February 27, 2017

Marijuana Politics Staff, Author at MARIJUANA POLITICS

Get Your ICBC Tickets By Midnight This Wednesday!

ICBCSF

You have been waiting your whole life to attend the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) in San Francisco in the wake of adult cannabis legalization – so why are you still waiting to buy tickets to attend? The conference is this Thursday, February 17th! That means prices will increase on Wednesday at midnight – so don’t delay any longer! Get your tickets now!

The ICBC is the premier cannabis conference and expo, and this year’s line-up includes some of the best minds in the industry. This Thursday is your chance to hear from Chief of the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation of California, Lori Ajax, whose unofficial title is “California Marijuana Czar” and who will be one of the most influential agents in the roll-out of cannabis regulations in Sacramento over the next year. If you are interested in federal level policy, you won’t be disappointed to hear from a series of qualified speakers who will address the topic, “Speaking Republican: How to Survive and Thrive During the Trump Administration” including political and cannabis veterans Steve Grand, Joe Hunter, Nathan Daschle, and Mary Patton.

The stage will also be graced with more mainstream celebrities, including actor, entertainer and cultural icon Henry Rollins, who will speak to the larger social and political ramifications of the global shift toward legalized adult cannabis use. Four-time NBA basketball champion John Salley  will also be in attendance and interviewed live onstage by Steve Bloom, Editor-in-Chief of Freedom Leaf and former editor of High Times.

Of course, attending the ICBC on Thursday is the most important part of the week, but if you are able to join Wednesday evening there will be a special VIP meet-and-greet with conference speakers, including keynote speaker Henry Rollins along with special guest California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, the current frontrunner for California’s next gubernatorial election in 2018, and fierce national leader of cannabis law reform.

Tickets to the ICBC go up on Wednesday at midnight, so buy yours now!

This blog was origninally published at www.internationalcbc.com and has bee reposted here with special permission. 

ICBC to Help Cannabis Industry Survive the Trump Administration

Donald Trump

The cannabis industry is understandably hanging on each and every bit of information that could potentially provide insight into the Donald Trump Administration’s future marijuana policy. There have been some troubling signs out of the administration, but also some positive ones. Many questions remain and everyone is still awaiting answers.

Will Donald Trump follow through on his campaign promises to support medical marijuana “100%” and respect the will of the states that have ended prohibition within their own borders? Will the Obama Administration’s Cole memo detailing federal government marijuana enforcement priorities remain intact, or will it be revised, or even scrapped altogether? How will Jeff Session’s prohibitionist tendencies impact his executive actions? Only time will answer our burning questions, but it is important to be as prepared as possible.

To help cannabis industry participants face the uncertain future with the Trump White House, the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) will host a very pertinent and important panel designed to prepare advocates, entrepreneurs and investors  as much as possible. The panel, “Speaking Republican: How to Survive and Thrive During the Trump Administration,” is comprised of seasoned political strategists and legal experts who will offer their insight to everyone’s burning questions, address concerns, and offer strategic advice to to the cannabis industry from a political insider’s perspective.

The ICBC in San Francisco is bringing together top regulators, activists and industry professionals together to network and share information on February 17th, with a keynote address by rock icon Henry Rollins and a celebrity interview with four-time NBA champion John Salley. A special VIP reception on the 16th will include an appearance by both Tommy Chong and California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom. Get your tickets before this event sells out!

This blog was originally posted at www.internationalcbc.com and has been reposted here with special permission.

Hurry and Book Your HIlton Hotel for the San Francisco ICBC!

Hilton SF

Now that California has legalized marijuana and regulated cannabis commerce is on the horizon, the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) in San Francisco is the must-attend event for the cannabis community and the Hilton San Francisco Union Square is where you want to stay! The ICBC has teamed up with Hilton Hotels to bring you a special discounted rate on rooms for the upcoming ICBC on February 17. Please note, the VIP reception is the night before the event, on February 16, so please plan accordingly as this event is expected to sell out and rooms are limited!

With a VIP reception that includes an eclectic and entertaining mix of people from California Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, rock icon Henry Rollins and cannabis legend Tommy Chong, you will want to be there. Staying at the Hilton provides easy travelling to our information-filled California cannabis crash course on the 17th as well as excellent networking opportunities with other industry professionals and activists. If you are in the California cannabis industry, or are thinking of joining, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to have your questions addressed by Lori Ajax, the state Marijuana Czar, or to learn from the lawyers and business people that have already been in the trenches navigating regulatory hurdles and are working on shaping the upcoming rules.

The ICBC’s partnership with Hilton allows our attendees to get the low rate of $199 per night at the Hilton Union Square in downtown San Francisco. This is a great value and it puts you in the heart of the city. Tomorrow night the discounted rates end, so please hurry and save yourself some hard-earned money. If you haven’t gotten your tickets to the ICBC, you still can, but hurry before this event sells out. Hope to see you there!

This blog was originally published at www.internationalcbc.com and has been reposted here with special permission.

ICBC San Francisco Tickets Increase at Midnight!

ICBC-Rollins-Salley-Chongson

As recreational cannabis begins to come online before the start of the new year, the State of California is about to enter new territory. And the world is watching.

Get your tickets now for the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco on February 17th! THE $299 EARLY BIRD PRICES END TONIGHT! The all-inclusive VIP pass includes a special reception on the 16th that includes an appearance by Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom, the frontrunner to be the Golden State’s next governor and is even on the short list to be the next president of the United States. Also, Tommy Chong will be in attendance!

Join experts global and local to showcase current and upcoming trends in the cannabis legalization market, including speakers such as Lori Ajax, Chief of the Bureau of Medical Cannabis Regulation of California; Chuck Rifici, founder and CEO of Canopy Growth; Tsion Sunshine Lencho, co-founder of Supernova Women for women of color in the cannabis industry; Hezekiah Allen, Executive Director of the California Growers Association; and many, many more.

Don’t wait – GET YOUR TICKETS NOW! Early bird prices end at midnight!

There’s only one place to learn about what is happening in California before the state turns recreational – and that’s California.

Don’t miss one of the most exciting events in cannabis industry history! Don’t forget Keynote Speaker Henry Rollins and Celebrity Interview with John Salley. Get your tickets now for the International Cannabis Industry Conference is coming to San Francisco on February 17th at the San Francisco Hilton Union Square.

This blog was originally published at www.internationalcbc.com and has been reposted here with special permission.

Can California Cannabis Law Help Fix Federal Banking Law Quickly?

banking
As anyone involved in the US cannabis industry is well-aware, dealing with banks is probably the biggest source of headaches in this quasi-legal market. Many individuals and businesses have been forced to cycle through financial institutions, closing and opening accounts in constant search for a safe place to store money.

Marijuana legalization has made strides in several states, but banking is strictly regulated at the federal level. Any hint that an account holder is profiting from cannabis opens the door to prosecution for money laundering. Despite the issuance of the Cole Memo from the Department of Justice in 2013, financial lenders remain extremely cautious. For most banks, the risk of potential prosecution from unknown future administrations outweighs the benefits of a few additional customers.

Problems abound aplenty for companies unable to use banks or credit unions, including denied access to normal business loans and the inability for customers to use credit cards. Individuals in the industry who can show years of pay stubs are unable to apply for home loans. Even activists organizations are punished for having the word “cannabis”  in the name.
Of course this doesn’t even address the extreme safety issue which arises when businesses deal solely in cash. Large amounts of unchecked cash can lead to problems of regulation, oversight, taxation and violent crime.
According to Arcview Research Group, the cannabis industry is expected to garner an estimated $20 billion in annual sales by 2020. With California being the sixth largest economy in the world and coming online to recreational sales on January 1, 2018, the pressure is on to find a solution.

And California may just be the one state which can force the discussion at the federal level.

California State Treasurer John Chiang, who has formed the Cannabis Banking Working Group, is pressing for federal banking laws to change sooner than later as the Orange County Register reported:
“A lot of businesses will be hauling around a lot of cash with no place to deposit their money, putting them at risk of robbery,” Chiang said.
“…Chiang brushed aside the idea of creating a state bank specifically to service cannabis customers. It’s an approach proposed by the Board of Equalization to combat the industry’s poor record of paying state taxes, and one that’s been tried and shut down by federal regulators in other legalized states.
“The state of Colorado sought to create its own cannabis credit union in November 2014. But the Federal Reserve rejected the state’s applications to create a master account that would have allowed banks to do business with the credit union. And a U.S. District Court judge dismissed Colorado’s challenge to that decision, stating he was compelled to do so because marijuana remains illegal under federal law.”

Will California finally fix the federal banking problem? It’s worth watching out for, and it’s worth being part of the solution. Join the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco on February 17th, 2017, for a one-day event discussing the upcoming changes to cannabis laws and markets.

This blog was originally published at www.internationalcbc.com and has been reposted here with special permission.

Germany Is Poised to Be a Powerful Cannabis Market

Germany

With a population of 80.6 million and nearly 140k square miles, the country of Germany is roughly 85% the size of California, and contains over double the population. As medical cannabis laws across Europe become liberalized and attitudes toward adult recreational use continue to soften, Germany is now poised to be the next big thing in the European cannabis market.

Germany is looking primed to become a major producer of medical cannabis since laws were loosened this past summer to allow patients access with a doctor’s recommendation. And now, Berlin is making moves to pseudo-legalize marijuana in its city borders. According to the European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), an EU agency based in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, nearly one quarter of German adult citizens – 23.1% – have tried cannabis.

From The Russia Times:

Cannabis has been illegal in Germany but, after a court ruling in 2005, people with specific health conditions such as chronic pain were able to use the drug for self-therapy, but each case was assessed on an individual basis, according to the Local.

Health Minister Hermann Gröhe proposed a law in May to officially legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes and cover it through medical insurance….

In early 2015, Federal Drugs Commissioner Marlene Mortler announced reforms to let chronically ill patients have easier access to cannabis through their health insurance providers and vowed to have legislation in place by 2016.

With the growing awareness of marijuana’s potential therapeutic benefits for a variety of ailments, the German people are aggressively pursuing policies which allow for increased production and use of the cannabis plant. If you are interested in learning more about the upcoming German and European markets and want to know more about their changing laws regarding cannabis, join the cadre of experts who will be attending the International Cannabis Business Conference in Berlin, Germany on April 10-12.

This post was originally published at www.interntionalcbc.com and has been reposted here with special permission. 

The Cannabis Community Is Too Powerful to Be Stopped

If there are two things president-elect Donald Trump loves more than anything else, it’s fame and money. Trump’s international recognition a flashy billionaire is undisputed. Despite the obvious thrill he gets from antagonizing opponents, the truth is the Donald wants to be popular. And there is no more popular political issue today than marijuana legalization.
This year, Gallup’s 47 year-old poll on marijuana has shown a record 60% favorability for adult use recreational cannabis, a percentage of popular support that should make most politicians salivate in envy. In fact, several news stories have suggested that Bernie Sanders is the most popular politician in the country with a cool 54.7% favorability rating.
“In November, the country elected a new president who promised to shake up Washington. At the same time, the cannabis industry took a giant leap forward with seven states voting yes to measures further legalizing marijuana. In total, California, Nevada, Massachusetts and Maine legalized recreational use, and Florida, North Dakota and Arkansas legalized medical use, bringing the total number of states with legal marijuana to 29.
The recent slate of successful marijuana-related measures at the state level could be viewed as a national referendum on cannabis. The “yes” votes cut across party lines and presidential candidates. Today, two-thirds of Americans live in states with legal access to cannabis.
California, the first to pass medical marijuana two decades ago, is arguably the most significant bellwether state in the evolution of cannabis. It is the country’s most populous state, the sixth largest economy in the world and a cultural trendsetter. California’s Proposition 64 legalizing adult use of marijuana passed with 57 percent of the votes.”
As a businessman, Trump necessarily views things through a capitalist and market-based lens. The economic opportunity that comes along with a legal marijuana market, specifically the California market, coupled with enormously popular support which cuts across party lines, makes it unlikely the new administration will spend a great deal of time and effort to enforce cannabis prohibition in the coming years.
Marijuana legalization IS happening. Business is moving forward, albeit with complications and still-evolving systems of regulation. For those working in the cannabis world, it will be important to remain vigilant. We must push for sensible policies by supporting organizations like the Drug Policy Alliance, and staying informed of current events by attending events such as the International Cannabis Business Conference in San Francisco on February 17th. Let’s remind the new President how many people in the business community – and in the country – love weed.
This blog was originally posted at www.internationalcbc.com and has been reposted here with special permission. 

Entrepreneurial Opportunities Abound Following California Legalization

California
The passage of Proposition 64 in California this election cycle has finally opened the floodgates for potential investors to enter the new cannabis industry, and the time has arrived to throw in all chips and make it big! ….or one might think. While there is no doubt that full-scale adult legalization in the world’s sixth largest economy will create tremendous new market opportunities, the switch to cultivating a still-federally illegal substance, is not as simple as passing a popular vote. Rules and regulations remain unwritten, are in constant flux, or simply vary across states.
Entrepreneurship involves risk by definition, and often despite rhyme or reason, new business start-ups ultimately fail. The unique and subversive history which informs today’s cannabis culture has shaped the consumer market in ways which are unpredictable to analysts of other industries.
From LA Weekly on December 12:
“Brian MacMahon, whose L.A.-based startup center Expert DOJO has helped more than 600 startups get up and running since 2014, is now working with more cannabis businesses in the hopes that he’ll be able to increase their chances of surviving amid all the uncertainty. The failure rate of tech startups, according to MacMahon, is 97 percent and he anticipates that that number will be even worse in cannabis while the industry is getting established.”
There is no doubt that lingering questions at the federal level maintain a level of caution and hesitancy within the investment community. Securing relationships with vetted individuals and building highly-skilled teams are paramount to creating a robust organizational foundation; ensuring a process for longevity in the face of evolving regulations is just as crucial. Entrepreneurship in this brave new market will face fierce competition and a rollercoaster ride of regulatory compliance, but the payoff promises prosperity to those who can do it.
The International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC), the longest continuously running international cannabis conference, will return to San Francisco this February 17th, and will feature numerous speakers and sessions addressing issues surrounding cannabis start-ups, trade in the US and foreign markets, and numerous other issues addressing the cannabis industry. This is a must-attend event that you won’t want to miss if you want to be part of the country’s next big thing.
This blog was originally published at www.internationalcbc.com and has been reposted here with special permission. 

International Cannabis Business Conference Heading to San Fancisco

BernieSandersICBCBernie

The International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC), fresh off of a successful conference in Vancouver, Canada, is heading to San Francisco in February, ahead of a April conference in Berlin. The political success across the world, is fueling commercial prospects around the world and the demand for the ICBC is another example of the growing momentum cannabis law reform has around the globe.

The San Francisco Chronicle’s Smell the Truth Blog broke the news:

Business opportunities in California are growing exponentially since voters decided in favor of legalizing cannabis, making the upcoming International Cannabis Business Conference an important event for anyone looking to make money with marijuana.

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This year’s ICBC will be held at the Hilton Union Square Hotel in San Francisco February 16-17, and while more details await to be announced, past keynote speakers includes notable cannabis activist and comedian Tommy Chong, travel writer Rick Steves, and lawmakers Earl Blumenauer and Dana Rohrabacher.

The ICBC San Francisco event will also be the first before the conference goes international with an event slated for April in Berlin, Germany. The country has blazed trails as one of the few European countries to embrace a legal medical cannabis system, and Berlin’s local government is currently seeking federal approval to distribute licenses for recreational cannabis coffee shops.

While it is a business-centric event, the ICBC mixes activism, politics and culture unlike any other business conference today. Along with the latest information on California’s cannabis laws, as well as updates from states and countries with regulated cannabis, ICBC attendees always hear from activists that have dedicated their lives to helping patients and keeping people out of prison. Tommy Chong has closed previous events and ticket buyers have been treated to parties featuring acts like Bay Area hip-hop legend Del the Funky Homosapien.

Del The Funky Homosapien to Rock the OMBC in Ashland on Nov. 19th

Del

The Oregon Marijuana Business Conference (OMBC) will bring activists, lawyers and entrepreneurs from around the state to network and learn the latest about Oregon’s medical and recreational laws. Oregon’s cannabis laws and regulations change so frequently that attendance at the OMBC is necessary to keep up with everything. With Ed Rosenthal and Tommy Chong on the agenda, the OMBC includes celebrity icons to go along with Oregon legal experts, successful business owners and the Chair of the Oregon Liquor Control Commision (OLCC), Rob Patridge, who heads up the regulation of the state’s recreational marijuana system. In addition to the great information, OMBC attendees will be treated with an exclusive performance by hip-hop legend Del the Funky Homosapien.

Del was interviewed about his feelings on cannabis by SFEvergreen.com ahead of his performance following the International Cannabis Business Conference:

DEL: Arresting people for weed or trying to chase down people for smoking. If you’re allowing people to drink liquor, why are you tripping off of this? It’s like that movie…

EG: Reefer madness?
DEL: Yeah. My momma still thinks like that. But you know what? It’s noto true. Drinking is worse than anything else out there. You lose your motor skills, you’re more apt to do stupid stuff… I don’t see that with marijuana. And it helps people. It does have medicinal properties.

You ain’t gonna die if you smoke too much weed. If you drink too much alcohol, the next day, you gonna feel messed up. Maybe if you’re smoking shatter or something like that… but you gotta be smoking concentrated THC to the dome, you feel me?

After a full day of delving into the basics of licensing, reporting, tracking, testing, labeling, and packaging; basically everything folks will need to know to be a medical or recreational cannabis entrepreneur in the Beaver State, OMBC attendees should certainly in the mood to let loose at the Brickroom for a private concert with Del. With the great opportunities in the cannabis industry, plus the star power of Tommy Chong and Ed Rosenthal, tickets are going fast, so be sure to get yours before they sell out.

TommyAndDel
Cannabis icon Tommy Chong and hip-hop legend Del the Funky Homosapien.
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Del rocking the mic…
Del and the crowd
Hip hop legend Del the Funky Homosapien always rocks the crowd.

Oregon’s Biggest Cannabusiness Conference In a Town of Just 20,000

OMBC

The Oregon Marijuana Business Conference (OMBC) will bring about 800 cannabis industry participants into the small, eccentric town of Ashland. The town of about 20,000, known for it’s famous Shakespeare Festival will get an economic boost of about $250,000 the weekend of November 19th, as reported by the Ashland Daily Tidings. Industry participants, and those thinking about the industry, will fill up the Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites, and spend plenty of money at local businesses.

It makes sense that Ashland would serve as a hub for the cannabis industry as the Rogue Valley area is basically the Emerald Triangle of Oregon, with a great climate that produces some of the finest cannabis in the world. As sustainability becomes a more important issue as climate change impacts people from across the globe, the outdoor cultivation taking place in the Rogue Valley will become a major brand, not just across Oregon, but eventually, across the nation and the world, once we can end the pesky international war on cannabis.

Alex Rogers, the lead producer of the OMBC, has helped organize events around the world, starting with the High Times Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam to the International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC). The ICBC just finished a successful event in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, and will be going across the pond on April 11th-12th for an event in Berlin, Germany. A protege of Jack Herer, the godfather of the modern cannabis legalization movement, Rogers welcomes the opportunity to spread the message of cannabis freedom and help entrepreneurs network to bring the benefits of the cannabis plant to all.

For Rogers, the OMBC and ICBC, aren’t just about making money, as he wants to help ensure that people don’t go to prison for marijuana and that patients have safe access to cannabis. Alex owns Ashland Alternative Health and Northwest Alternative Health, assisting more than 5,000 patients register with the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program, so he sees firsthand the how cannabis has improved the lives of so many sick and disabled patients.

The OMBC will provide the latest information on Oregon’s marijuana laws, but will also provide an opportunity for industry participants to network and share ideas so that everyone can succeed in the market, including smaller businesses and mom-and-pops. With top experts, lawyers and entrepreneurs on the agenda, OMBC participants will get the information they need while Tommy Chong and Del the Funky Homosapien will bring some laughs and great entertainment. Also, it will be a treat to see Rogue Valley farmers pick the brain of Ed Rosenthal, the Guru of Ganja. If you are in the cannabis industry, or thinking of joining, swing thru the beautiful town of Ashland on November 19th and join us at the one-and-only Oregon Marijuana Business Conference. But you better hurry, as the OMBC will sell out!

Ashland Daily Tidings Covers the OMBC

TommyChongOMBC

The Oregon Marijuana Business Conference (OMBC) will bring nearly 1,000 cannabis industry participants into the town of Ashland, providing a nice little economic boost to the town of under 30,000. The Ashland Daily Tidings covered the conference in an article titled “The inside dope on marijuana“:

The Oregon Marijuana Business Conference scheduled for Nov. 19 at the Ashland Hills Hotel & Suites will bring in more than $250,000 to the local community and continued cachet as an epicenter for this industry, according to organizer Alex Rogers of Ashland Alternative Health. “This is bigger than the international business conference. It was sold out last year and it’ll be sold out again this year,” said Rogers.

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The subject of the conference, attended primarily by growers, is to go over the policies and regulations affecting people in the industry. “All the rules change so quickly and growers, our main audience, need informative talk about policies, rules and regulations,” said Rogers. “ One year of not having it is like five years of not having a conference in another business. Things change so quickly from year to year. There’s also lots of disinformation out there too.”

Rogers says policy makers attend the conference to network with growers and people in the industry to get a better feel. One of the discussions will no doubt center on taxation. In Jackson County there is an ordinance to raise taxes for marijuana in county areas and the city of Ashland also has a measure to levy a 3 percent local tax. “What I tell administrators and policy makers is, ‘don’t tax prohibitive fees that push people toward a black market.’”

The entire article is worth checking out over in the Ashland Daily Tidings and the OMBC is certainly worth attending if you are in the cannabis industry or are curious about joining. Time is running out on early bird tickets, so you should hurry!

Save $50! OMBC Early Bird Tickets End November 2nd!

If you are in the Oregon cannabis industry, or thinking of joining, the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference (OMBC) is the cannabis event for you. There have been many changes to Oregon’s medical and recreational cannabis policies and you’ll get the latest at the OMBC with a preview on what may be changing next. In addition to the latest information, there will be great networking opportunities with others in the industry and some laughs and entertainment thrown in, as not every business conference includes a party with Tommy Chong in attendance and Del the Funky Homosapien performing. Get your tickets today and save $50 as early bird pricing only lasts until Wednesday at 11:59pm Pacific Time!

Despite the obstacles facing the burgeoning industry, the Oregon cannabis community has already helped create thousands of jobs and generate millions in revenue. Those that are able to adapt and overcome regulatory hurdles, will have a great opportunity to thrive.

New lab testing standards enacted on October 1st have certainly complicated the existing regulated market, but new rule changes are very likely on the horizon, easing the current burden placed upon licensees. The medical community has been greatly impacted by new rules and regulations, but advocates have been working hard to maintain safe access for thousands of patients. The November 8th elections will have a huge say on the industry, as local regulations, outright bans and tax increases will be put to the voters. The OMBC will have the latest on all things Oregon marijuana.

The OMBC always provides extra time for questions, allowing attendees ample opportunity to have their most-pressing issues addressed. Those in attendance will be able to pick the brain of licensed attorneys, entrepreneurs currently navigating regulations and the Chair of the Oregon Liquor Control Commision, who is overseeing the recreational cannabis market’s rules.

In addition to the gritty, Oregon-centric cannabis industry information,  the OMBC will open with a presentation from Ed Rosenthal, the Guru of Ganja himself, and close with a celebrity interview of cannabis icon Tommy Chong, who will share stories about his life and career, and surely providing plenty of laughs as well. After a full day of cannabis information, attendees will get an exclusive concert performance from hip-hop legend Del the Funky Homosapien.

Considering the many changes to our laws and the many opportunities available in the Oregon cannabis industry, tickets are going very fast. Purchase your tickets before early bird pricing ends on November 2nd and be sure to get them before they sell out.

Smell the Truth Spotlight’s Tommy Chong Ahead of the ICBC

Tommy Chong OMBC

The International Cannabis Business Conference (ICBC) is next week and folks that are in the industry or thinking of joining will be there to learn and network. Even though the ICBC is a business conference, much fun will be had as well and one of the highlights will be an appearance by the great Tommy Chong. (You should join Tommy in Vancouver for the ICBC, so get your tickets now.) Here’s a snippet of the Smell the Truth piece:

STT: What topics do you plan to address at this year’s ICBC?

TC: Well, mainly the approach, the mental approach, you know. I’d like to get rid of all this anxiety and all this worry and all this crap. I mean, We’re in the marijuana business, c’mon. Don’t get uptight, don’t get territorial, don’t get worried about your profits and all that stuff, and concentrate more on what we’ve been doing for the past 100 years.

I also tell people, we don’t need people to tell us how to grow it or how to smoke it or where to smoke it, we don’t need that. What we need is people to quit putting us in jail and charging us for nonexistent crimes.

All I would advise the authorities is to enjoy the peace, because that’s what marijuana brings to the world, is peace.

STT: What was Vancouver’s cannabis culture like when you used to live there compared to now?

TC: For a while there, we had to get all our weed from Mexico. And then the Vietnam War happened, and then we started getting our weed from Thailand and Vietnam. And after and during the Vietnam War, people started growing BC buds, so all we had to do is get it from Denman Island or one of the islands.

You could always get it. During the 60s, 70s and 80s, there was so much bud being grown in B.C. that it was always available. Before that, we smoked a lot of hash, because the hash would come in from India, Amsterdam, and all those places.

Head on over to Smell the Truth for the full interview and head on up to cannabis-friendly Vancouver, British Columbia, to hang out with Tommy Chong and many other entrepreneurs and activists at the one-and-only International Cannabis Business Conference.

Happy Labor Day, Cannabis Industry!

LaborDay

The cannabis industry is full of possibilities, but also obstacles. It is a lot of hard work, but the rewards can be great. A strong, ethical cannabis industry will continue to help spread legalization laws around the globe, one of the reasons that we are proud to team up with the International Cannabis Business Conference, as the ICBC gives entrepreneurs the tools to succeed, but always keeps activism first and foremost as we can’t ever forget why we are activists in the first place. Happy Labor Day to everyone doing good work in this important industry!

This blog was originally published at WeedNews.co and is reposted here with special permission.

The cannabis law reform movement’s foundation is built upon keeping people out of prison and getting medicine to patients in need. Upon that foundation, we have built a burgeoning industry that helps accomplish our movement’s goals across this nation and around the world. That industry takes a lot of work, from the farmers to the trimmers to the processors to the lab technicians to the budtenders to the dispensary owners surviving despite the atrocious 280E tax law, to everybody in between. On this Labor Day, I want to wish a sincere thanks to all of the workers that make the cannabis industry possible.

A lot of great press gets publicized across all media outlets when new economic benefits of the marijuana movement get released, but none more than the new tax revenue generated by states, especially since revenue generation has exceeded state officials’ projectionsWashington State, even with some serious issues getting its licensed system operational, has generated more than $200 million since adult cannabis commerce was legalized in the Evergreen State. Colorado generated more than $135 million in 2015 alone, with more than $35 million earmarked for schools. Thanks to Oregon politicians who wisely saw that cannabis commerce could safely begin, more than $25 million has already been generated in the Beaver State, before the full-fledged adult legalization system has even started.

Decriminalizing marijuana better prioritizes law enforcement resources and saves on judicial costs, but those budgetary numbers aren’t nearly as praised by the media as the millions of new tax dollars generated by legalized sales. New jobs created by the cannabis industry, whose economic impact are probably even greater than the new taxes, fly under the radar a bit when compared to tax revenue, but I expect that the attention paid to job creation will only increase over time.

Too many voters, politicians, and policy makers are under the assumption that those working in the cannabis industry are rolling around in cash, but that isn’t the case for most folks. The 280E tax code, licensing fees and regulatory hurdles are all extremely tough barriers for entrepreneurs and businesses to overcome. Not to mention trying to succeed in a very competitive market that a lot of talented people are entering.

Sure, there are some making really good money, but most people in the cannabis industry are in the business for the love of the cannabis plant and the greater cannabis community, not to just make a buck. Those that are greedy and self-centered get weeded out (pun intended) soon enough. It takes a lot to survive, let alone thrive, in the cannabis industry, so let’s appreciate all of the good actors helping make this industry a great one, providing an opportunity for many people to follow their American dream.