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STEVE ELLIOTT

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Ohio Could Become First State In Midwest To Legalize Marijuana

(Hemp News)

Ohio could become the fifth state, and the first in the Midwest, to legalize marijuana under a measure that qualified on Wednesday for the state’s November 2015 ballot. The measure itself, however, remains controversial, as it basically hands control of the state’s legal cannabis industry to a handful of entrepreneurs.

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted rules that ResponsibleOhio advocates and hired workers gathered enough valid signatures — more than 320,000 — to qualify, reports Jackie Borchardt at the Northeast Ohio Media Group.

The measure will appear as Issue 3 on the statewide ballot for the general election on November 3.

“It’s time for marijuana legalization in Ohio, and voters will have the opportunity to make it happen this November — we couldn’t be more excited,” said ResponsibleOhio Executive Director Ian James. “Drug dealers don’t care about doing what’s best for our state and its citizens.

 

Oregon: Draft Rules Issued For Recreational Marijuana Sales

(Hemp News)

Oregon marijuana dispensaries that plan to make recreational sales to people 21 and older must first tell the state health authority and record the birthdates of shoppers, along with the quantities of cannabis they buy, under draft rules issued Wednesday.

Marijuana dispensaries are also required to prominently post a sign at the entrance letting consumers know they are either serving both the medical and the recreational market, or that they are a medical-only shop, reports Noelle Crombie at The Oregonian.

The guidelines for early recreational sales are the first of several sets of rules to be crafted by the Oregon Health Authority for the marijuana program, according to program administrator Steve Wagner. The agency will also issue rules for processors, growers, testing labs, serving sizes, and labeling, according to Wagner.

Recreational sales are set to begin on October 1 in medical marijuana dispensaries which choose to become a part of the program. Wagner said the public, including dispensary owners, will have about one week to comment on the rules.

 

Alaska Advocates Call For Home Growers To Be Able To Legally Sell Weed

(Hemp News)

Home cannabis growers in Alaska need a way to enter the legal marijuana market, a group of advocates said Tuesday at the first public hearing dealing with legal marijuana businesses in the Fairbanks North Star Borough.

“Most of the entrepreneurs are wanting to start a small boutique-sized facility in their home,” said Shuan Tacke of Fairbanks, treasurer of the Alaska Marijuana Industry Association, reports Amanda Bohman at the News Miner. “No one would even know that it is next door to them as they don’t even know now most of the time.”

Tacke was among seven people to testify before the Planning Commission on an ordinance, 2015-41, which defines which zones allow cannabis dispensaries and companies.

Under the measure, no marijuana commerce would be allowed in residential zones. The Borough Assembly will have the final vote on the measure.

 

Washington: Top Marijuana Advisor Steps Down

(Hemp News)

The bureaucrat who helped implement Washington state’s recreational marijuana law — and dismantle the state’s medical marijuana program — is stepping down.

Randy Simmons, deputy director of the Washington State Liquor Control Board, said this year’s “difficult” legislative session played a factor in his decision, reports Bob Young at The Seattle Times.

Battles erupted as monied I-502 business investors lobbied the Washington Legislature to “fold” the state’s medical marijuana industry into the recreational side; that happened, effectively channeling all patients through I-502 stores and shutting down access through medical dispensaries statewide. It was an unappetizing spectacle, with 502 merchants picking over the remains of the medical marijuana community, looking for more profits.

“It was a hard legislative session,” Young complained, evidently feeling patients should have uncomplainingly been led down the primrose path of eliminating medical dispensaries. “I felt tired of all the battles going on.”

 

Israel: Medical Cannabis Could Be Worth More Than Natural Gas

(Hemp News)

Israel’s natural gas reserves off its shores are considered a boon for the nation’s economy. But the general consensus Thursday at a Thursday conference was that Israel is missing an even bigger opportunity — in the field of medicinal cannabis.

The conference, on how Israel’s farmers could benefit from the global market for medical marijuana, was hosted by the Israel Loss Adjusters Association (ILAA), reports Niv Elis at The Jerusalem Post. The cannabis market in the United States alone stands at $35 billion a year, according to Doron Havkin, chairman of the ILAA.

“Are we able to give up revenues from this market?” Havkin asked, arguing that the government could help Israel’s struggling farmers in the Arava by declaring it a closed zone for growing export-oriented medical marijuana. Nearly 6,000 acres of land are waiting for such development, according to Havkin.

The economy would be the biggest beneficiary if Israel grew medical cannabis, according to Dr. Tamir Gadot, CEO of the pro-medical marijuana agricultural association Breath of Life. “The economic potential of growing Big Cannabis is greater than that of the gas,” he said.

 

Backroom Deals Prevail As Marijuana Goes Mainstream

(Toke Signals)

It’s no secret there’s lots of green gravitating to the cannabis business, and we’re not just talking herbs. The scent of money has led to some sketchy deals and the welfare of mom-and-pop businesses, along with that of medical marijuana patients, has more often been taking a back seat to financial considerations (hello, Washington state).

Unfortunately, the playing field is not level.

Some apps enjoy favored status with Apple and Google, while their investors — some of whom are on the board of directors of these tech giants — hobnob with the elite in Silicon Valley. Other app developers are not so fortunate. Without the boardroom connections, they are languished to the back page, or worse, are kicked off the services completely.

Consequently, although several apps function more or less the same, one will get front-page status, while others get kicked off the virtual shelf.

 

Kentucky: Sheriff’s Office Asks Drug Dealers To Turn In Rivals

(Hemp News)

Is it the American way? A sheriff’s office in Kentucky is encouraging drug dealers to turn in their rivals, counting on old-fashioned greed to help them make arrests.

The Franklin County Sheriff’s Office on August 3 posted a flyer on its Facebook page, reports the Associated Press. “Attention Drug Dealers,” the flyer, which features a marijuana leaf, reads. “Is your Drug Dealing Competition Costing You Money?”

“We offer a free service to help you eliminate your drug competition!” the flyer reads. “Report your Competition to Us!

Franklin County Sheriff Pat Melton claimed the post was funny, but the sheriff’s department isn’t joking.

 

Toke Signals Must Read of the Week

This Booth Was Openly Vending Weed At Seattle Hempfest

(Toke Signals)

I’ve attended Seattle Hempfest for a decade now, but yesterday I saw something I hadn’t seen before: marijuana being openly dealt from a booth at the event.

Make no mistake about it — it’s been easy to score weed at Hempfest every time I’ve gone, and I’ve written about that before (to the irritation of those who’d prefer to keep such things stuffed tightly in the closet). I got some pretty good herb, for instance, during Vivian McPeak’s “Don’t buy weed at Hempfest speech” in 2013.

But whatEVER, you know? It’s no real secret that Hempfest is an open-air weed market each and every year. It’s also common knowledge that the festival is a quite popular party destination for teens and young people; see KOMO’s photo coverage of Hempfest 2015, here.

The actual of vending of cannabis from a rented booth, however, breaks new ground, as far as what I’ve personally witnessed.

 

 

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