substance one uses throughout the day – caffeine to wake up, alcohol to relax – we use it for all different purposes,” said Reznikoff.  “That doesn’t mean my barista is my doctor, or the liquor store is my alcohol dispensary.”

To read more visit: http://www.fox9.com/news/wild-wild-weed-genetics-business-and-politics-changing-cannabis

California’s Cannabis Legalization: Where are we now?

BENICIA (KRON) — Currently, there are 6,756 active seller’s permits issued for cannabis businesses in the state of California and each day more are added to the list.

For example in Benicia, with it’s population of 28,000 residents, the city council just approved for the first time in the city’s history, two retail shops and spots for manufacturing and growing cannabis.

“We are hopeful that our lower tax rate, geographic position in the Bay Area, adequate space, will attract diversity,” said City Councilman Steve Young.

Young says it is all about cashing in on the cannabis bandwagon.

Cities who welcome cannabis can tax the businesses and that helps pay for police, libraries and other vital services.

“We’re trying to diversify our tax base” he said.

As the saying goes, there are only two things you can count on in life, death and taxes, and some feel right now that the high tax on the cannabis industry is killing the spirit of the law.

“We know there is a black market out there, and we are trying to deal with that now,” said Assemblyman Rob Bonta.

Right now, there are as many as 9 bills at the state capital to tweek Proposition 64, which legalized adult recreational use of marijuana.

State Assemblyman Bonta from Alameda is throwing his support behind AB286. If passed, it would reduce the tax rate from 15 percent to 11 for three years.

“This will allow us to bring more into the legal and regulated market,” the assemblyman said.

The latest figures from the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration report that in the first three quarters the state excise tax took in $234 million.

The fourth quarter is out in a few weeks. While that is significantly higher than zero dollars before Proposition 64 rolled in, some argue it is far lower than what was projected.

“Well, this is historic. We’re going from 80 years of prohibition — I would say it’s amazing, it’s doing incredibly well. That said, there are a lot of challenges they’re facing,” said cannabis attorney Patrick Goggin.

Goggin is an attorney who specializes in legal work surrounding cannabis. He says they’re not taking in as much revenue as what was projected.

He says the high taxes are hurting bringing everyone into the fold and he hopes legislation like AB286 can make a difference.

While regulation continues to face challenges, so do other aspects of Proposition 64, such as the impact on California roads.

The latest numbers from the California Highway Patrol show a dramatic increase in the number of arrests and crashes of those driving under the influence of marijuana and the cost to society for that is unknown.

To read more visit: https://www.kron4.com/news/bay-area/california-s-cannabis-legalization-where-are-we-now-/1774976952

Cannabis legalization cautiously on the move

Democratic lawmakers are already moving on two tracks to legalize marijuana.

When I first wrote about cannabis legalization in December, I got a strong sense of ambivalence from the new Democratic majority in the Minnesota House. Understandably, they didn’t want to be viewed as the pot party in the weeks after a big election victory in which health care was the key battleground.

But the grass-roots (forgive the double entendre) must be restless because Democratic lawmakers are already moving on two tracks to legalize marijuana. Rep. Ray Dehn, D-Minneapolis, proposes giving voters the chance to approve a constitutional amendment in 2020 that would legalize cannabis, while Rep. Mike Freiberg, D-Golden Valley, and state Sen. Melisa Franzen, D-Edina, would pass legalization through a regular legislative approach and enlist the Department of Health to regulate.

Rep. Ryan Winkler, the Democratic majority leader, was dismissive of the constitutional amendment idea when I put it to him last week.

“Voters don’t think you should be using the constitutional amendment process to avoid making decisions that the Legislature is supposed to be making, or to play politics. It strikes me as too cute by half. And I don’t know that marijuana belongs in the Constitution,” he told me last week.

Freiberg and Franzen are expected to hold a news conference early this week to roll out their bill.

Here’s the key: Franzen has enlisted a Republican cosponsor in state Sen. Scott Jensen, R-Chaska, who adds extra credibility because he’s a physician.

Winkler said we can expect some form of marijuana legalization this year, but the order of proposals he listed to me is telling: broadening the medical marijuana program; criminal justice reform to lessen penalties for nonviolent drug offenders; finally, “highly regulated” legalization for recreational use.

In that vein, pay close attention to the Freiberg bill. Freiberg is a public health lawyer in real life, and a public health approach to legalization could help mitigate concerns of suburban members.

Even many advocates of legalization shuddered with angst recently when proponents of legalization could be seen on TV news shouting at their opponents, including law enforcement and families negatively affected by marijuana.

Franzen, who is also focused on helping nonviolent offenders clean up their criminal records through an expungements clause in the measure, told me that advocates should not expect the wild West when it comes to a Minnesota cannabis market. “It has to be closely regulated. We have to learn from other states,” she said.

She’s also in no hurry: “We need to be thoughtful about it. It’s going to take time to create the framework,” she said. Her proposal wouldn’t take effect until 2021.

In her measure, Franzen left blank the cannabis tax rate, perhaps signaling to her colleagues that the point of this exercise shouldn’t be revenue, which could be illusory anyway.

Long way to go on this issue for sure.

To read more visit: http://www.startribune.com/cannabis-legalization-cautiously-on-the-move/504919512/

Study Documents Humanity’s Use Of Marijuana Over 10,000 Years Of History

People from a diverse range of cultures have been using marijuana for thousands of years—in different forms and for different purposes. And a recent study published in the Journal of Cellular Physiology offers a comprehensive look at humanity’s fascinating relationship with cannabis over long periods of time.

Via the Journal of Cellular Physiology.

The study covers a lot of ground and is worth a read, but here are some of the stand-out facts that the team of Italian researchers identified in their paper:

—Cannabis seeds macrofossils were found attached to pieces of broken ceramic in central Japan dating back about 10,000 years.

—Shen Nung, a Chinese emperor around 2,700 BCE who is also considered the father of Chinese medicine, reportedly regarded marijuana as a “first-class herb” that was not dangerous.

—According to Verdic texts from around 800 BCE, cannabis was used in religious rituals but also for its “analgesic, anesthetic, antiparasitic, antispastic, and diuretic properties” and “as an expectorating agent, as an aphrodisiac, to treat convulsions, to stimulate hunger, and to relieve from fatigue.”

—Marijuana was considered a “holy plant” in Tibet and was used in Tantric Buddhism to “facilitate meditations.”

—Archeologists have discovered remnants of cannabis in the graves of Scythians, an ancient group of nomadic warriors, in Germany, Siberia and Ukraine, dating back to about 450 BCE.

—Marijuana pollen was also found in the tomb of Ramsés II, one of the most storied pharaohs of Egypt.

—Hemp seed oil was used in Arabic medicine to treat ear infections, skin diseases, flatulence, intestinal worms, neurological pain, fever and vomiting.

—Galen, one of the most famous Greek physicians in the Roman empire, warned about “an excess consumption of cakes containing hemp seeds,” which were apparently popular during banquets. People ate the cakes for “their property to induce relaxation, hilarity and euphoria, but with the collateral effect to induce thirst, sluggishness and a difficulty to digest.”

—Pope Innocent VIII issued a papal bull in 1484 that condemned cannabis, calling it an “unholy sacrament of the satanic mass.”

—In eastern Europe, cannabis was a common ingredient in popular medicine. For example, people would mix hemp flowers and olive oil and put it on wounds. The mixture was also “combined with hemp seeds oil for rheumatisms and jaundice.”

“Plurimillennial history of Cannabis medical use teaches us all we should know about its pharmacological potential and the pathologies that would mainly advantage from its application,” the researchers wrote. “All we must do now is [invest] our efforts into informative research, collecting more statistically significant data and conclusive scientific evidence about both its medical benefits and negative effects.”

To read more visit: https://www.marijuanamoment.net/study-documents-humanitys-use-of-marijuana-over-10000-years-of-history/

The Top 10 Democratic Contenders of 2020 Who Support Legal Weed

In the lead up to the 2020 Presidential election, there are a lot of important issues that warrant debate. Everything from healthcare to net neutrality will be discussed during campaign season, but there’s one issue of particular importance: the legalization and decriminalization of cannabis.

Legal weed isn’t really a wedge issue that causes people to shift their party allegiance. But it’s still important to know what major politicians think about its status, as we buildup to the next election. This look into ten Democratic contenders (only some have announced their exploratory committees while the rest have coyly voiced their interest in running) will explore how their views have changed and how they interacted with the so-called War on Drugs in the past.

The Top 10 Democratic Contenders of 2020 Who Think About Legal Weed

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Elizabeth Warren is the first major Democrat to announce her intentions of running for president. A fierce advocate for consumer protections, the Harvard-professor-turned-Massachusetts-senator is now a supporter of federal legalization. Back in 2016, Warren refused to endorse the issue when it hit her home state’s ballot. But, as public opinion in the Democratic party shifted, Warren has followed the wind and earned an A-rating from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML).

With Cory Gardner, a Republican Senator from Colorado, Warren introduced the Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act in June during the previous Congress. If passed, the bill would have amended the Controlled Substance Act to block federal interference in state-legal marijuana-related activities. She was also a co-sponsor of the Carers Act that would protect medical pot patients from federal punishment; and the Marijuana Justice Actlegislation that would have ended federal prohibition and directed the courts to expunge people’s records.

The Top 10 Democratic Contenders of 2020 Who Think About Legal Weed

Sen. Cory Booker

While he hasn’t formally announced whether he’s running for president, Senator Cory Booker’s name has been thrown around as a potential candidate since he served as the Mayor of Newark, New Jersey.

In the last Congress, Senator Booker introduced the Marijuana Justice Acta bill that other senators on this list co-sponsored. While the bill wasn’t signed into law, it would have removed cannabis from the Controlled Substance Act, ended federal prohibition, and set up a structure that reduces law-enforcement funds for states that disproportionately target low-income residents or people of color for cannabis-related charges. In addition to having some good ideas, Booker also knows how to maximize his message around legalization. On the most recent 4/20, Booker released a video on Micthat laid out his views on the racial discrepancies related to legalization.

Booker, who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, even joked that he was planning on “sending brownies to [Senator Lindsey Graham’s] office to celebrate his new chairmanship,” after Graham indicated he wasn’t planning on tackling marijuana reform.

The Top 10 Democratic Contenders of 2020 Who Think About Legal Weed

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Instead of announcing her intentions to run for President in an intimate speech in her hometown of Albany, New York, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand made a grand announcement on the The Late Show with Stephen ColbertA savvy move for someone who doesn’t have much name recognition outside of her crusades against sexual assault in the military, Gillibrand is a tough former attorney who supports progressive policies like Medicare for all and a federal jobs guarantee.

Gillibrand admits that before she became a senator, she was a bit more conservative leaning as a member of the House from northern New York. In the House she didn’t support any bills related to legalization, in fact, she went as far as to block an amendment that would have defended medical marijuana from increased federal scrutiny in 2007. Since then, however, she’s had a change of heart. A co-sponsor of Senator Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act, Gillibrand supports full legalization and is an advocate for additional research to see how its medical uses can assist veterans with specific mental health conditions.

The Top 10 Democratic Contenders of 2020 Who Think About Legal Weed

Secretary Julian Castro

Julian Castro, the former Mayor of San Antonio, Texas, was first elected into public office at 26-years-old. His name started appearing on people’s political radar after he gave the keynote speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2012, similar to President Obama’s claim to fame by giving the same speech at the 2004 convention.

A proclaimed progressive who’s called off of PAC donations for his campaign, Castro was the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) when they published a rather restrictive memo in 2014 regarding public housing tenants who use cannabis. The memo, which was an update to a 2011 document, clarified that “owners must deny admission to assisted housing” if individuals are illegally using cannabis. Even if a tenant resided in a state where medical or recreational use was legal, the owner was still required to deny entry to the housing. Since then, Castro has criticized the Trump administration for voicing intentions to interfere with legal state markets but it’s still not clear where he stands in regards to federal legalization and regulation.

The Top 10 Democratic Contenders of 2020 Who Think About Legal Weed

Sen. Kamala Harris

Since first joining the Senate in 2016, Kamala Harris has become a national player thanks to the viral nature of her pointed questions in Judicial Committee hearings. California’s junior Senator turned Presidential candidate has cultivated an image for herself as a “progressive prosecutor,” but some of her actions as California’s top law-enforcement officer don’t represent that label.

Back in 2014, when Harris’ campaign for Attorney General was heating up, she was asked about her Republican opponents’ support of legalizing cannabis on the federal level. Instead of voicing her support or opposition to the policy, she simply laughed and stated he was entitled to his opinions. In 2018 however, now that the national conversation around weed has shifted, Harris is on board with legalization at the federal level and tweeted her support of Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act. In her new book, The Truths We Hold, Harris voiced her support for regulation and for removing “non-violent marijuana-related offenses from the records of millions of people who have been arrested and incarcerated so they can get on with their lives.”

The Top 10 Democratic Contenders of 2020 Who Think About Legal Weed

Rep. Beto O’Rourke

The Democratic superstar from Texas whose popularity led him to think posting an Instagram story during a dental examination was a good idea, is an exciting breath of fresh air for the party. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke may have lost in his bid to unseat Texas Senator Ted Cruz last November, but he awakened a national fanbase that catapulted him to financial dominance and the top of many prediction lists. While he has yet to set-up an exploratory committee or announce his candidacy, a group of activists and former staffers are waiting in the wings for him to make an announcement.

In a livechat recorded while driving around Texas, O’Rourke talks about his belief that ending the Drug War is one of the most important challenges for the country. While he’s quick to indicate he believes there’s no “perfect option” when it comes to keeping cannabis away from children, he believes a federal system of legalization and regulation is the best way to control the customer base and ensure fewer profits flow to illegal drug enterprises.

The Top 10 Democratic Contenders of 2020 Who Think About Legal Weed

Sen. Amy Klobuchar

Amy Klobuchar, the senior Senator from Minnesota, blew onto the national stage in a big way over an exchange with Justice Brett Kavanaugh during his committee hearing. She doesn’t have the widespread name recognition of other superstars in the party, but Klobuchar was just elected to her third Senate term in November with 60.3 percent of the vote, a resounding victory in a state where Hillary Clinton only beat President Trump by 1.5 percent.

While Klobuchar has a D-rating from NORML, she was a co-sponsor on Sen. Warren’s STATES ActIf passed, the bill would have prevented federal interference in states where cannabis is legal, ended the prohibition of industrial hemp, and allowed banks to provide financial services to legal cannabis businesses. A Democrat from the midwest, Klobuchar hasn’t made any public statements about federal prohibition, but with legalization likely hitting her state this year, expect her to make her position known soon if she decides to run.

The Top 10 Democratic Contenders of 2020 Who Think About Legal Weed

Gov. Jay Inslee

The only Governor on this list, Jay Inslee currently serves the people of Washington. Before being elected to the state’s top Executive position in 2012, Inslee represented Washington in the House from 1993 up until his Gubernatorial election. While he has so-far positioned himself as a potential candidate whose primary focus will be fighting climate change, he also stands out as a leader from the first U.S. state where recreational cannabis-use was deemed legal.

At this year’s Washington Cannabis Summit, the Governor announced his Marijuana Justice Initiative An attempt to give clemency to individuals who have been prosecuted for weed charges in Washington between 1998 and 2012, the Governor will pardon residents over the age of 21 who only have one cannabis misdemeanor on their record. In Inslee’s opinion, expunging these convictions removes obstacles for these individuals to obtain “housing, employment, and education.”

(If you or someone you know lives in Washington and is interested in requesting a pardon, start the process by filling out the form on this page.)

The Top 10 Democratic Contenders of 2020 Who Think About Legal Weed

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Potentially the candidate with the lowest national profile, Representative Tulsi Gabbard has represented Hawaii in Congress since 2013. While the Congresswoman has a shaky track record when it comes to LGBT rights and foreign policy, Gabbard has evolved into a more progressive candidate and distanced herself from many of her previous positions.

Gabbard, who has a B+ from NORML, supports a gauntlet of reforms related to legalization. A co-sponsor of the Marijuana Justice Act in 2018 in the House, Gabbard is an advocate for reduced federal interference in legal states, industrial hemp production and increased research into the medicinal benefits of both THC and CBD. During an interview on the Joe Rogan podcast, Gabbard voiced her frustration with the pharmaceutical industry and the way it profits off the opioid crisis by selling both addictive substances and medications designed to wean people off the drugs. In her opinion, marijuana legalization on both the state and federal levels will play a big part in reducing the addiction and overdose rates in the U.S.

The Top 10 Democratic Contenders of 2020 Who Think About Legal Weed

Sen. Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders is the most popular Senator in the United States and will be a strong contender if he decides to run for president once again. The politician is regarded for adhering to the same ideological beliefs over his decades in public service, and that also expands to his views on marijuana. An advocate for treatment instead of punishment for addicts, Sanders has long opposed the failed War on Drugs. Comparing it to tobacco and alcohol, the Senator, who co-sponsored the Marijuana Justice Act, told an audience of college students back in October 2015 that he believes the government should end the federal prohibition of cannabis.

As he does with every issue, Sanders likes to tie his support for legalization and criminal justice reform to his crusade against the one percent. During a Democratic Primary debate back in January 2016, he shamed the fact that millions of individuals have marijuana-related crimes on their record but “the CEO’s of Wall Street companies who destroyed our economy have no police records.”

To read more visit: https://www.dopeytimes.com/cannabis-lifestyle/the-top-10-democratic-contenders-of-2020-who-support-legal-weed/

Global Consumer Cannabis Spending Projected to Grow 38% in 2019

People are going to be buying a lot more legal weed in 2019, according to a new report.

Legal cannabis markets are still a relatively new phenomenon, and the market is likely nowhere near its total sales potential. But it will get closer in 2019, when consumer spending is projected to grow by 38 percent, according to a new report from Arcview Market Research, which says that consumer spending in the legal cannabis market will go from $12.2 billion USD in 2018 to $16.9 billion USD in 2019.

That’s because major changes in the market that happened in 2018 will either develop or correct themselves in ways that generate more revenue for the industry. Canada’s legal marijuana markets didn’t start up until late 2018, so a full year of sales will be a huge boost for the industry – especially if the provinces and territories solve the nationwide cannabis supply shortage before the end of the year. On top of that, California’s market is expected to rebound after becoming over-saturated in 2018, which drove down the prices of (and subsequent revenues from) cannabis sales.

Meanwhile, Michigan – which legalized recreational cannabis last November – will soon join the legal market. And it could be joined soon after by New York and New Jersey, where Governors Andrew Cuomo (D) and Phil Murphy (D) are working with state lawmakers to repeal cannabis prohibition. If they get their markets up and running before the end of 2019, then the industry’s growth will be massive.

Outside of America, medical marijuana was legalized in several Asian countries last year and in the UK. On top of that, Mexico is poised to legalize recreational cannabis in the near future.

So 2019 looks like it will be a watershed moment for the new industry. But its gains will likely be dwarfed by the growth expected in 2022, when Arcview predicts that the global industry will be worth $31.3 billion.

To read more visit: https://www.civilized.life/articles/global-consumer-cannabis-spending-projected-to-grow-38-in-2019/

2018 Was A Major Year For Cannabis Legislation And 2019 Is Shaping Up To Be Much Bigger

Lawmakers across the country are introducing, debating and voting on more marijuana legislation than ever before.

In 2018, Marijuana Moment tracked 915 bills in state legislatures and Congress concerning cannabis, medical marijuana and hemp. According to our legislative analysis platform, a huge majority of states—92 percent—took up cannabis reform bills of some kind during the year.

This year, legislators in state capitols and on Capitol Hill have already filed more than 350 cannabis-related proposals for 2019 sessions that in most cases began only weeks ago. If 2018 is any indication, this year should see a sizable number of those bills making it to governors’ desks for enactment.

In 2018, a significant percentage of filed marijuana legislation moved forward, with at least 147 bills being signed or enacted in 35 states and the District of Columbia.

Those that made it across the finish line ranged from far-reaching proposals such as the legalization of cannabis possession and home cultivation in Vermont to more modest regulatory measures like Colorado bills concerning marijuana waste recycling and water use for hemp cultivation.

Twenty-eight of the bills that were enacted concerned hemp, while 48 were related to medical cannabis or cannabidiol (CBD).

Others had to do with regulating newly legal markets. Not surprisingly, California had the most legislation passed (26 bills), as the state attempted to implement its voter-approved legalization system. Among the enacted legislation in the Golden State were items touching on issues like medical cannabis recommendations by veterinarians, marijuana advertisements and cannabinoid-infused alcoholic beverages. An additional 29 bills died or were vetoed by Governor Jerry Brown.

Colorado was next, with 18 bills signed and three vetoed.

Hawaii, it turns out, dealt with the greatest volume of cannabis bills overall. Six were enacted but an astonishing 103 additional proposals died in committee, failed or were vetoed. That number accounts for 11 percent of all the cannabis bills we tracked across the country in 2018.

While a few states like South Dakota only had one bill, fourteen individual states dealt with 20 or more pieces of legislation each.

New Jersey saw 57 cannabis-related bills, with only one making it all the way to the end of the legislative process: A measure to create a pilot program to research industrial hemp cultivation.

California lawmakers considered 55 bills, New York weighed 48 and Washington State saw 45 pieces of cannabis legislation filed.

States that dealt with 20 or more pieces of cannabis legislation in 2018:

State
Total number
of bills
Hawaii 109
Federal 64
New Jersey 57
California 55
New York 48
Washington 45
Maryland 32
Colorado 31
Tennessee 31
Iowa 28
Michigan 28
Virginia 28
Arizona 22
Maine 20

Justin Strekal, political director for NORML, told Marijuana Moment that the organization’s chapters across the country are seeing “increased interest and increased support from lawmakers from every part of the political spectrum.”

“As politicians see the public moving ahead of them, they are rapidly evolving their stance regarding marijuana.”

There is plenty of political resistance remaining, however. A majority of cannabis-related legislation introduced last year—529 bills—failed, died or were vetoed.

Maine was the only state where legislators overrode a gubernatorial veto in order to implement a regulatory system for the recreational marijuana law that the state’s voters approved in 2016.

Meanwhile, Vermont became the first state to legalize marijuana via an act of lawmakers as opposed to through a ballot measure. Legislators in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, a U.S. territory, followed by passing a legalization bill of their own.

“Last year’s tremendous amount of legislative activity surrounding cannabis, hemp and CBD legislation reflected that elected officials are increasingly getting the message that the harsh criminalization of marijuana in all its forms is misguided and out of step with the the wishes of voters,” Karen O’Keefe, director of state policies for the Marijuana Policy Project, told Marijuana Moment.

At the federal level, 2018 marked the first time stand-alone cannabis bills advanced though congressional committees.

In May, the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee approved legislation encouraging the federal government to study the benefits of medical cannabis for military veterans. Then, in September, the House Judiciary Committee passed a bill that would force the Department of Justice to approve new businesses to cultivate marijuana to be used in scientific research.

Neither proposal ended up getting a floor vote, but their historic committee approvals demonstrated momentum ahead of the new 116th Congress, in which advocates are more hopeful than ever before that marijuana legislation could advance to enactment.

An additional 59 cannabis-related congressional bills stalled without hearings or votes, though it is also worth noting that lawmakers approved, and President Trump signed, a large-scale Farm Bill renewal that included language legalizing industrial hemp and its derivatives.

Back at the state level, O’Keefe is optimistic that efforts made in 2018 will pay off in 2019. “Several states saw committee wins or other progress that will help set the ground for eventual passage,” she said.

In New Jersey, for example, Senate and Assembly committees approved a bill to legalize marijuana in November but, due to an ongoing inability to agree with Gov. Phil Murphy (D) on tax rates and regulatory matters, legislative leaders didn’t bring the proposal to the floor of either chamber by the end of the year. Those negotiations are still underway, with advocates hopeful that agreeable language can be worked out early in 2019.

Strekal agrees that this year will be another especially active one for cannabis legislation. “There will be greater numbers of legislation introduced,” he predicts, as well as an increase in those pieces of legislation “receiving hearings, passing committees, being passed by legislative votes and being enacted by governors.”

To read more visit: https://www.marijuanamoment.net/2018-was-a-major-year-for-cannabis-legislation-and-2019-is-shaping-up-to-be-much-bigger/

CBD: The Trendy Cannabis Compound That’s Blurring The Law For Canadians

The man behind the counter of a vape shop in Vancouver’s popular Granville Strip entertainment district answered a confident “Yes,” when asked if the bottle of CBD liquid was legal.

In nearby New Westminster, Lia Hood said she was surprised when The Globe and Mail notified her that her Good Omen gift shop was likely falling afoul of federal drug laws for selling a locally manufactured line of teas infused with CBD, a chemical found in cannabis.

The operators of a high-end hipster barbershop in Toronto’s Leslieville neighbourhood were equally unaware that the standalone kiosks offering “soothing serum” and “intensive cream” were made with illegal CBD, popular shorthand for the compound cannabidiol.

And up until last fall, cat and dog owners worried about their anxious pets could walk into the downtown Toronto Pet Valu franchise and find remedies such as homeopathic drops, calming compression bibs and a hemp-based tincture loaded with the cannabis compound.

CBD, which can be derived from hemp or marijuana, has been popping up over the past few years in everything from mineral water to vape pen cartridges amid intense hype – and some emerging scientific evidence – that it is a wonder drug able to help combat a range of ailments from joint pain, insomnia and seizures to anxiety.

There’s one problem: CBD is strictly regulated, just like cannabis. Only licensed producers may make it, and only registered retailers may sell the products. The legalization of marijuana on Oct. 17 did not change anything.

However, many consumers and even merchants believe it is legal because, as proponents of CBD point out, it does not cause intoxication, unlike the other well-known compound in cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

To read more visit: https://dankr.ca/news/cbd-the-trendy-cannabis-compound-thats-blurring-the-law-for-canadians

Here’s every cannabis college course you can take in U.S. and Canada

It turns out if you’re interested in starting a career in the cannabis industry after graduation, you can jump on a path at many schools that’ll help you land a suitable position in the industry while giving you valuable experience. If you live in Canada or the U.S., there are various major cities that offer cannabis courses and programs. Keep reading to find out where you can study cannabis and get legitimate college credit for it.

Employment Cannabis Boom in Canada

Since Canada federally legalized cannabis in October of last year, the number of employment opportunities has significantly grown. In particular, according to Indeed Canada, openings for cannabis-oriented positions have tripled over the past year. So far though, Canada has roughly 150,000 workers within the cannabis industry. But according to chief science officer Roger Ferreira of Beleave Kannabis Corp (an Ontario-based cannabis company), there’s been a lack of experienced Canadian staff members.

To meet demand, many Canadian colleges and universities have started offering cannabis courses to interested students, often at the urging of numerous cannabis companies.

“Nearly a dozen colleges nationwide are adding or expanding courses designed to train the next generation of marijuana producers, often at the nudging of area employers,” reports the Washington Post.

 

 

Cannabis Courses Offered In Canada

Overall, each Canadian province has a different approach regarding cannabis. Although the plant is now federally legal, all provinces have the right to decide whether they want to offer cannabis courses or programs at various colleges and universities. Below is a breakdown of cannabis courses, programs, and/or certifications that are offered by various Canadian schools.

Ontario

A small college in Ontario called Durham College recently launched their own “Cannabis Industry Specialization Program” this past Autumn. Additionally, Bill MacDonald, an Ontario-based science professor decided to create a “Commercial Cannabis Production program” at Niagara College. This program became available last September, and more than 300 people have applied to be in it. MacDonald released the following statement about the program’s growing demand: “I had licensed producers come to the college and say, ‘We need highly trained personnel.’ The demand is just huge.”

Furthermore, Ontario Loyalist College has a partnership with a British Columbia university calledKwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU). The Ontario-based college employs KPU’s class material through distance education. Then, Boreal College in Toronto offers a cannabis cultivation course to students. They also debuted their own cannabis production technician program this past Autumn. Lastly, sometime this month, the University of Ottawa will debut their two-week long crash course in cannabis laws.

Alberta

Recently, Alberta got involved in a process to train cannabis workers. They received an application from a private Canadian career college, but this is still a work in progress. Mount Royal University in Calgary started offering three online cannabis classes this past September.

Quebec

In January of 2020, McGill University in Montreal will officially launch a graduate degree program in the area of cannabis production. However, this program will only be available to students who possess a background in botany and/or hold a bachelor’s degree in a related field.

New Brunswick

Although New Brunswick isn’t as far along with cannabis cultivation and employment opportunities as other provinces are, they’re moving towards offering cannabis cultivation technician programs. Specifically, the New Brunswick government is in the process of partnering with Dieppe Community College as well as Moncton-based Organigram to launch a 12-week long cannabis program.

Currently though, the Community College of New Brunswick offers a twelve-week long medical cannabis cultivation course.

Nova Scotia

Nova Scotia is also moving forward with launching cannabis courses and programs. One example is St. Francis Xavier University, which signed a three-year agreement with THC Dispensaries Canada Inc. Roughly 20-30 students will be able to eventually work at the facility of THC Dispensaries Canada Inc. for college credit.

British Columbia

In Vancouver, British Columbia, Kwantlen Polytechnic University (KPU) offers students the opportunity to attain a “Retail Cannabis Consultant” certificate. The university also debuted their own cannabis career training program, which consists of various non-credit online classes that last for thirteen weeks. The leader of this program and director of emerging business at KPU (David Purcell) stated: “We’re breaking down these stereotypes with evidence-based education. We’re the anti-reefer madness.”

Then, Camosun College offers a cannabis cultivation course. Whereas, the College of the Rockies offers a cannabis retail specialist program that combines customer service with science. Lastly, third and fourth-year college students enrolled in Okanagan College in Kelowna can learn about cannabis in an elective class.

Cannabis Courses Offered In U.S.

Although Canadian provinces are taking concrete steps to support schools that create cannabis courses and programs for students, many American colleges and universities are trying to do the same. Below are some top name American colleges and universities that offer different cannabis courses, programs, and/or certificates.

Colorado

At the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business, a course about the business of cannabis is offered. Then, the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law offers a course for law students on the topic of what to know when representing a cannabis client. Whereas, at the University of Denver, a course called, “Cannabis Journalism” is available. There’s also Cannabis Training University, which offers an online cannabis program.

However, let’s not forget about Trichome Institute, The Grow School, and Clover Leaf University that all offer their own variation of cannabis courses and/or programs.

Ohio

This past Autumn, Ohio State University unveiled a cannabis course called “Cannabiz: Exploring the Legalized Cannabis Industry”.

Michigan

Northern Michigan University offers a four-year medicinal plant chemistry undergraduate degree,which will expand into educating students about medical cannabis and the growing cannabis industry.

New Jersey

Stockton University recently gave students the opportunity to minor in cannabis studies. This opportunity became available last year, and the program consists of five classes, an internship placement, and two required classes on the topics of cannabis law and medical cannabis.

Vermont

The University of Vermont now offers a few cannabis courses. The university has a “Cannabis Science and Medicine Program”, which also includes a continuing medical education program for those pursuing medical-related degrees. Surprisingly, this university was the first to launch this type of cannabis science program.

Washington State

The University of Washington offers a cannabis training program called “Medicinal Cannabis and Chronic Pain”. This program is specifically designed for medical professionals including soon-to-be nurses, physicians, and other healthcare professionals.

California

At the University of California in Los Angles (UCLA), students can partake in the school’s cannabis research initiative. Whereas, at the University of California-Davis, there are two cannabis courses that are a part of the University of California system.

Currently, the school offers a class called, “The Physiology of Cannabis”, and they plan to offer other courses that focus on cannabinoid education. Additionally, there’s an upper-level course that focuses on the health impact, risks, and benefits of cannabis.

Lastly, Oaksterdam University in Oakland, California offers its own cannabis classes as does Humboldt Cannabis College.

Overall, the demand for cannabis continues to grow, but so does the demand for qualified and experienced cannabis professionals. If you wish to have a career in the cannabis industry now or in the future, it’s recommended to enroll in some type of cannabis course or program where you can receive valuable experience that can help you stand out to employers. The more qualifications and certifications you have, the better.

To read more visit: https://www.thegrowthop.com/cannabis-news/heres-every-cannabis-college-course-you-can-take-in-u-s-and-canada