Marijuana equipment start-ups flourish as large rivals avoid legal pitfalls
GREELEY, Colo. – Marijuana’s uncertain legal status across the country has unleashed a network of innovators and entrepreneurs into a space that would ordinarily be filled with name-brand manufacturers, pharmaceutical companies and federally funded research universities.
These small “cannabusinesses” are rushing to fill niches and make money in a field where the drug's illegal status at the federal level has made many start-up basics — from getting a new machine to accessing credit — far more challenging. Colorado, for instance, boasts a cottage industry of innovation because it was one of the first states to legalize recreational cannabis sales to adults, and also has a highly educated, youthful workforce.
Take Greeley, Colo.-based Leaf, for example: A converted garage in this northern Colorado college town has become a de-facto lab for developing the company’s self-contained marijuana-growing “refrigerator.” The $3,000 wifi-enabled cabinet has a webcam so its owner can monitor the growing plants no matter where they are. One of Leaf’s first employees lives in Greeley because he went to college in the area, and the Tel Aviv-based company decided to keep a local presence. Leaf introduced the cabinet earlier this year and has already sold more than 1,000.
New medical marijuana laws set industry 'on steroids'
The new medical marijuana laws, according to Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, an opponent of the bills, take a small home-grown industry created by a 2008 ballot proposal "and puts that cottage industry on steroids."
Indeed, under the old law, a caregiver could grow up to 12 marijuana plants for each patient and couldn't serve more than five patients. The law was vague about dispensaries, leading to a glut in some cities like Detroit and Lansing that basically turned a blind eye to the businesses in their communities and a police force in other towns that shut down businesses with impunity
The new laws create three classes of growers: people who can grow up to 500 plants, up to 1,000 plants or up to 1,500 plants. They also create five classes of licenses — those for growers, testing facilities, transporters, the seed-to-sale tracking and dispensaries. Communities can decide whether and where they'll allow dispensaries to operate and charge an annual fee of up to $5,000 per dispensary.
State Lawmakers Cancel Local Pot Decriminalization—But It Gets Worse
Conservative Republicans are conservative, to a flaw. Big government is evil and bad and must be shunned at all turns, except when smaller government does something they don’t like. In which case: enter, stage right, Big Brother.
This is the lesson to draw from Tennessee, where state lawmakers in the Republican-dominated House voted on Thursday to block the limited marijuana decriminalization efforts undertaken by city councils in Nashville and Memphis.
That’s bad, and means racially skewed arrest rates in the state’s two urban areas—both of which have sizable populations of black people, who (of course) are the people most often arrested for marijuana possession—will continue. It also means possession of less than a half-ounce of marijuana will still be a misdemeanor crime, with possession of more than a half-ounce a felony.
Nevada bill would allow early recreational marijuana sales, enforce higher tax
Two Democrat lawmakers are trying to cut the ribbon on the recreational marijuana program before the state does.
Sen. Tick Segerblom, D-Las Vegas, and Assemblyman Steve Yeager, D-Las Vegas, pushed for an Early Start program for recreational marijuana sales during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Friday. They presented the bill, Senate Bill 302, as a way to help Gov. Brian Sandoval meet his goal of making $100 million off of the fledgling program and also as a way to smother the existing black market.
The Early Start program would allow medical marijuana dispensaries to begin selling recreational product immediately if it passes, although the Department of Taxation already plans to get recreational product on dispensary shelves by July 1. It is unclear if the bill truly could catalyze a program that already is on a fast track.
Fear and Avoidance: Tennessee Medical Marijuana Dies Because Lawmakers Are ‘Scared’
Though the notion of giving sick people their choice of medicine is a winner in every poll and is at last taking hold in the South, there will be no medical marijuana in Tennessee this year. Why ever not?
The reason is simple, according to Tennessee state Rep. Jeremy Faison. It’s because his fellow lawmakers are scared.
Faison was sponsor of a bill that would have seen Tennessee lawmakers make a medical marijuana law themselves and not foist the difficult question onto voters, as nearly ever other state has done. Nothing wrong with direct democracy: Voter initiative was how medical marijuana first came to pass in California, and the voter initiative is also how adult-use marijuana legalization is coming about. However, making laws that reflect popular support is something elected lawmakers are supposed to do—you could even say it’s their core function.
Colorado Takes Aim at the Marijuana Black Market
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