Legal and Illegal States

All of the legal states achieved legalized marijuana for use by any adult via voter-approved initiatives, except Illinois. All had and have an existing medical marijuana program of some sorts. Almost all the states enacted a regulation structure that issues licenses to grow, process, sell, test, use, and possess, as well as a taxation system.

Washington (2012) Considered a mature market and regulatory structure.

Colorado (2012) Considered a mature market and regulatory structure.

Oregon (2014) Considered a mature market and regulatory structure.

Alaska (2014) Considered a mature market and regulatory structure.

District of Columbia (2014) No sales allowed. Possession only.

Nevada (2016) Rapidly developing market and regulatory structure.

California (2016) A “legacy” market far bigger than any market in the world, with a regulatory structure so complex, so bureaucratic, and so expensive and time consuming to navigate, that it touches just a tiny portion of the market.

Massachusetts (2016) Implementation proceeding, albeit very slowly. Only a handful of stores are open in mid-2020. Decision-making is bogged down in slow deliberation.

Maine (2016) Politics prevented the state from implementing the legalization initiative, but the first licenses and sales are available in Oct 2020.

Vermont (2018) Grow, possess and consume only. In October 2020 they legalized sales; first sales due 2022.

Michigan (2018) Developing market efficiently and reasonably implemented in 2020.

Illinois (2019) The first to be implemented by legislative action. Stores in operation in 2020.

Arizona (2020) A solid medical program and market means they’ll be able to switch to fully legal almost immediately.

New Jersey (2020) The legislature has been preparing to move fast with the implementation. New Jersey is quite different because they do not impose a separate cannabis tax.

Montana (2020) The existing medical program will be a good start for full adult-use.

South Dakota (2020) They passed both medical and recreational at the same time. The governor will likely obstruct the implementation, though.

In 2012 and 2014 the primary objective of legalization was to remove criminal penalties from growing, selling, and possessing marijuana. State regulation and taxation were accepted as helpful compromises to accomplish the main objective, as well as meeting the requirements of the Cole Memo that limited federal interference.

Modern cannabis legalization laws are not just about whether people should go to jail for weed, but how those laws are implemented.

That’s the legal states, where THC does not get you a fine or jail. In the illegal states, any contact with THC involves arrests, fines, and possible jail. Those states are:

Alabama Georgia Idaho IndianaIowa
Kansas KentuckyMississippi Nebraska North Carolina
South Carolina TennesseeVirginia Texas
Wisconsin Wyoming

Considering the 15 legal states, and the 15 illegal states, that leaves 20 states with some form of medical marijuana laws. They generally permit contact with THC as if you were in a legal state, but you must register with the state as a patient or caregiver. Otherwise you are subject to the same fines and jail as the illegal states.

Counting ballots

I worked for 15 years for King County (Seattle) in the computer department and served for many elections. It was a ton of fun, fascinating to watch, and great to work with so many good people. Here’s how it works:

Counting the ballots on election night is purely theater, a show put on for the benefit of the media, mainly, and the parties and organizers for candidates and the issues. The idea was to get a reasonably complete and accurate estimate of the results as fast as possible to satisfy the public and interested parties. That pressure was exciting and fun, but it was terrible for accuracy.

For that reason, the results on election night were meaningless. We were allowed 2 weeks to do the job right without the glare of the TV lights and the crowds of reporters. The results of that effort were submitted as “final”, and could differ a lot from election night.

States have about a month to get the finals for the presidential election. And they’ll take all that time to get it right.

And that leaves Idaho

After yesterday’s run of passing all the cannabis issues, all states in the union now have some sort of legal cannabis on the books, except Idaho where having anything to do with the plant brings a possible felony.

Now, some states only allow “hemp” and derivatives (CBD), but Idaho prohibits even that.

Milestone for my Solar

For the first time in 12 1/2 years of living off my solar panels and batteries, I finally depleted my batteries last night. I’ve been close a few times, my experience has been that three days of stormy overcast was pretty much the limit for my system. Not generally a problem in the desert because three days of overcast is very unusual. But here in the Pacific Northwest during fall and winter, weeks of overcast is quite normal. I knew I wouldn’t last long if I stuck around here too long.

The converter usually charges the batteries in an RV when you are plugged in to the regular electrical grid, but I disconnected it 12 years ago. In other words, whether I have been on the grid or not, I still relied totally on my panels for battery charging.

This morning the refrigerator signaled low battery, and my standard for adequate battery voltage is whether the fridge’s control board can function. So I connected the converter back into the charging circuit. Major event.

Indiana State Police

Looks to me like ISP gets the award for warning about cannabis edibles being handed out for Halloween. They even included photos of counterfeit candies.

I’m watching for the similar warning (from cops, of course) about fentanyl “laced” cannabis. Be on the lookout for your local idiots to make fools of themselves….

Voting

I voted yesterday. I had my choice of qualified, though boring, candidates for local offices. There were virtually no initiatives or referendums which was most unusual for Washington.

I then drove to the dropbox, and it was done. I could have gone to the mailbox, but the dropbox was a right-hand turn.

My county already has a 75% return rate, with 95% anticipated. We had a 55% return rate for the primary, and the auditor counted the ballots nine times by the following Friday. I think they were doing it for the fun. At any rate, I’m not worried about the handling of my ballot.

Boring.

Still on the Peninsula

The family situation I eluded to a while back persists, and until that stabilizes or resolves I feel the need to stick around.

The other factor delaying my departure for points south are the unknowns around the virus. Way up here on the Olympic Peninsula the outbreak is under control, there are about 3 or 4 new cases reported every month with zero active cases at the moment. The two factors which contribute to this success are the diligence of the community and the masterful communication skills of the local public health officers. I am in the safest spot one could wish for. The family has been meeting regularly with Zoom, so making trips to Seattle has been minimized.

If I were to go south, my preferred route would have been along the coast, but wildfires stopped that. Evacuees are taking the camping and RV spots I would have relied on.

So, I’m here for the near future, at least until after the election but probably for the winter.

Legal Pot on the Ballot

Four states are voting to legalize a cannabis market this time. Others have medical marijuana issues on the ballot, but as usual I tend to ignore those.

Arizona — Arizona has such a well-developed medical marijuana program that it looks like a fully legal market in other states. Should the ballot measure pass, transition to the fully legal market will be almost instantaneous. And pass it will. Unlike the last time they tried to legalize, there is next to no opposition. Proponents are basically the existing medical operations that have a monstrous amount of money if they need it.

New Jersey — This looks like a for-sure pass, with support from the government officials; the Senate has already begun hearings on how to implement the system. If passed, this one will set off a chain reaction of me-too states nearby.

Montana — Voters here must answer two questions on the ballot to approve a full-blown system. Polling (a tad dicey there) indicates greater than 50% approval. Passage appears likely.

South Dakota — This one is tough to call because polling is thin, and voters are given the choice of either medical or recreational programs. If either passes, the governor is extremely hostile and will probably obstruct implementation.

I’d say in a couple of weeks there will be two new states with fully legal cannabis systems, maybe three.

Maine and Vermont Pot

Stores opened in Maine this weekend, 4 years after voters passed their legalization initiative. You see, the governor didn’t like the law the voters passed, preferring the underground market which has done quite well for those four years. As is typical, launch day had few stores open with very limited supply, long lines of buyers, and high prices.

In Vermont cannabis was legal, but you couldn’t sell it. That was corrected last week when the governor let a law setting up a regulated market take affect. Look for stores to open in mid 2022.

This pinches New Hampshire by Maine, Vermont, and Massachusetts who will be gladly taking tax money from New Hampshire citizens.

Cannabis Appellations in CA

Gov Newsom signed into law an appellation rule for cannabis. Appellation refers to a particular area where a crop is grown; it protects the growers against fakers relying on the reputation of the protected growers. The laws are legally quite strong.

“Champagne” is the classic example of a protected appellation. Napa Valley and Sonoma County are appellations for CA wines. Now the cannabis growers can rely on the same protections the grape growers have.

You can expect to see (you already do) the appellation for county of origin (Humboldt, Mendocino, Sonoma, etc), but each county has a surprising number of mini-climates that will be used as appellations. There’s the coastline that is wet and at elevation, followed by valleys and then another run up with plenty of rain and fog. Cannabis is a plant that is flexible enough to take advantage of all these different climates. There is no better place to grow cannabis in the world because of these characteristics. Hence, the appellation has considerable market value.

An odd thing about the law is that indoor growers can use the appropriate appellation that applies to them. Indoor growers have, theoretically, complete control over their growing climate, and can exactly match a particular growing environment anywhere, no matter where they might be. Like New Jersey. Appellations can be applied to indoor grows, but only if 100% of the product comes from that appellation, protecting the grower from the NJ indoor grower that is simulating the environment in California.

Aficionados will be happy about this, a more average consumer likely won’t care much. Think about the wine selection at the grocery store: Some do buy based on appellation, but most don’t. I am pleased with this because I always buy ag products based on the locale where I am. For any farm product I always go for the closest grower as I can, and the smaller the better. I want something I know was grown by a real farmer with a family, not a mega-corporation.