How state officials snuck themselves into Georgia’s Hope Act, sticking taxpayers with the cost of regulating medical marijuana so officials can profit from its production

How state officials snuck themselves into Georgia’s Hope Act, sticking taxpayers with the cost of regulating medical marijuana so officials can profit from its production

Because no tax was levied to pay for the costs of regulating a medical marijuana industry in Georgia, taxpayers will bear that burden so that state-wide public officials and legislators – maybe even some who were actually all in that same room – can make money growing and processing medical pot.

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I spent a night in the NJ marijuana black market. The illegal weed business is booming.

I spent a night in the NJ marijuana black market. The illegal weed business is booming.

While legislators debate the details of NJ marijuana legalization, the black market is bigger than ever. we spent a night at a marijuana "pop-up" and saw chocolate bars and brownies, oils and vape cartridges and huge jars of illegal weed.

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Promises about legal weed benefits are false

Promises about legal weed benefits are false

In California, voters were sold the line that the state could collect upwards of $1 billion in revenue. The reality is the state has failed to bring in anywhere close to that mark — it fell 75 percent short of it through September. All this prompted outgoing California Gov. Jerry Brown to say, “I have not counted on any revenue from marijuana. Who’s counting on the marijuana revenue? People said that to make it more plausible for voters.”

So what’s the issue? It appears the black market is nimbler than anyone thought. In fact, it's growing stronger. One in five marijuana users in the state continue to purchase the drug off the street as opposed to buying it from retail stores. The situation is so bad that foreign cartels and criminal gangs are turning whole neighborhoods into pot-growing operations and even growing the drug on national lands.

And yet Big Marijuana — whose components now include Big Alcohol and Big Tobacco — keep claiming they can end the illicit trade of the drug through “regulation.”

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Marijuana: Big Tobacco 2.0

Marijuana: Big Tobacco 2.0

As was the case with smoking tobacco, smoking marijuana is said to prove you’re sociable, hip, and modern.

As with tobacco, marijuana is portrayed not only as largely harmless, but as objectively good for you, with a credible function as self-medication for all sorts of ailments.

As with tobacco, marijuana is presented as a signifier of individual liberty and self-empowerment.

As with critics of tobacco, critics of marijuana are cast as petty tyrants trampling on freedom while peddling hysterical junk science.

And as with the tobacco industry, a cash-flush marijuana industry is eager to use its wealth to slant scientific study and political debate, lest its flattering claims begin to sire organized suspicion.

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The poison pills contained in Prop 64

The poison pills contained in Prop 64

Despite promises that legalizing marijuana would kill the black market and tax revenues would fill state and local coffers. The black market is thriving, and the promised taxes are not being seen. The industry’s solution: they’re about to pass a bill to reduced excise tax on marijuana products from 15% to 11% and suspend the tax on marijuana cultivation (until Jun 1, 2021).  This should only come as a surprise to people who failed to read the text of Prop 64 where it says tax can be cut all the way to zero to ensure the industry is thriving.

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Big Marijuana moves to exploit the Opioid Epidemic

Big Marijuana moves to exploit the Opioid Epidemic

The National Institute on Drug Abuse analyzed data from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions and found respondents who reported past-year marijuana use in their initial interview had 2.2 times higher odds than nonusers for having a prescription opioid use disorder and 2.6 times greater odds of abusing prescription opioids.i

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Mexican drug cartels may use legal marijuana to take over Northern California pot trade.

  Mexican drug cartels may use legal marijuana to take over Northern California pot trade.

Part of the legalization argument is that regulating and taxing marijuana could give California enforcement agencies the funds they need to eradicate illegal farms. But Gabriel thinks it will take years before enforcement can put a dent in the illegal grows that he estimates pop up by the hundreds every year. He points to Humboldt County, about five hours northwest of Calaveras, where authorities are combing through 2,300 applications for growers who want to start selling in California’s recreational market. But there are also an estimated 12,700 illegal farms in the county.

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City Council Supports Big Marijuana, Ignores Communities, Mayor, and Police Chief

City Council Supports Big Marijuana, Ignores Communities, Mayor, and Police Chief

6 councilmembers ignored the police chief’s and mayors concerns. They ignored the facts and figures from Colorado showing the true cost of that state’s marijuana industry. They ignored the recommendation of their own city staff. Six councilmembers ignored their own constituents, the regular people from underserved communities who took the time off from their jobs and from their families to speak out at City Hall.

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The Clinical Conundrum of Medical Marijuana

The Clinical Conundrum of Medical Marijuana

In Colorado, patients have a tremendous variety of products at their disposal for pain conditions. These products are not highly regulated or controlled, and potentially contain contaminants such as pesticides, fungicides and rodenticides.

There is no limit on dosing or potency. For example, there is no limit to the amount of residual butane in butane hash oil that patients can inhale, and there are no studies as to the benefits of inhaled butane. The available products in Colorado can push the tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) content to nearly 100%.

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Don’t let Big Marijuana prioritize profits over public safety

Don’t let Big Marijuana prioritize profits over public safety

Simply put, the current fragmented patchwork of laws governing marijuana in states is unsustainable. Despite the oft-repeated refrain that marijuana enforcement is an issue of “states’ rights,” the consequences of legalization are not confined by geographic borders. Since Colorado legalized, marijuana has streamed into neighboring states and emboldened drug trafficking organizations there. In fact, in Nebraska and Oklahoma, the inflow of marijuana trafficking has been so dramatic that the states sued Colorado. Interstate drug tourism is thriving, with companies in states with legal pot advertising across state lines and online.

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National study finds little proof of pot’s medical benefits

National study finds little proof of pot’s medical benefits

Marijuana advocates tout the drug and its compounds as therapeutic for everything from treating glaucoma to stopping nightmares. But a new systematic review of more that 10,700 scientific studies conducted by the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine found verifiable benefits for only two disorders—chronic pain and the nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy. 

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