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Common, Russell Simmons, Shailene Woodley among celebrities pushing to legalize weed in California

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Top celebrities including Common, Tim Robbins and the author of the "Orange is the New Black" memoir are joining forces in what they are calling "Artists for 64" — the effort to legalize recreational use of marijuana in California. A show of force announced Tuesday includes rapper and actor Common; music producer Russell Simmons; Ty Dolla $ign; actors Danny Glover, Olivia Wilde, Tim Robbins, Sarah Silverman, Shailene Woodley of "The Divergent" series, Jesse Williams of "Grey’s Anatomy" and Michael K. Williams of the HBO series "The Wire"; and Piper Kerman, author of "Orange is the New Black: My Year in a Women’s Prison." Jay Z, who last week put out a video calling the war on drugs an "epic fail,"…

Damian Marley partners to convert former CA prison to grow operation

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The youngest son of late reggae star Bob Marley has joined with Ocean Grown Extracts to convert a former California state prison into a multimillion-dollar marijuana growing operation, a project that could spur other municipalities in the state to lure MJ businesses for their economic impact. According to Billboard, Damian “Jr. Gong” Marley, also a reggae musician, sees turning the space into a grow operation as “poetic justice” for all the nonviolent criminals who were once incarcerated there. “Many people sacrificed so much for the herb over the years who got locked up,” Marley, 38, told Billboard. The first stage of the operation will produce cannabis oil extracts. The first crop is slated for harvest by January. The project came…

California rec campaign spending half its cash on ads

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The campaign behind Proposition 64, which would legalize adult-use cannabis in California, has already committed nearly half its $14 million war chest to TV and radio ads across the state. One such ad, according to the Los Angeles Times, focuses on provisions included in the legal language of the Adult Use of Marijuana Act (Prop 64’s formal title), including a prohibition on edibles and marketing that target children. A second ad argues that tax revenue from legal recreational marijuana sales could hit $1 billion for California infrastructure, such as job-training and placement programs, as well as after-school programs for kids. The ads have cost the campaign about $6.8 million, the Times reported. Campaign manager Brian Brokaw told the Times the…

Canadian college to offer marijuana cultivation classes

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A college in the Canadian province of New Brunswick plans to launch a program on cannabis cultivation to prepare students to work at local marijuana companies. The French-language College Communautaire du Nouveau-Brunswick is the latest North American higher education institution to offer cannabis business-related courses, a move intended to help prepare the future ranks of marijuana entrepreneurs and employees. Medical marijuana is already legal at the federal level in Canada, and the government plans to introduce legislation next year to legalize recreational marijuana. In August, the New Brunswick provincial government announced it had invested $3.03 million in a medical marijuana company that will create up to 208 jobs in the economically struggling region, according to Reuters. The school is still…

CA medical cannabis extract makers shielded under new law

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Medical marijuana extract manufacturers in California will receive legal protections under a new law signed by Gov. Jerry Brown. Assembly Bill 2679, signed on Sept. 29, spans a gap between existing unregulated medical marijuana extracts and the soon-to-be regulated market, which starts the first day of 2018. Butane hash blasters, carbon dioxide extraction technicians and other artisans who follow stringent manufacturing and quality assurance standards will fall under the legal protection, the East Bay Express reported. Those who don’t follow the bill to the letter can be arrested and face jail time. “Across the state, locally authorized medical cannabis manufacturers continue to be targeted by municipal law enforcement. As we await full implementation of medical cannabis regulations, manufacturers cannot continue…

Pittsburgh medical school seeks MMJ research partners

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The University of Pittsburgh Medical School wants to collaborate with medical marijuana companies on research into the benefits and dangers of using medical cannabis to treat ailments and illnesses. The university puts itself in a growing camp of respected medical institutions backing more research into medical cannabis – a move that ultimately could lead to more doctors recommending MMJ to patients. That, in turn, could boost medical cannabis sales. Pennsylvania has “placed a greater emphasis on the need for reliable research than other states that have also enacted medical marijuana laws,” Art Levine, senior vice chancellor for health sciences and medical school dean, wrote in a letter to colleagues at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, according to the…

Chart: Latest California Marijuana Market Data – $845M in Annual Sales, 2,756 Dispensaries

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This is the first in a series of charts featuring data on California’s medical cannabis market. Marijuana Business Daily will publish additional charts in this series every other Monday for the next two months. By Eli McVey California’s medical cannabis industry reported $845 million in retail sales via nearly 2,800 dispensaries over a recent 12-month period, according to exclusive data obtained by Marijuana Business Daily. The figures offer a snapshot of the size and scope of California’s massive medical cannabis market, though actual sales are likely much higher because of the unregulated nature of the industry in the state. The numbers also provide a hint of what’s possible if California legalizes recreational marijuana this fall. Marijuana Business Daily obtained the…

Fire Safety Group Developing Marijuana Business Guidelines

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A major fire safety group is updating its codes to include a section devoted to marijuana cultivation and processing sites, a sign that cannabis businesses will need to be increasingly focused on these types of guidelines. The National Fire Protection Association, a member-based nonprofit that develops codes and standards for fire safety, has been working on the chapter for more than a year, Kristin Bigda, the group’s principal fire protection engineer, told the Denver Post. Bigda headed a task force made up of NFPA and marijuana industry officials to draft the chapter’s code language. The newspaper also noted that marijuana industry leaders and fire safety officials in Colorado have played a key role in the fire safety effort. The NFPA’s…

CA Gov. Signs One Medical Marijuana Bill, Vetoes Another

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California Gov. Jerry Brown on Thursday signed a significant piece of statewide medical marijuana legislation and vetoed another focused on Los Angeles. Brown signed Assembly Bill 2679, which establishes statewide standards for MMJ product manufacturers, further implements regulations for the industry as a whole, and puts an end to “misguided raids” by law enforcement on infused-product makers, according to a press release from Assemblyman Rob Bonta’s office. Brown vetoed Assembly Bill 2385, which would have created an exemption to the upcoming statewide MMJ industry regulations for a handful of cannabis businesses in Los Angeles. The bill would have allowed some dispensaries in the city to continue operating without obtaining a local license. Storefronts in the rest of the state, meanwhile,…

Maryland Medical Marijuana License Lawsuit May Grow

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A lawsuit targeting Maryland’s highly competitive medical marijuana business license outcome is poised to get a second plaintiff. The lawsuit, originally filed Sept. 19 in Baltimore Circuit Court by GTI Maryland, alleges that the state commission that awarded the permits in early August broke its own rules during the selection process, and gave licenses to applicants that received lower scores in the evaluation of 145 different companies. Now, Maryland Cultivation and Processing is making the same argument, and points to the fact that it was “initially among the top 15 applicants,” the Baltimore Sun reported. Only 15 cultivation licenses are allowed by law, and both companies were not among the winners. Maryland Cultivation and Processing filed paperwork Wednesday to join…

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