December 2017

Senator Introduces Bill To Legalize Marijuana At The Federal Level In A Big Move

On Tuesday, Aug. 1, Senator Cory Booker introduced a bold plan to legalize marijuana at the federal level. For Booker, this is a massively important step toward ending the war on drugs.Before outliningwhat was in the bill, Booker delved into his motivations for pushing for marijuana legalizationduring a Facebook live video in which he formally announced the bill.

We are not seeing the equal application of our criminal justice system, Booker said. We have focused [the War on Drugs] on people in the most vulnerable communities.

Booker noted, for example, that black people are roughly four times more likely than white people to be arrested for marijuana, despite almost identical rates of pot usage. In Booker’s view, it’s profoundly hypocritical to criminalize young people for life for doing things more minor, in terms of drug use, than two of our last three presidents admitted to doing.

But, more importantly, Booker explained, legalizing marijuana at the federal level would be a practical and ethical thing for the United States to do given the major potential social and economic benefits. Along these lines, Booker noted states around the country that have legalized marijuana have seen a drop in crime and a rise in revenue.

The New Jersey senator hopes to build on this progress via the elements of his bill.

Booker’s marijuana legalization bill has four parts.

First, Booker’s bill would remove marijuana from the federal scheduling system, which is why weed is currently illegal at the federal level.While eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana, it still remains illegal in the eyes of the federal government. Booker’s bill would change this. In Booker’s view, marijuana legalization in and of itself doesn’t go far enough. He also wants to address the damage current federal marijuana laws have done to American communities.

Accordingly, the next aspect of his bill retroactively expunges people who’ve been convicted for use and possession of marijuana. It would also give an avenue to people currently in prison for marijuana use or possession to petition for their sentences to be reduced or eliminated.

On top of this, the bill would use federal funds to encourage states to legalize marijuana. Technically, even if the federal government legalized pot, states could refuse to do so. This bill seeks to address this by simultaneously pushing for legalization at the federal and state level.

Finally, the bill creates a community reinvestment fund, which would allow communities disproportionately impacted by draconian marijuana laws to apply for funds that could be allocated toward job training, reentry services, public libraries, community centers, and more.

This bill arguably has an extremely slim chance of making it through Congress.

Booker has no co-sponsors on the bill, but he’s hopeful he can generate bipartisan support. But while criminal justice reform has bipartisan support from a broad standpoint, it’s unlikely a Congress controlled by Republicans will help a Democratic senator legalize marijuana.

Not to mention, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, who believes marijuana is only slightly less awful than heroin, is vehemently opposed to such a move and would likely use his influence to push against it.

Still, it does go to show how far this country has come in terms of the movement for marijuana legalization, and this is possiblythe most comprehensive piece of legislation ever put forward on this issue.

 

marissa jonesSenator Introduces Bill To Legalize Marijuana At The Federal Level In A Big Move
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Eaze is moving into recreational marijuana delivery with $27 million in new funding

The cannabis industry has lit up in the last year, including weed delivery startup Eaze, which just raised $27 million in Series B financing and claims a 300 percent year-over-year increase in gross sales.

But the weed delivery startup has come under scrutiny recently for burning through at least $1 million in cash per month. In contrast, other software-based pot delivery startups like Meadow have played it lean, focusing more on improving the software and logistics.

Eaze has gone hard on marketing spend, using aggressive growth tactics and burning through the $24.5 million it had previously raised in VC cash.

New CEO of the company Jim Patterson, who took over the role in December 2017 explains his approach as just part of the Silicon Valley cycle to get ahead, “We are a tech startup…we’re investing in growth,” he told TechCrunch when asked about the high burn rate. “We’re investing the money now in what’s clearly going to be a very big market.”

Part of the pop in the pot delivery industry is due to tech finally meeting the needs of the medical marijuana community in the state of California, where Eaze operates. Eaze uses its proprietary software to help consumers with a medical marijuana license in the state buy pot from local dispensaries and then delivers those purchases to their door.

However, California is set to begin issuing licenses for the cultivation and selling of the plant for recreational use at the beginning of 2018, which will open up a whole new revenue stream for Eaze and others in the space.

Colorado, a state where recreational use of the drug has been legal for a couple of years now, is reportedly pulling in nearly $100 million in pot sales per month and the marijuana industry is slated to balloon to a $24 billion dollar business by 2025.

Eaze is making the bet on high growth now to cash in on a good piece of those profits later, telling TechCrunch this was the reason for the Series B raise.

 

We should note that its conceivable other larger tech companies in the delivery logistics space like Amazon could just as easily decide to get into the space, crushing little startups like Meadow and Eaze in the process.

Patterson admits that’s not a far-fetched scenario but doesn’t think it will happen. “If you’re doing anything in retail and not thinking about Amazon at this point you’re crazy,” he said. “But the reality is [weed delivery] is still complicated at the federal level.”

Medical marijuana is now legal in 29 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Laws recently passed for Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota have yet to become effective. Recreational use is legal in eight states, though, as mentioned above, certain licensing provisions don’t take effect in California until the new year.

It may not be so complicated as more states adopt marijuana legalization for both medical and recreational use in the years ahead and Patterson doesn’t count out future competition from the Everything Store.

“But I do think we have a couple of years and hopefully Eaze will be a lot bigger by then and by then maybe it will be less scary than it would be now with only 80 employees,” he told TechCrunch.

Bailey Capital led the round, with participation from DCM Ventures, Kaya Ventures and FJ Labs.

marissa jonesEaze is moving into recreational marijuana delivery with $27 million in new funding
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