Marlboro Cigarette Maker, Altria, Enters Legal Cannabis Market

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I don’t know about you, but growing up there were rumors that Marlboro had a secret plan getting them ready for the day that cannabis became legal in the US. That plan involved secret marijuana farms and plans for the sale of “20 Class A Marijuana Cigarettes” packs. Well, the rumors and the conspiracy theories were not that far off.

This week, Marlboro cigarette maker, Altria, bought a $1.8 billion stake, or 45%, in Toronto based cannabis company, Cronos Group Inc

A representative of the company said that marijuana is growing, while cigarettes are not. Furthermore, Altria has the option of buying a controlling stake in the future.

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This will give the Altria at least a year of experience in a nationally legalized environment (Canada). That way it will be ready to move quickly when Congress legalizes cannabis at the federal level in the US.

Sales and marketing policies and procedures, legal department, research and development, and product development at Altria will have an operational edge against any other competition that decides to enter. Smart move by the owners of the most famous cigarette brand on the planet.

From the looks at how the narrative is changing nationally, we could be seeing the first moves of legalizing cannabis before the end of the year.

It is also a near certainty that we could see full-fledged legalization by the end of 2019, especially with the house being held by the Democrats, and people like filmmaker Michael Moore asking the Democrat Party to make cannabis a central issue in their platform. Moore claim that it would help them win back the White House in 2020. Let’s see what’s happening across the country.

State-By-State WeedUpdate (Weed Update)

Michigan

Republican lawmakers in Detroit introduced legislation that would ban the growing of cannabis plants at home. The legislation is targeting a provision in the new law that was overwhelmingly passed this last mid-term elections. The provision states that residents are allowed to grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal consumption. Don’t agree with the new proposal? Find your representatives and let them hear from you.

Also, on a temporary basis, dispensaries will be allowed to source cannabis from caregivers. The state passed legislation ten years ago that allows a number of medical marijuana customers for each caregiver. The supply is there, so might as well use it until the infrastructure is built up to handle this new industry.

In the meantime, residents of Detroit have been celebrating legal weed. Check it out at the DetroitNews.com

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New York

The Big Apple is thinking about using tax revenue from recreational cannabis to help fix the aging subway system. However, the MTA is projecting that it would cost $40 billion to modernize the New York Subway. While the tax revenue from legalizing marijuana is projected to be only $680 million, it’s better than using funds from other public services. It seem that legal weed is inevitable in New York.

North Carolina

Earlier this month, lawmakers in North Carolina met to discuss cannabis reforms in the state. According to WNCN, State Representative Ally Alexander said, “It’s time now for the legislators in North Carolina to catch up with the people.”

North Carolina has a system in place for alcohol, whereby each county decides on whether to be dry or wet. The same system will apply to cannabis legalization. What do you think? Should North Carolina push for cannabis reform? Find your representative and let them know your views on marijuana legalization in North Carolina.

Oregon

Oregon has legalized recreational cannabis, however, it’s difficult to find a place to smoke it at. For example, you can only smoke if you own a house and the backyard. However, 40% of the state are renters, and it is not allowed to smoke in public areas.

So, there is a new proposal that will allow for marijuana cafes. Will it pass? It has to, or else many are still at risk of being arrested, especially people from lower incomes.

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Texas

11 cannabis-related bills were introduced to the Texas State Senate in November. Do any of them have a chance to pass? Only you can tilt it to your benefit by calling your representatives. Find them here, and get in contact with them. It really works.

Utah

Utah voted to legalize medical marijuana, however, lawmakers convened to make several changes to Proposition 2. The changes are:

  • The number of dispensaries to be licensed in the state was reduced to 7 and could go up to 10.
  • Auto-immune diseases were removed from the list of approved illnesses to qualify for the medical marijuana program.
  • Approval for refills will happen at a centralized location and will be ready for pickup at their local health department.

The replacement bill overwhelmingly passed with the governor signing it into law. This is despite the voters overwhelmingly passing Prop 2. It should not be a surprise that supporters of the original bill are now suing the state for undermining their constitutional rights to vote.


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Founder of WeedUpdate, Cannabis legalization advocate.

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