Oregon Weed Sales Are 420% Higher at the Idaho Border

Oregon Weed Sales Are 420% Higher at the Idaho Border

Original Post: Merry Jane: Oregon Weed Sales Are 420% Higher at the Idaho Border

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[Canniseur: Why is this surprising? Of course, people in Idaho are smoking cannabis. And of course, they’d drive to the nearest place to get their favorite substance. And of course, Idaho is not benefiting from the additional taxes legalization would bring. Nothing is surprising here. States like Idaho that won’t bend with the prevailing forces will lose out…at least for now.]

Idaho isn’t known for its sandy beaches, but when it comes to legal cannabis, the state is its own kind of island surrounded by unlimited greenery in neighboring Oregon, Washington, and Nevada. And recently, it has become abundantly clear that Idaho residents are making the trek to Oregon’s eastern border in order to get their hands on some legal weed.

According to a new report from the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis, Beaver State pot sales spike by a whopping — and comically appropriate — 420% at dispensaries near the Idaho border. Similarly, legal weed sales in Washington State were higher at dispensaries closer to the Idaho border.

“The sales in counties along the Idaho border were much stronger than I anticipated,” Oregon state analyst Josh Lehner told the Associated Press. “Obviously recreational marijuana is not legal in Idaho, but even after throwing the data into a rough border tax model that accounts for income, number of retailers, tax rates and the like, there remains a huge border effect.”

Despite its proximity to some of the country’s earliest legalization adopters, Idaho has not yet budged on either medical or adult-use prohibition. But in the years since its West Coast neighbors legalized, research has already come out touting Idaho’s own benefits from legalization, such as a drop in DUI arrests.

And with many of Idaho’s most populous counties sitting just miles from the Oregon border, it is clear why many cannabis consumers are no longer paying attention to their home state’s strict weed laws. According to the Oregon economic report, three quarters of cannabis sales near the Idaho border were due to cross state commerce.

“Roughly speaking, about 75% of Oregon sales and more like 35% of Washington sales in counties along the Idaho border appear due to the border effect itself and not local socio-economic conditions,” the report detailed.

But if Idaho residents have it their way, the abnormal sales spikes in Oregon and Washington will quickly turn temporary. The Idaho Statesman reported that activists are currently collecting signatures to finally add a medical marijuana legalization question to the state’s 2020 ballot. At least we know the demand is already there.

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Original Post: Merry Jane: Oregon Weed Sales Are 420% Higher at the Idaho Border

Illinois City Will Use Weed Taxes to Pay Reparations for Black Residents

Illinois City Will Use Weed Taxes to Pay Reparations for Black Residents

Original Post: Merry Jane: Illinois City Will Use Weed Taxes to Pay Reparations for Black Residents

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[Canniseur: This is a huge and important first step for a city to make. Paying reparations out of cannabis taxes is more than a bit ironic, but important nonetheless. Reparations should happen at the state and/or federal level. In this current political situation, it’s not going to happen at the federal level though. If the U.S. federal government won’t step up, it’s up to the states and local communities to do the right thing.]

A landmark social equity program was approved in Evanston, Illinois late last week, establishing the nation’s first reparations program for black residents funded directly by legal weed taxes.

The new tax directive will funnel all of Evanston’s legal cannabis tax money to programs that will directly support the city’s black residents and repair centuries of racism dating back to the slave trade and continuing through institutional racism and policies like the War on Drugs. According to the Chicago Tribune, Evanston Aldermen approved the citywide ordinance 8-1.

“We can implement funding to directly invest in black Evanston,” Alderwoman Robin Rue Simmons, who proposed the reparations bill, told the Tribune, noting that the Chicago suburb’s expected $500,000 to $750,000 in annual cannabis tax revenue will “be invested in the community it unfairly policed and damaged.”

While a number of Illinois’s small towns and suburbs have “opted out” of legalization by blocking dispensaries from popping up after next month’s recreational cannabis sales start, Evanston has taken the opposite approach and welcomed pot shops with open arms. And when tax cash starts rolling in from those dispensaries next month, Rue Simmons said that the reparations programs will be especially appropriate considering the history of racist marijuana policing in Evanston and beyond.

“This is a really special moment in the city of Evanston and also in the country,” Alderman Peter Braithwaite said.

Since the year 2000, Evanston has seen a significant decrease in black residents, from 22.5 percent of census respondents at the turn of the millenium to only 16.9 percent in 2017. It has not yet been decided how the money from the city’s new reparations program will be spent, but Rue Simmons and others suggested the funds could be used to reign in soaring housing costs, or to support local education, or economic programs.

“We are on the right track,” Alderwoman Ann Rainey told the Tribune.

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Original Post: Merry Jane: Illinois City Will Use Weed Taxes to Pay Reparations for Black Residents

Massachusetts Sold $400 Million of Weed During First Year of Legalization

Massachusetts Sold $400 Million of Weed During First Year of Legalization

Original Post: Merry Jane: Massachusetts Sold $400 Million of Weed During First Year of Legalization

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[Canniseur: $400 million in sales is nothing to sneeze at in Massachusetts in the first year. But I’d be willing to bet my whole stash that the black market raked in at least 4 times that amount. Do the math. If Massachusetts can get to about 80% legal, the market would be well north of a billion dollars. That’s a lot of tax revenue.]

If you’re in Massachusetts looking to find weed, you’re not alone. After exactly one year of recreational cannabis sales on the East Coast, Bay State regulators are reporting a strong and steady demand for legal weed to the tune of more than $1 million a day.

The Massachusetts Cannabis Control Commission released its first set of yearly cannabis sales data this Wednesday, marking the first anniversary of the state’s groundbreaking industry. On a whole, cannabis consumers spent $393.7 million on marijuana in the last 12 months, in what CCC Chairman Steve Hoffman called a “very smooth” transition into adult-use legalization.

“Hundreds of millions of dollars in sales are one measure of success, but I am even prouder of the way in which Marijuana Establishments have worked with the Commission to gain and preserve compliance with our regulations and patrons continue to inform themselves about the law and their responsibilities when they visit Massachusetts stores,” Hoffman said in a statement to Boston.com.

From a tax standpoint, the first year of legal weed sales was a windfall for Massachusetts state coffers. CCC officials collected some $67 million in state excise tax from marijuana sales since dispensaries first opened — $4 million more than initial first-year predictions.

Since last November, the number of licensed cannabis dispensaries in Massachusetts has grown from just two stores at the outset to 33 today. And with another 54 pot shops already awarded provisional or final licensing, that number could expand to more than 80 during the state’s second year of legalization.

For comparison’s sake, Canada sold $1.1 billion worth of weed during its first year of legalization, but those numbers came from a country with more than six times the population of Massachusetts and hundreds of licensed dispensaries. At this point, its safe to say that America’s East Coast is ready for legal weed, and Massachusetts is blazing that trail.

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Original Post: Merry Jane: Massachusetts Sold $400 Million of Weed During First Year of Legalization

Americans Think Weed Is Much Safer Than E-Cigs or Tobacco, Poll Finds

Americans Think Weed Is Much Safer Than E-Cigs or Tobacco, Poll Finds

Original Post: Merry Jane: Americans Think Weed Is Much Safer Than E-Cigs or Tobacco, Poll Finds

[Canniseur: In many ways this is sort of a “Duh!”. Of course weed is safer than e-cigs or tobacco of any sort. Cannabis and tobacco have several things in common. Tobacco was promoted by a government that knew it was unsafe. Cannabis was outlawed by a government that knew it was safe. This country has a whole lot to reconcile in the future. Millions are still hooked on tobacco. Nobody is ‘hooked’ on cannabis.]

A large majority of Americans from all backgrounds, age ranges, and political affiliations are confident that cannabis is not a “very harmful” substance, with even more saying that they believe CBD is safe.

The new data comes from a joint survey by Harvard University and Politico that tallied opinions from more than 1,000 American adults. The poll covered cannabis, CBD, alcohol, and tobacco, with most respondents saying that they believe marijuana and CBD to be far less harmful than alcohol, tobacco, or e-cigs.

Only 20% of survey respondents said that they thought cannabis was “very harmful” and only 5% said the same of CBD. On the flip side, twice as many people considered alcohol to be “very harmful,” while more than 80% felt that tobacco cigarettes were incredibly dangerous.

“Ten years ago, we were jailing people for marijuana,” Robert Blendon, who led the survey and is also a professor of health policy and political analysis at Harvard, told Politico. “Now people see this as not essentially very harmful.”

The survey also asked recipients about their opinions on e-cigarettes or nicotine vaporizers. And while respondents did not hold e-cigs to the same harmful standard as traditional cigarettes, more than 50% considered nicotine vaporizers “very harmful.”

On a whole, 62% of Americans said that they support full-scale recreational cannabis legalization in the US. Additionally, more than 75% of respondents said that they believe CBD products should be sold in drugstores like CVS and Walgreens.

“Given that most Americans are not very concerned about harmful effects of marijuana for recreational use,” the study concluded, “we are likely to see legalization efforts expanded at both the federal and state levels.”

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Original Post: Merry Jane: Americans Think Weed Is Much Safer Than E-Cigs or Tobacco, Poll Finds

Judge Dismisses $4 Million Pot Bust Due to Illegal Vehicle Search

Judge Dismisses $4 Million Pot Bust Due to Illegal Vehicle Search

Original Post: Merry Jane: Judge Dismisses $4 Million Pot Bust Due to Illegal Vehicle Search

[Canniseur: Unscrupulous cops can no longer get away with their underhanded methods. Body cameras now protect citizens from unwarranted search (but not seizure). This is a very good thing. Even still, we cannot wait until legal cannabis is the rule of the land. ]

Two men were caught with 900 pounds of processed pot, and 112 jars of cannabis extract, but their case was miraculously thrown out.

It may be rare, but sometimes, the rule of law can work against the cops. And in the case of two Montana men accused of transporting more than 900 pounds of pot across the Midwest, a shaky police video and a skeptical judge resulted in a hail mary case dismissal for the ages.

According to the Minnesota Star Tribune, Jared Desroches, 31, and Alexander Gordon, 24, were driving a camper truck on Interstate 94 last March when Minnesota state trooper Aaron Myren spotted a cracked windshield and what he described as erratic driving. He pulled them over and found 900 pounds of processed pot, 406 grams of pre-packaged concentrates, 112 jars of cannabis extract, and $15,500 in cash in the back of the truck. 

Both men were arrested at the scene and taken into custody on charges of distributing illicit narcotics. But at a court hearing this week, Minnesota District Judge Timothy Churchwell ruled the vehicle search that led to the discovery illegal, after video from the scene refuted trooper Myren’s lane-swerving claims.

“The video played a huge role in us getting it tossed out because a lot of it didn’t match up to what he [Myrens] was saying,” Paul Applebaum, a St. Paul lawyer who is part of the two men’s defense team, told the Star Tribune. “The squad video, which essentially records from the same vantage point as Myren’s, shows that the pickup never crossed the fog-line — it merely touched it once for a fraction of a second and proceeded flawlessly for a substantial distance before Myren pulled it over.” 

Since the entire case was predicated on the roadside search and seizure, Churchwell dismissed the case altogether, releasing Desroches and Gordon from lock up and sending them back to their home state.

As America’s piecemeal legalization system continues to expand, opportunistic outlaws have revved up their interstate trafficking efforts in recent years, with law enforcement across the country announcing large scale pot busts almost daily.

Unfortunately, because the two men were stopped in a prohibition state with way more weed than is allowed, the two lucky transporters still won’t be able to get their truckload of product out of lock-up. You can’t win ‘em all.

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Original Post: Merry Jane: Judge Dismisses $4 Million Pot Bust Due to Illegal Vehicle Search

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