A Quick Guide to Legal Pot in California – Jackie Flynn Mogensen Dec. 26, 2017

We answer your burning questions—and yes, there will be cannabis ice cream.

Mother Jones illustration

For Californians, legal cannabis is right around the corner. But we have questions. And as it turns out, many of you do, too. A couple weeks ago we wanted to know what questions you had about pot, and the responses were overwhelming. So we went through them and weeded out the most common questions.

First, let’s be clear about what the law says. On November 8th, 2016, Californians passed the Adult Use of Marijuana Act, or Proposition 64. That law went into effect immediately, but licensed cannabis businesses aren’t allowed to start selling recreational weed until January 1. On a basic level, Prop 64:

  • Allows adults 21 and older to possess up to one ounce of weed or eight grams of concentrated cannabis in public and grow up to six plants per residence.
  • Places taxes on the sale and cultivation of weed. We get into the specifics below.
  • Regulates marketing of cannabis products and specifically prohibits advertising weed directly to minors.
  • Grants some people with prior pot convictions the option to be re-sentenced and/or have their records destroyed.

Still, the law leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Here’s what you, Mother Jonesreaders, wanted to know:

Where will I be able to buy it?

Just because you’re allowed to possess weed in California doesn’t mean that cities and counties will let businesses sell it. So far, only a few places have passed legislation allowing the sale of cannabis—and even fewer have started handing out licenses to pot shops. That means there will only be a small number of places you’ll be able to buy recreational weed in California on January 1. Some of those places include San Diego, San Jose, and Oakland.

To find out if your city or county does allow recreational sales, you should check your local laws. The San Francisco Chronicle has spent months building a local law lookup tool. You can try it out here. (While the tool is updated regularly, the best way to look up your area’s rules is on your city or county’s website.)

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Is Microdosing The Future of Marijuana? – Published on Jul 20, 2017

The creator of LSD, Dr. Albert Hofmann, believed that ingesting tiny amounts of the drug could have therapeutic value, and so-called “microdoses” have since been proposed as a substitute for everything from Adderall to marriage counseling. Now, as more states legalize marijuana, the trend that began with hallucinogens has grown to include microdoses of THC, the main psychoactive ingredient in weed.VICE News traveled to Portland, Oregon, to meet Ethan Ernest, creator of marijuana microdose pills called Mirth Control, which contain a fraction of the THC found in a typical joint or batch of edibles. Earnest compares Mirth Control to “open-source Xanax. Other products in the new weed microdosing category push the envelope even further with suggestions about purported medical uses.

American Legion to POTUS: Allow marijuana research for vets – Bryan Bender 05/20/2017 07:09 AM EDT

Under current rules, doctors with the Department of Veterans Affairs cannot even discuss marijuana as an option with patients.

Former U.S. Marine Mike Whiter, pictured in March 2016, uses marijuana medically to treat his post-traumatic stress disorder. Whiter, who served in Iraq in the mid-2000s, promotes veteran access to marijuana to treat PTSD. | AP Photo

One of the nation’s most conservative veterans’ groups is appealing to President Donald Trump to reclassify marijuana to allow large-scale research into whether cannabis can help troops suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The change sought by The American Legion would conflict with the strongly anti-marijuana positions of some administration leaders, most vocally Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Under current rules, doctors with the Department of Veterans Affairs cannot even discuss marijuana as an option with patients. But the alternative treatment is gaining support in the medical community, where some researchers hope pot might prove more effective than traditional pharmaceuticals in controlling PTSD symptoms and reducing the record number of veteran suicides.

“We are not asking for it to be legalized,” said Louis Celli, the national director of veterans affairs and rehabilitation for the American Legion, which with 2.4 million members is the largest U.S. veterans’ organization. “There is overwhelming evidence that it has been beneficial for some vets. The difference is that it is not founded in federal research because it has been illegal.”

The Legion has requested a White House meeting with Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and close aide, “as we seek support from the president to clear the way for clinical research in the cutting edge areas of cannabinoid receptor research,” according to a recent letter shared with POLITICO.

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DHS Secretary John Kelly: ‘Marijuana Is Not a Factor in the Drug War’ – Alana Abramson Apr 16, 2017`

Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly said Sunday that marijuanais not a factor in the war on drugs, arguing that the biggest problems are found in other substances.

“Marijuana is not a factor in the drug war,” Kelly told NBC News’ Chuck Todd onMeet the Press when asked how marijuana legalization would impede or help this fight. “It’s three things. Methamphetamine. Almost all produced in Mexico. Heroin. Virtually all produced in Mexico. And cocaine that comes up from further south.”

The solution, said Kelly, won’t come from arrests over drug use.

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White House Spokesman Predicts More Federal Action Against Marijuana – NATHAN ROTT February 23, 2017 10:29 PM ET

A demonstrator at a marijuana legalization rally in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day 2017. Theo Wargo/Getty Images

A demonstrator at a marijuana legalization rally in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day 2017.
Theo Wargo/Getty Images

A demonstrator at a marijuana legalization rally in Washington, D.C., on Inauguration Day 2017.

Theo Wargo/Getty Images

The Justice Department may step up enforcement of federal marijuana laws in states that have voted to legalize its recreational use, according to White House press secretary Sean Spicer.

“I do believe think you’ll see greater enforcement of it,” Spicer said, during his daily press briefing. He added that the Department of Justice will be looking into the issue further.

Spicer’s comments offer an indication of how the Trump administration may approach the nation’s fast-growing cannabis industry. New Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been less direct when asked about marijuana, saying during his confirmation hearings that he would “review and evaluate” existing policies.

Roughly 1 in 5 Americans now live in a state where non-medical marijuana is legal for adults and that number may be growing. Lawmakers in Maryland have recently proposed bills allowing recreational use. Medical use of cannabis is allowed in 28 states and the District of Columbia.

Spicer differentiated between medical and recreational use of the plant, saying Trump “understands the pain and suffering that many people go through who are facing especially terminal diseases and the comfort that some of these drugs, including medical marijuana can bring them.”



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“You just killed the weed man”: Adventures in buying (legal) pot – SATURDAY, FEB 11, 2017 04:30 PM PST

What I thought was a sushi joint turned out to be a marijuana boutique. It was weird to buy from strangers


(Credit: Getty/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds)

(Credit: Getty/Andrew Caballero-Reynolds)

Stomach growling in anticipation of a salmon avocado roll, I pushed open the door to a Bend, Oregon, store called Tokyo Starfish with chime-jangling urgency. I was getting hangry, or maybe hanxious, and needed a snack.

 But Tokyo Starfish was not the sushi restaurant I was expecting. There was no bar, no flayed fish, nothing evocative of Japan. Three snowboarders in beanies lounged on midcentury modern furniture while ambient electronica music played. A fourth sat before an iPad at a reclaimed wood counter.

“Excuse me,” I said. “Is this — not a sushi restaurant?”

“No,” said the guy, “this is a dispensary.”

“A sushi dispensary?” I asked, still hanxiously hopeful.

“No, a medicine dispensary.”

“I don’t have a card,” I sighed.

“You don’t need one.”

“Oh, it’s — legal in Oregon now?”

“It is,” smiled the snowboarder. “Would you like to look in back?”

“Nah,” I said. “I’m all set.” Supplies were running low by NorCal standards, but money, as always, was tight.

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The benefits and harms of marijuana, explained by the most thorough research review yet – Updated by German Lopez Jan 14, 2017, 12:40pm EST

A new report looks at more than 10,000 studies on marijuana. It has good and bad news for pot users.

Marijuana has been with humans in some way or another for thousands of years. But after all this time, there are still a lot of public debate about what, exactly, pot’s risks and benefits are.

A new review of the research from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine attempts to fill the gap in our knowledge. By combing through more than 10,000 studies published since 1999, the review, conducted by more than a dozen experts, provides the clearest look at the scientific evidence on marijuana yet.

The research finds both some strong benefits and major downsides to cannabis. It seems to be promising for chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, and cancer patients. But it also seems to pose a significant risk for respiratory problems if smoked, schizophrenia and psychosis, car crashes, general social achievement in life, and potentially babies in the womb.

The findings aren’t just for marijuana; they’re for marijuana or cannabinoids, chemical compounds commonly found in pot. It’s possible that, down the line, some of the benefits in particular will be split from the marijuana leaf itself — although many drug experts believe that there’s an “entourage effect” with marijuana in which all of its cannabinoids and chemicals, which number in the hundreds, work together to make its effects as potent as possible.

One major caveat to this: The report is, by its own admission, only a best guess for a lot of its findings, because much of the research out there just isn’t very good. The report pins the lack of good research largely on government policies — particularly regulatory barriers linked to marijuana’s federal classification as a highly restricted Schedule 1 substance — that make it hard to conduct good studies on the drug. The National Academies ultimately calls for these barriers to be cut down and more research to be funded so we can get a better idea of what pot is capable of, especially as more states legalize it for both medical and recreational uses.

Still, the report is the best look at marijuana yet. It is nearly 400 pages; if you want a really deep dive into the benefits and harms of marijuana, you should read it in full. But here I’ve provided a summary of what the researchers found.

What are marijuana’s benefits?

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Pot blocks: obstacles keep small business owners from a multibillion-dollar market – Arvind Dilawar Saturday 31 December 2016 07.00 EST

Marijuana retail sales, both medical and recreational, could reach $4.3bn this year, according to the 2016 Marijuana Business Factbook, an annual survey of cannabis-related ventures conducted by Marijuana Business Daily. Access to a multibillion-dollar industry that could create new jobs is a prospect that appeals to voters otherwise uninterested in pot, but some of the aspiring entrepreneurs chasing that dream warn that weed is not an easy business.

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