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What to do about Enhanced Marijuana Buds?

By: Sunday December 7, 2014 6:49 am

I recently came across a California product on Instagram that raises interesting policy questions. Kurupt’s MoonRock is marijuana buds that have been enhanced with hash oil and kief.

The government treats distilled alcohol differently from beer. It is subject to different tax rates and rules on where and when it can be sold.

Similarly, the state governments in Colorado and Washington State treated recreational marijuana flowers different than recreational marijuana concentrates. For example, the limits on how many grams of concentrate you can purchase is lower than it is for flowers.

So how should the government treat marijuana flowers that have been enhanced with concentrates?

Should the governments create new categories for enhanced buds? Should it use some enhancement threshold, like 5 percent by weight, to divide concentrates and flowers? Or should it create a simple rule that any amount of enhancement, no matter how minor, will automatically get any product categorized as a concentrate?

That final option seems the simplest and most likely solution that regulators will coalesce around, but I can think of some theoretical reasons why providing some flexibility might be called for.

Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy, on sale for just $0.99

Wyoming Residents Not Ready for Marijuana Legalization

By: Thursday December 4, 2014 6:14 am

Even though recreational marijuana has been legal for over two years for their neighbors to the south the people of Wyoming continue to oppose legalizing in their own state.

According to a new University of Wyoming poll, 35 percent of Wyoming residents support legalizing the personal use of marijuana for adults and 60 percent oppose. Support for legalization has grown 13 points since 2000 when the University’s previous poll found only 23 percent approved of legalizing marijuana.

The poll result isn’t too surprising given that given that Wyoming is the most conservative state in the country and will probably be one of the last states to embrace legalization.

While the people of Wyoming aren’t ready to support full legalization, they still want significant changes made to their current marijuana laws. According to the poll, 72 percent support allowing medical marijuana in their state. It also found that 62 percent believe that the penalty for simple marijuana shouldn’t include possible jail time.

Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy on sale for just $0.99

Legal Marijuana in the States is Undermining Illegal Marijuana in Mexico

By: Tuesday December 2, 2014 10:36 am

marijuanaIn another sign that marijuana legalization in the United States is achieving the goals of the reform movement, there are indications that it is already undermining the illegal marijuana trade in Mexico. From NPR:

“Two or three years ago, a kilogram [2.2 pounds] of marijuana was worth $60 to $90,” says Nabor, a 24-year-old pot grower in the northwestern Mexican state of Sinaloa. “But now they’re paying us $30 to $40 a kilo. It’s a big difference. If the U.S. continues to legalize pot, they’ll run us into the ground.”

Legalization won’t immediately eliminate the black market, but it will steadily shrink it until it is only a shadow of what it used to be. This is what we saw after the end of alcohol prohibition in this country. International alcohol smuggling into the United States used to be a huge business funding significant criminal organizations, but re-legalizing alcohol sales eventually crippled that.

Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy on sale for just $0.99

Photo by Alexodus under Creative Commons license

Marijuana Legalization Passes Big Political Test in Uruguay

By: Monday December 1, 2014 8:13 am

Uruguay flagMarijuana legalization in Uruguay should proceed as planned. On Sunday marijuana reform survived its biggest political threat when Tabare Vazquez easily won the Presidential election by beating Luis Lacalle Pou in the run off.

Tabare Vazquez is a member of the ruling Broad Front coalition, which pushed through the legalization law a year ago. He intends to continue to move forward with the plan to produce and sell marijuana through a government-run program.

On the other hand if Luis Lacalle Pou had won he would have tried to roll back many of the important provisions in the new legalization law.

This is not only a big deal for Uruguay but has significant implications for marijuana reform efforts around the world. Once the law is fully implemented in Uruguay it will provide an important example for politicians across the globe. It will not only show that countries can legalize marijuana but provide important insight into what is the best way to regulate marijuana.

The two states that currently have adult use marijuana stores both

fairly similar systems based on licensed private businesses, but Uruguay will instead go with a government monopoly system. The different systems will provide a useful comparison.

Jon Walker is the author of After Legalization: Understanding the future of marijuana policy on sale for just $0.99

Why I’m Thankful for the Recent Marijuana Legalization Victories

By: Thursday November 27, 2014 6:18 am

Just Say Now bubbleThis Thanksgiving what I’m thankful for is the recent marijuana legalization victories in D.C., Oregon, and Alaska.

In the short term, it will product positive change in these jurisdictions that should reduce wasteful arrests. In the long term, the three wins are slowly but surely pushing politicians across the country to accept that the end of marijuana prohibition is inevitable because the public is hungry for change.

The criminalization of marijuana results in over 650,000 arrests across the country, costs taxpayers billions each year, funnels huge amounts of money to criminal organizations, and has been carried out in a profoundly racist manner. Fully legalizing marijuana would produce real and positive change.

As an activist I’m also thankful for the recent victories in marijuana reform because it shows what is possible. It should be an example for activists across the ideological spectrum.

Just ten years ago ending the criminalization of marijuana was considered an extremely fringe idea, but groups organized to steadily change public opinion with facts, reports, small scale actions, protests, and the occasional PR stunt. They proved that if you have a good idea and the data to back up your idea, you can eventually win over the public. It won’t be quick, it won’t be easy, but it can be done.

It also proves bottom up change can work. The movement has made dramatic progress in the last few years effectively without any support from top politicians or political leaders. There are still only one or two United States senators who quietly said they support legalization and effectively no governors who publicly endorse the idea.

Change has come about because organizations spent years working to produce a shift in public opinion then using the initiative process to bypass reluctant politicians. Change has come almost exclusively from the grassroots.


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