Next Big Thing? Weed Beer, Folks

❝ For large beverage companies, the push into pot is all about the fear of missing out. After getting beat on trends including craft beer, coconut water, and flavored seltzer, the drink giants don’t want to miss the next trendy ingredient: cannabis. Whether it’s the THC that gets you high or the nonpsychoactive CBD, weed components are being infused into drinks with an eye toward the mass market…

Legal marijuana sales are expected to rise to $11 billion in the U.S. this year, from $9 billion in 2017, and cannabis-infused beverages account for less than 1 percent of that. But a recent report from the bank Canaccord Genuity Group Inc. estimated that sales of drinks infused with THC or CBD, forecast to make up 20 percent of the edibles market, will reach $600 million in sales in the U.S. by 2022. In Colorado, which became the first state to legalize recreational marijuana in 2014, sales of cannabis drinks almost doubled in 2017 and are up an additional 18 percent in the first half of this year, according to Flowhub LLC, which tracks marijuana sales data.

If you’re an investor don’t miss the chance to catch the next wave. Someone like me who doesn’t smoke ANYTHING and simply stopped drinking most anything alcoholic, as well, from lack of interest years ago is only interested in products which might make for tasty scones or Alice B Toklas brownies. Though I admit to owning a few shares of a leading grower in the Great White North.

Former Wrigley CEO Moves From Chewing Gum to Medical Marijuana


Bloomberg/Roussakis

❝ The scion of a family that made a fortune in chewing gum is moving into pot…William Wrigley Jr. II, who helped orchestrate the sale of his family’s business to Mars Inc. in 2008, led a $65 million investment round for Surterra Wellness, a medical cannabis startup in Georgia with licenses to operate in Florida and Texas. The funding brings the total raised so far to $100 million, according to Surterra.

Wrigley, 54, who left the gum and candy business after the sale, backs companies through a personal investment arm based in West Palm Beach, Florida. After an initial investment in Surterra in September, Wrigley is boosting his stake and assuming the role of chairman…

❝ Wrigley…said he got into the industry mainly because of marijuana’s medical benefits. He said he’s tapping his experience with product distribution and brand-building to drive growth at Surterra. The cannabis company operates 10 medical dispensaries in Florida, including one in Miami Beach, and has a license to operate in the nascent Texas market.

Too bad there aren’t more than a handful of folks in that intellectual desert known as Congress who might support businesses like this nationwide. Much less lose the archaic regulation of personal cannabis consumption as if it was the Devil’s own candy.

No One Is Taking On Pot Legalization

❝ Why don’t more politicians attempt to make marijuana legalization a national issue?

Harry Enten over at FiveThirtyEight looked at the polling last week and wondered about it. And the numbers are impressive. As he reports, almost two-thirds of Americans backed legalization in one recent poll, and while Democrats are somewhat more likely to favor it, the gap between the parties is unusually small for a policy question. Enten suspects that a big reason no politician has taken it up as a national issue is that they just haven’t caught up with the rapidly moving shift in public opinion.

❝ That’s possible. But I can think of some other reasons.

RTFA to check out what Jonathan Bernstein thinks are the reasons.

Poisonally, I think chickenshit politicians have chickenshit reasons to rationalize away most progressive action. Followed closely by cowardly reasons they use to rationalize away most action that might jeopardize re-election in the slightest.

Here’s Canadian PM’s Plan to Legalize Recreational Marijuana

❝ Canada is advancing plans to become the first G7 nation to legalize recreational marijuana nationally, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is keeping key details hazy and allowing arrests to continue while parliament debates his plan.

Trudeau’s justice minister introduced proposed laws Thursday in the Ottawa legislature that set a minimum consumption age of 18, with individual provinces allowed to raise it as they see fit. Rules on retail sales will also be left to the provinces, with the government targeting legalization by July 2018 for a market analysts estimate to reach US$4.5 billion by 2021.

❝ Under the bills, possession of up to 30 grams of cannabis would be allowed, and up to four plants can be grown per residence. Exports of marijuana will remain a serious criminal offense and a new penalty for those convicted of impaired driving will be imposed. Details on prices, licensing fees and taxes will be announced in coming months.

The government’s aim is “putting drug dealers and organized crime out of the cannabis business,” Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said in a statement accompanying the legislation. “It will allow law enforcement to focus on other serious offences, including the distribution of cannabis to children and youth and driving under the influence of drugs.”…

❝ Trudeau’s proposal — expanding on medical marijuana, which is already legal in Canada — is expected to spur merger activity and insiders…are already taking profits. The governing Liberals have a majority in the House of Commons that will all but guarantee the legislation’s passage. The country’s Senate typically rubber-stamps legislation, though has grown more unpredictable since measures by Trudeau boosted its independence.

All the usual phonies are whining. Nothing new. Same sort of unreal, anti-science, crap promoted by pharmaceutical manufacturers who see diminishing profits in all the US states which have already gone through this process. Still, it will be a big step forward for a G7 nation. Pointing out the silliness and hypocrisy of the rest of that political establishment.

Support for legal cannabis in the United States surged in 2016


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Public support for marijuana legalization surged in 2016, according to data just released from the General Social Survey.

Last year 57 percent of Americans told the survey’s pollsters that they “think the use of marijuana should be legal,” up from 52 percent in 2014.

❝ The numbers from the General Social Survey — a large nationwide survey conducted every two years and widely considered to represent the gold standard for public opinion research — comport with other national surveys last year, which found support ranging from the upper 50s to low 60s.

But the survey indicates two significant fault lines when it comes to marijuana policy: age and political party. Fully two-thirds of respondents ages 18 to 34 supported legalization in the survey, as well as majorities of those ages 35 to 49 and 50 to 64. But seniors 65 and older stood apart, with only 42 percent supporting legalization.

Lots of my peers really are chickenshit about entering the 21st Century.

❝ Breaking the numbers down by political affiliation tells a slightly different story. In the early 2000s, opposition to marijuana legalization was more or less a bipartisan issue. Only 29 percent of Democrats and 26 percent of Republicans voiced support for legal weed in 2000…

Since then, support for legalization among Democrats and independents has risen much faster than among Republicans. In 2016, more than 60 percent of the former two groups supported legal marijuana. Among Republicans support stood at only 40 percent, a gap of more than 20 percentage points between Democrats and independents on the one hand, and Republicans on the other.

❝ …With victories for legalization in California, Nevada, Maine and Massachusetts last year, roughly 1-in-5 Americans will soon have access to legal marijuana in their home states…But many lawmakers and law enforcement groups remain resolutely opposed to legalization. In Massachusetts, one of the most reliably Democratic states in the nation, lawmakers lobbied strongly against last fall’s voter-approved ballot initiative, and have been working since then to delay implementation of the measure. Similar efforts are underfoot in nearby Maine…

Ayup. Our lawmakers tend to be better at foot-dragging [knuckle-dragging?] than providing leadership.

❝ Meanwhile, Canadian lawmakers are expected to formally announce that nationwide marijuana legalization will be implemented by July of 2018, meaning that for Americans in northern border states, a legal pot fix is just a crossing away.

Canada will stroll past the United States to become cannabis capital

…Chief executive of Denver’s largest marijuana dispensary…Andy Williams struggles with a lot of financial hurdles.

The First Bank of Colorado closed the accounts of everyone in the family business, Medicine Man Technologies, including children who have no part in the industry. Williams can’t take on any investment and needs to fund expansion through personal loans from friends and family.

Customers can only pay in cash; banks refuse to hold his money and everyone from employees to contractors need to accept cash payments. Employees, who can’t prove their income as a result, often struggle to get loans and mortgages.

Furthermore, section 280E of the US tax code prohibits the deduction of expenses related to controlled substances for tax purposes, and Williams predicts that he gives the internal revenue service an additional $600,000 each year as a result of business expenses that can’t be written off.

While recreational marijuana legalisation is well on its way in states like Colorado, it remains illegal at the federal level, stifling the growth and innovation of the industry’s first movers.

Our elected officials waver from know-nothing moralists to anti-science hypocrites to old-fashioned cowards. Most know better. Damned few have the courage to act.

Meanwhile, north of the border, Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau has vowed to legalise recreational marijuana consumption on a federal level, opening the door to investment, less restrictive tax policies and banks that can treat the marijuana industry like any other. While legalisation hasn’t yet taken place in Canada, when it inevitably does American marijuana businesses may suddenly find themselves at a disadvantage.

“They’ll be first to market,” says Williams. “There’s going to be a lot of development and innovation in Canada that’s going to spur economic growth and attract investment. First to market is going to get a lot of attention, so it’s a lost opportunity for the United States if and when that happens.”…

“The real setback will be longer term in their jump in developing that intellectual property, whether that’s in producing marijuana or developing brands or discovering new uses for cannabis in the medical field,” he said. “It’s the long-term effect of being behind the eight ball that I’m concerned about.”

Recreational marijuana is still illegal in Canada but many look to its medicinal marijuana system, which is considered among the best in the world, as a sign of things to come. Health Canada, the country’s federal health authority, already regulates over one million square feet of approved marijuana production space spread across 30 industrial-sized facilities…

Recreational legalization in Canada, however, could force policymakers in the US to modernize their federal policies in order to level the playing field.

Between populist hypocrite dope-smokers and spineless liberal hypocrite dope-smokers, our elected officials are doomed to a reaction policy roughly akin to snails racing to escape roadrunners. Trudeau in Canada will be replacing lost revenue from previous conservative government’s allegiance to fossil fuel producers. Obama – and whoever next sits in the Oval Office confronting a Congress populated with close-minded Republicans and centrist-dominated Democrats – will continue to dither and panic over popularity polls that show American consumers ready and willing to move ahead on legalizing cannabis as readily as they have every other so-called controversy petrifying the brains of our spoon-fed politicians.

Other nations in the educated world will continue to remind Americans there ain’t any greatness associated with being backwards, governed by fear.

Marijuana trade employs more than 100,000 – in a fraction of the country

As the calendar turns to 4/20 — the unofficial holiday for marijuana — it’s not just weed enthusiasts who are celebrating. The number of jobs in the pot industry has surged in recent years, fueled by more states legalizing the drug. In fact, there are about as many employees of legal weed businesses as there are insurance underwriters, Web developers or nurse practitioners, according to Marijuana Business Daily. Cannabis is legal for adult recreational use in Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington and the District of Columbia, and it’s available for medical purposes in 24 states.

Honest jobs, bringing more employment than coal mines, less political pollution than Republican hot air or Tea Party hate speech. If the Two Old Parties – or even one of them – ever joins the 21st Century, we might have a faster growing economy. Certainly mellower. 🙂

Weed dollar$ a fact of life — even for New Mexico Republicans

One of the last singles by the late Merle Haggard was a fun little tune he sang with his old crony, Willie Nelson, and younger country star, Jamey Johnson, called “It’s All Going to Pot.” With obvious glee radiating from their weathered voices, Hag and his pals sang, “It’s all going to pot / Whether we like it or not…”

Yep, it looks like they do smoke marijuana in Muskogee after all…

…The message of “It’s All Going to Pot” rang loud and clear in New Mexico at the revelation that House Majority Leader Nate Gentry, R-Albuquerque, had taken in at least $13,500 from marijuana businesses. According to a report by New Mexico In Depth, Gentry reported that the lion’s share of that amount was from Ultra Health LLC, a medical marijuana producer and its founder, Duke Rodriguez, a former Lovelace Medical Center executive. Rodriguez also served for a year or so as secretary of the state Human Services Department under then Gov. Gary Johnson in the mid-1990s.

Rodriguez spoke at a news conference during this year’s Legislature in which Albuquerque pollster Brian Sanderoff announced a new poll for the Drug Policy Alliance showing 61 percent of those interviewed support legalization of marijuana for adults 21 or older.

Some were surprised that the House Republican leader was getting contributions from the marijuana industry. But I wasn’t. It’s true that Gentry is a strong ally of Gov. Susana Martinez, probably the most prominent anti-marijuana drug warrior in the state. But back in 2013, he was one of two Republican House members who voted in favor of a bill that would have drastically reduced criminal penalties for marijuana possession…

I think as laws against marijuana continue to crumble and the demand grows for product, you’re going to be seeing a lot more Republicans getting into the business and a lot more GOP politicians getting money from marijuana producers.

Take it from Merle and Willie: “It’s all going to pot / Whether we like it or not. …”

There’s more meat in the whole article. Read it here.

If you’re a New Mexican you already know Steve Terrell as the primo political reporter in the state. If he says there’s is progress being made in the minds and wallets of state Republicans, my cynical heart has to take his word.

Colombian President Santos signs a decree legalising medical marijuana

Colombia’s President Juan Manuel Santos has signed a decree legalizing the growing and sale of marijuana for medical purposes, a dramatic shift in a country long identified with US-backed policies to stamp out drug crops.

Santos said the new regulatory framework was long overdue given that Colombians had been consuming marijuana and marijuana-based products in a legal void for years…

With the new rules, Colombia joins countries from Mexico to Chile that have experimented with legalization or decriminalization as part of a wave of changing attitudes toward drug use and policies to combat it in Latin America…

Proponents of the new approach say as many as 400,000 Colombians suffering from epilepsy and other ailments could benefit from the clearer regulatory framework.

Colombians for two decades have been allowed to possess small quantities of any narcotic for personal use due to a series of constitutional court rulings guaranteeing the “free development of one’s personality”.

But the congress and the executive branch have been loath to endorse such views, in part because of officials’ skittishness about showing any weakness in a country that is the biggest supplier of cocaine to the US…

President Santos, who has acknowledged smoking pot as a journalism student in the 1970s at the University of Kansas, repeated his commitment that the new rules only apply for medical and scientific purposes, not recreational use.

Well, that’s his position this week. Maybe – when Obama isn’t looking – he’ll let a little more reality sneak into law in Colombia, eh?