Friday, November 28, 2014

Your "Green" Friday MMJ Dispensary Deals

by David Downs
Fri, Nov 28, 2014 at 10:55 AM

While America's shoppers avoid or embrace Black Friday today, our region's medical cannabis dispensaries work to soothe the stress with "Green" Friday deals of their own. Here's what we found out there:

Harborside Health Center
Opens 9 a.m. Friday; $150 ounces, 50% off all seeds, HHC Cloud Pen, nails, pipes.

Telegraph Health Center
Specials all day.

More …

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

History's Best Pot and Food Pairing in SF This Weekend

by David Downs
Tue, Nov 25, 2014 at 10:09 AM

Finally. Finally! How did it take this long to happen?!

The medical marijuana community is taking over the outdoor food court SoMa Street Food Saturday for the most epically tasting cannabis competition in history.

The 8th Annual San Francisco Medical Cannabis Competition will feature artisanal food trucks, games, prizes, and entertainment by Bayonics with DJ Selektalou, and Red Hots Burlesque from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. this weekend.

Soma Street Food has different vendors every day and some of this week’s lineup has included Peruvian-Chinese cuisine from Peruchi, Korean BOB CHA, a bacon food truck, gyros, Lil Burma, a wood-fired mobile pizza from Firetrail, and gourmet sliders from Me So Hungry SF.

Saturday's menus promises to fix a long-standing issue at cannabis cups — the subpar food! Corndogs can fly at a beerfest, but we're talking about cannabis' numbe- one side-effect here. With on-site medication in a Prop 215 area — the noshes should always be top-shelf. 

Judges' packs have sold out for the regional pot competition, which awards top honors for best indica, sativa, hybrid, high CBD, concentrates, and edibles on Saturday.

Better luck next year: 2014 SFMCC Judge's Packs, above, have sold out. - COURTESY OF SFMCC
  • Courtesy of SFMCC
  • Better luck next year: 2014 SFMCC Judge's Packs, above, have sold out.

Slam poet and comedian Jamie De Wolf, creator of Smoked, the Movie hosts. VIP lounge brought to us by Leafly and The Green Door. Other sponsors include Oakland’s CW Analytical, BLUM Oakland, C.R.A.F.T. Berkeley and The Emerald Cup in Humboldt.

Tickets are $22 and proceeds benefit California NORML this year, a nonprofit, membership organization dedicated to reforming California’s marijuana laws. The group's mission is to establish the right for legal use of cannabis by adults. It's the only state organization devoted specifically to marijuana reform.

SoMa Street Food court illustration - COURTESY OF SOMA STREET FOOD
  • courtesy of SOMA Street Food
  • SoMa Street Food court illustration

Friday, November 21, 2014

Washington Legalization: $7.9 million in taxes — and climbing

by David Downs
Fri, Nov 21, 2014 at 10:10 AM

Here comes the bud.

Washington State has collected $7.9 million in tax revenue since sales of legal cannabis to adults 21 and over began on July 8, and sales are currently on pace to grow by 36 percent over October.

At the November pace, Washington's adult-use industry is set to gross about $200 million in sales over the next year.

Marijuana Business Daily has the numbers in its Chart of the Week.

A flower bud of the strain Blueberry Headband -- a favorite in Washington. - DAVID DOWNS
  • David Downs
  • A flower bud of the strain Blueberry Headband -- a favorite in Washington.
Washington has a taken a slower, higher-tax approach to rolling out its commercial industry, compared to Colorado. 

Just one store opened on the first official day of sales in Washington this July. About three dozen stores are now open in the Evergreen State, with 25 percent taxes at three stages of the industry: wholesale, processor, and retail. That works out to about a 41 percent tax, writes Allison Holcomb, National Director of the ACLU Campaign to End Mass Incarceration, and Initiative 502 campaign director.

Washington collected $842,000 in taxes in July, $1.8 million in August, $2.2 million in September, and $3.1 million in October. MBD estimates the state will gross $4.2 million in taxes in November, based on the first nine days of sales this month. 

Colorado pot taxes will total an estimated $84 million for 2014. The money is being used to fund schools, courts, and public health.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

After Midterms, California Attorney General Kamala Harris Tacks Left on Legalization

by David Downs
Tue, Nov 18, 2014 at 9:57 AM

When California Attorney General Kamala Harris ran for re-election this year, she laughed at the idea of ending cannabis prohibition in California.

Kamala Harris
  • Kamala Harris
Now that Harris has won the race for top cop, she’s no longer laughing. In an interview with BuzzFeed news posted this week, Harris sounds less like a cynical cop, and more like an aspiring candidate for the US Senate or the House of Representatives. About 51 percent of Americans and an even larger proportion of Californians support taxing and regulating pot.

Harris tells BuzzFeed:
“I am not opposed to the legalization of marijuana. I’m the top cop, and so I have to look at it from a law enforcement perspective and a public safety perspective. … I think we are fortunate to have Colorado and Washington be in front of us on this and figuring out the details of what it looks like when it’s legalized.”

"I don’t think it’s gonna take too long to figure this out. ... I think there’s a certain inevitability about it.”

More …

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Best Legalization Debate Ever: Drug Policy Alliance’s Ethan Nadelmann vs. Project SAM's Kevin Sabet

by David Downs
Thu, Nov 13, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Ethan Nadelmann, the executive director of America's leading pot law reform group, Drug Policy Alliance, took on Kevin Sabet, the head of the nation's most prominent anti-pot group, Project SAM, in a crackling, intense debate on CNN this week.

Nadelmann hammered home the point that the majority of Americans support diverting pot's profits from criminal groups to taxpaying, law-abiding businesses. Sabet said he supports home-growing and decriminalization, but draws the line at taxing and regulating cannabis commerce. 

Both agree, cannabis legalization is not inevitable.

“If people think it’s important for marijuana prohibition to end and want it to happen, they cant think it’s going to happen by itself,” Nadelmann concludes. Here's the full clip.


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Can Congress Block Washington DC Legalization? Highly Unlikely

by David Downs
Wed, Nov 12, 2014 at 12:32 PM

For once, Congressional gridlock looks awesome.

After the historic landslide —  69 percent — vote to end pot prohibition in Washington, DC, many people are wondering how Congress will react. The legislature holds the purse strings of the District and has used that power in the past to block medical marijuana in Washington.

This time, things are different.

Congress has a small window of time to affirmatively block the implementation of the District’s legal marijuana plans, but doesn’t appear capable of doing so.

More …

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

No California Legalization? Blame the DINOs

by David Downs
Tue, Nov 11, 2014 at 4:33 PM

Despite Democratic control of all three branches of government in California, the Golden State still could not pass basic regulations for its billion-dollar medical cannabis industry this year. This is part of a trend.

The Washington Post reports Monday on the singular role purportedly progressive Democrats have played in blocking cannabis law reform in California. For one, the drug war started as a 1930s New Deal-era experiment in legislating morality.

But more recently, US Attorney General Eric Holder played a starring role in keeping pot illegal in California when in 2010 he flew into Los Angeles and threatened the state if it voted to tax and regulate pot for adults 21 and over. 

Holder said the Obama administration “strongly opposes” [Prop 19] and “will vigorously enforce the (Controlled Substances Act) against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law.”

Support for Oakland-led Prop 19 plummeted from 54 percent in favor to 46 percent in three weeks. Prop. 19’s key swing vote was politically interested Democrats who followed their leaders away from the measure.

“Political elites exert extensive influence over Americans’ policy opinions in general and their referendum votes in particular," the Post notes. 

By contrast, Holder stayed out of the election in Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington, DC, all of which saw legalization pass.

“These results suggest that Democratic politicians’ strong opposition to Proposition 19 helped derail marijuana legalization in California,” the Post states.

The analysis is germane to the present. 

Leading California Democrats like Senator Dianne Feinstein have positions to the right of Republicans on marijuana. Senator Barbara Boxer opposed Prop 19 as well.

Governor Jerry Brown campaigned against Prop 19 and this year made the asinine remark that controlling legal cannabis would make us less competitive with China.

Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, supports legalization, and so does Oakland Congresswoman Barbara Lee, but they are outliers.

Kamala Harris.
  • Kamala Harris.
Look at current state Attorney General Kamala Harris, who campaigned against Prop 19, laughed at reforms this year, and then idiotically suggested legalization would cause "open-air use that can lead to contact highs among bystanders who had no intention of inhaling."

It’s California Republican Congressman Dana Rohrabacher, not Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi who carried water for legalization in DC. Pelosi also campaigned against Prop 19.

As activists gear up for 2016, getting Democrats on board better be a major priority. Otherwise, DINOs (Democrats In Name Only) will stomp the California movement, yet again.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Marijuana Laws Overhauled by California Mid-Term Election

by David Downs
Thu, Nov 6, 2014 at 10:22 AM

Washington, DC; Alaska; and Oregon legalized cannabis Tuesday night, leaving everyone wondering, "What the heck is wrong with California?" The Golden State led the way in medical marijuana in 1996, and is the nation's largest domestic producer of the crop.

But California is a country unto itself, and seen from that perspective, it’s clear the "city-states" of the San Francisco-Bay Area, Los Angeles, Sacramento, and other progressive urban centers have implemented de facto legalization — pot’s decriminalized statewide, and available in licensed stores to folks with a doctor’s note. But several other "states" of California are charting their own path.

Backed by a 2013 California Supreme Court ruling, California cities and counties have wide discretion to ban almost any medical cannabis activity. That flexibility permits progressive communities to provide the access patients deserve, while allowing conservative regions to say “not in my back yard.” 

More …

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Hat Trick for Marijuana Legalization: Washington, DC; Oregon; and Alaska Legalize Pot in Historic Votes

by David Downs
Wed, Nov 5, 2014 at 9:43 AM

Five years ago, we started Legalization Nation because we believed we were witnessing a generational change in marijuana law and it deserved to be chronicled.

Tuesday, that change continued with Oregon and Alaska joining Washington and Colorado as the third and fourth states to legalize cannabis. In a body blow to the Drug War, Washington DC also resoundingly voted to end cannabis prohibition as well last night.

Oregon reformers celebrate becoming the third state in the U.S. to end the war on cannabis. - YES ON 91 (VIA FACEBOOK)
  • Yes on 91 (via Facebook)
  • Oregon reformers celebrate becoming the third state in the U.S. to end the war on cannabis.

In California, voters lessened penalties for marijuana extracts — called hashish— from a felony to a misdemeanor amid a broad repudiation of sentencing policy that has led to mass incarceration. Voters also rejected the expansion of warrantless drug testing to physicians — which was a cover for raising medical malpractice payouts to trial lawyers.

More …

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Marijuana Elections Across America Today: Washington, DC; Alaska; Oregon; Maine and More

by David Downs
Tue, Nov 4, 2014 at 9:42 AM

Voters in Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, DC will decide today whether to legalize marijuana and the contests promise to be nail-biters.

Cannabis law reform activists are facing serious headwinds in the off-year election, with older, whiter, more conservative voters more likely to turn out, while young, diverse, more progressive voters tune out.

Washington DC is most likely to legalize, polls indicate. Voters in the district favor legalization by 65 percent.


is next most likely to notch a weed win today. Polls put the voter initiative neck and neck. 

Alaska is trailing third in the running to legalize, though voter sentiment is notoriously difficult to pin down in the remote state.

Florida votes on medical marijuana today, but the initiative needs a super-majority to pass. Up to 80 percent of Floridians are reported to support medical marijuana, but polls have been wildly volatile in the large southern state. Anti-medical marijuana forces have spent tens of millions to tar the campaign, while the yes on medical marijuana camp has repeatedly stumbled in its messaging to voters.

Dozens of cities and towns in Colorado and Washington will also vote today to allow — or ban — adult-use cannabis stores, and other businesses.

And in California, more than a dozen jurisdictions are holding voter referendums on medical cannabis dispensaries and cultivation. California is expected to have near-record low voter turnout today.

Some small towns in Maine may also legalize pot today.

Stay tuned to Legalization Nation for breaking news on races as soon as we can call them, and a big smoke-clearing, national analysis in print mid-November.  

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