Advocacy Groups Push Colorado To Make Legal Marijuana Market More Equitable

Advocacy Groups Push Colorado To Make Legal Marijuana Market More Equitable

Colorado can do a lot more to make its legal marijuana market more open, transparent and equitable, a coalition of criminal justice reform advocacy groups said in a recent letter outlining regulatory recommendations.

The coalition, led by the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), put forward 12 recommendations—ranging from the revocation of an industry-specific vertical integration requirement to the establishment of a micro-licensing program. The proposals were submitted to the state’s Department of Regulatory Affairs.

“Since Colorado became the first state to legally regulate marijuana, the national conversation has shifted from whether we’ll legalize to how we should do it,” Art Way, DPA Colorado state director, said in a press release.

“Colorado can do much more to address the lasting impacts of decades of mass criminalization. Given the current lack of diversity in Colorado’s legal marijuana market, we urgently need to follow the lead of other states and cities that are implementing policies to reduce barriers to entry in the industry.”

While one of the main objectives of cannabis reform has been to resolve the socioeconomic and racial injustices brought about by the war on drugs, excess regulations of Colorado’s legal system has created a new set of barriers—particularly financial—for communities that have been most impacted by prohibitionist policies, the coalition said.

With that said, the coalition is promoting a series of reforms in order to address concerns about “who can work in the industry” and “how the industry itself is regulated.”

Signees on the recommendation letter include DPA, Black Lives Matter 5280, Cannability Foundation, Cannabis Consumers Coalition, Cannabis Global Initiative, Colorado Fiscal Institute, Colorado Latino Forum, Denver NORML, Denver Relief Consulting, kindColorado, Minority Cannabis Business Association, NAACP of CO, MT and WY, Sensible Colorado, Servicios de la Raza and Students for Sensible Drug Policy.

You can read the full recommendation letter below.

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See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Advocacy Groups Push Colorado To Make Legal Marijuana Market More Equitable

Study Reveals How Older People Use And Obtain Marijuana In Colorado

Study Reveals How Older People Use And Obtain Marijuana In Colorado

Legalization has attracted a growing number of older Americans to use marijuana, but little is known about how exactly this demographic is approaching cannabis in the 21st century.

A new study published this month in the Journal of the American Geriatric Society attempts to fill in that knowledge gap, surveying Colorado residents over 65 to learn how older generations use and obtain cannabis in a fully legal state.

About 350 people completed the surveys, and of those, 32 percent reported using marijuana at least once in their lifetime. Sixteen percent of respondents were considered “current” consumers because they reported using marijuana in the years since Colorado legalized for adult-use in 2012. Those individuals were asked a series of follow up questions about things like frequency of use and how they obtained cannabis.

The responses painted an interesting picture about how full legalization seems to ease access to cannabis for medical use.

Most respondents said that marijuana was a helpful treatment option for anxiety, depression, sleeping problems, pain and appetite stimulation, among other ailments. But while 26 percent said they had a recommendation for medical cannabis, 67 percent “obtained marijuana recreationally.”

“Although some respondents had a prescription for marijuana, most purchased it without a prescription for a variety of medical conditions common to primary care (pain, anxiety, depression, insomnia), the study authors wrote. “Thus, in states with recreationally available marijuana, older adults may be using marijuana in addition to their prescribed regimens, so it is important to inquire about marijuana use regardless of age.”

Other takeaways from the study: older Americans seem to gravitate toward edibles (42 percent), compared to smoking cannabis (29 percent). Lotions and oils were also favorites among respondents.

In terms of medical uses, the “most common symptom targeted was pain (64 percent), followed by sleep (38 percent), anxiety (24 percent), depression (22 percent), and appetite stimulation (18 percent).” And almost half of current marijuana consumers included in the survey said cannabis “targeted multiple symptoms.”

“This is a population that, in many cases, had firsthand experience with cannabis during their young adulthood, and have now returned to cannabis in older age,” NORML Political Director Justin Strekal said in a press release. “Seniors are turning to cannabis as a potential option to provide symptomatic relief while potentially avoiding the dramatic side-effects associated with other medications and improving their quality of life.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (R) made a similar observation in an April interview.

“We haven’t seen a big spike in consumption,” Hickenlooper told Rolling Stone. “The only increase in consumption is among senior citizens, which we think is either Baby Boomers coming home to roost or arthritis and the aches and pains of growing older—people finding that marijuana is better pain solution than opioids or other things.”

Of course, the study’s limitations have to be taken into consideration. The sample size is relatively small and, as the study authors acknowledge, there could be response bias because the surveys were completed on a voluntary basis.

“As recreational marijuana becomes more available in the United States, it will be increasingly important to understand the specific dose and route of marijuana used, as well as short- and long-term health effects,” the study concluded.

“Thus, steps toward further understanding should include directed focus groups of active marijuana users and randomized clinic trials comparing marijuana with usual care for the most commonly targeted symptoms and conditions.”

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

Study Reveals How Older People Use And Obtain Marijuana In Colorado

The Marijuana Election Has Already Begun. No Need To Wait Until November 6 To Vote On Cannabis

The Marijuana Election Has Already Begun. No Need To Wait Until November 6 To Vote On Cannabis

Next month, voters in seven states will get the chance to approve or reject a number of far-reaching marijuana proposals. But one thing many people don’t realize is that you don’t have to wait until November 6 to make your voice heard: many states allow for early or absentee voting, and people across the country are already voting on cannabis initiatives today, as you read this.

Before getting into the specifics, an important aside about voter registration deadlines: They’re coming up hot. You can check your state’s registration deadline here.

OK, back to early voting on cannabis. Marijuana Moment compiled a list of each major state and local marijuana-related initiative that will appear on ballots. They range widely—from proposals to fully legalize cannabis in Michigan to amending the definition of industrial hemp in Colorado—and some will only go before voters in specific cities or counties.

There’s a lot of information to review before heading to the polls, but fortunately, there’s still about a month to go.

But for those who are eager to make their votes count sooner rather than later, many places with cannabis questions provide ways to cast your ballot early via mail or in-person before Election Day.

Here’s when early or absentee voting starts in states where marijuana will be on the ballot:

Colorado

A proposal to amend the definition of industrial hemp under the Colorado constitution. 

Ballots handed out to voters who request them: October 5*

*A county clerk “must begin issuing mail ballots to any eligible elector who requests one in person at the county clerk’s office” by this date. Otherwise, mail ballots will be sent to voters between October 15 and 22.

Michigan

A proposal to fully legalize marijuana for adult-use. 

Absentee voting begins: County clerks begin sending out mail-in ballots* September 22

*Non-military Michigan voters must qualify for absentee voting. Individuals must either be over 60 years old, unable to vote without assistance, planning to be out of town on Election Day, in jail awaiting trial, have a conflicting religious event or have been appointed to work “as an election inspector in a precinct outside of your precinct of residence.”

Missouri

Three competing proposals to legalize medical cannabis

Absentee voting begins: September 25*

*Missouri voters must qualify for absentee voting. Individuals must either be physically incapable to vote due to illness or disability, planning to be out of town on Election Day, in jail awaiting trial, have a conflicting religious event, have been appointed to work an election official or currently involved in a confidentiality program due to safety concerns.

North Dakota

A proposal to fully legalize marijuana for adult-use. 

Absentee voting begins: September 27

Early voting begins: Counties may begin offering early voting as soon as October 22. Consult your county’s election office, as start dates vary.

Ohio

Proposals in six municipalities across Ohio to locally decriminalize cannabis.

Early voting begins: October 10

Absentee voting begins: October 10

Utah

A proposal to legalize medical cannabis.

Absentee voting begins: For military and oversees residents, mail-in ballots will be sent out by September 22. Other mail-in ballots will be sent out by October 16. Absentee ballot applications must be submitted by October 30.

Early voting begins: October 23*

*Be sure to check your county’s early voting poll dates here.

Wisconsin

Non-binding advisory questions in 16 counties asking voters to weigh in on medical or adult-use cannabis legalization.

Absentee voting: Requests for an absentee ballot must be submitted by November 1

Early voting begins: September 22*

*The bulk of Wisconsin municipalities allow for early voting starting September 22, but there’s no statewide timeline so check with your municipal clerk to confirm. The University of Wisconsin maintains a list of updated early voting dates here.

See the original article published on Marijuana Moment below:

The Marijuana Election Has Already Begun. No Need To Wait Until November 6 To Vote On Cannabis

Colorado Hemp Farm Certified Organic by USDA

Colorado Hemp Farm Certified Organic by USDA

Federal regulators have given their seal of approval to a strain of organic hemp, currently being grown by a cannabis farm in Longmont, Colorado.

The farm, called CBDRx, obtained from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) a certification to market its goods with the USDA’s organic seal.

“We at CBDRx decided to challenge the norm and request USDA certification for our hemp,”

said Tim Gordon, a research team member of CBDRx. “And through some true passionate efforts we succeeded.”

There still exists a great deal of ambiguity around the endorsement, however. While the development represents a coup for proponents of expanded cannabis sale and distribution, it also presents legal uncertainty: The product being sold is hemp, which is defined as cannabis by federal law.

Yet the Farm Bill passed by Congress in 2014 regards some forms of cannabis — also known as “hemp” — that fall below a certain level of the psychoactive cannabinoid, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), as legitimate and recognized crops.

This course of action causes legal friction since the Controlled Substances Act labels “cannabis” —and all of its colloquialisms— illegal. The Farm Act, while acknowledging this discrepancy, gave researchers and state departments the green light to research the product further.

“As long as the industrial hemp is grown according to the Farm Bill, it can be certified organic to the USDA National Organic Program,”

wrote Penelope Zuck, the manager of the USDA’s organic program accreditation.

2015 Colorado Cannabis Sales Set to Exceed $900 Million

2015 Colorado Cannabis Sales Set to Exceed $900 Million

The sales and taxes of cannabis in Colorado remained strong in November 2015 despite a dip one month earlier, the state’s Department of Revenue has confirmed.

The October-November haul of $51 million –an improvement over the previous month’s $29.6 million– puts the state on track to eclipse $900 million in sales for the entire year. Final tabulations still have yet to be completed, as the December 2015 sales figures won’t be available before February 2016.

A $900 million total for 2015 would also mark a significant improvement over 2014, a year in which less than $700 million in medical and recreational cannabis was sold in the state.

The revenue garnered by the state from the sale of cannabis stems from the three kinds of state taxes levied on the product: in addition to a standard 2.9 percent sales tax, there is also a 10 percent special cannabis sales tax and a 15 percent excise tax on the transfer of wholesale cannabis.

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