Hello everyone, this is Richard Lowe again for The National Marijuana News here to give you another dose of marijuana news for the week. It is May 3rd, 2019 and progress on trying to reform marijuana laws around the country continues at a steady pace. The Illinois legislature may legalize adult-use marijuana before the end of May and Texas came very close to decriminalizing weed. There is a lot to talk about, some good, some not so good and plenty for speculating on what the future may hold. Let’s get started.

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What a Biden Presidency Means to Marijuana Reform

presidential candidate Joe Biden stance on marijuana legalizationSo we found out officially on April 25th via Twitter that Joe Biden will run for president in 2020. The lineup for candidates representing the Democratic party is getting long enough that rattling them all off just isn’t worth it. However, one of the many common denominators amongst these candidates is that they support the national legalization of marjuana. But not Joe. The man has been involved in politics since the ‘70s and his track record is very clear. He has played a major role in the war on drugs and helped to create the Drug Czar position in the Office of National Drug Control Policy during the ‘80s. More recently, in 2007 he stated this about using cannabis to help manage pain, “There’s got to be a better way for a humane society to figure out how to deal with that problem.” Humane? Really? The unreasonable disdain for a plant in that statement is as extreme as the most aggressive marijuana opponents in the country could come up with. In 2014 he referred to marijuana as a gateway drug. Nothing will make marijuana legalization proponents throw up in their mouth more than discussions about gateways. Hey, in this progressive era where advocates have been able to spread awareness about the value of legalizing marijuana, and now that there is scientific evidence that cannabis has true medical value, perhaps even the most biased of people like Joe Biden can come back from the dark side. We will see…

Washington D.C., Texas and Illinois Marijuana Reform

washington dc mayor bowser introduces the safe cannabis sales act of 2019While Texas lawmakers’ efforts to decriminalize marijuana may have been thwarted by Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, the State House of Representatives made a valiant effort to solve the social injustice of prohibition in Texas. It’s a slow process in Texas but it certainly feels like it is picking up steam. If Texas can see its way to reforming marijuana laws and possibly legalizing it someday, than any state can. On an even brighter note, Illinois lawmakers seem determined to get marijauna legalized before the end of their current legislative session at the end of May. The newly appointed Gov. J.B. Pritzker is a big marijuana legalization proponent so we should see little pushback by him if his state’s Assembly wants adult-use marijuana legal. But, on an even brighter note, the mayor of Washington D.C. unveiled legislation this week to legalize the commercial sale of adult-use marijuana in our nation’s capital. Mayor Muriel Bowser introduced the Safe Cannabis Sales Act of 2019 which if passed would allow for the purchase, sale and taxation of marijuana in D.C. Four years ago voters thought they had legalized adult-use cannabis but a ryder placed on the initiative prevented it from actually happening. It’s not awesome when voters decided upon something and then lawmakers say no to them. It’s not a perfect system but if Mayor Bowser can get it done now, then Washington D.C. just got a little cooler.

Marijuana Lounges, Marijuana Lounges, Marijuana Lounges

las vegas marijuana lounges will be attached to dispensariesI spend a lot of time in Las Vegas and for anyone that likes weed, it’s a heavenly place. There are over 70 dispensaries around the Strip with the widest variety of cannabis I have ever seen. Nevada has very strict lab testing regulations in place too so the cannabis products are all super high quality. The one thing that has been missing is marijuana lounges, a place to legally sit down with others and consume cannabis rather than ducking down alleys, toweling hotel doors or just blatantly smoking it while walking down the street. Well, that is all going to change. The Las Vegas City Council made social-use venues legal on Wednesday which means that in a couple of months time lounges will be attached to dispensaries. You simply walk into the dispensary, buy some weed and then walk through a door into a lounge to smoke to your heart’s content. They will offer paraphernalia in the venues but no alcohol and of course you have to be at least 21 years-of-age. Many dispensaries like Planet 13 already have a designated area meant for the lounges.

In Colorado yesterday, the Senate also legalized lounges by passing House Bill 1230 which is now on its way to Gov. Jared Polis’s desk where he is expected to sign off on it. If passed, the bill would allow for what Colorado calls, “Tasting Rooms.” That’s cool. Colorado will also permit private consumption licenses to hotels, restaurants, music venues and art galleries. Even cooler.

Marijuana ETF’s

The cannabis sector of the stock market is crazy these days. Well, all of the stock market is these days. It’s like playing darts with a blind fold. Don’t do that by the way. The S&P 500 made new highs recently after struggling towards the end of 2018 and cannabis companies are playing their part in pushing this robust market. All of this enthusiasm in the stock market for cannabis companies has led to some new exchange traded funds, or ETFs, being introduced. I have used HMMJ as my major benchmark for cannabis stocks. But now we have YOLO, the AdvisorShares Pure Cannabis ETF, and also ACT, another more diversified ETF by AdvisorShares. Neither have much liquidity yet but they are certainly a sign that the big money out there thinks that marijuana is here to stay. Imagine if they ever resolve the banking problems for cannabis companies and legalize weed on the federal level. Well, in my opinion, it won’t make that much of a difference for investors. The correlation between marijuana stocks and the rest of the market is tight. If the S&P goes up, so do cannabis stocks, if it goes down, so do cannabis stocks. I do think though that if the market does fall out from underneath us, cannabis companies may not fall quite as much, but still a lot. They have two things going for them; cannabis is a commodity and those tend to fare better during recessions, and cannabis companies do not have much debt relative to the rest of the market because they cannot access loans like traditional companies due to federal prohibition. We will see.

More Marijuana Research…..Please!

harvard will research the effects of marijuana consumption on cognition after donation
Harvard Science Center

I read that a man named Charles R. Broderick just donated $9 million to Harvard and MIT to conduct research on the cognitive and psychological effects of cannabis consumption. They are going to research other things as well but both higher education institutions say it is the largest donation they have ever received for cannabis research. I don’t even care if they find out some negative stuff about smoking weed, I just want there to be more scientific facts about marijuana consumption. I believe that they are going to find a lot of good stuff but please no more conjecture, positive or negative. It makes me want to bang my head against the wall when laws are so perverse they do not permit scientists to research a plant and leaves the world reeling in speculation resulting in crap like crusades. Sorry, I’m rambling like someone lost in factless based… Anyways, both MIT and Harvard say they will make their findings public regardless of what they find. We are seeing more and more colleges offering programs surrounding education on the business of marijuana.

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend! Game of Thrones was amazing last week and i bet this Sunday’s episode is killer! Go Tyrion! Remember to follow our Youtube channel, The National Marijuana News, along with our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages @NationalMJNews. I hope everyone enjoys the weekend.