March 30, 2017

Marijuana Politics

Marijuana Politics is your new media trusted non-partisan choice

Florida Amendment 2 Marijuana – ‘Just Say No’ to Sunshine Referendum?

florida amendment 2 marijuana

Florida Amendment 2 marijuana legislation is in the news and some cities and counties are taking a Well, ‘Not Yet,’ Anyway attitude as they wait to see what happens in the state of Florida.

Since the late twentieth century, over half of the states in the U.S. passed initiatives that either decriminalized or legalized marijuana for various purposes.  With each election, more and more voters head to the polls to vote upon marijuana measures.  In fact during the 2016 election, 9 states considered proposals for expanded access to marijuana, both for recreational and medical use.  Florida, one of these 9 states, voted upon broadening access to medical marijuana through an amendment to their state constitution, known as Florida Amendment 2.  Florida’s citizens overwhelmingly supported the measure with 71% of the vote.  So now that Floridians enacted Amendment 2, what happens next?  Florida’s state and local governments must get to work.

Prior to the November election, a limited medical marijuana law existed in the state of Florida.  Essentially patients with extreme medical conditions could purchase and use either the weakest (low THC level) or non-smoked forms of marijuana through a prescription from their doctors.  Conditions covered by the 2014 law included cancer, epilepsy, chronic seizures, and chronic muscle spasms.  The law then expanded earlier in 2016 to include the treatment of patients suffering from terminal conditions with stronger (higher THC level) marijuana.

Florida Amendment 2 passage

voterheads florida amendment 2With the passage of Amendment 2, access to medical marijuana for Floridians broadened even further.  Individuals suffering from “debilitating medical conditions” can now take medical marijuana if it has been proven to help alleviate symptoms and their physician believes the benefits outweigh the risks of beginning a marijuana regimen.  This means that Florida will need more dispensaries for marijuana, as the number of patients using the drug for medical purposes is expected to dramatically increase.  The amendment tasks the state’s Department of Health and the legislature with developing rules and regulations for ensuring that marijuana is only given to patients with a proven need, and not end up in the hands of individuals without approved medical conditions.  The amendment provides 6 months for the development of regulations and procedures, and asks that prescription identification cards for accessing medical marijuana be available within 9 months of the November election.

The necessary processes and regulations for medical marijuana distribution vary.  The legislature must consider how to regulate who receives medical marijuana identification cards, how to ensure that those cards come from licensed, trained physicians, and how to conduct background checks to make sure that people buying marijuana are actual patients or their identified caregivers.  Additionally, the amendment requires the regulation of new dispensaries throughout the state, including the proper location of such businesses and the security required for them.  This aspect is the primary place where local governments come in.  They must determine how and where the new dispensaries will be located within their districts so as to effectively provide medical marijuana, but also limit the risk of marijuana being sold to the wrong people.

Local Governments React to Florida Amendment 2

So how have local governments addressed these considerations so far?  Many cities and counties decided to place temporary moratoriums on the development of medical marijuana facilities in their areas.  Isn’t that going against the amendment, you might ask?  Well considering the fact that the amendment did not provide specifics on actually offering medical marijuana to a broader section of the public, many local governments feel they must wait to see what the state does first before trying to establish medical marijuana dispensaries in their districts.  Thus the moratoriums represent no more than a holding position for local entities as they figure out the best way to implement the new law.

Pulling records from the local governments covered in the Voterheads database, a wide variety of cities and counties considered motions in relation to medical marijuana since the November 8th election.  Thirty-seven local governments from our database reviewed proposals related to expanded use of medical marijuana.  Of these, 31 local governments debated whether or not to have a moratorium.  Of those entities considering a moratorium, 20 governments already passed a temporary moratorium, while the other 11 moratoriums remain under consideration.  The temporary moratoriums vary in length, with half of the moratoriums lasting for 6 months, 5 for a year, and 2 for 8 and 9 months, respectively.  Three local governments opted for the opposite approach and put shorter moratoriums in place, lasting 2-4 months, with the option to extend those as needed.  Most of the ordinances include provisions allowing the commission or council to shorten the moratoriums as needed.

The Intent of Florida Amendment 2

The intent of Florida Amendment 2 is clear: expand access to medical marijuana for debilitating medical conditions in a safe and efficient way.  Due to the fact that the amendment passed with a strong majority, the legislature and Department of Health appear to be moving quickly to develop the necessary regulations and processes needed to put the law into practice.  Many local governments will enact their own ordinances once they know the nature of these regulations, and the combined efforts of state and local governments will hopefully provide relief to many of Florida’s medically ill constituents.

Want to keep tabs on marijuana legislation and other topics you’re passionate about in your community?  Sign up for a free account at
Author Karl McCollester


Marijuana Innovations Light Up The Industry

marijuana innovations

The ballots are in and Massachusetts, California, Maine, and Nevada all voted in favor of recreational marijuana. Several other states made provisions for or expanded current provisions for medical marijuana. With pot on its way to being legalized in all 50 states, there is the hope that marijuana innovations in the industry keep on coming. From new edibles, drinkables, and topical solutions to innovative vaporizers and trimmers, there’s always something new for the casual or the regular smoker, or for the hemp product entrepreneur.

Marijuana Innovations – Edibles

High Times Magazine does a good job of ranking all things marijuana. And if you thought that edibles were limited to brownies and cookies, think again. It is a good idea to know your tolerance and match it up with the product’s dosage. That said, there are too many products to list in this article, but here are a few:

  • Cheba Chews Deca Dose
    If cheba chews edible marijuanayou’re fond of taffy, then this a product you can enjoy. Packing a 175mg dose of the green in every chew, Cheba Chews come on strong and fast. The taste is a bit grassy, due mostly to the high dose.
  • Purple Star Gummies
    If gummy bears are more your thing, then you’re covered there, too. With 200mg of THC per gummy, one gummy should have you buzzing for a good while.

Marijuana Innovations – Drinkables

If you’d rather drink your cannabis, well, you can do that, too. There’s also a website that ranks the best tasting marijuana drinks out there.

  • Catapult Coffee Pod
    Want your THC buzz but still need to get up and go to work? Well, there’s now marijuana-infused coffee. Unfortunately, they’re currently only available in Washington State. It’s also a fairly expensive cup of coffee, at $10 per pod.
  • canna cola - drinkable marijuanaCanna Cola
    Like soda? Canna Cola is probably the best known in the marijuana industry offering drinks. With soda named things like Doc Weed and Orange Kush, you can see why. Canna Cola is sold in states that offer medical marijuana.

Marijuana Innovations – Vaporizers

Marijuana Vaporizerskandypens vape pen have come a long way since the desktop models that offered little in the way of temperature control. Now, there are portable vaporizers that act as an all-in-one, allowing you to burn concentrates, e-liquid, and dry herb. Recently an abrupt popularity is detected among electronic cigarettes. Those are considered an alternative to regular cigarettes with less harmful effects and a higher cost effectiveness. Vaporization industry shows a lot of perspective and has many opportunities to evolve in the future.

Marijuana Innovations – Hemp Airlines

Okay, so it’s not an actual airline… yet. But the world’s first hemp-based and hemp-fueled airplane is underway. Canadian-based Hempearth Group, Ltd. It will consist of no less than 75% hemp, which helps to reduce the plane’s carbon footprint. Unfortunately, no, you won’t be able to smoke it. It hopes to take flight in 2017.

Marijuana Innovations – Hemp Adobe Homes

hemp homeWant a house that’s eco-friendly, inexpensive, and will help you keep energy expenses low? Try a hemp adobe home. This home can be erected in a manner of days instead of months, is sound-insulating, and heats and cools through convection. Entrepreneur Kevin Hodge is looking to change the way people think of and build homes with this idea.

Marijuana Innovations – Green Broz Marijuana Trimmer

If you cultivate, especially on a larger scale, hand-trimming your buds can be a pain in the you-know-what. Enter Green Broz, who hope to help you with that problem. They have developed a dry-marijuana trimmer to get your bud trimmed and trimmed perfectly. The size of an old desktop computer, the trimmer is a top-loader style with slowly rotating blades and gently rolling to ensure the quality of the cut. Capable of handling up to ¾ a pound (more for commercial models), it can finish a load in 10-15 minutes, depending on the flower.

Undoubtedly, more and more states will continue to legalize recreational cannabis consumption and make provisions for medical consumption of marijuana. As it becomes more legal and acceptable, the industry will continue to produce innovations. The future of the marijuana industry is looking bright. Here’s to the innovators and entrepreneurs who have come before and will come in the future.


Michael is a marketing and creative content specialist at with primary focus on customer satisfaction. Technology and fitness combined healthy lifestyle obsession are his main talking points

The Benefits of using a Water Pipe over Joints

Water Pipe from Herbtools

Water Pipes for the health and taste

When smoking your herb, you want to ensure that you get the best possible outcome every time. You want a big hit, a smooth taste and all the flavours of your weed. The best way to ensure that all these factors are met and more is to smoke using bongs & water pipes. Believe it or not, there are so many benefits that using a bong has as opposed to using another smoking method. Bongs or a water pipe will include limited negative effects to your health and provide quick and easy operation when compared to a joint.

Firstly, stoners may favor using a bong as it delivers a much bigger hit than any other smoking method. With masses of space between the mouth piece and bowl you can pack every inch with clean, filtered smoke. Joints on the other hand deliver an often unexpected amount of hot smoke that can easily send new users into coughing fits, putting them off the herb for good!

Using a bong or water pipe is a far healthier method of smoking than the joint. This is due to the fact that as the smoke is filtered through the water, it does not reach as high a combustion level as it would of inside a joint. The effect of the smoke being forced through the water acts as both a cooler and a filter. The cooler the smoke the less scratchy and harsh it is when inhaled. As you can imagine, the smoke inside the joint is only centimeters away from a red hot ash volcano! Would you rather inhale a frosty cool breeze or a hot fiery one?

Water Pipe and Bongs

When you have smoked using your water pipe or bong a few times, you may get a yellowish tint on the inside of the tubing. This is a build-up of toxins that have stuck to the glass after every hit you have taken. The water inside the chamber can also start to turn a brownish color after a lot of smoking, you can see how this has prevented even more toxins from entering your body when you’ve taken a hit. Up to 40% of harmful toxins are prevented from entering your body thanks to the water filtration!

Bongs come in many different shapes and sizes – you can even choose from a range of different materials you want! Some examples of these include metal, glass, ceramic, plastic and even bamboo.

Joints always look like joints, but with bongs you can accessorize and mod! This could be done by purchasing a bong with a percolator for example. A percolator works by taking the smoke into a separate chamber and then dissecting the smoke hundreds of times within small glass piping, this makes your smoke smoother and tastier. Percolators can come in many different shapes and sizes. You can also customise your bong with different utensils. Some examples of these are precoolers, different bowls, diffusers and even ash catchers.

There are so many hidden bonuses that smoking using a bong or water pipe has. They are healthier, tastier, attractive and offer you a bigger hit – what more could you want? You can find these incredible smoking tools  online at shops such as with prices starting as low as $10! At Herbtools you can find all types of smoking accessories and headshop goodies.

From Prison to Pot Industry Mogul

Alex Rogers

Nine years ago, Alex Rogers, co-owner of Marijuana Politics, was released from a German prison, where he had finished serving a six-month sentence for cannabis related offenses. He was 35 years old and completely broke. He had been living in Europe for seven years and upon his release from prison, decided to move back to the United States, to, as he puts it, “get my shit together”. And, get his shit together he did. A year and a half after returning to the states, Rogers graduated magna cum laude in Political Science from Southern Oregon University.

Not long after graduating college, he started one of Oregon’s most successful medical marijuana clinic businesses. “Though my degree was not in business, because of the politically charged cannabis industry, my degree has helped me with my business endeavors more than I could have ever imagined”.

After building his clinic business, Rogers started the Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference (OMMBC) and the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC), two of the preeminent cannabis business conferences in the country. One of his proudest achievements is the OMMBC because he has gotten such positive feedback from attendees and colleagues that are now thriving in the burgeoning Oregon marijuana market.

Rogers stated that, “The OMMBC was our first conference, our baby, and we have worked diligently to build the OMMBC brand and improve upon previous events.” Rogers is not just a businessman, he is also one of Oregon’s top cannabis activists, organizing thousands of emails and phone calls to Oregon legislators last spring.

Rogers attributes much of his success to his activist ideology. “I have a tremendous amount of encouragement and help from many good people. Being a good business person starts with being a good member of the community at large.” Rogers describes the current cannabis industry landscape in Oregon as “Booming”. “I have lived in California, Amsterdam, and Switzerland (1999 when weed was virtually legal in the country), and I have never seen anything like what is currently happening in Oregon. It is inspiring”.

Currently, Rogers is starting up two new cannabis businesses, and with his Midas touch, I for one, am not betting against him. Rogers is also currently in negotiations with a venue in Berlin to produce the first European ICBC next summer. Rags to riches stories, like Rogers, are becoming less uncommon in the cannabis industry, as many newbie canna-millionaires had the misfortune of spending time in prison for activities they now conduct legally.

If you are interested in learning more about the Oregon cannabis industry from Alex and other industry experts by attending the upcoming Oregon Medical Marijuana Business Conference on September 12-13 in Portland, please visit


Burnsgate: 21 Questions After Tom Burns’ Firing

The firing of Oregon’s Marijuana Czar, Tom Burns, understandably rocked the Oregon cannabis community and everyone involved with developing prospective legislation and regulation that would implement marijuana legalization in the Beaver State. At first, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC) was silent about why their Director of Marijuana Programs was fired, but as Marijuana Politics scooped first, it was eventually announced that Burns was fired for leaking an internal OLCC document, lying about leaking it and trying to cover his tracks by deleting the emails proving that he was the leak. I have coined this scandal “Burnsgate” and  like Watergate and many other scandals, the coverup was what led to a government official’s downfall.

The OLCC stated that the recipient of the leak, Portland attorney Amy Margolis, Director of the Oregon Cannabis PAC (formerly knows as the Oregon Growers PAC), had no culpability in the leak from their point of view. I have learned that Ms. Margolis curiously shared a picture of a computer screen (not a screen shot, but an actual picture) with the leaked document on it with at least one person and she didn’t just forward the email from Burns, showing that he sent the document to her. As members of the media inevitably start looking over all of Mr. Burns’ emails, it will be very interesting to see what more details emerge. It is certain that many questions remain regarding both Mr. Burns and Ms. Margolis, including these 13:

1. Why did Tom Burns leak the document to Amy Margolis in the first place? (Was it a policy decision or a personal decision or another reason?)

2. Why did Tom Burns lie about being the source of the leak? (Was it just a heat of the moment lapse or was there some thought behind it?)

3. Why would Tom Burns be willing to risk a prominent government job, paying him more than $100,000 a year, to leak an internal document to a lobbyist and then lie about leaking it?

4. Did Burns tell Ms. Margolis that she needed to keep the document, or source of the document, secret?

5. Did Burns tell Ms. Margolis that this was just a working, unfinished document?

6. If Burns did tell Margolis that it was a working document, how did she characterize the document when she shared it? Margolis’ characterization of the letter to other parties could potentially bring up ethical issues for her as an attorney and possibly as a lobbyist.

7. Was it Burns’ decision to lie about the leak his alone, or were he and Margolis in contact after the leak, strategizing together?

8. Will Burns speak publicly about this leak and his motive for leaking it and then lying about leaking it?

9. Does Amy Margolis agree with Geoff Sugerman, another lobbyist for the Oregon Cannabis PAC,  when he stated to the Willamette Week that the leaked document was not meant to be a confidential, internal document and that the leaked document had been floating around the capitol for “at least a week, if not more”?

10. If this document wasn’t meant to be confidential and had been floating around the capitol for “at least a week, if not more” why would Amy Margolis take a photo of her computer screen when sharing the document? Why not just forward the email from Tom Burns?

11. Did Amy Margolis register as a lobbyist in accordance with the law? As of March 2nd, she was not registered as a lobbyist and the Russ Belvile Show broke on Twitter that an ethics complaint has been levied against Ms. Margolis. (Russ Belville does contribute blogs for Marijuana Politics.)

12. Has Amy Margolis registered as a lobbyist? And if so, did she do so before legally obligated?

13. Will Amy Margolis suffer any punishment from the Oregon State Bar or the Oregon Government Ethics Commission because of her role in this leak or if it is found that she didn’t legally register as a lobbyist?

14. What will this scandal do to legislation favored by Amy Margolis and her PAC, such as Senate Bill 936 and House Bill 2676?

15. Will this scandal impact Ms. Margolis, or other members of her PAC, if they submitted applications to sit on the OLCC Measure 91 Rules Advisory Committee?

16. What was Ms. Margolis’ motivation in sharing the leaked document?

17. Will this scandal hinder Margolis and her PAC in their efforts to lobby for SB 936, HB 2676 or other reforms that they support?

18. What do members of the Oregon Cannabis PAC (again, formerly the Oregon Growers PAC) think about Margolis’ role in this leak and the firing of Tom Burns?

19. Will this scandal hinder Margolis’ ability to recruit new members to her PAC, that costs $10,000 to join this legislative session?

20. Will this scandal hurt Margolis’ law firm, the Emerge Law Group, especially if she is sanctioned by the Oregon Government Ethics Commission or the Oregon State Bar?

21. Will Amy Margolis speak publicly on the record to discuss this leak and her role in it?

As you can see, many questions remain, as my 21 questions are really even more than 21 and answers to these questions will likely lead to even more questions. Following the fall from grace of Governor John Kitzhaber, it is amazing that Tom Burns felt that he could leak this document, lie about it and that hitting “delete” would adequately cover his tracks. It seems clear that the coverup was worse than the leak as leaking the document may not have led to his firing.

Instead of coming clean, one of Oregon’s most prominent state officials was willing to throw away a six-figure salary with great state benefits as well as his legacy. Regardless of how these 21+ questions get answered, I am willing to bet that this is a story that won’t simply go away as it seems that there must be more to this story as it really baffles the mind as to why a high-ranking government official would be willing to put his career in such danger over a rather trivial matter. Stay tuned to Marijuana Politics as we continue our coverage and breaking news.

Tom Burns, Oregon Marijuana Director, Fired for Improper Leak


I have learned from an anonymous source with intimate details of the ouster of Tom Burns, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission’s Director of Marijuana Programs for the past three months, was partly due to an improper leak of a work-in-progress internal document that was being reviewed by OLCC staff. Tom Burns leaked the working document to Oregon attorney Amy Margolis who then shared the document with others. The release of the working document caused headaches for the OLCC and complicated the process of reaching a consensus on important issues regarding the regulation of marijuana in Oregon. Apparently, Burns lied about the leak and tried to cover his tracks.

It has been common knowledge among the marijuana community that Ms. Margolis and Mr. Burns were very close allies. Margolis, in addition to being an attorney, is the Director and founder of the Oregon Cannabis PAC, formerly knows as the Oregon Growers PAC. The PAC has hired lobbyist (and dispensary owner and grower) Geoff Sugerman as well as the firm State Street Solutions. It is unclear if the leaking of this document has any confidentiality or ethical concerns for Ms. Margolis and her PAC. While the OLCC is claiming that she has no culpability in the matter,  I am curious as to how the Oregon Ethics Commission or the Oregon State Bar will feel about Amy Margolis’ role if Burns told Margolis that it was a working policy document and she characterized it differently to whoever she showed the document to, for instance. Additionally, if reporters get a hold of his emails (as I imagine they will), will there be more damaging information released, for both Burns and Margolis?

The Oregon cannabis world, both stakeholders and politicians working on the issue, were left in shock over the firing of Tom Burns, who had become one of the most prominent Oregon state officials in recent months. First tasked with overseeing the implementation of state-licensed medical marijuana facilities by the Oregon Health Authority, Burns was a natural choice to lead the OLCC’s recreational marijuana program. Unfortunately for Mr. Burns, he apparently trusted Ms. Margolis to either not share the document or he thought that the leak couldn’t be traced back to him. There have been reports that Burns had clashed with OLCC Commissioner Rob Patridge, but the leak was apparently the final straw.

This will likely be a very big story in Oregon, not just for the marijuana angle, but for the state government transparency issue as the state is still recovering from the resignation of Governor John Kitzhaber and his alleged unethical behavior. It will be interesting to watch this story unfold. Check back to Marijuana Politics for more details as the story develops.