Missouri Struggling To Balance Legalized Marijuana With Inevitable Controversy

This month, hundreds of entrepreneurs were granted permits to conduct medical marijuana business in Missouri. The licenses provide access to several facets of the weed industry, from cultivation, to safety testing, to sales. It even provides stringent guidelines in how to cook up edible the right way. More licenses expanding access points are expected by the end of the month.

But that’s not enough. Only one out of every six applicants received a license to sell. 

What does that mean? The obvious: angry letters, marijuana litigation, appeals, and lobbying. Everything you’d expect of a potentially billion-dollar industry in its infant stages. Missouri isn’t alone. This was the same reaction received in every other state that has legalized medical or recreational marijuana.

Not every state has provided marijuana licenses the same way, though. In Arizona, a basic lottery was conducted. When Florida tried to implement a similar system, the state was promptly sued. After all, why shouldn’t the best applicant be the one to get the first license? Why should it be randomized when the inferior applicants are so much more likely to fail?

Missouri residents began applying for medical marijuana cards as early as June. That resulted in about 1,000 new patients every week. 

New states will most likely legalize recreational marijuana soon. Arizona, Arkansas, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota are all poised to get on the ballot in 2020. There may be others. That means the wave is most definitely upon us. Make no mistake, this is a domino effect in progress.

Other states are planning to put medical marijuana on the ballot instead, deciding on a more incremental approach to legalization. Idaho, Mississippi, and Nebraska are among them. South Dakota will likely add a measure to the ballot as well.

Springfield News-Leader reported: “Pro-cannabis types laud marijuana for its capacity to manage pain, wean people from opioids and improve life for people with terminal disease. But due to federal prohibition, little traditional scientific research on cannabis as medicine has been done in the United States, so many of these claims rely on experiential ideas more than empirical study.”

Desmond Morris is the proud owner of Wholesome Bud Company in Springfield, but also Pride Auto Dealing. It seems everyone wants a piece of the new marijuana industry. Still, he says, “The patient is going to be most impacted by this.”

Even though his business is ready, he was denied a license. So was every other Springfield grower. 

He said, “I’m feeling like the goalposts got moved. Not on purpose, but whenever people do things, they make mistakes. When groups do things, they make mistakes.”

And that’s the point. He wants fewer mistakes to be made so the process can become fairer in the future.

Does Your Landlord Have The Right To Evict You For Marijuana Use?

Obviously this is a question we get asked often enough. Just because a state legalizes a drug for recreational use doesn’t necessarily mean employers or lessors will jump on the bandwagon and open up to marijuana use on their properties. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of false stereotypes and stigma attached to the drug. So does your landlord have the right to evict you if you choose to use marijuana in the privacy of your rented apartment or home?

First, it’s important to make the distinction between how you use the drug. Your landlord has the right to ban you from doing anything that could possibly damage the apartment or house — and highest on that list is smoking any substance. Smoke can damage basically everything it touches, which is why it’s so often banned in lease agreements.

But vaping is different. Consuming edibles is much, much different. This is where state laws will most often come into play. If you get caught smoking anywhere on the owner’s property, then as a renter you don’t really have a legal right to sue (successfully) for breaking the rules outlined in the lease contract.

That was what happened to Francine and Timothy Weinandy, who had rented the same apartment for 26 years. Now in their sixties, they use medical marijuana (legally) because they are disabled. Their landlord didn’t care about their situation. He evicted them for smoking on their outdoor balcony. 

Francine said, “No one deserves to have their home taken away from them because of pot.”

But the important distinction is that not only were they smoking, they were doing it on the balcony, where the smoke can technically blow indoors. Smart lessors will stipulate in the lease contract specifically where tenants can smoke, be it 10, 25, or even 50 feet away from the unit, if at all. Public opinion is veering toward legalization of both medical and recreational marijuana, but that won’t change landlords’ opinions on smoke damage.

That’s why it’s important to turn to the contract before you light up a blunt. You could be evicted if you’re not allowed to smoke, and some agreements specifically mention drug use, legal or otherwise.

Evan Loeffler heads the Loeffler Law Group and specializes in landlord-tenant disputes. He said, “This issue comes up quite regularly. I’ve represented a lot of residential landlords writing leases or dealing with tenants who either demand, insist, or deny the use of marijuana.”

Basically, tenants should abide by the contracts they’ve signed. Those who have questions or concerns should confront landlords directly, but respectfully, and simply ask. Landlords are trying to run a business, and renovating smoke damage is expensive. It doesn’t mean they’re against the use of marijuana. If you’re not comfortable speaking to your landlord, then ask a lawyer for advice.

One More Step Taken In National Legalization Of Recreational Marijuana

The House Judiciary Committee recently went further than anyone else has in changing federal law to legalize recreational marijuana — everywhere. The bill passed by the committee would remove marijuana from the Schedule 1 class of drugs (where it quite obviously does not belong). The bill passed in a 24-10 vote. But how far can it go beyond there? That’s the real question.

Democrats control a majority 234 seats in the House of Representatives, which means the bill could theoretically pass through there easily enough. But Republicans mostly oppose new marijuana legislation, and they control the Senate. More importantly, most Republicans are also under Mitch McConnell’s Jedi mind spell. If he says jump into a flaming abyss, they ask whether or not they should do it naked. And McConnell opposes marijuana legalization. 

The legislation isn’t particularly far-reaching in comparison to pass marijuana initiatives, but it’s still bigger and better than anything put forth before now, and the first one in the House. Basically, all it would do is provide states with the authority to draft and implement their own policies (which some states are obviously already doing, federal government be damned). 

The bill also does two very important things: First, it would eliminate criminal records for those who have been convicted of (and are possibly still incarcerated for) low-level marijuana-related criminal activities. Second, it would implement a 5 percent tax on all cannabis sales. Those monies would then be funnelled into programs that support individuals and communities that have been adversely — and disproportionately — affected by the failed War on Drugs.

This would make an enormous difference in drug arrests and convictions in the United States. The American Civil Liberties Union acknowledged that eliminating marijuana-related crimes would reduce drug-related arrests by more than half. That’s a huge difference in the welfare of people who aren’t actually doing anything wrong, even though current laws say they are. 

Chairman Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) said, “The criminalization of marijuana has been a mistake. The racial disparity in marijuana enforcement laws only compounded this mistake with serious consequences, particularly for minority communities.”

To make matters worse, the Democratic frontrunner for the 2020 presidential election is still Joe Biden (even though he’s faltering to others in the early primary states), who has gone on record as saying he doesn’t believe in lifting the prohibition on marijuana. 

Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) said, “I don’t think a majority of the Republicans will support this bill. It is even less likely that the Senate would take it up. Therefore, I would just suggest we deal with other bills that we can get a much larger bipartisan support from.”

Nadler replied, “I don’t think it’s a good idea…to say, ‘the Senate won’t take this bill.’ When the House passes a bill, it’s part of a continuing process. It’s not the end of a process.”

Where Do The 2020 Democratic Candidates Stand On Recreational Marijuana Legalization?

Well, the good news is this: all but two candidates running for president in 2020 support efforts to legalize marijuana at the federal level. But here’s the bad news (there’s always bad news): the two candidates who don’t support legalization are Joe Biden and Donald Trump. In other words, if either of the two people most likely to win the White House in 2020 actually get in office, they almost certainly won’t do anything. 

Literally anyone else will. Whoopty-do.

If you’re visiting our website you probably know where we stand regarding the war on drugs and the apparent facts that have determined its disastrous outcome for decades. Joe Biden has been a long-time proponent of this war, and he continues to support it now. He’s the only 2020 Democratic candidate who wants to keep marijuana illegal — but at least he wants to reclassify the drug as Schedule II. That’s hardly good enough, but it would pave the way to more scientific research.

He said in 2010: “There’s a difference between sending someone to jail for a few ounces and legalizing it…The punishment should fit the crime. But I think legalization is a mistake. I still believe [marijuana] is a gateway drug.”

Logically, caffeine and alcohol are “gateway drugs” — because it’s nothing more than a fictional term made up to support nonsense propaganda disseminated to support the drug war decades ago.

That’s not to say Biden isn’t changing policy somewhat now that he’s realized he’s the only Democrat in the field still staunchly opposed to legalization: he wants a period of reform aimed at preventing drug use and racial profiling for drug use crimes. He also wants to end the absurd practice of constructing and funding privately owned prisons, and increase training by correctional officers in public facilities.

Not surprisingly, Bernie Sanders supports legalization (marijuana is already legal in his home state of Vermont as of 2018). Unlike almost all the other candidates, he’s supported legalization for at least two decades. He’s sponsoring the Marijuana Justice Act as a senator in Congress. 

He said in 2015: “Right now, marijuana is listed by the federal government as a Schedule I drug — meaning that is is considered to be as dangerous as heroin. That is absurd.”

Elizabeth Warren is another late-comer to the legalization game. Her home state of Massachusetts legislated an adult-use bill for cannabis, a bill for which she did not lend her support. Since then, she has sponsored a number of bills aimed at cannabis reform — but that could be an obvious effort to do as much as possible as quickly as possible to make it seem like she’s always supported these efforts. It’s a facade.

She said in 2018: “No one should go to jail for a joint. But more Americans are arrested for marijuana possession than all violent crimes combined.”

What To Do If You Are Charged With Marijuana Related DUI

Driving under the influence is a serious criminal offense. Prosecutors at the attorney general’s office are more likely to push for significant penalties if they think you might be a danger to society. That’s part of the reason those penalties include community service and drug treatment programs. They want to make sure you will not make the same mistake twice. We all know how DUI works with alcohol — but what happens when you get pulled over and charged with a marijuana-related DUI?

The most basic fact is that marijuana-related DUI charges work exactly like alcohol-related DUI charges. The arresting officer must have reasonable suspicion that you are under the influence of the drug when behind the wheel to make an arrest. At the station you will likely be asked to take a blood test. This test will show the authorities exactly how much THC was in your system when you were driving.

If a driver is found to be over the state’s legal limit, then the driver will be considered “impaired” in the eyes of the law — even if the marijuana did not affect the driver’s ability to perform that function. This is called a “per se” marijuana DUI. Saying you weren’t really encumbered by smoking a little weed is not a valid defense.

States also define the word “impairment” in different ways. Impairment marijuana DUIs work a little differently for that reason. The prosecutor must sometimes prove that the driver was significantly affected by the marijuana to prove impairment.

Visit our website to learn how prosecutors might make mistakes in your marijuana-related DUI case in Florida. There are a number of defense strategies an attorney might use. If the arresting officer did not follow protocol (you’d be surprised how often it happens), then you might find safety. 

Part of the reason that these DUI cases sometimes fail to be prosecuted correctly stems from the fact that field sobriety tests are less accurate in determining a person’s ability to drive than they are when alcohol is a factor. There is no breathalyzer for marijuana — not yet, anyway.

The good news is this: marijuana laws and related offenses are changing due to the legalization of medical and recreational marijuana. Sometimes this gives defense attorneys a good opportunity to poke holes in current regulations. Regardless of how you think the law applies to your case, it is always a good idea to contact a criminal defense attorney. An experienced lawyer can always help lay out the facts better than anyone else.

Can Marijuana Use Affect Divorce Proceedings When In Court?

Marijuana is on its way to legalization; no one can argue with that fact. Dozens of states have already legalized the drug for medical use, while others are moving directly to recreational legalization. But in states where marijuana is still an illegal drug, many spouses are asking themselves if smoking could impact an upcoming court case related to their divorce. And unfortunately the answer is yes.

An uncontested divorce lawyer named Aaron Reynolds commented on the reality of illegal drug use for married couples who are separated. “Most people don’t really think about the consequences — even a joint or two can have a direct impact on a person’s ability to find an equitable solution to divorce,” Reynolds said. “In states where the substance is illegal, the court treats it that way. A spouse can use it against you. Seeking an uncontested divorce is the best way out of this, but they aren’t available to just anyone.”

Marijuana is especially damaging for parents seeking shared custody of children. The court will be extremely hesitant to award custody to a person who is knowingly breaking the law, especially since a number of publications continue to openly assert that marijuana is a gateway drug (which is an assertion long since debunked, but that doesn’t seem to matter).

Judges will claim that marijuana use leads to impaired judgement, memory loss, and reduced reaction time, all of which might affect a person’s ability to safely care for kids. Second hand smoke is especially dangerous in the eyes of the law, and no one wants children exposed to drugs. Regardless of whether or not these claims have any merit (most of them don’t in a society where everyone and their brother still cracks open a beer in front of the kids), a spouse who doesn’t smoke will always have an edge over one who does.

Additionally, married couples hold communal property. Often, the finances included in that communal property go to the purchase of any marijuana used by one spouse, and then the other spouse can use that fact to influence the court’s decisions regarding the distribution of property. 

If a spouse smokes marijuana but knows a court date is coming up, it’s time to stop. Without proof, the court can’t render judgement in favor of one person over another. In most cases an immediate court-ordered drug test will be rendered when a party accuses the other of using marijuana. These tests are accurate for a period of about 90 days.

Is Marijuana Use On The Rise In The United States?

Legalization of medical and recreational marijuana has led to a surge of users–especially senior citizens. About 12 percent of Americans aged 50 to 59 report toking up, while about 8 percent of Americans aged 60 and up report the same. Both demographics have seen substantial growth in usage over the last decade, but the 60+ demographic has taken a wild upswing in the past few years, while the 50 to 59 demographic seems to be leveling off. But why?

It’s hard to say for sure before more research is done, but part of the reason seems to be the shift in social attitude between the era during which the drug war began and the era during which acceptance has become more common.

Simply put, fewer people feel compelled to lie when taking a survey. Even while anonymous, researchers long ago concluded that survey and poll takers aren’t always 100 percent truthful when answering questions about taboo or controversial topics (sort of along the same lines as why the number of homosexual or “mostly” heterosexual people is on the rise).

We’re becoming a society in which fewer people are frowned upon for reasons that never made much sense to begin with.

Back in the 80s, the statistics were quite a bit different. Today, senior citizens are about twenty times as likely to use marijuana for medicine or recreation.

Because medical marijuana is a big part of the equation, it should be noted that more senior citizens are allowed to legally benefit from those medicinal qualities as more and more states all doctors to legally prescribe the drug. That’s part of the reason for the uptick.

Surprisingly, legality hasn’t really stopped anyone else. The rate of marijuana use for Americans aged 18 to 29 has basically remained stagnant since 1984, hovering at around 29 percent. That means changing laws are allowing states to reap the taxation rewards of recreational marijuana without having even the remotest impact on young social attitudes toward pot. The attitudes of older citizens in general, meanwhile, are shifting towards legalization. When everyone else is enjoying the drug, why not?

Social attitudes are in part driven by what our parents did or didn’t do. Teenagers rebel simply because they can. Because rebellion is the biological constant, no one really knows if marijuana use will continue to rise, taper off over the next few years, or decline in a decade or two.

NFL Denies its Players the use of Medical Marijuana

It feels as if this issue is resurfacing more and more these days. The NFL has once again denied a player with chronic pain of the purest pain medication out there, medical marijuana. Instead, the professional football league would rather expose players to the harm and possible addiction that can come with using opioids for this purpose. The ruling against players using medical marijuana comes after opioids were the cause of about 64,000 deaths in 2016.

The latest player to apply for a therapeutic use exemption (TUE) is running back Mike James. Mike James has put together a decent NFL career. As with many professional football players, Mike suffered an ankle injury that has left him with chronic pain. In order to be an effective player, he needs to manage this pain. He wants to do so in a way that he believes will not destroy his body in the process.

The 27-year-old running back told NJ.com “I am hopeful that I’ll be able to keep playing football.” James went on to say that he is aware what he’s doing may make some people uncomfortable and it is going to come off as an anti-establishment move, but he thinks it will benefit other players as well as himself in the future.

Mike James’ request for a TUE was denied by the NFL.

James is not alone in the fight to allow NFL players to use medical marijuana as a pain management medication. Other players, like veteran linebacker Derrick Morgan, have requested that the NFL takes a deeper look into the benefits of medical marijuana use.

Technically, if a player wants to smoke marijuana during the season as a way to manage their pain, they can get away with it. The NFL has a preseason testing period that ranges from late April until early August. Mike Florio from NBC Sports supplied some insight on this, he stated: “if they stop smoking in approximately the middle of March and refrain until their once-per-year test, they can smoke with impunity throughout most of training camp, most of the preseason, and all of the regular season and postseason.” In other words, as long as a player isn’t careless, they should be able to pass the drug test and continue on getting high as they wish.

Just like most major corporations, the NFL isn’t willing to go against the federal government on this one. As long as the feds say that using weed is illegal, major corporations are likely to say the same.

Could Legal Weed Cause Trouble at the US-Canada Border

As Canadian officials gear up for the soon to be legal recreational use of marijuana, there are questions that have been left unanswered. Candian officials recently met with U.S Attorney General Jeff Sessions to discuss Canada’s plans. Unfortunately, the Canadian officials returned home unhappy with the outcome of the meeting.

In a press release, the Canadian senator’s were not satisfied with the meeting. According to an interview with VICE News, one of the senators stated that the meeting lasted 45 minutes. They discussed the pot bill with Jeff Sessions and the higher ups of Homeland Security. Sessions and Homeland Security warned the Canadian officials that there could be an increase of security at the border if this bill passes. Sessions also stated that the increased security would lead to more screenings than before. A result of these screenings can cause a potentially extended wait time to enter the U.S.

The Fear of Trafficking

Since taking office, Sessions has tried to crack down on the illegal trafficking of legal marijuana. He has advised government officials to look into marijuana practices, even if the sale for recreational use is legal in that state.

Since the fear of trafficking has been noted within the country, it is an obvious concern for the Candian-American boarders. This a concern of both parties and it was discussed during the meeting. The Canadian Senators plan on taking the information they gained during the meeting and using it to make recommendations on how the new bill should be constructed.

Will This be an Issue for Canadians Entering America?

Well, the answer to the question above depends on who you ask. A conclusion from the last committee hearing was the precautionary tale that Canadians can be turned down at the border and possibly barred from entry into the U.S for life if they admit to ever using marijuana.

According to Public Safety Minister, Ralph Goodale, said that Canadians should not worry about the difficulties legal marijuana may cause for Candian citizens crossing into the U.S. Goodale also stated that there isn’t a need for Americans to tighten the security as the rules of the border have not changed.

Pot Stocks: 2018

In the past, we highlighted the top performing cannabis stocks of 2017. Some of which have seen continued success through the first few months of 2018. However, their prices have leveled off with their production.

The key to making money in the stock world is finding value. Many times, this comes from a low priced stock that performs well over a period of time. The Motley Fool picked two stocks that are trending upward; quickly. Their potential for growth in 2018 is skyrocketing with every move the companies make.

Two Pot Stocks Looking at a Big 2018

Namaste Technologies

Namaste Technology is a budding marijuana hardware company based in Toronto, Canada. Marijuana hardware includes vaporizers and other instruments that are used to consume the herb. The company’s hardware is currently featured on over 30 e-commerce sites across 20 countries.

Namaste Technologies is broadening their horizons as they attempt to take advantage of the growing number of countries that are legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use. For Namaste, the larger the number of legal users, the larger the prospective market is.

One way that Namaste is expanding is by acquiring weaker companies and forming partnerships with stronger companies. One of the companies Namaste Technologies acquired was CannaMart in April 2017. CannaMart is a cannabis distribution company. Namaste Technologies also plans on launching a medical dispensary of their own called Namaste MD in 2018. Further, Namaste Technologies came to an agreement with Aurora Cannabis for the exclusive rights to sell Namaste Vaporizers.

Emerald Health Technologies

If you follow our blog, you know that we highlighted Emerald Health Technologies in our 2017 round up. After a strong year, Emerald Health is poised for an even bigger 2018. The company is planning to take advantage of the expected legalization of recreational cannabis use in Canada.

After a deal with Village Farms International in 2017, Emerald Health now has the potential growing capacity of 5.8 million square feet across Canada. This gives Emerald Health the largest growing capacity of any single company in Canada.

More recently, Emerald Health Technologies has come to terms on a joint venture with DMG Blockchain Solutions. DMG Blockchain Solutions also goes by CannaChain Technologies. The firm is hoping to ease the process managing supply chains as well as managing taxes on all levels of government.  

When you invest in a company, you are investing in the long term. While we can not guarantee the success of these companies, we can highlight what they are doing well. If you decide to invest, we wish you the best of luck. At the end of the day, we hope our advice helps you make smart and thought out financial decisions.