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TNMNews April 12th, 2019: Top 5 Marijuana News Stories of the Week

The Crazy Politically Conservative Perspective On The STATES Act, New Arguments From Marijuana Legalization Opponents, Trulieve Earnings, Utah and New Mexico to Expunge Cannabis Related Criminal Records, New York City Bill Would Stop Employers From Testing for THC

What’s up everyone? Ready for some news updates on the world of weed for the week? I’m Richard Lowe and I write these updates every Friday to spread awareness about the cannabis industry.

I read a lot about the marijuana industry, and I also see it first hand through the people I directly work with each day and the crazy amount of cannabis conventions I attend. I can’t help but take note of the transition by marijuana legalization opponents here in 2019. I hear less gateway bs, which I am delighted about considering the gateway argument made no sense. There is no arguing with something that makes no sense in the first place. Plants have no conscious thought, they are not responsible for anything other than spreading their seed. The stresses of life are the gateways to addiction and much more.

Let’s start by reviewing some of the new arguments being made by the opposition.

The Awful Mike Adams Article on Forbes Demonizing Stoners

tnmnews pothead and stoner are derogatory termsThe opposition to cannabis legalization seem to have conceded that there is no stopping the national legalization of cannabis. It’s going to happen. This morning, I read an awful article on Forbes about how the cannabis industry exclusively markets cannabis products to the wealthy and that it is trying to get rid of the stoner theme. The Forbes article by Mike Adams questions why the cannabis industry as a whole does not just try to sell weed to what he refers to as, “burn out types.”

The misguided story suggests cannabis marketing should focus on the “losers” of the world and stop misleading everyone that corporate executives are pot smokers. Adams even contradicts himself by going on to say that he knows plenty of wealthy people smoke weed. He sites a report by New Frontier Data and MJ Freeway about the 9 types of cannabis users, but spins the data irrationally. His article is basically an attack on people that do not make much money. Why do that?

Awareness is being spread about the rampant mistreatment of women, people of color, immigrants and the LGBT community. Why not talk about the prejudice towards cannabis users too? If we are working towards trying to eliminate the oppression of certain groups of people, why not include the cannabis consuming community?

Are the words stoner or pothead not derogatory? What images come to your mind when you think of a stoner or pothead? Anything positive? Those words are mischaracterizations of people that are mild-mannered and gentle for the most part. There are certainly exceptions to that, but the scientific community claims the primary function of the endocannabinoid system is to help our body “relax, eat, sleep, forget and protect.” Let’s not make the portion of our country that are finding reasons to smile without hurting themselves or others feel bad about it.

The Wacky Perspective Conservatives Have On The STATES Act

tnmnews senator cory gardeners support for marijuana legalization is part of a democrat conspiracy to drive voters to the ballot box in 2020
R-Sen. Cory Gardner

The other thing that has me scratching my head is this wacky perspective many politically conservative groups now have on the STATES Act. The Hill published an article suggesting that the STATES Act has more to do with trying to drive democrats to the ballot booth during the 2020 presidential election than it does about marijuana law reform. What?

At this time, any bill circulating through Congress only has a shot of being passed if it has bipartisan support. While I really like the intent of Sen. Cory Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act, I don’t think the Republican controlled Senate would ever vote for it. The STATES Act has the bipartisan support to pass with R-Sen. Cory Gardner being the primary sponsor, and while it is missing many important elements for national marijuana law reform, it is a lot better than the current status of marijuana nationally.

The STATES ACT does not legalize marijuana nationally or remove it from the Controlled Substance Act. It would simply let states know that the federal government will not interfere with their efforts to legalize marijuana. Many state legislators use the Schedule I status of cannabis as their excuse to not vote for cannabis bills. So the concern for conservatives is that the amount of state ballot initiatives for cannabis legalization will jump up if the STATES Act is passed. They think more democrats will come and vote because marijuana law reform is more of a democrat issue and that those voters that may not have voted otherwise, will also vote for the democrats on the ballot forcing republicans out of office.

The article from The Hill continues by suggesting that Trump could keep democrats from voting next year by simply reallocating all funds from the Justice Department meant for enforcing federal cannabis laws. It also suggests he could gain support by focusing those funds on the opioid epidemic and curbing illegally trafficked drugs. Great idea, do that. The opioid epidemic here in the United States is unbearable. It goes on to suggest that Trump could promise that for his second term he would help veterans across the country get access to medical marijuana. Yes, if you get reelected, do that too. 

For all intents and purposes though, that is the same as passing the STATES Act. If states know that there are no funds for the Justice Department to go after them for legalizing weed, why wouldn’t they feel more comfortable pushing ballot initiatives to legalize it? Reallocating funds from the Justice Department is not just going to sweep state marijuana reform under the rug. They think that if Trump reassures states that he won’t go after them for legalizing weed, which he has already, that they won’t see the point in pushing ballot initiatives.

The idea that marijuana legalization efforts are really some democratic conspiracy is absurd. Sen. Cory Gardner is one of the most influential cannabis legalization advocates in Congress. He is a sponsor of the STATES Act and he is a Republican. He is even up for reelection in 2020. Sure, I believe there are some democrats in Congress that think they are clever and can use one of the oldest and most contentious issues here in the U.S. for their political advantage. But, that is not what the marijuana legalization movement is about. It’s about social injustice, medicine, freedom and the truth persevering over uneducated prejudice.

So, for all of you marijuana opponents out there, your arguments are getting weaker and weaker. Stop talking about burn-outs. Stop turning the battle to clear unjust criminal records, end racial disparities in marijuana related arrests, replenish our barren endocannabinoid systems and having the opportunity to live comfortably into some political ploy.

A 29 year old woman wrote the algorithm that allowed the Event Horizon Telescope to take a picture of M-87, 55 million light years away. People are achieving amazing feats quickly these days, but this unprogressive propaganda from people like Mike Adams and The Hill is our very own black hole right here in the U.S.

Trulieve has Started Booming

tnmnews trulieve 2018 earnings show 415% growth year over yearThe Florida medical marijuana treatment center Trulieve Cannabis Corp., saw year-over-year growth of 415% in 2018 based off their most recent earnings report. The Florida medical marijuana market is anticipated to be one of the largest in the country, but it took awhile for Floridians to embrace it after state legislators banned the smoking of medical marijuana flower. Now that medical marijuana flower is available, we could see more Floridians explore the market. Trulieve also has licenses to sell medical and recreational marijuana in Massachusetts and California.

I am a medical marijuana patient here in Florida and Trulieve is the only dispensary in Florida I have bought from. They are the only dispensary even remotely close to me. They just started selling marijuana flower for the first time in March and I bought an eighth for $33 this week. That’s cheap! The way they have their points system setup, I get 10% off every time I go, which means I spent less than $30 for 3.5 grams of Lemon OG, before taxes. There is a lot of potential for them to do a lot more growing.

New Mexico and Utah Pass Very Different Legislation to Expunge Records

One of the best results of marijuana law reform is the clearing of people’s criminal records. We have seen states like Washington, California and others take large strides to toss out the records of people convicted of nonviolent marijuana crimes. H.B. 370, The Criminal Record Expungement Act, passed in New Mexico and was signed by Governor Grisham this week. While it does not make the path to clearing records easy for those convicted of misdemeanors and felonies, it is more than they had before. In Utah though, they passed H.B 431, The Clean Slate Act, which automatically clears records five years after a person has completed their sentence assuming they face no other convictions.

New York City Marijuana News

tnmnews theory wellness in great barrington massachusetts is regular destination for new yorkers
Great Barrington, Massachusetts

New York is working hard at getting recreational marijuana legalized, though efforts have been slowed. That however has not slowed New Yorkers from going to Massachusetts to buy weed. Theory Wellness in Great Barrington, Massachusetts is the closest dispensary to New York City. According to the New York Post, 15,000 New York City residents have bought from them since January 11th, when Theory Wellness opened. New Yorkers represent half of the dispensaries sales according to the owner. The New York City Council also approved a bill that if enacted into law would keep employers from even testing applicants or employees for THC. If passed, the legislation would be a first of its kind here in the U.S.

That’s it for this week everyone. I hope you have a delightful happy hour and you enjoy your weekend. Remember to follow our Youtube channel, The National Marijuana News, along with our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages @NationalMJNews. I hope everyone enjoys the weekend.

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Richard Lowe

Richard Lowe is a 14-year veteran of the financial sector with licenses as a commodity broker (Series 3) and investment advisor representative (IAR Series 65). Along with a focus on raising capital for the firms he was employed with, he also wrote and edited much of the content published by them. He holds a BA in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts. He has been a longtime advocate for marijuana legalization due to the social injustices associated with marijuana prohibition and the strong potential for the medicinal benefits of cannabis.

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