Cannabis Tourism: Las Vegas Comes to the Party

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As Nevada nears the expected July 1st start date for its emergent recreational marijuana program, tourists, 21 years and older, will be able buy pot while visiting Las Vegas and other Nevada cities. Nevada officials are hoping this will make the state even friendlier to tourists, and those in the cannabis industry agree.

Nevada is one of eight states that have legalized recreational marijuana. It already had legal medical pot. Medical dispensaries started opening in 2015. The state now has 55, mostly in Las Vegas or surrounding Clark County.

Attitudes regarding marijuana regulation have also changed as other states (Colorado, Washington, Oregon, California, Maine, Massachusetts and Alaska) have passed their own laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use. Even though marijuana remains illegal at the federal level, and state lawmakers are cautious about running afoul of the Justice Department, voters, on the other hand, have forged ahead. The public opinion tipping point may have occurred as 56% of US voters surveyed said they would support legalization.

Colorado and Washington have fully legalized cannabis for recreational use since 2014, so with larger state populations, it would seem logical that those states would be bigger markets for cannabis. But those with knowledge of the marijuana industry believe that Nevada, and Vegas in particular, represents an even greater opportunity. According to a survey by Love Home Swap, the Las Vegas Strip attracted over 39 million tourists annually, making it the most visited tourist attraction in the world over both the Eiffel Tower and Times Square. If even a small percentage of tourists buy cannabis in Vegas, the numbers will be huge. In the not too distant future, we could see annual cannabis market in Vegas growing to anywhere between $500 million to $1 billion.

Despite rules against smoking pot in hotel rooms or outdoors, legal marijuana may provide an extra incentive for tourists. Already known for some of the world’s best hotels, restaurants, nightclubs, and entertainment, and now we’ll have hopefully become known for the best cannabis experience as well.

“I think Las Vegas has the potential of being the new cannabis tourists center in the United States, overtaking Colorado, if not in actual sales, but in perception.”

How does the tax revenue help Nevada?

For one, Gov. Brian Sandoval most recently projected that recreational marijuana sales will bring in more than $60 million in state revenue over the next two years. Revenue collected from the cultivation will be funneled toward schools, and revenue from recreational marijuana sales tax will go towards the state’s rainy day fund.
Starting in July, all marijuana — both medical and recreational — will be taxed 15 percent at the cultivation transaction level, but only recreational marijuana have a state excise tax of 10 percent, both medical and recreational will have the applicable local sales tax (8.25% in Clark County) and a 3 percent local gross revenue fee.

Nevada’s Medical Marijuana Program

For fear that the medical marijuana program could be smothered by the new recreational program; lawmakers have made it easier to be a part of the medical program and decreased the tax on medical by 10 percent. The new bill will make the medical program more accessible to Nevada citizens, by streamlining the program, and folding the administrative duties into the Department of Taxation.
“What’s important is that you’re creating that delta between medical and recreational costs – it’s keeping the cost down for medical,” Sen. Julia Ratti, D-Sparks, who sponsored the tax bill.
The medical marijuana program already was at risk due to bureaucracy which limited the number of people pursuing medical cards. While medical cards used to cost about $100 for a year’s value, the cards now will cost half the price ($50) because background checks no longer are required. Additionally, the cards will now be good for two years. Because recreational marijuana is now legal and anyone can get product, there is no point in doing the background checks. The Department of Public Health will continue to issue the medical cards.

Facts on Community Impact of Legalization

The marijuana industry has grown significantly since 2000 and federal officials maintain that the legalization of marijuana will contribute to the increase of youth and adolescent use because it will make marijuana easier to obtain, reduce its perceived risks with more adult role models smoking it.
However, studies in Colorado have shown no connection between legalized marijuana and youth marijuana use. In Colorado teen use is lower than the national average; fewer teens report using marijuana than said they did prior to legalization. Surveys conducted in Colorado interviewed over 17,000 students in middle & high school showing that from 2009 to 2015 the rates in which teenagers smoked marijuana has decreased. The state of Colorado has also seen the percentage of teenagers who have smoked marijuana in the past 30 days drop to 21%, from 25%. Colorado believes, underage use will continue to decrease with their implementation of strict age limits, and risk awareness programs.
In 2014, Colorado invested $2 million generated from marijuana sales tax revenue on campaigns aimed at anti-marijuana education of minors and double that amount, $4 million in 2015 (out of a total projected marijuana sales tax revenue of $125 million). The current campaigns provide information on marijuana laws, the impacts of youth use, the dangers of driving under the influence of any drug, and the harmful side effects of using marijuana.

Rand Paul Is Raising Money for His Campaign…With Weed

Rand Paul Weed
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In a bold step, Rand Paul became the first presidential candidate in United States history to seek funds from (legal) drugs. Yesterday, the Kentucky senator attended a fundraiser for his campaign, but not at a fancy banquet hall filled with WASPy Republicans, or even at one of those roll-up-your-sleeves-and-touch-the-commoners events in his native Kentucky. No, it was at the Cannabis Business Summit in Denver, Colorado.

Even though he wants the weed industry’s not-so-dirty drug money, Paul’s statements on recreational marijuana remain deliberately hazy. In a statement to The Denver Post, he sidelined the issue saying, “I think I see it just more from a federal perspective. And I think the federal government ought to stay out.” He has shown support for a federal medical marijuana bill, and for reducing the harsh sentences currently associated with weed-related crimes. On a harder drug note, Paul has proposed reducing the sentencing disparity between crack cocaine and powdered cocaine. He also proposed legislation in the past that would ensure food products containing drugs are “weighed fairly,” which would mean that a cop arresting someone for say, possessing a pot brownie, wouldn’t include the weight of the brownie when determining the amount of weed possessed.

So it’s safe to say that Paul’s alignment with the marijuana industry isn’t that out of character. And we do have to applaud him a bit. In an era when presidential campaigns have become polluted with money and the most successful candidates more often than not have a financial advantage over their competitors, Paul is playing the game right. More than that, he’s going where the money is: the legal marijuana industry is one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States. The ArcView Group, a cannabis industry investment and research firm, found earlier this year that the US market for legal marijuana grew 74% in 2014 to $2.7 billion. Money has a habit of buying political influence, and we can only assume that the libertarian-leaning senator will be doing more to reform drug laws in the future.

On that note, let’s get high!

Let’s Go Weed Shopping: Lube, Caramels, Vapes and More

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Photo: Laurie Avocado on Flickr

Do you enjoy relaxing your mind? Your muscles? Your vagina?

Guess what? Marijuana can help you do all of these things. Perhaps more importantly, do you live in, know someone in, or know someone who knows someone in Colorado (or California)?

It is time to give them a call.

1. Here at BlackBook, we’ve had our eyes/V’s on Foria for six months. This cannabis-infused lube is made with coconut oil, and thus is edible. 😉

Better yet, women have reported feeling a sort of localized high. Think: heightened sensation, warmth, tingling, a sense of swelling or engorgement after using the weed-infused lube, or a hyper awareness of vaginal tightness, which lead to a greater sexual pleasure. Get it, girl. 

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2. May we recommend a post-coital massage along the same lines? Dixie Elixirs makes a number of topicals–body lotion, balm, and even a bath soak.

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3. Moving away from sex to one of life’s other greats: food. Indulge in a cookie, (or a pie) from Denver’s Sweet Grass Kitchen.

weed cookies

3. Stressed at the office? Why not get a little high. No harm, no foul, if your boss is cool. And, if you need to be discreet, you can be thanks to the subtle little dropper (it could be echinacea!) Alta Botanicals Anxiety Relief Tincture.

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4. If you’ve had the munchies for days and have not changed your clothes but still want to keep the high going, why not indulge in a steamy, relaxing shower with some hash body wash.

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5. When you come back around to actually smoking the stuff, who knows where you might be! Strolling in the park? At a black-tie gala? This vape could fit in the teensiest of Chanel clutches. You never know.

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6. Another choice pick is the Da Vinci Vaporizer. To be honest, I’m no expert, but here’s a text I got about this vape, verbatim, from a friend who knows: “You can’t smoke out fat with a lot of smaller vapes, but the Da Vinci will get you high as a motherfucker.”

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7. To keep in your bag, at your desk, to save you when you’re suddenly starving. Weed infused apple pie caramels can never be a bad idea.

chooselove

8. Lastly, pens are all the rage. So maybe one of those too.

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When all your shopping is done, please enjoy this video of 2Chainz arguing with Nancy Grace about marijuana on the news.

America Apparently Surprised That 18-Year-Old Millionaire Might Use Drugs

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Someone lined their pockets earlier this week selling photographs of Justin Beiber smoking something that looks like marijuana. TMZ’s pics allegedly show the Biebs inside a Newport Beach hotel room three days ago with friends, holding some kind of cigarette or blunt in his hand. He cryptically took to Twitter with the usual Miley Cyrus-esque allegations of learning and growing.

The chatty sources told TMZ that Bieber’s security was present at the party, but no one seems to mind that his "BFF" Lil Twist was rolling joints and randoms were photographing Justin holding — nay, smoking! — them. This has me wondering if rumors that Justin Beiber is a jerkface are true and that his security team doesn’t give a shit about babysitting him, i.e. he just got Bush-twinned.

Justin Bieber’s tweets addressing the scandal are typically pop star-ish in that they admit nothing but generally apologize for letting down the fans. 

Oh my God. It is just pot. Shut up. Who cares?

Frankly I just feel sorry for anyone so detached from reality that they think an 18-year-old millionaire isn’t doing drugs. If marijuana is the only thing he’s smoking, Scooter Braun should thank his lucky stars.

Contact the author of this post at Jessica.Wakeman@Gmail.com. Follow me on Twitter.

D.A.R.E. Will No Longer Try To Steer Kids Away From Pot

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Just like me at the age of 25, D.A.R.E.—the non-profit program that sends police officers to elementary schools to scare kids away from drugs (and to hand out t-shirts later worn ironically by dudes in their twenties)—will no longer try to avoid marijuana. Well, I guess it will avoid it entirely, as anti-drug sentiments will be dropped from the curriculum.

Blogger Mike Riggs breaks the news over at Reason:

"D.A.R.E. America has determined that anti-drug material is not age-appropriate," the state affiliate leader, who asked not to be identified, told Reason. "The new curriculum focuses on character development."

News of a major curriculum change was first reported in early November when an elementary school resource officer in Kennewick, Washington told KNDU25, "The new curriculum starts as of December for us…it does not bring up the subject of marijuana at all." (Marijuana is the only illicit drug that D.A.R.E. claims to have reduced the use of through its educational programs. Drug reform advocates have slammed D.A.R.E. for its characterization of pot.)

It seems as though the program will continue to focus its efforts on educating about alcohol abuse and persuading kids not to take up smoking, assuming that D.A.R.E. alumni will be able to use the same sort of thinking to avoid other illegal, addictive substances. It’s also an attempt to remain credible, Riggs asserts, as some studies have proven that the program actually encourages drug use. (I guess that’s why we shouldn’t teach kids about sex, huh?) Here’s a breakdown of the new curriculum, titled the keepin’ it REAL campaign:

The subject of marijuana is attended to in the new D.A.R.E. kiR elementary curriculum. The topic, however, is addressed only after it has been established to be an age appropriate topic for the individual concerned classroom.

A wealth of research data substantiates the two most common and dangerous drugs with which elementary aged students have knowledge or familiarity are alcohol and tobacco. These are the substances, across all segments of the population, with the highest use levels at this age group. The experience or knowledge of alcohol and tobacco creates an environment in which it is appropriate to talk with young students about these drugs.

The D.A.R.E. kiR elementary curriculum provides information about drugs, focusing on alcohol and tobacco. Students learn to apply the information, within the constructs of a decision-making model, and to employ resistance skills in making safe and responsible decisions about drugs. While we do not focus individually on all possible drugs which can be abused, we believe the students can apply the learned decision-making model and developed resistance skills to other substances such as methamphetamine, prescriptions drugs, cocaine/crack, heroine, etc.

For the general population of 5th/6th grade students, the topic of marijuana is not age appropriate. Most students in this age group have no basis of reference to the substance. Research has found that teaching children about drugs with which they have never heard of or have no real life understanding may stimulate their interest or curiosity about the substance.

Here’s a thought: why not screen Requiem for a Dream for fifth and sixth graders? It certainly solidified my No Needles In My Arm stance that I’ve upheld for many years. And then you can also bring in a New Yorker on cocaine to lecture them about, well, anything, because being stuck in a room with some chatty jag on coke has also kept me from touching the stuff myself. And, duh, show them a few episodes of Breaking Bad. But there’s no way to keep people from smoking pot, I think, unless you can argue that laughing hysterically and getting super into nature documentaries is a bad thing. Sorry, just keepin’ it real. 

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

Colorado Legalizes Marijuana, Munchies To Follow

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Last night, in addition to throwing their electoral votes to Obama, Colorado voters passed Amendment 64, legalizing the use of marijuana for recreational purposes (as did voters in Washington)—which puts state law in contention with federal. But Governer John Hickenlooper had been opposed to the referendums in question and cautioned his constituency not to “break out the Cheetos and Goldfish too quickly.”

You know something? I think Hickenlooper is right. We shouldn’t bust out the junk food too fast. First we should actually smoke some of that sweet, sweet, semi-legal reefer. Ahh. Can’t get the munchies without getting high, right? Afterward, let’s head out and see a big outdoor concert with lots of lasers. The weather will be crisp and fresh; the stars will look immaculate above. We can follow this up with a nice dinner out, maybe to that romantic little Szechuan place we’ve been enjoying recently. Then we can go home and have some mind-blowing, super-stoned sex, because let’s face it: the stuff makes you horny.

Then, when we’re lying sprawled and sweaty on the bed, and someone has turned the TV on out of sheer exhaustion, and a few more quiet moments have passed, that’s when I’d like you to turn to me and say “Are you still hungry? We’ve got some Goldfish or Cheetos in the pantry, I think.” Sounds great! I’ll try not to get any crumbs in the sheets, but no promises. And God Bless Potmerica, baby.

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.

Chicago Decriminalizes Marijuana; Still Expensive to Get Caught With It

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As we all recovered from our Pride Weekend hangovers, BlackBook Senior Editor Tyler Coates posted an important announcement for Chicago residents: as of July 1st, anyone who ends up “Coatesing” in a taxi will have to pay a $50 cleanup fee. Those who have a problem holding their liquor and somehow cannot muster the coherence and / or good form to at least tell the cab driver carting your inebriated self to pull over, lucky for you, it is now slightly less risky to keep one particular nausea suppressant on hand: good old Mary Jane.

Today, the Chicago City Council voted overwhelmingly (43-3) to pass a resolution decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana. And by "small amounts," they mean anything less than 15 grams. Instead of risking jail time and a misdemeanor charge, those caught possessing will be handed a $250-500 ticket (by comparison, as Chuck Sudo pointed out, 20 grams of middle-of-the-road stuff will cost you about $20 in the suburbs, according to PriceofWeed.com) which is still a lot of money so it’s a good idea to, you know, not be stupid about this. Also, "openly" smoking or being caught in possession around a park or school will still get you arrested. 

So basically, people partying in the Windy City this summer (and there will be a lot of you, especially with Pitchfork and Lollapalooza coming up)… don’t be idiots, and please tip your cab drivers. 

Your Daily Guide To Trending Topics

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Every day there are some topics that are trending. Since many of them don’t make sense, we provide easy contextualization. Also, this way, you won’t actually have to know anything about anything.

MLB Draft

Google users are feeling real sporty today as they’ve made as last night’s Major League Baseball’s First Year Players Draft the trendiest topic on the site. Indeed sports fans are curious to find out which high schoolers are about to become local millionaire celebrities before suffering debilitating injuries or being traded away a few years down the line. The New York Yankee, for example, drafted 18-year-old Oklahoman Ty Hensley, who has already planned to attend Ole Miss, but he said he’ll happily drop that plan to play ball. Good for him.

Bath Salts

Another hot topic on Google (and everywhere else, it seems) is bath salts. No, not the crappy gift you buy for mom when you forgot her birthday, the drug that turns you into a face-eating killer. People want to know what they are, why they do what they do and, really, where to get them. According to Forbes, the psychoactive stimulant "may find [a user] feeling extremely paranoid and panicky, but he’s unlikely to believe that a giant lizard wearing a tuxedo is about to eat his cat.” And if that doesn’t sound scary enough for you, an entire page of testimonials from bath salts users is enough to convince us that high on life is the way to go.

Kathryn Joosten Dies

Yahoo! users are a few days late on the death of Desperate Housewives actress Kathryn Joosten, who recenty died of lung cancer. Still, they’re searching up a storm about the passing of the the 72-year old actress. In a statement, Joosten’s family said, “The family of Kathryn Joosten, two-time Emmy winner, long-time Governor of The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, lung cancer advocate, and so much more, regrets to announce that Kathryn succumbed to her 11-year battle with lung cancer today, June 2, 2012, surrounded by love and humor til the end. Thanks to everyone for their love and support. We are laughing through our tears.”

Cuomo Marijuana

Perhaps to overcome their Joosten-related sadness, Yahoo!ers are really curious about New York governor Andrew Cuomo’s new take on the state’s dealings with weed. Monday the governor announced a plan to cut the penalty for public possession of a small amount of pot, saying “There’s a blatant inconsistency. If you possess marijuana privately, it’s a violation. If you show it in public, it’s a crime.” While carrying will come with less of a penalty, it’ll still be a misdemeanor to actually smoke in public. "I believe the society does want to discourage the use of marijuana in public, on the street,” said Cuomo. “Smoking a joint, I think, is a different level of activity than just being in possession of it."  

#RandomFactAboutMe

Forget everyone else, this morning Twitter is feeling really self-obsessed. The hashtag #RandomFactAboutMe, in which users—wait for it—share a random fact about themselves is trending, making important information like the posts below available to the masses.

Random Fact 5

Random Fact 4

Random Fact 2

 

 

 

Rihanna Makes ‘Happy 420’ YouTube Video in June

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Uncouth singles artist Rihanna is apparently not done doing anything and everything she can to get any and every kind of attention. Her latest stunt? This 16-second black-and-white YouTube video, uploaded yesterday, during which Princess RiRi blows out a thick cloud of smoke before announcing, "Happy 420!" Too bad it’s June, you uncouth stoner. 

 

[via ONTD]