Pubdate: Thu, 17 Dec 2015
Source: North Coast Journal (Arcata, CA)
Column: The Week in Weed
Copyright: 2015 North Coast Journal
Author: Grant Scott-Goforth


In the first months of marijuana legalization in Oregon, a flood of 
medical marijuana shops has spread the customer base thin in parts of 
the state.

According to a Guardian article, an oversaturation of medical 
marijuana dispensaries in Portland has some business owners hurting, 
with hundreds of business license applications still being processed. 
Recreational pot shops won't open until late next year.

One marijuana business advocate described it as a 
survival-of-the-fittest situation, saying, "Those with sound business 
practices will survive, those without are going to fail."

That appears to have played out in Colorado, according to one 
dispensary owner, who said Denver's 900 medical dispensaries from 
five years ago have dropped to half that number. Meanwhile, marijuana 
revenue in Colorado continues to grow.

With a variety of local moratoriums on dispensaries (and an 
insignificant population compared to more urban areas), Humboldt 
County hasn't experienced a boom of medical marijuana dispensaries in 
recent years. But all eyes must be on the supply/demand scenarios 
playing out around the country and the state's shifting medical 
marijuana laws - and recreational laws on the horizon.

The New York Post reports that a mayoral mandate has reduced pot 
arrests by 40 percent in the last year.

Between Jan. 1 and Oct. 20, NYPD officers arrested 18,120 people for 
possessing small amounts of pot, down from 29,906 arrests during the 
same period the year before. In the same time, citations for 
possession of marijuana have risen by 20 percent.

Last year, the Post reports, Mayor Bill de Blasio's office ordered 
police to issue tickets to people caught with less than 25 grams of 
marijuana, rather than arrest them.

Unsurprisingly, as the mandate comes down to individual officers' 
discretion, arrests and citations vary widely from neighborhood to 

Back on the West Coast, East Bay cops are slated to begin using 
prototypes of marijuana-detecting breathalyzers next year.

The devices are being developed at University of California Berkeley 
by a former venture capitalist, according to the San Francisco 
Chronicle, and will undergo trials overseen by UC San Francisco. 
Alameda County sheriff's deputies will conduct voluntary roadside 
tests as part of the trials.

The device will need to pass Food and Drug Administration approval, 
and faces a number of issues: It won't detect marijuana in people 
who've consumed edibles, for example. And a UC Berkeley law professor 
warns that marijuana's effects on driver impairment need to be 
studied in conjunction with development of a device that measures a 
level of cannabis intake.

"Because alcohol and cannabis behave so differently on the human 
body, states considering legalization shouldn't just adapt the 
blood-alcohol scale to measure cannabis impairment," the Chronicle reports.

The Humboldt County Board of Supervisors finally took up the 
much-discussed medical marijuana outdoor cultivation ordinance as the 
Journal went to press on Dec. 15. In attendance, no surprise, were 
dozens of people from the environmental and cannabis cultivation 
communities, many of the same folks who've been weighing in on the 
proposed regulations as they made their way through the California 
Cannabis Voice Humboldt PAC process, the county staff drafting and 
the planning commission review.

The board's still on a tight deadline to hear from the public and 
discuss the law. In order to make a state deadline of March 1, the 
supervisors need to pass the land use law by the end of January.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom