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Judge Lifts Ban On Marijuana Distribution In Nevada

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Judge Lifts Ban On Marijuana Distribution In Nevada

A Carson City Judge has allowed the Department of Taxation in Nevada to give distributor licenses to marijuana distributors. After reviewing the situation, Judge James Russell decided that the alcohol distributors were not able to handle all the deliveries and more help was needed. “It appears to the court that there is a need for additional distributors over and above the alcohol distributors,” Russell said in court.

The Initial Stages of Nevada Recreational Marijuana

liquor industry given precedence in marijuana business
The alcohol industry found itself struggling to meet the demands for recreational marijuana in Nevada.

Nevada voters chose to legalize recreational marijuana last November, becoming 1 of 8 states to have legalized recreational marijuana. Since then, the state has been anxious to begin recreational marijuana sales and contribute the potential wealth to Nevada’s economy. Unfortunately, a complication seems to be making that process a little more difficult than previously imagined. As part of the regulations outlined on the ballot, marijuana distribution to the various stores that will be selling the plant was delegated exclusively to alcohol distributors as long as they could keep up with demands.

The Emergency Ordinance

Earlier this year, Nevada’s Taxation Department decided there was not sufficient interest from the alcohol industry and opened up distribution to cannabis distributors. The state planned to begin marijuana sales on July 1 and wanted distribution in place in order to make this happen. An appeal from the alcohol industry prevented the Taxation Department from allowing cannabis distributors to deliver the plant to dispensaries and the alcohol industry was unprepared to take on the job on its own at that point in time. As a result, an emergency ordinance made it possible for dispensaries to act as their own distributors on a temporary basis. This was only able to last a short period of time as product soon ran out of stock.

Searching for a Solution to the Demand

marijuana distributors will have the block temporary lifted to meet demand
Marijuana distributors will have the block temporary lifted to meet demand.

Now dispensaries are reporting that there is a 1 to 2 week wait on deliveries which has sent sales plummeting 20 to 30 percent not to mention a 65 percent drop in product variety that could also contribute to the decrease in sales. There is currently only 1 alcohol distributor that is functional and that is Crooked Wine who have been able to operate because they teamed up with a medical marijuana distributor, Blackbird, who are actually handling the operations. This kind of decrease in sales is not just troubling for the financial ramifications. It also signifies that sales are being driven towards the black market again. Without a functional recreational marijuana industry in place, users have no choice other than to use the black market. For this reason especially, the Taxation Department sought out a way for marijuana distributors to pick up some of the work for the remaining 16 months where distribution was meant to be given exclusively to the alcohol companies.

The alcohol industry representatives were not happy at all with the decision made in court. The Judge stated that alcohol distributors are welcome to appeal his decision to lift the ban on marijuana distributors partaking in the industry. Until then, the industry is under duress and more distributors are needed to ensure that the deliveries are all being made.

Justice Department Blocks Marijuana Research

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Justice Department Blocks Marijuana Research

The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is in charge of classifying various drugs and enforcing the laws that govern the classifications given. Since the ‘70s, cannabis has held a Schedule I classification, placing it alongside heroin and LSD. Nixon’s drug task force recommended to the administration that marijuana not be given a classification due to the fact that they rendered it harmless. The Nixon administration however, decided to make it a Schedule I substance, a decision that many believe is connected to a law that allowed law enforcement to disproportionately target minority groups and war protesters. The main 3 components that qualify a substance for a Schedule I classification are; that it be highly addictive with a high probability for abuse, unable to be tested on human subjects and have no medicinal use.

The Medical Benefits of Marijuana

studies in and outside of the us have confirmed the medical benefits of cannabis
Studies in and outside of the U.S. have confirmed the medical benefits of cannabis.

29 states across the U.S. have legalized the plant for medicinal use and there are countless studies on marijuana done across the world using human subjects. In states that have legalized marijuana, opioid related hospital visits are down by approximately 23 percent and the plant seems to be able to treat opioid addiction in general. It has been found to have a very low case of addiction and is safer and healthier than cigarettes and alcohol, including its effect on motorists. Drivers under the influence of cannabis have been found to be safer than drivers under the influence of alcohol.

The Failed Promise of Loosened Testing Restrictions

With all these clearly documented facts about the plant, a demand has been placed on the DEA to reschedule or deschedule cannabis altogether. Last August, the DEA shared that, while they would not reschedule or deschedule the plant, they would allow medical testing to occur. Government approved testing on the plant proving its medicinal value would then allow the DEA to reclassify the plant. Protocols were set up defining an approved process for conducting the government approved tests and those willing to jump through the many hoops involved would be able to move forward with cannabis research.

A Rift Between the DEA and the Justice Department

according to the dea the justice department is holding marijuana research at a stand still
According to the DEA, the Justice Department is holding marijuana research at a stand still.

Unfortunately, the Trump administration has blocked this progress. The Justice Department, under the leadership of long time, loud and proud prohibitionist Attorney General Jeff Sessions has prevented over 2 dozen requests to cultivate medical marijuana for scientific studies. According to The Washington Post, the Justice Department has effectively blocked the program from being able to move forward in any capacity, ensuring that there is no way to reclassify cannabis.

Black Market Activity

While cannabis continues to remain illegal, its domain falls under the rulership of the black market. This is not unlike the organized crime that thrived during alcohol prohibition. “Mexican cartels, Mexican transnational organizations are the greatest criminal threat to the United States,” says Rusty Payne, a spokesman for the DEA. “There’s no other group currently positioned to challenge them. Whenever drug investigations that we do involve MS-13, we respond, but right now the No. 1 drug threat in the U.S. is the Mexican cartels.’’

Several bipartisan bills currently exists that seek to reschedule or deschedule cannabis. With enough public pressure on the issue, forward momentum seems inevitable, even if this standoff continues for now.

Cannabis Pests Can Be Easily Prevented with Non-Toxic Methods

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Cannabis Pests Can Be Easily Prevented with Non-Toxic Methods

So your cannabis garden is up and running and everything is on track for a great harvest, but then you realize that pests have started to call your grow room home. While there are many over-the-counter solutions available for dealing with cannabis pests, many people don’t feel comfortable covering their beautiful buds with potentially toxic chemicals. If you are one of those people, you are in luck. There are a slew of pesticide alternatives that will have your garden pest free in no time.

Repelling Cannabis Pests with Companion Planting

mint is a popular choice for companion planting techniques
Mint is a popular choice for companion planting techniques.

Companion planting has been practiced for thousands of years in order to achieve a number of beneficial outcomes including getting rid of pests. Companion planting involves the growing of herbs, flowers and other plants right alongside your marijuana. Different plants demonstrate unique properties in nature. Some plants produce terpenes that are specifically designed to repel unwanted critters. Herbs like basil, garlic and chives have long been used to repel cannabis pests like aphids, mites and beetles. Rosemary and sage have been used to repel flies and mosquitoes, while mint and thyme are good for repelling moths. Companion planting is a simple and natural way to rid your garden of all of those nasty pests that could have serious impacts on your yields.

The Predatory Power of Biological Controls

Biological controls used in battling pests is somewhat like fighting fire with fire. In nature, there is always a bigger predator right around the corner. Biological controls employ the use of more advanced predatory insects who will eat cannabis pests while leaving your garden fully intact. Predatory mites are exceptional at devouring species like spiders and russet mites; both of which can destroy your garden if not caught in time. Nematodes, or microscopic roundworms, can be diluted in a solution and then applied to your plants’ root system. This will clear up any root aphid problems you might come across. Taking advantage of natural processes like the food chain are always preferable to harmful chemicals being sprayed about.

Organic Alternatives to Toxic Pesticides

neem oil is a popular form of preventing cannabis pests naturally
Neem oil is a popular form of preventing cannabis pests naturally.

Over-the-counter pesticides have a bad reputation as no one really believes the label that says “harmless”. Fortunately, there are a number of very effective organic treatments that you can apply to your garden that are just as effective as regular pesticides without any of the health concerns. There are organic alternatives to over-the-counter pesticides that will target mites, powdery mildew and aphids that are all made from natural ingredients. For example, Neem oil is one of the more heavily used organic alternatives that has great success in combating winged pests and aphids. Pyrethrum is made from the flowers of dried chrysanthemums and has been a popular staple of organic cultivation for many years. Other organic alternatives for cannabis pests include mineral oil, insecticidal soaps, and even a variety of beneficial fungi to help to prevent powdery mildew.

Dealing with pests in your cannabis garden is often frightening for newer growers, even though it doesn’t have to be. Nature has allowed for plants, fruits and vegetables to grow since the dawn of time and always provided a natural means of protection from unwanted pests. Utilizing these natural methods of controlling cannabis pests will help you move away from using potentially toxic chemicals while maintaining the level of effectiveness that your cannabis garden deserves.

Los Angeles Government Resists Legalization

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Los Angeles Government Resists Legalization

As California moves forward with the appropriate steps toward building the infrastructure of what is likely to be the most active and thriving cannabis industry in the world, the pieces continue to fall into place. Many smaller cities across the state have begun to welcome and embrace the industry as they anticipate receiving the financial gains that will come through the increased jobs and tax revenue. Cities in Los Angeles like Maywood, Lynwood and Huntington Park have begun issuing permits to cannabis businesses in order to boost local economy. This is especially true for locations such as Maywood where they have found themselves in debt that cannot be paid in any other foreseeable manner. For these places, the cannabis industry offers the chance for relief.

California Embraces a Future with Recreational Marijuana

los angeles has not been as accommodating about cannabis legalization as other california cities
Los Angeles has not been as accommodating about cannabis legalization as other California cities.

Outside of major cities, in places such as Oakland and Adelanto, the cannabis industry appears to be a new found source of economic growth. Adelanto is working to sell off land to cannabis cultivators as a prime place to grow the plant and the Northern California city of Oakland has already received over 100 applications from interested parties looking to set up marijuana businesses. As an effort to give back to those who were damaged by prohibition, at least half of the permits given out in Oakland will go to people who have received cannabis related convictions in the past.

Los Angeles Issues “Certificates of Compliance”

Los Angeles itself, however, has not been so accommodating. The city is refusing to issue business licenses to cannabis related businesses. Instead they are planning to give out “certificates of compliance” to businesses that plan to sell the plant. This means that these businesses will be given “limited immunity” allowing them to operate within the city, so long as they comply with state and city laws and regulations when it comes to marijuana. No such certificate of compliance exists for cultivators, testers or producers of edibles and other marijuana related products. The businesses will need to operate outside city limits.

A City Indifferent to Legalization

LAPD has shown relative indifference to california marijuana legalization
LAPD has shown relative indifference to California marijuana legalization.

This reflects the general attitude when it comes to how the city and LAPD have been dealing with marijuana related businesses. Many businesses have experienced being raided and persecuted, regardless of the fact that California overwhelmingly voted to legalize the plant. Several companies are moving to more cannabis friendly locations so that they can move forward and run their businesses in peace. “It’s as if LAPD and potentially the city attorney’s office and marijuana task force division have turned a blind eye to the fact we have legalized marijuana,” explained Ariel Clark, chair of the L.A. Cannabis Task Force. She said that she’s had “lengthy conversations with many clients who are saying, ‘I don’t know if I even want to go through with this process.’”

Until the city habituates itself to the new law and starts to allow these businesses to operate without incident, the Los Angeles legal marijuana market may be off to a shakier start than many anticipated. While the plant remains illegal on a federal level, many bipartisan bills are in place this year to potentially change that for the future.

Alarming Cannabis Hypertension Study Questioned by Marijuana Advocates

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Alarming Cannabis Hypertension Study Questioned by Marijuana Advocates

A new study on marijuana has ignited debate around the plant’s potential effect on the cardiovascular system. The study, which was led by Barbara Yankey of Georgia State University, evaluated the survey results of over 1,200 people as well as a physical exam they were given in 2005. Participants were asked various questions including whether or not they consumed marijuana. Their results were then compared with the mortality rate of those people in 2011. It concluded that the people who answered that they used marijuana were 3.42 times more likely to suffer from high blood pressure compared to the 1.04 increased risk of the people who didn’t use marijuana in 2005.

Lack of Clarity in the Study

study into the effects of marijuana on blood pressure may need more clarity
A study into the effects of marijuana on blood pressure may need more clarity.

While marijuana advocates believe the results warrant review, they have found many holes in the validity of the study itself. The study does not take lifestyle or exercise into consideration which plays a large role in the development of high blood pressure. It also does not take into account whether the people who consumed marijuana in 2005 continued to consume it or whether they stopped. The method of consumption has been neglected to be reviewed as well so it’s unclear whether the plant was eaten or smoked. These factors lend a strong sense of doubt over the clarity of the study’s results.

Professional Response to the Study

According to The Oregonian, Dr. Vinay Prasad, associate professor of medicine at Oregon Health & Science University, who also happens to be an expert on the design and results of medical studies said, “It does not prove that if you choose to use marijuana you are more likely to die of cardiovascular disease. I think the major limit of the study is that there may be unobserved differences between the people who used and admitted to using marijuana during the years of this study and cardiovascular outcomes that the researchers did not adjust for. In fact, that is likely.”

Previous Studies Don’t Back the Claims of the New Study

previous studies conflict the claims that marijuana increases risk of death through hypertension
Previous studies conflict the claims that marijuana increases risk of death through hypertension.

In the past, studies have been conducted to see if cannabis use has an impact on the cardiovascular system. Some results indicate that cannabis may increase heart rate or increase the likelihood of developing acute coronary syndrome, yet another study shows marijuana having no impact whatsoever on heart disease or death. In fact, in that study, the risk of heart disease is higher amongst non-users. For this reason, there is no conclusive evidence as to whether or not marijuana has any kind of impact on cardiovascular health previous to this recent study and there is a lot of uncertainty around the results that were ascertained.

With marijuana being legalized for recreational use in 8 states and medicinal use in 29 states, it is important for more thorough research to be conducted so that users have a chance of understanding the specific risks involved in its consumption. The DEA has stated that they will begin to officially approve studies on cannabis that meet the legal requirements they set forth so that people can start to understand the medicinal benefits of the plant on a deeper level.

Neil deGrasse Tyson Answers in Support of Marijuana Legalization

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Neil deGrasse Tyson Answers in Support of Marijuana Legalization

Famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson has made a very public comment about the legal status of cannabis in America today. While being interviewed by Chuck Nice, Tyson was sent a question from Marijuana Policy Project director Tom Angell asking for Tyson’s view on the legal status of marijuana. Angell was asking to see if the popular scientist’s views were similar to Carl Sagan, whose popularity increased with the initial broadcast of the TV series Cosmos. Sagan was a lifelong marijuana user who had secretly discussed the plant’s medicinal value in an essay he anonymously wrote for the book Marijuana Reconsidered. He called it “outrageous” that marijuana was outlawed and Angell was curious to know if Tyson’s views also reflected this.

Tyson’s Rationale for Supporting Legalization of Cannabis

Neil deGrasse Tyson answers question by pointing out logical flaw in banning marijuana
Neil deGrasse Tyson answered a question by pointing out the logical flaw in prohibiting marijuana while allowing legal alcohol consumption.

Tyson, who rebooted Sagan’s Cosmos and has followed in his footsteps as a promoter of space science agrees that marijuana should not be illegal. “If you really analyze it, relative to other things that are legal, there’s no reason for it to ever have been made illegal in the system of laws,” says Tyson. “Alcohol is legal, and it can mess you up way more than smoking a few J’s,” he added. Tyson has made it clear that he, himself, prefers not to consume marijuana but he deems it far less harmful than alcohol and cigarettes and does not believe it should have been made illegal.

The Controversy of an Ill-Fitting Classification

Much controversy exists on the topic right now as marijuana does not fit the requirements for the classification it currently holds under federal law. It is categorized as a Schedule I substance which means it is considered to have a high risk of abuse with no medicinal benefits and is further regarded as unfit to test on humans. Health experts have already made it clear that it is less habit forming, healthier and less hazardous for drivers than alcohol. It is legal for medical use in 29 states and countless cannabis related tests on humans have been conducted over the years.

Classifying Against Logic and Reason

original cosmos host carl sagan wrote private accounts of cannabis benefits
Carl Sagan, the original host of “Cosmos” wrote private accounts of the benefits of cannabis.

The DEA and Attorney General Jeff Sessions are currently facing a lawsuit that aims to legalize marijuana and reduce and repair some of the devastating damage inflicted on minorities and low income residents from it being made illegal. In 1972, when the Controlled Substance Act was being created, President Richard Nixon’s own drug task force recommended that marijuana not be included in the list of illegal substances. Nixon made it illegal to the highest degree, nonetheless, placing it side by side with heroin and LSD. Its illegal status made it easy for police to disproportionately target minority groups and war protesters.

Several bipartisan bills exist that seek to legalize marijuana and repair some of the damage done to communities with high arrest rates as well as allowing prisoners to undergo new trials and have their records expunged. According to a Quinnipiac poll, 61 percent of Americans want to legalize marijuana, 94 percent believe medical marijuana should be legal and 3/4 of the country believe that the federal government should not interfere with state law regarding marijuana. All in all, public consensus seems to be clear. It seems just a matter of the federal government catching up.

EPA Director Rejects Marijuana Pesticides

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EPA Director Rejects Marijuana Pesticides

The Trump administration has been notorious for appointing some prominent anti-marijuana officials to positions of power and this trend is continuing as the EPA Director, Scott Pruitt, created headlines this week. The longtime prohibitionist has decided to prevent the licensing of any pesticides that have been specifically formulated for growing cannabis. Where the former EPA Administrator, Gina McCarthy, allowed states to make their own regulations when it came to marijuana related pesticides, Pruitt is outright denying that states have any rights in the matter as marijuana is still considered to be a federally illegal drug.

Outdated Marijuana Scheduling

marijuana is classified schedule I alongside herpoin and cocaine
The DEA classifies marijuana as on par with heroin and cocaine.

Marijuana’s classification as a Schedule I substance puts it in the same category as heroin and LSD. The classification requires that a substance be highly addictive, unsafe for human testing and have no medicinal value whatsoever in order to be classified in this way. Its legal status is highly questionable given its ability to help people break opioid addiction and the many studies successfully completed on humans determining its many medicinal properties. With 29 states having legalized medical marijuana and 8 states legalizing recreational marijuana, it seems past time that the law be reviewed and updated.

Denial of Pesticide Registration Requests

In July, California, Washington, Nevada and Vermont all applied to register 4 new pesticides. The pesticides came from a subsidiary of Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. Pruitt denied all requests via letter, stating that marijuana is still considered to be a federally illegal substance. There is now a concern that without regulated pesticides, growers will be free to use dangerous chemicals that may be harmful to ingest. According to Merry Jane, pesticides such as myclobutanil, which is a fungicide, gives off hydrogen cyanide when it’s burned. Dangerous chemicals such as these should be avoided by growers at all costs.

The Industry Continues Onward

epa refuses to license any new marijuana pesticides
The EPA is refusing to license any new marijuana pesticides.

Despite the setback, many cultivators are not allowing themselves to be discouraged by the decision. “It’s a minor hindrance,” says Cary Giguere, who is the agricultural resource management section chief for the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets. He further explained, “It isn’t slowing the industry down, it’s not slowing states working with the industry down.” Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. has been the source of a lot of controversy in the past due to their habit of using dangerous chemicals in their products that can be harmful to both the plant life and the soil. For this reason, some marijuana advocates are not in any way disturbed by the outlawing of more pesticides. Some are relieved that there is a little more insurance against non-organic cannabis.

Either way, the Trump administration may be in over their heads when it comes to stopping the progress of marijuana reform across the country. Several bipartisan bills and even a lawsuit is in place at the moment, making efforts to legalize the plant. The majority of voters across the country lean overwhelmingly toward support of legalizing medical marijuana and approximately 60 percent are in favor of legalizing the plant altogether. Each year, more states legalize either medical or recreational marijuana.

Evaluating the Best Soil for Marijuana Cultivation May Point to a Medium Instead

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Evaluating the Best Soil for Marijuana Cultivation May Point to a Medium Instead

One of the first steps you’ll have to take when you start your garden is to ask yourself what is the best soil for marijuana cultivation? There are a handful of great choices. However, your choice of grow medium will largely be determined by the cultivation techniques you wish to employ. There are many factors that will determine which method of cultivation you go with, whether it be organic or hydroponic. First determine how you want to grow and the choice of mediums for cannabis cultivation will become apparent.

Organic Soils and Mediums

organic often considered best soil for marijuana growing for freshness
Organic soil is often favored for a purely natural cannabis grow operation.

Many people ask themselves “what is the best soil for marijuana cultivation?” If you are just starting out, the first thing you need to know is that not all “soils” are actually soils. Real organic soil is used primarily in organic and veganic cultivation while a multitude of neutral mediums are used for hydroponics. If you are looking to grow in a greenhouse or right out under the sun, using an organic soil is the best choice to go with.

How Organic Soils Work

Organic soil is teeming with lifeforms like fungus and bacteria that all contribute to the health of your plants. Organic soil is already rich with elements and should be supplemented with only true organic nutrient blends. Organic nutrient blends are safe for the beneficial microbes that make your soil home. These microbes play an essential role in nutrient processing. They convert the nutrients fed to the soil into a form more readily available for absorption by the root system. Organic soil is not pH neutral so you have to take that into consideration when mixing your nutrients. Some think that organic soil can lead to a fresher and more vibrant flavor in your finished product than hydroponics.

Using Coco Coir for Hydroponic Cannabis

coco coir is a favored medium for hydroponic marijuana cultivation
Coco coir is a favored medium for hydroponic marijuana cultivation.

The best medium for marijuana cultivation in the hydroponic field is coco coir. Made from the husks of coconuts, coco coir is pH neutral, dense, and heavily absorbent. Plants grown with coco coir are grown similarly to plants grown in soil. However, the principles of hydroponics are applied in the nutrients, pH balancing and supplementation. Other soil substitutes like perlite, vermiculite and rock wool can also be used or mixed with coco coir to adjust the density. Other hydroponic mediums include sand, saw dust and clay pellets.

Sometimes the Best Soil for Marijuana is No Soil At All

Many hydroponic systems don’t use any medium at all. Systems that utilize a water reservoir and a tray work by either soaking, misting or flowing water, rich with nutrients, over the root system of the plant. This makes sure the nutritional needs of the plant are met while ensuring proper aeration of the roots. While organic growers believe they have the best tasting and smelling marijuana, hydroponic growers boast bigger and faster yields. So determining the best medium for marijuana cultivation directly ties into how you want to grow. If growing outdoors is your thing, organic soils are the way to go. If you are building a cultivation room indoors, take a look at coco coir or any one of the other hydroponic mediums you may find at your local grow shop.

Marijuana Entrepreneurs Turning Ghost Towns Into Pot Ventures

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Marijuana Entrepreneurs Turning Ghost Towns Into Pot Ventures

As cannabis continues to be legalized across the country, more and more companies are looking to profit from what is being called the “green rush.” A new trend has begun to emerge as companies have started to purchase small towns, far from large cities, that resemble the gold rush towns of the old west, and turning them into cultivation and tourist centers for marijuana. One such place that has recently been purchased for $5 million is the small town of Nipton, California, which has a 6 person population according to the last count in 2016.

The History of Nipton

former gold mining town nipton california bought by cannabis company
Former gold mining town Nipton, California will be turned into a growing facility and cannabis tourist spot.

The town exists on the edge of the Mojave Desert and was a place where miners were sent during the California Gold Rush in 1905. Now the cannabis geared tech and consultancy company, American Green, has purchased the land and plans to turn it into a cannabis tourist spot. The company plans to make it a place where visitors can visit marijuana farms, smoke openly at the bed and breakfast, enjoy natural springs and shop at the local dispensaries. It would become a cannabis friendly town, inviting all to share and explore the many benefits of both the natural space and the plant’s many benefits.

More About the Community Than the Party

According to Business Insider, Stephen Shearin, who is a consultant that works with American Green, said, “The (idea) here isn’t to create ‘Woodstock 2017’; it’s about creating an environment where people come to work and share in a community.” The company is passionate about creating an understanding around the plant that has so many medicinal benefits yet has suffered so much negative propaganda in the past and continues to be banned on a federal level. The company is hoping to contribute a healthy community space that the public can enjoy and take part in. They plan to keep local business alive and potentially offer work opportunities to residents.

Development in a New Industry

elko nevada another mining town revitalized through marijuana cultivation
Elko, Nevada is another mining town revitalized through marijuana cultivation.

American Green is involved with creating cannabis related technology of all kinds. It offers cannabis dispensing machines, a dispensary locator app, seed to sale tracking solutions as well as manufacturing hemp oil, balms, mints, water and capsules. Their newest venture may take years before construction is complete although movement has already started on its development. Other old mining towns such as Elko, which is located in Nevada, are also proving themselves to be new cannabis hot spots for growing. Many locals have embraced the new industry and are working to benefit from the recent changes to cannabis law.

California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine all joined Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon in legalizing recreational marijuana for adults over the age of 21. These states have only just begun the process of setting up the infrastructure for the industry but they are expected to be completed and ready to sell the plant by 2018. There’s no doubt that, as this process continues, more companies will make use of the desert towns that once hosted miners during the gold rush in an effort to take part in what is destined to be an incredibly lucrative new industry.

New Marijuana Descheduling Bill Proposed by New Jersey Senator

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New Marijuana Descheduling Bill Proposed by New Jersey Senator

A new bill to deschedule marijuana was introduced this week by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker. The bill seeks to rebalance the “devastating impact” prohibition has had on minorities and low-income communities. The arrest rates are highly disproportionate in these communities given that usage across all demographics is the same. Booker is also looking at ways to give incentives to states to legalize the plant and to deal with the racial injustices that have occurred as a result of prohibition. Many of those arrested for cannabis possession have had their lives derailed as the scar on their record has made employment, housing and even education more difficult, not to mention the emotional and financial cost of incarceration on those charged and their families.

A Call for Public Support

cory booker proposing a marijuana bill that would allow states to set their own cannabis laws
Descheduling would allow states to set their own marijuana laws without federal interference.

Booker announced the bill in a live stream on Facebook, making his intentions clear. He is not only looking to change the law so that it is fair, he is also wanting to rectify the damage created by the law in the past, helping to restore justice and healing to the impacted communities. Currently it is not co-sponsored by anyone else although he is focused on getting bipartisan support for the bill so that everyone is working together as a community to amend the law. He called out for public support of this, stating that it would not be possible unless the people demanded change.

A Classification That Doesn’t Fit

Cannabis is still considered a Schedule I substance, making it illegal on a federal level in the same category as heroin. Only substances considered unsafe for testing, having no medicinal benefits and extremely high risk are put in the Schedule I category. With medical marijuana legal in 29 states across the country, it has been a long time since anyone considered marijuana as a plant without medicinal benefits. It is also a substance that is being tested on people in various capacities across the scientific communities. It simply does not fit the requirements that make it a Schedule I substance.

Benefits of the Proposed Bill

marijuana bill would see regulations similar to those in place for cigarettes and alcohol
The new marijuana bill would see regulations similar to those in place for cigarettes and alcohol.

According to The Cannabist, the bill seeks to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act altogether, descheduling it so it can be regulated like cigarettes and alcohol. The amendment will work to restore some level of justice by expunging federal cannabis use and possession charges from past convictions and letting those serving a current sentence to be resentenced in accordance with the new law. In places where arrests against minorities and low-income residents have been disproportionate, federal funds for prison expansions would cease. The bill seeks to recreate some sense of balance to communities most devastated by prohibition by creating a reinvestment fund to support job training, reentry services, public libraries, health and education programs and more.

A Marijuana Bill with a “Far Reach”

The head of the pro marijuana organization Marijuana Majority said in a statement that it was “the single most far-reaching marijuana bill that’s ever been filed in either chamber of Congress. More than just getting the federal government out of the way so that states can legalize without DEA harassment, this new proposal goes even further by actually punishing states that have bad marijuana laws. Polls increasingly show growing majority voter support for legalization, so this is something that more senators should be signing on to right away.”

The bill has only just been announced and more news on its progression will have to be delivered as each step forward continues.