US elections on Nov. 7 in New Jersey, Vermont, Michigan, Seattle and Virginia brought a fresh round of pro-cannabis elected officials and passed initiatives signaling major voter support for MJ reform. The election was headlined by incoming New Jersey governor Phil Murphy who plans to expedite a recreational marijuana legalization bill spearheaded by state Senate Chair Stephen Sweeney who said, “As soon as the governor gets situated we are all here and we intend to move quickly on it.”

In Virginia, Governor-Elect Ralph Northam also made marijuana decriminalization a plank in his campaign. In a blog post during the election, Northam wrote, “We need to change sentencing laws that disproportionately hurt people of color. One of the best ways to do this is to decriminalize marijuana. African Americans are 2.8 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession in Virginia. The Commonwealth spends more than $67 million on marijuana enforcement — money that could be better spent on rehabilitation.” Unlike New Jersey, decriminalization efforts in Virginia have strong GOP support. Senate Majority Leader there, Tommy Norment, has announced his intention to introduce legislation in 2018 to decriminalize first-time marijuana possession. Northam has also spoken in favor of expanding the state’s limited medical cannabis law as well as fully legalizing industrial hemp.

In Philadelphia, Lawrence Krasner, the incoming District Attorney, and criminal justice reform advocate, has made bold statements about cannabis enforcement in the past. Krasner was quoted as saying, “One of the things we see in other jurisdictions is that, where marijuana is readily available, there’s a 25 percent reduction in opiate/opioid overdose deaths. So if Philadelphia is looking at 500 opiate/opioid overdose deaths a year, a district attorney, by choosing not to enforce against marijuana usage, can potentially save 125 lives. That’s what a district attorney should exercise his or her discretion to do.”

In Detroit, voters reduced buffers between cannabis dispensaries, totally eliminating them for daycare centers, parks or other MMJ stores. Another ballot issue forces local planners in Detroit to follow the new MMJ rules to be installed by Michigan officials.

Washington can expect continued strong urban support for its RMJ program with the election of a gay liberal mayor in Seattle, Jenny Durkan.

More California cities are beginning to ratchet-up activity to allow recreational sales in their communities beginning in January. Oakland city councilor, and top MJ advocate, Noel Gallo wants her city to be ready for legal RMJ sales in January, and she has introduced a bill to allow current MMJ operators to be given temporary local authorizations. Her bill also expands the areas in Oakland where indoor cannabis cultivation (the green zone) can take place.

The California Growers Association now estimates that the recent northern state wildfires destroyed more than $40 million in wholesale-priced cannabis.

More than half of the internet-sold CBD labels are in error, according to a study from JAMA, and Johns-Hopkins research Marcel Bonn-Miller. The study found for extracted oils, the amount of CBD was more than the amount listed on the label 43% of the time, with 31% of products having accurate labels, and another 26% having less CBD than claimed on the label. For CBD liquids produced for vaping, the label was incorrect 90% of the time, and labels were wrong about 50% of the time for extracted oils.

Research firm Brightfield Group has increased projections from earlier studies for the total value of the cannabis industry in 2021 to $31.4Billion.  For 2017, Brightfield predicts a market gross value of $7.7Billion.  Earlier this year, Arcview Group predicted that the 2021 value of the US and Canada industry would be $22Billion. Brightfield’s higher valuation takes in additional growth from global markets including North America.

Aiming to cut into impaired driving, the Colorado Department of Transportation, the Marijuana Industry Group and Lyft have formed a 320 Movement to offer reduced cost rides from Lyft drivers. The pilot program is expected to be launched in November and run through 420 celebrations in April.

With a decision not to review statewide social consumption regulations, Nevada‘s attorney general has returned the issue to local city and county governments. Las Vegas sources expect several major dispensaries to pursue social use lounges first in the city of Las Vegas, not along the strip.

Canadian marijuana stocks surged Friday after Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government proposed a tax of one dollar a gram of legalized recreational marijuana. The government said Friday the tax shouldn’t exceed C$1 (79 U.S. cents) a gram or 10 percent of the producer’s price, whichever is higher. Retail sales levies would be applied on top of that. Former Vancouver mayor Larry Campbell says he is optimistic that Canada will be ready to start RMJ access by July 1, 2018. Campbell said many of the issues that got bogged down in the Canadian House of Commons will now be more rapidly considered in the Senate, as the body debates implementation under bill C-45.

Medical patients in Pennsylvania have strongly kicked off that state’s MMJ access with 4000 patients gaining cards in the state’s first week of availability. Officials report about 200 caregivers are also registered to assist patients needing relief from any of 76 allowed conditions. In Florida, the total patient count with MMJ authorizations has now surpassed 40,000.

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation Saturday, Veterans Day, to add post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) to the list of ailments that can be treated with medical marijuana. “Our veterans risked their lives in order to defend the ideals and principles that this nation was founded upon and it is our duty to do everything we can to support them when they return home,” Cuomo said. The Democratic governor said 19,000 New Yorkers with PTSD could be helped by medical marijuana.

A recreational marijuana dispensary in Las Vegas has opened a drive-thru window—the first of its kind in the country. The fast food-style drive-thru is on tribal land near downtown Las Vegas. Paiute Tribe Chairman Benny Tso said the Nuwu Cannabis Marketplace that opened Friday is designed for elderly and disabled customers who would prefer not to leave their vehicles to make a purchase. Nearly 300 vehicles pass through the smoke shop drive-thru on a given day, Tso said. “We just wanted to be able to play with the big dogs up here,” he said, referring to the expanding marijuana industry in Las Vegas.

This content is provided courtesy of West420 Newsweekly.