Florida “smoking” update!

When voters passed medical marijuana in Florida in the 2016 election, many celebrated the victory as it would finally mean gaining access to a needed medicine. However, when lawmakers finally passed laws earlier this year to implement the voter-approved law, they made the decision to ban smokable medical cannabis. This immediately became an issue between the state and the group who helped make the initiative become a reality, People United for Medical Marijuana, and lawyer John Morgan, who wrote the initiative. Before the bill regulating medical cannabis was passed by lawmakers, Morgan had promised he would sue the state if they followed through with their proposed ban on smokable cannabis. The hope behind the amendment was that it would open access to medical marijuana for as many Floridians as possible – but since so many rely on smoking for the most immediate benefits of cannabis, the state’s smoking ban goes against the intention of the amendment.

“By redefining the constitutionally defined term ‘medical use’ to exclude smoking, the Legislature substitutes its medical judgment for that of ‘a licensed Florida physician’ and is in direct conflict with the specifically articulated Constitutional process,” the initial lawsuit filing states. Months later, a court date has finally been set, and Leon County Circuit Court Judge Karen Gievers will be hearing the case on January 25th.

The state has filed a motion to dismiss the case, but Morgan believes that there is definitely grounds for their case – which means this is likely the first of many court dates before the judge will determine whether it was unconstitutional for the state to ban smokable forms of cannabis.

Part of the argument is that the initiative language allowed legislators to make decisions regarding smoking in public places – but not about its use in private residences or the sale of whole-plant smokable cannabis in dispensaries. Lawmakers argue that allowing whole-plant cannabis to be sold would create a “backdoor” to recreational legalization.

“If something is not allowed in public, it is allowed in private,” Morgan said at a press conference announcing the lawsuit in July. “It’s as clear to all of you as it is to any first-grader taking first-grade logic.”

While there is no telling how long the courts will drag this case out, if Judge Gievers sides with Morgan and his co-plaintiffs (all medical marijuana patients), a whole new set of rules and regulations would have to be written to include smokable forms of medical cannabis. The Florida Department of Health would be responsible for creating these new rules in a timely manner to ensure that patients don’t wait any longer than they already have for the medicine they need.

California – Taxes and More

Seller’s Market

While you’ve been able to light up legally since November 2016 (not just anywhere, though; for more on that, keep reading), you haven’t been able to saunter into a shop and buy the stuff over the counter for expressly recreational (officially called “adult-use”) purposes. To sell pot and its products legally, retailers need to have a license issued by the state’s Bureau of Cannabis Control (formerly known as the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation) as well as permission from local authorities to operate. Alex Traverso, the bureau’s chief of communications, says his department “won’t know until the time comes” how many applicants there’ll be by New Year’s Day (although a 2016 California Department of Food and Agriculture survey found 2,718 companies interested in seeking licenses in L.A. County). The state is also prepping temporary licenses, good for four months, to go to existing dispensaries that can prove they’re in compliance with local regulations. In the city of Los Angeles, applications from existing medical marijuana dispensaries will get priority, provided they’re submitted within 60 days of when licenses become available (the city hasn’t yet determined when it will start issuing them). And, under proposed guidelines released in September, cannabis delivery will be available.

Corner Shop

As for what types of stores you can expect to see, Josh Drayton, the communications and outreach director of the California Cannabis Industry Association, says to think more boutique and less neon-and-bong head shop. “The consumer has changed,” he notes, “and modern brick-and-mortar dispensaries are turning into well-organized showrooms and lounges. My marker has always been, ‘Would I bring my mother into this space?’ ”

Adult Use Vs. Medical

In June 2017, Governor Jerry Brown signed a bill making regulations the same for recreational and medical marijuana. But distinctions between the two will remain. Beginning with cultivation, cannabis will be slapped with either an A for adult-use or an M for medical use, and all businesses involved in the cannabis industry will receive an A license or an M license; retailers have the option of being dual licensees. People with a medical card should hang onto it because medical marijuana will still be available to patients 18 and older. Plus, says Jolene Forman, a staff attorney for the Drug Policy Alliance , some strains and some shops will continue to cater specifically to patients’ needs. “That will ultimately be really good for medical patients because it preserves strains that are meant to alleviate symptoms,” she notes. “For instance, for the most part you’re probably not going to see a lot of topical remedies in the A category, but topical remedies for muscle spasms or chronic pain are common.”


Whether your purchases are to ease pain or boost pleasure, they’re likely to be in cash for the near term: Since the federal government deems pot illegal, banks have been loath to provide cannabis-related operations credit. Recreational users in L.A. will pay a 15 percent state excise tax as well as a 9.5 percent county sales tax. Some areas will charge an additional business tax, and there are taxes associated with growing, distributing, and selling, too. (Patients with a valid medical card will be exempt from sales tax. ) Economists estimate that those fees could bring $1 billion in revenue to the state, and according to City Controller Ron Galperin, L.A. could bring in at least $50 million in tax revenue next year.

After the government takes a piece of that cash to cover its costs, the money will be spread around, including:

• $2 million to the UC San Diego Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research

• $3 million a year for five years to the California Highway Patrol to establish DUI protocols

• $10 million every year until 2028 to a California public university for legalization-related research

• $10 million in 2018 to areas disproportionately affected by criminalization. The figure will grow by $10 million a year and remain at $50 million in 2022 and beyond

Of any remaining funds, 60 percent will go toward drug education, treatment, and prevention for youth; 20 percent will be distributed to state and local law enforcement; and 20 percent will be put toward cleaning up environmental damage caused by pre-regulation grow operations.

Fines and Penalties

As of November 9, 2016, the fine for driving with an open cannabis “container” (what defines a container is anybody’s guess) is up to $250. In September 2017, Governor Brown took it a step further by signing a bill that specifies a $70 fine for smoking or consuming marijuana while driving. And those people you see vaping on the sidewalk? They are indeed breaking the law. Smoking in public carries a $100 fine that jumps to $250 for smoking in places where tobacco is banned (think: restaurants and offices, in front of certain buildings). Selling weed without a license or having more than the allowable amount of cannabis carries a penalty of $500, six months in jail, or both. Finally anyone caught selling to a minor faces three to seven years.

Running a Marijuana Dispensary Just as Lucrative as Owning a Starbucks ?? !!

Running a legal marijuana dispensary is just as profitable as owning a Starbucks according to an analysis of a recent BDS Analytics study by Arcview Market Research.

Arcview found that the average dispensary takes in approximately 12 percent profit after taxes. This is about the same average profit margin for a Starbucks.

“This report shows that retail cannabis could be as big as the iPhone. It’s clearer than ever that there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow for those investors and operators who are willing to deal with the uncertainties and difficulties of current regulations,” said Arcview CEO, Troy Dayton according to the Press Herald.

“Cannabis stores are unlike anything the retail world has seen since big-box stores wiped out much of the specialty store business in the 1990s,” said Arcview Market Research Editor in Chief, Tom Adams. “And because of federal prohibition, publicly traded retail companies are just going to have to stand aside while entrepreneurs pursue this unique retail opportunity.”

The report also took into consideration that dispensaries are unable to take advantage of most business tax credits since marijuana is still a federally banned substance. Dispensaries are forced to make up for the lost money by including it in the retail price of products. It seems possible that marijuana dispensaries could become even more profitable if federal law changes.

Update for Cali! (Week of 11/22)

Things are happening in California to position the success rate of marijuana business in 2018.


Please click the links below for the latest update from the BCC(Bureau of Cannabis Control)

I love this fact sheet: SUPER DUPER HELPFUL


Full PDF version :


Perú – Legalizes marijuana in move spurred by mother’s home lab

LIMA (Reuters) – Peru’s conservative Congress passed a bill to legalize medical marijuana late on Thursday with a 68-5 vote in favor of allowing cannabis oil to be produced, imported and commercialized.

President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski had proposed the measure after police cracked down on a group of mothers making cannabis oil in a makeshift laboratory to treat their epileptic children.

Regulations for producing and commercializing cannabis oil will be written in 60 days, ruling party lawmaker Alberto Belaunde said.

“Thousands of patients and their family members will have hope and a better quality of life,” said Belaunde.

Peru’s neighbors Chile and Colombia have already legalized marijuana for medical purposes. Uruguay has fully legalized growing and selling marijuana for any use.

Texas !!

Austin- Texas has issued its first medical marijuana license, and two more companies are expected to be awarded licenses soon.
Cansortium Texas, which is a part of Florida-based Cansortium Holdings, received a license Friday, the Austin American-Statesman reported . The company will be allowed to grow, process and sell medical marijuana for patients with a rare form of epilepsy.

Cansortium Holdings Chief Executive Officer Jose Hidalgo said he’s humbled the company received the license. The company has medical cannabis licenses in Florida, Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico. The state Department of Public Safety is reviewing applications from Compassionate Cultivation and Surterra Texas.

The companies were selected from more than 40 applicants in May and have undergone a series of facility inspections. They face strict state regulations that restrict their customer base and how they formulate the products. Licenses are being issued under the Texas Compassionate Use Act, which Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law in 2015. The act legalized the production and sale of cannabidoil, an oil that doesn’t produce a high.

The law only allows patients with intractable epilepsy to use the oil. Patients must have a doctor’s prescription and have already tried two conventional drug treatments that weren’t effective.
“It is safe to say that it is a challenging market,” said Morris Denton, chief executive of Compassionate Cultivation. Denton said he hopes to eventually persuade state lawmakers to make medical marijuana available to a wider group of people. The three companies will pay a nearly $490,000 fee once they’re approved. They’ll have to renew the license in two years for nearly $320,000. The fees cover the cost of regulating the industry, state officials said. Industry experts believe relaxing the restrictions and making medical marijuana more widely available could allow the Texas market to rival California’s estimated $2.8 billion cannabis market.


2018 update

There are currently eight states in America that have legalized recreational marijuana, or as we like to call it: ADULT USE. Most experts believe that number is set to grow quickly in the next few years. But which states are most likely to hop aboard the cannabis train next?
According to Marijuana Business Daily, three state legislatures are likely to legalize adult use in 2018: New Jersey, Vermont and Rhode Island.

New Jersey could actually be the first to do so. Republican Governor Chris Christie leaves office in January, and most signs point to Democrat Phil Murphy winning the gubernatorial election in November. Murphy is in favor of legalizing marijuana, and there’s already a bill before the legislature to do so. Perhaps they’re waiting until they know there’s someone in the governor’s office to sign the bill before they pass it.

Vermont and Rhode Island are also expected to legalize marijuana, although they’re often considered likely to do so. The states have fairly liberal legislatures that are often at the forefront of passing progressive legislation, and yet they haven’t done so with recreational marijuana. Still, both states are very likely contenders to do so.
Connecticut, Delaware and Maryland are also states that they point out could pass recreational marijuana in the near future, but 2018 may be optimistic.

And when it comes to medical marijuana, cannabis advocates are beginning to put on the pressure in Louisiana and Iowa in 2018. While many other red states continue to push anti-marijuana agendas, those two states have significant support for medicinal cannabis and could see breakthroughs next year.