It has been a huge week for recreational marijuana in the U.S.A. Three things have happened.:
1) The US Justice Department reported that it had informed Indian Country Tribes that they “may propose” to have marijuana legalized on their reservations. So far no tribe has made any such request and if they did the federal government would have the final say on yes or no. However, this announcement opens the door for the possibility that recreational marijuana could be possessed and consumed on tribal lands. Even when tribal lands reside within the borders of a state in which recreational marijuana is illegal.
2) The US Congress ended its federal ban on medical marijuana. This sends a strong message to states that have not yet legalized marijuana and makes the concept even more palatable to voters. It will surely influence politicians to be more liberal in their thinking about legalized marijuana, whether medical or recreational. Furthermore, it shows the federal government is obviously moving, albeit slowly, in the direction of national recognition of the trend to end marijuana prohibition.
3) Just today (December 19, 2014) it was announced that the states of Nebraska and Oklahoma have asked the US Supreme Court to reverse Colorado’s marijuana laws. We will wait to hear what the legal pundits say but in my opinion this is not going to fly. In my opinion it is a thinly veiled attempt to apply pressure and convince Colorado to give their neighboring states a portion of their recreational marijuana tax revenues. According to Nebraska officials they have had an increase in their law enforcement costs at places along the Colorado border and are being asked to bear an increased expense with no increased revenues.
December 12, 2014 — Today the U.S. Justice Department issued a statement saying that it would not interfere with Native American tribes who choose to legalize marijuana on their reservations. No immediate changes are expected but this move by the Justice Department opens the possibility of recreational marijuana being legalized for purchase and consumption on Indian reservations even those located in states where marijuana is illegal. It’s too soon to tell if any Native American tribes will take advantage of this legal marijuana loophole but it creates some interesting possibilities for the future of the marijuana movement and industry.
adminUS Government says Indian Reservations May Legalize Marijuana in Any State
Dec 10, 2014 – There was celebration in Colorado and demonstrations in Washington DC today as local government supported and then betrayed those who have voted for the legalization of marijuana.
In Denver, Governor John Hickenlpooper made an executive order and added Amendment 64 (legalization of marijuana) to the state constitution of Colorado. Celebrations ensued.
However, on the same day, hundreds protested in the streets of Washington DC as Congress got ready to nullify the legalization of marijuana for the Capitol district. This, in reaction to more than 70% of its voters voting for marijuana legalization. This effort to crush legalization in Washington DC is being accomplished in typical political style as Republicans added the marijuana issue at the end of a $1 trillion spending bill. The bill is supported both parties and has nothing to do with marijuana. As such, it will be very difficult for any congressman to vote against the bill and is a kind of a pork barrel spending ploy but in reverse.
Meanwhile, city officials say they have no leverage in this matter and with Republicans set to dominate Congress in 2015 it looks like things may not change for years to come.
December 1, 2104 — In 2013 a bill was passed which legalized marijuana use in Paraguay. The first country in the world to legalize the production and sale of cannabis. This made it a potential laboratory model for the possible legalization of marijuana in other countries around the world. But polls indicate that as much as 65% of Paraguay’s citizens do not support the new marijuana law. One candidate in this weeks national elections says that if elected, he will repeal portions of the legalization bill
Research on the effects of marijuana vs. alcohol while driving are inconclusive. Law enforcement has one view, psychologists have another. What we do know is that recreational marijuana creates chemical changes in the brain and these changes may significantly affect ability to safely drive a car:
* According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, the amount of Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC in the body can severely affect the ability to shift our focus. This means reaction to changes in traffic or road conditions is slower and this can be dangerous.
* Recreational marijuana consumption affects a person’s judgement and other cognitive functions. In the case of heavy users, this impairment may last up to 24 hours after their last consumption of marijuana.
* Marijuana relaxes people and most have difficulty concentrating on a single activity and are prone to dreamlike states of awareness according to studies.
* Consumption of recreational marijuana can weaken short-term memory and change perception. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse the THC in marijuana gets processed in the hippocampus part of the brain which is responsible for the brain’s functional memory.
A Washington state traffic safety commission announced that police in Grandview, Moxee, Selah, Sunnyside, Union Gap and Yakima (plus the Yakima and Klickitat county sheriff’s offices) and the Washington State Patrol have stepped-up their driving while impaired enforcement operations through January 1st 2015.
Be careful and be safe. Stay within the law and do NOT operate a motor vehicle while you are under the influence of marijuana or alcohol!
Washington state’s poorly designed marijuana laws have resulted in slow retail growth and high prices. One of the biggest failures of current legislation is disallowing existing medical marijuana dispensaries from selling recreational marijuana. For example in Seattle there are almost 200 medical marijuana suppliers but only a half dozen shops that sell recreational marijuana. Another problem is pricing. With a 25% tax added to the cannabis product at every stage (production, processing and retail sales) recreational pot costs twice as much as medical marijuana. This price descrepancy is allowing the perpetuation of the black market and hindering tax revenues for the state. When Oregon pot shops open in 2016 the pot shops on Washington’s border will become obsolete and will likely be forced out of business.
This situation could be remedied if new proposed legislation is passed. Sen. Jeanne Kohl-Welles (D-Seattle) has proposed a bill that would:
1) Raise the limit on the number of state-licenses (currently 21 for Seattle and 334 statewide) and allow medical dispensaries to apply to sell recreational pot.
2) Reduce marijuana taxes by consolidating the three step tax into a single levy collected at the recreational pot shops.
3) Reduce restrictions on store locations
4) Share tax revenues only with those cities and counties that allow industry to function in their area.
October 30, 2014 – Despite legalization the black market for marijuana still exists in Colorado. According to websites like Price Of Weed, black market marijuana can be obtained (illegally) for about 30% less than in recreational marijuana stores in Colorado. This is because marijuana stores have the added burden of a rent, employees, taxes, licensing and regulations, packaging etc. Visitors coming to Colorado from other states seem eager to pay the premium prices being charged at marijuana shops anyway but locals who may have contacts within the black market from before cannabis was legalized are complaining. For this reason, at least one recreational marijuana store in Denver (3D Cannabis Center) has begun offering lower prices to local residents versus higher prices for out of state visitors.
This is one solution, but those in the retail marijuana business see a change on the horizon. As the processes for the legalized sale of pot become more fully developed over time, they say, prices will go down. Supply is the main consideration when it comes to pricing and initially recreational marijuana stores were selling cannabis that had been grown for medical marijuana stores. So there were more recreational marijuana stores than before but the supply levels remained the same. This created shortages and sky high pricing for consumers.
However, since then additional harvests have eased the shortage, some retailers predict that prices will be radically lower in 2015 as growers (old and new) catch up with the increased demand from recreational marijuana stores. Another factor that should lower pricing is: starting October 1st dispensaries are no longer required to grow 70 percent of their inventory. This means companies solely dedicated to cultivation and growing are now being licensed and developed. One Denver retailer is predicting, that by early 2015, prices for eighths will be as low as $10 to $15 and ounces as will sell as low as $50.
adminColorado: Major price reductions expected in 2015