Pardon the pun, but the marijuana industry has been growing like a weed for years — and it has rapidly changing perceptions about the drug among the public to thank for it.
According to a CBS News poll conducted in July 1979, just 27% of those surveyed believed marijuana should be legal. Comparatively, 69% thought it shouldn’t be legal. Fast-forward to April 2017, and CBS News’ latest survey finds that an all-time record of 61% believe pot should be legal nationally, while just 33% now oppose the idea. This growing acceptance and favorability of marijuana has some pro-legalization enthusiasts and investors thinking that lawmakers on Capitol Hill may be coerced to change the drug’s scheduling sooner rather than later.
The result of this shift in opinion on pot has dramatically boosted sales of the drug in the United States. A Marijuana Business Daily report released this year estimates that legal-cannabis sales could grow by around 30% in 2018, and by an aggregate of 300% between 2016 and 2021 to approximately $17 billion. It’s this shifting opinion and rapid growth rate that have marijuana stock investors so excited about the industry’s prospects.
Marijuana’s huge speed bump in the road
But there’s one catch, and it’s a pretty big one: Marijuana is still illegal at the federal level. As a Schedule I substance, it has no recognized medical benefits and is considered to be on par with heroin and LSD.
During the Obama administration, the Cole memo, named for President Obama’s deputy attorney general, James Cole, acted as a guide for how the federal government and legalizing states would coexist. According to the memo, states would be allowed to legalize and expand cannabis programs as long as they held to strict regulations, including ensuring that no minors got their hands on cannabis, and that states set strict regulations for driving under the influence. It also meant states had to take extra precautions to ensure that marijuana wasn’t trafficked interstate.
During the Obama presidency, federal regulators were generally hands-off when it came to the practices of individual states. Under the Trump administration, that may soon change.
In February, now-former White House press secretary Sean Spicer suggested that the Trump administration would take a more hands-on approach to regulating pot relative to the previous administration, though he failed to elaborate exactly what that might entail.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions, on the other hand, leaves nothing to hide when it comes to his feelings about marijuana.
Attorney General Jeff Sessions strikes fear in the marijuana industry
For example, in May, Sessions sent a letter to congressional leaders asking them to repeal the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which protects marijuana businesses in legal states from federal prosecution. In other words, Sessions has been looking for the OK from his peers from the get-go to go after medical-marijuana businesses. This action would build on previous commentshe’s made suggesting crime follows drug use, and that cannabis is anything but medicine.Sessions recently doubled down on his anti-marijuana view by candidly responding to a reporter’s question during a press conference in San Diego following a record-breaking narcotics seizure. According to Reuters, Sessions reminded everyone in the room that the federal law banning the sale of marijuana “remains in effect,” and that “I’ve never felt that we should legalize marijuana.” These 11 words are everything you need to know about the head of the Justice Department in regard to how he feels about weed.
The silver lining for pot businesses and marijuana stocks to this point has been the adherence to the Cole memo, as well as the Rohrabacher-Farr Amendment, which hasn’t allowed federal funding to be used to prosecute cannabis companies. But the tide may be shifting, which could give Sessions the ammo he needs to shut down legal-weed operations.
For instance, the House Rules Committee last month blocked a vote on the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment, which would provide the exact same exemptions for pot businesses in legal states as in previous years. This is an amendment that has to be voted on and added to the budget each and every year. The blockage of this vote by the House may keep the amendment out of the 2018 budget, paving the way for Sessions to wreak havoc by using federal dollars to prosecute medical-cannabis businesses.
Marijuana isn’t a priority for Congress
Even if marijuana stocks and pro-legalization enthusiasts manage to catch a break by having the Rohrabacher-Blumenauer Amendment included thanks to its passage in the Senate, there’s still not a whole lot to cheer about. When push comes to shove, marijuana remains a very low priority for lawmakers in Washington, despite the shifting sentiment among the public.
Over the past couple of months, lawmakers have been devoting nearly their entire dockets to healthcare reform and tax reform. On top of these potentially major legislative changes, there’s the federal budget, the debt-ceiling debate, and Trump’s desire for an infrastructure bill. There’s next to no incentive, or time, for lawmakers in Washington to focus on legalizing cannabis.
Even if there were time, this Congress seems highly unlikely to pass any favorable weed laws. Aside from Jeff Sessions’ being dead set against seeing marijuana expand any further, Republicans remain in control of both houses of Congress. According to a Gallup October 2016 poll, Republicans are just one of two groups still opposed to the expansion of weed, along with senior citizens.
With the deck still stacked against marijuana stocks, and expected to remain that way for years to come, investors should do their best to temper their expectations.
Say Goodbye to the Old iPhone: This Could Be 40X Better
iPhone mania is back, and there’s potentially billions up for grabs. But if you think Apple is the best way to play the pending iPhone tsunami, think again. One tiny company holds the patents to an invaluable, tiny component inside Apple’s newest iPhone — and Apple has to pay up every time it puts this technology in its phones.
Don’t wait until the name of this company is on everyone’s lips.
M.C.Escher : That depends on which plane of reality the chicken was on at the time.
MCDONOUGH, Ga. – A south metro school superintendent is retiring after causing an accident while allegedly driving under the influence of alcohol. He was arrested and jailed for the incident on Sunday.
According to authorities, Rockdale County Public Schools Superintendent Richard Autry was driving along Hwy. 155 on Sunday around 7:30 p.m. when he rear-ended another car.
Witness statements in a police report said Autry was speeding in his Chevrolet truck as he approached the intersection. When he hit the other car, it reportedly spun into oncoming traffic and traveled more than 150 feet from impact before knocking down mailboxes at a Sunoco gas station.
Photos from the scene show extensive damage to both cars.
According to a McDonough police report, investigators determined speed was a major factor in the accident and determined that, because there were no skid marks at the scene, it appeared Autry did not “attempt to brake before impact.” However, investigators concluded he swerved at the last second based on patterns of damage.
When officers arrived, they noted Autry “was leaning heavily on one of the [gas] pumps,” had “bloodshot eyes” and was showing signs of being impaired. He told them that he had been at a Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant earlier, watching the Falcons game and drinking beer. They performed a field sobriety test and a breathalyzer, which showed Autry’s BAC was 0.195, more than twice the legal limit.
Because of that, they charged Autry with driving under the influence of alcohol and following too closely. He was arrested and taken to the Henry County jail and bonded out shortly before midnight the same night.
On Thursday, just days after the incident, Autry announced he would retire from his position as superintendent.
“Although this was not an easy decision, I must put my family and personal circumstances first at this time,” Autry said in a statement through the school district.
While Rockdale County Schools would not comment publicly on the DUI charge because of pending litigation, the district directed 11Alive to its drug-free workplace policy.
That policy states, “The Board hereby declares that the unlawful manufacture, distribution, dispensing, possession, use, or being under the influence of a controlled substance or alcohol is prohibited in the workplace for all school system employees. A violation of this policy or a conviction under the Drug-Free Workplace Act of 1988 may result in termination of employment.”
Autry was with the district for almost 2 decades, serving in various roles within the district, including as a teacher, coach, principal, and others. He was credited with several successes in the district.
“We wish Mr. Autry the best with his retirement,” said school Board Chairman Jim McBrayer. “We appreciate all that he has done for the children and families of Rockdale County over the years.”
Autry’s retirement is effective Oct. 30.
NEW YORK (AP) — A bus driver who barreled through a red light and slammed into another bus in New York City this month, killing himself and two others, had a history of accidents and a recent conviction for driving drunk, but he was legally allowed to drive under federal rules that grant one strike before banning a driver for life.
Raymond Mong lost a job as a New York City bus driver in 2015 after pleading guilty to an off-duty, hit-and-run, drunken-driving crash in Connecticut. He was still serving 18 months’ probation when he got into another crash in his personal vehicle in June of 2016.
Neither of those wrecks, though, kept him from legally getting behind the wheel of a bus again.
He got a job with a charter company and had a valid commercial driver’s license on Sept. 18 when he powered his empty bus through an intersection in Queens at nearly twice the 30 mph (48 kph) speed limit, hit another bus, plowed onto a sidewalk and crashed into a building, police said. Sixteen people were hurt in addition to the three killed.
It isn’t clear exactly when Mong started driving for the charter company, a small outfit called the Dahlia Group.
It’s possible his out-of-state conviction slipped through the cracks. Private motorcoach operators aren’t required by federal law to do a criminal background check on employees, though the rules differ for school bus drivers or anyone carrying hazardous materials. And there’s no clearinghouse where companies can search a prospective employee’s criminally bad driving record.
New York’s Department of Motor Vehicles is supposed to be informed whenever a driver is hired so it can run various background checks, but a spokeswoman for the agency said Dahlia never did so.
But even if that notification had been made, it wouldn’t necessarily have precluded Mong from driving.
“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you are going, because you might not get there.” Yogi Berra. But remember, “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.” Will Rogers.
A teacher was teaching her second grade class about the government, so for homework that one day, she told her her students to ask their parents what the government is.
When Little Johnny got home that day, he went up to his dad and ask his what the government was.
His dad thought for a while and answered, ”Look at it this way: I’m the president, your mom is Congress, your maid is the work force, you are the people and your baby brother is the future.”
”I still don’t get it” responded the Little Johnny.
”Why don’t you sleep on it then? Maybe you’ll understand it better,” said the dad.
”Okay then…good night” said Little Jonny went off to bed. In the middle of the night, Little Johnny was awakened by his baby brother’s crying. He went to his baby brother’s crib and found that his baby brother had taken a crap in his diaper. So Little Johnny went to his parent’s room to get help. When he got to his parent’s bedroom, he looked through the keyhole to check if his parents were asleep. Through the keyhole he saw his mom loudly snoring, but his dad wasn’t there. So he went to the maid’s room. When he looked through the maid’s room keyhole, he saw his dad having sex with his maid. Little Johnny was surprised, but then he just realized something and thinks aloud, ”OH!! Now I understand the government! The President is screwing the work force, Congress is fast asleep, nobody cares about the people, and the future is full of s**t!”
Three people were killed and another was critically injured after a seven-vehicle crash in Arvada on Sunday evening.A man suspected of driving under the influence and causing a seven-vehicle wreck in Arvada, which killed four people, including himself, had methamphetamine in his system.Christopher Farr, 43, of Arvada, was driving a Cadillac SUV on the night of Sept. 10 when it collided with a Ford F150 pickup on Ward Road, Arvada police said.Farr died on Sept. 13 at a local hospital of injuries suffered in the crash. On Wednesday, Arvada police said that he was under the influence of methamphetamine at the time of the multi-fatal crash.Police spokeswoman Jill McGranahan said Farr had 400 nanograms of the drug in his system, according to a toxicology report. “It is definitely enough to be considered impaired,” she said.Farr had no other drugs, nor alcohol, in his system, according to the report.The criminal investigation focusing on Farr was closed when he died, McGranahan said.RELATED ARTICLESOCTOBER 2, 2017 Suspect in stolen pickup kills pedestrian in Aurora before speeding awaySEPTEMBER 29, 2017 3 killed, 4 injured after car hits bear on Interstate 70SEPTEMBER 29, 2017 Three die after hitting bear on I-70 near RifleSEPTEMBER 28, 2017 Car runs off bridge in Aurora; officers pull driver from wreckage in creekSEPTEMBER 27, 2017 Driver in death of 8-year-old Longmont girl yet to serve 5-month jail sentenceAfter the initial crash, the SUV collided head-on with a Hyundai, driven by 73-year-old Judith Peterson. Peterson and her husband, Alan, 79, died at the scene. Lorene Hicks, 59, a passenger on a motorcycle that was involved in the collision, also died.The deadly crash closed Ward Road in both directions from West 58th Avenue to West 64th Avenue.
Man charged with hit and run involving family of 7 in buggyTOP NEWSSEP 26, 2017MARK MARONEYReportermmaroney@sungazette.com A 37-year-old Montgomery man who allegedly slammed his pickup truck into the rear of a horse-drawn buggy with seven family members in it and drove away from the scene on Route 54 Sunday night was jailed Monday following his court arraignment.“I really, really screwed up,” Christopher Cranmer said to District Judge Christian D. Frey who implored him not to say another word while he was without an attorney. State police listed the incident as his sixth driving under the influence of intoxicants charge, with five prior convictions.Cranmer allegedly drove a pickup truck with his passenger, Sylviesue Smith, 37, of Muncy, while intoxicated, police said. It was about 9:30 p.m. Sunday when Cranmer’s vehicle collided with the buggy in the 300 block of Route 54 in Clinton Township.Police arrived to find a mangled horse-drawn buggy and six people requiring transport to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. Two were flown by helicopter and the rest were taken by ambulance.The occupants were Christopher Stoltzfus Fisher, Kathryn Fisher and five juveniles ages, 13, 11, 9, 7 and 5.A driver behind the truck told troopers he saw the vehicle hit the rear of the buggy and keep going, police said.A resident saw the truck speed away as the injured Amish family remained, police said.Cranmer was picked up later that evening at his residence in the borough.Arraigned before Frey on multiple counts, including aggravation by vehicle while driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident involving death or personal injury, tapering with or fabricating physical evidence, driving under suspension, reckless driving and failure to render aid, along with several summary traffic offenses, Cranmer was placed in Lycoming County Prison in lieu of $200,000 bail.A preliminary hearing is being scheduled before District Judge Jon Kemp.According to a nursing supervisor, Kathryn Fisher, 33, is in fair condition along with two of the children. A third child has been treated and released. Christopher Fisher, 34, was not admitted into Geisinger Medical Center. Hospital officials didn’t have records on the other two children.Sun-Gazette reporter Ioannis Pashakis contributed to this report.