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Secretive investment group sought Indiana marijuana business


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Tony Cook , tony.cook@indystar.com 6:06 a.m. ET April 16, 2017

Some of Indiana’s best-known former legislators and lobbyists joined a secret investment company that several investors say was formed to cash in if marijuana was ever legalized in Indiana.

Some of Indiana’s most influential lobbyists and political operatives joined a secretive investment company that several partners say has worked for years to cash in on the potential legalization of marijuana in Indiana.

The company, Hoosier Emerging Technologies, was created in late 2012 and is registered to Jim Purucker, one of the state’s most prominent alcohol and gaming lobbyists. Two investors in the company told IndyStar the primary aim was to influence legislation that would enable it to secure a place in the lucrative marijuana market.

The people Purucker recruited to invest in the company are a veritable who’s-who of top Indiana powerbrokers — Democrats and Republicans — an IndyStar investigation has found.

Among them: Former Indiana House speakers, former state campaign chairmen for Barack Obama and Donald Trump, high-powered lobbyists and some of the state’s most prolific political fundraisers. However, not all of them said they were aware of the company’s marijuana ambitions.

It does not appear the company and its investors broke any laws. Still, government accountability advocates worry that such a secretive alliance of insiders with undisclosed financial interests in legislation could undermine an already cynical public’s faith in state government.

“It’s everything you don’t want in government,” said Zachary Baiel, president of the Indiana Coalition for Open Government.

He and other government watchdogs said the situation reinforces their calls for more transparency and disclosure in state government.

Legislative leaders also expressed concerns.

“It bothers me a great deal,” Senate leader David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said in response to IndyStar’s findings. “It would appear that there were people trying to surreptitiously insert language to help create a monopoly. … It bothers me that people might be trying to manipulate the law for their own financial benefit.”

Purucker declined to comment for this story.

Three investors and another source familiar with the company told IndyStar that Purucker’s pitch was simple: Buy at least a single $1,000 share and you could hit the jackpot if marijuana becomes legal.

Only one of those sources agreed to speak publicly about the company.

“It had to do with an opportunity to make money with this company if marijuana was ever legalized in this state,” said investor Kip Tew, a former Indiana Democratic Party chairman who served as Obama’s campaign chairman in Indiana.

Tew and others said details about how the company would make money under such a scenario were vague.

“What was told to me was that the entity I invested in was going to invest in another entity that was going to provide some service to the distributors or retailers like in other states where it was legalized,” Tew said.

Three other investors told IndyStar they were unaware of the company’s marijuana ambitions.

The company was such a closely held secret that leaders of the General Assembly said they were unaware of its existence, even as some with an interest in the company advocated for language that found its way into bills and, in some cases, into law.

That legislation included the state’s controversial vaping law that took effect last year. It effectively made a single Indiana security company, Lafayette-based Mulhaupt’s Inc., the sole gatekeeper of the vaping industry. The regulatory framework established in the vaping law could eventually be used if marijuana was legalized in Indiana, according to two investors who requested anonymity

Tew and other investors said they did not know if Hoosier Emerging Technologies’ intent was to invest in Mulhaupt’s.

Mulhaupt’s owner Doug Mulhaupt did not return multiple messages left at his office, with his lobbyist and with a PR firm the company hired.

It is unclear exactly how many investors Purucker recruited, though several investors said there may have been dozens, including members from most large lobbying firms in Indianapolis.

The involvement of so many Statehouse influencers made it difficult for some opponents of the vaping legislation to find representation at the Statehouse, said Evan McMahon, whose group Hoosier Vapers fought against the legislation, but was unaware of Hoosier Emerging Technologies until recently.

“In 2015, when this first came up, we tried to find a lobbyist to represent our industry and every single person we talked to said they had a conflict,” he said.

At that time, McMahon said, he did not know there was what he described as “a shadow cabal working together for years.”

Dealing among friends

While some investors told IndyStar that HET’s focus was marijuana, another said vaping was key to the company’s plans.

“What I thought they were doing, as far as I know, is try to get a lock on the vapor thing,” said investor Rex Early, a former Indiana Republican Party Chairman who served as Trump’s campaign chairman in Indiana.

He said he bought a $1,000 share of the company, but emphasized that he didn’t know about any marijuana connection.

“I never heard that,” he said. “I’m not a big marijuana guy. Do not put me in there as promoting marijuana.”

Former Indiana House Speaker Mike Phillips, now a lobbyist, acknowledged he and his son also put money into the company, but he also said marijuana was never discussed with him.

“We were of the mind it had to do with the high-tech development of the systems used in racetracks,” he said recently while sitting on a bench outside House Speaker Brian Bosma’s office.

Paul Mannweiler, another former House Speaker-turned-lobbyist who advocated for the vaping law, said neither vaping nor marijuana were discussed when he decided to put money into the company.

“I guess it could have included buying the USA TODAY, I don’t know,” he said, referring to the national news outlet owned by IndyStar’s parent company.

When asked how HET’s prospectus described the investment, he said he was “dealing among friends” and didn’t “remember reading anything.”

“I think Jim just said he was getting a group together,” he said. “I’ve worked with Jim on a number of issues. He’s a friend that I know to be a good person.”

Harmful side effects?

Two sources familiar with the company say many of its concepts were discussed informally over drinks at the Winner’s Circle, an off-track betting parlor in Downtown Indianapolis and a frequent hangout for lobbyists and lawmakers.

Purucker and his longtime client Rod Ratcliff were always at the center of the discussions, which typically took place in the betting parlor’s private Triple Crown Club, the sources said. Ratcliff is the chief executive of Centaur Gaming, which owns the Winner’s Circle and Indiana’s two horse track-casinos in Anderson and Shelbyville.

The off-track betting facility was an appropriate place to plan what was essentially a long shot gamble on marijuana legalization in staunchly conservative Indiana. Long and Bosma have consistently opposed legalizing even medical marijuana.

Some people with a stake in the company made several unsuccessful legislative attempts to create a license to distribute marijuana in 2013 and 2014. After that, Purucker and several other lobbyists with ties to Ratcliff and his Centaur Gaming company launched a massive lobbying effort in favor of the 2015 and 2016 vaping legislation.

Ratcliff did not return several messages from IndyStar. But a Centaur spokeswoman sent IndyStar a statement: “Neither Centaur Holdings, LLC, nor any of its subsidiaries or affiliates, has an affiliation with the vaping industry. Centaur has neither sole nor partial ownership of any licensees or entity related to the manufacture, distribution or security of vaping products. Our sole focus remains to provide our guests with the best value in gaming, racing, dining and entertainment.”

None of the high-powered lobbyists pushing for the vaping law — Purucker, Mannweiler, Brian Burdick and Kenneth Cragen — listed Hoosier Emerging Technologies as a client or employer. They listed their efforts under Indiana Vapor Company. Burdick did not return messages from IndyStar. Cragen declined to discuss his role.

Their efforts culminated in the vaping law that took effect last year and gave Mulhaupt’s sole discretion over who could seek a license to manufacture e-liquid.

Mulhaupt’s chose to work with only six companies, many with past ties to Centaur or current ties to the liquor industry.

As a result, prices skyrocketed and scores of vapor shops and manufacturers were forced to close or leave the state. The unusual nature of the law also drew attention from the FBI, which opened an investigation to determine if there was any wrongdoing.

The FBI has not commented on the status of the investigation or its targets.

IndyStar reported last month that the vaping law shared a common feature with draft legislation from 2013 that would have legalized medical marijuana. Both included security firm requirements that gave Mulhaupt’s a distinct advantage.

“It’s everything we always had a gut feeling about,” said Amy Lane, whose Indiana Smoke Free Alliance represents many small vapor shops and manufacturers that lost business because of the legislation. “This wasn’t for public health and safety. It was about lining somebody’s pockets. It’s disgusting, really. It’s disgusting that people are allowed to behave this way at the expense of small businesses.”

She said 60 vapor retail locations and 46 manufacturers have closed since the vaping law went into effect last summer. Wholesale prices for e-liquid have shot up 45 percent, she said.

A matter of disclosure

Lawmakers are now in the midst of overhauling that law. Senate Bill 1 would get rid of the security firm requirements and other portions of the law that a federal court found to be an unconstitutional barrier to interstate trade.

The House and Senate passed slightly different versions of the bill and must work out their differences before the 2017 legislative session ends Friday.

But fixing the vaping law is only the beginning of the work lawmakers need to do if they want to restore public faith in the General Assembly, said Julia Vaughn, policy director for Common Cause Indiana, a government accountability group.

“We are at a point in time when the public is cynical, and things like this confirms their belief that there is a small group of insiders who inflict their will on the General Assembly and usually with a profit motive behind it,” she said. “This is another example of why we need sweeping reform.”

The secretive nature of the company was enabled in part because of what some open government experts say is a gap in Indiana’s ethics rules. Lobbyists in Indiana do not have to disclose which lawmakers they lobby or any of their communications with those lawmakers. In fact, they are only required to list the general topic of their lobbying, not the specific piece of legislation they are trying to influence.

At least 13 other states require lobbyists to disclose more specific information about their activities, according to the Sunlight Foundation, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit group that advocates for transparency in government.

Lawmakers had an opportunity earlier this year to make interactions between lobbyists and lawmakers more transparent, but took a pass.

Senate Bill 289, authored by Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, would have required lobbyists to keep a log of all communication with lawmakers, making their emails, texts and social media correspondence a matter of public record. The bill also would have made it illegal for lawmakers to accept gifts from lobbyists.

The measure never got a hearing.

“If the public needed another reason to have access to their legislator’s e-mails, this would be one to add to the ever growing list,” said Baiel, president the Indiana Coalition for Open Government. “Public policy should be made in the light of day and on the record. For posterity. If we cannot reconstruct how bills are made, how can we trust the outcomes of the legislation?”

About Hoosier Emerging Technologies

Hoosier Emerging Technologies was created Dec. 11, 2012, and registered as a limited liability corporation with the Indiana secretary of state’s office.

Company president: Jim Purucker. He is a longtime casino and alcohol lobbyist. He pushed for Indiana’s vaping law. His clients include the Indiana Vapor Co., Wine and Spirit Wholesalers of Indiana, Indiana Towing and Wrecker Association and the Indiana Motor Truck Association. He also represents New Centaur, the casino and horse-racing business led by Rod Ratcliff.

Purpose: Some investors said company’s goal was to establish a foothold in Indiana’s marijuana market when it became legal.  Others said the company aim was to make money off the vaping industry or develop horse-racing technology.

Among the investors

• Kip Tew, former Indiana Democratic Party Chairman who was President Barack Obama’s campaign chairman in Indiana, and is now a Statehouse lobbyist for Ice Miller. That law firm represents many of Indiana’s largest and most influential companies. Tew said making money off legalized marijuana was HET’s aim. 

• Two other investors, who requested anonymity, also said the company was planning to capitalize on the eventual legalization of marijuana.

• Rex Early, former Indiana Republican Party Chairman who served as President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman in Indiana. He said he was not aware of any company effort on marijuana and thought it was focused on the vaping industry.

• Paul Mannweiler, former Republican Indiana House speaker who is now a lobbyist at Bose Public Affairs Group. He also lobbied on the vaping law. Bose’s clients also include some of the state’s largest and most influential corporations. Mannweiler said neither vaping nor marijuana were discussed when he decided to put money into Hoosier Emerging Technologies.

• Mike Phillips, former Democratic House speaker who is now a lobbyist at the Statehouse. His lobbying firm, Phillips & Phillips, represents clients such as tobacco and pharmaceutical industries. He also represents New Centaur, the casino and horse-racing business led by Rod Ratcliff. 

Another player

Rod Ratcliff, Centaur Gaming CEO. Two sources familiar with the company say he was involved with Hoosier Emerging Technologies. That involvement included, at the very least, discussions at the Winner’s Circle about Hoosier Emerging Technologies and possible marijuana-related legislation.

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Ahead of marijuana legalization, activists call on feds to forgive past pot offences


Travis Lupick on April 12th, 2017 at 11:23 AM

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The federal Liberal government is expected to table legislation to legalize recreational marijuana on Thursday (April 13), exactly one week ahead of the world’s annual 4/20 celebration of all things cannabis.

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The proposed law will be debated in Parliament. Then it’s likely that each province and territory will require some time to work out regulatory details.

In the meantime, long-time advocates for marijuana reform want to know if Ottawa has any plans to provide relief on past offences.

Just last month, Canada’s most prominent marijuana advocates, Jodie Emery and her husband, Marc, were charged with conspiracy to commit an indictable offence, possession for the purpose of trafficking, and possession of the proceeds of crime.

In a telephone interview, Jodie said that once the new laws come into effect, she wants the federal government to look at expunging records of crimes that are no longer crimes.

“We should have amnesty, pardons, and an official apology from the government,” she told the Straight.

Other advocates have made similar calls.

“A great way for Justin Trudeau to show leadership on cannabis would be to announce amnesty for simple possession when tabling new law,” Victoria lawyer Kirk Tousaw posted in an April 11 message on Twitter.

At the same time, Jodie painted a bleak picture of how she predicts the Liberals’ regulatory framework for marijuana will work.

“We know the government will not apologize for prohibition because we know they intend to maintain it,” she said. “The form of legalization that they are going to put forward is really just an economic opportunity for a select few people while everybody else continues to be arrested….Growers and dispensaries will continue to be criminalized and they will introduce even tougher penalties for people operating outside the legal system.”

The Straight asked Justin Trudeau about amnesty at a campaign stop in Vancouver in August 2015.

“That’s something that we’ll be looking into as we move forward,” he said. “There has been many situations over history when laws come in that overturn previous convictions, and there will be a process for that that we will set up in a responsible way.”

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Toronto dispensaries once owned by the Prince of Pot will all shut down this weekend


A former Cannabis Culture location, renamed the Village Dispensary, on Church Street will close its doors this weekend.

 

After police raids, former owner Jodie Emery says government is clearing way for legal producers

CBC News Posted: Apr 07, 2017 11:20 PM ET Last Updated: Apr 08, 2017 10:20 AM ET

The last of the former Cannabis Culture dispensaries in Toronto, once synonymous with Marc and Jodie Emery, will close this weekend after becoming a frequent target of police raids — a consequence the marijuana activists blame on the government’s support of licensed producers. 

The dispensaries were making pot available in contravention of the law, until recreational marijuana is actually legalized by the government, a process expected to happen in July 2018.

But former owner Jodie Emery said she believes dispensaries in Toronto have been raided more frequently in the past year because the federal Liberals want to keep the recreational weed market clear for the licensed producers already selling medical marijuana. 

“We’re seeing a government and corporate push to exclude the pioneers, to literally put us in handcuffs and throw us into cages while they move in to open up their own shops to sell their own pot.”

Mtl Pot Dispensaries 20161215

Jodie Emery, right, said the raids on recreational dispensaries have punished the activists who have fought for legalization. (Paul Chiasson/Canadian Press)

The pioneers of pot

The Emerys divested themselves of their Cannabis Culture shops in Toronto on March 10, as part of their $30,000 bail conditions on possession and drug trafficking charges. 

Jodie Emery said the couple decided to open the storefronts to fund their activism — and because she believed the franchise model would be successful once Ottawa legalized pot. 

“We wanted to have our spot in this industry, because we’ve earned it and we deserve it …after 10 years of being broke and suffering through prison and court,” she said.

Jamie McConnell, Cannabis Culture general manager

Jamie McConnell, the owner at the Village Dispensary, said he’ll keep doing this somewhere else. (CBC)

The 461 Church St. location was reborn as the Village Cannabis Dispensary after the Emerys sold it to Jamie McConnell, the store’s former manager.

McConnell said his landlord will no longer rent to the dispensary, something he said has happened because of pressure from the police raids and the city.

“I was planning on being here forever, my goal was jail or the landlord locking me out. It looks like the landlord locked me out.”

He said he believes it’s better to have marijuana “activists and users” sell the products than licensed producers, because they know first-hand what makes a quality product.

“I don’t know what the government’s going to do as far as legalization, but I’m not going to stop.”

Legal producers also took risks: lawyer

But Andrea Hill, a corporate and securities lawyer with the firm SkyLaw who represents several regulated marijuana firms, said the dispensaries have been shut down because what they’re doing is illegal. It has nothing to do with the regulated medical marijuana industry.

And those licensed producers have been pioneers in the industry as well, she said. 

“They’ve put themselves on the line just as much as anyone else,” the lawyer said. “If a business is operating outside of the law and it can’t make it and it has to shut down I think that means that the law wins — and that people who play by the rules win, at the end of the day. I think that’s a good thing.

CANADA MARIJUANA/REGULATIONS

The Liberal government is expected to make recreational pot legal by July 1, 2018. (Julie Gordon/Reuters)

Corrections
  • An earlier version of this story indicated that recreational marijuana is expected to be legalized by the federal government this July. In fact, it is expected in July 2018.

    Apr 08, 2017 8:23 AM ET

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Prince and princess of pot are expanding their dispensary empire, whether it’s legal or not


Cannibas Culture

 

Sunny Freeman | February 3, 2017

Jodie Emery struts through the hazy hallway of Cannabis Culture’s flagship Toronto store, through a 15-person deep checkout line, and then past the extracts, pre-rolled joints and display jars of bud into the lounge area where a group of pot enthusiasts is sparking up.

It is just after noon on a Wednesday.

The 32-year-old Cannabis Culture owner makes several attempts to call her husband, Marc, a famous marijuana legalization advocate, to wake him up. The Prince of Pot likes to sleep in, she explains, because he works past midnight, which is closing time at his shop in Toronto’s gay village downtown.

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Marc emerges half an hour later. He joins employees behind the counter to recommend strains and weigh portions for the rapidly growing lunchtime rush. Marc is focused on the Toronto flagship locale he owns, while Jodie oversees the franchising and most other aspects of the business. 

“This is what legalization looks like,” Marc said. “That’s exactly what we want to present to the government: You can go and do your rules and your thing and we’re going to do our thing.”

Many in the scene consider the Emerys weed royalty and the couple’s hard-fought decades-long dream of legalization may be on the cusp of fruition. But even as the government pursues legislation to set up a legal recreational market, the question of whether dispensaries such as theirs will be allowed to operate above ground hangs in the air.

Depending on the specific wording of the legislation, Canada’s prince and princess of pot could very well be excluded from the opportunity to earn a legal living in a recreational marijuana market that is expected to be worth as much as $22.6 billion annually.

In the meantime, a plethora of ganjapreneurs are looking to gain a foothold in the coming pot economy through the only current legal path, by becoming a Health Canada licensed medical marijuana producer. Many more are simply opening dispensaries on the sly, hoping to fly under the radar as they count down to legalization.

The Emerys worry licensed producers will monopolize the commercial system, but even if they are shut out, it will not deter the defiant outsiders from their aggressive expansion plans. 

The couple is relatively new to the dispensary business, jumping in less than two years ago with their first store in Vancouver and deciding to expand last year at the request of interested investors.

“When the opportunity came up to start dispensing cannabis I thought why not? If everybody else is doing it why shouldn’t we after all we’ve done?” Jodie said.

It’s a decision that has paid off so far. The crowd at Cannabis Culture’s flagship dispensary was just an average weekday, and sales spike on weekends. This location, one of 18 franchises, can pull in between $30,000 and $40,000 a day.

One man calls out to Jodie to say he’s one of her 38,000 Twitter followers. Another guy thanks Marc for his years of sacrifice to the cause, which include a five-year sentence in a U.S. federal prison.

For a guy who sometimes gives pot away for free, Marc keeps a keen eye on performance metrics and knows the exact headcount of customers they had last Friday: 1,783.

“You don’t have to be a genius to figure out that’s a good cash-flow business,” he said.

It could be even better if dispensaries like his become legal.

A task force report on legalization has recommended the government allow storefront locations in addition to the current mail-order system and acknowledged a majority of people who participated in the consultation process prefer a distribution system that includes dispensaries.

Related

Yet it remains unclear whether new government legislation will allow a place for the 400 or so dispensaries already operating.

The shops, most of which maintain at least an ostensible medical purpose, argue that they fill a gap for consumers by providing in-person advice, fostering competition and keeping prices low.

Marc has set an ambitious goal of opening 200 locations by the end of 2017, whether they are legal or not.

“Those questions to me are irrelevant, we just do what we do. We’re going to keep doing it. As long as the law is wrong we will disobey,” Marc said. “After prison, I didn’t want to be relegated to irrelevancy so I had to take the lead in provoking the authorities by opening up retail shops.”

And provoke he does.

Marc was most recently arrested just before Christmas, when cops raided six Cannabis Culture locations in Montreal, the day after he made a splashy debut in the city by bestowing free “nugs,” or marijuana buds, on throngs of admirers. Similarly, the flagship Toronto location opened a day after raids shuttered dispensaries across the city last May.

How police handle dispensaries varies widely across in the country, no more so than in the country’s two biggest markets. Vancouver has opted for a licensing system while Toronto police continue to crack down and raid dispensaries, citing public safety concerns.

Emery wears his 289 arrests, eight raids and five years in prison as a badge of honour. After all, the raids attract media attention and that attracts even more customers.

“Raids are just part of doing business. They’re annoying and they certainly set you back, but ultimately the police are wrong and we’re right,” he said.

Raid-related expenses, including covering the costs of lawyers for any employees who get arrested, have been built into the cost of doing business.

Those questions to me are irrelevant, we just do what we do. We’re going to keep doing it. As long as the law is wrong we will disobey

Stan Behal/Toronto Sun/Postmedia Network

Stan Behal/Toronto Sun/Postmedia NetworkMarc and Jodie Emery’s Cannabis Culture store on Church Street in Toronto. The couple, considered pot royalty, can’t keep up with the requests they have for franchise licences for their business model.

But the Emerys also have to think about the more mundane aspects of growing a franchise business, such as how much of a cut they should take. Jodie has been studying the Subway sandwich model and working with a franchise lawyer to help figure it out.

Cannabis Culture’s model asks for a $10,000 investment up front, plus a royalty of six per cent for the first six months, rising to seven per cent afterward. But she thinks they might be lowballing it. Subway, by contrast, asks for $15,000 upfront and a 12.5-per-cent royalty each month.

Cannabis Culture franchises can take in anywhere from $2,000 to $40,000 a day depending on their location, but about 60 per cent of that goes back into the stores, mostly toward buying new product, Jodie said.

Like all dispensaries, Cannabis Culture currently operates outside the law, so the Emerys have established their own guidelines: they don’t record customer information, do not require a doctor’s note and ask customers to show ID to prove they are over 19.

HST is tacked on to all prices and payroll taxes are collected, Marc said. He estimates they have turned over about half a million in taxes to the government.

The details of their supply chain are, somewhat understandably, sketchy. Jodie said much of the product comes from brokers who get it from those with medical growing licences. Many of the connections have stood for decades.

She equates the growers to farmers at a local market. They are proud of their product and would like to come forward, but prohibition forces them to stay in the dark.

Product quality is mostly assessed by a sight and smell test by store employees. But bigger locations such as the flagship store owned by Marc work with a lab to test strains for pesticides, mold and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient in pot, and cannabidiol (CBD), the ingredient said to have therapeutic effects. The tests can cost about $150 each, prohibitively expensive for most small-time operators.

My feeling is if I am not allowed to sell marijuana after all the work I’ve done this far, then who does have that right?

Tyler Anderson/National Post

Tyler Anderson/National PostMarc Emery, owner of Cannabis Culture, speaks with customers at his store on Church Street in Toronto. Like all dispensaries, Cannabis Culture currently operates outside the law.

Despite some unusual costs factored into the underground business, interest in Cannabis Culture and the Emerys runs high among investors — a diverse group that includes fellow activists as well as deep-pocketed business-types — who don’t seem to be deterred by dispensaries’ questionable legal status.

“‘I’ve got hundreds of franchise request emails coming in from all across Canada and even the U.S.,” Jodie said. “People are begging and I can’t even get back to them.”

Cannabis Culture’s brash business style irks some other dispensary owners worried that the Emerys’ in-your-face promotion style could turn off Canadians who are on the fence about legalization and the role of dispensaries within the system.

But Jodie is dismissive of their critics: “They’re looking at Cannabis Culture with a bit of green in their eyes saying you guy are big corporate cannabis now.”

Meanwhile, the Emerys are also feeling squeezed from the publicly traded licensed producers that they believe are trying to monopolize marijuana and shut them out of a free market. The Emerys say the market is big enough for all types of players — especially theirs.

“We’ve paid our dues. My feeling is if I am not allowed to sell marijuana after all the work I’ve done this far, then who does have that right?” Marc said. “And I don’t believe anybody else has that right over me.”

Financial Post

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Twitter.com/sunnyfreeman

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North Americans Spent $53.3 Billion On Marijuana Last Year, Most Of It Illegally


The industry “just needs to move demand for an already widely-popular product into legal channels,” a new report says.

01/17/2017 06:20 pm ET

Ryan Grenoble Reporter, The Huffington Post

A new report estimates consumers spent $53.3 billion on cannabis in North America last year.

The first-of-its-kind analysis, compiled by ArcView Market Research, spans legal, medical and illegal marijuana markets across both the United States and Canada. At around $46 billion, the illegal market constituted 87 percent of marijuana sales in 2016 (a decrease from 90 percent in 2015), dwarfing both medical and legal sales.

The marijuana investment and research firm provided a 25-page executive summary of its fifth annual State of Legal Marijuana Markets to The Huffington Post Tuesday, ahead of the full report’s release in February.

Arcview projects the legal marijuana market will expand from its current $6.9 billion to $21.6 billion by 2021, as California, Massachusetts and Canada expand their cannabis sales, and medical sales begin in Florida. The $6.9 billion figure is itself a 34 percent increase in just one year from 2015.

Assuming the projections hold, the five-year growth rate for legal marijuana from 2016 to 2021 would fall just short of that seen by broadband internet providers from 2002 through 2007, which expanded at around 29 percent per year, from around $7 billion to north of $25 billion.

Unlike most of the billion-dollar industries that preceded it, marijuana is in a unique position, ArcView argues, because the market doesn’t need to be created from scratch ― it just needs to transition from illicit to legal channels.

“The enormous amount of existing, if illicit, consumer spending sets cannabis apart from most other major consumer-market investment opportunities throughout history,” Arcview Market Research CEO Troy Dayton explained in an emailed statement.

“In contrast to comparable markets with fast growth from zero to tens of billions in recent decades such as organic foods, home video, mobile, or the internet, the cannabis industry doesn’t need to create demand for a new product or innovation ― it just needs to move demand for an already widely-popular product into legal channels.”

In states that have moved to tax and regulate the drug, the black market has decreased rapidly, the report found. Colorado’s black market, for instance, accounts for about one-third of all cannabis sales, with the majority having transitioned to legal marketplaces.

ArcView found the cashflow going to drug dealers and cartels has diminished accordingly, helped in part by the shrinking “illegality premium” for the product once demanded by the black market. 

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Trump’s marijuana options


 

marijuana

By Beau Kilmer – 01/17/17 01:30 PM ES

Finally, there appears to be a serious federal discussion about marijuana legalization. But it’s nowhere near the Beltway.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s marijuana task force recently released a landmark report about legalizing and regulating the drug in Canada. Advocates on all sides will find something to disagree with in the report, but that’s the point. Canada’s federal government is kicking off a meaningful discussion about this complex and controversial topic.

This is far different from the U.S. federal approach.

The Obama administration has largely taken a hands-off approach, releasing a 2013 Department of Justice memo indicating that federal prosecutors and law enforcement agents should not use scarce resources to shut down state-legal operations in places that have “implemented strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems.” To the Obama administration’s credit, the president did recently note marijuana legalization is “a debate that is now ripe” and the director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse called for more research to determine which “policy structures—beyond simply prohibition or free market—are most likely to keep harms to a minimum.”

No one knows what the Trump administration will do about marijuana, and Sen. Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing for attorney general didn’t provide much insight. Will it follow Obama’s lead? Trudeau’s? Do something entirely different? The new administration will have at least six options.

Shut it down. The administration could crack down on marijuana businesses in states that have legalized for nonmedical purposes. It would be easy for DOJ to send out “cease and desist” letters to these companies and their landlords. However, there could be serious political costs with states arguing these federal actions would put people out of jobs, increase income for criminals and take tax dollars away from good causes.

Shape the markets. The DOJ could use its discretion to shape what the market looks like in the legalization states. Want to stop stores from selling and promoting high-potency products for nonmedical purposes? A letter could probably do the trick here, too. If not, seizing the products in a store or two could have a chilling effect.

Maintain the status quo. Doing nothing—and sticking with Obama’s approach—is always an option. This would likely lead more states to follow Colorado and Washington and grant licenses to marijuana companies incentivized to maximize profits instead of protecting public health.

Reclassify marijuana. The new administration could support rescheduling marijuana. Currently, marijuana is a Schedule I drug—the most restrictive category—because the Food and Drug Administration remains unconvinced that the whole plant material has an accepted medical use. Rescheduling would make it easier to research the health consequences—benefits and harms—and could have implications for marijuana businesses.

Address federal-state conflicts. The new administration could maintain federal prohibition while supporting legislation or other solutions to address problems caused by the federal-state conflict. For example, banks that accept money from state-legal marijuana businesses are committing federal offenses. The inability to bank like other entities creates challenges for thousands of companies. 

The administration could also support the creation of a policy waiver system that would make it easier and less risky for states to legally experiment with alternatives to the profit-maximization model, such as the state monopoly approach. (That said, the risk of federal interference hasn’t stopped tiny North Bonneville in southern Washington state from creating a government-owned and -operated store).

Legalize it. The administration could support legislation to legalize and regulate marijuana at the federal level. This would address the federal-state conflicts and allow the feds to impose a national tax or minimum price. It would also be a blatant violation of the international drug conventions that the United States has signed along with almost every other nation on earth (including Canada).

These six options are not all mutually exclusive and each comes with tradeoffs. Importantly, they are all compatible with a federal approach that encourages and supports discussions about marijuana prohibition and its alternatives. But if the feds don’t act, it is possible the United States could end up with a much looser and more commercial marijuana model than if the federal government legalized or created a waiver system.

With one-fifth of the U.S. population living in states that have legalized, the federal-state conflict over marijuana will likely only get more intense. Those in the Beltway who want to address the situation would be wise to familiarize themselves with the pros and cons of these six options—and pay attention to the discussions taking place in Canada.

Beau Kilmer is co-director of the RAND Drug Policy Research Center and co-author of the recently revised book Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know

CONTINUE READING…

This may be the ultimate indictment of the "moneyed" drug reform movement in this country and I urge you to distribute this article as widely as possible


(The following article is posted from a website that I happened to come across today while looking for information on the “MERRP Model” for RE-Legalization.  I decided to repost it because I think the opinion that is offered needs to be heard and RE-Legalization vs. Legal-Lies or “Legalize” has to be made known.  SK)

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(1) Introduction
This may be the ultimate indictment of the “moneyed” drug reform movement in this country and I urge you to distribute this article as widely as possible.
This is the 8th in a series of essays on the MERP Model for Re-Legalizing Marijuana throughout the planet.  In this essay I am exposing the “smoking gun” evidence that will show that the “Marijuana Policy Project” (MPP) is secretively plotting to put an end to the personal cultivation of Marijuana which has been a perennial goal of all Marijuana activists since the mid-1960’s.  This betrayal, of both Cannabis activists and the MERP Model, requires that MPP is cut off from any further activist funding.  You will find links to all past and future essays, concerning “MERP” at the following link:
(2) Some Brief Background on the Re-Legalization Movement from the 1960’s through 2008
1967 was the year that the first major petition, demanding Marijuana Re-Legalization, was placed in the London Times by Paul McCartney.  Here is a brief description of the petition from Barry Miles “Beatles Diary:”
The “Pot” Ad
The Times ran a full page advertisement on July 24th, 1967, headed, “The law against marijuana is immoral in principle and unworkable in practice” which was signed by, among other, all four Beatles and Brian Epstein. The petition’s arguments included the following: that the smoking of cannabis on private premises should no longer constitute an offence; cannabis should be taken off the dangerous drugs list and controlled, rather than prohibited; possession of cannabis should either be legally permitted or at most be considered a misdemeanor and that all person now imprisoned for possession of cannabis or for allowing cannabis to be smoke on private premises should have their sentences commuted.
It was signed by 65 eminent names including Francis Crick, the co-discoverer of the DNA molecule and a Nobel laureate, novelist Graham Greene, and MPs Brian Walden and Rom Drilberg, as well as future MP Jonathan Aitkin, but the four MBEs caused the most press concern. Questions were asked in the House, and a chain of events set off, which did actually result in the liberalization of the laws against pot in Britain. the advertisement was paid for by the Beatles at Paul McCartney’s instigation.
The Beatles Diary: The Beatles years By Barry Miles
Four years later (1971) another Beatle, John Lennon, came to the assistance of Michigan activist John Sinclair, who had been put in prison for 10 years for getting arrested with a mere 2 Marijuana cigarettes.  Recently John Sinclair became the most important luminary to join the roster of activists supporting the MERP Model for Marijuana Re-Legalization.  And the list of supporters is growing by the day.
So for nearly 42 years we have now been fighting to end the prohibition of Marijuana throughout this planet.  Am I the only one that is angered that we have not yet achieved this goal?   Think about it.  It only took 13 years to realize that Alcohol Prohibition was a mistake, despite it being a far more dangerous drug than Marijuana.  Yet it has now been 71 years, that we have endured Marijuana Prohibition, and despite 52% support nationwide (see Zogby Poll), our representatives continue to ignore us.
Despite numerous feeble attempts it was not until 1996 — 29 years later — that the first Medical Marijuana Initiative, Proposition 215, was passed in California.  George Soros was a major contributor to Prop 215 but, according to activist Ron Kiczenski, he was not able to have much input into the structure of this initiative which had no limits to the number of plants that a patient could grow. Proposition 215 also held the counties responsible for granting citizens access to “Medical Marijuana.”
For the uninitiated here is what you should know about George Soros:
(1) He is the primary funding source for the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) headed by Ethan Nadleman and the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) headed by Rob Kampia.
(2) He has been the primary source of funding for the remaining 12 Medical Marijuana initiatives that have passed through 2008.
(3) He is a ruthless Globalist who supports gun control, open borders and is also a primary funding source to dozens of drug reform organizations throughout the planet.
(4) It is becoming clearer, by the day, that Soros is positioning himself to profit from a highly “taxed and regulated” Marijuana industry that will not destroy the drug cartels or stop the arrest of American Cannabis consumers.
So it is not a big surprise that Soros funded California Senate Bill 420 (SB 420), after Prop 215 passed.  This was Soros’s attempt to limit the number of plants that a patient could grow.  Fortunately the Californian Appeals Court found SB420 unconstitutional because it did attempt to set limits.
Undeterred Soros became the primary funding source for the remaining 12 Medical Marijuana Initiatives which culminated in the passage of the Michigan Initiative in November 2008.  But the clever little Soros made sure that most of the remaining 12 initiatives  were restricted to a 12 Plant limit for the Medical Patient or the Caregiver.
This concludes my brief summary of Soros activities through 2008.  It should also be clear that Soros has shown absolutely no inclination to support initiatives that allow personal cultivation for healthy Cannabis consumers.  In fact Ethan Nadleman would not allow me access to Soros when I attempted to garner more funding for the Michigan Personal Marijuana Initiative (PRA) in July 2001.  We had collected over 270,000 signatures and needed additional funding to bring in professional canvassers to get the remaining 180,000 signatures.  But Nadleman and Soros “just said no” and the initiative never made the ballot.
(3) How Obama, Soros, Rob Kampia and MPP Intend To Betray the Marijuana Re-Legalization Movement in 2009
In a recent email from MPP they talk about the pending AZ Medical Marijuana Initiative:
“What’s unique about the Arizona law is that it would permit qualifying patients or their caregivers to legally purchase marijuana from licensed dispensaries — so they wouldn’t need to obtain it from the criminal market”.
Once you understand what Kampia (MPP) is really hiding you will have every right to get pissed off. You see, under this initiative (should it pass), you will NOT be able to cultivate the common 12 Plant maximum unless you live more than 25 miles from a licensed dispensary.
Here is what Rob Kampia and Soros did not want the Cannabis Activist Community to understand:
“Qualifying patients who live more than 25 miles from the nearest dispensary will be allowed to cultivate up to 12 marijuana plants for personal use.”
In other words, once there are enough dispensaries individual consumers will no longer be able to cultivate their own Marijuana!
So the only thing “unique” about Rob Kampia’s (President of MPP) AZ initiative is that it will basically prohibit personal cultivation as soon as Soros can set up his network of “Medical Marijuana Dispensaries.”. On that count alone I urge everyone in AZ to reject this flawed initiative and stop supporting MPP or DPA.
I have not assembled all of the puzzle pieces here but certainly enough to make the case that Soros, Kampia and Nadleman are not honest brokers of the drug policy reform that most Americans would like to see.  untaxed, unregulated cultivation by all American Citizens over the age of 18.
It is also becoming clear that the media is slowly attempting to “manufacture consent” for a highly regulated “tax and regulate” model for Marijuana Re-Legalization that will force American Citizens to pay exorbitant prices for Marijuana (e.g., $300 to $500 and ounce) in order to feed the tax coffers of local, state and federal government.  Why would we want to allow this when the MERP Model would allow you to grow for free outside or for about $30 and ounce if grown indoors under lamps.
A fellow activist also made the astute observation that Obama is most probably also in on this betrayal.  Just consider the following excerpt from a recent Christian Science Monitor article on this subject:
“Several recent polls show stepped-up public support for legalization. This means not only lifting restrictions on use (“decriminalization”), but also on supply – production and sales. The Obama administration, meanwhile, says the US Drug Enforcement Agency will no longer raid dispensaries of medical marijuana – which is illegal under federal law – in states where it is legal.”
Legalize marijuana? Not so fast.
This is how she put it after we discussed the flawed AZ initiative in some detail:
“This is why MPP wants to put the power and control of med pot distribution and sales into dispensaries. and take it out of the hands of the patients. Do the dispensaries now become the care giver/grower as well?  How many plants are they allowed to grow?  Dispensaries will be popping up like convenience stores if that is the case.  I see a whole new set of laws coming under corporate oversight and it’s screaming MONSANTO/DUPONT GENETIC PATENT ON SEED AND PLANT DISPENSARY CONTROL. What a set up…Obama said he won’t raid “DISPENSARIES” in states where medical marijuana is legal…that is why they are taking the power away from home growers/patients…These dispensaries will fall under federal laws….and more than likely federal control and regulation.  Sneaky, sneaky.”
This is exactly what I have been warning people about for years regarding the major drug reform groups supported by George Soros. Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) are two of the greatest beneficiaries of Soros funds. But Soros funds dozens of groups throughout the United States and dozens more outside of the United States .

As an activist in drug reform for over 20 years my goal has always been to change the laws so that ALL American adults, not just the sick, would be able to consume and cultivate their own Marijuana.  And under the MERP Model we will be able to do this just like we are currently able to produce our own homemade beer and wine: without any taxation, regulation or government interference. To that end I have come up with the MERP Model and have produced a series of essays and videos to explain how it would be implemented:
It is bad enough that Soros is moving to “cash in” on Medical Marijuana by prohibiting personal cultivation. What is worse is that such initiatives will do nothing to destroy the Drug Cartels, Terrorist Organizations and Gangs that profit from the illicit sale of Marijuana. The only model that would assure this outcome is the MERP Model, because it would essentially take all but the normal profit out of the Marijuana market.
For most goods the “normal profit” is usually about twice the cost of producing the product. So in the case of Marijuana you can grow it for about 20 to 30 dollars per ounce using the latest hydroponic techniques and High Intensity Discharge lamps. So you would expect the “normal profit” to be somewhere between $40 to $60 dollars an ounce. But the MPP Arizona initiative would do nothing to eliminate the “black marketing” of Marijuana where an ounce will still sell from between $300 and $600 an ounce. In such a setting the Medical Dispensaries, Terrorists, Mexican Drug Cartels etc. will continue to thrive at our expense.
(4) Summary
By looking retrospectively at the the activities of Soros it is clear that he is against any form of personal cultivation and more than likely expects to profit handsomely from a highly “taxed and regulated” system of drug reform.  It is also clear that Obama and the Corporate Media are also on board to manufacture consent for such a stupid and short sighted model.
But from the Hippies of the 60’s, to the Activists of the New Millennium, we have always wanted full rights to cultivate Mother Nature’s plant without the encumbrances of taxes, regulations or other excuses for the government to invade our homes and properties.  As far as I’m concerned Soros, Kampia and Nadleman can go “nadle” one another.  We have uncovered their deception and we will no longer support their flawed plans to control both us and our plant.
I think it is time we stop supporting these Soros-supported organizations and unite to achieve the only solution that will destroy the Cartels and serve the common good: the MERP Model. It already enjoys the support of thousands of activists including some of the most important luminaries of the movement: John Sinclair, Ron Kiczenski and Bruce W. Cain (Editor of New Age Citizen).

 

SOURCE LINK

BRUCE CAIN ON FACEBOOK

THE MERRP MODEL FOR RE-LEGALIATION

Clinton Gave Thumbs Down to Legal Marijuana, Leak Shows


By Tom Angell on October 10th, 2016

 

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Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton spoke out against legalizing marijuana in a paid speech, hacked emails from her campaign show.

During an on-stage Q & A session with Xerox’s chairman and CEO in March 2014, Clinton used Wall Street terminology to express her opposition to ending cannabis prohibition “in all senses of the word”:

URSULA BURNS: So long means thumbs up, short means thumbs down; or long means I support, short means I don’t. I’m going to start with — I’m going to give you about ten long-shorts.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Even if you could make money on a short, you can’t answer short.

URSULA BURNS: You can answer short, but you got to be careful about letting anybody else know that. They will bet against you. So legalization of pot?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Short in all senses of the word.

The excerpt comes from an internal Clinton campaign memo highlighting potentially problematic passages from her paid speeches to Goldman Sachs, General Electric, Deutsche Bank and other major corporations.

Other excerpts from the 80-page document, published by Wikileaks after a hack on Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta’s email account, show the former U.S. secretary of state admitting she is “far removed” from the struggles of the middle class, arguing that politicians need to have separate positions on issues in public and in private and supporting “open trade and open borders.”

Over the course of the past year, the Clinton campaign forcefully refused calls to release the speech transcripts from her Democratic primary opponent, U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who supports legalization and has introduced legislation to end federal marijuana prohibition.

That the campaign flagged the candidate’s opposition to legalization as a potential problem demonstrates a growing understanding by political operatives that marijuana law reform is now a mainstream issue, one which is supported by a majority of Americans and a supermajority of Democratic primary voters.

While Clinton has made no secret in public appearances that she isn’t ready to endorse full legalization, she has usually framed her position as taking a wait-and-see approach, wanting to give laws like those in Colorado and other states a chance to work before she makes up her mind about ending prohibition.

The leaked Xerox excerpt, in contrast, positions her as strongly opposed to legalization.

But the remarks were made two-and-a-half years ago, just two months after legal marijuana sales began in Colorado, so it is possible that Clinton’s personal view of legalization has legitimately softened in the interim.

During the course of her presidential campaign, Clinton has highlighted support for letting states set their own cannabis policies without federal interference and has pledged to reschedule marijuana under the Controlled Substances Act if elected.

But advocates have pushed the candidate to go even further by offering a personal endorsement for the policy of legalization, arguing that doing so could help Clinton win back support from wayward millennial voters who are supporting Libertarian Party candidate Gary Johnson or Jill Stein of the Green Party, both of whom have made support for ending cannabis prohibition centerpieces of their campaigns.

The newly-leaked documents showing Clinton’s strong opposition to legalization in a private appearance, combined with comments from the candidate’s daughter Chelsea last month implying that marijuana use can lead to death, could present an added sense of urgency for Clinton to evolve on the question of ending prohibition prior to Election Day.

To see what else Hillary Clinton has said about cannabis law reform, check out Marijuana.com’s comprehensive guide to the candidates.

CONTINUE READING…

9 States to Vote Soon on Expanding Legal Access to Marijuana


SAN FRANCISCO — Sep 28, 2016, 2:35 AM ET

Marijuana National Vote

From California, with its counterculture heritage, to the fishing ports and mill towns of Maine, millions of Americans in nine states have a chance to vote Nov. 8 on expanding legal access to marijuana. Collectively, the ballot measures amount to the closest the U.S. has come to a national referendum on the drug.

Five states — Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada — will consider legalizing the recreational use of pot. Three others — Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota — will decide whether to permit marijuana for medical purposes. Montana will weigh whether to ease restrictions on an existing medical marijuana law.

As the most populous state, with a reputation for trend-setting, California is attracting the most attention — and money — in an intensifying debate over Proposition 64.

Silicon Valley tycoons and deep-pocketed donors with connections to the legal medical marijuana industry are among the top financial backers of a pro-pot campaign that has raised almost $17 million. Opponents have raised slightly more than $2 million, including a $1.4 million contribution from retired Pennsylvania art professor Julie Schauer.

Advocates on both sides say passage in California would likely ignite legalization movements in other states, especially when the tax dollars start adding up. California’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office estimated the state could collect up to $1 billion a year in marijuana taxes.

"As California goes, so goes the nation," said University of California, Berkeley political science professor Alan Ross.

If "yes" votes prevail across the country, about 75 million people accounting for more than 23 percent of the U.S. population would live in states where recreational pot is legal. The jurisdictions where that’s already the case — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state and the District of Columbia — have about 18 million residents, or 5.6 percent of the population. Twenty-five states allow medical marijuana.

According to national polls, a solid majority of Americans support legalization. Gallup’s latest survey gauged support at 58 percent, up from 12 percent from when the question was first posed in 1969. Gallup says 13 percent of U.S. adults report using marijuana at present, nearly double the percentage who reported using pot in 2013.

California voters rejected an attempt to legalize recreational marijuana in 2010 after campaign leaders struggled to raise money and support for a four-page ballot measure hastily written by the owner of a small medicinal marijuana store.

This time, the 62-page ballot measure was crafted by political professionals and has the backing of many elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is running for governor in 2018. Current Gov. Jerry Brown says he’s close to announcing his position.

The measure would allow people 21 and older to legally possess up to an ounce of weed and grow six marijuana plants at home. Pot sales would be subject to various tax rates that would be deposited into the state’s Marijuana Tax Fund. Most of that money would be spent on substance-abuse education and treatment. Some would be used to repair environmental damage caused by illegal growers.

Opponents argue that the measure will do more harm than good by opening a marijuana market dominated by small farmers to corporate interests and encouraging children to use the drug through pot-laced sweets like gummy bears, cookies and brownies.

The proposal "favors the interests of wealthy corporations over the good of the everyday consumer, adopting policies that work against public health," said Kevin Sabet, co-founder of the California-based advocacy group Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

Napster founder and early Facebook investor Sean Parker has contributed more than $3 million to the legalization effort, which has also attracted sizable contributions from an organization backed by billionaire George Soros and another backed by Weedmaps, which rates pot stores throughout the state.

"It’s a huge deal and it’s long overdue," said Steven DeAngelo, owner of one of the nation’s largest medicinal marijuana dispensaries and a Proposition 64 supporter.

In most of the states with marijuana ballot measures, polls have shown the "yes" side leading. Sabet believes opponents of legalization would attract more support if they could narrow a large fundraising gap and spread their cautionary messages. He does not buy the other side’s argument that nationwide legalization will come sooner or later.

"Repeating that this is inevitable, and repeating they are so excited, is part of their narrative to makes folks like us feel helpless," he said.

Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project, a leading pro-legalization group, said his side has a chance to win in most of the nine states, but some losses will not derail the movement.

"Even if a measure doesn’t pass, support will grow," he said, citing failed ballot measures in Oregon and Colorado that preceded the victories for legalization.

"Most people believe marijuana should be legal. It’s a question of whether opponents do a good job of scaring them out of doing it now," Tvert added. "We might see people opt to wait a couple more years."

All five states voting on recreational marijuana have seen intense debate over the effect of legalization in the states that have already taken that step.

Opponents of the ballot measures make an array of claims, contending, for example, that Colorado’s legalization of pot has coincided with an increase in crime in Denver and fueled a jump in the number of traffic fatalities linked to marijuana use.

However, an analysis by three academic experts, published this month by the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute, asserted that the impact of legalization has been minimal.

"The data so far provide little support for the strong claims about legalization made by either opponents or supporters," the analysis said.

Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron, one of the co-authors of the study, predicted Californians would approve Proposition 64, but he was less certain of the outcome in his home state of Massachusetts, where the Republican governor, Charlie Baker, and the Democratic mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, have teamed up to oppose legalization.

Miron said it’s difficult to predict when legalization might get support in Congress or surge to approval in a majority of states.

"I’m not sure if this November will get us to the tipping point. It may be two or four more years," he said. "Certain things seem impossible, until all of a sudden they are possible, and they happen fast."

———

Crary reported from New York.

CONTINUE READING AND TO VIDEO!

A "repealer’s" opinion on the subject of marijuana "legalization"… (We must REPEAL PROHIBITION of Cannabis and all other plants!)


 
sheeple
 
Angalee Jones

34 mins ·

By Chris:

I can’t speak loudly enough or harshly enough against the Fucking Sell Out RATS at groups like NORML, MPP and DPA and their associated allies at various commercial enterprises growing up across the country.
All of the aforementioned groups are useless and no good for the American Cannabis Consumer.

They are GREAT for anybody wanting to try to go into business. They are GREAT for the Police, and the Taxman.

But they represent pure POISON for the ordinary cannabis consumer.

By focusing efforts on the creation of commercial opportunities instead of civil rights, the aforementioned groups show themselves to be utterly unconcerned with what is the best interest of Cannabis or what is best for it’s consumers.

They also show themselves to be more interested in creating financial empires than in making pot available to all.

I have been trying tirelessly for over 40 years to try to ELIMINATE cannabis regulation, with the end result being the ability of allowing the private person to grow smoke and sell their own weed which they grow themselves.

Unfortunately, the loudest and best financed voices in this effort don’t have this in mind.

They have in mind owning a series of state licensed and regulated outlets which will both limit production and distribution to a small group of wealthy investors who are seeking to monopolize the markets and prevent the average person from growing their own.

I have taken a look at how this is working out across the country.

In states where pot is supposed to be “Legalized”, it is still illegal to grow your own unless you have a special permission to do so from the police.
This is the exact opposite of what I wanted when I first started putting on Smoke In’s back in the early eighties.
But it fits in just FINE with what SCOTT Inc wants.

 
I cannot adequately describe my utter despair over what has happened.

I blame the people at NORML for this. For creating an atmosphere of privilege and entitlement instead of creating an environment of equality and access.
For trying to create private commercial empires instead of making medicine available to those who need it with a minimum of cost instead of being squeezed for exorbitant prices upwards of $30.00 a gram.
What is happening is more like extortion and price gouging instead of easy access and affordability.
The whole lot of asshole ripoff artists who bleat “Legalize” like a pack of sheep instead of trying to get rid of this evil unwanted law, and EVIL THOUGHTLESS CRIMINALS who are bent on creating a corporatized monopoly of limited access and higher prices need to be punished.
They have done personal freedom and universal access a grave injury.
They are DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for making the counterculture revolution that was starting to grow in my youth FAIL.

Shame on Keith Stroop. Shame on Ethan Nadelman. Shame on Rob Kampia.
A curse should be laid at your feet for being willing cohorts to promoting business profits over human liberty.

I have had enough.
I refuse to cooperate.
I will insist on growing my own weed myself, not pay taxes on it, and encouraging people to attack state licensed cannabis outlets wherever they exist.
Fuck Legalization. It’s just another pot law designed to raise prices and limit access.
ABOLISH ALL POT LAWS NOW… (or ELSE!)

(And when I say “Or Else”, I mean that I hope that you have plenty of broken window and paint balloon and shoplifting security and insurance available, as I and my supporters plan to try to make it almost IMPOSSIBLE for you to afford to stay in business in retribution against your anti-people and pro capital practices.)
Fuck Legalization. Fuck those who support Legalization instead of grow your own.
You are not a patriot or even a good hippie if that is what you want. Instead, I am calling you out for being a DEMON, an EVIL BAD PERSON, instead of a decent human being.
You have had your chance. You choose poorly.
Now you get to pay the penalty for those bad decisions.

Fuck NORML.
Fuck MPP.
Fuck DPA.
Fuck SAFER.
Fuck Rob Kampia.
Fuck Ethan Nadelman.
Fuck Keith Stroup.

These are the leaders who are to blame.
These are the guys who are more interested in continuing to handle pot cases as lawyers than they are in letting people grow their own pot.
They deserve the harshest criticism possible, they need to be pied in public, de-pantsed, and embarrassed every time they show themselves in public to speak.
They are doing a great service to the dollar, and a complete sell out against the end consumer.
They are also hurting pot itself by limiting research and development and production by designing systems with built in limitations designed to create personal wealth instead of creating systems designed around allowing universal public access.
They are a pack of dastardly evil worms who deserve to be crushed and burned.

Needless to say, I an no longer a pot activist, but rather a pot revolutionary.
Until the weed is TRULY FREE and ALL can PARTAKE AND GROW, I will not be stopped or silenced.

Fuck You if you disagree, because if you support Legalization instead of abolition, you are no better than some southern plantation owner talking about how good the slave system is because it is the source of your wealth.

Fuck Legalization.

Fuck YOU if you support Legalization.

Abolition is the way.

SOURCE