Marijuana is emerging among California’s vineyards, offering promise and concern

SANTA YNEZ VALLEY, Calif. — It is the fall harvest here in this fertile stretch of oaks and hills that produces some of the country’s best wine. This season, though, workers also are plucking the sticky, fragrant flowers of a new crop.

Marijuana is emerging among the vineyards, not as a rival to the valley’s grapes but as a high-value commodity that could help reinvigorate a fading agricultural tradition along the state’s Central Coast. Brushed by ocean breeze, cannabis has taken root, offering promise and prompting the age-old question of whether there can be too much of a good thing.

Cannabis has been fully legal in California for less than a year, and no place is generating more interest in it than the stretch of coast from Monterey to here in Santa Barbara County, where farmers now hold more marijuana cultivation licenses than in any other county.

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Marijuana is emerging among the vineyards, not as a rival to the valley’s grapes but as a high-value commodity that could help reinvigorate a fading agricultural tradition along the state’s Central Coast.
The post Marijuana is emerging among California’s vineyards, offering promise and concern appeared first on The Cannabist. […]

A cannabis Coke and a smile? Colorado companies hoping to tap infused beverage craze

When Coca-Cola publicly announces it is sizing up business opportunities in an industry, people take notice.

That was the case in mid September when Coke — the world’s largest beverage company with a market cap north of $211 billion — said it was keeping an eye on cannabis infused drinks, with a particular focus on beverages containing the non-psychoactive compound CBD. The announcement sent pot stocks soaring.

Coke may be on the sidelines for now, but at least one notable producer of bubbly beverages isn’t waiting around. Denver-based Molson Coors Brewing Co., one of the largest beer makers in the world, launched a joint venture this summer with a Canadian cannabis company with the aim to create alcohol-free, infused drinks.

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When Coca-Cola publicly announces it is sizing up business opportunities in a specific industry, people tend to take notice.That was the case with in mid September, when Coke — the world’s largest beverage company, said it was keeping an eye on cannabis infused drinks, with a particular focus on beverages containing the non-psychoactive compound CBD.
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Utah latest state to legalize medical pot, expand Medicaid

SALT LAKE CITY — Voters in conservative Utah have decided to join the growing number of states legalizing medical marijuana and expanding Medicaid to cover tens of thousands more low-income residents, two issues that had long stalled out with conservative state lawmakers.

Utah will be on the list of more than 30 states allowing patients legal access to medical marijuana after the plan maintained a vote lead in Friday tabulations. The measure will be revised, though, under a compromise that won the approval of influential Mormon church leaders.

The faith had opposed the ballot proposal over fears it could lead to broader use, but after months of fierce debate agreed to the deal. It will change the law by blocking marijuana edibles like cookies that might appeal to children and won’t allow people to grow their own marijuana if they live too far from a dispensary.

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Voters in conservative Utah have decided to join the growing number of states legalizing medical marijuana and expanding Medicaid to cover tens of thousands more low-income residents, two issues that had long stalled out with conservative state lawmakers.
The post Utah latest state to legalize medical pot, expand Medicaid appeared first on The Cannabist. […]

New attorney general must protect states’ rights on marijuana, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner says

The next U.S. attorney general is going to have to respect the decision of Colorado and other states to legalize recreational and medical marijuana — at least if Republican Sen. Cory Gardner has his way.

“Whoever comes after him is going to face some pretty tough questions about where they stand on states’ rights and making sure they will stand up for states’ rights,” Gardner told The Denver Post on Thursday. “I am going to demand that the new attorney general side with the president because the president is right on states’ rights.”

Gardner blocked President Donald Trump’s nominees to the Justice Department for three months in early 2018 after Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded something called the Cole Memorandum, an Obama-era policy that outlined a set of rules for states that legalized marijuana to follow if they wanted to avoid federal intervention.

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The next U.S. attorney general is going to have to respect the decision of Colorado and other states to legalize recreational and medical marijuana — at least if Republican Sen.
The post New attorney general must protect states’ rights on marijuana, Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner says appeared first on The Cannabist. […]

After long wait, 1st legal marijuana shops on East Coast to open

By Bob Salsberg, The Associated Press

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. — With its youthful vibe and eclectic mix of culture, a small Massachusetts city seems a logical site for the nation’s first legal recreational marijuana sales east of Colorado.

An existing medical marijuana dispensary in Northampton — nestled in Massachusetts’ scenic Pioneer Valley — plans to open its doors within days to anyone 21 or older looking for products ranging from pre-rolled joints to cannabis-infused edibles, creams, lotions and cooking oils. A second store in the small town of Leicester could also open at or around the same time, while dozens of other retail applicants await final licensing approval from state regulators.

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With its youthful vibe and eclectic mix of culture, a small Massachusetts city seems a logical site for the nation’s first legal recreational marijuana sales east of Colorado.
The post After long wait, 1st legal marijuana shops on East Coast to open appeared first on The Cannabist. […]

Michigan becomes 10th state to legalize recreational pot; other measures pass in Missouri and Utah

By Craig Giammona and Courtney Dentch
Bloomberg

The legal U.S. cannabis market just got a little greener.

In midterm elections that saw Democrats gain control of the House and reaffirmed Republican control of the Senate, more states also voted to legalize marijuana. The outcome will help expand a U.S. pot market that could be worth $75 billion by 2030, according to an estimate from Cowen & Co. Pot stocks, led by Tilray Inc., surged on the news.

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In midterm elections that saw Democrats gain control of the House and reaffirmed Republican control of the Senate, more states also voted to legalize marijuana.
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Louisville poised to tweak marijuana buffers, limits on stores

A series of proposed code tweaks could eliminate caps on how many marijuana retailers are allowed within Louisville and slash the city’s current school buffer requirements.

In part an effort to align the city’s marijuana business codes with those of liquor stores — an initiative city officials called for earlier this year — the bid also would allow Louisville pot shops to build bigger and transition into the cultivation sector within the city’s industrial zones.

Louisville City Council convened on the specifics Monday, and a finalized ordinance is expected to arrive in front of planning commissioners in coming weeks.

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A series of proposed code tweaks could eliminate caps on how many marijuana retailers are allowed within Louisville and slash the city’s current school buffer requirements.
The post Louisville poised to tweak marijuana buffers, limits on stores appeared first on The Cannabist. […]

Michigan, North Dakota weigh bringing legal marijuana to Midwest

DETROIT — Voters in Michigan and North Dakota will decide Tuesday whether to legalize recreational marijuana, which would make them the first states in the Midwest to do so and would put conservative neighboring states on notice.

More than half the states have already legalized medical marijuana, and Utah and Missouri could join their ranks Tuesday.

Nine states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational pot for people age 21 or older. And Canada , which shares a border with Michigan and North Dakota, recently made it legal for adults to use the drug. But passage of the measures in either state, which both have Republican governors and Republican-controlled legislatures, would give it a foothold in Middle America and could cause tension along their state borders.

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Voters in Michigan and North Dakota will decide Tuesday whether to legalize recreational marijuana, which would make them the first states in the Midwest to do so and would put conservative neighboring states on notice.
The post Michigan, North Dakota weigh bringing legal marijuana to Midwest appeared first on The Cannabist. […]

Where marijuana is on the ballot Tuesday – and where it’s most likely to win

It has been a big year for marijuana policy in North America. Mexico’s supreme court overturned pot prohibition last week, while Canada’s recreational marijuana market officially opened its doors in October.

Stateside, recreational marijuana use became legal in Vermont on July 1, Oklahoma voters approved one of the country’s most progressive medical marijuana bills in June, the New York Department of Health officially recommended legalization to the governor and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands legalized recreational use.

Now, legalization advocates are hoping to build on these successes with a number of statewide ballot measures up for consideration Tuesday, including full recreational legalization in two states and medical marijuana in two more. Here’s a rundown of what the measures say and where the polling on them currently stands.

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It has been a big year for marijuana policy in North America. Mexico’s supreme court overturned pot prohibition last week, while Canada’s recreational marijuana market officially opened its doors in October.
The post Where marijuana is on the ballot Tuesday – and where it’s most likely to win appeared first on The Cannabist. […]

Recent California conviction of stoned driver shows potentially deadly consequences of driving high

By Jason Kotowski

While alcohol-related DUIs remain far more common, this past week a case involving a motorist prosecutors say was solely under the influence of marijuana provided a stark example of the danger of driving while stoned.

Prosecutors say John Sebastian Hernandez, 23, smoked pot before getting behind the wheel in June of last year. He veered into the opposite lane on Santa Fe Way and struck a vehicle head-on driven by 40-year-old Gabriela Soto, who was pregnant.

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While alcohol-related DUIs remain far more common, this past week a case involving a motorist prosecutors say was solely under the influence of marijuana provided a stark example of the danger of driving while stoned.
The post Recent California conviction of stoned driver shows potentially deadly consequences of driving high appeared first on The Cannabist. […]

First cannabis-based medicine approved by FDA arrives in the U.S.

For the first time, a marijuana-based medicine approved by federal regulators is available for prescription in the United States.

The medicine, called Epidiolex, is used to treat seizures related to Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes, two forms of epilepsy, which is a neurological disorder, according to a news release.

“Because these patients have historically not responded well to available seizure medications, there has been a dire need for new therapies that aim to reduce the frequency and impact of seizures,” said Justin Gover, chief executive officer of GW Pharmaceuticals, the United Kingdom-based company that developed the drug, in a statement.

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For the first time, a marijuana-based medicine approved by federal regulators is available for prescription in the United States.
The post First cannabis-based medicine approved by FDA arrives in the U.S. appeared first on The Cannabist. […]

Lawsuit over pot, property values could have broad impacts

DENVER — A federal trial in Colorado could have far-reaching effects on the United States’ budding marijuana industry if a jury sides with a couple who say having a cannabis business as a neighbor hurts their property’s value.

The trial set to begin Monday in Denver is the first time a jury will consider a lawsuit using federal anti-racketeering law to target cannabis companies. But the marijuana industry has closely watched the case since 2015, when attorneys with a Washington, D.C.-based firm first filed their sweeping complaint on behalf of Hope and Michael Reilly.

One of the couple’s lawyers, Brian Barnes, said the Reillys bought the southern Colorado land for its views of Pikes Peak and have since built a house on the rural property. They also hike and ride horses there.

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A federal trial in Colorado could have far-reaching effects on the United States’ budding marijuana industry if a jury sides with a couple who say having a cannabis business as a neighbor hurts their property’s value.
The post Lawsuit over pot, property values could have broad impacts appeared first on The Cannabist. […]

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