Pot Matters: Growing Support for Legalization in Washington State

There is no buyer’s remorse in the state of Washington over their legalization of marijuana in November 2012.

Since retail stores opened in July 2014, support for legalization has continued to grow, according to a new study published in the June 2017 issue of Drug and Alcohol Dependence.

Until now, only one study had looked at public support for legalization.

Read more at High Times

Pot Matters: Deadly Drug Policies

The death rate for young Americans has increased by 8 percent between 2010 and 2015, according to a recent analysis by the Washington Post—and the driving force behind this increase is the current opioid epidemic.

From the Post: “Since the beginning of this decade, death rates have risen among people between the ages of 25 and 44 in virtually every racial and ethnic group and almost all states, according to a Washington Post analysis. The death rate among African Americans is up 4 percent, Hispanics 7 percent, whites 12 percent and Native Americans 18 percent. The rate for Asian Americans also has increased, but at a level that is not statistically significant.”

The Post looked at mortality data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  For context, the 10 leading causes of death in 2015 were heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases, unintentional injuries, stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes, influenza and pneumonia, kidney disease and suicide. These account for 74.2 percent of all deaths in the United States.

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Pot Matters: How to Diversify the Legal Marijuana Market

African-Americans are having a hard time getting into the legal marijuana business. It’s wrong, and there is a simple solution to the problem—but it’s a solution that remains impractical in the current political environment.

The marijuana industry is tightly regulated in many states; this has become an absolute requirement to build political support for legalization through either the initiative or legislative process. In many states, market access is controlled though strict limits on the number of licenses that will be granted for cultivation and/or retail dispensaries.

According to the Washington Post, “Many states bar convicted drug felons from the industry, disproportionately hurting minorities because of historically higher conviction rates. Others have set high investment requirements. Some dole out licenses through appointed commissions that industry researchers say reward the politically connected, who by and large are wealthy and white.”

Read more at High Times

Pot Matters: Trump, Belief and the Drug War

The president of the Philippines, Rodrigo Duterte, likes to kill drug dealers and users, or, at least, he’s been known to kill them.

Once, he said he would be “happy to slaughter” millions of drug addicts, though he later apologized (mostly, though, for comparing himself to Adolph Hitler). Nonetheless, for Duterte, the War on Drugs is, literally, a drug war in which he has encouraged citizens, as explained by CBS News, “to shoot and kill drug dealers.”

The President of the United States, Donald Trump, recently praised Duterte for this strategy.  Once again, according to CBS, Trump told the Philippine president “I just want to congratulate you because I am hearing of the unbelievable job on the drug problem… Many countries have the problem, we have a problem, but what a great job you are doing, and I just wanted to call and tell you that.”

Read more at High Times

Pot Matters: Fighting in the Drug War Room

Leaked documents recently revealed that the Trump administration plans to reduce funding for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) by 95 percent—from $388 million to $24 million. This would result in the Drug Czar’s office losing 33 employees and the elimination of grants for High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas programs, as well as the Drug Free Communities Support program.

Drug warriors are upset. The acting director of ONDCP called the proposed cuts “heartbreaking.”

The New York Times reports that Kevin Sabet, one of the most prominent opponents of marijuana’s legalization, said of the proposal: “It felt like a sucker punch in the face… This is a time when we have one of the largest opioid epidemics in history and the rise of a new industry of people selling pot candy to kids.”

Read more at High Times

Pot Matters: The Coming Surge in the Drug War

The Trump administration’s change of mind about appointing U.S. Rep. Tom Marino to lead the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) reflects a change of opinion about personnel rather than policy.

The policy is revealed through their efforts to unleash the Dogs of War, and even if Marino is no longer a leading candidate to run ONDCP, his selection, along with other anti-drug hardliners, reflects the Trump administration’s tendency to revisit and return to Richard Nixon’s old-time War on Drugs rhetoric and policies.

Really.

Read more at High Times

Pot Matters: The New Dogs of War, Pt. 2

Don’t miss the first part of this column, HERE.

Congressman Tom Marino from Pennsylvania has been widely reported as the Trump administration’s appointment as Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).  As previously reported in HIGH TIMES , Marino is “just another anti-marijuana, pro-pharma extremist.”

Considering the pro-police, pro-drug war policies emerging over in the Department of Justice (see Part One), Marino will be another new dog of war unleashed by the Trump administration.

Read more at High Times

Pot Matters: The New Dogs of War, Pt. 1

One of President Trumps first actions upon taking office was to sign three Executive Orders to direct his administration to crack down on criminal gangs, reduce violent crime and fight crime against police.

Now that Jeff Sessions has settled in as attorney general, the Department of Justice is beginning to become staffed and early indications of the policies he will apply to accomplish these goals are taking shape.

One thing is clear, as described by Spencer Hsu in the Washington Post, the preeminent goals in this area are both “combating violent crime and promoting police safety and morale.”

Read more at High Times

Pot Matters: Restaurants and the Cannabis Effect—It’s Not What You Think

Legal marijuana and related tourism is big business in Denver, and according to a recent report by Bloomberg, the local restaurant industry is freaking out.

Yes, marijuana use stimulates appetite, and this ought to be good news for local restaurants. But an unexpected problem has emerged, one which does not involve eating in a restaurant, but instead working in one.

“Colorado’s restaurant labor market is in Defcon 5 right now, because of weed facilities,” Bobby Stuckey, a James Beard award winning restaurateur in Colorado, told Bloomberg.

Read more at High Times

Pot Matters: Taking Stock of Marijuana Investments

An interesting way to look at the progress of marijuana’s legalization is through the eyes of potential investors in the emerging financial industry, specifically the news and websites devoted to stocks and investment.

One such site, which has devoted quite a bit of attention to investment in the marijuana industry, is The Motley Fool. Their advice and analysis may be sound—or not—but the fact that they are devoting so much attention to the marijuana industry reveals a lot about how the financial industry assesses marijuana legalization as an investment opportunity.

First, as with all investment options, there is the issue of risk.

Read more at High Times