Giving Back from Ganja Profits: Industry Efforts Raise Thousands for Charity

By now the word is out that legal cannabis means big boosts in revenue for crucial civic agencies and social services, but many people are unaware of the additional efforts cannabis companies are making to give back to their communities.

Cannabis dispensaries have always worked to help the less fortunate in their communities, ever since the very first one opened its doors two decades ago.

Twenty years ago California’s Prop 215 effort — the very first successful statewide ballot initiative to legalize medical cannabis — was spearheaded by progressive San Francisco communities dealing with the AIDS epidemic. A large ensemble of the Bay Area’s most visible dispensaries and brands joined together, for the fourth year running, to form Team Cannabis in the SF Aids Walk.

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Cannabis Deserts

Even in states that are home to some of the best cannabis on Earth, access to medicine can be a challenging dilemma.

Many people think of California as a veritable utopia for cannabis aficionados and in many ways they’re right. The Golden State is home to some of the finest cannabis genetics in the world and remains a mecca for the best and brightest minds in the industry. While people in prohibition states are waiting by the phone and hoping their shady dealer brings the same stuff as last time, they imagine Californians are at the candy shop, holding up a line out the door, vacillating between whether to purchase the Mango Kush, Cake Badder wax and medicated cherry chocolates or the Cherry Chocolate Kush, Mango wax and medicated cake.

Like many regional stereotypes, there are a few kernels of truth to the notion that Californians are spoiled by easy access to quality medicine, but the whole truth is a bit more complicated and a lot less pleasant.

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Sessions vs The Senate: Committee Votes to Uphold MMJ Protections

National direction to protect medical marijuana advances forward.

In a direct opposition to an already embattled Attorney General Jeff Sessions, Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont led the Senate Appropriations Committee to passing the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer amendment today. The amendment protects state law-compliant medical cannabis providers from the Department of Justice.

After years of effort, the amendment originally passed in 2014. It essentially blocks the DOJ from using federal funds to take action against the many well-regulated medical cannabis distribution programs across the U.S. This protection trickles down to everyone taking part in the program, like dispensaries and cultivators, as noted last August by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. The court concluded unanimously the language prevents the federal government from prosecuting anyone involved in the medical marijuana without proving a clear violation of state law.

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High Times to Become a Publicly Traded Company

Now you can buy shares in High Times. Another merger places the cannabis media company on the Nasdaq.

Months after announcing a merger that put controlling interest of High Times out of the hands of private ownership for the first time since its founding, the magazine is announcing another acquisition that will make it a publicly traded company on the Nasdaq. Today High Times disclosed a merger with Origo Acquisition Company.

“Historically, High Times has been under-capitalized and unable to take advantage of broad opportunities in cannabis-related digital media, e-Commerce, branding and licensing,” the magazine said through a press release. “However, in 2017 Oreva Capital gained control of High Times and began to position the company to better capitalize on its robust future growth.”

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Cryptocurrency & Cannabis: Exploring the Edge of Economics

The state-legal cannabis industry has a big problem — it can’t use traditional banking. That means dealing with the hassle and liability of large sums of cash has become a fact of life for market participants. Do digital currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum represent a potential solution? That all depends on who you ask.

Don’t feel bad if your first reaction to this story’s headline is “what’s cryptocurrency?” The idea is still slowly seeping into the mainstream discussion around money, but if you’ve ever heard of “Bitcoin,” that’s one expression of what we’re talking about — alternative currency that only exists as ones and zeros.

There are some basic explanations for the uninitiated, but the key feature to keep in mind is the lack of physical currency, because that’s the primary appeal for businesses producing high volumes of cash with no access to traditional banking.

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Mendo Marijuana: The Time of Reckoning Has Come

An report on the state of cannabis from a ganja farmer at the heart of the Emerald Triangle.

The tension in the air up here in the heart of the Emerald Triangle is as thick as dripping rosin. The time has come to put up or shut up. In other words, to choose to be legal and in the system or to continue to hide in the hills from hungry helicopters. Both have their benefits as well as their drawbacks. To go legal requires money and the time to understand all the current requirements, with the risk that it could all change tomorrow. The hope is that it will provide security from the powers that be and allow us to continue to grow this plant we love so much for deserving patients.

However, several farmers are choosing to stay outside of the system, attempting to survive by selling on the black market as they always have. Many are frightened by all the hoops that one needs to jump through for the proper permits. But prices are plummeting as other states begin to grow their own crops, indoor mostly, and middle men who have been in the biz for decades are suddenly out of a job. Plus there is a glut on the market due to so many people moving up here to grow “world class cannabis” with zilch experience but lots of energy. They come from Eastern Europe, south of the border, and every state in America, all convinced they can grow top-shelf weed their first year.

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Colorado’s Legal Cannabis Revenue Hits the $500 Million Mark

Colorado started collecting taxes from the sale of legal cannabis in 2014. This month, the state’s total cannabis revenue reached the half-billion dollar mark.

Colorado’s legal cannabis industry has reached a major milestone, providing the state with $500 million in revenue since the start of commercial sales in 2014. This does not include additional revenue collected at the local level by city and county governments.

A recently released analysis of state data by Denver-based VS Strategies traces the flow from the state’s five main revenue streams (the 15 percent excise tax and 20 percent special tax contributed the bulk of the funds) and maps out how the money is being distributed across the state.

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Safe Cannabis Access for Veterans Moves Forward in Congress

A major Senate committee has approved an amendment to the military appropriations bill that would allow military veterans in legal cannabis states to access cannabis medicine.

The recent progress of the “Veterans Equal Access” amendment in the Senate (it passed the Appropriations Committee on a 24 to 7 vote) is good news, but neither veterans, their advocates nor anyone else invested in safe access to legal cannabis should celebrate quite yet.

We’ve reached this same stage before — just last year — but then the bill hit the House Republicans boss level the only thing left on the screen was “game over” for the amendment.

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Republic of Georgia Decriminalizes Cannabis Cultivation

The former-Soviet Republic of Georgia has made massive strides on cannabis policy in recent months: The decriminalization movement has been active for years, but the legal process of decriminalizing possession and personal cultivation of cannabis only took about half a year.

Four years ago, Georgian artist, Beka Tsikarashvili, was arrested with a little over two ounces of cannabis — he would quickly become the poster child for the White Noise Movement, which pressured the government of Georgia to decriminalize until last week, when Georgia’s Constitutional Court delivered a verdict removing criminal penalties for cultivation of cannabis for only personal use, right on the heels of major legal reforms made around possession last winter.

David Subellanine, one of the leaders of the White Noise Movement, celebrated with an announcement on social media:

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Fake News: Anything Declaring Cannabis Legalization is Bad For Kids

Legal cannabis has not resulted in an increase of teen use.

Last week, late-night television host and opinion influencer Stephen Colbert, a onetime purveyor of somewhat unreal news that was nonetheless more informative than “actual” news, declared our era of “fake news” dead.

If only that were so.

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