IT'S AN OLD-FASHIONED "Reefer Roundup" of cannabis news you may have missed, or simply got high and forgot you'd seen.
(Most) Drugs Are Bad, Mmmmkay? Scientific Reports, a subsidiary of Nature, has published findings that rank the "risk of death associated with the use of a variety of commonly used substances." Number one is—brace yourself—alcohol, followed by the always-super-awesome heroin and cocaine. Dead last on this list is marijuana, which the researchers determined is "roughly 114 times less deadly than booze," according to the Washington Post. Weed is also the only drug studied that poses a "low mortality risk to users." File this under "Well, Duh."
Got Weed? Washington State's recreational marijuana system has an issue with supply and demand, as there are 45,000 extra pounds of cannabis right now, according to CNBC. (That's more than 20 million one-gram joints, BTW.) A few factors are responsible for this. Unlike in Colorado, Washington's growers are allowed to grow outdoors, and last summer's optimal weather conditions resulted in tremendous yields. Some are blaming the state, which distributed grower licenses before retail licenses. This led to what some deemed "price gouging" by growers, who charged up to $21 a gram wholesale. (That's nearly $75 for an eighth, before tax.) Now, prices have fallen to as low as $700 a pound, or about $1.54 a gram. Some growers are giving it away in an effort to build client loyalty and reduce their inventory. The state estimates another 100 stores will open this year, which should help. Meanwhile, some growers are facing foreclosure and bankruptcy, and concerns that the tax structure on all three entities—growers, processors, and retailers, which accounts for up to 75 percent of the retail price, not including sales tax—won't be able to compete with Oregon's potentially lower tax rates on recreational sales in 2016.
The Floodgates Are Open. With four states (Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, and Washington) having already passed legalization legislation, more are taking notice and making their move as well. Bills to introduce medical marijuana programs and decriminalize marijuana use have been introduced in South Carolina (decriminalization and medical marijuana), Delaware (decrim), New Hampshire (decrim), Mississippi (med), and Indiana (med). In Nevada, organizers have qualified the "Initiative to Tax and Regulate Marijuana" measure for the 2016 ballot.
AC/DC. On February 26, Washington, DC, enacted its recreational marijuana program, even though Congress denied funds needed to regulate and implement the measure last December. But Representative Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) said, "If they are under any illusion that this would be legal, they are wrong. And there are very severe consequences for violating this provision. You can go to prison for this. We're not playing a little game here," according to the Washington Post. The city's attorney general told officials that even speaking about how to handle pot sales could result in jail time. So much for those planned "District of Chroniclumbia" shirts.