This Week In Cannabis 8/8

This Week In Cannabis

Times are a-changin’, D.C. eagle eyes legalization, advertising the benefits, OR bank goes green (well, it’s trying), marijuana goes to prison, and driving marijuana perceptions away.

D.C. Puts Down Legalization Flaps
So it’s official. The Nation’s Capital is lighting up the issue of marijuana legalization and is set to vote on recreational use this November joining Alaska and Oregon, reports U.S. News.

On Wednesday, Initiative 71 got the unanimous thumbs up from the D.C. Board of Elections, securing its place on the ballot with more than enough petition signatures. The initiative looks to legalize 2 ounces of marijuana (for adults 21 and older) as well as growing marijuana at home (up to six plants).

Of course getting it on the ballot is a very small part of the whole. One can only imagine how this most recent development will be viewed by conservative lawmakers on the Hill, given the uproar that simple decriminalization caused.

Recent polls indicate that 63% of D.C. residents are in favor of legalization, suggesting that the measure will make it beyond the November vote, but getting it through the Congress and/or the Senate gatekeepers will prove to be the real battle.

For legalization proponents, should D.C. slide from initiative to law, it seems fair to assume that the rest of the country will have to sit up and take notice.

Sign of the Times
The New York Times has really stepped-up its support of marijuana. In addition to running a six-part pro-legalization editorial, the paper also ran a full-page ad from Leafly, a company that finds and rates medical marijuana dispensaries. Whether or not the editorial and advertising departments’ stance will eventually result in the paper changing its employee drug testing policy is open for debate, but a Huffington Post article quoted an ex-editor who thinks the policy is becoming increasingly more difficult to hold up.

In another sign of new times ahead, both USA Today and the Marijuana Business Daily have ran articles that examine the potential benefits that may come from recent positive changes in the public’s perception of marijuana. They look at both the potential for advertising windfalls amongst media outlets as well a positive influence on marijuana businesses and lawmakers.

Colorado Driving It Home
The expected massive upswing in “drugged driving” marijuana-related fatalities on the road has failed to materialize. In fact, a Washington Post report has shown that highway fatalities are way down in Colorado to “near-historic lows.” Pointing to marijuana legalization as the reason for the downturn is probably inaccurate, but you can bet the farm that if figures had gone up marijuana would’ve been the culprit…

Marijuana Gets Prison Time in Colorado
While in the Huffington Post, this story should be straight out of the Ironic Times. A Colorado agricultural businessman, Nicholas Erker, has purchased an ex medium-security women’s prison and wants to turn it into a medical marijuana dispensary.

And just when you thought that going into prison to buy marijuana (an act which probably landed some of its former guests there) couldn’t get any more ironic, well, then there’s the facility’s name —the High Plains Correctional Facility.

Oregon Banking on Marijuana
Oregon has been in the headlines for all the right reasons recently with legalization appearing on the state’s horizon.  And those headlines keep getting better for marijuana proponents in the beaver state.

Portland Business Journal is reporting that a local Oregon bank, MBank, is currently in talks with state and federal regulation authorities about providing banking services for now-legal medical marijuana dispensaries in the state. As skittish as the banking community remains on working with marijuana businesses, it is laudable (and probably lucrative) that some banks are willing to provide basic financial services to what are state-legal companies.