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States move aggressively to protect pot industry

WASHINGTON — If a whiff of uneasiness hung over the trade show that drew thousands of marijuana entrepreneurs here this month, it wasn’t because they were just around the corner from a White House that has threatened to shut them down.
They had bigger worries, like sorting out the legitimate business ventures from the hype among row upon row of exhibitors showcasing cannabis growing, smoking, eating and even banking products. The Trump administration’s menacing signals seemed a mere sideshow to those who make their living off reefer, or aspire to.
After an initial period of postelection anxiety, pot businesses are increasingly confident that states where they are setting up shop have their backs, despite Justice Department warnings meant to rattle marijuana enthusiasts.
State leaders are proving themselves nimble at responding to the threat, moving to inoculate local marijuana industries that are fast becoming too important to state economies to leave vulnerable to the whims of Wash..

‘Wine and weed’ farming creates buzz

JACKSONVILLE, Ore. — Bill and Barbara Steele moved to this sleepy corner of Oregon to start their own winery after successful, high-powered business careers.
Now, more than a decade later and with award-winning wine to show for their hard work, they are adding a new crop: marijuana.
Oregon’s legalization of recreational pot two years ago created room for entrepreneurial cross-pollination in this fertile region abutting California’s so-called Emerald Triangle, a well-known nirvana for outdoor weed cultivation.
Recreational marijuana cannot be sold legally in California until next year. But a few miles north of the border in Oregon, a handful of winemakers are experimenting with pot in hopes of increasing their appeal among young consumers and in niche markets.
“Baby boomers are drinking less. Millennials are coming into their time, economically, where in 2016 they were the fastest-growing consumers of wine, both in dollars and volume,” said Barbara Steele, who runs Cowhorn Vineyard ..

As more states legalize pot, more employees failing drug tests

Workers at McLane drive forklifts and load hefty boxes into trucks. The grocery supplier, which runs a warehouse in Colorado, needs people who will stay alert — but prospective hires keep failing drug screens.
“Some weeks this year, 90 percent of applicants would test positive for something,” ruling them out for the job, said Laura Stephens, a human resources manager for the company in Denver.
The state’s unemployment rate is already low — 3 percent, compared to 4.7 percent for the entire nation. Failed drug tests, which are rising locally and nationally, further drain the pool of eligible job candidates.
“Finding people to fill jobs,” Stephens said, “is really challenging.”
Job applicants are testing positive for marijuana, cocaine, amphetamine and heroin at the highest rate in 12 years, according to a new report from Quest Diagnostics, a clinical lab that follows national employment trends. An analysis of about 10 million workplace drug screens from across the country in 2016 fou..

Owners treat ailing animals with cannabis

SAN FRANCISCO — Michael Fasman’s 12-year-old dog, Hudson, limps from pain caused by arthritis and an amputated toe, but Fasman doesn’t want to give her painkillers because “they just knock her out.”
So the San Francisco resident has turned to an alternative medicine that many humans use to treat their own pain and illness: marijuana.
On a recent morning, Fasman squeezed several drops of a cannabis extract onto a plate of yogurt, which the Portuguese water dog lapped up in seconds. It’s become part of Hudson’s daily routine.
“We think it’s really lifted her spirits and made her a happier dog,” Fasman said. “It’s not that she’s changed. She’s just back to her good old self.”
As more states legalize marijuana for humans, more pet owners are giving their furry companions cannabis-based extracts, ointments and edibles marketed to treat everything from arthritis and anxiety to seizures and cancer.
Most of these pet products, which aren’t regulated, contain cannabidiol or CBD, a chemical..

Canada’s likely pot legalization may create border issues

WASHINGTON — Canada’s likely move to completely legalize marijuana next year promises to produce immediate spillover effects in the United States, starting with increased confusion at the U.S.-Canadian border.
“I’m expecting my business to boom,” said Len Saunders, an immigration attorney from Blaine.
With recreational marijuana legal up and down the West Coast, from Alaska to California, he said, more Canadians may let down their guard and admit to U.S. authorities that they’ve used marijuana, reason enough to get foreigners barred from entering the country.
Beyond that, pot retailers and legalization backers say it’s difficult to predict exactly what might happen if Canada, as expected, becomes only the second nation in the world to fully legalize pot for anyone over 18 on July 1, 2018.
Even with such a big move, Jacob Lamont figures the Canadian customers will keep coming to Evergreen Cannabis, his pot shop in Blaine, just a few blocks from the U.S.-Canadian border.
“I enjoy my..

Oregon has yet to distribute tax revenue from pot sales

PORTLAND– Tax money collected from Oregon’s legal marijuana sales has been a rare bright spot as lawmakers fight over how to fill a $1.6 billion budget deficit.
KGW-TV reports that the state has brought in almost $75 million in tax revenue since 2016. It’s not enough to close the budget gap, but it’s a start.
But none of that tax revenue has been distributed to its intended recipients, like schools and police agencies.
That’s because of a quirk in the state law that governs legal marijuana.
It says before anyone else gets paid, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission must be reimbursed for administrative costs associated with setting up the marijuana program.
That hasn’t happened. Until it does, the tens of millions of dollars in marijuana tax revenue will just sit in a state account.