The NORML Business Network: The “Better Business Bureau” for the Marijuana Industry

norml_biz_netThe Emerging Legal Marijuana industry

I had the pleasure of speaking at the Cannabis World Congress and Business Exposition in New York this past week; a major B2B Expo held at the Jacob Javits Center with hundreds of exhibitors displaying their products and services intended to appeal to those hoping to enter the new legal marijuana industry emerging around the country. It was an impressive display of the myriad of choices available for those willing to take the dive into the increasingly competitive marijuana industry.

It is clearly a positive development that so many entrepreneurs have surfaced to try to find a niche they can fill to provide a newer or better product or service, to distinguish themselves from others attempting to compete for the same space. There will be both winners and losers in this new market. As competition continues to grow, new products bring improvements over the previous versions, and a significant number of well-intentioned would-be business successes get sidelined by more creative newcomers with better technology or better funding or simply a better business model.

Estimates are that as high as 40% of all new marijuana-related businesses may fail within the first couple of years. Yes, the newly legal marijuana industry offers incredible opportunities for entrepreneurs and others with the capital to invest; but for every individual who succeeds in this new industry, another will fail. It is simply the nature of new industries, and as appealing as legal marijuana is to millions of Americans, that industry will experience the same economic pressures, including business failures, that other new industries experience.

For the next several years, the legal marijuana industry will remain one that involves impressive individual business successes, along with some failures; and some business consolidations. Because of the different state legalization laws and regulations, at least for the immediate future, that concentration will be significantly limited, and most big companies that want to extend to other states will have to establish separate companies in each state. All of this suggests the legal marijuana industry may well end up looking more like the wine industry in America, with room for small producers, rather than the tobacco or alcohol industry. And that is positive for consumers, and for the industry.

The True Believers and the Investors

The industry appears to be comprised of two distinct groups of people: those who were active in the marijuana legalization movement for years, and understand the enormous damage done by prohibition; and who have migrated to the business side of the issue. And those who have no background or interest in legalization movement, but who have resources and see the new market simply as an opportunity to get rich. Obviously, it is the latter group that worries many of us, because of their sole focus on profits, and their lack of understanding of the long struggle that led to this point, and the millions of Americans who paid dearly for the right to grow or sell or smoke marijuana.

We live in a free market economy in which Americans are encouraged to create jobs and make products that people want with the hope of building a successful business. So we cannot expect that the newly legal marijuana market will be immune from these basic economic rules.

Marijuana is Different

But marijuana is also different. For decades, it was popular primarily among an underground culture, and shunted and harshly punished by the dominant culture. Those of us who smoked marijuana had to be careful from whom we bought our marijuana, and with whom we chose to smoke marijuana. One bad decision could lead to a bust that would result in jail time and a criminal record that would forever limit one’s ability to get an education or a good job. A marijuana bust was sort of a life sentence, a handicap assuring one would never have the opportunity to maximize their potential fully. Once labeled as a criminal, many growers, smugglers, and dealers were left with few options other than staying in the illegal marijuana business.

So now that we have, as a culture, begun to come above ground, and at least in a handful of states (with many more to come), and we are no longer running from the police, most consumers want to maintain some control over who produces and sells marijuana, to keep the scale of production small and local, and to keep the multinational corporations out of the field – or at least keep their influence modest as the legal marijuana industry develops. What we don’t want is to see the tobacco companies, or other large industries, come in and control the marijuana markets. On that point, the legalizers are in agreement with our opponents – such as Kevin Sabet and Project SAM, who now claim they no longer support prohibition, but they oppose “big marijuana.” (One might reasonably see their change in position as recognizing the reality of current public polling, rather than reflecting a real change in values.)

The NORML Business Network

But there is also some common ground between the smokers and the industry. NORML is a consumer group – that is we represent the interest of smokers. And we have established a program called the NORML Business Network, that will become the equivalent of the Better Business Bureau, allowing responsible businesses to distinguish themselves from those businesses that are only interested in getting rich, with no concern for the welfare of their workers or the safety of the consumers. I am delighted to report that both and it’s parent company,, are among our first NORML Business Network Preferred Business Partners.

Those marijuana businesses who qualify to become a NORML Preferred Business Partner are encouraged to display prominent seals of approval at their stores and on their websites indicating they have taken the high road and are using their business to build a community that respects workers and consumers, that tests their products to assure they contain no molds or pesticides, and that provide accurate labelling so the consumer knows the strength of the THC and the CBD, and the primary terpenoids.

And those of us who smoke should demand that businesses adhere to these standards, or we must shop in a store that does. As consumers we have the power to force marijuana businesses to follow the highest standards, to be socially responsible, and to protect the health of consumers, if they are to become a successful business. Now it is time that we begin to do that.

Marijuana companies that wish to apply for the NORML Preferred Business Partner can apply online, and if approved, will be provided with stickers for the store and signs that make it clear to consumers that your business meets these standards, and is a good corporate citizen that deserves to be frequented.

We have lots of work to do before we have totally ended prohibition in America, and stopped the senseless arrest of marijuana smokers. We continue to make significant progress, and this fall we expect to add several new states to the list of legalization states.

But it is never too early to begin to impose some ethical standards to this emerging industry, and to begin to distinguish between those that are simply interested in getting rich and those who want to develop a responsible business that is as concerned about being a good corporate citizen as they are about making money.

The NORML Business Network is our way of helping underscore that distinction for the consumer.

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42 thoughts

  1. I want to be able to have a legal cannabis club in Pennsylvania so that the cannabis community can come together out of the closet. This whole permit system they passed is great for the rich who have millions to grease the way through the red tape. Smoking or vaping the female flowers is still illegal.

    The industry appears to be comprised of two distinct groups of people: those who were active in the marijuana legalization movement for years, and understand the enormous damage done by prohibition; and who have migrated to the business side of the issue. And those who have no background or interest in legalization movement, but who have resources and see the new market simply as an opportunity to get rich. Obviously, it is the latter group that worries many of us, because of their sole focus on profits, and their lack of understanding of the long struggle that led to this point, and the millions of Americans who paid dearly for the right to grow or sell or smoke marijuana.

  2. Yeah, about that excerpt, in Pennsylvania for a grower/processor the non refundable permit fee is $10,000, the permit fee is $200,000 and you have to have $2 million in cash reserves. Focus on grower/processor. Senator Folmer was on PCN and pharma companies that make the tinctures and the cannabis vaporizer cartridges are the only ones who are allowed to be growing legal cannabis it looks like. What the fuck! And it’s going to take how long to get the program running?

  3. If Pennsylvania had legal cannabis clubs people can come out of the closet and get together with other cannabis consumers to band together to get their own grows started, and teach and learn from one another, swamp with one another. Under the current regime, big bucks folks are getting a competition free market guaranteed to them, and so they can take as long as they want for products as crappy as they want to sling.

    Patients should be allowed to grow their own MMJ in PA. Seeds should be available. In Britain they’re legal to make fishing bait and as novelty items. Cannabis seeds should be legal in the U.S. so the MMJ community can get their hands on them.

    It’s just tough crap if they get used for adult recreational because that should be legal anyway.

    As soon as you get selling American cannabis seeds non prosecutable the sooner people can get together for cannabis clubs for adult recreational to overgrow prohibition.

  4. What’s this about state Rep. Jordan Harris introducing recreational legalization in Pennsylvania? Where is Senator Daylin Leach on its parallel legislation in the state Senate? I mean this is it if you want to start small with super ultra cheap permits and those freakin’ non refundable application fees that go with it for cannabis clubs to grow their own, you know, and you can smoke the bud somewhere on the premises, too.

    This is where a good number of your small cannabis businesses will come from. Like-minded people from the cannabis community will get together and go from club to ganjapreneurship, you know. Newbies can get together with the oldtimers they meet at the club and become master growers.

  5. If the feds, Congress can ram the Medical Marijuana Research Act of 2016 through before their summer vacation, along with legal cannabis banking before summer vacation while attention is focused on Donald v. Hillary and whatever else is in the news cycle. They’ll have to fix their prohibitionist mistakes, and preferable before the fall election forces them to. Congress should just get in front of that cannabis legalization and steer things the way the cannabis community wants them to.

  6. The Drug Enforcement Administration has just got to get the F out of the way and remove cannabis from any kind of Schedule. It obviously does NOT belong in I, and the DEA obviously has been obstructing research for decades and is therefore NOT qualified to decide upon any kind of a category in the schedule, which is exactly why cannabis needs to be completely de-scheduled when they make their big announcement later this month.

  7. Let’s be honest, Capitalism sucks.

    So it’s important to keep our eyes on the goal here. As loyal as I am to my own dispensary, and as much as I love their products, Cannabis businesses and their financial successes ARE NOT the goal of marijuana legalization; that is merely an inevitable consequence.

    The goal of marijuana legalization is to stop the arrests. I wouldn’t lift a finger to promote a capitalist enterprise. I don’t give a fuck about making someone else rich at my expense.

    So don’t confuse the two ideologies; they are opposing and competing value systems.

    I support the NORML Business Network. Yeah, let’s have another better business bureau. I’m for that. And I hope it is highly effective in promoting good business ethics (an oxymoron by definition.)

    But there are still people being arrested for marijuana in America! That takes precedence, morally, over the success of any business, cannabis-related or otherwise. This is what we should hold as first priority.

    Relatively speaking, as long as people are still being arrested, I consider the financial success of the emerging cannabis industry to be irrelevant at best, and quite possibly hypocritical.

    How are you going to tell apart a predatory cannabis business (a purely “capitalist” one) from one motivated by social cause? Are there really going to be any businesses that ARE NOT doing it for the money?

    And that’s the problem. The Man is The Man. Once you’re a business, you’re not a person. And only people get arrested for marijuana. And that’s all I really care about.

    Let’s not get too cozy with Capitalism, it’s the money in prohibition that is keeping the shit machine alive all along. Prohibition is Capitalism’s natural tendency; extortion is the name of the game, becuase it is so much easier that working for a living.

    [Editor’s note: Capitalism my suck in your individual mind, in others’, its the best system among all the worst.

    “Prohibition is Capitalism’s natural tendency”


    Prohibition is a creature of government, not capitalism. Capitalism, which some people apparently don’t like, nurtures production and consumption…]

  8. I love my dispensary.

    But here is an ugly truth we should bear in mind when celebrating our dispensaries: every one of them is participating in War Profiteering, because it is Prohibition in the here and now that is holding prices at $50/eighth. Those are prohibition prices. And they would not be possible unless prohibition was still largely in place in America. Which it is. They say it’s to minimize interstate trafficking, which is deeply retarded. People are entitled to their medicine, even if they enjoy it. We need to move the stuff from where it is, to where it’s needed. It’s not trafficking, it’s commerce.

    That makes us, you and me, guilty of participating in War Crimes every time we shop at our favorite dispensary.

    According to previous NORML blogs, the price of weed WITHOUT prohibition would be…
    pennies on the pound. Everything else is War Profiteering.

    Free the prisoners! That’s our first obligation. Then let’s see what an eighth costs, at pennies on the pound (Oh, The Man can’t cut a profit at pennies on the pound? Too bad.)

    [Editor’s note: “Everything else is War Profiteering.” That must be true, if you favor communism and/or socialism. Otherwise, cannabis is not a ‘pennies on the pound’ commodity exploited because of capitalism, it is because government created an economic debacle in prohibiting cannabis production and sales, lifting the price of a generally speaking easy to produce plant to a substance worth about half as much as a rare metal like gold.

    Unless you favor a socialist (or communist) system where the government controls the means of production, distribution and alleviates profit, cannabis, like all goods and services, is, arguably, also going to be efficiently distributed, not by un-incentivized government workers, by individuals who choose to work in any given job or industry.

    “That makes us, you and me, guilty of participating in War Crimes every time we shop at our favorite dispensary.”

    You can feel such guilt and apparent shame, others will happily part with their money to purchase goods and services that they want and/or need.

    Some want life to be free of charge (that all one’s hierarchical needs are taken care of by the government), others, want to work, achieve and profit…and make life choices beyond the ones prescribed by an all powerful central-planning government (with it’s inherently powerful and subservient government workers enforcing a single minded state-approved orthodoxy).

    “Free the prisoners! That’s our first obligation.”

    Really? The first obligation?

    Rather than gather donated resources from stakeholders in reform to fight the government in their courts to try to legally challenge the individual arrests, convictions and incarcerations of millions of citizens who chose to break an existing criminal law, does it not make more economic and strategic sense to end the underlying prohibition which places these individuals into the criminal justice system en masse?]

    1. @Editor: Just calling it like I see it.

      I’m for an end to marijuana arrests; if that’s NORML’s goal as well, then we’re on the same page. But if NORML is taking a position to promote Capitalism and Corporatism, as opposed to Socialism or any other “ism”, then I think you’ve gone beyond your mandate as an advocate for marijuana consumers.

      Further, I think I’m on solid ground here. Who loudly opposed A64 in Colorado when it was up for a vote? Answer: The Business Community. Every local Chamber of Commerce seemed to come out of the woodwork in a tizzy. Who is always opposing legalization? The Business Community. Who’s been doing all the drug testing possible, even when they weren’t required to by law? The Business Community. That’s why I say fuck the Business Community.

      Explain to TheOracle how well Capitalism is working in PA. Who buys the politicians? The Business Community. Who stands to gain by legalizing marijuana extracts, but keeping the flower illegal? The Business Community.

      You assume too much: To point out that Capitalism is no friend to Legalization does not lock me into your forced-pick alternatives — centralized government planning? I never said that. Look, I could be Amish (I’m not; just saying.) I could be Rastafarian! (I’m not; just saying.)

      I don’t owe Capitalism a damn thing.

      [Editor’s note: Hopefully, for your own sanity, your anti-capitalism/anti-business views are not exclusive to just the cannabis space…and that your disdain for business extends to the maker of the computer you’re employing to promulgate your anti-capitalism, Internet provider; whom you buy clothes, food, gas, music, books from too.

      All, greedy capitalistic pigs too that you can otherwise do without, eh?!]

      1. Mark, we live in a capitasocial economy. Medicaid? Social. Patent-for-profit pharmaceuticals? Capitalist. We need both to keep each other in check.
        But here, allow me to let NORML representative Bill Maher explain it better;

      2. That’s exactly my point, so I don’t know why people are getting worked up. If socialism keeps capitalism in check, isn’t that completedly consistent with what I said?

        I’m saying Capitalism is inherently about profit, not people. Legalization is primarily about people, not profit. Without some kind of regulation (using the term in the broadest, technical sense) Capitalism will destroy a society.

        The introduction of The NORML Business Network, and it’s stated purpose, to set ethical standards, is premised on the recognition of the need to do so.

        So I don’t get the reactions here.

        [Editor’s note: When one begins a discussion in America with ‘as everyone knows capitalism sucks’ expect others to disagree with your working premise. Post prohibition there will be cannabis consumers who choose to eschew buying cannabis, and there will be some who choose to self-produce or be part of some kind of genuine co-operative.

        To each their own. Neither suck. Neither are perfect.]

      3. @ Editor: Fair enough.

        But with the fullest respect and sincerity, may I say, I don’t actually have a preferred choice of economic systems. I never said I was a socialist; perhaps I’m more of a humanist — I’m not sure. I’m not scholarly enough to be sure. My education was technical: physics, math, and electricity. My grasp of the history of Marxism isn’t strong!

        But, my “lens” is simply that of a 55 year old pot smoker who is fed up with drug tests, fed up with drug war, fed up with paid off politicians, fed up with economic coercion, fed up with signing that offensive page full of reefer madness in almost every corporate handbook in almost every stinking job I’ve ever had; and all of it perpetuated by corporations and the politicians and institutions bought and owned by corporations, and all of it for the sake of profit: “It’s just business.”

        I didn’t intend to offend anyone; but I hope you can understand why someone in my position is likey to take a dim view of the business commmunity, and the ethos that drives them, what I have heavy-handedly called Capitalism.

      4. Allow me to be more specific about patent for profit pharmaceuticals; ill stick my hands in the fire for patenting for profit because the US legal system keeps jobs and corporations in the US. But cannabis is a plant, and I am of the opinion that US Patent 6630507 for cannabinoids as neuroprotectants must be made open source.
        The point is that capitalism isnt the enemy, its rampant capitalism where private insurance and big pharma set the prices and write the BAD laws thats the problem. Doctors and patients should be determining the cost of health care. So it does no good to expand our most socialist program of medicaid if we do nothing to change the BAD LAWS that allow private industries to price gouge the sick and poor like bloodthirsty vultures. We need to focus on who is writing the laws in our country before we decide how much socialism or capitalism strikes the right balance, otherwise were just filling a cup thats constantly being siphoned.

      5. @ editor: My intention is not to be argumentative, only to state my views, which I have done. I appreciate the forum NORML provides me with in order to do so. I think it’s a great place to work out these ideas, to have these kinds of conversations.

        Sometimes it can sound like a so-called “echo chamber”, where everybody agrees with everybody else; but I always speak my mind honestly and candidly, and enjoy reading not only the blogs, but the other comments as well. I don’t always agree, but I always listen.

        I would answer your question about books and computers, but unfortunately I get the feeling it was intended as sarcasm, so I’ll just say: No, I never called anybody a “pig”, so please don’t put words in my mouth.

        There’s no need for hostility. I’m no troll here; in fact I’m collecting signatures for NORML now on a volunteer basis. C’mon, this isn’t Club for Growth, is it? Then I’d expect such a harsh response!

        I realize a lot of people are going to disagree with me. And they are perfectly free to tell me so — I (and my sanity) can handle that, believe it or not. I have no wish to pick a fight, especially with fellow “free the weed” types! But I still stand by my comments. But is NORML really the forum to debate socialism versus humanism? Probably not.

        Let me try a different approach. Let me ask you capitalist types: What is the capitalist solution to getting our POW’s out of prison?

        [Editor’s note: Why cast your cannabis law reform activism through the prism of your preferred choice of economic systems? There is neither a capitalist or socialist solution to getting POWs out of prison as much as there is participatory citizenship as the primary solution (ie, registering to vote, not voting for prohibitionists, etc…).]

      6. @ Editor: Agreed. It’s a governmental solution, powered by citizen participation. In fact, President Obama is the only one I can think of who has actually freed any drug war prisoners lately. Whatever else you might rightly say about his drug war policies.

        To clarify my point on first priorities, I think our ethical priorities should be: 1. Stop the arrests; 2. Free the POW’s; 3. Promote the benefits of cannabis, starting with it’s medical properties, and 4. somewhere on that list, it’s economic benefits, such as they are, provided those economic benefits don’t come at the expense of priorities 1, 2, or 3. (That’s not a timeline, they are parallel activities, it’s only an ethical prioritization. I’m not talking about taking the prison by storm!)

      7. Not a capitalist or a socialist solution so much as a citizen participation example;

        The first Democratic Cannabis Caucus of Texas was a great success. Wouldnt you know it the day it starts just an hour away from me in San Antonio I get a project in Rockport. Oh well, cant have our capitalism and socialism too! Sorry, I dont mean to pick on you Mark. I usually enjoy your comments, but I include myself when I warn that derrogatory comments quickly lend themselves to extreme expression. I get frustrated with unchecked private profit making and breaking the rules all the time but it means we have to participate more, which I know you do. Just remember writing cant convey temperment or sarcasm. 😉
        Im exited that now both the Republican and Democratic platforms are on agreement to improve the compassionate care act and cultivate industrial hemp. The Dems go proudly beyond of that of course, adding that cannabis should be “decriminalized like tobacco or alcohol.” The only concern I have is that word “decriminalize,” but for now that may be more convincing until we can elect more reps on the A and B list. Speaking of which, Julian Castro is finally yet predictably being vetted for VP running mate for Hillary and he has a favorable rating on the NORML scorecard. Elections are shaping up to get real cannabis friendly in the state of Texas.

      8. Correction; Julian Castro’s twin brother Joaquin, a member of Congress, has a favorable rating with NORML, but I know Julian Castro toured immigrant private prisons in Texas and gets the cultural cost of the drug war. What remains to be seen is if Hillary’s new “bold progressive agenda” will help get more progressives into office this year so we can fix whatever bad decisions the DEA are about to make.

        The take away from the Texas first Democratic Cannabis Caucus was that marijuana legalization is not a partisan issue, its not about some religious ideology or the other, one economic policy or the other; its about reforming our marijuana LAWS to reflect American values, getting people the medicine they need and the POWs out of jails and prisons. That takes all of our participation. And if 500 people could fill the seats for those of us who couldnt make it to San Antonio, I believe there is good hope indeed for the future of marijuana policy reform in the U.S.

    2. War Profiteering…pretty much a prioi evidence that capitalism is at work in all circumstances, whether one’s assessment is that it is inherently evil, that it’s imperfect and messy but the best system devised so far, or that it is indeed better than sliced bread.

      The real rub in all of this prohibition is that legislators codified a vast illicit market (but a capitalist market no etheless) into being by banning cannabis to begin with. The takeaway? Supply and demand exists in all legal frameworks.

      So rail against capitalism all you want; it won’t change fundamental human behavior, and while advocates can agree in principle that stopping arrests is Priority One, ignoring fundamental human behavior and the capitalism that results when people want to exchange things of value between each other, is as disastrous and shortsighted as banning the substance to begin with.

      And let’s face it, capitalism made all of this possible: the Internet, this blog, your fave dispensary/dealer, the pot you smoked prior to having a legal outlet, the home you live in and the food you eat, and – most valuable of all – the free time you have to post your opinions here and everywhere else. You may want to look at the benefits you enjoy in addition to the prices you pay. It will serve you well in all areas of life.

      1. Free time? Shit. You don’t know who you’re talking to. You think I lead a leisurely life? What would you know? You read my comments, you think you know about my life? Want to guess again?

        And by the way, Capitalism did not make “all this” possible. Capitalism did not invent cannabis; cannabis is a lifeform, part of the tree of life, and Capitalism did not invent Life, either. Capitalism does not make food. Food must be grown. Nature’s been doing this shit forever WITHOUT approval from Capitalism, and it will continue to do so.

  9. Thank you Keith for pretty much answering my question of what NORML’s response will be to Microsoft entering the seed to sale software portion of the marijuana industry.

    With that said, as far as capitalism and socialism go, we own both in this country and they keep eachother in check. There is no either or argument about it; the answer is both and more; I once wrote here a theory or speculation that legalizing marijuana (as in DEscheduling) would lead the U.S. and other nations to develop more representative, diverse forms of government, just as the plant by nature fuels a more sustainable, commodity trade-based agrarian economy. The U.S. consumer economy as we legalize marijuana will become more innovative, productive in manufacturing with the restoration of a domestic supply of industrial hemp and reduce the cost of health care by switching to whole plant medicines and above all, be balanced.
    But there will be turbulence at first before we settle down and balance out;

    The Denver Post calls the DEA rescheduling of marijuana to schedule II as early as July 1st; thats in 10 days! Staff Writer Tom Downey warns of a preemptive Federal take over that would realize our worst fears; the tobacco industry taking over “big” marijuana. But he does suggest what to do about it;

    1. “If the DEA de-schedules marijuana, big tobacco companies could take over, and the fears of many anti-marijuana advocates would be realized.” Please tell Dr. Downey (I’m timid), in addition to some good ideas he suggested doing, check out supporting (guess what) a movement to create and distribute society-wide 25-mg-$erving-$ize flexdrawtube oneheaters to entirely replace HBOMP$ hot burning overdose monoxide paper $moking, both weed and wacco.

      Obviously hasn’t occurred to him– or almost anyone yet, not Kevin/SAM?– that a 700-mg conventional Commercial Filter $igarette is Big Tobackgo, a 500-mg, or even a 333-mg Marijuana Joint is the feared Big Marijuana, and both can be $hort$ircuited to Oblivion by converting all $mokers (over a billion of which are hooked on $igarettes) to 25-mg $ingle Vape Toke $obriety!!!! (Oops sorry got drunk on exclams)

      Certainly circumvent CVS and Walgreens oligopoly by campaigning vigorously for Neighborhood Growers’ Rights, everyone everywhere even children have a Right to watch any and every important plant species grow from seed and learn what flowers are for. I think the First Amendment will support us on this– the right to consult nature and find out about biology and phytoremediation! Fight for $ingle Vape Toke and Personal Planting Rights to outwit (and convert, retrain, re-employ) the hireling hands of drumps and drones in Big 2wackgo and Big pHARMa corporuptions.

      1. The takeaway from my post Im afraid you missed; big tobacco takes over when the DEA REschedules (not DEschedules, which would officially create a national holiday for our grandchildren to celebrate… BIG difference… The failure to distinguish the two explains one reason why Bernie lost to Hillary)… REscheduling by the DEA as early as next week would be to schedule II, Mexweed; because prescription drugs arent taxed, there is no state revenue therefore representation, and we as consumers will be left with paying more to support local dispensaries for clean bud and labeled medibles while competing with brand name sell outs to CVS and Walgreens with a prescription… baring in mind we dont yet know how easy it will be to GET a prescription.
        The point that oughtta make you happy is rescheduling verifies why CVS cleared their shelves of tobacco a while back.
        We choose where we consume. Suppliers listen.

      2. Made me happy when CVS eliminated tobackgo, not sure if you mean they did that in order to obtain authorization to vend cannabis products after a pending resched? I rarely buy anything at a “Drug” store anyway.

        Good news is probably within 18 months it will be twice as cheap and easy unmolested to raise plants in your office or res, and there will be twice as many good websites showing even dummies how to do it, that’s the political thing to work on now I think.

        Standardization of 25-mg serving size Vape Toke eliminating HBOMP$igs will cut away any remaining myths about cannabis harm even to kids or unborns and win the safety issue.

      3. P.S.– For Finewines and Craftbeers the equivalent Downdosage Development to our 25-mg flexdrawtube oneheater is a 2.5-ounce ornately crafted plastic airlinerbottle (after use convertible to a part for education toys for the toddler). You take a $mall $ip, $wish and grind with tongue against palate etc. for 44 seconds, recap and replace in shirt pocket where a generation ago a $igarette PAC used to be.

  10. Rescheduling marijuana to a prescription only schedule II system will take state revenue from marijuana as prescriptions arent taxed. That means CVS and Walgreens take over your favorite local dispensary. State coalitions and NORML need to fight back now and invest in Descheduling or at least schedule III, before this happens.

    Tom Downey, Denver Post suggests:
    “Reschedule to schedule III.” Viewing schedule II as a trap, I see a state-lead lawsuit coming. The DEA taking marijuana to the same category as Cocaine is clipping the wings of revenue out of all the states that have yet to get in the game after elections in November. And if dare I say, federal law “Trumps” state law, than a presidency under Hillary will have to respond to her stance to “allow states to be laboratories of Democracy,” and “continue to follow Obama’s policies,” to presumptively “stay out of the way,” but for who? Who is going to arbitrate for states rights to regulate? I donated to NORML PAC (thanks for the grinder), but this is going to take entire states to sue the Federal government to get the greedy hands of big tobacco and big pharma out of monopolizing the fledgling marijuana industry. What a mess.

    Better Business for Marijuana needs a state coalition.

    Meanwhile, does anyone have any idea what’s happening to the tax code for marijuana? Last I read it was still in court trying to decide on how to persue 280E for dispensaries operating as illegal drug operations… And Microsoft is already in the biz? What the hell is going on?

  11. keeps the conservative view of Aug. 1st, continuing the alleged leak by the anonymous DEA agent who said marijuana will be rescheduled to II.
    Theres a good video on this link that gives a background and an historical perspective suggesting it may be big business, not rational thought that eventually deschedules marijuana. Judging from the competition from no tax prescriptions, Im inclined to agree. Or this agent is bating the industries to annie up before some apocalyptic crackdown on state dispensaries. That could be bad, but not entirely impossible given the election is going to Clinton.
    The good news is Obama is still in office this year, and he has proven his word that he will not interfere with state law on marijuana.
    But is Walgreens and CVS really the enemy? Or will they provide healthy competition? How easy will it be to get a prescription? Will CVS succeed in reversing all the hard work in labeling and pesticide free, quality indoor cannabis, and slip us some unregulated industrial scale operation from Mexico?
    If Colorado has proven us anything its that any cartel that wants to go legit and grow the kind of quality standard that Americans now demand are going to have to step up their game with more than some slave immigrants in some house in California supplied weed seed, hydroponics and some weapons. The cannabis consumer can taste and smell well regulated quality and is willing to pay for it, in a similar way that the alcohol industry is having to contend with people drinking less but more expensive, higher quality craftbeers as the American pallate legalizes marijuana. Besides making beer at home or growing your own quality marijuana is hard work! Let us grow! We’ll keep buying Wiile’s Reserve or Marley Naturals from CVS and trust the brand… Or maybe the brands should choose local dispensaries over CVS?

  12. From this point of view, it makes sense why Mexico is looking at importing high quality medicinal strains from Colorado and we may end up with a fair industrial supply of hemp from Mexico where the climate can provide a massive outdoor operation that will be less concerned with labeling or pestcides.
    Great, now Im stuck thinking about branding and labeling issues when I could still get thrown in the slammer for possession in my state! At least in Texas legalizing prescriptions means doctors can immediately start prescribing whole plant cannabis under the Compassionate Use Act. Now if we can just expand access and get some THC in it.
    Its a frighteningly beautiful time in the history of marijuana legalization. I didnt know the climax of such an epic tragedy could last these many years.

    1. Please don’t jinx us by throwing the word “tragedy” in there, a happy ending generates the word “melodrama” (as in merry guano).

      I get your note that protection is needed against failures to provide quality pesticide-free indoor cannabis, and if it is hard work to produce same today, EDUCATION is the key to 18 months from now it’ll be easy work– so easy not timid loners like you and me alone in the closet but entire neighborhood co:ops are working together on quality indoor growing, easy enough that 3, 5, 8% of American adults are expert at it by 20171222.

      EDUCATION’s other task is to convert 700-mg nico$ig addicts and 500-mg cannabis Jointpuffers both to 25-mg Standard Single Vape Toke utensils “Made from #40 Screen, 1/4″-o.d. p.v.c. tube and $1.29 Worth of Junk Left in Your Garage by the Previous God.”

      1. You keep calling yourself “timid” Mexweed but it takes courage and tenacity to take action and speak to our representatives. You may be more tenacious than you give yourself credit. As for me, I can remember how nervous I was the first time I citizen lobbied my way through my state capitol, but we all feel that way at first, even those of us with the most public speaking experience.
        As for “tragedy” and “education,” here’s a little classical literature for you; Look at Shakespeare’s Hamlet or Antigone; all of the classic tragedies involve people in positions of power too proud to admit theyre wrong. The “tragic hero,” or protagonist, inversely becomes the villain. In classic Greek tragedies it is always the hubris, or excess pride of the tragic hero that reaches a climax in the epic tragedy, and the tragic hero often acts more as the protagonist villain, unwilling to accept their own faults, therefore leading to their own downfall. (Can we think of a few Congressman or DEA agents that fit the bill?) Our American history over cannabis prohibition has been nothing less than a tragedy. But even as the people rise against their failed leadership, it will ultimately be the excess pride of the tragic heroes of prohibition that will lead to their downfall…
        Or as Seneca the Younger put it;
        Hercules Furens (The Madness of Hercules), line 276; (Amphitryon).
        “In this … Who profits by a sin has done the sin. Medea …. A trifling debt makes a man your debtor; a large one makes him an enemy.”

  13. There is a lot of angst about the what-ifs regarding the DEA’s decision on rescheduling. Based on their past practice of deciding to keep cannabis in Schedule I, their mission being to obstruct and divide the opposition (legalizers), they’ll drag out prohibition as long as they can. Again, they’ll defer to the do-nothing Congress (not all of them but enough) who will then defer to these freakin’ international treaties as to why they can’t. Piss on the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of 1961 and the Convention on Psychotropic Substances of 1971. I want the DEA to deschedule cannabis completely. Then the way is clear for any country that wants to legalize, any state as well. None of this bullshit where only Big Cannabis gets to patent seeds that everybody else has to buy, so there cannabis clubs, cooperatives, and home cultivation. No CannSantos! The way is clear for Canada to legalize all the faster, and cannabis can be sold on U.S. commodity exchanges traded internationally in U.S. dollars.

  14. Botticelli, is Botticelli making this decision? Maybe things will go differently with him in the driver’s seat. I saw you on 60 Minutes, Michael. Cannabis isn’t alcohol. You are not the new Eliot Ness. You have the power to deschedule cannabis altogether, which is what you should do. You know the feeling of being free and legal and not in the closet, and that is exactly what the cannabis community want. Remember Peter McWilliams? The prohibitionist government policies of YOUR office denied him his medicine, and it killed him! He didn’t live long enough to see legal gay marriage like you and me. Just deschedule cannabis completely. Do not punt to the FDA or NIDA or to Congress. If you contact a reform organization like NORML, hell, they might even write the langugage for you to deschedule it, and give you the language, text or some tips for the Federal Register.

    Michael, show your solidarity with the cannabis community. Some of them overlap into the LGBT community, you know. You remember how Dennis Peron was helping patients?

    Deschedule it. It’s the right thing to do.

    [Paul Armentano responds: Please see my recent commentary in The Hill outlining why NORML supports descheduling cannabis out of the CSA versus rescheduling here:

    See specifically: “Specifically, reclassifying cannabis from I to II (or even to Schedule III) continues to misrepresent the plant’s safety relative to other controlled substances such as methamphetamine (Schedule II), anabolic steroids (Schedule III) or alcohol (unscheduled), and fails to provide states with the ability to regulate it free from federal interference. (To date, 26 states regulate cannabis’s therapeutic use, while four states permit its retail production and sale to adults. At least seven additional states are expected to decide this issue this coming November.)

    Further, the federal policies in place that make clinical trial work with cannabis more onerous than it is for other controlled substances — such as the requirement that all source material be purchased from the University of Mississippi’s federally licensed marijuana cultivation program <>  — are regulatory requirements that are specific to cannabis <> , not to Schedule I drugs in general. Simply rescheduling cannabis from I to II from I to III does not necessarily change these regulatory hurdles.

    In addition, the sort of gold-standard, large-scale, long-term phase III safety and efficacy trials that are typically necessary prior to bringing drugs to market are prohibitively expensive. As a result, trials of this kind are typically are funded by private pharmaceutical companies aspiring to bring a new product to market. In some cases, the federal government may assist in sharing these costs. However, political reality dictates that neither entity is likely to pony up the tens of millions of dollars necessary to conduct such trials any time soon, if ever, regardless of the plant’s federal scheduling.

    This is not to say that rescheduling cannabis would not have any positive tangible effects. At a minimum, it would bring an end to the federal government’s longstanding intellectual dishonesty that marijuana “lacks accepted medical use.” Downgrading cannabis from Schedule I to Schedule III would also likely permit banks and other financial institutions to work with state-compliant marijuana-related businesses, and permit employers in the cannabis industry to take tax deductions < <> >  similar to those enjoyed by other businesses. It would also open the door to changes in federal drug testing requirements that currently sanction employees for their off-the-job cannabis use, even in cases where the consumption takes place in jurisdictions that permit it.

    But ultimately, rescheduling the plant would do little to significantly loosen the grasp of federal prohibition or make herbal cannabis readily accessible for clinical study. These goals can only be accomplished by federally descheduling cannabis in a manner similar to alcohol and tobacco, thus providing states the power to establish their own marijuana policies free from federal intrusion. If the DEA fails to take this opportunity to take such action, then it is incumbent that Congress does so posthaste.”]

    1. Thanks for the rundown Paul. This is a vitally important topic to Americans whether they know it or not. While the potential for corporate exploitation is great in schedule II, I believe that is precisely the reason the DEA will REschedule to II.
      But the hubris of the puppy that lost the steak in its mouth by barking at his own reflection in the water will come to life as your library of scientific evidence publishes its way into Congress.
      Weve come a long way, and as Ive said before. Americans owe you a debt of gratitude for all your hard work in studies and peer reviewed science. Thank you.

    2. Thank you, Paul!

      I had read your rationale a while back, worth reading again.

      I just hope that Michael has read, digested, and incorporated the logic and rationale into the DEA’s decision, and is going to follow the advice of the cannabis community as you have laid out so well. Michael, that means you deschedule cannabis completely.

  15. Here is an article in the current edition of Chemical & Engineering News about rescheduling cannabis to the benefit of the pharmaceutical industry.

    A comment at the end of the article leads you to the company that has the rights to the government’s cannabis patent, Kannalife, in Doylestown, Pennsylvania.

    Because cannabis is less harmful than tobacco or alcohol it needs to be descheduled completely. Whatever pharma develops that they want to have doctors peddle by prescription (Marinol, Sativex) they can run through the schedule II or whatever.

    1. Thanks for the link Oracle. Just what I suspected. Ive been seeing these “biopharmaceutical” entrepeneurs pop up at conventions and recently the first Cannabis Democratic Caucas and Im not sure what to make of them. How can we patent the basic molecules and cannabinoids that are essentially produced in our own bodies for profit when there are people still going to prison for their mere possession? And why havnt we legally distinguished an endocannabinoid from an exocannabinoid? And our government is selling the exclusive patent for cannabinoids as neuroprotectants? WTF? What next? Is their a patent on H2O I dont know about?

      1. Follow the insanity to its logically insane conclusion, and People themselves become illegal.

        Fact: A mother breastfeeding her baby gives psychotropically-active endocannabinoids to her baby via breastmilk; they’re good for the baby, and bond baby to mother emotionally.

        But since Mom is a drug, Mom will have to be eradicated. The baby will just have to learn to get by without that “Mom” crutch, and that “getting high” is an irresponsible way of life. Get a job!

        That’s about as crazy as it gets I suppose, but that’s where Reefer Madness leads.

      2. Thing is I dont mind when people make patents for engineered mechanics, brands and labeling, and inanimate technologies, but cannabinoids? There can be made a seperate argument whether patented technologies take manufacturing jobs while litigation from intellectual property rights keep taxes and jobs in the U.S., but thats not my argument here. Im not even taking the issue to contentious extremes like stem cell research or whatever morally defines what a chimera is… Even taking the argument of genetic engineering aside… My concern for US patent law is as follows;
        The more we break up molecules to their basic elements and synthesize them they become patently unhealthy. Basic chemistry shows us the more we isolate molecules into “active” or unstable bonds they wish to go back to more stable compounds, hence the side effects of patented pharmaceuticals.
        Plants compensate for this problem by producing a variety of chemicals from which the human organs filter and absorb, using the nutrients we need and discarding the excess or those we do not need. In the case of marijuana, these cannabinoids have evolved into the very essence of our being, and none of the chemicals are toxic.
        But selling whole plants isnt as profitable as owning its patent.
        So how many “bio-pharmaceuticals” or organic compounds does it take before we have patented the entire plant or even ourselves?

      3. Sorry if I too much scolded Julian above over throwing the word “tragedy” into anything involving our herb, now I have to warn against “Reefer Madness”, remember this will stigmatize the word “reefer” so anyone you say it to an echo of “madness” enters their mind, it’s a political defeat.

        My candidate for remedy is to change spelling of one word and replace the other: RIEFER REFORESTATION. Hemp is considered a best precursor crop for tree planting (like where they used to grow tobacco, heh heh). More trees to eat up the CO2 is #1 defense against climate change harm, droughts, fires and floods etc. and cannabis planting is a transitional stage from any desert to high forest canopy in less than 99 years. Legalize saving planet.

  16. Now we’ve had heated debates about profit over health and economic systems, but what we are dealing with in the patenting of “biopharmaceuticals” …while simultaneously prohibiting the very same endocannabinoids created naturally within the human body… is one of the greatest hypocrisies and humanitarian injustices ever written into law.
    The very same Department in charge of either DE or rescheduling marijuana, hemp or cannabis; the Dep. of Health and Human Services, on one hand takes custody of the children whose parents even mention the consumption of marijuana after hours, and on the other, they are issuing special permissions to broker US patent 6630507 for cannabinoids as neuroprotectants to big companies like GW Pharmaceuticals that turn and price hike their drugs on kids with severe epilepsy. And through NIH, now we have Kannalife in this vulture patenting and God knows whose getting paid off a patent that should be made open source.
    Ironically, the impeccable greed of these beurocracies and organisations may contribute to at least the rescheduling of cannabis, as it flies in the face of Congress and any further attemp to deny the medical efficacy of cannabis while the government is horse trading patentef cannabinoids during prohibition. (Psst… Congress; legalize the WHOLE PLANT!!)
    While I dare venture to speculate on a court system that says “Congress doesnt have to be right,” its clear that statement is true if we continue to stay at home during elections or fail to read the NORML scorecard. Monsters like Monsantos are salivating over marijuana moving to schedule II, a move that will make our current standard for hypocrisy look like the good ol days.
    If there is anything the next generation can do to counter the threat of bad quasi-prohibition bio-tech laws with young energetic voices like Xuihtezcatl Martinez (WhoweeTesCal), is that…

    Congressional elections ARE MORE IMPORTANT than the presidency or the judicial system!!!

    1. Wanna go to the UN and speak? Great. (Just dont expect Busta Rymes and Mary J Blige to perform at UNGASS or prepare to be disappointed 🙂 ). But the place laws get made or changed in our government is called Congress, and the sooner our younger generation figures this out and directs their passion on voting out the bad apples in the House and Senate the better.

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