Looking on the Bright Side of Marijuana Legalization

The legalization of marijuana has come a long way in the United States, so much so that it has become a promising source of investment. While 29 states have legalized medicinal marijuana, 9 states have attained legal recreational use with minimal regulations. Unfortunately, it continues to be illegal based on the federal law, which is why the emergence of Cronos Group, a Canadian cannabis company, on US Stock Exchange as a publicly traded commodity has received a considerable amount of attention from investors. Cronos Group has officially been placed on NASDAQ through the authorization provided by the Securities Exchange Commission as the one and only firm to welcome shareholders into the cannabis industry in the States.

Previously, American businessmen have shown apprehension towards the idea of purchasing shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange, though the only route to do so was through the Exchange-Traded Fund Industry. Even so, Mike Gorenstein, the CEO of Cronos Group, stated that the shares are largely dominated by American investors. Hence, the increased accessibility attributable to NASDAQ’s acceptance of the Cronos Group means that investors can now take part in a rapidly blooming industry that has the potential to reach a $50 billion benchmark in the United States by 2026 with ease, as declared by the investment bank Cowen & Co. Such a lucrative profit margin has led to a high demand from capitalists, nonetheless, Gorenstein has made a statement to deny any claims concerning the company’s plans to step into the states “from a production or sales standpoint until cannabis is federally legal.”

From an economic standpoint, more benefits can be expected following the impending legalization of marijuana at a federal level. For instance, the increased tax revenue will no doubt aid in the US economy, which will directly affect the global economy due to the dominance of the United States on global markets. This is evident by the figures presented by the legal sales of marijuana products in 2015, which summed up to a notable $996 million. Consequently, an equally impressive amount of $135 million returned as tax revenues. This fund could vastly improve things like the education system and militarism and so forth.

In addition, the legalization could function to demolish black market sales, since consumers no longer need to resort to illegal means in order to attain cannabis products. This, in turn, benefits the economy as there are fewer trades unaccounted for. With proper regulations, the safety of consumers can be further ensured as well as the monitoring of the circulation of capital in the market. All things considered, however, oppositions towards the matter often revolve around the health concerns of users. This is forthrightly justifiable by the medicinal benefits that marijuana have shown.

Debates regarding the status of marijuana as a form of drug due to its ability to alter one’s mind and perception for a short time period and may be dangerous when it involves activities such as driving or operating heavy machinery. Be that as it may, if a substance like alcohol, that equates to the same outcome, with more proven damage to a human’s body can be legally consumed, what is stopping marijuana from becoming the next available source of entertainment like alcohol? Similar regulations such as DUIs can also apply to users in the future for safety purposes. Much like tobacco, the demand for marijuana is price inelastic, which means that regardless of price changes, or presumably law changes, those who are determined to consume will continue to find a way to do so. As such, wouldn’t it be better for the government to set regulations to ensure safety while benefitting from the tax avenue?

Cannabis Company Purchases an Entire Town in Eastern CA

According to an Associated Press report published by Business Insider, cannabis company American Green, Inc. announced Thursday that it is in the process of purchasing the entire town of Nipton, CA, which spans 80 acres and is home to less than two dozen residents, with the intention of turning it into “an energy-independent, cannabis-friendly hospitality destination.”

Nipton’s current owner, Roxanne Lang, said per the AP that the sale was still in escrow, but confirmed that American Green was the buyer. She did not disclose the price but did mention that the town was listed at $5 million when she and her husband, Gerald Freeman, put it on the market a year ago.

According to the AP, Nipton consists of an “Old West-style” hotel, a few houses, an RV park, and a coffee shop. Located just three miles west of the California-Nevada border, the town generates much of its revenue by selling California lottery tickets to Nevada residents, whose home state is one of six without a state-sponsored lottery.

American Green aims to turn Nipton into the epicenter of the cannabis tourism industry, creating an economy driven almost entirely by marijuana. The company will invite edibles manufacturers and other major players in the cannabis industry to relocate to Nipton, bringing jobs. American Green will also sell cannabis-infused water drawn from the town’s aquifer.

“We are excited to lead the charge for a true Green Rush,” David Gwyther, American Green’s president and CEO, said in a statement, per AP. “The cannabis revolution that’s going on here in the US has the power to completely revitalize communities in the same way gold did during the 19th century.”

A gold rush put Nipton on the map in the early 1900s, but by the time Freeman came upon the town in the 1950s, Nipton was all but deserted. Freeman bought it in 1985 and set to work revitalizing the hotel and creating a solar farm.

As part of its energy-independence initiative, American Green plans to expand the solar farm Freeman built. In fact, Lang told the AP after a laugh, Freeman would likely have supported American Green’s purchase of Nipton. Freeman, a libertarian, defended people’s right to smoke pot and would have been all for American Green’s efforts toward energy independence.

Lang has an interesting tagline to describe her town’s location: “I like to say it’s conveniently located in the middle of nowhere,” Lang said, per the AP. The town sits 60 miles south of Las Vegas and about 10 miles east of I-15, which connects Vegas and LA.

The remoteness of Nipton is exactly what Carl Caveness, a handyman at the town’s hotel, likes about the town. “We [Caveness and his wife] like the quiet and solitude,” the 53-year-old told the AP.

American Green’s announcement surprised Caveness, who worries that the town’s new owners may push him out of Nipton.

Today, most of the guests at the Hotel Nipton are “desert aficionados” and Old West fanatics, according to the AP. If American Green’s vision takes off, the hotel could become an unparalleled tourist destination.

American Green revolutionized the market with its ZaZZZ vending machines, which use “military grade biometrics” to verify consumers’ ages, thereby allowing the legal sale of age-restricted products like beer, cigarettes, and marijuana.  With its purchase of Nipton, the company is poised to see the cannabis industry through another revolutionary leap.

With 50,000 individual shareholders, American Green possesses “the largest shareholder base of any cannabis-related public company in the US,” according to its website. Shares increased 131% to $.0037—that’s 37/10,000 of a dollar or 37/100 of a cent—apiece on news of the Nipton acquisition. If the venture takes off, that decimal point may move quite a few places to the right.

Featured image via Wikimedia Commons

Brewbudz’s Weed-Infused Coffee Debuts in Nevada

Nevada residents now have an extra choice to make as they brew their morning joe: cream, sugar, or…marijuana? According to Claire Shaffer of Newsweek, The Silver State has become the first locale to sell Brewbudz’s cannabis-infused, Keurig-ready “coffee pods,” which have been in development for over a year.

The coffee pods come in regular as well as decaf. For those averse to coffee, Brewbudz offers hot cocoa and three different varieties of tea (black, camomile, and decaf). Consumers need not worry about putting downers in their morning pick-me-ups or uppers in their nightly relaxation beverages—Brewbudz is no “hippie speedball.” The morning options will contain sativa strains, which keep users energized, while the night-time choices will incorporate calming indica strains.

Brewbudz’s are by no means first THC-infused coffee products to hit the market. There is a litany of similar products available, from Ganja Grindz to House of Jane.

Brewbudz differentiates itself from the herd in that its products contain cannabis flowers rather than extracted THC oil. As a result, Kevin Love, strategic accounts director at Cannabiniers, Brewbudz’s parent company, told Westword, the high is “functional and medicating.” 10-, 25-, and 50-milligram THC dosages will be available.

A carefully-studied delivery system will make Brewbudz products more efficient than other edibles, according to Love.

“We changed the barrier properties in cannabis, so as the compound is running through your system, it’s not breaking down until it reaches your liver,” he says. ”Most drugs have bioavailability, or how much your body actually receives versus how much you eat. Most edibles are at 5 percent because of how your body absorbs them, but Brewbudz is closer to 40 or 50 percent.”

Because the high does not compromise a user’s ability to function, Brewbudz are the perfect product for marijuana enthusiasts to integrate into their daily routines, the company says.

“Our vision was to create a revolutionary product that would deliver a medical solution to patients in a beverage that was consumed and enjoyed as part of our daily life.,” Brewbudz says on its website.

Of course, with the wide variety of edibles available, consumers can conveniently consume marijuana on a daily, even hourly basis. But, Love explains, unlike candy or cake, coffee and tea are already woven into the fabric of many people’s routines. He hopes the ubiquity of morning beverages will translate into sales.

“Weed chocolate bars account for almost 3 percent of the total purchase market in Colorado,” he says. “And an average American eats two candy bars every eight days. That’s 24 billion servings a year. Annualizing all the coffee Americans drink came out to over 200 billion servings.”

According to James Hamblin of the Atlantic, just under one third of American households use a pod-based coffee machine. Brewbudz, of course, hopes that a sizable portion of those machines become cannabis delivery mechanisms.

Unlike K-Cups, which “generate a ton of plastic waste” because they are neither biodegradable nor recyclable, Brewbudz pods are 100% compostable.

“The Brewbudz product is a responsible solution to [the] major ecological problem created [by] single serve coffee pods [like] the K-cup,” the company’s website says.

There is a financial premium to be paid for getting high and saving the planet, though. Each Brewbudz pod will cost $7; Keurig, by comparison, sells its K-Cups for $0.69 a piece.

Once it establishes a solid market presence, the company plans to produce THC-infused products compatible with traditional coffee makers. Brewbudz is taking steps to expand into Colorado and California. It is working toward a manufacturing agreement with the Bronner Corporation, which operates a 25,000 square foot edible factory in Denver.

“It’s an opportunity to bring together two different rituals in life,” BrewBudz Vice President Jeffry Paul said of his product in November, per Westword’s Kate McKee Simmons.

Nevada Marijuana in Short Supply Just Ten Days After Sales Began

In the first three days after Nevada dispensaries began selling marijuana under the state’s new legislation permitting recreational use of the substance, the state’s 47 pot stores pulled in a combined $3 million dollars in revenue.

Nobody anticipated the demand. Now, just ten days after marijuana went on sale at midnight on July 1, the supply at the dispensaries is all but depleted, and at the urging of Nevada’s taxation department, Governor Brian Sandoval has called for a “state of emergency” which would ease regulations halting distribution.

In a concession to the liquor industry, which feared legal marijuana would hamper alcohol sales, legislators agreed to give alcohol wholesalers exclusive rights to distribute marijuana over the first eighteen months of legal sales. Only licensed distributors can “transport marijuana from cultivation and packaging facilities to the dispensaries.”

However, under state law, marijuana distributors must meet a number of regulative requirements. According to Stephanie Klapstein, a spokeswoman for Nevada’s Department of Taxation, “most [potential distributors] don’t yet meet the requirements that would allow us to license them.”

As a result, not a single distribution license has been issued.

The governor’s “state of emergency” measure would temporarily allow entities outside of the liquor industry to “distribute” marijuana. The Nevada Tax Commission will vote on it Thursday.

A host of businesses across the state have been transporting medicinal marijuana since it was introduced in Nevada in 2001. But, under the new recreational legislation requires dispensaries to get one hundred percent of their product—recreational as well as medicinal—from alcohol wholesalers.

Nevada Marijuana in Short Supply Just Ten Days After Legalization

Though it is unclear exactly how Sandoval’s “statement of emergency” will “expand the pool of potential distributors,” as Marketwatch’s Mike Murphy says it will, the most efficient approach may be to allow the businesses that handled the distribution of medical marijuana to become operational again.

That was, in fact, the original plan, before the alcohol industry won exclusive distribution rights in a last minute court scuffle.

The concerted effort the government is making to get pot back on the shelves may be hard to believe after decades in which politicians and law enforcement have done everything they could to keep marijuana out of people’s hands, but marijuana is fast becoming an indispensable source of revenue for the Nevada government.

A 25% tax on marijuana cultivation helps to fund Nevada’s school system, and an additional 10% sales tax goes directly to the government, with no hard and fast rules as to how it must be spent.

Of the $3 million in revenue Nevada’s marijuana industry generated over July 4th weekend, $1 million went to the government.

But Klapstein warns that the regulative bottleneck in the supply chain could have dire business consequences as well, perhaps extinguishing Nevada’s marijuana industry before it even gets smoking.

“The business owners in this industry have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in building facilities across the state. They have hired and trained thousands of additional employees to meet the demands of the market. Unless the issue with distributor licensing is resolved quickly, the inability to deliver product to retail stores will result in many of these people losing their jobs and will bring this nascent market to a grinding halt,” Klapstein says.

Even if the red tape is cut, the marijuana shortage in Nevada could persist in the short term. Many cultivators in the state are between harvest cycles. Until their plants begin yielding flowers again, they will be unable to resupply marijuana retailers, regardless of bureaucratic obstacles or lack thereof.

This November, four states—California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada—voted to legalize recreational marijuana. All but Nevada chose to take a full year to decide how to best implement the voters’ wishes.

Nevada, on the other hand, hurried to complete marijuana legislation by the end of the 2017 legislative session. Now, consumers, businesses, and the government are all paying the price for the rush to get marijuana on the shelves.

Any stoner could have told the politicians not to move so quickly.

DEA Lists All ‘Marihuana’ extracts as Schedule I Drugs

On December 21, the Federal Register included a new item entitled 21 CFR Part 1308, which lists all ‘marihuana’ extracts as Schedule I drugs, including cannabidiol (CBD), which has legitimate, able-to-be-proven medicinal benefits. Oh, and not to mention, it’s NON-psychoactive, so it does NOT get users high.

Just to clarify, there are three criteria listed on the DEA’s website that qualify a drug for the Schedule 1 list: the drug must have a high potential for abuse, the drug has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, there is a lack of safety associated with use of the drug even under medical supervision.

Now, have a look at this. In an article entitled “5 Must-Know Facts About Canabidiol (CBD)” found on Leafscience.com, there are seven medical properties of CBD listed: antiemetic (reduced nausea and vomiting), anticonvulsant, antipsychotic, anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-tumoral/anti-cancer, anxiolytic/anti-depressant.

Furthermore, the U.S. Cancer Institute, which is part of the U.S. Department of Health, states on their website, “another active cannabinoid is CBD, which may relieve pain, lower inflammation, and decrease anxiety without causing the ‘high.’” The site goes on to say, “cannabinoids may have benefits in treating the symptoms of cancer or the side effects of cancer therapies.”

Seeing the discrepancy yet?

Like you, I too am wondering why the DEA would blatantly ignore the criteria they created, in order to place CBD, a ‘drug’ that has many apparent medical benefits under a category of drugs that are supposed to have “no currently accepted medical use in treatment.” So CBD is now alongside drugs peyote, meth, and heroine.

Supposedly, the new regulation is supposed to help the DEA track medical benefits of each individual extraction from the genus Cannabis. However, many of the marijuana industry leaders fear the classification is the first shot of many to come from the new presidential administration, in order to diminish and reverse the progress made in legalizing the industry.

And just like that, it all comes back to Trump.

Apple and Google Approve Marijuana User’s “Tinder” App

An new app for “chill people” created by Todd Mitchem called High There! is receiving Apple and Google’s approval.

The app is being accessed worldwide on both the Apple store and Google Play connecting fellow cannabis users with each other. Forbes describes it as the “Tinder for marijuana users.”

Despite the controversy Mitchem somehow convinced the most powerful industries tech companies that it does not promote marijuana sales rather “If you are someone interested in the movement and want to meet nice, chill people, that’s what it’s about,” as founder Mitchem said.

The app was not always allowed globally, in fact, Apple and Google possessed the rule that it could only be downloaded in areas where marijuana was legal. They were convinced to support a global release.

High There! connects people by asking them what kind of marijuana they use and prefer.

You can chat with who you are connected with and invite friends to join in. The users swipe left or right to suggest a friendly or romantic interest, very similar to the social app Tinder

The App Store describe the app by writing, “You can use High Tere! to date, go out with new friends, or simply connect with people who are like you. As we say, ‘You’ve got more friends than you think.”

The app caught popularity in states like New York, California and Colorado. It had 41,000 downloads by its first six weeks and 6,000 active users. And on the apps biggest promised holiday promotion 4/20 celebrated by pot lovers all over the world they expected to gain many followers from the tourists who travel to Colorado where the product is legally celebrated. Yet this seemed to pose a problem when tourist who went back home to where the app is banned.

Mitchmen was not inspired to create the app because of his own use of cannabis. Rather back in 2009 his mom was diagnosed with cancer and her nurse suggested marijuana intake to help her on her second term of the sickness. He felt the controversy and many people’s negative opinions on marijuana stopped people from sharing their view on how the product can be a medicine. In attempts to change this he created his app.

High There does not support the illegal use or selling of marijuana. It deletes accounts that have pictures of the product as their profile photo. It also tells it users to suspend any users who are promoting doing anything illegal with marijuana. So this reasoning could be how Mitchem convinced Apple and Google to at least allow the app’s chat feature in all states and countries.

Netherlands, Spain, England and Australia all have a high demand for the app and are expected to attribute to the tens of thousand downloads during 4/20.

Mitchem is especially excited for the release in his home state Ohio where his mom used it to help her while she went through her ordeal of cancer.

Mitchem announces the growth of the app by the expansion his team and gaining partnerships with cannabis businesses who might offer the High There! community with discounts or special promotions.

Pope Says ‘Nope’ to Dope – Pope Condemns Legalization of Marijuana

The legalization of marijuana brings about a controversial national debate, and everybody has their own opinion regarding the matter. The latest man voicing his opinion about marijuana does so from Vatican City.

It comes as no surprise that Pope Francis would not be in favor of marijuana.

In a drug enforcement conference meeting in Rome on Friday, the Pope told members- that even limited attempts to legalize drugs for recreational purposes, “are not only highly questionable from a legislative standpoint, but they fail to produce desired effects.”

The Pope believes that the problem of widespread drug use is not solved by drugs. He has said that providing addicts with drugs does not solve anything, but is merely “a veiled means of surrendering to the phenomenon.”

Pope Francis has made clear his belief of the “evils” of drug addiction. Pope Francis has met with addicts on several occasions. In fact, he has spent the majority of his pastoral care to addicts.

Currently marijuana is legal in Argentina, in the form of marijuana cigarettes sold in pharmacies. In the United States, marijuana has been legalized in Washington state and Colorado. The debate continues to be argued nationwide. Oregon may be the next state, within this country, to put the matter up for vote this year.






Photo: AP