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Massachusetts lawmakers looking to strike unconstitutional Controlled Substances Act

Lawmakers are about to weed out a law that’s overgrown its usefulness. A seldom used and apparently unconstitutional part of the General Laws may soon be stricken, if an outside section of the state Senate’s fiscal 2023 budgets makes it past muster during Tuesday’s debate. “This court concluded that the assessment of the tax on essentially the same activity for which a dealer had received criminal sanctions was punishment prohibited by principles of double jeopardy,” the Supreme Judicial Court wrote in 1998, upholding a tax board’s decision to abate a dealer’s tax liability for their illegal drugs. Read the rest of this story on BostonHerald.com.

Four towns just said no to marijuana sales, but how strong is rural Colorado’s distaste for weed?

HOOPER — Charlie Williams doesn’t believe there should be stores selling pot in his tiny town deep in the San Luis Valley. The 67-year-old pastor isn’t alone. Two dozen of his fellow residents joined him last month in successfully turning down — 25 to 18 — a measure that would have allowed recreational and medical cannabis sales in this town of fewer than 100 just west of Great Sand Dunes National Park & Preserve. “It’s a lot of conservative-minded people who really don’t want that in their town,” said Williams, who preaches at the non-denominational Church of the Living God in Hooper. “Some of us in Hooper wanted to draw a line and keep that out of here.” Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Colorado marijuana industry regulators under fire as underage sales checks nosedive

On about 600 occasions in 2019, state marijuana industry regulators sent hired operatives, aged 18 to 20, into Colorado dispensaries to check that the law barring sales to people under 21 was being followed. Then the COVID-19 pandemic hit, and in 2020 state regulators reported only 118 of those checks. Last year, the number dropped to 80. This year, the Marijuana Enforcement Division says it’s on pace for 52 checks, having completed 14 through March. The reported compliance rate was above 95% each year, but some state lawmakers say the drop-off in total checks is alarming — and they told the division’s leaders that directly in a state Senate committee hearing late last month. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

House lawmakers give weed the green light at the federal level

Lawmakers in Washington late last week passed a bill through the House that would see marijuana declassified at the federal level. “The criminalization of marijuana is inherently racist in its enforcement, unscientific in its foundation, and out of step with public opinion and the law in 18 states,” U.S. Rep. Katherine Clark said in a release after the bill’s passage. Called the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement Act (MORE) Act, the proposed law would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, require federal courts to expunge prior marijuana convictions, open small business administration funding to pot businesses and authorize a 5% federal tax on marijuana sales. Read the rest of this story on BostonHerald.com.

Massachusetts Senate passes sweeping pot reform bill

The state Senate passed a sweeping cannabis bill that aims to clarify some terms of a ballot initiative first passed by voters in 2016, while promoting equity in the industry. “Unfortunately, many barriers continue to prevent those historically harmed by marijuana prohibition from entering the industry,” said Senate President Karen Spilka, D-Ashland, adding that “guardrails” are now in place for the “Host Community Agreement process.” The bill, championed in part by state senator and gubernatorial candidate Sonia Chang-Díaz, would make several updates to the state’s existing cannabis laws, including a first-in-the-nation social equity program for cannabis entrepreneurs. Currently, only about 7% of cannabis businesses are considered “social equity” businesses, according to the Senate. Read ...

Battenfeld: Maura Healey’s move to the left predictable but clashes with reality

Published: Mar 4, 2022, 11:56 am • Updated: Mar 4, 2022, 11:57 am By Joe Battenfeld Attorney General Maura Healey’s completely predictable move to the left is designed to ward off her liberal Democratic challengers but it clashes with reality and may come with a cost in a general election. Healey is disputing characterizations of her as more “moderate” than her opponents despite the fact that she’s been a hard-core law and order opponent of marijuana legalization and casino gambling, and has praised the job performance of Republican Gov. Charlie Baker. “I am a proud progressive,” she told WBUR in an interview this week. Read the rest of this story on BostonHerald.com.

Pot cafes could soon be coming to Massachusetts

Back in 2016, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot measure that would allow the option for municipalities to bring marijuana cafes, or “social consumption sites,” to town, where people can gather and use cannabis together, Amsterdam-style. Now, over half a decade later, a legislative move has inched the state closer to making them a reality. “The intent of the initiative that was passed by voters was to allow these, dependent upon the vote of the people of a community,” said Jim Borghesani, spokesperson for the 2016 ballot question to bring recreational marijuana to Massachusetts, and a consultant for the cannabis industry. “The legislation is effective in giving towns that voice that they need to determine if they want these or not.” The cafes have not begun popping up in the Bay State ...

Denver businesses seek hospitality licenses to let patrons smoke weed

A Cap Hill mansion-turned-B&B, an existing private club in RiNo and a new addition to South Broadway’s “Green Mile” are the first three businesses to apply for a marijuana hospitality license from the city of Denver. Denver has separate licenses allowing businesses to cultivate, transport and sell cannabis. But this new license — which opened up for applications in November — would allow businesses to let people consume cannabis products on site. Some establishments, including one of the three seeking a license, previously allowed patrons to do so. But Denver overhauled its cannabis laws last April, prohibiting private clubs from allowing on-site consumption without a license. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Drinkable weed: The newest trend in craft brews

Published: Jan 21, 2022, 4:03 pm • Updated: Jan 21, 2022, 4:04 pm By Russell Haythorn DENVER — Inside a small garage near Golden is another potential budding American success story. “Apple computer started in a garage. Microsoft also started in a garage,” Keith Villa said. “This location is exactly 10 minutes to the front door of Coors. I drove it for 32 years.” Villa’s name might sound familiar. He founded Blue Moon Brewing Company under the Coors brand in 1995. Now, Villa is brewing up what could be the next big thing in the Colorado craft beer market. Read the rest of this story on DenverPost.com.

Medical marijuana laws in Colorado will be more strict starting Jan. 1. Here’s how.

Colorado will impose stricter rules for the purchase of medical marijuana starting Jan. 1 following several months of deliberation over how to execute a new state law meant largely to limit young people’s access to and abuse of high-potency THC products. The post Medical marijuana laws in Colorado will be more strict starting Jan. 1. Here’s how. appeared first on The Cannabist.

Charlie Baker again pushes stoned driving bill with drugged driving causalities on the rise

Gov. Charlie Baker, frustrated by lawmakers’ inaction more than five years after the legalization of recreational pot, is making a second attempt to cut down on stoned driving. The post Charlie Baker again pushes stoned driving bill with drugged driving causalities on the rise appeared first on The Cannabist.

Bills filed in state House, Senate would legalize medical marijuana insurance coverage

Medical marijuana, used to treat everything from chronic pain to Parkinson’s Disease to PTSD, is still not covered by medical insurance, a cost some say is prohibitively expensive to patients who rely on the drug. The post Bills filed in state House, Senate would legalize medical marijuana insurance coverage appeared first on The Cannabist.

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