Rhode Island Lawmakers Fighting to Legalize the Leaf in 2017

A couple of Rhode Island lawmakers want to ensure that Massachusetts and Maine are not the only New England states relishing in all of the fun when it comes to legal weed.

Earlier this week, State Senator Joshua Miller teamed up with State Representative Scott Slater in an effort to push the legislative brass into pulling the state out of the grips of prohibitionary times. This is the seventh time a bill of this magnitude has been submitted, but, with some minor tweaks to make it more palatable to state leaders, it seems highly probably the measure will get the proper attention in the coming months.

“We have a responsible, fine-tuned bill, and we should pass it this year,” Miller said in a statement. “This year’s bill addresses the issues that have been raised by the governor and stakeholders, and it is streamlined to work effectively with the regulatory structure in place for medical marijuana.”

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The Nuts and Bolts of Getting into the Business of Cannabis

When thinking about the cannabis industry, most people don’t immediately consider the financial side of it.

The reality is that the legal marijuana business—medical and recreational—is a major industry in the United States, estimated at over $7.1 billion in total revenue for 2016. The ArcView Group, an investment firm with roots in the cannabis industry, estimates that gross sales could easily jump to over $10 billion annually within the next year. That is an almost unprecedented level of growth in any industry, to say nothing of the fact that “new industries” are harder to come by for those who want to get in on the ground floor. As a solid and reputable growth area, it’s still in its infancy, but cannabis has the potential to be an industry worth pursuing for budding entrepreneurs.

Investing in Cannabis Is Recession Proof

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Europe’s ‘Last Dictatorship’ Finally Bans Cannabis Cultivation

From Russian state media outlet Sputnik comes the surprising news that Belarus has banned cannabis cultivation with a Dec. 31 decree from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection.

The surprise isn’t that growing was banned—but that it hadn’t been banned already.

The former Soviet republic’s best claim to fame is as “Europe’s last dictatorship.” Strongman Alexander Lukashenko has been in power for over 20 years now, resorting to probable fraud and definite repression to hold on to the presidency. After Lukashenko was accused of stealing the 2010 elections, there was a popular protest movement, put down wth mass arrests—with the opposition candidate himself sentenced to prison for inciting riots!

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Busted in Texas, Marijuana-Smoking Granddad Vows to Fight Back

Phillip Blanton is the type of red-blooded, honest American who, when the time comes to visit his terminally ill granddaughter four states away, hops in the car and drives there.

The bearded and rawboned 67-year-old former prison counselor lives in Newman, California, one of the countless dusty towns dotting the state’s interminable Central Valley—for the uninitiated, the Golden State’s own “Trump County.” He began 2017 on the open road, heading out via the West’s great freedom-casting freeways to Houston, where his 20-year-old granddaughter is afflicted with stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Owing to the very real medical and familial emergency or just bored with driving through Texas, Blanton was 1,500 miles into his sojourn when he was pulled over for speeding.

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Connecticut Gearing up to Legalize Recreational Pot

Connecticut has been making impressive progress in the area of medical marijuana and is now ready to open up to recreational, if the state’s majority has its way.

Democratic Senate President Pro Tempore Martin Looney recently introduced a bill, which if it passes, would enable Connecticut to join fellow New England states of Massachusetts and Maine, where ballot initiatives passed in November.

“There seems to be a national trend moving in that direction,” Looney said, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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Hackers Hit Cannabis Dispensary Tracking Software

Amidst all the current paranoia about hackers infiltrating the highest levels of American politics comes the disturbing news that software used by cannabis businesses in over 20 states was attacked and compromised.

The story was reported both by the cannabis industry trade website Marijuana Business Daily and tech sites that monitor such attacks, including Hackbusters and DataBreaches. The software, known as MJ Freeway, is used for “seed-to-sale” tracking of cannabis in states that have legalized or passed medical marijuana laws. The Denver-based company said its main servers and backup system both went down the morning of Jan. 8 and remained offline as of the next afternoon.

The outage sent 1,000 retailers nationwide “scrambling to handle everything from sales and inventory management to regulatory compliance issues,” Marijuana Business Daily reported. Some dispensaries had to close their doors entirely.

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Marijuana after Dark? Not in Denver (Not Yet)

For now—and for at least the near future—Denver is America’s de-facto capital for recreational cannabis. It was the first, and until California or Las Vegas get their acts together, it remains the biggest show around.

As such, “Denver” is dangled in front of fearful, parochial City Councils and excitable NIMBYs as a cautionary tale of damage done by legal marijuana sales—apparently, “jobs” and “tax revenue” aren’t for everybody—and alternately held up as a model for how other cities can seize a piece of the weed billions for themselves.

One thing other cities won’t do, if they choose to follow Denver’s lead, is close up shop early.

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Grow Hack: Predatory Mites on the Attack!

When most cannabis growers hear the word mites, they cringe at the thought of the notorious spider mite munching away on their beloved plants. Many people deal with spider mite infestations by spraying them with repeated applications of some pesticide (whether organic or not), but as the industry matures, growers are likely going to have to start fighting fire with fire.

Yes, that’s right! Mites that kill mites.

Increased regulations, concerns for safety and downright effectiveness are going to be the driving forces behind this change. Predatory mites have been used in conventional agricultural for ages, and it’s about time that the cannabis industry catches up.

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