Tipping has become normal in American culture, but until recently it was illegal to tip someone working in the cannabis industry. The Gangapreneur article below explains the issues that tipping in the cannabis industry posed in the past.
Washington Regulators Legalize Tips for Budtenders
By Graham Abbott
The Washington State Liquor and Cannabis Board announced in an email bulletin yesterday that the act of tipping one’s budtender is officially allowed.
Previously, tipping budtenders wasn’t permitted because it had surfaced that certain locations were modifying product prices based on whether or not and how much a customer tipped, essentially sidestepping the state-mandated excise tax. However, due to a dramatic restructuring of the state’s cannabis taxation process in 2015, parts of these concerns were negated.
The WSLCB issued the following statement yesterday:
Effective immediately, customer tipping is now an allowable practice in licensed retail marijuana stores. However, tipping cannot be required or a condition of sale, nor can it be linked to the price of the product to avoid tax obligations. If a licensee allows tipping for their staff, licensees are reminded that there may be business or employee taxes associated with tips received.
So with that in mind, the next time you spend a few minutes chatting with your local budtender about the effects of this strain or the potency of that concentrate, consider dropping a dollar or three into that tip jar — they’ll appreciate it, you’ll feel good about it, and it’s perfectly legal.
Legal & Legislation
California Legalizes Marijuana: Election Round-UpThe election is finally behind us, which means this month’s round-up is focused on one major victory for the cannabis movement: full legalization in our home state of California! Find out more about some of the only good news brought by this election – the cannabis-related news.
California, Proposition 64, “Adult Use of Marijuana Act” – Passed!You can read the full 60+ pages of Prop 64 online, but we’ll go over a few key points. The measure passed with 56% approval, allowing adults over the age of 21 to possess limited amounts of cannabis for personal use. Specifically, the measure allows for cultivation of up to six plants in private homes (but the plants have to be shielded from public view) and possession of up to one ounce of flowers or eight grams of concentrate on one’s person. Businesses won’t actually be able to sell recreational cannabis until licenses are issued, a process which will take at least two years; the deadline for the state to start issuing licenses is January 1st, 2018. California is now the fifth state to officially legalize cannabis; since it has such a huge economy and population, the victory is absolutely immense to cannabis proponents. Lauren Mendelsohn, chairwoman of the board of directors of Students for Sensible Drug Policy, described it as a “major” victory, telling the New York Times, “It shows the whole country that prohibition is not the answer to the marijuana question.” Gavin Newsom, lieutenant governor of the state, hopes to coordinate and collaborate on the cannabis issue with other sister-recreational-states, including putting pressure on the federal government to lessen their restrictive rulings. Additional tax revenue of around $1 billion is expected to roll in from sales of recreational cannabis. This money is poised to go toward the study of medicinal cannabis, development of procedures to determine driver impairment due to cannabis use by the California Highway Patrol, youth education on drugs, and preventing damage to the environment caused by cannabis production – among other initiatives. Here’s what was at stake – followed by the results – in every other state this year:
Recreational:Nevada, Question 2, “Initiative to Regulate and Tax Marijuana” – Passed! Allows possession of up to an ounce and the growth of up to six plants in the home for anyone who does not live within 25 miles of a marijuana retail store. Massachusetts, Question 4, “Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act” – Passed! Allows possession of up to an ounce and six plants, with a 3.75 percent excise tax toward regulations and the state’s general fund. Maine, Question 1, “Marijuana Legalization Act” – Passed! Allows possession of up to 2.5 ounces of cannabis, six flowering plants, and 12 nonflowering plants in the home. Arizona, Proposition 205, “Regulation and Taxation of Marijuana Act” – Rejected. Would have allowed for an ounce of possession and up to six plants at home, with money sent to school construction, kindergarten programs and public drug education.
Medical:Montana, I-182, “Montana Medical Marijuana Initiative” – Passed! Medical marijuana was already legal, but the new initiative allows for no limit to the number of patients that caregivers can have, as well as adding PTSD to the list of eligible conditions. North Dakota, Measure 5, “North Dakota Compassionate Care Act” – Passed! Allows possession of up to 3 ounces of medical marijuana for treatment of up to nearly a dozen medical conditions; distribution facilities will be licensed by the state Health Department and operated by nonprofits. Arkansas, “Arkansas Medical Cannabis Act” & “Arkansas Medical Marijuana Amendment” – Passed! Allows cannabis access to people who have any of 18 qualifying conditions, including cancer, glaucoma, Tourette's syndrome, Alzheimer's disease and hepatitis C. Florida, Amendment 2, “Use of Marijuana for Debilitating Conditions” – Passed! Allows cannabis access to people with illnesses who are in the same class or comparable to illnesses such as cancer, HIV, post-traumatic stress disorder, Parkinson’s disease and epilepsy. In other words – everything with the exception of full legalization in Arizona (sorry, guys) passed! This means that cannabis is now legal, whether for recreational or medicinal purposes, in a record 29 states! With all this cannabis regulation upheaval, there is sure to be much, much more news to follow in the coming months; we’ll see you again in December as we follow along with how all these new initiatives will start to shake out!
Legal & Legislation
Legal Round-Up: October 2016It’s that time again – we’re rounding up some of the most intriguing headlines in the cannabis world from the last month. Check back again next month when we cover what will hopefully be an exciting post-election edition of the legal round-up!
Growers’ Opinions of Prop 64 Mixed Month Before VoteWith a month to go on California’s landmark vote on legalizing recreational cannabis – otherwise known as Proposition 64, the Adult Use of Marijuana Act – growers in the state have mixed opinions. A particular area of concern includes worry that the regulations outlined in the proposal welcomes big business, which could wipe out independent and small farms. Another concern is that passing Prop 64 will make the industry vulnerable to big agriculture and open them to increased taxes and harsher penalties. In fact, a recent poll of the 750 farmers, distributors, and retailers who are members of the California Growers Association showed that 31 percent supported the initiative, 31 percent were opposed – and the majority, 38 percent, was undecided. However, the California public seems largely in favor of legalizing, with 61 percent approving via a recent Ganjapreneur poll. We’ll find out soon enough!
Fentanyl Maker Insys Gives $500K to Defeat Legalization in ArizonaSomething doesn’t sit right here: Insys Therapeutics, the corporation that manufactures fentanyl, recently donated half a million dollars to the campaign to defeat cannabis legalization in Arizona. Fentanyl is the synthetic opioid, cheaper and 50 times stronger than heroin, that has led to record amounts of overdoses and deaths in 2016. Why would Insys care about cannabis legalization? Because cannabis is a major threat to its market. In recent years, researchers have documented a clear phenomenon: In states that legalize medical marijuana, opioid usage and overdose rates decline dramatically. In 2015, researchers at the RAND BING Center for Health Economics found that legalizing medical marijuana led to an 18 percent decrease in opioid-related deaths. Here’s hoping that, come November, the people of Arizona show Insys that its unconscionable actions are ultimately pointless.
Study: Fatal Accidents Less Likely to Involve Opiate Use in MMJ StatesSpeaking of opioids, a Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health study has found that drivers in states with medical marijuana programs were less likely to test positive for opioids after fatal car accidents. In the analysis, the greatest reduction of opioid involvement in fatal car accidents was among drivers aged 21 to 40, who are most likely to use medical marijuana in states where it is available. The study adds to a growing body of academic work suggesting medical marijuana is an effective alternative to combating opioid use.
Cannabis Seizure Drug Shows Success in Latest U.S. TrialsExciting news has come out of the third late-stage clinical trial in the U.S of GW Pharmaceuticals’ cannabis-derived Epidiolex, which showed “high statistical significance” in treating patients with epilepsy. The recent study tested the drug’s value for children and adults diagnosed with Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, characterized by impaired intellectual functioning, developmental delays, and dozens or seizures per month. The successful trial puts the Britain-based company on track to file the drug with the FDA in the first half of 2017; if it is approved it would become the first drug sanctioned by the FDA to be made from organic cannabis.
FBI Report: Cannabis Arrests at Lowest Point in a DecadeThe good news: Arrests for simple cannabis possession have fallen to their lowest point since 1996, according to new statistics released by the FBI. In 2015, 574,641 people were arrested for simple possession, representing a 25 percent drop from the near 800,000 peak in 2007. The bad news: That still equates to more than one arrest for simple cannabis possession every minute. According to a 2013 ACLU report, cannabis enforcement has cost taxpayers $3.6 billion; and while black and whites were found to use marijuana at similar rates, black users were four times as likely to be arrested for cannabis possession as their white counterparts. The ACLU estimates that a typical marijuana arrest costs about $750, excluding any adjudication or detainment costs.
Cannabis Taxes to Fund Anti-Bullying Programs in Colorado SchoolsSurplus cannabis tax revenues in Colorado will fund a new bully prevention program, with the state Department of Education grant offering $40,000 per school per year for the program. The grant will provide schools with specialized training from a bullying prevention coach and evidence-based anti-bullying programs. Each approved school will also form a bully prevention committee comprised of faculty and parents. The funding comes from Proposition BB, which allows the state to keep extra tax revenues from legal cannabis sales – currently amounting to about $66 million. We’ll see you again in November. Cheers to what we hope will be an unparalleled month ahead in the world of cannabis legislation!