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    Booming Cannabis Industry’s Need For Quality Control Can Be Solved

    By Ryan Allway, Cannabis Financial Network

    Last year’s landmark Gallup poll indicated that for the first time since Gallup started polling in 1969 (only 12% favored legalizing it back then) more than half of Americans (58%) are in favor of marijuana being legalized, and we continue to see indicators that the trend towards legalization is proceeding at a rapid pace throughout North America. In Canada, a recent poll by the Department of Justice indicates that 37.3% are in favor of legalization and another 33.4% want small amounts decriminalized. With 23 states including DC now having some form of medical marijuana legislation on the books and Health Canada having approved thirteen licensed producers already for Canadian markets under their MMPR program, like Tweed Marijuana, Inc. (OTC: TWMJF) and Organigram, Inc. (TSXV: OGI), it appears the regulatory floodgates may at last be opening and the sector is evolving rapidly in response, with a myriad of players rushing in to fill all the various roles this nascent industry requires.

    Even the oldest continuously published newspaper on the west coast of the U.S., Oregon’s paper of record, The Oregonian, has now come out staunchly in favor, openly advocating legalization of recreational marijuana in a piece by the editorial board. Before recreational marijuana was legalized in the state of Oregon, The Oregonian editorial board argued that Measure 91 (which legalized marijuana) should be brought in, as it would eliminate the “charade” that is the current regulatory framework, allowing Oregonians access to an intoxicant that “should’ve never been prohibited in the first place.” The $40M in estimated tax revenues per year generated by legalization according to the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, combined with Oregon having a state debt over $86B (roughly $22,000 per capita – State Budget Solutions), looks like the proverbial handwriting on the wall for this state.

    City on track for proposed medical marijuana legislation by end of year

    By Evan Bush, Seattle Times

    The city of Seattle hosted a medical marijuana forum Thursday night as it prepares to change how it regulates the industry. The forum included industry activists, health-care officials, laboratory experts and other stakeholders.

    David Mendoza, who advises Mayor Ed Murray on marijuana issues, moderated the event and reiterated the mayor’s commitment to addressing the issue.

    “We will have legislation on medical marijuana by the end of the year,” said Mendoza. “The mayor will have a more specific announcement in a week or so.”

    Cannabis Advocates Seek Natural Product Industry Expertise

    by Sandy Almendarez, Natural Products INSIDER

    While the botanical has been popular in the United States for centuries, January 2014 saw a bump in cannabis discussion with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announcing that the state will be the 22nd state to offer medical marijuana to select patients. Plus, Colorado’s Amendment 64 was implemented allowing adults (21 years and older) to grow, possess and use marijuana. At the end of February, business was clearly booming in Colorado. Gov. John W. Hickenlooper revamped his budget based on taxes the state has already collected from marijuana sales. He estimated the state’s marijuana industry could produce close to USD $134 million in taxes and fees for the State in the next fiscal year. The estimate proposed to voters when the initiative was on the ballot in 2013 was $70 million.

    And The New York Times reported in Washington, where retail sales of marijuana will begin in June, budget forecasters estimated marijuana could bring the state nearly $190 million in taxes for the four years beginning in mid 2015.

    Berkeley medical marijuana dispensary certified by nonprofit advocacy group

    by Chris Trill, The Daily Californian

    Americans for Safe Access, a nonprofit cannabis-advocacy group, certified two Bay Area medical marijuana dispensaries Feb. 20 in an effort to encourage standardized cannabis quality.

    The two dispensaries — Berkeley Patients Group, the largest and oldest medical marijuana dispensary in the city, and San Francisco Patient and Resource Center, a nonprofit cannabis collective — are the first in the country to be certified by ASA on standards that focus on the quality of the product as outlined by American Herbal Products Association and American Herbal Pharmacopoeia.

    Both establishments were certified through the Patient Focused Certification program, a third-party and nonprofit certification process offered by ASA.

    Certification Program for Cannabis Businesses Launching

    Americans for Safe Access (ASA) will launch its standards and certification program for medical marijuana businesses later this week.

    The Patient Focused Certification program aims to offer industry wide operational standards and best practices via third-party certification of dispensaries, cultivation operations, cannabis testing labs and manufacturing, packaging and labeling companies. (Here’s a link to extensive details and an application.)

    Businesses that meet the criteria will be able to use a seal of approval in their marketing materials and on packaging, which could give them an edge over competitors should the program gain the trust of patients.