April 2017

Meet the “Weed Nuns” of California

Located close to the town of Merced in the Central Valley, which generates over half of the fruit, nuts and vegetables grown in the country, the Sisters of the Valley grow and reap their very own cannabis plants.

However, despite the moniker, the sisterhood stresses that its seven members don’t belong to any order of the Catholic Church.

“We are against religion, so we are not a religion. We consider ourselves Beguine revivalists, and we reach back to pre-Christian practices,” said Sister Kate, who founded the sisterhood in 2014.

The group says its Holy Trinity is the marijuana plant, specifically hemp, a form of marijuana which has really low levels of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive compound in the plant which gives a high.

The hemp is turned by members into cannabis-based balms and ointments, which they say have the ability to enhance health and well-being.

More than two dozen U.S. states have legalized some form of marijuana for medical or recreational use, but the drug remains illegal at the federal level. California legalized recreational use of marijuana in November 2016.

“A sister becomes a sister through a commercial relationship and making a wage or a commission and we want to grow this way because we want to free the girls, we don’t want to make them more dependent,” said Kate.

She said the group had approximately $750,000 in sales last year, the most since it began selling products in January 2015.

President Donald Trump’s administration and his Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a longtime critic of marijuana legalization, have stressed some in the nation’s nascent legalized marijuana industry.

But the “weed nuns” say the new administration has reinforced their resolve.

“The thing Trump has done for us is set a fire under our butts to get started in another country,” said Kate. “Our response to Trump is Canada.” The group sells online to Canada, and expects to start an operation there in two months.

Sister Kate embraced the nun persona after she took part in a Occupy Wall Street demonstration in 2011 dressed as a Catholic nun, a look that led her to be well known by protesters as “Sister Occupy.” According to her they have receive a number of hate calls. However, according to her, “the Catholics understand what we’re doing.”

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420 Celebrations Around the Country: The Biggest Day for Marijuana

It feels like Christmas for the country’s legal marijuana stores today. Not only Christmas but all other holidays rolled in to one one smoky party known as 420.

April 20 has for a long time been a day full of civil disobedience by marijuana users, who assemble in public to light up weed at 4:20 p.m. The phrase “420” is a longtime code for marijuana users, who work it into dating profiles or post it on signs to show their common interest. But while it used to be a celebration held using a particular degree of furtiveness, the swiftly growing legalization of cannabis means an increasing number of Americans no longer face critical, if any, punishment for smoking weed.

All states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana also have prohibited public consumption, but those rules in many cases are dismissed on April 20, when crowds assemble on college campuses and central parks to light up. That means huge sales days for shops, particularly in states with operating marijuana marketplaces: Washington, Oregon and Colorado, which could see single-day 420 sales of $20 million.

One of Colorado’s largest marijuana stores, the Medicine Man, anticipated to see more than double the regular number of customers each day Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Legalization activists usually stage stunts along with the 420 celebrations.

In Washington, D.C., for example, activists are planning to give out 1,000 marijuana cigarettes to Capitol Hill workers and members of Congress, and then hold a mass “smoke-in” on the Capitol steps Monday. They’re attempting to convince Congress to reauthorize a law prohibiting federal prosecutors from interfering with state-level medical marijuana programs and are also seeking clarity on the way in which the Trump administration will approach voter-approved recreational weed.

While the District of Columbia’s voters have approved recreational marijuana, Congress has prohibited the district from creating any kind of system to allow taxable sales.

In Washington state, marijuana sales are anticipated to easily top last year’s quantity of $4.8 million from April 20, 2016. And the 2016 numbers themselves represented a staggering 200% increase over 2015. According to New Frontier, making a year-to-year comparisons of marijuana sales is challenging since the industry is very fresh and growing so rapidly and because people frequently celebrate 420 on the weekend closest to it, as opposed to the actual day.

But for a lot of customers, there’s an undeniable appeal to say that they purchased legal marijuana for that special day. In Colorado’s cannabis shops, the demand was evident Wednesday: lines snaking through receptions and guards accumulating cash as harried workers raced to complete orders. Many hotels in Denver are sold out, and cannabis tourists were pouring into the state for free concerts and then a gigantic rally outside the Statehouse.

In Nevada, which recently legalized recreational marijuana, even if they still only have stores for medical marijuana, business was likewise expected to be lively.

In Oakland, Calif, marijuana-infused sweets manufacturer Kiva made 60,000 special-edition samples of the company’s low-dose Petra mints and plans to hold 55 sampling occasions around the state this week. And in Tulare County, Calif.’s, only dispensary, Canna Can Help, workers have purchased 1,000 tacos for their planned customer appreciation day this weekend.

Back inside the Medicine Man in Denver, first-time cannabis tourists pronounced themselves astounded at the available variety and choices. Grams of popular forms were selling for $17 plus tax, and like many shops, Medicine Man was offering 420 specials intended for tourists, including pre-rolled joints.

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California Governor’s Proposal To Make Starting A Marijuana Business Easier

Gov. Jerry Brown disclosed a proposal last week to simplify statewide rules that regulate medical and recreational marijuana sales and production, in anticipation of the launching of the recreational cannabis industry in California in 2018. The proposal, if approved by the Legislature, would allow it to be simpler to take up a marijuana business in the Golden State.

“Brown’s administration has designed a tight, extensive regulatory framework that protects consumers, workers, public health, the environment and small business stakeholders, while ensuring an inclusionary framework that opens up access for individuals with low income and communities of color,” Lynne Lyman, state director of the Drug Policy Alliance, said in a statement.

Under the proposal, only state licenses would be required for marijuana businesses, unless local municipalities choose to require local licenses as well. State licenses wouldn’t be accessible to entrepreneurs who want to set up shop in municipalities where marijuana businesses are prohibited.

Measure M, which was put on the ballot by the City Council was recently approved by Los Angeles voters. It lets the city to issue local licenses for marijuana businesses.

“L.A. can decide to do its own licensing,” DPA staff attorney Jolene Forman says. “It’s simply not mandated.”

Advocates had been concerned that the Medical Cannabis Regulation and Safety Act (MCRSA), passed by the state Legislature in 2015, would put all of the dispensaries in Los Angeles out of business because it required local licenses — something City Hall didn’t allow — by January 1. Measure M mended that issue. But now, it might not be a problem.

The governor’s proposal also favored the licensing of smaller “microbusinesses” by streamlining the permitting process to guarantee a more comprehensive collection of would-be marijuana entrepreneurs to have a chance to get in on the green rush.

“Somebody could grow small amounts of marijuana, process in small quantities and sell it in their very own retail store,” Forman says. “This decreases barriers to entry for smaller businesses. It’d likewise enable more diversity in the market.”

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation (BMCR), which controls medical and recreational marijuana, would get a name change to the Bureau of Cannabis Control, spokesman Alex Traviso said via e-mail.

A group of local marijuana businesses which has lobbied City Hall to legalize marijuana delivery, appeared reasonably pleased with the governor’s proposal.

“We’re carefully reviewing the proposal but applaud the state for proposing much-needed reconciliations between medical and recreational laws,” said task force director Ruben Honig. “L.A.’s cannabis industry is one of the world’s biggest, and we must have a system that’s clear, streamlined and enables businesses and patients to flourish.”

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