Pot Topics: Coca-Cola eyes cannabis market; Weed museum opens in Vegas

Pot Topics is a weekly collection of cannabis-related news curated by the Chicago Sun-Times. Here’s this week’s top stories:

  • Coca-Cola considering CBD-infused beverages
  • Pot museum opens in downtown Las Vegas
  • Sober Dax Shepard defends wife Kristen Bell’s pot use
  • New Mexico Senate candidate Gary Johnson discloses pot sector holdings

Coca-Cola in talks to create CBD-infused drinks

Beverage giant Coco-Cola is thinking about getting into the cannabis business. | AP File photo

Soda giant Coca-Cola is watching the market for drinks laced with cannabidiol, or CBD, the non-intoxicating cannabis derivative that’s being used to treat everything from sleep problems to childhood epilepsy.

Coke has stressed that CBD doesn’t create the stony effects associated with tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, another chemical found in the cannabis plant.

“Along with many others in the beverage industry, we are closely watching the growth of non-psychoactive CBD as an ingredient in functional wellness beverages around the world,” Coca-Cola said Monday in a statement.

“The space is evolving quickly. No decisions have been made at this time,” the company added.

Coca-Cola’s statement followed a Bloomberg report Monday that claimed the Atlanta-based company was in “serious talks” to create CBD-infused beverages with Canadian pot company Aurora Cannabis. Neither company has denied the report, which cited “multiple sources familiar with the matter.”

Earlier this year, Coca-Cola tested an alcoholic beverage in Japan. A cannabis-derived drink would give the company yet another option as consumers continue to move away from sugary sodas.

A growing number of alcohol companies and distributors are also getting into the pot game, with the makers of Coors and Blue Moon beers already launching drinks infused with cannabis.

According to Bloomberg, Coca-Cola’s interest in a “functional wellness beverage” with CBD could result in a drink designed to ease inflammation, cramping and other pains.

To learn more about cannabidiol, check out the Sun-Times guide to CBD.

Interactive marijuana museum opens in Las Vegas

Las Vegas' newest attraction -- and Instagram backdrop -- is a museum celebrating all things cannabis.

Gabe Williams works on a exhibit at the Cannabition cannabis museum in Las Vegas. | AP Photo/John Locher

A new, first-of-its-kind cannabis museum opened Thursday in downtown Las Vegas, offering visitors an immersive, 420-friendly experience.

The Cannabition Cannabis Museum features a variety of made-for-social-media exhibits, including a slide that empties into a pool of foam pot “nuggets,” a glow-in-the-dark tree and a 24-foot bong — dubbed “Bongzilla” — that’s being touted as the world’s largest.

The attractions are all sponsored by companies working in and around the marijuana industry, including leading online pot resource Leafly, vaporizer company PAX Labs and Raw rolling papers, among others.

Although Nevada fully legalized pot over a year ago, a statewide ban on public consumption will prevent visitors from sparking up at the museum. Nevertheless, founder J.J. Walker hopes the space will help further destigmatize marijuana use.

“Our goal when people come out of this is that they don’t fear the cannabis industry if they are not believers in the industry,” Walker said. “Cannabition is not about just serving people that like marijuana, it’s about serving the masses that want to learn about cannabis and or just have fun and go do a cool art experience.”

Cannabition guests can wander through 12 installations with rooms like “seed,” where they can lie down in a bed shaped like a marijuana seed, and “grow,” which features artificial plants of various sizes placed under bright lights to represent a grow facility.

There is also a space with huge faux buds representing different pot strains and another room with gonzo journalist Hunter S. Thompson’s legendary “Red Shark” Chevrolet Caprice.

The museum is not exactly the Smithsonian of marijuana, but it has some educational components. Guests get an introduction from museum guides and some graphics on walls explain how concentrates are made and the differences between indica and sativa cannabis strains.

To buy tickets, click here.

Sober Dax Shepard defends wife Kristen Bell’s pot use

Dax Shepard participates in the 17th Annual Chicago Polar Plunge at North Avenue Beach on Sunday, March 5, 2017. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Actor Dax Shepard defended his wife Kristen Bell’s weed use after she admitted to puffing a vaporizer in front of him earlier this week.

During her appearance Monday on comedian Marc Maron’s WTF podcast, “The Good Place” star said she sometimes tokes in front of Shepard, who has struggled with drug and alcohol addiction in the past.

“I like my vape pen quite a bit and I smoke around my husband,” Bell told Maron. “It doesn’t seem to bother him.”

“Weed rules,” she added.

On Wednesday, CBS’ “The Talk” referenced the couple’s situation in a tweet: “Kristen Bell vapes weed around Dax Shepard, even though he’s sober. If you were sober, would you expect your spouse to be?”

Shepard — who recently wrote, directed and starred in the big screen reboot of the ’80s cop show “CHiPS” — quickly shot back with his own tweet.

“That would be like a diabetic expecting their partner to never eat dessert,” he said. “Get real!”

Earlier this month, Bell penned a heartfelt Instagram post commemorating Shepard’s 14 years sober.

“I know how much you loved using. I know how much it got in your way. And I know, because I saw, how hard you worked to live without it,” she wrote.

Despite his sobriety, Bell told Maron that Shepard has encouraged her to experiment with psychedelic drugs.

“He just feels you shouldn’t leave earth without trying ecstasy or mushrooms,” she said of her husband.

Libertarian Senate candidate Gary Johnson discloses pot investments

U.S. Senate candidate Gary Johnson of New Mexico has disclosed personal financial interests in the cannabis sector that include stock holdings, a profit sharing agreement and recent capital gains on investment sales, according to filings reviewed by The Associated Press.

Former Libertarian presidential candidate Gary Johnson disclosed his financial interests in the cannabis sector this week. | AP file photo

Gary Johnson, a Libertarian running a U.S. Senate campaign in New Mexico, disclosed his investments in the cannabis sector, which include stock holdings, a profit sharing agreement and recent capital gains on investment sales.

This week, Johnson’s filings disclosed that he owns stock totaling more than $250,000 in Nevada-based cannabis company Kush. In addition, he has a profit sharing agreement as the advisor to the pot-driven investment fund CB1 Capital.

Johnson, a two-time Libertarian presidential candidate candidate, also reported capital gains of at least $100,000 from Cannabis Sativa stock. He previously served as the Nevada-based company’s CEO.

Johnson, who is running against incumbent Democrat Martin Heinrich and Republican Mick Rich, has been a longtime pot advocate.

Associated Press and USA Today contributed to this report.

Upcoming cannabis events in the Chicago area

  • Sept. 22: Modern Cannabis hosts a “Get a Card” event at Emporium Wicker Park, 1366 N. Milwaukee Ave.
  • Sept. 22: Nature’s Balance Acupuncture & Wellness Center hosts a CBD hemp oil tasting at 820 E. Terra Cotta Ave. in Crystal Lake.
  • Sept. 23: The Midwest Compassion Center hosts its monthly patient social and offers application assistance at 721 N. Independence Blvd. in Romeoville.
  • Sept. 24: Arlington Heights Memorial Library offers medical cannabis application assistance at 500 N. Dunton Ave. in Arlington Heights.
  • Sept. 27: Ellementa Chicago hosts a do-it-yourself herbal tincture class. The Living Room, 2423 W. North Ave.
  • Sept. 28: Ancien Cycle Cafe hosts a discussion about medical cannabis at 1558 E. 53rd St.

Sun-Times Cannabis Info Guides:

Our coverage also includes:

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Data Shows the Global Medical Cannabis Market is Set to Reach USD 28 Billion by 2024

NEW YORK, September 19, 2018 /PRNewswire/ —

According to a report provided by Energias Market Research, the global medical cannabis market is projected to increase in value from USD 8.28 Billion in 2017 to USD 28.07 Billion in 2024 and at a CAGR of 19.1% from 2018 to 2024. There are many significant developments that help increase the growth rate of the market, such as the increasing acknowledgment of medicinal benefits and higher demand for cannabis in the treatment of various diseases, as well as growing research and development investments. The data also shows that sales of cannabis products for recreational use are also likely to rise as California’s new laws regarding recreational sales went into effect earlier this year. Chemesis International Inc. (OTC :CADMF ), MedMen Enterprises Inc. (OTC :MMNFF ), Integrated Cannabis Company, Inc. (OTC :ICNAF ), United Cannabis Corporation (OTC :CNAB ), Cannabics Pharmaceuticals Inc. (OTC :CNBX )

Canada had recently passed a nationwide legalization of recreational cannabis use, following Uruguay to become the second country to do so. According to CBC, Canada is one of only two countries, besides the Netherlands, that exports cannabis products, which allows companies in Canada to gain instant revenue from recent medical cannabis legalizations in more than 20 countries. CBC reported that the “offerings in today’s Canada medical marijuana market differ little from those used recreationally – the smokable plant and, more recently, oil extracts. More than 70 companies have licenses from the federal drug regulator, Health Canada, to cultivate, produce and sell medical marijuana, with more than half those licenses granted in 2017 or 2018.”

Chemesis International Inc. (OTC :CADMF ) is also listed on the Canadian Securities Exchange under the ticker (CSE: CSI). Earlier last week, the Company announced, “the opening of its wholly owned subsidiary Chemesis Latin America. Through this subsidiary, the Company is exploring and completing advanced due diligence on opportunities for cultivation, production and export from the Latin American market. The Company believes it will be able to quickly gain market share in Latin America through the use of its networks and existing expertise.

Chemesis’ long-term growth strategy is focused on international expansion. Globally, regulation changes are occurring for both medical and recreational cannabis, and as these changes occur, Chemesis intends to be a first mover by leveraging its existing networks and developing brands suited for the Latin American market. Mexico is a great example of these changes, as president-elect, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who has the job of overseeing rule making and regulations around Mexico’s new marijuana law, unveiled a plan to change the country’s drug strategy in several big ways.

Colombia, another front-runner in the Latin American cannabis market, is rapidly growing its capabilities. The government is hoping to grow up to 40.5 tons of cannabis per year, which would account for approximately 44% of the licenses issued globally. Colombia is estimated to capture as much as one-fifth of the global market, a value of $40 billion a year.

“Chemesis Latin America is a big step forward in our global growth strategy,” said CEO, Edgar Montero. “We believe Chemesis has a major advantage in this region, as the recent acquisition of Natural Ventures can be leveraged to quickly capitalize on upcoming opportunities. With progressive regulations, Latin America becomes a key market that will be a major part of our portfolio. The Company has positioned itself to take advantage of significant opportunities in both Mexico and Colombia. This allows Chemesis to execute on its ambitious growth strategy to identify opportunities that will build long-term shareholder value. The company plans to announce the specific countries and jurisdictions where it will be operating in the near future.”

About Chemesis International Inc.: Chemesis International Inc. is a vertically integrated global leader in the cannabis industry, currently operating within Puerto Rico, and California. Chemesis is developing a strong foothold in key markets, from cultivation, to manufacturing, distribution, and retail. Chemesis has facilities in both Puerto Rico and California, allowing for cost effective production and distribution of its products. In addition, Chemesis leverages exclusive brands and partnerships and uses the highest quality extraction methods, to provide consumers with quality cannabis products. Chemesis will add shareholder value by exploring opportunities in emerging markets while consistently delivering quality product to its consumers from seed to sale.”

MedMen Enterprises Inc. (OTCQB: MMNFF) is a leading cannabis company in the U.S. with assets and operations across the country. MedMen Enterprises Inc. recently announced it has secured prime retail locations with long-term leases in Ft. Lauderdale, Miami Beach, West Palm Beach, St. Petersburg and Key West. The Company continues to expand its footprint in premium retail districts with high visibility and heavy foot traffic. Florida is the third most populous state in the U.S. with a rapidly growing medical cannabis market and large potential adult use market. The state has high tourist activity and is home to the largest elderly community in the nation. According to Arcview, medical cannabis sales are estimated to be approximately USD 1.4 Billion by 2021. “Our entry into Florida through this acquisition demonstrates our growing national footprint as well as our ability to execute,” said Adam Bierman, MedMen Chief Executive and Co-Founder. “Our real estate team is hard at work preparing to put MedMen branded stores in the most coveted locations in Florida – locations in highly desirable and defensible market areas with high foot traffic and proximity to popular brand retailers.”

Integrated Cannabis Company, Inc. (OTCQB: ICNAF) is comprised of dedicated scientists and product engineers who are passionate about health and creating health and lifestyle products utilizing advanced delivery systems and formulations. The Company recently announced the completion of a market-ready Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)-infused spray product and the required licensure for manufacturing of the product in Colorado. Over the past ten months the Company has engaged and worked with contractors, consultants and various state and municipal regulators in order to successfully gain licensing and approvals for facilities that manufacture CBD- and THC-infused products in the State of Colorado. “We are pleased to be adding THC products to our proprietary line of sprays and plan to launch via distribution in Colorado beginning in Q4 and shall pursue other legal markets thereafter,” said Mr. John Knapp, CEO of Integrated Cannabis.

United Cannabis Corporation (OTCQB: CNAB) is a biotechnology company dedicated to the development of phyto-therapeutic based products supported by patented technologies for the pharmaceutical, medical, and industrial markets. United Cannabis Corporation recently announced that it has signed an Agreement with Releaf Global Pty Ltd. to form and operate an Australian corporation for the purpose of commercializing the Company’s patented Prana Bio Nutrient Medicinals, cannabis-centric products and technologies in Australia and other territories. On February 24th, 2016, Australia legalized medical marijuana for patients with painful and chronic conditions and provided for approved companies to import, store and sell cannabis while domestic production ramped up to support patient demand. Australia’s Office of Drug Control in the Federal Department of Health issued the first license under the medicinal cannabis provision earlier this year, on February 17th. Earnest Blackmon, United Cannabis’ Chief Executive Officer, commented, “Australia represents a substantial opportunity for United Cannabis. Our Prana line is ideally suited for new markets as it provides patients and caregivers with a guided program to develop therapies targeted to a given patient’s unique concerns.”

Cannabics Pharmaceuticals Inc. (OTCQB: CNBX) is a U.S public company that has developed a platform which leverages novel drug-screening tools and artificial intelligence to develop cannabinoid-based therapies for cancer that are more precise to a patient’s genetic profile. The Company recently announced that it has received encouraging results in its preclinical study showing one of its proprietary cannabinoid compounds causing a higher rate of cancer cell death compared to traditional chemotherapy. Cannabics is rapidly expanding its database of cancer and cannabinoids and established a library of cannabinoid compounds to explore the biological versatility and entourage effect. Additionally, the Company has been granted a patent in Israel on its core technology of screening the effectiveness of cannabis compounds on human biopsies. The research and development center, in Israel, has leveraged its capabilities and accomplished the implementation of the patented technology. Dr. Eyal Ballan, Co-founder and Chief Technical Officer, said: “I am excited to share the positive results and hope for meaningful collaborations with industry leaders in cancer treatment. There is an advantage in developing cannabis medicine since we explore compounds that are been delivered to patients worldwide and to finetune the antitumor potential in such a dispersed treatment has a promising value.”

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Stay Home, Canadians

Baked Goods logo

Rob M.

Back in June Canada legalized recreational cannabis for adults over 21. Retail sales begin in October. It was a huge signal to the rest of the “civilized” world that times were a-changing, and the freaks were winning the war. I assumed it bode well for us. After all, America is a nation of hubris, and we’d be damned if we let those weak-kneed, poutine-eating hippies beat us at any race.

Our friendly neighbors to the north received a not-so-friendly message last week when Todd Owen, executive assistant commissioner for the Office of Field Operations with the US Customs and Border Protection agency, told Politico that anyone working in the cannabis industry would not be allowed into the country and would be banned from entering for life. Those with a ban can apply for a waiver, which costs $585 and takes several months to process.

Most shocking was the revelation that anyone who has even invested in a cannabis company will also be barred from entering the US, on the grounds that they’re benefiting from drug trafficking. This landed a huge hit to cannabis stocks, which MarketWatch reports fell in the hours following the report’s publication.

Section 212 of the US Immigration and Nationality Act says a foreigner “who is determined to be a drug abuser or addict,” or anyone who “is or has been an illicit trafficker in any controlled substance,” is ineligible to receive visas or be admitted into the US.

According to Owen, travelers are not required to announce whether they have ever smoked cannabis or are involved in the industry, but border agents are instructed to ask questions if they believe they’ve smelled cannabis or if anything is detected by inspection dogs. He pointed out that lying to these agents will also be rewarded with a lifetime ban.

Call me a conspiracy theorist, but this seems like a really sneaky way to undermine the cannabis industry and force investors to flee. But despite the initial reaction, many of the cannabis companies reportedly made up their losses by the end of the day, begging the question: Why would the federal government be so stupid as to make a big fluff about this? Are we really going to start turning business people away at the border to prove a point? Canadians reportedly made more than 42 million same-day and overnight trips into the US last year. Come next month, that number will probably get chopped off at the knees.

N.M. Rejects Cannabis for Opioid Addiction Again

Surprise, surprise. New Mexico Department of Health Secretary Lynn Gallagher once again ignored science and the advice of experts to include opioid dependence on the department’s list of conditions that qualify a patient to receive a medical cannabis card.

According to the Santa Fe New Mexican, Gallagher wrote in a decision: “I cannot say with any degree of confidence that the use of cannabis for treatment of opioid dependence and its symptoms would be either safe or effective.”

I can relate to an extent–there hasn’t been much research in the area yet, thanks to federal bans–but calling it unsafe is ridiculous. And the research that does exist is incredibly positive and compelling. A couple of months ago, I talked to Associate Professor Dr. Jacob Miguel Vigil of the University of New Mexico about the psychology department’s research into this exact subject. A paper co-authored by Vigil, “Associations between medical cannabis and prescription opioid use in chronic pain patients” gained plenty of press nationally for finding a correlation between decreased opioid prescriptions and the level of access a patient has to some form of legal cannabis.

I was shocked when he told me over a plate of tacos that he thought Big Pharma was actively keeping research from happening because it was so good at treating opioid addiction. “When we were analyzing some of the data that showed that opiate use dramatically dropped, not only did I get chills,” he told me, “but there was explicit thoughts that the information may put us at physical risk of harm if it were disclosed.”

I doubt Gallagher is unaware of the study. One thing she’s definitely aware of is the 5 to 1 vote by the state’s Medical Cannabis Advisory Board to recommend the condition be included. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, New Mexico doctors wrote 70 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people in 2015.

In 2016, we had a total number of 349 opioid-related overdose deaths in New Mexico. Compared to the number of cannabis overdose deaths (a whopping zero), the idea of saying you don’t think it would be safe is laughable. For shame, Gallagher.

Gallagher also declined the advisory board’s recommendations to add muscular dystrophy, Tourette’s syndrome, eczema and psoriasis as qualifying conditions for the state’s medical cannabis program. She did add obstructive sleep apnea. What a peach.

Cannabis Industry Loves Lujan Grisham

Last week, The Associated Press reported Democratic gubernatorial candidate Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s campaign finance filings show a number of contributions from state medical cannabis companies.

According to the report, the candidate received more than $20,000 from cannabis contributors since July. Some of the companies included in the list were the Verdes Foundation and MJ Express-O.

Lujan Grisham has expressed support for legalizing recreational cannabis use for adults in New Mexico. Her opponent Rep. Steve Pearce–on the other hand–weirdly said cannabis is an “obstacle in front of people who are struggling to get out of poverty.”

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S Africa legalises private use of cannabis

South Africa’s highest court has allowed the private use of marijuana, upholding a lower court’s ruling that found the criminalisation of cannabis was unconstitutional.

Activists who include members of the Rastafarian movement and traditional healers greeted the ruling with loud applause. They have held marches over the years to demand that the law be changed to allow people to smoke ‘weed’, which is called ‘dagga’ in South Africa.

Several government departments, including the health and justice ministries, oppose its legalisation and warn of harmful effects.

But in a unanimous judgment read by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo, the Constitutional Court decriminalised home consumption, saying “the use of cannabis must be for the personal consumption of the adult”.

Tuesday’s ruling also approved growing marijuana for personal consumption.

Rastafarian Garreth Prince and former Dagga Party leader Jeremy Acton brought the case asking the High Court to allow for the home use of marijuana.

Jules Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke, known as the “Dagga Couple”, joined the case, and asked the court to strike down laws banning the use, cultivation and sale of marijuana.

He added that it would not be a criminal offence for an adult person to use or be in possession of cannabis in private for their personal consumption in private.

However, the judgment did not specify the amount that can be used by an adult in private use.

“This must be determined by parliament,” he said.

Parliament is now expected to amend the laws that criminalise cannabis following the court ruling.

Activists had argued that the criminalisation of dagga use and possession is a violation of the right to equality, dignity, and freedom of religion.

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Cannabis News Round-Up

Many California marijuana products failing safety tests. Los Angeles launches crackdown on unlicensed marijuana businesses; more than 500 people are charged. Legal medical marijuana stores could start opening up in Fresno. Pro-law enforcement group releases study on impact of legal marijuana in Colorado. Colorado warns New Mexico about consequences of legalizing recreational marijuana. In New Mexico Senate race, Heinrich joins Johnson in call to legalize cannabis.

Michigan marijuana proposal support high. 5 things to know about Michigan proposal to legalize marijuana. Board sets final language for proposal to legalize Michigan recreational pot. Legalization of marijuana in North Dakota. Group forms to fight against legalizing North Dakota marijuana. Indiana farmers need industrial hemp or legal marijuana to prosper.

New Jersey marijuana legalization is picking up momentum. Most New Jersey residents say they’d go for legal weed if it means lower property taxes, poll shows. New Jersey urban mayors want increased focus on social justice aspect of marijuana legalization. Marijuana legalization listening sessions begin in New York. New York marijuana should not be legalized. Health benefits, economic growth cited as reasons to legalize New York marijuana.

Here’s a gateway ETF to invest in the eventual explosion of legal marijuana. Alcohol companies are seeing green in weed. Top Trump health official signals support for marijuana decriminalization. Congress should recognize states’ rights on cannabis. US has a marijuana legalization catch-22 on its hands.Price Elasticity of Illegal vs Legal Cannabis: A Behavioral Economic Substitutability Analysis. Availability of Legalized Cannabis Reduces Demand for Illegal Cannabis among Canada Cannabis Users: Evidence from a Behavioral Economic Substitution Paradigm.

What happens to US when pot’s legal in Canada? CBP officers prepare for Canada marijuana legalization. Canada marijuana users, workers and investors risk lifetime border ban. Canada marijuana legalization expected to cost Winnipeg $1.76M. Canada medical marijuana system will continue after legalization, says Health Canada. How Canada medical marijuana is opening the door to recreational cannabis. British Columbia municipalities seek 40 per cent of tax revenue from legal marijuana. Vancouver School Board educating youth about marijuana ahead of legalization.

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Libertarian Gary Johnson says his $250G in cannabis stocks irrelevant to his backing of legalized marijuana

Gary Johnson, a two-time Libertarian candidate for president who’s now seeking a U.S. Senate seat in New Mexico, says the more than $250,000 in cannabis stocks he owns does not influence his position on legalizing marijuana.

According to financial filings reviewed this week by the Associated Press, Johnson is said to own stocks worth more than $250,000 in the Nevada cannabis company Kush Inc. He also reported capital gains of at least $100,000 from stock in the company Cannabis Sativa, where he previously served as CEO between his 2012 and 2016 presidential runs.

Johnson, 65, who also served as a Republican governor of New Mexico from 1995 to 2003, was required to disclose his personal finances after announcing his Senate candidacy in August.

He defended his earnings Friday, saying he sees no conflict of interest because he has always supported the legalization of marijuana.

“This was a career-ending move on my part in 1999,” Johnson said, referring to his support for legalizing pot when he was governor, despite its unpopularity at the time. “The last thing that I ever dreamed of happening is that somehow I would make money off this.”

“The last thing that I ever dreamed of happening is that somehow I would make money off this.”

– Gary Johnson, Libertarian candidate for U.S. Senate in New Mexico

Johnson’s Senate campaign office did not immediately return Fox News’ request for additional comment.

Johnson has long advocated for legalizing marijuana. Both he and his daughter are also investors in the cannabis-specific hedge fund CB1 Capital.

He is running on the Libertarian ticket against incumbent U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, 46, a Democrat who recently embraced the decriminalization of marijuana at the federal level.

The Republican contender on the ballot, construction contractor Mick Rich, opposes legalization.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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US Senate Candidate Gary Johnson Admits to Involvement in Cannabis Industry

Libertarian Senate candidate Gary Johnson recently disclosed a number of financial ties to the legal cannabis industry. Given Johnson’s pro-legalization platform, some have claimed these connections could be a conflict of interests. But Johnson insists that these claims are not true.

Gary Johnson’s Ties to Legal Weed

Johnson is currently running to represent New Mexico in the Senate. As part of the campaign process, he was required to submit a standard set of financial disclosures.

These disclosures revealed a number of connections to the legal weed industry. In particular, Johnson said that he owns more than $250,000 worth of stock in Kush, a cannabis company based in Las Vegas.

Similarly, Johnson reported that he is part of a profit-sharing arrangement with an investment fund called CB1 Capital. The fund invests exclusively in the cannabis space, and Johnson is reportedly serving as one of its key advisers.

Finally, Johnson’s financial disclosure revealed capital gains from stocks he holds in Cannabis Sativa, a marijuana holding company.

He said he earned at least $100,000 from these stocks. Johnson served as CEO of Cannabis Sativa in between his presidential runs in 2012 and 2016.

According to local news sources, Johnson’s financial ties to the cannabis industry have worried some folks in New Mexico. In particular, there are concerns that these connections could throw his pro-legalization platform into question.

As far as Johnson is concerned, there are no conflicts of interest. The politician said that there is nothing wrong with his financial interests in the industry because his political advocacy outdates his investments and work in the cannabis industry.

“This was a career-ending move on my part in 1999,” Johnson told the Albuquerque Journal. “The last thing that I ever dreamed of happening is that somehow I would make money off this.”

Johnson’s Pro-Legalization Politics

Johnson is one of the most well-known faces of Libertarian politics. Among many other things, he is known for being in favor of marijuana legalization.

He has run for president twice. Both times he ran on a Libertarian ticket. And both times, he said he supported legalization.

Now, he is running against Democrat Martin Heinrich and Republican Mick Rich to represent New Mexico in the Senate. While Johnson supports federal legalization, Heinrich advocates for decriminalization and Rich opposes legalization.

In New Mexico, medical marijuana is currently legal. The state has a relatively long and thorough list of qualifying health conditions. So far, the state has not legalized recreational cannabis.

According to studies, New Mexico consumes a relatively high amount of weed. For example, a 2016 report found that the state currently has at least 27,000 registered medical marijuana patients with an estimated 138,000 people who regularly consume illegal marijuana.

The study used these figures to estimate what a legal adult-use cannabis market would look like in New Mexico. Researchers estimated that such a market would consume more than 57 metric tons of cannabis annually. That, the report concluded, would be worth roughly $412 million with potential to grow to as much as $677 million.

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Denver marijuana sales reach record high of $587 million, sales across state continue to rise

Denver dispensaries sold more than $587 million in marijuana in 2017 even as sales in shops in other parts of the state continue to grow.

The post Denver marijuana sales reach record high of $587 million, sales across state continue to rise appeared first on The Cannabist.

Denver dispensaries sold more than $587 million in marijuana in 2017 even as sales in shops in other parts of the state continue to grow.

The post Denver marijuana sales reach record high of $587 million, sales across state continue to rise appeared first on The Cannabist.

FBI, DEA orchestrate massive raid of suspected illegal marijuana grow operations across Denver metro area

Drug Enforcement Administration and FBI agents joined state and local agencies in a massive, coordinated raid of more than a dozen suspected illegal marijuana growing operations across the Denver metro area Thursday morning, federal officials say.

Drug investigators began serving judicial warrants to suspected drug trafficking locations following a lengthy investigation, said Deanne Rueter, spokeswoman for the DEA in Denver.

“There’s quite a few in Thornton,” Rueter said. “A lot of cities are involved.”

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Drug Enforcement Administration and FBI agents joined state and local agencies in a massive, coordinated raid of more than a dozen suspected illegal marijuana growing operations across the Denver metro area Thursday morning, federal officials say.
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How many Coloradans are driving high?

Four years after the legalization of recreational pot sales, state officials are another step closer to determining how the change is affecting the safety of Colorado’s roads — but many obstacles remain.

About 73 percent of some 4,000 drivers charged with driving under the influence in 2016 tested positive for marijuana, according to a new Division of Criminal Justice report. Of those who tested positive, about half of the drivers had more than the legal limit of Delta 9 THC — marijuana’s chief psychoactive compound — in their blood.

But the study also reveals a criminal justice system not prepared to deal with drugged driving. The authors of the report noted that inconsistent testing is one of the many challenges in collecting data on drug-impaired driving.

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Four years after the legalization of recreational pot sales, state officials are another step closer to determining how the change is affecting the safety of Colorado’s roads — but many obstacles remain.
The post How many Coloradans are driving high? New report offers one answer appeared first on The Cannabist. […]

Men in their 20s accounted for nearly a third of all Colorado DUI cases last year

Men in their 20s accounted for nearly a third of all DUI cases in Colorado in 2016, according to a first-of-its-kind comprehensive report on impaired driving in the state that also found most people charged with DUI are ultimately convicted.

Young men were the largest group of defendants in a state analysis of the 27,000-plus DUI court cases filed across the state in 2016, though the group only represents about 8 percent of the state’s total population. Men as a whole represented about three quarters of all cases of driving under the influence.

Analysts also found that more than a third of defendants had a previous DUI conviction.

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Men in their 20s accounted for nearly a third of all DUI cases in Colorado in 2016, according to a first-of-its-kind comprehensive report on impaired driving in the state.
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Oregon has pot oversupply; Colorado hits the mark

PORTLAND — Two of the first states to broadly legalize marijuana took different approaches to regulation that left Oregon with a vast oversupply and Colorado with a well-balanced market. But in both states prices for bud have plummeted.

A new Oregon report by law enforcement found nearly 70 percent of the legal recreational marijuana grown goes unsold, while an unrelated state-commissioned Colorado study found most growers there are planting less than half of their legal allotment — and still meeting demand.

The reports offer case studies for California and other pot-friendly states as they ramp up their legal pot industries. They also underscore some key differences in how broad legalization was handled that have helped shape differently evolving markets in each state.

Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

 

Two of the first states to broadly legalize marijuana took different approaches to regulation that left Oregon with a vast oversupply and Colorado with a well-balanced market.
The post Oregon has pot oversupply; Colorado hits the mark appeared first on The Cannabist. […]