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Data Dive: Does Legalization Hurt Beer Sales?

Some segments of the alcohol industry fear the coming of cannabis legalization—and they’re expressing that anxiety with big donations to defeat ballot measures this November.

In Massachusetts, the Beer Distributors of Massachusetts PAC, a political action committee representing 16 of the state’s beer distributors, has donated $25,000 in the fight against legalization. Earlier this month the Wine & Spirit Wholesalers of Massachusetts donated $50,000 to fight Question 4, the state’s adult use proposal. In Arizona, the Arizona Wine and Spirits Wholesale Association has given $10,000 to a group opposing Prop. 205 legalization in that state.

What’s the fear? Loss of market share to cannabis, apparently.

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In an SEC filing last February, the Boston Beer Company, maker of Samuel Adams, noted that “certain states are considering or have passed laws and regulations that allow the sale and distribution of marijuana. It is possible that legal marijuana usage could adversely impact the demand for the company’s product.” Daniel Rees, an economics professor at the University of Colorado, Denver, predicted three years ago that the legalization of cannabis would drive consumers to choose marijuana over beer.

But has cannabis legalization actually affected beer sales?

Not according to the data.

We dug into beer sales and state alcohol tax figures in Colorado and Washington, the states with the longest record of adult-use cannabis sales. (Alcohol tax rates have remained the same over that period, so alcohol tax revenue is a good indicator of sales trends.) The result? Alcohol sales tax revenue has grown steadily over the past several years, before and after cannabis became legal for adult use. Here’s what it looks like in a single image:

Tax Revenue From Cannabis, Beer, and Wine in Washington State

As cannabis sales skyrocketed in Washington, beer and wine sales were unaffected. As cannabis sales skyrocketed in Washington, beer and wine sales were unaffected.

In Washington State, tax revenue from beer, wine, and hard alcohol sales has increased steadily over the past three years. Beer tax revenue went from $29.9 million in 2014, to $30.7 million in 2015, and has increased to $31.4 million so far in 2016.

In Colorado, alcohol sales tax revenue has grown steadily since 2011. In the two years prior to cannabis legalization, tax revenue increased at a steady rate, from $38.9 million to $40.1 million. Then, in 2014, the state’s total net tax receipts for all forms of alcohol grew to $40.9 million. In 2015, net alcohol revenue increased to $41.8 million.

In Oregon, the data is limited. But it, too, shows a steady gain in beer production and sales. Adult-use cannabis went on sale in Oregon in October 2015. During June 2015, Oregon brewers produced and sold 54,272 barrels of beer. Nearly one year later, in June 2016, the number of barrels sold increased to 62,800. That’s market growth of 15 percent. Most industries would call that a banner year. 

In Oregon, beer production and sales increased 15% after legalization.

So alcohol sales—and specifically beer sales—have continued to steadily increase in states that have legalized the adult use of cannabis.

In fact, that increase in alcohol sales in adult-use states bucks the national trend for alcohol, with sales flat to slightly down. According to tax revenue data from the U.S. Treasury Department’s Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, alcohol sales brought in $10.1 billion in tax revenue nationwide in 2012. That figure dipped to $10.0 billion in 2013, rose to $10.4 billion in 2014, and held steady in 2015.

Revenue from beer sales fluctuated nationally, too. In 2012, beer sales brought in $3.7 billion in tax revenue nationwide. In 2013, that figure dipped to $3.5 billion. In 2014, it rose to $3.7 billion, and last year it fell again to $3.6 billion.

Nationwide: Beer and total alcohol sales tax revenue

National trends: Beer sales are off slightly, while total alcohol sales maintain. National trends: Beer sales are off slightly, while total alcohol sales maintain.

The upshot: Alcohol sales have increased slightly nationwide over the past four years. Beer sales are down slightly. In states that have legalized adult-use cannabis, alcohol sales—and beer sales in particular—have grown steadily.

So while the brewers of Sam Adams worry that “legal marijuana usage could adversely impact the demand” for Boston Lager, the data tell a different story.

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Stoned Sex vs. Drunk Sex: Which is Better?

This week’s mailbag question is all about cannabis versus alcohol during sex. Our dear reader submitted the following query:

“I tried to masturbate while tipsy last night and it felt like it took forever and I didn’t enjoy it as much. When I masturbate while high, it feels fantastic. Is cannabis the better choice?

Ah, the big debate. What’s more conducive to pleasure and fulfilling sexual experiences: cannabis or alcohol? I’ve always hypothesized that cannabis is better for sex. It certainly has been in my experience and from anecdotes I’ve heard from others, but before now I had no science to back it up.

Recently, however, sex researcher Dr. Justin Lehmiller posted highlights from a new study about this exact question on his blog. Twenty-four heterosexual adults (12 cisgender men and 12 cis women) in New York City were interviewed about their recent experiences using cannabis before sex and alcohol before sex.

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Dr. Lehmiller provides highlights of the data along with some of his own impressions. He does a great job covering the whole study in his post, so I’m just going to pull out a couple of relevant quotes from the actual study. One thing to keep in mind is that this study was focusing on partnered sex, not solo sex, but I think the findings are still relevant to your question.

“…alcohol tended to numb sensation and marijuana tended to enhance sensation” (Palamar, Acosta, Ompad, Friedman 2016 pg. 8). This finding supports your experience that “it took forever” while you were tipsy. Because alcohol is a depressant, it dulls sensation. Think about the old movies when someone would have an injury and need stitches, and another person would hand them a bottle of whiskey to dull the pain. Same idea. Conversely, I’ve found cannabis makes consumers more present and aware of their bodies, especially with lower doses.

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“Numerous participants felt that they were still able to make good decisions on marijuana and maintain self-control, more so than when intoxicated on alcohol. Additionally some participants reported that marijuana did not adversely affect memory of the interaction compared to alcohol” (Palamar, Acosta, Ompad, Friedman 2016 pg. 10). This means you can enjoy masturbating or having partnered sex while consuming cannabis and you’re more likely to remember it and feel in control while you’re doing it. I’d say that’s a huge point in the plus column for cannabis!

“Related to partner choice, it was not surprising that marijuana use reportedly led to more post-sex satisfaction than alcohol. Users generally did not feel they experienced memory impairment or poor judgment after using marijuana, but they did feel they commonly experienced this from alcohol” (Palamar, Acosta, Ompad, Friedman 2016 pg. 10). This is important to keep in mind, because while I am a vociferous advocate for the mindful combination of cannabis and sex, I am equally passionate about not combining alcohol intoxication with sex. One cannot legally consent when intoxicated. I would love to see future studies focus entirely on one’s perceived ability to give consent when using cannabis, but this study is a good start.

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A quick note on the study — Dr. Lehmiller states in his conclusion, “let me caution that these findings come from a very small study and we should therefore avoid the temptation to generalize them broadly. Also, keep in mind that these findings are based on self-report data, not a tightly controlled experiment. As such, people may not recall precisely how much of each substance was consumed, and they may not even know things like which strain of marijuana they were using…More research is certainly needed.”

This caveat is an important one, and one of the reasons I respect Dr. Lehmiller’s work so much. We shouldn’t look at a study with a sample size this small and use it to make sweeping generalizations. The greatest value in this study, for me, is the very fact that it exists. With any luck this will be one of many studies on the possible effects of cannabis on sexuality.

What do you think about cannabis versus alcohol for sex and pleasure? Let us know in the comments!

Do you have a sex, relationships, or intimacy dating question? Send it to tips@leafly.com and I may address your request in a future article! (Don’t worry, we’ll keep your queries anonymous.)

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WSU Study to Look at Law Enforcement Since Legalization

Washington State University researchers are undertaking a $1 million, three-year study of how the state’s legalization of cannabis has affected law enforcement and crime.

According to officials, the study will look at state, count, and tribal police jurisdictions, as well as policing in neighboring states.

Marty Stohr, a principal investigator and professor of criminal justice and criminology, said that legalization has created a “great natural experiment” for studying the effect of changing cannabis policies on law enforcement and society in general.

“There’s plenty of people starting to look into this area because it has such a huge potential impact on our communities and families and because it’s a retreat from the war on drugs,” she said. “Our investigation will look at the people with the boots on the ground in that war, the folks that actually have to deliver policy and have to interact with the public and deal with the implications of the policy.”

Some are hoping the study may lead to a set of law enforcement “best practices” that might be helpful to police departments in other states that legalize cannabis, said Dale Willits, the study’s co-investigator and WSU assistant professor of criminal justice and criminology.

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The National Institute of Justice, a research agency within the U.S. Department of Justice, will be funding the study. The research will compare how law enforcement officers handle cannabis-related crime and offenders before and after legalization. It will also examine the effects of legalization on crime, clearance rates, or crimes that result in charges, and other activities across Washington, including urban, rural, tribal, and border areas.

The researchers plan to attack their project three ways. They will conduct in-depth case studies of ten law enforcement agencies, using historical and statistical information, interviews, focus groups and an analysis of camera footage. A second tier of the research will analyze arrests, reported crimes, crime clearance rates and traffic stops in the ten jurisdictions both before and after implementation of I-502. A third tier will involve a similar analysis for cities, counties, and statewide in Washington, Idaho and Oregon.

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9 States to Vote on Expanding Legal Access to Cannabis

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — From California, with its counterculture heritage, to the fishing ports and mill towns of Maine, millions of Americans in nine states have a chance to vote Nov. 8 on expanding legal access to marijuana. Collectively, the ballot measures amount to the closest the U.S. has come to a national referendum on the drug.

Five states — Arizona, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Nevada — will consider legalizing the recreational use of cannabis. Three others — Florida, Arkansas and North Dakota — will decide whether to permit marijuana for medical purposes. Montana will weigh whether to ease restrictions on an existing medical marijuana law.

As the most populous state, with a reputation for trend-setting, California is attracting the most attention — and money — in an intensifying debate over Proposition 64.

Silicon Valley tycoons and deep-pocketed donors with connections to the legal medical marijuana industry are among the top financial backers of a pro-pot campaign that has raised almost $17 million. Opponents have raised slightly more than $2 million, including a $1.4 million contribution from retired Pennsylvania art professor Julie Schauer.

“Most people believe marijuana should be legal. It’s a question of whether opponents do a good job of scaring them out of doing it now.”

Mason Tvert, Marijuana Policy Project

Advocates on both sides say passage in California would likely ignite legalization movements in other states, especially when the tax dollars start adding up. California’s nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office estimated the state could collect up to $1 billion a year in marijuana taxes.

“As California goes, so goes the nation,” said University of California, Berkeley political science professor Alan Ross.

If “yes” votes prevail across the country, about 75 million people accounting for more than 23 percent of the U.S. population would live in states where recreational marijuana is legal. The jurisdictions where that’s already the case — Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington state and the District of Columbia — have about 18 million residents, or 5.6 percent of the population. Twenty-five states allow medical marijuana.

According to national polls, a solid majority of Americans support legalization. Gallup’s latest survey gauged support at 58 percent, up from 12 percent from when the question was first posed in 1969. Gallup says 13 percent of U.S. adults report using marijuana at present, nearly double the percentage who reported consuming cannabis in 2013.

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California voters rejected an attempt to legalize recreational marijuana in 2010 after campaign leaders struggled to raise money and support for a four-page ballot measure hastily written by the owner of a small medicinal marijuana store.

This time, the 62-page ballot measure was crafted by political professionals and has the backing of many elected officials, including Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, who is running for governor in 2018. Current Gov. Jerry Brown says he’s close to announcing his position.

The measure would allow people 21 and older to legally possess up to an ounce of cannabis and grow six marijuana plants at home. Cannabis sales would be subject to various tax rates that would be deposited into the state’s Marijuana Tax Fund. Most of that money would be spent on substance-abuse education and treatment. Some would be used to repair environmental damage caused by illegal growers.

Opponents argue that the measure will do more harm than good by opening a marijuana market dominated by small farmers to corporate interests and encouraging children to use the drug through infused sweets like gummy bears, cookies and brownies.

The proposal “favors the interests of wealthy corporations over the good of the everyday consumer, adopting policies that work against public health,” said Kevin Sabet, co-founder of the California-based advocacy group Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

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Napster founder and early Facebook investor Sean Parker has contributed more than $3 million to the legalization effort, which has also attracted sizable contributions from an organization backed by billionaire George Soros and another backed by Weedmaps, which rates marijuana stores throughout the state.

“It’s a huge deal and it’s long overdue,” said Steven DeAngelo, owner of one of the nation’s largest medicinal marijuana dispensaries and a Proposition 64 supporter.

In most of the states with marijuana ballot measures, polls have shown the “yes” side leading. Sabet believes opponents of legalization would attract more support if they could narrow a large fundraising gap and spread their cautionary messages. He does not buy the other side’s argument that nationwide legalization will come sooner or later.

“Repeating that this is inevitable, and repeating they are so excited, is part of their narrative to makes folks like us feel helpless,” he said.

Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project, a leading pro-legalization group, said his side has a chance to win in most of the nine states, but some losses will not derail the movement.

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“Even if a measure doesn’t pass, support will grow,” he said, citing failed ballot measures in Oregon and Colorado that preceded the victories for legalization.

“Most people believe marijuana should be legal. It’s a question of whether opponents do a good job of scaring them out of doing it now,” Tvert added. “We might see people opt to wait a couple more years.”

All five states voting on recreational marijuana have seen intense debate over the effect of legalization in the states that have already taken that step.

Opponents of the ballot measures make an array of claims, contending, for example, that Colorado’s legalization has coincided with an increase in crime in Denver and fueled a jump in the number of traffic fatalities linked to marijuana use.

However, an analysis by three academic experts, published this month by the libertarian-leaning Cato Institute, asserted that the impact of legalization has been minimal.

“The data so far provide little support for the strong claims about legalization made by either opponents or supporters,” the analysis said.

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Harvard University economist Jeffrey Miron, one of the co-authors of the study, predicted Californians would approve Proposition 64, but he was less certain of the outcome in his home state of Massachusetts, where Republican Gov. Charlie Baker and the Democratic mayor of Boston, Marty Walsh, have teamed up to oppose legalization.

Miron said it’s difficult to predict when legalization might get support in Congress or surge to approval in a majority of states.

“I’m not sure if this November will get us to the tipping point. It may be two or four more years,” he said. “Certain things seem impossible, until all of a sudden they are possible, and they happen fast.”

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In Photos: California Wildfire Endangers Cannabis Crops

A drought-fueled inferno that began in California this week intensified on Tuesday, destroying homes, scorching dry brush and timber, and putting hundreds of cannabis plants in jeopardy.

The blaze, which started Monday about 30 miles south of San Jose, had reduced at least two houses to rubble and threatened more than 300 buildings by Tuesday afternoon. No injuries had been reported at the time, but property damage was widespread.

Anthony Lopez harvests <strong><a href=marijuana plants as the Loma fire burns around his home near Morgan Hill, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)" width="840" height="526" />Anthony Lopez harvests marijuana plants as the Loma fire burns around his home near Morgan Hill, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Anthony Lopez harvests <strong><a href=marijuana plants as the Loma fire burns around his home near Morgan Hill, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)" width="840" height="526" />Anthony Lopez harvests marijuana plants as the Loma fire burns around his home near Morgan Hill, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)
Anthony Lopez harvests marijuana plants as the Loma fire burns around his home near Morgan Hill, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)Anthony Lopez harvests marijuana plants as the Loma fire burns around his home near Morgan Hill, Calif., on Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Firefighters have struggled to control the wildfire in the face of tinder-dry humidity and temperatures in the upper 90s. Difficult terrain and other obstacles have also slowed responders’ efforts to extinguish the flames, the Associated Press reports:

One remote area where the fire burned is 30 minutes up a winding dirt road. Another is dotted with large-scale marijuana growing operations. A main route along the ridgetop is not accessible, even to firefighters, because of downed utility lines.

Resident Anthony Lopez, who grows cannabis plants, returned to his home Tuesday despite still being under evacuation orders. The AP reports he was “overjoyed” to find his dozens of cannabis plants still standing—and his 1972 Buick Skylark uncharred—but other growers haven’t been so lucky.

Last month another Northern California fire caused more than $10 million in damages—including cannabis plants that belonged to Lower Lake resident James McCauley. The plants were effectively destroyed after being coated by bright pink fire retardant, and newspapers around the world showed him weeping over the lost crop.

Marijuana plants are covered in fire retardant near the remains of a burned out house in Lower Lake, Calif., Monday, Aug. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)Marijuana plants are covered in fire retardant near the remains of a burned out house in Lower Lake, Calif., Monday, Aug. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)
James McCauley weeps while looking over the burned out remains of his prized marijuana plant and what's left of his residence in the town of Lower Lake, Calif. on August 15, 2016. McCauley traversed a creek by boat for a half mile to see the property. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)James McCauley weeps while looking over the burned out remains of his prized marijuana plant and what’s left of his residence in the town of Lower Lake, Calif. on August 15, 2016. McCauley traversed a creek by boat for a half mile to see the property. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)
A firefighter walks through marijuana plants as mop-up continued during the Clayton fire after structures were destroyed in Lower Lake, Calif., Monday, Aug. 15, 2016. (Hector Amezcua/The Sacramento Bee via AP)A firefighter walks through marijuana plants as mop-up continued during the Clayton fire after structures were destroyed in Lower Lake, Calif., Monday, Aug. 15, 2016. (Hector Amezcua/The Sacramento Bee via AP)
Marijuana plants are covered in fire retardant near the remains of a burned out house in Lower Lake, Calif., Monday, Aug. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)Marijuana plants are covered in fire retardant near the remains of a burned out house in Lower Lake, Calif., Monday, Aug. 15, 2016. (AP Photo/Josh Edelson)

“This fire is a good reminder that even though we are approaching October, this time of year is historically when we experience the largest and most damaging wildfires,” Cal Fire spokesman Daniel Berlant told the AP.

Farmers of cannabis and other agricultural products in California have long worried over water supplies in the state, and concerns have deepened as the weather grows hotter and dryer. A provision of Prop. 64, a measure on November’s ballot that would legalize cannabis for adult use in California, goes so far as to prohibit additional cultivation in regional watersheds that can’t support it. But as this summer’s wildfires show, a warming climate can mean more than water woes for California growers.

Lead Photo: AP/Noah Berger

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Oakland Rolls Out Drug War Reparations

Amid growing concern about racial inequity in the cannabis industry, the City of Oakland is attempting to create what is possibly the world’s first drug war reparations program. Under its “equity permits” system, applicants with marijuana convictions will go to the head of the line for new medical cannabis licenses in certain neighborhoods. It’s a bold and controversial program, and it comes up for another debate tonight during a meeting of the Oakland City Council’s Public Safety Committee.

The City Council made national waves back in May when it originally approved the program. That vote was part of an expansion of the city’s legal medical cannabis industry — with new licenses for bakers, farms, hash-makers and delivery services. Under the terms of the equity program, every other new license must go to a qualified Equity Permit Program applicant. To qualify, the applying canna-business must be majority-owned by a drug war victim — specifically, residents of a handful of police beats in some of Oakland’s roughest neighborhoods, or marijuana sellers convicted in Oakland within the last ten years.

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Oakland city councilmember Desley Brooks represents many in those police beats. She sponsored the amendment that created the equity program. The city’s own Cannabis Regulatory Commission howled in protest, saying Brooks steamrolled 18 months of research and public input. Critics of the program say it will bottleneck Oakland’s medical cannabis expansion and cripple its competitiveness statewide.

But almost no one knows what it’ll actually do, because it’s never been tried. According to insiders, it’s not clear when or where applicants start lining up for the potentially lucrative program. Potential market distortions will take months or years to become clear.

“Oakland is the first jurisdiction in the world to recognize the disproportionate harms of cannabis prohibition by building it into their regulations,” says Amanda Reiman, the marijuana law and policy manager for the Drug Policy Alliance. “There is a wide recognition of these disparities, but Oakland is the first to take on institutionalizing a response.”

Too many in prison, too few in business

Compared to whites, people of color are vastly over-represented in America’s jails and prisons, while vastly under-represented among legal cannabis businesses. As medical and recreational legalization grows into an estimated $40 billion industry by 2020, a bitter truth has emerged: Black market players are largely barred from going legitimate. Most state rules refuse licenses to drug felons, for reasons of public safety.

Even amidst decriminalization, large racial disparities exist among those who get ticketed. Blacks are about four times as likely as whites to get a cannabis  possession ticket in California, new research shows.

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“Policies in the U.S. have been designed to allow certain people to flourish and others to perish,” says Reiman. “In any other industry, those with the capital and privilege to begin with are often the ones who succeed, save for the folks who are plucked out of their communities for being unique or special in some way. In America, involvement with the criminal justice system is typically a barrier to success too high for most to see over, let alone climb over. The American public knows this, and regards this with disdain, but is complacent. We have a chance with the newly legal cannabis industry to flip the script, not only by providing opportunities specifically to those most often denied them, but by showing the world that people are not their pasts.”

Elsewhere in the country, similar efforts are growing. Cities like Portland, Oregon are championing expungement clinics to wipe records clean. In 2017, Oregon convictions for serious cannabis felonies, like manufacturing, that are at least ten years old can also be sealed.

When the City of Berkeley issued a dispensary permit to entrepreneur Sue Taylor earlier this year, she became one of only a handful of African-American dispensary owners in the United States. Berkeley councilmembers selected Taylor not only for her winning application, but to increase diversity among providers in the famously progressive city.

Would Prop 64 change things?

Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., left, smiles next to Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom at a news conference after speaking in support of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act ballot measure in San Francisco, Wednesday, May 4, <strong>2016</strong>. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., left, smiles next to Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom at a news conference after speaking in support of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act ballot measure (Prop. 64) in San Francisco last May. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

California’s Proposition 64, the California Adult Use of Marijuana Act, would build on recent efforts to reduce burdens on the formerly incarcerated. The proposal includes a provision for record expungement, and re-sentencing for those in prison.

But what Oakland is doing is the boldest move seen thus far. Law enforcement officials routinely ask lawmakers to bar people with past felonies from the legal cannabis industry. They usually argue that the prohibition is necessary to prevent criminals from infiltrating the legal regulated industry. Now, Oakland will explicitly let them in.

There may still be obstacles to the program’s implementation. It’s possible that denied license applicants could sue the city, claiming unequal opportunity. Many people have been harmed by the drug war who don’t live in the select police beats, or who pled out to a lesser charge. The minority female marijuana owner interest group Supernova Women argued as much at City Hall.

Oakland lawmakers have promised to keep tweaking the Equity Program and lead the discussion on ending America’s mass incarceration epidemic. Earlier this summer the Council approved a resolution asking state legislators to expunge cannabis-related criminal records, and to remove restrictions excluding individuals with cannabis-related offenses from participating in the cannabis industry.

Lori Ajax, California’s medical marijuana regulator, appears to be aware of the equity issue. Her spokesperson has said that state license applicants will not be automatically barred for a past conviction. Under state law they “may” be, but Ajax’s Bureau of Medical Marijuana Regulation plans to decide on a case-by-case basis, and “evaluate the seriousness of the crime at that point,” she told the Los Angeles Times.

A good model to copy, with revisions

Other cities should mimic Oakland’s new program in some form, said Dr. James E Sulton Jr., one of the nation’s rare African-American cannabis entrepreneurs. Sulton, a former Howard University faculty member, co-owns A Bud & Leaf, a retail cannabis store in Olympia, Washington.

“Slowly abolishing marijuana prohibition will eventually shrink a racially biased legal system, but more needs to be done to change the economic dynamics that favor one race over another,” he told Leafly. “Only by promoting economic access can we correct the discrimination of a failed legal system. Legal reforms must be coupled with economic considerations that ensure fairness and diversity in business.”

Sulton offered examples of regulations that work toward inclusiveness for entrepreneurs of color. “Rules requiring that marijuana stores are sufficiently spaced apart and located in diverse neighborhoods create healthy competition and encourage entrepreneurship,” he said. “Residency requirements also help ensure that local entrepreneurs are not crowded out of the market. Most important, the boards overseeing the issuing of licenses for marijuana businesses should themselves have adequate representation of minorities.”

“Federal law mandates that a small percentage of government contracts go to economically or socially disadvantaged owners – essentially minority-owned businesses,” Sulton added. For decades, government agencies have used marijuana to criminalize minorities. To rectify that, Sulton said, “state and local governments that have some form of legal pot should go a step further in identifying opportunities to be more inclusive regarding industry rules governing past drug offenders.”

Amanda Reiman considers Oakland’s new program to be part of a broader trend toward more awareness of inequities across all American industries. “The lack of gender and racial diversity among top American business people has been shameful for decades,” she said. “There is a real interest in ensuring that the face of the legal cannabis industry looks different than the face of American industry.”

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Maryland Medical Marijuana Applicant Plans to Sue Over Lack of Diversity

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — An applicant for a license to grow medical marijuana in Maryland plans to sue a state commission for allegedly failing to consider racial diversity when the panel named the top 15 finalists, a lawyer for the applicant said Tuesday.

John Pica, who represents Alternative Medicine Maryland, said the applicant plans to file the lawsuit next week against the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission. Pica said Alternative Medicine wants to stop the panel from taking further action on awarding licenses until it follows a provision in state law requiring diversity to be considered in the process. Alternative Medicine is led by Dr. Greg Daniels, a black physician and businessman.

“They went out of their way to achieve geographic diversity but didn’t do anything to achieve racial diversity.”

John Pica, lawyer for Alternative Medicine Maryland

It will be the third lawsuit filed against the commission by would-be marijuana growers in a highly-competitive process. Green Thumb Industries and GTI Maryland filed lawsuits this month after they were bumped out of the top 15 by the commission and replaced by two other applicants in order to fulfill geographic diversity stipulations in the law. There were 146 applicants for the 15 licenses the law currently allows.

“The statute states the commission shall actively seek to achieve ethnic, racial and geographic diversity in awarding medical cannabis grower licenses, so they went out of their way to achieve geographic diversity but didn’t do anything to achieve racial diversity,” Pica said.

Dr. Paul Davies wrote in a letter published on the commission’s website this month that the commission took “every possible step” to include racial diversity as a weighted component. However, Davies said the commission removed the provisions from the final regulations, after receiving legal advice from the attorney general’s office.

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The advice noted that constitutional limits would prevent the commission from conducting race- or ethnicity-conscious licensing without a disparity study showing past discrimination in similar programs. A spokeswoman for the attorney general’s office, however, noted later that nothing would have prevented the commission from conducting such a study on its own.

Davies met with Attorney General Brian Frosh this month and said the commission will worth with the attorney general to address diversity concerns.

“We believe that diversity is in the best interest of the industry and an important responsibility,” Davies wrote on the commission’s website. “The commission will continue to work with the legislature to help solve these complex problems.”

Del. Cheryl Glenn, the head of the Legislative Black Caucus, has criticized the commission for the lack of diversity in finalists. The Baltimore Democrat has said plans to address diversity concerns may include emergency legislation early in the next legislative session.

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How to Make a Joint Burn Slower and Last Longer

Proper joint rolling is considered a fine art in many social circles. There’s something special about a properly rolled, evenly burning joint that seems to last as long as you want it to. Unfortunately, not all of us have the magic green touch and joint rolling can be somewhat of a cumbersome task.

One opportunity that plagues rollers from all levels of experience is being able to extend the life of a joint. Understanding how to make a joint burn slower is a question that has surfed the cannabis forums for some time. To achieve longer, more leisurely smoke sessions, here are a few tips to help make your joints last longer.

1. Grind Your Cannabis

make joints burn slower by grinding your <strong><a href=marijuana" width="840" height="526" />

Ensuring an even and fine grind is imperative not only to achieving a longer lasting smoke, but a far more even burn on all sides of the joint. Try to find a grinder that gives a good fine grind when packing a joint. Be sure not to over grind, as powdery herb will prevent proper airflow and may compromise your smoking experience.

Grinders come in all shapes and sizes, so be sure to pick one that will accommodate the capacity of your joint so you aren’t left having to pack multiple loads. When time is of the essence, you’ll want to avoid long preparations to save time for what matters: puffing.

2. Source Quality Starting Material

joints with higher quality <strong>marijuana</strong> bud will burn slower and last longer

Cure time will affect the burn rate of the cannabis inside of your joint, so buying properly cured cannabis is going to ensure you a much longer lasting experience. Cannabis that has been under-cured will burn very slowly, as opposed to dry or old cannabis that will burn far too quickly for a proper joint. Sourcing your herb from reputable establishments is the first step to finding a product that works best.

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Another great tip is to have a conversation with your budtender or cannabis retailer about your intentions so that they can find a cannabis cultivar that fits your exact needs. In this case, you’ll want to ask for something that breaks down easily and will provide an even and long lasting smoke. Many shops sell shake bags that consist of partially ground cannabis, which is a great starting point.

3. Choose the Right Paper

some joint rolling papers burn slower than others

Rolling papers come in all shapes and sizes, and some are much better at providing a long lasting, even smoke than others. Finding the right rolling paper is a matter of preference, but some popular brands include RAW Rolling Papers and Zig Zags. Both of these brands offer highly recommended rolling papers that come in varying sizes. Hemp rolling papers offer a nice even smoke, and many claim that corn husk rolling papers will extend the life of your joint.

4. Use Multiple Sheets

joints can burn slower if two sheets are used when rolling
When rolling your joint, consider using an extra paper for fortification. Using more than one sheet will prevent burn runs from overtaking a side of your joint, leaving you with an uneven and undesirable burn. A second sheet may also help contain airflow, channeling it through a tighter space. This will help to prevent expedited burning.

5. Roll Tight

roll joints tighter for a slower burn rate
Airflow is the name of the game when it comes to having control over your joint’s burn rate. The easiest way to control airflow is to roll a tight, even joint. There are many methods for achieving a tight roll, and even machines that will help eliminate the guess work and dexterity required to achieve a precise roll. Opt for help if need be, because rolling a joint with the perfect tightness requires practice.

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How to Roll a Joint

One method that works well for novice rollers is the canoe method. Fold a rolling paper in half and twist the folded side of one of the ends into a cone. This creates a “canoe” that can be easily packed and rolled. The twisted end contains your herb while you focus on getting the tightest roll possible. Try not to roll too tight, as you’ll risk splitting your paper as well as creating an airflow obstruction.

6. “Twax” Your Joint

adding cannabis wax to joints can help them burn slower

“Twaxing,” or the process of adding cannabis concentrates to your joint, is a terrific way of delivering an extra boost of cannabinoids to your system while also acting as a buffering agent for burn rates. Adding wax either to the outside of your joint or packed in with the ground cannabis will help to significantly slow down the rate at which your joint burns. This method will give you more hits that should pack a considerable punch.

Using butters or crumble works well inside of a joint, whereas shatters and saps do a wonderful job when molded and wrapped around the outside of your rolled apparatus.

7. Recycle Roaches

recycle joint roaches to make them last longer

Typically, the end of a joint will yield the last few remnants of your cannabis. Don’t let this go to waste — there are several ways of recycling roaches in order to extend your smoking experience.

Using a roach clip or roach stone will allow you safe handling for getting those last few puff in. Loading a roach into a bowl or water pipe is also a great way of extending the last legs of life out of your roach. If all else, fails, don’t hesitate to pick the last bit of green goodness out of your expired joint to repurpose somewhere else. Having your grinder nearby is a perfect storage place for that last little bit of leftover ground flower to save for your next smoking adventure.

Hopefully, some of these tips will help you to extend your joint smoking experience a bit longer the next time you decide to partake. Remember, if you really want to make your joints last longer, the trick is to find a balance between quality cannabis, reputable rolling papers, and a roller who knows how to get the job done.

Bonus tip: Quality and quantity will always ensure a longer experience. If you want your smoke sash to last longer, try rolling bigger joints (and more of them). Remember, sharing is caring!

DES Director E-Mails Anti-Prop 205 Campaign Propaganda to Entire Staff

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Arizona voters will decide in November whether to keep zero-tolerance felony laws in place for marijuana or to legalize up to an ounce for adults 21 and older.

Tim Jeffries, the outspoken director of the Arizona Department of Economic Security (DES), wants people to vote no this November on Proposition 205, the ballot measure that seeks to legalize recreational use of marijuana in the state.

Jeffries has donated a total of $1,500 personally to the opposition group, Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy (ARDP), and spoke out about the initiative at least twice on a radio show hosted by Seth Leibsohn, a cofounder of ARDP.

On Monday, DES employees arrived at work to find an e-mail from Jeffries pushing an anti-Prop 205 message from Leibsohn that contained questionable facts.

DES says Jeffries sent the e-mail for “information purposes.” 

But unlike the religious e-mails Jeffries has sent to the 7,700-member DES staff, this one may have run afoul of a July 2015 opinion from state Attorney General Mark Brnovich about the use of taxpayer-funded resources to spread a one-sided political message.

In looking at several Catholic-tinged e-mails Jeffries sent earlier this year, the AG’s Office concluded last month that Jeffries and other DES employees had a First Amendment right to send personal e-mails on state e-mail servers. Jeffries didn’t proselytize; he invited staff to send him prayer letters to take with him on a pilgrimage to a religious site in France, and he has been known to discuss his Catholic faith in DES e-mails and presentations. (He is also one of only 58 DES employees who are able to address a message simultaneously to all employees of the agency.)

The e-mail Jeffries sent from his iPhone on Sunday night may have been composed at his home, in his free time, but it was unabashedly political in nature and nowhere close to neutral in its tone. (Read the full e-mail at the end of this article.)

The e-mail consists of a forwarded mass-mailing from Leibsohn with a hyperlink to a lengthy op-ed Leibsohn published on September 25 on the right-wing website American Greatness.

Jeffries’ e-mail is topped by the subject line, “Fwd: Alcohol ‘safer’ than marijuana???????” and consists of a four-word introduction: “You be the judge.”

Then comes a note from Leibsohn urging recipients to “feel free to use or distribute at will,” followed by the link to his piece on the American Greatness site.

Arizona Department of Economic Security director Tim Jeffries

Jeffries didn’t respond to questions from New Times concerning the e-mail.

“Senior leadership regularly circulates articles and news stories regarding current events,” DES spokeswoman Tasya Peterson tells New Times. “The e-mail sent by Director Jeffries was sent purely for informational purposes.”

Jeffries’ personal donations and public opposition to Prop 205 are in line with those of the man who appointed him to his post, Arizona governor Doug Ducey, who has raised tens of thousands of dollars for ARDP.

J.P. Holyoak, chair of the campaign that put Prop 205 on the ballot, says that if Jeffries is making an honest attempt to inform DES employees about the controversial ballot measure, he ought to be willing to give equal time and access to Leibsohn’s opponents.

“Would he be willing to send a piece from us to all DES staff as well?” Holyoak asks. “If he’s not willing to this, it’s clearly a case of bias rather than one of education.”

Prop 205 aims to make personal amounts of marijuana legal for adults 21 and older and would set up a series of retail stores that favor existing medical-marijuana stores like those Holyoak runs. About 600,000 Arizonans 21 and older regularly use cannabis, according to a state study, but those who don’t have medical-marijuana cards face felony arrest for possession of any quantity of the substance.

Holyoak characterizes Leibsohn’s article as factually inaccurate and written from ARDP’s point of view.

The article, entitled, “When a Lie Travels: Comparing Alcohol to Marijuana,” contains truth-challenged statements.

For instance, Leibsohn writes that “marijuana rarely causes death,” implying that marijuana overdoses are rare. In fact, they’re unknown to science. Leibsohn also writes that while it is “rare” for alcohol to cause a user to require assistance from paramedics, such a need is increasingly commonplace for marijuana users. He does not mention that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that an average of six Americans die from alcohol poisoning every day.

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Campaign records show that as of August 27, Yavapai County Attorney Sheila Polk is the chair of ARDP. She was formerly the co-chair. It’s unclear how Leibsohn’s role at ARDP has changed, but he is still doing work for them, even if as a volunteer. Leibsohn did not return a message seeking comment on Monday.

A statement from Mark Brnovich’s office doesn’t directly address Jeffries’ e-mail but suggests that the DES director should refrain from sending political e-mails that don’t treat both sides of an issue equally.

“The Attorney General’s Office has previously opined on determining when restrictions of public resources for the purposes of influencing the outcomes of elections with regards to ballot measures exist,” the office told New Times in response to a request for comment about the e-mail. “Any communication should be carefully reviewed to determine whether there is a use of public resources, and if so, to insure those resources are not used for the purpose of influencing the outcome of elections in a non-impartial manner.”

Last year, Polk and Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery asked Brnovich to clarify how they might be restricted from using public resources — such as their time or taxpayers’ money — to influence an election. The request stemmed directly out of their interest in using these resources to thwart a ballot measure that recent polls show has a chance of passing. After Brnovich issued an opinion in May 2015 stating that it was permissible for them to use limited public resources for political purposes, a public outcry prompted the attorney general to reconsider, and he withdrew the opinion.

In a revised opinion issued in July 2015, Brnovich all but reversed the original and clarified that after a campaign for an initiative files paperwork with the state, elected officials and public employees may not use public resources “for the purpose of influencing the outcomes of elections.”

The opinion supplies “an objective two-part test” to determine whether a violation might occur:

“(1) was there a use of public resources; (2) if so, were the public resources used ‘for the purpose of influencing the outcomes of elections?'”

Jeffries sent his e-mail on a Sunday at 7:46 p.m., clearly outside of normal working hours. But Brnovich’s opinion could be interpreted as stating that Jeffries’ full-staff recipient list is a “public resource.”

Campaigns routinely pay to obtain lists of contact information for a targeted audience. The DES staff may be thought of as a targeted audience, each member of which has a working e-mail account. (And an e-mail from the boss is very unlikely to wind up in one’s spam folder.) ARDP might have paid thousands for such a list, had one been offered for sale.

“Absolutely” the e-mail list has value, and Jeffries erred in sending it, says a local election attorney who agreed to comment for this story on the condition that his name not be published. The state’s so-called Little Hatch Acts, which Brnovich cites in his opinion, prohibit the use of public resources to influence elections, the attorney points out. While he doesn’t believe Jeffries’ apparent violation is worthy of prosecution, he says, “I think it should be dealt with internally. This is not an appropriate message to send on state e-mail.”

New Times contacted two local political strategists, one Republican and one Democrat. Both agreed to speak on the condition that their names not be published.

“Clearly there would be a market value to [the e-mail address list],” says the Republican strategist, who is not connected to the Prop 205 campaign. Jeffries’ mass mailing doesn’t pass the “smell test,” he adds.

The Democratic strategist says that even if someone tried to market a list of 7,700 DES employees, consultants “wouldn’t touch it with a 10-foot pole” out of ethical considerations, and also because it could come back to “haunt” whoever tried to use it.

“It stinks,” the strategist says, adding that DES employees who vocalized a pro-205 opinion or worked for the cannabis-legalization campaign on their off time might be rightfully worried about falling into disfavor with Jeffries.

Asked if he’d be willing to send a pro-Prop 205 e-mail to DES employees as Holyoak suggests, Jeffries didn’t reply.

Below is the text of Jeffries’ e-mail:

Sent: Sunday, September 25, 2016 7:46 PM
To: *All DES Employees
Subject: Fwd: Alcohol “safer” than marijuana???????

You be the judge.

Sent from my iPhone

Begin forwarded message:

From: Seth Leibsohn
Date: September 25, 2016 at 4:46:58 PM MST
To: Seth Leibsohn
Subject: Alcohol “safer” than marijuana

Friends,
Seeing the increased trope of the MPP and various Campaigns promoting the safety of marijuana compared to alcohol, and the cleverness with which they deploy it, I did my best to blow that up here, as comprehensively as possible. I couldn’t think of a normal magazine or outlet for such a piece, so I just published it myself. If you like, feel free to use or distribute at will. Thank you for all your work, thoughts, and help. Always,
Seth
http://amgreatness.com/2016/09/25/lie-travels-comparing-alcohol-marijuana/

MassRoots Note Default Raises Questions About Company’s Future

Is MassRoots in a temporary cash-flow pinch, or is the company in deeper trouble?

The CEO of the cannabis-focused social network told investors yesterday that the company is “in a stronger position than ever,” but a number of recent Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filings have raised questions about financial situation of the Denver-based company.

As first reported Tuesday morning in Business Den, the Denver business news website, MassRoots notified the SEC on Sept. 21 that the company had defaulted on a $1.5 million promissory note. When the six-month convertible note, issued in March, came due Sept. 14, the company was unable to make the required payments, it said.

A promissory note is a simple type of loan sometimes used by companies to bridge a temporary financial shortfall. Investor A gives money to Company B, and Company B agrees to repay the money by a specified date. It’s a legally binding IOU, essentially.

MassRoots has raised more than $5 million in capital investments since 2013, and made headlines as “The First Weed Tech IPO” when it went public at $7 per share in April 2015. The company’s stock currently trades on the over-the-counter market at around 50 cents per share under the ticker MSRT. In April of this year, the company applied to become the first cannabis-related stock listed on the NASDAQ. The exchange ultimately rejected that request.

Yesterday, five days after notifying the SEC about the note default, MassRoots Chairman and CEO Isaac Dietrich issued a letter to the company’s investors. Dietrich gave an upbeat overview of the company’s financials, and reported excellent second quarter results: “we generated more revenue in a single quarter than in all previous quarters combined.” Since July, Dietrich wrote, MassRoots has eliminated 14 of its 33 full-time employees and cut $146,000 in monthly expenses. The company recently partnered with the cannabis business intelligence firm Headset to develop business data products.

An earnings report filed by MassRoots earlier this year disclosed that $320,000 in advertising contracts were signed during the first quarter of 2016, the Business Den report noted.

Dietrich’s letter issued Monday made no mention of the promissory note default. The CEO assured investors that “MassRoots is in a stronger position than ever while the 2016 elections have the potential to significantly accelerate the growth of the cannabis market.”

Leafly reached out to MassRoots earlier today for reaction to the recent SEC filings. The company’s spokesperson declined to comment.