Marijuana growers around famously pot-friendly Boulder, Colorado, next year will start paying special fees to offset their contributions to climate change. A new county assessment on electricity usage by marijuana growers is the latest effort by governments and power companies to respond to the heavy demand that legal marijuana grows place on the power grid. In Colorado and Washington states, the vast majority of the legal recreational marijuana is grown indoors under powerful lights used to mimic the sun. In the Pacific Northwest, utility experts say marijuana growers in 20 years will be demanding as much power as a small city unless they can persuade growers to switch to more energy-efficient LED lights. The Northwest Power and Conservation Council said it expects an explosion in demand over the coming years as growers in Oregon, Washington and other nearby states boost legal production.
Portland, Oregon’s annual Hempstalk festival has already been rejected by the Portland Parks Bureau. Portland parks officials waited until the day after Oregon’s historic vote to legalize recreational marijuana to mail a letter to founder Paul Stanford. It was a firm denial of his request to hold the 2015 Hempstalk at Portland’s Tom McCall Waterfront Park or any other public property. The denial “stems only from the inability of organizers to manage the event in accordance with the necessary conditions clearly outlined and revisited on multiple occasions,” according to Shawn Rogers, Parks Bureau customer service center manager, who said he heard speakers from the main stage tell attendees to go outside the gates to consume marijuana. Rogers and other parks officials were quick to say the denial was about this group of organizers, not an indictment of marijuana supporters in general. “There’s no reason why an event can’t be done legally, lawfully, well-managed,” Rogers said.
Before Gov.-elect Greg Abbott has even taken the oath of office, lawmakers in Texas have already filed a proposal that would require drug testing for welfare recipients. That comes two years after Texas passed a similar mandate for unemployment benefits. In Wisconsin, Gov. Scott Walker has said he wants recipients of food stamps and unemployment benefits to undergo drug tests, a move that could face possible legal trouble. The state is already one of five that require public assistance applicants who are convicted of drug felony charges to be tested for drugs, along with Maine, Minnesota, Pennsylvania and Virginia. Two states have passed legislation this year requiring drug tests for some public assistance applicants. In Alabama, applicants can be drug tested if there is “reasonable suspicion,” which can include convictions related to drugs within the five previous years or failing to pass a “screening.” Mississippi assiatance applicants must fill out a questionnaire and then take a drug test if their answers raise suspicions of drug use.
About two dozen pot shops on Denver’s Broadway Avenue had a marketing idea for the upcoming holiday shopping season. Why not join forces with neighboring antique shops to market the whole area as “The Green Mile”? The pot shops called a meeting, expecting an enthusiastic response from neighboring businesses that have seen boarded-up storefronts replaced with bustling pot shops with lines out the door. Instead, the suggestion unleashed a torrent of anger from the antique shops. “We don’t want to work with you,” said James Neisler, owner of Heidelberg Antiques. “Your customers, they’re the long-haired stinky types. They go around touching everything and they don’t buy anything.” The meeting went downhill from there. The pot shops feel they’ve revitalized a blighted neighborhood. Some tenants say pot has ruined a neighborhood lined with storefronts that date to the 1940s.
As more states approve the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana, an Oklahoma-based electronic cigarette retailer is looking to build a national franchise. The growing availability of legal pot opens the door for Tulsa-based Palm Beach Vapors to market a method for producing a cannabis oil product that can be inhaled through a common e-cigarette, according to CEO and co-founder Chip Paul. “This is a wave that’s kind of sweeping the nation,” said Paul, whose company is looking to patent the method and has already signed licensing deals in California and Colorado for what it calls the M-System. He said he intends to set up franchise locations in other states. Paul was one of the organizers of an Oklahoma initiative petition calling for the legalization of medical marijuana, an effort that ended in August when volunteers failed to gather the needed signatures of more than 155,000 registered voters.
When police found marijuana in Scott Waselik’s New Jersey home last year, the 24-year-old thought winning his legal battle would hinge on the fact that he is a medical marijuana patient. But, following a judge’s ruling Friday, Waselik appears to have won for a much different reason. Superior Court Judge Thomas J. Critchley ruled that township police did not have the authority to enter Waselik’s home without a warrant, and therefore the marijuana and drug paraphernalia the officers found cannot be used against him. Waselik’s case initially drew widespread media attention because Waselik is a medical marijuana cardholder who has Crohn’s disease.