Marijuana sales in states such as Colorado are almost measuring in the billions. Unfortunately, little of that money is going towards promoting further marijuana policy reforms that create new business opportunities and, more importantly, will stop marijuana consumers from getting arrested.
The Marijuana Policy Project has been working to revamp state-level marijuana laws for the past 21 years. We’ve had some amazing success in the past five years, but there’s still so much more to do. We need to continue our push to end marijuana prohibition and replace it with sensible regulations — regulations that will allow legitimate businesses to thrive.
If marijuana businesses donate just 0.420% of their gross revenue to MPP, they can support the organization’s lobbying and coalition-building work, its tax-deductible public education projects (MPP Foundation), and its political action committee (MPP PAC).
The Marijuana Policy Project also supports ballot initiatives via separate campaign committees in several targeted states.
If you work in this burgeoning industry, please make the Pledge 4 Growth and help us end marijuana prohibition.
We’re excited to announce the Pledge 4 Growth campaign to benefit the work of the Marijuana Policy Project. The concept is simple: industry business owners can donate 0.420% of their gross revenue to MPP on a quarterly basis to help end marijuana prohibition in the U.S. We want to make it easy for you to change laws and change history!
MedMen, a marijuana consulting and management firm, is a founding partner and donor to Pledge 4 Growth.
The legal marijuana industry exists today because of the hard work of advocates over the past few decades. And the industry’s outlook is better than ever. In order to keep that outlook positive, industry leaders must support advocates’ ongoing efforts. By pledging to donate just .420% of your gross revenue to MPP, you can help support the organization’s lobbying and coalition-building work, its tax-deductible public education projects (via MPP Foundation), and its political action committee (MPP PAC).*
MPP is dedicated to ending marijuana prohibition and replacing it with a regulated marijuana market for adults and medical patients. You can help us continue to build an environment in which marijuana businesses can operate legally and be treated fairly.
Will you join Pledge 4 Growth and support our work alongside industry leaders like MedMen? Let your customers know that you are committed to improving and advancing marijuana policy reform by displaying the Pledge 4 Growth seal on your website, social media, company collateral, or storefront.
* The Marijuana Policy Project supports ballot initiatives via separate campaign committees in each of the states in which it works.
The following guest post, contributed by MedMen, is part of a guest series providing insights into the legal marijuana industry.
The marijuana policy reform movement is coalescing around the idea of regulating marijuana like alcohol. While most supporters of ending marijuana prohibition appear to stand behind this idea, others have expressed concerns about the prospect of a tightly regulated marijuana market. While some of them are valid — high barriers to entry, for example — there are three reasons why regulating marijuana like alcohol is the best path forward: safety, security, and consistent quality.
While contaminated marijuana has never been definitively linked to any deaths, this does not mean that danger of contamination is nonexistent. Molds, mildew, and pesticide residue can have adverse effects, and for some consumers — such as medical marijuana patients with weakened immune systems — they can be serious. States allowing medical and recreational marijuana owe it to their citizens to mandate that all marijuana products pass stringent testing requirements before making it to market in order to minimize the potential harm to consumers. And in cases in which a tainted product slips through, a regulated system will allow authorities to track down the producer and seller(s) of the product to ensure no more of it makes it to store shelves.
As the days of marijuana consumers having to rely on back-alley dealers come to an end, so will the violence associated with back-alley marijuana deals. State regulated dispensaries ensure consumers have access to marijuana in safe, secure locations. Security cameras and controlled access deter and prevent many of the dangers previously associated with purchasing marijuana in the underground market. These security requirements and standards are needed to ensure patients, customers, and products are protected.
Product consistency is a huge concern for medical patients and recreational consumers, alike. One of the biggest benefits of purchasing a product in a legal, regulated market is having confidence that the product is what it’s supposed to be and does what it’s supposed to do. For example, Illinois will be requiring cultivators to register strains with the state in an effort to guarantee that patients know exactly what they are getting. And in Colorado, marijuana-infused products are tested to ensure they are consistent not only from one unit to another, but also from one serving to another within the same unit.
Sensible regulation allows for a happy medium where consumers are protected, but small businesses are not edged out of the market. Regulations do not have to be so over-the-top and onerous that only the largest companies can enter the market. The marijuana industry, just like the alcohol industry, has room for the big players (Anheuser Busch, Miller-Coors, etc.) as well as the smaller ones (micro-breweries). And through reasonable regulations, we can ensure all of these businesses are able not only to exist, but to thrive.
Learn more about MedMen at http://www.MedMen.com.
The following guest post, contributed by MedMen, is part of a series providing insights into the legal marijuana industry.
As the “wall” of prohibition begins to crumble, businesspeople are lining up to cross over into the world of legal marijuana. They would be wise to remember that one of the only reasons they are able to even peek over that wall is because they are standing on the shoulders of giants: giants who invested blood, sweat, and tears into grassroots activism, lobbying, and ballot initiatives; giants who risked (and in some cases served) prison terms in pursuit of helping seriously ill patients; giants who helped bring down that wall despite having little to gain on the other side.
Many of the entrepreneurs and investors coming into the industry have their sights set high and rightfully so. This is a unique moment in history, in which a widely demanded product is in the process of transitioning from an illegal marketplace to a legal one. There is nothing wrong with being business-minded, and it is this transition from basements to boardrooms that will make the dream of legal marijuana a reality (and become one in those states that have yet to end prohibition). The industry must remain compliant and sustainable if it is to ever get a federal green light.
But they must keep in mind that it’s not all just about dollars and cents. It’s about laws that make sense, and passing them is not always easy.
The industry outlook is favorable today only because of the advocates who came before. In order to keep that outlook positive and to improve on its current position, industry leaders must commit to supporting advocacy efforts. Just as quickly as states approved laws making marijuana legal for adult and/or medical use, they could repeal them. And just as quickly as federal directives opened the door to state programs, banking, and the like, those orders can be rescinded if the next administration sees fit.
Only by continuing to support advocacy can members of the marijuana industry ensure that they will not find themselves on the list of those jailed due to outdated (or newly reinstated) prohibition laws.
Often, industry leaders lack the time, resources, or expertise necessary to effect change. Luckily, there are organizations dedicated to advocating for sensible marijuana policy at both the state and federal levels. By contributing money and other resources to these groups, industry leaders can keep the policy ball rolling forward — and ensure it doesn’t get rolled back.
Money everywhere is tight, but keep in mind it is these groups that are changing minds and changing laws. They are the ones ending marijuana prohibition and replacing it with new, legal markets. Today’s advocacy investments will pay dividends down the line for businesses and for society.
Learn more about MedMen at http://www.MedMen.com.
(This post is the first in a series providing insights into the legal marijuana industry. It is a guest post from the staff at MedMen.)
While ultimately an exciting endeavor, opening a marijuana business can be a tedious process involving a multitude of legal and monetary procedures. A close eye for detail is required. Dealing with rules and regulations and licensing applications, meeting zoning requirements, preparing concise and detailed business plans and operational protocols, attending local and state meetings, planning to manage operations once certified, and so much more are big tasks. Think: 24-hour notaries, multi-disciplined organizational issues and consensuses, leaps of faith toward the long-term investment, preparing management deals, and accountability — and it does not stop there.
Starting a successful medical and/or recreational marijuana business typically requires commitments of hundreds of thousands — and at times even millions — of investment dollars. Some states are moving in the direction of merit-based oligopolies that require substantial liquidity in order to succeed and multi-million dollar bonds to further show financial security. Marijuana has graduated to a big-business process.
Securing real estate and building a qualified team for any marijuana industry venture are two of the earliest and most fundamental aspects of obtaining a license. Locking down locations that make sense demographically while still satisfying strict locational regulations is not cheap. Landlords realize the tight supply, so favorable terms are hard to come by, meaning substantial capital is necessary. The applying team must also be comprehensive. Building a solid team, not only financially but resourcefully, is crucial in legitimizing marijuana businesses. Solid teams include healthcare to business management professionals, legal experts to accountants, horticulturalists to those experienced in law enforcement and security, and beyond. Not to mention experts to manage the marijuana-specific aspects of the operation. This range of experience is hard to come by for a mom-and-pop operation.
The complications do not end once a license is secured. Banking in the marijuana industry is currently in flux. Many banks refuse to deal with marijuana-related businesses; however, recent federal protocols have safeguarded banks willing to commit to these businesses. Still, banks are looking into the financial histories of those applying for accounts. A mom-and-pop operation is at a disadvantage to a big-business operation whose members can show ties to multi-million dollar companies operating their finances spotlessly. Accountability is crucial, and past business practices are just about the only way to show it in the emerging marijuana industry.
Ultimately, every state is going to have different marijuana laws, just as every state has different alcohol laws. Some will be more conducive (or even limit) the marketplace to bigger businesses. Others will foster an environment that ensures smaller businesses can compete. There could even be some where marijuana sales are limited to state-run stores.
States are going to experiment, learn from their experiences, and learn from each other, just as we have seen take place with alcohol in the 80 years following the end of prohibition. In any case, it will be fascinating to watch it unfold.
Colorado lawmakers moved the marijuana industry away from its cash-only roots on Wednesday when they approved the world’s first financial system for marijuana businesses. The plan sets up a network of uninsured cooperatives, which gives the industry an avenue to basic banking services.
Even in light of Eric Holder’s comments on banking, marijuana businesses have still had a hard time finding banks to even let them open checking accounts, for fear of committing a federal crime. According to an AP article by Kristen Wyatt, “Shop owners in the state say a small number of credit unions will do business with them, too, though no banks or credit unions have said so publicly.”
Colorado’s new plan for banking would let marijuana business pool money in cooperatives, which would let stores accept credit cards and checks. However, these co-ops would need U.S. Federal Reserve approval first.
The plan has bipartisan support, partially because it gives the state the ability to audit marijuana shops and make sure they are paying taxes. Even Gov. John Hickenlooper supports the plan, and has pledged to sign it into law once he receives the final language of the bill.
Establishing a co-op-based banking system for marijuana businesses reduces the risk of crime by moving large cash reserves out of stores and into banks. It makes the industry more accountable and establishes a system that other states can follow as they begin to tax and regulate marijuana.
Denver, Colorado is hosting the first ever marijuana industry job fair this Thursday. Fifteen major marijuana-related companies will be searching for qualified applicants at 1058 Delaware St. from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. These burgeoning companies have hundreds of positions to fill, which range from accounting to technology, cultivation, and retail.
Event planners expect more than 700 applicants to attend. CannaSearch comes at a vital time as the U.S. economy struggles to regain its foothold. In a job climate of much-needed growth, the marijuana industry presents a solution while taking the revenue out of criminals’ hands and putting it in legal businesses.
Among the proposed rules are requirements that the industry ensure public and consumer safety through strict surveillance and transportation practices, criminal background checks, and packaging and labeling requirements.
"Public safety is our top priority," said Board Chair Sharon Foster. "These rules fulfill the public expectation of creating a tightly-regulated and controlled system while providing reasonable access to participation in the market."
The Board also proposed several revisions from previous plans. In an effort to alleviate concerns that the state may earn an objectionable reputation, the Board abandoned the official regulatory logo of a marijuana leaf inside an icon of Washington state. Additionally, in order to expand regulatory flexibility, the Board proposed that the state allow marijuana to be grown outdoors, and not just indoors or in greenhouses.
Public hearings on the proposed rules will be held from August 6 – 8. The final rules will be adopted by August 14 and will go into effect in September of this year. Retail stores are expected to open as early as March 2014.
The Colorado Department of Revenue Marijuana Enforcement Division released initial regulations for the state’s impending legal marijuana industry on Monday, bringing the implementation of Amendment 64 one step closer to completion.
Denver's Westword compiled a pretty good summary of the new rules, which cover the licensing and application process; production and sales models; and security and labeling requirements.
It is important to note that these are emergency rules that were created in accordance with the timeline established by Amendment 64. The Department of Revenue will now carry out a lengthier process to develop a final set of rules.
Marijuana retail shops will be able to begin opening in Colorado on January 1, 2014. Colorado residents age 21 and over will be able to purchase up to one ounce of marijuana from a licensed and regulated store; non-residents will be able to buy up to a quarter of an ounce at a time.