Marijuana Justice Act legalizes marijuana the right way - Michael King

Why the Marijuana Justice Act legalizes marijuana the right way

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Earlier this month, Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced the Marijuana Justice Act. To some, this bill may look like another liberal attempt to push for widespread legalization of marijuana across the country. But for those of us who work in this industry and understand the complexities and inequities of current marijuana policies, the bill is a bold step forward in transforming the industry as we know it.

I recommend that anyone who questions why marijuana should no longer be illegal under federal law, take the time to watch Sen. Booker’s three-minute video explaining his legislation. It will shine a light on how marijuana policies have negatively impacted targeted communities, specifically low-income communities of color. The Marijuana Justice Act seeks to undo some of the damage that Booker aptly describes as, “the unjust application of the law and economic bias.” For example, the bill would expunge convictions for those with marijuana use and/or possession charges at the federal level which, in turn, will allow for greater access to education and economic opportunities.

As CEO of a company which works in the legal marijuana industry, it is a priority for me that this industry gives everyone a fair and equal playing field. On a daily basis, I meet and speak with entrepreneurs and investors who are interested in becoming a part of the marijuana industry because of its huge growth potential and opportunity.

However, with opportunity come risks, and in this industry we take financial, legal and professional risks. That said, there is a large segment of the population that is not at the table for these types of discussions because they were previously targeted during the war on drugs and now cannot fully participate in the state legal boom of this business.

For them, the risks are still too high under marijuana’s current federal classification as a Schedule I drug. The Marijuana Justice Act seeks to change this by taking steps to fix the system so that marijuana is not just legal, but that the industry as a whole can move forward in a direction that we can be proud of.

Additionally, this legislation is important because it would also address a number of challenges marijuana businesses face such as lack of access to ordinary banking services. It would also move towards regulating the marijuana market as a whole and by regulating legal access, it would discourage and replace illicit drug activity.

I applaud Booker for introducing thoughtful legislation that would legalize the industry in the “right” way and that truly has the ability to move the ball forward on some of the historically negative aspects of this industry. Now is the time for the federal government to acknowledge that marijuana should be legal and removed from the list of controlled substances.

A recent CBS News poll showed that 71 percent of Americans oppose the federal government’s efforts to stop marijuana sales and use in states that have legalized it, and 61 percent of Americans want marijuana legal across the country. Additionally, in the first six months of this new Congress, over a dozen bi-partisan bills have been introduced aimed at moving marijuana policies and regulations forward. Like Booker’s legislation, these bills acknowledge that updated marijuana laws and policies will bring a plethora of economic and social benefits to our country through increased job opportunities and tax revenues.

Congress must acknowledge the position of the majority of the American public and respond accordingly. I call on lawmakers to support the Marijuana Justice Act and will be doing my part to raise this bill as a priority in the technology, transportation, policy and marijuana business communities eaze is a part of.

Jim Patterson is the CEO of eaze, a cannabis technology that connects people to doctors and dispensaries for on-demand consultations and deliveries.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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“Active” Mormons Support Medical Marijuana - Michael King

Majority of Utah’s “Active” Mormons Support Medical Marijuana

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Apparently, Jon Huntsman Sr. is not alone in his devout beliefs or his support of medical marijuana. According to a new poll, a majority of Utah’s “active” members of the Mormon church are joining Huntsman in his support of the medicinal herb.

Organized by and tallied by Dan Jones & Associates, the survey was conducted from Aug. 30 to Sept. 5, 2017, and queried 608 registered voters.

The results from the poll showed 63 percent of Utah’s “active” members of the Mormon church support medical marijuana.

Even a majority of voters who consider themselves “very conservative” support the legalization of medical marijuana in Utah.

Historically resistant to all things cannabis, leaders of the Mormon faith have systematically fought any attempt to legalize medical marijuana in Utah over the past several years. On course for a philosophical showdown in 2018, the church has opposed an initiative to legalize medical marijuana that is now gathering signatures to qualify for the November 2018 ballot.

Utah Medical Marijuana Support by the Numbers

*Utah Republican Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 61-35%
*Utah Democrats Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 93-7%
*Utah Independents Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 87-13%
*“Very Active” Mormons Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 63%
*“Somewhat Active” Mormons Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 80-20%
*“Very Conservative” Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 51-42%
*“Somewhat Conservative” Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 71-25%
*“Moderates” Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 84-14%
*“Somewhat Liberal” Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 92-8%
*“Very Liberal” Support for 2018 Medical Marijuana Initiative: 97-2%

Rejecting the overtly “cautious approach” advised by Utah’s Mormon leaders, the overwhelming majority of Utahns support the 2018 marijuana initiative.

As summarized by the Utah Patients Coalition, the 2018 initiative would create a system of medical marijuana dispensaries similar to pharmacies but dedicated to the distribution of marijuana’s medicinal cannabinoids in a smokeless form. If passed, the petition would maintain prohibitions against home cultivation (until 2021), and prohibit any public smoking or driving under the influence of medical marijuana. After Jan. 1, 2021, Utah’s patients living more than 100 miles from a dispensary would be allowed to cultivate cannabis, provided certain conditions are met.

In the below YouTube video, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), a devout Mormon, introduced new legislation that seeks to improve and streamline the process for conducting scientific research on marijuana.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Assurances From Cannabis Control Commission - Michael King

Marijuana Legalization Advocates Seek Assurances From Cannabis Control Commission Members Who Voted Against Question 4

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Advocates are also calling on Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) chairman to request sufficient funding from governor and Legislature

BOSTON — The Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), the group behind the marijuana legalization measure passed by voters last November, said today that the newly appointed Cannabis Control Commission (CCC) members who opposed Question 4 should make clear that their personal positions will not impact their board responsibilities or cause further delays in implementing the law.

The group also called for the CCC Chairman, Steven Hoffman, to request that the governor and the Legislature provide adequate funding to get the legal sales system up and running on the current schedule.

“A strong majority of Massachusetts voters passed Question 4 last November. Since then, we’ve seen a six-month delay, a deeply flawed legislative rewrite process, blown deadlines, and now a five-person regulatory board stacked with four legalization opponents. These developments in no way instill confidence that the implementation of legal marijuana sales will be any better than the state’s dreadful medical marijuana rollout,” said Jim Borghesani, Massachusetts spokesman for MPP and former communications director for the Yes on 4 Campaign.

Borghesani called for the four anti-legalization commissioners to publicly commit to adhering to the current timeline for implementation, which would allow retail sales to adults to begin on July 1, 2018.

“We want assurances, and we think the voters deserve assurances. There is too much at stake to simply sit back and hope for the best. We want to see solid commitments to advancing the will of the voters,” Borghesani said.

Matthew Schweich, Director of State Campaigns for MPP and former campaign director for the Yes on 4 Campaign, called upon CCC Chairman Steven Hoffman to request from the governor and the Legislature the level of funding necessary to implement the law without any further delays.

“Supporters of legalization, which include a majority of Massachusetts voters, have cause for concern. By a significant margin, the individuals responsible for implementing this public policy opposed its creation less than a year ago. If the Cannabis Control Commission is truly committed to upholding the will of the people without any further delays, then Chairman Hoffman will publicly request the funding necessary to allow legal sales of marijuana to begin on July 1, 2018,” said Schweich.

State Treasurer Deb Goldberg earlier this year proposed a first-year CCC budget of $10 million. However, the current budget includes just $1.2 million for the CCC.

“The legalization policy will soon be generating millions of dollars in tax revenue for the Commonwealth, but that can only happen if the Legislature provides the funds to establish the program and regulations, and that will only happen if the Cannabis Control Commission is committed to meeting its deadlines,” Schweich said.

Massachusetts’ track record on medical marijuana — with only 12 dispensaries open five years after voters approved the medical measure — justifies concerns about the adult-use rollout, Borghesani added.

“We heard time and time again that state officials wanted to ‘get this right,’ which is precisely what they said about medical marijuana. We need to be assured that this rollout is not going to be a repeat of the medical marijuana debacle,” said Borghesani.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Colorado Cannabis Legalization Increased Property Values - Michael King

Colorado Cannabis Legalization Increased Denver’s Property Values, Study Finds

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It’s no secret that the advent of Colorado cannabis legalization increased demand for industrial real estate, but how has it affected housing prices?

According to a new study, “Contact High: The External Effects of Retail Marijuana Establishments on House Prices,” the property values for houses within .1 miles of a retail cannabis dispensary in Denver have increased by more than 8% since recreational cannabis sales began in 2014.

By using publicly available data from the Colorado Department of Revenue’s list of retail licenses and the City of Denver’s property information, researchers at the Wisconsin School of Business were able to study how property values were affected by retail conversions, i.e., medical cannabis dispensaries converting to recreational cannabis sales.

“The presence of retail marijuana establishments clearly had a short-term positive impact on nearby properties in Denver,” said Moussa Diop, Wisconsin School of Business assistant professor of real estate & urban land economics and co-author of the study.

For those houses within .1 miles of a retail conversion, the average increase in property value was $27,000 for a single-family home.

According to Diop, “This suggests that in addition to the sales and business taxes generated from the retail marijuana industry, municipalities may experience an increase in property taxes. It’s an important piece of the puzzle as more and more voters and policy-makers look for evidence about the effects of legalizing recreational marijuana, as the issue is taken up by state legislatures across the country.”

It’s important to note that the study also compared property values of houses within .1 miles of a retail conversion to houses within .1 miles of a medical cannabis dispensary that hasn’t converted to recreational sales.

“Those properties located near a retail conversion do experience a larger price increase – relative to those near a non-converter – after conversion. This provides evidence that it is the actual conversion to retail that is increasing neighboring property values,” researchers explained in the study.

As this study highlights, Colorado cannabis legalization may make the case for medical-only states to reexamine the potential secondary benefits of legalizing a recreational market.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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New Jersey’s Cannabis Industry Is Growing - Michael King

New Jersey’s Cannabis Industry Is Growing: Where Does It Grow from Here?

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On September 14, 2016, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie signed into law Assembly Bill No. 457, expanding the New Jersey Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act (NJCUMMA) by adding post-traumatic stress disorder to the discrete list of statutorily defined illnesses qualifying for treatment with medicinal marijuana.

In addition, as of July 5, 2016, the New Jersey Department of Health (DOH) began accepting petitions requesting approval of additional medical conditions qualifying for medicinal marijuana treatment. To date, at least 45 separate petitions have been submitted to the DOH for consideration for a variety of conditions, including chronic pain, lupus, fibromyalgia, chronic migraines, neuropathic pain and arthritis, among many others.

Assuming that New Jersey follows the lead of other states and eventually expands the qualifying illness categories, this could dramatically increase the number of qualified applicants for medicinal marijuana registration, on top of the already likely substantial increase due to the approval of PTSD. This is a necessary step forward in the state because New Jersey’s medicinal marijuana program services a far lower proportion of the population than many other states which have already approved medicinal marijuana.

With over 9,000 patients within the state already registered to obtain medical marijuana, and more and more registering every year, it is abundantly clear that the current five (soon to be six) Alternative Treatment Centers (ATCs) will be insufficient to meet the growing demand. Although statistics for 2016 are not currently available, in 2015 alone the five currently active ATCs—two of which did not commence operations until near the end of 2015—serviced 6,675 customers, processed 34,449 transaction and produced over 1,229 pounds of medicinal marijuana.

With approximately 3,000 more medical marijuana patient ID cards issued through September 2016, it is clear that demand for medicinal marijuana could soon outstrip the current ATC’s output.

The concern over insufficient ATCs is exacerbated by the high cost of medicinal marijuana in New Jersey compared to many other states. Fortunately, the cost of medicinal marijuana recently has decreased as a result of new competition from two new ATC facilities. Reasonably, the decision to issue additional licenses to promote competition will further reduce the cost of medical marijuana, benefitting those low-income individuals in need of appropriate medical treatment (to date, nearly half of all medical marijuana program participants qualify for low-income registration).

Rigorous Application Process

The DOH was authorized to accept applications for a minimum of six ATCs, with two each to operate in north, central and south New Jersey. Notably, the first six permits for ATCs were awarded to non-profit entities, with permits following the first six to be issued to non-profit or for-profit entities.

Soon after passage, the DOH quickly determined that only six ATCs, the statutory minimum, would initially be authorized pending an examination into the operations of the initial six ATCs. The NJCUMMA permits ATCs to operate as both cultivation facilities and dispensaries under one permit. Moreover, upon the presentation of further proofs and completed applications, ATCs may also house manufacturing facilities for products such as syrups and lozenges.

However, with all this in mind, it does not appear that any new ATC facilities will be approved imminently, at least until all six initial ATCs are up and running.

Applications for permitting are a two-step process. First, those seeking an ATC permit must submit an application seeking authority to apply for a permit to operate. Upon the granting of the application, the prospective ATC must then complete the application for actual permitting. Notably, applications for authority to apply for a permit only may be submitted following solicitation from the DOH for such applications.

Although the DOH is not currently soliciting applications for authority to apply for a permits, those seeking to open ATCs under the inevitable next wave of applications would do well to position themselves now to have a compelling permitting application in order to increase their chances under what is sure to be a competitive and selective application process.

To date, the Department of Health has identified the following criteria which would be evaluated in any initial application:

  • Mandatory organization information, which should include all corporate formation documents, articles of incorporation, charter, bylaws, certificates of good standing and any and all other governing documentation, such as operating agreements;
  • Documented involvement of a New Jersey acute general hospital in the ATC’s organization;
  • Demonstrated ability to meet the “overall health needs” of qualifying patients;
  • Demonstrated ability to protect the safety of the public;
  • Community support and participation; and
  • Ability to provide appropriate research data.

Considering the criteria which will be examined by the DOH, it is critical that prospective applicants enter the process with (i) a well-established corporate structure populated by individuals capable of passing a criminal background check with fingerprinting, (ii) the appropriate medical partnerships, (iii) a detailed business plan which adequately addresses all phases of production from cultivation to dispensing, with an emphasis on establishing appropriate security procedures meeting DOH guidelines and (iv) representations that the municipality where the operations are located will be amendable to housing an ATC facility.

It is also critical for all prospective applicants to ensure they possess the necessary capital reserves, keeping in mind that the fee for ATC permit authority applications alone is $20,000 ($18,000 of which is only payable if the application is granted), with the expectation that an appropriate build out in advance of commencing operations will be a capital intensive endeavor.

Once an ATC’s initial application for authority to apply for a permit is approved, the applicant will then need to undergo the rigorous permitting process, which investigates the financial and personal backgrounds of principals associated with the ATC. Although the DOH is tasked with regulating the medical marijuana industry, the DOH has partnered with the Department of Law and Public Safety (DLPS) to conduct the necessary criminal and financial background checks—including providing “legal expertise” regarding the principals’ backgrounds and the proposed ATC business structures.

In order to navigate the current permitting procedures in place in New Jersey, applicants for ATCs must provide a bevy of information to the DOH, including:

  • All corporate formation documents;
  • Criminal background check for all “applicants” which include any owner, director, officer or employee of the ATC;
  • Fingerprinting for all applicants;
  • The name, addresses and dates of birth for all employees, principal officers, directors, owners and board members of the ATC;
  • A list of all persons or business entities who either (1) have direct or indirect authority over the management or policies of the ATC or (2) have five percent or greater ownership interest in the ATC, whether direct or indirect, and whether that interest is in the profits, land or building of the ATC and the identity of any principals of a business entity with such an interest;
  • A list of all creditors with a security or ownership interest in the premises;
  • The by-laws of the ATC and a list of the members of the ATC’s medical advisory board;
  • Evidence of compliance with inspection and auditing for the ATC;
  • The physical address of the proposed ATC;
  • Written verification of approval from the appropriate governing body of the municipality where the ATC will be located; and
  • Evidence of compliance with all municipal zoning laws and associated regulations.

If a successful applicant is able to meet the above criteria to the satisfaction of the DOH, then they will receive the final permit allowing for operations to commence within the state.

All ATCs are required to keep and maintain an “operations manual” detailing with specificity the procedures for all facets of the business including cultivation, dispensing, record keeping and employee policies and safety procedures, in addition to other applicable requirements of the DOH. Moreover, the successful applicant will then need to conform their ready to operate business to achieve compliance with a slew of regulations detailing the specific ways in which medical marijuana can be cultivated and dispensed by the ATC.

Additionally, once an ATC is in operation, it is subject to extremely strict monitoring procedures by the DOH, which include, but are not limited to:

  • Maintaining written documentation of each delivery of marijuana to registered patients, including the date and the amount dispensed;
  • Ensuring adequate 24 hour security for the facility;
  • Providing security for all delivery methods to qualifying patients;
  • Meeting all reporting requirements for the DOH, including furnishing the statistical information concerning: (i) number of registered qualified patients and registered primary caregivers, (ii) the qualifying condition for each patient, (iii) patient demographic data, (iv) program costs (v) and a summary of patient surveys and evaluation of services;
  • Maintaining detailed administrative records covering a variety of facets of the operation;
  • Reporting certain enumerated events to the DOH immediately upon their occurrence;
  • Conducting adequate employee training; and
  • Maintaining specific employee records.

The DOH monitoring procedures are an ongoing and collaborative process permitting the DOH to conduct on-site inspections of ATCs, monitor the ATC locations remotely in real-time via video link and remotely access the ATC inventory management systems. All in all, these provisions mean that New Jersey’s medical marijuana system is an exceptionally highly regulated industry requiring careful and sustained compliance procedures to ensure qualification and continued operations under New Jersey law.

As is apparent, any applicant seeking to enter the cannabis space in New Jersey should be well-prepared to demonstrate to the Department of Health that, not only can they meet all of the permitting criteria, but that their eventual functioning ATC has a plan in place for strict compliance with the exacting operational standards for ATCs. Of course, competent legal counsel will be necessary in order to ensure compliance with all applicable laws and regulations.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Legal and Medical Cannabis Investment on the Rise - Michael King

Legal and Medical Cannabis Market Investments on the Rise

Article originally published by Markets Insider

According to a report by New Frontier Data, medical cannabis sales are forecast to grow to $5.3 billion in 2017, or accounting for 67% of total cannabis sales. By 2025, medical sales in currently legal states are forecast to grow to $13.2 billion and will account for 55% of all sales. Comparatively, adult-use sales in 2017 are forecast to reach $2.6 billion, or rising to $10.9 billion by 2025. This puts emphasis on the state of California, which offers the perfect example of why it is so important to understand trends in consumer behavior. The state’s legal industry is forecast to grow from $2.8 billion in 2017, to $5.6 billion in 2020. AmeriCann Inc. (OTC: ACAN), Corbus Pharmaceuticals Holdings, Inc. (NASDAQ: CRBP), Cara Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: CARA), Zynerba Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: ZYNE), AXIM Biotechnologies, Inc. (OTC: AXIM).

New Frontier also commented on the growth in cannabis investing over the past two years, including how the investment community has responded to the 2016 general elections. Cannabis stocks have seen significant growth in recent years, with the Viridian Cannabis Stock Index growing 236.1% in 2016 alone.

“Cannabis stocks significantly outperformed major indexes in 2016, fueled by speculative investment based on anticipated expansion of new legal markets.

In the run up to the election, stocks increased by 207.8% and continued to rise, even with an uncertain future under the new administration. While recent comments by the Trump administration did have an initial dampening effect on the market, we have seen continued growth relative to Q4 2016 whereby cannabis stocks are still outperforming other sectors,” said Giadha Aguirre De Carcer, CEO of New Frontier Data.

AmeriCann Inc. (OTCQX: ACAN) an Agricultural-Technology company that is developing the next generation of sustainable, state-of-the-art medical cannabis cultivation properties, announced earlier today that it has secured an equity investment commitment of $10,000,000 from Mountain States Capital, LLC (“MSC”).

The majority of the investment from MSC will be utilized to develop the first phase of AmeriCann’s flagship project, the Massachusetts Medical Cannabis Center (“MMCC”.) This state-of-the-art cannabis cultivation and processing development project is 47 miles from Boston in the midst of the rapidly growing Massachusetts medical cannabis market.

Mountain States Capital released a statement that, “AmeriCann is well positioned to benefit from the recent implementation of the landmark adult-use cannabis program in Massachusetts. The Commonwealth, and the country, needs the sophisticated, technologically advanced facilities that AmeriCann is delivering.”

The MMCC project is approved for 1 million square feet, which will be developed in phases and is expected to be one of the most technologically advanced cultivation facilities in the nation.

Massachusetts is one of the most dynamic developing cannabis markets in the United States,” stated AmeriCann CEO Tim Keogh. “Our MMCC project will become a center of excellence for quality, consistency and efficiency and play an important role in helping to provide the cannabis infrastructure the Commonwealth requires.”

The project’s first phase will consist of a 30,000 square foot greenhouse, laboratory and research center. AmeriCann has agreements with Coastal Compassion, Inc., one of a limited number of licensed operators in the Massachusetts cannabis market. Coastal Compassion, Inc. will lease 100% of the first phase of MMCC upon completion. In addition to funding the initial 30,000 square foot facility, the balance of the equity is expected to be utilized to prepare for projects in other regulated markets.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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Pot Matters: Marijuana, the Great Unifier - Michael King

Pot Matters: Marijuana, the Great Unifier

From High Times, By 

Marijuana legalization is becoming the great unifier in an otherwise polarized political landscape, a rare issue with bipartisan and widespread public support.

Libertarians have long supported legalization, and state-level reform along with a greater awareness of racial disparities in marijuana possession arrests has solidified support among Democrats across the nation. Meanwhile, Republicans are becoming more and more sick of prohibition.

Inauguration Day developments, though, have called attention to support for legalization among many supporters of Donald Trump.

As reported by HIGH TIMES and other media, DCMJ, which launched the successful effort in Washington, D.C. to legalize personal marijuana use, had plans to give away five thousand joints during an inauguration day protest. The January 20 event was well-organized, and successful, and received considerable press attention.

The event lasted for about five hours, and expressed support for legalization at the federal level, as well as opposition to the nomination of Jeff Session for attorney general. According to Adam Eidinger, co-founder of DCMJ, the event received an “extremely positive reaction from everyone, including the police on site.” Video of the event can be seen here.

Widely overlooked in most news coverage, though, was that “everyone” in this case included many demonstrators who were in town for pro-Trump events. According to Eidinger “about one-third of our takers and givers of free cannabis identified as Trump Supporters.” One of the more noticeable groups of Trump supporters consisted of several dozen members of Bikers for Trump, who were in town for their own rally.

A review of protest activity that afternoon on Julie Mason’s The Press Pool on Sirius radio called attention to the popularity of the DCMJ event and the commingling of legalization advocates and Trump supporters, particularly the Bikers for Trump members.

Weed, it was observed, was the great unifier, a popular concept for many of the show’s listeners. The discussion was a bit tongue-in-cheek, as is frequently the case when it comes to marijuana and its popularity, but that actually gives even more credence to the analysis. In other words, this is so obvious it’s not really news.

The news is filled with reactionary attempts to fight, stall or otherwise opposes marijuana legalization, both in terms of legislative attempts to meddle with the decisions of voters and with respect to preventing other initiatives from taking place. But on the other hand, for example, legalization is now being pushed in Maryland’s legislature.

It’s the demographics of support for marijuana legalization that beginning to sink in for politicians.

Take a look at the October 2016 Gallup poll on legalization. Among national adults, support for marijuana legalization has grown from 35 percent in 2003/2005 to 60 percent in 2016. When itemized by political party, support has grown among independents from 46 percent to 70 percent and among Democrats from 38 percent to 67 percent. Among Republicans, legalization support has doubled, from 20 percent to 42 percent.

This is a long-term trend. Nationally, support for marijuana legalization was at 12 percent in 1969, 25 percent in 1996, 36 percent in 2005, and reflected a majority of Americans only as recently as 2013, when 58 percent supported legalization. Gallup observed that “it is unclear whether support has stabilized or it continuing to inch higher.”

America is reaching a consensus on two related propositions, that (a) prohibition is a failed, costly and unjust policy and (b) that marijuana should be legalized.

It’s becoming obvious that this is a widely held position, embraced across the political spectrum.  Think about this for a moment—DCMJ gave away thousands of marijuana cigarettes in the nation’s capital, and the police just watched and smiled because the lawful protest was peaceful and well-behaved.

More important—symbolically or otherwise—at a time when the supporters and opponents of the nation’s new president are sharply, emotionally and bitterly divided, marijuana brought some of them together in fellowship and solidarity.

Marijuana really is, in today’s America, the great unifier.

About Michael King

Michael King is an experienced professional with a background in finance, private equity, real estate and consulting. He is currently a principal in one of the leading Cannabis consulting firms in the country — Duard Ventures.

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