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Massachusetts Brings In More Than $150 Million In Cannabis Tax Money

It’s no surprise at all that adult-use cannabis in Massachusetts has boomed, but now there are numbers to support just how much it’s boomed since cannabis was first legalized in the state. buy cannabis online.

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The industry has brought in more than $150 million in tax revenue, according to an announcement from the Commonwealth Dispensary Association this past Monday detailing the money brought in from taxes so far. how to buy cannabis online massachusetts

The public data comes from the Cannabis Control Commission, who has been compiling this information for public consumption. They report that the state has made more than $785 million total in cannabis sales since November 2018, when adult use cannabis first became legal in the state. The tax rate in the state is 6.25 percent, with a 10.75 excise tax and a 3 percent local tax in most areas. This high tax rate has yielded a fair amount of income for Massachusetts. 

The industry was also reported to have brought in almost $30 million in taxes between Memorial Day when bans on non-essential businesses were lifted and August 4, when the data stopped being compiled. That’s nearly 20 percent of the total for the entire span of legalization, brought in during the lockdown, once cannabis businesses were allowed to reopen. buy weed onlinehttps

“This tax revenue milestone is a big moment for the Massachusetts cannabis business community because it shows not only the great demand for safe, regulated cannabis but also affirms the meaningful value this industry brings to cities and towns every single day,” said CDA President David Torrisi in an official statement. 

“We know the hardship that COVID-19 has imposed on local and state budgets, and we are proud to help provide steady revenue streams that can hopefully reduce the need for difficult choices and maintain services,” Torrisi added in the statement. “Although this nascent industry is still being built up and representation continues to be a work in progress, we’re extremely encouraged that its benefit to Massachusetts has been immediate and can support the Commonwealth in this time of need.” Marijuana dispensary in massachusetts

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The state can thank the cannabis industry for these high revenue numbers, as well as the state’s House of Representatives, as they originally introduced legislation back in February of 2020 that boosted the state’s corporate tax minimum in order to improve transportation and bring in more revenue in general. This also applied to cannabis taxes, and made a difference in the money brought in since then. Buy weed online with debit card

In addition to bumping up cannabis taxes, the package, which eventually passed, also brought an increase in gas taxes and higher fees for Uber and Lyft, as well as an end to tax exemptions for car companies. Buy weed online with paypal

While some may complain about tax hikes. Best online delivery website for cannabis it’s definitely a bonus that the state has so much more tax revenue from their booming, recreational cannabis industry that has thrived since legalization in 2018. Hopefully, Massachusetts will now be able to improve many of their state programs with this newfound income and keep the cannabis industry booming for years to come.

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Mayor Levar Stoney of Richmond, Virginia is calling on state leaders to legalize cannabis during a special session of the legislature slated for later this month. In a letter Stoney sent to Gov. Ralph Northam, House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, and Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw on Tuesday, the mayor wrote that legalizing marijuana and enacting other policy reforms he is recommending would “help increase equity and inclusion in the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

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“Not only do marijuana arrests comprise a majority of the total arrests in Virginia, but out of those arrests a disproportionate number are of Black people,” Stoney wrote in the letter. “Let’s not forget the negative impact an arrest and conviction can have on someone’s life, especially when it comes to employment and housing opportunities.”

Stoney called on the governor and lawmakers to pass legislation that would legalize marijuana and establish an excise tax that could be used for a state program that provides services for low-income students. 

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“Our children need support now more than ever, and this restorative justice approach provides that care,” he wrote.

The Richmond mayor’s letter also called for legislation that would allow for the automatic expungement of certain criminal convictions, writing that “Virginia is one of 10 states that does not offer record closure for adult convictions or automatic expungement for those who are eligible, making it one of the nation’s least forgiving states when it comes to providing second chances.”

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“Studies have found that an expungement can produce significant economic, social, and public safety benefits for the individual and the community as a whole. Individuals who have had their record expunged see opportunities and income increase, which has shown to result in lower rates of recidivism,” he added.

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Stoney also called for increased funding for mental health services, particularly programs that combine public health services with police response for crisis intervention. He also suggested that lawmakers establish a statewide database to document misconduct by police officers and the sharing of records by various law enforcement agencies to ensure that problem officers are not rehired elsewhere after being fired or disciplined. buy dank vapes louisiana

Stoney’s letter also included a request for legislation that would enact a statewide eviction diversion program modeled after one announced in Richmond in January of last year. buy hashish online louisiana Under that voluntary program, pro bono attorneys are used as in-court mediators to negotiate settlements between tenants and landlords, and financial assistance is provided to tenants who meet the qualifications of the program. Weed for sale in louisiana

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The eviction diversion program also offers financial literacy education to tenants, referrals to associated social services, and a payment plan to help ensure that rent is paid on time. Since the program began providing services in October 2019, 147 Richmond households have been able to avoid eviction.

Stoney wrote that the package of proposals, if enacted, would “reform public safety, increase equity, and assist Virginia localities in lifting up their most underserved communities.”

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“Virginia should take full advantage of the opportunity and do whatever we can to support our kids,” he said.

Stoney’s bid to legalize marijuana goes further than the action taken by legislators earlier this year, when legislation to decriminalize cannabis was passed. Under that law, which went into effect in July, possession of up to one ounce of marijuana is now a civil violation carrying a fine of up to $25 on the first offense. Before that, possession of any amount of marijuana, even just one joint, could be punished with a fine of up to $500 and 30 days in jail. marijuana for sale online michigan

Marijuana often demonstrates the ability to win over even the most conservative of individuals. That said, winning over the hearts and minds of America’s vast regions isn’t complete until cannabis endears itself to the nation’s most conservative citizens and lawmakers in the southeast. 

Recent activity indicates that it may just be happening.

Commonly known as the Deep South, the region is the Bible Belt’s shiny, conservative buckle. It’s where conservative viewpoints almost always win out. There, progressive agendas like cannabis reform often face an uphill battle that rivals that of Sisyphus. 

The states that make up the region—Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina—are home to some of the most self-identified conservatives in the nation. A 2014 Pew political poll found Alabama and Louisiana identifying as the most politically conservative in the country. All of the Deep South finds itself in the upper portion of self-identifying as religious states as well, according to Pew. This includes Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi identifying at 86%, 84% and 83% Christian respectively. 

Shifting sentiments are underway in areas. The region has made marijuana reform, but not without its hurdles. In Louisiana, its long-anticipated medical market opened in August 2019 after being signed into law in 2015. Despite being slow to open, the medical market could be the first significant legislative domino to fall across the Deep South. 

Additional reform could come to Louisiana if voters have their say. In the months leading up to the medical market’s opening, an in-state poll found that 55% of respondents support recreational legalization.

Mississippi could be the next state to pass a substantial medical cannabis reform. There, citizens have two medical marijuana bills on the ballot this November. The momentous occasion doesn’t come without concern. Advocates accused lawmakers of putting up a more restrictive proposal to rival the reform advocates truly seek.  

Neighboring Alabama won’t vote on any marijuana reform in 2020, but could soon enough. In the meantime, education and networking efforts are underway. The Alabama Cannabis Industry Association (ALCIA) recently launched a new website to connect the local industry and supporters. Attempts to unite the community could help bring together thousands of supporters across the state. They include over 23,400 people who supported legalization in an April 2019 AL.com unscientific poll. 

Rep. Mike Ball, who introduced medical marijuana bill HB 243 in the state legislature in March 2020, told High Times that the COVID-19 pandemic derailed the bill’s chances this year. However, Ball remains optimistic for the near future. “Barring some unforeseen circumstances, I see nothing keeping it from passing within the next year,” he said. 

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Rep. Ball added that medical reform may be the ceiling for Alabama at this time. “I don’t believe that recreational marijuana will be legalized in Alabama anytime in the near future, although some relaxing in the sentencing for possession for personal use would not be an unreasonable expectation.”

Erik Danielson, an attorney and cannabis entrepreneur who operates The Source medical marijuana dispensary in Bentonville, Arkansas, said he is looking at both Alabama and Mississippi as possible business opportunities if either approve of medical marijuana. Danielson, whose portfolio also includes a cultivation and processing facility in Oklahoma, said the destigmatization of the plant is driven by nearby states passing legislation. 

“The taboo has gotten so normalized that people finally realize that the sky is not going to fall if people have access to cannabis,” the entrepreneur said of the change in marijuana sentiment across the South. 

The same perception shift seems to be underway in Georgia. The state legalized low-dose THC oil for a limited few conditions in recent years. Recently, polls indicated that 77% of respondents supported greater access to cannabis. 

Zane Bader is a public relations professional for cannabis firm NisonCo. The former secretary and board member for Students for Sensible Drug Policy resides in Athens-Clarke County, which he calls a “blue pocket within the red state.” 

Bader said public opinion appears to be shifting in favor of cannabis. He commended the 11 municipalities that passed decriminalization ordinances so far. While acknowledging pre-arrest diversion programs in his community, Bader highlighted criminal justice concerns. 

“These programs are undoubtedly an improvement since citizens will not be arrested and will not have anything added to their record, but the downside is that it’s up to the discretion of the officer to offer the program, which can lead to racially-biased enforcement,” Bader opined. 

In 2016, research from Atlanta City Councilman Kwanza Hall found that African Americans made up 90% of Atlanta’s marijuana arrests. 

Cannabis arrests are concerning in Deep South states like South Carolina as well. The state has the second-highest arrest rate for cannabis offenses, according to an American Civil Liberties Union report using FBI data. Seven of the leading 20 counties in cannabis arrests came from the state. 

Despite arrests and a lack of legislative delays, reports of progress exist. Jeff Zucker is a cannabis entrepreneur in Colorado who grew up in South Carolina. The co-founder and president of cannabis business strategy firm Green Lion Partners said sentiment “evolved quickly” along with the country. 

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However, Zucker stated that conservative lawmakers continue to hold up reform efforts. “In a state like South Carolina that doesn’t have ballot initiatives, it is a lot harder to get the legislators on board despite medical cannabis polling very favorably with their constituents.

Zucker commended religious groups such as Clergy for a New Drug Policy for taking progressive steps. “While there are generally more opponents in the religious community, we are starting to see that trend the other direction,” Zucker said of the group, which includes partners like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Drug Policy Alliance, among others. 

The oft-ardent conservative region, from Louisiana to South Carolina, appears to be making incremental progress when it comes to cannabis reform. That said, respondents did mention disparities occuring when leaving the confines of cities like New Orleans for the more rural parts of the state. 

Deep South conservative viewpoints extend beyond the five states, often leading to a blurring in the region’s geographic definition. Or, as Brett Puffenbarger, the director of communications for  Suncoast NORML put it: “There is a popular saying here, that ‘in Florida the more North you go the farther south you are getting’, at least from a cultural standpoint.” 

Despite conservative views towards an array of topics, cannabis shows it can move the needle in the positive direction. In all, the South appears to be getting on the bandwagon. It’s just going to happen at their pace.

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Según Marijuana Moment, la Cámara de Representantes aprobó una medida que permite al servicio militar usar productos de cáñamo, así como sus derivados.

La medida fue aprobada por 336 votos a favor y 71 en contra. Fue liderada por el representante de Hawai Tulsi Gabbard, quien también es un veterano militar.

Contenido relacionado: Utilizar MDMA como Terapia para el Trauma Racial

Esta iniciativa especifica que el Secretario de Defensa no puede prohibir “la posesión, el uso o el consumo” de cáñamo o de sus productos derivados a cualquier “miembro de las Fuerzas Armadas”. Esto es siempre que el cultivo cumpla las normas federales.

Además, la posesión, el uso y el consumo de esos productos debe ser “conforme a las leyes federales, estatales y locales aplicables”.

La medida forma parte de un paquete de otras doce enmiendas, no relacionadas con el cannabis, a la Ley de Autorización de la Defensa Nacional (NDAA).

Gabbard suspendió en marzo su campaña presidencial para las elecciones del 2020 en EEUU. Además, aboga por la industria del cáñamo. El año pasado, introdujo la legislación llamada “Ley del cáñamo para la victoria”. La misma tiene como objetivo ordenar la investigación de una multitud de formas en que el uso del cáñamo puede implementarse en la vida cotidiana.

Contenido relacionado: El Futuro del Cáñamo: 10 Usos Ecológicos

Mientras tanto, el mes pasado, la Agencia de Proyectos de Investigación Avanzada del Departamento de Defensa de los Estados Unidos (DARPA) se asoció con la Universidad de Carolina del Norte para el estudio de psicodélicos.

La investigación se centra en la creación de “nuevos medicamentos para tratar de manera eficaz y rápida la depresión, la ansiedad y el abuso de sustancias sin efectos secundarios importantes”.

Vía Benzinga, traducido por El Planteo.

Nota por Juan Ruocco publicada originalmente en El Planteo. Más artículos por El Planteo en High Times en Español.

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En la película Matrix, Morfeo le da una pastilla roja a Neo, el protagonista, que le permite ver la realidad y sacarlo de la simulación en la que está sumergido, pero que él cree que es el mundo real. Un fármaco platónico, el equivalente cyberpunk a la alegoría de la caverna.

En los dos casos, el sujeto expuesto a la solución platónica pasa de creer X a creer Y respecto del mismo asunto. Para Platón este era el modo de abandonar el mundo de las apariencias y conocer la verdad absoluta que daba forma al universo. En cambio, nosotros seres posmodernos podemos darnos el lujo de quitarle el peso metafísico a esa expresión y nos alcanza con decir que ambos procedimientos (la pastilla roja y la caverna platónica) cumplen el mismo rol funcional. Es, simplemente, cambiar lo que se piensa acerca de algo.

Contenido relacionado: Conoce al Argentino Detrás de Empresa que Vende Productos de Cannabis a Estados Unidos

El filósofo neo reaccionario Curtis Yarvin acuñó el término redpill para describir este dispositivo ideológico o experimento mental. De una manera análoga, podemos usar el término green pill para destinar el mismo proceso hacia la idea que nos compete y a la vez hacer un guiño simpático al autor. Que tal si por un momento suspendemos nuestra posición ideológica (ubicación en el political compass previa elección de un diseño que represente todo el espectro que creamos adecuado) respecto de las sustancias psicoactivas y las vemos desde una nueva perspectiva, como un negocio.

Más allá de que Argentina se debe un debate enorme sobre la libertad de los adultos a modular o ecualizar sus estados mentales con sustancias (legales o ilegales) hoy quiero enfocar la discusión en algo más acotado: el cultivo doméstico de marihuana y su posterior venta.

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Montana Activists Submit Cannabis Legalization Petitions

A group of Montana cannabis activists said on Friday that it had collected enough signatures for two proposed ballot measures that would legalize the recreational use of marijuana in the state to qualify for the November election. The group, New Approach Montana, submitted petitions for the two initiative proposals to government officials, who will begin the verification process.

The group submitted more than 80,000 signatures for Constitutional Initiative 118, an amendment that would set the legal age for purchasing cannabis in Montana at 21. Another 52,000 signatures accompanied a petition for Initiative 190, a separate statutory ballot measure that would permit recreational marijuana commerce in the state while setting a 20% tax on retail sales.

For the constitutional amendment initiative to qualify for the ballot, supporters must submit at least 50,936 valid signatures from registered voters and must meet a minimum threshold of signatures in at least 40 of the 100 Montana state House of Representatives legislative districts. For the statutory initiative to be certified for the November election, 25,468 verified signatures including a minimum from at least 34 districts must be turned in to government officials.

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Pepper Petersen, a spokesman for New Approach Montana, said that the campaign had taken precautions to help slow the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus while collecting signatures. Those gathering signatures wore masks and supporters were given wrapped, single-use pens to sign the petitions. Despite the extra measures and the limited time to canvass following a mandated stay-at-home order, the campaign was able to gather signatures from every one of the state’s House districts.

“We think it represents what’s going to happen in November,” Petersen said. “There’s going to be an overwhelming support for this in every corner of the state. There’s not a legislative district that’s not represented in the signatures. We feel like the support out there is deep and wide, and it’s really exciting.”

“It’s really exciting to see that kind of broad support, and just to see the great number of people that support this policy,” he added.

Petersen said that the campaign had collected many more signatures than necessary and expected both initiatives to successfully qualify for this year’s general election.

“We’re confident that we’ve got a good buffer, and so that the verification process will go forward and we’ll come out of that on top,” he said.

New Approach Montana delivered file boxes of signed petitions to county elections officials across the state, who have four weeks to verify the signatures submitted. Election administrators in each county will verify that each signature is from a registered voter, that voters’ signatures match those on file, and that no duplicates have been submitted. The county totals will then be forwarded to the Secretary of State’s office, which will review the findings before certifying the initiatives that meet the requirements for the November ballot.

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For residents in states that have legalized marijuana, the grass is indeed greener on their side.

That’s the takeaway from new polling data released earlier this month. The survey, from pollster YouGov, found that in “many states where recreational cannabis is legal, a plurality of citizens believes these laws have been more of a success than a failure overall.”  stiiizy for sale online

YouGov polled a grand total of 32,000 American adults, and within that poll, the researchers grabbed feedback from 686 people surveyed from Washington, 495 from Oregon, 409 in Nevada, 2949 in California, 633 in Colorado, 844 in Michigan, 1210 in Illinois, 546 in Massachusetts and 133 in Maine.

“That is a particularly strong belief in Colorado, where citizens were among the first-in-the-nation to vote in favor of recreational weed in 2012,” wrote Linley Sanders, a data journalist for YouGov. “Today, about a quarter (26%) of Coloradans say the state-level recreational cannabis laws have been a “success only” and another 45 percent say they have been “more of a success than a failure.” Fewer than one in five (17%) believe the laws have been ‘more of a failure.’”

Sanders continued: “About two-thirds of those in Oregon (69%) and Massachusetts (67%) believe that the laws have been more of a success. That remains the majority opinion among those who live in Washington (65%), Nevada (64%), California (59%), Illinois (59%), and Michigan (56%).”

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Ever since voters in Colorado and Washington passed ballot measures in 2012 legalizing recreational pot use among adults, prohibition has fallen in a number of other states and cities. And more than 30 states have laws legalizing medicinal cannabis.

NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano hailed YouGov’s polling results, saying that it confirms the success of marijuana reform in those states.

“This polling data reaffirms that most voters do not experience ‘buyer’s remorse’ following marijuana legalization,” Armentano said. “In the minds of most Americans, adult-use marijuana regulations are operating as voters intended and in a way that is consistent with their expectations.”

For the next three months, customers in Michigan’s marijuana market could see higher prices—and fewer supplies.

That’s a potential byproduct of new rules governing the state’s weed supply that took effect on Sunday. The rules, issued by the Michigan Marijuana Regulatory Agency, require that all growers and processors “only transfer marijuana flower that has been tested in full compliance with the law and administrative rules,” and that they “must tag or package all inventory that has been identified in the statewide monitoring system and must transfer marijuana flower by means of a secured transporter, except where exempted” under the Medical Marihuana Licensing Board (MMLB). Additionally, growers and processors who obtain marijuana flower from primary caregivers “must enter all inventory into the statewide monitoring system immediately upon receipt.”

And that’s going to put a crucial crimp in Michigan’s supply of weed. Currently, the cannabis grown by caregivers — the people registered by the state who can grow up to 72 plants for up to six medical marijuana cardholders — makes up 60% of the marijuana flower in the marketplace,” the Free Press reported. “Under previous rules, the caregivers have been able to supply marijuana flower and infused products to state licensed growers and processors to supplement the medical and recreational marketplace.” buy marijuana online with paypal

Ten years after the state passed a medical marijuana law, Michigan voters passed a measure in 2018 legalizing recreational marijuana for adults 21 and older by a margin of 56 percent-44 percent. The law took effect last year.

So far, the state’s legal marijuana market is off to a gangbusters start. When weed went on sale in the first week of December, sales still reached nearly $1.63 million despite there being only five dispensaries open in the state at that time.

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Two separate cannabis initiatives have qualified for the general election ballot in Montana, making it the sixth state in the nation that will be voting on a legalization measure in November. On Thursday, the office of Montana Secretary of State Corey Stapleton revealed that supporters for Initiative 190 and Constitutional Initiative 118 had collected enough signatures to qualify both measures for the ballot.

Initiative 190 would legalize the possession and sale of small amounts of marijuana for adult use and establish a regulatory system to license cannabis businesses. The measure also levies a tax of 20% on recreational marijuana and reduces the existing tax on medical cannabis from 1% to 2%. The initiative also authorizes the home cultivation of up to four mature cannabis plants and four seedlings.

Revenue from the tax on adult-use cannabis would be allocated to land, water, and wildlife conservation programs, veteran services, substance abuse treatment, long-term health care, and local governments. Proponents of the measure have estimated that it would raise $48 million in tax revenue by 2025.

Constitutional Initiative 118 would amend the Montana Constitution to allow the state legislature to set the legal age to make cannabis purchases at 21. Currently, the constitution grants all of the rights of an adult to all persons age 18 or older, except for the purchase of alcohol. buy vape cartridges online united states

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Petitions for both initiatives were circulated by New Approach Montana, which collected more than 130,000 signatures to put the measures on the ballot. To qualify, Initiative 190 needed approximately 25,000 verified signatures, while the constitutional initiative required about 50,000 signatures. The group reports that it spent approximately $2 million on its signature-gathering effort and other expenses related to qualifying the two initiatives for the ballot.

Pepper Petersen, a campaign spokesperson for the group, expressed optimism at the news that the legalization measures had qualified for the ballot.

“Our research has always shown that a majority of Montanans support legalization, and now voters will have the opportunity to enact that policy, which will create jobs and generate new revenue for our state,” said Petersen.

The announcement was also lauded by Matthew Schweich, the deputy director of the Marijuana Policy Project, a national group that backed the Montana ballot initiatives.

“This is great news for Montana voters who will now have the opportunity to enact a marijuana legalization policy that will create jobs, generate revenue and allow law enforcement to focus on real crime,” Schweich said in a press release.

Montana legalized the medicinal use of cannabis with the passage of a voter initiative in 2004, and in 2016 approved another measure expanding the program. With Thursday’s announcement, the state joins five other states that will vote on cannabis legalization ballot measures, according to information from the Marijuana Policy Project.

In addition to the Treasure State, voters in Arizona and New Jersey will vote on legalizing cannabis for use by adults. In Mississippi and Nebraska, ballots will include measures to legalize medical marijuana, while South Dakota voters will see separate initiatives to legalize both medicinal and recreational cannabis.

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There has been much speculation about whether or not cannabis use in teens has gone up or down due to legalization and medical acceptance in states across the U.S. Some studies have looked for a positive impact on lowering teen use, while detractors have claimed cannabis is now more accessible. It turns out, according to a recent study, statewide legal and medical cannabis don’t have much of an impact at all on youth use.

The study, titled “Marijuana Legalization and Marijuana Prevention Among Adolescents,” was initially published in The American Journal of Public Health. Researchers for the study are affiliated with the University of California at Irvine. During the study, they looked at cannabis-use patterns in youth and the youth involved in the justice system for cannabis use in the years right before and after legalization. Cannabis use levels in legal, medical, and non-legal and non-medical states were all similar.

The objectives of the study were “to determine the impact of California’s recreational marijuana legalization on marijuana use among justice system–involved (JSI) adolescents and young adults, and to distinguish whether any changes resulted from legalization (passing the law) or from implementation of the law.”

“Contrary to the claims of many legalization opponents, changes in states’ marijuana policies have not led to any significant rise in cannabis use among young people,” NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano said in relation to the results of the study, according to a press release. “Overall, most voters believe that these adult-use policies are operating as intended, which is why no state that has legalized the use of cannabis for either medical or adult-use purposes has ever repealed their law.”

“California JSI youths did not demonstrate a significant increase in marijuana use after [adult-use] legalization or implementation,” the study goes on to explain. “In fact, marijuana consumption rates among young people in California were lower than those reported by young people in Pennsylvania over the same time period.

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Many other papers and studies report similar results, claiming that legal cannabis is not specifically associated with youth using more cannabis. While there could be an indirect relation between attitudes towards cannabis in a state and youth use, there is no direct relation stemming from legalization. There has been little variance in adolescent cannabis use from 2000 to 2019, in fact. The rate has stayed between 42 and 49 percent.

“Although recreational marijuana legalization was not associated with changes in marijuana use among youths in California, we observed increased rates of use in Pennsylvania after legalization in California,” the study continues. “Recreational marijuana laws may be indirectly related to youths’ marijuana use by supporting more permissive national attitudes toward marijuana.”

“In summary, prevalence of marijuana use among adolescents has remained remarkably steady over the past 20 years despite substantial changes in its legality across the United States during this period,” the study says to wrap things up. While there are a lot of factors implemented by legal and recreational cannabis, it turns out youth use is not one of them.

A study of consumer attitudes released recently found that residents of states with legal cannabis have a positive view of the regulated marketplace. Results of the research, “Consumer perceptions of ‘legal’ and ‘illegal’ cannabis in US states with legal cannabis sales,” were released online last month ahead of the publication of the study in the journal Addictive Behaviors early next year.

To conduct the study, researchers with the University of Waterloo’s School of Public Health in Canada surveyed adult consumers in states with legal cannabis and asked them about their views of the regulated marketplace. Investigators surveyed 5,530 respondents residing in Alaska, California, Colorado, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington.

The study examined consumer perceptions of quality, price, convenience, and safety of use and purchasing cannabis from legal versus illegal sources in U.S. states with legal retail sales. The study also attempted to examine associations between cannabis use, length of time since legal sales began, and perceptions of legal cannabis.

Well over half (59.2%) of the survey participants reported that, compared to an illicit supplier, cannabis was more convenient to obtain from a licensed source and 56.1% said it was a safer way to purchase cannabis. Additionally, 37.6% of consumers said that they believed the quality of the cannabis offered at licensed businesses was superior to what can be purchased from unlicensed sellers, although more than 30% of respondents said that legal cannabis is more expensive. Less than 15% of respondents in any state reported that legal cannabis was less expensive than that purchased from unlicensed sources. The study also found that 40.3% of those surveyed felt that cannabis purchased from legal sources was safer to use than unregulated products.

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Researchers also found that consumer perceptions varied according to the length of time since legal cannabis sales began. Respondents living in more mature legal markets that had legalized marijuana earlier were more likely to perceive legal cannabis as being of higher quality. The survey also found that consumers in mature markets were less likely to say that legal pot was more expensive.

“The current findings suggest generally positive perceptions of the legal cannabis market. Most respondents, including frequent cannabis consumers, perceived legal cannabis to be of equal or greater quality and convenience, and as safer to buy and use than cannabis from illegal sources,” the authors of the new study wrote.

Paul Armentano, the deputy director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), noted in a statement about the research that no state that has approved the medicinal use of marijuana or cannabis for use by adults has ever repealed its legalization measures.

This data once again affirms that most voters do not experience ‘buyer’s remorse’ following marijuana legalization,” he said. “In the minds of most Americans, these laws are operating as voters intended and in a manner that is consistent with their expectations.”

The findings of the study are consistent with a poll conducted in April which found that more than half of respondents in states with legal cannabis believed that legalization was a success overall.

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That is essentially the concept behind “anna” (yes, all lowercase), a new product being rolled out by a Boston-based cannabis tech company of the same name. Here’s how it works, per a demo on the company’s website: a customer walks into a dispensary, where they are met by an “anna.agent”; after completing the check-in, which includes verification of the customer’s drivers license, the agent then wirelessly unlocks the machine, a self-checkout kiosk through which purchases are made.

The kiosk allows customers to browse the selection of cannabis or CBD products by using a touchscreen and complete the purchase by selecting “checkout.” The agent then is notified of the checkout, reviews the purchase and asks for payment from the customer. Upon verification of payment, the agent dispenses the products wirelessly.

Welcome to 2020, right? Retail stores across the country have embraced automation in the last decade, replacing cashiers with self-checkout mechanisms. That appears to be the motivation behind anna, which claims that its product “cracks the code for bringing today’s advancements in retail automation to the cannabis industry.”

“The retail technology available to dispensaries has inhibited the cannabis industry’s path to normalization. In many traditional retail industries, self-checkout transactions are standard,” Matt Frost, the founder and CEO of anna, said in a press release this week. “With anna, our stakeholders will see very quickly that prioritizing retail efficiency improves store traffic, and allows associates to spend additional time with more inexperienced customers. anna epitomizes ‘Cannabis Retail for Now’.”

No-Contact Purchasing

But the company is also seizing on this new era of social distancing and limited interactions ushered in by the COVID-19 pandemic. Frost said that the product is all geared toward getting customers in and out of the store more efficiently.

“A self-checkout solution does lend itself well to these times,” Frost said, as quoted by the Boston Business Journal. “There’s a bigger appetite for what we’re doing now.”

Along with the touchscreen interface, customers can also complete their purchases via anna or by utilizing “online ordering by scanning their QR code upon arrival, keeping the checkout process to under a minute,” according to the company’s press release. This, the company says, will allow “dispensaries and CBD retailers to service customers while adhering to today’s social distancing guidelines.”

The product is launching this week in two Colorado dispensaries: Strawberry Fields in Pueblo, and Starbuds in Aurora. According to the press release, the company also plans to launch the product next month in Massachusetts, while also expanding its presence in Colorado. By next year, anna hopes to expand to Canada, California, and Nevada, as well.

So what will it all look like exactly? “A typical anna setup involves three to four units placed on the dispensary or retail sales floor, creating a subnetwork within anna’s larger cloud architecture,” the company said in its press release. “The interior can be configured to accommodate products of all sizes, and its capacity exceeds 2,000 products in a footprint just under 8 square feet.”

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In a landmark move for cannabis access through telehealth services nationwide, New Jersey residents can now get approved for medical cannabis and other controlled substances in digital visits due to the restrictions placed on healthcare by the COVID-19 pandemic. Healthcare professionals can now set up virtual appointments in order to prescribe medical cannabis to patients, or other controlled substances such as painkillers.

On these videos, as specified by state law, providers must discuss both risks and benefits of opiates and alternatives, give all necessary information about medical cannabis, check in with the Prescription Monitoring Program for anything they prescribe, and only give out a five-day supply for acute pain diagnoses when opiates are concerned. In short, doctors will be held to the same standards they have to answer to when prescribing to patients in person.

“New Jersey health care practices are again offering in-person services, but telehealth remains an important option for patients and providers,” said Attorney General Gurbir Grewal regarding this new ruling. “Today, we’re making it easier for patients to choose telehealth services for any reason, including to avoid an in-person visit due to the continuing risk of COVID-19.”

The Division of Consumer Affairs (DCA) claims that this new policy is a new effort to comply with the state-mandated directive that suggests telemedicine as the preferred alternative to in-person care when possible, in order to stop the spread of COVID-19. The governor would like to see as many healthcare visits as possible take place over video in order to lessen strain on medical personnel. buy cannabis online

The Legal Fine Print

In order to make sure everything is legal and compliant, the DCA also made sure this new telemedicine directive lines up with guidance from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), who have granted a temporary waiver allowing practitioners to prescribe drugs over the Internet with no in-person contact. In order to make sure those guidelines are met, prescriptions must be for a legitimate medical reason, done over a real-time telemedicine care, and consistent with the rules for the state. This policy will remain the law of the land until either the state of emergency designation ends or the health emergency designation ends. buy cannabis online

“This action temporarily removes barriers to providing patients with the medications they need to treat chronic pain and other diseases during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Paul Rodríguez, acting director of the DCA.

“The end of the telemedicine allowance designated by the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services on March 16, based upon the public health emergency declared by the secretary on Jan. 31, 2020,” the DCA’s official ruling states. buy cannabis online

“This will ensure that those in need of vital prescriptions are able to get them, without unnecessarily putting themselves, fellow patients and their healthcare providers at risk of exposure to COVID-19,” Rodríguez said.

COVID-19 has put a major strain on cannabis across the country, and of course, on the healthcare community. By allowing patients cannabis access via telehealth, both the medical and cannabis communities are receiving relief, and the stigma on cannabis medicine is fading even faster. buy cannabis online

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A pallet of cacti, a spare tire, and what appeared to be a shipment of limes. That was the Trojan Horse carrying more than $61 million worth of narcotics seized by border officers in what was a busy weekend in southern California.

The U.S. Customs and Border Protection said that the would-be drug shipment was intercepted on Friday at the ports of entry in San Diego and Imperial Valley counties, a haul that included 668 pounds of methamphetamine, nearly 15,000 pounds of marijuana, as well as fentanyl and heroin. buy cannabis online

The bust occurred around 8 a.m., when “a tractor-trailer arrived at the Otay Mesa cargo facility with a shipment manifested as cactus,” prompting CBP officers to refer the vehicle for “intensive inspection.” buy cannabis online

A canine team was then drawn to a pallet of cactus, inside of which officers found “packages, wrapped with green tape, hidden inside among the pads…containing about 668 pounds of methamphetamine.,” which the agency said carries a street value of more than $1.5 million. buy cannabis online

The officers’ day wasn’t finished. That evening, a different tractor-trailer arrived at the same crossing carrying a number of large boxes, inside of which CBP officers discovered “tape-wrapped packages…manifested as limes.” The ersatz lime shipment was in fact “622 large, tape-wrapped packages…containing 14,880 pounds of marijuana,” with a street value of nearly $60 million. buy cannabis online

Then, on Sunday afternoon, officers stopped a vehicle entering at the Calexico port of entry. With the assistance of a canine team again, the CBP found a spare tire inside the vehicle carrying “one package of fentanyl with a weight of 2.43 pounds, one package of heroin with a weight of 2.56 pounds, and 41 packages of methamphetamine with a weight of 67.20 pounds,” all with a street value of roughly $125,000. buy cannabis online

The driver of that vehicle, a 35-year-old male United States citizen, was taken into custody. buy cannabis online

“International drug trafficking organizations will use whatever means they can think of to try and move their illicit shipments into the U.S.,” said Pete Flores, Director of Field Operations for CBP in San Diego. “CBP officers dedicate their careers to protecting our country by securing the border.  For them, these unusual seizures are all in a day’s work.” buy cannabis online

Other Recent Busts

The subterfuge employed by the would-be traffickers calls to mind a bust last summer at the Otay Mesa port of entry near the border between San Diego and Tijuana. Then, U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers intercepted almost four tons of marijuana being carried in “a tractor pulling a trailer with cargo manifested as jalapeño peppers.” Officers at the scene, with the assistance of a canine unit, found 300 large wrapped buy cannabis online packages of marijuana clocking in at 7,560 pounds—with a street value of more than $2 million—ensconced among several pallets of the peppers.

New Massachusetts Medical Cannabis Regulations Would Change Caregiver Rules.

New regulations in Massachusetts, if passed, would allow medical caregivers to up the number of patients they care for. As of August 3, during a public hearing, the Cannabis Control Commission announced a proposal to allow caregivers to support as many as 10 medical cannabis patients each. It would also allow caregivers to grow up to 500 square feet of medical cannabis in some cases in order to support the newly approved patients. buy cannabis online

However, not everyone was a fan of this proposal. The Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance was against this proposal from the start, claiming it would not actually be good for patients. While the idea may sound on the surface like a great way to get more medicine for more patients, many are resistant to the plan. buy cannabis online

On the other hand, Grant Ellis, a medical cannabis patient in Massachusetts who was at the hearing, claims that the new idea is a “threat to only one group of people, that being the existing brick and mortar dispensaries who do not want patients to have at-cost access to medical cannabis.” buy cannabis online

In addition to the threat some feel the new rule could cause, the Massachusetts Patient Advocacy Alliance claimed that caregivers should be allowed to help more patients, but that 10 is not the magic number the state should be striving for when it comes to adding new patients into the mix. buy cannabis online

“An arbitrary number of patients per caregiver will likely open the door to a gray market that is indistinguishable from the legally-regulated market you and the staff have worked so hard on developing,” Nichole Snow, the president and executive director of the MPAA, said in an official statement regarding the proposed change to patient numbers. buy cannabis online

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High Stakes And High Tension

During the hearing, tensions ran high, with one patient advocate, Goldie Piff, going so far as to call the MPAA’s feedback “B.S. about caregivers” in order to call for more support. She claimed this new proposal will actually help patients because it will allow for medical cannabis to be sold at a lower price. buy cannabis online

“Caregivers are so very important. This is a very good number to ensure caregivers can provide the lowest possible cost medication to those most vulnerable,” said Dawn Duncan, an advocate in support of the CCC’s proposal. buy cannabis online

Additionally, caregivers under the new program are still going to be on the hook for explaining proper use of cannabis to patients, so it will not be a free-for-all if the allowed number of patients changes. buy cannabis online

Some people enjoy stargazing out in the vast open air, while others prefer to cozy up at home and leaf through a solid hardcover book full of mystifying images of space. For these armchair astronauts, buy cannabis online there’s a brand-new publication that not only includes 128 pages worth of text and photographs of space—it also includes a preface from Bill Nye (the science guy).

Stargazing: Photographs Of The Night Sky From the Archives of NASA is published by Chronicle Books and authored by Nirmala Nataraj, a New York-based writer and editor who wrote the book’s introduction as well as a series of bite-sized blurbs that accompany the images, each one describing the science behind the corresponding photograph as well as the technology used to capture it. The book includes a range of different phenomena, from meteor showers and eclipses to the aurora borealis and beyond. buy cannabis online

In one image, viewers are treated to a rare panoramic view of the sky above the earth’s equatorial Pacific, as seen from the International Space Station. Another photograph documents a phenomenon called airglow, which takes place about 60 miles above earth when the upper atmosphere’s particles collide buy cannabis online with rays from the sun. An additional photo shows the Andromeda Galaxy, captured by NASA’s Wide-Field Infrared Survey Explorer, while yet another image comes from the Hubble Space Telescope and shows a blue galaxy 45 million light-years from Earth.

“It is possible that within a couple of decades, the sights that many of us have been able to enjoy on a clear night will no longer be viewable,” writes Nataraj. “Pristine sky-watching conditions, which buy cannabis online have diminished significantly in the last century, may simply become a thing of the past—making the images in this book even more poignant and awe-inspiring.

In the words of Bill Nye, “These NASA photographs of stars, taken from the ground and from the spacecraft built to study them, fill me with admiration and awe. Even photographs of our spacecraft and fire rockets to launch them are amazing. In glance, you get a sense of the remarkable power and thrust required fa send our instruments and astronauts into the darkness.” buy cannabis online

On December 20, 2019, Donald Trump signed the National Defense Authorization Act for 2020, effectively creating the sixth branch of the country’s armed forces, the United States Space Force (USSF). Yet despite its formidable name, the Space Force is not so much an entirely new division of the military as it is a re-designation of what was previously known as the Air Force Space Command (AFSPC).

The establishment of the AFSPC goes back to September, 1982, when U.S. tensions with the Soviet Union ran especially high. The organization was tasked with keeping one eye on missiles while overseeing spacecraft launch operations, and keeping the other eye on satellites while surveilling space. Over the decades, the AFSPC became the go-to military unit for the latest technological breakthroughs in satellite communications, meteorology, and GPS, eventually expanding its mission areas to include cyberspace. buy cannabis online

A Period of Transition

Now, about 16,000 military and civilian personnel in the AFSPC are being re-assigned to the brand-new USSF. The emergent organization’s first Chief of Space Operations is General Jay Raymond, leader of the U.S. Space Command, one of the United States Department of Defense’s unified combatant commands. The Space Force defines itself as “a military service that organizes, trains, and equips space forces in order to protect U.S. and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force.” Its responsibilities include “developing military space professionals, acquiring military space systems, maturing the military doctrine for space power, and organizing space forces to present to our Combatant Commands.”

While those assigned to the AFSPC will be technically re-assigned to the United States Space Force, the Air Force will contact everybody “to inform them whether their specialty code is organic to the Space Force, organic to the Air Force, or shared between Air Force and Space Forces,” according to a Space Force document.

Meanwhile, there are plans to turn some existing Air Force bases into ones that are devoted exclusively to the USSF, as well as possible plans for new uniforms down the line. For now, however, the Space Force will look a lot like the Air Force. Service members in the other branches of the military can request transfers if they’d like to be a part of the United States Space Force, too. buy cannabis online

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