Cannabis Jobs in Georgia
By JOE REEDY, Associated Press
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) — Florida legislators are back on a path to passing a bill for enacting the state’s constitutional amendment expanding the use of medical marijuana.
Gov. Rick Scott added medical marijuana to the agenda for the special legislative session that began Wednesday after lawmakers reached a compromise on key elements. The House’s Health & Human Services Committee passed it on Wednesday night. The Senate’s Health Policy Committee will meet Thursday morning, with both chambers likely to review it later in the day.
“Both sides made significant concessions and were able to come together,” said Rep. Ray Rodrigues, who sponsored the House’s bill. “Neither one of us got everything we wanted, but we both got something we could live with.”
The amendment, approved by 71 percent of voters in November, expands legal use beyond the limited prescriptions for low-strength marijuana allowed under a 2014 law. It also expands the eligible ailments beyond the current list of cancer, epilepsy and chronic muscle spasms to include HIV and AIDS, glaucoma, post-traumatic stress disorder, ALS, Crohn’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis and similar conditions.
When the bill implementing the amendment fell apart late in the session, the Senate wanted to limit each treatment center to 15 locations with no sunset provisions and make medical marijuana subject to sales tax. The House wanted no caps and no sales tax.
Under the agreement, there will be a limit of 25 retail dispensaries per medical marijuana treatment center, which can increase by five for every 100,000 patients added to the registry. The cap would expire on April 1, 2020. The legislation also adds 10 more medical marijuana treatment centers, meaning there would be 17 statewide by October. Four additional centers would be added for every 100,000 patients.
According to the Department of Health, the state registry now has 16,614 patients. A recent state revenue impact study projects that by 2022 there will be 472,000 medical cannabis patients and $542 million in sales.
Sen. Rob Bradley, the Senate’s main sponsor of the bill, said marijuana would not be taxed because it is considered to be medicine.
Patients and caregivers say the proposed rules remain too restrictive. The bill allows patients to receive an order for three 70-day supplies during a doctor’s visit that they could then take to a medical marijuana treatment center, but it bans smoking. The smoking ban is likely to be challenged in the courts. Training for doctors would drop from eight hours to two but they would still have to stringently document patients’ conditions before prescribing marijuana.
“There’s that saying about having something done is better than perfect. People are counting on something getting done,” said John Morgan, who played a key role in getting the amendment on the ballot and passed.
Morgan has said he will sue the state for not allowing smoking, but Rodrigues said there aren’t any scientific studies to show that smoking is effective.
“If he wants to sue us, that it is his prerogative. I am confident it can be defended in front of a judge,” Rodrigues said.
For the past month, medical marijuana supporters have said it would be easier for the Legislature to establish the framework of rules instead of the Department of Health, which went through several rounds of litigation when trying to determine who would be licensed to produce and distribute pot.
The amendment requires new laws to be in place by July 3 and enacted by October. Rodrigues said he is optimistic the bill will pass, despite an ongoing feud over the state budget.
“If they were going to have an impact, I believe we would not have to an agreement in the first place,” Rodrigues said.
Follow Joe Reedy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/joereedy . Read more of his work at https://apnews.com/search/joe%20reedy .
Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
VANCOUVER, WASH. — Washington’s marijuana business has created a legal occupation that offers career opportunities for bud trimmers, according to The Columbian and The Associated Press.
Read more at: http://marijuana.heraldtribune.com/2015/04/07/marijuana-trimmers-see-career-potential/
“I’ve done everything from pumping gas to remodeling houses, but I think there’s longevity in this,” 32-year-old bud trimmer Kurt Vermillion told The Columbian. “I think there’s lots of growing room in this industry. I want to do whatever they need me to do.”
Bud trimmers make between $12 and $15 an hour and use small scissors to trim away leaves and other things from marijuana buds. Most trimmers work on about a pound to a pound and a half of marijuana per day.
Experienced workers can move up to gardeners or concentrate makers and make $50,000 to $90,000 a year.
For 37-year-old Julie Whittaker, who started trimming buds in November, the job turned out to be less stressful than her former work in the banking software industry.
“I’ve been learning my way as I go,” she said. “I’m intrigued by this whole industry. It’s a big shift for me, and honestly I find it to be better regulated than even my old career in banking.”
Vermillion and Whittaker work at Cedar Creek Cannabis, where Mark Michaelson, head of operations, is eyeing ways to hold onto workers. The company has 14.
“We want to work on employee retention,” he said. “Eventually we’ll have health and dental insurance and full benefits for them, too.”
Clark County has eight growers that have been approved by the Liquor Control Board, and five stores have opened in Clark County so far and two more are planning to open within two months.
Before the legalization of marijuana, bud trimmers migrated from job to job and were paid in cash by the pound and risked arrest. Now, bud trimmers typically make an hourly wage, though some are paid by the pound.
“I think what happens is people think in this industry, people are just hanging out and maybe even smoking,” said 32-year-old Brittny Houghton, 32, whose family owns Cedar Creek Cannabis. “But that’s not what we do. It’s a real job, it’s 9 to 5, you have to be on time, you don’t have to be a smoker, and the quality of the work is important.”
At CannaMan Farms, another marijuana business, owner Brian Stroh said trimmers come from a variety of backgrounds.
“It’s a business that people who work hard can move up in,” he said.
Job Growth in the Cannabis Industry by leafhead
Cannabis boom in 2014: 2014 was a banner year for medical marijuana legislation and 2015 looks to be another year filled with legalization, decriminalization and the expansion of the medical marijuana business. In the state of Colorado $573 Million was spent on medical marijuana with $60 Million collected in taxes whereas in Washington $64 Million was spent on medical marijuana with $15 Million collected in taxes. Is there any wonder why the job economy has also raised in those states? $8 Million was given to marijuana and cannabis research, Alaska and Oregon passed legislation as well as Washington D.C.
Job Growth for Medical Marijuana Workers10,000+ new jobs were created last year with only half of the country having legalized or passing medical marijuana legislation. Considering that 3 new states passed legislation and 6 more states are in play in the coming year the potential for job growth has become exponential. With a total of 4 states out of the 23 legalized states having specific amendments to include recreational smoking and use of cannabis the markets for jobs and career growth has grown as well. The projections made about the industry include nearly $10 Billion in revenue for marijuana-legal states within the next three years and if more states are added to that list the growth in the economy could be even more substantial.
Investment Trading in the Coming Year With the release of the breaking story about Founders Fund investing in Privateer Holdings Inc. opens up a new era in the legitimacy of cannabis entrepreneurship. Larger more privatized firms will take the cue from Founders Fund to begin investing within other businesses in the cannabis industry. Ancillary services are growing every day in the industry and with the existing infrastructure for pot only being developed within the last couple years the time for job growth through investment capital has finally come. The states that stand to make the greatest benefit through medical marijuana jobs are those that didn’t have an infrastructure for manufacturing and growing of cannabis. States such as Alaska and Oregon’s amendments included recreational provisions thus making the demand for medical marijuana greater. Through legalization the economy expands to create new businesses, more jobs and careers, and more tax revenue as a result of sales.
Competing Marijuana Legalization Bills Show Georgia is in Play
Ask anyone who has grown up or spent any time in Georgia and they will tell you that this state will likely be one of the last to legalize marijuana. In a state that’s home toover 10,000 churches and a very conservative base, Georgia will never, ever make marijuana available for its citizens in any form.
Representative Allen Peake Introduces CBD Bill
On Monday, November 17, State Representative Allen Peake (R-Macon) showed up to the Gold Dome early in order to pre-file his medical marijuana legislation. Known as the Haleigh’s Hope Act, the bill received the coveted “House Bill 1” designation, showing a serious commitment by politicians to make medical marijuana available in some form to sick Georgians.
HB 1 will make legal medical marijuana extracts that are high in cannabidiol (CBD) and low in Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) available for a select number of sick Georgians. HB1 is very similar to last year’s HB 885, which failed at the last minute due to political wrangling. The difference is this year’s bill will list conditions other than epilepsy, such as cancer and glaucoma, despite the fact that most scientific research points to THC as the active ingredient in cannabis that can do the most good for these additional conditions.
House Bill 1, also known as the Haleigh’s Hope Act, will be formally introduced during the 2015 legislative session and would provide for the regulated use of medical cannabis to treat certain medical conditions. The bill would only allow for the use of non-smoking medical cannabis, in the form of liquid, pill, or injection, and the bill explicitly states that the intent is not to legalize the use of cannabis for recreational purposes. Under HB 1, only certain, registered patients would have access to the treatment, and it would only be dispensed by licensed, registered entities within the state. HB 1 would provide for a safe, effective, timely, tightly regulated, and secure infrastructure with strict state oversight for medical cannabis, which would contain a very low amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Additionally, the bill would decriminalize the possession of medical cannabis oil in Georgia for those patients who legally obtained the medicine in another state. Lastly, the bill states that the General Assembly would create a strict regulatory system around the medicine’s production that satisfies the recommendations of the U.S. Justice Department.
Sen. Curt Thompson Introduces Two Marijuana Bills
Competing with Rep. Peake’s House bill is Senate Bill 7, also known as the Controlled Substances Therapeutic Relief Act, which would make it legal for physicians in Georgia to recommend up to two ounces of medical marijuana for patients suffering from covered conditions. And while HB 1 will only allow miniscule amounts of THC, SB 7 sets no such restrictions.
Covered conditions under Senate Bill 7
When pre-filled, Senate Bill 7 included the following qualifying conditions in order to obtain medical marijuana in Georgia:
Cancer, glaucoma, HIV/Aids, Hepatitis C, ALS, Crohn’s Disease, agitation of Alzheimer’s disease, wasting (Cachexia), severe and chronic pain, severe nausea, seizures and Multiple Sclerosis.
“While I adamantly support cannabis oil treatments for children with severe medical problems, I believe physicians should have the ability to care for all of their patients, regardless of age,” Sen. Thompson said in a press release.
In addition to Senate Bill 7, Sen. Thompson has also pre-filed Senate Resolution 6, which would add a Colorado-style amendment to the Georgia Constitution that would legalize and tax marijuana for adult recreational use. Though the chance of SR 6 passing the Georgia Senate is probably akin to what we around here call “slim to none”, Sen. Thompson admits the resolution is being introduced to “start a discussion” on the possible economic impact if Georgia were to legalize recreational marijuana. And the impact could be huge indeed if you consider the experience of states like Colorado, where the State is poised to provide a $30 million TAX REFUND to taxpayers due to an excess in marijuana tax revenue.
Taking a stand for Georgia
No matter the outcome of what is sure to be an interesting legislative session in 2015, Peachtree NORML will be there to take a stand with Georgians who are sick and tired of the failed, TRILLION-DOLLAR waste of money known as the War on Drugs. We stand poised to make a real difference in people’s lives in the upcoming session and we need your support. Here are some ways you can get involved right now:
- Become a member of Peachtree NORML
Our driving force is our core membership, which stretches from Tennessee to Florida. Peachtree NORML members meet regularly in order to organize, strategize and socialize. Join today!
- Make a donation
Peachtree NORML is a volunteer-led organization that depends on the generosity of our supporters to promote the message of cannabis law reform in Georgia. We are also designated as a not-for-profit organization and have filed paperwork to obtain 501(c)(3) status with the IRS. Donate here.
- Volunteer your time
As an all-volunteer organization Peachtree NORML could not function without the thousands of hours per year donated by our members and supporters. If you have a skill or service you think could be of benefit to the cause please let us know. Contact us to volunteer today.
- Share your anonymous marijuana testimonial
In order to make a change we have to show our lawmakers how cannabis prohibition negatively affects the lives of Georgians. We do this by showing themtestimonials submitted by Georgia medical marijuana patients and others who are criminalized and marginalized by the failed drug war. Send us your testimonial.
- Become a Partner or Sponsor
Do you have cash or resources you or your business want to apply towards cannabis law reform in Georgia? Then you’re not alone. Check out our Partner’s page to see who else is supporting our cause.