Jan 122015

The Russ Belville Show #520 420RADIO News – MedMJ Sales in Colorado Down 17 Percent [2015-01-12 Mon]

Medical marijuana sales in Colorado tanked in November as they dropped nearly 17 percent from the previous month, according to just-released data from the Department of Revenue. Medical dispensaries sold $27.5 million of cannabis in November, a big downturn from October’s $33.1 million in medical revenues. Meanwhile the state’s recreational weed sales are holding strong — with $31.2 million in November and $31.6 million in both October and September.  The medical market has been, for the most part, steady — with these new November sales statistics showing medical pot’s lowest numbers of 2014.  From Jan. 1-Nov. 30, Colorado brought in more than $67.5 million in taxes, licenses and fees via recreational and medical cannabis.

Georgia State Representative Allen Peake says after lengthy discussions with Governor Nathan Deal, his medical marijuana bill will no longer include a model to grow and distribute medical cannabis in the state.  The bill includes full immunity for those who bring back medical cannabis legally obtained from other states.  “They have pulled the wool over our eyes and pulled the rug out from under the citizens of Georgia that support medical marijuana”, said James Bell director of Georgia C.A.R.E. Project.  According to Bell, Rep. Peake is setting up patients to violate federal and other state’s laws concerning possessing and transporting a controlled substance across state lines. Patients and parents would essentially become drug smugglers and only certain people would be immune from prosecution.

The amount of cannabis seized by U.S. federal, state and local officers along the boundary with Mexico has fallen 37 percent since 2011, a period during which American marijuana consumers have increasingly turned to the more potent, higher-grade domestic varieties cultivated under legal and quasi-legal protections in more than two dozen U.S. states.  That has prompted Mexican drug farmers to plant more opium poppies, and the sticky brown and black “tar” heroin they produce is channeled by traffickers into the U.S. communities hit hardest by prescription painkiller abuse, offering addicts a $10 alternative to $80-a-pill oxycodone.  U.S. law enforcement agents seized 2,181 kilograms of heroin last year coming from Mexico, nearly three times the amount confiscated in 2009.

Oregon officials hope to begin licensing industrial hemp growers in time for spring planting.  The Oregon Department of Agriculture has drafted rules governing hemp cultivation, which the agency hopes to put in place by Feb. 2.  Agriculture officials hope to begin issuing licenses to hemp producers in time for a spring planting. The rules are based on a 2009 state law that legalized hemp production; officials held off on implementing the law due to the federal prohibition on marijuana, a relative of industrial hemp.  Hemp advocates said the state’s rules are outdated and won’t help Oregon hemp producers compete with China and Canada. They argue, for instance, that the THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, limits for certified industrial hemp is too low and weakens the plants fibers, which are commonly used in textiles. Tim Pate, who served on the rules advisory committee, said the rules are imperfect but enough to get the program off the ground.

A diverse and passionate group of activists from every part of California gathered in Oakland to debate the shape and message of the state’s imminent 2016 cannabis legalization initiative.  Men’s Wearhouse entrepreneur and philanthropist George Zimmer, a key figure in the early campaign for the historic Proposition 215 which legalized the medical use of cannabis for California patients in 1996, opened the symposium by reminding the packed convention hall of the “need to clearly organize and present a united front.”  A policy panel at the 2014 Emerald Cup which was disrupted by supporters of the California Cannabis and Hemp Initiative (aka CCHI, or the “Jack Herer initiative”) upset that their group was not represented on the panel.  Coalition for Cannabis Policy Reform executive director Dale Sky Jones, who was an invited speaker on the disrupted panel, responded that “We have to end our circular firing squad to face front against our real enemies.”

A new poll conducted by EPIC-MRA of Lansing shows that 50 percent of Michigan voters would be likely to support a future ballot proposal to legalize the possession or cultivation of marijuana by adults 21 years of age or older and allow taxable sales at state-licensed stores.  A similar poll from a year earlier had pegged voter support for legalizing marijuana by taxing it and regulating it like alcohol at 47 percent.  Forty six percent of respondents said they would vote against a future marijuana legalization ballot proposal, while four percent were undecided.  Definite yes voters out polled definite no voters by 39 percent vs. 35 percent.